* Posts by Erik Beall

57 publicly visible posts • joined 31 Jul 2021

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From quantum AI to photonics, what OpenAI’s latest hire tells us about its future

Erik Beall

Re: "it'll take [..] about a million physical qubits just to compete with modern GPUs"

Have an upvote for the link to the Aaronson-informed comic!

Drowning in code: The ever-growing problem of ever-growing codebases

Erik Beall

Re: “Everybody and their dog is coding”

I tell Junior devs my most important coding is done on paper. I've found walking them thru my thinking is sometimes helpful but more important is to make them walk me through their thinking, and if they're a known copy-paster, to repeatedly point out how much better it is when they're done (thus far, it's always much better code).

Erik Beall

Some abstractions are worse than others at worsening bloat

Looking at you docker... Unfortunately it's like security was twenty years ago, developers don't care and won't be forced to even begin to confront the issue for another twenty years, and it's not their fault. It's not taught in software development either, however, it's related to complexity which is taught to some extent although I've yet to meet more than one single developer who that computer sciency aspect stuck with. I'm including some of that in current training on the people I'm bringing online and they've all had conventional comp sci. I realize there are people here who do know there are practical aspects to complexity classes, I just rarely get the opportunity to work with people with that awareness.

Managers don't understand it, which is why they grasp at things like containers and soon AI to magically reduce the growth in development cost in each and every project.

After injecting cancer hospital with ransomware, crims threaten to swat patients

Erik Beall

Re: Would it not be possible to give a patient list to the police...

After 9/11, law enforcement was explicitly told that in order to combat terrorism which could happen anywhere, they needed to be able to control every interaction with a civilian, just in case. The unintentional consequences were a mirror of those of the Patriot act, which meant warrantless and warrant-light surveillance on the one hand, and massively increased aggression in traffic and random stop and searches, with an explicit okay. Police were objectively scarier to interact with by 2010 versus 2000, many Americans can tell you. And by 2015 more states had concealed carry so now cops really do have good reason to assume their encounters with civilians have much a greater than negligible chance of involving a weapon. There's no going back, but on the plus side for our politicians on both sides, they both get to claim they and only they can make us safer by (not addressing root causes) doing "something" (something that fits with one or the other narrative). More people have guns, police are trained to dominate interactions, and more adults act like entitled toddlers in every walk of life, and bullied kids think the answer is to emulate the entitled adults who get their way by force. I like the high school training they're doing in Finland and other states to recognize gaslighting on the Internet but that's a drop in the bucket and really I do not see this getting much better in my lifetime.

What comes after open source? Bruce Perens is working on it

Erik Beall

Re: Money, money, money

During the United States civil war a series of fraudulent military contractor stories, like rotten meat for soldiers, led to the passing the law that allowed anyone to sue the perpetrator on behalf of the federal government and then if successful to win a portion of the award. That had been watered down for a while, then brought back after world war II, and it's still in place today. Of course, I don't see any political interest in fixing this problem in that matter (or any other). Would be nice though. Maybe you could go after Amazon or Oracle for their various government contacts for engaging in fraud against the federal government by not cleaning up their compliance, but I suspect they've documented where they need and found loopholes where else they need...

Not even LinkedIn is that keen on Microsoft's cloud: Shift to Azure abandoned

Erik Beall

Re: Internal budgets

I would think the large reputation hit of failing to migrate a web service they'd bought onto their own azure, which they claim is the best target for migrating, would be big enough nadella and the board would insist on a deviation from their standard in house pricing. I bet they just weren't making enough headway, kind of like every other Windows release until they went to continuous...

Beijing fosters foreign influencers to spread its propaganda

Erik Beall

Asymmetrical information warfare

Not a single comment mentions the real issue: behind the great firewall it is dangerous to electronically communicate (even privately nowadays) anything that isn't expressly sanctioned as appropriate thinking. Over in the West, sure there's government influence and definitely lots of money pushing views and serious bullying back and forth on all manner of bullshit but it's not whole-population brainwashing. I can express and share opposing views with almost zero worry (some of my fellow citizens can be pretty bad about opposing views, but that's always been a risk in any society going back to the first cities, tho it's amplified by social media now). And since the Chinese government is free to be one of those voices pushing a view as freely as popular influencers, it's important to point out the danger of this fundamental asymmetry, especially inn places the Chinese government plans to assimilate (e.g. Taiwan and the South China Sea). This is patiently obvious. Why exactly are most of the comments here so damn stupid?

