* Posts by Tikimon

801 posts • joined 3 Nov 2009

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No wonder cops are so keen on Ring – they can slurp your doorbell footage with few limits, US senators complain

Tikimon
Devil

Re: holding out

"If this makes me a luddite then so be it."

Nope, no Luddite there! instead, we are wise old bastards who are immune to hype and too experienced to be taken in by "New! Shiny! It's the future!" We've learned to read between the lines, look behind the curtain, and figure out for ourselves if it's good or not. Use of the word "smart" in a product description is a useful warning!

Space-wrecks: Elon's prototype Moon ferry Starship blows its top during fuel tank test

Tikimon
Angel

Re: Learning curve

"Slightly carbonised techy: "Uuhhmm dude! Maybe we should skip the spliff next time we're filling the tanks?""

Sixty seconds previously: "BRING ME DA HEAT, MON! BRING ME SOME HEEEEAT!"

Video-editing upstart bares users' raunchy flicks to world+dog via leaky AWS bucket

Tikimon
FAIL

Re: What sort of idiot...

"...would upload their home-made pornography to an online video-editing website, least of all a free, unknown one?"

Oh, just a normal person, unfamiliar with the dystopic nightmare that is technology. Only some ignorant snowflake with an expectation that their stuff is safe, not "shared" or left open to the whole world.

Don't blame the user when a system is hard to correctly use. Remember, it's SUPPOSED to do what it says on the box. Users should not have to know lots of background about tech companies and anticipate what might go wrong. That's a sign of a badly done product.

Welcome to cultured meat – not pigs reading Proust but a viable alternative to slaughter

Tikimon
Headmaster

Re: You can't grow burgers in a test tube.

Nor the rest of the cow! When a cow is slaughtered, it's not just for meat. Every part of the cow is used for something, and has an industry waiting to turn it into something useful. So while we're figuring up how green and efficient synthetic beef will be, someone do the math on finding alternates for the the dozens of non-meat products we get/make from cows. How green would those replacements be once the natural source is lost? Everyone is myopically focused on "meat" so that's all anyone talks about.

Don't get me wrong. I think synthetic meat is a great idea but I suspect it will be an additional source of meat, not replace cows entirely.

What a load of bollards! Object of bloke's street furniture romp run over

Tikimon
Coat

Possible scenarios...

1. One encounter was enough to let the bollard know that this was not a good partner. He thought ONLY of himself and his own pleasure, couldn't be bothered to undress, and didn't even wait for the bollard to finish. There's lonely and there's horny, but everyone has their limit and the bollard saw him off. Spurned by his (likely only) sexual outlet, in a fit of jealous despair he ran it over in a drunken rage then threw himself from a bridge. Thus ended another sordid tale of crap lovers who won't take "Piss off" for an answer.

2. After standing for years, with hundreds flowing past every day without a single thought for a lonely bollard... one day... HE came. Well, not at first. First there were the carefully-casual glances. Then open interest and ever more intense flirting. Finally, he screwed up his nerve and approached. It was a whirlwind romance, leading rapidly to a glow-inducing conclusion. But then... he never called again. The poor lonely bollard had been TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF by a heartless player out for a quick romp in a private... well, semi-private... intersection. Carried to the heights of romance, only to take the long fall of disillusionment, the bollard had nothing left to stand for. Watching its chance, it viciously taunted the car of a drunk driver (hell hath no fury) which promptly crashed into the bollard. And another lonely life senselessly ended.

3. It wasn't the first one-morning stand that turned into true love. The bollard never imagined it might find romance in such an unexpected way (and place). But such lovers are often star-crossed, and these were no different. The bollard's new beau was the son of a powerful organized crime figure, a cruel and bigoted man who would never countenance an affair between his son and a damned low-life public servant bollard. Daring fate, they risked it all to pursue their passion in secret. But the tentacles of crime reach far and never rest. Discovered, they had only minutes to flee. The bollard was reluctant to abandon its post (they're very dedicated) and it took one critical minute too many to convince it to abandon duty and leave with her lover. The crime lord's goons arrived before their escape was made and moved to finish them both. However, with nothing to lose the bollard struck back. Bullets chipped its surface but failed to stop it. The goons were dispatched, the bodies hidden, and the desperate couple vanished into the night.

