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* Posts by Tom Wood

342 posts • joined 14 May 2008

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Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

Tom Wood

Re: so NOT putting lots of chemicals in your body is NOT ok then?

My homegrown organic veggies and fruit taste a lot better than what you can buy in the supermarkets. It is also fresher (in season). It can be picked and eaten in minutes not days. Sure sometimes there are a few insects picked along with the veggie but that really does not matter in the long run.

The same is true of my homegrown veggies, just remove the word "organic" from that paragraph.

Organic real ale tastes better than crap supermarket lager, but that's because it's real ale, not because it's organic.

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BlackBerry ditches T-Mobile US after iPhone advert spat

Tom Wood

Re: Hypothermia

Even if said sales channel is explicitly trying to poach your loyal customers for a competitor? It looks like if they stayed with T-M, they would have fewer customers, not more.

Especially if said sales channel is explicitly trying to poach your loyal customers for a competitor!

T-Mob: Hey, why don't you try an iPhone?

Cust: No thanks, I like Blackberries.

BB: Stuff you, T-Mob, we're not selling you any Blackberries.

T-Mob: No skin off our nose.

Cust: OK T-Mob, give me an iPhone.

What they could have done is pushed the reasons why the customer should stick with a Blackberry on T-Mob and not be tempted by the iPhone; instead they cut off their nose to spite their face.

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Apple poking at idea of bayonet phone fittings

Tom Wood

Re: Doesn't mean Apple will use it

Samsung already make the Galaxy NX - an interchangable-lens camera that runs Android and has 4G connectivity. Or is that a phone that looks like an interchangable-lens camera?

Either way, interchangable lenses on a camera, or camera/phone, is hardly a novel idea.

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Tom Wood

Re: Weird cabling

Wonder if it supports Audio Return Channel over HDMI. The 10 year old Sony won't but my 3 year old Toshiba does, as does my Pioneer audio system/bluray player which cost I think about £250. It means you only need one cable between the TV and the audio system - for bluray playback it pushes the video over the cable to the telly, and for watching TV the TV pushes the audio the other way down the same cable to the audio system. Even better, when you press standby on the TV it switches the audio system on or off with the TV too!

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Google slashes cloud storage to $0.026 per GB. Your move, Amazon

Tom Wood

Re: Not sure a small Wordpress blog

I'm now not sure whether you meant 500 MB of RAM or storage. I has assumed RAM - in which case that's not too bad (though overkill for a small blog) but if storage then you can definitely get a VPS cheaper, and probably easier to set up.

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Tom Wood

Not sure a small Wordpress blog

is really the target market for this service...

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It's not you, it's EE: UK mobile network goes titsup, blames gremlins

Tom Wood

Back here

I rebooted my phone and it came back to life; writing this over 4G.

It's 7:15am so your 7:45am update apparently hasn't been written yet though...

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Morrisons supermarket hit by MASSIVE staff payroll data robbery

Tom Wood

Re: A little thing that bugs me...

Retail Enablement Consultants.

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Tom Wood

Re: Data Security??

Nowhere in the article did it mention hackers. Articles from other sources suggest Morrisons believe it was not the work of outside hackers - so presumably an inside job.

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Target IGNORED hacker alarms as crooks took 40m credit cards – claim

Tom Wood

Re: Minor correction

Target isn't really a supermarket in any dialect, but it's also not really a department store, at least in British English. Department stores like John Lewis and Debenhams are relatively classy places. Target is a big shopping shed with a product range something like a combination of Tesco, Currys, Argos and Primark.

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Amazon wants me to WEAR NAPPIES?! But I'm a 40-something MAN

Tom Wood

Re: Are you sure it's the wrong conclusion ?

Indeed.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/

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Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Tom Wood

Re: OTT?

"Over-the-top content (OTT) refers to delivery of video, audio and other media over the Internet without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content."

OTT refers to something like Netflix or Youtube (which is video sold and distributed over the top of your broadband network, not via the phone companies or cable companies themselves), as opposed for instance to Virgin Media or BT Vision's own video on demand services.

