* Posts by Chairman of the Bored

931 posts • joined 19 Apr 2017

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IBM adds side order of NLP to McDonald's AI drive-thru chatbots

Chairman of the Bored

In simpler times...

My brother worked for an audio company that sold the radio comms infrastructure to McD "restaurants". Analog (narrowband FM) using only bog standard CTCSS tones to control squelch. No voice scrambling. Customers would call up desperate for a solution when the following sort of thing happened at the drive through kiosks-

16-year old: "Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?"

Customer: "Yeah, I'd like a whopper meal with a coke big enough to swim in"

Interloper: "For fuck's sake, man, you're what? 300 pounds? How is eating this s...t gonna help THAT?"

Customer: "What the fuck?"

16-year-old: "I'm hearing voices!"

Interloper: "Yes you are! Stop smoking weed, dumbass!"

I miss the 90's. Simpler times.

US Navy told to do a 'supplemental' integrity investigation of $2.5b Dell deal

Chairman of the Bored

Figures!

I used to work for the USN...

We saw the Blanket Purchase Agreement process as a much needed tool to avoid some of the more ridiculous issues with government acquisition. One cannot obtain flexibility without incurring risk.

OF COURSE the Navy had to f___ this up at the billion-plus dollar level. This is why we cannot have good things.

Tee up another six or so hours of mandatory training for all USN civilian personnel - whether they have anything to do with acquisitions or not. Tee up a vast new purchasing bureaucracy to reform BPA literally to death.

Watch every swinging dick involved in this take a VP position at Microsoft.

Popcorn time.

DARPA says US hypersonic missile is ready for real world

Chairman of the Bored

What the heck was Pershing II then?

Launched with an IRBM? Check

Hypersonic? Check

Guided? Yes - active radar

Warhead? Hope you've got SPF 1x10^20 lotion on

I'm struggling a bit to understand why we are having difficulty doing something that was developed and deployed in the 70's and 80's

The wild world of non-C operating systems

Chairman of the Bored

Re: RISC OS

Thanks for the link.

Lovely code. I've not done Arm ASM - only Intel 8051 and 80186 - but the code is easy to follow. The authors seem to have hit a good balance between providing useful information and verbosity.

The IBM System/360 Model 40 told you to WHAT now?

Chairman of the Bored

Read canaries ... How I became Director of the Secret Police

Back when I worked for good old Uncle Sam, my team would write numerous formal technical reports. The review process was interminable, it seemed there were more signatures required for TR release than needed for the missive we sent King George in 1776.

This raised an important question- were any of these esteemed leaders actually reviewing anything?

We decided to use stack (read) canaries - if the reviewers called us on the carpet when they found something outrageous, we knew 1) they might just be functionally literate, and 2) they actually read the paper

After all, we would back out all the substitutions when we were done, right? Except for that one time we forgot.

That's when the lab sponsoring our work learned that instead of my real title I'm the Director of Secret Police. The Applied Physics Lab became the Applied Political Lab. The table of acronyms spelled out the meaning of FUBAR. SAPFU, FOAD. Apparently one of our investigators has the improbable name of Will E. Wanker...

Uncle Sam has a datacenter waste problem

Chairman of the Bored

Title inflation

Another aspect of this is a temptation to gold plate the name of any capability or system. I observed this constantly when I worked for the US Navy.

Example- we needed to perform some modeling and simulation of antenna systems. The appropriate tool was a nice SGI Power Origin cluster. A lovely piece of kit, but nevertheless just two racks of compute capability.

One day I arrived at work to discover a sign on the door calling the system a Supercomputer. The BOFH was now a Supercomputer Center Director. And so on.

I wonder how many of those "data centers" are rooms of excess PCs gathering dust. After all, when it's time for annual reviews would you rather be the Deputy Vice Assistant Obsolete Hardware Wanker, or Datacenter Director?

I should have named myself the High Priest of Computational Electromagnetics. After all, I had the Director of Supercomputing working for me.