4. After the original news item went viral, the once-lonely bollard found itself spoiled for choice. A steady parade of interested men casually drove by, feigned walking to the store down the street, asked for directions to nonexistent people's homes, or made more direct approaches. From famine to feast, the bollard threw itself into a flurry of hedonistic excess, fueled by an endless supply of Internet-crazed men. But alas, the body must pay for the checks the libido writes. Losing sleep, all routine broken by the steady stream of "visitors", the bollard's health began to suffer. Finally, entropy and carnal excess demanded their due and the bollard collapsed under the strain. Its devastated lovers came together in their grief and founded a Usenet group to support each other and trade pictures of sexy road barriers. So like Bettie Page, the bollard and its allure will live on long after it's gone, a sex symbol for the Internet Age.

That'll do, I gotta get back to work!

Beardy biologist's withering takedown of creationism fetches $564,500 at auction

Tikimon
Headmaster

H. Sapiens vs. the strong, capable H. Neandnerthalensis...

"I've always been curious about Neanderthals given on average, they seemed to have a larger cranial capacity than modern humans. Yet we managed to kill them off or assimilate them into our DNA."

Enigmatic, isn't it? I'm leaning toward a new hypothesis about that. I suspect ever more these days that genus Homo's initial success was due to throwing ability - rocks first, then spears follow naturally. Later, I suspect H. Sapiens outcompeted H. Neanderthalensis due to our association... with dogs.

Dogs provided multiple advantages, for defense, hunting, guarding the cave (and later, herds and crops). There's a genetic component to associating with dogs, a reward pathway for doing so, and our health suffers when we don't have them around (if dogs improve your health, a lack of dogs lessens it). Those don't happen by accident, it was hugely adaptive and became wired into us. That speaks of dogs' enduring value to our species, a body of advantages that Neanderthals don't seem to have had.

This hits the blind spot that most people have. Everyone assumes something INTRINSIC gave H. Sapiens the edge, but I suspect it was our external association with our best friends and helpmates, dogs.

Microsoft sees sense, will give Office 365 admins veto rights on self-service Power tools

Tikimon
FAIL

Only slightly less onerous...

WTF? Disable each app individually with Powershell? That's asinine, insulting, and abusive to us admins who keep their buggy shite running.

That leaves the Store intact for later use. It leaves the option to issue apps that cannot be disabled. It forces admins to play Whack-A-Mole with whatever new self-serving program they decide to shove at everyone (Teams, for one).

If they want to "give in" they can allow us to totally disable the Store, and do it with Group Policies. WANKERS.

Microsoft explains self-serve Power platform's bypassing of Office 365 admins to cries of 'are you completely insane?'

Tikimon
Mushroom

Re: Employees buying software for their company?

"Google showed the way with Chrome early on when it became possible for a user to "install" it without local machine administrative privileges."

Yeah, it mysteriously appeared on our whole network one day, including MY computer. I immediately set a group policy uninstalling it, blocking its install, preventing it running if present. After a land grab like that, Chrome is totally unwelcome here.

It also took weeks to undo the damage, since Chrome had set hooks into everything and Uninstalling didn't remove them. Stupid things like users clicking a PDF and getting a warning that Chrome could not start because it had set itself as default for PDFs. Horrible company, away evil beast!

Dammit Insight! You just had two big jobs to do on Mars and you're failing at one of those

Tikimon
Devil

No glove, no love

So there you are, watching dust devils and basking in the distant sunlight, and suddenly another one of those funny machines falls out of the sky. You're long used to them running about your surface (it tickles). But THIS one, without even flowers or a cheap dinner, starts a cylindrical penetrator moving vigorously in and out, trying to work it deep inside you. How rude! You're not THAT kind of planet, no matter what Mercury says about you. The ingress is rejected and blocked, and you sulk for a few months.

So once again, humans have built a machine that mirrors themselves. Send it somewhere new and it starts trying to f**k the first place it can shove its tool.

Two astronauts conduct a successful spacewalk, world+dog lose minds

Tikimon
FAIL

Sorry Richard, you blew it

"After a postponement due to suit sizes, which said more about the parlous state of NASA's spacewalking gear than the astronauts themselves."

Sorry, it was EVERYTHING about the astronauts themselves. One of them decided WHEN IN SPACE ALREADY that she preferred the fit of a different size suit than the one she had chosen on the ground. They only had one suit of that size, so they let her use that one instead of her own. That's NASA changing a mission to accommodate a woman's needs by the way, hardly gender insensitive. However, they only had one suit that size so no two-woman spacewalks on that mission.

Get your facts straight before implying a "parlous state".

Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked

Tikimon
Thumb Up

Why only English?

"Several of my passwords over the years have contained swearing"

ALL of mine do. However, they're foreign cuss words (and nothing easy like scheisse) from several languages. I also include idiosyncratic spelling for certain words. So much for dictionary attacks, it'll have to be random-character and grind grind grind.

Landmark US net neutrality decision reveals that both sides won and lost out

Tikimon
Angel

"The only body that can actually fix this is Congress, not the White House, no matter who the president is."

WRONG! There are at least FIFTY bodies that can fix this a piece at a time, they're called State Governments. And that's just what's happening.

It's been too easy for too long to lobby only Federal hacks, with D.C. being the One-Stop Friendly Law Shop. Now that those federal offices have so obviously failed in their purpose, the local governments are asserting their power. Which is why the Telcos and others are freaking out... it's much harder to buy votes and influence in fifty fractious states. Local governments are a lot more responsive to their constituents than far-off Federal politicos and agencies.

Loss-making $15bn hipster chat biz Slack suddenly less appetising to investors as it predicts deeper losses

Tikimon
Facepalm

So THAT'S why the aggressive Teams invasion...

Installs per-user, reinstalls if deleted, pops up a BIG window on login begging you to log in. Now it makes sense, they're trying to beat Slack.

Software as a service BLOWS. It's merely a way to assure eternal rental, and to keep the user away from pesky competitors.

Allowlist, not whitelist. Blocklist, not blacklist. Goodbye, wtf. Microsoft scans Chromium code, lops off offensive words

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: This is stupid

"the United Negro College Fund in Washington, DC? No joke - it really exists.

As does the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

Those were both terms chosen by the black community at one point and later abandoned. Every so often, the black "leadership" decide that they want to rebrand, that the Current Name has become offensive. So the last name they demanded everyone switch to becomes verboten but they hang around in old organization names.

In the 1970's it was all about "Black Pride" and everyone had to say that. Now they're not proud of Black anymore and want "African-American". Anyone want to start a pool to guess the next rebrand name in another ten years?

SpaceX didn't move sat out of impending smash doom because it 'didn't see ESA's messages'

Tikimon
Coat

Which way is Right?

It's all relative to the orbiting body and who is considered an adversary. The enemy's gate is Down.

Apple blinks on iPhone repairs, touts parts program for independent tech mechanics... sort of

Tikimon
Angel

States' Rights - long ignored, but making a serious comeback

You'll never hear it from the media - who favor a powerful federal government - but the United States Constitution states that all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government are the province of the states. The founders knew how easily a powerful central government can be co-opted and misused. The Federal government likes to pretend that it's in charge and the states have less power, but it's not legally so.

We're seeing a resurgence in states' rights, and it's a beautiful thing. So the Washington D.C. politicians are in the pockets of lobbyists and rich companies? Okay then, we'll pass our own laws to fix what the D.C. crowd are being bribed to not do. Notice the Feds have not challenged the widespread decriminalization of marijuana? They know the genie's out of the bottle already and they would lose. Now the states are working on Right To Repair laws. Even mighty and bulletproof (so they believed) Apple is forced to respond, desperately trying to claim "Oh that's not needed now, we gave in." and hoping the states will stop.

For too long, the nation could be controlled by courting the influence of a handful of D.C. politicians and appointees. That paradigm is finally breaking down. Expect to see furious wailing and frantic flailing as the tech industry, telecoms companies, and others see their bought and paid for D.C. influence bypassed by determined states, and even cities. Me, I'm lovin' it and it gives me a tiny bit of hope for the future.

As browser rivals block third-party tracking, Google pitches 'Privacy Sandbox' peace plan

Tikimon
Devil

Waaah, losing your revenue stream? Don't pick a slimy business model!

All this bleating about how companies must be allowed to data mine us or they will LOSE MONEY! WAAAAH!

Heard it all before from telemarketers. They invaded our homes at all hours on OUR dollar. When they were blocked and fined, they screamed and whined about LOSING MONEY. Well sorry you assholes, you should have picked a legit, non-invasive business model. Compare to the soulless jerks who kill whales for a living and whine about bans on their onerous practice.

Data miners gonna lose money? EXCELLENT! Shouldn't have built your business on being a total asshole. Can't go bankrupt and die fast enough.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)

Tikimon

Re: That's horrible. - Bling status matters!

