* Posts by HandleAlreadyTaken

112 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Oct 2016


Got an unpatched LG 'smart' television? It could be watching you back


Re: Or your best solution is...

>[a purpose-built PC] is also pretty much useless because you can't run any streaming stuff on it like Netflix, Disney+ and so forth

That's not true at all. I have this exact set up, (albeit with generic small format PCs, no purpose-built ones) and I watch Netflix or YouTube in high resolution. I don't have Disney+, but I occasionally also watched Apple TV and Amazon Prime movies, with no problem at all. I don't pirate stuff, but I did rip my DVDs and music CDs to the NAS and sometimes watch them, again using the small media PCs.


Re: Or your best solution is...

>Gotta spend the money on a purpose-built PC to use as a media player.

You don't need much money really, nor do you need a purpose-built PC. I got two cheap generic small format PCs from Amazon and using them as media players in two rooms, at high resolution. They've been running quite well, and I use them for Netflix, Apple TV, streaming movies and music off my NAS, and occasional YouTube/browsing. The only thing that's missing is a nice interface for a remote control, but I got some palm-sized wireless keyboards that work quite satisfactorily.

OpenAI claims its software can clone your voice from 15 seconds of you talking


Re: Hollywood 2

> the 2nd Hollywood, full of deception, false dreams and lies.

(tongue -> cheek) So not like the current Hollywood at all then?

Vernor Vinge, first author to describe cyberspace and 'The Singularity,' dies at 79


Re: Fire Upon the Deep

It's just evocative in general - you know, generic evocatingness.

Microsoft hires energy mavericks in quest for nuclear-powered datacenters


Re: I finally wish them well

Yeah, you really have no clue, do you? It was Paul Maritz (a Microsoft manager of yore) who coined the term of "dogfooding" when applied to the software industry. That was back in 1988, so more than 35 years ago.

US nuke reactor lab hit by 'gay furry hackers' demanding cat-human mutants


>Nick Furry leading?

If this sounds bad to you, just consider Tyson Furry...

Author hopes to throw the book at OpenAI, Microsoft with copyright class action


> you have the right to pass it on in the same binding

Dammit, I got some of my books rebound - either older books that were falling apart, or gifts I was trying to personalize - and gave some of them to friends and family. Did I break copyright? Should I get permission from the author to get a nice leather binding on my books?

Or, what if I write some marginalia in the book? Does this make the book a derived work, and I can't allow other people to read the book anymore without explicit permission from the copyright owner?

When is a privacy button not a privacy button? When Google runs it, claims lawsuit


>And Google will not know where I am buying things because I do not have location and mobile data active all the time.

You're missing the part where Google has been buying credit card information directly from the credit card companies and tracks your *offline* purchases. So, unless you're exclusively using cash, Google will know where you're buying things, and maybe what you're buying as well. They don't need your location and mobile data at all.


Re: The only way

>The only way to deal with Google is not to deal with them.

That doesn't help though. Even if you don't deal with Google directly, other pages will leak your info to Google (for example, this page on The Register calls google-analytics, doubleclick.net and also googletagmanager.com). Your ISP (or router) may use Google's DNS ( Many phone applications may use Google services in the background and pass information (for example, your location). And Google also gets information about you even if you're not online at all.

Word turns 40: From 'new kid on the block' to 'I can't believe it's not bloatware'


Re: That sounds about right...

>People often say that Word "won" the battle of the word processors because WordPerfect et al was late.

It's worse than just being late.

IMO WP 5.1 for DOS is the pinnacle of word processors. I was using it a lot at the time, to the point where I had all the function key combos burned down to muscle memory - and that's including the SHIFT/CTRL/ALT ones as well.

When I had to switch to Windows for work reasons, I naturally tried WP for Windows. Imagine my horror when I realized most function keys weren't working anymore, or they were different from the ones in the DOS version! I had to faff around with the menus or mice, which killed my productivity. However, Word for Windows had a Word Perfect emulation mode, which *did* support the WP function keys! I had to switch to Word because, ironically, it was a better Word Perfect than Word Perfect for Windows...

Producers allegedly sought rights to replicate extras using AI, forever, for just $200


Re: "address concerns of being replaced by AI"

>The elephants were walking in a ring around the camera, with set dressers throwing different blankets over them.

