* Posts by Rikki Tikki

128 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jun 2020


Multiple billions up for grabs as UK government launches cloud services tenders

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Re: This is almost bibilical

Tut, tut, mind your language Neil.

Crowning glory of GOV.UK websites updated, sparking frontend upgrades

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Canberra is way ahead of them on this - or possibly 70 years behind. The ACT crest has always featured the Imperial State/Tudor Crown. So we only had to change one word in the motto.

A small Alaska town wants a big bronze Riker

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Re: Make it so!

And for us Aussies, maybe rather than repairing the James Cook statue, we can have the less controversial Eric Bana as Nero.

Australian Tax Office probed 150 staff over social media refund scam

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I am in no way condoning fraud, and of course any people claiming fraudulent GST refunds should be penalised (and if possible more severe punishments for the scheme's promoters)

But, on my reading of articles about this, it appears that many of the people claiming the refunds may have been people doing it tough during the pandemic (and possibly not having good financial advice/knowledge). Of course, their behaviour was clearly illegal, and therefore much easier for the ATO to penalise, rather than going after those who can afford smart accountants/lawyers to help them operate the grey area between avoidance and evasion.

India to launch android into space to test crewed launch capability

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"finding such qualified female candidates was tricky, as there are no Air Force fighter test pilots in India

Because all the women pilots are, sensibly, earning more money with commercial airlines?

Five ripped off IT giant with $7M+ in bogus work expenses, prosecutors claim

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This went on for nearly 9 years without being found out? Where were the auditors?

Leaving aside the lax internal controls, maybe the 'unnamed company' had cut back on (internal and external) auditors, on the assumption everything would be OK.

Silicon Valley weirdo's quest to dodge death – yours for $333 a month

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"I drink beer and whisky, and get lots of exercise."

The other way round, methinks. I found out the hard way that it's better not to drink beer before exercise.

Oh, and curse you, Andy, and your full head of glossy black hair.


X's 2024 plans include peer-to-peer payments in app push

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When I make payments to anyone (businesses or individuals), I use organisations that I trust. X is not one of them. I would even question whether it is legal for X to provide a payment service in Australia without an Australian Financial Services licence.

Tech support done bad sure makes it hard to do tech support good

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He should certainly consider his options ....

Google illegally refusing to bargain with employee union, says NLRB

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Re: Google

Come now, Cnut was quite a decent king of England, though his successors weren't that great.

NAT, ATM, decentralized search – and other outrageous opinions from the 1990s

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"there are few things more annoying than tech people discussing economics from a position of ignorance,"

Hear! hear! Have a beer -->

Cybercrooks book a stay in hotel email inboxes to trick staff into spilling credentials

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Re: Solution

Auto reply to all complaint emails à la Basil Fawlty:

"You ponce in here expecting to be waited on hand and foot, while I'm trying to run a hotel here. Have you any idea of how much there is to do? Do you ever think of that? Of course not, you're all too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking around for things to complain about, aren't you?"

Musk floats idea of boat mod for Cybertruck

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7,000 lbs?

Please, some of us don't understand these strange terms. Can we have this in Reg standard units - or failing that in SI units.

Japanese brewery using generative AI to dream up new beverages

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Sparkling Chardonnay is new? Wouldn't that just be "we're not allowed to call it champagne because of the EU"?

Cloud engineer wreaks havoc on bank network after getting fired

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Re: Amazing!

Totally agree with the sentiment, but would add that common sense also appears not to be taught in business executive school: if you're going to fire someone with elevated network privileges, you make damn sure you disable their access when you escort them from the building. Especially if they have already demonstrated a degree of ratbaggery.

Still, as one trainer in my first aid course commented years ago: "common sense isn't actually that common".

Tesla says California's Autopilot action violates its free speech rights

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Re: According to Musk, fraud is protected under the 1st Amendment

And Musk also appears to be insisting that pointing out Tesla was lying is not "free speech" and should thus be restricted.

