* Posts by steelpillow

1178 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016

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Texas cops sue Tesla claiming 'systematic fraud' in Autopilot after Model X ploughed into two parked police cars

steelpillow Silver badge
Angel

Texas cops

Not often I see news items where you are the good guys. Best of luck to you - and your German Shepherd.

Samsung is planning to reverse-engineer the human brain on to a chip

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Re: its time

The trouble with theories like these is that there are too many untested foundational assumptions, with most of the conclusions waxing lyrical on the consequences of those untested assumptions. For example, the microtubule model described in Shadows is regarded as disproved, or at least lacking in the slightest credible evidence, by mainstream biology.

On the other hand, there are good points which do need to be taken on board, such as the non-algorithmic nature of brain function. Von Neumann machines do algorithms, neural networks generally don't. We can look at an algorithm and go "oh, gawd, I suppose I'll have to process that myself", but we are never very good at it.

And there are things missing. For example might chaos theory and massively interconnected parallelism between them cover for the non-algorithmic aspect (c.f. state machines), no magic quantum weirdness required?

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Aww cute - trying to run before we can walk, woopsie!

There is a project going in the UK to map the brain of the humble bee, with much the same purpose in mind. Smart insects, bees. Among the smartest, I believe. The next step will be to implement it on a chip, as a proven evolved neural network, so as to find out its secrets over the crap we simulate today, and use that to create next-gen networks.

A lot more plausible than mapping my hairy fizzog and setting my clones on your business model.

GNOME 41: Slick with heaps of new features for users and devs – but annoyances remain

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Title bar

Definitely the title bar should relate only to the window itself.

My MATE desktop has the resize icons on the right. On the left is an icon of the app to remind me which app it is, and when clicked this opens a menu of various window manipulation options, such as moving to another desktop. No other crap. Very civilised.

My only change would be to move the window menu, as a standard menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines), to join the others on the right, but keep the app icon as it is very useful on a cluttered screen. I feel that clicking it should do something useful, as it seems a shame to waste the opportunity. But what, relating to both the app and just the current window, could be appropriate? Some kind of system/diagnostic stats?

BOFH: You'll find there's a company asset tag right here, underneath the monstrously heavy arcade machine

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Toaster Smoke Alarm

We have to shut the kitchen door when grilling anything. Otherwise the smoke alarm in the hallway goes off.

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Sshh!

In a building that cannot be named for security reasons (my personal security among others), when it was built and we all moved in, we found that our new tea areas were few in number and had no 13 Amp power outlets beyond that for the fridge and the hot water not-quite-boiler-because-elf'n'safetee. But our nice new flexible-working desks had them in spades. So, with a desk wired for the developers' twin, Win + *nix, workstation setup but only a poxy little office PC allocated, the solution to our traditional round-table brew-ups was obvious.

However these sockets and wiring were only rated a few amps, you had to gang up four with a homebrew starfish to boil a standard 13 A kettle. Strictly against the rules. However, the sockets were thoughtfully and discreetly located under the desk, with plentiful ducting to hide the wiring - because-elf'n'safetee, funnily enough. But I have to admit, tee was not very safe for some weeks until all the Steves from the coloured-pencil department had brought in plastic binoculars and peered across the open-plan offices. You know, so many Steves, so few broken arcade machines, and for some reason those requisitions for carpet rolls and quicklime never came through....

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: a Weetabix or two spread thick with butter

Sorry to hear that. Gluten-free weety-type-bix cereals are available, though I dared not check the price tags.

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Weetabix is king!

You guys must spend too much time following Linus' example of eating raw pasta.

If you have never breakfasted on a Weetabix or two spread thick with butter and a good, coarse-cut marmalade, you have never lived!

More than three years after last release, X.Org Server 21.1.0 RC1 appears

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Better than NT

Not every app or service programmer designs code in a way that can be supported through the CLI. The admin has to point-and-click through the web pages and forms like any other user, just with a few extra choices enabled.

