* Posts by Isn't it obvious?

42 posts • joined 11 Apr 2011

Leaving Las Vegas... for good? IT industry conference circuit won't look the same on other side of COVID-19 pandemic

Isn't it obvious?

Just don't talk to the 'droids

Many - oh so many - years ago I was at a conference. All the developers from our company had to take turns at the booth answering actual technical questions from other developers, and in turn we took the opportunity to talk to their devs.

I happened to strike up a conversation with a guy at the booth of a company we were trying to build some interoperability with. I was at that time struggling with exporting valid files for their software to consume, and I mentioned it. He told me to drop by the next day, whereupon he handed me a disk containing a complete debug build of their program!

With that, our problems turned to be relatively trivial to fix; saved us weeks. More than justified the entire cost of flying me down there, and that's just one chance encounter.

The virus curing the mobile industry's chronic addiction... and sparking an impressive algorithmic price experiment

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Having Oracle tell you how fantastic Oracle is.

If they don't tell you, who will?

Don't pay off Ryuk ransomware, warn infoseccers: Its creators borked the decryptor

Isn't it obvious?

That's only going to work if the software (like your DB) loads the file read-only and doesn't crap all over it when it fails to load properly. Otherwise you'd better - like the article says - back up before running the decryptor.

Plus you'd need some automated way to iterate over (an average of) 128 possible final bytes for _each_ encrypted file, validating against the controlling program and marking "correct" ones as good. Oh, and hoping that there's only one possible missing byte that tests as valid.

So yeah, except for that it's easy.

Silicon Valley doesn't care about poor people: Top AI models kinda suck at ID'ing household stuff in hard-up nations

Isn't it obvious?

Re: I'm sure humans wouldn't be that much better

It hadn't occurred to me until you mentioned it, but how representative are their sample images anyway? Even the pump soap dispenser in the sample image is nicely isolated on the sink instead of crammed in between the toothbrush holder and a bottle of lotion.

Do they have images tagged "sink" that include towels/rags hanging on the edge? "Faucet" images that have dishrags hanging off of them? "Towel" images where 3 hand towels of different colours and sizes are crammed together on a small rail?

Even if you somehow provide enough incentive for people to submit "real world" example images for your training set, how much do you want to bet they tidy up a bit beforehand? And if they're scraping their samples from the web, well, nobody is posting anything remotely realistic there...

Oracle: Major ad scam 'DrainerBot' is rinsing Android users of their battery life and data

Isn't it obvious?

Obviously as much as Apple is labeled a control-freak for their vetting of applications (and granting they're not perfect), their approach in general is producing better results than Google's more hands-off approach.

Of course even that doesn't solve the problem until you force all updates to go through the store as well, but that change should be an absolute no-brainer IMO. So it costs more to push an app or update into the store. So what? Google is collecting a hefty percentage of the price, they can afford to spend a bit more on review. And if they have to charge a non-zero fee per app? Based on what I've seen in the store, a slightly higher barrier to entry is maybe exactly what is required.

Oracle takes its gripes about Pentagon's JEDI contract to federal court

Isn't it obvious?


On the one hand, I have enormous sympathy for the proposition that the DND (especially, but government in general) shouldn't be entering into massive single-source contracts. There aren't many examples of that coming out well, and when it occasionally does it's usually because of a "cost is no object" approach that's hardly what we want encourage.

On the other hand, it's Oracle making the argument...

Security procedures are good – follow them and you get to keep your job

Isn't it obvious?

Wireshark is a risky app?

Unlike the others on that list, it's open source, and you can download the source and build it yourself. Or use a distro that does that for you, so you're still not relying on some random company's binaries.

For me the biggest problem with Wireshark is that it needs gtk, and I've otherwise almost managed to get a completely gnome-free workstation.

Decision time for AI: Sometimes accuracy is not your friend

Isn't it obvious?

You're not answering the question. The question was what percentage of _claims_ must be fraudulent to get a 99% accurate (symmetrically) system returning the correct result on 99% of flagged claims.

