* Posts by fpx

143 posts • joined 15 May 2013

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Apple 'diverts' iPad components to iPhone 13 production, Euro sources not feeling pinch yet

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Devil

Too Cheap

In other words, Apple stuff is too cheap: they could just rise prices until demand meets supply.

Tesla slams into reverse, pulls latest beta of Full Self-Driving software from participating car owners

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Devil

Re: Safety Score

No, that probably has other reasons. Your insurance is based on the number of kilometers you drive annually. So you sign up for insurance for, e.g., 10,000 km/a. Then all they need is the initial odometer reading. When you have an accident, they will ask again, and if you've exceeded your limit on average, they will simply deny your insurance claim.

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Mushroom

Safety Score

The bit that irks me more is the note about safety scores. "Sent out [...] initially only to those with "perfect" safety scores, according to Musk, before being made available to those with Safety Scores of 99/100."

So your car rates your safety. I guess it won't be long before these scores are collated by data aggregators à la Equifax and sold to whoever is interested. Presumably except to yourself, you know, because of security. Then your car dealer will let you know that, "sorry, with a safety score of only 97 out of 100, you can not have that tuning kit."

Insurances. Car rentals. Ride sharing. Inner cities. All will deny you based on some black-box AI assessing your driving skills. What can go wrong?

Ex-US intel, military trio were cyber-mercenaries for UAE, say prosecutors

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FAIL

Exploits developed, purchased and deployed. Phones hacked. Targets jailed and worse. And the only crime that they can be convicted for is "export controls"? So presumably, if they had not purchased exploits from US companies, they would have had nothing to worry about.

Apple emergency patches fix zero-click iMessage bug used to inject NSO spyware

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Devil

This is where I'd rather see Apple engineers spend their image scanning powers on.

Now that the vulnerability is known, it is easy to implement an algorithm that identifies malicious files exploiting this vulnerability. No need to train an AI or anything.

Apple could run that algorithm on all images stored in the iCloud, and potentially also on handsets. This would immediately turn up all iThings that are or were compromised using this exploit today or months ago, and help us identify a lot of other NSO customers.

The day has a 'y' in it, so Virgin Galactic has announced another delay

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Facepalm

No. It's a completely different value proposition.

Microgravity for milliseconds on a Roller Coaster at Disneyland ... $50

Microgravity for seconds in the Vomit Comet ... $5,000

Microgravity for minutes + See Space package with Virgin Galactic ... $500,000

Microgravity for as long as your oxygen lasts, Space included .... $50,000,000

If you have the $50M to spare and don't have to be home by supper, then of course you will not give a second look to what Virgin Galactic has to offer.

If you have less money in the bank but are desperate to see space, then Virgin Galactic may be your best shot.

Me, I'll have to stick with the Disneyland rides until my lottery ticket comes in. I'm also still waiting for affordable balloon rides to space, since I care more about the space part than the microgravity part.

You walk in with a plan. You leave with GPS-tracking Nordic hiking poles. The same old story, eh?

fpx
Pint

I also suffer from occasional impulse purchases. What saves me most of the time is asking myself, "where would I put it?" Given that all rooms and the basement are already full of stuff that I *might* need but never do. This question is most effective with kitchen utilities. Yeah, a rice steamer would be nice to have, but the kitchen ist just too damn full already!

Ok, so I wrote this comment with little to say just to be no. 100. Although I'm sure that others are writing comments at the same time so that I'll end up #105.

Elizabeth Holmes' Theranos fraud trial begins: Defense claims all she did was fail – and that's not a crime

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Trollface

If she were a fraud, she would have offloaded some of her shares when they were worth billions. Instead, she believed her own lies to the very end and went under with the ship.

I believe she was locked in a bubble, only seeing the positive, and probably losing her temper when anyone attempted to tell her about problems, until nobody did.

That doesn't make her any less guilty, of course.

Crypto-coin startup said its bot could generate huge profits from your Bitcoin. It was a scam, says SEC

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Devil

Too bad I missed this opportunity. At 40% a month, I would have started with a $10 investment, and then I would have cashed out $1 after the first month, $1.40 the second month and so on.

