* Posts by Alister

3081 posts • joined 19 May 2010

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Alister
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After passing my handset over the contactless pad, I made sure to flourish it over the empty paper cup that she'd labelled "Tips - thank you!"

Classic!

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US State Department confirms: Unclassified staff email boxes hacked

Alister
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data breeches

Awesome! Trousers with storage in them, what a great idea!

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Oh Smeg! Hacked white goods maker resurfaces after system shutdown

Alister
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Schurely Schome Mischtake?

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A basement of broken kit, zero budget – now get the team running

Alister
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there's a lot of difference between Massachusetts and Mississippi

Yeah, there's no "i"s or "p"s in Massachusetts.

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How an augmented reality tourist guide tried to break my balls

Alister
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but decided not to raise the topic of his bollocks with staff in a foreign language.

Wise.

Very Wise.

Excusez moi monsieur, mais mes couilles ont été endommagées par votre tablette AR.

Quelle domage!

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Berkeley bio-boffins' butt-blasting belly-bothering batt-teria generates electricity

Alister
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It shouldn't be a surprise, really

Given that all higher forms of life uses electrical signals to control muscles, communicate pain, and do the whole "thinking" thing, it shouldn't really come as a surprise that bacteria have the ability to swap electrons.

The evolution of life from single-celled beings to multi-cellular organisms must have started from such basic building blocks, and the ability to pass electrical signals between cells is essential for that process, whether you are a bacteria or a eukaryote.

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New MeX-Files: The curious case of an evacuated US solar lab, the FBI – and bananas conspiracy theories

Alister
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Alright, Beatrice, there was no alien.

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO.

Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket, and refracted the light from Venus.

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Martian weather has cleared at last: Now NASA's wondering, will Opportunity knock?

Alister
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Re: Not allowed to

"Fire twinklers and light balls!"

I'm not lighting my balls for anybody!

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GDPR v2 – Gradually Diminishing Psychotic Robots: Brussels kills Terminator apocalypse

Alister
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Re: Weaponizing AI will happen, denying this is suicidal

For much of human history, there was not even the concept of a 'civilian'.

And yet, for a certain period, it was only professional soldiers who fought.

I remember reading an account somewhere of one of the classical Greek wars of Alexander's time, where the combating soldiers were fighting, in a city, dodging round the incumbent citizens who were trying to carry on with their normal lives.

Even in First World War France, if you came back thirty miles or so from the trenches, civilian life pretty much carried on as normal.

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Alister
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killer robots are not something that no one ever wants to see

Ooh! double negative!

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Milton Keynes: Come for roundabouts, stay for near-gigabit broadband

Alister
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Never mind the roundabouts...

What about the concrete cows!

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Chromebooks gain faff-free access to Windows file shares via Samba

Alister
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I trust it's SMB 1.0 that it supports, just to leverage all the available exploits onto a new platform?

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It's a mug's game: Watch AI robot grab a cuppa it hasn't seen before

Alister
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Re: Couple of questions

My other question is, are tongues the usual way of picking up shoes?

I think you would only pick up a shoe by its tongue if it is as a preparation to putting it on your foot, (you would normally pull the tongue towards the front of the shoe to open up the aperture to put your foot in).

You know what, thinking about it the above is wrong, and that yes you would normally pick up a single shoe by putting one or more fingers under the tongue.

For a pair of shoes, side-by-side, I would tend to put my fingers in one shoe, and my thumb in the other, and pinch the sides together to lift both.

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Alister
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And they dare to call this “AI”.

But this is AI, the actual level of competence of real AI, and not just data-mining, which is what the marketing types have hijacked the term to mean.

This is a computer learning from a mixture of teaching and its own experience, and is what real AI should be.

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British Airways hack: Infosec experts finger third-party scripts on payment pages

Alister
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Re: third party scripts, including from external domains that the company itself owns

If the company owns the domain then it isn't a third-party script.

Wrong.

Modernizr is a third-party script library, as are JQuery et al. They are produced and distributed by a third party. Just because you host a local copy on your own domain doesn't make them not third-party.

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Alister
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Re: @John Leyden / ElReg: Can you please get the headline changed?

@AC

it is clear that there were no "third-party scripts" involved

Modernizr is a third-party script library, as are JQuery et al. They were not written specifically for the BA site, or by BA's dev team, they were written by a third party...

No, they weren't hosted externally, but that's a different matter.

So the headline is technically correct.

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Alister
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Let's just be clear

The scripts WERE NOT hosted on an external resource, they were served from inside BAs infrastructure. The path they came from was:

https://www.britishairways.com/cms/global/scripts/lib

However, they WERE third party scripts in that they were not written specifically for the BA site, but were local copies of script libraries freely available to web developers from various vendors.

In this case, they were modified versions of the freely available scripts, with malicious extra code added to siphon off users details to an external domain.

