* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

Facebook ad platform discriminates all on its own, say boffins

DougS Silver badge

Re: Easily solved...

Hence why companies would be willing to pay more to advertise on Google to people who search for "men's golf shoes" if they are a company that in fact sells men's golf shoes. Or on Facebook to someone who belongs to three support groups for Crohn's disease if the company is selling something related to Crohn's disease.

Not everything works that way though, people don't search Google when they are looking for an apartment, or belong to Facebook groups called something like "looking for IT director job in Cleveland".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Easily solved...

So if I'm advertising a breast pump I can't target my ad at women only? If I'm advertising ED pills I can't target my ad at men only? I have to waste half my ad budget on people who will never buy my product?

Discrimination is only a problem when it is applied at something where it matters - i.e. targeting a job ad for an IT Director at men only. If I was a woman living in a two bedroom apartment needing to rent out the other room, I should hope I'd be within my rights to refuse to rent to men, and therefore advertise only to women. It would be a different matter if I owned the apartment, and wanted to rent only to women. But even there some discrimination should be possible - if you have apartments in a development targeted for senior living, you should be able to advertise only to those over 65 (or whatever age you determine "senior" to be) since you would only rent to those above a certain age.

No dice, comrade! Senate floats Russia-busting election law

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Re: They should make it a felony

Campaigns ALREADY can't legally accept campaign contributions from Saudis or Israelis. AIPAC for example is a US based lobbying company that lobbies on behalf of Israel but it is supported by Americans. Or at least is supposed to be, if some of the money comes from Israel they at least hide it well enough to avoid getting caught.

Campaigns NEVER share their internal polling data with newspapers, they consider that one of their most closely held secrets. That's why it was so strange to hear that Manafort shared Trump's data with Kilimnick. The media does their own polling, along with independent organizations like Gallup, and the most you hear about internal polling is that campaigns will always claim their internal polling shows a rosier picture when their candidate is behind. But they don't share the data itself.

DougS Silver badge

They should make it a felony

If you have any involvement in a campaign and you are contacted by any non-citizen regarding providing help, money, etc. for your campaign and don't immediately report it to the FBI. Or if you provide any election information to foreigners. What Don Jr. did in 2016 in setting up that meeting in Trump Tower with Russians or what Manafort did in providing polling data to Kilimnick may not have been illegal, but it sure as hell should be!

The biggest barrier to AI? It may be the AI companies themselves

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Waste of time

The "if they just had more processing power" argument Untethered AI makes is just as dumb as "if they just had more training data". The problem is that current "AI" is woefully limited, and more of it doesn't improve it in any measurable way. The path to an AI that won't be fooled by editing/filtering/watermarking a video so that it looks "different" enough that it slips through, or better yet can recognize the difference between a mass shooting versus some good 'ol boys shooting up watermelons in the back 40 will not be found with current "AI" technology, no matter how much computational power you throw at it.

Two Arkansas dipsticks nicked after allegedly taking turns to shoot each other while wearing bulletproof vests

DougS Silver badge

Re: @Doug S -- Discharging a firearm in city limits?

Even in the south most incorporated areas large enough to have a mayor ban discharge of firearms.

DougS Silver badge

Discharging a firearm in city limits?

Don't know if they were in a city, but if they are it is almost certainly illegal from that standpoint.

DougS Silver badge

Nope, Florida Man was still first


Ethiopia sits on 737 Max report but says pilots followed Boeing drills

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Re: Birds - state of play.

If just one sensor is broken, MCAS won't activate because they'll differ by more than 5.5 degrees. If both are broken who knows, but that seems unlikely assuming someone noticed the "disagree" light on the previous flight and told maintenance so they can fix the one that's broken.

I wouldn't have a problem flying in a Max 8 after the fix. Given all the publicity every single pilot flying one will be fully aware of MCAS, what it does, and how to disable it if there are problems. If Boeing and/or regulators had required pilots were fully trained about MCAS, the two crashes wouldn't have happened.

Bending the knee: US semiconductor juggernauts ask the government for help

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Re: How much state aid ?

DFW metro area $137 per square foot, so about 10% cheaper.

DougS Silver badge

Re: How much state aid ?

Not really. Average price per square foot for a home in Austin/Round Rock is $155, versus around $900 in Silicon Valley.

DougS Silver badge

Re: How much state aid ?

The minimum salary should be based on the cost of living for the area. Otherwise all the H1B jobs will end up in Silicon Valley and NYC where $100K is worth less than in Omaha or Austin.

