* Posts by silent_count

614 posts • joined 21 Nov 2011


Even robots have the right to learn from open source

Paris Hilton

A Thought Experiment

Imagine someone trains an AI using Microsoft's source code and then distributes their Co-Penguin-Pilot AI using a creative commons license.

The argument is that the author is not breaking an NDA, distributing proprietary code or violating Microsoft's IP because the AI is only offering snippets of code. And those snippets may have come from the 4 lines of the author's own code in the training set.

Do you reckon there's even one of Microsoft's army of lawyers would consider that fair play?

Open source body quits GitHub, urges you to do the same


Re: There's a fundamental problem

But how is moving away from GitHub going to help, if you still publish your work as open source on some other platform? Or even just as source tarballs? Microsoft will simply scrape that instead.",

If I were a nasty person I'd find a way to detect when it is Microsoft scraping projects on the new platform and feed them poisoned code.

That would solve the secondary problem of know if MS is using "our" code to train its AI. If the copilot support forums are flooded with users who suddenly have mysterious and difficult to track down bugs... you'll know :)

The MS will then have to spend so much time and money ferreting out subtly bad and downright malicious code, they'll actually get negative value from scraping "our" site's code.

If I were a nasty person, that is.

Tropical island paradise ponders tax-free 'Digital Nomad Visa'


Re: Recipe for resentment?


Your description is spot on. The alternative scenario is that the (relatively) rich foreigners stay (and keep their money) wherever they are. Are the locals better off that way?

Would the dog walkers/gardeners/housekeepers be unemployed burdens on society or would they learn to code or become an architect, or start the next google or amazon?

I don't know the answer but if the there's and enterprising economist out there, I suggest that this would be worth looking into. This seems like a situation which will play out with increasing frequency over the coming years.

Brave Search leaves beta, offers Goggles for filtering, personalizing results


Re: redefine the relevance of search results

While I haven't yet used the Brave search engine, I can see a case for boosting certain results. For example, when I type "assembly" into a search engine, the vast majority of the time I'm looking for something related to 'assembly language programming' rather than anything to do with physical construction or putting together Ikea products.

Meta strikes blow against 30% 'App Store tax' by charging 47.5% Metaverse toll


See the whole board!

I think this is Facebook trying to screw over Apple. There are two potential outcomes.

a) Everyone gets loses their minds about this 'exorbitant tax on hard working content creators'. Then governments regulate the maximum "tax" a company can charge. This will hurt Apple, who makes serious money out of their app store while costing Facebook nothing.

b) Everyone decides that it's a free market. Then Facebook has just given themselves a 50% tax in a burgeoning market and Apple looks like absolute heels if they try to follow suit and raise their app store tax to 50%.

Neither of these is a bad outcome for Facebook.

BitConnect boss accused of $2.4bn crypto-Ponzi fraud has disappeared


Sounds legitimate

"[...] scheme that promised financial returns of up to 40 per cent per month"

No way that sounds too good to be true. Where do I sign up?

Microsoft backs Australia’s pay-for-news plan, risks massive blowback over a lousy $3bn and change


What happens if

As best I can tell, this proposed law is to prevent Google from 'stealing' from Australian news sites (by linking to their articles or presenting excerpts without paying them for the privilege).

Let's say this does become law and Google subsequently quits Australia. If the collective profits for Australian news sites decreases the following year, will anyone be willing to admit that the entire premise of this law was faulty?

PS: My read is that the government is extorting a foreign company and giving the proceeds to local media. Displaying typical journalistic integrity, local media will fawn over the government whose handing them bags of cash. The opposition is too spineless to oppose much of anything, lest local media say bad things about them, and are secretly jealous they didn't concoct this quid pro quo themselves.

Five years after US promised crackdown on ticket-snaffling bots, the first prosecutions are in... and are a slap on the wrist


Re: They got caught

The amateur econ student in me likes the fundamentally sound idea of auctioning off tickets, but how would you go about getting a contiguous set of seats so you can take your family to a show/concert/whatever?

There may well be a really simple solution which I'm overlooking but I'm tired and honestly can't see an answer.

Asus ROG Phone 3: An ugly but refreshing choice – for gaming fans only


Re: Be warned

ROG designs tend to be what you might call leading edge, i.e. outside the usual envelope. Whether that works for you is a personal choice, but I would never call them badly designed. And as for the no page up/page down/home/end keys? Seriously? You mark a 14" laptop down for that? I cant remember the last time I used those keys or even saw them on such a small laptop. And anyway you can set those sorts of functions in Windows, so whats the big deal?

