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Comment Android and apps: redux (Score 1) 75

This was my most recent comment on Android and 'apps': With this, I see no reason to change my mind. There's some reason we close all the ports we can and create solid firewall rules, isn't there?

I'm going to try this next: but I'm not at all convinced that it's better.

Comment Recruitment process and bad leadership/training (Score 1) 92

I'm in the UK, semi-retired but still do some freelance, some (free and paid) support for voluntary organisations. I've been 'industry' for 40 years this year.

The first thing I see is a mad/incompetent buzzword list based recruitment process from agencies that don't understand anything about technology. I'm asked to do stuff, then eliminated because one easy-to-learn (I mean a couple of days, usually) thing is missing from the application. I don't lie either, I don't like it and don't need to. This leads to the next thing.

When I entered the industry, managers and companies expected to train and develop (permanent) staff, as part of the social contract. They understood that people don't know everything but half-way smart/motivated people can learn stuff too. Now this is treated as an economic externality in that they expect the (very expensive) universities and colleges to do everything for them. They appear to complain bitterly on television when they find that they may have to use some of their own resources.

Finally, on the same lines, they need to try and let non graduates and other fields in. There weren't any computer science degrees when I started, I studied chemistry and a lot of my co-workers studied Greek and Latin, for example. Ability to learn is (often) a horizontal thing, though I agree people have blind spots.

So this can probably be sorted out, but it requires a change of attitude in the career chain.

Comment Re:So what (Score 1) 217

I think what you are trying to say is that Libre Office is entirely adequate for my needs, but not for yours or the previous AC commentator. Still that's a great advance on the pile of crap 'argument'. Please use a Blackberry, if you wish, for any fiction that you plan to write, I will not be doing so.

There's an ethical dimension to my decision too, when Microsoft changes some of their business practices, I'll be glad to change my mind.

Comment Re:Time to switch (Score 1) 217

Actually I've used it for a Master's dissertation and am currently using it for long university essays. I mainly use Linux but still use Windows for a couple of things. However it's true that I dislike Microsoft's business practices and have done so, for some time. That's probably a more courteous answer than you deserve, in fact.

Comment Poisoning the corpus (Score 3, Interesting) 169

I hate the whole intrusive, infantilising, spying and unnecessary lot of them. I've been thinking about making a conversational text to speech engine that provides a) surrealist commentary such as 'I am the bird of the clockwork ice cream' b) revolutionary talk such as 'Siri, when will the revision lapdogs of late capitalism be strangled with their own entrails?' and just letting it talk to one of these 'assistants'.

I've been thinking a little about experimenting with Mycroft: the only fairly developed open source one that I can see, but I really don't want my private life harvested and commercialised.

Comment Strange one, Oric Atmos (Score 1) 857 and a secondhand colour TV. My son learnt:

10 PRINT "Hello!"
20 GOTO 10

on this, start of a programming career. We didn't bother with World, we're not really hard-core traditionalists. Sometime later, we modified it to print Hello! in a diagonal pattern, those long winter evenings just flew by (know the quote anyone?).

Comment Re:Current AI isn't... (Score 1) 237

Thanks, so do I. Some of our current troubles are a) expecting too much, too soon, a traditional industry vice b) not dealing/reflecting on ethical issues c) lay folk and politicians taking current AI, literally as 'intelligence', we've explained it badly too. There are probably more, but those are the first to come to (my) mind.

Comment Current AI isn't... (Score 4, Interesting) 237

We've been going through this since the 1980's when we started to make ruled-based expert systems and put them into production. We called that AI too. Now we're doing the same with statistical machine 'intelligence' (optimisation, often), various configurations of trainable neural networks and some hybrids.

These are trainable appliances, not intelligences. They don't have the adaptability and recovery from mistakes of human or (in the case of statistical, sub-symbolic etc.) any explanatory power. To some extent, that's why I liked the ancient expert systems with a why? function, but they were also very brittle. So I think the current hype curve has inflected and this is a good thing, since, apart from this, there are some quite weighty ethical problems as well.

This is not the view of a neo-Luddite, but there's stuff to think about here.

Comment Re:Virgin just sued the NHS too. (Score 1) 149

First thing, we don't have 'tax dollars', we have another currency called 'pounds'.

Second thing, the 'internal market' (introduced by Thatcher) within the NHS (our healthcare system) is an anathema to most Brits. We do not wish to die, just because we have no cash, as in the US. That doesn't answer the 'rigged' question, but see below.

This: is one of several 'incidents' involving Virgin Healthcare looking to the bottom line rather than to patients. As such, (my opinion) it shouldn't be allowed to bid at all.

If that is you beardy (qv), or one of your shills, my apologies.

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"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce