* Posts by Howard Sway

982 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Oct 2020


Twitter search spam campaign hides China riots, researchers say

Howard Sway Silver badge

Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?

The man really thought he'd be able to propagandise the whole world with his idea of what freedom is by buying Twitter, but he's doing an excellent job of displaying what a facile understanding he has of the concept. He also seems to believe that by publicly whinging and insulting people that they'll be somehow shamed into throwing money at him. Let's see how that strategy works out.

Japanese convenience store chain opens outlet staffed by avatars and robots

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"It's very delicious. I want you to pick it up."

I said, I want you to pick it up.

Why are you ignoring me?

Everybody else picks it up.

Is there something wrong with you?

I am going to have to record your customer ID if you don't pick it up.

Security Alert in aisle 3, non-cooperative customer 7484952. Please remove from store immediately. We recommend you do not disobey the security robot as you have agreed to our terms and conditions regarding electric shock policy. Have a nice day.

Musk: Twitter will have 1 billion monthly users inside 18 months

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Call it blind optimism, deployment of a reality distortion field or pure conviction

I'll stick with calling it "risible bullshit". The more sewer-like it becomes, the less paying advertisers will be willing to pay to have their brand name displayed alongside the effluent. That's how the advertising industry works, and for all his lofty talk, he's bought a not very profitable ad financed business. Pissing off the people whose advertising budgets you need isn't any sort of business genius at all.

Elon Musk to abused Twitter users: Your tormentors are coming back

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei

Well, if that's now your company's philosophy, have another poll asking whether you should have to eat a bucket of elephant dung live on Twitter next week.

San Francisco politicians to vote on policy endorsing lethal force for robots

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There appears to be quite a choice of machines

"They include: Remotec modelsF5A, 6A, and RONS; QinetiQ Talon and Dragon Runner; IRobot FirstLook; and ReconRobotics Recon Scout ThrowBot."

Of course it would never happen that the politicians had been influenced in any way by the fact that rather a lot of companies have been spending rather a lot of money developing these things, and could only recoup that if they could somehow persuade the politicians to authorise their use. Once they've added AI, automatic target selection and autonomous weapon firing, the same process can be used to get that accepted too.

Massive energy storage system goes online in UK

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based on Tesla battery technology, employing multiple units of the company's Megapack system

Good choice, if it wasn't for the fact that they have a history of catching fire..................

Windows Subsystem for Linux now packaged as a Microsoft Store app

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Loewen admits that this is all a little confusing

Of course it's confusing. If they made it easy, people might start using it.

New SI prefixes clear the way for quettabytes of storage

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10 to the power 24 (which would be a yottabyte).

Well, unless there are now 10 bits in a byte, this is not true. According to some quick searching I just did :

A yottabyte is 2 to the 80th power bytes.

The prefix yotta is based on the Greek letter iota. In decimal format, a yottabyte is written as 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176

It would cost $100 trillion to buy a yottabyte of storage and would take approximately 86 trillion years to download a 1 YB file. *

* You might be able to get a yottabyte for about $40 trillion if you bought the cheap stuff on eBay, and the download speed is unspecified, but if you have a good UK fibre broadband connection, it might take only 43 trillion years, although you'd have to reboot your router 8600 trillion times before the download completed, which might get a bit tiring if your work space is upstairs and the router is downstairs, like mine.

World's richest man posts memes as $44b Twitter acquisition veers off course

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Effective immediately, we are temporarily closing our office buildings

I'm concerned that there were still lots of staff inside when he announced this. And that the offices will be suspiciously sparkly clean and empty when they reopen on Monday morning. Monitor all the pipes coming into and out of the building, that's all I'm saying.

FTX disarray declared 'unprecedented' by exec who cleaned up after Enron

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the accounting business that supposedly vetted the company's numbers

Ah yes, the one that has an office in the metaverse. It is apparently "located at coordinates (18, 144) in Decentraland" and has "a gallery space for client NFTs" which gives some idea of how large, sophisticated and exciting the metaverse must really be.

