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* Posts by Britt Johnston

518 posts • joined 11 Apr 2006

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

The truth might be that all this investment in security could be put to better use

The security aspects could be improved - don't sell aircraft to foreigners, have everyone carry a gps beacon, ban air travel and donkeys, twitter, whatever,....

But the main topic has been the unfortunate accident, and the security hardware isn't giving answers, because it is not set up to answer this useful set of questions, even when it has a security aspect.

I saw a depressing interview today where some parochial Washinton correspondent was discussing with top experts how to make all radar track to American standards and ensure that transponder switches be locked away from pilot's fingers. It made me feel not just that US security is an expensive irrelevance, but that if their view prevails, security may be incompatible with safety, or humanity.

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PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

Britt Johnston
Angel

Re: Ownership matters, in both England and Switzerland

I should have mentioned that the codes come from the Swiss post office, since I live in Switzerland. But the response shows that ownership confusion exists internationally.

I'm afraid it is the same confusion as that entangled with the political mantra of taxation, the German proverb "what is mine, is mine, and what is yours is also mine". And also to the comments referring to the sale of BT.

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Britt Johnston
Facepalm

Ownership matters

I live in a district where the postcodes don't exactly match the district council boundaries, which became a problem when our housing estate was built, thirty years ago. The post delivers in our corner from a different, nearer, post office than to the rest of the district.

Unfortunately, the district council believes they own the postcodes, and wish to assign the main post code to the whole district. To enforce this, they always deliver all their mail with their assigned post code.

The post office, knowing it to be incorrect, changes it manually, and puts it on a slow delivery pile, to encourage mail senders to use the correct code. So an official mail from the district council takes a week to deliver from 3 miles away.

My data management skills have given me insight into the cause of the delays, but are not sufficient to persuade the two institutions to stop deliberately misunderstanding each other. I am reduced to calling them names. After 30 years, I am running out of names, and would welcome suggestions.

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That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Britt Johnston
Angel

A quick fix for non-US firms

Hire americans to beef up your security.

Surely the NSA wouldn't hack their mails?

US Immigration has a list of US citizens living abroad.

Should NSA want it, GCHQ has access.

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Blurred lines: Android e-ink mobe claims TWO-WEEK battery life

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

Re: older generation, scaled fonts and e-ink

Trouble is, if you scale up a font, each letter takes up more of the screen - so even a 7inch Kindle is too small, and a 4 inch phone induces logoclaustrophobia, in people of all ages. I'd be interested in a 10inch netbook version, though.

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UK man Lauri Love accused of hacking US Federal Reserve

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

wild west web

So the laws are draconian and internationally incompatible, the nominated control agencies toothless: the ones with teeth are outside the law, antisocial and ransacking the world's data to collect porn or anything else from everyone, rather than addressing any pressing issues. The active citizens are at best asocial nosies, others are ripping off all and sundry, businesses and private persons alike.

This is not what is I had in mind with the terms net neutrality, or balance of powers.

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Hey, IT department! Sick of vendor shaftings? Why not DO IT, yourself

Britt Johnston
Meh

Re: Not sure where you work...

In our large pharmaceutical company, the home-grown applications have been systematically replaced over the last 25 years by configuable standards, the residual home-grown applications will have disappeared in the next few years. When they go, the get replaced with some standard with reduced functionality, some were even sold to external IT specialists to turn them into "standards".

The driving force is the need for full, up-to-date documentation and control of changes.

The creative programmers who stayed either moved to the internet side, or became business analysts joining extracts (mostly in excel).

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

Britt Johnston

The answer isn't 42?

This is the sort of corollary that comes out of the full proof.

For every infinite string it is possible to define a finite substring with a discrepancy of any size.

If the discrepancy is 42, you know you have found a substring which fits the problems of the Adams universe.

I'd suggest, if it isn't, and you still have a problem, that you try a substring of different size if the discrepancy is positive, and use a different pattern if it goes in the wrong direction or is near-zero.

