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* Posts by Nick

40 posts • joined 25 Apr 2007

iPhone apps - the 10 smartest and the 10 stupidest

Nick

AppJail

We need a moron app like the Wooooo application which has the irritating smug oxygen thief who says "there's an app for that" on the Apple AppJail adverts. He really grinds my gears.

Partly cos he never adds "it'll cos you a fortune and eat any data plan you've mortgaged your kidneys for". Nor "why not jot your notes down on a bit of paper, or look up your destination on a real map".

I've got one called "they saw me coming". Its just $6.99 and its exclusive to the iPhone.

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DSGi plans £310m rights issue

Nick
Happy

Do the shares come with....

...a 3 year extended warrantee ?

(sorry, I'm sure I'm not the first or last)

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Who snapped first?

Nick

Blunkett blathering as well

Ex-home secretary Blunkett was on Radio 4 yesterday positioning the Secret document snapping as a sign that perhaps we need to control photographers and decide what they are allowed to film. Er, no, dummy, as any fule kno its the responsibility of the data owner/handler to protect the data, not everyone else. His comments came across to me as a very cynical land grab of our freedoms - yet again - all in the name of national security.

Well I can see his point, its probably best not to allow people to take photos of the Police whilst they are protecting our democratic rights and looking after us. Otherwise they won't be able to beat innocent citizens to the ground with their truncheons and get away with it.

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City IT workers brace for anarchist attack

Nick
Boffin

Fear them - fear the terrists

Hey all you hard working good people ! Be careful ! Because there are many bad people, terrorists, who will protest. If they are protesting, you should fear them, because they are terrorists. All protesters are terrorists.

This is why we oh-so-discreetly told every employer in London to tell their staff just what a threat they are under. The jobless terrorist protesters are threatening you on the street, so you must be careful, and keep coming to work and paying your taxes and not protesting because you are not like them. You are not a terrorist. Are you?

This is why we have to photograph them, video them, search their pockets, question them, arrest them, keep them at bay with riot shields and batons, blind them with tear gas (so they can't take aim at you), detain them without charge for 28 days. And take them away to a far away land so you are all safe in London. And we'll ask them questions, encourage them to talk through any means possible because they know, they have a plan, and we just need to get them to tell us. To keep you all safe.

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Will Big Blue mainframes run Windows?

Nick

Pain point

But if you could successfully virtualise a lot of small Windows machines, this would be attractive to mainframe shops which have to tolerate the proliferation of pizza boxes ticking over at 5%. If you are not already using an x86 VM product, then rather than pick and adopt one, you may as well use the mainframe. Given the very low CPU usage of a lot of x86 boxes, you can likely cram quite a few onto tin which is quite happy running at nearer 100%.

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Pratt changes name to Bruce Willis

Nick
Jobs Horns

Better than the old badge

Walking around with the label "Pratt" on all day probably isn't good for employee morale.

You can certainly see the resemblance though, so perhaps his managers were worried about being sued for 'passing off' as the real thing.

Any way, what with being dead at the start of Sixth Sense and all....

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Phorm CEO clashes with Berners-Lee at Parliament

Nick

A living model of the system....

So this bloke from Phorm decided to keep butting in even though he wasn't asked to participate in the transaction between the provider (on the stage) and the intended recipients ?

T B-L is excellent at explaining things in a clear and passionate (but not insane) manner to an intelligent audience who wants to understand and discuss. This is where the blustering moneygrabbers get put in their place without being able to shout down the clear argument. More of this please, perhaps in the broadcast media too.

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Forced retirement due to age can be justified, rules ECJ

Nick
Dead Vulture

@dave and others

I'm only slightly older than you and was at the tail end of people escaping with <5grand of debt from Uni (after 6 years), and under the previous Student Loans repayment approach (i.e. not garnishing of my wages). I had to rent, live frugally and pay my debts off. Pretty much missed the boat on buying a house for an affordable amount (for an OK-paid IT permie). But even so, I look forward to 30 years preparing for being old.

More generally, my response to the silver surfers complaining at the moment is:- Life's a gamble, as is the economy, and we're all in the same casino. If you're losing right now, you have my sympathy. But I'm sure you enjoyed good times over the years, and I'm just hoping you managed to save something over the years to live through some rough times as well, rather than just thinking you'd get to 65 years old and things would never change or take a turn for the worse.

Oh and to the people who lived well, saved a bit, and did very well pricing me out of the housing market - if you are short of cash it might be time to cash out of that 4 bed house in the suburbs which is worth 400-500K and downsize a bit. You can't complain you are poor if you own that kind of asset.

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Nick
Go

Shuffle on...

Nothing wrong with compulsory retirement at 63. Nobody should be forced to employ people they don't want. And if you've had the best part of 50 years to work and save for a pension, I'd say its time to move over and let the next generation have a turn.

