* Posts by Paul Kinsler

454 posts • joined 9 Aug 2007

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IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Paul Kinsler

you could vote for the tunes you wanted to hear!

Since phones these days are qute smart, maybe someone should invent a protocol so that your phone gets to play its own(ers) preferred on-hold music/ radio play/ news reports/ whatever while waiting.

Also, maybe there's a new ElReg colum here - not "On Call", but "On Hold" :-)

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EU security think tank ENISA looks for IoT security, can't find any

Paul Kinsler

Re: force the user to update the even the default unique credentials

Some devices already have buttons to re/connect to the wifi. It might be easier to set (eg) a double-press to allow net-based admin login access for the next 15 minutes, which would cut down the attack window by a considerable fraction. Many users should easily understand "double-click for admin"; whereas many (most?) clearly cannot be bothered with password changing, and mandating stuff will not change that.

Not perfect, but might be more consumer friendly than mandatory ban-hammers. Comments?

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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

Paul Kinsler

There was ONE exception, [...] deaf [ish] due to an explosion,

If true, I might guess it was because his damaged hearing had been rendered incompatible with the compression tricks of MP3 (which are only designed for normal hearing).

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Vigorous tiny vibrations help our universe swell, say particle boffins

Paul Kinsler

Re: If so, where is the center of the universe?

Consider the surface of a ball (note the surface only, not the volume contained within it).

Q1) Whereabouts on that surface would (or could) you put a marker that says "centre"?[1]

Q2) Would everyone agree about the location of that central point?[2]

[1] Anywhere

[2] Probably not. Why should they?

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RIP Bob Taylor: Internet, desktop PC pioneer powers down at 85

Paul Kinsler

Re: only be noted by a handful of technical journals.

FWIW, I read an obituary in the Guardian (iirc), and a search on "bob taylor" + obit suggests other mainstream news sources also carried them.

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Feel guilty for scoffing Easter chocolate? Good news: Scientists have made NEGATIVE mass

Paul Kinsler

From the abstract: "condensate whose dispersion features a region of negative mass"

AJ is correct, although here they are claiming a hydrodynamic version of the effect; but there seem to be a fair number of (admittedly unsurprising) approximations to get to the hydrodynamic model, so perhaps "hydrodynamic-like" version might be a better phrase.

This is essentially a dynamic effect: i.e. if you wobble the condensate in the right way it reacts as if it has negative mass - but given a long continuous push, it will not. In fact very mearly all "negative" mass/poisson-ratio/ permittivity/ refractive-index/ etc claims are of this dynamic type.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

Paul Kinsler

Small mirrors?

A 60kW laser hitting a drone covered with 98% reflectivity mirrors would still heat the target at a rate of 1.2kW. That still might be enough to adversely affect the drone.

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Dark matter drought hits older galaxies: Boffins are, rightly, baffled

Paul Kinsler

"where grants drives physics"

You do know we only want the grants so we can do more physics, don't you.

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Is that a phone in your hand – or a gun? This neural network reckons it has it all figured out

Paul Kinsler

..and criminals get away with murder using

Presumably this will be sort of a first-pass over cctv evidence: any obvious guns will be found quickly by the system, and those sections checked straight away; and if necessary the whole tape could be looked by eye as presently.

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DeepMind. Blockchain. Medical records. Google. AI – wow, we just won machine learning bingo!

Paul Kinsler

incorrect information

Presumably you just add a correction, which would superceed (but not delete) the bad info...

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Look! Up in the sky! Is it a drone? Is it a car? It's both, crossed with Uber

Paul Kinsler

"The internal combustion engine" [...] is designed to use fossil fuels

Actually, it's designed to burn hydrocarbons, the fact that we mostly get those hydrocarbons from fossil sources is a side issue.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Paul Kinsler

Re: Household loads are becoming increasingly non-linear

Note that the single phase meters tested showed "no deviation beyond the specification could be observed; no influence of interference due to interfering or distorted voltage, and no influence caused by interfering currents were observed"

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YouTube TV will be huge. Apple must respond

Paul Kinsler

Re: Is this the same recommendation engine that recommends ...

It's like a conspiracy, I tell you.

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IBM UK: Oh, remote workers. We want to be colocated with you again

Paul Kinsler

Re: Laying people off is expensive - redundancy payments etc

Laying people off need not be expensive, if you've been careful[1] to not offer more than the statutory minimum redundancy payment. Presumably IBM do pay more, however.