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Britt Johnston
Thumb Up

Re: Short term or long term?

It is about more reliable transfer of information from short-term memory into long-term memory.

So if you had a tough meeting, and you want to write it all up while it's fresh, a coffee after the meeting should help with the recall.

Interestingly, the study write-up appears in Google under Healthcare, not under Science.

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

TRADEMARKING YOUR OWN NAME IS A BAD IDEA

If your firm goes bankrupt, your reputation suffers. Worse, if you are successful, you get bought out and lose control of your own name.

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Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military

Britt Johnston
Trollface

Re: all that money on doing nice things for people

Finally, the military get some payback for all the effort they have put into prosthetics.

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New inkjet printer spits out cheap OLED monitors better than your inkjet prints letters

Britt Johnston
Happy

Driver worries ?

<<Imagine reinstalling the drivers for THAT>>

I thought this type of heavy engineering usually has a c64 as a controller, and home grown code.

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You can't have that many! China scuppers US, EU tech tariff talks

Britt Johnston
Headmaster

how high is high enough??

<<In a high-level meeting..., Beijing’s negotiators said they have zero mandate ...>>

That would be a low-level meeting, then.

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WHO ate all the PIs? Sales of Brit mini-puter pass 2 MEELLION

Britt Johnston
Go

where are all the Pies?

Sales in Germany, Holland and environs are going well.

As proof, 1278 results today on searching for Raspberry Pi in ebay.de.

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XBOX One SHOT DEAD by Redmond following delivery blunder

Britt Johnston
Flame

customer or sucker?

Like I could buy a 2014 Ferarri, but leave it in the garage until new year, for fear the car-maker enables the anti-thief lock-down system?

As a non-console owner, the only decent way I see to deal with an out-of-control supply-chain is to welcome your customer early, and explain that he may have to wait a few weeks for full enjoyment of the product.

What is twisted is that commenters expect this kind of user welcome to be the norm in the console area.

Maybe the Steam people will be a bit better?

Maybe this points to the end-game with DRM products. You just sell a sexy-looking empty box, because that is the cheapest way to achieve zero functionality.

Or maybe Microsoft would like to treat all its users like this?

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The importance of complexity

Britt Johnston
Boffin

Algorithms are well-behaved

In our company, most of the complexity comes from the organisation and the users.

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Obama to Merkel: No Americans are listening to you on this call

Britt Johnston

The Core of the Special Relationship

is that neither British Statesmen nor USA ones are accusing each other of phone-tapping.

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UK's tech capital named: Read it and weep, Tech City startup hipsters

Britt Johnston
Pint

Pub culture

From the comments, you could raise the efficiency of this scheme by leaving out the hi-tech support, and just subsidising the pubs.

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Microsoft comes through on Oracle cloud partnership

Britt Johnston
Childcatcher

this is bad

I was counting on Oracle buying some patent jam - have to sell off my shares in Blackberry, quick

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One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

Britt Johnston
Devil

Independance from Britain..

may get much easier, when Britain decides to leave EU.Then Scotland could apply to become Very West Germany, for instance, join Schengen, Tax intra-day trading, and generally behave like responsible Europeans.

This could easily come about before Scotland even have a timetable for their referendum.

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China's lifting of internet blockade denied by state media

Britt Johnston
Megaphone

no inter in our net

The proper place to discuss sensitive issues like politics, religion or Justin Bieber is Youtube.

However I sent a link to a self-arranged, self-performed folk song, non-pornographic, to a Chinese colleague leaving our company. She could not access Youtube. The only success was to translate into Chinese in Google translator. What a waste of time, and a diverse&cultural loss.

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How do you choose your vendors?

Britt Johnston

previous sale?

