* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Political ad campaign biz AggregateIQ exposes tools, DB logins online

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: mistake which should not happen

A conversation like this takes place a dozen times per day:

PFY: I have done the minimum necessary to get that github repository working. This is the first time I have set up github. I should spend some more time reading the documentation to ensure it is configured as you want.

PHB: Waste of time. Move on to the next item on your to-do list.

Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Lost all faith...

Please replace the batteries on your telepathy ray - it is giving you a false impression about me.

I have good lights, but if a car approaches with undipped headlights I still have to wait by the side of the road for five minutes until I get my dark adaptation back. The only time I have come close to running someone down was a cyclist with puny lights and no reflector. That is why I make an extra effort to be visible and have reflectors on the wheels so I can be seen from the sides.

By the way, how can the muppets see the road at all? If I tried to cycle at night without lights I would end up in a ditch/river/stinging nettles/thorny hedge.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Not that much power

A radio beacon would require less power than a puny set of lights that will get a cyclist killed on an unlit road. (Reflectors are more visible than all but the most excessive bicycle lights.) A radio beacon would only require a USB port for charging, which are available for free at my local library (and on some buses).

An EPIRBS the size of my hand made from '90s tech could summon a rescue helicopter to the factory in Croydon if someone careless set one off. (You get a very large bill if you do it twice).

UK watchdog finally gets search warrant for Cambridge Analytica's totally not empty offices

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Re: Why? And what's all the fuss about?

To the best of my knowledge, the Liberal Democrats did not send out a fake Labour manifesto promising to solve the housing crisis by nationalising property and billeting homeless foreigners on anyone who can't afford the legal fees to prevent it. They did not distribute a fake conservative election promise to disband the Serious Fraud Office so business could proceed without hindrance. They did not even publish an article in the local newspaper saying that the reason for all the potholes was that 97% of council tax goes to Europe [but someone actually did and I met people who believed it].

CA/Aggregate IQ claimed to have received a clean bill of health from the electoral commission. The real conversation when something like UKEC: "Have you done anything naughty?" Aggregate IQ: "We do not have to answer your questions, we are Canadian."

CA made an effort not to be noticed. They made an effort to present their activities as either legal or beyond UK jurisdiction. Their most obvious cock-up involves possibly illegal use of Facebook data. I have a small preference for laws more specific to what CA have actually done. I have a much larger preference for teaching critical thinking in schools. Both have unpleasant consequences for current politicians, so I will just have to make do with the laws we have being enforced to the full (tiny) extent of the ICO's powers.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

In hindsight

First get the warrant quietly. Negotiate partial access then bring out the warrant an search every else first.

Recording Industry Ass. says vinyl and CD sales beat digital downloads

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Re: The other concept of an album

A few tracks you wanted and some others you had to pay for as well.

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

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Re: Perhaps I should read something else?

Getting a grip on the fake news thing means both sides use it equally and ban education because neither side wants anyone capable of critical thinking.

Go park yourself: Brit firm flashes self-parking car tech

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: All well and good..

Your idea with the paint has been done already. (While I was looking for where I found that picture, I came across some more enthusiastic efforts at creative parking.)

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Shame.

Godwin's law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"

There is a popular extension that mentioning Hitler causes instant loss of a debate, which is sometimes abused. Godwin has expressed the need for an exemption when the debate is actually about real Nazis.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: All is not how it seems !!!

Clearly Trump dropped his huge distraction bomb to early. Is it time for a nuke or will he go all out and play a violent video game?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Why is data on Facebook wide open?

IoT level security laziness. You are supposed to buy data from directly Facebook, not scrape it for academic purposes and sell it to Cambridge Analytica.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Hillary's team had excellent third generation get-out-the-vote software inherited from Obama and improved during 2012-2016. Such software is worth about 5% of the vote so it is only deployed in marginal states. Basically, volunteers get a list of people to call and remind that it is election day. The Republicans attempted something similar in 2012 but the software was utter crap. The polling for the 2016 election was off by about 6%, so in the last days of the election Hillary deployed her resources in the wrong states.

Mercer's software came as a surprise to everyone. It included an effective GOTV component, plus adverts individually targeted to persuadable people in marginal states so they would vote Trump (to drain the swamp, keep the Mexicans out, because Hillary is the devil or be so corrupt that the federal government would destroy itself) or stay at home because Bernie wasn't nominated.

I think is says something about a company when Julian Assange's ethics prevented a deal.

[For those of you thinking targeted ads are useless, Mercer and Google have very different goals. Mercer wants to quietly persuade just enough people swing an election. Google ads are to drain the advertising budget of their clients.]

BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Cambridge Analytica can easily dodge the shitstorm

All they need to do is tell Theresa May that they have software to handle anonymous age verification.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: FB vs CA

"the left doesn't trust corporations and the right doesn't trust government bureaucrats"

Sounds about rightcorrect. Now can someone explain to me how electing a government that promised to down size government will not lead to election promise amnesia?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Facebook here next year?

Of course Facebook will be gone within a year. Just like AT&T and Microsoft.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: what the politicians think of facebook

Cheapest way to feed propaganda to the voters that really matter (the most credulous ones because they vastly outnumber the voters capable of critical thinking).

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Dodgy dealings with elections

It will affect the excuses. Trump will claim he did not win because of Russian interference. He won because he hired Cambridge Analytica with a huge loan from Deutsche Bank.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Two rogue engineers?

Careful, the PFY has a cattle prod.

US cops go all Minority Report: Google told to cough up info on anyone near a crime scene

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The other lesson to be learned

If you are going out to commit murder, leave your phone at home.

Techies building UK web smut age check tools: You'll get a spec next week

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Re: unwarranted triumphalism

Pornography decreases rape.

You always wanted to be an astronaut, right? Careful: Space is getting more and more deadly

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Primate mange*

The magic graph you are looking for is here, showing sunspots and temperature against time. Over long periods there is a clear correlation between sunspot activity and temperature. (Showing correlation is much easier than proving causation - which I will leave to someone else). The fun bit is towards the right. After hundred of years of increased sunspot activity correlating with increased temperature, we get the final fifty years of increasing temperature despite decreasing sunspot activity. What could be the cause?

* Title changed in accordance with US word used restrictions.

Cyborg fined for riding train without valid ticket

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Did he pay the appropriate fare for the journey?

NFC devices are easily available and not that hard to program. If the manufacturers of Opal cards have not made an outstanding effort to secure their device then it may be possible to create an imitation that pretends to hold money you never paid. Being encased in plastic with a pretty picture provides (some) evidence that the chip is genuine and has not been modified.

I can see why these terms of use are important but I would have tried hard to explain this to Mr Meow-Meow and get an out-of-court settlement rather than hope I can explain it to a judge (risky), journalists (probably not) and commentards (perhaps a few here but rest of the world: no chance).

Mulled EU copyright shakeup will turn us into robo-censors – GitHub

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Re: Simples

Software to automatically generate nuisance litigation based on bogus software source code copyright violations was developed and deployed extensively by The SCO Group against DaimlerChrysler, Autozone, IBM, Novell, all Linux hosting companies and all Linux users. Although thoroughly debunked in days, the litigation went on for years funded by investors who presumably later switched to Theranos and license fees that The SCO Group withheld from Novell.

Although The SCO Group's epic folly should stand alone as the most ridiculous copyright claim of all time, Oracle stepped up to supply stiff competition by demanding billions for rangecheck.

We are lucky that Judge Alsup taught himself to program so he could understand what was going on. I have confidence that with automated software generating thousands of false positives per hour, most cases will not be dealt with as promptly and efficiently as The SCO Group and Oracle.

Fun fact of the day: Voice recognition tech is naturally sexist

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Eyes widdershins, hands turnwise

You can, but it takes a little practice. Same with drawing a circle with one hand and a triangle with the other or rubbing your tummy with a circular motion while patting your head. Learning any of these important skills makes learning the next easier. When you are good at a few of them you will be able to do different (simple) tasks with each hand. I use it for cooking and convincing guests who see me cook that I am a bit strange - or at least slightly stranger than they already knew.

CEO of smartmobe outfit Phantom Secure cuffed after cocaine sting, boast of murder-by-GPS

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

I thought the FBI were not supposed to endorse commercial products

Did Nicholas Cheviron really mean to say that all legitimate users of Phantom Secure remain anonymous to all law enforcement partners of the FBI?

Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

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Re: Or as they say in London...

Re-think it a bit. Instead of a huge train carrying hundreds of people stopping every three minutes, have many tiny trains each carrying a few people who are all going to the same place. No need to accelerate and stop at every station on the journey. Dwell time is less important because the only people dwelling are those entering and leaving the system.

There are plenty of reasons for this project to be impractical but parts of it make more sense than some of us commentards realise.

Developer mistakenly deleted data - so thoroughly nobody could pin it on him!

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Never edit the fstab table on a production system...

Unless you have physical access and know how to use your boot loader. The magic phrase you need to add to the kernel command line is: init=/bin/bash

You can then fix /etc/fstab, change root's password and then realise none of your changes happened because your forgot to: mount -o remount,rw /

Are you Falcon sure, Elon? Musk vows Big Rocket will go up 2019

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Re: Spring is coming, the Pascal is starting to blow

To be 200% safer than your 35 years without an accident, 1260 self driving cars must drive fully autonomous for a month with no accidents.

AI: People have different definitions. Eliza could pass a Turing test 50 years ago - but I think that says more about humans than AS. amanfromMars is more accurate and entertaining than some commentards.

Mum? Dad? Can I have a 3D XPoint disk for my birthday?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Quick poll

Has anyone actually sat around waiting for typical task on a mainstream PC because the SSD did not have enough IOPs?

Will the defendant please rise? Utah State Bar hunts for sender of topless email

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What would you do about it?

A) Delete it and move on.

B) Make a big fuss to give trolls an incentive to do it every week.

Uber-Lyft study author jams into reverse gear over abysmal pay claims

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Still compares apples and oranges

Minimum wage is not 100% profit.

Pasties in SPAAAAACE: Cornwall hopes for slice of £50m spaceport cash

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Brexit fixes the UK spaceport problem

52° North makes access to geostationary orbits difficult, but as we are leaving Europe, the UK can be moved somewhere more equatorial. The government will expect clever people to work out how to actually move the UK with no budget perhaps based on sending the UK over the internet without encryption.

Shock poll finds £999 X too expensive for happy iPhone owners

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Still only one possible way to improve iPhones

Phones already do what most people want. Those that did not buy the latest iPhone last time will have the same reasons not to buy the next one even if it is a bit cheaper. People keep predicting that Apple will release something cheap to increase market share (They are only losing about 1% per year). Apple have enough sense not to obliterate their high margin unique selling point. An Apple logo is a big sign that says "I have money to burn". There are plenty of people who will pay £999 for a sign like that. What they will not pay £999 for is something with the same logo as a £199 phone.

I am sure Apple are working hard on improving the most important feature of their phones. The only question is whether they will be able to go straight to £1999 or if there is a colossal hype distribution failure that limits them to £1499. By unit sales, Apple dropped to third place last year and will be fourth in 2019 or 2020. I am sure they will not care until non-recurring engineering costs per phone increases faster than average selling price (probably after fusion power becomes profitable and the SLS gets launched or cancelled).

We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: What

There is more to the story not covered in this article. Manafort is accused of using laundered money from Russia to hire EU politicians to lobby congress.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: There's a worrying implication

Not an implication at all. The loan officer wrote back saying the P&L document looked doctored and could Manafort please send a clean copy.

From the loan officers point of view the idea is to get the commission. Reporting that the documents are obvious forgeries is some one else's responsibility.

Who wanted a future in which AI can copy your voice and say things you never uttered? Who?!

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

What about hand writing?

AI generated fake voice and fake video get lots of press coverage, but I do not see much in the press about AI generated hand writing. Spokesmen for Google and Facebook said much the same thing: no point - thanks to password re-use we already have the online banking passwords for half the western world.

I hunted down someone doing research into AI handwriting and after several pints, I got this snippet: "We do not make an effort to publicise out research because we are so well funded. We get a large number of small donations from people too lazy to check their bank statements."

Europe's Unified Patent Court fate in the balance amid German probing (yes, Brexit is in the mix)

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Fall in patent quality?

That would require that there was some minimal quality requirements in the past. As the EPO receives over 400 patent applications per day, the considerable backlog can be dealt with by replacing all the patent examiners with a monkey with two rubber stamps. This should have no impact on patent quality while at the same time releasing a large number of highly qualified professionals to do something constructive instead.

Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: thinklight

I prefer bumps on F and J.

Stephen Elop and the fall of Nokia revisited

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Why can't Elop take credit for his achievement?

When Elop arrived at Nokia, they were selling more phones than Apple and Samsung put together. Their market share and unit sales were increasing right up until the burning platform memo. The Elop went to the carriers with the generous gift of being able to sell Microsoft phones and they told him "We hate Skype". Skype (owned by Microsoft) was eating the carrier's breakfast, so Nokia's excellent relationship with the carriers went straight down the toilet.

Doing a Ratner was not enough to knock Nokia out of the top 10. Elop had to combine it with a Osbourne. Nokia could not manufacture Windows phones. Their factories stood idle while manufacture was contracted out. When Nokia/Windows phones eventually reached the market, salesmen hid them. Two out of three Lumia's were promptly returned by customers. Salesmen did not want the hassle of filling in the returns paperwork, so they worked hard not to sell Lumias in the first place.

