* Posts by Esme

899 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007

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I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one

Esme

"We learn that "consumers may have had to open up six or seven apps to get the help they need cooking, including nutrition information, recipes, shopping lists, how-to videos, and remote control apps for various devices", but now they can "enjoy a single elegant journey"."

Really? people will mess with six or seven programs just to tell them how to cook a meal these days and turn a cooker on?! Blimey! I have some cookbooks on a shelf in my kitchen. On the rare occasion I feel I need help with cooking, I select an appropriate book, read up, then get on with things - including setting the manual controls on my cooking equipment to appropriate settings. MUCH simpler than all that app faffing about!

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Fix this faxing hell! NHS told to stop hanging onto archaic tech

Esme

I'm completely bemused

I was going to make a snarky comment about the use of "farcical", as since I were a nipper, the word was always "farcial" (pronounced far-shul). It occurred to me to wonder whether there'd been a change in the spelling of the term denoting "having the quality of a farce" over the years, as language and spellings do drift over the years (I'm old enough to have seen "shew" used on a [ublic noticeboard - archaic spelling of "show"). To my surprise, so far as t'internet is concerned, "farcial" seems never to have existed - and yet I know it was in common use. Similarly, "having the quality of fantasy" was "fantastic" not "fantastical"

Did the good citizens of Bristol manage to hack the worlds online dictionaries and thesauri or have I drifted in from the universe next door and only just noticed - or has the cider finally rotted my brain?

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Clap, damn you, clap! Samsung's Bixby 2.0 AI reveal is met with apathy

Esme

Uh, voice recognition is HOW good?

One of my netfriends in the US has no option but to use her phone for internet access as her only way of accessing the internet due to where she lives. And it would appear that she finds using voice recognition to be easier than using screen keyboards when in chat. A fair bit of the time it works reasonably well, but a feature of almost every chat session is the "guess what she ACTUALLY said" game.

Now, the recognition software often mangling user handles when she says them is to be expected, but when the conversation veers away from chat about mundane events which, aside from occasionally tripping up on the names of more obscure food items, it handles well, when the chat topic gets more boisterous/naughty the results are rather worse and occasionally hilarious (not to mention blushworthy for my friend).

Which, sympathy for my friend aside, I am actually quite pleased about. I'm not sure I'd feel comfy with a machine "understanding" humans to that level of intimacy, whether it be actual AI or just statistical analysis behind its parsing of what's being said (Uh - it understood that I meant THAT rather than the similar-sounding other? (shudder)). But then, I'm by inclination a smartphone refusenik that uses secondhand Blackbrerrys for their keyboards and is getting to hate them more as time goes by and I have to buy newer ones, due to the sheer crap that one can't get rid of thats on them. Their range really is getting less usable over time. I shudder to think how bad the most recent Blackberries must be, I can only hope that eventually some phone manufacturer will realise that quite a few folk want a non-"smart" phone with a proper keyboard for text entry.

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Esme

Re: The latest industry - “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

Nah, it's the sound of your left hand impacting your bare right shoulder whilst your right hand is holding a glass of wiine and someone's just done or said something worthy of applause, and there isn't anywhere you can put your drink down on handily.

What? You mean you don't all wear little off the shoulder numbers? !

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Some of you really don't want Windows 10's April 2018 update on your rigs

Esme

Re: Not my fault you can't use it right.

@werdsmith - see there's another thing - yer average user won't be trying to get a new piece of hardware working with anything.

If they're a Windows user, it'll likely have Windows drivers, and either it'll just work, or it'll have the kinds of Windows problems that I'm sure you all know and love.

If they're trying Linux for the first time, and Linux doesn't yet support their hardware, they'll find it doesnt work, and simply go back to using Windows.

What they generally won't do (because they're not daft) is try to struggle way out of their depth with technical stuff they don't understand. They'll either call in a friend they think might be able to help, or just shrug and go back to Windows and put up with Windows-style problems.

However, it's fairly rare, in my experience, for yer average user that's fed up with Windows and willing to give Linux a try to have bleeding-edge kit - which means that Linux probably supports their hardware fine. So they try it, find it easier (in the sense of less problematic) to use than Windows, and carry on using it happily.

(Shrugs) if you want to use brand new hardware that doesn't yet have Linux drivers, yes, you;re going to be better off using it with Windows. And this is a surprise because..?

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Esme

Re: Use Linux...

DropBear - what the heck are you doing? Not only have I been using Linux at home for years with next to no problems, I've introduced several others of my generation (some of whom are great-grandparents now!) to Linux, and they're getting on with it just fine. Web browsing - fine, emails - fine, displays piccies of the grandkids fine, and if they need to type and print letters occasionally, Libre Office lets them do that with no problems too. And they're HAPPY to be out from under the problems that Windows was causing them. Even the bulk of gamers of my generation are reasonably well catered for now, with Steam.

I am utterly mystified by folk like you who claim Linux is some kind of unusable mess for the majority of folk when my experience is that so long as there isn't that one piece of software that ties them to using Windows, that Linux is much the better solution for non-IT-literate oldies.

I've asked presumably IT-literate folks here who've made similar cliams about Linux not being ready for the masses what sorts of problems they've been having before, and thus far none has responded. Given that when I first got started with Linux it startled the hell out of one of my much more technical workmates who claimed they'd been having problems getting it to work, (they were IT/network support, I was a helldesker)

One IT bod I knew who said they'd tried Linux but had hellacious problems with it had me in fits of laughter. It turned out that they had thought that the way to go about getting new software for Linux was the same as for Windows - ie: find something that does what you want out on the web, download it and install it - so they'd been trying to apply software from a mix of sources in varying packaging formats to their system, and, unsurprisingly, getting problems. They actually hadn't taken in that each distro has a repository of software usable on that distro. Their face when I talked them through using Synaptic was a picture. Indeed, explaining about the package manager is almost the only "training" I find I have to do when introducing newcomers to Linux. Most are utterly delighted that they can just select the program they want and have it be installed with no fuss, no reboots etc - and positively NO having to grab stuff from website and keeping your fingers crossed that what you've just downloaded isn't dodgy.

Anyway - I don't doubt that you're experiencing problems, and you have my symnpathy - but I can't help but thinking that such problems as you're having probably arent likely to be those of yer average user.

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I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

Esme

Re: Amazing truly amazing....

Well said, Fading! If I could give you a hundred upvotes, I would!

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Esme

Re: Vogon

Mooseman, your slight of me is ludicously laughable. There is nothing in anything I said in my post to indicate that I do not like foreigners.

Neither did I say anything about limiting numbers of immigrantss, let alone Asian ones.

The one thing that you are correct on is that I do think it's unutterably rude to live in a country and refuse to try to speak its language. But we both know there's important differences between UK ex-pats in Spain and women from cultures where they are positively dissuaded by relatives from engaging with the colture they are surrounded by.

And, I'd remind you, I think the EU is a GOOD idea - as I stated. And I said that I stupidly voted in anger over something a German politician had said - io spell it out for you, I voted Leave due to something I;d heard a German politician say on the DWTV site, and on the spur of the moment voted Leave, then regretted it.

In short, you've done exactly what so many people seem to have done over that wretched referendum (which should never have taken place IMO), ie: decided on a caricature for everyone that voted one or other way, assumed it applies to everyone, then just slung mud irrespective of anything else.

It's exactly your kind of attitude to political debate that causes me to not want to engage in it much; because so few over here are willing to look at facts and see ALL the potential problems without making egregrious personal attacks on those who may feel things stack up differently, instead of calmily arguing/discussing the matter.

Personally, I prefer to try to get on with people around me. Any idiot can make enemies - it takes effort to make friends.

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Esme

Re: Vogon

Thing is, ask enough people and you'll get all sorts of anomalies regarding that sort of thing. I'm now 60, and I know of several people who voted leave, every single one of them under 40. several with degrees, and one a company director. Hardly uneducated, but possibly atypical due to the vagaries of chance regarding whom I happen to know.

I, with a postal vote, and NOT following the news bar once in a blue moon, voted in blissful ignorance of the nature of the public debate on the matter, and did so (stupidly) in momentary annoyance at some remarks of a German politician. My concern regarding the EU was that all that politicians seemed to think about when it came to the matter of immigration was the economic impact. Not one seemed to be thinking about the social impact of parts of countries experiencing relatively swift influxes of poorly-integrated non-natives. When the cultures of those non-natives are too different to the local one, friction ensues (and please note, I'm not simply talking about what are generally (and incorrectly) seen as faith-based cultural differences).

I think the EU is a great idea that's been poorly implemented. I don't give a damn what country someone was born in, or what colour or faith they are, so long as they respect local laws and society. In particular, that they respect womens position in law in the UK - that we are not chattels and do not have to do what men tell us to, that we are free to marry whom we please and dress as we please here. Also that being gay isn't a crime in this country

I'd hazard a guess that the majority of immigrants to the UK get that. But some do not, and it's disturbing when one encounters women who've lived here for many years who can barely put a sentence together in English, or women who've run away from their families to escape an arranged marriage. It's damned annoying to experience being spoken to as if a whore by a guy of Asian descent because I had bare arms and an uncovered head one summer (and I overheat easily!), and a few months later have an eastern European guy angrily demand to know why I was wearing a headscarf (because it's freezing cold and I get migraine if my ears get too cold, prick!) - as to him, any woman covering her hair must be Muslim (which in his mind is only ever bad thing. Cretin!).

So my anger at untrammeled immigration was that there hasn't been sufficient effort - with associated costs - in ensuring that immigrants to the UK understand the native culture, respect it, and are willing to adhere to its laws and social norms. So no harassing women in the street for not adhering t some other cultures norms, no arranged marriages unless those to be married BOTH agree of their own free will, and CERTAINLY no female genital mutilation (nor male come to that), and if you don't like gay men and women, that's fine, just don't harass them and don't have sex with them, that's all.

The various Governments for decades haven't put enough effort into integrating immigrants, and companies typically don't give a damn about social issues so long as the labour is cheap. Well, IMO companies should be made to pay the social costs of the untrammeled migration that is so economically good for them..

Part of the problem, of course, is the sociopathic notion that people exist for the benefit of companies, when it ought to be the other way around. But that's a whole 'nother argument.

Anyway, so yes, with my postal vote, in a moment of anger and blissfully unaware of the public screaming-match that was going on on the subject, I voted to leave the EU, never imagining either that

(a) the leave vote would get anywhere near winning or that

(b) David Cameron was stupid enough to hold such a referendum without an already thought-out plan to deal with either of the possible outcomes or that

(c) if the purely advisory referendum resulted in a Leave victory, that the collectively dunderheaded Tories would then treat the thing as if it were legally binding and carved on stone like divine writ. And those young pro-Brexit voters I spoke of - felt pretty much the same as me, it turned out, when I spoke to them, and included amongst them people of widely varying ethnicities, countries and cultures of origin. In short, some of them were immigrants who appreciated our laws and culture and were as concerned about those who do not as I was and am.

Now, personally, when, about a week before the main vote took place, I became aware of the way the public discussion was being mishandled, I was apalled. I don't think I've ever encountered such cheerfully dishonest and abusive political campaigning on either side. But folk I spoke to, whether in favour of leaving or not, seemed generally rational and could make good arguments for their stances., it's just that their perceptions of what were the problems and plusses of the EU and how fixable the problems might be varied.

Yes, both side had lunatic fringes - that's a staple of all political campaigns. But to have a Government behave so ill-advisedly on the unexpected result that they were not prepared for of a non-binding referendum?! And to carry on doing so despite the clear stupidity of doing so and evidence of foreign interference in the pre-referendum campaign, no less!?

One thing Remainers have absolutely right - you can't change the system if you're not in it. The referendum result should've been a signal to HM Govt - and their counterparts in Europe - that there needed to be serious consultations with the populace of Europe, NOT the companies operating therein (who get way too much attention from politicians anyway), of what aspects of the way the EU is run that they did not like - and then serious consideration of how best to tackle those problems, followed by pragmatic action thereon based on the realities of the world rather than on anyones Utopian dreams.

Then again, maybe expecting politicians to behave rationally and in the interest of the populace they are supposed to represent is MY Utopian dream... sigh...

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Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

Esme

Blast from the past.

(Cough) Is this thing working? (Leans forward, taps screen). It is? OK...

Hello! Old biddy from the 1980's speaking! Seen from back 'ere, those things you lot in the future use that you call 'phones aren't really 'phones. They're portable computers that you sometimes make phone calls with.

What amazes me is that you happily pay umpty hundreds of quid for computers that you (OK: most folks, I don't mean YOU, PFY) have little real control over, when back 'ere in the 80's folk expected to actually own and have at least a modicum of control over anything they paid that much dosh for. Most folks don't use more than a fraction of the capabilities of the durned things, and yet those gadgets are sold promising ever more features because "more is better" (except when it comes to battery life, apaprently. Do you buy cars with half-pint petrol tanks, eh?!).

Most useful gadget I ever owned was a Psion II organiser. Battery life in weeks or months, easy to use diary and alarm functions, great for note tacking and as a calculator. I've never been so organised in my life as when I had one of those. Recreate one of those with yer modern technology, and just add the ability to to send text messages and make voice calls, and I'd be a very happy bunny indeed. What a camera? oh, add a little USB port and sell a camera module that can be plugged in at need. That'd sort it. Yes, I could live with a much-reduced battery life down to, say, a week per charge, no problem.

What's that? Sorry, you'll have to excuse me, I'm going a bit deaf in the right lug'ole.. Oh, you want to look at an internet on it? Whatever for?! You'll go blind trying to look at an internet on the small screens your modern contraptions have! Get youself a tablet or a proper netbook and save yer eyesight, is my advice! You might be grand with t'internet on yer "phone" now, but you give it another 40 years and tell me if I'm not right when your eyesights' had all that extra wear and tear on it!

Heck, even that funny-shaped Blackberry doodad I once will have had was going to be better as a phone than the crap you youngsters currently use! Fit in my hand nicely, and had a plastic holster that gripped your waistband. Good sensible solution! Proper keyboard, as well! You will have been able to get an internet on that, too! I'm going to have seen the launch of Spaceship 1 on that whilst skiving at work! Marvellous stuff! Not a patch on the Organiser for, well, organising me life though, but not bad, and had a replaceable battery too! You've all gone stark raving bonkers, IMHO!

Rightoh, I'm sure you don't want to be listening to an old biddy like me blathering on interminably about how much better things are back now, so I'll trundle off and leave you lot alone to play with your ithingies and androidicals. (sigh, shakes head sadly) Goodbye! Where's me Scocth gorn..? (mic thump, CLICK!)

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Relive your misspent, 8-bit youth on the BBC's reopened Micro archive

Esme

The future ain't what it once was..

@Dave 126 - many thanks for hat link, Dave! Ah the future was so much better back then! I feel quite cheated, the way things have actually turned out!

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Happy birthday, you lumbering MS-DOS-based mess: Windows 98 turns 20 today

Esme

Windows made me do it..

... a (L)user's tale...

Me and my t'other half had been very happy Amiga users, but as Commodore shot itself in the foot multiple times and support for the platform dwindled, clearly Something Had To Be Done. So we bought a Windows PC,running Win95. What a piece of excrement!

Joy at its ability to run new games we hadn't seen before soon gave way to frustration at how often it crashed. Don;t get me wrong, the Amiga would go into 'guru meditation' every now and then (usually only when playing games though - it was pretty solid when running applications), but it recovered gracefully and quickly. Not Win 95. I wondered whether there were other operating systems about that'd run on the hardware, bearing in mind I'd been messing about with computers since the days when just about every piece of kit had its own bespoke OS. At that point I didn;t find any alternative.

Then Win98 came along. I THINK we found that slightly better, then when SE came along, it was much better. But still flaky as hell compared to our experience with Amigas. Then we had WinXP, which was somewhat better again, and I think it was around this time that I came across Linux, and ended up buying a copy of Mandrake Linux. Which was - OK. Very stable, but the only games were the equivalent of Minesweeper etc. I set up our PC to dual-boot, and did anyything important (liek letter-writing) on the Linux side, and played games on the Windows side.

My partner was quite happy just using Windows, but I persisted in keeping an eye on developments in the Linux world, and to cut a long story short, went fully Linux after a few years (by then we each had our own PCs) and have been using Linux ever since. Not once has Linux lost any of my data, and the games situation just kept on improving.

Thanks to early versions of Windows being so awful,I missed the horrors of ME and Vista, and all the forcible UI-pratting-about that happened with Windows - except in the workplace. At home, computers were again easy to use, fun and entertaining and also did the important stuff well too. At work, it was the frustrations of being a Windows user or a helldesker for companies using Windows.

That's not to say that Linux was utterly without problems, but such as I experienced were either caused by myself pratting about, or by things like the KDE revamp, which pushed me into using Xfce instead. But that was the nice thing - I had the option to just install a different UI, an option Windows didn't give me by default. And crashes became a thing of teh past. Stuff Just Worked - and kept on working. I was, and am, a happy (L)user.

So thank you Windows - for some good games, and for otherwise being so horrid that I sought something better. Happy birthday, cheers!

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Is your smart device a bit thick? It's about to get a lot worse

Esme

Quantum advertising?

This article (Great one, Dabbsy!) got me pondering whether perhaps advertisers have started harnessing the power of Quantum in their ad-slinging. I recall making a comment in El Reg's hallowed web pages whilst I was in my last job about being bemused at being shown adverts to do with lingerie and red diesel not long after zapping Firefox entirely and doing a clean re-install.

Now the lingerie ad was too late - I'm well into the comfy-knickers part of my life - but the red diesel might have been prescient. I'd never have guessed back then that I'd be sitting here today one year into a horticultural degree, having learned how to drive a tractor along the way.

So in my case, advertising AI correctly identified what I was (female) but not when I was, whilst in Dabbsy's case, it identified when he was but not what.. - it's quantum innit?

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Within Arm's reach: Chip brains that'll make your 'smart' TV a bit smarter

Esme

Re: Wot Smart TV?

@MrXavia. correct, aside from YouTube. I do not watch TV. My desktop PCs with their ginormous 19in monitors (one apiece) are my home entertainment centres, not a TV. My PCs are already sufficiently smart to do all I require of them (including playing DVDs of films and shows that I've heard are worth watching). Sounds to me like this is yet another case of unecessarily overcomplicating things and adding extra potential points of failure and failure modes to a product that simply does not need it

Hmmn.. forgotten something, 'scuse me, minor senior moment..

- ah yes! (mutter grumble) bloody modern technology, it'll never catch on, getoffamylawn!. (nods off in mid-rant) zZzZzZzZz

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It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos

Esme

Re: Marketing

@AC - same here. And months after Virgin Media stopped sending junkmail to Flat 6 after I wrote to them to let them know that there is no flat 6 here, the junk mail to flat 6 resumed (and I'm still getting junkmail from VM despite my having been with PlusNet (and prior in their incarnation as Tiscali) because their service is so damned good at a sensible price). I won't touch ANY Virgibn-branded product with a bargepole, for choice, it's simply a marque of shite quality all round IMHO. Damned shame as I recall how pleased I was with the quality of record pressings from the Virgin label back when beardy Branson's empire was just a record company.

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Esme

I neither think it's much of a joke nor see any great problem with it. So long as the documentation is, overall, clear (ie: not buried beneath a morass of supposed witticisms) then I don;t see a problem. Not that I'm much inclination or need to look at software documentation more than once in a blue moon, but a smidge of humour here and there can actually help folk learn and remember stuff. I have no comment re Mr Stallman's personality - I do not move in those circles, havent read books by/about him, etc. I simply do not care - I'm a software user, not a techhie.

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Double double, soil and trouble, fire burn and heat shield bubble: NASA cracks rover, has dirty talk with ESA

Esme

Re: get those rocks back to our home world.

@Orv - you're missing a trick - you may not not need to send all of the fuel needed for the return trip as payload to Mars. You could instead send just some hydrogen feedstock and a small chemical plant (IIRC from The Case for Mars, this wouldn't be very large at all, about suitcase sized) to create fuel from Mars' atmosphere. Thing is, once the lander gets to Mars, drills a hole and takes a sample, it isn't going anywhere for months - it has to wait until the next efficient Mars-Earth launch window. So you;ve plenty of time for the fuel plant to make the necessary propellant for the return trip.

I'm not 100% positive on this, but extrapolating from the Mars Direct plan for a manned Mars mission, it's possible that there's no need to send an orbiter AND a lander to Mars - just land the lot on the surface, which simplifies the mission, which then becomes - land everything on Mars, start fuel plant going, fire up drilling robot and send it on its way, place samples in return hold in main ship, return fuelled ship when Mars-Earth launch window arrives. No tricky orbital rendevous needed!

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Turn that bachelor pad into a touch pad: Now you can paint buttons, sensors on your walls

Esme

Why?

I'm good with a light switch for my lights, and I have never understood why some folk like watching telly with the lights down or off (but then, too much contrast hurts my eyes). Seems like extra points of failure to me, just like remote-controlled lighting.

I also can't help wondering what might happen in a house party if a couple were snogging against the wall in a dark corner - they mightn't be best pleased if they accidentally turned the lights on!

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Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic

Esme

Re: shipping it around

Uh, when I was a child, my Mum used to get all her shopping in her shopping bag - which was generally made of a hard-wearing cord. If there was lots to get, she'd use a two-wheeled shopping trolley. Yes, stuff was often put into paper bags by the vendors, but those paper bags weren't generally intended to be what you carried them home in. IMO, plastic shopping bags were teh problem, as they offered a solution to those who found themselves wanting to purchase more than the pint of milk and loaf of bread they;d originally intended, and so had not bothered bringing their durable shopping bag along. Laziness did the rest. (And I've been as guilty as anyone else in that laziness in the past).

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Go away, kid, you bother me: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla kick W3C nerds to the curb

Esme

Re: An Erotic Exotic Eastern Delight and Wild Wacky Western Treat In a PACT....

@amanfrommars1 - I'd stay off the stripey smarties and see the doc about that nasty case of bit-rot, if I were you...

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Spring is all about new beginnings, but it could already be lights out for Windows' Fluent Design

Esme

MS;'s big mistake was in strongly coupling the GUI to the OS in the sense that they try to force users to accept a new GUI when they get a new version of Windows. Had they made their new ideas for GUIs options that one could try , rather than defaults that one had to work to get shot of if one didn't like them, then users would have been much happier.

That's one of the things I really like about Linux - the fact that there are multiple GUIs I can choose from and use whichever suits me best without having to ditch the entire OS.

Yes - I am aware that workplace deployment is a rather different kettle of fish from allowing home users freedom of choice, and that IT support bods probably wouldn't want their users to have too many GUI choices just so as not to wear down their sanity any faster than need be.. But as has been pointed out many times above, a UI usable on a large desktop screen isnt going to work well on a small phone touchscreen and vice-versa. Even if MS had simple options in the Settings for, say "Classic, Phone, Flavour-of-the-year" it'd be better (and I'm betting most folks would stick with Classic at work)

Right - back to my bottle of vino and bowl of popcorn whilst MS crashes and burns..

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Facebook's inflection point: Now everyone knows this greedy mass surveillance operation for what it is

Esme

Re: Advertising is clever, subliminal.

@BlockChainToo +1 from me for that. What advertising agencies really dont; want people to realise, IMHO, is that if all advertising stopped with immediate effect, people would still be buying stuff.. They'd still be buying roughly the same monetary amount of stuff, because of the way the economic system works. In short, advertising as a whole is mainly a job employment scheme for people in the advertising industry, at consumer expense.

What advertising does best for those with products to sell is to (a) initially inform folk of the presence of new products available to buy and (b) occasionally shift customer spend from one product to another. Whilst, yes, there is data that shows that advertising can be 'effective', what one needs to know is what is actually meant by 'effective' in that context. An advertisers notion of 'effective' may not be the same as that of a retailer or a consumer, who may be using different metrics. and even if 'effective' is there a causal link? Hmmmnn

Sometimes the local shops stock odd brands one generally doesn't hear of, and some of them are pretty good, and thus get not only an initial sale out of curiosity from me, but repeat sales with no advertising involved simply because they are available to try and of adequate or good quality. Advertising isn't essential - and its utility is overblown, IMHO.

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Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

Esme

Re: The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch

@John Brown (no body) a web link? In an ee-lectronic calendar? Hellfire, tha's lucky! When I were a lass we had nowt but a slab of granite and a flint to inscribe notable dates onto it with!

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I couldn't give a Greek clock about your IoT fertility tracker

Esme

Re: Antikythera Mechanism - dinousaurs

Yeah - that ruddy great crater by the Yucatan peninsula wasn't an asteroid, it was a Kerbal ship lithobraking!

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Patent quality has fallen, confirm Euro examiners

Esme

There is no point in poor quality patents - such are bad for business, unless your business is being a patent troll or a lawyer. Poor quality patents result in increased costs to businesses generally, which is just about the opposite of what the EU wants. The sooner the farce at the EPO is halted and that dickhead currently in charge of it ousted and replaced by someone more interested in getting the job done properly than in mere numbers processed, the better.

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Pasties in SPAAAAACE: Cornwall hopes for slice of £50m spaceport cash

Esme

Re: "..located in the area around Newquay airport and Goonhilly..."

I believe they;re looking at horizontal take-off access to space via Skylon, rather than Space X type access. In which case, whilst yes, a location nearer the equator is nice, but certainly not essential. The Russians walloped the Americans during the space race up until Apollo, and their launch sites were all further north than Florida.

But in any case - if thur bain't be pasties and cream teas in space, Oi bain't goin'!

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Oculus Rift whiffed, VR fanbois miffed

Esme

Saad...

Software As A Disservice?

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NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Esme

Re: We don't need no education

@Bombastic Bob Hmmn. From this side of the Pond, seems to me that if the US has a very expensive educational system and yet gets poor results therefrom, that surely argues against having a privately run educational system, as companies inevitably charge as much as they possibly can for whatever service they're providing, in order to enrich shareholders. Whereas government is supposed to act in the best interests of ALL the citizens it represents, not just the wealthy few. (although given the US voting system is so open to abuse by wealthy organisations, I guess one could argue slightly the other way, but so far as I can tell the states individually have the same problem as the US as a whole, there..)

Still not seeing what your problem with the notion of human-created climate change is, Bob. Year on year, more data supports that we're having a warming effect on the climate, putting more energy into the system, and thus helping to drive more extreme weather events. One can work out the average amount of heat generated by (or on behalf of) each human on the planet, and as our population increases unless the power/heat generated goes down, the overall effect is to add heat to the planet, affecting our climate and weather. then there's the effect of gaseous pollutants, changes in albedo due to land use, etc. ..

Given that there were just 3,000 million people on the planet when I was born, and there's now more than that number of extra people on the planet, and that the rate of urbanisation has increased even faster, it just doesn't seem credible that there's be NO effect on weather/climate, Bob, which is the stance that you appear to be taking. And as someone not directly involved in the field (but with degree-level education), I have to apply Occam's Razor - if the bulk of scientists doing climate science say that human activities are causing effects on the climate that would not otherwise have happened, then the bulk are probably right, because so many capable minds have looked at the evidence, done the mathematics, checked, re-checked and come to the same conclusion.

Heck, I've had a turn-around in my own thinking about the size of population we might be able to feed thanks to a paper on urban farming that I've seen recently. To my extreme surprise, it does indeed look like technically we could feed far more folk than I'd thought. Whether or not we'll have the political will or let factionalism overcome simple humanity and do so or not is another matter, but technically, I can see that we're not necessarily as doomed on the feeding folk front as I had thought - because I've seen compelling evidence to the contrary.

Still not seeing compelling evidence against human-created climate change, though, Bob...

7
0

Who wants dynamic dancing animations and code in their emails? Everyone! says Google

Esme

So THAT explains it!

I wondered what the heck had happened at the BBC this last year or so.. this requiring a sign-in malarkey for every durned thing, I contacted the Beeb to ask why they were requiring a login in order for folks to use iPlayer when they hadn't for years, and they deliberately ignored my point and woffled on about 'personalisation' etc. SoI asked why one shouldn't be able to use iplayer exactly as before (ie: without signing in) if one doesnt want to have a 'personalised' experience, and they ignored that too. And I see that now teh buggers are requiring a login for the weather page if you want it to remember more than one location. And no response whatsoever to my pointing out that any large database will inevitably leak and/or get hacked.

Well, sod that - so I'm going TV-licence free, havent watched TV in months, and can't use iplayer now anyway ('cause I refuse to set up an account). But at least now I know what's happened at the Beeb - Aunty has been swept off her feet by a large supply of chocolates and is hooking up with a paramour that'll break her heart whenever Google wishes.

Sigh. This future world's more shite than I'd've expected back in proper time. Can I go back to my own timeline now, please? :-}

(exit stage left to the proper universe, whilst old biddy mutter-grumbling)

31
0

NASA's zombie IMAGE satellite is powered up and working quite nicely

Esme

Re: Ahh...the old 'drain the power...

@AC - it's OK, we know what to do with non-functional users around here..

FZZZTTTACKKK!

-one user-rebooted.

Cattle-prods, the answer to so many of life's little problems...

0
0

Women beat men to jobs due to guys' bad social skills. Whoa – you mad, fellas? Maybe these eggheads have a point...

Esme

Re: Wow...

@Brewster's Angle Grinder - there's a caveat to that; other studies have shown that hormone levels in 'average' people tend to be have slightly negative effects compared with folk whose hormone levels (whether of testiosterone or oestogen) are unusually low. One study I saw even appeared to show a slightly higher normal IQ in folk who are hormonally nearer the middle than average males and females.

So it could well be that the testosterone per se doesn't induce fairness - it;s the dragging of the average hormonal environment to the centre that does. (I would add that my personal experiences seem to confirm this)

1
0

RIP Ursula K Le Guin: The wizard of Earthsea

Esme

Re: A good read?!

Feminism is not about belittling men; it is about improving the lot of humanity. That it is called feminism is because the world the movement was born into was one that was so heavily skewed against women. My grandmother was born legally a chattel of her husband, my mother never had any chance of similar pay to men, whilst I never quite reached parity with male employees for doing the same work - this in the UK. Violence against women is rife worldwide, and this needs to stop, as does harmful attitudes towards men and what their role in society 'should' be. Yes, Le Guin's writing was feminist. I do wish those who criticise feminism would take the trouble to actually find out what it is about!

19
3

China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

Esme

Re: Coming home

If it hits Swindon, just so long as it doesn't destroy the statue of Lola Vavoom, all's well..

0
0

Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'

Esme

Re: Much more likely to die of other natural causes..

A pregnant wife counts as a helath hazard? Or do you mean if you had a pregant wife then you would go to sleep with a couple of mobile phones strapped to your head? 8-}

0
0

HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

Esme

Sounds like a job for fatso

"Able Seaman Johnson! Come on, I'll collect the water in these buckets, whilst you take the full ones up top and dump the water over the side, hurry up now, there's a good lad!"

"Why's it gotta be me climbs all them stairs? You're rotten, Chiefy, you're a rotten rotten rotten, and I don't like it, and you're rotten!"

1
0

FCC douses America's net neutrality in gas, tosses over a lit match

Esme

Re: Black arm bands for everyone

mmm freedom to starve on the streets and catch and of diseases that one wouldn't expect folk in a civilised first world country to get, because America is being ruled by money-grabbing sociopaths instead of any sense of social conscience : http://www.dw.com/en/poverty-in-us-set-to-increase-due-to-donald-trumps-policies-says-un-official/a-41819961

What kind of freedom is it when the system is so biased against you that you can't get out of poverty because employers are not paying livable wages, because government won't enforce that they do? Government is there to provide essential services and look after its citizens when in need, not happily watch them starve on the streets, Big John - or at least, that's the view in Europe. And I can tell you, here in the UK most of us are heartily sick of the over-influence of the US on UK politics. It's that sociopathic, uncaring "dollars first" attitude that has been eroding that which was best about the UK and making things worse over here.

The Tories attempts to push us towards the US model has brought us worse healthcare, worse public transport, greater homelessness, and worse unemployment. Yes, I can still recall when the Tories had the gall to lambast Labour with posters saying "one million unemployed -Labour isn;t working" - the tories would LOVE to have as few as a million unemployed nowadays! Tory policies don't benefit anyone but the already well off - as soon as poor folk are paying less taxes, rents go up, into the pockets of landlords. But as taxation has reduced, surprise, surprise, there's less money for public health services. Yet billions can be found at the drop of a hat to bail out corrupt bankers or give contracts for a slightly faster rail link between our major cities that benefits very few other than construction comany sharholders. Yet it would seem our Tories are angels compared to Americas Republicans.

Thing is, Big John, your Democrats are about on a par with what our Tories used to be - focused on capitalism, but with a social conscience. Whereas your Republicans just make nice sounding blather whislt funneling ever more money towards themselves whilst grinning and saying "woe to the weak!" amongst themselves. Trump isn't for the poor and downtrodden - he's a self-serving, multiply-bankrupt misogynist homophobic transphobic egomaniac that is set on nothing but self-aggrandisment, even at the expense of turning the USA into an international laughing-stock, even at the expense of impoverishing millions of his fellow citizens, even at the expense of destroying the democracy he is supposed to be in charge of. Parallels with Rome have been made by others, but Trump is no Caesar, except in his flagrant disregard for the existing constitution, the truth, and even reality - he is more like Caligula - mad, bad, and as all too many are finding out already, dangerous to know. Trump is more likely to break America than make it great. The barbarians aren't at the gates of the USA, they're internal - and Trump is their leader.

5
1

How is 55 Cancri e like a Sisters of Mercy gig? Astroboffins: It has atmosphere

Esme
Pint

Re: I have been to a Sisters of Mercy gig...

Bless you, AC, for bringing TMT to my attention! Have a beer!

0
0

Sure, Face ID is neat, but it cannot replace a good old fashioned passcode

Esme

Cheap, secure, convenient - you can only have two of 'em...

3
0

Knock, knock? Oh, no one there? No problem, Amazon will let itself in via your IoT smart lock

Esme

Buggering orft...

