* Posts by doublelayer

2161 posts • joined 22 Feb 2018

Elecrow CrowPi2: Neat way to get your boffins-to-be hooked on Linux from an early age and tinkering in no time

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Re: Repetition = practice

"And finally the whole programming thing: if people did not learn by practice and repetition then they would not need a computer: they could just read the description of the programming language and that would be enough. And they would also never get better: you'd teach them how to program (from a book) at which point they would be the best programmers they could ever be."

That's not really what I argued. In fact, it's close to the opposite of what I've argued. When you learn programming, there's relatively little repetition. Once you learn what a function is and how to make a recursive one, you don't need to learn it again. You do need to use it. The people who most espouse repetition will do that by making people write twenty recursive functions, but that's not really efficient. Instead, have them write a few recursive functions until they understand what recursion means. Then give them actual problems where recursion can solve the problem and see how they deal with it. It's sort of repetitive in the sense that they're using things they learned before, but it's new tasks which don't take the form of a litany of exercises. This is better than the exercise method because it makes the student think through the solution, whereas exercises already tell them what the solution will be and they just have to do implementation steps. Those teachers who use repetition in a way I dislike tend to focus on basic things and force a "really firm understanding" of those things. Unfortunately, in my experience, that translates as a "really good understanding of how to answer the test question". It results in people using similar code to things they've seen before without understanding why they're doing it; it worked before, so it will work here, and it probably does, but that's because the problem they're working on is limited and performance isn't critical.

Practice isn't repetition and repetition isn't practice. You can repeat an action and memorize results without getting better at it if you're repeating something which doesn't require enough lateral thinking. You can practice by doing a lot of different things, therefore understanding multiple options for completing a task, which involves doing a similar thing but relatively little repetition.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Repetition = practice

Maybe we actually agree, but it doesn't really sound like it. It seems to me that very little time should be spent on memorization. This is perhaps because my memory is relatively good so I find it easy to memorize things, but I think it applies to others as well. In studying something, the very basic information on which everything else is based should be memorized for speed. This is usually completed in a month or so (depends on what exactly it is, but I think that's a good level for a course of study lasting a year or more and where the first information learned is really the basics). After that, repetition is not only unnecessary, it is harmful. If teachers think that repetition is going to help after the very basic concepts, they're at best generating boredom. At worst, they're generating students who don't know how to do anything which wasn't in the homework or exams. I've seen teachers do that. I have seen the students that result. When I have taught in the past, I have endeavored to avoid that risk as best I can.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Repetition = practice

I have memorized the tables of multiplication. Kind of handy, too. I've only memorized them up so far though, and if I want to calculate 29*47 I have to do it manually. I can do so accurately, so there's no need to make me manually do a hundred more of those to make sure.

The problem with rote memorization is that you don't often need some of the things people want you to memorize, and there are people who will try to make you memorize even more things. Since this is about programming, think of all the things that someone could memorize. I could memorize every system call available under Linux. All the names, each parameter and its possible values, all stored in my brain and available for the unannounced quiz. Which is mostly useless. There are system calls there that don't matter, nor do I need to know every option. That's what man pages are for. By using those system calls in real programs, I'll get a better understanding of what they do and why people use them than I ever would memorizing them. More important, while that set of functions is likely to have lasting significance, a lot of potentially memorizable things aren't worth doing so. I could have memorized the standard libraries for any number of languages which no longer get used, and it would have wasted my time.

Rote memorization is only relevant for the most basic of things. How to do basic mathematics is a good example, but even that is limited. Those who prioritize memorization over understanding of how to use it in real life are doing students a disservice. Which would you rather a programming instructor do in a limited amount of time: have the students implement twelve sorting algorithms and memorize the time and space complexity values for each, or have the students implement three sorting algorithms and understand why each has the time and space complexity it does. For memorization, twelve is better; if they were stuck with access to nothing they could quickly implement sorting on any system. In real life, it's better to know what causes complexity; they're already going to have sorting available, there are only a few sorts they really have to know well, but they're going to have to worry about the same kind of performance on other algorithms which don't have memorizable answers.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Repetition = practice

"Is there any other way to practice something to acquire mastery beyond 'boring' repetition?"

Absolutely. The thing most people are learning here is computing and programming. Boring repetition doesn't help there. At all. Consider this lesson plan:

Learn what a linked list is. Done. Write a linked list. Done. Write another linked list. Write a double-connected linked list. Write an indexed linked list. Write a restricted linked list with the annoying scheme access method. Write a circular linked list. Write a thing that treats a linked list like an array or a heap. All the students of that learn is that linked lists are not very fun.

