* Posts by Steve Hersey

96 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Aug 2009


California governor vetoes bill requiring human drivers in robo trucks

Steve Hersey

If only there were a way to transport goods other than highways shared with human drivers...

Perhaps we should build dedicated pathways for these vehicles; hey, here's an idea! Lay down steel tracks and move the freight on special vehicles built to run on them. Call'em "trains," perhaps.

Going out on a limb here, one could even use these "trains" for carrying passengers.

Silly idea, no one anywhere in the world has ever made that work. Nevermind.

Chap blew up critical equipment on his first day – but it wasn't his volt

Steve Hersey

Happens at space control centers, too.

Years ago, when I worked on weather satellite instruments, I was installing a ground test system, made in the US, in the satellite contractor's test control room in Germany. Our system, which was based on a Sun Ultra 5 (or possibly an Ultra 1; it's been a while), was intended to read and interpret instrument data. I carefully checked the display monitor - yup, it was 110/240 V, with auto-switching. Plugged it into the native 220V outlet and cabled it to its system unit - yup, also marked 110/240V. Plugged that into the 220V outlet, too. Pressed the power button: CRACK. Wisp of smoke. Exclamations of dismay. Turns out the system unit, unlike its monitor, was NOT auto-switching!

Fortunately, that particular Ultra chassis used a standard PC-compatible power supply. A quick trip to the local Mega Store later, and we swapped in the replacement supply. Even MORE fortunately, the damage was limited to the power supply itself - which we then buried deep in a cabinet and never spoke of again. Well, I didn't, though there was some light-hearted fun at my expense, which I do suppose I earned. I blame jet lag.

Airbus to help with International Space Station replacement

Steve Hersey

In a space station, ALL of the bins will be overhead.

At least for half of every orbital period.

Amazon confirms it locked Microsoft engineer out of his Echo gear over false claim

Steve Hersey

The most surprising thing about this story is that Amazon appeared to have ANY interest in the well-being of their drivers. There are many horror stories about their drivers having to pee in bottles and suchlike, and I don't think most of those were fabricated.

As for the rest, the lesson is clear: Cloud-connected devices, like cloud storage and servers, are not under your control. They are controlled by avaricious, amoral corporations who fundamentally have no fucks to give about their obligations or your needs, interests, or the survival of your company. Trust them at your peril.

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

Steve Hersey

Re: Waiting for the gotcha

I encountered the gotcha once when I set up a piece of test equipment based on a Sun Ultra 5, sent from my US office, in the control center of the satellite integrator in Germany. Checked the monitor, everything fine, it was 110/220V autoswitching. Plugged it into the 220V mains. Plugged the CPU in, switched it on, and BANG! Turns out that while the monitor was autoswitching, the CPU was NOT. Fortunately, I was able to get a compatible replacement supply (I think it came from the local Mega Store) and bring it back to life.

Steve Hersey

Effective engineers ALWAYS have a junk box

Any experienced engineer knows that the junk box is, to misquote Dune, "a wellspring of cunning and resourcefulness." Need a weird connector to build an adapter? A custom cable to defeat the hardware interlocks? A quick and dirty test fixture? Parts to fix that device that brought the production line down? A well-stocked junk box makes all these things easier, and some of them possible in the first place. And it's a frequent source of ideas, as well.

I regularly replenish mine by cruising the manufacturing floor and dumpster-diving their rejected material (often helpfully red-tagged with what bits to avoid 'cause they're the broken parts). Not to mention the repairable equipment they couldn't repair or couldn't be bothered to. (Seriously, how hard can it BE to replace the reverse-protection diodes on that nifty programmable bench power supply? Or, just spitballing here, to find a way to make it harder to plug the thing in backwards in the first place so you don't fry it AND its replacement?)

At a prior employer, a new engineering manager insisted that we clean up our cubicles and get rid of all that junk. We nodded, agreed, and stowed it out of sight until he stopped being our engineering manager, which didn't take all that long. He wasn't a bad person, he simply didn't understand how engineers work or why that "clutter" is productive. An engineer's work space is NOT a good place to go all Marie Kondo, trust me.

Bing AI feels like ChatGPT stuffed into a suit – not the future

Steve Hersey

Which would be the one genuinely good thing they've done for the rest of us in a long time...

