* Posts by Doctor Huh?

113 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Oct 2014


IBM overhauls rewards program for staff inventions, wipes away cash points

Doctor Huh?

Re: Why why oh why

It would seem that you aren't involved in the modern IP game. The name of the game is numbers; companies amass patent portfolios and cross-license them to each other. Nobody has the desire to sit and evaluate 40,000 individual patents for their and haggle over their relative value, so the measure used is one recognizable on any kindergarten playground - the count. You might be surprised at how small an idea can be to be patentable -- the standard at one company I worked at was that any idea that would take over 30 seconds to explain to a colleague met the standard of novelty for filing a patent. With the old IBM system, 3-4 patent filings for $1200 is in line with what a my former company was paying 20-25 years ago for just putting words on a page (a successful patent garnered another bonus). The patent process is expensive, and not every little idea merits the protection of that sledgehammer, so the company can buy some cheap insurance by publishing the idea to establish prior art.

This game was a nice side-hustle for engineers. At that other company 20-25 years ago, a group could go to lunch and come back with a couple of ideas, type them up, and get a quick $600. Not all ideas are going to create the next $100 billion industry, and most ideas are not going to recoup the cost of filing for a patent (unless you are trying to cross-license your patent portfolio to Microsoft); most of the "innovations" were worth about what the company paid for them.

Microsoft: Russia sent its B team to wipe Ukrainian hard drives

Doctor Huh?

TV show potential

Lots of shows concentrate on the "genius" hackers. What about the adventures of The B-Team? Follow the 'splits of a mediocre bunch of computer jockeys as they perform the hacking equivalent of digging latrines and running the motor pool...

Amazon confirms it locked Microsoft engineer out of his Echo gear over false claim

Doctor Huh?

Adama was right!!

Does nobody watch old (BSG reboot) or new (Picard season 3) sci-fi shows?

AI weapons need a safe back door for human control

Doctor Huh?

Looking for Asimov

--"We have to put over to the people who are developing [weapons systems]: is there a way of essentially ring-fencing, some code or whatever it might be, that couldn't be amended … that would essentially set boundaries to how an autonomous system learn and evolve and evolve on their own … something that would put boundaries to how it might operate?" he asked the Lords.--

It sure sounds to me as if the gentleman is looking for The Three Laws of Robotics.

Disruptive innovation's like a party. It's always happening elsewhere

Doctor Huh?

The Least Publishable Unit Strikes Again

When I was at university, Dave Gifford introduced me to the concept of a "Least Publishable Unit," and explained how in academia, publication was the name of the game. He referenced this in respect to some absolutely brilliant paper by Butler Lampson, noting that the number of LPUs in the paper was almost off the charts and that someone less secure in their position could have strung out the ideas in the paper through a dozen different publications. I would fully expect that as smart people get better at gaming the system, the average content of a paper or patent hyperbolically approaches the LPU, and so each individual paper/patent is almost insignificant, but in aggregate, something more interesting emerges.

Crypto craziness craps out – and about time too

Doctor Huh?

Klaxons and Flashing Red Lights

When Donald Trump's old accountants find an industry too unreliable to be able to report on, one has to take notice.

How CIA betrayed informants with shoddy front websites built for covert comms

Doctor Huh?

Yet another reboot/remake

So that's how Three Days of the Condor gets updated for the 21st century.

Merge shifts Ethereum to full proof-of-stake, price slumps

Doctor Huh?

Re: Sink

So I'm guessing that you find the use of the term "PoS Etherium" as amusing as I do and possibly even more appropriate?

Docker goes double unicorn with $105m Series C funding and $2.1b valuation

Doctor Huh?

Wait, this _isn't_ an April Fool's piece?

This is serious? Oh my.

Dev rigs up receipt printer to spit out GitHub issues

Doctor Huh?

A great example of failing to consider

Sure, I _can_ do it, but _should_ I?

It is always great to see paperless systems reverting to paper (not).

