1194 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007
Mystic Megabyte: "Big Bang" should always be followed by the word "hypothesis".
Re: At last @TheOtherHobbes
I think @TheOtherHobbes might be right: the most effective stock picks are random, then psychics (slightly less random), then bankers (much less random). If the claim had been that the psychics could beat random, then I would absolutely agree with you that the claim is rubbish, but I can see a mechanism where the more people think they know about stocks, the worse they do (because they exercise the least randomness when choosing).
"Doctoral Course" ?
As I understand it (from doing a PhD back when Noah was a lad), a PhD is not a "course". I was explaining to my kids the other day why, in in general, only felons and weirdos have more than one PhD. Once you have one you have established yourself as someone who can do research - there would be no need to do another one, you could just do another 3 years post-doctoral study, doing research, attending conferences, publishing papers, and maybe teaching students, without writing another thesis (quite often the least valuable form of academic writing). Of course there are honourable exceptions ...
If this were a postgraduate course, I would be sorely tempted. I have always wanted to work in this area, but my career seems to have wanted to go in a different direction.
What is this? Some kind of one-handed shorthand? Or are we talking about SteGAno-pornography?
Re: No network = No Work
Great Bu: "Wait - people go on here from home ? Really ? Wow."
Erm, this is 2013. We *work* from home :-)
Without minimizing the tragic consequential loss of life ...
... I'm just amazed that these were in use without people realizing they were divining rods. Not only in the swinging action of the rod but in the extravagant claims (they could detect *anything*; they worked from the air; they worked on tiny amounts; they worked at enormous range; they worked through shielding and deep underground. Indeed, the only missing claims that a standard dowser would make is that worked even over maps).
No purchaser can have bought them without knowing either that (a) they knew enough science themselves to see it was bogus or that or (b) they knew so little science they needed to consult with someone who could do (a). Buyers were, at the very best, criminally negligent, and at worst, part of the conspiracy.
Further (though not that far) down the chain of command it is clear that many people knew these 'detectors' were total bullshit (I believe that was the word used by an Iraqi Lt) and yet more blame must lie with all those who ignored the shouts that the emperor was in fact naked, whether involved in the purchase or not.
Facebook's policy might look inconsistent to us, and it may be internally inconsistent, but it is entirely consistent with Hollywood mores.
Re: Keep current or become unemployable
Daniel Voyce: "... use tools to increase my productivity (such as MVC Frameworks) ..."
What is MVC in this context, Model-View-Controller? As written about extensively in Smalltalk-80 about thirty years ago? Despite what the recruiters and the managers think, most of the abilities one needs to be a good developer, and to stay up to date with new trends, would have been familiar to the Ancient Greeks: mathematics, logical reasoning, and a life dedicated to continuous learning and intellectual development.
No offence, Dominic, but ...
... isn't this sort of keyword matching recruitment part of the problem?
Maybe if recruiters (not just the agents, but the employers themselves) used people who actually had some technical nouse to decide who gets to do what, we would solve not only the recruitment problem but the software crisis, where we are drowning in absolute rubbish.
But I never submit my CV to recruiting agents, simply because I have never found one that can apply the simple filter of never asking me to do a job whose salary is less than my current one.
"Reader, Flash and Air are - alongside Oracle's Java browser plugin - the screen door through which the raw unfiltered sewage of the internet oozes into the homes of netizens. These products are awful, the security is worse and the management of them over the years beggars belief."
I have never seen this sentiment better expressed.
back of fagpacket calculation ...
... perhaps worth it in any environment where > 5% of tablets are broken per week in accidents that this model would survive?
I only lost my car once ...
Wife dictated a shopping list of 11 items whilst I was hands free on mobile. I stopped at the shop - it's only a walk from the house but it was on the way home. Bought 11 items. Was sure I'd forgotten something but wife went through shopping and confirmed that my memory was indeed excellent. About 2 hours later I looked out of the window and wondered where the f*** the car was. Had to walk back to the shop so I could drive it home.
Re: Did you really need the political commentary?
sabroni: "I find it's valuable to read things written by people who's politics I disagree with"
+1. I greatly enjoy reading the output of AO, LP and TW on these pages, although I doubt we share much political common ground.
jai: "i guess, perhaps this does explain why we haven't been wiped out by an alien invasion force yet. maybe we're not alone in the universe, but there's just absolutely no way to get to the next door neighbours to say hi."
A similar argument applies to Time Travel - if it were possible, they'd already have visited.
Re: Stupid question
There are no stupid questions :-) But this might be a stupid answer...
Compress your thought experiment back down to a hundred meters ... You hold one end and tap it - I hold the other and listen. What you are doing is (slightly) moving the rod and transmitting a wave - this travels at the speed of sound (albeit in metal - I think that's around 10x faster than in air) but it's a lot slower than light, never mind instantaneous.
Re: Galaxy SII was superb! But I covet a pure Linux phone Stack!
