* Posts by Nifty

1370 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Sep 2012


Textbook publishers sue shadow library LibGen for copyright infringement

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Re: They are blocked in France

Those used books had better contain all the latest updates to the German language.

Apple's iPhone 12 woes spread as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands weigh in

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Don't flatter the French.

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If the phone isn't receiving any signal it's likely to only be emitting a polling signal for a short burst every 15 seconds or so, so as to be assigned a cell tower. Once a call begins or data starts being transferred between the phone and a cell tower, that's when the radiation starts continuously. The radiation level will depend on the strength of signal/distance from the tower. It'll further depend on whether 3g, 4g, 5g or even WiFi is the transmission method. Finally the radiation level could be directional, depending on the antenna design.

Testing this to pass EU regs, and then France's special interpretation will IMO be a very variable matter.

This smells of some sort of politically motivated move by France.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

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Re: BMW was also at one point a byword for quality engineering-first thinking.

"Overall older BMWs were decent cars, and most of the engineering was good, but maybe BMWs Bavarian workers should have kept their hands off the beer when designing some of these things."

When I worked in Bavaria, the works canteen had draft lager on tap just before the payment point. I asked about this and apparently it was due to a Bavarian law that classed beer as a food, and had to be available wherever food was served.

Portable Large Language Models – not the iPhone 15 – are the future of the smartphone

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Re: Sure, it's possible, but why would you want it?

"A simple flow chart is all that was needed there"

And a personal LLM would have pointed you towards one.

How's this for X-ray specs? Wi-Fi can read through walls... if the letters are solid objects

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Oh so it was the neighbours who borrowed my drill.

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

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Re: connected services as a strategic imperative and a driver of future revenue

", what is the impact on your available range when using heated seats?"

From a designer's perspective, positive in Winter. The idea of a heated seat and steering wheel is that the driver can turn down the more energy hungry cabin heating a bit and extend the range. Which still leaves me unconvinced as you get complicated car electrics, more to go wrong, and that weight.

Lithium goldrush hits sleepy Oregon-Nevada border

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Re: Where's Worstall?

"raising the price artificially merely serves to make previously uneconomic deposits, economic"

Assuming this Lithium find is viably real, then we'll see China first wait for competitor plants to come onstream, then dump cheap lithium onto the world markets. That's the trouble with having a single source of manipulation.

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week

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Re: I can see good reasons for being together as a team...

"Ah, hmmm, well then, we might make an exception. But you really should be there"

I think Dilbert became non-PC before a rich tranche of 'back to the office' and 'productivity' jokes could have been the material.

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I'm WFH here with the Mrs, she needs heating all day anyway. And these new fangled heat pumps that we're all going to install... work best providing steady background heating, not stop start bursts.

China iPhone curbs reportedly extend to local government and state-owned businesses

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Re: Not just iPhone

Ban iOS but not the arguably less secure Android? Plus with Android it's possible to sideload a banned VPN. No such luck with iOS. And I'd taken China to be something of an IT literate technocracy.

Bombshell biography: Fearing nuclear war, Musk blocked Starlink to stymie Ukraine attack on Russia

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Re: "If Ukraine wants to fight a war with Russia"

"they were defending their country and Putin's Puppet intentionally scuppered that"

Musk stated that he was concerned that a successful sinking of a chunk of the Russian fleet would have given Putin an excuse for a (possibly nuclear) escalation. That at least is plausible even if you don't want to believe it.

Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig

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Who else read the headline as 'accessed military data data through high-security fencing' ;-)

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Re: > but lacked a firewall

"actors and video game workers form guilds and strike, protecting their (easier?) jobs, instead of doing more in-demand IT or medical jobs"

Haven't we been here before?

Government scraps ballet dancer reskilling ad criticised as 'crass'


What happens when What3Words gets lost in translation?

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With landlines, the emergency service can look you up in a database and instantly know the exact address of the caller. No-one was complaining about lack of privacy. Mind you, your address wasn't broadcast with your call. It had to be cross-referenced via a resource only available to the emergency services.

Now for the modern equivalent: Surely smartphones can embed the GPS data in the call metadata except... privacy. So how about an encrypted system where the GPS data does not exist in the 'clear' but as a key or token that can be looked up on a database or tool that only the emergency services have access to? The encryption could be periodically refreshed so an old static database does not provide a lookup. Yes, something could get hacked yada yada. But that's always a risk anyway.

Dell and Samsung grab first-class tickets for AI hype train

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Generating headline graphics for Reg topics like this one?

