* Posts by NerryTutkins

252 publicly visible posts • joined 9 Jan 2018


Apple's iPhone 12 woes spread as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands weigh in


Re: "The timing is also unfortunate for the company ..."

There was no hysteria, the safety concerns with the AZ jab were well-founded, despite the UK's initial chest-thumping brexity attacks on the various EU health bodies that first raised concerns.

The UK also removed the AZ jab as an option for younger recipients, and then conducted all its booster campaigns with mRNA vaccines such as the Biontech/Pfizer jab. The UK essentially accepted the risks and moved to safer vaccines, though this caused delays in the UK vaccination programme. It may have had a better chance of getting more supplies of the Biontech jab, had it not selfishly acted to block AZ vaccine shipments to the EU early on via a preference contract, which later backfired spectacularly having burned all goodwill with the EU when it need their vaccine.

The AZ vaccine most definitely saved many more lives than it may have cost, because it was primarily given initially to the most at-risk groups, in particular the elderly. The UK rightly accepted (but tried to downplay) the safety risks of the AZ vaccine, in particular for younger recipients, and moved over to the Biontech jab primarily, which had proved safer overall once there was significant data available from mass vaccinations.

This is how science should work. It is sad that UK politicians in particular exploited vaccination as a political benefit of brexit, which made them reluctant to adjust strategy when the risks of the AZ vaccine emerged and also poisoned the well when it needed EU vaccines to complete its own programme.

Google's next big idea for browser security looks like another freedom grab to some


What about Selenium?

The claim that somehow verifying the browser is legit would stop bots or other automation from cheating on games or doing other nefarious deeds on an automated basis doesn't really stack up.

Selenium makes it relatively easy to build automation that can control chrome and firefox via an API, those would surely show up as legit, unmodded browsers. Although Selenium is oriented towards automated testing of web systems, I've worked on projects where clients needed to scrape data from various sites (with permission) that did not have APIs and tried to frustrate scraping by having javascript and fingerprints etc. and so needed real browsers to get at the data, rather than just calling the form targets and parsing the response. Selenium has been around for a long time too, and the browser makers specifically put support for it in, so they certainly know this too.

The proposal looks more like trying to crack down on all the webkit/blink clones to keep control of the market and stop smaller start-ups getting a slice. It solves a problem that I am not sure exists, with a solution that doesn't actually solve the problem.

Musk sues law firm for overcharging Twitter when Twitter was suing Musk


am i missing something

If I have a company expense card, and go out and spend 2000 quid on a slap up meal with wine at a fancy restaurant the day before I leave the company, and the company objects and considers this an abuse of what the card was intended for, they can't sue the restaurant for the money back. That's not how it works. They may have a case against me, depending on what guidance I had been given about the use of the card.

Even if we suppose that the bill was unjustified, twitter accepted it and paid it. So Musk should be going after the former management for abuse of company finances, not the law firm. I would imagine they have a fair amount of cash to hand, given the fact they gave Musk a bath he won't forget in forcing him to buy for 44 billion.

US Air Force AI drone 'killed operator, attacked comms towers in simulation'


iidiotic scaremongering

This simulation sounds like it was programmed by the work experience guy's younger brother.

If you create a reward system of points and then intervene to stop it scoring points, it seems entirely reasonable it decided to remove the communications and the operator if they are effectively reducing its score.

This doesn't illustrate a failure of AI as such, it illustrates a failure of those implementing it to put in basic controls and create appropriate rules for the AI to operate under. Quite obviously, it should be told the rules include not harming friendly troops or equipment, or that will score minus one million points for any such violations.

As with chatGPT, the special sauce is not the algorithm, it's the training and the prompt.

Dyson moans about state of UK science and tech, forgets to suck up his own mess


Re: With two-faced "friends" like Dyson, Britain doesn't need enemies

Me too, my skills now generate Eurozone GDP rather than go to fund massive royal wankfests in the UK.

Elon Musk yearns for AI devs to build 'anti-woke' rival ChatGPT bot


Re: Meaning of "woke"

It always amused me that Trumpy nuts in the US would hurl around "liberal" as an insult.

