* Posts by MonkeyCee

987 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013

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Nationwide UK court IT failure farce 'not the result of a cyber attack' – Justice Ministry

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Judicial precedent for refusing to continue ...

"The Judges are highly independent of the executive and legislative branches of the state"

But they are still part of the state. The classical definition is executive, legislative and judicial, with all three being (somewhat) independent.

The executive usually has some power of clemency, being able to pardon certain offences, effectively overruling the judiciary.

Oz auditor: Number of times failed government biometric project met a milestone = None

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Requirements first

"A requirements-gathering process handled by PwC overlooked these, meaning they were also missing from the 2015-issued tender."

Ah, so it was fucked from the start.

If you can't pin down the requirements for a system, especially all the assumed domain knowledge, then things will be fucked.

The method that served me well has been "explain it to a Martian" technique. It will seem stupid, but if a spec is written that an alien could understand it without requiring any additional explanation, then it should be pretty clear to whoever ends up having to write the solution.

Since this often involves much more involvement of the actual users of the system, as compared to manglement (who have a very theoretical view of how things work at best), it often results in a more useful system. It's also HATED by many middle manglement and system architects, as it shows that they don't actually understand what the system is for, or even how the business runs.

If it's not in the requirements, it's not going to be in the product. Yes, even the things you'd assume would be there. If there an assumption, write it down... :D

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: LOL

"other totally sensible and modern reasons that our betters are in the house of Lords."

While having your upper chamber be mainly appointments by previous governments can sound terrible, in practice it actually works quite well. It's one of the various compromises that occur in a constitutional monarchy, whereby certain groups wield a lot of theoretical power, as long as they only use when the other institutions have failed.

Most of the appointments are to individuals who have been involved in politics for years. So picking senators as political veterans means they might actually have a spot more knowledge about the wider ramifications of a policy.

Hence why much of the anti-Brexit activity in the lords wasn't about Brexit per sec, since that's up to the government, but about the government overruling parliament. Which is literally changing sovereignty, as parliament is sovereign in the UK.

The hereditary and ecclesiastical peerages are bollocks. Plus there are plenty of never-been-convicted-so-we-can't call-them-criminals that make their way in there too. The former are at least good for a laugh, as people have to apply for them. The applications have a hard word limit, thus some are truncated in an amusing fashion.

So in theory, terrible for democracy. In practice, quite good at protecting the country from the government.

SpaceX sends Iridium-8 into space while Musk flaunts his retro rocket

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Star bangled banner

"The UK would do well to align with the US and ditch the collapsing EU asap."

I thought Trump had ended the "special relationship" as it wasn't clear to him why the USA would do anything for anyone ever, without getting paid.

Hence why when he won, instead of calling the UK PM first, he called her.... 27th?

I'd also vote for the UK moving to say the Caribbean, so we could align more closely with the USA :D

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Rich gits

"Then again why change the pattern of a lifetime and finish one thing before moving onto the next ten halfarsed, late, underdelivered projects?"

Personally I find Musk as bit of a dick. Ego all over the place, visions of personal glory, picking fights on twitter etc. He's not even being a fun Bond villain anymore :)

But compared to many other mega wealthy individuals, he's actually doing something with his money that might result in making life better. It's supposed to be how market capitalism works, but too often those who've made their billion decide that their purpose is to use that money to shoe off. Subterranean swimming pools in Chelsea, buying sports teams, competing for the silliest yacht etc.

If every millionaire acted a bit more like Musk, maybe we would already have our flying cars.... :)

No plain sailing for Anon hacktivist picked up by Disney cruise ship: 10 years in the cooler for hospital DDoS caper

MonkeyCee Silver badge
Pint

Civil vs criminal

"I have represented myself twice in civil court"

"I would agree that representing yourself in criminal court seems unlikely to succeed."

Can't agree more with both of these statements.

Bear in mind in civil court both parties are equal before the state, so as long as you are prepared for what is happening (which may or may not involve a lawyer), then legal representation is not required. It's also generally only adjudicating over property, which is generally money. Small claims court in particular shouldn't require it, as it would be counter intuitive to it's purpose.

Criminal court is when you can get your rights removed, and this has a need to be thorough. The accused is presumed innocent, and the burden of proof is on the prosecution. A judge may require you to have representation in order to avoid a mistrial, and you'd would indeed be a fool to not have an impartial expert to present your side.

Have a beer for taking companies to small claims. I've been fucked around by larger companies to realise that for some not paying their suppliers until the summons hits is part of their plan. Once it was clear I'd go to court they paid up. As late and as inconvenient as possible, but early enough* that they wouldn't have to pay any share of my costs, since we'd "settled".

* 1645 on the day before the hearing was popular.

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Deepfakes

"Does anyone actually think they're convincing?"