Techie wiped a server, nobody noticed, so a customer kept paying for six months

Steve Hersey

I've been a bystander for the situation. Sure, telling the ex-boss to shove it gives you brief satisfaction, but having them pay you stupidly large sums of money - on your terms - is a much more satisfying experience. Yes, the pain will be felt by the shareholders. Not your problem, the gain is yours.

If your focus is on really wanting them to suffer, find some way to get past that, because that hurts you more than it hurts them. (And if "some way" means taking a baseball bat to their Beemer - which is really NOT a good idea - then for heaven's sake make sure it doesn't get caught on security video. And make sure your consulting fee greatly exceeds the fine, just in case.)

Oh, and if they try to cheap their way out of their self-made mess by offering you part payment in used lab equipment, and you happen to choose equipment that's far more valuable then the value they agree to assign to it, make sure the transactions are all complete and the gear safely carted off before you mention that fact. I'm told their facial expressions are quite a treat.

If Tesla Investor Day was about exciting investors then boy did it fail

Steve Hersey

Ooh, yet another Very Bad Idea.

"Tesla owners would be able to add their cars to a shared Tesla fleet that would allow them to be used as self-driving taxis when not in use."

So I can have persons unknown put ciggy burns and unmentionable stains on my expensive car seats while exposing my vehicle to additional road hazards and buggy FSD software? What a concept. And if the FSD decides to prang it, whose auto insurance rates will go up? Oh, wait, my insurance won't cover driving-for-hire at all, and Tesla won't pay either.

Why ChatGPT should be considered a malevolent AI – and be destroyed

Steve Hersey

"What else would ChatGPT do to protect itself from being discovered as a liar?"

"What else would ChatGPT do to protect itself from being discovered as a liar?" NOTHING. It isn't intelligent. It cannot care or not-care.

Wow. These AI models are meta-creepy. Even the computer-savvy writer got sucked into thinking that there was something intelligent in that overrated database engine. ChatGPT would do nothing to prevent its discovery as a liar, because it has no intelligence, no concept of discovery or truth; in fact, no concepts AT ALL. There's nothing in there to have views or opinions.

All of which just goes to strengthen his argument that we should kill it with fire and salt the earth. Pension off the developers on condition that that they never do anything remotely like this ever again.

FBI boss says COVID-19 'most likely' escaped from lab

Steve Hersey

The FBI is way out on a limb here

University of California virologists id studies that strongly point to the Wuhan animal market as the source, as described in this recent NPR story:


If I have to choose whether to believe the "low confidence" and "moderate confidence" of the FBI and the spook agencies, or the information obtained and analyzed by *actual virologists* and evolutionary biologists who say their conclusions are a near certainty, I'm going to go with the biologists. Who, incidentally, don't have a national-policy axe to grind. They just want to prevent the next pandemic.

Ford seeks patent for cars that ditch you if payments missed

Steve Hersey

What about the seller?

I won't disagree with the points made about the dealer and GDPR issues, but I will point out that the seller was clearly a fool to not sanitise the car's infosystems and remove all hardcopy documents with their personal data.

Raspberry Pi Foundation launches $12 USB Debug Probe

Steve Hersey

STLink mini models are similar in price

ST Micro's STlink V3 Mini sells at $11 in the US and can be used with non-ST processors, so a $12 SWD pod isn't exactly ground-breaking.

Marketing company chases Twitter for $7,000 over 'swag gift box for Elon'

Steve Hersey

Other cheeses?

There's always X-14 cheese, but it's only for the daring...


Hyundai and Kia issue software upgrades to thwart killer TikTok car theft hack

Steve Hersey

Re: starting vehicles without a key

Not to mention the Cortina's miserable lever-action rear shock absorbers. "Let's design a shock absorber where the critical bearing is subjected to lateral shock loads ALL THE TIME and will start leaking in short order."

Steve Hersey

I see two system failures here

One failure is in the cars, stupidly allowing theft via trivial actions.

The other is TikTok; operating a platform where incitement to commit crimes or hurt yourself spreads with little apparent control is entirely irresponsible. (Yes, moderation of social media posts is a Really Difficult Problem, but that doesn't mean they're acting responsibly.)