Ok fine. If they don't want to have dedicated hardware keys for pgup/pgdn/home/end, given the laptop's size, I can understand that. But I can't understand why they wouldnt have some key-mapping for those keys. My wife's previous laptop (funnily enough an Asus which cost half as much) had those keys mapped to FN+arrow keys. As for not using those keys, pgup and pgdown see some use from me while navigating web pages, like scrolling up and down the Reg comments. I use all four while navigating source code. You can argue that a "gaming" laptop isn't for writing source code but writing scripts and viewing web pages is I'd suggest within the purview of gaming related activities.

As for their choice of aesthetic design, I'm indifferent. It's fine. My complaint is they chose not to include keys (or at least mappings for them) which are useful but did manage to find space for an "armoury crate" key. How often do you adjust the configuration of fan speed vs cpu or gpu temp such that you need a dedicated key for it?


Be warned

I was given an Asus ROG 14" Zephyrus for my birthday as a personal (ie. non-work) laptop. Good hardware but the Asus software is junky. It does not do anything particularly useful but does inexplicably change Windows power mode to "high performance" (as in, flatten the battery) if the mains power ever becomes disconnected or switched off. No help from Asus support who do not even seem to comprehend that this behaviour would be undesirable.

It also does not have page up/page down/home/end keys, nor any key combination to simulate those keys. Who thinks that's a good idea?

I have had nothing but good experiences with Asus' cheaper laptops so I can only conclude that the ROG branding translates to "overpriced and badly designed".

Trump administration proposes H-1B visas go to highest-paid workers first


Why not auction them?

If the genuine goal of these visas are to import people whose skills are desperately needed, why doesn't the government auction off the visas? Whichever company(s) have the most need to import talent would be willing to pay the most to meet their need.

As a side effect, the money from the auctions and could be used to train locals in those desperately needed skills.

It makes sense to me from an economics perspective. Is there anything which I've overlooked?

Touchscreen holdout? This F(x)tec Pro1 X phone with sliding QWERTY keyboard might push your buttons



I obviously can't speak for everyone but the deal breaker is not the form factor but the compromiss needed to get a phone so small.

Smaller phone means smaller (thus worse) battery, thus mediocre battery life, thus unimpressive performance because a good cpu (or display) would kill the battery life.

Safety driver at the wheel of self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian is charged with negligent homicide


Will they..

Also be prosecuting the Tesla "drivers" who have "accidents" while sleeping/watching movies/reading the paper while they're supposed to be paying attention to driving their car?

Australian regulator slams Google ‘misinformation’ in pay-for-news-fight


Re: Can someone help me out here

It's not that I disagree with you, I ain't Spartacus, but here's the flip-side.

The sites could put their articles behind a pay wall (a few do). The sites could make you login (even for free) to read their articles and the login would keep Google's bots out. The sites could just tell Google not to index their stuff.

But they don't want to do that because they want the benefit of Google's audience... but not the drawbacks.

Personally, I can't say I care either way but I do think this legislation is badly thought out.

Amazon warehouse workers sue over safety concerns as several contract COVID-19


You ungrateful sods!

It's not like Jeff has a solid gold toilet in each of his mansions and luxury yachts! The poor bloke, through his own, individual hard work and perseverance makes his first billion or so and you make it seem like he should waste his precious time by giving a stuff about the whiny, coughy people in the whatever place they're whining from. It's almost enough to put down your absolutely not solid gold chalice* of extraordinarily rare and expensive wine.

Seriously for a minute, I wonder about the people who spent their time in lock-down complaining on Facebook or instagram about how hard their life is while ordering garbage off Amazon. I wonder if they took even one moment to consider those warehouse workers. It's awfully easy to blame the billionaire when it means you don't have to look in the mirror.

* I know how you people think. It's encrusted with a combination of diamonds, rubies and sapphires so no, it is not solid gold. So there!

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread


Re: Why do they keep repeating that ?

You are absolutely correct.

What you're missing is that governments have a massive hard-on for control. All of it. All of the time. The notion that you might not want to give them every conceivable bit of data is utterly foreign them. Whether they need it is not relevant.

Note that I didn't mention a particular party, or left or right or upside-down. That's because it does not matter. They're all the same.

Stripe is absolutely logging your mouse movements on websites' payment pages – for your own good, says CEO


Long live NoScript

If anyone at El Reg fancies trying to get in touch with Mr Collison, ask him if he's comfortable with sending all of the data (the kind which Stripe collects from website users) from his and his staff's computers to me. I pinky promise it will only be for fraud prevention.