I can picture the party one night in one of the Bahamas mansions, one of them trying out a new headset. "Hey dudes, there's this like accountants firm here, maybe we should use one, let them sort out that money stuff we all got bored with". "Yeah, great idea dude, we should use the metaverse one, so we're the first metaversecrypto exchange. Man, it's so cool being so cutting edge. Can't wait to tell everyone about it tomorrow in the 17 newspaper interviews I'll be doing about how amazing and modern I am. "

Multi-tasker Musk expects to reduce time at Twitter, seek another leader

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he expects the major restructuring work to be done this week

The only major restructuring work that can be completed in two weeks tends to involve demolition experts and explosives.

Firing half the staff, then telling those who remain to work twice as many hours isn't really building a new structure, it's just drastically weakening the old one. I'm guessing he's planning to "step away" with just enough time left to let the new manager plausibly take the blame for the failure of the whole venture.

Elon Musk issues ultimatum to Twitter staff: Go hardcore or go home

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Go hardcore or go home

In other words you can either leave with 3 months pay, or stay, burn out, and then leave as a gibbering wreck a few months later (probably with no severance pay).

When you think of it that way, it's a choice of being sane and rested in 3 months time, or screwed up and mentally and physically exhausted in 3 months time, both options paying the same.

Starlink purchases 'Twitter takeover' ad package, Musk dismisses it as 'tiny'

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a package known as Twitter 'takeover'

According to Twitter : "Takeover products give you exclusive ownership of Twitter's premium real estate across desktop and mobile, allowing you to maximize your reach and drive results across the funnel."

As opposed to the ultra-premium version of Twitter Takeover, which costs $44 billion, and gives you exclusive ownership of Twitter's premium real estate across San Francisco, allowing you to drive results across the funnel, up the spout, and down the drain.

Twitter engineer calls out Elon Musk for technical BS in unusual career move

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Musk returned: "Then please correct me. What is the right number?"

This is great. He's actually using public tweets to manage the company. So the rest of the world can see what an awful manager he is, and discover all the problems he missed after neglecting due diligence at the same time that he does. Today he and we learn that there's 10 years of technical debt in the codebase. And that the techies are prepared to answer back to him.

Can't wait for tomorrow's episode of "I was so impressed I bought the company!".

Robotics startup wants to disrupt walking with AI roller skates

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you can "go up and down stairs, step into mass transit, and confidently wait at the crosswalk."

Anyone trying these things whilst wearing electric wheely shoes is likely to end up being more familiar with A+E than AI.

Musk tells of risk of Twitter bankruptcy as tweeters trash brands

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How many of these fake accounts have been set up by ex-employees?

If you're one of the many staff who just got fired, and you know well how to get exposure on the site, it must be mightily tempting to spend $8 of your payoff to bag a "verified" account and shitpost happily for a month as some company whose lawyers are going to be very active in suing for damages.

GitHub's Copilot flies into its first open source copyright lawsuit

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Is it "fair use" or is it intellectual property theft?

I think that any claim to be "fair use", when the thing is spitting out copies of billions of lines of code, and making a billion dollars in revenue should be a very easy argument to defeat. This is why I think that the case has a good chance of succeeding : fair use is about using small amounts of copyrighted content, not harvesting it on an industrial scale.

The other main argument is about whether terms and conditions of Github take priority over established copyright law. Again, this is shaky ground for MS because copyright is a strongly established principle, and separate from licensing, which is a kind of contract.

To me, this is an important case because of the principles involved, not because of the money MS are making, and could set some horrible precedents if it's not considered properly,.

Instagram star gets 11 years for $300m email scam plot

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a prolific social media user, regularly posting photos of his lavish lifestyle

This is becoming quite a common story, and is perhaps one of the few benefits of the "look at me" culture of showing off on things like Instagram : the police can see them, and then turn up and ask them where they got all the cash from.

Of course there are some who are smart enough to not behave this stupidly, but the temptation to flaunt all the new bling and build up a social media following seems to be part of the same mindset that leads people to believe they can be a successful scammer.

