* Posts by wub

148 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jun 2009


Raspberry Pi stock surges after London IPO


Downvoters please check the definition of "fiduciary duty"

Publicly traded companies have a "fiduciary duty" [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary] to maximize each shareholder's return on investment. When properly expressed, this means that decisions must favor profit for the current quarter, potentially at the expense of longer range plans. Stuff like supporting the Pi 1 B until 2030. Is that a profit-driven decision, or was it motivated by technical or even nostalgic interest?

I feel that privately held companies have more flexibility in making future plans. It won't happen suddenly, but it will happen.

Twitter 'supersharers' of fake news tend to be older Republican women


Did you see Ken Burns' commencement speech to Brandeis graduates?

"The politicisation of everything will be the downfall of the US. Americans should now be worried about the beast from within more than the beast on the outside."

That's exactly what Ken Burns said to the Brandeis graduates. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n1OqPzIKH4) He also said that there is no "other" - when we begin to distinguish between "us" and "them" we've already missed the point.

As hard as it may be to believe, I feel that we still have more in common with each other than differences. If we can just find ways to get back to the time when it was OK to "agree to disagree" and treat each other with at least a small amount of respect we should be able to just get on with it.

US senator claims UnitedHealth's CEO, board appointed 'unqualified' CISO


Re: I think this is overblown

United Healthcare has been cutting corners for years in various ways. I'm not surprised they weren't interested in spending more than the minimum on security.

On an unrelated note, I'm impressed that no one mentioned this guy's 14 year stint at Microsoft as having any impact on his decision making in the C suite.

This >is< a big deal! Pharmacy access was significantly impacted for weeks, and PII of over 100 million people was released. If the top managers of this corp are responsible for its successes, and are rewarded accordingly, why are they NOT responsible for its failures?

Multi-day DDoS storm batters Internet Archive


Re: The world of music...

Excellent point. I was only mentioning music because in that case there is at least some means of attempting to locate the copyright holder. My apologies for not recalling how poorly that system actually works.


Please correct me if I'm wrong

Yeah, well try it from a non-UK IP address. Yes, I know there a ways to fool the geofence, but if I want to properly acknowledge the value of intellectual property, I'm not expecting to be granted free access. But there is no mechanism for me to do this, that I know of. In the past I have tried to ask the BBC for a mechanism to pay for access to their archives, but there we never even a response. It looks like there may be something in the works, but I'm not sure I'll live long enough...


Re: Copyright infringement

"The USA physical libraries break copyright rules set elsewhere. They can use any physical book and don't pay any per loan royalty to authors on copyright material, like in UK and Ireland."

Interesting. For thing, why do you believe the author is the owner of the copyright? Copyright is a valuable asset which can be sold and bought. The creator of a work may be the entity that initially registers the copyright for that work (if it is registered at all) but after registration the copyright may change hands any number of times, and the registrar does not get notified. In practice it can be extremely difficult to determine who holds the copyright for a given work now. So, who do you pay?

In the world of music, there are entities that exist to handle this for you. You pay the middleman, and they make sure the money gets into the right hands (mostly). But I guess there has never been enough money in book publishing to support this sort of middleman.

This problem of tracing copyright ownership also causes significant problems for people who are attempting to use some or all of the work as the basis of another work - if you can't figure out who owns the copyright, how do you ask them for permission? This is at the heart of the idea that copyright should expire - Much creative work is based on existing creative work, and if copyright is forever, how long can that continue?

I still love the irony of Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willy" being the benchmark for copyright on Mickey Mouse, since the cartoon is clearly based on Buster Keaton's "Steamboat Bill, Jr." although, who knows? Maybe Disney got permission...

Fujitsu to shutter operations in Republic of Ireland


The Fifth Stage of a Project

...Punishment of the innocent.

I suspect many to most of those about to be out of work were innocents.

And I'm sure the stages came out of order. No one is going to receive praise and honors at this point...

How to run an LLM on your PC, not in the cloud, in less than 10 minutes



...because? Local.

See earlier comments about trusting stuff at the other end of a URL.

Tesla Berlin gigafactory goes dark after alleged eco-sabotage


Re: If they're camped in a German forrest...

Um, yeah it might clear out the protesters, but then the forest will be gone, too. And I'm not so sure the Gigafactory would survive either...