Depends on the purpose. They are about as realistic (IMHO) as photoshop head swaps, and when used for masturbatory, embarrassment or entertainment the fact it's fake doesn't really matter.

Bear in mind things have gone from a lass being hassled about "I've seen you in a porno*" because she was broadly the same shape and looks as the star of the skinflick, to the next generation of lads posting the skinflick and a bunch of pictures of their classmate to reddit and getting one made**. And if it's a phone screen being waved in your face, it's crap quality won't stop it making your life pretty shit for a while.

To their credit the school came down on the guys involved like a ton of bricks. Cops too, the guys now have a record but dodged the most serious charge*** after the restorative justice process went well.

Alas they don't have to be convincing, they have to be convincing *enough*.

*this was in 2000, at high school to SWMBO

** my niece, 2018

*** tried as an adult, if guilty 7-12 years and sex offenders register

Who cracked El Chapo's encrypted chats and brought down the Mexican drug kingpin? Er, his IT manager

MonkeyCee Silver badge

"I want to know how much he was paid for his work. Looking for a short term gig so I can buy a jet."

I fear that the problem with these sort of clients is that while the pay might be very generous, there is no walking away from them. So a short term gig would involve a rather terminal termination.

In the same way you shouldn't take on a gig were the money is too little, be very wary when the money is too much. If they're paying for more than just your skills, then you'd better know what they've also expected to purchase.

On a lighter note, I've had plenty of clients who pay me once to fix something, and then pay me again to never mention it to anyone. Nothing dodgy, husbands who don't want admit to SWMBO* they've buggered the wifi up again, CXOs who couldn't figure out their new shiny, professors who can't use LaTeX, that sort of thing.

* they always knew, one way or another.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Ways out

"Why did he help the police?"

They offered him something the cartel could not. Which at a guess would be freedom, albeit in hiding, rather than early retirement.

Maybe getting him and his family somewhere safe, so they can live out their lives in an extremely boring fashion. Like Rincewind, once life has shown you just how interesting it can be, sometimes being bored is the best thing possible.

I would also guess that he was targeted by the cops, since turning a tech-for-hire is probably easier (and more palatable to a jury) than someone on the more "conventional" cartel management ladder. He probably was more in fear of the cartel than feeling like he was a part of it. So it's entirely possible that the cops let him make his own demands.

I would expect that the Butcher's lawyers will at least make some allusions as to what the chap has been given, so the details of his deal might even make it into open court.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Tough, he made his choice.

"He made his choices and he'll have to live with them."

Personally I think you're being a wee bit harsh on the fella.

In order to prosecute people in organised crime, especially anyone more than a couple of levels above the street, you have to use informants. These people will not be nice people, and will have done bad things. In fact, often the more useful the informant, the scummier they are.

So either we never prosecute a boss (or underboss, or even the guy running a crew on a corner), or we accept that we're going to forgive someone, in exchange for them testifying against the boss.

Considering that (as far as I can tell) the tech didn't actually commit any other crimes, that's actually pretty good deal from societies point of view. In order to put other bosses in jail people have been forgiven for multiple homicides and multitudes of other heinous crimes.

Going on the witness stand against "the butcher" takes some balls. Knowing that he's going to never be safe, and any family or friends he has also won't be safe is a hard task.

In my experience most people (not just techs) are happy to turn a blind eye and take their pay cheque, without even the threat of violence. The amount of grief I've been given for making otherwise decent people have to follow the law* does make me worry about societies morals and ethics. Just because something has become the norm doesn't mean it's the correct thing to do. Just because you're being paid and someone said "don't worry, it's fine" doesn't mean it is.

I'm sure there are plenty of techs out there who are taking dirty money, fully aware of what they are doing and not putting their bosses in jail. And dirty lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. Save you're ire for them. They won't be getting their names in the paper anytime soon either.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

* specifically money laundering. If it walks like a duck etc. When a payment should go A to B, but actually involves a myriad of loans and debt swaps via C through Q, then you can't just accept the client's word that it's kosher. I lasted six weeks before I got my contract terminated early, but they did cough up six months wages.

It'll soon be even more illegal to fly drones near UK airports

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Keystone Cops @veti

"Who reported these sightings and where were they located at the time?"

IIRC airport staff mainly, some of whom were outside the terminals at the time. Of the 93 accounts the cops took, none were from members of the public.

The term "sightings" seems to have suggested to certain people that they actually saw the drone. From my experience with the little buggers, you can hear a drone (and any aircraft in general) much more easily than see it, and it can be hard to even get the right direction based off that.

You'll note that at no point has a description of the drone has been released. But if you're standing on a runway and can hear a drone's rotors, it's almost certainly in controlled airspace.

"Any journalist worth their salt should have been able capable of following this basic line of investigation yet apparently not a single one did so."

