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* Posts by Steve Knox

1426 posts • joined 16 Jul 2011

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Not even CRIMINALS want your tablets, Blighty - but if that's an iPhone you're waving...

Steve Knox
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Re: Lots of stats, but...

Really? Just out of curiosity, what would such a pattern tell you?

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

Steve Knox
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Re: If you arew going to teach coding

Yes and no.

BlueGreen, John G Imrie said nothing about a full course in logic; he said a primer. An understanding of the basics of logic (Boolean algebra especially) is absolutely a requirement for even the simplest of programming tasks.

However, I think it would be a mistake to separate the principle and the practice in early courses, as the practice in this case is the best way to illustrate the principle. The ideal would be a series of programming projects which illustrate the different Boolean operators and principles of precedence while allowing students to create applications relevant to their interests..

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EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday

Steve Knox
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Re: Where???

Actually, the way you formatted the sentence makes it read like the updates were only posted for those customers who had repeatedly apologised to EE.

Which perversely makes sense, given their general customer support attitude.

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If you think 3D printing is just firing blanks, just you wait

Steve Knox
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Thumb Up

PROGRESS!

A cursory glance at my back catalogue of product reviews through the 1990s and 2000s reveals I was extremely critical of digital photography and inkjet printing in their early days, and look where they are today.

Yes, in the former, you have "professional" models which start at hundreds of pounds (or dollars) more than the "snapshot" models solely because they have interchangeable lenses (which themselves merit a second mortgage), and in the latter, you have cheap, efficient machines which work wonders provided you can put a third mortgage on your house to supply them with ink.

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Alienware injects EVEN MORE ALIEN into redesigned Area-51 gaming PC

Steve Knox
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Re: Slanted hard disk bays???

Those aren't hard disk bays -- they're video cards. There are no hard disks or recognizable bays for them in the shot of this side, and no shot of the other side. So we have no info on how they're mounted.

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Love XKCD? Love science? You'll love a book about science from Randall Munroe

Steve Knox
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Happy

I love it

When my two favorite web sites converge, if only for a brief moment.

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Ninja Pirate Zombie Vampires versus Chuck Norris and the Space Marines

Steve Knox
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Re: I fear for the future

Oh, and why are so many uninformed crazy folk suggesting that Daleks should be lumped in with robots? Don't you crazy people realise that there is a living creature inside a Dalek?

To be fair, El Reg itself is already lumping cyborgs, including Cybermen, in with robots too, even though cyborgs run the gamut from electronically-enhanced creature (e.g, Johnny Mnemonic, Captain Cyborg) through living brain in a machine body (e.g, Darth Vader, also roughly where the Daleks would fall on the scale -- technically there's more than a brain inside there, but depending on where exactly in the series you take them from, the organism's actual capabilities vary) or living body with an electronic brain, all the way to organically-enhanced machine (e.g, T-800 Model 101 [NOT T-101, BTW])

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Steve Knox
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Re: I fear for the future

More likely, as this is a "who would win in a fight"* type study, the less deadly-seeming ones were voted against in an attempt to avoid extraneous low-level rounds against lightweights.

Me, I'm an empiricist. Just because something appears to be wimpy doesn't mean anything; they need to be tested in battle.

It's too bad the comments are being voted against; I was hoping to nominate such luminaries as:

Charles Bronson (makes Chuck Norris look like the mewling pretty-boy he is)

The Vogons (not so hot with weapons, but the things they can do with a properly authorized requisition form [or more to the point, the things they can not get done for lack of the proper paperwork]...)

Betty White (seriously, do NOT cross her.)

*Although that in itselft might say something about our proclivity for violence as a race...

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Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

Steve Knox
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Half of the Story

It's not just a debt owed to the open source community. It's also a responsibility to your customers. This side of the story doesn't even depend on whether the software is open- or closed-source.

