* Posts by tiggity

2997 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Oct 2015

NASA's Mars Sample Return mission is in danger of never launching

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Great chance for China (or others)

Chinese could quietly develop a sample collection & retrieval solution of their own and then get a jump ahead on the US in space bragging rights - I'm sure the Chinese would get great pleasure from that. It would probably then get the politicos to actually fund some missions properly (similar to the R&D impetus that led to the moon landings, where loss of "national face" as the Russians stole an initial lead in space tech was the driving factor)

How is this problem mine, techie asked, while cleaning underground computer

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Re: A cave, rather than a mine, and a laboratory, rather than a computer

Indeed, in Derbyshire (Blue John Cavern is Castleton way) it's quite rare to find a house in the county that's not in a radon affected area (though surprisingly surveyors in the area not really caught onto the idea of trying to sell radon testing as part of their services (or more likely sub contracting it) when someone is getting a survey done on a house, a potential nice little earner mainly unexploited, especially on houses with cellars (radon far heavier than air, so (obv depending on house air flow) tends to "pool" in the lower points of a building and can often get high results on a cellar test)

'Small monthly payment' only thing that stands between X and bot chaos, says Musk

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Lots of them hate any local independents - after all they might prevent their cosy backhander / corruption driven lifestyle.*...

* They are not all corrupt, but enough are to be noticeable. Just read Private Eye (or, in the unlikely event one exists in your area, a properly independent local "paper" that digs the dirt (more likely a blog by a few unhappy locals will be your source as most local papers long since purchased by the big boys) )

Many councillors have a lifestyle massively in excess of their income - of course they may all just be blessed with savant level financial skills - but if so, those skills seem strangely absent in council financial performance.

As TikTok surveils staff's office hours, research indicates WFH is good for planet

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Re: Good for the planet?


You think London public transport is bad!!!

Try living in lots of other areas of the UK, London levels of public transport is way beyond even the most wild drug addled public transport fantasies of most of us.

The £12.50 ULEZ compares favourably to extortionate bus travel here (the only cheap fares are at times outside of when people may commute, use a bus to commute in "peak" hours and you are just a huge cash cow)

Data breach reveals distressing info: People who order pineapple on pizza

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Who cares that much?

We are talking about a bread product with toppings - let people choose what they like (I'm sure there's a few Italian food purists state only "x, y, z etc. constitute a valid pizza topping option, but pizza is one of many, many foodstuffs that has been adopted and adapted by other countries and so often has scant resemblance to the original)

I have had delicious pizzas in Italy, but also other countries (unexpectedly, one of the best was in Iceland).

I have also seen all sorts of random mutants in the UK such as curry pizza, toppings such as banana & chocolate, etc. But if someone enjoys them its no problem, we all have our food likes & dislikes (e.g. I despise the taste of capers yet they are often found on many a traditional Italian pizza as plenty of people love them)

95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

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A few days ago we visited a gallery & purchased a (small, relatively inexpensive) signed print by the artist (who also signed a book of hers we also purchased ).

Whether these fall or rise on value is irrelevant* as we purchased them because we liked them: With reputable artists also the advantage of limited print runs & numbered copies, unlike "infinitely reproducible" NFT "art".

The advantage being that (barring a house fire, theft or similar scenario) we keep them to enjoy (and when we are gone, physical objects** remain for the will recipients to do with as they see fit)

* Some other prints have definitely gone up in value, e.g. we have a Hockney print & looked to buy another (different picture but from same "series" of print runs), all the print runs sold and the prices on offer were ludicrously high & not worth considering (the whole point of a print is it's a nice (relatively) cheap way for the non wealthy to get an art work (in the form of a decent quality copy) they like)

** Even if some NFTs etc. actually have a meaningful financial value I do wonder how many people will actually think about dealing with digital assets in their wills? - e.g. I wonder how many crypto wallets are sitting there, the owners dead and relatives totally unaware the wallet exists / what the credentials are (lets be realistic we may all want a long, but accidents and illness can strike at any time )

BMW deems drivers worthy of warmth, ends heated car seat subscription

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I occasionally use a phone (in holder) with phone doing the job of a sat nav, so phones & holders can be useful.