I'm happy paying Twitter eight bucks a month because price isn't the same as value

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Yet another subscription to pay whilst we still flog your data and chuck adverts at you.

Surprised it's not called Twitter 365.

The only thing this paid for icon indicates is that you've coughed up the monthly twitter tax. It's hardly trusted CA certificate levels of identity verification. Unintended consequences may involve realising that you're advertising to other people that you've been enough of a mug to pay it, and then being subject to a flood of other people trying to extract money from you. Or possibly that your identity is actually worth trying to fake, putting you at more risk of this happening all over the web.

To some extent it might identify you as a worthwhile target rather than act as a shield.

Musk sows more Twitter chaos, now with Official policy snafu

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Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months

This really means "I've already done some very dumb things such as sack loads of staff and change my mind about how things should work on a daily basis, so I'm now offering a pre-emptive excuse for all the disruption that those stupid decisions are going to cause. Hopefully lots of people will be wrongly persuaded that this is some kind of experimental business genius at work, rather than me having damaged the company".

Feel Luckey, punk? Oculus designer builds VR murder headset

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The metaverse - it's literally mind-blowing!

Worry #1 is that he devised this idea.

Worry #2 is that having done so, he thought it would be fun to tell the rest of the world about it.

I mean, thanks dude for giving the world the impression that tech is full of creepy psychopaths. On the other hand, the argument that the huge capital gains from big tech acquisitions should be taxed more heavily has just got a lot easier.

Unlucky for some: Meta chops 13% of global workforce

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Meta's metaverse division has lost $9.4 billion this year already

If he hadn't bothered with this idea, then the company would have made nearly $14 billion profits instead, and would have been able to identify and trim any superfluous extra hires with little drama. Logically, in any sensibly run company, it would make most sense to ditch the money torching metaverse crap instead, but that of course would be a global humiliation for Zuckerberg, especially as it was his big vision and he renamed the company after it. But the shareholders won't be able to force that because of his "magic shares" which means he retains control, rather than facing the correct consequences of being chucked out for his dumb gamble that most tech people saw straight away was never going to be successful.

The longer he carries on with it, the bigger the damage will be. At what point will he give up, before it crashes and burns completely?

Fujitsu to test robot datacenter inspector that – trust us – won't take your jobs

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Fujitsu's datacenter bot

They should call it "ping".

Twitter begs some staff to come back, says they were laid off accidentally

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some of those being asked back were apparently laid off by mistake

Sounds like Musk arrogantly ended up firing the one person who knew the root password for some vital servers, and is now trying to unfire everybody who might be that person in the hope of getting access again.

If it was me, I would be devising the most ridiculous wild goose chase I could imagine for them as payback for the way I'd been treated.

Parody Elon Musk Twitter accounts will be suspended immediately, says Elon Musk

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This is no laughing matter, says very stable genius

In other words, he thought trolling people was lots of fun, until he got a proper taste of what it's like to be on the receiving end himself.

Didn't take long for him to offer his own personal proof that inside every loudmouthed libertarian free speech zealot there lurks a petty little authoritarian. Before the end of the year, I expect there to be more rules about what he decrees to be allowed on the site than there ever were before he took it over.

Catching a falling rocket with a helicopter more complex than it sounds, says Rocket Lab

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Black Helicopters

catching it is another matter

Actually, it's straightforward. The key is to fly the helicopter upside down.

Elon Musk reportedly outlines horrible Twitter layoff process

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all staff will receive a message with the subject line "Your Role at Twitter"

This is why there's been such confusion over whether people had been fired or kept on, as the email simply read "Kiss my ass!".

