* Posts by Ken Hagan

5903 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

You lost your ballpoint pen, Slack? Why's your Linux version unsigned?

Ken Hagan
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Re: rpmbuild -ba --sign slack.spec

Really? Is that it?

I've come to expect some pretty slap-dash, corner-cutting gobshite from web-based startups, but if it is that easy to sort out then their failure to do it right in the first place is hideously embarrassing incompetence and their subsequent failure to fix it in August is wilful negligence.

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Ken Hagan
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Unhappy

Re: perhaps it would be simpler to implement a this-is-bullshit font

HTML5 has <body>. That's almost the same thing.

If you want finer-grain control, here are some other suggestions:

<span class="bs">

<span class="porn">

<span class="terrrist">

<span class="troll">

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Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

Ken Hagan
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Re: OPC

Er, whoosh?

(In fairness, had I been serious then you would have made excellent points. It is a pity that the numpty who wrote OpcEnum.exe didn't know all this. Last I looked, it was still calling CoInitializeSecurity in a way that is appropriate for DOS-based Windows and which, on NT, actually makes it *harder* to get stuff to work without using DCOMCNFG to drop everyone's trousers.)

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Ken Hagan
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Windows

OPC

"and you end up making the Guest account an administrator, and it still doesn't work"

But of course not! The reason it doesn't work is that it requires authentication in both directions. Typically this isn't possible, so you end up getting stripped of identity when calling back. Consequently, you need to make the anonymous logon an administrator. Then it will work ... maybe.

OPC: A data distribution protocol designed by someone to whom actual networks came as a nasty surprise.

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Behold iOS 11, an entirely new computer platform from Apple

Ken Hagan
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Is this a step backwards?

The whole point of the iPad product (and its OS) was the bonkers sand-boxing that made it almost impossible for one app to muck about with another. It was a significant impediment to malware and in combination with not letting *users* fiddle at the file-system level it made the iPad pretty safe for Joe User or indeed Joe User's offspring.

If they are now relaxing all that with a proper files app and letting folks use the thing more like a real computer, perhaps that is a retrograde step. Worse, perhaps it is not a big enough retrograde step, since anyone who actually wanted a "proper computer in a tablet format" already has quite a few options that have gone the rest of the way.

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UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

Ken Hagan
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Re: Couldn't she....

I think that was an aberration. Her usual formula is less impressive:

"I am Prime Minister"

"Boris is Foreign Secretary"

"Strong and stable"

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Ken Hagan
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Re: How about...

"...to learn some of the basics of computing before making ridiculous demands."

To judge from these demands, she's never even *used* a computer, let alone learned about one.

Still ... that's probably our way out. We simply say that "Yes, it has been done and it is now impossible to upload terrorist content. Obviously there will be a few false positives, why is why the Conservative Party website has been taken down, and a few false negatives, which is what the Daily Mail *would* be ranting about had their website not also been taken down. But apart from those, it's all done and dusted Prime Minister.

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RIP Stanislav Petrov: Russian colonel who saved world from all-out nuclear war

Ken Hagan
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Re: Scary times indeed

Curtis Lemay (by then pretty much at the top of the USAF hierarchy) advocated a impromptu ICBM test during the Cuban Missile Crisis, explicitly arguing that it would cause the Russkies to panic and start WW3, which he considered a Good Thing because "better now than later".

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'All-screen display'? But surely every display is all-screen... or is a screen not a display?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Why do we need bezels ?

"There would only be the requirement of being bezel-less on 2 edges."

For rectangular (rather than square) screens, you would need two different handed-nesses of screen to tile 4 of them together and if you are going to restrict yourself to foursomes then you might not reckon it was worth the bother.

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Chrome to label FTP sites insecure

Ken Hagan
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Re: FFS, stop the nannying

"For a start, FTP is still perfectly fine for downloading public files or documents or images or PDFs."

More generally, both FTP and HTTP are the preferred choice (over their encrypted relatives) for anything that is digitally signed, because the plain-text protocols are amenable to caching whereas the encrypted ones are not.

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Rise Of the Tiny Machines: Boffins cook up autonomous DNA sorting robot

Ken Hagan
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Re: Coming for your jobs?

"I would not want to be under 40 now. Your job outlook is bleak and that could be an understatement."

As with just about every generation since the mid 1700s, the younger generation will be employed doing something different from their grandparents. They won't be idle, but they might be more comfortable. Put another way, I'm a little disappointed to be over 40 now. I worry that my children are about to zoom ahead without me.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Astonishing. Sorting without energy.

"If that were true, it would mean that this is a perpetual motion machine!!!"

It wouldn't. This isn't Maxwell's demon. The motive propulsion is coming from thermal motion and is therefore random. No useful work is extracted from the device without energy input.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Astonishing. Sorting without energy.