.. I drive (as little as possible) an older, cheaper, simpler car that does not have built in "bells & whistles" such as sat nav etc.

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My wife misses manual choke, it made a convenient place to hang her handbag from*

* This comment may not be 100% true

On a more serious note, manual choke quirks probably made car theft that bit slower, especially in Winter. All the cars I drove with manual choke were subtly different in what technique was needed to start them on a cold Winter morning. Don't miss manual chokes (and a couple of idiot occasions or realising car was generally "struggling" as I had forgotten to adjust carburettor settings for Winter).

Linux distros drop their feelgood hits of the summer

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A good question.

Use Windows for work and my home machines are ex work machines (when they have become a bit old and past it).

I install Linux on them*, but the distro depends on the machine spec & its always useful to know how "lightweight" a distro is.

* Most recent "cast off" as dual boot, as the succession goes on the next "oldest" gets converted to Linux only boot.

Can get a lot of longevity out of old kit, e.g. one old box has some external storage and acts as music "server" to avoid lots of MP3, Ogg, FLAC etc cluttering up mine & partners computer.

Another connected to a "dumb" TV and used for BritBox etc. to give alternative viewing options as live TV often a bit underwhelming. A better option (in my view) than a "smart" TV connected to the internet & no guarantee its "apps" will get updates / keep working for long

Guy who ran Bitcoins4Less tells Feds he had less than zero laundering protections

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.. see also the recent surge in nail bars, barbers etc. in many small towns

I have never yet seen any of these establishments looking anything other than very quiet (and this is based on visiting the local "high St" on a variety of times and including weekends and weekdays).

I do fail to understand how they could legitimately thrive (especially as some "busy" businesses have closed there recently as although they were making profits, rents so high (the current UK financial issues have not caused landlords to reduce rents, if anything rents have surged up a greater rate) that profits / vs long hours of effort & general stress of running a small shop not worth their while)

Mozilla calls cars from 25 automakers 'data privacy nightmares on wheels'

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Re: Time to Generate Data!

@John Brown (no body)

Plenty near me that are nearly more pothole than road, and many stretches where they are positioned no matter how you aim your car you will hit a pothole (certainly the case with the small car I drive): Lots of very slow driving in those areas as a consequence to avoid nasty damage to the car that would need garage to fix.

SAP user group calls for support deadline reprieve amid hospital billing worries

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Re: Two years to tender


Is using those 2 companies (that are occasionally alleged by some * to care more about fleecing their customers than providing a good solution ) in any way related to Brum council being essentially bankrupt?

* Not that I would suggest such a thing, but some people have been known to criticise them

Northern Irish cops release 2 men after Terrorism Act arrests linked to data breach

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PSNI overly optimistic

PSNI overly optimistic that some of this data is not already known to some to some individuals, though a big concern is there's various "dissident" republican groups who would have lacked that knowledge* that may have gained access to useful info via the recent leak. .

Secrecy is never as good as people think it is, especially as the "bad old days" of very frequent deaths / injuries (on both sides of the sectarian divide) are gradually receding (obv. still some sectarian violence) & as a consequence, for many, the full on hyper vigilant approach is on the wane - even though many deep divisions in society (& some grievances carried on down the generations)

* Sinn Féin & others on board with the peace process & have plenty of info but all sorts of "new" republican groups that are not onboard & not as well informed.

Farewell WordPad, we hardly knew ye

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Maybe because if coding for windows? there were (probably still are, a long time since I last had to suffer working on a "GUI" desktop app for Windows where use of such a thing was mandated) various "textbox" controls that displayed RTF data, so would typically use wordpad to give the "nice look and feel" to the text fragment that the bosses wanted (as in their minds it was much better than plain text, though a pain to edit, hence need for an editor that did RTF)

Right to repair advocates have a new opponent: Scientologists

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Re: Expose


I heard he frequented a church that played a lot of ABBA music, & became Bjorn Again

Cops drill into chat apps, sink plot to smuggle tonnes of coke into Europe

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Yeah, Ecuador has really struggled with drug cartels getting huge influence in recent years.

Used to be one of the safest S. American countries to visit, but it's getting progressively more risky now.

