* Posts by T. F. M. Reader

382 posts • joined 19 Dec 2012

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Polish chap builds computer into a mouse

T. F. M. Reader
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How is the keyboard connected? It will be a must for me, and the guys in the video type happily. No mention of Bluetooth, so I assume there will be a cable to one of the USB ports? A mouse with two cables in different directions? Possible, but seems unwieldy, and requires a surface.

I think I'd prefer a keyboard with a built-in trackball, like the one I am typing on right now. Does not require a surface, and if graphics can be done wirelessly (should be OK for office/dev/IT) with an HDMI option for movies and stuff, and for cases where wireless co-operation from big screens is not forthcoming...

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Microsoft wants LAMP for wireless mobe charger

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This changes everything!!!

I find it most convenient to charge my phone at night. I also use the phone as an alarm clock on occasion, so leaving it in another room with lights on is not an option. Am I expected to change my habits?

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Facebook is MORE IMPORTANT to humanity than PORTUGAL

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Cynical exploitation of broken window fallacy

company's impact on the global economy "enabled" the creation of 4.5 million jobs in 2014.

I smell a hidden assumption that were it not for FB those 4.5 million people would not do anything productive at all. The real value of FB, accepting the 4.5 million FB-related jobs as an axiom, is the difference between the value generated by all these men and women doing FB-related stuff and the most valuable of realistic alternative. At this point I am not sure this difference would be positive.

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Security? Don't bother until it's needed says RFC

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Re: Not the right way to do this

TLS which can be easily MITM'd is still better than no TLS

I am not sure. I think I'd prefer to know I am communicating in clear text than to be lulled into a false sense of privacy.

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Stop viewing Facebook at work says Facebook at work on Facebook at Work

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Perfect for corporate communications, HR, etc.

No one will be able to "dislike" them, eh?

Side benefit for managers: an automatic, algorithmic annual review for everyone?

Side benefit for Zuck: new FB@Home users (soz, people) as employees retire?

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Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

@YAAC: "Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliation and somebody feels like killing $EthnicGroup would seem rather similar."

I would argue that they would not, unless the policy is to bomb a country specifically and solely for being different from yours. If one's country is attacked or seriously threatened by another country (militarily - a terrorist attack by one's own citizens or foreigners does not count, at least as long as it was not meaningfully supported by a foreign government, in which case it may arguably be considered a military act) I would argue that waging a war is a option that should be on the table around which the decision-makers gather. It should not be considered lightly, but it should not be ruled out a priori, either.

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

@sabroni: including threatening other people

That seems exactly the threshold to me.

I think one cannot be prosecuted for being an Anti-Semite, an Islamophob, a racist in general, or a Catholic-hater, not even for expressing one's views, deplorable and unpalatable as they may be, in the town square, or even for acting on them. If one does not wish to, say, employ Jews, Muslims, Catholics, blacks (NB: in general, not just African-Americans - is there a generic PC term?), or bicycle-riders, or if one never enters a kosher or halal shop, the rest of us may decide to never speak to the bigot, never give him any business, and/or cross the street when he walks on a pavement, but I don't think it should be a criminal offence in itself. Large portions of the society may feel offended, but offending someone should not be a crime. Almost any non-trivial statement is likely to offend someone. "Bacon is delicious" will probably offend people in certain neighbourhoods, but you should not be beaten up for blurting it out. You should be allowed to like pork, despise Mohammed, think that a black person should never be allowed to become the president of your country, and be offended that so many people won't speak to you because of the views you hold.

The moment one says "I support killing|beating up|mutilating|torturing|(use your ingenuity here) Jews|Muslims|Catholics|blacks|BMW driver|people who mock the Prophet|people who disagree with me", especially if one is a public figure, the situation changes.

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Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

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Re: There... completed the assignment and used them all.

@Charlie Clark: "Philistine is more than vaguely racist."

