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* Posts by Andrew Martin 1

104 posts • joined 27 Jun 2009

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Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

Andrew Martin 1

$200 markup = less than the VAT

or am I missing something?

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Barclays Online OFFLINE: UK bank site, mobile app go titsup for the evening

Andrew Martin 1

Barclaycard

The Barclaycard online servicing site is offline, too...

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Join the gov consultation on net porn ... and have your identity revealed

Andrew Martin 1

Re: I completed the form yesterday

Making web forms that work correctly for >1 user isn't exactly rocket science. If they're rolling their own, and failing, then some developer is clearly having a laugh.

FOI request to find out how much the e-Consultation system cost?

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Andrew Martin 1
Unhappy

" It was the first the bureaucrats had heard of the problem, apparently, despite users posting comments exposing the issue directly on the site."

Yes. They got two emails and a web complaints form from me last night. This shows how seriously they take their feedback system.

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Ministers consult public on 'opt in for smut' plans

Andrew Martin 1

Re: The form is addled

Hm. Ok. Good point on twitter. Done. But the DfE form is definitely screwed up all by itself.

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Andrew Martin 1
FAIL

The form is addled

Half way through filling in the nine pages of the form, I started getting pages where the boxes were pre-filled. And from the tone of the comments, I'm pretty sure they weren't pre-filled by the DfE. Going back to the start, I found that I was now logged in as someone else - and could see their email address.

Even worse, it 'submitted' and locked my submission against my name against my will. I will be filing a DPA request to dissociate my name from the things I didn't even write.

Can't manage cookies... not much chance of managing a filter very well. [Ok; that's a cheap jibe, given that they want ISPs to do the latter.. but still ...]

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Oxford Uni chucks big brains at ivy-covered cybersecurity hub

Andrew Martin 1
Thumb Up

Re: A nice idea...

Well, that's one reason why I designed the centre to embrace the University's own internal IT practice as well as the blue sky research stuff. With a vast and sprawling decentralized organisation, holding considerable amounts of personal data, valuable IPR, medical research records, and more, the University itself has considerable need of this stuff. And yes, that will lead to egg-on-face moments when we fail to get it right: but if we can actually learn from those, we might even help to advance best practice. If we get the inter-disciplinary part working as I would wish, we might even help to promote changes in policy or the law.

Spending on IT and security is as patchy in the University as anywhere else, and we do, to borrow a phrase from Microsoft, eat our own proverbial dog food.

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Pub landlady's footie sat-TV battle moves law's goal posts

Andrew Martin 1

Re: if media companies could turn back time...

They'd also try to charge you extra for listening to music on black loudspeakers as well as wood-grained ones, or indeed for listening in the kitchen as well as the lounge.

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iPlayer repeat fees threaten BBC earthquake

Andrew Martin 1

Not so big a shift, but a big one coming

The BBC has been flogging tapes, CDs, DVDs, and the like for years, of any series they though they could sell Making the back catalogue available for download or streaming for a fee is just a shift of format.

That said, there is something quite curious about having the current content available for free (funded by subscription from those who choose to watch 'live') whilst making the back catalogue available by essentially the same means, but in return for a fee. It doesn't sound like a terribly sustainable way around to do things.

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Australia considers national digital archive

Andrew Martin 1
Meh

Timing?

Isn't this about two decades too late? DVDs and - gasp - CD-ROMs ? Do people still buy those things? What about all the web content from the 1990s onwards?

Don't get me wrong - it's a good idea in principle, and should have been taken seriously when digital media were taking off. But I wonder if the horse bolted ages ago, the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, etc.

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UN set to dump GMT for tech-friendly Atomic Time

Andrew Martin 1
Coat

Given that we have less than a couple of centuries' worth of experience of running any sort of coordinated time, the notion that we should fret unduly about a leap hour, 550 years from now is fanciful, to say the least.

Imagining that standards presently written by the ITU will lead, several millennia from now, to a UK sunrise at 18.00 is like speculating that the ancient Babylonians should have worried about the impact of their timekeeping standards upon the design of today's IT systems.

Oh, wait, hang on. Mine's the one with a sundial in the pocket.

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iRobot Roomba 780 automated vacuum cleaner

Andrew Martin 1

I love my roomba ...

