* Posts by JimmyPage

2976 posts • joined 5 Mar 2010

Good luck using generative adversarial networks in real life – they're difficult to train and finicky to fix


You can't have artifical *anything*

until you understand the natural version first.

Pretty much does for "AI" then.

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)


Now Apple denying all knowledge too ...

Tsk tsk tsk

BT reopens £90m UK High Court case over 1970s VAT 'overpayments'


Hang on ... *who* paid the VAT ?

VAT is paid from the end consumer, not the company.

So any refund should go to the poor saps who had no choice when BT(or GPO) charged them VAT ?????

I never saw a penny of that VAT HMRC was made to "give back" on Jaffa cakes either.

Hope it doesn't torpedo BTs case, but they really need to learn about "unjust enrichment" .....

Appareils électroniques: Right to repair gets European Commission backing


This jumped out:

While the UK, once actual Brexit happens, won't be covered by the rules it is unlikely that most large manufacturers will want to make separate UK-only Farrage-phones or tablets.

So the UK will have to just accept something made to rules that once it could help draft, but now can't ?

Remind me how "taking back control" works ?

Again ?

Want to own a bit of Concorde? Got £750k burning a hole in your pocket? We have just the thing


Which was the bigger engineering challenge ? Concorde. Or Apollo ?

Bearing in mind some Apollo engineers said they were astounded by the air intake alone for Concorde.

And it flew regularly with civilian passengers unlike the rather showy one-shot Apollo with it's highly trained crew.

Although I'd be happy if we all put our handbags down and celebrated great engineering of the 20th century, whilst simultaneously weeping for the lack of development since then.

These all round ->

EU court tells prudish IP office to fack off for balking at 'fack ju' trademark application

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Re: Grand Tour - Wank, Kissing, Petting, Fucking, Wedding

Officers in the Met used to refer to one of their divisions as the "Dirty division", because it covered Hampton, Feltham, and Staines ....

'That's here. That's home. That's us': It's 30 years since Voyager 1 looked back and squinted at a 'Pale Blue Dot'

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Re: Crows are SMART.

Was amazed on a recent "Monkey Cage" to hear about Australian Eagles that deliberately take burning branches from bushfires, carry them across natural barriers (like rivers) drop them into the trees and wait for the food to start running out from shelter.

There's got to be Huawei we can defeat Chinese tech giant, thinks US attorney-general. Aha, let's buy stake in Ericsson and Nokia


Hardly the US way, is it ? State subsidies and all that.

I hope this gets shot down as the socialist - if not commie - nonsense it is.

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin


So much for "AI" eh ?

that's all really.

El Reg tries – and fails – to get its talons on a Brexit tea towel


RE: Haven't got time to check the details

spoken like a true Brexiteer ....

And you're wrong too. Thales have outsourced it to Poland.


RE: New Blue Passports are being Fabrique en France rather than Built in Blighty?

Actually they're not. Thales (the French company that won the gig) took the decision to further outsource it to Poland, as it's not something they regard as a big deal.


The Daily Mail did briefly try and run an outraged story about poor working conditions in Poland, before it dawned on them what they were really saying. Normal service has been resumed.

Over the Moon? Not quite: NASA boss has a good whinge about 'counterproductive' Authorization Bill

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Re: the POTUS would have been riding in a SR-71 Blackbird.

It's not too late .....

Ever wondered what Microsoft really thought about the iPad? Ex-Windows boss spills beans


Fuck all sympathy from me

Microsoft had a killer platform in Windows Mobile. Decent hardware too. Absolutely pissed all over Android.

Rather than actually support it and push it, they let it fall victim to some weird suicide cult.

Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork


Unintended consequences ?

If wages in the US rise, it will make it a more attractive place for immigrants. Not less.

Why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks' personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address? Seriously, why?


... but it's all publically available anyway ?

The problem is more it's aggregation and integration. Which leads to an interesting - and very valid - legal question about whether anything intrinsically illegal has gone on ? And if so, at what stage ? The actual gathering (of public data ?). The aggregation ? The integration ? Or the scale ?


Re: UK Government for robbing the EU Schengen Database

Er, WTF was the UK - proudly not and never going to be a member of Schengen - doing with a copy of that database ?

