* Posts by unimaginative

342 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Sep 2009

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British businesses told: Compliance with EU AI law will satisfy UK guidance

unimaginative

Re: Hold your horses!

"The EU wants more regulation, the UK less, what is wrong with that and that is the point of brexit."

Part true. Not necessarily more or less. Just different.

The problem with stuff like this that is supplied globally is that it has to comply everywhere you do business (or maybe even just let people look at your content) - the EU, US, China....

There are already American websites that block people in the EU or the UK. I think this is where things will go - different products in different markets.

Apple Vision Pro is creating a new generation of glassholes

unimaginative

One thing I haven't seen either is people asking angrily if the wearer is recording a video, which I remember was a feature of Google Glass. Maybe it pays to be second.

People are a lot more used to being videoed thanks to mobile phones, video camera doorbells, pervasive CCTV etc.

IBM pitches bite-sized $135k LinuxONE box for smaller biz types

unimaginative
Go

SMEs, as defined these days, are not tiny businesses. IN the UK it is less than 250 employees, in the US it is a lot more.

So you are getting something that might well run all your server needs for very possibly less than $1,000 per employee. Assume it lasts five years that works out at less than $20 per employee per month.

Whether to move off Oracle is the $100M+ question for Europe's largest public body

unimaginative

Birmingham is incapable of delegating, so it's the largest administrative nightmare.

Not entirely fair. The size of local authorities is decided at a national level.

Funny how, even after Brexit, things in the UK have to be compared to Europe.

What has Brexit got to do with it? Where else do you compare with to make the point it is bigger than anything else at a higher level than national? If you find something is the biggest in the UK would your next natural step be to check whether there is a bigger one in South America? I quite often hear that something is the biggest/most whatever in Asia or Africa or the Americas.

It's the old "Fog over the Channel, the continent is isolated".

AFAIK that headline is an urban myth, BUT this is the opposite. It is looking at things in a European context which is very relevant to the UK. We are still in Europe and the countries most similar to the UK are European. They are not the only comparator that is relevant, but still an important one.

There's something seriously wrong in UK Government circles.

Addiction to big projects. The bigger a project the more complex it is, and therefore more likely to go wrong. Nassim Nicholas Taleb gave a lecture (about one of his books, so probably drawn from it) using UK data to argue that bigger projects are far more likely to fail in general, but he claims it is a general law, rather than a UK problem.

Test, people. Test. And get your bloody specifications right. If you don't know how to do that, hire an expensive consultant to tell you that you're idiots and listen to him.

They very often do, but the expensive consultants are often not good and even if they are its not easy. Ever done that job? I did for a short while as a full time job, and often as part of what I do now, and it is hard to get specs right because it means everyone knowing what they are doing and giving the consultant the right information, including people (most people) who have no idea what you need.. That is dealing with relatively simple (to spec, not necessarily to implement) systems.

Crunchbang++ versus Bunsen Labs: The pair turn it up to 12

unimaginative

Re: Start Menu vs Super Key

I prefer press a key and start typing.

I do this on KDE - a key assigned to start krunner and then type the first two or three letters of the application name. It means an extra keypress or two, but it also means all applications can be started from there and you do not have to remember key combinations). It has other advantages (it also shows matching already open windows so you can switch to them instead, you can type in amounts to do calculations or currency conversions etc.).

KDE is far from lightweight, but there are stand alone equivalents which are quite light.

I do use KDE pin to task manager on my tablet.

Europe benched in high tech 'Champions League' says ASML

unimaginative

Re: Vague

India is very different from China. Much as I dislike the current Indian government, it is still a democracy, and has free press and meaningful opposition.

its interests may not be aligned with the West's, but not all Western countries interests are aligned either. Do the US and Germany have the same difference priorities? Not since China became a bigger threat than Russia to the US. Do the UK and the US have the same economic interests? Sometimes.

unimaginative

Re: Corruption

I agree, but why would countries be in the EU other than to further their own interests?

New cars bought in the UK must be zero emission by 2035 – it's the law

unimaginative

Re: Alternatives to car use?

Yes, but it needs huge (expensive) improvements in public transport. A car is essential for me now, but it was not when I lived in cities with good public transport and did not have kids. I never even owned a car back then. I did rent a few times for trips.

I think another thing that would help a lot is encouraging the use of smaller cars. A smaller car is less polluting (to make as well as run) damages the roads less, causes less injury in an accident, and generally makes cities better than a similar larger one (i.e. ICE vs ICE, EVE vs EV, etc.).

THis could be encouraged by taxing cars be weight and size, and by reserving parking spaces for small cars.

