* Posts by hitmouse

384 posts • joined 15 Dec 2008


Boss of venerable sect with millions of devoted followers meets boss of venerable sect with... yeah, you get the idea



Congrats, Satya Nadella. In just five years, you've turned Microsoft from Neutral Evil to, er, merely True Neutral


"functionality such as the Windows Subsystem for Linux would have been unthinkable under previous regimes."

They would have thought of calling it the POSIX subsystem (Win NT), then Windows Services for UNIX (XP, 2003).

DNAaaahahaha: Twins' 23andMe, Ancestry, etc genetic tests vary wildly, surprising no one


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

The main people interested in having genetic testing to trace ancestry are those living in nations mostly formed by immigrants: USA, Canada, Australia etc. Thus the pool of information available to testing companies about gene distributions in many countries doesn't reflect "native" populations of those countries.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?


Re: But in a lot

O tempora o mores. /Obligatory Asterix joke


I'm failing more and more CAPTCHAs, so I'm anticipating that Google will send out a Blade Runner to terminate me any day now. I'm preparing my final monologue now :

"I've seen things you wouldn't believe: users who confused wallpapers and screensavers,

managers defragging their SSDs, ... All these moments will be lost, like time machine backups. Time to die."

It's the wobbly Microsoft service sweepstake! If you have 'Teams', you've won a lifetime Slack sub


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

I generally like Office365 Groups, but Teams seems to have been created as a set of disconnected features stuck on top of Groups. Teams also seems to completely bypass all Office and Windows settings for language and formatting, so if you're not a vanilla US English user then it's a friggin' mess.

They do like to advertise their Agile approach, but it seems that there are multiple feature teams agilely running in different directions - result: product is drawn-and-quartered.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait


Re: Software Testers

Agreed. There are issues which the Insiders flagged in volume from early releases which nonetheless ignored.

Most US software companies do a terrible job of testing non-US English language installs - developers and testers assume that US settings for keyboard, dates etc will apply for all English locales, when in fact it tends to be unique amongst the 15 or so in place)

Microsoft has historically been "least worst" in this respect, but has really gone backwards in respect of these settings for example, years of Windows 10 updates resetting English US for all users in UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, .... Office 365 barely pretends to respect non-US settings. It's not yet Google-bad or Facebook-bad, but it's headed in that direction. These companies do not encourage testers outside the US, so feedback is not heard.

A properly managed test team CAN make up for deficiencies in these areas, but if management has a mindset that doesn't allow it to cover "unknown unknowns" then it's started ceding the market to other players.

Boffins bash Google Translate for sexism


Consider a simple English <-> Spanish example that vexed students in an adult language class in Spain that I attended. There are often no gender neutral ways to make simple declarations about gendered subjects in a non-awkward fashion

I have three children/sons -> Tengo tres hijos

I have three daughters -> Tengo tres hijas

Performing a reverse translation in Google Translate

Tengo tres hijos -> I have three children

- the only alternate translation offered is "three kids" and not "three sons", potentially losing some detail

I have three children but no sons -> Tengo tres hijos pero no hijos

- which is rather confusing as it's the same as "I have three sons, but no sons", so you'd have to say something like

I have three children - only daughters -> Tengo tres hijos, solo hijas

And don't get me started on gendered professions


This is hardly news. Anyone who's used any machine translation system over to translate from highly-gendered languages over the last 12 years will have seen this in the first 30 seconds.

It's easy to find many old articles for both technical and lay audiences covering this issue e.g. https://www.fastcompany.com/3010223/google-translates-gender-problem-and-bing-translates-and-systrans

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.


Re: Be much more interested in...

So you want to run an operating system that doesn't support USB?

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade


Re: it is not the customer's job to adapt

The greater number of customers has come AFTER the ribbon was introduced.

The thing you have to remember in tech, is that with growing populations and larger deployments, you're at the shallow end of the curve.

For pretty much every tech feature that most Reg readers are familiar, the main customer audience is for those familiar with the succeeding feature. There are plentiful designers, support agencies and trainers for those new implementations. It's the older set who have to adapt or die.

(speaking as someone who has used Office apps for nearly 30 years, and still has adaptive muscle memory)

Facebook's Trending news box follows fired freelancers out the door


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

Trending News always prioritised US events over anything happening in your own country. There were days when minor US sporting events cleared the board of any international news.

Amazon can't or won't collect sales tax in Australia


I bought a refurbished laptop via Amazon US a few months ago and they happily collected duty on it before shipping to Australia. They do have the means.

They even have a site filter that only shows items that can be shipped internationally.


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

Australian delivery addresses are not masked by VPNs.

