* Posts by ThatOne

205 posts • joined 9 Oct 2017

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Alexa heard what you did last summer – and she knows what that was, too: AI recognizes activities from sound

ThatOne
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Big Brother

More accurate spying - Who wouldn't want that?

It's a good thing for them, because they will be able to sell it for good money to Google/Amazon who will employ it to improve their profiles.

(And obviously also for those who will use it to collect "leverage" on certain people.)

But, as the article notes, we're just a small bunch of old fogeys always complaining; The younger generation is quite adamant about their right to be spied upon. Oh well.

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Those Stanford whiz kids have done it again. Now a chatty AI bot to negotiate sales for you with Craigslist riffraff

ThatOne
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How about 36?

Maybe 36 then? Or perhaps 36?

Sorry, doesn't sound like successful bargaining to me. The bot passes the smalltalk phase (which it can't process anyway, since all it gets is a subjective appreciation), but when it comes to money it fails inexplicably: How hard is it to parse the "60" in the seller's sentence and suggest something between 36 and 60, instead of insisting stupidly on 36? I would had assumed that's the easiest part to automate, with some psychological insight about how to stay over the rejection limit of your opponent and drive the negotiation down as much as possible without risking a rejection.

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Hunt for Planet X finds yet another planetoid, just not the right one

ThatOne
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Wow.

Orbit taking 40000 years - That's a long year! If there is intelligent life up there, the periodic appearance of a less-faint star in the sky is not even a vague legend: In our time scale, 40000 years ago is about the time Neanderthals got extinct.

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I like BigGANs but their pics do lie, you other AIs can't deny

ThatOne
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WTF?

What are we actually talking about?

> Images generated by AI

Images generated how? Are they painted out of nothing ("paint me a brown dog"), are they modifications of existing images?

What exactly are we talking about? Can somebody please be so kind to explain what I'm looking at?

If they are "painted" out of nothing following a request like "paint a butterfly on some flowers" they are astonishingly good and definitely plausible: The dog could have an eye problem, and the butterfly an old scar (or there was some dirt on the lens).

As for the "dogball", I definitely don't see what kind of attempt gave birth to that creature: It's not a dog face on a tennis ball, it's not a tennis ball made to look like a dog, I have the nagging feeling I'm seeing the answer to a question I don't understand.

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Volkswagen links arms with Microsoft for data-slurping cloud on Azure

ThatOne
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Big Brother

Resistance is futile

As somebody already said, car makers want a slice of that new shiny pie that is detailed customer lives. Where do you live, where do you go, when do you do it, how do you drive, how many people are with you (Friends? Family?), so they can sell (or lose) it to anybody interested.

They will make sure you can't turn the collection of data off, give it a nice flattering name like "personalized experience" and justify it with some "it's for your own good" kind of excuse. Most people won't care anyway, they have already told everything to everybody on Facebook/Twitter, so why shouldn't car makers be too shy to hop on that bandwagon too?

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Location, location, location... technologies under the microscope

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Re: Location tracking

> GPS could let the emergency services find me

But all you'll get is localized ads for insurance offices and local car towing services.

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AI-powered IT security seems cool – until you clock miscreants wielding it too

ThatOne
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Facepalm

This is getting tiresome

AI is a marketing buzzword. There are wild-eyed salespersons running around screaming "The end is coming! Did you buy our AI solution yet, or are you doomed? Doomed I say!"

As for savvy people using it, well, it has its uses so some people will use it, although one would need to check what ISACA means by "AI". In marketing newspeak any program able to make simple "if...then" decisions is "AI", so obviously that moves the goalpost a little...

(Besides: Do savvy people use AI more often, or are they just savvy because they actually happen to use it?...)

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Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

ThatOne
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Re: It all seems a bit far fetched, to me

> The article suggests the impulse being applied for less than half a minute

Well, there is some vagueness in the description, but I read "1,800 seconds" as being 30 minutes during which the cleaning satellite will have to blow plasma onto the victim. Which would mean the cleaning satellite will have to follow its prey for at least half an hour, through what (should be) a rapid deceleration and radical change of orbit. I might be wrong though.

