* Posts by Warm Braw

2433 posts • joined 6 Sep 2013

When Facebook says you're not a good 'culture fit', it means you're not White or Asian enough – complaint

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When Facebook says you're not a good 'culture fit'...

... take it as a compliment.

I'm not exactly reeling at the suggestion an enterprise based on inciting its users to reinforce each other's prejudices might possibly have discriminatory practices. Not that Facebook's general toxicity is reason to downplay the complaint.

Detroit cops employed facial recognition algos that only misidentifies suspects 96 per cent of the time

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public corpse donation

I initially read that as public corpse detonation. Must have been imagining the spin-off.

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murdering psychopathic corpse humping gang bangers

As a pitch for a new reality TV series, I can see the potential. I'm just not convinced it would stretch to an entire episode, even with frequently-repeated, dodgy "reconstructions". I'm sure Alan Partridge would be up for the VO, though.

UK government shakes magic money tree, finds $500m to buy a stake in struggling satellite firm OneWeb

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Re: Not the solution

You mean there's a difference?

E-scooter fanboy so hyped for Teesside to host UK's first trial

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Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen

His other great transport innovation was to take little-used Teesside airport into public ownership.

I suppose the runway would make a great place to have scooter races.

Holy Guacamole! Researchers find Apache remote desktop software was silently pwnable for snooping on sessions

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Re: So you're saying

Pitted against the bug, the Apache Foundation seem to have smashed it.

Scala contributor: Open source and diversity key to tackling dev skills shortage

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Re: 500,000 computing-related jobs open in the US that were not filled

I'm not even sure employers put that much thought into job requirements. "Not everyone" is not the opposite of "no-one" and that's pretty much the number of part-time jobs recruiters have ever heard of or I see advertised. I don't believe the number of fractional FTEs required by employers is 0.

Given the number of people writing open source software in their spare time for nothing, I find it a bit of an ubereque argument that part-time workers might somehow undercut their full-time colleagues. Especially as I didn't suggest I'd be prepared to do it on the cheap. Not that, anyway.

Warm Braw Silver badge

500,000 computing-related jobs open in the US that were not filled

I don't know the situation in the US, but I'd happily fill 30%-50% of a job in the UK, but not more as I have other things to do with the rest of my time. When I ask recruiters about this, they look at me as if I'm insane. If you want to encourage more people to work for you, you also have to look at how that work is done if you want to maximise the pool of people that might be interested in doing it.

Never knowingly under-digitally transformed: Retailer John Lewis outsources tech function to Wipro

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Re: So. Farewell then John Lewis

John Lewis have been relatively fortunate, compared to other high street retailers, in that they have freeholds or very long leases on some of their longest-standing stores. However, with 40% of their sales coming from online even before Covid-19, the costs of doing business in the rest of their stores is becoming unsustainable. They've already moved to own-brand goods where they can which sidestep the "never knowingly undersold" promise. Their staff bonus has been diminishing in value to a paltry 2% last year. Their former "no-questions-asked" approach to extended warranties has become much more combative as margins get thinner. The reasons to shop there are becoming fewer.

They may have a future as as a sort of early Habitat + niche provider of made-to-measure soft furnishings, but it's unlikely they'll survive for long as a chain of large department stores. Given the likely economic fallout from the pandemic, Waitrose is also quite likely to struggle - having also lost the Ocado contract.

This is only the beginning.

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer

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Re: The great, the good, and the ugly

She may well have "felt" it. That's the problem with cognitive dissonance.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

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the Government’s pledge to bring faster broadband to rural areas by 2025

You can keep fibre in the air merely by nailing it to a pole.

Government is really quite simple - decide what you want to achieve and find the most effective way of delivering it. The reason we have a succession of terrible governments is that they start from the position that they have some dodgy mates and a garage full of bankrupt stock and then look for some sort of "policy" for which that might be an advantage.

White elephants in the mist: Google's upcoming Pixel 4A may ship without Soli motion recognition, per FCC filing

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Re: Why use the phrase "White elephants"

Consider a general move away from colour based phrases.

Says "snowy", wielding a blue pencil...

Fintech biz Wirecard folds into insolvency like two pair against a flush. Good luck accessing your chip stack

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Re: "for E&Y what Enron was for Arthur Anderson"

it does look a tad concerning

There's a small number of huge auditing firms competing for the same business. It's been known for decades that the symbiotic relationship between the huge auditing firms and their huge clients is not optimal for financial transparency. However, it's a nettle noone seems willing to grasp.

