* Posts by Postscript

33 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Jan 2020

If you think AI labs wouldn't stoop to using scraped YouTube subtitles for training, think again


all-purpose defense

I'll have to remember the Apple defense and in the future get someone else to steal all my business supplies & tools for me. "I didn't steal this stuff, I'm just profiting from it!"

Mystery miscreant remotely bricked 600,000 SOHO routers with malicious firmware update



Are we sure it wasn't just a botched firmware update from the vendor? "Hackers did it!"

Slack tweaks its principles in response to user outrage at AI slurping



I don't work for Slack, nor do I want to. I am pretty sure my employer considers all our work to be their Intellectual Property. How do they keep the rights to our work if Slack just takes it all?

Law prof predicts generative AI will die at the hands of watchdogs


"sport of kings"

What kind of excuse is that? It -should- be expensive for the corporations flogging AI. If they want to avoid a tsunami of lawsuits, then train on licensed materials! Pay people and the whole problem just goes away.

Rancher faces prison for trying to breed absolute unit of a sheep


He heard he could buy the world!

...with the proceeds from his giant sick sheep

Attempts to demolish guardrails in AI image generators blamed for lewd Taylor Swift deepfakes


4chan feeding Xchan, who would have guessed? There's functionally not much difference these days.

Elon Musk's Twitter moves were 'reaffirming' says Reddit boss amid API changes


Re: Reddit's CEO doesn't realize

"What I think is happening is he wants a big payout from an IPO"

Every time a golden goose is born, some CEO comes along to strangle it. When your business model depends on literal free labor from your users, including building tools to make your business usable, shitting on the users isn't a good idea. He could have found ways to enter into profit sharing agreements with subs to allow AI scraping, maybe use it to pay moderators, charge a small subscription fee, let subs compete for charity and a small cut, reward high-karma posters in some way, etc. Pay someone to do some research and find out what users actually want and would pay for. But just like every other social media CEObro, he thinks he is entitled to other people's free labor and will throw public tantrums until there's nothing left to enshittify.


Re: He needs an icon -->

Tons of reasons including stock price manipulation, collaborating with other rich weirdos who want to crash the economy, and all the lulz of attacking scientists, women, trans people, etc. with the biggest platform on the planet.

Decision to hold women-in-cyber events in abortion-banning states sparks outcry


Re: Tennessee

What if an attendee is pregnant and during the conference has a complication that might kill her? She will be allowed to bleed out in the parking lot of the Tennessee health care facility of her choice.


Re: Mixed Feelings

It's a women's problem because our (male-dominated) culture has decided it was so. If men were being threatened with jail or execution for fathering unwanted pregnancies, it would quickly be "everyone's problem" and laws banning birth control and abortion wouldn't exist.

Gen Z and Millennials don't know what their colleagues are talking about half the time


the jargon file

The first week of a new IT job, I started my own jargon file to keep track of what the heck people were talking about. It's about six pages long now. I still want to punt my keyboard when somebody says with a straight face that we are "delivering value to the customer." It's a job. We're working. Perfectly fine words that everyone understands.

Surprise! GitHub finds 92% of developers love AI tools


In Action

I've seen people come in with "AI" generated/assisted code. It looks like it might work on the surface, but then a lot of time is spent figuring out why it doesn't work or how to make it secure and appropriate in our environment. At that point, you've spent more time trying to force the 'lazy' way to work than you would have if you'd just done it yourself from the beginning.

Whistleblower claims Uncle Sam is sitting on hoard of alien vehicles and tech


Same ol' Same ol'

Dave Troy posted some context about this yesterday https://twitter.com/davetroy/status/1666368654475239425

AI, extinction, nuclear war, pandemics ... That's expert open letter bingo


Should be...

"Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."

But as with whatever other global priorities we *should* have, we'll keep pushing "AI" it if makes us a dime, screw the risks. We could redesign our LLMs to be based on legally obtained, sanely curated, inspectable data, with audit trails, guard rails and watermarking, but we'd looooooooooose money if we did that. So we'll just keep making empty pronouncements and jamming "AI" into toasters.

4chan and other web sewers scraped up into Google's mega-library for training ML


Stop scraping sewers

They need to stop stealing data for their training sets, regardless of the source's fragrance. If they can't prove clear provenance, they should have to start over with clean, inspectable sets. They should take it as a blessing before they get sued into oblivion - they can start fresh with useful, genuinely curated data and not undifferentiated plunder.

Since they'll need to start over anyway, they could also solve the problems of watermarking AI generated content and output auditing along the way. They can come back and dump it on the public once they're done.

No more rockstars, say Billy Idol, Joan Jett in Workday Super Bowl ad

IT Angle

We just need normal employees

I've seen this referenced before in the context of writing ads for IT jobs. It was (maybe still is?) trendy to advertise for "rockstars," "gurus," even "ninjas," but that was found to turn off lots of people, reduce the diversity of the applicant pool, etc. Just explain what you actually need in the position, use broad categories rather than a pile of random software package names, and include the pay scale in the advert.