They did. But apparently google is broken in your neck of the woods, so don't let that stop the fud :D

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: The silence is deafening

"Curious how the story has rapidly been squashed, and not one enterprising journalist has written anything about why, given the massive disruption, nothing much has been done."

I"m not sure nothing is quite what I'd say has happened. Seems plenty of people deployed, some fancy kit from the army and rounding up all the drone owners :D

Part of the issue appears to be that there isn't an effective method to stop this. While it's entertaining to read the various eagle/shotgun/laser solutions, it's clear that there isn't a simple one available. There also seemed to be plenty of stuff written about it at the time, including much discussion about whether the drone(s) existed at all.

Considering just how many people want to believe things that are obviously bollocks, and how clever they think they are*, I'd have been shocked if people would accept the given line, even if it agrees with Occam's razor.

* Note to those denying the moon landings: Neil Armstrong is not impressed by you confronting him with the "truth"

Florida man stumbles on biggest prime number after working plucky i5 CPU for 12 days straight

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Math is hard

"Computing the n-th Mersenne prime "

I'm not certain, but my recollection is that they are not calculating the sequence of Mersenne primes, and that if we had a method for calculating the n-th one then there is a possible inductive proof of the finite/infinite nature of them.

What we have is a method of creating potential Mersenne primes (as described in the article) using existing primes and methods to test if these are in fact prime.

"does not add a iota to the the proof that the set of Mersenne primes is finite, infinite or that this is an undecidable conjecture."

Wasn't your "proof" attempting to show that they are in fact finite? Perhaps I misunderstood.

Being able to compute continually larger Mersenne primes may not prove that they are infinite, but may be close enough for practical purposes. In the same way you can't prove linear optimizations are efficient, but in application they are, the set of Mersenne primes may be large enough to be close enough to infinity for the purpose at hand.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Math is hard

"This is a prime number from which the number (2^Mlargest)-1 can be derived. Because this can not be a prime"

Please submit some proof of this. If you start with the assumption that Mlargest is the largest, then simply asserting that there are no larger Mersenne primes is a fallacy.

Essentially the argument presented is: Assume p is true: Therefore p is true.

Ignoring this, lets move on to the next part:

"Because this can not be a prime, it should be the product of two or more primes. At least one of its factors is expected to be larger than Mlargest."

I'll just let the bad math slide, and stick with conclusions. Even if one of the factors is prime and larger than Mlargest (note, you've not actually proved that such a factor exists or is in fact prime), then you still need to show the factor is not only prime, but a Mersenne prime.

I'm looking forward to your proof of P = nP

Apparently it just involves some hard thinking :D

Pewdiepie fanboi printer, Chromecast haxxx0r retreats, says they're 'afraid of being caught'

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Dumb 'Follower' learns life lesson ....... yet again !!!???

"The law is blind and does not generally care about ..... 'I was only ...' type excuses.:

IANAL and all that.

For some things the law does care quite a lot about intent. The difference between murder and manslaughter, or for the left pondians difference between murder one and murder two as an example. Same applies for consent, if you voluntarily engage in a boxing match then you punching the other chap isn't assault. Punch the same chap out of the ring and it is. Cutting someone's ripcage open then chopping out and replacing parts of their heart is GBH/attempted murder, unless it's being done by a surgeon on a patient that has agreed to the procedure (and the risks involved).

As noted in the article, the Computer Misuse Act doesn't contain an automatic exemption for intent.

But thanks to the wonder that is Common law, a judge could choose to exercise their judgement to rule that in a specific case a crime was committed, but that it was part of an action that justified the crime. The example often given is seeing a house on fire with a person trapped in it, then breaking down the door and getting them out. It's breaking and entering, but since the intent was clearly to help someone and not nick their stuff, and the person would probably have wanted you to do so, then it would be highly unlikely you'd be prosecuted.

Since open ports on home devices are probably not a matter of life and death, I wouldn't expect these guys (I'm assuming they are male...) to have sort of cover from that.

I'm not familiar enough with code Napoleon systems to say if there is an equivalent, but intent often matters a great deal legally.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Directors - nor Profesors

"For example, a list for what is allowed for naming a child."

Germany does one better. Not only rules on what names you can have, but also about what names it will accept.

I have a friend who worked there. Her name is Sam. It's not short for Samantha, her legal name is Sam.

German registration systems couldn't cope, because Sam is a boys name only, gottverdammt.

So she ended up with two sets of details. One entirely correct, apart from her gender. The other accurate apart from her christian name.

As for restricting professional terms, Germany and the Netherlands consider homeopathy to be a medical specialty. So only MDs can be homeopaths. Thus there are an awful lot less homeopaths, and the ones that do practice can actually diagnose (and refer) people who have a genuine complaint rather than the worried well. It's also a good use for people who have the ability and drive to get a MD, but cannot emotionally cope with patients dying*.

