* Posts by TheMaskedMan

437 publicly visible posts • joined 7 May 2020

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Molten lunar regolith heats up space colonization dreams

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"So whose face are we going to carve into the surface of the moon?"

Elon Musk, of course! And if we don't, he will!

Musk wants to ban Apple at his companies for cosying up to OpenAI

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Does his Muskiness permit use of chatGPT at any of his companies right now? I'm guessing not.

Assuming that this is the case, there's a certain logic in banning devices with it built in.

DuckDuckGo AI Chat promises privacy for bot conversations

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Re: Why DDG?

"Microsoft using every trick in it's OS to set and keep the MS defaults as Edge + Bing"

While I agree with your other points, I'm not sure this is true. I hardly ever see bing / edge on domestic PCs, and on the odd occasion that I do, the user invariably asks me to set the default to "proper" chrome and Google.

I haven't used DDG in a while, simply because last time I tried it, it didn't find what I was looking for while Google had it somewhere on the first page, under a shedloads of ads. Maybe it's improved and I should give it a go.

From meatballs to metaverse – IKEA's flatpack fantasy lands on Roblox

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Re: IKEA is coming to Roblox

"I recently had some screws missing"

THIS is the story of my life

Millions forced to use brain as OpenAI's ChatGPT takes morning off

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Typical, isn't it? Today, for the first time in months, I needed to write something that would take longer than I wanted to spend but could be done adequately in seconds by chatGPT.

And where is the blighter when you want it? Gone. Nowhere to be found. Buggered off. Clearly, these things are becoming more human-like than I'd realised.

Twitter 'supersharers' of fake news tend to be older Republican women

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Did anyone check to see if there are any supersharers dishing out shedloads of "legitimate" news? Just curious.

The problem doesn't really lie with the supersharers. They, presumably, believe the material they're posting, and they surely have the right to share their opinions with others, regardless of how bat shit crazy they are. Any society that seeks to limit the free expression of opinions - North Korea, anyone? - has already lost, and is not one I would want to be part of. Similarly, people must be free to read those opinions if they wish.

The problem is a severe lack of critical thinking in the population at large. People are not really encouraged to think for themselves, to analyse what they are told and reach their own conclusions about it's veracity. As a result, they don't have much experience of doing it; it's generally easier and simpler to simply believe the material put out by the news network of your choice, and that is definitely the way politicians like it. Unfortunately, when their allegiance switches to a purveyor of fake news, they are not equipped to identify it's inherent fallacies and are quickly persuaded that they have stumbled on some hidden truths. Naturally, being good citizens, their instinct is to share that truth with their friends, and a supersharer is born.

The only possible solution (unless one is prepared to bludgeon freedom to death) is to teach people to question, to reason, to check and double check facts, but that will never happen. The last thing any government wants is an electorate that is actively trained to see through bullshit. Instead, measures will be introduced to limit the reach of supersharers and freedom will die, unnoticed until some politician does something really bad that people need to reveal, only to find that they can't.

Google to push ahead with Chrome's ad-blocker extension overhaul in earnest

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

How many people actually use ad blockers in Chrome? I'm sure I could find out by trawling the store in search of installation counts, but I can't be bothered.

But, if Chrome really is as widespread as it appears, with over 60% market share, that's a LOT of users, and I am certain that only a tiny percentage of the domestic users, at least, have even heard of an ad blocker, let alone have one installed or even know how to install one.

Those of us that have, and do, are probably an insignificant percentage of Chrome's user base compared with the seething tide of clueless users who don't. For them, the change will be irrelevant, as they will continue to see the same ad strewn web as they do right now. Consequently, there will be no outpouring of rage from the majority of Chrome's users, the righteous fury of the ad blocker savvy users will be discounted as the ravings of a niche bunch of malcontents, and the Chrome juggernaut will roll on unimpeded.

Chrome cane from nowhere and won the web because the browsers of the day were fairly crap while Chrome was small and fast. It could happen again, but this won't be the catalyst.

A thump with the pointy end of a screwdriver will fix this server! What could possibly go wrong?

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Re: 486 DX/50

"I positioned it on its side then picked it up and then slammed it down onto the workbench which did the trick and unstuck the actuator"

Long ago, I was asked to look at a misbehaving PC by a panicked PhD student, whose only copy of her thesis was on the PC. Backups? Nah.