Important for our large company is whether they have been previous suppliers within the company.If yes,

- they understand our (strange) terms and conditions,

- we can find out if they are helpful,

- we get a feeling of if they will take it in the chin, for the sake of a longer-term connection

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Amazon to offer FREE smartphone?

Britt Johnston
IT Angle

shrinking the $200 bill

Why not give away cheap phones (or watches) and tether them to the kindle?

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The REAL winner of Microsoft's Nokia buy: GOOGLE

Britt Johnston
Coat

sitting on a cash pile...

is probably quite comfortable, unless there's too much change.

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Yahoo! Comes! Clean! On! Global! Government! Data! Requests!

Britt Johnston
Pirate

act local

Sounds proportionate, since YAHOO! has mostly US users.

Can we have one on behind a European firewall please?

You can call it EUHOO! if you want.

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Canadian comet impact fingered for triggering prehistoric climate shift

Britt Johnston

Babies in the Bathwater

The last melting, about 6000 BC cut off the Continent from England, the Thames from the Rhine, and caused Noah's flood as the Med broke through to the Black sea.

The boffins admit that their dating isn't exact to the day, though, and the increase in sea level is also unclear (0.8-2.8 m). It is also frustrating that the documentation was poor, as the events are so close to the start of history.

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NSA: NOBODY could stop Snowden – he was A SYSADMIN

Britt Johnston
Trollface

Re: Obama deserved the peace prize...

for displacing G.W.Bush, the first American President to start two wars and finish none.

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Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Slave to the rhythm

Britt Johnston

MIDI can now do lyrics

I don't know if all MIDI editors do the same, but I've had files from one MIDI with lyrics come out into an unrelated notation programme. I saw it first quite recently, less than 10 years old.

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Steelie Neelie: One cloud contract model to rule them all

Britt Johnston
Alien

whisper of reason

The main cause is that there ARE contracts: it saves providers the trouble of behaving. They became necessary for phones because providers handed out phones for free - bad idea - and needed to recoup the up-front loss. Contracts are not necessary today, you can buy non-tied phones and services.

There is no need for ties, the inconvenience of switching data to another provider should be sufficient to accept switching without restriction as the normal model for data. And no ties means they might listen a bit to their customers.

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Britt Johnston
Angel

Re: The road to hell's paved with good intentions

There may be many roads leading to Hell. But the main highway is the one constructed of bad intentions.

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Report: IBM protests Amazon $600m CIA cloud contract

Britt Johnston
Childcatcher

while we are bashing companies...

why would the CIA want to use a notorious tax minimizer like Amazon?

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Facebook teens' kimonos - basically never closed

Britt Johnston
Thumb Up

Like, like

"the hundreds of times they used the word "like" in their sentences."

Facebook and like are oxymoronic, aren't they?

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The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

Windows 8 is good for something

The initial screen warns every customer without a touch sensitive screen that Microsoft doesn't care about customers. Not enough to even give you an XP-retro option, and certainly not enough to design features to help you.

My question for 2015 is, who can come up with a one-button solution on a USB3 stick to overwrite my outdated Win7.

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Master Beats: Why doesn't audio quality matter these days?

Britt Johnston
Happy

good sound is possible

As commenters like peter gathercole mention, quality of sound has been a problem since Edison. But I'm happy with my current sound from my laptops, and use these in preference to mobile devices. The laptop signal feeds to a USB soundcard, and from here into the AUX channel of a bedsit Hifi.

- so yes, tinny laptop speakers are the worst problem

- the two laptops differ in signal: an Acer being noticeably better than a non-Beats HP

- I do attach sound-compensating headphones, to filter out house noise and let others sleep, but they would be unsafe in traffic.

- Youtube is interesting, also because of the range in quality of uploaded music - a valuable discipline of its own, as previous comments have mentioned.

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Dark matter researchers think they've got a signal

Britt Johnston

Re: Compelling reasons for reviving the ether

It IS the ether, we are just arguing about its weight and pervasiveness.

