* Posts by steelpillow

557 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016

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Teensy weensy space shuttle flies and lands

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

1.5G

According to Wikipedia "The vehicle will launch vertically on an Atlas V, Ariane 5 or Falcon Heavy rocket". I reckon that at a tad more than 1.5G.

Slogan: "If we can get you up there in one piece, we can bring you back home in one piece (terms and conditions apply)".

Secret HPE AI chip, TensorFlow updates, neural networks writing themselves – and more

steelpillow Silver badge
Childcatcher

Here weg, here we go, here...

I guess Google's next step ought to be getting their AI neural network designer to design a better AI neural network designer, wrap it in a recursive loop and go for a coffee.

Stick /that/ on your memristors, HPE.

Tesla buys robot maker. Hang on, isn't that your sci-fi bogeyman, Elon?

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Selling factories?

Since when was it Tesla's core business "to turn the factory itself into a product"? Who are they going to sell fully kitted-out Gigafactories to? The Martians at the receiving end of Musk's BFR?

Dumb autonomous cars can save more lives than brilliant ones

steelpillow Silver badge
Meh

likelihood vs. magnitude

How do you quantify security? What is the probability of some malware bot, at some point in the next thirty years and for whatever reason, infecting some leading model and causing a global mass pileup at speed? You can't do that to human drivers. How low does the risk have to be, before we judge autonomy as "better than"? How do you manage it down to that level?

American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

steelpillow Silver badge
Headmaster

TU-144 was indeed conceived as a ripoff. But, to be fair, both the French and English had already merged equally similar designs and any other configuration was just crap (as Boeing found out). The canard moustache was only added because it turned out a badly-engineered ripoff. And yes, conceptually they are identical, just that comparing them is like comparing a da Vinci to a Mona Lisa painting by numbers kit.

The similarity of the Boom to these blasts from the past is no coincidence either, you can't beat the tailless delta. Its reputed aerodynamic advance lies in the subtlety of its curves to minimise the peak boom. I have my doubts about cruise efficiency though, moving the engines like that will reduce the boom but it will also lose out on waverider lift (see also XB-70 comment elsewhere).

Apache OpenOffice: We're OK with not being super cool... PS: Watch out for that Mac bug

steelpillow Silver badge
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We all stand together

It's great that AOO and LO are still both with us after all this time. Long live both communities and long may a friendly rivalry drive them to better things.

Enjoy the choice, I know I will.

One-third of mobile users receive patchy to no indoor coverage

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Multiple issues

1. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and the poorer the indoor reception. For this reason, through-the-wall relays have always been recommended if you want good indoor reception - but don't expect the telco to pay for that! A cheap domestic one can be nothing more than a passive waveguide or antenna-to-antenna cable, the upcoming modern equivalent being VoIP over a WiFi-to-broadband router.

2. The higher the frequency the greater the data capacity, hence loved by every new generation. This tends to make newer generations less indoor-friendly than older ones.

3. Cost-benefit to the supplier: why give a **** about your users and install more cells unless your competitors do or the regulator makes you?

4. Cost-benefit to the user: why install obsolescent toys when you can just make sure that both your phone and router have WiFi and your telco supports VoIP?

So really, everybody is to blame: cheeseparing suppliers, irresponsible regulators, lazy consumers and the economics of progress.

Bored 'drivers' pushed Google Waymo into ditching autopilot tech

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Not new

Interesting comparison. Planes and motor vehicles are the same but different. Pilots flying manually for eight hours get bored, copilot or no, and make mistakes, so the autopilot turns out the lesser of two evils. Driving on a near-empty motorway might turn out the same, but in even vaguely busy traffic there is just too much going on to let the human's attention wander. Automatic transmissions and handsfree phones already do enough damage, it seems we can't afford to let auto-bots make that worse.

IBM's Phase Change Memory computer can tell you if it's raining

steelpillow Silver badge
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The return of analog

It does sound like a return of analogue computing, in at least some respects. As I understand it, repeated small SET pulses may be applied to nudge the device conductance until sufficient material is affected by the phase change to register a 1. The pulses are summed analog-fashion in the conductance of the device, i.e. the amount of material currently changed. If so, then it is rather like the way human memory works, by strengthening already-existing synapse connections between neurons. I wonder if it can accumulate partial RESET signals to weaken memories, too. Now that would be something!

'We've nothing to hide': Kaspersky Lab offers to open up source code

steelpillow Silver badge
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Better than bad

I really don't see an Open Source AV codebase as a greater security risk than an Open Source OS codebase.

Even if you do think OS is worth nothing, that is better than a downright liability. If the perception is that Kaspersky has secret IP potentially accessible to its host nation's spooks, then making all its IP public domain removes that perception.

Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Symmetry breaking

Of course, a "particle" spends much of its life as a wave of possibilities. Feynman's sum-over-histories approach considers every possible path throughout spacetime, past present and future. The familiar quantum wave function emerges from this summation and may evolve either forwards or backwards in time. Crucially, the Big Bang and the Big Crunch/Rip are assumed to be mathematically identical perfect absorbers. Break this assumption and the time symmetry is broken. Any asymmetry between the Beginning and End of Time will mean that either the retarded possibilities or the advanced possibilities will predominate. If the balance of matter vs antimatter is a consequence of this symmetry-breaking, then the fact that matter predominates might just tell us something about it.

Google and Intel cook AI chips, neural network exchanges – and more

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Remember folks

Nah, just download AIblockPlus for Firefox v 1984 and you'll be fine.

steelpillow Silver badge
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And AlphaGo Zero

And on the software side there is IBM's AlphaGo Zero, which has stripped the human pump-priming out of (constrained) deep learning and allowed the AI to teach itself, both faster and better than before. Put that technique on some of these new gizmos and we are bound to see some fireworks. Wor, us mudden e'n see Alexa coppin' us regional accen'.

Survey: Tech workers are terrified they will be sacked for being too old

steelpillow Silver badge
Coat

Back when if you were there you don't remember

"I may be old now in your eyes,

But all my years have made me wise.

You don't see where the danger lies,

Oh call me back, call me back..."

— Al Stewart, 1973

Blade Runner 2049 review: Scott's vision versus Villeneuve's skill

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Pan Am Logo

Elon Musk, if you read this, go buy the goddam brand and resurrect it for your new spaceships!

Ignite: Microsoft drops veil on Honolulu, releases SQL Server on Linux into the wild

steelpillow Silver badge

Lock-in

How does a vendor ensure proprietary lock-in to cross-platform services? How do you build tomorrow's problem into today's cross-platform solution? Will be interesting to watch.

Did the Earth move for you, too? Grav waves sensed from black holes' bang 1.8bn LYs away

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: A three-sun tidal wave!

Human senses tend to rely on rate of change: a small but sharp change in spacetime would feel much the same scale as a large but leisurely one. Gravitational mass is assumed to be identical to inertial mass, so a change in gravity would be indistinguishable from an acceleration due to change in velocity. But if the wave took say half an hour to peak, then it would have to be stonkingly huge, three suns' worth maybe, before one would feel it.

Interestingly, large black holes have gentler tidal forces than small ones, while the effects of a merger are more dramatic. So one stands a better chance of feeling the wave from a couple of supermassives merging than one does from a couple of babies like the two observed this time round. Yes, the tides would dominate with these two.

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: A three-sun tidal wave!

You need gravitational energy defining?

It is minus the work that is done in moving an object in a gravitational field from one place to another. The absolute gravitational potential energy of an object is minus the work needed to move it to a point indefinitely far away from the centre of the field.

I learned that at school, I suppose you need a degree in astrophysics to be taught that these days.

And no, I am not going to post Einstein's equations for the associated curvature of spacetime, which the philosophically-minded may take as a more ontological definition.

Sigh.

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

A three-sun tidal wave!

That's a lot of gravity!

I wonder how near you'd have to be to personally experience the tug.

But gravitational energy is negative and exactly balances the positive mass which creates it. How can positive mass be converted into negative energy as the article suggests?

It makes more sense if three suns' worth of mass were lost as radiation, as that would cause a three-sun ripple or wave in its gravitational field. A black hole itself cannot release mass that fast, so it would have been outlying stuff that hadn't quite fallen in yet.

Or, is my physics farcically bad?

Wanna get started with practical AI? Check out this chap's Rubik's Cube solving neural-net code

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Plateaue

The network is a simple one and its performance must hit a plateau somewhere. It was trained until it hit that plateau. Better performance would need a bigger, more complex net. The interesting part is whether that would benefit from deeper training, or whether it would pull more information from each training run and plateau just as quickly.

Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

steelpillow Silver badge

Greyball? Greyb*ll*cks!

You can get away with a lot in cyber space, but the real world has its own rules. Good for TfL!

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: 40,000 drivers out of work

"OMG, WHAT WILL THEY DO?!!!!"

Yeah, I mean, it's not like there are other private hire companies waiting to pick up the business.

More data lost or stolen in first half of 2017 than the whole of last year

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

More like data anybody noticed...

Be honest, this is a measure of security activity. The actual losses have been far vaster for donkeys' years but nobody ever wanted to know.

At last, infosec whistleblowing is no longer an automatic sacking offence (you do still need qualifications first, though)

Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

steelpillow Silver badge
Joke

Re: "It will be a completely brand new experience for the fans."

