* Posts by Barry Rueger

423 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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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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Google tries social again

Barry Rueger
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'Ello? Can you hear me?

It's almost certain that Spaces (or is it "Space?") will run headlong into the same problem that G+ and other new social media have faced: it's not enough to be better, you have to find some really compelling reason for a very large number of people to move over from Facebook, Twitter, or... um... Ello.

Facebook sucks, and sucks more every month, and arguably does nothing even satisfactorily, but it is still the juggernaut for one reason: pretty much anyone you might want to find is already there.

Because they have their hooks in such a large part of the population - or at least all of my relatives - they can be crappy and annoying, but still survive.

So the question isn't "What can Google do to invent a better social media platform?"

It's "What can Google do that will convince several million people to abandon Facebook for Spaces?"

I doubt that Google can figure that out, and intead will manage to alienate even more Google+, Gmail, and other Google users.

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Bots half all web traffic

Barry Rueger
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I'm sure that I read that porn is the other two-thirds.

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Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

Barry Rueger
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Re: Notifications... Off

Up vote! Why is it that every guy developing an app is convinced that it needs to notify me EVERY time it does something?

Or, in the case of news media apps, every time something happens to a footballer I don't care about, or in a far-flung country of even less interest.

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Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Barry Rueger
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Was just wondering why the 'net seemed so SLOW today, and found that Firefox was using 1.5 gigs of RAM and 100% of one CPU core. (of 4 and 2 respectively)

Even allowing for a couple dozen tabs open, that seems ridiculous.

(Changed to Firefox last year because Chrome had become even worse!)

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Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Barry Rueger
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Re: My heart bleeds

I did not start using ad-blockers the minute I discovered one. Nor for a long time after. I even click(ed) on ads to help the sites gain revenue, and sometimes because the ads were actually interesting*.

This! I only added ad-blockers this year when stuff became too objectionable to not do so.

My biggest gripe though is how seldom sites serve up an ad that is remotely relevant or interesting to me.

Google usually manages to serve up something I might want, but everywhere else it's just a large and irritating waste of my time.

Do advertisers really not understand how bad Twitter and Facebook (as examples) are at delivering ads to people who would actually care.

Good advertising is useful to both the reader and the advertiser.

Sadly the Internet hasn't learned that.

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Official: Microsoft's 'Get Windows 10' nagware to vanish from PCs in July

Barry Rueger
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Re: Serious question

All things considered, is Windows 10 worse than Vista?

I'll bite. I still use Vista in a VM to run bookkeeping software, and my partner just upgraded from an ancient XP box to a shiny convertable HP laptop.

Windows 10 seems positively Apple-esque in its determination to make you do things in the way that it wants.

In particular the assumption that touchscreen is everything. Problem one is that UI design that works great for a phone or tablet is nearly useless for a laptop.

Don't get me wrong, love the touchscreen, but hate the UI.

Problem two is that it's damnably hard to disable the tablety default. Finding the setting to change took ages.

Our second big issue is with hardware support. Win 10 couldn't even find the networked HP printer, and didn't support it until a driver/software/crap ware pack was downloaded from HP.

A USB connected Samsung laser also was not detected or configured - something that earlier Windows, and lately even Linux, does with great ease.

Finally, the OS seems to crash about once a day. Googling the error messages suggests there are some widespread issues.

Still, once you beat it into submission, and kill the "improvements" to make it like "classic" Windows, it's really about the same.

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Watch it again: SpaceX's boomerang rocket lands on robo-sea-barge

Barry Rueger
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Sadly, every time that I hear that - and I'd wager it's a pretty international workforce at SpaceX, which makes it more annoying- I immediately hear "Team America! Fuck Yeah!"

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Xiaomi takes aim at Apple, Qualcomm

Barry Rueger
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Re: Sounds like Newton vs Palm Pilot all over again

Every time that I find myself struggling with the calendars or contacts on my Android phone I find myself looking back very fondly on my Palm Pilots.

As much as I like the convenience of having the Internet and email on hand (as well as a phone), the truth is that the Palm did lots of stuff better, simpler, and with considerably more reliability.

Some day maybe techies and programmers will learn that shoving in every possible function, customization, and gadget isn't necessary a good thing - often less is more.

(not buying a smart watch until they have a VR version....)

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Sat TV biz Dish: I'm not an authorized iPhone repairer ... but $20 is $20

Barry Rueger
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Dish installers and iPhone?

Seriously? I've installed a few dishes, and am generally good with tech fix-it, but would think twice about cracking open an iPhone.

Sounds like Dish may be overestimating their employees.

(1. Screw dish to wall. 2. Adjust axis A according to chart you found on the Internet. 3. Adjust axis B til the TV beeps.)

Oh yeah, drill holes through wall for cable.

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What do you call an old, unpatched and easily hacked PC? An ATM

Barry Rueger
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Banks? Security?

I am not in the least surprised.

