* Posts by handleoclast

893 posts • joined 6 Jan 2012

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Boffins: If AI eggheads could go ahead and try to stop their code being evil, that'd be great

handleoclast
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Re: phishing mails

I'd be more worried if the Prince of Nigeria did an English course.

That Nigerian prince may well be capable of writing better English than you or I. The broken English is an inherent part of the scam.

The idea is to convey the impression that he's doing something dodgy but he's not very good at it, so you have an opportunity to take advantage of his stupidity to rip him off. So it's essential he demonstrate that he's not particularly bright. Bright enough to think of a scam but not quite bright enough to avoid clever you ripping him off.

It's no coincidence that there are racist overtones to this. He's a "darkie" and he can't speak English good. So it's morally justified for a white racist to rip off the stupid darkie, incidentally punishing him for doing wrong (a punishment he obviously deserves, because he has dark skin). Why does the racist aspect matter? Because racism is a belief mainly held by stupid people. If the scam appeals to racists it is pre-selecting them for low intelligence.

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Ayyy-EYE! Google code 'predicts heart disease' by eyeballing retinas

handleoclast
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It can predict age or gender

Wow! That's so useful. I can't tell you the number of times I've been to the optician and they'd didn't know whether to address me as sir or madam until they'd scanned my retina. Oh, wait, I can tell you how many times: zero.

The number of times you're going to need a retinal scan from somebody whose sex is otherwise indeterminate (but not because that person has suffered so many injuries as to be incapable of surviving) is close to zero. So it's not a useful feature of the technology.

And if it's not a useful feature, why mention it when it is only around 75% accurate? That merely highlights the inaccuracy, which throws doubt on other predictions it makes. Hint: I can do better than 75% at guessing the sex of people without submitting them to a retinal scan.

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We sent a vulture to IBM's new developer conference to find an answer to the burning question: Why Big Blue?

handleoclast
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Why would you pick anyone who doesn't have a JVM team?

I would pick them because they don't have a JVM team. It means they're less likely to use Java as a solution.

YMMV

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iPhone X 'slump' is real, whisper supply chain moles

handleoclast
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Re: A Gravestone with Apple's rounded corners,

It would have to have a notch, of course.

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A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that

handleoclast
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No user story

There was no user story telling me why I, as a typical El Reg reader, needed to read this article.

It turned out that there was no reason for me to read the article. A long-winded, obfuscated article explaining why we should all oooh and aaah at the latest management fad (like user stories).

None of these management fads have any statistical justification for their claims (because it would be impossible to test). It's just anecdotal evidence (at best) and post-modernist waffling (at worst).

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Sorry, I can't hear you, the line's VoLTE

handleoclast
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Re: Correction needed

@Tom7

Still no good if you bought your own handset.

Try the Three in Touch app. Supports VoLTE and, if you're connected to Wifi (or even cabled) VoIP. However, it may not work on your unsupported handset, but you won't know until you try.

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KFC: Enemy of waistlines, AI, arteries and logistics software

handleoclast
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Re: RFID Signs

the vehicles might need the 50,000 watt version of the RFID Reader

I'm sure Photonic Induction could cobble something together that would do the job. Althought 50 kW is probably a low estimate of what he'd come up with.

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Microsoft ends notifications for Win-Phone 7.5 and 8.0

handleoclast
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Trollface

Post hoc

Nokia did go all-in on Windows Phone, but did so as it entered what turned out to be terminal decline.

I have to keep reminding myself that correlation does not imply causation. That's the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Even so, it's possible that betting the farm on Win Phone killed Nokia.

It's also possible that Nokia was killed by Elop being a fucktard who did many idiotic things, of which betting the farm on Win Phone was just one.

It's also possible that betting the farm on Win Phone delayed the end, but didn't delay it long enough that Nokia could release new hardware based on unicorns farting rainbows and shitting gold.

We can only speculate.

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Farts away! Plane makes unscheduled stop after man won't stop guffing

This post has been deleted by a moderator

handleoclast
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Re: Clear the area

This is possibly the funniest thread ever written on flatulence:

Nah, this trumps it.

