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* Posts by Identity

221 posts • joined 20 Aug 2009

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A scanner, darkly: Master data-miner Google tweaks terms of service

Identity
Coat

Here's what I like...

"...to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam..."

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US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support

Identity
Coat

I thought

they were using MS-DOS!

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Hey, Michael Lewis: Stop DEMONISING Wall Street’s SUPERHUMAN high-speed trading

Identity
Mushroom

Here's my problem

(apart from not having time to read more than the first page of comments)

The Masters of the Universe, with their HFT and smug belief that they know best, have eliminated any chance that the individual, small trader can succeed (except by luck and chance). The Masters, at the very least, have added to their costs. The economy now belongs to the few. (There are many further unrelated examples of this, but the net result is that equality, democracy and fairness have been defenestrated, despite our fervent desire to believe otherwise.)

Please note that Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel prize in Economics for showing that the 'perfect exchange of information' on which the markets are supposed to operate is a crock of dung (otherwise known as information asymmetry, if you prefer) — but you all knew that, didn't you...

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Can you tell a man's intelligence simply by looking at him? Yes

Identity
Stop

Another problem

Is it just me, or do the catchlights in the eyes appear brighter the more supposedly intelligent the subject? In art class they told us that it was these reflections that gave the appearance of life to a portrait.

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Identity
Childcatcher

Some years ago...

in a thoroughly unscientific study of National Geographic magazines, which frequently ran photos of tribal societies, a reader found that young men looked fierce —they had to be aggressive to be good hunters and warriors— which was apparently attractive to the young women, who were smiling and looked demure. Older men looked happy and relaxed while older women looked bitter.

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Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

Identity

Re: Presumably some people at Facebook are at least smart enough

T&Cs commonly have a paragraph stating which law governs, as in 'this contract shall be governed by laws of the State of California.' While IANAL, I have been taught that a contract is 'a meeting of the minds,' and any contract for which you can't negotiate is an adhesion contract and thus unenforceable, but that may vary by state...

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Apple to switch HUMAN iPhone-juicer-fiddlers with ROBOTS – report

Identity

It seems to me...

Apple has been making noise about building things in America. If they (and not Foxconn) ARE going to buy robots, there would be advantages to doing it here and not (or in addition to, for Asian shipments) China...

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Cisco belches forth mighty intergobblenator CLOUD OF DOLLARS

Identity
Alert

Suggested reading

"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster

http://manybooks.net/titles/forstereother07machine_stops.html

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Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Identity
Facepalm

Re: Prior Art

Adobe has just released news of their own products: http://xd.adobe.com/mighty/notify.html

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Wackadoo DIYers scissor-kick beatboxer

Identity

It's a treat

to see all these 'new' words listed as misspellings by my browser!

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CIA hacked Senate PCs to delete torture reports. And Senator Feinstein is outraged

Identity
Big Brother

Nothing to see here

Move along

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Five unbelievable headlines that claim Tim Berners-Lee 'INVENTED the INTERNET'

Identity
Facepalm

Sort of like...

elephants can have fleas but fleas can't have elephants. The web is just part of the Internet — it just happens that that's the part most people use most (excepting, perhaps, e-mail).

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Elon Musk plans GIGAFACTORY to feed his thirsty Tesla motors

