408 posts • joined Monday 25th June 2007 17:12 GMT
I put this together a while ago for a fairly non-technical friend who was having issues with an ex... works pretty well, though I do encourage them to keep a backup of any documents that matter in the cloud as well - http://post.offbeatmammal.com/2011/05/19/building-a-safe-and-portable-way-to-get-online/
bad data and terrible security
Given the range of data that these guys are collecting, and the total lack of real security - DoB and last four of Social Security Number seems to be it, and then no password allowed on the account... you log back in with your email address and last four of SSN
So bad data, visible to pretty much anyone who wants it
trailer looked okay
but then again that's probably every decent bit from the movie rolled into one bait'n'switch up-sell!
Re: Nice idea for Smashung HOME button too...
doesn't need root, and the app has to be installed and configured to perform whatever actions you choose on the button press so ... if you had that level of access to the phone already you don't need to plug something in and install an app to cause mischief...
Re: "Yes, a physical shutter button for the camera!"
funnily enough ... it's the one think I've missed hugely since going from my Lumia 800 to the Nexus4 ... that physical button is a huge benefit.
Before the iPhone I remember my Windows Mobile 5.x and 6.x devices had the ability to set what a short or long press would do on pretty much any of the buttons (and they had copy'n'paste!)
I like that Pressy have come up with a pretty cheap solution for the phone you have now and probably a couple of generations (face it... headphone sockets are probably not going away any time soon) so unless Google lock down the APIs like on iOS to block this it's actually not a bad thing to have (and yes, I have ordered one!)
great PR for over priced vapourware
I have to say at $800 it wasn't an impulse buy (even with the price drops along the way). Compare that to, say, a new known commodity like a Nexus4 for $299 or even the bright Orange ZTE Firefox OS phone for $80 (crap phone plus unknown viability) and I'm impressed that they got the interest they did.
My 2c is that maybe it would be cheaper to aim for a ROM image on some existing hardware to prove the OS and *then* a v2 with all the bells and whistles on a new platform. I'm sure HTC would love someone else to cling to while they try and work out how many variants of the One they can produce until their own engineers go insane trying to differentiate them!
I was all excited when I heard HSBC was going to implement two factor ... until they sent me their little dongle which I keep losing! why they couldn't have gone with something I can run on my phone (oh, like Symantec VIP or Google Authenticator)
then they keep pushing McAfee (quite why I would ever want to do that to myself again) and Trusteer (a vague hand-wavy promise of security) ...
not to just pick on HSBC though.... there has to be a better way to secure and verify access from an end-user computing device to a server
vote (with your wallet)
the answer to, at least some of, this problem is for the UK to vote with it's wallet on the issue.
for Govt contracts to only be awarded to companies who staff projects in the UK and for UK businesses to follow suit or at least insist on the equivalent standards - just because you can get three bodies for the price of 1 doesn't mean they're going to be as productive (or even capable of understanding the question they're being asked - ESL adds a layer of cognitive dissonance that can see things go horribly off the rails)
the problem is ... then you have to look at some of the historical mess that is employment legislation and taxation to try and help make it competitive to onshore and then it all starts to fall down... that's hard and politicians don't like to do anything that's either hard or going to upset the people who line their pockets for short term agendas...
If you've not read this... it's interesting reading http://www.businessinsider.com/business-and-the-economy-2013-7
as an ex denizen of the Microsoft Redmond campus... it's in daily use there, and since leaving MS I've noticed the quickest way to spot a fellow former member of the SteveB army is listen out for that word in a meeting!
off topic but reflects the culture
for many years, on many different machines I've tried to run Linux and join the happy chanting brethren. Server hasn't been too bad, but desktop... well, that's never been a smooth path so I've reached out for help on various distro forums - in the getting started and after reading and spending several times longer that I'd have to struggle with Windows. what do I get for my troubles? abuse, told I'm a noob and that I should be able to sort it out or pointed to esoteric instructions which after I waste more time deciphering don't help... and which point I'm told that either I'm stupid and can't follow simple instructions or that I obviously hadn't asked the right question.
why do I raise this? because that attitude seems to stem from Linus down. So now my servers are either Windows VPS or Google AppEngine, and my home machines are Windows or Mac ... every machine I've attempted to run a Linux distro on has reminded me why I don't like some aspects of that community
morally right or wrong
no matter what you think about patents and their validity (in this case it's probably over broad) the issue here is about Google obeying the law or pressuring a tax payer funded organization to ignore a valid court decision.
the only "good" outcome from this is for he whole legal framework to be review but until that happens commercial organizations should not expect to be able to reach backroom deals with enforcement agencies to ignore the courts and the rule of law ... where does that end?
so far, so good.
