* Posts by Jack of Shadows

2656 posts • joined 11 Jul 2014

Springwatch: Windows 10 spotters May have to wait a few more weeks

Jack of Shadows
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Re: That's really spooky .....

I've a .reg file good to go just in case. Personally, I'm not using Windows 10 at all. Just another item in my field kit.

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Academics: Shutting down Facebook API damages research, oversight, competition

Jack of Shadows
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I suspect that money is a factor here, on the academic side. Back in the mid-1970's (early teen years), I'd often be one of the subjects for various sociology and psychology experiments at the university. In return, I received $50 if the session was one hour or less, $75 for longer. Back then, that was a serious chunk of cash. Still notable now even with inflation. Currently, that trough of data is collected at Facebook's expense and presented with no additional cost. Quite a difference between then and now.

Even today I still say yes to the doctors at the VA when they need a bit of mine to help out, whether it's time or DNA, whatever. That's free though. At least it gives the doctors, interns and medical students a known sample to work with. Very well known. I'm stuck in the hospital so ... what the heck. Beats counting holes in ceiling tiles.

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TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!

Jack of Shadows
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Re: "Load Balancer Errors" is the clue

Been there, done that and happens to be a specialty here as I migrate systems from mainframe to (network of) server PC's and, sometimes, even back to mainframe, too. It's when you can't do this that should start Big Ben loud alarms inside your head.

Extra-points for turning your validation feature into an additional biz continuity feature.

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Medic! Orangeworm malware targets hospitals worldwide

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Orangeworm malware ?

I spent a year working a temporary job at the Veterans Administration hospital, responsible for all the medical coding which went on to the medical billing section there and guess what? I can't fill them out correctly either. Oh, and they are always looking for me to add another billing provider. Bad enough the ping-pong I'm going through with the hospital and the ambulance companies, toss in another provider into the mix? Yikes!

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Jack of Shadows
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Having seen the state of IT security in health care up close (and personal), it really is an easy target. This might also explain the prevalence of manufacturing firms in the infected list as that's the other low-hanging fruit, even if unintentional. Their systems are ancient, too.

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Scratch Earth-killer asteroid off your list of existential threats

Jack of Shadows
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Heck, the number of objects that appear in the Minor Planet Digest that are detected and classified with under two to three days before closest approach is quite disturbing. Phased array radars at L4 and L5 would be useful although quite expensive. Now what to do when you have your existential crisis is another matter, something that Russia is attempting to address all on their own. Chelyabinsk was their wake-up call.

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1.5 BEEELLION sensitive files found exposed online dwarf Panama Papers leak

Jack of Shadows
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Unhappy

The Elephant in the Room

Having looked at far too many reports over the last thirty years where it is reported that businesses, the small and especially the large, that do not have a handle on what data is on their own devices let alone what is resident other people's machines (personal/work laptop, "cloud", co-location, ...). So, when that business tells you that they do not hold any data on you, can you believe them? And how, exactly, do you prove that they are lying? I would not be surprised in the least that the ICO gets carpet bombed in reports from individuals on "possible" violations to such an extent that they'll have years of backlog.

Having spent the last week sorting through files here and tucking them into their appropriate places, the only thing I'm certain of here is that no data on European subjects is resident on any of my devices, remote or local. I did find a disturbing number of intellectual property related files that were exposed and I've always thought better of myself in that regard. Oops.

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Facebook can’t count, says Cambridge Analytica

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Numbers

'Twas ever thus. "How to Lie With Statistics."

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As Zuck apologizes again... Facebook admits 'most' of its 2bn+ users may have had public profiles slurped by bots

Jack of Shadows
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Re: But, but, but.....

I agree that it's an interesting idea however you run into the glitch around labor's and capital's shares of business's income. The historical split has been about 2/3rd to 1/3rd so that probably needs to be factored in as well for the monthly fee. Not that this is ever going to happen. There are certain services that I'm willing to part money for out there in the "cyber-economy" and this would be one I'd consider.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: Leaks vs Breaches vs Hacks

Given that corporations are people too, at least in the US, you have to include them in the final tally. Come to think of it, when are we going to count myriad of myriads corpus electronic as well?

