* Posts by Harry Kiri

109 publicly visible posts • joined 12 May 2010


Fujitsu sets out on 5-year mission to standardize ERP on SAP S/4HANA

Harry Kiri

For once, Fujitsu will eat their own dog-food...

Agreed on the suicide mission bit, Shunsuke Baba is head of Service Technology so it looks like Fujitsu has Fujitsu as a customer. First thing I thought when I saw this was... do they never learn?

Sorting out business processes always looks easy on visio but is a pain in reality - as ye' ol' saying goes.. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice - but in practice there is.'

Boffins claim discovery of the first piezoelectric liquid

Harry Kiri

Aaah, unfortunately paywalled

Of interest as to whether its a strong piezoelectric effect (so could be used to generate power in wave generators) or not...

ChatGPT (sigh) the fastest-growing web app in history (sigh) claim analysts

Harry Kiri

But can it top 350million?!

In terms of equally useful toys which will get played with, put down and forgotten, its a way bit behind a rubiks cube...

Boffins deploy machine learning in search for intelligent ET

Harry Kiri

Unfortunately I find this unconvincing

Machine learning needs realistic training data to perform a classification task, which this is - is the data presented a 'technosignature' or not. Ideally you'd like a classifier that says 'I've seen something anomalous or different to what I've seen' but that's not how classifiers work, you do need representative data for each of the classes. (Humans are really good at noticing when things are odd without representative data, ML classifiers are not). There is no representative data for a technosignature so its a complete guess if one makes it artificially. This guess is driven into the classifier.

So interesting work and a great idea for a 3rd year undergrad project where it's really more about the project than the discovery, but this isn't serious analysis of 'its aliens'!

Intel inside a world of pain as revenue plunges by a third

Harry Kiri

Re: Slash spending and layoff employees

If you could dig up a reference for this I'd genuinely be really interested!

Harry Kiri

Re: Slash spending and layoff employees

Its been interesting how the hungrier AMD has caught up with Intel - at one point it looked like they were going to the wall and failing. I was told a long time ago that people work best when they're 'hungry', before anyone gets narky about pay and literal hunger, the comment meant not having gazillions in the company bank account that you can free-wheel on and hungry to prove you can do it. Intel have been fantastic over the decades but someone always catches you up or chases an innovation you didn't think to pursue.

So you want to replace workers with AI? Watch out for retraining fees, they're a killer

Harry Kiri

Re: Bring on the Luddites!

The best description I've heard of today's 'AI' is just a jumped up autocomplete. It needs humans to curate all the data, humans to hand fettle, design the structure and build the transform in the network (for that is all it is).

The excitement over GPT3 is just the latest incarnation of people getting excited over implementing tech (and the notion that crude approximations of networked nodes is clever like a brain as it's structured like a brain), as opposed to why the tech solves a given problem. A while ago it was things like Alexa. Before that it was apps on phones, Before that it was Victorian clockwork automaton (as back then the world was deterministic).

The thing about GPT3 and its ilk is that as a thing it is clever, however its output isn't.

Poor Meta. Technical debt and user training made its exabyte-scale data migration tricky

Harry Kiri

Meta found data migration difficult?

Strange - the interface to a skip(*) is usually quite easy to get the hang of...

(*dumpster to the cousins...)

San Francisco politicians to vote on policy endorsing lethal force for robots

Harry Kiri

Kill chain

That's a good point, I don't know about the US but certainly the UK military requires a human in the loop for lethal actions.

Locked out of Horizon Europe, UK commits half a billion to post-Brexit research

Harry Kiri

Re: "the UK remains open to association"

Thankfully no, I am not. And one is too many. A reduction doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it does mean a reduction. You detailing your experiences doesn't negate the argument.

China's first domestic single-aisle jet, the C919, scores 300 orders

Harry Kiri

Re: Historically

You're dismissing poor Chinese build standards as nonsense!? Have you not seen or researched anything regarding the corruption and poor standards in China - its pretty everywhere?!

HSR is not one jot near the complexity of a modern airliner. Certifying an airliner is one thing (and they have struggled badly for this), creating a competitive airliner is another order of magnitude of complexity again. There is every reason to believe that China will never compete with Airbus / Boeing. That demo plane has sat rusting for years as China has struggled to develop it. I've chatted with some European consultants (useful idiots) that China bought in to help develop the plane and its clear that China has neither have the skills or the mindset.