Nit-picking your title, the article explains that the actual sorting consumes energy. It is just the random walk across the surface that gets by on thermal fluctuations.

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Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

Ken Hagan
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It's OK folks...

"A network operations centre will monitor these aircraft in case of trouble, we were told."

Serious legal question: if your last words were "Spend every fucking penny of my estate on suing these bastards out of existence!!!!!!", would that be enforceable?

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'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

Ken Hagan
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Re: OC

"If an intransitive verb is one without a direct object, then "The painting was displayed in the Louvre" surely counts as intransitive? "

I don't think a linguist would agree. That's just a passive construction and the active equivalent is "Unspecified-subject displayed the painting in the Louvre< which has a direct object.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: OC

Randy cocks display to hens. I imagine that's what the author must have been thinking.

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Microsoft fixing Windows 10 'stuttering' bugs in Creators Update

Ken Hagan
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Re: Fast startup? No thank you

"Turn off Fast Startup and this doesn't happen. Until the next forced update from MS turns it back on again."

I had a machine that borked the 1607->1703 upgrade, several times, until I switched off Fast Startup.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Sigh, Poor Ordinary Folks

"What better QA testers would you suggest than actual real world users?!"

1) Someone with a contact on the development team to whom they could report bugs.

2) Someone who has documentation for how the software is supposed to behave.

3a) Someone who is actually paid to do it full-time.

3b) Someone who isn't trying to do some other full-time job in order to pay their bills.

4) Someone who has been trained to anticipate likely errors in implementation.

But of course, that would cost money whereas just shipping shit apparently doesn't, so ...

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Sigh, Poor Ordinary Folks

"Ok troll, here's your daily bread:

Since Vista, we've been able to disable auto-updates through the services panel."

Ok, fanboi, here's yours. Since Windows 10, you have only been able to defer upgrades for a few months and then only if you have paid for some corporate licence.

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D-Link router riddled with 0-day flaws

Ken Hagan
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"Did I get that right?"

No, I think you missed the bit where he gave them six months to pull their fingers out on eight other vulnerabilities but they just sat there hoping he would go away.

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Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow

Ken Hagan
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Re: "Fastest Growing"

"When Python was brand new and went from zero users to one, that's an infinite rate of growth."

I think I'd argue that the initial number of Python users was one, not zero, since it is a bit silly to assert that there are no users (yet) of a language that doesn't exist (yet).

This approach also means that languages designed by committee experience slower initial growth than languages created by individuals, which strikes me as karma in operation right from the start.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Usefulness

You can automate the re-formatting on checkout and checkin and if you work in a team that makes this a requirement then you wouldn't be much of a programmer if you didn't automate it.

The IOCCC contest is also of social interest but I'm not aware of anyone working professionally who writes that way. Likewise, if you deliberately indent something in C or C++ to align with the wrong block (the equivalent of adding space in Python) it will compile fine but you can expect a visit from your colleagues on the next dark night. Demanding that whitespace indentation corresponds to the actual block structure is an informal-but-rigid requirement in every (text-based) programming language I've ever used. Python actually bothers to enforce it, but even C and C++ enforce it if you have lint-like warnings on your compiler.

As regards external libraries, perhaps you missed the bit where re-formatting was automated. If it bothers you, reformat it, but actually I suspect that you will get used to all the styles that are common in your language and switch seamless from one to the next as you step through the debugger. The rest of us did at some point in our careers.

No-one is suggesting that multiple styles should be mixed within a given section of the codebase. (I bet that's what the "studies" were looking at, though. I've read plenty of "studies" in my time that I wouldn't wipe my arse with.) To assert that consistency is required across *all* code would be a much less plausible study result. It would, for one thing, be a compelling argument for never using more than one language in a project, which is certainly a proposition that people will dispute. It would also be an argument about never writing Windows programs in C or C++, since the Win32 and CRT house styles are different.

In the real world, outside of academia and internet flame wars, "readability" is not a matter of formatting or any other stylistic metric. It is about whether things have identifiable names, whether the algorithms are clear, whether things are done in the obvious order, whether violations of the first three are properly justified in an obvious fashion either in the code or in documentation, and whether those comments and that documentation are actually kept in step with the code. Your compiler can't check that, but by god it's important!

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Ken Hagan
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"perhaps that means that it's too complicated"

Ease of programming is not necessarily a good thing.

When engineering a physical object you have to pay attention to tolerances. For simple objects, or with very clever engineering, those tolerances might be fairly generous. For the most complicated objects, the tolerances will usually vary from one part of the object to another but will often be very tight in the critical areas.

In programming, sometimes it is really important that you say exactly what you mean and definitely do not say anything that you don't mean. That's like an intelectual tolerance. Some languages are fairly relaxed and will execute almost anything you can type and will attempt to "do the right thing" based on heuristics. Others are fascist straight-jackets that demand bowing and scraping in the appropriate places, but which can then be trusted to do exactly and only what you have (finally) specified.

