* Posts by Mage

7686 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

Mage Silver badge

Re: If you're looking for a challenge...

I wonder what the head and transport life was on DCC?

I nearly bought one years after they were "gone" as a bargain remaindered stock. I didn't because it was playback only of Analogue CC and DCC.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Hmmm...

Indeed why are CDs x2 to x5 the price of DVDs?

Especially older audio releases.

It's what the market will bear, or the publishers think it will. In reality it, iTunes and Spotify are killing the Album concept, taking us back to the era of 78, i.e. before 1949. Though longer works were on sets of 12" 78s rather than the 10" singles. Pressed in an order suitable for playing a stack and flipping. Some 1930s US models had sapphire stylus and could even flip stacks. The steel needles were only supposed to be used once or twice.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Holding my breath turning blue

Or Kodak Portfolio CD. A script to control photoCD images and audio CD tracks with interactive. It was wonderful.

CDi was almost just an early form of Video CD.

I've a Philips PhotoCD player. Great Audio CD playback. Plays PhotoCD (Picture CDs are rubbish in comparison). One Portfolio CD demo.

Kodak killed PhotoCD with high Bureau costs.

They killed Portfolo CD by massive charge for authoring tools.

I use an external USB DVD/CD reader/writer to rip my CDs on my laptop. I only buy CDs. Thus I have a pressed archive copy. Home written CDs & DVDs are unreliable.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Magneto-optical disks

I'd assumed they are the same?

3.5" MO disk was about 250Mbyte uncompressed. Very very reliable too. Zip drives and the Travan tapes were terrible.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Not this the?...

I'd have loved a portable Elcaset and a portable Philips DCC, as well as my Portable Cassette, Portable CD and Portable Sony NetMD

As well as Uher portable reel to reel and the 1949 approx spring driven battery valve tape recorder. Actually an early Sony transistor reel to reel, about same era as Grundig Cub, used spring drive tape transport to save batteries. The Grundig Cub was hard on batteries.

I have an Archos 505 PMP, with 160G HDD, sadly I never got the microphone & camera options for it. My current phone is rather handier and has a better screen, though only 32G SD Card. Maybe a larger one would work? Except Google might know what I play from the SD card?

Mage Silver badge

4 pole 3.5mm Jacks

Nokia and Sony had a sensible pinout. Ground was closest to cover.

Apple chose a different pinout. Mic is closest to cover. I suppose they thought OV between audio outputs and mic was good, but it's only the connector.

Now the STUPID laptop makers put an Apple style 4 pole 3.5mm, so no stereo input. Just as Apple have stupidly removed the jack socket. Now there is DAC for on board speaker, BT Codec delay & artefacts and earbuds to charge.

At least you can still buy separate stereo in & out USB sticks. They do work on Kindle Paperwhite 2015 AKA PW3. Older Kindles had a socket and speakers. They also work on Android. In both cases an OTG microUSB to USB host socket is needed. No idea if they work on iPhones.

Mage Silver badge

Re: MiniDisk? Bah!

Almost all of those create very noisy results. The stylus is totally wrong for 78s.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Minidisc

NetMD and Minidisc in the Vaio: An example of Sony Electronics losing the plot courtesy of Sony Media:

1) You lose the recordable disk and you can't transfer album again, because you have have to "check in" and erase the track(s).

2) You make your OWN recordings: Interview, own music, own poetry etc. You can only transfer via headphone socket on NetMD and can't read electronically from minidisk.

I was shocked that my Digital 8 camera let me transfer analogue or digital recordings to the PC via firewire, or even composite inputs.

CD ripping? Because there are no optical drives on laptops now and anyway people using phones & tablets.

Last year and year before the high street shops full of cassette & record players with USB. Some with "ripping" to SDcard built in. Don't know why the record players have a 78 rpm speed, because they don't have a suitable stylus.

Dratted hipster UX designers stole my corporate app

Mage Silver badge

Re: In defence of the guacamole-eaters...

Obviously Redmond thought theirs were part of the QA dept. Up till about 2003 they were improving. Then threw it all way. Headed in different directions, all wrong.

