* Posts by Sykowasp

147 posts • joined 2 Feb 2017

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Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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?)

Sykowasp

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?

etc

etc

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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?

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

Re: ;: [{ etc

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Right?

Oh.

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

... 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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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

Sykowasp

Re: Had a call...

My fee for answering is $200 per hour.

Oh. Okay.

Sorry, I don't know them.

Sykowasp

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?

Sykowasp

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.

Sykowasp

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.

Very little helps: Tesco serves up 3-for-1 borkage special to self-scanning Tesco shoppers

Sykowasp

I would have imagined that such a system would have been running a modified Android with the scanning application set as the main launcher, so it boots into it. It's not as if Android hasn't been around a lot longer than these self-scanning solutions have been in stores.

If this device is similar to other Windows Mobile / PocketPC devices of old (it looks like it) then the touchscreen is likely unresponsive as hell as well. Not that this matters on a scanner like this, I guess.

Back to the office with you: 'Perhaps 5 days is too much family time' – Workday CEO

Sykowasp

Re: I never want to be in the office full time

There are always some things that work better face to face - but they are rarely the 'meat' of what you are meant to be working on, but meta-work (i.e., meetings to plan work or discuss work). That's because a screen-share Teams/Zoom meeting is not an adequate replacement in these situations.

So I think people need to come into the office one day a week to handle these meetings, have a team lunch, and do other 'non meat' work that can benefit from the focus that being with the other people can bring. The team should decide on the day of the week that works for them all, and stick to it. If your work has more meetings then maybe another day or two. Especially when combined with a policy of 'when you are WfH you should not have these meetings, so you have all day to concentrate'.

Another reason to come in is if you are a new joiner (or changing team within an employment) - it helps with bringing someone up to speed if they can ask easy questions without the rigmarole of a calls and screen share and hoping that the other person is able to handle the query ("busy? does that mean busy busy or what?").

150,000 lost UK police records looking more like 400,000 as Home Office continues to blame 'human error'

Sykowasp

Re: I heard...

What if this wasn't an accident? As everyone points out, this should be nearly impossible on a mature system like this, which should have backups and lots of barriers in front of operations such as this.

All you need to know is that an unnamed MP was recently released without charge for a (heinous) alleged crime. Perhaps there are other, unreported, cases as well relating to Tory MPs, or donors.

So this was potentially a planned data loss to remove the records relating to this, covered up with other deleted records, in a needle in a haystack method. They'll gloriously say they recovered 90% of the records in due course from backup or paper trail, but the rest of the paper trail for the critical records will have been disappeared. Did

Yeah, it seems far fetched and conspiracy theory like, and I'm not a fan of these in these times, and it most likely was poor backup practices and system access control. But still.

It's been a day or so and nope, we still can't wrap our head around why GitHub would fire someone for saying Nazis were storming the US Capitol

Sykowasp

Re: The problem

"There were quite probably people best described as Nazis or Klansmen involved in the storming of the Capitol. But the majority were not."

No, if you associate willingly and knowingly with Nazis, then you are a Nazi as well.

And if you associate willingly and knowingly with KKK, then you are KKK as well.

This is quite simple. If you look at people on your own side, and see Nazis or klansmen, then you are on the side of the baddies.

Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

Sykowasp

Never edit production config files directly.

Always manage it with peer reviewed changes in a change repository, deployed via a tool such a puppet.

Be careful where you log into GitHub: Dev visits Iran, opens laptop, gets startup's entire account shut down

Sykowasp

Taking your main work laptop with you when you visit certain countries is always a dodgy proposition. Best to leave it at home, and take a cheaper 'disposable' system or tablet - you shouldn't be on it much anyway because there should be a reason for that visit that stops you needing to go on it.

Exonerated: First subpostmasters cleared of criminal convictions in Post Office Horizon scandal

Sykowasp

A shameful event for the post office.

The redress they mention is surely not going to make up for years of lost earnings, the criminal records that affected their lives, the stress, the ill health, the loss of pensions. Nothing short of full renumeration as if these people had worked until retirement, plus compensation on top in my opinion. It can't remove the time in prison. It can't restore the broken relationships.

It certainly won't bring back the person who committed suicide.

Yet I bet not one senior member of staff in the post office has ever seen even a mild amount of discomfort as a result of this.

Reading El Reg while working from home? Here's a pleasant thought: Kaspersky says 1 in 10 of you are naked right now

Sykowasp

How can people function without a morning shower to wake them up (in the 5 minutes between bed and starting work), that's what I want to know!

Japan pours millions into AI-powered dating to get its people making babies again

Sykowasp

Re: Alternative AI

Yes, yes, I like it. We could have vast baby farms run by AI machines that also raise the child through to adulthood via a form of virtual reality teaching / life experience.

A tale of two nations: See China blast off from the Moon as drone shows America's Arecibo telescope falling apart

Sykowasp

Re: Amy Coney Barrett

Agreed, but irrelevant to the telescope, except as a tenuous link to the decline of the USA as a progressive superpower.

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