* Posts by Sykowasp

155 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Feb 2017


Microsoft touts Visual Studio Code as a Java juggernaut


Jeez, just use IntelliJ guys.

Critical Apache ActiveMQ flaw under attack by 'clumsy' ransomware crims


No, they don't, but OpenWire might.

Note that by the time you are in "a remote attacker with network access to a broker" type situation, you have bigger problems anyway.

But users of classic ActiveMQ have had years and years to move onto ActiveMQ Artemis.

Amazon unveils new drone design, plans liftoff of aerial delivery in UK, Italy


Re: 5 metres clearance?

I don't think the drones are meant for you.

They're meant for people who live slightly off the beaten track, who are messing up with the delivery van routing, i.e., fewer deliveries per mile/hour, which is inefficient.

Russian businesses want to party like it's 1959 with 6-day workweek


Ah I wonder how the pro-Russia, pro-Putin twitter tankies are going to take this.

Miffed Googlers meme on CEO's $226M pay award amid cost-cutting campaign


In a normal business, a CEOs single job is to grow the business.

So they should be paid according to the value they have added to the business. Nothing more (perhaps a subsidence wage in-line with other employees).

Their wage should be based purely upon the stock price gains their policies have achieved.

Bad luck if the stock falls.

I might be generous and allow some form of adjustment for overall market movements.

WFH? Google Cloud's offices like a 'ghost town' before new policy


Re: You cannot eat your cake and have it.

Exactly. And it has benefits - you might get a better desk location some days, or decide to use the perch desks overlooking the river, or sit elsewhere for collaboration reasons. Also the desks are clean, in theory, and you get a locker.

The opposite is also true - force hot desking onto your employees and expect them to WfH more often.

The main issue is people don't come in evenly over the week. Tuesdays and Thursdays are particularly bad, Wednesday somewhat - TWaT culture. Nobody wants to come in on Mondays or Fridays anymore. If they can fix that somewhat, then we might be getting somewhere that allows office downsizing whilst retaining utilisation.

Soaring costs, inflation nurturing generation of 'quiet quitters' among under-30s


The bigger issue is that stressed people work less effectively.

If people are stressed about day to day living costs because they don't know if they'll even be able to get by, then that will be on their minds at all times.

Giving these people an extra few days off a year (or more WfH) doesn't fix this - although it works well for people who are not under costs pressure at other times, if you can't afford to give a pay rise.

Clearview AI fined millions in the UK: No 'lawful reason' to collect Brits' images


Re: Please fine them until the pips squeak.

And keep on doing it until the data is removed.

The problem for Clearview is that this will probably mean re-creating their databases from scratch from the new input datasets (with removed images), which is a huge amount of processing work, assuming they iteratively add new images over time.

And yes, people giving personal images to Google/Facebook does not mean they ever consented to this use which is very different from why people upload to social media.

And also why we shouldn't upload to social media, unless we have locked things down massively, which unfortunately the social media businesses don't want to make easy.

OneWeb drops launches from Russia's Baikonur spaceport


I wonder how long it would take to adapt OneWeb to launching on Falcon 9 or alternatives.

It probably isn't as simple as just sticking the satellites into the space on top of the rocket. There's the size of the satellites to take into account, and how they are deployed from the rocket. The may be lucky and it is possible in a short time period.

I guess the 36 satellites ready to launch need to be written off, they aren't coming back, and the sanctions aren't stopping soon.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*


The engine sound from Amiga Lotus Turbo Challenge II.

When you turn it on, it can play the theme music.

(first thought was benny hill theme music, already mentioned, and then the screams of souls eternally trapped in hell, but I guess partially covered by the poll).

Normal bicycles are silent, and can go pretty fast too. Why can't the same solution be used for e-Scooters, a bell?

Have you heard the Get-Ir e-Mopeds? No, just a faint whirr, and again, no problem there apparently.

Just the singling out of e-Scooters, because they're more affordable to the common pleb. But I would support a lower max speed in consumer models (especially targeted at younger people who will use them on pavements).

Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash


Autopilot has never been advertised as auto-stopping at red lights, right? (this is correct, if you're wondering)

So autopilot is pretty irrelevant, the driver should have taken control prior to the red lights.

So seems a fair charge to me.

Nothing to do with Tesla or autopilot.

Time to party like it's 2002: Acura and Honda car clocks knocked back 20 years by bug


Re: GPS week rollover

Maybe the core code in this 2007 GPS module was written in 2002.

