* Posts by Richocet

203 posts • joined 24 May 2017


Is today's AI yesterday's software routines with better PR? We argued over it, you voted on it. And the winner is...


Re: Is this like triple-A mortgages

I used to work in that industry. The trick is to make the thing gratuitously more complex until the legal system and then the regulators can't keep up with it.

The evidence is that when people are taken to court over fraud etc. that the cases get thrown out (because the judge doesn't want to look silly), or it is too hard to convince a jury that deliberate crime was committed because the complexity, and they empathise that the perpetrator accidentally made a mistake.

The sales technique is the usual one that the complexity is why it is better, why relies on magical / alchemy thinking. Other examples of this sales technique are crypto currencies, and radium cure-alls.

In Steviebucks example of the wrapping, it's derivatives of derivatives of financial instruments.


Re: "in which no ballots went missing in the mail."


Stop asking for Amazon, Google and Microsoft cloud with 'no justification': US Library of Congress told to drop its 'brand-name'-tastic RFP


Re: Seems like school got dismissed early!

The wall is so thickly coated with mud, most new mud won't stick to it.

'My wife tried to order some clothes tonight. When she logged in, she was in someone else's account ... Now someone's charged her card'


Re: Encouraging diligence

Yes, they have not met their PCI obligations. They would fail an audit. I'm not sure how rapidly any action is taken when there is an emergency breach like that or what the consequences are for the retailer.


Re: Credit card? What credit card?

I do the same thing.

Payment card industry (PCI) agreement terms mean online retailers are not allowed to store enough of your credit card details after your transaction for another charge to be made to it. DSS section of PCI:

"PCI-DSS requirement 3.2 states that Sensitive Authentication Data (SAD) cannot be stored after authorization, even if it is encrypted." The only entities that can store this type of information are the issuers of the credit cards, e.g. banks.

Some retailers ignore the rules, but larger ones usually comply because the punishment is VISA and Mastercard refusing that retailer processing any payments until the problem is fixed and verified.

Rust code in Linux kernel looks more likely as language team lead promises support


Re: "the actual error is still the result of a developer making a mistake"

I know some people like to fixate on who's fault it is. However the point here is how many errors occur, their severity, and how they can be prevented. If RUST can reduce these a lot, then it has merit as a solution.

Being able to blame developers for mistakes doesn't solve those mistakes. They could be tired, have not been allocated enough time to complete a task, etc, none of which will be improved by pointing out to them that they made mistakes.

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer


General concern

I have a general unease that immigrants bring their culture with them - the bad with the good. This example is the caste system being introduced to the US; The UK has the class system; Past El Reg read articles about Indian visa holders taking up management positions in US technology companies then only hiring their relatives; an example last week of immigrants setting up a massive fraud against the Australian government, and past examples such as the fake Tahitian prince; Chinese business owners in Aus blatantly discriminating against people of African descent and being surprised to learn it's illegal to do that; and suspiciously only accepting cash in their businesses.

I think this is a legitimate concern that a lot of people share about the rate of migration and the criteria applied to the people accepted. How do we have this discussion without it descending into accusations and defensiveness about racism?

At one end of the spectrum you don't want terrorists or mafiosi migrating to your country or receiving working visas - that is asking for trouble, but where is the right place to draw the line?

I'm an immigrant myself and I hope that I bring more to Australia than I take away.

US piles yet more charges on Theranos CEO, COO. We could do with good blood testing now... and this wasn't it


Re: I know they were a bit fraudulent but.....

Yes you get it. But why do these companies get away with it, with the exception of one where they are throwing the book at them?

This raises some legitimate questions about inconsistent application of justice.

Guess what's heading to trial? IBM and its tactic of yoinking promised commissions after sales reps seal the deal


Re: Up the Organization!

I read the shorter version "No Sho" - I do not recommend it to help with career progression.

'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc


Re: Getting security 100% right is hard

I think previous commenters were suggesting that the keys might have been supplied to the NSA by Intel , not that the vulnerability was deliberately put there for the benefit of the NSA.

Shipping is so insecure we could have driven off in an oil rig, says Pen Test Partners


Re: Nothing new...

So are you aware that the crews of some of these ships are slaves? https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/sep/30/modern-day-slavery-fishing-europe

The rest are extremely poorly paid.

Well, well, well. Internet-of-Things speaker biz Sonos to continue some software support for legacy kit after all


I'm not a fan of that model. If the initial produce is expensive, I don't want to be shelling out every month to use it afterwards. Plus it's inefficient. With the little fees that financial institutions charge, it makes small payments inefficient.

Not a Genius move after all: Apple must cough up $$$ in back pay for store staff forced to wait for bag searches



The court system needs a review as well if companies feel it's safe to not comply with labour laws and have to sued into complying, but also that this went through multiple courts to get resolved. Clearly there were one or more appeals in this case.

I'm not a law expert, but a thought is to have a quota for companies - one appeal per year. Or perhaps if they lose one appeal, they have to wait a year to appeal anything again. This would stop appeals being routine and they would need to choose carefully what to appeal.

This would stop them from appealing every ruling that is not in their favor, which is what they routinely do now. Appeals consume court resources, and increase the legal costs to both parties. Appeals are to some extent insulting to the judiciary - it demonstrates contempt for a judges ruling. I'm surprised the judiciary put up with this the way they do.

Justice delayed is justice denied - so the appeals have an compounded impact on the out-of pocket party. And less appeals mean lower court workloads, which means cases will be heard faster.

Fake docs rock real docs: Ex-Wall St guy accused of conning medics out of £27m for bogus cryptocurrency fund using faked paperwork


Re: A simply test for this kind of operation.

We don't want them. We're not a dumping ground for unpopular English people (anymore).

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother


Questionable benefits

Astronomy projects already produce so much data that they have to be analysed by distributing the data to many research organisations around the world. Some participating universities needed to update their data bandwidth which is remarkable since they have advanced internet backbones such as AARNET.

Upcoming astronomy projects will deliver order of magnitudes more data than their predecessors. https://datascience.codata.org/articles/10.5334/dsj-2015-011/

Bon Hannent : "one [optical] fibre could deliver the equivalent of all the bandwidth of every traditional satellite in operation". So extra satellites will not provide useful additional data bandwidth.

There are no remote universities not yet connected to the internet, even in Africa.

What is the benefit to astronomers again?

Remember those infosec fellas who were cuffed while testing the physical security of a courthouse? The burglary charges have been dropped


Imagine what would have happened if they had been black.

Actually that's quite scary to think about.


Re: State is not county

Well because it's legally very difficult to give someone authority to commit a crime.

In this case getting the sheriff to agree in advance would have prevented the issue that happened, but it would have been very hard to forsee that issue happening.

The other approach would have been to arrange a pardon beforehand.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it


Re: bah

I completely agree. I'm OK with seeing advertising on sites, and am OK for many sites to be funded this way.

The outrageously invasive and sometimes illegal tactics that advertising brokers utilise to harvest private data is the problem for me. The companies who pay to place ads don't need or ask for that amount of targeting.

For example a site I want to support showed me the message "Please disable your ad blocker" so I did because I wanted to support them. However their advertising partner refused to display and ads, and I got the same message this time asking me to disable my privacy blocker. I wasn't prepared to do that. So the site loses out on advertising, just because the middle-man is playing hard ball.

Also I have had legit sites serve me scams and malware via their advertising integrations. It is not OK to do that, and don't complain that I'm denying advertising revenue if they allow people to attack me through their site if I enable ads.

Firefox 72: Floating videos, blocking fingerprints, and defeating notification pop-ups


Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

That's only intended for browsing the dark web,

What if everyone just said 'Nah' to tracking?


Re: Two conflated things

I very much doubt that creepily profiled and targeted adverts actually result in very much greater recollection or clicks by readers at all, so why go to all that extremely creepy effort?

Profiled and targeted ads save the advertiser money as follows:

  • Ad targeting people who want to buy a new PC. Cost 30c per view. Needs to be shown to 100 people to generate one sale. Average cost: $30 per sale.
  • The same ad untargetted: Cost 10c per view. Needs to be shown to 2000 random people to generate one sale. Average cost: $200 per sale.

For the website owner, getting more revenue per visitor for targeted ads is much more attractive than untargetted ads because the number of visitors is something they can't easily change.


Re: But How ?

One challenge is that they figure out where you are without GPS by which Wifi networks are visible to your device and which cell towers are nearby. Both of these are challenging to fake.

A very clever white hat may be able to find a solution to this - consider this a challenge.


Re: But How ?

Feeding crap into the tracking and surveillance system has much more impact than blocking. If 20% of people fed crap in, it would be devastating. Perhaps as little as 10% might reduce the viability of the whole data mining, selling, and targeting advertising business (once word gets out*). A clean but incomplete data set just limits the size of the data set that can be sold for revenue. A polluted set of data is worth less, and is harder to assess the risks and value. An analogy is if you find out your local petrol station is diluting the fuel it sells. Would you pay them less, stop buying fuel completely or buy your fuel elsewhere at the previous price?

* The players in this business however would try hard to keep this issue quiet so that people would continue to pay for the data.

Savvy advertisers already take click fraud for online advertising into account in their return on investment (ROI) calculations. If their targeting of advertisements also became inaccurate this would further drive down the ROI and take billions out of the online advertising market.


Re: But How ?

I work in the area of collecting analysing, profiling and acting on customer data. Feeding dodgy data into the system is a very effective way to damage it. There is no realistic way to filter this data from coming in and once it is in the system, the difficulty of finding it and removing it is so high that it's best just to tolerate the impacts it has.

A good analogy is pouring sugar into a petrol tank. It's not easy to get the sugar out of the petrol, and the sugar will be discovered by engine damage.

Reusing software 'interfaces' is fine, Google tells Supreme Court, pleads: Think of the devs


Re: Its late stage capitalism at its very finest

No it's definitely capitalism.

Corrupt third world countries start off like this, but capitalism doesn't. It has been gradually getting heading in that direction.

The taxation analogy is a good one. These super-rich people want to do no productive work at all and receive an income stream from the patents, rights and licences they have purchased.

Where it differs is that tax gets spent on defense, health, schools, roads which benefit a lot of citizens, not just one rich person and their family.

IT exec sets up fake biz, uses it to bill his bosses $6m for phantom gear, gets caught by Microsoft Word metadata


Re: idiot

I found his name so distracting it was hard to focus on the article.

Your workmates might still be reading that 'unshared' Slack document


There's no technical reason that chat platforms can't be interoperable like phone calls, SMS and email.

It is unnecessary hassle when someone is using a different platform, or fashions change and we all have to move to something else.

Alphabet, Apple, Dell, Tesla, Microsoft exploit child labor to mine cobalt for batteries, human-rights warriors claim


Thanks for letting us know that oil companies are major cobalt customers. I didn't know that.

How is oil industry deliberately being ignored? My guess is that oil industries are very good at getting away with widespread environmental damage (and global warming), so they would not be easy targets for such a campaign.

And the executives probably don't care that children are being abused and mutilated.

As long as they have enough money for their big swimming pool, private jet etc, why should the miners be paid anything? After all the execs work thousands of times harder than the children in the mines so everyone gets what they deserve. How is it even possible to work thousands of times harder than these kids?

FTC: All-powerful Google ABUSED rivals. So we did NOTHING


It's funny reading this 4 years later, and seeing how much worse the situation has got that this doesn't even cause much concern anymore.

Tesla has a smashing weekend: Model 3 on Autopilot whacks cop cars, Elon's Cybertruck demolishes part of LA


Re: I Can't Stop Myself

True, but pilots are highly trained an monitored and have to be re-accredited annually. Pilots lose their livelihood if they are reckless or incapable.

In Australia you get your drivers license once as a teenager, and being employed is literally a get out of jail free card for any type of driving offense including running people down and killing them.

So we shouldn't anticipate all drivers will be as careful and responsible with these functions as pilots.


Re: I Can't Stop Myself

I think the dog thing is just an excuse.

The Tesla autopilot needs to be banned. It has already reached the point of being widespread misleadingly labelled and marketed, and the average driver who thinks that cars work by some sort of engineering magic believe it is a full autopilot already.

So the only way to reset this thinking in an effective way is to require Tesla to withdraw the function, and then people will notice it and ask why it is not working. Tesla's factory forced updates can easily implement this.

Self-driving is an interesting field to explore, but it was arrogant and naive to assume and declare that it was achievable before cracking the problem.

Google ex-employees demand retribution for Thanksgiving massacre


This was never formally adopted as the company's motto.

Oracle finally responds to wage discrimination claims… by suing US Department of Labor


Re: Ok...ok...

Great argument.

You have just conclusively proven that ideology is the best way to resolve difficult/important questions.

Think of all the time we can save gathering facts and analysing them. A new golden age of productivity is upon us.


Re: Ok...ok...

..such as the professor specialising in employment who analysed the situation and concluded that the scenario was a one in a billion chance?

No matter how overwhelming the facts, analysis etc, there are still people who believe that white men are automatically better at <insert lucrative career here>.

Bose customers beg for firmware ceasefire after headphones fall victim to another crap update


There is a parallel to the Firmware update Sony introduced for their top of the range digital cameras.

It added filtering that deleted a bunch of stars from night photos, and changed the colour of other stars. This was not mentioned in the release notes.

The system is designed so that you can't go back to previous firmware versions. No one has found a workaround.

3 years have passed and Sony has not rectified the issue.

I bought one of these cameras just to take photos of stars, and had only owned it for a few months before the update came along.

