* Posts by MonkeyCee

896 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013

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UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

MonkeyCee
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Desperate attempt to increase tech skills

I'm assuming that this isn't actually a completely retarded policy that is technically impossible to implement, but there is in fact a cunning plan.

So far the coding boot camps, IT in all subjects and general ramming of computers into every educational orifice have yet to produce the wunder geeks so needed in these desperate times.

So how do we force the kids to learn some tech? Block their porn :)

Based on my experiences with school IT support, most 14 year olds can manage a fairly high level of technical attacks, and are surprisingly good at thinking their way around stuff.

The simplest trick I've seen to escape the filters is to use non-roman languages or non-roman websites. Never had to block Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew at an adults workplace, but those 14 year olds have a taste for the Russian sites.

I'd like to claim my mad tech skillz spotted this, but t was overhearing one of the young gentleman use a couple of choice Russian swear words that made me notice....

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AI's next battlefield is literally the battlefield: In 20 years, bots will fight our wars – Army boffin

MonkeyCee
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Re: Humans will always have the most important battlefield role

"Small countries like Israel"

Countries that have serious expectations of being invaded have plans like this.

Switzerland is closer to a militia fortress. Each home has a bunker, arms and supplies for the residents living there. Most of their bases and storage areas are built in mountains. It's not nuke proof, but it's pretty much as big a castle as you can get.

Israel is it's own fish of kettles, but you can do other stuff than serve in the IDF for your national service (same in Germany), so volunteer work. But the IDF will teach you to drive* and you get cool toys to play with. Plus Israel has been invaded in living history. I'd also suggest that the biggest deterrent about invading them is less the nukes, but more the willingness for the USA to resupply the IDF with pretty much any material at very short notice. Thus winning a conventional war is probably impossible without removing US support.

The Finns also do national service. Because sometimes Russia forgets that fighting Finns in Finland is A Bad Idea.

"The UK eventually dropped conscription in 1960 when it was decided that training civilians for a limited period of service was inefficient."

Eh, I thought that it was more that the UK has had a volunteer army for most of it's history, including the majority of the bit where we went and painted the world pink. Conscription was introduced (IIRC) part way through the second world war and ended early 1920s, was re-introduced in late 1930s and ended in 1960.

It's more that the UK military pointy end is pretty gung ho** and you can't have that esprit d'corps if some of your foxhole friends are only there because they pulled the short straw. It's the same reason why people will volunteer when there is a draft, so they end up in more professional units.

Generally, most modern armies feel that it's more effective to have volunteers. Unless you expect to be invaded. Then everyone volunteers :)

Germany dropped it in 2010.

*for certain values of driving

** that's what they mean by "elite light infantry". PBI who won't run or quit.

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MonkeyCee
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But it's already here....

First of all, I'll give my usual call on "bollocks" for predictions of an actual intelligence as an AI. Automated systems, remote controlled systems, sure. Show me a working AI and I will concede. But until then, even insects will outsmart our best AI.

But we already use a lot of automation in our warfare. Exactly who makes the kill shot from a drone? The person who wrote the missile's guidance system, the person who manufactured it, the person who loaded it, the person who gives the fire order, or the person who presses the button. Bear in mind there will in fact be a fairly large group of people for many of these stages.

So this is an existing moral problem. So lets just talk about that, rather than invent killer robots :)

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Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work

MonkeyCee
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Re: Monitor

"But I've watched supposed IT professionals stare mystified because "obviously the wall cabling must be good" despite the fact that they haven't bothered to test any of it by even the simple precept of putting something else on the cable."

My personal bugbear is the "cable tester says it's OK" when the port(s) are clearly not fine for the intended purpose.

Oh, and the fact that the company network support has been outsourced too will insist on 3-4 visits to "test" (at $120 a time) before they will accept they need to fix it ($200 fee).

I started just requesting a re-cable each time the cabling was fuxed. Saved time and money, although I rapped on the knuckles until someone from Accounting asked us why we were spending only 30% of our repair budget....

I've also had more than one personal job were someone who should know better (such as an engineer or techy) has buggered up their home network, but admitting so to the wife/husband/kids is too embarrassing. So I come round for a "social" call, and restore things to sanity. For the usual fee, plus a discretion bonus payable in whisky.

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Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

MonkeyCee
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Re: Terrance

"Some people do not have a passport or a driving licence."

And these days, no new bank accounts.

If you don't have your papers (please), you are shit out of luck in the UK.

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Those Stanford whiz kids have done it again. Now a chatty AI bot to negotiate sales for you with Craigslist riffraff

MonkeyCee
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Re: How about 36?

"Sorry, doesn't sound like successful bargaining to me."

