* Posts by DrXym

3746 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Google's Cardboard cutout VR headgear given away GRATIS by OnePlus ... SELLS OUT

DrXym
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Re: Cardboard, just cardboard

It's not just cardboard. There are lenses, an NFC chip and some parts for a moving switch. Not a huge amount but enough to justify $5.

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Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

DrXym
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Re: Auckland to Heathrow

"Pretty well any US airport for incoming International travellers is shit. It might have changed now but in Minneapolis in the 1990's, "

I remember pre-911 getting off a plane in the US with an onward connection and being told I had to pick up my bag from one conveyor and put it on another under the watchful eye of some minimum pay guard. So 30 minutes farting around doing that. Then another hour queuing for customs and immigration. Then a really long walk in the blazing heat to another terminal and all the way through checkin and security again.

I discovered *why* the US was so crap when I finally took my connecting flight - their domestic system simply wasn't secure in the slightest sense. Anybody could walk through the security including beggars, thieves (and terrorists) and the baggage collection hall connected right onto the main exit. It was a criminal's paradise. So all the international security and customs had to be done separately.

Post 9/11 the experience is just as miserable. All the bullshit of ESTA, photo terminals, fingerprint scanners and you're still queuing for hours to get in. I notice that the UK has gone down this route except the UK system doesn't even cope with family groups which meant a 90 minute queue coming back from Florida recently.

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Apple Music: First three months for free? We lasted less than 3 hours

DrXym
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Autorenew is the next thing the EU should crack down on

Too many services don't give a user the choice during subscribe of auto renewing or not. It's just on. And even if they do it's still defaulted to on. And if a user wants to change or cancel their choice some make it incredibly hard to find to turn off.

It's not just reputable services either. Many popular websites have incorporated a particularly nasty scam into their checkout service where people are offered money off their next purchase and unwittingly sign up for a discount coupon service which charges their credit card every month.

Auto renew should be an explicit option during sign up for a service and the default option should be OFF. No free trial should require it to be turned on. And turning it off should be unambiguous and simple. This is the sort of thing that consumer protection law should protect against with sufficient teeth to fine or shut down rogue services.

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Uber execs charged, will stand trial in France

DrXym
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Re: "New technology can be disruptive"

It's not "anti-competitive". There are in the order of 20 or so taxi firms around my current location. They manage to compete with each other just fine.

And yeah getting a licence probably is a big investment and probably there should be rules that govern how a licence is transferred. But that's not argument for ignoring the system entirely just because a company doesn't feel like it. An unlicenced mini cab operation would be shut down as soon as its discovered. I see no reason that the same doesn't apply to Uber.

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DrXym
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Re: Nice way of shooting yourself in the foot, or both

"They could have gone to the EU Commish and ask to regulate Uber EU-wide, then they'd have the backing of at least some directives that they could throw in the face of the French, and claim good will."

Or they could have simply set themselves up under the limo, hackney, minicab legislation that every other firm operates under in each jurisdiction.

Instead Uber thought all that legislation was for losers and decided to ignore it completely. It turns out that some places have a serious problem with companies that break the law.

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DrXym
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"New technology can be disruptive"

Which may be true but in this case is utter bollocks. There are lots of taxi hailing apps that work just like Uber but which summon an actual taxi to your location, a taxi that is licenced, insured, inspected and driven by someone who has undergone all the necessary background checks and tests.

So its nothing to do with technology or disruption so much as with Uber running an illegal taxi service. Their service might be a bit more high tech than some dodgy mini cab drivers but it's largely no different.

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Microsoft: This Windows 10 build has 'NO significant known issues'

DrXym
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Our bug tracking system has no category called "significant"

I doubt Microsoft's does either. I bet in fact that every version of Windows has 10,000s of bugs logged against it and each is assigned a severity and a priority.

I assume that "significant" here would refer to those that are highest priority and the most severe. And it may be true that those are cleared but it's also likely that there a very large number of others still waiting to be fixed and probably still waiting to be fixed when the OS launches.

That said, complex systems are never bug free or anywhere close so I wouldn't expect the bug count to ever reach zero. But I do hope that when it launches that it has a high level of stability and it continues to improve as they start slapping in features or other things left and right thereafter.

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

DrXym
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Re: Ignorance of the issue

The problem with Greece is it has been lax about collecting taxes, has a bloated public sector and corrupt by European standards. Put them all together and you have a country spending more money than it should.

