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* Posts by Stuart Castle

503 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS

Stuart Castle

Re: Lizard People?

"Where the funniness of the lizard thing is lost is that it's based on a misunderstanding on the technical point: You don't revoke the fingerprint!"

You do realise humour is often based on a misunderstanding? See the Four candles sketch from The Two Ronnies for an example.

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Stuart Castle

Re: Biometrics...

I'd say the same. I use self service tills regularly and have never been asked to re-scan a barcode.

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You'd better get out before the sync 'n' share bubble POPS

Stuart Castle

Re: Turning a product into a feature?

You do realise that the primary reason (in our case at least) for limits on the amount users can store is not actually the cost of storage as such, but the cost of storing all the backups. We use a multi generation off site backup system, so are paying three or four times more than we would for backups. But we can guarantee that should something serious happen, users will not lose much work, if anything.

You also realise that Dropbox do not back up your data, and, IIRC, make no guarantees it will be available should they have a problem with their system? After all, if something happens to your data server side (maybe it's corrupted by a HDD failure) and your client logs in and syncs it's data, you may lose some or all of that data.

Dropbox is fine (I use it myself), but I cannot serious recommend it for important, enterprise level data.

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Apple has THREE TIMES as much cash as US govt, TWICE the UK

Stuart Castle

Sounds like something I once heard. It went something like this;

If you owe the bank £200, they've got you by the balls. If you owe them £200 million, you've got them by the balls.

I think the problem is that people or corporations with a lot of money also tend to end up with a lot of power. Even if they don't, the perception is often that they have power, which still makes people a little scared.

Look at Vodafone. They owe 10s if not 100s of millions in VAT, yet HMRC was proud to announce that they'd reached a deal with Vodafone even though that deal involved Vodafone paying a fraction of what they owed. Yet, a local businessman I know of owes around £8 million and they are going after the lot. Don't get me wrong: He owes the money, he should pay it back, so I am not defending him. It just seems that when people do bad things at that high a level, those in power suddenly don't know how to deal with it.

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So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom

Stuart Castle

Re: Inherently uni-directional

Actually, bi directional. So, by your definition, Microwave links and Laser communications must also be a waste of time. After all, both methods are also bi directional.

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Murdoch says Microsoft needs 'big clean out'

Stuart Castle

Re: Maybe not the best source of advice

OK, I am no great fan of Murdoch (on the contrary, I think he is the worst thing to happen to the media), but he is a man that, in a little over 60 years, went from being the owner of one small, Adelaide based local paper to owning one of the largest media conglomerates on the planet. He has taken over many failing companies, cleaned out the deadwood and restored them to profit.

OK, so he may not have technical knowledge, but the technical side of Microsoft isn't the side that's struggling (IMO). Like them or loathe them, they are still turning out products and updates much as they always were.

Where Microsoft is buggering up is that the company itself continues to misjudge the various markets it is competing in. This is a business problem, not a technical one. This is also an area that Murdoch apparently excels at sorting out.

Microsoft would be well served to listen to him.

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Apple to flush '£37bn' down the bog if it doesn't flog cheapo slabtops

Stuart Castle

"The analyst also had a bad prediction for Intel, and warned that Apple's own in-house-designed, A-series chip would probably be used in its next generation of laptop machines."

I've heard this a few times, and I'm thinking the same I have every time I've heard it before.

No chance. Yet.

Why do I say bull? OSX. while (IMO) an amazing OS was very much a niche player on the OS market. It still is, but sales have improved massively. Regardless of the abilities of the Mac, it was not compatible with Windows. As such, any customer would have to buy new versions of any software they use (assuming a Mac version was available). This has previously (combined with the high price anyway) has been a major obstacle to selling Macs.

Apple got a *huge* boost in sales when they switched to Intel. While Windows is still a viable OS, they aren't going to risk the Mac sales going back to the level they were.

I'd also like to point out that while in Mountain Lion (and some extent Lion), they appear to have been aggressively moving toward a more iOS style interface, with Mavericks, they appear to have stopped.

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Google kills fake anti-virus app that hit No. 1 on Play charts

Stuart Castle

Re: 10,000 downloads is #1?

Android may have a billion users, but how many actually bother to install apps?

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Stuart Castle

Re: Because there is no "they" at Google to turn a blind eye or not. Having built systems and platforms as automated as they have, there is no human arbiter or route of appeal, no human managed customer services, no editorial discretion.

