* Posts by JimC

1619 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Code of conduct claims new Texas Instruments CEO after just six weeks

JimC
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Re: an excuse

Yep. Its often a handy way to get rid of someone whose face doesn't fit any more. Plus there's also "Go quietly or we'll make the allegations public".

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People hate hot-desking. Google thinks they’ll love hot-Chromebooking

JimC
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Re: No issues

Well exactly. I forget when my team got interchangeable PCs working for the majority of users in the organisation, but it was possibly twenty years ago. Maybe more now I think of it because it was always an aim, even pre Windows. Standard PCs without specialist apps were interchangeable in the 90s. Standard desktop, network delivered apps, data on the server. We were a Novell shop so it was a dozen times easier than a pure MS network.

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'Fibre broadband' should mean glass wires poking into your router, reckons Brit survey

JimC
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Is it important?

As longs as the final run is short enough (yards, not miles) that its not significantly impacting performance does it really matter? It smacks a bit of box ticking to me.

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Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

JimC
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Re: unqualified, stupid or one of those zen starting points?

Collective We.

Haven't you noticed that the whole area of workplace design is riddled with the kind of experts Michael Gove claimed people are fed up with - 'experts' who are spouting off personal opinions and biases as if they were universal truths...

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JimC
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On connecting stuff...

Not my error, but I've seen it more than once. Shared public sector offices between different organisations. both using RFC 1918 addressing, both using OSPF area 0 (reasonable enough with smallish networks) sharing a common wiring system, but with separate hubs/switches for each organisation.

The two networks get patched together. Routing tables suddenly double in size, routing becomes extremely random, default routes go all over the place, chaos ensues.

The first time I saw it was deliberately caused by a devolved departmental "IT manager" who thought it was a good idea to have shared access to files between organisations and didn't see fit to inform anyone. As one of the networks he linked up was NHS this was spectacularly poor thinking.

The other time it was just a careless outsourced engineer who didn't know there were two organisations on the site and said to himself "funny, those two switches aren't connected to the router, I'll just patch them in".

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Snooping passwords from literally hot keys, China's AK-47 laser, malware, and more

JimC
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> and nowhere else

If I had line of sight to an ATM I'd have both visual and infrared cameras trained on it, because the two together would give me a much better chance of getting a semi obscured pin than one or the other.

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Banks told: Look, your systems WILL fail. What is your backup plan?

JimC
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Re: re “Free”. Dream on.

You miss the point Danny. In the UK, if my tax affairs are reasonably simple, I don't have to fill in a tax return at all. No form, no email, no nothing. Just a letter telling me what my tax code will be for the next year that I don't have to do anything with because my employer gets told as well.

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JimC
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re “Free”. Dream on.

- True but...

It means I don't have any income to pay tax on, which in turn keeps my tax affairs so simple I don't have to make a tax return, which is worth a fair few quid to me. If I was paying charges and getting interest life would be more complicated. I don't need complication.

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JimC
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Re: Nice

You can't outsource the problem, only the fun of fixing it.

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"our contract guaranteed 7 9s uptime"

"That's nice. Is it helping restore the service?"

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"there are big penalty clauses if they don't deliver"

"That's nice. Is it helping restore the service?"

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"This is listed as no 1 priority system"

"That's nice. But is it *their* no 1 priority?"

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Every step you take: We track you for your own safety, you know?

JimC
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Re: "Safe place"/potential vector

I'm sure that was as obvious to Dabbsy as it was to me, hence the quotes...

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'Toxic' Whitehall power culture fingered for GDS's fall from grace

JimC
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"Hire 50 people under 30 who know what an API is."

Sounds like a guaranteed way to fail.

50 people who have near enough no clue about the business, how it works and doesn't work, how and how not to influence people, all the social and organisational problems that are the main reason IT projects fail...

They might be better off hiring 50 people over 50 who know what an API is. There's not a shortage of them.

But better yet, hire a mix of people of different ages with different talents and specialities, but make damn sure there's a good understanding of the real reasons projects fail. Its rarely the technology per se, technology failures are just a symptom of a project that's already gone badly wrong.

To my mind the biggest problem with huge government IT projects is that they are huge IT projects. Everything has to be huge. There's no sense that you can transform the service just as well with 50 small projects done right (in a framework so they can intersect in the future) as with one large project.

