* Posts by Neoc

1552 posts • joined 13 Jun 2008

Our Skyborg (actual US govt program) will be just like IBM Watson, beams Air Force bod


Actually, in the book Colossus (and his counterpart) were quite happy to leave the majority of the human race alone so long as they did not interfere with the Project. The only ones under severe restrictions were the ones Colossus deemed dangerous (e.g. Forbin himself) and even then, by the end of the book, Colossus told Forbin there would be a time when Forbin would no longer be a threat and would be released from surveillance.


Sounds familiar

"...envisions Skyborg as an AI wingman that will train and learn alongside pilots..."

"Stealth", anyone? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stealth_(film)

What today links Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram – apart from being run by monopolistic personal data harvesters?


Down in the Antipodes

As of 8am this morning (GMT+10), FB was down in Australia - or at least having enough problems that the local radio stations mentioned it during the news.

Remember the OpenAI text spewer that was too dangerous to release? Fear not, boffins have built a BS detector for it


Re: Missed opportunity

Should have nicknamed it Gary.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm dating myself. Not that anyone else would (badum tish)

While this CEO may be stiff, his customers are rather stuffed: Quadriga wallets finally cracked open – nothing inside


Re: Timing


Europe-style 5G standards testing? Consistent definitions? Who the fsck wants that, asks US mobe industry


"It's not entirely clear why the US feels that these sort of bully-boy tactics are going to work in its favor".

Oh, I don't know, but it might have to do with seeing their President act that way and thinking that they can, too. Never mind the fact the rest of the world regards the current PotUS as a badly-written SitCom.

Go big (with our bandwidth) or go home, Verizon: Texas mulls outlawing 911 throttling after Cali wildfire fiasco


Re: What you are missing

@Jake, you really like using incorrect assumptions in your answers, don't you? Such as, for example, assuming that I (a) live in the USA and (b) have an "unlimited" plan. I fit neither of these points:

(a) I am in Australia (where the ACCC actually has power, unlike the FCC/FTC in the USA which seem to be at the mercy of special interest groups which have hobbled them to the point of uselessness)

(b) my plan is honest and does not use the word "unlimited" - it quite clearly states the amount of data I can download at top speeds, what my *expected* speed is supposed to be instead of *theoretical* max speed (again, thanks to the ACCC getting tired of ISPs not delivering) and how I am to be throttled. Mind you, with my ISP having essentially quadrupled my download limits in the last few years (WTF am I going to do with 2TB/month)...

My problem is with the fact that ISPs in the USAs (I can't speak for other locales) seem to be quite happy to use the word "unlimited" (which implies that *they* do not apply limits) and then apply limits in the small-print. Bottom line: if an ISP applies arbitrary limits (i.e. ISP does not like you downloading large amounts and so throttles after an arbitrary amount), the ISP should not be allowed to use the word "unlimited" since they are, in fact, imposing limits. I do not understand why you do not grok this. Stop using the word "unlimited" and start advertising the actual limits.


Re: What you are missing

erm, @jake... you specifically state "...given the bandwidth constraints". A constraint is, by definition, a limit placed upon your service by the ISP: "we are limiting you to X bytes at the full speed". This, then, makes the plan no longer "unlimited". Except in America, of course, where the Lobbyists/Lawyers with the biggest pockets get to redefine what words mean regardless of the actual dictionary definition.

Apple puts bullet through 'Do Not Track', FaceTime snooping bug and iOS vulnerabilities


Luckily for me, I have a firewall installed at home which also has an ad-blocking option. Seems to work fairly well. Now if only I could extend that to my mobile, I'd be laughing.

Amid polar vortex... Honeywell gets frosty reception after remote smart thermostat tech freezes up for a week


I will look at IoT items once companies get through their head that these devices SHOULD NOT have to call home to work. I'll accept the need to purchase a "Command & Control" device to put on my side of the firewall and have to install various companies apps on it to control their IoT products. Said C&C apps may also, at times, have access to the Internet to update themselves. But that's it. I currently have a Firewall device on my network and at no time does it need to call back home automagically for it to work. Even updates are only done when the App connects to it, either via my internal LAN or via a port I opened on my router (and said communication between the App and the Device is done using keys which must be shared over the LAN).

