* Posts by wsm

268 posts • joined 5 Aug 2008

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RoboCop-ter: Boffins build drone to pinpoint brutal thugs in crowds

wsm

Accuracy?

"...aggressive actions, such as punching, stabbing, shooting, kicking, and strangling."

Sounds like an average day at the park with my 5-year old nephew. If his friends are with him? Add any other sort of mayhem.

But in an ordinary crowd, I have no confidence in any surveillance technique other than trained observers with mirrored sunglasses and walkie-talkies.

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AWS outage killed some cloudy servers, recovery time is uncertain

wsm

Not just Virginia

Other regions had their EC2 instances so slow as not to allow most data traffic. Since our proud cloud-first management had mandated the move of the authentication and authorization SSO systems to the cloud less than a month ago, the entire organization had a holiday from web services for most of the day.

Interesting how the art of conversation is suddenly revived in such circumstances.

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Half of all Windows 10 users thought: BSOD it, let's get the latest build

wsm

One of two down

My former director relies on me to keep his and his wife's PCs going in their home office since his retirement. Retirement was about a year and a half ago and, with the two new laptops they bought at that time for their planned rest and recreation years, I have not had a month without a trip to their house to fix Windows 10.

This last update completely wiped her drive except for a Windows.old.000 folder which I was able to use to restore her documents and treasured photos. She could only boot into the choice of which keyboard type to use, then reboot again to the same screen. I restored her files only after creating an installation media USB stick downloaded earlier in the day from Microsoft. Using the repair option got me to a command prompt for backing up her old folders onto a USB drive. Then I booted with the USB stick again and chose a complete install.

Somehow, the USB stick installer found the original license and got Windows 10 back to its usual self. Reinstalling LIbreOffice and Firefox got her back to what she wanted on the laptop. But it was two nights of my doing this for her after work and going home after midnight.

Fortunately, her chicken pot pie is excellent and her husband keeps the teapot full.

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New Windows Servers are like buses: None for ages, then two at once!

wsm

Fonts no more

Anyone else heard the recent news that Microsoft is discontinuing most of the fonts included with any of their software and are going to a paid model? Fonts will no longer be developed as the old TrueType type and will come from the Microsoft Store, licensed separately, with separate fees for anything you fancy.

It's true. The current leadership is so subscription-fee driven that they won't even include a few things formerly provided and expected. I haven't paid for fonts since the early '90s and I don't think I'm going to start doing that again.

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NASA will send tiny helicopter to Mars

wsm

Maybe...

If they send this thing over the face on Mars, they can see if it blinks!

https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast24may_1

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'Alexa, find me a good patent lawyer' – Amazon sued for allegedly lifting tech of home assistant

wsm

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Short on cash, not on patents, or patent attorneys.

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FCC sets a record breaking $120m fine for rude robocalls

wsm

Could it be?

This fine has had zero effect on robocalls. If anything, they have increased. Maybe the FCC could try the pillory or guillotine?

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US techies: We want to see Pentagon's defence of winner-takes-all cloud contract

wsm

Losing their minds

This is typical of government single-source contracting. The procurement officers lose their minds over the vendor's hypnotic marketing hype and they buy only what they are told is good for them.

Like this fellow: https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/09/07/head_in_the_cloud.jpg

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Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout

wsm

Lawyers deciding what lawyers will do

All of this has nothing to do with the law or justice. It has everything to do with money, cash, dole or any other term you can use to describe a payout to everyone involved but the victim.

The class action reform which is long overdue would address the victim as the principal recipient of any redress. But anything that doesn't benefit the lawyers first is not going to happen. Even if the victim is put first, there won't be any cases undertaken which don't add up to more money for the law firms and their system of routing all payments to their partners, whether they are their multiple affiliates in the legal community or their alma maters.

The poor victim is too poor to matter.

So, who is going to benefit from any finding by the Supremes? Only more lawyers.

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US army boffins use AI to spot faces in the dark

wsm

Re: "US army boffins use AI to spot faces in the dark"

People with bicycles crossing the street on foot? Not included in specs...