Oddly that sounds exactly like how people bargain online with me :)

Selling a widget that retails for $50 for $30, with $10 shipping cost (plus packaging) to Bubba's country.

Bubba: Hi, I'd like to make an offer on your widget

Me: Sure, I can reduce the shipping if you want more than one

Bubba: No, just one.

Bubba: I'll offer $10, including shipping

Me: No thanks.

Bubba: Come on! That's fair!

Me: Uh, no. I can throw it in the bin and make more money than that

Bubba: Yeah, but a I REALLY want it. And I only want to pay a tenner for it

Bubba: <insert some sob stroy>

Me: I don't care. It's $40 or GTFO. <Blocks Bubba>

I have roughly ten Bubba's for every scammer. There are certain items that attract them more. Oh, and sometimes Bubba's are also nickle and dime scammers, ripping you off for an item that you made less than a buck profit on, on the basis that it'll be more hassle for you to chase them or prove non-delivery.

"How hard is it to parse the "60" in the seller's sentence and suggest something between 36 and 60"

Or if you've put the "Mark is in a bad mood" mode, then the next offer is 36 -x, where x is how many times I've restrained myself from bodily harm that day.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Maybe it does make sense

Actually that's proper terrifying :D

If I ask my phone "how are you?" I think "I am" is up there with the scary answers :D

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Dutch cheesed off with Russians, expel four suspects over chemical weapons Wi-Fi spying

MonkeyCee
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Well done.

Congratulations bandit1, here is the bandit2 password.

You might have a cute and comical view of the Netherlands being a bit of a laugh about lawn order, since getting caught with a spliff by a cop isn't likely to involve a beating, but they are serious about high level crime.

It's not by chance that the international court is there.

You might also have noticed that the dark web sites that are infiltrated are often done by the Dutch cyber crimes team. Same for catching Russian hackers.

So I strongly suspect that if you or I, clever as we are, tried to play one of their investigtors at chess, we'd lose.

We'd only be thinking 6-10 moves ahead.

They're thinking several games ahead.

"and I'd run a second operation a lot more carefully in another location. "

What about this announcement implies that said operations are also not busted?

It's not like either side needs to announce what is going on.

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Oracle? On my server? I must have been hacked! *Penny drops* Oh sh-

MonkeyCee
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Oldie but a goodie...

I was expecting more along the lines of:

"Now throw the gun in the swimming pool"

"There is no swimming pool"

"Ooops, wrong number"

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Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

MonkeyCee
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Re: But what are they going to _do_ up there?

"As for the people bit, how much of today's heavy industrial manufacturing is automated?"

I guess you don't actually *get* automation.

You don't take a job and completely automate it. You automate parts of it, ideally the ones best done by a machine, and then still use humans for all the other parts.

You should save a net amount of labour, and hopefully also do the automated part in a more consistant fashion than a meatsack.

But there is no automation without some meatsackage :)

My washing machine and dishwasher do a great deal of the manual labour associated with cleaning up things. But both require me to do a bunch of the stuff. Now, it's the easier parts, but it's not zero labour.

Same for things breaking. There are self repairing systems, but they need a supply of spare/replacement parts. Most systems require some human based fine tuning.

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New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

MonkeyCee
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Re: Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Sheep and Kiwi Fruit

"They were more interested in my footwear and where it had been than... "

Because it's fairly unlikely that you're carrying criminal content on your devices.

But it is *extremely* likely that you've not bothered to engage in proper bio-security practices. You're supposed to get all your "country" or "watersports" kits steam cleaned, although dilute bleach will also do it.

And yes, everyone claims that their tent/boots etc are brand new.

NZ doesn't have a number of crop pests. However, even a single case can be enough for certain countries (USA, Australia) to engage in full on protectionist trade practises.

As NZ is mainly based on primary industries, stuff fucking with the ag sector is considered a Bad Thing.

NZ customs catches quite a lot, because they are genuinely more worried about the mud on your boots, and thus search stuff to that level.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Mission Creep

"Although I can't think of many international routes that would transit in NZ."

Tonga, Samoa and Eastern Australia for inbound. Outbound to half the world.

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Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

MonkeyCee
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Re: As you might expect...

"Earl or lady grey singles them out as anglophiles ?? WTF ??"

*shrug* it's what the anglophile dutch I know drink. It's what I drink. I quite like flowery builders tea :) But I also take it black or with lemon (or brandy).

I'll note that my anglophile generally have had more "high teas" in the last year than I've had in my lifetime, the vision of what is british versus what brits actually do can vary quite a bit.

Getting dutch people to try builder tea is pretty much them getting us to try drop. They aren't sure it's not some elaborate practical joke.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Hahaha...