Lend me your ears and AI will play with your brain: Machine voice imitators outsmart us

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This isn't a new thing with AI

Human voice impersonators have been able to fool other humans since long before computers even existed. If Nixon had been as unabashed a liar as Trump, he would have claimed the Watergate tapes were a forgery done by Rich Little.

'Safety will always come first,' insist Arizona biz org in response to Uber self-driving car death

DougS Silver badge

Re: 94 per cent of serious vehicle crashes are due to human error.

That leaves out all the fatalities that will be caused ONLY by the autonomous driving "AI". What I've always said is that to be accepted by the public autonomous vehicles have to have a 10x lower accident and fatality rate than human driven vehicles. Because humans like a sense of control, and will only be willing to give it up if there is a very large and very definite safety improvement. And because 90% of people believe they are better drivers than 90% of everyone else, so just beating the "average" won't do anything for them.

And they have to be REAL statistics across all conditions, not the cherry picked conditions Tesla's autopilot drives that leads to Musk's buttboys talking about how it is better than human driven fatality rate already. If I only drove your car on freeways in light traffic on sunny days, and left you to drive on foggy snowy nights over mountain passes, my fatalities per mile would be better than yours too even if you are the best driver in the world and I was driving drunk.

Ex-Mozilla CTO: US border cops demanded I unlock my phone, laptop at SF airport – and I'm an American citizen

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I'd like to see the company willing to pay for a burner LAPTOP to be tossed in the trash for anyone who isn't a high level executive...

FYI: You could make Tesla's Autopilot swerve into traffic with a few stickers on the road

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Re: Tesla fanbois

No one doubted it could be done. Electric cars are over a century old, after all. The question was whether it could be at a profit, which is what car companies care about. Tesla has yet to turn a consistent profit, and would need to be very profitable for a very long time to become profitable during the whole time they've operated.

The reason traditional car companies waited to do electrics wasn't because they needed stoner Musk to show them it could be done. They were waiting until they felt they could make money. Now that Tesla has filled all the orders for the higher priced model 3s and has to start filling the $35K orders, they may have to keep waiting for a profit - in the last few months they've gone from saying they will be profitable from now on, to maybe a small loss this quarter, to definitely a loss this quarter. Profitability for them is always promised to be just around the corner.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "a driver can easily override Autopilot at any time [..] and should always be prepared to do so"

Its just another Musk lie. He claimed the cars had all the hardware needed for full self driving back in 2016, and had to backtrack on the promise that those cars would eventually be upgraded to full self driving via software. Willing to bet the same is true for today's cars.

Pecker-checker Becker's hacker wrecker: Saudi cyber-crew stole Bezos' sexts from phone, fed them to tabloid – claim

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Rather charitable

To call those working for the National Enquirer "journalists"...

DougS Silver badge

Re: Time to supervillian

Who says he doesn't? He's just waiting on his orbital laser satellite platform to be launched, and wall to wall shag carpeting to be installed in the lair.

Apple redesigns wireless AirPower charger to be world's smallest, thinnest, lightest, cheapest, invisible... OK, it doesn't exist anymore

DougS Silver badge

Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

I've never had a port fail in a phone, though I've never had a phone that used microUSB which was a terrible design doomed to lead to lots of broken ports. USB-C is better but still not as good as Lightning insofar as with Lightning the port is just a hole, so if something breaks it is the tab on the cable you are connecting to it. The one flaw with Lightning is that the port in the phone attracts pocket lint like that's its job and will eventually have trouble making a solid connection due to the buildup, so you need to dig around with a needle or safety pin every 6 months or so (amazing the volume of lint that you'll pull out)

DougS Silver badge

The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

They were working with Energous on distance charging at the same time they were developing this, so I always thought making a charging pad was just a step along the way to their real goal. Their charging pad patents showed 15 coils, whereas no existing pads have more than 2 or 3, so they were clearly setting some ambitious goals for it but I guess their solution was too complex in the end. Hopefully the distance charging work is still ongoing, as that is 1000x more useful than charging pads. I have no interest in buying a wireless charging pad and wouldn't have had any interest in Apple's had it come out either. Wireless charging for phones is still a solution in search of a problem as far as I'm concerned.

A little wireless charging tower that could charge devices within a few feet would be a game changer (especially for smart watches since you could leave them on all the time) Stick one at your desk and it could keep a wireless keyboard and mouse charged without having to place them in a special spot. Might even be able to charge a laptop if there was line of sight between the back of the display (where the coils would need to be) and the tower.