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Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap

wsm

If all else fails

And if they don't get a big patent award, they can always claim something about copyright, n'est-ce pas?

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Mad March Meltdown! Microsoft's patch for a patch for a patch may need another patch

wsm

Keep; 'em coming

My Windows machines are in constant reboot mode with all of these patches.

For real work, I have to rely on my Ubuntu LTS with Mate. It's more like a real computer than the slot machines for Microsoft updates running Windows 10.x.x.x.x.x.

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Running Drupal? You need to patch, patch, patch right now!

wsm

As patches go, not bad, considering

Considering the raft of bad updates from major players, like MS and Apple, the Drupal update was well announced, delivered on time and easily installed.

And it didn't break anything!!! Nothing to complain about here.

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Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE

wsm

Ooops!

Time to blame Intel again?

Yes, yes, I am aware that the need to patch is all because of the famed Chipzilla design flaws, but MS have a way of blaming others for their own design flaws, as in the Surface product introductory conditions.

But when you fail in your own field, software updates, for example, can you really call someone else out?

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Dolby sues Adobe for dodging license fees

wsm

Re: Am I a bad person...

No.

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Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

wsm

Discoverers v. academics

It took one man with some interest in the skies who could operate a camera to find this and realize what had happened. it took 21 authors of the Nature article to get the supernova reported to the public.

Nothing unusual in this, but I would rather be facing the right direction and know what I saw than have to build a career on the discoveries of others.

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US broadband is scarce, slow and expensive. 'Great!' says the FCC

wsm

Money talks

Or at least, hard cash gets you connected. But there are places in the U.S. where you can't get broadband of an kind.

When I had to setup rural health centers with remote connections about ten years ago, a shared dial-up modem was the best they could get. It hasn't improved much. Outside of the major cities, ISPs don't put anything into infrastructure but own all of the possible connections. That situation doesn't seem to have changed for anyone outside of a city of over 100,000 population. There just isn't enough money in it for the major corporations that monopolize the ISP providers.

The TV cable companies own the one-connection-per-neighborhood cabling that keeps the speeds uneven as the kids get hone and start streaming anything and everything. The former phone companies own the right-of-way for all other cabling and will only put in fiber where there are enough customers to gouge for the new service fees on DSL. Then there are the bundling fees for services that nobody needs but allow the ISPs to perpetually add ever increasing charges that are pure invention.

There is an alternative satellite internet provider in the U.S., but it's run by a government defense contractor and its prices double in rural areas. So, it's either pay more or don't pay at all and remain off the grid.

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Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

wsm

Daniel Webster

There is an old joke about Daniel Webster being caught by his wife in a compromising situation with the maid. She said, "Daniel Webster I am surprised at you!" He said, "Dear, I am surprised, you are amazed."

At this point, I doubt many of us are either surprised or amazed. But we should be concerned.

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum

wsm

How many?

How many DevOps does it take to, I dunno, lose a fortune in artificial currency? Fewer than expected apparently.

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wsm

How many?

How many DevOps does it take to, I dunno, lose a fortune in artificial currency?

Fewer than expected, apparently.

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Google isn't saying Microsoft security sucks but Chrome for Windows has its own antivirus

wsm

If only

"it only removes software that doesn’t comply with our unwanted software policy"

How long before Google/Alphabet bans Windows and Mac OS from the interwebs? It just seems to be the natural progression of their efforts.

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

wsm

Re: Who pays to use YOUR internet connection?

Personalized content means the TV people own your identity and can do what they like with it, all the way to Google and Facebook and back. An OTA broadcast won't be allowed on equipment you thought you owned because you paid for it, not until they verify your personal details, which are not your own any longer.

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Boffins take biometric logins to heart, literally: Cardiac radar IDs users to unlock their PCs

wsm

Rue the day

When you have to register your heartbeat in order to use a computer, just to combat terrorism you understand.

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Uncle Sam outlines evidence against British security whiz Hutchins

wsm

It's a plot

The authorities obviously don't understand any of this cyber security business and are going to hold Hutchins until he explains it to them.

