* Posts by Juillen 1

312 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jun 2009


Smile! UK cops reckon they've ironed out gremlins with real-time facial recog

Juillen 1

Re: I would prefer a higher false positive rate

They already do verify by other means before doing anything unpleasant. This doesn't supersede other policy in the identification chain, simply focuses it to scale.

Juillen 1

Re: So

Incorrect. People are matched, checked, then if there is utility, an officer dispatched to check again and determine likelihood of match being correct.

5999 of 6000 (or better) are not even of passing interest. 1 in 6000 approximately is looked at and checked. Much lower than 1 in 6000 is actually a suspect. Lazy arguing.

Juillen 1

Do you have evidence for the assertion? The usual process is "Take image from automated match, check against records using a human for verification, then dispatch".

That would mean that you'd have at least a check in advance. Then, you could use your current argument that "Oh, PACE is no good, because human stop and search with an individual recollection is imperfect, therefore (x) individuals are stopped and searched while innocent.".

Where do you get the idea that Police would insist that someone was a guilty person, more than if they were stopped and searched, or were stopped by an officer's memory associating them as someone of interest?

Not good enough.

Juillen 1

Where does this "arrest" come from? An "identify" is "flag to check, as this may be a person of interest". For some reason, people here are having the false idea that this flag will mean police will rush out and arrest the person directly, with no further checks.

First would likely be image check of "Person of Interest" via records (human verification that the match indeed looks like recorded photos of the person of interest).

Then if resources allow, a quick check for ID if resource by sending a local beat patrol officer. I've been asked for ID (and had a stop search of bags) a few times in my life, and each time has been short and sweet; I rather suspect that this evolution of the facial recognition will cut down on the random searches a fair bit and skew towards people more likely (from historical records) to be a problem.

If the ID checks out as not the person suspected, or the officer has no reason to believe that the person is "of interest", then they go on their way after a couple of minutes delay.

If everything in the chain (detection, first visual correlation, ID checks etc.) prove that the person is still "of interest", then things would progress exactly as if they were visually ID'd on the street by a beat officer.

As far as PACE goes, it's (from what I can see) a way to target available police time towards more likely productive areas. Police funding has been massively cut back, resulting in a requirement to "do more with less". This is one of the ways that more can be done with less. Is it perfect? No. But there again, nothing is perfect, and insisting it must be is simply an "appeal to utopia" logical fallacy.

As with most things, the truth is rarely sensational. It's usually very mundane. Occam's razor would suggest that this doesn't override PACE, or affect normal operation, merely pointing out that there is a suspected person of interest in the area. Standard policy would apply from that point on.

Google's AI search bot Bard makes $120b error on day one

Juillen 1

Re: Parry + Eliza

I tried that, and Mike punched me. He's still complaining about removing all the sellotape from his hair.

Juillen 1

I'd suspect that it follows the main rule. "Just make sure it doesn't offend anyone. Truth and accuracy are secondary objectives."

Cloudflare engineer broke rules – and a customer's website – with traffic throttle

Juillen 1

Re: They've at least done the right thing...

Actually, I'd say it's just a learning experience. It's an example of the Frame Problem; you can think of the majority of things you need to know to stop something stopping dead in its tracks, but there's always the unexpected. If you decide you won't do anything until you know every edge case and have a solution to everything, you'll never actually get round to doing anything other than searching for ever more unlikely edge cases to evaluate.

Having to make a split second decision in the heat of the moment does not give you the benefit of hindsight, or that extended period of deliberation in calm, amongst many minds.

Atlassian: Unpatched years-old flaw under attack right now to hijack Confluence

Juillen 1

Re: What ?

Decimal points make all the difference. I'd expect 7.4 to be greater than 7.1.8, but less than 7.18

Google says it would release its photorealistic DALL-E 2 rival – but this AI is too prejudiced for you to use

Juillen 1

Re: Not the usual tropes again...

Do you have stats on that? Everything I see has a fairly representative balance. Where are you obtaining the data about "Rich white dudes" by the way (which you seem to use in a disparaging way, thus coming very close to racism and sexism yourself; it's not just about minorities in the actual definition of the word).

Now, you're saying "curate a set of images". This is of course subjective. What one person says is racist or sexist is highly unlikely to be what another person says it is. So what you're doing it introducing a bias into a set that previously worked on unfiltered information. Not by a measurable metric (which would be fine), but by an arbitrary subjective opinion.

