* Posts by Johnb89

145 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Jan 2022


HP CEO: Printed pages are down 20% since pandemic


Perhaps if printers WOULD ACTUALLY PRINT

Perhaps I'd print more if my printer would actually print.

- You can't print black&white because you don't have Magenta ink that you have.

- Your debit card has expired so you can't print with the ink and paper that is already in your printer.

- The cartridge you are using that worked perfectly well yesterday is now illegal and the police have been called.

- The wifi connection that worked perfectly well for the last 13 years is the wrong polarity/style/font. Have you tried restarting your computer?

- Are you in a rush? Bad attitude detected, please wait.

Google’s in-house docs about search ranking leak online, sparking SEO frenzy


Does anyone still use Google search?

Ok, so I guess some people still need to use google for something, but seriously there are search engines that at least try to pretend the results are related to what you searched for. And that at least purport to respect your privacy.

The argument that doing those things gave you worse results because reasons is long over now that google has their AI results.

The good news is that the google AI results are hysterically funny, so there is that.

Silicon Valley roundabout has drivers in a spin


Re: Attraction

High Wycombe has (or at least had, don't know) a magic roundabout as well, but doesn't seem to be as famous. I've occasionally wondered why. It was fun, not least because of the stonking long hill down to it... one could (hypothetically, of course) get up quite a speed.

Stability AI decimates staff just weeks after CEO's exit


A sustainable business

Is not one that has direct COGS 9x revenue, that also relies on stealing critical inputs.

Then again... the CEO of GM was once quoted as saying they lose $1000 on every car but hope to make it up in volume, so what do I/we know?

Judge refuses to Ctrl-Z divorce order made by a misclick


Re: Presumably they were already 'getting' divorced

Just maybe she is the rich one, we shouldn't assume.

Tesla decimates staff amid ongoing performance woe


Running a car manufacturer as a tech startup

Tesla, near as I can tell, is run as a tech startup. LEAN. Move fast and break things. All that. It's an interesting experiment. Dramatically increasing and decreasing staff numbers based on quarterly results, pivoting, announcing vapourware... these are all tech startup things.

Cars, however, are not software. Cars are heavy and move fast, they have momentum when they hit things. They are physical objects that can't be updated virtually (see cybertruck pedal).

I'm very happy I live somewhere where Teslas don't drive themselves, because I cycle near cars a lot. The kerb strike comment struck a nerve, because I could be the kerb, but also because somehow Tesla tries to pretend it is the 'driver's' fault, even when the car is in FSD. Classic tech startup mentality.

Its an interesting experiment, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Hopefully the world will learn that killing people isn't just a bug to be fixed in a later release.

We never agreed to only buy HP ink, say printer owners


Epson is it?

So when I threw away (aggressively) my HP printer because the firmware update caused it to stop using the ink cartridge that had been in it for some time and worked perfectly well, I bought an Epson, because they'd always been good and fine with 3rd party cartridges.

Then lo, one day, it tricked me into doing a firmware update on the printer... security stuff, it said.

Shockingly, it then rejected the 3rd party ink cartridge that was in it that had worked perfectly well until that point. So Epson went on my shit list.

Never again anything HP, and also Epson. Sigh. Good that I don't really ever print anything.

Britain enters period of mourning as Greggs unable to process payments


Coincidence? I think not

There's a rumour going round some of the good bits of Reddit that Princess Kate moonlights as a Python developer, and spent January building 'something'. The rumour continues that she is now frantically trying to fix that 'something', which coincidentally has been the cause of these outages.

It would explain several things in on fell swoop, and thus passes the Occam's razor test.

Attacks on UK fiber networks mount: Operators beg govt to step in


Better parenting, not thicker steel

Here in the UK our reaction to vandalism is to secure and strengthen and toughen and harden... school playgrounds surrounded by 3m tall spike fences made of 5mm steel, telecoms street furniture made of thick steel, big heavy bike locks, etc

That is not the answer. The answer is to teach the (mostly young, male) people who destroy things for fun, or think its ok to steal things, that its not ok to do that. This is a generational project.

Many countries have things exposed and don't have these problems, because parents teach their children right and wrong, and how to behave. Too many parents in the UK don't do that.

Google hopes to end tsunami of data dragnet warrants with Location History shakeup


But then a pesky 'rogue engineer'...

It will be found, after a time that...

'A rogue engineer' actually included code that sent your location data to google after all that totally accidentally used it for ad placement anyway and completely unintentionally stored it in a place that the warrant team 'didn't know about'.