AI threatens to automate away the clergy

unimaginative
Angel

Re: Evidence

> The problem with experiments relating to religion is they often violate CIOMS guidelines for ethical research on human subjects.

There is a deeper problem.

What are the null and alternative hypotheses?

One experiment that has been done is testing whether prayers work by asking people to pray for randomly selected sick people and see whether they recover better than a control group. This specifically tests for the existence of a God who is willing and able to answer prayers for the sick, but does not take any account of motives and is willing to provide this experiment.

> the indigenous people of the Amazon tested Christianity by crucifying missionaries

Really? Sounds like a distorted version of an SF story I read.

That said, it is another bad experiment. Do Christians believe that anyone who is crucified comes back from the dead? Obviously not, so the null hypothesis is not a test of Christianity.

unimaginative
WTF?

Re: Kind of misses the point...

That is true, so is that problem that the people running the study do not know what the clergy do?

In that case, I would also question whether they know what the other jobs really involve. If you look at paper describing the methodology it involves assigning scores to the importance of 52 abilities to each job. Did they do a study of each job to measure that? I doubt it. They almost certainly assigned weights based on what the researchers thought. Lots of method, but based on poor data so the whole report is a waste of time and this is just an example of why.

No joke: Cloudflare takes aim at Google Fonts with ROFL

unimaginative
Unhappy

Because they want to use an exact font. It might be the designer, or marketing people who want to use the same font for the brand that they use in printed materials and images. Add to that tight budgets or timelines, or a lazy front end designer, and the fast/easy way to do it is to copy and past a line from Google Fonts.

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

unimaginative

Re: A 1980s minicomputer at the bottom of a mine ?

The Register decided long ago that some American culture wars clickbait comments were good so why expect any better of its readership. It has a lot of stories on controversial topics that have nothing to do with tech and both articles and comments will bring up anything that will get people emotional from abortion to Brexit on the flimiest pretext..

It is an idiotic comment on many levels: ANE mythology was not made up for children, only (American style) evangelicals think such stories are literally true, and the commentard cannot spell "tales" but it fulfils it purpose of letting someone the commentors tribal side with regard to anything to do with religion. The commentard is just as stupid as the biblical literalists they claim to despise, but that is irrelevant - its all about being on the right side.

Arm IPO kicks off today with CPU slinger valued at $54.5B

unimaginative

Re: British chip designer to trade on Nasdaq only

I think it is very likely that Softbank as selling now because they think the business is close to its peak.

unimaginative
FAIL

Re: British chip designer to trade on Nasdaq only

No tech IPO this size has ever happened in London. Tech IPOs have always favoured the NASDAQ.

ARM was UK listed because it was much smaller at time it listed. It is less British AND a lot bigger than it was back then.

Even smaller tech businesses favour NASDAQ. I used to work for an Asian company that aimed at a NASDAQ listing one day. I asked one of the management why they did not consider London, and the answer was "why should we?" - because tech always goes for NASDAQ. Ironically, said company is now owned by the London Stock Exchange.

antiX 23: Anarchic for sure, but 'design by committee' isn't always the best for Linux

unimaginative

Re: The sytemd-free ecology

You are right about too much choice. Well proven.

I do not understand why you think this or any other fork is incomparible witn end user applications. What applications do you have in mind?

Forks do have a pupose though. Antix, for example, makes old hardware usable. Saves money and the planet.

There are a few select distros for the average Joe user with reasonably new hardware, and a few more to revive old hardware. The rest either lack a userbase, or are server distros, or specialist tool.

unimaginative
WTF?

Re: The sytemd-free ecology

I get a top 10 list, which I doubt would intimidate anyone who was installing an OS.

Tge biggest barrier to desktop Linux is you cannot buy machines with the OS preintalled from major retailers - except for Chromebooks which do sell quite well.

Arm wrestles assembly language guru's domains away citing trademark issues

unimaginative
Flame

You do have to take action to prevent a trademark from becoming a generic term: i has happened to lots of former trademarks like "escalator"

This is not going to happen if someone uses your trademark to talk about your products. It will happen if someo

Arm are hoping that people who do not understand this will be fooled by this statement and not think they are being idiotic.

unimaginative

Re: Another baseless, stupid lawsuit

That reminds me of a superb book title "The Right to Arm Bears"

Europe's tough new rules for Big Tech start today. Is anyone ready?

unimaginative

As I understand this law it gives a branch of the government (and the executive, not the judiciary) the power to decide what is misinformation and what is true. I cannot see how this can be a good thing.

unimaginative

is it misinformation? It seems to be at least part true:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-twitter-censorship-alex-berenson-covid-vaccines-white-house-social-media-11660335186

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2022/08/alex-berenson-twitter-ban-lawsuit-covid-misinformation/671219/

Incidentally, I have no idea who the guy is, but right wing nutjob or not, he has a right to free speech. If he is spreading misinformation, you have a right to free speech so you can rebut it.

unimaginative
Unhappy

Will they though? Will the experts be allowed to give opinions other than what the politicians want them to say? If you look at the EU's other legislation (banning end to end encryption, defining rule engines as AI, the impact on FOSS of the Cyber Resilience Act) they seem to be in a competition with other western governments to see who can be the worst.

