* Posts by John Gamble

460 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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College fires IT admin, loses access to Google email, successfully sues IT admin for $250,000

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: What ever happened to exit interviews?

You have exit interviews with fired employees?

I've only known exit interviews to happen when the employee's leaving isn't contentious.

Hmm, student population is barely over 3,000 (no undergrads), so the IT department probably isn't much bigger than found in some small businesses. I doubt anyone else had the keys to the castle right when the administration needed them.

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Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

John Gamble
Alien

The alien overlords are extremely busy and wouldn't waste their time on this.

The alien middle management are the ones for this job.

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Euro space agency's Galileo satellites stricken by mystery clock failures

John Gamble

Re: HARRY LIME

Hmm. It looks like Welles had to improvise a line for timing purposes, but he got the comparison from someone else (possible source: James Abbott McNeill Whistler).

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D-Wave goes public with open-source quantum-classical hybrid software

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Point?

Minimization techniques rarely guarantee absolute minimums, as they are usually applied to much harder problems than you solved in your high-school (or equivalent) algebra class.

There's a PDF on the github site that basically claims a nearly 2 times speed up in problem solving over quantum annealing. Having never used quantum annealing, I am supremely unqualified to say how the algorithms compare, but the code is there to test.

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IBM staff petition for right not to work on Trump's pet projects

John Gamble

Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

"Any business owner or manager wants to hire the best person for the job, regardless of sex or color of skin."

Historically untrue, and you'd have to be living under a rock to to make this patently false claim.

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NASA – get this – just launched 8 satellites from a rocket dropped from a plane at 40,000ft

John Gamble

Re: Thats nothing.....Named meat costs extra...

Because they're said to be quite tasty?

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AI brains take a step closer to understanding speech just like humans

John Gamble
Headmaster

Re: Context is everything

Which shows that the alleged virtues of regular spelling have been highly overstated.

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Latest loon for Trump's cabinet: Young-blood-loving, kidney-market advocate Jim O'Neill

John Gamble

Re: Organ payments

Yes, I did. The situation need improvement.

Now, how does setting up a kidney market improve things? Can you demonstrate that there'd be an uptick in donations, beyond a money-solves-everything wish fulfillment? And how will your market will treat the people who aren't wealthy who need kidneys?

Convince us without resorting to libertarian fantasies.

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Fitbit picks up Pebble, throws Pebble as far as it can into the sea

John Gamble

Re: Shit

Depends on what you use it for. Mine is strictly for 1) being a watch, and 2) notifying me when my phone is set to silent. It works fine for me.

But I imagine there are applications that might leave some disappointed owners.

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How-to terror manuals still being sold by Apple, Amazon, Waterstones

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: NOT terrorist publications

Yeah, I read The Anarchist's Cookbook in high school, and definitely did not know enough then to recognize the flaws in the recipes. Fortunately I had no interest in making them either.

A friend's son once made some nitro glycerine, and my friend (the daughter of a well-known organic chemist) reamed him out both for making the nitro, and for "using that crappy recipe from the Anarchist's Cookbook."

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RIP EarthLink, 1994–2016: From AOL killer to regional ISP's attic

John Gamble

Eh, the only memory I have of Earthlink is when they came in and bought almost all of the local, independent ISPs. Their wannabe-monopolist dreams went nowhere, fortunately.

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Three LibTIFF bugs found, only two patched

John Gamble

In fact I would have sent a FAX out a couple of months ago (first time since 2007) if the connection hadn't failed. After calling the person who was getting the document, I finally went with an encrypted PDF sent by e-mail, with the recipient calling me for the password when she was ready to read it.

I didn't ask if they printed these things out, or just read them electronically.

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Smoking hole found on Mars where Schiaparelli lander, er, 'landed'

John Gamble

Re: That reminds me...

"... we started competing to see who could intentionally make the biggest crater."

Wait... your handle is "Marketing Hack". Are you sure you're not an engineer?

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

John Gamble

Obligitory SF Story

The Venitian Court, by Charles Harness.

Although in that story the AI's inventions were filed under the name of the AI's creator, which led to an interesting legal battle.

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SHA3-256 is quantum-proof, should last BEELLIONS of years, say boffins

John Gamble
Thumb Up

Re: And the two best known SHA-3/256 will still be

But programmers will remember to salt them, of course, so "password" and "123456" will be completely secure!