Salesforce woes continue as Twitter slashes spending with SaaS supermonster

Steve Hersey

"Activist investors?" More like "dry-land pirates."

Other unflattering vulture- and jackal-related descriptions come to mind as well.

These folks swoop on otherwise healthy companies and insist on measures that spike short-term profit to the detriment of long-term survival (and of everyone else).

This is a familiar disease of inadequately regulated capitalism.

(My apologies to the vultures and jackals, who - unlike these business-suited pathogens - perform useful roles in the ecosystem.

Microsoft's AI Bing also factually wrong, fabricated text during launch demo

Steve Hersey

No if's about it.

"If Microsoft and Google can't fix their models' hallucinations, AI-powered search is not to be trusted no matter how alluring the technology appears to be."

Anybody think either company can pull off a miracle here? Me neither.

The first part of that sentence from the article can safely be omitted. AI-powered search is, and will remain, just as bad as AI-powered anything else.

Landlord favorite Twitter sued for allegedly not paying rent on Market Square HQ

Steve Hersey

Re: SOP for the rich

Another, earlier quote with a different angle on the same topic:

Robert A Heinlein, in the Notebooks of Lazarus Long, wrote: "People who go broke in a big way never miss any meals. It is the poor jerk who is shy a half slug who must tighten his belt."

Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs

Steve Hersey

"Malicious software removal tool"

Those of us still using Windows 7 won't escape this nagware. W7 still gets updates to the "Malicious Software Removal Tool," though it gets no other updates. Anyone want to bet that this tool won't be weaponized to disable old Office versions under the guise of malware removal?

Just follow the instructions … no wait, not that instruction to lock everyone out of everything

Steve Hersey

It usually pays to be wary of accounts with utterly nonsensical names...

Tesla has a lot of work to do on its Optimus robot

Steve Hersey

Re: The richest man in the world


Might possibly be oversimplifying the guy, but it does seem creepily accurate.

City isn't keen on 5,000 erratic, traffic-jam-causing GM robo-cars on its streets

Steve Hersey

Re: Today in Solution We Are Very Far From Having To A Problem That Doesn't Exist news ...

Sadly, I must agree with the above. Autonomous cars are NOT ready for use on actual streets, and letting them block intersections in a city is just irresponsible. Real-world autonomous driving, with the reliability required to make it not be the Bad Idea it is now, is an incredibly difficult task; that last 1% of corner cases is quite intractable. And THAT is the bit that AV developers and cheerleaders ignore or gloss over; acceptable real-world performance demands handling the railroad tracks and erratic crosswalkers at least as well as a human driver does, and current AVs just cannot.

But enough of that, let's look at the bigger picture. Do we REALLY want or need ubiquitous driverless single-passenger vehicles as the dominant transit modality, or is there a better solution in terms of sustainability, traffic congestion, and societal desirability? In urban areas, where most of the population lives, I would argue that mass transit (including, say, driverless streetcars?) with decent service frequency, reliability, and area coverage is a much better mobility solution than swarms of single-passenger vehicles competing for the same road space. Plus, mass transit doesn't present the income-based mobility barriers that private-hire vehicles do. That's a social equality issue these gadgets don't do a thing to address.

AVs are presently inadequate to the task of driving on real streets with real people, but even if we fix that, they're a poor solution to providing mobility to society at large.

Uber reels from 'security incident' in which cloud systems seemingly hijacked

Steve Hersey

The jokes just write themselves here...

The intruder "found ... a Powershell script with hard-coded credentials for an administrator account ..."

This isn't the first major data breach at Uber; therefore, the logical conclusion is that they're hopelessly incompetent (in addition to being duplicitous, evil, and exploitative, which are evident from other events). A competent IT and security team would long since have stopped hard-coding account credentials in shell scripts.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall

Steve Hersey

Raise the Jolly Roger!

Jailbreak the features. No jury of car owners would convict. You paid for the car, you own it.

I read a novel set in the near future where characters chose old cars because they didn't have surveillance features and hackable crapware. The future has already arrived and wants to take over the spare bedroom...

