* Posts by Bill Michaelson

62 posts • joined 20 Mar 2009


Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

Bill Michaelson

Re: Incredible

And the other is my own state of NJ where I pump my own gas and have evaded arrest. But we are making progress on the braiding front...


Perhaps I can call myself an (e)ngineer, so long as I don't capitalize it. Or capitalize on it?

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Bill Michaelson

It won't bother the fauna. Really.

They asked.

Stupendous hubris.

Battle lines drawn over US mass surveillance as senators probe NSA's bonfire of phone records

Bill Michaelson

Re: Far left, far right and other labels that damage discourse

To the extent that there is ever a spectrum, referring to such is only meaningful within very limited context and even at that, not very useful.

Political stances of individuals are multi-dimensional. We would do well to remember this always.

Libertarianism gets a bad rap because it has come to be defined by various types of indiscriminate anti-government extremism. That's unfortunate, because one might think that some core beliefs of so-called libertarianism are compatible with social justice as characterized by those whom we might label as "left."

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

Bill Michaelson

Re: OlaM

AirLINER autopilot (flight management) systems typically do all that good stuff. Aircraft autopilot systems of earlier vintage and lower grades can be as simple as a wing-leveler or a heading or altitude hold device and can indeed direct the airplane into a mountain or other obstacle. It is the pilot's responsibility to know well the capabilities and limitations of the specific system and supervise the operation appropriately at all times. It is also worth noting that the more capable systems require the most complex and nuanced supervision, thus requiring the most training and experience to do safely.

Yet even the simplest of such aviation mechanisms are called autopilots.

There is a distinction between the level of training, experience and certification required to operate airplanes as compared to automobiles, owing to several factors. That is a core issue. The other core issue is the regulatory environment that has allowed the deployment of these tools to insufficiently prepared drivers.

You have suffered without red-headed emoji for too long. That changes Tuesday

Bill Michaelson

Who needs 280 characters...

...when you've got hieroglyphics?

Don’t fight automation software for control, just turn it off. FAST

Bill Michaelson

Re: Even in the extremely unlikely event that fully autonomous vehicles ever become viable

In my admittedly optimistic view there is room for a happier alternative - wherein the increasing disparity between human frailty and robotic reliability leads to higher certification standards for human drivers. Still, I might not be able to afford the insurance as a human driver.

Cryptocoin investors sue Chase Bank for sky-high credit card charges

Bill Michaelson

Re: I agree with Chase bank too

Interesting thought. On the other hand, I would argue that only the initial purchase is covered, and some time beyond that Coinbase has fulfilled its sale obligation by crediting the customer's custodial account with the appropriate amount of cryptocurrency. If the customer does not transfer the crypto out after some reasonable period, Chase should be off the hook with regard to any protections associated with the transaction.

Also, you should be careful with your adjectives.

Block blocked: Google to banish cryptominers from Chrome Web Store

Bill Michaelson

Re: These people have made cryptocurrencies too annoying to use

You don't need the blockchain. You join a mining pool.

Blackout at Samsung NAND factory destroys chunk of global supply

Bill Michaelson

Re: I'm smiling today.

But aren't you kicking yourself for not buying 100 more?

Bill Michaelson

Re: The maths don't add up...

I don't get it. The power went out for only ten minutes during his heart and lung transplant operation. That's a tiny percentage of a ten hour procedure. Makes no sense whatsoever...

Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired for opposing hiring caps on white, Asian male nerds

Bill Michaelson

Re: Reverse discrimination is now political correctness.

Michael Young would find the down voting, at this date, interesting.

Test crash dummies: Pearson VUE broke half-way into all-day exam

Bill Michaelson

Pearson, huh?

How about telling thousands of schools in the State of New Jersey, with hundreds of thousands of students being tested - oops - never mind, we'll have to just do this another day...


Crypto-cash souk Coinbase forced to rat out its high rollers to probing US taxmen

Bill Michaelson

Re: I am surprised its taken so long

Yeah, this is puzzling. It's been several years since brokerages have been required to record and report basis info too. But as recently as three years ago, CC were unclassified as assets for the IRS. I guess that was the "first they ignore you stage." Now we are even beyond "then they laugh."

