2805 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel
Same old same old.
> the obvious question is “what’s new?” The answer is… not a whole lot.
But this is true of almost every Linux [ and by "Linux" we all know that means the kernel and the suite of apps that make up a distribution ] - and has been for years.
The question that rarely gets asked and even less frequently gets a satisfactory answer is: what will I be able to do, with this release, that I could not do before?
And most times the answer is "nothing". For many years now, all new Linux releases have been merely rolling the version numbers on libraries and utilities (squashing bugs and fixing security problems), adding support for new hardware and fiddling with the UI.
The only real change that has arrived in recent years is systemd. But even that is 4 years old, is hated as much as it is adopted and makes no difference at all to the users and the list of functions they can use.
One could argue that stability is a major benefit. That being able to take a user from 20 years ago (i.e. me!) and plunk them down in front of a Linux desktop that they will instantly recognise and be able to use, is a good thing. Apart from some minor silliness, like moving the position of menus and toolbars it is totally familiar. This is very true. But it is not innovation, it is not "cutting edge" and it is not what developers want to spend their time doing.
Linux has grown fat and slow in middle age. It is no longer the inspirational "alternative" it once was. It no longer leads in terms of utility or design. Yet it contains all the old baggage that makes it a hostile environment for people to adopt. Just try adding a new package - download this, edit that, compile the other, add new libraries to satisfy installation criteria, fix conflicts and maybe - just maybe - after a full day of effort and Googling user forums that shiny new app will work.
We should be at the stage where all a user has to do is sit at a screen and say (or type) "I want to write a document" (or letter, email, flame, program, magazine review ... ) and everything just happens. And the same applies to hardware - especially stuff you can plug in like USB. None of these should be issues, but they are all insoluble due to group dynamics and office politics within the community.
So Linux will continue to increment version numbers. Giving the illusion of progress without change. And in 20 years time someone else will re-write this comment about Ubuntu 38.10. That is, if the Y2038 problem hasn't destroyed the world.
Re: You shouldn't be able to get to there from here.
> All of which need the Internet.
But it doesn't need a public internet connection.
It just needs the specific ports to the specific address / URL. And the same applies to bank access. There is no reason for a finance computer to ever need access to Google, BBC, ToR, Facebook or anything apart from a few dedicated, preferably hard-wired, connections. Ones that would be audited and under change control.
You shouldn't be able to get to there from here.
> ... who had legitimate access to the company’s entire payroll, published its contents online using anonymising network Tor.
While that part is undeniable, the employer should have protections in place to prevent a (legitimate) user from either taking a copy of the data to remove from the workplace, or from being able to upload it to an off-site location.
If that means that users' PCs don't have any ability to plug USB drives (or anything else) in, that would be a definite step forward. It would also stop people loading dodgy stuff onto a PC or server.
It it further means there needs to be an air gap between internal systems holding sensitive data and anything with a public internet access then that would be a good thing, too.
One could possibly go further and question the need for any office computer to have general-purpose internet access, at all.
Having those restrictions in place would also go a hell of a long way to stopping the reverse: bad people gaining access to sensitive data from outside the building.
The future is coming!
TSB down, HSBC inaccessible.
Earlier in the week it was the turn of Natwest and Barclays to prevent their customers from accessing their money.
The cynic (where? here? nah!) might suggest that this is part of the softening up process for BREXIT. When financial turmoil will become the new black.
Possibly time to find a shoebox that will fit under the bed and to start stuffing it full of hard currency.
According to Wiki, the RAF dropped nearly a million tons of bombs during WW2. The americans "contributing" a further 600kT.
Another source puts the total WW2 amount, dropped everywhere. at well over 3 million tons.
But it doesn't end there! If the researchers wanted to investigate more instances they could look at Vietnam. During operation Rolling Thunder the americans dropped 864,000 tons on the north.
Amounts so huge, that I simply can't process them.
NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again
> NASA’s solution is to try to get disinterested commercial outfits using the orbiting laboratory,
The most interesting possibility would be for an outfit like SpaceX to take it off NASA's hands. Then if they bought themselves a suitably placed "Tracey Island" far from any other country's jurisdiction they could make their launches from there. And once free from annoying things like national laws, taxes and things they could set themselves up with the world's first (and only) extra-terrestrial tax haven.
