* Posts by veti

3118 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa

veti Silver badge

Re: What about the antisocial?

I don't think enforcement is the point. It's just another obstacle to filter out people who are less committed to visiting, and another tripwire that can be used to summarily throw them out of the country if it's expedient to do so.

Nobody cares about or is going to do anything with the information. It's the act of providing it that matters.

Sex and drugs and auto-tune: What motivates a millennial perp?

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Re: "does not make....sense"

One trouble of such systems is that they inevitably depend on the input of many people. Some of those people are aware of what they're doing, others not. Some are consciously or subconsciously trying to manipulate the outcome. Nearly all are manipulating the data, if only to make themselves look better.

All have subtly, or not so subtly, different ideas of what's relevant to the question.

Then all this bullshit gets fed into a system designed by a psychopath to solve a problem that is about four orders of magnitude more complex than anyone concerned realises.

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Sex and money aren't real? I think you'd have trouble defending that.

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I'm confused. If that's what illogical decisions are based on, what exactly drives the "logical" ones?

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Re: Well there might be a bright side

What sort of taste do you expect, from "the estate of Donald Trump"?

Introducing 'freedom gas' – a bit like the 2003 deep-fried potato variety, only even worse for you

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Re: My main regret ...

That's a bit defeatist. Not the conclusion, I think she's completely right that there's no point in her meeting him, but the reasoning.

It is possible to change Trump's mind with science. Bill Gates famously talked him out of being anti-vax. But it's not possible on this specific issue, because it would be politically inconvenient for him to be converted. Truth is irrelevant, all that matters to him is winning.

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Re: @ Geoffery Sleep is a Good Thing(TM)

Many, many people have tried to predict the precise time of the Rapture. To date, all of them have been wrong. And not just "wrong" in the sense of being out by a few hours or days or years because of some imperfections in their data, but in the sense of their entire argument being based wholly on fallacies.

Of course it's possible that one day someone may get it right, but at the moment they have a 100% failure rate in the same way as humans have a 100% mortality rate. There are people who have not yet died, so technically that rate isn't really 100% on a strict evidentiary basis, but most people are pretty confident of it.

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet

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Re: I was fine with the first indictment

I think that's the idea.

Trump doesn't really want Assange on trial in the US, no telling what sort of embarrassments that might lead to. What he wants is to pose as a tough guy for his followers, provoke the press into attacking him, maybe provoke Congress into impeaching him, and provoke the Europeans into defying him. All of which will play directly to his standard speech about how it's America against the world and no one but him will stand up to them.

Assange himself is irrelevant, nobody except Assange really cares what happens to him. He's become a prop now. Potentially useful for all sorts of people and purposes, but only for what their posturing says to their own voters.

AI can now animate the Mona Lisa's face or any other portrait you give it. We're not sure we're happy with this reality

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As I've said before, we urgently need camera makers to embed digital signatures at the moment of taking every picture. That would make the easier kinds of fakery easy to spot.

No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences

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Re: Huawei forward

14th amendment (again):

"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, [...] shall not be questioned."

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Re: 5G patents....

Hmm. Delay 5G by five years? Not a bad idea.

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Re: Huawei forward

Unless the Chinese govt rolls over and declares Trump the winner of his trade war, apparently. If that happens, all the security worries will blow away like a fart in the wind.

How does that work, exactly? Well, since Trump has never bothered to spell out what he wants the Chinese to do, he can declare victory at any moment, but he wants a statement of surrender to show the faithful.

Ahem, ahem... AI engine said to be good as human docs at spotting lung cancer developing

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Re: Not a big fan of AI

The story says that the AI produces better results - both fewer false positives and false negatives - than the average human radiographer.

Presumably some human radiographers are more skilled than others. Maybe the best of them could still beat the AI, I don't know. But the thing is, not everyone can be screened by "the best" humans. Humans don't scale that way.

But AI does. So if the AI outperforms the average radiographer - which is what the story claims - then it's good enough, and adding a human review step to the process would likely reduce the quality - by introducing delay, and increasing the likelihood of errors (both ways).

Lyft, Uber drivers boost app surge prices by turning off, tuning out – and cashing in

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Re: Fraud

They don't have to convince a jury. I'm pretty sure Lyft can boot a driver without dragging it through any courts.

Do Not Track is back in the US Senate. And this time it means business. As in, fining businesses that stalk you online

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Re: Why do politicians want to make everthing overcomplicated.

And, make web hosts legally liable for the behaviour of every bit of code run on their servers...

... or in the visitor's browser...

