* Posts by Martin

962 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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Today in bullsh*t AI PR: Computers learn to read as well as humans (no)

Martin
Thumb Up

@John Smith 19 Re: The 70's called. Contextual Dependency blah blah...

Excellent post - thanks.

Just one more point. Human beings are remarkably good at deducing meaning from context - and one of your sentences with made-up words demonstrates that elegantly.

"I just drumped a can of lager off Jack" - if I heard one teenager say it to another, it would be obvious that "drumped" is a slang word for "cadged". And I wonder if AI will EVER be able to do that.

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Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

Martin
Happy

No more religious wars?

Powershell is far superior to Bash and I call BULLSHIT on your suggestion that Bash is superior.

Just one quote from this comments thread from yesterday.

I rest my case.

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PowerShell comes to MacOS and Linux. Oh and Windows too

Martin
Happy

Re: PowerShell?

Powershell is far superior to Bash and I call BULLSHIT on your suggestion that Bash is superior.

And yet, only today, there was an article in El Reg bemoaning the fact that there are no more religious wars in IT.

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Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?

Martin
FAIL

Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

Oh, dear, dear, dear.

I can't explain it, and neither can anyone else. Therefore goddidit.

Come on - that was a reasonable argument in prehistoric days, but it's just tripe nowadays.

The real issue about abiogenesis is that we're trying to understand something that happened perhaps only once in a totally different environment about three point eight billion years ago, and something that clearly doesn't happen easily (or it would presumably have happened again, probably multiple times). Of COURSE it's likely that we can't explain it. It's very likely we'll never have a really convincing explanation. But that doesn't mean that, therefore, there is a god.

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Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Martin
Happy

Re: New calendar..

Speak for yourself re birthdays. I'm 63 next year, and I still enjoy my birthday as much as ever.

We have a concept of "birthday powers" in our family - on your birthday, what you say goes. And we always start our birthdays the evening before, so they last for about 30 hours.

Birthdays are great.

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Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

Martin

Re: Well Article'd

TBH, there are times (eg their performance against the Saints this lunchtime) when I wonder why I watch them too :{

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Martin

Re: Well Article'd

Though I am a football fan (or at least an Arsenal fan - sometimes I wonder if that's quite the same thing) I don't think I'm prepared to argue about footballers, and the amounts that the top players "earn". But I maintain that there is a significant difference between watching twenty two top athletes working as two teams with talent, determination and occasionally breathtaking skill, and watching an overweight guy on a video game swearing at the screen.

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User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'

Martin
Happy

Haunted messages...

Someone once spotted me in the machine room on a security camera. So they remotely logged into the machine nearest me, made it beep, so I turned towards it - then they typed "Hello Martin..." on the screen.

I will admit to a slight HAL shiver...

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Amazon Key door-entry flaw: No easy fix to stop rogue couriers burgling your place unseen

Martin
Happy

Re: Good idea but

Yep - a parcel safe works for me. Postie bungs item in box, locks it. Seem not to be easily available any more.

I remember a lot of people said to me "Don't see the point. What if you get two parcels, and the second person can't get into your parcel safe?" I never could persuade them that 95% of my parcels being delivered rather than taken back to the sorting office was significantly better than zero.

Our main problem with the parcel safe seems to be that our local couriers cannot see a three foot by two foot green metal box on the wall right beside the front door.

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Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

Martin
Stop

Re: Official info?

Time, I think, to put all my old Logitech gear (squeezebox/radio/controllers/remote) in a box and head for the dump.

Don't do that! There are still people who want them (like me). I have two squeezeboxes and two radios, and they just keep working. They don't NEED to connect to the internet to work - they just need to connect to the server software.

If you really don't want them, you'll get a few quid for them on eBay.

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Pixel-style display woes on your shiny new X? Perfectly normal, says Apple

Martin
Thumb Up

Re: 'image persistence' or 'burn-in'

...a foot operated button on the floor to dip the head lights.

I actually thought that was a brilliant idea, and I'd love to see it "reinvented"...

