* Posts by Ken Hagan

7589 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

China is trolling rare-earth miners online and the Pentagon isn't happy

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Presumably they know this because the Chinese mines do these things. I wonder if they have informed the local population in China of this?

Arm says its Cortex-X3 CPU smokes this Intel laptop silicon

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Apples, meet Oranges.

It looks like they are comparing a processor design, available in the near future, with an actual processor, that I can buy now. Is that fair?

Graphical desktop system X Window just turned 38

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Re: Secure network connection

Doesn't running X over SSH remove that problem?

Well, I say "remove" but I mean sidestep, since the X connection is running oblivious to the security being provided by the SSH connection underneath it, the latter having been set up in the traditional direction.

Always read the comments: Beijing requires oversight of all reader-generated chat

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Re: Too risky

No, you just made a post that ignored the word Victorian and thereby completely missed the point of the post you were "replying" to.

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Re: That would be a huge change

I'm sure anything other than standard chinese is subversive-by-default.

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem

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Re: Sentience? Meh...

We're relying on human language. I expect I'd fail a Cat Turing Test.

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Re: The real issue

"I think therefore I am." is an unsupported conclusion based on an unestablished premise. Define "think", "am" and "I", and we can start talking.

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Re: The real issue

Do we even know that our own brains continue to function in the absence of external input? I'd say the only experiments ever conducted on the point are inconclusive, because we've never been able to re-attach the head.

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Re: Chinese Room

All discussions of this point run aground on issues like "Define think" and "Can brains think?".

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Re: The whole article

The article seems to be suggesting that the point of the Turing Test is to determine whether the human participant is intelligent or not.

And last week, most of us failed it.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals

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Re: And for EU visitors ?

Not necessarily. A fair number of US sites dealt with GDPR by blocking EU visitors.

Airbus flies new passenger airplane aimed at 'long, thin' routes

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Rather than being bent at hips and knees and shipped as freight?

On the face of it, the packing density ought to be better so it's a little surprising that no-one has tried this yet.

Bill Gates says NFTs '100% based on greater fool theory' amid crypto cataclysm

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Re: A pipe-smoker comments...

That might have been true on the day he said it, but imports became more expensive the following day and inflation eventually adjusted the value of the pound in your pocket to make Harold a liar.

Proof that politicians have always been willing to insult the electorate's intelligence if they think it will make the awkward question go away until later.

Teeth marks yield clue to widespread internet outage in Canada

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In this case, the cables were distinct. Only the poles were shared. Does that count as layer 0?

Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near

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Re: Chrome is the hellmouth

"if you have certain active scripts blocked, the "Install Chrome" panel is missing, and you get a silent install - very crafty."

Is that actually legal? Does it not count as using someone else's computer without their permission? If not, why not, and can Joe Public use the same loophole to install spyware on other people's machines?

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: I don't get it.

"Use it from a browser that isn't Chrome and you'll get told the right way to use it is in Chrome."

Not true for me, 30 seconds ago, using FF on this phone.

Taser maker offers electric-shock drones to stop school shootings

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Does it work indoors?

My understanding of the most recent incident is that the alarm could not have been raised before the shooter was inside the building. This proposal seems even more laughably self-serving than some of the political reactions.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Causes

"Isn't this the kind of thing we techie guys do in our own sphere? We find out the root cause of a failure when it occurs if we can."

Yes, but finding the root cause isn't always (even usually) the hard part. Getting manglement to address the root cause is. I think I see a parallel here.

Researchers claim quantum device performs 9,000-year calculation in microseconds

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Re: Cynical but accurate

Except that you get a different answer each time. You'd be quicker just calling rand() directly.

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Can a quantum computer predict anything other than its own behaviour? Isn't this what we used to call analogue computing? (Yes, the results are digital, but a quantised phenomenon could hardly be anything else.)

Starlink's success in Ukraine amplifies interest in anti-satellite weapons

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Re: The internet is two way

But there may be a thousand times as many ground stations as satellites. How many drones were you planning on using? How many targets, one at a time, are you planning to throw expensive precision-guided munitions at?

No. I think the chinese analysts have got this one right. Starlink-like systems make existing anti-satellite weapons obsolete.

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants

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Re: even more safer to operate?

No. It's not important. It was not an accident. It was an monumentally stupid act of self-harm. It tells us nothing about the safety of nuclear power.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: even more safer to operate?

Re: commie mismanagement,

When you deliberately turn off all the safety guards and then send your reactor into a tailspin, it's not an accident and it tells us nothing about the safety of nuclear power.

Tweaks to IPv4 could free up 'hundreds of millions of addresses'

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"and is never going to be updated"

This is the point made at the end of the article. If you tell programmers for 40 years that .0 is reserved (and can be used to identify a network) then they will build that into their code. Likewise with 0/8 and 127/8. I've certainly written code that classifies addresses as multicast or node-scope based on the numbering. In fact, I'm not aware of any other way to perform such a classification, so I'm not even sorry.

