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* Posts by Ommerson

112 posts • joined 10 Mar 2011

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Ommerson

Re: Not sure (I know)

.. and a vast number of back room administrative stuff and customer services representatives dealign with the fallout of estimated bills.

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LibreSSL crypto library leaps from OpenBSD to Linux, OS X, more

Ommerson

Re: Code is truly awful, but sadly not unusual

While we're at it, a cursory glance at ssl_asn1.c shows plenty of pointer de-referencing too, without so much as a check for NULL or an assert().

Quality stuff that wouldn't get past my code review if one of my team developed it.

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

Ommerson

Furthemore, how was the author running shell scripts on iOS? It might have BSD unix heritage, but sure doesn't ship with shell tools, nor allows their use (without jail-breaking that is)

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London commuter hell will soon include 'one card to rule them all'

Ommerson

Oyster is everything that ITSO isn't: Fast, ubiquitous, and more importantly - deployed, working and trusted (mostly) by customers. It also handles significantly more transactions (probably tens of millions a day) than ITSO is likely to any time soon.

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Ommerson

The government has already been pursuing a 'one card to rule them all' solution for about a decade. It's called ITSO.

It's been designed by committee and is obsolete before it's even hit prime-time.

It's found some use for concessionary fares on buses, and, in theory will be rolled out across rail franchises - although the franchisees aren't terrible keen.

The DfT has paid TfL quite a bit of money to make the Oyster infrastructure compatible with ITSO. It's worth noting here that Oyster is firstly commercially successful and handles *way* more transactions than ITSO does - or is likely to.

The real killer reason why TfL won't be switching is said to be that the transaction time on an ITSO card it really long - far longer than for Oyster. Not so much touch your card, but hold it there on the reader for quite a long time. If everyone used ITSO on the underground, gate-lines would suddenly have enormous queues behind them and stations would close due to overcrowding.

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Ommerson

For at least some taxi drivers, it will be accountability and audit trail such a card generates that is the problem. No more jobs 'for cash'.

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NOT APPY: Black cab drivers enraged by Hailo as taxi tech wars rage on

Ommerson

There is an alternative explanation that perhaps the cabbies don't want all of their payments going through (traceable) electronic channels?

When fares are cash, it's pretty hard to prove one way or another that a driver is evading tax.

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Ommerson

Re: sworn enemies

Also: pedestrians and - particularly - cyclists. Or indeed anything else that gets between them and their next fare.

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Ommerson

Once again, Linus engaging in behaviour that would get him fired for workplace bullying in just about any major tech company.

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It's not you, it's EE: UK mobile network goes titsup, blames gremlins

Ommerson

That their website was totally hosed as well at one point (outright refusing connections), and that they don't have network status page is piss-poor.

Achieving a robust network status page is not hard: static content on a cloud service such as AWS, with a different domain name (just in case somebody forgets to renew the domain name, or an attack of DNS poisoning).

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15,000 London coppers to receive new crime-fighting tool: an iPad

Ommerson

Re: Only £13,333.33 Each.

Out of interest, I wonder how much the Police pay (all-up) for a desktop computer? Reports in the media this week suggest that the cost of provisioning one at a local council ran into 5 figures.

Naturally, the cost of the physical goods is only a small part of the TCO.

It's also fairly apparent, the a large part of this budget will have gone on providing the back-end services and applications that will be used on the tablets - which will be amortised over a larger roll-out.

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Ommerson
FAIL

Re: Have they picked the right tablet

You'd have to be particularly stupid to steal a mobile-data equipped iPad from the Police. Conviction rate of those trying is likely to be really high.

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Someone stole your phone? Now they'll have your STARBUCKS password – the horror!

Ommerson

Re: For once

If they made the same mistake on Android, this attack will be much worse, simply because getting into the filing system of the device is potentially so much easier.

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REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

Ommerson

MAP - or retail price maintenance - is thoroughly illegal across the EU on most goods (there are a few exceptions such as magazines and newspapers, and books - but definitely not electronics goods), and the penalties are eye-watering.

I suspect the similarity in pricing on electronics goods is mostly down to the wafer-thin margins.

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Ommerson

Re: the problem is subsidised handsets

If you calculate the all-up cost over the length of the - and I did for my last two iPhone purchases - you'll find that the network subsidy is considerably cheaper than buying the phone outright and then finding a SIM only package. Furthermore, the SIM only packages with equivalent data to the iPhone packages aren't terribly cheap either. Seems the networks are far more interested in losing money on subsidies and having locked-in customers than flighty ones on SIM only packages.

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Ommerson

Potentially Visual Voicemail - which you definitely miss once you've had it. And it's not offered by 3 or Vodaphone.

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Microsoft fears XP could cause Indian BANKOCALYPSE

Ommerson

Re: Mass starvation and widespread looting.

The software on these terminals is laughably dated too (as well has having appalling usability). Yet supermarkets are still buying more of the same old crap.