I am sure that Apple and many other mega-corps would be interested in a slice of that!
That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?
Re: Even the simple things
> It had been a running, non-rebooted print server for twelve years.
The BOFH solution would be to clean it up, blow the dust off. Put it back where it was.
Then tell the company you had "installed" their new print server.
For extra points, sell them a 12 year maintenance contract.
Re: 6 point plan?
> ...what's a budget?
It's a small bird that lives in a cage. In the past, they were used by coal-miners to warn of impending doom. When the budget stops and you still have work to do (or coal to dig), you know there is going to be trouble.
> Before taking a pencil to the back of an envelope or breaking out the Excel and pivot tables, it’s important to understand who is driving the migration and what they want
I would suggest that the very first step is to work out who will get the blame when it all goes terribly wrong (though I think we can all guess the answer).
We learned how to migrate all the clockwork-powered computers prior to Y2K. The strategy hasn't changed just because the buzz-words in the sales brochure are different.
The best tip is to employ outsiders to do the work for you. That way, when someone does go pointing fingers, it will be in the direction of people who no longer there (and therefore cannot deny their part in the failure: whether true or false). This is the major benefit of contracting-out work - the indemnity value.
Subsidised by everyone else
You would have thought that the entire rest of the country would chip in to make these free to all Kippers whether at their conference or elsewhere. Who would want to risk another (accidental) generation being produced.
UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report
It sounds like what we need more than anything is a Machine Learning programme to ascertain the benefits of Machine Learning.
Maybe then we will be able to start cutting down on all the government / public body IT projects that fail, overspend, get cancelled, run late or don't do what they should
> The system [paper PDF] then computed the slight changes in the Wi-Fi network strength over time into a guesstimate of the number of people in the room
It is a fairly gross assumption that the only "bodies" in a room are human.
This counts as _not_ going to the Moon
Just as a "near miss" isn't a "hit", so taking a trip that goes near the Moon is far more a case of not going there, that arriving.
Just like there is a big, big, difference between being one the tourists pressing their faces up against the railings of Buckingham Palace and being one of the privileged (or intruder) few who actually get to go inside. If I was putting up that money or putting my life on the line, I'd at least want a few rocks to bring back and to write my name in the dust.
Do as I do
uTorrent, WireShark, Powershell, Ccleaner, SnippingTool, FreeWatch, DontSleep, PDF converters and Caffeine were among the more common risky apps.
The report said: "Like security bypass, the use of high risk applications is often a warning sign of something worse. A user will typically install such applications so that they can get around security measures, download pirated media, or engage in more sinister activity."
The real-life reason that people will use these and other freeware off the internet is that their organisation does not provide (i.e. spend money on) suitable secure tools that do what these do. If you need to read PDFs now would you wait 2 - 3 months for your purchase order to be approved? Which manager would accept that amount of delay. IT staff always get stuck on the sharp end of project delays, with little support from above. If they are pressured to deliver but receive no help in getting the tools they need, is it really their fault if they "improvise"?
35% of what?
bloodsuckerslawyers will only take 35%. But they will arrange insurance for if they lose. Presumably that doesn't count towards their fees.
Given the chances of losing, one could understand if the insurance was quite high - through a subsidiary, perchance?. So it would be interesting to see just how much (or how little) ended up in the hands of BA customers.
Musk did get one thing right
Asked about the wisdom of smoking marijuana while he is under investigation by the SEC for the “take private” tweet, Musk told the Guardian by email: “Guardian is the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth”.
ref: The Guardian
(Personally, considering its tiny circulation, I'm surprised he had heard of it)
> But attackers who are already on the inside of a network, abusing his or her credentials for nefarious intent without anyone the wiser are rapidly gaining notoriety.
It has been a source of puzzlement for years - no, decades, why IT workers with admin prvileges are so reluctant to use these for their own benefit. It should be quite easy for any sysadmin worth their paycheck to insert whatever sort of "payload" they choose onto their boss's computer. Or their boss's boss or ..... the CEO. Or even a co-worker who they dislike or who's job they would view as a promotion (that alone would be enouigh motivation for people to secure their own kit).
That is, if "icky" stuff would actually need to be placed there - rather than the individual in question having already done the dirty work and it just needing to be discovered and reported.