FAA now says 5G airports may interfere with Boeing 737s

Chairman of the Bored

Poor choice of words in the release

"Impacted systems" in the context seems painfully ironic.

Machine learning the hard way: IBM Watson's fatal misdiagnosis

Chairman of the Bored

IBM AI?

s/IBM is bullish/IBM spews a lot of bullshit/r

Sorted.

How can we recruit for the future if it takes an hour to send an email, asks Air Force AI bigwig in plea for better IT

Chairman of the Bored

You know it's bad when the Air Force is bitching.

I lived the Navy IT dream for many years. When we decided to go with outsourced IT through the Navy/Marine Corps Internet (NMCI) it was - and remains - an absolute cluster fsck. The USAF looked at NMCI and wisely said, "EDS will own all our stuff? Er, no. We will let Navy stuff it." The Marines "My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment" ditched it

Then we doubled down and added SAP ERP to the cesspool.

Through it all the Air Force still had relatively functional IT. Now, apparently, they get to embrace the suck

BOFH: On Wednesdays, we wear gloves

Chairman of the Bored
Pint

Truly excellent

I cannot wait for the next installment.

A dog with a nose for carpet ... Very nice.

And kids: seriously: wear the dang hearing protection. After years in the lab I'm deaf in one hear and can't hear a damn thing out of the other, as the saying goes.

Japan solves 5G airliner conundrum: Keep mobe masts 200m from airport approach paths. That's it

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Using a Passive Front-End Filter

Upvote for an excellent post! You're quite right that frontend saturation is the main RF concern here.

A relatively cheap surface- or bulk- acoustic wave filter can do the filtering job but would add a fair amount of insertion loss - several dB - and that directly reduces the signal/noise ratio of a receiver. These would cost from single digit dollars to a few tens of dollars each. The systems engineering question becomes whether one is willing to accept the loss of SNR.

A cavity, ceramic resonator, or printed circuit "stripline" filter would work nicely. I did some back-of-envelope calcs that suggest a relatively low complexity design would provide >52dB of rejection over the 5G lower band (*). Cavities tend to cost around $100+ in bulk, ceramics probably $20-$50, integrated stripline varies depending on how much one would have to modify their existing PCB design to accommodate.

Another approach is to use low noise amplifiers on the frontend that have high dynamic range. Marginal cost for such an upgrade is minor, but this involves spinning new PCBs - effectively a new product.

So here is the real problem: radalt are safety critical. If I add a filter, mod a PCB, look at it funny, or even think dirty thoughts in it's vicinity... The FAA regs will require a recertification. Thats extremely expensive. Is have to draft maintenance instructions for all the radalt in the field, and these would need to be reviewed. The radalts FCC certs, CE certs, MIL-STD-461 EMI testing, MIL-STD-810 shake n bake testing, etc would have to be re-done. Somebody has to pay for the labor to installl, inspect the installation, certify it's done to spec... None of that is cheap.

What's going on here is an effort to get someone else to pay for the systems engineering to figure out if there even is an issue, and be on the hook for any mitigation if there is. Lastly, people want a paper trail so that there is someone else to chuck under the bus if an airliner ever has an issue.

(*) Butterworth, fifth order, would work nicely.

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE

Chairman of the Bored

That's ok

My main IT policy accomplishment was convincing leadership to change the policy on username conventions for first inital, middle initial, full last name.

This had nothing to do with one of my colleagues having the name B.G. Dick

BOFH: Time to put the Pretty Dumb F in PDF reader

Chairman of the Bored

Best retort to "Well, I've got a PhD!"

Had a manager with a PhD in some irrelevant humanities field ... barely managing a technical team, all of whom had at least a BS degree in hard sciences.

In any technical discussion she didn't understand, she would say, "Well IVE got a PHD!"

Best response? "No shit! Where did you get it? ...long pause... Do they give refunds?"

Chairman of the Bored

Executive MBA

During a branch meeting we were asked to congratulate The Chosen One on their stellar accomplishment- bullshitting their way to an MBA.

