* Posts by vtcodger

1771 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Sep 2017

AI spam is winning the battle against search engine quality

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Search Engine Quality

Search engine quality? Interesting concept. As Gandhi once said about Western Civilization, it might be a good idea.

But, where are the profits?

MPs ask: Why is it so freakin' hard to get AI giants to pay copyright holders?

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A shovel

If nothing else, a shovel may come in handy when the AI BS starts to approach nostril level.

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I agree the current (and maybe perpetual) lack of a revenue stream is part of the reason. It's hard to share the profits with copyright owners if there are no profits to share.

Also, I strongly suspect that there are presently no audit trails tying training data to AI outputs. I'm not even sure it'd be technically possible to implement such trails. I suppose some sort of "if your AI reads copyrighted material you must pay the copyright holder a few cents a word for the right to potentially put the information to profitable use" scheme might work. But it'd likely be hard to implement. And error prone. And widely gamed until the sundry loopholes are identified and closed. Lot's of lawsuits. And lots of outrage. ... Tis a puzzlement*

* Copyright Rogers and Hammerstein probably. But the Reg and/or I presumably don't have to pay up under the US concept of Fair Use.

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Re: Greed

"Indeed. Greed makes the (business) world go round."

Naw. A popular opinion, but largely wrong. Business would probably work just fine in a world where investment was based on honest reporting of business information and PR work was a felony offense. What greed fuels is fads, booms, busts and the ripping off of widows and orphans. More exciting for sure. Excitement is important in sports and entertainment. It's not necessarily the best foundation for a real world economy.

Japan may join UK/US/Australia defense-oriented AI and quantum alliance

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Re: Superiority

I don't think the F35 will be the last combat aircraft at all. Nor do I think that humans will be out of the loop. What I think is that future conflicts in spatially constrained airspaces will likely be conducted by flying Combat Information Centers with a pilot and staff of specialists controlling various aspects of the battle. They will presumably stand well back from the action and between the opposing CICs will be shields of defensive drones and a lot of offensive drones trying to get through to attack the CICs. Given jamming and stealth and counter-stealth measures, the whole thing will probably be a chaotic shambles. Not a healthy place for pilots and expensive fighter aircraft I should think. Nor a place where human fighter pilots are likely bring anything much to the party. Individual fighters will, I should think, still be around for patrols and some other missions. I just think that F35s (or cheaper F16s) will prove to be adequate for those roles.

Detecting Submarines from wake noises. ... Maybe. I'm a bit skeptical only because many decades ago, I shared office space with some folks who were trying (unsuccessfully) to automate ship identification from sonar data -- which was done manually back then. I have no idea how it's done today with far better tools. Probably it's automated? But I do know from chatting with them that the sea is kind of a noisy place to begin with and there are real practical limits to how much you can dig into the substantial random noise to extract a signal.

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Re: Superiority

No offense unSpartucus, but I think you've totally missed the point. Maybe you could read Clarke's story. It's only a couple of thousand words. Clarke makes the point far better than I can.

It's not that new technologies aren't needed. Indeed, it looks likely that aerial combat at least as well as ground combat and perhaps naval as well will change dramatically in the next few decades. In the aerial case, the battle space is likely to become incredibly complex with multitudes of drones and anti-drones and God knows what else flying in all directions. I doubt that one or two guys in classical fighter aircraft can possibly manage all that without flying into a mountain. I suspect that the F35,J31,SU57 may be the end of the line for conventional fighter aircraft. Not that they are totally useless. But like the 70 year old B52 the air forces and navies may still be flying them (with a few incremental improvements) a century from now

But tackling future battlespaces that with "technologies" that no one seems to understand (quantum) or that are, by their very nature, unreliable and unpredictable (AI) seems probably more than a bit ill-advised. In point of fact there is -- as far as I can tell -- not one single working quantum computer that actually solves real world problems. For all any of us knows quantum computers may remain just one or two more tweaks away from utility for decades, or centuries, or forever,

AI is even worse in a way. Unlike quantum which at least looks to have actual utility if/when a device can ever be built that reliably performs as simulations predict. Nobody knows (or can know?) exactly what an AI agent is going to do. It is not encouraging that the one AI agent that we have extensive experience with -- IBM's Watson -- seems to have failed at every application it has attempted other than a very impressive ability to play a trivia game.