... hmm, actually that's not as simple as it sounds. Basically, it means every line of Javascript has to be vetted by the hosting company. That's maybe not a bad idea, but it certainly changes the landscape, and not all those changes will be for the better.

For instance, it will hand yet another solid competitive advantage to Google/Amazon/etc., who could maintain their own solid libraries of pre-approved scripts. Good luck to up-and-coming hosts trying to keep up with those.

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy: Run Huawei, Google Play, turns away, from Huawei... turns away

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Re: Continuous Integration vs Donald Trump

Oh right, I'm sure American consumers will be queuing up to buy these things now.

Exclusive: Windows for Workgroups terror the Tartan Bandit confesses all to The Register

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Re: The lengths you have to go to...

What are you afraid of users doing to the C drive with Chrome?

Tesla big cheese Elon Musk warns staffers to tighten their belts in bid to cut expenses (again)

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Re: I don't get it...

Pro tip: the numbers of results that Google claims to have found should not be taken literally.

When Google claims there are 19 million results to your query, sometimes it's worth paging through some. Quite often I find the results dry up after 20, 30 or so pages (i.e. well under 1000 actual results).

Tesla driver killed after smashing into truck had just enabled Autopilot – US crash watchdog

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My point exactly. "The manual says" - when did we start treating that as a defence in cases of wrongful death?

If the system requires you to RTFM or die, then the very least you need to do is to ensure that the importance of the reading - and following instructions - is forcefully impressed on your customer. What steps does Tesla take to ensure that?

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"the paper argues that the system's imperfections may be what keeps drivers attentive"

Talk about making a virtue out of a flaw...

Drivers wouldn't need to be attentive, if the damn' thing did what they clearly believe it does. So the question is, why are Tesla's salespeople (and remember, this is the company that bypasses the old channels and sells its own cars direct to the public) failing to make sure that their customers know exactly what "autopilot" does and doesn't do?

(Note, I don't say they're not telling them - I have no experience or knowledge of their driver education programme. But clearly, a non-trivial number of their buyers complete their transaction without forming an accurate understanding of their new toy. So whatever they are telling them, it's not working.)

Freed whistleblower Chelsea Manning back in jail for refusing to testify before secret grand jury

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Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

She can't plead the fifth unless she can claim to be in legal jeopardy herself. Since she's already served her time over this episode, that could be a tough sell.

Personally I think she doesn't mind being in jail, as long as it means she also gets to be a martyr and a cause celebre. It's going to jail that's made her famous, and kept her in the headlines. For some people, that must feel like a worthwhile trade.

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Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

It's not a life sentence, it's a sentence that she can end at a moment's notice any time she wants.

And the Fifth Amendment says that you can't be compelled to testify against yourself. Implicit in its very existence is the assumption that you absolutely can be compelled to testify against anyone else. This is what that "compulsion" looks like.

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Re: One crime.

It's not a "punishment" exactly, it's meant to be coercive. It's meant to last until either she gives in, or the reason for imposing it vanishes. The flip side is that since it's not a fixed sentence, she can end it any time she chooses.

Is it "fair"? Well, maybe not. But the word "subpoena" means "under penalty". The whole point is that if you don't comply with it, there's a price to pay for refusing.

China trade tariffs? Fuhgeddaboudit, say Cisco execs. We, er, shifted some production

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Maybe, maybe not. I note the most immediate effect of Trump's policies was that the trade balance with China actually got worse in 2017 and 2018. (Figures here, if you're interested.) And the US balance of trade with the world as a whole has deteriorated badly in the past two years. (Source.)

So who has the upper hand in these talks? My money is on "the side that's holding more than $1.1 trillion in IOUs from the other".

You're on a Huawei to Hell, China tells US: We'll fight import tariffs, trade war to bitter end

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Re: Have a beer

Best Huawei-based pun this week. Thank you, Reg.

Let's check in with our friends in England and, oh good, bloke fined after hiding face from police mug-recog cam

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I foresee a market opportunity

Coming soon to an open-air market near you: pre-pixellation masks, consisting of differently-aligned blocks of translucent plastic, with clear panes or holes over the eyes...

What are you waiting for?

Banhammer Republic: Trump declares national emergency, starts ball rolling to boot Huawei out of ALL US networks

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Re: "Unacceptable risk", eh? - let me guess

The thing about social and cultural and economic alignment, though, is that it's a shifting target.

The US and UK are closely aligned because generations of leaders, on both sides, have taken care to keep them that way. If Trump is anything to go by, those days are gone now, and the two will inevitably drift apart. At the same time, China has spent the past 15 years on a major political and economic charm offensive.

