* Posts by Barry Rueger

444 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling

Barry Rueger
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Re: Welcome to Britain. Home of the shittest customer service, anywhere in the world.

"Welcome to Britain. Home of the shittest customer service, anywhere in the world."

Hah! I'm from Canada.

I win.

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Microsoft promises free terrible coffee every month you use Edge

Barry Rueger
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Re: I've seen some desperate stuff over the years...

God yes! The guy with a dozen tickets check, cash in, or renew, plus he wants to buy five scratch tickets, no, not that one , THAT one there, and can I choose which one you give me, and no, I won't accept a ticket with a random generated number, I want my LUCKY number.

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Polish developer hacks Android rewards app for free beer

Barry Rueger
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Re: I once

Northern Brewery in Sudbury, Ontario was I believe worker owned back in the 90s.

Brewery tours included ample free samples, but best of all the actual tour was conducted by a random factory employee - much more entertaining than a real tour guide!

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Two-speed Android update risk: Mobes face months-long wait

Barry Rueger
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Re: long term

The added problem is determining whether the fault lay with Moto, or with the wireless company.

Even getting our wireless provider to actually say what phones are on track for updates, and which are abandoned, is nigh impossible.

What consumers need and deserve is to be told "this device will be updated until this date."

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Ford announces plans for mass production of self-driving cars by 2021

Barry Rueger
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Follow the Money

Had a discussion just this morning, gist of which was: who, exactly, is pushing for autonomous cars?

More specifically, who expects to profit?

Somehow it keeps coming up: insurance companies, not so much insuring autonomous owners, but positively soaking the drivers of non autonomous cars for at least a couple of decades under the guise of "increased risk."

Aside from accident avoidance, and some utility on long highway trips, I'm not convinced there's a market for these unless drivers are forced to buy them.

Aftermarket chip reprogramming already is an automotive thing, and there will be a brisk market for disabling these things.

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Google Chrome will beat Flash to death with a shovel: Why... won't... you... just... die!

Barry Rueger
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Re: Dear Google,

"If I want product X, then I download product X. I don't want Y, Z, some spyware toolbar or any other junk / hidden software."

Whoa. Let's return to the good old days of Netscape, when using the Internet required you to install a seemingly endless parade of players and add-ons.

Asking millions of browser users to find and install plugins for different media is a recipe for disaster.

Sorry, but the best user experience is when most common functionality is bundled with browser.

And yes, I don't even mind if my distro includes proprietary codecs when I install it.

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Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out!

Barry Rueger
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It's Not Ads Per Se....

Even though I finally succumbed and installed an ad blocker, it wasn't because I have any great resentment to being served ads by the likes of Facebook or Twitter, it's because 98% of what they served up was entirely pointless, of no interest, and a waste of both my and the advertisers' time and money.

Google, despite their faults, actually managed to push ads for stuff that I might want.

Do advertisers really not understand that they're paying large amounts of money to have their message delivered to people who don't give a rats' ass about their product?

Print media would never allow that - they sell a specific demographic to advertisers, and do it very well.

You would think that, given the volume of data collected, on-line publishers could do the same.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashing under Avast antivirus update

Barry Rueger
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Real Users

Lord, bring on the anti-Windoze rants and raves, the anti-AV rants and ravs, the complaints about all users who aren't superior like ME.

An average user wants to buy a system, not build it, plug it in, and use it.

And that's an entirely reasonable approach.

Which means AV and security stuff built in, and everything set to autoupdate.

Not the admonitions to not click phishing links, to delay updates for weeks or months, to fiddle with firewalls and routers.

I can repair my truck, build my own PC, and even find my way around Apache, but I realize that this is all pretty exceptional.

What is needed in these discussions is less juvenile Windows bashing, and more useful advice on how to make average users' Windows machine safe and functional with little or no user intervention.

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Google deleting websites

Barry Rueger
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Yet Again

Like many people I've been moving most on-line functions away from Google precisely because of this : the last thing I need is to have another service that I rely on "disappeared" by Google.

It has happened too many times.

That's my overall discomfort with all variety of "cloud" services - you quite literally have no assurance that they won't disappear tomorrow.

Still, running a website off of Drive?

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Protect your staff from Toronto's terrible Twitter trolls, bosses told

Barry Rueger
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Twitter for Support

Dunno about others experience, but there are any number of companies for whom Twitter is my first choice for support.

In Canada at least many companies refuse to include an email address on their sites, or take days to respond.

Phone calls drop you into multiple choice hell, followed by twenty minutes on hold, after which one of three first level phone drones - serving several hundred thousand customers - will demonstrate that they know significantly less than you.

