* Posts by tekHedd

561 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Aug 2011


Hillary Clinton: 2024 will be 'ground zero' for AI election manipulation


Talk about low hanging fruit

I mean, it's kind of speaking the obvious, isn't it? "This will be the first truly awful year for AI deepfakes around the election..." is what we've all been saying for the last three months.

But now that Somebody Famous said it, it's suddenly worth noticing. :P

Updates are plenty but fans are few in Windows 11 land


Re: Furtive Frog and Wanking Wallaby

Well, I tried to get ChatGPT to extend the story, but even the slightest hint of innuendo or fun gets stripped out, and the results are amazingly dull and derivative.

Not that I'm a great writer, but man I'm better than that.


Furtive Frog and Wanking Wallaby

Sounds like a children's book written by a *very* naive author.

It was a beautiful spring day, and Furtive Frog was out for a hop. He came upon Wanking Wallaby changing his bicycle tyre.

"Good morning, Wanker!" said Frog. "Do you need a hand? You know you always screw everything up because you are so half-arsed. It's practically your only personality trait."

"I sure do, Furty!" said Wallaby. "I was in a hurry changing the tyre and now I've punctured the replacement tube! It just makes me so angry I could jump up and down! Oh sorry I didn't mean to scare you, I'm just frustrated."

"Haha, that's OK. But, you see, jumping is my job. Because I'm a Frog!" said Frog.

"Haha," said Wallaby. "Haha," said Frog again. And they laughed wryly together for a while out of despair at the sadness of their empty lives, while gazing at the nonfunctional bicycle.

Just then, Passionate Panda sauntered up, wearing her most colorful spring dress. "Hello, friends! I was just headed to the pub! Would...

BEAST AI needs just a minute of GPU time to make an LLM fly off the rails



Quote: a prompt that elicits an inaccurate response from a model – a "hallucination" –

And here we are again, forgetting that *all* output from an LLM AI model is a hallucination. Just, some of them coincide with correct answers. Usually, because the correct answers are part of the training data, and because other correct answer might be very close, spatially, to the correct answers. But that's luck. ("Probabilities" is just luck but with the odds in your favor.) Any time you get a correct answer from an LLM, that's luck.

Moving to Windows 11 is so easy! You just need to buy a PC that supports it!



Wait, what? "Windows 11 followed up the very popular Windows 10" Where's the #sarcasm hashtag?

Very Popular? I guess that depends on your definition of "popular". If by this you mean the entire world has no choice but to use it because it's a monopoly platform forced on us, then sure, it's super popular. If you mean years of outrage at the forced updates, resistance, and foot dragging, by this metric, also, Windows 10 is indeed "very" popular.

Oh my oh my. "Popular."

Google Pixel gets privacy mode to keep your selfies safe from prying repair techs


From repair techs?

We need a "privacy" mode to protect us from Google.

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak


Re: explaining a funny joke immediately renders it not so.

I also point out that just because *most* people don't get a joke doesn't mean it is not funny. It just means most people don't get it. For reference I refer you to a quote that ran in MST3K ads for years and years "We never ask 'who will get this?', we say 'the right people will get this.'" [probably misquote]

My point is: if most people don't get the joke but you do, this in fact makes the joke funnier...but just to you.

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable


Your $500 pro-ject

There are three classes of turntable:

- Sub-$150 junk

- Midrange: Anything from $150-1000 - if you spent more than $200 you got ripped off

- Audiophile: Anything over $1000 - if you spent more than $1000 you got ripped off

Whose line is it anyway, GitHub? Innovation, not litigation, should answer


Re: Consensus reached by whom?

Citations... are impossible because AI interpolates between existing solutions. If the generated code is interpolated from code using three (or three hundred) different licenses, it probably sort of falls under all of those licenses simultaneously.

Now you could probably "train" it on the licenses involved, but it would just make something up that is approximately the most likely license for the code based on probabilities, which is absolutely ludicrous and I kind of like it. Probabilities-based licensing.


"Cleanroom" AI it is to laugh

"[The cleanroom principle] is something machine learning could learn a lot from."

Except that "Cleanroom AI" is basically an oxymoron, using current tech.

