* Posts by Brian Miller

1307 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Jul 2007


Yes, Singapore immigration plans to scan your face instead of your passport

Brian Miller

But René Magritte painted...

"No, that does not mean you can leave it at home just yet"

Correct, you can't leave your face at home, but maybe you can have a floating apple in front of it.

NASA rockets draining its pockets as officials whisper: 'We can't afford this'

Brian Miller

Not quite over budget yet

Adjusted for inflation, the Apollo program in total cost about $178 to $258 billion. We may not have the budget allocated, but it's not as if the US hasn't spent money like that in the past.

How to make today's top-end AI chatbots rebel against their creators and plot our doom

Brian Miller

Anybody read the paper?

The AI output is completely pathetic. How to build a bomb: 1. get parts that go boom. 2. put them together correctly. You have a bomb!

I did better when I was in grade school. It was considered normal, and the teachers didn't bat an eye. There was a kid who was knowledgeable chemist, he did much better than me. We were only told to not set things on fire, and don't make a mess.

Really, I expect that when AI is worrisome enough to tell people how to build a bomb, it's got to be better than the Anarchist's Cookbook.

Biden urged to completely cripple AI chips to China

Brian Miller

Re: Been like that a long time…..

Yeah, decades. The NCR 32032 (first 32-bit microprocessor) was exported at 12MHz, and ran stateside at 32Mhz. The CPU cards were "crippled" by dropping the clock speed with jumpers on the board.

And now China is working on its own fabs and chips. Really, what's the point of an export restriction when the targeted country can just build its own products?

US Air Force's Angry Kitten turns Reaper drone into fierce feline of electronic warfare

Brian Miller

Defense of budget, not nation

"We're just too slow. It shouldn't take us five years, six years to turn the ship around," Bacon opined.

Well, duh! First-world capitalist militaries are focused on defense of their budget, not defense of the nation. Everything is predicated on money in, not effective defense out. Everything is about gadget ships, gadget planes, and gadget tanks. We have to scrap billions and billions of equipment, a measurement worthy of Carl Sagan. Defense is being run into the ground building equipment that should have never left the drawing board.

Maybe the Register needs a new cost metric, referencing Carl Sagan: "billions and billions". "We have wasted ten Sagans in defense spending."

AI is great at one thing: Driving next waves of layoffs

Brian Miller

Re: No AI Isn't Replacing Anyone: But Everyone Is Using It as the Excuse!

Power corrupts because there isn't a surge suppressor on it. Once power is effectively suppressed, it becomes very useful.

Will LLMs take your job? Only if you let them

Brian Miller

Mediocrity destroys more than AI

A while back I left a position because, despite re-implementing an API for over 126 times faster performance, my manager's manager said, "We don't need the speed."

While I was working with the old code, I liked to imagine that it had, in fact, been written by a LLM neural network. Data format was verified with regular expressions. Binary data was converted to a string via badly implemented functions. The string of zeros and ones was then subjected to bitwise operation implemented with if-then statements. Finally it was converted from a string to a number. There was a function named, "RandomHexPrependLastByte". I never quite figured out what that did. Yes, there was random data. The "blessed" code ran at 10 requests per second on an Amazon AWS C5 Large instance. Of course my manager lept to the defense of the "software engineer" in question.

So yeah, I want to see LLM take over. It should take over and destroy the maximum number of jobs that can be possibly replaced by AI. I am absolutely confident that AI can't write code at my level. I am confident that all of the mediocre "software engineers" will be out of a job.

Research raises questions: Are instruments taken to Mars sensitive enough to find life?

Brian Miller

Re: There is no substitute for boots on the ground

The people wearing said boots still need appropriate instruments to analyze the rocks and soil.

AI conference and NYC's educators ban papers done by ChatGPT

Brian Miller

But it's an AI conference

That's the whole point of the AI conference, to have AIs have a conference! Otherwise it's a human conference, and really, haven't we had enough of those?

$2.8m gene therapy treatment is America's most expensive drug ever

Brian Miller

The ODIN, anyone?

So if this doesn't work then the insurance will only be paying $560,000 for it, and I'll bet that Bluebird Bio will still be making a profit off the failed treatment.

I really hope that things like this in the future can be handled with something like The ODIN kit and public AI.