Hey, online pharmacies: Quit spreading around everyone's data already



Google thinks it's no big deal but American Republicans' end game is to enslave women to prevent them from crossing state lines to get healthcare, and to gain access to medical records so they can arrest, prosecute, and execute women for getting abortions. It is a big deal and they are endangering countless people for the sake of a little bit of that sweet private information sales cash.

Bringing cakes into the office is killing your colleagues, says UK food watchdog boss


Better cake than Covid

Why worry about getting fat from cake when your coworkers prefer to give you Covid instead? A gift that lasts a lifetime and may contribute to 100% weight loss.

Southwest promotes key staff right after that Christmas meltdown


No worries, it won't be an issue before long

There won't be an airline industry to speak of, at least in North America. They won't protect their pilots or staff from Covid-19 and all her respiratory handmaids. They won't require masks or tests. They let anyone that can pay hop on and cough plagues all over each other, and the pilots and staff. They can't order up a batch of healthy fresh pilots from Alibaba, it takes years and huge expenses to train new pilots. Who will they promote when their last golden goose is too sick to lay an egg?

Janet Jackson music video declared a cybersecurity exploit


Re: Lay off Janet

I, too, was surprised by all the dunking on Janet Jackson. She's an icon and has taken plenty of abuse already in her career. Even if it's not meant in a racist & sexist way, the end result is indistinguishable so maybe give it a rest.

After eleven-year wait, Atlassian customers promised custom domains in 2023


My Favorite Jira Issue

Opened July 17, 2014, I still get email updates when some new poor sap realizes they would like their work tickets to not be studded with smiley faces and 'thumbs-down' icons. It's marked as "Not Being Considered" by the Atlassian devlords but that hasn't stopped the plaintive cries for relief.


This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Thumb Down

So many stories

I worked in a group where one prize specimen liked to watch porn at his desk next to the community fridge. We banded together and complained to management and he ... moved his desk into a storage room. He remained there, presumably happy as a clam, for the remainder of the time I was there.

Or the lab leader who asked for support and had been searching for (among other things) Miley Cyrus naked when she was well underage. He didn't successfully find any CP so he just got reported to management rather than the police. No repercussions beyond being embarrassed.

Or the visiting international researcher who called for support for his fresh new PC... He'd had it for ONE day and it was eaten up with viruses. I won't burden you with his grotesque tastes. He got reported and pretended he no longer understood English. I formatted the PC, busted him down to User and told him to never speak to me again.

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



I use Fedora with bluetooth earbuds. Zoom should just replace the audio settings panel with a big button that says "SURPRISE ME!" since that's what it does every day anyway.

Boys outnumber girls 6 to 1 in UK compsci classes

IT Angle

this buzzfeed article about the gatekeeping surrounding geek culture seems relevant here, if you are wondering why women might conclude CS is 'not for them' https://www.buzzfeed.com/mayaogolini/geek-girls-share-sexist-experiences

Average convicted British computer criminal is young, male, not highly skilled, researcher finds

IT Angle

on the job experience

The article points out that these caught criminals mostly got the experience they needed to commit the crimes from once having legit jobs in the IT workplace. If there are few women in the IT workplace, women won't be getting the skills, however rudimentary, that they would need to embark on a life of computer crime.

Web prank horror: Man shot dead while pretending to rob someone at knife-point for a YouTube video


Re: Why do you get a view but he doesn't?

The youtuber was white and known for going to black neighborhoods for his 'pranks.' He's on youtube under 'Tommy G McGee'

PC owners borg into the most powerful computer the world has ever known – all in the search for coronavirus cure


Re: Very worthy

I left it set to "any disease" and it loaded up a C19 task pretty quickly.


There are deb and rpm installers on their alternative downloads page.

Google: You know we said that Chrome tracker contained no personally identifiable info? Yeah, about that...


Re: re: "Does this affect Chromium as well as Chrome?"

props for posting to whatsthatbug, the only useful thing to do with the internet

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'


Re: Women are more sexist than men

"Any time you tell a woman what to wear, you are wrong"


I thought the same - "It's going to be Cold and maybe Icy! So please wear your short skirts and impractical shoes! Entertainment for all!"

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer


Re: Never again

oh that story takes me back - a senior faculty invited a gang of staff to Christmas lunch at her house. I was the department IT person and went along. Whilst there she said "Oh, PS, my Mac in the next room is having problems - will you go fix it." So the rest of the group sat around socializing while I fixed the Mac. It's a good thing she didn't invite the custodian and demand she fix the toilet!


stiffed with lotion

I spent the bulk of a Saturday afternoon helping someone at their house - setting up their network, getting backups going, some training on cameras and photo software. Partway through the afternoon she came in with a tube of hand lotion. 'I got this in London, you might like it' - er, ok, not something I wanted but whatever. When I finished up, she walked me out to the car - and didn't offer to pay me at all! Evidently the lotion was the payment (the previous time she gave me the traditional cash for work). I've done a lot of IT side work for people and never had someone just straight-up stiff me before. I didn't press it altho I should have. Needless to say, I ghosted her next time she emailed asking me to come spend my precious weekend hours working for her ... for free? She wrote again later asking if she'd offended me, but never mentioned actually paying me.