OpenSSL [Heartbleed] is a good open-source example of what can happen when many parties rely on a particular bit of software, but don't invest in the maintenance of that software. The best closed-source example might be Microsoft's unending train of patch management, often fixing bugs in decades-old software, because in the past they didn't take security seriously enough.

With closed-source software, your options are pretty much limited to paying license fees for the software and hoping that the developer uses those fees wisely in development and support.

With open-source software, there are more options, including direct involvement in development, code review, testing. Even a good bug report is a boon to developers.

Long story short: Open-source software (or even prebuilt closed libraries) isn't a way to build something for free: it's a way to build it fast. You always pay, whether it's in license/support fees, community involvement, or in lost reputation and income because your customers lose data or can't secure it properly with your systems.

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We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie

Steve Knox
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One of the European Commission’s targets at the IGF is to move it on from being “a mere talking shop”.

“The time is ripe to produce outcome documents, such as policy recommendations for voluntary adoption,” said a Commission source.

So rather than making statements that nobody pays attention to, they'll be producing documents that nobody pays attention to. PROGRESS!

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Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM

Steve Knox
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Trollface

The Solution is Obvious

Look for new rules requiring every site to have a unique IP address soon.

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Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Schadenfreudean Slip?

... a stricken sad-nav.

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

Steve Knox
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Re: This article's about the minority

No, you should be offended by those people (men and women) who are pigs. As the article says:

This isn't about gender wars: it’s not about men vs women, this is about acting like a grown up at a professional conference.

The author's examples are of being harassed by men, because she's been harassed by men. But her point is that such behavior is unprofessional regardless of source or target.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Steve Knox
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Re: @ Khaptain (was: Personally ...)

BSD and Linux (and Minix, Coherent, et alia) were written in vi...

Remind me again which of those is a science fiction novel?

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Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years

Steve Knox
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What about the people who filmed it originally?

They're the ones who should be jailed...

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Cult of T-Mob US wants you to INDOCTRINATE your friends and family

Steve Knox
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So have they...

fixed the massive holes in their coverage yet?

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Get ready: The top-bracket young coders of the 2020s will be mostly GIRLS

Steve Knox
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FAIL

"You can look at the results for ICT as well as computing below."

If you want to strain your eyes looking at an incredibly small, blurred screenshot.

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Hi-ho EVO: VMware eyes TWO new hardware-flavored trademarks

Steve Knox
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Funny

I thought EVO was an SSD line from Samsung...

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Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows

Steve Knox
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WTF?

Re: Standard Windows timings

Wait, you've done one Windows install (two if you count the repeat), so you feel qualified to generalize how it installs on any hardware?

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EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: Sauce For The Goose...

"Try working in local government before you rattle on about how corrupt/wasteful/secretive it is."

Straw man argument - I didn't single out local government for criticism, but don't let that interfere with your right to feel offended.

So you pick out one sentence of a longer, more complicated post, and use a technical discrepancy between that sentence and your post to try to invalidate the poster's entire argument...and you call their argument a straw man?

Please learn about logic before posting again.

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UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones

Steve Knox
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Re: we need the public to become educated in the tools they are using and what can be installed

"Unlike El Reg and its commentards, not everybody devotes their whole life to being a tech expert. IMO, pins set by default would help those normal people."

And not everyone becomes a car mechanic, but we still expect them to be able to change a tyre, replace a fuse/bulb, check pressure/oil/water etc. This is no different.

Oh goody, the automobile analogy. Let's run with that one:

Does your auto dealer sell you a car with no door locks and an arcane document telling you how to install your own? 'cos that's essentially what you get with phones today.

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

Steve Knox
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Re: Condition

"and omit the ActiveX support."

That's rarely an issue these days. Over 90% of desktop / laptop exploits in the last year involved Java....

...which in IE is implemented as an ActiveX control...

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Time to ditch HTTP – govt malware injection kit thrust into spotlight

Steve Knox
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Re: Well, but in this case HTTPS wouldn't help

Most governments already run their own CAs which means they can easily issue fake certificates which will be accepted by the browser.