Oh and HSR was not developed by China, reading the same Wikipedia page you did shows that they were built using technology transfer agreements from world-class market leading train makers. You'll also see that its a commercial disaster as well so its not going to wear out soon.

Someone's at last helping AI models understand those with speech disabilities

Harry Kiri

Re: Useful, perhaps...

Collecting, curating and labelling speech for part of a speech recognition database is time-consuming, difficult and expensive. Depending on the speech disability one might also need to re-specify the dictionaries as well as the acoustic models may not match. It might also need differing feature generation as (for example) those with speech disabilities can struggle with plosives (so less emphasis on consonants).

I agree totally that we should focus on enabling technology, the issue is its not always straightforward to map the current approaches to optimally support someone with a specific disability. Obtaining data, either a complete data set or using adaptation data is time consuming and hard work.

UK hospitals lose millions after AI startup valuation collapses

Harry Kiri

This raises a lot of questions...

Public money into an AI startup? Was it seen as a way of bypassing data regulations to get hold of patient data, with the hospitals owning shares? What exactly were Sensyne promising?

Is this the start of the 'AI' hype bubble starting to burst?

Cerebras sets record for 'largest AI model' on a single chip

Harry Kiri

Re: GIGO: the modern version

It's not AI.

It's just a transform from input to output. Potentially complex from a human perspective but just a transform. It models and represents only aspects of the training data.

Personally I wonder about this, the researchers should understand the provenance, validity and scope of their data. If they're just using someone else's scripts to train a model (eg lots of 'researchers' use YOLO for image recognition as it has easy to use training scripts - but don't really know how it works ) then that is poor.

So researcher doesn't know exactly what they're doing, identifies biases and thinks that is indicative of racism / sexism...

No, this is quite poor and indicates a lack of understanding of machine learning and statistics.

IETF publishes HTTP/3 RFC to take the web from TCP to UDP

Harry Kiri


OK, yeah, I can see both sides of the argument here, but personally I like the transport layer to be not closely coupled with the application as this is a bad idea long-term. Whenever different system elements are closely coupled to give an integrated improvement in performance, that's good for today and less so for all of the tomorrows. Through-life support and all that.

Plus, as I've got older, the first and second rules of optimisation make more and more sense.

UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules

Harry Kiri

Its a complete farce.

These rules have never worked. HMRC is out of control and has a vendetta against small businesses. I don't know if its because it makes their life easier if you just have a few big businesses you can have cosy chats with or because they've been given advice by companies that would like small businesses out of the way.

HMRC refused to appear in front of the Commons Business Committee when they were investigating IR35 - HMRC are big on kicking the little (man || woman) but don't like answering questions regarding their own governance.

Terra Quantum nets $75m for cryptography, security work

Harry Kiri

Yeah this is all a bit confusing. Terra Quantum have got 75million which they say will be used to strengthen their crypto{graphy,security} offerings...

But then the article mentions improving chip design by the use of negative capacitance (snigger, inductance!) to counter the built-in (positive) capacitance across the gates in MOSFETs which messes things up. So my intuitive analogue electronics take on this is this then forms a tuned resonant circuit which just creates a whole other host of practical problems. (For one if you're not switching the transistor at its resonant frequency the (positive) capacitance or (negative (snigger, inductance!)) dominate and you're back where you started. Plus in my experience resonant circuits tend to ring like little sods when you'd prefer they shut-up - especially when getting slapped with a nice impulse.

Thankfully the papers rapidly descend into the use of quantum speak making it impossible to argue against...

Questions over timetable slippage in UK taxman's £7bn 'cliff edge' IT procurement

Harry Kiri


They squeeze the pips from small businesses yet fire-hose cash to the big ones. No wonder the status quo is maintained.

UK's Newport Wafer Fab now under Chinese ownership

Harry Kiri

Re: A fortune for pennies

It's interesting to hear what the younger 'woke' generation think is 'nice'. There's an organisation you need to hear about called Amnesty International. They have some quite good examples of what 'not nice' is.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/ (It's in large fonts for the hard of thinking too.)

You might realise what a lovely fluffy bunny world you live in, compared to, well most other places. And how you would be treated if you visited there...

Survey of astronomers and geophysicists shines a light on 'bleak' systemic bullying

Harry Kiri

But unless she has specific history with this individual

It has to be this 'unconscious bias' thing we hear about so much in the news...