I've not upgraded my primary Windows instance (running in Parallels on a Mac mainly so I can use Office) but I've been playing with 8.1 on my old testbed machine (actually the laptop from PDC back in 2009!) and it's certainly an improvement.
As someone who's pretty old school (I started before this new-fangled colour screen nonsense!) I actually like the search approach to finding an app - I use spotlight on the Mac pretty much as my primary launcher (not having to take my hands off the keyboard to switch apps is great) and I have to say perf and stability has improved even in this preview.
Re: Can you still use web mail and save it in the drafts box?
given that most of the providers are rolling over and sharing whatever is asked of them I have to assume that draft folders (as well as things like Google Docs or Dropbox) are also no longer particularly safe places.
Something like HushMail may be a little more reliable but who knows.
The problem is unless you have total faith in the provider of the storage mechanism and the integrity fo the channel from you to it... then balance the risk accordingly.
Even if the system you use is in a different country you don't know that they're not "cooperating" with local authorities and then simply sharing the gathered intelligence as part of a cross-border exercise.
It scares me when paranoid fantasies turn out to be real... and scares me even more that nothing will happen as a result of this in any of the countries where it's discovered to be happening :(
VP9 may be in the same boat
at Google IO this year there were a couple of - very impressive - VP9 demos. The advances in the codec (the math and the application of math) were, in the demos at least, quite significant and compared to where H.265 is today it was easy for them to make some bold statements... but when pressed on silicon adoption for mobile chipsets (for instance) the vague hand-waving began (my favorite was "it shouldn't be needed because the codec is so much more efficient") but the upshot was that no-one has committed to hardware decode in a SoC package yet... and while I'm not aware of an H.265 implementation in a SoC yet yet you have to assume given the track record of H.264 if a silicon vendor was going to take a bet on two fairly similar technologies they're going to make their initial focus the MPEG-LA aligned one ... and to be honest, as a content provider I'd prefer to see one clear winner (just as I'd like to see MPEG-DASH tidy up this mess of adaptive bitrate solutions)
Re: Amazing, Holmes
Skype also works on OSX, iOS, Android and others, and shows no signs of going away.
My biggest worry about this is that they'll kill off Lync like they killed Messenger and force Skype - with it's far less capable IM features and bloated UI - in to take it's place. While I wasn't a fan of the whole Hangouts thing I find myself using it more simply because I dislike Skype so much as an unobtrusive IM client
great article. many moons ago I used to work "next door" in CenterPoint and from my (sometimes alarmingly swaying) window I looked out onto the Tower and wondered what mysterious things happened there.
I did go to Black Mountain in Aus (another revolving restaurant on a telecom tower) as well as CenterPoint in Sydney, Sky Tower in Auckland and the Space Needle in Seattle so I've had my fill of revolving dinners ;)
I agree with this
while I am a small sample I agree with the findings...
I'm on my second Mac Book that primarily runs Windows (I need OSX for testing and some dev but spend half my time in Windows) and it's significantly less troublesome than other machines around the house and office (Vaio, Lenovo and Samsung laptops and Asus desktops).
When I got my original Mac I assumed Boot Camp was going to be a half-arsed kludge but I have happily been proven very wrong and Win7, and now Win8 are quite at home on the, admittedly more expensive, hardware.
Re: The welsh lobby
"A lot of people simply don't realise that in some parts of ... not only is the first language ... but a good proportion of people ... have difficulties speaking English." ... I can think of many places in England where the same is true today (including anyone under the age of 17!)
Re: Cal me thick, but...
Isn't London riddled with underground sewers and access tunnels anyway (after all, you don't want common people cluttering up the streets) ... surely a bit of planning (okay, a lot of planning) would let a lot of this stuff move underground.
Where I am in the US at the moment they moved all the cables (power and telecoms) underground thanks to weather related outages (and luckily it coincided with some much needed roadworks), and in some cases even the (admittedly smaller) junction boxes ended up flush with street level but when they need to work on them the guts get raised up to street level
the smell of fear
as the operators come to realize that they are just dumb pipes they frantically try to become relevant again, but they're too busy fighting amongst themselves and trying to design solutions by committee at the same time so it's hardly a surprise when the very focussed Apple and Google are able to get an end run around them on their own turf
If they want to be anything other that plumbing they need to get their house in order and make life easier for developers and stop trying to confuse customers with a never ending cavalcade of line items on a bill ... as a user I'd avoid operator billing like the plague simple because it makes the changes of something getting screwed up with my bill even higher!
how about they bring Skype up to par?
