* Posts by wub

94 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


FCC chair wishes for 100Mbps down, 20Mbps up broadband minimum in US


She, actually.

Yeah, if we are lucky and get some nice upgrades we might qualify as third world. At least we'll still be paying the highest prices in the world, so there's that.

Marriott Hotels admits to third data breach in 4 years



Ooops. Marriott can't seem to keep people from stealing their customer's data from their systems.

The only consequences for a data breach like this are a couple of public "apologies", perhaps a small fine, maybe even a ransom if that's the way it went. Big deal, their financial loss is probably less than insurers would charge them. Particularly insurers who have been careful to estimate the actual risk by reviewing processes and practices.

What organizations like this need is some form of serious financial motivation to make it worth their while to protect other people's data that they keep. But that likely means regulation. At least in the US, that can't be done - too many lobbyists, too little actual governing.

Not a GNOME fan, and like the look of Windows? Try KDE Plasma or Cinnamon


Unintended consequences...

What I find annoying about GUIs is the feeling that they assume that I'm going to intuitively understand all the gestures they have thoughtfully provided for me. I suppose that I could go find a tutorial, or some sort of documentation that teaches me how to take advantage of all these features, but doesn't that go against the very nature of a GUI? Isn't all this supposed to be obvious and intuitive?

What I really have a problem with is when I inadvertently invoke one of these lovely gestures without realizing what I have done. Sometimes something miraculous occurs: maybe even something that I would like to have happen, but I have no idea: a) how to do that again, if I want to and b) how to undo that if it is something I definitely don't want (like switching my default language to Mandarin).

Google engineer suspended for violating confidentiality policies over 'sentient' AI


Passive responses only?

I'm too lazy to read the whole transcript - did this AI initiate any trains of thought or only reply to the questions? Most of the "intelligences" I interact with interrupt me just when I'm getting to the good part of what I wanted to say...

Also: I'm reminded of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein. Shouldn't humor eventually creep in to the AIs comments?

Starlink's success in Ukraine amplifies interest in anti-satellite weapons


Re: Would ground/plane based laser be effective ?

I think you're channelling Joseph Heller here. Elon Musk is not as unhinged as Milo Minderbender, who contracted with the Allies to defend a base the he had also contracted with the Axis to destroy. Or vice versa...

IBM-powered Mayflower robo-ship once again tries to cross Atlantic


Re: May Flower II

Anybody remember what happened to hitchBot?


When management went nuclear on an innocent software engineer


Re: Ok hands up

"Then wiped their finger along a wall or whatever..."

You're supposed to wipe it on the SIGN!

Microsoft sounds the alarm on – wait for it – a Linux botnet


Re: Isn't Azure built on Linux?

I have no personal knowledge of this, sorry, but I learned yesterday that starting with Windows 10, Microsoft is shipping OpenSSH as part of the standard package. It's right there, ready and waiting to be configured and used. No idea what the default configuration is, but this isn't just the client, the server is in there, too.

So they have potential exposure where ever there's a Windows machine, not just Azure.

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’


Re: 41 hours of latency sounds bad...

When I was a student, those taking classes were privileged to be able to use the 20 minute turnaround service (for short stacks) from 7 to 10 PM. Wow! Wheeeeeee! Sadly, I think that incomparable (at the time) speed did lend itself to "shoot from the hip" style, as one tried to fit in one more cycle of debug, submit, swear, repeat into those last few precious minutes before 10PM (22:00).

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them


Re: I don't see the fault... until

My experience as well - I didn't clue in until I hit San Andreas and did a double take.

I think it may be because we're American, and over here we say "Northern California"/"Southern California" vs "North Carolina"/"South Carolina" and as experienced readers, we tend to see the first/last letters of a word and approximate length, then jump to an identification.

Makes me wonder what else I've misread recently...

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout


Re: Full names please.......

My 5th grade music teacher was Mrs. Sharpless...

AI models still racist, even with more balanced training


Peeling the onion

OK, so folks decided to use AI to measure some human characteristics.

Then they looked at the data and said, "Oh, yeah, the training data sets are not diverse and introduce bias."

So they went back and trained using more diverse data sets.

Then they looked at the data and said, "Oh, yeah, our standardization methods use data that is not diverse and introduces bias."

I presume they are now going back and trying to eliminate bias in the tools they use to set the baselines for their measurements.

