* Posts by Maty

698 posts • joined 6 Jul 2007


Amazon's titchy robots hit the streets, Waymo starts a self-driving car factory...


Might work some places

Yup, the amazon delivery bot will be in deep do-dos in some rough neighbourhoods. Mind you, human drivers are probably not too keen on those neighbourhoods either. (A truckload of deliveries is more valuable than a single delivery in a bot after all.) I'd imagine the bot has all-round vision being streamed back to HQ, so if something does go wrong, amazon knows exactly how it went wrong, and who the perp was.

OTOH a lot of smaller US cities and most Canadian ones are remarkably safe places. Hereabouts, if you want the sort of goodies an amazon bot might deliver, you can probably walk into any garage along the street and help yourself (and God help you if you're caught - there's soooo many ways people can make your life a misery in a small town).

In these or suburban communities with wide pavements, little traffic and almost no crime bots seem a reasonable idea. So yeah, downtown LA might not be practicable, but there's lots of places it can work.

We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD


Rehabilitate, don't exclude

There's not that many letters in the alphabet. If we keep dropping some because they offend we are going to have to go back to cuneiform. (Until someone realizes that the root word of cuneiform is 'cuneus' anyway.)

Personally I'd like to see 'SS' applied to everything from Sam's Sandwiches to Space Shuttles, until the abbreviation is so common that it is no longer azzociated (I'm being very careful here) with a murderous order of thugs from the previous century. So yup, the South Sudan TLD is for me a step in the not-left (still being careful) direction.


Re: Ah, but ...

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness ..." --SLC

Um ...no? I recall once being abroad teaching at an international EFL school. One of the older teachers was explaining to a newbie that until you travel, forrigners are a single undifferentiated mass. One you get to know them, you learn which habits among which nations are the most disgusting, irritating or simply incomprehensible. Eventually you get rather good at knowing which foreigners to hate for what.

At this point,unprompted but with perfect timing, a teacher stormed in, flung a pile of textbooks onto a table and snarled 'God I hate the f*ing French!'

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish


Re: Mortgage brokers

Not everyone with a poor credit rating is a financial risk. I once had to have a credit check because I was involved with managing a business, and it was appalling. The reason was that I've never borrowed money in my life and pay off my credit card every month. Mortgage rates for someone with my credit rating are sky-high, so instead I purchased the house outright.

Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display


Good to see the ancient traditions being maintained

In Greece and Rome the phallus was a symbol of good fortune and abundance. It was regularly carried on religious processions - sometimes requiring several people to do the job.

There was even a deity called Fascinus who was represented by a set of male genitalia, whose image was kept - for some reason - by the Vestal virgins.

So if the students are told to take their symbol down, they have several reasons for refusing on religious grounds. Depending where you work, this image might not be safe for it.


What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs


Re: Border wall

Let's assume this suggestion is halfway serious.

So we're building a border wall. A lot of this is in pretty rough territory that you first have to build access roads for to get the construction materials in. Secondly, imagine building a wall from Paris to Moscow.

The Canada/US border is not that long - it is four times longer. In fact because the border is not straight, and there's factors like Alaska to take into consideration, you are seriously looking at the equivalent of building a wall well over a third of the way around the earth.

By way of comparison, Hadrian's wall would get one sixth of the way across British Columbia, with all of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba before we get to the Great Lakes ...

Much cheaper to just import refugees from the US as we are currently doing - at a cost of CAD 400 million per year. (Seriously)

Just a little heads up: Google is still trying to convince everyone that web apps don't suck


insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

This quote is very annoying for two reasons. Firstly because unless all the other variables in your environment are static you WILL get different results. Try throwing dice for a basic example.

Secondly Einstein was not dumb enough to say that, and he didn't. As far as anyone knows the first use of the quote was by an obscure novelist called Rita Brown in 1983, by which time Einstein wasn't saying anything on account of being long dead,

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone


Re: A paranoid mount option ?

There is a secure device into which you can insert a dodgy USB stick.

It's called a rubbish bin.

Californian chap sets his folks' home on fire by successfully taking out spiders with blowtorch


Black widows

Only good thing about the little buggers is that you have to work quite hard to get one to bite you. Mostly they prefer to get out of the way, or sit quietly even if you disturb stuff around them.

