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* Posts by xperroni

434 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

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Hackers attempt to BLACKMAIL plastic surgeons

xperroni
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Facepalm

"How can you do surgery on plastic?"

That was the question in my head as I read the article's headline. For some reason I couldn't for the life of me relate it to cosmetic surgery.

I guess I'm just tired?

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Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?

xperroni
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A fail for the 21th century

Look forward to the sub-prime cloud scandal and subsequent economic crisis.

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One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work

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Big Brother

There's no diplomacy like American diplomacy

[D]iplomatic efforts by the US (...)

You mean, like trying to plant bugs in equipments manufactured by Chinese companies?

Yeah, that should have totally got through the notion that America® wants nothing more than to live in harmony with all peoples of the world. No idea why those Chinos can't let go of their dirty tricks and play nice, just like our Yankee friends!

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Internet is a TOOL OF SATAN that destroys belief, study claims

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Re: Post hoc ergo propter hoc

I think Mr Downey should really be versed in things like - Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Though in the article he does claim to have looked for a common factor that would explain concurrent Internet expansion and increased disaffiliation, but couldn't find any:

"Although a third unidentified factor could cause both disaffiliation and Internet use, we have controlled for most of the obvious candidates, including income, education, socioeconomic status, and rural/urban environments," Downey states.

Surely we aren't supposed to expect it's the other way around, and it's the raise in disaffiliation that's driving Internet expansion?

To be sure, I tend towards Thomson's contention that the increased radicalization of the Protestant movement is more likely to blame. But I don't think Downey is jumping into conclusions either; the analysis work seems sound. It might just be that he's giving too much credit to the reliability of his data, a problem all too common in poll-based research.

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'Yahoo! Breaks! Every! Mailing! List! In! The! World!' says email guru

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Re: What legit email admin ...

Maybe one whose head isn't stuck in the 90's? My main e-mail account has been Yahoo! and then Gmail for the past 10+ years. I doubt I am an exception, and if that makes me "not a real man / engineer / hacker / programmer / Internet user" then so be it.

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Google kills fake anti-virus app that hit No. 1 on Play charts

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Boffin

Re: You need to understand,

The Google play store has very few restrictions (...). This is generally good. To really get what you need [you must] have a bit of intelligence, and be willing to learn a bit about your phone. If you need safety in general, and don't care to learn about your phone you'd be much better off with an iPhone.

Agreed. Unfortunately Apple has positioned their products towards wankers premium consumers, unwittingly nudging those that prioritize value for money (but aren't necessarily tech literate) in the direction of the Android platform.

These days there is a lot of talk about anti-NSA "locked down" smart mobes, but maybe the more promising business case lies in an Android handset line tied to a carefully curated app store, a bit like what Apple does perhaps, only with explicit guidelines rather than a dozen jerks playing heads-or-tails?

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Paris Hilton

BWAH-HAHAHAH!

Sorry. No, this isn't funny at all. Don't know what gotten into me.

Please go on.

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BEHOLD the HOLY GRAIL of TECH: The REVERSIBLE USB plug

xperroni
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Remember Edwin

I never understood how people could have trouble connecting USB cables.

But then again, others play tennis.

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Meet the man building an AI that mimics our neocortex – and could kill off neural networks

xperroni
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Re: Let a thousand flowers bloom

I will say that trying to emulate pre-cortical brain structures is unlikely to elicit much excitement from the general populace (...).

Of course, if the general populace could tell the difference between cortical and pre-cortical brain structures, teachers should get a raise. Hell, give me a scalp and a brain to dissect along those lines, I'm bound to make a fair number of mistakes myself.

More to the point, there are a number of skills you'd want an "intelligent" machine to have (such as task selection and motor control) that stem from pre-cortical / sub-cortical structures, so you'd at least want to have a look into how they work, if you're working on a neurologically consistent model of intelligence.

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Re: Let a thousand flowers bloom

[N]ot so long ago the main driver for results was the military, and I don't think that private enterprise's goals are much more worthy. Better to strive for a better understanding of who we are as humans than settle for models that can help us to destroy or one-up each other.

And yet you're making your opinion known over the Internet.

The world is never simple...

