Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chinese Rooms as Russia Dolls

The human John Searle created a thought experiment to refute the possibility of "Strong AI" (Computers that Think) proving in his mind the likelihood of "Weak AI" (Computers only simulate Thought)

Worse he constrains the use of the Chinese Room thought experiment to hold that human thought cannot be just processing, a sort of Morecambe and Wise argument..."Get out of that without moving!"

If we put the Chinese Room A inside a Chinese Room B and feed meaningless symbols into Chinese Room B will Cohones Room A notice? You might ask what this proves about the existence of, or definition of thought, especially if you first define thought to be " Not Processing". I suspect it simply proves that Searle has balls!

The joke is that Human Philosphy itself to the first person observer in a "Philosophy Room", is a set of meaningless symbols operated upon, using rules known only inside the room. Which leads to the inevitable conclusion, according to Searle, that Philosophy is not real thought! None-the-less outside observers have been tricked into seeing it in a much better light!

Their programmer must be wetting herself!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spammers have a new method!?

The latest round of Spam has demonstrated that Spammers are now using more sophisticated techniques to gather email addresses. Emails I created for specific organisations, like boxnet"at" are now being spammed.

There are three possible techniques I have envisaged
1) They are monitoring the outbound traffic of the 1and1 smtp servers, I transmit to these servers securely, but they send emails in the clear.
(This would mean that they have sniffers on 1and1 servers, or at least in their network, not good)
Have been monitoring the news 1and1 have not publically admitted this as far as I can tell.

 2) They have compromised the Google Mail servers in some way, I forward all my emails to googlemail as a backup

 3) Less likely, they have compromised a lot of individuals personal mail boxes, including mine

Either way they are successfully targeting a lot more email accounts, the practise though simply increases the frustration with SPAM reducing the likelihood for there clients message to be read. So the folks from are going to be out of luck! url no longer found on DNS.

So folks apologies if you start getting emails purportedly from Jamie_Oliver"at"

Just know that that was Jamie's email for me, and neither of us sent the messages...


Unintended Consequences

The closure of Apple's iDisk service had me looking around for alternate places to store my files. In my search I bumped into the new Google Drive service. So I moved all my iDisk files to Google Drive, the place where I also find my Google Docs.

I wonder if Apple meant to push me out of their world, into the arms of Google?

I still feel very uncomfortable in this "free world of Google"

I keep being reminded of the cartoon with two pigs talking in a barn...
"Great here isn't it!?"
"Yes and the foods free too!"

I somehow doubt that I will be able to sue Apple for what they have done to me...

I moved from being Chicken to Pig without really noticing the switch!
You remember... the old joke about the difference between involved and committed!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Fungibilsation of Humanity

An interesting read Part of the article reminded me of the day that I realised that my employer had shifted "our" Values in such a way that humans had become fungible resources I believe this is a trend that is spreading like a cancer across the world The companies Values used to be: Respect for People, Integrity and Excellence in that order, in the short form P.I.E. The company like many I see are shifting their Values to Respect for Profit, Discretion, and Agility Some organisations are still clinging to their original values and avoiding this shift, but the "market" will punish them until they bend to the inevitable. fungible - of goods or commodities; freely exchangeable for or replaceable by another of like nature or kind in the satisfaction of an obligation It seems I am not alone in thinking that making humanity fungible is the ultimate sin One might call this trend the Commoditisation of Humanity, I personally abhor the trend whatever we might call it! Is the trend exacerbated by our dire economic situation, or was our dire economic situation a result of the "Fungibilisation of Humanity"? There was a time when Companies thought differently: Cadbury used to be one such company, a firm run by Quakers whose beliefs helped direct their enlightened management style Sadly even this firm has fallen to the "market" for Cadbury Shareholders chose the 11.4 Biilion offered by Kraft, the temporary promise of continued employment for the Cadbury staff has now lapsed... The "Market" is apparently driven by Shareholders... I am one…. But do I really want the goal of any organisation that I hold shares in to treat humans as fungible resources to be cast aside when someone or something equivalent can be found to do their work for less? My answer is a resounding NO! But apparently I am alone… What must change? A word of warning or a glimmer of hope: Humans are not unthinking commodities, they can think, and act! Merry Christmas

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Long time no see...