You could, of course, end up with a set of everyone in a business suit in a particular environment. Which would then render your set with flawed information to work from, potentially not being able to discern other alterations/environments correctly.

And as to "Fix society", what would you say needs fixing (there's a lot, yes, as we're fairly primitive still, but I was wondering what you were alluding to in this instance).

Juillen 1

Re: If you look for racism and sexism, you'll find it.


Juillen 1

Re: Not the usual tropes again...

That was what I was referencing in the adaptation. It's actually due to the contrast levels of the skin, which are more pronounced in lighter skins. It's a feature of any image generation; it was picked up a while ago and branded "Racist" (the definition of which is "prejudiced or antagonistic towards a group, often a minority").

All the school photos I had from back then worked quite nicely for people with all skin tones (and they were from the 70s and 80s).

While revealing the information that the contrast was harder to process, this is merely a fact (and a "confounding factor"), not discriminatory, prejudiced or antagonistic.

Did give me a chuckle that your phone smudges pixels like that.. As far as I view things, facial recognition is still in its primitive stages for learning systems, and probably will be for years, if not decades to come.

Image recognition has come a long way from when I cut my teeth on it in the late 80s though, that's for sure..

Juillen 1

Not the usual tropes again...

If you look for racism and sexism, you'll find it. Even if it's not there.

What the training set has done is find the general composition of the set, and render that. If that's what the contribution to the set is, that's what'll be reflected.

I'm always confounded by AI workers coming up with these exclamations after exposing learning mechanisms to a representative set of data and it doesn't come up with what they want. If you want to teach something to come up with answers you want, you need to put the effort into creating a curated set of information for it to learn from (this is something that every species on the planet has learned long ago, which is why they survive and in cases such as some Birds and Simians, develop their own actual cultures.

But, when you select only what you want to see, then you have to understand that it's a product of your own biases. Once you take off the limiters and let it see what's out there, it'll learn things you'd rather it didn't.

There are, of course, confounding issues (like contrast for some human gene adaptations, which make some faces harder to recognise for example), but those are technical hurdles which you can control for and work with (it's part of learning how to teach a learning system).

Version 251 of systemd coming soon to a Linux distro near you

Juillen 1

Re: Software Junk

You mean like the classic car scene has a roaring trade in aftermarket spares? And a whole host of other areas that require parts.

If you're playing analogies, this is more akin to building something to a standard which will have newer parts available ad infinitum, but putting an artificial limiter on it so that it will stop being of use (for example, having an engine management in a car that will, after a pre-determined period, or just when the vendor of the car decides that it's time for people to upgrade, which will prevent the locks ever working again).

Or, perhaps in your boiler case, parts made to exactly the same spec are made for all the newer boilers, so they fit, tighten, and would be mechanically functional, except the parts are only available from the manufacturer, and they refuse to sell them to individuals, only their own repair departments, who refuse to fit them onto the model that the vendor decides is "currently supported".

The hardware is good, solid and working. There is just an artificial limitation to prevent you getting after market support (which, if you really know what you're doing, you can probably circumvent, but your average person wouldn't have a clue).

And if you don't know the difference between compiling in a kernel driver and building heating elements, and the relative impact the distribution has, then I'd advise looking carefully at both.

One can be done very quickly and tested, and distributed for almost free to tens or hundreds of thousands of units in seconds, versus a deep supply chain and a logistics cost that's non-trivial.

Juillen 1

Re: Software Junk

To be honest, I'd expect a continual update, and a main line codebase. Just like you can upgrade Ubuntu based machines to the latest, or one of the more resource efficient versions for lower spec machines.

This is not rocket science by any measure. I have a laptop from the end of the '90s that STILL runs quite happily on Linux. I don't expect much from it, but it does for mail, general browsing and so on. So that's almost a quarter of a century of support.

The crux of it is that you need to "Root" the device to be able to upgrade it, as the vendor has artificially limited the lifespan by determining that it will not provide any further updates (these don't take huge amounts of resource; the drivers are already there). This will keep perfectly functional devices deliberately insecure so that a user is forced to upgrade to a newer product (with associated spend).

So, the real answer to how long I would expect updates is "As long as the vendor is around". Or, at the very least, when your product goes out of mainstream support, release the drivers to the Open community and allow updates using an alternative after market supplier.

FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics

Juillen 1


There's a very good reason that all clinical information is treated as highly confidential, and protected on pain of, well, real pain to any company that breaches it over here in the UK and Europe.