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Re: Let a thousand flowers bloom

I am suprised that anyone would think that a neuron has a single-bit output. Surely a neuron isn't just On or Off, but also somewhere in between?

Not "anyone", the all-or-none, single-bit model has been the dominating view of neuron function for more than a century. Like the geocentric model of astronomy, at one point it was a very good fit for the available data – but contradicting evidence has been piling up over time, leading to no end of bullsh ad-hoc adjustments. See here for a discussion.

The irony is that most "traditional" neural networks assume neurons can output real values in the range (0, 1); it's mostly the "idiosyncratic" variants (WNN's, SDM, Hawkins' CLA) that try to fit the assumption of binary I/O into a working model. I guess it's no wonder there isn't so much interdisciplinary research involving neuroscience and AI – one way or another, you're bound to be labeled a heretic.

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Re: ai won't

This post brought to you by Bullcrap Generator, an AI Inc. division?

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xperroni
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Boffin

Let a thousand flowers bloom

On academic researchers having reservations about Hawkins approach, let me say it's not all of us.

I was doing my M.Sc. in Computer Intelligence by the time On Intelligence was launched, and I have since followed his work with keen interest. My M.Sc. professor's work is centred on Weightless Neural Networks, a model largely developed in the UK which share many ideas with Sparse Distributed Memory, so Hawkin's Cortical Learning Algorithm isn't that alien to me. In fact I'm just now reviewing the CLA white paper with a view to get some ideas for my Ph.D. research.

Besides Hawkin's work, in the last years there have been other attempts at modelling the brain that deserve mention.

Chris Eliasmith's work on the Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) and Semantic Pointer Architecture (SPA) is based on perceptron-like neurons and gives more emphasis to pre-cortical brain structures. It's also more academic-friendly, with a number of peer-reviewed papers published. He recently published a book compiling the current state of his programme, How to Build a Brain, and maintains a web page for his Nengo neural simulator.

John Harris' Rewiring Neuroscience is an intriguing, highly heretical work that starts with a seemingly out-of-the-blue assumption (what if neural output isn't a single bit, but can in fact convey a range of values) and from that draws together a number of overlooked results and fringe research into a surprisingly appealing model of brain function. I have tried to implement some of his ideas with limited but encouraging results.

I can't speak for other researchers, but personally I rather like all this work on AI and computer intelligence coming from private companies. Frankly, let to its own devices, academia does tend to drift around, and I think the private sector's need for results and solutions to practical problems is an important counterweight to this tendency. With the current interest in architectural models of intelligence, and the "coopetition" between companies and universities to achieve fulfilling implementations, maybe we can make Ray Kurzweil's 2030's deadline?

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Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

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Re: 沖縄国際映画祭 日本語 メールニュース

Now I know what "May-Ru Ni-Yu-Su" is a mangling of.

For those who still didn't get it, it's a wasei-eigo word meaning "mail news".

The whole subject line actually translates to "Okinawa International Film Festival mail news in Japanese", which Google Translate gets close enough.

I do happen to be studying Japanese, is that a crime?

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Bruce Schneier sneers at IBM's NSA denials

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"Wiggle room" is for sissies

Real American companies tell outright lies.

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China demands answers from US after 'I spy on one little Huawei' report

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Re: Spying vs. attacks

Installing back doors to Huawei's network, what will they call that then?

Why, of course that is a "cyber-security operation", performed in the interest of Liberty, Democracy and the goodwill among nations. Much like the practice of dropping tons of explosives on the heads of other people, when done by America®, is labelled "defence".

Gotta love them newspeak.

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Bulls hit city streets after alleged Samsung ad shoot hits the fan

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Damn chaebols are everywhere, or are they?

It's since been reported by a local Murdoch listicle-maker that the cattle broke out from a film set where Samsung was creating an ad.

I know these gods-damned chaebols make just about anything, but I'd never thought Samsung was in the ad (creation) business too. You sure it wasn't just some other company creating an ad for Samsung?

Just askin'.

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TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

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Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

Oh, and people don't watch telly anymore because most of it is shit, innit?

Aye, and it has been thus for the longest time.