Nevertheless, in parts of North America it's a good idea to check boots before putting them on, and wear work gloves when reaching into dark corners.

I know a guy who does inspections for prospective house buyers, and he reckons that he gets one black widow bite for every 25 or so crawl spaces he checks. It's an occupational hazard and like a mild dose of the flu, apparently.

Manchester man fined £1,440 after neighbours couldn't open windows for stench of dog toffee


bacon grease

Hereabouts people put it on dog poop if a random animal fouls the garden. That way the damn animal cleans up after itself.

Top AI conference NIPS won't change its name amid growing protest over 'bad taste' acronym


If we are going to change every word that someone can possibly get offended by, we are going to have a very small vocabulary remaining.

I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea


Re: Wood floats...

Which is why no-one has ever found a trireme wreck. Those things really were buoyancy-positive. Even if you knocked a dirty great hole in the bottom, it wold just get rather swampy inside. (As contemporary Greeks demonstrated in a number of sea battles.)

OTOH, load a heavy cargo in the bottom, and if the ship stopped displacing water for any reason, and it would go down like a stone - which is why many merchant wrecks from the Roman period have been found.

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean


Security? we've heard of it

One of the things I like about living hereabouts is that dinner parties are usually potluck - you each bring a course. After the dinner the hosts wash up, and you pop around to the house over the next few days and root around in the kitchen until you find the plates you brought the food on - whether the host is home is not really relevant.

Likewise when my wife was visiting family I would discover pre-cooked meals waiting for me in the kitchen, because the neighbours were (unnecessarily) worried about me starving while she was gone.

You do need to close doors though. Another friend looked over her sofa and discovered a bear dragging out the trash bag from the kitchen, and not that long ago a woman hereabouts was attacked by a cougar while watching TV. (Oh, and in British Columbia, Canadian milk comes in plastic bottles, as nature intended.)

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

Big Brother

This isn't about porn

It's about controlling your internet access.

People doing stuff that the government can't control is something a centralized state like the UK finds hard to tolerate. If HMG had set up the internet, we would have licensed users with registered IPs paying a license tax every year, with all usage monitored.

As it is the govt. is playing catch-up. In incremental steps over the past decade, it has banned hate speech, extremist material, violent and other 'unacceptable' porn and now makes people in effect register for the rest. Monitoring and data retention systems ensure compliance. Because terrorists and protecting the children.

They are halfway there. Expect more, much more to come.

Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?


Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

'Irrationally, I'd guess antropomorphism'

Buying something because it has the shape of the antropos font is certainly irrational.

Eat my shorts, watchdog tells every city mayor in the US – FCC approves $2bn 5G telco windfall


Re: Cities still have power

'When the Feds rule something there is still a lot local cities can do to block them ...'

Sir -

Your cynicism in this matter is truly shocking. Shocking, I tell you. I am sure such a thing would never happen in reality.

By the way, on a different matter, did you hear about the Trans-mountain pipeline in British Columbia? There are all sorts of problems getting it built, because the BC government keeps asking for extra environmental impact studies, and then challenging the results in court.

Oh, and the Supreme Court has just ruled that First Nations were inadequately consulted, so that has to be done again, after which the First Nations intend to challenge the environmental impact studies. ...

That syncing feeling when you realise you may be telling Google more than you thought


Re: Shrug

Reason to use Chrome? Well, most websites are configured to run it, and I wouldn't use Edge if they paid me.

OTOH I've got Firefox configured with adblock, noscript and anti-tracking devices along with almost every other type of plug-in disabled, with the result that some websites simply refuse to run. Others are recursive - enable one lot of blocked sites on a webpage to run scripts and they load another lot that want to run their scripts too.

Mostly I just ditch the sites, but occasionally I need the content. So I fire up Chrome (which I regard as insecure by definition) read the contents and close it down again.

BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical


Never document your code.

If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read.

Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out


Rocket science

Um , the first thing the machine said was 'insert cash ...' which was in fact the last thing that Dabbsy did (and the thing which finally worked).

Okay, not everyone speaks Italian, but if he has Google maps on his phone, presumably he also has Google translate?