This is true. Where I work, we use gmail for certain users email. AFAIK, we have the relevant SLAs in place and this is under a business contract. As such, you'd expect that we'd have little trouble getting hold of actual people to solve a problem. Not so, according to the guys that deal with them. In fact, quite the opposite.

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Stuart Castle

A non technical person probably wouldn't know about which permissions an antivirus would use, assuming they knew about permissions at all.

Similarly, a non technical person would probably have no way of ascertaining that a virus scanner is doing nothing other than display some pretty graphics on it's UI..

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iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Stuart Castle

Re: Apple DON'T repair your iThing

Unless you go to a dedicated repair company, no one repairs devices then gives them back to you in my experience. What happens is they swap the device for one with equivalent specs, then send your device to the manufacturer who repairs and refurbishes it, then it's given to someone else when their device dies, or it's sold as a refurb.

I know that if you take a faulty Apple device into an Apple store, the "Genius" will attempt to repair it if it's a simple repair (even to the point of replacing damaged screens), and I've two Apple devices go bad on me. Both times, the "Genius" tried to run some simple diagnostics, poked around the device, then said they'd have to send it for repair. Actually, the first was an Apple Time Capsule with a blown power supply. That was fun watching them try and run simple diagnostics on a device that wouldn't even power up.

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Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

Stuart Castle

My GP actually said that NHS Direct was a bit of a double edged sword.. He said it gave good information that was certainly good enough for people to help themselves, but it also gave ideas to hypochondriacs.

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Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Stuart Castle

So, the same organisation that gives inventors a pittance and only after they can demonstrate that their product is going to make money is throwing money at rich people to set up websites? I am actually not criticising the website. It sounds like it has worthwhile goals, but sounds a lot like various other websites that also have lofty goals of getting us to recycle and help each other.

The concern I have is that it seems a *lot* of british inventors, engineers and scientists are making wonderful breakthroughs, but have to go abroad to get finance. These are products that could make serious money, and help the economy. One example: IIRC a lot of the engineers behind the Psion Organiser series developed a new MP3 player while at Psion. Psion could not get funding for it, so they went abroad. Some ended up at Apple, and some of what they developed ended up being used in iPod.

We are giving people like this a pittance, and making them fight for that while throwing money at millionaires..

The government's reaction to this? Do they see the benefit of developing new products in this country, then allowing British companies to manufacture and market them and vow to help these companies? No. They ensure the orginisation that distributes the money becomes a charity and under no obligation to release information given an FOI request..

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Microsoft to get in XP users' faces with one last warning

Stuart Castle

Re: Yes I predict it will be exactly as terrible as Y2K!

You are forgetting the tens of thousands of computer systems that were audited, found to faulty, then patched. Which, in the case of bespoke systems, is a little more than just applying the latest patch, update or service pack from the vendor. I know of a few cases where to alter a system, due to it being written in an archaic language like Cobol, they had to pay a programmer to come out of retirement to do it. Even where systems did have a ready made update, any company with a proper change procedure would still have had to ensure that any patch for mission critical systems is thoroughly tested before deployment.

Another way to look at it.

The Airlines and Banks were amongst the first adopters of computer technology. This, combined with a slight reluctance to change core systems and processes mean that companies in both industries have a *lot* of computers and software that is old (some dating back to the 70s). That nice, pretty GUI the check in desk person sees when you check in to the airport probably sends keypresses back to the mainframe (which is still running the original software), and "scrapes" the output..

Now, did you see any Airline disasters during y2k? No? How about Finance? Did any major banks collapse during Y2K? Did any major economies collapse as their currency sunk to a point where you'd need a mortgage to buy a packet of sausages? No?

Why not? Because tens of thousands of people tested these systems to ensure that there would be no problem, and tens of thousands of programmes wrote updates to ensure it wouldn't happen.

We came of relatively lightly (only a couple of old, easily replaced, systems failed our Y2K compliance test, but even we only found that out after testing thousands of items.

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RISE of the MACHINES and Bitcoin: Bill Gates' Reddit tech predictions

Stuart Castle

I think you've missed the point. The point he was making was that he can give billions. He can help entire countries with his wealth and he will still have enough money to live comfortably on. But, he doesn't think that he is a hero for doing that. He thinks the real heroes are the ones actually "on the ground" helping those in need directly, and also those that don't have much money, but give some anyway.