Some wildlife I want to see there on my "bucket list" - and due to continually worsening situation there I have brought forward my planned trip by several years as it was originally going to be a "big birthday" present, but now moved it forward whilst risks are still at what I regard as an acceptable level* (coupled with loss of habitat, which despite a few recent wins in reserves, a lot of forest still getting converted to agriculture e.g. this wildlife site needed a funding drive to keep it going ( https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-antpitta ) - as original owner died and the 2 brothers who wanted to keep it running as a wildlife friendly area had to raise cash to buy out other relatives who wanted to farm it extensively).

* No S.America links - just with it being "bucket list" destination have been monitoring news situation there for quite a while

Pokémon Go was a 'success disaster' and Niantic is still chasing another hit

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Re: The buzz has worn off

Indeed, I'm sure Ingress (& subsequent Niantic games) helped the Anker share price (Anker seemed by far the most popular "powerbank" brand amongst Ingress players)

tiggity Silver badge

Re: The buzz has worn off

I think the Potter title might have suffered from some parts of gameplay needing AR, this was at a time when it was not supported well / at all on many phones (and especially not on low end phones). I know there are a lot of youngsters out there whose parents buy them phones far more expensive & high spec than the (basic budget) phone I use, but even so, a lot of potential users would have been disenfranchised.

.. Was an "early adopter" of Ingress, many years ago & from that often get invites to trial new / pre release Niantic products, ,

Some of them would not even install on my phone at the time (obviously had a variety of phones over the time of different Niantic product releases), and some that did e.g. Potter, I could not play some AR aspects of the game.

A lot of them really hammered battery when in AR mode, which is not conducive to people playing the game for long..

I gave lots of constructive feedback, but I would assume it was ignored with the apparent approach of thinking everyone has new shiny mega spec phones and massive use of battery burning AR (on AR supporting phones) is fine.

Only Niantic game that I still play is Ingress, whether that says more about me or their products, who knows? (though obviously I am about as far from the target market as its possible to be for lots of their offerings such as pikmin bloom, peridot etc.)

How to ask Facebook's Meta to not train its AI models on some of your personal info

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don't use meta products

But any attempt to opt out would be a catch 22 of me giving them some PII so they could exclude any data related to me..

Zoom CEO reportedly tells staff: Workers can't build trust or collaborate... on Zoom

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Re: Context is everything

That assumes everyone uses the same office.

I have worked at a company where team I was on was on had members in the UK, a few mainland Europe sites and the USA.

Current team, members spread over a variety of UK locations and 1 mainland Europe site.

So, in neither of those situations will going into a physical office involve meeting / interacting with many team members as very few of the team within commute range of a particular office.

Online meetings work OK, and the lack of "in person" meetups / casual knowledge share has a bonus side effect that more effort is made to document things as it means so many of those "casual conversation" questions become redundant as they are often about how to do X, why does Y happen etc (i.e. symptoms of poorly documented processes).

So remote / distributed staff leading to far better documentation is a big win in my view as dismal documentation is far too common in companies & causes productivity issues.

Blazar Token creator accused of using investor funds for renovating bathroom

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@Doctor Syntax

Or maybe always a poacher?

There's nearly always a steady stream of contraband into prisons and often some prison officers involved.

Maybe he got his scam idea from some of the inmates?

Though any "investor" with > 1 braincell should run to the hills at the sound of any "investment opportunity" involving crypto, a "one man band", Facebook ads, and ridiculously huge returns (any of those should be a red flag but the combination is off the scale for scam alert).

Netflix flinging out DVDs like frisbees as night comes for legacy business

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DVDs beat the film

.. assuming DVD has any extras

e.g. Partner is huge Tolkien fan, so we got the Jackson LOTR DVDs back in the day. I'm take it or leave it on LOTR, films were OK but I really enjoyed the special features (e.g. the WETA workshop stuff).

The additional content is a big plus on a DVD.

As someone who uses streaming services, have to say I do still buy some physical media as lots of stuff I want not available on services I subscribe to - and there's a limit on how much cash to burn on different streamers (fragmentation is getting worse as new streaming services seem to pop up almost on a monthly basis)

Judge snuffs man's quest to have AI-created art protected by copyright

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Human copyright on AI generated content

I'm looking forward to the different copyright disputes.