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops


Re: @AC ... The cat is pretty well out of the bag already


Where do you get the information it was a 9mm? According to the news story linked in the article it was the 'family .22 calibre pistol'.

Actually, catching a 9mm in the neck would be a pretty big, bad, deal. Given the mass/velocity difference a 9mm is much more likely to do serious damage to the many essential bits crammed into the area than a .22 would.

With a .22 he would be unlucky to be fatally injured. With a 9mm he'd be lucky to survive.

Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti


Re: Not biting the hand that feeds it?

'Do they want war? That's what they'll get if they bring down a plane with the orange one in power.'

While I'm no fan of the 'Orange one' let's take a look at significant American military activity this century starting with Afghanistan 2001 (Bush jnr), Iraq 2003 (ditto), Somalia 2007 (Bush again), Lybia 2011 (Obama) Iraq - the surge 2014 (Obama) Isis in mid-east 2014 (Obama).

Going back further we find several wars under Clinton and Bush snr. So far all Trump has managed is a credible prospect of peace talks with North Korea. I'm not saying we won't get a Trump war yet, but compared to his predecessors, to date he's been pretty peaceful.

Sysadmin’s worst client was … his mother! Until his sister called for help


mouse golf!

My father-in-law has a tablet, and constant training has got him to use the basic functions through pure muscle memory.

However, it's a joy to see him at the computer, where he moves the mouse by delicate whacks until the cursor is where he needs it. Actually holding and moving the mouse involves gestures so extravagant that if the pointer wasn't limited to the screen, it would end up in the next room.

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?


Re: When "off duty" and out & about with the Wife ...

This is rather like speaking in a foreign language - it works wonderfully until you try it with someone who knows it, and you didn't know they knew. Then it can get embarrassing.

.- -. -.. -- .- -. -.-- .--. . --- .--. .-.. -.- -. --- -- --- .-. ... .

An easy-breezy attitude to sharing personal data is the only thing keeping the app economy alive


Devil's advocate

Okay, just wondering - why are targeted ads worse than untargeted ones? I pay for my TV programmes by sitting through irrelevant advertisements for stuff I'll never buy - vaginal washes, child-safe products and mildly insulting crap which suggests that any middle-aged white man is a bumbling moron.

By and large online ads show stuff I might actually be interested in - upgrades for my Jeep, outdoor hiking kit and new computer products. Yes, they often get it wrong, and if I buy something online, I don't need twenty more of the damn things. OTOH Amazon's alogs have got it pretty much right, and thanks to their recommendations I've found and enjoyed several new authors.

My local grocer (I live in a small town) often recommends products that he knows I will like, and when our cat died the local SPCA sent us pics of a little feline orphan who is now on the chair next to me as I write. I never feel the need to slap either for' violating my privacy'.

In other words, insensitive and intrusive advertising is unarguably a bad thing. But if people know what you like and use that information sensibly and politely, what's the problem? Seriously, do explain and don't just downvote.

2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations


As Einstein didn't say ...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again on your computer and expecting the same results.

New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination


Re: Does that mean...

'but the sausage fest that academia is ...'

When arguing for gender equality, it's probably not a good idea to identify one gender using derogatory slang that refers to their genitals.

Had you referred to a group of women as, let's say, 'a taco feast' you would rightly be condemned for misogynistic language. It would appear that, as a warrior for equal treatment for men and women, you fail to practice what you preach.

Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!


Re: Well done Google....

'Google never does anything that doesn't directly benefit Google.'

well, yes. I assumed from the start that's what this whole 'https:' thing was about. A year or two back some phone companies announced that they were going to be stripping out ads - including Google's adwords programme - and inserting their own.

e.g. https://www.cnet.com/news/newspapers-to-brave-browser-dont-mess-with-our-ads-or-else/

Google is basically an advertising company that also does search and some other stuff. Threaten their revenue stream and big G will - literally - change the web to stop you.

London cops waste £2.1m on thought crime unit – and they want volunteer informers


'... in an eugenic attempt to preserve racial vitality.'

While not disagreeing with the extreme Spartan proclivity toward practical eugenics, what 'race' are we talking about here? The Spartans did not see themselves as a separate race. Overall, the Spartans were that branch of Greeks called Dorians, but they didn't show any great fondness for other Dorians, yet alone trying to keep that race 'vital'.