"rugby is played by blokes equipped with nothing much more than a strip of insulating tape around their ears"

Eh, you're being rather unfair here.

I've played social rugby and American Football, in the UK and NZ.

My social gridiron kit cost exactly the same as my social rugby kit: nowt, sponsored by the local gamblers. Most of the gridiron players had $20-$50 boots, Lycra shorts and cheap cotton underkit. The social rugby team spent roughly twice the amount on their boots, and high-tech sports clothing under their uniforms. Also seen front row head gear that cost more than a gridiron helmet (!?!) so it's perfectly possible to spend silly on either game.

The pick up games (touch) also involved the total cost being a ball. Whichever one we played with :)

I'll also note that while there were a lot of lifters on each team, there were many more juicers in rugby than gridiron. Even at super casual levels. Apparently even happening at schoolboy levels.

"No recreational activity allowed unless it involves lots of expensive equipment."

Nah, it's just another way of displaying your Veblan goods. It's the same way that you can go to gym in old shorts, t-shirt and plimsolls. Or spend hundreds on cool/useful kit, that looks nice and expensive :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: As you might expect...

"and don't get me started on the difficulties of getting actual tea-flavoured tea"

I'm lucky to often hang out with anglophile dutchies, so they will have earl or lady grey. And the good stuff too.

I also drink it black, which helps with the furuner tea :)

They still drink it too weak :)

They way I'd make tea for me and my ex was:

1.Put the teabag in her cup,

2. Fill with boiling water

3. Wait for a five count

4. Take tea bag out, put it in my cup

5. Fill my cup with boiling water

6. Wait until I am unable to get a spoon into the cup.

Then again, even Dutch cafe coffee is, quite frankly, shit. The only OK coffee I find is in coffeeshops (the smokey kind) since it's usually only a euro a time.

Luckily I'm friends with Syrians and Turks. Amazing coffee, although being awake for the next 12 hours can be a bit of a pain.

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Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

MonkeyCee
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Re: Just another imature tech billionaire

"wasn't actually involved in the cave rescue, beyond providing some information on the cave layout and a couple of phone numbers of other divers who then went in"

I'm not sure what your issue is.

The guy *is* a cave diver. Who dived the caves where the kids got trapped. Whose knowledge of the caves meant that the more highly skilled divers were able to rescue the kids. If you think getting the right personel and the right information in an emergency situation is easy, then please quit your current job and go help run things.

The people who did the actual rescue diving are people he had been diving with before. He arranged them to get over to Thailand. He got the local rescue operation to work together with them.

And he succeeded. At no point has he claimed to be a hero, he always gave props to the actual divers who did the work. No wanking on twitter. No desperately trying to steal the headlines for his own sake.

But when Musk pulls an attention getting stunt, god forbid anyone who knows the situation criticise him. And since Musk can't actually claim that the sub worked (because it, uh, didn't) he claims the guys is a peodo on the basis the guy lives in Thailand.....

One is a bloke who was a part of the rescue. The other is a billionaire who had NOTHING to do with the rescue, but has garnered much attention about it.

Don't know why the media need to up the diver's credentials. Surely that a billionaire CEO is publicly losing his shit and making baseless and dangerous accusations against anyone who disagrees with him is more worrying.

Unless you're happy with pointing out the Emperor has no pants, then being slandered by imperial edict. Followed by all the imperial lackies piling in.

Space X is a great company. Tesla is average. We'll see on Boring.

You might notice that Musk goes seeking attention when there would otherwise be bad Tesla news.

So instead of "missed production targets again, running out of cash" as the headline, it's now a note on the bottom of the article about Musk losing his shit.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: More problems than the SEC

As I stander it, the libel amounts for damages are relatively small (under 100k).

So either Musk conceded and pays them off (and apologises).

Or spends 5x the requested amount and fights it. Probably losing in UK, no idea how US will play.

Either way Musk looks a numpty.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: 5 minute recharge time

"Electricity already has VAT paid on it."

You what? When did the UK start charging VAT on power?

Don't get me wrong, I bitch about having to pay it on my Dutch bill. But I thought the UK didn't.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Maximum Hubris

"Yes, this! Most of the big manufactures were looking at electric, as you say, and may even have begun to introduce some mainstream models sometime in the next decade or so, but Musk/Tesla forced their hands."

Well no. The big manufacturers had the tech and ability to make Tesla like cars a decade or so before Tesla was born.

They didn't want them to succeed, but if Ford had kept up with their program then Tesla would have been dead in the water.

People can talk about what was holding them back, but not only were consumer version working on lead-acid and heavy motors, but they were beloved by their renters. And no, they wouldn't well them to you.