Terry Pratchett references this in Moving Pictures where movie makers handle the fact they only had a single camel by getting the group of bandits to ride in a single file in front of the camera.

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis



> a very large tech company that sells plenty of PCs and bears the name of its founder, Michael.

Ah, yes. Michael Compaq, I remember him!

And you bastards who keep telling me I'm losing my memory, you can eff right off.

Midjourney, DeviantArt face lawsuit over AI-made art


Re: I hope they have a case

>Sun Flowers may be out of copyright but was the photograph that was scraped also in the public domain?

In this context, wouldn't the photography itself be a much more serious violation of the original's copyright than any processing done on it by AI? I mean, the photography reproduces the whole original work including the signature (if one exists), so why is taking pictures of any artwork even allowed?

The era of cloud colonialism has begun


So... What's your solution?

>Just as countless governments and empires have over the past half millennium, the major cloud providers will paint these investments as an altruistic effort to bring vital infrastructure, services, and jobs to underserved regions. And if it stopped there, that might be alright. But in reality the cloud providers are motivated by their desire to get more customers for their products.

In other news water is wet, the sky is mostly blue and nights are mostly darker than days. Most producers of goods or providers of services (whether they're companies, merchants or individuals) are trying to make money by providing goods and services to people who need them! Heck, the local plumber will not come and fix my faucet from an altruistic impulse to fix my house's necessary infrastructure etc. He'll want paying, the egotistical dastard! He'll also try to do good work in the desire to get more customers for his products! Imagine this!

>Microsoft aims to bring internet service to 100 million Africans within the next three years and is working with Viasat to reach some of the most remote residents.

I'm flabbergasted that the author tries to spin this as being a bad thing on the whole. Looks to me like a terminal case of ideology trumping good sense. As far as I can see, 100 million Africans (including some of the most remote ones) getting internet access can only be good for them and for the entire world. Yes, Microsoft et. al. will make a profit - but from the tone of the article, it looks like the author will rather have those Africans go without internet access altogether than have them get access to GMail or Amazon services.

The article looks to me a (really poor) attempt at anti-cloud provider spin. The only glimmer of an argument is the complaint about stifling local competition. It's a bad argument, of course, because there is no such thing as local competition. It's like the author argues for forbidding electricity in the UK because it would have a negative impact on the local jackalope population - there are no jackalopes in the UK, nor meaningful local cloud providers in Africa. Developing a cloud provider requires a lot of available capital, a lot of know-how, a favorable legal framework, political stability, large and relatively cheap power sources and many other things. How many of those exist in Africa - or even in Latin America?

Now, a more interesting discussion would be the reason why there are no global European cloud providers - Europe has the know-how, the capital, the political stability, and, despite the recent Russian shenanigans, it has available power sources large enough to support big data centers - moreover, local providers would have fewer problems with storing and processing personal data of European citizens. I don't know why there are no big European providers (as yet?).

Twitter layoffs were bad but Meta's mass ejections could take the cake


Re: Which makes me wonder

I find it somewhat ironic that you call (old) FB users dumb and at the same time seem to think TikTok is the smart choice of younger people.

Claims of AI sentience branded 'pure clickbait'


Not sentient?

>AI chatbots are not sentient – they have just got better at tricking humans into thinking they might be

Just like politicians, then...

Japan makes online insults a crime that can earn a year in jail


Re: I approve

>Free speech does not mean free of consequence.

Yup, just like it was in Soviet Russia. They had full freedom of speech, didn't they? Everybody was free to criticize communism! Of course, afterwards they got packed away to gulags, or worse, but they should have known freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences.

Microsoft brings tabs to File Explorer


Still awful to use

After I don't know how many years, File Explorer is still awkward to use and annoying. In the old days there were lots of alternative file managers, like XTree, Norton Commander and others. Pretty much all of them were better than File Explorer.

Personally, I'm using Total Commander, a tool that inherits the model of the ancient Norton Commander, and is still maintained by Christian Ghisler. IMO it remains the best file manager. I seriously think MS should buy or license it and ship it with Windows instead of File Explorer.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity


Had something similar happen long ago, when our biggest customer complained one of the computers at a remote branch had a defective 5 inch floppy unit (yes, it was *that* long ago). The customer didn't give us any other details, but they were adamant this needs to fixed ASAP, so I flew 400 kms with a shoulder bag full of spares. When I got there and asked the local worker to show me the issue, she stuck a floppy in a narrow gap between the case and the actual reader. I opened the computer's case and found something like ten disks piled on the bottom. At least I got a chance to visit the city on the customer's dime :)

The next time your program is 'not responding,' (do not) try these steps


Re: How about not using Windows?