If only someone had applied AI to 3D TV. They would have learned very quickly that neither technology had much of a future once the marketing hype had turned into a pointless reality.
> Or did I dream it?
I think it was probably a dream. The only time I have ever seen something approaching this was in the run up to Y2K. IIRC provision had been made for client companies to even simulate the payments they would be making through the banking system (at least in some limited fashion).
Even the fullest of full regression testing that I have seen has always failed as soon as it has to receive external inputs or transact business with external systems.
This is always going to be a problem for banking systems since they are so completely interconnected. I assume that is one reason why they have so much otherwise obsolete systems and software - nobody has the foggiest idea how it works and they are all too scared to try and change it!
Get what's coming
> Paul Pester has been booted out of TSB's top office after months of criticism over his handling of the IT chaos that hit the bank this year – but is still expected to take away about £1.7m.
Let us all hope the money is paid into his TSB account. And that there is a "hitch" which means he can't access it for a very long time.
New phone review
octo-core bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz gigabytes bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz megapixels bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz milliamp-hours bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz X-inch screen bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz form factor bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz standby time bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dual SIM bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz notch bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (no) headphone jack bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
The survey is done by RS Components
But they miss out two important factors
1.) Are the products in stock
2.) Can they deliver?
It is interesting that Philly comes in at second place, a very close second place but with a sucky QoL that in no way is compensated for by the "Cyber Security commitment" (if I knew what that even meant). It seems to be an artificial factor designed merely to push american cities up the ranking.
Oddly the only English cities on the list are London and Birmingham (there are 3 Scottish cities).
I am therefore happy to report that none of the best English techie destinations have therefore been revealed.
Let's keep it that way!
A brick in the wall
There is more to IT security than passwords. And it seems to me that if a determined hacker has managed to breach ALL the earlier levels of security, then a few puny keystrokes as a the last line of defence won't be much of a deterrence. No matter how long, contrived or frequently changed the password policy requires them to be.
All a computer-level password can be expected to do is to keep out the casual, in-office, user who wants to use someone else's PC to send rude messages to the CEO. While there exist admin-level users with universal access, few hackers would bother trying to brute-force a user password - they would go straight to the root accounts and concentrate on them. Same amount of effort required, far higher gains on a successful breach.
And with the security "wall" that all companies have, there are far more easily exploitable holes than this. The whole "strong password" security theatre is nothing more than that. There are many more pressing security problems that need to be addressed before user's passwords gets to the top of the pile.
The fifth column
When Franco was conquering Spain in their civil war, he was reported as having four columns of troops outside Madrid and a "fifth column" of supporters inside.
Most large organisations have many staff who are happy to collect their monthly pay, yet spend a significant amount of effort actively or passively working against their employers interests. Whether those people are actively sabotaging or betraying the company or government department they work for or are just goofing around, doing nothing useful is debatable.
However, it should be recognised that there is a broad spectrum of hostility that does not begin or end with selling the company's IP, phone directory, confidential material or client data. While that can never be stopped entirely, there are basic fixes that are easy, yet rarely implemented.
One would be forced to conclude that even simple things like removing USB connections to PCs and scrutinising outgoing email are not common simply because organisations do not care about security. Preferring to think any breaches are down to lone-wolf employees who are outliers. That mind-set is far more acceptable (to both employers and employees) than recognising that 5% of your staff are crooks!
Come back in 20 years!
> Arguably, it is too much to expect a network which has never seen a certain combination of two categories within the same image to be able to successfully cope with such an image
Although equally arguably few people will ever have seen that combination, either. The problem seems to me, with no experience of image recognition software, that the systems are pretty crap at recognising anything and rely too much on "tricks" such as context, to turn their guesses into even vaguely credible "image may contain ..... " analyses.
Most people would start by looking at the picture as a whole. In this case the interior of a room. They would identify it as such and then work down, from the big things to the little things. It does seem to me that the identification process employed here is simply not up to the standard necessary to contribute anything useful.
Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.
The GIMP project should do itself a favour and focus on improving the awful UI, rather than adding technical features.
Apart from its name, that is its major problem for users.
Do you own your car?
