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* Posts by Robert Long 1

1069 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

Samsung DENIES benchmark CHEATING, despite evidence

Robert Long 1
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"What's this bear crap doing in my woods?" asked Christopher Robin

They all cheat, all the time. That's why I ignore benchmarks unless I've done them or someone I really trust has done them, and that's never the maker.

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The life of Pi: Intel to give away Arduino-friendly 'Galileo' tiny-puter

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Re: Two stools

"Welcome back to 1980. 6809 (or 6502 for dweebs) assembler."

Or, indeed, Z80.

Where's Rodney Zaks when you need him?

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US spy court says internet firms can't report surveillance requests

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So what?

"Secret spy court says..."

The secret spy court has no authority to say anything under the US constitution; indeed the constitution is there specifically to prevent secret spy courts having this power. The media should be laughing at these wannabe Nazi control freaks, not blandly reporting their ravings as if they were serious.

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Ubuntu 13.10: Meet the Linux distro with a bizarre Britney Spears fixation

Robert Long 1
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@David Cantrell

What about Windowmaker? It's back in production and even if it wasn't the version released about 6 years ago is still the best "desktop" I've ever used.

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Microsoft follows Amazon in gaining critical US gov certification

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Re: Give me a break

"Alright tough guy, which microsoft product is actually ready?"

They generally make decent mice.

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Robert Long 1
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Give me a break

The idea that the worlds least reliable software company with an almost unbroken track record of duff unfinished products released to market years before they're ready being certified for anything other than being carted away makes a mockery of the organization certifying them (yes, ISO, that means you too).

This is why we have people following Apple's maps onto runways - in the real world lousy, dangerous, and plain old inoperative products get their manufacturers into trouble and/or bankrupt. People - normal people, not IT people - have grown up with an expectation that someone somewhere is enforcing regulations on the sale of goods. So when they buy software it never crosses their minds that it might very well be expensive unreliable garbage that doesn't actually work! And then we - the IT people - take the piss out of them for being so foolish as to hold us to the same standard that the makers of tin cans and ball-point pens have been held to for a century.

And now the US government is handing out Mickey Mouse certificates that we all know are totally meaningless. That's not helping.

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Google: Thanks for the billions in revenue, UK. Here are your taxes, that's ... £11m

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Re: Blatant law abidance by international corporation shocker

"Yet again, we have a big international corporation steadfastly following the letter of the law."

Not so. In fact what they are doing is illegal, and not just in a vague "oh, well, I suppose you could look at it that way" sort of way. There are specific laws against using fake transactions to move revenue out of the tax regime of the UK, and they do get imposed from time to time, depending on whether the head of HMRC has been taken to the required number of lunches or not.

If you "minimise your taxes" by paying your wife for the use of your house and work from home, so that you have no official surplus, then you will be up before the beak toot-sweet. This is the basic idea behind Google and Amazon's scheme - payments which exist only for the purposes of making the payments, to companies whose sole reason for existence is to accept those payments which the paying company in reality get's the full value of since, duh, it's the same company.

All totally illegal, and clearly so.

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Apple iOS 7 makes some users literally SICK. As in puking, not upset

Robert Long 1
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Re: A split personality release

"Neither is not looking where you're going. That's probably a bigger threat to your health."

Well, if you want to police a new law that bans people from reading things while walking, go ahead and good luck.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: A split personality release

"Apple won't make those mistakes if Steve Jobs is still kicking "

Only if it affected Steve. If it didn't then the critics would be scorned as heretics.

Putting parallax effects on something people use while walking is really not a good idea.

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Revolting peasants force Wikipedia to cut'n'paste Visual Editor into the bin

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YAML

"Operating the editing system today requires a knowledge of arcane markup..."

Not just arcane but pointless. HTML and a simple filter would have done just fine. Why people still want to use this crap and Markdown, BBCode and the rest is a mystery to me when HTML has been going for decades now and can be learnt in a few minutes (assuming you just want to use lists, bold, italics, headings and paragraphs with a few links and images here and there).

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Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Robert Long 1
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Bill Gates Knows Nothing About Computers (and lots about business)

Gates: "So we could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button,"

"IBM engineer David Bradley designed the ctrl-alt-del shortcut, although the third key was originally intended to be esc rather than del. He used the three-key combination so the command could not be executed by accident."

There you have the design skills of Bill Gates in a nutshell. Can you imagine the havok caused if resetting the computer had been a single button press? What an idiot.

