* Posts by Richocet

269 posts • joined 24 May 2017


Theranos blood-test machine demos for VIPs rigged to hide any failures, court told


Yes, they need to do something about that.

The steal a bunch of money and spend it to the last cent if necessary defending yourself against charges of stealing - routine is far to common.

The person whose money was allegedly stolen has next to no chance of getting any of it back which is unfair.


Re: Arrogance of investors?

It never ceases to amaze me about how little the average person knows about how things work, physics, or science. This is why we have investment bubbles. Even people with high to moderate wealth are rarely well-versed in these areas.

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims


Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

Just because every other manufacturer does it, it doesn't make it OK.

Zero-day hunters seek laws to prevent vendors suing them for helping out and doing their jobs


This was interesting reading. I looked through the repository of examples too.

Some theories about why this can happen:

1. Individual programmer / low level manager doesn't want to accept any blame so goes on the attack to hush it up.

2. Company has psychopathic senior manager so programmers are terrified of bug reports and do everything they can to hush up reports, such as mislead the company lawyer that illegal hacking has taken place.

3. Company has out of touch (non-technically literate) senior management and in-house lawyer who don't understand that the people finding exploits are providing a valuable service to the company.

4. The company lawyer sees an opportunity to escalate the situation to make additional work for themself = fees.

5. One or more government agencies have compelled or persuaded the company to add these vulnerabilities to their products. When the flaw is discovered, the company doesn't want to fix the issue or have it disclosed.

If anyone read the example of the phone monitoring rootkit, it looks like the product was malware, and it was the only product of that company. So exposing any of the issues about the project was game over for the company. Therefore legal action was the only chance at survival. I class this as a rare special case.

Want to support Firefox? Great, you'll have no problem with personalised, sponsored search suggestions then


Re: You pay £60 a month to BT

Not a great analogy, because EDF pass a significant amount of the money that you pay them on to the power generators or 'content providers' if you will.


Re: You pay £60 a month to BT

Tim Berners-Lee in my case.


Re: Annnd, they got you

Such as voting for a Democrat?

5 years ago I would have viewed my sentence as a joke or a troll, but not now.


Re: It's as if they're designing it to lose market share

Short answer: Yes.

Dictionaries in most languages and algorithms to generate misspellings and letter substitution versions of the words.

SSD belonging to Euro-cloud Scaleway was stolen from back of a truck, then turned up on YouTube


Re: Is everyone forgetting..

Because your get about 20% more capacity and performance from disks by running them unencrypted?

That adds up over a data center.


My friend got a short-term job destroying hard drives for the defense department.

The only tool they gave him was a sledgehammer.

He said it was great for physical fitness.

NSO Group 'will no longer be responding to inquiries' about misuse of its software


Re: This is a strawman.

Bezos alibi: I was in space at the time. I couldn't have done it.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why


Re: This months of work from home showed too....

As a former telecommunications and power systems electrical engineer - this information seems credible and there doesn't seem to be anything whacky in here.

Just because you don't understand it, doesn't mean it is wrong.

Pull your Western Digital My Book Live NAS off the internet now if you value your files


I think I updated WD NAS firmware last month, but I disconnected the device from the network just in case. Yesterday I turned off the internet, plugged my WD NAS back into the network to check the firmware version from a PC. BUT the NAS software requires logging in to a WD account to allow access, and an internet connection is needed to the to log in. Genius design WD!!!

Audacity fork maintainer quits after alleged harassment by 4chan losers who took issue with 'Tenacity' name


Appropriate response

While the "shoot them" advice is excessive and unrealistic for Germany (thank you Americans), putting them in a mental asylum is too lenient (if they are guilty).

Going to someone's home and threatening then cutting them with an illegal weapon is a serious offense.

Google cans engineering diversity training scheme after alumni complain of abysmal pay packages


Re: I don't think anyone is compensated fairly, maybe except the top

It's more about how much power you have than how smart you are. With the exception perhaps of being able to manipulate people exceptionally well, which isn't something that should attract extra money except in sales, diplomacy and some management positions.

An example would be the son / daughter of the CEO gets a job over the top of better candidates, gets paid well, is exempt from most disciplinary action, and isn't required to work very hard. Most of you would have seen this at some point of your career.


Or it shows that the problems of lower pay and opportunities for minorities are part of Google culture, and even through this program got more people in the door who were not given opportunities through the traditional hiring process, these issues kicked in later.

Or it shows that such an opportunity is not enough to catch up with people who faced less obstacles.

