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Comment Re:Retracting the Truth (Score 1) 66

If WhatsApp want to sniff your messages, they can. They update the app to just not encrypt.

If government forces them to do that, they can.

In and of itself, that's an entirely different threat model.

What this says is not "WhatsApp is 100% secure to use" (because security experts are not stupid enough to ever say that).

They are saying "This compromise that you claim lets anyone open your encrypted messages? Yeah, it's rubbish unless you literally take over WhatsApp servers."

There is no service in the world that cannot be subject to government interference, and no software in the world that cannot be subject to the software authors themselves putting in a backdoor.

At best, you can try and shut down if you're asked to do so, and hope that trusted companies are covering your back.

Comment Re:Trying to run before you can walk (Score 2) 159

What you're proposing is basically a GA: Genetic algorithm.

Even when you give a system a biological analogy as its base, the results are unpredictable, un-interpretable, and don't confirm to any logical architecture.

There is a famous example of a chip designed to detect two different fixed frequencies of an input signal, and output which is active (if any). Designing the chip by hand results in a working, logical model of a certain size.

If you allow GA to run random "evolution" over the circuit contents, punishing it when it gets it wrong, and breeding from it when it gets it right, you end up with a circuit that appears to do the job.

Ironically, it even does it inside a smaller space than the human would have designed it. However, trying to interpret HOW it does that job is almost impossible and certainly not worth the effort. But the problem is, if you want to USE that chip, you have to do that effort. One day, there might be a corner case where it doesn't operate as you believe it might, and you won't know until you hit it.

At least with a logic circuit you can understand, you can in theory mathematically prove what it will do quite easily. With one that has multiple feedback loops and randomly-built interactions between parts, analysing it isn't worth the money you'd spend doing so, especially as it's quite likely that even after millions of generations of training, it could still contain quite prevalant bugs (i.e. when exposed to a real-world frequency close to the target ones that fluctuates differently to how whatever training inputs were used).

And GA's have proven themselves not quite as useful as we first hoping. Millions of generations later, you can still fall flat on your face and there's no real way to steer things differently without doing it all over again, and no reliable way to understand or adjust the output in even the smallest way.

Whenever you see that an AI has been "trained", you should be suspicious. It's like saying a dog has been trained. It's still an unpredictable, ever-changing, free-thinking animal that we don't understand but which usually gives us the output we want (sit, stay, heel). There's no telling, though, when it might decide to turn around and bite you, because it's range of inputs is not the only factor in how it makes a decision.

And that's a model of a system that, generally, abides by rules, accepts training, etc. and operates in certain logical ways to ensure survival after millions of generations of evolution. Anything we fabricate has even less guarantees.

Comment Re:Since they determined autopilot wasn't to blame (Score 1) 180

Surely, then, the autopilot did nothing anyway.

Whatever Tesla might claim, autopilot is a dumb idea.

In this instance, it literally did NOTHING to prevent a collision that should have been obvious to a driver for over 7 seconds.

Sure, it's the driver's fault for relying on it, same as if you drive "relying" on your ABS to operate instead of leaving a sensible distance.

But surely it just proves that autopilot is a load of shit and this just says that you can't even blame the manufacturer if it does nothing whatsoever.

It's like someone selling you a laptop that, if the keyboard doesn't work, aw, sorry, that's your own fault for not checking it works all the time you use it.

Comment Assange. (Score 2) 540

So not only do you expect prisoner exchanges (when the US hasn't even asked for you) on your terms, despite being a criminal in the UK for skipping bail, but when the part you demand happens (whether related or not, I'm guessing not to be honest) within a few days despite the intense complications of such an action, it has to have been immediate for you to keep your promises?

He's an attention-seeking prat, and always will be.

Ecuador - kick him the hell out of the door already.

Comment Re:Vision for VR (Score 1) 48

You want full-vision, HD-or-above, miniature displays that are self-powered, wireless, and involve no glasses or anything else on you? And probably are selectively transparent?

Welcome to "bio-implants", using tech only available 50 years from now. When you can convince granny to do that to check her email, give us a shout.

Comment Re:Swearing (Score 1) 281

The brain's interpretation of swear-words is different precisely because of the way they are used and the emotive response to them.

There's a reason that extreme instances of Tourette's are traditionally characterised by *inappropriate* words. The Tourette's sufferer (not all of the, or even most of them) acquires the verbal ticks because swearwords are handled and received differently (providing the upbringing is normal, and they understand the language - they don't magically know the German swearwords, etc.).

Swearwords, PRECISELY BECAUSE people categorise themselves into "those who use them" and "those who don't" are different, in the same way that positive and negative word-use are different. You either spend your life not using them, or you realise they have special characteristics that make them inappropriate with bosses, children, etc. Bang. Instant language neon lights.

You swear to express, and illicit, emotive responses outside of the norm.

Comment Re:Swearing (Score 1) 281

Experiments prove that swearing when in pain reduces the pain.

Google Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed video for a pop-science demonstration of such.

And in such instances, "fake" swear words do not have the same effect, even if you know what they stand for...

Comment Re:Swearing (Score 1) 281

1) It's not every occasion, that's exactly the point. You bring it out to distinguish it from every other occasion.
2) You're EXACTLY the kind of person I'm talking about.

P.S. Stupid is an extremely constructive word - by making you go "Oh, woah, okay, obviously I did something stupid, I won't do that again" rather than "Oh, this is working out well and I have only a minor tweak to make!"

And sometimes things are not bad assumptions, thought through or lacking maturity - they are people who know better just being stupid. They think it through, choose the stupid option for their own advancement, knowing full well what they should do instead. It's "rare" in comparison to a genuine mistake, but it happens. And that's when you bring out the expletives.