This is a case of Law following established Clinical Ethics. Which is the right way to do it.

I had a few chances of emigrating to the US, and a good part of the reason I didn't was its almost asinine insistence that Law trumps Ethics, Science, and a whole bunch of other things that it should really pay attention to (making it extremely deep into the territory of "A system of legalities, not a system for Justice").

Not protecting people's data about clinical matters is entirely settled as to Ethics. It is definitively unethical to release that data. Words like "corrupt", "stupid" and so on may be debated philosophically until the cows come home (and to no real point), but anyone releasing this information is definitively ethically bankrupt, which is a sad indictment.

IT staffing, recruitment biz settles claims it discriminated against Americans

Juillen 1

It's a minimum wage law, not a minimum per profession law.

The issue is that the H1B/H2B etc. are used to reduce the pay in professions where the pay is significantly above minimum wage. If the average wage for a profession is, say, $100k, then under the H1B/H2B, you could probably get away with paying less than $60k. Some of this talent pool may be very good, but often the companies hiring via this route are after bums to fill seats at lowest possible price, so aren't very good at picking the gems out of the dead wood.

Juillen 1

Re: WTF DoJ?

There's a very good reason that anecdotal evidence is the weakest of all possibilities.

Dell trials 4-day workweek, massive UK pilot of shortened week begins

Juillen 1

The only reason most did that was due to HR and sickness policies.

I work in healthcare, and always kept looking incredulously at each tightening of sickness policy that came out of HR (more draconian measures for breaching certain metrics, up to and including dismissal).

In light of that, those who had a less than stellar immune system (particularly the front liners who really can't work remote), there was no option _but_ to turn up to work with the sniffles.. Anything that really didn't land you in bed with no option to move was a get up and get in illness.

Which, of course, as you mention, spread the disease around, knocking even more people off their perches and probably resulting in far more sickness hours overall than would have been suffered if the policies had been less drastic.

Interestingly, now that it's a "Stay away if you're sick, but get tested" approach due to COVID, sickness hours are down.

Juillen 1

Re: 4 days, nah not for me, happy with WFH though

If you're longer in the tooth, like I am, then yep, research is on your side that you generally tire faster, so a shorter week is your productivity advantage. If you're a youngster (first decade or two of work), then the standard 35-40 hour week should be a pushover. Over 60 hours a week as bad though.

Juillen 1

Depends on the stage of life..

When I was "Young and Hungry", the cold, hard cash was what made the difference. That gave me flexibility in other areas to do things like get a house, travel a bit and get all the certifications that made sure I was worth hiring (especially when I ran my own company).

Now I'm a lot longer in the tooth, and keeping up that pace is not so easy. So a bit of a "power down" would be nice, and more hours free would be the big enticement. Interestingly, there's research around that points out that once you get past 40 or so, then a 25 hour work week becomes the "sweet spot" of productivity.

Before then, the recommendation is that you don't routinely work more than 60 hours a week, as that's bad for your health (which I can testify to, being in my 50s these days, and doing over that for 2 years during COVID times).

Lost Ark: A pulpy Korean MMO-lite for idle hands

Juillen 1

Re: You forgot to mention the colossal sexism

That, of course, discounts the fairly sizeable set of women who actually love to have avatars dressed up like that. I've been playing MMOs for decades, and know more women who are fans of it than decry it (by a significant margin).

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'

Juillen 1

So, in the interests of inclusivity, they choose to exclude people. Yep, makes sense.

Quite sad to see the rising of bigotry being seen as virtue, as they seem to believe.

Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac

Juillen 1

Re: Moore's law expired in 1975

Technically, any system comes down to quantisation. That includes the brain.

Philosophically speaking, there's no reason that intelligence couldn't arise in computation, especially as with adaptive systems, the complexity evolved is far, far past what a human programmer could implement.

DevOps still 'rarely done well at scale' concludes report after a decade of research

Juillen 1

Re: Confused Old Person Here........................

That works for many fields, but not all..

Clinical apps for example, you really don't want changing under the hood without full change control processes in place to let people know something's changed. Fixes have the unhappy habit of breaking something else not tested for, and the last thing you want is a patient on the bed scenario in treatment, with a new problem, or change in behaviour to that expected in the decision making process.

And yes, I have seen that approach advocated in a clinical environment. And yes, they did get the eyebrow raised treatment.

Juillen 1

Re: I dunno, I'm going out on a limb here

Biggest problem I've see in it is that Devs who've never done ops suddenly think they're ops.