By this time, once-staunch US allies such as Japan and South Korea are already looking thoughtfully at China. If the US can't be trusted to protect them, then they'll need to reach an understanding of some sort there. The Chinese are wooing Australia and New Zealand, Chile and Guatemala, Germany and Italy. They've got the money, and Trump has handed them the initiative.

Maybe the UK will remain in the US sphere. Maybe the relationship really is special. But I wouldn't take it for granted.

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"Unacceptable risk", eh? - let me guess

Risk of Russian government running covert misinformation campaigns during US elections: completely acceptable.

Risk of politically connected US non-profits exchanging coded communications with dubious Russian banks: absolutely fine.

Risk of overseas company hacking private emails from a political party: dandy.

Risk of Chinese company showing that their technology is both better and cheaper than that of US competitors: UNACCEPTABLE.

Prez Trump's trade war reshapes electronics supply chains as China production slows

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Re: It's the economy stupid

The "hardworking midwest farmers' aren't going to see any of that money.

As Trump very well knows, the money collected from tariffs is not his to give away to them even if he wanted to (and spoiler: he wouldn't if it was). That would be "spending", which needs to be authorised by Congress. All he's trying to achieve with that promise is to make himself look good at Congress's expense.

FCC promises, yet again, to tackle robocalls. Translation: Expect six more months of waiting

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Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

It's not chiefly about what they charge consumers, but what they charge each other.

Every time you call somebody on a different network, or make a long-distance call, that call gets routed through 2, 3 or more networks. Those networks have detailed records of all the calls they route on each others' behalf, and every month they'll send each other huge invoices for those services.

That's one way the networks can afford to offer flat rates to consumers: the calls the consumer actually makes are not the biggest part of revenue they get, the calls made to them are just as important. Possibly more so, if the market is suitably competitive - because the rates between companies are set by long-term, wide-scale agreements, so less elastic.

To put it another way: a lot of people say, in the context of Facebook, that "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product". Now, you've just told me you're not paying for the calls you make, only for the connection to make them on. What does that tell you about the market for phone calls?

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Re: SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID Authentication

Carriers are against any solution that reduces their revenue.

Their revenue is directly proportional to the number of calls they connect. See the problem there?

This is why access to the henhouse should be controlled by hens, not weasels.

UK Home Office: If we want Ofcom to break the law, that should be perfectly legal

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Re: Ofcom declined to comment, while the Home Office had not responded by the time of publication

The people who get to bend the law to their will are not simply a class - lobbyists, or politicians, or the rich. The people who succeed in this endeavour all have one thing in common: long attention spans. They're the ones who keep on trying, after the weekend campaigners and hashtag-bandwagon-jumpers have moved on.

Of course, rich people and companies - if they're wise - employ full-time minions (lobbyists) to keep paying attention on their behalf. And protest voting does nothing to change this, because most of the protesters - even if they did, momentarily, happen to unite around one banner - will promptly move their focus on to their choice of "next bandwagon", thus diffusing any force they might otherwise have applied.

Get in line, USA: Sweden reopens Assange rape allegations probe

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Re: Prosecutor is an criminal asshole

Some Anonymous Coward is throwing an awful lot of pro-Assange talking points into this "debate".

I wouldn't mind, except that every single one of them is clearly and demonstrably complete bollocks. Please, link to something that makes an explicit argument rather than innuendo, or STFU.

(This "expired' point, for instance - as you very well know - applies to lesser charges but not to "rape", which believe it or not is considered a serious crime, not the sort that expires after five years.)

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Here is a list of detainees in Gitmo. Look down the names. Anything jump out at you? Anything at all?

True, there is one name among the 500-plus that's as western as "Julian Assange'. David Hicks was detained there for a bit over five years before being deported to Australia. But he maintained his name was Mohammed Dawood, and he was captured in Afghanistan during the US invasion, so still not quite like Assange.

Freaky photo flingers face fat fines for flagrant phallus flashing fun

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Re: Potentially a good idea.

Singapore makes no claims to be democratic or free. And yet it manages to be reasonably prosperous and happy (ranks 34th in the World Happiness Report - that's below the US or UK, but above, e.g. Spain, Italy or Japan).

Population density makes a difference. If 5.6 million people are going to live in 721 km2 without public health hazards arising, that's a very different matter from containing them in the comparatively-wide-open spaces of Newark or Chicago.

