* Posts by Alex Stuart

89 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Jan 2021


Meta sued by privacy group over pay up or click OK model

Alex Stuart

Re: Stalking and financial abuse

Unfortunately that is quite a good recommendation to make, because loads of people - for some reason - love "reaction videos".

I've seen trailers for new videogames come out and the 'xxxx reacts to trailer' video has more views than the trailer itself....

Intel shows off 8-core, 528-thread processor with 1TB/s of co-packaged optics

Alex Stuart

I imagine there'll be areas of the CPUs switched off due to yield issues, the same as we see with GPUs (AMD may have been the first to do this with their 3-core parts in the late noughties IIRC) resulting in odd core counts.

Aspiration to deploy new UK nuclear reactor every year a 'wish', not a plan

Alex Stuart

Re: Technical marvel, but it's the economics, stupid

> Now were at a time where even many governments don't have the required funds any more to make it happen.

I don't think that's the main issue as they can essentially just print the money. The main issue is we appear institutionally unable to build things at scale anymore. Some combination of lack of knowledge, structural government/council issues, corruption, legal issues/NIMBYism or simply the inability to take any long-term actions from a governing system that works in 5-year blocks, and it's crippling for something like nuclear power. It's bad enough for much more simple projects like train lines, or even houses - we cannot even get that right.

AMD Zenbleed chip bug leaks secrets fast and easy

Alex Stuart

Re: Parsing the data

> The write up seems to suggest that this vulnerability affects just the vector registers, and I wondered how the vector registers were actually used.

> I'm no expert, but the way that I thought these units were used was mainly for mathematical operations, like array processing.

Me too. But, from the github page for the exploit - "The AVX registers are often used for high performance string processing by system libraries. This means that very high volumes of sensitive data pass through them."

Lamborghini's last remaining pure gas guzzlers are all spoken for

Alex Stuart

> All the "motorheads" I know who say they love the speed and the acceleration and the wind in their hair, etc. won't touch electric cars or bikes. Despite the fact that they are the fastest moving things around. What they mean is "they want to make a nuisance and let everyone know they drive a flash, expensive car".

It doesn't mean that, that's a non-sequitur. I suspect you simply don't get the appeal. I'd bet the majority of sports car/bike owners are neither nuisances nor care for how expensive the vehicle is. See - popularity and reverence of classic cars like old M3s, R34 GT-R etc.

It's OK - most people see cars as simply A to B transport, don't enjoy driving, and don't appreciate any of the design or engineering of a performance vehicle. Which is why the roads are full of bloated crossovers on stilts with zero steering feel or liveliness to them. No problem, not everyone shares the same interests and hobbies.

Brit broadband subscribers caught between crappy connections and price hikes

Alex Stuart

Re: Speed issues

> * my kids do not understand the difference between "WiFi" and "the internet

From what I've seen, this seems to apply to most people under 30. Initially I thought they were stupid, then realised they have likely never used an Ethernet cable - to not even speak of an RJ11 - in their life, and that actually I'm just old.

38 percent of tech job interviews offered exclusively to men: report

Alex Stuart

Re: HR

> Is it possible that, taking only biological factors and not social factors, men and women tend to like different things?

It's not just possible, it is absolutely the case, yet inevitably ignored in every single report/article of this type. Specifically, men are more likely to be interested in things, and women more likely to be interested in people.

Even without studies supporting it, this is just self-evident stuff for anyone talking to a bunch of men and women about their interests over the course of their life.

A relatively recent study on this issue - https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0261438 - found that not only do these differences exist, but that in countries with higher levels of female empowerment, the ratios in career choice are in fact *bigger*. It's a total repudation of the idea that if careers aren't 50/50, there's some bias or other negative effect at play.

German finance minister says nein to more Intel subsidy cash

Alex Stuart

Those are the two most important currencies in the world. The sun has long since set on the Empire, I'm afraid.

WFH mandates bad for staff morale and stunt innovation

Alex Stuart


Every time I've read a CEO's bleating about getting back into the office for productivity etc, there never seems to be any evidence to support it.

Example - number of tickets closed per day, cadence of successful releases, etc.

Surely, especially at the same time as an org being *data-driven* being so trendy, there should be...data?

Meanwhile, my personal productivity from not having the commute and associated faff is strongly supported by many KPIs. Number of parcels not missed, average percent full of washing basket, number of trips to refuel, kilometres ran per week, videogames completed per year....

Storing the Quran on your phone makes you a terror suspect in China

Alex Stuart

Re: The plague of idolatry

> because Islam teaches that nationalism and other fake religions are alienation

Ah yes, the other fake religions.

It's remarkable that everyone who thinks this way is so lucky to have been born at the right time and place (in the last circa 200,000 years), to the right parents, that they grew up indoctrinated into the *true* religion - while everyone else has the misfortune of being born into one of innumerable fake religions, 'idolatry' or atheism nonsense.