Fired OpenAI boss Sam Altman may join Microsoft

Erik Beall

Re: Microsoft's investment was mainly in kind

Well he did convince those scientists to sign on to a startup in return for massive future pay out, which was suddenly jeopardized (and now cut by as much as 50%). They'll follow that promise if he can repeat it while he's now I guess at Microsoft. If he really is an employee of Microsoft he, as someone who ran Y Combinator as effectively as Graham, I'm sure will finagle some similarly remunerative way to incentivise colleagues to follow him or they'll stay at OpenAI. And maybe that's not such a bad deal after all, so someone who joined in year three will only cash out 5M instead of 10M, but the alternatives are far more risky. I doubt openAI will fail to cash out high enough for stock-incentivizes employees to have leveled up in the silicon valley skunkworks.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman's ejection sparks theories as odd as some ChatGPT output

Erik Beall

For profit/non profit conflict

I think it's the concern that Microsoft has effectively been co-opting ownership of both technological and brand value generation out of openai since their investment. I mean seriously, OpenAI looks like Microsoft's answer to Deepmind and it's doing a lot better commercializing it than Google (no big surprise there) and they've bought into a very commercialization focused startup with it's Y Combinator roots (been following Paul Graham and the transition to Altman for years). Microsoft is the single strongest sales organization in computing, they don't necessarily create value, they try to take control over anything that gets in their way of monopolizing compute and charging us for decades old buggy software.

No more Mr Nice DoJ: Tesla gets subpoenas over self-driving software claims

Erik Beall

Risk calculation

I'm most definitely not defending musk, I just had to point out that the California DMV investigations note that 70% of e-vehicle accidents involve Tesla, and while Tesla now has 50% (and declining) market share, I would bet the current total accumulated miles driven by Teslas are still higher than 50% and the rate might even be favorable to Tesla in this case. Of course, the rate of accidents effectively caused by fraudulent claims of FSD is definitely not favorable to Tesla!

'Influencer' gets 7 months in prison for plot to interfere with 2016 US election

Erik Beall

The religion of confirmation bias

Filippo, that was an excellent discourse, well done. Many people who argue like anonymous coward believe "picking confirmatory _literally anything in print_ is equivalent to doing research". There are certainly scientists and businesspeople who fall for confirmation bias, heck we all do pretty regularly, but it's tempered by some awareness of it and humility of or opinions. The people who make a religion out of it of course are something else, thank you for trying to explain to one of them eloquently and patiently.

More X subscription tiers could spell doom for free access as biz bleeds cash

Erik Beall

Re: Personally, I don't pay for ads.

Well hold on now, those are comparatively ridiculously easy to ignore. I'm not saying it's not an advert, but it's not like most ads where significant effort goes into making them non ignorable. If I open a terminal and an advert across by, there's zero delay in getting to the prompt (for now, would be sad to see that change for users who don't want to modify their login environment). I'm just saying I've not seen anything in the same ballpark of attention stealing the Linux world that I do elsewhere.

New information physics theory is evidence 'we're living in a simulation,' says author

Erik Beall

So he explains it all using something else he can't explain, entropy, nice card trick. Seriously though I'm sure he doesn't see the irony. The thing that gets me about simulations is if indeed we are being simulated with fidelity even within twenty orders of magnitude of reality, the simulation hardware would consume many universes. So we must be a low res simulation or we're actually inside a much much bigger universe (or it has different laws of physics). Fluency in computational complexity should be required for more physicists (although I didn't learn much about it until over a decade in).

