* Posts by Dave 126

5548 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Dave 126
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Re: Adding More than Simple Depth to the Widening Web

Bug powder dust and Mugwump jism. Wideboys running around Interzone tripping.

The fruits of their “scientific” labors are what have created our societies and they have been, in the main, if not ignored, dismissed. They have always been perceived as being “eccentric”, “a little bit odd” even “barking mad” but they have left us with all things, some which we can treasure and all that we thought we needed. - dDutch Initiative

Intelligence, which is capable of looking farther ahead than the next aggressive mutation, can set up long-term aims and work towards them; the same amount of raw invention that bursts in all directions from the market can be - to some degree - channelled and directed, so that while the market merely shines (and the feudal gutters), the planned lases, reaching out coherently and efficiently towards agreed-on goals. What is vital for such a scheme, however, and what was always missing in the planned economies of our world's experience, is the continual, intimate and decisive participation of the mass of the citizenry in determining these goals, and designing as well as implementing the plans which should lead towards them. Iain M Banks

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Dave 126
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Re: Nice review of Robots in fiction ...

>Iain M. Banks is self indulgent fantasy.

To be self indulgent is point of fantasy. Self awareness is throughout Bank's 'A Few Notes On The Culture', an excerpt from which is here:

Certainly there are arguments against the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, but they tend to boil down to one of three assertions: one, that there is some vital field or other presently intangible influence exclusive to biological life - perhaps even carbon-based biological life - which may eventually fall within the remit of scientific understanding but which cannot be emulated in any other form (all of which is neither impossible nor likely); two, that self-awareness resides in a supernatural soul - presumably linked to a broad-based occult system involving gods or a god, reincarnation or whatever - and which one assumes can never be understood scientifically (equally improbable, though I do write as an atheist); and, three, that matter cannot become self-aware (or more precisely that it cannot support any informational formulation which might be said to be self-aware or taken together with its material substrate exhibit the signs of self-awareness). ...I leave all the more than nominally self-aware readers to spot the logical problem with that argument.

It is, of course, entirely possible that real AIs will refuse to have anything to do with their human creators (or rather, perhaps, the human creators of their non-human creators), but assuming that they do - and the design of their software may be amenable to optimization in this regard - I would argue that it is quite possible they would agree to help further the aims of their source civilisation (a contention we'll return to shortly). At this point, regardless of whatever alterations humanity might impose on itself through genetic manipulation, humanity would no longer be a one-sentience-type species. The future of our species would affect, be affected by and coexist with the future of the AI life-forms we create.

- http://www.vavatch.co.uk/books/banks/cultnote.htm

-Iain M Banks

(Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry)

Copyright 1994 Iain M Banks

Commercial use only by permission.

Other uses, distribution, reproduction, tearing to shreds etc are freely encouraged provided the source is acknowledged.

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Dave 126
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Re: Interest in AI has definitely flucuated over the years

Sounds like your instructor was an old hippie who had read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance...

A tutor suggests that a student overcome their inability to write about a house by writing thousands of words about a brick.

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Dave 126
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>"Books have formed the foundation for many filmic adaptions and contemporary creative investigations into the relationship between AI and human consciousness."

>I see what you did there.

So do I :)

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Dave 126
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Re: And also in 1994....

Captain Keyes in Halo exhibited the same infuriating tendency to get himself killed.

As did that woman in Goldeneye.

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Dave 126
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Re: "what it is that makes us human when computers and machines can educate themselves"

More than arms, what it would need is:

Motivation.

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Dave 126
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Re: GLaDOS

Yep, he did gloss over fictional AIs from video games.

He mentioned SHODAN, but missed out:

- Durandal (though only 90s Mac gamers could be expected to know it)

- Cortana, and 343 Guilty Spark. Cortana was a fictional AI aide to military commanders, and later her gave her name to Microsoft's 'personal assistant' software, which itself was, as was Siri, derived from Department of Defence projects in the 90s designed to triage tactically-relevant information for real battlefield commanders.

Quazatron (okay, that was on the ZX Spectrum)

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Dave 126
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Dr. Minsky himself co-authored a novel about an AI robot... it took the form of a cylinder, and had appendages that kept sub-dividing, which it uses to perform brain surgery on its human ally.

EDIT: Found it: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1807642.The_Turing_Option

Hahaha Minsky's co-author was Harry Harrison! Fantastic!

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Dave 126
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Re: Directors...

>Apparently some footage from "The Shining" made it into the U.S. theatrical cut. Who knew?!

