* Posts by Robert 22

75 posts • joined 12 Dec 2013


Stop worrying – Larry Ellison and Prez Trump will have this whole coronavirus thing licked shortly with the power of data

Robert 22

Re: Salvation from Commentards

Most people recover. So anecdotal reports don't prove anything.

During the 1918 pandemic, there was a popular idea that massive doses of aspirin were a good treatment. Probably the main result was widespread aspirin poisoning.

Huawei to the danger zone: Now Uncle Sam slaps it with 16 charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, theft of robot arm and source code

Robert 22

Re: Business as usual

I'm aware of a similar situation. A researcher from a Canadian government lab submitted a paper to a journal - it too was held up while the American reviewer submitted patent applications based on the work. It took a big legal fight before things could be set right.

China tells America, with a straight face, it will absolutely crack down on hacking and copyright, tech blueprint theft

Robert 22

Re: Dealmaster

In my professional career, I've observed that the businesses (including some very well known North American firms) who make the biggest deal about their valuable intellectual property have often done little more than take some well known existing idea and add some trivial embellishments.

I would suggest that the US patent system has serious problems of its own - a not uncommon business strategy is to patent a vague idea and then simply lie in wait for a real innovator to come up with a practical implementation that has even the slightest resemblance to the patent.

If you examine the history of the computer industry, you will find that much of the actual progress has been the result of starting with the ideas of others and building on them. Gary Kildall borrowed ideas from the DEC TOPS-10 operating system to write CP/M and in turn DOS borrowed ideas from CP/M. I suspect that if today's legal environment existed over the last 50 years, we would still be waiting for lawsuits involving GUI patents to be resolved.

Boeing, Boeing, gone! CEO Muilenburg quits 'effective immediately'

Robert 22

Re: Golden parachute

There are definitely perverse incentives - Take risks and get rewarded if they pay off and get rewarded if they don't.

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

Robert 22

Re: The user replied: "The same electrician who changed that plug rewired my house last week!"

This is actually a big deal for the old AC/DC radios and TVs. Switch the connections around and you could end up with a live chassis. A definite hazard to work on to say nothing of the further danger to casual users that the loss of the plastic volume control knob might entail.

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

Robert 22

Re: I gave up on the chartered route

I'm not familiar with the specifics of licensing in other jurisdictions, was certainly aware of some curious anomalies in my own.

I knew someone who was completing a PhD in Electrical engineering, but whose undergraduate degree was in physics. He made some inquiries to find out what he would have to do to become a licensed engineer. Among other things, he was told that he needed a course in fluid mechanics (an unusual requirement for EE students) and that his two term course in differential equations taught by the Math faculty was not accepted as equivalent to the specified one term EE course on the same subject.

Theoretically, to get around the requirement for an undergraduate engineering degree, you were able to write an examination, but this was was made very difficult. I recall talking to the professor who set the questions for the chemical engineering examination; he told me that his students wouldn't have a hope of passing it - give them 4 hours and open book, and they might have a chance.

I'm somewhat inclined to think that the system was set up more to restrict competition than protect the public.

Robert 22

Re: Can't be an actual Electrical Engineer ...

It's interesting that you mention that name - Williams seems to have been one of those people who learned on the job. He was an absolutely brilliant guy who had hardly any formal academic qualifications.

Judge shoots down Trump admin's efforts to allow folks to post shoddy 3D printer gun blueprints online

Robert 22

Re: More guns = safer for everyone

There is the further issue that the police end up assuming that everyone is armed and automatically use their weapons in situations that should not really call for deadly force.

Uncle Sam is asking Americans if they could refrain from slapping guns on their drones

Robert 22

Re: Despite NRA propaganda

"I support the second amendment, because I think an armed population is the final protection from falling victim to a dictatorship"

I keep seeing similar arguments. What I can't understand is how this works in practice. Does it mean that any group of people in the US has the right to overthrow the US government if they feel oppressed? It would seem that there must be many such groups. I would also suspect that the likely outcome would be a dictatorship.

Looming US immigration crackdown aims to weed out pre-crime of poverty. And that may be bad news for techie families

Robert 22

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Perhaps this (now) subversive script should be updated - All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" seems more in the spirit of the times.

Yuge U-turn: Prez Trump walks back on Huawei ban... at least the tech sector seems to think so

Robert 22

Re: @AC

"he may actually make some form of progress with the N.Koreans"

The lesson would seem to be that, to get respect, it helps to be a despotic dictator with nuclear weapons.

Firmware update borks Bose boxes: Owners report crackles on Lex-i of the soundbar world

Robert 22

Re: Soundbars , meh

For things like Blu-Ray players, you need the updates if you want to reliably view recent media. Then thee are the products that are advertised as having all the latest and greatest capabilities even though some of these will depend on some future update.

Robert 22

Re: Soundbars , meh

Guess the dealer ran out of the 12 gauge gold cables.