Ministry of Justice bod jailed for stealing £1.7m with fake IT consulting contract


Re: "Sophisticated." RU f**king kidding me?

The prosecution (on behalf of the scammed) are obliged to say this. After all if they trumpeted to all and sundry how easy it was, the court case becomes an advert, not a deterrent.

It's the same with people growing the odd cannabis plant. All of a sudden a timer a pump and a carbon filter becomes a "highly sophisticated setup". Simple cross-breeding becomes "genetic engineering" and paying your electricity bill becomes a move "designed to evade detection".

If at first you don't succeed, pry, pry again: Feds once again demand Apple unlock encrypted iPhones in yet another terrorism case


Russian dolls ?

It would be ... interesting if Apple were able to provide the ability to decrypt the phones contents, only for the FBI to discover that the deceased perp rather unsportingly went a step further and made sure that whatever he was storing on the phone was already encrypted with something like proper 4096-bit RSA/AES clout.

Here we go again: Software nasties slip into Google Play, exploit make-me-root Android flaw for maximum pwnage


One reason why I prefer websites to apps.

Although there are 999 others too.

Google Chrome will check for leaked credentials every time you sign in anywhere


Is this *another* attempt to smother me in Gmail shit ?

If so, please, please, please




Uncle Sam challenged in court for slurping social media info on 'millions' of visa applicants


What is "social media" anyway ?

Usenet ?


Web forums (such as UbuntuForums, or any number of website webforums ?)

How about forums you may be registered on, but have never posted on, and never looked at ?

Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Irish eyes aren't smiling after govt blows €1m on mega-printer too big for parliament's doors

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Re: That sounds like feature creep to me

A time reminder that "Pentagon Wars" was really a documentary ...

Who loves Brexit? Irish distributors ... after their sales jump by a third


MORE winning ?

If this is what winning looks like, perhaps we need a lot less of it ?

High Court dismisses nameless Google Right To Be Forgotten sueball man... yes, again


He has also clearly caused significant costs to be incurred by the defendant.

How ? In the name of all that's holy, how ?

English law is designed to keep poor people out of the courts as plaintiffs. So how has this character managed to drag one of the worlds biggest companies into court 10 times without having to put up some sort of bond ?

If you or I tried to sue Google, the very very very first thing that would happen is their brief would simply file a motion asking that the court obtain assurances that we could pay Googles costs if we lost.

So WTF is going on here ?

150 infosec bods now know who they're up against thanks to BT Security cc/bcc snafu


if (count(reply_addresses) > 10) GetAdminClearanceBeforeSending();

Now, where's my £1,000,000 ?

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is: Nobody can decrypt the Dharma ransomware


Re: Parting more suckers from their money

Downvoted, as I really don't like the "they were asking for it" excuse that lets scumbags off the hook.

How about women, wearing "provocative" clothing ? Their fault for being raped was it ?


It's sad that we can't get such "perfect" software

on the side of the angels instead.

Whoever wrote Dharma should have applied their talents to the tsunami of shit software doing the rounds in UK government circles, for a start.

Dough! Jobs microsite for UK's data watchdog set hundreds of cookies without visitors' consent


Recruitment agency turns out to be clueless.

Why is this even news ?

Is El Reg going to start stories on the sun setting later today ? And rising tomorrow ?

Boffins blow hot and cold over li-ion battery that can cut leccy car recharging to '10 mins'


Re: Yeah - brilliant if you live in a city.

Er, didn't I state it would start in the cities ?

I also predicted:

However, you're probably best keeping this knowledge to yourselves. Any discussion in the wider world will run into the "it's all about me brigade" as people use their individual circumstances as a reason that progress will simply stop where it is.

So progress has to stop because you don't live in a city ?


Tinkering at the edges

Electric vehicles are a great example of trying to solve problems in pieces, rather than looking at the bigger picture.

As a replacement for the existing internal combustion engine car, an electric car is pants of the first order, sucks donkey balls, and early adopters are going to end up like Betamax owners of days gone past.

Henry Ford famously observed that if he'd delivered what his customers wanted, it would be "faster horses", and we are at a similar threshold of a paradigm change.