It was about twenty years ago that I stopped watching TV regularly. I was just 13 at the time, and already too fed up with all the shit being broadcast to keep up with it. My patch didn't have Internet back then, so I'd read comics and listen to the radio, which hadn't yet degenerated into a never-ending stream of advertisements and rants by constipated DJ's.

I wonder what role TV programme standards actually had in the current sales slump, however. Would more people buy TV's today if content was better? Most of the good shows can be watched over the Internet today, so it could well have turned out just the same.

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xperroni
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Joke

Smart TV's still await a really good implementation, and the opportunity to sell sets on their smart capabilities has probably been supplanted, because whilst the makers messed around the market moved on, so that for casual browsing and emailing the solution is tablets.

A friend of mine once approached the lady on a kiosk showcasing a "smart" TV, and asked her in what sense the TV was "smart".

She didn't know.

I guess TV makers don't, either.

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US saves self from Huawei spying by spying on Huawei spying

xperroni
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Circular reasoning

We must spy on Huawei.

Why?

Because they are spying on us, of course!

How do we know that?

From spying on Huawei, how else?

I bet even Da Vinci couldn't draw as perfect a circle as this reasoning.

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The lack of punctuation in that paragraph makes my eyes bleed!!!!!

Simon has a rather unorthodox approach to proofreading. He says it's the price we pay for getting up-to-date news from Australia this late at night. Myself, I'd rather wait longer for a more polished piece, but oh well – I guess we get what we pay for.

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MtGox finds 200,000 Bitcoin in old wallets

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Coat

"[T]he outfit was not very organised"

A textbook case of British understatement, surely?

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Haunted Empire calls Apple 'a cult built around a dead man.' Tim Cook calls it 'nonsense'

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Facepalm

Re: Someone is WRONG on the Internet (was: Great Automator Script Available)

Spot on, when talking about you mate. Don't speak for the rest of us!

Yes, because your comment (posted anonymously, no less) totally disproves my point.

Gabriel's theory anyone?

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Childcatcher

Re: Someone is WRONG on the Internet (was: Great Automator Script Available)

You may want to reconsider the term "commentard" when describing El Reg readers.

I for one have no problem being called a commentard, I think it very reliably captures the essence of The Reg's forums demographic and what usually happens therein.

If anything, it's a rather unfair dig at the people to whom we are being compared – they are at no fault for being as they are, but we choose to come here and quarrel pointlessly every day.

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WOW! Google invents the DIGITAL WATCH: What a time to be alive

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Re: Dick Tracy??

Fifty years later. Two-way wrist TV. We thought it was pure fantasy when it was in the comics back then. Reality, what a concept.

I dunno. The wrist-gizmo concept looks cool in fiction, but years ago LG tried a watch-phone and it didn't go anywhere. Now of course LG isn't exactly stellar in implementing their designs, or marketing them, or following up a technology trail that looks promising but didn't take the world by storm on the first try, or in post-sale support, or...

Actually, I forget the point I was trying to make.

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MtGox allows users to see a picture of their money, but not have it

xperroni
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Facepalm

Re: Hmmm...

So they will let you "see" the Bitcoins that are in your "Wallet"...which may, or may not, actually be IN your "wallet"...and may, or may not actually exist...because 750,000 of them are "missing".

Yeah, I was thinking much the same thing. So they let customers see a "balance" but they ostensibly refuse to stand by it in any way... What's the point?

Really, at least one of the sides involved has to be abysmally dumb for this to have looked like it would solve anything.

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Daring danger-drone dives into VOLCANIC eruption – what happens next has to be seen

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Kinda disappointed

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice video, but when I read "Daring danger drone dives into volcano" I was expecting something more along the lines of "last moments' footage of robotic plunge into fiery death". Then again, I guess "Daring danger drone hovers atop volcano" isn't nearly as catchy a headline.

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IBM: We gave NOTHING to the NSA, stateside or elsewhere

xperroni
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It's what a witch would say

As brighter minds have pointed, trust is the biggest casualty in this whole surveillance debacle. Even if IBM et al swear they're clean, there's always the feeling that's just what they'd say either way. When lying is a standard business practice, how do honest (or at any rate, uninvolved) companies prove themselves in the eyes of customers?