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Look out, world! HP's found a use for Autonomy - rescuing Win XP bods

Robert Long 1
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Amazing

HP is still doing something other than printers? Who knew!

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Elop's enlarged package claim was a cock-up, admits Nokia chairman

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Hard to believe

this wasn't Elop's plan from day one.

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Samsung's new image sensor promises better snaps in smaller devices

Robert Long 1
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SIII Mini

Nice phone, but the camera is almost worthless. Even showing the photos on a monitor reveals them to be made up entirely of coloured smudges. I'm with Trev on this: give me a thicker phone with a larger sensor and a half-decent decent lens (but, ah, don't worry so much about a Windows OS, thanks).

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

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Re: Not going to happen

"But then, after the think it over REALLY really well they realize, especially for some things, "Well...maybe not ALL of them." I mean, having ten million T-shirts is one thing...until you notice the size of your closet."

Well, you don't have them all at the same time. But where we have wealth we invariably find waste, such as t-shirts and shoes and so on that are bought and worn once and then discarded. Many very rich people have closets of clothes they have not worn and which will be discarded because they are no longer fashionable.

The real whole in this utopia is that the robots are generating the wealth, but they are not in charge of distribution. That's handled by exactly the sort of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Tony Blairs for whom there is no limit. They do not want to share and if they're in charge it will be a case of "10 for me, one for them. Actually, make that 11 for me".

"Part of our life experience is learning them."

The rich and powerful of this world are almost exclusively drawn from the sort of psychopaths that do not learn but instead spend their lives in an infantile state demanding to be looked after. Jobs was exactly this personality type and it worked for Apple because the boss was a giant child demanding (NOT designing) new toys, and it happened that those toys were popular with other people. But would you want someone like that deciding how your housing allowance was going to be calculated?

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Not going to happen

"But food, clothing, housing, electronic tat, all the non-positional goods, the desire for these can indeed be satiated."

No they can't. That's just wrong and the evidence is all around us. Most people when asked "how much do you want" really, deep down, think "all of it". What it is hardly matters at all.

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Robert Long 1
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Not going to happen

"As the world gets richer then we'll increase our production of goods and services and we'll be able to assuage the desire for them."

That assumes that desire for more is finite. For a great many people is isn't. Having more simply raises the level of what they think of as poverty. To feel wealthy, they need to have more than their neighbours.

That's why anyone chases their second billion - there's no rational desire that the first one could not assuage - and its a basic biological drive from several billion years of Darwinian competition for resources.

Hence the Hitchhiker's Guide quote: " no one was really poor - at least no one worth speaking of." There will always be important people who will want to be rewarded for being important and those who are not worth speaking of will always aspire to becoming important so that they too can be rewarded. Even if those rewards are completely nonsensical they will be pursued as status symbols.

Short version: human nature will ensure that Utopia remains exactly where its name says it is.

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So, Linus Torvalds: Did US spooks demand a backdoor in Linux? 'Yes'

Robert Long 1
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Re: Other ways to get a back door

“You know what I found? Right in the kernel, in the heart of the operating system, I found a developer’s comment that said, ‘Does this belong here?’ “Lok says. “What kind of confidence does that inspire? Right then I knew it was time to switch....”

Specifically to switch to giving stupid interviews to Forbes to increase the visibility of his obscure company.

The kernel has many comments about whether code could be improved and this is probably one of them. Logically, Lok is saying that coders should write comments as if they were writing marketing copy.

Aside from anything else, if Lok was competent to be writing code he should have been able to answer the question himself.

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THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

Robert Long 1
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Re: Come on

"Has anyone asked the beavers for their opinion?"

Since they're dead, skinned, and dried out I suspect they're rather quiet on the hole, er... whole.

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Robert Long 1
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Clue's in the name, isn't it?

"castoreum" -> Castor -> Latin for beaver IIRC.

The back end of various animals - usually rodents - has been used as a base for expensive perfume for years. Why a woman would want to smell like the rear-end of a giant rat is beyond me.

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Apple named in criminal lawsuit over Premier League–streaming app

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Fine by me

I see no social advantage to protecting the playing of a game with the force of the law. Quite the opposite, in fact; there are far more important things for the courts to be dealing with - especially in Thailand - than protecting half-wits who can't find a proper job.