It includes a line like this to cope with the week rollover, perhaps some of the test cases were pre-1999:

if (year < 2002) then year = year + 20

because they knew at coding time that the year would never be under 2002, so this delayed the week rollover problem by 3 years (i.e., the cars have been thinking it's 1999-2002 for three years now).

but this wouldn't fix itself in August on its own. So there must be some other code that also munges the GPS date and week and that will return a higher year number prior to this code, come August.

Who cares about the year in a car anyway? But the time is essential, and day/month can come in handy.

Give us your biometric data to get your lunch in 5 seconds, UK schools tell children


Re: Nutshell

Remember these AI systems work fairly well for white people.

So in the main it'll be denying (or requiring multiple tries) mostly for BAME pupils.

Knowing the stubbornness of schools, they will probably put these pupils last or segregate them to ensure the processing of faces continues at speed.

In the real world, parents could stick £15 on a school meal card at the beginning of the week and the pupil can just tap to pay at the end (also the card won't work in the off-license down the road), in the 3s or so the cashier has to add up what you have, enter the figure, get the payment and move on to the next pupil. Covid doesn't last well on surfaces anyway, that's been proven, so all this 'biometrics because covid' is just a screen for future authoritarian rule.


Parents - just say no.

"In a secondary school you have around about a 25-minute period to serve potentially 1,000 pupils"

That's 40 a minute, 1.5s per pupil. Sure it's pipelined, and possibly superscalar, but this seems mad.

Yeah, because the combined brainpower of an entire nation of teachers hasn't worked out that they could simply stagger lunch 'hour' by a bit to create a 'lunch 2 hours', or at least extend the serving time to 55 minutes (+>100%) with a 1hr 30 window, with some years teaching over the first or final 30 minute period.

Sure, logistics of teacher availability (they need a break too) and in secondary schools they teach all years, so the classes still teaching whilst other years are eating, then the eating year needs to come back into class, but the teacher needs a break, that's a difficulty, I can't see how it isn't solvable.

Labour Party proposes raising UK Digital Services Tax (so Amazon can pass the hike on that, too?)


An International Corporation Tax is just not going to happen anytime soon.

So when we are back in the real world, and looking at things from a consumer and societal point of view...

""However, our fear is that the large companies would simply pass this extra tax on to the suppliers and smaller companies that trade on the platforms, and thus avoid paying any extra tax and avoiding reduced profits.""

Well, Amazon avoid it, but the tax is paid somewhere into the government and the cost structures and more equalised between high street and internet.

Right? ... right?

OTOH Amazon deliver in electric vans, one journey, hundreds of houses. Better than hundreds of journeys to the shops in fossil-fuel cars, so the carbon cost saving of internet shopping should also be a factor?



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


Whilst this is clearly a test chip, if it works it could make an interesting SoC for embedded use with all those EU developed accelerators on it (even if they're weak), think Arduino or Pi Pico type devices. 22nm is cheap, it's a small die, so whilst it's not as small and cheap as some of those other devices, it might be more powerful if it does reach that 1GHz speed.

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


It's not like the same hasn't happened in the UK regarding colourful nice can designs that some busybody thinks would appeal to a child.

Right. And that child, upon taking a sip (if they manage to open the can that is, ring pulls are difficult for the younger children) would continue to drink something that was clearly not what they were expecting or like? Nah.

GitHub's npm gave away a package name while it was in use, causing rethink


Re: domain name system

That's just a convention in the naming of packages, and Maven groupIds (which is how most developers manage package dependencies in a Java project these days, and what I think the article author was probably partially referencing).

You can eschew that entirely, and it's not a problem. But most dependencies are now following the format.

Sometimes the groupId changes - the common examples being when Apache takes over a popular bit of software and the groupId becomes org.apache.{project}, but the package names in the software will remain the same for longer for compatibility reasons.

It's not perfect. There's no API/incompatibility versioning mechanism (to manage incompatible changes in a bit of software between release versions) beyond sticking that in the artifact name *and* package names (to prevent collisions, even flipping hibernate gets this wrong and they knew they were making incompatible changes with v6.x!).

Hard drives at Autonomy offices were destroyed the same month CEO Lynch quit, extradition trial was told


Wow, an entire experienced expert team of HP lawyers, acquisition specialists, financial bods, and so on, were somehow hoodwinked by a couple of people. Amazing. This really reflects poorly on HP, even if Lynch did buff up the valuation (somewhat akin to someone wet wiping something shiny before listing on ebay). This is just a vindictive saving face move.

