* Posts by skeptical i

1160 posts • joined 30 Aug 2007


Meta agrees to tweak ad system after US govt brands it discriminatory

skeptical i

wasted overkill

Anything more complicated/ invasive than "you posted about going out to dinner, your profile indicates you're in East Sometown, we'll show an advert for a restaurant within ten miles of East Sometown or for a national restaurant chain if we don't have anything specifically in East Sometown" or "you posted about going to your kid's ball game, we'll flash an advert for a sporting goods store" seems wasted to me, but I don't do fecesbook so what do I know.

Amazon fears it could run out of US warehouse workers by 2024

skeptical i

military equip

Just remember, soldiers, your equipment was made by the low bidder. Now get out there.

Taser maker offers electric-shock drones to stop school shootings

skeptical i

Re: Causes

Hi, GP:

Actually it was Michael Moore who did the _Bowling for Columbine_ documentary -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_for_Columbine -- and -- https://watchdocumentaries.com/bowling-for-columbine/

Roger Moore was somewhere else in the firearms discussion, saving the world from various baddies as James Bond 007.

IBM adds side order of NLP to McDonald's AI drive-thru chatbots

skeptical i

Re: do you want fries with that?

"Here I am with a brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take fast food orders. Call that job satisfaction? I don't." Apologies to Marvin.

US recovers a record $15m from the 3ve ad-fraud crew

skeptical i

re: "operation that cost businesses more than $29 million for ads that were never viewed"

Depending on how one defines "view", this can be true of google and other ad-/track-ware slingers: does "view" mean that the image was summoned (and may have been blocked)? that the advert image actually loaded into the viewer's browser as intended (and wasn't s/adimage.gif/smilyface.gif/ by a browser extension or other end-user magic)? that the viewer actually laid eyeballs on that corner of the page? that the viewer paid enough attention to recall the product or service? Not to let Threeve off the hook, they just seem to have been more creative about exploiting a flaw in the whole concept.

Bing! Microsoft tests search box in the middle of Windows 11 desktop

skeptical i

your cheating hearts (or blackjack or rummy or ...)

re: "Microsoft warned that games using anti-cheat software might cause the OS to fall over."

I'm sure there's a technical reason for this (some bit of code that stops the cheating gunks up Win11's innards), but it's still ... interesting ... that Win11 would seem to endorse cheating. Sorry, gaming is not my world and maybe I'm missing something.

Jeffrey Snover claims Microsoft demoted him for inventing PowerShell

skeptical i

la plus ca change ....

"Courage is a key characteristic of future leaders and previous employees." -- J. Snover

"'Controversial' only means 'this will lose you votes'. 'Courageous' means 'this will lose you the election'!" -- Sir H. Applebee

Google Docs crashed when fed 'And. And. And. And. And.'

skeptical i


Anyone try a snippet of the Monty Python skit to see what happens?

Switch off the mic if it makes you feel better – it'll make no difference

skeptical i

Re: Fun Audio Fisticuffs

... and be a gneiss guy ...

Meta materials: Facebook using AI to design green concrete

skeptical i

Re: oh dear, that's made things complicated

Yeah, I was just wondering "huh? fecesbook has done something USEFUL?" Will wonders never cease.

Amazon internal chat app that censored talk of unions and ethics may 'never launch at all'

skeptical i

It's not forced overtime.

It's a special productivity operation. Vladimir said so.

Boston Dynamics' latest robot is a warehouse workhorse

skeptical i

Re: Am I the only one who read it as

No, but I did somehow manage to read "Customers ... will have to wait for the 2023 and 2024 delivery cycles" as customers will have to wait for their 2023 and 2024 cyber servants. Thematically consistent, but I clearly need to clean my glasses.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York unionize in historic win against web giant

skeptical i
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If Amazon could have replaced flesh-and-blood employees with robots and still make a ginormous wodge of profit, it would have done so by now. It hasn't. Now Amazon will be forced to treat employees -- at least those at JFK8 -- with a smidge more of the respect due the workers that allow such profits to happen. As was suggested above, it's not as if Mr. Bezos will be forced to miss yacht payments in order to cover higher employees wages and benefits. I hope this is the first of many Amazon facilities to go union. Well done.

Conflict in Ukraine disrupts fragile supply chain recovery

skeptical i

Re: "Russia will likely turn to Chinese vendors to bypass Western sanctions."

The second thought I had about reports of the Russian bombing of a maternity hospital was "how do you feel about staying 'neutral' now?" (the first thought involved language not suitable for a family audience). I understand that some countries need to preserve trade relations with Russia and will hesitate to upset that apple cart. But how atrocious do Russia's actions have to get before "staying neutral" is simply ... hard to believe? While it helps Bloodimir Putin to keep his citizens in line with obfuscation, that will not help his trade with TROTW who can see for themselves what is actually happening.

