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* Posts by Alfred

290 posts • joined 23 Apr 2007

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Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

Alfred

They truly think we're all idiots

"Alongside the blessings ... there are the plotters, the proliferators, and the paedophiles.”

Every fucking time, they throw about the word "paedophile" and expect us to react like Pavlovian half-wits raised on a diet of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. Just say "paedophile" and the stupid fucking public will let us do whatever we like to them.

I cannot be the only person now who automatically discounts anything said by "authority" that uses the term. Even when I don't want to or they might have a sensible point to make, I can't help it; if you say "paedophile", your credibility vanishes.

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Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

Alfred

Re: Antactica is melting too

"You are really struggling to put the case forward that Antarctica is losing land ice aren't you?"

Is that aimed at me? I've got no opinion on that. My assertion is that it is possible to melt some ice, put the freshwater on a cold sea, and observe the freshwater freeze. This is a well-known meterological phenomenon, often observed (unsurprisingly) where freshwater rivers meet cold oceans.

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Alfred

Re: Antactica is melting too

"How does the pure water flow if it's surroundings are < 0 C?"

It flows when it is warm. Some will be warm all the way to the sea. The cold, cold sea. It freezes when it gets cold again. Some of it will get cold enough before it gets to the sea and will freeze again before it gets to the sea. Some of it will get cold enough when it gets to the sea.

Being surrounded by something less than 0C does not make water freeze instantly. It takes time. In that time, the water can move. Put a pan of warm water outside on a freezing cold day. Observe that the pan of water does not freeze instantly.

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Alfred

Re: Antactica is melting too

"Can anyone see the problem with this? ;)"

So you've got salt water (which has a freezing point below zero, typically about minus 2 C), at a temperature of minus something, and you then put some freshwater on top of it, which then gets colder and freezes in its new surroundings of less than zero. What's the problem with this?

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Open source and the NHS: Two huge disorganised entities without central control

Alfred

The ridiculous power of doctors

Absolutely right. The ridiculous power of doctors is astonishing to people from other walks of life. Educated, specialised body-mechanics are just that; the idea that they inherently have a superior opinion (compared to every other hospital employee and associated personnel) on broad aspects of running a hospital is ludicrous, but hard to dislodge (although, to be fair, hard to dislodge only from their minds).

Reminds me of the (thankfully, now fading) attitude of surgeons in the operating theatre. The surgeon doing the actual cutting is one of the worst choices of people in the room to be in charge, but so often is (even if not officially).

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In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE

Alfred

So who *was* it made by? I happily pay a premium for domestic appliances that last a very long time.

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Weekend reads: Perfidia, Fatherland and The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being

Alfred

Re: More Evolution

" Atheism denies the possibility of such a thing existing."

No it doesn't. Atheism says there is no god. Anything beyond that you choose to read into it is entirely your own.

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BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV

Alfred

Re: If you arew going to teach coding

if ( input != 'y' || input != 'n')

I get asked why this doesn't work at least once a fortnight. Oh Gods, yes please, some kind of logic priming.

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Weekend reads: Colorless Tsukuru, Kool Korea and strange encounters with IKEA wardrobes

Alfred

Re: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

If it's any consolation, you're not tha target audience. Go back to your Dan Brown and whatever Jack Reacher recycling has been churned out recently.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

Alfred

Re: You'll Get The Respect You Deserve

"If you're not getting the respect you believe you deserve then that needs to be dealt with internally, inside your head"

"this is 100% an issue of self respect, or lack thereof."

"you coming off as the weak person"

"you are presenting yourself as the easiest to dominate"

"start by respecting yourself. Which you clearly don't. "

" tits or no tits, they will put your severed head on a pike by the gate as a warning"

You forgot to finish by saying that it's a woman's own fault if she gets raped. That's what you're building to. Quite clearly, you believe that to be the case. I doubt you'll say it that clearly, and you might even deny it, but secretly, deep inside, you really believe it's true.

Which conferences will you be going to?

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What's the point of the Internet of Things?

Alfred

Re: No, Trevor...

How about some kind of middle ground? Instead of you cutting your holiday short to replace the fuse, ask a friend/neighbour/family member to pop round and replace the fuse for you.

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UK govt preps World War 2 energy rationing to keep the lights on

Alfred

Why build on resevoirs?

Is there something particularly helpful to building companies to have to build on a resevoir? Presumably, you'd have to drain it and fill it in, and only then could you start building on it. The drainage would be an ongoing problem during the construction and afterwards. Why not just build on land?

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Google's self-driving car breakthrough: Stop sign no longer a problem

Alfred

Re: @Buzzword - Congestion

Taxis are very expensive because you're paying for the drivers time, and that time also needs to be covered when there is no fare. At the point that the taxis no longer need drivers, what you suggest will suddenly become viable.

