* Posts by Neil Barnes

3327 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Hot on heels of 2.0, Vivaldi 2.2 adds tab session management among other goodies

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Thumb Up

Quick question

I didn't see mention of Noscript and U-block origin... does it? Or does it not need them?

Because without them, the web is unusable.

Phew, galactic accident helps boffins explain dark matter riddle

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Surely it's easy?

I seem to have upset a lot of astrophysicists - anyone care to explain why? Or was the coat not indication enough that I wasn't being serious?

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

Surely it's easy?

Ancient galaxies have less dark matter, new galaxies have more. But when we see an ancient galaxy, we see it a long long time ago, when it was actually young.

Obviously, dark matter is just stars that have worn out.

I'll need the coat for the Nobel Prize, thanks -->

Supernovae may explain mass extinctions of marine animals 2.6 million years ago

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

Now you're torcing.

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Stop

Re: I would dare Waymo

I wondered the same thing while driving on single-track roads in the Hebrides recently... an artificial driver is no damn use if it can't do everything I can do, better. And if it can't, I'm not getting in it.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: offtopic but reminds me of an old joke

Oddly enough, I was in Yosemite the day after 9/11 and some kind soul placed the bear version of that joke on the windscreen of my car...

Dog with 'psychotic tendencies' escapes home to poop on his neighbours' pillows

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: It uses cat doors

They're extremely reliable - I know, I make'em.

And yes, we do sell them in New Zealand.

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: How in the hell can it take 3 months to determine that the bag contents were old cotton candy??

And upper and lower case letters and at least one special character?

Oh, wait, that's something different...

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Hey software, get the fuck out of the way!

I rather think the biggest error on AF447 was the two pilots not knowing what each was doing; one of those sticks should have overridden the other (I don't claim to know how to implement this!)

I'm glad I was on that plane on its flight down to Brazil and not the return flight that night...

Doctors join wombats in sh!tting bricks to help parents relax about kids chowing down on Lego

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Real men have survived having a 40-pin processor chip embedded in their knee...

Seeing as Bitcoin is going so, so well, Ohio becomes first US state to take biz taxes in BTC

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Just for curiosity...

How much does it currently cost, in dollars, to generate a bitcoin?

Oh, I wish it could be Black Friday every day-aayyy, when the wallets start jingling but it's still a week till we're paiii-iid

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Thumb Up

Plus one...

for the George Mikes reference!

Thanksgiving brings together Apple's Siri and Google Assistant

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Mushroom

Stop the world, please.

I want to get off.

Where to implant my employee microchip? I have the ideal location

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Security overdone

Mea culpa - I do so much on the full duplex types I forgot the active ones... doh...

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Security overdone

People may not be aware that in general, embedded chips are *dumb*. All they can do is respond - by modulating an RF exciter signal - with a longish number. Basically, beep, 999-123456789 and that's it. Certain variants can store a tiny amount of data - a few bits - and others can be programmed with a complete number (one or more times). Which presents a beautifully simple security hole...

Also, multiple chips close to each other can be *very* difficult to read reliably, though you can use a handful of exciter frequencies. In practice it's nothing more than tattooing your ID number on your arm.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

@Giovani - you need one of ours - they have a rotary lock which as far as I know no cat has succeeded in defeating. We also supply a modification which prevents cats holding the latch down and prying up the door (it's a rare thing, apparently). I don't work on the cat flaps but on other products in the range.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

As someone who currently designs chip-enabled cat interface devices...

I can tell you the little buggers are frequently less than cooperative, and our alpha testers find the cats behaving in ways we would *never* have imaged. Including one who gives the device a smack before attempting to use it - a born engineer, that cat.

Bright spark dev irons out light interference

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Have you ever put something apparently useless to good use?

You say potato's, I say potatoes...

Anyone else old enough to remember Keith Waterhouse's Association for the Abolition of Aberrant Apostrophes?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Kitchen knives

Use it as you would a shovel, not a rake... then the sharp edge isn't damaged, and you're holding the knife the way the handle suggests.

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Had a similar experience but with the light itself

Back in the days of Umatic professional video cassette recorders (in the broadcast world), it was common for kind people to offer to 'help' junior to fix one by making sure there was a nice bright bench light shining into the works.

There are a surprising number of IR sensors to tell the mechanism where it is, and quite fascinating things happen when they get confused...

Creepy or super creepy? That is the question Mozilla's throwing at IoT Christmas pressies

Neil Barnes Silver badge

When you aren't drinking enough, it glows. Which is fine.

I'll eat when I'm hungry,

and I'll drink when I'm dry,

and if moonshine don't kill me,

I'll live till I die.

Douglas Adams was right, ish... Super-Earth world clocked orbiting 'nearby' Barnard's Star

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

We're not thinking this through...

What we do is, we *launch* it using a 'leave your engine at home' laser/light sail drive, adding engines as it gets further away so we don't melt the sail.

Then the locals, seeing the blue-shifted reflection of their sun coming down their throats, send out some young buck who will catch the probe in a spare airlock, while simultaneously diving toward's Barnard's star at to match velocities... oh, wait, that's the way the *Moties* do it. We have to think of something else.

Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: "captured audio of the killings, and subsequent removal of the bodies"

"Alexa, how do I conceal a body?"

Rocket Labs mean business, Brits stick pin in Mars map, and Japan celebrates HTV-7’s dive into the atmosphere

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

penetrating two metres into the surface of the red planet in search of signs of life.

"You bastard, that *hurt*. Earth-shattering kaboom time, I think."

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

Quantum navigation

So it knows *where* it is, but it doesn't know how fast it's going? Or the other way around?

I'd get my coat, but I can't find it.

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Well done

We have systems with hidden biases controlling - according to the marketing droids - more and more of our daily lives, and proclaimed to the skies as artificial intelligence.