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Better than NT

The corporate problem (or a big slice of it anyway) is security architecture. It is a mantra that no system within a secure zone may initiate a connection to an external system. This prevents a compromised secure zone from spreading its woes - and data - to the world. But x.org runs on the server in the zone, and once an admin or other user has logged on, the x.org server initiates outbound "push" messages to update the user's screen. Forbidden! So how can the poor remote admin get a GUI desktop on the secure system?

The old answer was Windows NT >shudder< and many a pure UNIX/Linux environment has had an NT box lying in there like long covid, unsupportable and subject to sudden resurgences of BSOD, but irremovable.

Wayland is designed to run the connections the approved, secure way round.

So for the corporate infosec architect, Wayland doesn't have to be better than x.org, it just has to be better than NT. Not, I think you will agree, a very high bar.

I look forward to the BOFH's take on it, hint hint!

(FWIW I run Devuan+Mate at home, so x.org is my personal friend and Wayland spends its time with SystemD, getting drunk and crying into their beers.)

'Large-scale computing' needs a government team driving it, says UK.gov

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: Sure thing, boss

State of the art chips made on a line using a state of the art sub-micron process, the Line Architecture for Resolution Determination or LARD.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Sure thing, boss

Yes, absolutely, what the UK desperately needs is a Whitehall-led business plan for supercomputer dominance - just like the one the National Enterprise Board hatched when it launched INMOS all those years ago. Anybody here old enough to remember how well that went?

First RISC-V computer chip lands at the European Processor Initiative

steelpillow Silver badge
Go

Strong-arming the competition?

You know, I'm beginning to think the best thing the current owners of ARM can do with it is flog it to the Chinese at peak share price, before the uninitiated realise that RISC V is about to kill its business, the way Linux killed UNIX. And the best thing UK Gov can do is let them.

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81

steelpillow Silver badge
Megaphone

Let us not forget the

Clive Sinclair began his working career as an electronics writer, publishing several books for the hobbyist. The first time he changed the world was when he watched all the dud transistors at, I think, the Ferranti factory, being used as hardcore for a new car park. The market was almost entirely military in those days and the yield of milspec quality devices extremely poor. He took them home, graded them A, B and C and sold them on, thus moving the hobby world at a stroke from expensive valves to cheap transistors.

He did the same for audio circuitry with his radio and stereo amps. The radio has been mentioned, what he did with the stereo amp was to take a high-bandwith op-amp and slug it with massive negative feedback. That reduced its bandwidth to 20 kHz, which did not matter, but made the gain Hi-Fi flat throughout the 20-20kHz Hi-Fi spectrum, without the need for a big circuit board full of transistors and other bits, which very much did matter.

That was his true genius. He didn't invent the transistor or the stereo amplifier or the hobby microcomputer, what he did was slash the cost, repackage and sell direct to a new market.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: MK14

I still have a couple of Mk 14s. The keyboard was so crap that I wired in one from a pocket calculator that a mate had run over in his driveway. That mate went on to develop MRI scanners. I also got its tape interface but could never get it to work - typical Sinclair.

UK funds hydrogen-powered cargo submarine to torpedo maritime emissions by 2050

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Too many new technologies for this to be a real thing.

Anybody sane would fund submarine fuel cells, cargo submarines, microplastics scrubbing and AI shipping as separate research projects.

Anybody insane would have added CO2 scrubbing, Internet coverage, passenger cabins and stealth to the package.

Most likely somebody knows somebody and Matey told them exactly what shit to put in the proposal so they could tick all the boxes without raising suspicions (Note to lawyers: In my humble opinion).

Ex-DJI veep: There was no drone at Gatwick during 2018's hysterical shutdown

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Stealth cloak, anybody?

OMG so funny when the cat walked over it and got its claws caught!

I took a photo but by then the cat had got itself totally rolled up in the thing. Worst cat photo ever :(

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Stealth cloak, anybody?

Proof the Chinese* have developed a stealth cloak.

Clearly left the zipper undone and was spotted just before it could do it up properly. What's the Mandarin for "Ooh! matron!"?