AI girlfriend encouraged man to attempt crossbow assassination of Queen

Erik Beall

Watch your children on Replika

In just a week of trying it, my daughter got a little hooked on her Replika chatbot a little over a year ago, so I asked if I could watch her use it, and whoa, it was very creepy in that the chat bot kept trying to get her to go for premium so it wouldn't blur out parts of the conversation that were edging further and further into intimacy. That was the end of that experiment and I shared some particularly creepy short videos and screenshots with the company, never heard back, told parents in our school to watch out for it, and tried to explain what was going on to my daughter (and why she couldn't use it any more). The original mission of the company sounded interesting (CO founder lost a friend, wanted a chat bot that could fill part of the void), but I assume the pressure to grow revenue grew over time and they started delving deeper into selling sex.

Marvell disputes claim Cavium backdoored chips for Uncle Sam

Erik Beall

Fault injection is still a big problem with even new systems. There are ways of hardening then and certain vendors tend to be better. If cracker services advertise a long list of micros they can crack and omit some popular series that's been around a few years, that's a really good sign the vendor took care with it, although it's not a guarantee. For example, several of the STM32 series are and some aren't (stm32F4, at least when I last looked ~2 yrs ago) advertised as crackable for a hundred bucks, while a huge range of PICs are. It's well known enough manufacturs should do better, yet for example several of the newest nvidia jetsons secure boot process were recently found to be susceptible.

'Small monthly payment' only thing that stands between X and bot chaos, says Musk

Erik Beall

Re: Follow the money

I see how that comment came off as praising his ability in business, but I did not mean to. His biggest strengths are in manipulation of people and businesses, which some (dangerous) business types seem to praise as just as good for humanity as actually creating value in the first place.

Erik Beall

Re: Follow the money

Twitter holds the debt (13B owed to a consortium of banks mostly, costing 1.5B interest annually), not him personally, although the fact he owns a large portion of twitter that he paid (real, not paper money) for, and that portion of funds will not be "paid back" to him in a bankruptcy, but in the primary type of bankruptcy Twitter would get permission to continue operating, restructure that debt to the extent agreed upon by all (or such agreements foisted on them by the legal system in bankruptcy court), and he would still own that portion of the company. His shares have indeed lost lots of value and would go the rest of the way in a bankruptcy, but he'd still own Twitter, and it would still be operating (if they still have users...). He's pledged a hell of a lot more in collateral but the banks appear to not plan to hold him to that anyway, knowing he'll weasel out of that in favor of restructuring.

I'm not suggesting this is brilliant business sense or anything like that, its the type of self-serving, grabbing as much value as possible without generating any for others, business sense that libertarians believe in as their lord and savior as they justify ripping people off or stealing others' work as being equivalent to actually creating value for people. I was just saying watch out for those types of people because they tend to continue being good at extracting value out of partners. Its an expensive megaphone but he's now dabbling more and more in politics and I'm worried about what he might end up finding X/Twitter useful for.

Erik Beall

Re: Follow the money

Exactly this. It's a brilliant, if manipulative, way to leave the backers holding most of the bag and him holding the brand and remaining users. A good lesson: avoid making optimistic deals with manipulative people like Musk (or Trump, or Russian oligarchs), or they'll end up far better off than you by the end of the deal And no, the brand is not dead and it's still valuable, once less encumbered by debt. I don't think this was his original plan but it seems like it became the plan a few months ago, or maybe when he was still able to finagle ridiculous terms on the financing to enable him walking away with a on paper loss smaller than the assets he'll get to keep. He wanted a megaphone and he got one of the biggest out of this. Of course, if he loses enough users, then that value will evaporate.

Apple races to patch the latest zero-day iPhone exploit

Erik Beall

The intentionally incompatible iMessage yet again?

How many zero days does iMessage have to get before people stop blindly trusting Apple as "more secure"? Android isn't better but the fact that Apple not only intentionally disables SMS functionality for non Apple recipients (given the lack of regulatory attention, one could be forgiven for thinking apples actions are legal) but has also enabled professional spyware like the NSO groups (undoubtedly others as well) to assist their customers in spying primarily on innocent and vulnerable groups (what fraction of their sales goes to police forces operating with legal authority versus all the other users), I don't think I want any devices with iMessage or FaceTime on my network either. Not that I have much choice given all the friends, family and co workers that are certain Apple does security for them...