Detroit cops cuffed, threw a dad misidentified by facial recognition in jail. Now the ACLU's demanding action

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Re: "the guard didn’t witness the crime personally, was relying on CCTV footage......

Detroit officers had shown a security guard working at the swanky store six photographs. One of them was Williams’ driver’s license picture.

And these were the other 5.

Ex-CEO of fintech biz Wirecard arrested over missing money: Vanished €1.9bn may not have existed in the first place

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Re: Wow. €26bn lost in two years

Interesting philosophical debate

The really interesting thing is that nothing is quite what it seems. Investors don't invest (mostly), they speculate on future dividend returns. Dividend returns are not directly related to the performance of the business, but to the desire of directors to keep their jobs. Actual investment in the business reduces the immediate speculative return. A lot of "assets" are intangible and have no inherent value.

It's rather like attempting to value the second favourite in the 4.15 at Haydock Park.

Machine-learning models trained on pre-COVID data are now completely out of whack, says Gartner

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Product recommendation engines or next-best-offer

In my experience, they've never worked.

That's historic learning that can reliably continue to be applied.

Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length: macOS shifts from x86 to homegrown common CPU arch, will run iOS apps

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Re: Dec Rainbow

The Rainbow was a rather half-hearted hybrid. Although it ran DOS it was neither hardware nor BIOS compatible with IBM PCs and initially software that used anything other than DOS system calls wouldn't work. Later updates made it more compatible, though never totally.

It demonstrated that "partly-compatible" isn't really a way forward against another vendor's product. Apple, of course, will be able to optimise the level of compatibility to placate existing customers whilst still encouraging them to buy new hardware.

Ex-barrister reckons he has a privacy-preserving solution to Britain's smut ban plans

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Re: Mind of a teenager

When the original policy was being developed, government minister for online safety Margot James made the following statement, ripe in its potential for misinterpretation:

Too many young people and children are coming across porn by accident.

Paging technology providers: £3m is on the table to replace archaic NHS comms network

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Re: Pager the next generation...

Seeing everyone in hospitals wandering around with the DECT phones they were all given - because of the scares about mobile phones interfering with the life-support systems - I would have thought most hospitals already had the technology to replace dedicated pagers with something that worked through walls.

Hospitals stick to technology because it works - hence also the continuing use of faxes, or because they can't afford to replace it in which case calls for tender won't actually help.

Quite why NHSX is involved, I can't fathom, but perhaps they've reassessed the level of their technology competence after Hancock's failed app and decided they're more comfortable with email.

Email innovator Hey extends an olive branch in standoff with Apple, tweaks code to make the iGiant appier

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Less than fragrant


Australia's Lion brewery hit by second cyber attack as nation staggers under suspected Chinese digital assault

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Re: An Attack or a Screwup?

I think we can safely say it's unlikely they're after the recipe.

Hey NYPD, when you're done tear-gassing and running over protesters, can you tell us about your spy gear?

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There's certainly a concerted effort to make them look like riots.

Easy to get the wrong impression if you follow the fake newsmongers.

Australian PM says nation under serious state-run 'cyber attack' – Microsoft, Citrix, Telerik UI bugs 'exploited'

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To inform and educate Australians

Risky strategy if he wants them to keep voting for him.

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

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Re: Eugenics - Sometimes a good decision - is what I think.

I've usually found that people who volunteer their IQ as a preemptive strike know there's no other reason anyone would take them seriously.

No surprise: Britain ditches central database model for virus contact-tracing apps in favour of Apple-Google API

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Re: No echo chamber here...

Actually don't answer that

It doesn't really need answering: NHSX is the government - there's no pretence of independence.

A more interesting question is whose interests the government serves.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: If it has cost £108M that is more than the vaccine development program!

A later article suggests £108M between only 3 companies - and that's the figure that was widely reported in the press at the time.

The accuracy of the number, though, is rather less interesting than the number of times it gets reported as fact.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: If it has cost £108M that is more than the vaccine development program!

AFAICT, the £108M is for the contract with Serco to provide the "human" infrastructure of barely-trained customer service agents. The contract was effectively given to Serco, it seems, as it seemed unlikely anyone else had the ability to roll out the required number of people quickly. The CEO of Serco said that the contract would help in cementing the position of the private sector companies in the public sector supply chain, so they've generously allowed themselves only a small profit margin.

Not to be confused with the £108M that went to a small pest-control company to supply large amounts of PPE.

Also not to be confused with the £108M spent on 3 contracts for Brexit ferry services, including the infamous firm with no ships.