All of the norths are about to align over Britain

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the alignment will make landfall at Langton Matravers, Dorset, this month

So, if I understand correctly, this month all the Norths will be in the South. Should be a nice holiday for them, taking a break from all that cold and dark. Hope everyone's sat nav still works.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin: If Musk's Twitter flops, it's not such a bad thing

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Singapore's FinTech Festival

I suppose this is their equivalent of Glastonbury, except you sit in a hall in the hope of gaining some wise insights, as someone tells you that some thing might be successful or it might not be successful, new things can replace unsuccessful things, and problems with things can be solved if someone thinks of a way to make things better, and then you leave and go and become fantastically rich because you've listened to this trivial bullshit but think it must be valuable because it involved a cryptobro talking about Twitter.

Big brands urged to pause Twitter ads until Elon's learned how this all works

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international ad giant Interpublic Group advised an ad freeze

Tomorrows headline : Musk announces $32 billion takeover bid for international ad giant Interpublic Group.

Microsoft mulls cheap PCs supported by ads, subs

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Re: More landfill

This could be true if MS produced a well designed OS, rather than buggy, rushed out messes to try and capture markets first. If the OS receives regular updates, which it will have to because MS, the likelihood of brickage becomes very high. And the vulnerability that lets you install Linux only has to be discovered once.

Chromebooks let you install either Linux extensions, or full Linux because Google realised that somebody was going to find a way sooner or later if they tried to defeat it. If the "cheap" adware PC is genuinely cheap, rather than just a bit cheaper than a standard laptop, this will happen quite quickly to the MS machine.

Of course, they wouldn't have to try and prevent this if they genuinely believed that they were offering something better that nobody would want to replace.

Minecraft's 'first luxury goods collection' features real-world $3,000 Burberry coat

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$400 for a baseball cap, that notoriously luxurious and chic high fashion item.

However I must confess to owning a Chuckie Egg t-shirt, although you could buy 20 of them for the price of that cap.

Government by Gmail catches up with UK minister... who is reappointed anyway

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Re: Phones?

Or even better, imagine if the government could have been able to afford to buy her two phones. Or if they could afford a new toner cartridge and print out government documents for her, which could have been secured in some kind of box.

We might have been one spyware loaded "sink the migrants" game in the app store away from our entire national security being blown wide open.

War declared on bosses using 'omnipresent surveillance' tools to quash union efforts

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crack down on the growing use of technology by bosses

Easiest solution : use the technology on bosses too. Every worker should buy a share in the company, then propose that as they are now the employer of the bosses, the same technology must be used to give them full information on everything the bosses do during the day. Any "poor" performance equal to the threshold for disciplinary action imposed by the bosses should result in those bosses being subject to the same punishments. Remind the PHBs that they're employees too, and the same rules apply to them.

Hong Kong wants to be the world’s home for virtual assets

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We recognize the potential of Web 3.0 to become the future of finance and commerce

Yes, replacing physical commodities with cartoon monkeys and pretend money is the way the entire global economy is definitely going to go.

Open source's totally non-secret weapon big tech dares not use: Staying relevant

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a way to make the good of the end user more relevant than maximising revenue

There's always been a way of doing this : ask the end users what they want and what they don't want. Once a need is identified and understood properly, provide a good solution. Will always get better results than "the public gets what I the great genius decide". And be better for revenue. And stop you going down Metaverse rabbit holes.

Elon Musk shows what being Chief Twit is all about across weird weekend

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Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints

The Christmas pantomime season is well and truly upon us.

"This sort of obnoxious comment should still be allowed!"

"Oh no it shouldn't!"

"Oh yes it should!"

RIP: Kathleen Booth, the inventor of assembly language

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All Purpose Electronic X-Ray Computer

Best computer name of all time, go hang your heads in shame all you marketing men with your dull names like Macbook and Thinkpad.

Elon Musk jettisons Twitter leadership, says takeover was 'to try to help humanity'

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it is important to the future of civilization to have a common town square

The problem is that Musk thinks that his purchase has now made him mayor of that town, and he, and he alone, gets to decide what the rules are there. At the moment, he's saying that there are no rules. But I think he's being a bit presumptive if he thinks that his dollars give him more authority than any democratically elected government has to decide this. There are already reports of the site being flooded with racist posts. Expect lots of controversy, and tedious attempts by Musk to boast of how he's defending freedom, as he enables the forces of hate and repression.