The restrictions on advertising targetting are a good thing in this law are a good thing. However when governments start setting policies about content I cannot see that as a good thing. People usually defend social media content moderation because they are private platforms and have the right to do what they fit, but when we now have a government telling them what to do, there are real concerns about free speech.

If they had these powers during covid, would they have used it to prevent people discussing the lab leak hypothesis (which was labelled misinformation at the time)? I think they would have. More than that, even bad people have a right to express their views that quote misattributed to Voltaire about defending people right to say things you agree with applies.

Criminals go full Viking on CloudNordic, wipe all servers and customer data

unimaginative

Re: Why is it the company's responsibility to make backups of the customer's data?

It made me think of OVH too.

What that was a good drmonstration of was how many people do not know what they are buying. A lot of people assume cloud means everything is taken care off: redundacy, backups, updates......

Tornado Cash 'laundered over $1B' in criminal crypto-coins

unimaginative

Re: There's a pattern emerging

An online service might be a case for it. For example if you want to run a website anonymously you need an anonymous way to pay for the hosting.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

unimaginative

Re: Not to mention the economical fallout

The EU's proposal seems to be worse, and their politicians seem to have even less of understanding of technology. The EU commissioner in charge is claiming you can scan encrypted communications without unencrypting them

unimaginative
FAIL

Re: Not holding my breath

That sounds lovely in theory, and I never owned a car when I lived in London, not in Manchester until i had kids. Now the kids are older I still would not have a car if I lived in a city.

However, in practice, if you reduce car use without improving public transport, the end result is that the 15 minute city becomes a limitation rather than a utopia. Do it, but do it right - which means spending lots of money.

'AI-written history' of Maui wildfire becomes Amazon bestseller, fuels conspiracies

unimaginative
Devil

Re: If the book contains the true reason for the wildfires?

One of the earliest best sellers was Malleus Maleficarum, the book that revived belief in witchcraft and lead to the witch hunts of the early modern age.

HashiCorp's new license is still open source-ish, just with less free lunch

unimaginative
Devil

Re: Ah, Open Source

The problem happens when one company owns the copyrights - typically this means they do all the develoment, or almost all, and outside contributors must sign contrubutions overto them, or use a license that allows closing adding restrictions.

I think the question to ask when a business says its software is open source, is whether they have a bsiness modelthat works with ooen source.

Cops cuff pregnant woman for carjacking after facial recog gets it wrong, again

unimaginative
Happy

Re: Perhaps facial recognition isn't the issue

I have had several interactions with the police in the UK, and while there are two refusals to investigate (non-violent domestic abuse, and yobs throwing things at people that did not hit them) and maybe one other minor incident I am not happy about, the others (traffic, racist vandalism, domestic violence allegations) have been dealt with pretty professionally and about as well as I can expect.

This over a period of time from the late 70s, about half of which I have lived in the UK. The most recent four interactions have been in the last five years.

The police are definitely not always good, but a blanket statement that they cannot be trusted are ridiculous.

Lacros rescues Chromebooks by extending their lifespans

unimaginative

Re: The real solution...

And consumes who have no idea either.

Out of nowhere, India requires PC and server makers to get an import license

unimaginative
Facepalm

Most people in the West are clueless about what is happening in Asia.

They think the West still dominates the world economically and militarily. There is definitely some racism in this - notice how the rivals they fear are the (white) Russians rather than the far more economically and militarily capable (and more ambitious in terms of empire building) Chinese.

The EU still talks about a multi-polar world with itself as one of the superpowers - while its economy is in the slowest growing region of the world and shrinking part of the world economy. Absolutely delusional. In the meantime they are cracking down on immigration which would give them the population they need to keep up. TO be fair the US and Canada are growing through immigration, much of it highly skilled, so that part of the West has a better outlook.

unimaginative
Unhappy

I would guess its not Apple doing things right, so much as desktop OSes and software doing things wrong.

Mobile software tends to be a lot less bloated. So are mobile versions of web sites.