Same effect, different product. When I got my new motorcycle (new to me anyway) I used a disc brake lock to prevent theft. Then I found out that my bike is pretty much never stolen. NEVER. New owners asked about that on the bike's forum and nobody had ever lost theirs. Plenty of humorous responses such as "If anyone stole your bike, he would likely pay you to take it back after his friends laughed at him and his fence cursed him out for wasting his time." Never used a lock since.

It's a Suzuki V-strom, great bike but no bling appeal. On the other hand, a Honda CBR will get stolen with an armed guard watching it.

Web body mulls halving HTTPS cert lifetimes. That screaming in the distance is HTTPS cert sellers fearing orgs will bail for Let's Encrypt

Tikimon
Facepalm

Let's force frequent password changes too!

Those who ignore history are DOOMED to repeat it, and be nastily mocked like their idiot predecessors.

An Army Watchkeeper drone tried to land. Then meatbags took over from the computers

Tikimon
Devil

Maybe it's got the wrong job?

Sounds like a winner for a guided munition! Click on the map and it crashes there.

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision

Tikimon
Angel

Re: Touch screens

The MOST useful feature of in in-car navigation systems is being able to see where the hell you are WHEN YOU CAN'T GET A PHONE SIGNAL. I bought a 4WD Toyota specifically because of the nav system with CD-ROM based maps. When you're roaming steep dirt mountain roads, you rarely have a phone signal and GPS isn't all that easy to lock onto either. The inertial navigation backs up the GPS and I can at least find my way back.

On my motorcycle, I use one so I don't have to squint at street signs and look for street numbers on buildings. I can pay attention to my driving and avoiding all the 4-wheel drivers trying to kill me.

Side-splitting bulging batts, borked Wi-Fi... So, how's that Surface slab working out for you?

Tikimon

Re: 1 year warranty? I don't think so...

It's not a T-shirt, but I have a business dress shirt I pulled out of a dumpster in 1984. I still wear it, and frequently get COMPLIMENTS on it which cracks me up. So what's that, 35 years? Is the tailor even still in business? (somebody got thrown out just after New Year I guess, half a household was in there. Me and the other stock guy loaded up that day.)

German privacy probe orders Google to stop listening in on voice recordings for 3 months

Tikimon
FAIL

Re: we paused language reviews of the Assistant to investigate

Translated from Corporate SlimeSpeak: "We're waiting for the media fuss to die down and then go back to doing whatever we bloody want to and laugh at you pathetic sheeple. WHAT YA GONNA DO ABOUT IT? HUH? WHAT? HAHAHAHAAA!"

And we're back live with the state of the smartphone market in 2019. Any hope? Yeah, nah

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: Sales 101: When you can't sell by adding new features, take away existing ones.

You're probably right. But all this is because the stupid tech industry has bet the farm on the outdated "Frequent Trade In and Planned Obsolescence" sales model that auto manufacturers used to foist on us. That worked so well, the American auto makers gave the market to Japanese companies as cash-strapped buyers sought better vehicles and kept them for a useful life. The US car makers are still trying to catch up on reliability and long-term value.

Those who ignore history will blindly repeat it, and the tech industry has done both.

Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: A more realistic image...

Bah. These days, "hackers" are well-paid professionals working for well-funded organizations. They probably dress business casual, work in offices with carefully unexciting paint schemes and a few pictures on the desk. Such outfits - teamwork yanno - won't have a place for screw-ups with no social skills, bad hygiene, and dress like hobos.

Like intelligence officers (spies) they look exactly like everyone else.

For heaven's sake: Japan boffins fail to release paper planes in space after rice wine added to rocket fuel

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: A suggestion

And I seem to be the only one insisting that it needs actual flight testing! As far as I know, the plane has never actually flown, even in a drop test from an aircraft. Ask any professional test pilot how many weird little problems a new aircraft has.

If it crashes what are the odds of a second try? Pretty much Zero. So do everything (affordably) possible to get it right the first time. An unpowered drop test would test its flight capabilities AND the control software (it's supposed to be autonomous). Surely someone with a wind tunnel could be persuaded (case of beer?) to test its structural integrity at high speed. If I recall right they already redesigned the control pivots once. What else is lurking?

I hope LOHAN flies one day, and I'd really like it to succeed, not crash or break up in midair.

