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Comment: I call BS. (Score 2) 147

by ledow (#49621179) Attached to: How the NSA Converts Spoken Words Into Searchable Text

I can't even get a device - of any power - to recognise my voice beyond the very slow, pronounced basics and I have to train myself to it (not the other way around).

Would love to know how the NSA have access to technology that the top voice-recognition specialists and software can't manage, let alone dealing with noisy backgrounds, masked keywords, variety of languages, etc.

"Acres of datacentres" don't help for the simplest of obscurations in the phone call and guess who has a reason to mask their intentions behind innocent words? Terrorists.

Comment: Re:Facebook could help shools more.... (Score 0) 208

Why the hell should that be Facebook's job?

The problem here is not lack of schools, lack of teachers (though they are problems, that's not the driver behind poor education), it's LACK OF PARENTING.

If you're kid is not learning because they're on Facebook (or Xbox, or the iPad, or whatever) all the time, you've FAILED as a parent. For some reason, that's accepted nowadays.

I work in schools.
I work in "elementary" schools (we don't call them that, but similar age range).
I work in private "elementary" schools.

The kids there don't learn because the teachers are infinitely better, or because the school buys a thousand iPads. They learn because they are ENCOURAGED to. They have to perform or they fall behind and, if they fall too far behind, the school will ask them to leave.

The schedule for a child is - to my state-educated mind - insanely busy and active. They are literally doing two things at once at all times and barely stop all day.

Because they are given a work ethic, and the parents have the incentive (money) to enforce that work ethic, they achieve much, much more.

Comment: Re:Of no interest to me (Score 1) 127

by ledow (#49619009) Attached to: Microsoft Office 2016 Public Preview Released

I've done back-end and end-user support for 15 years.

For at least five of those years, the machines I used myself only had Open/LibreOffice on them.

It wasn't a hindrance.

As I say to my users all the time: No, I only manage this stuff. I don't know how to use every obscure feature of every random bit of junk that you've made me install, nor what your working practice usually involves. I'll help and advise, sure, but that rarely consists of more than a Google for "where the hell is the X button in the new versions of Office?" for most things.

Finance, especially, are lost by this. I know how to install their software, manage it, connect it to the banks, authorise the smartcards with the bank and everything else. I do the annual rollovers and the reporting and lots of other stuff. But I don't even understand what the terms mean for the rest of the stuff. I have no idea what code you should be using for that purchase. No, I don't know why your figures don't tally.

Almost certainly I can work out and dig into things and get the answer. I've never not been able to when it matters. But, it's not my job to know the ins and outs of every single detail of HOW the software should be used, every feature it has, and automatically know every click necessary to do every task. (This is my bug-bear with rote learning of things like Windows Server on courses... no... just no.)

As such... MS Office features? Basics, I'll show you. One-offs, I'll help you Google (basically, I'm Google-by-proxy for those users who want to do something quite simple that they've never done before). Everything else, I'll either know, or we'll have to find out. If you're doing it regularly, I suggest a training course or learning yourself.

MS Office isn't on my radar. At home I use LibreOffice. At my previous workplace - in the same position - I used Open/LibreOffice throughout their 2000->2003->2013 transitions.

Sure, I'll help. But it's Office. Unless it isn't activating or you need a normal.dotm reset or similar (Outlook profile reset etc.), chances are it's not high on my list.

Comment: Re:Bad title (Score 1, Insightful) 367

by ledow (#49616197) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

The energy of the thrust effect is basically lost in the measurement error. Hell, the device measuring it could be affecting the measured thrust.

The problem is that there's a TINY, TINY effect and we're not sure of the origin. It's therefore useless for propulsion, for decades at least, and certainly until we know where it's coming from and why. Because it might not be something that can ever be scaled, and that amount of thrust is absolutely minuscule.

We're used to dealing with tiny thrusts - you can "push" a satellite with nothing more than light and we have measured that effect in some of our own objects in space. But we can explain that bit, because we know about the interaction that it undergoes.

However, this is barely out of the measurement error. It's nothing more than a blip at the moment. As such, it's infinitely more important to put this through the wringer of "what the hell is doing that" - which requires independent testing, and that's not being done.

Fact is, this may never be more powerful than it is, and we can barely know it IS there, even in a vacuum. Until we know more, any headline about its origin or potential usage is PR bollocks.

Comment: Re:scaling with power? (Score 2) 367

by ledow (#49616135) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

It doesn't imply the power range to be infinite. Everything has a working range. But, although the claim that it's a necessity is dubious, it's pretty well universal. If you supply an LED with less power, it will light less. We tend to PWM them in order to do this digitally with only one voltage on a digital circuit, but - for a certain range - their brightness correlates to the power supplied to even LED's, yes.