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Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

xperroni
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Re: Your all up your own arse

They are called "normal people"

You say it as if it was worth of praise. I wonder why?

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Paris Hilton

Don't call me Shirley

The funny thing is that Microsoft, like a delusional middle manager alienated by his peers, seems to think it's all just a misunderstanding. "Why, of course people would have upgraded by now, if only they understood the situation, and were aware of just how awesome Windows 8 is. Surely they somehow missed our latest campaigns / notices / nagging dialogs / desperate cries." The thought that people might be holding on to Windows XP because they don't want Windows 8 seemingly never crosses their minds.

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Huawei: We'll sell a dual-boot Android, Windows 8 smartphone because, well, isn't it obvious?

xperroni
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I agree with you on Apple, but Samsung compete across all phone markets from crappy candy bar handsets that struggle to do much beyond make calls (...).

Given, but at the crap-phone level Samsung's leverage over other companies is very limited, and they're nowhere close to the virtual duopoly they enjoy at the top smartphone range along Apple. It's at this segment that they pose a more crucial challenge.

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You mean they are planning on actually competing against their biggest competitors? Blow me down.

Don't be daft. Apple and (to a large extent) Samsung target the upper end of the market: intensive app users who are willing to pay more for a product they perceive as being of higher value. But there's also a large (if not as lucrative) market for cheap handsets the carriers buy in bulk and hand to customers who don't know any better, and/or are in fact wowed by getting a gizmo "for free".

For mobile companies in the bulk / "free" handset segment, selling directly to carriers instead of end-users, Apple and Samsung are not "competitors"; they exist in a different market altogether, even if their devices include nominally equivalent features. This is where Huawei stood until now, and so it makes perfect sense to say they haven't really gone up against neither yet.

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We all owe our EXISTENCE to lovely VOLCANOES, say boffins

xperroni
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Re: Interesting map

But the Cardinal Points (...) [are] derived from the rotation of the Earth.

And the metre is derived from the speed of light, but that doesn't make it any less arbitrary than the yard.

Of course, if we are going to have a system for describing directions on the Earth's crust, we might as well base it on some physical phenomenon that we can use as reference, and the Earth's rotation is arguably the best option. But the choice is still "arbitrary" in the sense that nothing (short of common sense) would prevent us from adopting a different system, however awkward the alternative might be.

As in, say, Imperial units.

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Re: Past ice ages?

You're right of course, but "the past Ice Age / the past glaciation" is often used to informally refer to the last time the world was cluttered with ice. And highly as we might regard it, El Reg is well into the "informal" range of the scientific media spectrum.

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Big Brother

Re: Interesting map

Maybe somebody realized that, while "N <-> N" might be more correct in a pedantic way, it is also a pretty pointless notation. Whereas "W <-> E" provides a useful reference set, even if its correctness can be disputed.

But I guess not everyone realizes that reference systems such as cardinal points are largely arbitrary, and should be used and / or abused to the degree they are useful. After all, it's not like the Geography Police will peruse your maps to check if you are using the "right" marks...

OR IS IT?! (TUM DUM DU-U-U-UMMM...)

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You thought it was dead – but Flappy Bird may return: Millions prepare to poke own eyes out

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It's called GEARS. It's what's in the logo that appears before Flappy Bird's title screen, at any rate.

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Once burned, twice willing?

Well, I guess the lure of the spotlight was stronger than the horrors its light revealed.

Mine is the one with the pocket edition of "poetry for dummies" in the, uh, pocket.

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MtGox, that bastion of unregulated e-currency Bitcoin, turns to Texas judge for protection

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Bitcoin logic

"Sod the government, sod the banks, freedom FTW!"

*MtGOx goes titsup*

"Government! Government! Make MtGOx repay us in bank money for our lost pretend money!"

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Bletchley Park board member quits amid TNMOC split-off spat

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If you're trying to "paint programming pink", you may be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

An unfortunate choice of words, but his point has merit. The fabled "womanly way" is often touted as an argument for getting more women to play male-dominated roles. But clearly if women are a better fit to some situations, they must be a poorer one for others (you certainly wouldn't think women are better always, that's sexism). Yet try saying "maybe this problem wouldn't be so bad if we had less women involved" and see how long it takes for the femi-SA to show up.