There is not enough information provided about what proportion of people on the program didn't do well after the program, and we don't know the parameters of the quality of the people in the program. It would likely be be a bell curve with some talented people, some people who shouldn't have made it into the program in the first place, and most in between.

Now that China has all but banned cryptocurrencies, GPU prices are falling like Bitcoin


Why has nobody mentioned that cryptocurrencies are a blessing for organized crime.

Untraceable, easily transportable. Can be used to launder money, transfer money cross borders, pay for contract killings, drug shipments, kiddie porn, arms dealing terrorism.

Is this not a bigger deal than whether a government can control a currency, the electricity* used to mine it, and how stable an investment it is?

Makes me think people on this forum can't see the wood for the trees.

I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts on this. Didn't realise? Don't care?

*Maybe the electricity=carbon issue is the most important in the long term.

Ex-Brave staffer launches GDPR sueball in Germany over tech giants' real-time bidding for ad inventory


Previous approach

Contextual advertising was used before the technology was in place for personalised ad targeting which is now standard practice.

So contextual advertising is not so much an alternative, but turning back the clock.

Advertisers somewhere will know if contextual performs as well as personalised.

One key difference between the two is the vast array of agencies, brokers and businesses earning revenur from selling, implementing, and supporting personalised advertising because it is much more complex and at least one order of magnitude more effort. This will likely impact the industry's enthusiasm for changing.

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


Re: A job well done

The uncertainty fear, and paranoia would cause the crims to explore a number of theories about why they keep getting busted. They wouldn't trust each other and it would really slow down their activities. So I don't know why it was revealed how they did it, unless there is another goal by doing so.


Re: Mystery dev

If that information about his history is accurate.

You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias


Re: you could simply not put the creepy things in your home

Dragon naturally speaking has been around for more than a decade and does exactly that. Listens to your voice and turns it into text accurately.

Naunce, the company that developed this product has since made big money selling this technology to Google etc to run their speech recognition and digital assistants on large scale servers.

I find it suspicious that speech recognition isn't implemented on the devices with some specialised hardware and send the transcript to servers. Plus it is unnecessary use of your internet connection to basically stream audio to a server. There must be a whole lot more valuable data that can be obtained by anaylsing the raw audio.

PrivacyMic looks to keep your home smart without Google, Alexa, Siri and pals listening in


So what exactly is the benefit to the purchaser of these devices? Why would you buy a device to listen to ultrasound in your home and send it yet-to-be-identified companies that would want to purchase that data.?

You can't solve your insecurities about not keeping up with technology by showing off the device to your friends.

Basecamp CEO issues apology after 'no political discussions at work' edict blows up in his face


Re: Politics is a virus.

Most companies donate to political parties these days to buy influence. I don't think it's practical for any of them to stop doing that. Then the questions of who they are donating to inevitably come up, so beings the politics debate in the workplace.

Not saying you should but we're told it's possible to land serverless app a '$40k/month bill using a 1,000-node botnet'


Re: Cloud services

Add to reasons for not having a cloud

5) The cost of having people procuring the hardware

6) Maintaining a data center, and patching the servers.

7) The one-off costs of upgrading old hardware can be much harder to get approved than a higher steady cost of renting capacity. I've seen plenty of examples of production systems running on obsolete unsupported hardware and OS because it was never cost effective to upgrade it.

Key Perl Core developer quits, says he was bullied for daring to suggest programming language contained 'cruft'


Re: Cult and control

UI is not subjective. It is contentious.

It is possible to quantify how well a UI performs:

How fast can a user perform the key tasks?

How long does it take a new user to figure out and perform the key tasks?

How many mistakes or wrong turns does a new user take when performing a key task for the first time?

They can also be surveyed subjectively on how frustrated they got, and how well this preformed compared to other software they have used.

A bad UI will score low all of the above. 0% subjective.

What usually happens is that nobody bothers to do the above because of cost, time, don't know how, don't value it. In the absence of data, UIs are subjective, everyone has an opinion, and most people's guesses of UI quality are way off-base.

The exception is that experienced designers accurately predict software usability. However I have seen people argue with them until the above tests provide the concrete evidence, and even after the tests are done that they were 'rigged' LOL. It's a wasted opportunity to get an experienced designer in and then argue with them and accuse them of falsifying data.

Best case scenario is: Experienced designer. No expensive testing. Key design recommendations. Implement all except the most costly. Better product from the user perspective.