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Facebook want us to believe banning Putin's troll army safeguards Russian democracy

Jack of Shadows
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Don't forget Zuckerberg unloading his controlling interest/full voting shares over the years. Let some sucker buy those up.

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Linux 4.16 arrives, keeps melting Meltdown, preps to axe eight CPUs

Jack of Shadows
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Re: "the absence of an MMU was a PITA..."

The primary reason I selected the Amiga 1000 was the review in Byte magazine which covered the "how" of its multitasking. Having a solid background in mainframes and having deal with personal computers of the time period (1985), there was no way in Hell I was going to demand anything less. Turns out that a machine designed as a premium games platform may not have been a total success as a game machine, it made a wonderful multitasking machine. However, do recall it was also the design of the custom coprocessors by Jay Miner that lent a serious helping hand. Prior to that, if you wanted to see that level of coprocessor interaction, you had to go look at an IBM mainframe. [There may have been others, I just know the IBM's best.]

I still miss mi Amigas, especially when I have to have extremely overrated specs on a current generation machine just to do what it did out of the box. Thirty years ago.

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Watchdog growls at Tesla for spilling death crash details: 'Autopilot on, hands off wheel'

Jack of Shadows
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FAIL

Re: Walter had complained to his Tesla dealer...

As an engineer, if my car swerves more than twice at the same location on Autopilot, I'd have my fscking hands on the steering wheel while passing through that location.* I really wonder about his state of mind.

*- "Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; thrice is enemy action."

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Here is your low down on TensorFlow updates, France's AI strategy, and a new DeepMind lab

Jack of Shadows
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WTF?

Wild Guess

Access to data is key to training AI models. The report called for a policy that will provide “an opportunity to speed up the opening of public data”. But warned that must be in line with the rules in the General Data Protection Regulation that will be enforced on 25 May.

Perhaps declaring AI as a national security matter so all the extent public/private data is gathered under this umbrella and its now GDPR allowed use? Also invokes the sovereignty concern.

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Any social media accounts to declare? US wants travelers to tell

Jack of Shadows
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I agree with Malia. Hell, I'm a citizen, an information pack-rat and I'd be hard put to fill in some of that information. They aren't applying for a security clearance, I hope. That seems to be the standard applied.

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SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

Jack of Shadows
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Re: CNN clickbait

Somewhat the same here although BBC is just one on the list. At the very least, I know the bias for the Beeb. Ditto the Grauniad, The Economist, anything out of Asia. Even Sky New, RT and al Jazheera are useful as a bounds check.

Way back when I wore the uniform, I preferred to have a clue who might be shooting at me and, possibly, why. You can pretty much forget warning of what's going to go up the pole relying on the US media.

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Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Humm

There's been a whole lot of copying SSO over the decades. Were it my software API's (hell, all software interfaces, perhaps even some hardware specific interfaces in things like FPGA), I'd be nervously looking over my shoulder at whether IBM, AT&T, and all the other systems companies over that period. Libraries do qualify as an API.

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Details of 600,000 foreign visitors to UK go up in smoke thanks to shonky border database

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Guardian has more details.

Those have always been my positions here on the USian side of the pond. I'd add that serving in the military is an automatic path to citizenship. Here in California, we're going to our economy collapse without immigrant workers at both ends of the spectrum: agriculture which is desperately trying to switch to robots where possible; Silicon Valley and our universities post-grad researchers. But Trump....

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Boffins laugh in the face of Twitter's API limits. Now they can slurp info to their hearts' content

Jack of Shadows
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Re: A guess as to how long this is going to last

That doesn't matter. I've been scraping since the beginning of the WWW, at first just to find out how someone else did a "neat hack" as they did the same with me. As time went on, the tools to do so became even more sophisticated. There's two rather nice things that lately have improved the process radically. Containers and automation, Kubernetes for instance. If they rate limit effectively, rather than bandage to holes in their API, stand up more instances and have at. Dump it all in a database, e.g. Amazon or on site. This isn't nuclear engineering. I know how to do that already. It's just figuring out how to tickle their systems just right. That and not letting anyone know what you've done until well afterwards, like when your papers have passed peer-review.

