* Posts by h4rm0ny

4617 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

UK picks Open Document Format for all government files


>>"Remember what happened when Massachusetts tried this. There may be more to come on this."

Perhaps. But MS Office is perfectly compatible with ODF so there's no reason why they can't continue to use Word, et al. with this. It's mandating an open format (good) rather than mandating a particular company's software (bad).

I'm puzzled by the babble about in-browser editing is preferred as if this is intrinsically connected to openness. Is this some Google infiltration trying to push Google Docs, or something?

New Doctor Who's new costume newly REVEALED by Beeb


Re: Remember that bit in the IT Crowd

>>"Also, going with what Einstein (I think) said about magic, the Doctor kinda sorta IS a magician, to us backward apes at any rate, no?"

Assuming you're thinking of the quote I think you're thinking of, then it was Arthur C. Clarke who wrote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

Honestly, if you don't know who said something, don't just make up a name. People do this all the time and it just spreads disinformation. If it's vaguely sciency, people pick the name Einstein if they don't know. If it's vaguely period and funny, people assume it was Oscar Wilde. If they're especially well-read they'll occasionally claim it was Dorothy Parker.

History contains more than three people, you know.


Re: Grats to Capaldi

"Never seen Dr Who but I understand it's quite an institution over there and thus a plum assignment for him."

It's very much an institution. We had a cinema release for the 50th Anniversary episode and the cinemas were having to open up extra screens and it was booked up over a week in advance round our way. The crowd when I went was probably around 40% teenagers (of which slightly more girls than boys, I'd say) and then the remainder was a complete span of all ages up to around mid-fifties, with a small smattering of older. I'd say above the teenage level it was roughly an even gender split, maybe slightly more men than women so an inverse of the teenage set. But not especially pronounced in either case. It really does span everyone in this country other than, I guess, recent immigrants.


Re: Right wingish

"Cut his hair a bit shorter and we would have the first skinhead Doctor...."

Second skin-head Doctor. Matt Smith went skin in Time of the Doctor. Although he put a wig on afterwards.

As to the costume - I was hoping for something a bit less trendy and a bit more dishevelled. I'm happy if this Doctor is a bit less gabbly-look-at-me-i'm-so-zany, but it would be fun if they went a bit more rambly / disorganized, rather than serious-mature.

Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious


Re: Why let truth get in the way...

>>"Sod it, Jeremy Paxman knows everything (if his role on University Challenge is to believed) so let's just make him President of the World now and save some fuss."

With Paxman's ego, I suspect he'd consider President of the World beneath him.


Re: Somebody put it far better than I could...

>>"@Horrid. You beat me to Julie Burchill's assessment! At least it was probably her."

I find it hard to imagine that creature coming up with anything I'd ever want to quote. She has less depth than a puddle of piss. And I don't break out that sort of personal attack as a general rule, but in her case I'll make an exception. Vile creature.


Stephen Fry is an incredibly irritating person.

I was really quite enjoying the last Hobbit film up until his smug visage appeared. Everyone else in that film was acting, even though it's basically a film about big flying lizards. Except for Fry, who was just being Fry.

Not that I ultimately blame him - he does what he is asked to do. But why does anyone think that's what we want to see in the first place?

Sinclair's ZX Spectrum to LIVE AGAIN!


People will cherish even bad memories if they're long enough ago.

GP surgeries MUST DO BETTER on data handling, says ICO


"Does anybody currently trust their data in the hands of those antisocial, incompetent bastards known as 'medical receptionists'?"

My team were pretty hard-working and unless you've seen what it's like from the other side of the desk, trying to deal with an endless horde of patients with very small teams, shut up. We'd turn our phones on early in the morning and they would ring continuously (yes, I know the difference between continuous and continual) throughout the day. You'd get occasional five minutes here and there when they'd stop.