Roses are red, this is sublime: We fed OpenAI's latest chat bot a classic Reg headline

Mage Silver badge

Not safe, can't release it, so brilliant.

Screams of hype, not brilliance.

Besides untrained people thought Eliza was real in 1966. The bar isn't high for a chat bot or fake news generator.

ST-TNG had Data the wrong way round. Natural English, like in certain soaps or newspapers isn't hard. Emotion simulation is easy. Playing an instrument from a score or copying art is no big deal. It's all the other autonomous everyday decisions that are impossible for AI. Is that a cat with a skin condition or a small elephant? As for actual problem solving and acceptable artistic creation? Computers can't provide decent spelling checkers or grammar correction. Yes, the word is spelled correctly but it's a completely different meaning. No, that IS correct, doubled words are not always wrong. Why do I have to look up dozens of words and add them to the "dictionary". Why doesn't the spelling checker understand context or show the definition of the suggested replacement?

Sorry, this is just hype. It's Social Media that's unsafe, not yet another text generator or chat bot.

Object-recognition AI – the dumb program's idea of a smart program: How neural nets are really just looking at textures

Mage Silver badge

re: Train multiple CNNs on different things

The problem is that it's not training in sense of an animal or child. It's really a method of storing data compressed from human selected / tagged images. The non-texture, shape based approach is really hard. Actually it's so far an unsolved problem.

A chair is good example. If not mostly based on 'texture' in loosest sense, then you need images not just of every sort of chair but almost every angle.

A child understands "chair-ness". The child can even decide if a box or rock or lap can be used as a chair.

So called "AI" or Neural nets have no abstraction at all, no intelligence*, they need specific examples. They don't "recognise" but match.

* Actually no-one has come up with a useful definition of intelligence, except in very general terms of tool using and problem solving in situations never encountered. Certainly not one that can be converted to an algorithm. Perhaps the best that can be said is that we can recognise it. Untrained people can easily be taken in. Eliza version of Turing test, which was never a serious proposal to test AI, but to test people. IQ tests don't test intelligence, even the guy that invented them said so, though the USA Army, and HR depts like them.

By late 1960s it was obvious what Turing had suspected in late 1940s and Lovelace in Victorian era. Computers could flawlessly do very difficult things, that even an expert human would make mistakes at. Yet would probably never master apparently simple things a five year old child, or even a rook or chimp does easily. It was dubbed the AI paradox.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polanyi%E2%80%99s_paradox

Also it's true, though people seeking grants, investment and to sell their solution won't admit it: ""Every time we figure out a piece of it, it [AI] stops being magical; we say, 'Oh, that's just a computation.'"

Neal Stephenson tries to examine this in "The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer"

Spoiler: The nanotech stuff and some other aspects are really magic & fantasy rather than SF, but an entertaining book.

Mage Silver badge
Big Brother

re: image recognition

A misnomer.

There is no intelligence or recognition or "neural network" in any sense that would be recognisable outside of people looking for grants, investment or to monetise it. Human curated specialist databases and pattern matching. Thus inevitable that texture works better than line drawings or silhouettes. In the real world the so called "image recognition" might be as bad as 2% when dealing with things more complicated than number plates* and in an uncontrolled natural environment. A trained child or even a crow (if motivated) is likely better. The problem is that children, rooks, sheep etc soon lose interest and wander off.

Self Driving

Does Social Media need this?

I'll be convinced there is decent AI when Spelling & Grammar checkers are even half as good as a trained human. I don't see much progress since 1991.

It's 90% marketing and 10% functionality? I made that up.

* Probably almost solved by Ray Kurzwiel's OCR in 1974, which was not actually AI.

Skype goes blurry, Office gets a kick in the privacy, and Microsoft takes us back to 1990

Mage Silver badge

Re: mistakenly underpays by a few hundred.

And even if pays it up, then gets deported under terrorism laws.

Home Office is breaking UK law, PM promises, EU laws and UK hasn't left yet.

Also breaking international laws, but after Boris gets UK out of OECD, the UK will leave UN anyway.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

Mage Silver badge

Re: 6.1.5 a spin

I'm still on on Linux Mint. I have 6.x on some windows boxes.