Actually, at worst it is vaguely Biblical, as evidenced by the Origin section of http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/philistine. ;-)

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

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Re: Religion of Peace?

When a Muslim tells you Islam is a religion of peace, it’s a blatant lie

Actually, no, though it is easy to perceive it as a lie, because we are biased by a certain notion of "peace". Consider a different definition of "peace". To a Muslim[*] peace will be established when the whole world becomes Dar-al-Islam (the Domain of Islam), and Dar-al-Harb (the Domain of War, i.e., all the countries that are not ruled by Islamic law - the term should be self-explanatory) ceases to exist. Thus, a terrorist that lashes an atheist for a FB post, or kills a few journalists, or blows up a bus or a restaurant full of Christians or Jews (believers or not) brings the world closer to peace, according to his definition of what "peace" is. Too bad if it is different from what you or I think. It is not "extremism", either, but rather a central tenet of Islam[**], called "jihad". It is the normal path to expansion of the religion's influence (NB: predates the Crusades, let alone Luther and Calvin - accused in this forum of inventing religious wars - by a few hundred years, too).

[*] Well, only if he takes some of the central teachings of his religion really seriously.

[**] Let's not forget that most people don't really choose religion, they are born into a certain environment/tradition/ethnicity, etc. Luckily, in our society we can both point out facts and express opinions, even unfavourable, of religions, ours as well as those of others, but we should never forget that adhering to a faith does not make a person bad or unworthy just because you find certain elements of that faith objectionable. Everybody takes from religion the bits that suit him (sometimes nothing) and ignores (and conveniently forgets) the bits that don't, and it is that, rather than formal self-identification, that should matter when you look at a person (and it is not all that matters).

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Ex-Microsoft Bug Bounty dev forced to decrypt laptop for Paris airport official

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@Lee D

My former employer, an independent school, blocked all employees taking workplace devices with them when they travelled to France.

I don't think it is limited to France in any aspect. More like, the French do it, too. And probably your average French doesn't realize it (since it is unlikely they do it to many of their own citizens when they come home from a foreign trip).

Ironically, I once met a French guy who had been asked to boot his laptop when he had arrived at a foreign airport. He played French, saying it was his laptop, they had no right, Liberte, Egalite, etc. Full body search followed. Even then his reaction was, "I will never go to THAT COUNTRY again!" I tried to convince him the situation was not geography-specific, not sure I succeeded.

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@dan1980

Asking her to actually log in, however, was a first for her and not something she had seen before.

She used to work for Microsoft though, didn't she? I am curious because I used to work for another huge multinational computer company (say, 10 years ago) and I used to travel internationally with a company laptop with sensitive data on it, including code, presentations, plans, etc. The disk was fully encrypted, it wouldn't even boot without a password.

The official company guidelines were, if you are stopped at any border, airport, etc., and are asked to boot your laptop and supply your passport - comply without arguing. If they want to take your laptop - surrender it without delay. No corporate data on your laptop is precious enough to make the hassle of getting you out of trouble worthwhile.

I would naively assume Microsoft would have similar guidelines. Maybe she didn't get the memo?

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

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What? No lawsuit about RAM?

I think they should sue everybody because operating systems also tend to take a bit of the advertised RAM...

Ridiculous as the lawsuit is, I noticed that, e.g., Samsung have a footnote to the specs on their website (UK, at least): "User memory is less than the total memory due to storage of the operating system and software used to operate the phones features. Actual user memory will vary depending on the mobile phone operator and may change after software upgrades are performed." Seems fair.

The Apple iPhone6 spec (https://www.apple.com/iphone-6/specs) does not have a similar footnote, but it does have another curious one: "1GB = 1 billion bytes; actual formatted capacity less." I am not sure what it means, except that maybe they don't operate in powers of 2 (and thus 16GB is a bit less than what I would expect) and they don't use the full 16GB storage (not sure if "formatted capacity less" only means some filesystem overhead).

