* Posts by pip25

326 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jun 2010

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Among AI infrastructure hopefuls, Qualcomm has become an unlikely ally

pip25
Meh

"By combining MX6 and speculative decoding, Qualcomm claims these technologies can achieve a fourfold improvement in throughput over a FP16 baseline."

Considering quantization from 16 to 6 bits reduces the model to a bit over third of the original, this doesn't sound all that amazing to me.

An attorney says she saw her library reading habits reflected in mobile ads. That's not supposed to happen

pip25
Big Brother

Not surprised at all

About a week ago, I saw Reddit recommending me an article about someone claiming to have solved the "P = NP" problem. I'm no mathematician, and have not come across this topic for long years, if not decades, having learned about it back at university. I'm not that interested in the complexity topic either, though this in particular caught my attention, as I remembered it was a hard problem people were trying to solve for some time now.

I've only checked out the Reddit comments on the article, spent about a minute on that page, then left, soon forgetting about the whole thing... until, a day or two later, "P = NP" suddenly appeared on my page of recommended YouTube videos.

My browser (Vivaldi) has ad and tracker blocking enabled. But the topic had so little to do with what I usually watch on YouTube, I have a hard time believing it to be a coincidence.

Google thinks AI can Google better than you can

pip25
WTF?

"Find the best yoga or Pilates studios in Boston and show me details on their intro offers, and walking time from Beacon Hill."

These are not three search engine queries. The first might be one, though "best" is a horribly vague quality to search for. The second is something I'd want to read on the studio's own site (among many reasons because I want to make sure they're up to date), and the third is a navigation query I may or may not want to use Google's offering for.

If this is the best they could come up with as an example, then I'm seriously worried.

You want us to think of the children? Couldn't agree more

pip25

Re: Parental controls

I was ready to use some sort of "old man yells at cloud" meme for my reply, then I realized we're almost the same age, and my amusement turned into sadness.

Yes, like you, I also spent most my school years with an offline PC. The Internet was something I could only access at school, with serious limitations. I survived.

And as it so happens, both of our past experiences are utterly irrelevant to what's happening with kids and the net today. It's been 20+ years. You know just as well as I do what an incredibly large span of time 20 years is in IT. The net changed, its users changed, and in particular, the way kids use it (and how often they use it) has greatly changed as well.

> What does a kid under 16 need to do with a mobile phone and constant access to the internet that I couldn't do in 1996 when I was 16?

Let's see, off the top of my head: attend classes during the pandemic. Get supplementary materials while sick. Submit homework. Stay in touch with their classmates and teachers - you know, the same thing you've used SMS for, except this doesn't cost money per message.

Oh, and all the above examples aren't something the kids come up with: there are schools all over Europe that have transitioned to pretty much online everything. COVID was a watershed moment in this regard.

To give an approachable example for our generation: the Internet today is at a similar spot television was 20+ years ago. An incredible source of knowledge and entertainment - and if misused, can likewise turn you into a passive drolling zombie. But it's a part of our lives, and shielding our children from it is an exercise in futility. Let us teach them how to use it responsibly instead.

pip25
FAIL

Parental controls

The author was doing so well, too, but had to bring up this nonsense at the end. Reminds me of a recent, overall great TED talk about how current society robs kids of their future, which bizarrely ended with the aforementioned call for banning phones under 16.

Parental controls are the same crap the author decries, just with an added bonus of giving parents the illusion of control. Not only do they never work well, they can even actually be harmful on occasion. Ban Facebook or TikTok from your kids' phone? They will look for alternative ways to get there and can easily stumble across scam sites.

Instead of parental controls, what we'd need is actual parenting. Not something IT has the answer to, unfortunately, but even us tech-wizards have our limits. We can't solve everything, so let's not pretend otherwise.

Australia to fund $620M quantum computer claimed to be first at 'utility-scale'

pip25

What's up with quantum computing anyway?

There was a lot of hype surrounding it a few years ago, but things seem to have suspiciously quieted down lately. Or are news simply being drowned out by the AI hype?

Devaluing content created by AI is lazy and ignores history

pip25

Re: Meanwhile, in another El Reg article...