* I worked at a med school, and if there was a way to test if someone could cope with the guilt/stress of patient deaths then they would use it when people are about 3-4 years in, rather than spend a fortune and 10+ years to discover that someone can't actually practise.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Technician Vs Engineer

"You have to be a little careful there. Try substituting "nurse" and "general practitioner." "

The main difference between a nurse and a nurse/general practitioner is legal responsibility.

A nurse can follow best current practice, get the treatment wrong in the 1/100 cases that aren't what they appear to be, and not be liable. The practitioner is expected to be aware of the 1/100 possibility, and to test/cover for that eventuality.

In reality the nurse will probably be aware that there is a 1/100 possibility, and make sure their treatment gets reviewed, and the NP/GP will sometimes miss those cases.

So it's not too dissimilar. The GP knows what you need to be treated for (and takes responsibility for getting it wrong) but may not know the current best treatment. Given that information, the nurse (who gets constant training and certification) then applies the treatment. Both can do the others job, but probably not as well.

In the same way a good engineer relies on good field techs to do the actual nitty gritty, and the techs rely on the engineer having correctly designed the system.

This is based of having parental units who are RN and a GP, and asking why doctors get paid more :)

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Great for this Engineer

"What did all the real scientists think of that?"

My school is in the department of Science, since the university got fed up of all the dinky departments and wanted us all integrated into the larger ones. We're the only one that had a clear fit, since we sit a few medicine papers (neuroscience, diagnostics) and take students from other faculties to do our papers (calc, databases and CS mainly).

There is a bit of a bun fight over teaching calc, since the business school also teaches a calc course, and would like us all to do it one group. The problem is that calc for engineers is a lot harder than calc for economics, despite it being the same subject matter.

It's quite common for our engineering graduates to do their masters in the medicine faculty, such as doing signal processing on medical diagnostics. So our grads do more proportionally more "science" (ie research) than most of the MD graduates, since it turns people who train as doctors tend to want to practise and not research :)

If the majority of your papers for your degree are math or science, then generally it's accepted that it's a BSC. Or in the case of us, BSC(hons). Because engineering apparently :D

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Great for this Engineer

"For one thing, there is very little actual core information about software"

I did a second year paper on software engineering. There is quite a bit written about it, and much is useful and applicable. It's much more about speccing* and designing a system, knowing what sort of patterns to use, what you should and shouldn't re-use, etc.

It's the only course other than computer security which did much work on designing for security. Along with various other things that if you're not taking in to account throughout the whole process of design and implementation will cause your software to have fatal flaws.

Plus there was a whole section on correctly documenting all the parts of the process. It was one of the harder non-medical papers, partially because the two hour labs required us to produce actual work at the end of each session, with a hard deadline.

It's run by one of the department hard-arses, which is a good thing. He's a "proper" engineer (mechanical then robotics) and extremely demanding.

"descriptions of programming languages and some discussion of algorithms"

That should all be in first year papers. CS1, CS2, algos and optimization, should cover some OOL language, python and some flavour of C. Most of the more specialized languages get taught as part of the relevant courses (prolog and R). If you're doing a CS or programming degree I'd expect to have some grounding in assembly too.

"For another, few software practitioners have actually read many, or even any, of the core documents documents that do exist -- Hamming, Knuth, etc."

I'd add the mythical man hour to that list. While we weren't expected to read them, they have all been pointed out to us in the "if you want greater depth, go here" part of the lectures.

So while I'm not a software engineer (or programmer for that matter) I can tell the difference. In the same way there is a massive difference between a mechanic and a mechanical engineer, the engineer might not be able to fix your car, but they should know how a mechanic works, and design things to make their life easier.

It's the micro/macro split. The engineer should have a macro view, and ensure all parts work together. The micro view is when given a defined part of the problem to solve, the programmer builds that part. Engineer != programmer :D

"I can't say that I've ever been overly impressed with academic credentials per se, or, in many cases, with people who tout them."

I'm not either, but you should be able to ask someone what they actually did as part of their study. For example a CS graduate should have built a multi-tasking OS from scratch, possibly as part of a group. A knowledge engineer (I fucking hate my department name at times) should be able to build effective (and ideally adaptive) search algos and utilise the assorted ML techniques, and then be able to explain what they can and can't do to a non-technical audience.

So while I have a degree with "Engineer" and "Scientist" in it, I don't consider myself an engineer. Maybe a baby scientist, since I tend to be the main researcher in project groups (ie go read all the papers). Plus my thesis** was suitably abstract, rather than building a robot.

* yes, that's technically requirements engineering.

** Prisoner's dilemma with communication results in a different Nash equilibrium than without communication. Affectionately known around the department as my "Nash was wrong and a bit of a bastard" paper :D

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

MonkeyCee Silver badge

"What are you, a fucking 8-year-old? It's a TV series for children."