Brit healthcare body rapped for WhatsApp chat sharing patient data

unimaginative

Re: Something not quite right here

To say nothing of the Cabinet using Zoom during the lockdown - by the nature of Cabinet meetings they discuss highly classified information.

Staff devices should be locked down and they should not be allowed to install software. Browsers should be locked down too to prevent uploads.

I do some work with medical images. That is outside the NHS systems. I am currently looking at implementing some stuff with NHS APIs and there are mechanisms (hopefully secure) for transferring patient data (at least in NHS England - not sure what they have in Scotland).

GNOME project considers adding window tiling by default

unimaginative

Re: Killer app

I use KDE withatiling extension, and yes, it is alot more than tiling or a two window split, even quarters.my favourites are three columns (1to 3 windows per column) and spiral. You can see everything i a project on one virtuak desktop.

That plus multiple desktops and knowing the keyboard shortcuts makes managing complex workflows a lot easier.

Google's browser security plan slammed as dangerous, terrible, DRM for websites

unimaginative

Re: Scraping

There is a difference between using in particular ways, and anything you wishc I have worked on multiple scrapers and they were all for legitimate purposes such as niche web search, or extracting particular data for internal use. Scrapers are even used to find breaches of copyright and to spot plaogarism.

Microsoft switches Edge’s PDF reader to pay-to-play Adobe Acrobat

unimaginative
Happy

Re: signing

You can fill in forms with Thunderbird's PDF viewer which i think is pdf.js. Do not know about the signatures.

Three signs that Wayland is becoming the favored way to get a GUI on Linux

unimaginative
Thumb Down

Re: Really?

> It is popular to hate on the init system

The objection to, and the best case for, systemd is that it is not just and init system, but an extra layer of the os including the init system.

Wayland is very different. It is a replacement for a limited set of funtionality. No one has a philosophical problem with it, just concerns about whether it is mature enough and worries it may cut out the BSDs.

A toast to being in the right place at the right time

unimaginative
Happy

Re: Did it talk?

If you start excluding all thevwriters and artists with dodgy personal lives, the list is long. Oscar Wilde (paedophile sex tourist), Eric Gill (child abuser) and many others its a longlist.

I know people who knew Clarke and as far as anyone sayss his tastes ran to young men but of an age that would be legal in most western countires. Technicaly illegal where he lived due to rarely (never?) enforced sodpmy laws.

Let's have a chat about Java licensing, says unsolicited Oracle email

unimaginative
Facepalm

That is unbelievably stupid given they could have just switched to OpenJDK.

Replaces with HTML implies only java clients and none on servers. Very unusual.

Red Hat strikes a crushing blow against RHEL downstreams

unimaginative
FAIL

Re: GPL violation

You do not get it.

Red Hat's customers may have agreed not to redistrubute it, but the copyright holders have not. Red Hat only has a licence to distrubute source or binary subject to the GPL. If they "override" the GPL then RHEL is pirated software

Google searchers from years past can get paid for pilfered privacy

unimaginative

Re: The solution is to use these plugins ..

I agree that this is not really Google's fault.

The RFC quoted suggests this should be something the browser filters which makes more sense to me.

Microsoft’s Azure mishap betrays an industry blind to a big problem

unimaginative
Pint

"I think the article missed a bigger issue - that we are making our systems much more complicated than they need to be, MS in particular."

if only it was just MS, if only.

There are lots of culprits:

Web browsers which are now application platforms

Cloud services which are complex enough you need to learn each one - they need to be flexible enough for all needs, so need to be very configurable, so complex. Just doing something like configuring permissions on AWS means learning the system

Almost all OSes that provide a GUI.

Systemd

Even worse is that all the technology that is needed by a smaller number of big systems gets blindly copied by everyone else because it must be the right way to do it. People start worrying about scalability after the second user visits their website.

Icon because I now need sone.

Will Flatpak and Snap replace desktop Linux native apps?

unimaginative
FAIL

So, when I say it's time to wave bye-bye to using package managers such as apt or dnf and replace them with containerized package managers such as Appimage, Snap, or Flatpak, I do have a clue about what I'm talking about.

So instead of packaging for,say, Debian and Redhat, it gets packaged for Appimage, Snap and Flatpack?

So, for example, the Ubuntu releases page currently lists over 30 different versions of Ubuntu which are currently in active support.

Actually, there are only five. Releases of point versions are not supported unless you upgrade - e.g. if you are running 14.04.1 you would need to have upgraded until it is identical to 14.04.6

The reason people want to use the older versions is because they want the extreme stability of running exactly the same software after a decade. Snap and flatpack does not deliver that.

Snap and flatpack work for desktops, but few people want to run 10 decade old OSes on a desktop (not even those of us who will keep computer running for more than a decade).

