* Posts by Paul 195

123 posts • joined 20 Jan 2011

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Facebook Android app caught seeking 'superuser' clearance

Paul 195

The Facebook app is a resource hogging PITA. I went back to using the mobile version of the website about a year before I finally quit using FB completely. There are very few mobile apps that couldn't be simply replaced by a decent website, and then you don't have to play security bingo while you try to work out whether all the permissions being requested are actually reasonable.

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How could the Facebook data slurping scandal get worse? Glad you asked

Paul 195

Re: On curves, and being behind them.

> They've never done fark-awl about securing Zucklandia against exploitation, and now the shoes are well and firmly on the wrong feet. And, to switch back to the original metaphor, the curve is so far ahead of them they can't even see the rise. Couldn't happen to a more deserving enterprise, IMHO.

All of which kind of assumes that Facebook cares in the slightest about 3rd parties exploiting their data. History shows they only ever care rather belatedly, when someone gets caught doing it and there's an uproar. Otherwise, the system appears to be working exactly as intended.

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LLVM contributor hits breakpoint, quits citing inclusivity intolerance

Paul 195

Re: White Hysteria?

> Gee, sounds like something straight out of a Goebbels speech about how oppress and ignored Germans > were after WWI.

I invoke Godwin's law. You lose.

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Paul 195
Paris Hilton

White Hysteria?

El Reg commentators are generally a pretty reasonable bunch, but there's something about this stuff that sends a lot of them into a frothing rage. My middle-aged whiteness here won't protected me from being punished with downvotes for saying this, but:

1) The point of diversity initiatives is not to "punish you for the sins of your ancestors" as one commentard below has said. It really is an attempt to level the playing field, a playing field that white heterosexual men (like me!) barely ever recognise as actually being tilted. Sometimes these efforts can be pretty ham-fisted, and if it tips into open discrimination against white folks, well, that is also wrong.

2) Somebody below complained that they literally "could not be heard" because they were white and middle aged. Well, that doesn't seem very fair, but welcome to the world as perceived by most women, which is even worse if you are any colour of woman other than white.

3) The term Social Justice Warrior really irritates me. It seems some of the people chucking it around really are "snowflakes" to pick up another pejorative term which started out with the alt-right. They pick up their ball and go off in a huff whenever anyone points out that large parts of the world of work are still overwhelmingly run by and for white men.

4) White privilege is becoming a problematic term. I think MacPherson's formulation of "institutional racism" in his report into the botched Stephen Lawrence enquiry is a much more precise and accurate way of defining the problem. It also allows us to admit that institutional racism is not something only practiced by white people, but can also be found alive and kicking in many Asian countries. It also doesn't imply that all white people are privileged in other ways, which clearly many are not.

Oh, and Paris Hilton because I thought something decorative on this post might lesson the rage of some readers. OK guys, I don't mind your downvotes but at least try to keep your replies civil.

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Paul 195
Big Brother

This is one of those cases where you wish everyone involved could lose. It's a crap joke that does little to help understand abort(), and Stallman makes himself look ridiculous by going to such lengths to defend it. Claiming it's really offensive and will "trigger" people is also ridiculous. Some people might find it mildly offensive, but the average twitter stream will contain far worse.

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Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata

Paul 195

I can't be the only person who saw the headlines about CA shutting up shop today and thought "They'll be back in a month under a different name". Turns out they haven't even waited a month.

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ICANN takes Whois begging bowl to Europe, comes back empty

Paul 195

If foreign businesses want to collect money from customers in the EU, they have to have some sort of presence here to collect said money. For example Facebook could presumably retreat completely from Europe, but then they'd have no way of making money on advertising to EU customers. And that's a lot of money, even for Facebook. So they either behave or do without the business.

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Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Paul 195

> Streaming is a young person's game.

> The over 50s have no interest.