>All you need is one.

But all you get is none.

Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay


Re: And next week

>It is the same for Walmart, both these companies are routinely vilified because they refuse to be extorted by unions!

Personally, I vilify Walmart because their employees are treated so badly they need tax-payer support, via Medicaid, food stamps and others. This means part of the billions in dollars of profit Walmart makes is stolen from me and other tax-payers, even if we never stepped inside one of their stores. The extortionist isn't the Union - it's Walmart, and tax-payers are the victims.

If unionizing Walmart means they will start paying employees enough to get them off state support, than more power to the unions, says I.

Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future


Re: Half full or empty

As a one percenter, I say "This cup? It's not my cup! My cup was full! AND it was a bigger cup!"

(badly quoted from Terry Pratchett, the source of all wisdom)

Alibaba Cloud adds third datacenter in Germany


Only two?

My impression was that Azure has a geographical distribution comparable to AWS, and that both have considerably more regions than Google, so I was surprised to see only two regions for Azure (putting it even below Alibaba's three in Europe). It took me about two minutes to confirm: the author either missed or intentionally skipped a whole bunch of Azure regions in Europe, while counting all the AWS and Google ones, even some not available yet. From their page here, Azure also has active regions in the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and planning new ones in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain.

It was probably poor research rather than intentional misrepresentation, but either way I'm not really impressed.

A discounting disaster averted at the expense of one's own employment


Re: Alarming, fired.

Well, if you don't charge for the source and you don't charge for support, how would you pay your developers?

BOFH: The evil guide to upgrading switches


Re: Virtual Friday BOFH

>Painting bloody Easter eggs? Eating walls?

Painting Easter eggs (often the color of blood) is an ancient tradition in Eastern Europe. Eating walls, not so much...

Huawei reportedly furloughs Russian staff and stops taking orders


In this case, "illegal" could be interpreted as "contrary to international law" - though I'm not a lawyer and couldn't quote the relevant law chapter and verse.

I personally think a moral difference exists between say the Allied invasion of Sicily in '43 and the Putin invasions of Ukraine - so we do need some word to highlight this difference. I believe "illegal" works well enough for this purpose.

Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?


Only four?

Let's see, phone, tablet (e-mail, web browsing), work PC, work secure laptop, big home computer (photo editing, some limited video editing, games), home TV PC (two of them for two rooms), the older all-in-one still used occasionally for older games. There's also an older tablet now reserved for watching Netflix while doing cardio. With the Synology NAS that doubles as a Kodi and Git server it adds up to ten - and all of them get used at least once a week.

India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge



Is this bullshit as a service? If so, there's plenty of prior art...

Antitrust battle latest: Google, Facebook 'colluded' to smash Apple's privacy protections


Re: Does big tech ever learn

Yup, it's almost a mirror case. Also funny how Google was an enthusiastic participant in the Microsoft antitrust case, and now it's doing the exact things they were complaining about at the time. Goose, gander, eh?

I wonder whether the DOJ has learned something from the Microsoft case too. At the time there was talk about breaking up Microsoft in separate companies, making it difficult to use their monopoly in some area to push a monopoly in a different one, but it didn't happen in the end. I personally think it unlikely, but maybe this time they'll decide to break Google up, and move the ad business to a separate company (who can FOAD).

Danish artist pockets museum's cash and calls it art... and other stories


Great (blank) future

He can probably build a very successful career selling empty canvases, with a certificate proving that *he*, a recognized artist, is the one that did not paint them, and not some dabbling dilettante

Scientists took cues from helicopter seeds to invent tiny microchips that float on wind


Smells like cancer

It should be fun breathing in what amounts to sharp bits of glass floating around in the air...

Is it OK to use stolen data? What if it's scientific research in the public interest?


>Saving lives will certainly right the wrong. No problem, right ?