Proposed amendments to UK Finance Bill target rogue umbrella companies ripping off contractors after IR35

Harry Kiri

Re: Pennies and Pounds

No, because you pay Corporation Tax on dividends (as well as income tax) which fluctuates around the 20% mark (currently 19%) so in the grand scheme of things it is pennies.

If you're a contractor believe me you feel like you're paying tax all end up, mainly because you are.

China hauls in 13 web giants for ‘supervision interviews’

Harry Kiri

Re: Ethereal AntICQs

Well done, I didnt get past our inscrutable Chinese Wu Mao friend's first sentence! Still 12.5 cents a paragraph will keep one in rice and face masks for a few days.

The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop

Harry Kiri

Re: Can you really get a version that says "Bringing on........

It is a fantastic piece of free software with some very clever algorithms and plug-ins. A lot of comments relate to it being difficult and a steep learning curve and that's fair, but complex things are hard to learn - personally I've plugged away and got it to do what I want, not always on first go.

Complex things either prescribe how you use them, in which case its a pain to get them to do anything different from the author's intended approach, or they provide a tool-kit of options that you have to figure out, gives that steep curve, but is far more flexible. For beginners, gimp and photoshop are similarly complex...

America's democracy on the brink, Brexit looming, climate crashing... when better to get the first fast radio burst from our own galaxy?

Harry Kiri

Re: Not even close.. let me guess, not an American...

"Not an American? Then mind your own f*cking business."

Correct - this is not an American web-site - it's quite worldly. You have a lot of anger, some of which is understandable, but rant somewhere relevant or cool off as you're doing no-one any favours.

On a more relevant note, if anyone is interested in magnetars this is quite an entertaining 15 min explanation (I have no connection to this, I just enjoy his videos).


AI me to the Moon... Carbon footprint for 'training GPT-3' same as driving to our natural satellite and back

Harry Kiri

Re: 190000kWh...

The tragedy of the commons....

190000kWh is a staggering amount of energy that doesn't produce anything tangible. If people using gpt-3 or any other ai are 'clever' then they should be responsible enough to account for the impact of what they're doing.

I've read an estimate that data centres account for 3% of global emissions - the same as air travel. Yep there are error bars there but these things have a cost that needs some recognition.

IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests

Harry Kiri

1. The supposed increase in performance uses a different data set. You cannot claim an increase in performance for your technique if you use different data.

2. You also cannot claim an increase in performance if the false positives aren't stated - just saying everyone is of class X, correctly identifies everyone may be in class X. They may not have Alzheimers or they may have something else as Screwed rightly points out.

Huawei launches UK charm offensive: We've provided 2G, 3G and 4G for 20 years, and you're worried about 5G?

Harry Kiri

Re: The bigger issue is rising Chinese power

"El Regers might know some code, but very little about the world. Do more research, children."

Get you - read one little red book and that's your entire education.

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

Harry Kiri

Re: Meanwhile in IR35 land...

"Get a job with a Company" - This isn't Russia - why should my small Company be picked on to the benefit of the Qinetiqs, PwC, KPMG, Leidos et al?

"Put your rates up" - thanks, hadn't thought of that. The problem with the Putin tax is it is so swingeing you cannot commercially put rates up high enough to compensate.

"Work for more than 2 people per month" - you haven't a clue about IR35, have you? Its on a role by role basis. You can work for one day and still be within IR35.

"The issue is, you're effectively an employee" - if I'm an employee, then EVERYONE who contracts to another company is an employee, so EVERYONE should be caught. Defence Prime supplying the MoD? Well, you're acting as pseudo-employees and working under supervision - day-rates get hit by 63% tax. You provide a service contract? Employee by definition - bang 63% on your service charges. You do design? Then you're acting as a pseudo employee design team - 63% off of your company charged day-rate. Then take it out of the employee wages - maybe that will focus a few minds which are coming over as a bit blunt.

Review of IR35 is in: Quelle surprise, UK.gov will forge ahead with controversial tax reforms in the private sector

Harry Kiri

Re: Not really a suprise.

In the last 10 years, there have been 16 IR35 court cases that HMRC have instigated. Just 2 were won by HMRC, and 2 were split decisions. In 75% of the cases that HMRC took to Court, they were proved wrong. Any other body that was wrong 75% of the time would be deemed as unfit for purpose.