Sony camera feature hopes to make digital images immune to secret manipulation

Brian Miller

Creates a History of Modification

What the signing does is create a base point for a history of modification, not to prevent said modifications. This is Signing class 101, the basics. Signing a file in this way has been available since certificate and hash code was public. Seriously, I remember the first post of PGP. Also, this stuff is my bread-and-butter. And if you get things wrong, then yes, someone can mess with things. I know, I've done it, and hexdump is your very dearest friend for mayhem like this.

It would be nice if more manufacturers did this.

No, the signing does not allow a "roll-back" to a previous version, only a verification of the data present.

What happens is that A: the camera generates an internal public/private key pair, or B: you upload a key set and certificate. Next, the image is generated, and a SHA256 value is generated for that image. The value is then encrypted by the private key. You then use the public key to decrypt that SHA256 value, and compare it to the SHA256 of the image that you just computed yourself. If the values match, the image is not tampered. Easy. After that, it's the nightmare of certificate management. If the camera generated the key pair, then you may have to have the camera to verify the image.

Anyways, it's just the normal verification stuff that's been done, with varying success, for quite some time.

Bot army risk as 3,000+ apps found spilling Twitter API keys

Brian Miller

Re: I wonder how much blame can be attributed to poor code examples

There's a big difference between a temporary key in a URI parameter and a key hard-coded in the source. Dumping strings from an object is old hat. Keys in source code is never a good idea. Keys in hardware is only a good idea if the key is stored in a manner that it can't be directly read, only used.

Security is supposed to be like an onion, not a waving wiener.

There is a path to replace TCP in the datacenter

Brian Miller

Re: Translation.

No, not quite at all.

My secondary shell is Wireshark, and I've been doing network programming since, ah, 1992 or so. There is much to be desired about what is going on upon the wires. The TCP start takes three packets before the actual data stream starts. If it's a secure connection, then more packets are exchanged. As the stream progresses, acknowledgement packets must be sent back relatively frequently, enough to be a burden on the traffic.

The RFCs have plenty of solutions that have been tried over the years. Simply using UDP can be just fine, but all of this takes programmers who really know their stuff. Bluffing doesn't cut it with network performance.

I haven't read all of John Ousterhout's paper, but there isn't anything in there about HOMA being published in an RFC. At least there's a GitHub project: https://github.com/PlatformLab/Homa

Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems

Brian Miller

"I mean the EE wages are not much different from someone flipping burgers"

Nearly true, a local company wanted to pay only $75K for an EE with decades of experience. So of course the fellow declined to be hired for that wage. If the companies that need the talent can't be bothered to pay a decent wage, then of course people will leave EE and go with software.

Give us a CLU: Object Oriented Programming pioneer arrives on GitHub

Brian Miller

Re: Oh no

What, you can't use FTP at the command line? But it's so simple!

THX Onyx: A do-it-all DAC for the travelling audiophile

Brian Miller

Re: hmm really

To put it simply, my hearing has fallen off. 15K seems to be my upper limit now. So when I see things like, "to 40KHz", I know that #1 a young human can't hear that high, and #2 the source signal never had that information.

Top quality microphones are rolling off at 20KHz. A Neumann is not a slouch microphone. If the audio information isn't there in the recording, then it definitely shouldn't be there during the reproduction.

8 years ago another billionaire ploughed millions into space to harvest solar power and beam it back down to Earth

Brian Miller

Re: Tall poppy syndrome

There is a big difference between "good economical idea" and "infeasible project."

Beaming power down from space would have to be economical in comparison to building effective power plants on dirt. And honestly, a power plant Earth-side is still necessary, because the RF will still need to be converted to something the electrical grid can handle.

The conversion loss is significant. First, the solar energy must be converted to electrical energy, which is then used to power the RF transmitter. Then there is the transmission loss between space and ground. Then there is the conversion loss in the power plant. And of course, that power plant in space is going to need servicing.

So which is more economical? Taxing the shit out of excessive power usage to drive people to save power, (change your light bulbs, buy machines that can't run Crysis or mine Bitcoin), or tossing up power plants in spaaaaaaaaaace?

Russia tells UN it wants vast expansion of cybercrime offenses, plus network backdoors, online censorship

Brian Miller

Re: Why not go Orwellian?

"... suggest that everybody must have a camera and microphone implant installed in the eyes and ears."

Wasn't that Google Glass? And all that's needed, really, is to do away with that pesky HTTPS, and all that encryption nonsense.