'Chief Twit' Musk delivers bathroom furniture to Twitter HQ ... but not Tesla results

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Musk decided to take a bathroom sink to the headquarters of Twitter

Presumably it's meant to symbolise the fact that their business will soon be disappearing down the plughole.

A toilet would have been a more appropriate bathroom furniture based symbol of his plans for the company..

It's 2023, let's check in with the metaverse... Nope, still doesn't exist

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brands will start to use NFTs as a way to build "sustained customer engagement"

In other words, the one actual use that anyone has been able to think of for these things is to use them as a digital equivalent of the sort of coupons / saving stamps you used to get with some products that you could save up and use to get some quite poor "free gift" in exchange for your "loyalty". This means that they are actually fungible tokens that can be exchanged for real stuff, whether discounts, "exclusive digital experiences" or whatever other nonsense they think to offer in their rewards scheme.

In that case, they can go back to simply calling them "tokens", and the hype should hopefully die.

India's – and Infosys's – favorite son-in-law Rishi Sunak is next UK PM

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BBC word cloud describes Rishi Sunak as a ‘liar’, ‘t**t’ and ‘c***’ live on air

A word cloud broadcast on BBC News has described Rishi Sunak as a “liar”, a “t**t” and a “c***”

The poll, which asked members of the public to describe the new prime minister in “one word” also featured terms including “boring”, “snake” and “privileged”.

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IT Angle

So sick of them all going on and on about "unity" after all this open warfare

It's like listening to a debate about which is the best linux desktop.

They couldn't agree on Unity, so they've chosen a Gnome, one that's worth a Mint and acts like he's everybody's Mate, hoping to join the Pantheon of great prime ministers, but bound to leave us all Deepin the shit.

Starlink decoded for use as GPS alternative – without Elon Musk's help

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We cannot afford any distractions

says the man who's been embroiled in a farcical takeover of Twitter for months.

IBM doesn't think Brexit is such a bad thing these days

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said UK businesses should show greater leadership, be more imaginative, and embrace change faster.

Yeah, I can think of a US business that should have been doing those things too for the last 25 years. It's called IBM.

NASA picks its UFO-hunting – sorry – unidentified aerial phenomena-hunting team

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Not really, once the aliens got hold of a smartphone they were so amazed by it they all zoomed off back home to show it to their friends.

Most Metaverse business projects will be dead by 2025

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an eye-watering $177 billion has been invested in the metaverse since 2021

And if Zuckerberg had announced he was going to revolutionise the world with wireless self driving shoes instead, $177 billion would have been wasted on wireless self driving shoe companies.

Musk reportedly wants to gut Twitter workforce by up to 75%

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told investors that he will gut the workforce by 75 percent

Solid business plan there from Electric Car-ly Fiorina.

New measurement alert: Liz Truss inspires new Register standard

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But is this unit not superfluous?

1 Truss = 44 x 24 = 1056 hours

Therefore 1 Millitruss = about 1 hour

Therefore 1 Truss = 1 Kilohour

Or am I just getting my metric and imperial measures hopelessly confused here?

AI programming assistants mean rethinking computer science education

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The boffins say AI tools can help students in various ways

"The authors also see advantages for educators, who could use assistive tools to generate better student exercises, to generate explanations of code, and to provide students with more illustrative examples of programming constructs."

Sounds like the problem is not students wanting to use these tools, but teachers wanting to use them. If your exercises aren't so good, write better ones. If you can't explain code, you shouldn't be teaching the subject.

Teaching coding is about explaining the principles, and how to use them to build real programs. There's no place for these AI tools at all with good teachers and textbooks. All this worry about "kids cheating" is overblown in my opinion : if they want to learn programming because they are interested in it, then they will. If, in the highly unlikely case that it ever actually happens, they pass some course entirely by cheating and getting the AI to do the work, they will be completely fucked if they ever have to do a real programming job because they'll be quickly found out.