With all the hype that iStuff is somehow "magical and revolutionary" I am not surprised that some non-technical users may have expectations...

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Zuckerberg asks the public to tell him where to go in 2015

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Biases, biases

He asks for suggestions on his FB page, so no one who has not got a FB account can give any?

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Titsup Twitter: We've swatted the bug that caused the outage

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Re: Still preferable

But of course when Twitter is down it is preferable to Facebook...

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Buses? PAH. Begone with your filthy peasant-wagons

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When you design the new hi-tech transportation system...

...please don't forget to take into account the needs of visitors to your home town. You know, tourists, people who come on business, people visiting relatives and friends, etc. Revenue generators, all of them, among other habits and qualities that are generally beneficial to the locals' lifestyle (well, IMHO).

I doubt visitors can be expected to have the right app in the right language for your area on their smartphones or, indeed, to spend a fortune on exchanging data packets with the company operating driverless taxies or with Uber-like private car owners. When I travel, privately or on business, I care less for coming to a bus station less than a minute before departure than for knowing in advance which bus to take, where the stop is, and how much it will cost (preferably without involving PayPal for every bus ticket) to get where I need to go. Figuring out ad-hoc, personalized solutions in an unfamiliar place without the possibility to ask around or make a simple phone call and explain oneself to a human does not look attractive at all. And I would also want a friendly, convenient environment for the visitors to my town - I like it when people come to visit.

I am not saying it kills the whole idea, just that it is much more complex than you getting to and from work. I see this missed all the time. Where I live, there are toll roads but no toll booths. When you use a toll road your license plate is scanned at entry and exit points and you - the vehicle owner - will get a bill in the mail - pay it over the Internet, by phone, at a post office, whatever. Very advanced hi-tech, works beautifully. Just don't drive on toll roads in a rental car though - the bill will be mailed to the rental company, usually long after you leave - and they will bill you for processing fees, rightly. Oops...

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Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Freedom of expression

"laws about threatening the president even in jest"

Not just that. About 20 years ago (that's way before 9/11) I was waiting for boarding at a smallish US airport. There were those metal detector frames and a big sign saying passengers had to pass through them, they would be refused boarding if they didn't, it was a federal regulation, and it was against the law to mock, parody, or make any jokes about federal laws and regulations (don't remember the exact wording - it was quite formal).

There was a bored cop standing next to me. I asked if he would arrest me if I told him a joke about going through metal detectors while boarding a plane. He looked puzzled - I pointed to the sign. "Hmmm, I guess I would have to arrest you, sir... Never thought of that..."

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The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4

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Re: Update 3

I was wondering the same thing, too. Some guesses:

* El Reg only operates in powers of 2...

* Like Microsoft's OS versions, every other one is so awful that it should better remain unmentioned...

* Like Intel's tick-tock, a bona fide update consists of two steps, of which the first one is merely shrinking of the headline font...

* They were going to Interview Update 3 designers and then they were planning to assassinate them, but North Korea objected...

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

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I am very unlikely to have a real-time Skype conversation completely without a common language with the other party. I would also expect that when one person speaks his/her native tongue with a foreigner who is less than fluent s?he can relatively easily make a reasonable effort to speak clearly and without too much slang. Therefore, I would assume a more pressing problem to solve is to make non-native speech and accents more comprehensible. Why not start there?

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T. F. M. Reader
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Re: How about getting written text translation right first?

Google translate seems to have improved

This may be true, but you still need to be reasonably fluent in both languages to be reasonably sure that the translation conveys the intent correctly and is not too embarrassing. All too often the translation contains words corresponding to the original but means something completely different.

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Yahoo! Says! Chrome, IE Users! Should! 'Upgrade'! To! FIREFOX!

T. F. M. Reader
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Never attribute to malice...

I can easily imagine a coder who never saw a detailed spec (because there never was one) or thought much write

running_latest_firefox() || display_ff_upgrade_banner();

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T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Cheeky buggers...