More UK cops' names and photos exposed in supplier breach

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Thanks for your interesting post, Mr. Grange

UK flights disrupted by 'technical issue' with air traffic computer system

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I heard it was a data upload from a French site. Must be all those accents.

Dropbox limits ‘all the storage you need’ unlimited plan, blames abusive users

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Re: Only YouTube left with infinite storage?

"Each file is a cat video con-cat-enated"

Would anyone notice if the were all de-duped?

China cooks covert chips, recruits global geeks to dodge US restrictions

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Re: Engineers from other nations?

Self-respecting engineers don't like living inside the Great Firewall. They'll go with the flow instead.

High severity vuln in WinRAR could allow code to run when files are opened

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It's being used to keep the records of where we stored the nuclear waste.

Last rites for the UK's Online Safety Bill, an idea too stupid to notice it's dead

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Re: Not holding my breath

I once lived in a German city, population 100,000 where every imaginable facility was within a comfortable 15 minute cycle ride. The only days of the year that I didn't cycle were when the roads were sheet ice in places. The city didn't salt to protect the trees. On those days the only vehicles moving were emergency vehicles and buses. In this city there were no restrictions on car travel, parking outside your apartment was easy and free. But everyone had the freedom of the extensive cycle path network that was entirely and safely independent of the road system. The cycling was so safe that I taught an adult friend to cycle when he visited from the UK. When he saw how safe the cycling was, he demanded to learn.

So I've had the privilege to live in a 15 minute city and see how it works. It has nothing whatsoever to do with traffic cameras, 'street calming', laws or fines as in the useless rent-seeking Oxford or Canterbury examples. It's about deep infrastructure and civil design.

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden

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Re: 13 kg - too heavy

The same 'unlikely' use-case that I posted above.

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Erm... the 24" screen on a stand that I mentioned. To go with my laptop.

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For the purposes of occasional digital nomading, I've been looking for a 24" type monitor that's made for travelling. Specs:

1920 x 1080 pixels.

Slim and light.

Stable fold out stand to hold it vertically like a home monitor.

A snug protective case so it can be stashed in a normal suitcase or just chucked in the car boot.

Seems too much to ask - no one offers such a thing, you get directed to expensive travel monitors barely larger than a laptop's. This LG looks like a lurch in the right direction as a start but not at $1,000 of course.

Germany to cut Huawei from networks 'irrespective of costs'

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You'd rather be snooped on by a country that has something that passes for a rule of law and an open media.

Scientists strangely unable to follow recipe for holy grail room-temp superconductor

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Re: And that, my friends, is how you do science

"My theory involves Hollywood and the way many Americans are brought up to learn that sex=death"

That's France's privilege, it's built into their language. La petite mort.

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Re: As expected

They or Chat GPT did.

Zoom updates its legalese explicitly promising not to feed vidchats to AIs

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Anyone thought about how Teams meetings transcripts are generated?

Brave cuts ties with Bing to offer its own image and video search results

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Do no evil. Well, isn't that a Brave sentiment?

NASA mistakenly severs communication to Voyager 2

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Re: Variation

Sellotape and a hole punch are your friends. Oh and, my mother could read the gossip coming in on teleprinter tape by eye in her day one generation before.

Typo watch: 'Millions of emails' for US military sent to .ml addresses in error

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Reminds me of when my lawyer sent me a bunch of legal documents to me@gmail.co or something similar. Only found out when said documents failed to arrive - and since lawyers aren't exactly prompt anyway it caused a week's delay till I found out. In a bit of a mild panic I tried to research who actually owned gmail.co - and couldn't confirm it either way.

Someone just blew over $190k on a 4GB first-gen iPhone

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Re: What strikes us as odd...

"You know you are getting old when you visit a museum and see exhibits you remember you or your family owning"

I'd probably recognise some appliances I'm still using now :-)

This AI is better than you at figuring out where a street pic was taken just by looking at it

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Re: it can figure out generally where a picture was taken just by looking at it

Are you sure there wasn't a ruler in the corner?

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Re: Location detection

I've checked this a number of times and by the time the image gets online all original metadata is gone. Though the platform's admins may be able to access it, actually I doubt even that.

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Re: Location detection

There was a paper a few years ago where it was shown to be possible to decipher obfuscated characters - and I think number plates may have been used as a case in point - based on only a few pixels per character. The reason was simple: Common photo blurring algorithms, where you select an area on an image with sensitive info and blur it, tend to resolve the same letters to the same set of pixels arranged the same way, every time. You only needed to build a look up table.

Elsewhere I believe there are techniques to accurately de-blur faces in videos by taking advantage of time interpolation to produce a sharper still image.