Trump was banging porn stars and boasting about grabbing pussies and they were just fine with it.


Trumper level artificial "intelligence"

Talk about setting a low bar.

Why ChatGPT should be considered a malevolent AI – and be destroyed


Re: You just don't understand what ChatGPT is...

I have used Chat GPT a lot.

I have had some very positive interactions with it, for example, code suggestions that didn't quite work, but approached things in a different way to what I'd been doing that subsequently achieved what I wanted.

But also completely false information, followed by another go and another go in which it then gave different false information.

But I would not dismiss it based on this. It is very early days, and it has mastered basic communication excellently. I am sure with suitable training data and rules in place, it would prove an excellent way to automatie simple customer inquires, for example. In time, it may become more reliable in more complex tasks.

We're somehow expecting it to be god-level intelligence when is perhaps the first generation of AI that can converse at a human level. A few years ago, if you'd built a machine that could have a conversation like this, pass the Turing test, and handle routine human interaction, it would be seen as an epoch-defining milestone.

Even if this AI is only at the level of dealing with counter duties at McDonalds or giving passenger advice at an airport, that is still a phenomenal achievement that will have massive implications for many jobs and society as a whole.



The only difference I found with being human is how easy it was to admit a mistake, apologize and accept whatever truth I told it. Even humans who accepted daft stuff without any evidence ("stolen election", "cat litter trays for schoolkids who identify as cats" etc.) are generally unwilling to be put right and will just double down on the unsubstantiated info.

I can see this interaction being used to poision AI too, just like Google bombing exploited Google search suggestions so when you type a name or company, it would make outrageous suggestions that would strongly imply very negative things.


same here

I am very impressed by ChatGPT and have genuinely got some useful information from it that allowed me to solve a coding problem.

However, I have just asked it about an open source project which I am lead developer on. I asked it who the leader developer was.

First, it gave me a name I have never heard of. So I said I had never heard of that person, and they were not the lead.

It apologized, then gave me another name I have never heard of. I told it again, I have no idea who this person is, and they are not lead developer on this project.

So it apologized again and gave me a third name I have never heard of. This time, I corrected it, told it that I have never heard of that person, and the lead developer was me. It said thank you and that this would help to have correct information in the future.

The project is mainly developed through my company, but it never mentioned the company name, nor figured out that as a director of that company listed in publicly acessible records at Companies House, I might be lead developer.

Chat GPT is impressive in its ability to talk like a human, but it is worrying how willing it is to spout utter bullshit with apparent conviction and then so easily correct itself and accept whatever information you give to it. If this is how it works, it is never going to be a reliable source of information, though it may still have utility in making suggestions on coding for humans to test, or doing basic customer service interaction based on a very limited set of training data.

Japanese balloon startup wants to 'democratize space' – with $180,000 ticket price


Re: Progress

According to the flat earth community ("do your own research"), the moon landings were faked because it's not possible for humans to get to space, let alone the moon. They frequently cite the lack of present tech to take people to the moon as evidence ("we're supposed to believe they could travel to the moon in the 60s, but 50+ years later, we no longer can").

I like to point out to them that Concorde therefore must be fake. Because supposedly in the 1980s, you could fly across the Atlantic at Mach 2, but now in the 2020s, you cannot even do it at Mach 1.

Microsoft begs you not to ditch Edge on Google's own Chrome download page


Re: You install Chrome?

"Yes. Because it's what 90% of my users are familiar with And what 90% of their websites integrate with."

This sounds very much like the rational given in the late 90s and 2000s for using Internet Explorer.

And since web standards weren't really a thing back then like they are now, it was probably a more compelling argument back then.

OpenAI's ChatGPT is a morally corrupting influence


I've also formed very similar views on testing it a few times with quite diverse questions ranging from immigration law where I live (my wife is a lawyer here and was impressed at its answers), to programming issues.

It is really astoundingly good at situations where you are after facts or curated information, rather than opinions (which is what the moral questions really are).

If you want information, Google can give you simple things directly, but for more complex things, it just presents a list of web site links where the information might reside, and you have to view those pages and find it. What ChatGPT does really well is give you the information directly.

