* Posts by T. F. M. Reader

456 posts • joined 19 Dec 2012

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Drum roll, please .... Results are in for the collective noun for security vulns

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

@ElRegUser007: "What's the collective noun for collective nouns?"

A homology or autology? I have a mild stylistic preference to the first one.

See Grelling-Nelson paradox for the inspiration.

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What time is it Oxford Dictionaries? How about almost ‘beer o’clock’

T. F. M. Reader
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Mx.?

This was the most surprising inclusion for me. My first thought was that it stood for "Minx". Then I looked it up...

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New low for humanity: ONE BEELLION lost souls log on to Facebook in one day

T. F. M. Reader
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New low indeed...

Everybody logged to Facebook to see who of their buddies found what in Ashley Madison dumps?

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Security for those who know they can't win the security war

T. F. M. Reader
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Missed a statistics lesson?

Lesson well and truly learned: most laptops that are stolen are by opportunistic thieves.

If I understood the article correctly, that conclusion is based on a sample of 1, right?

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Glaring flaw in Apple car hype-gasm: The iGiant likes to make money

T. F. M. Reader
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Who cares how profitable the auto industry is?

Build a "revolutionary" Kia, charge as if it were a Lamborghini, enjoy the gross margin... Offer financing at a particularly high interest rate to every barista who absolutely must have the newest model.

This is not a jibe at Apple. They are rather amazingly successful doing exactly that (minus financing?) in a very crowded industry that is supposed to be extremely competitive and where margins should be low. There is no reason why they shouldn't be able to pull the same trick again. Except the auto industry might not be as forgiving when Mr. Cook tells someone the brakes didn't work because he was pressing the pedal wrong. The attitudes towards patented rounded corners may turn out quite different, too. But those are different - and not necessarily compelling - arguments.

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What Ashley Madison did and did NOT delete if you paid $19 – and why it may cost it $5m+

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Greasy

Full delete means there are no records kept.

Is it really true, ever? Does anyone scrub backups?

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Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Poor analogy

If you want to go down that road (sorry...), how about the fastest motorways being toll roads (same price for everyone, and no one is excluded, but you have to pay it on top of the taxes if you wish to use high bandwidth, low latency pipes)? And if you pay a moderate fee in advance your packets get a special flag in the headers so that they don't sit in buffers at ingress or egress points and are switched using separate high priority queues with lower latency? Will that still be considered neutral?

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US military says it will discipline Ashley Madison users

T. F. M. Reader
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@AC : "Don't be silly."

Back to you. How many of those who used their military email addresses actually browsed to the site and emailed their "dates" from their service computers? While on duty? There will be logs, caches, cookies, backups, all sorts of records. Won't be difficult to prove in the majority of cases, if the military takes it seriously.

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BOFH: Why, I LOVE work courses. Please tell me more, o wise one!

T. F. M. Reader
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Pint

"real reasons for plying administrative assistants with alcohol" - have a pint, Simon!

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ZUCK OFF: Facebook nixes internship after student embarrasses firm

T. F. M. Reader
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Conflict of interest

I looks like FB are, not unexpectedly, in the wrong w.r.t. privacy and handling the "feature" both before and after exposure. The young man in question, however, should have realized that he was facing a conflict of interest (do they teach that at Harvard?). A responsible thing would be approach the (prospective?) employer, disclose the issue and the exploit, ask what the employer's position on public disclosure would be (the expected "don't even think about it" and the more reasonable "thank you, give us 30 days, we'll fix it and publish it, crediting you" would be among possible responses), and then decide whether to go public against FB's will or accept the internship offer, sign the confidentiality clauses, and keep mum. It would be clear then that the first choice, while, arguably, admirably ethical, would be incompatible with the expectation of employment. As far as I understand, the guy went ahead with public disclosure without even approaching his prospective employer. He may feel ethically in the right, but he should have realized he was closing any doors a FB for himself. Not a huge loss, if you ask me, but then don't make it an issue.