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Moving from permie to mercenary? Avoid a fine - listen to Ben Franklin

Robert Long 1
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One law for the rich

Around here where I work there are cleaners. Many of them have been here for years and years. Apparently, they work for Balfor Beatty and not us. That means we don't owe them any of the employee benefits or rights which employees, who may have worked here for a much shorter time, are entitled to by law.

But then, I work for a big organization and the cleaners are just a bunch of poor Mexicans that no one gives a damn about.

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Robert Long 1
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Re: What it actually is about Doctor Who

"in a universe ruled by magic, god-like beings and the power of love.

We can blame Russell T Davies for that bit, but at least with Moffat in charge there's some hope."

You didn't see "Angels take Manhattan", then? Worst...episode...ever. And that includes the Zarbi.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Big earner

"Look at Eastenders - why on earth is the BBC doing this?"

Because if they don't then the Murdoch press say that they're not giving people the lowbrow crap they want. If they do, of course, then they complain that they shouldn't be doing populist things and should only be doing high-brow stuff that is non-commercial. At which point, they ask why non-commercial stuff is being paid for by the tax-payer etc.

It's been like this for my whole life and it's never going to be anything more than right-wing Adam Smith-style whinging by self-interested nobodies.

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Dyson takes Samsung to court in UK over vacuum cleaner

Robert Long 1
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Re: Please, please

"Never by one of the bag less, they are just a marketing trick. Perfectly awful to clean. I have dumped two in two years. "

Why are you cleaning your vacuum cleaner? I've never heard of such a thing.

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Robert Long 1
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Re: He's right.

"While his technical opinion might be valid, his comment was tasteless and out of order, so wiping out any moral high-ground he might have been trying for."

Well, he wasn't trying for any moral high ground at all, so that's okay. I'm not sure why anyone would think that technical failures can be defended on moral grounds in the first place, though.

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Shop-a-suspect web security system: 'We've helped cops nab 100 suspects'

Robert Long 1
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So 100 people have been lifted based on fairly ropey info over the course of a year and we don't even know how many were convicted?

Waste of time/

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Robert Long 1
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Well, 400m "Chinese" people

I wonder how many of them even want to be Chinese.

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Robert Long 1
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而且中国大陆不使用繁体字。

True enough.

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Data broker Acxiom lifts skirt, reveals your private bits

Robert Long 1
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Re: The scary bit

"BTW, if a data collection company tells somebody that you were arrested when you never were; surely if that got back to you you could do them for libel?"

If they were an individual, sure. A company would just plead "good faith" and point a circle of fingers that go nowhere and the government would file it under "laws companies don't have to obey" along with all that tax stuff.

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Robert Long 1
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Par for course

Back in ye olde days of 1998 I was IT director of a company who had dealings with a major data broker who I can't name or the mods will refuse to print it. Anyway, the bottom line was that as far as credit ratings were concerned we would literally have been better off flipping a coin. This is just revealing to the wider public what insiders have known for decades.

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Canadian family gives up modern tech to live like it's 1986

Robert Long 1
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Re: iPhone and iPad?

"Who buys an iPhone and iPad for a two year old? I didn't even get Lego until I was six"

To be fair, a two-year-old is pretty unlikely to swallow an iPad.

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The Solar System's second-largest volcano found hiding on Earth

Robert Long 1
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"Did the author just get out of a Delorian? Since when has depth been measured in feet again?!"

Since we stopped using dumbed-down French units that are unsuited and awkward for everyday experience?

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Anatomy of a killer bug: How just 5 characters can murder iPhone, Mac apps

Robert Long 1
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Re: Signed lengths

"For example, (1u - 2) is not -1 as you might expect, but some huge number."

True, but that's a gap in the language and the coder should be aware of it.

"It's also useful to have -1 available to represent "no such number"; for example, the length of a file that doesn't exist."

The length of a file that does not exists should never be a concept you deal with. The program should have already done an exists(filename) call before even thinking about asking for the length of the file (not to mention stat or something). That sort of code is like something I would have written in BBC Basic 30 years ago. We should have moved on in our coding styles, even if still using languages like C which allow it.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: Compulsory casts.

"The compiler should really kick up a fuss for implicit casts from signed to unsigned. If there is an explicit cast then the programmer is due a spanking."

The compiler only knows what it's told. If data is coming in from outside then it is depending on the coder to correctly define what the format is.

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Robert Long 1
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Signed lengths

I would introduce hanging for people that use signed numbers for lengths of files and strings. If someone is this lazy then god knows what else is lurking in their code.

