Feeds

* Posts by John H Woods

1265 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Kids who can think ...

:-) you don't need to sell Scratch to me - I've been in love with Smalltalk, Squeak, Seaside and Scratch for years and years and years !

0
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Kids who can think ...

... can code if they want to.

Teaching children to think more effectively, however, has always appeared very low on the list of priorities of all governments - the conspiracy view might be that perhaps they prefer a more docile popuation; but I tend to subscribe to the cockup view: politicians just cannot leave education alone, so it continues to suffer the consequences of decades of misuse for partisan point scoring and electoral gambits, whilst those with any clue as to its improvement are sidelined and ridiculed.

Although I am very much in favour of teaching British kids to code, that is a view about eductation itself and applies equally to teaching them, say, history. I'm in two minds, however, about whether coding should be automatically considered an economically valuable skill. On the one hand it is probably the most offshorable skill set in the world; on the other hand much of the offshore code I have personally seen is suboptimal, and significant amounts of it comedically bad. Perhaps there really will be a market for British coders once the long-term impact of the current craze of cost-control-above-everything-else hoves into sharper focus.

14
0

Qwerty keyboards

John H Woods
Silver badge

How about ...

... some kind of bluetooth microwriter? A nice little hand-shaped device that can be held in one hand and used with four or five buttons in a chording fashion. Something like a fat gun handle made of soft plastic, big enough to hold a reasonable size battery, buttons with a tactile directly under where the fingertips rest?

0
0

Flappy Bird pre-installed = £stupid

John H Woods
Silver badge

Flappy Bird pre-installed = £stupid

Have you guys seen how much tablets & phones which have Flappy Bird installed are going for on eBay?

0
0

BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

John H Woods
Silver badge

@JeeBee

PS3 screen saver can be controlled in settings menu.

0
1

Boffins hose down fiery Li-ion batteries with industrial lubricant

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: what about over discharge ?

If you want a device that can provide high current at a reasonable voltage, it's going to capable of fireworks if you short it -- Don't Do That, Then.

6
2

NYPD dons Google tech specs: Part man. Part machine. All Glasshole

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: So much negativity.

... reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of John Heatherington's Top Hat:

"[he] appeared on the public highway wearing upon his head what he called a silk hat (which was shiny lustre and calculated to frighten timid people)" and the officers of the Crown stated that "several women fainted at the unusual sight, while children screamed, dogs yelped and a younger son of Cordwainer Thomas was thrown down by the crowd which collected and had his right arm broken"

--- Hatters' Gazette 1797

*NB: John Heatherington did not invent the Top Hat, and this story probably isn't true, even though that fact and this story was reported on QI.

2
0

Getting documents all too easy for Snowden

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: It's a people problem

"Access all areas" costume:

0) Attitude

1) Dark suit, smart but not too sharp, with boring tie

2) Clipboard

3) Credit card sized photocard on lanyard

4) High Vis Jacket

5) Hard hat

I reckon you can get into anywhere if you have all 6.

5
0

UK claims 'significant lead' in drones after Taranis test flight

John H Woods
Silver badge

When I read the introductory quote, I wondered ...

... if there's a market for drones which kill people by stealthily dropping tortoises on their head. Maybe only works for bald targets ...

3
0

HP's hiring: UK jobs for, er, UK workers.... maybe

John H Woods
Silver badge

"our priorities of cloud, big data, security and mobility"

Aren't everybody's? I have heard this mantra from a few companies. This is what it appears to mean:

cloud = any (rack in a) remote data centre hosting VMs

big data = any database too big to run under MS Access

security = the only staff who can get onto the servers are the penetration testers

mobile = apps are still the thing, aren't they?

3
0

Sony set to axe 5,000 workers worldwide as it flings PC biz overboard

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Their market -- agreed

I shall be sending my son to uni with a nice cheap, robust Thinkpad to do proper portable work on. With the money I save I shall buy a nice monitor he can use back at digs. And maybe a nice Thunderbolt external graphics box in case he fancies a spot of gaming.

In my experience Stinkpads survive drops, spills and years of 'utilitarian' handling. They also don't attract attention. If he does break it, or loses it, I'll just buy him another. My stepdaughter's dad bought her a MacBook pro costing more than a good-enough laptop and a great gaming rig combined. It does look the bomb, but ... and I bet it's not insured.

0
0

fWHoaR! Trick-cyclists crack eternal mystery of WHAT WOMEN WANT in a man

John H Woods
Silver badge
Unhappy

Perfect timing ...

... as my son has just been moaning that he has inherited my square head. But I really think that if I had to look like a famous Scandinavian, SWIMBO would have prefered Alexander Skarsgård to Anders Breivik.

2
0

Dejected NFL fans seek smut after Super Bowl blowout

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: A safe-for-work blog post?