> "This is an unreasonable demand to make of JLR because any such automatic bullet-proof method would be dependent upon a similarly bullet-proof system/process whereby JLR is informed of the sale of any of their vehicles, including private sales."
It is not unreasonable. When car makers offer "connected car" services, they take on a duty of care regarding the data they collect. A part of that care is to prevent it being used by any party that does not have a right to it. That includes previous owners of the vehicle.
This is a break from the old supplier-customer relationship of a single sell-buy transaction (with warranty obligations). Since the car-makers have elected to create this feature and to make it open-ended, time-wise, the onus is on them to make it work. And not just for the original owner.
Add this book to the pile
Basically, just more doom-mongering
The news media is full of it. It sells. But merely telling us we're doomed, DOOMED I say is meaningless. What are the solutions, what actions should we take to mitigate this. How can we protect ourselves or profit from it (ans: write a book).
So instead of heaping on the anxiety, increasing fear and making everyone a little more depressed, how about some positive, helpful, suggestions, instead?
So, why don't we still have dinosaurs?
> "Most of the building blocks we have looked at in other planetary systems have a composition broadly similar to that of the Earth"
If being "earthlike" was enough, this planet would continually be spawning life, as it originally formed. Those "respawns" would then start their own path of evolution. So as well as having us, the result of billions of years of evolution from the first time that life appeared, there would also be forms of plants, animals and all the rest that are the product of evolution from the second time that life started on Earth. And from the third, fourth, the seventy-seventh, the 2,916'th and so on.
But we don't. We only have a single thread of evolution that seems to go back to the start.
So it would seem that being "earthlike" is not a good idea for a planet if it wants to start producing life. It is only a hospitable environment for once life has got past the initial stages. After that, being earthlike is not a set of conditions that is suitable for starting evolution.
The conclusion would be that a planet only has one shot at starting to give rise to life-forms. Maybe once they get to the stage of converting methane, CO2 and ammonia into an environment rich in water and oxygen, they have past the point of spontaneously allowing life to form. If whatever life had developed, then died out, it would explain why we don't see other planets' TV.
The trick wouldn't be starting life, but in having the remarkable set of coincidences, luck, and starting conditions to allow life to avoid all the extinction possibilities in the billions of years after it forms, to eventually give rise to intelligence. Or us!
Re: thunderbolt - not thunderbird
> Though Brains and Lady Penelope are always a good bet in any international emergency
And with the Parker probe heading for the Sun, it's good to see that the series is still current. Though you'd need a fairly long USB cable to re-charge that. I doubt that the shape of the connector would be the biggest concern.
Which could explain why the previous generation of voting machines the americans sold to Canada, just declared Obama the winner.
Career _path_? a single patio slab, in reality
> The focus is on showing youngsters that there's a lucrative legitimate career for their interests and skills if they change tack.
At least, there could be if all the jobs weren't being off-shored. Also, the "youngsters" should be reminded that their lucrative legitimate career will end at about the same time as a profession footballer's - in their mid-30s. It should be mentioned to them too, that they won't be able to actually start that career until they have got a degree (even though what they learn will be out-of-date, irrelevant and of little practical use) - so they can't start earning until they are 21.
And then there is all that student debt ....
> Wut ? Who does that ?
The only places I have seen this was in large advertising firms based in the Tottenham Court Road area during the late80s-early 90's (and then, only after 6 p.m.)
None of the american IT firms I have worked for would even allow booze on the premises.
And then, what?
> Stress, bad workplace cultures are still driving security folk to drink
But who drives them home again, afterwards
Free of news content
It is remarkable how many news "stories" there are, that once you remove all the descriptions, emotional phrases, single-person experiences and advice on what readers should think - once you remove all of that, there is no actual news in the entire article!
Something bad happened! Read more here.
> The trouble is, what exactly is a clickbait headline?
It is one that imparts no information. If you want examples, just look at the Daily Express, The Guardian or any other trashy online newspaper.
They typically have headlines that ask a question that almost always complies with Betteridge's law (i.e. the answer is "no"). Or that feed on fear, or that bait a reader to continue reading an article.
The problem with having AI write news articles, or to detect clickbait, is that sooner or later those same AIs will be trained to write irrelevant, clickbait, article themselves. Though we can probably take solace that they will be better at it than people, so all the worthless news website employees will still get sacked. Though we still won't get any better quality written news.