I have played around with an image generating AI

.. I had some free "credits" to play with so no expense incurred from hammering the AI.

I wanted to see what "variety" of results I got, so made repeated calls of "prompt A" and then repeated calls of "prompt B"

Both prompts very similar (just minor variations on a theme to see what limits hit trying to fine tune output)

I noticed that with repeated calls of the same prompt that got fairly similar images back, in some cases strikingly similar - which is to be expected (I'm onviously not sure how the algorithms work, I'm expecting some "randomness" to the generation but it will be limited, especially with a detailed prompt)

What was more interesting was that in some cases, a "Prompt B" image was very similar to a "Prompt A" image (though, TBF, in some cases I was often trying complex prompts to see when additional prompt text made little difference ).

So, based on that, I could easily see 2 people in a copyright spat over AI generated images that are very similar.

If they were both derived from the same prompt then will we be reaching a point where people try and copyright a certain prompt text used against a certain AI (which is a problem as there is not just one result possible for any given prompt so essentially prohibiting other images)

.. and gets even more fun if the 2 people in a copyright spat used different prompts to give effectively the same result.

To complicate things more (and I would guess especially if you guess right on which AI used originally) you can often get reasonably close (with enough attempts, especially with a bit of refining after inspecting first few tens of results) to replicating an AI generated image by essentially passing in a good description of the image you want to (approximately) reproduce .

I did not try to reproduce an AI image in my tests but was able to get some reasonable results in getting AI to approximate an actual image (human generated AFAIK) I was describing (main limitation on this was beyond a certain point adding more detail to your prompt was not necessarily effective )

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak

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Re: Really?

As for idiom, maybe a bit more care on using rimshot...

It has a few meanings other than the badum ting after a joke

Browse through


.. some NSFW obviously

80% of execs regret calling employees back to the office

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Re: unpopular opinion: no, WFH and WFO are not the same.

We look after an unwell relative (they live with us) so at home (depending on time of year obviously) heating, lighting etc. on anyway, so WFH costs are a very minimal extra*

..But, in comparison, the commuting savings are large (and all the time not wasted on travel (employer benefits - usually do more than my contracted hours when WFH (fix an issue on teh day instead of leaving it to next morning) as still net time gain compared to long commute and working strict hours on commute day))

*a bit of extra electricity for coffee making, some extra (metered) water, buying extra coffee, more descale chemical purchases (espresso machine needs descaling more often as more use, though bulk buy citric acid for general descaling anyway as live in a hard water area so that cost v. minor)

LG's $1,000 TV-in-a-briefcase is unlikely to travel much further than the garden

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Not really seeing the selling point

There's plenty of companies that cater to camping / caravanning market where cases / padded bags are available for TVs

Generally (unless TV is attached to "wall" of caravan /motorhome, which is the easiest long term option but unless VESA mounts pre-existing on the caravan it can be a PITA DIY job depending on the van depending how its constructed) you are not going to travel with TV just balanced on top of something.

Typically in a motorhome / caravan, where non wall mounted TV, people either keep original packaging for a TV or they get a TV with a carrying case for when they are on the move.

The camping / caravanning market is long established and mature, so bar a few hours of running on battery, this brings nothing new to the party

e.g. camping oriented TV brand where protective custom case available

You can see with this TV the page shows the associated case for that model (in this example an expensive "camping" oriented TV brand that supports 12V)


And plenty of companies make / sell generic well padded bags for TVs



* Not a caravanner / motorhome user, but did go camping a lot until I got to an age where decaying body needed a bit more comfort and most sites were tents, caravans & motorhomes so got to chat with / visit caravan / motorhomes of a lot of people with all sorts of travel kit (& I'm sure some of them enjoyed showing us "lowly tent users" how full of home comforts their option was, though one of the things I liked about camping was getting way from the TV - though TBF you could see the attraction on a grim weather day of continual rain when a hike is a pain not a pleasure)

You're not seeing double – yet another UK copshop is confessing to a data leak

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Re: Isn't it seeing triple now?

And arguably East Anglia in addition to Norfolk & Suffolk is generally regarded as including Cambridgeshire too* So east Anglia could be confusing too

* And occasionally, to complicate things, some people argue for including parts of other areas too!