Industrial electric vehicles have beena round for decades too. I learnt on an electric forklift, and my milk was delivered by electric van for a decade or so.

The politics, and the subsidies, are what are driving the new e-rush.

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Attempt to clean up tech area has shocking effect on kit

MonkeyCee
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Re: It's not always the cleaners

"There were some oddly specific items in there, such as an example of Gross Misconduct: "Hitting a Director"."

Ah, I'd have asked if they meant with a car or a bat :)

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A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

MonkeyCee
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Re: Debt = Bad

"Burst that and there are a lot of banks holding deeds to houses that are then worth less than the outstanding mortgages."

In the USA.

In the Netherlands and the UK (only places I've looked at mortgages) if you owe 100k and default, then your property is sold for 60k, you still owe the bank 40k.

Now that personal debt may be also shit, but the house will get sold, even if it's below the valuation or outstanding debt.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: "Don't the banks or other lenders lose out mightily?"

"and maybe buy some form of insurance like swaps"

Swaps are not insurance, they are a straight up bet. That can be used as a hedge.

You can't just insure other people's stuff and collect if it goes poof. But you can with swaps.

Also there are no limits on swaps. Insurance caps at the value of the insured asset. You can bet on as many swaps as you can find someone to take the other side of the deal.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: "So you take on debt and spend dozens of years paying off the debt,"

"That's because today most people will never earn enough money in their youth to buy a house, or at least pay most part of it."

I disagree, but that's because I did.

I saved at least 10% of my gross income each year. In part buying basic rather than flash stuff, all that boring penny pinching stuff (repair rather than replace, sandwiches).

After 12 years of this, we moved countries, and I bought a cheap* house. It was cheap becasue it hadn't had much maintenance done on it, and it was a mortgagee sale. Took me about 2000 hours and another 10 grand to get it livable.

So it's possible. It's possible now. But people don't want a first house they have to fix up. Or live in anywhere not as upmarket as their parents neighborhood. And there does seem to be a concerted effort to make sure the lowest rung on the housing ladder is above 100k...

* 3/4 bed, 1 bath, 100m^2, central heating, old double glazing in Southern Netherlands. Paid 45k in 2013

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Debt = Bad

"As to who to blame, you can blame the clever boys and girls making the CDOs; I prefer to blame the credit agencies who gave them these CDOs triple A ratings in the first place."

There are actually three "moving parts" in the fuck up. CDOs and credit agencies are two of them. The other are the mortgage providers.

Now, normally you can only get a mortgage if you have enough dependable income or assets. The issuer will only get their money back if you pay it back, or they can sell the property. Selling property you're kicking people out of may well result in not getting as much as you could (see assorted tales of people wrecking stuff). In some countries the bank can still pursue you for the remaining debt, but the US you can just walk away from an underwater mortgage (as I understand it).

But since the lenders could resell the loan almost immediately, for a chunk of commission. How much you earned was based on how many mortgages you could sell. So NINJA* mortgages would get issued with the client deciding how much they wanted, and the normal sanity checks abandoned.

Then these shitty mortgages were bundled into CDOs. But they were not correctly classified as shitty, they got given "generic retail mortgage" status, which assumes that they were responsibly made loans.

Now, there isn't actually wrong with CDOs, even synthetic CDOs. You take a mix of various debts, put them in one big pot, and then pay off the debt in tranches. So the first tranche gets paid first, and might get AA+ rating and 2% return. The next tranche would be A+ and 3%, and so on. It is one of the few ways to take a bunch of risky assets and make a (smaller) less risky asset.

The selection of assets to go into the mix and pricing the tranches is where the dark arts come in. There are plenty of correctly priced CDOs, but they don't offer AA+ rated securities with >5% return. Anyone seeing that should really look at what goes into the mix.

Now this alone wouldn't be enough to cause a crisis. For each dollar that is not repaid, there is one dollar of loss.

Enter the synthetic CDO. This is a CDO constructed entirely from tranches of other CDOs. And not the good tranches either. But you can magically feed in B and C grade assets, and get some more AA+ assets to sell.

But now if the original debt is not paid, each dollar not repaid causes at least two dollars of downstream failure. Considering you could buy CDOs which were 3-4 steps away from the actual borrower it gets even worse.

So the people issuing the loans didn't care about their quality, as long as they got their commission. The people making the CDOs didn't care, as long as they got their commission. And the credit gagencies wanted to keep getting paid to mark junk as gold.

CDos are just tools. But they can be used to hide things, and they were. But there were other people involved in the deception.