It's really quite an astonishing stroke of luck, don't you think?

UK government scraps smart motorway plans, cites high costs and low public confidence

Alex Stuart

> lane 3 has all the Teslas and BMWs

Almost all of the bad boyz switched from BMW to Audi over the past half decade.

Try doing a mere 75mph in the outside lane and see how long it takes to see those four rings in the rearview mirror. It's comically predictable.

Today's old folks set to smash through longevity records

Alex Stuart

Hard problems to fix

The "plateau" (area under the tail end of the bell-curve more accurately, it's not like we're programmed to self-destruct after X years) on lifespan won't be moving significantly until we fix a few very hard problems - brain degeneration (so dementia etc), cancer and heart/artery disease to name three. Risk of all of them go up with age.

Even then, 'healthspan' won't quite improve in the same way, as a 100 year old free of major disease is, well, still 100 years old and inevitably quite clapped out.

The real, root-cause fix will be to treat the *disease* known as 'aging'. So, looking at gene therapy. Research into super-centenarians has found some gene variants in common, and of course genes are also responsible for the extraordinary longevity/cancer resistance of some species e.g. Greenland shark, naked mole rat. We need to find the right genetic software to give all cells youthful vitality/immortality, but at the same time prevent uncontrolled division AKA cancer. Very difficult task, but no reason to believe impossible. Question is only will we be able to reach that point without destroying the planet in one form or other first? And if we make it that far, the ethical questions of who gets to have their firmware patched to human 2.0...

Google stops selling its biz-grade augmented reality specs

Alex Stuart

> My experience is that the better the 3D device, the worse the nausea is. What I think is going on there is that you are successfully fooling the bodies visual inputs, but these are being cross referenced against your bodies Vestibular system in the inner ear.

This is true. But some people, at least, can get used to it to a significant degree.

My first session with Playstation VR, major vestibular disruption and I tapped out after 30 mins or so.

A few sessions later, I was doing hours at a time with no problems at all.

To this day, pulling extreme maneuvres in a fighter jet in VR induces a wave of unpleasant sensations - but then so would doing it for real!

For those who can never find their 'VR legs'...yes, value very much limited to no-lateral-movement experiences.

Windows 11 puts 'disgusting' Remote Mailslots protocol out of its misery

Alex Stuart

Re: Net Send was disgusting.

> but had the support of the vocal minority


European Commission bans TikTok from staff gadgets

Alex Stuart

Re: Look away now. Nothing to see or hear or know here about them and those there .

Wow, good bot.

McDonald's pulls plug on Wi-Fi, starts playing classical music to soothe yobs

Alex Stuart

Re: So I will hoist the inevitable "OK Boomer"

> You tell them to read a book they can't afford

Nah. These types all have iPhones, airPods, the latest trendy bodywarmer/manbag/trainers etc. Money is not the issue, it's culture and lack of policing.

Former Facebooker alleges Meta drained users' batteries to test apps

Alex Stuart

Yet another reminder

of the lengths that Facebook et al go to monitor every minute detail of your interaction with their app to make sure you, dear product - oops - customer, don't have a single wasted second of potential 'engagement' or 'value'* kept from you. After all, merely using psychological tricks, sorry, methods, as part of UI design and behaviour to maximise 'engagement'** of dopamine systems might leave some spare 'engagement' on the table.

* definitely not compulsion, addiction, etc.

** definitely not abuse

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

Alex Stuart

> But while we're on stereotypes, Brits actually have better teeth than Americans thanks to free healthcare

Yeah, that's not gonna last long. From what I can tell, NHS dentistry is basically nonexistent these days unless an existing patient/customer.

UK Online Safety law threatens Big Tech bosses with jail

Alex Stuart

Re: Easy fix

> Just ban all children from social media.

This is the way. Social media is not only a gateway into all sorts of toxic content and an attention-destroying dopamine pumping device, but it's a global psychological experiment on homo sapiens that we didn't realise we were signing up for, with the consequences on society and our brains still unravelling.

But it can't be done by parents. Has to be baked into the apps - need verifiable ID to register and occasionally re-authenticate.

Won't happen though. We'll just get the token hand-waving and virtue signalling whenever something bad happens and the occasional unenforcable/impractical bill going through.

India sets USB-C charging deadline for smartphones

Alex Stuart

Re: So much for "Brexit freedoms" eh ?

Sure, but you're missing the point. Labelling a population of millions of people, of whose motivations one cannot know in entirety and will certainly include many non-racist reasons, as racists (or in this case, racist scum), is an act of group-based discrimination in exactly the same manner as racism or other biases.