... but frankly I wouldn't pay £500 for one. The one I've got *does* pick up a lot of stuff, and makes the carpets look quite decent. That does it for me. Oh, and it encourages me not to leave stuff on the floor, which is also good. This new model doesn't really sound like much of a delta on the old one.

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Amazon solves wait-at-home-for-deliveries problem

Andrew Martin 1

Not for me

My local sorting office is on a busy road with no parking available. That makes picking up bulky items really quite problematic.

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Apple girds loins for 'obscene iPad sales surge'

Andrew Martin 1
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And ASUS?

The eee Pad is comfortably beating those other Android tablet sales figures, AFAIK, but that doesn't suit the story, so perhaps it needs overlooking....

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Windows 8 ribbon entangles Microsoft

Andrew Martin 1

Turn it round

Windows does make it fairly easy to turn your monitor through 90 degrees, if your hardware will cope. Then on a 9:16 screen, you need something to fill the vertical space, because A4 isn't 9:16, so the ribbon makes eminently good sense there.

Editing documents on a portrait-format screen is rather good.

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Andrew Martin 1
Thumb Up

Yup

The ribbon is almost entirely responsible for getting me onto MS Office, after years of preferring OpenOffice.

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99% of UK gov websites are breaking the law

Andrew Martin 1

"Informed Consent" is a bonkers standard in this context

"Informed Consent" is a totally inappropriate standard to apply here anyway.

It comes from the world of medicine, where the surgeon has to make sure you understand the implications of that vasectomy before relying on your signature as permission to apply the scalpel to your goolies.

We don't apply anything like as high a standard in other walks of life: that mortgage you signed up for is a weight around your neck, whether or not you understood how compound interest works. With a few restrictions around 'unfair contract terms' etc., caveat emptor applies.

Informed consent is just the wrong standard in this case (even 'click the box' consent is a bit strong, for the reasons others have pointed out).

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HP murders webOS tablets, phones

Andrew Martin 1

Apps and Support

You're right: if the device does exactly what you need, out of the box, then it's fine.

However, sooner or later you will want to install different software - new apps, for example. And those apps will not be available for that device.

Worse, we have come to expect bug fixes - for security if nothing else - and these will not be available for an unsupported device. Of course, few hackers will be investigating vulnerabilities in WebOS - except perhaps disgruntled purchasers - so you may survive through obscurity. But immediate obsolescence is never a good thing.

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HP's fondle-slab dilemma: What to do when you're No 2

Andrew Martin 1

@Giles Jones: missing the point

If the reviewer had made that point, it would have enhanced the article. To overlook such an issue entirely in this comparison just misses the point.

AFAIK, the HP offering has even fewer tablet applications than Andriod, so the point stands. The more interesting question is which platform is likely to get more, sooner, and how long HP will carry this product if it doesn't rapidly gain enough market share to make the platform attractive to developers. As long as it's in third place behind iOS and Android, the beauty contest won't look pretty.

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Andrew Martin 1
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And the comparison with Andriod tablets?

I know the iPad has the lion's share of the market, but there are some plausible Honeycomb tablets out there - and they are the ones most likely to be in a deathmatch with HP's offering for the 'non Apple market'. So, in a review, you might have offered some kind of comparison? Just a little bit?

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Top level domain explosion could wreak MAYHEM on NET

Andrew Martin 1

Open up the DNS

Seriously, there's no reason why there has to be just one. Start your own, get a few ISPs on board, offer plebs instructions on how to start using it, and bob's your uncle. Now you can define your own TLD policy, and peer with the 'mainstream' DNS whenever you wish. Or, make client software which uses its own resolver implementation.

I'm kind-of surprised that Google, Apple, and Microsoft haven't already done this. A tick-box in the browser config to say 'use Google-DNS' is all that it would take to divert most users' queries most of the time. There's no reason why ICANN has to be a monopoly provider for name resolution.

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Galileo 'can deploy 24 satellites with existing funding'

Andrew Martin 1
FAIL

Jamming isn't the same as turning off

You can't currently base safety-critical systems - like autopilots - on GPS because its availablilty to anyone other than the USAF is on a grace and favour basis. A system without a foreign-controlled central kill switch (ooh, bad pun, sorry) is of great value for civilian uses, even if the Septics are making sure that they're not going to get their ships hit by Galileo-guided missiles.

