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* Posts by Electric Panda

134 posts • joined 26 May 2010

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Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

Electric Panda

Re: "We help people get stuff done."

True dat.

Word 2003 was a dream. Did everything perfectly.

Word 2007 had my blood boiling. Simple tasks took 5x longer because it tried to help you TOO much and just got in the way, formatting was a nightmare, things just jumped around all over the place, it pretty much drove me into a rage. The ribbon was a disaster zone where the most commonly used and basic of features were pretty much buried underground and impossible to find. Rolled back to Office 2003 because Excel wasn't too endearing either.

Word (and Excel) 2010. Big improvements, but still not as good as the old days. MOST of what irritated me about 2007 had been improved, fixed, or removed entirely. The ribbon gave up most of its secrets, essential and simple features took centre stage once again.

Office 2013? I don't like seeing ALL MY MENUS IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE IT LOOKS AMATEURISH. I don't like my professional office suite looking Fisher Price with lots of big, chunky, coloured buttons. I don't like basic functionality being hidden away... yet again.

Even GTA V had a joke on one of the radio stations about a large software company making every version of their word processor more expensive and harder to use than the previous one. Microsoft, take note.

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Travel website Hotel Hippo yanked offline after data leaks spotted

Electric Panda

This is outrageous. Reminds me far too much of those DELIBERATELY broken web apps that are used as penetration testing assault courses... in fact, quite a few of those I've seen don't have such obvious and trivial flaws in them.

The name "Hotel Hippo" even sounds like a joke.

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Vodafone to spend £100m on 150 new Brit phone shops

Electric Panda

I'm cursed in that our corporate plan uses Vodafone. It's rather amusing to be standing in front of a poster advertising Vodafone's new 4G service in a given area, watching as my phone fights for dear life to get 3G and four bar signal. Meanwhile a friend sat opposite me with an identical handset on EE or O2 is getting full bars and LTE.

Priorities much? Vodafone are hands down the worst network I've used in the UK and I at least now know not to move my personal contract to Voda when it expires in October.

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Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Electric Panda

The whole thing is silliness

I've never understood why there's this sudden fetish to turn EVERYONE into coders, or where it even came from? Not everyone wants to bang out code all day every day - I work in a technical IT for a FTSE100 and I honestly hate writing code.

UK CompSci degrees have been pumping out armies of mediocre code monkeys for years and years now. I'd say 80-85% of ALL CS grads I know, regardless of their academic pedigree, now do software engineering or development of some kind - if often follows that those who don't, make a point of telling everyone they don't and in some cases even moan about it feeling like their job is somehow lacking as a result. Why do we suddenly need more and why are we starting them earlier?

The market is already saturated and salaries are falling. Stop this silliness and start producing computer scientists and general computer enthusiasts rather than yet more sodding code monkeys.

This whole thing is like teaching children how to fry, boil and poach eggs rather than how to cook more generally. They desperately need a broader and more versatile skillset.

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North Korea to switch on the interwebs

Electric Panda

North Korea was apparently advertising BGP routes at one point. There is full Internet connectivity which may still be going through China, but possibly not, and within North Korea itself (i.e. not Kaesong) only a very select few high ranking officials have access - even then it's monitored heavily. It seems only the Kim family and their close inner circle have totally unrestricted and unmonitored access.

Did anyone see that BBC Panorama about the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) recently? It already offers completely unfettered access to the Internet... however, it's monitored not by technology but a woman sat in a chair. You have to say in advance which websites you want to visit and pretty much everything is forbidden, especially foreign news and social networks.

You'd think they would have hooky Blue Coat or some other kind of filtering/proxy, but apparently not. I reckon it's deliberately designed to promote Chinese-style self-censorship out of fear.