I agree with Terry's point on this topic.


Re: Cult and control

I know well what you went through.

User experience design is time-consuming expensive and there is a shortage of people who can do it well. It can make a piece of software superior to it's competitors just because it is easier to use, without having more features.

There is also a cost to implementation of the design changes, but it's rarely high.

The problem is the psychology. The developers think that they are smarter than the average user, and know more about the software because they built it. So they take the view that they can anticipate what users want better than you or I or a designer can.

This is a fallacy, because everyone knows less about the software than they do, so they can make things too complicated or hard to figure out or time-consuming to use, and are not capable of noticing (unless it is also too complicated for themselves). This psychology explains the arrogance of "who are designers to tell me how to build a better software product".

Luckily I am usually in the position of managing the developers, so I insist that they implement the designs. Once this is grudgingly completed, they are happy to share in the credit and accolades for the success of the product.

Letting the developers do it their way, and learn the hard way is too slow and expensive, and there is the principle of paying them to redo something that they refused to do in the first place.

Ex-Geeks staff lose legal bid to claw back withheld training costs from final paycheques


Re: I'd challenge the Director Cost

Charging management and supervisors time to any employee is unreasonable.

If that employee was not a trainee or intern, they would still be supervised and managed.

So management is not a benefit to the employee it is a necessary and normal component of business operation.

Everybody makes mistakes, so it is not appropriate to financially penalise employees for making mistakes. If you want to have a bonus scheme that rewards employees for not making mistakes, that would be fine.

Mentoring is usually not paid, so that situation should have been made clear to the employee before providing it and incurring a debt to the employee. I don't know whether it was or not.


Re: What's the fuss?

Yes it is different. You don't buy a job. That defeats the purpose!


Difference in salary

The difference in salary could also indicate that this person was being underpaid before they changed jobs. IF the training was good it would have increased the person's value a bit but not doubled it.

DoorDash delivery drivers try to manipulate the food biz's payment algorithm to earn a living wage in gig economy


If the majority of delivery people refuse to take low paying jobs, then it will push up the average price. This is common in other market places. It's not really gaming the algorithm. And the algorithm is nothing mysterious, it-s just another calculation of market prices.

If Doordash are unhappy with the waiting times experienced by customers then this is also fixed by the delivery drivers being offered higher prices which they will rapidly accept and action.

There is no solution to get fast delivery cheaply without exploitation. Anything that looks like it solves that 'problem' is just disguising the exploitation.

Ex-IBM staffer files lawsuit claiming company stole his cloud computing tech IP


Well he didn't invent this while working at IBM - it was beforehand. So it's not open and shut that IBM owns it unless the contract says otherwise.

You only need pen and paper to fool this OpenAI computer vision code. Just write down what you want it to see


Great thumbnail photo

The terminator facepalm was LOL for me.

US consumer protection bureau goes after tech support scammers' alleged payments processor


Re: Good

No. Always go after the finance people or both.

It's important for all the finance businesses to have integrity and consistent rules to prevent money laundering and deny criminals and terrorists access to banking services. This makes them work hard to try and get around it, and slows them down. It only takes one or two weak links to compromise all the protections, so prompt and harsh action is necessary when someone doesn't play ball.

Google says once third-party cookies are toast, Chrome won't help ad networks track individuals around the web


Third party data brokers

The third party data market is a swamp. Data gets laundered so you don't know who collected it and anyone can buy personal data if they are prepared to pay. That means organised crime, the Kremlin, stalkers, fraudsters, anyone can access it without identifying themselves. So I will be happy to see that go away. Strengthening Google and Facebook's position for advertising is a bad side-effect though.

Flagship Chinese chipmaker collapses before it makes a single chip or opens a factory


Re: More to this than meets the eye

The United States of America rampantly copied European products, designs and technologies after independence, viewing the European system of copyrights and patents as unfairly onerous. It doesn't mean that copying is fine, but this illustrates that perspectives are different.


Re: More to this than meets the eye

Well Chinese culture could be a factor. Forced labour is not going to translate to producing innovation and high quality products. The rampant corruption in China is also going to hold them back, however the increasing corruption in Western Democracies is evening that playing field .

I agree that it is an arrogant mistake to think "people in my country are smarter than people in that country". There has always been another less obvious cause for discrepancies.

And the Chinese government is capable of pursing long term strategic goals, whereas most democracies change direction when a new president is elected e.g. the Paris Climate accord and the Iran Nuclear agreement.