Bill Michaelson

They are not "located"...

Except perhaps, if you consider the distributed public ledger a location. Or perhaps you mean the secret key? It's in a capsule that I implanted in my cat. So my bitcoins are getting some sun ATM, I guess...

Bill Michaelson

Re: Bitquestions

It's cap gains in the US according to the IRS. They are treating it like securities, not currency. This is at odds with a handful of other federal agencies who have classified it differently for their convenience, but for now, that's where the IRS stands.


High-freq trade biz sues transatlantic ISP for alleged spiteful cable cut

Bill Michaelson

Re: High-frequency trading companies = parasites

Which illustrates the problem of context for the definition of value and highlights the perverse incentives inherent to capitalism.

Slashing regulations literally more important than saving American lives to Donald Trump

Bill Michaelson

Re: All vehicles within 4 years?

Pretty much, I suppose.

Ask airplane pilots how ADS-B is working out. I don't think you will hear many complaints.

Vietnam bans Bitcoin as payment for anything

Bill Michaelson

Re: Tulips again

"You missed other reasons it could become a bubble - if people stop using it, either because of governments cracking down against it (which is already happening) or because of a loss of confidence due to exchanges or wallets being hacked (which has happened before, and will surely continue to happen)

"Bitcoin has first mover advantage but there are no barriers to entry for similar "currencies" to exist, as Litecoin, Dogecoin and so forth have demonstrated. A crisis in confidence in those will impact Bitcoin as well, though the specific circumstances would dictate whether that leads to more or less confidence in Bitcoin."

This seem accurate. Bitcoin, interestingly, has no pretense of underlying value. Its value is purely based on abstraction, that of people's faith in its value. Ironically, that might be its greatest strength as compared to other stores of value.

Bill Michaelson

Re: Tulips again

"And surely the fact that BC can be mined implies that there's a system of perpetual quantitive easing in place. Since I am not familiar with the processes by which new BCs can be introduced without them devaluing the existing ones so I am prepared to be corrected here."

Surely not. The absolute cap is 21 million coins, expected to be reached in about two decades. About 60-70% have already been mined. Inherently deflationary. I assume you don't hold any.

Dot-Amazon spat latest: Brazil tells ICANN to go fsck itself, only 'govts control the internet'

Bill Michaelson

Late to the party?

I think the Brazilian government arrived long after the actual rain forest. But if they are really concerned about preservation, there are other ways to demonstrate that other than haggling over a gTLD.

Ethereum will have transaction chops of Visa in 'a couple of years', founder claims

Bill Michaelson

Re: The whole point of bitcoin is that it isn't subject to governments.

Why do you (apparently) believe exchanges are required to transfer bitcoin? Do people not use paper money in pubs in China?

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

Bill Michaelson

Did someone really say...

"...we can't play whack-a-mole?" Unironically?

Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

Bill Michaelson


Therefore we should not be allowed access to tools to lock up stuff for ourselves more effectively? Because it is futile?

Bill Michaelson

Privacy mean bupkis to him

"What’s needed is not a clampdown on encryption — after all, it’s essential for financial transactions and the modern economy... the Home Office has developed sensible proposals that require a judge to give permission before real-time communications can be monitored — ensuring that suspected terrorists can be stopped before it’s too late, while also protecting against the mass surveillance that the public is worried about."

Notice the implicit distinction between needs and wants. He seems believe encryption is only "essential" for banking. The other consideration is lip service to placate the masses. But they do not deserve robust protection from abuse by authority.

Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

Bill Michaelson

Re: So... we should do the opposite...

"Why should people be paid a salary, yet not contribute and work in some manner (obviously assuming they are able)."

They shouldn't.

But why should they not be paid a dividend for their share of the common wealth of society? We do believe in capitalism, don't we?

Pai guy not too privacy shy, says your caller ID can't block IP, so anons go bye

Bill Michaelson

Re: Phones and cars

"Sorry officer. Just adjusting my insulin pump."

Would that be your Bluetooth-connected insulin pump?

Bill Michaelson

Re: >If I'm calling to report a crime, why wouldn't I want to talk to the police?

