* Posts by revilo

32 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Apr 2014

Why machine-learning chatbots find it difficult to respond to idioms, metaphors, rhetorical questions, sarcasm


Wow, this is a surprise!

I would not have expected that. We are all so good in detecting sarcasm, especially in online comments.

Apple didn't engage with the infosec world on CSAM scanning – so get used to a slow drip feed of revelations


thanks for the article

I got yesterday my android phone and today my google wear watch. I had been a die hard apple fan before August 5. IThis has completely reversed to disgust to the company who has betrayed its customers and treats them all like potential criminals. By the way: I have not known what I was missing: drag and drop documents from your desktop to your phone like books or songs, wow! this had been so complicated on the iphone. Having a smart watch which actually looks like a decent watch. I think I do not even go back to apple if they would now reverse their decision to plant police software with hashed kid abuse pictures planted on iphones, a system which by definition is not auditable.

Apple says its CSAM scan code can be verified by researchers. Corellium starts throwing out dollar bills


who audits the hashes?

Do they really believe we have an IQ of 50? Of course, one can audit the software which produces the hashes or compares them. I trust that they can program this correctly. But nobody can audit the smut which actually feeds the hashes. Or does anybody believe that the database of smut pictures is passed around to security researchers? Craig Federighi is an intelligent person who knows that he is misleading the press. The system design by definition to be not auditable. The basic fact remains that every user is subjected to a police software, treated like a criminal, gets a hash of kiddy porn pictures loaded on their machines and will be completely depending on the goodwill of the folks feeding the offensive database (which is not apple). In the future and some countries this will certainly also include politically offensive documents. Apple is misleading us also because it would technically be no problem to compare even encrypted files on icloud with an offensive database. Nobody would object to such checks. That the police software has to run on every users machine is completely new and unacceptable.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system


Re: You asked for it, you got it

Having been an apple fan until August 5th, I will change now to Android and ditch all apple stuff. It will hurt but there is no choice. This is a serious step of apple and trust in this company is gone. Yes, there is a danger that google will implement something similar. But at least there are alternative versions (google indepedent) which can be installed, at least on phones which are not cutting edge.

We can't believe people use browsers to manage their passwords, says maker of password management tools

Thumb Up

easy peasy

I just twitter my passwords and never looked back. never lost one.

Rackspace literally decimates workforce: One in ten staffers let go this week


beginning of the end

What signal does this send to the remaining talent? Run away from such douche bags (especially if they ask the leaving staff to train the cheaper new folks).

Unfortunately, the management which does such decisions gets rewarded due to short term profit increase. They themselves have no problem, as they can

infest a new company with their short sighted decisions.

What does everyone make of today's Google antitrust action? Only the stock market is happy with the status quo


this anti trust suit will probably fail

things become dangerous if there is no choice any more. At the moment the situation is not that

bad. I had been more worried 20 years ago, when we had almost an OS monopoly and browser

monopoly. Today, we have choice in choosing operating systems, phones, search engine, browser.

It is good that google provides an alternative to apple in the phone market, it is also good that it

offers a good search option (its not a monopoly, there are several alternatives). As for

advertisement, other companies like apple, microsoft, facebook or amazon compete more and more.

In the long term, the dangers will be elsewhere, companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Huawei, Xiaomi, Zoom

will gain more and more influence (also worldwide) They could dominate soon, as they

are not challenged by their govenments as long as they cooperate.

Soft press keys for locked-down devs: Three new models of old school 60-key Happy Hacking 'board out next month


solid keyboards where typing still ment commitment

I had happy hacking for more than a decade. For all machines, had probably

a dozen overall. Very robust. Would wash them and rinse them out every year or so.

Now, where apple has taken up half of my machines and especially laptops, I have now

all keyboards magic keyboards, also in linux, remapped caps lock

to escape (very handy on the macbook pros where an idiotic decision made escape a

non-key. On the magic keyboard, one could set escape behavior with dip switches.

I like the small apple magic keyboards, but nothing beats the robustness of the

happy hacking keyboards.It was even 2 decades ago already a bit of nostalgia and typing

gave your fingers a workout. Pushing down a key meant commitment!

Don't Zoom off elsewhere: Google plugs video-chat service Meet into Gmail as user eyes start wandering


do we need have dominated all by a few?

Does really everything has to be dominated to the same company? I not only like how easy Zoom works but also that it is not tied to any other big company. One does not need to have a gmail account to use it. It is likely that the company will be bought up by a big fish like Skype before (which had been great when it started, after it was bought by a big fish, it is become more difficult to use). I hope that Zoom stays independent but that is very unlikely. One of the sharks will eat it up and incorporate into their own infrastructure, making it harder to use as they would have to bend it to their other services.

Microsoft Surface Pro X: Windows on Arm usable at long last – but, boy, are you gonna pay for it


looks nice

why do people have expensive cars, expensive watches, cloths or expensive art? It can not be explained rationally. From all these status symbols, I can understand most to spend a lot for a piece of computing hardware, especially if it is used everyday. Spending a substantial part of your life with something to do work then yes, it can be justified. As an apple user myself, I must say that this piece of hardware looks nice. It might in the long term lead to laptops which need much less power and last longer.

Now that's what we're Tolkien about: You need one storage system to rule them all and in the darkness bind them


nice title

The title of the article is genius (as many in the register). The article could have been condensed a bit more. It boils down to

"in IT, never bet on one horse alone", especially if it involves burning down the bridges to the past. And the allegory with the "ring which binds them all" is something to keep in mind.

iOS 13 leaks suggest Apple is finally about to unleash the iPad as a computer for grownups


file system access

a real game changer would be unix functionality and access to the file system

allowing for example to rsync directory trees from and to the ipad.

What bugs me the most? World+dog just accepts crap software resilience


rwe live in a good time of software

I have used software and written programs (though tiny) myself since 35 years. The fact is that software has in general become much more reliable. General critique is always cheap. The fact is that building good and reliable software is always going to need effort and time.In the Boing case, it had partly been also time pressure due to competition from Airbus. Things were rushed through which should have been tested more. The general critique on ``crap software' is totally unjustified. We have never been in a better time what concerns software. Phones do not crash any more, I have never seen one crash. My computers are running for years without reboot. I can not remember also my desktop or laptop ever filing except I bring it down with come impossible comphuting task or if a hardware feiled. Almost all applications today are pretty reliable (if chosen carefully). Yes, as we are so spoiled now, we also feel every failure much harder. But lets not forget how it was, when configuring a system needed a lot of time, applications routinely crashed, operating systems bugged you constantly or failed after an update or took control and where using software was always also a fight to avoid the bugs. We have choice today and can fortunately avoid any nonsense if we chose to.

Azure thing at last: Windows Virtual Desktop takes to the cloudy stage


Be a kid again!

I'm old enough to have worked on dumb terminals running applications from the main frame as a kid.

It is all the same, but the new words ``virtual desktop"' and ``cloud" do not change the fact that users are no more in control. But we older users can rejoice: let's become kids again.

'Java 9, it did break some things,' Oracle bod admits to devs still clinging to version 8



it is good that languages evolve, but pivotal that old stuff still works. Even tiny small things can break a lot of old code. Even with major restructoring, it should still be possible to keep depreciated parts working. Yes, it might make the language a bit heavier but who cares. As long as old code works and the new stuff works, things should be dandy. There had been recently some change in regex where suddenly unescaped left brace in regex was become illegal. The right way to make the change would have been to allow the new and old syntax to work simultaneously. It is unbelievable in how many places things can break with only tiny changes of the language.

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz


innovation and work culture

Maybe they don't really buy primarily the product but the work culture and more innovative talent. It brings more developement and less hierachies. This has to be seen, what is sure is that they will buy a lot of talent.

Adobe’s e-signature service to go bi-cloud: Adds Azure to AWS


quid pro quo

Does anybody seriously believe that this gives e-signatures

"the same legal force as a pen and ink signature". Really?

The track record of Adobe in DRM is miserable. With watermarking

or print restrictions, it is even pathetic. There

was a time, when a simple unix "convert", a OCR or print to a file would remove

restrictions. Still today searching for "removing encryption from PDF" gives

many methods which work. Having e-signatures stored on multiple clouds

does not convince. It might add a "performance boost" but also complexity

and less security and accountability. What immediately explains the spin is

that "Adopting Azure" gives Adobe a "quid pro quo" for Office integration.

Kids and the web latest: 'Won't somebody please think of the children!' US Congresscritters plead


big question: how to verify age?

How can a website or service determine whether the user is a kid?

It looks as if implementing this would actually reduce the privacy as

the user has to provide data which allows age verification.

Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads


spot on

The article is spot on. I use the ipad since the very first version (mostly for reading) but for productivity, it is till a problem. The main reason is no reasonable file access. It should be possible to rsync a directory with books or documents quickly over, keeping the directory structure, the logical entities as they are. I have a well organized library which is easy to access under OSX or linux because it is structured in a directory tree. That is all lost on the ipad. Ibooks is nice for a few dozen or hundreds books, but with a library going into the thousands, it is difficult to find books. A second major problem is the mess with apps for note taking or drawing. Not that I mind variety, the problem is that the apps change or worse, change ownership. There was a nice note taking app for example, called Penultimate. It had then been "absorbed" by evernote, where the app of course relies on a cloud service. At some point I was no more able even to keep private copies of the files. Again, also here, every software has its own way to handle the file storage or sync.It would be just great if every app could be based on the same directory based file system. From the desktop, I could sync this over and in one swoop and continue working on the directory tree elsewhere.

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?


simple proposition

Just have any polititian (including the "crypto experts" who have suggesting such a system) be forced to implement it first, as a guinea pig on all their computers and gadgets. Then see how long it takes until their bank accounts are plundered, their health history and private photos blasted around, their lives ruined.

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?


Remember what Sherman said

We only have to think about the forces which drive the world, in particular money. Give a corporation more power and leverage and it will use it. History has shown this. This is why the Sherman Antritrust act passed in 1890. Sherman said: "If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life." In our modern time, electronic communication has become an important part of the "necessaries of life". It is also obvious that words and promises don't count much. A corporation is not a person. It is an ever changing entity. In a couple of years the promises are forgotten. If an opportunity opens to make a few bucks more, for example by slowing down the competition, then they take it. This is why there are laws like antitrust laws. Without those laws, firms would try to band together to raise prizes or merge to be a monopoly. It does not need much imagination what happens if a few telecoms have unregulated control over the delivery of content. It is their instinct and necessary for their ability to survive that they have to take any opportunity to increase profit.

How is the big switch to the public cloud working out?


circle of life

The analogy with utility is deeply flawed. Information is not a utility. It can be (1) sensitive and (2) crucial (3) requiring big pipe capacities and (4) require a healthy IT culture to be handled properly. And we have returned back to where things started, only with new terminology: the "dumb terminals" have become "smart phones", the "main frame" is now the "cloud". We have played as a clueless kid on mainframes asking "mommy" (sysadmin) for computing time have been autonomously and educated and return now to the nursing home, paying the nurse (cloud provider) for every second of service (computing time).

Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually


good to have stability

I like stability when it concerns operating systems. Too much "creativity" can be a disaster when it concerns operating systems. We have seen that on the linux desktop (unity) or also in Windows user interface paradigm changes. I want continuity. But innovation can be nice too: The file system change in High Sierra is very welcome for me as the case insensitive file system is an annouing relict from the past and it happens still sometimes, that syncing over from a case sensitive system breaks something. But maybe thats also which has to come slowly as changing to a case sensitive default could still break some programs. Apropos Laptops: I had hoped for a 1TB drive option for the 12 inch macbook. When rendering movies on apple pro res resolutionthe resulting temporary file is huge, so a bigger drive option would have been nice. Even the ipad comes now with a 500 Gig capacity, I would have expected the laptops to pony up.

Linux homes for Ubuntu Unity orphans: Minty Cinnamon, GNOME or Ubuntu, mate?


windows manager choice

i also never understood the fixture on windows managers. For me, having ubuntu change the default windows managers has no effect. It is trivial to change it. Just install an other one, then chose the one you like on the login screen. I for myself consider the windows manager problem solved and use many years blackbox There are many others. What I need is stability, simplicity, low footprint, no gimmicks and unexpected stuff or paradigm changes triggered by an ego trip of a developer or distributer. The fact that blackbox (or openbox or fluxbox) are not developed further is actually a feature. Like TeX written by Knuth, they are "finished software". Additionally, since I use OSX on my laptops the look and feel and workflow can be configured to be almost identical. (just that the doc is a menu in blackbox).

Sir Tim Berners-Lee refuses to be King Canute, approves DRM as Web standard


Re: And will this DRM realise its been run in a VM and is a chocolate teapot?

You would lose the bet. No DRM has ever worked. Blue ray in particular was broken even before the standard was fully implemented (google advanced access control system).

Grab your code ASAP: Nitrous cloud IDE evaporates in two weeks


concerns illustrated by this comment system

The requirement to have a stable connection is

one concern. More important are questions like: will the

IDE still around in 10 years?

(IDEs I have programmed in 30 years ago are all long

gone but also my code is gone). Now things are worse:

is my code still mine? Who has access to it?

Will my coding practice, error statistics etc be

recorded and mined or even worse, published in the future?

Who will have access to it? How fast are bugs in the

IDE weeded out? How well is it backed up?