That was fairly widely known, ever since the Director's Cut in the 90s, and again later in the internet age when Scott released the Ultimate Edition. What was new to me, however, was that the footage was given by Kubrick to a fed-up Scott, and the difference in aspect ratios made this re-purposing possible (otherwise there would be a VW Beetle in Blade Runner).

On a tangential side note, some people important to Scott's film Alien (Dan O'Bannon, HR Giger, Chris Foss) were first assembled by the director Jodorowsky for an abandoned adaptation of Herbert's Dune. Dune is set in an apparently post-AI universe, long after a human crusade to destroy all AIs in a 'Butlerian Jihad'. A similar issue is explored in Iain M Bank's non-Culture sci-fi novel The Algebraist.

And yeah, in interviews an exasperated Scott has confirmed the theories about Deckard by pointing out a detail in what should be the last scene (before the extra Kubrick-shot footage was bolted on); a character dops a certain item on the ground. The actor playing him would later play Admiral Adama in the new Battlestar Gallactica.

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SpaceX breaks capsule 'chute world record

Dave 126
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Advanced alien technology?

The NASA Blog talks of "The mass simulator and parachutes were released thousands of feet above the ground from a C-130 cargo aircraft. "

By 'mass simulator', do they just mean a big weight, or have they some sort of Einstein-worrying technology? If the latter, what the hell are they doing messing around with rockets?!

- https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2016/01/27/spacex-tests-crew-dragon-parachutes/

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Dave 126
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Re: The correct number of parachutes to own is n+1

Nah, it's like a four-leaved clover - it's luckier than the regular 3-leaved variety!

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Open source plugin aims to defeat link rot

Dave 126
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Re: Hosts

To late-comers to this thread: There was a ghastly animated GIF that has now been replaced by a nice warm picture of some chains.

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The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Dave 126
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Re: Autopilot

And the tree-surgeon equivalent is loping off the very same branch to which they have secured their harness. This is sadly not unheard of.

***

My new favourite tool is an LED floodlight that runs off 18v power tool batteries. It is so bloody handy! Unless, of course, you are accustomed to using mains-powered halogen floodlights to help walls dry.

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Dave 126
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I've thinking of installing another cup holder on my laptop - the current one is one the right hand side, even though the fan exhaust* that would do a lovely job of keeping my coffee warm is on the left hand side of the laptop. That's poor design, if you ask me!

(* cooling a Core 2 Duo T9550 and an nVidia card... the machine is a fan heater that also does sums. I can't remember when I last used its optical drive. )

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Dave 126
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>If I had a quid for every colleague who hadn't caught onto the fact that the monitor isn't "the computer" so switching it on/off doesn't of itself make computing happen I'd be a good few pints better off.

I've encountered a few people who referred to the monitor as the 'computer', and the PC itself as the 'hard disk', and I've never been in (paid) IT support.

So, anecdotally, accounts like Terry's are (or at least were) far from rare.

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AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

Dave 126
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tl;dr

What some people find fun can be useful to society.

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Dave 126
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Maybe hedonism, but I know quite a few retired engineers who amuse themselves, when not in the pub,with some silly projects. Last month, for a few days, a pub table was covered in schematics of a washing machine motor control box, being looked at by some very qualified physicists, engineers and mechanics... someone wanted to re-purpose the motor to make a hovercraft.

Then there is a local billionaire, founder of a very respected high-end manufacturing concern, who could have retired years ago. But no, in his seventies he goes to work everyday because he evidently enjoys engineering. If he retired, what would he do - build a model railway?

Then you have the Felix Dennis types, who in retrospect wished they had stopped earning when they hit £30 million. He clams to have given up the cocaine and prostitutes at the age of sixty, but even when he indulged it didn't take too much of his time from working.

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Dave 126
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Re: @ Mage Actually ...

Oh come on guys, the references to Judge Dredd and various computer games, not to mention light-hearted touches (Japanese pensioners being crushed by a robot, poker players being meatbags) should have suggested that the article was not a sober academic piece about AI.

Of course, a real human would have noticed that the article was partly tongue-in-cheek, leading me to suspect that some of the comments above were made by 'AI's in Beta.

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30 years on from Challenger, NASA remembers the fallen

Dave 126
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Re: Was a very long day for me.

>I've watched NASA and, sorry, they haven't changed a bit. Even worse, actually.

That's as maybe, but they're not putting people into orbit any more.