What Musk will make of this article, I wonder: https://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-cybertruck-safety-guideless-missile-experts-say-2023-12?amp

Microsoft hikes prices across Asia

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Pay by face

Even if the facial recognition technology is 100% accurate (which I don't believe it is), I won't be using it - certainly not if I'm in Indonesia. I'm very wary of using cards in the archipelago due to the number of scams originating even from apparently reputable businesses.

Meta trials Purple Llama project for AI developers to test safety risks in models

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Not that this couldn't be a useful tool, but isn't there an element of "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted"?

China gamifies censorship and surveillance with national internet law quiz

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My answer

1. What Xi Jinping thinks is the law, is the law.

Do I win?

Hershey phishes! Crooks snarf chocolate lovers' creds

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Blame the oompa loompas

I'll bet they feel right Charlies for giving the hackers a golden ticket

Law secretly drafted by ChatGPT makes it onto the books

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Re: Brave new wrodl!

"J'ai pété!"

Damn, I'm slipping, hadn't noticed that. However, it is a perfectly apt description of ChatGPT's modus operandi, don't you think?

Interpol makes first border arrest using Biometric Hub to ID suspect

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So, in 2 months of operation, with up to umpteen thousand searches per day, Interpol have arrested precisely *one* suspect? Always assuming that this guy was in fact travelling with fake documents, rather than the system identifying the wrong person.

Why am I so cynical about police press releases? :(

AI threatens to automate away the clergy

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Taking up @ACs initial comment, it seems to me that "AI researchers" have very little idea what people actually do in their jobs - whether clergy, lawyers, psychologists, etc, etc.

I'm sure AI is going to be very useful in a range of fields and change some jobs - but as to any it will be replacing I wouldn't like to predict*.

*Although whoever is writing reports for the Department for Education, it can't come soon enough (if it hasn't already happened).

User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work

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Always be polite to PAs ...

Some time ago (!), I had a phone call after lunch one Friday from the executive director's PA, that the mouse on her newly-installed Unisys BTOS machine kept moving the cursor the wrong way.

Not really my job at the time, but she was a genuinely nice person, and me being always ready to earn brownie points, I toddled down to her workstation to help.

On arrival, found the mouse with the cable pointing *towards* me: so, turned the offending rodent around, everything worked fine. Much ensuing merriment, on the lines of "did you have a good lunch?"

OpenAI's CEO merry-go-round tosses out voice feature for ChatGPT

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There are some specific uses - e.g. "let me toss this idea out there", meaning, as you say, to proffer the idea for consideration (I believe this is used in the UK and Australia as well as the US). Generally, though, I believe it does mean to discard something.

In the meantime, just toss off one of these -->

(assuming that is understood in the US)

Remembering the time Windows accidentally sent Poland to the bottom of the sea

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Pedant alert (3)

And don't forget Eastern European Time (UTC +2) in Finland, the Baltics, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece.

If Georgia (the country) joins, there will be yet another.

Control Altman delete: OpenAI fires CEO, chairman quits

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At least Altman has somewhere to go:


Developing the next AI trend while sitting on a beach in Sumatra maybe?

Vote now on who should take the lead in Musk: The Movie

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My first thought was the late, great, Benny Hill. Would have to be AI generated, of course.

Just imagining the closing credits to "Yackety Sax".

48-nation bloc to crack down on using crypto assets to avoid tax

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Re: Avoid or evade?

@Richard 12

I'm not quite as certain as you about the distinction: there are grey areas where people or companies base their entire tax affairs around loopholes in the legislation, or exploit legal schemes far beyond their intentions, in order to minimise tax.

In any case, whether it's "avoidance" or "evasion", the aim is always to avoid paying some tax - so I'm with Simon on this one.

Major telco outage leaves millions of Australians disconnected

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Re: Who, Me?

You beat me to it ...

Though, at the time it certainly wasn't funny. I was out in the garden this morning when two police cars and 4 coppers arrived, because the social worker couldn't contact my elderly neighbour on the phone (and the 4 large police couldn't get a response from knocking). They got through in the end , and she was OK - but I'm sure similar stories have been happening all over Aus today.