The current government can't be blamed for the mess the country finds itself in but it sure as hell isn't helping the country get out of the mess. Greece might not like the options, but options it has - either stay in the Euro and take the bitter medicine, or leave and be assured of absolute economic ruin. Even if both choices are negative, one is still obviously better than the other.

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DrXym
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Re: Islands

I should think all those uninhabited islands would be perfect places to develop solar and wind farms.

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China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

DrXym
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Does it still have that hateful front end

I bought a Huawei and discovered it had combined the all apps view with the desktop view. It made it impossible to customise properly because new app icons got plonked in the next available space rather than having a separate All Apps view like a sane handset. Is this still the case? That one feature alone would drive me nuts, and even if I could swap out the launcher I'd still resent that it was there at all.

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Github's 'Atom' text editor hits version 1.0

DrXym
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Like Sublime

The general look & feel and bindings are so similar that you'd be mistaken for thinking it is the Sublime 4. The main difference is under the hood - it uses JS for packages instead of python.

Personally I still find these editors still fall short compared to an IDE like IntelliJ or Eclipse for actual development but they're fine when used in conjunction with the command line.

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GM's cheaper-than-Tesla 'leccy car tested at batt-powered data centre

DrXym
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Re: I'm sure you'll be glad to know

That sounds like a selling point to me.

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Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

DrXym
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Re: I doubt it's hard to prank them

"The Telegraph's online edition has no sub-editors - they publish directly to web without any proofreading or fact-checking of any sort"

To be fair, they did their very best to stifle all stories about HSBC bank even when it was front page news for every other newspaper. Absolutely nothing to do with HSBC being a major advertising client of theirs I'm sure.

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DrXym
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Re: I doubt it's hard to prank them

"If you think The Telegraph is anti-EU, you obviously haven't read it in a while."

You obviously haven't if that's what you think. It is the home of some of the most rabidly anti-EU opinion pieces in the mainstream press. Not to mention a continuous stream of stories about immigrants, the failure of the EU in one way or another, stories favourable to UKIP or anti-EU conservative groups etc.

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DrXym
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I doubt it's hard to prank them

The Telegraph has lurched so far away from journalistic standards that they'll print anything that promotes their agenda - anti EU, anti science, pro religion. Their nearest "competitor" these days is the Daily Mail which tries even less to check the veracity of what they print.

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Gaming's favourite fly by night. Batman: Arkham Knight reviewed

DrXym
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Reviews all appear to be on the PS4

I've read quite a few reviews for this game and virtually all of them are on the PS4 version. I wonder what that's about.

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JavaScript creator Eich's latest project: KILL JAVASCRIPT

DrXym
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JS is the problem in the first place

What's really needed is to be able to run the LLVM bitcode directly in a page with some APIs that allow it to interact with the DOM, input, rendering and so forth. How the browser executes the bitcode is entirely up to itself - it could even emit JS bytecode if it wanted in-memory (much like Emscripten turns bitcode into asm.js code but without the need to parse it), Or it could do something more sophisticated such as compile it into native assembly code (suitably seeded with stack guards, hooks and so on).

Google's Chrome more or less has this already in PNaCl which is LLVM hooked up to a Pepper API which does the outward bindings. What should really happen is that other browsers adopt PNaCl or use it as the basis of a cross-platform specification which does something similar.

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Testing Windows 10 on Surface 3: Perfect combo or buggy embuggerance?

DrXym
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Re: Decent screen for once

Windows applications traditionally work at a DPI of around 96 and these super density screens are are 250+. Desktop apps are too small to use so the OS ends up upscaling window surfaces by 1.5-2x to compensate. There are some hidpi aware applications but not as many as there should be and many of them don't render big enough even with hidpi support. A user would also tend to sit further away from the device than they might a tablet or phone.

The upshot is a high resolution on a small screen doesn't really do much for a desktop. There isn't much screen real estate, the upscaling makes the windows look blurry, more memory is used by the display and the GPU has 4x the pixels plus upscaling work to do. It probably works better in a tablet mode where the device is held closer and apps tend to be DPI-aware.

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Would EU exit 'stuff' the UK? Tech policy boss gets diplomatic

DrXym
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Re: “national measures” continue to entangle the single market

"None of that is put at risk by leaving"

I'm sorry but reality and common sense begs to differ about that. Being burdened by two increasingly divergent legal, economic, financial systems will not help any business.trying to trade across those boundaries.

"They would both then have to apply to join the EU, which would require them to join the Euro, you think that the Scots would be that daft?"