The PC was old, even by the standards of the day (early 2000s), and as far as I could see the HDD was dead - no motor sounds, nothing. I warned her to prepare for the worst, and brought the machine in to take a further look at.

I took the HDD out and had it propped up on the side of the case. The box still wasn't booting, but I reached over the case and accidentally knocked the HDD off. It hit the desk, sprang to life and the box booted, albeit with some very unhealthy sounds from the disk.

I was able to ram in a floppy disk and grab a copy of her thesis and a few other files, making her a very lucky student. Percussive maintenance definitely has its uses!

Bad vibrations left techie shaken up during overnight database rebuild

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Re: SSDs

"I also use 'em to print out source code listings ... Hang all the necessary printouts on the wall"

I thought I was the only person who still does this!

UK PM Sunak calls election, leaving Brits cringing over memory of his Musk love-in

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Hmm, so, to summarise: politician talks lots, achieves little, understands nothing. Nothing new there, then.

I see there were mentions in the press yesterday that sunak's underlings were attempting to defenestrate him in the hope that the election could be delayed. Now, having schemed his way to the top by briefing against not one, but two sitting prime ministers until they were ousted by the mob, it would be very fitting if he were to leave in the same way. But do the Tories really, really want yet another leadership contest? Don't they realise how utterly crap this makes them look? And anyway, who would replace him? They scraped the very bottom of the barrel when they elected Sunak; there really isn't anywhere else for them to go.

But the competition doesn't look too great, either. Starmer is vague, wet, unelectable and tends to draw back his head and open his eyes wide, rather like a ventriloquist's dummy being surprised from behind by a large cucumber whenever he is asked an awkward question. His sidekick has the contemptuous sneer of the true political zealot, and has unfortunate housing related questions to answer.

As for the lib dims, they committed political suicide at the last election by promising to reverse Brexit. Such a popular move that even their leader lost her seat. I suppose they might make a few gains this time round, what with the other two parties being so godawfully incompetent, but I suspect it will be yet another election night where the yellow guys sit around claiming it's been a good night for them, their day is coming, and hey, 2 extra seats is really a major triumph.

Overall, I don't hold out a great deal of hope regardless of which party wins - the rest of us will lose. As usual.

Giving Windows total recall of everything a user does is a privacy minefield

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"AI expert Gary Marcus was blunter: "F^ck that. I don't want my computer to spy on everything I ever do.""

Sums things up perfectly. No. Just... no. Who was n their right mind would want this, or ever think it could be a cool product?

Years ago, I was toying with the idea of an HTTP proxy that would index web pages as you surfed and allow you to search for pages you've visited by keywords and / or content. Such a thing would have been useful for me because I'm a bugger for knowing that I read something, but not where I read it, and I assume others are similarly afflicted. After a little more thought, I decided I didn't like the privacy implications, and took the idea no further. This is infinitely worse.

UK law gives green light to self-driving cars from 2026

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Re: If a driverless car needs a driver

"I'm starting to believe the UK government hasn't really got a clue and are hoping no one notices."

And this is news to you?? The UK government hasn't had a clue about anything - other than self preservation, and that only weakly - in the whole of my 50+ years, and I see no reason to assume that they were any better before that.

I take your point, but this driverless malarkey is a relatively new thing, and it makes sense to have it supervised in the early stages. It will only get better with time, though whether it will get good enough remains to be seen.

ASML could brick Taiwan's chipmaking machines in case of uninvited guests

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Re: They never learn

"Because they invented it, and American companies failed despite a lot of effort, to invent it."

Impossible - everyone knows the world stops at the East and West coasts. Nothing could be invented in the howling wastelands beyond the ocean.

It does seem rather remiss of the US government to be 92% reliant on something vital that they can't - or at least don't - make themselves in a pinch, though. Zapping the manufacturing facilities to keep the chips out of Winnie the pooh's paws is only a partial solution - it doesn't do anything to solve America's supply problem, no matter how large a stockpile they may have.

Cops developing Ghostbusters-esque weapon to take out e-bike thugs

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"We find it hard to imagine that even London's finest could reach and maintain sprinting speeds in excess of 15.5 mph."

That would be meters per hour? This is the Met, remember, the force infamously needing to supply uniform trousers with vast waistlines.