Instead, we don't repeat things over and over. We teach linked lists, then we teach trees. Then we teach the performance benefits of a linked list and of an array. Then we let the students build something new using those things. If they find something they didn't understand when we taught the original topic, writing something more advanced which uses that will let them learn the bit they missed. By creating something that actually works, they learn not only the concepts, but they also learn why they need to know those things and feel that there's a purpose to it.

The same logic applies to math. If you have successfully learned how to divide large numbers, it doesn't help much to be given a hundred more division problems to do. You're going to get them correct. If it's really critical that you can machine gun your long division, then the practicing for speed makes sense, but otherwise you're making people do something painful and pointless. They get how to do it, so move them to something new. You might give them problems where they have to figure out which of the operations they know solves the problem (I.E. algebra), or you want to teach them a new operation before you go that direction, but in any case you teach them something new. Boring repetition is needed in moderation to make sure that people understand what they're doing. In the case that someone doesn't understand what they're doing, the remedial work will also involve repetition (for them, but not for the teacher as the previous teaching method probably wasn't working). But making people go through a lot of repetition even though they understand what they're doing is a perfect way to tell them that you're a bad teacher. The students will try to look for someone teaching something else where they actually get to learn. If you want to help people learn, the students interest is important.

Online fraud prevention biz fails to prevent CEO's alleged offline fraud

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What's with the other fraud charges at the bottom

"'The remaining NS8 leadership and Board of Directors is working to determine financial options for the company and its stakeholders going forward.' ® Six people were today charged after allegedly bribing Amazon employees and contractors more than $100,000 [...]"

Did this get pasted on by mistake? Was there going to be another article about these people but writer's block happened? This doesn't appear to be a roundup or in brief, so why is this story in a smallish paragraph at the bottom?

Alibaba wants to get you off the PC upgrade treadmill and into its cloud

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Re: Another attempt to kill the "Personal" in PC...

It can be run at the hypervisor layer if the customer doesn't mind having their disks scanned at all times, because the detection needs to run on any file before the user clicks on it, including when that file has just been downloaded. And it needs to scan memory and basically do all the things a local antimalware program does but on a disk which is in use by another operating system without messing with the OS (E.G. both malware scanner on hypervisor and user-level application on VM trying to access the same file), or causing performance delays (waiting for file locks to release), or not allowing the user to correct a false positive since they don't run the hypervisor, or having vulnerabilities letting someone crash the hypervisor's protection system with a zip bomb or the like. Otherwise, it'll be exactly like normal Windows and protection will hinge on things running under the VM. Either way, there will still be malware, there will still be misconfigurations, and where in the world the real computer is will make little difference.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: A ''cloud" computer!

"Sure, and personal computers never have problems either."

Here's the difference. I'll be the IT person at a small business with three locations which communicate among one another.

Option 1: Personal computer has a problem:

Phone: Ring ring.

Me: Hello.

Them: We have a machine that's not turning on. It says there's a disk failure.

Me: I see. Where is it?

Them: That site far away from where you are.

Me: Great. Well, this sounds like I'll have to come over to fix it. I can be there this afternoon.

Them: This is important. One of our employees can't work with their computer down.

Me: There's a backup in the closet. If you replace that employee's machine and they log into the backup, things should work. Hopefully they've remembered not to save things to the internal drive.

Option 2: Cloud has a problem:

Phone: Ring ring.

Me: Hello.

Them: Every computer in our office isn't working. Each time we try to turn one on, it says "Network connectivity error: NT929018. The connection to nl83.localarea.cloud.resource.alibabadumbterminals.com could not be completed. Please contact your network administrator to resolve this problem."

Me: Uh-oh. I'm the network admin, so I should be handling this. Which site are you?

Them: That site far away from where you are.

Me: I'll rush over.

Me: Hi. I'm here to test your network.

Me: Your network appears to be working.

Them: None of the computers start. None of us can do any work involving a computer.

Me: I see that. I just mean that the error they're talking about is probably outside this office.

Me: Wait a minute, I need to check something.

Phone: Brrrr brrrr.

Someone else: Hello.

Me: Hi, this is IT calling. I wanted to check if--

Someone: Are you calling about the computers? Can you fix them?

Me: I think I already know the answer, but they're saying to contact the network administrator, right?

Someone: Yes. Nobody here can work. When can you fix it?

Me: I'm at the far away site. They have the same thing. Let me call you back.

Phone: Brrrr brrrr.

IVR: Thank you for calling the network terminal support line. All our representatives are busy. Please stay on the line.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Another attempt to kill the "Personal" in PC...

They said their remote system runs Windows or Linux. Those who are choosing Windows can run exactly the same malware as their local Windows machines could. Those choosing Linux can also be hit with malware, and it's probably a custom version of Linux, and how many among the general public are going to click that anyway. This isn't a locked-down OS with extra security features, it's locked-down hardware giving access to the same OS for which you're charged every month.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: 1996 called...