I wonder what they're going to find in the next cycle?

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes


Re: Love "Duh!" moments! It's the techie life that chose me!

My first real introduction to programming came from a Jeff Duntemann book. Somewhere in there was a list of rules for working programmers. Among them was one that said explaining your problem to colleagues was so important, that if necessary you should be prepared to lure them in with food to get them to listen. That one was fairly easy to follow.

The one that said mistakes should be framed, and hung on the wall was a bit harder to follow...

You can buy a company. You can buy a product. Common sense? Trickier


Re: 'twas ever thus

"[0] Weird system that you as a buyer have a real estate agent of your own, protecting your interests in the purchase. I'm beginning to think they were fleecing us."

Huh. As a buyer in the US, I've always used an agent. Especially if I'm relocating to a new area, and don't know the territory. When there are agents on both sides of the deal, they split the commission (paid by the seller), so it isn't an apparent expense for me. I have been fortunate to have had good (and ethical) agents, so far.

First time I sold a house, the ultimate buyer was also an agent, but for commercial, not residential property. We found out at some point that what he had done was to survey available properties and chose mine. Then, he pretended to be a naive buyer, and chose my selling agent to be his buying agent, putting her on both sides of the deal, for a little extra motivation for his offer. He said there were several properties he wanted to see, but "fell in love" with ours.

What he didn't know was that our agent was a long-time personal friend, When she figured out that he was an agent, she told us right away and asked if we were comfortable about her representing him. We said since she was up-front about it, we were fine with her getting the entire commission.

He then played shenanigans - his first offer (too low) was set to "expire" at 11 PM the same day. We had no interest in it, so we didn't respond. At 11 PM, I unplugged the phone (1980's - BCP), and had a good night's sleep.. He was furious the next day, as he had tried to call and pressure us after the deadline. What good is a deadline, if you never had any intention of adhering to it yourself?

He did ultimately submit an offer that we found acceptable. We did well on that sale!

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop


Not entirely sure what you mean by "sound"

You might want to look at this: https://www.bandshed.net/


Re: Dell XPS Ubuntu version discontinued in the UK

I have listened to a number of Linux podcasts over the years, and learned from the European ones about several apparently outstanding PC makers that install Linux exclusively on their systems. I'm sorry I can't name names, I have forgotten who these companies are, but I'm sure they're still out there.

Of course, living in the US, I was never able to try any of these out, and shipping to the US was not offered.

So, I'm prepared to think that Dell may simply have surrendered to the competition in the UK when they discontinued their Linux systems...

Court erred in Neo4j source license ruling, says Software Freedom Conservancy


Re: Why bother ?

So, you read and ponder the significance of every provision in the licensing for every software product you use?

Among the issues here is the fact that Neo4J's public representation that their software license is "open source" and their apparent intention that it is not created at least the appearance of fraud, if they did not consciously commit fraud. I believe that if they were serious about being open source, they would not have cobbled two licenses together this way.

Anybody know how many distinct open source licenses are available today?

Debugging source is even harder when you can't stop laughing at it


No one else had this experience?

Mostly self taught here (one quarter of Fortran in the 70's). Much later in life I entered a self-taught phase.

I am a little surprised nobody else had a story like mine, though, self-taught or not.

I still recall being righteously incensed the first time the language I was using (can't recall which) complained that I had named a routine with a reserved word. I believed I had found the perfect descriptive name - it really shouldn't have offended me so much that I was right, just not first. It did turn out that what my routine did was not closely related to what the reserved word referenced. So no, I wasn't reinventing a wheel here.

The >second< time it happened in the same session I went to a place that I strongly suspect Brad reached and basically said, "OK, I bet THIS &*#^ word ain't reserved anywhere." But I wasn't able to hold on to the mood long enough to move all my names to the dark side. Although Brad's example doesn't make for a good role model, his dedication is impressive.

Client demo in 30 minutes. Just what could go wrong?


Re: What's in a name?

I must be slipping. I didn't see any trackers beyond Google tag manager and Cloudflare insights. Without naming names, it's pretty hard to go [anywhere] without encountering one or both of those as third party links...

Hear us out: Smartphone lidar can test blood, milk


Re: We now have smartphones with lasers

I'm almost afraid to say this, but my "memory" says there were a few very excited articles about how facial recognition was now going to be less prone to spoofing. The idea was that the phone could use lidar to make a low resolution 3-D map of your face, and verify that to unlock.