Have you ever suspected your colleague doesn't hope this email finds you well?*

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Re: Or the really annoying

Not sure if its apocryphal, but read similar story in a work on swearing by the late great Anthony Burgess (author of A Clockwork Orange amongst many others)

CLI-beautifying ANSI escape sequences can also make your log files a security threat

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Why would I sanitize a log?

If I sanitized logs I could be missing signs of attacks (or just user error in text that might need a bit of an educational chat)

I just use a text editor (with ability to view in hex if needed) - to inspect logs - hassle free

Lawsuit: We've got the stats to prove Twitter ax fell unfairly on older, female engineers

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"Of the seven plaintiffs: ... five identify as female;"

Would have been more useful to know if they were actually biological females, as "identify as" is could include males & I seem to recall the pre Musk twitter had a lot of trans identified males on the workforce

North Korean hackers had access to Russian missile maker for months, say researchers

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Re: "It seems to fit both"

@Casca said

"Maybe try a real dictatorship before you write..."

Try looking at the UK anti protest laws (& associated penalties and restrictions on your actions / movements that can be subsequently applied) - they would not be out of place in a dictatorship

If you are / have been involved in protests in the UK you will know the level of surveillance of protesters is high and has been for decades depending on the protest*.

* Been photographed / filmed by police / security services on protests since the eighties (though first time I was photographed was not a protest per se, it was whilst being involved in supporting striking miners)

Meta says it'll ask Euro peeps nicely before hitting them with personalized ads

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Re: Income

Surely the adverts are the best thing about yawn inducing F1?

An amazing driver can make some difference, but each year there's always a constructor (or sometimes multiple, which does make it less tedious) that obviously has the best cars.

Formula E is a better watch, at least its a level playing field on the cars, so skill & tactics are more important

Judge lets art trio take another crack at suing AI devs over copyright

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Re: Can you 'own' a style?


With grim irony, International Klein Blue is copyrighted

There are a few copyrighted colours.

So given the copyright of a colour is possible ... then who knows what legal decisions will occur in this case.

Douglas Adams was right: Telephone sanitizers are terrible human beings

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Re: Agree but...

And electric screwdriver use is not mandatory - there's such a thing as a manual screwdriver (really don't understand the mania for electric screwdriver use (unless you have some muscle or other health problems that prevent manual screwdriver use ), I personally prefer the fine control you get with a "manual" screwdriver - e.g. far less likely to shear a "stubborn" screw head than with an electric, similarly for over tightening etc.)

Friendly AI chatbots will be designing bioweapons for criminals 'within years'

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Depends what bioweapon you want

One of my degrees was in biological sciences & did some post graduate research work in a biochemistry lab before career switch.

Unless the quality of course content & students has dropped massively there will be an awful lot of graduates out there able to create bio weapons.

It really depends what type & amount of weapon you want as some things would depend on expertise and specialist equipment that should set alarm klaxons going, others could easily be achieved with relatively basic equipment (and skills).

Main hassles for the person creating it would be

a) Avoiding exposing yourself in the processes (it's not just creating the bioweapon of choice its refining it afterwards..).

b) A suitable delivery system for the weapon... As a decent delivery system is going way outside biosciences skill set & into the engineering realm (unless you go the suicide* approach of human delivery)

* Depends on the weapon, plenty of things you can be vaccinated against that would cause disruption (after all huge death tolls may not be the aim, casing a lot of chaos & the occasional casualty may be the aim) in a "Western" country as most of population not vaccinated against it e.g. typhoid.

On the record: Apple bags patent for iDevice to play LPs

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The strobe markings reminded me of my old Dual turntable which had 78 option in addition to "33" and 45.

I did occasionally made use of that 78 setting (mainly for taping 78s owned by family members who no longer had 78 playing equipment), but it was a bit of a pain as needed to swap in 78 specific stylus unit, though when I got a better turntable (that only did "33" and 45) Dual was semi-retired and used as 78 only for doing family taping help duties.

A room-temperature, ambient-pressure superconductor? Take a closer look

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Even if its not a superconductor

Some of the comments were sceptical in the article (rightly so as would be a huge breakthrough if true).