Oof, are you sure? Facing $9bn damages, Google asks Supreme Court to hear Java spat


Yep. According to the original verdict which allowed copyrighting the APIs, that's exactly right. Note that I do not defend said original verdict, but if it stands then so does the second verdict.

Also, note that I specifically mentioned that *using* APIs was perfectly valid (after all, that's what they're there for). So yes, Oracle can call AWS to do work until such a time as they create their own cloud. What they are not allowed to do (according to the first verdict) is create APIs in their product which mimic the AWS's API calls.


As much as I hate Oracle, I believe it is (at least morally) in the right. It's one thing to *use* APIs to interface with a company's product. It's another one to *replicate* those APIs in an attempt to replace that product.

Apple: You can't sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home... we can explain


Translating Apple's response: "You're just not suing us right".

FCC accused of colluding with Big Cable to game 5G legal challenge


"The letter gives the FCC three weeks to hand over any relevant communications between FCC staff and the telcos through both official and personal channels"

Yes, because the people accused of gaming the system are likely to hand over incriminating documents (assuming, of course, that they are guilty). Let's be honest; in cases of possible wide-spread corruption/collusion the only proper method of gathering evidence is a warrant and a surprise visit by the authorities to apply said warrant immediately.

American bloke hauls US govt into court after border cops 'cuffed him, demanded he unlock his phone at airport'


You are forgetting that ANY international arrival point is technically surrounded by a "border", which is why you have to go through inspection and custom. So this little gem includes areas 100 miles from ANY airport that allows international flights to land/depart (including tiny local airports).

Ding dong merrily on high. In Berkeley, the bots are singeing: Self-driving college cooler droid goes up in flames


Your Plastic Pal who's fun to eat with!

Bulk surveillance is always bad, say human rights orgs appealing against top Euro court


"The court considered three aspects of the UK's spying laws, and the first two were found to have breached the European Convention on Human Rights: ..."

Hey guys, I think I've finally figured why Brexit is going ahead despite all the bullshit...!

Super Micro says audit found no trace of Chinese spy chips on its boards


Woops, my bad. :(


Look, I don't know if SuperMicro's producst have been tampered with or not - but when company tells you they have looked at their own product and found nothing wrong, you *have* to take that news with a grain of salt.

Angry Googlers demand bosses pull the wings off 'Dragonfly' censored Chinese search engine


Wrong target

So we have people having a go at Google because it is planning to obey Chinese Laws in China? Am I the only one finding this ridiculous? If you don't agree with the laws, get the laws changed. But that would require you to stand up to an oppressive government (which might retaliate) instead of a corporation (which might simply ignore you).

What if people outside of the US consider some of the filtering Google does to its western feed "censoring"? Would you be willing to have some of these rules relaxed, or will *your* concept of "right" try to override theirs? Bloody hell, governments can't even agree on simple laws (like at what age you can start drinking. Or driving. Or are even allowed to know that dirty magazines exist) so why don't we have a free-for-all of all these arguments for-and-against the various "censoring" of searches and see how far that gets us.

Google will be applying *Chinese* rules in *China*. Get over it. Or, if you can't, do something about the rules you are objecting to. (and, for the record, I hate Chinese censorship. But I am also realistic on my ability to change The Party's opinions)

And now for the downvotes from the "won't somebody think of the children" brigade.

Another 3D printer? Oh, stop it, you're killing us. Perhaps literally: Fears over ultrafine dust


"Preliminary tests with in vivo, in vitro and acellular methods for particles generated by *a limited number of filaments* showed adverse responses." (my emphasis)

So... no mention of the different types of filaments that can be used (PET / PLA / ABS / etc) and whether this has any effect of the types or amounts of particulate, and then there's this "limited number of filaments" line that (to me) makes it seem like someone cherry-picked the results to prompt further and bigger spending.