@thames: Are you in the US? The search deal is US-only...

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Chum's house burnt down? Facebook mulls 'DISLIKE' button for that

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Will it be on the login screen?

Supply credentials, abandon hope, enter here, or hit this big shiny "DISLIKE" button and go away?

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Google says NYET! to Putin, pulls techies out of Russia – report

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Re: The more things change

But samizdat was available - or interesting - only to a tiny part of the Soviet population, and at considerable risk. If you talk to Russians now, the vast majority of them do not get - nor are interested in - any information sources outside of Putin-controlled ones, despite the big great Internet. Part of the reason is language. Another part is that the Russians - just like any other people - deserve their government.

I actually think it will not be very difficult for Putin to insulate the country. A small part of the population will find ways around it - Western radio was received in the USSR despite extensive jamming, too. And the transgressors will suffer for their audacity, just like in the past. Probably even more - it must be easier to trace who tries to reach Western websites than who tries to listen to the radio at home. Internet is a godsend to police states, eh? (We all should remember that.) In any case, the bulk of the population can be insulated quite efficiently.

The old USSR broke down because Gorby made the country a bit less insulated from above, not because the population demanded it - or circumvented the restrictions - from below. I don't know what Putin thinks, but he may well be thinking Gorby made a mistake.

I confess I am a history buff. When I catch news about Russia, which does not happen often, I admit, I occasionally think things look a bit similar to their early 1930ies - after a very brief period of economic "easing" (to borrow a modern term) when it became clear the economy didn't work. The problem with this analogy is that any student of history knows what happened there in the late 30ies...

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QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

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Prety cool demo

Bellard's page has a link to a pretty cool demo - I am surprised El Reg didn't give a link . The most obvious effect that I saw there is in smooth parts of pictures (not surprising - that is where I expect compression to do most of its work), such as the sky in the "Moscow" picture.

Play with formats and file sizes (and check the "Original" format against the various options, and you may aso try to zoom in and out with the browser). You will find how close BPG is to Original even for small and tiny file sizes, and to what extent it blows away Mozjpeg and WebP.

On images with smaller details all over, such as the internals of the Toledo Cathedral, I do not see much difference between formats. I guess such images are just difficult to compress with any algo.

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Sony Pictures hit by 'fightback on filesharers' DDoS claims – report

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No fan of Sony, but...

I read the re/code article yesterday and noticed that it said DoS, but by the time I read through to the end it didn't seem like denial of service at all. It looks like Sony - if the reporting is right at all - let the curious public download fake torrent chunks. This does not sound to me as DDoS'ing anyone. I am not even sure that one can accuse Sony of faking anything - nothing that does not belong to them, at least. Not sure, either, that they are doing anything illegal given that they interfere with dissemination of stolen[*] digital property in the first place.

It seems to me that calling it a DDoS is misleading.

[*] For the pedantic among us: OK, illegally copied and published.

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GCHQ releases teen-friendly code-busting app

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Finally!!!

Someone is thinking of the children...

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Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

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Stuff usually works in promotional videos.

Am I the only one getting the impression that none of the touch-screen operations in the video actually succeeded?

To Ford's credit, it does not look like the guy was actually driving while fiddling with the touch screen (his hands were not on the steering wheel, at least). On the other hand, isn't one supposed to drive a Ford rather than use it as a stationary phone booth?

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

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Re: I swear I switched that webcam off.

The way you express yourselves conjures up an image in our minds... ;-)

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I will not say that it is all awful, but while I am relatively indifferent to much of the change some things are really annoying compared to the old version. This is before I checked different resolutions and stuff, or the mobile version (less important to me, but when I do use my phone I always use the normal websites, as some of the others here). I am using a big screen now.

1. I like having as much of useful stuff on the screen as I can. This means that I really do not like the new layout which either leaves too much whitespace or presents too little information, depending on zoom level/font size.