Twitter, for whatever reason, usually generates a response fairly quickly.

Often a useless response, but often enough to eliminate gross problems like "is your service down?" from the mix.

Where Twitter is best is giving customers immediate information about outages.

It's fast, it comes directly to my device, and doesn't force me to waste time phoning or surfing to a Web page.

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Calling all Droids: BlackBerry’s giving away the Hub

Barry Rueger
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Re: Meh

Agreed, the BlackBerry soft keyboard is fantastic - I've got it installed on my Android device and can't imagine ever going back to the craptastic Google version.

I found the Hub pretty useful when I had a Z10. I really appreciated being able to look in just one place for whatever was coming in via email, Twitter, Facebook, SMS etc instead of opening apps.

However, I'm brutal about managing my accounts - I unsub from any email service that isn't entirely essential, or of significantly high signal to noise. I also have a few people that I need to hear from but who can be ignored 75% of the time - Gmail pushes their messages a folder that I only see once I'm back at my desktop.

I keep social media accounts to perhaps a dozen or two people or entities followed, and regularly pare that list to those that I find most useful. I also quietly block people whose crap to value ratio is below a certain threshold. Including family members.

Really, if you're complaining about getting too much email to use the Hub, you're doing a pretty pathetic job of managing your communications.

I'm always amazed at the people who are on fifteen or twenty mailing lists from decade earlier, plus all of the opt-in commercial stuff from every time you shop on-line.

Click "Unsubscribe" for God's sake on anything that you know is legit.

Sadly I rely on a Canadian wireless company for service, so don't expect to ever see Marshmallow on my phone.

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The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

Barry Rueger
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Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

Let's see. How to design the perfect delivery service.

a) Only deliver between 9 and 5, when no-one will be home.

b) Insist on a signature, but accept a scribble from any semi-sentient being that happens by, with no thought to their actual identity.

c) If no-one is home to accept delivery, attempt again the next day, at the same time.

d) If your company has a nearby retail outlet, refuse to drop the parcel there for pickup, because "only the recipient is allowed to sign for it."

e) Or just return the parcel to the courier depot an hour away at back of the airport.

The sole saving grace for United Parcel Service is our local driver, who cheerfully bends or breaks UPS rules when it helps the customer.

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Jacob Appelbaum is a bullying sex pest, says ex-employer Tor Project

Barry Rueger
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Depending on the jurisdiction, an employer must be required to provide some lawful evidence for dismissal,

Actually, in North America at least, that's almost never true.

Employers are generally free to unemploy you at any time, for any reason.

What is generally required is that you receive notice that you are going to be terminated, or payment in lieu of the termination period.

In other words, here's two weeks ' pay, be gone with ya.

But yeah, Jake may have had a better deal, but possibly also had some kind of "morals" clause in his contract.

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It's 2016 and your passwords can still be sniffed from wireless keyboards

Barry Rueger
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Not my biggest concern!

As luck would have it, just bought new Logitech keyboard and mouse, wireless, on sale when my last KB started missing every third keypress.

The possible security of my keyboard is so far down the list of security concerns that it doesn't even register.

Then again my bank still doesn't allow "special" characters and Uppercase in passwords, so I may not be the best role model.

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Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Barry Rueger
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Ahem. Actual real user here....

As much as I like foaming at the mouth about MS, someone had to offer a sensible opinion.

I run Mint with Vista in Virtualbox for those times when Windows is needed, but GF bought a brand new HP laptop and immediately let it upgrade to Win 10.

In practical terms, for her, a skilled but average user, there is little difference between Win 10 and her old XP system.

Word is Word, email is email, Chrome is Chrome. Once we got the Start menu back to "Normal" she was happy.

Still, like every MS OS upgrade, it does tend to crash more or less daily. I assume that will diminish in due course.

Being an ordinary user, everything is set to autoupdate, and she isn't the least bit worried about MS phoning home.

You see, average users just want stuff to work, preferably the way they did last week.

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Starbucks bans XXX Wi-Fi

Barry Rueger
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Re: Pathetic

Yeah, but where but in the US can you order that watery coffee in a 36 oz travel cup!

I was raised on bright yellow French's mustard on hotdogs, and can't imagine anything else.

But, back to the point, many years ago, when web sites were a new thing for some people, The Appalachian News Express, a Kentucky newspaper, launched with what seemed like a perfect URL, only to find that they were blocked in many places: http://www.newsexpress.com

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Debian: s/Chairman/Chair/g

Barry Rueger
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Seriously? I'm 2016?