I love Skype as a video chat client, though it's ever expanding and bloating UI seems to forget it's just that... a chat utility... not a full screen app that I want opening a dozen windows, reading me the news and fetching my slippers
And much as I hated Messenger (I used Digsby by preference until that got EOL'd) the Skype IM user experience makes me want to go back to sending letters (and don't get me started on the whole Facebook integration nightmare and the inability to have selective statuses for different networks or groups of people)... and now they want to integrate it with Lync so I can never appear offline to my coworkers lest I miss an IM or call from my family?!
I hope they're spending the stay of execution getting a new version ready that starts to address some of these warts because while they were the de facto winner for a while there are now alternatives like Viber and Tango, Facetime, GTalk/Hangouts that make switching more of an option
when with $ parity == feature parity
I actually don't mind paying $20 more for Office for Mac (well, I wouldn't, but I'm planning on getting O365 Family Edition or whatever it's called anyway so it's moot) but I'd like to see feature parity, not a half arsed attempt at keeping up with the previous version. Word, Excel etc aren't bad but Outlook is a world of pain
I found the experience so painful that I run Outlook in a WM under Fusion rather than use either mail.app or Outlook for Mac!
PayPal's involvement doesn't impress me. I'm more likely to go for something based on the Yubico platform (and I see Google recently announced they're working with Yubi on a similar two-factor auth scheme to do away with passwords)
I use a Yubi key for personal stuff, and for work have a Gemalto token - the sooner site/domain specific passwords are done with the better, though I would want any two factor auth scheme to provide the ability for me to maintain different personas - "work", "private", "public" etc
sadly I saw the way the place was heading and got out while the going is good. England is a nice place to visit... but 2 weeks is about all I can take before the frustration kicks in again at what it's become
Skype doesn't get IM
while I welcome the consolidation of clients so I've got less running in my systray Skype has got a long way to go on the IM front (I love the video chat) to make it anything other than a horrible waste of screen real estate.
leaving aside such arrogant behavior as not starting minimized and not having a "hide to systray" option and all the comments on the skype forum pointed out above the biggest sin is lumping all the contacts into one bucket ... now I can't easily filter by "online" or show different statuses to Skype or Messenger (or Facebook), and on the subject of Facebook while it's handy sometimes I'd dearly love to be able to work out how to turn that integration off again!
Skype as an IM client is messy and annoying. I find since I tried switching that I've been using gtalk and hangouts more so hopefully as well as a new windows phone app they've got new desktop clients coming soon that will suck less
Re: well thats a surprise
I love how the assumption is that a downvote for disagreeing with "your" PoV automatically makes the voter a shill.
I've been a Media Center user in various forms since 2005 - http://www.pcmediacenter.com.au/forum/user/163936-offbeatmammal/ - and while they all have their strengths and weaknesses over the years MCE has been one of the least troublesome solutions I've put together for friends.
Sadly going forward MS don't seem to have the same commitment they used to have so it certainly gives one of the alternatives to step up but it needs to "win" on it's own merits, not just because you hate Microsoft and can't look past that.
this can't be blamed on Microsoft? what's happening? Were the Mayans right... did the world end while I nursed my festive hangover?!
less pranks, more apps
How about, instead of silly antics, these people sit down and make Linux a viable desktop alternative for my Mum, my partner or my 12yo?
They want to hit "power" and be up and running... not recompile the wifi drivers to get the damn thing to talk to the router that every other device in the house just connects to.
And then when it's powered up they want to play the games, read their email, open docs with the same fidelity that their OSX and Windows (any version) friends and relatives are using.
Over the years I've lost track of the number of times I've tried to switch, but before long the complaints mount up and back we go to the mainstream.
I have a day job. I have hobbies and dogs to walk. I don't want to have to explain that because Ubuntu is better than Windows you can't play Wizards101 any more
I know I'm going to get downvoted into a hole for this but just because Richard Stallman gets his jollies off the EULA doesn't make it good... being usable, and supported does
the thing that bugs me about this - be it Aure, AWS or AppEngine - is that to engineer for failure means you need more overhead running (ideally distributed in multiple locations) and while it's still cheaper (usually) with the cloud it's really hard to predict with the pricing models that all of these guys have in place.