As for your savings, why worry, you might get hit by a bus tomorrow, or run over by an electric mobility buggy.

btw...."keabored" ? Best spelling of keyboard from someone probably from the IT industry.

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Microsoft Songsmith ad trumps Seinfeld shocker

Nick
Flame

All it needs is...

more cowbell.

"Roxanne" though ? Absolutely fantastic. I shall certainly be having it at my next beach bbq.

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IWF confirms Wayback Machine porn blacklisting

Nick
Coat

He who controls the past....

This is like burning the history books, I find it particularly sinister.

Since the internet constantly passes into the past, and into the archive (well, for I know), you may as well go the whole hog and ban the whole internet right now cos it might have something bad out there.

And we must think of the children. You disagree? You pedalo !

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Tesla takes Top Gear test to task

Nick
Thumb Down

Moronic show

Top Gear is a childish shadow of its former self, everything they do is around entertainment, its barely factual at all. Very few production cars are reviewed and compared which cost less than £30k. If I could bring myself to use the phrase, I'd say it has jumped the shark a long time ago.

Its as if they had Jonathon Ross presenting Tomorrow's World.

Give me Fifth Gear these days, or that second hand car show on ITV4 with the fat bloke and the blonde one.

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Top UK cybercop dreams of PC breathalysers

Nick
Thumb Down

Riiiiight

Cos the victim of crime would not have any objection to having an image of the machine and all its data transmitted over PlodNet to be stored on a machine secured by the lowest bidder that money can buy.

Just another privacy/secrecy grab by Wacky Jacqui's Krazy Krew.

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What the heck is an IT Architect anyway?

Nick
Linux

Depends....

There is a role for an overseeing "technical concience" which checks things are going in the right direction, and agreeing a roadmap for systems which will meet the business' eventual needs.

The problems occur when "doing the right thing" starts to block the business from making money, or the enterprise architects freeze projects whilst they ponder the response to a minor point of order.

And another pet hate are people who try to separate themselves away from detailed design, build, implementation, and support and maintenance. If their vision, architecture, or advice doesn't work or or flow end-to-end, its up to them to stay in the game and help resolve it. Walking away saying "its an implementation detail" is really weak and annoying.

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Scots vote out ID cards

Nick
Black Helicopters

Operational veto

If will be an effective veto if no government body in Scotland takes part and requires them, or even refuses them as sole evidence of identity. Also the enforcement aspects of chasing people down, checking them etc can simply be underfunded to the point of being irrelevant.

But remember folks, its not the card, its the database and legislation to force us to use it. Anyone who will let you off having a card but not the registration into a massive single authentication database is still a big brother proxy.

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Royal Society of Chemistry defines perfect Yorkshire pud

Nick
Coat

Surely not....

A Yorkshire man insisting he knows better and insisting he has the last word?

Surely not.

/mine's the one with the Hale and Pace Yorkshire Airways sketch in the pocket

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UK's 'secure' child protection database will be open to one million

Nick
Unhappy

"Secured" by Government Gateway

Access is controlled via Government Gateway. Yes, the one which was partially compromised by the loss of a USB stick a couple of weeks ago.

Hopefully nobody created a bunch of logins and enrolled them into Contactpoint to give them full access to this information whilst bypassing the checks which would normally be part of enrollment.

/ *crosses fingers and hopes*

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Banks to share data on promiscuity

Nick
Pirate

For support and advice!

"customers who may be at risk from becoming over indebted, and who are in need of support and advice"

Ah, how kind of them.

Its purely for the banks' benefit. They don't mind being the ones who effectively own the debtor, dangling them on the minimum monthly payment string and building up a lifetime of dependency, but are a bit afraid that there are a load of other vampires who also have a claim to the remaining chattles of the debtor when they end up in court.

Helping those in trouble, or deterring people who can't actually afford any more credit is the very last thing on their minds.

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Government Gateway login details found in pub car park

Nick

Truecryptards

Truecrypt is great and I've used it to protect information when I haven't been offered something else - just to avoid being "that employee" if my laptop was nicked. But it is not accreditted by CESG for protecting UK government data at either baseline or enhanced level, so saying that such-and-such a civil servant or this-and-that private contractor should just download the panacea to all their problems is not correct.

Its pretty crap because anybody voluntarily using Truecrypt should be applauded not discouraged. The real issue is that UK Gov aren't on top of it and basically just recommend 3rd party products.

@AC with tax helpdesk - i thought you should be able to do a reset using your known facts, and I'm fairly sure that KFs aren't supposed to be used as passwords.

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Nick
Stop

Single Sign On

@Steve - the entire concept of the GG is single online identity, single sign on. With that identity, you enroll into various government services to use them. Departments then use GG as a centralised authentication and authorisation facility.