Ignore the noise about a scary hidden backdoor in Intel processors: It's a fascinating debug port

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Re: Apple 4K DRM broken

No one could really believe pointing a 4K camera at a 4K TV would provide a product that could be confused with a rip of 4K source material by anyone who wasn't legally blind.

DougS Silver badge

Apple 4K DRM broken

A bunch of 4K movies have appeared on pirate sites recently, matching the 4K releases on iTunes, leading to speculation that iTunes DRM has been broken. Maybe they didn't break the DRM, but played the movie on a PC using iTunes and lifted the HEVC data stream out of the Intel CPU using VISA?

In the West, we're worried about shooting down drones. In Russia, drones shoot you

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Recoil is irrelevant

For the "use" this would generally be put to. Imagine a sniper with a drone that has a gyro mounted rifle. He can hide it somewhere nearby the night before, be in a safe location while he powers it up, flies it where it has line of sight to the target, aims the gun and fires. Even if the recoil of a powerful rifle causes the drone to fall out of the sky who cares - if your aim is good you only need one shot. If you need more assurance, you have four drones and four snipers taking the shot at once (so if your target has people guarding him, they might hear/see one or two drones rise and take them out but not all of them)

How'd your servers get that baby-smooth look? Dutch and Brit cool kids dunk Supermicro systems in synthetic oil

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Re: Cinzano?

If you had a lot of these, I would think the best solution would be a direct exchange system, where your HVAC has a "freon" (whatever the current substitute is called) loop piped to each cabinet.

The bigger problem would appear to be weight, though if you designed your datacenter around this you could dispense with the raised floor and it wouldn't matter if you had 3-4x the typical per sq ft weight.

Easy-to-hack combat systems, years-old flaws and a massive bill – yup, that's America's F-35

DougS Silver badge

The F35 is a perfect example of an airplane designed by committee, where "no" was never said to any suggestion on their wish list.

Tough cookies: MEPs call for EU websites to be scrubbed of trackers

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Re: What happens if...

An infinite loop of the government fining itself.

Xiaomi's Mi-too attempt at a pholdable: Not one, but TWO creases of fail

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Re: Am I the only one...

There's no point to THESE folding phones, but once we have one that unfolds into a landscape form factor (i.e. a true trifold, not a double fold consisting of two halves, or maybe some sort of fanfold/roll type thing) that isn't too bulky in your pocket, has a scratchproof display, and isn't at a premium of more than 50% over the "standard" phone THEN they'll have something.

We're looking a minimum of several years down the road before technology makes it possible (or longer, since some fairly major battery size/power improvements need to happen) Until then people are just going to be paying big bucks to be alpha testers for an obviously deficient product.

Huawei savaged by Brit code review board over pisspoor dev practices

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Re: ...memory constraints... ...70 full copies of 4 different OpenSSL versions...

This is where tools like Purify are worth their weight in gold. Had you run it against the code before you made any changes, these problems would have been found and fixed and your no-debug build would have run correctly on the first try.

I don't really do software development, but if I did I'd insist on having the proper tools before I'd take a job. Winging it or using the tools Linux ships with just doesn't cut it.

VP Mike Pence: I want Americans back on the Moon by 2024 (or before the Chinese get there)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Moon versus Mars

The atmosphere is so thin it is practically useless, and is a HUGE negative for solar because the dust storms can last for months (as our dearly departed Mars rover found) so you'd have to use nuclear power for the base.

There is quite solid evidence of water on the Moon in the form of ice in craters, and if you choose the right crater on the north pole you might even be able to get sunlight 24x7x365. If not you can get it almost all that time, versus the unreliable and weaker solar you get on Mars.

It is also much closer so you don't have to spend months getting there, and the gravity is lower so getting BACK is more easily doable so it isn't a one way trip. It is also close enough that if the base runs into problems a rescue mission could be mounted.

The Moon is far superior for a colony. Mars is pointless posturing by Musk, we have no reason to ever want to live there.

DougS Silver badge

Every president

Seems to declare a return to the Moon, or a mission to Mars, at some point during their administration. But lacking the funding, and any real incentive, for a return visit makes it pretty unlikely. They just like to say it, so when it eventually happens they can claim some of the credit.

At least a Moon base makes some degree of sense. The idea people should live on Mars is just stupid, a Moon base is superior in every way to a Mars base.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Lead the way

Not a majority, they need TWO THIRDS in the Senate, so you need a lot of your own party to go against you to be removed from office. Though the current crop of republicans have their faces implanted so far up Trump's rectum they wouldn't remove him from office even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.

