* Posts by Paul 195

282 posts • joined 20 Jan 2011

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Strike days should serve as 'wake-up call' to BT's top brass, says union

Paul 195

Re: Greed

" You have to pay extra to cover the inflation than to someone on basic tax rate."

If you accept the premise that someone who is already being paid about £2 million a year needs the cost of inflation covered. Anyone on that kind of wage already has all the bottom layers of Maslow's hierarchy more than adequately covered, and the extra cash isn't really going to help them with self-actualisation.

Paul 195
Mushroom

Greed

It's hard for most normal people to imagine the level of self-entitlement, greed, and general psychopathy that enables already very well remunerated management to give themselves pay rises of 25% and upwards while saying to the workforce, "Get back to work and accept a pittance".

BT is dependent on a large skilled, unionized workforce. I really hope their management and board get a severe bloody nose in this fight.

Dev's code manages to topple Microsoft's mighty SharePoint

Paul 195
Headmaster

The Original Sharepoint

I was involved with some Sharepoint stuff very early in its evolution - about 2001 I think. And what not many people know is that Microsoft at that time had two completely different products, both badged as Sharepoint. From memory (it's over 20 years ago so don't @ me for not getting the details exactly right), one was built around a database, and the other was built around NTFS with extra metadata. They had completely different models and APIs, but they were both "Sharepoint".

Broadcom's VMware buy got you worried? Give these 5 FOSS hypervisors a spin

Paul 195
Happy

Re: Beware the Oracle

You can have Java without Oracle. See https://adoptopenjdk.net/

There are very occasional corner cases where something that works on the Oracle JRE won't run on an AdoptOpenJDK JRE, but those are pretty rare, and seem to be getting rarer.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

Paul 195
Facepalm

Re: Straightforward solution

"Any web site that cannot work without cookies is fundamentally broken."

Am I right in thinking you've never developed any website that needs to maintain session information? Which these days tends to be *most of them*. However, most of the time you shouldn't need to serve the user more than one cookie for that (although it starts to get more complicated when the friendly page you serve your user is pulling content from several different places).

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

Paul 195

Re: That vinyl sound

That simply isn't true. Even the modern Rode microphone I use for Zoom calls etc is analogue (XLR output), and I connect it to a DAC so I can plug it into the computer.

And as for "before we were born", nobody could build anything digital that ran fast enough to capture high fidelity audio that long ago.

Photonic processor can classify millions of images faster than you can blink

Paul 195
Childcatcher

Dystopia beckons

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should."

Broadcom to buy VMware 'on Thursday for $60 billion'

Paul 195

Re: In my not so humble opinion...

A lot of that FLOSS innovation is being driven by paid developers at places like.... VMware.

Paul 195
Childcatcher

Where are the regulators?

VMware have a strategic importance way out of proportion with their actual size. Banks, governments, spooks, all run their datacentres on VMware. I'd be surprised if the regulators in the US and elsewhere don't have some concerns about this acquisition.

Predator spyware sold with Chrome, Android zero-day exploits to monitor targets

Paul 195
Holmes

Is it legal? I think the answer is "that really depends". Are Cytrox doing anything illegal by packaging and selling the exploit? That depends on the jurisdiction, but chances are it isn't illegal in North Macedonia where they are based. Are the users of this software doing something illegal? Definitely if they do it in the EU, UK, or North America, but most of the customers appeared to be governments who are probably doing it to their own citizens in their own countries.

Is it ethical? No.

Tech pros warn EU 'data adequacy' at risk if Brexit Britain goes its own way

Paul 195
Mushroom

Not up to the job

This is just the latest indicator that the current crop of government ministers are simply not up to the job. Their understanding of the potential consequences of any action is outweighed by their determination to find any benefit, however illusory, from Brexit. Or in other cases, simply to take vengeance on anyone who exposes their incompetence (take a bow Channel 4 news).