The mind's eye (it has to be in the mind, because you are unlikely to set your physical eyes on a bobby on foot patrol) presents an image of a typically ovoid officer, made more so by the stab-proof vest concealed beneath his bulky high+Vis jacket, lumbering along with a huge backpack like a glow in the dark camel.

By the time he's noticed a phone theft in progress and set off in waddling pursuit, he'll be too out of breath to unship his emp ray gun, let alone point it at the target. This might work better for officers in cars, or even mounted on ebikes of their own, at least until the villains figure out how to shield the motor. But as a tool for any hypothetical bobbies on the beat it seems unlikely to be effective, not least because you'd need a lot of foot patrols to even have a chance of spotting the theft in progress.

OpenAI says natively multimodal GPT-4o eats text, visuals, sound – and emits the same

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"I think it's a little unfair to focus on the elderly* here."

Not so much focussed as suggested as one group with which I am familiar who might find a chatty LLM useful, subject to its reliability, but I take the point.

As for the conspiracy nutjobs, I hadn't really considered them to be a specific group in their own right. Rather, I'd put them in the vulnerable category, on the basis of their being hard of thinking.

The sheer number and variety of them is very disturbing though. It always amazes me that they believe "the government" or variations thereof, is capable of such subtle, tangled plots when all the evidence suggests that "the government" is largely incapable of getting through a day without becoming embroiled in one inconvenient scandal or another. Or is that what we're supposed to think...

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Re: > Weird, I guess it's successfully deceived me into thinking it's writing code for me.

"What use are cat videos, irrelevant images and pornography to a programmer?"

Are you sure you're doing this programming thing right? Cat videos are essential - even antisocial code warriors like to see a cute pussy now and then.

TheMaskedMan Silver badge
Gimp

"It will be interesting to see whether OpenAI allows customers to use tone and simulated emotion to drive purchases or otherwise persuade people to do things."

Wasn't there some mention of nsfw output a few days ago? Couple this with that, and Mistress GPT is just a few versions away.

The developments sound impressive, though I haven't seen anything of the demo yet, and I could see a chatty assistant being useful, particularly, say to elderly folks who might be put off by less friendly products. But the problem of hallucinations seems to remain - while that's still present, you'd never be able to rely on it, largely negating it's usefulness to elderly or vulnerable users who might be tempted to trust it's every word. Still, it looks like progress has been made.

OpenAI insists it's not launching a search engine nor GPT-5 on Monday

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Re: dawning realisation

"When I use an online search engine I am searching for web pages, or possibly entire web sites, containing the keywords I specified."

Quite right, too, and don't bugger about with the results based on what else you think I might be interested in. Just give me what I ask for, and I will decide if it's useful or not.

But there is another kind of query, where you are looking for a simple answer to a simple question, where it is useful to have the search engine simply give you the answer (with appropriate links to references, of course). I find that quite handy for simple factoids that my aging brain once knew, but can't quite haul up from deep storage right this second. Would I trust those answers to be correct without verification? No, not for something important. Is it handy to get a quick summary? Yes.

That is arguably more the function of an encyclopedia, or information engine, than a search engine, and I should imagine that sites making money from pages of facts are not happy, but it is useful to the user. I also imagine that, in the right circumstances, a quick summary of other things - or perhaps several related things - might be useful, too, and an LLM would be great for that IF it linked to its sources and didn't hallucinate. But since it doesn't and does, respectively, it's not there yet and may never be there.

chatGPT isn't supposed to be a search engine, and it always amazes me that people try to use it as one. It could be an answer or information engine, if it were reliable - maybe that's what openAI have in mind for their announcement?

Flexing financial muscles, Arm aims to elbow into Windows PC market

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"if enough native Windows apps are available"

This is going to be the problem. I assume that x86 apps will introduce a fairly hefty performance hit (just a guess, never having tried Windows on arm, but it seems reasonable to me), so you're going to need native apps to take advantage of the alleged benefits.

Either the lack of apps will kill, or at least wound, the platform, as with Windows phone, or demand for the platform will have developers scrambling to make native apps. I'm guessing the former is more likely.

How easy is it to port an x86 app to Windows on arm, though? I assume it's not as simple as just recompiling for the new target? Is it something any old Windows programmer can do, or are there new tricks to learn? All of that is going to influence how many apps get ported - the more work is involved, the less likely a developer is to spend time porting to an unproven platform.