Tor Project loses a third of staff in coronavirus cuts: Unlucky 13 out as nonprofit hacks back to core ops


Re: 13 staffers were 'let go'

The phrase always puts me in mind of the movies where the mobsters hang some poor guy off a balcony by his ankles. It's much the same in that it's not like the mobsters are graciously acquiesing to the guy's request to be 'let go'.

Microsoft boffin inadvertently highlights .NET image woes by running C# on Windows 3.11


Re: "Visual Studio is a paid-for product"


Microsoft is happy for you to spend your time and energy getting good at their environment/tools. And when you've made that investment, they want you to pay for the privilege of using their tools to produce software which helps Microsoft sell their OS. I can't speak for anyone else but that tastes a little bitter to me.

WebAssembly: Key to a high-performance web, or ideal for malware? Reg speaks to co-designer Andreas Rossberg


Re: WaSm to you too

Thanks for the info but I don't trust either.


WaSm to you too

Since the world finally buried Flash and it's weekly parade of vulnerabilities in an unmarked grave, I suspect team wASm will have an awfully hard time convincing the populous to adopt another, "hey let's download and execute arbitrary code off the interwebs so it can encrypt all my files till I send my year's pay in bitcoins to some complete bastard".

Apple tipped to go full wireless by 2021, and you're all still grumbling about a headphone jack


Re: Waterproof?

That was my first thought too. No headphone jack or power cable plug would make a phone nearly waterproof by default. The catch would be the speaker and mic. To have decent sound in/out, you'd still need some holes in the shell. Unless, of course, apple displays some of their legendary, feature removing courage and starts selling phones which, not to put too fine a point on it, do not make phone calls.

WebAssembly gets nod from W3C and, most likely, an embrace from cryptojackers online


Re: No! Do Not Want!

I think what's missing from this thread is the distinction between code running on your private machine and code on the internet which someone wants to run on other people's machines.

I don't care if the former kind is impenetrable but the later kind should, ideally be clear and legible. The caveat is that I do have some sympathy for those who want to minify JavaScript to lower their visitors' bandwidth usage.

In Rust We Trust: Stob gets behind the latest language craze


Re: Do...While

Damn these kids who want to express the intent of the code by using different looping constructs. You will have JMP and you will like it! If you're really, really good Santa might bring you a JNZ for Christmas so you can do conditional branching without having to overwrite opcodes in memory.

Anyone who can not infer the intent of your code from what it does is clearly a lesser programmer, verging on subhuman, who does not deserve to bask in the splendour of your code.

Top American watchdog refuses to release infamous 2012 dossier into Google’s anti-competitive behavior


Re: Meh

@doublelayer I would suggest that Google, Ford and Apple are identical in the sense that if you ask them for information, you will be told the answer that suits them, and which may not exactly align with your interests.

Speaking as someone who uses DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine and have at least tried Bing, I do not think Google has a search monopoly and Facebook will tell you that Google does not have an online advertising monopoly.



Unless there's a realky good reason not to, the work of public officials should be available to the tax-payers. That said, I'm finding it hard to care. I have little doubt that Google did favour their own products and services. So what?

I also have little doubt that a Ford dealership would recommend using Ford parts and getting your car serviced by a Ford mechanic, regardless of what make or model you drive. I also suspect that your nearest iThingy store will tell you to only take your iThingy to an authorised iThingy repairer and only use them with other genuine iThingies.

Time to light torches and wave the pitchforks in a mildly threatening manner?

Q. Who's triumphantly slamming barn door shut after horse bolted at warp 9? A. NordVPN


Re: Just out of curiousity....

Hi Marketing Hack,

If it's any help, I use AirVPN at work and NordVPN at home and haven't had issues with either.

I intend to stay with NordVPN for home use on the basis that they know they're one major screw-up away from not having a business. This gives them a great incentive to get their house in order, which it appears they're trying to do.

If you'd like a comparison list


TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t


Re: ASA (After Stabledoor Ajar)

I think the best way to curb marketing bullshit is to make them actually walk the walk. This article mentions previous adds claiming that their routers signal "couldn't be beaten". Make them supply the best router on the market to their customers and upgrade it if someone makes a better version.

Yes, it would be prohibitively expensive. The word "prohibitively" is germane here. Being forced to make good on their claims will prohibit their marketing department from making nonsense claims in the future.

Facebook: Remember how we promised we weren’t tracking your location? Psych! Can't believe you fell for that


Re: Samsung phones

Or course, Iglethal. You are absolutely right. But Ms Samsung PR rep can't say, "we choose to make awful design decisions which screw customers over because $$$". So I'm curious how they'd justify this particular strain of nonsense.