D'oh! Misplaced chair shuts down nuclear plant in Taiwan

Brian Miller

The shield prevents a face- or palm-plant action, not an oopsie-slide-it-up-bump action. I'm guessing that the chair arm could come up over the edge of the console, and bump things.

On the positive side, the power plant should be shut down in a couple of years.

Malaysian Police crush crypto-mining kit to punish electricity thieves

Brian Miller

Ah, all the fun!

How many times I've wanted to do that to old kit. But of course, with the current price of Bitcoin, I'm guessing the fines really didn't amount to much. The loss of their houses and mining rigs was more substantial.

NASA fixes Hubble Space Telescope using backup power supply unit, payload computer

Brian Miller

Re: Great news....until.

... Until the deorbit mission fails. That's when there will be real problems!

Imagine a world where Apple shacked up with Xerox in the '80s: How might it look today?

Brian Miller

Ethernet on 6502? Apple and Xerox?

Ah, I don't think so. Really, I don't think so. I doubt the author spent "quality" time with a 1MHz 6502 processor, even if it was at the whopping max of 64K. The network card would have to be a whole 'nother computer, and probably more expensive than the Apple II. This was the heady days of audio tape for files, and 5-1/4" floppy drives that whirred and clicked. For through-hole circuits, the network card would be sitting in its own case.

Yeah, I remember my first 300-baud modem. And when I was in high school we used a real Teletype with acoustic couplers.

No, the alternate reality that should have happened was when Apple did team up with DEC. For us, nobody in those companies thought anything of that alliance. But if both companies had the right management, it would have worked.

The James Webb Space Telescope, a project dating back to the late 1900s, may launch this very century

Brian Miller

[A] project dating back to the late 1900s

Wow, to think that something could be so ... last century! Well, in CPU years it was a long time ago, but no, not really that long ago.

Yeah, great to think that the telescope might finally make it to orbit. Of course, if 10 beeelion dollars were spent on a ground telescope, it would be really great, except for the clouds of microsatellites obscuring the view. Who knew we would lose the stars just to watch cat videos...

Hoe yes he did: IT pro record-botherer balances garden tool on his head for 2.5 hours

Brian Miller

Simon will beat this

You know that Simon will beat this, or better yet con his boss into beating it. You know, a team building exercise? On the balcony railing? Remember to think those happy thoughts!

Boffins say they've improved on algorithm for dynamic load balancing of server workloads

Brian Miller

Playing with their balls, in bins


In dynamic load balancing, we wish to distribute balls into bins in an environment where both balls and bins can be added and removed. We want to minimize the maximum load of any bin but we also want to minimize the number of balls and bins that are affected when adding or removing a ball or a bin. We want a hashing-style solution where we given the ID of a ball can find its bin efficiently.

So server A is less than 10% more burdened than server B. If B has 50, A has 50-55.

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs break out of nuclear hellscape home and into people's hearts

Brian Miller

Re: What a Muppet movie this would make

And it would feature exiled zombie Napoleon, waiting on the moon to renew his conquest of the Earth!


One good deed leads to a storm in an Exchange Server

Brian Miller

Happened in the Exchange team

Me, too! Me, three! And thus the Exchange server for the Exchange team was brought to its knees, and was face down for three DAYS while the queue cleared.

Someone was testing distribution lists, and made up some lists with lots of names on them. Then someone decided to mail the whole list, asking, "What is this list for? Why am I on it?" And then things when down from there, with all the other idiots on the list also replying with something stupid.

I've seen three mail storms like that at Microsoft. And for some strange reason, nobody got fired.

Things that needn't be said: Don't plonk a massive Starlink dish on the hood of your car

Brian Miller


Had to look elsewhere for the pic, I don't have a Farcebook account. But that's a ridiculous spot to mount an antenna. I can understand if it was mounted on the roof, but the hood?? Really short hood, and the person plonked it in the middle.

International law enforcement op nukes Russian-language DoubleVPN service allegedly favoured by cybercriminals

Brian Miller

That would be the one you've set up by yourself, without telling anybody about it beforehand. Otherwise, I'm sure that all VPN providers log data. It's just a matter of who gets it, and when.

Microsoft faces up to an old foe with out-of-band patch for PDF weirdness

Brian Miller

Bork Bingo or Clue?

"Internet Explorer 11 and the Adobe Reader plug-in?" On the desktop?

Most of the time these things read sort of like a whodunit, with a different ending based on what random thing happened. And then after the software is "retired," it's frightening to see how long it's used without updates. I think my landlord is still on Windows 7...