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Apple Macs, iThings, smart watches choke on tiny Indian delicacy

handleoclast
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Re: "Only if the coder anticipated the problem."

@JeffyPoooh

All inputs should be handled, even if they 'fall through the table' and end up with default ERROR output.

That's in an ideal world. In an idealer world all inputs would be handled correctly. Did I ever suggest otherwise?

The OP appeared to be having difficulty understanding why Apple couldn't have handled Unicode characters the way they were handled 10 years ago, before combining characters and the like were introduced. The only problem back then was somebody using a character your computer didn't have a glyph for, so you'd get a rectangle instead. But it's no longer that simple. Unicode now has all sorts of complexities, so it's no longer a simple matter of mapping from a character code to a glyph.

As you and Lee pointed out, the font renderer should have invoked an error handler if it got into difficulties (did I suggest otherwise?). It didn't. Not catching the error was a bug. Having the error was a bug. And because they were bugs, they were unplanned and unexpected. Which is why the font renderer didn't display the rectangle the OP expected but instead crashed. Because Unicode isn't simple any more and because programmers fuck up, especially when they write code to handle complicated stuff.

Maybe I should have taken greater pains to explain that Unicode isn't simple any more as well as the fact that programmers fuck up. I thought I'd made it sufficiently clear that handling a missing glyph by displaying a rectangle is fairly simple but rendering modern Unicode is quite complex.

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handleoclast
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Re: OK it complex to render

I don't know about the OP but what I'm asking for is for a font renderer to be able to either render a glyph or error out sensibly, not just crash.

I'd like all sorts of software to not crash. To be able to handle unexpected input and not crash. To be able to handle anything I throw at it and not crash. I'd like it, instead of crashing, to pop up an error box saying "This file is a corrupted heap of steaming shite" or "You just asked to do something incredibly stupid." This is the ideal behaviour. But Windows 10 is still out there.

And yes, I'd kind of hope that a font rendering engine would handle both legitimate and illegitimate character sequences correctly. Or at least display an "I couldn't figure out how to display that" box. This is the ideal behaviour.

Software isn't ideal. Sometimes people introduce bugs. Off-by-one errors. Walking off the ends of arrays. Stupid stuff like that. And it's not always easy to prove your code is correct or to test all possible cases. Which is what happened here. Some obscure character combination exposed a bug of some sort in the font renderer and it fell over.

Yes, in an ideal world all software would have exception handlers that deal with bugs. Except for the ones it can't handle. Like when an exception isn't thrown. Like when the code does an array walk through all of the device's memory, or goes into an endless loop, or something like that.

Yes, you can get around infinite loops with some sort of watchdog interrupt. Which can cause other problems, like false positives because your device is multi-tasking its way through too many monero-mining tabs in your browers. There comes a point where error-handling code becomes so complex it introduces more errors than it catches.

In an ideal world the font renderer wouldn't have crashed but would have displayed an error message. In an idealer world it wouldn't have had a bug in the first place. In the meantime, try to make your peace with reality because you'll be spending the rest of your life here.

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handleoclast
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Re: OK it complex to render

but why crash, surely the rendering function has a way of conceding defeat on things it can't manage in a more clean way.

Only if the coder anticipated the problem.

In the olden days you just got a rectangle box for unrenderable characters.

And still do, when the renderer recognises that it does not have a glyph for that character. Known problem, known solution: "I don't know what that character is supposed to look like so I'll draw a rectangle."

This is a case of "take this character and that character and replace them with a single glyph of conjoined characters, then take another character and shove it under those combined characters, then..." except there's a bug in the code for doing that mashing and smashing. The code handles simpler cases correctly but falls over on the really complicated ones.

Notas Badoff decomposed the glyph as:

the letter "ja," the sign "virama," the letter "nya," a zero-width non-joiner and the vowel sign "aa."

That's జ, జ్, ఞ, zero-width non-joiner, and ఆ (assuming my character mapper wasn't lying to me and I drove it correctly). When put together according to unicode specs, that should result in జ్ఞ‌ా. Which I think means "dog made by twisting long, thin balloons together if you don't know what a dog really looks like."