I could install direct, but it's not noticeably broken or lacking.

I don't update ALL updates at once either. I let some mature so that other people can test them.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Pyramids in Egypt

Newgrange, Stonehenge, Sumerian & Akkadian art.

“Epic of Gilgamesh" about 5,000 years old

The wheel.

See Picasso's comments on cave paintings.

Codex: UI to information using PAGES, about 2000 years old. Scrolls suck. Why don't browsers have a paginated mode like web on ancient Kindles have?

Codex (pages) allows random access. Scroll is only sequential.

Bring back absolute position knobs for volume and a knob + scale tuning, Quite possible with a grey encoded optical disc for volume and LCD tuning scale as on some Android phones. A few momentary action buttons and a menu that needs the manual is a RUBBISH user interface for car radios or portable radios.

Physical page buttons, menu, etc on eReaders, tablets, phones (camera button, zoom etc). Touch is great for links or highlights. Rubbish if used for everything. I blame Ives and Jobs.

Mage Silver badge

Re: And without learning regex

You'll be forever unable to automate fixing problems in your own work.

You can even look up the Regex on d'web without learning. However save first and Ctrl-Z are your friends while you are learning.

Mage Silver badge

Re: machines with 32-bit uefi and 64-bit Atoms

I found that Debian can install on those in 64 bit, but for Mint you've to copy a file to the USB stick because the Mint folk (quite reasonably) think why would a 64bit CPU have a 32 bit UEFI.

Also a place in hell for whoever in Intel decided to have a 64bit CPU with PHYSICALLY only 2G RAM addressing. I don't believe the package couldn't have had 1 (4G) or 2 more (16G) pins. Crippled from birth.

Or tablets & laptops with soldered in ONLY 32G Flash/SSD after Windows 10 launch?

Well, at least such HW can support 64 linux well enough, though if it's rotatable and has touch you may need a script to handle touch in portrait.

Mage Silver badge

Re: the UI still feels a little last-decade

Oh, and also an application should NEVER force its own GUI unless a simple widget. It should use what ever paradigm / styles / appearance etc the desktop/GUI is set to. You can even write Java that does that instead of a designer selected (or Sun/Oracle default) madness.

Do you hear me Mozilla? Why should I have to install plug-ins to have a sane GUI, or switch to Waterfox because you want to make Thunderbird & Firefox look like an escaped madness from Google or a tablet/phone?

Mage Silver badge

Re: epub

Still not as good as the ePub Plugin for 5.x Writer.

Both of which not as good as Sigil or Calibre.

Calibre is easiest and good when you understand the options. On Linux uses DOCX or ODT, on Windows DOCX or DOC (not sure on ODT).

Save as Word *OR* Open DOCX from Writer to Calibre seems to be a bit better than using ODT.

However source/Edits best done in ODT format.

Calibre is best solution to manage eReaders and create ebooks in ePub, mobi (old Kindles) and AZW3 (newer kindles). Or even ancient ebook formats. Pick Tablet output so it doesn't mess your internal image formatting. Download, browse for or create covers in Calibre. Add CSS rules if needed.

However, once you understand how Writer paragraph and page styles work, I'd rate even 5.x LibreOffice Writer better than any version of Word.

Importing existing user dictionaries is easy.

Like all WP, you DO need to change the defaults on Grammar and substitution.

Mage Silver badge

Re: 646464

Except unlike Windows, there is no penalty in speed or code size running 64 bit Linux on Atoms (with 2G RAM) that MS only distributes 32 bit Windows 10 on. Also Linux 64 runs 32 bit programs better than 64 Windows and sometimes Windows 32 bit (on WINE) that won't run on even Win7 64bit.

Also 64 bit Linux fine on 32G Flash / SSD /HDD, which is getting to be a problem for even 32bit Win 10.

Likely there will still be 32 bit Linux for routers, set-boxes and Gadgets etc where 64 bit is too much expense and power.

Mage Silver badge

the UI still feels a little last-decade

Oh good.