Re: Samsung phones

I can understand why some software should not be removed. You don't want some user accidentally removing, for example, the phone dialer or the system settings software. Fine. I get that.

However, I'd dearly like someone from any of the major Android manufacturers to explain why Facebook, Twitter and similar nonsense should be "system" apps and thus not removable without rooting the phone.

Loss-making $15bn hipster chat biz Slack suddenly less appetising to investors as it predicts deeper losses


Hookers and blow. The other $50 probably just gets wasted.

Trump attacks and appeals 'fundamentally misconceived' Twitter block decision


Re: You can't have it both ways...

While I can't disagree with anything you've written, MJB7, I question the sanity of that line of reasoning. Theirs, by the way, not yours. Yours is clear and logical.

I imagine the same judges which want to be all gung-ho on the first amendment when it comes to people posting vitriol on the President's twitter feed would have strong objections to allowing those same people to exercise their free speech rights by wandering into a courtroom and spouting similar nonsense.

Maybe I'm wrong. I don't follow American politics that closely but what I suspect is that they've let their distaste for the President cloud their judgement, however well justified that distaste may be.


Re: You can't have it both ways...

Joe W wrote: "It is not about twitter blocking people from their service, it is the account holder blocking people. Big distinction."

Just to be clear. Unless I'm misunderstanding, it's not that anyone is blocking people from posting on their own account, just from posting on President Trump's. Nor is it President Trump doing the blocking. It is Twitter. It's their platform. Being a private company, they can change their platform so other people can't be blocked from anyone's feed, rendering this whole argument moot.


Re: You can't have it both ways...

ecofeco wrote: "The 1st Amendment expressly prohibits the suppression of free speech by the government.

Can you guess what the President of the United States is a part of? Go on! Take a wild guess!

There is no nuance here. It's as straightforward as it gets."

The first amendment you're referring to begins with, "Congress shall make no law..."

The president != congress and neither he nor Twitter are making a law about what people are allowed to say.

Let's say he gets his way and bans some people from posting on his twitter feed. Those same people are at their liberty to go out in the street and speak their mind, or post on facebook, or on TV, radio or even on their own twitter account.


You can't have it both ways...

When the social media companies kick out nazis or commentators they don't like, they're not violating anyone's right to free speech because it's a privately owned platform.

When Twitter, on behalf of President Trump, wants to exclude people from a part of their platform, namely the comments on his account, it's a free speech problem because Twitter it's not a privately owned platform?

I realise it's a little more nuanced than I've stated it but there does seem like a contradiction at play.

Braking bad? Van with £112m worth of crystal meth in back hits cop car at police station


It don't add up, guv

Is it possible that whoever came up with the $200 mil figure was, erm, 'testing' some of the product?

273kg being worth AU$200,000,000 works out to AU$733 per gram. That's roughly a week's wages for a low paid worker. For comparison, a cheap 24-pack of 375ml beer cans goes for $45 to $50. And gold is currently AU$65 per gram.

Was this meth laced with truffles? Each gram comes with a complimentary TV to watch while taking the meth? Is this stuff really that expensive?

Microsoft demos end-to-end voting verification system ElectionGuard, code will be on GitHub


That could go very bad. There are already enough yanks who can't get their heads around the idea that Trump really got elected - it MUST have been the Russians who somehow brainwashed enough people to swing the election for him!

Could you imagine the spectacular hissy-fit they'd chuck if he got elected a second time? Evidence be damned! The voting app MUST have been hacked by the Russians. Or possibly the North Koreans. Or maybe both.

Your imminently sound suggestion for an easy-to-use voting app could well bring about WWIII.

Queen Elizabeth has a soggy bottom: No, the £3.1bn aircraft carrier, what the hell did you think we meant?


Re: Aircraft?

I think I've spotted where you went wrong.

The only way those nice people would come to any harm is if the boat were an 'aircraft launcher', or possibly 'aircraft taker-offerer'. As the boat is an 'aircraft carrier' - see, it's right there in the name - there's no chance they'll come to any harm.

It's like people standing on the top of a car ferry. There's no danger they're going to get driven over by the cars.

Why are fervid Googlers making ad-blocker-breaking changes to Chrome? Because they created a monster – and are fighting to secure it


Re: Ok, so it's useful and dangerous at the same time

No, it patiently does not solve the problem! Your suggestion would still allow the ungrateful peasants to circumvent the sole purpose of their existance. Namely, to sit passively and consume whatever messages their advertiser overlords deem appropriate after, of course, said overlords have paid their tithe to Google.