... indeed, FB refused to accept a comment with that URL.

0
0

Bletchley Park spat 'halts work on rare German cipher machine'

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Museum of bolted stable doors

What happens if BPT fails? Do some people make some money from selling the prime development land on which it sits, by any chance?

11
0

Devs: We'll bury Candy Crush King under HEAPS of candy apps

John H Woods
Silver badge

In the UK ...

... SAGA is a holiday company catering to a specific demographic. I think it is "Society for the Appreciation of the Golden Age" but most Brits think it stands for "Send a Granny Away"

2
0

ISS astronauts to grow tomatoes and rice …. IN SPAAAAACE

John H Woods
Silver badge

@Vociferous Re: Of course they are safe.

Rhubarb!

2
0

Blocking BitTorrent search sites 'ineffective': Pirate Bay ban lifted for Dutch ISPs

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Are media companies *driving* piracy ?

Case in point: Breaking Bad. Widely considered one of the best things to ever appear on TV, it showed in the UK for two seasons on FX / C5 and then you had to subscribe to Netflix to watch the rest of it.

I have no idea as to current status but I know that the UK Netflix once compared very poorly to the US Netflix in terms of content. As someone with an everything-but-the-porn (I have the internet for that) SKY subscription, I was pretty annoyed not to be able to watch Seasons 3 to 5 except with a brand new subscription to a service I wanted nothing else from, or to buy - long after air dates (and therefore critics' spoilers), box sets of DVDs or Blurays.

3
0

Want a touch-friendly solar-powered laptop? Apple just patented it

John H Woods
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Sure smells like apple innovation in here

The trouble with your ideal lone-inventor situation is that it is now almost impossible to get a patent that will stand up by doing it yourself. If you can't afford tens of thousands of pounds for the work of patent lawyers etc there's almost no point applying for a patent.

I have/had what seems to be a patentable and profitable idea, but soon realized that I just cannot raise the the capital to bring it to fruition - and if I could raise it, I probably couldn't risk it.

The lone worker is much better off creating a work of art, at which point they can receive the full protection of the law by simply writing Copyright *Year* *Full Name* on it. Most patents are now little more than yet more gambling chips for big corporations, their investors and their lawyers.

4
1

Ancient video of Steve Jobs launching the first Apple Mac found

John H Woods
Silver badge

Sensitivity to context ...

... the most important part of critical thinking; I suppose you object to the superb(ly titled) Antique Code Show, as well?

1
0

Facebook debunks Princeton's STUDY OF DOOM in epic comeback

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Of great didactic value.

Also worth remembering xkcd 552

7
0

UK.gov: NO MORE tech deals bigger than £100m. Unless we feel like it

John H Woods
Silver badge

Is this the first time that ...

... the lessons from 'lessons learned' have actually been learned?

4
0

UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

John H Woods
Silver badge

The real elephant in the room ...

... is the idea of prioritising teaching kids the most outsourceable skill in the entire world.

1
0

Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

John H Woods
Silver badge

"I'm all for boffinery in any guise but..."

... I'm strangely uninterested in the somewhat counter-intuitive finding that it is an *increase* in head movement that may be responsible, or that using kinematics to quantify the effects of distraction on motor control might be interesting or even have future applications.

If I may comment on your own research proposal, I think it would be useful to determine the approximate probabililty of getting into an unpleasant fracas by shouting 'Oi, Muppet!" at someone looking at their phone.

0
0

Brit boffin tests LETTUCE as wire for future computers

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: The University of West England?

@Chris W

I see what you mean ... but ... University and Polytechnic meant specific things. In particular, Polytechnics could not award their own degrees, these were certified by an external body (the CNAA, I think). I agree with you that university degrees seem to have become somewhat undervalued but I don't think we can blame that solely on the reclassification of Polytechnics (many of which were already highly regarded) to Universities.

I'm pretty sure we can't blame Labour, either - IIRC it was the Higher Eductation Act of 1992 that made Polytechnics into Universities (I was half way through a PhD at Oxford Poly when it became Oxford Brookes University, sarcastically referred to as Oxford "B"). So the change happened either under Thatcher or Major, can't remember which.

PS I was actually a bit annoyed - Oxford Polytechnic had a good reputation in my field - and the new name had no reputation at all :-)

3
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: The University of West England?

It appears you don't know what research is: firstly, if you had done some of your own you would know UWE is actually fairly well regarded academically; secondly, you would know that good research can get done at poor institutions (or in a garden shed) and that bad research can still get done at highly regarded ones.

I have no affiliation with UWE. If I did, it would make it easier for those with a critical thinking deficit to disregard what I have said above, although it would not, of course, invalidate my argument.