Speak for yourself. I still have a very good quality vinyl system, which is enjoyable to listen to in ways digital isn't, but I wouldn't claim it is more accurate - just that the kind of distortion analogue delivers sounds euphonious and pleasant to the human ear. But most of the time, it's streaming all the way for me.

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Paul 195
Coat

Re: Streaming? Nah!

> There is an audiophile streaming service that just streams a stream of '0' so they can bask in how low the noise is on their system

Yes, but the only track they offer is 4'33' by John Cage.

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Facebook admits: Apps were given users' permission to go into their inboxes

Paul 195

> What baffles me about the current Facebook news stories is the fact that people have been so oblivious to the fact that Facebook has been offering a service but never asked for a penny in return for using it.

I dunno. People probably thought something along the lines of "ITV, ABC, C4 etc have run huge TV organisations for years by selling a few adverts, so Facebook are selling adverts, so what?"

And indeed, most people wouldn't have had a problem with that, or even with some targeting based on their profiles. What people are belatedly angry about is that their data was treated in such cavalier fashion and handed over to more or less anyone who asked for it.

GDPR can't come soon enough; a fine of 4% of global revenue for such wilful GDPR breaches would be enough to make even Facebook reconsider the way it does things. It's a shame that the UK will be leaving such protections behind in a year's time.

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Facebook can’t count, says Cambridge Analytica

Paul 195
FAIL

' “Cambridge Analytica licensed data for no more than 30 million people from GSR, as is clearly stated in our contract with the research company. We did not receive more data than this.”

The statement also says: “We did not use any GSR data in the work we did in the 2016 US presidential election." '

Does anyone believe a word CA says after they explained nicely to the Channel 4 reporter on camera the depths to which they would sink to help a client win an election?

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Furious gunwoman opens fire at YouTube HQ, three people shot

Paul 195

Re: Of all places

Carrying a knife in a public place without a lawful reason is already outlawed in the UK. "I'm carrying it to defend myself" is not considered a lawful reason. It is an offence to sell a knife to anyone under 18. There are also plans to restrict the availability of corrosive substances like acids to make it harder to use it for criminal purposes - in much the same way that sale of poisons has been regulated since, I believe, Victorian times.

And before anyone says "Cars kill and injure loads of people....", yes they do, but every vehicle is licensed and registered to its owner. Making motor vehicles more tightly controlled even in the US, than, errr, guns.

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UK.gov: We're not regulating driverless vehicles until others do

Paul 195

@Doctor syntax

On that basis, we wouldn't allow anyone to store thousands of gallons of petrol in busy urban centres either.

That's even nastier stuff when it goes up.

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Cambridge Analytica 'privatised colonising operation', not a 'legitimate business', says whistleblower

Paul 195

Re: The BBC

> Persuading people of a political view is not "cheating" its "winning."

> Persuading people of a political view does not invalidate an election.

There are ways of persuading that are not cheating under our rules, and there are ways of persuading that are. If it turns out that the different Leave campaigns were co-ordinating their activity, and had a joint spend over the limits set by the electoral commission, that is not only cheating, it is also against the law. If this turns out to be the case, there is a very strong argument that the referendum result is not valid and should be set aside. Then whatever the illiberal elite of the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph claim, the result cannot be said to be the "will of the people", because the people were not involved in a fair contest.

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Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms

Paul 195

> There is no way I'm going to give up the right to drive, even if it means ripping out or disabling any AV tech supplied by our overlords.....

Big talk for someone who posted as "anonymous coward"

:-)

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Paul 195

> Uber may not have broken the law, but they certainly have not performed due diligence for operating prototype vehicles with prototype control systems in public areas.

It's Uber. If they haven't broken the law, or at least ignored some regulations, it will probably be a first.

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Paul 195

Re: Why didn't the woman see an approaching car, which was traveling <40 mph with headlights on

She might have assumed that if she could see the car, the driver could see her, and would slow down while she crossed the road. Or maybe she wasn't attentive and didn't see the car. It's a very reasonable principle of road use that the entity in control of 1.5 tonnes of metal moving at speed has to be more attentive to their surroundings than the 70Kg meat bag moving at walking pace.