Obviously it is possible to have the worst of both worlds, with fascist syntax and DWIM semantics. However, I doubt it is possible to have the best of both worlds. At some point, you have to knuckle down and get particular.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Usefulness

"The poor fuckers who have to maintain your pile of shite code after you've been sacked, that's who!!!"

Matters of formatting can be sorted by automatic tools. Matters of implementation style are no more subtle in python than in any other language. The fact that the python community has coined the word pythonic when few other languages have coined anything similar is interesting from a social point of view but of no technical importance. I concur with the OP: Who cares whether it conforms to the "right" way of doing it.

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EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

Ken Hagan
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Re: The Sooner...

Brexit has nothing to do with this. It is a simple matter of holding everyone to account under the law and referring cases to whatever appropriate courts have jurisdiction at the time of the case.

I don't recall any referendum on the question of abandoning those principles. Was there one? Did I lose?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Just in time..

Surely the ECJ will simply turn around in 2019 and say "we no longer have jurisdiction" and punt the case back down to the UK where the receiving court *will* now have the power to make a binding judgement ... on whether the law that will (by then) have changed had been broken (now).

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Boffins: 68 exoplanets in prime locations to SPY on humanity on Earth

Ken Hagan
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Deep Time

Life on Earth is umpteen squillion years old and has been observable via spectrographic evidence for at least a billion years. (Actually, atmospheric composition has changed dramatically over that period, but has probably been significantly-different-from-dead in various ways for all that time.)

Intelligent life on Earth is only about 10000 years old and has only been remotely observable for a couple of decades, depending on where you live. That's assuming that you can detect the radio waves. (And yes, you won't be able to separate individual stations, but you probably can detect the bump in the overall power spectrum, and if you are an alien scientist you can probably recognise that those frequencies match the transmission windows for our atmosphere.)

In another hundred (perhaps) or thousand years it is quite possible that we will be a dead planet in term of radio emissions detectable at long range. Technology changes and broadcasting at high power in all directions is a pretty dumb way to communicate so we are already using alternatives. Then there is the possibility of a completely new mechanism that we cannot guess yet. (I am reminded of the anecdote about the anthropologist asking a neolithic man about his ideal means of communication and being told "a really big drum" but all the while radio waves are passing through his head.)

Life on other planets presumably follows a similar historic trajectory, but plus of minus a few hundred million years!

In a few hundred million years time, we will either be extinct or able to visit planets and reside there without the inhabitants being aware of our presence.

So the aliens are either already here, unnoticed and reading this comment with wry amusement, so they are so far behind that when we visit their planet in the relatively near future we will not be noticed by them. Either way, the technology of the visiting civilisation will be so far advanced of the hosts that there will be no question of "colonisation" or "invasion" because the host planet will have nothing to offer except scientific interest (best served by observing incognito).

The geologists have a term for this; they call is Deep Time (capitalised) and it is the temporal version of the Douglas Adam's paragraph that begins "Space is big. ...".

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What's your flava? Ooo, tell me what's your flava... of Ubuntu

Ken Hagan
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Re: 5 people who still care about Ubuntu

Microsoft? They've only just started to embrace it.

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Please, pleeeease let me ban Kaspersky Lab from US govt PCs – senator

Ken Hagan
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Re: Surprised?

Out of interest, have you banned RAR files as well?

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Ken Hagan
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Taken to its logical conclusion

Well if all governments insisted that their IT is entirely trustworthy, they'd all insist on using software and hardware that is either designed and fabricated within their own borders or entirely open source. So Europe is going to have to build some fabs and just about everyone is going to have to start using a flavour of 'nix. (Even the US can't trust Windows as long as there are closed source device drivers and admin-level software involved.)

But try telling that to a typical politician and they just come up with a half-hearted response like this. She should grow a back-bone and insist on a fully trusted platform.

(I'd add a penguin icon, but I don't want to offend the BSD fans.)

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Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

Ken Hagan
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Re: I want a smart water meter

"I am curiously intrigued to know how/where you expel waste from your body. "

He only shits at work, where there is also a shower (for folk who cycle in) and he never flushes his pees?

It's probably possible, if you can stay employed.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: It's not about saving you money, it's about enabling *green* energy

"And how do smart gas meters enable green energy?"

As he described. If you can switch the country off when the green power isn't available, you don't need to have any non-green power in reserve.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Benefits

"I like the idea of a fixed result in a democratic decision making process; can we choose the 1945 UK General Election please."

Nobody is suggesting that we can't apply to rejoin after we've left, but right now we have already left and living two final years under the rules of membership is merely to give everyone time to adapt to the change.

We could have a second referendum to choose between "the deal on the table" or "hardest Brexit possible under WTO rules", but a second referendum on the decision to leave would require a time machine. We have already left.