Satellites with lasers and machine guns coming! China's new plans? Trump's Space Force? Nope, the French

Tikimon

Don't shoot them, Tackle them

Any sort of space weapon system will require certain things. Assuming it's not being controlled from the ground, it will need a way to locate and track a target. It will need propulsion and maneuvering capability. And really, that's all you need. Instead of shooting or ramming the target into shrapnel, match speeds and grab it in a space tackle. Then fire the drive to push the intact target out of orbit, and/or set it spinning. Various ways to grab on, testing would find the best way.

Someone with a better grasp of orbital mechanics than me can address this, but I don't believe it takes too much to deorbit a satellite. They only have so much maneuvering fuel, and a second Tackle can be sent if needed. It's tough for most satellites to do much useful work with a 30 RPM (unplanned) rotation, and again only so much fuel for the cursing ground controllers to resist it. Once the target is sufficiently out of control and not being boosted now and then, it might drop into the atmosphere on its own.

Relatively simple, inexpensive, effective, and no extra space junk created. Could work.

Can't dance? That's no excuse. Let a robot do it for you at this 'forced exoskeleton rave'

Tikimon
Thumb Up

Okay, serious use here

I can think of a great use for the machine-controlled human scenario. It would be very handy for learning to do certain dynamic body movements. The machine carries your body through the motions, you FEEL what it's like, how fast, etc. Then YOU do it. The system would evaluate how well you move and maybe make small corrections and spoken comments or guidance. It would be your personal Sensei, but not limited to watching you and telling you what to do. Also, many things like Tai Chi have you turning around while keeping your head in position, making it impossible to see what the instructor is doing. If the instructor is ON you, that's not a problem.

Braking bad? Van with £112m worth of crystal meth in back hits cop car at police station

Tikimon
Facepalm

Who ARE these people?

No drugs, only a "crash into the cops" story. Was in downtown Atlanta one night, waiting for the light to change so I could cross. Barely any traffic, very quiet at that hour. A police car was in the left of two lanes waiting for the same light. A 1970's-era land ship rolls up... and sideswipes the whole right side of the police car. CRRRRUUUNCH! They came to rest jammed firmly against the cop car and lined up with the front like a drag race start. Siamese cars, almost.

The cop turned on his lights, turned off his engine, got out with a clipboard. The two people in the demolition derby car just sat and stared ahead. I sat down to watch, but then every police car in Atlanta arrived lights and sirens going, parking every which way so I left before my car got blocked in.

Maybe they were going to buy their ticket for Ark B? Can we hope?

Florida man pretending to be police pulls over real police, ends badly, claim cops

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: Is that a serious offence

"Many states have a rule that you don't have to stop for an unmarked police car and don't use unmarked cars for traffic stops - precisely because the response of some Americans is to shoot first and ask questions later."

Wrong, you ignorant ass. That's so a woman doesn't have to stop for a possible rapist with a flashing light on his dashboard. She can legally drive to a more public area or a police station before stopping. You'll also never find a police force without unmarked cars for the simple reason that traffic stops are a great moneymaker.

Back in the 80's some creep was doing just that a few miles from where I lived. Women quit stopping for unmarked cops for months. I'm a little surprised people still try this now that everyone has a mobile phone and can call for help (with location!).

It's all in the wrist: Your fitness tracker could be as much about data warfare as your welfare

Tikimon
FAIL

How delightfully naive

"I'm also pretty sure Garmin aren't doing anything nefarious with my data as it would be too much of a PR disaster for them."

Do you still believe they care? Has even one of the many data grabbing/hoarding/selling "PR disasters" caused the least bit of positive change in ANY company? Hell no! They say "Oh we're sorry, protecting the data we stole from competitors is really important to us. Oh and by the way, WHAT YA GONNA DO ABOUT IT? BWAHAHAHA!"

The secret is out. Your outrage means NOTHING and they know it. A few days of press releases and it's back to business.

Finally, an AI that can reliably catch and undo Photoshop airbrushing. Who made it? Er, Photoshop maker Adobe

Tikimon
Thumb Up

Re: Leave the tools alone though

Is this really a question? Digital photo editing has plenty of legit uses. "Professional" photographers can take a thousand pictures and take time to find the best ones. I can't, and probably can't make those tourists move for more than a few seconds either. Well then, have to airbrush out that crying kid. I didn't notice that Aunt Jane closed her eyes when I shot the group photo. Guess I'll clone stamp her eyes from the previous shot. Background blown out on a shady pavilion picture? White balance background adjustment. I've had loads of fun with friends' pics as well, swapping heads around, adding sharks or yetis, all kinds of surreal stuff. Gets lots of laughs and never hurt anyone yet.