Presumably the other thing that will change with the discontinuation of Windows XP is MS supplied drivers for new hardware - there will come a time when XP just can't run on modern PCs.

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Euro Parliament axes data sharing with US – the NSA swiped the bytes anyway

Ommerson

Doesn't sounds as if this development will have much effect on the NSA's ability to collect data: It will just no longer be getting it with permission.

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MacBook Air fanbois! Your flash drive may be a data-nuking TIME BOMB

Ommerson
Stop

Re: Not possible.

You'd be very wrong about this. Large businesses prefer to be, you know, running their business rather than building computers. They are quite happy paying extra for premium hardware and premium support so that downtime due to failures gets sorted out quickly. It's a small part of the total cost of ownership of a computer.

It's worth pointing out that the Dell XPS range was a pro-sumer product aimed at the gaming market . Dell even managed to ship these around the time of Windows Vista's release without working graphics drivers.

One hopes that Dell actually properly integration tests the premium models targeted at medium and large enterprises

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Stallman's GNU at 30: The hippie OS that foresaw the rise of Apple - and is now trying to take it on

Ommerson

Re: Y'all GNU kids remember...

If the infamous Torvalds/Tananbaum flame-war is anything to go by, it's fair to say that Linus didn't like what he saw.

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Ommerson

The open source movement fails frequently to understand that software has non tangibles, such as design and usability. It's rare that the OS even stops to think that their users might not be particularly like them, or even care. Instead there's a lot of naval gazing.

We note that the company that has probably sold 100 times more UNIX systems than anybody else - and to regular consumers - is really big on things such as UXD and design - and leverages vast amounts of Open Source software licensed under non-GPL licenses. They've had a large part in rendering thoroughly obsolete, the FSF's first software release: GCC.

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Ommerson

Re: proprietary binary blob drivers -- A lot of this is graphics

And a huge omission:

* Image signal processing subsystem.

This last one being a really large lump of IP that differentiates the good phone vendors from the rest.

I can tell you, having had access to the full documentation (under NDA) of a particular SoC used in phones, you still don't get any documentation on the ISP or GPU.

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Investor lobs sueball at BlackBerry, says it 'misled' shareholders

Ommerson

This sounds equivalent to walking into a book-makers' shop, placing a £10 bet at 100-1 outsider and then asking for your money back when it loses.

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Apple Maps directs drivers INTO path of ONCOMING PLANES

Ommerson

For drivers with a legitimate reason to go airside, this is probably the correct route.

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MPs slam bumpkin fibre rollout, demand halt to further £250m cash spaff

Ommerson

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the roll-out is complex. Not something a mom-and-pop local company is going to able to achieve, and seems to have been the expectation from some quarters.

I also wonder whether any of the other (in most cases, non-existent) competitors were obliged to offer the the fibre wholesale to ISPs or would they have simply got a monopoly for service provision over the fibre? If they were, this might explain the business being attractive.

As it stands, BT at least knows what it's doing, is doing it fairly quickly and provides a wholesale product at a regulated price once done.

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Hardbitten NYC cops: Sir, I'm gonna need you to, er, upgrade to iOS 7

Ommerson

Re: Absolutely Ridiculous

Stolen phones are exported out of reach of the UK networks' block list.

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Ommerson
Stop

Re: Umm.

You'd need both the lock-code (required after every reboot before the fingerprint scanner can be used) AND AppleID and password. It would be a highly switched-on mugger who knew this.

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Ommerson

Re: He's right.

They are documented - often in great detail. But the documentation is frequently under NDA, and most of the code is contributed by the SoC vendors.

The Linux Kernel mainline is very, very far from being the mainline for any ARM SoCs anyway, all Linus will achieve is more forking.

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Ministry of Sound sues Spotify over user playlists

Ommerson
FAIL

Re: Passing off

You can just imagine the slim chance that they win and Spotify is forced to prevent users naming their play-lists 'Ministry Of Sound'. Just think how many variations of those three word would appear to work around the filter.

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Ommerson
Go

Re: Do they mix?

The USP of MoS compilations was more accessibility: at one time, many of the tracks would have been vinyl only, and possibly available in very limited quantities.

Now the original artists are quids-in as they're getting remunerated for their plays whereas MoS is getting nothing.

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Japan's unwanted IT workers dumped in 'forcing-out rooms'

Ommerson

Re: browses the web and reads books all day...

The employees were probably in that room for a reason....

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Green German gov battles to keep fossil powerplants running

Ommerson

Perhaps we should create a pre-historic reservation where people who believe this can go and live out the rest of their very simply lives without energy?

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Ommerson

If this is your game, you'd probably electrolyse water into hydrogen rather than make long-chain hydrocarbons.

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Ommerson
FAIL

The green lobby is frequently either ignorant or conveniently forgets about base-load.

Nuclear is great for base-load whereas Solar and Wind energy are never going to be suitable.