I've worked on a couple of projects recently where the customer didn't really know what their traffic and usage was going to look like (both new ventures) so in both cases we budgeted for success (ie took their estimates, modelled the compute load and then doubled everything)... one of them is paying about 30% of what we budgeted (some of that due to offloading a lot of dynamic content to static pre-published pages and looking at how we could cache better - they're actually above their revenue/user estimates), the other is about 10% overbudget because the usage pattern doesn't fit nicely into the particular platforms billing model (but now we've modelled and observed for a couple of months we're tweaking the architecture to bring costs down).
In both cases though the random restarts or disappearances of instances has been problematic and required a lot of up-front investment in the architecture and design that was hard to explain.
Hopefully as cloud computing matures the "design for failure" mantra will become easier to develop around with frameworks and toolkits becoming more readily available and understood but until then... a bit of up-front effort pays dividends in the long run...
Love WIn8. Not so sure about Metro
so I've been using WIn8 preview releases for as long as they've been public and I'm looking forward to playing with it properly on an ARM tablet to see how well the touch-only experience is (though I really want a stylus)
but on my current laptop (even with it's touch screen) I avoid the lego layout as much as I can and stick to the properly mouse and keyboard driven desktop world where I love the tweaks and fine tuning that's gone on. It's more stable, faster, things like the copy dialogue are more useful and the experience is so much better ...I don't really miss the start button but I don't like the jarring transition to Minecraft every time I want to open a new program (so my desktop is now littered with icons!)
Win8 won't be a flop, and I'm sure MS will continue to iterate. I wonder if early adopters will be burnt in the same way that that WP7 users have been with dead-end hardware and limited app support (though WP8 at least comes with a new set of "trust us" promises)
in 6 months time all this fuss will be over, it'll be business as usual and we'll be hating on the changes Win9 is going to force on us and wishing they'd just left Win8 alone!
I can see how this would work...
On my way to the office, or in my lunch hour stroll around and stock up on groceries. I got to work on the bus so I don't want to carry a load of stuff with me, but having it delivered to my home at a pre-arranged time... makes sense.
I'd probably not want to do that with meat and fresh veggies (though in the past I've used ShopFast in Australia and AmazonFresh in the US without complaint) and from experiences in China if they can deliver it in a refrigerated truck it's going to be in better condition than if I tried to get it home on public transport!
Right now if you buy white goods it works pretty much that way... the store only has one of each as a display model... pick what you want and they arrange delivery from a warehouse at an agreed date...
Why does it need to visit an Apple page anyway?
No-one seems to be asking/answering the important question here... why if I want to join my WiFi network does the iOS device need to visit a page on Apple's servers in the first place?
the feature is that - by default - you get a cheaper device in return for an ad on the lock screen. I've had an ad supported eInk reader for a while now and I love that fact that I saved a few bucks and to be honest the ads don't bother me (in fact they target things well enough that I have bought something off there) ... you only seen them for a few seconds when you wake the device from sleep so I assume the Fire HD will be the same.
$15 to turns ads off for the lifetime of the device... seems like a great compromise. that's about three sticky latte concoctions here in the US
it's pretty obvious how to turn it off
in both the explanation for the express setup and the custom setup, as well as in IE10 itself it's pretty clear that you're making a choice and that it's following the letter of the standard not some personal interpretation (unfortunately by someone with a bit of power - and you forgot to mention he works for Adobe in his day job)
the downside of his behaviour is that more folks will need to opt for things like porn mode and resort to AdBlock and the like.
wonder which advertiser promised a suitcase full of unmarked sponsorship to Apache in return for them slipping this fix in
Apple, not Amazon
just to be clear...
Amazon only listed four digits of a credit card number (a common practice elsewhere today)
Apple gave away the keys to the kingdom by not refusing to divulge the information when the scammer couldn't remember any of the other detail
Two factor auth - by a phone app, SMS or little dongle you can lose - is a pain in the bum but sadly (for the moment at least) seems to be the way to go... and much as it pains me to say Google with their alternatives (I use the phone app) seems to be the best solution (thanks to my bank and need for RAS access to work I have three token generating devices I have to lug around!)
Re: Or, alternatively
And that's the biggest issue with desktop Linux... User encounters problem, and rather than an open,inded response (like Ken's) we get told we're obviously idiots ... So stop trying to compile an OS and hit install on something else and go back to our lives.
