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* Posts by Don Dumb

188 posts • joined 20 May 2013

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NSA approves Samsung Knox for use by TOP SECRET g-men

Don Dumb
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Boffin

Re: OFFICIAL

@ZSn - "OFFICIAL is the 'lowest level of classified material' in the UK is a bit disingenuous. It rolls up protected, RESTRICTED and CONFIDENTIAL."

And UNCLASSIFIED as well - everything is at least OFFICIAL.

As another has pointed out anything which is sensitive has a specific handling restriction. The classifications are not retrospective either, anything which was marked CONFIDENTIAL still retains that classification and is treated as such.

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Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook

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Coat

Re: Tim will be remembered for allowing Yosemite on his watch

"Tim will be remembered for allowing Yosemite on his watch "

The Apple Watch is getting Yosemite? That is impressive!

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Facepalm

Every year the NHS gets record breaking increases to investment -

- but not neccessarily in *real terms*

"Today we reported Apple’s highest September quarter revenue ever and our strongest revenue growth rate in seven quarters. These very strong results were made possible by your hard work and dedication."
Strange he forgot to say "And inflation." I would expect that even a company treading water would make their highest September revenue ever every year in cash terms, it would be more impressive if it was the highest ever after taking into account inflation.

For those not getting the subject line, this refers to the claims made by many UK politicians that they are going to break the record on investment into the NHS, when in fact in most years they are simply putting in more cash to cover inflation (i.e. the same value). Because inflation almost always goes up, they can claim every year that they are breaking the record, anything else would be a massive cut.

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US Senate's net neutrality warrior to Comcast: Remind us how much you hate web fast lanes

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Boffin

Problem solved

@Neoc -

""...those in favor of paid prioritization argue big websites should pay towards the network infrastructure they're reliant on"

Because, as everyone knows, traffic from big websites just magically appears on network infrastructures."

Exactly what I thought. ISPs complain that both web service and end-user need to pay for their use of the network, and yet they both do. Problem solved.

The attacks against net neutrailty seem to always be driven by the false notion* that someone is getting network service for free and should pay. But, unless there is a company perpetrating some truely criminal act, everyone already does pay and the ISPs would rather make companies and end users pay ever more in an infinite "pay more to get the service you already paid for" loop.

* for false notion read - 'deliberately dishonest'

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TalkTalk and Three want to make it easier to switch mobe networks

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Re: im moving soon

For what it's worth* -

As a 3 customer, I've been pretty impressed with their service, since moving from O2 a year or so ago. Originally because I was on sim-only contracts and wanted more data than the 1GB that everyone was offering.

I should probably point out the "Feel at Home" thing has been a blessing. Basically it makes travel to some 16 countries very painless by charging all calls and texts to the UK and data from your allowance as if you're still in the UK (i.e. from your normal allowance).

Went to the US for 10 days, used loads of data and sent calls and texts back home. My bill was only 58p higher than normal as a result.

I've found their customer service alright, although I haven't needed it that much so I haven't tested it to any decent level.

* Disclaimer - have no allegance to 3 other than as a customer

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Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

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FAIL

Re: cynical remark

@P Lee -

True, but neither OSX nor Linux ask you to pay for those incremental releases - or any others.

Err, unless I misunderstand your point, that could barely be more wrong with respect to OSX.

Don't confuse 'free' with 'at no additional charge' - it's a common mistake which marketers love to exploit. You can only install the software on Apple hardware, OSX isn't free of charge - you buy Apple hardware which comes with OSX included at no additional charge and Apple may (or may not) charge for upgrades to the software. That is definitely NOT free (as in beer).

In fact, I'm not sure whay you think that Apple doesn't charge for an incremental release to OSX. In the last five releases Apple charged a fee for upgrading to Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion. In fact, as far as I can see, the only release of OSX Apple haven't charged for is the most recent, Mavericks. But, again, even that is in no way to be confused with 'free'.

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This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...

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Re: maybe

@AC - The solution (which is long overdue) is the ability to deny specific access during install (check box like) rather than an all or nothing accept/decline offer. Or even some better way to control permissions at the data level (which apps can access my contacts).

For what it's worth, IOS does give this control and it might be helped by the vetting process preventing apps from asking for access that the app doesn't need for some function*. I'm surprised that Android has an all or nothing approach.