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Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

Jack of Shadows
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Re: The hardware underneath

The roll-your-own movement is still alive and kicking as a direct result of governmental overreach. They are a solid part of the people I hang out with on the weekends. There already exist CPU's which have been verified as being per specifications, without additions. Operating system kernels formally verified. Each program as well. And so forth as we work up the stack. Note: Everything outside the device is considered insecure. There's some special theories about securing communications beyond the end point, considered an essential feature in the face of a determined attacker.

There's also a solid group trying to figure out ways to operate in an environment where you can't trust any device or its components. That group is operating at a level that loses me. I really need to upgrade my maths to correspond to what they are practicing.

Interesting problems and it's not like I have much else to do these days.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: The hardware underneath

The major problem with trying to utilize unused bandwidth, CPU cycles, storage, ad nauseum are the cable, telecomms, and other ISP's themselves. Try running a server and see how far you get. As a matter of fact, I would really like a business internet connection via Comcast Business. They aren't even willing to try even though we have their all up service here. That's completely ignoring the asymmetric nature of normal services. That's the other reason I wanted a business connection here, it's symmetric. 1 TB on each of storage on several services doesn't do much good if you can't upload fast enough to do any good. Oh, and that's ignoring all sorts of free consumer accounts.

If Dovecoat goes anywhere, I'm willing to find ways with or around our ISP. Hell, just host it on somebody else's server (Amazon, ....).

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Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

Jack of Shadows
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First off, IANAL. I did a walkabout at other sites to gain some clarity on this. If you have an API with a defined interface, it doesn't matter one whit that the underlying implementation differs from the copyrighted API's descriptions. Clean room implementation doesn't mean squat in legal terms. Since copyright is simply assumed on creation of the IP, we have a serious problem. Frankly, were IBM to be vindictive, everyone that was involved in the whole IBM PC clone process way back in the 1980's is a valid target.

What is not immediately clear is exactly how much correspondence there has to be in the header files between two different implemenations. What if I keep the function name, number of parameters the same between implementations but alter the variables names passed. That's a good Fair Use question right there. {Shrug?}

On further review, anyone using my API's from when I was serving in the military has a problem as I was instructed to assert copyright. [Something that was changed after I was out on disability.] I'm not the least bit interested in a lawsuit asking for damages. I wonder how many others feel this way?

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Jack of Shadows
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The CAFC is fscking insane. This decision is giving me a migraine just trying to figure out what the implications for software, system, and hardware engineering. What's transformative, or no, is another can of worms. What I do know is that my previous work is "technically" not infringing as I engineered my code from basic principles of the disciplines involved. No cut and paste there. On the other hand, proving it would be a problem.

Umm..., has anyone given thought on how this plays out on Stack Overload let alone GitHub and every other coding, especially sharing code? Thought not. Frag.

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Mac fans' eyes mist over: Someone's re-created HyperCard

Jack of Shadows
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Re: That reminds me...

Thank you, I was wracking my brain to recall the Amiga equivalent. It wasn't something I was interested in as I started with Lattice C, transitioned to Aztec C. Any scripting that would involve anything in the RKM's (ROM Kernel Manuals for the unwashed) I'd do in Khalid alDoseri's Scriptit language. Spent some sleepless nights trying to figure more things for it to do. I did have ARexx, just never saw the need.

Fond memories.

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Foxconn embiggens footprint with nearly a BEEELLION for Belkin

Jack of Shadows
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Having seen repeated examples of Apple screwing over firms that are totally dependent on Apple to remain in existence, probably an excellent move on Foxconn's part.

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FCC boss to block 'national security risk' companies (cough, Huawei, ZTE) from US's $8.5bn broadband pot

Jack of Shadows
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Re: NDA

Yep. Something Idjit Pai seems to be steering towards as rapidly as he can.