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Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

Martin
Thumb Down

Re: "I swore I'd never use one of these"

I would be surprised if octogenarians had the strength for that kind of shenanigan. They're more likely to be drooling, deranged, and restricted to wheelchairs.

The average octagenarian is likely to be perfectly intelligent, and probably walking a bit slowly, perhaps with a stick. And if you made that sort of ridiculous comment to my octogenarian mother, she would, quite reasonably, hit you with it.

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The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

Martin
Happy

Sometimes, voice activation is useful though...

If I want to set an alarm on my phone, I touch the microphone icon on the Google search widget and say loudly "Set alarm for 8:30" (or whenever) and it sets the alarm.

I do it like this for two reasons.

1) it's quick and easy and works reliably

2) I cannot for the life of me work out how to do it on my phone any other way :(

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SanDisk man tipped off his family to Fusion-io fusion, bagged $220k in share snatch – says SEC

Martin

Oh, yes. She is still trading using non-public information, so yes, it is still insider trading and still illegal.

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Martin
Facepalm

He made two mistakes...

He didn't do it in the UK, and he wasn't a Lord.

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IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Not only

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light

Himself. It struck him dead: And serve him right!

It is the business of the wealthy man

To give employment to the artisan.

Hilaire Belloc

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Guntree v Gumtree: Nominet orders gun ads site must lose domain

Martin
Happy

I have to admit it took me a few seconds to twig...

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Equifax CEO falls on his sword weeks after credit biz admits mega-breach

Martin
WTF?

Re: Cough

When I worked for a large international bank, they made a HUGE thing about the share transactions we made. The principle was that there should not even be a possible implication of impropriety in any of our share dealings.

These transactions don't just have an implication of impropriety. They stink to high heaven.

The very least the executives should do is to give up the profit they have made as a result of the share price fall.

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Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code

Martin
Happy

Re: Amazing

Exactly.

I solved the cube myself, back in the eighties, with a pretty damn inefficient set of algorithms (which I still remember, btw.) But I did a lot of the work by taking the cube to pieces, putting it back solved, and working from that.

Don't think that's all that different from what this AI is doing.

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Equifax's IT leaders 'retire' as company says it knew about the bug that brought it down

Martin
WTF?

Incompetence is bad, but there is worse....

Data breaches happen - but this is a company whose whole raison d'etre is looking after data - and they managed to lose the lot! If a bank had lost all its customer's money, they'd be shut down.

Personally, this is what upsets me the most about this particular breach.

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For once, Uber takes it up the tailpipe: Robo-ride gets rear-ended

Martin
FAIL

Re: accidents a 'fact of life' in Cali-fornicate-you

I don't care how good your argument is. You're downvoted for using "Cali-fornicate-you" - and not just once, but three times.

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Forget sexy zero-days. Siemens medical scanners can be pwned by two-year-old-days

Martin
Happy

@Nattrash - Re: But why are they on the Internet anyway?

OK, fair enough. Thanks for the explanation.

And may I also thank you for putting me straight politely? I'm not used to that on the internet :)

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Martin
FAIL

But why are they on the Internet anyway?

It never ceases to amaze me why these vitally important items which CANNOT be allowed to be damaged are even connected to the outside world directly.

If they need external data, then download that external data into an internal server (via a firewall), and connect the scanners to the internal server. The internal server could be supplied by the scanner company; it could be a simple single-use box.

It's not completely foolproof, but it's much safer than just connecting to the outside world.

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Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

Martin
Happy

Re: A few things need to be right

"I literally logged in on the PS4 and was able to enjoy Clarkson Hammond and May..."

Impressive work by the PS4. I wouldn't have thought that there was ANYTHING that would have made it possible to enjoy Clarkson Hammond and May.

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Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

Martin
FAIL

Of course, if I were bribed for my vote, it would be considered to be illegal.

But bribing the DUP for their vote - well, that's just politics.

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Conservative manifesto disappears offline – then mysteriously reappears

Martin

"I wouldn't trust them to run a bath let alone the economy."