It's curious that this figure comes up again and again in relation to "emergency" procurement that doesn't seem to go through the normal tendering process.

But we'll all be too busy admiring Boris's Union Jack sky-penis to notice any of that.

Hayfever in Haymarket, or has Windows sneezed out a BSOD?

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Re: Much like the inside then...

And we'll not even get started on the regions attempt at smart ticketing...

When the Metro first opened, there was an integrated, zonal ticketing system that worked across metro, buses and ferry (and the trains from Blaydon to Sunderland). That was all demolished as part of Thatcherite bus deregulation. The now-private bus companies compete with the Metro for passengers and there is no incentive for any real smart-ticketing system unless the transport operators are providing complementary rather than competitive services. I live on a bus route where different services operate at different times of day: sometimes you can get a through ticket to your destination, at others you have to buy two tickets and travel on a connecting service at a significantly higher price. And that's with the same bus company - they really have no interest in serving passengers.

Nexus (the PTE legacy body) tried to bring in a London-like system where bus companies operated under contract, but this was shot down by legal challenges from the bus companies. Boris has promised to give local areas more freedom to regulate and commission bus services, but the words "Boris has promised" render anything that follows meaningless.

Ah lovely, here's something you can do with those Raspberry Pis, NUC PCs in the bottom of the drawer: Run Ubuntu Appliances on them

Warm Braw Silver badge

Isn't that only available around Christmas?

Has Santa promised to make 2020 the year of Linux on the Rooftop?

No Wiggle room: Two weeks after angry bike shop customers report mystery orders on their accounts, firm confirms payment cards delinked

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If you had an aerodynamically sculptured helmet, though, a figure-hugging bodysuit would allow its novelty to be better appreciated.

Ex-eBay security execs among six charged with harassing, threatening bloggers who dared criticize web tat souk

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Re: Rico anyone?

The linked affidavit also alleges:

When BAUGH, HARVILLE, Gilbert, Popp, Stockwell, Zea, and others learned that the NPD was making inquiries, they interfered with the investigation, either lying to the NPD about eBay’s involvement while pretending to offer the company’s assistance with the harassment, lying to eBay’s lawyers about their own involvement, or both. As the NPD and eBay’s lawyers began to close in on the truth, the Target Subjects deleted evidence that showed their involvement, further obstructing what had by then become a federal investigation.

Someone got so fed up with GE fridge DRM – yes, fridge DRM – they made a whole website on how to bypass it

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Re: My Toaster Tale

the single controller chip has clearly cracked in two

You got the wrong model...

Philippines government makes cloud-first a post-pandemic ‘new normal’ for all agencies

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The Judiciary and the Cloud. What could possibly go wrong?

Facebook boffins bake robo-code converter to take the pain out of shifting between C++, Java, Python

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Re: Based on language translation

The generated functions and production code have to be tested; they are not guaranteed to be correct.

That's not generally a characteristic you would welcome in a compiler. It's not as if there isn't open source code available* for parsing and lexically analysing COBOL and Python, so you just need to glue a code generator on the back end for the target language. You might not get a result that you can visually associate with the original (though you could put that in comments), but at least it would be functionally correct^.

I'm not quite sure how an enormous amount of effort to produce a flawed AI solution + unknown effort to correct the result actually saves time and money. Particularly when elderly code has a habit of working in mysterious and undocumented ways - usually the main reason it is preserved.

Edit: And given the world is supposedly moving towards container-based microservices, why convert stuff anyway if it's working?

*With the exception of proprietary language dialects.

^Assuming conforming data types for source and target

In Hancock's half-hour, Dido Harding offers hollow laughs: Cake distracts test-and-trace boss at UK COVID-19 briefing

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Baroness Hardup has at least got sufficient time to develop a world-beating performance for the pantomime season.

I wonder if she was subjected to the loyalty test or whether her background guaranteed that her compliance, if not her competence, could be relied upon.

Microsoft tweaks its 'New Outlook' for Mac – but no support for Exchange on-premises yet

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Re: No support for standard protocols like POP3 and IMAP etc

The "problem" with standard protocols is that the clients don't facilitate your monetization. I wonder how long it will be before Google's increasing contempt for "less secure apps" leads to their access being terminated.

California bigwigs rule Uber, Lyft dial-a-ride drivers are employees, not contractors

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Re: I know many people who work so-called "gig economy" jobs here in California.

nor do they want, multiple different "employers"

I'm struggling to understand what the objection might be, particularly if it then involves better terms of employment. Unless, perhaps, under the present arrangements it's left entirely up to the "worker" to declare their income for tax purposes.