Partly as I have not been moved to remonstrate or share at length = > 140 Characters

Today I finally have...

Open Letter to Tim Cook, Steve Jobs' replacement

I just wanted to wish you luck in stamping your own mark on Apple. I read with interest that Steve has inserted his DNA into the company and that it will continue on it's merry way with the innovative zeal that Steve is so famous for. That has some clear benefits as well as some very dangerous implications. I would like to think that you are aware that your Customers are moving with the times and Apple is rapidly being left behind. So what are the signs....

Exhibit One: The Apple Store Purchasing Experience
I today decided to never again purchase any more Hardware from the Online Apple Store, having placed my order for the new Mac Mini I was disappointed to find that to Apple Next Day Shipment still means Next Month Delivery! I have made this complaint directly at every opportunity that I can find. The MAC MINI was indeed "shipped" next day as you proudly informed me and "happily" it only took TWO WEEKS to arrive, which assuming an average speed of 70 MPH produces a distance travelled that is remarkably similar to the circumference of the Earth. (Methinks something is very wrong in Apple Distribution land). With a little perusal I have now found that I could have bought my Mac Mini from Amazon and get Next Day Delivery for LESS than I paid from the Apple Store, teach me to be blindly loyal!!. So, goodbye Apple Store

Exhibit Two: The Mac Mini Installation Experience
Happily getting ready to instal the Mac Mini with the new Magic Track Pad that you implied might have been the reason for the delayed delivery, "we have to get all the parts of the shipment in one place before we can ship to you"

I powered up the Mac Mini and the Magic Track Pad and my previously acquired Apple Blue tooth keyboard. The Track Pad stubbornly refused to be recognised by the Mac Mini, and as a result I could not get the keyboard connected either. So I had to go find a USB Mouse to gain control. At this stage I was able to cajole the Track Pad into working in a fashion. The Track Pad refused to produce a "Click" apparently it was defaulted to not do so? So I set the appropriate Box to persuade it to, and then found that there is a system wide default that meant that when I started up the box and tried to select which user I was, I couldn't, as I could not click! When I was in my own user domain clicking was possible. I have temporarily bypassed the problem with Auto Login, something I do not want to keep as the final option, currently I am stuck with that though... This is not the simple user install experience I expect from Apple. There where other similar glitches that all point to some poor UI testing... Hey Apple your UI DNA has been compromised somehow?

Exhibit Three: The LION OSX 10.7 Experience
Here I am quietly apoplectic, how am I supposed to bray about how good my new Apple is when you create a user experience that reminds me of the reason I set up this Blog.

On 10.7 eMail blows up regularly for no reason that I can tell even after the rapidly rolled out update.
You have also turned my world upside down, while I do get the reason, it is making my head swim watching the up and down scroll become the down and up scroll. I will get there but oh the pain!

I could go on but as I said I am apoplectic and a symptom of that condition is irrational irascibility.

Exhibit Four: A lost key...
Having lost, of all things, the Apple Key on my trusty MacBook Pro keyboard, don't ask me how! I simply asked how I might "buy" a replacement to clip back on myself. I prepared myself for a stupid price for a silly bit of plastic (I set my upper limit at £10) Sorry sir, the only way we can do that is to replace the whole keyboard. Say What?! Needless to say I am still missing the Apple Key and EVERY time a I press the transparent plastic nipple I get yet another mini shot of Apple Frustration.
What really annoyed me is that I was watching other "Apple Geniuses" agree to replace whole devices on a whim, and I could only imagine the pile of dead Apple Mac Book Pro's out the back. Methinks that the Apple Geniuses could do with being given a dose of common sense!