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Gamers in a flap as Vietnamese dev pulls Flappy Bird

Stuart Castle

Re: Must have been those $50,000 a day

Not that I am a fan, but I remember Mariah Carey saying something similar in an interview. She said when she had made a few million dollars from her records, she realised that a lot of her friends had changed, even those she thought she knew well. She suddenly found that very few of them were absolutely 100% trustworthy. A feeling which I think, even if I was that wealthy, would make me very lonely.

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Spam drops as legit biz dumps mass email ads: Only the dodgy remain

Stuart Castle

Re: Mass e-mail != Spam

The problem there is that, in my experience, people do not read what they are signing This also extends to web forms where a lot of them appear to tick everything then wonder why they suddenly get a deluge of spam.

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KC engineer 'exposed unencrypted spreadsheet with phone numbers, user IDs, PASSWORDS'

Stuart Castle

Erm, yes..

"She added: "I can assure you that all of our laptops are encrypted, password-protected and fitted with tracking technology and the facility to remotely wipe data.""

OK. This remote tracking technology. Does this include hardware that connects to the mobile phone network. Or any network that is not the customer's WiFi network? If it connects via the mobile network is the SIM removable?

My point is that they are relying on technology that may or may not be reliable to keep their customer data secure when they could secure it relatively easily by doing something we do at work. At work, we deal with a lot of user profiles. We generate random passwords for all new users, then request that users change that password upon first log in. The system will allow us to look up the original password and, if necessary, reset the user's current password to that, but will not allow us to look up the user's current password.

The system is not infallible by any stretch, but it does ensure that the user has some idea if one of us has tried to log in as them as we would need to reset the password first.

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Bored with patent trolls? Small fry - prepare for the Design Trolls

Stuart Castle

Re: haha, good one

That, in my experience, is the freetard mentality. They expect everyone to provide things to them for free but still expect to be paid or rewarded themselves..

Note: I don't consider Open Source to be part of the freetard mentality. In my experience, most Open Source people don't mind if you make some money from their project as long as you contribute any changes you make to the code back to the project.

Back to the subject at hand. You are right, if our Uni researchers find their work being released into the Public Domain, they may well bugger off to other countries where they are rewarded. After all, we have probably asked them to pay £9,000 a year for their education, and a medical researcher can (I believe) spend up to 8 years in University). Why should they spend £72,000 and get nothing in return?

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Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

Stuart Castle

Re: This internet of things

Unfortunately, it's relatively easy for them to make the tracking chip very difficult to remove. Just integrate it (or it's functionality) with one of the other chips that modern fridges inexplicably need to keep something cold.

*wishes for a return to the days of fridges just having a pump, some piping and the minimal circuitry required to control the pump..

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Stuart Castle

Re: But..

I would also rather trust Microsoft or Apple. Yes, you pay for the product you get but they don't harvest data on your habits which they then sell. As such, to make a profit out of you, they do not need to sell data on you to someone else.

Google, on the other hand, offer everything for "free" then make their money by selling advertising, and also selling tracking data.they have on you So, of course, it's in their interest to track you.

It's also worth noting that Apple are actually quite open about what they do use personal data for. Something which, in my experience, cannot be said about Google.

It's actually quite scary how much data google does apparently have on it's users. Thanks to Android, they have access to where you are at any given time. They also have access to your contacts, as well as what apps you use/games you play. Thanks to Gmail, they have access to a lot of your emails. They also operate email services for a lot of companies and other organisations but in the spirit of fairness, I am assuming that these have privacy clauses that Google honours.

If you sign in to Google, they also track what types of pages you view (the Google ads code sends back some details of the page it is running on) as well as any search terms you use.

Now, with Nest, they'll probably know what temperature you like to have your home at at any given time.

Add in Google + and you might as well forget about privacy all together.

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'We don't use UPS. If we did we'd have huge UPSs and tiny computers'

Stuart Castle

Re: Argument seems illogical

The trouble with UPSs they are a little like good back up strategies and systems in that if they are working, people won't notice them. As such, come budget time, they appear to be a (potentially) large expense.

It's only when they aren't there, or they fail when you need them that you notice them..

