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  • Mar 12th, 2017 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Traveling in the USA with cash.

    But surely that illegal - you're dodging taxes levied by the government at the border. You must be a crimin.... oh, wait!

  • Jan 24th, 2017 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: use Tivo!

    Yup, I use the same approach. The other big win is that I don't have to sit around for four hours or more to get the whole game - it takes, what, about an hour? For four 15 minute quarters? Who'da thunk it!

  • Jan 20th, 2017 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    People in the field have been saying that for several decades. I was watching TV science shows in the 70s, and studying the field in the late 1980s when I regularly heard it, and we're still hearing the same 30-40 years later... same with flying cars, as it happens.

  • Jan 20th, 2017 @ 4:43am

    What is AI?

    For many years, we've been using the term AI in a very fuzzy way. The only definition that I've come across that is at all philosophically helpful is 'that which we cannot yet do with a computer'.
    In the early days, a computer that could play chess was considered an exercise for AI researchers, now we know that it is a question of combinatorics and efficient search spaces. There's no 'intelligence' or creative thought required on the part of the computer.
    In the 80s the fashion was for machines that could advise humans on whether to accept someone's life insurance or mortgage application. Now that's just data mining and decision trees.
    We've had emergent behaviour in robotic swarms described as AI, but that was really only when it was hard to pack enough processing power and electrical power into a small mobile device. It's still interesting (in my opinion), but it's not intelligence.
    There have been many attempts to have computers create music - long thought to be the epitome of human creativity. But there are now systems that can do a pretty good job of it.
    Once we know how to create systems that can emulate emotional responses, that won't be AI any more either.
    Whilst I agree that it is good that the EU are considering the issues, I do hope they remain on the 'regulation' side of the argument, rather than the 'self aware entities with rights and responsibilities', as whatever comes from this field will be manufactured because we know how to build it and understand what we did to program it.
    And if we do decide that machines can be self aware entities with rights and responsibilities, how then do you punish such a device if it breaches the law? Turn it off? (Is that state-sponsored murder?) Restrict it's connectivity or movement? You'll still be providing electricity and other resources. It's not a good place to go.

  • Sep 14th, 2016 @ 9:56am

    First sentence in the article

    On the list of countries I've always wanted to visit but would be somewhat scared if I did, Russia is probably near the top.

    And for those of us who've actually visited Russia (whilst it was still the USSR, as a matter of fact), consider that the US is also 'near the top' of the list. (for very small distances of 'near')

  • Jun 22nd, 2016 @ 1:33am

    Tourism suffers?

    If you start seeing international tourist numbers drop in the US it'll be because of this kind of inhuman behaviour by agents of the state (be it State or Federal, I care not) towards other humans.

    I've said for a number of years that I never once want to step within the boarders of the USA. I've found it easy to maintain that as it's expensive to go there. Now I just have yet another reason to stick with that policy.

  • Mar 18th, 2016 @ 1:33pm

    Sarcasm warning

    It would such a shame if Apple engineers accidentally left a bug in the software such that when the iPhone is compelled to load it, it accidentally brute forces the lock, exceeding the security count, making the phone delete everything. (even if the current version of iOS shows no such behaviour)

    After all, there are never show stopping bugs in production code... are there?

  • Jan 23rd, 2016 @ 2:58am

    One specific error in the quoted document

    A cookie is not by definition in any way a session identifier. A web page can use a cookie to store a session identifier, but you can use a cookie to store something as simple as a language preference (eg, "lang=en") and that is a cookie that in no way identifies a specific person, or their specific interaction with a web page (or site) in the way that a session cookie can.

    I hate this kind of fuzzy thinking and manipulation of our technology to make a political point in a report. Too many reports avoid using accurate enough language to be right, whilst giving reporters (who're generally not specialists) and therefore the readers of their reports an inaccurate understanding of a simple technology.

    Cookies are a Good Thing(TM) in general, that can be used to less-than-spotless purposes, but they are not by definition dangerous. Just like computers.

  • May 13th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    It's Oracle we should be criticising

    The pressure point here is not the courts. We all know that the vast majority of lawyers and judges are specialists in their subject ... the law. However, almost all of them have terrible blind spots when it comes to understanding the real world (just like physicists!). So it's no wonder the lawyers don't get it ... and just want to keep on making money out of making sure nobody quite gets it.