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Android tablet

Andrew Martin 1

Aesthetics, pah.

I rather like the eee pad's style. The big black frame gives you something to hold onto, without inadvertently touching the screen.

The only down-side to my Eee Pad is the proprietary charging cable. That's a nuisance, especially when there are so far no spares to be had.

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4G auctions - illegal and immoral?

Andrew Martin 1
WTF?

Wonderful

<i>But BT points out that any such coverage requirement means the spectrum wouldn't raise as much at auction, so the buyer would effectively be receiving a state subsidy to pay for rural broadband</i>

That is one of the most contorted pieces of reasoning I've heard this year. Full marks.

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Toshiba reveals iPad 2 rival

Andrew Martin 1
WTF?

I have jam today

I have an Android tablet which falsifies all of these. Available from many UK outlets today.

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FCC forces data roaming on US wireless giants

Andrew Martin 1

Not good... but not that bad

You're with the wrong carrier, then.

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Sex Party's down-under struggles with dominant Catholic priests

Andrew Martin 1
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Australian churches

don't get the same tax breaks that UK ones do. But don't let that stand in the way of a good rant.

Not that that should give them a licence to interfere. Surely no one should get to put up posters in a polling station, except the election officials.

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Stop sexing up IT and give Civil Servants Macs, says gov tech boss

Andrew Martin 1

poorly projects

In my defence, poorly could be an adjective as well as an adverb, especially where Government projects are concerned. Making clear that it qualifies the following adjective doesn't seem so unreasonable to me. So 'tis a grammatical slip to be sure, but from the best of motives, and without introducing additional ambiguity (which is, surely, the point of grammar).

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Andrew Martin 1
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oh dear

Government has clearly wasted huge amounts on prooly-specified, poorly-delivered IT projects. No argument there.

But there aren't many hard-nosed businesses that have adopted Apple products for their corporate IT. There are good reasons for this, and they amount to more than prejudice and inertia.

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Welsh baby-kisser's tweet sets him back £53k

Andrew Martin 1
Thumb Down

We ALL have to worry about legal fees

The more lawyers get away with charging fees out of all proportion to the issue, the more we ALL suffer - because hedging your bets becomes a cost to business, and because the risks associated with bringing justifiable legal action become too great.

Sadly, bits of the IT profession also seem to rely on charging totally unreasonable amounts when the customer has no alternative (or is too stupid to realise that they do have an alternative). This, too, is bad for the rest of us - but nice work if you can get it, no doubt.

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Security shocker: Android apps send private data in clear

Andrew Martin 1

That's not what he said at all

Security is about risk management. The biggest threat to you from eavesdropping arises on the local segment, particularly when that is wireless. Encrypting that segment reduces the threat: no one claimed it eliminated it altogether.

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ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

Andrew Martin 1

That's all very well

I take as my starting point that vendors can write more-or-less whatever they like in their licence terms, and the buyers can take it or leave it.

But the situation is a mess: if you're old-fashioned enough to buy a CD or a DVD, most of what you're paying for is the licence to the content, and yet you get to treat it like a 'thing' which you can re-sell. Why is a CD containing a digitized warbling of some pop star logically different from a CD containing the digitized rambling of some programmer?

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Can Oz compete in the outsourcing market?

Andrew Martin 1
WTF?

What?

"Fiber (sic) has not been laid .. and satellite is way to (sic) expensive"

What?

You seem to imply that Australia is a communications black-spot. I'll grant that there doesn't seem to be enough competition to keep connectivity prices low, but rest assured Australia has plenty of connection to the rest of the world - at the best latencies undersea cables can deliver.

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TiVo calls time on ageing set-tops

Andrew Martin 1

It all depends

What was in their contract? You can't have perpetual updates for no money, but if they bought a product which was supposed to deliver certain functionality in perpetuity and it has stopped doing so ... then surely the vendor is culpable.

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English Defence League site pulled offline after defacement

Andrew Martin 1

LOL @ missing the point

It's the rest of the moderate right that are upset. Call the EDL whatever you like: just don't imply that the Tories (etc.) are 'EDL-lite'.