11
1

Good news: 'password' is no longer the #1 sesame opener, now it's '123456'

John H Woods
Silver badge
Joke

Dvorak keymap helps ...

If I press the keys P-a-s-s-w-o-r-d on my keyboard, I get "Laoo,rpe". And if I switch back to Qwerty, "Password" comes out as "Ra;;,sho". Both of these pass muster as strong passwords on nearly every site I try.

It's also useful if you leave your computer momentarily whilst it is still logged in, it's pretty hard for your 'friends' or colleagues to do much of anything in a short time when only the A, M, and the number keys are in the same place!

0
0

EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

John H Woods
Silver badge

Pressure required...

... same old story, day in, day out. Is it not possible to sue EE for exposing one to such risks? There's got to be a project here for an enterprising law student, surely?

8
0

Even 'Your computer has a virus' cold-call gits are migrating off XP

John H Woods
Silver badge

@scub

glad you mentioned that. I have played along with these a number of times to see if I can get any information that would assist in making a report. I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the staff think they are actually working for a legitimate company, and are just as much dupes as their targets.

I may be wrong, too trusting, etc, but that's how it seems to me - also explains how many of them can be so convincing.

1
0

Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

John H Woods
Silver badge

Obvious choice missing ...

... Justine or anything else by de Sade.

2
0

Staffs Police face data protection probe over 'drink drivers named' Twitter campaign

John H Woods
Silver badge

Police above the law ...

... it can go the other way ...

A former Warwickshire magistrate, Alan Marks, drove off a Stratford-upon-Avon roundabout into people drinking coffee at Costa's pavement tables, injuring several people including himself in April last year. Police decided not to charge anyone due to 'insufficient evidence'. Seems to everybody here that there's plenty of evidence the driver lost control of the car and there's a case to answer. Sure he may be found not guilty for a number of reasons, but the fact there won't even be a trial (and apparently at the decision of the police, rather than the CPS) is pretty incredible.

** Edit: after a public outcry, and a second investigation, the case has finally come to court

6
0

Google poised to become world's first TREEELLION DOLLAR company?

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Pha!

Guys, the use of the short scale for pounds sterling is not only standard but official ...

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1974/dec/20/billion-definition#S5CV0883P0_19741220_CWA_439

1
0

Snapchat vows to shut its hole in wake of 4.6 million user data breach

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Most pointless leak and breach ever

Piro: "It's like leaving your door open, telling people you left your door open, then being surprised when someone nicks your TV."

... not so much your TV, but all your clients' property that you were storing for them.

7
0

Chinese Jade RABBIT SIGHTED ON MOON by NASA probe

John H Woods
Silver badge
Joke

Wouldn't it be better if solar panels were ...

... less shiny?

8
0

Snapchat: In 'theory' you could hack... Oh CRAP is that 4.6 MILLION users' details?

John H Woods
Silver badge

That turned down $3bn ...

... is fading into the distance.

17
0

IBM spends holiday season wrangling e-tail FAIL

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Whatever,

Honest answer ...

I don't know, because I don't know if you consider me one of the drooling masses :-)

I live four miles outside Stratford-upon-Avon. Driving into 'town' (and parking) costs more than having most items delivered to the house next day, even if I valued my time at 0/hr (which I don't). I work mainly from home so delivery is not a problem and even when I am out during working hours I have completely trustworthy neighbours (and live in a place where all but the highest value items can be safely left outside the house anyway).

Online retail in the UK often undercuts retail prices very significantly, which is another factor: I bought three 1m HDMI leads through Amazon for less than the price of a single one from our local consumer electronics outlet. Outside big cities, local retailers have limited stock - I can buy e-cigarette liquid locally, but not the brand my wife uses.

Being in the UK, I have a lot of additional rights when I buy online, the key one is the ability to return items uncontested if I change my mind for any reason. I don't worry too much about ID theft, having taken a few basic precautions, and if the worst came to the worst I'm not worth that much anyway.

I suspect a lot of people find themselves in the same circumstances; does that answer your question?

Edit: I do, however, support my local shop and non-chain and small-chain local businesses.

7
0

Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

John H Woods
Silver badge

DAB vs 3G

I have tried DAB in the car, it's horrible. FM has become pretty bad too - I can't help feeling an earlier post suggesting they've powered down some FM stations must be correct.

The big surprise is that a phone on '3' on an all-you-can-eat data plan gives more continuous coverage than DAB - and sounds much better too, not to mention having almost infinitely more choice - even before you count the replay services such as iPlayer radio.

0
0

Excise Xmas prezzie indecision MISERY with El Reg’s gift guide²

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Hard-learned lesson

I always install some kind of remote desktop on computers belonging to friends and family the very first time they ask for help. Principally because the 'non-technical' seem to think it's ok to revert to utterly helpless mode when they ask for assistance. People who correctly realise that phoning their garage to tell them "my car doesn't work" would be ridiculously vague still seem to think that's all they need to tell you about a PC, tablet, etc.