"Maybe today's global network infrastructure is better and faster than it was in 1996?"

It is. So let's put ten thousand staff in front of those at home and see how many of them have internet issues ever. Even the tiniest downtime makes this freeze. A longer outage probably causes this to crash. At least with local computing, people can continue to write, read content they've already retrieved, and do a lot of work. This is especially relevant because, despite their protestations, there isn't much of a harsh computer upgrade cycle anymore. A computer from 2015 usually handles everything the average worker wants to do (even one from 2010 handles most of that), and most businesses have been holding on to devices for longer. The recent buying spree was for places that needed portable machines for work from home, but that's already happened. If someone really needs a lot of remote resources, they will use the cloud, but most people don't need that and most who do still want some local computing available to them while their expensive cloud box does the heavy lifting.

iOS 14 suffers app preference amnesia: Rebooting an iThing resets browser, email client defaults back to Safari, Mail

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Re: Hanlon's Razor

But also don't rule out accidentally deleted a line:

function set_default_browser(browser):

system.default_apps.browser = browser

settings = configfile.open("wherever_that_is_stored")

settings.defaults.browser = browser

settings.save() //oops, deleted this

Apple makes bugs. This sounds like one of them. If they didn't want to do it because they want to keep their customers on their apps, they could equally easily have left out the option; their customers have taken that for 13 OS releases so far.

Bad news for 'cool dads' trying to bond with their teens: China-owned TikTok and WeChat face US download ban by Sunday

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Re: Tok for Tik (sorry, I mean Tit for Tat)

All of those are entirely blocked in China, either for having too many people who like democracy on them or allowing encrypted communication. So the U.S. is the copycat here. It's always a great sign when China is your role model, isn't it?

Not content with distorting actual reality, Facebook now wants to build a digital layer for the world

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Re: Meh

You do not understand your own metaphors. Let's limit ourselves to two examples. The worst, email, and the best, megaphones. Best still means bad.

Email: It's not a public platform. I can spam, but only if I have your email address, and you can block me, and the email spec doesn't provide me any resources which amplify my message. If I want to send out lots of emails, I need to provide my own resources. Facebook provides resources and a method to push a message to many people, most of which are not specifically targeted by it.

Megaphones: These let me shout a message out. That's distribution, so it's a better metaphor than email. However, a megaphone is only useful if I can shout through it where people will hear. If I use a megaphone in a deserted forest, nobody will pay attention. I have to use a public place, a venue, in order for my message to get out. So, the people who run that venue have the choice to let me do that or to make me stop. Facebook is such a venue, and they provide tools that have similar power to a megaphone there. They have the ability to stop someone there and the ability to let them continue.

Opinions differ about whether Facebook should be responsible for this kind of thing. That might be fun to debate. I'm not doing that yet. Instead, I'm focusing on these hideously inaccurate comparisons. That's not how Facebook works, so if you intend on arguing your point by comparing two things that are not similar, we couldn't actually debate the point in question.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Meh

Email accounts allow person-to-person communication, not publishing. Paper manufacturers make printing possible, not distribution. Megaphone and banner manufacturers may make distribution easier, but they do not provide the venue for it to happen. Facebook is a venue for distribution to happen. Find better comparisons.

Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but... why were they allowed in the first place?

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Re: Great they are doing this...

Me: "tracking one's children is a normal and healthy thing to do"

Reply: "Erm... No? You trust your children or you don't."

Forgive me. I was not clear enough. I intended my original phrase to be very sarcastic. I think those apps should be thrown out at the same time and for the same reasons. That Google thinks it is normal to do that makes me glad I don't interact with them.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Great they are doing this...

Nothing at all, which is why several companies are writing those apps right now, because tracking one's children is a normal and healthy thing to do. They will ensure that no child can detect or disable these, no matter how technically skilled, or motivated, or terrified of the [stalker] [user] [client] parent.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Stalking app?

Well, they are starting a program where people can report stalking apps*. Any app reported there will be reviewed by a team they're creating*. Any app deemed to be targeting nonconsenting adults will be removed immediately and added to Play Protect*, and the people whose devices were affected will receive information about what was happening to them and helpful resources to be assembled by a partnership between Google and organizations who help victims of domestic abuse*.

*None of those things are actually happening. Google, these suggestions are released in the public domain. Please pick them up.

Cisco’s 'intuitive security' tool can’t handle MAC address randomization out-of-the-box

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Re: Yet another elastoplast with unexpected consequences?