IBM ordered to pay $1.6b to BMC

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Re: Not commenting on the business practices

From the fine article:

"The decision to remove BMC Software technology from its mainframes rested solely with AT&T, as was recognized by the court and confirmed in testimony from AT&T representatives admitted at trial."

Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux

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Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

"who's idea of fun is [...] to test a keyboard and mouse-less OS controlled by throwing M&Ms against a charged metal plate..."

But that *was* fun, right up until some bastard upstream recompiled libmetalplate.so to use a conflicting version of libplate.so and I had to mount the root filesystem in a different system in order to pin the package versions.

"Mr Average needs an OS which just works, doesn't get in the way, and is easy (for a normal person) to find support for."

This. Specifically the third requirement, despite the fact that Windows increasingly doesn't actually deliver on that front. No-one is going to make the jump unless they have a promise from an experienced friend that they will hand-hold and fix problems. With a decent distro, that support will not be a burden long-term, but I find it hard to believe that anyone can learn Linux from the interwebs painlessly.

Possibly a fourth requirement is to have a second computer (permanently on hand) that you can use to fix the first one. Most geeks take that for granted and most normal people don't have it.

This Windows malware uses PowerShell to inject malicious extension into Chrome

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Re: More of the usual

Sounds a lot like you need to run that "game" (that you downloaded from a dodgy web site) as an admin. If so, I hardly think it counts as a hole. I could "inject" malware into crontab on a Linux system if I had the privileges. It's what the damn thing is designed for!

It is fun to see different examples of the mischief that people can get up to once they've taken over your system and it gives us more examples to use to convince our friends that they really shouldn't be running anything as admin if they can possibly avoid it, and certainly not if they've got it from a "helpful" site that meant they didn't have to pay for it. But it is hardly news.

Microsoft Bing censors politically sensitive Chinese terms

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Re: Not different in the EU though

drill rt.com @8.8.8.8 yields 91.215.41.4

drill rt.com @217.169.20.20 yields 0.0.0.0

The former is Google's service. The latter is Andrews & Arnold, an ISP in the UK that has traditionally taken a dim view of censorship (see https://www.aa.net.uk/broadband/ and skip down to "An unfiltered Internet connection"). A&A's boss had a few things to say on the subject in this article -> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/04/russia-sanctions-add-shock-internet-censorship-twist-for-uk-isps.html. That article concludes:

"UPDATE 6th May 2022

Ofcom and the UK Sanctions List appear to have confirmed that the first block list domains are for rt.com, sputniknews.com and rossiyasegodnya.com. Most ISPs will be implementing this via a basic DNS level block, which is usually the simplest approach."

So yes, we're being censored.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Not different in the EU though

To be fair, I can't actually connect to rt.com so perhaps the search engine is correct not to list it.

Has it been taken off air?

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Re: Not different in the EU though

Just tried it on my phone (using DuckDuckGo). First hit was Al Jazeera. rt.com is nowhere to be seen.

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL

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Indeed, but it doesn't answer my question. The "original translation" is non-idiomatic English, so either it is a bad translation or it is preserving some non-idiomatic quality of the original Italian. I don't speak Italian, so I thought I'd ask someone who does.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Is the original Italian also non-idiomatic, then?

Clearview AI fined millions in the UK: No 'lawful reason' to collect Brits' images

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Re: Contradiction

Assuming that they gave their assistance for free, that doesn't constitute "doing business" in the UK. Then again, even if the statement is true this judgement is still a problem if they ever want to start (*) doing business in the UK.

(* Or restart. I note the phrase "at this time" and wonder if ClearView have done business in the UK in the past.)

Supreme Court urged to halt 'unconstitutional' Texas content-no-moderation law

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Re: Gaping hole

I dunno. How many words do you need? As the article states, the interpretation of that First Amendment has been pretty consistent over the years and the experts seem frankly rather surprised that Texas is trying it on.

Oh, and the 231 years is irrelevant. "Thou shalt not commit murder." is rather older and has simply been translated into almost (?) every human language because we haven't actually changed our minds about this in the last 5,000 years.

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them

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Re: Overinflated sense of self importance

" When I kindly informed him that a new laptop would be with him in just a few hours, he was furious!"

I suspect that if you had delayed the phone call for the few hours and said "It will be with you in a few minutes." then you'd have been more popular. You and I both know that this would have been poorer customer service, but he is a jerk and so probably doesn't see the world the way we do.

Researchers find 134 flaws in the way Word, PDFs, handle scripts

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I don't think it needs to be embedded in the document for most of those tasks. Keeping it out of the document makes the document safer for people who just want to read the answer rather than generate it.