We divided our reception staff up logically. So we'd have a dedicated line for test results and a receptionist permanently by that phone upstairs. We had some further receptionists upstairs who just did phones so that patients on the front desk in person weren't kept waiting too long by the receptionist taking a call. But it all goes only so far when you're under-resourced and over-subscribed.

Saints? No. Degrees in biochemistry and astrophysics? But "Incompetent bastards" ? I bet you'd last five hours on the front desk before losing it with the eighth patient that morning who insisted they be seen as an emergency patient right away when your GP's only have a small number of emergency slots left and the patient is clearly just trying to jump the queue of people who are sicker but willing to endure and wait.


Re: Everything you need to know ...

"GPs will always have access to your data. It also gets mailed around the country when you move doctor or you get health insurance"

Let me tell you how it is from someone who worked in Primary Care (GP surgeries and PCT). Yes, your GP has access to your data. Yes, if you move to a new GP your records get transferred. I don't know why you imagine these two things are profound counter-arguments to centralized record keeping and wide-spread access both of which are vastly different to just your own and previous GPs having access. Furthermore, on an insurance check, no - the insurer does NOT have access to your health records, a GP will be asked to let the insurer know if there's anything on there that would impact the policy. Very much not the same thing. I have actually witnessed discussions between two GPs on whether something needed to be disclosed to an insurer or not and they were trying to tread a balance between patient confidentiality and obligation to the insurer in that instance. If you had a cardiac arrest last year, they'll tell the insurer that (and you should have anyway as you'll already have signed something saying if you had any serious medical conditions or not). It doesn't mean that the insurer gets to look through your records and see that you were pregnant at fifteen or are seeing a counsellor.

Nor do they get to do any of this at any time they like.

I get really tired of people who know fuck all, think they're clever and just like to try and sound smart or score points by attacking what they think are obvious flaws with what they think are great insights.

Your GP / previous GP seeing your records =/= a massive centralized database accessible nationwide and by insurers.

I say this as someone who used to work in Primary Care - you CANNOT trust the DOH to safeguard your privacy. I repeat: they WILL NOT. The original CfH (Connecting for Health) programme where all this comes from had every receptionist at every GP practice in the country able to access your test results and similar and their response to us when we were horrified at this was 'only registered NHS professionals who have signed patient confidentiality agreements have access'. Translation: anyone who takes a job at a practice has signed a bit of paper (one of many). That is the DOH attitude in a nutshell - it doesn't matter if something works or doesn't work or shouts your personal information from the rooftops. What matters is whether there is a bit of paper saying its someone else's responsibility or not.

There are tonnes of horribly overworked people in the middle and lower-tiers of the NHS. People at the coal face struggling with endless waves of ever-aging patient lists, people at the lower levels of the PCT tearing their hair out trying to co-ordinate finite resources and manage all the programmes that exist between practices and stay on top of all the bureaucracy that is dumped on them. But the upper levels of the NHS? Rotten to the core. It's why I left - so many problems that were above the level of access I had to fix.

Anyone who tries to trivialize this like the AC I just replied to did, or who thinks that the DOH will look out for you, is lying or an idiot. Once you get to the upper reaches of the PCTs and higher, they're corrupt as Hell and motivated solely by making sure they get money to their private industry friends and that they have a bit of paper saying a disaster is not their fault.

They will NOT give you any privacy protection that you do not FORCE them to. And the moment you take the whip away, they will try again.

Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE


Re: Valid Points

>>"I am sure there are people who are mining this stuff on someone else's electricity bill - so for them the economics are completely different."

By "someone else", do you mean parents? Cause I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the bitcoin mining going on is by live-at-home kids - people who have the free time and subsidised living costs. I imagine there will be a few raised voices when the electricity bill comes in!

Intel ditches McAfee brand: 'THANK GOD' shouts McAfee the man


"All AV software eats pretty much all available CPU + 10% as soon as you start opening files."

