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* Posts by David Hicks

1243 posts • joined 22 Apr 2008

Orange boasts: We made Google PAY US for traffic

David Hicks
Pint

Re: I see it slightly differently to that.

It's a sucky perception thing, and shame on Google for getting involved.

I pay my ISP to deliver packets to me as fast as it can, if they feel the need to demand more money for said service then they can ask me, not selectively ask people trying to get my eyeball-time to pay to get access to me. I am the customer, not the fecking product.

I'm so tired of being the product.

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€1.5bn swiped from EU cards: Fraud mainly takes place in the US

David Hicks

Re: Verified by VISA is horrible

@AC - "AFAICT, the chip+PIN authentication is not exactly a PKI. There is no communication with a central authority involved for the authentication part (there is for the authorization, but that part does not have to happen in real time, it can be done after the transaction is complete, and is often done as a daily batch to minimize communication costs)."

Any amount over the card or terminal's limits must go online for authorisation. There is also a limit on the number of offline transactions a card will permit, and a random factor that chooses whether even transactions below the offline limits will go online. An online transaction absolutely is authorised in real time, including cryptographic verification, by the bank, of the transaction cryptogram provided by the card.

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David Hicks

Re: Verified by VISA is horrible

The PVV is an optional component and the attack on it would (according to the linked paper) take multiple years to break and many, many more if 3DES is used over DES, which one would hope in this modern day and age. It's also a hash rather than a straight encrypt, as only a portion of the DES output is stored.

The PIN is not on the stripe.

And how else could stripe-only devices check the PIN? ISO-(can't remember the number) encoding the captured PIN with a terminal specific key and sending it to the acquiring/issuing bank for verification. There is an online PIN verification capability in EMV, I don't know if it's commonly done for stripe transactions.

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David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Verified by VISA is horrible

The PIN is stored in the stripe?

What unmitigated bullshit!

It's not in the stripe at all. Anywhere, coded or otherwise. The stripe contains a very limited amount of data. If you're doing Stripe + PIN transactions the PIN is captured and encrypted then sent to the bank for verification.

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Crypto boffins smuggle secret messages in silent Skype calls

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Indistinguishable?

OK no, it's me that misunderstood, from reading the linked article.

They have managed to cram data into the silent packets, which then gets thrown away or ignored by the standard client, but which someone running their program can grab and decode.

If the skype packets are encrypted using half-decent encryption anyway, then the data they contain will already look fairly random, so substituting other encrypted data shouldn't look too suspicious to the casual packet sniffer.

Whether this is an effective method or not would seem (to me) to come down to how much validation is performed by any hypothetical skype interception program in use by the authorities that we suspect of listening, and whether they get the full stream or just recovered audio.

Actually I think I like my idea better...

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: Indistinguishable?

I think you misunderstand - the messages are not put into the 70 byte packets, they are encoded using the sequence of silent and non-silent packets.

Think morse code only using silent and non-silent packages instead of dots and dashes, and then layer something like ssh/ssl over the top.

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Nokia chief Elop: 'Android? Hey, anything's possible!'

David Hicks

Re: Differentiating

Again, and sorry to harp on about it, but I'm really not interested in what you can chuck at it, I'm interested in having up to date hardware.

AFAICT that is what they have now, and if so then good for Elop bringing them up to date, but they did lag for quite some time.

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David Hicks

Re: Differentiating

@I ain't Spartacus

The figures I found were sales too, they were Q3 2012 sales and Q4 *may* show something more interesting, but I think doubling the sales share is a touch optimistic. Could well be wrong

The N900 was a great device, but I'm not interested in what the OS *needs* for basic operation, I'm interested in what you can do with the available power. And the more the better as far as I'm concerned. Especially as I like to re-purpose devices and install non standard operating systems. You can say "Oh but the interface is sooo smooth" as many times as you like, but I'll still be miffed at someone trying to sell me last year's hardware at this year's prices.

No, I do not expect everyone to think that way, or that my opinion is representative of anyone but me.

@dogged

What are the sources for your numbers?

The 2.7% US figure I quoted comes from Forbes - http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2012/12/21/windows-phone-now-third-most-popular-platform-in-u-s/

And gartner says 2.4% - http://wmpoweruser.com/gartner-around-4-million-windows-phone-units-sold-in-q3-2012-with-2-4-market-share/

These are of course Q3 numbers, I can't find Q4, but the only numbers I've seen even in the same ballpark as yours are projections. For 2016.