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ThatOne
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Re: It all seems a bit far fetched, to me

Indeed. The idea as I understand it is to slow the debris down so it falls into a lower orbit, more affected by the outer borders of atmosphere.

To do so you'd need to put your plasma throwing satellite on the same orbit as the debris, a couple of meters in front of it. Then you start blowing your plasma at the debris, and as a result it slows down, thus falling back and down into a lower orbit. So, to keep slowing it down your plasma throwing satellite will have to follow it for a short while, slowing down by the same amount, which means it will descend into lower orbits too. If you don't want it to go plunging into the atmosphere too, you'll need to use some kind of booster to make it climb back up so it can go search for some other debris to kill.

Not impossible, but sounds definitely fiddly and very fuel intensive.

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DEF CON hackers' dossier on US voting machine security is just as grim as feared

ThatOne
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Big Brother

Shush, those are just the means to correct incorrect vote results.

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NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Bitter times are coming...

And in 30 years from now people will be on some similar forum, complaining that back when they were young(er), humanity even had a manned research space station orbiting Earth! Something that day's technology isn't able to do anymore (save for some vague future ad-supported projects).

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Adobe forks out $4.75bn for Marketo in massive marketing mashup move

ThatOne
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Coat

Opportunity knocks

Any 7-letter company named "Ma...to" to sell?

They certainly won't stop at "Magento" and "Marketo", it's too much fun.

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Big Cable tells US government: Now's not the time to talk about internet speeds – just give us the money

ThatOne
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Facepalm

"The speed is enough for bumpkins, it argues, they don't need more."

Here, fixed it for you.

Their point is not to spend money, but to make some more. They didn't spend decades of efforts to build their monopoly situations just for fun. Heed the old saying: Money speaks - it does not listen.

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Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

ThatOne
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Partial solution

That might work for intact CubeSats and bigger objects, but good luck catching the shrapnel sized debris with nets. Unfortunately bigger objects will tend over time to break down into smaller chunks due to collisions, chunks which will over time create even more small debris.

We need to put in orbit an asteroid made of ballistic gel into which all this hypervelocity buckshot can go bury itself! Let it turn in different orbits until they are cleaned, then let it drop back to earth, despite its size it will burn up easily.

(Shucks, no mad scientist icon)

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Holy macaroni! After months of number-crunching, behold the strongest material in the universe: Nuclear pasta

ThatOne
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WTF?

Sorry, what?

> the competing forces between protons and neutrons

Why, I thought those two got along quite well (neutrons being neutral and all), even snuggling together inside most nuclei. Someone please explain to me what those "competing forces" actually are?

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UK.gov isn't ready for no-deal Brexit – and 'secrecy' means businesses won't be either

ThatOne
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Coat

Re: No shit, Sherlock?

Hey, you can't blame them for trying to imitate the example of the successful cousins: They undertook to make Great Britain great again, also build a wall on the European border and make the Europeans pay for it. What's to blame?...

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Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms

ThatOne
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Joke

Re: No, but here's an answer anyway

> Leader / Follower

Leader? Führer? OMG, that's totally unacceptable...

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ThatOne
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Unhappy

OMG

I think everybody agrees that real slavery is a Bad Thing. But finding the term itself offensive when used metaphorically in a purely technical setting is just as ridiculous as the Victorians covering table legs for modesty reasons.

When you get to the point to be aroused by the view of naked table legs, or to be offended by the thought there might be a "master" function cold-heartedly commanding "slave" functions, I think there is something askew with society.

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Card-stealing code that pwned British Airways, Ticketmaster pops up on more sites via hacked JS

ThatOne
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FAIL

Something's rotten

Useless marketing bling is vital for e-commerce sites: It makes the marketers (who obviously have special powers in an e-commerce site) feel all warm and tingly. So don't expect it to go away anytime soon, and for any reason. After all, even if some credit cards get stolen, what's the big deal? It's not their credit cards after all, and in a week the customers will have forgotten and will be back anyway.

Or do you really think that British Airways and Ticketmaster are in risk of bankruptcy due to their payment system having been compromised?... No, they're doing fine, they just emit the standard "Your security is important to us" magic formula and everything is automatically forgiven.

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The eyes don't have it! AI's 'deep-fake' vids surge ahead in realism

ThatOne
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Re: Saw this coming

And somebody will invent fake digital signatures...