The SNP have already said they'd do it and they'd definitely win a referendum this time if the UK left. As for Northern Ireland, I didn't say Irish unity but there is the matter of that land border (which of course would suddently exist with Scotland but hey), and the sudden barriers to trade and free movement that both sides have enjoyed and an exit would deprive them of.

As I said, think of the fun. Basically the UK is pointing a gun at its own head and threatening to pull the trigger. It has far more on the line than anyone watching.

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DrXym
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Re: “national measures” continue to entangle the single market

The UK tech sector as you put it has extremely strong ties to Europe. Many European headquarters are situated in the UK. Many of the people working in the UK are from EU countries. Many businesses have major trade of software and services within the EU.

All of that is put at risk by leaving. There isn't far less point in having a European HQ which isn't actually in the EU for example.There isn't much point being outside the EU if it means the hassle of extra red tape, more worker visas and so on.

And yes the UK could probably achieve some kind of free trade agreement. It would command the same sorts of power and influence that Norway and Switzerland do over the EU - pretty much none.

Of course, if the UK was stupid enough to leave the EU then almost certainly Scotland would leave the UK, and possibly Northern Ireland too. So there would be options for companies which wished to relocate. Oh what fun that would be.

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Entertaining prospect: Amazon Fire TV Stick

DrXym
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Re: Its all about the SP Factor (Shiny and Pointless)

I find the Chromecast quite useful for travelling. It's small and I can plug it into the hotel / rented property's TV and get streaming video. When I'm not travelling it gets hooked up to a TV in a spare room. Last night I was streaming from a DLNA server to it via the BubbleUPnP app.

I think I would prefer it if it came with a remote, and persistent apps but it's fine for the purpose I use it for.

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Microsoft picks up shotgun, walks 'Modern apps' behind the shed

DrXym
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Re: It's perfect for touchscreen devices like tablets and phones

"Yes it's fine... on a phone."

It's fine on a tablet and a laptop too. Of course nobody forces you to use the tablet app - go install a full blown email client if you want and forget the app even exists.

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DrXym
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Nothing wrong with the modern interface

It's perfect for touchscreen devices like tablets and phones and some apps put it to really good use. Netflix has a nice interface in Windows 8 and the email app is pretty good too.

Perhaps Skype was a bad example although I wouldn't know because when I installed it refused to go any further unless I tied my Windows Live account to my Skype ID. It's one thing to ask (nicely and optionally), it's quite another to force me to do it and I resent consolidating IDs without a good reason. The desktop app didn't care so I used that instead.

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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

DrXym
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I doubt he'll science the shit out of anything

Ridley Scott is directing this so expect basic violations of the laws of physics, nonsensical science (and script) and deus ex machina's galore.

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But... I... like... the... PAIN! Our secret addiction to 'free' APIs

DrXym
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It's too bad about pipes

I've never heard about it before now but it seems like it was a useful service. I've had need to produce an aggregated RSS feed and it sounds like this service would have saved me a lot of effort.

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Using leather in 'leccy cars is 'unTesla', rages vegan shareholder

DrXym
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I don't get it really.

A car, by its very existence is not eco friendly. It's made from materials mined out of the ground, it consumes power, it runs over land which has been converted to road, it runs through areas of natural beauty, it kills animals and insects, it encourages globalization and waste.

Yes the Tesla is pushing things in the right direction by not burning fossil fuels and recharging through charge stations which are mostly solar operated. This is an important advance but in most respects it's just a car.

So what the hell does it matter if it has leather seats or not?

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Jurassic Part: Vertu announces lizard-skin phones

DrXym
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I wonder who buys these things

I'm sure the case looks sufficiently gaudy to attract the eye of some oligarch but the phone itself is inferior to one costing 1/20th the price. What's the point of that?

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SourceForge sorry for adware, promises only opt-in in future

DrXym
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What happened to you Sourceforge?

Once upon a time, SF was the go-to place for open source development. But since they started bundling code with installer crapware and other shenanigans, the move to github has become an exodus.

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VirtualBox 5.0 beta four graduates to become first release candidate

DrXym
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I like VirtualBox

It has a very friendly user interface and in general works pretty well.

If I had to find fault it, the speed of the guest / host virtual file system is horrible which makes it very hard to contemplate using it with something like Vagrant to virtualize development environments. I packaged up a compiler and some other tools into a vagrant box and while the compiler ran at about 90% of native speed (not bad) locally, it took close to 10x longer to compile files out on the host fs due to the virtualization.