Lightweight Dillo browser springs back to life, still doesn't care about JavaScript

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Re: I like it already

"Users constantly demand more functionality, more responsiveness and browsers keep rolling out new features. The trend is towards more complexity, not less."

But who, and what, is driving that trend? It's in the browser maker's interests to add yet more "features", and in developers' interests to use them so they can stay "current".

Users, in the main, don't know shit from clay. Yes, I know, some do. But the average Facebook consuming, tiktok watching passenger on the Clapham omnibus does not. They use what they're given, complain when it's slow or changes suddenly, and scroll on to the next gripping video. I would bet it's not them demanding new stuff; rather they are the hapless victims forced to endure it

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"The Dillo web browser..."

Am I the only one to misread that??

Moving on, I can certainly see uses for a lightweight HTML viewer that's not bogged down with JavaScript etc al. And I'm very much in favour of static sites that don't use JS, though I appreciate that most big sites use it willy nilly and are likely to continue to do so. That being the case, I can't see Dillo being the Next Big Thing in browsers, but it could still be incredibly useful as a document viewer, amongst other things.

Here's hoping it thrives!

Got an old Raspberry Pi spare? Try RISC OS. It is, literally, something else

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"BBC Micros were owned by rich, middle class kids to promote their upward mobility"

This made me laugh, all the more so because the only 2 Beeb owners I knew fit exactly into that category - or, at least, their parents did.

But plenty of rich folks had speccies, too - 48k, natch. Pretty much everyone else had C64s, myself included.

I've never used ROSC OS, but this sounds like a perfect project for my Todo list! No idea what I'd do with it, but something is bound to occur to me.

OpenAI slapped with GDPR complaint: How do you correct your work?

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"The subject then filed a request to have the incorrect data erased"

How can you erase something that doesn't exist? We are told that the requested DOB is not on the net, and is therefore not in chatGPT's training data and so cannot be removed from or corrected there.

You could probably argue that whatever chatGPT hallucinated in order to respond to the query wasn't a date of birth either, whether correct or not - it was merely a randomly generated text string. Be that as it may, however, that text string was transmitted in response to a query. Is that query and response logged somewhere at openAI? If so, maybe that could be erased or corrected, though I'm not sure that it would be helpful or necessary. But if it isn't logged, the response is effectively transient and doesn't exist beyond the query/response in which it was generated.

However, it seems that NOYB has retained a copy of that response, has processed the data complained of, and continues to do so for the purpose of making a fuss about nothing. Will they be erasing or correcting those copies? I doubt it.

By all means allow - and, indeed, require - that inaccurate data in the training set be deleted or corrected. But to suggest that chatGPT is producing personal data from thin air, whether accurate or not, is ludicrous.

Microsoft dusts off ancient MS-DOS 4.0 code for release on GitHub

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"there's no way it would make sense to waste time rewriting Windows 98..."

Commercially, I'm sure you're right. But enthusiasts, hobbyists and general tinkerers don't think like that. They do it because they can, because they want to see if they can and for fun.

It doesn't really make sense for folks to be refurbishing ZX81s, either, but there are plenty of folks doing just that on YouTube. And, I gather, a healthy retro market for Win98 era gaming kit, too.

I'm sure something interesting would come of it, but it's never going to happen.

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"Like say everything up to Windows Me, and put it under a GPL compatible license."

That would be great, but absolutely not in Microsoft's interests. I imagine that an army of tinkering enthusiasts would descend upon the code, scattering bug fixes and updates as they went.

I don't suppose it would be long before Windows 98 was fairly safely useable for lightweight tasks, while still being able to run on amazingly feeble hardware without sending a byte of telemetry back to the Mother$hip - everything Micros~1 has spent the last 25 years or so trying to avoid, in fact. Plus, the fact that it had a clean useable interface would make current windows look bad in comparison.

Shame, though. I, for one, would love to see that happen.

Help! My mouse climbed a wall and now it doesn't work right

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Ahhh, yes, mechanical mice. Back in the early 2ks, when I did an awful lot of on site domestic and small business PC repairs, cleaning those pesky balls and rollers was pretty much routine at every job, if only so I could get the mouse to be usable enough to fix the actual problem.