My opinion for what it's worth. Quantum, AI and such are Utopian concepts. And Utopian ideas rarely (not never, but rarely) work out. Better I think to devote most effort to doing things one already knows how to do a bit better every year and to adapt them (cautiously) to new problems and situations as those develop. Best leave magic to stage magicians like Penn and Teller.

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I'm sure Arthur C Clarke's 1951 short story "Superiority" was intended as entertainment, not prophecy. But I think perhaps it should be required reading for those who think AI is the answer to all the problems of modern life.

A short excerpt The situation was now both serious and infuriating. With stubborn conservatism and complete lack of imagination, the enemy continued to advance with his old-fashioned and inefficient but now vastly more numerous ships. It was galling to realize that if we had only continued building, without seeking new weapons, we would have been in a far more advantageous position. There were many acrimonious conferences at which Norden defended the scientists while everyone else blamed them for all that had happened. The difficulty was that Norden had proved every one of his claims: he had a perfect excuse for all the disasters that had occurred. And we could not now turn back—the search for an irresistible weapon must go on. At first it had been a luxury that would shorten the war. Now it was a necessity if we were to end it victoriously.

That's assuming that CEOs and politicians can read of course. If not, perhaps one of their loyal minions can read it to them in the limo as they zip back and forth to ever so important meetings. It's quite short.

Imagination licenses RISC-V CPU cores for smart TVs, IoT, embedded stuff

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There's a lot to be said for dumb

I don't know about anyone else, but my experience has been that a "smart-device" typically has an IQ of about 65 and a severe attitude problem. Probably well suited to a corporate executive suite or the US Congress. But not something I really want in my living room or kitchen.

Engine cover flies from Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 during takeoff

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Re: Is it Just Me??

Certainly could be a maintenance issue, or a fastener issue, or maybe a cowling design issue or perhaps something really weird/unusual. How about we wait a while before assigning blame and see what the investigators have to say?

AI will reduce workforce, say 41% of surveyed executives

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Re: The future sounds abysmal

I feel sorry for the young today. They seem to have inherited nothing of worth.

Yeah. But they have great video games.

Seriously, I'd wait a few years to pronounce AI the wave of the future or to write the future off. It may turn out to be quite a bit different than the media are projecting. It might even be kind of pleasant and maybe even fun.

Microsoft warns that China is using AI to stir the pot ahead of US election

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Re: Won't be hard

Hmmm. We were wondering why the pentagram we bought at Target had seven points. And why the demons we summoned using it were so damn dumb. Apparently we're only getting the ones that can't count.

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Re: Why?

You seem to think that The Donald is, in the words of Simon Cameron (1799-1899) an honest politician meaning one who will, once purchased, stay bought. Not the way I'd bet. But what the hell do I know? I do doubt that the Chinese are wild about the prospect of a dude with only the most tenuous ties with reality running the US.

BTW, There is apparently little doubt that China tries to influence Taiwan politics where they surely have strong preferences (presumably for the Kuomingtan and the Unionists). I looked around for evidence that the mainlanders were using AI, etc to try to influence the 2024 Taiwan presidential election in January. I found more than I wanted to know about Taiwanese politics, but no claims that China was exerting more than its usual pressures. Could mean they weren't. Or it could mean that whatever they were doing they're pretty good at it.

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I can easily imagine the Chinese State Security Ministry (IPA) planting stuff to support Tik-Toc and other Chinese owned businesses. And trying to undercut support for Taiwan as well as furthering other Chinese diplomatic/commercial goals. But interfere with the 2024 election? Why would they do that? They can't possibly want either party in the US two party race to win. Neither party is remotely pro-Chinese, And it's not really possible for both parties to lose.