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Paul 195

Re: You've missed the scariest parts

@Voyna

Human beings are a bit crap as drivers. But the best information I could find suggests that they manage to drive about 10 times as far before having an accident as driverless vehicles. And that's across all weather and traffic condtions. Autonomous vehicles aren't yet (as far as I know) trying to cope with a rain and poorv visibility during the London rush hour. Autonomous vehicles are very safe as long as condtions are like the ones they've trained on. And they don't encounter something different they haven't seen before. Under those circumstances, humans still wipe the floor with them. Even when listening to The Archers.

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Paul 195

Re: LiDAR doesn't work in the dark? WTF?

> No way would a human behind the wheel have changed the outcome.

I strongly disagree. Even in the low-res video you can clearly see "something" before the cyclist comes into view, but there's no indication that the vehicle starts to slow even at that point. Here in Berkshire, we have many suicide cyclists who ride around in the dark, dressed in black with no lights. One night driving down an unlit road, I could see ?fireflies? twinkling in the distance. I worked out that they were the reflectors on a pair of pedals going up and down and was able to slow down enough to avoid the cyclist *before* I ran him over.

AI is not intelligent because it still only understands what it's seen before, and doesn't yet appear able to put together a hypothesis like the one that enabled me not to kill a cycilst. Personally, given that self-driving cars still can't cope in the relatively benign environments they are being trained in, I think we are decades away from genuinely autonomous vehicles.

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That long-awaited Mark Zuckerberg response: Everything's fine! Mostly fixed! Facebook's great! All good in the hoodie!

Paul 195

Re: I have nothing to hide

I wish I could give you more than one upvote. I'm really tired of the stupidity of people who say "they have nothing to hide". Even if you don't have anything to hide, it's nobody else's business unless you want it to be.

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Paul 195

Re: Facebook is Angry

That's not fair, it makes them sound greedy. They knew all about the exfiltration of friends' data for a long time before they decided to close that particular door.

No, they're angry because they've been caught red-handed, and because they couldn't bully the people carrying the story into silence.

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Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Paul 195

Re: Not useful

I think it's fair to say that if we lived like the Amish, Reg readers would be employed doing something different to whatever it is they do now. Unemployment is unlikely to be a thing if you have to grow all your food and manufacture all your goods using 17th century technology.

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A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it

Paul 195

Hey - how about dropping the obsession with ever thinner phones and producing ones that have:

user changeable battery

wireless charging

waterproof

... and a 3.5 mm headphone socket

I'd buy one of those.

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The YouTube crackdown on fake news: Promoting bonkers Florida school shooting conspiracies

Paul 195

Re: Getting tired of this "blame the messenger" campaign...

We can blame the messenger because they are not a purely neutral conduit. They have algorithms which promote some videos so that more people see them, hence amplifying their influence. It is Google's choice to hand over the task of promoting these videos to an opaque algorithm they refuse to explain the workings of.

The rest of us are quite entitled to say "it's your platform, you control what is promoted on it, stop hiding behind the now very stale excuse of 'oh dear, it was the algorithm what dunnit' ". If you can't fix the algorithm, then you are going to have to spend some of your massive profits on human oversight of what it does.

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New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

Paul 195
Paris Hilton

Re: Does that mean...

Five upvotes, five downvotes. That's what you get for trying to be nuanced.

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Of course a mystery website attacking city-run broadband was run by an ISP. Of course

Paul 195

Re: Virtual Monopoly?

A World War seems like an unnecessarily destructive way to deal with something that could be better handled through regulation and taxes.

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We translated Intel's crap attempt to spin its way out of CPU security bug PR nightmare

Paul 195

Re: AMD not vulnerable

Browser vendors are already rushing to prevent these attacks being exploitable from JavaScript. The attacks require precise timing measurements, so they are reducing the precision of timers available to JavaScript. This will make them very hard to exploit from JavaScript.