And the answer is 50% fraud rate. Consider 200 claims; 100 honest, 100 fraudulent. At 99% accuracy, 1 honest claim will be incorrectly flagged, and 99 of the 100 fraudulent claims will be correctly flagged, giving you a 99% chance that a flagged claim will actually be fraudulent.

Programmers! Close the StackOverflow tabs. This AI robot will write your source code for you

Isn't it obvious?

Re: What a load of a fucking bollocks

Not to mention they could at least have trained it to a minimal level where people wouldn't laugh at the code. There isn't even a "finally" block, and the Readers are never closed! If you're going to offer to write code for people, at least make sure it's better than the crap they'd write themselves.

And maybe train it on modern code too. That code would never pass peer-review here; it should be using try-with-resources.

Mellanox says it ships enough ports not to need Starboard

Isn't it obvious?

Re: "Activist Investor" ?

I think this is more on-point. (Any better suggestions I have probably would fail a language filter.)

Could El Reg perhaps stop regurgitating this kind of mealy-mouthed self-justifying euphemism? AFAICT there is no such actual thing as an "activist investor." Nobody rich enough to buy a sizable percentage of ${evil megacorp} is going to spend their fortune trying to make it behave like an ethical, responsible entity.

People/companies who try to hide behind the "activist investor" label are, to a one, unpleasant selfish greedy asswipes who want money _now_ regardless of how much damage it does to their targets as going concerns.

'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

Isn't it obvious?

Re: ...some dark matter should have attached itself to me

Thetans! You've cracked it; dark matter is Thetans!!

SUPERHANDS! Fossils of early human ancestors reveal a GRIPPING development

Isn't it obvious?

This was on Q&Q today...

And the study was only published Thursday? That's pretty impressive, to have researched it, prepped the host and taped an interview to air at noon on Saturday.

The whole bit about the trabecular bone patterns was quite interesting, really. They change from repeated stress, so you can infer what kind of work/tool use someone did from the preserved remains. It means that it's possible to detect the effects of tool use, even if the tools themselves did not survive.

Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Devil's advocate says...

I think we're far more likely to see ubiquitous RFID tags on everything that has a sell-by or use-by date. In 5-10 years (thinking the average expected lifespan of in-service fridges) I can easily imagine RFID tags being cheap enough to stick on anything from a carton of eggs to a container of yogurt. And if they're cheap enough for that, then they _will_ be on everything, because of the stock-keeping hassles it will reduce for wholesalers/retailers.

So then it's just a matter of your fridge inventorying everything that goes in with an RFID tag. _That_ technology is already cheap enough. Obviously it won't be able to keep track of your fresh vegies, but it can track anything packaged. And assuming you don't put empty packages/containers back in, it can tell you (for instance) you're out of butter. (It won't tell you that there's only enough left for one slice of toast tomorrow morning - at least not at first.)

And who knows, maybe someone bright can figure out a way to use resonance or path timing or who knows what other emergent phenomenon to get a liquid level off a container with an externally-applied RFID tag at a known position. There's loads of people way smarter than I am; I'd be daft to say it can't be done.

The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

Isn't it obvious?

This is not "coming soon" this is "already in the market"

There have been ads on TV for months to (maybe) get a discount on your car insurance if you hook up the device that profiles your driving: http://dgidirect.ca/auto-insurance/ajusto/

Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

Isn't it obvious?

How are you supposed to wall-mount one of these?

Short of building them _into_ the wall, that is.

We have 3 TVs - all wall-mounted - and in none of the cases would a curved screen be suitable. They'd just create hazards.

Hubble 'scope snaps 600-LIGHT-YEAR-wide pic of star-spawning nebula

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Stunning photo

Hundreds of G? I don't think so. A simple 1G acceleration will get them there in their lifetimes. (Note that in the Earth's reference frame they're already going nearly c in just a year, and from then on it's just a matter of increasing the time dilation factor.)

BETHLEHEM-grade SUPERNOVA possible 'within 50 years'

Isn't it obvious?


Here I started reading the article hoping that someone had identified a few candidate stars on the cusp of going supernova (and explaining the new science that meant they could tell).

It's just a statistical likelihood. Blah. There's been a statistical likelihood of an amazing comet display already in my lifetime, and I'm still waiting for that too.

