* Posts by Tikimon

711 posts • joined 3 Nov 2009


Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: We dream of automating.....

Not all of us! As I get older, I'm going the reverse direction. Doing it myself gets me off my ass and moving and I know it's done right. Measure 500ml of liquid? That's what measuring cups are for, read the bottom of the meniscus and you're close enough. Why spend $$$ on Alexa, when I already have a Tiki to do all that and more? Dream of automating to become indolent? No thanks!

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Bad planning

"Kudzu has plenty of uses, which is why it is established as an invasive species in the US."

Typical of humans, kudzu was introduced to the US specifically as an erosion control measure without any pre-distribution testing. Controls erosion? Good enough! The government actually paid farmers to plant it, and it was called Creeping Roosevelt by many. Also Mile-A-Minute Vine.

Sorry spud, the problem isn't that this wonder plant is lying around ignored. Industrial use of any plant typically requires it's farmed somewhere you can collect it. The PROBLEM is that there's a patch here, some there, over there, not convenient to collect for business use. In the meantime, it's burying land and and killing trees, and it's growing up to three feet a day in summer. Maybe one could farm it for products, but the random patches eating the South don't count and are simply a pest.

China's really cotton'd on to this whole Moon exploration thing: First seed sprouts in lunar lander biosphere

Tikimon Silver badge

Bio-Weapons Reactor Prototype

Can all you technical types have really missed the REAL purpose of this experiment? As pointed out, there have been other bio experiments done before. But this time, the environment box is poorly shielded. They hope exposure to cosmic radiation will mutate the flies over several generations.

All those Bond movies missed the boat, China will be the first to have a secret moon base. While Western space agencies languish under budget cuts, the Chinese will develop a race of gigantic space mutant flies. One fine day they will fly to Russia and the United States and begin eating everything in sight. Giant maggots will wallow over the landscape, devouring what the flies don't and crushing everything else. After developing in the harsh conditions on the Moon, they will be tough enough to survive any conventional weapons attack. The West will collapse under the onslaught.

And you thought the little fly was cute...

Googlers to flood social media with tales of harassment in bid to end forced arbitration

Tikimon Silver badge
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Re: Social media "campaign" versus legal challenge

Companies with unethical practices they'd rather not face trouble over work hard to keep them hidden. One whistleblower is not enough, one sex crime victim can be ignored or marginalized. They simply don't have a loud voice to attract attention, and are easily deflected by power, money, and armies of lawyers.

Shove such a company into the public eye airing the dirty details for all to see and they're forced to respond. They can fix the problems, spin like mad and hope, make empty promises and wait for the storm to pass, etc. However it turns out, NOTHING happens until that public exposure and getting large numbers of people interested.

True, this won't change anything where a legal challenge would. However, more exposure than they can sweep under the rug will keep the problem in the public eye, and any legal challenge might then have a fighting chance.

xHamster reports spike in UK users getting their five-knuckle shuffle on before pr0n age checks

Tikimon Silver badge

Planned and expected escalation!

You can guarantee these blocks will be bypassed by VPNs or some other trick. THEN come the calls for MORE restrictions. At every step, real people find ways around the BS restrictions, and that is the ongoing excuse for more government lockdown and control. This crap always starts small and is expanded indefinitely, deliberately, and with careful consideration. Truth and fairness get no welcome from power hungry politicians.

Too many politicians have no interest in solving problems. They want to EXPLOIT problems for political gain and power, and will invent a supposed problem if none is handy at the moment. Solving a problem means a pat on the back and nobody gives them power anymore. Much better to ride a conflict as hard as one can and milk it for reasons to be given more POWER. In fact, it's best to invent something that's not really an issue, as it can never be solved and will be an endless excuse for more government control.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: You missed one...

"Adult scooters of any kind, electric or not. It's an infantile and inefficient mode of transport."

