* Posts by PJI

310 posts • joined 25 Jun 2009

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Trolls prevail because good men do nothing: boffins

PJI

Nastiness in a group site is one thing. But the poison is when someone is abusive on a personal channel, e.g., as in the first comment, against someone over Twitter. You block the idiot, it comes back as another name. If one really sees Twitter as a personal route to friendship and communication, then this becomes personally intrusive, obstructive and hurtful.

But, as said earlier, at least real friends exist outside the computer.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

PJI

Re: surprise- a translation company doesn't understand IT (@Bassey)

Agree. IT is essential to so many companies. But then so are buildings, chairs, desks, filing cabinets and, still, paper. This does not make a bank a furniture company, nor a paper archive, nor a buildings or office management firm - though the amount of office space and buildings possessed or leased by some companies makes one wonder - sometimes the properties are worth more than the companies apparent business.

We in IT must not overestimate our worth. Firms existed without us, some still do to a large extent and no doubt they will again in the future. Mishandling their IT is a common error, just as it is with buildings or car fleet management (or staff).

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PJI

Re: Accented characters in windows

re the cloudy incompatibility: does this mean that even Microsoft's OSX versions of Office can not work with it? MS do sell the cloud version for OSX and give advice about using it.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Set-up-my-current-Office-for-Mac-apps-with-Office-365-for-business-c113166e-9491-46ef-aadb-9ca75112baff?CorrelationId=fb62e308-d5f0-418f-a953-f932ced47fb2&ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

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PJI

Re: Accented characters in windows

about the mac function keys: you can change that behaviour using Preferences::keyboard to use standard function keys by default (special by pressing the <fn> key with the desired mac function key).

This lock-in to Windows for the cloud seems odd though. Presumably it is just some protocol unless the cloud end of the software does some cunning check for the OS.

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

PJI

Re: I smell a shill - "lack of training may have been the bigger cause"

So training and the time for it is free?

The strength of MS, much as I dislike it, is that even we haters know it and can use it with no training or with the help of a colleague for those awkward cases, with lots of MS documentation on their and other sites.

Linux still shows the gaps. It is still not as complete or consistent as full, genuine UNIX systems of yore. Please do not waste your time arguing. I have decades of experience with both, including a couple of years when I persisted with Linux email in a largish firm, despite the laughable integration with other applications and the workarounds to display common attachment formats. I am using it now for very large, enterprise applications, in a very large financial environment. But for day to day, non-technical or specialised users or office systems (email, calendars, word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, reports, etc), who have not got time at work to work out the simple, daily tasks and work management, Linux as yet does not cut it in comparison with Windows. Large firms have got thousands of employees, with scores of people leaving and joining every day. They need systems that are familiar and easy for most people without expensive training, special set-up, complicated update and security management and expensive, inhouse experts to manage the routine office management.

Personally, I prefer Solaris, OSX, BSd, almost any *ix to most versions of Linux. All this time and effort and the Linux cracks still show. It will be ready for the desktop when it fulfils the user requirements as easily as MS seems to do, with no more effort and knowledge than Windows seems to require of its users and administrators. Licences may be expensive. But so are human specialists and their time, plus much software required on Linux platforms is ported, professional, licensed software - so still cost.

If you believe otherwise, you have not worked in or managed informatics in a company employing more than a dozen or so people who are not all technicians with time to set up and administer their tools instead of working for the company.

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Over 50? Out of work? Watch out because IT is about to EAT ITSELF

PJI
Unhappy

Re: Grey beards pricing themselves out of the market

This attitude to older workers says more about you than them. It sounds as if you are an inadequate leader and motivator with fixed preconceptions and out-dated views.

All the older people with whom I work and have worked are open because they have seen our field change beyond imagination.

Most younger people are good but a great many are still at the stage of regurgitating what they were taught, think Linux is UNIX and are surprisingly frightened of automating tasks, perhaps because after growing up with GUIs and Windows PCs the underlying software is too much of a black box

The fact is we need both. It is no good to say we must all work longer because the younger generation can not finance the pension bill, then practise dismissive and ignorant policies against employing and training those in their fifties and early sixties.

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PJI

Re: There's a reason your friend can't find a job

In informatics, at least in serious, engineering and development areas, employers tend to look at the people as either technical or managerial, in separate career streams. So the opportunities to transfer to management are limited if there at all.

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Care.data refuseniks will be DENIED CANCER SCREENING invites

PJI

Re: Funny People.

If you are from the country that seems to think giving 45% of its population no proper health cover and bankrupting many of the rest who do pay insurance, or refusing them insurance for illnesses that may require private insurers to pay up, or has a lower longevity and higher infant mortality than almost any European country, including GB, then I think you are not in a position to comment.

Another thing to remember: the press, Wiki and similar need to be treated with scepticism as reliable sources of information.

One can always find bad examples. Odd how seldom the same seekers look for good ones. Interesting that the bad examples are sufficiently egregious that they get reported. The good ones are so normal that nobody remarks upon them.

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Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

PJI

Must make maximum profit for shareholders, really, you believe that?