Thank you for proving my point, though I could have done without it. >_>

pip25
Stop

Meanwhile, in another El Reg article...

"AI spam is winning the battle against search engine quality"

That is exactly the problem. You can create quality works with AI assistance - and plenty of human input and refinement. But most AI "content" is created with entirely different priorities: minimal effort with maximum payoff. The typical AI output encountered by people today is garbage, and I doubt labeling would help with that.

Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas is dead, long live the ... new commercial Atlas

pip25
Thumb Up

Re: Good old Boston Dynamics

Well, I'll be damned. They've actually learned their lesson... err, well, in part, if the current video is any indication. Past models of the same type were headless, for example the one they've given to the NYPD around 3 years ago, and the reaction was unsurprisingly abysmal.

pip25
Terminator

Good old Boston Dynamics

They make great robots, but are absolutely hopeless when it comes to making them likeable by humans. (And I'm not talking about anything sophisticated, just things like their robot dogs not having a friggin' head.)

And then they're surprised when some of their pilot projects, especially those in contact with the general public, dive head-first into the pavement.

BOFH: The new Boss, Aiman, is suspiciously good – for now

pip25
Happy

The name had me completely fooled

Yes, I am duly ashamed of myself.

It's 2024 and Intel silicon is still haunted by data-spilling Spectre

pip25

3.5 KB / sec

How practical is that? I could be wrong, but you don't actually know which part of kernel memory you need to dump, right? How long would it take to get everything, which would mean you're guaranteed to find what you are looking for?

Microsoft rolls out safety tools for Azure AI. Hint: More models

pip25
Trollface

Hallucinations about hallucinations

I can hardly wait to see them introduce a third layer of "protection", which will no doubt involve an AI checking whether the hallucination-checking AI hallucinated about the hallucinations. (And I guess it's all recursive from here.)

AI hallucinates software packages and devs download them – even if potentially poisoned with malware

pip25
Alert

Yikes

This sounds legitimately scary considering all those people trying to make the "AI" build entire applications for them with little oversight. (And even if they review the code, who is going to validate every single dependency?)

Sorry, Siri: Apple may be eyeing Google Gemini for future iPhones

pip25

Memory bandwidth should not keep a model from running, though it would likely run slower.

pip25
FAIL

A rotten Apple

It seems as if the company had retained most of its negative practices, but has slowly abandoned its former privileged position of being an innovator and a trend-setter. Turning to Google on the AI front would be especially embarrassing when you consider the models that are openly available today. You'd think Apple would at least build something on them.

Voyager 1 starts making sense again after months of babble

pip25
Happy

Memory dump

That someone at the design team actually thought "okay, if this component misbehaves and we can send stuff normally, dump the whole memory and transmit that instead as debug info" is something I find truly amazing and impressive.

We asked Intel to define 'AI PC'. Its reply: 'Anything with our latest CPUs'

pip25
FAIL

The claim is already untrue even today

There are open-source models today that do not even fit into 64 GB of RAM, let alone 32.

In other words: this is just the usual marketing drivel.

Copilot can't stop emitting violent, sexual images, says Microsoft whistleblower

pip25
Alien

AI is a mirror

I am getting increasingly convinced that current AI implementations merely make us come face-to-face with all our hypocrisies and perversions... and we're obviously not prepared to witness it. So the model is given an impossible task: be as human as possible without being as biased and fallible as humans generally are. Obviously, that is not going to work.

Toyota, Samsung accelerate toward better EV batteries

pip25
Meh

Seeing is believing

Toyota has been promising solid state batteries for years, with absolutely nothing materializing. Maybe Samsung will have better luck, but I will take such announcements with a grain of salt until the actual product hits the shelves.

Dell exec reveals Nvidia has a 1,000-watt GPU in the works

pip25

Bitcoin mining 2.0?

I can't help but be reminded of how the power consumption really got out of hand on the mining front - only this time, it's Nvidia itself that is apparently fuelling the flames. Energy efficiency might not be what people are looking for in these accelerators, but this still sounds rather extreme.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be coders, Jensen Huang warns

pip25
WTF?