No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences

Robert 22

Re: Absolutely

Ferranti's acquisition of ISC does seem to be a good example of the all too common situation where non-US businesses ended up with the short end of the stick when dealing with their US counterparts.

Now it looks like you have to watch out for the machinations of the US government in addition to those of the US private sector.

Hi! It looks like you're working on a marketing strategy for a product nowhere near release! Would you like help?

Robert 22

Re: So...

I've seen dysfunctional organizational cultures where nobody can afford to admit that there are problems. In this sort of environment, you just keep hoping for miracles and continue to paper over the problems.

US foreign minister Mike Pompeo to give UK a bollocking over Huawei 5G plans

Robert 22

I'll also add that the US has created an IP regime where patents that should never have been issued are used to torment innovative businesses, especially including those from foreign jurisdictions i.e., the IP laws have become devices to protect American business interests, specifically entrenched industry players and patent trolls.

'Software delivered to Boeing' now blamed for 737 Max warning fiasco

Robert 22

Re: Surely...

Probably one will fail before the other(s). Also, even if the sensors all fail and in a similar way, it seems feasible to use information from other sensors as a sanity check.

America's anti-hacking laws are so loose, even Donald Trump Jr broke them. So, what do we do about it?

Robert 22

Gold's Law - those who have the gold make the law.

And in current affairs... Apple recalls three-prong AC adapters after some shocking behavior

Robert 22

Re: But...

I've noticed that many plastics become brittle with age. That could be a factor in this case.

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████

Robert 22

Re: Now things are different, this is new america

They have come forward. The trouble is that there are so many that their stories are no longer shocking and hardly anybody pays attention.

User secures floppies to a filing cabinet with a magnet, but at least they backed up daily... right?

Robert 22

Re: Well if the US ships want the Chinese to keep out of the way

A decade ago we were testing some equipment for the army. One of the contractors put his laptop down in a seemingly safe place where it was out of the way and sheltered from the weather. Unfortunately, it was under a vertically sliding garage door. After the inevitable, the laptop still worked except for the interesting custom pattern on the display.

London's Metropolitan Police arrest Julian Assange

Robert 22

Re: @AC or has committed a serious crime

There was difficulty getting even a simple statement from Barr concerning the length of the Mueller report.

It is pretty clear that, acting as a recent Trump appointee, he is trying to downplay the report. The fact that Trump and so many others having connections to his administration find it necessary to lie and or stonewall speaks volumes. If you are not guilty, stop acting guilty.

While this CEO may be stiff, his customers are rather stuffed: Quadriga wallets finally cracked open – nothing inside

Robert 22

Re: Come on guys, this is INNOVATION

It must also be said that his measures were VERY effective.

IT guy at US govt fraud watchdog stole 16 computers from... US govt fraud watchdog

Robert 22

Re: He didn't steal enough

Some academics did a study and found that people tended to rate the severity of a crime greater if there was a single identifiable victim than if there many victims.

Ah, this military GPS system looks shoddy but expensive. Shall we try to break it?

Robert 22

How to fubar a mil-spec printer

About 40 years ago, we had this mil-spec printer that was being used in a failing project (that's another story). For some reason, it had to be shipped to another location. An army fellow arrived and put it in his truck. Concerned that it might bounce around, he put a sandbag on it (evidently not realizing that this would raise the center of gravity and make it more likely to fall over, though as things turned out, that would have been a blessing). The sandbag just happened to be torn and leaking sand. The printer was sealed EXCEPT for the slot on the top that paper came out of - you can guess what happened.

Robert 22

Re: Not only Military

I've seen pretty much the same thing - only the currencies were different.

It is curious how often rules intended to ensure funds are used responsibly and save money have perverse consequences.

Now you've read about the bonkers world of Elizabeth Holmes, own some Theranos history: Upstart's IT gear for sale

Robert 22

Re: "By and large they look like the sort of party who you'd see being escorted around a lab"

You can also be sure that none of the board members were likely to even try and ask the kinds of questions they should have been asking, perhaps out of fear of asking a stupid question.

Decoding the President, because someone has to: Did Trump just blow up concerted US effort to ban Chinese 5G kit?

Robert 22

Re: "the issue has reached the highest levels of government"

It is really useful though, to have some idea of one's limitations and when you should listen to someone who is knowledgeable (and preferably not a lobbyist).

How politics works, part 97: Telecoms industry throws a fundraiser for US senator night before he oversees, er, a telecoms privacy hearing

Robert 22

Gold's Law

Those who have the gold make the law.

Robert 22

Draining the swamp

So much for draining the swamp. It seems they reserved this job for the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but he wasn't available.

