* Posts by chris swain

90 posts • joined 29 Jan 2009

Page:

Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they have defined the smidge

chris swain

Re: Tad more...

@ Phuq Wit

Sorry but I can see tad working in that context, as in:

'Would you like a whisky?'

'Ooh, go on then, just a tad'

Obviously on the other side of the small pond (or the larger one come to that) one should use whiskey.

chris swain

Re: Damn, where's the science?

Not sure why you got a downvote so I've given you an upvote to cancel it out.

I'd like to see reference measures of these very important units stored alongside the official kilogram.

chris swain

Re: I'll take these with 0.3125ml of salt

@ Lester Haines: I preferred 'tad more gin', priorities and all that.

chris swain

Re: manufacturers of dairy products

Surely only cheese is relevant to pastafarians, or am I getting my holy books mixed up?

AI finally understands primitive sketches – aka marketing presentations

chris swain

Re: I don't mean to get all Philosophy 101 on you, but...

I disagree. The article seems to refer to generally accepted pictorial representations of fairly basic objects, not abstract concepts.

If I look at a photograph of a house and say "that's a car" my subjective interpretation is likely to be met with derision. You can argue as much as you like that my statement is valid from a subjective point of view but I'd still be wrong. Meaning on the other hand is a separate thing, a picture of a house might have a different meaning to me.

I've never studied philosophy so maybe in that rarified world there is no objective reality, in which case any classification problem is presumably impossible to solve but back here in the real world there does appear to be a basic objective reality.

chris swain

Re: I don't mean to get all Philosophy 101 on you, but...

Technically incorrect

Semantic meaning is surely assigned by the intention of the sketcher in deciding what to draw

People don't train AI neural networks, data does, although people do select the training data and regime.

'Correct' presumably means if the result matched the intention of the person doing the drawing

The article states that the algorithm relies on knowing the order in which the marks of the sketch were made so giving it a Rorschach test is irrelevant. Aren't Rorschach tests about drawing out subconscious influences?

I see no issues here

If you really must throw Rorschach tests at AIs use an image recognition AI (I'd be interested to see the results)

chris swain

Blue sky thinking from thinkfluencers. Think of the synergies.

Driverless cars banished to fake Michigan 'town' until they learn to read

chris swain

@nilfs2 Re: One of the few modern automotive inventions that I applaud

Yeah, I'm kinda bankin' on that - figure I'll be able to see out my riding days before they stop it

chris swain

@ Khaptain Re: One of the few modern automotive inventions that I applaud

I feel your pain (well, not the physical bit - yet). Motorways are a drag and chore driving is usually horrid but even in cars, when you get the right vehicle on the right road the sheer visceral thrill can be rather pleasant.

I'm fortunate to be able to choose when I ride my bike these days (I'm with your wife re: the quad I'm afraid, personally I'd consider a trike)

chris swain

Re: @AC Fantastic projets

Reliant Robin: Comedic deathtraps to be sure but they were the car of necessity for old rockers 'cause you could drive them on a bike licence - instant family transport, no car licence required. Unfortunately guys I knew who had one tended to drive with excessive enthusiasm, being used to bikes. They'd consider it a mark of skill to be able to get it on two wheels in a corner without tipping it. Let's see a robot do that (just to bring it back on topic)

BTW Robin Reliant/Reliant Robin, Series (n) Land Rover as another instance of model before manufacturer in common usage?

chris swain

Re: One of the few modern automotive inventions that I applaud

I'm guessing you're a fellow motorcyclist from your use of the disparaging term 'cagers'? I'm resigned to the fact that autonomous vehicles will happen and can see the benefits however bear in mind that there will come a point in time where critical mass dictates that human-operated vehicles no longer have a place on the roads. That'll be the end of motorcycles.

