* Posts by skeptical i

1086 posts • joined 30 Aug 2007

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Spyware, trade-secret theft, and $30m in damages: How two online support partners spectacularly fell out

skeptical i

Eliza?

Not sure why 24]7 went to all the hassle of [allegedly] reverse-engineering LivePerson, isn't Eliza in the public domain by now?

What job title would YOU want carved on your gravestone? 'Beloved father, Slayer of Dragons, Register of Domains'

skeptical i
Trollface

Re: Register

Registard?

For anyone with "too many" (however this is defined) domains, perhaps registered in a spree or frenzy.

McDonald's AI drive-thru bot accused of breaking biometrics privacy law

skeptical i
Devil

Re: was thinking more this

That was Kentucky Fried Chicken, multiply accused of serving up deep-fried rodent -- https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/critter-fritter/

The Eigiau Dam Disaster: Deluges and deceit at the dawn of hydroelectric power

skeptical i

Some more contemporaneous footage

Thank you for this article and the accompanying photos. In addition to the link included, this one also has contemporaneous footage -- https://www.youtube.com/embed/15aBQmETvvg

As noted above, it's stupid dumb luck that the damage wasn't much worse.

FTC approves $61.7m settlement with Amazon for pocketing driver tips

skeptical i
Thumb Down

Re: So, let me see if I get this correctly

re: "Bezos is far from being the only evil one in Amazon"

The speed of the leader is the speed of the pack.

Fish rot from the head down.

Other such cliches exist, insert any one of them here.

Given how employees at other Amazon operations are treated (having to pee in bottles because rest room breaks are docked as "time off task" springs first to mind) I can not say I'm surprised. Disgusted anew and wondering why anyone continues to use Amazon if any other options exist*, but not at all surprised.

* I know there are folks who can not leave their homes for whatever reason and rely more on home delivery than most, this is not directed at them.

Now that Trump is useless to Zuckerberg, ex-president is exiled from Facebook for two years, possibly indefinitely

skeptical i

Surprised he doesn't have a new teevee show

_The Apprentice_ seems, in my admittedly dim recollection of Trump's doings, to have been one of his more durable accomplishments (aside from the long-term damage his presidency wrought.)

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

skeptical i
Thumb Up

Re: Nowt wrong with a bit of Laibach

The "Who Killed the Kennedys" remix of Laibach's cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" gets my vote. (Sorry, no real video here, just the album cover.)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/g1qca0VnXJw

Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot Bitcoin mine instead

skeptical i
Devil

Re: Top marks for lateral thinking

cannabis + bitcoin = joint venture?

Apple sued in nightmare case involving teen wrongly accused of shoplifting, driver's permit used by impostor, and unreliable facial-rec tech

skeptical i
Meh

Jeebus, poor kid, what hell.

I can not imagine how much this sh!tstorm has interfered with Mr. Bah's plans to apply for college, get a job, and/or do whatever youth do after high school. I hope he has family, real friends (no, Mamadou, not you), and other support around him who can help ensure he comes out the other end of this ordeal better than a traumatized effed-up mess.

At least he will have an interesting "how I spent my gap years" essay for college applications. Just bill that full ride scholarship to $university_of_choice to Apple, Inc.

Facial recog firm Clearview hit with complaints in France, Austria, Italy, Greece and the UK

skeptical i

videoconferencing?

Clearview scrapes photos off the interwebs, sure, but are they also getting video/voiceprint info from videoconference services? One infers that Google is not likely to share data gleaned from its Meet service (would this be a processed Meet by-product?), but what about Teams, Webex, and Zoom?

Amazon puts an $8.5bn MGM in its shopping cart, clicks on checkout

skeptical i

Rosebud?

"I think it would be fun to run a [movie studio]."

"[A]t the rate of [losing] a million dollars a year I'll have to close this place in ... sixty years."

As noted above, the _Apprentice_ outtakes (and whatever else remains from that show -- costumes, set pieces/props) could be interesting.