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Women! You too can be 'cool' and 'fun' if you work in tech!

Alfred

Open your fucking eyes.

Did you actually look, or did you assume that because you don't see such campaigns on a tech blog, they don't exist?

http://aamn.org/choosenursing.shtml

http://www.cinhc.org/programs/recruitment/men-in-nursing/

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/operation-male-nurse-29479023.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_8140000/newsid_8147900/8147979.stm

http://www.dw.de/german-government-campaigns-for-more-male-kindergarten-teachers/a-17143449

and so on.

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You... (Sigh). You store our financials in a 'Clowds4U' account?

Alfred

Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

"Your housemate (and presumably yourself) haven't heard of usb pen drives then?"

Whilst I can't speak for the OP, I have worked in places where a policy forbade copying company data to unauthorised USB sticks, but was mute on the subject of eMailing it around.

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Two guilty over 'menacing' tweets to feminist campaigner

Alfred

Re: " We are sexist to men..."

Speaking as an aforementioned white male, I've got to say that the evidence around me indicates that the scales are still massively balanced in my favour.

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How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks 'at speed of light': Spy tech catalog leaks

Alfred

Re: You guys are sooo gullible

I discount your credentials roughly 80% and consider you to be more of an idiot for relying on credentials to bolster your arguments. I can spout credentials too. Check this:

I also have worked in the IT industry for the last 30 years, including in biometric, supercomputing , and security fields, and unicorns.

I current work in financial IT where I look after a great deal of Cisco ASA firewalls, but fior a bigger more important company than you.

See. Meaningless. You know I made that up. I suspect that you didn't make yours up, but it counts about as much and says heaps about you that you rely on it this way.

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Alfred

Re: You guys are sooo gullible

You're an idiot with no imagination. If you ever come to their attention, they've got (as suggested in the article) 15 years of data to sift back through. They don't need to watch you constantly. When you come to their attention they pick something from the last 15 years of automated collection of your life to get you with.

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Alfred

Re: Practical action

"But will the wimps in the Council of Ministers do anything practical like this?"

Perhaps they're simply better people with higher standards who think that someone being a dickhead doesn't actually magically make being a dickhead acceptable.

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Sony's new PlayStation 4 and open source FreeBSD: The TRUTH

Alfred

Re: Another win for the open-source world

"(and find time to update the CV)"

Good idea! I didn't even think of that. "Worked on Sony PS4 Operating System" should look good tucked in there. Providing Sony's PS4 doesn't go all Skynet and start killing people, in which case I'll probably keep quiet about it.

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ARM flexes muscle: Forget iPhone 5S's 64-bit edge – it will soon be standard

Alfred

Need more than 4GB of RAM?

"I have a 64-bit version of Windows sitting on this laptop.. and the benefit to me? Bugger all. "

I find that being able to address more than 4GB of memory is invaluable; without it, my virtual machines would have cripplingly small amounts of RAM and be basically unusable, and large media file playback (and other very high resolution graphical operations) would be significantly affected.

Maybe you just use your laptop for eMail and Minesweeper, and don't need so much addressable memory, but an awful lot of other people do.

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I am a recovering Superwoman wannabee

Alfred

Re: What does this have to do with anything?

"This topic is someone complaining who has it far easier than loads of other women in the same situation with a really crappy job."

Ah, there's the problem. You've got the reading comprehension skills of a child, coupled with a totally unjustified confidence in your own abilities, leading you to miss the point but invent one of your own instead to carry away on your poorly explained tangent.

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Alfred

What does this have to do with anything?

So you've got someone very good at their job, and in an emergency they're happy to come in on their day off and do some extra work. That's got nothing to do with the topic at hand.

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Alfred

"I am a woman in IT, a super woman if you will."

We will not. You have missed the point entirely. The point is not that working in IT makes you some kind of superwoman, and it's also not even about IT. It's about trying to keep up in any male-dominated work environment that relies on long hours, whilst at the same time trying to meet society's expectations with regards to married life (which you do not have) and the raising of children (which you do not have).

You absolutely are not a "superwoman" in this context.

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Leaky security could scuttle global ship-tracking system

Alfred

Given that it has been possible to spoof Mayday messages easily by use of a radio for decades, this has been possible already for decades.

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Alfred

More scare story nonsense

AIS was knocked together a bit over a decade ago (well into the internet age) with the intentions of collision avoidance and, secondarily, sending of meta-data about the ship. It's not meant to be used for secure communications. It's meant to be used to save lives (and ships).

Sure, we could encrypt everyone's outgoing messages. Except how would that help anyone? If I can't decrypt it, I don't know where they are so how can I avoid running into them? The only way it can work is to broadcast a ship's position, course and speed in the clear. I suppose I could have some kind of big database of known vessels that I trust, but that's insane; if I get a signal from an unknown ship that we're about to collide, I'm going to take action. The fact that I don't have them on my list of trusted ships becomes irrelevant.