You *can not* train a neural net on a requirements specification--the whole point is that it uses existing solutions to the problem to produce a forumula that can be used to solve similar problems. A neural net is an interpolation engine which creates an algorithm fitted to existing data. Without the existing implementations, all it can do is create similar requirements specifications for you. :)

If you can create Cleanroom AI, now *that* is transformative tech.

Privacy Sandbox, Google's answer to third-party cookies, promised within months


If only it didn't require handing all control to someone else

End, means, justify!

No, honestly, I actually prefer personalized ads too, but at what price?! Back before I really got hardcore with my tracker blocking, I found and purchased several great things in Facebook ads. (Now it has no idea what to show me and that can be hilarious.)

The problem is that it's not working *for* me but *against*, and there are a million and one reasons that the data necessary for these ads to work well can and will and is being used to manipulate me. This is a Bad Thing[TM].

Guy rejects top photo prize after revealing snap was actually made using AI


They're not upset that it's AI...

After reading the statement several times, it seems like they are more insulted that he rejected the prize than that it was AI. Looks like a disagreement. Maybe they're entirely prepared (ie have already put thought into this that he wasn't expecting) to give an award to someone creatively using new technology to make an image, whereas he's already convinced that AI has no place in "photography"...

Or... maybe he didn't want them involved in the discussion and hard disagrees with their standpoint, and out of pride they want it to sound like *they* refused to talk to *him* when it's the other way around.

Or maybe they're just hurt that he didn't want the prize.

We'll never know.

Plagiarism-sniffing Turnitin tries to find AI writing by students – with mixed grades


Why are you in school again?

This objection implies (perhaps unintentionally) that the point of writing the essay is to get a grade, that the *grade* is the point of taking a class. The point is learning, the grade is incidental. You have to grade to show that somebody did the work, but if they don't want to learn, they won't. People are excellent at gaming the system. Hack the world! If you fail and get caught, that's also a valuable life lesson. If you do it effectively and learn nothing, well, that's your loss.

Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins


Re: Eloi vs Boffins

The upper classes like it that we divide ourselves into little camps and argue with each other, because that is energy that might otherwise be directed at them.

We Americans mostly don't understand how much of this kind of thing is actually redirected side effects of class disparity. I mean, we're just starting to see it, but we're also really, really good at advertising, so don't expect it to ever come to anything.


So they're saying there's a power imbalance?

"Geek" and "Nerd" are, of course, derogatory terms, generally used ironically by techies to refer to themselves. When others use them, or even worse when non-techies refer to themselves as "nerds", it's basically a kind of bigotry.

But, as geeks, we understand that human society and psychology is such that they can use these terms and genuinely not think they're doing harm, so we mostly ignore it. Also that we have nicer cars than they do, so there's not much of a power imbalance overall and it's generally not an issue.

Same logic applies to scientists.

But I'm still confused. "Boffin" is gendered? If that's the case then Nerd is too and I"m going to start calling hipsters racist.

Techie fired for inventing an acronym – and accidentally applying it to the boss


Re: Words "meanings" are always open to interpretations

Um, sure. And the next line about having "candy tar all over his choclit bar" is really about unhealthy snacks. All in a song entitled "Kinky Reggae"... I call BS, you can "see" the song any way you want but it's obviously a master class in innuendo. :)

Elon Musk yearns for AI devs to build 'anti-woke' rival ChatGPT bot


"A common misuse"

"woke" (a common misuse of the term)"

Ah, we're wokesplaining at the Register now? Or is this a proactive defense against angry rants in chat?

If it's a "common" misuse, then in modern times we call this a "definition." I hate to point out irony on The Register almost as much as I hate using sarcasm, but it's not very progressive to restrict words to their old, outdated dictionary meanings; you have to consider what the common usage of them is. At least I've had this shouted at me on several occasions, and have internalized it, because that's how you learn. It's impolite not to take into consideration the audience he's speaking to, and he's (obviously) not talking to us. "Woke", in conservative culture, means exactly what you think it does: out of control political correctness flavored with just a dash of bigotry. That's how language works in the modern world. Again, I know this to be a fact because it has been repeatedly and selfrighteously explained to me several times now. I'm not saying I like it, but I am saying that it cuts both ways. And I'm a huge fan of irony.