Boffins improve on tech that extracts DC power from ambient Wi-Fi

skeptical i

Re: Medical lmplants

re: "using the charge from ions in bodily fluids"

So THAT's what General Ripper's obsession with precious bodily fluids was about.

Waymo self-driving robotaxi goes rogue with passenger inside, escapes support staff

skeptical i
Devil

Select all the traffic cones.

Next upgrade for the captcha puzzlebox.

Train operator phlunks phishing test by teasing employees with non-existent COVID bonus

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

Re: The whole intention of a phishing attack is to make it both believable and tempting

re: "marketing departments seem incapable of sending out emails that don't look like phishing attempts"

My related pet peeve: aside from the breathless hyperbole describing the organization's latest doings, many places also use "customer management" email programs that turn any links in the text of the email into insanely long cloaked trackable things that should be ringing "dodgy link, do not click!" bells in recipients' heads. So I for one wonder how email users are supposed to learn not to click dodgy links when, if my inbox is any representation of "the world", the emailings of many municipalities, non-profits, and basically well-intended organizations contain just those very things as a side-effect of whatever mass-mailing programs they use and most recipients will not take the time to chase down the source to which the link should have led.

WhatsApp: Share your data with Facebook, or we'll make our own app useless to you

skeptical i
Thumb Down

Re: contacts?

re: "You definitely don't need to have [a FB] account"

It looks like fecebook, in addition to whatever accounts individuals make themselves, has a slew of accounts it generates based on names it acquired (from phone book listings? other public sources?). One assumes this is bait, so anyone looking for Kris Kringle will find the generic generated page and interact with that (i.e., feed the feceborg more data) even if Kringle has not actually created a FB page. Point being that even if you avoid FB like the plague that it it, they may still be getting some traces of info on you if an auto-generated page with your name on it exists.

Tesla Autopilot is a lot dumber than CEO Musk claims, says Cali DMV after speaking to the software's boss

skeptical i
Meh

not a particularly high bar, is it

re: "Full Self-Driving will work at a safety level well above that of the average driver"

I guess the amount of work required to achieve this goal will depend on where one lives (local driving habits, quality of drivers' ed in school, and so on). Says one who lives where speed limits are generally interpreted as suggestions and local gubmint is loathe to interfere with the convenience of automobilists and their precious cars for something as silly as pedestrian safety. Clearly FSD will not outperform humans in all tasks that are part of driving, but maintaining at or below speed limits and recognizing that there are other things nearby (pedestrians, trees, bicyclists, street signs, hydrants, utility poles, &c) which should be given wide berth would, based on my observation and experience, tip the game to FSD.

A trip to the dole queue: CEO of $2bn Bay Area tech biz says he was fired for taking LSD before company meeting

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

Fired in 2021 for a meeting in 2019?

If I'm reading this right, they only fired him because he 'fessed up. Employee handbook aside, if he didn't do anything ELSE to warrant firing (did his productivity plummet? did he assault co-workers? how DID that dosed meeting go, by the way?), this sounds kinda' petty and worthy of a Stern Talking To, not a full-blown firing. Is there more to the story that I missed?

Microsoft demotes Calibri from default typeface gig, starts fling with five other fonts

skeptical i
Angel

Re: I want a seraph font

Not by the printer's devil they're not.

Technoking of comedy? Elon Musk to host Saturday Night Live

skeptical i

Re: Funny?

Agree, AC. Last I watched SNL (looooong time ago) it appeared that all the guest host has to do is get through the opening monologue (unclear how much/little is writ by others), appear in a couple of skits, and cash the check (or gorge out on green room snacks, whatever the compensation is). Some hosts I had little hope for turned out to be pretty good, within the cast/crew's carefully constructed guardrails.

Apple begins rejecting apps that use advertising SDKs for fingerprinting users

skeptical i
Pirate

Re: This is nice, but

Some enterprising programmer will create a CAID-Evade app that spoofs whatever device info goes into the CAID thingie to generate a new slightly different one at every interwebs login (or device activation, or ...), and the arms race continues.

Dratted 'housekeeping', eh? 150k+ records deleted off UK’s Police National Computer database

skeptical i
Coat

Re: First One To Say...

