* Posts by perlcat

541 posts • joined 13 Mar 2010


I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI


This is why we can't have nice things.

This is also why I refuse to have my DNA tested. It only takes one accident to get your unique information out there, and what this criminal did was no accident at all.

Boss regrets pointing finger at chilled out techie who finished upgrade early


Not how it works

Usually they find a way to get rid of you after, they don't like being held accountable.

Windows 10 Linux Distribution Overload? We have just the thing


Fails the horror movie test -- what could possibly go wrong?

You know, the "Let's explore the abandoned house next to the unkempt cemetery where the wind makes a funny screaming sound at night. Alone. With 3 high school kids comprising a jock, an nerd, and a hot chick." After all, it's not like they haven't done all three operations on every previous technology they've started the "embrace, extend, extinguish" sequence on in the past.

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks


Doesn't compute

Only 5% of Congress identified as crooks? Clearly facial recognition does not work; the actual number is substantially higher if you simply compare growth in net worth to actual income.

As Tesla hits speed bump after speed bump, Elon Musk loses his mind in anti-media rant


Re: anonymous coward

I think that I can answer the question "how badly have we fucked up". I have a sibling that went through journalism school in the 80's. At the time, there were three main TV news networks in the US, and their reports were basically viewed as gospel. I won't go into why that was, but the journos I knew at the time were all about the ethics of journalism, how they stood up to the powerful for Truth and Justice, with a capital 'T' and 'J'. I found that absurd even then, as Juvenal's phrase "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" has remained relevant for a long time. They could be forgiven, as the young are often guilty of enthusiasm.

Even into Desert Storm with CNN, there was a lot of faith in journalism that was as unwarranted as that in the Big Three networks' product. There has always been bias in news -- the only real barrier to setting up a news outlet was cash. It doesn't even have to be a conscious bias -- for example, a journalist may put a lot more effort into digging up dirt on political adversaries than they will for their friends. This reinforces itself until all credibility is as lost as that on a product trial that says Microsoft is the best in an independent study that is hosted on a MS--owned domain.

People tend to believe things in print simply because they were in print. Now that we live in a communication age, where the barrier to publishing your bastard brainchildren is an opinion and the motivation to post it, there are a lot more competing sources for information. Not only that, there are enough relatively (say that with a straight face...) respected opinions/sources that this bias, conscious or unconscious, is exposed.

There has been numerous examples of academic journalism fraud, where the lower barrier has meant that garbage has made it into the pages of formerly respected publications. Remember cold fusion? In fact, editors are human, too. They want to see their employer succeed, and may make questionable decisions to favor the sensational, especially if they think that they need to act in a hurry to be on top of things.

People see this, and then when they go to a publication and find their political ox has been gored, assume that means a prejudice against their politics. They may even do some investigation, but it's investigation on the flawed premise called confirmation bias. A truly fair publication will wind up goring everybody's ox from time to time, but they'll lose readership in so doing.

We live in a different age now. Journalists have been exposed as human beings with opinions and biases of their own. The only thing I find shameful about that is that they are not open about it. There's a lot to be said for listening to other people's opinions, and as long as you understand the source, you can make useful assumptions about their content. I see a lot of people bagging on purportedly liberal and conservative outlets like the Guardian and Daily Mail; however, I don't think that either of them is as monolithic in their politics as believed.

In the DM's situation, I see it more of a tendency towards sensationalism than solid fact-mongering, and coupled with a hilariously poor editing and quality control (honestly, they must be paid by the word to go through the clickbait so we don't have to), provides more of an entertainment product than what used to be referred to as "hard hitting" journalism. When the article veers left, the cons complain, and when the article veers right, the libs complain. Me, I'm just there to wind people up, so I consider my entertainment dollar well-spent.

People say that Fox is bad, and others say that CNN is also bad -- I just see them as two competing mutual masturbation societies, each operating in their own little bubble of opinion. Both are laughably incompetent, and both pretend to be the last bastion of journalism, holding back the howling mobs of ignorance and prejudice. Respecting one or the other says more about your politics than it does about their competence.


Re: unexpected honesty

Frankly, they're both journalistic train wrecks, with idiotic sensationalism, opinion masquerading as fact, and carefully selected outrage at carefully selected and maintained targets. The main reason to read either is to go to the comment pages and emit/observe snark. Sadly, they're still better than the garbage we have in the States.

BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....



You'd need an advanced degree in bullshitology to dejargonificate the obfusticationization of mundaneological nomenclature declamated here. The amount of craptological terminoligification is rarely exceeded outside of airport books that functionally illiterate execs pick up and inflict upon their direct report casualties.

That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it


The only news here would be that some people think that this collection of dim bulbs should be given more authority and control over our lives.

Bless their hearts: Democrats want $40bn to spruce up America's bumpkin broadband


Why thank you Subliminal Man

I enjoyed your informative article.

'Dear diversity hire...' Amazon's weapons-grade fail in recruitment email to woman techie



The SJW's infesting the HR departments open their mouths and a truth comes out. Not very often, though.

BOFH: Oh go on. Strap me to your Hell Desk, PFY


Re: Benedict?

Yeah, one nation's traitor is another nation's patriot. Or, as I choose to look at it, another competent guy in the middle screwed by the bosses so bad he went over to the competition.

Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'


Yeah, sure, pull the other one

Anybody that uses the term "foolproof" in a non-humorous way is clearly unqualified to judge the efforts of fools on account of being one.

Short movie explaining what it's like to SysAdmin


Re: thanks, its like someother jobs.

Why, yes, there are no thanks for sysadmins. That's what a thankless job is all about.

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward


Re: GIMP: love it

The GIMP has done everything I've needed it to do. If I script, then it's Image::Magick, but for what I need, it's worth the learning curve.

Software engineer sobers up to deal with 2:00 AM trouble at mill


Re: What a hero

When there's trouble at the mill, you always should expect an inquisition.

Man faces 37 years for sarcastic post insulting royal dog



This place is going to the dogs.

BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it


At last...

A good use case scenario for self-driving cars.

IT manager jailed for 5 years for attempting dark web gun buy


Re: "attempting to evade the duty on an imported item"???

Yes, that's how chickensh*t LEO's handle it when they think it ought to be illegal, but it isn't. It's also called 'selective enforcement', as I'm sure the law is applied the same for every package sent to a UK address from international addresses. Oops. Sorry, my sarcasm is acting up again today.

BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?


Re: I know exactly how they feel

That's what happens when you can't say "NO".

Kids' tech skills go backwards thanks to tablets and smartmobes


@Tom 7

You ain't just whistling Dixie. My mind's eye moved out after reading that.

WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA


Re: Surf's up!!! Maybe, maybe not.

I'm putting that down as one of the stupidest scientific quotes of all time. You can always get a 1:1 correlation if you adjust your sample size down to the one instance where you have found life. Clearly there's no intelligent life in his office.

NOxious VW emissions scandal: Car maker warned of cheatware YEARS AGO – reports


Re: Today VW ...

I dunno, but the horsemeat scandal triggered a lot of people,


Astroboffins snap BREATHTAKING, WISPY Veil Nebula supernova debris


Re: Sir

If you were in a close position to view this, your view would be rather brief.

Excellus healthcare hack puts 10m Americans at risk of identity theft


Say, I've got a great idea!

Let's connect all these systems together using mandated legislation nobody ever read, voted in by politicians that don't know the difference between an email client and server, and are not able to tell "Classified Top Secret" data from unclassified personal emails, even though it was two separate computer systems, one of which was clearly labeled as a secure network, so the only way to take information off is to manually key it in.

I'd say that no one's that stupid, but, hey, it *is* the law of the land these days.

Ich nicht bin Charlie: Facebook must crack down on racists, says Germany's Merkel


Says it all:

"When people stir up sedition under their real name on social networks..."

Well, just don't do that.

'Walter Mitty' IT manager admits to buying gun on dark web


Re: Surprised it doesn't happen more often

My cynical take on the "Darknet" is that it's more like the Ashley Madison site, with maybe 6 or 7 actual sellers that didn't get the memo, hundreds of dumbasses that think they can actually buy, tens of thousands of "lookers", and any remaining "seller" or "buyer" is a government front or someone looking to entrap.

A lot like the scene on "Office Space", where they looked up "money laundering" in the encyclopedia. If you want the term to describe these things in general, I suggest: "dumbasserie", and this in specific: "Dumbassnet".