Clearly shareholders do not, or no companies would even pretend to support "charity" or "the community". Senior staff would not accept bonuses in addition to handsome pay and expenses, particularly in the financial world where these people are distinguished by general failure, negligence and refusal to take the responsibility for which they are paid.

As for applicable law: I would remind you that that varies with each country. Register readers seem to have a tendency to conflate British and American law and ignore countries that may be richer, bigger and equally or better educated, such as Germany, France and Italy (that with all its problems has got more real industry than modern GB).

Of course, no government trusts you and I to pay taxes according to our conscience. So it is baffling that they, directly or indirectly, expect the people running firms to arrange for those firms to do so. But then, it is curious that companies, that have not got votes, seem to outweigh the electorate.

As for those supporters of current, international, business practices: believe me. These are, for the most part, not deserving underdogs needing your supine support.

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Scary code of the week: Valve Steam CLEANS Linux PCs (if you're not careful)

PJI

Re: Handy hint no. 37

I forgot that one. Set -u can be very useful, especially when you forgot to define $LS and the wild card evaluates to rm or some such. :)

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PJI

Re: @someonelse

And never use bash or csh for scripts. Use Bourne or posix sh or ksh, very careful

Never ever rely on the PATH variable. Put explicit command paths in variables and use them.

Use the ...&&...||... syntax frequently to check for existence and return status.

Check you understand scope (in which bash is fundamentally broken) and conform to Posix for portability.

Make sure you have not imported aliases, e,g, by sourcing your .profile. Do not source .profile or similar.

Test all code and then get someone else to review and test.

Do not cut and paste from the internet. Learn and understand how, or leave alone.

It's never "just a script". A script is a program and must be designed, implemented and documented as such, with review and testing, if for anyone other than some private task.

If the would-be author can not write correctly in his native language, why should he be any better in an artificial one?

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NHS refused to pull 'unfit for purpose' Care.data leaflet

PJI

@Terry 6: Re: "must try harder"

Living abroad, I am not sure what a drop in centre is. It sounds like some sort of social or health support place. But surely, if one is really at significant medical risk, one is at liberty to inform staff oneself, with them being under a duty of confidentiality.

It seems to me that there are several risks with health and other private data being release by the NHS or any other body, e.g.

o Simple right to privacy. e.g. An astoundingly high number of people have genuine mental health problems, including schizophrenia and other difficult ones, that they manage to control with medical and psychological help, usually managing to lead normal, productive lives under the most difficult of conditions most of the time. Imagine if the wrong people got hold of such a person's medical history how they could destroy that person's life, not necessarily with any ill intent.

o the temptation for cash-strapped or just greedy authorities to give ever more under ever easier conditions in return for support and sponsorship by big Pharma or any other commercial entity. People "in authority" have a strong tendency to forget that they are neither better than others nor infallible.

o an increasingly intrusive government using it for "security" or "anti-abuse" or whatever purposes to track people, gain possibly useful information on people, innocent or not.

o insurers for, say, cars private health life insurance or lenders of a mortgage or loan, claiming or getting access. Look at the frequent mistakes by credit agencies now and the devastating effects that can have. Health and other personal data is far more open to abuse and mistakes.

o employers, potential landlords, employment agencies, journalists etc. getting access, legally or illegally (not hard, as the number of newspaper scandals, corrupt policemen and civil servants shows in recent "leaks").

The unthinking commentator at the start of these comments is clearly not in IT nor indeed very well informed, or they would be aware that modern computing techniques can readily combine and analyse disparate data to produce great detail. Of course, one thing those techniques can not do is ensure that the user draws the right conclusions or behaves morally and correctly.

Great Britain is a weird land: people protested long and loudly at the very idea of Identity cards, even simple, basic ones, while being quite happy to use passports, copies of bank statements and utility bills to provide the proof of identity needed for banking, car hire or just to buy a drink or cigarettes. They tolerate the greatest density of private and state cameras and officials filming them with wearable cameras, while the same people object to the public filming them or their buildings and transport.

And now, it is awful how many let themselves be persuaded to allow use of personal data by bodies shown to be unable to manage it and others shown to be compulsive misusers of it because, just like the minorities in the USSR or Nazi Germany or McCarthyite USA, they've got nothing to hide.

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Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

PJI

Re: And the alternative is ?

I did specify the first couple of C editions, up until the first ISO release or thereabouts. I did review some C written in the latest variant, recently and was a bit saddened at its bloat. Nevertheless, the older stuff still works and much of the new is not necessary nor often needed and some definite improvements are present.

In comparison with Java or C++, C is still lean and keen, with a practically useful core such that the K & R (plus sets, I like sets) still stays in one's head with quick man page references sufficing for the fine details of library calls.

As I said, for higher level stuff, I am almost sold on Python (>=2.6, probably < 3.0).

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PJI

Re: And the alternative is ?

I do not see that Perl's "-t|-w" flags and similar kludges makes it good. If it was really good, they would not be needed as the basic system would catch the risks. I keep encountering clever Perl wrappers that come up with the sort of warnings that "-w" would have flagged. But because Perl can be somewhat awkward, the author just ignored the risks and released the code.