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Open Sorcerers: Can you rid us of Emperor Zuck?

John Gamble
Meh

Re: Emperor Zuck?

You have to be thirty five to be President of the U. S., so he'll be eligible by the next term. Given the choices for the upcoming election, I'm not sure that that's the worst thing that could happen.

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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Why aren't they following the standards ?!

Well, the RFC is nearly nineteen years old, so some of the proposals are out of date.

Having said that, I agree that the "coffee:" URI scheme should be implemented immediately.

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Theranos axes 40% of staff

John Gamble
Stop

Re: If anyone is interested in a bet...

Considering that there's no "right" forty per cent to hang on to, I'm not sure how to decide the bet.

The company's got nothing of value, and no one can save it.

Interesting discussion of culpability here in the Vanity Fair article

(I like the quote taken from the New Yorker interview: "a chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel.").

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My Nest smoke alarm was great … right up to the point it went nuts

John Gamble

Not Really an IoT Problem, Though

... and the "smartness" problem is more about the connection between the thermostat and the smoke detector.

Inter-connectedness between smoke detectors is not a new feature -- First Alert had it for one of their models. And Nest's "speak, don't beep" feature is nice but not really revolutionary.

But the connection with the thermostat is clearly an issue here. As the article states, affecting the air circulation can be a big deal, and this is especially true if you live in places that can get very cold.

Smoke detectors occasionally fail. This is not surprising, and if the smoke detectors were the only Nest product the author had, it wouldn't even be worth an article -- aside from complaining about the expense.

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But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

John Gamble

You're describing the Physical/Digital media problem which still hasn't really been solved, ...

Oh, it's solved, but it requires hiring someone with a Library Science degree, which companies and firms are no more willing to do than they are willing to hire a system administrator who can handle backups competently, not that I have any bitter experience with either situation, he said glancing over his shoulder to make sure no one is listening.

One of the best places I ever worked at had both, who made sure that decades-old documents were still readable, and who converted said documents when a software or hardware dependency was about to vanish.

I think there was even one situation where a file was actually printed out (diagrams that needed to be referred to).

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

John Gamble
Joke

Pfff. It was only a Sudoku. Now if they tried to "help" you with a Kenken puzzle, I could understand being upset.

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NBA's Golden State Warriors sued for 'mic snooping' mobile app

John Gamble

Also the Lazines Factor

There's also a laziness factor here, both by developers and users.

I've noticed a lot of basic apps (for a typical example, displaying the periodic table) go along with their minor updates with no problem, but then suddenly required e-mail, text message, and camera permissions, which a basic reference app shouldn't require.

It could be evil-doings I suppose, but in my opinion it's more likely (since it happened across many apps at about the same time) that developers changed or upgraded their development platforms, and never bothered to change the default-all permissions of the platform when they ported their code.

I uninstalled a lot of apps at the time1.

The other side of the laziness coin are the users of course, who have been using these apps without incident for so long that answering "yes" to the special permissions requests must seem like a natural progression.

---

1. Except for one that had managed to install itself as a system app -- I do attribute that to evil on their part, and will have nothing ever to do with them.

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You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh

John Gamble

Re: Replace tape

Or, perhaps because the negative comments on the alleged sacred cow are about as dull as the "will it play Crysis?" comments?

Here's a clue: if the commentard actually uses the term "SJW", you can safely assume too many drugs were consumed during the commentard's fetal development.

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What's long, hard and full of seamen? The USS Harvey Milk

John Gamble

Re: What about Rosemary?

The Secretary of the Navy has the responsibility of assigning names to ships.

The Secretary can rely on many sources to help him reach his decisions. Each year, the Naval Historical Center compiles primary and alternate ship name recommendations and forwards these to the Chief of Naval Operations by way of the chain of command.

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fMRI bugs could upend years of research

John Gamble

Re: USGS manipulating data --

"Will this do to start?"

No, that won't do.

He has a BS in geology from Arizona State University and a Master's degree in electrical engineering from Rice University.

One of Goddard's earliest writings, an article for The Register, asserted that the National Snow and Ice Data Center's (NSIDC) data underlying a chart depicting 2008 Arctic sea ice loss was incorrect and that NSIDC seemed to demonstrate "a consistent pattern of overstatement related to Arctic ice loss." Ten days later, however, Goddard acknowledged that the data on which the graph was based was accurate.