P.S. I tried to up-vote an other comment here but

could not. Always get directed to the "post screen".

This comment system is a multiple times more primitive

than a software development system but it can have bugs

too. And if things don't work, one is helpless.

The cloud is not new. What we are doing with it is


from commodity to addiction

The commodity analogy is maybe not the right one. Compare it with hookers baiting addicts. We are still in the buy-in phase, where stuff is cheap. Once there is no essential local IT any more and the smaller players have died, the big cloud dealers will be able to ask much more (we see that already for ISP providers in the US where there is very little competition and so extremely high prizes). Having access to virtually all business data (even if encrypted, access to the IT structure, size and traffic can give a good picture about the health of a company) will allow to sell valuable "stock market information". Some recent studies (techconsult) have shown that many businesses still resist due to "Bauchgefuehl" and some scold it as irrational. But this "guts feeling" is actually nothing else than common sense. It applies to businesses which do innovative things, it applies to universities, journalism, government, politics or health. In the world of the cloud, it might be impossible to have an edge in innovation for more than a few days and impossible for a person with minor health issue to get a job. We have seen again and again how easy it is to have data leaked. Having data controlled in a central way, it might even lead be a sudden simultaneous blow of many businesses, if a larger cloud evaporates due to a glitch or mischief. And its not clear sky then, but pitch dark. Maybe one comforting silver lining: one will at least be able to blame somebody else.

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers


mixing data and action

it is in general a good idea to separate data and code. Spreadsheet programs (Excel is only one of them) hide code or actions which make them hard to audit. If code and data are separated, one can run it with different programming languages, or test the code with extreme data cases (which are often also a source of errors). When used in numerical computations, spreadsheets are often opaque also about at which instances rounding are done. This can produce substantial errors. One must understand vendors to leave the software as it is as any small change can break other things in unexpected cases. In a scientific environment especially, it is a good idea to be vendor independent, have data stored in an open format and being able to do the analysis in different programming languages/software as the later evolve over time. The error rate reported here for gene research is actually pretty low. It is estimated that over 90 percent of corporate spreadsheets are buggy producing huge costs. This was an estimate from 2005 ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/22/managing_spreadsheet_fraud) but it probably remained the same, as habits are hard to change.

Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed


"is possibly the most significant event in rocketry since Apollo 8"

yes, it is an achievement but seriously: does this really top the space shuttle

program? Its more likely to be one of the most significant event since the space shuttle program

was shelved.

YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin


Nomen est omen

The change the nomenclature was little minded. There are many things which technically should be called differently, even in mathematics. But why complicate things and change established names? Removing the planet status was silly. A tomato is considered a vegetable even so technically, it is a botanical fruit. It would be equally cranky to demote the tomato of its vegetable status. The same fanaticism is sometimes also applied to language, where spellings can be inconsistent. Does this warrant to change the vocabularies and books? Correcting them produces more problems instead of leaving it and keep a bit of culture. When developers of programming languages pull such stunts and remove inconsistencies in well established languages, they even risk to kill the language because all previously written code needs to be adapted.The fact that Pluto was considered a planet was culturally and historically grown. Instead of applying a hair splitting and cold definition, one should have taken the history into account. Science is grown, built by humans and it does not help science to be pedantic. The Pluto name change story shows however that many folks care and feel strongly about such things. And that is nice.

Drop-stitch: Microsoft's 3D Photosynth app sinks into oblivion


becoming part of phones

They must have realized that features offered in photosynth are soon standard part of any phone. The panorama shot technology for phones are get better and better, killing current standalone apps which capture panoramas or cloud services harvesting your photos. Photosynth did also some additional computations giving the observer a 3D experience. This will also come to phones and exists already in preliminary form: the phone makes a structure from motion computation from a movie to get the geometry of what is watched allowing to ``walk around in the scene" maybe with an oculus rift type virtual reality device. Cloud based free services like photosynth are always temporary set ups. The user delivers test examples for research purposes, for free. Once this is achieved, the service is no more needed. The cloud user will have to serve somewhere else as a guinea pig.

Puff on a hybrid – next thing you know, you're hooked on a public cloud


excellent points. Two more:

- increase risk for the global economy. If a traditional IT structure

fails, this can be a disaster but only affects the company. If a cloud

service fails, it can bring down the entire economy.

- increased long term costs. Yes, the prizes go down. We are in the

hook up phase like a drug dealer dumping prizes until the customer is

dependent. Once the local IT structures and cultures have gone, companies

have no choice anymore. And then, the prizes will go up. And there is no

way back.