It's not much of a stretch to extend this to messaging services. SMS messaging is a service provided by your mobile phone company. WhatsApp or Facebook messenger is provided "over the top" of the services provided by your mobile phone company (i.e, data connectivity).

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Tom Wood

Yes, the HSCIC is at pains to point out that they won't make any profit selling our data.

Which seems to be missing a trick. If you are going to collect our data and pimp it out to private companies, at least sell it at market rate and put the profit back towards the health services you stole the data from.

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Top Brit docs wade into GP data grab row, demand 'urgent' NHS England talks

Tom Wood

Re: NHS blocking the NHS

The care-data.info website is an unofficial website and is nothing to do with the NHS. It was written by a GP in Hampshire. The opt-out form he provides is an example only. You can opt opt by writing to your GP.

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Life support's ABOUT to be switched off, but XP's suddenly COOL again

Tom Wood

Will Ford replace my other half's 1999 Fiesta with a 2012 model?

Thought not.

12
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Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

Tom Wood
Black Helicopters

Re: Another possibility

Could be the NSA... ;-)

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Tom Wood

Obligatory reference

http://xkcd.com/927/

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Tom Wood

Re: why distruction

Or just take the drone hostage. Wait for it to land to drop off your Three Wolf Moon t-shirt or whatever, then throw a big tarp over it.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Tom Wood

Re: Do you need a degree to...

The CompSci graduate specifies what is to be programmed, how he intends to test the programs, and then makes sure the results are delivered on-time/within-budget/to-quality.

The actual programming gets done by the equivalent of a team of brickies with appropriate NVQs.

Not in the real world. Code written by "brickies" is invariably crap and requires real engineers with CS degrees to unpick and debug. Better for it to be written by someone who knows what they are doing in the first place.

If there is such a thing as "grunt work" programming, you're doing it wrong - as Turing himself realized:

Instruction tables will have to be made up by mathematicians with computing experience and perhaps a certain puzzle-solving ability. There need be no real danger of it ever becoming a drudge, for any processes that are quite mechanical may be turned over to the machine itself.

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Tom Wood

Re: There's your problem right there.

And being able to sit on a conference call with your customers and explain clearly why you're designing the code the way you are, or why it will take X days to add a new feature, or why test Y failed and what you are going to do about it, etc.

IMHO, recruiting people that know their stuff technically AND can communicate it clearly with other human beings is quite difficult.

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Tom Wood

Re: Massive Graduate Unemployement

No - as has been discussed in El Reg and elsewhere, UK industry struggles to recruit suitably qualified computer scientists and software engineers.

Part of the problem is an unwillingness of businesses to recruit all these graduates. Maybe the businesses need to be willing to put more effort into training these graduates themselves in the more practical aspecs of the job. Or maybe the graduates are crap - either because they are the wrong sort of person for the job or because they were badly taught by their uni.

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SourceForge responds to GIMP grump with crowdsourcing caper

Tom Wood
Linux

Installers, schmallers

yum or apt-get FTW

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Look! GNOME 3.10 (with Fedora 20). Did we mention GNOME 3.10?

Tom Wood

Nautilus less cluttered = less useful

At least the version of Nautilus in Fedora 18 removed a bunch of useful features and is a right pain to use. Luckily you can install Nemo to get the old Nautilus back.

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McDonalds ponders in-store 3D printing for Happy Meal toys

Tom Wood

Re: This'd spell and end to Happy Meal toys with moving parts, then?

You can 3D print objects with working moving parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BDv_-bs-uY

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Big Beardie's watching: Alan Sugar robots spy on Tesco petrol queue

Tom Wood

Re: This of course complies with all the necessary consents and legislation:

Well they and everyone else already record you by CCTV "for the purposes of crime prevention and public safety". Unlike CCTV, these screens won't actually record your image, just use it to determine whether you are a {young/middle-aged/old}{man/woman}. Whether you are a "young man" or an "old woman" is hardly personal data...