How often is the output of a compiler unpredictable, including changes between runs, using the same input?

Intel urges businesses to undergo AI PC facelift with vPro update

pip25
WTF?

NPU?

I'm feeling really ignorant, but what's the point of that? I thought AI-related stuff is usually much faster when offloaded to the GPU anyway...

China breakthrough promises optical discs that store hundreds of terabytes

pip25
Meh

Missing important use cases

Audio made the CD ubiquitous. Video helped the DVD spread. And Blu-ray failed to make the same splash exactly because at that point, many people had an Internet connection that was good enough to just stream whatever they were interested in.

So, what would they be selling on these disks with petabit capacity? Because I doubt archival in itself will let it get off the ground.

SAP hits brakes on Tesla company car deal

pip25
Unhappy

Re: Tesla warp erp

Well, from what I've heard, off the shelf ERPs tend to range from bad to worse. Given how terrible the one we use is (which is supposed to be the best of what was available), that doesn't sound all that much of a stretch.

Two of India's most prominent startup tech giants are in deep trouble

pip25
WTF?

"Startup tech giants"?

That sounds oddly contradictory. Or perhaps that's part of the problem? The startups grew too big, too fast?

HP customers claim firmware update rendered third-party ink verboten

pip25
Devil

"Everything else in computing has gotten cheaper and easier to make over time, but printers really haven't at all."

How mysterious. The printer hardware must be cursed. Or maybe, just maybe, they weren't trying that hard to reduce costs to begin with. If they get their money from the fools, er, I mean, their customers either way, why bother?

Welcome to 2024: Volkswagen really is putting ChatGPT into cars as a gabby copilot

pip25
FAIL

"The highest possible level of data protection"

Cute phrase, looks great on marketing materials. But VW has absolutely zero information on whether and how OpenAI will use those queries and/or answers it supposedly deletes right after processing them.

Microsoft nixed Mixed Reality: This Windows VR didn't even make it to the ER

pip25
Unhappy

Too bad

Mixed reality seemed much more likely to have actual real-world applications and use cases compared to VR; I'm hardly a fan of Microsoft, but hoped they bet on the right approach. Alas, it seems that is not to be. :(

Amazon's game-streamer Twitch to quit South Korea, citing savage network costs

pip25
Devil

Re: is this better for SK Broadband?

Considering Koreans will still be able to access Twitch via a VPN, its bandwidth costs will not simply disappear. Not all users are savvy enough to do so, but those that really want to will still watch the streams, except the telco will no longer be able to bill Twitch for it.

Microsoft issues deadline for end of Windows 10 support – it's pay to play for security

pip25
FAIL

Yeah right

Microsoft wants to cut support in 2 years, with adoption rates being what they are? Unlikely. I've heard this tune before, and it wasn't funny the first time around.

Control Altman delete: OpenAI fires CEO, chairman quits

pip25

Re: Scandalous revelations coming out in 3...2...1

Considering how sudden this is, it's probably something quite big. My initial suspicions would be related to the company's profitability.

Want a well-paid job in tech? You just need to become a cloud-native god

pip25
IT Angle

So, uh, you went to a conference about a cloud technology...

...and was shocked to realize the companies that bothered to be present were looking for people with cloud-related qualifications. How unusual indeed.

Mozilla tells extension developers to get ready to finally go mobile

pip25
Meh

Too little too late

Firefox's market share has completely evaporated on mobile. I've jumped ship when they disallowed everything but a handful of extensions years ago, and would definitely think twice before coming back.

Does Windows have a very weak password lurking in its crypto libraries?

pip25

Re: That's great and all, but...

Admittedly, no, I've only read the El Reg article, and I was genuinely curious. I haven't cone across such a functionality in a library before, which is why it felt odd.

pip25
Boffin

That's great and all, but...

What is test data doing in the production binary? Does it need to test itself during each startup to make sure the function did not stop working somehow...?

CEO Satya Nadella thinks Microsoft hung up on Windows Phone too soon

pip25
Unhappy

Re: Pour one out for the 'also ran' smartphones...