I actually like the idea of running at lease some applications in containers (better security) but my experience with Flatpack has not been great so far.

unimaginative
Devil

Re: Lucky you.

Continually buying new stuff because software gets more bloated is also a fairly serious environmental issue.

unimaginative

Re: Performance isn't free...

The problem with systemd is that it is discussed as an init system.

Its detractors will point out that systemd is designed to be much more than that. Its fans tend to deny this and say you can just use the components you want from the project.

The best case I have heard made for System D (spacing an capitalistion because I just got annoyed by a rant about how you should not do so). is to argue for it as an additional layer for the operating system to provide a whole of extra functionality from a single project.

systemd is a suite of basic building blocks for a Linux system.

Red Hat to stop packaging LibreOffice for RHEL

unimaginative
Devil

Re: What about requirements for secure documents?

And there's a plausible argument in favor of it, honestly. If there are 10,000 companies that need secure information storage, it arguably makes more sense for them all to outsource that work to one of a handful of companies that specialize in providing secure information storage, rather than every one of those 10,000 companies coming up with its own system for secure information storage.

Plausible? Yes. Conclusive? I am not convinced.

Firstly, if you have a smaller number of systems, even if each of them is individually less likely to be hacked or fail, the consequences of one doing so are greater.

It will usually increase the attack surface. An internal system may only be accessible from the local network, or the corporate VPN. A more centralised system will usually work over the public internet. Most big security breaches these days seem to be of systems accessible over the public internet, that do not need to be - including things such as databases in the cloud that only a few people need to access directly.

There is also the complexity added by systems - configuring things like AWS permissions is horrible and creates a lot of room for human error. Of course its not the providers fault, but it is inevitable.

Given the state of IT at a lot of companies that's probably not a very high bar to clear.

True, but:

1. the same internal IT have to get these things properly specified and configured. We are just changing the required skill set from knowing OS and network security etc. to how to set up whatever providers systems.

2. there is no bar so low I would trust the giants of IT to fail to limbo under into.

This is also exactly why all the cloud companies have been working on security standards compliance and the ability to specify where in the world your data will be stored and all the rest of it.

The problem with security standards is that they easily become box ticking exercises.

With cloud stuff everyone can blame someone else and no one has their job on the line if they mess up.

Malaysia goes its own Huawei, won't ban Chinese vendor from 5G network

unimaginative

Re: Malaysia

Like any country that does notmake its own equpment, it just gets to choose who gets the spying opportunity.

The UK chooses to buy from allies as the lesser evil.

Malaysia has a less clear cut choice.

Asian countries closer to China/threatened by China will probably not buy Chinese.

Google veep calls out Microsoft's cloud software licensing 'tax'

unimaginative
Devil

Re: Would it not be cheaper for Google, AWS, Alibaba

The problem with that is not replacing the functionality, it is migrating the huge amounts of existing data people have in MS systems and formats.

If what your trying to migrate is huge numbers of complex spreadsheets on individual PCs, plus everything in your mail and calender servers plus a custom .Net application or two that uses an SQL server back end, it will be a lot of work to move to a FOSS solution.

That is why you should use FOSS from the start - to avoid vendor lock-in.

Google Photos AI still can't label gorillas after racist errors

unimaginative
FAIL

Re: Racist?

I agree, but dealing with real problems is a lot of effort and does not make you feel virtuous so easily.

I have experienced racism in three different countries (three continents, in fact) and it is different everywhere - its not one phenomenon. The peculiar American sensitivity is a reaction to American history and culture. I realised it was different a long time ago, but the brilliant book Caste by Isabel Wilkerson made me understand what it was. Race in the US is like caste in South Asia - vicious, deeply culturally ingrained, and impossible to escape even over generations.

This can lead to silly thinking when dealing with other cultures. One (apparently intelligent) American I met was deeply convinced hat CS Lewis was racist because Shift the ape was "obviously" meant to represent black people. The fact that someone writing children's stories with inter-racial marriage (Aravis and Cor ) and mixed race good buys (Telmarine descended later Narnians) was probably not writing racist metaphor was beyond him.

unimaginative
Flame

I recently wanted a Youtube video to which the channel had added an apology for using the word "faggots" because so many people were upset. They were talking about the British food, not the American slur.

Americans just take it for granted that everyone must conform to their language and culture. In the name of equality and diversity, of course.

Some Windows users say these 32-bit apps have forgotten how to save

unimaginative
Linux

Re: I'd make a smart-assed comment but... (thanks snap!)

A Mac has no bugs caused by security features it does not have. How impressive.

I do not think the OS even has containerisation at all.

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