It's a bug. What you're asking for is that coders put in code to handle bugs that they don't know are in their code. Which is like solving the halting problem, except not as sensible.

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Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs

handleoclast
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Fuck U

buntu

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When it absolutely, positively needs to be leaked overnight: 120k FedEx customer files spill from AWS S3 silo

handleoclast
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Re: DevOps

Or Ops.

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You're decorating it wrong: Apple HomePod gives wood ring of death

handleoclast
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Re: Lace Doily

Apple HomePod Base Base iTable resting on an Apple HomeFloor iFloor? Way too complicated. Use this instead.

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handleoclast
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Re: Apple home furnishings range.

The solution would be for Apple to produce its own range of coasters

However, the speaker gets its bass performance by good acoustic coupling with a solid surface. Coasters tend to have slightly compressible (cork or cardboard) bases that would degrade the performance. A more solid coaster might work, except for the possibility of introducing a rattle or other distortion.

Oh the irony. If you want to use your expensive iToy you have to throw away your expensive furniture and replace it with cheap tat made from chipboard and surfaced with a naff-looking veneer. How are you going to display your conspicuous consumption now?

iHahahahahahahahaha

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Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!

handleoclast
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Re: "evolved for millions of years into something that is many billions of years old"

I am very disappointed they are not going to be re-engineering the species to adapt to the new physics they have created, but curious to see how their technology will work otherwise.

I am very disappointed they are not going to be re-engineering the species universe to adapt to the new physics they have created, but curious to see how their technology will work otherwise.

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Look out, Wiki-geeks. Now Google trains AI to write Wikipedia articles

handleoclast
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Re: Change in article category title

Please rename the "Artificial Intelligence" category to "Pseudo-Artificial Intelligence".

And then put it in charge of the FCC? Already been done.

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US govt staffers use personal gear on work networks, handle biz docs on the reg – study

handleoclast
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Re: People are fundamental to security

Actually, people are fundamental to insecurity.

The more people you have, the less secure you are. Eliminate all the people and your security improves a lot.

IBM are aiming to be the most secure company in the world. And they're not far off getting there.

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Microsoft working to scale Blockchain for grand distributed ID scheme

handleoclast
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Re: 'Microsoft’s business models require stealing and reselling personal data.'

This marketing shift was anticipated, and extended, here back in 2012.

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handleoclast
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Microsoft are going to improve it

Obviously, they'll improve it using the technique of creating a twisty maze of protocols operating in unfathomable ways. There will be remote procedure calls, strange DNS entries that are vital to functioning as designed but never needed to be there in the first place, the embrace and extension of totally unrelated protocols in bizarre ways, kluges to get around problems that should never have existed, and general obfuscation.

Sorta like Active Directory. Only not as good.

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Stop calling, stop calling... ICO goes gaga after home improvement biz ignores warnings

handleoclast
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Re: My recent strategy with sales calls

Excellent idea!

I'm nicking it. :)

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handleoclast
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Twice the call centre have promised to remove me from the list - and still my mealtimes are getting interrupted.

A couple of years ago I started getting a shitload of calls/texts for Amanda Softwoman (name has been changed so I don't embarrass Mrs Hardman). From the content she had either applied for a payday loan and got her phone number wrong when she gave it to them or some "friends" of hers applied for a payday loan in her name and got her phone number wrong. No, it wasn't "friends" of mine because this was a backup phone with a PAYG SIM that I'd never given the number of to anyone.

I did the obvious things. Telephone Preference Service. Some web site I don't remember the name of (I think it was something like USUB) that gets your number taken off compliant SMS lists (I checked it was for real, first). Both helped, but the calls kept coming. So I'd explain the situation (No, you can't speak to Mrs Softwoman because this is not her phone and never has been so please remove me from your list) and they said they would. And still the calls kept coming.

One day, in desperation, I told them they couldn't speak to Mrs Softwoman because she was dead. They apologized and said they'd remove name. Did that a few more times and the calls pretty much dried up. Down from 10 or 20 texts/calls a day at its worst to maybe one or two a month.