Bringing BSOD to everywhere you look.

Former UK.gov IT man and Python king's guide to neural networks

steelpillow Silver badge
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Deserves the best

Hope his book becomes a bestseller, both he and his subject deserve it.

A very switched-on and straight kind of guy, I met him at one of his gov Open Source presentations and we shared our pain at **** bureaucrats.

Chirpy, chirpy, cheap, cheap: Printable IoT radios for 10 cents each

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Help

I just want to know, who will be the first to receive a complaint of a flat battery in a passive IoT Thing (or transponder as we dinosaurs call them)? And will they manage to keep a straight face?

David Potter rejoins 'New New Psion' as Hon.Chairman

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Confidence

My confidence in this company has just improved by an order of magnitude.

Potter & Co. have been quite good at making rueful remarks about how they learned from their mistakes. Roll on hard-won experience. Fingers still a little crossed though.

The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: I like it, but what's the point?

"You can buy small Bluetooth keyboards for your existing phone."

>SHUDDER!<

You didn't ever use a Series 5 did you? The keyboard is like, I am flying jet planes for ever, I am never going back to travelling on a donkey.

And if they can skin Android/Debian properly, the functionality and productivity of the UI will be almost as stunning.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Put a small screen and a numeric keypad on the front...

Except, the voice assistant should be able to do everything the display and keypad did, and with less fuss.

steelpillow Silver badge
Go

Re: Pocketability

"Can files created or saved in Android be seen from Linux, or are they on completely different partitions?"

Just install your fave cloud storage app on both systems and stick it all up there. Then your other boxen can see it all too.

Dolphins inspire ultrasonic attacks that pwn smartphones, cars and digital assistants

steelpillow Silver badge
Boffin

Fixes

There is a simple fix, but it costs a few pennies and takes up a little space: filter out the ultrasonics before digitising. An analog filter can take the form of a physical muffler or, depending on your mic technology, a low-pass filter circuit.

There is another, more complex fix: use multiple digital mics, clock each at a slightly different sample rate and compare their audio outputs. Any significant difference can be reverse-processed back out to recover the true audio common to all the mics. The main engineering annoyances are the multiple sample clocks and the processing overhead in recovering the true signal.

Flying electric taxi upstart scores $90m from investors

steelpillow Silver badge

A fool and his money are soon parted

Flat batteries = 1) lose control, 2) deploy parachute, 3) "LOOK OUT BELOW!"

Yeah, just the thing for an air taxi over a congested landing zone.

I know what the safety certification authorities will say, and it ain't polite.

I'll bet those multiple small fans are claimed to provide some magic benefit too. Sorry, quite the opposite. Fewer, bigger thrusters are always better. This whole thing is total sh*t, reminds me of Luigi Colani.

Sad thing is that, with fewer, bigger fans and split ailerons with differential drag control under an independent and multiple-redundant power system and the VTOL joke dropped, it's actually feasible. But who would invest in boring?

It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

steelpillow Silver badge
Devil

Oooh - Fashon! (cue Bowie clip)

UIs are just like clothes. You have to climb on board the latest fashion or get forgotten, or at best sneered at.

Remember when the craze for 3D-animated virtual spaces first arrived, though only a $5k workstation could cut it? Then we flung across back to 2D but this time shiny, so shiny that we next flung back to minimalist. Oh look, it's time for another fling. Where to next? Chunky retro? Text shell (because we all have voice assistants now)? Greying-out everything not in focus (so we simply can's shift attention away)? Surely not something functional, that will never beat fashion in the market place. (he types on his beautifully functional but deeply unfashionable Debian/MATE desktop, grin)

UK infrastructure failing to meet the most basic cybersecurity standards

steelpillow Silver badge

@Anonymous Blowhard.

I wasn't really commenting on your post, just having my own ramble.

I suspect that the extent of involvement by government cyber-security experts may be masked in the many orgs who refused to comment fully for reasons of national security. Mind you, who's to say that GCHQ's instinct would not be to throw the extra cash and workload straight at Crapita because even they can not easily magic up a new task force of experienced cyber-security professionals out of their pool of low-paid career bureaucrats. IR35 has a lot to answer for.

steelpillow Silver badge

10 Steps is just a primer you throw at pointy-haired managers who think they don't have a problem. Mind you, there are more than a few in the NHS who need it personally ramming up their jackzi.

But most uk govs are doing their best in impossibly underfunded circumstances. They deserve credit for what they have achieved, not slagging off for imaginary slips.

Boffins bust AI with corrupted training data

steelpillow Silver badge
Headmaster

Fuzzy logic was not touted as AI (except perhaps by the Naturally Unintelligent). It was, and still is, a specific technique for drawing inferences from incomplete or "fuzzy" data sets.