On top of pissing off the sales force and most customers, Microsoft was able to drive away Nokia's loyal customers by removing any hope of a software upgrade path.

No-one else has ever destroyed a market leading company so fast and thoroughly. Elop should take credit for his unique achievement.

Roses are red, are you single, we wonder? 'Cos this moth-brain AI can read your phone number

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Roses are blue, violets are red. Today moth brains smell numbers instead.

UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

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The terrifying alternative ...

... teach critical thinking in schools.

The downside: instead of patronising sneering techies politicians would have to deal with patronising sneering school children until they are old enough to vote.

NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Not what they say, what they do

Trump's other wall has planning permission. Like most Republican leaders Trump is utterly convinced of the dangers of climate change, but doesn't want any evidence. This is why Earth monitoring satellites have been cancelled.

A fusion reactor in space is well beyond daft. ITER is a technology demonstrator that is far too small to produce more (electrical) power than it uses to operate. It will need 50MW to get started and will produce 500MW of heat. Its core is >5000t and holds <0.5g of tritium. Catastrophic failure will cause the fuel to touch the side of the reactor and instantly cool to the point that fusion stops. We put 400g/year of tritium into things that glow. The strength required to keep the vacuum is small compared to that required to hold the magnets together.

You will not get a license for RTGs in Earth orbit, so ITER in space would required >70,000m² of solar panels - only 5 SLS launches! The core requires 38 SLS launches and >1,400,000m² of radiators to dump the heat need 131 SLS launches. ITER requires a large mass of ancillary kit like helium extractors that will add many more launches. After you get the thing running, you then have to dismantle it, ship bits back to Earth and measure what the intense neutron flux has done to the materials.

I have been using (effectively cancelled) block 2 SLS launches. Double for block 1 or halve for (expendable!) BFR.

Yorkshire cops have begun using on-the-spot fingerprint scanners

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: False positive rate

Somewhere between pathetic and frightening.

Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

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Re: GPL is not freedom at all.

You do not have to use the GPL. If you do use the GPL, you can retain the copyright. You can sell GPL software, but more common business models involve selling support or selling improvements.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Well... that was vague and woolly

Open source has a wide range of meanings, including "You can read the source code, but if you do and later make money from software Microsoft can sue you for copyright and patent infringement" (I am not kidding, Microsoft really did make software available under license like that).

Ignore what people call it at look at the license. The big two are:

BSD: do what you want but mention us so we can demonstrate that we did something useful with our last funding and get another grant next year.

GPL: do what you want, but if you distribute GPL software you must make the source code available to the recipients under the GPL license.

The massive advantage to absolutely everyone is licenses like these prevent lock-in:

Use our cheap backup software. You want to restore from backup encoded in our secret format? £££ (British gas fell for that one)

Our software is cheap. Want it to do a little extra? £. and a bit more? ££ and something else: £££ ...

Once you are locked in, the price of the most trivial change is just less than the cost of replacing the whole thing.

If you have the source code _and_ the right to create derivative works, the cost of any change can be the lowest competent bidder.

What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Tough crowd

Warning: A bunch of programmers hang out here.

Programmers spend half their lives dealing with computers that do exactly what they are told even when it is not what is wanted. They spend the other half of their lives trying to get humans to explain clearly what they want so they do not throw a tantrum when they get what they asked for.

Dave Harvey clearly believes you are capable of communicating with the precision appreciated by programmers. Take it as a compliment because they do not make the effort when they believe there is no hope.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The Chinese have developed their own rockets. They are competitive with other disposable rockets and have achieved 75 consecutive successful launches. If they had all the manufacturing data for Falcon Heavy today they would need to spend years working out how to build one. For example this is what happens when a strut is not manufactured consistently to requirements.

By the time the Chinese had a reliable Falcon Heavy they would be competing with BFR. They would be better off adapting their own kit for re-use because they understand it thoroughly and can build it consistently.

Newsflash! Faking it until you make it is illegal in Silicon Valley: Biz boss pleads guilty

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Re: Fraud

Sending fake wire transfers was really dumb. The solution was to offer alternative shares to cover debts and threaten to declare bankruptcy if the deal was not taken. He could have got detailed advice in return for a single drop of blood.

UK PM Theresa May orders review of online abuse laws in suffrage centenary speech

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

The last general election results ...

... are evidence of May's inability to engage politically with voters. (She only remained in power because the other lot are about as clueless.)

A Hughes failure: Flat Earther rocketeer can't get it up yet again

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: "Curvature" proves nuthin!

Pictures of Chicago taken from lake Michigan from about 2 and 30 miles away showing the bottom of the towers dropping below the horizon + comments from flat Earthers.

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