2. No need for oversized pictures, cute and funny as they might be - I'll appreciate the humour even if the illustrations are smaller. They are nice to have and they take a lot of space, making me scroll to the really useful content.

3. The categories menu - Data Centre, Software, Networks, etc. - pops a huge bar with pictures and headlines that covers half of my bloody screen when the mouse accidentally hovers over it - please get rid of this horrible "feature".

4. Search has become much more difficult to use - you need to hover over the magnifying glass symbol and only then the search bar pops out, to which you need to carefully navigate and keep the mouse cursor over it at all times. Very cumbersome. It was much easier in the old version.

5. The pages load weirdly - the main frame appears shifted to the right with a lot of whitespace on the left. Only when I scroll down to the point where a part of the heading [right now, "El Reg redesign - leave your comment here"] is no longer visible the main frame jumps to the left and the right frame (with Most Read, Spotlight, etc.) appears. If I scroll up to the heading the right frame disappears again. Happens for articles and comments alike. Very annoying. This seems like a bug and not a feature.

6. I liked the Most Commented feature. I find an unusually significant proportion of comments fairly intelligent, and knowing which topics generated most active reaction was useful, whether or not I eventually clicked on the articles.

[Firefox on Linux with AB+, if that matters. AB+ has the option of not keeping empty placeholders on the page enable - mentioning that in case it is relevant to the amount of whitespace I see.]

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No more free Windows... and now it’s all about the services

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Ongoing revenue stream...

Very well said especially about the way files for products are spread around the disk.

Maybe they will finally comply to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard? Hope dies last...

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Devs: Barack Obama's gunning for your job!

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Coat

New terms in computer science?

Obamacode? Obamascript? A language called Obaml?

Coat, please...

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Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

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Re: Golden rule: gold rules

@Gray: version that does block all those pesky ads, regardless.

There is a checkbox in AdBlock Plus that is labelled "Allow some unobtrusive ads" or some such. I presume it is related to those paying advertisers. IIRC, it is checked by default. I always uncheck it. Between AB+ and Ghostery (and a long /etc/hosts) I never see 3rd party ads on the internet.

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Linux software nasty slithers out of online watering holes

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hardened against reverse-engineering ...

... through the use of stripped symbol information and hidden network communications, adding it could not be discovered using Netstat.

Eh, so it was a stripped binary, which I expect it to be just to reduce its size. Looks like Mr Kaspersky Bod is waving his hands wildly around some nonsense.

And undetectable with netstat? What exactly does this mean? Guessing wildly: it is detectable with netstat but doesn't advertise itself as a nasty but masquerades as something else, eh? Given the "hardened by stripping" bit in the same sentence, might it be an ssh tunnel? That would be similarly "undetectable" evenif one is looking at the packets on the wire...

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

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Re: Let your betters decide

"whatever the market will bare"

Nice. Have an upvote.

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RIP Microsoft Clip Art – now you can fill your slides with web cat pics

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WTF?

I don't use Bing...

...but I am amazed how pitiful that last link is. A search for a "business cat" that finds no Catbert images???

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

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Re: "George, did you chop down that cherry tree?"

"I have nothing to hide, father, so I have nothing to fear."

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T. F. M. Reader
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Confused

I don't have a problem with citing what seems to be an early and basic law to obtain a court order / warrant for something. As for whether it is applicable, surely there must be a precedent or two from all those years? What did the authorities do in, say, 1790 (or 1827, for that matter) when someone was suspected of a crime, his house was searched, and a piece of paper was uncovered with what looks as a coded message "that only the owner could decrypt"?