DougS Silver badge

Trump is NOT a successful businessman

He inherited a grand total of around $400 million from his dad. Someone ran the numbers about what he got from his dad and when (including the tens of millions to bail out his money losing casino until I guess he said "no more" and it was forced into bankruptcy) and if the money had been invested in an S&P 500 index fund he would be worth $15 billion today. In REAL money, not his fantasy $10 billion net worth he claims, which includes an $8 billion valuation of the Trump "brand".

So tell me why he's so smart and successful to be a billionaire, when any of us would also be a billionaire if we had inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from our fathers decades ago?

Oracle asks Supremes to snub Google's Java API copyright protest – and have a nice cuppa tea, instead

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nuff said

That doesn't excuse them trying to patent someone else's work. Especially since there are conditions to using their patents (i.e. promising not to sue Google for your own IP) which the actual inventor of this patent may not agree with.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Nuff said

Every time I think I know all the evil Google is up to, someone links to more evil.

Here's a race condition we can get behind: Neural net learns to keep up with 'skilled' amateur track driver in robo-ride safety experiment

DougS Silver badge

Re: Control of a vehicle in varying driving conditions

The system never "forgets"

I think you don't understand how neural networks work. If the system is "learning" itself, when exposed to new conditions the entire neural network changes. So yes, it may "forget" some of what it learned in a way, since it may react differently to the same situation than how it used to after it has learned in a new situation.

Its like with a human, if I jumped out at you from behind the bushes every time you walked out your front door, eventually you would stop reacting to that. If one day I didn't show up but an axe murderer did, your flight/fight response is going to be all fucked up because you will have come to expect (mostly) harmless me jumping out at you shouting "boo" and not Jason Vorhees.

DougS Silver badge

Control of a vehicle in varying driving conditions

Is not the hardest problem for self driving cars. It isn't even the 500th hardest problem for self driving cars. Driving on snow won't be difficult for autonomous vehicles because increased stopping distances and slower speeds around curves are difficult for it to figure out (and you don't want it driving "near the edge" like a good amateur racer in any case!)

The hard part about driving on snow for autonomous vehicles will be the absence of any lane markers, or in some cases the difficult to determining where the road is at all. There's a reason why Phoenix is one of the favorite places to test autonomous vehicles (outside of Silicon Valley, of course) because the roads are wide and very well marked, and it almost never rains really heavily (which causes problems for lidar etc.)

Testing autonomous cars in Phoenix is like designing lifeboats that will need to withstand the conditions of the North Sea, and testing them in a swimming pool.

Office Depot, OfficeMax, Support.com cough up $35m after charging folks millions in 'fake' malware cleanup fees

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The FTC is asleep at the wheel

It looks like they got away with paying back the customers who complained and joined the suit. What about all the customers who didn't hear about the suit and were bilked out of money? Looks like the wrongdoers get to keep that money. By not admitting fault they basically got away with it.

It is like if I robbed a bank, and they knew I got $5000 out of one drawer but didn't know how much was in the other drawers, and I got caught but the judge let me off without any jail time if I paid back the $5000 the bank was sure it lost. That would hardly provide me with a disincentive to stop robbing banks!

Google plonks right-wing think tanker and defence drone mogul on AI ethics advisory board

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Google has no ethics

The board is just there to keep up appearances, so it doesn't really matter who is on it or what their views are. They aren't there to actually call Google out on anything, but to allow Google's CEO to say "this project passed our ethics board" when their next evil deed is discovered.

Huawei's 2019 flagship smartphones: 'Things nobody else can do' but baby I swear it's déjà vu

DougS Silver badge

Re: electro magnetic levitation

Sounds like poor Chinese to English translation. You'd think a company with worldwide aspirations like Huawei wouldn't have people translating into Chinglish...

100MW bit barn farm in Ireland faces planning appeal from – yep – same guy who helped sink Apple's application

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I remember reading about Apple having someone blocking their construction of a data center, but I assumed he was some sort of NIMBY who didn't want all the construction traffic near where he lives. Didn't realize he was merely trying to hamstring the competition...pathetic!

FAANGs for the memories: Breaking up big tech's biggest isn't a matter of if, but of when

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I guess you want to see a separate streaming company in each city, otherwise they are just "stripping wealth" from that city!