Tech giants get antsy in Northern Virginia: Give us renewable power, there's a planet to save... and PR to harvest

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Re: Money Talks

"Renewable" doesn't have to be unreliable. Germany in particular has colossal amounts of straw waste from arable production (which can be burned as biomass), and plenty of undeveloped potential for geothermal power. Both of these can be every bit as reliable as coal or nuclear.

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As of 2013, coal mining employed a total of 16,000 people in Virginia. (Source.) That compares with over 180,000 in computing/tech jobs (source), including over 4000 employees at Google.

Maybe it's time the state gov't looked a little harder at its electors.

AI has automated everything including this headline curly bracket semicolon

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Re: Are you sure real stupidity get us there

Unfortunately, a failure to resist the blandishments of AI is a trait that will select strongly and quickly against both the characteristics "rich" and "powerful".

Each scam, aimed at such people, will only work once. If you want to go on milking it repeatedly, you have to target the only-mildly-rich and hardly-at-all powerful. See Bitcoin, for example.

Portal to 'HELL' cracks open in street – oh sorry, it's just another pothole

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Re: Warning - tory bashing.

Labour certainly did their bit, but let's not pretend that austerity was "necessary". It was a political choice, as it always is.

Put a stop to these damn robocalls! Dozens of US state attorneys general fire rocket up FCC's ass

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Re: My 3 steps to avoiding robocalls.

Calls from overseas should show the caller's number correctly. If they don't, then don't connect them.

Until the responsibility for this shit gets placed squarely on the carriers, nothing will happen. Fining the callers accomplishes nothing, they're too small and too slippery.

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Re: Of course the FCC is doing nothing

Too true. He makes the worst of them look like Jimmy Stewart.

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Re: No change

The problem is that they're trying to fine the person who places the call.

What they should be doing is fining the company that connects the call (i.e. the one that's making a profit out of it).

US foreign minister Mike Pompeo to give UK a bollocking over Huawei 5G plans

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Re: 51st state

Not true. John McCain, Republican nominee in 2008, was born in Panama. The only requirement is that you must be a "natural born citizen".

Megan's kids could certainly meet that requirement, since she hasn't renounced her citizenship (and is presumably still paying federal income tax, the more fool her).

However, the kid won't be eligible to run until at least 2054 (which isn't a presidential year, so 2056, unless something happens to the election cycle).

'Software delivered to Boeing' now blamed for 737 Max warning fiasco

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Re: Management's job

Every story I see about this episode makes me angrier with Boeing. I mean, management avoiding personal responsibility - that I expect. But they seem intent on denying that there was anything wrong at all.

So they won't learn lessons from it.

The CEO should be in jail by now.

Firefox armagg-add-on: Lapsed security cert kills all browser extensions, from website password managers to ad blockers

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Re: Armagadd-on

Yes, it was a fuckup. As Mozilla has acknowledged, apologised for, fixed to the extent possible, and promised to publish the results of an investigation into. All within three days.

That's pretty good, I reckon.

If the thing you were doing earlier is 'drop table' commands, ctrl-c, ctrl-v is not your friend

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Re: Not an IT guy but..

Yes, but copying and pasting too much of your offline console would screw you up anyway. Even with a transaction.

What boggles my mind is the thought of a console that executes commands the moment they're entered, without waiting for the user to click 'run' or press F5 or whatever.

Tractors, not phones, will (maybe) get America a right-to-repair law at this rate: Bernie slams 'truly insane' situation

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Re: Clarity needed here

It's all part of the Great Copyright Heist, which is to say, the stuff that's stolen from us on a daily basis by the abuse of copyright law.

Tractor requires software to run. Software can only *legally* be run if you comply with T&Cs. Manufacturers can write whatever the hell they want in T&Cs. Therefore, manufacturers can now impose any conditions they want on their toys.

What's really needed (but we'll never get) is a law saying, explicitly, that running any piece of software is an absolute right - that is to say, that the "copy" that's made solely in order to run it is not covered by copyright, and therefore all T&Cs (based on restricting the right to copy) are null and void.

AI can now generate fake human bodies and faces, OpenAI to share a larger GPT-2 model, and more

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At last

I'd just like to mention that the late great Terry Pratchett predicted computer-generated people in 1990.

# ifdefDEBUG + "world/enough" + "time"

Finally we're getting there. I hope to see some filtering implemented on the next generation of Google Glass.

The Year Of Linux On The Desktop – at last! Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 brings the Linux kernel into Windows

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Re: But why?

Now I can run WINE on Windows. How useful is that?

Well, it means I can find out if my important software will run on Linux.


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