Ribbon: Garbage

Fisher Price version XP: Horrid, much easier on eyes switched to Win98/Win2K/NT4.0 style

Vista Aero & Transparency: TERRIBLE. Though you can turn it off and make it like Win98/Win2K/NT4.0/XP style

Win7: Stupid flat creeping in, basically a Vista Service Pack

NT4.0 -> Win2K -> XP ->Vista/Win7 -> Win8 -> Win10: Increasingly inconsistent GUI, and Explorer behaviour and splintering of where things found.

Switched permanently to Linux Mint + Mate Desktop (effects off) TraditionalOK theme about 2 years

Switched permanently to LibreOffice about 3 years ago (I'd used Star office and Open Office occasionally, but mostly MS Word & MS Excel since 1993)

So now left the insanity. Wiping remaining Win10 + MS Office shortly.

So called Modern GUI design is GARBAGE simulation of monochrome laser printed paper designed by Graphic designers that seem to know NOTHING about GUI research from 1970s to 1990s. It's gone downhill since 2003 with either insanely flat monochrome or drug addled hyper realistic 3D animations, AKA eyecandy.

The GUI is NOT a piece of art or a Graphic Design statement. It's has to be simple, consistent, work with mouse & keyboard (Stylus & Touch are specific use areas, not a replacement for text / figure / navigation creation). It must not distract or require study.

How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables

Mage Silver badge


I've never seen a lycra coated wireman, though a dustproof lycra ski-mask sounds like a great idea for dusty floors, ceilings, desks etc. I think you need swimming goggles too to protect the eyes.

Do suitable nasal filters exist?

Fujitsu pitched stalker-y AI that can read your social media posts as solution to Irish border, apparently

Mage Silver badge

Re: secceed to Canada [sic]

Canada is associate of ESA. Moving towards EU.

Maybe Greenland might rejoin EU (they left when they split from Denmark, the only place to leave the EU).

Trump's proposed wall is longer than Donegal to Newfoundland distance.

Donegal is a similar distance from Athens and Newfoundland.

England should leave UK and become a USA colony like Puerto Rico.

Gibraltar, IoM and Channel Is. then should become part of the new UK that stays in EU and lacks England. Despite UK No. 10 protests, Gibraltar, IoM and the Channel Is are NOT part of the UK, they are various kinds of dependencies. The renewed UK (clue in name?) could have the Monarch as Queen Elizabeth I of Scotland (she is currently), or become the Confederation of British States a republic, or be in the Commonwealth. Actually even a Republic can be in the Commonwealth.

England can remain a Kingdom, renamed Kingdom of England, or Albion. With King Charles III in a few years time.

Mage Silver badge

Re: extra CCTV and number plate recognition cameras at the border

The Chief Constable said they'd not last a week.

I think that's generous.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Completly missing the point

Dairy is big.

Milk produced in Ireland, bottled & made to cheese in N.I.

Most of it then sold in Ireland. Even as Irish Cheese (but with UK NI CE tracing on packet).

Same with bacon and sausages.

The Good Friday Agreement basically assumes UK & Ireland in same EU, the Single Market and Customs union. Which means freedom of movement of EU citizens (which May opposes, even though NON-EU immigration, nothing to do with EU, is the big issue and varies from x5 to x8 bigger. Home Office picks low hanging fruit on that, often illegally!).

So Brexit referendum seems to have had no research, no consideration of Scotland (You'll have to leave EU if you vote Independence!), Gibraltar or NI Good Friday Agreement. The Brexiteers STILL have no majority agreement on what Brexit entails or how to do it.

Cameron has a lot to answer for. A Second referendum is no solution, because what on earth questions do you put on it? No Deal is not an answer, yet Parliament voted to make that the default rather than cancelling Article 50 at the original vote.

The Article 50 clause was invoked with no analysis, or plan. The Future Trade is the only negotiable part. The actual Withdrawal Agreement is really box ticking defined by the Article 50 (which UK was main architect of) and limited by the GFA (which DUP NEVER EVER agreed to and want destroyed. Arlene Foster left Official Unionists and joined DUP because the OU accepted GFA and she didn't). T. May's red lines and GFA mean the Insurance Policy called the Backstop had to be added.