The guy clearly shows technical ability and some aspects of commitment to ethics. However, I probably would not hire him, either. I would expect from an employee who finds an issue with my company's product to work internally to resolve it (and to disclose the conflict of interest regarding the ethical responsibility). And if the issue is not resolved to his/her satisfaction, then don't expect to remain employed if you break a confidentiality clause, even for a good reason. If you get fired for it then you may think the employer acted unethically, but that's still a breach of contract. (Do you want to be employed at an unethical company, by the way?) I would not hire someone who is likely to publish stuff on a personal blog without going through internal channels first.

So, while I share everybody's sentiment about FB's attitude to privacy in general and in this case in particular I cannot fault them for withdrawing the internship offer.

NB: Whether or not the internship is paid or not, and whether or not one is employed or just offered employment, and whether or not a contract (and confidentiality clauses therein) has been signed or not is, IMHO, immaterial w.r.t. the conflict of interest question.

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Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Fascinating. @ NoneSuch

"Never assume malice when stupidity is an equally probable explanation."

s/equally probable/adequate/

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T. F. M. Reader
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Re: @moiety

@AC: you'd need somebody in a position of power who can be trusted

You'd need to trust the vast majority of people in positions of power - enough to flush out and deal with those who abuse the trust, early. On top of that, you also need those in position of power to be unusually competent.

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Citizenfour director Laura Poitras sues US for years of border security harassment

T. F. M. Reader
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Seems to be way more than just SSSS

No one is surprised that she gets TSA's attention, ugly as this circus undoubtedly is. It does seem way beyond mere SSSS though.

I have not caused nearly as much trouble to the USofA as Laura Poitras. Strike that: I have not caused any trouble at all that I can think of. Really, none whatsoever. I am not American, I lived there for a relatively short while 20 years ago or so, since then I just visit. Always on business, but I see my friends when I am on their side of the pond.

Whenever I go to the US - not much in recent years, but I used to go there several times a year during the noughties - I visit several locations and can take several internal flights in addition to the international ones in and out. My boarding passes are marked SSSS every single time. Each time I am told, "You have been randomly selected for additional screening." I don't hold a grudge against TSA rank and file for doing what they are paid to do, but "randomly" is just a gratuitous insult to intelligence. I have never been detained, nothing has ever been confiscated, no unusually unpleasant questions have ever been asked. They just go through my luggage with their gloved hands and let me through.

I asked questions (very politely) about those SSSS marks. No one has ever given any answers beyond the script. I was once told that it is enough to buy your tickets (for internal flights?) outside of the US to get SSSSed. I have no idea if it is true, but IIRC Poitras lives in Germany.

Again, I am not surprised Poitras is on every US security black list (this is not saying she should be). But I doubt extensive "interviews" and confiscations can be attributed to SSSS which really seems rather routine to me.

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Microsoft: Stop using Microsoft Silverlight. (Everyone else has)

T. F. M. Reader
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From the article

"Microsoft Edge, the new browser that will ship with Windows 10, was designed not to support plugins from the get-go."

So no AB+, no Ghostery, no BetterPrivacy, etc.? Hmm... I see...

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Silly Google's Photos app labelled BLACK PEOPLE as GORILLAS

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While tagging African-Americans as gorillas is clearly unacceptable in any human/social context, especially for a company of such prominence, I am pretty sure there was nothing premeditated about it, and I suspect that proper classification by AI/ML is a very tough technical problem, including the following consideration.

Any AI engine is fuzzy to some extent, and in this context you need to design and "train" it to discriminate (in the technical sense only, the words "discriminator" and/or "discriminant" are used in the field) between a dark primate-like shape that is a gorilla and a dark primate-like shape that is a human. I suppose one can do it rather well in most cases, but then there will inevitably be false negatives and false positives. One does not expect 100% accuracy from AI, ever.

So suppose some rare cases are found - and mercilessly denounced in the press and social media as unspeakably and unforgivably offensive, with at least some justification - where a large African-American is tagged as a gorilla. The boffins quickly get to work, and tweak the parameters of the AI engine in the "right" direction, effectively moving the discriminator surface a bit in the parameter space, reducing the "gorilla" region and expanding the "human" region. I can easily imagine that the adjusted engine may now err by very occasionally tagging a gorilla as an African-American, which will be just as offensive for exactly the same reasons... Ouch...