Smug gits like this used to make the same stupid comments about adults on bicycles. I used to take public transport to work. It was one mile level ground to the train station, trade later to a bus, then a quarter-mile to work from the bus stop. I could drive to the train station and have a car sit all day, or get there under my own power. Sorry, that's too far to walk when I'd rather be back in bed. So I used a Xootr, an adult-sized kick scooter. It folded up and made a good footrest on the train and bus. If I detoured to a store, it carried easily in one hand. For my short runs it worked great. I later switched to a bike and rode that instead of taking the bus, but it was difficult getting it on a crowded train (there was space nominally reserved for bikes but real world and all).

My wife and I have also used them to get around beachside towns and similar places where parking is a pain and you're not in a hurry. We don't have to lock it up like a bike, just carry it along. My concrete-floored downstairs - in addition to a Tiki Lounge, bike shop, gym, and airgun range - has a scooter track that winds through the rooms. Guests and party-goers have a blast scootering around down there. So don't knock it until you've maybe tried it!

Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

Tikimon Silver badge
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Meet the Bug-A-Salt, destroyer of arthropods

The only weapon you need to dispatch spiders and most other home-invading arthropods is the Bug-A-Salt. It's a plastic spring-loaded pump shotgun that fires a burst of ordinary table salt with an effective range of about three feet. The salt blast can be directed into cracks and corners and behind breakable things, unlike a flyswatter or broom or newspaper. The salt is non-toxic to pets, won't damage surfaces, it usually doesn't splatter the bug so no mess, and salt vacuums up during regular cleaning. With practice, you can shoot bugs out of the air. Tape a small flashlight under it to illuminate dark corners.

I'm a proud owner, and can attest to its effectiveness. I bought mine when I had an infestation of flour moths, I mean HUNDREDS at once all through the house. Cleaned out the kitchen and pantry multiple times to no avail. I later found The Hive, a half-empty bag of cat food hidden behind something downstairs and removed their main breeding ground. Before then, I destroyed thousands of moths with the Bug A Salt. It also does stellar duty as a spider killer. In fact I blew away a couple of black widows in my Tiki Lounge, then fired a few blasts into the dark little corner to clean out any juveniles or eggs.

It usually gets a laugh at first mention, but it's really a nice design and works great.

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

Bzzt, wrong. If you get the tick off within 24 hours (or so) it hasn't had time to transmit the bugs for Lyme et al.

This is the basis for Nexguard (for example) flea and tick medication for dogs. The ticks/fleas bite the animal, then are killed by the medication circulating in their blood. The animal MUST be bitten for the parasites to get killed by the drug, but it happens before they infect your pet.

It's 2019, and from Beijing to Blighty folk are still worried about slurp-happy apps

Tikimon Silver badge

Missing the damn point!

""All relevant internet companies have made active efforts to strengthen the protection of users' personal information.""

NO NO NO! It's not about protecting the info they've stolen from us, it's about not having it taken in the first place! No data harvesting, no data to "protect".

It's also ludicrous to talk about "protecting" our private data when the company is going to sell it to someone they approve of. That's simply vetted, secondhand theft of personal info.

Forget your deepest, darkest secrets, smart speakers will soon listen for sniffles and farts too

Tikimon Silver badge

And the obvious next step...

Assuming this works and is actually taken up... Product manufacturers won't be happy with "we can recognize the sound of your bags being ripped open". They will want to make SURE the competing snack maker won't mistakenly get credit. I predict that they would rapidly include some electronic widget to play a chime or jingle when opened. Twofold purpose, to let the spy ear know it was Crazy Crackers you opened, and to reinforce the Crazy Crackers jingle in the consumer's mind.

Ah, I just realized. Rather than have a cracker pack include a sound player, use RFID or other cheap tag to Id the product. Then the spyware calls the mothership for the proper jingle and it is played BY THE SPEAKER. Much more simple, and easily changed on the fly. Yeah, that's the way it'll go.

Time for a cracker joke: What's got one ball and buttons in the wrong place?

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Hand Holding

"No sir! I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!"

Virgin Galactic test flight reaches space for the first time, lugging NASA cargo in place of tourists

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: "Superficial Marketing Tosh" Virgin is hardly a pathfinder

"So don't be so disparaging, most of the innovations in transport have started this way, and it is a necessary step on the path to more widespread use."