It is not perfect. I asked it whether it could contact law enforcement if a user confessed to it they'd committed a serious crime, as well as telling me it could not, it also recommended calling 911 if I was aware of a serious crime, although the emergency number is 112 here. Clearly with many questions, the answer will depend very much on where you live, and I was surprised it did not identify which country users are in from an IP address in order to tailor things accordingly.

But none of this takes away from how phenomenal it is and I am sure it will improve greatly with time.

Surely you can't be serious: Airbus close to landing fully automated passenger jets


Re: reducing the crew cost of operating the plane

Most modern fighters are inherently unstable and can only be flown thanks to fly-by-wire. Machines have reactions and response times no human can match. I am pretty sure that suitable automation could handle crosswinds and wind shear way better than any human pilot could, if equipped with the right sensors and programming.


Re: reducing the crew cost of operating the plane

Do real pilots deal with them? How?

I am pretty sure that however it is that real pilots deal with them (e.g. height drops quickly) could be dealt with by automation too.

Tesla driver blames full-self-driving software for eight-car Thanksgiving Day pile up


Re: Hmmmmmmm

Full self driving is a total nonsense. You're supposed to sit there doing nothing, but watch the car, ready to step in and avoid an accident, if it misfires in some way. What is the point of FSD, if you just free yourself up to have to watch the car driving? You might just as well drive!

Clearly, the people driving these things are watching movies, fiddling with their phones, etc. like they probably did before, but feeling way safer because the car is "driving" for them. Until it isn't.

If they cared about safety, teach people to drive properly (driver ed in the US is a joke), start people with manual transmissions like in Europe so you have to learn to drive properly and don't have a hand free to text etc. make driving tests difficult so driving as a skill is valued and respected.

Then have the hi tech in the car watching the human and stepping in in case of emergency and not the other way around. Because robots don't get bored, they're able to step in at a moment's notice, if humans aren't engaged in driving, there is no way they will be fast enough to intervene in the likely event the car messes up.

Electric cars are great, but FSD is pointless until we can really trust it. All the while the driver is supposed to be there paying attention, it frees himr/her up to do what?

Elon Musk starts poll with one question: Should I step down as head of Twitter?


Re: Dubious governance/process?

You'd think Twitter could set up a special account to run votes on major corporate policy decisions, or build a feature into the site where all users are presented with such polls to ensure the widest possible participation.

Because the vast majority of people following Musk are unhinged trump nuts and general fanboys, so it's not really an appropriate channel to post such votes if he genuinely wants to have representative views, and I am sure he's smart enough to realize that.

Musk roundly booed on-stage at Dave Chappelle gig


Re: Maybe

Cars have always been an aspirational item where brand image is important. I would guess Musk having turned Teslas into $50k MAGA hats will have an impact on sales. The core Tesla buyer thus far has tended to be younger, professional, wealthy, educated to at least degree level and having concern about the environment. Musk's vocal disparaging of this core demographic has strong Gerald Ratner overtones.

Musk may have the Trumpers on board, but poorly educated poor people living in trailers who reject climate science, positively embrace pollution as a patriotic duty are going to be a tough group to sell EVs to.

Maybe if he was making pillows for old people with bad backs, he'd be on safer ground.


Re: " Maybe it's just that he's not as popular as he thinks he is."

However, It is now perfectly legal and not actionable to refer to Musk himself as a "pedo", because it is actually just a general insult and not in anyway suggestive that Musk has an unhealthy interest in children.

Musk says spat with Apple over App Store ejection threat for Twitter was 'misunderstanding'



Let's not forget that thanks to Musk's antics in court, and his enthusiasm for free speech, we can quite legally say Elon Musk is a pedo boy, and not get sued.


Apple is perfectly entitled to set the rules for what kind of content is acceptable on its app store. Musk is rather pathetic in the way he marshals his fanboys to join in attacking whoever he decides is thwarting his right-wing agenda.