A steam punk VDU ?

Isn't it obvious?

I actually thought about this years ago...

..and the cutest idea I came up with was to use an array of typeballs (from old IBM Selectrics), each behind a mask, plus mirrors and lenses to enlarge the image of the "current" character into a display element. If you're very clever with the optics, you could use different light paths for various typeballs so you could position some typeballs behind others to compress the vertical and horizontal size of the display.

The Selectrics were entirely mechanical, and you could use any motive source to drive the main shaft (which positioned the head). It even encoded characters in binary, which would simplify using the inputs elsewhere.

Moving the current (writing) address from character position to position is a problem I didn't dig too far into, but you can at least read back the state of each character from the current set of positioning bits.

Hybrid Windows laptop-slash-tablet fails to halt toilet-bound PC market

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The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Register Red of course!

The BRG one is the only scheme shown that doesn't look like something cheap and Chinese-made that you'd find in a clear plastic clamshell on a rack in a crappy toy store.

Except for the orange-and-blue one. That one looks like it should have "Rabobank" written across it.

ATTACK of the ROBOT BANKERS brings stock market to its knees

Isn't it obvious?

Not even fantasy - they are very real parasites

It's not like the bots are manufacturing money, or creating any real wealth. The only way for them to accumulate real money (and what else are they for?) is to insert themselves as the middleman in any genuine transaction and steal money from one or both of the ends of the desired transaction.

They need to be fast to get in ahead of any transactions representing actual interested parties.

The solution is both very simple, and utterly doomed: Require a nominal, but real, fee for every bid or ask submitted to the market. Say $0.001 for the sake of argument. A real person trying to sell a block of shares may need to ask 10 times - cost $0.01 - to get a matching bid. Even on a discount brokerage fee, $0.01 isn't worth worrying about. But one of these bots trying to game the market will make tens of thousands of bids (or asks) a second. That would then cost real money, on the order of millions of dollars per trading day per bot.

Boom, no more bots.

Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Isn't it obvious?

Saw this segment on TV yesterday

They're not limiting themselves to pre-1987 media; they specifically mentioned that the kids like watching <some Disney movie that passed out of my brain> and I'm pretty sure that was produced in the '90s. (The Lion King? Aladdin? I really don't remember.)

It just has to be available on video cassette, of which they have a massive library because basically everyone they know said "Hey, you want this junk? Have all of them!" :)

They also said they made the change as part of a move to a new house; the younger kid doesn't really know any better, but the older one apparently believes that they moved to a house that doesn't have tablets or computers.

US military: 'Help us build the ROBO-WARFIGHTER OF THE FUTURE'

Isn't it obvious?

20ms is pretty slow...

...when you're talking about an incoming round at a velocity of around 600m/s (for an AR-15 to about 600m or an M16 to about 300m, based on the charts I found), it's going to travel 1.2m (through the armour, you, and the armour again) before the armour hardens. You'd need a personal radar in order for it to be useful!

Honestly, I thought they were further along with semi-liquid armour, and that it simply reacted to the impact of the bullet. Though as I think about it, it may be that it was too viscous in liquid state to allow fast movements.

Continuous delivery: What works (and what doesn't)

Isn't it obvious?

Re: The fact is CD needs a lot of resources - and not everybody has them

And if you work on a core piece of an application that has 20+ downstream consumers in the build tree, and some of those pieces are maintained in different time zones, then even with advance warning and pre-agreement, you're going to go at least 2 days without a successful full integration build if you need to make certain changes. The core piece works correctly as committed, but each downstream piece (in stages, if the build tree is more than 2 levels deep) is going to have to write unit tests against the code changes and then commit their own updates; and so on.

And worse, if they discover bugs (e.g. performance/scaling problems with more nodes than they ever let on they were creating, or when they try to add 150 000 rows atomically into a table) then it'll have to feed back to the core team, who will need to replicate, debug and fix - all the while the deliverable isn't. Of course when core team gets the fix in, it's Thursday afternoon, and the downstream guys have gone home for the weekend...

I guess what I'm saying is that this might work for a group that produces a single piece of software, in probably less than 20 build stages, with a team that's not scattered across 8+ time zones. Like so much else, though, I don't see it as a panacea.