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

fpx
Facepalm

Not your Parents' THX

THX has come a long way from being a seal of approval for state of the art cinemas to maginally-better-than-the-rest consumer equipment.

THX is a label certifying that a piece of equipment meets certain minimum standards. Technology has made their high standards in audio and video reproduction easier to achieve apparently to the point were hardware manufacturers do not have to try very hard to meet their minimums and basically only have to send in a spec sheet and licensing fees to qualify.

Still it feels like a race to the bottom.

Full Stream ahead: Microsoft will end 'classic' method of recording Teams meetings despite transcription concerns

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Facepalm

There is a long list of missing features and bugs in Teams that Microsoft just does not address.

My crappy web cam gets confused by a bright background (it's called the sun) and gets the automatic white balance wrong, so that my face ends up black. In Skype for Business, I could just click on a button and adjust camera settings manually. Not in Teams. The recommended workaround is to adjust the settings using SfB while in a Teams call. Really?

More recently, my participant list keeps disappearing. According to the Microsoft user forum, there are thousands others with the same issue, but nothing has been happening there since April.

So I have very little faith that they will get around to adding transcript edititng anytime soon. They are far too busy redesigning the UX every other week, and adding new features so that they can keep popping up tool tips to keep their captive users engaged. Got it!

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

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Devil

Nothing to Worry About

There is only a low probability of a false positive.

After the SWAT team breaks down your door at 4 am and confiscates all your PCs and phones and other electronics, it will only take them a few months to scan it. Then you will only have to answer a few curious questions about "can you explain *this* and *that* on your hard drive" even though this and that has nothing to do with the original find.

No problem, that will all clear up after only a few years.You will be unable to work without your gear, and everybody around you will be very suspicious, but that is a small price to pay for society as a whole.

Low probability times a few billion users? Meh.

Amazon sets the date for televised return to Middle Earth: September 2022

fpx
Facepalm

Re: Production subsidies ?!?

Re: "LOTR is likely to bring a lot more that $100M in tourism alone"

I never understood why people would go all the way to NZ ... to visit a film set.

Isn't there anything else in NZ worth visiting?

Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

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Boffin

If this thingy could crank out 300 Megawatts permanently, I would call it a power plant, not a battery.

Can you user proper units of energy, please? I see that it is just as misleading in the referenced article, but Google takes me to https://victorianbigbattery.com.au/ which educates me that "The Victorian Big Battery is a 300 MW / 450 MWh grid-scale battery storage project in Geelong, Australia which will store enough energy in reserve to power over one million Victorian homes for 1/2 an hour."

Since it's the only way to differentiate in a Chromium-dominated market, Vivaldi 4.1 introduces 'Accordion' tabs

fpx

Re: North Korean link???!!!!!

Accordions should make you think of Al Yankovic, not North Korea. Although it is possible to combine the two. Or the three, if you open this link in a Vivaldi accordion tab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY70Y9I1U7k

Hungarian tech store closed by World War II bomb

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Mushroom

Still happens all across Germany with depressing regularity at pretty much every large construction site in every major city. This one was in May: https://www.hessenschau.de/panorama/erleichterung-nach-bombensprengung-in-frankfurt-,bombe-frankfurt-nordend-100.html. In this case, the bomb squad decided that defusing the bomb was too risky, and it had to be detonated in place, necessitating the evacuation of 25.000 people including a large hospital in a 700m radius.

Everyone cites that 'bugs are 100x more expensive to fix in production' research, but the study might not even exist

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Boffin

I also helped to spread that myth. However, my reference was not IBM, but NASA: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20100036670, from 2004. As far as I know, NASA did exist at that time. It does quote [Boehm81] -- which might be the dodgy study mentioned here -- but adds its own body of evidence.

South Korean uni installs lavatory that pays out when you spend a penny

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Boffin

I hope the next version of the toilet will also deduct lots of Ggools if the user leaves it in unsanitary conditions.