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Twitter shares plummet as first-ever earnings show weak growth

Electric Panda

Retweeted by Electric Panda

lol told you so! @twitter - our earnings are down, this isn't a profitable business model! #fail #yolo

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Quadrillion-dollar finance house spams Reg reader with bankers' private data

Electric Panda

example.org

Although this was a mere mistake on a live system, this sort of thing would be inexcusable if done deliberately for testing purposes or otherwise. This is one of the reasons why "example.org" exists. It was created for purposes very much akin for this.

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Julie Larson-Green: Yes, MICROSOFT is going to KILL WINDOWS

Electric Panda

You're right, but the tweaked TIFKAM is actually very nice on the Xbox. It works pretty well and looks good, a definite step up from the sort-of Metro running on the 360.

Maybe the Xbox One will stick with mostly the same UI for its entire life? The 360 had three separate dashboards.

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Electric Panda

Re: The problem with comp sci degrees....

Circus monkeys is very apt.

And you're right. The most successful and technically astute people I know of in the IT industry don't have degrees in anything related to computing. Mathematicians, physicists, electrical engineering, the odd psychologist... the CS grads are the ones which show the least flair, passion and ability.

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Electric Panda

I'm a recent (2012) CompSci grad from a top 20 UK university and also have an MSc in a growing specialist field. It got me to three assessment centres and now a full time graduate job.

What's my secret? The MSc; that and the fact that I'm one of the very few UK CS grads with aspirations higher than Java-monkeying. I've said this ad nauseam, but UK CS degrees are totally broken and just pump out average programmers rather than "computer scientists". Unfortunately, said degrees are now moving towards pumping out average "security experts" so expect that field to become saturated and dumbed down as well.

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Those Xbox One first-day glitches: GREEN screens of DEATH, disc crunching

Electric Panda

I remember the old days before Internet-enabled consoles. Games just worked straight out of the box, they didn't need patching nor was there any mechanism to do so, so the stakes were higher and there was greater emphasis on getting things right first time. I can't remember any showstopping bugs preventing decent progression or completion, nor do I remember too many games (if any) needing recalled as a result.

Nowadays with commercial pressures (i.e. £££ get the stuff out the door on time no matter what) and the availability of network connectivity, games can be shat out half-baked and fixed later. Even before this generation I've seen console games which, on the day of release, have a massive patch waiting for you at launch as soon as you boot it up for the first time. Now the consoles themselves require this?

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iPHONE 5c FACTORY SHUTDOWN: Foxconn 'halts' mobe rebrand op

Electric Panda

I never thought the 5C would be hugely successful. I thought it looked cheap and nasty... but it isn't even that cheap. It really isn't too much of a financial stretch to just go all the way and get the better full fat 5S.

Apple really didn't think that through. I predict next year we'll be back to just the one iPhone as always was.

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

Electric Panda

Why did Peter have to abandon his shopping if the online banking was down? Is this affecting card transactions too?

It'll be a faulty RAID array. Almost always is when online banking goes tits up.

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Sony's new PlayStation 4: Early faults ENRAGE some buyers

Electric Panda

Launch day glitches

I remember back 2000ish when the PS2 first launched, particularly an episode of Watchdog which featured some launch PS2s with power supplies that blew up instantly on being switched on. Later, you had the 360 with the infamous RROD fixed in later production runs and an internal redesign (haven't heard of it happening to anyone I know since circa 2008). I'm sure I remember launch PS3s with iffy BluRay drives too.

Sounds like the same thing again. Poor testing foisted upon early adopting guinea pigs, while anyone who waits gets the fixed version once they chase the gremlins out of the production process.

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Internet Explorer 11 for Win7 bods: Soz, no HTML5 fun for you

Electric Panda

A close friend of mine who isn't too computer literate recently bought a new PC with Win8 pre-installed. She contacted me and said that she wasn't able to view some content on certain websites, so I had a look at her machine and checked it out. Sure enough, no Flash on TIFKAM-IE so I assumed Flash wasn't installed. On a hunch, I fired up the same website on "normal desktop" IE and it worked flawlessly so obviously Flash was installed and working. Bit of digging shows that it apparently wasn't supposed to work under TIFKAM?