Where electric vehicles will (and it is a "will", not might about it) score big is when you add them to autonomous tech. Which will lead to a "huh" moment as the public twig (and looking at the financial implications will be the killer punch) that it's insane to keep a private car on a drive doing fuck all for 20+ hours a day, when you can Uber-up a taxi in less time than it takes to put a coat on. (Now the Uber interest in self driving cars makes sense).

The future will be a network of driverless cars - all electric, charging as and when (so no need for much more work on batteries). Silently and emissionlessly cruising the streets (this will be a city-first shift) between pickups. No traffic. No accidents. Much less wear and tear on the vehicles themselves, as they will be driven properly and for maximum efficiency.

In 100 years, we will look back at 1900-2000 and be astounded at the existence of private motor car ownership, as we go back to a model of shared resource usage. New houses won't need drives or garages for a start (not that UK houses are built with garages anymore anyway). Which might help.

If you want a "fact" to back me up, how long will it be before the first autonomous car owners start pimping them out on an "Air-ring'n'ride" sort of service. Powered by Uber, no doubt ?

However, you're probably best keeping this knowledge to yourselves. Any discussion in the wider world will run into the "it's all about me brigade" as people use their individual circumstances as a reason that progress will simply stop where it is.

Incidentally, if the future of remote working that was promised us when I was at Uni in the 80s had actually been delivered, it's unlikely we'd be discussing this now.

As for battery tech - fuck the cars, it's the smartphones that need a boost. Really we should be aiming for a week on charge, no matter what you're doing.

If you've made it this far, firstly - well done. Secondly, read backwards and work out all the vested interests that are most definitely not going to like the future that is developing. Then look at where the problems are. I can't guarantee a 1:1 relationship. But it wouldn't surprise me.

Final note - for all the kicking and screaming, what happened to entire industries that were supported by horse-drawn transport as cars took over. They just died. What's happened before can happen again.

Not a good look, Google: Pixel 4 mobes can be face-unlocked even if you're asleep... or dead?



"Liveness detection" - i.e. checking the face being presented was blinking - was available SIX FUCKING YEARS AGO.

How the holy fuck are people like this in business ?

That's it really.

Well, well, well. Fancy that. UK.gov shelves planned pr0n block


Thank goodness this was announced

before anyone spaffed any money on it.

Hands off our phones, says Google: Radar-gesture-sensing Pixel 4 just $999 with a 3-year lifespan – great value!


Assistive tech - fancy that ...

I've been suggesting that the Next Big Thing in tech needs to be features that will be of use to an ageing population that might start having problems with fiddly displays and hint-the-button on a 6" screen.

Is this is ?

Time will tell, but if you are an investor, this is where you need to be looking at.

This, and longer battery life. The more we rely on our mobile tech, the longer it has to run between charges.

Microsoft Teams: The good, the bad, and the ugly


Business still runs on email

"Still" - in my experience, 50% haven't yet started.

Oh dear... AI models used to flag hate speech online are, er, racist against black people


Is anyone surprised ? Really ?

The one constant about "AI" these past few years has been how patently obvious it should be that it isn't in any way shape or form "Intelligent". If there is "AI" (I always quote it, because clearly what I think it is, and what people telling me it is are two different beasts) then Amazon and Google searches would not be as shite as they are (and getting more so).

No amount of clever keyword wrangling is ever going to match true intelligence - which involves KNOWING WHAT THE WORDS MEAN. Not what your database of lexical connections thinks "meaning" is. But ACTUAL MEANING.

You can do a lot with sophisticated pattern matching, and deep data linking. But you can't be "intelligent" doing it.

Criminalise British drone fliers, snarl MPs amid crackdown demands


Just limit working height ?

It's obvious any attempt to limit use based on location is prone to creating more problems than it solves - even if the mechanisms to enforce it existed (which they don't).

Would it not be a better solution to limit working height of drones to <x> metres as a blanket regulation, and then allow licensed exceptions for situations where more height is needed ?

Again, enforcement is still problematic, but much less prone to bunfighting over lines on a map ?

The much wider problem that needs addressing - and I have no idea where to start - is that technology is really testing the "you can do whatever you like as long as it's not illegal" baseline of liberal democracies. Mainly because it provides a dazzling array of ways to make a complete and utter public nuisance of yourself with very little - almost no - effort.

You won't solve non-tech problems by tinkering with the tech. The non-tech problem with drones is morons, and we haven't yet found a solution that that anywhere in history or geography.