Running a mouse up a wall is a new one on me, but watching users zoom their mouse all the way across their desk and back again was common. And I've just remembered one guy who went so far as to nail a piece of plywood to the side of his desk for extra mouse room. Goodness, I'd forgotten about him!! Visiting Joe Public in his lair was... Interesting:)

Leicester streetlights take ransomware attack personally, shine on 24/7

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: Hopefully they are LED

"Hopefully they are LED"

These would be the newfangled led lights that create a pool of white brilliance directly beneath the lamp, but which fades away to nothing within a few meters, and certainly long before you reach the next streetlight? The result being interspersed patches of light and darkness that make it bloody difficult to see pedestrians unless they're directly under a light. Cheaper and cleaner they may be, but they're nowhere near as good as the old sodium lights that spread, well, light in all directions.

Devaluing content created by AI is lazy and ignores history

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"I've used Gimp: it would be easier to kidnap Taylor Swift, bring her back to the UK, cut off her head and sew it onto someone else's body than for most people to create a credible deepfake of it using Gimp. I've never edited a video and even if I could I can't do a passable voice impression of my own brother, never mind a world leader - or Taylor."

Just because you (and I) can't, doesn't mean that others are similarly limited. Sticking a famous head on a porn star's body has been a thing for as long as there's been porn on the net, and the suspicion (or excuse) that an unlikely / inconvenient image has been photoshopped is almost as old. Plenty of professional and amateur entertainers can produce passable imitations of famous people, too - mimicry has always been popular.

For those with access to the appropriate skills and equipment, making a very convincing image or video has been possible for quite some time, but the facilities have been limited to movie studios etc. The tools - and yes, they really are just tools - are now within the grasp of the great unwashed, and suddenly we "need" new laws? I don't think so.

If anything, the proliferation of these tools will just let the rich, famous and political elites get away with more than they did before - any inconvenient photographic evidence of their inevitably shady antics will be dismissed as fake, and who will be able to prove that it isn't? After all, the tools are so widely available these days.

Like you, I'm on the final furlong and don't relish a dotage in which AI is crammed into everything just for the sake of it. But it's here, it's not going away, and it is at least moderately useful. Best to go along with it and let the younglings decide what they're going to do with and about it.

YouTube now sabotages ad-blocking apps that stream its vids

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

I'm a bit conflicted on this. On the one hand, I'm all in favour of creators getting paid for their sometimes excellent content, and I don't mind watching a few ads to make that happen. If Google want to extrapolate from my interest in vintage computers, astronomy and occasional completely random things that just strike me as interesting, well, good luck to em.

Similarly, it's Google's toy, it's up to them how they run it, and if you don't like it you're at perfect liberty to go watch something else - nobody is forcing you to watch YouTube.

On the other hand, I've been using an ad blocker for a long time, and I recently remembered why - having been forced to watch YouTube on a smart TV with no ad blocker, the sheer number and length of ads in even a short video make the content pretty much unwatchable. It can't be good for either Google or the creators to irritate their audience to that extent, and it is surely only a matter of time before a more viewer-friendly, free to watch video platform comes along. I can't wait.

US House mulls forcing AI makers to reveal use of copyrighted training data

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

I'm not convinced that training on copyrighted material constitutes an infringement of that copyright, particularly where the material is freely available on the open web, although that becomes a little less clear if the models are trained on pirate copies of material that is otherwise not freely available.

I'm not sure how the proposed bill is going to be helpful, either. Firstly, pretty much anything published on the web (or anywhere) is, or could be subject to copyright unless explicitly stated otherwise. Does this mean that the AI companies are going to have to disclose everything they use for training? Or are we to believe that only material produced by paid arty types is worthy of being reported? If so, that's something of a snub to amateur creators, but would doubtless be welcomed by the bigger fish.

Secondly, it is not always obvious that any given material is subject to copyright, or the version thereof that the bill would apply to. A page may contain several extracts of other works that would be subject to reporting, while the containing page would not, for example.

In principle, I don't see any reason why AI companies shouldn't disclose what they train on, but as a practical matter it's going to a nightmare. Yet another example of politicians wanting to be seen to be doing something about a popular concern without actually understanding what they're talking about, I suspect.