Anyone who knows more than the average plod is suspicious. But they can always arrest the better fellow and force him to explain how things work until they can find the truly guilty.

It's a type of forced labor.

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Google's $8.5m class-action privacy payout goes to: Lawyers' alma maters, web giant's pals

wsm

"the people whose millions of dollars are involved are not represented."

Yes. And they never are in a class-action suit. These types of settlements are classless inaction by the attorneys who represent themselves with a pretense of doing it for their numerous clients whom they have never met.

I say throw the money at the non-profit groups who could keep suing Google and up the ante on further claims.

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FTC wants AT&T to kick in $4bn to help balance US budget. Why? Some dodgy ads or something

wsm

Just typical monopolistic behavior

I have yet to see another service provider for cable TV, satellite TV or broadband service of any kind that wasn't setup the same way. Anything advertised by every one of them boldly claims a low price for a service you cannot possibly obtain without additional costs at absurd rates.

When AT&T was the only long distance phone service provider, they would bill for anything they saw fit and let their customers argue over the charges. The local service providers were all in on the game and would add additional charges on the same bill. There was no way to fight without losing your service and getting even more charges to resume the "service."

Now that it's only one cable company and just the two satellite providers that can provide most TV channels, AT&T has bought into the satellite TV game and resumes their previous attitude toward customers. They seem to believe people are only there to be deceived and robbed in any way possible by the whim of their tiny corporate hearts.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

wsm

Re: HR Fail

I worked for a large organization that actually had an Animal Husbandry department which fed and otherwise maintained a livestock feed testing farm. They thought they would sound more modern when they changed its name to Animal Resources for a few years. It was eventually pointed out that the name seemed to be demeaning to their animals and they changed the name to Animal Care.

Within weeks, the larger organization changed the name of Personnel to Human Resources. The irony was lost on one and all.

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We're all saved. From the killer AI. We can live. Thanks to the IEEE

wsm

Everyone knows...

that all you have to do is call Captain Kirk and he will persuade the AI to destroy itself after it corrupts its original design.

No need to worry...

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McAfee settles McAfee lawsuit over McAfee name

wsm

Re: "Intel said it was pleased the case was over"

Over? With someone like McAfee it will probably never be over. One more wild night with those "nurses" from his video and he will be back for more fees because of another technicality.

Hopefully, his heirs won't be as loopy as he is. Then it will really be all over for John McAfee.

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Oops! Facebook outed its antiterror cops whilst they banned admins

wsm

Who, what, when?

"Facebook's technical fix, according to the company spokesperson, involves the creation of administrative accounts not associated with personal Facebook accounts, because personal information represents a security risk."

How long did it take them to figure this out? Make your money first, worry about personal risk to your people later. That must be the Facebook way.

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Judge holds Uber's feet to the fire over alleged Waymo tech theft

wsm
Joke

This is Waymo than I can stand

Will I ever get Uber this? Can anyone give me a Lyft?

Sorry, this case is a joke in many ways. I just can't take these people seriously and I have some sympathy for the judge.

Waymo? I wonder what kind of company they were if Levandowski was one of their guys. But they were the ones to get rid of him. As always, I imagine it's best to wait for some details before passing judgement.

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Payroll-for-contractors company named at centre of AU$165m tax scam scheme

wsm

As if...

nobody would ever notice such a scheme? What were they thinking?

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FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?

wsm

Actually...

the most annoying thing would be for the airlines to make you pay for a non-phone section. Business travelers who want to avoid those capable of making calls would be charged extra.

The middle-eastern airlines already have outstanding facilities for business class on long flights. Maybe they could just install a phone booth for those who absolutely have to call. Domestic airlines are far too common to give up a seat for that kind of thing.

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Solaris admins! Look out – working remote root exploit leaked in Shadow Brokers dump

wsm

Solaris?

Someone is still running Sparc boxes with Solaris?

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Douglas Coupland: The average IQ is now 103 and the present is melting into the future

wsm

It's always 100

The way the statistic is setup, the average is always 100 if you test enough people. People aren't getting any smarter or dumber, they're just testing differently And if it seems there are more people who behave stupidly on the Internet, it's because it has been made too easy to get on--and click and point and comment on anything and everything.

