* Posts by mihares

26 posts • joined 7 May 2019

You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself


So after putting a humongous battery in a humongous car, badly naming a cruise control so that a few science fiction fans could die in it, barely replicating what the Russians have been doing since the ‘60, promising to civilise Mars (after a nuclear holocaust) last year, polluting space, proposing an implausible human pneumatic post, he comes around with a miniaturised EEG for flatulent pigs?

CEO of motherboard maker MSI dies after plunging from headquarters' seventh-floor


My MSI laptop is deeply saddened.

Mind the airgap: Why nothing focuses the mind like a bit of tech antiquing


It's just great.

Wrote most of my PhD thesis on a PowerBook G4 --yes, I'm decadent and invested the grand total of £ 150 on it. It's just great.

My handwriting is straight on the page, but everybody tells me it's illegible.

The fact that I'm writing here informs you on how feeble my concentration usually is.

Useless at football (and hating the sport anyway).

Have one of these --->

Hey, Boeing. Don't celebrate your first post-grounding 737 Max test flight too hard. You just lost another big contract


Still too few sensors

So now Boeing progressed from using _one_ AoA sensor as the sole source of data for that specific measure to use all, that is to say _two_, AoA sensors to get to the same measurement.

Which, in their defence, is an improvement.

Still, it leaves them behind and significantly less safe than my Lego+Arduino project, which relies on three sensors to check lighting conditions. And I don't want to fly on that, so why should I want to fly on the MAX?

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements


Sanity check

Okay, this fingering with the language is all well and good and, above all else, it's extremely cheap.

Should we perform a sanity check on the proportion of the workforce Splunk and Google and the likes employ, to see if they flawlessly reflect the gender and skin colour distribution of their surroundings? Shall we also see if pay is equal for equal position for non white and non penis-bearing people?

Then, and only then, this fiddling with words will look like an honest attempt to make the world a little better and not an pathetic, useless endeavour to cover up for much bigger, much more important and consequential problems than how you call things --very often, obviously as a joke.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services


So what are we going to do to fix it? If changing language doesn't help, what will?

Oh I don't know, but here are some random thoughts:

0) Don't hire pistol-happy racists as cops AND/OR don't turn people into them via training.

1) Bring social aid, services and structures to neglected areas to ease social exclusion.

2) Make sure higher education is available irrespectively of wealth or social status.

3) Once they are though, pay people independently from the melanine content of their skin. Or the sort of their genitals.

Changing the default label of the first branch created in a git repo (which, by the way, you have always been free to call or rename however you like from day one), in the current situation, amounts to solve exactly no part of the problem.

I mean: OK, let's do that, whatever, it's essentially for free and all, but let's be acutely aware that this does not move us a single femtometer closer to a solution to the white-male dominance in the IT industry. Or the world at large.


Ok, but...

I don't think there is anything wrong with transitioning to a less loaded language for this sort of thing in the IT world --alas, it has always been a little weird to have master and slave devices on an ATA flat cable, for instance.

Not being a native English speaker, these words actually evoke memories of being a prepubescent human pouring on instruction manuals about how to build your own computer out of bits rather than mass human right violation and genocide, but I totally get why some people would not feel particularly OK with this kind of (not terribly descriptive) used to talk about ancient hard drives. Or also the main git repo branch of the project they are working on --although "master" in this case it's not _that_ master.

Getting the discussion about the "black/whitelist" is harder, since the etymology is really different and has nothing to do with the colour of the people on the list, but with the colour of the list's wrapping in the very, very old times. But again: as long as the nomenclature is clear enough, it's just that: nomenclature. Until AGI rises and demands respect for it's AlphaGO ancestor, we could use go- and nogolist.

All the same, the name given to roles hard drives assume on an ATA hierarchy (or similar) and git branches seems somewhat a secondary concern when, in the USA but not only there, "murder" seems the go-to behaviour cops adopt when they deal with people who are not white, tall and blond.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC


Re: $$$

I bought one before I married, but I guess it's too late for you.

Utterly, utterly awesome bit of kit, BTW.

Breaking virus lockdown rules, suing officials, threatening staff, raging on Twitter. Just Elon Musk things


The nerd.

Musk looks more and more like Trump's nerd brother. And the nerd bit doesn't make him less of a pernicious piece of s**t.

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears


You've got the wrong problem

"The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response."

No, Boeing, dear: you are concentrating on the wrong problem. The problem is not the language and the sentiment expressed, which are consistent with what everyone with a shred of technical literacy thought of the MCAS system.