Only if your browser is configured to trust the government-run CA. If you don't know how to change the CAs your browser will trust, google <your browser> manage certificates.

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Steve Knox
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Coat

So how long until...

Cortana goes titsup...?

(The dirty mac, please.)

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

"...which it difficult to print them a business card..."

That's not a typo on my part (or El Reg's for that matter); that's a direct copy from his blog post.

Sigh.

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Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp

Steve Knox
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Paris Hilton

What!?

... the extrapolated trend would show TLC NAND costing the same as SATA disks after 2070.

Did you just try to extend a technology-specific trend line out for 50 years!?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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Apple, Intel, Google told to stop being tightwads and pay out MORE in wage-fix settlement

Steve Knox
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Happy

Re: A US Judge has smited an attempt

Yes, but an even better phrasing would be:

Apple, Google, et al. smitten by Judge Lucy Koh.

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IBM boffins stuff 16 million-neuron chips into binary 'frog' brain

Steve Knox
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Re: Reinventing the flat tyre

That's what it's designed for. See the PRNGs in the diagram? They're there to provide the unreliability*, essentially.

* Specifically, they're there to add noise to the spike thresholds for the neurons. The desired effect is neurons may fire before their threshold is reached (?intuition?) or may not fire when they "should" (?anyone got a good term for this -- ironically, I can't think of one!?).

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Citrix reveals product design methodology, asks YOU to use it

Steve Knox
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Given the quality I've seen from Citrix of late...

$100 sounds about right.

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CryptoLocker victims offered free key to unlock ransomed files

Steve Knox
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Facepalm

Re: The real question is "who is really behind Cryptolocker" ?

No, these are well-known security companies who participated in the recent takedown of some C&C servers. The tool didn't appear like magic; it's pretty well explained in the article.

The truth is known, you just don't want to accept it.

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IBM can't give away its chip business: report

Steve Knox
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Headmaster

Re: "Big Blue is believed to leak a billion or two dollars each year"

<pendant>

....

</pendant>

Well? Don't leave us hanging!

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SCORE: Rosetta probe hits orbit of duck-shaped comet

Steve Knox
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Coat

Title

Europe space team scores WORLD FIRST

Comet first, shurely...

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Google on Gmail child abuse trawl: We're NOT looking for other crimes

Steve Knox
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Re: slippery slope or lawsuit magnet?

At no point did I suggest that Google was breaking the terms of its contract.

I didn't say that you did. I was pointing out that what you said was "not Google's job" was also not prohibited, and so your using that to rebut AndyS's argument that law enforcement properly obtained their warrant was specious.

I was suggesting that this kind of data mining is not in the long term interests of society (although I am very persuaded by the postcard argument).

I think you need to be more specific about "this kind of data mining". Do you mean specifically what Google did to find out about these images? Does "this kind of data mining" extend to what the NSA's doing? What about to what Assange, Manning, and Snowden did? That was data mining, too.

As to the slippery slope, what is fallacious about it?

The presumption that one instance will necessarily lead to another, which is necessarily worse. That's the definition, and the flaw, of a slippery-slope argument.

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Steve Knox
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Re: slippery slope or lawsuit magnet?

It is the job of the law enforcement agencies to approach Google with a warrant, not for Google to approach law enforcement agencies and suggest that they might want to take a warrant out on one of their clients.

But it is not illegal for Google to do so if they tell the client they might do so and the client agrees. When you sign up for gmail, you are agreeing to let them do all sorts of stuff with your data.

If you're a witness to a crime, you are not necessarily required by law to report it, but that doesn't mean it's wrong for you to report it.

I concede that, in this case, the right outcome was achieved - but I worry that this will make it harder for the right outcome to be achieved in the future, and that it could result ...blah blah blah.

Do you have an argument that isn't based on the slippery slope fallacy?

Something along the lines of, maybe, "Google's terms and conditions don't adequately spell out that they'll be scanning your images for child abuse images" or "<insert locality privacy law here> prohibits Google from performing this scanning" would be appropriate, if borne out by the evidence.