Only one of them asked why I had the phone if she was dead. I explained it was because she wouldn't give me the phone when I demanded it from her, and that's why she was dead. Yeah, I was in a shitty mood at the time. Upon reflection, it probably wasn't a wise thing to say, but a year later and still no visit from the plod, so I think I got away with it.

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Aching bad: 'Kingpin Granny' nicked in huge prescription drugs bust

handleoclast
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Is this a real story or an urban legend?

It's just that South Park used the same plotline a month or two back.

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From tomorrow, Google Chrome will block crud ads. Here's how it'll work

handleoclast
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Re: didn't know El Reg had ads, either

I did know. And adverts on El Reg was the main reason I first resorted to an ad blocker. These days, youtube is the main reason for continuing to have an ad blocker.

Anyway, back before I had an ad blocker... MIddle-click on a few articles on the main El Reg page. Start reading my way through the tabs. That way, other pages load as I'm reading. After the first page I don't have to wait for page loads. And then bang. Firefox crashes. Restore session. In the middle of reading a page, bang Firefox crashes. Are the bloated ads causing Firefox to run out of memory? Restore only one tab of the session. Slowly work my way through articles, having to wait for each to load and bang. Either an insanely bloated ad is causing memory problems or the ad is triggering a bug in Firefox or Flush. Skip that article and move on to the next and bang. Install ad-blocker.

A year or two later, feel guilty. Whitelist El Reg in the hopes the rogue ads have gone away. Things go well for a day or two. Maybe even a week or two. Then bang. Remove El Reg from whitelist.

A year or two later, feel guilty. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Sorry, guys at El Reg, the last time I whitelisted you was only six months ago. It didn't last more than a couple of days. Maybe, in a year or two...

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Mars is red, Earth is blue. Here's a space laser story for you

handleoclast
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Martian offerings?

Predictive spooling is getting worse.

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Who wants dynamic dancing animations and code in their emails? Everyone! says Google

handleoclast
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Except for marketing departments of course.

The only possible response.

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Blackbird shot down, patent nuked by judge in Cloudflare legal battle

handleoclast
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You have to admire Blackbird

The way they cheekily hinted at their intentions by choosing a name very close to "Blackbeard" made me smile.

Perhaps this case will teach them something.

Mine's the one with the bottle of rum in one pocket and some yo-ho-ho in the other pocket.

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Apple tells GitHub to fork off: iGiant steps outside DMCA law in quest to halt iBoot leaks

handleoclast
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Re: Barbra Streisand

Either that is a coat with a time machine, or you're incredibly, uh... brave.

Are you saying the age difference is too large? That sort of thinking is frowned on these days.

Anyway, she's not that much younger than me.

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handleoclast
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Re: Barbra Streisand

Yeah, I'd fork Barbra Streisand.

Or is that not what you meant?

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UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

handleoclast
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Re: "unnamed algorithm"

I can suggest names for free. "Big Brother" or "Maybot".

The name Maybot is already in use.

Sadly, I found Maybot to be rather unconvincing. It made far too much sense and showed too much human feeling to pass for the real thing. But with further development it can only improve.

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From Amazon to Ama-gone: Bezos swings the axe on hundreds at HQ

handleoclast
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Special bargain on Amazon

Employees surplus to requirements. May have cosmetic damage but otherwise fully functional. Buy two, get one free.

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Getty load of this: Google to kill off 'View image' button in search

handleoclast
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Bad bargaining

Google should have offered to simply remove all Getty images from search results. Then Getty would have paid Google to put them back in.

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Until last week, you could pwn KDE Linux desktop with a USB stick

handleoclast
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Is KDE still a thing?

Many, many years ago I used KDE. I liked it. One day, after an upgrade, it started playing a little login jingle (just like Windows). The only way I could find to turn the jingle off (I didn't look very hard) was to switch to Gnome. Gnome looked a lot better than it had the last time I compared the two, so I stopped using KDE. I figured KDE had lost the plot.