One cannot afford to err in either direction in this context, can one? I suspect this cannot be expected of AI with a 100% guarantee. Anything less than 100% will eventually offend, though.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

T. F. M. Reader
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YEEEEESSSSS!

Please keep/restart making those "classic" ThinkPads for people who actually use laptops for work!

I'll see the Reg Hack and raise him an X200 as my personal machine[*]. Old, but doesn't show it at all. I will consider an upgrade, provided:

* an equally amazing keyboard (I suppose it will mean that the laptop will not be paper-thin - fine with me);

* TouchPoint ("Nipple Mouse" for the less formally inclined) and NO TrackPad;

* 3 physical mouse buttons.

The above are absolutely essential for me. I'll include as VERY nice to have:

* better screen resolution than 1366x768 - I'll go for a somewhat larger dimensions to have that;

* better unplugged battery life (battery is the only thing I replaced on the X since I bought it);

* more RAM for more VMs.

Echoing the others here: GIMMEEEEE!!!

[*] Have a much beefier Dell from work, which is nowhere close in quality, especially where keyboard and mouse buttons are concerned (at least it has a Trackpoint, too).

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Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

T. F. M. Reader
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Paranoia is its own reward

I don't own a Kindle, so could some kind soul enlighten me?

If I did own a Kindle would it actually record how many pages of each ebook I read, how many times I returned to the particularly subversive page 341, and how much time I spent re-reading that page of 50 Shades of the day? Will it be able to tell whether I really enjoyed it or dozed off or was distracted? And would it beam the summary to the mother ship the moment I step off the plane and switch the flight mode off?

Until now, I have stuck to dead trees for many other reasons, but duly noted.

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Brace yourself, planet Earth, says Nokia CEO – our phones ARE coming back from mid-2016

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Why smartphones?

@Martin an gof: "Things with..." well integrated phone, contact list, and calendar that I miss so much in what is called "smartphones" today. You know, when adding a birthday to a contact (no, I don't use FB for that) makes the calendar remind you, audibly and visibly, on the day, and where marking a meeting in the calendar automatically (without copy/paste!) adds a phone contact to the calendar entry, so when the 15 minute reminder sounds in traffic you can hit a single button to dial and apologize for the delay... And profiles - changing a whole bunch of settings with a single operation.

Simple stuff that Nokia were so smart about in their small screen phones and that the latest and shiniest iPhones and Galaxies co-workers let me fondle still lack...

I think I'd switch even if reading email became much worse as a tradeoff (though I don't really see why this would be necessary).

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Soon your car won't let you drink. But it won't care if you're on the phone

T. F. M. Reader
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Besides using aftershave...

...I also keep Alcogel in my car. My first mental image: check tyre pressure - get hands a bit dirty - clean up - touch the smart gear level or key fob or steering wheel - the car refuses to start...

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A pause in global warming? Pah, FOOLS. There was NO PAUSE

T. F. M. Reader
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Just read the paper

I have just read[*] the Karl et al paper in Science (this is a full text link, the Reg article links to the abstract). Not that there is much detail, but what I did find there looks rather bizarre. Consider:

1. They deal with sea surface temperature (SST). Historically, these were taken by ships - throw buckets into water, raise to deck, stick a thermometer in. Lots of biases (e.g., ships are not everywhere, measurements were irregular, etc).

2. At some point (starting before WWII) ships got fitted with engine intake sensors - these gotta give you higher readings - they are next to the engines, after all.

3. Recently (it is not clear to me how recently - the paper does not say) buoy measurements have become wide-spread. These do not suffer from (as) many biases as ship-based measurements (see above). But buoy-based measurements do not go nearly as far back as ships, so if you want long-term historical data...

4. Buoys systematically show slightly lower temperatures than ships in close-by locations.

5. So, let's compute the somehow averaged difference between co-located ships and buoys and adjust all (i.e., not just co-located) buoy-based data upwards.What the...?!?!?