I've done some interesting and useful jobs with Perl, from small to many thousands of lines. But my recent small-scale use of Python is changing me into the equivalent of the smoker who has given up smoking. This was promoted by more having to read other people's Perl to try to work out what was going on.

My experience with PHP is limited and out of date. But as I recall, the attractive bit is that it is easy to write pretty, screen-orientated stuff. A bad bit, as with Perl, is that object orientation is forced into it clumsily and relying almost entirely on the consistency, understanding and self discipline of the programmer.

However, I do agree that a language should, like Pascal, be reasonably straightforward to read and write, secure and well documented. Both Pascal and C appeal to me as they are small enough (or at least the first couple of Cs were) for one to have the whole syntax in one's head, small, efficient. C++ and Java fail because one needs to know not just the syntax (which in C++ is big enough) but the scores of different class libraries to get even basic things done, each with a big rivalling the bible, but much more obscure.

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

PJI

Re: truth in storage

Ignorance, naivety or just blind prejudice and mendacity seem to be the rule in this comments section.

I suspect even most non-technical buyers must be aware that the essential computer software (e.g. operating system, file system, management software, application libraries) take up space. I seem to recall Apple even brings this to people's attention, such as when giving advice about the IOS 8 update.

What is all this nonsense about Android (some) hardware being OK because one can insert external storage? So a Samsung ad. claiming 32 GB of storage is all right, even though it does not warn of the available storage, because you can spend more money on a SD card (but be sure to buy a top quality one)? If you buy a mini when you want a six seater car, is that all right because you can attach a trailer? Or perhaps you buy a four seater car and imagine that it will carry four passengers and not know it needs a driver.

Ever bought, say, a 256 GB SSD drive and noted that, with NOTHING of yours on it, the available space is several GB less (with the Samsung drive I have got, it is 249.2 GB) than the quoted 256 GB? Perhaps I should pretend ignorance and make a claim against Samsung.

So, how would you quote capacity? A table of numbers against each past, present and possible future OS and and app sizes?

I note that Samsung also quotes just "storage" size, e.g. 16 and 32 GB for the Galaxy, no mention of size available to the user.

Are these complainants saying that they were silly enough to buy a mobile telephone without finding out, e.g. from the seller, a little, basic detail such as what that capacity means? If they are sufficiently aware to understand how many hours of music or films or whatever the capacity represents, then I suspect that they also knew that the device needs system and application space. On what basis did they decide to get 16GB rather than 32 or 64? Just price or did they ask the salesman (or search the internet) for some practical advice and details?

No, this is just another set of litigious Americans thinking they've found a short cut to some easy money from a very rich, very successful firm.

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FURY erupts on streets of Brussels over greedy USA's data-slurping appetite

PJI
FAIL

@The Axe: The point?

So, your position is that breaking the law successfully means we should legitimise the criminal activity?

Thousands of years of laws against theft and murder have failed too, by your assessment, so we should scrap most criminal law?

The better, if harder answer is to find better ways to enforce the law.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

PJI

Re: Foodbanks

Ever occurred to you that sinking into poverty and unemployment do not require that your car vanishes nor that it takes a long time? I suspect that some of these people are hanging on to their cars as a means of transport (most of UK transport is rubbish and expensive, making a car a cheaper option in a society where cheap supermarkets and housing require transport to reach them) and perhaps in the hope that they will find some work before having to, USA style, sell off all their possessions along with their dignity.

Trading in a good car for a cheap, small, second hand one is usually a bad move as the replacement will be less reliable and cost more to maintain. However, let's punish them when they are down. They must be criminals or incompetent, which is more or less the same.

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Shhhhh! It's a Swiss Sunday shutdown. Kill the lawnmower, punish the kids with CHEESE

PJI

Hmm

I've been here, with a two year break, since 1996. I've even become a Swiss citizen. I've lived in Basel, Bern, Zuerich and Brugg. I visit Geneva and Fribourg (both French speaking while the others speak a form of German) a lot and sometimes Tessin (Italian speaking).

1st, Geneva and the places along the lake are lovely. Geneva has got a great social scene. You just need, as everywhere, to know some people. Going with a family will, of course, change your perspective. Oh, watch out for pickpockets though - they tend to nip over the border, do their deeds and off again, otherwise I find Geneva great fun and great atmosphere.

2nd. Swiss kantons and cities vary enormously from one another, even suburbs. The old cliches about opening hours are not true and were never universally true. In the week most shops are open much later than in Britain, or later than British shops outside the really big cities used to be (smaller British towns are still closed), often open until 8 or 9 in the evening for at least one day a week as well as most of Saturday. What's more, every village has still got a shop, a restaurant and usually more than one. Railway stations have got branches of the main supermarkets, usually open 7 days a week. As for drink: as well as being relatively cheap for the quality and even absolutely, it is available 7 days a week at most hours of the day (16 year olds love it as beer is legal for them). Restaurants, even in small places, will serve food till 10 or even 11 o'clock - my forays to large UK towns result in much hunger as after 9 seems to be difficult and some pubs serving food in, for instance, Liverpool, will not serve food after 6 as it gets in the way of their drinkers. Zuerich claims to have the most outdoor tables in Europe and a recent report said it had the highest density of night clubs.