They could also choose not to honour cards issued by Australian banks, much like many UK vendors won't allow you to charge against non-EU bank cards.

Google Chrome vows to carpet bomb meddling Windows antivirus tools


Re: @hitmouse

It's normal enough in that it happened on every computer I used, cutting across multiple Windows versions, from the very first time that Chrome is installed and run.


Clicking the [X] in the top-right of the Chrome window will almost always generate a "Chrome closed unexpectedly" error when it is next run. So Google's ability to assess code issues is marginal at best.

You publish 20,000 clean patches, but one goes wrong and you're a PC-crippler forever


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

I switched them off after they decided that every Google domain not ending in .com should be blocked.

Hardly anyone uses Australia's My Health Record service


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

Most healthcare admin staff seem to prefer to work off their tried and true system of getting patients to write everything down about themselves on paper a hundred times, then faxing it around to referred specialists whose reception staff will ask you to write it all down again anyway.

Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

Issues have been raised with Sonos in years past that guests on your network can force updates that create incompatibilities with other users and firmware. There is no admin role that gates local updates.

Sonos software will also pester you with update reminders when you're trying to use your device until you finally give in.

Australian Bureau of Statistics flip-flops over marriage equality survey


Given the appalling service levels of Australia Post, how do you guarantee that the vote had been received and recorded?

Feature snatcher Microsoft tweaks OneDrive


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

Apple re-forgets the Southern Hemisphere exists with every release that breaks daylight-saving again, and again and again.

Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been


Given that Google interprets all dates in my data stream as MM/DD/YYYY despite location and language settings predicating DD/MM/YYYY, it makes a royal mess of things.

Opposable thumbs make tablets more useful says Microsoft Research


Re: Next up

That has also been looked at for many years. You could have finger set or chord modes appropriate to cases where tablets are being held. It's not far from having fingerprint sensors on the rear of cameras as a login mechanism - I actually find the current Samsung galaxy rear mounted sensor to be quite easy to use.


The original Microsoft Tablet PC team worked this out nearly 20 years ago, but because other OEMs were making the devices, these ideas were never implemented.

Nuh-uh, Google, you WILL hand over emails stored on foreign servers, says US judge


This is consistent with the US's policy of "if we can rendition a person from foreign territory, then they're subject to our laws".

Stop asking people for their passwords, rights warriors yell at US Homeland Security


They can do it to all the spring-breakers heading to Mexico. You know, the ones who shout "build that wall" from the wrong side.


"less bullshitting" than Trump? With the bar he sets, that's not exactly a limbo-challenge

Australian Taxation and Immigration depts fail infosec audits


Immigration and Border Protection ? The department that sends out automated email replies with links that have been broken for years? Oh them.

If nbn™ can't say when it will arrive in your street, you're getting a Telstra HFC connection


Re: Hmmm...

That's re-branded as Turnbull's 2020 Hindsight plan.

I'm pretty sure I signed up for NBN updates years ago but have never heard anything from them, so tried to sign up again. However after filling out all the fields, all I get is "We are not able to complete this action. Please try again later. Sorry for any inconvenience.".

"Later" being 2021 presumably.

Loyalty card? Really? Why data-slurping store cards need a reboot


They have gotten worse for me over the years. For the last year they've been advertising Kindle titles to me in the Kindle app that's already holding those titles. So they're good at picking what I like if it 100% matches what I've already bought from them.

Living with the Pixel XL – Google's attempt at a high-end phone


It will peel off marketshare from Samsung while it suffers from battery issues

Self-driving cars doomed to be bullied by pedestrians


Re: An assumption too far...


Most of them don't even attempt to look when they cross the road. Having them attempt to discern vehicle-types is a couple of orders of magnitude of cognitive processing beyond "look left and right".


"'The reason is that pedestrians know their fellow humans may run them over. "

An increasing number of pedestrians (and cyclists) are oblivious to this. Some are too engaged in their screens, and others dare drivers to mind-read their intent when they suddenly turn and walk out onto the road without giving any clues. Few stop at the kerb and look in each direction before walking out.

There's definitely an air of "my indifference/indignation outweighs the laws of physics".

Will US border officials demand social network handles from visitors?


...or get elected president.


I was surrounded by armed guards (audibly taking their guns off safety) because some idiot processed someone else through with my same common first+lastname. Apparently it was MY fault. Haven't been back.

Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook


Even with this massive tax advantage, Apple has not invested in support for its products in Europe, either at the design or post-sales level.

I tried to get iTunes support in France, only to be switched through to Ireland, and then finally to an "ïnternational" guy in Apple HQ who admitted that he frankly knew very little about any of how Apple's products worked outside the US.