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Andrew Martin 1

If you're referring to me, I resent that

I'm no apologist for those people. I'd go a long way to avoid an EDL demo.

The left/right labels are near meaningless, but the casual use of the label "far right" has every potential to smear the moderate right - to a much greater extent than the label "far left" smears the moderate left.

Knee-jerk reactions and trite labels have the danger of over-simplifying the argument. That is my sole point. It's convenient to pigeon-hole people, but doing so carelessly carries the danger that you fail to understand what's really going on, and get overwhelmed by events.

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Andrew Martin 1

No

And nor do I want to. But the politics of the right have to do with free-market capitalism.

The EDL have nothing to do with that, and associating them with it is nothing but a smear.

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Andrew Martin 1
Big Brother

Please

Tell me, in what sense is the English Defence League "far right" ?

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Mumsnet backtracks support for net filter

Andrew Martin 1

*thinks*

Well, there's an uncommonly thoughtful response in a sea of knee-jerk reactions.

Censorship is bad. Breaking the internet's design is bad (where do the net-neutrality folks stand on the filtering out of porn-providers' content?).

Promoting standards which add meta-data to content so that a client-side filter can stop me and mine seeing things I don't care for, is good.

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Andrew Martin 1
Happy

LOL

I think 'fucking books' might be the ones that mumsnet were worried about.

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Andrew Martin 1
WTF?

try reading some history

Amusing as your smart-arsed comment is, it rather misses the point: translating it was a step on the road to the enlightenment and other good things.

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UK.gov 'HyperHighway' aims to 'speed up the internet by 100x'

Andrew Martin 1
Happy

out of date

Actually, Southampton were doing research on IPv6 when I worked there over ten years ago.

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School caretaker harassed after Islamists hack EDL

Andrew Martin 1

touché

Fair point.

But certain parts of the media *do* like a hue and cry these days, and do tend to instil fear in the innocent as well as the guilty.

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Andrew Martin 1
Unhappy

sad day

The man said: "However given the nature of my employment with children allegations like this could have cost me my job and my family their home."

We used to believe in being innocent until proven guilty in this country. We used to believe in the rule of law. We used to believe in due process. All of these have been eroded so that all too often the innocent suffer along with the guilty. The man may be a numptie; there's no law against that. Even if he were a member of a perfectly legal - if objectionable - organisation that would be no reason for him to be in fear of loosing his job and home, either.

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Amazon: 'iPad LCD tablets no threat to Kindle'

Andrew Martin 1
Stop

funny USB connector?

That funny USB connector is micro-USB and is becoming standard for connectivity and charging across just about everything in the portable device class(*). Having just one charger to carry when I travel is a real boon. No, I don't really understand what was wrong with mini-USB, but micro-USB is, er, smaller, and has little sprung pins to keep the plug in place.

(*) Apple excepted, no doubt.

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National Identity Card holding chumps have buyer's remorse

Andrew Martin 1
FAIL

there's ID cards, and then there's ID cards

The card is one thing, the ID database is another.

An obligation to carry a card is out of keeping with our national sense of what it is to be free. But, granted, it works for others.

But then, the new German ID card system is based on serious privacy-preserving principles. It might or might not have been acceptable here, but it would have been *much* *much* better than the big-brother nonsense foisted upon us. It has *real* use for the citizen as well as for the state.

A Europe-wide design, based on the German system would be fine as far as I'm concerned, but it isn't going to happen. The biggest problem with NuLab's ID system was that it didn't have a clear objective, so its requirements were invented on a whim and it wasn't fit for any particular purpose, but nevertheless pissed off an awful lot of people.

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Andrew Martin 1

diminishing returns

However peeved you feel, and whatever the point of principle, pursuing the government through the courts for the return of some fraction of the £30 fee doesn't really seem worth the effort.

The £30 was a speculative investment by people who could afford to loose the money. They should just get over it.

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English Defence League membership list stolen

Andrew Martin 1
FAIL

of course its meaningless

@Lee

"Far right" is invoked to denote extreme libertarianism - small state, deregulation, open borders but no benefits etc.

"Far right" is also invoked to denote heavy regulation (generally based on some notion of 'race'), and all the very interventionist policies of the BNP.

The term means contradictory things, ergo, it means nothing.

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