Maybe I was having a particularly vivid nightmare?

How CAPTCHAs can cloak phishing URLs in emails


Re: "Given how often the average user fills out a CAPTCHA challenge..."

Running Firefox with NoScript set fairly severely along with uMatrix and an unhelpful cookie policy, I see them all the time when browsing. There are a number of retailer's sites which simply tell me,

"Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://www.[our site].com/" on this server.

Reference #[alphanumeric soup]"

after I enable first-party Javascript in NoScript and reload the page.

Their loss.

Thunderbird set to show plain text only gives me a very interesting view of "modern" email messages. I still remember the first time I ran across a comment section inside the HTML in an "email" message.

To be more focused on captchas in email, I don't follow the links very often (less often now that I've read >this< article), I can't say I've seen that yet.


Re: "Given how often the average user fills out a CAPTCHA challenge..."

Running Firefox with NoScript set fairly severely along with uMatrix and an unhelpful cookie policy, I see them all the time. There are a number of retailer's sites which simply tell me,

"Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://www.[our site].com/" on this server.

Reference #[alphanumeric soup]"

after I enable first-party Javascript in NoScript and reload the page.

Their loss.

Thunderbird set to show plain text only gives me a very interesting view of "modern" email messages. I still remember the first time I ran across a comment section inside the HTML in an "email" message.

Bouncing cheques or a bouncy landing? All in a day's work for the expert pilot


Re: Cables and connectors have a life of their own

I wish I could upvote this one more than once... I am still chuckling over the beautiful reference to Costello and innocence! Works on several levels. Nicely done!

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*


Re: Missing options

I felt like Dan Aykroyd's character in Ghostbusters, in the scene when it's time to "choose the form of the destructor": "I couldn't help it, it just popped in there."

Why did they not list the only obvious choice?

Open source, closed wallets, big profits – nobody wins the OSS rock, paper, scissors game


"I strongly doubt that any solution that is based on corporate goodwill can work, because there is no such thing."

It might be useful to divide corporations into publicly traded and privately held, then address the question of good will. There is no possibility of goodwill in a publicly traded corporation, since management has a fiduciary obligation to maximize shareholder benefit. Passive shareholders rarely have a voice, let alone a persuasive one.

Private corporations are unlikely to do things differently, but occasionally their shareholders may agree to accept reduced tangible benefit in exchange for some form of goodwill.

Linux Mint 20.3 appears – now with more Mozilla flavor: Why this distro switched Firefox defaults back to Google


Re: Ten years and counting.

Thank you for saying everything I wanted to say and more! I wish I could upvote this post more than once.

One print support related story.

We had a Konica copier at work that was getting an upgrade to become a networked printer - probably around 2010. I was the local contact, and provided the necessary info to the technician so he could complete the network setup on the copier. Got bored, went back to my desk and noticed that my Mint laptop had discovered a new printer on the network. A dialog box had poped up, asking me if I wanted to print a test page? I said sure, and walked back to the copier. I found the technician was standing there holding the page, looking surprised. He looked up and asked me if I did this, and how? He hadn't even gotten a chance to make a test from his own laptop, let alone start installing the driver on the various Windows systems that had been chosen as users of this device. Mint for the win!

Google: We disagree with Sonos patent ruling so much, we've changed our code to avoid infringement


Real Class

Thanks, Google, for showing the world how to react to a patent infringement situation. Naturally the first response should be to remove the features that infringed, which may have been significant for your clients when they chose to buy your product. Cripple the device. Don't look some way to reach an agreement to license the features from the folks who actually developed them. I think I may have read that attempted negotiations did not work out. Oh sorry, they wanted too much money? In the most American of responses to competition, you could have just bought the company. Why not? It isn't like you can't afford to buy them. Just kill any of their products you didn't want in the first place, you're good at killing projects.

Real class.

Bork ends where it began. At McDonald's, home of the finest bork product


Thanks for the all the borks!

I just wanted to say that you have brightened things up a bit for me during the holidays by providing your readers with something to smile at. Sometimes I need a bit of a breather...

Windows giant seeks Pluton-ic relationship with chipmaker: AMD first out of the gates with Microsoft's security processor


Re: If true...