Screw you, Brits, says Google: We are ABOVE UK privacy law

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Nuts

All the people here hating on Google for not believing they should be sued in a foreign country should bear their opinion in mind when they get a summons to appear before the Islamic Revolutionary Court (Iran) for something they post here.

Boffins claim Voyager has already left the Solar System

Isn't it obvious?

Obligatory Crystal Spheres reference


Facebook's request to the flash industry: 'Make the worst flash possible'

Isn't it obvious?


I thought that was mounted at /dev/null.

I put the JBoss logs there, and anything else that wants to write megabytes of garbage I'm never going to look at.

Admen's suggested tweaks to Do Not Track filed straight into the bin

Isn't it obvious?

What good is a header, really?

Naturally, the ad-tracking networks will be only too happy to obey a header they wish didn't exist...

"Oh, I'm sorry, we haven't updated from Apache 2.0.64, and it doesn't understand those new headers."

I don't get how this is really supposed to help; maybe we should refer to it as the "I'm really mildly upset you're tracking me" header?

Why are scribes crying just 'cos Google copied their books? asks judge

Isn't it obvious?

My Preciousssss...

Holy crap the copyright maximalist shills are out in force today! To paraphrase, do you guys not understand US copyright law?

Newsflash: In the US (where this legal action is, note) copyright is explicitly (if perhaps, all too often merely nominally) a quid pro quo arrangement for the betterment of society, not a "human right" like it is in Europe. And fair use explicitly trumps copyright on that basis. Thus it is perfectly germane to be arguing about the bounds of author control versus the right of society to discover -> study -> learn from -> build upon any works in question, as that is the exact balance copyright law intends to strike.

Anonymity ZUCKS: Facebook's Instagram to switch on face tagging

Isn't it obvious?

Re: I can't form a proper title

You may have seen it already, but there was a really well-written post on a similar theme a few weeks back: https://plus.google.com/112218872649456413744/posts/dfydM2Cnepe

$1.5k per complaint. Up to 1,900 gTLDs. Brand owners, prepare to PAY

Isn't it obvious?

DNS is broken anyway

The whole point of DNS is 1) to provide human-readable names instead needing to know the (IP) address of sites and 2) to provide a logical reference to a domain so that fail-over, edge-caching, transition to new hardware or hosting, etc. can all be transparent to the users of the domain.

It worked fine when there were a few thousand entities on the net, since there was very little conflict on shared names. It's hopelessly broken when every company, no matter how small or local, wants to use its company name for its domain - because of the way trademarks are allocated, you'd need to add field-of-use and geographic extent to each trademark in order to get a non-conflicting domain name. "apple-computers.com" vs. "apple-records-uk.com" Some companies already do this, while the bigger ones just force others to yield them generic (non-restricted) trademark domain names. On the flip side, you have the problem of monopolisation of non-trademark words (e.g. sex.com).

And then you get into all the problems of typo-squatting, because you're relying on people accurately typing a domain name, in an environment that does not provide assistance (completion, matching close results, etc.)

What we really need is a mechanism where you could just type in what you're actually looking for - in whatever terms make most sense to you - and you could be taken to the site you want to visit, without having to worry about the exact text of its domain name. It could even offer suggestions ("Result for 'ford cars'; click here to search for 'frod cars'.").

The only thing we'd need to change is, instead of showing the domain name the result would take you to, it would show you the validated cert. for the site: "This site belongs to Ford Motor Co. of America." It doesn't matter then if the domain name is "ford.com" "fordmotors.com" or "fordmotorco.com" - and I'd argue that no user cares either, as long as it points to an official site of Ford's.

Judge gives Google until Friday to dish on paid media

Isn't it obvious?

It's all about goodwill

I was going to point out that at least Google had tried to be upfront about the fact that there are a lot of people (though apparently none here) who are friendly towards Google, for whatever reason, at companies or organizations where Google spends or contributes money. Lotsa people still like Google (except here). Whereas Oracle just ignored the whole issue of favourable comments from people with indirect financial interests.

But then it occurred to me that Oracle probably doesn't have any goodwill it doesn't buy outright.