Oi, Europe: join in the sharing economy fun, yells Gov.uk

chris swain

Re: It's more than just sharing

Uber don't help the whole 'force for good' thing with things like threatening journalists with smear campaigns. Better way to use our resources or race to the bottom on wages? Of course you could view workers as a resource to be maximised at minimum cost, in which case yes, more efficient use of resources.

chris swain

Re: I'm a little troubled by the government's attitude to the sharing economy

Cheers, maybe it was someone who doesn't like pizza?

chris swain

Re: I'm a little troubled by the government's attitude to the sharing economy

Indeed, I occasionally frequent my local pizza takeaway (small, single-shop business being built up from scratch) and have heard him grumble about the likes of JustEat cutting his margins. Not strictly a 'sharing economy' model but indicative of Internet businesses adding an extra layer of largely unavoidable costs to small businesses just for the end-user convenience/lock in of an app.

chris swain

I'm a little troubled by the government's attitude to the sharing economy

I think the tory MP got it right when likening the industry body for the sharing economy to letting pay day loan companies dictate financial services policy.

I personally think that the French are right to challenge Uber, as, indeed some states in the US are now doing on employment rights. A lot of this sharing economy nonsense seems to be an Internet land-grab to become the de-facto portal for making money off other people's businesses.

Imagine a day in the near future where employment agencies start operating along these lines: it'll be zero hours contracts but with fewer employment rights for those on the shop floor.

Apple Watch is such a flop it's the world's top-selling wearable

chris swain

Re: Who actually wears a watch anymore? And why?

Suspect you'd find you've a pretty good idea of the time even without a watch. The human brain seems to have an innate ability to make a reasonable approximation and assuming you've always got a phone on you there's an accurate source when you need precision.

Haven't felt the need for a watch in years and wearables haven't yet changed that for me.

chris swain

Big fish in a small pond

Apart from fitness/health types I've yet to see a compelling use-case for wrist-jobs. I think that beyond new-shiny-shiny tech lust there is little long-term attraction at present.

Whitehall maps out Blighty's driverless future

chris swain

Hacked cars

How long until we see a rolling botnet making DDOS attacks on the highways network? 'We've blocked access to your haulage yard, please send money and we'll call off the robocars'

Science sub spots lost Revolutionary-era SHIPWRECK

chris swain

El Reg headline editors working overtime?

No longer ghost ship nor napoleonic era but revolutionary era, aren't we due a Georgian sometime soon?

chris swain

Nice to see the headline is now corrected

Ghost ship, my a..e

chris swain

Re: I was hoping...

@ R Helpmann: Have heard of it, never seen it for much the same reason as I've never read Harry Potter. Being an adult (some may disagree, LOL) I no longer have the inclination to indulge in children's entertainment. I have seen Chitty Bang Bang though as that coincided with my childhood.

chris swain

Re: I was hoping...

Spot on, no ghost ship just a wreck and what's with the fat kid?

Poor show.

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

chris swain

I'd like to retain a set of commercial-free TV stations

I've never got my head around the fact that you pay for subscription TV and STILL have to watch adverts!

I value the BBC for what it is and would probably pay a subscription fee for a package that included their channels if I didn't have to pay a licence fee (just as long as they keep knocking out reasonable quality documentaries on BBC4, anything with professor Jim Al Khalili for example, or their medieval history docs)

chris swain

Re: I love the BBC but....

I no longer turn to the BBC for news, finding Channel 4 to be much better these days (still watch the occasional Newsnight though)

FireEye intern nailed in Darkode downfall was VXer, say the Feds

chris swain

Re: Internships

MissingSecurity I fully agree with you but I made no point about experience and have little doubt as to his skills. I'd have given him a proper job with a career development path built in 'cause he's obviously good and I'd want him on my side.

chris swain

Internships

Perhaps it might be unwise to use interns in security-critical businesses? Even if it was a paid internship I suspect the pay and employment benefits stacked up badly against full time employees and the guy knows he's out of work in twelve weeks anyway. Not to say that what he did was okay but if using an intern was a low cost option for the company then they only have themselves to blame. They wouldn't outsource this sort of thing to China, why pass it off to someone with no inherent loyalty?

Adam Smith was right about that invisible hand, you know

chris swain

Re: @LucreLout - Can you guess what I'm going to say Tim...?@WTF?