Digital editing is a great way to compensate for not taking those thousand pictures in search of Perfect. It lets you get a Close Enough shot and do a little cleanup. Faking is only a sin when it's presented as evidence of the truth and a lie can cause harm.

Tikimon
Coat

Expect a population drop soon

The day is coming soon when your average person can check a Match or Tinder portrait and detect that it's been manipulated. When they reverse the changes and see what the prospect REALLY looks like, lots and lots of sex just won't happen anymore. It will affect all searches for all purposes - booty calls, Friends with Benefits, and long-term relationships.

You gotta be kitten me: Pakistan politicos feline silly after filter farce hits purrrfect conference

Tikimon

OMG! I never understood the threat of Deep Fakes before, but that.. that just looks SO REAL! His own mother must be thinking back, "did he ALWAYS have cat ears?" We can't let this dangerous technology fall into the hands of foreign terrorists!

This isn't Boeing to end well: Plane maker to scrap some physical cert tests, use computer simulations instead

Tikimon
Devil

"simulations" and "models", bwahaha

Ever notice how CG graphics in movies tend to look... not quite right? Spend what you will, there's always a giveaway. In-camera effects, stunt work, THOSE look real. You'll never mistake a real stunt for CG.

Computer-generated anything all has the same flaw. They only contain what the creator knew about and tried to include. Furthermore, it's the designer's interpretation of something real, and again subject to human limits. Real life takes care of all the details. Hair blows right, the textures are good, objects move with correct inertia along the right paths. All the thousand little details that the best paid CG outfit would never think of.

Ask any test pilot. Their job is to find out how the craft flies in Real Life, including any little quirks of behavior the designers absolutely never imagined might happen. Boeing's models and simulations by definition do not include anything unexpected, and are unfit to "test" a toothpick for its breaking point.

I'll go farther and say that there's far too much reliance placed on this kind of crap, modeling in computers instead of Finding Out for real. It's the ultimate Search Bubble, you'll only see what you've seen before and the model can regurgitate back to you. Another flawless test! Oh, it crashed? Well, I guess we'll add that to the model!

2,500 years ago, these folks weren't cremated – but their funeral-goers were absolutely baked: Earliest evidence of pot smoking discovered

Tikimon

Re: Drugs are bad hmmmm k

"Someone should let the Muricans™ know, get the World Police™ to arrest these cave dwellers..."

I SAW THE JOKE ICON, OK? But still, you're badly out of date. Marijuana is rocketing toward legalization all across the country. Medical MJ is legal in many states, recreational use is decriminalized in many others, growing is legal in some states, and it's only picking up speed. The movement is at the state level driven by us citizens, pretty much daring the Federal government to intervene. The Feds have not, because they know they would lose in the inevitable Supreme Court case.

Americans are not inclined to call ANY police on potheads. There's always a small group, but really nobody cares about jailing stoners.

In my lifetime tobacco (supported by big companies and lobbyists) has become unacceptable, and marijuana (supported by regular citizens and local organizations) has become acceptable. Awesome.

Alexa Conversations: Amazon's AI assistant is about to get a whole lot more like Clippy

Tikimon
Facepalm

Ah, there's the end-goal...

"Therefore, it is winner takes all for whatever Alexa comes up with when you order something generic like travel, everyday home items or local services like a plumber or electrician. You will not see the equivalent of the 10 blue links offered by search engines, which at least give some semblance of choice."

How did I not see this before? This beats browser dominance by lightyears. Soon enough companies will pay the assistant's masters (not you) to give THEIR product/service top listing for a given search. Which will of course give the Alexa/Cortana/BigBrotherBot drivers immense power to decide what products succeed or fail. Think the top ten browser results are influential? Try being the first suggestion Alexa makes.

Instead of finding you the best match for your needs, Alexa and friends will show you the product that paid the most to be seen. Far from bringing us the world, these abominations will limit choice and steer us where their masters want us to go. Fick das.

Church roofs? Nyet, say Russian scrap thieves, we're taking this bridge

Tikimon
Facepalm

Stealing whole SHIPS from the seafloor

In the Pacific, several shipwrecks from World War II have entirely disappeared. Whole ships, leaving only an impression on the seafloor. The process continues. Bastards.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2168646/how-does-entire-shipwreck-disappear-bolts-and-all

Apple iPrunes iTunes: Moldering platform's death expected to be announced at WWDC

Tikimon
Facepalm

Don't need Itunes for an Ipod

A few years ago Itunes decided to delete various songs on my Ipod, about 20% of them if I recall. I never bought a damn thing from Apple, so they probably decided my freebies and finders and bought-somewhere-else tracks were "unauthorized". Whatever that case, that's the LAST time I let Itunes anywhere near my Ipod.