HMRC 'disciplined' almost 100 employees for computer misuse over 24 months


Re: What's the issue?

The issue is these idiots have access to yours and mine personal tax details.

In 21st-century tech dystopia, smart TV watches you, warns Princeton privacy prof


I just want a fucking display - no Smartiness whatsoever.

And I will plug in my choice of content delivery hardware.

Is that so hard to fucking get into their thick heads ?

It's like fighting the 70s and 80s war over music centres and separates.


The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row


Re: The Académie française is not happy.

Are they ever ?


Is this just an English thing ?

For a language which doesn't really use genders, it's amusing that they're causing so much hot air.

I wonder how these things pan out in French with it's masculine and feminine words, or even better German with the added frisson of a neuter gender ?

I can see the old joke about the "ATR" button becoming reality. Which might stop some of the more nonsensical extremes of this phenomenon (which, by the way, is nothing new. We had it in the 70s).

Careful now, UK court ruling says email signature blocks can sign binding contracts

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So can Rees sue her solictior for the £25,000 ?

After all why should she be out of pocket because her solicitor - albeit unwittingly - fucked up ?

A quick skim read suggests the judge applied the test of seeing what a contrary ruling would imply - and as he noted, if you take that path, you could never trust any unsigned document, which is certainly not the best outcome.

There's also a bit of confusion using the word "sign" and "signature" here. As far as I can tell, neither party was disputing the provenance or authenticity of the emails. It was "simply" the contractual status of them.

IANAL but I am pretty certain there have been similar cases where post it notes have been used to prove the existence of an agreement. So this ruling isn't too earth shattering. And as has been noted, E&W contract law doesn't even require a physical contract - and hasn't for centuries.

Pesky legacy kit! It's stopping UK.gov getting at your data – watchdog


there is no central repository that lists creaking kit in need of replacement

You'd think the country that invented - and sold ITIL - could manage to apply it in it's own back yard ....

Consumer campaign to keep receiving printed till receipts looks like a good move – on paper


Re: Emailed receipts build up the same plethora of personal data that loyalty store cards collect.

only if its set up that way.

Quite possible to deliver e-receipts anonymously if you wanted to

Off the top of my head, reversing the NFC tap, so that the reader sends the receipt to the device as part of the transaction.

Is anybody working on that ? No.


The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

I'm not against digital receipts, but there have to be some basics ...

1) It has to be permanent. So no links to a file or generate webpage. I want a PDF that I can save.

2) It has to function AS A RECEIPT. So whatever codes or data it needs to carry to convince the retailer it's genuine is the job of the retailer to provide.

3) It has to be ACCEPTABLE IN A COURT OF LAW as evidence.

4) It should need no more data from me beyond an email address. Same way you don't need to provide your inside leg measurement for a Sainsburys till receipt.

Beyond that, I'm not really bothered. But I know, and most people reading this know, that isn't how tech works these days. And that every man plus dog will be outsourcing the job to a bunch of data-slurping cowboys with the goal of making money from providing receipts.

Nine words to ruin your Monday: Emergency Internet Explorer patch amid in-the-wild attacks


At this stage, I'd happily believe the exploit was actually coded by MS

in a bid to remind us IE still exists

The '$4.4m a year' bug: Chipotle online orders swallowed by JavaScript credit-card form blunder


Once again, roll-your-own code turns out to be flaky

Who'd have thought it ?

Of course a lot a less good sites simply try and disable autofill - and autofill helpers like password managers. Which is a real shit if you are relying on them for accessibility assistance. Like my wife.

Call-center scammer loses $9m appeal in stunning moment of poetic justice


Re: Except the jury dont award anything, they decide guilt

Depends on what state, and what law ....

UK taxman wins tribunal case against BBC presenters


TL;DR they were badly advised by their own accountants ?

(which comes as no surprise).

is there a case for suing the accountants then ?

You can trust us to run a digital currency – we're Facebook: Exec begs Europe not to ban Libra


TL;DR - what's the point then ?

By carefully explaining what Libra isn't meant to do - with what seems quite a long list, you do find yourself asking why are Facebook bothering at all ?


Re: Banks don't typically issue their own currencies

There speaks someone who's never tried to spend a Scottish fiver ....


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