'everyones calls, emails, vehicle locations, phone tracking data etc etc gets collected.'

The tories would have done the same if the technology had matured on their watch.

"savage cuts to welfare"

I'm not necessarily in favour of many aspects of the welfare state, I think benefits dependency is debilitating.

"I grew up in those communities"

I'm also from a working class background and I do take your point about people not wanting to retrain when the industry they worked in crumbled but I suspect that there was a lot of resentment at seeing one's community destroyed. The Tebbit-esque 'on your bike' reference to relocating just echoes that callous disregard for what were living communities. And as for starting at the bottom in some manual role, most likely for an agency for little pay and no job security in the middle of one's working life, that's neither a pleasant nor dignified prospect for someone who's "mastered their craft".

I'm in favour of people taking responsibility for their own lives and against the nanny state but I appreciate that these were people from a passing age and culture who saw what they knew being annihilated.

chris swain

Re: @LucreLout - Can you guess what I'm going to say Tim...?@WTF?

Never mind having a pop at Graham Marsden, you've obviously driven him to distraction.

Why not level one of your somewhat wordy postings at my response? Or am I to assume that your silence indicates acceptance of what I have said?

chris swain

Re: @LucreLout - Can you guess what I'm going to say Tim...? @Chris

Re: the Conservatives being more authoritarian than Labour is 'patently untrue'

Labour were just continuing a trend already started under the tories, for example the Criminal(isation) of Justice Act. WWW and mobile tech were still in their infancy and not exactly mainstream when the tories were last in power, had they access to the technology and the tools I don't doubt for a second that they'd have deployed them

Re: Truthfully, I'm not wholly sure what they stand for just now

Me neither, political parties and the professional political class no longer have principals they have focus groups

Re: I believe all of the activities they propose in their bill are already happening, this just legitimises it in law

Not exactly a renunciation of the surveilance state then is it? Wouldn't they be taking steps to prevent such abuses if they didn't agree with them rather than enshrining them in law.

Re: Thatcher saved this country from unionised greed, and the sock puppets of the communist USSR

The unions gained power because of the extremely poor relationship between the workers and the bosses. Had capitalism in the UK taken a more enlightened route from the start, and there were examples of enlightened capitalism fairly early on such as Lever's Port Sunlight or the Cadbury family, relations might not have got so bad. The whole communist treachery thing is just another example of left wing idealogues betraying the workers and abusing their power. This unsustainable state of affairs could have been resolved in a less brutal manner.

Re: it amuses me how many of the left complain about Thatcher, who left power more than 20 years ago, and well before her most vociferous detractors were old enough to remember events or understand politics

That most certainly does not apply to me; I'm an old git and I have seen the suffering that these events caused in our land, I'd even go so far as to say that it laid the foundations for the rise of the underclass by ripping the heart out of many working class communities. What place community in the cult of rampant individualism that characterised the yuppie years.

Re: But I guess they don't count in your world view

That's mildly offensive, thank you. I hope that one day Blair will answer for his crimes.

chris swain

Re: @LucreLout - Can you guess what I'm going to say Tim...?

Nice response! I wondered whether LucreLout was a sock puppet for Scrooge McDuck.

I find his assertion that the Conservatives being more authoritarian than Labour is 'patently untrue' to be laughable (and not supported by any evidence).

Don't the tories paint themselves as the party of law and order? Aren't they now rubbing their hands together with glee at the thought of being able to implement more mass surveillance, having lost their Liberal millstone at the last election? And one only has to look at their record during the Thatcher/Major years to see that they've always kept a pair of jackboots in the wardrobe. For all his many failings and messianic visions I don't recall Blair directly ordering armed, mounted police units to charge members of the public en masse.

chris swain

Re: Too true

Cheers for the links, most interesting. Devolved resource management rather than some system imposed from the centres of power? I'm all in favour of that sort of thing.