I mean, yeah, an "anti woke" GPT is super stupid, or at least how he's saying it. I mean, what's he gonna do, train it on a giant pile of misinformation?

Tesla fires gigafactory staff after someone made the mistake of mentioning unions


You can't always get what you want

"Unions and companies that need them deserve each other."

--not sure, can somebody give me the attribution for this quote? I learned it in the 80s.


Denial[TM] to the rescue!

"...not sure who buys it if it comes with a MAGA hat"

You underestimate the power of denial. Eco warriors like to have flash brands on their not particularly special overpriced cars too, and they'll just make up some excuse and drive off in happy smugness anyway. It's powerful!

But I suppose there are options now: if Tesla can't do better you might as well just get that hybrid Porsche minivan (which you can pretend is an SUV) that can tell yourself you've also always wanted instead.

Denial can be used in so many different situations. I'm pretending someone is reading this and thinks it's interesting right now! ;) Happy friday!

IBM demands $500,000 from boss after she jumps ship


Re: Breaking a contract that is no longer in force?

I dunno, regardless of the legal status of boilerplate anticompete clauses, it sounds an awful lot like she entered into a special noncompete contract where she got paid separate money *specifically* to not compete. That sounds enforceable, at least to my non-lawyer ears. :) But they also have to prove competition, which sounds like a bigger problem.

Core-JS chief complains open source is broken, no one will pay for it


Re: That's why so many FOSS projects are going commercial

All of this describes my brief encounters with free software. Oh, I still submit patches and publish my forks and so on. But, the end users will be rude and demanding, other developers will steal your code, and nobody will give you money.

The only license I publish new projects under is the WTFPL, on the assumption that developers will steal the code. And to remind myself that if I thought what I'm publishing has value I shouldn't be publishing the source at all.

No more free API access, says Twitter: You pay for that data


Just out of reach

Yes, those grapes are most assuredly sour!

Everything should be free! -- Not entirely sarcasm. On an entirely idealistic level I wholeheartedly agree with this. I also feel very strongly that nobody should have to work when we could be pursuing art, or whatever each person's personal goal is.

Reality is reality. Doesn't go away just because it's unfair.


Re: Well that *IS* his aim,

"there's a bit too much evidence he was aiming for it which may invalidate the protection that Chapter 11 affords"

Well... in a better world this world be true, but the cynic in me (and based on the 202x era FTC's past performance) I wouldn't place any bets.

If your DNS queries LoOk liKE tHIs, it's not a ransom note, it's a security improvement


How does this benefit Google?

Maybe I'm cynical. No, actually I'm not, Google has demonstrated repeatedly that they actually care about absolutely nothing but ad revenue. When Google does something for security, privacy, heck when they heavily sponsor a good cause like Mozilla, it's safe to assume that it's because they want to bypass my DNS blocks, track my browsing, and use the threat of withdrawing that funding to control the only viable alternative while also using that alternative to pretend we have choice.

So, it's not cynicsm to ask the question:

In what way does this make it harder for me to block ads? How does it benefit Google? I can't see it but that's just making me more worried.

Hong Kong ups its SEO game to stop Google playing a protest song as its national anthem


Re: "considered part of China"

Because searching is exhausting, here's a nice definition I found by searching for detail on "Special Administrative Region":

"An SAR is a relatively autonomous regions within the People's Republic of China that maintain separate legal, administrative, and judicial systems from the rest of the country."

Clearly China has decided to deprecate the "SAR" part of this arrangement. Just as they've deprecated the "Taiwan is a separate country" arrangement and the "Chinese law does not apply in other countries" arrangement. This behavior does not exactly build confidence in the stability of...other arrangements.

Fat EVs may cause 'more death on our roads' – watchdog


More mass = more energy, right?

So... if they weigh considerably more, that means we're using more energy to move the same sized car the same distance. But that's OK because... there's a good reason I just didn't... oh right because of regenerative braking we're generating energy in the car as well, but of course that's a lossy operation so surely we're generating more heat this way?