I get where you're going, and agree. Problem is, this is not how space transport is starting. This kind of flight profile was done with the X-15 program decades ago. "Space transport" implies (to me anyway) that one transports something from Point A to Point B. Virgin's program is not Transport, it's merely an expensive carnival ride, where the loading and unloading are done at the same platform a few minutes apart with a thrill ride in the middle.

That's ALL this project will ever be good for. Other companies are working on Transport, moving people and cargo from Earth to orbital destinations and sometimes bringing them back again. As far as speculative "deliver something to space and hand off to another ship" Space-X style rockets would do that better with less complexity and risk.

Taylor's gonna spy, spy, spy, spy, spy... fans can't shake cam off, shake cam off

Tikimon Silver badge

The dawn of digital "checkpoints" for government control

As noted, recognition tech is being taken up rapidly. It's only a matter of time before the government demands access to those scanners and data. ALL of them. Like Google, the spymasters believe its their right to know everything about everyone and store it forever. Soon facial recognition will be installed at shopping malls, train stations, sports venues, public buildings, anywhere a thin claim for preventive security can be made. Desire to recognize customers (for "rewards" of course, lol) will lead to most retail using it as well.

Think CCTV is invasive? It's usually mounted kinda high up, often providing imagery that lacks enough detail to ID people. Facial recognition will be at eye level and close, taking excellent shots of our faces. CCTV has a vague "watch for trouble" mission. Facial recognition has ONE purpose, to record and if possible identify everyone who passes it.

If you combine spying through your phone, home-automation setup, and public face recognition, you already have the effective elements of the Telescreen from "1984". With access to all these systems, the spymasters will watch and listen to us everywhere we go. It's worse actually, because Orwell didn't imagine huge searchable databases to store and serve up all that info.

All this tech was supposed to make our lives better, not bind us in digital shackles...

UK Supreme Court considers whether spy court should be immune to legal probes

Tikimon Silver badge

What do laws matter?

...when you're above the law?

That's the real point of all this for the spymasters. They believe they are above/below/outside/ARE the law, and have to answer to nobody. Ergo, their actions should be secret, without oversight, without redress or recourse. They will never accept being reined in, and in the unlikely event restrictions are passed they will simply ignore them, like they're ignoring our legal protections now.

Oversight? Limits? Even if you add restrictions, what the hell is anyone going to do about violations? NOTHING. Just like has happened since Ed Snowden ripped the mask off.

OneDrive Skype integration goes live aaand... OneDrive falls over in Europe

Tikimon Silver badge

Exactly why software BLOWS and is getting worse!

"Hey, did we change this because we think it's a better design and that we've proven that"

What an arrogant, clueless twit! It doesn't matter if your stupid TEAM think it's a better design! It's the USERS who are important! You prove you made it better when the USERS are MORE HAPPY. If you make your users UN-happy, you have made the product WORSE!

Like Apple, who don't even bother with user testing anymore, they ask other Apple fanbois if they like it. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

Wombats literally sh!t bricks – and now boffins reckon they know how

Tikimon Silver badge
IT Angle

Only in Hollywood

Gettin' your hands dirty ain't smart where pathogens are lurking. Only in movies do "scientists" dig around in piles of steaming poop barehanded. Yick! Real scientists wear impervious gloves!

As do others who deal in icky substances. I saw a vet check a horse before sale to see if she was preggers. He put on a long vinyl sleeve thingie, then shoved his whole damn arm into the mare up to his shoulder. Stood there with a thoughtful look on his face, feeling around for a minute. He then declared her "clean" and removed the arm with the most godawful schlorping sound, and peeled off three feet of slimy glove. When I feel like IT is just too stupid for words, I think of that job and disk errors don't seem so bad.

Stairway to edam: Swiss bloke blasts roquefort his cheese, thinks Led Zep might make it tastier

Tikimon Silver badge

Aging bands to age whiskey!

Seems appropriate.

Wow. Apple's only gone and killed off Mac, iPad, iPhone family... figures for units sold to fans

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Revenue up, units down

""...a unit of sale is less relevant for us at this point compared to the past."