If UK was going to leave Customs Union, Single Market, end free EU movement and ECJ for Brexit as the hard liners want, then the Withdrawal Agreement EU agreed with May was inevitable and people BEFORE referendum said that's what it would be. The Withdrawal Agreement was never going to be a negotiation, but box ticking. Only the trade deal, not possible till after withdrawal (and clear in A50) is a real negotiation.

Other Trade deals: NO other trade deals can be FINALISED till after Withdrawl / Transition. Of the about 50 off 3rd Party deals EU has, the UK so far has only outline agreement to continue FIVE.

I used to have to cross the border for work. I needed paperwork (carnet) even for my own tools and test gear. It was a hard border even apart from security checkpoints. They were not fun.

"Why have you a UK driving licence and a Southern registered car?"

-- "I used to live in the UK"

"So what address did you used to live at in the UK?"

-- "I've forgotten"

"Please get out of the car slowly."

European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking smartwatch

Mage Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Don't be so alarmist

I always do what Teddy says, so I'm not alarmed at all,

Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: internet connected sex toys

You mean Teledildonics?

Can we get these people shut down or shut down bitcoin? People keep telling me Bitcoin is traceable. Obviously criminals don't think so.

I'm sure most people realise these emails are fake (usually).

However the possible financial opportunities for Teledildonics compared to Teddy Bears, smart watches, baby monitors or IoT such as Nest are amazing.

I suppose it's a change from people that may or may not be Nigerians offering commission on funds transfer.



I have very bad news for you.

03/09/2018 - on this day I hacked your OS and got full access to your account *******@*******.***

On this day your account *******@*******.*** has password: smagfest

So, you can change the password, yes.. But my malware intercepts it every time.

How I made it:

In the software of the router, through which you went online, was a vulnerability.

I just hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.

When you went online, my trojan was installed on the OS of your device.

After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).

A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a not big amount of btc to unlock.

But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, and I was shocked by what I saw!!!

I'm talk you about sites for adults.

I want to say - you are a BIG pervert. Your fantasy is shifted far away from the normal course!

And I got an idea....

I made a screenshot of the adult sites where you have fun (do you understand what it is about, huh?).

After that, I made a screenshot of your joys (using the camera of your device) and glued them together.

Turned out amazing! You are so spectacular!

I'm know that you would not like to show these screenshots to your friends, relatives or colleagues.

I think $728 is a very, very small amount for my silence.

Besides, I have been spying on you for so long, having spent a lot of time!

Pay ONLY in Bitcoins!

My BTC wallet: 1E5XMWQtyYnCY4LkLnjMtqBMQNnC1KS3m3

You do not know how to use bitcoins?

Enter a query in any search engine: "how to replenish btc wallet".

It's extremely easy

For this payment I give you two days (48 hours).

As soon as this letter is opened, the timer will work.

After payment, my virus and dirty screenshots with your enjoys will be self-destruct automatically.

If I do not receive from you the specified amount, then your device will be locked, and all your contacts will receive a screenshots with your "enjoys".

I hope you understand your situation.

- Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data, files and screenshots is already uploaded to a remote server)

- Do not try to contact me (you yourself will see that this is impossible, I sent you an email from your account)

- Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help, since your data is already on a remote server.

P.S. You are not my single victim. so, I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment!

This is the word of honor hacker

I also ask you to regularly update your antiviruses in the future. This way you will no longer fall into a similar situation.

Do not hold evil! I just do my job.

Good luck.

Mage Silver badge
Big Brother

Tip of the Iceberg

All internet connecting, WiFi, Bluetooth toys should be banned. Adults can choose to be daft with IoT, but kids usually have no choice.

Also see Vtech toys.

I know people are fed up about Brexit, but orders like this and the rather abused CE mark will have no validity in UK after Brexit. The Pre-CE and other before EU and European (ESTI etc) standards may not exist today or have validity after Brexit. No doubt there is a cunning plan to have British standards for RFI, Toxicity, child safety, data privacy, materials hazards and what not. Except I can't find it.

Fake fuse: Bloke admits selling counterfeit chips for use in B-1 bomber, other US military gear

Mage Silver badge

Re: were remarked to pass as new chips

So not actually counterfeit, they are made by the claimed companies. It's the usage status that is false?