That's certainly a position long supported by the ones in power. A certain illustrious organization, dedicated to working for God's greater glory used to say: Cum finis est licitus, etiam media sunt licita - that is, when the end is lawful, then the means are lawful.

Engineers work to open Boeing Starliner's valves as schedule pressures mount


Re: "assumed Boeing knew what it was doing."

what a SpaceX aeroplane would be like.

Well, to begin with, there'd be no instruments, indicators or controls. The dashboard will be instead covered with a low quality plastic, looking like seventies' Formica furniture, and have an iPad stuck in the middle. The iPad wouldn't be facing towards the pilot, and it won't be moveable, but all the pilot needs to do is to stop looking out and turn his head towards the iPad (maybe lean back a little). That's ok, because the outside is pretty boring anyway - just clouds and stuff. All the relevant information like attitude or radar is displayed on the iPad, though of course, the screen would be modal, so the controls won't all be available in all modes. However, there's a very good chance the pilot would be able to see the attitude almost immediately (unless the iPad is currently playing music or showing maps, or maybe on the settings screen). Also, for simplicity, there won't be any physical buttons or levers for controlling the plane; instead, the iPad would provide touch controls for flaps and what not, all easily accessible only a few levels of menus down from the main screen.

Firefox 91 introduces cookie clearing, clutter-free printing, Microsoft single sign-on... so where are all the users?


Re: Bold move

play up Google's control over both the browser and many of the most popular destinations as well as most of the web based advertising as the negative it is.

Given that Mozilla still suckles at Google's tit for financing, I doubt they'd be willing to go with such an adversarial approach.

Pre-orders open for the Mini PET 40/80, the closest thing to Commodore's classic around


Re: The PETs inspired me.

>In a museum now. The machine, not me.

(Artificial intelligence): Soon... soon...

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful


Re: You have my sympathies...

>Have you seen the NEEO?

Not yet, but thanks for the tip! The NEEO looks good at first glance, and it's cheap enough that I can try it without major regrets.


Re: My television wants me dead, or just gibbering in a 'special' ward.

>In the end the fix was to update the firmware on the TV (it had been a while since I checked) which gave me a completely new and more slow/useless front end

But didn't the new firmware also bring ads to your home screen? I think the inconvenience of a slow front end pales against the satisfaction of being marketed to every moment of your life, don't you?


Re: You have my sympathies...

Well, then you will be glad to know Logitech has discontinued the Harmony remote controls; so don't throw away the old remotes. If your Harmony breaks, you may not find another one (or be able to program it, if Harmony also closes their programming support. They say they won't, but who trusts what a company says anymore?)

I'm in the same boat; I have one of Logitech's ancient Harmony models, which has been doing stalwart work, but is starting to get long in the tooth. I looked for alternatives, but I couldn't really find a good one. I don't understand why this niche in the market isn't filled by somebody.

Hi, Congress. FTC here. It would be so wonderful if you could let us recover money stolen from victims by crooks


Re: What's going on?

Perhaps a good example of "magical thinking" is the widespread American belief that free market principles should apply to health care. Various fixes proposed for health care tend to go into the direction of making the market "more free", by example by easing regulations and lowering the bar for various insurance companies to provide "market driven solutions".

This, IMHO, is a direct result of the belief a free market somehow solves all problems under the sun. I think what we want from a healthcare system is to maximize health. However, a free market is a great tool for maximizing profits, and, unsurprisingly, that's just what it does. It maximizes the profits of insurance companies and other entities. What it doesn't do is improve health - because it wasn't designed for that.

The results of this thought process are easily visible - health care in America is more expensive than in most other developed countries, has worse results on average, and the difference in the quality of health care for the rich and the poor is larger than in most other places, and growing.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends


Re: Modem warbling WAV file

My nephew had no clue what the ringing sound at the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Time" was. I was listening to it once, and he asked me - "Did you have cell phones at that time?"

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?


Re: No, it's just the result of an "upgrade"

>Phones and their app are upgraded all the time.

Not just phones unfortunately; nowadays your TV, light bulbs, even cars are getting the same over-the-air auto-upgrade treatment. Seeing how well this worked for computers and phones, that's really scary.

Microsoft and Google, sitting in a tree, working on browser compatibility



> The ad slinger's involvement in the Compat 2021 project augers well for progress.

So the next browser version will come with nice wooden panels?