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US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

JimC
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We can expect plenty more stories like this

As the mega advertising corps and their useful idiots try to generate as much propaganda as possible against anything that might control their behaviours...

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

JimC
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Re: where people can't afford to live off just one job anymore.

So what's new. At one stage in the early 80s I had a day job, an evening job, a sunday job and was also making a few quid doing gigs on my nights off. I was also getting stopped and searched by the police at least twice a month. Its very hard not to talk about a snowflake generation...

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A £1.3m prize for a plunging share price at BT? Not so fast...

JimC
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Re: Plus ça change

It has changed though. Executive income has massively increased compared to that of of productive workers.

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JimC
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I wonder how long

my next job interview would last if I said that I won't be doing the job to the best of my ability unless you put 200% bonuses on the table...

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UK.gov is not being advised by Google. Repeat. It is not being advised by Google

JimC
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Re: Advice? No thanks.

Plus of course, the ultimate sin, not having a "can-do" attitude when faced with something that is doomed to fail...

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JimC
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Re: He's not being paid?

Well that is the Google model. You offer the service "free" and make a fortune selling the 'customer'...

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Schneier warns of 'perfect storm': Tech is becoming autonomous, and security is garbage

JimC
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RE IT Dept 3, Dumb Fucks 0.

I think not. The IT, which is supposed to be there to help people do their jobs better, went down so badly with the users that 10% of them resigned? Goodness knows Social services IT systems vary from mediocre to dreadful, but even so that's pretty special. And yes, I am aware that one big issue with Social Services IT systems is that they are all too often designed to help the management do their job with no consideration of the staff at all, but that too is a failure of the overall IT delivery.

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JimC
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Re: ahum, dumb fucks ?

No, calling your user base dumb fucks is diagnostic of an industry that has completely lost the plot. If your products aren't fit for the mass population as it exists then by definition they aren't fit for the mass market.

An industry which believes that if its too difficult or too expensive to deliver a satisfactory service whilst still making a tiny minority rich then they should be allowed to deliver rubbish, ignore the law or be socially irresponsible.

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Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine

JimC
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Re: halfway sensible management.

Something of a rare bird.

The scenario of an organisation where middle management do absolutely nothing when a temp's contract expires is utterly familiar. Its very easy to imagine a desire to automate the process of disabling accounts where a contract hasn't been renewed. I've too often seen a hundred or so completely redundant accounts clogging up the system and providing security holes, or maybe even worse the account being left active and used by successive temps, so the details on the account have no relations whatsoever to the person actually using it.

No doubt the system also generated reports of accounts disabled and so on, but its easy to write a report, hard to get any b*****r to read it. Everything that happened to disable accounts and access seems reasonable to me for a company attempting to run a reasonably tight ship. I also bet there was a rehire procedure - its an obvious enough function, but what's the betting no-one ever studied the documentation and they hadn't actually used it?

This highlights one of the troubles of efficient automation, also exemplified by AF447 and the Uber cyclist slaughter - when people rely on efficient automation it can be very hard to work out when its time to switch it off and go back to manual.

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Azure North Europe downed by the curse of the Irish – sunshine

JimC
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> started leaking water...

Something bizarre was going on, and I think we're getting half a story (as ever). I don't see merely high humidity causing that amount of failure. I idly wonder if some sort of local cooling device in the racks had water condensing on it in such quantities it was overflowing into the IT kit.

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Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

JimC
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> but you can't just throw

> a driver in a driver seat doing nothing for hours on end and expect them to react as if they had been

> driving for all that time. That is an unreasonable expectation to start with

Its a perfectly reasonable expectation if they are trained and skilled and paid accordingly. We expect exactly that of pilots.

Now I think about it the safety driver should probably be recording a continuous commentary of what's happening on the road and how well the car is reacting to it, which would both keep them alert and provide more feedback on the system. That would require someone who can actually produce a useful evaluation though.

However I imagine what Uber are doing is employing minimum wage peons, and recording video from the car and only examining special events back in the office.

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JimC
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Re: You had just one job!

On what we've heard here it certainly sounds as if the driver bears a heavy responsibility, but the underlying culture needs looking at too.