Having said that, we have a UPS system that is good enough for our needs, as is our backup system (which uses both on and off site backups).. Unfortunately, due to the buildings we occupy being grade 1 listed, it's not really practical to install a generator (or so I have been told).

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Bottom falls out of Nokia's network rump

Stuart Castle

The problem with comparing Nokia with Philips is

that Philips never seemed to consider mobile phones as major part of their business. Yes, Nokia made all sorts of electronic stuff (TVs, computers, monitors, etc) when they started making mobiles, but they seemed to scale all that back to concentrate on phones and their associated network hardware.

Philips, on the other hand, added mobile phones to a range of products that went from computer chips, light bulbs and electric toothbrushes through to huge CT and other various computerised healthcare machines via TVs and hi fis.

Even though Philips have either reduced or got rid of a few loss-making divisions over the last few years (for instances, I believe the TV division has been reduced), they are still competing in a *lot* of markets.

A strategy that Nokia may well be advised to consider.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.5: The Sinclair Sovereign

Stuart Castle

Re: Says it all really...

The thing is, there seem increasingly to be two facets of design in use. The practical facet which is how a product works and the visual facet which is how a product looks. I think that this is partly because people who tend to be good at designing the functional part of a product are not always that visually orientated and those that are don't always understand the technicalities of a product..

For instance, a couple of years ago, we needed a new system for booking out equipment to users. We had no budget to buy in a system, or employ someone and only a few staff with the time and skill required to design one. So, we got together what staff we had. One colleague designed the backend database stuff and web services required (we had several systems all needing to access the same data, so it was easier to use web services to manage access to that data, one designed the look and feel of the websites involved and I designed the code used to connect the two..

Now, my friend who designed the look and feel of the site is very visually oriented. So much so is now a video effects tech for the movies. But he has a very limited ability to understand coding. I have a good knowledge of coding (in multiple languages, both web and non web based) and while I am quite capable of producing a fully usable site, it would not win any awards for it's appearance..

The Design council have always seemed to be concerned with how a product looks rather than how it functions.

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US Department of Justice details Kim Dotcom evidence

Stuart Castle

Produce proof that Akamai is *knowingly* distributing pirated copyright material and that may well happen.

Kim Dotcom has his faults, but he seems an intelligent man. Even before the emails released by the authorities, I was thinking that he couldn't possibly be under the impression all those people were paying a subscription just to distribute a lot of personal date, Linux distributions or gigabytes of their own personal compositions? I dare say some where using Megaupload to distribute their own personal compositions, but the amount that would have been doing that would not have made him much profit, and probably would not have covered their own costs.

I'm fairly certain he realised that as well.

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Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

Stuart Castle

Re: Shame

You do realise that people that actually spend the extra for a Mac Pro tend to be people that will need the extra horsepower, don't you? If they want a pretty machine, they'll go for an iMac or Mac Mini (assuming they go for a Mac at all).

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Stuart Castle

DAB good?

Just to add my bit..

I've given DAB a fair go..

My first DAB radio was a Psion Wavefinder. Good little piece of kit once they sorted out the driver problems.. The problem it had is that being USB only, you needed to attach it to a PC, so, even with a laptop, it was stretching the definition of portable.

My second DAB radio was a Robert's pocket radio. This was a good little radio, just suffered the normal DAB problem of bad reception when moving (which sort of negates the point of a pocket radio as you are likely to move at some point while using it) and went through batteries at a rate of knots..

My third was a Sony Pocket DAB. Unfortunately, I ignored the warning about shutting it down properly before removing the batteries and blew it up as a result..

My fourth was the replacement for the above (another Sony Pocket DAB). This was OK. It was relatively small. Used a lot less power than the above Roberts radio (although still went through two AA batteries in 5 days with 1 hour listening each day) and still suffered the same reception problems.

I think the problem with DAB is that partly that technology has overtaken it, and partly that it was based on old technology to start with.

Look at my situation. I still listen to a lot of radio. Mostly in bed or when I am travelling. When I am travelling, I have an iPhone app (called Tunein radio) that gives me access to the webstreams of tens of thousands of radio stations (including all the ones I am interested in on DAB). The reception I get is far from perfect, but is far superior to DAB, simply because the mobile phone networks have *already* invested a lot of money in their networks..