I don't have a gmail account, so I can't be arsed to research this, but I think you'll find that Google has. They've been wrong before, though.

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UK WhatsApp duo convicted of possessing extreme porn

Steve Knox
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Re: That's just plain wrong...

Solicitors don't agree cases in front of judge.....

Well, that's certainly true. The last five words are practically superfluous.

Whether solicitors argue cases in front of judges depends on the specific country's justice system and specific court (and even time period.)

Even if you meant to contrast solicitors with barristers in England, now solicitors can argue cases in court, and in the past the hiring of a solicitor was a prerequisite to the engagement of a barrister. In any case, whilst a barrister might be a benefit, a good solicitor would be as well...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solicitor

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Lawyer for alleged Silk Road kingpin wants all evidence thrown out

Steve Knox
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Re: but I thought

Nope.

The assertion that the evidence was not obtained properly is not tied to his assertion of innocence. Before the second can be tested, the first must be resolved, because the evidence is what must be used to test the assertion of innocence.

Or to put it more simply, the fact that evidence was obtained from a person, legally or not, does not mean that that person is guilty of something.

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We sent a probe SIX BILLION km to measure temperature of a COMET doing 135,000 km/h

Steve Knox
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Re: Celsius?

I thought it was 0.01 degree.

You are correct. I'm not sure if I misread or mistyped it. But the point is that Celsius and Centigrade differ by a known, constant quantity which is less than the precision used in the article. So for the purposes of this discussion, they are interchangeable.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Celsius?

Celsius and Centigrade agree to within 0.1 degree. So if you know one, you know the other to within 0.1 degree.

Since the level of precision used in the article is either 1 or 10 degrees, either label is accurate.

NO international standard of measure requires the use of specific equipment or methodology to use, as you wrongly claim. There are specific standards against which any equipment or methodology must be calibrated and proven, but once properly calibrated any equipment and methodology which has been proven can be used.

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Microsoft: IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is TOO GOOD. So we'll cripple it like Safari

Steve Knox
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Flame

Re: Mobile-specific web pages are usually a UI travesty

Unfortunately pinch to zoom does more than just enlarge things - it starts mangling coordinate systems and triggering events and overflows. So people sometimes disable it to prevent a site from breaking in other ways.

Rather than redesigning their sites to take into account the fact that HTML was designed from the beginning to flow.

Even El Reg is guilty of this. See those giant empty bands on either side of your widescreen display? Those are there because web designers are too stupid to make the content pane dynamically resize to fit the screen. So readers have to scroll more and read less at a time, because most sites are still based on a horribly ill-fitting fixed-width model of the antiquated print industry.

The only reason so many web designers still have work is because they keep having to come up with more shite hacks to make their original shite hacks compatible with new standards.

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

Steve Knox
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" I was always taught when looking at a paper then I needed to consider the perspective of the writer and the context of the paper."

A true observation is a true observation, it shouldn't matter who says it.

A statement needs to be shown to be true before being accepted as true.

But if you are adopting this approach then you'll have to take into account the fact that those working in climate 'science' have a massively vested interest in not de-railing the funding bandwagon. What are they all going to do when the sham is exposed?

Well, with that modelling expertise, they could work in financial systems. In fact, if the money is their motivation, they should do that now. <a href="http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/02/if-climate-scientists-push-the-consensus-its-not-for-the-money/>http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/02/if-climate-scientists-push-the-consensus-its-not-for-the-money/</a>

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Steve Knox
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Re: Maths is not science?

"Science is an acceptance of a working hypothesis, a model, ready to be struck down and replaced at any moment, when a better one is found,"

A better one doesn't have to be found.

If an experiment shows a hypothesis to be wrong, then it's wrong.

End of.

Not quite, especially in physics.

Observation in the nineteenth century showed that Newton's hypotheses were wrong, but they were accepted because the variances were a) generally found in edge cases, b) not significant for most purposes, and c) sometimes discarded as observational error.

