* Posts by Stuart Longland

1119 posts • joined 11 Jan 2008

Page:

Pitch Black: New BlackBerry Classic is aimed at the old-school

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Who stole my QWERTY

People wibble on about why one would need a physical keyboard when the onscreen keyboards are good enough and to an extent I would agree that for input they're not bad with something like Swype. The real charm of the physical keyboard though is in the speed with which you can flit around apps. Keyboard shortcuts to the browser, phone, email, calendar and sms applications make it a doddle to whiz around jumping from one to the other. Also you're not using up a whole heap of screen real estate with a virtual keyboard, making it much easier to take in information and input text into forms etc.

Exactly… dedicated physical keyboard means a few things:

- Screen isn't occupied by it, so more screen real-estate for the app.

- Tactile response, once your muscle memory stores the keypad layout, you don't even need to look at the keyboard to type and will be much faster at data entry.

1. The modern smart phone market seems to be wedded to a screen-size arms race, obsessed with making phones with screens bigger and shinier than everyone elses. Physcial keyboards reduce the possible screen size.

"The superior man understands what is right, the inferior man understands what will sell" — Confucious.

Make the keyboard slide-out, then you can have a nice big screen. For me, the screen size on my ZTE T81 is about right width wise, but if it were made shorter to make it 4:3 aspect ratio with the space beneath replaced by a tactile keypad, it'd be a much nicer device to use.

2. Physical keyboards cost money in materials and build costs. Android phone makers have VERY tight margins and probably can barely afford the extra costs, for likely less sales. (see above).

No one makes a phone with these features because it's perceived that no one would buy one. It's therefore considered a cost. Undoubtedly it will be more expensive to manufacture — but I'd buy one anyway. However, I can't: they don't exist.

The manufacturers won't listen, and so we're stuck artificially inflating the "popularity" of other phones which really aren't what we're looking for, but we buy them anyway because we simply have no choice.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Give me one of those… BUT

- with an e-ink screen (I care more about outdoor readability and longevity than colour or fast updates)

- ideally an open-source operating system (Android preferred; although maybe BlackBerry's Android emulation might be "good enough".)

- antenna jack (for areas of poor coverage, capacitive coupling doesn't count)

and maybe you've got a sale. It's nice to see a phone that recognises the utility of an actual tactile keypad over a capacitive imitation.

Sadly, if you want a decent keypad, Blackberry is one of the few, almost no one does an e-ink screen (Yotafone aside) and nearly every manufacturer assumes you spend all your time in good mobile coverage. (I live in Brisbane but do like to get out occasionally.)

3
4

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Bring back the Print button!

"This would be one workaround. I just had a look at the page source, and indeed, a screenreader would have fun trying to find the content of the page."

Does your screen reader software not pick up the 'skip to content' link near the top of every page? I might get Orca running and see if it does pick up the link.

My screen-reader doesn't need to as I use the one I was born with, built into my skull. Not quite 20:20 vision, but good enough.

That said, I can understand the need for them and feel for those who have to put up the crap artsy web-designers foist onto them.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: FFS JUST PUT IT BACK!!!

At least they didn't take their inspiration from Windows 8… now that is a site that's been made utterly useless by a makeover.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Yeah. About that...

Fair go, they need to pay their bills somehow.

1
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Bring back the Print button!

One fix is to rearrange the order of the page elements in the raw file. Currently it seems as though everything at the top and/or right of the screen is rendered before the meat of the article although I do sympathise if you sre stuck with a CMS that forces you do things the way the CMS authors want it done rather than the way you, the users would like to do it.

This would be one workaround. I just had a look at the page source, and indeed, a screenreader would have fun trying to find the content of the page.

http://www.qsl.net/vk4ba/ is the last site I had any real task designing ground-up, where I employ this exact technique.

You'll note the navigation is at the bottom of the page (DOM-wise) with links in the header. Aside from the logo, which has a blank ALT tag (so hopefully it isn't read out, since its function is more decorative), there's very little that isn't page content related at the start.

I don't have a screenreader to test that site with, but visually impaired users was one potential audience I was thinking of. It looked okay in Lynx. I haven't done anything with that site for some time now, as other members of the club maintain it.

2
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

The new style is okay BUT:

- I'll agree with the others regarding constraining yourselves to the centre of the screen. A lot of wasted space at each side.

- The new aspect ratio used for displaying images makes me feel I'm peering through the slot of a letterbox. A bit more height is called for, right now there isn't sufficient area to show a full face without chopping bits off or making it a flea circus.

Browser here: Firefox 33 (self-built) on Gentoo Linux/AMD64. Resolution: 1366×768

0
0

Microsoft: Hey, don’t forget Visual Basic! Open source and new features coming

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Open source VB6 programming

VB6 isn't a programming language: it's an embarrassment! I don't blame them for not open sourcing it.