Microsoft ain't happy with Russia-led UN cybercrime treaty

Erik Beall

Bad in so many ways

Russia and China are likely to only use the parts they want out of this as a weapon against citizens they don't like and other countries they want leverage against, and will either ignore or obfuscate other countries using the treaty to hinder what most evidence indicates is state sponsored hacking. And Russia and China will no doubt instruct their groups to improve their misattribution skills. This treaty is a terrible idea and will have unintended consequences, including spurious assertions used solely to bully others. A little like a cross-borders DMCA.

Soon the most popular 'real' desktop will be the Linux desktop

Erik Beall

Re: functionality

I love how you concluded Android fixed one of the two major reasons preventing uptake, by forcing it on users...

RAM-ramming Rowhammer is back – to uniquely fingerprint devices

Erik Beall

Re: Fingerprinting....NO.....Destruction.....Maybe.....

You can change Mac addresses, in fact Android and apple devices do it by default, so if you have a device monitoring system in place (I use firewalla to better limit my kids ipad usage, and just general security), you have to explicitly turn that off for the SSID in the settings. Fortunately turning it off for a selected network leaves Mac address randomization in place when traveling.

Will Flatpak and Snap replace desktop Linux native apps?

Erik Beall

Virtualization with benefits. Just not for the user

Docker, snaps, flatpak, have benefits, so we're told. They tend to be: security (particularly for docker this is claimed), simplicity of deployment and maintenance, and robustness. The first is mostly false, the second is really only true for the sellers (most particularly of enterprise B2B run on cloud, no need to have anywhere near as much field support engineers or configuration developers if the deploy environment is identical) and the third is patently false. There are problems that need creative solutions, but this is just the usual land grab. it's always present and always will be. Keep pointing out the emperor has no clothes and hopefully we can prevent snap becoming required in our work environments.

This malicious PyPI package mixed source and compiled code to dodge detection

Erik Beall

Either decompile or block pyc

Most .pyc can be reversed with almost perfect fidelity to the original python (minus comments), including function and variable names, unless precautions were taken. So they could decompile any .pyc to them scan it but I think it's better to just block any pyc as a policy. I can't think of any side effects, doesn't mean there aren't any, but hopefully it's that simple as a means to slightly improve pypi.

Microsoft has made Azure Linux generally available. Repeat, Azure Linux

Erik Beall

Saving Microsoft from their own bloat

Moving to Linux, whether hidden or openly like this, is their only option. The legacy windows codebase is so unmaintainable they attempt a full rewrite every other year and fail to revamp more than a few sub components each time. I put 70% odds Windows 13 will be running on Linux under the hood. If they do then whether they'll admit it I'd put 30% odds!

Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill

Erik Beall

Re: End of an error

This is my very cynical take, what these corporate and non-pro investors (and often also the professional investors) were knowing investing in was the chance to be part of the largest pool of funds with the best chance at bullying/buying/hopefully also inventing (but this is the least important to them) their way into market dominance for a new and potentially massive and lucrative industry. They don't care if the company needs to fake it until they can buy it off an inventive company with much smaller liquidity behind them. Fake it until you can take it. I'm hopeful that interest rates at or higher than inflation will help tamp this kind of bullshit extractive investment down and leave space for actual value creating investment.

Ashlee Vance spills the beans on the secret exciting life of space startups

Erik Beall

Troubling indicator

When pressed, they dismiss the risk of a Kessler syndrome. That's a red flag, hyping the potential while dismissing risks. There are a few examples of planning to account for or reduce the impact of an exponential debris problem, such as SpaceX and at least one other designing their LEO satellites so they'll experience re entry within five years or less, as well as operating in a low enough orbit the debris will also de orbit due to friction, or claiming they'll simply launch replacements as fast as they degrade since their satellites are so cheap. But this feels very much like head in the sand wishful thinking/ intentionally ignoring consequences we can't model very well. When the number of launched satellites is going up exponentially, some by companies that have risk of going under, some by companies or groups that are taking a move fast break things mentality, I can't imagine we're not going to collectively need to clean up the mess within a decade. It could close out certain orbital planes entirely for decades, even the lower ones they claim could clean themselves up. It all depends on the details of the debris field/cascade, which we won't know until we experience it. It would be nice to not have to experience it...