Legal eagles demand $6B in Tesla stock after overturning Musk's mega pay package


Re: Why do the lawyers want money from Tesla

If the shareholders >are< Tesla, who brought the lawsuit?

Tesla is a "non-human person" in US law I believe, although IANAL.

Cops visit school of 'wrong person's child,' mix up victims and suspects in epic data fail


Re: Similar mistakes not limited to public sector

When I was a university student, I received a notice that I was being charged for books that were way, way overdue. From one of the campus libraries that I did not previously know existed. The titles were in German, a fine language that I never got around to learning.

So I found out where the library was, and took my letter in to try and explain that it wasn't me. The librarian said, "Oh, when we look up the checkout information, sometimes the system gives us a 'magic' number that does not match any library patron's card. So we just pick the next nearest library card number and fine that person."

They rescinded the fine against me, but I'm sure they went back to the list, and picked the next nearest match...

Dumping us into ad tier of Prime Video when we paid for ad-free is 'unfair' – lawsuit


Don't overlook your local library

I don't know about other areas/countries, but here in southern California, all the public libraries have DVD/BR collections which can be checked out free. Some libraries in my area also subscribe to a service called Kanopy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanopy) which is a streaming service that does not charge viewers money - look up the deal. For those who are tracking the advertising thread - Kanopy has no ads.

For some reason, that I do not understand, I can get library cards for cities I do not live in, provided I show up in person with the right identification. Apparently, this operates statewide in California. Again, I have no idea whether this is true in other areas. I have not gotten really ambitious about this, so I only have three library cards, so far...

Everyone's suing AI over text and pics. But music? You ain't seen nothing yet


"...elements of the song sounded a bit like something he could have written."

Ask John Fogerty about his solo album Centerfield. The owner of the rights to the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums successfully sued Fogerty over Centerfield because the music it contains sounds too much like CCR, which Fogerty also wrote. Basically, he lost because he wrote new music in the style of his earlier music, and the rights owner claimed this reduced the value of the existing back catalog.

This really sucks - how else is he supposed to write? But at the same time, the point about diluting the future value of the prior catalog is "sound". Ick.


"I'm personally looking forward to..."

You phrased that perfectly! You can obtain, and look at, and even perform sufficiently old music without violation.

But if someone else performs it, you'll need to find a Creative Commons licensed recording or one that is in the public domain. Music performances are subject to performance rights, which can be violated just like creation rights.

It is amazing how often decisions get made that ignore intellectual property rights, considering how serious the consequences sometimes turn out. The rights owners really don't do much education, relying entirely on punishment to get the word out.

The local repertory theater I sometimes attend started playing music prior to performances, while the audience was seating itself. When I realized that this amounted to a public performance, it scared me - I didn't want them to get sued, and at any given performance in southern California, I could easily imagine a lawyer with the right in the audience. I quietly asked one of the ushers if that sound I was hearing was music, and whether there had been a negotiation about rights.

Now we enter the theater to either silence, or to music that is included in the performance that is about to start. Sad, much less fun, but at least there is less risk to expensive litigation...

New York Times sues OpenAI, Microsoft over 'millions of articles' used to train ChatGPT

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Re: If it's free on the Internet

Too right. I'm doing my best to keep away from all the doom and gloom. But it is really hard. Very best wishes on your quest!

Is it 2000 or 2023? Get ready for AI-anchored news. Again


Watching the newsreader read this one on air

I don't know if this moment is available online somewhere, but I happened to be watching KTLA Channel 5, an independent Los Angeles station yesterday morning when they covered this story.

The previous story was about the continuing decline in newspapers and other traditional news sources as readership/viewership dries up, along with advertising income.

When the desk anchor started in reading the text that went with the clips from Channel 1's demo reel, his distaste was clearly evident. He kept his voice level and mostly free of overtones, but he sure paused a lot compared to his usual style. I can't help feeling that he felt like his was dancing on his own grave, in advance.

While folks are commenting about news readers here, I really wish I could remember the name of the fellow who was on the BBC News desk a few years ago at what worked out to 6 PM PST. He was the person I most wanted to receive the day's news from. It wasn't that he said anything differently, he was able to convey quite a lot in his expression and the occasional nod. It was a difficult time for me when I learned he was retiring. On the one hand, I knew how much I'd miss him. On the other, I wish him the best in the retirement he richly earned - I was well aware his shift was the middle of the bloody night in London.