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Jack of Shadows
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How Deep Do You Want to Go

Any component that is sourced outside the US is a supply chain risk. Think back to the failures over the years due to substandard components such as capacitors. It isn't just chips or assembled equipment. Be lovely to see F-35's crashing due to over temp on marginal equipment or surges of one sort or another. NOT.

Supply chain risk is something that has only recently reared its head amongst the halls of power. In the security community we've been thinking hard on it for some 15 years that I've been involved. How often are glue chips decapped to verify their isn't something dodgy going on? Conducted a random sample of resistors using a gas chromatograph recently and regularly? How about that hydraulic actuator? Absolutely no easy answers or quick fixes. And it won't be cheap either.

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Hurrah! TLS 1.3 is here. Now to implement it and put it into software

Jack of Shadows
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I do hope that they are not just doing tests and debugging session but have a few people looking for side-channel attack possibilities. That's usually platform implementation specific.

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Google lobbies hard to derail new US privacy laws – using dodgy stats

Jack of Shadows
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Thumb Up

Followed the links...

... and wasn't surprised at all about the content. Facebook 18.175 KB, Google 73.493KB (Euro notation). Neither of them hold a candle to what the Veterans Administration holds. That's in GB's, rather a lot of them. One curious artifact is that Google Timeline has me sitting here at the address for my Room & Board for the last 16+ years while all Google's services real time determine my location by the location I open a VPN portal. Amazon has the same problem. I'll have to check where Facebook thinks I'm located. Not owning a mobile phone really does have benefits. YMMV as most people can't imagine living without their life support smartphone device.

While I was there at both I did go through and correct what ads they will be presenting me with. I have zero interest in basketball and football (US or rest of the world's versions). Ditto automobiles or other vehicles. What was good to see there, and this tracks in practice, is their keying in on IT/EEE/Maker interests. Which is useful. Again, YMMV. Hell it's certain to vary from my use case.

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You'll like this: Facebook probed by US watchdog amid privacy storm

Jack of Shadows
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Joke

Re: Enjoy!

Probes always bring the X-Files to mind. Mr Z deserves a visit by Aliens.

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UK.gov unveils cyber security export strategy – only thing missing is the strategy

Jack of Shadows
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Just two things

(1) Export controls, as controlled by DTI's Export Control Joint Unit. (2) On a positive note, if they can just get their shit in the same sock, Blighty would really have something there. Given that everyone seems equally incompetent in this field of endevour, I'm not going to hold my breath here.

Aside: Just once I'd like to read something that recognizes the fact that security is multifaceted. Physical, network, endpoint and personnel either reinforce each other or leave a gaping whole to be exploited. It's something I thought about a lot in the military while armed. And since, though unarmed now. {Sigh}

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Reg writer wins quite prestigious journalism prism

Jack of Shadows
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Pint

Amazingly Prescient

As befits a futurist. Congratulations.

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Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Exodus from Facebook? Seens that wayl

The curious thing is that Elon wasn't aware that SpaceX and Tesla even had Facebook pages. He got those nuked. So far though, Instagram accounts still exist even though it's also part of Facebooks empire.

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UK watchdog finally gets search warrant for Cambridge Analytica's totally not empty offices

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Elvis has left the building

It'd be one of the NoSQL graph databases. Several examples, even one from GCHQ, are F/OSS. It's not rocket science as applied by Wall Street firms. As to hardware, that really depends on how much wait time your willing to accept with your queries.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: Why? And what's all the fuss about?

@The Nazz

I've always loved the creation, care and feeding of databases; they fit right into my bent on doing the same with models. They are the model once you create your rules sets. From everything I've read, and I've been reading rather a lot, the creation of this dataset was done using Facebook's graph database and Facebook's API's. It's a bit rich for Facebook to come back and say that this was wrong. I'd put Mr. Z up against the wall especially for his comments and non-apologies.