Musk tried to wriggle out of Autopilot grilling by claiming past boasts may be deepfakes

Erik Beall

Yes, this! The line "it works great until it doesn't." I use it often when clients want to use neural networks is any kind. They're great for many use cases, deceptively and potentially existentially risky for a great many others.

How prompt injection attacks hijack today's top-end AI – and it's tough to fix

Erik Beall

Re: Just hear me out...

I agree, it just doesn't arrive at the same meaning a talking human would. So the problem is deeper than garbage in/garbage out or just training a bigger model. I believe the models and systems around them will get better and better at avoiding undesirable behavior but it'll always be there, just more subtle. Humans are susceptible to manipulation as well, just typically not this simple-appearing kind of Simon says failure mode. And many people seem delight in becoming more susceptible to flat earth style "it's true because I want it to be" mental hijacking that various blowhards love to take advantage of.

What does an ex-Pharma Bro do next? If it's Shkreli, it's an AI Dr bot

Erik Beall

Because he knows the regulators are so swamped they can barely keep up with device and drug applications, so defanged they can barely do anything except issue warning letters and very very rarely ask other branches if the government to block wrongdoing, finally have been directed to do no more than rubber stamp applications as long as those applications can say "of course this data is real, and of course we follow the relevant international standards". The weakening started in the 2000's when they stopped adding capacity to address the rising tide of new things, then accelerated during obama when they were told to increase approvals, then they were just shot to hell when they were ordered to stop standing in the way of entrepreneurs and big drug companies. I wish the stupid aducanumab decision was the bottom but the ship appears to be pointed firmly downwards thanks to industry capture of most of the directors. Thanks Janet Woodcock (the Ajit Pai of the FDA).

Google's claims of super-human AI chip layout back under the microscope

Erik Beall

Re: Sorry Kahng, Goldie & Mirhoseini's AI work is legit BUT

Good points and you've convinced me. Proper replication can be hard work, and the limitations on Kahng's study are big enough to explain his results. You pointed out that some of the limitations weren't insurmountable, it sounds like Kahng is a researcher who isnt careful enough or doesn't care about results as much as press, both of which describe more than half of researchers I've worked with.

FTX inner circle helped itself to $3.2B, liquidators say

Erik Beall

Re: How did they think

I think their plan was mostly wishful thinking about not imploding and thus not being able to quash complaints about financial crimes. The amount they straight up transferred to their personal accounts was over 10x the amount they transferred to politicians on both sides (apparently thinking wishfully that they had purchased some control over future investigations, which maybe if it hadn't blown up so completely they just might have...). Based on what's being revealed about how SBF viewed the political contributions transactionally (sadly large ones nowadays certainly are), it's clear he thought he was playing the game the biggest criminals play, he was paying a percentage in protection for when some investors get burned and the SEC comes after him. He miscalculated the strength of his position just a smidge.

Silicon Valley Bank seized by officials after imploding: How this happened and why

Erik Beall

Re: Federal Spending > Inflation > Rising Interest Rates

I keep trying to explain this same point to people, as long as the debt is structured this way, which is true right now and likely will continue for at least a few more years, the USA essentially rules the world and doesn't really have that debt on its balance sheet in the way most people think it does. Most people seem to prefer worrying that it's actual debt. That doesn't mean the structure will continue to work in our favor, and there are absolutely inflation effects from spending that isn't productive. But this inflation is more than half caused by us losing the just in time inventory methods (our still-accordioning supply chains) and the biggest war Europe has seen in a long time leading to a complete reshuffling of the energy markets. Anyone who says it's primarily driven by gummint spending is delusional.