Deviating from GDPR will have no benefit for consumers, and only benefit those businesses large enough to be able to exploit the extra surveillance of the British population it will enable. Other businesses will suffer as EU data can no longer be processed here, enabling the IT sector to share in the Brexit damage so far inflicted most heavily on farming and fisheries.

Complaints mount after GitHub launches new algorithmic feed

Paul 195

Getting downvotes from people who have calculated that the cost of storing a repo of a few meg in size costs pennies a year. And ignored the cost of keeping it backed up, serving it up over the internet, having redundant availability zones etc. Those pennies start to mount up pretty fast if you are running a real service rather than a hypothetical one.

Paul 195
Facepalm

"True but the expensive bit is not what the developers want."

The "expensive bit" is storage, bandwidth, compute, and running a global service with impressively high uptime. Which is exactly what all developers want and use.

Prototype app outperforms and outlasts outsourced production version

Paul 195
Holmes

Agile!

It sounds to me like the "prototype" was built using what a lot of us would recognise as lean and agile principles. They added features requested by users, they delivered working software regularly, they built things that were wanted rather investing heavily in a speculative architecture "because it will need to do X in the future". That's what agile should look like, not something imposed on you by an "agile coach" with a ton of certifications.

Fujitsu: Dumping older workers will wipe out quarter of forecast profit

Paul 195
Holmes

Speaking as a 59 year old who sometimes helps enterprises with their "digital transformation" projects, I can honestly say it's flexibility of mindset that's needed, and that I haven't seen much evidence of that being the sole dominion of any particular age group. Honestly, the more mixed your workforce is in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, etc, the more it's likely to be able to generate fresh ideas and execute them successfully. You need the bold fearlessness of youth seasoned with the experience of having seen innovation that works and innovation that doesn't.

Machine learning the hard way: IBM Watson's fatal misdiagnosis

Paul 195
Holmes

Re: started in Jeopardy

From my admiittedly limited understanding of the subject, it's possible for it to both use brute force pattern recognition and for that to yield results that are not easily explainable to humans who can't grasp the enormous datasets they are based on in their heads.

Linux distros haunted by Polkit-geist for 12+ years: Bug grants root access to any user

Paul 195
FAIL

Re: Eyes

The "many eyes" hypothesis about the better quality of OSS code has been pretty well disproved over the last few years. At this point it's hard to believe that Linux is somehow inherently more secure than the latest versions of Windows 10 or Windows Server. Software is hard, operating systems are even harder, and they are always going to have holes to exploit. So the question is not whether the many eyes are catching bugs, but how fast and effectively you can remediate problems, and how robust are your software supply chains.

And yes, software decays. Not in the sense that the actual bits rot away, but the context the software runs in changes all the time. Software that isn't regularly updated gets trapped on obsolete and insecure platforms because at some point it can't move to a newer one. Paradigms change as we learn different things, or have to run at a different scale. If you based your application on CORBA 20 years ago, you were on the cutting edge. Now that same application is hard to support legacy. Effectively, it's decayed.

First they came for Notepad. Now they're coming for Task Manager

Paul 195

Re: Please bundle Process Explorer directly...

Sysinternals tools like procexp are stunningly good. I miss them on other platforms I work on (MacOS, different flavours of Linux), where they don't have anything that combines their intuitive usability and sheer firepower.

Games Workshop has chucked another £500k at entrenched ERP project with no end to epic battle in sight

Paul 195
FAIL

The problem is that almost no-one adopting an "agile strategy" is actually doing anything recognisable as agile development. They will still have their requirements set in stone, and a bunch of milestones and release dates, and then force development teams to fit the work into 2 or 4 week sprints between milestones. It's not agile, it's not clever, and it never works.

The dark equation of harm versus good means blockchain’s had its day

Paul 195
FAIL

Re: We know it has no future

Bitcoin with its limit of 10 transactions per second is completely impractical as a large scale replacement for money. The larger retail banks in the UK have to be able to process at up to 4000 TPS. Visa I believe manage 6000 TPS.