If it is not a superconductor BUT is a very efficient electrical conductor at room temperature then would still be an important (& potentially v. useful achievement if useable materials could be spun out of it).

Although it would not have the exciting magnetic properties of a superconductor (lots of interesting uses of superconductors relate to magnetic properties), something that was "nearly" perfect in electrical conduction at "everyday" temperatures & pressures could still be very useful for reduced energy use - less "waste" heat generated in conduction = less initial energy input required.

BT and OneWeb deliver internet to rock in Bristol Channel – population 28

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surely it's a job for this RFC


Ideally using puffins (after all, that's the bird that gave Lundy its name) - though might be problematic outside of the breeding season whey they disappear off into the Atlantic somewhere.

Social media is too much for most of us to handle

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Information Overload

I would never have the time to follow tens of thousands of people on social media (whether they were posting about disasters or mundane things)

If I followed 10K people who only posted once a week that would be (if evenly spread) just under 1.5K messages a day (& being realistic once a week probably a massive under estimate*) - that's why news media (be it El Reg, newspapers etc) are useful - information is curated (OK, this may be a bad thing on occasion with "groupthink" affecting reporting of some news stories & some outlets having particular biases) but does mean people can get news "efficiently" without sifting through thousands of messages to find the few nuggets of interest.

* I'm not really a social media person, about the only one I ever used much was G+ & that got the (fairly common) Google cull applied quite a few years ago, so message frequency estimates are a wild guess.

tiggity Silver badge

Re: American spelling

Most of the brits I know call it aluminium (bar a couple of chemists, as IUPAC declared aluminum the official spelling as they have got used to the US spelling when writing aricles, speaking at conferences).

Maybe it's down to speech style in the area where I live (in the UK) but people generally say cans (rather than tins) when referring to canned beer (though I have a couple of Aussie mates who invariably call them tinnies).

Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 requires a tedious balancing act

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Re: Laptop keyboards are far better.

I have laptop raised on a stand on my desk (so screen at a sensible height instead of having to look down at the screen) and attach a separate decent keyboard & mouse - this is my standard approach if I am going to be working on a laptop for any period of time - i.e. never use the laptop keyboard or trackpad if sitting at a desk, only grudgingly use them if "out & about" & small amount of typing needed.

LG to offer subscriptions for appliances and televisions

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Hello Tosh

Our old dumb TV died recently & replacement was a "smart" Toshiba (good picture quality for the price, could not find a dumb TV of good picture quality anywhere near the price of it).

I have no need of the "smart" features,

On initial setup not even connected to TV aerial never mind internet, basically chose the I do not want to connect to this option for everything (including WiFi).

Later connected it to aerial so it could find channels & "finish its setup" (as though mainly be using via Humax connected to HDMI I got bored of finish setup nag every time I turned it on so tuned in channels) .

I did notice one good point (it may be a bug on Toshiba side, but I'm happy about it) - on settings it is impossible to turn on WiFi - if you try it goes straight back to off (not sure which of the many things I declined on initial setup achieved this but great that TV is not going to accidentally latch on to an open WiFi if a neighbour has one & also stops partner trying to enable WiFi to make use of the (unwanted by me) YouTube button on the remote)

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Re: @StrangerHereMyself - Wrong

I "have internet" - but no ethernet cable (or WiFi signal) to the kitchen / utility area (kitchen & fridge / washing machine etc. area essentially same room, with white goods zone projecting off "main" cooking / food prep zone) .

Strangely enough when I'm in that part of the house I'm either prepping food, cooking, loading / unloading dishwasher etc - none of which are activities that need WiFi (Before anyone comments - I do NOT need to look up a recipe online in the kitchen, I have good recipe books on the shelves (the bad ones have gone to charity shops - marked as bad if a high proportion of recipes we have tried from that book have disappointing taste, texture etc. compared to expected outcome for that dish. We do actually mark a recipe (when we try it) as to how good / bad outcome was* as you don't want to use a known bad recipe again))

* Also do other assessments, we have a couple of high rated recipes but with comment to only use occasionally as although better than alternatives it's because they are less healthy (e.g. assuming you are not veggie or allergic & so can eat butter, there are few butter containing recipes where taste is not improved by using more butter & some recipes do just that )

Obscure internet boutique Amazon sues EU for calling it a Very Large Online Platform

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Amazon should be on there

Given the continual stories of sellers hoodwinking people with dodgy goods, I'm aware on the "tech" items side (as those stories tend to crop up on sites I visit) of common problems people have had be such as someone selling small SD cards as being of larger size through to more potentially nasty issues such as high fire risk USB-C cables being sold.