The problem with pre-IOS-14 behavior is that it's easy to convince a device to get handshakes if a phone's ever connected to a network by listening for pings and pretending to be every network. This approach has been verified to work on lots of devices, so if you place a device which will respond to any SSID request, you'll get authentication requests from most passing devices. These don't always work; if it's a secure network, some of the authentication might fail because you don't know the correct key. If it's an open network that you're responding to, those devices just handed you their MACs. If it wasn't, you add that SSID to a list you won't respond to and try again; the phone will send you another ping in a second and you can hope that that one was open.

The software to do this is easy to obtain and configure, mostly used for MITM attacks. Those are tricky because you need to hold your victim near your attack point. If all you want to do is track people, you don't need to worry about the time element (or even the connectivity element) so it's even easier.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Yet another elastoplast with unexpected consequences?

Whether to assign a temporary address is broadly up to the network; a device can request one and be assigned the traditional type with the exact MAC address included. Some networking equipment may not respect user preferences in this way and there's little that can be done. It's easy to identify if this has happened and get the data only under that condition. There isn't any easy way to prevent this from occurring without manually checking the address and leaving the network if it hasn't assigned a temporary address. There are also devices that don't have that privacy setting enabled or don't even allow that privacy setting to be enabled, and those can also be tracked. I am uncertain how much choice phone manufacturers have here, but still it could be an important factor.

Even if we eliminate this particular option by deprecating the original suggestion to embed, we still have the other methods for companies to collect addresses as listed in my original post. Not to mention that the easiest way to get that data en masse is to have ISPs collect it from anyone using their equipment without another device in front of it and sell the database, which could be legal depending on which country you're in and could happen anyway even if it isn't legal.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Yet another elastoplast with unexpected consequences?

"Okay, can you explain how Google, Facebook and Amazon can track via a MAC address?"

Several tiers of detection are possible, including these:

Very invasive: Google: WiFi data collection from StreetView or other hardware, access to phones via Play Services. Amazon: Access to their own tablets via their proprietary components which frequently contact Amazon servers.

Somewhat invasive: All: Collection of IPV6 addresses to collect those which have a MAC embedded in them (default for SLAAC deployments). Facebook and Amazon: Collection of MACs from device from installed applications.

Not proven to happen but possible: Google and Amazon: IoT equipment placed on users' home networks which could collect all MACs in WiFi handshakes. All: Potential to have apps on phones with sufficient permissions to cause them to listen for such handshakes also.

That was what I came up with in the first thirty seconds. Let's see if others can find more. I bet they can.

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

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"However, the lack of MacOS VMs is 100% Apple patent trolling."

No, it's 100% Apple not wanting to make it available, which is mostly them wanting money and thinking that, by not doing this, they'll make more.

"MacOS is a flavor of Linux"

Wrong. Macs are based around a kernel which is neither Linux nor based on Linux code or behavior. Its userland comes from BSD, not Linux. It has more compatibility with Linux than does Windows or some other things, but it is not a flavor of Linux by any means.

"there is absolutely nothing preventing virtualization besides Apple's lawyers."

Well, some driver work would need to be done, but you're broadly correct. Apple doesn't make it easy because they don't want you to.

Patent trolling is abusing patents which are overly broad, granted even though the holder didn't invent the thing, or in some other way invalid but nonetheless legally granted. Apple might do that sometimes, but that's not what they're doing here. People want a thing. I would like that thing. Apple doesn't want to give or sell me the thing, so I don't get the thing. That's their choice. Patents haven't come into it.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Why is the article writer surprised

"The iPhone 4s can only have music added by iTunes and nothing else. The previous owner hadn't added any apps, so it's useless compared to much older Android phones or tablets or PCs."

Not sure about this. I have an iPod Touch here that's even older than a 4S (this caps at IOS6, 4S stuck on IOS 9), and it allows me to sign in and download apps. Not a lot of those are compatible, but if the app existed long enough, I can get an old version that works. You could probably do the same and better because IOS 9 is more likely to be supported than IOS 6. You could also get an old version of XCode and compile code to it. Whether there's a point is another question, but it should be doable.

doublelayer Silver badge

I'm assuming here that the comment is referring to the perspective purchase of ARM by NVIDIA. While they're not using ARM's cores, they still have to pay a license fee to ARM in order to be allowed to produce compatible cores of their own. This could give ARM, NVIDIA, or whoever eventually buys it to have some leverage against Apple and increase the demanded license fees, although NVIDIA has promised not to do that.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: What is the Author actually asking for?

Yes, Apple didn't bother to make it run in the environments they want to prevent. I'm with the original poster, though. The article specifically says that they don't care if the OS supports new hardware released after now, and they don't care if it gets security updates. At this point, I find myself asking why they need one at all--you can get that and more just by buying an Intel-based Mac today. To me, a VM is only useful if, in 2025, I can still run the latest OS with security patches on the hardware available for purchase then. If what I'm going to get is a VM running what an Intel Mac runs today and nothing more, then I might as well just get an Intel Mac today; the benefit is the same.