3rd. Funnily enough, the Swiss view the Brits as hidebound makers and followers of rules and customs. I tend to agree. Yes, there are rules here. But they tend to be sensible and vary with the Gemeinde (sort of parish or commune) and are changeable if you can raise enough support for a local referendum. I am always struck by how tolerant people here are, as foreigners swamp them with various versions of English, loudness, bad behaviour. I am struck that despite foreigners making up to 40% in some areas and being visible in almost every village, there is no real equivalent, for sheer nastiness and ignorance semi-officially accepted, of UKIP or the BNP nor their supporters. I don't mean the sort of neo-nazi fringe present in most of Europe now, including GB. It is striking how many foreigners refuse to learn German or Swiss German even after years here. We've just refused the kind of immigration cap that UKIP would adore.

4th. Prices: well, I notice that food in GB is good, on the whole and the people outside London are delightful. But I also notice that a proper dinner in a restaurant, despite the far lower wages, is not that much cheaper or is even more expensive (for decent quality) than here. VAT is 8% (used to be 6%, but I think it reached 8 now). So most electrical/computing hardware is comparable or cheaper here. You can always nip over the border to France or Germany for more bargain hunting. Fashion clothes, perfumes etc. are similar or cheaper here. Transport is cheaper, petrol is much cheaper. Taxes are lower. Salaries are higher (a low salary is around CHF60000 or about £40000. Rents are high in the cities - Geneva and Zuerich have a bad name for that as there is a real shortage of accommodation.

As for medical costs: varies with the area and the insurer. The obligatory minimum for an adult costs between CHF200 and 300. Half private for me, as a crusty near pensioner, with one of the more expensive insurers (but I value the service) is CHF520. So if a bloke in his 40s is paying that, he better look at his contract and change his insurer.

Finally: activities - as said, plus an excellent cycling network e.g. around Lac Leman, sailing - some of these lakes are very, very big; all the usual and some unusual water sports. Oh, the water gets up to 26 degrees in the Summer, so a bit warmer than anything North of the Channel. The Jura is a wonderful range of hills running from Geneva to Zurich in and out of France and Switzerland and, really, rather more interesting than much of the Alps, great for walking, climbing, cycling, riding …. Then there are the hundreds, probably thousands of wine festivals, beer festivals and so on. Boored? From Geneva Annecy is within a half a day's cycling (done it). From Basel there is Elsace, the Black Forest and from Zurich the glories of South Germany, Austria. Italy is just a short train journey or car drive away.

Cinemas usually show English language films in English and others with subtitles. Music, opera etc. are good and there seems to be an insane number of rock, jazz, folk festivals, including big ones at Nyon for our Genevan friends. Zurich has just about the largest Love parade in Europe.

Yes, I know a good stereotype is hard to ignore. But really, ignore it. I venture to say most expats stay and, if they do leave, come back. It's not perfect; but it is rather good.

My experience covers large parts of the rest of the world, not just here.

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

PJI

creative as we want?

Um. Seems to me that you take creativity too lightly. We can be so, as much as we want. But few of us are really, originally or even cleverly creative in a way makes our work desirable or useful to others. That skill, just like the ability to design and make a fine piece of furniture or even just to improve a washing machine to make it better value, longer lasting, more efficient and easier should be encouraged and rewarded. If it goes on being desirable or useful over the years, the rewards should keep coming. I suspect that the original length of a copyright was to approximate to the expected life of the creator.

Up until Victorian times, copyright was unenforceable internationally. The young USA was among the worst offenders - the China of its time. Charles Dickens was rather bitter about it as it was his living and cost him dear. Why should anyone expect to sponge off the ability of others?

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PJI

@Ledswinger

We did not have to join. We did, so we stick with the rules, just as we expect the other members to do so when to our advantage.

Do you take that bully-boy attitude to anything with which you disagree - break the law, agreements, promises as long as you think you can get away with it? Or do you live in a civilised society where we follow some rules and conventions for conduct to make it a pleasanter world for all of us in the long run?

Personally, I see this copying as a big problem for authors, musicians, artists and photographers, just as for software writers or computer designers who need to pay to live, support families etc.. A moderate number of copies for the buyer's personal use seems reasonable. But does that include giving your friend or your wife or your child a copy? How many can you distribute this way? If you write an app and put it on an app store for, say, a quid and then find that it seems to be on everyone's mobile but you have not seen more than a thousand pounds covering not even your time and computer to develop it, how do you feel?

The other extreme: e-books limiting your copy to just the machine you bought; Monsanto preventing farmers from using seed, from crops grown form genetically "improved" Monsanto seed, to grow next year's crop as traditionally done (or just engineering the seed genetics to make it sterile).

I found both extremes problematic. But I do know, I want artists and engineers to be able to make a decent living from their creativity and ability and not just have the "international conglomerates" cream off all the profit.