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Captain Morgan told off for Snapchat lens: That grog be aimed at kiddies

Paul 195

Re: Shops

Like tobacco manufacturers, they probably like to catch them young.

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Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Paul 195

Re: Can't we get rid of May?

Blair might have dragged us into an illegal war, but at least he didn't completely stuff the country like Cameron and now May have done. A pointless referendum on a stupid question that is going to damage our prosperity and possibly break up the union, all because the Tory party can't sort out their internal issues. At least Major had the guts to face down his rebels.

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Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

Paul 195

The EU has had some success in constraining the behaviour of the large tech companies. Thankfully we in the UK will soon have no part of that nonsense and can continue an uninterrupted journey to the bottom as a low-regulation, low-tax billionaires' paradise.

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Paul 195

Re: "Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

So because your kids are bigger/stronger than everyone else's, they can thump anyone who teases them? Well, I suppose it might work for you and for them, but it doesn't sound like a scalable solution to a widespread problem. Still, you must be terribly proud.

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Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

Paul 195

Phone fatigue

"manufacturers aren't offering users the features they want"

I can believe this. The drive to make phones ever thinner means we have lost features users do want. Like being able to replace the battery when it starts to perform poorly, as it inevitably will. It's deliberately built-in obsolescence. It's good to see that we are all starting to push back against it.

I can't actually find any android phone that has all the features I valued in the Lumia 820 I bought four years ago: removable battery, wireless charging, Micro SD slot. Samsung have one or two phones with wireless charging, but only for rather more than I'm ready to spend on a phone.

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Uber: Hackers stole 57m passengers, drivers' info. We also bribed the thieves $100k to STFU

Paul 195

Re: D I S R U P T I O N

As far as I know, AWS aren't engaged in the kind of systematic law breaking Uber have been. Only the corporate tax avoidance practiced by all the global tech elite. Seems harsh to say they're as bad as Uber.

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ARM chip OG Steve Furber: Turing missed the mark on human intelligence

Paul 195

Re: Look at structure...

"haphazard" rather ignores just how efficient evolution is at engineering good structures. Those random mutations which create small improvements become part of the gene pool, and those which don't get lost. The process is one of continual iterative improvement with ruthless whittling of functionality that doesn't help you survive long enough to have offspring - and long enough to help your offspring survive tool.

The fact is that we are nowhere near building machines which work as well as the thing you are describing as a "bodge". Good engineering is all about only building as much as you need; the information we throw away simply isn't needed most of the time. If we knew how the brain was so good at discarding the irrelevant to concentrate on the important, we might be able to build better machines.

With lots of effort we can optimize machines to perform specialized tasks far better than we can, but we are still an incredibly long way from creating anything as adaptable and smart as a human. Or even a cat.

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Paul 195

Re: AM i THE ONLY PERSON...

A definite Turing test fail.

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Paul 195

The point Mr Furber makes about power consumption is a very good one, and gives us a very good clue about just how far away we are from emulating human intelligence. It's something for all those people who expect to merge with the singularity to think about. Even with your big heavy meat body attached, you are about a 100,000 more times energy efficient than today's best technology, even if we knew how to upload you. A thousand fold improvement would get your energy cost down to 20Kw, so Sizewell B would be able to power 63,0000 people, about 3/4 of the population of Basingstoke.

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Paul 195

Re: fast forward.

... and yet.. when researchers have gone looking for the "three generations of unemployed" so beloved of tabloid lore, they haven't actually been able to find them.

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Paul 195

Re: fast forward.

Not true. UBI will stop you from starving or sleeping on the street. It would enable the young to try learning an income as a musician , author or artist (a function which the more generous supplementary/unemployment benefit we used to pay in this country a few decades provided). It wouldn't pay for the latest iPhone or whatever other piece of bling took your fancy. Most people would look for some kind of employment to boost their basic income; but the safety net would mean that employers couldn't just take the piss as they so often do now.