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Crypto-busters reverse nearly 320 MEELLION hashed passwords

Ken Hagan
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Re: That's lovely, but

Since the OP has the correct email and password, they can go one better and actually post the violating content. Bonus points if you can get the whole site closed down.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Hashes

"p.s. It's "in practice", practise is a verb. Cf. "in fact" and "advise vs. advice"."

Isn't that "fact" somewhat locale-dependent?

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Linus Torvalds passed a kidney stone and then squeezed out Linux 4.13

Ken Hagan
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Re: Is the sky falling? Or, ...

"Silly me, I thought SMB and CIFS were part of Samba."

Mostly they are, but there's a cifs.ko that some folks insist on using and which doesn't get as much love as the user-space code.

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Thousands of hornets swarm over innocent fire service drone

Ken Hagan
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Where's the AI angle?

Isn't someone developing an algorithm to steer "search and destroy" drones that can rid the planet of hornets and wasps? (And yes, they probably will, and we'll probably regret it, not least because Mother Nature will find something to fill the gap.)

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Microsoft sets the date for Fall Creators Update

Ken Hagan
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Maxing out the CPU

"The update will allow PC gamers to set the computer to max out the processor for smoother gameplay"

S'funny. I'd always assumed that this was the default unless you were in some sort of power-saving profile. Or do they mean there is now an option to run at 110% and damn the temperature readings...

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US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

Ken Hagan
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"any plain-text(A) of the same size"

If X only admits N possible values, only N plain-texts can be created. Typically X is millions of times smaller than A or B, so the possibility of producing an alternative A that is syntactically valid is, er, remote.

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Ken Hagan
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XOR isn't good quality encryption, so I'm not sure your proof stands.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: partially correct...

"You are committing a crime if you don't hand over the password, with reasonably belief that you know the password."

IT angle: if the legal system were an IT system, this would be recognised almost immediately as a privilege escalation bug of truly Microsoftian proportions. The standard of proof for knowing the password should be "beyond resonable doubt" because it is being used to access the scale of punishments for criminal offences.

Proposed constitutional amendment: Anyone demonstrating a logical inconsistency between one part of the law and another should be able to choose which part applies to them.

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Ice-cold Kaspersky shows the industry how to handle patent trolls

Ken Hagan
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Re: What are lawmakers doing?

"Anyone that litigates patents... but hasn't implemented/manufactured/produced a single patented product."

Well that's ARM fucked, then...

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Microsoft's fix for web graphics going AWOL? Disable your antivirus

Ken Hagan
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Re: Who'd be a web designer?

"Or pictures, or style sheets, or those stupid transitions, or video, or sound, or colours, or type styles like bold or underline."

Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I would disagree with you on most points there.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Who'd be a web designer?

Well you could just stick to specifying font families and stop trying to use the web as some kind of DTP package.

Earth calling web designers: nobody cares about your stupid font.

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NYPD head of IT doubles down on Windows smartphone idiocy

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hold on, if I read this right

In fairness, Brooks also suggests "Plan to throw one away, because you will anyway." and he goes on to note that you might end up throwing two away because of the second system effect.

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Boffins bust AI with corrupted training data

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hanlon's razor

"A simple "if (Putin) then grant access" could do the same harm."

That bit of code is not part of the AI. The AI tells you "who it is". Whether you let them in is decided by some (pretty trivial) coding that you *do* control. I think it would be quite hard to insert a back-door that guessed which end-users were the privileged ones, so I'm not sure I accept the problem scenario described in the article.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: So what's the solution?

The solution is to treat it like any other sensor that can give duff readings and to treat it like any other black box whoses contents are undocumented. That is, use normal engineering and due diligence.

There really is nothing to see here. Even this story, warning us not to believe the AI hype, is part of the AI hype inasmuch as it is suggesting that these devices present some new kind of problem.

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Dell's flagship XPS13 – a 2-in-1 that may fatally frustrate your fingers

Ken Hagan
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So, 1300 quid and if I want to use it with a proper mouse, full-size keyboard and any or all of memory stick, printer, scanner, ... then I need to dangle a USB hub off the side and if I want to plug in an external monitor then I can go take a hike. (I expect the USB ports are jammed close together or something, so if I want to plug in something wide (like some SD card readers) then I effectively use both ports.)

What's the obsession with *refusing* to make these things connectable? It's like they design these things on the assumption that you'll never want to use them for anything. ("Sure have a grand or so. It was burning a hole in my pocket and I'm glad to be shot of it. What's this doodad you're offering me anyway?")

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VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code

Ken Hagan
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Re: "Only an engineer"?

Yes, and in view of the number of comments that have apparently missed this point, perhaps El Reg should consider changing the article's title to begin "VW manager sent to the clink..." because (sad to say) apparently some commentards got no further than the sub-heading before posting.

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