I'd like something from a real scientist please.

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Sterling's post-Brexit dollar woes are forcing up tech kit prices

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: and yet still

Which doesn't have much to do with actual value, at least for the moment. In the usual panic that occurs after a turmoil, people with money (yes, including those people whose preferred currency is the euro) shoved their cash in things like U.S. Treasury bonds, and went stock-picking in the U.S. stock markets.

We really won't know what the actual effects of Brexit are on the euro and pound until things are a lot more settled.

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It's all fun and games until someone loses a rack*

John Gamble

"...except they spelt it right."

Glad to see the sub-sub-sub-editor is on the job.

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Astroboffins discover rapid 'electric winds' blowing on Venus

John Gamble

Re: One for the Electric Universe

"One for the Electric Universe crowd."

What?

[performs web search]

Oh good grief. I note that the originator and the primary advocates are people who are working outside their specialty, which is not irrevocably damaging in and of itself, but it's not a good sign either.

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Fly to Africa. Survive helicopter death flight to oil rig. Do no work for three weeks. Repeat

John Gamble

Re: Take a dip

"He subsequently wrote a not bad comic novel about a latin professor unappreciated by his not very bright students."

That actually sounds interesting. Any chance you remember the title?

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Lester Haines: RIP

John Gamble

I am very sorry to hear this. It was always a pleasure to read anything by him, whether about the Special Projects or the whimsy about home and family.

My deepest condolences to those who knew and loved him.

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Wi-Fi hack disables Mitsubishi Outlander's theft alarm – white hats

John Gamble

Re: WTF kind of idea is this anyway?

You do recall that the B Ark populace are the ones that survived, yes?

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Would YOU start a fire? TRAPPED in a new-build server farm

John Gamble

Re: Design flaw

But opening the door to exit and opening the door to let someone in are indistinguishable. If you're security-minded, you want to track comings and goings.

But everything else... yeah, the lack of safety standards is appalling.

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'Windows 10 nagware: You can't click X. Make a date OR ELSE'

John Gamble
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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

John Gamble

Re: Lack of critical thinking, methinks ...

Having now read your correction to a famous quote in the history of computer science, I look forward to your edits of Defoe, Darwin, Newton, Ruskin, and Shakespeare.

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GitHub pricing change

John Gamble

I admit this will come in handy -- I have a few projects that I want to keep private for the moment, but which I haven't put on Git because I've hit my limit (and didn't feel like upgrading my account any further).

But I suspect this is aimed more at organizations than individuals. Businesses that run their own in-house git server might be tempted to switch over. I just wonder what "unlimited" will truly be when the floodgates open.

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French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

John Gamble

Re: Ahh the French

Yes, the author of the fxcuisine.com article states "It is not a modern recipe, the blood taste is quite strong and frankly, is not the best way to serve duck."

I'm guessing demand for the dish isn't terribly high. The same article mentioned that the restaurant has two such devices, one reserved as a backup in case the one normally used breaks. But if there isn't much call for the dish, then selling one of them makes sense.

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'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

John Gamble

I'm sure thousands of people had an uneventful experience with W10. But here the main conversation is about upgrading to W10, on machines that may have been designed with W7 in mind.

Yes, we have no idea what the success/fail ratio is, but that's not the point. The problem is the stealth(ish) upgrading that's aggravating users.

(Have to ask. Is your Windows 10 experience on a machine that came with W10 pre-installed by the manufacturer, or did you upgrade an older machine?)

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UK drivers left idling as Tesla rolls out Autopilot in US

John Gamble

What happens when the software meets a non-American road, ie one that's not straight, has roundabouts, features non-right-angle bends, and may involve pedestrians, hedges, ditches, or even farm animals?

Your belief that the whole of the U.S. (and presumably Canada as well) is exactly like Manhattan is ... perhaps not unexpected. Do you only get your information from cop shows?

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Let's check out Dell, doom and the competition

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: How can one article get so much wrong?!

Yes, and they're simply no different. The very first thing they do is lock themselves into a vendor eco-system. It's what they know. At the simplest level, how many do you think switch between Bing and Google for search?