I tried KDE again a year or two back, just to see what it was like. It had gone for the "phone interface" style, with almost everything hidden away behind magical hot spots that you had to try to find. That lasted just long enough for me to find the magic logout hotspot. KDE had definitely lost the plot.

Gnome also eventually lost the plot, but I find Mate to be an adequate replacement.

What is wrong with these people?

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Samsung needs to eat itself, not copy Apple's X-rated margins

handleoclast
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Concordski

So nice of the author to remind us of the Russian clone of Concord/Concorde, nicknamed Concordski.

Does this naming convention also apply to Andrew Orlowski?

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Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)

handleoclast
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Re: I do wonder what coffee addict was desperate enough

Bloody civets, pooping all over the place. Get off my lawn!

I'll just get a stick and flick the poop over the hedge into the neighbour's garden. It was probably one of his civets. And even if it wasn't, he never returned my lawnmower after he borrowed it, so he can trigger a few poopmines when he mows his lawn.

Damn, I messed that up. The poop broke open.

Oh, what's that. *prod* *prod* *poke* It looks like a coffee bean, It is a coffee bean.

Hmmmmmm.

Might as well try making coffee from it. It's not like I can normally afford to drink coffee on the meagre amount of money I get paid to pick coffee beans.

Ugh! Tastes like shit! Pretty much what I expected.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Suppose I tell everyone it tastes wonderful. Those rich bastards will queue up to drink the stuff and pretend it tastes wonderful.

That would be very, very funny.

Now if only I could invent a crap programming language and convince everyone to use it. That would be even funnier.

Mine's the one with the civet poop in the pocket. Bloody neighbour got his own back for me flicking the stuff into his garden.

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handleoclast
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It's obvious.

They should call it Orange.

Orange and T-Mobile merged their operations to form the fuckwittedly-named "Everything Everywhere" then hastily shortened that to EE. So Java EE can become Orange.

Alternatively, they can call it Kopi Luwak. The most expensive coffee in the world. Made by letting luwaks (palm civets) eat kopi (coffee) cherries then extracting the beans from their droppings. Which sums up Java: overhyped with more than a hint of shit about it.

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Ruskie boffins blasted for using nuke bomb lab's supercomputer to mine crypto-rubles

handleoclast
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Putin is losing his touch

Putin should have made it official policy to mine cryptocurrencies on Russia's supercomputers. Two reasons.

1) It gets around sanctions. He can effectively (but with a lot of inefficiencies) sell oil for dollars. The oil powers generators that run supercomputers that mine cryptocurrencies that are exchanged for dollars. Doesn't make as much as selling the oil direct, but gets around sanctions.

2) It gives him enough cryptocurrencies to pump the market value. Done at the right time it might be enough to tip them into a recession.

Win-win.

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Uber and Waymo sitting in a tree, S-E-T-T-L-I-N-G

handleoclast
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Re: Aw

Maybe you could swap it for tulip bulbs. Looks like the popcorn bubble has popped.

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It took us less than 30 seconds to find banned 'deepfake' AI smut on the internet

handleoclast
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Re: Creeps?

On a more serious note, the ability to create material that would otherwise be illegal for therapeutic purposes is one of a number of socially beneficial uses for this technology.

Maybe, in a limited number of cases. More generally, not.

The statistics do seem to support the idea that if people men have porn to wank over they're less likely to commit sex crimes. There are exceptions, but overall more porn (for some values of porn) = less sex crime.

Twenty or thirty years ago (I don't remember the date when it changed) UK parliament was of the opinion that fake child porn was OK, on the basis that it was better for somebody to wank over it than actually molest a child. Then it was pointed out that fake child porn could be used to entice and normalize "See, this little girl in the picture is doing it. She wouldn't be doing it if it was wrong. And she's enjoying it." So now such imagery is illegal.

So, in general, it won't be permitted for therapeutic purposes. At least not without supervision to ensure the material is not copied for other uses. I doubt many people would wish to be a supervisor in such circumstances.

No doubt it will be created by individuals for self-"therapeutic" purposes. And then distributed amongst like-minded people. And therefore be made illegal (if existing legislation doesn't already cover it, which it probably does.) Because it will also be used to entice and normalize.