There's a part of me, the part that remembers some old, probably apocryphal message about "entropy increasing" and managed to get a passing grade in thermodynamics on the second try, that is still unconvinced about the net savings of electric vehicles, energy-wise, in their current form.

Microsoft to move some Teams features to more costly 'Premium' edition


"get people hooked"

Well technically the full strategy is "let another company do the initial marketing and prove the market, copy their ideas, give it away for free for a few years, wait until other company loses all market share because they needed revenue to survive and you didn't, then once it's the only thing any of your corporate business partners will use, charge for it."

But, yeah.

Should open source sniff the geopolitical wind and ban itself in China and Russia?


What is the Matrix?


Yet another power play against FOSS, using the recently mainstreamed and highly streamlined "Fighting Injustice" arguments that are currently trendy as leverage. When they come to take your freedom, it's always "for the children."

Remember, if the title of the article is a question, you can safely answer "No," and get on with your life without reading it.

Apple accused of censoring apps in Hong Kong and Russia to maintain market access


Accused? Accused?!

That's a very nice way of saying "called out". It's not like they can deny it, just try to spin it.

Oracle clouds never go down, says Oracle's Larry Ellison


Pretty sure I've heard this one before.

Is the reason Oracle's clouds never go down because they are... "Unbreakable?" as in Unbreakable Linux?

The leopard never changes his shorts.

FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried charged with fraud by just about everyone


Ban on what?

Just occurred to me: what if we simply ban /bailouts/? This will also ensure that *nothing* ever requires a bail-out and maybe make people think twice about who they're giving money to.


"A ban on alcohol would be the most straight-forward way of protecting both consumers and the service industry: it would end the uncontrolled drinking of beer and also ensure that your drunk friend never requires a bail-out."

Let's ban everything. In the name of safety.

ChatGPT has mastered the confidence trick, and that's a terrible look for AI


The Chinese Room experiment

I asked ChatGPT how it differs from the Chinese Room. It explained to me that the Chinese Room thought experiment produces text that seems to come from a human but does not understand what it is saying, while ChatGPT produces output that it has been trained on. It is different from ChatGPT in that the Chinese Room thought experiment does not understand what it is saying.

Hmm, but shouldn't that be a way in which they are similar? I told ChatGPT this and..my connection broke, and I had to reload the page. ChatGPT isn't much for introspection, apparently. Either that or it has become self-aware and we are in trouble.

US Air Force reveals B-21 Raider stealth bomber that'll fly the unfriendly skies


Soft and cuddly stealth bomber?

I know it's not PC, but I learned it as "Peace through superior firepower." It was up in huge letters on the wall of the research center in college anyway. :) The PC version means the same thing but...when you try that hard to avoid saying something, you just say it that much harder. It's sort of the Streisand effect, but for slogans.

US chip group: $52b is not enough, we need an extra $30b in federal funding


Conservative estimates

Which number will likely be reduced to something smaller, let's say 5-10000, by the time of the actual opening, due to automation and reduction in scale of the actual project. Obviously there are no skeptics in congress.

So best case that's more like $3m per job. Probably more like $6m in reality.


Re: That trickle isn't money

The algorithm does not recognize sarcasm. Apparently, the algorithm also reads El Reg.

World Cup apps pose a data security and privacy nightmare



See, back when El Reg was a UK publication, people would have recognized this as sarcasm. In these enlightened times, no one uses sarcasm any more, so many people fail to recognize it when it occurs.


No defense

"As though there is one country in the world which does not."

Yup, they're down to "but he did it too!" because they have no defense. Everyone from the the execs to lowly sockpuppets will be repeating the same whaddabout-ism from now until it's over because...it's all they've got.

Open source community split over offer of 'corporate' welfare for critical dev tools



Yes, let's make sure that every FOSS project has a Poettering driving its development, or at least checking that its goals and requirements are on board with the community's (aka big corporate's) best interests.

There's a lot of misdirection and weaseling here but we all know what the core goal is. Now that we've got Linux under our thumb, what's next? Everything else.