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David Hicks
Linux

Re: Differentiating

Where are you getting your 5% from?

All I can find is references to 2.7% US and 1.9% global (Q3 2012). I can accept that the new lumia phones may have made a dent, but 5% seems wildly optimistic. Nokia is certainly the top dog, but of a very small yard.

I would buy a Nokia android device, but it would have to be competitive with other handsets on the market. Three or four years ago Nokia released the N900, which was awesome but already behind the field in terms of tech specs. The N9 was at least a year behind competitor's products, so despite apparently being pretty good they could have been so much better. I've no idea if the hardware specs of current-gen nokias are in line with the rest of the industry, but they used to lag terribly.

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Which qualifications are worthwhile?

David Hicks
Stop

Re: Don't bother....

Folks, your problems are crappy jobs. Get some experience, become a contractor/consultant, rake in the cash and have a new workplace every few months!

If you just sit in the corner being the underpaid geek, all the while hoping someone's going to hand you a pot of gold, then of course your life's going to seem miserable.

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David Hicks

Re: Don't bother with qualifications - everything you need to learn is free!

My degree has been very useful to me. It's opened a lot of doors and more importantly it's given me a good grounding in a wide range of computer *stuff*.

You can talk your way past the degree requirements at a lot of places and you don't need a degree to be an awesome software engineer, but I've found it very useful for both thing. It's true that some of the best people I've worked with had no degree, but most did.

Being interested in tech? Hell yes that's a requirement.

To the OP if you're reading this - try to find some way to leverage your existing knowledge into a few steps up the ladder in IT and skip the helldesk stuff entirely. Find a crossover job where you bring the domain knowledge but you learn the technical ropes from some more experienced tech guys.

Also (and I'm going to get flamed for this) programming/software engineering is far more interesting than IT and networks!

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Sir James Dyson slams gov's 'obsession' with Silicon Roundabout

David Hicks
Linux

Re: Supply and demand

This is similarly true in software - while there are companies crying out for staff, compared to the international scenario the pay for software folks in the UK (even in London) is frakking awful when compared to the US, Australia and other western nations. Maybe we do need more STEM grads, but unless the money's there at the other end why bother?

The only way I can get close to what I was earning in 'stralia is by contracting.

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Segway daddy unveils DIY weight-loss stomach pump

David Hicks
Coat

Re: Wow, just wow!

I cycled a few miles at the weekend. So long as it's not actually raining there's nowt wrong with cycling in the cold. Just get yourself a pair of gloves and a lightweight jacket, you'll soon warm up.

And no, I'm not usually an advocate of old-fashioned getting out there and doing it, damn the weather etc etc, I only (re)took up cycling last year. In Australia where it's warm all the time. I've been genuinely surprised that it's pleasant to cycle here. Even in January.

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Open-source attack dog enters Ballmer's inner ring

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Libre/Open Office?

"Except they did? Internally Office Open XML files are just a load of XML files, with other bits and pieces, zipped up. The specs are standardised by three bodies."

Pffft.

MS crippled ISO in their haste to push this through, they stuffed the voting committees full of single issue voters and forced OOXML through as a standard, just so they could say they had one. The voters then stopped turning up, and ISO basically broke down due to non-attendance of a high proportion of members. Meanwhile the standard as published wasn't even supported by MS *and* contained many things that were ill defined so only MS could support them.

ODF is an open standard OOXML is a trap, and a deliberately confusingly named one.

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Ofcom looks at contract opt-outs as users rage over price hikes

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Yuck, 2 year contracts

No thanks.

I know most folks like the "free" phone model but buying up front lets you switch provider and call plan whenever you like. Far nicer.

Also the number of people I hear muttering about having made a terrible choice of phone and now being stuck with the damn thing...

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ARM server hype ramps faster than ARM server chips

David Hicks
Linux

Re: how compatible are these ARMs ?

Err, that's more than a little bit optimistic.

There certainly are different versions of the ARM instruction set out there, and not everything that will run on ARMv5 will also run on v4. There are also a whole load of differing extensions in areas like floating-point. So you end up with software distros like debian supporting the lowest common denominator and losing performance because of it, and other distros like raspbian (for the raspberry pi) that are tuned to single devices or chip categories.

ARM is definitely more of a heterogeneous than x86. And yes, there's not usually a device-discovery system or BIOS equivalent, so the OS needs code for the specific board its running on.