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Apple’s $700 BEEELLION market cap makes it more valuable than Switzerland

PJI

Re: You are a coward and you are wrong!

You know, it is certainly true that Swiss "business men" did not behave all that honourably, and worse. However, Switzerland as a country did not so badly, considering that it was totally surrounded by Germany and its allies or conquered territory. I do not know if you have ever left you island. Had you done so, you may have been surprised that international borders, even between enemy countries, are rarely completely sealed and impossible just to wander over away from roads and habitation.

You may be unaware that London banks too have had a bit of a problem with Nazi Gold in the last couple of decades, as did some American banks. Plucky little Britain hosted (still does some might say), some lovely little Nazi types who openly indulged their taste for mob action and exploited friends and contacts in the not always very fussy establishment. Just look at old copies of the Mail, Express. America was busy turning a blind eye except to the market for oil and materiel right up to and even, some say, after they finally decided, half way through, which side their best interests were lay.

You may have noticed that such genial pursuits as anti-semitism are doing quite nicely in good old Blighty even now, or even especially now, since Moslem immigrants are so much more admired than EU ones.

At least Switzerland is paying compensation and, if you think you have got relatives affected, there is some vast website (no, not got the link - G-gl- it) where you can seek their names and start your claim.

The Bern museum is doing the right thing and has made clear its reservations, what it will accept and what it will do if accepted works are claimed in the future. Your cheap shot is ignorant and your historical memory of a belligerent teenager is what is keeping half the world in an unhappy, murderous state today.

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Apple OSX Yosemite infested by nasty 'Rootpipe' vuln

PJI

Re: sudo without a password?

While, admittedly, UNIX is my expertise and living, I do not recall the user's individual login, sole on the machine or not, being the super user login. I at least do not login in as root.

sudo is there by default. sudo, in its basic manifestation, expects the user to enter his password to use it. If the user declines the Apple urging to set a password, just as on any other UNIX or Linux system, the best he gets is the need to type "sudo" or just tick the installation confirmation box. One could complain that this is a useability bug - should users be required, by the user set-up process, to specify a password of some minimum complexity if they want to enable sudo ("admin" account?). Does any other UNIX or UNIX-like system do so?

Further, perhaps the default should restrict the commands allowed to sudo. Those who know what they are doing can change the configuration file or su(1) to root. A separate, administrator login will provide a thinking delay. But it may still be password-less and, being a nuisance, result in the average user being more lackadaisical about installing security updates when prompted.

In any case, I come across even professional computer users who, having bought an Apple system, are unaware that it is BSD UNIX and has got a full, UNIX shell command line interface and so, also, never type "sudo". I am sure that 99% of users hardly ever start the terminal emulator. But of course, the bug, if such there is, is still there for the malicious and able withe access.

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OFFICIAL: Fondling of Apple's slab declines – iPad sales DOWN in Q3

PJI

Umm

Would this not have been getting close to the release date of the latest ipad? With fingerprint authorisation, performance boost and relative price drop? So who would spend on the soon to be released version for the sake of a few weeks? Particularly when iPads are boasted to last for years satisfactorily and one need not buy a replacement just to get an easy OS update.

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Apple's OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud

PJI

Re: "and others are critical of Apple's changes."

>>but resting control a<<

That's a much more peaceful image than "wresting" control, so much less effort and possible pain.

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‘For the love of Pete, America, learn about decent chocolate’

PJI

@Khaptain

I have spent most of my working life outside GB, with a couple of short returns (never again). I've worked in the Far East, Australasia, very short stint in USA, bit longer in Middle East and now happily in central/Southern Europe (depending upon how you look at it). I speak or spoke the language in all except the Middle East.

The fact is, in most countries, to get to know established locals properly, on a personal basis is difficult. They've got their lives, friends, families established. They take for granted what to you is new and unknown, to the extent that it never occurs to them that you can not or do not know. Fellow foreigners who have overcome the initial hurdles, found out how and where to find accommodation at the normal price and where to shop for the sorts of things that expats. need but locals grew up with; what tax advisers, lawyers, banks understand and can, for a reasonable charge, help one to manage assets or liabilities, or writing a will and so on for two different legal and tax regimes, registering with local authorities (even if it is necessary or not) and so on; these people are invaluable. Things like getting medical help at 2 in the morning - where is the hospital? Should I call the GP? Have I got a GP who speaks enough English or whatever language I know? Just had a minor accident in the car - do I have to report it? (In some places, no one will do repairs without a police report).

Having young children helps, if they are at the local schools. Otherwise, one can live for years without making close friendships with a local, not through anyone's fault.

Going into the average bank for advice about how to transfer foreign creditworthiness may work in the centre of Zurich or Brussels. In most banks, the staff will hardly be better informed than you.