Home of the world's longest pleasure pier joins public sector leak club

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"We have immediately begun an investigation to understand how this happened"

An investigation that, presumably, will completely exonerate the managers and politicians who for years have neglected staff training, and point the finger squarely at the hapless drones.


Alibaba takes more of Salesforce behind the great firewall

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Well, it wasn't Gou that authorised the bribe, it was his number two ...

Europe bans Meta from using personal data to target ads

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Re: So what?

Come to Canberra ... since we are covered by regional tv networks (rather than the main coastal cities), the ads for fast food, gambling, alcohol, etc are frequently interspersed with those spruiking sheep drench, bull semen, farm sheds and tractors, among other things.

While I'm not in the market for these latter products, I understand their importance for the region's economy, so don't object to the advertising.

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Re: And nothing was lost


While recognising that discussing economics here is futile, I'm a glutton for punishment ...

No, stopping targetted advertising won't cause GDP to drop by 50 times as you seem to suggest - UK GDP has been on a reasonably steady upward trend since the war*, even before the internet was a thing.

I would anticipate that it would have somewhere between sod all and not very much impact - people will still buy stuff that they need/want and advertisers will still incorporate their advertising costs in the price of their products.

Yes, our lives are a lot more comfortable now than the 1920s, or even the 1960s: a lot of that, though is due to technological advances and infrastructure investment, rather than advertising or not.

*Barring shocks like the GFC and COVID. But even at the peak of COVID, GDP dropped buy less than 20%, and recovered most of that in only a few months.

Australian video-streamer lets users opt out of ads for burgers, booze, and betting

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Re: "Special Broadcasting Service"

Although SBS has diversified somewhat recently, people down here used to refer to it as "Sex Before Soccer".

@Jedit - have another upvote on me.

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Wait, what?

Wouldn't allowing people to opt out of a specific class of ads simply give gambling, burger and booze advertisers confidence that people still watching are receptive to their product and therefore the advertising money is being effective?

It's good that SBS is taking at least some steps to limit these ads, but would it be more effective simply to stop displaying these sort of ads altogether?

Fujitsu public cloud to be absorbed into main biz, then refreshed

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Narayana is a killjoy

Maybe less of a sticky wicket commenting here, without too many septics reading ...

From my own informal visual survey last night, young (and indeed older) Indians appear to be more inspired by watching their former colonial masters getting royally flogged in Lucknow. Maybe they will return to work this morning energised and ready for a surge in productivity that will have nothing to do with them working 70 hours a week.

It's possible Narayana Murthy was shooting his mouth off *now* simply because he's cranky that everyone else appears to be enjoying a bit of recreation but not him.

(And Simon, we do appreciate your productivity this morning, assuming you weren't glued to channel 9 till the wee hours)

Infosys co-founder calls for youth to work 70-hour weeks

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Re: Folks, downvoting...

"Correction: Per unit of cost => You're paid for a month of work. Not per hour.

Well, I'm retired and any work I do is voluntary (unpaid), so the unit cost is zero. Therefore, my productivity is infinitely higher than yours, even if I work only a couple of hours a week.

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Re: Folks, downvoting...

Productivity is measured by the output per unit of input. So, for example, if a worker can produce 40 widgets in a 40 hour week, then to achieve the same productivity working 70 hours, they would have to produce 70 widgets. If they produce 50, then their productivity is much less, even though they have produced more.

There are studies that show that, after a certain point, increased hours don't increase productivity - even a Stanford study (that I can't find a link to at present*) indicating that productivity may approach zero after 55 hours (i.e. you may not actually produce anything extra working 70 hours as opposed to 55).

If you work 70 hours and get paid a lot more, then good for you. I would be doubtful, though, whether your productivity is higher.