West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless


There's another mine in Elk Creek, Nebraska -- operated by NioCorp. Haven't gotten anything out of the ground yet, though.

BOFH: An architect and his own entirely avoidable downfall


Re: Going soft

It's not pity. If there were no survivors, then how would people know to not trifle with the BOFH?

Antiques in spaaaaace! Retired space shuttles cannibalised for parts


I'm calling BS on this one.

I think that space exploration is a major priority. However, this smacks of budget-time theatrics where they say "Look what you forced us to do. Since we failed to plan ahead and remove non-viewable internal parts when we *gave* these away to museums, we now want to appear in the headlines. Give us money. "

If they'd have planned ahead,any usable parts would already have been removed and stored, and using them would be a mere inventory adjustment. It was either a failure to plan ahead (which isn't a phrase you should use to describe people bulding great big, explosive rockets), or just more kabuki.

This lack of planning is ironic; the reason that NASA is lacking for funds is because they are unable to come up with a plan for future exploration that resonates. Instead, they prefer to keep funding their bureaucracy, which is about as uninspiring as you can get. A more active NASA would have no problems getting funded. What they are doing now is the equivalent of an oil drilling company drilling dry holes in order to preserve their lease. If you doubt me, ask yourself -- we used to use the term "space-aged" to describe the technological offshoots of the space program. How long has it been since there have been significant 'space-aged' offshoots from the current program? It certainly couldn't have been from the national embarrassment* that was the Space Shuttle (the B52 of space exploration). Why did they have to reverse engineer the Saturn V engines? Surely they could have gone and used the blueprints and research data? Losing that information, so fundamental to their purpose, was way beyond criminal.

The enormous bureacracy that is NASA was created as a *side effect* of the moon project, not the end goal. I think they may be unclear on that. As much as it pains me, I think that NASA should be eliminated, and a different agency created from the ground up. They've squandered enough technology to get us to Mars and back a dozen times.

Read this and weep: it is not a triumphant story about a technological advance, but instead a sad reminder of how pathetically mismanaged NASA was and is: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/04/how-nasa-brought-the-monstrous-f-1-moon-rocket-back-to-life/ -- I dont think claiming a "technological advance" as a result of *duplicating* what I saw on a museum trip is anything resembling truthful. It's a "recovery of lost technology". Ask yourself who lost it, and why are we paying these idiots money to squander the resources they are in charge of.

*It wasn't an embarrassment when it was new, but why didn't they replace it when it first became obsolete?

Secret US-Pacific trade pact leak exposes power of the copyright lobby


I do not envy dairy farmers of any sort, they lead a difficult life.


Re: They seem to have a lot to hide...

Why, yes, yes, they do.


Re: I'm not subject to secret laws

I don't think so. It certainly doesn't apply to the politicians that vote for it.

Clueless do-gooders make Africa's conflict mineral mines even more dangerous


Re: Bandit theory

Precisely. The implication that there is a causal relationship between a bloated government and a well-to-do society is laughable. If anything, the causality flows the other way. Like Willie Sutton, old-time bank robber, they go there because that's where the money is. No more, no less.


Re: As usual.

I disagree. The crucial difference is that the nuImperialist has no interest in actually keeping said primitive brown people alive. They're simply engaged in the societal mutual masturbation exercise of "doing the 'right' thing", regardless of the actual consequences. Since they feel so gosh-darned *good* about themselves, they're happily able to ignore a democide or two of their own creation, or, even better, blame it on the people that have the gall to oppose them.

The old Imperialist may have had serfs, but dead serfs can't work mines.

Intel doubles its bounty for women and ethnic minorities


Re: Questions

They do, however, flock to the Maori studies and women's studies courses - neither of which is any use for employment. Which pretty much says it all. There's more money/satisfaction to be made in being outraged, offended, and discriminated against than in actually performing work for pay. Reminds me of a conversation I recently had:

Outrageist: "There aren't enough women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math professions."

Me: "What was your major?"

Outrageist: "Womyn's Studies"

Me: "..."

In a normal world, I'd have asked her why she wasn't in such a major -- but I'd like to keep my job, and so freedom of speech went right down the old crapper.