Identity
Stop

This, from Tesla's 10-K

"In addition, we have also announced our intent to develop Gen III which we expect to produce at the Tesla Factory after the introduction of Model X. We intend to offer this vehicle at a lower price point and expect to produce it at higher volumes than our Model S. Importantly, we anticipate producing our Gen III vehicle for the mass market and thus we will need a high-volume supply of lithium-ion cells at reasonable prices. While our plan is to attempt to produce lithium-ion cells and finished battery packs for our Gen III vehicles at a new Tesla Gigafactory, our plans for such production are at a very early stage and we have not yet selected a site for the construction of the Tesla Gigafactory nor completed a factory design. In addition, we have no experience in the production of lithium-ion cells, and accordingly we intend to engage partners with significant experience in cell production and to date we have not formalized such partnerships. In addition, the cost of building and operating the Tesla Gigafactory could exceed our current expectations and the Tesla Gigafactory may take longer to bring online than we anticipate. If we are unable to build the Tesla Gigafactory in a timely manner to produce high volumes of quality lithium-ion cells for Gen III at reasonable prices and thus are forced to rely on others to supply us with lithium-ion cells for Gen III, our ability to produce our Gen III vehicles at a price that allows us to sell Gen III profitably could be constrained. Finally, we have very limited experience allocating our available resources among the design and production of multiple models of vehicles, such as Model S (including any variants we may introduce such as right-hand drive), Model X and Gen III. While we intend each of our production vehicles and their variants to meet a distinct segment of the automotive market, our vehicles may end up competing with each other which may delay sales and associated revenue to future periods. Also, if we fail to accurately anticipate demand for each of our vehicles, this could result in inefficient expenditures and production delays. Furthermore, historically, automobile customers have come to expect new and improved vehicle models to be introduced frequently. In order to meet these expectations, we may in the future be required to introduce on a regular basis new vehicle models as well as enhanced versions of existing vehicle models. As technologies change in the future for automobiles in general and performance electric vehicles specifically, we will be expected to upgrade or adapt our vehicles and introduce new models in order to continue to provide vehicles with the latest technology and meet customer expectations. To date, we have limited experience simultaneously designing, testing, manufacturing, upgrading, adapting and selling our electric vehicles."

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

Identity
Coat

Re: I have just the place...

Once it falls, we can say we've often considered Steve in the abstract, but seldom in the concrete!

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Who OWNS data generated by 'connected cars' sensor slurpers?

Identity

It seems to me...

that the most reasonable solution re: privacy is to have joint ownership, whereby neither party can use the data without consent of the other. Don't know how feasible that is, though...

It's worth noting that (at least in Massachusetts) there has been a technical means to identify speeders on the Mass Pike for decades: time stamps on the card the driver got on entry to the highway (which also noted the exit used) and then read when leaving the Pike. If the time spent on the highway was less than distance/speed limit, the driver was speeding! Fortunately (or unfortunately), Mass law would not allow this to be used as proof, as such a violation has to witnessed by a police officer.

Today, of course, obtaining such info is trivial, what with EZ Pass (FastLane in Massachusetts, and other monikers elsewhere) — RFID transmitters for toll (and other?) purposes...

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'No representation without taxation!' urges venerable tech VC

Identity
Headmaster

pedantry alert!

The poll tax has nothing to do with elections. It is basically a tax on existence, as it comes from

"Middle English (in the sense ‘head’): perhaps of Low German origin. The original sense was ‘head,’ and hence ‘an individual person among a number,’ from which developed the sense ‘number of people ascertained by counting of heads’ and then ‘counting of heads or of votes’ (17th cent)."

Of course, Perkins only nominally has a head...

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My smelly Valentine: Europe's perfumers wake to V-Day nightmare

Identity

I foresee

a lot of business for US based web sites...

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Tinfoil hats proven useless by eleven-year mobe radiation study

Identity
Big Brother

Well, you know...

absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!

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Prof Stephen Hawking: 'There are NO black holes' – they're GREY!

Identity

Re: "I know absolutely nothing about the black holes...

I believe it was Freeman Dyson who posited, some decades ago, that on the other side of black holes are 'white holes' from which the matter/energy effluvia 'masticated' by the black hole spews...

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Eggheads give two robots vodka and tell them to text each other FOR SCIENCE

Identity
Stop

What a waste!

Thash all I haf ta shay...

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Evil Dexter lurks in card reader, ready to SLASH UP your credit score

Identity
Holmes

Possible source of contamination

"Hey, minimum-wage drudge, how'd you like to make a $1,000 just to slip this thumb drive in when no one's looking?"

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To fel with you! There's an NSA spook in my World of Warcraft

Identity
Black Helicopters

Next..

Farmville

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Women crap at parking: Official

Identity
Mushroom

WOW!