*Apologies, I'm typing this in breaks between overs (AUS v NZ), so I'm skimping a bit on research. And, as an aside, looking at the crowd in Dharamsala, I estimate that there are quite a number of Indians who aren't working a 70 hour week :)

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"This is my country I want to work 70 hours a week’,” he said, adding “this is exactly what Germans and Japanese did after the Second World War."

He is, of course, talking bullshit. Working hours, at least in Germany, declined after the war - in fact at a faster rate than the US, UK, or Australia. Hours did increase during the war* -but even then, I don't believe it the average worker did 70 hours per week.

* And on a personal note, since both my grandfathers died young after health problems from wartime induced overwork, Narayana can stick his 70-hour week up his bum.

India plans semiconductor research institute to rival the world's finest

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"the India Semiconductor Research Center (ISRC)"

Much as I am tempted to let this one through to the keeper* (and understanding that Simon is constrained by the Reg US-inspired style guide) it should be "India Semiconductor Research Centre" (India/UK/ANZ spelling).

*And if the ISRC takes off, maybe those on the other side of the big pond will need to learn proper sport as well as proper spelling.

We really need a "Virat Kohli glare" icon, but this'll have to do -->

EU threatens X with DSA penalties over spread of Israel-Hamas disinformation

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Re: Only X ?

The EC promoted a voluntary code regarding disinformation, that all the major social media platforms signed up to. X pulled out of this agreement in May 2023, which is why it is being singled out now.

It's mentioned in the article.

IDC: AI is a solution for a PC industry with a sales problem

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"Generative AI could be a watershed moment for the PC industry."

Should I point out that the only way from a watershed is downhill?

Of course, I'm just a grumpy old git that finds marketing and management speak profoundly irritating.

India demands social networks 'swiftly' remove all CSAM

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"The Register has asked the minister why only X, YouTube and Telegram were targeted, given that the three carry only a subset of CSAM."

It may simply be 'pour encourager les autres' (or should I say décourager?) - and it's easier to target high profile names to start with.

Scripted shortcut caused double-click disaster of sysadmin's own making

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One Tuesday morning, many moons ago, as a fairly green system manager of a debtors system, it was my job to start the annual debtors run. So, locked the system for update, started everything off ... all went swimmingly, until I checked the output. Guess who mis-typed one parameter, with the net result that every single account (90,000) had double charges.

There was nothing to do except fess up to my manager, luckily he was more interested fixing the mess rather than executing the guilty. Unfortunately, I had to restore from Friday's backup, meaning everyone in the office lost all Monday's work - and I had to walk the gauntlet of a very disgruntled office on Wednesday morning.

The only long-term damage was the footnote in the documentation (with my initials): "Always back up before starting this process, unless you fuck up like I did". The punchline, though, that 15 years later I was asked to return to the same area - due to a the then system manger jumping ship without training a successor - and, despite the system having been replaced several times, my footnote comment was still there in all its glory.

Beethoven and Brahms move audience members to synchronization symphony

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"20th century Australian composer Brett Dean"

Brett Dean is still alive, so not just a 20th century composer.

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

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Re: In Other News ...

Of course you are responsible for crimes you commit - but incitement to commit a crime is also a crime, though it's a fair bet that Replika will deny responsibility for anything their chatbot says.

Cat accused of wiping US Veteran Affairs server info after jumping on keyboard

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I can't believe you are all taking this so lightly. The cat was clearly a Russian Blue, indicating to me that Putin has begun activating his FSB (Feline Stealth Brigade) to infiltrate and disrupt US and allied IT systems.

President Biden (and PM Sunak) must immediately institute American Shorthair and Cornish Rex countermeasures, otherwise we are all doomed!

X confuses the masses by removing all details from links

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Re: Now they want him out

"why the hell did they lend the money for him to buy it in the first place?"

Don't forget these are the financial geniuses that brought you the GFC in 2007-8. Giving out dodgy loans seems to be par for the course.

Airport chaos as eGates down for the count across UK

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Point (2) is already in operation, even in some UK private businesses. Caught out on my last trip trying to use my Australian card to buy a rail card and train tickets.