1
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Why VB is better?

Stuart, there was also BCPL between B and C. I learnt BCPL on my Amstrad CPC6128.

Okay, quoting Wikipedia's source:

B is reminiscent of BCPL [2] , for those who can remember. The original design and implementation are the work of K. L. Thompson and D. M. Ritchie; their original 6070 version has been substantially improved by S. C. Johnson, who also wrote the runtime library.

I hardly think BCPL could have come between B and C if B is supposedly "reminiscent" of it. I had heard of BCPL as well. I of course haven't coded in either BCPL or B, although I've done quite a bit of C over the years.

I did try VB4 years ago, and at the time I thought it was great. GUIs at the click of a mouse. Then I came to learn Java and other languages.

Once I discovered what the Swing toolkit could do (for example) in terms of layout, the manual process of drawing widgets that VisualBASIC offers suddenly didn't seem all that appealing. Today if I want a GUI, I reach for Qt, with C++ or Python being my choice for actual code.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Why VB is better?

making a simple job in B much trickier in sharp). Doesn't stop me working in sharp, but it does make me wonder why B is still better at these specific things....

You still code in B?

According to Wikipedia:

B is almost extinct, having been superseded by the C language.[7]

5
1

QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: JPEG2000

JPEG2000 supports just about everything. It's f***ing nightmare of options - from memory there are about 16 different types of ColorSpace, although only about 8 in baseline. It's patented up the wazoo too.

Pretty much everything except

#include <stdio.h>

int main(void) { printf("Hello World\n"); return(0); }

is these days. We can't even be sure that this BPG hasn't got someone lurking in the shadows waiting for it to become popular before surprising us all with a few patent lawsuits. Even if they prove to be invalid: it's still expense defending.

Sadly if we spent all our time checking for prior art, we'd be doing more tiptoeing around existing patents and very little genuine innovating. Projects like BPG are exactly what the industry needs, true innovation.

The good news is that we can use this code today: there's a (albeit, slowish) decoder in JavaScript which allows backward compatibility in modern browsers. It took a long time to get rid of the HTML3 browsers that could only do GIF and JPEG… it'll be nice to use something other than PNG for high-fidelity graphics.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: It's probably not what the web needs urgently...

Well, I downloaded the picture "lena30.jpg" and according to irfanview, it's a regular old .jpg (no alpha channel), so maybe that page is just a visual guesstimation?

Yep, lena30.jpg IS a JPEG, for comparison purposes.

The BPG is here: lena_q23.bpg, and in my browser, it gets replaced by a data URL which is a Base64-encoded PNG.

1
0

Cool technology: Submerged blade servers escape the heat

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: You have my limited sympathy, Trevor...

You both have my sympathy…

We recently had the experience of supporting an industrial computer that was installed (unwittingly) in the path of a chiller air vent, pumping out air at 60°C.

Needless to say, in the very hot weather we've been having here in Brisbane, the machine cooked a little. The machine is one of the newer Advantech x86 machines, and it's rated to 60°C. The CPU apparently got to 110°C.

Today we noticed the mSATA SSD inside is now acting up, as /usr/sbin/cron had become corrupt. Luckily, I could copy that across from another machine, but methinks we're going to have a lot of problems with this box.

We also have some boxes rated at 85°C: ARM machines running Freescale i.MX286s. Unfortunately the software we need now only runs on x86, and it needs the horsepower so we're stuck for now.

0
0

Users should PAY for their piracy says Turnbull

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Non-sequitur

"unwitting facilitators of infringement " - this sort of logic would make Australia Post complicit in kidnapping because the kidnappers sent their demand by mail.

Indeed, but they should also drag the power companies in for infringers who are not running off-the-grid, after all, computers do not run without electricity.

Also the company that maintains the infrastructure between their ISP and the house, after all, if that didn't exist the person couldn't possibly have infringed…

In fact, let's have the copyright holders sue the ACMA since they manage the licensing of said infrastructure.

It'll look like the US legal system in no time!

1
0

'Critical' security bugs dating back to 1987 found in X Window

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Who uses X?

Firefox and LibreOffice don't work too well in a purely console environment.

1
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: No worries...

You have to realise how long ago 1987 is. This is the year before the Morris worm (which came as a real shock I can tell you). An era when default passwords to allow the DEC engineer access to your VAX was normal.

Exactly… admittedly I was just 3 at time time, so personal memories, but as I say, the Internet was a "village" compared to what we have today.

If you had access via some system, chances are the person you were attacking knew who operated the machine you were attacking from, and a quiet word would soon have your access revoked. It was a totally different world.

2
3
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: No worries...

There's always Wayland and Mir.

X's biggest problem stems from the era it existed in. Back in the days when the Internet was entirely inhabited by academics and military people. "The Internet" was like a little village where people mostly knew each other, and you could leave the front door unlocked without fear of being ransacked.