Now we know that Newton was indeed wrong, but his equations are still used, because a) and b) above are still true, and his equations are easier to wrangle than Einstein's.

Hypotheses and models aren't disposed of immediately upon discovery (or even verification) of counterevidence; they are still valuable provided they are the closest or even an acceptable approximation.

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Steve Knox
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Holmes

Re: Medical Doctor

Because this is a Lewis Page article on climate change. Anything which doesn't fit his narrative is quietly ignored.

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Steve Knox
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Re: Serious (maths) question ...

In this context, "chaotic" means "complex and highly sensitive to initial conditions", and not "non-deterministic" as commonly interpreted. The short answer is that regular sampling can give insight into trends and correlations.

Wikipedia is a surprisingly good starting point for questions like these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaotic_systems#Distinguishing_random_from_chaotic_data. As usual, don't take it as gospel, but you can get the basic idea, and follow the references for more detail.

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Steve Knox
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Boffin

Selectivity

"About one third of all the CO2 emitted by mankind since the industrial revolution has been put into the atmosphere since 1997; yet there has been no statistically significant increase in the mean global temperature since then," the two MPs state.

Why did they pick 1997? Because 1997 and 1998 were high-anomaly years,so they skew short-term analysis. Had they started from 1999, or 1996, they would have seen a clear trend. The overall trend is clearly warming, even from 1997 onward. http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.txt

"By definition, a period with record emissions but no warming cannot provide evidence that emissions are the dominant cause of warming!"

This statement ignores so many factors (e.g, selective dataset, overall chaotic nature of the system being studied, delaying factors) that I'm ashamed it was released by human beings, let alone ones with "scientific training."

Even someone trained as a scientist can fall prey to poor (or even intentionally biased) data selection. This is why we have the scientific method.

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HGST polishes Ultrastar SSD whoppers, stuffs with denser Intel flash

Steve Knox
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Happy

Comparison Pic

Based on the comparison picture, it appears that the 800MH.B has a daughterboard (and hence more flash total than the 1600s -- makes sense for the write-intensive application.)

But what's more interesting is that the MM and MR appear to use the same board, indicating perhaps just a firmware change to differentiate between balanced and read-intensive operations.

However, I thought that it had been medically proven that regular reading does not harm your eyesight -- so what accounts for the read-intensive MR being so much blurrier...?

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Colbert report reveals VMware's AirWatch integration plan

Steve Knox
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Mushroom

Why does EVERY IT corp try to do EVERYTHING!?

VMWare does virtualization. Quite well.

But they can't stop there, can they? They have to buy and extend and grow until they do a ton of stuff really crappily, including their once core business of virtualization.

And they're not the only ones. Microsoft's OS has suffered by their (mostly failed) attempts to extend into everything. Google's search engine, once proud of their lightweight, simple interface, is now cluttered with more ads for Google services than actual search results. Symantec began life as a seller of simple but functional utilities, and now most of their products are little more than bloatware. And Citrix -- well, they've always been a bit crap ; )

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

Steve Knox
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Re: power grid

Riley went through the last 50 years of solar data and calculated that the chances of a Carrington-class storm hitting Earth over a decade were 12 per cent.

12% seems unlikely, but not quite impossible. Before this story, the more common estimate was that Carringtons happened once every century, which seems more believable.

Well, If the chances are 12% per decade, then the chances of at least one per century are roughly 1-(1-0.12)^10 = 1-(0.88)^12 = 1-0.2785 +~72%. The chances of exactly one per century are roughly 38%. The chances of more than two per century are only ~10.9%

With these chances, over time, you'd average ~1.2 per century.

So there's really not much difference between a 12% chance per decade and an average of one per century. (The difference would be one extra event every 500 years, on average.)

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Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you

Steve Knox
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Joke

No, they mean THE average organisation.

The Average Organisation -- Mediocrity since 1834.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

Steve Knox
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Trollface

Simple Solution

Devalue the pound.

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