We had to make (theoretical) CDOs, one of the questions was how many NINJA/junk loans can you put in while still managing to pay back all your B+ and above tranches, assuming it ran through the financial crisis.

"As to who to blame, you can blame the clever boys and girls making the CDOs"

They do deserve the blame for the failed ones. They definitely knew how much shit was in the beef. There were people making ones designed to fail. And there were also many who built perfectly good ones, but those ones also suck up the better quality of assets. They would also make it as hard as possible for the credit agencies to actually know what went in to the mix.

* No income, no job, no assets

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Virtual reality saves wannabe prison officers from actually, you know, having to visit

MonkeyCee
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Corrections

I worked tech support for Dept of Corrections (prisons and reform) and knew a few corrections officers in real life.

How the fuck virtual tour is going to prepare you for what goes on implies that management simply do not have a clue what the actual stresses are in that job.

It's not the escorting and searching that's the problem. Even the smell and the despair are OK.

It's the fact that you have to be on your guard the whole time. Not just from physical danger (and there's plenty of that) but that you will be constantly tested to see if you're too nice or weak, and you can be used.

Oh, and it doesn't stop when you knock off. That rando you met in a bar might turn out to want you to do a favor involving moving things into jail.

So unless you get VR of some scary fucker reciting your home address and what time your kids get home from school, or finding a picture of your wife getting out of her car on a confiscated cellphone, then I doubt it will prepare you for the "quit in the first week" experience.

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UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

MonkeyCee
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UKIP condoms

Ideal for fucking the whole country.

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Tech to solve post-Brexit customs woes doesn't exist yet, peers say

MonkeyCee
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Re: Yesterdays news

"CETA was held up because it had clauses that were not popular with a sub-national parliament representing fewer than 100,000 people"

That was one of the Belgium governments? Probably one of the communities (which is a government) They aren't sub-national, they are all equal. All seven of them. Witloof engineering at it's finest. It's not an arrangement like the assemblies in Scotland, Wales and NI are, they are fully autonomous governments.

Yeah, Belgium is mental. Great beer :)

It's also why Belgium works when it doesn't work.

Here's someone explaining it far better than me :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlwHotpl9DA

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

Greece's financial problems are, in the scheme of things, irrelevant to the EU. The Greek economy (and debt) is a rounding error from the perspective of the EU.

Now if Italy goes down, and needs a fiscal intervention, that's shit hit the fan time.

But sending troops into Greece? Please. That'd cost waaay more than sending more money and a bunch of German accountants and tax advisors :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Majority of trade already outside of EU

"particularly when the EU is not likely to want to relinquish the quotas it has"

To be fair the EU has been about as just as they can with these so far. Carving off the UK's share is not an issue for the EU. But it is often opposed by the other parties, who pretty much just want the EU to drop it's quotas in line with the UK leaving, and let the UK renegotiate the quota.

The EU is not, and probably will not, try and fuck the UK. It's a union, it has rules, and it's not going to break those to let the UK get a half-in arrangement. The UK even wrote many of these rules. That this has been portrayed as a huge UK vs EU battle is bonkers.

Just wait until the UK has to negotiate with actual "hostile" trade powers. Good job the special relationship is so strong.

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UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report

MonkeyCee
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Re: Sigh...

"Because god forbid the data ever shows cultural influences/background actually DO have something to do with criminality."

Because broadly speaking it doesn't. There are obviously some exceptions, but generally speaking all communities have career criminals in them, as well as the usual human amount of inter personal and petty crime.

It is how they are policed which makes the larger difference in who becomes criminals, and who gets a stern talking too. That perhaps could be cultural too.

Not saying policing is easy, and people need to atone and be separated from society.

But there is absolutely no evidence that any race, religion or creed is more likely to be a crook. Gender, sure, but we can't have everything :)

Back the article, the issue is that most machine learning relies on repeating past decisions. Thus any biases inherent in the training data become part of the decision process.

So using data that you know to be biased isn't going to help you build an impartial system. But instead of a human attempting to make an impartial decision (which we currently have) we'll have a machine replicating what those humans previously did. But it won't be held to the same standards (or failings) as a human.

"Machine says you get,... is that a 3 or an 8?....yeah, 8 years"

"Why?"

"Hang on, it's bleeding edge this. Accountable AI and all that wotsit. Here we go, two base, two for curly hair, one for thick lips and three for your cock. Cor, bet you regret that tinder photo now, eh Samson?"

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I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

MonkeyCee
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Re: Madness

"I gues you need 2 accounts ..."

Isn't that the norm? I mean, with contactless and whatnot.

Bills, emergency money and big spending in an account that has a card that lives at home and has contactless payment disabled.

Day to day pocket money account with contactless enabled.