To amend your analogy, in the same way a Pole doesn't choose to be Polish, a non-racist Brexit voter *didn't choose that other Brexit voters may be racist*

Alex Stuart

Re: So much for "Brexit freedoms" eh ?

The irony of disparaging a huge swathe of population as being racist scum is funny, if unsurprising. Discrimination is only discrimination if you're not *right*, of course!

Meta, Google, TikTok and friends sue California to block kids privacy law

Alex Stuart

Re: Interesting

Indeed. Think of the children, unless that thinking is 'don't let them get hooked on endless algorithmic dopamine feeds while they're young', in which case think of the damage to Zuckerbergs.

BT performs U-turn, agrees to up wages for 85% of UK staff

Alex Stuart

Re: How much???

You forgot to add 'in London'.

FTX collapse prompts other cryptocurrency firms to suspend withdrawals

Alex Stuart

Re: Consenting adults. (Consenting by default?).

I don't think it's a scam either, but I'm also yet to see a convincing argument for the use case of it vs a centralised relational database.

Your Starbucks coin example, current loyalty apps/accounts will store their users' points on a database, what is the problem with this that needs the solution of defi? Especially PoW vs PoS based which wastes massive amounts of energy vs a database.

Too bad, contractors: UK government reverses decision to axe IR35 tax reform

Alex Stuart

Re: This should make people happy

Agreed on all counts.

Japanese giants to offer security-as-a-service for connected cars

Alex Stuart

In other words

We have a solution to the problem with the solution to the problem that didn't exist - having to put a key in the car to start it.

It's official: UK telcos legally obligated to remove Huawei kit

Alex Stuart

Re: It's official

Or 'winningest' ?

Europe lagging behind South Korea, Japan, US in 5G rollout

Alex Stuart

Re: 5G Ohhh Ahh!

> So, by implication, you think it's easier to provide 400 MB/s via 5G for the whole country than it is via fixed lines? If so I have a bridge you might be interested.

I didn't imply anything about how easy it would be. Though I'd assume that erecting a radio mast or two is significantly easier, cheaper and faster than digging up hundreds of streets, of course.

Cable is of course better, but not all of us have that luxury. Nor can we realistically do anything about it other than 'register interest' in Virgin Media while watching the years go by.

My point was merely that, in such areas, 5G would be quite useful indeed.

Alex Stuart

Re: 5G Ohhh Ahh!

> Other than the bandwidth monitor, what Apps do you have on your 'phone that can use 400 Mb/s? Can anyone sling ads at you at that rate?

Nothing. My point is not that I need a 5G *phone* connection, but that a 5G mast in my town would enable my home devices to have much more bandwidth, for which I have multiple uses.

Alex Stuart

Re: 5G Ohhh Ahh!

> Let's be honest, do we really NEED 5G?

In the UK, yes, we do.

At a relative's house with 5G coverage, I get over 400Mb/s on my phone. That's around thirteen times faster than my home "broadband" connection, which is unlikely to improve in the forseeable future given our glacial pace of fibre rollout.

Apple exec sues over 'ageist' removal of $800k stock bonus

Alex Stuart

Re: Foot. Shot....

The entitlement is strong from that one. 'Devastated' by a mere 10% pay rise to $230,000 and 8% bonus during a recession.

Warning: That new AMD Ryzen 7000 laptop may not be as fresh as you think

Alex Stuart

Re: Power to the processors

Sounds about right. Whenever I've ran the numbers in the past for cost-savings from more efficient CPU/GPU, it's always the same story - extremely long break-even times for realistic usage scenarios. Specifically regarding idle draw - CPU/GPU in general have had very good idle power draw for years now.

BT CEO orders staff: Back to the office or risk 'disciplinary action'

Alex Stuart

Here's an idea, BT

> "Working remotely, we've lost that deep connection we only get from being together – with each other or with our customers – more often."

Instead of harping on about WFH, why don't you "get together" in my mid-sized town and give us a "deep connection" providing remotely modern broadband speeds?

EU puts smart device manufacturers on the hook for cyber security

Alex Stuart

Re: Does that include TeleScreens?

In case you're not being sarcastic - it's impossible to buy a decent TV that isn't 'smart'.

That said, power users can of course plug something decent in like a PC or console and not use any of the crappy apps. Mine isn't even on the LAN, and never will be.

Open source databases: What are they and why do they matter?

Alex Stuart

Re: Microsoft SQL Server

> SQL Server is a mature product. SSMS is a pretty good tool. So serious question, what does it need that would require a new release?

Barring a few nice-to-haves - some of which will be in 2022 - I'd agree with this.

I work with SQL Server by trade so I'm biased, but I've also used Oracle, Postgres and MySQL.

What you get with SQL Server is a very mature product with excellent tooling, documentation and support, nothing else ticks all those boxes at once. It's also excellent at doing what it's designed for - crunching *relational data*.