I really hope Channel 1 is not the future of "news". Who is going to ask politicians and business leaders the really difficult, pointy questions?

Tesla says California's Autopilot action violates its free speech rights

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Re: Quote from Terry Pratchett - Going Postal

Sir Terry said the order wasn't important (but it is in a few cases).

This time of year, I'd read Hogfather - something I do every December or so. Or I watch the live action video version.

HP printer software turns up uninvited on Windows systems


Maybe there's an HP device visible from wifi or bluetooth?

Am I the only one who sees strange devices advertising their presence that apparently belong to folks who are nearby? One of my neighbors had a Rivian, and it seemed to be offering at least three different bluetooth opportunities to connect. My neighbor on the other side has an HP something that is always in my list of potential wifi access points... It seems possible that the device makers who may be collecting lists of hardware visible from our systems aren't concerned about whether we are authorized to connect to them, or ever have connected to them.

We're getting that fry-day feeling... US Army gets hold of drone-cooking microwave rig


Re: Hmmmm..

"Inverse square law.... ?"

Ah, Tom Swift had to deal with a similar problem when building his Megascope Space Prober. From http://www.tomswift.info/homepage/prober.html:


How practical is it to build a Megascope Space Prober? Not very practical, to say the least. The entire invention hangs on Tom's "anti-inverse-square-wave" -- a wave that defies everything known about physics by exceeding the speed of light and not diminishing over distance. I know of no bylaw that would permit such a wave to exist. Maybe Tom invented a machine that could send waves through the imaginary realm of hyperspace or maybe he found a way to easily generate exotic nuclear particles (such as neutrinos) that can exceed the speed of light. At any rate, with our current knowledge of physics, building a space prober is entirely out of the question.

However, it might be possible to build a Megascope Space Prober that works with normal radio waves. Such a device, though, would be expensive, rather costly, and practically useless. After all, if the images aren't in color and aren't real-time why bother with all the expense? Ordinary light reflected from objects is good enough for most people.

What are the properties of Tom's "anti-inverse-square-wave"? The unique and mind-boggling wave that Tom invented has some interesting properties: it can exceed the speed of light; it is invisible; it can be generated fairly easily; it can be used to generate full-color real-time images of very distant objects; it does not cope very well with certain types of gases and radiation, and it does not diminish in power over long distances.


In a nutshell, problem solved!

Microsoft pins hopes on AI once again – this time to patch up Swiss cheese security


Training set?

What, exactly, is Mictosoft going to rely on for suitable secure software code to train their AI on?

Japan cruises ahead with drive-thru EV charging trial


Mild climate

The test area is in Chiba prefecture, and according to Wikipedia the weather is pretty mild there. Doesn't freeze much, and not terribly hot. So the interesting problems of heavy vehicles driving over the dissimilar materials (charging coils embedded in the road surface material) are minimized. I bet they don't have a lot of potholes there, and they don't spread salt around to melt ice on the road. These are some of the potential difficulties that came to mind while I was reading about testing and durability.

I am curious about the issues that might fall into the "safety" category.

Colleges snub Turnitin's AI-writing detector over fears it'll wrongly accuse students


NIce racket

Summarizing a bit from the article and some of the comments above: Buy our tool, use it, but ignore the results when you don't think they make sense.

Hmmm. I think I could save the universities a chunk of cash by recommending they skip the first part and keep the money. Ehhh, you can always raise tuition to cover the cost, though, right?

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig


I laughed when I read the headline, but when I got the sentence you quoted, I sobered up. I used to work in an environment the depended on some very sophisticated scientific equipment which was computer controlled. We could not afford to throw out perfectly functional half-a-megabuck hardware just because M$ excreted a new OS, and the manufacturer hadn't bothered to update their software for prior customers. Sometimes we could move the software to a newer OS, but most often not.

I do have sympathy for these guys - I expect they had their reasons for not air-gaping the old systems, but I'm going to guess that convenience was the main one.

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden


Re: Students?

Um, no. Vehicle registration is a better analogy than a subscription. In kind, it resembles the money you pay the government annually to operate your motor vehicle after you have purchased it.