The places that do it well have people experienced in both sides of the picture, so actually know ops as well as knowing dev. That, however, is an expensive skillset. Most places simply slap DevOps on developers and tell Ops to keep out of things (or worse, whittle down ops as now it's all DevOps) and reap the 'reward'.

BOFH: They say you either love it or you hate it. We can confirm you're going to hate it

Juillen 1

Re: What happened to

The UK Census now says there never was such a person, so no investigation into their disappearance can ever be started.

Google proposes Logica data language for building more manageable SQL code

Juillen 1

Re: {}

Most of the women I know would be guffawing away and joining in the banter.

Red Hat pulls Free Software Foundation funding over Richard Stallman's return

Juillen 1

Re: Let's be very clear here ...

No, in context, he was saying that there's no "one size fits all" age that one second it's illegal, the next it's illegal. This is philosophically valid, and it's so confused that the age of consent in different places is anything from 14 to 18 (possibly even more varied). Legislators have a tough time with it, and it's widely understood that it's a pretty ridiculous thing, but it's a line in the sand that people think is sort of ok. Maybe. So, your very obvious straw man fallacy is ludicrous, and very obviously so. Laughably so in fact.

The gal in question was 17 at the time, so definitely not paedophillia, no matter what you insist. Or are you going to assert that you've decided the age of consent is 42 and everyone's a paedophile?

Juillen 1

Re: What's the deal?

Basically, Epstein was very rich. As such, he had a section of women who wanted the lifestyle that came with that wealth and were willing to offer their bodies now and then to sustain that. Not a deal that the morals of most would agree with, but in principle, it's not ethically terrible.

Minsky accepted funds from Epstein, and was on an occasion invited to Epstein's island. The girl in question said she was coerced into attempting to have sex with Minsky, who declined the offer. So in this case, there wasn't even any crime on Minsky's part, even with any age of consent.

When Minsky's name was dragged through the mud, as it was discovered Epstein had granted money to the University, a group of political agitators decided that this money should never have come to the University as it was against their politics.

RMS, who had known Minsky very well stated that on balance of probability, the political assertions about him were incorrect (he did this bluntly, as was his speaking style; he never minced words, or prettied them up). He also aired that putting an absolute time on age of consent was a very dubious thing, where someone unknown may be called a paedophile in one second, and nobody bat an eyelid if they'd waited another second to engage.

This is, of course, massive fuel for the Woke who like to explore every crack for advantage to attack with. There was a lot of completely out of context accusations, a lot of misquoting, and a lot of alleging crimes that didn't happen, and nobody was accused of. This precipitated the FSF persuading RMS to quit.

Which he did, as the storm was getting in the way of work.

Now, after everyone's looked at it, and gone "The original outrage was wrong", he re-entered the board. Of course, the political fringe are outraged that someone they burned at the stake wasn't actually dead and gone, but survived and came back to carry on life as normal once the "case" against them was shown to have no merit.

Red Hat wouldn't even be around if it wasn't for RMS's zealotry in keeping the FSF going, and the work he's put into it. It was founded on the ideals of openness and tolerance of ideas other than the ones you subjectively hold.

Except now, the subjective opinion of a particular RedHat exec is that the FSF, because they disagree with the politics of the current execs, must be de-funded because someone said something they don't like, but is perfectly rational and legal.

That in itself is damning for Red Hat. I won't be using them in my team if I have alternatives (we're Linux heavy), simply because I have alternatives that seem to be getting on with the job of making products that work well and don't try to torch productive technical areas because they don't like what someone says. That makes them far too unreliable on a business footing (will they next decide that some of the research I'm involved with is something they don't like, despite having ethical committee approval, and thus revoke a license on me, or ask for me and the rest of the team to be removed because someone doesn't like me disagreeing with them?).

That, in a nutshell is about it.

Juillen 1

Re: Achievements of Richard Stallman

It's not that it'd take a competent programmer a week to program, it's that RMS actually did it before anyone else had thought of it.

Hell, I can build a radio in a couple of hours. Doesn't mean that the guys who invented the radio first were mere simpletons.

I know that I personally wouldn't want to hang out with RMS (I did converse with him in the early days in the academic circles, and he was way too zealous for my tastes), but that does not for one moment stop him being one of my heroes. I don't have to agree with him on everything, or the way he says it, for him to be considered one of the greats in my field in my eyes.