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Apple share-price-off-a-cliff: Told you that would happen

Britt Johnston

bet the company?

"Apple is thus going to be forced into more “bet the company” launches. It can easily survive an iWatch failure, but to deliver high percentage growth it will need to bet a high percentage of the firm. "

The art of portfolio management is to have a number of projects of differing size and risk. This helps avoid the military dilemma of repeatedly betting on all-out-wins, until your army gets hammered.

Even then, given Apple's size, it may not be possible to find one project big enough to force them to bet the whole company's fortunes.

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Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE

Britt Johnston

Re: galactic sized accelerator mechanism

I think you have touched on the cause - at the rate accelerators are getting bigger, in a billion years or so, one will fill the known universe, so forcing an alternate universe to bubble into existence.

An alternative could be to stop Moore's law for accelerators.

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New cunning linguist computer has got ancient tongues licked

Britt Johnston
IT Angle

does the code run on my raspi?

see title

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Tablets aren't killing ereaders, it's clog-popping wrinklies - analyst

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

screen size

Thanks to John Robson for the good analysis. Disagree about screen size, though - I can only get a fraction of a page on the machine at big enough to read so I'd really like a larger screen. This may push my standard reader from my laptop +monitor to a tablet in time.

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Top Gear isn't TV, not when it's on YouTube

Britt Johnston

Re: Regulation crazy

new regulations, and their fees, are a major source of GDP growth in an imploding financial services economy like GB.

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Britt Johnston

Re: So...

Alternatively, if Ofcom charged the same fees, and spent it on solving problems, then there would be less worry about whether a problem should be outsourced or not.

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Apple said to be testing 46, 55-inch big-screen TVs

Britt Johnston

Another rule

The rule I know is hat your fist at arms length should cover the screen. It probably maps closely to the other one but saves you using the TV as a ruler.

It comes from your brain being uncomfortable with too much movement if the angle of viewing is too large.

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ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

Britt Johnston
Facepalm

Re: Very strange stuff, that heat

The heat is a side-effect of the Blish drives, plus the air conditioners...

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Big Data's big issue: Where are all the data scientists coming from?

Britt Johnston
Thumb Up

data science - the alchemy of the 21stC?

I appreciated the article and see the target, the terminology is secondary. I don't like the wiggle room in the bridgebuilder analogy between engineer and statistitian, though, as

1) They said that about Velikowsky between egyptologists and archeologists

2) many statistitians are mathematically competent and practical enough to run toolkits - maybe they are confining their curiosity to a currently saleable set of problems.

I'd be interested in your proposed toolkit as captured in your course - could you provide a link, please?

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A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

Britt Johnston
Trollface

Re: Hmm, iPads?

The most important contribution of the iPad was to suppress the development of 10" smartphones

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Forgetting Microsoft: How Steve Ballmer's Surface could win

Britt Johnston
Angel

Cross-platform apps

It is surely only a matter of time until someone has a cross-platform compiler, or at least an appsource converter, then we move on from asking who has the most apps.

Microsoft might even be chasing that goal now.

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Microsoft Surface popped open, poked, prodded

Britt Johnston

RE Bluish-Green (R97, G171, B162; #61aba2) = petrol

Fashion likes more fanciful names for colour nuances:

try searching in google.de pictures for "petrol hose"

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France again threatens Google with link tax

Britt Johnston
Meh

Google could raise the stakes, and patent French on the internet.

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Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook torn asunder for your pleasure

Britt Johnston
Coat

Black Friday

< [I'm]buying one on Black Friday if Apple knock 5% off or so >

3.5% knocked off the share price this week, charge up your credit card...

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Alcatel Lucent battles unions in bid to slash 5,500 jobs

Britt Johnston
Facepalm

can't give them away?

I smell a marketing plan here.

The US allows A-L give away their products free to save the free world from Huawei and LZE.

All producers go bust, but at least the free world is saved.

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