Japan assembles superteam of aircraft component manufacturers to build supersonic passenger plane

fpx

That is true. I guess I unconsciously excluded routes over the Pacific because of what I expect to be limited range. The Concorde was 50% fuel at take-off and yet was close to maximum range on its Atlantic routes. Wikipedia says about the Boom: "With 4,500 nmi of range, transpacific flights would require a refueling stop," again biting into the small margin that they have if you have to detour and lose an hour for the refueling stop.

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Devil

Supersonic passenger jets are doomed to fail unless sonic boom issues are resolved. A plane that can only fly supersonic over the ocean will not reduce practical travel times for most routes.

There's London or Paris to New York like the Concorde, but what else? When you're going three hours over land from, say, Frankfurt to Chicago no faster than a regular aircraft, then the advantage of saving two hours over the Atlantic does not make that much of a difference. Never mind the hours spent in lines for boarding and immigration, or stuck in the airport connecting.

No need to pay premium to save 2 hours on an 18 hour travel. Boom et al claim that tickets will be no more expensive than with a regular flight, which is obviously silly nonsense when you have a plane that is half the size and consumes a lot more fuel (not that they are willing to tell you *how* much).

Supersonic private jets might fill a niche for the super super rich, though. "Mine's faster than your puny Gulfstream!"

Apple's macOS is sub-par for security, Apple exec Craig Federighi tells Epic trial

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Devil

A computer that runs the software that I want rather than the software that I am permitted to run, as deciced by Apple? Oh no, think of the children!

Seriously, the walled garden of iOS makes it hard to develop, distribute and use open source software.

Google will make you use two-step verification to login

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Devil

I have multiple GMail accounts and clean my browser cookies when switching between sessions.

Forcing me to enter a mobile phone number will finally allow them to track me across my multiple identities. How convenient for them!

Sure, they might already fingerprint my browser to track me, but that only gives them probability, not certainty.

File this next to Mars bars under 'things that should not be deep-fried': Marks & Spencer's Colin the Caterpillar

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Pint

Think of the Tourist

I remember a trip to the french countryside, and one of my party ordered "pied de porc" from a Very French restaurant under the assumption that it must be a regional delicacy. It turned out exactly what you asked for, a pig's foot, all bone with very few edible and fewer digestible parts. We asked the waiter about it in our best broken french, and his response was, "only tourists order that!"

So leave your deep-fried chocolate bars on the menu, it's what the tourists think is essentially scottish!

Greener Windows? Microsoft previews EcoQoS and Task Manager Eco Mode for would-be power-sipping devs

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Mushroom

Imagine the power savings if billions of Windows PCs stopped spying -- sorry, gathering mandatory telemetry data -- on their users.

Nigerian email scammer sent down for 40 months in the US, ordered to pay back $2.7m to victims

fpx

Re: I'm in the wrong job......

Re: "Your not telling me that Cashiers Cheques (Checks) can be cashed in for thousand of dollars on presentation of a fake passport and ID?"

Yup, that's exactly how it is. Money gets credited to your account immediately. This is essentially a measure of consumer protection, so that poor souls that are waiting for a paycheck get access to their funds immediately and don't have to wait for the banking system to clear the check. That will happen behind the scenes, and then the sender can claw their money back after up to 6 weeks.

A lot of advance fee fraud schemes depend on this delay. Scammers send you a check for $$$, you can cash it and see $$$ in your account immediately. Then you wire $$ back to the scammers using Western Union, -- where the money is gone for good right away -- and a few weeks later the bank takes all of the $$$ back because the check was bad.

To cash a check, you need to open a bank account first, and the bank will check your identity. There's a good amount of traceability, and you will likely be found if you cash a fraudulent check. That's why other Nigerian princes use money mules as go-betweens.

Key Perl Core developer quits, says he was bullied for daring to suggest programming language contained 'cruft'

fpx

Re: It is fine

I've come to see the language as largely irrelevant. Python, C, Ruby, Java, Perl -- in the end the syntax hardly matters.