This being Uber, its a fair bet their 'safety drivers' are minimum wage peons, when actually they need to be highly skilled with very fast reactions because their job is to evaluate when action is needed and take it as late as possible.

Similarly the authorities will need to know if the drivers are just told to go out and sit there. or whether they are specifically briefed before each journey with a test plan.

And ye, as in the above, the authorities will also want to look at to what extent Uber monitor that their safety drivers are doing exactly that, and not sitting their watching videos. Bearing in mind the demands of the role it would not be inappropriate for the drivers to be banned from taking phones with them. Its hard to imagine an aviation test pilot having their phone with them!

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UN's freedom of expression top dog slams European copyright plans

JimC
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> political types legislated pi=3

Except they didn't. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/alabamas-slice-of-pi/

But boy, Google's tame useful idiots are out in force at the moment.

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JimC
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Or to put it another way

Big advertising (my sponsors) think that it will be too much hassle to try and stop theft, so we should make it legal. If the law gets put in place the capability will follow as if by magic. If there are no restrictions the man will always say its impossible to implement. As ever, think Mandy Rice-Davies.

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Scrapping Brit cap on nurses, doctors means more room for IT folk

JimC
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Re:Actually we train a lot in the NHS then they bugger off

That big boy took my sweeties so I'm allowed to steal them off all the little kids??

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JimC
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Why does britain

Deserve to plunder the rest of the world of their health workers?

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In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

JimC
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Re: so much "decided" not to pay as "can't afford" to pay

Well, this is how money works. If no one pays for anything no-one gets paid for anything.

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JimC
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Re:It looks you came late to the party.

Fair comment, I was little involved with the net before 1995.

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JimC
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Re: Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

> the internet existed and worked before Facebook

On a small scale, and heavily subsidised by government/academia in the early days.

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Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands

JimC
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Re: drive the fscking thing properly. Hands on the wheel, 100% of your attention on the road.

That would be nice if the meatsacks actually did. Unfortunately, as is clearly demonstrated every time there's poor visibility, the average driver is not safe on the road either.

The sad reality is that an automated car will not be "safe" at the current level of technology. But a manual car is not safe either. The simple fact that the crash attenuator had already been destroyed by a human driver demonstrates that.

Its not a choice between an imperfect technology that kills 50 people a year and no deaths, that's easy. Its a choice between the imperfect technology and 200 deaths a year caused by human drivers. The other question that could be asked - and will be in some readers life time I predict - is how many people, many of them entirely innocent 3rd parties, must die because we permit manually controlled cars?

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JimC
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Re: OlaM

I think there's probably an age thing going on here. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and my father was in the flying business then. My default understanding of an autopilot is something that flies the plane straight and level when there's nothing difficult going on, and needs to be overruled for take off, landing, evading Messerschmitts or Migs and anything else difficult. That fits the Tesla offering reasonably pretty accurately. I think of autoland and so on as extra capabilities above and beyond the autopilot.

Clearly a younger generation is thinking differently, and we have a cultural gap. For them, it seems, autopilot is not the right word.

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Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

JimC
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Re: You have to admit...

But as a techie too, its much easier to work with 12 digit decimal numbers than 32 digit hex. You can fix the one in your mind, less so the other. But it was RFC1597 that killed fast IPV6 adoption. RFC1597/1918 also forces a number of convenient security practices, and also effectively prohibits a number of foolish practices, which is a useful weapon for techies seeking to impose good practise on management. So all in all sticking with IP4 generally suits the techies as well as the suits.

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

JimC
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Re: False Positives and automated systems

Whether false positives are a problem depends what you do with them. If an airborne Laser zaps the unfortunate victim to a greasy smut, that's a problem. However if the false positive then goes to a further level of checking and is discarded without the subject ever being aware of it or the misidentification recorded then its no big deal.

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Ex-CEO on TalkTalk mega breach: It woz 'old shed' legacy tech wot done it

JimC
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Possibly legacy tech

Is the stuff that isn't trendy, you still need, haven't outsourced to India, but all the people who understood it have been made redundant.

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HostingUK drops offline after losing Farmer vs Fibre competition

JimC
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Re: but fail to mention they all use the same pipes.