Not today.

The good news is that very few people have X ports directly exposed, the default configuration on Linux systems for a long time was that X only listens on Unix domain sockets and the only real thing I'd be worried about is X11 forwarding over SSH to untrusted hosts or some possible attack vector via WebGL.

Out of these, only the latter one is of particular concern, since it's possible to coax someone to click a malicious link with specially crafted WebGL code to perform something nasty. Sandboxing in the browser may help, but it looks like the X.org people are on top of it already.

10
2

It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

The open source has some bugs that can cause you grief very quickly in the wrong hands that have been around as long or longer.

(e.g. One still being discussed is in X.org and has been around since 1987. Then there's shellshock.)

A big complex codebase can have many lurking holes that will take many years to uncover. What works against Microsoft here is that no one can do it for them.

1
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: JPEG, really ?

Not Invented Here syndrome.

3
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

I concur: I've had about 20 Fail2Ban emails in the last two hours.

Annoyingly, Fail2Ban has never heard of subnets. I might code my own yet.

2
0

Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Am I the last one...

You are not the only one. I'd like a browser that doesn't allow any access to my hardware or file system.

How about network card, keyboard and video?

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

True, it's not as if the Windows 8.1 UI is much different to Windows 3.1 is it?

3
0

Telstra's NBN boondoggle nearly set in stone: reports

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

12Mbps/1Mbps via a glass tube has one big advantage over the same via a pair of copper wires: lightning surges can't travel up them.

We've already lost one ADSL modem to earth potential rise.

0
0

.Bank hires Symantec to check credentials

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: "Community restricted" and consulted by an AV vendor?

Both involve someone getting screwed.

1
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Alert

Re: Really?

That was my first thought … if they check those details as well as they check their software … WE'RE DOOMED!

1
0

RIP P4ssw0rd? IT giants agree to share patents to rollout two-factor auth

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Why single out Apple?

Amazon, IBM, HP, Oracle and SAP don't make smartphones with integrated touch sensors.

5
0

Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Apple's view

It's amazing - the right to exploit a copyrighted work can be passed down through generations when someone is making money off a fucking cartoon mouse but - surprise - the 'right' we purchased to watch a video of that mouse can't be passed on to our next of kin.

Hey, if cartoon pornography floats your boat that's your personal choice.

0
0

Linux software nasty slithers out of online watering holes

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

I wonder what attack vector they used. Is it a Linux version that hitches a ride on a Windows vulnerability then attacks the Linux host from the Windows box or is there some exploit in the Linux desktop they're targetting?

Given the prevalence of Linux desktops, the former seems more likely. Guess we'll find out before long.

4
1

Identity thieves slurp Sony Pictures staff info – as CEO sends 'don't sue me, bro' memo

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Hmmm... what's that smell?

Sure, GBs of data all trying to leave at once, you'll notice… but what does an SSN, name or email address look like when it's been passed through AES256 or similar?

8
0

MP caught playing Candy Crush at committee meeting: I'll ‘try’ not to do it again

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Coat

Re: It figures...

Perhaps they should have gone a PlayBook or Surface, neither of those have any worthwhile apps and so MPs wouldn't be at risk of playing games they're not supposed to.

0
0

Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Coat

Re: "Exemptions will apply for shepherds, cottage and fish pies."

So, a pie must have a pastry top and a pastry base, except when it doesn't? Quality legislation, that'll make.

Since when has "quality" mattered with regards to legislation?

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: I blame the gastropubs

Indeed, it's hard to get a square meal these days, or even a rounded one.

1
0

Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Looks really nice.

Agreed, this actually looks like something I'd consider buying.

Just one problem: where do I plug in the antenna? My last road trip there were a few places where such things were needed. (i.e. marginal signal with an external antenna plugged in. If I tried using a capacitive coupling it'd probably fail miserably.)

1
0

LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: OLPC

More to the point, OLPC is designed ground-up for education, in areas where Internet connectivity and mains power is flakey to non-existent. The machines themselves are highly ruggedised, with user replaceable parts, come with a large suite of applications for learning and can be expanded for teaching purposes.

This surely would make it an ideal choice.

In fact, it is the project that gave the world the netbook: the Asus Eee is a beefed up version of what they developed as a candidate for the OLPC project, when something different was chosen for the XO, they decided to up the RAM and CPU a little bit and release it as a commercial product.

Arguably, this makes them the ancestor to the ChromeBook and the iPad.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Raspberry Pi

Maybe something Raspberry Pi-based, but not a bare Raspberry Pi.

Reasons:

- no screen or keyboard (thus no portability)

- electrostatically sensitive

- fragile (pins/connectors could get damaged)

A Raspberry Pi in a suitable case with battery, screen, keyboard, touchpad and a breadboard area where students could connect components to (electrically) protected pins could work and would be a good learning tool, however even then I can't help but think the Chromebook is a better option for about 90% of the classroom work they'd do.