Has anyone noticed the same people who call Musk "Elon" and claim to be free speech absolutists are also absolutely sure that bakeries should be able to refuse to put gay stuff on cakes for same sex weddings and footballers shouldn't take a knee or wear rainbow armbands.

There is absolutely nothing morally no legally that requires Apple to carry right wing hate speech, or Musk's childish ramblings. Similarly, there should be nothing stopping a bakery refusing to ice a cake if it doesn't want to.

Twitter sues Musk: He can't just 'change his mind, trash the company, walk away'


pedo* guy is at it again

*pedo being simply a miscellaneous insult completely unconnected with assertions of paedophilia, as legally established by Musk in a prior legal action

Musk really is a collossal pedo.

Microsoft pulls Windows 10/11 installation websites in Russia


Re: Oh Look, a recently created pro-Russian troll account.

I am rather surprised his name is not Ombomby Jesus Mbekellili from Nigeria, given his expertise in Russian affairs. All the experts on international affairs and economics these days are from Africa, don't you know. Every western news site now has hordes of Africans in the comments helping us Europeans to understand complex matters that we might otherwise struggle to appreciate.


Re: I resisted for all of 20 seconds

There is very little, apart from oil and gas, that we really need from Russia. We might struggle for a couple of years, we'll probably have to burn coal here in Europe again, and keep nuclear stations running. There will also be an even bigger incentive to move to renewable energy. It's much quicker to deploy solar panels at domestic and commercial level, and generate power close to where it is needed, and where no planning permission is required.

Russia might cause some economic pain to western Europe for a year or two. But it is a drop in the ocean compared to the pain they're going to experience. They will try to source from China where possible, but Taiwan, Korea, Japan are all on side with sanctions, as is the US, Canada and western Europe. They will simply not be able to get a lot of the electronics they need, as well as a lot of sophisticated machinery. Parts for aircraft and cars are already a problem there.

Fossil fuels was already a doomed industry, with perhaps a couple of decades left at most in developed countries. Russia has just moved that timescale forward, it is destroying its own market. The africans and indians might still be buying fossil fuels in 20 years time, but the market will be more than oversupplied, and the Russians and the head choppers will be competing to drop prices to silly levels.

The Russian economy is smaller than Italy. There is no way they win a trade war with the west. They might be able to keep making something approximating a big mac, but they ain't going to figure out how to make complex machine tools, semi-conductors, etc. and certainly not in the next few months.

They can probably survive, but they'll be effectively back where the soviet union was in the 1980s, with backward technology, a planned economy, restrictions on freedom and travel and fighting a war they simply cannot afford.

Cookie consent crumbles under fresh UK data law proposals


Re: Straightforward solution

Much as I agree, I think the whole cookie popup thing is a disaster. It should never have been that each individual site is responsible for deciding the wording and interface for opting in and out of cookies, and writing all the code to manage it.

Instead, there should be clearly designated types of cookies (essential, third party, tracking, etc.) as web standards, each site then only need designate when creating a cookie what type it is. The interface to opt in or out, or select what to do with each type of cookie would be built into the browser itself.

Of course this would only apply to browsers created going forward, but at least users would get a consistent interface regardless of site, because lets face it, it's a shit show now where every site you visit gives you options in different parts of the screen, in different colours and fonts, with different wording and options.

Furthermore, it makes far more sense to push the workload for implementing this to browser makers, of which there are very few, than instead expecting every web site on the internet to create their own custom code to manage this, or have to install some plugin or other code. This way, each site only needs to add an attribute to each cookie designating what type it is, and the browser takes care of presenting the choice to the user and accepting/rejecting cookies.

Electric Vehicle DC charging tripped by a wireless hack


The cables lock in place when the charging starts. On my car (VW ID4) you need to click the keyfob to unlock the car to release it, even if the car is unlocked already.

Similar happens at the other end if you are using a cable to connect to a lower output public charger, such as those outside supermarkets.

Typically you don't need to stay with the car while charging, you have an app on your phone so you can see the status. Therefore you want to make sure that someone else cannot stop your charging by unplugging you, or steal your cable.

