* Posts by Rosco

156 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Aug 2007


Skynet it ain't: Deep learning will not evolve into true AI, says boffin


Re: old result


I moved quickly from Minsky & Papert's Perceptron paper to Fodor & Pylyshyn's work but forgot that you hadn't. Sorry.

(Fodor & Pylyshyn's work is probably more relevant to this article than Minksy & Papert's, mind, so I'll leave my comment in place).


Re: old result

I don't think you've understood Fodor & Pylyshyn's argument.

Their argument is that cognition operates at a higher level of organisation than the physical substrate. True cognition involves generating internally consistent symbolic representations of causal relationships and ANNs on their own aren't capable of that. They - like all approaches to AI so far - must have problem-space representations baked into them before they can generate solutions.

I'm not saying they were right, by the way. I'm just saying that simply adding more hidden layers or using a convolutional training algorithm doesn't go any distance towards invalidating their rather deep philosophical argument because those techniques don't add causal symbolic processing. It's not clear what would add symbolic processing to a neural network, although it is clear that nature has found a way at least once.

Russian billionaire: GET me the ALIENS ON THE PHONE. Do it NOW


'Expert' Alien Hunters?

How can one be called an expert at something one has so far failed to do?

You say you want a musical revolution. Actually, have three


Re: 1983 synthesisers!

This work seems to identify not the first pioneering use of musical styles, but the first widespread adoption. Yes, prog-rockers were pioneers of synth sounds but you wouldn't say that the early '70s charts were characterised by that sound.

Likewise, hip-hop and rap arguably started in the 70s, but it didn't start gaining a foothold in the charts until the early 90s.

Oi. APPLE fanboi! You with the $10k and pocket on fire! Fancy a WATCH?



I assume that the snickering Casio-wearers on here wear only hessian sacks? After all, the only function of clothes is to keep you warm. Spending money on anything beyond that function is just throwing money away, right?

Scientific consensus that 2014 was record hottest year? No


Re: Funny things is...

You think he's writing articles for The Register out of the goodness of his heart?

You think The Register's editorial stance on climate science reporting stems from the purity of a thirst for truth?

Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth


Expected effects?

Did they have any reason to suspect that something might actually happen? Seems like an expensive PR stunt if not.

Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements


Re: Do Apple want the streaming licenses from Beats?

Possible. I'm glad to say I don't understand that sort of high-finance stuff :)


Do Apple want the streaming licenses from Beats?

From Daring Fireball (he's an Apple shill but he's nevertheless pretty intelligent):

Numerous people are wondering if it’s all about streaming rights from the music labels — i.e. rights that Apple couldn’t get on its own (because the music labels have long resented iTunes’s dominance in digital music downloads), so they’re buying a company that negotiated those rights on their own. The problem with this theory is that those licenses (to my understanding) aren’t transferable in the event of an acquisition. Music label executives may be dumb, but they’re not that dumb.


Re: Limited bit rate?

Yep. And since the author talks about what real people can actually hear, I find it odd that he seems to imply that 320kbps MP3/AAC is awful when blind tests have established that most people cannot tell the difference between that and CD.

e.g. http://www.music.mcgill.ca/~hockman/documents/Pras_presentation2009.pdf

Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig'


Missing the obvious

Dear oh dear, 94 comments and not one of you has thought to call her a liar.

Losing your touch, you lot.

Apple designer Sir Jony Ive holding up iOS 7 development: Report


Re: "head of software design"

You seem to have fallen into the common trap of thinking that design means only what it looks like. Design is not just what it looks like, it's how it works and how people use it to achieve their goals.

Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?


Bass is everything

Unfortunately, to such a lot of people "audio quality" means "how loud is the bass?" Manufacturers know that's where the money is.

Alan Turing 100: Visionary, war winner ... game maker?


Church-Turing Thesis?

Bizarre omission of the Church-Turing Thesis from this article. IMO a far more significant contribution to AI thought than the silly Turing Test

Facebook IPO: Boom or bubble?


Revenues and profits

Some interesting things about Facebook that are missing from the article and confound the vast majority of snide comments here:

1) Facebook has nearly double the profits of Amazon in 2011

2) Facebook revenue and profit are both about 1/10th that of Google

3) Facebook has more profit than Google had revenue when they went public.