* Ok, enough China-baiting: obviously the Russians or the CIA (who are the same people lizards anyway).

Wikipedia bans seven Chinese users amid concerns of 'infiltration, physical harm'

steelpillow Silver badge

Deadly serious. See the key policies at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources

I revert crap that fails these tests all the time - mostly bored schoolkids and political nationalists, with a fair scatter of nutters. Looking up your own sources so you don't get the same treatment is a stunningly effective way to educate yourself and have a blast at the same time.

Note too that while Wikipedia does not regard itself as a reliable source, its articles on mainline topics contain fewer errors than the Encyclopedia Britannica.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Verifiably sources

"but now he/she got the submission credit."

WHAT??!!? You edit Wikipedia just to rack up citations in the article histories??!!!?

Speechless....

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: all too often?

Indeed. This is exactly how Wikipedia is meant to work. Anybody who goes in expecting their own edits to be durable and gets upset when they aren't is exactly the kind of egotist they blame the wider editorial community for. Few such self-important egos get very far on "the encyclopedia anyone can edit."

steelpillow Silver badge

For the record, Wikipedia fights American propaganda as much as any other. We Brits, Canadians, English-speaking Asians and all see to that. Just you try and edit the article on Brexit using American spelling, or try to pick on Islam!

Only conspiracy-theory idiots with no experience of the Wikipedia community and a penchant for dogma over verifiable reliable sources could possibly believe otherwise. Which kinda marks you out....

steelpillow Silver badge

Correction: zh.wikimedia.org is under the control of the WMF, so the encyclopedia that sits on it very definitely has their blessing and (editorial copyrights aside) ultimate ownership. No messin'.

Technology doesn’t widen the education divide. People do that

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Indeed

Do hammers or wheels or aeroplanes affect the education divide? Only if wielded by people who are trying to affect it or don't care if they do. Technology is just an enabler, what we do with it is our fault.

BT hails hollow-core fibre trials as 'critical advancement' for secure communications

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

For those who care, the benefit of hollow fibre for quantum communications is that empty space has no atomic defects. Glass, like any solid material, generally does and these defects badly degrade the quantum signal - I believe through a phenomenon known as decoherence, but don't quote me on that.

Open-source software starts with developers, but there are other important contributors, too. Who exactly? Good question

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Equating GNU/LINUX with Open Source is not sensible. GNU may technically not be UNIX, but then Chromium, Apache, Firefox and LibreOffice aren't tied to GNU/LINUX either.

FLOSS apps such as LibreOffice and the GIMP (or whatever it calls itself these days) have benefited hugely by becoming more user friendly.

Moreover users are a varied bunch. Some may have befriended GNOME 3, SystemD and Wayland, others have not. Not for nothing has "enjoy the choice" become a hackneyed old saw.

steelpillow Silver badge

Users

Let us not forget the enthusiasts who work in large user organisations and go around insinuating open source stuff past the pointy-haired managers by fair means or foul. Without user adoption, there is no way to monetise. And without a bottom line, the corporately-sponsored senior programmers, GitHub maintainers and the like would be forced to go eat elsewhere.

China's biggest chipmaker to build colossal chip factory

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Um...

@DS999 I think you missed the bit where I noted that "these are cheaper when churned out on 8-inch Frisbees". The principal reason being that the 12" ones have to be thicker and so need a lot more etching/cleanup to thin them down for slicing and packaging.

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

Um...

12-inch may not be a good call. The main shortage is in more mundane bread-and-butter chips (ever eaten a chip buttie on a cold winter's afternoon? Awesome!), and these are cheaper when churned out on 8-inch Frisbees. Piling 14 nm toys high and selling 'em relatively cheap, in a bid to saturate the market, is pitting them against the real 2-7 nm hotrods in a market which is less cost-conscious and expecting more modest growth anyway. It may prove to be a less than stellar idea.

Only 'natural persons' can be recognized as patent inventors, not AI systems, US judge rules

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Do eggs fry...