Who watches the watchers? Samsung does so it can fling ads at owners of its smart TVs


Re: I was going to look at a Samsung 50" TV - to buy one today, in fact.

>neither are transmitting any more data than diagnostics and usage info (i.e: screen-on time, app start and stop) of the specific device

Why would you think this is acceptable? This lets a potential attacker infer at what times you're usually at home, whether you're on vacation, and, if they also transmit the current channel or any other program metadata, what are your preferences, and probably also political and/or religious leaning. Sounds far beyond what I'd be comfortable with.

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended


Re: Static

>You're all too young!

>My first own PC was an 80286 with the RAM upgraded to 1MB from the standard 512KB.

Well, you're quite a spring chicken too then :)

My first PC used an 8086 (yeah, with the whole 16 bit data path!), running at a glorious 4.77 MHz, packed full with 640 kb of RAM (which was enough for everybody)! And it had a whooping 20 Mb disk, so enormous that the OS couldn't even conceive such a thing could exist - so I had to split it in a 4Mb and a 16 Mb partition

We're suing Google for harvesting our personal info even though we opted out of Chrome sync – netizens


Re: Their outlook

>Not going a way mad, just going away where you can not find me.

Hah, joke's on you. They can find you anywhere.

Companies toiling away the most on LibreOffice code complain ecosystem is 'beyond utterly broken'


Re: It's quite clear where the money is:

>Sell the software for £0 and charge for support, retraining and consultancy

I think this business model creates all the wrong incentives.

- in order to sell support, the product must *need* support - if the software is stable and rock solid, companies will see that and save on support they never need to use.

- to make money from retraining users, the software must change so much between versions that normal users can't just install the new version and become productive by themselves.

- if you want to sell consultancy services, the product must be difficult to use - or at least, difficult to use efficiently; that also discourages the developer from writing sufficient documentation and/or tools.

- if you want to sell tailored extensions to companies, you'll have to deal with other folks, who haven't invested any time or effort in writing the software but can take your code, study it, then declare themselves experts and undercut you in the extensions market. To maintain some competitive advantage over them, your code must be difficult and obfuscated enough that they can't discover all the details by simply examining it.

If you reverse the model, and take money upfront, but offer cheap or free support (maybe as a warranty), then all the incentives are reversed: support becomes a cost, so you want your product to be as solid as possible, easy to use, easy to upgrade and consistent over upgrades (because upgrades are the way you, the developer get more money). People to write extensions and plugins on top of your software are now driving more sales, so they become helpers, not competition.

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC


Re: Only 45 years late?

>I skipped on MS Basic till VB5.

But did you really? If you used BASIC on a Commodore (PET all the way to the 128), an Apple (II+ forwards), a TRS-80, any of the MSX machines, a Thompson or Olivetti, or even an Altair 8080, then you used a BASIC written or licensed from Microsoft.

I/O, I/O, new Android soon on show: What's coming up at Google's dev conference


I/O, I/O, new Android soon

This really makes me think of Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! for some reason...

It's a no to ZFS in the Linux kernel from me, says Torvalds, points finger of blame at Oracle licensing


Re: The problem is not Oracle (for once)

>What BSD makes it "freer" to do is steal code and falsely claim ownership of if.

Bullshit. Utter bullshit.

If developer A releases some code under a BSD license, nobody can claim ownership over that code. Developer B can modify or extend A's code, and may choose not to release his changes to all and sundry, but he can't claim ownership over A's code. A third party, C, can still use the original code released by A with no restrictions. What B gets is the freedom to choose how to release his code.

GPL advocates like you are the choosing beggar subset of third parties, bellyaching because A didn't force B to give them his (B's) code as well. To obfuscate the issue, they take a page from Orwell's book and redefine "freedom" to mean "more restrictions" and "free" as in "taking away choices".

You could perhaps argue that the GPL promotes sharing, or that it creates a more vibrant ecosystem - and that may be true. The kind of word games you're trying instead doesn't hold though.

Amazon: Trump photon-torpedoed our $10bn JEDI dream because he hates CEO Jeff Bezos


>immediately after any head of government ended their tenure, a formal investigation were to be started as a matter of routine to determine whether any criminal offences were committed by their government whilst in power

Terry Pratchett has an even better solution:

“We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?’


‘It saves time.”