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Samsung ordered to cough mobe sales figures to world+dog

David Hicks

I knw you shouldn't have to do this...

But if you root the phone and install an app called SDMaid (IIRC) you can delete the crapware, even if the system doesn't want you too.

I too have a German galaxy device, a Note I bought when I bought in Australia from a hong-kong vendor and have brought with me back to the UK. None of these places require a german taxi app...

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Facebook fixes 'Peeping Tom' webcam bug - AFTER 5 MONTHS

David Hicks

Re: Not really sure why a web browser

Indeed, and a browser is an application that runs al sorts of 'stuff' from all sorts of sources at that, so not one I like the idea of giving direct access to much in the way of hardware.

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David Hicks
Thumb Down

Not really sure why a web browser

Ought to be able to interact with my webcam anway. Seems like a *really* bad idea.

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2012: The year that netbooks DIED

David Hicks
Linux

Re: sad to see them die

"When Netbooks were first introduced most came pre-installed with Ubuntu"

If only!

No, they came with Xandros, and it was set up in such a way that after about a month it would fill its system partition and start failing software updates. Also the desktop was very, very limited, you couldn' edit the menu structure, it was difficult to install more stuff etc etc. And it sometimes killed ipods if you plugged them in (for instance to charge).

Various *buntu, debian and mint distros popped up pretty quick, thankfully, and my eeepc 901 has been an awesome miniature debian/GNOME2 laptop for the last several years, though it does struggle at times. Yesterday I replaced it with a chromebook, which (AFAICT) is basically the same as a netbook, only with chrome OS and a slightly larger form factor. Soon, it too shall run debian!

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iPhone tops US market, but trounced by Android in world+dog

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: Lies, damned lies etc

The top end Samsung S3 outsells the iPhone 5. So all this nonsense about "low-end" and "default choices" and "couldn't afford an iphone" and whatnot is just hot air.

I'm sure Apple care dearly about their market share. More market is more money.

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Osborne stumps up £20m of your cash for wiggly wonder stuff graphene

David Hicks
Go

So is this the government doing what the rest of us have to?

And starting to generate a pension-equivalent investment fund to keep it in hair nets and cat food in its old age?

Or are they just spanking money on research? (which is a good thing!)

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What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: I try to write clear code

No, they had the ban because they were less than competent. It was one of several arcane rules and was matched with a vcs cobbled together from glue, string and fear of progress.

I've been doing this for a dozen years now too, perhaps not as long as you, but I've come to recognise that there are a lot of very mediocre dev shops out there. I'm not a 'rockstar' but I am half decent at what I do and they were not. I've seen worse since...

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David Hicks
Linux

Re: I try to write clear code

I withdrew my last comment as it could have been construed as a very negative review on current colleagues, not really what was intended.

Heartily agree that if people can't cope with the ternary operator they need to be taken outside and dealt with humanely...

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David Hicks
Happy

Re: I try to write clear code

Self reply to clarify (and keep wittering 'cos the alternative is hacking at some terrible code).

When I say "Your definition and mine may differ" I mean our respective definitions of clear and sensible.

For instance I've worked in places where the ternary operator in C was not allowed in case it confused some (experience<1?"junior":"incompetent") developers. Whereas I find a quick ternary in the right place to be easier to comprehend than padding the code out with more standard if/else lines. And this is a trivial example, when it comes to structuring large volumes of code there are so many different approaches that can be taken, and so many ways to get it wrong, that you really often end up with something that seems to have grown organically rather than really been designed.

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David Hicks
Happy

I try to write clear code

With clear and sensible interfaces.

Part of the difficulty in getting this done is that requirements are barely ever exhaustive and are very subject to change (though once I got handed a multi-thousand page standard and got told 'implement this!). The other problem is other people - your definition and mine may differ significantly here.

I do wonder though as you draw a lot of your anecdata from the world of finance - Most of the best engineers I've met in a 12 year career (so far) wouldn't touch the city, and not just because they didn't like getting out of bed in the morning - do you think that this sector in particular suffers from big egos matched with decidedly average aptitude?

Also have to agree with the general theme - real world software problems are messy and don't often occupy the idealised domain that academics often tackle.

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Japanese firm lifts lid on Android-controlled toilet

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Argh..