But the alternative has to be worse, doesn't it? A party who are willing to gamble the future of the country on a referendum we didn't need, just to appease a few members of the party (and lose that gamble), and a party who are willing to gamble on an election to improve their majority and crush the official opposition - and lose that gamble too.

The Tories have proven themselves incompetent over the last ten years. It's time for a change.

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Hacker exposed bank loophole to buy luxury cars and a face tattoo

Martin

Commit GBH causing victim to be unable to dress or cook, get a 3 month *suspended* sentence.

Citation please?

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Teen girl who texted boyfriend to kill himself guilty of manslaughter

Martin
WTF?

@bombastic bob - Re: Not my kind of girl "friend".

So, basically, feminism is the reason why a girl drove a boy to commit suicide?

Blimey, that's a stretch by any standards. Have a downvote.

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Seminal game 'Colossal Cave Adventure' released onto GitLab

Martin
Happy

Re: Left -- right?

Correct.

But in a later variant of the game (which was in a labyrinth under a house - can't remember the name of it) you'd find yourself in a "twisty little passages all alike" maze. So you dropped items so that you could map it - say, a box.

And then, a couple of moves later, you heard a voice saying "A nice box! How useful!" - and you discovered that someone else in the maze was (a) picking up your items and (b) dropping them elsewhere. Infuriating. I never did successfully complete that maze.

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Martin
Headmaster

Re: Left

It's actually

"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."

I can't believe that (a) I know that and (b) I know the game well enough to be able to quickly check to ensure I got it right and (c) I'm sad enough to bother to correct you.

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Martin
Happy

Re: Back?

It's actually in all the linux repositories that I've ever used. So it's hardly gone away.

eg:-

sudo apt-get install bsdgames

adventure

works on my raspberry pi !

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FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

Martin
Happy

The full quote was - "Veddy interestink - but stoopid !", if my memory serves me correctly.

Even more appropriate.

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We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

Martin
Happy

Re: Again?

If the driveway is unoccupied however, no offence has been committed, even if the property owner cannot enter their own driveway.

I discovered this once, when someone parked on my drive. The police happened to be passing, and I asked them what I could do. They told me that, strictly, there was nothing they could do. But they found the car wasn't properly locked, and helped me push the car off my drive and across the road onto a yellow line. Then they gave it a parking ticket.

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Microsoft tries, fails to crush 'gender bias' lawsuit brought by its own women engineers

Martin

Re: Always a one-sided story

It is much the same argument as a black person being tried in front of a jury of white people, lawyers and judge. I can see their point, but exactly how do you fix it?

For IT people and for juries, I don't know. But you can at least try. For example, professional orchestras now routinely audition for new members behind a screen, to try to prevent any unintentional bias. And there are now more women and ethnic minorities in orchestras.

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Sysadmin 'trashed old bosses' Oracle database with ticking logic bomb'

Martin
Headmaster

Re: Conversion?

When you pick it up, it becomes a stolen hammer...

In the UK at least, no it isn't. It's only theft if there is a permanent intent to deprive. If it's only used to break the window, then put back, it's not been stolen.

Off topic - but that is why in this country, you are not charged with theft if you steal a car. There is a separate charge of taking without consent (twoc) for cars - because in most cases, there isn't a permanent intent to deprive.

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Apple wets its pants over Swatch ad tagline

Martin
WTF?

Re: Daft thing is ...

@chivo243 - Who wears a watch? mostly people showing off their wealth and toys...

Did you expect anything other than a barrage of downvotes for that?

I'm a watch-wearer, who has worn the same (quite expensive) watch for the last twenty-two years. A 40th birthday present from my wife, since you ask. It's not a toy, and I don't show it off - no-one I know would care. But it would break my heart if I lost it.

Have another downvote from me.

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Martin
FAIL

Re: Daft thing is ...

Well, I do, for one.

I don't want to dig my phone out of my pocket to tell the time - I just want to glance at my wrist, like I have done for the last sixty years. Drives me mad when I forget to put a watch on - it's astonishing how often during a day I look at the time.