And I'm fairly sure my nieces would hurt you if you tried anything with them. See what that sentence did? Implied you were the kind of person who'd be likely to attack young girls without the honesty of saying it.

They would, but I'd normally never use that sentence, as it's irrelevant. I do NOT think you'd be likely to try anything on with them so what's the point of putting it in (unless to sow doubt)?

Juillen 1

Re: Why, Stallman?

What's wrong with it? There's no "I'm not going to let you get rid of me, and there's nothing you can do about it, and if you try I'll ruin you".

It's a simple statement of fact. He's not planning to retire a second time. As far as he's currently aware, that's his plan. That's absolutely fine. As would "I'm planning to go shopping for groceries next Wednesday". Would that be too authoritarian for your tastes?

Juillen 1

Re: Let's be very clear here ...

Of interest, and to flesh out what you've posted about statutory rape, there's an event that occurred with a family friend many a moon ago.

He met a nice young gal in a nighclub (over 18, ID required). They got on well, met up in various pubs (over 18 only, and she bought her fair share of drinks at the bar). She let him know she was a student at the local University.

She started staying over at his place now and then, which is what you'd expect from an ordinary relationship.

Then one day, he went to meet her folks, who were in the same city. They didn't like him.

The next day after meeting the folks, the police turned up at his door and arrested him for statutory rape. It turns out that the woman in question was actually 15, and at a local high school. She'd lied about her age, had false ID, had been attending night clubs for years (her parents picked her up from them, so they knew she was going there). Everyone outside her School Crowd (well, the ones that didn't go to the nightclub too, as their small group knew full well what was going on, and they all behaved the same) fully believed she was 18 and given the level of evidence and how convincing it was, there was absolutely zero reason to believe otherwise..

Now, Statutory Rape does NOT take into account whether or not you knew someone to be underage. It does NOT consider the evidence you may have to lead you to believe that this person was of age. In fact, it doesn't consider ANYTHING other than the fact that the event took place (sex with someone under the age of consent). As the woman in question had been quite free with the fact, and so had the family friend, this was not in question, so he was convicted, had his name on the sex offenders list, and was thus denied most opportunity of any worthwhile job because he failed the criminal conviction investigation checks required.

He became very depressed, and within a couple of years was dead by suicide.

The woman involved in this did NOT want this to happen, and was vehemently on the family friend's side. She cared a good deal about him, because though he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, he was a considerate and respectful person, and he worked damn hard (he was 17 at the time, after leaving school post O levels as that's as much Academia as he wanted. He worked on building sites, and thoroughly enjoyed it).

She was also only a couple of months away from 16 (the legal age of consent) when the case was brought, and the relationship had been going about 4 months by that time.

Essentially, her lying and cheating (and her parents complicity in it) led to a decent guy being deprived of both liberty and life, through no event he even had any reason to predict could be in any way harmful.

THAT is the side to Statutory Rape you're conveniently glossing over.

Juillen 1

Re: He made the FSF, it’s fine for him to end it

I'd still not have a problem with it if it was. He's notoriously left wing, zealously so.

What he's done is stuck by that ideal that his work is to be shared for the good of ALL.

Not the people he likes, not the people he agrees with, not the narrow window of people whose politics he's in exact sync with, but everyone. His politics have been studiously kept out of the creation and distribution of his work.

That's tolerance and diversity right there in a nutshell. He's lived what the new Woke are pretending to be for a long time, and when he objectively states that on balance of probability, what their outraged knee jerk is claiming is not true (but in a very blunt way), they choose to burn him at a stake because the statement isn't something like like to hear (it must be heresy), and it wasn't wrapped up in a fluffy box with a bow.

This developer created the fake programming language MOVA to catch out naughty recruiters, résumé padders

Juillen 1

Been using that technique for years

It was always a standard question on interviews; although not a direct programming language, it was a development paradigm.

Interesting, I've had more than a few people over the years claim to know it (one, who came to the interview armed with a Microsoft MVP badge kept extolling its virtues way after the point I'd decided that this was definitely not the person to hire, and actually let the cat out of the bag that this wasn't a real thing).

jAnother thing I used to use was placing an incongruous object in plain sight (such as a bright yellow wiffle bat that I kept around for the purpose).

One of the things I've always wanted to pick out from the crowd is someone who'll identify something amiss, and communicate that effectively even in a highly stressful environment where they may have something to lose. Almost invariably, people saw the bat, some people fixated on it.

What I wanted to see, was who would see the bat, and plainly ask why it was there. That's been at the root of a good many hires.