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Myst: 20 years of point-and-click adventuring

Robert Long 1
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Dullville

I don't get Myst at all - nothing happens, and it happens very slowly. I remember at the time thinking it was very much a backward step in gaming; it was basically a PowerPoint presentation.

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Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Robert Long 1
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It can be done

After all, Nokia itself is evidence that the obvious market leader can throw it all away by being complacent.

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'Kim Jong-un executes nork-baring ex and pals for love polygon skin flick'

Robert Long 1
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Re: Propaganda

"And yet no-one has so far suggested launching cruise missiles at Pyongyang.

Of course, that might trigger a nasty reaction from others, while bombing Syria is just a nice safe bit of willy-waving PR. Principles? Not even sure the current crop of Westminister muppets know what the word means."

So your solution to hypocrisy is to do nothing, ever? Big help.

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Robert Long 1
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Re: Drifting slightly OT ...

"Am I correct in thinking that once we have reached this level of detail, then there's no point in going any further ?"

No, because it is marketing bullshit. 300dpi for text is "draft mode" and the eye can easily see the difference between that and 1200dpi.

For colour images, 300dpi is about as good as you need because the colour information "takes up the slack" as it were; it's hard to see the difference between even 200dpi and 300dpi if the colour depth is good.

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Vodafone 'settled SECRET £57m Irish tax wrangle' back in 2009

Robert Long 1
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Re: "fully compliant with existing tax laws"

"Yeah, and the NSA says it is fully compliant with the law too.

Doesn't mean it's right."

Or true.

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Screw you, Brits, says Google: We are ABOVE UK privacy law

Robert Long 1
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Bah

"Google’s position on the law is the same as its position on tax: they will only play or pay on their home turf. "

And that they have no home turf, of course.

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OWN GOAL! 100s of websites blocked after UK Premier League drops ball

Robert Long 1
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Maybe

Maybe the force of the law shouldn't be used to protect the ability to watch a bunch of overpaid wankers kicking a ball around a field.

Really, when did we as a society decide this was worth legislating about? Which party manifesto even mentioned this sort of crap? Other than the Republican and Democratic ones, which is probably where the idea came from, of course.

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'But we like 1 Direction!' Rock gods The Who fend off teen Twitter hate mob

Robert Long 1
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Sounds like

"I SWEAR TO GOD IF IT GETS DELETED YOU WILL BE IN LOTS OF DANGER YOU'LL HAVE 15M+ PISSED GIRLS AT YOUR DOOR #DontTouchBestSongEver"

A typical Friday night for the staff at Newcastle station.

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Larry Ellison: Google is ABSOLUTELY EVIL, but NSA is ESSENTIAL

Robert Long 1
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Re: Re:To the untrained, non-US educated observer

"Jefferson only reluctantly agreed to it"

Yeah, right. I guess he reluctantly kept all his slaves too. Man, old TJ must have been miserable with all these people forcing him to do things that were so immoral. And profitable, of course.

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Robert Long 1
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Re: He actually said that ?

"there is not a lot of evidence that the present or past governments have committed actual abuse of the data unless you consider the military use of NSA intelligence products to be abuse"

There usually isn't at first. The agencies have a lot of power and can sit on their abuses for decades. But the evidence is that given power people will mis-use it. Given a lot of power, they'll misuse it a lot.

Plus, all else aside, we know that they have broken the constitutional rules which, in a constitutional republic is "abuse" by definition.

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Who's Edward Snowden? Capita bungs its email into Microsoft's cloud

Robert Long 1
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Ha ha ha

"The Office 365 service will be hosted "entirely within the EU", we're told, and "complies with all current data protection regulations", according to the integrator."

Nice one, centurion.

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Torvalds frustrated at missing simultaneous release

Robert Long 1
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Re: Ironically

The changes under the hood were amazingly slight. The UI did change, but actual functionality received only a minor bump.

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Robert Long 1
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Ironically

" Other than that, misc media fixes, arch updates, some small filesystem updates etc. Nothing really stands out."

Is also the text of the rejected MS press release for Windows 95 which replaced 3.11

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Oracle Team USA sailors admit breaking America's Cup rules

Robert Long 1
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Yeah, little technical things

like not having sails, for example. The America's cup is a joke and their claim that the original yacht, America, "unseated Great Britain as the world’s undisputed maritime power."* by winning a boat race in 1851 (some 55 years before HMS Dreadnought was launched) reflects the childishly simple-minded attitude it has to rich men waving their willies about in public.

Official website's history page.

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