I take you didn't actually watch this season then? Dead Nan/wife, the grieving process, sexism, paternal responsibilities, dehumanizing work practices, automation of work and loss of identity, the partition of India and subsequent ethnic cleansing (with bonus fratricide) are a bit more young adult than kids stuff.

It's been a good season, but it's brought me to tears more than a few times. Which may be an adult thing, or an absent father thing*, or one of the joys of being a parent**, but dismissing Dr Who as a kids show misses quite a lot of the point.

Plus there's the general message of non-violent compromise**, respect for life and trying to understand what the other person wants.

So it might be a kids show, but it's a damn sight better than most adult shows out there.

*"You don't have to be the best parent, you just have to be there"

** The whole "dead kid" as a characters backstory is depressingly common. Went from "yeah, whatever" to "I can't watch this" after my son came along.

*** OK, feeding an alien an anti-matter bomb may not be entirely non-violent :D

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Not at this address

"but have you every tried proving that you *don't* live at an address?"

Yeah, see my identity theft story up a bit :)

So far I've used "I hadn't been in the country for two years" which worked pretty well. The other was getting them to look at streetview (or a map) to see that 88A was one property (where I lived) but 88B-A was an apartment in the building behind 88A, so it wasn't a typo and they were different properties. And at the relevent time I lived elsewhere, and was on the lease.

If I hadn't been on the lease at various places it would have been quite a bit harder.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Same as boss

I had one job in a small (20 person) company were I had the same name as the MD.

In practise I used my married name (to avoid confusion) but it still took a moment each time when someone said "oh hi Mark, must be busy if you're answering the SD phone" and when I explained I was the other Mark, they'd say "oh, so not Mark XXXX" (my actual name) and I'd have to say no....

The boss did get me to handle sales calls, on the basis that I wasn't lying when I said I was Mark XXXX at company Y :D

LinkedIn can't tell us apart either, so I just leave that company off my CV.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Start cancelling the flights.

"Mrs Outgoing Scorn"

Married I guess. Plenty of outgoing scorn then :D

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Common names

While I've had more than a few experiences of this, email isn't usually to bad. It's not often legally recognised, so wrong ID is a pain, but isn't going to mess your life up.

My problem is that I rented a house that was number 88A. 88B was an apartment block (40 odd) that helpfully used letters for it's apartments.

Someone with the same first and last name as me lived at 88B-A. He was responsible for fire damage at a previous property, and the insurance company was after him.

Every year (until I moved) an insurance "investigator" would "find" me again, and I'd get a demand notice (for 30 grand) from the insurer. The first time it took a little convincing, but demonstrating that I had a different middle name, birthdate and was renting somewhere else when the fire occurred got them off my backs. Each time after that it was a lot quicker, mainly because there were some notes on the file.

Apparently the "investigator" got paid for each person he located, even if was clearly bollocks. After the third time I made a formal complaint, and after that I could just contact someone directly at complaints.

Then I found out that my credit had been downgraded due to this bollocks. Which took a lot longer to sort out, as once I'd got this guys unpaid debt on my record, various other agencies decided that we were in fact the same person.

Sometimes I really wish it was just email....

What happens when a Royal Navy warship sees a NATO task force headed straight for it? A crash course in Morse

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: After you. No, after you!

"even naval vessels tend not to actively intend to ram another vessel"

At least a couple of the UK frigates were refitted to enable them to be better at, er, ramming. Plus both sides were ramming each other, exactly who being at fault each time being dependent on whose reports you read. Pretty sure the Icelandic sailor that died was after they got rammed.

It's interesting to note just how effective the propaganda was on both sides. Most of the brits who bring it up seem to act like we were in the right, we won, and it was totally worth pushing a strategically important NATO member and ally around. Oh, and ignoring the ICJ, but such is the wont of an imperial power :)

Bear in mind the UK government was happy to spend a fortune willy waving, but took over 30 years to actually help out those who lost their jobs.

Silicon Valley CEO thrown in the cooler for three years, ordered to pay back $1.5m for bullsh*tting investors

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Bah!

"It's not "Latex"? What is it, then?"

Lay-tech.

It's somewhat niche nature means the user group isn't one to be too bitchy about software naming, so we don't get religious wars like over pronouncing gif/jif.

The Great British Curry: Put down the takeaway, you're cooking tonight

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Excellent Article

"How the hell do you get the kind of heat intensity into, for example, a wok like they do in Indian and Chinese outlets?"

I use gas and cast iron pans. The pans are heavy, and hold a lot of heat. So you stick them on a burner and don't add too much at a time.

They are often hated by everyone else, and often get dumped. They are not cheap new, and often require you to season and treat them, which is quite a bit of hassle compared to using teflon coated stuff and wooden implements for home cooking.