From what the article says, it appears to depend on whether the "OEM" whoever that might be for us white-boxers gets to decide whether to turn this thing on. If they come from AMD, Intel etc with TPM activated, WSL could end up our only choice for Linux...

...until the whole system gets hacked by some very clever sod.

A moment of tension as the James Webb Space Telescope stretches sunshield on way to L2 destination


Re: Webb scheduled to last a long time

Was going to apologize for the pedantry until I saw the title of the article repeated on the "post comment" page.

JWST is not going to L5, it's going to L2.

Aircraft can't land safely due to interference with upcoming 5G C-band broadband service


Re: Frequency allocation

If you are not already a Wikipedia editor, you can easily become one - this is your big chance to improve a Wikipedia entry!



"actually Boeing has already said the FAA are talking bull."

I'm with the earlier post casting aspersions on Boeing, after that little 737Max design change. Of course they think everything's absolutely fine. I sometimes wonder whether Boeing execs check to see what hardware is listed for flights they are planning.

Anyone know what Airbus said about this issue?

When civilisation ends, a Xenix box will be running a long-forgotten job somewhere


Re: ICL :)

Great story! You were lucky to have someone like that to encourage you.

A friend of my mom's gave me a subscription to Scientific American for my 12th birthday. I could barely understand the introductory paragraphs, but I had already figured out science was my future by that time. I think I owe her a large chunk of my PhD for giving me "permission".

Yeehaw, y'all! Texas done got itself a honkin' new Samsung semiconductor plant


Or ectopic...

China's hypersonic glider didn't just orbit Earth, it 'fired a missile' while at Mach 5


Anybody remember the USS Connecticut running aground?

I was thinking about the missile parts that fell into the South China sea, and remembered that a US Navy submarine had run aground there about a month and a half ago: https://news.usni.org/2021/11/01/investigation-concludes-uss-connecticut-grounded-on-uncharted-sea-mount-in-south-china-sea.

Since I don't have enough information, it's really easy to just connect the dots and suspect they might have been searching for the missing missile. I know there are lots of better explanations for what they might have been doing, but this one is much more fun...

140,000-plus drivers sent $60m in compensation checks after Amazon 'stole their tips'


Re: UK Perspecitve

I agree with you about Starbucks. But if the program in the article is the one I think it is, many deliveries amounted to doing grocery shopping and delivering the order to the customer. In the case of produce, fresh meats and so on, the "driver" ended up selecting the goods what went into the cart. I can readily believe that some customers were very appreciative of receiving very fresh, unblemished fruit and veg and so on.

And, to leave a cash tip would mean tipping in advance, since these goods were mostly delivered "drop and run" (particularly because of the intensive monitoring of deliveries - too lazy to hunt up the references), so the electronic tips were the most effective way for customers to properly appreciate good service.

Boeing's Starliner capsule corroded due to high humidity levels, NASA explains, and the spaceship won't fly this year


Re: Cheap & cheerful, but mostly cheap

I'm no expert, but if it were me, I'd purge the tanks and all the lines with an excess of dry nitrogen. Not terribly reactive, cheap, and it would get all those pesky minor contaminants out of the way.

Check your bits: What to do when Unix decides to make a hash of your bill printouts


Re: I don’t think printers will ever work…

Well, mostly printers are a significant pain point.

Sometimes, just to really hammer that home, things "just work".

I was the "network admin" (1 man IT dept) at a small company. It was decided that we would make one of our standalone copiers (Konica?) a network printer, and join the modern age.

When the field engineer needed the network details, I went in and explained the settings he'd need on our network, then walked back to my desk.

On my desktop, a box had appeared explaining that a new network printer had been discovered, and asking if I wanted to print a test page. I said "Yes' and hot-footed back to the copier to see what would happen. I found the field engineer holding the test page and staring at it. When I walked in, he said, "How did you do this?". I tried to explain the wonders of Linux to him, but I don't think he believed me.

Be careful what you inline: Defunct video-hosting domain used to inject smut flicks into news articles, more


Re: You think that's bad...

"...replaced by one of Trump's speeches."

So, NSFW* then?

*Not Safe For Wanking

Robots still suck. It's all they can do to stand up – never mind rise up


Re: "Dumb unquestioning adherence to instruction is the best way to rebel"

or Robot AL-76 Goes Astray. Carry on until you complete your assignment.