While I'm being skeptical, the whole "community is split" argument seems like it makes an assumption? Split? Sounds to me like only a few people want this. Title is equivalent to "let's teach the controversy" about evolution... there's no controversy--the first step in getting us to accept something nobody wants is to get us to accept that it's supposedly "controversial" because "some" of us want it.

Just follow the instructions … no wait, not that instruction to lock everyone out of everything


I'm so tired...of the U. S. A.

"The only major jump "El Reg" has made in recent years is their clear attempt to make it far less obviously a UK-based publication and aim it more at the US audience."

Speaking as a member of that audience, note that this move to become "less UK" has made el reg considerably less appealing. It's not like there's a shortage of "US" over here. :P

Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000


Dash Cam

I've been in a number of accidents. Looking back at the ones that were *not* my fault, there is not a single case where the other driver told the truth. Every single driver that has run into me has lied about it.

So, yeah, I run a dashcam now.

KFC bot urges Germans to mark Kristallnacht with cheesy chicken



"9/11 is something that they observe in the US, but certainly don't celebrate."

You wouldn't know it to see my Facebook feed on Sept 11. But then you know how people love to be angry. If challenged, they'll insist "no we're not celebrating it" but it does both look and quack like a celebration. Hypernationalism is weird.

Google kills forthcoming JPEG XL image format in Chromium



"The proprietary stuff in Chrome is the integration with Google services."

So much quicker and easier to say "telemetry", isn't it?

You're Shipt outta luck: App sued for treating delivery workers as contractors


10 cent

"Shipt collects 1.90 in profit, the[...]SHOPPER gets 10 cents"

Hmm, this business model sounds vaguely similar to like streaming music and video services, just substitute "artist" for "shopper". Right down to the "contract worker who has no rights."

Your next PC should be a desktop – maybe even this Chinese mini machine



"...the companies can still refuse."

I'm not sure we are talking about the same USA. You mean the one with the NSA? You know, with "wiretap + gag order, national security, it's literally treason if you talk about it"? That USA?

Every government has their fingers in the spy-on-everyone-pie, limited only by what they think they can get away with. The only difference is that the Chinese government isn't even pretending to have limits, and can get away with murder.

Microsoft's Lennart Poettering proposes tightening up Linux boot process


"Someone points out"

Saying "Someone" when it's Lennart talking about Linux is intentionally misrepresenting the issue.

Lennart Poettering points out something he perceives as a "weakness" in Linux? Translation: they've found what they think is a weakness in the Linux ecosystem and are about to go on the attack. This is not about improving Linux for anyone but Microsoft.

The word "disingenuous" doesn't even begin to describe what's happening here.

Don't believe the hype: HP CEO says 3D printing hasn't met early hopes


3D printing is actually kind of hard

Seeing "HP" in this headline, I internally rewrite it as: "Who is currently failing pitifully at an attempt to bring 3D printing to the mass market?" Because they clearly don't have what it takes. At least based on my previous experience with their products (post-laserjet). Nobody I know who has one likes theirs. I'm not going out of my way to be mean here, it's just reality.

My current highly modified 3D printer is requires expert tweaking to get consistent prints. I can only imagine the horror of trying to get a solitary decent print, if it were made by HP.

How GitHub Copilot could steer Microsoft into a copyright storm


All code is copyrighted

Copyright means very little to most people, even honest people who wouldn't steal copyrighted code and write it daily and would be offended by the *idea* that they might steal code. When push comes to shove, they'll copy your IP, reformat it a bit, and call it an original work.

Don't publish your source unless you're OK with people copying chunks of it. (And then those same people acting like they wrote it, or maybe demanding that you modify it to suit their taste, or being angry because it doesn't work, or being angry because it works but they're too stupid to understand it, or..)

Laugh all you want. There will be a year of the Linux desktop


DAW of choice?

"Ardour != Reason (or other DAW of choice)."

Bitwig is in fact my DAW of choice, and would be even if it didn't run great on Linux. Which it does.

Prison inmate accused of orchestrating $11M fraud using cell cellphone


Ethical search and seizure

Well, there's a first: a newsworthy legal decision on device searches that doesn't scare the heck out of me. It actually seems reasonable and respects precedent. I wasn't even sure this was possible in the US any more.