Since then I've been using CopyTrans. Lets me load anything I want on my Ipod, without Big Brother Apple deciding what I can and can't do with it. I suspect there are other non-Apple utilities to let you manage your 'pod, have a look see.

Gaze in awe at the first ever movie of a solar eclipse from recording long thought lost forever

Tikimon
IT Angle

If you EVER have the chance...

If you will ever be within 200 miles of a total eclipse of the sun, GO SEE IT! Stay overnight if you must. Pictures don't express it, descriptions fall short. I finally saw one two years ago and I'll never miss another one on this continent. Our group were all wonder-filled geeks with good imaginations, and we were still blown away.

"So it gets dark and the sun turns black, so what?" It's NOTHING like dusk (dim light from sideways and often red-shifted) or a cloudy day (gray diffuse light). It's really weird. The light has the same spectrum, it still comes from above casting sharp shadows, the sky is still clear... but the light steadily fails. We all kept swiping at our eyes, it felt like something was wrong with them. It was blazing hot and blinding bright, but now we're standing in the open, cool and comfy without sunglasses.

Then the Shadow swept across the world. We saw it coming as distant clouds went dark, and the light dropped to its lowest. We lowered our sun shields and gazed in wonder at the black hole with wild white hair where our star used to be. It was like standing on an alien world, everyone felt that way. Far away past the edge of the shadow, we saw the world brightly lit by the sun. It's not just the occluded sun that makes an eclipse awesome. It's the total experience of the world turning very strange, birds going quiet, crickets starting to sing, and so on.

All too soon it was over. I looked down for some reason and saw a pattern of thin lines go racing across the ground. WTF? It was gone before I could get anyone else to look, but I heard from others who saw that phenomenon.

I hope I've inspired someone to make the effort one day. If you do, one word of advice. Take a quick picture or two to document the occasion, and STOP. You can download awesome shots from NASA later, better than you can take. You can't watch something so incredible through a stupid viewfinder. Watch and enjoy, don't play with cameras.

Take a hike: Grab a flask of tea – South Korea is opening hiking trails in the DMZ

Tikimon
Trollface

Best escape room EVAR

The Norks could generate some serious cash if they only had a little creativity. Escape rooms are all the rage these days, and North Korea is the mother of all escape rooms. OWN IT and make it pay! They would need to fence off a special zone behind the border, with non-lethal defenses. Then turn paying tourists loose and let them try to escape back to South Korea. Stepping on a "mine" triggers a siren and flashing light, guards have MILES gear. Being "shot" or "blown up" sends you back to the starting line. Have informants on the course who give misleading info and report the player's location to the guards. Build in some obstacles and challenges and have timed events for the adventure race crowd.

Could raise millions, I tell ya...

Brit spy chief: We need trust or we won't have a 'licence to operate in cyberspace'

Tikimon
Devil

Re: History

"his agency "must have the legal, ethical and regulatory regimes to foster public trust, without which we just don't have a licence to operate in cyberspace".

Translated to read: "We need to change the law to legitimize and extend our ubiquitous state surveillance. Then when people complain about spying we can piously say we're doing nothing illegal. The public will then discard all their objections and happily fall into place behind Big Brother!"

Sorry you jerks. We know when a law is unjust and that won't make anyone love you. It will make us mistrust you more, watching you removing our rights and using Newspeak to brand your evil acts as beneficial. A Police State by any other name...

Behold, the insides of Samsung's Galaxy Fold: The phone that tears down all on its own

Tikimon
Facepalm

Re: Two screens with an infinitesimally-precise and tiny mating junction

"On the other hand the "notch" was universally accepted."

NO IT WAS NOT. Most real people hate it. The TECH industry insists the notch was accepted, just as they insist we're OK being spied on rather than pay for services (and other self-serving assertions). It's an old propaganda technique. Repeat a lie over and over, then people hear it so often they start to believe it must be true.

Don't confuse "Lack of choice" with "acceptance". Lots of Windows 10 machines and growing, but it's not because people were eager to use it! You simply can't buy a non-10 Windows machine anymore. On the other hand, plenty of non-"smart" TVs can be found and are selling quite well.