"It does make it hard to read your bank statement to check the utility company , or BT , isnt ripping you off"

Oh, let me solve that for you. They are :)

You are most correct in ensuring they are only doing the legal ripping off. Give those buggers and inch and they'll charge you 37p per month for it.

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Renegade 3D-printing gunsmith Cody Wilson on the run in Taipei from child sex allegations

MonkeyCee
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Give me six lines....

"it IS weird that people wanted by the USA always seem to get charged with sexual assault"

I think it's more a case that if the feds want someone, they will trawl through everything they've ever done and it's generally unlikely that you're getting that sort of heat and you're entire previous life was clean.

If you look at Brits being extradited to the US they almost always aren't accused of sex crimes, or have any need of slapping those on top of the existing charges.

In this specific case, it's not a historic crime (happened last month), there appears to be no question of consent (underage), there appears to be quite a lot of evidence they've already revealed (hotel cameras, site profile) and pretty much the only defense is "it didn't happen guv".

Even admitting paying for sex with a woman you totally believed to be 17 is still going to get you done for something.

If you're planning on pissing of the USA (or any world power really) then make sure your skeletons are well buried :)

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Deliveroo to bike food to hungry fanbois queuing to buy iPhones

MonkeyCee
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Queuing is a job

Not sure how much demand there is currently, but a few years back I've certainly been in a "release day" queue. Because while there are plenty of the latest iShiny in US/EU (usually) there are more than a few people in the rest of the world who will pay 120-200% of the retail price in order to have the latest iShiny in their social group.

So own a $1000+ phone? Bah, a 200 Wileyfox or Honor does all I need. But buy an expensive phone and sell it within an hour for a 50% markup after costs? Hell yeah.

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Apple hands €14.3bn in back taxes to reluctant Ireland

MonkeyCee
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Apple HQ

" you can find comparable or better rates only in Bulgaria or some Mediterranean island, and I can't really see Apple moving there. "

As I understand it, after the initial ruling Apple worldwide shifted to either Jersey or Guernsey, intending to do the same deal as in Ireland. So they pay their full tax on profits earned in Jersey, but not on stuff transferred from other parts of the world.

No reforming UK controlled tax havens now, we need all the allies in dodgy countries that we can get.

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'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU

MonkeyCee
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Gender bias in advertising

There are a few things going on here. The actual case seems pretty clear cut even with only my limited understanding of employment law. Business students in the EU are expected to be aware of US employment law :)

Firstly, if it's illegal to only advertise a job to one gender, then "target only male/female" shouldn't be an option for job ads. Same for all the other rules about what you can and can't bias against (ie only targeting ads at people with a STEM degree is probably OK).

The more fuzzy problem is that even without explicitly excluding women from the advertising pool, women will (generally) be shown less of the ad anyway. Because Facebook (and google et al) charges more for a woman's ad impression than a man's. That's not artificial either, advertisers pay more because there is more demand for it.

This effect doubles down for professional women, as they have more disposable income, so they are even more expensive to buy impressions for.

Thus you can get a gender bias in job ad impressions without any "girls can't do it" crap, just because other people will pay more to get those eyeballs.

As for women in the workforce, my overwhelming impression has been that they are generally harder working, paid less and much more adapt at reducing social friction. Obviously many exceptions abound, this being humanity and all. But the best sysadmin, change control, problem management, mechanic/inventor and IT managers I've known have been all been women.

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A basement of broken kit, zero budget – now get the team running

MonkeyCee
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Re: HMSO

"Got all the reports done in the first hour thanks to not having my boss constantly interrupt me "

My experience with out of hours call center coverage was that we could effectivly do nothing all night and still get paid.

We obviously founds stuff to do, mainly going through the day shifts work queues and finishing off jobs that they had logged but not done.

Of course every time we actually did the job we were being paid for, and thus didn't have 4-6 hours of slack time, the day shift bitched at us for leaving them work to do :)

I've also worked shifts, and the 0700 - 1500 that I got 80% of my work done by 10:30, at which point the office was full.

Take the crappy shifts :) plus if you work at Christmas you meet lots of nice Hindis and Muslims who also have many festivals with delicious food. For the BoFHs, all you can eat onion bajis. Certain Indian grandmothers take it as a personal challange that you can't walk away from the table :)

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Card-stealing code that pwned British Airways, Ticketmaster pops up on more sites via hacked JS

MonkeyCee
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Just following orders

"That will probably mean a lot of programmers get the brunt of the punishment for "following orders". "

Then they should learn that "I was just following orders" is neither a defense nor an excuse.

If you are a professional (and I'd hope a dev would be) then part of your responsibility is not just saying no to problematic requests, but explaining why.