It's time to kick China off social media, says tech governance expert

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Can we?

Aside from the question of whether it is a good idea or not, is it actually possible?

If there is a way of blocking voices from particular geographical regions then I'm sure many people would be interested . For example, they could restrict the unwanted communications to their own country (where they can sue them if they cross the line separating "noise" from "abuse"). While that might be counter-productive for companies that trade internationally, or individuals with foreign friends and relatives, there are an awful lot of businesses and people whose communications are entirely intra-national. With a little bit of allow-listing, nearly everyone would fit into this category.

In practice, however, I suspect that the people we don't want to hear from are *exactly* the ones who would find it fairly easy to circumvent any attempted ban.

Europe proposes tackling child abuse by killing privacy, strong encryption

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It would seem to me, then, that targetting the (relatively small number of) bullet-proof hosts and making them legally liable for their content would be more effective than trying to target the (relatively large number of) law-abiding internet users who just happen to have a valid reason to encrypt their personal finances and private communications.

Funnily enough, this is almost the same as the solution to the problem of "anti-social media". You make the internet companies legally liable for what they publish on their site. If they want to be exempt, they need to say who the original author is and produce credible evidence that they can stop that person from using the service in future under either the same or a different identity.

Right now, so much of the internet is just making cash out of facilitating ... "something, don't know what, don't care, as long as it keeps generating cash for me".

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: Impossible

It's also worth noting that, historically, it has always been beyond the capacity of governments to snoop on the conversations of private citizens, even if it was legal. Despite that, they've been trying for centuries and the result is an accumulation of legal (and in some cases constitutional) protection of such conversations.

Proposals like this are NOT an attempt to "fix a problem that has arison recently, with technology". They are an attempt to create a more over-bearing government than has ever existed in human history. We have no prior experience to inform us of how badly this might turn out. The East German experience is one clue. Modern China is another. I find neither encouraging.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: the way we're going...

Yes. Both UK and US politicians are regularly criticised by their own civil servants and security experts for hiding policy discussions in secure channels where historians won't be able to read them, in contravention of existing laws. They are already breaking the law and now they want to pass more draconian ones for the rest of us.

(No idea if any other country has problems with this. I expect they do.)

Email domain for NPM lib with 6m downloads a week grabbed by expert to make a point

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But really, while this /could/ happen, it /would/ only happen if there was some nutter out there who actually had a motive to tank thousands of businesses just for the lols.

We don't know anyone like that, do we?

And certainly not anyone like that with the resources to pull it off, surely?

IBM: Give us three years to solve quantum computing scaling

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133, 1386, 4158...

Is there some reason for these numbers or are they just random? They're not even prime.

Putin threatens supply chains with counter-sanction order

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Re: You want to play hardball?

Ah, thanks. Intelligence and the Army aren't best of friends right now. (Something about not being welcomed with garlands by nubile virgins on day one of the invasion.) My guess is that this guy is toast if Putin isn't around.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Not sure about "made" but yes. China tried to corner the world market in rare earth's a few years ago. They started with a healthy share of the market and succeeded only in pushing the price up so that a load of new (or old) entrants came in (or back) and stole some of their customers.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

Re: You want to play hardball?

I wouldn't worry too much about a deputy. He (and I assume it is a he) is the deputy because he isn't Putin and has no aptitude for the task of becoming Putin. If Putin goes, the field is clear for just about anyone who is ambitious and ruthless. They don't have to be insane and, if they want the army's support, being sane enough to do a reverse ferret on the Ukrainian debacle might just be the necessary qualification for power.

Windows 11's tablet-friendly taskbar pulled from Insider builds

Ken Hagan Gold badge

If win8 really was "extensively tested" then Microsoft's decision to sack all the testers and just squeeze out win10 as-is starts to make a lot more sense.

Perhaps your "upset" Microsoftie was one of the testers.

Elliott Management to WDC board: Spin out or sell flash biz

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Confused

If splitting the business would allow both parts to grow, what exactly can the two parts do when split that they can't do now?

Or is this just "analyst bollocks"?

Meta materials: Facebook using AI to design green concrete

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Re: Just saw an article yesterday

Looks interesting. Obviously we await confirmation that this works in practice and at scale, but they claim to have a process already so it shouldn't take long to prove it one way or the other.

Ken Hagan Gold badge

It's carbon neutral except for the vast amount of energy you need to drive off the CO2 from the carbonate. The cement doesn't later re-absorb /that/ and until you can invent an electric cement kiln, get used to the fact that it isn't even close to being carbon neutral.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

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Re: How friggin' tough could it be to just print the words?

Oh no. It would suffice to have it in just one language. The manufacturer would presumably choose their own, for the benefit of all their testers.

Now, where's all that crap made again?

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