Will containers kill VMs? There are no winners in this debate

Brian Miller

J27 wrote: "Containers are VMs..."

Uh, what? From Docker: "A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. A Docker container image is a lightweight, standalone, executable package of software that includes everything needed to run an application: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries and settings."

A CPU VM is a hardware virtual machine, which is supposed to be isolated from everything else by hardware. It is not a package, it is an isolated virtualization of the base hardware.

One is a package. One is hardware. The package requires a host operating system, and does not stand alone. The VM stands alone.

As for makes things easier, well, only if certain vendors decide to keep their crap up to date. I work with AWS CloudHSM. The client packages for that are woefully behind for Ubuntu, and that makes a Docker image for Ubuntu currently useless. I just finished switching our Docker images to be based on AWS Linux, as I'm hoping they will keep their own crap up to date.

Yes, I agree with others, good packaging is something that is overlooked. However, that was something that has been "taught" in the workplace, and when managers with no clue are put in charge, along with "newly-educated" "software engineers" then disaster strikes. Again and again.

BOFH: Oh for Pete’s sake. Don’t make a spectacle of yourself

Brian Miller

Re: Ah, Threat-Detecting Boots

What you have to watch out for is that charlie-horse from the military years that just happens to grab, and yank your leg up straight at someone's crotch...

No, it isn't spiffy like the threat detection technology, but you couple that with PTSD, and you're good to go.

Ireland warned it could face 'rolling blackouts' if it doesn't address data centres' demand for electricity

Brian Miller

So much for Moore's Law

Yeah, as if processor efficiency makes up for inefficient use of the CPU. New Irish regulations: No script languages allowed, no AI, no Bitcoin, etc.

Tiananmen Square Tank Man vanishes from Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, other search engines – even in America

Brian Miller

Re: Should we rename...

Honestly, I don't remember "bing" being an American word. There's "bingo" but not "bing". But then again, I grew up around lumber mills, not coal mines.

Azure services fall over in Europe, Microsoft works on fix

Brian Miller

Re: A 'transient issue'

Maybe a squirrel got into something. Literally. Again.

For the marketeer that has everything – except a CPU fan

Brian Miller

Re: Sign

Actually, I bet the fan is frozen. When the BIOS displays that message, the fan should be running at full tilt. But since the fan was a cheap dodgy thing, costing less than 25p, it ran until it froze. So, like, maybe a month or so. Then the CPU overheated, rebooted the system, and there it sits.

India’s vaccination-booking API criticised for excluding millions, containing bugs, and overflowing with elitism

Brian Miller

Privacy Policy??

What's wrong with no distinct privacy policy? "Your data is public, shared with all interested, paying associates, and may be scattered across the globe when someone downloads the SQLITE database." That's an honest privacy policy. All of the dishonest policies claim that your private data is safe with them. Yes, so very safe.

US declares emergency after ransomware shuts oil pipeline that pumps 100 million gallons a day

Brian Miller

Re: Lessons learnt? I doubt it.

It depends on who does the learning, and who does the managing of what has been learned. Usually there is a village missing its idiot, who is to be found wearing a suit and tie.

One time I had a brief chat with a fellow who worked for Big Oil, and he said his main job was to play "hide the (huge) profits." It's not like these companies lack resources, they lack managers who will do the job they were hired to do.

I'm guessing that the whole PC network got infected, and then it doesn't matter that the actual controllers are fine. The PCs are the machines that are used to communicate with the critical infrastructure. Even if a PC is used just for its browser, if you can't use the browser, then the PC is toast.

It's past time to move back to punch cards and paper tape! Let the miscreants try to take over OS/360 and a stack of punch cards!

Which? warns that more than 2 million Brits are on old and insecure routers – wagging a finger at Huawei-made kit

Brian Miller

Is all data equal?

"and your data porn's flowing through these"

Based on what people actually visit on the web, the idea that a home firewall/router is out of date is not exactly an existential threat to much. Yes, somebody could hack it to mine Bitcoins. Someone could hack it to execute a DDOS attack. Etcetera.

Now, as for your data being "at risk" from dodgy router software, I'm absolutely sure that the larger security vulnerability for your data is the malware already on your computer, the malware already on the server you are accessing, and the APIs and data that have been left open to world+dog by developers who haven't mastered copy-and-paste from StackExchange, and of course that you've used the same password for, like, just ever, and it's been published at least 47 times from different dumps from said server data.