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

Alister
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Joke

Ok... how do I load it with washing over the internet

Depends on what fabric you're using... apparently Brocade is quite fast.

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Alister
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Your sub heading made me think of Jeff Lynnes' opening lyrics for "Ticket to the Moon"...

Remember the good old 1980's

When things were so uncomplicated

I wish I could go back there again

And everything could be the same

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Microsoft tells volume customers they can stay on Windows 7... for a bit longer... for a fee

Alister
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Re: Microsoft is giving people some extra time...

Unless your company runs some weird custom middleware or specialized software

Yeah, like Active Directory, or Visual Studio...

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HTTPS crypto-shame: TV Licensing website pulled offline

Alister
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Re: We take security very seriously

You forgot:

It's not you, it's me.

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Alister
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Re: redirecting HTTP to HTTPS

In my experience, the current crop of Comp Sci graduates wouldn't have a fucking clue how to do this, nor why they should...

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Heart-stopping predictions from AI doctors could save lives

Alister
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Difficulty breathing can be associated with heart problems, yes, as in congestive cardiac failure, or atrial fibrillation, where the breathing problems are due to a backlog of fluid in the lungs.

A heart attack does not usually cause breathing difficulty except as a consequence of the associated chest pain, however "shortness of breath" is often reported as a symptom as the body is trying to compensate for the lack of oxygen to the heart. There is no actual impairment of breathing.

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Alister
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making it difficult for oxygen to be circulated around the bloodstream

Nope. The article does not explain it very well, but the arteries which are involved are the coronary arteries which supply blood and oxygen to the muscle of the heart itself, not those which transport blood to the rest of the body.

A heart attack is actually the death of a portion of the muscle tissue of the heart, due to oxygen starvation caused by blocked or constricted coronary arteries. The proper term for a heart attack is a Myocardial Infarction, which literally means heart muscle death.

Note that a Heart Attack is not the same as a Cardiac Arrest.

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I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one

Alister
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Lumphammer at the ready...

Aah, so you're a waffle man.

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Software dev-turned-councillor launches rubbish* chatbot

Alister
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Joke

What kind of animal does this?

Um, Badgers, maybe? They are quite fastidious about keeping clean, so they might want a washing machine...

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Congress wants CVE stability, China wants your LinkedIn details, and Adobe wants you to patch Creative Cloud

Alister
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Re: CVE Funding

No, no, no, no NO! US government funding for CVE will remove any and all trust I have in the system.

Did you miss the bit where it says the CVE is already government funded - just not on a long term basis.

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Spies still super upset they can't get at your encrypted comms data

Alister
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Tide, stop coming in!

Tide, I said stop!

Please stop the tide, my feet are wet.

bubble-bu-blub-blub-blub.

Yeah, go on, try legislating encryption out of existence, see how that goes for you!

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No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

Alister
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Re: Quality output

Next, there is blisteringly blindingly bright white, for 90% of the page, to keep you from being able to see anything on it [like staring directly into the sun].

I reckon there's a conspiracy among monitor manufacturers and web designers, to use as much white as possible, to decrease the useful life of the screen.

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Russian volcanoes fingered for Earth's largest mass extinction

Alister
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My understanding is that the Deccan Traps were effectively the exit wound from the asteroid impact at Chicxulub, as they were located more or less diametrically opposite at the time.

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No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Alister
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Re: Password security check

@DrD'eath

My password is Sw0rdf15h!

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Don't let Google dox me on Lumen Database, nameless man begs

Alister
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the hearing, which ended at about 6pm on a Bank Holiday Friday.

No wonder the Judge was getting annoyed, that's a round of golf he missed out on...

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It liiives! Sorta. Gentle azure glow of Windows XP clocked in Tesco's self-checkouts, no less

Alister
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Re: Cross platform development is EASY

It shouldn't be hard at all for find a developer who can make a GUI that runs on multiple platforms.

No, maybe not.

Now find a developer who will write the kernel drivers for the proprietary hardware that runs on multiple platforms...

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Alister
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I don't understand why NCR and the lot their peers bother to use anything so bloated when an R-pi properly configured could do the job. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please.)

I suspect it's a matter of availability of drivers for the hardware, there may not be Linux equivalents to run the various peripherals.

Certainly when our company had a brief dalliance with ticketing kiosks, some years ago, the only available software was Windows based, and relied on a proprietary interface card to join all the bits up - no USB equivalents.

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Alister
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Next time you see a self-service checkout throw a wobbly and revert to XP, don't panic straightaway.

Thank you for that sage advice.

Because of course without it, I would have run screaming from the store crying "OH MY GOD , WE'RE ALL DOOMED!".

NOT!

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Super-mugs: Hackers claim to have snatched 20k customer records from Brit biz Superdrug

Alister
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create a unique, strong password"

- Which I have to write down or store insecurely because I can't remember it, and don't know what a password safe is.