6. Now, since buoys are nominally more accurate let's give them higher weights. This would normally be correct, but it's blatantly inconsistent with the previous adjustment - why did you choose to "correct" the more accurate data?!?

7. Let's extrapolate the results to polar regions where very little or no real data exist. [**]

As a result, the more recent observations (buoys) are adjusted upwards without any justification as far as I can see, AND given higher weights, AND extrapolated way beyond the sample that exhibited the bias that caused the adjustment in the first place.

Frankly, I think I can bend just about any trend in any direction using methods like this. Now, can I get a government grant? On second thought, a research grant would probably not be a generous enough compensation for the lost ability to look at myself in the mirror.

[*] I've been meaning to do it fora few days now, ever since it made waves in mainstream media. Always go to the source - got to justify my Reg handle...

[**] Aside: many numerical models only cover polar regions, for various reasons - I fully expect some influence on model calibration in future publications, though it remains to be seen, of course.

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Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

T. F. M. Reader
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Are humans more cautious around them?

Are Google's self-driving cars clearly marked? I don't know, but I assume they are. Even if not, I suspect the folks in Mountain View (where they test the cars) can recognize them by now.

How does that change the behaviour of other (human) drivers nearby. If you see a self-driving car a bit ahead in the next lane, would you instinctively steer away to reduce the chance that something unexpected happens? An experienced driver can usually guess the intentions of other drivers by observing them - we all do that instinctively. If that Toyota in the next lane looks suspicious, let me give it some space, eh? If you don't know how the robot will behave, will that make you behave more carefully? And if you get used to it?

In other words, is there a bias that makes accidents involving Google self-driving cars less likely?

I have never driven next to a self-driving car, so I have no idea how I would change my behaviour.

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Tossed all your snaps into the new Google Photos? You read the terms, right? ... RIGHT?

T. F. M. Reader
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"Well we said we'd ask. We didn't say you'd have to agree!"

In case/Before anyone dismisses this as a snide jab, isn't it more or less exactly what YouTube said to Zoë Keating?

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Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

T. F. M. Reader
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Define "willing to see ads"?

Anyone who prefers free ad-supported versions of X to paid ad-free ones && does not have Adblock installed? That would be plenty, I imagine.

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The Happiness Industry, Seveneves and Confessions of a Tinderella

T. F. M. Reader
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I am highly unlikely to pick up "Confessions of a Tinderella" even at an airport bookshop ("Seveneves" is another matter), but this does not stop me from taking issue with your "Bridget Jones with an iPhone" characterisation. That place is firmly occupied by "Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy". Trespassers W...

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More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First

T. F. M. Reader
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God save us from such people. Won't someone think of the children contraceptives?

FTFY.

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Google sells .car, walks away from generic domain names

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My first urge was cattle.prod, actually...

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The Internet of Things: a jumbled mess or a jumbled mess?

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Shambles

Your fridge maintains a steady temperature, you heating keeps a set room temperature, your video recorder records at set times. You may have a garage door that opens when you push a button on a remote in your car.

All this works pretty well without Internet though. When I arrive home I never catch myself thinking, "Oh, what a bother! Why do I need to press a button, flip a switch, or insert a key in the door lock? Wouldn't it be nice to pull out a smartphone, unlock the screen, find the right app, and navigate multiple controls on a small screen instead?" Once there is a cheap phone that can load the laundry into the washing machine and then take it out and fold it neatly, and not just switch the machine on and off, let's talk again.

I have not seen a compelling use case to interfere with anything at home over the Internet, certainly not considering the associated expense, the deterioration of security, and the need to co-ordinate with other family members who may also feel the urge to fiddle with something from many miles away.

And I don't really see how IoT can do anything but be an add-on gimmick to "normal" controls. No manufacturer (except maybe a complete world monopoly) can afford to make a product inoperable on its own. "Are you in the kitchen, dear? Dinner is in the oven already, could you please just switch it on?" - "Sorry, darling, I left my iPhone in the bedroom."