[1] other adjectives may apply.

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

Paul Kinsler

Re: my old Zaurus

Shocking - abandoned in a drawer!?

I still use my SL5500 as an alarm clock (I like the little chirp noise, and I can use the calendar to set as many weird waking up time as I like, eg a whole weeks worth of different times at one sitting).

Also I installed Opie on my Yoga for an awsome[1] Giant Zaurus Experience.

[1] May not be as awesome as all that, and probably not worth the time spent on source-tweakage necessary to get it to build given all the bitrot, but anyway...

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I want it hot and wet – preferably with Wi-Fi

Paul Kinsler

Re: Rotherhithe

You should have got off at Canada Water, especially given its less than a 5min walk from Rotherhithe station anyway. Nice big ticket hall, some seats, cafe was probably open, and the adjacent shiny library opens at 8, I think.

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People built AI bots to improve Wikipedia. Then they started squabbling in petty edit wars, sigh

Paul Kinsler

Re: You could have a PhD and thirty years experience researching the subject

I don't have quite thirty years yet, but I do have a PhD, and I keep an eye on the rss feeds for several electromagnetism-related wikipedia pages. Mostly the changes are benign, or random vandalism which is reverted by bot, or dealt with by somebody else, so the net workload is almost vanishingly small, ... unless I have a burst of enthusiasm for improving something.

However, I dare say it might be different if I were to take an interest in more controversial subjects.

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Ex-employees sued for £15m over data slurpage ordered to pay up just £2

Paul Kinsler
Joke

"metadata [...] had been erased after he installed Windows 10"

At last, a verifiable use-case for Windows 10!

Mind you, it might a have telemeter-ed the metadata to Redmond first... :-)

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Third time lucky: ICANN beats off .africa ban

Paul Kinsler

maybe

they should just award one party ".africa", and the other ".african", chosen by lottery; and let all the enthusiastic africa/n web users chose which they prefer.

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Intel's Atom C2000 chips are bricking products – and it's not just Cisco hit

Paul Kinsler

Re: The problem only occurs there because the Kuga was never designed to run upside down.

And isn't reported in Australia because it gets blamed on bushfires instead. :-)

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A non-Standards Soviet approved measure of weight? Sod off, BBC!

Paul Kinsler

Re: I believe Giraffes are a unit of time.

Well of course they are - just divide the GSL by the speed of light c to convert to time.

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'Mafia' of ageing scientists, academics and politicos suck at picking tech 'winners'

Paul Kinsler

Re: All new science buildings seem to need an atrium.

Having spent quite a lot of time in science buildings over the years (mostly physics ones), I can testify (IME) to the slightly-grim corridor-heavy scruffiness of almost all of them; although occasionally you get lucky and might get a brief period of generic 90's office, or a superficial refurb where they paint the walls white, add a few extra lights, and change the floor covering. In general, some evidence that the architect actually thought people might be working there at some point would be nice, although slightly more reliable-than-average lifts are also appreciated.

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'Maker' couple asphyxiated, probably by laser cutter fumes

Paul Kinsler

Re: The problem with mandating a CO detector in every property is ... where is it to be sited ?

Well, when I bought mine, I tried reading the little instruction booklet which came with it.

IIRC, height & proximity to the likely source seemed to be the important factor.

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Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

Paul Kinsler

Re: Technomagic

Or, "any sufficiently primitive Magic is indistinguishable from Technology".

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Uber coughs up $20m after 'lying about how much its drivers make'

Paul Kinsler

"those with the grit and gumption to work 160 hours per week might ..."

... not be in a fit state to drive?

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Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

Paul Kinsler

pink?

Probably "green" was chosen so "green screen OD", with its longer colour name, and the rhyme, wouldn't be as snappy to say as "blue screen OD".

It's a nice marketing trick, which may even work if they can just stop Windows crashing as not-infrequently as it apparently does atm.

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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

Paul Kinsler
Happy

Re: replaced them with an AI editor.

... but just imagine what they could do with an AO!

[*] Artificial Orlowski

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

Paul Kinsler

Re: I dread the Bladerunner sequel.

But what if it's a Lego-based Bladerunner sequel?.

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WINNER! Crush your loved ones at Connect Four this Christmas

Paul Kinsler

Re: Is there really an ...