I loved Blackberry's Android offerings. Used Key1/2 until they died because of hardware failures. I'm kinda heartbroken that there is no replacement for them anymore. The QWERTY devices that do come out are such a step down in quality. :(

Word turns 40: From 'new kid on the block' to 'I can't believe it's not bloatware'

pip25
Windows

I would not want to be on the Word dev team today

The software has all the features 99% of its users could possibly imagine, not to mention need, since over a decade (at the very least). Yet, of course, Microsoft still wants to sell new versions, so it WILL get new features, regardless of whether they are useful or not. Not the most motivating situation to be in as a developer, I imagine.

AI safety guardrails easily thwarted, security study finds

pip25
FAIL

Bollocks

Touting fine tuning as some new threat to "safety" that needs to be mitigated is, to me, roughly on the same level as saying "programming languages allow you to create malicious programs, we really ought to fix that". The former seems just as hopeless and nonsensical as the latter.

Google promises eternity of updates for Chromebooks – that's a decade for everyone else

pip25
Go

ChromeOS Flex

Put it on my parents' 10+-year-old Chromebox. Not the fastest, but still works pretty well, and gets the latest updates from Google. Goes to show how much of a scam these support periods are.

The world seems so loopy. But at least someone's written a memory-safe sudo in Rust

pip25
Facepalm

Re: omits less commonly used features

I was enthusiastic until I got to that sentence. A full rewrite would have been great. But now we have two, subtly incompatible sudos - and I guarantee that those missing "less commonly used features" will ruin quite a few people's day.

Inclusive Naming Initiative limps towards release of dangerous digital dictionary

pip25

Re: I don't care.

Touché. :) I do see the topic's significance, what I couldn't care less about is these people telling me what words I am allowed to use.

pip25
Childcatcher

I don't care.

The post is required, and must contain letters.

CockroachDB hits Azure at last after five-year mission

pip25
Go

I wish them all the best

CockroachDB is my favorite relational DB engine currently with its great distributed capabilities that are mostly transparent to the services calling it. And it really does get better every release. :D

Red Hat promises AI trained on 'curated' and 'domain-specific' data

pip25
WTF?

Re: Install Nodejs dependencies

Yeah, that example in particular is really odd. Are they seriously trying to automate the simple "npm install" command...?

Mozilla so sorry for intrusive Firefox VPN popup ad

pip25
Meh

"Ultimately, we accomplished the exact opposite of what we intended"

I think that's been kind of true for Firefox for the last five years or so. This is par for the course, really.

Microsoft can't stop injecting Copilot AI into every corner of its app empire

pip25
FAIL

Meanwhile

I'm using a completely free and open-source code assistant, StarCoder via Huggingface's VSCode extension. I don't have to pay a penny, though I am seriously considering it just to support the project. It came out recently, but it's already pretty useful. Microsoft, you can go ahead and stick your proprietary crap everywhere, you won't get any money from me!

Orqa drone goggles bricked: Time-bomb ransomware or unpaid firmware license?

pip25
Thumb Down

Time-limited license... in firmware

The contractor's greed is undeniable, but I have little sympathy for Orqa. Even if they extend their license now, they're not going to extend it forever - in other words, these devices will have an expiry date. They should have never signed such a license agreement. Ever.

Linux kernel logic allowed Spectre attack on 'major cloud provider'

pip25

Re: Did any such attack take place? Ever?

My problem is that these preventive measures cost a lot, not just in terms of time and money to implement, but also in terms of performance. Slowdowns of up to 70% percent and other horrifying numbers are thrown around - if that is the price we have to pay to be protected from a certain threat, it'd be nice if it were a threat that is provably dangerous and exploitable, and by "provably" I mean outside of academic papers.

pip25
Meh

Did any such attack take place? Ever?

I hear a lot about speculative execution vulnerabilities, how hard they are to mitigate, and how they can potentially be exploited to nefarious ends, but much less about actual attacks against "major cloud providers" or other infrastructure using these vulnerabilities. Either I'm being terribly ignorant, or it feels as if we're chasing an actual spectre, not a practical issue with real-life repercussions.

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