Flash not running on the TIFKAM version of IE absolutely mystified me until I went away and looked it up as I had genuinely no idea it wouldn't work. All I can see is a spectacularly stupid design decision with zero logic behind it, especially when the marketing blurb told people that Flash etc. was all integrated and worked straight out of the box.

This is full fat Win8 running on a desktop PC, so none of this RT tablet crippleware of which some speak.

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Anonymous threatens cyberwar with Anonymous

Electric Panda
Black Helicopters

Danny's Dry Cleaning is clearly an NSA honeypot. Anonymous Indonesia are probably expecting a drone strike about now.

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Naughty Flash Player BURIED ALIVE in OS X Mavericks Safari sandbox

Electric Panda

Re: golf clap

It was always earlier versions of Chrome that crashed painfully hard when Flash was running. So much for the "revolutionary" each-tab-as-a-separate-process approach when Flash would regularly crash ALL of them. One of the reasons why I stopped using Chrome because Flash back then worked fine in everything else.

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Pakistan in YouTube unblock rumours

Electric Panda

I suppose unblocking it would be less destructive than their hilarious failed blocking attempt in April 2008, in which they succeeded in dropping all YouTube traffic worldwide.

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Steve Jobs' boyhood home may become protected historical shrine

Electric Panda

Re: Really?

I hadn't actually thought of that... guess I'll never be the glorious visionary Jobs was :-(

sniffle

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Electric Panda

I wouldn't want to buy it.

1) It's a very average property

2) All the iFans hanging around? No thanks. Same goes for the Amityville Horrors house.

Steve Jobs was just a businessman, a CEO. Maybe I could run bus tours past the hospital where Bill Gates was born and make a mint?

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BlackBerry inks deal to go private for $4.7bn

Electric Panda

I can hear a swansong in the distance. If the company can't start making money and a tangible turnaround in private hands then I fear it may be put out of its misery.

RIP, BlackBerry. You had a good innings and a very solid start in life. You have made and left your mark on the world no matter what the naysayers might think.

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BlackBerry BLOODBATH! Company warns of nearly $1bn quarterly loss

Electric Panda

Re: Blackberry don't deserve to be in the market...

"- Phone app was buggy (couldn't return to home if the screen locked mid-call)"

"- Account settings (like e-mail etc) would forget the password frequently"

So that's two fundamental features which are basically a bit pants. Doesn't bode well for everything else.

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Rotten Apple iOS 7 fury: Glitchy audio or is today's music really that bad?

Electric Panda

I have an iPhone 5 and I downloaded iOS 7 earlier today.

Verdict? Meh. The visual overhaul strikes me as someone (Jony Ive) wanting to make his mark and purge the old skeumorphism, rather than being absolutely necessary. I'm not seeing too much beyond a drastic visual refresh as the iPhone 5 doesn't have the fingerprint sensor, so even that novelty is missing for me. When I finished the install while connected to iTunes, I was told I had to download a Podcast app from the App Store...since when did the iPhone on-board music player lose this capability?

The Android apeing continues. Remember when the Android-style notifications centre appeared? Well, now the Control Centre with its volume controls and radio buttons has arrived - I've still got my LG Optimus P500 I picked up in early 2011 for £150 running pretty much stock Android, and it has the same functionality. One thing it did have that iOS 7 doesn't is a button to turn the 3G on and off, incidentally.

Now, the new look itself. iOS may have looked stale and starting to show its age, but at least it was a unique and different look to the armies of competing Androids. This is no longer the case and I'm vaguely reminded of a re-skinned HTC Sense in some ways.

Unless I'm going mad, I'd say the overall volume coming out of the speakers has been reduced overall as well, irrespective of your audio settings. I left them the same as on iOS 6 and it's noticeably quieter one media playback, although not by desperate amounts.

The battery life is also suspect and definitely not as good, but others have also pointed this out so I don't feel like I'm going mad on that front. Idling at standby with the screen turned off, under iOS 7 the battery is dropping to 95% in the same length of time iOS 6 dropped to 98% under the same conditions - switch on WiFi or 3G while playing back some media and it plummets further.