But if you query Abacab, you get No Reply At All.

Oracle and AWS trumpeted how their clouds helped Zoom scale. But it turns out Zoom fears its cloud bills and uses co-located kit

skeptical i

Re: taken as a whole - Zoom rocks

No doubt, Zoom works for many people (else they would not have such revenue). However, others have noted the company's dodgy past actions (in fairness, corrected once pointed out, but arguably should never have been authorized and done in the first place) and prefer to give it a miss as long as other options exist. Horses for courses, YMMV, and so on.

United States Congress stormed by violent followers of defeated president, Biden win confirmation halted

skeptical i
Meh

surprised legislators' computers ...

... don't have a kill switch on them that allows the user to slap a button that causes the computer to safely but immediately log out and shut down. I guess they'll get them now.

Atlantic City auctions off chance to hit Big Red Button and make grotesque Trump Plaza casino go boom

skeptical i
Mushroom

Re: Bad timing

Hrm, maybe it's to give the winner the option of pressing The Button in person? Might not be as easy to jump a plane to get anywhere overnight these days, and if I had the money to win the auction I'd want to do the deed in person. With extreme prejudice.

Raven geniuses: Four-month-old corvids have similar cognitive abilities to great apes at same age, study finds

skeptical i
Coat

Re: Please don't let QAnon see this.

So when the ravens start perching atop the new 5G poles, we will all see that 5G causes corvid.

Let's check in now with the new California monolith... And it's gone, torn down by a bunch of MAGA muppets

skeptical i
Go

re: "could it be that these obelisks are being recycled?"

I very much doubt this is the case, but your question reminds me of a red velvet couch that was schlepped to various tricky locations and photographed.

_CS Monitor_ 1984 article about the book about the travelling couch -- https://www.csmonitor.com/1984/1207/120702.html

_L.A. Times_ 2002 article on other "travelling things" art projects -- https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2002-mar-17-lv-prank17-story.html

skeptical i

Re: "Christ is king in this country"

re: "freedom of religion" when the Christians push[] their own agendas into law.

Agreed. If Jews, Muslims, Pastafarians, et cetera tried to do the things some Christians try to do in the name of "religious freedom" there would be a whole new bunch of talk about this particular freedom.

Marine archaeologists catch a break on the bottom of the Baltic Sea: A 75-year-old Enigma Machine

skeptical i
Thumb Up

Neato!

And good on them for removing abandoned nets too.

San Francisco approves 'CEO tax', hopes to extract up to $140m a year from corps with wide exec-staff salary gap

skeptical i
Headmaster

Arizona passed something similar

Prop 208 would add a surtax to income dollars beyond $250K for individuals, with that money going to K-12 education (adding teachers and in-class staff, increasing teacher pay, and so on). The "pro-business" groups howled that people would run screaming to take their high incomes elsewhere. I use quotes because at least some industry groups had been citing the quality of Arizona's K-12 education as an obstacle to recruiting businesses, and/or for existing businesses to recruit talent from elsewhere. While paying a little more for the 250,001st dollar and up of tax-able (i.e., post- credits, deductions, and other available options) income would not be harsh for /me/, I guess we'll see what others who actually live in that bracket decide to do.

Shopping online for Xmas? AI chatbots know whether you want to be naughty or nice

skeptical i
Thumb Down

Re: Based upon your order history ..

Don't forget that your fine fine tat will be lovingly packed and delivered by overworked human robots coerced into wage-slavery by the glorious unemployment. Celebrate right-to-work laws along with that religious festival, m'kay?

BBC makes switch to AWS, serverless for new website architecture, observers grumble about the HTML

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

Re: Quite a Misleading Title ( about the "unclean HTML" part )

Agree that it's not BBC's job to ensure that news scrapers can continue unhindered. However, if the new HTML makes their job more complicated, do we know how well (or badly) it works with assistive browsers or programs, i.e., will vision-impaired people still be getting their browsers/computers to read news to them as well as before? One assumes this was considered and thoroughly field tested before deployment, but ....