0
0

Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Fuck Off!

Live DVD as an ISO image, VM with no disk device boots from that. Open the browser, snapshot the VM.

Everytime you want to browse, run the snapshot.

1
0

HP’s ENORMO-SLAB: The Slate 21 MONSTER tablet

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: 350 squid, lol

Not sure it would be that easy. From what I've heard of this screen you'd need to spend 150 to equal it, and 20 to get reasonable speakers. That leaves you 159 for your (presumably linux) PC.

Even if you could beat it, you'd end up with the standard ugly box, kb, mouse and screen. I think HP have hit a real sweet spot with this price.

9
0

Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: A fine line between Vision and Arrogance

" There are principles of User Interface discoverability which TIFKAM drives a horse & cart through."

Absolutely. I know fine that the charms menu slides in from the middle right when I go to the top right or bottom right corners, but i still find myself putting the mouse in the middle of the right hand edge momentarily, before remembering that its origin is not its trigger.

5
0

Brits to do £5bn worth of their Christmas shopping online

John H Woods
Silver badge

UK Question

Doesn't using click-and-collect immediately divest one of ones rights under the Distance Selling Regulations?

If I buy something online I can return it if I don't like it. I cannot be charged a 're-stocking fee' regardless of the T&Cs of the seller. The return cannot be refused because it has been 'used' or 'is not in its original packaging', despite the efforts of many big corporates to hide these rights from their customers.

But I think actually going to collect it from the shop counts as buying in the shop, albeit with online 'reservation' and the DSRs no longer apply. Or do they only cease if you *pay* in the shop, whereas you are covered if you pay online and just collect the goods from the shop? Any lawyers able to comment?

1
0

Reg man inhales the smooth, non-cancerous, taste of USB nicotine

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Not the same as the real thing

Actually there are cig-type e-cigs that *are* quite good, although they are more expensive. My wife is happy with V2s for smoking outdoors and a tank-type thing for smoking at home. She is a previously moderate-to-heavy smoker who hasn't smoked cigs since her brain told her to stop in Feb 2010 (by having a stroke).

0
0

Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: How long did he do it?

"... something like 20 minutes for lunch with 10 of them taken up by going through security to get to somewhere..."

This is probably the only really unfair thing here. Company security needs to be done on company time. But as for the walking - plenty of people do that - binmen for example. In fact, I'd love to have a non-sedentary job, but the pay tends to suck.

6
0

FAT PIPE for ALL: Britain’s new tech firms take it from the telcos

John H Woods
Silver badge

if i weren't broke...

I would register featheredbuttocks.com and put a link to this marvellous rant.

0
0

LG: You can stop hiding from your scary SPY TELLY quite soon now

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Encrptyed?

"Man, if I ever saw encrypted info leaving my network from one of my appliances, it would be hammer time for certain. And not just on the TV, if I ever found any of the devs..."

Make sure they give you the names of the managers and execs responsible first ...

5
0

Wolfram's new equation: Mathematica+RPi=child geniuses everywhere

John H Woods
Silver badge

If you're interested in maths education...

although somewhat limited in scope, for those parts of the curriculum where it can be used Geogebra is extremely good.

0
0

Cryptolocker infects cop PC: Massachusetts plod fork out Bitcoin ransom

John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: Opening attachments

Mike 16,

Much better expressed than my earlier ramble. It is simply not acceptable to say to people that they should not open attachments. If it were, it would be perfectly acceptable to configure the destination mail server to reject any mail with attachments. The business would put up with that for exactly 1 second before screaming to IT to change it back.

0
0
John H Woods
Silver badge

Re: To be fair ...

Sorry Keith, you're right - for Cryptolocker the documented cases are executables. It should certainly not be possible to one-click an executable from an email and have it run. In this case it is not a helper application but the email client itself which is at fault. However, I think my point - in general - still holds. One SHOULD be able to open non-executable attachments in emails, that really are PDFs, JPEGs etc, with no other risk than the content not displaying, or the user not really liking the content that is displayed - and absolutely without the risk that one's machine will be compromised.

The advice that attachments should never be opened unless you know what they contain is logically meaningless as I have already said; the advice that you should not open them unless you are expecting them gives a false sense of security when you *are* expecting an attachment; and the advice that you check the identity of the sender is (in the absence of a digital signature) is meaningless. And even if one were sure about the originator, who is to say the originator is not compromised?

So I'm sticking to my guns about helper applications, but accept that in this case I'm off topic. However, Many thanks for the heads-up about mapped drives - that is an important point.

... John

0
0