It would also be nice if operating systems came with a standard set of hooks so there wasn't a constant need to install guest drivers

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Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence

DrXym
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Re: Got any more from this loon?

Ah but you see, all powerful god who has the power to affect reality itself whispered it right into his mind. He has a cast iron, irrefutable cast. Don't doubt him or wonder why god can't think of a more direct and obvious way to lay out the facts for his existence - such as by writing them in 2000 foot gold lettering floating in the sky.

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DrXym
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And in other news

Ken Ham is an incurable dolt.

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Celebrating 20 years of juicy Java. Just don’t mention Android

DrXym
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Re: Facts

"Which is why all our desktop apps are written in Java… Oh wait, they're not. The LibreOffice lot are even busy ripping Java out – not that I'm personally convinced that this is such a good move."

Eclipse & IdeaJ are two non trivial applications running on Java. And they're not just used for Java development either. Eclipse RCP is used in a raft of enterprise desktop apps. There are games too, of which Minecraft is the most well known.

"On the server-side Java got established in the corporate space and will remain for the duration But it wasn't because it was multi-platform, it's because it was what IBM, Sun, et al. were able to convince the suits to buy."

It was established server side because it is incredibly reliable and cross platform. Businesses value these things over raw throughput, Developers can write and package a .war / .ear application on a PC, transfer it to a suitable app server running on virtually anything and it will just work. It's extremely powerful and as testament to that, countless backends are powered by Java.

"As I said, the work done on the JVM has made it a lot easier for other languages to be reliably cross-platform. Also: thank god for QT!"

A QT application has to be recompiled, packaged, deployed and tested for every platform it runs on. It's no panacea.

I don't personally care what tech I use providing it's fit for purpose. I program Ruby, C++ (including QT), Java, Python, Javascript with no trouble. But I do take issue with claiming Java is not portable. It is BY FAR the most portable way to develop code. Nothing comes close.

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DrXym
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Re: Facts

Cross platform in Java works really well.

Most web apps are developed on a PC running Windows or Linux and end up being deployed on all kinds of servers and architectures. Not only are the target operating systems often different but often the JVM and even the app server are different.

So cross platform is a reality of Java.

Even client side programming generally works extremely well. I've had no trouble writing fairly complex apps which run on Windows and Linux using Swing and SWT. The biggest issue with client side is that integration with the user interface often exceeds what the APIs might offer (e.g. system trays etc.) and so some JNI might be necessary. There are some incredibly complex client applications implemented in Java, e.g. Eclipse.

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DrXym
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Re: Java's only impact.

What the hell?

Patterns like factories, singletons etc. exist to solve problems not tied to any one language. e.g. I might use a singleton because I only want one of something such as Logger to exist in my program and therefore I control access to it to prevent more than one from being created. It wouldn't matter if I was writing JS, Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, C, C++ or anything else - the manner I create a singleton might change but the pattern is the same.

If you think you "don't need them" then it says more about lack of programming knowledge than anything else.

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ZX Spectrum 'Hobbit' revival sparks developer dispute

DrXym
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Re: Extra graphical capabilities of the spectrum 128 ?

The original only had a few locations with images and each was drawn using graphics primitives such as line and fill (a really slow flood fill). Presumably someone replaced them with handdrawn bitmaps.

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KFC's new secret ingredient is a bluetooth keyboard on your tray

DrXym
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Re: Elven herbs and spices?

I don't eat in KFC much but when I do the predominant "spice" I taste is salt. So much salt that it reminds me why I don't eat there much.

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Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION

DrXym
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I think it's on the store but not installed by default. Most of the Microsoft games have advertising which can be unlocked for a low-low price.

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Windows 10 to MELT YOUR BRAIN and TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE

DrXym
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And you wondow why Windows 10 will be free

Because they can lead users wherever they like - micropayments, "premium" features, subscriptions for access to services etc.

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Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

DrXym
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"Isn't that the job of the police?"

Police are few and far between and I didn't say illegally. I said recklessly. The driver might take more risks and not even be conscious of it. They might tailgate more, they might speed more, they might engage in actions that their car will bail them out of in an emergency.

But if the car has the ability to react in an emergency it could also do other things - measure road conditions, traffic conditions, measure the gap between the car and those in front and behind, the lane markings, the speed limit and other things that impact on safety. It doesn't necessarily have to do anything more than give out an annoying bong if the driver is doing something unsafe and the chances are the driver would adapt their driving.