Apple Delight = MISS!

Exhibit Five: The Enterprise Experience
I work with an organisation that gives senior executives a glimpse into the future of technology, you are the one company on the West Coast that is so up it's own posterior, that you refuse to even consider groups of potential customers understanding the future of technology through your own eyes. Why??? OK so I am now beyond apoplectic. Which means that anything I type after this may start getting me into trouble.

So please Tim stamp your mark! Keep all the good parts that you know exist in Apple, but please get rid of the growing Apple Arrogance and focus on delivering the experience that in the original Apple DNA aimed to deliver "Apple Delight". For those times when you do get close to delighting me, more often than not your systems ahve already frustrated me.

So Tim what say you? How do you plan on keeping me as an Apple Customer?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Crowd Sourced Wedding Album Site


I am looking for a Wedding Album SIte

1) Simply enrolment Wedding Guests as Crowd Sourced Photographers (Up to 200 Guests)
2) Clear communications of Album Goals
3) Simple Bulk Uploads (Up to 200 per Guest)
4) Simple Video Uploads
5) Automated Photo Time Synchronisation
6) Automated Face Recognition (linked to a Guest List)
7) Geolocation Tagging
8) Timeline
9) Crowdsourced Photo rating
10) Individual Album Development
11) DVD Creation
12) Printed album creation

Flickr 2/5 Poor Group Tools
Picassa 2/5 Capacity limited for Group Albums 500 Free 1,000 Paid

Is it out there?

Monday, September 27, 2010

To American colleagues and friends, can I commend to you the "Farewell Speech" of George Washington with special reference to the section warning of the dangers of parties..
"In 1792, George Washington was prepared to retire as the first President of the United States. To that end, Washington, with James Madison, wrote a farewell address to the public of the United States of America."

The relevant section warning of the dangers of parties reads: 
"20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pre-tirement or Pre-tardment?

Either way it is way more hectic than one can every imagine, let alone plan for!
(Aargh... I used that nasty four letter word again!)
I had so many things I was going to do when I pre-tired, or as Lord Erroll posited "pre-tarded", thanks for that Merlin!! (It only twinged because it had more than a smidgen of truth to it!).

I hit overload in April, or more correctly I recognised that I hit overload in April, from which time I have been frantically searching for ways to row backwards from the lip of my own equivalent to Niagara Falls.

The fact is, that I had been pushing far too many of my FUN TO-DO items into the period after I was pre-tired. This backlog was in fact a major cause of the overload. Then, to cap it all, my friends in the security world awarded me "Security Person of the Year", which has served to make the whirlwind spin ever faster! I cannot properly explain how pleased I was to have been nominated let alone be, given the award. Thank You Folks! I do know that I was sitting back, bow tie undone, jacket off, when the award was announced. Little did I know that at least two people on my table, who were actually on the Awards Panel, were itching to tell me to "get dressed"! A piece of good luck came from the fact that I was trying out a newly learned trick of wearing a false bow tie and then switching to a real one when it came to relaxing. I owe my godson Matthew a drink, however I am now resolved to practicing doing up a Bow Tie as easily as I can do my shoe laces, but I will do that when I retire properly. (Hmmm, I sense a new overload in the making)

Well, my body has now signalled enough, by allowing me to catch Man-Flu. There will be those uncharitable folks who will point out that the session at Stephens Restaurant, under the shadow of Big Ben, which involved a few too many bevvies, might just have lowered my bodies defences. The subsequent hazily remembered tube and train journey home then provided the surfeit of viruses for the coup de grace. As I said uncharitable...


I have started searching for technical solutions to my dilemma surely there's an iPhone App for this... Apparently there aren't, there are many that purport to be, but they all turn out to be very effective Procrastination Aids, NOT Prioritisation or Action Aids. I suspect the developers of such tools were, like me?, wanting something to take the guilt away, but didn't think through the fact that simply putting it in a Procrastination App doesn't get it done!! Doh!

Ideas any one?