I'm not going to this because it's a bad idea, versus it's illegal, versus it's treason*. And yes, I've had to carefully explain those cases at least once to people who REALLY should have known better.

Most of the time you can deal with these sort of situations by saying "I'm not sure, this sounds illegal/treasonous/suicidal. Can you please put this request in writing, acknowledging that you will take any and all responsibility if this blows up". Faced with having to own their decisions, often manglement will back down. Or go talk to Legal, and realise what a fuckup they avoided.

If you want to build things, act like a fucking engineer. That involves a lot of saying "no, you have to do it the right way" to people who aren't focused on making things work as best as possible, but for a cheaply as possible.

* that manager did have the decency to thank me later with a bottle of scotch

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You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

MonkeyCee
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Re: You pretty much have to approach iTunes, Google Play, Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, …

"Similarly, PC games I only buy from GOG.com."

I thought that was a good plan, on the basis that I rarely see a bad GoG game.

Plus much of my "free" time is on a train, which kind of puts a damper on most online gaming.

Oh, and fellow students going "OMG, is that the original fallout" and I can say "kinda, it's Fallout 2 resto project, I used to play it a lot last millennium..."

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Guess who just bought Maplin? Dragons' Den celebrity biz guy Peter Jones

MonkeyCee
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Re: and "extensive" customer data.

I'm a little puzzled about Philips, is it different in the UK? Because last I checked Philips pretty much still had it's own city (Eindhoven), university and is pretty big round these (Dutch) parts.

Not got many products from them (small TV/monitor, ghetto blaster) but they've never gone wrong and get used all the time. Not cheap either.

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It's a mug's game: Watch AI robot grab a cuppa it hasn't seen before

MonkeyCee
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It's certainly AI

It's applied AI. I mean, it's a *very* broad term, and many people assume AI == General AI, which is never the case. General AI is a human like (or probably very different, but human capable) intelligence. This isn't it :)

But it is one of those practical applications of AI techniques, and getting anything working in the real world is quite tricky. Hence why solving games, even complex games, is relatively* trivial, but getting a robot to do a random task that a four year old can do is extremely difficult. Like 2-3 engineers minimum, unless you've got mechanical, electrical and robotics for the hardware, and programming, image processing and modeling for the back end in a single person.

Oh, and a four year old can do natural language processing better than an adult, and certainly better than any current AI

Nice to see some news being covered about actual applied robotics. Too much press coverage is "Westworld or bust".

* Specifically, building an agent that can play the game in the 95th percentile can be achieved by self play, which is mainly a matter of throwing time, hardware and efficient coding at the problem.

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Nvidia promises to shift graphics grunt work to the cloud, for a price

MonkeyCee
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Mouse mat

I use greaseproof/baking paper personally. You can get big sheets, when it gets gunky you replace it for penny a piece (the tape probably costs more) and it cuts down on the wear on the mouse's "feet".

Plain paper works fine, but grinds the feet off.

As far as mice go, I like MadCatz, on account of having long hands.

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Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

MonkeyCee
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Re: Still happens

"but their face when we give them an old laptop of the same vintage as their broken one from the stack of returned ones"

I thought that was standard BOFH policy :)

I've also been known to issue nearly indestructible older models to those with butterfingers, since they obviously need something tougher, as they are too accident prone.

Also, talk to the managers. Assuming IT works on cost recovery, you can agree to a faster "refresh" for the fuckers who need a new shiny, as long as they cover their costs. If they trash their old box first, then obviously costs are higher.

If sales wants new laptops, they can pay for them :D

39
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Defense Distributed starts selling gun CAD files amid court drama

MonkeyCee
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Re: I'll never understand Americans and their fetish for guns

"A Spitfire is as much a machine designed for killing as an AR-15 is, and there's no shortage of people wanting to see a Spit."

I must have gone to different flying demos than you, since while various planes have done simulated strafing or bombing runs on the crowds, I'm fairly certain they didn't have active weapon systems. So no machines guns (in the case of the spit) means no design for killing per sec.

It's the same way that taking guns apart and seeing how they work is quite fascinating, firing them is quite a different kind of fun.

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Gartner's Great Vanishing: Some of 2017's emerging techs just disappeared

MonkeyCee
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Re: I wish Gartner would Vanish!

My naive understanding is that InvestmentDecision = !GartnerPrediction was a fairly sound model.

It's not intended to be taken literally, it's pretty much investment satire. :)

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Some of you really don't want Windows 10's April 2018 update on your rigs

MonkeyCee
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Re: Use Linux...

"Linux isn't designed for grandma."