Overall it's "shiny shiny", but underneath the shiny veneer nasty things do lurk. It needs another coat of polish which I'm sure is coming in due course.

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

Electric Panda

Linux backdoor?

The thing about Linux is that merely glancing at the source code may not reveal anything.

A deliberate flaw in one module may be chained to a deliberate flaw in another, and another, and so on. Statically, it looks benign in code, but when it runs and all of these flaws manifest themselves in a running system...

Putting in some kind of elaborate backdoor which isn't seen to exist when the code is at rest isn't such an absurd idea.

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It's Grand Theft Auto 5 day: Any of you kids remember GTA the First?

Electric Panda

I always cracked up when I heard and saw "BUSTED!" accompanied by the "awww" sound from an invisible audience. It was properly hilarious in a weird way.

My copy of GTA V sits in its cellophane waiting for me, as I bought it yesterday at lunchtime but didn't have any time to play last night.

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Peak Apple: Has ANYONE at all ordered a new iPhone 5c?

Electric Panda

If the 5C doesn't deliver the numbers, it might be that next year there isn't a newer budget model and we'll be back to just one iPhone again. That could be potentially embarrassing and an admission of failure.

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New! Yahoo! logo! shows! Marissa! Meyer's! personal! touch!

Electric Panda

Somebody managed to make an identical copy of the London 2012 Olympics logo in just 10 minutes, using freeware graphics tools.

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'WTF! MORONS!' Yahoo! Groups! redesign! traumatises! users!

Electric Panda

I last used Yahoo! Groups back in... maybe... 2000? Fecketh me, I didn't think it was still going.

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Vodafone, can you get a signal at the top of your $130bn Verizon cash pile?

Electric Panda
FAIL

They could invest in their network, that might be a nice idea. I'm doing well to get 4 bars on Vodafone pretty much everywhere I go, and most of the time there's barely a flicker from the 3G. It'll show up "3G" on my phone, but there's either no data transfer or it's molasses slow. If you can't get this right, then forget 4G because I don't hold out any hope of it being better.

Unfortunately our corporate plans are Vodafone, but I'm told this is soon to change partly for the reasons I've mentioned. My colleagues all have the same or similar issues across a variety of handsets and locations, corollary is that Vodafone are pants.

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AREA 51 - THE TRUTH by the CIA: Official dossier blows lid off US secrets

Electric Panda
Pint

In my experience, an awful lot of the ZOMG ALIENS about Area 51 died out a while ago. Most of the die-hard UFO community now accept Area 51 is/was just an R&D and test area for some extremely advanced airborne kit, you'd think if there was something truly dodgy and extra-terrestrial going on that the US military wouldn't keep it in the one place everyone knows about and is obsessed with.

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Three's UK mobile network goes down on unlucky northerners

Electric Panda

0/10. Jimmies unrustled.

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Deutsche Telekom launches 'NSA-busting' encrypted email service

Electric Panda

Germany also gathers foreign intelligence via the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst). Wouldn't surprise me remotely if they do domestic work as well.

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BlackBerry pie sliced up: Nuke-plant OS, BBM chat app, etc sale mulled

Electric Panda

This isn't looking good

You don't even consider breaking up your company and selling bits off in this fashion unless you're in mortal danger.

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Wikileaker Bradley Manning's court martial verdict expected today

Electric Panda
Joke

Bradley Manning was also involved in the death of Speckled Jim, no doubt. He'll also be sentenced for that.

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Electric Panda
Pint

Nice handy discount, he might be out in time for Christmas!

If he doesn't get a full life sentence, he'll probably get a Madoff-esque equivalent in that he technically is entitled to parole but the parole date is miles beyond his life expectancy.

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Electric Panda

He'll get life without parole. Seems like such a foregone conclusion that there's little point in waiting around for the verdict, sadly.