Or are completely unaware that the carefully specified physically separated routes into the data centre have been merged into the same pipe a few miles down the road in spite of what the telco salesman said...

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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

JimC
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Mather/City and Guilds - Tucker/Imperial

City and Guilds College (Engineering) and the Royal College of Science (eg Physics) were merged in 1907 (also with the Royal School of Mines) into Imperial College, so Messrs Mather and Tucker would be from the same campus, but rather different parts of the organisation - the constituent colleges retained a fair degree of independence.

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A Reg-reading techie, a high street bank, some iffy production code – and a financial crash

JimC
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re I have long been an advocate of writing slightly more verbose code,

Agreed. There is very little more important than readability.

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Flamin' Nora! Brit firefighters tackle blazing fly-tipped boat

JimC
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Re: If you’ve got the money to buy a boat,

You don't know boat ownership. Buying a boat is very cheap, people almost give ratty old boats away... If people fancy the idea of speeding round the water with the wind in their hair and bikini clad beauties on the foredeck it seems like a very good deal. But what the new owners find out very soon is that owning and running a ratty cheap boat is even more expensive than owning and running a new flash expensive boat, and so its soon back on the market very cheap, and hey, you can hardly give them away, the cost of disposing it legally is about twice what you paid for the boat and the wife is whinging about the lump on the drive and...

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Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

JimC
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Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

Another rather revealing observation can be if you inspect a number of facilities. At one large company I worked it I was struck by the variation in facilities between the areas which were close to executives' offices and those that were nearer the 'oi polloi areas. Also interesting was the difference in cleanliness of various facilities towards the end of the day. With all facilities being cleaned under the same contract it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that some services were, well, less social than others.

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Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

JimC
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Re: Courts use video links

I think they are normally organised from police stations or elsewhere in the court buildings though. My recent experience as a juror on a trial where one was organised was that the link was from a room in the court complex.

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JimC
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Re: screwed god knows how many liberal luvvies out of the money they stumped up for his bail

Just goes to show, there's a bright side to almost everything...

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Wah, encryption makes policing hard, cries UK's National Crime Agency

JimC
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Re: Do you seriously suggest watching all 19,000 subjects 24x7x52?

And searching them every time they go to a public place?

WS Gilbert had it right...

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JimC
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> So, when said known person is suddenly walking around a known tourist

Its a bastard isn't it, how rarely the cops arrest people who might be going to commit a crime, but haven't done so yet.

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Navy names new attack sub HMS Agincourt

JimC
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Artful as in Artful Dodger

Sounds like a really good name for a submarine. The whole idea is to sneak up, do the deed, and slip away without anyone seeing you.

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Robo-callers, robo-cops, robo-runners, robo-car crashes, and more

JimC
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Re: "... so dialed down the AI to ignore them."

Well an AI that slams on the anchors every time a plastic bag blows across the motorway is going to cause some horrendous rear end pileups, bearing in mind how all the meatsacks drive dangerously close. So you can see the issue. There's definitely a very big risk in false positives. That being said this should still never have happened. The problem, more than anything else, seems to be with the monitoring driver. Project doesn't seem ready for minimum wagers who spend more time on the phone than watching the road, but that's not the Uber way...

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Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

JimC
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Re: Re:Victorian railways had a few exploding boiler incidents

Its more often told as screwing down the safety valve to increase boiler pressure and therefore power.

I do know that tamper-proof safety valves were being commonly fitted by the end of the 19thC.

Here's an accident report which blames the driver for tampering with the safety valves.

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_Bray1872.pdf

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Scrap London cops' 'racially biased' gang database – campaigners

JimC
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Re: Sadly

I dunno, back in the 70s I was stopped and searched every couple of weeks and I was white, middle class and lived in suburban Surrey. I assumed I was targeted because I had longish hair, rode a bicycle home late at night and, frankly, that the cops were bored and had nothing else to do.

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Uber and NASA pen flying taxi probe pact

JimC
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Sounds more like investor bait

Than serious technology with potential to be implemented in the medium term to me.

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Waymo van prang, self-driving cars still suck, AI research jobs, and more

JimC
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and if you are an ethical AI thought leader

Do you want to work for Facebook? Might be a very uphill struggle...

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