Maybe it's time to acknowledge that writing down strong, complex, unique passwords for websites and keeping them at home, is far more secure than reusing weak easily remembered passwords everywhere?

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Security MadLibs: Your IoT electrical outlet can now pwn your smart TV

Alister
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Re: So long Grandma, thanks for all the fish

an .. automatic defibrillator ?

That's an interesting idea. I think there's probably a law against it though.

What a stupid comment!

Nearly all defibrillators - even those used in hospitals or by paramedics, have software which automatically determines if the patient is in a shockable rhythm.

Some, like the LifePak 20, which combine proper 12-lead ECG monitoring, are capable of being switched to manual mode, but they usually default to the AED setting.

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Use Debian? Want Intel's latest CPU patch? Small print sparks big problem

Alister
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Holschuh was not entirely clear why the license is a problem.

Maybe you should go back to him pointing out Section 3 sub-section (v) and ask him to explain why users should not highlight the likely performance impact of the code?

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Boffins blame meteorites for creating Earth's oldest rocks

Alister
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Re: Pedant Alert

Interesting. What's your reaction to these examples?

Arsenal have won the FA Cup more times than any other team.

The Chicago Bears has never played in the FA Cup.

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The future of humanity: A Bluetooth ball hitting your face – forever

Alister
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Headmaster

Re: Just great!

I frequently had to jam my breaks

Oh Michael, I'm so disappointed in you...

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Your Phone prematurely ejected, Skype texting on the way, and 900 more years of Windows

Alister
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2919

The year of the Linux desktop

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Beam me up, PM: Digital secretary expected to give Tory conference speech as hologram

Alister
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That speech also saw the PM's set fall apart, with the letter "F" falling off the Tory slogan behind her.

So, Mrs May was F-bombed by the stage set?

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Self-driving cars will be safe, we're testing them in a massive AI Sim

Alister
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Yeah, in the simulation, the AVs are green, but in the real universe they are grey...

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Alister
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Re: Evidence?

Google cars have currently driven 120million miles with zero fatalities, zero serious injuries,and a handful of fender benders.

Maybe collectively they've managed to accumulate that number of miles, although I doubt it, but each individual car can't possibly have accrued that much.

That is definitely better than human average for fender benders, definitely better than human average for serious injuries (by a factor of several), and no worse than human average for fatalities.

Again, average cumulative statistics make a nonsense of this argument.

There are millions of drivers around the world who have each driven for years and years without ever being involved in an accident. The statistics are slewed by the small minority of drivers who are incompetent or reckless. In contrast, there are a vanishingly small number of Google AVs and yet they have managed between them to accrue an impressive collection of bumps.

Until an individual AV can match the record of an individual, competent human, then a fair comparison cannot be made. And this will obviously take a long time.

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Alister
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A lot of people can't actually manage to do those things in a safe manner without putting others into danger.

The overwhelming majority of human drivers manage to drive safely most of the time.

AV advocates seem to delight in painting human drivers as dangerous and unsafe, compared to their chosen deus in machina, but the evidence so far is that none of the current crop of AVs are as safe as the average human.

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Shiver me timbers: Symantec spots activist investor Starboard side

Alister
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You forgot to mention that Symantec's root certificates have been distrusted by all major browsers after security concerns were raised.

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Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

Alister
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Re: So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?

there would also be forms of plants, animals and all the rest that are the product of evolution from the second time that life started on Earth. And from the third, fourth, the seventy-seventh, the 2,916'th and so on.

As humans, we have told ourselves the comfortable story of a single thread of evolution, but actually, if they are all based on the same chemicals, then we have no way of telling whether any of what we know of the fossil record and current species are from a first or subsequent attempt at life.

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Brit banks must disclose outages via API, decrees finance watchdog

Alister
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Re: Obligate!

Did you by any chance Google "define obligate" or did you miss that bit?

From the OED:

Obligate: Require or compel (someone) to undertake a legal or moral duty.

Origin

Late Middle English (as an adjective in the sense ‘bound by law’): from Latin obligatus, past participle of obligare (see oblige). The current adjectival use dates from the late 19th century.

Note that, unlike Oblige, there are no secondary definitions mentioning being indebted or grateful.

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Alister
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Re: Obligate!

I am obliged to tell you that obligated is a US English bastardisation.

I am obliged to tell you that you are talking bollocks.

Obliged and obligated do not mean the same thing, and there is a clear distinction.

To be obliged means you are indebted to someone for some service or favour.

Obligated carries a slightly different meaning, in that the subject is forced to do something because the law or morality requires it.

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Alister
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“More than any other industry, banks still contain a mix of archaic legacy systems, new cloud platforms, and yet are under pressure to accelerate their software development to combat the threat of their ‘digital-first’ competitors,” opined Dave Anderson, a marketing bod

Thanks for that. Perhaps if marketing could keep their noses out of IT then banks would not be "under pressure to accelerate their software development" to the point where it is untested and insecure?

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