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Dave 126
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Re: RIP the few -a testament to pioneer spirit.

It turned out Mr Feynman wasn't joking.

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Dave 126
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Re: I remember Challenger...

>I really wish Buzz Aldrin had been "first out the gate" as he would have been far more public and outspoken.

That was exactly the reason the mission planners chose Armstrong over Aldrin. They considered Aldrin a hothead.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/why-neil-armstrong/6362508 ( mp3 download )

Highlights of Why Neil Armstrong ? presented by the Space association of Australia and the Royal Aeronautical society. RMIT 24th March 2015

James Hansen, Armstrong's official biographer, untangles some of the facts from the fiction and looks in great detail at the events and circumstances that led to Armstrong being remembered as the first man on the moon.

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Major Hollywood studio eyes Paint Drying sequel

Dave 126
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Primer

The second film from the writer/director/actor/etc of Primer, Shane Carruth, was Upstream Colour.

Unlike my suggestions above, I'm not making this up:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084989/

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Dave 126
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Robbie Coltrane

[Paint] Runs on the Run

The [Cellulose] Dope Must Dry

[Eggshell] Cracker

(I'm sorry, I have a cold and didn't get much sleep last night. I had strange dreams too, in which Robbie Coltrane did not feature. I don't where the above line of thought has come from)

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Dave 126
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Re: Paint Drying 2: Dry Hard

That should be:

An Emulsional Roller-Coater ride

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Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

Dave 126
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Re: RE: Start encrypting every bit of Internet traffic

>How do you monitor a language you don't know ?

There would be patterns, and statistical anomalies. Such techniques have been used to decipher long dead languages.

Of course, the bad guys could use rules to change the meaning of code words, ( e.g 'mango' mean 'bomb' but only if the football team who are currently 3rd in the premier division wear a blue strip, else 'ten mil spanner' is the magic word) but that requires discipline in their op sec. and perhaps wouldn't be considered a 'language'.

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Sensors, not CPUs, are the tech that swings the smartphone market

Dave 126
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Re: A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing.

>OK as a sat nav - but not as accurate or durable as a dedicated unit

As a sat-nav, phones do have one trick up their sleeve over dedicated units: real time traffic information. Indeed, if you are feeling social, you can install an app that will add to the pool of real-time data, to everyone's benefit.

>- OK as a music player, but not the sound quality of a dedicated unit

That depends on the phone; some are very good, like the LG G2 or some variants of the Galaxy S3. But yeah, a dedicated player can be left plugged into your amp when a phone call comes in.

But yeah, I absolutely accept your general point, my quibbling aside.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

>Then why define the need for it to be running spinning rust?

No worries, Known Hero! The spinning rust was just was just low-hanging fruit. Like I said, there are many ways of judging 'faster', and the 'last-but-one desktop*' could cover such a range of machines that it's silly. :)

It's all good though - even a £25 Chromecast or Raspberry Pi can shunt out HD video at a faster framerate than many a desktop I've seen, desktops that for many popular tasks aren't frustratingly slow.

*The original author would not be too unusual if he had last bought a desktop in, say 2005, and had since just used laptops.

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Dave 126
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Re: >we tend to judge of our computers by their CPUs, rather than their complement of sensors

>Give me a phone which can run a bog-standard linux distro and applications please, and give me a linux distro which can run on a phone.

I won't give it to you, you can buy it yourself! If you want command line Linux applications on a phone, a Ubuntu phone will do that, or a Sailfish in some circumstances.

If you want to use Linux GUI applications on a phone, then you are a masochist.

(I tried using Inkscape on an Android phone. It was a horrible experience. I can imagine the same is true of many GUI Linux applications on a small touchscreen. )

Good luck.

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Dave 126
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Re: A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing.

Quite a few modern phones already have a far higher pixel density than benefits the reading of web-pages and the like. Indeed, some of them boast so many PPI that one suspects it is more motivated by bragging rights than user utility, especially given the detrimental effect on the battery.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

>"Apple cleverly added a proximity sensor - infrared reflected off skin" - I had a Nortel with an IR proximity sensor in 1997...

I once had a capacitive touchscreen phone that lacked a (ear) proximity sensor... after waiting on hold to a utility company for twenty minutes and just getting through to a human, my cheek brushed the 'End Call' button. The phone was lucky not to be thrown across the car park.

The first iPhone had a very poor battery life (one of the reasons it lacked 3G) so the proximity sensor also helped in that regard, as noted in the article. I don't know about your Nortel, but I imagine it had a reasonable battery life anyway.