For my nan, it's been amazing. She never learnt anything for her windows box, and now she doesnt for her mint box. But now when someone tries to scam her, whether over the phone or charging two hundred quid to say "I dunno", she tells them it's not Apple or MS, and they go away.

My wife does odd things, and kept on ending up knackering her windows box. She also doesn't like asking for help (or putting up with me sighing and saying "WTF where you trying to do?"). Stuck mint on her machine, and I've not had to fix it just yet.

Most users are fine with linux, there seems to be more issues with browsers than the OS for most users.

If I'm being paid for support, I don't care what OS you use. I can advise you that supporting Win 98 is going to be costly, but it's your money. If I'm doing it for free, then the easiest and cheapest option it is. Which is linux.

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Another German state plans switch back from Linux to Windows

MonkeyCee
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Re: Linux not always cheaper to run in the enterprise

"Windows admins are everywhere, onshore and offshore so relatively (or even very) cheap. Linux admins are a much rarer breed, especially good ones, and so cost a lot more."

In my experience you can *only* get good linux/unix admins, the demand outstrips supply and so they are no cheap ones. Thus there is never really an option to get a cheaper lower skilled version.

Windows admins come in all flavors, the certifications can sometimes mean the opposite to what they should. A tech who has done a couple of years support but no certs will almost always be massively better than someone with certs by no experience.

I've had support jobs with people who used to MS trainers. In both cases, those ex-trainers got moved away from anything technical within a month, and ended up doing something else. One did accounts, another ended up as a mix of admin assistant and payroll. Perfectly intelligent, OK with tech, but fundamentally unable to deal with "real world" IT as compared to idealized lab setups.

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Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

MonkeyCee
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Normcore

"unless you're prepared to get out the sewing scissors at home and unpick the logo stitching."

Hey! I resemble that comment :)

I've unpicked or ironed off* many logos on clothes purchased for me by other people. Even my mum, who has spent forty odd years getting me clothes, keeps thinking that when I say "plain black hoody" I really want some bright pink logo and a picture on it. On the other hand my father in law manages to not only buy ones that fit me, but also monochromatic, no stupid logos and decent zips.

I gathered, from a fashionable friend, that this is apparently "normcore". So even not having a brand is, in fact, a brand....

I'll stoop to wearing logos on tshirts, mainly because the promo ones can often be of quite high quality. Although I'm getting to the age where polo shirts make me look less like a sack of shit. And those buggers seem to always come with a logo. Admittedly a truck flap or a little croc is within my tolerance, still draw the line at names.

* not directly onto the iron, since that'll bugger it, but onto brown paper.

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Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

MonkeyCee
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Re: "notoriously difficult language"

As someone learning Dutch*, I'd also suggest it's not too hard a language to learn for an English speaker. There's an extra 3-4 sounds, which is about the only tricky part.

Since every Dutch region/town/village has it's own dialect, standard Dutch is very carefully organised. A words spelling indicates exactly how it's pronounced, which for a dyslexic like myself is marvelous.

There are also plenty of shared words (and word roots) with middle English and old Dutch being even closer. Plus a bunch of naval terms are Dutch in origin. Thus there are plenty of words that are familiar too.

* thanks Brexit.

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I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

MonkeyCee
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Re: I was pro-remain, but this really is "Project Fear" at work.

Rioting does seem pretty extreme. Maybe from food shortages, but I would expect that if got anywhere close to that the PTB will sort out the food at least. Riots are Not A Good thing, as it's not actually possible to rule without the consent of the people, and showing up the security services (and their masters) makes this more apparent.

I do think that many people have relaxed into the "we've got until the end of 2020 to actually agree stuff" rather than realising that extension is conditional on carious other deals being reached, notably the Irish border.

I'll also note that the Dutch government is currently issuing sensible advice on what to do, especially being prepared to get your paperwork in before March in case of a no-deal.

They also apparently haven't given their sovereignty either, since they are quite happy to offer residence to anyone who is legally living here, or citizenship if you're willing to do the "become a Dutch person course"* without requiring a sign off from the EU. Turns out they like law abiding tax payers....

* "Don't do what naughty Jan doesn't not do" :D

19
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Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep

MonkeyCee
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Re: VM/CMS

Cherry keyboards are also pretty much up to scratch as a Model M.

I picked up a half bust one as part of a gayboy* full of ditched IT kit that I ethically recycled**, via eBay and assorted scrappies. About 60% of the keys worked.

Sent them an email, they felt it was still covered by warranty and as long as I sent the bust one back for QC review I got a free replacement. With brown keys, since I'm never sure if I want it hard or soft ;)

*a small skip :)

** the PMs plan was flytipping.

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