In IOS Apps can still ask for particular access that you don't want the app to have but it will still work, but there will be something that it doesn't do, which is fair. I found the other day that Google Maps didn't have access to my contacts (so I couldn't just search for a friend's house in Goolge Maps), but this didn't prevent it from working.

* - which may not necessarily be a function you want the app to have.

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Something smells PHISHY: It's the celeb nudie iCloud PERV trap...

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Happy

Re: Are "Apps" the real culprit?

@veti - The iOS app store is quite stringently policed. I've never seen an iOS app ask for access to my picture gallery, location, ID or any other personal info unless there was an obvious reason for it.

And to be fair iOS does make it easy to decline each individual app's request for particular services, only allowing the services you want the app to have access to.

For instance, I have allowed Facebook access to my photos (I don't keep many photos on my phone) as that allows me to upload a photo I've just taken to Facebook. However, Facebook hasn't been allowed access to location services. And I can check which apps have access to what services pretty easily at Settings/Privacy.

I don't know that well how Android handles this, does one have to allow all accesses the app requests or can you choose which services you grant the app access to (without breaking the app)?

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Video: Dyson unveils ROBOTIC TANK that hoovers while you're out

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Could it work in a real home though?

@TRT - ... vials of ricin under the sofa...

+1 for the Breaking Bad ref

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Dolby Atmos is coming home and it sounds amazing

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Holmes

Re: Wonderful. Brilliant. Absolutely fabulous.

@Pascal Monett - "So we've gone from mono, to 2.0, to 2.1, to 5.1, and now 10.1"

Yeah, I read from the article that -

"Most consumers want fewer speakers in their lounge, not more."

And yet, the solution is - more speakers!

I'd be more happy if the makers of AVRs fixed the faults in delivering current technologies rather than throwing more badges on the box.

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XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources

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Facepalm

Idiotic Eureka Moment!

@AC -

I had to hear someone mention Matryoshka (Russian Dolls) on the radio this morning before I finally twigged that MKV is named after them... d'oh! :)

I hadn't realised it until I read your comment and I also now realise why from the comment above about it being only a container format. That's my idiotic eureka moment of the day - uberd'oh!

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We told you jailbreaking your iThing was dangerous

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Re: Hilarious

@Destory All Monsters - "People click on ads?"

To be fair, on a mobile device (especially an iThing) it is often difficult to avoid clicking the bloody ads, a testament to their obtrusiveness.

I was on a website the other day that put FULL SCREEN ads in front of the text, just a couple of seconds after the page loads - I tried to click a link in the page only for the advert to jump in the way and take me off to the app store. Another site had adverts that jump into the bottom portion of the page when you're not scrolling, naturally you tap the bottom of the screen to scroll up but only succeed in clicking on the advert that has just re-appeared.

And companies wonder why we want ad blocking?

If it was just the Google promoted searches I wouldn't be upset. To my mind, those adverts are solicited (I have searched for those terms) and not damaging to my use of Google, I can see their sponsored links at the top and decide to click them just like any other link. Most of all they don't get in the way, don't suck down massive bandwidth, don't introduce endless vunerabilities and are often what I am looking for. Similarly, the adverts on El Reg aren't obtrusive, I can tolerate those as a cost of the services provided. If websties had ads like that, ad blocking probably wouldn't be as essential. But sponsored search results and Reg adverts are the rare expction compared to the flash/video monstrosoties on most sites that hijack my browsing and my mobile bandwidth.

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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

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Boffin

Re: Maybe not the whole car....

As others have pointed out - get a Ford (also on a few Land Rovers). I've used many, they are a godsend in the winter (for those of us that park outside) and otherwise you rarely notice the wires. I took a hire car last week, only after driving 150miles did I notice a slight glint and realise that the Fiesta I was driving had a heated windscreen.

Just like rear windscreens, over time one of the wires in the mesh may fail but unless it is the one directly infront of the driver's view then it doesn't really cause any problems, just takes longer for that line of the windscreen to defrost.

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Facepalm

Re: No spare wheel?

@evs - The spray goes inside the tire so it will find the hole by itself. If everything goes as planned the foam will seal the leak - [Emphasis mine]

Unfortunately the plan assumes wonderful roads and fantastic tyres. As soon as the puncture has started to cause the tyre wall to bulge (as happened to me), a blowout is inevitable. And if the puncture is slow enough you won't notice for a while (blowout).

The foam is good for sealing a point puncture or a thin tear if you notice it early enough and can then easily find and stop at a tyre replacement centre soon after applying the foam. However, if your tyre fails (blowout, large tear, several punctures) then the foam is useless.