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


Money and Lawyers

Many of the comments ascribe these things to Musk, but I suggest that he merely gives high level instructions to his legal team to take these various things to court, or sue the bastards or whatever.

It turns out that there are lawyers out there that will park whatever ethics they might have... for money. Perhaps lots of money. But these lawsuits take time to put together and follow through and these are the people making up spurious arguments, trying to find loopholes, writing biased user agreements and so on because money.

One would think that a proper lawyer would have ethics of some sort, but reality suggests not always.

HP TV ads claim its printers are 'made to be less hated'


When good companies go bad

Remember HP, founded in a garage, made cool stuff. Reverse Polish notation. Other things back when. Ah the days.

The last 3 HP things I've interacted with have been steaming piles of sh*te. HP are on my 'never' list.


California commission says Cruise withheld data about parking atop of a pedestrian


Re: In fairness

As I commented on a previous article on this incident the car wouldn't be listening for the person under it screaming "STOP!!!!!!!" and "OWWWW!!!!!", nor would it be able to hear bystanders screaming at it and hitting it and banging on the windscreen etc.

That is one of the many problems self driving cars have.

Microsoft confirms Smart App issue renaming everyone's printers to HP


In a way it simplifies things

Having had an hp printer that worked perfectly well with 3rd party cartridges and then didn't I swore I'd never buy another hp thing again. Which matches my policy of never giving microsoft money. In which case I can just sit here finding this funny. Sorry to the rest of you that aren't able to make that choice.

*companies what can't do simple things properly don't get upper case. Its the rules.

UK's cookie crumble: Data watchdog serves up tougher recipe for consent banners


Re: 30 days to get compliant with tracking rules or face enforcement action

Hey, that's a Strongly Worded Letter, if you don't mind. And if that doesn't work, the threat of a Very Strongly Worded Letter.

Watchdog bites back against blockage of $9M fine on US selfie-scraper Clearview AI


Re: Gah!

I came here to note the $ in the headline for a UK article, which the 'mericanisation of the reg is getting silly.

But I still find the reg is far less click baity than most things, even the tax funded BBC which has become unreadable for the click bait headlines... so much for 'public service, publicly funded journalism' there.

Cruise parks entire US fleet over safety fears


How to detect there's someone underneath? Listen for screaming!

So they might be checking that the applied torque matches movement including wheel slip, which would work sometimes perhaps.

But what would a human do? Listen for screaming from under the car or from bystanders. Are they doing that?

There are too many edge cases for AVs to be safe in the real world. As the other commenters note, they need to be separated.

Tesla swerves liability in Autopilot death lawsuit


Re: What about other road users?

Umm, but what about the other other road users that are much more vulnerable? Cyclists, pedestrians and such.

The newish rules of the UK road that prioritise them in a sensible order can't be managed by any self driving car conceived.

Meta's ad-free scheme dares you to buy your privacy back, one euro at a time


A good idea in principle*

I actually think this is a good idea. In that it is not unreasonable for a company providing a service to profit from it, either by ads or subscription fee. I suggested twitter go that way years ago, but that's another story.

But... I wouldn't trust facebook to actually do it. And I would fully expect that when they are caught 'a rogue engineer' or 'a coding error' happened, that meant the user's data would have been 'unintentionally' collected.

*if implemented ethically

UK to crack down on imported Chinese optical fiber cables


An interesting place just east of Harlow

Meanwhile, the place where they invented this stuff (Nobel prize winners etc) is now an office park on the east side of Harlow, Essex.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Telecommunication_Laboratories and Kaopark Harlow -https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Kao+Park/@51.770534,0.1258598,17z/

Red light for robotaxis as California suspends Cruise's license to self-drive


Its those meddling edge cases

Those meddling edge cases! Damn them! Damn them all to hell! (Picture Charlton Heston and Scooby .gif)

And yes, pedestrians under the wheels are 'edge cases'. Mere details to be sorted in a future release. Practically trivial.

iFixit pries open Google Pixel 8 Pro with clamps and picks


7 years of support is it?

Promises of long term support from Google are like pigs and wings, politician's commitments, or 'Google protects your privacy'. Google is famous for killing off products with no notice and no sensible plan, even for people that just bought.

Ha ha ha ha! ROFL! LMFAO! All those.

Are they escrowing things to show commitment? Putting money where their mouth is? (Maybe they are, but I haven't seen so)

Google promises Germany to creep on users less after market power probe


17th time's the charm, then?

Promises made, regulations implemented, excuses ready, loopholes found, meaningless fines levied, data flows as before ... the cycle continues.