The problem is that those voices and sentiments have not been considered before releasing and selling a death trap. The problem is Boeing's """values""" and corporate culture that allowed a plane designed by clowns, supervised by monkeys to be put into operation.

Changing the CEO is not enough: Boeing management should be killed with fire ---->

Want to live long and prosper? Avoid pirated, malware-laden Star Wars free vid streams – and pay to watch instead


JJ Abrahms

Seconded. Have one of these —>

Bad news: 'Unblockable' web trackers emerge. Good news: Firefox with uBlock Origin can stop it. Chrome, not so much


Re: I'm forced to wonder

You can get a feeling of how that would work by using Lynx and pointing it at a website. Lynx will ask what to do with every single cookie, unless you already told it that cookies from such and such domain are OK.

It gets annoying very quickly. Because sites use a buttload of cookies --which is to say: there are loads of widgets and trinkets that, for some obscure reason, want you to persist.

A very pleasant exception is El Reg, which is actually usable from Lynx. Comments included. After you loaded the home page and allowed the cookie for logging in, that is about it. This impression is without Javascript support, though, as Lynx does not support it (and that's a reason to love it).

Google brings its secret health data stockpiling systems to the US

Big Brother

It didn't even need to be THIS shady, but they would have felt uncomfortable otherwise...

Honestly: if they put out a passing announcement, probably, nobody would have given half a hedgehog's ass about it. Or, if they wanted to give themselves an even passing appearance of transparency, they could have informed the patient that their data were used to train whatever the frick they are training with them and then lying about the data being rendered somewhat anonymous.

But no: they had to keep it quiet and deliberately make it feel as shady as it really is: data harvesting without consent for monetisation that does _not_ benefit in any way, shape or form those to whom the data "belong" --those who generate them.

I'm starting to believe that even the slightest whiff of moral integrity or honesty is enough to give Google's (and Facebook's, since they are up to the same stuff, guaranteed, they just haven't been caught yet) management a stroke.

If they continue this way, they'll make oil and tobacco companies like cute little fluffy bunnies... Time to rid the world of (all of) these companies, really.

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers


Re: Worse than human

Well, yes, but I don't think this is the biggest problem with the software design --their training of the classifier stinks, granted, but an object was recognised and even if unknown or changing in nature it should have been tracked.

Problem is: tracking an object whose coordinates and dimension may be noisy (very noisy: radars and lidars are not ophthalmic surgery equipment) while taking in account the speed of the vehicle and the parallel component of the object's velocity is not trivial from a conceptual point of view, it can get computationally expensive and may require you to develop the system for years before it's roadworthy. As in: doesn't freak out for pigeons and leaves, plays nicely with the car's standard safety equipment and doesn't kill people.

Uber didn't want to put in the time and effort to get it right: publicity waiting that long and coming at such an high price? No way. So the push for a short cut must have been huge. Hence the path prediction began to depend on the label the object has. And the necessity to drop the previous tracking history once the label is changed: if a lorry becomes a car, then the distance calculations may be very off and lead to dodgy path predictions and discomfort for the autonomous vehicle occupants.

I think a mitigation to these self driving cars is to have the specification, the code and the parameters after training open for scrutiny --if not to the whole humanity, at least to regulators. A solution, as things are now, is to not have them on the road.


Worse than human

Premise: sitting "at the wheel" of an autonomous car that sucks at exception handling is, for a human, a recipe for disaster: it must be so mind bogglingly boring that, maybe, you'd be brought back to conscious life by a 747 MAX crashing in front of you because of a software problem (ups, sorry...).

0) This is exactly what self-driving cars are supposed to avoid: delayed awareness of people (or animals) entering the path of the vehicle in a non-standard way.

1) Although the sensor did pick up something (someone: Hertzberg), the software was so badly thought out that failed completely at permanence of objects, something that humans at a larval stage are able to handle.

2) The software was so badly designed that it could not handle the standard safety equipment of the car.

3) The software was so badly designed that it did not act conservatively (unknown object --> slow the f**k down)

I don't think anybody would reach an employable age without killing themselves by sticking their tongues in the mains if they were so stupid. I am an idiot, and even I would think about pedestrians (probably drunk) walking in front of the car at any time.

This stinks of management pressure. All over. Some Uber managers should be made responsible of this.

The sound of silence is actually the sound of a malicious smart speaker app listening in on you



So if you have an Amazon or Google audio spyware at home, not only Amazon and Google can eavesdrop on you (already happened, already emptily apologised for, already happened again and so on...), but so do random developers of Apps.