At home, I listen to the radio on Freeview which, unlike DAB, I can receive well all over my house (which is odd,as our local transmitter for both is Crystal Palace)

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Ballmer: 'We made more money than almost anybody on the PLANET'

Stuart Castle

Re: BALLMER: 'WE MADE MORE MONEY THAN ALMOST ANYBODY ON THE PLANET'

"Or, if Linux had been out earlier & got commercial backing sooner, it might be the standard desktop, just as Android has become the defacto standard smart phone O/S."

The very first version of Linux released in 1991, although that did apparently require some compiling and linking that put it beyond the abilities of most users. Apparently the first major release of Linux was in 1992.

Although. having said that, you are right. Linux needed someone commercial and well known to back it. Someone like Dell or IBM. It does seem, however, that the PC market was VERY pro microsoft and considered any competing OS vendor to be the work of Satan at the time. Dell and IBM did start actively supporting Linux toward the end of the 90s, but even that's had a few problems. Dell has done some sterling work getting Linux onto people's desktops, but seems mainly interested in using as a server OS and IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo, who don't seem to be actively pushing Linux,

As for the assertion we'd be in a mess if Microsoft hadn't been around, well, personally, I don't believe that is true. I believe that had Windows failed for whatever reason, someone (Apple, Novell, IBM etc) would have "picked up the ball" and written what would become a dominant OS. The potential market was too huge for people to ignore.

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Bloke, 27, cuffed, charged over stolen selfie smut site UGotPosted

Stuart Castle

Re: Nasty Blackmail

"The moral of the whole story is if you don't want to be highly embarrassed then don't have saucy pics taken of yourself and certainly don't be stupid enough to store them on Facebook."

If only life were that easy..

Now, imagine you are in a loving relationship (I have no idea if you are or not). During a bit of sex one night, your loved one suggests you take some photos of each other. You know, just to capture the moment and as a little pick me up in the future. The photos are taken, and you carry on with the business at hand. A year later, the relationship breaks up and you find out that your now ex is not quite the person you thought. They publish the photos to a revenge site. People see them, and some get in touch with you. How would you feel? You allowed the photos in good faith, but placed your faith in the wrong person (which is easy to do). Should you be punished for that?

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Stuart Castle

Re: If

NIce Black and White world you live in there. Sadly, the one the rest of us inhabit is actually different shades.

People in relationships will always take these kinds of photographs. They have been doing so for a long time. Admittedly, it would have been a little difficult to take a photo when you are in action when photography was new and you had to stay in the same position for 15 minutes to get a clear photo, but I suspect people found a way around that too.

Photos are, in a way, memories. It's reasonable to assume that a couple might want to have reminders of some of their more passionate times.

Regardless of the reason the photos were taken, IMO, the people begin photographed have a right to determine who is going to see it. If they want photos of them dangling from the light fitting over a dildo the size of a man's leg to be published, they have that right. Similarly if they want to take a photo of themselves naked for their other half and just want him or her to see it, they have the right to decide that as well.

I had a work colleague. He was going out with an absolutely stunning woman who worked in another department in the same company as both of us. His actions when they broke up? To set up a website (he ran his own web hosting firm part time, so had a free server he could use) containing photos of said stunning woman in various poses, but usually with her legs around her neck and wearing only a rather weird looking jumper. He then emailed the link to every man he worked with.

I'll be honest, I never realised the impact this sort of thing would have until I saw her the next day. She had previously been a very confident woman, but that confidence had left her. She actually looked visibly deflated and very embarrassed. It took weeks for her to recover her confidence.

He did get his though. One of my other colleagues also saw the photos. She noticed that a lot of the website bore a striking resemblance to the website Sony were using to provide support for their Viao laptops. A couple of phone calls and a few days later, he got a Cease and Desist order from Sony's Lawyers and was bricking himself.

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Eagle steals crocodile-cam, records video selfie

Stuart Castle

Re: In-flight video

I suspect the eagle would have had trouble picking up the U-Matic gear... Admittedly, my experience is limited to a couple of video decks the company I work for used to own, but it's not exactly lightweight.

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World's first selfie found on Wayback Machine

Stuart Castle

Re: It is vital that we preserve our early selfies for posterity

While I agree with your comment about Selfies, I've used facebook pretty much since they accepted non us members.. Personally, I use it partly as a way to keep in touch with friends I do actually spend time with and partly as a way to keep in touch with friends that for various practical reasons, I no longer see regularly (such as those who have moved to a different country for instance). I don't have thousands of friends on FB, nor do I need them.

