* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

793 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

Page:

Forget quantum and AI security hype, just write bug-free code, dammit

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: 1980s computer science

@Mage

Well said!

I partly blame modern education, which tells children to be creative rather than to check their work.

Also, nobody wants to pay for quality, and they expect bug fixes as part of the service.

In my own programming career, I saw many poorly defined interfaces that did not logically separate various aspects of the requirements. It is difficult to get a poor interface working free from bugs.

11
0

University DDoS'd by its own seafood-curious malware-infected vending machines

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

My new car

My new car is an IoT on wheels. I am moderately confident, but no more than that, in its integrity as it emerged from the factory.

But there is a USB socket by the gear stick. One clueless service mechanic wanting music with their tea-break....

2
0

All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: No EU Discount

@phuzz

If we write that about the progeny of immigrants we can be accused of racism. If we write that about Her Majesy we can be accused of treason.

In these modern times, which is worse?

3
4
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Buy the German U-boats

@LDS

One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine. A typo, of course.

5
0

NASA's Curiosity puts cat among the climate pigeons: Lack of CO2 sinks water theory

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

our own correspondent

Where is our own coorespondent, the man for mars?

4
0

Police drones, robo surgeons and chatbot civil servants. What could go wrong?

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: "The UK should also take a look at using drones for policing, apparently."

Brexit & Trump sounds like a dodgy lawyers firm to me.

3
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Turing test

I recently went through the nauseous procedure of reporting a telephone fault to BT, and ended up on a chat line, purportedly to a person "somewhere".

But when you are on the line to someone with limited English working from a script, you wonder if in fact you are talking to a robot - the Turing test.

5
0

GCHQ cyber-chief slams security outfits peddling 'medieval witchcraft'

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Hackers are not the only threat.

@trickster

Sir or Madam,

You vastly overestimate the extent to which They are interested in Us. Believe me, I went to a privileged university with some of Them.

We/Us are merely statistics, 60 million of Us in the UK. Cheap computer hardware is not here to benefit Us but to benefit the Googleocracy that collects statistics about us on a huge scale.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Peter 26

"Why ..." may be a rhetorical question, but here is my suugested answer.

By and large, the private sector does not do deep, fundamental innovation. Minor incremental updates, yes, but real new thinking is rare. They employ doers and sellers, not thinkers.

So these things need to be hatched in the universities or other research establishments.

1
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@AC (1st)

Outside the technical readership of El Reg there are many people who say internet porn is wrong, it should be stopped, and the techies should stop whingeing and just stop the porn.

I once read that automatic telephone exchanges were invented by somebody annoyed beyond endurance after his calls to company A were connected to company B because B had bribed the operators. The telephone industry has matured, and the computer industry will have to do the same.

0
2

David Hockney creates new Sun masthead. Now for The Reg...

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: The Sun?

There are people who can't distinguish those colours:

1. The lad I grew up with who in snooker could not distinguish the brown from the reds

2. The colleague on a computerised maps project who could not distinguish the brown and red roads.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Sun circulation

I object to the way the Telegraph now wants one to pay for access to much of the Internet version. If other publications can give free copies of printed papers, it must be even cheaper to offer Internet versions for free.

I particularly object to being expected to pay to see readers' letters, which come to them for free.

2
0

NASA brews better test to find ET in cosmic cocktails

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

In an equilibrium system the two chiralities are likely to be equally probable. But Life is not an equilibrium system, it is a steady-state non-equilibrium system (SSNES). Or what my physics lecturers called a "dissipative system".

It is easy to imagine abiotic systems that are SSNES. For example, a steady stream of water (high pressure, high temperature) through volcanic rocks in a chemically reducing environment. My question is whether in such a SSNES one chirality could come to dominate.

Suitable experiments are needed.

0
0

President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: About time

@Big John

"8 years of embedded leftist bureaucrats"

Yes, we had that problem in the UK after Labour were voted out in 2010. It still is a problem. It does seem that lefties can only make their careers in public services rather than the private economy.

5
18
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Less than a week in the position...

If Trump were impeached, I assume his bible-banging VP, Pence, would take over. As a Brit, I would not wish that upon our American friends.

36
0

Machine-learning boffins 'summon demons' in AI to find exploitable bugs

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Over the years people have done AI projects in software development.

Agreed.

The real future of AI is to understand how AI does or will work.

1
0

Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: As a long-time Vim user (since 2005 or so)

@Roo

EMACS is the marmite of the software world: you love it or you hate it.