If only it was comparable to a subscription - I'd love to be able to get into the BBC archives, and apparently they are available to folks with licenses, but not to those of us without them. And I have asked about the possibility of obtaining a license only to be resoundingly ignored. After getting over the frustration of being geofenced out (yes, I know vpn, which is an ongoing arms race - I'd rather be legal if possible) I realize that no one in their right mind would try to register a car bought and used in the US for operation on UK roads.

For one thing, the controls are all on the "wrong" side...

Florida Man and associates indicted for conspiracy to steal data, software


Best free pubilcity in the world

I hear complaints from various places, initially the Candidate/Defendant himself, that all of these legal travails are purely intended to nobble him during the campaign. But why doesn't anyone ask about the absolutely unprecedented free international publicity he has been given? Did I remember to mention that it is completely free?

One detail that was mentioned by PBS at the time the indictment was announced is that in Georgia the entire trial could be televised?? My first thought was, "Who-hoo! where's my popcorn??" But my second thought was, "Holy Shit!! No other candidate will get anything like that amount of free publicity in any campaign during the remainder of the United States of America, however short that time may be. So I deeply and sincerely hope that the proceeding will be closed. We'll get the juicy bits quickly enough, and at least the publicity he gets won't include so much screen time.

'Joan Is Awful' Black Mirror episode rebounds on Netflix


Another cautionary tale.

Humancentipad ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HumancentiPad )

Techie wasn't being paid, until he taught HR a lesson


Re: The flip side of this is a unique name

Uh, another very common name here. Years ago, my dentist in Evanston, Illinois had four patients who went by John Hill. I'm generally glad to have a tough to search name was well.

But recently I tried to order a pair of earbuds through NewEgg (the seller was a company located in Hong Kong). That company told me, "Your name is blacklist". I had never even heard of that company, let alone ordered anything from them before. They asked if I had another name to use for delivery, and I said I didn't. Ultimately, they cancelled my order and refunded me my payment.

I don't think I'm going to be able to get off that blacklist. Oh well...

Florida man insists he didn't violate the law by keeping Top Secret docs


Re: Make America Kittens Again!

Oh my god! Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is GREAT!!! Wish I could upvote you more than once. Have one on me -->

Windows XP's adventures in the afterlife shows copyright's copywrongs


Re: What's the monetary damage?

As occasionally gets pointed out, there are large, expensive scientific and medical devices out there that require complex software programs to operate. The manufacturer writes their software to the latest stable version of Windows, then never updates it. Commercial entities run and maintain these expensive devices for extended periods. Yes, I know, they are supposed to be depreciated in 3 years (or perhaps 5) but even if they are replaced with the latest version, the devices also have an afterlife - there is a healty market for used equipment of this sort.

Different copyright considerations arise when the device is sold by the original purchaser, but I'm only here to say that as long as those devices are running, they are utterly dependent on old/ancient versions of Windows. No upgrade path there. Even if the updated OS is cheap, it rarely turns out to support the software.

Large language models' surprise emergent behavior written off as 'a mirage'


Cold Fusion?

Why does this sober analysis of the situation, placing emphasis on the tools used to determine the outcome of the experiment - and the proper use of these tools -oh and knowing how to actually interpret the results from these tools correctly remind me of all the overheated excitement about cold fusion?

Dump these insecure phone adapters because we're not fixing them, says Cisco


Re: Bit hard on the bright young things?

"Distorted in a way that they like."

You remind me that every vinyl pressing has to be distorted (carefully) using the RIAA equilization curve, so that the low frequency sounds don't overwhelm the high frequency sounds in the grove. And then on playback, one has to carefully redistort the output to attempt to restore the original balance between low and high frequencies for a high fidelity experience.

DEF CON to set thousands of hackers loose on LLMs


Re: Better than hackers for red teaming an LLM

I feel that to find the nasty corners in ML, as in anything, we need folks with the hacker spirit. Coloring inside the lines isn't going to expose the obscure problems.

But hey, the more the merrier and we can always use more diverse viewpoints banging on these things.

Curiosity gets interplanetary software patch for better driving and more on Mars


Re: Well worth a read

Gee, I thought AI was going to solve all of our software creation problems! </sarcasm>

But maybe this approach could eventually come up with a system that could drive an automobile autonomously. Too bad no one would ever be able to even fantasize about that in a commercial environment...

To improve security, consider how the aviation world stopped blaming pilots


The Howard Cosell Syndrome

My apologies to William Macomber, a philosophy professor I had in college if I get the details wrong. In the process of attempting to teach undergraduates something about Greek philosophy, he used what was then a recent incident anyone would easily recall.