Whilst renewing a drivers licence, or submitting a tax returns may not be particularly exciting, there are more sensitive services, such as ContactPoint. The idea of a user being enrolled into that service via the backdoor thus avoiding the various checks is quite concerning given the vast amount of personal data about children that the government are storing there.

Where the identity gives you access to a service, that is one thing. When the identity gives you access to large tracts of data, this is something else.

National Identity Database anyone?

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Speaking clock gets Disneyfied

Nick
Linux

At least its not Mickey

or that bloody Donald Duck.

Who calls that number any way these days?

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Big Blue bucks the downturn

Nick
Linux

Dividends

@AC - the dividends aren't there to "get your investment back". You would sell your investment to get it back. What you are getting is a return on your investment. $8/year for $90 is 9% - not that bad.

Mind you, buying shares to earn dividends is fairly pedestrian, the usual ploy is to borrow them just 10% margin and sell them back a week later when they have gone up a bit.

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Dixons Group still suffering

Nick
Jobs Halo

No ! Please don't shut down

If they shut down, where will I go to browse products before I buy them cheaply online? Mainly talking about seeing the look and feel of the object in the flesh.

As for their broken business model, I bet they wish they'd bought it with the 3 year warrantee now. I doubt this one is going to last much longer.

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Did we say you can read that?

Nick
Black Helicopters

Mind bleach

I had the misfortune to do a chemistry degree, read Horowitz and Hill, and watch that 3 part Channel 4 documentary on the history of car bombing (which had some close ups of devices and discussions of tactics).

Someone pass me the mind bleach before I'm arrested.

Mine's the one with the lobotomy drill in the pocket.

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XIV lands quietly on planet IBM

Nick
Happy

@pete

Yeah, but you still do need the disk, however many wonderful staff you have.

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Blighty's nuke-power push stalled as EDF buy falls through

Nick
Flame

Selling and running them

Areva and EDF are in the running to build some of their own anyway. These are almost certainly going to be built on the same site as existing ones. If they were going to get approval to do so, owning the site already would reduce costs quite a bit, including through-life ones. No need to pay British Energy all sorts of cash if you want to build and run one next door to them.

Perhaps hanging fire until EDF get their designs approved and want to build some - then your portfolio of sites and stations goes up in value....

<< fire, cos, you know its all terribly dangerous.

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ICO slaps TfL over Oyster data hoard

Nick
Thumb Down

Laughable idea

Hmm how hard will it be for Ratboy or other feral children to get a photocard? Pull a knife on some school kid and take theirs instead. Immediately the excuse for forcing ID cards on the public (to protect you from antisocial behaviour) is invalid since the antisocical won't apply for or keep their own cards.

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HP retains server revs and shipments crown

Nick
Heart

Fully laden?

Shouldn't these figures be quoted in MIPS or teraflops or summat ?

Quoting literal numbers of boxes is meaningless, you might as well weigh them and decide who got the highest metric tonnage out of Chinese factories and into the data centre loading bay.

Mine's the one with the "I heart Mainframes" on it.

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Siemens kicked off UK government contract

Nick
Paris Hilton

Cowboy customers

@Bernard - agree very strongly with this, its been seen time and again.

The government agencies I have worked with are somewhat overstaffed and have managed to hide true IT costs within other people's salaries. So moving a PC from one desk to another costs "nothing" to them.

The lack of understanding about requirements baselines, testing strategy, quality planning, NFRs, and through-life cost gives the expected results. Lots of spreadsheets and Access "applications" which hang together by a thread, are unmaintainable and unreliable. Time-bombs waiting to go off when the next bit of major legislation appears or when Bob (who originally developed it) disappears leaving no documentation (or no source code...if he was sacked).

Generally, public sector clients can't make decisions, but can always provide 20 people at meetings where at least 15 of them don't say a word. They won't challenge/discuss anything with their superiors during project workshops - there is a weird deference for seniority even when they are wrong - very little exchange of ideas.

Paris: because only she can cheer me up about this.

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Security boffins unveil BitUnlocker

Nick
Boffin

Silly escalation

I think as soon as you get into cooling the laptop itself, it becomes much more complex to do discretely, and to hide the evidence afterwards. The more worrying attack is the 'room temperature' one, where by you could power cycle the machine and dump the memory to the USB drive (as they did), and then leave the scene quickly. The user would just come back and mutter "stupid Windows" at the machine that crashed whilst they were at the coffee machine.

This shows why computer security isn't just about key length and encryption algorithm, and I would hope/assume that CESG haven't become too complacent in this regard.