8
0

Microsoft Germany says Windows 7 already unfit for business users

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: MS Access

Particularly in the voluntary sector there are many data sets of just a few hundred or a few thousand rows. I did say in an earlier comment that an office of 20 people using a serious-sized system would need a full scale database. Even then, Access is useful for design and prototype work, and for client side rather than server side in large systems.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

"I'd have thought that any self-respecting data analyst would have done that before creating the tables. It's called normalisation, been around for about 45 years."

I would have thought that, too; then I had to deal with the systems I inherited. Created by ordinary office workers or business people, who do know a lot about their business but are not logicians and data analysts.

This is the "real" world, right; though a mathematician might say it is "complex".

MS Access makes it much easier to pick up the pieces and refashion them into your ideal normalised state.

[No, I do not work for Microsoft, never have, and am now enjoying my retirement so never will.]

3
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

It is not just the relational database itself that matters, but also the facilities that come with it. I am thinking specifically of the way Access can move fields from large records into separate tables. This means, for example, that city and county names can be defined just once and used consistently. So if you are inheriting a clunky old data set, you can sharpen it up.

Libre Office database can do the relational joins, but not the data reforming.

Yes, Access is OK for one or two users but not an office with 20 users. You then use Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, ... I believe SQL Server does have various tools. Maybe the other products do: I look forward to further comments from Reg users.

1
1
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@arobertson1

I guess you did not use MS Access. Probably only serious data analysts really need it, but there is nothing like it in Linux. Libre Office database is a child's effort in comparison.

2
20

Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: It's simple

If they really are watching us they must be waving their tentacles in despair.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Will nobody think of the tax payers?

Thank you, Spacedinvader, for that clarification.

It is a pity the Reg could not make it that clear in the first place. They seem to have lost all their science-qualified writers who could examine critically a press release or abstract rather than just copying the words.

5
6

Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient 'easily hackable website'

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: The real issue

@macjules

"cybersecurity adiser" is OK by MS Office spellcheck, the grand arbiter in these matters.

1
1

Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Kobblestown

Or, as I have heard Australians say, "What a sod!".

0
0

Rethink on bank cybersecurity rules might only follow major bank breach, says expert

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Customer experience

In the "good old days" banks really did know their cutomers: they would recognise us when we walked in. Also, we could telephone our branch and they would recognise our voice over the phone.

One of the best security measures is still human recognition of voices over the plain old telephone.

Mind you, i remember inheriting a club/society account where the old bank statements were the legendary hand-written things.

2
0

What gifts did ol' kitten heels May get this year?

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Ol' Jellylegs

America's Finest News Source, aka The Onion, once referred to the then Senator Obama as "Ol' Jellylegs". Some might say that was a good call.

0
1

Testing times: Can your crypto-code survive the Google gauntlet?

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Ah, the conspiracy theory rather than the cockup theory.

But usually it is a cockup. I blame modern education, which tells children to be creative rather than telling them to check their work.

I seem to remember a recent celbrated case, possibly for SSH, where the offending code had been checked in at 11.30pm on New Years Eve. How to inspire confidence - NOT.

1
0

Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Collect Data Points Until A Statistically Significant Result Is Achieved

The people who work in the stock exchange soon recognise "strange" dealings. After all, it is money that is not going their way. Unless they are in on the racket, of course.

1
0

Germany warns Moscow will splash cash on pre-election propaganda and misinformation spree

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I can't wait!

@AC / I can't wait

I thought that was East Germany, before 1989 (substitute Soviet Union for US).

1
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: They're under our beds!

@Grumpy / 2

Pretty much everything political that I put in comments here makes me unelectable. My record is 42 downvotes, beating even the occasion I criticised Saint Snowden. I am gateful to the 4 who supported me against the 42.

0
2

AI brains take a step closer to understanding speech just like humans

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Context is everything

Some spelling systems, such as Gaelic, could be mistaken for a practical joke against English people.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Frumious

A good comment about subvoclisation. I do it normally, but when I am proof-reading I try to avoid doing it, as it is then easier to spot the typos, glitches, etc.

Edit: then I see Scott's comment below.

1
0

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

@Kozicki

What depresses me is that I pay a fortune in tax for what passes for the education of those people.

Under the PST system of taxation:

1. The rich would pay for defence and foreign policy.

2. The middle classes would pay for the police.

3. The working classes would pay for social security.

Education would be paid for by private fees and charitable endowments.

That way each class pays tax for the things it needs most.

4
42

How to confuse a Euro-cop: Survey reveals the crypto they love to hate

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Voting for someone else?