Keep an eye out in second hand shops and yard sales. If you're very keen then going to auctions for restaurant equipment can also work, but unless you're in the market for other kitchen stuff it seems overkill for a pan :)

I've picked up a couple that had wrecked handles, and they work just as well, apart from being more tricky to handle when hot.

Your mates vape. Your boss quit smoking. You promised to quit in 2019. But how will Big Tobacco give it up?

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Shisha?

"Fruit flavoured tobacco products were banned in the 1950-60s across most of the world"

So the shisha bars that I've seen in the UK and Europe are illegal? Since all the tobacco products sold there are flavoured, it would seem odd if they were banned.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Look out

"Caffeine is a tough one to break because, like alcohol, the withdrawal effects can be dangerous."

Completely agree, my point was that claiming you can give up caffeine anytime would imply that you've not actually tried to do so. Like smokers claiming they can quit anytime.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Look out

"And how's your National Front doing, then?"

Pretty shit. It's one of the smaller far right groups. The EDL and BNP are more of an issue, and they are still pretty minor.

While the UK cops might not be armed, they do seem to manage to do their jobs when policing protest groups, and are quite happy to prosecute the violent protesters from either side of the political spectrum.

But in America, you'd better not be a lefty. Since then if you get stabbed, you'll get prosecuted for causing affray and having a dangerous weapon (skateboard). Because clearly antifa is worse than the fascists :)

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: John Grisham was 'ere

If he publishes as Iain M. Banks then it's sci-fi, usually Culture books. If he's published as Iain Banks it's fiction, although some are kinda Culture flavoured. Most of his stuff is worth a read, the last few have been a bit variable.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Look out

"Caffeine addiction isn't anywhere near as bad."

Being a fan of both substances for cranking out analytical problems, I can assure you that caffeine withdrawal is considerably worse.

No nicotine after a pack a day makes me cranky. No caffeine after a six cup a day habit gives me migraines without light sensitivity.

Personally I'd be happy seeing booze banned, but I accept that despite it's evils a lot of people need/want it in their life. I used to work in pubs, and while ashtrays were gross, the various bodily emissions of drunks were usually far worse. Never been assaulted by someone who had one too many cigars.

I vape now, since it's much more pleasant for those I have to inflict it on, but you observe the normal social code for these things. Smoking where you eat in public is generally not acceptable. Plus you look pretty damn douchey doing it, so you'd better make an effort to not be a prick. That dude was clearly being one,

EU politely asks if China could stop snaffling IP as precondition for doing business

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: @TheSkunkyMonk

"Medical equipment costs a lot, because they're specialty products, need many (local) certifications, and the companies producing them are not selling a several X-Ray machines, ultracentrifuges or electron microscopes in large quantities."

The medical manufacturers around here cover all ends. Small cheap field units to proper diagnostic kit.

Most of the big stuff that you mention is sold with 12-20 service contract and the capital cost financed across the same period. The clinicians need it kept up to spec, and it means that you get the same team building and supporting them.

In general medical kit is over engineered and over priced. But there is demand for that, and if you're going to insist on holding quality to the max, then we all know what other parts of the iron triangle have to give way.

Could you speak up a bit? I didn't catch your password

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Australia day

@jake the correct plural of aussies is cunts. I have found that Australia does indeed contain masses of cunts. Thus I would suggest that there are indeed masses of aussies.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: They just need to make the penalty so outsized

"The police have been doing extremely well at catching drone operators operating around prisons......"

In that they actually catch some now, they are.

My understanding from correctional officers is that it is the predominant method of smuggling contraband, based in part on catching less contraband in other methods whilst those methods have improved. Mainly non invasive scanning being able to spot internally stashed goods.

You can also hear them. And often spot them. But you still have at least a dozen inmates per CO, so you have a limited amount of response available. They used to lock down the wing that the drone landed on, but they often land it on one, then fly to another after 5 minutes. Or fly six drones in at once. Or have a fight kick off then a couple of drones come in while everyone is busy.

Most common contraband is tobacco products and cellphones, followed by your usual range of recreational substances and steroids.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: terminal velocity

"G is about 9.8ms-2 (it was meant to be 10 but you know how it is when you're doing a rush job and having to work Saturday overtime)."

Nah, we just got m a bit wrong :)

Since we're defining at a fraction of c anyway, I thought we could have cleared it all up.

I'm sure no-one would mind the small adjustments needed :D :D :D

Error pop-up? Don't worry, let's just get this migration done... BTW it's my day off tomorrow

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Project Planning

Even better, I booked my xmas leave in June, got told I was being silly "we're not in that week, it all goes to the Oz desk". Still booked it, still got approved. Suggested my team do it too.

October rolls around, turns out Oz is shitty about taking our calls (no surprise, they have nfi about our clients) so manglement tried to ask us to stay, then tried to revoke our leave, then tried to enforce our contracts.