AIS is simply not meant to be a secure communications system. It works by everyone being able to tell everyone else within VHF range their position, course and speed. The cost of making it universally readable is that someone can spoof it (although when I look out the window and see that actually there isn't a ship out there to collide with, I think I might guess it was a bad signal, so it's really not an issue).

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Wanna run someone over in your next Ford? No dice, it won't let you

Alfred

"From memory, if the sensor fails, the green pilot light on the dashboard turns yellow and you get an announcement that the system is no longer operative. "

That's not a failure. That's doing exactly what it's meant to do in the event of some problem arising with the sensor. It's a success. Well done designers and builders, good job.

A failure is doing what it's NOT meant to do; in this case, the failure state posited is that it reports the existence of something that isn't there.

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Alfred

I disagree. I think that if a failure causes the erroneous, identical presentation of a "something is there" signal state, the rest of the system will treat that "something is there" signal state as it would treat a completely identical "something is there" signal state.

When my ABS decides the signal state indicates a wheel has locked, it acts as if the wheel has locked. Assuming that any positive signal state is not, in fact, a real reading and it's actually some kind of error, is insanity. For starters, nobody's ABS system would ever work; any time your wheels locked up, you'd get a dashboard light instead of a life-saving ABS intervention.

The error-checking mechanisms that exist, if they work correctly, can present a "your system is broken" signal state, but that is a different signal state. This is a ""something is there" signal state.

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Alfred

Well, let's take this logically. I expect that if the sensor fails, and decides there is something there, it will take avoiding action just as if there really was something there,

I have to say, as puzzlers go, that one was pretty simple. Could you really not work it out for yourself?

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'Stupid old white people' revenge porn ban won't work, insists selfie-peddler

Alfred

Failure to connect the dots

Despite having already been stabbed once (with a pen), he apparently fails to finish the thought with "We are animals. When you annoy an animal enough, it will try to kill you." I look forwards to reading about him in the Darwin Awards.

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Hundreds of hackers sought for new £500m UK cyber-bomber strike force

Alfred

Recruiting contact email is here

At the bottom of this page:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/joint-forces-command/about/recruitment

Interesting to see that they mention " Selection into the pilot scheme will recognise the unique attributes and potential contribution of individuals who might otherwise not be attracted or able to serve in the Reserve forces." I wonder what they're willing to overlook; massively impaired social skills, horrific levels of physical fitness, criminal records, mental instability?

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Alfred

Re: Deja vu

"And no, it did not increase the leisure time in Europe, unless you count being on the dole as such."

I think it did. The amount of time I had to work to continue to buy all the things I was buying went down a lot as all the things became so much cheaper. It's all so cheap now that I can quit my job every few years and just take a few months off.

Most people choose to not to work less, but to simply take the savings they make and waste them on more junk; they could have had more leisure time, and chose instead to keep working.

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Ubuntu 13.10 to ship with Mir instead of X

Alfred
Thumb Down

Re: Fragmentation

There is bad fragmentation. Bad fragmentation affects typical end users. Individuals who just want to get something done. This kind of fragmentation is things like Microsoft changing their own document format every few years, or online messaging systems refusing to deal with each others' formats.

There is good fragmentation. Good fragmentation is invisible to typical end users, but provides innovation and options that ultimately make things better for everyone. This is good fragmentation. It provides another way of doing something, fresh implementations that will carry lessons and improvements that can be carried onwards. Complaining about this is like complaining that Microsoft keeps putting out new version of DirectX, or that Intel keep trying to make better processors.

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Are driverless cars the death knell of the motor biz?

Alfred

You make no sense

Wait, so you'd love a bus service but a taxi (which is effectively what this is) isn't good enough?

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Alfred

Small kids making a mess?

Right now they make a mess because they're unsupervised. Parent up front driving. Kids are in the back.

Not anymore. The car drives itself, leaving a parent able to fucking take charge of their children and not leave the place a right tip for the next user. I would expect that if a parent demonstrated him/herself unable to do this, they'd just get blacklisted and transport would cost them a bloody fortune. Either way, the problem no longer exists.

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New Motorola Mobility badge: Too late for this pinball machine lover

Alfred

Didn't she EXTEND his lifespan

As I recall, he was in the middle of committing suicide-by-monster, and she turned up and prevented his death.

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German Kim Jong-un lookalike spaffed official Nork pics over Instagram

Alfred

"I was a big big fan of the DPRK ..."

Now let's be fair. If this guy was British we'd give a solid chance that the whole thing was a straight-faced send up. It's harder to be sure with our Teutonic chums, whose sense of humour is notoriously dry.