Apache foundation ousts TinkerPop project co-founder for tweeting 'offensive humor that borders on hate speech'

Juillen 1

Re: "The tweets in question were obvious satire"

The thing is, this is exactly the kind of stuff that's chanted by the groups he's parodying (almost exactly), and they get celebrated, and posted as "See how evil the world is to these people because they feel that they're not getting what they want". And when something is posted from a differing group with almost exactly the same wording (and in an absolutely tiny forum, so small as to be vanishingly trivial), it's enough for someone to be cancelled from something they've devoted a decade to.

That's my take on what made this a parody; the exact wording of the woke studenthood but applied from a different demographic. And watch with interest at how they react when their own words are thrown back at them (hint, it's outrage, when they expect someone to bow to them and say how wise and perceptive they are when they say it).

This is not "Remove a significant contributor from a project" material. It's a "Stop being juvenile. You may have a point in stirring stuff up, but you've got bigger fish to fry, and you'll feel much better just getting on with productive stuff instead of wallowing in the sewers of wokehood" kind of stuff.

Juillen 1

Abstain, or "None of the Above".

No, it's not worse.

I've deliberately withheld voting on several occasions for the simple reason that I could not ethically support any of the options available to me. They were all fatally flawed.

In the previous US election, it was well known why the selections were made for both sides, and both of them ended up proposing fatally flawed candidates that should never have been let within a mile of that role.

When you are that disenchanted with the candidates you have available, not voting isn't always an "I don't care" (though it may be, that's part of stating your opinion, which is what a vote is), it's often "I abstain", which is a deliberate choice.

Yes, people fought for the right to vote, and that's exactly what they got; the right to vote. They DID NOT vote for the requirement to vote, even when you were presented with a false dichotomy.

How on earth you try to turn that into "You don't care about your community", I have no idea, as this person as given up valuable time and effort to provide, for free, some very valuable thinking and code writing time to a worldwide community. Now, he may not give a rat's arse about the community you've chosen to focus your attention on, but that's an entirely different matter. And if you honestly thing that just because you choose a community as your focus, everyone else MUST do the same, then I'd say I detect more than a hint of authoritarianism and tyranny there.

Juillen 1

Re: Obligatory XKCD

You've obviously never worked in a critical role.

I'm in the healthcare sector, and believe me, there's a very dark sense of humour that pervades most of the disciplines. If you don't laugh about a stress factor, it can overwhelm you when it shouldn't.

The things being joked about will always be prevalent in the world as long as there are patients, trauma and so on.

What you've just effectively said right there is "I'd prefer people to suffer psychologically rather than find an outlet. I'd rather masses suffer so the odd edge case doesn't have to cope with small potential affront.".

Now that being said, dark humour and satire are best done with wit. It makes it more obvious it's satire, but not everybody has that social dexterity, so sometimes things come out as not particularly funny. In which case, pause for flat reception, and just move on.

I'm fired: Google AI in meltdown as ethics unit co-lead forced out just weeks after coworker ousted

Juillen 1

Re: Gebru vs. Mitchell

Process is supposed to be "tone deaf". It takes a situation, works out if things fit criteria, then moves on with taking action.

Both Gebru and Mitchell had done enough to trigger action. Huge companies can't afford to spend endless sums on going through someone's life story, making excuses for them, seeing what the public think of it (when they really don't know, and can't ever truly understand the frame of reference) and so on.

Most people either go to court and claim unfair dismissal if they really believe they've been mistreated, or they quietly go looking for the next job.

These two have both claimed it's because of <insert woke trigger phrase here> and put it out into the media. Which is incredibly harmful to future employability. Unless of course that it's in an ideologically driven group and the ideology is of more importance than getting on with the job and doing impartial work.

I suspect they both thought of Google as an ideologically malleable entity that they could configure from their roles such that it bowed to their agenda as a priority over getting actual work done that was needed in their remit. They weren't correct.

Juillen 1

Re: Responsible AI, a new unit that oversees Ethical AI

From time working on Clinical Ethics boards, some of the stuff that the pair had been doing would definitely not have passed muster as "Ethical". Ideological crusades rarely are.

There was a whole fanatical wave of "It's all against minorities, it's only because she's a woman, it's an attack against women and minorities" in this last event, well past the time that Google stated that the exfiltration of data contained sensitive information on other people (this is ethically a BIG no-no, and would get anyone in an ethically sensitive role fired post haste).