Russia acknowledges sanctions could hurt its tech companies


With the Russians grinding to a halt, a shit ton of supplies (food, water, medicines, and of course weapons) will have been sent in to Kyiv and other cities which are not yet cut off. Even if Russia pummels the cities from the air, they can never hold the rural areas - it's a vast country. The west will continue shipping Ukraine the latest infantry weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and the west is not going to run out of money. They will also be supplying intel from air and satellites.

This war is absolutely unwinnable for Russia. There is no prospect, even if Kyiv falls, that the highly motivated Ukranians in the rest of the country won't have some kind of centralized command, even if it is run from inside NATO territory.

If the Russians have not accepted defeat yet, they better start looking for what the best they can get from any peace deal is. Because the longer they go on, the worse their position looks.

US imposes sanctions as Russia invades Ukraine


Re: A quiet word in China's ear is needed

Here in the UK, the largest donors to the Tory party are Russian which means any sanctions we propose will be immediately bogged down in distinguishing "good russian money" from "bad russian money"

I predict that a hefty donation to the Tory party will be the major qualifying factor as to whether ones money is regarded as good or bad.


left him too long

Putin's rise from authoritarian yearning for the glory years of the Soviet union to full on threat to world peace surely cannot be a surprise when one looks at Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, as well as his goons going out to poison critics while on a brief holiday to Salisbury to see the cathedral. The west didn't do enough about him, and now we're sitting on the precipice of WW3. The warning bells should have been ringing the moment Putin served two presidential terms, then did a stint as PM while having a lackey hold the president's job. It was clear this was a guy who had set himself up as dictator for life, irrespective of whatever the constitution might say.

You could see from the ghoulish public performance with his lackeys being called up one by one to endorse his attack on Ukraine that they are terrified of him, and of what he is likely to unleash. It's clear that there are a lot of people around him who were doing very well, and this war serves no purpose for them. Ditto the russian billionaires around the world who will now find their activities curtailed and some of their money frozen.

Rather than all out war, the focus needs to be on doing what Putin has done to the west back to them - weaponizing a portion of the population with anger and distrust, filling their minds with conspiracy theories and turning them against their own countries. And making sure those around him start to consider whether their fear of him, when they surely outnumber him, is worse than their fear of what he might lead them into if they let him get away with this attack.

Google's Chrome OS Flex could revive old PCs, Macs


Re: Hot Garbage

Because of this change, now there are good solid reasons for Windows-centric businesses to consider ChromeOS, which can be legally deployed across an estate of computers, for zero licence cost. That's significant.

As with business gmail, it'll only be free for some time, even if there are no plans to charge now.

If it turns out to be a success, they will in time charge, and it will be even harder to move away than it is from an email service.

Worse, if it is not a success, at some point they'll give you 6 months to move your shit before they nuke it, as is the Google way.

UK science stuck in 'holding pattern' on EU funding by Brexit, says minister


Horizon programme

Apparently the UK replacement waiting in the wings is called the "End of Nose Programme", reflected the readjustment in scope and ambition of Brexit Britain.


Re: Brexit got done

The UK could have had a single market deal of its own. That was always on the table from the EU side. I would mean no NI border issue, so no NI protocol. It would also have avoided customs checks between the UK and France, avoiding the motorway queues of trucks we have now, plus all the time-consuming paperwork.

The UK would not accept the single market principles, in particular freedom of movement, so would neither have joined EFTA nor accepted a single market deal. That was why the promised cake did not materialize. Because the UK government decided that "leave" had made a bunch of promises, but as "remain" said, they could not have single market access and end EU immigration as they claimed. They chose to pander to the anti-immigrant right, rather than the pro-business centre, and the rest is history.

In 5 or 10 years, once it is clear that Brexit cannot be made to work, and that the growth and trade friction cannot be offset by trade deals outside of the EU, the UK will eventually sign a single market deal, and be bound by the rules. There is no other reasonable choice from an economic standpoint, and the benefit after several years of trade disruption will be an easy win for whichever party eats humble pie and admits that the UK needs the EU more than the EU needs the UK.