Personally I would stop the extradition because of the lack of reciprocity from the US when we ask for someone to be extradited. The relationship is high on abusive.

Teen turned away from roller rink after AI wrongly identifies her as banned troublemaker


Re: Using it wrongly

The problem is one where the AI has been trained to have ingrained racism of the "they all look the same" type due to the training dataset and input data quality.

It also relies on cameras, that have also been shown to exhibit ingrained racist assumptions in the design - the cameras pick up white/pale skin traits quite well, but not darker skin where they are not very sensitive.

So a poor image + poor AI makes a decision, then shows the photos (on a likely poorly calibrated monitor that is also poor at showing dark skin tones) to an employee, who themselves may have their own ingrained racist opinions (or their employer will), and this will fix the previous two issues?

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means


Would the manager have known that?

The script was so basic was that even needed? Maybe it could have had a better name, but once people had been trained on its use that would have been unchangeable.

In this case the input questions could have been a bit clearer, say:

Your Email:

Active Directory Site:

Maybe add a scary message about authorised use, although most managers seem to think they should be authorised for everything.

IMO the manager in this case wanted to whitelist the sites in whatever web blocking software their company used, and thought this would do it.

Evidence planted on laptops of jailed Indian activists, says forensics firm Arsenal Consulting


Can't see how the next election in India will be free in any way, given the trajectory of their current government and their desire to stay in power.

Fabricating evidence to put opponents in prison is a very Russian move.

The M in M1 is for moans: How do you turn a new MacBook Pro into a desktop workhorse?


Re: Why only M1? Also applies to Intel Macbook's

It's not like USB-C adaptors with USB-A ports and HDMI aren't cheap.

My work threw in a https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adapter-MOKiN-MacBook-Surface-USB-C/dp/B086PQG2CW?ref_=ast_sto_dp&th=1&psc=1 with the new laptop.

Who would cross the Bridge of Death? Answer me these questions three! Oh and you'll need two-factor authentication


Re: An upvote for flagging the colour blindness issue...

You can order a colour blind tube map here - https://tfl.gov.uk/forms/12387.aspx


Re: Ah Captcha!

The crosswalks one was difficult, because they looked just like the areas we have in the UK at traffic lights for bikes to be safe in, and that was when you could actually see anything in the blurry image. Google really needs to sort out the cultural issues with Captcha.

Vissles V84: Mechanical keyboard hits all the right buttons for Mac power users


Re: ;: [{ etc

If the keys are backlit, then the letters are where the light shines through.


Re: Keychron

I very recently got a Keychron K8 (wireless gatorade red, might take into work so needs to be a bit considerate in the noise dept).

So far, so good.

Tech contractor loses IR35 tribunal appeal: 'Right' to substitute didn't mean he could, say judges


I guess he can at least ask Nationwide to pay him backdated holiday and sick pay as a result. I mean, a court of law no less found he was an employee, not a contractor.



Want to keep working in shorts and flipflops way after this is all over? It could be time to rethink your career moves


Re: I do not miss my commute at all

And in London most people are saving 10 hours a week or more on the commute.

More time with family, more time to sleep - it's no surprise that productivity has not dropped for these workers.

And you can't really work on the commute because it's usually split between walking, train (standing/no room), and walking stages. So no advantage versus driving. Indeed those who commute from further are better off, they have a longer period of time on the train to make it worth getting the laptop out, if you have the space.

There is a well known phenomenon where people stay up later than they should because it's something they have control over (or by the time they get home after work at 8pm, cook and eat dinner, do some housework, and have some personal time, it's past midnight), even though they will be tired. WfH gives them more personal time, so they are also likely to get more rest and work more efficiently.


Re: I'm done

I'll be going back in two days a week, for the face to face meetings and collaborative work, and hopefully leaving the WfH for getting down to getting stuff done.

Big problem is having a split team between London and Bangalore, the meetings are still going to be online where-ever they are held. But at least the office has good air conditioning and a pub next door.

But certainly the commute was not missed, especially with the regular train delays. 2 hours a day, simply lost to reading a freebie newstrash or phone doomscrolling.

Conservative Party fined one-third of a luxury food hamper by ICO for nuisance email campaign


I found Conservative party propaganda emails in my inbox during the same time period. I certainly never signed up for any such thing, I never would.

I presume it's the same situation, they clearly obtained a set of email addresses from somewhere and used them improperly.