    The people we should be ripping apart here are ORACLE! They're the idiots who don't understand that their own products implement published APIs. Specific example: Oracle sell WebLogic - a web application server (let's not get into the merits, or otherwise, of the technical capabilities of the product). This HAS to respect the 2.5 or 3.0 web application API (or specification, if you prefer), otherwise no developer is going to use the tool to deploy their applications.

    To the best of my knowledge, Oracle don't own the web application API, but do they really want to license the use of the spec from those that do?

    This is, of course, just one example. Oracle's products also implement JDBC and ODBC APIs, and many others in the course of implementing various interfaces. Most fundamentally of all, they use APIs to talk to the OS and disk systems upon which the Oracle DB must run.

    Oracle are the BIGGEST idiots here. This WILL come back and bite them in the proverbial. And it won't take long, either.

    It's not the courts who need to see sense, it's Oracle that need to grow some balls and get over themselves.

  • Mar 20th, 2014 @ 11:27am

    (untitled comment)

    Judge Wright is an absolute credit to your country. If I were in a position to vote for him in any elected capacity I would do so without a second thought.

    You need more people in the US willing to stand up for intelligent destruction of the ability of lawyers and politicians to weasel their way around the law and the Constitution.

    Give THAT man a Nobel prize, I don't care what category... he can have the Economics one for all I care. Just give it to someone who actually did something for a change!

  • Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:43am


    Hasn't anyone noticed? You can export your feeds from Google, and go BACK to Bloglines - it's still there, and although they have a 'widget layout' version, there's a little switch at the top of the screen that takes you back to a layout a lot like Google Reader (at least in functional terms).

  • Jun 16th, 2012 @ 12:49am

    the fear

    The core of the problem really appears not to be the blog, but the stupid way in which the Daily Record (a tabloid published only in Scotland, I've read it, it's crap, but then I think that about most newspapers) 'reported' the blogging ... THAT'S what made the staff fear for their jobs - sensationalist reporting.

    No wonder the newspapers are struggling to get the internet generation to care about their demise.

  • Jun 16th, 2012 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re: education boards

    Education is run by the local authority. The board is not elected as such, though that's not to say that there was no 'lubrication' of the procurement process by various means, but given that Argyll and Bute is a pretty small (population-wise) area of Scotland, I can't see that we going to be talking about any more than a few lunches on expenses and a round or two of golf.

  • Jun 15th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Blog not banned... (as BenK)

    The lass was asked by her school not to photograph her meals any more ... nobody banned the blog, least of all the local council.

  • Apr 29th, 2011 @ 2:57am

    Google 'reads' your email?

    Do you really think anybody at Google personally cares to read YOUR email? How arrogant!

    Google's SYSTEM looks for patterns in the content of your emails as it displays them to you - they have to read your emails of disk to display them to you in the first place, so they might as well automatically see if there's any hints in there that you might be interested in a particular advert. Hardly a major invasion of privacy, and certainly one that isn't very costly anyway... and you never know when the right advert will turn up just when YOU need it.

  • Jan 6th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re: The real article

    Further to the link the article, in case you think tl:dr, just read the first half a dozen paragraphs of the "Multiple discrepancies" section... it's doozy!

    Wakefield is clearly an idiot for thinking he wouldn't eventually be found out on this one!

  • Jan 6th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    The real article

    ... is in the British Medical Journal (very widely respected serious peer-reviewed journal):

    Unlike the CNN article, it includes a full range of 124 citations and references.

    (about the BMJ: )

  • Jan 6th, 2011 @ 2:35am

    LEGO bricks

    They're not "legos" (grief, that was hard to write!), they're "LEGO bricks" (bricks made by the LEGO company). Using the term "one lego, two legos" is like saying "one sheep, two sheeps" - just makes you sound ignorant.

  • Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Statistics are wrecked

    But the point of the Stig is to set fast times with all the cars. Now they have to start over, because the new Stig's times won't be comparable with the old Stig's times, because we'll all know they're being set by a different driver.

    I do like the idea of a female Red Stig, however. And none of this 'blonde wig and a pair of oranges' malarkey. Let's have a real woman (most people can tell the difference in silhouette anyway!) to do the driving - the power to weight ratio is likely to be better anyway.

  • Aug 21st, 2010 @ 1:00am


    If the 'anti-counterfeiting' reason is true, then you've just wrecked it as the counterfeiters now know about the error, and can adjust their versions appropriately. And you've taught them to look out for such tricks if they hadn't spotted one before!

    Nice one, Mike ;)

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