Behaving ethically is a full time task. It's damnably hard to meet standards all the time every time, especially when you have a desire to do something else, but if you can't be trusted to maintain at least a reasonable standard (don't go playing with other people's sensitive data unless it's what you're doing as part of your job, with an acknowledged 'need to know', and protecting it with everything you can), then I'd probably be of the opinion that you should in no way be responsible for writing ethical policy.

UK's Health Department desperately seeking service provider to run IT after 'cloud-first' shift

Juillen 1

Useful for optimisation.

Cloud has a definite use case. But that's when you really understand your infrastructure and data flows (and requirements) very well.

Most of the time I see cloud focus, it's done by people with little to no knowledge of their infrastructure, how mature it is, how it'll share data (or even if they can actually recover their data if the contract expires) or a myriad of other issues.

It looks uncomfortably like another business unit desperately trying to hammer an entire tree into a square peg hole.

Trump silenced online: Facebook, Twitter etc balk at insurrection, shut the door after horse bolts and nearly burns down the stable

Juillen 1

Re: Trump's problem

Not so sure he was "incompetent" at what he was aimed to do.

The bit that I remember about the very beginning was Bannon stating quite baldly that his intent was to disrupt and cause the perception of catastrophe. This was on his theory that every (x) years, catastrophic events happened that caused political and social reorganisation with fresh focus, and it was generally for the better, but uncontrolled.

He wanted to control that change by artificial disruption, and Trump was what he was aiming to use to disrupt.

That plan was definitely ethically "very questionable", and the theory tenuous, but a lot of activity I've seen over the last few years always put me in mind of that Bannon statement early on when I was trying to find context and meaning for things.

What definitely wasn't planned was having a "Random disrupter and catastrophe generator" in the driving seat when the largest actual catastrophe and disruption of the last 80-100 years struck.

This is of course, completely conjecture and one of many possibilities, so take with an entire truck load of salt. :)

Raven geniuses: Four-month-old corvids have similar cognitive abilities to great apes at same age, study finds

Juillen 1

Re: a viral Youtube clip of a crow apparently skiing down a roof

Yes, there's been research into that.. And the dopamine responses are what you'd expect from a human having fun.

Interestingly, this happens when birds sing too, so all those quotes about the birds only calling "get sex here" seem to be missing the point. The birds actually enjoy the singing, and would sing for its own sake; they just have an investment in getting the song right too, to make it the most favoured by the females (the one that put the most work and practice into the song is the one that breeds, so birds seem to appreciate a mate that puts the work in, probably as that's the best bet there'll be a mate that would put the effort into supporting them as they raise young).

Corvids especially are known to "play" for pleasure. Smaller birds, it's still unknown if they do things "just for fun".

Juillen 1

Re: Size bias

The tits are more hanging feeder birds (they go for seed/nuts/berries as primary feed, which can be found on trees and bushes). They're right at home pecking away on something to cling on to.

Robins are primary insectivores, loving earthworms, so like Blackbirds, they forage on the ground a lot. Apparently Blackbirds shouldn't use hanging feeders, but I had a Blackbird a few years back that worked it out and spent ages teaching his mate to do it too..

Birds have smaller neurons that mammals do; they're absolute marvels of evolution.. There's no wasted space with them. Everything is optimised.. So in the same brain mass, they get far higher neuron count.. Which makes them fantastically bright for the volume of brain matter they have.

Short distances between neurons (more densely packed) and shorter distances to travel mean Birds are very responsive (thus the lightning fast reactions you see; the large part of the bird you see is feathers. The actual bird is far smaller).

They locate the feeders by fantastic eyesight (birds have huge eyes, relative to skull), which they use to look for things that seem like food. Feeders are generally known to be sources of food now (and nuts/seed are easily visible through mesh). And birds have calls for 'food', along with being able to see other birds feed..

The pecking order is easy. Tits will feed in bunches, and they do have mobbing calls (this is where a flock will gang up to attack an invader), so multiple tits are a threat to a Robin, which is a solitary bird.

Far better for a Robin to let the Tits feed, then pick up the bits afterwards, especially if the food source is sizable.

Great tits especially can really be a challenge (if they get very hungry, they'll attack and kill mice).

BOFH: Switch off the building? Great idea, Boss

Juillen 1

I used to have a toy clanger. For when someone dropped one, they'd have one to carry on with while they sorted it out.