Pretty much any organization I've worked with adopted "Chair" some time back in the 70s or 80s.

The whole "debate" disappeared about the same time that most of us stopped referring to "coloured people."

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5G: Mother of all pipes, or actually useful?

Barry Rueger
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Not in my country

All of this assumes that the greedy pig wireless companies eliminate the 1 or 2 gig cap on "free" data.

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So. Farewell then, BlackBerry Classic. You were a classic ... of sorts

Barry Rueger
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Know your market

The biggest mistake made by BlackBerry was trying to become a consumer brand, selling pink phones to teen-aged girls.

Inevitably the qualities that made it an essential tool to corporate and government users were bound to slip while BlackBerry tried to be kewl.

Yet again, a really good product is squandered while abandoning loyal customers.

Was Google advising them?

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Wealthy youngsters more likely to be freetards than anyone else – study

Barry Rueger
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Young people most likely to vote for an integrated society, have the wherewithal to use Bittorrent

Trust me, people who were downloading illegal content thirty years ago using zmodem are equally capable of using Bittorrent.

Hell, ten years ago I had a 65 year old mother-in-law who was trading bootleg Disney computer embroidery patterns on the 'net.

Probably still is.

Age is in no way a determinant of technical comfort or ability.

Especially among those people who created personal computers, software, and the whole damned Internet before you were born.

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Here's how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

Barry Rueger
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Re: Although the burden of proof lies with Love

It's entirely plausible that a long, complex passphrase could be forgotten, in whole or in part, in the months after equipment was seized, but before the key was demanded.

Especially given the stress levels Love would have experienced.

Human memory is unreliable at the best of times.

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'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

Barry Rueger
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Re: So how long before ...

Gasoline jumped 5 cents/litre today - IN CANADA!

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'2nd referendum' topples site

Barry Rueger
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The Elephant in the Room

I prefer to look at the Brexit vote and see more than half of Britons standing up and rejecting decades of neo-liberal punishment.

Right now the powerful in Europe (and likely elsewhere) are soiling themselves at the thought that "Those People" might just figure out how to vote in a group that won't sell the country off to the lowest bidder.

If the Greek anti-austerity vote scared them, this must have them in a total panic.

What the right wing has tapped into is pretty simple: there's a large and growing part of the population who are worse off economically than they were thirty years ago, and who can see that there's no likelihood of that changing.

Sooner or later there had to be a tipping point, and this may be it.

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Good hacker uses vid vulns to spy on Quebec Liberal Party meetings

Barry Rueger
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Re: Off topic

Up vote that! Abandoned the desktop site when it was redesigned to fill the screen with massive pointless pictures.

I prefer wordy sentency paragraphy information delivery.

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How's your driving, Elon? Musk tweets that Tesla Model S 'floats'

Barry Rueger
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Patent Infringement?

Big deal Elon.

Volkswagen advertised the same feature 50 years ago

Https://thinkingouttabox.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/67vwfloatingbeetle.jpg?w=490

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Tor torpedoed! Tesco Bank app won't run with privacy tool installed

Barry Rueger
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Re: "preventing free speech and internet security"

"As for Tor, it was a good idea, but it is being used by some of the worst people on the planet to conduct their despicable business."

Oh, the misery of the irony challenged.....

Please Google "Panama Papers."

Is there another industry or tool used widely by "some of the worst people on the planet?"

Maybe used to manage and hide their ill-gotten gains.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Best security practice

YMMV. My Moto G has seen exactly one minor system update since buying it a year and a half ago, and Marshmallow is not even a glimmer on some distant horizon.

My experience is entirely the opposite of yours, and I assume my phone is always long out of date.

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You Acer holes! PC maker leaks payment cards in e-store hack

Barry Rueger
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Re: Bah!

I'll hazard a guess that high credit card fees also reflect the greed that demands multi-billion dollar profits each quarter.

Losses are likely insured.

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Vid: New 'The Office' trailer

Barry Rueger
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Cumin Indeed

Sad to say, but Gervais really did peak with the Office. So much of his output since then has been dismal, and this looks like a new low.

Extras was fun, and the series with the dwarf was a chuckle for a while, but his humour just seems tedious at this point.

Far, far better was Office alumnus Mackenzie Crook's The Detectorists.

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Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Barry Rueger
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Call Me Skeptical

Whenever a major corporation starts whining about "unfair" taxes, fees, or regulations, my first instinct is to look at their balance sheet

99 times out of a hundred it's companies with billion dollar profits that claim "We can't afford to pay our way!"