Retiring curmudgeon says, "Very good! You're now a sexual intellectual!". Collective gasp, because that was over the line, even by early 2000's standards.

Somewhat says, "What??"

Curmudgeon:. "He's now a fscking know-it-all!'

OK, boomer? Gen-X-ers, elder millennials most likely to name their cars, says DVLA

Chairman of the Bored

Geronimo

First car, a heavily used Toyota Corolla that simply ran and ran, no matter what the conditions happened to be. Survived against all odds. Best $500 Ive spent... though the girls were not terribly impressed.

Boffins use nuclear radiation to send data wirelessly

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Now if they could do this with neutrinos...

I'm referring to Fermilab'a MiniBooNE experiment. An old colleague worked on some of the high speed electronics for the PMTs-

https://www.fnal.gov/pub/science/experiments/intensity/miniboone.html

The microboone follow-on experiment is also extremely interesting.

Chairman of the Bored

Now if they could do this with neutrinos...

...that would be badass.

The detector might require excess baggage charges though. Fermilab's current neutrino detector is a sphere continuing 800 tons of mineral oil and 1200+ photomultiplier tubes.

The Ministry of Silly Printing: But I don't want my golf club correspondence to say 'UNCLASSIFIED' at the bottom

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Nowadays of course the boot is on the other foot

An enlightened boss!

I've got a great one right now. His attitude is that holidays and weekends are purely for rest and recreation. While some long days are inevitable, when they happen the program managers get their asses chewed out for improper resource management.

SoftIron now slinging servers with artisanal firmware and an auditable bill of materials

Chairman of the Bored

How does one use an x-ray to verify functionality?

Question-

X-ray and acoustic microscope systems are routinely used for QA of printed circuit assemblies, particularly for dense IC packages such as BGA. They are also quite useful for counterfeit detection on ICs. But so far as I know you learn nothing of the state of running electronics

Now an IR imager can be useful in this role...

What do you mean you gave the boss THAT version of the report? Oh, ****ing ****balls

Chairman of the Bored

The time I was asked for career advice...

I was asked for some career advice, "Should I take a deputy director role in division X?"

My snarky replay was along the lines of, "Why the hell would you do that? It's run by a fucked up, half-witted bootlick with a nose for blow!"

I didn't know that they guy was the stepson of the company president. Blowback was surprisingly light, because I think the president's wife was pressuring him to "find a job for little Timmy" and Timmy ended up getting promoted into harms way, in accordance with the Peter principle.

Microsoft says Azure fended off what might just be the world's biggest-ever DDoS attack

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Mine is bigger than yours

No, it's a communication network contest, so the real metric is how far you can shoot your comm.

Imagine a fiber optic cable that can sense it's about to be dug up and send a warning

Chairman of the Bored
Mushroom

Yes, you can influence events 10km away

The BOFH solution would be to co-locate segments of detonating cord along your fiber path. Combined with some electronic safe/arm devices, slappers, and an occasional booster + main charge to keep things exciting you can defend your cable.

"If I can't have a cable, you can't have that 'effen backhoe blade!!"

Bonus - after a few shots it's unlikely you will have idiots trying to tap the cable, too.

Get ready to make processes fit the software when shifting to SAP's cloud, users told

Chairman of the Bored

Soviet

Why does this remind me of humor from Soviet times?

Q: How are we shaping the new socialist man?

A: With airplane seats that distort him in impossible ways

84-year-old fined €250,000 for keeping Nazi war machines – including tank – in basement

Chairman of the Bored

Ha!

On this side of the pond, just grow some facial hair, wear a baseball cap, and call yourself an ammosexual. All will be well.

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

Chairman of the Bored
Coat

Florida Man suffers electile dysfunction

That is all.

Study finds crayfish treated with antidepressants become more outgoing, adventurous

Chairman of the Bored

Easy solution

Put the predators on THC. They will pass on the prawns and go for the crisps..

Realizing this is getting out of hand, Coq mulls new name for programming language

Chairman of the Bored

Much Ado about nothing

Shakespeare would be appalled at this Coq-up.

Arguably the greatest writer in English, Shakespeare demonstrated mastery of double entendre in all his works, but the title of Much Ado About Nothing is perhaps a triple entendre. "Noting" and "Nothing" had quite simimal pronunciations in his day. "Noting" or carefully observing others' behaviors would lead the main characters far astray. "Nothing" foreshadows the silliness of the conflict to come. "Nothing" was also slang for lady parts ...

Yes, Signor Mountando has indeed returned from the wars...

FBI paid renegade developer $180k for backdoored AN0M chat app that brought down drug underworld

Chairman of the Bored

Makes me think about a police Lt I knew...

...I asked him about some of our local organized criminals and whether they would walk sometimes when everyone knew they are dirty. His answer was along the lines of:

'Hell yeah! But you kiss them goodbye. Say, "You know what, buddy? You're right - we can't keep you. But I will make abso-fucking-lutely certain every swinging dick on the street know how HELPFUL you've been to me. Have a nice life, if you can. GTFO."

I wonder if some admin was less than forthcoming and his "cooperation" is overrated. Pour encourager les autres.

That thing you were utterly sure would never happen? Yeah, well, guess what …

Chairman of the Bored

Probably apocryphal yet amusing

Back when I worked for the worlds largest operator of grey-painted ships and nuclear subs, we had a senior developer who told a story (*):

A certain early build of a surface ship combat system had a training mode that would simulate threats to provide operators with realistic displays they might see on a bad day. When under antiship missile attack, when the raid impacted the defended point an ASCII pic of a donkey would show up on console, along with the phrase "kiss your ass goodbye". That somehow made it onto a platform and the CO was ... Surprisingly amused.

(*) What's the difference between a fairy tale and a sea tale? The fairy tale starts with "Once upon a time", and the sea tale begins with "There I was..."

Flying dildo poses a slap in the face for serious political debate

Chairman of the Bored

Is that a dong on a drone?

The correct answer to that question is, "Roger, todger."

Royal Yacht Britannia's successor to cost about 1 North of England NHS IT consultancy framework

Chairman of the Bored

Will it be used for...

Navel exploration and offshore drilling?

Looking for clams?

Lessons have not been learned: Microsoft's Modern Comments leave users reaching for the rollback button

Chairman of the Bored

Re: "Modern Commenting"

Mechanical thumper? Wang Cares!

Linux laptop biz System76 makes its first foray into the mechanical keyboard world with dinky, hackable Launch

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Model M

The new Model M looks fantastic!

But what's this about PS/2 and USB ports? Everyone knows a real keyboard uses a full size DIN connector. Something that looks like it was been from a solid block of black plastic by German craftsmen, surrounded by metal that looks like it's been stamped from only semi-refined ore.

Colonial Pipeline was looking to hire cybersecurity manager before ransomware attack shut down operations

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Gold Waterfall?

I thought that, too. I also wondered if I am supposed to recall the golden shower Donald Trump [allegedly] got in Mother Russia.

If so, hats off the the bloke who came up with the Gold Waterfall handle. I have respect!

Open-source JavaScript project Babel 'running out of money' after employing paid maintainers, sponsors pull out

Chairman of the Bored

Commits... what an asinine metric!

Not all commits are created equal! Reminds me of paying people based on lines of code

/*

*

* Or

* Boilerplate

* Comments nobody

* Reads

*

*/

As a chief hardware engineer, I can measure the commits I've done in the last decade on one hand, but I feel my strongly nonzero salary is nonetheless justified...

Preliminary report on Texas Tesla crash finds Autosteer was 'not available' along road where both passengers died

Chairman of the Bored

Warning fatigue

Not relevant to the two Texans purging themselves from the gene pool, but I noticed something about me and my car's level 2 automation that's all too familiar in an IT context-

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 does a very good job helping with cruise control and lane keeping on interstate highways.

On secondary streets where drivers nose out into blind intersections whilst updating their fucking Facebook status, I very deliberately swerve toward the other side of the road, and the safety system provides firm (yet easily overridden) corrective force on the wheel plus some seriously loud beeping.

Constant beeping leads to alert fatigue, which leads to disabling the system. Not sure how many drivers will dig through the menu tree to disable the beep versus just disabling the entire system with a single button press and lose some of the benefits of the automation.

Russian cyber-spies changed tactics after the UK and US outed their techniques – so here's a list of those changes

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Stupid mistake is a CRIME -- Here's the cure.

14. I didn't know I was drunk at the time

Former Senator and one-time astronaut Bill Nelson named as NASA's new administrator

Chairman of the Bored

The one time in my life I wish I were a Senator

My question for the nominee would be:

Mr. Nelson, I'd like to address Artemis, Constellation, or whatever the name will be tomorrow. What is your specific plan for getting your ship together? The taxpayer is getting tired of this ship.

Watchdog 'enables Tesla Autopilot' with string, some weight, a seat belt ... and no actual human at the wheel

Chairman of the Bored

Re: How is this news?

Upvote for Blues Brothers reference!

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user

Chairman of the Bored

Three ball bearings

I understand making products that are Marine resistant. I was told that "Sailor proof is different!"

"How?"

"If you give a sailor three ball bearings and check on them the next day, one will be missing. One will be broken. One will be pregnant.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

Chairman of the Bored

Re: Communicating with only obscenities?

That's fucking brilliant!

Chairman of the Bored

Communicating with only obscenities?

1) The amount of information your drill instructor can convey using only screamed obscenities is truly staggering. It's a wonder I can even pee in a parabolic arc anymore without someone screaming, "That fucking thing is so small, why the fuck do you need to use your hand?"

2) I had a piece of equipment RMA'ed back to the States from somewhere hot and sandy. The only documentation was the spray paint on the side of the crate: "WTF assholes? This POS is NFG"

Feature bloat: Psychology boffins find people tend to add elements to solve a problem rather than take things away

Chairman of the Bored

I think the authors missed some irony-

Writing a paper asserting people are hardwired to create more complexity, while working in a field in which your worth is measure by the number of papers one writes.

Back to my day job of creating more product...

We are all hamsters on the wheel, my friends.

How to ensure your tech predictions catch on in a flash? Do the mash

Chairman of the Bored

Jackie Chan kung-fu fighting scenes...

...set to heavy metal. Or soft classical.

You're welcome!

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children

Chairman of the Bored

Re: 11 stone..

Air conditioning? Nope, I owned a Ford.

Imagine your data center backup generator kicks in during power outage ... and catches fire. Well, it happened

Chairman of the Bored

Re: A feeling of impending boom

Indeed! Even without the energetic nature of O2, a failure would be spectacular... I was near a 10,000 liter dewar of LN2 that experienced fracture of a large liquid line. All hell broke loose, and I left the area like Usain Bolt

Chairman of the Bored

Re: A feeling of impending boom

@Eclectic Man, I'm quite happy that you were able to attend George Porter's lecture and meet the gentleman. That sounds like an outstanding evening. Sadly I do not have a copy of his Christmas lectures, I'm more or a sparky than chemist.

Back when I was in the service, though, we were shown a grainy, B&W video on the "Dangers of LOX". One thing I will never get out out of my head is a quick clip of a man stepping in a puddle of LOX. The oils on his shoes flashed over and I presume he died from horrific burns. It looked like his clothes, skin, everything flashed over when he fell down. Lots of LOX shipboard. My take away was "never mess with that stuff".

Chairman of the Bored
Stop

A feeling of impending boom

I happened to observe something at my local hospital that gave me a feeling of impending boom: a Caterpillar Mobile Power trailer installed adjacent to a rather massive liquid oxygen tank. The power cables run right next to the tank.

MP vans are typically 500-625kW and have enough fuel inside to run 24+ hours.

The good news is that this whole assembly is roughly 100m from the hospital building proper. But then, given several thousand liters of LOX, I'm not sure that matters.

Reported the problem of course. Not sure if anything happened.

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