This is in the category of printing out E-mail for The Boss, and is just barely less fanciful than putting the Internet on a CD for Jen.

El Reg doesn't offer Moss or Roy as icons!?!?!?!

Log4j and Omicron: Brothers in harm, mothers of invention

Doctor Huh?

Is anyone else seeing this? White Hat Log4Shell probes outnumber Black Hat probes

One odd thing I'm seeing in my server logs. Over half of the door-knocking probes for the Log4Shell problem seem to be coming from obvious white-hats, presumably looking for bug bounties/honoraria. I'm actually struck by how competitive that market seems to be.

Is anyone else seeing a similar trend?

IBM researcher suing for age discrimination blames CEO Arvind Krishna for his ousting

Doctor Huh?

Re: Who wants to work for IBM?

I will dispute your last point. IBM still has brand recognition and a reputation (deserved or not) for being selective, so it attracts top talent in India -- for two to five years. With a stint at IBM on the CV, that person can then find a job almost anywhere and command a high salary.

Good Grief! Ransomware gang has only gone and pwned the NRA – or so it claims

Doctor Huh?

What is the plan here?

I'm not sure I understand the plan here. This isn't a ransomware attack, so the NRA's computer infrastructure is still functioning.

Generally, the threat to release documents implies that there is something in the documents that may be illegal or shameful. The NRA's legal woes have been documented, and there are multiple attorneys general from various states looking at the NRA's finances. Perhaps there is something in the stash that would help the case against the organization, but it seems that the organization has already provided plenty of evidence against itself.

If the plan is to shame the NRA, I fear that the hackers have betrayed their lack of knowledge of the subject. The NRA is the organization that, after each massacre of schoolchildren in the US, mounts a massive press blitz to explain why it is so important that we sacrifice said schoolchildren so that any idiot can assuage his penile inadequacy by owning as many guns as some small countries. The NRA as an organization has no sense of shame.

Great reset? More like Fake Reset: Leaders need a reality check if they think their best staff will give up hybrid work

Doctor Huh?

Re: Flexibility is key.

I'm the geezer with a nice spot to work in my house in the suburbs, and I'm not keen on commuting 45 minutes each way to try to concentrate from my few square feet of space in an open office. But I've also seen the younger folks avail themselves of the opportunities presented by their minimalist lifestyles. Once they discovered that they could operate out of an Airbnb shared rental in Oahu for a couple of weeks and then move on to other spots (COVID restrictions permitting), the allure of free food in the office diminished considerably.

I'm not sure we wouldn't be having this conversation if we were all working in the offices of the 1960's, with defined spaces and doors, but the trend over the years from contained offices, to cubicles, to pods, and then to library carrels (or worse) has made the working experience in the office so inferior to what is available at home that there is no contest for many people.

Perhaps those wishing to re-populate their offices should consider making those offices less horrific.

Doctor Huh?

Re: Going on-site has certainly been made redundant in IT

While you ARE correct, perhaps you haven't had the experience with management and beancounters that others have had. Please allow me to disillusion you. Sometimes, the stupidest reason to do something is EXACTLY the reason it will be done.

Some lucky web developer just scored $20k to scour Facebook out of Neil Young’s website

Doctor Huh?

SIgh. Ignorance is... common

Some anti-GMO folks are anti-science, and are unreasonable. Others are "anti-GMO" because of a very specific modification: the one that makes a crop resistant to Round-Up. They object for a couple of reasons. Some consider Round-Up (based on some evidence) to be a fairly nasty pesticide that has ill effects for humans. Others object to an economic model that forces farmers to buy seed annually rather than using a portion of their crop (in poorer areas of the world, anything that increases the base costs of food production threatens food production). Others object to the use of Round-Up (and other pesticides), because they don't remain tightly confined, so one farmer using Round-Up forces neighbors to buy Round-Up resistant seed to preserve crop yield. And if you end up being forced to buy the resistant seed, you might as well use the pesticide as well to increase yield.