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Cuba bound? Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong

Alfred

Are you now, or have you ever been,...

They used to ask you on that form if you were a filthy pinko commie. Maybe saying you are would do the trick.

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Anons: We milked Norks dry of missile secrets, now we'll spaff it online

Alfred

"upcoming citizen's uprising"

The upcoming citizens' uprising? These guys are phenomenally ignorant. I could imagine a military coup, but a citizens' uprising? Have any of them even _been_ to the DPRK?

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Girls, beer and C++: How to choose the right Comp-Sci degree for you

Alfred

"For most jobbing programmers they won't need an awful lot of complex maths skills."

However, the ability to think coherently and logically about values and quantities, and to construct extended solution in a given notation, are needed. Maths is the subject at school that teaches this ability best. You don't need maths to be a good programmer; you need to be able to think in a way that your solution lends itself to a programmable expression. There are, of course, other ways to learn this skill. Maths is the way most accessible to your standard per-university student, and being good at maths (i.e. able to think with it) is strongly correlated with being able to programme.

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Alfred

Re: @redpola

I'm replying to say that your inability to respond speaks volumes.

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Alfred

And yet the number of programmers I run into who need help working out the distance between two points on a screen is astonishing.

You don't need maths in that you often don't need to be able to handle calculus and geometry and so on in order to write code (often you _do_, if you're writing graphics or serious number crunching and that, but there are lots of programs to write that don't need mathematical knowledge).

What you DO need is the ability to think coherently and logically about problems in such a way that the solution you develop lends itself to expression in a given notation. Mathematics is a subject that teaches this skill. It's a strongly-correlated signal. It's possible to be a good programmer with no mathematical ability at all, of course it is; but it's remarkably hard to be a solid mathematician and not be able to think about problems in such a way that you'd make a good programmer.

That's the link. Programming is not bashing on a keyboard. It's thinking about problem solving in a way that lends itself to a given expression, which is also what maths is.

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Alfred

Re: @redpola

"Why? What does understanding C/C++ have to do with being able to write good code?"

It's a strongly-correlated signal. If you understand C and/or C++, you must have a solid understanding of the machine model. If you have a solid understanding of the machine model, you will be a better programmer than those who do not. It's not necessary to be good with C to have that understanding, but it's remarkably tricky to be good with C and not have that understanding.

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Alfred

Re: The purpose of a degree

"The purpose of a degree is to demonstrate one's motivation, persistence, intelligence and ability to learn."

So how do you explain the astonishingly low number of languages graduates hired to be chemical engineers? The requirements for hires straight out of university for chemical engineers always make it clear that they want people with chemistry or chemical engineering degrees.

Replace "chemical engineers" for a bazillion other scientific and technical disciplines. It's not just chemical engineering that seems to demand actual knowledge as well as (and indeed, sometimes instead of) "motivation, persistence, intelligence and ability to learn."

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Alfred
Thumb Down

Re: No you choose your degree at 13

Well, only if you deliberately choose all arts or all sciences.

Unless someone's holding a gun to your head, presumably there's nothing stopping you choosing three separate sciences, maths, English, and a couple of interesting humanities. History and friends. That's only six I've mentioned specifically, so room for more and it in no way restricts you to one path or the other.

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Alfred

A very broad good sign for which I have no doubt there are specific counter examples...

Do they demand maths A-Level? If they do, that's very much a good sign.

Do they demand maths A-Level and not care at all if you did anything labelled "Computing" or similar? Also a good sign.

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PM Cameron calls for modern, programmable computers! (We think)

Alfred

@Peter Scott

What do they mean by "IT literate"?

It takes years to educate children to the point that they can use the written word to coherently express themselves in a mature fashion and coherently gather knowledge and understanding through reading (and the appropriate sifting, replicating, sorting etc. that we expect beyond being able to just say the word written on the page). Many people never reach this level.

It takes a weekend to be taught to use Microsoft Word to the level of the average user (i.e. type things, cut n' paste, a couple of fonts and style options, a basic understanding of the file model and how to check the printer is plugged in). A weekend.

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Alfred

What are schools for anyway?

"Do you really want to have to start training new employees on basic skills like using a word processor as soon as they begin working for you?"

I'm not quite sure why I'm paying my taxes, but it's not so that companies can save themselves the expense of a two day MIcrosoft Office training course for the new-starter. So the answer to your question is "Yes, I think that if companies want people with certain skills beyond reading, writing, basic maths and being able to think (which, granted, is not very likely given our education system, but it's worth a punt), they should be prepared to train up those skills themselves or pay for experienced, already skilled staff."

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BEYOND Marxism: What Google learned from staring Glassily at Norks

Alfred

Whilst arguments about whether or not NK is Marxist can rage....

I've been to the DPRK and it's horrible. Truly grotesque.

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