Notepad++ dev slams Google-clogging notepad.plus 'parasite'

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

If (BIG if) all the guy is doing is squeezing out a little ad revenue before passing traffic on to the software's home site, I don't see any harm in it. After all, pretty much every IT site, and computer magazines before them, makes ad revenue from product reviews, tutorials, how-to articles etc. Some even supplement the ad revenue with affiliate links. It seems a little disproportionate to complain about someone doing that when the software he's writing about is free - it's not as though he's doing the author out of profits or anything.

Of course, that doesn't apply if he's sending that traffic to a malware infested download instead of the real site, or passing off his own product as the original etc. all of that is naughty and should attract a brick around the ear. But otherwise, it's harmless and probably doesn't make much money anyway - almost certainly not enough to be worth the effort.

Hmmm, but if you could make a site which contained articles about lots of different products, it might make a few quid. You could call it The Accumulator - greasing the palm that reads IT

Tough luck, bosses, AI is coming for your job, too

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

We're going to need PHB to stand for something new - post human boss? Pesky bloody bot?

Seems to me that this is just the thin end of the wedge, and it won't be long before they get the taste for "managing" people on a grander scale

OpenAI claims its software can clone your voice from 15 seconds of you talking

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"you can't trust everything you hear on the internet nowadays."

Nowadays? Since when did anyone blindly trust anything they read, see or hear on the internet?

BBC exterminates AI experiments used to promote Doctor Who

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::sigh:: is there nothing Doctor Who fans won't complain about? I've watched and generally enjoyed the show since Pertwee, and could reasonably have been described as a Who nerd in my teens (in fact, I was), but fans' tendency to complain really gets on my wick.

Of all the things you could do with AI, this seems like such a trivial use as to be insignificant. As long as the description is accurate, what does it matter how it was created??

UN unanimously adopts ambitious AI resolution, sans teeth

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: Yet more empty words

"consistently providing work for unemployable bureaucrats..."

Sounds pretty much like every other political / government organisation in the world, then.

I don't really see how the UN (or anyone else) could really do much more than this, though. AGI doesn't (allegedly) exist yet, and isn't likely to - how do you set about making regulations about anything that doesn't exist, when it's capabilities and hence its potential uses / misuses are unknown? All you can do is make general suggestions, in terms broad enough to cover what might happen if anyone actually gets around to inventing the thing. Great for the sake of being seen to be "doing something", but otherwise of little practical value, not that that has ever deterred politicians before.

The last mile's at risk in our hostile environment. Let’s go the extra mile to fix it

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"the idea of compulsory science classes for 5G vandals is very tempting."

Nah, you can't fix stupid. But the notion of electric fences, minefields and bear traps around the masts has some appeal.

How to run an LLM on your PC, not in the cloud, in less than 10 minutes

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Interesting. I (still) haven't got around to playing with a local LLM, but it's on my agenda so any and all how-to guides are welcome.

Biden's State of the Union included a battle cry against AI mimicry

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"Ban AI voice impersonation and more!"

The devil is going to be in the detail with this one. Impersonation implies pretending to be someone else, with nefarious intent, which is obviously a bad thing. It doesn't necessarily require AI to do it, though - a talented mimic could probably do a good enough job to fool most people, most of the time, unless they had the original there to compare with. Whereas AI voices don't sound genuine to me, no matter how good they are.

A blanket ban risks outlawing legitimate AI replication of someone's voice, without addressing other ways in which impersonation can be achieved. Of course, being a politician, that doesn't matter - all they care about is not losing votes through some pillock making a bad clone of them saying something detrimental.

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: If America wants to be great again...

"Even just put the kgs, cms in brackets, but I'm not wasting my time doing conversions. Sorry."

2.2 pounds to the kilo, 2.54 cm to the inch, or thereabouts.I don't see that as a problem, but then I grew up in the 70s and 80s when both systems were in common use, and I switch between them freely as is convenient. If it bothers you so much, you could easily do that too, but there's no need to be sorry if you can't manage it, I'm sure the left pondian economy will manage without you.

Copilot can't stop emitting violent, sexual images, says Microsoft whistleblower

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Re: Definition of "Idealist"

"in the mistaken belief that their superiors will act on that information in a way which will improve the world..."

Rather than act on them in a way that will ruin their day / career / life (delete as appropriate)

Idealist: See idiot.