Hotel check-in terminal bug spews out access codes for guest rooms

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You know there's another key

As well as, quite likely, one or more physical "master" keys that open (most?) every door in the place.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised that there are master electronic keys in more modern establishments with electronic locks. as well. BTW, if the power fails, do those nifty electronic locks, lock everyone out/in or default to unlocked?

German state ditches Windows, Microsoft Office for Linux and LibreOffice

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Unix printing

Printing on Linux has improved significantly recently, in my experience.

Well yes. For certain definitions of recently anyway. It would have been difficult to deteriorate much from where it was in the 1990s when it would only (often) print straight, unadorned ASCII or -- on very good days -- to some very expensive Postscript printers. Although I'm a unix fan, I have to admit that my experiences with interfacing printers and scanners to Unix have been -- pretty much universally -- extraordinarily painful.

But I do agree that the situation seems to be much better today.

Chinese schools testing 10,000 locally made RISC-V-ish PCs

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Re: Mixed bag

"Walled Garden"? My guess is that they are aiming for anything but. More like the undeveloped world. About half the human race even if they ignore India which will likely produce something similar. Probably cheap hardware. Likely dirt cheap if not free software. This looks intended to be competition for Google/Chromebook, not Microsoft, Dell, HP, Apple. A lot would seem to depend on how well the software supports alphabetic languages, (i.e. most languages other than Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese).

Outlook.com trips over Google's spam blocking rules

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Re: Gmail

I'm genuinely curious. I don't doubt that you are correct and that gmail is for you a wretched hive of scum and villainy. On the other hand, I use gmail and I receive all the emails I expect to receive -- order confirmations, emails from friends, etc. But surprisingly little spam. I even check my gmail spam folder from time to time to see if there is stuff there I might want to see. Nope mostly newsletters from clueless politicians who I wouldn't vote for even if I lived in their jurisdiction (which I don't), and obvious phishing attempts plus some advertising I have zero interest in. How is this possible? What do I need to do/not do to maintain this happy state of affairs?

Uber Eats to rid itself of pesky human drivers with food delivery by robo Waymo

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Re: I hope you know up front that's how your food is delivered

So, we've replaced the last-mile problem with a last-30-meters(or so) problem. Maybe getting the food from the vehicle to the customer is a suitable application for Elon's humanoid robot (price unknown and possibly, like full-self-driving awaiting just one more fix) or Boston Robotic's $75000 robodog. Or maybe Unitree's $1600 robodog (if it actually exists).

Alibaba signs to explore one-hour rocket deliveries

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Re: NORAD is going to love this - not

Not all that much time. Especially since China unlike some advanced countries (in North America) has high speed rail -- 25000km of it. You can load a LOT of packages on a train.

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A scaled up version of Santa.

Well, let's see. A full grown adult male reindeer weighs around 200kg. Eight of those. Then there's the mass of the sleigh, harnessing, etc for eight of the propulsion engines, the weight of the fat dude pilotong the thing (What about his salary? Working on a holiday and all that. Can't be cheap). Call it 2000kg. That's quite a bit more than the SpaceX max of 831kg. But costs look to be around $294,000 +$6000/kg. So let's say $12,300,000. Plus extras of course. There's always extras, right?

No more than a modest mansion perched on an unstable, fire prone hillside in Beverly Hills or Malibu. Well within the reach of a tech billionaire or other classy individual. Hell, Donald Trump can probably write you a check for that if you just give him a minute or so to find his checkbook. (Pro-tip. Cash that check fast).

Clearly a viable project.

AT&T admits massive 70M+ mid-March customer data dump is real though old

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"AT&T admits massive 70m+ mid-March data dump is real, but claims it's years old"

So, those who move frequently, change their names every year or three, and have no other immutable personal data on file with their telco have nothing to worry about? Good to know.

Why Microsoft's Copilot will only kinda run locally on AI PCs for now

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Re: Now wait a minute

Surely, Microsoft will comply with industry standards. In this case, the industry would be free-lance drug distribution and the industry standard would be "It's free until you're hooked"

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Re: Co-pilot key

My keyboard does have a Windows key. And yes it is useful. I use the Windows + Arrow keys to switch to alternate Linux desktops.