@Dave 15

In 1933 Germans voted for the alternative, Adolf. It was a long time before they had another proper vote, especially in the eastern zone.

Politics is not as easy as it may seem, especially when you are deling with real people. If you think your opinions are worth so much more than those of current politicians, then offer yourself to the people.

9
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

In the UK they can jail you for not disclosing the password whent they officially ask. No need for the heavy treatment.

2
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Capitally unreadable

1. So the report from Italy is in all-capitals. They could have used MS Word on the original document, see below:

Original: CAPS-LOCK ON.

Sentence case: Caps-lock on.

A bit more difficult with a pdf, of course.

2. Hopefully the use of hopefully at the beginning of sentence, which is a German-American mistranslation of hoffentlich, will be banned by the sub-editors at el Reg.

1
0

New state of matter discovered by superconductivity gurus

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Advanced science or gibberish?

El Reg's scientific reporting has become as vague and confused as that of the national press. The beancounters now running el Reg should be ashamed of themselves for what they have destroyed.

8
2

AI is all trendy and fun – but it's still a long way from true intelligence, Facebook boffins admit

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Artificial stupidity

I suggest the phrase 'articial intelligence' be replaced by 'artificial stupidity'.

This would enable researchers to claim great successes when filling in their next grant applications.

2
0

British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Sense of proportion

Yesterday the big story was that some android phones ring home to China with detailed user information. Yet posters above whinge at the very limited measures sought by the British government to protect the nation from its enemies.

Yes,enemies; this is a wicked world and some people out there really do want to humiliate and exterminate our nation, for profit or for fanatical reasons.

Or to put in another way: the minds of men are not blank slates imbued with natural goodness.

Some people have no sense of proportion.

3
32

Virgin Media users report ongoing problems delivering legit emails. Again

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: It's not just SPAM or not.

But I sent a .docx attachment the other day.

0
0

Windows 10 market share stalls after free upgrade offer ends

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I'm not surprised...

I am fed up with "printer drivers" that only do A4 paper. I write lots of short letters in A5.

1
0

Coming to an SSL library near you? AI learns how to craft crude crypto all by itself

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

What kind of algorithm?

My initial thought is that a computer could analyse the neural network and produce an equivalent flowchart. If it then checks for consistency the results might be interesting.

But then I ask myself what kind of flowchart would be the result. Possibly full of decision boxes, each with many outputs: case statements rather than if-then-else statements. Such a raw flowchart would be impossible for most of us to comprehend.

So my next question is whether such a flowchart could be restructured into a form we can understand. If so, would it still be too big to be understood?

0
1

Gov.UK goes TITSUP

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Sign-up was broken earlier,as well

I had a similar problem when claiming Gift Aid for a charity.

Same front end, I expect.

0
0

Password1? You're so random. By which we mean not random at all - UK.gov

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Reversed!

A certain UK government website told me that passwords containing 'password' were forbidden. But it accepted 'drowssap'.

3
0

Vodafone rapped with RECORD £4.6m fine for failing customers

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Computer blame and management credit

Why is it that when things go wrong, management blame the computers, but when things go right (or at least make a profit) management take the credit.

Management are entirely to blame for these events.

3
0

Microsoft: Watch out millennials for evil Security Essentials

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: I know this is all based on user ignorance, but..

As I understand it, Windows 8 and 10 come with MS Defender, a descendant product of Swcurity Essentials. But in Windows 7 you have to go and get Security Essentials. Obviously best to go direct to MSFT, before some pirate screen recommends its own software.

Sec. Ess. is no longer supported in XP, so you need something else. Lots of legit products will do a single scan your machine for free, but for continuous protection against emails and websites you have to pay.

3
0

Democralypse Now? US election first battle in new age of cyberwarfare

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

corrupt pencils?

True, you can't corrupt a pencil.

But you can screw up the electronic registers of voters. At a recent(*) election in London early voters were turned away because their names were not on the list. This was rectified by mid morning, but not every early bird returned to vote.

That incident was regarded as cock-up, not conspiracy. But next time?

(*)2015 or 2016, I think.

3
0

New Brit Hubble analysis finds 2,000 billion galaxies, 10x previous count

Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: Heard of this new thing called Proof-reading?

I fear the bank manager has also heard of it. Big problem.

0
0
Primus Secundus Tertius
Bronze badge

Re: So...

The earliest indications of dark matter related to rotation rates within our own galaxy and other specific galaxies, rather than the whole visible universe. So those dark masses must still exist.

[Edit] I have just seen the comment above from titter-ye-not, who actually explains it as opposed to my bare claim.

0
0

Page:

Forums