Turns out HR fucked up the contracts (I'd pointed this out to them several times) so when they tried to holds us to their terms, we went work to rule.

We were an afterhours team. 1800-0200 in the week, 0700 - 1900 weekends. Our contracts said we worked M-F between 0700 and 1800.

So after accepting they couldn't force us under contract, manglement announced that, bugger rules and promises, we would be covering xmas.

So half the team (including myself) quit.

Guess what happened. Yup, now there wasn't enough team to cover xmas, Oz would have to do it.

But they did lose their supervisor and two most skilled techs. So well played....

Incidentally, I did work there again, albeit at 3x the rate. New manager, who was quite happy to see me, since he knew bloody well why the previous manger had gotten the boot.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

CS grads

"I wonder how many undergrads these days are expected to write a multi-tasking operating system?"

If you're doing a computer science degree, it should be a third year project. At least my buddies who did them had to that.

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: "environmental rights terrorists"

The legal definitions don't include intimidation.

USA (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)

"the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives"

UK Terrorism act 2006

"terrorism is a violent action that:

- Endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action

- Involves serious violence against a person

- Causes serious damage to property

- Creates a serious risk to the public’s health and safety

- Interferes with or seriously disrupts an electronic system"

Now the last two do apply to these jokers at Gatwick, but lets be clear, legally a terrorist must be involved in violence, damage or serious risk to safety.

Intimidation is it's own crime.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Anyone see the drones ? Anyone at all ?

MSM = this poster doesn't believe in Occam's razor

What they mean is that any new source that bothers following journalistic rules (that's the main stream bit) like checking facts and sources is highly suspect. Random on the internet are much better informed :)

BTW rancid, they've arrested a couple of folks over it now. So it appears that not only the drones existed, but so did the pilots.

They may yet turn out to be illuminati paid for by Soros and Clinton, rather than disgruntled locals but we'll have to wait and see :)

Ding dong merrily on high. In Berkeley, the bots are singeing: Self-driving college cooler droid goes up in flames

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Theft

"Note most of the birds in NZ will tell you what their names are"

Well, Tuis make their own damn songs up anyway, moreporks/ruru certainly do (boo-boo?) but kiwis are more ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-EE-EE-EE-ee-ee-ee. None of that short restraint nonsense, at least around Karori.

Alas the best singers often get et. Unless Morgan is in charge and it's open season on moggies :D

Oh Deer! Poacher sentenced to 12 months of regular Bambi screenings in the cooler

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

"Same for fishing, though that doesn't seem to evoke the same sort of sentiments against the practice as hunting even though they seem morally equivalent to me."

Apart from flying helicopters in otherwise peaceful places, anglers generally are not much hassle when you're sharing their space in the great outdoors.

Hunters, and I'm going with the responsible ones here, hopefully mean that you just have to wear blaze and you hear the odd shot. I'm not too bothered, some people are freaked out by gunshots. I guess you could kill a person with a fishing pole, but someone carrying a long gun looks like a soldier to many people.

Dangerous idiots with guns, like these clowns, deserve all the punishment they can get.

I've been camping with shooters nearby lamping. Shining a light around, shooting at anything that reflects the light. Not safe, no idea if it was in season.

What would the advice be? I hear tell of having a gun for self defence, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable firing a long gun at another person if they were just being dangerous, and not actually trying to kill me. Shining a light might get me shot at, which I'm not keen on.

Rather boringly what I did was call the cops and DoC (it was public land managed by them), then dug a shallow trench and cowered in my sleeping bag in it.

All for hunting by people who know what their doing. Bring the hammer down on those that aren't, they're a public menace.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: 'Murica never ceases...

"I'd also like to see suicide removed form the stats "

Why? People with access to pistols commit suicide at a much higher rate than those that don't (eg vets in the UK). It's the same way that people with swimming pools drown more often (and a swimming pool is more likely to kill a child than a gun in the same house), there is a clear correlation.

I'm fairly sure that gun owners aren't any more suicidal than the rest of the population, it's just an extremely easy way to top yourself. Still doesn't change that roughly two thirds of firearm fatalities are self inflicted.

As far as recording a verdict of suicide, there are a variety of reasons why a coroner might record accidental death from self inflicted injuries rather than suicide. If there is a clear pattern of someone winding up their life, putting their affairs in order, leaving a note and doing it, then probably. But the stigma and shame attached to it, and the guilt those left behind feel, may make it easier to lay the blame as an accident.

Plus accidents with firearms happen, so splitting up the cases is tricky.

The only people who are doing much study of it seem to be the military, since 22 veterans take their own lives each day. Often with a gun.

Who's watching you from an unmarked van while you shop in London? Cops with facial recog tech

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: False positives

"Even detection methods we actually consider working have high false positive rates when the thing they detect is rare."