It's all very well to be snooty about other expats., no doubt they are at least as snooty about you. But if in a new land, where the language (including American) is not yours, where customs and laws differ from yours, all help should be seized with gratitude. Americans are classic examples: they seem to speak almost the same language - except it has, apart from grammatical and vocabulary differences - different idioms, references, background and semantics - full of false friends (linguistically). Their culture is to be overwhelmingly smiley, "you're my soulmate", "you must come to dinner/come for picnic/borrow my spare car"..... Sadly, see them a couple of days later they've probably almost forgotten who you are - not rudeness, just the culture - easy in - easy out.

No, if you want to know how to insure your 15 year old sports car (in a place where insurers will not touch a car over 10 years old) or a tax adviser who speaks some of your language and can handle your assets spread across two or three countries or a bank that will handle regular transfers abroad at a lower charge than the amount being transferred, or how to get tickets to that event or which beaches to avoid - fellow foreigners are your friends. If you need to find a kindergarten that will have patience with your child who has not yet learnt the local language (I know of children who, in reaction to unsympathetic handling, started to actively refuse to speak the local language), you need someone who understands the problem and has overcome it.

Over time, you should become localised, though you will always be a foreigner; if you marry a local, it may happen a bit quicker, a bit more thoroughly, your language skills should become much better. But you will always be a foreigner and even if you no longer need help, at least until the funeral arrangements come, you can help others.

I have come across expatriates who never learn the language. In Asian countries this can be very, very difficult and the disparities between the foreigner¨s way of life and that of even a prosperous local are radically different. Even in Europe, if you work for a large, international firm, if the working language is English and your spouse is English speaking and you work long hours, you will find it very hard to learn much more than how to ask for a glass of beer, even if you take lessons. Francophone areas should be easier, as most Britons, for example, do some French at school and, in my experience, it is rare to meet a foreigner in Geneva who can not cope fairly well and often much better than that, in French. German seems to be less common. Arabic, Chinese languages - rare (I can speak a Chinese language; but my job required it).

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

PJI

I believe many so-called democracies do require their citizens to vote e.g. Australia and some in Europe. Given the apathy of so many I understand it. There is nothing to stop one giving in a spoilt vote.

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

PJI

Re: have an upvote

and Tavener, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Orff, Bruch, Faure, Smyth, Glass, Shostakovich, ….

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Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished

PJI

Re: How decisions bite you on the ass

Be careful. Asses kick and bite back.

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PJI

You're mistaken

Running Windows is no protection if you run a bash shell under it, either directly or via Cygwin, for example, I assume.

It's not the operating system. It's the shell programme and the web server software.

Has anyone proved bash is the only shell that has this behaviour (older implementations)?

Regarding the chap asserting that sh is a link to bash: only on Linux unless your friendly SA has copied this on your OS X or Solaris or AIX or BSD.

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Man buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE

PJI

Re: Only a decade or so ago...

yes, I had Nokias like that. Great, simple 'phones. The bits seemed to stay together ever less well over time. But the most annoying thing was that dust and fluff soon got behind the screen and could not be removed.

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Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media

PJI

Re: Privacy

It seems to me that he is clearly right. He uses "I" as an example and I can only agree. The very examples here of how people misread or misrepresent the article to have a spiteful go at a judge show the danger.

Journalists are not special. They are not under special obligation and have no extra rights to blab your affairs willy nilly. We should all.

We have all got a right to private opinions. How far would you take the denial of privacy? Or is your prurient interest of overriding g importance even when it does not concern illegality?

To publish it should be shown to be true and relevant to the public interest or with the agreement of the subject.

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

PJI

Re: US Coffee

it was just last year, or perhaps early this, that a survey discovered that, in the whole of Great Britain, Starbucks made the worst and weakest coffee (at the highest price too, I dare say). Why on earth would anyone with taste buds go there, or to any European branch of an American chain? Even the British are capable of making proper coffee with a bit of effort.

Now, how: if time, bring water to a simmer, just below boiling, in a saucepan, then sprinkle one tablespoon of coffee (fresh ground) per person on top. Simmer, not boil, for a couple of minutes, sink the grounds with a spoon and then pour, drink - no milk, blend or sugar to taste, tap water to wash it down, ambulance on standby. I did read somewhere that Norwegians prefer coffee this way and suffer accordingly, is that true?

If not, a Bialetti coffee pot is good.

Where: N. Africa, France (be choosy) or Italy. Switzerland can be good. Avoid Germany as it seems to be the place that taught Americans, except the Americans forgot to add coffee to the water.

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iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms

PJI

Re: Not much to go wrong with a tablet

Going by MacBooks, I should say more like at least seven years. Mine is still going strong so it may be longer. iPads with mo moving disc cylinders and no hey air should last even longer. People do seem to be content with them without feeling the need to replace them. I have not got one, yet.

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PJI
Meh

Re: the App Store paid out $20bn in revenues to app developers

Indeed. I loaded, embarrassingly easily, all my apps onto my iPhone 5s when I replaced the old 4s, music from three years earlier too.

For Lion, at least, one could buy it on a USB stick. Personally I just downloaded it and burnt my own, that has been used a couple of times.

Why do non osx users or incompetent ones persist in displaying ignorance and prejudice?