You're too dumb to use click-to-cancel, Big Biz says with straight face

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Re: How hard can it be?

If you lose and cancel a regular credit card, all outstanding debit balance transfers automatically to the replacement one. Not sure I'd trust what happens with subscriptions. Pro tip: have all your subs on PayPal. That's how I do mobiles, online newspaper, YouTube, Netflix, Now TV. It's delightfully simple to review all subs in one place, plus get an app notification every time a sub payment goes out. Can also cancel out any payee easily.

Producers allegedly sought rights to replicate extras using AI, forever, for just $200

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"Are we now just a few more years away from being to tell an AI to "create me a 3-hour historical epic based on the journeys of Aeneas after the fall of Troy"?"

Truer than you think. Pop music had a revolution where some self taught artists managed to create successful chart hits in their bedrooms using software on a laptop and maybe a couple of instruments. Self published eBooks are now a thing. I can see many of the stars with some cash in their back pockets bypassing the big studios and distributors altogether, and the best movies may be a matter of a tiny tight team of human talent plus modern AI tech.

The current strike may seem socially just, however will the strikers eventually go the way of the Luddites?

Indian developer fired 90 percent of tech support team, outsourced the job to AI

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I reckon that about a third of my work could be done by an AI assistant - and I'd love it to happen. The delay is management anguishing about leaking of confidential data back to an AI as it learns. Solution must be a private cloud hosting your own pre-trained AI model that learns further as it goes, no worse than your cloud hosted CRM system.

Meanwhile, about the story - very suspect, probably just a self-promotional publicity play.

Google, DeepMind accused of 'stealing the internet' to create Bard AI chatbot

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Sheeks I'm 'stealing' internet content at this moment via my eyeballs and likely to regurgitate something based on it in the future. In a general way where attribution is pointless. If you make it public, it's public.

UK's proposed alt.GDPR will turn Britain into a 'test lab' for data harvesting

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Re: @Doctor Syntax

"It has been established, beyond reasonable doubt, that [Brexit] has caused UK food prices to rise more than global food prices"

Food inflation in the UK was significantly lower than Germany, Portugal or Sweden till April this year. There's been a sharp falling back for the EU group in year to May/June. You'll be seeing a lot of people quoting the June and later figures now.


Artificial General Intelligence remains a distant dream despite LLM boom

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So, flawlessly passing a Turing test was always x years away. Now that an LLM can trounce the test, the goalposts have naturally been moved.

And as commented, LLMs can be a bit of a distraction as they're kind of cul-de-sac just left on their own.

We are now seeing rapid advances in robotics and sensor tech where a robot will be able to learn not inside a virtual model, but using real physical exploration plus feedback from 3D vision, sound and feel. Its AI will be trained based on this input-output loop. Then throw in some physics engines of the types used in GCI and game creation and a dollop of Wolfram Alpha.

IMO there will be strong claims to have created AGI well within 10 years. Upon which the goalposts will be moved...

Microsoft and GitHub are still trying to derail Copilot code copyright legal fight

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"...as would be expected from an AI model trained to recognize functional concepts"

Which is exactly what prediction engine LLMs don't do. Someone has a fatally flawed argument.

Huawei claims it’s ready to ship entire 5.5G networks – whatever they are – in 2024

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Coming soon to a balloon near you.

Ripoff Vuitton handbag smaller than a grain of salt fetches $63,750 at auction

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Think I'll take this story with a...

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

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This reminds me of the confusion that can happen when you do remote assist to a PC that's set for a different language region, never mind its attached keyboard at the user end. Them furriners are happy to create passwords with accented letters in them, these usually store and work fine. We've had some hilarious times when I was using a UK keyboard to attempt to enter a foreign language password that was being read out to me over the meeting's audio.

The best workaround is to bring up the full virtual keyboard (for Windows) as here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-the-on-screen-keyboard-osk-to-type-ecbb5e08-5b4e-d8c8-f794-81dbf896267a

You can then click on the characters, WYGIWYS style.

BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI

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My boss in the worst IT job I've ever worked in did mention at group meetings about his first-aid certification and re-certification. Long before all this ChatGPT stuff came along. Smart guy.

Fast forward to now with all this WFH: I wonder of the certificate holders do call-outs.

Another redesign on the cards for iPhone as EU rules call for removable batteries

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Re: Mining landfill?

There's a bitcoin in one of them.

AI is going to eat itself: Experiment shows people training bots are using bots

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Wasn't there an article going around about 6 months ago, where an LLM was given a task that required solving a Captcha? Which it did by hiring someone through a 'mechanical Turk' type website to do it.