If so, they didn't put a lot of thought into their acronym.

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Men! If you want to win at board games this Christmas, turn off the rock music – scientists

Paul Kinsler

They chose the wrong song.

Once upon a time one of my friends tried to psych me out with four hours of harpsichord music while playing World in Flames (or similar). He claimed that it was just that he liked harpsichord music, but even after all this time I'm still not convinced.

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All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

Paul Kinsler

Re: Helicopter carried on an open flight deck ?

Perhaps the helicopter is not intended to /stay/ landed on it for any length of time?

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PoisonTap fools your PC into thinking the whole internet lives in an rPi

Paul Kinsler

Hmm...

Presumably there's some way of configuring dhclient so that it only tries known/pre-specified interfaces?

I can see from the man page how to set options for specified interfaces, but not how to ignore others which might appear (with potentially unexpected names or numberings).

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Boffins find Galaxy making killer radiation, rule out Samsung phone as source

Paul Kinsler

[mathematics] "frightens even physicists"

There is also an interesting article/comment/reply sequence discussing this here (all in NJP hence open access)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/17/1/013036

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/18/11/118003

http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/18/11/118004

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CERN boffins see strange ... oh, wait, that's just New Zealand moving 2m north

Paul Kinsler
Happy

Re: That's one hell of an expensive seismometer

But now I'm just left wondering "where is the data from the proper (LIGO) seismometer?"

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Twitter trolls are destroying democracy, warn eggheads

Paul Kinsler

Re: following it up with a comment from the Librarian!

We are always interested to hear more about the works of Dmitry Alexandrovich Gromov.

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Paul Kinsler

Re: Pre web? Did you never see/use Usenet?

Early internet "social media" were (at least in my experience) just that, /social/ media: e.g. usenet was based on groups, irc had channels. You might have thrown your ego about in such forums, and some were admins or moderators, but essentially the forum was about the group or social interest of those who turned up and posted/talked there.

In contrast, contemporary social media tend to be explicitly about ego: e.g. /my/ twitter feed, /my/ facebook page. I think it changes how we see and use the medium, and what we expect of it. Likewise, the up/down-vote scoring sometimes seen in this kind of "ego-media" changes the default experience of the internet glasshouse.

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What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

Paul Kinsler

Re: Lightnings! For about thirty seconds until they were out of fuel.

Perhaps Canberras then?

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How do you make a qubit 10 times as stable? Dress it up for work

Paul Kinsler

Re: And the bullshit keeps rolling on

Science almost always /isn't/ the stuff which make it into science press releases - do not confuse media reports of science with the real thing.

Feel free to peruse some open-access real-science at e.g.

http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/1367-2630

https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/home.cfm

https://journals.aps.org/prx/

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NHS patients must be taught to share their data, says EU lobby group

Paul Kinsler

Re: When you can guarantee me that my data won't get pilfered by hackers ...

I think that even with the best will in the world that guarantee will never happen.

More practically, there should be defined compensation to be paid by each entity using the data, to each person whose data it is, in the event of a breach and or/leak and/or misuse.

Then we will be able to be sure there will be real incentive for the data to be handled correctly, and so have a reasonable hope that it /will/ be handled correctly... but if not, compensation will be paid. Perhaps 10k per record over tens of millions of patients might concentrate the mind a bit.

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The answer to Internet of Things madness? Open source, of course!

Paul Kinsler

Re: "Look, I can do stuff with it over the Internet" as if that's a good thing.

Well, to be fair, I might well have bought several sorts of mostly pointless iot-like objects by now, if only for the entertainment value of mucking about with it over the net ... ... ... except for the fact that I manifestly couldn't trust them, what with the various "communicate with manufacturer's servers", security problems, no proper patching, not open source, obscure control protocols, and other fun features they have.

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AI software should be able to register its own patents, law prof argues

Paul Kinsler

Re: if you can't comprehend enforcing a patent then you don't get one.

It seems to me you could also use this as a test to determine whether humans (or indeed anything else) should be able to patent things. Is this the intent of your criterion, or are you just trying to discriminate against things that might be called AI's? :-)

It seemed clear from the article that the prof was just thinking ahead, since from the third-last paragraph: "The idea of computers achieving legal personhood status is a long way away, he acknowledges". So it doesn't seem likely that he was thinking about contemporary so-called "AI" systems, which is the ones you seem to be objecting to in this context.