2
0

Ten Linux freeware apps to feed your penguin

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: freeware?

Even if the author doesn't like the philosophy of FSF[*] and the like, even if he were extremely hostile ... (assume he is not), nowadays, such ignorance is a bit hard to bear.

What would you call it then? Libreware? Or are you going to sugar coat some mouthful of an acronym like FLOSS?

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

Update: Just installed it (on a Gentoo host, so it took a little while). Works well, and I have it controlled using the cheapo Android phone using the remote control app which is available on the FDroid store.

Thumbs up, and thank-you for suggesting it!

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Amarok as good iTunes replacement?

I've been a long-time Amarok user, but lately it's decided to stop indexing my music collection. I might give Clementine a try yet.

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: @Chris W Haven't we been here before

If you want to use a gui to write a letter, watch a video or manage you media then get Windows and stop trying to pretend that linux is as good. It isn't, just admit it and get on with life.

In my experience you're exactly right. Linux isn't as good as Windows.

It is better.

Been a user since 1996, I've seen where it has come from, where Windows was at the time. Who wants to be "as good as Windows" when Windows was bad before (cases in point: Windows 3.x, Windows ME, Windows Vista), becoming downright awful (Windows 8.x) and showing no signs of improving.

If the future is going to be things like web apps or mobile apps (which talk to a back-end server), then it makes sense to use a platform which is similar to the production system to do development and testing on. Sure you can dual-boot, sure you can run VMs. Maybe some aspects of Linux are a little rudimentary, but I've had more luck bending a Linux box to my will than anything out of Redmond or Cupertino.

8
0

Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Pirate

So how are you supposed to work that thing with a hook?

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Hopefully hopping

Probably the "ear" socket, they had an odd "ear→ear, mic→mic" convention. (Least I thought it odd, I normally think of Line Out → Line In)

I have a Timex Sinclair 2068 which is basically a ZX Spectrum with some other bits, and a NTSC video encoder (since it was for the US market), and I recall this being mentioned in the handbook (which I also have somewhere).

0
0

MEPs want 'unbiased search', whatever that is – they're not sure either

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Noooo.

Why would I want a search engine to return other search engines in its results?

You mean like this? (Yes, I heard of this one back in 1997.)

0
0

systemd row ends with Debian getting forked

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: This is gold

Indeed, if we're going to put it into production, we should also be thinking of an exit strategy in case it doesn't work out.

25
0

Trevor contemplates Consumer Netgear gear. BUT does it pass the cat hair test?

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Thanks for the memories

Have you looked at the Cisco SG300-10 (or the PoE version SG300-10P)? I believe either of these meets all of your criteria for features and cost. I've had good luck with them.

Seconded… we use SG300-24Ps at my workplace and I also have two SG200-8s at home. I've also used a Netgear PROSafe 5-port managed switch. (I can't recall the model.)

The Netgear cost me AU$50, and while it works, its admin interface (written in Adobe Air) is a pile of crap. (It doesn't see the switch half the time and only works in Windows.) There's something listening on port 80 that the Adobe AIR UI talks to, but no web or telnet interfaces to speak of.

The SG200s were about AU$100, and have a decent web interface for administration.

All can do VLANs and LACP.

3
0

Bloke fighting Facebook in court says ad network claims its users lack 'legal capacity' to sue it

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Interesting question...

This is probably the biggest point, sure there's no proof that the people in the class actions are Facebook users, but IMO, they don't need to be. They merely need evidence that information of theirs has been collected.

e.g. someone who is a Facebook user, can upload photos they might've taken of you. You may not have a profile on Facebook, but that doesn't mean details of yours aren't already up there.

0
0

Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

Stuart Longland
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Pi is a maths symbol (Pendant Alert!)

No, π is a maths symbol, Pi is it's [it is] name!

If you're going to be a pedant, at least learn the meaning of the apostrophe when used with words like 'it'.

14
0

Pity the poor Windows developer: The tools for desktop development are in disarray

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Have a go with Unity. It does feel a bit like overkill, but it also makes all the compatability stuff very easy.

I haven't tried programming in Unity (yet) but I've seen some pretty neat things done in it. We use it at my workplace as a frontend to SCADA.

0
0

BOFH: SOOO... You want to sell us some antivirus software?

Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Why do you use AV, unless you are compelled?

Compelled? Now I have this image of The Exorcist where the priest tries to exorcise a computer virus... and fails...

Some AV packages:

- take about as much room

- make about as much noise

- have about as much success

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Re: Foxit

Perhaps I should just write out the entries using my feet?

I've seen that done before today… maybe if you did that they'd get the message?

0
0
Stuart Longland
Silver badge

Nooooo don't stop the BOFH! What are you saying man!!!

4
0

Page:

Forums