DougS Silver badge

Re: FAANG Doesn't include Microsoft

What happens when Uber has to start making money? Their strategy seems to be to drive taxis out of existence so they can raise prices, but there's no network effect advantage to ride sharing.

Someone just needs to organize the drivers in a given city to create their own app where they keep everything except minimal operating costs for themselves. Grubhub, Uber Eats, Deliveroo etc. are basically non-existent where I live because the several dozen restaurant owners got together to create their own delivery service that takes half the margin the competition does. Even those who aren't direct investors in it are using it for that reason. I've heard rumors they're going to expand that to ride sharing, and knock Uber and Lyft out of the area market as well.

Might not work in big cities that have a lot of tourism (tourists don't know to download the local ride sharing app) but then you just need someone to organize all the local players into a single nation wide and then worldwide app. The only advantage Uber has is that it is willing to lose several billion dollars a year - will that continue post IPO and investors except to see a return? The ease with which competition can spring up limits the possible profit from "gig economy" players - they can never justify valuations of tens let alone hundreds of billions of dollars for that reason.

DougS Silver badge

Re: What about BRIC companies?

Their reach is basically limited outside China, or at least outside Asia. Wechat is never going to become a thing in Europe or North America, we aren't going to start searching via Baidu, etc. Similar to how FAANG will never have much of an impact in China, because they aren't Chinese companies.

DougS Silver badge

I agree. Netflix has first mover advantage as the first big player in streaming, but as content is increasing siloed (i.e. Disney pulling their stuff off Netflix and other services so you will have to subscribe to Disney's service to get it) people aren't going to subscribe to a dozen different services. Instead you'll see them subscribe to services for a month or two at a time, binge watch what they want, then cancel and move on to the next, the "locust model" for streaming.

Once Netflix has to deal with the reality of customers only subscribing for a couple months a year instead of 12, their share price will crater, they will be unable to keep getting multi billion dollar loans to pay for all that new content they've been developing to make up for the lack of other people's content, and FAANG will become FAAMG (because they can't call it FAAG or the PC police will get them, so they'll decide Microsoft is one of the in-crowd now that they do cloud)

DXC Security exec: Yes, I'd have thought we'd spend more on certs and laptop kit for staff, too

DougS Silver badge

This makes perfect sense from Wall Street's viewpoint

Don't invest in your staff, then your consultancy customers will looks elsewhere for "better qualified" partners. In addition, your best staff will leave for pastures greeners.

Why should Wall Street care? They will ride the stock up so long as the effect of cost cutting is to increase profits, when all that cost cutting catches up to you and profit starts to fall then they short your stock and invest in one of the smaller companies that started taking some of your market share and hired your best people because they were investing in the future. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Before anyone asks "OK, but why do the execs going along with it?" just ask yourself how they are compensated? Most of their compensation is based on stock prices or profit. so they have a strong incentive to do the same. When things turn down they can either bail for greener pastures, or blame some external factor on the downturn. i.e. "global economic slowdown" or "Brexit" or "PC market downturn" or "Apple's removal of the headphone jack".

Ethiopian Airlines boss confirms suspect flight software was in use as Boeing 737 Max crashed

DougS Silver badge

Re: Simple answer?

I guess I missed where Volkswagen AG was an American company? What you cite is followed by corporations the world over. Unless you think that non-US companies excluding Volkswagen are somehow immune from a profit focus.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A kill switch?

Tesla already copyrighted that as the new name for their Autopilot feature.

DougS Silver badge

Doesn't matter how long it takes to install

If it is determined the software fix isn't sufficient and they need a hardware fix in the form of a second/third AoA sensor and disagree light, they will have plenty of time to install it on the grounded Max 8s while they wait for the various authorities to recertify the plane. If they could install the fix overnight they'd still have to wait for the recertification.

Huge news from Apple: No, not mags, games or TV – more than 50 security bugs to patch

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Re: Patch Keynote

How exactly do you "patch them as and when the fixes are tested stable" if they have to test every fix individually instead of in batches? The chances of one fix conflicting with another at some point would be pretty large, and people would have "update fatigue" if they were notified of a new iOS update on a near daily basis.

There's no need to rush patches if there are no known exploits in the wild. If something is being actively exploited Apple has been good about doing a x.y.z release within a week of becoming aware of the issue.

There's a reason why Microsoft adopted "patch Tuesday" instead of dribbling out fixes on an ad hoc basis, after all. And they do the same thing where if something is serious, they will issue an out of cycle fix without waiting for the next applicable Tuesday.

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