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It's been 50 years since those damn dirty apes took the planet by storm

handleoclast
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Re: phew...

point of order though - Apes are not monkeys

Yes they are. In fact, yes we are.

It's called cladistic taxonomy and it's all the rage these days.

You are an ape. And a monkey. And a mammal. And a vertebrate. And a chordate (even though only as an embryo, it still counts). And a deuterosterome. And an animal. And many, many other things (those mentioned are merely interesting points along the way).

In the earliest stages of embryonic development a ball of cells gastrulates: it forms a dimple, which grows into a pocket. Later, that pocket tunnels all the way to the other end, forming a doughnut shape. The central hole becomes the digestive system. In deuterostomes, like us, the dimple end becomes the anus. In protostomes the dimple end becomes the mouth. In case you were wondering, protostomes include arthropods (spiders and insects), nematodes, etc.

For more details on why you're a monkey, see this.

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handleoclast
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Homage, pastiche or parody?

Whatever, this always makes me chuckle.

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Wish you could log into someone's Netgear box without a password? Summon a &genie=1

handleoclast
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Re: Name me one home network device maker we can trust nowadays

Netgear.

You can trust them to fuck up.

You can't trust the other manufacturers to always fuck up.

Netgear: 10 out of 10 skiddies recommend it.

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handleoclast
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Re: That's no vulnerability

Most likely added during some testing phase and they forgot to remove it.

Stuff like that should be behind an #IFDEF (or whatever is the equivalent in your favourite language). And the same #IFDEF should also be wrapped around the following functionality:

1) User interface has a prominent "Development Mode" notice displayed on all web pages (or equivalent for a non-web interface).

2) Certain device functionality (in this case, the network connectivity) is disabled at startup.

3) User has to click on "Go Live" (or suitable equivalent) to get normal functioning (but not removal of "Development Mode" warning)

4) On reboot/power cycle, device starts up in Development Mode and is not live until user explicitly invokes step 3.

That should be the case for any "make life easier during development" code. And it should be an instant dismissal offence to put in dev/test code which isn't wrapped in the #IFDEF.

Yeah, there are lots of refinements you could add to the scheme. But something like that should be the bare minimum.

It ain't rocket surgery. In fact, it's so damned obvious it shouldn't have been necessary for me to say it here.

I wonder what I got wrong in the above. There's bound to be something. You can't #IFDEF Murphy's law.

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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

handleoclast
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Re: Julian Assange

Park the car at the exact point of gravitational balance between the Earth and the Moon?

L1 and L2 are both meta-stable. Like balancing a marble on top of a needle. You can do it, but the slightest nudge...

L4 or L5 is a better bet. Both stable. Well, for small(ish) nudges.

OTOH, another (less precise) way of describing L1 and L1 is "unstable." So perhaps a perfect place for Assange.

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handleoclast
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Re: That simultaneous landing

Epic show-boating.

That was my first thought when I saw the video. About 2 seconds later I realized that it was no such thing.

They were identical booster stages. Filled with identical amounts of fuel and oxidizer. Burning propellant at identical rates. Which separated at the same time. Which had to fall through the same atmosphere and execute the identical landing manoeuvres to land at nearly the same place (not enough fuel for them to travel far away from each other).

It would have been harder to make them not land simultaneously.

Still looked pretty damned cool. But it wasn't show-boating.

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Adobe: Two critical Flash security bugs fixed for the price of one

handleoclast
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Re: Urgh!

BTW I came here at this late hour to comment on the successful Falcon Heavy launch. Maybe Vulture South is on the case.

I just watched it on the BBC website.

It was impressive seeing both boosters land simultaneously. Without falling over or exploding.

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Rubrik swallows Datos IO, shuffles in distributed DB backup

handleoclast
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L-F-R-U-D-L-R-U-F

Is a town in Wales. Except you mis-spelled it. Your version has too many vowels.

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IBM: About those agreed voluntary redundancies ... we were just kidding

handleoclast
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Re: Hanlon's Razor

Hanlon's razor states: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

To which I'd add: Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by greed.

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