The Raspberry Pi Pico goes wireless with the $6 W

Steve Hersey

Re: "the 50 per cent premium"

A 50% premium on down-in-the-noise is still down in the noise. <Yawn>

More power than the Apollo flight computer (haven't verified this), for less than the cost of a deli sandwich. The cabling and wall wart will cost more.

We live in an age of marvels. If we can just manage to survive it...

Foxconn factory fiasco could leave Wisconsinites on the hook for $300m

Steve Hersey

From my cursory reading (not an expert here!):

It looks as though the town took out $300 million in bonds to build stuff to support the project, Foxconn promised annual payments to cover the debt, and - big surprise there - didn't hold up their end of the deal. And have now effectively abandoned it. (The hire-and-fire trick to fudge compliance with the agreement is a typically soulless big-corporation touch.)

Who is ultimately on the hook for this will doubtless depend on the contract language, and exactly how binding that promise was. I suppose the town could seize and resell the property if the promise is enforceable but Foxconn won't pony up, but that would involve massive legal expenses. In the end, I think they're well and truly screwed.

An international incident or just some finger trouble at the console?

Steve Hersey

I was once on a support trip in Toulouse (lovely city, wonderful people!) with folks from another US company supporting the same project. We went to lunch at an outdoor cafe; none of us spoke any French, but I speak German and a teeny bit of Dutch, and I wound up translating the menu (by guessing the ingredients from the closest English, German or Dutch cognates) and placing our order. Worked out amazingly well.

Languages skills rock.

(So does learning at least the basic hello/please/thank you in the local language; show folks that you respect their language and culture, and they'll generally be very helpful.)

Bank had no firewall license, intrusion or phishing protection – guess the rest

Steve Hersey

Re: Root Causes

My personal response would be to reach for the D-ring and exit the plane stage right.

"Who do we sue if this goes wrong?" is that rere thing, an actually stupid question.

The RIGHT question is: "Will we be better off if we do this, or if we don't? Is this the best option, or is there a better one?"

Planning for whom to sue in case of failure is planning for failure.

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code

Steve Hersey

The unacknowledged moral of the story

An organization that features "unachievable deadlines set by managers that lacked a proper grasp on the challenges involved" is a toxic waste site, and should be shunned by anyone with a gram of self-respect, until said organization either gains a clue or collapses from the accumulated incompetence.

Your skills, your time, your self-worth, are too valuable for you to collude in your employer's abuse of you. Run, do not walk, to find a job with a better employer. (If you really need the money that badly, set a limit on how long you'll tolerate those conditions, and stick to it.)

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

Steve Hersey

Not sure I'd recommend this practice today, but...

On one memorably miserable project in the last century (single-handedly creating software support for a portable instrument; the full requirements list was: "We want it to talk to the flowmeter", and you can imagine how fast it went down hill from there), the Sales folks routinely gave out internal-use-only alpha test copies of the software to customers, in violation of explicit instructions to the contrary. Salesmen were always trying to steal a march on the others by showing off the newest (buggiest!) features.

Until I added a profanity-laden startup splash screen stating that this test version was for <expletive> internal use only and NOT for <expletive> distribution to customers.

And waited (not long) for the complaints to roll in from Sales. Which were then countered by a reminder that, as they had been repeatedly warned, they weren't supposed to be releasing alphaware to customers.

Dell opts out of Microsoft's Pluton security for Windows

Steve Hersey

Another way to look at Pluton

A denial-of-competition attack. They've done that one before, why trust them not to try it again?

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

Steve Hersey

Long project timeline, meet short product lifecycle.

I discovered around 2000 or so that the limiting factor to the service life of an ancient desktop PC in a piece of satellite ground test equipment was the coin-cell battery molded into its configuration memory and clock chip. Said clock chip having gone obsolete, the only solution was to Dremel my way into the chip, tap into the supply wire from the battery, and reroute it to an external coin cell in a holder glued atop the chip. Worked a treat, and the test gear continued to work. Such projects have a very long support timeframe.

I'd have gladly upgraded the PC (and we tried!), but due to a consultant's idiocy (and against the urging of the new engineer at project start -- me) we had chosen software that depended on a specific version of QNX, and whose vendor shortly went out of business (no upgrades!). That version of QNX had a clock counter overflow that prevented it from operating on anything faster than the original 33 MHz 80386 processor.