Yes, they do, and it's not enough. You excised the comment about diminished capacity, or disregarded it. Perception of the actor is key. A person in such a situation does not consult a lawyer to inquire about local laws. They want to be anonymous, and we want them to report the emergency without delay.

Those who only consider the pitfalls but do not understand the value of anonymous speech need to think harder.

Comcast accused of siccing lawyers on net neutrality foe

Bill Michaelson

Title confuses me

Is the sense of the title reversed? Who is the foe of net neutrality?

Last week: 'OpenVPN client is secure!'
This week: 'Unpatched bug in OpenVPN server'

Bill Michaelson

Re: I think the headline is way off!

Yeah, thanks. I read it and said to myself: "Whuh? OpenVPN has a web interface?"

Relieved by your clarification. I carry on...

Verizon is gonna axe its 'unlimited' data hogs

Bill Michaelson

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

Half-right. "Unlimited", does not mean infinite. It means there is no limit. It means that you can use the available bandwidth throughout the contract period without limit. Aggregate data transfer will be finite. It is the responsibility of the service provider to provide that data transfer accordingly. It is not the responsibility of the consumer to consider the network load implications.

Contradictory fine print is inherently deception.

Forget aircraft – now cretins are laser-blinding ferry boat crewmen

Bill Michaelson

Re: Bah!

A minimum age for possession, or appropriate adult supervision is probably a reasonable legal constraint. Beyond that, yes, misuse must incur appropriate penalties.

Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Bill Michaelson

Aviation parallel

In flight training I was taught to constantly consider one's options in the event of complete engine failure. This inevitably leads one to consider hypothetical situations in order to be primed for action. One of these is the beach below. Land on the sand, unless it is populated. If there are people, ditch in the water, at considerably greater risk to one's own health. Similar situation with golf fairways vs. rougher terrain, etc.

Maybe I've been planning it wrong?

Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious

Bill Michaelson

Re: Autopilot on an aircraf.....

Correct. Even the most sophisticated autopilot system that includes the capability to land the airplane is only there to reduce the workload of the pilot - in order that the pilot can devote more attention to monitoring the progress of the flight more carefully and assuring safe operation. A machine assumes zero responsibility.

When drivers understand this, so-called self-driving - or whatever we call them - cars will bring a net positive value to us.

Self-driving Google car T-boned in California crash

Bill Michaelson

We all compensate for each other

The human system works because we correct each others' errors. I frequently adjust for other drivers' moves that are dangerous mistakes, and I know others have done the same for me - obviously more times than I can know.

I wonder how effectively the robot does this. Will we need to go to robot-only roads to each a real safety improvement?

Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak... don't talk back

Bill Michaelson

I just want KDE 4.X

But I couldn't get it to run on 16.04. Cannot/will not deal with the regressions in KDE 5. So I moved back to 14.04 for desktops.

Lyft, Uber throw Texas-sized tantrum over Austin driver law

Bill Michaelson

Why don't they just do it right?

Uber should be playing the role of guide for drivers, arranging for adequate insurance at competitive rates (instead of the crap they try to pull now, leaving drivers exposed). They should be certifying and rating financing services and maintenance facilities. They should be arranging for local ordinance compliance by scoping out localities and easing the path for drivers with individualized guides. They should be offering a background checking service. In the political arena they should be working to harmonize laws across jurisdictions not by fighting regulation but by promoting regulation that is both easier to comply with and that protects their customers and drivers, which incidentally, probably gives them a certain degree of release from liability, aside from a long-term enhancement to their reputation. With a $50B valuation, one might think they could muster the resources to provide real value to the system. It seems they just want to run some servers in racks instead. Leeches.

This is what a root debug backdoor in a Linux kernel looks like

Bill Michaelson

Re: Mr

I think you'll need to exploit the vulnerability to remove it. Write the magic string to the device to become root, then you can remove the device from the FS. Then abandon your root privilege.

Something like that.

Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

Bill Michaelson

Re: " I'm already looking at tunnelling my home connection through a dedi in a DC "

Right. That's what I did with a Linode VPS in my own state just to get Netflix to stop stuttering. Sometimes I run through it just for the hell of it, on general principle.