As for chucking people off cliffs as a punishment, that was the Romans. Google 'Tarpeian Rock' for details.

NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy


Major crime?

There was an article in the NY Times a while back where a woman sued to get back a gold crucifix that a cop saw dangling from her rear-view mirror and rather fancied. It was the only item of value in the car when it was stopped.

The crucifix was worth <$100 but the woman wanted it back for sentimental reasons and had to spend thousands to do so. And no, she was not stopped for, or accused of, any crime, or even a driving offense (other than driving while being black).

IT plonker stuffed 'destructive' logic bomb into US Army servers in contract revenge attack


Re: Slightly inflated cost estimate here?

What you have here is what we used to call a 'logistics sink'.That's when a incident occurs which allows a military unit to write off stuff that has gone missing/been misappropriated, been broken, or just needs replacing.

As a result a one-minute contact with the enemy can consume a truly amazing amount of equipment. I'd imagine this logic bomb presented the IT folks with a similar opportunity.

Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!


I recall listening in despair on the radio as some numpty of a reserve officer - in a combat zone - gave his unit's map location in clear. Then realizing his error, he gave the same map location again, in code.

Retail serfs to vanish, all thanks to automation


Re: so they are saying

Actually, the guy with a liberal arts degree asks 'Do I need to hire a science, engineering or accounting graduate for this?'

A liberal arts degree pays shit only if you go for a job in that discipline. However, people with degrees in medieval poetry might end up running banks and government ministries. A liberal arts degree shows you can think analytically and deal with and in heaps of BS. There's demand for those skills.

Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life


For the record

According to a survey I read a whiles back, over 90% of people reckon they are above-average drivers. That should tell you all you need to know about the ability of humans to assess risk.

Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full


Does this firing thing only work one way?

Two quotes from this article struck me -

'There's just something about using a long list of stereotypes to argue your pre-decided conclusion that doesn't engender much love in people.' and

"Using someone’s biological sex to essentialize an entire group of people’s personality is like surgically operating with an axe."

I've just finished reading an article in the Guardian entitled ' Salma Hayek is right: compared with women, men are lazy and entitled.' And yes, the rest of the article reads as you might expect after that headline.


Should we confidently expect feminist writer Julie Bindel to be fired by the end of the week? I'm not holding my breath.

Dems fightin' words! FCC's net neutrality murder plot torn apart


Re: Not for profit

'You yanks do appear to have the worst ISPs in the developed world'. 'Appear' is the operative word. Canadian telecoms are way worse - we actually envy the Americans.

Still if the yanks scrap Net Neutrality that might change.

Google tracks what you spend offline to prove its online ads work. And privacy folks are furious


Re: This is why you want anonymous payments

'Civil forfeiture' is simply highway robbery by law enforcement officers in many US states. Abuses have been so rife that congress tried to control it, but discovered that some police departments have become so dependent on the income that they literally cannot survive without what they strip from passing motorists. Many confiscations are for less that $500 because the cops know it's not worth tourists fighting to reclaim the money in court.

It's standard advice in our part of the world that one does not travel in the USA with anything that a law enforcement officer might fancy. In some southern states, that even includes the car - even if you have a vehicle, at times you're better off still using a rental.

If that sounds like exaggeration, consider these cases


Piracy icon can be repurposed here ...

Sweden leaked every car owners' details last year, then tried to hush it up


Re: Too Many Idiots in the Kitchen

I think he meant 'tautology'.

'Oxymoron' btw IS an oxymoron. The word is from classical Greek and means 'sharp-dull'.

AlphaBay and Hansa: About those dark web marketplaces takedowns


Re: TL;DR -

You know, that sounds like you are calling US football players rapists.

Following your link, and leaving out the repitions and unproven claims I found less than 100 cases this year. But let's round it up to 100, to be on the safe side.

Now there are over a million teens and young adults who play football in the USA


Which makes the number of rapists around one in 10,000. This is actually well below the percentage of rapes per male population of the UK. You might as well say British men are rapists.

Now, back to the issue of stupidity ...