Comment: Re:I had that picture in my course some years ago (Score 1) 609

by ledow (#49604295) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

I'm British. That's in Europe. The above is true of Britain at the very least, and it's not alone.

And, every time I drive through Europe (including France), that's the only time you see things quite so blatant as huge pink neon signs declaring "Sex Shop" from miles away. Even in tiny, sleepy little villages, miles from anything else.

And, sorry, but sometimes the models in fashion magazines and men's magazines are showing more than the full Lena image, and on the front cover.

It may not be true in every town/city (Paris relies a lot on tourism), true. But we're a damn sight more open about it than the US.

Comment: Re:I had that picture in my course some years ago (Score 4, Interesting) 609

by ledow (#49601147) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

The Venus de Milo is showing her breasts. Michaelangelo's David has his cock out.

Countless renaissance works depict nudes.

When they excavated Pompei they found everything from dildos to pornography.

Hell, I was in the National Gallery a while back and it had a famous exhibit of a sculpted goat being penetrated by a man. Just there, in the museum. There was a warning sign that that gallery contains such works, but that was about it. Kids were roaming freely through it and past it and looking at it. No parent did anything more than "Yes, it's very funny, keep moving" and a sly smile between them all.

Nudity is slowly being outlawed, which is ridiculous, given that sex is just as much at the front of the agenda as it ever has been. I'm not naturist and I don't want to go around showing my body (especially not my body, actually) but, fuck, it's a breast or a leg or even a cock, get over it.

There's a line of obscenity, but it's not the very existence or a bare depiction of a nude body. And certainly not the Lena image which isn't pornographic in any way (the others in the series, possibly). You see worse in any historical painting, on TV adverts, and let's not actually get into the dramas, and movies, and videogames, and what they contain because, fuck, we'll be here forever.

I agree it's probably not the best thing to KEEP using but it's used because it has certain properties that aid in the judgement of imagery. Sure there are other images. But you're an adult. It's an adult woman, barely nude. Grow up.

And in any European country you see worse on the top shelf of every single newsagent, and not even in the "pornographic" section. Just things like the men's magazine's front covers.

We can never outgrow wanting to look at beautiful people, male or female, but we can sure as hell outgrow trying to ban it.

Fuck, there was a public protest in London the other month over the banning of depiction of face-sitting, so thousands gathered outside the Houses of Parliament and demonstrated what was about to be banned. We have bigger issues than a picture of a woman.

Comment: Re:Very impressive (Score 1) 87

If PC gaming has taught me anything, it's "never be on the cutting edge". It's expensive, very expensive, and very fleeting.

A $2000 four-card SLI setup will be two-card setup next year. And a one-card setup the year after. And mainstream the year after.

It's going to TAKE you three years to produce any game of value with this level of model quality anyway.

It's not wasted in that sense. But it is a bit pointless. Stop focussing on the graphics, because I don't want a $100m animation of any level of detail. I played through GTA V and skipped EVERY cutscene. I literally did not care about the pre-rendered or even engine-rendered bits over which I had no control, I just wanted to play the damn game.

Hopefully we'll reach a point where the level of detail is the same wherever you go, and all that differs is the actual gameplay. The AI in GTA V, for example, is still absolute crap. Want to evade the cops? Turn corners lot, get yourself into a point they can't sneak up on you. Pretty much you can last out from a 5-star wanted level until you run out of ammo.

Now go online. Even a couple of people actively hunting you is certain death in a short time unless you are kitted out to the absolute hilt.

We need to stop focusing on graphics, fuck even my old laptop ran GTA V at enough speed that I could complete the game without going blind, and focus on all those other areas of gaming that we're still just completely ignoring.

Comment: Re:Tells (Score 1) 88

by ledow (#49599239) Attached to: Humans Dominating Poker Super Computer

Tells and the "psychology" of poker are about supplying misleading as to the content of your hand. That's it.

The computer doesn't need to take any notice of you, misleading or otherwise. It knows what the chances of any particular card in your hand are. It therefore knows exactly the odds of whether its hand is likely to outmatch all the other hands on the table.

The problem is not in playing the game, it's in betting (especially with no-limits, which gives too many avenues for recursion so it just has to "guess" with a heuristic - if that heuristic is wrong, it might "win" more hands but still lose much more money than all the other players).

It's easy to know the probability that you will win the hand. It's hard to get more than small gains from that unless you bluff your opponents into betting more than they should. If everyone bet like the computer, the game would peter out to boredom.