A very strange use of Counterfeit as they are not replica chips.

Sysadmin's three-line 'annoyance-buster' busts painstakingly crafted, crucial policy

Mage Silver badge

Re: “headend”

It CAN mean the system that connects "stuff" to the coax cable that goes to all the houses. Maybe one for a small town long ago. Once it might have been merely TV receivers with aerials and C-band Dish+LNB+analogue FM receivers and then loads of modulators and amps.

Now it might be a fibre fed CMTS in a street cabinet for Internet with Digital Video, Switched video, Some analogue video and even some Band II VHF radio. Unlike the Cat3 telephone pairs, the coax can have nearly 1000MHz bandwidth rather than less than 30MHz DSL (designed for 3.5KHz!) and run at higher QAM. Distance can even be a few kilometres with no penalty. Twisted pair phone line speed / bandwidth falls of a cliff beyond 200m. VDLS2 maybe only 12Mbps at 1km.

What's that, Skippy? You want a taste of Windows 10 19H2? Oops, too late

Mage Silver badge

Re: XP Search

Native XP search, NOT updated to Windows search, even (especially?) with Indexing off was fine. After you booted off the stupid dog.

It did what you asked it.

Mage Silver badge

tweaks to Search to show the most-used apps first


You search for things you've little or never used, or else it's a stupid menu/bookmark service needed because of stupid GUI design (like removing infrequently used items from menus, totally daft. Menus / toolbars should NEVER change on their own and menus should have access to everything without ever automatic changing of the order. Probably only Tool Bars use be user configurable and not change on their own).

Microsoft is continuing it's march to irrelevance. I think the Win XP & Win 7 boxes & laptops will stay. I've lost patience with the win 10 gear we have. It's getting Linux (too new for Win7 or XP). Some of the XP, Vista, and Win7 stuff has had Linux Mint for years now.

Intel to finally scatter remaining ashes of Itanium to the wind in 2021: Final call for doomed server CPU line

Mage Silver badge

Re: Just imagine

Or if Windows 95 had not existed or been a failure.

Pentium Pro ran NT brilliantly. Ran win9x badly because design assumed no run time switching 32 bit -> 16bit. NT used WoW and NTVDM to run 16bit windows on 32bit x86 cpu like NT did with Alpha. Too much Win9x & MS Office and apps were 16 bit. Win9x Killed Pentium Pro. The expensive RAM needed didn't help either.

Mage Silver badge

re: By the time Microsoft were pushing 64-bit with Windows 7

First 64 bit windows NT was ironically Alpha, NT 4.0

The IA-64 was supported by an XP version in October 25, 2001 (NT 5.1) and updated in 2003 when Server 2003 released. (NT5.2?).

Shortest lived Windows NT version? Discontinued January 2005, after Hewlett-Packard, the last distributor of Itanium-based workstations, stopped selling Itanium systems marketed as 'workstations'. Support ended July 2005!

HP was really the prime mover for IA-64, not so much Intel. Didn't HP even start the design? Shame HP bought Compaq & DEC. Who would have been better?

The XP professional for AMD x86-64 was released on April 25, 2005. Extended Support for the embedded version of XP ended Jan. 8, 2019. Up till then it was possible to get some security fixes on regular XP workstation by changing the Registry to report it as embedded (which included signs, ATMs and POS, sometimes using a regular PC motherboard / system).

XP 32 bit could access less RAM than NT4.0 Enterprise as the extended addressing for more than 4G was disabled. Typically an XP 32 app could only access 2.5G, encouraging gamers to update to the less compatible 64bit XP.

Was the STUPID idea of using Program Files (x86) for 32 bit on 64 bit because of Alpha-64, Alpha-32 or Itanium? Why didn't Program Files name change only for > 32 bit?

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

Mage Silver badge

Re: inaccurate testing

Recently a pair of identical twins sent samples to loads of these sort of tests (like FamilyTreeDNA). Results different!

Ethnicity reports are poor unless you are mostly West European Origin.

Mage Silver badge

Re: NHS in league with the plods.

They have been with Google/Alphabet.