Brit rocket boffins Reaction Engines notch up first supersonic precooler test


Re: "Burning Hydrogen in air will also produce NOx "

You're point sums up the slippery slope so well.

"This small activity won't make a noticeable difference" said 6 billion people.

As I look out the window and see the worst wildfires ever burning on the horizon.


Re: So much potential

Hydrogen and oxygen are not just lying around waiting to be collected and used. Unlike coal, oil, and gas.

The energy intensity of producing the materials is the most relevant part of the CO2 impact. Yes, if all electricity production was renewable it would be fine, but that is far from the case.

You might find the energy use of cement and aluminium production interesting.

Facebook iOS app silently turns on your phone camera. Ah, relax – it's just a bug, lol!?


Re: Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity

Well having Vice and Integrity in the same title is a conflict.

Maybe it means President of Vice and Integrity.


Re: Burn It !

The reduced battery drain is a strong sign that the app was broadly mining data off your phone and sending it back to the mothership.

Battery consumption (and data consumption) are symptoms of this activity that can't be hidden.

Google brings its secret health data stockpiling systems to the US


Re: Nothing surprises me about Google anymore....

Nice blending of the straw man and appeal to ridicule argument strategies.

Ex from Hell gets six years for online stalking and revenge pics rampage at two women


Re: Enforcement

I know my comment was controversial. I'm interested in why the down-votes as I can think of a few reasons for them, if anyone can elaborate.

1) The US police aren't ever racially biased.

2) Disagree that sentencing this guy to a prison sentence is a deterrent to others

3) Think that the US prison system is pleasant

4) We won't see more prosecutions like this anytime soon.

5) Another reason



I wonder if the an exception was made to the normal police practice of not enforcing these laws because the perpetrator was not a caucasian?

Regardless, it's good thing that he got sentenced and this will make others think twice - many of them couldn't do the time in the brutal US prison system, so maybe they won't do the crime.

Maybe the investigation and prosecution of these creeps will be extended to other demographics in future. Let's hope so.

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers


Re: Not designed to detect jaywalkers == mansalughter through gross negligence

Well because there's a loophole.

If you take a process and make it much more complex and with multiple legal entities, it is possible to get away with more from a law and liability perspective.


Tax avoidance through complex international company structures.

Causing a financial crash through unnecessarily complex financial products created from home loans.


Re: A more ethical way of developing these autonomous systems ...

Yes, there's some sort of Bosch-developed traction control system in my car that prevents and recovers from skids etc. It's about 5 years old and came standard. It sounds like what you describe.


This system is ready for deployment in Queensland Australia

The behavior this vehicle exhibited mimics Queensland drivers very well. And they already have the system packaged into an SUV.

In Queensland running over objects is the general approach to driving. If unsure run over it and hope for the best, with some exceptions if the object is as big as the vehicle.

Future upgrades for the Queensland market:

1) Fit a bullbar so that the vehicle can sustain more impacts before needing repairs.

2) Re-program to drive a minimum of 10kmph above the speed limit at all times

3) Move aggressive AI to swerve towards pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists

4) Occasionally turn off the "give way" logic module.


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

That is why they turned off the part of the program where the car slowed down if it spotted a potential danger it was unsure of, or braked to avoid a hazard.

They couldn't solve the actual problem of AI driving so they faked it. More reckless than what Boeing did with their MCAS on the 767 Max and someone should be liable for the decision.

Potential solution: Make the Uber test car and the safety driver a tiny, frail vehicle that has the lowest legal crash protection rating: Minimizes damage to 3rd parties in the event of a crash, and a stronger incentive for Uber and the safety driver to avoid all crashes.

Helen Fospero makes yet another Brit telly presenter to win IR35 case against taxman


Re: Beyond their grasp

.. and the biggest one: donate to political parties.

Just take a look at the carnage on Notepad++'s GitHub: 'Free Uyghur' release sparks spam tsunami by pro-Chinese


Re: Thumbs up

Well I think that not buying new Chinese items is a more practical and high impact tactic that destroying whatever Chinese made products you already own since China already has your money for those purchases.

The modern economy operates on tiny margins, and a boycott of a product or country hits harder as a result. Maybe take advantage of that.


Re: *Standing, thunderous, rowdy ovation*

The Australian government has some obligations to ensure Julian is being treated lawfully and to assist him diplomatically, but it seems the current government is happy about what is happening and is willingly letting the US pursue him.


Re: *Standing, thunderous, rowdy ovation*

Back when Visual Studio was at peak brokenness as a development environment, most experienced developers in my company switched to Notepad++. In a nod to this, we renamed the executable to Visual Studio++ to reduce the risk of management discovering and forcing us to switch back.



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