The "misleading" is in the bets, and the computer doesn't care what you're TRYING to make it think you have in your hard. It knows whether or not there's a higher probability of winning cards in its hand or any other the other players. It just has to determine what's the best betting strategy. If it has 1000 chips, that's 1000 options. Next move if might have 1000 options, 2000 options or none at all. The game tree for THAT is fucking huge.

But remove the money and this computer will win more hands. Just do the betting, no-limits, on the flip of a coin and it will struggle without a programmed heuristic. Determine the heuristic and you win against it and there's nothing it can do about it.

And players can collude to make it hard for the computer to bet at the ideal level. In short, the computer will win the most hands in the long run. It might be a very boring game but it will. The cards in your hand cannot change and everyone can know the exact chance of what you have, what's coming up, and what's in their hand. Those odds don't change because you try to bluff or not.

It may not, however, take away most money and that money is a rule in the game, it may not win.

Statistics, however, is completely misunderstood in such things. First, it only applies IN THE LONG RUN. Second, it will lose almost as much too - it has to. Third, the game is designed for humans... thus the blinds and betting are put in to complicate things and MAKE the game more about your opponents than the cards (because humans who card-count and bet by the odds are boring and just end in stalemates and random wins), so they remove the possibility of card-counting and complicate the betting to make things "interesting". It's a CAPTCHA, in effect.

Play blind-tests where they don't know it's a computer. Where they don't know who to collude against. See how well it does then. That's interesting.

And they wouldn't play against it if you just said "see who wins the most hands, and folds the least".

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 5, Insightful) 180

It's not even very good.

If you have noexec /tmp, it can't even start. That's been the default in almost every distro for years.

And it's a random third-party binary. It's not like it got into package repositories or a major piece of software. Some cock downloaded a piece of malware, of his own accord, outside of package management on a Linux machine. And so few people did that, it wasn't even showing up on the radar.

God, if I had a penny for every spam email sent from a compromised Windows computer that I've had brought to me and been asked to clean, I'd have earned more than a year's wages already.

Comment: Re:Spamming daemon packed inside ELF binary (Score 5, Insightful) 180

You can be insecure on any machine, same as you can be a dick in any language.

If you have a non-package binary installed on your system, it's user-error. You have decided to run that, and done that with privileges enough to run it.

This isn't packaged with any software, except for a spam-generating (mass mailing) software anyway. Just that those spammers didn't know they were being used to spam for others too.

Same as if you just run a program on a Windows machine. It's got FUCK ALL to do with open-source, but don't let that stop you.

And packaged open-source software is hash-checked and signed by the distributors. This has not been found in ANY repository of distribution packages. It's a random program that someone has decided to install, and is bundled with spam-generating software, so that's how it "kept quiet"... the people installing didn't give a shit about what they were installing, or the mass-mailing they were already doing. It's like getting a virus from a game crack.

But, please, continue to think you're superior because "lol OS is insecure". I don't actually see any difference between your unrelated argument and, say, "lol Xbox sucks because".

Comment: Re:Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 1) 511

by ledow (#49594631) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

UK standard is 100A to the board, I think (and we're on 220v).

I have a single appliance that can pull 20A @220v on it's own, another that can pull 18A @ 220v. One of those is the oven, the other is a (completely optional, I agree) electric kiln.

But I am shocked that I haven't overloaded a circuit yet.

I have 32A just going out to the garden shed / for mowing the lawn / tools etc. and that's more than you could pull ever (maybe twice as much if you're on 110v). I intend to use it if ever I switch to an electric car, which might be in 20 years time given the rate the tech moves at.

I don't do a lot of toolwork or serious stuff, so it's not a huge draw. I don't have A/C (it's a UK semi-detached right in the suburbs!). I don't have a huge house, buckets of lights, ponds or anything high-power running 24/7. The heating is gas. I have one of each appliance, and small ones at that because of limited kitchen space. I don't have a power shower or anything remotely luxurious.

Not saying I couldn't dial down to 30A if necessary but, damn, that's not a lot at all. Most of my MCB's are 32A rated, the others are 16A and my consumer unit has a dozen of them.

Your whole house wouldn't blow one of my circuits, most likely. And the whole house was rewired only a couple of years ago just before I bought it.

Is it me that's unusual here (I don't think so, looking at my parent's house, old houses I've lived in, etc.)?

Comment: Re:2kW isn't enough power for a home (Score 2) 511

by ledow (#49593463) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

Not really.

A lease is nothing more than renting, which not only has to cover all the costs of the batteries, but also reasonable replacements over the life of the lease, plus people to manage the lease, plus some profit (usually).

Leasing doesn't make things more affordable (just the opposite). It just breaks it into monthly payments without needing a lump-sum, and takes the hassle off your hands. It's a big difference.