I believe some of the other crypto currencies can manage better, but none of them are even close to what would be needed. And they burn insane amounts of energy to do it.

What came first? The chicken, the egg, or the bodge to make everything work?

Paul 195
Holmes

But did they ever fix it...?

I enjoyed this story and the ingenuity of the fix. But... circular dependencies are never good news. Was the root cause of the problem ever addressed?

Apple's Pegasus lawsuit a 'declaration of war' against offensive software developers, says Kaspersky director

Paul 195

Re: Backdoor smashed in

I don't think @elsergiovolador has really grasped the asymmetric nature of cyberwarfare. To keep determined bad actors out of systems requires creating completely bug-free software. Not just in the code you are writing, but in all the other code you depend on.

An attacker only has to find one weak point anywhere from the BIOS up to the application layer to find a way in Even the hardware can let us down, as shown by the side-channel attacks that exploit information leakage from optimisation techniques like branch prediction.

Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles

Paul 195
FAIL

Re: Internet dependency

I disagree that it is the users' fault. If the car unlocks because you are carrying your phone, it's very easy to go out and not realise that you have forgotten your keyfob (it's in your other trousers, you left your wallet behind.... etc).

Even bog-standard keyless entry and ignition can be problematic, maybe you meet up with your other half to take the car, you get in, they get out, off you go. Then after you've stopped the engine, you realize that you don't have a keyfob in your pocket and you can't start it again. This hasn't yet happened to me, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time....

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email

Paul 195

Re: My email wasn't blank...

I'm pretty sure this is the first salvo in a battle to get Visa to charge less for credit card transactions. On the one hand, Amazon can almost certainly afford the fees. On the other hand, they are ruthless about driving down cost, so this is just part of business as usual for them. Finally the financial sector is coming up against people more predatory than they are. If only both sides could lose.

Tech bro CEOs claim their crowns because they fix problems. Why shirk the biggest one?

Paul 195

Re: I wish...

I won't denigrate the achievement of Tesla in popularising electric vehicles and even giving them sex-appeal to rival the gas guzzlers. But in terms of "how to stop burning carbon fuels", it's only really addressing a tiny part of the problem, which encompasses nearly all our current activities. Not just how we get around, but how we grow our food, how we put up our buildings, how we heat and cool those buildings, and so on.

Musk's impact on the world is hard to quantify, but the bottom line is: he has a great deal of wealth, like all people that wealthy there is no justification for one person having that much wealth that stands up to scrutiny, he isn't using more than a tiny fraction of that wealth to make the world a better place.

Or to put it another way, I pay a marginal tax rate of 40% on my income, which I can claim I "earned' just as fairly as any billionaire can claim they "earned" their wealth. In terms of a percentage of their available resources, most ordinary working people are doing far more to support society than billionaires are. And if Musk and other members of the ultra rich club were taxed at 95% of their wealth, they would still have more money to live on than the rest of us will see in several lifetimes.

Whatever you think of Marxist solutions, Marxist analysis of capitalism is correct. No-one creates that much wealth by themselves. It represents the labour of all of the rest of us, locked away where we can only look at it and wonder what it could be used for instead.

Paul 195
FAIL

I wish...

The problem is, the Tech Bros have zero interest in saving the planet. Working out how to stop burning carbon fuels - boring. Working out how to fly to Mars - exciting. The companies they run have delivering profit and shareholder value hardwired into their DNA, so they aren't going to act either. In fact, if anything, they are part of the problem when they use their dollars to lobby against climate change policy: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/20/big-tech-climate-change

The fact is, no individual can really be trusted with the huge amounts of wealth controlled by Bezos, Musk, Gates et al. Not even Gates who at least is focused on real problems, like malaria, rather than a low-orbit bragging rights race. The war analogy is a good one. In a total war, governments tell companies what they are going to do for the war effort. They don't ask. That's the situation we are in now, and we need some direction from the people elected to lead.