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Which suggests that such images were in the training data to start with. Generative AI gonna generate - it doesn't know, much less care, what it's producing, it's just going to match input to output. If you don't want a given thing in the output, make sure it's not in the training data to start with.

Personally, I don't care if it produces seminaked ladies eating demons in a car crash, as long it also produces what I do ask for, when I ask for it. BUT, if micros~1 are going to market it as NOT producing such things, ever, then they'd better be damn sure that it won't.

I'm not at all sure that "gaurdrails" are ever going to be sufficient to completely prevent such generations, though I suppose they might help in the case of supposedly innocuous prompts. But if you're going to go out of your way to circumvent them, you're probably going to get the results that you asked for. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it, as the saying goes.

Maybe, instead of - or, perhaps, as well as - trying to trap bad prompts, they could try looking at the output before it's shown to the user. Surely one of those fancy AI thingies could be trained to spot naughty pics and send them to the bitbucket instead of the user?

As for micros~1 spinning up a lawyer, that shouldn't be too surprising - shooting the messenger is fairly standard procedure, though I wish it wasn't. Maybe they shouldn't have rushed headlong into ramming AI into everything until they were sure it would be safe for work.

Musk joins OpenAI lawsuit queue, says there's nothing 'open' about it

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Re: Just when you think Musk can't get any more psycho

"He just wants to kneecap the competition for his own xitty AI company."

My thoughts exactly. Didn't his Muskiness invest in something like 10,000 GPUs a while back? And isn't he pushing grok, or whatever he's calling it, trained in part on the innane crap people post to twitter? The chances of it being even close to chatGPT's capabilities are pretty much zero, so he tries to nobble the competition and maybe claw some cash back, while painting his thing as the good guy AI. Claiming that grok's biggest competitor has already achieved AGI may not have been too smart though - why do I need grok, in that case?

Dell promises 'every PC is going to be an AI PC' whether you like it or not

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: The public

"I'm probably just an out of touch old guy..."

That makes two of us then, though I guess old doesn't have to mean out of touch. I'm aware of one 80+ year old gentleman who is still running his microbusiness and routinely posts to Instagram and now (I find out last week) tiktok. Apparently he gets work via Instagram, and is hoping for the same from tiktok. Speaking as someone who has never used either, I felt very out of touch.

Back on topic. No, I don't see much mention of AI in the real world either, with one exception. A friend's daughter (11) tells me that most of her friends are using chatGPT to "help" with their homework. Just as she has grown up in a world where tablets and smartphones are the norm, they will reach adulthood in a world where chatGPT and its descendants are built in to everything, and they WILL use them. Those of us who prefer to write our own emails, perhaps dabbling with generative AI as an occasionally useful tool, will be left behind by those young whippersnappers who don't know anything else.

There will be no AI revolution, just extremely rapid evolution of tools that today's kids are already using to fiddle their homework. Chances are, their parents are as clueless about AI as our parents were about setting the VCR, and are unlikely to catch up. In less than 10 years, those first year high school students will be entering the workforce, preskilled in tools that their older colleagues have barely heard of.

The rest of us will be quaint, antediluvian relics, our skills replaced by someone who is skilled in telling AI to do something. Of course, that's all very well until the said AI does something entirely different, and our skills are suddenly needed to fix it. But by then in may be too late.

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: Wrong

"after 30 years Windows Notepad still doesn't have tabs, but there will soon be a version with "AI" built-in it so it can tell me about what I wrote down. Duh! Who needs this shit? No one, of course."

I'm afraid it does have tabs, though. Well, mine doesn't - my desktop is still on windows 10, and I have no desire to seek out the tabified version, even if it's available to me. But they're a thing in Windows 11.

As I recall, the cockpile explainy "feature" isn't yet in the general release version, and hopefully never will be. But, as you so rightly say, nobody needs it or wants it, so it will probably be forcibly installed by next week.

Google Maps leads German tourists to week-long survival saga in Australian swamp

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Another one for Rise Of The Machines, methinks.

Google maps is a very handy thing to have on your phone, but it does do weird shit on occasion. Last year it took me on an unplanned expedition over the top of the peak District, for reasons known only to Google. Beautiful scenery, to be sure, but not on my agenda for the day. On another occasion, while navigating around a busy town, it simply gave up - I drew up to a T junction and my phone proudly announced that it didn't know where to go from there. Again, I have no idea why, and normal navigation resumed a few moments later, having left it to the meatsack to choose left or right.