Comment Swearing (Score 3, Interesting) 281

People who don't swear scare the fucking life out of me.


There's a difference between swearing AT someone or IN FRONT OF someone. You never swear AT a child. You can swear in front of one. (And if the parents have half a brain, they are told not to repeat it but I guarantee the primmest of young girls know all the swearwords by their teenage year if they want to use them.)

Swearing is an expression of emotion, for the most part. There are people who put it in just because it feels big (you can spot those people even into adulthood), but mostly it expresses the scale of emotion behind what they are saying.

Something is stupid.
Something is FUCKING stupid.

They are entirely different things.

But people who deliberately DO NOT swear or - worse - do not tolerate swearing in their presence at all, they scare me. There's something repressive about that. I work in big posh schools and I guarantee you that even the most pretentious and correcting headmaster will swear at times, and the staffroom is full of expletives.

Swearing is the emoticon of language. It provides emphasis, scale and scope to something that could otherwise be misinterpreted. And it's better to insert a swear word than actually raise your voice, I would posit.

As such, people who swear are giving you not only their demand/request/reasoning but expressing how important it is to them too. That's honesty, alright.

Comment Re:Why is that useful? (Score 1) 189

Dual boot requires rebooting.

Nobody in commerce or enterprise is doing that with any kind of regularity, on clients or servers.

Virtualised hardware, however, let's them run everything without changing the machine. It also lets Linux be the underlying OS while Windows is just a VM.

That gives them an incentive for "one OS" top-to-bottom (e.g. Server licensing for HyperV) that can run Windows and Linux commands (even the hypervisor itself) without having to install a rival OS.

Comment Re:Lini batteries (Score 3, Interesting) 71

A battery capable of running a laptop for 10 hours is - if the energy is applied as heat, or even just sheer unrestricted electrical discharge - the same as powering 600 laptops for a minute. Or 3600 laptops for a second. Imagine the energy you need to do that - to just turn on 3600 laptops simultaneously, even for a second.

The amount of energy stored is enormous. In oil-based products it's orders of magnitude more again. Which is why a tiny little candle thing in a survival pack can cook your food, or a paraffin heater can heat a house.

The more energy you store, the greater the risk, but it does depend on how it's released. There's a reason you can't stop a house fire without hours of dampening it down - wood has a ton of energy but doesn't tend to release it that quickly, but can still be alight the next morning once it gets going.

In terms of battery, the worst problem is a short-circuit, either in the battery or the circuit itself. I can remember short-circuiting AA NiCd batteries as a kid, with my electronics kits. You could literally melt the plastic casing off the battery and make them too hot to touch in just a few seconds, with sparks and all sorts of case deformation as you did so. And that's an AA battery, with maybe 450mAh. Nowadays, rechargeable AA's can ten times that.

And then you consider the energy in a Li-Po that's as big as a laptop battery? When that goes wrong, you're in big trouble.

The short-circuit resistance does change things. Shorting a cheap alkaline likely won't do much at all, but even they come with warnings not to do that. But you're assuming that things are already going wrong for a battery in normal usage to short. At that point, you just assume zero-resistance and watch as your laptop catches fire and explodes.

No matter the technology, if it's capable of delivering that much electrical power, and you short it or break it, it's going to do pretty much the same thing.

My dad tells a story of when he and his work colleagues shorted a forklift battery bank. It was in an abandoned warehouse and the forklift was scrap, basically. They dropped a thick steel spanner over the batteries (a handful of normal lead-acid car batteries, basically) from a distance. The spanner glowed red, then bent, then glowed white, at which point the entire forklift exploded into smithereens and they were scraping battery acid off a warehouse ceiling (50ft up!) for weeks.

The energy is there, if you need to do those jobs for that length of time. If you release it all at once, even for a car battery, you have a literal explosive device on your hands. That isn't going to change just because you change lead-acid for hydrogen fuel cells or petrol for LPG or NiCd for LiPo.

Comment Re:Why is that useful? (Score 5, Insightful) 189




They're hoping that "linux" comes to mean just a particular set of utilities, no matter the OS.

In this day and age, virtualise. And it doesn't matter what OS you host virtual machines on, so long as they run.

Which is a death-knell to Windows, because the choice between "server core" and a barebones Linux install with a hypervisor? What's to choose except price and licensing?

Developers should be able to code on - literally - anything they want to. It helps in testing, if nothing else, if they are checking in code that is Windows-only and everyone complains that it breaks builds.

But they should all have all the target platforms as VMs, too. Then it's a matter of personal preference.

To be honest, I don't get why so many coders actually use MacBooks. It seems completely the wrong decision to me, if given free choice.

But the days of which OS is actually running on the hardware mattering are long gone. The choice of what you use as desktop is personal preference. The choice of what to use for backend services doesn't matter so long as you have people managing it.

Windows, at this point, is just a fancy GUI, not unlike which choice of DE you use on Linux. I think Microsoft are trying to claw that back a little and make you think that you can get rid of the Linux desktops and interfaces by using Windows.

Comment Re:Programmers are not waiting for your ideas (Score 1) 221

Every game project that I've ever worked on.

Some bright spark with ten million ideas and now idea how to code them, or even describe them algorithmically.

And programmers desperately working to get to the point that they can implement the better ideas that they had and have been able to test and describe for years beforehand.

Ideas are ten-a-penny. People who can code them are not, and they will have had all those ideas too, and know why the others aren't viable.

If you don't understand big-O notation, simple algorithms, and at least one programming language, nobody is going to care about your idea unless, quite literally, they have nothing else to do.

Reminds me of the scene with the bully in the Big Bang Theory (who wants to make glasses that turn things 3D)

"Hey, engineers! I think we should make a flying car! You get onto doing that, just make sure you give me credit okay!"

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