Why machine-learning chatbots find it difficult to respond to idioms, metaphors, rhetorical questions, sarcasm

Paul 195
Holmes

Re: Sarcasm

AI =very fast clockwork

Our clockwork is now so much faster than it was 50 years ago that it can do some very impressive things. But computers aren't really any closer to "intelligence" than they were when Eliza was written in the 1960s.

Cisco requires COVID-19 shots for all US staff – even remote workers

Paul 195
Facepalm

The underlying health conditions argument is my favourite. Which health conditions are these? Would you necessarily know if you had them? Even though substantial numbers of healthy people have died from Covid-19 there's still this belief among certain groups of people that it is a "mostly harmless" disease. It isn't. In addition to all the people who have died from it, there's a number of people who continue to suffer chronic health effects for months afterwards. And all the people who have had strokes or clots after contracting covid - you're far more likely to have a blood clot from catching covid than you are from any of the vaccines.

And although vaccinations don't always stop you from being infected, and don't make you less infectious while you are infected, by reducing the length of infection in an individual they actually bring down the overall infection rate in the population.

Paul 195

Re: now even the latest can understand

Official statistics for the hellhole in Israel would appear to suggest that comparatively few people are dying or even contracting Covid 19 in their highly vaccinated population. But I'm sure you can find some made up figures to support your assertions.

BTW, how does this conspiracy to lie to us about several different types of vaccines work? How is it effectively co-ordinated in so many countries around the world? How many people are actually actively running the conspiracy, and how many are unknowing dupes? I have so many questions about how such a conspiracy could be made to work.

Paul 195

Re: Get rid of the religious exemption.

There seems to be quite a large overlap between the cohorts of people who don't want to be vaccinated, and who refuse to wear a mask in public. Public health issues often override individual liberties and this has only become a problem since people started doing their own research on the YouTube and Facebook campuses.

Android has its head in the sand with AbstractEmu malware rooting phones

Paul 195
Mushroom

Re: Mockery? Sugarcoating?

I was about to make exactly the same point as this. I've just stopped using a perfectly viable piece of hardware because it no longer receives updates. I don't know who downvoted your eminently sensible comment. We have world leaders in Glasgow trying to fix global warming, but apparently even relatively simple problems like "don't force people to throw their phones away every two or three years" are insoluble.

Apple's macOS Monterey upgrades some people's laptops to doorstops

Paul 195
IT Angle

It's astonishing how good Apple are at bricking the limited number of configurations they have to support. Especially when you consider how many different configurations Microsoft have to support and how rarely they brick machines from a much larger cohort in their (consults notes) monthly update cycle. For the record I regularly use MacOS and Windows. And although there are many nice things about the Macbook Pro my employer furnishes me with, these days it kernel panics more often than my Dell XPS 15 bluescreens.

Facebook's greatest misses: The five nastiest bits from recent leaks

Paul 195
Big Brother

Lying toerags

So who would I trust, the head of a publicly traded company or a whistleblower? In this case, the whistleblower as Zuck and Facebook have consistently ignored anything that might lower profits, and whenever caught out in some flagrant abuse of trust say "oops, we didn't mean it". The problem he has here is that everything the whistleblower says is congruent with what most people following the news already believe about Facebook, and his insistence that the company's "values are being misrepresented" is also completely consistent with everything he says whenever they get caught.

Anyone remember this one: https://www.theregister.com/2019/01/30/facebook_apple_enterprise_certificate_revocation/ - Facebook abuses Apple issued cert to install privacy busting app on kids phones in violation of Apple's rules (and also in violation of common decency).

Online harms don’t need dangerous legislation, they need a spot of naval action

Paul 195

Re: There's still the old problem

I agree that the Online Harms bill seems like a bad piece of mission creep. But a framework like the one suggested in the article used to enforce existing hate speech laws sounds like a good idea.