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers


Re: Killing spreadsheets for fun and profit

People should just learn to compute in their head.


I read all of these things and wonder how I figured this stuff out in less than a minute in the days when you couldn't Google a variety of solutions in five seconds.


Re: More appropriately...

Or make users understand that sometimes significantly more users want something different than you do.

Microsoft can't tell North from South on Bing Maps


Re: "We're the Hakowi" - F Troop

I tracked a local business around the corner from me back to a current Yellow Pages listing. However there has not been anything there for a decade, unless the rotting premises of a long abandoned fish and chips shop qualifies as worthy of Yellow Pages relevance.

I should note that for the first two years after Ikea opened its flagship store in Tempe, Google Maps showed a vacant lot. But then again, most American companies can't put two and two together without an Allen key.


For years, Bing maps has totally relocated dozens of Sydney landmarks around the city as it indiscriminately treated X street in the CBD as X street in another suburb, Notifying them of the scale of these errors (via feedback, twitter etc) has been a thankless exercise.

Bing also has a gift for identifying the main location of some institutions at minor branch locations. It placed the University of NSW in Manly for several years, and now places it at the location of its small College of Fine Arts, several km from its main campus. At least it's now on the correct side of the Harbour.

Anyway, all you need to do is open Bing maps in a neighbourhood you know well, to find dozens of businesses that you heretofore thought were located elsewhere: beach holiday resorts in suburban streets. It's hilarious.

Much of the data appears to come from the Australian Yellow Pages, which - from following links - seems to be years out of date. Obviously a poor partner for Bing's local offerings.

It's not our fault we don't hire black people, says Facebook


Re: Hiring laws

Generally people can make quick assessments based on surname of someone's foreign-ness.

This is something that has come up time and time again in France, which collects no statistics about race. Tests have been run against mailed-in applications to employers who claim not to discriminate on race because they're unaware of it - however applications from non-traditional French surnames are massively rejected


"" the purpose of a business is PROFIT. Therefore, you hire the person who will MAKE THE MOST MONEY FOR THE COMPANY. ""

In theory. My experience of working in a big west coast software company is that a lot of managers would rather the company lost business of large market segments than they would have to address issues completely foreign to their way of thinking.

I've seen it time and time again. Smart people, but blinkered in so many ways.


Re: re:just it is easier to get a job with them if your skin is white

One big problem with starting out with a homogeneous workforce is that they often simply don't know what skills and knowledge they are missing out on by hiring only for competencies THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF.

American software companies are generally lousy at hiring people who know how to address customer issues outside of the US. They cannot even conceive how living in a different hemisphere, set of timezones, school system etc might be possible or require changes in the way that they design and support their products,

Case in Point, Facebook has not addressed a single internationalization bug that I have reported to them in the last five years. It's like asking their employees to breath something other than American Oxygen. They can't even imagine what it would take to solve such issues, and they don't hire people who might know how.

Virtual reality will take over the world by 2020, reckons analyst haus


Given the great difficulty that so many organisations have in creating reliable 2D web experiences, I can't fathom how they can possibly manage immersive 3D

Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY


Given my experience trying to run various versions of Samsung's horrendous Kies software, I am sure they are giving customers this advice in Korean, just as with most of the error messages on my English installation.

Why has Microsoft stopped being beastly to Google?


Considering the number of ex-Microsoft people at Google, and the general career merry-go-round between Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle etc, I wouldn't lend much credence to any avowed policy of one vs the other.

Microsoft introduces yet another Skype for Windows 10


Re: Single version?

"..yet the Linux version Skype is Advert free."

Because advertisers recognise that once someone has Linux they yearn for nothing else but an opportunity to tell the world that they have Linux.

Beyond iTunes: XML boffins target sheet music


Re: xml to midi

Essentially long-established art. Most music notation programs (which themselves allow round-tripping of custom file formats with MusicXML) have export to MIDI options.

It is worth underlining the fact that MIDI provides performance/playback instructions and so opening a MIDI file in a notation program can show you a lot of jangly garbage unless you pre-process with a lot of heuristics regarding rhythm etc.

Apple supremo Tim Cook rules out OS X fondleslab, iOS merger


Re: OSX is just too far behind Windows

"MacOS (and Windows) were both designed for mouse & keyboard input." So you're going to rule out all forms of natural input forever?

For those of us who use computers for diagrams, music and other non-text-based endeavours, having touch/stylus + speech etc interfaces are essential additional tools.

"What idiot thought you'd have a touch interface on a server?" Lemme see, someone managing media with a push-button interface or otherwise "naturalistic" interface.

Can we please get more commentary from people not stuck in a 1970s mindset?


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