New HTTP error code 451 to signal censorship

Bill Michaelson

Still unclear

How do we distinguish between "Censored: we don't want you to see this page" (451) and "Really Censored: we don't want you to know this page exists" (4??).

Free HTTPS certs for all – Let's Encrypt opens doors to world+dog

Bill Michaelson

Re: wonder how good mobile support is

I tried Firefox, Chrome, Dolphin and the native browser on my CM12.1 Android. All worked with no certificate complaints.

Wikimedia tries AI to catch bad edits

Bill Michaelson

Re: Filter feeder

You're probably right, and neither is irony.

Australian test finds robot essay assessors on par with human teachers

Bill Michaelson

The type of grading feedback that a computer can give to a student...

...is probably valuable enough to apply to less than 5% of student work. Beyond the most rudimentary assessment of spelling, grammar and simple structure, it is nearly useless. Additionally, if students learn to apply the formulaic style that is likely to elicit the best grades from the machine, we are probably doing more harm than good. There is something to be said for ignoring simple, rigid rules and allowing some creativity to flourish. I doubt the application in question is sophisticated enough to strike a good balance. Very likely, there is no balance at all.

Training and education can be seen as distinct and complementary processes.

Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

Bill Michaelson

Universal ops are still universal

IBM 360- and 370-series BAL programmers of the 1970s and earlier carried accordion-folded "green cards" that listed all the operations. I had white cards and yellow cards that covered later 370 models like the 370/168, but they were still known as green cards. The summary information all fit on the card and reference to the big manual that actually described how the instructions worked in detail was only occasionally required. The instruction sets of the DEC PDP 11/70 had a distinct flavor (memory addressing and subroutine calling conventions, octal vs. hex, ASCII vs. EBCDIC), and the programming conventions were different but the basic concepts were the same. The IBM Series/1 minicomputer instruction set, for which I coded assembly for several years was relatively byzantine. The equivalent "green card" was actually a booklet, and the full processor manual was a little more useful. I only dabbled with Motorola 6502, Intel 8088 and the like in assembler, but can say confidently that the knowledge is universal and relevant even when working in much higher layers such as say, Scala in a JVM, but less often applicable.

But all this knowledge could be circumscribed well and is limited in scope. There is much more to know in today's environment and I believe the work is even more challenging to do well. We have tools to protect us from the old classic errors, but as creative humans, we will continue to find new ways to screw up. I believe an assembly language experience is worthwhile for any coder.

Ransomware victims: Just pay up, grin, and bear it – says the FBI

Bill Michaelson

Backup procedure enhancement

Apparently backup procedures need a validation component. This is probably application-specific, but certainly practical in most cases, isn't it? Can a backup region be seeded with validation markers that would be corrupted by rogue encryption that the ransomware cannot detect?

Security gurus deliver coup de grace to US govt's encryption backdoor demands

Bill Michaelson

Narcissism in law enforcement

That's the problem.

'Just a kid' Zuck's word is his bond ... but NOT in his backyard, lawsuit claims

Bill Michaelson

Re: Markie Sugar town Cannot be Trusted

Those parents might be part of the problem, but that's not their kids' fault. Do you have a proposal for what to do with (or to) those kids? Let me guess: You can't be arsed.

Mobile broadband giants blow $45bn on Uncle Sam's finest air

Bill Michaelson

A public resource was leased for 12 years at market rates

This can offset some of the regressive taxes I've been paying.

Want disruption? We got disruption: Race protest halts VC Thiel's Q&A

Bill Michaelson

It's no about Brown or Garner

They were just catalysts.

No more lies, T-Mobile US: Download speed caps magically vanished on speed test websites

Bill Michaelson

Good point

When I had T-Mobile (whom I despised otherwise), I liked that part of the deal. My monthly cost was capped, yet I didn't have to worry about service being absolutely cut off either. Throttling might be an inconvenience, but I rarely experienced it, if ever. I don't rely on mobile for serious data transfer. For me, it's for ubiquitous connectivity.

One could argue that the speedtest scheme is reasonable because it enables one to measure capability independent of current throttling state. But then, who is to say what the consumer is trying to measure: potential or actual speed? I know what is more likely, so no, the speedtest site scheme was a slimy fraud.


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