Paul 195

Re: There's still the old problem

We already have laws that define harmful, in terms of things like hate speech. Applying those would would be a good starting point. Death and rape threats are also illegal. Applying those would still allow you to say that your local elected representative is useless and not doing their job. It wouldn't allow you say that they should be executed as a result. Seems fair to me.

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims

Paul 195

We brought back a Canon printer back from Malaysia. Guess what? It won't print with European ink cartridges. DCMS for ink!

Anonymous: We've leaked disk images stolen from far-right-friendly web host Epik

Paul 195

Re: Split decision

> you're confusing bad with illegal.

I'm really not. Because while it may be illegal in some jurisdictions and not in others, I think the consensus view is likely to be that inciting hatred and planning violence is wrong.

Paul 195
Headmaster

Re: Split decision

The restaurant argument doesn't quite hold here. Nobody should be refused service for being gay, black, or even being a member of the proud boys. However, the service offered by web hosting is not the same as the service offered by a restaurant. Offering a service to enable people to incite hatred and plan violence against others is unequivocally a bad thing.

Texas cops sue Tesla claiming 'systematic fraud' in Autopilot after Model X ploughed into two parked police cars

Paul 195

Re: Yes it is Tesla's fault

It might have crashed long before it reached the police vehicles, or quite possibly the driver would not have thought "I can get drunk, my self-driving car will take me home".

Measuring your carbon footprint? There's no app for that

Paul 195

Re: Within limits, more CO2 would be better than less

We've missed you from these forums lately Bombastic Bob. But you're still revealing the mindset of someone who "prefers to do their own research" rather than someone who "prefers to listen to people who have spent years studying something and know far more about it than I ever will". A general understanding of some scientific principles and basic mathematics can be very useful for following an expert argument. But it isn't really enough to overturn that argument, particularly when nearly all the actual experts agree with the argument and each other.

Still, you nearly persuaded me with all those capital letters, as used in all the finest scientific and philiosophical papers.

Paul 195
Flame

Re: Within limits, more CO2 would be better than less

>> Yes, the world is warming, and yes, humans play a role in that, but it is nowhere near an issue that requires action.

There is no longer any controversy that climate change is being driven by burning fossil fuels, and that it is a serious threat to our civilisation. The fact that there are still people who seem to think these facts are in some way questionable shows the tremendous efficiency of the secretive campaigns run by the oil industry to promote the view that this is something we don't need to worry about.

Climate science is difficult, and the maths is hard, but average temperature as a dashboard indicator for what is going wrong has the benefit of being a single metric that most people can understand. The fact that nowhere on earth is "average temperature" most of the time doesn't make it a "bonkers concept". It is a good proxy for the increasing amounts of thermal energy driving the weather system to become more chaotic and less predictable.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/sep/19/shell-and-exxons-secret-1980s-climate-change-warnings

'Worst' AWS service ever? Cloud giant introduces Redis-compatible MemoryDB – to mixed response

Paul 195
Pint

New slogan

At 20c/Gbyte, they should market it as: "MemoryDB - Reassuring Expensive"

Scientists reckon eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio, harder than smallpox – just buckle in for a wait

Paul 195
Flame

"It's the same with this Covid : mostly harmless for 99.5% of the population. What's the big deal ?"

Let's frame that 99.5% non-fatality rate in a way that's easier to understand for the idiots out there. That's a 1 in 200 chance of death. 1 in 200 is about the same probability of throwing three doubles in a row in monopoly, and going to jail. Or put it another way, if flying had a similar risk ratio, they'd throw one or two people off every fully-loaded 747 in mid-air.

Of course, fatality isn't the only risk with Covid-19. It's estimated that between 10% and 20% of people contracting it who survive are left with chronic symptoms that continue for months. Possibly for some of them for years (we don't yet have enough data to know the average likely duration of long Covid).