UK government responds to post-Brexit concerns and of course it's all the fault of those pesky EU negotiators


Pick n choose

I love the way the brexitters can argue about what they should be entitled to because it's in the brexit agreement without a hint of irony, While at the same time insisting that if the EU doesn't agree to rewrite the Northern Ireland agreement to their liking, they don't have to follow it, and are already unilaterally ignoring bits of it and extending implementation dates.

I suppose when you hold all the cards you can do this kind of thing? Though curiously despite holding all the cards last time, Johnson and Frost signed an agreement they both say now is intolerably damaging to the UK only a few months later.

Those EU guys must be pissing themselves laughing at the UK for electing these clowns.

Microsoft's do-it-all IDE Visual Studio 2022 came out late last year. How good is it really?


Re: The Microsoft naming department

I am old enough to remember when ASP.NET first came out and was called ASP+, and I swear the web.config file was originally called config.web. Which made no sense, when the filetype was really a config file, and it seemed likely you may have config files relating to other things in the future. Some of these significant changes seem to be made very late in the day, often after the RTM. They don't seemed to have learned these lessons.

I did think the blue theme didn't look very blue, but I am a bit colour blind, so assume that was my problem not theirs.


Re: The Microsoft naming department

We also have a huge legacy codebase on webforms, and I think it's a mistake for them to dump it. At the very least, they should open-source it so others can try to implement it in .NET (the new one, not the old one).

The irony is that most of the hate for webforms stems from the view that it's a layer of abstraction between the code and the resulting HTML, which is a bad thing, reduces performance, etc. even if it makes coding easier. And yet, you are now virtually pushed towards EF, which is an abstraction layer between the application and the database which supposedly makes coding easier, but is 5-10 times slower. Considering that online apps are nearly always database limited when it comes to performance, this seems a curious paradox. You make the application code a bit harder to write, but cleaner and faster, but then do the exact opposite with the database.

We've dabbled with server side Blazor, but it doesn't seem anywhere as well supported as webforms and still feels like it's a trial being chucked out there to see if it sticks rather than a well-considered replacement for webforms.


The Microsoft naming department

Really bugs me how Microsoft cannot seem to figure out the confusing they often cause naming things so badly.

ASP and then ASP.NET didn't help, but then ASP.NET Core, and then deciding to have the new 5+ version called simply .NET and now calling the old stuff .NET Framework just adds to the confusion.

They've managed to do a similar thing with Blazor, so we have Blazor web assembly and Blazor server, being client or server side.

Then Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, which are really entirely different things that do broadly the same thing.

At the very least it makes Bing-ing for things confusing, because you invariably end up finding information about something entirely different to what you're actually after.

Microsoft is big enough that it really shouldn't need to leverage established names for new products, Visual Studio Code would surely have stood on its own without name-checking its older brother.

Russia's Putin out the idea of a broad cryptocurrency ban



I don't think the problem they are not underwritten is important. FIAT currencies aren't underwritten by anything really, the gold standard went out long ago.

The primary problem I see with bitcoin is that what utility it might have (effectively a store of value like cash, but unlike cash, one that can be transferred electronically while maintaining that relative anonymity) that creates value merely encourages speculators which in turn renders it useless as a currency, because nobody is going to spend something that can double in value in a few weeks, and nobody wants to accept something that can drop 10% in an hour.

'IwlIj jachjaj! Incoming LibreOffice 7.3 to support Klingon and Interslavic


Re: Well done Liam...

I tend to just say everything in the present tense and use helper words like "yesterday" and "tomorrow" to specify when

You'd love Chinese. People think it's hard, but once you get past the writing and the tonal pronunciation which takes a few months, the grammar is beautiful....

No tenses, no verb conjugations. You literally learn a verb, and that's the only form of the verb there is. You can add "yesterday" or "tomorrow" or "the time when I was young" or "next year" to clarify when you are referring to, if it is not clear from the context. If someone asks what you did yesterday, you can simply say "I go to school", because the time is clear from their question. And I, you, he, she, it makes no difference - no silly endings. Therefore no irregular verbs.

Also no plurals either.

Every language should work like that!


Re: Well done Liam...

I was never really a language person at school.