So he isn't necessarily a hypocrite or unreasonable for being anti-GMO. As for being tech savvy -- dweebs who can devise audio compression algorithms and implement devices are a dime a dozen. Even tech folks who can insert a USB-A plug correctly on the first shot every time are numerous.

There is exactly one guy in the universe who wrote "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River," "The Needle and the Damage Done," and "After the Gold Rush."

With that kind of genius, who cares if he can identify the next hot portable music player?

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

Doctor Huh?

Streisand Effect, now with Federal Agents!!

Thank you, eBay, for putting to lie the myth that Silicon Valley hires the best and brightest!

I cannot fathom the stupidity of committing federal felonies in trying to intimidate into silence the Mom & Pop proprietors of an almost-completely-unknown blog, thereby bringing the blog to prominence. But what the article casually mentions is that these masters of intimidation and intrigue were talking about going after the Wall Street Journal next. I really wish the feds had left them alone long enough for that to happen. Watching the National Enquirer take on Jeff Bezos and "ruin" him by exposing him as a wealthy man who schtups beautiful women with a schlong so big that his shorts can't contain it was priceless entertainment. One wonders what geniuses like this could do with the Murdochs.

HPE loses second key exec in as many weeks

Doctor Huh?

How Sad

Could you not have included one "Rearranging the deck chairs on the Itanic" reference for old times' sake?

India's peak IT body tells outsourcers to check contract cancellation fine print while Coronavirus reigns

Doctor Huh?

Contingency plans

"We are also putting a robust business continuity plan – powered by next-generation technologies – in place to combat the situation, while ensuring safety of all."

I can translate this into current American vernacular:

"We have a beautiful plan. A strong plan. The best plan."

Your McDonald's demo has expired. For full functionality, please purchase a licence or try another fast-food joint

Doctor Huh?

I think we need a new acronym... POS is doubly accurate...

After a lifetime of slinging software, I didn't blink at all when I saw "POS" in the story. It did take a few seconds to realize that, in this context, it meant "point of sale." Perhaps "point of purchase" might be used instead, leading to "That POP package is a real POS."

Ever dream of being an astronaut? Now’s your chance. NASA wants new people for the Moon and Mars

Doctor Huh?

The Problem...

The best-case scenario is that you are chosen for the program and you have to relocate to... Houston.

So once again, television has lied to me. Astronauts don't get to live in Cocoa Beach, FL. They probably don't even get their own Jeannie anymore.

Meet Clippy 9000: Microsoft brags about building Earth's largest AI language model, refuses to let it out of the lab

Doctor Huh?

Clipinator C-800

As one who has heaped scorn on Clippy over the years, I am uneasy. The marriage of machine learning, a bullied and scorned Clippy, social media, and the Internet of Things can only result in the oft-foretold, dreaded cyborg death machine. Think of something on the order of Carrie at the prom or Rambo being busted for vagrancy. This cannot end well for the human race, and all because we couldn't accept the assistance of a well-intentioned, albeit incredibly annoying, helpful animated paperclip.

Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

Doctor Huh?

Re: Understatement

"You are supposed to launch it full screen and it becomes your desktop and gives you access to all the applications you every need."

I remember when EMACS embodied this philosophy. Of course, in an era pre-dating shell history, integrated applications, etc., running everything through EMACS represented a huge improvement in productivity and in the user experience.

Staffer representation on our board? LMAO! Good one, cackles Microsoft

Doctor Huh?

Re: Not a good idea

"IIRC, Volkswagen has been doing it for decades. Via their internal union I believe. Arguably quite successfully.'"

It depends on your definition of success and what value employee representation is intended to provide. If direct contact between employee representatives and those responsible for corporate governance is intended to produce greater transparency to prevent unfortunate occurrences such as a far-reaching engineering scandal to cheat emissions standards world-wide that would cost the company billions of dollars and some of its reputation, then one could argue that VW hardly constitutes an example of success.

