* Posts by Ken Hagan

7044 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Amazon Lex can now speak British English... or simply 'English' if you're British

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Born on the Isle of Eire...

I don't think we have citizenship classes here. We didn't when I was at school and my kids didn't more recently.

Given how our politicians can stick an oar in some so apolitical as English and Maths, it is probably for the best that we don't have Citizenship.

Vinyl sales top CDs for the first time in decades in America, streaming rules

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Isn't it odd...

You're paying for a transient pleasure, like going to the cinema or a pub or restaurant. Plenty of music isn't worth owning but is worth a few pennies for a period of time.

I prefer to own music myself, but I can understand those who prefer to rent and in doing so get access to a much broader range than I could for the same money.

Something to look forward to: Being told your child or parent was radicalized by an AI bot into believing a bonkers antisemitic conspiracy theory

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Automation

A machine that can generate hate-speech *might* be something that you could re-purpose as a machine to detect hate-speech generated by others. That might be quite useful in the same way that a spell-checker or a grammar-checker is.

"It looks like you are writing bile-ridden slander. Do you want some help with that?" -- Clippy, 2021

While you lounged about all weekend Samsung fired up its biggest-ever chip factory and started cranking out 16Gb LPDDR5 DRAM

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Always registered.

"USB uses the same connector for everything"

Really? I can think of six without even looking in my box of cables and adaptors.

(But you are right that the connector is just *one* of the ways in which you might have the wrong kind of USB.)

Zuck says Facebook made an 'operational mistake' in not taking down US militia page mid-protests. TBH the whole social network is a mistake

Ken Hagan Gold badge

"In what way is it anonymous?"

How hard is it to create an account on Facebook under a pseudonym or an email address that 99% of the population cannot trace to you? For bonus points, how hard is it to do that in such a way that the law enforcement experts of some random foreign counrty (like, say, the US) cannot trace you or touch you in court even if they could trace you?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

No. FB is not responsible for what these people do. FB is responsible for giving them a free (and essentially anonymous) platform on which they can do it.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Still he doesn't get it.

"It's because the team that enforces our policy against dangerous organizations is a specialized team,"

No, Zuck. It's because the task of enforcing that policy is simply impossible on the scale required to make your business model work.

Your business model is "Everyone can post whatever they like for free and we finance it by data-mining and ads.". Sadly, "everyone" includes the very worst that humanity has to offer and they get to hide in amongst the other 8 billion. There is simply no way to make a site like today's Facebook work in a reliably legal and ethical way. AI is nowhere near to understanding the level of nuance in human social interactions and policing with real people simply doesn't scale up to 8 billion users.

The world does not owe you (or anyone else) a business model. It is your job to either change how FB is financed and/or change how users are allowed onto the platform. If you don't, the rest of society is entitled to assume that you don't care about the criminality on the site as long as it makes you money. *That* is not going to be an acceptable defence when you end up in court.

Dell: 60% of our people won't be going back into an office regularly after COVID-19

Ken Hagan Gold badge

"We have an opportunity now to do something about climate change by travelling less and WFH more."

It's not just climate change. WFH with kids around your feet is a challenge, but so is being tied to your desk all day when those kids are kicked out of school mid-afternoon, and so is spending an hour or more each day travelling. The last six months have allowed some people to discover that there is a completely different way to play work/life balance and with appropriate technology can be a far better balance.

On the other hand...

If your job involves large or expensive equipment, or involves actually being in a particular place to engage with the people there, then WFH isn't an option and you've probably spent the last six months in a state of inner fury at all the journalists writing yet another bloody article about WFH.

Also, most of us who have spent the last 6 months at home already *have* decent working relationships with the colleagues we meet on Teams or Zoom. It would be interesting to know if someone starting a new job from home feels the same way. ("I've been here 6 months and haven't met anyone yet.")

Also, personality types aside, some jobs are naturally solitary because they require a lot of concentration but other jobs are typically done in very chatty offices. I wonder if the latter are best done "from home" with an 8-hour long video conference call running to enable the same environment.

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Nitpick: Teams does run on Linux.

But yeah, not the right tool for the job.

Start Me Up: 25 years ago this week, Windows 95 launched and, for a brief moment, Microsoft was almost cool

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: it's infamous need to be rebuilt literally every couple of months

"even though it [NT] was quite resource hungry"

I never saw a machine that would run Win9x faster than the contemporary version of NT. Architecturally, 9x was a 32-bit "kernel" that had a "DOS box for drivers" with a whacking great mutex to serialise access. It was an impressive hack, but one that had obvious costs in performance and stability.

The only reason to use 9x was that you had some DOS software that needed to bit-bang on the hardware. (That was usually an actual DOS device driver, but it could have been an application.)

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended

Ken Hagan Gold badge

It's also a process that can easily result in issues when you don't support 99% of existing extensions, no matter how slowly you execute the process.

This is like an OS changing its driver model and pushing out an auto-update when only a dozen or so common disks, rodents, keyboards and displays are supported. It beggars belief that anyone thought they would get away with this.