Even if you can successfully treat the puncture with foam, it is only worth it if you can get to somewhere that can replace tyres without having to travel too far, which if you are on the motorway, or travelling late at night is unlikely.

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Re: No spare wheel?

@Stoneshop - When was the last time you had a puncture? Mine was eight years ago.

This year, on the motorway, with less than 200 miles on a new car. Little can of glue and a pump were sod all help with a blow out. Was a Sunday afternoon so had to get a recovery van take us the 60 miles home, then another recovery van the next morning to take me to the dealership so they could replace the tyre. By the time the recovery truck had turned up we could have changed the wheel and got home on a cold winter's day.

This winter in the UK there seemed to have been a lot of tyre failures, the product of a very wet winter roughing the road up I suspect.

I've learned my lesson the hard way - a spare wheel (doesn't matter if it is a space saver) is essential.

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

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Go

Re: Is there a Microsoft parallel to Godwin's Law?

No matter what the subject, the thread turns into a MS bash-fest within a few posts...

Proof that if Eadon didn't exist, commentardery would create one

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

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Boffin

Re: It doesn't matter how good the display is if there's nothing to display

@Peter Gathercole - Sky in the UK delivers 1080i60 (at least that's what my telly and Wikipedia says)

Ah, but is that the Sky box output to TV connection delivering 1080i60? What is the broadcast resolution of the channel being carried within the Sky box output? See what the telly says when there is an SD channel being displayed, I'll bet that it still says it is giving 1080i60 and doesn't change regardless of the channel viewed, it's just a high quality signal carrying a picture of much lower quality.

So the question is - of the HD channels on Sky HD, how many carry a 1080 picture?

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Don Dumb
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Holmes

It doesn't matter how good the display is if there's nothing to display

But neither is 4K on pay-TV, as we’ve yet to see a 4K channel appear on satellite or cable.

There is barely any Full HD 1080p broadcasts, at least in the UK. As far as I'm aware Freeview has none and Sky HD doesn't seem to do any Full HD channels, to my knowledge all the HD channels are 720p. I have a Full HD TV and the only time that gets used to its fullest is the occasional Blu Ray. Even in the World Cup, where TV tech gets pushed, there were only 3 games broadcast in 4K and none of those were available in the UK.

It's not just the price, it's pointless buying a TV that is 2 generations better than what is being broadcast, Netflix excepted. I think the TV manufacturers may have to realise that we just don't want to upgrade our TVs like we do our phones and they have overused "the next big thing in TV" to the point that the public just aren't interested in more TV technology. The marketing equivalent of crying wolf, we've had 'Widescreen', 'Digital', 'HD', 'Full HD', '3D' (people tried 3D but didn't care about that either) - most people have just got HDTV or Full HD TVs and have no intention of throwing them straight away.

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Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers

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Re: Tired admin

@ ckm5 -

4. Auto-update
Can't argue with most of your tips, but I would disagree with point 4, in particular for business or any important servers. A sysadmin really should check that every patch works and doesn't break critical services/applications before deploying. Or at the very least, the sysadmin should deploy the patch themselves at a specific time, so that if something does go wrong they are around to fix it and know what he/she has just done that might have caused things to go wrong. Leaving updating to an external service/provider is essentially allowing a third party to break your systems outside of your control.

Auto-update might seem like it makes sense but even very important, simple and lightweight patches *could* contain a bug that breaks something. Especially when the most important patches are often the most rushed. Just look back through the archives of the site and you will see major software houses releasing patches that were buggy and the patch was either withdrawn or itself patched in short time.

For the sake of a few days, it is worth testing any update, or applying it at a time you can be there to clean up its mess and/or limit the damage.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

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Pint

"Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage"

Have a beer for that sub-headline

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Hackers' delight: Hotel cyber-cafe, er, business centers, apparently – US Secret Service

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Terminator

Re: Note to self:

@Herby - Then again how do you print things out? Like boarding passes.

If you have your laptop and just want to print something from it. I would say the moderately safe and easy way is to take a USB stick with you. Use your laptop to download your boarding pass, and save the pass file as a pdf (or picture) onto the stick and then use the stick in the business centre, that way you don't have to type anything into the probably compromised business centre computer to print out the pass.