In my early 20s, I met a girl and ended up moving to Taiwan for couple of years. I remember at the beginning chatting to an American guy who to me seemed to speak really good Chinese. I said to him I didn't think I'd ever learn, because it was so difficult.

He said something which I never forgot. How can it be difficult when over a billion people speak it? Even the stupid people in China can speak Chinese. But I said, well, that's because they learned it as kids. To which he said, looking at it another way, even stupid *kids* in China can speak Chinese.

Turns out, it's actually rather easy. No tenses, no verb conjugations, no plurals.

Everyone has the capability to learn languages. There is nothing inherently difficult that is beyond the brainpower of anyone. It's not calculus.

I ended up getting pretty fluent in Chinese in about 18 months.

The important things:

1. Speak it. You will make mistakes. But unless you just keep doing it, you will never get fluent. Like playing a musical instrument, you just have to keep on doing it or you will never get good.

2. Get in a class with a teacher who doesn't speak English. If your teacher explains things in English, you'll ask questions in English, and so will everyone else. After a year, you'll have learned quite a lot *about* the language, but you'll have learned virtually zero of the language. It's impossible to learn when you keep flipping back to English because trying to explain your question in Chinese is difficult. But if you don't force yourself to do that, you have no hope of doing it in the wild when you have someone who *doesn't* speak English.

3. If you're single, get yourself a girlfriend who doesn't speak English. I was in my mid 20s in Taiwan, I realized pretty quickly that the pool of English speaking girls was pretty small. A little bit of Chinese, and suddenly the pool was much bigger. There is nothing that motivates you to learn like hormones.

I ended up marrying a Brazilian, moving to Portugal and now have to speak yet another language. But after doing German and Chinese, I knew what I was in for, and even in my 40s, I can get by now though it's definitely a little harder now.

If you don't think it's in you, you're wrong. Those people who go to jail in Thailand end up fluent in Thai in six months. It's all about necessity. If you put yourself in a position where you need to speak it to survive and no one around you speaks English, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'd learn.

New submarine cable to link Japan, Europe, through famed Northwest Passage


Re: Who are the customers?

Significantly for geo-stationary orbit, but for newer satellite constellations with hundreds of satellites in low earth orbit, the difference in distanced is marginal, and could even be less depending on how many curves there need to be in the subsea cable.

Replaced several times but still live and kicking: Windows Forms updated for .NET 6.0


Re: Missed opportunity

That's basically what ASP.NET web forms is, which Microsoft has effectively killed by not rolling that through to .NET 5/6

In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done


changed computer games

I was a 13 year old kid when Elite came out. My friend already told me about it on his BBC micro, but his parents were weird so I'd never been over to see it. What he described seemed too good to be true. We had a commodore 64, but I was still used to games being a disappointment, where you look at the exciting pictures on the cassette box, and the reality of screenshots when you get things running was never anywhere near as good.

When Elite finally came out on the c64 myself and my brother spent the entire school summer holiday playing all day. It was the first "open world" game I can remember, with no particular aim other than just to improve yourself and your ship and just go around having fun.

I have oolite (an excellent open source homage) installed on my PCs, but my kids are unimpressed, even though the graphics are far better, it retains the charm and sticks very closely to the original, virtually identical trading screens, ratings, etc.

That these guys put it together with such a small team and on such puny hardware is nothing short of a miracle.

Why machine-learning chatbots find it difficult to respond to idioms, metaphors, rhetorical questions, sarcasm


understanding idioms

It seems even by the 24th century, the scientists still haven't figured it out. Lieutenant Commander Data has a positronic brain and is smarter than anyone else in the crew of his starship, but he still queries routine idioms and takes common expressions literally.

I suspect that might date as badly as the ships computer in the 60s original series

Facebook's greatest misses: The five nastiest bits from recent leaks


facebook moderation is a joke

They claim to stop antivax and other false information being redistributed, but they really don't. It's just zuck talking, there is zero actual action.

They have a report mechanism that lets you report breaches of the Ts and Cs, when you report a comment or post, you can select false health information, or hate speech based on ethnicity or nationality.