Top AI conference NIPS won't change its name amid growing protest over 'bad taste' acronym


Streisand effect

<sigh> So instead of quietly getting the organisers to squash the improper usage of the name (which, based on this report, is done by a minority) those who find it offensive point out the connection between the name and buddles (local term).

The more you raise the fact that something is "racist" or "sexist", the more it gets re-inforced into the public psyche. I can only dream of being able to stop anyone pointing out the negative connotation of certain words ("gay", anyone?) for - say - a generation, and hopefully the next generation will never understand why this was ever a problem.

Awaiting downvotes in 3... 2... 1...

Australia's national broadband bet shirk: NBN write-down not on the cards – chairman



I do wish our government would stop privatising our infrastructure. By all means, allow private companies to offer service over the architecture... but stop selling off the frigging architecture!.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait


Home networking broken

Sometime in the last 6 months, Windows10 stopped handling my home network correctly, refusing to see other PC on the network via their name (and sometimes even their IP address). Before anyone says anything please be aware that

1) My Linux PC still works properly.

2) My Raspberry Pis (plural) still work properly.

3) My Win7 HTPC still works correctly.

4) Both my Win10 laptop and PC have stopped working properly.

While it may not be possible for me to regress my Laptop, I still have an old Win7 Ultimate licence I can use to "upgrade" my Win10 PC to Win7.

Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter


Great, you've caught it. Sooo.... now we have a slightly larger but wobblier item in orbit.

Note: yes, I did read the article - de-orbiting trials are for *later* experiments.

How an augmented reality tourist guide tried to break my balls


Re: Knot

Beat me to it. Although I use a simple slip-knot myself.

New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories


Re: You left out a few words...


SAP faces further South African corruption probe


"...three Gupta-related firms that acted as intermediaries or subcontractors in deals with Transnet and Eskom."

So why do we only hear about SAP? Why do we not hear about the intermediaries AND THE PEOPLE WHO GOT PAID? It's all nice and well bashing SAP (don't stop) but this sort of thing won't stop by only going after the ones doing the payment.

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms


Re: that's the point where things start to go downhill.

Seme / Uke? (not Judo terms)

Register-Orbi-damned: Netgear account order irks infosec bods


"The tech is not necessarily there to gather marketing data, contrary to the suspicions of our tipster. Some Mesh Wi-Fi competitors also require an account be set up to associate with their Wi-Fi networks, El Reg further understands"

Hmmm, no. Unless any one of these companies shows cause, as far as I am concerned they ALL are gathering marketing data and Netgear went "there's a good idea" and jumped on the bandwagon. Just because other companies were doing it doesn't make it any less creepy.

Lawyers sued for impersonating rival firm online to steal clients


"...SEO-optimized ..."

So they "...Search Engine Optimisation optimised..."?

Amnesty slaps Google amid crippled censored China search claims


Wrong target of outrage

It amuses me how people are biased. Don't get me wrong: I think China has terrible laws when it comes to censorship. But that's just the point: in China, they're LAWS. Which means if you want to have a presence there, you have to obey their laws. ALL of them, not just the ones you happen to agree with.

Case in point, there are a lot of things which are illegal in the USA which are perfectly valid outside of it - I'm thinking of laws on legalised prostitution, age of consent, drinking age, drugs, etc... what if Google started offering some of those items to the US public? How quickly would the same people then rise up against Google for not obeying the US laws?

You want to change what's happening, go after the CAUSE: China's overbearing censorship laws. Don't go after the companies that, correctly, obey them when it that country.

The internet's very own Muslim ban continues: DNS overlord insists it can freeze dot-words


Playing with fire

Correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I can tell ICANN has power only because the rest of the world allows them to. What is to stop engineers around the world to tell ICANN to go jump off a roof and set up a new gTLD system?