Yes, how completely different from the days of the 1960's mantra "Nobody was ever fired for buying IBM".

Not to mention your absurd comparison of technological lockdown with ... Google search use? Can you come up with a measurable example that actually has something to do with development, please?

The fact of the matter is that every developer of every generation has found something to be fascinated by, and to use it exclusively until the fascination wears down. In my college days it was C, but I've seen the same level of monomania for the LAMP scripting languages, and the next generation of academic languages, and the javascript offshoots. Don't confuse fascination with mental blinders.

Plus, you actually used the phrase "kids these days." And the sad thing is that you're younger than me.

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Laser razor binned from Kickstarter resurfaces on Indiegogo

John Gamble

It wouldn't surprise me if Kickstarter had a similar option.

Be surprised then, Kickstarter does not have that option.

It's one of the reasons I don't support Indiegogo projects. Not because the projects are necessarily bad (I've been frustrated by two that were very good but went to Indiegogo), but because Indiegogo has an option that enables fraudsters.

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John Gamble

It looks like it was suspended before the deadline was reached (the last update talks about it being the second week update), so no money would have been collected.

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Slander-as-a-service: Peeple app wants people to rate and review you – whether you like it or not

John Gamble

Re: Wonder what will happen...

Given that this happening in the land of the lawyers free, ...

Erm... Corday and McCullough are in Calgary. Which is not in the U.S.

I grant you there will probably be something incorporated in Delaware, the anyone-can-be-a-corporation state.

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BBC joins war against Flash, launches beta HTML5 iPlayer

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Late to the party BBC !

If Chrome has everything that FF does, then you'd be right, but developers work on different items at different rates. I know that currently, for example, Chrome is missing some of Firefox's features when it comes to displaying SVG 2.

Obviously, a higher score is better, but it doesn't help me if the browser doesn't have an HTML 5 feature that I need.

Do we know how the scores compare when it comes to covering features that deliver BBC content?

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'Disruptive Innovation'? Take this theory and stuff it: MIT Profs

John Gamble

Re: They couldn't all just go out and start their own search engine.

At least one did (Dex), but you're talking multiple printers across (in this case) the U.S., whose specialty was printing, not web technology (and the collection of information was often handled by a different company).

You may as well ask why I didn't just decide to become a neurosurgeon -- it's not in any way part of my background, and I'd go bankrupt while learning how to handle those cutty things.

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VW’s case of NOxious emissions: a tale of SMOKE and MIRRORS?

John Gamble

Re: Teaching to the test

Yes, it was Cadillac that famously had the "emissions test" mode on when the hood (bonnet) was lifted.

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John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Alltogether Now

There's a third element; governments are in cahoots with these car makers. Clearly VW must have rubbed someone the wrong way in the USofA to have been picked as the first.

Y'know, it's not like this stuff is hard to look up.

“No one had done that before in the U.S.,” said Arvind Thiruvengadam, a professor at [West Virginia University]. “It sounded very interesting, to test light-duty diesel vehicles in real-world conditions. We looked around at each other said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

And the reason they were doing it at all was because the International Council on Clean Transportation wanted to show how much better diesels were doing in the U. S. and to get the European models up to that (now known to be false) standard.

The study also did not target Volkswagen specifically. It was something of a fluke, he said, that two out of three diesel vehicles bought for the testing were VWs.

It did not take long for suspicions to set in. The West Virginia researchers were well-versed in diesel performance on real roads, and had certain expectations for how the test cars should ebb and flow in their emissions. But the two Volkswagens behaved strangely.

Article by Bill Vlasic and Aaron M. Kessler, NYT, Sept 21, 2015

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Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: SOLO needs a bug tracker

I don't know if it completely meets your needs, but there is a "Gitenberg" project, for tracking e-books with git.

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Let's NUKE MARS to make it more like home says Elon Musk

John Gamble

Re: Spider Plants!

Heh. On a different planet entirely, a character in Henry Kuttner's Fury recommended crabgrass as an antagonist to Venus's predatory vegetation.

This was probably funnier when it was written, when suburban sprawl was in full force.

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FCC: No, Dish, you're not a 'small business' so forget the $3bn price cut

John Gamble

Re: Fine mayhaps?

I think AT&T merging with Dish would be a bit too much for regulators, given that AT&T is acquiring DirectTV...

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