Pyrrhic victory: Co-Op wins £13m from IBM over collapse of £175m Project Cobalt insurance platform contract


Re: Certainly not blameless

LOL. Is this still true?

Four women seek release from forced arbitration to sue Infosys for widespread gender discrimination


Re: Forced arbitration should be illegal

Undue process?

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


Re: The problem

This is nitpicking, but lawyers are almost certain to get disbarred for lying in court and/or to judges, so I think this is why they were reluctant to bring election fraud cases to trial, and struggled to substantiate those claims in court.

I agree that there is a double standard - people are quick to sling insults such as 'communist' and 'libtard', or falsely accuse pedophilia or terrorism which is swept under the carpet, whereas calling people who are members of neo-nazi groups or carry nazi flags nazis and people who are open racist bigots is censorship, outrageous and unacceptable.

Privacy pilfering project punished by FTC purge penalty: AI upstart told to delete data and algorithms


Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

@Doctor Syntax . If you change "and" to "or" then I agree.

I don't think that both decisions are wrong - in which case there would be some third outcome which which is better for both cases somehow.


Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

Bad precedents should be overturned. But this is rare, and should be rare.

Something goes to court and an expensive process takes place in which judges consider the laws and the evidence and make a decision.

Everybody expects the next case of the same time to have a similar outcome. This is good for judges, lawyers and the entities subject to the laws.

That is one reason I was so surprised at the outcome here.


Inconsistent decision is concerning

So they allowed Google to keep the models they developed after privacy rules were broken, but not this smaller company.

The Google decision set a precedent, so why make a different decision afterwards?

This decision creates an unfair playing field. Google benefits from both decisions and the smaller company can't compete with Google because of the decision.

Is it because Google is bigger?

For me it raises a larger concern about the integrity of the whole process, decision-making and penalties. Why did a larger and wealthy company get a more favourable decision?

Let the chips fall where they may: US Commerce dept whacks Middle Kingdom firm SMIC on naughty list


Re: This will cause more pain in the long term

The Chinese are actually pretty crap at high tech - they are good at copying and mass production.

Their ethics of product substitution, pollution, forced labour and race to the bottom for low quality are a substantial part of the problem and are not easily changed. I'm not sure how much this is due to the government lying, mismanagement and corruption, but the government is not going to change any time soon.

Japan and Taiwan have some sort of motivation to produce higher quality products and eventually succeed. Korea has too (surprisingly). But I not confident that China will succeed.

A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos


Re: not very good at bridges in Australia

I did it for you. Yes, that is a fine looking bridge.


Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

We have the deadliest asbestos and uranium FTW.

Huawei and top Chinese AI startup accused of building 'Uyghur alarm' facial recognition scanner for govt


Sundar Pichai insults engineering

His apology letter has me seeing red with his references to "Engineering Culture". Pichai is referring to his idea of the culture at Google.

Engineering culture is about being honest, and accurate, don't cover up flaws and weaknesses. Ask for and accept peer review. Continuous improvement.

The Boeing 737-MAX is the perfect example of where Google-style engineering culture was substituted for professional engineering culture - and the result was planes falling from the sky and many deaths.

Labor watchdog accuses Google of illegally firing staff in union-busting push – as AI ethics guru Dr Timnit Gebru is pushed out


Re: We strongly support the rights our employees have in the workplace

I think you got all of those downvotes because you don't understand how academic research works.

At the start the researcher, the funders of the research and the hosting institution agree the topic of research and commit the funds. The research progresses and a paper is written containing the findings.

The researchers have a very high quality bar to reach - verifiable evidence, apply numerous of error management techniques e.g. 'double blind', no opinions. The paper is peer reviewed by other researchers who are experts in that field. Any patents etc are registered if applicable. The funders and the hosting institution get to review the paper and ask questions. They don't get to bury the paper if they don't like it, they don't get to demand changes, or edit it. Firing one the researchers is outrageous. The worst thing any stakeholder can do (and should be allowed to do) is find flaws in their research or methods or data - which is tough if the researcher is competent.

AWS is fed up with tech that wasn’t built for clouds because it has a big 'blast radius' when things go awry


Re: Strange terminology

You round the numbers


Any of the proposed solutions are better than the IT company next door that switches to a diesel generator every Friday morning when they "run backups". The exhaust of this points into my back yard. Any washing I have on the line is toast and if they run it for more than an hour my house starts to fill with diesel exhaust fumes. These do not smell nice FYI.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021