What's so much more important is the set of libraries that is available. Need to talk to a REST API? Interface with an SQLite database? What you need is the right library for the job, and then you suffer the language that it is written in.

All right, this is a bit of an oversimplification. Still, there's a grain of truth in there.

DoorDash delivery drivers try to manipulate the food biz's payment algorithm to earn a living wage in gig economy

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Trollface

The "genius" of these companies is that the algorithms are essentially a reverse auction, finding the lowest possible wage that desperate people will work for. If enough people participate in the effort to decline deliveries below $7, then there will be a new crop of slightly more desperate dashers willing to snap up deliveries at $6.50 before they lose the trip to someone else.

Spotify to introduce lossless audio streaming: Better sound or inefficient gimmick?

fpx
Boffin

CD vs MP3 Blind Test

Twenty years ago, German c't Magazine arranged for a blind test of CD vs MP3, using high quality equipment in a high quality sound room. Some test persons were chosen for their professional background in music, some were chosen at random. Music was played, and they had to choose whether it was from MP3 or CD.

The bottom line is that the test persons could distinguish 128 kBit/s MP3 versus CDs better than average, though not reliably. For 256 kBit MP3 versus CD, it was a coin toss, i.e., the test persons chose correctly as much as incorrectly.

Original article in German: https://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Kreuzverhoertest-287592.html

Facebook tells Portuguese court that a biz called Oink And Stuff makes profile-harvesting browser extensions

fpx

Re: Myanmar?

Myanmar is home to 50+ million people. The chances that many of them are excellent software developers is quite high, actually.

fpx
Boffin

Softpedia

My understanding is that Softpedia merely "certifies" that the software that you download is free from viruses. Their site harks back to the days before Sourceforge when people downloaded shareware packages from dodgy sites, where popular software was re-packaged with added trojans. Well people still do that, though there are now better alternatives.

So the seal of approval from Softpedia that the download is free from third-party malware is meaningless here, when the software is nothing but malware in the first place.

US Department of Homeland Security warns American business not to use Chinese tech or let data behind the Great Firewall

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Megaphone

Mandatory backdoors, key sharing, and data harvesting are evil? Indeed. Now put your foot where your mouth is and stop demanding the very same at home.

Chuck Yeager, sound barrier pioneer pilot, dies at 97

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Alert

I am also reminded of Chuck Yeager's relationship to The Fastest Man on Earth, John Paul Stapp, and their involvement with Edward A. Murphy, the namesake for Murphy's Law.

See https://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume9/v9i5/murphy/murphy0.php

Uri Geller calls off 20-year ban on Pokémon trading card that 'stole' his 'signature image'

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Pint

A Honest Liar

I've known about Uri Geller since I was a kid. I only learned about the Amazing Randi from reading his obituary in the NYT. Wish it had been the other way around! Reading about him made me want to watch A Honest Liar, but it appears to be geoblocked from where I live.

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah

fpx
Boffin

Have the sheep demonstrated increased levels of intelligence yet? They might be plotting for The Planet of the Sheep!

Return of the flying car, just when we all need to escape

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Devil

Yay, another flying car prototype. This one looks fairly similar to the Terrafugia Transition, which had its maiden flight in 2009 and is still awaiting certification.

The flying car has a lot of disadvantages, some regulatory, some convenience. You need a pilot's certificate. You can only take off and land at airfields, when they are open. Because they are so different from regular aircraft, the companies try to certify them as lightweights, which severely restricts their weight. The Transition has a "useful load" of 227 kg, counting pilot, passenger, luggage and fuel. Night-time or IFR flight is not possible -- so if there is a risk of bad weather between you and your destination, you'll have to stay on the road. And if there is any ding to the aerodynamic surfaces -- which includes the entire body of the car, it's back to the shop to check whether it's still airworthy.

All that for a price that buys you a car, an ultralight plane or a small used aircraft, and limo service from any remote airport to a destination, many times over.

NSA: We've learned our lesson after foreign spies used one of our crypto backdoors – but we can't say how exactly

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Devil

Re: How do you avoid US spy gear, it is everywhere.