(Disclaimer: I know people who work for Google. They're a whole lot more open about stuff that's not explicitly private, and honest about mistakes and failures, than any of the people I know who work for Microsoft or Apple. I don't know anyone who works for Oracle. I've never worked for any of the above, but they've all complicated my job, in various ways, at different times.)

Asteroid miners to strap 'scopes to new Virgin Galactic rocket

Isn't it obvious?

Really very expensive

The SpaceX Falcon 9 costs 50-60M$ per launch and will lift 13 150kg to LEO. Which amounts to approximately 60 times the mass for only 6 times the cost! Plus you can launch _now_, not in 4 years.

I really don't get how all these companies (ULA is the worst) get away trumpeting the wonderful rockets they'll have in 4 to 10 years, when SpaceX has a better and much cheaper rocket right now.

Japan and Vietnam push on with rare earth mining plans

Isn't it obvious?

Where'd you find that image?

I've never seen a periodic table that didn't have Scandium adjacent to Calcium, although if you had oodles of horizontal space I suppose you could inline the entire Lanthanide and Actinide series... Not to mention listing Lutetium and Lawrencium under Yttrium... That's the most idiosyncratic periodic table I've ever seen!

(And what's with this "An" element between Radium and Lawrencium?)

Earth bathed in high-energy radiation from colossal mystery blast

Isn't it obvious?

Hidden supernova?

I've wondered about what the observable effects would be of a supernova that's (mostly) obscured by a cold nebula (like the CoalSack nebula); might that selectively block most of the visible light, while letting other sufficiently energetic wavelengths and/or particles through? Or diffuse the light sufficiently for it to be lost in the general galactic glow?

NASA found filming August's Mars landing in California desert

Isn't it obvious?

Re: Overly complicated

Well, you hardly want to be trying to drive around having to tote your descent stage with you. (Though sitting on your descent engine is fine for stationary landers like Viking.) So you either have to drive off of it (a la Spirit/Opportunity), which is a problem for a lander as large as Curiosity, or you need to arrive on the ground without it.

Actually, it's quite an elegant proposal; I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. It's just too bad we'll never get to see the video the Martians take of it landing...

NASA plans manned Deep Space Moon outpost

Isn't it obvious?

Somehow I have a great deal of difficulty taking seriously anyone who writes a proposal like that without understanding the meaning of "cis-lunar." (L2 isn't there.)

It's not hard; "cis-" is the opposite of "trans-." (As in "Cisalpine Gaul" vs. "Transalpine Gaul" or "cis-2-pentene.")

Billions of potentially populated planets in the galaxy

Isn't it obvious?

Radial velocity will also only catch an exoplanet candidate if Earth is roughly in line with its orbital plane. The gravitational microlensing approach is not as sensitive to the relative geometry, but it will also miss most exoplanets because of the time sensitivity (the exoplanet has to pass nearly between us and the distant star while the near star is transiting the distant one).

It's all statistical; you can make assumptions about the distribution of the angles of rotation of nearby stars, and hence their ecliptic, and you adjust your estimated population of planets based on the maximum number it would be possible to detect with each method.

LHC results may solve riddle of how universe can exist

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The truth of beauty?

Surely you mean "bottom?" "Beauty" hasn't been used for the name of that flavour in decades, as best I recall.

Winning new UK pylon design may never be used

Isn't it obvious?

We mostly use lattice towers here (Ontario)...

...because they cost less. City-dwellers prefer steel column towers (like the winning design) because they're prettier; farmers prefer them because they occupy less of a field. They tend to get built only as a concession, because of the higher cost.

Typically, even then, angle towers (where the line bends) are still lattice towers, because it's much easier to build one that can support a lateral load without guying it.

The lattice towers certainly are durable; back when I was in university (late 80's) I found an in-service 115kV transmission tower that still had a visible 1929 installation date on it (the other towers on that line were probably the same age, but had too much patina to read).

Level 3 pays $3bn for Global Crossing

Isn't it obvious?

Bad math

Since, obviously 14.8 * 16 != 24.04, I checked; Nasdag:LVLT closed at 1.44 on Friday.


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