I am confused regarding what the authorities sought assistance for. It does not seem that encryption of the contents was the obstacle. It rather sounds like they sought assistance to get the data, encrypted or not. In both cited cases the article talks about "unlocking" rather than "decrypting". To quote: "The court filing states investigators were unwilling to try and open the iPhone for fear of damaging a crucial piece of evidence. They asked the courts to force Apple to give them a hand in safely extracting data from the passcode-protected phone." Were they afraid the phone would self-destruct if they tried to copy the contents of the storage for analysis? Am I naive in thinking dumping the data should be a simple enough operation for a decent computer forensics lab?

In any case, to me it sounds more like asking a safe manufacturer to disclose a factory pre-set combination (I imagine such combinations are quite common for, say, hotel room strongboxes). If there is a coded message in the safe, it is another matter.

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Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature

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Re: Another NON-NEWS STORY

@Deltics: "To qualify as "spyware" an application would have to"

report what it finds to a remote command-and-control server?

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UK cops: Give us ONE journo's phone records. Vodafone: Take the WHOLE damn database!

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I cannot figure out from either the Met spokesman quote or the rest of the article whether the wrongly disclosed data were kept by the plod, or "returned to Vodafone" (huh??? they have it already...). It does not look like they were deleted though, and though I have trouble parsing the information snippets I suspect the plod retained the data, which seems to me the most troubling aspect of the story.

Anyone can make a mistake (and this was a real blunder on Voda's part), but retaining what should not be in their possession looks quite intentional on the part of the plod.

And do I understand it right that the metadata the Met sought was a part of this "corrupted" set? So they got nothing, since the source of the data (Voda) said that "any assumption that meaningful conclusions could be drawn from any aspect of the corrupted dataset was highly questionable,”

I am inclined to infer that the rationale for keeping the data must be "let's see if we can start more investigations" rather than "let's see if we can use the info we asked for in court".

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Androids in celluloid – which machine deserves the ULTIMATE MOVIE ROBOT title?

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Unwarranted omissions

1) The various Terminators should be in the list, especially since the poll seems to be about androids.

2) Fembots from Austin Powers deserve at least an honourable mention...

3) Surely the movie called "Android" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083557/) should be mentioned for a) title, b) androids interested in sex?

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Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: In defense of data slurping

I am happy to hear arguments why there should be no logging at all despite any benefits that may have;

I would agree with you that consulting historical data may make solving crimes a little bit easier in some cases. This benefit is very small while the potential for abuse is huge, which is why we have various legal obstacles, such as court warrants, in the way of investigators eager to collect data. Spy agency data slurping bypasses such checks, which is the problem. Police work is easy in police states, and I cannot regard it as a benefit.

just don't call meta data logging spying.

Collecting and storing metadata is surveillance (as opposed to eavesdropping, which is interception of data). I refuse to argue whether surveillance == spying. I do not want to live in a total surveillance society, and that is enough.

I am against the misuse of logged data and what does amount to spying.

Good. Do you feel safe that the logged data won't be misused, ever? I don't.

We do need to be sure we have nothing to fear from our logged data

I am quite sure I have a lot to fear. Don't ask me why, it's none of your (or anyone's) business. No, it is not because I am a criminal or a terrorist, and I do expect you to believe this statement without analysing the collected data.

unless we do turn up dead

I have a particular fear that the logged data will be made public and (mis)interpreted after I am dead and not able to defend myself against any unwarranted accusations that twisted minds might come up with.

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Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'

T. F. M. Reader
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Thanks but no thanks...

I suspect I would find Z Launcher incredibly annoying. I most certainly do not want a phone or a tablet to guess what I am trying to do based on what I did in the past (or, extrapolating just a bit into the future, based on what others did in the past, just as Google do with their search "suggestions" that I always switch off) any more than I want Amazon to suggest I should buy stuff that I have already bought from them.

I don't want the phone to suggest that I should fire up The Register because I do it every day. It is highly unlikely that I will unintentionally forget a regular activity. And if I am in a habit of calling my mom daily on the way to work I will set a reminder to do so, thank you very much. And, crucially, delete or modify the reminder when I want (or when we find ourselves in different timezones).