After all: "the internet re-routes around what it perceives as damage"

UK 'fake news' inquiry calls for end to tech middleman excuses, election law overhaul


No such animal

"...social media giants claiming to be neutral platforms..."

None of those Social Media Giants are neutral platforms anymore. They stopped being "neutral" once they implemented algorithms which would supposedly present me with the news I am interested in (how? "trade secret", so we are told. So we only have their words that it's what *we* want to see as opposed to what they've been paid for us to see).

Once *their* algorithm "chooses" what I see, they no longer are "neutral" - they've meddle with my newsfeed.

Your 60-second guide to security stuff Google touted today at Next '18



What happens if you lose your dongle (or it stops working)? I notice there's no mention of how this is to be remedied. Or is this like the IoT: "nothing can ever go wrong so we don't need recovery"?

Friday FYI: 9 out of 10 of website login attempts? Yeah, that'll be hackers


"More long-terms solutions include WebAuthn, an emerging standard that would abandon traditional credentials completely in favor of physical and biometric authentication mechanisms. The advantage of that would be that there are no credentials to steal"

Because it worked so well for that German MP... Her fingerprints got outed - how is she going to change her biometric log-in?


What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill


Someone explain to me why they didn't use a data-only PREPAID SIM?

UK.gov's long-awaited, lightweight biometrics strategy fails to impress



For instance, on the continued retention of photos of people held in police custody who haven’t been convicted, despite this practice being ruled unlawful, the government simply reiterated the fact its computers systems do not support the automatic removal of images, and new systems should help.

“When the Law Enforcement Data Service, which will replace the Police National Computer (PNC) and the PND, is in place it will enable more efficient review and where appropriate, automatic deletion of custody images by linking them to conviction status, more closely replicating the system for DNA and fingerprints,” it said


How about coming over to the Antipodeans, where we've been removing Biometrics from our IT systems for almost 20 years. No, it doesn't happen automatically and yet this is not deemed to be a burden to the Police force.

For the record, the system generates paperwork which requires departments to destroy their evidence (i.e. photographs, fingerprints, DNA samples, etc...) - note that it first checks to see if the person in question has ever been found guilty of an indictable offence; if so, bad luck buddy. These forms are barcoded for ease of reference and the people in each biometric department can simply scan the barcode to find out the individual records which need to be physically destroyed, because OF COURSE we uniquely identify each piece of evidence (duh). When the evidence is destroyed, the relevant officer signs the form and returns it to central processing.

This is all possible because the system is also the one which generates and prints the paperwork for when photographs, fingerprints or DNA are taken - and thus knows what biometrics are held against which person. So when the person is released a button is pressed, the legal status of the subject is checked, and the relevant destruction paperwork is generated (or not).

So unless the UK plods manning (peopling?) each biometric department have to handle a sh*tload more offenders than we do down here, there should be no reason the damn things can't be destroyed manually and the whole "oh, we can't do it unless it's automated" sounds like a load a manure to me.

On Kaspersky’s 'transparency tour' the truth was clear as mud


"The company is also promising source code reviews for customers and/or maybe also by a consortium of universities whose collective eyeballing will make it possible to get through all three million lines of code"

I don't care who you are, Kaspersky or otherwise: unless I can compile the source code on *my* machine using *my* compiler, you cannot guarantee me that the code I just inspected is what's actually in the compiled version you're offering me.

Admittedly, most of the time I don't care (I'm pretty certain MS and Google are constantly spying on what I do in various ways "for my PC's/phone's own good"), but for security software...

Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing


That was.... surprisingly tame, coming from Torvald.

So net neutrality has officially expired. Now what do we do?


We'd pay extra for such a service. Would you?

Admittedly I'm not American but...

This assumes that cable companies could actually be trusted to stick to that agreement and actually provide what they advertised. Would *you* trust them to actually offer Net-Neutral connections and actually stick to it? Because you already trust them not to sell your personal data, right?

Five actually useful real-world things that came out at Apple's WWDC


Wouldn't work

"(The old voice recognition gag: hover behind someone at a Unix command prompt and say "arr emm dash eff slash".)"