IT, I remember when you and I were both relatively young and shiny. Ah, happy times! You and I had such fun together, I'd invent algoritms and code them for you, and they fit you so well, you ran so sweetly, and I adored you, and wanted to make you happy. I'd fondle your blue cabinets and massage your tape disks into place, and you'd mumble sweet nothings into my eyeballs. You were mine, I was yours, and we were happy together.

But now we're older, I got bigger as you got smaller, and you've turned into a promiscuous constantly nagging harridan with eyes for just about anyone but me. Well, I've had enough. I am a human being, not a doormat to bend to your every whim without any consideration of what I want. You may have come into your prime just as I have left mine behind, but I showed you far more consideration when you were young and in need of careful handling than you show me now that I am getting old and frail. I REALLY don't want to catch something nasty secondhand from one of your 'friends'. One can only take so much childish and abusive behaviour before one has to admit the relationship's broken, and I am calling time on ours.

I am packing my bags and buggering orft back to the mid-late 20th century, where I was much happier. You, 'dear', can go f**k yourself. Oh, I see you already are. Charming.

(slams door, walks away)

11
0

Watership downtime: BadRabbit encrypts Russian media, Ukraine transport hub PCs

Esme

Re: Like all software

@Pu02 - I feel it'd be harsh to give you a downvote, so I haven't, but one of the things that was enormously pissing me off in the tail end of my recently-ended IT career was the fact that so many UI's were actually becoming less user-friendly over time. What they were becoming was more arty, showy, featureful, slower, confusing and user-hostile.

16
0

I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

Esme

Re: Real High Virtual Roller Stakes Poker Play ....... for Phantom Ghost Hosters.

@amanfrommars1 - 'ere - you bin at moi zoider, young man? Gerrof ahtovit! It bain't fer younguns loik you!

2
0
Esme
Pint

Re: Hmm.

@Rameses Niblick etc (lovely moniker, btw!) - no. Squirrels are called squiggles, because when they move fast they run in a squiggly kinda way, squiggle, squiggle, squiggle.... (says my inner 7-year old)

SQL is pronounced sequel by folk who are trying to get the job done and haven't got all day to worry about what some twonk thinks about how it should be pronounced.

GIF is pronounced with a g-sound identical to that in the word graphics, because that's where the g in it comes from. See previous reference to not caring about twonks with too much time on their hands.

I'm loving the change from being a helldesker to being a hort (note that T on the end!) which is what horticultural students are called - I no longer GIF a fsck how folk pronounce SQL. It's fun leveraging the synchronicties of object-oriented living! And who'da thunk my left boot makes a decent de-bugging tool? Hort's kinda like open source, too, as the answer to a lot of things seems to be to fork it!

Icon because I'm enjoying a nice glass of the college's very own sweet cider. First time I've really enjoyed using the products created where I work!

4
0

1,000 jobs on the line at BAE Systems' Lancashire plants – reports

Esme

Re: Europe

@frankly - I got made redundant recently and am now taking a degree in horticulture (YES! I've finally escaped the clutches of IT!). At least I'll be able to grow me own food if/when the UK economy collapses due to the dunderheadedness of HM Govt.

3
0
Esme

Re: How to solve Brexit.

It'd be way better if the HM Govt decided that cancellng Blue Streak was a bad idea, decided to get the UK a serious home-grown space programme again, and asked BAE to build Skylon using engines built by Reaction engines. Thta'd be BAE jobs saved, Reaction engines with firm orders for the future, the UK with a native launch to LEO capability, and money coming in from abroad with kit purchases and launch contracts.

But nooo, far better blowing billions on HS2... </sarcasm>

2
0

New coding language Fetlang's syntax designed to read like 'poorly written erotica'

Esme

Re: I think I prefer...

Noes! Can haz LOLCODE!

kthxbye!

0
0

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Esme

Already been sorted. See 'plug nozzle' design. It's lke an inside-out bell nozzle; the plug in the middle acts as one side of the nozzle, and the surrounding atmosphere the other side. To keep the plug to a reasonable length, an aerospike nozzle can be used. This uses gas vented through a stubby plug - typically exhaust from the turbopumps that drive fuel into the reactio chamber - to from the pointy bit of the plug. Such nozzles automatically compensate for altitude from sea level all the way up to vaccuum.

We've known how to do this for decades. Since the 1970's at least.

0
0

Microsoft gives all staff a marked-up 'Employee Edition' of Satya Nadella's new book

Esme

Re: A, ey?

@BomgoJoe - nah, that's someone doing 'long eared rabbit' in the projector beam in a particulaly dull meetng, 'cause Powerpoint has mercifully died

7
0

Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

Esme

@AC - I suggest that some of us are old enough - more than old enough - to remember proper billions (ten to the twelfth) and trillions (ten to the eighteenth) and that's why the values we say sometimes sound wrong to youngsters raised on governmentally-downsized billions and trillions.

0
0

Welcome to the future: Bluetooth jackets you can only wash 10 times. Gee, thanks, Google

Esme

Re: you should never wash a pair of jeans

Terribly sorry to have to correct Sir, but it is the job of Sir's valet to deal with the washing of Sir's jeans, not Sir's butler.

6
0

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