Regarding publishing photos and status updates about myself, personally I don't, really do that much. I usually use my status to comment on something I've seen or experienced and 99% of the photos of me that are online were uploaded by other people.

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MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

Stuart Castle

Not only help systems..

Not only are the help systems in Adobe products monumentally unhelpful, but they don't always work. We install all the Adobe products to hundreds of computers at work and one version of Photoshop (6 IIRC) would never allow access to the help system from within the program. I spend several hours testing and retesting the method I was using to deploy it and was able to reproduce the problem reliably. I was also able to reproduce the problem several times using a fresh install of Windows and a fresh install of photoshop (both done manually). I ended up having to get the automatic install to put a link to the help html files in the start menu.

Also, the error messages can be a little unhelpful. When exporting video, certain codecs impose certain restrictions (for instance Indeo required that the x and y resolutions be a multiple of 4 IIRC). Unfortunately, if the Codec refused to encode the video for whatever reason when you were exporting the video, Premiere just said there was a disk error..

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PlayStation daddy on new PS4: She's ALL 'PLAY', NO 'Station' this time

Stuart Castle

Re: The PS3 was and still is a top-notch product

It's not a valid comparison because most games actually do most of their processing on the GPU in the machine which, being integrated into the CPU itself, will undoubtedly be able to communicate with the CPU at a far greater speed that the GPU and CPU in a PC can communicate. It also means you can't directly compare clock speeds. Put a 2.4GHz Core 2 against a 3GHz P4 and you'll see what I mean.

Also, bear in mind that the consoles are actually competing against the low-end and mid-range PCs. Not the high end stuff, which can cost an order of magnitude more than the console. How long will it be before a low end or mid-range PC will be able to manage 4K gaming?

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What's wrong with network monitoring tools? Where do I start...

Stuart Castle

Usability, We've heard of it..

I think the problem with the GUIs for a lot of products written for sys admins or other technical people (I'm including engineers, mathematicians and other disciplines here, not only computing) is that the programmers of the software believe the functionality is all they need to worry about. The GUI is something they can just tack on.

Even the big vendors (some of whom spend a *lot* on user interface design) fall foul of this. Anyone who has used Apple's workgroup manager, or a lot of Microsoft's system admin tools can tell you that.

I think the problem is that a lot of people think the good user interface design is just a trendy thing talked about by designers and other "meeja" types in poncy bars in West London, so they tend to just knock up their own which includes access to all the functions, but they forget that the average user doesn't have access to the development team, so may have difficulty finding the obscure place they've just put that menu item. I've seen various Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Systems Analysis/Design packages that are like this, and have options in the most obscure places.

To a large extent, UI design *is* just a trendy thing talked about by designers, as stated above. This is the other part of the problem.

Some designers come up with an incredibly pretty GUI but have no understanding of what the user needs, or any real understanding of the product. We had a NAS once that would regularly stop serving files via SMB. I logged on to the web interface, and saw all sorts of pretty dials and bar graphs telling me everything from the amount of work being done by the CPU through RAM used, Storage space used, number of reads/writes to each disk, various internal temperatures right down to the fact that both PSUs were online. What it never warned me of though is that Samba had crashed. As it turned out Samba was more likely to crash if the storage was full, but I kept a network drive on Windows connected to one of the shares and noticed this.. I was not connected to the web interface.

The problem is that GUIs need to be designed by people who have a good concept of how the average user thinks (which tends to exclude programmers - no offence intended to anyone) but who also have a good idea of how the program or system should work. I'll admit that it can be difficult finding someone who has both of the above qualities but it is doable. Probably the best way to do it is simply talk to people who use your product. Find out what they need to know and provide it to them in a way they are happy with.

I know a lot of people don't like Apple, but I'd like to cite one of their products, Apple Remote Desktop, as an example of good user interface design. By default when you run it, you get a list showing the computers you are monitoring, their current status, their IP, who is logged on, the application that currently has focus and the version of OSX they are running. If you need more info,you double click on a computer. If you need to do something to one of the PCs, you can click one of the buttons on the toolbar, and drag the list of the computers you want that action performed on to the window that is shown.

A product like that is never going to be easy for beginners because a lot of what it does is built around using Unix scripts (so you do need some scripting knowledge), but the UI is (IMO) quite simple and very effective.