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

I have no need to skew the comparison, Known Hero. In fact my very first sentence included " all I'm saying is that there are a few ways of interpreting the "Y is faster than Z claim"."

The original author made a throw-away comparison, but he knows what the last-but-one desktop computer he bought was. We do not.

He could have used any new flagship smartphone, and the chances are his claim would still hold, so I didn't see it as 'Apple Koolaid' (which OP claimed) since 'Koolaid' is used colloquially to cast doubt on someone's judgement. In this case undeservedly so, since the author's claim is plausible - or likely even, if his last few PCs have been laptops.

He wasn't saying 'Apple is great', but that 'Moores Law means you can get a lot of grunt in small package today'.

( There are people who will tell you that the iPhone is faster than damned-near any other phone, but they defend against claims of Koolaid by describing their testing methodology and any hurdles in conducting a truly objective test: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8554/the-iphone-6-review/5 )

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Dave 126
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It's just an assumption that the author has been buying lots of recent desktops. The sales figures for desktops support the idea that many people find an older PC with no sdd fast enough.

It is perfectly possible for an iPhone - or Snapdragon or Samsung SoC to be faster than an older, but still fast enough, PC

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Dave 126
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Re: At the Apple koolade again?

The A9 chip isn't just doing CPU duties, it's doing GPU duties too - so all I'm saying is that there are a few ways of interpreting the "Y is faster than Z claim".

There is also the task-based measure of speed - how long does this thing take to open an email client, for example. I would imagine that the iPhone would load its mail client faster than any desktop computer that uses a spinning rust HDD. You might cry foul, saying that an app on iOS or Android app is smaller than a Windows/Linix equivilent, but he was clearly comparing two computing systems, not two CPUs.

Of course, the same is true of the top offerings from Qualcom or Samsung, too. The article author was just using the iPhone as an example against desktop computers, and wasn't comparing it to other phones.

In any case, Intel chips haven't got that much faster year-on-year recently... they have been 'fast enough' for some time, so Intel have concentrated on making them more power efficient (tangible benefits include longer battery on laptops, quieter operation and smaller form-factors on desktops.)

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OnePlus ends rationing. You can now buy its phones just like that!

Dave 126
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Re: What?

>Surely if your margin is tight you have to make many units to turn a decent profit??

For sure, but only if you have enough money or credit.

Otherwise you just have the volume of production that you can afford.

If at this point you have lower margins, it will take you longer to get the money together to up production than it would a company who is making more money on each device.

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Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

Dave 126
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Re: Confused

Google's Go beat the human European champion. Facebook's Go hasn't.

Really though, the rival computers should play each other!

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Dave 126
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Re: Atoms

A 19 x 19 grid. So there are 361 intersections,or nodes. Each intersection can be Black, White or Empty.

So you have 3^361. That's 1.74×10^172, of which only 1.196% could be a legal move. So that's a mere 2.08168199382×10^170 possible combinations. That's 208168199381979984699478633344862770286522453884530548425639456820927419612738015378525648451698519643907259916015628128546089888314427129715319317557736620397247064840935

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_and_mathematics#Legal_positions

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Dave 126
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Re: Very Impressive

>No it is not [AI, specialized or general]. Neither by Turing nor by Azimov's criteria.

It'll only be AI when it gets drunk, mooches online, and then proceeds to argue over semantics on an El Reg forum.

Bite my shiny metal ass!

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

Dave 126
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>Once you reach that level then the best you can hope for - without increasing the range - is to maintain market share

Absolutely, hence the talk about the Next Big Thing. Remember that Apple made their money by increasing their range, i.e by entering Sony and Aiwa's personal music player market, and entering the music distribution business. Later on, it was Nokia's lunch they ate. (yeah, I'm over generalising)

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Dave 126
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Re: A sad day

A couple of things that are fairly self-evident:

- Anyone here who thinks they know what the NBT* will be has a strong incentive keep it to themselves.

- Apple are very, very far away from panic mode yet (remember, it's only Apple's own iPhone sales forecasts that are lower, based on last week's financial news about China where 1/4 of iPhones are sold. The markets knew this already). As such, Apple's attempts to enter the NBT won't be done hastily - they will have been actively conducting due process for years, and it's a game they have played well before. That's a not a guarantee they will succeed, of course, but they have a fairly strong hand.