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Funds flung at 9-inch fan-built Raspberry Pi monitor

Tom Wood

If they make it in a proper case....

we'd consider buying quite a few. We develop set top box software for multi-room TV systems so each engineer here either has several monitors cluttering his desk (take up lots of space and fairly expensive) or a cheap-and-crappy analogue quad video multiplexer (designed to monitor 4 CCTV cameras and terrible quality).

A low-cost, 9" HDMI display would be ideal, we could each have 4 of these on our desk :-)

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Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE

Tom Wood

Re: Consider yourself lucky

How did you get the mortgage to buy that much ink?!

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You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

Tom Wood

Re: Social work

Computer science != IT

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Tom Wood

Re: Car analogy

Yes, exactly.

If you're into software tinkering only, then the RPi is great - get it configured, back up the SD card, and you can trash it and rebuild with virtually no effort. It's a good way to learn about Linux system administration. You could even have different SD cards for different purposes and swap them around very easily which I imagine is invaluable in a school environment (every kid can have a SD card, they Pis themselves can be kept in the classroom).

(Admittedly, you could do some of this with virtual machines on real PCs, but I it's much easier to wrap your head around the concepts if you can see the hardware in front of you).

If you want to tinker with the hardware, there's a bigger risk that you'll fry the board, but if you can get a new one for less than £30 it's definitely in the "affordable toy" category rather than the risk of breaking the family PC. (Not that you have convenient I/O pins or whatever on the family PC anyway.)

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The importance of complexity

Tom Wood

Re: How many professional programmers have a CS degree anyway?

" How many professional programmers have a CS degree anyway?

And does it make any difference at all to the end result?"

I've worked with and interviewed a number of people who work as software engineers. Some of them have CS degrees, many of them don't.

There is definitely a correlation between having a CS degree and being a good software engineer. Those that come from other disciplines can make decent software engineers too, but fewer of them seem to. Which is perhaps not that surprising.

"Surely anyone calling themselves a programmer should be able to recognise their limitations and will be able to find and then leverage other people's work."

There's a difference between "should be able to" and "can"...

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ITU to Europe: One charger for all mobes good. One to rule them ALL? Better

Tom Wood

Re: USB: This side up

There doesn't seem to be any standard way round for inserting the "micro" end of the USB cable into a phone or whatever.

At least, my HTC requires it the opposite way up from the missus' Samsung.

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Tom Wood

Re: Good idea

http://www.ukelectricalsupplies.com/double-socket-with-2-usb-outlets-2-gang-13a-white.htm?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shop&utm_campaign=feed&gclid=CLz-_MupoLoCFSLHtAodaR0AHw

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Send dosh (insecurely) via email, Jack Dorsey's Square tells punters

Tom Wood

@Colin Miller

Mr Clarkson discovered that some miscreant can set up a direct debit to a charity for a laugh (or to prove a point), but it was really a party trick on behalf of the prankster and nothing more.

The actual opportunities for actual fraud are fairly low. Any old Joe Bloggs can't set himself up to collect direct debits. Maybe he could set up one from your account to pay his gas bill or something - but that would be traceable to the beneficiary's gas account and would presumably result in fraud charges.

People used to give away their sort code and account number on every cheque they wrote - which could have been read by anyone involved in processing bill payments, balancing supermarket tills, or whatever. But still, direct debit fraud isn't incredibly common.

Certainly, I'd rather give someone my bank details than set up a system where I can be billed just because Square got cc'd on an email purporting to come from me.

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Tom Wood

Completely unnecessary in the UK.

Because we have Faster Payments where you can send and receive money between proper bank accounts at no cost and it only takes a minute or two for the transaction to go through. I've used Faster Payments to transfer money for bills to housemates, receive birthday presents from my parents, and pay bills for tradespeople.

Why would we need Square when our proper banking system has a decent system of money transfers?

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One of last few iPhone 5Ss STOLEN from within MASSIVE POLICE CORDON at Apple Store

Tom Wood

Re: lovely...

It's common for police to be drafted in to cover openings of Ikea stores and suchlike, so I expect iPhone launches are no different. The company concerned does normally pay for the privilege, I believe.