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Of course, if the female is a true-blooded Honored Matre, this may backfire.

Kudos for the Dune reference.

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Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

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Re: Minty

I agree. I have used Mint with the Cinnamon desktop for the past few years and it works great. Lately I've playing with KDE and decide to switch desktop environments, but decided to go with Mint/KDE after test-driving openSUSE and Kubuntu and being rather underwhelmed.

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Dell thuds down low-cost lap workstation for cheap frugal creatives or engineers

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Re: As a lesser mortal...

...may I just ask what anyone does that requires more than 16GB of ram that doesnt involve running 8VMs on a laptop?

CAD tools. AutoCAD, Rhynoceros, etc. Damn things eat memory like bacon.

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Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

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Only in Japan

In fact there are plenty of handheld computers being made and marketed today. All you need do to get hold of one is visit a consumer electronics shop... in Japan.

Here they're called "denshi jisho", or electronic dictionaries. Like the case of "computer", the name hasn't accurately represented what the devices can do for a long time now. Some still sport monochrome screens, but there are many that have color displays and enough processing power to play videos. Extras include integrated digital TV receptor, touchscreen and Wi-Fi. Most double as personal organizers, and all have some sort of mechanical keyboard, the notebook-alike clamshell being the most popular form-factor.

Could these ever be successful outside of Japan? I dunno. Smartphones have already assimilated all their functions plus making phone calls, playing games and taking pictures; in fact I'd reckon it's only the conservatism of Japanese consumers that continues to make them viable here (accordingly, most models come from traditional Japanese companies, such as Sharp and Casio). I guess that much as we may lament it, unless someone comes up with a truly fresh take on the form-factor, the age of the handheld PC is pretty much over. All hail the handheld fondleslab (aka the smartphone).

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Zaphod Beeblebrox style third arm cyborg prosthesis unveiled

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It's known that the brain is more able to adapt when young so I wonder if you fitted extra limbs to a child, if the brain would automatically learn to use them, controlling 3 arms totally naturally?

It's likely, yes. In fact Prof. Miguel Nicolelis' research achieved just that in simian test subjects – you'd expect his results to hold for humans.

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I NEVER DONE BITCOIN, says bloke fingered by new Newsweek

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Re: Really?

Is there only one Satoshi Nakamoto on the planet (...)?

Not to mention that this Satoshi Nakamoto is conveniently an American citizen living in the US... Because, you know, Japanese citizens, what do they know about computers anyway?

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Heads I win, tails you lose

Hack walks over to bloke and asks "are you <insert random claim here, e.g. 'the creator of bitcoin'>?"

If bloke says "yes", that's the story right there.

If he says "no", the story is "Mr. so-and-so denies he's <random claim>".

Journalism: because the truth is out there, but Hell if I can be bothered to go and take a look.

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Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes

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Re: Is it just me..

(...) [I]s IT ignorance becoming the equivalent of 'the dog ate my homework'[?]

I don't know about IT ignorance, but IT in general has been a staple of poor performance scapegoating for quite a while. Where I come from, "sorry the system is down" has been the standard no-service excuse for well over a decade; according to an anecdote I heard, people have been even denied hospitalization on the grounds that the hospital's check-in system was off.

So yeah, this whole computer revolution of ours is turning quite convenient for slackers the world over...

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Google! and! Facebook! IDs! face! Yahoo! login! BAN!

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Re: And so Yahoo! continues

Come on, Marissa, you should know better than to become a pale copy of Google.

Should her?

I always thought she was brought in to "Googlify" Yahoo!

Why did they even give her the job then?

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Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

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Re: Developing nations

The big uns like that will continue to receive help/updates from MS

I doubt it. Enterprise has become MS's most important market, so it is in Redmond's best interests that the "big uns" let go of XP. And those are pretty much the clients that need to be prodded: ordinary consumers will upgrade automatically the next time they buy a PC, but big companies with IT departments can always get new machines wiped and refitted with Windows XP, for as long as the drivers remain compatible.

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