So in plain language, Apple is all about The Bottom Line, the end to which all means are directed, and the primary measure of the company's success. Hard to reconcile that with their holier-than-the-competition PR...

Science: Broke brats glued to the web while silk-stocking scions have better things to do

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Buzzwords...

"Rap is just Country music without the country, or the music."

WRONG. Country music does not glorify crime and "gangstas". It does not treat women like mindless objects for sex or label them "bitches" or "Ho's". Rap is a sometimes toxic collection of misogyny and criminal attitudes loaded with F-words.

Country music is at worst kinda boring. It tends to be about the life situations the rest of us non-criminal types care about. Life and its windings, love gained or lost, bad jobs, dogs and automobiles. Your kids can listen to it with no worries about nasty language or misogyny. It's almost the diametric opposite in content and intent from Rap.

I'm not even a fan of Country Music, but it doesn't deserve to be lumped in with Rap/HipHop.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: To be human.

AT LEAST IT'S SHORT! I had an African national professor for Organic Chem II. Great guy and excellent English with a charming accent. However, he ended most sentences with "does that make sense." I deliberately dropped the question mark, he said it as a placeholder and without a questioning inflection most times. I started making hash marks every time he did it one day and noted 30 repetitions in 45 minutes. Apparently someone talked to him about it, because one day he started visibly trying to not say it to end sentences, grinning at himself when he slipped. Like I said, great guy and I actually passed that beast of a class.

Yep, another typical irrelevant anecdote. I gotta have a purpose.

30 years ago, NASA put Challenger behind it and sent a Space Shuttle back out into the black

Tikimon Silver badge

Irrelevant musing, move along...

I remember well the day Challenger broke up. I wondered if they would ever again fly a shuttle, if the beancounters in Congress would use it as an excuse to finally kill off any meaningful space program. I also remember when Discovery took to the skies again. I had made sure to be home, and was glued to the TV screen. The countdown seemed to have a half-life, and a liftoff point that would never come. But of course, it finally did. The engines roared into flame, the gantry clamps released, and the orbiter broke free of the planet, reaching for space.

I found myself jumping up and down and screaming inarticulately. That really surprised me! I never felt like that before, even for the first shuttle flight. When Discovery lifted off, it was like a dam broke, releasing all the hopes and worry of years. Finally quit yelling and just stared wordlessly at the screen, deaf to the commentary, simply watching it climbing and climbing. We were really going back to space.

I'll never forget either day, the bad and the good. (or the loss of Columbia, but that's another story)

'Desperate' North Korea turns to bank hacking sprees to rake in much-needed dosh

Tikimon Silver badge

You have seen the future, and it is Now

This is going to spread, folks. The Norks have shown the way. Can't keep your country afloat on taxes and commerce? Simply steal the cash from another country! Very soon, another cash-strapped country will start doing this, maybe Burma or Venezuela... someone always follows. One or two more, then everyone piles in. Eventually, affluent countries will find reasons to do it as well, possibly to "recover stolen funds".

It's the old story since humans first threw rocks at each other. Make it difficult enough for your enemy to attack you and they will find a new way to do it. Land wars are expensive and messy. Electronic wars destroy nothing compared to bombing, kill nobody, cost less than one fighter plane's load of missiles and can be totally deniable. It's too good to pass up for long.

World War III will be financial, so to speak. Given the lack of physical borders with armies fighting for land, there will be little reason to form strong alliances. The ones that form will be transient and rather limited. I could be wrong, but I expect a free for all of state-sponsored finance hacking within a decade or so.

Free opinions, worth every cent!

Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Hahaha... - the times are changing!

Know how every new tech widget is going to totally replace something else? That happened with cars in the US. Why walk when you can enjoy post-war affluence and drive? Suburban areas also spread out more than stacked-high cities, so destinations frankly moved out of walking range. A three-block city walk is nothing, but a five-mile walk down a highway is something else.

Times are changing! Planners are building new with sidewalks again, nice broad ones. Sidewalks and paths are being retrofitted where they didn't exist. Walking paths and trails are proliferating, now that local governments have realized what a draw they are. Many of us will be stuck with a car or transit for a long commute. But more every day, we can walk our neighborhoods and to the local stores. Things do improve sometimes!