Oh. You were considering the problem from the perspective of the filthy peasants. Well done you! How forward-thinking. No, we don't give a damn about them and the so-called problems in their inconsequential lives.

Tech industry titans suddenly love internet privacy rules. Wanna know why? We'll tell you


Re: re: Tech giants hate this...


Of course Apple is in favour and it has nothing to do with altruism. It hurts the business model of their competitors.

Big Red's big pay gap: $13,000 gulf between male and female Oracle staffers – reports


All else being equal...

If Jane and John have equal productivity but Jane's wage bill is $13k less, why would a company employ John? Whoever is bringing this lawsuit needs to explain why there are any male employees left who haven't been out-competed by their equally skilled but cheaper-to-employ sisters.

I have little love for Oracle but even less for nonsense lawsuits.

Guess who's back, back again? China's back, hacking your friends: Beijing targets American biz amid tech tariff tiff


I wonder if the yank's zeal for protecting IP right extends to paying royalties to China every time they manufacture a bullet - which, funnily enough, contains gunpowder which was invented by...

Sure one could argue that the patient might have expired but guess which Disney-beholden national government keeps extending IP terms ever further towards the big bang.

Uncle Sam gives itself the right to shoot down any drone, anywhere, any time, any how


Re: what exactly do they define as a "drone"?

I was wondering the same.

"You shot it down."

"Yeah. We're allowed to do that if the drone looks threatening."

"It was a 747 coming in to land."


"It had civilians aboard. We're only allowed to shoot down unmanned drones."

"I didn't see 'em."

The only good I can see coming of this is that Mr Travaglia is going to have a field day with this nonsense.

Oracle's new Java SE subs: Code and support for $25/processor/month


Re: Java has been great as a teaching tool

I'll probably get laughed at but why not JavaScript?

- the syntax is C-ish.

- it's already installed on every device your students have.

- the browsers have some pretty decent dev tools built in.

- it's not dominated by one company (nobody is going to start demanding subscriptions or licenses to use JavaScript)

Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower


Facebook will self-destruct in 3... 2.... 1...

“Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do"

So when can we expect facebook to cease operating?

'Repeal hate crime laws for free speech' petition passes 14k signatures


Re: My view

Hey AC, remember the yanks who said Obama shouldn't be president because he's not a US citizen? The problem was not in their ability to make the accusation but with their lack of evidence.

Incidentally a similar problem arises for you. Sure you can exercise your free speech to make the accusation against TimeMaster T but, in a world of free speech, there's nothing to stop me from asking what evidence you have to back your accusation.

Optus to refund NBN customers for slow connections


Technology vs Advertising BS

This is not a technology problem or a NBN problem. This is a marketing bullshit problem.

Change the law so that if a telco advertises a given download/upload rate then they get fined $1 million for every single customer who does not get at least that rate 24/7. Bet'cha the day after that law passes we'll stop seeing advertisements for download speeds which are only ever seen by 0.00001% of the customers.

The Quantum of Firefox: Why is this one unlike any other Firefox?


“Off topic, but I'm not sure why Firefox has lost so much ground to Chrome in recent years."

I am.

They spent a long time where every. damn. release. was another, "oh look! We've faffed around with the UI yet again for no apparent reason while completely ignoring the bugs & problems which have been with firefox forever". Just incidentally, every UI change was to make Firefox look more and more like Chrome. And quite a few people took the not unreasonable view that if they're going to use a browser which tries to be like Chrome, they might as well use Chrome.

Mozilla spent time and energy screwing around with a phone OS which was never going anywhere.

They found the time and energy to change the Mozilla logo. Did you care what their logo looks like? Did anyone?

The one time which they acted with any kind of decisiveness is when they got rid of Brenden Eich - they got rid of a guy with unquestionable technical competence to satisfy their political preferences. This was the final evidence, if any was needed, that making a good browser which people want to use is not something the people at Mozilla are interested in.

And I say this as a Firefox supporter. :/

Over a million Android users fooled by fake WhatsApp app in official Google Play Store


Re: store fakes and junk

I commend to your attention 'Smart AudioBook Player'. The free version is good enough for my use but I bought the paid version to support the dev. (I have no interest in this software other than being a happy customer)

If you find anything good in the other categories you mentioned I'd be interested to see.

New SMB bug: How to crash Windows system with a 'link of death'


If it compiles, ship it

"This mean that the new code base was simply not audited or fuzzed before shipping it on their latest operating systems."

Honestly now, is anyone surprised?



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