Whoop! Robot/human high-fives all round! Oh, my fingers have disintegrated


Yeah, 'big data' analytics are only as good as the data put into it, and the query built on top of it.

For example, Amazon should store a field 'is this item usually purchased often or rarely' for each item they sell, so that when I buy that once-a-decade clothes horse, I don't get recommended clothes horses for months afterwards - well, until a decade later - that's when I need the suggestion!

The only recommendation algorithm that does work well is the one that recommends music based upon what other people listen to, that listen to what you listen to as well. But even so, as soon as you have more than a single-track music mind, it starts breaking down, or being so limited in recommendations to be useless. And other people have their own eclectic range of music which leads to odd recommendations just because they listen to industrial and light jazz, doesn't mean I want the light jazz recommendations!

'There was no one driving that vehicle': Texas cops suspect Autopilot involved after two men killed in Tesla crash


Yes, it could be an additional course to get that on your driving license. Like you can get automatic and manual driving licenses in the UK, and additional steps for larger and specialised vehicles, self-driving (including autopilot and advanced cruise control systems) should be tested, to teach the limitations and safe use of these currently limited systems. It only needs to be a computer-based course rather than sit-and-drive.

Also it means some money for the course book creators, and the test centres to host.

Tesla (and so on) can unlock that feature in the car upon presentation of a driving license with that aspect done.

But ... big barrier to sales of electric cars? Well, no, the self-driving is an additional feature even here.


I am shocked that a fire department doesn't know how to extinguish an electrical fire from a car crash in 2021, and instead kept pouring water on it. This is absolutely appalling.

As for the accident itself, that's entirely down to the idiots within the car. It's a non-story (as regards Tesla and Autopilot or Self-Driving) as soon as their behaviour was described.

It turns out that it's likely these idiots only stuck the car in cruise control mode anyway (presumably with the seatbelt locked in the driver's seat, but no weight sensor in the chair to confirm someone was present), so no surprise it didn't go to plan.

Docking £500k commission from top SAS salesman was perfectly legal, rules judge


Indeed this is even better for the sales bod, assuming they makes sales a few times a year, but not all the time. It smooths out the income (which may be good for tax purposes as well, if you have good years then bad years). Some upfront payment should be negotiated into the contract though, or bonus at some early point of the contract.

Obviously you'd want a term in the contract about cashing in upon termination/quitting the role, or otherwise ensuring the money is paid over the time.

The downside is if your own employer goes bust, you won't have that money - on the other had the client isn't going to be paying your bust employer either, so what can you do.


... As the judge goes around SAS's MD for dinner later that same day.

This is really dodgy, and I hope it backfires on SAS. It's clearly unfair, 'review' does not mean 'automatic cut to under half of what was expected, and then cut even further punitively'.

Sure, spread the bonus out over three years (350/300/250 say) to reduce the effect on profits (but why? surely the company's profits are boosted by the deal more than the cost of the commission?).

UK's National Rail backs down from greyscale website tribute to Prince Phil after visually impaired users complain


Indeed. I have a 'go to sleep' feature on the phone that turns the screen greyscale if I'm up too late doomscrolling. It really makes some things hard to read, and you realise how much colour is being used as a visual guide, and how hard a lot of stuff online must be if your eyesight is poor.

I mean, hyperlinks used to be highlighted visually with an underline, until every site overrode that in the CSS to use colour instead (in some cases even worse than that). Some hypertext browsers even made the link an obvious button (back when buttons were obviously buttons and not a slightly different flat coloured rectange). Maybe browsers should have a 'Force hyperlink underline' option for visually impaired users and people who are tired of hunting links on some sites.

Sites doing what nationalrail did is simply not on. Put a banner on the page, or something similar, if you absolutely feel you need to add to the avalanche of 'tributes', although I don't see why such a website needs to have this.

Ex-asylum seeker with infosec degree loses discrimination claim against UK cyber range provider after storming out


Of course there's no evidence. These things were (allegedly) said, not emailed or messaged, few people are stupid enough to put these things in writing. The guy clearly didn't raise these issues with the company HR people prior to leaving, so there's nothing recorded, and it weakened his case significantly. I mean, they hired the guy which weakens the accusations a lot - they could easily have hired someone else.

They /may/ be true, but only the people involved know the truth. They /may/ be lies and fabrications.

Hint: Even if a job is pretty rubbish (but not abusive, etc), get yourself a new one before leaving and then move on. Some jobs just aren't meant to be (like other things in life), don't drag the pain out further if not necessary or you really have no proof for your claims (which your lawyer really should point out early on).