Obviously, treat the USB stick as horribly contaminated before using again. Even better use a CD which you can bin afterwards. The alternative is to use an airline which doesn't need you to print out the pass (there are some), you just display the pass on your phone.

I always assumed the business centre computers or any public computers were riddled with malware. Useful for a bit of simple impersonal surfing (e.g. looking for a local restaurant, checking the news) but never try logging into anything secure.

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Murdoch calls for ISPs to be liable for users' activities

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Boffin

Re: Is this the owner of the London Times and FT? When you wonder what Rupe's bottom line is

He owns The Times (you may call it the 'London' times) and its sister The Sunday Times, he also owns The Sun. He doesn't own the FT however.

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Elon Musk to fund Tesla museum with 'ONE MEEELLION DOLLARS'

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Pint

The Geek of Hearts

@ukgnome -

I used to think that Musk was a massive cock....And then he gave his patents away, and built a rocket, and actually turned out to be a decent chap.
I'm the same, more beer for Musk. I'm guessing many here might have warmed to him. I wasn't keen on him and to be honest I have asked myself lately what it was that turned me off as I can't even remember.

In any case, seeing how good the cars are, how he is clearly running Tesla very well and then the patent release has really won me over to Elon. He seems to be the reason society needs billionaires - because some of them can do something genuinely useful with their money. This just adds to the feeling that he may have been a bit immature early on but is actually a decent bloke trying to do ambitious things the right way. Let's face it, good or bad, the world would really benefit from most of his projects succeeding, good luck to him.

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Dubai to get HUGE climate-controlled DOMED CITY and giga-mall

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Terminator

Re: Elysium on Earth ?

It is interesting that it does sound absolutely horrific but I can't help thinking that the fact they are doing it in Dubai makes it seem that way. I wonder if they were doing this in Japan it might seem to be much cooler.

From the article - "Additional districts within the project will include .... a cultural celebration district " I'm guessing not many cultures will be celebrated. Can't imagine they'll be having a pride march.

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Re: Not just the air

@Cliff -

"As stupid as air conditioning the desert is, it may be that putting a lid over the buildings isn't massively more inefficient than all the individually cooled buildings - they all lose their cool individually, but if the cooler air leaks into a contained space as opposed to hot streets, it may not be quite as stupid as it first appears."

It's a good point but it would only work if the whole city is built accordingly. Or will the 'outside' - the streets and communal areas be set at a higher temperature than the inside of buildings? So they still end up air conditioning the buildings separately anyway.

It seems that in most places people prefer a higher temperature outside than they do inside. (We go to hot places for their nice weather but still end up air conditioning the hotel rooms because we don't want that temperature when we sleep!)

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Brit celebs' homes VANISH from Google's Street View

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Facepalm

He *was* Prime Minister

@Martin-73 -

Is he paying for the danged armed police (I thought carrying an offensive weapon in public was a crime anyway, guess it's one law for us... again)
They are Special Branch, the bit of the UK Police Force that guard all of the sitting, and former, Prime Ministers and they naturally have many armed officers. You do realise that it is legal for the police to have armed officers in public?

It's not that difficult to work out, US Presidents also keep their Secret Service detail after leaving office. I believe John Major once commented that it is quite strange that since he started being Prime Minister he has never really been on his own and never will be.

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Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

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Pint

Re: @Don Dumb

@Trevor_Pott - As to your magical woo-woo crystals sending you a positive vibe about Windows 9...what proof you have? Vista/7 are ages behind us.I don't, that's why I said it was 'my guess' and I did declare it as uninformed.

You read like you need a weekend, have a beer.

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Re: History repeating

@Trevor_Pott - forgive me I don't exactly know what you mean by 'less ass' and 'more ass'. Do you mean something that I might understand along the lines of 'less of an ass' and 'more of an ass'?

As others have posted, my (uninformed) guess is that Win 9 will fix the errors of Win 8. In the same way that Win 7 did for Vista. And due to a product of corporate infrastructure lifecycles and Microsoft fixing Win 8's problems - Win 9 will get taken up en masse.

Of course, Microsoft could still easily mess that up.

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Don Dumb
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Windows

History repeating

@John Tserkezis -

I've called 8.x "Vista v2.0", and going on market share, it seems I'm not too far off.

I agree. The problem with Vista was that people were, on the whole, content with XP, there was no real need to upgrade, anyone who really didn't like it moved to Linux or Mac - Vista wasn't going to help that. The problem with Win 8 is that, again, no one who uses Win 7 is crying out for a new OS.