What nuclear and coal or bio-mass fire thermal plants are not good at is responding quickly to peak demand. So it's going to have to be CCGT for this. And the network is going to need nearly as much capacity from these plants as it has from intermittent renewables.. Plants which will spend much of their life idle.

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

Ommerson

Nobody - besides a phone vendor - wants BlackBerry OS. QNX (without Blackberry OS) on the other hand is still an attractive proposition as an RTOS - in lots of applications. Essentially this position hasn't changed since QNX was purchased.

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Hundreds of UK CSC staff face chop, told to train Indian replacements

Ommerson

Perhaps...

If we started refusing to do businesses (e.g. CSC's clients) who offshore their back-end IT and customer services jobs things might change.

For starters - here are two:

Barclays: Telephone banking mostly operated out of India (and have proved themselves to be less that useful on several occasions now)

3: Just about all customer support roles are based in India.

There is also a trend for off-shoring in local government - many of which in London get extra money from the central government because they are a deprived area and then outsource their customer facing roles elsewhere.

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Multi-billion pound gov tech contracts could end up in toilet - MPA

Ommerson

Re: Same old story

The private sector (if they're competent, and plenty of providers haven't been) simply reflects the risk in the price tendered - hence the enormous costs involved.

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New Ubuntu for phones due 'by end of May' – usable this time

Ommerson
Thumb Up

Re: Unix phone

You would. What fun typing all of this on a touchsceen would be?

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Ommerson

Re: evidence that this is doomed

Simply because they *can*, and because they intensely dislike interacting with any other kind of interface. You'll probably find they eschew the built in mail app, and run Mutt instead. And naturally there will a choice between Vi and Emacs - neither of which i imagine to be fun with a touchscreen.

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Ommerson
FAIL

Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

You kind of have to admit Shuttleworth for thinking big (Megalomaniacal tendencies perhaps?) - otherwise Ubuntu would be just another Linux distro with just the same stagnant - and increasingly in the consume space - obsolete business model. However, seeing that Apple, Microsoft (and to a lesser extent Google) are providing eco-systems, and deciding he wants to play the same game as well is possibly misguided.

Right now Canonical are building out a bunch of cookie-cutter cloud services to support their new family of devices, and it's precisely the kind of thing their existing customer base is going to hate.

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Ommerson
Go

Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

I can. And that would be what the dog-food very soon becomes following consumption by said dog

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Ommerson
FAIL

Feedback from early UX testing (and yes, Ubuntu employs a huge team of UX experts at top $) was that the number 1 missing feature was ..... a console application. That is evidence enough that this enterprise is doomed.

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Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

Ommerson
Stop

They are readily available to rent with the right contacts. One hears from the press of the hire-charge being in the £100-200 range provided the weapon isn't fired. And if the intention is to intimidate rather than actually kill, an imitation is likely adequate.

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Ommerson
Go

Re: Takes me back to high school.

One of my mother's friend's sons was quite wayward and getting into all kind of trouble. He had already build a home-made chemical balance for the express purpose of getting the stoichiometric ratio for black-power *just* right.

Naturally he progressed onto making a projectile-weapons. His novel design used an empty (of gas) Sodastream CO2 cylinder which he packed with black-powder and a fuse-wire detonator. In the neck of the bottle, he placed a projectile carefully machined to be a tight fit.

He tried this in some woodland near his house. Results: Not much of the gas cylinder remained, but the bullet was almost precisely where had been. And the police got very interested.

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Ommerson
Go

Re: Rent

isn't this precisely what you friendly neighbourhood Hackspace or modelling club is for? Access to machine tools one wouldn't otherwise be able to buy ;)

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Ommerson
FAIL

Re: David, you missed the point

What might have escaped most of the people sucked in by the media hype is that a 3d printer isn't some kind of universal assembly machine, and that it can doesn't print double-sided 3d parts, or those with internal cavities straight off the machine's table - some kind of formwork is always required, and in the case of cavities, you're probably looking at a two parts that are then glued together.

Plug in USB-and-go this isn't.

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Open source port-a-thon brings Ubuntu to more phones, tablets

Ommerson
Mushroom

Not totally useless....

....just mostly.

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Hands-on with Ubuntu's rudimentary phone and tablet OS

Ommerson
FAIL

Re: but puzzling nonetheless

If canonical listened to its user-base, the default UI would be a console window. And apparently that's precisely the number one feature request when they did user-testing. I believe they added it too.

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Vertu-alised Android revealed at an all-too-real €7,900

Ommerson
FAIL

Re: "can survive a strike from a 110-gram ball bearing"

The scientific illiteracy continues with '50kg of pressure'.

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Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

Ommerson
Thumb Down

Re: It was only a matter of time

This is also a sunset business because the retail of everything they distribute is as well (newspapers, CDs, DVDs, magazines). Retailing these good as well is surely putting all of the eggs in one basket.

WHSmith is a store I really dislike shopping in. Cluttered, overstocked shops with shite customer service.

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