Audacity users stick the knife – and fork – in to strip audio editor of unwanted features



Or am I showing my age too blatantly?

Supposedly coined from both "bold" and "audacious": how could Bill and Ted (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_And_Ted%27s_Excellent_Adventure) have given us less than awesome guidance? Even the Urban Dictionary shows positive associations.

‘Fasten your seat belts, raise your tray table, and disconnect your Bluetooth headsets from the entertainment unit’


Re: Something to look forward to

>You don't need to sync photos for that...

Yeah, that's why the photo gallery app that I can't uninstall from my phone won't work unless I allow it access to my Contacts, Calendar and network status. Needless to say, I don't use that one. Just to display an image file stored locally?

I agree with the comment that this is almost entirely in service of advertising. And I'm certain they are going to do far more probing of your connected device than any of us would be comfortable with.

Door-opening insect mega-swarm emerges in Eastern US, descends on Washington DC


Re: Ursine omitance

I was at the campground at the Mt Whitney portal a few years ago, with some friends. In the middle of the afternoon, we watched as an immature bear (not yet fully grown) wandered the parking lot, checking out the cars. If it saw or smelled something interesting, it just hooked its claws into the weather seal between the door frame and the top of the window and pulled, breaking out the window. Turns out, a bear can gain access to a car in much the same way that a human opens a pull-top beer can and with about the same apparent effort.

So, by all means lock your car, but don't succumb to the illusion that this is enough to keep the bears out. I'm sure they have an effective way of gaining entry to homes, too.

Amazon warehouse workers are seriously injured more frequently than those at similar companies – unions


Re: Then Bezos can get rid of all the staff, close down Amazon.

I loved your statement, but I did take a peek around the internet. We may be guilty of staying inside the same echo chamber.

It wasn't too difficult to find this story which indicates that while most charitable giving declined last year, our good ol' buddy Jeff made the largest charitable donation of the year. Damn him!

Still, it's a very small drop in his bucket...

Congestion or a Christmas cock-up? A Register reader throws himself under the bus


I remember working at a catalog showroom in the 70s. We had those nice, well sorted booklets too. But I think those came out monthly, and each week we'd get an update list: page long columns of numbers in what must have been chronological order. Attempting to check numbers against that part was painful. My favorite days were those when the new booklet arrived!

We also had to verify checks over a certain amount - by phoning the bank. Because this took time, we were allowed to choose which large checks to validate this way. After a few somewhat emotional situations, I decided to only check the folks who looked liked like they were going to be able to pay. I learned a lot of about human nature in that job - it seemed like I was finding more rubber checks that way than just validating every 3rd or 4th check...

If you have a QNAP NAS, stop what you're doing right now and install latest updates. Do it before Qlocker gets you


Re: Hard-coded login credentials - ouch!

"Have you actually done this? There's slightly more to a NAS than sticking some software in a Pi. How about getting a SSD cached four disk RAID setup working on it for a start. Or two ethernet connections."

I am constantly amazed at how much functionality is available from Pi-like small systems. I personally prefer ODROID C2s, because they have much better throughput for streaming situations. And if you are thinking of setting any kind of small server system up, give at least a couple of minutes to DietPi.

Despite the name, they have good coverage of a large variety of small systems, and although I have not tried all of their pre-configured software by any stretch, everything I have tried "Just Works". The Nextcloud installation process consists of selecting it from a list and clicking install. After that, Nextcloud is ready for you to log in as administrator and start setting up users - all the dependencies including a SQL server are taken care of for you.

I use a C2 for my firewall, using a USB3-ethernet dongle. I don't know where it will top out, but it can keep up with my cable modem at 200 Mbps, which has been good enough so far.

Samsung spruiks Galaxy Buds Pro performance as comparable to hearing aids


Re: Nura have the tech, just waiting to see who buys them out

Thanks for the suggestion - my wife's hearing has been declining and her birthday is coming up pretty soon. I just placed an order. Forewarned is forearmed - I think we'll be able to deal with the shortcomings.

Have a beer on us!

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative



Did anybody proofread this one prior to posting?

From the intro: "... the argument against will be published on Friday."

From the graphic caption: "...wait until you see the against argument later today."

Um, I'm all confused now. I do like to hear both sides before I try and make up my mind...



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