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iTunes-for-corporates private app stores put firms at risk – survey

Stuart Castle

Odd that a survey taken on behalf of a company that sells Licence Management systems designed to avoid this sort of thing should conclude that other companies (presumably not using a Licence Management system to monitor this) are possibly violating their licences and risk legal action.

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BIG, CURVY Apple models: Just right for SLAP AND TICKLE

Stuart Castle

Re: uncritical acceptance?

You don't expect a Microsoft product to work with another Microsoft product out of the box, do you?

I just remember the amount of aggravation I had getting Entourage (included in Office 2008) to talk properly to our exchange server. Eventually, I gave up and just used OSX Mail, which actually worked brilliantly with exchange.

I also remember the pain I had getting my HTC Tytn II to connect to my PC when it was running Vista. After a fair amount of patching, it worked but I am surprised that as both products were out at roughly the same time that it didn't just work out of the box.

0
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'F-CK YOU GOOGLE+' ukelele missy scoops BIG WAD of $$ - for Google

Stuart Castle

Re: Guitar

Or maybe Emma is quite large? :)

3
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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

Stuart Castle

Re: re: hate for ID

Another point: It's perfectly possible to live in Britain and not own any form of ID whatsoever. It does impose certain limitations on your life, such as having to pay for everything in cash, but it is doable.

With a mandatory ID card, it would not be.

8
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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

Stuart Castle

Interesting censorship..

Typical Armericans really. You can show beheadings (or other violent acts) but as soon as someone says a word that might be in the slightest bit offensive, that's wrong.

Why do I say typical Americans? Remember the outcry when Janet Jackson dared to show a nipple (which was largely covered anyway) at the superbowl? Yet no outcry when American TV shows violence on TV shows, and even shows players getting injured in American Football.

Don't get me wrong. I like Americans. They can be an amazing people, but then they go and do something like this, and I don't recall Canadians doing it.

4
1

Bucket? Check. Toilet plunger? Check. El Reg's 50 years of Doctor Who

Stuart Castle

Sorry to have to say this, but the producer and director of the Doctor Who TV movie were British. Admittedly, I don't think they had a single clue what makes the series work, so ended up producing a generic actioner featuring a time traveller in a strange blue box (although he wasn't in that much) rather than what felt like Doctor Who.

1
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Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Stuart Castle

Re: Here we go again...

"The only thing that pisses me off about this is that I bought the Z10 a few months ago. If I knew there was a bigger phone coming out I'd have waited for the Z30. But the Z10, to me, is the best phone I've ever used. No regrets here."

That's the thing with any modern technology. There is *always* something bigger/better/more powerful just around the corner. If you wait for the next big thing, you could end up waiting forever.

1
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Billionaire vows to turn 007's Lotus Esprit into actual SUBMARINE CAR

Stuart Castle

Re: Whatever next

He might be planning Thunderbird 5 as well.. He is spending an awful lot developing usable rockets, and I am fairly certain they'd come in handy for assembling Thunderbird 5.

1
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Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

Stuart Castle

While I think these probably will have better audio than CDs, I suspect that the difference will only really be noticeable if you compare the two via an oscilloscope or have far better hearing than most humans.

The problem these really high definition audio formats have is that 99% of the music buying public actually don't seem to care what quality their music is. If they did, the likes of Apple and any other random on-line music store would be selling more music compressed using a lossless compression system than they do. People don't (in my experience) generally think "Ohh, I have a 64 Gig portable music player. I can get 100 CD quality albums on it.". They tend to think "Ohh, I have a 64 Gig portable music player. I can get 25,000 songs and a couple of movies on it."

3
1

Instagram: You'll LOVE our 'enjoyable' new feature. Yes, it's adverts

Stuart Castle

Probably gonna get downvotes for this..

But..

Personally I don't mind ads as long as they are enjoyable. I remember some of the TV ads in the past were actually more enjoyable than the programmes they were shown beside (thinking of the classics here, the Heineken ads with Griff Rhys Jones for instance. The trouble is Advertising has changed. Today, it's all about getting the brand in the face of the viewer as many times as possible in as short a time as possible. Even if you offend the viewer. that doesn't matter as long as you are noticed.