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Re: Co-pilot key

I have to have a Copilot key? Does it have to be on my keyboard? Could I maybe keep it in the back of the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom? Or maybe in the garage? Up high? Out of the way?

Pressuring allies not to fulfill chip kit service contracts with China now official US policy

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You don't need a state of the art CPU to control a washing machine, or toaster. So this clearly isn't aimed at China's consumer or industrial manufacturing industries. You also don't really want that state of the art CPU in most vehicle, medical, military or avionics applications because you want reliability, radiation hardening, wide temperature tolerance, etc in those things. Sadly, it probably won't discourage China's rather aggressive monitoring of individuals -- both their citizens and probably the rest of us as well. They seem to be doing that altogether too well with less advanced technology,

Three things that come to mind:

1) This is an attempt to stretch China's R&D capabilities beyond their limits by making the develop their own domestic chip making technologies. Seems unlikely. There are an awful lot of Chinese. They have great respect for education. Their culture certainly does not discourage invention. Probably, they can make their own advanced chips in a few years. And peddle both the chips and the manufacturing tools to the rest of the world in the following years. But the CIA sometimes actually knows stuff that the rest of us don't.. So Maybe...

2) The intent is to deny China the technology they need for advanced decryption capability. That would assume that the Chinese equivalent of NSA/CIA can't somehow acquire a few dozen or a few thousand chips that are readily available in the rest of the world. My guess: You're kidding, right?

3) The intent is to at least somewhat cripple Chinese AI development. Perhaps. I wouldn't overlook the possibility that AI is a huge, shiny bubble and that discouraging AI development would be a huge favor to the Chinese.

Mostly, I think this is cosmetic. And kind of dumb.

Ransomware can mean life or death at hospitals. DEF CON hackers to the rescue?

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Re: Wrong approach

I somewhat agree. But having actually worked in DOD SCIFs, I can assure you that communication into the SCIF is straightforward, But outbound communication is extraordinarily painful and costly because everything has to be checked to make sure that nothing classified is being output to unauthorized destinations. That, and the associated costs is going to come as an unpleasant surprise to those who are used to the great freedom and near total lack of discipline characteristic of the modern internet.

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Re: Wrong approach

Downvoted not because the thought is stupid, but because I suspect the actual economies of digitation of medicine are quite minimal. And also, I don't think that the idea here is to take everything in the hospital off the Internet off trash, but rather to put stuff like patient records that might be important to actual healthcare onto a physically separate medium that doesn't also carry vast amounts of cat videos, pop-over advertising, and a steady stream of hacking attempts coming from every corner of the universe.

Woz calls out US lawmakers for TikTok ban: 'I don’t like the hypocrisy'

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Re: I like the question

I believe that Twitter's working subtitle this week is "The Island of Lost Sociopaths".

Google's AI-powered search results are loaded with spammy, scammy garbage

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Re: Total garbage search results, even for simple tech search terms

Gee. I dunno. Do you think it could possibly be the internet itself that is going downhill? I know that is unlikely because everything is getting newer and shinier every year. And newer/shinier is always good. But still ...

European Space Agency to measure Earth at millimeter scale

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Re: What are they using as their zero point?

"It's where the sun is at the vernal equinox. As it happenss, right about now. But it's really only any use for angles for navigation - not for 3-D positions."

Right and not so right.. Right in that it's the point on the (imaginary) celestial sphere where the sun (apparently) is located when the celestial equator's tilt with regard to the ecliptic plane is zero and the sun is (apparently) moving from South to North. And right that it was defined millennia ago because you need a fixed reference to do celestial navigation (as well as, I think, astrology). Not so right in that the line from the Earth's Center to the FPA is a perfectly OK 3rd element required to anchor an 3D coordinate system based on the Earth's Center and the ecliptic plane. What else would you use that would be any better? And maybe it simplifies conversion between Cartesian and spherical coordinates based on the Celestial sphere if that's necessary which it very likely is at times.

See Wikipedia for a probably clearer description of the first points of Aires and Libra


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Re: What are they using as their zero point?