While I agree that simply having a high false positive rate is not an indicator of a bad test, from what statistics I've seen from facial recognition from the Met it indicates that the system is generally not making ANY true positives. From 80 hours of surveillance they identified two persons of interest, one of whom was not a suspect, the other had already been dealt with, but he hadn't been taken off the naughty list.

So a grand total of ZERO actual criminals caught or crimes prevented.

Compared to other surveillance techniques, it's awful. Even CCTV is better, and that's saying a lot. ANPR from an elevated camera (spotter plane) has about 40% false positives, mainly as it only gets partial data. But since you've got other factors (vehicle colour etc) you can detect them pretty quickly.

Assume that it took at a minimum two sworn officers to man this. That's 80 hours that a pair of cops could have been on the beat, being visible etc. Which turns out actually reduces crime....

Vitamin Water gets massive publicity for new flavor: Utter BS

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Free advertising

"Do I take it "vitamin water" is something 'merkins would automatically recognise as a brand name?"

Not American, but living outside of the UK and I recognise it. It's not bad, but I'll drink blue powerade. So the "natural healthy" aspect isn't for me.

Essentially it's the whole scam of selling a bottle of water for a couple of bucks. The water (or water based beverage) costs generally more to keep sterile, bottle and distribute than to manufacture, so it's all down to marketing. and putting the appropriate filling and label on it. It's what Cola and Pepsi do so well :)

It's also why brand name soft drinks are so expensive. Even when they cut out sugar in exchange for cheaper sweeteners, they cost at least twice what the full fat varieties do. For advertising. So you end up paying more for a product, in order to have money spent persuading you to buy said product.

An AI system has just created the most realistic looking photos ever

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Nvidia did what?

"selling hardware is what they are interested in"

In terms of the ML space, no. Renting, sure, but owning, ROFL. They aren't even clear where they draw the line, so there is no academic exemption, or hardware specific. If they don't like the code you're running on their card, then no CUDA for you.

We're not allowed to teach our ML students how to do it on a nVidia GPU, since that might suddenly make my 300 euro gaming GPU suddenly require a 10k pa dev licence that the uni would be on the hook for. AMD is much more helpful, since there stuff seems like it's released by engineers, not lawyers.

In terms of cost, assuming a card lasts two years, roughly 80% of the total cost it is licencing fees versus hardware. 5k card, 20k licence.

For the machines which do have that fat nVidia tax paid for, it's generally not the most expensive piece of software on the box. Oddly enough, the companies that make that software give me "free" copies, because I'll be using it for academic purposes.

Spending watchdog points finger at Capita for 1,300 shortfall in British Army rookies

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: TBF...

"how it was often framed by recruitment organisations"

I believe one of the early maxims you learn in life is "the recruiting sergeant lied" :)

Razer offers freebies to gamers who descend into its coin mine

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: What is Razer thinking ?

"They target the performance market, ie gamers who are willing to put top dollar to get good equipment "

If you're using a keyboard and mouse for 8+ hours a day, why would you use anything other than a decent IO device?

This post written on a mechanical keyboard with red switches that would get me beaten to death if I used repeatedly in an open plan office.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Waste of Electricity

"Razer have cleverly invented a way to achieve massively distributed crypto-mining without the need to pay for hardware or a room to house it"

Well, no.

There are several groups out there who have desktop mining applications that will do a basic tuning of your card, mine "optimal" coins and pay you out in the coin of your choice.

There are plenty more groups who do part of those processes. Often a lot better than the optimal coin mining etc.

You can get coins by running a server instance, where reliability is more important than any other thing. Running a mining pool or masternodes can pay you quite well for much less power cost. Obviously much more technical knowledge, and a chunk of funny money for the masternode wallet..

"Parents who aren't aware of this will probably never notice."

Whoever is paying the power bill will notice. If it's a power + heating bill, they may not. It's winter here, so running a half kilawatt heater for ~8 hours is about the same as running a 300W rig for ~12.

"The sooner we ban wasteful "wealth creation" scams like crypto-coins, the better."

IMHO it should fall under the same rules as gambling. Depending on your country, banning that may or may not fly.

For me it's a convenient and fungible non-currency asset. Have a mixed basket and all that, although I never keep much of it, so I missed some of the highs but also the lows.

"they have no value until someone pays real money for them"

That's pretty much the best definition of "value" we have :) Would you rather have a tin of beans or a gold coin? It depends on the situation.

I would suggest that at least one of the features that made the various coins take off is the ability to purchase drugs in a relatively safe and anonymous manner. That's a pretty big market. Plus a spot of money laundering and shadow banking, and there will be too many interested parties to ever let the die.

"inventing new scams to trick others into paying the mining costs remains a dominant strategy"

At least we agree here :) I don't mind if I know a webpage cracks out an extra cent or two of power to my CPU if it tells me. Just be upfront.

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