In fact, any uncontrolled initiative on the part of my phone is NOT welcome. It should do what I tell it to do, period.

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EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

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"a long-held view within the Internet Engineering Task Force articulated in 1986 in RFC 1984"

First reaction: Wow, someone really had a clue back then!

Then checked the RFC - it is from 1996, not 1986, which makes it slightly less impressive (IIRC, even the infamous "clipper chip" was dead by then).

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BOFH: An UNHOLY MATCH forged amid the sweet smell of bullsh*t

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Re: What's a female BOFH?

FemBOFH?

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How's the great dot-thing gold rush going? Well, coffee.club just sold for $100,000

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Golf.club

Cricket.club, Nudist.club, Football.club, Chess.club, Old Etonian.club, Gentlemans.club, Photo.club, Model Railway.club, Trainspotting.club, Night.club, Computer.club.

You forgot Fight.club. Oh, wait, you can't talk abut it, can you?

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Amazon wants YOU to LOOK OVER its BOOKS – its slush pile, that is

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Wouldn't it be easier...

...to check what books people buy as dead trees on Amazon? What are the titles that generate the most profits and have not been e-published yet seems a direct question to ask (and a simple enough DB query?). Letting the public review excerpts looks a really inefficient and error-prone approach in comparison.

I did manual backtesting on my own Amazon purchase history a couple of times. So far, at most 25% of the books I actually bought had a Kindle edition. I can't remember a single case where the price of a Kindle edition was more than a penny lower than that of a dead tree. So I concluded, more than once, that getting a Kindle would not be worthwhile on those grounds only (there are other reasons).

Of course, my reading preferences may be totally weird...

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Can't believe that I agree with Balmer

@Alan Brown: "a company's share valuation is supposed to be based on its expected annual dividend payouts"

So how will you price shares in a company that does not pay dividends? Are you saying they are worthless?

Actually, when a company pays a dividend its stock price drops by the amount of dividend (per share) paid. This should be obvious if you consider buying a share just before or just after a (certain - announced, etc.) dividend payment.

The actual share valuation is supposed to be based on one's estimate of the company's value (assets, projected income, etc): price=(value-debt)/#shares. Obviously, if the company has cash assets that's a part of the value. If some of the cash is paid out as dividends then the company value drops by that amount, and so does the share price. If the company announces a dividend or issues a statement that no dividends will be paid next year that does not change the company's value or share price. Your decision to buy shares should be based on your expectation that the company's value will increase in the future (it may, instead, be based on your expectation that in the future idiots will value the company higher than you do, but that's another topic).

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Such hatred

"Believe me..."

Sorry, but I am not prepared to. Having dealt with sysvinit, systemd, and upstart in both development and production environments I must say I am not at all impressed by the last two. In my experience, upstart is too flaky and systemd is just too complex and opaque.

Reading or writing sysvinit scripts is not difficult at all if you are literate. I myself banged up a fair number of upstart->sysvinit replacements for custom daemons without any significant effort (main distros provide libraries of very useful shell functions out of the box, and once you familiarize yourself with a few of those any difficulties go away). In every single case the switch led to much improvement in reliability and to much reduction in the frequency of puzzled WTF expressions on the faces of developers and QA folks, which was the main purpose of the exercise to start with.

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Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

T. F. M. Reader
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Re: Too much of a good thing

"the best thing you can do to boost your per-capita GDP is have a car crash"

Might be the worst example of the broken window fallacy I have ever seen. Please re-read what Tim had to say about opportunity cost and then think what would have been bought with the many that was spent on newer cars and doctors and lawyers without the car crash.

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Google: Hey kids, dump all your files over here with us!

T. F. M. Reader
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5TB files? Seriously?

I guess it's a good solution for encrypted off-dorms backups of 5TB disks. Oh, wait, how long will it take to upload it?

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