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands


Re: Should not have Netherlands VAT ...

As an RMA drive, surely no VAT is due, because it's a replacement, not a new purchase?

Chill out, lockdown ain't over yet – perhaps FUZIX on the Pi Pico could feature in your weekend shed projects


Re: Young people these days...

I think you have 32MB if it's booting Linux.

32KB would certainly never boot Linux. "Damn Small Linux" can run on 8MB. Very old versions may run on less.

Microsoft announces a new Office for offline fans, slashes support, hikes the price


Re: I think. although maybe harsh

The 365 sub for home users is nearly £100 though (I forget the exact amount). Every year.

Office 2019 Home and Student is in a similar ballpark, but forever. In fact I see it available for £20 (professional plus with more apps is £27) and other places for even cheaper if you trust them. Most home/school users only want Word, Excel and Powerpoint anyway (Publisher might be useful for school though).

Simple choice really. Once your 365 free year that came with your laptop is over, either switch to LibreOffice if you can cope with the change, or pay less, once, for the key for the software you need that should last you a few years.

But it's a 1 computer license. Yeah, that's the only problem. But OTOH it's half-to-quarter the price, once only.

Citibank accidentally wired $500m back to lenders in user-interface super-gaffe – and judge says it can't be undone


It's a loan being repaid to the owners of the money, how can it be theft?

The law in NY states that repaid loans cannot be refunded, even if paid early in error.

This is not an incorrect transfer to someone unrelated, who would have to repay the money as it wasn't theirs.


I bet the bank already has a new UI with explicit actions for the common actions:

[_] Pay Interest (this is probably what you want)

[_] Pay Principal and Interest (loan matures X/Y/20ZZ)

[_] Advanced

Sign-off often doesn't have visibility of the original work order / story, so they will just get the request without context. As long as it looks right, it's approved. A good request includes an authorisation credential limited to the scope of the work order (permission to pay interest only) but that's a lot of work to get in place.

This is why approval requests should include the original work order so the sign off can compare the intent with the action. And the action has to be human readable, not just the underlying codes to perform the action, which are unintelligible to everyone but those in that particular knowledge silo.

Sucks for the bank, but who's crying for them eh? Good for the creditors who clearly have the law of their side in NY and gained 100% back instead of 40% for the refinancing. Bank loses $300m.

UK dev loses ownership claim on forensic software he said he wrote in spare time and licensed to employer


This shows the immaturity of employment law regarding services work, including programming.

Clearly this software is a tool, and it is knowledge/experience - that is why you are being hired. In other jobs, using your own tool or knowledge for a particular piece of work does not transfer the ownership of the tool or knowledge to the employer.

I also think it is not reasonable to identify all these tools and knowledge up-front in the employment contract - unless the employment is specific to one of those tools or knowledge (in which case ownership of derived works would be clarified in the contract, as would the ownership or prior versions - this kind of applies to this article's situation).

Now if software developers/engineers could get off their high horse and form a strong union, then matters like this would get resolved in due course.


Re: I suspect the

Weird, surely his employment finished once he left.

That ongoing payment sure sounds like a service one pays for when licensing some software.

Obviously they must have convinced the judge that this was a contractual development/support role rather than a licensing role.


Re: Just work a "second job"

That's great, but many employment contracts for full time jobs will say 'no second jobs' quite reasonably.

I think getting the exemption in the contract for personal projects not related to their employment performed out of work hours not using company resources is the sensible way to go.

The Linux box that runs the exec carpark gate is down! A chance for PostgreSQL Man to show his quality


Re: Had a call...

My fee for answering is $200 per hour.

Oh. Okay.

Sorry, I don't know them.


Ooh, haven't heard of that.

In my mind this service monitors /etc (and other service configurations) and detects changes, and automatically sticks them into a change management system, so a history of on-box changes is retained.

Is that right?


Of course you don't manage the config files on the boxes these days, they're all in source control and deployed via Puppet or some similar solution.

Sadly this means on-box tweaks are destroyed, and in-repository changes by disgruntled soon-to-be ex-employees are obviously traceable.


I think the first guy made the breaking change after being let go.

He knew one day the box would be rebooted, and then things would go wrong.

It only affected the gates, so not business halting, no money lost, so reduces the risk of a lawsuit should the change be detected as malicious (very hard to prove anyway).

Good work I say.