Virtual reality saves wannabe prison officers from actually, you know, having to visit

Tikimon Silver badge

Virtual Unreality used to mislead and oversell.... again

Let's get this straight... New officers quit because working in purgatory is hell. So management shows them a carefully sanitized virtual tour that does not reflect reality. Having seen the layout of the building in advance, the noobs will now be ready to face the violence and danger that would have otherwise made them flee for their lives. BWAHAHA!

Logically, if their VR tour was in any way representative of the actual environment it would make most applicants QUIT on seeing it! If it soothes them instead, it's definitely outright misrepresentations and lies.

NSA dev in the clink for 5.5 years after letting Kaspersky, allegedly Russia slurp US exploits

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Good trick to steal secrets - NOT

Sorry, that's a stupid trick to steal secrets! The instant it can be PROVEN that Kaspersky is spying and sharing with the Russian spooks, their reputation is gone for good. Eugene Kaspersky is not dumb enough to throw his whole business down the drain, and certainly not for something so minor as infiltrating one office drone.

Kaspersky is a witch-hunt victim because of their integrity. They refuse to install backdoors for the UNITED STATES spooks, and they have revealed several Western government sponsored malware campaigns. Therefore the US Gummint wants to punish them for standing firm on honesty. They also prefer you use security software that has NSA-Approved backdoors in it and not one they can't subvert. So now our tax money is spent to smear one of the few honest companies to be found and try to destroy their business.

Post-silly season blues leave me bereft of autonomous robot limbs

Tikimon Silver badge

Useless trivia - the third arm in film

You gotta look quick and close to see it, but there's a good "use for a third arm" scene in Terminator 2. As our protagonists are fleeing the burning Cyberdyne building, the T-1000 steals a helicopter and gives chase. There's a quick shot of the cockpit where you can see the T-1000 has grown an extra arm and is using it to multitask flying and shooting.

It was a clever and obvious thing for a malleable entity to do. However, that was the only time the T-1000 did that for reasons known only to Mr. Cameron.

RIP to two 'naut legends: A moonwalker and a spacewalker

Tikimon Silver badge

In all fairness, the Moon is the only easy target

Our beloved rocky satellite is rather close, and we can get there within a few days. Since exposure to the hazards of Space is short, visiting the moon is relatively safe.

Next out? Mars or Venus. Weeks of travel in the best of times. The crew will suffer cosmic radiation exposure and the myriad of semi-permanent physiological problems caused by long periods in low or no gravity. We have lots of problems to solve before we can send humans anywhere but the Moon.

Now that being said, the Moon is a great testing ground for any off-world bases or habitats we might use on longer voyages. We could benefit from a return to the Moon, even if we can't reach our farther neighbors yet. The problem is always this: you can't buy votes with space exploration. As long as politicians set the budgets, that simple fact will drain the blood of space research forever.

Silicon Valley CEO admits $1.5m wire fraud: Bouxtie boss forged signatures to investors

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Yeah... mais non..

This terrible name is obviously meant to appear French, at least to say out loud. Problem is, that "Boux" would pronounce as "Boo" and the company name is "Bootie". Little socks, how cute!

The "Bo" (long O) sound would be spelled Beau (or Beaux plural). However, using that for "bowtie" leads to "Beautie" which looks like Beauty. Having chosen to weirdly spell a common word as their name, the obvious pseudo-spelling didn't work so they chose to mispronounce it as well.

If you have to jump through so many hoops to make it fit, it ain't working guys!

Ah hell, let's have some fun. One could use "Beaux Tie" (plural to include all genders) for a bondage supply company. Just sayin'.

Nokia reinstates 'hide the Notch' a day after 'Google required' feature kill

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: I see no notch, only display ears.

It adds no USEFUL screen space, only little blind corners where you can lose your socks or car keys.

What a "notch" really does is keep some idiot designer and a slew of marketers in business, claiming that they've come up with something breathtakingly new and awesome. Just like Ribbon UIs and their ilk, change for its own sake and breaking functionality as a side effect.