It's the old race between the sword and the shield, and there is no final solution to that. Common sense and healthy skepticism is the only answer, a pity both are so rare.

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Microsoft tells volume customers they can stay on Windows 7... for a bit longer... for a fee

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Windows, we hardly knew you

I've been using Microsoft OSes since DOS 2 - But not any more. I definitely understand the need to make money and thus for me to pay, but I do expect value for my money, and unfortunately Windows has been steadily devolving as a platform upon which to run my production and leisure software. Since XP they increasingly removed ease of use, functionality, restrained user customization and added self-serving "features" nobody wanted, especially on a work platform.

Windows devolved from something which you could adapt to your needs to some undisciplined and oversimplified one-size-fits-all freemium trap. Sorry, I don't need that.

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Google is 20, Chrome is 10, and Microsoft would rather ignore the Nokia deal's 5th birthday

ThatOne
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Unhappy

"Don't be evil" (Terms and Conditions apply)

Amazing how Google evolved from a nerd's search engine to a all-powerful Megacorporation straight out of a dystopian SciFi scenario.

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None too chuffed with your A levels? Hey, why not bludgeon the exam boards with GDPR?

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Re: Could be humbling

> Could be humbling

True, but being humble isn't fashionable anymore. Today it's all about being "special" (and everybody around you acknowledging this). Which means that any communication suggesting that you (or your child) is anything less than exceptional is considered an insult, a slur, and there are laws against that (You're a citizen, you have rights, and all that).

In the past a teacher would show you your errors and you would feel stupid and promise to try harder. Nowadays you just feel insulted and will file a civil lawsuit. Society progresses...

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Smut slinger dreams of AI software to create hardcore flicks with your face – plus other machine-learning news

ThatOne
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Coat

Oh yes!

> The service then spits out a realistic-looking saucy scene with you pasted into it.

...so you can blackmail your boss with that video of him and those women-who-are-not-his-spouse...

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> Taking fewer 2D slices, and using an AI to fill in the gaps, will reduce the time taken in an MRI machine.

Giving my MRI scans to Facebook? I'm not even going there, but taking less real slices will most likely allow to replace that real tumor by some extrapolated healthy tissue. Who wouldn't want that. Less definition is always cheaper - I mean better.

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> What if El Reg articles could be effectively translated without having to resort to Google Translate, and thus millions of people from non-English-speaking countries showed up. Just imagine the comments.

Like "The rubberized minuet is galloping around my humanist carburetor"? Yes, that would indeed be entertaining.

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Quit that job and earn $185k... cleaning up San Francisco's notoriously crappy sidewalks

ThatOne
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Coat

As long as it doesn't hit the fan...

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Facebook Messenger backdoor demand, bail in Bitcoin, and lots more

ThatOne
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Facepalm

Animoto

> sensitive profile info including email addresses, dates of birth, gender, and geolocation were taken

Could somebody be so kind to explain why a "video editing site" needs date of birth, gender and geolocation? All right, date of birth might be required to prove one is not a minor - although a simple yes/no question would be enough (you can lie just as easily for both). Now gender is definitely nothing of their concern, and so is geolocation of the user. (IMHO, but then I'm old school.)

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Baddies of the internet: It's all about dodgy mobile apps, they're so hot right now

ThatOne
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Devil

Re: Really ?

> My bank tells me it's all perfectly safe !

That's because they are still polite and try to sugarcoat it...

Soon they will tell you that you have to use it if you want to manage your money, and that the only way to speak with a (guaranteed clueless) human would require taking an appointment with a waiting time of 3 months, and make a trip to the bank's HQ, wherever it might be. Also a processing fee of £50 will be debited from your account for each appointment made.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9: A steep price to pay

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Veblen goods

Well, increasing the price is a sure way to boost the sales of their flagship, now all the people desperately wanting to display "status" will get one (in a jewel-studded case most likely).

Just a pity for those who can't afford to put that kind of money in a phone (especially given my old Note still works perfectly). If it weren't for the price I would had bought one: Didn't buy a 7 for obvious reasons, mistrusted the 8, the 9 was the one to get. But not at any price. Oh well.