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Google fluffs DEATH DEFEATING startup Calico

Tom Wood

Don't we live too long already?

Sure, improve the quality of people's lives while they are here, but then have the decency to hop off the mortal coil and let someone else have a go.

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Dyson takes Samsung to court in UK over vacuum cleaner

Tom Wood

Re: One snake oil trader

Upvote for Henry. A classic of British design - does exactly what you need, no fancy features, built to last, made in Britain. And also has a name and a face!

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For PITY'S SAKE, DON'T BUY an iPHONE 5S, begs FSF

Tom Wood

Re: Blah blah blah -@AC 14:24

Since we have no access to the source code, we have no evidence to prove that what they claim is true. Or that their "security API" doesn't also include an undocumented "Hi, NSA, look at all this data" feature.

etc.

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Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Tom Wood

Re: Reverse psychology

Mmm...

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2013/9/5/1378396354932/NSA-Bullrun-2-001.jpg

"It's groundbreaking and really good but don't ask or even think about how it works".

Sounds a bit like TV detector vans and dowsing rods that detect explosives, no?

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Tom Wood

Because if Alice is talking to Bob through Facebook messages (for instance), or other messages that are carried over HTTP via an intermediary, if the payload of the HTTPS traffic is encrypted, all someone with access to the wire knows is that Alice and Bob are both talking to Facebook servers. As are millions of other people.

So to know that Alice is talking to Bob requires getting some access to whatever is in the encrypted payload. Which is easier to do by attacking the endpoints rather than trying to decrypt data captured from the wire.

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MPs blocked from ogling 'web smut' 300,000 times – WHILE IN PARLIAMENT

Tom Wood

"Tory MP Claire Perry... is advising the Prime Minister on porn"

Oh aye...

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10,000 app devs SLEEP together in four-day code-chat-drink tech orgy camp

Tom Wood

Re: O2 advertising

I can, but why should I have to?

Normally these days (since pop-up blockers built in to browsers anyway) adverts are easy enough to ignore. And without them the Reg wouldn't exist, so I'm normally happy to have them there.

But not when they make actually reading the website an unpleasant experience.

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Tom Wood

O2 advertising

Speaking of which, what's with all this O2 crap on El Reg - or more specifically why is it causing Firefox to run like a sloth? Almost as bad as the Independent website.

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Tom Wood

Re: tent spacing

You've obviously never been to a proper festival.

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Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

Tom Wood

Pot, meet kettle

et cetera

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Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

Tom Wood

Our oven clock is a PITA to set, but for some reason the oven won't work at all (i.e. won't get hot) unless the clock is set.

So the procedure after a power loss is to mash all the buttons for long enough until it shows some sort of time (what exactly doesn't matter, we don't ever look at the clock) and then the thing will actually start cooking food.

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Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

Tom Wood

Re: cold-calls..

You don't need a voice service on the phone line, but you still need to rent a landline (physical wires) for the broadband. Since providing and maintaining the copper wires does cost money, it seems reasonable for them to charge you line rental one way or another.

Once the wires are in place, the voice service can be provided at virtually zero marginal cost.

So, while they could roll the line rental cost into the monthly broadband subscription, and not provide a voice service, it would probably be no cheaper overall than the current deal.

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Tom Wood

Re: Really

We only seem to get cold calls to the home landline during working hours so normally we are both at work and miss them, but if you have the occasional day off or working from home day one or two PPI and "survey" calls a day is not uncommon.

I have never given the home landline number to anyone other than the parents and my grandfather, and the cold calls started very soon after the landline was connected. Which suggests the calls come either as a result of random dialling or because whoever had the number before it was allocated to us (telcos do "recycle" numbers) got signed up to lots of junk lists.

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UK gov dials 999 over Serco prison escort fraud claims

Tom Wood
Facepalm

Re: Why are they being given chances?

Yeah but who else is going to do it? G4S?

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Need the loo AND need to build a website? There's an app for that

Tom Wood

While we're grumbling....

What's with the adverts that say "search online for xyz"

1. surely they're asking for a googlebombing

and

2. isn't that what URLs were invented for?

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