Safety driver at the wheel of self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian is charged with negligent homicide

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Re: Easy issue to resolve

If we had a fully autonomous vehicle we trusted, we'd probably have a switch that puts it into autonomous mode and disables the controls to prevent controls in the hands of people not really trying to drive from messing that up. We should also include a button to make the system autonomously pull over and stop as soon as feasible and another one to put the car into manual control (these have to be hard to press by accident). Not every driver control still has to be there, but enough to handle emergencies which are going to happen.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: You had one job...

I did not vote on your comment, but I think your suggested dual input system is unlikely to work and likely to be dangerous. Having the driver steering and braking means the driver is going to disagree with the car some of the time. Either the test isn't going to work because the car keeps deferring to the driver, or the car is going to ignore a lot of the driver's input. That would mean that a driver which is really in better control might have a harder time getting the car to stop because the car knows that the driver doesn't always brake with similar frequency or strength. You could have an emergency takeover button which immediately forces the car to be controlled by the driver, and that might help, but only if the drivers are trained well enough to instinctively press it at short notice.

Never mind that you can run Meet on any old computer, Google unveils specialised hardware for vid-chat plat

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Re: Obsolescence?

"Same as if MS shut down their services like Skype for business... you go elsewhere."

I believe the question is asking what happens to the hardware. Can you take it elsewhere with you with existing software support? Could you at least flash another OS and try to build your own? Or does it turn into an expensive brick that can only be used as a fake security camera? Based on some of Google's hardware attempts, option 3 seems likely and option 2 may be possible, but I wouldn't count on option 2 and option 1 will never happen.

.UK overlord Nominet tells everyone not to worry about 'distorted' vote allocations in its board elections

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Something finally explained

There have been many stories about the roll-out of second-level .uk domains in the past few years, mostly about how registrars kept adding them then attempting to charge for them. That made some sense if that was the registrar's plan, but it always struck me as a little shortsighted because there was obviously going to be a user backlash which would cost the registrars in settlement and reversing the payments. Until now, I was willing to accept that registrars just aren't very smart and took the risk anyway. Now, things are a little clearer:

"But things get even more complicated than that: the number of members varies from year to year; many members fail to vote; the votes are calculated according to Nominet’s financial records based on paid-for domains – except for when Nominet made an exception for millions of domains it gave away for free as part of the controversial launch of second-level .uk domains."

Any registrar who handed out free .uk domains without asking did that to get extra votes. If anyone's still using a registrar that did this, I suggest you immediately cancel your business with them.

Apple takes another swing at Epic, says Unreal Engine could be a 'trojan horse' threatening security

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"From what others have said on here Epic were allowed to accept payments from outside the Fornite app using a browser etc?"

Yes, but keep in mind that they're not allowed to mention that possibility in the app let alone actually send people there. If their users find it on their own, it works. They're also not allowed to make it cheaper on their site. If they did any of those things, that would also be a breech of their contract and they'd end up in the same situation they are in now. Apple jealously guards that revenue stream and they're pretty clear about how much they're not willing to take from devs.

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: "to slide a change into the app that blatantly evaded App Review."

Any system has holes, and anywhere code can run, someone will try to get malicious code to run. Apple doesn't have a malware-proof review system, but their record is pretty good. For this reason, they're probably very irritated about people sneaking code through. On that particular argument, Apple's complaints are understandable. Of course, they're also annoyed about the code that was snuck through and it's not security that has them worried. You can make up your own mind how you feel about that bit.

Oracle hosting TikTok US data. '25,000' moderators hired. Code reviews. Trump getting his cut... It's the season finale

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Re: My head hurts

"If you wrote a fictional book with these sorts of goings on 10 years ago you'd be told it was unbelievable."

I think that people would get confused and return the books. The current system makes no sense, but not because it's unbelievable, just because I have no clue what is happening. The premise I understand: the current American administration likes having bargaining chips and is making up pretenses to get them. The rest is totally unclear. What exactly Oracle is doing: I don't know. What ByteDance is doing: I don't know either. What the president thinks: don't know. What the executive departments are doing when they don't know what the president thinks, what the president is going to use to make his final decision when we know he won't be reading the bureaucratic report, who is fighting ByteDance's lawsuit and how, what happened to the deadline of Tuesday which didn't get met, what members of the president's party are willing to put up with, what the members of that party actually think, whether anyone else is going to interfere, I don't know any of this. At least when other political events are happening I can understand enough of what people think and plan to do that I can marvel at the audacity or hypocrisy. With this, I can only sit there and puzzle through how anyone can make plans when there's little or no information from anybody.