Abracadabra! Tales of unexpected sysadmagic and dabbling in dark arts

Tikimon Silver badge

That's Mechanic Effect at work

When the balky machine realizes that One Who Is Not To Be Messed With has arrived bearing tools, they think better of it an decide to behave.

I've wondered if users could proactively trigger this effect. I suggest they fix the machine with an angry stare and say "Don't make me call the IT department!" Worth a try.

Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

Tikimon Silver badge

An attitude based on unfounded snobbery

Nearly every one of these nutjobs and cranks subscribe to the same flawed story. "Those ignorant ancients were so much less capable than us smug modern types, and we don't know how to do that. They lacked modern tools and machinery we've become totally dependent on and can't imagine not using. So those ignorant savages couldn't have done it themselves with stupid hand tools! It had to be someone else!"

We don't know how to move pyramid stones by hand because we're dependent on heavy machinery, not because it can't be done. A local 1920's movie palace has awesome faux woodwork beams (fire codes) and the method for those has already been lost! Small wonder we forget after millennia.The ancients' knowledge of hand tools, stoneworking, and architecture were in many ways superior to ours. It was all they had, so they developed it to the fullest capability. Roman concrete structures are still in use, but Hitler's giant Flak Towers are already crumbling.

The We're So Modern snobbery is misplaced, the ancients were masters of their arts. The Pyramids, Colosseum, Tenochtitlan, and others are still here, after centuries of earthquakes and vandalism. How many "modern" constructions will survive 3000 years of natural and human assaults?

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: May we please stop calling them phones?

In an interesting coincidence, Dinosaur Comics addressed this last week. Check it out.


Elon Musk, his arch nemesis DeepMind swear off AI weapons

Tikimon Silver badge

Theater of the impotent

Jeebus, I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody or other "called for" or "pledged to support" strong measures, immediate action, immediate inaction, etc. over the outrage of the day. And know what? You can count on the fingers of my foot (sarcasm) how many actually made the least difference in the world. These are polite threats, and as everyone knows a threat is only issued by the powerless. Those who can act effectively do so without angry blathering.

It was a pretty unspeakably evil job to beat naked people into gas chambers once. The SS didn't have any trouble filling those jobs. Tech entities can sign pledges all day and there will be at least one company willing to go full speed ahead. Several already make tools of oppression for sale to any nasty customer with cash. It's not a big step to H-K bots. Call Cellebrite, they might already be on it.

No real story here folks, move along... move along...

PC shipments just rose, thanks to Windows 10

Tikimon Silver badge

Bass ackward interpretation

" it appears that businesses are finally making the jump to Microsoft’s latest and buying new PCs to make it happen."

WRONG. Try this: "It appears that businesses are finally buying new PCs which are all infected with Windows 10. "

USB-C for Surface owners arrives in form of a massive dongle

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: Eh?

"And external USB hard drives in 2018? It's 2018! At least get a NAS if you're not ready for cloud yet."

Yeah, and in 2018 external drives are pretty sweet for a good price! They also require NO internet connection, are worlds faster than anyone's streaming rate, and won't eat into a data allowance moving files around. Encrypted for security, immune to cloud provider hacking, can be stored in a safe. Good luck putting your NAS in your pocket!

Is it the millennials? There's a huge lack of perspective in these forums. Just because it's new doesn't mean it's better, or that it will totally replace something that was working fine already. I can list a dozen things that were proclaimed dead and obsolete, but inconveniently insist on sticking around being useful.

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

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Re: Colour me sceptical

"fixed CCTV cameras, where it could be running 24/7 across thousands of cameras."

And that, children, is the whole point of the exercise. Once those cameras are in place it will be trivial to store, share, sell, search and categorize every image they collect. Mealy mouth assurances of deleted data and "privacy protections" are only "this won't hurt" lies used to calm the victim.

Have YOU had your breakfast pint? Boffins confirm cheeky daily tipple is good for you

Tikimon Silver badge

Re: A breakfast pint?

WARNING: Barely relevant story follows on how I was drunk by 9 AM once.