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Hi-de-Hack! Redcoats red-faced as Butlin's holiday camp admits data breach hit 34,000

ThatOne
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Devil

> IT security should be built on the assumption that humans are dumb

IT security is built on the knowledge that law is lenient, customers have very short memories, and thus that those breaches don't really matter in the end. All right, Butlin will get frowned upon by the powers that be for a day or two, they will get a small pile of abuse mail from the victims, but does all that matter to them? Not really. What matters is the money not wasted in educating low-wage temps who will be gone before long anyway.

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Clap, damn you, clap! Samsung's Bixby 2.0 AI reveal is met with apathy

ThatOne
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Devil

> "Make a new photo album from all the photos I took of lizards while in Australia last year"

Where is the profit in that?... Those lizards won't pay to be on top of the list, so it would be a total waste of money to implement such a thing.

Apparently you misunderstood the point of personal assistants: They exist to make profits, not to make the world a happy place.

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Funnily enough, no, infosec bods aren't mad keen on W. Virginia's vote-by-phone-app plan

ThatOne
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Joke

If it's just about "cheap & simple"

Call a number, listen through the introduction, then press "1" for the first candidate, "2" for the second, and so on.

I'm pretty sure vote participation would soar to really unprecedented heights...

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Top tip? Sprinkle bugs into your code to throw off robo-vuln scanners

ThatOne
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WTF?

Non-developer wondering

Won't those "chaff bugs" make the program less stable and prone to exploding randomly?

Of course a program incapable of running is 100% secure, since it can't be exploited, but what about the usability? When I buy a program, I mostly buy it to get work done (but that's maybe just me). *scratches head*

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Sur-Pies! Google shocks world with sudden Android 9 Pixel push

ThatOne
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Joke

Compelling, isn't it?

So, they promise to prioritize battery power to display ads, leave the brightness as you've set it, monitor your actions to round off your marketing profile, show you ads for other apps when there is any excuse, and to use any text you might select to display contextual ads. Wow.

I think I might buy me a new phone just to get a slice of that pie...

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Uptight robots that suddenly beg to stay alive are less likely to be switched off by humans

ThatOne
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IMHO obvious why

The factual robot is passive and task-oriented, so one assumes that, having no further orders, it will simply remain on standby like a computer.

The chatty robot on the other hand is active, and thus has to be actively constrained.

.

One is an appliance, the other a pet. Appliances don't need to be constrained, and their inner workings are often non-obvious (remember subjects telling they were worried switching it off would compromise the test). The pet on the other hand is an independent organism we are used to dominate and control, no matter their begging. Switching the chatty robot off is in the line of putting the cat/dog outside for the night, for instance. Begging is expected, and thus inefficient.

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Arm reckons its 'any device, any data, any cloud' IoT tech has legs

ThatOne
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Facepalm

As the AC above said.

IoT is just a means to sell cheap gadgets to the clueless, and make a quick buck revealing data about them to marketers and criminals. Unfortunately it's the latest big craze, there is lots of money to be made with IoT, so there is no way it will go away, ever.

Only thing we can do is educate people we care about (children, parents) so they don't become part of the statistics.

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ReactOS 0.4.9 release metes out stability and self-hosting, still looks like a '90s fever dream

ThatOne
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Happy

Does it run old Windows games? That is the important question (for me)...

I'm looking for something more hassle-free than Wine (on which stuff runs often slower than on native Windows XP/7) for running older games I still play.

I'll keep an eye on it, although its glacier-like pace does worry me a little. I might not be there anymore when it reaches beta...

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How much do you think Cisco's paying erstwhile Brit PM David Cameron?

ThatOne
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Devil

Re: JFGI...

> What's he going to tell CIO's? How to make a massive misjudgement [...] and leave quickly before he can be blamed for the consequences?

Well, that's all they need to know, isn't it...

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Friday FYI: 9 out of 10 of website login attempts? Yeah, that'll be hackers

ThatOne
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Devil

Follow the money

> abandon traditional credentials completely in favor of physical and biometric authentication mechanisms

And how is that more secure? It isn't (in the end there are still 0s and 1s going through the wire), but it requires expensive gadgets one can sell to the suckers...