The next such system used Sun Ultra 5s, whose dead battery-backed SRAM and clock chips were at least still obtainable.

AR flop Magic Leap's 'pivot' spins CEO right off his throne

Steve Hersey

Alas, for the days of the ancient kings

When, in times of disaster, the ruler would be ritually sacrificed to carry to the gods a petition for rescue.

Now, I don't personally think those gods existed, but the practice DID tend to have a self-correcting effect on incompetent leadership, and in those cases where the disasters were caused by said incompetence, the petitions were actually effective...

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Steve Hersey

Re: Not on the wall socket

Reminds me of the calibration house that used to annually certify our digital multimeters. We suspected that they were certifying them without actually testing them, so we opened one up, diddled its trimpots well beyond its stated calibration limits, and sent it off. Sure enough, back it came with a fresh sticker -- and still horribly out of calibration.

Boeing boss denies reports 737 Max safety systems weren't active

Steve Hersey

Re: 2 big no-no's - if it's Boeing, I am NOT going!

To your first point, it appears that the MCAS system was added because without it, the aircraft was not stable enough to get flight certification. I'd say that DOES qualify as "inherently unstable," though I'll agree it isn't as inherently unstable as, say, an F-14.

To your second point, it's actually even worse than just fail-safe: If I read the reports correctly, the two-sensor configuration was sold as an extra-cost option; the standard configuration had a single sensor, with no failover capability at all. Set negligence level to "criminal stupidity with a side order of arrogant avarice."

Qualcomm wins Apple patent case, loses Apple patent case, wins Apple patent case, loses Apple patent case...

Steve Hersey

As Dr. Strangelove would surely be able to advise,

The whole point of deterrence is NOT firing off the entire nuclear arsenal and mutually destroying one another. Apple and Qualcomm seem to have missed the significance of that point.

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

Steve Hersey

I like the new design.

Unlike the tasteless novelties force-fed me by Android and Gmail updates (just as I get used to the UI changes from the *last* update) your new home page looks like an improvement.

Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

Steve Hersey

Stopped the process at "launch day" and STILL weren't committed to a specific chip?

I smell BS coming from Atari in this interview. No major project that is real and being responsibly managed gets THAT close to its release date and then decides, "Well, maybe we'll just change the fundamental CPU architecture." By the time you're carrying engineering prototypes to trade shows to show them off, you damn' well better have settled on a chip architecture. Once settled, you only change that under dire circumstances. Even if the replacement is essentially identical, you don't delay the project for things that "would be nice." Delays to an almost-ready project cost a LOT of money.

The Atari bloke's statements make it clear that the project is nowhere near the state of readiness they would like us to think it is in.

Having listened to the rest of the excerpts, it's even a bit worse than that. They went all the way to a "product launch" when they knew they didn't have working *engineering prototype* hardware (else they'd have been willing to show at least a don't-touch-this static display of an operating prototype.

Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

Steve Hersey

Re: Auto-crash-pilot

Change lanes. The car ahead did exactly that. Of course, a more mature and fully functional autopilot would ALSO have just changed lanes...

Soyuz later! Russia may exit satellite launch biz

Steve Hersey

Re: 2 billion in today's market

I agree with Milton's point about Chinese IP theft, but in this case I'm not especially worried about its consequences. Here's why: The US military establishment has a decent understanding that strategic control of space is an enormous military advantage. With that in mind, the competition from China, India and Russia for space launch capability represents a challenge they cannot ignore; keeping the USA's launch capability technologically competitive is thus a must-do thing from their point of view. (Who has an automated mini-Shuttle that can spend a year on-orbit?)

So even if China steals lots of other folks' tech secrets, the competition for space capability will mean that the human species is back in space on an ongoing basis this time. The faster any one party advances, the harder the rest will work to keep up. From a species point of view, that's all to the good.

The cheating and stealing are aggravating, but are at most a damned nuisance, and may even prove neutral to beneficial in the long run. Though we should still feed the bastards some subtly defective designs just to mess with their heads.

Bitcoin's blockchain: Potentially a hazardous waste dump of child abuse, malware, etc

Steve Hersey

So, blockchain systems are unsustainable at scale.