President Biden calls for ban on social media ads aimed at kids

skeptical i
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Only the children?

RE: "It's time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children,"

"It's time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data,"


Or stretch the definition of 'children' to include the occasionally childish. :^)

Your app deleted all my files. And my wallpaper too!

skeptical i
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Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

Hooo, Spider Jerusalem's bowel disruptor! Set it to "prolapse". :^)

BOFH: All hail the job cuts consultant

skeptical i

proven results

"What's a perceptive stress question?"

You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lies on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping. Why is that Leon?

Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.

This is going well: Meta adds anti-grope buffer zone around metaverse VR avatars

skeptical i

Re: It's as if Second Life never happened

Actually I don't have a problem with the Bible (or the Quran, or other venerated books) as a collection of stories and possible clues about the history of the Middle East (where I infer most of the Bible is set), per se. My beef is the people who use the Bible (or the Quran, or other venerated books) as a cudgel to beat others down, promote a self-serving agenda, keep people divided and squabbling, and generally enrich themselves (monetarily, status-ly, &c) at others' expense. As the bumpersticker said, "Dear Jesus, Save me from Thy followers."

Apple, Broadcom allowed to press Ctrl-Z on billion-dollar Wi-Fi patent payout to Caltech

skeptical i


Ain't it Command-Z on a Mac? That four-leaf-clover thingie?

Jeff Bezos adds some more overheads to his $485m yacht by taking down historic bridge

skeptical i

Re: So they made a humongous yacht

One hopes the City of Rotterdam uses each of these take-bridge-apart/ put-bridge-together exercises as an opportunity to do end-to-end inspections, repairs/ upgrades, &c to the bridge and tags those costs onto whatever Mr. Bezos (and other yacht-builder customers) is paying for the opportunity to say he has something that is "so big" (how big is it, Jeff?), it's so big I had to dismantle a bridge to let it loose.

Machine needs more Learning: Google Drive dings single-character files for copyright infringement

skeptical i

"Google's ... message ... includes a button labeled "Request a Review""

BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH! Next to the button labeled "Pull my Finger", right?

Bug in WebKit's IndexedDB implementation makes Safari 15 leak Google account info... and more

skeptical i

Re: Have you heard of the XMas break?

On the off-chance that DJV was not joking, I hope Aunt Mabel is OK. :^\

So, I suppose using the "clear history and website data" option in iOS settings for Safari between browsings (visit website, close tab, "clear all", open new tab, visit another site, close tab, "clear all", lather rinse repeat) will not help? (Because that'd be too easy, right?)

Weed dispensary software company's ambitions pruned after Spotify trademark clash

skeptical i

the Pot-emkin Village ...

... all smoke and mirrors.

One presumes they will be soliciting investment, and the talk is always bigger better faster than the reality.

You've stolen the antiglare shield on that monitor you've fixed – they say the screen is completely unreadable now

skeptical i

Re: I'm glad I'm not old enough

But not all people. Long while back, our office was full of cigarette smokers, and a new sales person smoked a pipe. Which of course drew complaints. From some of the cigarette smokers. I personally preferred the smell of the pipe smoke and asked my immediate boss (who chain smoked) if this wasn't a bit hypocritical and got some blah-blah about pipe smoke being stronger and therefore "worse" or whatever horse-apples she could string together on the fly. I just shook my head and discreetly offered my condolences to the sales guy when he was told to take his smoking outside. He soon moved on to a better job.

skeptical i

Re: HAZMAT suit please, nurse, gloves please!

Many many years ago I accompanied a friend to collect his childhood things from the home of his father, who smoked like a chimney. Walking into his place was like walking into a sepia-toned photograph, there was not one square inch of surface that had not been discoloured by cigarette smoke. He has since moved and had a positive turn of fortune, quit smoking, and I hope has recovered enough health to not suffer the fate of most life-long smokers. Not sure how his dog fared, though, poor thing.

Please pay for parking – CMOS batteries don't buy themselves

skeptical i

Re: Tesco....nicked our car park..

Some downtowns install parking meters to encourage parking turnover, and to ensure that employees don't park in the spaces in front of the shops and leave customers without that convenience. Not saying that this always works as planned, though.

Thank you, FAQ chatbot, but if I want your help I'll ask for it

skeptical i
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re: "I once asked a bank to compensate me for my wasted time .... They laughed, but I did get £100"

Wait, you got anything at all besides a sardonic "yeh, right, pull my other finger" smile? (Even over the phone, you know they're doing this at you.) Will miracles never cease. Good on ya'!

skeptical i

Re: I am here to help. What can I do for you today?

"If it won't load within a minute on dial-up, it's too big."

"If your Aunt Minnie can not find what she's looking for, your navigation is too complicated."