They're already relatively powerful. I made the mistake of standing in front of a loo with one of these jets, and as I was finishing my business I wondered "what does this button do?"

A nozzle emerged from the rear of the bowl and sprayed up, out of the bowl and all over my shoes.

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Cameron defends U-turn on web filth ban, leaves filtering to parents

David Hicks

Re: "U turn" - or just listening to the people

In politics, for some reason, people seem to like a strong, unwavering leader who commits to an idea and pushes it through regardless of silly things like facts or evidence. And then when whatever it is turns out to be an abject failure, they like to lambast the leader and force them to resign, or maybe something worse.

Those of us that like the idea of government that actually look at reality and changes policy in accordance with observed fact, we appear to be in the minority.

tl;dr - people seem to prefer an idiot with convictions over someone actually useful

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Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?

David Hicks
Alert

Re: if only...

Yup. Bugger the deletionists.

That page linked on editor trends was interesting, the conclusion seemed to be - "Current result: Non-vandal newbies are the ones leaving."

This is probably because the cabal of deletionist assholes delete anything these non-vandal newbies try to add, putting them off immediately so they never bother again. The deletion rules are entirely subjective and the people that make the decisions happily discard any and all arguments about notability/whatever as they see fit, and any arguments by the non-vandal newbies are dismissed with little more than 'LOL n00b!'

So it's no wonder everyone gets put off contributing.

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Samsung grabs 'World's biggest handset-maker' title off Nokia

David Hicks
FAIL

@AC

"... and have rebooted a lot more than Nokia phones."

So Windows phones have to be rebooted regardless of brand but some more than others), just like their main OS?

Good to know their reliability is still just as poor.

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Judge: There'll be no US Samsung ban, BUT no new trial with Apple either

David Hicks

Re: I'm amazed at what's not considered

"Judge Koh said that legally, Hogan's comments after the trial couldn't be used as evidence in a new trial"

I'm sure it will come up in appeal, but (IMHO) it should have been a huge red light to judge Koh. I suspect we'll just have to watch this play out over the course of several years like the SCO thing. For a billion dollars it's worth Samsung's while to challenge it for as long as humanly possible. Or however long lawyers can do it.

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David Hicks
Stop

@AC

"Tell you what you should have been on the jury - but then again you prob work for Samsung PR. Second guessing this that and the other - got to love it."

Second guessing what? That quote from the foreman is plain as day and available on youtube.

No, I don't work for Samsung, and the only sense in which I'm being paid to post this is that I'm posting this when I really ought to be working...

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David Hicks
Stop

Re: I'm amazed at what's not considered

He explained the process they'd been through to decide the issues of prior art. He explained how he had come to a decision on what constituted prior art. This decision was then given by him to the rest of the jury. This decision was wholly wrong. I would say that it is the judge and the court's responsibility to explain to the jurors what the issues are and how they are applied, especially in slightly arcane areas like patents. Either they did this inadequately or the juror in question subverted the court's instructions.

If there isn't a mechanism in law to recognise that what happened there results in a miscarriage of justice, then there ought to be.

I agree the conflict of interest is a minor issue, if an issue at all.

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David Hicks
Thumb Down

@Toothpick

The lead juror in question is on video saying exactly what I quoted - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cnQcTC2JY

This isn't about reaching conclusions without instructions, it's about total misunderstanding of what makes up prior art, which in a patent case is pretty important.

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David Hicks
Linux

Re: Agreed

He introduced complete b*ll*cks into the jury room -

"The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there."

It's not new evidence, it's a complete failure to understand what prior art means. Not that prior art is always given as much credence as us geeks think it should be given, but still.

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David Hicks
Stop

I'm amazed at what's not considered

The complete misunderstanding of the whole concept of prior art by the jury foreman, as evidenced by his own post-trial statements, and his admissions that he instructed everyone else to use his definition.

Conflict of interest or no, and I find the conflict of interest argument pretty weak, the things he said should be enough to rule the whole thing a mistrial.

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Copyright trolls, biz scum, freetards - it's NOT black and white

David Hicks
FAIL

Re: Reality 101

That's right kids, it's illegal and therefore pointless to discuss it. You have been told. The law is never, ever wrong and you are a moral failure if you even consider breaking it.

How does a person come to think like you? So fearful of authority and so keen for everyone else to submit or be punished? So afraid of people who don't toe the line and follow every little rule unthinkingly? Is it a shortcut that avoids you having to think critically or examine life?