It was that gosh-darn anomaly again, says SpaceX as smoke billows from Crew Dragon test site

Tikimon
Devil

SpaceX is not a news organization

When anything happens (or appears to have done so) news weenies rush to get SOMETHING out there. They have to be first, most informed, etc... or more commonly try to pretend that they are. They gotta grab those viewers before the other media outlet does! This famously leads to talking heads immediately saying nothing useful (because they must be talking!) and and showing the same video clip every five minutes.

So now everyone expects SpaceX to rush out a meaningless statement like the talking heads would. I'm glad they don't! They already said "It blew up. We don't know why, we're going to figure it out. More info later." There is nothing more to be added yet.

Nevertheless, strident ignoramuses here are demanding detailed statements or CONSPIRACY! SpaceX are sweeping bad news under the rug as always! They're hiding things! They're withholding cancer cures! They cloned Hitler! No you fools, they simply don't speak until they have something useful to say. I for one appreciate that.

Not another pro-Brexit demo... though easy to confuse: Each Union Jack marks a pile of poo

Tikimon
Devil

And a variant...

"Aim carefully! It's shorter than you think."

Yay, you lose weight and get rad hardened in space! Nay, your genes go awry and your brain slows down when you return to Earth!

Tikimon
Angel

Re: Very cool, but..

NOT Expendable, test pilots are instead the BEST you can find and highly educated. Don't assume "high risk job" means "expendable".

The most important thing for test pilots is the ability to react quickly to the unexpected. New vehicles can do some weird and surprising things. A test pilot might only have a few seconds to react to a problem before it kills him. That's when the engineering degree, thousands of hours of flight experience in several aircraft types, and a steely disposition work together to figure out how to survive... and maybe even bring the plane back intact. Hardly the job for an "expendable monkey".

Any test flight also has one or more other test pilots as "chase pilots" following along in other aircraft. If something goes wrong with the test flight, the chase pilots can observe from outside, offer advice, or in some cases talk a blinded pilot down to a safe landing. Chuck Yeager was one of the best test pilots ever and as chase pilot saved many another pilot's life.

Motion detectors: say hello, wave goodbye and… flushhhhhh

Tikimon
Devil

Re: Come on!

Hell no! Classic Start, all the way!

As Alexa's secret human army is revealed, we ask: Who else has been listening in on you?

Tikimon
Unhappy

Re: What do you expect ?

"Although, of course anything in the EULA that is illegal is anyway void even if user 'consents' to it, and if challenged is unenforceable."

As if any of us have a big pile of money to make that challenge. Try it and see how many lawyers the company throws at you. We have no real rights or recourse.

Tikimon

"It's a sad case of affairs when we have awesome technology and gadgets available to us but we don't want to use them because the way the big companies have implemented these gadgets to spy and store as much as possible about us."

You're totally missing the point! We've been endlessly TOLD this is awesome technology and that we should want it! New! Shiny! You clearly fell for the pitch. But really, it was designed straight up to be a proprietary spy platform. Lock us in, sell us more things to bolt onto the system, gather all the data possible and sell it. They then justify the spying with mealy-mouth promises of "personalization" as if they're doing us a favor.

There's good reason we're afraid of this stuff, these products were never designed for US. They were designed to benefit the COMPANY. They're trying hard to convince us we need it. It's just like "wearables" and 3D TV, shiny new tech we really have no need for, but they desperately want us to adopt because they made it.

Samsung's tricksy midrange teasers want your flagship catch

Tikimon
Devil

Eyes on the damn market please

My impression these days is that tech companies look at only two things when designing products. What do they have the capability for, and what is the competition doing? Capability because if you don't have a Five-Eyes camera, you can't include it on your phones. But then it comes down to "what has Apple and Samsung done?"

Correct focus: what does the TARGET MARKET want? Why do these dickheads never ask US? Did millions of us beg and plead for a big black dead zone on the screen? Did we angrily demand edge-to-edge screens so we can accidentally trigger things? Did any of us demand to be released from removable-battery hell, saved from the horror and agony of a headphone jack? Hell no we did not, but that's what the stupid industry keeps throwing at us.

It's a huge disconnect, ignoring consumer wants to copy The Other Guy because they don't know any better than to imitate each other's misguided design choices. I sneer when I hear the word "innovation" tossed around, there's so little of it to actually be found.

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