.. I'm sure Amazon are probably OK at replacing dodgy goods, just treating it as a cost of doing business, but the point of DSA would be to make them do more to stop such things being sold.

Putting LLMs into production is a monumental task – vector databases could light the way

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Specialized DB may be worthwhile

I used pinecone in a proof of concept embeddings search app & it was fine, but that was with a (relatively) small amount of vectors (all other data was held elsewhere in "main" DB, just using pinecone to store vector values and get best match vector results on vectors passed in, then would use returned vector to provide data relating to that vector from "main" DB).

To find similarities between AI embeddings / vectors you generally use cosine similarity.

The maths is not complex but its quite "expensive".

The challenge is not so much implementing the cosine similarity based search but doing it in a fast & efficient way at scale*

Because of that performance issue at scale on a "generalist" database a system specifically designed for efficient cosine similarity searches could well have a massive performance advantage once amount of data stored gets large and that performance advantage could definitely make it a worthwhile option.

* Easy maths - I could write a Cosine similarity select to run on a standard SQL Database, but I would not fancy its performance once it had to process a large number of vectors. But for completeness should reiterate that not tried Pinecone with the sort of massive dataset that would be a nightmare for a "generalist" DB, so just assuming it would perform well (as what's the point in building it otherwise!) it was just PoC, not a proper evaluation of Pinecone, mainly used Pinecone for the learning experience instead of rolling my own cos similarity search on SQL Server.

Sarah Silverman, novelists sue OpenAI for scraping their books to train ChatGPT

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I would certainly see potential for infringement in terms of "art".

If you get some of the image AIs to produce an art work in the style of a particular person, occasionally it will produce something where you think, yes that really has captured the style of person X.

Lets take a real world example, UK based people who are aware of the long running B3ta boards may well recognise the name "HappyToast". He sells artworks and has a very distinctive style (I deliberately chose him for that reason as a suitably trained AI could grok the style). I have seen AI generated works done in his style that, whilst not as good as his works, is a reasonable pastiche & there would be nothing to stop someone then trying to sell that.

I personally think that image generating AIs should not be allowed to do "in the style of" image generation when the style is for a living artist

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable

tiggity Silver badge

I have heard some amazing setups in "proper" hi-fi shops (most of those shops no longer exist) of stuff I could not afford.

I was always on a budget with sound kit as other things were more important in life (& still are - happy with music sound that is "good enough" - especially now I'm getting older and hearing decline is noticeable (probably not helped by attending many loud gigs, including some of the bands that have had "loudest ever" status (though that's a very arguable thing)) and differences I could easily detect decades ago would probably not register now ).

Back then if you were buying an affordable turntable the best "bang for buck" vinyl sound improvements you could get (assuming decent amplification setup, speakers & good quality speaker cable) were a decent tonearm (if turntable supported a choice of tonearm), cartridge & stylus - makes a huge difference (& can have a surprisingly big impact on the sound, especially cartridge - can be a compromise choice depending on what type of music you most listen to)

Fedora Project mulls 'privacy preserving' usage telemetry

tiggity Silver badge

Re: Stats please

User agent stats not to be 100% trusted, I run User Agent Switcher in FireFox as identifying as Chrome lets me access some sites that do lazy user agent checks to disallow non Chrome browsers.

Generally, most of those sites do then run OK in FF (a few have required me to fire up Chrome, but that is quite rare)

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

tiggity Silver badge

Not sure if it works without an internet connection, but google maps (I'm on android) shows me my coordinates when I drop a pin (tend to do that if parking in an unknown location where I'm not familiar with that cities landmarks / routes so I can walk back without getting lost e.g. on holiday! (yes I do also make a note of the street name too as a backup))