If the purpose of employee representation is to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page as the corporation pillages the world, then I suppose a hearty "Well done, VW!" is in order.

Not LibreOffice too? Beloved open-source suite latest to fall victim to the curse of Catalina

Doctor Huh?

Re: Testing?

--For values of "minority interest" that includes "used by millions of actual human beings (if not tens of millions) each and every day".--

Well, that's the funny thing about numbers, even large ones. Mark Zuckerberg was in front of the US Congress decrying the failure of the banking system, because over a billion people don't have access to bank accounts. There are 7.7 billion (say it like Dr. Evil, folks) people on the planet. That means that the banking system covers about 87% of the people on the planet. To me, that seems like a pretty rousing success story. It isn't perfect, and the access isn't very evenly distributed, but... 87%!

So it is perfectly possible to have millions or tens of millions of devoted followers and still be a niche product when compared against products that are distributed to billions.

Just a friendly reminder there were no at-the-time classified secrets on Clinton's email server. Yes, the one everyone lost their minds over

Doctor Huh?

Re: Top Secret- NOFORN

I've been on the Internet too long.

I mis-read that title as "Top Secret - NOPORN", a classification which would preclude any Trumpian watersports videos, thankfully.

Woman sues Lyft, says driver gang-raped her at gunpoint – and calls for app safety measures we can't believe aren't already in place

Doctor Huh?

Market Inefficiencies

It is best to remember that when a Unicorn service claims that its "innovative" approach to market disruption is to drive out market inefficiencies, safety and security for customers, workers, and just about anyone except the owners are among those "inefficiencies." There isn't anything particularly innovative about that approach. The "muckrakers" in the US documented the approach and its effects over a century ago. Applications of that approach well over a century and a half ago prompted Karl Marx to start musing about economics.

Justice served: There is no escape from the long server log of the law

Doctor Huh?

Re: Speak for yourself

"I used to be vain but now I'm perfect ;)"

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you.

Breaking, literally: Microsoft's fix for CPU-hogging Windows bug wrecks desktop search

Doctor Huh?

Call and chat volumes down? Indicator of product's quality or of support's lack thereof

"Over the last three years one of our key indicators of product quality – customer service call and chat volumes – has steadily dropped even as the number of machines running Windows 10 increased,"

Perhaps decreasing numbers of requests for support are an indication of the increasing quality of Microsoft's products, but from my personal experience, it is more likely an indicator of the pain, frustration, and lack of helpfulness of Microsoft's support organization. The members of the support team with whom I've spoken are uniformly polite, almost to an irksome degree. But as a native of New Jersey, I would be more than willing to trade politeness for the ability to solve problems.

"Now listen here, ya stupid jag-off. Right click on file while pressing the f'ing shift key to activate the secret menu. Then select 'Repair Files', let it work for 10 minutes, and then don't ever do anything stupid like that again! Capeesh?"

Another sign of the End Times: Free software guru Richard Stallman speaks at Microsoft HQ

Doctor Huh?

Re: "RMS isn't opposed to money or profits or charging for sorftware -"

The stunning ignorance of history in the original post makes me wonder if it isn't intended as flame-bait.

This sentence alone is just so stunningly incorrect as to be almost Trumpian:

"Not surprisingly Stalman doesn't write code but take advantage of other people's work."

It is sad, because the original motivations behind the free software movement (God, I wish there were a better terse description than "free as in freedom, not as in beer") have never been more pertinent in an era where Apple produces products that are almost impossible for third parties to repair legally and where one could prevent a machine from running unsanctioned operating systems.

You're not Boeing to believe this, but... Another deadly 737 Max control bug found

Doctor Huh?

HCF is once again real

Halt-and-catch-fire takes on a whole new context, as does the use of the term "crash", when dealing with avionics...

Mystery Git ransomware appears to blank commits, demands Bitcoin to rescue code

Doctor Huh?