Went camping and arrived in the park around 0200 (long drive). One of our number was a little noisy setting up and a disgruntled sleeper appeared in the door of a nearby tent grumping for some quiet. Fully justified, I might add.

Next morning I was first awake, greeted the morning and surrounding mountains with coffee and a smile. Also with a little pipe and some herbal goodness (ahem). So just then that tent opens and a guy climbs out. We both immediately start profusely apologizing to each other! He's clearly a really nice guy and after a minute of this I offer the pipe and say "Hey, you want a hit?" He raises his thermos and says "You want some White Russian?" He had a quart of cold mixed drink in there, and we had a grand time.

So by 0900 we were both pretty trashed, inviting the rest of our crews to join us as they arose. Then we all went for some lunch, they were great guys. So it's not always a bad thing to be drinking early in the morning. You might meet some nice folks.

Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

Tikimon Silver badge

Steve's fingers pulling the strings still?

This is pure Steve Jobs "less is more, and screw functionality". The end goal is a featureless monolithic slab - white with patented round corners, of course. You will interact with it through voice and expressive dance. It will stream all sound and imagery to your iSpy wearable, which will project directly into your eyes and play sound through bone conduction. Unfortunately, everyone else will blindly copy them.

Steve Jobs is in Hell in a room with one door. It has a single button beside it labeled CLOSE.

Virtual reality meets commercial reality as headset sales plunge

Tikimon Silver badge

Same basic flaws as 3D TV...

The VR people are missing the same boats the 3D TV people missed. Basically, our eyes and brains don't see the world like they present it. We've been looking at flat media with no depth all our lives and we're used to it so it doesn't seem strange. It IS strange though, and as soon as you move it into 3D the weirdness hits and we get headaches trying to resolve it.

We don't only align our eyes for depth info, things move in and out of FOCUS. Watch the foreground and the background goes a little fuzzy. 3D technology does not reproduce this (it would require serious eye-tracking to do it). The alignment angle does not match the depth-of-field data, and our brains don't know which is right.

Also, we don't see real-world motion as series of sharp-focus stills. If you watch a car go by, the background blurs with motion, or watch the street and the cars blur. Furthermore, the degree of blur indicates speed. VR images are always sharp, which destroys any sense of true motion.

With current tech, our brains get some cues that we're looking at a 3D world, but other cues are terribly wrong and our brains rebel. Until these two basic flaws are solved, VR or 3D of any kind is going to look weird and make people feel ill.

AI is cool and all – but doctors and patients don't really need it

Tikimon Silver badge

This is only surprising to the tech industry

Our benighted tech industry specializes in creating widgets and software that do... well, SHINY! Hey, I made a Thing! Don't really know what it's good for, doesn't replace anything else, but let's convince everyone they need to buy one! Problem is, we don't buy it. Literally. Only the tech press is surprised when that happens.

Seriously look at "wearables" for a prime example. All we've heard for ten years is how Wearables are going to be in everything we buy and will transform our lives! Except they stubbornly have not. Swap out the names - AI, wearables, self-driving - and you find the same breathless insistence that it's the Future Now! Oh, and pay no attention to the failed products behind the curtain.

Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour

Tikimon Silver badge

If cops had their way...

If our current cops had been around in the past, they would be complaining about people putting locks on their doors and demanding Master Keys to bypass them. Also demanding that houses be built with spy ports in the walls (which only the cops would use, hehehe) because people use curtains and shutters on their windows.

The US Constitution was deliberately written to protect us from that kind of intrusion, and the cops/spooks are determined to ignore and destroy those rights. Gosh, I wonder why nobody likes or trusts the government anymore?

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Easy good passwords, here I go again...

Apologies if you've seen me bang on about this before. I figure every time it's new to a few more people. It just WORKS! My most clueless users do this with no problem.

Start with a sentence you can remember. SAY IT to yourself silently, and type every first or second letter (depends on length). Capitalize the first letter, add punctuation at the end. This method means it's not necessary to actually remember the password itself! There's no need to remember which letters were changed to what. It's stupid easy.

Example: "What we've got here is failure to communicate" (Cool Hand Luke) becomes


There are no numbers and limited symbols. However it's a random string of letters that real people can actually remember and use. If there's an easier way to remember random-ish passwords, please share!