Raw data in the S-1 filing. Comparison with Amazon and Google courtesy of MG Siegler (http://parislemon.com/post/16888592105/fathoming-facebook)

Now I can't begin to understand where this money comes from but unless they're lying on their S-1, comes it does. You can speculate all you like about user engagement numbers but cash is cash.

Microsoft tempts with WinPho demo on... iPhone


The point is, it makes the WP7 browser look crap

It's supposed to be a showcase for the greatness WP7 but manages to demonstrate that the WP7 browser can't cope with HTML5. That's a silly own goal.


[Facepalm] The website doesn't run on WP7 phones

I love my WP7 but this is the biggest fail ever.

Ice Cream Sandwich


mmmmm ... dribbly


RE: 3 (or more) things it copied...

I agree with everything you say, just one little note. Apple didn't re-think the stylus experience, a company called Fingerworks did. But Apple were sharp enough to see the promise of their technology and buy them before anyone else did.


Confused graphic design style

I'm sure ICS is a leap forward in features and usability but visually it's an incoherent mess. Most of those screenshots show at least two different styles on each: the buttons at the bottom are one-pixel abstract lines; the app icons are 3D pseudo-realistic; the app folder icons are slightly abstract solid blocks with 2.5D depth; the settings screen has flat block icons ... it's like they've all been designed by different people and no-one has checked for consistency before they shipped.

It may be that only graphic designers would care about the specifics but surely to most people the overall impression is just really messy?

Stonehenge finds hint at rituals far more ancient than the stones


A lot of effort for an abattoir

"Estimates of the manpower needed to build Stonehenge put the total effort involved at millions of hours of work." - that's a colossal amount of effort for an abattoir. I'm not saying it was definitely religious but whoever built it cared an awful lot about it.

WinPho sceptics cut Lumia 800 sales estimates in half


Speak for yourself

I loathed Windows Mobile and Series 60, had reserved respect for iOS but was firmly an Android man from first launch until earlier this year. Back in April I took a punt on WP7 (a samsung model) and I haven't looked back. It's great, I love it. I want it to get better of course but I like it a lot more in its infancy than I ever liked Android.

I get very tired of people who haven't used WP7 proclaiming with confidence that it's shit. No day-to-day experience of it = no valid opinion.

Common brain parasite 'can affect host's actions'


Much more complex than that

Dopamine doesn't simply "make you happy". It affects a very wide range of behaviours in really complex ways. For example, people who take dopamine supplements (for a variety of disorders) can end up being compulsive shoppers or gamblers. They get into huge amounts of debt because they can't control their spending (effectively, they get a big rush from buying something because the extra dopamine makes them feel great when it's triggered)

Updating to Windows Phone 7.5


I believe Mango enables this so future updates will be done OTA. A bit crap not to have that from the start though.


I'm tedious too

Worked fine for me too, unlike many of the horrendous update experiences I've had with my iPod touch, where backup and restore frequently fails. At least half of the OS updates I've given to the iPod have resulted in having to hard reset and start from scratch (not a quick process with nearly 60GB of music).

I'm not being a fanboi either way, I just think it's a bit odd to have a two-page article describing a failed OS update; I've never seen one before for any of the other phone OS's. It implies that WP7 is unique in its failings, which it isn't.

Leaked Nokia WinMobes ready for midrange scrum



Another reason the operators will like this: they already have a very good relationship with Nokia from the days when Nokia were the only game in town.

But it might turn a bit sour; Nokia used to be their best friends because they would bend over backwards to provide operator customizations. They won't be able to do that anymore with WP7 being locked down to such a large extent.

Dubstep ringtone wins Nokia compo


This is correct

I'm 34 years old with 3 kids - I'm not supposed to like modern music, I'm supposed to be confused and a little bit scared by it. But I wasn't finding JLS and their ilk confusing or scary, just shit and anodyne. But this dubstep stuff is different; I am very confused and that's as it should be. Carry on.

The iPhone 4S in depth: More than just a vestigial 'S'


Most significant

For me, the most significant aspect of the event was Apple actively comparing the 4S to Android devices to call out where it beats them (e.g. shutterlag in the camera). They've never had to do that before, they've always complacently ignored the competition and let their products speak for themselves. It seems like they're losing a little of their self-confidence.