If you want to do non-relational stuff or some massive custom scaling solution then yeah, look elsewhere.

Newport Wafer Fab sale to Chinese company held up again by UK.gov's probe

Alex Stuart

Re: Do not sell to the enemy

Indeed. We shouldn't be selling off this kind of industry at all, but especially not to China.

Left-wing campaign group throws weight behind BT strikes

Alex Stuart

Plenty of money to spare

> highlights that BT boss Philip Jansen received a 32 percent pay hike this year to £3.5 million ($4 million) while the corporation made £1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) in net profit and distributed £761 million ($887 million) to shareholders

£761m in dividend payouts yet I'm still stuck with 30Mb internet within spitting distance of one of the biggest cities in the UK. Not quite got rid of the 'British' in 'British Telecom' I suppose.

Big Tech is building the metaverse of its own dreams. You don't want to go there

Alex Stuart

Re: The Northwest Passage

> I'd group VR, AI and Quantum Computing as unproven technologies that might have great promise or might be nothing more than huge resource sinks.

I wouldn't call VR unproven - gaming in VR can be genuinely brilliant and immersive on a level not possible with TVs. It will become even more immersive with increased processing power and screen technology, and less unwieldy as the headsets get smaller.

The only drawback that will not be easily resolved, if it's even possible at all without some sort of multi-directional treadmill, is the motion sickness associated with lateral movement. I got used to it so it's not so much of an issue, but the disjoint is always there to an extent, and I imagine there are people who simply don't get used to it.

Philippines orders fraud probe after paying MacBook prices for slow Celeron laptops

Alex Stuart

Never seen a truer comment with so many downvotes

General Motors charges mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features

Alex Stuart

Re: Microtransactions?

Audi has replaced BMW in that meme for a good few years now.

Union tells BT: Commit to pay rise talks next week or else

Alex Stuart

Re: Profit

They can't have invested that much, I have 30Mb internet in 2022, and don't live in the sticks.

I had 1000Mb in India 5 years ago, in comparison.

UK Home Office signs order to extradite Julian Assange to US

Alex Stuart


I take it we're getting Anne Sacoolas in return, because if we're going to do the extradition thing, that would be fair, right?

Shanghai lockdowns to end, perhaps easing tech supply chain woes

Alex Stuart

Re: So, how's it working out for them?

> Don't most people realise this by now? Is anyone still on "team lockdown"

It'd make sense if the purpose was to buy time to attain extremely high vaccination rates, but that doesn't appear to be the case in China.

Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay

Alex Stuart

Re: And next week

You know when someone uses the phrase 'socialised medicine' that we're not going to have a good faith conversation about healthcare...

Logging and monitoring can be a form of bullying, and make for lousy infosec

Alex Stuart

Re: A much bigger problem for surveillance and more than just bullying

Good bot

Google releases beta version of Android 13 'Tiramisu'

Alex Stuart

> Thirty years ago, a Sega or a Nintendo knew its place - you turn it on, it works, no quibble, no updates, no IRQ clashes, no advertisements.

Consoles are still largely the same. Yes, they're now x86 PCs in a snazzy box, and they have updates, game patches and ads for their own services, but the games tend to just work. I haven't had a game crash on PS5 so far, and had *one* crash on PS4/PS4 Pro over the course of 8 years, and that's thousands of hours, probably into the tens of thousands of hours, gaming.

British motorists will be allowed to watch TV in self-driving vehicles

Alex Stuart

Re: Clippy behind the wheel

> However, the existing roads and Highway Code are set up for humans and they will need to be adapted to accommodate the self driving cars, rather than trying to make the self driving cars adapt to human environments.

I'd be up for this. England has some truly appalling road designs in places, and pisspoor paint replenishment levels. I find it far easier driving in America on the wrong side of the road than in an unknown English area.

More squares and less roundabouts, please. Even if I have no problem with roundabouts, enough other humans do that it's dangerous.

Alex Stuart

Re: Sensors

> and good luck on the country lanes in Cornwall

Well, I'd like to think a robot would've outperformed the meatbag in this recent instance, at least -


Alex Stuart

I thought the same thing, we're not building the tech or cars here after all.

Unless they mean adjustments to existing jobs i.e. those building 'smart' motorways will now build something else. Kind of like the '40 new hospitals' thing.

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options

Alex Stuart

Re: 'Peak Netflix'

The writing was on the wall when they scrapped the stars system for 'like' - 'we don't have any bad content, just content you might not like as much as other content!'.

And the social-media style endless scrolling panels - 'keep scrolling, there's no end, just more great stuff!'

I won't cancel as they have enough good stuff (esp in 4K/HDR) that it'd be cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I'm not as happy about it as I used to be...