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SVN commit this: Subversion to fix file renaming after 15 years

Martin
Happy

Re: Is this still being used?

I still miss sccs...

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Can you ethically suggest a woman pursue a career in tech?

Martin
WTF?

Re: rofl

Oh, ffs.

I am not talking about the standard obvious physical differences. Yes - that was sloppy of me - I should have made that clear. I rather thought we were not talking about obvious differences, and I rather thought we were talking about STEM careers. Yes, I admit it - generally, women are not as strong as men, physically - but that makes very little difference to how well they can do IT.

But the so-called mental differences (Women are better at multitasking - men are better at concentrating on a specific task - women can't drive as well as men - men are better at spatial tasks - men are more logical - women are more empathetic etc etc etc) are pretty trivial, and are almost exclusively due to upbringing and inherent assumptions (by both men and women).

Look, just read the book. It's well worth it.

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Martin
Thumb Down

The real issue is that women and men really do have inherent differences in ability and interest, both physically and mentally.

May I recommend to you The Myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron which actually examines these so-called inherent differences, and discovers - surprise, surprise - that they don't really exist.

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Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Martin
Thumb Up

Re: Beat it!

Indeed.

It amazes me the number of people I see who have spent £100+ on a pair of Beats headphones - presumably for "better" sound - and then wear them OVER their beanie or hoodie.

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Magic Leap sued for sex discrimination … by woman it hired to stamp out sex discrimination

Martin
Happy

Re: I'll see you in court.

"You appear to be a white-knighting beta-boy apologist, desperately virtue-signalling in your utter confusion. Turn in your card at the earliest opportunity manlet, you're outside the circle of trust."

And you, no doubt, are a tough alpha male, who is clearly scared shitless by any woman with a brain.

I have a wife and four daughters who all thoroughly approve of my attitudes. I care much more about their views than yours.

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Martin
WTF?

Re: I'll see you in court.

Oh FFS.

I am so sick of men whinging about how hard it is to be male in this world.

It is a piece of piss to be male in this world. Everything is set out for you, every assumption is that you because you are male, you are bright and intelligent (or tough or both). No one would ever say, for example "Ah well, men are useless are reading maps" or "...using technology". And I can think of dozens of other examples.

It's no bloody surprise that women push back hard.

As someone said - a woman has to do a job twice as well as a man to be accepted as being as good as a man. (The joke was - fortunately, that's not hard...!)

Look - just accept it, and be bloody grateful you were born male. Men have it cushy in this world. Don't whinge about the few times when women get a better deal than men.

And just for the avoidance of doubt - I am male.

6
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Samsung's Chromebook Pro: Overpriced vanilla PC with a stylus. 'Wow'

Martin
WTF?

Re: Also

"I just can't see the point of this or Chromebooks in general."

Then Chromebooks are not aimed at you. Chromebooks are for people like my wife, my daughter and (most of the time) me who want to pick up a computer and do basic browsing, office work and email - which is what 99.9% of users do every time they pick up a laptop. They don't want to have to wait for Windows to install yet another set of updates; they don't even know what Linux is, and they don't care either.

We have three in our house - one each. Mine also has Crouton installed, so I can play with Linux.

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Mars isn't the garbage wasteworld you think it is: Swirling polar ice cap photographed

Martin
Happy

So Elton John was right !

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids

In fact it's cold as hell...

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Just give up: 123456 is still the world's most popular password

Martin

Re: Any site just relying on passwords should be blamed instead

I use my phone as my second factor for Paypal. If I lose that, it doesn't matter, I'll get another one with the same number.

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Martin
IT Angle

Re: Don't Just Blame Users

I'd like to know what's wrong with 18atcskd2w and 3rjs1la7qe too...I can't see any reason why they should be among the top 20 passwords.

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Martin

Re: Hey! No fair!

Anyway, 123456789 is a long password, so that's more secure, isn't it?

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'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud

Martin

Re: Proof (if it were needed)

2. Hide/invest sum secretly in high interest account.

And there's the flaw in your argument right there....

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