When you gaze long enough into the bork, the bork will gaze back into you

skeptical i
Devil

Re: Why use a screen?

So that once the pandemic is "under control" (however this is defined), the hotel (or bar or retail store or other business) can advertise at you. Those ten seconds (or however long) that one stands at the sink are an opportunity not yet fully exploited.

To stop web giants abusing privacy, they must be prevented from respawning. Ever

skeptical i

Re: Not going to happen

This article in _Wired_ -- https://www.wired.com/story/youtube-algorithm-silence-conspiracy-theories/ -- puts some of the blame at YouTube's feet, with their target fixation on one billion viewed hours per day perhaps eroding judgement on just what is getting pumped at viewers to keep their eyeballs from wandering.

Five Eyes nations plus Japan, India call for Big Tech to bake backdoors into everything

skeptical i
Angel

Re: "How would they stop terrorists from sharing keys"

re: "every encrypted communication or storage they can't access will be a crime itself", may I quote the King of Hearts: "He must have meant some mischief, or he would have signed his name like an honest man."

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable

skeptical i
Devil

re: token ring

https://dilbert.com/strip/1996-05-02

US govt wins right to snaffle Edward Snowden's $5m+ book royalties, speech fees – and all future related earnings

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

speaking fees?

As was pointed out above, Uncle Sam can certainly lean on the publishers of Mr. Snowden's book to garnish royalties, but the speaking fees would be harder to round up, wouldn't they? Maybe any U.S.-based company or university/college could be coerced (loss of contracts or federal funding, threats of audits just because), but entities not domiciled in Amurka?

What price your home delivery? Amazon accused of hiding real injury rate in its overworked warehouses

skeptical i
Thumb Down

And yet ...

... despite consistent reports of labour abuse by Amazon (and, to be fair, likely other warehouse/ fulfillment centers), mayors and city councils wet themselves with glee at the prospect of getting their very own human meat grinder within city limits. One wonders if these elected officials -- notionally tasked with safeguarding residents' health and well-being -- should be forced to work a year at these jobs (well, no, we don't know who you are, Yer'onner, no idea who you are or what you do besides filling this damn order box) so they can have a better idea what they're cheerleading for. Would they let their families (kids, parents, spouses) work there under these conditions? Or do they really really really like same-day and overnight delivery?

Exercise-tracking app Strava to give away data sweated out after four billion runs, rides and rambles

skeptical i
Happy

Re: Really useful data

re: "[Strava metro data] is biased toward road cyclists doing long flat loops" -- yes, in my town there will no doubt be a dense amount of usage data on a loop around our town that is built for cyclists and pedestrians. But if it also shows routes taken by bike commuters who track their "commuter-cize" on Strava, it may be helpful to see what routes people take, if there is an obvious detour around something where a fix could be implemented, if some of these popular routes also line up with known car-crash areas, and other things. Worst it could do is not tell urban/road planners anything new, and the discussion of the data might be useful in its own right.

skeptical i
Devil

Re: When is a vehicle not a vehicle?

When it's a "device". While I agree that bicycles are vehicles and should be considered as such, i.e., we are also "traffic" that needs to be safely and equitably accommodated, states and municipalities have different legal definitions. Add electric motors and it gets interesting (now is it still a bicycle or is it more like a scooter or, um, motorbike? does this definition rely on whether the motor is "assist only" for uphills or used for long stretches of "full-on feet-off" riding?). And all that is before the entrenched cold-dead-fingers car-centric industries add their ... valued perspective ... to the discussion.

Brexit travel permits designed to avoid 7,000-lorry jams come January depend on software that won't be finished till April

skeptical i
Thumb Up

Re: Conspiracy theory alert

Pretty much what I was thinking, would they also need parking areas for the food trucks that show up to keep the waiting drivers fed and caffeinated? Maybe this is how Brexit will create new jobs, jump-start homeland businesses, or whatever it was supposed to do.

She wheeled her wheelbarrow 'mong trucks long and narrow, crying "Coffee! And donuts! Get two for five-oh!"

Oracle Zooms past rivals to run TikTok’s cloud, take stake alongside WalMart and ByteDance investors

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

great firewall?