Human knocks down woman in hit-and-run. Then driverless Cruise car parks on top of her


Re: Once again. . .

Yes, the car handed control to the human driver 2 milliseconds before the collision, thus the human was in control of the car.

And until Tesla starts releasing credible logs and data that demonstrate otherwise we will all believe that that is exactly what has often happened.


So how DO the police tell a driverless car to move 'just a bit'

The article mentions lifting the car, but there are circumstances where the police would tell or motion to a real driver to 'move over there' or 'pull forward a bit' or 'don't move'.

How do authorised people tell a driverless car these things? Can they?

One could imagine the default case where there's a big red 'STOP' button on the car that makes the car stop immediately and stay that way until central control says otherwise, but I don't think they have those.

Microsoft introduces AI meddling to your files with Copilot in OneDrive


Next step, Sharepoint

Once this is done they'll need a better name for it. I suggest 'SharePoint'.

Yes, the same Sharepoint whereby the only way to find a file is to already know where it is.

Beta driver turned heads in the hospital


Rebooting for 5 of every 25 minutes, mind you

The early powerPC apple laptops (which I can't tell if this was a desktop or laptop) that I had (of which several at work) had a mean time between crash of about 20 minutes, so indeed rebooting wasn't a daily thing, it was every half hour... so this rotated monitor trick would have been more annoying that is perhaps obvious.

Totally coincidentally this was (one of) Apple's near death periods.

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure


The day when one can't drive one's BMW because the seats are permanently heated

Picture the day. An overnight software update, announced on the large screen, with 'bugs fixes and other improvements'. But what's this, my arse is getting warm. 10 minutes later I have to stop the car because I'm being cooked.

Seat heating is on, can't be turned off. 'Tis but a bug', BMW support (at least there might be that for my monthly fee) assure me a patch will be out next week, 'right after the engineering team fix the P1 'brakes not working when turning left' bug'.

Ah, software in charge of things.

Zoom CEO reportedly tells staff: Workers can't build trust or collaborate... on Zoom


Extremists eh

Just because Zoom et al can replace SOME meetings doesn't mean such tools are good for ALL interactions. That's it, that's the key, its easy to understand if one tries to do so just a little bit.

Being absolutist about anything is wrong. Being absolutist about remote working being perfectly fine in ALL circumstances is silly at best.

IBM shows off its sense of humor in not-so-funny letter leak


Re: You don't have to be from IBM or middle-aged

I saw that joke on the news last night and thought 'Every single 7 year old learning African animals in school made that joke within 5 minutes of reading the word 'cheetah'. Every one of them.'

Is this where we are now?

Lockheed's ARRW hypersonic missile: Sometimes it flies, sometimes it just tries


One is reminded of the 'missile gap*'

Just because They have a whatever technology thingy, does that mean We are at a desperate disadvantage because we don't have that exact kind of thingy?

Surely not.

*the real JFK-era one, not just the Dr. Strangelove version

Watchdog vows crackdown on 'harmful' world of surveillance-by-data-broker


What a bunch of a***holes

Anyone working at a data broker (or facebook or google), all of whom seem to think that this is ok, could readily be termed an a***hole. An ethics free, evil, a***hole.

I suggest that everyone at these companies should be required to have a 24/7 webcam on in their main bathroom at home. If they don't like that they can please try to explain how that's really all that different.

Just F**k Right Off.

Judge denies HP's plea to throw out all-in-one printer lockdown lawsuit


Re: To add to this...

I liked my Epson specifically because it was happy with 3rd party ink, until it tricked me into a firmware update ('update required for marvellous new features', it said) ... suddenly and totally coincidentally it stopped being ok with 3rd party ink. Arseholes.

Shifting to two-factor auth is hard to do. GitHub recommends the long game


Re: If it worked that would be a good idea

Update, tried to open a ticket. Chatbot/Virtual assistant hell. The classic software concept that 'well there cannot in any way ever be anything wrong with our system, so you, user, are obviously wrong. Please click below to tell us what you are doing wrong.' No way to raise a ticket.



If it worked that would be a good idea

Back when I used Authy as my 2FA. Later, I changed my preferred 2FA to the github mobile app and removed github from Authy. My settings say that the gibhub app is my preferred 2FA method.

And yet every time I log in it tells me to check my authenticator app and I have to argue with it to use the github app.

So if things actually worked as stated people might be happy to use them. No, I haven't opened a ticket for this.