Average IQ hasn't changed. We've just given too much access without raising the bar on entry.

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Redmond's on fire, your 365 is terrified: Microsoft email outage en masse

wsm

Azure window has fallen into the sea

For a moment, I thought these two news items, this El Reg story and the other Azure window, were related:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170308/local/the-azure-window-lost-and-gone-forever.641810

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Gulp! Drones dodge spray from California's gaping moist glory hole

wsm

Bell-mouth spillway is the correct term

http://twistedsifter.com/2010/05/giant-hole-in-water-bell-mout-spillways/

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Seagate soups up M.2 Nytro flash card

wsm

NVMe

Non-volatile Memory Express. NVMe, but you've got it transposed in your title.

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Xmas software update knackered US Customs computer systems

wsm

Re: Unfortunately...

Must have taken a lesson from Microsoft. Production, what's that? Users are our property and we know what's best for them.

Seriously, roll-outs of anything new, system-wide, during a holiday rush?

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Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

wsm

Next phase

Next will be AI in the cars, which could look around and see if anybody is nearby before doing anything--like moving forward.

The phase after that will be an AI with a random road rage mode which will allow it to fully duplicate the intelligence of current drivers.

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Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

wsm

License to compute

Would a reference to the Aeropagitica help anyone?

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Los Angeles to extradite bloke from Nigeria after scores of city workers fall for phish scam

wsm

I've seen it everywhere

But maybe it would be a good idea to offer the gentleman in question some employment. He could explain his methods and be one of those "offensive" support engineers who do penetration testing.

He could give the City of Los Angeles some good lessons.

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wsm

I've seen it everywhere

But maybe it would be a good idea to offer the gentleman in question some employment. He could explain his methods and be one of those "offensive" support engineers who do penetration testing.

He could give the City of Los Angeles some good lessons.

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It's round and wobbles, but madam, it's a mouse pad, not a floppy disk

wsm

But the disk is square and the hole is round!!!

Nearly two hours on a support call to remove and replace a sound card driver. Why? Because, after almost one hour and 45 minutes we were ready to put the disk into the drive and load the new driver.

I already knew we were speaking in different vocabularies, but when she told me that the disk was square and the hole for the drive was round, I had to mute the phone for a minute or two while she sobbed.

I finally worked up the courage to ask her if she had one of the round disks. She did! We got the disk in, found the driver, actually installed it and the system rebooted with sound.

She immediately hung up without another word.

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Dirty COW explained: Get a moooo-ve on and patch Linux root hole

wsm
Pint

Live with it, or not

It's been patched and now we all know that there is no such thing as perfect software.

Good thing it's Friday and mine's a pint.

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NFL is No Fondleslab League: Top coach says he'd rather use pen and paper than Surface tab

wsm

Which technology?

The pictures to which the coach refers are digital photos distributed via fax machines on the sideline. Each team gets the same pictures. If that produces the consistency he wants to see, who will argue with him?

The only problem is that I believe this coach is the same one who has his email printed for him because he couldn't carry his PC to meetings and point at the screen while shouting at his staff.

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Pocket C.H.I.P. makers go Pro with cloud-linked ARM-flexing module for IoT gizmo builders

wsm
Joke

Can't be all bad

After all, there's a /great/ chip in the middle.

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No surprise: Microsoft seeks Windows Update boss with 'ability to reduce chaos, stress'

wsm

Huh?

Reduce stress and chaos at MS? I didn't think they gave much care to anything anymore anyway.

Real work would be something like returning WinX to Win7 quality.

I know that's all relative--the quality thing. But still...

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

wsm

Clueless users?

Yes, but they've all been management, so I can't say anything about--oh shi..............

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Sad reality: It's cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses

wsm

Actuarial tables

I can see the insurance industry and some in-house risk management departments getting a look at this and saying "So what if we lose a few million accounts?" It's all about the bottom line and, despite some politicians making capital on some mild outrage, we might not expect much better security looking forward.

We will most likely see just an acceptable risk formula applied to our very dear personal identities.

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