This doesn't include where they've investigated, shown a contractor is outside of IR35 and not pursued legal action - I know of a fair few of these.

Deliberately and spitefully manipulating the system so Contractees force a punitive tax regime on Contractors shows the HMRC is rotten to the core. Virtually all contracts have become IR35, not because they are, but because of a fear of HMRC investigation and that's not something fit for a democracy.


Don't worry, IT contractors. New UK chancellor says HMRC will be gentle pushing IR35 rules

Harry Kiri

Re: HMRC reckons that only one in 10 contractors

Er - you might want to check your maths - in the last 10 years, when there's been better legal understanding of IR35 legislation the HMRC have chased up just SEVENTEEN businesses, won 2 judgements and had 2 split decisions. Splitting the draws this gives about 84% in favour of contracts NOT BEING IN IR35.

Remember HMRC will only go to court if they think they've got a case, I know a fair few people who have been investigated for IR35 compliance and found outside - these figures do not include those and are not publicised by HMRC either.

Harry Kiri

"The clients have no one with my skills in the company, so IR35 does not apply."

You plainly do not have a clue. This has never been a determination for IR35. Substitution and MOO have been the main discriminators.

Unless this nonsense is sorted industry wide you'll be hounded out soon. Maybe you'll last longer or maybe you won't, but the doors have slammed shut and no-one is listening.

If you're in a position today where you can decide on your clients, then woop-de-doo, but make the most of it because this industry changes fast and so will your prospects.

BAE Systems tosses its contractors a blanket... ban on off-payroll working under upcoming IR35 tax reforms

Harry Kiri

Re: BAe

That's a very good point and soon Contractors within IR35 will be suing Agencies and Contractees left, right and centre - the first time someone is seriously ill and needs a substantial time off (or paternity leave, or even bank holidays) there'll be legal action, someone other than contractors are going to get stung and this thing will either be dropped or a dose of realism put in place.

Harry Kiri


Well I'm waiting for the determination from BAe at this very moment. The agent won't push as he's scared of upsetting them. HMRC have made sure that there is no incentive for Contractees to come up with an accurate determination, if you put everyone inside you're fine, there is no punishment if you falsely over-tax - and what exactly is the path for Contractors to get a review? There isn't one. This is not how a democracy works. This is not how a fit-for-purpose HMRC would work.

Still, if HMRC go after the PwCs, Andersons, Mckinseys, Sercos next (a service contract must surely be disguised employment), plus they tax Amazon, Facebook and Apple at 65% of turnover then at least all things will be equal.

Sir John Redwood backs IR35 campaign, notes review would have to start 'immediately' before new off-payroll working rules kick in

Harry Kiri

Try contracting before commenting on it.

I've heard so many employees think IR35 is good (taking contractors down a peg) as they have overpaid rates. The simple fact is its a dumb arbitrary rule to extort cash from small businesses. You go to somewhere like NATS where contractors work identically to say Leidos staff (but contracted in to NATS and answering to NATS staff) workers. Do the revenue bust Leidos' day-rate? Of course they don't. Why not? Explain that little conundrum.

The day the Revenue chase PwC, Fujitsu, Leidos, BT or any other big subby that puts someone on a desk doing what is an employee role, then we can chat.

Contracting is a completely different mind-set and set of skills to being an employee. Remember, contractors are there because your company cannot cope without them. The moment they can, we're off.

SAP bet the house on S/4HANA but most users aren't ready to move

Harry Kiri

"Only 8 per cent said the company was a trusted advisor;"

They'll learn.

Montezuma's Revenge can finally be laid to rest as Uber AI researchers crack the classic game

Harry Kiri

I salute the people in white coats

for eventually coming up with a custom guessing algorithm to solve a custom problem.

Creep learning: How to tamper with neural nets to turn them against us

Harry Kiri

There's a lack of understanding

About neural networks, what they are, what / how they 'learn', what they do and what the limits of their performance are. I really thought this was all understood 25 years ago, but a new generation has re-sprung nnets into magic and 're-discovering' basic properties.

And while we're at it 'researchers' should also understand how the front-end features contribute to the overall classifier performance too.

