consultant-speak for "crap"

'This model is showing signs of extreme organic growth,' I said, which
is consultant-speak for 'This model is a heap of @#$%! '


from http://blogs.computerworld.com/17138/oh_right?source=rss_sharkey


The Economist on the fallibility of biometrics

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2010/10/biometrics -- fairly short article, but packed with good stuff.  Anyone who has any interest in this field should read it.

Specifically, people involved in the UID project in India should read this.  Yes, this article is aimed at more at terrorism prevention than mass-scale UID, but many of the points mentioned still apply.  And if you take the problems described in that article, and add in collusion by the operator, which is very, *VERY* likely in India UID, you have the potential for massive fraud and systematic abuse by whoever is in power.

Some quotes:

  - But in its rush to judgment, the FBI did more than anything, before or since, to discredit the use of fingerprints as a reliable means of identification.

  - What the Mayfield case teaches about biometrics in general is that, no matter how accurate the technology used for screening, it is only as good as the system of administrative procedures in which it is embedded.

  - The panel of scientists, engineers and legal experts who carried out the study concludes that biometric recognition is not only "inherently fallible", but also in dire need of some fundamental research on the biological underpinnings of human distinctiveness.

  - The body of case law on the use of biometric technology is growing, with some recent cases asking serious questions about the admissibility of biometric evidence in court.


someone bites back at HTC

kudos to Matt, author of Hg for this: http://lwn.net/Articles/409864/

full text (it's small enough anyway):

On Wed, 2010-10-13 at 11:32 +0800, martin_liu@htc.com wrote:
> Dear Matt:
> Recently, I got an oops at pagemap_read(). I've tried to
> searched some patches and found a patch as below link.
> http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/git-commits-head/2010/4...

Dear Martin,

Are you from the same HTC mentioned here?


If so, please ask again in 90-120 days. Until then, you're on your own.

HTC in my personal bl again

IIRC the first time is for entering into a patent deal with MS.

Now it's for this:

HTC Willfully Violates the GPL in T-Mobile's New G2 Android Phone
(Freedom to Tinker) -- http://lwn.net/Articles/409548/


it's not rocket science!


Very crisp.  I didn't know it propagated through USB sticks -- those bozos deserve it if it did.

And screw you, ISRO, if India's INSAT 4B died due to stuxnet -- you guys deserve more like this before you'll come to your senses and stop using Windows.

Honestly, is Linux that hard that ROCKET SCIENTISTS can't use it?


Meanwhile, some funny stuff from the first link, since I like their sense of humour so much:


Q: Which factory is it looking for?
A: We don't know.

Q: Has it found the factory it's looking for?
A: We don't know.


Q: What's the relation between Realtek and Jmicron?
A: Nothing. But these companies have their HQs in the same office park in Taiwan. Which is weird.


Q: When did Stuxnet start spreading?
A: In June 2009, or maybe even earlier. One of the components has a compile date in January 2009.

Q: When was it discovered?
A: A year later, in June 2010.

Q: How is that possible?
A: Good question.

Q: Was Stuxnet written by a government?
A: That's what it would look like, yes.

Q: How could governments get something so complex right?
A: Trick question. Nice. Next question.

Q: Was it Israel?
A: We don't know.

Q: Was it Egypt? Saudi Arabia? USA?
A: We don't know.

Q: Was the target Iran?
A: We don't know.


Q: What happened on 9th of May, 1979?
A: Maybe it's the birthday of the author? Then again, on that date a Jewish-Iranian businessman called Habib Elghanian was executed in Iran. He was accused to be spying for Israel.

Q: Oh.
A: Yeah.


Gosling: Oracle is ethically challenged, micro-managed, and creepy

Why I Quit "Creepy" Oracle: The Father Of Java James Gosling Speaks
Out -- http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/interview/why-i-quit-oracle-the-father-of-java-james-gosling-speaks-out-9995/print

Quite a few hard hitting comments on the new villain for the open
source crowd (as if we needed another!).

Well at least he did it after leaving, unlike my old boss, who ranted
against his (then) employer (and my current employer) to a reporter
even *before* he had left -- talk about ethically challenged!

But while it's perfectly fine to talk about Oracle being "ethically
challenged" and "micro-managed", it just doesn't seem proper for a
senior person to talk about salary etc., or to say that the CEO "gives
me the creeps" to the press.

A friend of mine who reads a lot more than I do mentioned that this
was in line with any of Gosling's past writings that he had read --
nothing to learn, nothing to take away -- unlike people like Larry
Wall or Guido van Rossum, where you almost always learn something new
or get a new perspective on something old, etc. (We're talking about
"learn" in the academic sense here, not "I learned that Ellison is a
creep, so isn't that learning?")

And finally, I have to say this. I'm not a big fan of Gosling anyway.
I hate Java -- I call it the "COBOL of the internet", and I think it
has done a lot to remove any fun that programming could have had for
lots and lots of people, and made it a bloody chore. Comments like
this would have had a lot more weight for me if they had come from
Larry or Guido, but they're not the kind to stoop to this, I suspect,
even if they were in that situation.

And even if he felt compelled to, I bet Larry would say it with a heck
of a lot more humour and panache :-)