Just as true today as in my Web Design 101 class lo these many years ago. (The Aunt Minnie directive was more eloquently stated, but I can not recall the exact phrasing.)

What should be done to these oh-so-clever web "designers" who can not resist the urge to add every single bit of javascript shiny to what should be a simple HTML page -->

OK, boomer? Gen-X-ers, elder millennials most likely to name their cars, says DVLA

skeptical i

Gen-X'er here ...

Dark blue cargo van was Babe the Big Blue Ox, two-door sedan was Minnie (sorry, no idea why since she wasn't THAT small), early 1970's V8 four-door beastie was Hildegarde which the dictionary said derived from the old Teutonic for Battle Maiden. A former co-worker had a small two-door named Buck on account of the bad clutch.

Lack shame? Fancy some festive Windows knitwear? We've got your back

skeptical i

I don't know what will be printed on it ...

... maybe just their "thumbs up" icon ... but Facebook/META's will be a cashmere thing with a super-long turtle neck so it can keep trying to pull the wool (up) over people's eyes.

Texas' anti-moderation social network law blocked by judge

skeptical i

Not a precise analogy, but ...

re: "Social media websites have become our modern-day public square."

I am quite sure that someone once made the same argument about why one should be allowed to collect petition signatures (or hand out flyers, or ...) at shopping malls, and was shot down by arguments that because malls are private property the owner could disallow these activities. For a state that seems to be all about letting business do its business without the heavy hand of gubmint interfering, arguments that gubmint should interfere sound remarkably self-serving.

Belgium watchdog reckons online advertisers should be data controllers under GDPR

skeptical i
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re: "global market for advertising ... worth as much as $27.2bn by 2024"

School buildings need maintenance, healthcare is neither universally available nor universally useful, people are fighting over increasingly scarce water and arable land, and in the midst of all this $27.2 billion is being spaffed on advertising. We're so doomed. (Not, I hasten to add, that I am anywhere near the first to point this out, nor that $27.2 billion will solve it all.)

Oregon city courting Google data centers fights to keep their water usage secret

skeptical i

Re: Astonished

re: "the plan to build a fab in Arizona .... Where in Arizona are you going to get all that water"

Same place Arizona gets water for all the golf courses, water parks, mining operations, and other stuff that some Bright Sparks think are necessary for economic development. It all comes from that river -- deNial, I think it's called?

Don't worry, the halo won't fade from the IT dept when this pandemic is over – because it was never there

skeptical i

victims of own success?

A few lifetimes (and industry sectors) ago, my co-workers and I considered ourselves "crisis enablers" because no matter how big an order was or how tight the turnaround time, we did it and did it well. Would respectfully suggest, then, that given how many large, unwieldy, and sometimes insane rabbits get pulled out of the IT hat all the time, one supposes that most users don't really think twice about it (until, of course, something hiccups and of course it's IT's fault).

Drink up, you've earned 'em. - - - - - >

Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world in which you can hide from all the damage Facebook has done

skeptical i
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Re: I have an immersive headset for Zuckerberg

Just remember to stay under until the bubbles stop. The bubbles mean the trip to Metaverse is still in process; when they stop you will have landed, Mr. Zuck sir.

Tesla slams into reverse, pulls latest beta of Full Self-Driving software from participating car owners

skeptical i
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F'king Scary, Dude.

Says one who bikes on and walks alongside roads used by drivers who are already pretty horrid and don't need "look, Ma, no hands!" FSD to encourage even more faffing about behind the wheel.

Amazon textbook rental service scammed for $1.5m

skeptical i

Re: The real scandal behind the scandal

Yes. This was the second thing that got my attention ("HOW much for that book?!?"). I read somewhere that some professors write their own text books, giving them a nice extra revenue stream. One professor I had was keenly aware of the price of books and went out of her way to use books that were less expensive and available outside the Uni's bookstore (another racket), and also to have the print shop assemble booklets of photocopied chapters from other texts and then sell the booklets for the cost of the copies and coily-bindy thingies.

One imagines students calling the police after a break-in and saying "no, they didn't take the smartphones or large-screen teevee, they just took all our textbooks".

Zoom-o-cracy: Wales MP misses vote, allowing COVID-passport rule change, blames the IT dept

skeptical i

re: "Zoom seems just to work"

Hrm, not exactly my experience (not that Teams and Webex are always a carefree walk in the park either) but they DO have plenty of phone numbers one can use to phone in.

In my unsolicited opinion. all teleconference services have quirks and issues, none of them will work 100% for all attendees all of the time, and from there it's a balance of priorities (user privacy versus accommodating hordes of participants, cost versus features, and so on) ... like much in life. (I personally prefer to avoid Zoom, but others' mileage may vary.)

Google emits Chrome 94 with 'Idle Detection' API to detect user inactivity amid opposition

skeptical i

can't websites already do this?