Usually while they're outsourcing staff to India, and manufacturing to China.

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Google doesn’t care who makes Android phones. Or who it pisses off

Barry Rueger
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From talking to most customers they actually find phone updates annoying as it 'breaks stuff'.

Because it's true, whether "breaks" means, changes the UI, or removes a feature that I need, makes an installed application stop working, or (with Google) removes an entire on-line service with little warning.

Regular end-users, who lack the skills to ferret out fixes and workarounds on the Internet, are justifiably afraid of updates.

(My Mint box being the exception. Somehow they manage updates without breaking stuff.)

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British Airways slaps 'at risk' sticker on nearly half its app delivery dept

Barry Rueger
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Joys of Free Trade!

No need to worry about all of those BA employees.

Since Free Trade will make us all incredibly wealthy they soon won't need a job!

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Let's Encrypt lets 7,600 users... see each other's email addresses

Barry Rueger
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Re: For extra Chuckle Brothers effect

There was an apology? I didn't see it.

And because I wasn't going to scroll through an endless list of addresses I also didn't see the new TOS.

LetsEncrypt is a great idea, but the overall implementation could use some work.

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SLACKOUT

Barry Rueger
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All Of Your Eggs

SLACK IS DOWN, REDECENTRALIZE THE WEB QUICK!!1

This is actually a valid point. Far, far too much of what we do on-line depends on one large corporation or similar point of failure.

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EU referendum frenzy bazookas online voter registration. It's another #GovtDigiShambles

Barry Rueger
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Hire Amazon*

Seriously. Just write them a cheque and be done with it.

They've built a business on being available 24/7/365, before, during, and after peak shopping days, in the most consumerist country on the planet.

You want reliable uptime? Hire someone who's already succeeding.

*example. Quite sure there are others.

Query: was the failed registration IT internal, or outsourced to the lowest bidder?

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Why does an Android keyboard need to see your camera and log files – and why does it phone home to China?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Almost every app I consider for installation

"most users don't care about permissions and privacy settings"

I'm not sure that's true, or fair to most users.

I think that most of us, to one degree or another, have just surrendered.

A few decades ago people remarked on the page of dense fine print on the back of a car rental contract.

Everyone knew it was absurd, and everyone accepted that no-one ever read it, but it was part of the deal, so you just signed.

What's changed is that literally everything you do on-line forces you to "sign" a long, dense, and unread contract, and with apps, accept a more or less random demand for permissions.

People just don't have hours each day to read these things.

Even if they did, the fact remains that if you need a service like FedEx, Netflix, or any of hundreds of government sites, you have NO choice in the matter: accept the contract conditions.

Heck, even my entirely open source computer makes me click to accept the various licences.

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Barry Rueger
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Re: Silly Article

And meteors! And bears! And daredevil motorcycle jumpers who land on your roof by mistake!

No, solar could never work.

Also, shark-nado!

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NetSuite hacker thrown in the cooler for a year, fined $124,000

Barry Rueger
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Officer Obie..

He said, "Kid, we only got one question: Have you ever been arrested?"

He stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go over and sit down on that bench that says 'Group W'.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

Barry Rueger
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In stock?

"In fact, I’m wishing I’d just stayed at home and tried my luck ordering online. That way, I’d be able to see what stock the retailer had available within seconds"

Maybe that works in the UK. But in Canada the words "in stock" often mean "one of our two hundred suppliers claims to have one, and maybe we'll convince them to ship you one."

"Via UPS, who will only deliver at times when you can't be home, and refuse to do anything without a physical signature, including dropping it at the UPS store down the street."

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OnePlus: No more rationing

Barry Rueger
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Link?

Is it too much to expect a link to the actual product's Web page?

A link to a forum full of rabid fanboys is pretty pointless.

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You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Barry Rueger
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Re: I concur with the procedure guides.

"So I concur that the procedural guides can be a boon. They can help the normal folks to do their own troubleshooting BEFORE having to call up the Help Desk."

If you're working with intelligent people there's a lot to be gained by teaching them to be self-sufficient, both in terms of saving you time fixing routine problems, and in terms of making them feel more in control of their work environment.

And, in a perfect world, they quickly become the defacto Help Desk for everyone sitting with two cubicles of them!

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Boring SpaceX lobs another sat into orbit without anything blowing up ... zzzzz

Barry Rueger
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Ob: Pournelle

Every time I see one of these land, I think of the line attributed to Jerry Pournelle:

"Rockets should land on their tails, the way God and Robert Heinlein intended."

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As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Barry Rueger
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What could possibly go wrong?