Somehow, I don't think I'd be trusting it to get me safely through a crocodile infested hellhole in the back end of nowhere!

Apple makes it official: No Home Screen web apps in European Union

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

I've never been an apple fan, so it doesn't affect me either way. But it's apple's OS, they make it do what they want, and if people don't like it they're welcome to not use it, so good for Apple.

On the order hand, withdrawing a relied-upon feature without notice and dropping developers (to say nothing of end users) in the shit is not nice. It's in the same kind of category as the Unity debacle a few months ago, and look how that ended. By all means, drop the feature if you want, but some notice is required out of respect for your developers and users.

I'd say it's pretty indicative of how Apple views is developers and users, which, in turn, should show them whether they want to use Apple kit or not.

IT body proposes that AI pros get leashed and licensed to uphold ethics

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

And how much will this registration cost? Likening IT bods to the ranks of Quacks and Allied Meatsack Wranglers is all very well, but doctors pay a fairly hefty annual fee for their GMC registration. Could it be that the BCS sees an opportunity to increase revenue as well as extend its own power by adopting the guise of a regulator?

Regulators such as the GMC also exercise disciplinary roles, investigating complaints and dishing out sanctions, all of which requires extra staff and legal expertise, which costs money.

It's worth noting, too, that doctors aren't generally allowed to work if they're not registered with the GMC - it's not just that people would rather employ registered doctors, they have to. This looks like the start of a slippery slope whereby techs have to be registered in order to work, and that would be a Very Bad Thing for us, although it might be quite a good thing for the regulator.

Certainly, this isn't really about mitigating the alleged dangers of AI. Ethics and registration are not actually related, in that I can behave ethically without a registration, and unethical Herberts will do their thing with our without registration.

Besides, I would suggest that, if I were so inclined (I'm not - ethics, y'see) I could probably cause vast amounts of mayhem with a few lines of Python and an internet connection, no AI needed. Perhaps they'd like to regulate use of Python and all other programming languages, too? Restrict access to all those millions of free YouTube tutorials? Make possession of an unregistered compiler a criminal offence?

The BCS can PO, and I don't mean Post Office.

Worried about the impending demise of Windows 10? Google wants you to give ChromeOS Flex a try

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

Re: "hundreds of millions of Windows 10 devices are destined for landfills"

"Um, I think there are still plenty of XP machines out there, chugging away (not connected to Internet, hopefully). I'm sure there are also a large amount of Win 7 machines happily doing their jobs."

There are. I fixed an Athlon XP running windows XP just a few weeks ago. There's another that's just used to pay dvds and word processing, and an XP netbook that never sees the internet but is used to play backing tracks by a singer. I'm sure there are many others that don't spring immediately to mind.

I'm not averse to giving ChromeOS flex a go on some test kit, but I'm not sure what it could do for me that Ubuntu or mint couldn't do better. Maybe simplicity, at the price of not running all applications?

European Court of Human Rights declares backdoored encryption is illegal

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"EU governments will now have no choice but to remove the destruction of secure encryption from their position on this proposal"

That seems unreasonably optimistic to me. No government is going to abandon such a long soughtafter goal - the urge to monitor all the things, all the time is far too deeply ingrained. If this finding cannot be overturned or kicked into the long grass, it will be worked around or just plain ignored.

Microsoft might have just pulled support for very old PCs in Windows 11 24H2

TheMaskedMan Silver badge

"I have relatives running much older hardware than you'd expect."

And they are far from being alone. There are a LOT of ancient PCs out there in domestic use. They are doing all that their users want / need them to do, and likely will continue to be used until they fail completely.

Windows 7 is very common, Vista much less so, 8 is practically non existent and XP is still hanging in there in a few cases - just a few weeks ago, I nursed an Athlon XP back to health so its owner could continue checking their email on Outlook Express. Sure, there are other more modern laptops, tablets and phones on the premises, but they're happy with Outlook Express and Office 2003.

I haven't seen Windows 95 / 98 / ME for a long time, but I have no doubt that they are out there, quietly doing some routine tasks that haven't changed for decades and probably never will.

Yes, I know, there are a million reasons to upgrade / replace these dinosaurs. But the people who actually use them see no need to spend money replacing something that does what they need.

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