It seems evidently clear that Microsoft just don't understand their customers. Home users are happy to simply buy the machine with the OS loaded and don't care what the OS is - no real gain for Microsoft there, they would get the money for Win 7 or 8. Business users move slowly, OS upgrades across hundreds and thousands of machines can take years of preparation and, more importantly, if there is no compelling reason to upgrade, then they wont do it.

Once again Microsoft are trying to push an OS no one wants, just like they did with Vista. By the time Win 9 comes and matures, large businesses may start to move from Win 7 to Win 9, if they need to. Until then the big marketshare change will be XP being gradually replaced by Win 7 through large migrations. (I don't think any later migration will be as painful as moving from Win XP has been as there shouldn't be as many browser lock-in related issues that IE6 has caused)

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Google Glass faces UK cinema ban: Heaven forbid someone films you crying in a rom-com

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Re: film theft

@AC - I believe the comedian was Ed Byrne

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Re: Cinema (n.)

@Studley - "An auditorium where you can watch a blu-ray with hundreds of other people, at an inconvenient time, for the same price as buying the blu-ray six months later.

And all that on uncomfortable seats, without a pause button (even though the film may be several hours long), with loads of adverts and spoilers (some call them 'trailers') for other films you might want to see but won't need to after the spoiler has given everything away. And even better there's lots of films available at your cinema only in 3D - which is more expensive, comes with shitty glasses, looks worse and yet does not hide the lack of any decent storytelling.

I'm just not a fan of the cinema experience. I do occasionally go to my local arthouse cinema which actually is quite good, there are sofas, pauses during long films and wine & beer in the shop. It just annoys me that you do not get value for money (if you ever did) at the cinema these days. Even more galling is that you pay and still get adverts.

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Apple ships security fixes for iOS, OS X, Safari ... basically EVERYTHING

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Re: 7.1.2 iOS update...

@AC -

"7.1.2 iOS update...

required a manual reboot (the progress bar never completed). On two iPhone 4S and a 5C.

Recovered fine, but not good."

Thanks for the experience, glad I didn't do the update this morning. I'll keep an eye on the update. I always backup the phone first and do the update via iTunes on the computer so hopefully I can restore if the update fails, but I did manage to have a 3GS brick while updating (Apple store replaced straight away thankfully) so I'm always nervous.

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We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

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Happy

Re: Wait, the screen is used for what?

mikeyw0 - Thanks for the clarification, very helpful. The implication that crucial controls were entirely on the touchscreen did seem mad, and thankfully inaccurate.

Can I ask how good the height and position of the touchscreen is? It looks like it would benefit from being placed higher (like the screens are in modern Audis are). I get annoyed at some cars for having screens and controls too low down on the centre console, outside of peripheral vision.

The car updates itself automatically like an iPhone - you get in one morning and it tells you there's been a software update and that new features are now available.

That would make me nervous considering how rocky my iPhone updates have been lately.

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Don Dumb
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@John Robson - Where was ABS introduced? Electric windows? virtually anything else you now consider standard.

I thought most developments (with regards driving aids rather than the 'leccy windows) were originally developed in Formula 1 cars - like ABS, semi-auto gearboxes, etc

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Don Dumb
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WTF?

Wait, the screen is used for what?

"you have to look at it too much by saying there are anchor points – buttons which don’t move – to call up the essential screens for things like the lights and windscreen wipers."
Wait, hang on - to turn on the lights or windscreen wipers, both actions required to be able to do while at speed, you have to press a button on the touchscreen to bring up another display with controls? That surely can't be right.

If true, it's terrible, especially considering the screen is below dashboard level. On the motorway you have to be able to turn on (and off) the wipers and/or lights, sometimes quickly, without looking away from the road. Say for instance, when a rainstorm suddenly hits. How many times are you going to have to look down because you've missed the right button or need to work out where the button for high intensity rear lights is on the screen.

I'm sorry, a clean UI is helpful but not in all cases, some things are important enough for physical switchgear to be able to be used without looking at. You wouldn't have the indicators operated by a touchscreen (please tell me Tesla hasn't done that!), neither should the other essential controls. I notice that the example owner hasn't used the car beyond a few miles and so likely hasn't come across these situations.

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US footballers set to vie for BITCOIN BOWL

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Meh

Method of Payment

One crucial aspect is missing - how will BitPay be paying for their sponsorship? I'm guessing the St Petersburg organisers are accepting payment in US Dollars rather than Bitcoin but I imagine that would slightly undermine the publicity effort if that were to become public knowledge.