Wouldn't work: you're missing a couple of spaces in there ("rm-rf/") and that's assuming the voice recog recognised you were spelling something and not doing a bad pirate impersonation ("Arr 'im dash off, slash")

Smart bulbs turn dumb: Lights out for Philips as Hue API goes dark



I am old enough to remember the Bad Old Days(tm) of networks (both corporate and home), when you had to check and double-check that the network card you were adding to your network would work with (a) the other network cards; and (b) your switch/router/whatever.

Now, we have standards and unless you are very unlucky, WiFi and cabled PCs will quite happily interact with each other and your network equipment (security settings notwithstanding).

That's what the IoT needs: an IoT "router" that sits on your network and interacts with your IoT shit and, WHEN ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED, talks to the internet. Of course, this would mean that IoT management needs to be standardised - which no company will want to do unless someone like the IEEE steps in.

Artificial intelligence... or advanced imitation? How DeepMind used YouTube vids to train game-beating Atari bot



All they are teaching the "AI" (and I will use the term in quotes) is how to replicate what someone else has done. Which makes it an Expert System at best, not an AI. Yes, humans learn by being taught how to do things - but the big difference is that we then adapt what we have learned to new situations. So (to use the ever-beloved car analogy) while, yes, I was taught to drive a car by an experienced driver while driving though a specific set of streets over-and-over again, I am able to use this knowledge to drive through just about any street network I find myself in. Except Prague. I swear I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to drive through Prague 1.

So no, this is not in any way "teaching an AI", this is "teaching a robot to repeat the same thing over and over again" which we already have in industrial systems where robot welders (for example) are manual guided through their tasks a few times and are then let loose.

Who had ICANN suing a German registrar over GDPR and Whois? Congrats, it's happening


The only proper response from the German court would be a swift:

(1) "No contract may force a company to break the laws of the land"; and

(2) "Since, by bringing this to us, you insist on forcing companies to break the law, let us slap you with fine".

Google shoots Chrome 66's silencer after developer backlash


Simply add whitelist/blacklist capabilities alongside the generic on/off switch and you no longer have a problem: users can choose which websites need to shut up and which can twitter away.

Supreme Court punts on Microsoft email seizure decision after Cloud Act passes US Congress

Black Helicopters


IT companies have let the USA Government open a can of worms.

It has been common practice for a company (call it Amazapple) to create shell companies around the world in order to avoid paying taxes. The only reason this works is because, as a legal fiction, each company is supposedly a separate entity. So Amazapple USA can charge Amazapple UK for "using its services" which means Amazapple UK, come tax time, suddenly has little or no income to tax thanks to all those pesky fees.

But if the USA DoJ now tries to maintain that it can force Microsoft USA into handing over data held by Microsoft IE, then the whole legal fiction comes crumbling down: the DoJ has, a priory, stated that MS USA and MS IE are the same entity as far as they are concerned.

This means the Tax-evasion pass-the-buck cookie crumbles as Amazapple USA can now, de rigeur, be considered the same company as Amazapple UK and thus cannot charge itself in order to avoid paying taxes.


Facebook’s in real trouble now: Australia’s opened a probe


"Look up, stay alive". We loose too many tourists to plummetus Thylarctos every year when just a little insight can keep you safe...


UK regulator bans slasher-flick parody ad for OnePlus 5 mobe


Re: Animaniacs

@Aladdin Sane: I'd upvote you more than once if I could, just for the smile-inducing flashback you just caused me.

Microsoft: Yes, we agree that Irish email dispute is moot... now what's this new warrant about?


--The DoJ noted this in its motion, complaining that Microsoft had "refused to acknowledge" that the CLOUD Act applied to the existing warrant--

Well, DUH! The warrant was issued *before* the CLOUD act and thus operates under the provisions of the old set of Laws. It just makes the DoJ look like a bunch of little kids before they (eventually) did the proper thing and issued a *new* warrant under the *new* Laws.

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