Mind you, for people that tried to hide they'd dropped a clanger, and tried to cover it up, if I discovered it and got excuses, I kept the rear half of a plastic rat in a desk drawer that I'd bring out and place in front of them (they weren't allowed to have it, just to show that I did indeed have a rat's ass, and I wasn't giving it).

Banking software firm tiptoes off to the cloud with MariaDB after $2m Oracle licence shocker

Juillen 1

Re: Overrated

They pay for the engineer support. With some problems, you do get access to the engineers and those guys are seriously good.

If it's a bug that affects only you, then often in the Open Source world your edge case won't receive the attention that lots of others do. There isn't the dedicated resource with the specific knowledge to work at that scale for free and quickly.

You can buy support via contract, but that puts you more into the spend category. And you're still left with the problem that there are still limitations to the responsiveness (unless you contract for hefty sums to the people that are actively developing the whole product, which again moves into the big spend category).

Then you get things like Oracle which do have the resources into the codebase at scale. But that's expensive. I've submitted bugs in the past that were definitely edge case, but got in the way of me doing something I expected to work. Resolutions were rolled into the next set of hotfixes released.

I was pretty impressed. I've made bug reports to other DB vendors (including MS) and had nowhere near that response.

However, if I'm going to be putting that spend out there, it needs to be worth it. As with everything, know what you need, what's essential and what's merely wanted. Design using the right tools and spend covering essentials appropriately.

Juillen 1

Re: not difficult to optimize cost for Oracle in VMware

Sounds like you've never done business with Microsoft (or a host of other enterprise scale vendors).

Juillen 1

Re: Features yes but..

I'd probably compare it as a fleet of fiestas vs. a segmented heavy goods vehicle.

You can nip lots of stuff rapidly all over the place with the fiestas, though over time, their reliability may well mean targets are missed, but it's not that important if you're using them for the right jobs.

The HGV lacks some of the flexibilities of using large amounts of small vehicles, but does the heavy lifting extremely well.

I did DBA work for a couple of decades, and always thought that part of the job was picking the right tool for the job. The more heterogenous the environment, the more people you needed to support it properly, but the better long term results you got if you designed well.

On Oracle's features, I always found that they'd invest in something, often incredibly useful, and immediately pitch it as a feature you could only use if you paid more. Quite a bit of the time, people found that they could do without and use a different product (either due to price or lockin concerns or both). When Oracle realised they weren't making money out of it, they slipstreamed it to be a feature of a lesser version of a license (effectively making it 'free' if you bought that tier of license for other uses).

Oracle, SQL Server, Maria, PostgreSQL et. al. all have their places, and strengths and weaknesses; it's why I never understood the "holy wars" between them.

Kinda like saying the fiesta is better than the HGV because it's got a better acceleration, or the HGV is better because it carries tons (literally). Both _may_ be true in certain frames of reference, but aren't globally true (as I tell people in SQL classes I run, especially when I throw curveballs in the exercises in it: "An answer is easy to get if you go looking for it. _The_ answer is often quite elusive").

Your IT department should behave like a jellyfish, says Gartner

Juillen 1

Re: But seriously

Disparate parts acting rapidly to cope with incoming information and situations that they need to flag and deal with? That'd be the "Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems".

Most animals have them, and they work in conjunction with a brain to provide complex and adaptive behaviour that has let animals colonise every nook and cranny of the planet.

Unlike jellyfish that just hang there and pretty much do not a lot.

Juillen 1


So, a Jellyfish.

They've not adapted in millions of years, and exist in a very beneficial environment. The ones that aren't toxic and destroy everything around have a massive attrition (fail) rate due to critters that can eat them (because they have a brain), but as a group they survive by having a disposable mass of low quality organisms that are entirely interchangeable and undifferentiated.

When a significant change happens (say it gets a bit stormy), a huge quantity can be completely destroyed (washed up on the beach as food for the gulls). But that's apparently not a problem. After all, you can just chuck any tech/team in place of another, can't you. Nat West? Nat West? Anyone? Nat West?

Actually, what they probably should have been saying is that an IT entity should behave like a higher organism, with an autonomous nervous system that tracks and deals with behaviour on its own, but raises exceptions that a higher brain can deal with (and sometimes override).

It's adaptable and effective. Unlike the jellyfish that relies on an endless supply of one of them to work.

As usual, Despair.com has a highly relevant comment on Gartner's approach: https://despair.com/collections/demotivators/products/achievement

Juillen 1

Only the departments run by MBAs.

(M)aster of (B)ugger (A)ll strikes again!