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Apple is KILLING OFF BONKING, cries mobe research dude

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Boffin

Re: Shift in Thinking

@cosymart - I have no desire to look like a plonker waving my card and the cashier giving me strange looks (well, no more than normal) :-(

Why not stick a small unmanned pay by bonk till by the exit with bullet point instructions for idiots (me) to reduce the normal queues?

I've just recieved a pay-by-bonk debit card from my bank. I've had my moment of looking like a plonker, so I'll try and give my lesson -

Basically (my card) is limited to payments of £20, although YMMV. When you get to the till, the card machine will say something like "swipe or insert or tap your card". As long as it says tap, then slowly tap the chip end of the card to the TOP of the card machine, you don't need to hold it there. It should beep to acknowledge, a second or two later it will have processed your payment and will be printing the reciept. I have found that I can now do the bonk without taking it out of my wallet, which is useful but equally concerning.

One advantage is it does make the self-service tills in Waitrose faster, or it would do if the elderly used pay-by-bonk rather than the complex and glacial process for payment they seem to employ.

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Facepalm

Have iPhone competitors thrown in the towel?

From the article - "Apple is not, to this date, supporting NFC, so other companies have wondered, "why bother?"

Perhaps to have a unique selling point? God forbid other companies might actually want to give people a reason to buy their phones rather than iPhones. But no, we just get a range of identical looking phones that all do pretty much the same thing.

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Stephen Fry MADNESS: 'New domain names GENERATE NEW IP NUMBERS'

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Stop

@AC - I am sick to death of the bashing Fry gets on the register.

Agreed. This is utterly pathetic behaviour from El Reg and clearly so much so that Andrew Orlowski is too ashamed to even put his name to the article.

If this were Linus Torvalds or a CIO then maybe this would be a worthwhile article. But pouring over Stephen Fry's every word so that you can pick up on any mistake is just deplorable.

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Happy Birthday Tetris: It's flipping 30

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Go

Re: This song is going to be in my head all day now!

@Jimboom - One of my favourite music videos, introduced to me by Adam Buxton's BUG, is the 'History of the Soviet Empire to the theme of Tetris'. Absolutely glorious - http://youtu.be/hWTFG3J1CP8

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Don Dumb
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Happy

Re: After-effects

@monkeyfish - After Effects - To be fair, that happens with any video game if you play it long enough. I've had it with wipeout, tony hawks, even doom.

I nostalgically remember we played so much of The Sims when at uni, my housemate dreamt of living his life by progress bars! Good times.

Can't say I would want to have a Doom dream mind.

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'Inaccurate' media misleads public on European Court's Google ruling

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Re: Google-friendly?

@Gio Campa - +1

Yes, I find it suprising that there are very few reporters, even here on El Reg, making the point that Google doesn't store the data, it is just one site that says where that data is. If there really is a right to remove, this needs to be applied to the site holding that data, along with any secondary stores (Google cache, archive.org). It's like trying to stop people knowing about a telephone number by only asking the Yellow Pages to remove it from their listings. But everyone would rather go on about the ECJ 'killing the internet', which unfortunately (deliberatly?) dilutes our cries about net neutrality.

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Supreme Court nixes idea of 'indirect' patent infringement

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@dan1980 -

Now, if you move some of that over to the user then, for example, the user would have to identify the text themselves and then tell the phone what type of data it is, thereafter the phone can present options. In this instance one might see the patent not applying as the critical function of identifying the data structures is handled by the user.

You've just described copy-and-paste (into the phone app). That's exactly why 'moving bits of a patent to the user' shouldn't be covered by the same patent, it isn't an *invention* if someone is just doing the work that the invention should be doing.

To stretch the 'Quick-Links' example further, I could do the same work by writing down the number I see on a piece of paper and then typing it into the phone's keypad. If copy-and-paste is part of the patent, then so would using paper and my eyes. Very quickly, any way of acheiving the goal becomes covered by the patent.

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Ballmer SLAM-DUNKS $2 BEEELLLION bid for LA Clippers

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Non-Contact?