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

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Re: Why do I smell...

"I'm with you here, the most common commands are always available muscle memory makes it very easy... I never understood why people dont like it"

Let me clue you in. If you're doing the same thing over and over, it can be good. However if you need to FIND something the Ribbon hides it.

A person can scan through a series of menus in a few seconds. We're good at reading lists, Menus always worked FINE. Ribbons and Docks appeared to Be Different and justify the cost of an upgrade, not because we wanted them. They obscure things behind unlabeled icons and drop-down menus tied to the icons. Looking for a feature is now a nightmare of hovering over every icon on six tabs of cute little pictures. Did they hide that under Format, Layout, or Home?

Most users simply give up rather than play Hide and Seek. I support a shopful of users and they universally hate it. Time and familiarity have not changed their minds.

Turns out China loves VR. Wires and powerful hardware, less so.

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Is anyone besides Western tech companies suprised?

Ask the MARKET for VR displays and we all demand standalone, light, comfortable products. Only the tech industry - in their La-La-Land separate from our reality - believes that a block of concrete on your head, anchored to one spot by a cable and expensive computer is a good product!

I use the 3D capabilities of my phone constantly but not for VR. I take 3D panoramas and stills of landscapes, sculpture, anything with an interesting shape. We're used to 2D pictures, but they're terrible at capturing an impressive scene. We are primarily visual animals, so viewing something in 3D takes you 90% of the way to Being There. Try it, you'll be surprised at the impact you get from such a simple (and free!) trick.

New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

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How does this affect Impersonators?

Scads of folks making a living based on their resemblance to someone famous. I can't even count the Elvis impersonators I've seen in my life. So now they're illegal? They're using the famous persona in "trade".

Possible loophole? What if we simply don't use the Famous Name? That's not a fake of Paris Hilton, that's "Airhead", a character loosely based on Paris. Etc.

Possible defense? That's not a fake of Paris Hilton, that's modified media of Ellen Carwood, who just happens to look like Paris Hilton, and has given full consent to the alterations.

Aussie bloke wins right to sue Google over 'underworld' images

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On the "my name search" thing...

While checking out with my groceries one night, I noticed the cashier had an unusual name on her tag. It looked like a Thai name to me, and I planed to search on it to check my guess. In a moment of carelessness I used Google instead of DDG to search for that name. One word, First Name only.

Holy shite. I got pages of hits on her personal life! Her full name, where she lived, when they bought the house and what they paid for it, previous addresses where she lived. Her husband's full name, when and where they got married. It went on and on. All based on her FIRST NAME ONLY. I could have used the search hits to figure out the rest of her life, easy. Google is your One-Stop Stalking Shop.

Granted that she had an uncommon name (for this area) but it was frightening how much of our personal lives are eagerly offered up to any random stranger in a non-specific search. Maybe your name is more common and it's harder to find you specifically, but don't kid yourself that the same details aren't on offer online for you too.

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Re: But

"Was he a hitman?"

He wasn't a hit in the UK but he made it big in Japan.

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Re: I may be mistaken but...

Don't forget that you're being Bubbled, your search results limited and skewed based on your "personalization". Google arrogantly assumes it knows what you REALLY meant, no matter what you asked for. You never see the same Google as anyone else, your search results will never match theirs. Sometimes you won't see what you wanted at all because it didn't fit Big brother's profiling. Then they insert hits for sites that paid to pollute your search results.

Which is why I use Duckduckgo instead. I get clean, un-twiddled results based solely on my exact search terms. What a concept!

AI built to track you through walls because, er, Parkinsons?

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Where are the geeks knocking out RF and IR jammers for our homes and cars? We need an active jammer, not just random radiation. Shouldn't be hard to project ghost images, like submarines do with sonar. Fill your home with a dozen ghosts, and which signal is you now? Have the unit merge your track with a ghost now and then to confuse their find-the-human algorithm. The lovely thing there, is that your widget could project ghosts when you're not even there.

One each for home and maybe workplace, another for the car should do it OK, get to it lads!


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