A next step?
The paper groups all the respondents as "people". As the study is focused on the "people's" reaction to human / robot and race, it would be helpful to know the same factors (and gender, too) of the people who responded to the videos.
For instance is there one gender of respondent that is more or less dehumanising towards any particular group (as represented by the robots / celebrities in the videos) and likewise with the respondents other characteristics?
The report says that non-English comments were discarded - presumably for practical reasons. But a deeper drill-down into the age, gender, race, geographical location and probably many other attributes of the people who responded: either positively or negatively would be illuminating.
No need to hack anything?
If this device "holds" your digital stash, then to have it stolen means you lose your imaginary money.
The only operation that a bad person needs to perform in order to profit from this is to steal someone's Bitfi and send a ransom note to the owner.
Sometimes the "old fashioned" methods are the most effective.
If this is sufficiently different from Windows to not fall victim to modern viruses and trojans I can see a great future for it.
> A free spit roast of hog
What has always worried me about those is exactly how much spit they use (and who's)?
Maybe the whingers just take matters into their own hands?
Instead of bashing out a complaint to the watchdog, they just post their moaning on social media. Not only is it easier, but it also shows their friends how much they are suffering.
And the public display of being a victim does seem to be a great motivator - considering the number of people on Twitter and FB who do nothing but complain about things.
Re: it is only fair that we fine some of theirs back!
> They're being fined for illegal behaviour
As were the european companies. With any global company you can always find some wrongdoing somewhere. The only question is how to deal with it. Whether you try to correct it, mitigate the damage, or just treat it as an opportunity to get some "free" money.
And fining foreign companies really is free money. It costs the prosecuting country next to nothing and causes them little or no hardship.
The UK seems to think the ignominy of being found to be breaking the law [ sharp intake of breath! ] is enough - the UK fined Facebook half a mil (how they must be laughing now) - and presumably paid that with Zuckerberg's credit card. And forgot about it just as quickly. But at the $ billion level, the cost becomes noticeable, starts to act as a deterrent for next time and the restitution could actually do some good - and not just with drinks all round.
Where's my 10 bucks?
So when that fine gets divvied up across the EU's 500 million (or so) people, there will be a beer or two in it for everyone.
This level of fine seems ..... fine. After all, the USA fines european companies (BP, Volkswagen, Barclays) billions of dollars - it is only fair that we fine some of theirs back!
The question then arise: how to spend it?
> We can’t have Matt Hancock calling a hospital and hearing: baa-ruhr-reee-uh-reeee-uh-reee
Especially when they then go BOING BOING Tshhhhhhh <click>
> “Einstein Bots for Service”, code that it claims can “automate routine service requests and enable frictionless agent handoffs.”
Ha! You could train a parrot to say "switch it off and on again".
What I want is for my phone's AI to talk to Google's AI (or anybody else's AI, robocaller or phone-script operator) and to not bother me.
Then later, my AI can inform me if there was anything of importance or interest.
Both sides would be happy. The tele-botherer would think it had made a sales call. I would be completely oblivious to it except for the tiny number that would be to my benefit.
"Interaction" != work
Yes, open plan offices make it less likely that people will chat to each other. Not only are they doing so in plain sight of everyone else - including the boss, but they are much more likely to be politely asked to STFU by all the surrounding people trying to get on with their work.
But the research sabotages its entire credibility with conclusion:
> The second is that we just don’t know all that much about how humans interact,
So it turns out the researchers were measuring something they didn't understand. It therefore follows that nothing they "discovered" has any real significance, since it was based on a badly designed experiment.
First mistake: trying for perfection
> suppose our algorithm is looking at a vast amount of data and making a decision about whether a person has a disease
While there are benefits to designing an AI system to be as good as it can be, as with war strategies: no algo survives contact with the real world. The crucial factor is that a new implementation should be better than the one it supercedes. Further improvements can be added later, in the light of experience gained.
The second mistake is trying to be too damn clever.
Using the shopping example, for instance. A better design - rather than employing some dimly understood smarts to make a determination - is simply to ask the visitor Do you want to look at men's clothes or women's?
I fully appreciate that the example was merely illustrative. But in the real world too, sometimes it is better to let the user decide, rather than having a machine choose for them.