Uncle Sam to blow millions on getting fusion power finally working – with the help of AI

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: But how long will it take to get there?

Nitpick: The current value is just over 5 years: https://www.iter.org/proj/itermilestones#177

ITER may not work, but that's the current expert prediction.

So long, Top Gun... AI software waxes US F-16 pilot's tail 5-0 during virtual dogfight drills

Ken Hagan Gold badge

You are probably better off learning about computer security, so that you can takeover the enemy's assets mid-war. Given the "state of the art" in that, I'd have thought that the outcome of WW3 was completely up in the air. (The side that *builds* the best drones may not end up being very important.)

Chromium devs want the browser to talk to devices, computers directly via TCP, UDP. Obviously, nothing can go wrong

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Cycles of re-incarnation

At what point do all these APIs mean that that we've basically re-invented ActiveX controls, but with the constraint that they have to be written in Javascript?

And in what universe is that an even remotely intelligent thing to have done?

Physical locks are less hackable than digital locks, right? Maybe not: Boffins break in with a microphone

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Security Locks for the win

I think you missed the point about frequency.

"Allo, allo. Is that an aerial the size of a small town in your pocket or are you just *really* pleased to see me?"

Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

YAGNI for data? I like it!

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

"since the photographer gets to assign a fair market value to their individual pictures"

If the photos weren't backed up, Adobe will argue that the photographer valued them at zero.

Good news: NASA boffins spot closest near-Earth asteroid ever. Bad news: We never saw it coming. Good news: It's also really small

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Within a busy area

I wouldn't call it "busy". Work out the volume of a sphere of that radius and consider the fraction filled by satellites and the volume of the cylinder swept out by the rock.

Even Earth appears (fortunately) to be quite hard to hit and it has measurable gravitational field. (Pedant's alert: Yes, I know that you can measure the gravitational field of a small lump of metal and have been able to since Cavendish's time, but you get my drift.)

Dido 'Queen of Carnage' Harding to lead UK's Institute for Health Protection because Test and Trace went so well

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: How Dare You Criticise........

Not a Graun reader, then.

Everything I've seen here, I've seen there, plus some wild speculation about what she has on the Bullingdon set from her Oxford days that keeps getting her these cushy posts.

This NSA, FBI security advisory has four words you never want to see together: Fancy Bear Linux rootkit

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: "Four words you never want to see together..."

or "son-in-law" if you want balance.

UK.gov to propose new rules for online political campaigns after last election marred by an avalanche of fake news

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

I think the Dublin rule applies until New Year.

Google offers first part of its in-house M:N thread code as open source to Linux kernel

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: M:N was already there a while back

There has been a general move away from user-space threading. I think they started life in Solaris. Microsoft have deprecated their "fibers", Linux added and then removed its M:N scheduling. Apparently it is one of those superficially attractive ideas whose deficiencies only become apparent after you've invested a year or two.

This is essentially the stackless versus stackful debate for co-routines, and languages are increasingly coming down on the stackless side of the fence. As far as I can tell, the main reasons are:

If you don't know which thread a routine is going to run on, you can't safely use any OS API that depends on per-thread kernel state. If you can recode so that there are no such dependencies, you've basically done all the work needed to refactor your program as a (kernel) thread-pool feeding on a queue of work packages. If you can't recode in this way, kernel threads aren't *that* much more expensive and work as intended.

China now blocking ESNI-enabled TLS 1.3 connections, say Great-Firewall-watchers

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Own goal?

There's no technical reason to use *any* encryption, since the update files are signed, but that's not my point. MS *could* gratuitously use a transport that they know is blocked by some users with the intention of being awkward. They might even try to justify it on privacy grounds, since the updates that you query for, request and retrieve, give away information about your system.

Why would they be awkward? Well, there is a Chinese version of pretty much every major western player in technology (search, tat bazaars, social media, ...). Sooner or later, there will be a Chinese "Windows-compatible" OS as well. (They must surely have the source code. It's just waiting for Winnie-the-Pooh to give it his sign-off.) Once that happens, there is no money for MS in China and they might as well close the door behind them.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Own goal?

So what happens if Windows Update decides to insist on using TLS 1.3 to grab patches? Is that every Windows box in China knocked off the updates bandeagon, with new exploits being revealed each month?

Mozilla warns more Firefox website breakage to come because devs just aren't checking for SameSite snafus

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Why the problem?

I suspect this (entirely sensible) plan falls flat when confronted by a website that pulls resources, including code, from a dozen different domains because that's easier than actually taking responsibility for serving them up from your own server.

On the other hand, this might not be a bad thing. If the site was thrown together by an idiot, I probably don't want it to work as they intended and probably do want to be encouraged to find an alternative site.

NSA warns that mobile device location services constantly compromise snoops and soldiers

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Citation needed? I'd say that all the elected dictators I can think of were clearly unsuitable personality types long before they were elected. The problem is that not all the electorate agree on what "unsuitable" means.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Who IS NOT Location Tracked

They may have such devices, but that doesn't mean they can force their bosses to use them. Example: UK cabinet meeting held over Zoom. Earlier example: Trump refusing to use the phone offered by his three-letter-agency because he prefers the one he has. Still earlier example: Clinton's email server.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Trump tells Putin where you are

None of which puts a single Russian boot on Afghan soil.