Would China prefer to have a "TikTok for China" separate from a "TikTok for the rest of the world"? It seems they have "for China" search engines and social-media widgets, will TikTokChina just be another? It might also be easier for TikTokRestOfWorld to not have to jump whatever content hurdles China would put up.

Also curious, "Oracle will be responsible ... to protect all U.S. user data.” -- from whom? From the U.S. Gubmint? From Amazon, Target, and other online vendors that compete with Wallymart? Not sure how reassuring this is.

Too bad the voting age is 18 here, Trump might have gotten a lock on the teenager vote by "saving" the social media trinket du jour.

Behold the Bloo Screen of Death: Bathroom borkage stops spray play

skeptical i
Devil

"No thanks, Clippy, but the gent two spaces down may need assistance ...."

As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

skeptical i
Devil

Re: On second thoughts...

So, when elections are deemed too close to call, would the contestants settle the matter by engaging in "swordfights" using the weapons-grade schnozzes grown during the campaign? A "I have consistently ..." here, a "On day one, I will ..." there, and sooner or later we're talking duelling narwhals.

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

skeptical i
Unhappy

Re: faces anywhere from 12 and 44 months behind bars

America loves cars and drivers more than pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else deemed "in the way". Even when legal pedestrian crossings are a half-mile apart, The System still gets its panties in a wad when pedestrians dare to "jaywalk" instead of walking (or wheelchairing or schlepping a kiddie pram or ...) way out of the way to a "legal" crossing and then all the way back. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) accident report for Ms. Herzberg's death -- https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/HAR1903.pdf -- indicates that at the time of the crash the median served as an unofficial pedestrian crossing: one assumes the City of Tempe would not spend resources on "no pedestrian crossing" signs unless there were plenty of such crossings. Sad that the City of Tempe knew that pedestrians crossed here, and chose to see this as pedestrian behaviour that needs to be "fixed" instead of an indication that the pedestrian infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

That said, there is no indication that better lighting, a user-activated "begging button" that triggers flashing red lights (to stop cars and allow pedestrians to cross), or other pedestrian safety measures would have helped in this particular instance. Possibly, but not assuredly.

'Work is an activity not a place' got tired on LinkedIn about three months ago, but Citrix just based its new logo on the idea

skeptical i
Devil

Re: "the subtle gesture of the dot moving over the X to depict a human-like form"

I was reminded of the scene in _Braveheart_ wherein the executioners were describing how Robert the Bruce would be drawn, quartered, beheaded, and various bits of him tarred and stuck on posts as a warning to others. Not sure that's the message Citrix was aiming for ....

We want weaponised urban drones flying through your house, says UK defence ministry as it waves a fistful of banknotes

skeptical i
Meh

safer no-knock warrants

So these will reduce the number of "sorry, wrong address" deaths and injuries caused by cops using no-knock warrants? Say what one will about police tactics, at least the cops at the door have fear for their own personal safety. Given how military tech finds its way to municipal police forces, I don't see this ending well.

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

skeptical i
Devil

Do they actually show up and play?

Are they any good? Not necessarily relevant to the rightness or wrongness of how they secured the tee time, but if they are really bad perhaps they could argue that they clearly need the practice time more than others. OK, maybe not. *snrk*

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

skeptical i
Devil

Re: Who needs a cabal of Satan-worshipping, child-eating pedophiles

Ontario, Canada, got ripped off in 2003 when they only got an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet -- https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/kitten-eater-controversy-litters-battle-for-ontario/article18430647/

I won't be ignored: Google to banish caller roulette with Verified Calls

skeptical i
Paris Hilton

Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

re: "business that do have a good reason to call you, but you just don't know their number"

Then they can leave a message and I can either call back (yes, this is important) or not (ahhhhh, no). Seems pretty simple, am I missing something?

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

skeptical i
Angel

Re: "It's not yours"

Messiah, then? Was Jesus the product of Mary's ... equipment? Or did she merely (or "merely", pregnancy looks like more work than fun) carry The Son to term?

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