This study seems to back up something I've posited for over 30 years, now, that had all and sundry looking at me like I was crazy: that men can be either logical OR emotional, though they can switch rapidly between the two. Women cannot separate the two.

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The right time to drink coffee

Identity

For me...

I drink strong coffee —freshly ground French roast, for preference— but only as the first meal of the day. (I will, on rare occasion, after a good dinner, have one with liqueur. Or if I'm falling-over tired during the day...) For the rest, I generally drink tea. It's said there's the same amount of caffeine in both, so I'm at a loss to explain.

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IBM. HUMAN-crushing SUPERCOMPUTER Watson. The Cloud. You know where THIS is going

Identity
Alert

42

Does that answer your questions?

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Denver robocops fit Nasal Ranger to perceive potent pot puffing pollution

Identity
Coat

It's only

spelled "luxuryyacht..."

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I want NSA chief's head on a plate for Merkelgate, storms Senator McCain

Identity
Big Brother

On a more serious note...

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, one of the fathers of the USAPATRIOT Act, which made all this possible (read: probable) has now come out and said the NSA has gone too far and, with Sen. Patrick Leahy, has crafted the USA Freedom Act, which ends bulk collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Whether this will have any value remains to be seen. Whether he's playing to the American crowd and gives a rat's about the rest of the world, likewise.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/sensenbrenner-leahy-nsa-reform-european-parliament

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Identity
Coat

Coals to Newcastle?

"Lord" Timothy Dexter, historic leading light of Newburyport, Massachusetts, made his great fortune by (on a drunken bet) sending a shipload of coal to Newcastle. Fortunately (sic) it arrived during a coal strike.

Cheese to the moon? Maybe, just maybe...

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Hyenas FACEBOOK each other with their ARSES: FACT

Identity
Coat

Doesn't seem so unusual to me

As a long-time observer of dogs, I note (for instance) that they all stop at the "No Dogs in Cemetery" sign by my house to leave messages, which I refer to as p-mail.

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DEAD STEVE JOBS chap becomes ENGINEER ... at Lenovo

Identity
Thumb Up

A great fit!

I once bought a piece of Lenovo kit and it was a piece of crap!

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Anonymity is the enemy of privacy, says RSA grand fromage

Identity

One question...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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RIP Bill Lowe: Father of the IBM PC no longer reading drive C

Identity

Possibly, an obit is not the place for this

but there is a contradictory story about the rise of PC-DOS. According to the 1996 documentary Triumph of the Nerds, which featured interviews with most of the principals, when Gates was first approached, he told IBM to talk to Scott MacNealy. When that worthy failed to respond, they went back to Gates, who agreed [insert QDOS story here]. However, when presented with the massive IBM contract, he threw it in the trash, preferring his own simpler one that made Microsoft the powerhouse it became. (As I remember, Bill Gates, Sr. is a lawyer...)

I, not having been there, do not know which is true.

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Do Not Track W3C murder plot fails by handful of votes

Identity
FAIL

Foxes guarding the henhouse?

I don't think so. Any entrenched entity making money on tracking will naturally a) be against DNT and b) would dearly love to pass a sham of a standard so they can appear to be on the side of the angels while cavorting with Mammon and Moloch.

For myself, I would much rather have a tool designed by those whose sole raison d'etre was creating a working tool, not just the appearance of one...

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Deploying Turing to see if we have free will

Identity

Re: Siri?

"program that searches Bing to tell you where the nearest restaurant is :)"

Actually, I think it's Wolfram Alpha...

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Why a Robin Hood tax on filthy rich City types is the very LAST thing needed

Identity
Thumb Down

Re: Unwarranted conclusion

I really have to wonder whether this is a difference in national trading laws or a very limited situation. In the Martha Stewart case, the officers of ImClone knew a drug had failed an FDA [Food and Drug Administration] test and sold their stock. So far, so good: this meets your second example. However, Stewart was told to sell by her broker (who knew about it from the insider trades). She was found guilty, despite having no fiduciary duty.