Eadon "I am a master (literally) of physics, mathematics and software engineering"
Does the use of "literally" mean you have a master's degree? Or that you really are a master of all these things? If the latter, who is writing most of your El Reg comments?
Re: Moore's Law and the Fermi Paradox.
Apologies - I intended to be rude about the paper, which is worthless, rather than to yourself.
Firstly. I think it needs to be made clear that Arxiv.org does not have any automatic status. Things that appear here may be e-prints of articles that have appeared in reputable refereed journals, or they may be nothing more than blog posts. And some of those are distinctively cranky - you can easily find proofs of the Riemann Hypothesis or the Goldbach conjecture here.
Secondly, the paper takes an observation (that some trend is near-enough exponential) and applies it to another field as if it were a 'law' - Moore's Law is a misnomer in this regard. Of course, very many natural and artificial processes are logarithmic in nature. But there is no evidence of a mechanism that genetic complexity would increase in a strictly exponential manner. So the evidence is quite weak.
Thirdly the claim is a very strong one. It is one thing to do a little thought experiment and come up with an interesting conclusion (wow, if genetic complexity progression were strictly exponential, there isn't enough time for life to evolve). But the sensible conclusion is that genetic complexity is very unlikely to have progressed in this way - not that life must have come from outer space. They might as well have said that this gives them evidence that the earth is a lot older than they we thought!
Perhaps I was overly irritated because I miss being a scientist (unfortunately other life circumstances ejected me from a world I loved and always wanted to be a part of) and I now spend my time looking at very poor code developed by offshore coders and being told by my managers that it is now too late to do things properly. I can only offer this as an explanation rather than an excuse, but my rudeness was meant to be directed mainly towards the paper, somewhat towards the authors, and not at all towards you.
Re: Moore's Law and the Fermi Paradox.
It's a couple of decades since I got my degree in genetics, and a bit less since I got my PhD in Biochemistry. Interestingly, I was still able to tell that this was utter bollocks within a couple of minutes simply by reading the abstract. I suggest you tweak your bullshit detector.
Re: Moral to attack a wearer ?
Whilst I'm unhappy with the idea of 24/7 surveillance, you can't just attack people who are making video-recordings in a public place. Are you going to ram me off the road because I have a dashboard camera?
Anyway, people who want to take hidden video have far better options than Google Glasses, as a quick search on your favourite search engine will confirm. And those wanting to use such facilities for perving would, I guess, prefer to record straight to SD card than risk storing evidence against themselves in the cloud!
How much impact will the PS4 have?
... I expected the article to have a guess, but maybe the commentards will be braver?
Re: Android permissions design
I agree. Best way to control the 'make phone calls' permission might be to pop a user prompt before every short-code SMS or non geographic number unless a specific permission is given in advance.
I'm safe because I use PAYG - as soon as I top up 15 quid on Three I buy their 500min, 5000 text, AYCE data bundle, which uses the whole amount. The phone will then not make any calls to non-geo numbers, or send premium texts because "your account balance is too low" .
But the telcos could help here by letting you set contractual terms such as requiring additional confirmation to control cost incurred, number of premium SMS that can be sent or number of mins of premium calls that can be made per month.
Re: Job title
"E-mail, Internet and Electronic Information Officer."
Audible verbal gesture?
I presume it is not possible to patent the use of the phrase "Turn Off!" to turn off a television? So why should it be possible to patent a gesture that means the same thing? Sure you can patent the technology that interprets the gesture, but the gesture itself - what's the difference between that and a verbal command?
Fun new business opportunity...
Anti-drone drones. Pestered by nosey neighbours drones? We'll hunt it down and you can have the DVD of the engagement to cherish and keep ...
Sanitize your fracking inputs! When will companies realise that coders with a clue cost money?
14kWh is 50MJ - is a couple of pounds / dollars worth of energy: a few micrograms of uranium or a couple of litres of diesel. But this is a third of a tonne! Why are we, in the 21st century, so short of ideas for sensible energy storage that we are considering massive flywheels?
Re: Lower number than in the article
"We get to about 5000 copies, which is important for the author, but so irrelevant that it isn't worth Amazon employing someone to add the extra lines of code in their database."
As someone who has been involved in i18n projects, I think it's very unlikely that the effort involved here is that considerable. Amazon only have to add a small premium to Welsh language books to cover it, so - whilst I agree that Welsh should not have any special subsidies, it isn't unreasonable for it to be a supported language.
As for those people who found Welsh language programmes on the telly annoying, a performance of La Traviata I once saw was utterly ruined for me by the near-stage-right presence of a signer, waving their arms and grimacing dramatically, presumably for the benefit of the small proportion of deaf people who (a) go to the opera and (b) are unable to read the surtitles. Now *that's* PC gone mad.
Re: How Did We Survive
Money? Ration coupons? You were lucky! My parents used to give me a club and a send me out to kill my own food wearing nothing but a bearskin.
You don't need to catch them ...
... just get close enough to fire a magnetic/adhesive GPS tracker onto the vehicle. Pretty hard to outrun the helicopter then ... even if you can beat it in a straight line.