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BUZZKILL. Honeybees are dying in DROVES - and here's a reason why

T. F. M. Reader
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@LeeD "So... we've been here before and they recovered just fine?

AFAIK, the whole phenomenon is just a few years old, so no, they have not recovered. It was big news a few years ago (probably masked by the global financial crisis), not sure why El Reg is picking this up just now.

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T. F. M. Reader
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The article says "average" (actually referring to the last few years), not "normal".

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Singapore's prime minister releases source code for his hand-coded Sudoku-solver

T. F. M. Reader
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Speaking of snakes...

...Reg readers will doubtless wish that the main candidates for prime minister [...] could code a single line of anything...

I am pretty sure they all can do one line of python:

pass

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Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

T. F. M. Reader
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Whatever you wish to measure, you will

Somehow I doubt people search for news on Google. They search for something in general, and Google serves news sites, such as The Register or The Guardian, among other things. Any complaint is presumably about The Guardian not being offered enough. This is not "news traffic", this is "The Guardian also published something relevant at some point" traffic.

Besides, how many of search referrals are due to "I read about this on El Reg/The Graun recently, so let's search for 'left-handed underpants +guardian'" is unclear to me. Probably a lot, but I cannot back it up. This is seaching specifically for Guardian traffic.

When a user is interested in the news he/she may go to The Register or The Guardian directly, or may fire up Google News. This (all of the above + The Telegraph) is what I do to check the news. It seems that this activity leads to 12% of The Register's traffic coming from Google News, which is quite in line with the quoted 10% ballpark.

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Rand Paul puts Hillary Clinton's hard drive on sale

T. F. M. Reader
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Simpler explanation?

If we assume Clinton bought her server in 2009, we either have a presidential candidate with a liking for soon-to-be-obsolete tech or one with a willingness to run crusty old kit in mission-critical environments.

Or one with enough insider knowledge to choose the only remaining tech without backdoors?

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The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

T. F. M. Reader
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Logically the bottom half of the FTSE, Dow Jones, S&P, Nasdaq etc should all close their businesses and put the money into a tracker fund.

I don't know how deep in your cheek your tongue was when you hit Submit, but actually, seriously: this is not silly or absurd at all.

If (when - whatever) the "bottom halvers" do what you suggest it will create an opportunity for others, because these guys presumably do something useful and if they close shops there will be a supply deficit of whatever they produce. Whoever fills the vacuum will enjoy better returns than the current crop - for a while. Eventually supply will balance the demand, on average, etc. On the other hand the "tracker fund" won't make any return unless the (presumably large amount of) money is actually invested either in the "top halvers" or in similar - highly correlated, "tracking" - companies (the "top halvers" will not be eager to sell their hot property stock under those conditions, but there will be eager newcomers who will see investors' demand). That will create oversupply of the stuff that those "top halvers" make, and their margins will go down... So the investment will be risky - a different risk than one associated with producing stuff (or not producing stuff, as the case may be).

In reality, the system is usually efficient enough to react this way to much smaller fluctuations that do occur. And when you make a move you win some, you lose some. And occasionally bubbles get blown out of all proportion and then go POP.

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Oh, hi there, SKYNET: US military wants self-enhancing software that will outlive its creators

T. F. M. Reader
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Portable code

Many, many years ago I was working in an environment (it would be called "cloud" today, but the term had not been invented then) with a large variety of target platforms (CPU/OS/libraries/etc.). A standing meta-requirement was that one's code (it was a period when new college graduates - not me - no longer graduated with Fortran skills, so C was used more and more instead) had to run on any system, including those that the company didn't have yet, and those that had not yet been invented.

Turned out quite possible, with standards (POSIX, SUS, IEEE754, etc.) and paying attention to every compiler warning imaginable, etc. I grew into a habit to writing software that way, and the results proved reproducible through the years and in different settings. Not only did the software work correctly on just about anything that got hot, when new CPUs came out and compilers caught up, the same code would run more efficiently after recompilation, possibly with a new set of options. Definitely one of the most important lessons of my career.

[Disclaimer: Microsoft Windows was always out of scope.]