At the 1972 Olympic games, someone failed to notify an American team about a last-minute change of venue (or time of event). At any rate, the whole team forfeited because they failed to show up to compete. This human error caused a great deal of righteous outrage, and among the loudest and most indignant voices was Howard Cosell's.

What Professor Macomber attempted to show us was that in "ancient Greece" there was a very different cultural belief about the nature of human free will. Mistakes we would attribute to an individual making an unforced error were viewed as having been caused by one or another of the gods, and the individual was considered to simply be the agent through which that god was operating at the time. Sounds a bit fatalistic, in the sense that in that view the mistake could not be prevented by any amount of planning or redesign. But it is interesting to consider that an entire nation could potentially hold a different view on the need for and application of blame. There would have been no Howard Cosell running around shouting for someone to be punished.

Astronomers (re)discover never-before-seen phenomenon on Saturn


How about checking the other solar planets with rings?

" If a spacecraft detects similar excess UV radiation bands in the upper atmosphere of a faraway planet, it could mean it might be supporting a ring system like Saturn's."

I am not very well informed about this topic, but it only took a few seconds to verify that Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune all have ring systems - wouldn't one of them make a nice instance to look for the tell-tale increased levels of Lyman-alpha radiation? I expect none of these would produce the same levels as Saturn, but then extra-solar examples would produce much smaller signals, surley?

This US national lab turned to AI to hunt rogue nukes


Re: "helped law enforcement home in on targets and speed up investigations"

"Is there that much suspicious radioactive material being sent by snail mail these days ?"

Well, I hope not, but there are a number of legitimate, non-weapon uses for "nuclear material". I used to use some radioactive materials for analytical purposes when I was a graduate student in molecular biology - sometimes you need a very strong signal, and nothing beats radioactive emissions. But it was never all >that< much compared to a nuclear weapon, and certainly not the right elements.

But I expect some folks out there can provide stories that may relate to more interesting isotopes, and perhaps in quantities that might surprise the rest of us.

And yeah, we got ours by snail mail.

Warning: Your wireless networks may leak data thanks to Wi-Fi spec ambiguity


Re: Hmm

"Also, did you happen to read section 5 of the new Restrict Act ?"

Yeah, just did. This sentence has no relevance to the other sentences in your post. Might as well be a comment on the social life of a goose, as far as any point being made about running a given operation system. ChatAPI, is that you?

Publishers land killer punch on Internet Archive in book copyright court battle


Re: Unavailable books

*We have a few generally unavailable books"

This is another of the problems with existing copyright that is relevant to this situation, even if it has nothing to do with digitizing or copying. Publishers have no incentive to keep the contents of unpopular books available. As soon as a book ceases to sell briskly, no new prints runs are scheduled (and for a lot of books, I suspect the first run is the last). If you want to locate a copy of such a work for some reason, good luck. Perhaps it is available in a library somewhere, or on the used book market but there is no way to determine if this is true without searching "in all the usual places".

The flip side of the situation is worse - let's say you find an out of print book from 50 years ago. For some reason it has become relevant (again), and you are considering making it available - in print or digitally, doesn't matter. Your problem: figure out who currently holds the copyright. The information in the printed book may not be current - the author almost certainly does not own the copyright, and the publisher may have sold the rights on to another entity. There is no central repository for declaring the identity of the copyright owner.

And for works "of a certain age" copyright might or might not exist, depending on whether the owner renewed it during the periods when the duration of copyright was extended by law.

We keep track of ownership of trade marks, which to someone who has no law or intellectual property background seems like a reasonable analogy - so why not copyright?


Re: Judge is a typical Fed bench moron..

I feel most of us are having trouble keeping a couple of ideas clear in our thinking here.

The main issue for a judge is to consider the law, and the legal merit of arguments put by both sides. That is the main matter for the court. If the actions of the defendant can be shown to be legally correct, they will prevail in a fair hearing. Of course, the problem is in interpreting the situation in context with the most relevant law. The devil is in the details. I have no doubt that a deep understanding of the specific facts in the case will be of value to a judge in reaching a just decision, but unfortunately it is not a requirement. And it may not be helpful in all cases, since the most relevant law may be just plain wrong.