chris swain

Re: Risk measurement

'Can't trust the damn...' really? That word? Unless it has a very different meaning in NZ it is a rather offensive term. I appreciate that you may be using it as someone else's voice in this context, and that it is the kind of terminology that some may well use but even so there are other, more general words that are less freighted with oppressive historical and racial connotations that might be more appropriate

Sorry to be a pain in the arse and apologies if this comes across as pernickety but I have friends who would be deeply offended to see such words in use.

chris swain

Re: Too true

Fair point re: the Tragedy of the Commons but I believe that the development of human social mores over time is a history of our continuing struggle to overcome our baser instincts, perhaps we'll overcome this one too.

chris swain

Re: Too true

True enough re: the Balkans but I gather that Kaiser Bill's feelings of familial inadequacy and general demeanor were also an influencing factor. The Russian, British and German aristocracy were all closely related and the kaiser got the hump and had a falling out.

chris swain

Re: Too true

Exactly so, and 1939-45 is within living memory, that being of course the final act of a family squabble between related chiefs of different tribes that failed to be resolved in 1914-18. Perhaps we just need to share nuclear weapons tech with all the nations of Africa then they can have peace through mutually assured destruction.

chris swain

Re: Too true

That's not what I'd suggest, nor did I allude to that. I suspect we've done more than enough meddling and imposed solutions are unlikely to work anyway. As I said I don't know what the answer is but I live in hope that it will turn up, I guess I'm a left-leaning internationalist who hopes that one day we'll drop the short term self interest and parochialism in favour of a global approach to enabling all of us to benefit from our common resources.

chris swain

Re: Algorithmic trading

That's why I read your column: I obviously know little about such things and it is good to broaden my limited knowledge and be entertained. So no machines pick what they trade? I think MIT were playing around with AI-based natural language analysis of financial journalism to facilitate efficient machine stock picks a few years back, guess it came to nothing.

chris swain

Re: Too true

Indeed there is but much of it seems to be down to poor governance, which in turn is often a result of post colonial failure caused by imperial powers politicking and maintaining subtle control. Borders drawn up in line with colonial territories when colonial powers left rather than natural borders based on pre-existing tribal/ethnic realities don't help either.

I'd love to see the day when Africa utilises its massive reserves for the general good of its people but it's hard to see how we in the wealthy countries can help given our shared histories. Same goes for the middle east. Only when the wealth is shared more evenly (by economics under good governance, not some communist planned economy or debilitating 'aid' programme) will we see a reduction in the kind of backward thinking that gives strength to the nutty militias of boko haram, isil and their like.

chris swain

Re: Algorithmic trading

So humans still choose the stocks, the machines just trade them more efficiently? I can envisage a time when someone successfully applies machine learning to the picking process too and when they do everyone will jump on the bandwagon. It would only take a relatively small increase in margin to make it worthwhile.

chris swain

Algorithmic trading

So would it be fair to say that the current trend for algorithmic trading is likely to subvert this beneficial invisible hand by removing human quirks from the system? I wonder how HFT investments stack up in comparison? Could they ultimately be detrimental to the wider economic well-being by eliminating human nature from the market? Will they make markets that suit the aims of our future AI masters? (Sorry, had to get a paranoid ROTM reference in there, this is el reg after all)

In your face, US citizens! Govt can’t save you from corporate eyes

chris swain

At the risk of coming across as a tinfoil hatter...

One might suggest that allowing big tech companies free rein with Joe Schmoe's data will also give the spooks more sources for covert or overt surveillance. Probably only overt via a subpoena if they need to present it in court. Why would any self-respecting surveillance state want to prevent such a wealth of data from being available to it's minions?

Teaching people to speak English? You just need Chatroulette without the dick pics

chris swain

Why not just use random (ish) video clips & speech recognition?

The googs would love it - get people hooked on YouTube and show off their backend AI capabilities (also possibly throw in a little Google translate for comparison to the native tongue in the case of foreign language speakers)

Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

chris swain

Re: It certainly works for the intelligence community

Perhaps I'm just spreading FUD on their behalf?

chris swain

Re: We don't have a free market !!!!