Google slaps mute button on stupid ads that nag you to buy stuff you just looked at

Harry Kiri

Goodbye cookies

Someone mentioned on el Reg about a week ago a cookie delete add-on for Firefox which I then started using. It deletes cookies 15 seconds after you close the tab. That sorts out cross-site advertising.

What is amazing is some sites can have upto 250 cookies tracking your activities and the moment GDPR kicks in I shall be having a word as to why a site needs to inform 250 third parties about your activities...

Mine all the data, they said. It will be worth your while, they said

Harry Kiri

If anyone offers you a lot of answers

and you're left to figure out the questions, ignore them.

Trying to come up with useful emergent properties of things from random observations is a fools errand.

This applies to monitoring (including surveillance data), EA models, SysML models, endless cyber-security SIEM 'notifications' etc etc etc...

Euro Patent Office fails miserably in key accountability case

Harry Kiri

Re: Irish Referendum Coming up ...

"I presume you'd prefer a model in which every country has a separate Patent Office and businesses have to file their patents in every single one?"

Yeah, once you go ad hominem I give up listening.

Harry Kiri

Re: Irish Referendum Coming up ...

Anyone that threatens to diminish European harmonisation by a 'European' institution will have their arm twisted by the EU. So yes, they will have something to do with it.

Unification only goes one way and the EU will not have anything that looks like a fracturing of European unity.

Harry Kiri

Re: Irish Referendum Coming up ...

You really think that you have an option on this?

Vote the wrong way and your friendly EU will twist your arm until you come up with the 'right' answer. It'll impose punitive measures on your resistance until you toe the line. Ireland has done quite nicely out of the EU so I cant see your nation rocking the boat anytime soon.

So what happened with the patent judge and the Euro Patent Office?

Harry Kiri

Every so often

Someone comes along and just does exactly what they want and no-one stops them.

Blair, Campbell, Putin, Blatter, etc, etc.

Its strange how this chap seems to have immunity from real criticism and heads up a fairly important organisation.

You're SAP-ing my will to live: Licensing debate lumbers on as ERP giant tries to rebuild trust

Harry Kiri

The business benefit of SAP

must be staggering. I've only ever seen clunky-doesnt-quite-fit-but-it'll-do, usually after several years of wangling business processes into shape etc.

MIT boffins build AI bot that spots '85 per cent' of hacker invasions

Harry Kiri

Research. Not a product.

Having looked at this, its incredibly heavy on human intervention. It has pre-set ideas of what a 'hacker invasion' should comprise (much like SIEM with 'if this and this and this' alarming, brilliant for detecting the last war).

And yes, even with differing test/train data you can still tune the system.

I'd like an explanation as to what it is classifying and why it is missing 15%? Is it to do with the PCA? If you do PCA, why do you need a neural network (apart from being sexy)? Why not use linear combination (at least you can see which dimension(s) are contributing).

My suspicion is the way they 'fuzz' the features and the classifier means that the performance cant get much better. You always need fine structure to get really good pattern matching, and they get shot of it.

Linux-fight! Dev's plan to bundle kernel patches sparks debate

Harry Kiri

Good on him

I like the 'its your fault if the update process cant handle things'.

I've seen multiple kernel updates in one week. Its lucky that IT support are sitting around waiting for this to happen, implement system-wide regression tests on the test system before system-wide roll-out which naturally will be faultless.

Still the proof of the pudding is in how many people will sign up and drag down his feed. Good luck to him for making other people's lives easier.

Holding out for a Jobs: Tim Cook still auditioning for position of Apple god

Harry Kiri

All about money

Steve Jobs wasn't interested in the user experience. He was interested in the perceived value of his products. Good user experience doesn't let you charge 500 for an i-thing. Branding and value perception do that. He was very good at making things look like they had fairy dust on but it was all about increasing the perceived value.

Good user experience is a differentiator but it doesnt account for the value.

Gov to take axe to big IT contracts soon, will hand chunks to SMEs

Harry Kiri

I almost bid for some Home Office work. Then in the small business T&Cs they wanted all foreground IP (OK, you're paying for that) but then all the background IP (so all of the expertise and specialist knowledge that makes us useful as an SME).

The only reason? We get your knowledge and hand it over 'to someone who is capable of delivering the work'.

We gave up at that point as being an SME our knowledge is our secret sauce...

Bone-dry British tech SMBs miss out on UK.gov cash shower

Harry Kiri

Re: Yes but @ Harri Kiri

Evidence please.