I don't mean to criticise (really!), but I suspect that the presence of a compiler (and thus static analysis and machine code independent of the programming environment and language) is significant in the context. When an evolving language (and that's a good trait) includes its own runtime environment things get more complicated, possibly because maintaining compatibility is difficult when you deal with more complex, high level concepts. I reacted to someone's touting Java's "stability" separately. Python2->Python3 does not seem a bliss so far, either, does it? And I am not sure the conceptual difference is as big as between different Fortran versions (or C++98/11/14 for that matter).

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T. F. M. Reader
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Re: So: Java (shudder)

with a stable set of classes that will "never" be phased out...

...and semantics changing between one version and another, by specification, introducing incompatibly different behaviour of multithreaded applications (just an example, mind you) when using different versions of JVM, thus preventing upgrades?

I shudder indeed recalling the horrors of having several different versions of JVM because applications written by the same group in a big multinational corporation (that sold JVMs among lots of other things) each required a different version of Java and could not run on the others. And whole research teams inside the said multinational working on software that would detect the incompatibilities and tweak the code (and/or bytecode) to automate the transitions. [Come to think of it, maybe they should submit proposals to DARPA...]

Pleeease...

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Council of Europe: Don't spy on your staff, you naughty employers

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Just a little point.

You should never use business email. Period.

- Secretary Clinton.

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Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure

T. F. M. Reader
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Much ado?

I had to look up the Elane Photography vs. Willock case to justify my El Reg handle. Seems that NM has a law on its books prohibiting refusing service on the grounds of the customer's sexual orientation. The (lesbian) couple in question were, apparently, politely refused, had no problem finding another photographer at a cheaper price, and happily tied the knot. And then they still sued...

I wonder what would happen if the photographers just said they were fully booked and could not provide the service. I suspect they would be sued anyway. Frankly, I think I mind Indiana laws much less than a law that allows that.

I am not sure where the line is drawn. On the one hand, allowing businesses to refuse regular service to people of colour or Jews or Muslims or LGBT is out of the question in this day and age. On the other hand, somehow I don't see a Jew suing a Christian butcher for not providing kosher meat - that would not be grounds for a religious discrimination accusations, would it? And I have a bit of a trouble trying to distinguish between a steak going through a particular process and a wedding cake baked in a particular shape or form. A kosher steak would be a bigger "burden" practically, but where is the line? The "burden" in the law is not about practicalities, anyway, and there is nothing in the Christian religion that specifically prohibits kosher food, is there? And I can see how a devout Christian might consider providing a traditional cake for a non-traditional wedding as actively participating in a rite that is inconsistent with his beliefs. Point is, should this - and kosher food, too - be considered a specialized service and should the rules be a bit different?

The "we don't like your attitude so we won't do business with you" position of Apple et al. seems a reasonable approach (compared to "let's sue the hell out of all these Christian fundamentalists!" that is so often the alternative nowadays). On the other hand, at least from a distance Indiana does not seem to say "LGBT folks are not welcome here." They say, "do come, but please respect everybody." It's not like an Apple employee on a business trip to Indiana has to fill out a questionnaire on what one does in the bedroom before sitting down for a restaurant meal.

A gedankenexperiment: Let's say Indiana affirmed the right of individual shops and restaurants to not serve kosher food (possibly as a result of a lawsuit), and Jewish-owned businesses, starting with Facebook for visibility, said they would boycott the state. What would the pubic opinion be? [Come to think of it, the public might well misinterpret the measure as a ban on kosher products and all hell might break loose.]

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

T. F. M. Reader
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@Vimes: "And Polish film goers will lose interest in Polish films if they're available elsewhere in Europe? Really?How does that one work?

I suspect the perceived threat is that Polish film goers will lose interest in Polish films if Poland is swamped in cheap, unencumbered by copyrights or license fees, films from the rest of Europe. It's the usual "must protect the local producers" argument.

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PayPal settles over WMD sanction-breaking transaction claims

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: That much huh?

Sounds like Amazon purchases... Oh, books on nuclear physics? I see...