"if your business model depends on secrets your business model is broken from the start"

Tell that to Coca-Cola or Colonel Sanders...

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

Doctor Huh?

You are just calling Don Jr. a "weapons grade moron"...

so that he can't be exported from the US...

Well played!

I've had it with these mother-fscking slaps on this mother-fscking plane: Flight fight sparks legal brouhaha over mid-air co-ords

Doctor Huh?

Re: Here have a can of worms...

David Suchet, but only because THE proper choice has gone to the Great Gig in the Sky. RIP, Alan Rickman.

Be wary, traveller: There is no going back if you step over the Windows 10 20H1 threshold

Doctor Huh?

Ugh. Sooooo very glad I'm running MacOS and Linux

I'm so glad that Windows 8 finally pushed me over the edge to abandon this crap.

National Enquirer's big Pecker tried to shaft me – and I wouldn't give him an inch, says Jeff Bezos after dick pic leak threat

Doctor Huh?

I don't think this is how you blackmail...

Is anyone else thinking about that scene in the Dark Knight where Morgan Freeman incredulously asks Joshua Harto if his plan really is to blackmail one of the richest, most powerful men in the world -- https://youtu.be/1z6o1GIEsQE

Also, let's face it -- if your semi-saluting manhood is poking out all over the place and making noticeable bulges, is being exposed as someone who is incredibly wealthy, dates attractive women, and has a large schlong really much of a threat. There are men who PAY to get that kind of PR.

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

Doctor Huh?

And the root of the problem...

"A Power9 desktop at sensible price (say £1000) would have me jump like a shot off X86."

Precisely. IBM isn't capable of functioning in a low-margin, high-volume environment, so IBM cannot take advantage of such opportunities. IBM functions best in markets like the one for the Mainframe -- one where there are very specific requirements that only a specific product can meet, where cost is not a critical concern, and where being locked in to a particular vendor is not a problem. There aren't many markets where customers are willing to let their vendors grab them by the tallywags and squeeze until wallets pop open, and there are fewer such markets with each passing year.

IBM insists it's not deliberately axing older staff. Internal secret docs state otherwise...

Doctor Huh?

Amused that IBM thinks its the geezers repelling the Millennials

Yes, IBM. Rest assured that it is the grey hair that repels Millennials and not anything else about the company.

For giggles, I turned to the Millennial next to me and asked. His response: "I have friends who work for Google and Facebook. I know those companies and their products. I can't think of anything IBM makes that I can buy or want to buy."

I'm thinking the kid has managed to put his finger on the problem (he is a bright guy with a great future in front of him).

OK Google, why was your web traffic hijacked and routed through China, Russia today?

Doctor Huh?

Random Kevin Bacon Reference

The incidents goes to show that a USA telco like ATT, VZ, etc (the ones which Google "peers" with) will accept anything China telecom feeds them and say "thank you, with pleasure".

I believe the phrase you are looking for is "Thank you sir, may I have another?"


Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

Doctor Huh?

Heroic Horny Geologist Does Favor for Fans of Solo Sex

I'm shocked that there are 8,999 safe porn sites. The USGS might recoup some of its costs by publishing the list.

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Doctor Huh?

IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

2 words: Potemkin Village

1 acronym: IBM

On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

Doctor Huh?

Drax the Destroyer comments...

It's not April 1st, is it?

Look up "hagiography" in the dictionary and this article will be the definition.

"Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast; I would catch it!" -- Drax


Apple leaks rekindle some hope for iPhone 'supercycle' this year

Doctor Huh?

Re: Apple will end up like Nokia

Symbian's problems with hardware were basically limited to dealing with chips wtih bugs (TI, ST, etc.).

Huh? For those of us who have been involved in porting/adapting an OS to new hardware, "chips with bugs" == "chips". They all have bugs.

Your Twitter app stopped working? Here's why

Doctor Huh?