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'It's GOOD we stopped selling the iPhone'

Electric Panda

Torvalds is Finnish by birth, but he was born into and brought up in a Swedish-speaking minority within Finland hence his obviously Swedish sounding name. His Finnish is conversationally excellent but he's not 100% fluent and it took him many years.

Finnish is an exceptionally strange and hideously complex language which doesn't seem to be in any way related to languages in the surrounding region. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are quite similar but Finnish comes out of left field and makes no sense at all.

Spoiler alert: the eternal but dead President of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, was brought up speaking Mandarin and didn't speak a word of Korean until he was a teenager.

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Oh please, PLEASE bring back Xbox One's hated DRM - say Xbox loyalists

Electric Panda

The DRM is probably just a switch that Redmond can flick at any time. It'll likely be back.

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China prepares to lift 13-year game console ban – report

Electric Panda

I don't understand this ban. China has been awash with locally manufactured knock-off consoles since time immemorial and these were sold in plain sight, so were those not banned too?

But anyway, opening up the market for sales of legitimate consoles means serious £££ because there's definitely demand for it.

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Big Beardie is watching you: Lord Sugar gets into facial recognition

Electric Panda

AMSAdvert. Dirt cheap, breaks after 17 seconds and you get the middle fingered salute when you complain about it.

This technology is ridiculous.

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I told you I'd be back: Arnie set for another career revival

Electric Panda

As long as it's better than Terminator: Salvation. I switched that film off after 15 minutes, what absolute dross.

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Girls, beer and C++: How to choose the right Comp-Sci degree for you

Electric Panda
Meh

"It's not a programming degree"

But so many CS degrees *are* pretty much exactly this.

It's an elephant in the room I have noticed, which has led directly to universities pumping out armies of mediocre programmers who are jacks of all trades but masters of none, rather than proper "Computer Scientists" that can solve real problems. For the record, I don't think I know anyone with a "Software Engineering" degree but have lost count of the "Computer Science" graduates who do that work daily. Where's the distinction in the workplace when it really matters?

The amount of times I've seen Top 10, well regarded universities who have CS graduates that gravitate towards software development after graduation because it's all they know and all they feel comfortable with [due to conditioning and 3-4 years of coursework revolving purely around programming] is truly staggering. It's like they're just not aware or don't have the motivation to take advantage of or explore such a wide open field. The same thing is now slowly happening with the InfoSec arena as well.

The state of academic CS in this country is, by and large, not that great. Flame and rebut away.

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A woman in IT is like a dog who speaks: Rare. A woman in IT security?

Electric Panda
Meh

There are plenty of women in IT security. I'm a man working in that field and have met more than my fair share of women in said same field, often doing technical and practical roles.

Women don't use computers, though, so who am I kidding?

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Now beaming live from Pyongyang: NORKSCASTS!

Electric Panda

Re: Communism

Sort of, but the military-first policy and breathtakingly cackhanded economic policies makes North Korea truly unique. There are other brutal tin pot dictatorships that have a sense of WTF when looking at North Korea because it's a true extreme and pretty much completely dysfunctional.

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Electric Panda
Happy

Communism

North Korea isn't actually Communist and hasn't been for quite some time now. The term "Communism" was deliberately removed from the constitution a few years back.

It's really a one-party socialist dictatorship propped up by a load of Stalinist fossils in the military upper echelons.

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US military welcomes Apple iOS 6 kit onto its networks

Electric Panda

Fart apps and Angry Birds are crucial in the never ending War on Terror, after all.

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NEW ITV Player app IS HERE ... for Samsung fandroids only. Ha ha

Electric Panda
FAIL

There'll be showstopping bugs in ITV Player as long as there are stars in the universe. It's utter bobbins and always has been, ITV should stop chucking money at it and outsource properly to YouTube or similar as others have done.

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BlackBerry infrastructure hit by ANOTHER outage

Electric Panda
Joke

South Park said it best

"What garbage!"

"Well what do you expect, they're Canadian!"

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