Actually, I just use Microsoft Security Essentials (well, what was MSE, it's now just built into Windows 8). Runs fine in the background. No need for AVG or others anymore.



I think John McAfee was far more damaged by association with that shit software than vice versa. I actually find the guy pretty cool. A programmer who personally made it on to a South American president's hit list, got himself smuggled across borders, waged an espionage campaign against said corrupt politicians with bugged laptops, honey traps and has a sense of humour too (see video).

Versus a processor-munching piece of shit that you have to download a well-hidden utility just to uninstall and which it's almost impossible to buy a laptop without. A piece of software whose sole utility is to make Norton look good.

The only disappointment in this article was I thought we would *actually* be getting rid of the software, not simply same shit, different name.

Bitcoin blasts past $1,000 AGAIN after Zynga accepts cryptocurrency


So someone at Zynga wanted to offload their Bitcoins?

Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military


Re: IED's and RPG's make the Military Troop w/ Vehicle Redundant...

>>"2 years ago the US military admitted the use of actual troops was over and done with...the drone and smart bomb use in Libya recently is where we actually are on troop use...RS."

Oh, humans are not redundant yet. It's just that the USA can get cheaper ones from other countries. (And perhaps more importantly to the politicians ones that don't come back to the USA in body bags). For example in the Lybia attack you mention, there were lots of foreign troops on the ground in Libya for the (so called by the Western Press) popular uprising. Only they weren't Western, they were from that bastion of democracy, Qatar. (So Western trained troops, rather).

You see that's the USA's approach where possible. Don't send in your own troops - you're right that they want to use drones and airpower as much as possible in place. But they use these to support their proxies on the ground.

Drones so far can only kill people. To control them, you still need other people.

iPhone fanbois outsmart fandroids in totally reliable test of brain power


>>"Spoken like a true Samsung user ;p"

Not quite sure I get the joke, but I use WP8, actually (Lumia 820).


I got as far as the second question and then decided I was smarter than the test's author. "How many months have 28 days?"

Obviously we all read that and know it is supposed to be a clever trick - "OMG! 'Cause like months that have 31 days totally also 28 days". But seriously? Every native English speaker naturally interprets that question to mean "how many months have exactly 28 days" and the question author fucking well knows that they're phrasing the question badly. They even set it up that way in their own phrasing with "some months have 30 days, some months have 31 days" implying that the latter case is distinct from the former case when in fact the correct wording EVEN IF YOU WERE USING THE QUESTIONER'S INTERPRETATION would be "some months have 30 days, some months also have 31 days". It's badly phrased twice over even within itself. I loathe questions that rely on their own ineptness with phrasing. If you want to test my actual ability with something, test it. Stupid little gotchas like that are obvious and for petty people.

The one about "how many nines between 1 and a 100" is also another stupid question. There is one. Obviously they mean how many times does the digit '9' appear in representations of all the numbers between 1 and 100, but to anyone with a programming / mathematical bent (which I will willingly argue is the more accurate way to think), the answer that immediately occurs is that there is 1. 9 is not 19, however you write it down.

The smartest people? Those that realize the test is only testing their willingness to wilfully go against the normal meanings of language. No-one can claim the test author isn't knowingly phrasing things in a way that isn't natural to the English language.

Antarctic ice shelf melt 'lowest ever recorded, global warming is not eroding it'


Re: Always suspected...

>>"Mines the one with the keys to the 6 litre V8 in the pocket"

Skepticism of AGW does not mean you have to disregard the environment. There are issues of pollution and finite fuel reserves and the nasty regimes we support to get that fuel. Personally, I think we should all be on nuclear as much as possible by now.

But anyway, my point is that your post is exactly the sort of thing AGW proponents point at when they want to characterise the skeptic position as selfish people who don't give a damn about the environment.


Re: That was bizarre.

ElectricWizard - I can. See that your join date is actually today. So as you're really, really new here, that second page isn't 'preemptive'. It's in fact long overdue given the number of attacks commenters regularly make on Lewis whenever he writes such articles.