Twitter: Everything Wrong with Humanity and the Internet in a Single Service

Why does Twitter exist? It showcases the absolute worst in humanity with very little real benefit. Its business model is straight out of South Park:

1. Give every clod a 144 (now 288!) character megaphone.

2. ???

3. Profit!

At what point to investors finally realize that there is no path to "monetization" and that they own a piece of the next MySpace? While other services are at least paying lip-service to addressing cyberbullying and propaganda distribution, Twitter is cautiously playing footsie. Why? Because most of the "problems" with Twitter are actually its features and are the reasons it is attractive for many people.

Well, this makes scents: Kotlin code quality smells better than Java

Doctor Huh?

Re: Fewer lines of code == fewer bugs?

You can argue that boiler-plate patterns ought to be incorporated into the language. Any case where the IDE could automatically generate code (Java bean pattern, for example), could be made a case for a language extension that would allow the compiler to generate the code.

So that code DOES offer an opportunity for bugs, but they are only likely to occur if the meatsack at the keyboard messes with the generated code.

I choke at the notion of counting lines as a measure of conciseness, but I'm from a time where the size of the input file mattered, so readability would be sacrificed to the Great God of the 180K Floppy Disk. I much prefer readability. I _like_ if statements that take up 3 or more lines, with one of them devoted solely to the closing bracket. I _like_ always using brackets for clauses, even where they are optional. It vastly increases readability and decreases screw-ups.

Often concise code uses obscure or infrequently-used features of the language. You may be a bad-ass C programmer who can go 5 levels deep into ?: constructs with multiple comma operators and fit 50 lines' worth of if statements in a single line, but if you are lucky, in any given country the number of people who can make sense of such a line might fit into a single bathroom stall. If you are very lucky, YOU still might be eligible for the stall 6 months after having written that monstrosity.

Facebook deletes 17 accounts, dusts off hands, beams: We've saved the 2018 elections

Doctor Huh?

Re: Moron!

Facebook is NOT a source for information!

It is when you don't trust the media or your source is people like Alex Jones .

Information doesn't work like that. Pizza and beer don't become health foods just because your normal diet consists of Cool Ranch Doritos by the pound,

Indiegogo grants ZX Spectrum reboot firm another two weeks to send a console

Doctor Huh?

Is this really a surprise?

Yes, I understand that crowdfunding is the new, hot trend, and the spin put on it is that crowdfunding is the democracy of capital in action. What it amounts to in practice is that no single party has enough money in the game to make it worth hiring a lawyer to go after anyone for non-performance. In theory, one might expect the crowdfunding sponsor, who takes a cut of the investment, to police the funded projects. That expectation ignores the central fact that crowdfunded projects are, almost by definition, too dodgy to receive conventional funding. A lot of conventionally funded ventures fail for various reasons in various ways, and those ventures were carefully vetted and usually have a sensible business plan, participants with experience in business and in the relevant aspects of their project (logistics, manufacturing, etc.). The real shock is that there are a non-negligible number of crowdfunded projects that succeed and deliver product.

Real fake scam offers crypto-coin to replace frequent flier points

Doctor Huh?

So the cryptocurrency is a scam, but the points aren't? Hmmmm

I'm all in favor of the SEC actually regulating the scam-filled Wild West that is "the market." I'd encourage them to do more. As the article notes, the loyalty points are a "pseudo-currency," and the rules, such as they are, favor the issuer far more than the recipient. It would be nice to see some adjustment in that area, but that is asking a bit much from a Republican Congress and from a President who has dabbled in scams himself from time to time.

IBM bans all removable storage, for all staff, everywhere

Doctor Huh?

Is IBM anything but a bellwether for business-crippling mistakes?

When you find your company making the same sad business decisions that IBM makes, it is time to pull the handle on the ejector seat and punch out of there. IBM is your stoner friend who lies on the sofa all day watching Netflix and eating brownies -- when you even accidentally find yourself making any choice that he would make, you need to immediately reconsider.