Microsoft’s Mango update falls from tech tree


You can have your own ringtones but the method is like a sick joke. You must:

1. Crop your audio file yourself

2. Add it to your Zune library and put it in a Zune folder

3. Right click > Edit the file to change the genre to 'Ringtone'

4. Sync the device

That's a super crappy UX. Disclosure: I love my WP7 and can't wait for Mango. I just think the development of this particular feature must have bypassed any kind of sanity check. They gave it to a developer who made a proof-of-concept system and someone ticked the 'feature complete' box.

HP dumps Apotheker for Whitman


Brewster's Millions

Apotheker needs to find another company to play Brewster's Millions with. Seriously, the WebOS wheeze was better than the vintage stamp one in the original film.

Microsoft exec departs after tweet about Nokia phone


Actually those figures were WP7 only. Some market research group split the figures out into WinMo and WP7. Google for windows phone 7 market share and you'll see articles citing it with a bit more detail.

Also, correction: I just re-read it; the german 7% isn't more than twice the RIM number, RIM's at 3.9%


a strange measure of success

WP7 certainly isn't doing as well as Microsoft hoped and still want us to believe but it's a bit flaky to declare the number of models carried by a single french operator as a measure of the success of a platform. There aren't very many models to choose from for a start. Global market share is what you want. It appears to be in the low single digits (although it's popular in Germany with 7% - over twice the market share that RIM has). Low single digits is pretty dire but I wouldn't call it "not competition".

Apple vs. Samsung: next round today


Oooh, an article mentioning Apple

I'd like to take this opportunity to state how much I dislike Apple and all their products and that I think they're overpriced and while I'm on about that, the iPad is useless and only brainwashed fanbois would ever buy one and how can anyone think Steve Jobs was good he was rubbish and the tech world is better off without him because I just hate him and a phone should just be a phone, none of this internet rubbish and so on and so on

Windows Phone may be cheaper than Android - Inq boss


OEM Customisation

INQ's whole thing is customisation, giving existing platforms (BREW, Android) a major makeover with a kind of urban hipster colour scheme and functional specialisation, like Facebook integration. They will not be able to do that with Windows Phone 7. MS specifically prohibit all but the most trivial of OEM customisations. This INQ boss must surely know that so why is he saying this? Is it just linkbait for INQ which, to be fair, hasn't had a lot of press of late?

Networks, handset makers vie for mobile dominance


Not as good as iOS or Android

There are certainly shortcomings of the Facebook APIs (which are presumably deliberate to make sure users have to go to the website and see the ads). But I've used the Facebook apps on iOS, Android and WP7 and I can say that the WP7 one is the worst. The most troubling part is that it doesn't even use the WP7 UI properly. For example, pressing on something doesn't give any feedback that you've pressed it (the text should press backwards in 3D). And the live tiles and push notifications are exceedingly buggy, working sometimes but mostly not at all.


Facebook on WP7

"as long as the smartphone can play Angry Birds, read Facebook, and keep Twitter up to date then the rest is just fluff."

Redmond does have deep pockets but they don't seem very willing to spend it in the direction of that quote from the article. I got a WP7 and I like it enough to put up with its shortcomings (for now ... Mango needs to be very good). But I was stunned at the poor quality of the Facebook app. Like Bill Ray, I expected that Microsoft would subsidise development of top drawer apps for things that users really care about. But no, the Facebook app is in need of serious work and has been for months and months. I can only assume that it has a very small team working on it.

I find that strategically astonishing from MS. I would have thought it was obvious to anyone that getting FB right was a no-brainer to gain traction for their last-chance-saloon platform. But apparently they don't get it.

Google SHOCK! Snaps up Motorola phone biz for $12.5bn


The whole purpose of Android

People seem to forget the purpose of Android. Back when Android was first released, the consensus seemed to be that Google were dissatisfied with the low rate of mobile internet adoption. They weren't getting enough ad sales on mobile and attributed it (rightly enough) to the crap browsing UI on most handsets. So they decided to speed it up by making it cheaper to make a phone that people would use to browse. Android was a loss leader for them.

Android are not in competition with other handset manufacturers. They don't care if punters browse the net with an iPhone, an HTC Desire or a webOS phone - as long as they do it via Google search. (Arguably WP7 changes that a bit with Bing baked in but right now it's not exactly competition).

But I think they do care that their Android partners are protected from litigation because they're producing the low end handsets that are allowing the masses to browse nicely.