It and its developments form an essential ingredient of AI, but no more than that.

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: The Emperor's Clothes

"In other words the "intelligence" part of current "Artificial Intelligence" remains an utter sham. We're still dealing with stupid highly specialized very narrow algos and there's no general AI in sight. Wake me up in 300 years."

Aw, c'm on. I give it 30 years. But yeah, this stuff will be crap until somebody can teach it to modify its own learning process and to proactively gather feedback on how it's doing. Until then, whispering "cocaine noodle" to Android toys will remain almost as much good fun in some circles as rerouting social media slurpers to pro-Putin propaganda hosepipes.

So you're planning on outsourcing some enterprise security

steelpillow Silver badge
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Whuh?

Nobody writes their own AV scanners.

Nobody can outsource their responsibility for security.

Somewhere between these two extremes lies your best solution.

Yawn.

Are Asimov's laws enough to stop AI stomping humanity?

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Ground zero

The zeroth law is absurd. How do you trade quality of life for billions against loss of life for a handful? The ethics were extensively argued out in the nineteenth century and the Humanist attempt to quantify such things so that they could be weighed against each other proved a conceptual failure, it is just not how value judgements are made.

And who's to say that authoritarian politico-military regimes will not just dump the First law as well?

No, the only way to save humanity from Armageddonbot is to treat it like we always try to treat WMD: outlaw it but nevertheless build strong defences against it.

FYI: Web ad fraud looks really bad. Like, really, really bad. Bigly bad

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Why am I not surprised?

@depicus. Not if we don't see the ads so we never buy the product :)

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Why am I not surprised?

Title to this post says it all, really.

Slurping people's info without a warrant? That's OUR JOB, Google, Facebook et al tell US Supreme Court

steelpillow Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Philosophical Question

@ Astara: Let me get this right. It's okay for .coms and mafiosi to slurp your traffic because they have /no/ right to and no intention of cleaning up their act. But it is /not/ OK for government to do so because it /does/ have a right to and last year actually /did/ clean up its act?

steelpillow Silver badge

Re: Philosophical Question

Always amazes me the vehemence with which the younger generation defend the fact of Dot Com - and even Organised Crime - slurping while rabidly anti their own democratically elected government from doing the same in order to protect them from said b*st*rds. When challenged, none has yet stayed calm enough to give me a reasoned answer, they just go mental at me. It's evidently about trust - an untrustworthy politician is just too immoral to even consider, while Google and the Mafia are *expected* to be untrustworthy and that somehow makes it okay.

Russia's answer to Buckminster Fuller has a buttload of CGI and he's not afraid to use it

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Emptier

What a travesty to compare this fantasy artist with Bucky Fuller. Bucky Emptier, more like it.

Come on, El Reg, it's not even Friday.

Not another Linux desktop! Robots cross the Uncanny Valley

steelpillow Silver badge
Trollface

Linux desktop, indeed!

This troll has clearly not used GNU/Linux in a while.

Then again, the heading "Robots cross the uncanny valley" directly contradicts the conclusion that "the uncanny valley is here to stay".

Double d'oh!

Big legacy tech companies in UK govt start to feel pinch – report

steelpillow Silver badge
Unhappy

Do I look bothered?

The Big Corporate lever is not so much single-point-of-paperwork as scale and resources to sort out problems. Government beancounters hate writing off an unsuccessful project and somebody cocking it up is a powerful reason why gov't projects fail. By getting in bed with a Big Boy, you convince yourself that they will be able to throw resources at any cock-up to sort it out and meet your delivery targets. Cost escalation then becomes a blame game between the legal teams, i.e. Somebody Else's Problem. Small fry just don't have that kind of backup resource to call on.

Of course, F/LOSS licensing blows that corporate stitch-up out of the water, but that requires a change of procurement policy, nay even a rewriting of the Preferred List and Approved Catalogue, a painful process which government departments are singularly unwilling to carry out.

Photon scattering puts a shine on CERN ATLAS boffins' day

steelpillow Silver badge

I think you will find that "heavy photon" theory is a good deal more exotic and speculative than the photon-on-photon scattering predicted by good ol' QED.

What we have here is just a late tick-box on the Standard Model, not a first glimpse into a "hidden sector". Still, nice to know Richard Feynman was right - again.

Berners-Lee and the open-data bunch: £60k for your best collab dataset register ideas

steelpillow Silver badge

Why do I suspect...

...that the contract winner will begin with an "O" and end with an "e"?

Still at least nobody would ever be dastardly enough to try and bake proprietary technologies into such a potentially lucrative solution. Oh, wait....

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