And as indicated in earlier posts - they are *all* down to statistics. There is no intelligence there, no sapience there, no sentience there. When we get a machine that is aware of its environment and aware of itself, and capable of generating its own goals, then we might be some way on the way to artificial intelligence but without that, nothing.

Yep, AI for speech to text conversion, for optical character recognition, for spotting faces in a crowd, for finding a safe route through traffic... and which of those, presented with exactly the same input as a previous run, will produce a different answer? They look clever, but the whole point is that they're deterministic. They're not intelligent.

Now Europe wants a four-million-quid AI-powered lie detector at border checkpoints

Neil Barnes Silver badge

the potential risk posed by the traveler will be recalculated

After all that faffing around, he's probably quite annoyed...

What's the betting the queue for the 'further checking' will be just as long as the queue at immigration normally is?

Goodnight Kepler! NASA scientists lay the exoplanet expert to rest as it runs out of fuel

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: But why were the transmitters shut down?

I suspect they shut down the transmitters so it doesn't interfere with anything else out in that direction in the future.

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

I hope

That in a few hundred years or so, when it bumps into a passing alien interstellar probe, and wakes up to full sentience, it won't be *too* angry.

Watch closely as NASA deploys the world's biggest parachute at supersonic speeds

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Bloody hell!

Reserve chute for a paraglider. I usually amble around at thirty to fifty kph... if it gets to mach 2 something has seriously gone wrong!

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Bloody hell!

That's impressive. I pack my own chute, but I'd hate to see it deploy at mach 2...

From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Mine vs Yours

And yet - these same vehicle manufacturers who wanted me to service my vehicle exclusively with them required legislation to provide parts for more than a few years. I have a car only twenty-three years old which already has parts made of purest unobtanium - in some cases, the moulds for the castings have been destroyed. There are a couple of parts for which I will have to display a certain amount of creativity if they ever die; I've already had to write an interface to talk to the (non-OBD) engine management.

Amazon tried to entice Latin American officials with $5m in Kindles, AWS credits for .amazon

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Well, Brazil has a an election on the weekend and it's likely the chap who will win is the one slightly to the right of Trump (as opposed to the one in jail) so perhaps a change of mind might be in the offing?

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Terminator

As others have said

This is a pointless question.

The self driving car should not be performing demographic analysis on everyone/everything it might hit, it should be doing its best not to hit *anything*.

And as I have said before: unless it's programmed with keeping its passenger(s) alive as its highest priority, I ain't getting in it...

Forget the CSI effect: Put some real AI brains behind video surveillance

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Big Brother

Or perhaps...

we could be asking whether we need all this bloody surveillance?

Alexa heard what you did last summer – and she knows what that was, too: AI recognizes activities from sound

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Facepalm

"...and potentially nudge users towards healthy behaviors..."

Because I always do what teddy says...

Harry Harrison thought of it first, if I'm not mistaken.

Russian rocket goes BOOM again – this time with a crew on it

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

Oops.

Just when we were beginning to think space travel was getting boring.

Very glad to hear that the crew survived ok.

Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on

Neil Barnes Silver badge

According to Mirriam Webster

Penitente noun

Pen·i·ten·te | \ˌpenəˈtentā, -tē\

plural Penitentes\-ās, -ēz \

Definition of Penitente

: a member of a religious society of Flagellants in Spanish-American communities of the southwestern U.S. (as New Mexico) who practice self-whipping and other forms of penitential torture particularly during Holy Week

Chinese Super Micro 'spy chip' story gets even more strange as everyone doubles down

Neil Barnes Silver badge
WTF?

How can I put this?

Pictures... or it didn't happen.

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: "sunsetting" ... lol!

Well, while we're quoting Shelley, this extract seems apposite:

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

What could be more embarrassing for a Russian spy: Their info splashed online – or that they drive a Lada?

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Isn't that the one that comes with a toolkit? A hammer and a sickle...

UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Go

Excellent news

Does this mean the SPB can get back in operation with LOHAN?

Surely Lester's memory requires this.

Sun billionaire Khosla discovers life's a beach after US Supreme Court refuses to hear him out

Neil Barnes Silver badge
FAIL

But, but, but...

What's the point of being obnoxiously rich if you have to follow all the same laws as the little people?

Volkswagen links arms with Microsoft for data-slurping cloud on Azure

Neil Barnes Silver badge

I have an old Fiat which has a bluetooth/phone system controlled by MS. Sometimes I have to stop and turn everything off at the ignition before it will behave.

So far, I have not yet had to close all the windows...

Swedish ISP spanked for sexist 'distracted boyfriend' advert for developer jobs

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Poison Ivy

Well you can look but you better not touch...

Working Apple-1 retro fossil auctioned off to mystery bidder for $375,000

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Re: Jobs

Don't tell that to Babbage, or Lady Ada. They may take a different view.

What might be difficult is implementing software which executes quickly in the absence of electronics, but software can and does exist quite happily in the absence of anything to run it on. For example, checking an algorithm by stepping through it with pencil and paper.

Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

Neil Barnes Silver badge

Centrifugal force

Centrifugal force, space borne weaponry, hmmm.... I sense a white cat being stroked.

https://xkcd.com/123/

New theory: The space alien origins of vital bio-blueprints for dinosaurs. And cats. And humans. And everything else

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Alien

I, for one,

Welcome our new phosphorous alien overlords!

Fuzzy logic makes a comeback – in picking where Earth sticks its probes into alien worlds

Neil Barnes Silver badge

the fast marching method

That would have been handy for Matt Damon.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

Neil Barnes Silver badge
Coat

...with some users still complaining...

Mis-spelt 'happy' there, I think.

Alexa, get my coat --->

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018