I'm not a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, don't think that rogue smart meter EMF waves will knacker my gonads, and honestly don't lose sleep over the utility monitoring my energy use.

Still, when perfectly good, simple, reliable technology is tossed out like the baby with the bathwater, and replaced with really expensive, apparently problem prone, super secret high tech, I have assume that something is up.

I'm not an electrical engineer, and my security knowledge goes about as far as trying and failing to make PGP work one time, but even I can think of a half dozen ways that smart meters could go wrong immediately, and another dozen after they've been hanging on a wall for a decade.

Ultimately we can count on one thing: no new technology EVER works right the first time it's launched, and often not in the second or third iterations.

And, of course, it's the poor end user that will pay for the mistakes in order to protect corporate profits.

The fact that a lot of money is being spent to keep me from knowing how these work just confirms my fears.

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Bearded Baron Shugs hired by Gov.uk to get down with the kids

Barry Rueger
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Re: apprenticeships

Traditionally, in Canada, apprenticeships were regulated, and mostly involved workplaces with unionized workforces, so the apprenticeship actually meant something.

Our governments are also going on and on about trade apprenticeships, but presumably because so many well-paid, permanent jobs have been off-shored in the name of "free trade."

The cynical among us might think that the aim is to create a glut of post-apprentice tradespeople so that their wages can also be driven down.

(Does the UK government also insist that every third apprenticeship PR ad feature a woman?)

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Twitter expands beyond 140 characters

Barry Rueger
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Please, don't break it.

I have no brilliant solution to making it profitable. Maybe it's impossible.

Twitter is something that I use a lot.

The brevity is one of its best features, and encourages smart and concise writing.

The timeliness is unparallelled. Certainly regular media is usually well behind Twitter.

Like any social media, the value of Twitter depends very much on who you choose to follow.

I don't think I ever have more than a dozen names on that list, and they are all high value, low traffic users.

What I expect will happen is that Twitter will do what Facebook did: take what is a fairly simple and useful platform and bury it under a pile of gimmicks, games, and bottom feeder commerce.

At that point the people who make Twitter valuable will be long gone.

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Typewriter for iPad review

Barry Rueger
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Re: Adding functionality to a tablet

The problem with shrinking electronic devices is that it becomes increasingly harder to use them for anything serious.

That's primarily because the software on devices is stupendously bad.

Android is an obvious example, where even text messaging and Twitter is a challenge.

The saving grace is BlackBerry's keyboard software, which can now be loaded to Android phones.

Don't know if it's actually in the Play store, but the apk isn't hard to find.

The predictive text is excellent, and I'll happily write multi-paragraph message without spelling mistakes.

It's good.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: I'm advocating for my company returning to typewriters...

The last time I used a dial telephone I actually had to stop and think what to do.

And wow, is it a slow and painful way to enter seven numbers when you're used to speed dial on a smart phone.

(If you think the phone is primitive you should see the mechanical switches at the other end!)

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Modular phone Ara to finally launch

Barry Rueger
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Not on Your Life

A whole whack of detachable bits stuck together, bouncing around in your pocket, purse, or in a cubby in the car?

Good luck with that.

The ongoing success of products like the Otterbox Defender are proof enough that this tech is not rugged enough for many people.

At least my Moto is more or less one solid block of stuff, with nothing to shake loose.

Until I added the Otterbox I was averaging one phone a year.

I can't see this lasting three months.

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World goes SIM-free, leaving Sony and HTC trailing behind

Barry Rueger
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Re: "SIM free" ?

hat the hell are people doing with their phones that they can't get through a day on battery?

Short answer: using them.

I mostly use mine for email, some texting, the very occasional photo, rare phone calls, but run GPS that tracks my location for a few hours each day.

I usually just manage a day on a charge, but that depends also on whether I'm downtown, or out in fringe reception areas.

I don't stream media, or do big downloads.

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Dark net LinkedIn sale looks like the real deal

Barry Rueger
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Still Confused

...about what real use LinkedIn is to most of those 100+ million people.

Aside from being a handy place to post a seriously detailed and long form resume - more than you would ever commit to paper - the only thing that I ever seem to see are "friend" requests from complete strangers, in even stranger places.

LinkedIn, like far too many Internet sites, did itself in by trying to turn a relatively simple service into something large, overly complex, and in which the useful bits are buried under layers of pointless junk.

(I guess the reason why I don't understand the usefulness of LinkedIn is because I foolishly ignored its invitation to give it the keys to my Gmail, Facebook, and MySpace contact lists.

Silly me!)

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