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Wall Street tips fedora to Red Hat: Sales up, profit flat, everybody dance

T. F. M. Reader
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"Profit growth was flat, however"

What does that mean, exactly? That the profit grew by 1.1% again, like last year? This would not warrant the "however" part, would it?

Did you intend to write "profit remained flat year on year"? That would be "profit growth was zero" (or, rather, 1.1% = $180M/$178M).

Coat, please, and that hat that looks like it belongs to a pedant. Yes, the red one, thank you.

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Spookception: US spied on Israel spying on US-Iran nuke talks

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I am sure everyone spies

I don't even mind it, as long as the spying is for a country's security and/or political (von Clausewitz, etc.) needs and not mass surveillance of the country's own citizens or of foreigners. There are at least 7 parties to the Iran nuclear talks, and all of them are legitimate targets for spy agencies everywhere, including Israelis, Saudis, Turks, you name it.

In this case something on the surface smells inconsistent. If I recall correctly, Obama promised, on numerous occasions, that Israel would be continuously and thoroughly updated on the ongoing Iran nuclear talks (I can't be a***d to Google the precise quotes, but it was quite unequivocal). By alleging that the Israelis obtained information about the talks that they should not have had, aren't the Americans admitting that the President has broken his very public promise?

Yes, yes, realpolitik, yada-yada. We are all adults here. Not so sure about the White House though - they seem to behave like little kids sometimes. Diplomatically, it seems a serious blunder on their part. Someone else called it a tantrum, and, frankly, it does look like it. But maybe they are not concerned - someone may notice, so what? Just like spying...

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Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

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To quote Woz,

"...eventually they'll think faster than us..."

They are faster already, but they don't really think. Of course, if masses of... ahem... average voters[*] stop thinking altogether and start relying on the machines to do stuff the latter were never designed to do, on the basis of the machines being (perceived to be) good enough and very fast indeed at simple tasks... Wait, that will redefine the very notion of thinking and make Woz right... OMG, we may be DOOMED!

[*] With a nod to one of Britain's great leaders...

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

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Re: Exactly what problem does this solve?

@martinusher: In our part of the US people come off the road and are lost for literally days before being found.

The issue is not whether or not there are scenarios where automatic emergency calls are useful. The problem is that existence of such scenarios does not warrant forcing every car owner in the EU to pay for what should be an optional add-on.

I, for one, am highly unlikely to drive around your part of the US or on remote UK roads, in lousy weather, at night, on a regular basis, in my car. If offered such a feature as an option I will probably decline. The extra cost plus the possibility of abuse far outweighs its potential usefulness to me. But the proposed legislation will force me to have this feature - and pay for it - even though I really don't want it and am suspicious or its real purposes. Forgive me if the adult in me finds this kind of nanny-state regulation intrusive and offensive.

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Re: @Vimes - how to disable it...

> Or if viable, isolate the antenna...

And then die because you crashed at night, in heavy rain, in the middle of nowhere, and none noticed until three days latter.

With all due respect to your emergency services experience, the decision of whether or not to take that risk should be made by the car owner, not by an EU bureaucrat.

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@The Crow From Below

The American GPS satellites do not know where you are. You seem to not know the difference between GPS receivers and GPS trackers.

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My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

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Re: Am I the only one...

...to actually enjoy driving enough to dislike mandatory AI-driven cars for that reason only?

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City centres

Forget about city centre traffic - it's relatively easy. I'd like to see an AI trying to find a parking spot in a city centre - in traffic. How will it navigate without a specified destination?

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

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From the department of bleedin' obvious...

... men who are easily excited by "vanilla" pron watch more of it.

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Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

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johnsmith.phd

looks quite natural, actually, and does not give the impression that your office is in Moldova...

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Bulk interception is NOT mass surveillance, says parliamentary committee

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Re: Revolutionary Thoughts from Sensible Questions

@YAAC; "It also encourages ordinary people to think..."

...about the possible consequences of saying this or that, to censor themselves, and to generally conform and toe the "party line". The holy grail of a totalitarian state.

"It's a good thing," you say?

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