You're on a Huawei to Hell, US Sec State Pompeo warns allies: Buy Beijing's boxes, no more intelligence for you

Robert 22

The fact that they are applying so much pressure, but cannot provide evidence, even of a classified nature, speaks volumes. Given all the other events that have happened, such as the imposition of tariffs against the steel and aluminum industries of allied countries, it seems likely that that this is just another case of protecting US industry.

Germany tells America to verpissen off over Huawei 5G cyber-Sicherheitsbedenken

Robert 22

Maybe also buy some coal.

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

Robert 22

Re: No? Break.

During WW2, when the first prototype Wright Tornado engine was started up, someone had arranged the throttle linkage incorrectly so it was unintentionally set to full throttle. The unloaded engine accelerated abruptly and, in a few seconds reached its ultimate limits and destroyed itself.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine not a boot stamping on a face, but keystroke logging on govt contractors' PCs

Robert 22

Re: a good incentive

But that would be 'Executive Time'.

Robert 22

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (from The Shining)

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

. . .

Prez Trump orders Uncle Sam to step up AI efforts – we all know the White House knows a lot about artificial intelligence

Robert 22

Re: We could replace him with a Raspberry Pi...

It must be said that he has brought AI in the form of Artificial Incompetence to a new level

From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes

Robert 22

Re: I was wrong

Reminds me of the Twilight Zone Episode "I shot an Arrow into the Air".

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'

Robert 22

Re: Crypto-busting test case

Is my understanding correct that the data needed to access the cryptocurrency is contained on the laptop and nowhere else??? If so, this would seem to introduce further potential points of failure:

1. If the hard drive fails catastrophically

2. The laptop is lost or stolen

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free

Robert 22

Re: Easily solved @Mooseman

The real idea was that the members of the Electoral College would be able to negotiate a compromise choice. Remember this was all set up in the days when:

(a) long distance communication and transportation were slow and problematic

(b) it was possible that there could be many contenders without a clear winner emerging.

Robert 22

Re: Easily solved

A compromise solution.

1. Deport Trump to Mexico.

2. Build the wall!

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports

Robert 22

Re: Ha

There are numerous precedents for imaginary events. Consider the Second Gulf of Tonkin Incident, a response to an imaginary attack:

"Over the next three hours, the two ships repeatedly maneuvered at high speeds to evade perceived enemy boat attacks. The destroyers reported automatic-weapons fire; more than 20 torpedo attacks; sightings of torpedo wakes, enemy cockpit lights, and searchlight illumination; and numerous radar and surface contacts. By the time the destroyers broke off their "counterattack," they had fired 249 5-inch shells, 123 3-inch shells, and four or five depth charges."


It wouldn't take much for people to imagine a drone incursion - perhaps as little as a bird or escaped birthday balloon.

It's the end of 2018, and this is your year in security

Robert 22

Re: The election wasn't hacked, oooh no it wasn't, honest.

I'd say that the evidence is pretty convincing here:


Aside from this, gerrymandering is being used in a systematic way to manipulate election results. One example that I would suggest could be described as fraudulent:


Euro eggheads call it: Facebook political ads do change voters' minds – and they worked rather well for Trump in 2016

Robert 22

Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

The Trump bankruptcies were mostly structured so that it was other people's money that was lost. But I guess this does make him a good businessman.

Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

Robert 22

Re: O lord, some screw-up...

the window installer who replaced may windows told me about a previous customer, who, after the installer left for the day, decided to improve the installation by squirting polyurethane foam between the studs and the window frames. Unfortunately, it wasn't the low expansion type and ALL of the windows broke when the window frames were distorted by the expanding foam.

Robert 22

I remember instructing a summer student to install a rubidium frequency standard (this was basically a very expensive box) in a chassis. He didn't notice the warning in the documentation that said to used short screws and the one of the ones he used broke a resistor when he tightened it. Fortunately we figured out what happened and were able to repair it.

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

Robert 22

Paradoxically, spell checkers are most useful when you know how to spell.

I remember my son, when learning to write, would use spellings so far off, tha the spell checker would find totally different words.

Probe: How IBM ousts older staff, replaces them with young blood

Robert 22

Re: 67 This Year

I remember being interviewed by them in the 1970's - I distinctly recall the interviewer making a big deal of the fact that they had never laid anyone off.

How things have changed!

FBI raids home of spy sat techie over leak of secret comms source code on Facebook

Robert 22

I recall trying to hire a summer student about 15 years ago. Although this was for an unclassified position, the security types would not provide the necessary approvals, apparently on account of his having written a bad check to a video store.

I have the distinct impression that there is a fair bit of subjectivity involved.

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today

Robert 22

Re: I could be wrong but...

What do you think he is going to say???

Robert 22

You can be sure that CA's customers have every reason to distance themselves from the company.

Also, if I recall correctly, Cruz did outlast most of the other contenders. Aside from this, in a primary contest, there are some limits on how far you can go - you can't afford to do things, such as disseminating widespread accusations of criminal conduct, that will destroy the overall reputation of the party.



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