@Ren Bren a non-contact sport- I don't know where the idea comes from that everyone seems to think basketball is a non-contact sport. I used to get injured much more from contact in basketball than I did playing rugby. There's loads of contact in basketball, you just have to keep from handling someone when they are shooting and you can't just clatter your way through people who are standing their ground (which you can't in football either)

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About to make a big bet? Don't crash out, cash in with the power of maths

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Re: Ahhh Monte Carlo - Cost Modelling

@unscarred - There are many tools available, mostly extensions of risk management tools (such as www.palisade.com/risk/) - however most recently I have seen massive bespoke Excel monsters because of the need for some organisations to obtain very unique data (not just a single distribution).

It depends on how much data you need and how accurate you need it. It shouldn't be too difficult to build a simple cost model on a spreadsheet. But the problem with spreadsheet based models is they aren't very good for estimating time or handling complex time/cost/risk relationships. Commerical tools are better at giving both time and cost estimates from a single risk register and handling complexity within model (such as do the risks occur sequentially? or do they force other risks to occur?)

I reckon all you'd need for a crude spreadsheet model is 3 sheets - a sheet with definite costs (max/min/most likely for each), a sheet with risks (probability, max/min/ML) and a results sheet. Have a macro (or something better) add a line in the total sheet for each run of the model randomly picking values from the max/min/ML distribution for each cost and risk (but only adding each risk cost if it meets its probability check for that run). Then graph the results, you should get a nice bell curve in most cases giving an obvious median point.

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Re: Ahhh Monte Carlo - Cost Modelling

@Nifty - to be honest that was a hypothetical project (the examples work well without explaining the whole background).

However, to take your question seriously (I'm guessing it wasn't). Whether you model such costs depend on what the scope of the project is, specifically in this case - at what point is the project finished?

If the project is just to get the house built then the problems you highlight should not be included. However, if the project is to build and sell the house for a certain return, then such uncertainties as "house market fluctuations" and risks such as the developer attempting to gazump the buyers, should be factored in. In any case you still have to manage these risks when they happen.

This is what I mean about identifying risks properly, if you don't then your project can be derailed, get it right and when bad things happen, the project will stay on track becuase you have anticipated them and have a plan to handle them. Even if that plan is just having some extra money in the budgetbudget, hence modelling the costs.

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Ahhh Monte Carlo - Cost Modelling

I've used Monte Carlo simulation many times to judge how much a project is likely to cost or how long it will take. As many will know, before a project is started there are 'deterministic' costs (i.e. the bricks will cost £1500, I have a firm quote), however there are uncertain costs (i.e. labour costs could be £1000 to £2000 but most likely £1200) and there are risks (i.e. There's a 25% chance I might need to reinforce the foundations at £800).

If you just added up the cost of the deterministic and the most likely of the uncertain values and budgeted on that amount, what would happen if the labour costs go above the most likely or the risk occurs? - the Budget won't be enough. Conversely, there's no point budgeting way more than is needed, those funds could be invested elsewhere.

So to work out what the best budget figure is, Monte Carlo analysis can be used. It works by modelling the project and running that model thousands of times. For each run of the model, the uncertain values are picked randomly from their distribution and each risk may or may not occur, based on its chance (so a risk with 25% probability will occur on a quarter of the runs). The cost of each run is ploted on a graph and after a thousand runs a nice distribution will be presented. The distribution can be sliced to give median, upper and lower quartile values, all that has to be done is decide where on that graph should be used to pick the budget. Pick an upper quartile figure and it is likely that there will be lots of spare budget, a lower quartile figure is likely to be not enough (while still more than the deterministic) so most pick the median, it could be insufficient but things will have to go badly for that to happen because it does already take into account some risks occuring.

Monte Carlo analysis is a powerful tool and it can be used for time in exactly the same way. But it only works if the modelling is sound, optimism kills it - underestimate the value of risks or fail to identify risks and uncertainties and it will give a false impression.

PS - It isn't degree-level difficult but I have had to explain it to far too many people who were supposed to be the ones qualified

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New dashboard gives eagle's-eye view of Microsoft's security flaws

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Re: Reboot?

@cyberelf - I'm aware of KSplice but I don't think many standard Linux distributions include KSplice. It isn't fair to compare vanilla Windows to Linux using a third party tool.

Although it would be fair to point out that at least Linux can allow for such third party tools to exist.

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Re: Reboot?

@Barry Rueger -

does Windows still require reboots after installs and upgrades?
In my experience, Win 7 does not need to reboot to install most updates but it still does for some.

Presumably Linux doesn't ever need a reboot to install updates to the Kernel then?

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