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Simpsons creator Matt Groening once drew Mac heaven for Apple

Paul Kinsler

Alpha

There were a couple of Alpha's in the physics department at UQ before 1994; they may have been blindingly fast, but seemed less so when you didn't have (i.e. couldn't afford) enough memory and had to do large matrix calculations by swapping virtual memory off disk. I recall my computations were so i/o bound that I got maybe 4% of the cpu speed.

Not the fault of the machine, though, which was quite nice.

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Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious

Paul Kinsler

Re: Autopilot on an aircraft is seen as an aid to the pilot, ...

I think "autopilot" is likely to be taken to mean "pilots itself in most ordinary circumstances".

What might count as a perfectly adequate set-and-(partly)-forget autopilot for an aeroplane, allowing a pilot to take care of other tasks whilst being prepared to take back control is hopelessly inadequate for coping with the complexities of ground/road traffic: aeroplanes have a much reduced traffic density to care about, and aren't confined to bendy roads with intersections, multifarious obstructions to vision, and so on. A road-traffic autopilot needs to be vastly more sophisticated than one for air-traffic to achieve the same "pilots itself in most ordinary circumstances" ability.

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Ofcom punts network-sniffing Android app

Paul Kinsler

Re: So why download an app whose it's main purpose is to gather data?

Just because they are ok with the collection with one sort of data (signal strength/ network performance or whatever) does not mean they are necessarily happy with the collection of other data - e.g. their use of games or social media apps.

That said, I've no idea what the data collection was or is in this case - just making a distinction which may be helpful here.

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Infected Android phones could flood America's 911 with DDoS attacks

Paul Kinsler

Re: I can't see what the Android angle is

"The hackers used a discrete event simulator (DES) and a handful of Samsung phones to test their work" ... presumably android ones, since that's what the majority of Samsung smartphones are?

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Paul Kinsler

rules would have to be tweaked to allow dropping emergency calls from unknown subscribers/devices

A more minimal tweak might be to allow calls from "known" & "unknown" s/devices to be queued separately, and in the event of capacity problems, to answer each queue alternately. Then, in an anonymized DDos, the two queues would be very different lengths so that "known" calls would be more likely to be answered, but you wouldn't ignore all "unknown" calls.

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Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

Paul Kinsler

Re: The crew cancelled a ground proximity warning,

They might consider themselves lucky they got to cancel it.

I recall that the ground proximity warning was the last thing that the pilots of Air NZ flight 901 that crashed into Mt Erebus heard. That was the result of a coordinate input error also, if I recall correctly (albeit a somewhat more complicated one).

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It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

Paul Kinsler

actual evidence for anything being a "gateway"?

Just because there are many dubious and/or overblown "gateway" claims, typically being somewhat doom-laden, does not mean there are no "gateway" like scenarios which actually occur.

Notably, I might recast a common, and largely uncontentious narrative of the form "inspirational teacher in year X led me to do Y" as a "gateway experience in year X led me to do Y" - the actual events haven't altered, just the language used.

Further, there could easily be competing analyses of a situation, with A claiming that there is no significant gateway effect since very few in its presence went further, while B might be able to point out that the posited "gateway" was crucial in the progression of those susceptible individuals.

It seems to me that the existence of a "gateway" does not demand that everyone walks on through it; and evidence for or against a claimed gateway effect needs to look at the specific situation. But I don't think that it's an unreasonable thing to hypothesize that one /might/ occur in a novel situation, as is done here.

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Dark scientists' LUX-ZEPLIN doubles down on WIMP hunt

Paul Kinsler

Re: 'But theoretical physics is based on Mathematics, not observation. ' could not be more wrong.

Well, sort of.

Theoretical physics is based on taking tried and tested mathematical models based on existing phenomena, and applying them to new situations. The resulting/new predictions can then be tested by experiments (at least in principle).

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Microsoft to rip up P2P Skype, killing native Mac, Linux apps

Paul Kinsler

Re: Is anyone using Linphone?

I've had that on my system for years, but never made anything but a few test calls. Currently I'm trying ekiga instead, which seems to have fewer dependencies, which makes getting to the point of making a test call easier. :-)

I'm no fan of skype, but since that's all anyone else wants to use, I seem to be stuck with it.

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