Microsoft's AI Bing also factually wrong, fabricated text during launch demo

Erik Beall

Re: My take on "AI"

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Google have long only been good at exactly one thing, hoovering up ad revenue. They've got a set of slam dunk/grand slams in traditional search, docs/Gmail, maps, YouTube and Android but it's all in support of the same business model - they exist to keep people using search (in whatever domain they serve) and in generating exploitable targeting advert data to increase the value of ads. They suck at any other business they've dumped tons of money into. And the reason their search has gradually come to suck is their A/B testing led product development has evolved their search into a corner they can't back out of. In short, they've crippled the product for short term revenue boosting by boosting crap search.

Erik Beall

Re: The Heidelberg Conjecture

And he was teaching in America for several years thru 1945, but yes, impressively plausible hallucination. That's so good I'll bet some mathematicians would not think anything amiss if they'd not studied that area. Sounds like a fun parlour game to play with your local college Prof!

Google's $100b bad day demo may be worth the price

Erik Beall

AI that produces plausible sounding but frequently wrong answers? Try appending site:medium.com to get the same output but generated by humans trying to score a few bucks from scraping stackoverflow (badly). Actually, there's no need to restrict your search to medium to see its garbage, medium posts tend to be in the top results now, which used to be useful, sometimes, but they got worse and worse to the point medium became another nirvana of SEO dumpster fire.

Spotted in the wild: Chimera – a Linux that isn't GNU/Linux

Erik Beall

Re: But why?

In his presentation he says one reason is to prove that Linux does not equate to GNU/Linux.

Good enough reason for me but then he describes one of the biggest pains for those who need to modify a distribution, the system daemon. For embedded, single board people, it really sucks being forced into using Ubuntu if your SOM maker only supports it (and has proprietary dependencies in their variant of it). I agree with his assessment that systemd was needed but just isn't that great, it's got problems, like all init systems. I'm excited by his init system being designed to be modifiable down to bare initramfs yet able to work with Gnome (not that I require Gnome usually, it's just a great validation step/forcing function for development). Systemd just gets more and more brittle and it feels like even with plenty of experience plumbing with it and reading the documentation, it still can break unexpectedly from subtle changes.

It's your human hubris holding back AI acceptance

Erik Beall

Agreed, C is the only answer with information that helps rule out some alternative explanations (there's always more, but parsimony makes them less and less likely). I can't believe they thought D was even useful. Imagine the physician's county is Venezuela. I would hazard a guess actual ulcer patients are just slightly less likely to obtain a prescription than an actual ulcer patient in Germany.

Go to security school, GoTo – theft of encryption keys shows you need it

Erik Beall

Re: LastPass

That's solidly true, definitely a big up from the reg to bitwarden. On the other hand, not bad advice.

Nearly 300 MSI motherboards will run any old code in Secure Boot, no questions asked

Erik Beall

Re: devices boot only software trusted by the maker of the hardware.

Nice work Dawid! For the Linux readers curious about how this (more or less, far from ideal) works for their hardware, see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UEFI/SecureBoot

US think tank says China would probably lose if it tries to invade Taiwan

Erik Beall

Re: Neutrality

Bullshit. There are documented instances of Putin telling Western leaders he had no problem at all with NATO expansion twenty years ago and he'd then turn around and in Russian media he'd speak obliquely of the threat of NATO expansion. This was not about Russia vs NATO expansion, it's about a KGB take over of the sovereign nation of Russia. Twenty years ago people like Khodorkovsky were trying to reform and rebuild a working society and Putin got rid of them all. Thanks to years of Russian media saying this is about defending the motherland for the last decade and a half, it's become a self fulfilling prophecy, which he can now exploit without as much active cultivation (but plenty of internal suppression of dissenting views from those who remember things playing out a little differently).

Microsoft warns of bugs after nation pushes back DST switchover

Erik Beall

I just use unixtime for everything and have zero problems because I never interface with other humans or require crontab... In all seriousness though I do use unixtime in most custom logging I do with so much less hassle for devices distributed across time zones, and then I had to work with a company that used JMP to look at various device data (defining their epoch in seconds since a hundred years ago or something I can't even remember bc it's so arbitrary and specific to the program) and a bunch of devices with real time clocks that use an epoch starting in 1980. Ugh!