Now the NHS wants to test EVERYONE's DNA and "share it for research", though to start with you have to pay.



Why do I suspect it's more about making money than health?

Most "Genetic causes" are contentious, involve very many genes and the additional risk where agreed isn't clear.

There are small number of serious medical conditions that have clear genetic causes and might respond to gene therapy or need special treatment. Those can be tested for when the symptoms are spotted.

General Genetic testing and databases (maybe even part of biometric ID) of everyone, given lack of security, privacy and lack of understanding of what most of it really means is madness. Gene edit tools such as CRISPR need to be reserved for life threatening conditions due to side-effect mutations.

Boffins debunk study claiming certain languages (cough, C, PHP, JS...) lead to more buggy code than others

Mage Silver badge

Re: It's "What's the best language" all over again

I found the big issue with C was libraries. Both vendor supplied and ones written in house.

I experimented with testing them, also defensive code that was conditional for development version that checked ranges & sizes of data passed & returned was at least sane.

I think 90% of the learning curve of a new language on a real existing platform is learning libraries, including the "avoid completely" and "dangerous" functions.

Calling functions in a Windows DLL was a special sort of hell if not well documented and you didn't understand what your source language might really pass. You'd quickly learn a VB6 string needed to be assigned to something suitable and wasn't like a Pascal or C string in memory structure at all.

Ultimately choosing a good programmer is more important than the language choice. A good grade on a computer course, degree, masters or PhD means nothing.

Probation for 3 months with no appeal.

Mage Silver badge

Re: It's "What's the best language" all over again

Except the company, not the programmer chooses.

The most significant aspect is the quality of the programmer.

Some or most of the "significantly better" languages aren't used either at all or much. Do remember Pascal (derived from Algol & Qubal) and BASIC (derived from Fortran) were only intended for teaching,

Also the original goal of C++ in maybe 1985 wasn't C compatibility, that was sadly forced on.

Computer Science pretty much stalled over 25 years ago. The market place, existing libraries, dominant OSes and big companies have decided the languages & tools, not programmers or Computer Scientists. Ask Verity Stob.

Chang'e 4 wakes and Yutu 2 stretches its solar panels for another day... on the friggin' MOON

Mage Silver badge

Re: Fine article but

You new here?

Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

Mage Silver badge

Misleading in mainstream media

Reading electrical signals due to simple speech is nothing like reading thoughts. "AI" isn't even needed.

It might only have use for hearing implants (produce more compatible easier to train signals from audio) than anything else.

I can't see how this has ANYTHING to do with vocalising speech for those that have lost speech. That requires completely different mechanisms and sensing to the real time capture of electrical brain activity caused by hearing digits.

Irish data watchdog to Facebook: Hang about, what's all this about a WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger merger now?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Tax Haven?

That's gone.

Apple and Eircom have moved to Jersey in the Channel Is.

Mage Silver badge

Data Protection!

Wake up Irish Regulator. Facebook already slurping Whatsapp and Instagram personal info

Facebook breaking even pre-GDPR law and still breaking GDPR.

Please stop sending complaints to ECJ and /dev/nul

I studied hard, I trained for years. Yay, now I'm an astronaut in space. Argggh, leukemia!

Mage Silver badge

Re: I've always wondered...

Double hull and water in between. Water is reasonable shielding for cosmic radiation (worse if solar wind low). Unfortunately a solar flare is really bad news.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Virus vs Bacteria

It was just a story.

However most poison by products of a bacteria might be generally toxic, like hydrogen cyanide.

The blood might have proteins, fat, glucose etc, probably generally utilisable. Blood can be used as a fertiliser for plants. It's mostly water. The main thing after that is protein. Low in fat and sugars. Some vitamins (possibly no use to aliens).

Blood is the only animal product mentioned in the bible forbidden to Noah (not Jewish), Jews and Christians of Gentile origin in the book of Acts (No doubt because of the Covenant with Noah). "The life is in the blood".

I've no idea why H.G. Wells picked blood. Curiously the ships mentioned were already obsolete when he wrote the story (1897).