/rant complete

Infosys launches 'sonic identity' – an aural logo to 'reinforce brand purpose'


One is reminded of the London Olympic logo

The London Olympic logo was a bit awful, but totally less so after it was explained that it was a moving gif (it more less jiggled in place), not meant to be view statically. That is, the billion times it was printed on things wasn't how it was meant to be viewed. So that's why you think its ugly, they explained.

Proving that just because you CAN add other aspects of multimedia to a thing, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

(And not at all mentioning that what it really looked like was Lisa Simpson performing a sexual act on a seated person-with-a-penis)

We need to be first on the Moon, uh, again, says NASA


So if you were China....

... you'd be thinking that the Americans are wanting to get there first to deny the rest of the world access.

Google, you're not unleashing 'unproven' AI medical bots on hospital patients, yeah?


Make AI makers responsible for their AIs actions

This is a perfect example that computers are somehow not to be held responsible for what they do. Every software product you have specifically declares that its not responsible for any of its output, errors, malfunctions and whatever else. That's not good enough for medical devices, self driving cars and other safety critical areas.

People who build buildings get in trouble if the building falls down. People who administer drugs get in trouble if they do it wrong. So make the people that deploy these AIs legally responsible for its actions.

Yes, that would mean many fewer such things are deployed. Oh dear.

Zoom updates its legalese explicitly promising not to feed vidchats to AIs


All you have to do is read the ToS EVERY TIME

So they've changed it now because people noticed... the hacker news comments where the Zoom COO (IIRC) and CISO both chimed in is well worth a read.

So a few weeks will go by and they'll change it back, and given that the ToS consent is presented when you are joining a call and thus don't really fancy reading the 38 pages or whatever, you'll click ok. And until there's another outcry because someone actually reads it again no one will know.

Better to stop using Zoom.

China – which surveils everyone everywhere – floats facial recognition rules


One rule for thee

So obvs its totally way worse for China to have a set of rules that the police, party and security services can ignore* than it is for the UK and US security services to spy on citizens and residents when the law does not allow them to.

Totally different, in the sense of being very similar.

*Or maybe there's a secret law that says it doesn't apply to them

Japanese supermarket watches you shop so AI can suggest more stuff to buy


As long as it doesn't say 'Yirashaimasai!' in that voice

After some time shopping in Japan the constant Yirashaimasai! as one enters a shop can be wearing, at least to a foreigner. Then again, robots and AI are meant primarily to be annoying.....

Tesla steering problems attract regulator eyes for second time this year


Re: It did pass

I was going to quote the same line... 'quality checks'.

'Oh Petal', I thought. 'How sweet it is that you think that there are quality checks at tesla'. You, and alas the rest of us that might get near you, are the test team.

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway


It doesn't have to be true

I once pulled the backup processor in a system in a test lab, that was absolutely not connected to anything live. A light started blinking at the top of the rack, and a message came up on the control terminal in the test lab.

Just then, across the large data centre floor, through at least 2 wire reinforced glass walls, a mainframe crashed.

They blamed me.

Apple patches exploited bugs in iPhones plus other holes


Re: Its also the not-early adopters

Did you miss the part where I said 'devices that can run ios16 but we choose not to run ios16'? I didn't say choose not to run 15.


Its also the not-early adopters

The long list of effected ios devices I think is the list of devices that won't take ios16.

For those that choose not to have ios16 because it isn't done yet, we are stuck... apple don't release patches for ios15 (or 14 etc).


ChatGPT study suggests its LLMs are getting dumber at some tasks


OpenAI said LLMs are toys

OpenAI more or less said these things are toys, shouldn't be used for serious work and shouldn't be relied on for accuracy or consistency, from the beginning. They said that out loud, clearly. Well done them for being so clear. And anyway they are playing with it under the bonnet constantly so of course it will change.

Then everyone (the media) got very excited, as ever didn't deal with any form of nuance, don't have any actual understanding of the subject and thought it was AGI and everyone's going to lose their jobs and OMG is there anything it can't do??????

Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 requires a tedious balancing act


Why would anyone buy....

Because either:

1. They didn't think anyone would make something useless/horrible/untested... 'how bad can it be?'

2. Corporate IT got a deal, so in fact the user isn't the buyer

Artificial General Intelligence remains a distant dream despite LLM boom


A true AGI would understand what a conflict of interest is

"If you don't agree that AGI is coming soon, you need to explain why your views are more informed than expert AI researchers."

Easy: There's a LOT of money being thrown at people who hype LLMs up, so the people getting that money are not objective about what it can do and what it is (either in their heads, or at least in what they say). For a cool $billions I'd make up a bunch of rubbish and promises as well.