Lyrics upstart Rap Genius blacklisted by Google for Justin Bieber SEO scam


Re: Block Canada (was: Are we thinking about this the wrong way around?)

You lot do all realise that you've turned into your parents, don't you?

"Youth of today.. *mutter* that's not music *mutter mutter* why does he look like that *mutter tut*"


Re: I hate to break it to you

>>"As far as I am aware, only scammers build a network of backlinks like this for their customers."

In the early days of Google, this was standard and open practice. I didn't know anything had changed. My first reaction to this story was "isn't that normal?"

I'm surprised at the 11 downvotes of the GP. I'm think what they say *is* normal behaviour.

How much did NSA pay to put a backdoor in RSA crypto? Try $10m – report


"It's amusing that what was once a very left-wing project is now taken as a very right-wing ideal."

Left Wing and Right Wing do not respectively mean 'things we like and things we don't'. Pledging allegiance to the flag is neither socialist nor none-socialist. It's just propaganda and indoctrination, something common to either end of the Left-Right spectrum.

This is what biased media leads to: attribution of anything negative to the faction you oppose. Racism? Homophobia? These must be things that are Right Wing because I am Left-Wing.

Feds charge four in GLOBAL Silk Road METH RING case


Dread Pirate Roberts...

You just know that someone is going to take up that mantle.

In fact, I'm not even convinced that Ross Ulbricht is the real Dread Pirate Roberts.

Proposed California law demands anti-theft 'kill switch' in all smartphones


Re: If this is going to be regulated...

>"Win Phone? Deserves to be stolen"

You're saying its more deserving to be stolen than iPhones and Android devices, i.e. it's more appealing? You can't even construct a proper troll, can you?

Mozilla: Native code? No, it's JavaScript, only it's BLAZING FAST


Re: Yeah right

Java is pretty fast these days. The slowness you are complaining about is probably the time it takes to start up the VM. Compare performance of two applications once they are actually running and it's good. Compare start-up time and it's often bad.

Zuckerberg IN COURT: Judge rules Facebook investors CAN sue for IPO non-disclosures


Re: ?

>>"Privacy's a bitch, eh?"


Facebook wanted to keep their estimates private. The court says Facebook has no inherent right to do so. GP finds this ironic given that Facebook is one of the foremost reducers of privacy in the world.

Beauty firm Avon sticks spike heel into $125m SAP-based sales project


Re: how does it compare to...

Like the parent, I have not used SAP so cannot comment on that, but I once in my career came across Agresso. You'd be better off sitting in a corner poking yourself with a sharp stick 24/7 than even *watching* someone use that shit.

China turns screws on Bitcoin with third party payments ban


Re: relevant?

There are huge economic advantages of a state being able to manage its currency. BitCoin, if it manages to establish itself, will provide an excellent parallel system to state currencies. But as a sole replacement, it would have terrible implications. Look at what happened to Greece recently when it was tied into a single currency with the economic powerhouse that is Germany. Yes, corruption in Greece was institutionalized, and fraud was endemic - these were the biggest factors - but being unable to adjust the economy to suit its own needs rather than joined in a three-legged race to Germany, was also a large issue.

Bitcoin is essentially a non-fiat currency (which is hilarious as technically it's about as fiat as you can get), and making it the sole currency of a country would cause very major problems. It does, however, have amazing potential as an international and moderating currency.

Thing is, as you can see here - the normal slow-on-the-uptake state of governments when it comes to technology implications are reversed where currencies are concerned. There are few greater threats to a government than a currency it does not control. China's response was as inevitable as it was predictable. There are no "guns" backing BitCoin. It can either be stomped out or co-opted. Co-opted I am fine with - I think it has great potential. But I wonder how the starry-eyed zealots will deal with it when governments start properly taxing and interfering with it.