Can you please explain to this court why, twenty years ago, you googled "iron maiden"? Doesn't that demonstrate your intent to torture someone?

The data trail that all of us leave behind alwys contain some dubious nuggets that, selectively edited and taken out of context, will make you look bad.

As foretold by Kafka. We know there is a crime hidden in all of that data, we just have to find it. You will not be in a position to defend yourself, since you will have long forgotten. Too bad.

TikTok seeks injunction to halt Trump ban, claims it would break America's own First and Fifth Amendments

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Black Helicopters

All Data Belongs To Us

The US is concerned that China might use data collected by Tik Tok to spy on and influence americans. The same can be said against US data aggregators. The US essentially does not want any other contries to have the same abilities that they have.

If TikTok is a threat to US national security, then Facebook, Google etc. are a threat to global security, using the same arguments.

Adidas now stands for All Day I'm Disconnecting All Servers as owners of 'smart' Libra scales furious over bricked kit

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Megaphone

Product Labels

I remember reading about proposals that "smart" devices should get mandatory labels indicating their support period. I.e., companies would have to clearly specify something like 5 or 10 or 20 years on the package, and then commit to supporting the product for this period, retaining functionality, compatibility with future devices (such as the next generation of smartphones) and with security updates if applicable. Without a sticker, you would only have your bog standard two year warranty period to rely on.

We would need the same for software, though. There is plenty of software that refuses to re-install or even run when the licensing servers are switched off.

This wouldn't do you any good if the company goes bankrupt. Still, it would be an improvement on today's sorry state of affairs.

Google Chrome calculates your autoplay settings so you don't have to - others disagree

fpx
Thumb Up

Re: Consumer friendly options

I would also like to add:

4) Play animated gifs only when clicked on.

5) Ignore Javascript attempts to replace image content.

Now is there a browser that lets me do all of that?

Mozilla doubles down on anti-tracking tech: It'll be tougher for wily ad-biz cookie monsters to track Firefox

fpx

Re: Barking up the wrong tree

"But what if the two sites KNOW each other."

That would not matter. E.g., the Facebook cookie in the Register session would be different from the Facebook cookie in the Amazon session, and both would be different from the Facebook cookie in the Facebook session, meaning that Facebook would not be able to slurp the articles that I looked at.

So that would work unless they shared identities (i.e., your account information).

As for "Isn't that why you have multiple browsers installed?" Yes. I have Firefox, Opera, Edge, Chrome and Vivaldi. I am running out of browsers.

fpx

Barking up the wrong tree

The problem is not first party vs third party cookies. If third party cookies were banned, advertisers would simply make the switch to first party cookies. That would need a bit more server side plumbing but could be done easily by major sites.

I do not want to be tracked all across the web. What I want is a browser that lets me compartmentalize my cookies into sessions. Like an "Amazon" session, a "Register" session etc. Private tabs are too restrictive, because I want multiple tabs per session. Cookies are limited to one session and not shared between sessions. Then each site could track what I am doing on the site itself, but not my browsing habits elsewhere.

For example, a browser could manage one session per window. Then I could have multiple sessions/windows, and multiple tabs per session/window.

Does that exist?

Garmin staggers back to its feet: Aviation systems seem to be lagging, though. Here's why

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Black Helicopters

"We have no indication that any customer data [...] was accessed." They don't know how the hackers got in, yet they are perfectly certain that no customer data was lost. Right. You can be certain that the hackers downloaded a few terabytes over the past months. Now that they know that they can squeeze Garmin for $$$, blackmail over customer data may be next.

I use my Garmin 235 offline only. While they keep nudging you to use Garmin Connect, I do not want to upload my tracking data to the Cloud. When I connect my 235 to a PC, it shows up as a disk drive, and I can copy the FIT files. Frustratingly, there do not seem to be any remaining offline tools to read and view them. There used to be SportsTracks, but their offline version 3 (which I still use) is end of life-d; they are nudging me to upgrade to their new cloud-based version.