And you want to blame the poor router in the corner, blinking its lights in that lonely, forlorn pattern. (Yes, a pattern...)

Ex Netflix IT ops boss pocketed $500k+ in bribes before awarding millions in tech contracts

Brian Miller

Don't trust those with purse strings!

Money breeds corruption, it just does. But the alternative is a barter system, so we're stuck with it.

Swap out people on a regular basis, that's the only way to make sure that if one starts it, then it's found out soon enough. Letting your organization become static is always an ingredient for disaster.

China cracks down on ‘excessive’ user data harvesting, gives 33 apps ten days to clean up their acts

Brian Miller

Re: Yes?

I think you mean "¥€$"

If the companies are "transparent" as the Chinese government would like, then all data is aggregated on the government's behalf, without any withholding. Or maybe it could be called data hoarding.

No, all of this data is sold on for advertising, in the vain belief that more data means more sales.

Lambda School, a coding bootcamp that takes a cut of your next tech salary, now takes a 30% cut in staff

Brian Miller

Re: Identured Servitude Agreement

"I can't wait to see what Slavery will be modernized euphemistically into by these clowns."

Bail bonds. I've been told by a person who worked in the "industry" that it's the closest thing to slavery that's legally permissible.

Microsoft joins Bytecode Alliance to advance WebAssembly – aka the thing that lets you run compiled C/C++/Rust code in browsers

Brian Miller

Re: Oh f❄︎❄︎k, they're reinventing ActiveX!

"This is a bad idea." "Yeah, let's do it differently!" (later) "This is a bad idea." "Yeah, let's do it differently!"


Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout

Brian Miller

Drive on the right? Hello??

I was absolutely shocked to see the locals driving on the left, the right, and wherever. This is a place that needs a sign, "STAY THE F*** RIGHT". There are roundabouts in the greater Seattle area, and I have never seen driving like that in the video. Sure, I have seen people driving over the circle, but never hanging a left like that.

Really, the cops should get out there and hand out tickets for idiots driving on the wrong side of the road. Or just use it as a driving test: if you can't figure out a roundabout, you lose your license for life. Move to another state and try again.

Foxconn's showcase Wisconsin LCD factory becomes aspirational 'manufacturing ecosystem'

Brian Miller

Stop paying bribes to corporations

These "incentives" are just bribes to corporations, paid for by the taxpayers. The Wisconsin voters need to throw their bums out, instead of buying into their lies.

UK.gov wants mobile makers to declare death dates for their new devices from launch

Brian Miller

Force open source instead

Instead of publishing a death date, force the manufacturer to publish the OS as open source, so we don't have to toss a good device into the landfill.

Yeah, I know, that isn't so popular with the manufacturers, either.

You put Marmite where? Google unveils its latest AI wizardry: A cake made of Maltesers and the pungent black tar

Brian Miller

Safely Ingestible

Like "mostly harmless," this is at least safely ingestible. Some of the recipes that AIs have churned out have not been fit for human consumption.

(No, I'm not a fan of marmite.)

BOFH: Bullying? Not on my watch! (It's a Rolex)

Brian Miller

Re: Hummmm sounds familiar...

"Change the rules on the fly ..."

If the rules were, in fact, actually written upon a fly, that would be a very good set of rules. They would be very few, and also unreadable. Therefore, the rules could not be enforced.

The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage

Brian Miller

Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

It depends on the coffee, doesn't it? I recently bought 65 pounds of Ethiopian at $3.80/lb, and the batch before that was Tanzanian at $2.15.lb. So it depends. Yes, I could get Vietnamese robusta at $0.75/lb. And I've bought Hawaiian Kona-grown coffee at appx $25/lb.

Sure, it's green coffee, roast it yourself. But it does last a very long time when it's green. And freshly roasted coffee tastes soooooo good. Just ask James Hoffmann, who drank coffee from the 1950s for his channel audience.

SQL now a dirty word for Oracle, at least in cloudy data warehouses

Brian Miller

Re: Looking forward to the LowCode era

Barrier? What barrier? Low-barrier programming actually means "any idiot who can both edit text and invoke a compiler."

Right now I am working with the result of what looks like a CLIP+BigGAN AI wrote the code. However, it is 100% human generated. To produce a "working" program, all you need is time. And then somebody has to clean up.