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: @AC - @aberglas - You had better take these seriously

Russian is a language where you can't say you are having a friend round to dinner without disclosing the sex of the friend.

With some truth, it has been said that grammar dictates what you cannot avoid saying, rather than what you can say.

UK intel committee on Russia: Social media firms should remove state disinformation. What was that, MI5? ████████?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

This is not the answer. I doubt these accounts would exist for more than 24 hours after being flagged. Also, I doubt that many people actually care about their sources of information as long as it feeds their preferred narrative.

What Putin appears to have done is provide covert support for a position that was being openly pushed by a minority. (That, incidentally is the difference between his intervention and that of the EU and US. All three had a public position. Only Putin had an army of anonymous influecers.) That would have been almost impossible with proper fact checking, but proved fairly easy if you can get away with lying on an industrial scale.

So blame all round, really. Still, we'll learn. Experience is a hard mistress, but fools will learn from no other.

CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor

Ken Hagan Gold badge

We never were.

A volt from the blue: Samsung reportedly ditches wall-wart from future phones

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Thoughts

Low voltage power distribution isn't very efficient, so possibly never. You could, however, build them into the mains socket. In fact, we appear to have a commentard further up in the forum who has exactly that on all sockets.

Baroness Dido Harding lifts the lid on the NHS's manual contact tracing performance: 'We contact them up to 10 times over a 36-hour period'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Damn numbers and facts.

Unless you can catch it from your pets, or tomorrow's lunch.

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: scaling

Perversely, arguing that we should avoid terms like master-slave because of the origins of the expression *is* just an etymological argument.

Does it scale? Well apparently not if the list of exceptions and their justifications are anything to go by.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

And it doesn't look like they'll get that.

Barclays Bank appeared to be using the Wayback Machine as a 'CDN' for some Javascript

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Liability

If so, then it would be possible for someone to maliciously hotlink to your site and then get you into trouble. That seems perverse, so I imagine that a court would let you off and instead suggest to the prosecutor that the hotlinker is the one who has violated the law by wilfully failing to maintain control over the processing of their own customers' data.

But, as you can probably tell from my "That seems perverse, so..." sentence, IANAL.

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Masochists...

In my case it is because I develop software and want to get screwed over before my customers do.

It's a balance, though. I could become an Inmate and get screwed earlier and harder, but I don't love my customers *that* much.

Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: In the interim, the British government has been forced to adopt human-powered contact tracing

...which is just one of the reasons why there are privacy concerns around any track and trace app that everyone is expected to install on their phone.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

I thought it already had an English translation, though it isn't clear why.

Perhaps there is a legal requirement to make a UK app available in other languages as well, since it is some kind of government service. Anyone actually know?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

I thought it was fairly obviously making Britain the butt of the joke and so, assuming the article was written by a Brit, fairly innocuous.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

Ken Hagan Gold badge

A face-saving solution...

We could surely "re-purpose" these satellites as a way of providing rural broadband. Or is our government not even capable of that?

C is for 'Careful now', D is for 'Download surprise': Microsoft to resurrect optional Windows 10 updates as 'Previews'

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Refunds for repairs?

"Linux is not then an option in this case. The GUI is totally different to what he is presently using."

Browsing, email and basic office-y stuff is identical, the Linux update mechanism is faster and more reliable, and the number of threats to privacy and security is much lower. We don't know what his workload is, but I would guess that "totally different" is almost totally wrong.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: intelligent data lake


Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Ken Hagan Gold badge


If it isn't your house then it isn't personally identifiable as you. At least, not unless Google are way ahead on the AI and can understand your host welcoming you by name. When setting up the Assistant, you let it voice print you (presumably to redice the risk of visitors issuing random instructions as in the XKCD cartoon on this topic) so anyone else is just background noise.

So I don't think GDPR applies.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Damage the hard drive?

All the more scary is that this drip under pressure claims to have taught the Microsoft case for years. Rather sad to think that students might have paid good money for such crap tuition.

If Fairphone can support a 5-year-old handset, the other vendors could too. Right?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Consumers aren’t being served by Android

Also true for operating systems, office suites, web browsers, email clients...

The odd thing is that in all these other markets there is now a free alternative, but trying to put a free OS on your phone usually involves finding a bug that someone has turned into a rootkit.

Winter is coming, and with it the UK's COVID-19 contact-tracing app – though health minister says it's not a priority

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Well that aged well

And haven't they open-sourced it? But it will take our genius govt six months to add an English translation to the UI.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: I need help

"1 word is used to describe several different unrelated situations"

All real languages do that. Metaphor is fundamental to applying language to new situations. Computers as we know them did not exist 100 years ago so pretty much all computer jargon is metaphorical.

The argument here is just about which metaphors are allowed.

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: New wave

If more people knew the etymology of wife and husband then those terms would be banned, too.


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