That said, I already have every material thing I want... a phone to contact friends, and a vehicle to visit them in. My stereo system is loud enough, most of which dates from the 1980s. My coffee device, a moulded plastic plunger thing, makes good coffee anywhere. You get the idea. Come the Zombie apocalypse, I might revisit my chainsaw and shotgun choices of course, but for the time being I'm all good. So... maybe there isn't a NBT?

*Next Big Thing (TM)... (see comment above) yep, I'll steal that! Cheers!

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Stop the music! Booby-trapped song carjacked vehicles – security prof

Dave 126
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Re: WMA

I dunno, I reckon Sony's Sonic Stage could have given them a run for their money on the idiot stakes.

But hey, they're tamed beasts these days, if not reformed characters. Sony's proprietary sillines now looks like a cute idiosyncrasy these days, now that they're in a more humble must-try-harder market position.

I can't even be bothered to curse Microsoft these days either, since Windows 7 doesn't do anything too stupid (as opposed to Vista, XP, 2K Me 98, 95).

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Dave 126
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Re: Just use firewalls and intrusion detection systems ..

>Did no one at the design stage ask the question as to whether these automobile systems could be hacked?

They had no need to ask that when they designed CANBus, because no one was in the habit of connecting it to anything that received wireless data. It's a sound system.

What is daft building a vehicle that includes a module that can both talk to the drivetrain and receive wireless data.

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Dave 126
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Re: Diagnostics and audio

You don't need a firewall, you just need to use *listen-only* modules where appropriate. After all, the store needs to listen to the network to get engine speed, but the stereo doest need to transmit anything.

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Dave 126
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Re: why?

iWhat DougS said.

CANBus's two speeds were traditionally Drivetrain and Infotainment/VAC. The Drivetrain ran at a higher frequency, and the Infotainment at a lower frequency. It runs on a twisted pair of wires, with ground being through the power supply to each module.

It's a packet-based system, with priority. All modules (NXP, Bosh, Whoever) can send and receive, and be either sensors and/or actuators. The high speed version will only run if both wires in the twisted pair are good, the low speed version is tolerant of a fault in either wire.

If you break down, you can still listen to the radio and wind the windows down whilst waiting for the recovery vehicle. So far, so good. Very good, in fact.

Further commands to remote control the vehicle could then be received via the car's built in cellular connection.

Very good, as long as you don't fit a digital wireless receiver to the vehicle's physical network.

I can't think of any reason why a car stereo needs to communicate to the drivetrain. But:

It's not just a bloody stereo these days; it's used to control drivetrain features, such as Sport / Eco modes...

(Not my old van, the £50 Lidl Stereo that plays SD Cards and USB sticks is still working and van doesn't have any built in Sat Nav or cellular radio. Actually TBH, recently it sounds like the capacitors in my stereo are on their way out, but must have got 5 years out of it.)

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Dave 126
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Re: 'Here in my car, it's a safe place to be, i can lock all my doors.....

Gary Numan is probably safe... he used a Mellatron keyboard, a splendidly analogue (and not networked) way of doing what people would now do digitally.

Each key was linked to a coiled length of magnetic tape, and playing the note pulled the tape across a head. Maximum 'sample' size was eight seconds, after which (or after releasing the key) you could hear the tape being rapidly wound back into its spool, if you held your ear near by.

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Dave 126
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Re: The stupidity is you

@Kevin

From the article:

[After playing the Trojan .WMA] "Further commands to remote control the vehicle could then be received via the car's builtin cellular connection."

So, the attacker doesn't need physical access to the car, they 'just' need to socially engineer the owner into playing the CD.

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Flock of sheep ends NZ high-speed car chase

Dave 126
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Re: Sheep used as a roadblock?

What? People for the Eating of Tasty Animals?

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Dave 126
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Re: NZ Rally

It would appear that the first AC doesn't appreciate the difference between concave and convex structures, from a mechanical strength point of view.

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Dave 126
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NZ Rally

I was watching a NZ stage of the World Rally Championship a few years back. The camera was mounted in the cab of a car that was absolutely hooning it down a mountain road. At that speed, there was a small speck of white in the distance, that within the blink of an eye was a flash of red across the windscreen.

"And that was one of New Zealand's 30 million sheep" observed the commentator.

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Apple's Tim Cook rocks up at Vatican - one week after Schmidt

Dave 126
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You're thinking of Bono.

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Dave 126
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For anyone unsure if Bibbit was joking or not:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/once-upon-a-time-the-catholic-church-decided-that-beavers-were-fish/

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