Rights and laws are what we decide they are. Discussion and debate is how democratic societies evolve and progress. You're not helping.

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Stephen Hawking pushes for posthumous pardon for Alan Turing

David Hicks
WTF?

Uh... but that's what a pardon is, if he wasn't guilty under that law then there would be no need for a pardon, would there?

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It pays to study the habits of your email users

David Hicks
WTF?

Re: Proud to be a Piler

You read them? And not just as a sleep aid?

There weren't enough hours in the day for that sort of behaviour at my last employer. Far better to wait until the knowledge is needed and look it up then. 99.9% of them turn out to be completely unnecessary.

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David Hicks
Pint

Re: Proud to be a Piler

My solution to that is to have a folder labelled with the name of the company I'm working for. Anything not related to my immediate needs gets dumped in there. Re-org announcements, sales announcements, product news for products I'm not involved with, customer appreciation drives, financial results, any and all stuff not immediately relevant to what I'm doing now gets immediately dumped into the Company folder.

It's amazing how infrequently you need to go into that folder.

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Schmidt 'very proud' of Google's tiny tax bill: 'It's called capitalism'

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: VAT

Corporation tax is a tax on profit, not on turnover, so it only comes into play if a company is already profitable.

What is ultimately paid by consumers is the cost of letting giant corps spirit money out of the country, because it creates a market distortion that favours the large multinationals over smaller, local businesses. This is why the loopholes need to be closed.

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Stroustrup on next-gen C++: I didn't want to let go of my baby

David Hicks
Linux

Preprocessor hate?

Surely not?

The preprocessor is awesome. Macros and definitions can be incredibly useful and make central points to change program behaviour that have no runtime cost, they're all processed at compile time.

From my cold, dead, C-programming hands!

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Review: Mio Cyclo 300 cycling satnav

David Hicks

Re: Sunlight

How often does a GPS screen need to update on a bicycle?

I'd say e-ink would be fine.

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David Hicks
Meh

Re: Cycle routes?

Those would be excuses not to cycle to work and do have some validity. I currently don't cycle to work because of the cycle path situation and also because it's 25 miles away!

But outside of commuting, I think folks would be far more up for using the bike as a general means of local transport and as an exercise activity if we had a decent network of cycle routes.

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David Hicks
IT Angle

Re: Cycle routes?

I'm like a broken record on this but - I reckon if some of that there olympics money had instead been used to create better cycle infrastructure, we would have had a much better return in terms of ongoing exercise in the population. Half of what puts people off cycling at the moment is that it's bloody dangerous out there on the roads.

The other half is (of course) laziness.

And the cold. The third half is the cold :)

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Another Apple maps desert death trap down under

David Hicks

Re: The Outback

I've done a *lot* of driving in Australia and it's pretty unnecessary to go that oldschool/hardcore.

Sure, a decent water supply and a couple of spare fuel cans (20L cans) are essential when you get out of the comparatively densely populated south east, just in case the worst does happen. But in terms of directions... there's usually only one road. You follow it until you get where you're going. Sometimes that takes weeks.

I did take a GPS on my travels there, a Nokia N900. Far from the world's best in terms of functionality, but you can preload the entire world onto those things for free. The only issue I had with the nokia maps was that they mapped too much. I've driven down some very steep and tricky forest tracks only to find out that the route I was planning on using to get back out to a main road became a 'management only' track beyond a certain point, and I had to find my way back out somehow.

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David Hicks
Pint

Re: Source: Google StreetView

That would be an awesome job for a traveller or someone on a gap year - we'll pay you to drive all the roads in the state. Transport and accommodation provided...

I did almost 30,000 km around Oz a few years back, one of the best experiences of my life.

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David Hicks
Pint

Re: Did they fix Cairns yet?

Heh, looks like they've put cairns in Stewart Creek Valley...

Gorgeous part of the world that, I highly recommend grabbing a 4x4 and driving further up, past cape Tribulation and on to Cooktown via the Bloomfield Track.

Of course I highly recommend grabbing a 4x4, a water supply, extra fuel and some food before you follow Apple Maps anywhere in Australia!

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Apple TV demand may drive Samsung-sapping sales

David Hicks
Pint

Re: A quick shareprice boost is all

The other thing that doesn't fit (IMHO) is that their fans seem to buy a new one of whatever it is every couple of years. TV doesn't really fit into that quick a cycle.

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