Singapore to pay its citizens to wear Apple Watches

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How much did Apple pay for this?

I want to know how much Apple has provided to Singapore's funds or to the funds of its legislators to get this to happen. It sounds as if they now have Singaporean taxpayers covering the purchase of their products while their competitors whose devices could do the same thing get nothing. I want to know how expensive buying a flood of Singaporean money is just in case I ever start a company and want to get more customers.

Surprise! Apple launches iOS 14 today, and developers were given just 24 hours' notice

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Re: Nonsense

Please read the section of the article that discusses the issue. The problem isn't about testing. Some developers may do that wrong, but that's not what's being discussed. What is being discussed is that developers can't push apps using IOS 14 behavior to the store until the GM goes out. That was last night. Now it's available to users. Those apps haven't been approved yet. The devs are complaining about the speed with which Apple pushed out the release which caused the OS to be there before their reviews completed, not about difficulty testing. I don't care much; I wouldn't install an operating system on day one anyway so I could easily afford to wait for the apps and the OS, but at least understand the complaints before attacking developers about something not connected to what they're talking about.

That long-awaited, super-hyped Apple launch: Watches, iPads... and one more thing. Oh, actually that's it

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Re: Something isn't making sense

Ah, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for the clarification.

doublelayer Silver badge

Something isn't making sense

"We also saw the same repetitions of Apple’s purported eco-friendliness, which will be put into practice by removing the USB charge cables from its Apple Watch line-up."

Maybe it's just because I don't have one, but I was under the impression that most smartwatches, including Apple's, use a nonstandard connector so they can be more waterproof, smaller, and give their manufacturers an extra income stream from sale of chargers. Even if Apple's watches have always used the same connector, anyone who hasn't purchased one before won't have one and anyone purchasing one now probably got rid of the last cable when they gave it to the same person they gave the old watch to. It seems to me to be the cable least likely already to be available to users. Lightning cables, however, would already be available to anyone who has previously purchased Apple gear (and are more easily purchased at shops), USB-C cables are becoming more common and may soon start to accumulate, and Micro USB cables can be found in quantities of five to ten in any closet in my home (or my family's homes). Am I just wrong about Apple's watches using a cable type specific to that unit and they're more common than I thought? If not, what are they thinking?

Singapore to test compulsory COVID-tracker usage as condition of entry to some venues

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Re: This will enable us to open up safely in the coming weeks and months

"The point is you are not allowed in without one. So there should be no unknown persons."

The "unknown" referred to persons who are not known to have the disease, but they do. They are asymptomatic, go in, infect others who will not develop symptoms for a week, and those others will infect still more. The point is that this tracking system is not sufficient to allow completely normal operation while rates of transmission are still high. It can allow some increase in safe levels of social interaction, but if something like this is sold as a panacea which will allow perfect containment of infected people, people may have a false sense of security about what it's going to do. If this leads to normal levels (in a densely-packed city, very high levels) of close contact, it will not take long to prove this point. Sadly, that proof will come in the form of new cases, including deaths and long-lasting health effects. If only we could consider it before overselling something.

Brit MPs to Apple CEO: Please stop ignoring our questions about repairability and the environment

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Re: The easy solution

That's easy, but it solves nothing. If I want a phone, I have to get one from someone. One of the benefits that Apple provides is long software support, which I really can't get with Android devices. This means that it is safe to use for longer, lessening my production of electronics going to recyclers. There are a few devices that, via Lineage OS or similar, get support for much longer. I'm currently using one of those. I am going to have to replace it at some point soon though because it is now rebooting unexpectedly (I blame the battery but I don't have evidence). Still, that device has lasted around seven years whereas its manufacturer dropped support and security updates for it in 2015. Unfortunately, scanning Lineage's supported devices list doesn't bode well as they're low on supported modern devices.

You want a real solution? Get the Android manufacturers to increase the lifetime of software and security updates along with some standard for repairability. Otherwise, I'm faced with the choice of Apple (software will last but hardware won't, probably fine since I have a good record of not damaging my hardware) and most other manufacturers (software won't last and hardware ... probably won't be any more repairable than Apple's to be honest). Dropping Apple from my list isn't going to help solve the base problem.

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My guess is that they sometimes just "repair" something by going to the back room, finding another device from that range, and swapping the data over. The device which probably could be repaired is put on a stack of things that will be sent to a repair center where the knowledgable repair technicians will eventually repair its fault, erase it securely, and make it available for sale as refurbished once they get around to building that center, which is scheduled to complete in 2030 but might be delayed because they've just had to move it from China to Mexico and they're looking at moving it again to either Argentina or China for some tax reasons. In the meantime, there's no use keeping the broken parts around so into the big bucket for the electronics recycler at the end of each day.