Black helicopter, because it's the most navigation-themed icon here.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good

fpx

Re: Sensor format

For me the sensor size is an advantage, because the glass scales with sensor size. There is little difference between full frame, APS-C and µ4/3 mirrorless body sizes these days, but plenty of size and weight difference in lenses.

Bigger is not always better. I do not need 50 megapixels or ISO 100.000. WIth the pancake 14-42 lens, my OM10 is almost pocket sized. With the 14-150 and a spare battery, it is still well below 1kg, good enough to carry around all day without a dedicated camera rucksack. And my pictures are still pretty when printed as an 80x60 poster.

Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing

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Boffin

Re: Classic

> "it isn't practical anymore to write your own software"

That's always been the case since computers became cheaper than the team of engineers you needed to run them. Certainly for the last 40 years.

What irks me is the DRM built into online activation of licenses these days. I can still run the software that I purchased 40 years ago in an emulator. With contemporary software, that will not be possible, because they will refuse to work once their licensing services are switched off or have merely been upgraded to a more recent version.

Pan-European group plans cross-border contact-tracing app – and promises GDPR compliance

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Facepalm

Optional, Anonymous and Effective? Choose Two. At Most.

The media keeps hyping contact-tracing app as the miracle solution to the pandemic. They keep telling us how it will be optional and anonymous, when it really can be neither.

If it existed, the app would become a prerequisite to living normally again. You would like to dine in this restaurant? Show me your app. That would hardly be optional, else I could conveniently uninstall the app once it shows a potential exposure.

It can not be anonymous, because as the pandemic winds down, you really want to follow up on those contacts that were potentially exposed but that did not get tested. Once there are numbers like "x people had their status turn red but did not show up for testing" there will be enormous public pressure to de-anonymize those walking bio-terrorists.

At present, the app also just can't be effective. Living in a big city, just going out for a walk and shopping, we cross paths with hundreds of people, and with the current number of cases (symptomatic or not), there will be enormous numbers of false positives (i.e., you crossed path with a person that was later tested positive, but did not get infected) and false negatives (i.e., you crossed path with a Cov-positive person that was never tested because he was not symptomatic, or did not have a mobile phone with the app running at a time, but still got infected).

I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish

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Paris Hilton

Rich and Richer

If you are merely rich, you will have to suffer the close presence of strangers.

If you are slightly richer, you can buy all four seats for yourself for that extra privacy, or to bring along only those friends that you can actually tolerate.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it

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Devil

Micropayments

I would really like to use micropayments instead of seeing ads. Unfortunately, that is never going to work. If you are willing to pay for content, then you are worth so much more to advertisers, and so much more valuable to the site. So you will be seing more ads than before! But hey, at least they might be more relevant to you than as if you were surfing as a cheap anonymous freeloader. Or not.

World's richest bloke battles Oz catastro-fire with incredible AU$1m donation (aka load of cheap greenwashing)

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Angel

Taxes versus Philantropy

When rich people claim that philantropy is better than taxation, their argument is essentially that their causes are more worthy and/or that they can manage them better than governments. They are putting themselves over governments. These are the arguments of kings. Sure, there may be some benevolent ones, but history has proven that they more often than not invest in causes that are more important to them, their family, and their friends, and not the needs of the pauper.

It's sure nice that some bazillionaires donate to worthy causes like eradicating tuberculosis, measels or cancer, but if we hauled in more tax money, we as a society could invest more in those efforts as well.

Let them blow their money on rockets and flying taxis, and donate to issues they believe in, but only after proper taxation.

Amnesty slams Facebook, Google over 'pervasive surveillance' business model

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Devil

Why would governments act?

Governments are perfectly happy with surveillance capitalism as long as they can tap into that data. With a simple subpoena, not even a warrant, governments can now "legitimately" get detailed dossiers on anyone.

Player three has entered Cray's supercomputing game: First AMD Epyc, now Fujitsu's Arm chips

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Multi-Physics

I thought there was just a single set. Anybody can clue me in?

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