Bad enough that my bank STILL refuses to make passwords case sensitive, or allow "Special" characters.

This week though they trumped themselves with repeated messages on-line, in app, and even via Robo phone call "encouraging" me to make sure that both Android and the Banks' app on my phone were up to date.

My bank has never phoned me for anything, so I'm assuming that the app has the mother of all security holes in it.

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Everything on my phone is as up to date as possible, so I'm really left wondering.

If my account had any money in it I'd worry.

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Thunderbird is GO: Mozilla prepares to jettison mail client

Barry Rueger
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Re: Still around?

Moreover, now that people access mails from more than one device,

This is the single biggest barrier to escaping Gmail etc.

I'd much prefer a local desktop client (although not TB, which feels about a decade behind everybody else), but shudder to think how difficult it might be keeping an Android version in sync.

I've had calendars and contact lists totally mangled by competing systems in the past, and for now will stick with a single vendor, even if I dislike them.

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A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

Barry Rueger
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Re: The past is un-dead

a) I generally have found both the Mint and Ubuntu Web forums pretty good.

b) Then again I'm old enough to remember the days when Linux "support" was limited to "READ THE FRUGGIN MANPAGES NEWBY."

I'll grant you though that it's annoying to find a 'solution" that dates from four versions earlier and 2009.

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VR sales to 'skyrocket'

Barry Rueger
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Re: Well, duh!!

Ack. Beat me to it.

If world + dog concluded that being forced to wear cheap sunglasses to watch TV wasn't worth the hassle, I'm pretty sure that strapping a VR rig on their head will get old equally fast.

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Translated: BlackBerry CEO John Chen on cops-snooping-on-BBM

Barry Rueger
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So, what are YOU doing to protect yourself?

Arguably you, as a customer, will generally want the company that you're dealing with - or investing in - to act lawfully.

Whether it's Apple, or BlackBerry, or Google, or Joe-Bob's neighbourhood computer store, you should assume that when the Feds arrive with the proper papers they'll be given what they ask for.

Although there may be the occasional company that is prepared to mount a million dollar court battle, or even close their doors, most won't be willing - or able - to do either.

If you really, truly need security that bad you need to make it YOUR project, not rely on outside suppliers to do it for you.

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Daft Punk: Snowden goes electronica

Barry Rueger
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What? Just a song?

I'm waiting for Snowden's inevitable appearance in "Dancing With The Stars."

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Big telco proxies go full crazy over cable box plan

Barry Rueger
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Re: No No No

The phone company owned the phone, the network, the switches, and all of the phone wiring inside your house.

And they swore up and down that letting customers buy a phone, instead of renting one, would present a significant risk to their networks, and to your own safety.

Phones in those days were nearly indestructible, so one installation could deliver years, or even decades of monthly rentals.

Plus if you wanted a model other than a big standard rotary phone, or one that was a colour other than black, you paid another monthly charge, forever.

Damn. This really does sound like my cel phone company.....

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Uninstall QuickTime for Windows: Apple will not patch its security bugs

Barry Rueger
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Re: WTF!

2016? I'm fairly sure I haven't used it since 2006!

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Hey, tech industry, have you noticed Amazon in the rearview?

Barry Rueger
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Only in Canada....

For some reason Canadian retailers and suppliers seem to have a special affinity for refusing to take our money.

To the extent that we often go directly to a US supplier because even after duty, taxes, and brokerage it's just easier.

Plus the American company actually sells what we want.

(Insert rant about so-called "free trade")

Just this week I was idly looking at using AWS as a home for some decidedly small Web sites and ancillary items.

It would represent significant overkill, but at first glance would be cheaper, and more ïmportantly get me away from the latest hosting disappointment.

As much as I dislike Amazon's business and labour practices I keep returning to them specifically because they always greet me with "Hell yes we'll take your money! How can we make it easier?"

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Half of people plug in USB drives they find in the parking lot

Barry Rueger
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Truth in Advertising

I'm willing to wager a Cold Refreshing Beverage that every single commenter here has plugged random, or unknown, or found USB drives into their computer.

Whether it came from the woman at the desk next door, or was found in the parking lot, or was purchased brand new, you have NO way of knowing what's on it or what it will do.

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US govt says it has cracked killer's iPhone, legs it from Apple fight

Barry Rueger
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What you don't know won't hurt you

My assumptions with anything like this are:

a) someone, somewhere probably already has a way in. Usually government or other bad guys.

b) the really talented bad guys do it well enough that you're unlikely to know they've arrived (only stupid crooks get caught)

c) the moment that someone like Apple or the DOJ admit that there may be a way to break in, legions of bad guys are hard at work to open the door.

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Adobe will track you across all your devices with new co-op project

Barry Rueger
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Truth in Advertising

Gotta give Adobe credit for being open and honest about what they're doing, instead of presenting some song and dance about "enhancing the user experience."

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