So you'd think that someone sharing a post on a dubious blog claiming that covid vaccines are more dangerous than the virus and have really killed millions, or that infectious diseases only arise because of "the Chinese" would breach them. But apparently Facebook reviews these and decides they're fine.

But if you call someone who's an idiot, an idiot, you can get put in facebook jail.

It's no wonder it's just a medium for people to spread shit around.

Apple beat Epic Games 9-1 in court. Now it's appealed the one point it lost


Re: Dear Apple...

Just out of interest, was microsoft ever a monopoly? People could have gone to Apple or other alternatives, and could easily have installed Netscape or other browsers too.

Certainly both Apple and MS have/had a large captive audience with significant barriers to moving away. Microsoft forced a free browser on people (but they were always free to install alternatives), Apple controls what you can and cannot install, takes a massive cut of 30% and charges developers (while Microsoft was giving dev tools away for free, and still does - SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc.).

As a developer, I would say that phones have created a platform for developers that is far more restrictive, fragmented and expensive to work on than the PCs and computers of the 80s and 90s. In the past, you could produce software and distribute it yourself cheaply via the web. Now, you effectively have to jump through Apple or Google's requirements, and hand them 30% for the privilege.

Windows 11 in detail: Incremental upgrade spoilt by onerous system requirements and usability mis-steps


visual redesign

This is just going round in circles. They do everything glassy in Vista, tell you its fresh and modern.

Then they get bored of that, now "flat" is best, everything goes flat and texty without icons. Then the icons start to creep back in, and a bit of shadow too.

Then now we have a new glassy look.

Each change, we're told, makes things easier and more comfortable to use.

US Congress ponders setting up permanent UFO investigation office


Re: Are artilects alien beings or human constructs ‽ . And are they friendlies or hostiles ‽ .

I'm not sure what ET could gain from a sight-seeing tour of Earth. He's not short of technology, and natural resources are easier to obtain if they're not sitting at the bottom of our gravity well.

I am open minded about whether aliens exist in reasonable proximity to be able to visit earth. My gut feeling is that it's more plausible that the US military are trolling us or fabricating incidents to help nurture belief in UFOs, so that if/when their own exotic secret aircraft are observed, there is plausible cover that they might not be "ours".

But if such aliens did exist, I think it's perfectly reasonable that they would regard earth as an interesting place, with humans in particular being the most significant species of interest. I suspect that microscopic single cell life may turn out to be reasonably common in the galaxy (given that it appeared very soon in the life of the earth) but multi-cell organisms far less common (because it took a couple of billion more years for those to appear). And intelligent multi-cell life capable of reaching space, most likely extremely rare. In the hundreds of millions of years since multi-cell life arose, there have been all kinds of animals develop, and become extinct. But nothing has come anyway close to even basic features of human achievement like writing, or basic technology, let alone complex computers, vehicles capable of reaching space and so on.

Our present level of sophistication does not diminish our interest in ancient egyptians or the chinese and what they achieved in terms of science, navigation and so on, or our interest in animals. I would expect humans would be fascinating, even to advanced aliens. I doubt they would see us as a threat, though if our planet turned out to be capable of supporting them, they may well be a threat to us.

SpaceX successfully sends four amateurs into orbit for three-day tour


credit where is due

That billionaire dude who donated three seats to worthy recipients... what a guy.

If I was going to be floating around in a metal can for three days, those three seats would be taken by a blonde, brunette and maybe a pot-luck to make things interesting.

He's a better man than me.

Feeling saucy? Wave of Microsoft releases includes go-live licence for .NET 6


market share

ASP.NET has lost out to PHP largely as a result of migration of many sites to SaaS providers, running a common platform, rather than ASP.NET sites switching to home-brew PHP sites.

It also has not been helped at the home brew end by the constantly chopping and changing and general instability of the offering, with things like webforms being sidelined and then dumped. Who'd invest effort in new things like Blazor when it's quite likely Microsoft will lose interest in that in a couple of years, and completely redefine some new paradigm as the next big thing, so all your investment in both skills and codebase become obsolete going forward?