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Identity

Re: Unwarranted conclusion

My apologies. I should have Googled it, rather than using my faulty memory. According to that good service, it was Harold MacMillan.

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Identity
Stop

Unwarranted conclusion

First, a couple of disclaimers:

I'm writing from the States, so my knowledge of particulars about European taxation, et al, is sorely limited. I've not read the papers that resulted in the prize, only the sort of precis one finds in more general interest publications, such as this fine one.

That said, I have a couple of bones to pick with the author as to his descriptions of market transactions. I don't know if it's true across the pond, but here, if one does trade on information not generally available, it's called insider trading and is illegal (ask Martha Stewart). Trading, in and of itself, does not bring new information to market —and automated trading certainly does not— except to add to price history, which (as the required documents must state) are no guarantee of future performance. In point of fact, they're —at best— a rough indicator [as in, the bosses seem to have known what they were doing last quarter; they'll probably continue to do so. Except for, as Churchill noted, "Events, dear boy, events."]. As for the housing crisis, while you cannot, strictly speaking, short a house, there are many other instruments that make this sort of transaction possible. Most notably, the mortgages on said houses were infamously "sliced and diced" and sold as shares. Those could be shorted, and in fact were, even to the extent that the market makers did it, betting against their own customers. Lastly, I made a reply above regarding the 2001 Nobel Prize, which in many ways contradicts the conclusions drawn in this regard.

None of this has to do with a Robin Hood tax, but GIGO. In my estimation, one might have some small effects (both positive and negative, and dependent on the specifics), but it's really like emptying the ashtrays on a falling airliner. The entire economic structure of our world (insofar as we can consider it a single entity) is a house of cards. [By this, I mean the monetary overlay; not the intrinsic goods and services.] All these machinations serve merely to keep the game going — not to provide for the welfare (in the old sense) of the world, which supposedly is the point.

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Identity
Boffin

I agree. The prize went to Joseph Stiglitz in 2001 for showing that markets are inefficient, because both sides of a transaction seldom have the same, complete information. This would seem to be diametrically opposed to the conclusion that Mr. Worstall derives.

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Robot WildCat slips its leash and bounds around parking lot

Identity
Boffin

Re: OK

I have to imagine they studied slow motion films of cats running, but this is not a replicant. At full speed, cats front and back legs cross and at one point in the gait, no legs are touching the ground. Possibly, it would need to go much faster to achieve this...

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Identity
Boffin

You haven't thought this through, Tim, have you?

The one item missing from your analysis is money. When we automate jobs, displacing people from factory workers to cashiers to —who knows?— maybe drivers, we still insist they have an income in order to buy goods and services, but those jobs for the less skilled are dwindling to gone. Meanwhile (here in the States, though much less so over the pond) the cost of education has resulted students leaving college hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, looking for a dwindling number of jobs to pay it off. One analyst recently predicted that college will be only for the rich. Medical expenses have risen exponentially, such that they are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Obamacare may take care of this, but I doubt it. It's too complex and is, in my estimation, an insurance industry subsidy. Food and fuel costs, over the shorter term, have risen greatly. In my neighborhood, food has gone up 50% just in the last year or so. In 1965, my mom fed a family of four and a dog on $10/wk. It costs me, today, $50—60/wk to feed just myself. While fuel is down from previous highs, and natural gas from fracking has increased supply and held down costs, compared to pre-1973, costs have risen some 1200%. 'Alternative' fuels and conservation have made inroads (more than some would like to admit) and have room for growth, so there's hope there... Housing, too, has risen. Mortgage costs used be considered to be 25% of income; they're now 33%. The house I bought in 1978 for $57,000 (which left me feeling cheated, as three years previously, a friend bought one for $23,000) is now worth around $150,000. The one I bought in 1999 for $110,000 is now worth around $175,000 — and this WITH the great housing collapse. In real terms, worker wages have not increased since 1974 (this does not apply for CEOs, et al. While over the span of nearly a century, your statistics are true; over a shorter period (since the 1970's) they are dead wrong.