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

PJI

Re: which is why...

script owned by root? Who cares who is the owner. Most utilities are owned by root. It's who is running them unless they are set UID. I think that has not been possible on shell scripts for a very long time and even Perl has some defences against this.

Of course if the user, working as root manages to do something silly, well, he or she can do that anyway without this possible problem.

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PJI

"The" shell?

AlthoughKK those brought up only on Linux seem very unaware, actually there are dozens of different shells, perhaps scores. Bash, is to my mind, one of the more broken ones but widespread because of Linux (viz. ghastly array syntax and downright odd handling of variables in while loops as well as no supplied alias for repeating commands quickly …). Most common for system and other formal scripts is Bourne shell or Posix shell with Korn shell not far behind (yes, I like ksh). csh and tcsh are still much loved and zsh and others are far from dead.

So, which shells quote some characters automatically (and sometimes annoyingly and wrongly)?

As for the -string names, surely this is the old trick to test friends and colleagues - just create a file called, e.g. "-" and tell someone to try to copy or delete it. Such a simple thing catches most people. But is this not the difference between an experienced UNIX user and the self-taught Linux or other home enthusiast?

I fear that no system is utterly bullet proof and if this were such an awful bug, one imagines that it would have caused problems rather before now in the forty odd years that UNIX has been around in some form or other.

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Google: Glass goggles are a 'fairly lousy surveillance device'

PJI

Re: What does Andrew Paterson think Glass does?

>>Am I going to start having to worry about the Data Protection Act when I'm using my Android phone too?

Depends on under what circumstances you are using it. Recording conversations without consent is already dodgy under some circumstances. Even photographs can be troublesome, e.g. over someone's garden gate, other peoples' children, women sunbathing. You may have noticed that many employers are very funny about recordings and photography, even of the pot plants at work with your mobile telephone camera.

Anyway, sheer respect for other people should tell you that randomly collecting anything about them without their agreement and knowledge is at least impolite and at worst prurient voyeurism and inflicting your valuation of their privacy and discretion on others.

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Labour vows: We'll pause one-dole-to-rule-them-all for drastic fix-up if elected in 2015

PJI

Re: lifestyle choice. really? always?

plus, I assume that anyone thinking that withdrawing support enables everyone to find work that pays enough to live, if any at all, has been living in the happy daydreams of a ten year old, whose parents are both employed and never lost their jobs through their own firm, their employers going bankrupt, or sacking them because the firm wants to save money or even must to cut real costs or ….

Please, grow up a little.

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PJI

Re: Black hole?

And what's worse, they seem to think they have some kind of entitlement to a decent pension just because they paid into it for forty years.

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Greenpeace rejoices after getting huge renewable powerplant CANCELLED

PJI

Hydro is not perfect

1. As several comments have pointed out, despite the headline, this was political and opposed by the affected people and would have done permanent, large scale damage to the land and biology of the country.

2. It's not free. Apart from the large areas of land, canalising rivers, building canals, dams, roads, power lines over very long distances and, long term, enormous maintenance costs.

3. It seems to me, that those advocating untrammelled developement and damn the Greens are the primitives. That, like slash-and-burn, was all resell and good when there were very few humans and, relatively, seemingly endless resources. But you ought to have noticed that that is no longer true and the Stone Age attitude of grab and profit now has to be modernised and take account of excess population, over built land, packed roads, lost flood plains and so on. Right wing or left wing dogma do not solve or justify anything. Switzerland has got extensive hydro and flood control, to the extent that even in the Alps there is barely a natural water course and the great rivers flowing through the lowlands are canalised with new schemes to "re-naturalise" them.

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We're ALL Winston Smith now - and our common enemy is the Big Brother State

PJI

Re: There's a fundamental flaw in this article and it's a big one.

Non-state firms/business are very dangerous collectors. They treat it as their property to trade or provide as suits or required. They charge or make it difficult to know or correct what they have.

Worse, as governments at all levels pass off more and more functions to the private sector, that sector has got your data about health, police matters whether guilty or prosecuted or not, about your travel, your work and school records, the tiff with your neighbour, the acrimonious divorce and civil action, the tittle tattle on the internet about your family, how much wine you order and your odd interest in weapons or war history or militant feminism. Or that time you were warned about noise from a late party. Or you missed a payment when on holiday and forgot or you wrote a snotty complaint.

One day you or your child or wife go for a job or a charity activity and some jobsworth pays a checking company for a view of you. They put two and two together and come up with five.

Oh dear, whatever went wrong? Why do police make so many enquiries at my door? Why are my children being asked at school if I drink much?

No. Information is power and a weapon. Private companies are further beyond control even than governments, especially multiple nationals. Do you really trust SERCO or their rivals. Why would you trust an USA Google who has been forced to bow to USA and China governments and has shown a cavalier disregard for data about you all ready?

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Google to let Chromebookers take video content OFFLINE

PJI

Re: But no network shares

The whole point of this operating system is that the computer is just an interface to data and programmes stored on the network, in the Cloud if you like.