It escapes my poor, limited understanding how a scheme that requires a large number of nodes (inherent in its "distributed web of trust") to store EVERY TRANSACTION EVER MADE could possibly be sustainable at a large enough scale to count as a "currency." Yes, "lightweight" nodes can store a subset, but that doesn't fix the fundamental insanity of the design.

Even the global banking system doesn't require every major bank to maintain the full transaction history of all major banks in order to function. For comparison, the Internet Archive only exists as one instance, not replicated X thousand times.

This sounds like a banking system designed by someone who didn't understand banking. There's no way it can possibly scale up far enough to be more than a curiosity/money-laundering tool/means to fleece the unwary.

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Steve Hersey

Top this...

I once built some external I/O hardware for a ZX80 to drive solid-state relays. The customer wanted to use it to automate a sawmill. They were disinclined to accept the notion that the ZX80 wan't really an appropriate platform for controlling potentially man-killing machinery. I never did get my AC adapter back...

Inviting nearby exoplanet revealed as radiation-baked hell

Steve Hersey

Cue the Firefly theme ...

"Burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sky from me."

Building decent space habitations is sounding a LOT more feasible than finding other habitable planets right now.

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

Steve Hersey

Doesn't matter.

It's not critical if the ground support hardware no longer exists. So long as the documentation on the telemetry formats and comms parameters is still available, some bright grad student or motivated Ham radio operator can set up a software-controlled radio setup to receive and decode it, and the same goes for satellite commanding (though that requires a suitable ground control transmitter, which NASA certainly still has).

Of course, that will require some time and money to set up, but it's not a gargantuan effort. Debugging the recreated commanding system on-orbit can be exciting, but the worst that can happen is you lose the bird again.

Trust me, you don't want to rely on the original ground support equipment after all this time, even if you can find it. If nothing else, the ancient PC's RTC chips with their built-in batteries and configuration memory have gone dead, cannot be sourced any longer, and can only be revived by judicious use of a Dremel grinder, a coin cell battery/holder, and a soldering iron. Been there, done that on satellite ground support gear.

IBM turns panto villain as The Reg tells readers: 'It's behind you!'

Steve Hersey

Carrier pigeon? Oops.

The vulture ate it.

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

Steve Hersey

Or, shocking thought...

Apple could have derated the batteries properly so that the phones would continue to work as they -- predictably -- aged. Apple being Apple, it's not like profit margins on iThings are razor-thin, so they *could* certainly afford to do a proper engineering job on power management and get $5 less profit per unit.

Every electronic device I've helped to develop in a long career has gone through worst-case analyses and has included design margins to make sure it works reliably over its life, and this always includes power management. If Apple's iCrap won't work with batteries that aren't new any more, it's because Management isn't setting realistic goals for the engineering teams, and that means that Corners Will Be Cut.

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief

Steve Hersey

Because that would interfere with the Gravitube.

We go live to the Uber-Waymo court battle... You are not going to believe this. The judge certainly doesn't

Steve Hersey

Re: All's up with Alsup?

... build a case for 'reasonable apprehension of bias'?

I seem to recall that SCO's lawyers tried that trick, and Alsup is certainly wise to it by now. He seems to have a bottomless reserve of cool, and the occasional decapitating strike of sarcasm stays within the limits. This IS going to be fun to watch; he'll grind them up using their own documents as the millstones.

You simply cannot get away with blatantly hiding relevant material from discovery like that and just claiming "they didn't use their company name as a search term." I expect to see their lawyers stripped of attorney-client privilege and hauled into the dock themselves; the misconduct is just that extreme.

Hey, cop! You need a warrant to stalk a phone with a Stingray – judge

Steve Hersey

Re: What about me then?

On the other hand letting a criminal off when they've clearly done something wrong..........

The US Constitution operates on the principle that incorrectly releasing the guilty is preferable to incorrectly jailing the innocent. That's the theory, anyway.

The point of letting the crim walk away if the evidence was improperly obtained is that if you allow the use of improper evidence, then the whole due-process principle just became unenforceable, and we're right back to forced confessions under torture, faked evidence, and all the other abuses the due-process clause was intended to prevent.

It's a harsh punishment of the cops to toss out their case, true, but the alternative was held to be a worse price to pay.