An Internet of Trouble lies ahead as root certificates begin to expire en masse, warns security researcher

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Re: What problem are the certificates solving?

The difference between how something works and why it is used is the difference between mere knowledge and actual understanding.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: What problem are the certificates solving?

the complexity involved in streaming an advert

Ironically, the need to insert ad breaks and overlay region specific (STV or ITV) DOGs actually makes is easier to grab stuff: once you intercept the RTMP stream you get the full uninterrupted programme - no ad breaks and no branding. Or rather, you could if you were so inclined...

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: What problem are the certificates solving?

In the case of a browser, it doesn't know, a priori, what it is likely to be connecting to and a third party attestation is useful.

However, iPlayer (or whatever) knows exactly what it should be connecting to and the third party attestation offers nothing over what iPlayer could check for itself. At its most trivial, the app could contain the necessary certificate chain rather than rely on the one provided by the underlying system and an update to the app could update the necessary certificates.

Of course you have the slightly circular problem that if the app store certificates expire, you can't update the apps, but that's a problem the third party service provider doesn't have to work around itself.

I'm assuming the issue is that the APIs for some of these "smart" TV systems are in fact pretty minimal and don't offer you much beyond "render this URL as an H.264 video stream".

Warm Braw Silver badge

What problem are the certificates solving?

I can see you might need encryption to preserve the privacy of the user's choice of viewing, but you can do that without a certificate.

The domain name the iPlayer app connects to must be hardwired into the app itself, so presumably the certificate is acting as some form of identity check that the domain name hasn't been redirected somewhere else. But given that the iPlayer app has been provided by the BBC itself (or under its licence), you could perform the same check within the app without resorting to an external PKI service.

So is the PKI there to perform some other function, or is it just being used because the code is there already so it's easier than finding a domain-specific solution?

You know Facebook has an image problem when major nonprofits start turning down donations over political lies

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Re: stop using it

Not signing up doesn't stop you being used by it, unfortunately.

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

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Re: x86 Software

Bootcamp, VMware, Virtualbox, etc

And, of course, Parallels.

I think this is as interesting for what it says about Windows - there's always been that nagging problem that there would be some (especially business) software that wouldn't be available for Mac natively and having a route to use it without needing additional hardware was hitherto been seen as a positive.

It looks like Apple probably reckon that most of that market can now be satisfied either by web-based SaaS solutions or by cloud-based Windows virtual desktops. That's not a prediction that will come as welcome news to either Microsoft or Intel.

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

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Smart appliances are essentially computers

Even the dumb ones have computer traits that limit not only the lifetime of the appliances, but potentially also their owners.

You really don't want to be turning these things on unattended.

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

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Eyeing up ... with a view to making a purchase

Presumably secured with a small deposit.

Franco-German cloud framework floated to protect European's data from foreign tech firms slurpage

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No global social network

At least wethey've got something right.

OK Windows 10, we get it: You really do not want us to install this unsigned application. But 7 steps borders on ridiculous

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Re: I thought containers were a thing now

Interesting, thanks, will take a look...

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: I thought containers were a thing now

That's precisely what I mean: it's not as if we haven't been wrestling with potential network-borne malware for more than a decade now, there's been plenty of time for evolution of this kind.

You could even make the dialog backwards compatible by creating a temporary ACL permitting access only to the named file identified by the dialog for the duration of the application's execution, though we should by now be beyond that point. We're using the add-ons and workarounds to justify the status quo, not as a short-term bridge to a better solution.

Warm Braw Silver badge

I thought containers were a thing now

Most applications don't need to open files except the ones the user chooses through a standard dialog box, or access random internet addresses without user interaction, or create dubious constantly-running background processes and "auto updaters", or silently raise their priority or privileges.

Computer science long ago reached the point at which it should be possible to run random applications that meet those criteria in a safe and secure manner. And indeed, that it should rarely be necessary to run applications that don't meet those criteria.

You'd think modern operating systems (and I'm not just looking at Windows) might possibly have caught up with this by now rather than desperately trying to patch up their 1960s pre-network, timesharing model of "security" with anti-virus software and code signing.

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

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To be fair, the problem is using a database API that requires a human-readable SQL command which your code has to construct so that the command interpreter can parse it back into the component parts you originally assembled. That's just asking for trouble and it's not really a PHP issue.

If you use PHP with Oracle, for example, you could at least use oci_bind_by_name to assign values to named parameters in a template SQL command without having to worry about quoting and escaping.


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