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Academics propose carbon-capture kit for cars

Nick
Boffin

Low attention span

@all....Yep, I missed the non-combustion part out, but I think contamination problems would still exist for natural (lets call them "organic" for the green lobby) fuels, since they are an impure mixture of hydrocarbons and many additives to help improve engine performance and pass environmental emissions standards. So todays supermarket petrol or diesel might well poison the reactor quite quickly. Would be OK if it was a pure synthetic fuel though,

Meh....its 10 years since I left my postdoc job in Chemistry and ran away to the IT circus.

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Nick
Boffin

Not just carbon dioxide

To only capture pure CO2, you'd have to work rather hard to remove the other exhaust components like unburnt fuel, NOx, CO, water, and the trace nasties in the fuel and the fuel additives.

If you just capture everything, you will be left with a chemical waste tank rather than a harmless SodaStream bulb. And even if you're allowed to carry those around, anyone trying to reprocess it into a fuel will have to deal with the separation and the waste.

If you try to remove them, its going to get complex and unreliable, not to mention expensive.

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GCap reaches for DAB off switch

Nick
Heart

RIP Planet Rock

Me and my 19 month-old daughter will miss Planet Rock a lot. Its about the only station which plays rock album tracks, and made any attempt to fill the gap left by Tommy Vance. And what choices have I got on the south coast ? Just a line up of tedious commercial channels spouting the "best of the 80s,90s and today". Yeah yeah, that's probably why you play so many adverts (hows about 12 minutes/hour?).

And for about 12 months, it was the station that was used to rock my crying daughter to sleep.

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HMRC still waiting for EDS cash

Nick
Boffin

Ha ha

The '5% discount of your next order' offer is very first offer made in response to complaints. It usually shakes off the complete idiots, but not the partial ones or those with any modicum of commercial nouse or awareness of contractual law.

Ah I see now.

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Local copper: Met secret police requested MP bugging

Nick
Dead Vulture

Outdated doctrine

If its not amusing, its frankly nauseating the way our politicians have come out in shock and disgust over the last few days. As if they idea that they are bugged by the security services is appalling, beyond the pale.

And yet, the rest of us are subject to more surveillance than any other first world nation, with the least amount of oversight and accountability to the general public.

What is so special about politicians that they could not ever be dangerous subversives or common criminals ? They are no different from the rest of the populace in this respect, and there is no reason to exclude them from panopticon prison the rest of us have been put into.

Yes there ought to be consideration of "due cause", but only to the level which the rest of us are granted (i.e. not very much).

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Transport Dept. IT: 23 years late, £100m over-budget

Nick
Thumb Down

23 years "taken together" ?

That's an entirely meaningless number - 23 years taken together. If you had 600 projects and they were all 2 weeks late, its a rather different impact to having 1 project 23 years late.

The Lib Dems are attacking other parties more and more with the confidence of knowing they'll never be asked to deliver a government themselves.

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Technical problems mar Barclays' PINSentry roll-out

Nick
Coat

barclays bankers

>> Logistic and technical issues have hampered the rollout of a system designed to >> thwart phishing scams by UK bank Barclays.

WTF ? Barclays are up to this phishing lark as well ? Well at least someone is trying to thwart them. My friend in Nigeria said he would help protect my bank account details as well, if I told him what they were.

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Finger-chopping jihadis derail MPs scanner system, claims MoS

Nick
Boffin

Warm bodies

I thought decent finger scanners also made sure it was warm and pulsating. So the old 'cut it off and carry it around on ice for a bit' trick we all used to use doesn't work. Mind you, we are talking about MPs; I suspect some of them are hiding their identities as part of the zombie hoard. And then there are the 12-foot lizards.

As far as I am concerned, the more efficient way is still the gummy bear technique.

Stuffing one location with security is just a sure-fire way of making the terrorists attack you somewhere else where the security isn't so strong. But the symbolism of parliament is so much more valuable than knocking off a few ten-a-penny politicos.

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Sir Alan Sugar unveils East End supercomputer

Nick

Scathing about science

Wasn't it Surallan that said the other week to a contestant on his game show that "This isn't about your scientific protons and neutrons, this is the real world love" to that quantum physicist.

If I remember correctly, she couldn't sell sweets to kids on a day out to the zoo, so may be she would be better with computers. But Alan's respect for science has already been revealed.

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IBM prepared to break knuckles of low-income students

Nick

Was this a renegade order ?

Other news reports suggest that the order was placed unilaterally by someone who was not in the position to make such a significant IT spending decision involving 'hundreds of computers'.

But on top of this, the school district was already heading to financial trouble. If the person making the order knew they couldn't pay, that's wrong for another reason entirely - not just poor judgement.

As another poster said, $5m will buy much less than it did 18 years ago. The question is 'could the school board or their funding bodies reasonably met the cost of paying this debt over the many years owed, or at least planned to pay it off now ?'

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