* Posts by Malcolm 1

321 posts • joined 25 Jun 2009


Microsoft puts dual-screen devices and Windows 10X in the too-hard basket

Malcolm 1

Re: Keyboard & trackpad location

I think you may have misinterpreted the photo there - the keyboard is a completely separate piece which can be moved to the top or bottom of the "lower" screen, or removed entirely and used wirelessly. When located at the top of the screen the bottom part became a giant trackpad, when removed entirely the whole screen became a second touchscreen monitor, identical to the main one.

'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue'... XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS after Amazon fires COVID-19 whistleblowers

Malcolm 1

Re: "XML"

It's better than YAML.

You want a Y2K crash? FINE! Here's a poorly computer

Malcolm 1

Excel is that way exactly to maintain compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3. There's a nice blog post from Joel Spolsky on his days as a Microsoft Excel PM which mentions this.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

Malcolm 1

"I think Apple are the only ones still making laptops with 16:10 screens, and having both (Dell XPS13 and (latest) Macbook Air), I can confirm it Makes A Difference."

Dell seem to have got the message and have reverted to 16:10 ratio screens on the XPS line.

Microsoft have pretty much standardised on 3:2 ratio screens too of course.

Flipping heck: Footage leaks of Samsung's upcoming bendy smartphone in action

Malcolm 1

Re: Where's the advantage?

The large size of modern phones is a significant deterrent if you want to keep it in your pocket. It's probably still tolerable if you are wearing typical male clothing, but most female clothing has ridiculously small pockets, if any. In the absence of smaller phones (like the Sony Xperia Compacts of old), this is probably the next best thing (apart from the fashion industry recognising this discrepancy and correcting)

LG announces bold new plan for financial salvation: Trying to actually make phones people want to buy

Malcolm 1

Re: Competition

I'm not 100% certain on this, but I think the issue is that Android's current architecture relies on the SoC vendor (ie Qualcomm) to provide updated binaries for some updates - so if Qualcomm fail to do so for "old" SoC then the manufacturer is S.O.L.

I would like to think that that the recent "Project Treble" improvements which migrate to a PC-like Hardware Abstraction Layer model may make longer support time viable, but I'm not holding my breath.

Devs getting stuck into Windows 10X on Surface Neo will have to tussle with UWP

Malcolm 1

Re: "avoiding registry bloat"

Registry cleaners are not only unnecessary but often extremely hazardous. [Citation]

Microsoft emits .NET Core 3.0, C# 8.0, Visual Studio 2019 16.3, and more at e-conference

Malcolm 1

Re: The missing piece is ...

Have there been any good cross platform GUI libraries?

From the .NET stack WPF is probably the most suited for the job given that it re-implements much of the Windows UI library anyway, so has fewer dependencies unlike say, winforms which is a relatively thin wrapper around Win32 or UWP. No small amount of work though.

Microsoft drops 'Go Live' preview of .NET Core 3, complete with desktop app support

Malcolm 1

If the PWA platform was that good then Electron would not exist.

I am generally in favour of PWAs where appropriate, but implying that they can do everything that WPF or WinForms can do is naive.

npm uninstall co-founder --global: Laurie Voss rides off into the sunset waving goodbye

Malcolm 1

Can NPM survive the github package registry?

Seems to me the recently announced github package registry puts NPM in quite an awkward spot.

Will you be inspired by Inspire? If Microsoft's Slack-for-suits Teams is your cup of tea, perhaps

Malcolm 1

Re: Active users?

I'm fairly sure its Electron

Vulture gets claws on Lego's latest Apollo nostalgia-fest

Malcolm 1

As far as I know the only truly bespoke bits in the Chiron set are the wheels. Like many other flagship sets it introduces a few other new elements, but these will most likely reappear in other sets in the future. The rest of it is all standard Technic parts (which admittedly underwent an almost complete reinvention about 20 years ago from the earlier "bricks with holes" era).

I've recently rediscovered Lego - the main difference these days is the sheer number of different shapes and colours of pieces compared to ye olden days. There does seem to be quite a lot of thought about how these pieces fit into the underlying system though, and when you encounter one you can see the gap in the system it it fills.

Most kits have do still have one or two alternative models to construct though, but you often have to download the instructions for those from the website or via their app.

I'll, er, get the tab? It's Internet Edgeplorer as browser pulls up chair to the Chromium table

Malcolm 1

Re: Reaping what they sew ...

I think you are being revisionist. At the time of IE6 Web Standards weren't really a thing - you had the IE way or the Netscape way and they had some degree of overlap. Web Standards were embryonic and intitally at least IE6 was more compliant than Netscape.

After that of course Web Standards started to become a more concrete concern and Microsoft dropped the ball spectacularly - I'm not going to defend that.

Malcolm 1

I'm fairly sure that's exactly what it's doing

The Year Of Linux On The Desktop – at last! Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 brings the Linux kernel into Windows

Malcolm 1

Re: But, but, but ...

Emoji are just the friendly face of full unicode support.

For decades well-meaning people have tried and failed to get software to fully support multi-lingual script, turns out all they needed to do was add a range of faintly amusing pictograms.