Whilst I largely agree that PFI (and outsourcing necessarily public services to private companies in general) is a wasteful use of public funds to provide profit to said companies at our expense I have to say that the local and national government bodies that run these things tend to be massively inefficient and hobbled by regulation and the unions. It seems incredibly difficult to make effective change and it's never long before a new bunch get voted in and change policies/move goalposts, further reducing efficiency and undermining staff morale. This often seems to involve adding extra layers of management at further expense and increased bureaucracy.

I have personal experience of seeing PFI in action. There were two changes of management on the public side during the design and construction and the resulting building had a number of shortcomings, as did the resulting maintenance contract. Yet another management team then came in and spent lots of time/effort (=public money) arguing the toss and tinkering with the details. (BTW there is now ANOTHER management team in place on the public side and all this in under eight years! Efficiency? Yeah, we've heard of that)

One only has to look at the catalogue of IT project disasters that frequently feature in El Reg to confirm just how useless government is at these sorts of things.

Not sure what the solution is if assume that we ought to keep certain services entirely public (and I certainly do), how can we get efficient government run services? The electoral system coupled with the rise of the professional politician seems to guarantee short termism and zero accountability.

chris swain

It certainly works for the intelligence community

GCHQ spies on American citizens for the USA and vice-versa. A handy reciprocal arrangement that allows both parties to avoid the inconvenience of regulatory oversight.

Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

chris swain

Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this...

Thanks to you too. Recently escaped from a fairly minor role in the public sector myself, it has it's own unique pressures.

At the risk of sounding like a closet appleist some of my best friends are Mac users (LOL). I actually quite like the design and the lack of annoying messages that pop up at boot time like they do on Windows but all of my work is on Windows machines, plus they're cheap. I honestly find a second hand TP to be more than adequate (and I never struggle to find the keys for the LED in the dark - bottom left and top right on mine, easy to feel your way to)

I felt a little bad about pushing the subject as I suspect your comments were largely justified, I think pedantry is all part of my nerdishness.

Best of luck with the writing career

chris swain

Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this...

My bad re forgetting the first line of your rather lengthy post by the time I'd got to the end of it. It must have been the bits about being a struggling writer that gave me the impression that you were a creative type. I still contend that I at no point said anything sexist, nor did I express a hatred of Apple products which were the two criticisms that you levelled at all commenters, myself included.

If you've experience of Thinkpads then why not mention that in your original post, along with your reasons for not liking them? It would have been more relevant to the topic.

Given that you said 'I'm gonna get flamed for this' and your eagerness to 'flame' others one might be forgiven for assuming that you are trolling. Mind you, if you're a female in tech I can see why you might get a bit chippy - lot of sexist pricks and right of centre reactionaries out there in tech-land, gotta wind 'em up for the lulz, eh?

I personally gave up on such unproductive behaviour years ago (but I did get a buzz out of it for a while)

chris swain

Re: I'd buy one

Go with your heart, you can pick up TPs with a reasonable spec for reasonable prices second hand these days. Even the Lenovo models are better than most others at a similar price point. If, as your post suggests, you intend to install a non-windows OS you'll not need to worry about future Win10 compatibility. Pop an extended battery on too if you really want long battery life, although the built-in battery management is pretty good anyway for ensuring maximum use between charges.

chris swain

Re: I'm gonna get flamed for this...

I certainly didn't say anything that inferred any gender assumptions, nor did I indicate a hatred of Apple products so feel it a little unfair to be responded to with 'screw' and 'f*ck'. My apologies for assuming that you were a creative professional but your original posting inferred as much. Also, if you've to go to the trouble of installing a non-manufacturer OS to enable you to work effectively then that does somewhat undermine your assertion that the original product is fit for purpose.

Regarding buying a second hand Mac and saying that a new Thinkpad is too expensive, that's not comparing like for like. Were you to buy a new Mac, change the OS and find that you had a problem that needed fixing I'd suggest that Apple would be reluctant to honour any guarantee.

Page:

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020