Your voter-trolling autodialer is illegal: The cringey moment the FCC spanks a congresscritter


Re: Wait!

It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of assholes. erm, "guys".

Pope loses grip on Antarctica: Clergy withdraw from austral landmass


Re: Ah....

Yes, they singlehandedly got a grip on their needs.

NSA: We'll move your metadata into /dev/null when you stop suing us


but of course!

It's a good faith deletion, and you can rest assured that it will be most thoroughly deleted from the place where you know it to be.

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie


Re: Tidy Desk

Fix your nomenclature. It isn't an 'untidy desk'; your desk is a 'Horizontal Filing System', and the issues you are dealing with are fragmentation and indexing. Just remember, some FS's are better than others at coping with it. You may or may not need a wetware update, but if retrieval is acceptable, the correct resolution to the issue is to ignore it as in all probability, you have other issues that demand more attention, which may include getting a higher score in nethack.

This from a tech who told a manager "I'll be happy to give your issue all the attention it deserves". I hung up the phone, and we were both happy -- for different reasons, of course.

Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next


Re: CAN Bus

That's reassuring. I had thought that the builders of trucks and airplanes were more sane than auto manufacturers. My faith in universal corporate stupidity has been restored! Now I can sleep at night. Wait a minute...

Are you a Tory-voting IT contractor? Congrats! Osborne is hiking your taxes


Re: "At which point, believe it or not, the government will get less tax, not more"

Not exactly. In a just and well-run world, they'd shut off services that yield marginal benefits, are excessively expensive, or that haven't been proved to actually work.

I kill me, I really do. If your politics work like they do in the US, shutting off those sorts of things would stop the flow of cash to their pockets or their crony's pockets. They'll just take the page out of the 0bama playbook, threaten to shut down all sorts of essential services, and hire new sentries in order to block the public from using facilities that don't cost anything to erect, and cost nothing to maintain. After all, being a heel pays big dividends and with the press in your back pocket, unlikely to generate a backlash.

Don't believe me? Google 'obama blocks world war 2 memorial'.

Why the USS NetApp is a doomed ship


Yep, and thanks to the powers that be

now our Marines need to hitch rides on other nation's ships. Embarrassing, really.

As the US realises it's been PWNED, when will OPM heads roll?


Re: Peter principle

You'll have to excuse me while I laugh and mock the statement: "... there is no reason that a political appointee, if supported by competent and experienced civil service executives, cannot be quite successful as director."

In other words, competence and experience isn't a requirement for a job that's essentially a payoff. If the job is truly a sinecure, wholly redundant, then she shouldn't have been given enough power to get into trouble. While the realist in me understands that she was placed there to oversee the ideological purge, in a sane universe, she shouldn't also purge the competent and experienced employees in order to preserve her pathetic and incompetent ass. She's been hoist by her own petard, and man, is that funny.


Re: Peter principle

In other words, a political hack of such imbecility that basic IT behavior like the "extreme measures" mentioned are actually viewed as extreme measures.

Given that most of the Administration didn't have a problem with the Secretary of State using her own personal email server until it was politically advantageous, not a surprise. The only surprise I have is that there isn't more of this. They're too ignorant to know they've been hacked. Surprised they haven't retaliated on the people that found and reported the pwnage.

My guess is that security firm will never work in DC again.


Re: Ha

Thanks to our fine government, solving imaginary problems by replacing them with real ones since the start.

Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM


Re: "Earth" is a frequency!

I propose the length of time to be in 'KardshianMarriages" -- that's a reasonably long period when talking about seasons.

Naked cyclists take a hard line on 'aroused' protest participant


The opposition to this activity is oddly stiffer than anticipated.

I'll go away now.


Re: Cycling normally works the other way

Wrong saddle.

Why voice and apps sometimes don't beat an old-fashioned knob


UI changes are not always bad.

However, part of the workflow for changing them should involve a life-threatening beating for the 5 top officers/wage earners in the company. If the need surpasses their unwillingness to be beat within an inch of their life, then the change is necessary and should go in.

Insurer tells hospitals: You let hackers in, we're not bailing you out


Nice try, but I doubt that they will learn the lesson. Not when they can socialize the costs and privatize the profits.


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