I suspect that in this situation, the law needs to be fixed. I hope this case does not destroy the Internet Archive - they do a lot of valuable and completely legal work.

Hold off on that 2046 Valentine's date, asteroid might hit Earth


Doesn't it go more like this?

In the real world, doesn't it go more like this:


Yes, what is it?

The AI monitoring the asteroid belt for potential collisions with Earth has detected a probable collision in 10 years.

What are the chances this thing will hit us?

Oh, about 1 in 100, but it won't be possible to get a better estimate until the window to divert the asteroid has already closed.

I see. So, we have to decide whether to actively intervene before we know if any action is necessary?

I'm afraid so, sir.

Hmmm... Well, better to be safe than sorry. Activate the diversion protocol.

Yes sir.

... weeks later ...

Sir, we have a new update on the outcome of the asteroid diversion mission.

Good - what are the odds of a collision now?

Well, the good news is that the asteroid fractured into a few smaller pieces. The bad news is that the largest of them is now on a direct course for impact and it is too late for another diversion attempt. The worse news is that we now have much better orbital data on the original asteroid, and it would have missed entirely if we had just left it alone...

How to get the latest Linux kernel on your Ubuntu box


Re: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?

"Or is it: If it ain't broke, I'm not learning anything."

That's a major reason I started playing with SOC based systems - there is still quite a bit that doesn't work, or work properly. Everything got so boring on the desktop - I may have been more frustrated back in the day, but debugging and fixing things that should have worked but didn't provided a lot of interest (won't say "fun"). I really enjoy that feeling when I finally convince something to do what it should have done all along! I think this is why my wife likes gardening.

Tributes flow as Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo - the mind behind Sound Blaster - passes aged 68



"Creative still sells music players today under the Zen brand."

I was surprised and pleased to hear that Creative music players were still being made and sold. I've done a bit of searching, and although I discovered some links to the usual suspects, none of them actually offered players for sale. Creative's own special placement box at the top of the page of search results says, "ZEN is a series of discontinued portable media players designed and manufactured by Creative Technology Limited."

I don't think they are actually selling them today...

Southwest Airlines blames IT breakdown for stranding holiday travelers


Re: Time for IT from this century

"IT from this century"

Two things:

When I visit my local car dealership's repair department, the contact folks are running Win10/11 with a terminal emulator on the screen and what looks like 70's or maybe 80's mainframe software. Rather than focusing on which century, how about software written by someone who understood the problem to be solved? And when you've been bashing at a system for decades, most of the obvious bugs have found and squashed.

Also, there was a nice article in Scientific American back in the 80's (I think) about a day when severe weather over the central US disrupted airlines. The authors explained how the scheduling fell over and what had to be done to stand it back up again.

At that time, there were >three< different interlocking schedules: aircraft, cockpit crew and cabin crew and each of them moved in their own distinct cycles. I suspect this is still true today - a real 3-ring circus.

Server broke because it was invisibly designed to break


Re: guesswork

"Car dealerships often do this and charge you truly eyewatering prices for each wrong guess - despite being in a far better position than anyone else to do the job properly due to having all the knowledge and proprietary diagnostic equipment on hand."

And access to information about "silent recalls".

My girlfriend owned an Audi Fox that was about 2 years old at the time (late '70s). One day, we drove into town, shopped, and then tried to go home - car simply would not start.

Had it towed to the nearest Audi dealer (in Chicago area), they scratched their heads, finally replaced the fuel pump and billed us for that plus 3 hours of diagnostic effort. I looked at that, called bullshit, and asked to keep the old pump, which I boxed up and shipped back to Audi national headquarters to be checked, along with a copy of the repair invoice.

In the meantime, we started a 3 week road trip to the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, why would I be typing this if the car didn't fail exactly the same way at a campground 125 miles out of Jackson Wyoming? Had the car towed to the only foreign car dealer in town (Subaru, btw). When we rolled into the parking lot, a guy outside looked up, saw us, whistled at another guy, gave him a couple of minutes of instructions. By the time we were doing the sign-in in the office, they already had the car off the truck and into a bay.

Fifteen minutes later, the car was fixed! No parts, and they only billed the 15 min labor!

The head mechanic kept up on trends in car problems, and knew about the faulty connector design Audi had committed on the power circuit feeding the fuel pump, so he told the guy to simply pull the wires out of the connector and solder them together. Never had another problem (with ignition) on that car.