If I recall correctly -- and remember the early sixties were six long decades ago -- the USAF back then anchored their 3D cartesian coordinate system for tracking satellites to the ecliptic plane and something from astronomy called the First Point of Aires which I won't attempt to describe. (Look it up if you are curious) Anyway, I think that'd likely work fine for a fixed, reproducible coordinate system independent of slightly motile earthly landmarks.

Congress votes unanimously to ban brokers selling American data to enemies

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Not so hard I think

What's so hard about defining "enemies"? As far as I'm concerned, ANYONE who sells data about me without my explicit permission is an enemy.

Truck-to-truck worm could infect – and disrupt – entire US commercial fleet

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A Cloud, or something darker?

Am I the only one who thinks that the connected world being created seems more like Stephen King's Mist than the idyllic fluffy cloud the marketing drones are peddling? Perhaps it's time to start thinking about disconnecting critical infrastructure from the instant-access digital universe and limiting the latter to relatively safe and possibly realistically securable applications like entertainment streaming.

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Re: Going Fishing with Another Can of Worms

100 repeats? Why so many when The same effect can be achieved in no more than 14 repetitions of Celine Dion singing "I Will always Love You" or, better yet, six random selections from "Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits"?

Euclid space telescope needs de-icing

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My first thought ...

My first thought would be to simply point the thing at something radiating a lot of heat and wait a while for the ice to evaporate (evanesce?). Not the sun. That's probably too hot. But maybe Venus or the sunlit side of the Earth's moon. But I imagine that was their first thought also. And that it won't work for any of a lot of possible reasons.

The last mile's at risk in our hostile environment. Let’s go the extra mile to fix it

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Re: <list of effective ways of dealing with threats>

Actually, most companies seem to care even less about their shareholders than they do about their customers. Check out share price to dividend payout ratios sometime. Their priorities appear to be -- in order -- executive pay, value of executive stock options, and executive perks. Welcome to the casino, mate. Where the house always wins. Bigtime.

As if working at Helldesk weren't bad enough, IT helpers now targeted by cybercrims

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Re: Helpdeskers are disciplined to be helpful

Helpdeskers are disciplined to be helpful

Although I am quite skeptical of many of the claims made for AI, help desks being helpful is one problem that I am confident AI will put an end to. (Whether an AI agent pretending to be a helpful human can be persuaded to dump your entire database in response to an innocuous looking query from a user is a somewhat different issue.)

Voyager 1 starts making sense again after months of babble

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Re: If ever there was a use case for LLM

"AI is the solution to everything!"

AI is the long sought Universal Solvent of legend and fable? Could be I suppose.

Developers beware, Microsoft's domain shakeup is coming soon

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I seem to have gotten to this planet by mistake. Does anyone here speak English?

"Microsoft's stated goal is to use microsoft.com for "non-product experiences" such as marketing or support, while cloud.microsoft will handle authenticated, user-facing product experiences."

"non-product experiences?" "user-facing product experiences?" "authenticated?" (by whom?, to what purpose?) What, if anything, does all this mean? Is an English translation available?

Fedora 41's GNOME to go Wayland-only, says goodbye to X.org

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"Being a bit of a minimalist, I am convinced that Debian and XFCE is right for me."

Well, OK. But why bother with XFCE? I should think that Fluxbox or Openbox or maybe something even more basic would satisfy the needs of a minimalist.

Your PC can probably run inferencing just fine – so it's already an AI PC

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Re: So I can run a local chatbot

Of course your cat has more brains than a chatbot. You are demonstrating a common misunderstanding fostered by marketing scum. The I in AI does not stand for "INTELLIGENCE". It stands for "INCOMPETENCE". Are you really submitting the argument that your cat (or wife for that matter) is more incompetent than a sophisticated modern technology that has been lovingly tuned by mankind's best minds to produce random, unreliable, and possibly wildly incorrect answers to just about any conceivable question? Really now. How likely is that?