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A plethora of patches, Kaspersky hits back, new hope for Wannacry Brit hero – and more

Paul 195

Re: Microsoft getting hacked

Sony got hacked and lots of juicy emails about directors, rows with celebrities, etc got leaked. Microsoft's bug database gets hacked, most journalists will barely understand why that might be important.

I can see why one interested the redtops and one didn't, and it's got nothing to do with Microsoft's power over the media.

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NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy

Paul 195

Re: Your 'justice' system in the US is corrupt

It's a bit different - you can be sent a fine by the police, but you can appeal it in which case it has to be justified to a magistrate. And the system is public, so the police can't just vanish the money into their back pockets, which is what appears to be happening here. There was an idea that police should be able to march people to cash points and get them to cough up fines there and then, but that was rejected - by the police among others.

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Drone smacks commercial passenger plane in Canada

Paul 195

Re: How is it different

How long do you think "drone strikes aircraft" will remain a rare occurrence if lots of people decide to ignore the rules and fly their drones near airports? It's a rare occurrence compared to bird strikes because there are rules. If we could get birds to obey rules too, we'd do that as well.

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Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

Paul 195

Re: Force majeure!

It's safe to say that whatever influence the EU has with the US, a Brexited UK will have even less.

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'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

Paul 195

It's still possible to eavesdrop on a suspect - you compromise the device they use and you can read everything they do before it is sent. It's well known that intelligence services have a wide range of tools and exploits for compromising endpoints. But you can only do that in a targeted way (just as you only ever had the resources to wiretap a few people in the old days). What you can't do is read *everyone's* messages that way. Backdooring encryption remains a terrible idea for many, many reasons.

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Facebook, Google, Twitter are the shady bouncers of the web. They should be fired

Paul 195

Re: 1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual.

You are right, we don't want governments controlling the news. We *DO* want them regulating Facebook, Twitter, Google, in the same way that they regulate old style broadcasters and newspapers. Want to complain that you don't like government policy, or you don't think they have provided good evidence for WMDs? That's fine. Want to promote stories saying that the secret Jewish World Government is behind the false flag operation that lead to the deaths of over 50 people in Las Vegas? Not fine.

As the article says, the internet giants monetize and then profit from such dangerously nonsense, and it's undermining the basis of a free democratic society. It's time they are reigned in. They'll just have to make do with much lower profits.

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Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Paul 195

Re: (Don't mention) Moonbase Alpha

UFO was both genius and unbelievably f***ing miserable. Every episode starts with a funky and swinging Barry Gray theme tune with lots of exciting visuals, purple wigs, silver minidresses etc. Followed by death, destruction, and SHADO just narrowly averting disaster again. Even the end credits seemed kind of bleak.

In fact, the only optimistic thing about it was the idea that governments would spend all that money trying to protect us from aliens. We know now that they'd be far more likely to lease them landing rights provided they kept their organ harvesting within some kind of prearranged boundaries.

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Docs ran a simulation of what would happen if really nasty malware hit a city's hospitals. RIP :(

Paul 195

Re: Take results with a pinch of salt

"In general, it takes about six years to get approval from American regulators on a new medical devices and that rises to 10 if the device has to be implanted into a human."

There's a strong argument that such devices should always be airgapped - if you can't patch them in timely fashion, they will always be at risk.

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BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Paul 195

Look up "quantitative easing". Now tell me there is no magic money tree.

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Crap cracked fat-attack Pact app chaps slapped in pact backtrack infract

Paul 195

Re: Headline

It made me laugh. No shortage of eight year olds among readers of El Reg.

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Homeland Security drops the hammer on Kaspersky Lab with preemptive ban

Paul 195

Re: If the US administration keep pushing China and Russia...

It ain't so easy to avoid backdoors as simply compiling the code yourself. I refer to you the famous paper "Reflections on Trusting Trust": https://www.ece.cmu.edu/~ganger/712.fall02/papers/p761-thompson.pdf

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