Re: Do no right?
no issue with Google getting this for free (and I don't think the article had too much of a dig) but if taxpayers money funded the original collection of data and it's being shared with with one entity for free I hope it's made available (under the same deal/terms) to other mapping providers so the playing field is level and equitable
is the data being made available for free to just Google, or is it being published in a format that anyone (OSM, Navteq etc) can consume it and help promote the tow paths?
Re: Work away from office
a laptop with a TPM chip (fairly standard nowadays) and running bitlocker to keep the contents of the drive secure. Strong password and/or two factor auth for login. It's not difficult.
if they don't want that level of complexity and can assume a decent data connection then do everything via a citrix or RDP connection from a minimal spec laptop that never has any data on it
once again... taxpayers fined because jobsworths don't do theirs.
those were the days
I started out even older school ... 6502 assembler on an Acorn Atom before moving to the luxury of BASIC on an Oric-1 (found it in the attic the other day, corroded to shit but the manual still looked new if anyone wants it!). Then via an Oric Atmos to a BBC (Model B no less). At some point I even got paid to produce a book of programs for the MSX platform (sadly no matter how careful we were checking it there were errors by the time it got to print!)
Looking at the mess folks can get themselves into today with Python, Node, Ruby etc ... I sometimes long for those simpler days. And don't get me started on trying to do anything quickly with the "proper" languages like C# and Java... talk about over-engineering and obfuscation!
don't forget the lessons of GSM
One thing when I lived in Europe that always impressed me was the ease with which cellphones became prevalent. Even today I can comfortably carry the same device pretty much anywhere in Europe (and further afield) and it'll work.
It was only when I moved to the US that I really appreciated the part that GSM had played in that when I discovered the eternal battles being waged here by the CellCos with competing standards (CDMA, WCDMA, GSM on different frequencies etc) that served to push up their operating costs and make the choices much more complicated for consumers and in general held back innovation. Even now with LTE the US still lags behind the rest of the world but the providers spend a lot of money telling consumers how wonderful it is.
The various DVB challenges were a similar story... one standard to rule them all (putting aside national pride and politics) helps level the playing field and makes it easier for consumers to find good, reasonably priced, kit.
Of course at the end of the day there's so much crap on TV who really cares any more... I can't remember the last time I watched "live" TV for anything other than F1 (and let me tell you that experience in the US is painful compared to watching it in the UK a few weeks ago!)
Re: It's a funny thing you know but.............
now the battery problem is fixed - it was just software after all (not how I was holding it!) I love my 800. the only thing I'm less than happy about is the silly flappy door over the microUSB connector and the fact it's on the top rather than the bottom which means zero chance of a decent dock (desk or car)
Sure, there are some rough edges with Windows Phone but it's only on it's second iteration (7.0 and 7.5) and the classic wisdom is that Microsoft only gets things right in v3
it's about what the endpoints support
to take the last point... HTML5 has not won the war over SL/Flash re video streaming. What does HTML5 support in the <video> tag today? Nothing apart from progressive download on-demand, non-adaptive, unprotected content.
on iOS devices Apple have "extended" the <video> tag to add support for the (proprietary) HLS but that doesn't help the millions of other browsers out there.
From reading the release Azure Media Services supports streaming to multiple different formats concurrently - hence the ability to support Android devices (multiple bitrates to come with the fragmented platform); iOS devices (again catering for small iPhones to iPad3 retina devices); Windows Phone; Xbox and PS3 consoles; Silverlight (for traditional Windows and OSX desktops) as well as directly supporting the adaptive streaming solutions for Win8 ... and it will support MPEG-DASH for the future
Re: Nokia are doomed, but Elop could have done something
I, for one, would subscribe to the "Shitpeas Report" just to have the binder on my bookcase (as opposed to the usual placement of Analysts reports in the "smallest room" where the high quality paper is really useful)
With any prediction like this it amuses me that no-one compiles league tables of how bad Analysts actually are at predicting anything ... I wonder if there's a business in that...
Private vs Public
will be really interesting to see the results and compare.
Given that the selection criteria will (hopefully) be managed by people at least with a clue and that there's some pretty defined structure to it I wouldn't be surprised if there is a higher success rate... or the project will shutter and never be heard of again.
The hard thing is going to be qualifying startups well enough and then helping introduce them to the right people to keep the momentum going but ... it's all good and hopefully will be big enough to make a dent
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