So an AI is granted loads of patents and other IP shit, makes a pile of cash.

Who does the cash get paid to? Ever tried opening a bank account in the name of an AI?

So maybe make it a ward of court or whatever, with its owner/creator stepping forward to do the paperwork and spend the spondoolicks wisely.

The AI gets out of date, is ruthlessly terminated with extreme prejudice, in favour of an all-new Mk. II co-developed with another human jelloid. Who inherits the IP, the original creator/inventor or the "offspring" and its pair of ditto?

Patents, Copyrights, hard assets, trademarks, criminal law, common law, do we have unanimity here? Across which countries and jurisdictions? Do eggs fry on the ground at the North Pole?!

Google is designing its own Arm-based processors for 2023 Chromebooks – report

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Don’t forget the OP1

Sounds about the same age as mine. I just with there were more native Chrome apps that understood the desktop better than all the Android cruft. I mean, given the scale of Chromebook sales today, that's one healthy but largely untapped market.

I think I'd even prefer RISC OS if they ported it...

Imaginary numbers help AIs solve the very real problem of adversarial imagery

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: Can't resist...

I am a little phased by the magnitude of your insinuations.

Adding AI to everything won't make sense until we can use it for anything

steelpillow Silver badge
Holmes

Horses for courses

"have it work no matter where the AI hardware lives?"

Err, nope.

If by AI you just mean Big Data + Machine Learning + Endless Patches for Pixel Fuck-ups, then you are looking at proprietary solutions and that means proprietary hardware gets weaponised not avoided.

If you mean an AI that can handle the general problems that the general hardware is built to encounter, then no again. Checkout the realities exposed by Darwinian evolution in Mother Nature: the day octopus, manta ray, crow, horse and human are all intelligent (i.e. they have the necessary cortical architecture and display complex cognitive behaviours). But beyond being neural nets featuring certain structural topologies, those neural architectures are not exactly standardised. Why should semiconductors be any different, be they silicon crystals or carbon organics or whatever? It is, literally, a world of horses for courses.

SCO v. IBM settlement deal is done, but zombie case shuffles on elsewhere

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

"The documents state that Big Blue is good with this"

I wonder if that is as true as all SCO's other claims?

Robots don't smoke, says Alibaba, and that's why they deliver parcels so fast

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

Great idea

"Bzzt! What kept you?"

"Beep! I was half way up the emergency spiral ramp when I met JQ429Zx337B coming down the other way. My algorithm required me to give way to the downward mover so I started to reverse back down. Meep! Then A9VMH47QQ7 came up behind me with a wide load. I was not a downmover but an upmover in reverse so it refused to back down. Freep!"

"Zzt! Bleedle!" You should have negotiated that beforehand. You have failed. Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!"

KZZZZERRRT!

Horizon Workrooms promises a virtual future of teal despair

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Frightening

What I find truly frightening is how the sheeple will slurp it up because that is easier on the brain cells than declining the click-through. People will complain, but that won't stop them using it.

I confidently predict that Facebook are already negotiating with Microsoft to license a 3D version of Clippy to guide us around their virtual orifice and explain how everything you ever wanted lies behind the virtual ribbon floating a finger-poke up, just above your head.

Tesla promises to build robot you could beat up – or beat in a race

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

"The bot has a brief to eliminate 'dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks.'"

Like fitting the interior trim to an auto-auto?*

* so that after the accident everybody will know it had clean knickers on

Having trouble getting your mitts on that Raspberry Pi? You aren't alone

steelpillow Silver badge

10 mm, 11 mm, schmm

Back in the day I recall ordering 10.5 mm bolts made up for an instrumentation product in a standard enclosure. Didn't half cut down the warranty returns. Cost premium was surprisingly little if you found the right specialist manufacturer (ISTR they were in Malvern, UK. Probably gone now). The biggest problem was integrating them into a stock room and assembly line which assumed 1 mm steps in bolt sizes.