Gone are the days when TV ads were particularly funny or had a storyline to attract viewers. In the past, we even had short soap operas in the form of the the OXO family ads, the Nescafe Gold Blend ads (Anthony Head and Sharon Maughan playing a flirting neighbours) and the "Papa and Nicole" Renault Clio ads.

Internet ads though have rarely done anything but irritate me. OK, so some of the Google ads are quite amusing but they are the exception rather than the rule.

2
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Windows Phone market share hits double digits in UK and France

Stuart Castle

Re: Maybe I'm just too old a fart and remember things that should've been forgotten...

Indeed. Anyone who thinks Microsoft are restrictive either hasn't dealt with a lot of the old Unix vendors, or has forgotten doing so.

I work at a Uni. When I was doing staff support, we had a lot of Sun workstations. These were admittedly lovely machines, but expensive to buy and maintain. I remember once I was attempting to fix one where the CDROM had died. It was actually a low end CD Rom drive (2x speed when the cheaper PC ones were up to 6 or 8x) with a slightly different interface. Sun wanted £600 for a new one. I've heard similar horror stories about Solaris licence costs which is presumably why a lot of the researchers who were using Solaris have moved over to PCs running Linux, or Windows.

I also heard, during my degree, a story about a little trick ICL used to pull on their mainframes. Apparently, they used to sell an "upgrade" that doubled the users storage. What did the upgrade consist of? The engineer came and flipped a switch that activated read/write heads on the other side of the disks..

While you can't freely distribute their software, compared to the old *nix/BSD workstation and mainframe vendors, MS are a paragon of openness and honesty.

MS saw people doing this. They saw a gap in the market for a company that provided software for the cheap PC clones that were becoming available (I say cheap, they were still a couple of grand a pop). They also put processing power on people's desks at a relatively low price. This caused the market to explode.

That's not to say MS are great, or even good. They've pulled some nasty tricks in the past. The traps put in Windows 3.1 to prevent competing software working as well, working on OS/2 with IBM, then producing the remarkably similar Windows NT at a lower price. I also believe they shafted Novell over Netware in much the same way.

3
1

Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED

Stuart Castle

Re: Perspective please

The fact is that NO security system is entirely secure. When designing a system, you can only hope to make it unfeasible for a person to access that system. Every system (from the smallest mobile phone to the largest, most powerful military supercomputer) has at least one flaw that can be exploited to break in.

This flaw would require that the thief has access to a 2400dpi scanner, good enough photoshop skills to clean up the image, time to clean up that image and access to the fingerprint itself. This last may well be the most difficult to obtain. Not if you mug the person (after all if you've grabbed the phone, they'll probably grab for it, you can scan the fingerprints then), but if you steal the phone from a bag, pocket or table. Even assuming you can work out which person it belongs to, it would be difficult to get access to their fingerprints without them noticing you.

Now, please tell me: Do you think it would be worth the average thief going through all that just to get access to the users phone numbers, pictures and whatever apps/media they have? Access to bank accounts might make it worth their while, but in my experience, most mobile banking apps don't store user details on the device.

6
11

Google backs gallery of computer-crazed female boffinry at Bletchley Park

Stuart Castle

While I agree with your sentiments about the Computing industry having a distinct lack of women, I think that comment was a joke.

0
1

UK gov dials 999 over Serco prison escort fraud claims

Stuart Castle

My own, minor, experience..

A few years ago, I worked for a local hospital trust. Part of my job was doing the accounts for the catering department (assuring involces got cleared etc).

The hospital got a daily delivery of fruit and veg (the quality of which drew a lot of complaints from the head chef in the kitchen), and paid the grocer around about £500 a day. One day, I compiled a list of what we bought from the grocer and went over to the local sainsburys (which was actually at the end of the hospital's main visitor's car park) to compare prices.

Even factoring in the expense of sending two or three people over there to do the shopping, we'd still have saved £100 a day, and got better quality fruit and veg as well.

Unfortunately, even assuming they could, the people that could have got the trust out of that rather restrictive contract, where not bothered enough to try and get the trust released. After all, it was only £100 a day. They were the sort of people who could spend that at lunch.

3
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NASA's nuclear Mars tank REBELS against human control

Stuart Castle

Re: Curious Joyride

Not to mentioned blinged it up a little.

Next thing we'll see, it'll have neon lighting under it, and thanks to the nuclear-powered sound system, will be bouncing along in time to the bass line of some Martian garage music.

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