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Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter make it easier to download your info and upload to, er, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter etc...

ThatOne
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Facepalm

So, it's easier to steal information now?

Instead of having to work through the whole dataset and assemble the pieces, you can now download everything in one handy, well-indexed block? That will definitely speed things up for data thieves!

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Who's leaving Amazon S3 buckets open online now? Cybercrooks, US election autodialers

ThatOne
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Flame

Re: "...including the audio files to be used in robocalls to voters..."

> Do robocalls even work anymore?

Have robocalls ever worked? "Oh a tape recorder is calling me. I just have to take its opinion into consideration!"

I'm usually quite annoyed with people wasting my time; I'm doubly annoyed if they think I'm not even worth paying an underpaid call center slave to do so.

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Ransomware is so 2017, it's all cryptomining now among the script kiddies

ThatOne
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Happy

> But no details of how that's done or how one might guard against it, unfortunately.

Why, buy Check Point solutions I guess.

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CIMON says: Say hello to your new AI pal-bot, space station 'nauts

ThatOne
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FAIL

> it's thought CIMON may be useful as a plastic pal that's fun to be with.

Those things you usually hide in a drawer, under the clothes... You don't let them float around.

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UK Home Office sheds 70 staff on delayed 4G upgrade to Emergency Services Network

ThatOne
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Devil

Well, there has always been layoffs when things go bad. In the old times one called them "scapegoats", now it's "redundancies", but the goals remain the same: First to show management is doing something, and second there is the hope one of those scapegoats will take the curse with him and away from you.

In the present case their priority is to convince the stakeholders that they are still on top of things and that the situation will improve shortly. (If it doesn't improve, they will say they lack staff and hire some new people, to fire later on.)

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Another staffer at mega-hacked Equifax slapped with insider trading rap

ThatOne
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Unhappy

Re: And another low-hanging fruit for insider trading

> it looks like the CEO, et al, will not be facing criminal charges for some reason...

Obvious reasons: he's a man of wealth and influence. Has friends who own him favors. Can pay efficient and expensive lawyers. Is in the right old boy network. In short, he's untouchable.

Laws are only for those who can't afford to be above them...

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NASA eggheads draw up blueprints for spotting, surviving asteroid hits

ThatOne
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Facepalm

> how to prepare for the danger of impacts from asteroids

Stick head in sand, I guess?

It's all NASA can afford to suggest anyway, since I guess that new task will come with the required budget cut. Oh, sorry, I forgot; "Work smarter, not harder", that alleviates all budget issues of course.

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UN's freedom of expression top dog slams European copyright plans

ThatOne
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Pirate

Who benefits from the law?

The whole point of this is most likely to shift the fault from the penny-less end user to the more solvent internet platforms: You'll definitely make more profit from suing (for instance) YouTube than from suing little Johnny, 12... So I guess they certainly won't drop the idea, not matter what people (or even common sense) say.

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What got breached this week? Ticket portals, DNA sites, and Atlanta's police cameras

ThatOne
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Big Brother

Re: hmmm

> all webcams should have a led lit when active

All webcams should have a manual lid. I wouldn't trust a LED, there is certainly some way to remotely deactivate it. A layer of opaque plastic in front of the lens is the best and only 100% reliable protection.

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Juno finds some lightning on Jupiter is the polar opposite to bolts here on Earth

ThatOne
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Choice of words

How do you "map" what is after all just a very thick layer of clouds? "Exploring" would be more adequate I guess. You don't expect any features you see to be still there in [large amount of time], you just hope to get a general idea of what's happening down there. Isn't it.

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Help, I'm being held prisoner in a security camera testing factory. So please read this...

ThatOne
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Joke

The best deterrent is to have a professional film team waiting by your door, armed with professional film cameras and some decent lighting. You can be sure no burglar will try to enter your house.

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Knowing Your Customer: You need to, but regulation makes KYC extra-crispy...

ThatOne
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FAIL

Doubts?

> Does this mean AI is being over-sold?

Weeell, now you asking... It does remind me of that fairy tale about the emperor's new clothes.

So, what does the article say? Don't blame AI for not being efficient, people don't know how to use it? Oh, so if they knew, it would? A pity we'll never know then.

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