Security guru Bruce Schneier to leave employer BT



Seriously? You think that's Bruce Schneier posting under a pseudonym suggesting El Reg hire him? Have you ANY idea who Bruce Schneier is and how influential and respected he is? Calling him "dead wood" has single-handedly relegated any future posts by you to the "probably doesn't know what he's talking about" pile, in my mind.

Go read his website for a little while and then admit you don't know what you're talking about.

Is Google prepping an ARMY of WALKING ROBOTS?


Re: There is nothing evil about the military

"Though I can only speak for the RAF where you will find a thoroughly decent bunch of people who are only nasty to our enemies - and that's a good thing"

Why is a brown person in Iraq my enemy?


Re: Nope they have to

>>"The "Don't be Evil" company is going into the replacement of the human race."

I don't mind so much increasing automation per se (though wealth distribution needs to happen so the whole of society reaps the benefits, not just an owning class). But the fact that this is an ARMS company developing military applications for robotics... Yeah, not unless Do No Evil now makes exceptions for the Pentagon.

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up


>>"And Cameron and Osborne are right fucking Einsteins aren't they?"

Honestly, they're evil but reasonably competent. My opinion on New Labour is that they are simply downright evil, hypocritical, self-righteous scum who do nothing well except play to the crowds. Ever since Tony "quick - make up a reason to bomb Iraq" Blair took power, they have become a pettier and more small minded version of the conservatives.

This whole story made me want to cry. I did some work in the Public Sector during New Labour's tenure. I fled back to industry. Pure, completely pure, gravy train. Pigs in a trough doesn't come close to how things were under New Labour. Not sure what it's like now - probably not much difference. But I can tell you hand on heart that under New Labour, the corruption was institutional and started right at the top.

Google tells EFF: Android 4.3's privacy tool was a MISTAKE, we've yanked it


It's not the ads that bother us. It's the tracking.

I don't really object to ads. I think most people don't really. It's the tracking we loathe and oppose.


Re: The info is there

Technically it is possible. However, Google have become pioneers in the field of subverting Open Source. Microsoft attempted to meet the OSS movement head on and at the time we (OSS zealots) were all ready to fight MS and we did. Google did something worse - they co-opted the movement. Here is an interesting read:



"I trust them more than MS"

I don't. I trust greed. MS want my money - they're old fashioned and I like that. I give you money, you give me product. The only people who ever disliked the pay for X with money approach are those with less money. Google are all about the hidden intangibles. I don't like that. I can control money flow. It requires my consent. Personal information control is a constant war against Google. Seriously - try blocking google analytics at the router level - about half the Web will suddenly start timing out as it waits for a response before loading the page.

No-one should trust a company "just because". They're all about self-interest. MS's self-interest has historically been about money. I trust that. Tracking me everywhere I go and building a Stasi-like profile of my interests, habits and social connections, I do not. The former is a choice.

Google Chrome: Extensions now ONLY from the Company Store


I'll stop being annoyed with Google for self-serving crap like this when they and their fanpeople stop pretending they're champions of Open Source or more ethical than their rivals.

In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake don't read this


"Man, I bet you're a riot at parties."

Well, probably more fun than the person who keeps pulling out their phone and txting.

Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy


>>>"Consume at current (and even increasing) and destory the planet, or, limit our power consumption and your kids live a decent quality of life"

Or choose door number three - build nuclear power stations.

Windows 8 fans out-enthuse Apple fanbois


81 is obviously a symbolic figure (Windows 8.1) but if you have a family with more than five devices in it, you can use any of them under your account and have your purchased apps available. Families with more than five devices are a minority I would imagine, but I'm sure that there are plenty of them. Remember, we're talking phones, tablets, laptops and desktops here as MS are working on unification of the stores.


Re: Will no one think of the developers?

I rather think the chances of any given Apple user buying the same app 8.1 times is pretty low.

You do understand that Windows 8 / RT has actual user accounts, yes?

Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me


Re: Intermittency of Solar

"The thing is, we can always find uses for excess power (think desalination, aluminium smelting, research into synthetic hydrocarbons). It's a lot better to have too much power than too little. We can find ways to deal with too much."

Not sure you understood my point. Our best way of producing power is nuclear power. If you want more power, you build more nuclear capability. The issue is variance. We don't need the same amount consistently throughout the day. Nuclear power doesn't vary easily. It likes to sit at a steady output. Solar however rises naturally in the day which is when our own needs rise. So they go well together.

Yes, you can mitigate this by spreading out the energy needs - e.g. you run your aluminium plant at night. These things are already done. But it's more efficient, in theory, to actually be able to adjust your power output according to need rather than try to shuffle everything around (like running factories at night) to keep need fixed. Solar plus Nuclear achieves this quite well. Assuming you get the ratios right.


Re: Intermittency of Solar

"actually our peak electricity requirements are just after dark when solar power is zero, and everybody is home with the lights on."

I think you'll find that rather varies with this thing called latitude.

"I bet you used to tell everyone 'the wind is always blowing somewhere' as well"

Well no, actually. I've been campaigning against wind power for about as long as it's been pushed as an alternative power source.

But you clearly just want to argue against some image you have, don't you. "Oh, they're in favour of solar power, they must be in favour of wind power".



Intermittency of Solar

Whilst it is true that output of solar energy goes up and down (just like the sun appears to do, conincidentally), so do our energy requirements.

At night, we use much less electricity. In the day, that ramps up as we start turning on PCs, kettles, factories, etc.

Nuclear power is fantastic, but in common with some other sources, it doesn't ramp up and down easily according to demand. (Unless Thorium reactors are different). So what that means is if you put Solar and Nuclear together, you actually need far less capacity to store surplus energy than you might think. You're not having to capture the extra from solar in the day and eek it out through the night. You have Nuclear providing the powerful baseline (plus a bit extra) and during the day as our energy needs rise, so is the output of solar.

Okay, it's not a perfect match, what it is, is a mitigation of the issue of variability. But it's a really good and handy mitigation.

30 years on: The day a computer glitch nearly caused World War III


Re: "the Americans obsessive fear of communism"

Regardless of conditions over there, don't you think it was irrational of Americans to think that the USA was going to be overthrown by communists?

Chinese building orbital lab by 2023 to make 'space medicine'


Re: Obligatory Dr Evil reference

Upvote for the use of 'circumfluous'. Will be using that.


Re: Research? Better get the launch costs down first...

>>there are now even commercial operators in this market; http://www.virgingalactic.com/booking/

I might agree with your general point that research in orbit becomes more and more affordable every decade, but you undermine your own argument when you put forward Virgin's little trips. I mean they're impressive and they technically get to Space, but anyone who knows about this stuff knows it's not at all like docking with the ISS or a shuttle launch.

Anatomy of a killer bug: How just 5 characters can murder iPhone, Mac apps


Re: Nice debuugger

"In my time, oh so many years ago, I used Softice, which undoubtedly some of you know."

Ahhhh, memories! :D

Microsoft to execs: Please don't leave us. Here, have some shares



They want to keep their existing lot? Best thing they could have done would be to block ValueAct from getting a seat on the board. I wouldn't want to sit at the same table as them, either.

They're a disaster waiting to happen.

'Bet Lynch' types BANNED from zoo for upsetting not-so-wildlife


Re: Colourblind

>>>>Animals do not pray, they are prey.

>>Conversely, priests do both.....

So do mantids.

Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too


What's this? Did I actually just read an unbiased review with fair discussion of the advantages and disadvantages, rather than flame-bait and misconceptions? Rarer than hens' teeth these days.

Oh wait, it's Orlowski. One day we'll get him, Dana Wollman from Engadget on the same site and it will be the least troll-ish review site on the Internet.

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