Ooo shiny! First Visual Studio 2019 sneak peek here in time for Chrimbo

Malcolm 1

Re: wot?

VS Code has good powershell support.

Malcolm 1

My eyes!

Some nice improvements here but the new default "blue" theme is a fairly grim purplish colour that mostly reminds me of the C64 basic prompt.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Malcolm 1

Re: +1 about the GUI ...

In my limited experience Linux UIs tend still to give the impression of being wrappers around console apps. Which is the Linux way of course (and provides the scripting superpowers) but doesn't lend itself to fluid user experiences which often require deeper interaction with the application runtime.

Malcolm 1

Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

Have you tried Affinity Photo? It's fairly amazing for about £50

You're indestructible, always believe in 'cause you are Go! Microsoft reinvents netbook with US$399 ‘Surface Go’

Malcolm 1

A good windows ink device?

I realise that looking for any positive feedback on a Microsoft product here at El Reg is a fool's errand, but I wonder how good this would be a digitial notebook? I've always been quite interested in the idea OneNote + Stylus combo for digital notetaking but lugging but a 13" tablet costing > £800 seemed a bit excessive.

Chrome sends old Macs on permanent Safari: Browser bricks itself

Malcolm 1

Re: Mavericks isn't exactly a spring chicken

Except for the need to maintain the codebase (ifdefs increase complexity dramatically) and to test it - which means mainting an obsolete and unsupported OS.

Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

Malcolm 1

Keyboard shortcuts were unchanged with the introduction of the ribbon. They added a new way of navigating the ribbon using the keyboard, but the old shortcuts still work.

Industry whispers: Qualcomm mulls Arm server processor exit

Malcolm 1

Microsoft already have the top-tier ARM architectural licence AFAIK. And I can't see Qualcomm wanting to sell their design team any time soon.

Malcolm 1


CloudFlare seem to be going all-in for ARM. Naively I would expect them to have a sufficiently signficiant scale to cause manufactures to take notice?


Facebook gives its 007s license to kill M, its not particularly intelligent AI

Malcolm 1

I always wondered...

... what that random blue icon unhelpfully suggesting animated gifs was ... and now I know. Seems that particular "feature" may survive - shame.

Spy-on-your-home Y-Cam cameras removes free cloud storage bit

Malcolm 1

Re: Any IoT kit without a subscription...

Of course - but I was referring specifically to "IoT" devices which invariably require some form of cloud service to function (and therefore upkeep from the service provider). I probably wouldn't ever buy an purely cloud based security camera for all the good reasons outlined further up the comments, my point was that you'd have to be fairly naïve to believe that you could buy such a thing for an affordable one-off cost and expect the service to be supported in perpetuity. Where's the money going to come from to store your archive of home videos? Unless they just start selling your data of course.

Malcolm 1

Any IoT kit without a subscription...

...is a security hole or bankruptcy waiting to happen (if it's not already of course).

If they have a viable revenue stream then they at least have the means to continue supporting an patching the product. No guarantees of course, but I'd not put my faith in a cloud based service that requires a continuous stream of new users or built-in obsolescence to pay the ongoing costs.

EE drops packets but retains UK network champ's title

Malcolm 1

Light in air travels faster than light in a glass fibre.

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

Malcolm 1


My experience as a cyclist/driver/pedestrian would suggest that an AV is more likely to safer in an urban environment than the average driver.

I'm quite interested to see how behaviour will evolve around automated vehicles - if you know that an AV will emergency stop if you step out in front of it will everyone just wander into the road whenever they feel like it?

Your attention has value, personal cryptocurrency will advertise it

Malcolm 1

Re: Forgive me if I'm being slow

Thanks for the clarification - my morning brain managed to skip over the critical sentence.

Malcolm 1

Forgive me if I'm being slow

But how does a website (such as El Reg) gain money from this exercise? Is there an implict stage here where a website charges the advertiser for ad space (using normal money) by which the advertiser can place their ads and pay the recipient in BAT? Or is there some arrangement where a website receives a proportion of the BAT paid to the end user which can then be exchanged for beer and pizza?

Qualcomm is shipping next chip it'll perhaps get sued for: ARM server processor Centriq 2400

Malcolm 1


I was reading this Cloudflare blog article yesterday, some interesting benchmarks: https://blog.cloudflare.com/arm-takes-wing/

Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

Malcolm 1

Relevant Article

On a similar subject - this article is an interesting read on two developers more used to modern development practices porting a relatively simple game of solitaire to from Windows to MSDOS, particularly the perf issues and what was necessary to address them.

Malcolm 1

Re: Android phones still hang

Of course we can. We (by which I mean the market) has decided that it's not as important as other concerns. Symbian required the developer to do more work to ensure memory and performance efficiency - the end result was a dearth of apps as the development experience was more difficult (and therefore more expensive) than alternative platforms.

Features are easier to sell than performance and efficiency sadly. You can see also see this approach in mobile hardware specs where unnecessarily large core counts are the flavour of the month when in fact you'd probably be better off spending that transistor budget on L2/L3 cache and higher clock speeds (like the iPhone in fact).