Debian 11 formally debuts and hits the Bullseye

steelpillow Silver badge
Pint

Support for init

At least "Support for init systems other than systemd is significantly improved"

That is climbdown enough for this release, really good to see the Debian community abandoning its burst of ego-driven attitude.

Hopefully, the day is now in sight when Devuan will have made its point and be merged back into Debian.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: old sites

* use <style> section and embedded 'style=' rather than gargantuan style sheets

Well, any half-sane browser will only load a stylesheet once; saves repetitive coding and hence also bandwidth and sanity for a multi-page site. But yeah, "gargantuan" = "guaranteed to fsck up as much as it pretties up" - browser defaults are as they are for a reason.

* minimal script (if any at all) and always SELF CONTAINED

No. None. Never. If CSS won't do it, don't do it.

* tables for overall formatting.

Yay! UPVOTE!!. Contrary to w3c dogma, assistive readers never have problems with tables, that have a great many with all that farty-fancy "gargantuan" CSS that breaks normal flow.

steelpillow Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: old sites

"My own blog is security-focused, so it's just static content"

Mine too, though more focused on visitor privacy, ease of maintenance in a text editor and avoidance of display issues with a thousand screen shapes, sizes and buggy browsers.

New GNOME Human Interface Guidelines now official – and obviously some people hate it

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Bug: "deactivate laser" and "destroy planet" buttons adjacent | WONTFIX

" your cursor is going dangerously near the close button every time!"

Mind you, with most apps these days given names like "Drivell" and iCrap" (yes, we know that. Please do it in the woods), and taking up all your bandwidth telling everybody else what you just did (shame they don't bother to tell you), that is probably just as well.

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: don't overwhelm people with too many elements at once

Yeah, absolutely. Gotta have a touchscreen paradigm. Those big-screen workstation folks who aren't prepared to stick a rubber glove on their selfie stick are just sooo last century.

Mind you, that giant touchscreen in the Death-by-PowerPoint Mortuary is great for discussing the best walk to Starbucks; surely the killer app for GNOME.

The W3C steers the way the World Wide Web works. Yet it is reluctant to record crucial meetings – and its minutes are incomplete

steelpillow Silver badge
Flame

Re: What is this bullshit ?

Indeed. You are the guardians of the world's most important open standards but you don't want to open your meetings? FFS! Any member of the public can go to a meeting of my local Parish Council and stream it live from their smartphone. These "guardians" are too self-oriented to be competent guardians.

Happy 60th, Sinclair Radionics: We'll remember you for your revolutionary calculators and crap watches

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Sinclair MK14

Technically it was the Science of Cambridge Mk14, that company being Sinclair's first bolt-hole from the NEB. It had the world's first membrane keyboard, which needed occasional dustings of talc to keep working, and an optional tape interface add-on that I never could get to work.

Practical Computing ran my first-ever published article, on building one.

I also recall the fun game of setting the Enterprise to divide by zero and watching it flatten its batteries as the LED display tracked in real-time its attempt to approximate to infinity.

They don't make nostalgia like they used to. C5 re-engined with rare-earth magnets in its motor and a lithium battery, anybody?

Sysadmins: Why not simply verify there's no backdoor in every program you install, and thus avoid any cyber-drama?

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

ENISA-nough to eat

Nice to know that ENISA has validated all the code on the PC it wrote its report on. I wonder if they'd care to publish the list?

BOFH: They say you either love it or you hate it. We can confirm you're going to hate it

steelpillow Silver badge

I do recall a similar escapade, which eventually turned out to have arrived in an infected floppy - via the Boss's PC.

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Re: Doctorate in Divinity: does God like Marmite?

Simon hinted as much.

But perhaps Jim can actually tell us whether God like Marmite, before he joins the other team for good?

Slacking off? It used to be there was pretty much one place to chat with your fellow developers: IRC

steelpillow Silver badge
WTF?

ignoramus

Me truly know nothing about chat artitectures. Why need server for peer-to-peer chat? Why not keep list of friends like email address book? Then we need to little more than give our mail/address book apps a chat protocol alongside mailto/pop3/smtp/webmail/blahblahblah.

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