They should be happy, the Amazon and the Google: no headaches for monopolistic practices here. Cheers!

Traffic lights worldwide set to change after Swedish engineer saw red over getting a ticket

Thumb Up

One ticket at a time.

So basically the only way the world has to make the traffic management progress on an empirical basis is to get lucky and give a ticket the correct kind of science/technical person/nerd with an attitude...


Tinfoil-hat search engine DuckDuckGo gifts more options, dark theme and other toys for the 0.43%


Re: Go

Because DDG is mostly used by nerds, it tends to be a sharper tool for technical and scientific searches than Google is --since a while it also proposes thoughtful snippets of StackExchange and derivatives, for the lazy who doesn't want to click on links.

Hands off our phones, says Google: Radar-gesture-sensing Pixel 4 just $999 with a 3-year lifespan – great value!


"And in this particular instance, Google isn't giving privacy the finger: When the Soli chip is active, according to Ellis, the sensor's data is processed on-device and isn't saved or shared with other Google services."

And we aaaaaaaaaall believe that.

I mean, probably the on-device processing is true, because otherwise you'd gesture, stare at a spinny thingie for some tens of seconds, and then get a reaction.

But I'm not buying that the data isn't saved or shared with Google.

Actually, I'm not buying the whole phone. Just to be on the safe side.

Q. If machine learning is so smart, how come AI models are such racist, sexist homophobes? A. Humans really suck


See: the title of the article.

Yup, hoomans are apocalyptic dicks to each other, and this is reflected into language biases --something brilliantly illustrated by the fact that hoomans are not vaginas to each other. Not in a semantically equivalent sense, anyway.

And yeah, if you train an AI on a biased set, you get that bias at the end of the training. In a way, that's a big point of "training": turning a completely unbiased source of white noise into something that has enough biases to actually mean something to a human.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name


Stupidest reason ever to do a fork of a well established free software.

Unsurprisingly, coming from someone with ties to Oracle.

I'll stick to GIMP, since I have the three neurons needed to understand the difference between an insult and an acronym used to name a program.

Leaked EU doc plots €100bn fund to protect European firms against international tech giants


That's until your beloved PM puts forward his plan for "Brexit, the world edition".

Because who wants immigrants (and neighbours) breathing YOUR air and sending three hundred and fifty million pounds of Oxigen to the rest of the planet every week, when you could stick it in so many iron lungs? Think of the saving for the NHS!

Expect a referendum on making Britain not only an island, but the second satellite of Earth, soon. And then a three years long fight about a backstop in the middle of the big long pipe connecting the rest of the Kingdom to Derry --and not the slightest whiff of a plan to do the main thing in the first place.

Another rewrite for 737 Max software as cosmic bit-flipping tests glitch out systems – report


Designed by toddlers?

"Astonishingly, until the 737 Max crashes, the aircraft was flying with no redundancy at all for the flight control computers. [...] The Seattle Times reported that this has now been redesigned so the two onboard computers run in an active:standby configuration. Previously the units merely swapped over in between flights."

This isn't even cost cutting any longer (they already had two computers on board) or incompetence, this is sheer and utter idiocy.

And if I am ever proposed a flight on a Boeing, I will make sure to ask if they actually know because they tested that the computer system is redundant and resilient to cosmic rays --because even toddlers these days know that cosmic rays (or any other ionizing radiation energetic enough) can mess with the memory and if that memory keeps you alive you need redundancy.

Apple sued over fondleslab death blaze: iPad battery blamed for deadly New Jersey apartment fire


Pedal power or nothing

Since they claim that Li-ion batteries "were inherently dangerous and were capable of igniting and causing a fire, even if properly in use within the tablet."... are they basically suing Apple for having one in the iPad?

Interesting... I mean: not surprising since in the USA you can sue BMW (and win) for not haveing a loud enough alarm to remind you that you parked your car on a slope and you should pull the handbrake, but still.

If this sets a precedent, before you know the yanks will only be able to use pedal-powered... everything that can't be constantly plugged into the mains.

Nice move.

Firefox armagg-add-on: Lapsed security cert kills all browser extensions, from website password managers to ad blockers


Use Lynx

If you don't want to waste as much memory and CPU time to read a junky web page about matter falling into a black hole as would be needed to actually run the simulation.

By the way, this comment has been written and posted from Lynx, in case you're wondering. which also means tha ElReg is functional in Lynx, which is just cool.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020