And the worst part? Way too many people, including nation-state actors, have extracted similar datasets. Apparent acts in accordance power-conflict theory, thanks Marx, as applied to IT. Looks like we need an ethics course for all of IT, and related professional fields. Not that they seem to work as applied to lawyers or journalists.

As to the ICO, they were either complicit or willfully blind. This was all known about for years. Were they interested at what was harvested and held, they could have applied for an API key and had someone with an inkling about databases see what they could turn up. I've been able to do this, with a total lack of documentation on mainframes since I began working with computers. Way back when ISAM was king which is saying something. One tool, comes with every OS I've run into, pointed at the database itself. I guess they need to bring some database/data-scientist types with a clue.

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Good news: The only thing standing between NASA and $20bn is...

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Omnibus

Supreme Court decided that the line item veto was unconstitutional twenty years ago. You'd have to get a reversal and stare decisis means that is highly unlikely. Frankly, I place better odds on getting it via a constitutional amendment. I like the idea, just a'int gonna happen.

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NAND chips are going to stay too pricey for flash to slit disk's throat...

Jack of Shadows
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Re: hardware cost per GB isn't all

Wh/TB = Watt x hours/TB. It's the total amount of work required per terabyte of stored information for any given period of time. Pretty much a proxy for TCO for a particular amount stored after acquisition. Now figuring that out for Infinidat's gear would be an interesting data point as well.

Personally, my heart lies with Infinidat's approach even if in the real world I do not get to make the choice of gear required. Not always, anyway.

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UK Court of Appeal settles reseller's question: Is software a good?

Jack of Shadows
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FAIL

Re: The good, the bad, and the ugly

@aks

Wrong. There are quite a number of software engineers in this world that use formal methods to engineer software that is bug free, as it must be when dealing with safety critical systems. Planes that crash themselves are not acceptable. And in the instances where this does occur, failure analysis methods are used to determine why the formal methods failed. Every case with which I am familiar, we've found that it was the failure to completely apply formalism that was the causative agent.

No one has ever found a bug in my software and that's going on thirty years now, across multiple platforms. Believe, you will hear about it as a number of people will end up quite dead with a few billion dollars in damages.

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Fake news is fake data, 'which makes it our problem', info-slurpers told

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Given that a lie is half way around the world....

Poisson distribution, surely. Lop off the news that arrives first, setting your own cut-off. Now to turn it into AI as that's all the rage. Hmmm.... Figuring out the training data classification is still a cast-iron bitch.

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Jack of Shadows
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Don't get me started on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. [That was 40 years in the making.] What caught my eye and apropos of your comment:

"It's non-linear math, the data goes through a lot of transformations, and actually it's a learning system so the data is changing all the time, so you can't actually explain how the decision is made."

Being only a (not so) humble econometrician is that this CEO doesn't even listen to his own data scientists. Unless someone is hiding their work*, all the systems are determined using a forward linear system with one, or more, feedback mechanisms. They are quite deterministic. Feed them the same data, get the same weighted neural net out. Unless you insert jitter which I've not come across. Yet.

Where the problem lies is that you have to keep all the live/training data around to justify the model you are using in your business processes. So you have all that data subject to the GDPR, used to create a model, for which you must keep all that data subject to the GDPR to justify your model. Hello circular loop.

*- Back in the late '90's, word got out at the hospital at the time that I had become something of expert around experimental design, statistical/mathematical methods, models and scientific computing in every field that might make use of them. It was my new thang. Anyhow I developed an autonomous, non-linear neural net to forecast future case management by population and the diseases/conditions that will be presented. It was a number crunching monster, especially as it would dynamically play with what non-linear functions should be used at each neuron. Autonomous as it was only told the data type. It figured out its own neural topology. Non-linear as we are working with biomedical processes. Yeah, I was over at the medical school for a few of my courses on their take on scientific computing.

Start it, let it run a week to ten days, come back. Hopefully it ran to completion. There is no way in hell I could explain that puppy's decisions. Justify the elements in the process? Yeah. Otherwise? {Shrug} Anyway, I have a pretty good bullshit detector on this stuff.