All this goes to show, further, that (if we consider the intrinsic value of things to remain stable — the house is still the house, a pound of cod still has the same nutritional value), that what has changed is the value of money. My stepfather was fond of telling how his father took him to the best men's store in Baltimore and bought him a complete suit of clothes, including shirt, shoes and tie for a $20 gold piece. With the change, they went to dinner and a show. It's still true, as he said, that if had that $20 gold piece today, he could do the same thing! Maybe he'd even go home with money in the pocket!

But the larger point is that we still require some means to acquire the medium of exchange, and until society changes (drastically), that means work or the dole. When the number of jobs decreases, while the population increases, the pressures are obvious. The Government is currently debating just how much of the social safety net we should eliminate. The cutters think we should work, but the jobs are lacking and we are not all so entrepreneurial. A study released today shows that the income of the top percentiles has increased, that of the dwindling middle class has remained steady or fallen, and the bottom percentiles have all fallen back. A bit of Googling will prove this.

The future you describe could be bright, if we can get our act together. I've written at length about this topic, and you can read it at http://www.lulu.com/shop/c-alexander-cohen/the-root-of-all-evil/ebook/product-17377866.html

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Identity

Doctors? Where?

Here in the States, while there are still doctors, much of the day-to-day work they used to do is done by Physician's Assistants (PAs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Meanwhile, the practice is swamped with (what used to be) paperwork, though now it's all digital...

A nurse said, "Nurses cure. Doctors diagnose."

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'Kim Jong-un executes nork-baring ex and pals for love polygon skin flick'

Identity
Mushroom

Re: Propaganda

One doesn't need a missile. Watercraft will do, or (depending on the size of said device), a disguised traveler with one or more large packages...and sometimes, just the threat is enough.

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Your encrypted files are 'exponentially easier' to crack, warn MIT boffins

Identity
Facepalm

Ain't it always the way?

Complexity doesn't necessarily add security — sometimes it adds a way in. You know what the hardest lock to crack is? A mortice lock — one where a bar slides into a hole!

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So, you gonna foot this '$200bn' hacking bill, insurance giants asked

Identity
WTF?

Another example

Yes, the Obama Administration is at it again, with another relief act for insurance companies. How about this: take critical infrastructure OFF the net! . But no, we're fixated on monetizing failure...

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PEAK iPAD: Slab looking a bit peaky, needs big biz to take more tablets

Identity
FAIL

No Office? Ahem!

Really, those folks should do some research. While it isn't Office, per se, there IS a FREE app called SmartOffice. Plainly, they've got their analysis wrong. IMHO, the reasons are 1) market saturation 2) high price compared with competitors and 3) falling behind in technology (though that could change in a heartbeat — stay tuned...)

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NSA security award winner calls for hearings into agency's conduct

Identity
FAIL

RE: King Leopold's Ghost

...and look how well Congo has done!

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Laser-wielding boffins develop ETERNAL MEMORY from quartz

Identity
WTF?

Feel free to dismiss the following...

About 30 years ago, some New Age-y friends of mine played an audio tape for me of a lecture by a diver who was swimming around the Bahamas after a major storm. (Note that I am not saying I believe this:) He claimed to have found the remains of a city, temporarily uncovered by the storm. In the center was some kind of hall with a round table in the center. In the center of the table was a large crystal with lines incised in it, which he brought back and was apparently showing at the lecture. It would mimic whatever was shown it, like a striped card (not in the sense of reflection — the image remained after the card was removed). He posited it was some kind of memory device or display. I haven't been able to find this story anywhere else.

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Only 1 in 5 Americans believe in pure evolution – and that's an upswing

Identity
FAIL

Representative sample?

I hardly think that number qualifies.

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Microsoft biz heads slash makes Ballmer look like dead STEVE JOBS

Identity
Facepalm

Niggle

Steve Jobs was NOT a technology CEO — he was a salesman/designer who recognized good tech. As a salesman, he was among the best...

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