There are some sites I use that, when I get distracted and do something in another browser, pop up a notice to the effect of "are you still there? click [here] to keep the page open" (some have a "you will be booted in 20 seconds" countdown). So, unless the real reason is employee "time on task" tracking (as mentioned above), I don't know that this is doing what can not already be done.

I would expect Chromium-based browsers whose developers claim top concern for users' privacy will have "turn this nonsense OFF" toggles easy to find and adjust, if this hell can not be disabled "at the source" by the browser coders.

Also, I "attend" many tele-meetings wherein I don't really DO anything besides listen, watch the presentations, and maybe toss a question into the chat window at the end. Will my lack of participation be considered "away"?

I agree that this would seem to cause more problems than it notionally purports to solve.

Hellfire and damnation: Two French monks charged over 5G mast arson attack

skeptical i

so much for helping the poor

If, as I understand it, the Capuchin order is dedicated to helping the poor, it is not clear how it is helpful to destroy the cellphone service upon which more poor people rely for everything interwebby (e.g., tele-school using a cellphone, and not on a computer using cable, broadband, or the other options of which less-poor people can more easily avail themselves). Burning down Facebook and things that actually do harm, fine, but cell service?

Macmillan best-biscuit list unexpectedly promotes breakfast cereal to treat status

skeptical i

Re: Penguin, etc.

re: "The problem is that nothing - absolutely nothing - tastes as good as it once did."

Agreed. Not sure if it's because my tastes have changed with age (things I used to eat by the spadeful as a kid make me vaguely queasy now), if manufacturers have reduced the quality of their recipes and ingredients, or both.

DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats sue NYC for trying to permanently cap delivery fees

skeptical i

go get it your own self?

One would hope that if delivery charges rise too much, people wanting food plunked down at their door would do what we've always done: call it in, pick it up, then either take it home or eat it nearby. (Yes, there are mobility impaired people who NEED home delivery, I'm not talking about them.) Some of the best meals I've had were picked up, schlepped to a nearby park, and enjoyed under shade trees watching kids and dogs running around.

Council culture: Software test leads to absurd local planning SNAFU

skeptical i

Maybe the IT worker found the amulet?

May all be favourably gazed upon by the Ever-Evaluating Eye of Surr-Vey, Lord of Demarcation, He Who Measures and Assesses -- https://www.theonion.com/city-councilman-unearths-magical-zoning-amulet-1819567998

Virginia school board learns a hard lesson... and other stories

skeptical i

hungarian phrasebook?

My ekranoplan is full of eels.

Volkswagen to stop making its best-selling product for Wolfsburg workers: VW-branded sausages

skeptical i

VW = Veggie Weenies?

Veggie Wurst in German?

And a cold one to accompany, required side dish.

World to make 1.37 billion smartphones in 2021 says IDC – about one for every six humans

skeptical i

and what about the ~1.3 billion replaced phones?

Sure, some phones will go to the second-hand market, and the phones displaced by the "new used" will go to a tertiary market, and so on. But there will still be a bunch of phones that are absolutely obsolete, broken, or otherwise have no place to go but ... where? Landfill? Oceans? Technological improvements and new whiz-bangery are great, but it would be really helpful if the creators were to have practical and easily achievable end-of-life plans for when their latest shiny-shiny gets retired. Happy to be corrected if there are such plans in place, but in my corner of the world there are only a few "urban recycler" efforts (repairing and reselling what can be repaired, breaking the remaining units down to salvageable parts/ materials) that do the best they can with the funding they get until the funding runs out.

US officials, experts fear China ransacked Exchange servers for data to train AI systems

skeptical i
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default setting is "share with world+dog"?

"the default setting is to permit access to the data to other FBI personnel otherwise authorized to access the platform"

So not quite your uncle and my neighbor, but given what is being accessed -- people's data, often procured without so much as a by-your-leave from those being searched and/or matched -- should not the default settings be the most restrictive, requiring one to consciously select to open the access a little wider? This seems to be a problem beyond Palantir, btw, as the rush to monetize any stray factoid on any interweb surfer continues and protections drop in the name of "ease of access", "keeping costs down", or "enabling innovation". A pox on all their houses.

Think you can solve the UK's electric vehicle charging point puzzle? The Ordnance Survey wants to hear about it

skeptical i

Re: In a civilised world this might be conceivable, but..

Welcome! :^)

Oh the humanity: McDonald's out of milkshakes across Great Britain

skeptical i

Great for McCompetitors

"I! Sell! Your! Milkshake!"

(Apologies to the Daniel Day Lewis character in _There Will Be Blood_.)

skeptical i

Re: No surprise there...

There was an article in _Wired_ about this -- https://www.wired.com/story/they-hacked-mcdonalds-ice-cream-makers-started-cold-war/



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