Facebook and pals to US Senate's Russia probe: Pleeease don't pass a law on political web ads

Malcolm 1

Re: You are shitting me

Not only is he quoting George Galloway, but he's quoting George Galloway from an article on Russia Today.

How to make your HTML apps suck less, actually make some money

Malcolm 1

Re: 'PWAs need to be fast, engaging, and work offline'

Yes, but presumably you already have Chrome (or Safari, or Edge) installed so you get to reuse that functionality and obviate the need to install a separate app without having to "install" anything.

Compare this approach to various cross platform apps such as Slack or Atom which include a complete (and possibly obsolete) copy of Chrome to use as an application run time.

I'm not saying this is more efficient than a bespoke native application (it's almost certainly not) but the developer overhead is much reduced and may permit apps on more platforms than might otherwise be possible. And the "cost of entry" is practically zero so you don't get bounced to an app store to install an app to get back to the content you were actually interested in (or giving up instead, which is perhaps more likely).

As a real-world example, mobile.twitter.com is a PWA that does practically everything the fat client app does in a fraction of the space. It doesn't necessarily scale to more complex apps (yet) but for a decent subset it's a nice solution.

Malcolm 1

I will prefix this with the proviso that I have never written an iOS app but my understanding was that they still require bitmap assets in many different sizes for all the various iPhone/iPad screen sizes and resolutions. I think they used to also require 32 + 64bit universal binaries, but I thought that requirement had ceased with the recent iOS release.

Android has always used more resolution independent resources due to the vast potential differences, so not such a big deal there (although it paid for it in terms of UI responsiveness for many years).

If I'm completely wrong I'm sure someone will be along to correct me shortly - this is the internet after all...

Google slides text message 2FA a little closer to the door

Malcolm 1

Re: embrace... extend... bloat?

I think I have this enabled on my phone (I certainly get that sort of 2FA prompt when logging into google services). But I don't have the google Authenticator app installed so I think it must be part of the "Google" app or similar.

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

Malcolm 1

Re: Maybe if they collected less insects, there would be more around...

"Similarly, a lawn which has been left to develop "naturally" always has quite a few daisies and 20-30% clover which ranks towards the top of the bee, butterfly, etc "wishlist".

Thanks - I feel much better about my laissez-faire attitude to lawn maintenance! It certainly as a healthy diversity of clover and daisies...

Support team discovers 'official' vendor paper doesn't rob you blind

Malcolm 1

Re: The story is ...

..or possibly that barcode scanning tech has improved in the last twenty years?

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

Malcolm 1

Re: Getting bored now

It's the wide angle shots of the landing that get me - they look like something straight out of classic science fiction. Can't wait for the Falcon Heavy trial - synchronised landings! (or a large explosion - either way, quite exciting).

Facebook ties JavaScript code together with Yarn

Malcolm 1

We recently migrated from npm to yarn - no regrets so far - much faster and more reliable than npm (on Windows at least).

SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

Malcolm 1

Re: Even old curmudgeons are happy!

NASA's vote of confidence in SpaceX (and money) saved the company from bankruptcy in its early days. I get the impression they do as much as feasible within the strictures of a political governance.

LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Malcolm 1

2FA migration

I can sort of see the appeal of this, given the proliferation of sites supporting 2FA. You can easily imagine a situation where most sites require 2FA and we've just moved the "too many passwords" problem somewhere else.

Having just recently bought a new phone, had it develop a fault, and send it back I've had to go through the pain of migrating about ten 2FA registrations three times and it is a complete pain, even when most sites use compatible mechanisms. Seems there's a good opportunity to make it easier to transfer these in a secure fashion without storing them in the cloud.

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

Malcolm 1

Windows on ARM

Microsoft actually did quite a lot of groundwork in this area a few years ago to support Windows RT across multiple SoC vendors. I managed to locate a Sinofsky-era essay on the subject - search for "Booting the core of Windows"

In essence it brings the x86 model to ARM - providing the necessary UEFI and ACPI interfaces that the OS can use to bootstrap itself. It would still need drivers of course.

It will be interesting to see how much of this survives in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 based Windows 10 devices.

Amazon is to install its R&D brainboxes in Cambridge

Malcolm 1

Re: Ah

Impossible to park is practically a given anywhere in Cambridge, why do you think everyone cycles?

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Malcolm 1

Re: chrome is google spyware, and I've seen a lot of crappy software that tries to install it

Given that both Chromium and Firefox are open source, why would malware authors choose Chromium so overwhelmingly that it could affect these results significantly?

How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Malcolm 1

Re: I can imagine

Do you realise you can already do this? We've got Ford Sync 2 (I think) on our car which can control Spotify (or presumably any other media playback device) via bluetooth from the in car controls media. It's basic next/previous track stuff rather than searching for music of course.

Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

Malcolm 1

Re: GPL?

Nope - the Windows Subsystem for Linux is entirely proprietary. Everything running in user space is unmodified from that which ships with Ubuntu.

Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Malcolm 1

Re: Boy....

Yes. If you're not building a Supercar it's probably best not to try to take the styling cues from one. "Noddy's first Ferrari" springs to mind somehow.



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