So people who don't think Covid-19 is a very serious illness are at best ill-informed.

Right to repair shouldn't exist – not because it's wrong but because it's so obviously right

Paul 195
Black Helicopters

hmmm

How many different screwdrivers do you use to repair things? And how often do you need to buy new ones? Apple didn't invent pentalobe screwheads because none of the existing ways of connecting screwdriver to screw work properly. They did it to make it harder to open up their stuff.

If it was just a conspiracy theory manufacturers wouldn't be lobbying so hard to prevent changes to the law.

Just because the 21st century is filled with batshit conspiracy theories, it doesn't mean nothing is true.

Happy 'Freedom Day': Stats suggest many in England don't want it or think it's a terrible idea

Paul 195
FAIL

Re: SNAFU

"Breaking the power of the unions" - which is another way of saying "boosting the power of capital". Ever since then our society has become less equal each year, and more and more wealth has been locked away by the rentier class who own the capital and the assets.

The 60s and 70s were not perfect, but we didn't have a large precariat of people who were both in employment, but unable to feed themselves or access decent accommodation.

Waymo self-driving robotaxi goes rogue with passenger inside, escapes support staff

Paul 195
FAIL

Still not AI

It seems like we've reached an inflection point now where we are reaching the limits of what can be achieved with machine learning and other forms of "Arttificial Intelligence". The cliff-edge as shown by language systems like GPT-3, or self-driving like Waymo is that our technology is still just very fast clockwork, and has no contextual understanding or ability to reason. If something as novel and unexpected as traffic cones in the kind of largely predictable driving environment of Arizona is enough to confuse the car, I can't see them being ready for the roads of London or New York anytime soon.

* Yes, I know that talking about "reasoning" and "intelligence" brings a lot of philosophical baggage with it, but ignoring that, humans, and for that matter cat, dogs and many other animals, have capabilities we simply can't reproduce at the moment.

Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies

Paul 195
Mushroom

Don't defend the indefensible

Although Stallman's comments about one of the minors pimped out by Epstein was the trigger for his initial departure from the FSF, the fact is he has been making women feel uncomfortable for decades. If you are just focusing on that one tweet, and complaining about "cancel culture", you are missing the bigger picture. Which is that he behaves in an unacceptable way, that he thinks paedophilia "with consent" is OK, and that he is a misogynist.

So, if you want to stand up and say he is being unfairly vilified for all of that, go ahead, we now know where you stand.

Richard Stallman says he has returned to the Free Software Foundation board of directors and won't be resigning again

Paul 195
Paris Hilton

Re: I'm Back...

I think @tfb was possibly being snarky with their comment rather than genuinely belittling the considerable number of computer science advancements made by women. Although these days, it's getting harder and harder to satirize the trolls and arseholes of the internet as their own statements are often beyond parody, so who really knows for sure.

What happens when your massive text-generating neural net starts spitting out people's phone numbers? If you're OpenAI, you create a filter

Paul 195
FAIL

It's still just fast clockwork

Calling the spreadsheets generated through machine learning "Artificial Intelligence" is really an adman's definition of intelligence. The further AI moves from very specialised domains and towards more general ones, the more obvious the limitation of not understand context becomes. This article illustrates the problem almost perfectly.

Surprise: Automated driving biz finds automated driving safer than letting you get behind the wheel

Paul 195

Re: Something's wrong here

"It's very clearly true that self-driving cars are already safer than human drivers, although still not as safe as a good human driver who's actually concentrating, not overtired, etc"

I'm pretty sure that statement is incorrect, especially when you consider that self-driving cars are not really able to cope with navigating a car down (say) a busy town centre street on a Saturday. A self-driving car still can't make eye-contact with pedestrians and other road users, and use that to decide whose turn it is to move. Self-driving vehicles are being trained in environments that are much simpler than the average driver has to negotiate daily.

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