"The quick pace of change meant that many ships were obsolete as soon as they were finished, and that naval tactics were in a state of flux. Many ironclads were built to make use of the ram or the torpedo, which a number of naval designers considered the important weapons of naval combat. There is no clear end to the ironclad period, but towards the end of the 1890s the term ironclad dropped out of use. New ships were increasingly constructed to a standard pattern and designated battleships or armored cruisers." — Wikipedia. Also stated elsewhere.

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Virus vs Bacteria

Viruses are fairly DNA specific and related to particular range of hosts. The origin may even be broken host DNA.

Most bacteria are harmless. Many can feed on any suitable nutrient so much less species specific. Many are beneficial. Often it's the by-products that are poisonous.

Other biological risks are yeasts, fungus, amoeba, parasites (often narrower in range of hosts), insects and related bites that are poisonous or cause allergic reaction (spiders vs bees) and the largest are predators or antagonised herbivores. The Komodo dragon is unusual as it bites or scratches prey and then follows it waiting for it to die of blood poisoning, a symbioses with bacteria?

I researched all this to write SF. It's unlikely aliens would get the amino acids and vitamins they need, or we would eating their food. Even here vitamin needs and amino acids can be species specific. Few need vitamin C, some need vitamins that are not used by humans. Cats have more deficiencies than dogs on a vegan diet, they'll die on it without additives.

Sugar is simple, some fats are simple. Many Alien carbohydrates, fats and some proteins might be digestible to an extent (or ours by them). Without at least added vitamins and amino acids we'd die. Looking at weird life here suggest the reverse might be true for Aliens, or at least few foods might give trace things they really really need.

You'd die living only on rabbit.

Gripe to UK, Ireland, Poland: Ad tech industry inhales, then 'leaks' sensitive info on our health, politics, religion

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Re: no doubt those records were eventually removed


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Re: Most of it is totally irrelevant

It would be MORE worrying if most was relevant, or worse I was able to be convinced it was.

I'd hope Adverts would stay as stupidly random as they are. Just like on Broadcast TV, newspapers billboards, magazines and radio.

BTW do kill SambaTV and block various domains if you have an Android TV AKA Smart TV. A Smart TV will send discs watched (if you are playing via HDMI), broadcasts watched, web sites browsed, streaming consumed etc. Often to maker, SambaTV and Google.

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Big Brother

A Google Spokesman

I remember when it was Big Tobacco or Halliburton.

1) The idea of targetted adverts is probably Google & Facebook snake oil to divert budgets from billboards, TV, magazines, newspaper and radio.

2) Whether the personalisation or not works, all the data gathering is illegal and may have been so before GDPR. Fines used to be so small it wasn't worth prosecuting.

3) It's OK to sell adverts on websites. It's not OK to harvest any of people's usage to claim to do it better. Loyalty & Credit card usage is also being added. It's toxic and an abuse of human rights. It would be even worse for the public if it actually really worked.

4) It's very bad for the ultimate product and service companies buy adverts as the effectiveness of the illegal process isn't proven and often clicks are fraudulent, or in some cases they are lied to as to how many regular users a service has or how many videos are watched. This isn't libel because Facebook has admitted massive inflation of video figures and click fraud is well documented. Google and site owners benefit. Advertisers lose out.

Whats(goes)App must come down... World in shock as Zuck decides to intertwine Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

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allow cross messaging, then throw that system open to others

Only real time is an issue. Email is on some phones since before 2002. SMS is also universal.

File Transfer (SFTP), VOIP, eMail, http/https are already universal. Maybe even IRC.

Making walled gardens interoperable isn't the solution. Using universally available stuff that's not proprietary is the solution.

Issues of VOIP with firewalls have solutions.

There are a variety of less toxic alternatives to Google (or did they kill theirs?) and Zuckerberg for a combined app able to text OR voice or Video +Voice. Even desktop sharing and real time file transfer. Sadly MS messed up Skype.

Viber and QQmessenger have pluses and minuses.

No-one has EVER needed WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Always been plenty of less toxic alternatives.

Apple: Trust us, we've patented parts of Swift, and thus chunks of other programming languages, for your own good

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Hatsune Miku

I read about Hatsune Miku and I didn't understand. I'm obviously completely out of touch.

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