Which reminds me - have you guys seen P.R.E.Y A.L.O.N.E - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccw4OepTDUY
In this amazing Irish short film, whose SFX were done on a farm of cheap PCs, there is a blistering chase of a car through the subway system by a couple of fighter jets - and a great twist in the tale ...
My wealth / income places me in
a) the top 1%
b) the remaining 99%
Five year forecast:
a) things will get better for you
b) things will get worse for you
Thank you for using my time machine.
Re: FIX THE SCREEN!!! WUXGA FTW!
^^^ THIS ^^^
Not a single person error...
Whether a noob made a mistake or not is largely irrelevant ... if a single person can do this, whether accidentally or deliberately, whether remote or inside the datacentre, the system is already a failure.
... the research also suggests that the preference for bigger members was more marked in women with a bigger BMI. This may be obvious, but I expected some commentards to have something to say about it ...
Published in PNAS ...
... where else?
Something for Andrew and Lewis ...
... helping people often pays back, even if you don't expect it. I never expected to get anything but good karma from helping my neighbour with his PC. Maybe I've spent 10 hours doing it over the last 10 years?
Then my mother in law moved house and said I could have her summerhouse if I could work out how to get it to my house. My neighbour and his son spent one weekend dismantling it, stored it for two weeks on their premises and reassembled it in my garden the weekend after - everything from the slabs to the felting.
I think I'm suddenly in karmic arrears again!
"Hi, I'm from MI5"
Tethered to Three in rurual Warwickshire...
... getting 6Mb/s down, 1.5 up with a latency of 80ms. Bandwidth better than my Sky Broadband, latency only 10-15ms worse. Using around 8GB/mo and paying 15GBP for it PAYG.
I'm certainly not going to leave Three to get 4G!
... I seem to recall that some AI and cognition researchers theorised that we could only recognise a chair because we had imbedded knowledge of the act of sitting down. DPM seems a useful compromise for systems which rely on their vision alone.
Re: to my mind the only thing julie burchill did right
The thing about Julie Burchill is that she doesn't seem to be all that knowledgeable either. Whereas Fry is affable, avuncular and slightly misinformed, she is a total bitch who thinks she is much cleverer than any available evidence would seem to support.
Let's be fair...
... it's not just Fry. Yes he sounds authorative, but that may be an error of the listener rather than something he is deliberately trying to convey. Didn't I read, just last week on ENGADGET (which I think thinks it is a serious tech site, although I know of no serious techs who agree) that Tim Berners Lee invented the INTERNET?
My old dad (sorry to bang on) was a highly sociable bloke who met a lot of interesting people, many of whom were experts in some field or other. He came to the conclusion that whenever you met an expert in X, they would usually tell you that a lot of things reported in the popular media about X were wrong. After meeting sampling for enough values of X, he concluded that the popular media are mostly wrong about EVERYTHING.
My favourite ...
... (and relevant for Object Orientation) ... "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things" by George Lakoff.
Re: Voice control fashionable again
Sil: "[voice control is] useful in so few scenarii"
Let's meet up and discuss grammar over a panino or two?
Re: We really are at the mercy of crappy programmers now...
Pete Spicer: "People don't care about security all the time it affects their convenience"
I sort-of understand how this happens in some applications, but this is a fracking Password Reset application. The PRIMARY function is security related - this is not adding <feature X> to an application.
This isn't just a (ludicrous) coding failure - this is a failure of testing, and indeed management. We are at the mercy of "crappy everyone" and the buck stops at management. They will blame the coder - not the people who hired him, the people who managed him, the people who reviewed his code, the people who tested his work and the people who signed it off for production. All of them have failed in their jobs as much as the coder, and it shows a total disregard for user security.
To then say "We take customer privacy very seriously" seems to me to almost be the equivalent of saying "we know X is very important but we have no idea how to do it"
My boss ...
... would just have rolled her eyes and, if she could have been bothered, cut the guys to shreds with a couple of well chosen words.
Advice from the Romans
SEMPER UBI SUB UBI
Re: For 41p a day, I say, keep the tax.
You are right about Broadchurch. But I think one of the reason ITV has these premium shows (like Downton Abbey) is they have to compete with the BBC. I think if the TV licence goes, it won't just be the BBC channels that get worse.
Researcher mistake #1 ...
... being drawn on the question "but what is it for?"
The answer they gave, an animated message avatar, was presumably an off-the-top-of-the-head remark which has been rightly ridiculed. You're better off at one of the extreme ends of the groovy-boring spectrum - either: "Because it's cool, the use of this is limited only by your imagination" or: "to determine whether emotional facial modelling could be achieved in a smartphone-sized application"
I always liked the answer, "this is the research department, ask the chaps over there in development".
Once you have deflected the question the reporters and commenters will do your work for you: Richard12 probably nailed it in the first comment --- animating NPCs in video gaming.
- Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
- Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
- Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
- Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
- AMD demos 'Berlin' Opteron, world's first heterogeneous system architecture server chip