Personally, I always thought, still think, this is a daft way to work unless you work only at home with a good internet connection or in restaurants, offices or schools with such (and free). As soon as you are not in that, usually, urban situation the whole model collapses, quite apart from questions of privacy, response time and supplier stability. So, as I saw when accompanying a friend away from home, rather quickly the machine becomes just a dead weight of no practical use, on which you can not even install software of your choice as it is supposed to be supplied, maintained and admired across the ether.

Even my mobile telephone (iphone in my case, whatever you like in yours) has got the ability to run locally installed programmes even with no internet or telecomms access e.g. camera, Solitaire, notes, Filemaker, music, books, locally installed maps, e.g. Tomtom, Peakfinder and more.

So now film buffs can store copies of films locally on Chromebooks, subject to the usual space constraints. Hmm. Next it will be full office programmes, then development suites …. MS will abandon its net version of Office. Google fans will prate about how wonderful is the new functionality and the rest of us will be surprised only that it ever happened at all.

What a wonderful world.

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'Failure is not an option... Never give up.' Not in Silicon Valley, mate

PJI

Re: 'Be Lucky'

Napoleon is said to have said something like:

"I have plenty of clever generals but just give me a lucky one" and "I would rather have a general who was lucky than one who was good. ".

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Apple vows to squash iMessage SMS-KILLER

PJI
Facepalm

Re: SMS Problems?

And someone who recommends WhatsApp expects us to take their suggestions seriously?

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Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report

PJI

If I could be bothered ...

it would be interesting to know who is on this committee and what each member's interests are.

I just do not believe this kind of hysteria. This wonderful, perspicacious Conservative-liberal government has been in office for a couple of years now: they are still blaming Labour, trying to dismantle anything to do with renewables, giving oil and gas revenues to private enterprise, otherwise known as American corporations and, guess what, have only just realised that in about a year GB will have an energy problem. Or is this perhaps because it was assumed that there would be b- all industry or business left to need energy and who cares for the population anyway? They do not give backhanders, directorships, speaking tours and all paid trips abroad.

As for all this claim about USA coining it in with fracking: that must explain why its monetary position is even worse than Britain's and it can not afford to weather-proof its buildings or persuade republicans that it can afford to provide medical treatment to the 40 million plus without adequate or any insurance.

Then, how about our near neighbours, like Holland, Germany, France, Scandinavia: is there some odd suggestion that they have a totally different geology and so much better economies and energy supplies that frackable energy sources are not needed so urgently or perhaps at all?

No. These are the same people who say we must help builders by carpeting every centimetre of Britain with houses and shopping centres or that we should be grateful to USA companies for buying and asset-stripping what research and manufacturing remains.

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Thanks for nothing, Apple, say forensic security chaps

PJI

Apple quietly removed the ability to just sync between laptop and iDevices

Yes, this was one of the sillier things to do, showing complete cultural and non-USA legal ignorance or just extraordinary naivety. I gather that even in USA the innocent sometimes do have something to fear.

However, I have seen that beta test versions of the new iTunes release have reinstated this. So fingers crossed and, if true in the customer release, glad that Apple does react to customers' remarks, eventually.

So, as far as the "cloud" network storage goes, just disable it. If you really need it, choose one of the new services from Germany or, less handy for most people, install one on your own laptop and continue to sync locally. But this was foolish of Apple, both in terms of security and reality (strangely, outside American coffee shop chains, large parts of the world, even in the most advanced "1st world" countries, are not on free wifi networks away from home, or even mobile telephone networks. Yet one may still want to back up the device to a mobile computer that is with you (or a tablet, is that possible? No idea, no tablet).

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Tim Cook: Apple's 'closer than it's ever been' to releasing new product range

PJI

Re: "And it’s an area where nobody has figured it out yet."

>>which can obviously be completely be re-invented by tying both hardware and payment platform to Apple, robbing customers of choice and interoperability.

Hmm. "robbing". Your grasp of English is even worse than your grasp of reality: "Robbing" means stealing with the use of force or realistic threat of force. Apple gear is damned clever. But I had not realised it could apply physical force to make you use iTunes.

Somehow, such linguistic dexterity makes me doubt, even further, the validity of any opinion you may have.

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Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS

PJI

Re: wet Summer .... Aberdeen

No, no, no: Manchester, hands down and umbrellas up. Second place: Brussels.

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Apple says iOS, OS X is immune to Heartbleed SSL bug

PJI

Re: Apple's a fucking liar

Relevance? The most security-hardened computer product in the world is not immune to the silly owner, with full access to the device, breaking it by modifying or replacing the software with their own idiot versions.

I suggest you see the source of your rogue software or examine your own conscience if you realise that jail-breaking has made the device insecure.

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PJI

Re: Remind me ...

>>How long ago did Apple stop making servers?

Depends upon what you mean, They may no longer sell hardware labelled, "server". But OSX is a BSD derivative and, just like any other UNIX or Linux, can be used to provide services (a server) with the addition of commonly available software, much of which is already installed anyway.

Apple even sell "OS X Server" software in their app store, see https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/os-x-server/id714547929?mt=12 or any of the many reviews of it.

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