Paul McCartney's ex-wife makes phone-hacking claim


She must have been hopping mad when she found out

I am ashamed of myself

Google claims 'bogus patent' conspiracy against Android


Microsoft offered to share with Google

Worth noting that Microsoft's general counsel said this: "Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no".

Puts a different light on it, doesn't it?

Acoustic trauma: How wind farms make you sick


The sceptic tank?

I had no idea that Shropshire was such a hotbed of militant disbelief. What are they so sceptical about that they need mobile weaponry to force the point?

Game graphics could be 100,000 times better


Sort of impressive ...

... but the large square steps everywhere are weird and probably very telling. They wouldn't have made it like that if they didn't have to. Is there some sort of tradeoff being done between large and small scale detail?

Apple iCloud pricing revealed


I see, thanks



Funny storage amounts

Why aren't the storage options aligned with the storage options for the devices? Seems to me like a 50GB maximum for the cloud doesn't sit right with the 64GB maximum for iPod touches (or more for classics). I for one would need a little bit more than their maximum for my collection. (Not that I will be using the service, I'm just saying)

HP's fondle-slab dilemma: What to do when you're No 2


Yes, the standard is about much more than hardware

What I suggest is needed to break Apple's stranglehold could be realised through USB hardware. That would make a lot of sense. But it needs to be backed up with a set of guaranteed functions that both dock and device can rely on. Then it can be given a consumer friendly name (see "Made for iPod") and a shiny badge for packaging so that consumers can buy a PMP from any given vendor knowing that it will work properly in the great sounding/looking dock they read about.

Note that if any vendor tries to go it alone and make their own proprietary standard for this, they will find that no dock manufacturers will bother implementing it for lack of adoption.

(Ditto the need for a consumer friendly wireless standard).


iPod Docks

Apple have completely sewn up the portable music player market and part of the secret is the dock connector. There is an enormous variety of iPod docks that let an iPod owner dock their music player wherein it will be charged and can be controlled to some degree by the remote control of the dock. No other portable music players have docks like this. They have only the jack connector which won't charge batteries or provide control.

The rest of the industry needs to get together to produce a rival, open standard that would stand a fighting chance of adoption by dock manufacturers. That might give their music players a better chance of being noticed. Of course, their players would also have to be halfway decent (which I'm not sure they are right now).

Note to Apple: Be more like Microsoft


It's about the user experience

Apple are where they are because they focus obsessively on the user experience, above all else. To do that they have to own and control much more of the 'ecosystem' than any other company even tries to do. It makes their products rigid and very expensive but a lot of people really, really like it. I'm not one of them but I understand those who are.

When you allow other companies to own and control parts of the user experience, something has to give. Either they have lower standards than you, looking for a quick buck rather than a long term vision, or things just fall through the cracks between companies. It's very hard to co-ordinate seamless user experiences across the boundaries between different organisations.

ARM daddy simulates human brain with million-chip super


Sounds like it's real time

"What it does mean is that the simulated neurons can fire off a pulse to any other simulated neuron in the million-core system in about 1 millisecond, which just so happens to be about as fast as your neurons do it."

It seems to be "real time". Sadly the architecture doesn't sound like they can do 100% of a human brain at 1% speed, which would surely be interesting. The analysis of the system behaviour won't be done real time anyway, just on logs so it doesn't really matter if it goes really slowly.

Sunspot decline could mean decades of cold UK winters


(Playing Devil's Advocate here)

I doubt that they would say that huge variations would have no impact. I think they probably mean that they don't believe that the amount of variation so far observed in the Sun's activity has any significant effect. Or put another way, that the sun's activity doesn't appear to vary enough to cause significant change.

Panasonic DMR-BWT700 HDD and Blu-ray recorder combo


Panny crap

I made the mistake of buying a Panasonic DVD/HDD box. I rue the day. Apart from the EPG adverts (seriously, how can they deem that acceptable?) and the truly abysmal UI (e.g. to show the list of recordings you have to press the button marked "Direct Navigator". Of course, what else would it be called?) the box seems to be incompatible with my *Panasonic TV, made in the same year. I can't watch freeview on the TV if the box is switched on, it interferes with the picture. Panasonic just shrugged when I asked them.

I will never, never buy Panasonic equipment again.

Nokia's Windows phone outed on video



Yeah, right