Chinese database details 2.4 million influential people, their kids, addresses, and how to press their buttons

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Re: Thought experiment

"Replace Chinese database with Facebook database. Would anyone be shocked at the revelations?"

I would. Only 2.4 million? Facebook can do better than that. China should really consider just buying Facebook's database.

Maybe countries do all try to collect this, but in my opinion, they shouldn't. If a country complains about this database, I would expect them not to have collected their own (well, actually I expect hypocrisy at every turn, but I would hope that they haven't created their own). At the moment, however, we try to prevent our countries from violating our rights in that way, and using this database as an example of why it doesn't matter because China does it too doesn't help.

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Re: Oh....bad....bad....bad.....Nothing Like That Going On in the US or the UK.....No Siree!

What was done in the past is important, but a lot less than what is being done today. One is a terrible event for which we should try to atone. The other is a very terrible thing that is harming people actively. If you care about what the British empire did to those it virtually enslaved, you probably don't like human rights abuses. We cannot go back in time and terminate the British empire's crimes, but we could attempt to stop the crimes that occur now. Ignoring those who are harming people because some of our ancestors did similar or worse things to others of our ancestors is missing the point and perpetuating the thing that must be destroyed.

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"What utter and complete bollocks. You really think the Chinese are going to invade Europe or the US?"

That's not what the person you replied to was saying. What they said was that, if you live in China, that could happen to you. This is true, because it already has to millions of Chinese citizens. The post was comparing democracies, which don't do this, to China, which does. They weren't claiming that China was going to come to democracies and do it to the people there. The rest of the post has some points that are worth arguing about, which I'll do in a different post, but if you want to argue with this one, understand what was said.

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Re: Good old propaganda

The number of people in a database is a relatively unimportant metric. More important ones include the breadth of information in the database (reportedly extensive), the degree to which such information can be used for leverage (uncertain, but sufficient to alarm the researchers), and exactly who is in the database (reportedly people with more influence than the average citizen). Those factors will determine how worrying this is. Maybe after more data about what is contained is released, we may be able to determine how worrying we believe it to be.

Bad apples: US customs seize OnePlus earbuds thinking they're knock-off AirPods

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Well, this is also the place that tried to force access to an Apple-owned corporate laptop, so maybe they're just jerks who don't quite understand how to do the "protection" part of their ostensible job.

Don't pay the ransom, mate. Don't even fix a price, say Australia's cyber security bods

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Re: I agree with every word

"Good for you - easy to pass judgement when your livelihood is not affected. Would you not do everything in your power to save your business?"

Everything in my power? Even on the brink of disaster? That's a hard no. Consider this situation:

You and I run a business together. It's small, sometimes profitable. We get a large contract which requires us to invest a lot of our money, but it's going to pay us good profits. After considering it, we accept. Then it turns out to be a scam. They've stolen our money. We'll have to declare bankruptcy tomorrow because we haven't the money to pay for the lawsuit to get our resources back. Our employees will lose their jobs. This is terrible and it's not even our fault. We could try to liquidate our resources, but our building's not worth much. Then it strikes us. While our building isn't easy to sell, we've insured it for quite a lot because it's important to us. If we committed insurance fraud, we'd have enough money to save our livelihoods and those of our employees. All we have to do is burn the building down tonight, taking care not to let anything happen to other buildings, and file a claim. Would you commit the fraud?

I'm guessing your answer is no. Why not? The only entity to get hurt is an insurance company. They have plenty of money. They can take it. Still no? If you don't, your employees are going to have to spend tomorrow on the phone to the unemployment office and your bank account is empty. Still not doing it?

Of course you're not doing it, because insurance fraud and arson are wrong. You are doing harm to someone. Paying the ransom, in addition to being a bad idea, is also harming others by making more of a market for others to develop and deploy ransomware. I won't do "everything in my power to save my business" because some of the things in my power are wrong. Sometimes, I have to do what's right even though it would work better for me to do a wrong thing. Some countries make paying the ransom illegal for exactly this reason, but even if yours hasn't, you have to take into account the harm you're going to do. Of course arson is more dangerous than paying a ransom, but if we compared it to insurance fraud without arson, they're quite similar. In fact, I think paying a ransom is worse than otherwise-victimless insurance fraud--I have more sympathy for multiple, mostly small victims of ransomware than a large, cash-rich company. Yet I still won't commit insurance fraud. And I won't pay a ransom either.

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Re: Easy to say

Good backup policy requires, absolutely, at least one set which is stored offline and off-site. That's because you need that copy in various cases, including fire, flood, theft, or ransomware. Don't have that and your backups aren't good enough.