Oh, and when we got back from the trip, Audi had sent us a letter stating that the fuel pump was just fine, along with a check reimbursing us for the full, original, dealership "repair". About six months later, there was a formal recall of that connector.

And my then girlfriend had had the foresight to pay an extra $2.00 on her car insurance to cover emergency towing situations, so the repair in Jackson, Wy was our only expense - insurance covered the 125 mile towing charge. Clever girl!

She is still my wife - I'm glad she thought I was good enough to keep around. We drive a Subaru now.

US Air Force tests its first fully functional hypersonic missile


Re: Oh boy

"/bucket of instant sunshine/"

Wish I could upvote more than once. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time... I guess having lived through the '50s and '60s helps me see that phrase in two very different, non-super-imposable ways.

Thanks for brightening my day, safely.

Twitter is suffering from mad bro disease. Open thinking can build it back better


Re: You want the State to manage social media platforms ? Are you insane ?

And so where do we go?

As you point out, as soon as the state leans too far in one direction, it can use state-run social media to enforce and accelerate that movement to extremes.

And we've seen what happens when a corporation depends on 'engagement' to capitalize on the user's attention.

How does a platform that can meet the expectations of a huge, distributed user base acquire sufficient funding for the moderation that is clearly essential without ending up depending on either commercial or government management?

Does anyone have an example that might fit these conditions?

Wells Fargo, Zelle slammed by Liz Warren over rampant online banking fraud


Re: 0.1% fraud?

I was thinking the same thing - all the statements in the article could be true, depending on the overall volume of transactions and a couple of other numbers they won't reveal.

99.9% clean, wow that's pretty good! But isn't the point to get everybody to use your product, and take over the world (so to speak)? When you scale way, way up, is three 9s something to boast about?

If you made planes, and they only crashed 0.1% of the time, would >you< fly on your own product?

University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles


Re: 8-{ Wot, no migration planning?

I was a graduate student at Northwestern University in the early 80s. They made a similar transition - shifted to the new system cold, with no overlap at all with the existing system. Things went about as well there as they are going in this case - many, many suppliers stopped dealing with them. Fortunately for me, I was still getting my stipend, but some suppliers had not gotten paid in a year by the time they got things sorted out. We had some real problems keeping our lab running. Among the minor oversights, the system went live before someone realized there was no mechanism for returning money to research grants when a purchase transition got reversed.

Did I mention that the Northwestern business school had just been ranked number 1 in the United States when the university pulled this stunt?

No, I will not pay the bill. Why? Because we pay you to fix things, not break them


Left-pondian here!

Among El Reg's attractions for me over the years was the fun and confusion I experienced getting a peek into another culture. I relish the challenge and the educational aspects of discovering what some of the more colourful expressions mean.

And I learn so much from the commenters about IT, metallurgy, history, linguistics, desserts and everything else under the sun. I am disappointed at the recent changes (for a while I thought the headquarters had officially moved to the US), and I would be very happy to see the site return to the UK-centric format, but I still haven't found any meaningful competition.

It makes me sad to realize that almost none of the good tech sites or podcasts originate in the US.

Oops, web trackers may have leaked 3 million patients' info


Step back and look at the forest!

Yes, these trackers are terrible and definitely a violation of the kind of privacy any patient should expect. But I think we are focusing on a single tree here, and possibly missing the bigger picture.

But think about the situation for a moment. Do you really think that your physician's office, or even the hospital created their own website? Hell no, they contacted the creation and operation of "their" site to a third party, hopefully one with some expertise.

Whenever you interact with a site like that, you are freely giving your personal health information to whoever or whatever actually runs that site. Under HIPAA, this means they are relieved of ANY restrictions on what they can subsequently do with the information.

The only hope a patient has in this situation, and it is a slim reed indeed, is to hope that the contract between the medical provider and the website operator includes language that passes the HIPAA requirements on to them. Ho Ho HO (to rush the season, a bit)!

I am certain that there is a financial advantage to the health care provider is they fail to include such language - the patient becomes the product, and they get a big discount on the cost of creating and operating the site.

It would be very nice to be wrong about this, but I'll bet I'm not.

So, the big boys (Meta, Google, TikTok - who ever else is offering these beacons) are only the big end of the pool. There must be literally thousands of small organizations with the same or greater access to patient information without any monitoring or restriction at all.