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DrXym
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This is the sort of thing vehicles should strive for. Humans are vastly more capable of solving real world problems than a computer, but a computer has the reaction and response times to halt a vehicle safely to avoid a collision. Therefore, the ideal would be to let the human drive the car, but add sensors to ensure the vehicle can be brought safely to a halt.

A danger of this of course is that if the car saves the driver's bacon they might be inclined to drive more recklessly in the first place (the whole airbag / seatbelt thing all over). So it probably needs to come with other measures to ensure the vehicle is being driven in a safe manner to prevent that - automatic distance keeping, lane tracking etc.

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That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

DrXym
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Good stuff

Netflix and similar services need a way to protect their content. So far they've streamed through a plugin which provides that protection. The downside is that Flash / Silverlight are significant attack surfaces in their own right and a burden to install. So offering EME in the video playback is a useful development.

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Relax, it's just Ubuntu 15.04. AARGH! IT'S FULL OF SYSTEMD!!!

DrXym
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Re: *facepalm*

"Why does everyone lose their mind when something new happens in Linux."

Because some people have this idealized view of Linux that it cannot possibly be improved upon and when someone does improve upon Linux (usually in obvious and necessary ways) it provokes an irrational response. Note how the majority of criticisms of systemd are ad hominem attacks - it's shite, they don't like the author, they don't like pulseaudio, they don't like change, it does too much etc. Look at all the negative voting in this thread for anyone who DARES suggest it might be okay, or an improvement.

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DrXym
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Re: "now that it's well into Debian, Ubuntu really has no choice"

"But it should be an independent system. "

No, no it shouldn't. It's about the most fundamental thing in the dist aside from the kernel. Why do you expect it to be independent? Everything else needs to start somehow and this is the thing that does it.

Many things will depend on systemd especially if the packages for the dist are done correctly. But packaging is the dist's problem. If your dist breaks because of the packaging, it's not the fault of systemd any more than the kernel failing because some module it wants to load isn't there because of bad packaging.

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DrXym
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Re: "now that it's well into Debian, Ubuntu really has no choice"

"That's not a good way for supposedly independent systems to behave."

It isn't an independent system. systemd is the thing that starts everything else in userland. And if you start trashing your distribution (or if it has broken deps) then it is hardly surprising if it starts failing in weird ways.

Really, most criticisms of system are ad hominems, outright wrong or such weird edge cases that they don't apply to most people. If it were so awful, "so shite", it wouldn't be used by dists. But it is because they recognise it is a massive improvement over SysV.

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DrXym
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Re: "now that it's well into Debian, Ubuntu really has no choice"

Your argument falls on its face with the fact that systemd isn't "shite".

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DrXym
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Re: systemd? Do not want.

Luxury and extravagance. I'm sticking with a VT220 terminal attached to a PDP-11 running V7 Unix.

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Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

DrXym
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Re: 4,192 KWh

"You're dividing (power x time) by time, so at this point you might as well just give your answer in kW. Oh, and the 'kilo-' prefix is marked with a lower case k."

No, I'm just taking the figure 4192 which I assume to be annual consumption and dividing by 365 for the daily consumption. Both are still measured in kWh.

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DrXym
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4,192 KWh

That works out to be 11.48KWh per day. I reckon people would be motivated to cut that down to 8KWh if they were paying for the difference from the mains - turning off lights, not leaving appliances in standby etc.

Bigger issue is how much charge do you get from installing solar panels, particularly during winter time. It's not much use to have a battery bolted to the wall if the panels only manage to partially charge it.

Anyway, this has the potential to be a massive disrupter in places where solar *is* viable. Lots of US states get plenty of sunshine. Some states like Florida get so much it beggars belief that solar isn't the primary source of power.

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Apple Watch WRISTJOB SHORTAGE: It's down to BAD VIBES

DrXym
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So to summarise

You're wearing the wrong kind of skin.

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'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

DrXym
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Re: Alternatively...

"Intel has the same problem. Sure, there's Android for x86, but it's nigh on useless because all the Android apps that come with native libraries attached are supplying ARM native libraries, not x86 native libraries."

I think that's less of an issue these days. Most of the well known backend libs have Intel support and I expect most of the major titles would be motivated to support Intel.

Of course Google could have made this a non issue if the native SDK only targeted to LLVM bitcode. So you compile a .so and it's bitcode. Then you upload your APK to Play and it could have produced ARM, mips, Intel versions automatically and served them out according to the device requesting the app. Or it could have been converted to native on the phone when the person downloaded and installed it.

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