Of course there are occasions where people find their system wasn't good enough and they have to make a hard choice between paying a ransom and manually recreating their data. If you do backups right, it's much less likely you'll end up in said situation. But what happens when you do? Well, you have to keep in mind that when you pay, not only do you expose yourself to risk of losing your money on ransomware that doesn't intend on decrypting for you and the possibility that you're now known as a person willing to pay up, but you're funding attacks on other innocent people. It is not only your business that is being harmed, which is why some countries have made the payment of ransoms illegal. People who ignore this are complicit.

Cops called to Singapore golf club after 'wrongdoers' use scripts to book popular timeslots

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Re: Why would that help?

The original suggestion is an auction. In an auction, there is no ticket price. In an auction, the person willing to pay the most gets the thing. So unless the person who is willing to pay more doesn't get to attend the auction, they will attend the auction and pay their price there. No scalpers will be able to sell at a higher price because anyone willing to buy at a higher price would attend the auction and buy there at that higher price. Whether that's actually a good suggestion is another question, as it doesn't leave any opening for people who can't pay the high prices, but at least understand the suggestion before discussing that bit.

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Re: But They Do Dress Funny

They aren't doing that. Did the site go down? No, it didn't. That's not the complaint. The complaint is that it's not fair that people with bots are getting the nice slots immediately. That's a valid complaint, but it's not a violation of the law. Valid responses include making bots a violation of the terms, cancelling the accounts of people who use them, or taking technical action to prevent the bots from working. All valid things.

Let's say that I post a page to my personal site and you visit it. Effectively, you're performing a DOS because my server is going to send that page to you. If enough of you do it, my server will run out of resource. That's also the exact point of my putting the page up, so people will use my resource to read it. I cannot blame people for using my resources by accessing public services that I put there and made public and could either make nonpublic or in other ways protect. By doing this, I am taking various risks. For example, I have a bandwidth limit and if enough people access my files, I'll exceed it and I'll have to pay a higher bill. I accept that risk when I put files up and allow the public to access them. If I don't want to run that risk, I can take the files down again. It's on me to manage my own resources and set terms. A DOS attack is when someone deliberately intends to take down my system. A flood of interest in the thing the site does which the server isn't able to handle is not an attack.

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Using a system for the purpose it was designed isn't misuse. Using that system with a bot when bots are prevented in the terms of service is a violation of that contract. Let's assume they've put that in (if they haven't, they have no case. Assuming they have, they can execute the penalties in that terms document for bot usage, such as closing accounts, charging fees, whatever they think is best and can get customers to agree to. However, it's not computer hacking. It's a violation of what they want.

"I know this is a leap so far I've practically already broken my legs and popped my knees, but it feels very much like 'if it wasn't locked they can't complain someone let themselves in'"

You are entirely correct. You've leaped so far that you're in orbit. If it wasn't locked, but they don't have permission to enter, then the law says they're not allowed to enter. This is a lot more like "it wasn't locked, and there is a big sign saying that people are allowed to come in, and people do come in and we like that, but someone came through with a bicycle and we don't like those". If it's your property, you can tell people not to come in with bicycles even though they're allowed to walk in. You can make them leave if they do so anyway. It is your rule, not the law, that says this.

Adtech's bogeymen are tracking everything - even your web visits to mental health charities, claim campaigners

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Re: It's for charidee!

Let's assume that you're correct. To that, I say this: I don't care.

If I drive up to a location where medical care is needed in a car that has seen better days, because I decided to put more money into medications, then I have even more medications to provide. I am not there to impress the locals. I am there to provide help. Those who think I can't and won't help them will watch me prove them wrong, because that's why I'm there. I will tell them of what I can do to help. If I know what I'm doing, they will see that I back up my words with actions. If someone else doubts me, they can see it for themselves or hear the reports. In no way does a fancy car help with this.

Something to look forward to: Being told your child or parent was radicalized by an AI bot into believing a bonkers antisemitic conspiracy theory

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Re: GPT is not a truth-teller machine

Yes. It did what it was meant to do. However, we might want to consider what we want to build things to do. For example, if I built the Infinite Manufacturer, a machine which could make things from a command using only rubbish as input material, I'd have produced quite a successful invention. If I failed to think about what it should do when asked to please manufacture a devastating nerve gas, it might be a good thing to point that out to me so next time I can build either a machine that sanity checks what it's being requested to provide or a machine that doesn't know how to make weapons of mass destruction.

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Re: Wibble Wobbles and Letting Cats Out of Bags

It depends where that training comes from. Maybe we could even get GPT3 to teach AMFM to use shorter sentences and that "methinks" is really not that common a word unless we're trying to sound old or whimsical. Then again, I've never figured out exactly why someone unleashed this on our peaceful comments section or why an actual person writes posts from it once a month or so.


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