Justice Dept reportedly starts criminal probe into Boeing door bolt incident

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Re: Airlines Being The Safest Form Of Transportation

Never thought of it before. Do you think airline food is the reason that the crew and flight attendants are always skinny and disgustingly healthy looking? Any possible urge to snack while on duty immediately stifled by one look at the available provisions.

Reddit wants to raise $748M with IPO, sets value at $6.4B... and it has yet to turn a profit

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Re: Is there anyone in El Reg land

My marbles most certainly are NOT lost. Just mislaid. I admit, I can't produce them just now, but I'm 100% confident they are around here somewhere.

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Re: Is there anyone in El Reg land

I dunno. What kind of marbles?

Microsoft confirms Russian spies stole source code, accessed internal systems

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Re: Military supplier

"Ms sells software to everyone including the military"

My impression, and I sure hope I'm right, is that the US military only uses Microsoft and other commercial software for routine office tasks -- payroll, tracking vacation, ("Leave" in Milspeak), Probably some purchasing and accounts payable -- especially COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stuff like office supplies or products resold in the Base Exchange. Combat systems hopefully remain on dedicated software far from the weird notions that vendor testing is adequate and that nothing can possibly go wrong with Over The Air updates.

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Re: Russian cyberspies and ‘secret’ emails /s

Most likely a clever plot by the CIA. Acting on full access the Microsoft source code may well set Russian IT and cyber intelligence efforts back a couple of decades. Maybe more is Microsoft actually has documentation for their code -- a conjecture I've encountered from time to time but for which there seems to be no known evidence.

Updates are plenty but fans are few in Windows 11 land

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Re: Be less intrusive, less pushy, less blocking work,

Is Intrusive Carp an Ubuntu version name? If not, maybe it should be.

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Re: "you'll start seeing a new user interface on eligible Windows 10 devices soon"

I can't say as I have any great enthusiasm for either Microsoft or Apple. And I find it easy enough to avoid both. You might want to try it for a year or three.

"As for Change is everywhere and rightly so", Why would anyone buy into that?. It's the formula for entering a perpetual Red Queen's Race (ref: Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Chapter 2 https://www.gutenberg.org/files/12/12-h/12-h.htm) -- something that no sane individual should want any part of unless they work in management or marketing and therefore profit from peddling product that would, if sold on its actual merits, sit on the shelf and collect dust.

Watchdog calls for more plugs, less monopoly in EV charging network

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Re: It is still not as simple as pulling up in a forecourt and filling up a tank

Indeed -- Here in the US, fuel pump nozzle form factors are dictated by the government (largely to discourage the drunk,or distracted from dumping a load of diesel into their gasoline vehicle) , And pay at the pump with a credit card is ubiquitous. I can't recall the last time I had to seek out and pay an attendant/cashier. It was years ago. There is often a provision at the pump for those who belong to the vendor's exclusive club to log in and receive some sort of benefit -- a small discount? Brownie points of some sort? Why on Earth, other than utter regulatory idiocy, should EV chargers be different?

And while we are on the subject of regulatory lapse, should not all this have been hashed out and settled years before legislators set out on a probably futile quest for "Net-Zero" using a tool kit (only wind,solar -- neither of which are dispatchable -- and a handful of minor technologies are the proper shade of green apparently) that certainly appears to be quite inadequate? FWIW, I expect that Net-zero will prove to be as elusive as the Holy Grail was in Arthurian times.

White House goes to court, not Congress, to renew warrantless spy powers

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Re: Or perhaps it's

Or maybe neither. Truth of the matter is that the US legislative branch is currently in a state of extreme disarray. The Senate where the Democrats have a razor thin majority is moderately functional and a well thought out Section 702 revision might stand a chance of passing there. The House of Representatives where the Republicans hold an even slimmer majority is pretty much completely paralyzed by a group of extreme right wingers who view any attempt to legislate as an opportunity for extortion. Pretty much nothing is getting done there. The chances of any meaningful legislation actually getting through the legislative branch this year appear to be slim to none. I suppose pragmatically that the courts might be the only recourse. (Personally Section 702 going away completely wouldn't trouble me at all).