Male escort says he gave up IT to do something more meaningful


Re: i did this when i was younger

Thanks guys

Reading this thread was a real ride down memory lane, right to the back of the bike sheds at secondary school. All it lacked was someone bragging that he'd screwed the gym teacher. ..

Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars



This is typical CIA obfuscation. Don't be taken in by this attempt at misdirection. OBVIOUSLY, there is no Mars colony.

It's on Venus.

Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone


not just bad spelling

The name is not only misspelled, it is inaccurate. These are messages to be delivered after death. A swan song should be delivered at the moment of death.

So to use the app as the name says, Dabbsy should spend his last moments in this realm of tears frantically tapping at his keyboard. Otherwise, it's not a swan song but merely a pre-recorded message.

US court decision will destroy the internet, roar Google, Facebook et al


Sometimes it's blatant

For example, I've found entire books photocopied and sold on sites like scribd.com. We're talking technical books that sell for around £40 in a bookshop or on Amazon.

Do the moderators on the site really believe that somebody in Albania has been given permission to sell it online for £2? Or does the fact that they get a cut of every book sold induce a degree of wilful blindness?

Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant


Re: Experts all giving advice how how to stay secure

'Windows 10 was effected'

It was affected. To effect is to put something into operation - as in 'effective'. To affect is to change or influence someting.

Pedantic, I know. But it's one of those errors that actually hurts when I read it.

We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer


Umm... I can see why you chose 'anonymous coward' to post that comment.

Make that 'anonymous coward with poor reading skills' as the photographer was not 'approached by a copper'. In this event, the photographer was approached by a member of the public who seemd to think she was a copper.

You wouldn't be of that persuasion yourself perhaps?

Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?


air dryers - ugh

To quote Sheldon Cooper - I would rather have a diseased orang-utan sneeze on my hands.

Take a bacteria-rich environment, and then pump warm damp air over a dark surface such as the interior of the blower. What could possibly go wrong?

Some reading for the unsqueamish


(We don't seem to have a biohazard icon)

Don't install our buggy Windows 10 Creators Update, begs Microsoft


.. .and the thing about your new windows is that it makes it so much easier anyone who is interested to see what you are doing.

Back to the Future 2: Gasp! America's trade watchdog discovers the risks of 'free' movies


Well, someone had to ...

Tune in next week when Will is going to share with us what he discovered when he typed the phrase "eager beaver" into one of those new-fangled search engines.'

Well, if he'd used Google as I did, he would have found a removal company, two dictionary definitions, a scout adventure camp, a list of animal idioms, and a woodsplitting firm. Even page 10 of the results offered nothing more risque than a Dutch design company.

try #2 was image search with all filters off. The first hundred images were of - surprise - a flat-tailed rodent, which was occasionally depicted on a T-shirt.

More brilliant Internet of Things gadgetry: A £1,300 mousetrap


A better mousetrap

Back a whiles, we had a problem with mice in the kitchen. A friend took a standard 2l plastic coke bottle, cut off the top third, inverted it and duct taped it back on. He then put some minced sausage at the bottom of the bottle and taped it upright to the side of the kitchen cabinet.

Next morning we found that the mice had dropped into the bottle via the inverted top and were awaiting disposal. Total cost - something like 15p + sausage, as the mice had eaten the sausage and the bottle couldn't be recycled.

That's a saving of £1,29.85

DDoS script kiddies are also... actual kiddies, Europol arrests reveal


Tried and true works best

"Well my team and I really concerned ourselves fundamentally with a statistical analysis as a whole; in tandem with and related to a psycho-chemical and broadly speaking a behavioral analysis of over a thousand individuals."

"We've come to the inevitable conclusion that the one course of action that the authorities must take is to cut off their goolies."

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'


Wouldn't 'homophone spellings be a better usage here? 'Homophones' - apart from gay chat lines, obviously - are words with the same sound (homo = same, phonos = sound) but different spellings. For example 'moat' and 'mote'; or indeed 'beanz' and 'beans'.

Homonyms are words with the same spelling but different meanings, such as the Poles who are from Poland and the poles that hold up phone wires.

I'm aware that there's a certain overlap between the two words, that's why my suggestion is 'better usage' rather than 'correct usage'.


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