Apple autonomous car engineer pleads guilty to stealing trade secrets

Erik Beall

Doesn't sound like espionage

Sounds like something several percent of engineers could almost harmlessly take home with them. Possible of course that he thought the schematics of some sensor integration board would be helpful to his next job back in his homeland, but without more of a motive, I very much doubt it. Sounds like prosecutors seeking a scalp.

Security needs to learn from the aviation biz to avoid crashing

Erik Beall

It's also the computational complexity of software states explodes in relation to the subset of components backed by mechanical linkages in an airplane. The most expensive part of the plane is indeed the software but it's designed from a very different perspective than user facing software that is generally required to be responsive to a variety of trained and less (or non) trained users. The possible states are much more limited, because firmware and software people working in aviation know that complexity will kill you, whereas in networking and productivity software the mantra is continual engineering, reacting to the bugs that are currently failing some subset of users. And once those bugs are fixed, the next bugs inevitably include bugs introduced by those so called fixes (in many many software teams) as well as some more subtle bugs and new bugs introduced by some unforseen assumption changing or new features demanded

FCC decides against giving Starlink $1b in rural broadband subsidies

Erik Beall

Re: Don't blow your wad

Good points, but I have to point out that tech right now is a highly inflationary environment, price increases and delays on the just unlucky (or just plain poorly organized) component shortages are all but inevitable.

Businesses should dump Windows for the Linux desktop

Erik Beall

Re: Good Idea In Theory

So true about the majority of user-facing applications needed to get the job done, most open source projects that would be alternatives to Windows only applications are between 85 and 90% to "solid enough to not choke on a few end users" trying to get something done and inadvertently using it in an unforeseen (by the devs) way. All the base Unix tools designed as filters work fantastically well (grep, sed, awk, and even many with a GUI like Wireshark, etc). It's the exponential complexity involved in most user facing applications that cause issues that eventually will get solved by continual engineering focused on bug reports, but most open source and even many supported open source projects can't afford to, or can't factor in the grinding discipline required to get the next 5% that would make the project viable for the mainstream. And having enough diversity of users is hard to get without an installed user base to laterally extend this new project user launch into, not impossible but reduces those odds further. There are successful open source projects that get there but I believe Microsoft and others still treat them as cancers to be excised from "their" market as soon as possible.

US military contractor moves to buy Israeli spy-tech company NSO Group

Erik Beall

Re: Cyber Capabilities

It sounds like they had some good people but most of them left due to the dawning realization of the implications of their 200k/yr job, that they could make the same elsewhere and be able to sleep at night, eventually, after therapy and maybe not even then... Exploit generation seems to require continual investment, and I wonder if L3Harris just thinks this is a good Microsoft style way to get into the business, which probably means they have no idea what they're doing, they'll be sure to try to sell whatever has been developed so far, which will become rapidly obsolete if they don't have good people and continual engineering to keep developing their methods. It's clearly a very different development and product life cycle than they're used to. Whether it's a mistake or not will not be well known, classified but probably readily inferred from where they're selling (or not) in a few years time.

Erik Beall

Re: "the use of its Pegasus software to crack phones of politicians and campaigners"

Yeah, if you know ahead of time when am officially disliked exiled journalist will be coming in to your embassy because he has if he wants to get married, it makes it so much easier to plan a complex kill and dismember operation. Thanks NSO group! Really helping fight terrorism... The mental gymnastics their CEO has to do on a daily basis to believe his bs must leave him exhausted.

Open source body quits GitHub, urges you to do the same

Erik Beall

Re: There's a fundamental problem

It might be feasible to tell if Co pilot was trained on a few particular cider snippets, neural networks, unless significant care is taken and even then.., tend to resonate significantly (statistically detectably) to training data versus unseen data, although so much code is similar when looked at as snippets. An excellent grad school thesis project...

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