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BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....

Jack of Shadows
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Re: cellphone, mobile, handy

Just don't ever call a Korean Japanese. The results can be fatal. I'm serious.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: cellphone, mobile, handy

Is that even possible?

Yes, however the result is the instantaneous formation of a quantum black hole, which results in its release of Hawking radiation and destruction. Best not to be too close. Naked singularities are a bitch.

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'R2D2' stops disk-wipe malware before it executes evil commands

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Re-inventing the wheel?

It's the integration of introspection into the constant flow of I/O of the device(s). Doing it on the fly continuously can be cheaper than doing the same snapshots every two hours albeit a longer operation to execute and, further, less useful. Rollback of small snapshots is very inexpensive. I also like the whitelisting. The example given of reinstalling the OS is a valid point, if not one I'd pick.

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Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Mozilla isn't the only one pulling ads.

Nope. Not even close even should every First World citizen drop them like a hot rock. There's always the rest of the planet to exploit. Well the rest less China. They will adapt. They always do.

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Jack of Shadows
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Mozilla says it will take a “wait and see” approach: if satisfied by what Mark Zuckerberg delivers in his promise to make privacy settings “more protective”, “specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning”.

Good luck with that. I checked and the defaults for third party apps I saw was default permissive. I corrected that although whether Facebook will allow my settings to stick is an open problem. [Yeah, I know. It's a family thing.]

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What a hang up: US big box biz Best Buy kicks Huawei to the curb

Jack of Shadows
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The two places on earth where I experienced outright racism, as an apparent white*, were Japan and China. Surprises a lot of people who haven't been there.

*- Quarter Mohawk but don't claim it as I'm a pretty lame one. Heights terrify me.

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Troubled Watchkeeper drones miss crucial UK flight safety certificate

Jack of Shadows
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Re: Watchkeeper, a byword for failure

Yeah, we have that club over here in the United States as well. I was involved in a project* earlier in my service where we picked up the hardware, of the rack, and beat it to death in testing. Worked well, so the Navy deployed it to all ships. That's the way to do it, IMNSHO.

*- Battle Group Navigational Improvement Pilot Project if anyone cares. Also got to play with rather nice HP computer and a backpack GPS which was new at the time. Fun.

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US mulls drafting gray-haired hackers during times of crisis

Jack of Shadows
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I can't speak for the Air Force but for the other services if you have a unique talent, they treat you with kid gloves. I spent half my 13+ year career as a de facto CTO despite being a mid-grade (E3-6) enlisted puke. Having saved a major IT project where heads would roll starting with admirals, I didn't have to worry about promotion, not that that was ever a problem. My formal title was "Special Projects." Nice little box right off the top of the table of organization, me and a couple of petty officers I was training as my replacements. And yes, I did code. It was all safety critical so zero bugs was essential. No one ever found one, yet. Fuck up that kind of code and end up in a federal prison. No thank you. As a matter of fact, I learned from IBM engineers, back in the day, who had that mindset already.

I'm autistic, beyond Asperger's, so compatibility with rank structures wasn't something I could do. As I said, they treat you with kid gloves and accept your quirks. Same with my sister in the Army and the people I knew from the Marine Corps. So, what you are portraying it as and the reality on the ground, or at sea, aren't true.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: Could be interesting

Oh yes, I can do evil very well. Slip in some irony for extra points.

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Jack of Shadows
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Re: I'm closer to 60 than 50 ...

I've yet to see a (mainframe) computer, radar, radio, or navigation set run away from me. If it did, I'd shoot it. (OTOH, if it doesn't move, you're supposed to paint it.) That's why I find the whole absolute perfect physical health requirement idiotic. I'm fit enough* that if the ship takes some hits, I can fix that too. Just need some pain killers afterward. Not my call though.

*- I've achieved qualification in all of damage control as well as helmsman, quartermaster and navigator of the watch including underway refueling. I miss it all terribly much.

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