* Posts by sad_loser

89 posts • joined 25 May 2010


What has an 'open-door policy' with industry and puts the X into NHS? Brits, let app-happy Matt Hancock tell you


Will this work?

This does not deal with the cultural problem which is that digital is not embedded in NHS thinking, and taking it and putting it in a separate box really doesn't help that. It will be the same people in a different box.

NHS Digital is rudderless and has not got its head around the fact that its sole purpose in life is to help clinical staff do a better job. There is zero customer awareness.

If I were doing this I would leave the existing structure and find a bunch of digital headkickers - people who have made things work and give them the resources to do more.

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently


Re: Google are cunts


The best thing about Firefox is AdNauseum.

Not serving their ads is not enough, pissing in Google's swimming pool by clicking on all the ads in the background.

Download and enjoy!

FF + Adnauseum + NoScript +/- privacy badger + delete cookies on exit = happiness

Top GP: Medical app Your.MD's data security wasn't my remit


Clinical Safety Officer

This case is pretty embarrassing as Maureen Baker set up the programme for accrediting clinical safety officers who have to be clinically qualified.

As a clinical safety officer I have to review IT in structured way and assess the risk of it causing harm to patients.

As a clinical safety officer, there is no way I would sign off the 'Clinical Safety Case' if I did not have reasonable assurance that any software was compliant with the relevant legislation - in this case

- ISO 27001 (data security)

- ISO 13485 (medical devices)

- OWASP top 10 ( www.owasp.org - web security)

- MHRA - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/medical-devices-software-applications-apps

And from the description, it sounds as though their app did not tick many (?any) of those boxes.

It sounds like she got away pretty lightly, as a barrister who knew their way around this particular minefield could have made things very uncomfortable.

NHS supplier that holds 40 million UK patient records: AWS is our new cloud-based platform


Half-baked babble

This is going to go catastrophically wrong, and will be a magnet for ne'er do wells.

There are companies in this space who operate private clouds and that is fine - I even think it is fine to have cloud based back-up, and I could see a role for cloud-based dockers providing the front end, but hosting the data? I don't see this ending happily - there is a reason the banks are not on the cloud.

Health secretary Matt Hancock assembles brains trust: OK, guys. Let's cure NHS IT



According to her website, Nicola Blackwood has the medical trifecta of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalitis and Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

These are uncommon diseases so it seems very unfortunate that one person could have so many.

She was chair of the Commons Science select committe which is a disgrace - surely with 650 MPs they could have found someone with a credible scientific background.

Building your own PC for AI is 10x cheaper than renting out GPUs on cloud, apparently

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Old MacPro hardware

Also rocks as cheaply upgradeable Xeon chips.

The purpose of the main CPU is just to feed the GPU beast.

Apparently GPU memory bandwidth is usually the rate limiting factor.

Basic bigot bait: Build big black broad bots – non-white, female 'droids get all the abuse


Re: I can see where this will lead

Did their research use a null hypothesis?

It strikes me as 'Cargo Cult Science'

Doctor, doctor! My NHS Patient Access app has gone TITSUP*


NHS Digital is a failure magnet

Repeated rebranding has done nothing to dispel the stench of failure that hangs over Leeds.

The sad thing is that there are some really good people in there, but they are crushed by a tsunami of ineptitude and promotion above capability.

There are very few active clinicians (retired GPs don't count) involved and as a result the service delivers products that don't work and / or no one wants.

I would pare back NHS Digital to some architecture people, and outsource all the work to some dynamic organisations who have some concept that speed and competence are desirable traits.

We have killed the health SMEs in this country by locking them out of the infrastructure, and post-Brexit we need to do a lot better than just inviting a bunch of Americans to empty our wallets.

IBM's Watson Health wing left looking poorly after 'massive' layoffs


AI = Magical thinking

There is real value in AI but not 7,000 staff members’ worth in health alone.

They failed the Rumsfeld test: they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

AI does not overcome the basic law of stats, the standard error of the mean.

They didn’t understand the data and they bet too big.

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!


The EU does have a sense of humour after all

Too bad we only found out now

Oh, baby! Newborn-care website leaves database of medics wide open


This is overhyped

It is just a training database for doctors.

Incompetent - yes, but no patient / disease details leaked.

Will be interesting to see what the current Russian pen testing of the NHS reveals.

Creaky NHS digital infrastructure risks holding back gene boffinry, say MPs


This is blue sky science

And none the worse for that.

The tension here is that government/ NHS will mess up the development of this but that pure industry - insurers and pharma - will use it to rip off the IP and the population, and the money goes overseas. Once the data has been copied, its value decays exponentially.

Pharma ought to be the best choice but the latest example of price gouging is holding the government to ransom over a cystic fibrosis drugs at £100k a year for marginal (non curative) benefit.

Better to commission an institution set up between uk academics and industry to manage the IP generated, and keep the data locked up tight.

The Register Opera Company presents: The Pirates of Penzance, Sysadmin edition


Re: Ooh, tempting

Mary had a little lamb

And it was always grunting

She tied it to a five bar gate

And kicked its little head in.

When clever code kills, who pays and who does the time? A Brit expert explains to El Reg


There are already some standards out there

e.g. ISO13485 covering medical devices, that does specify code audit, input and output limits etc.

Fancy coughing up for a £2,000 'nanodegree' in flying car design?


Top NB reference

Top roundabouting

Sad-sack Anon calling himself 'Mr Cunnilingus' online is busted for DDoSing ex-bosses


Door handles

Car door handles make good repositories for canine faeces.

Was better in the 80s when they were all ‘lift the flap’ design.

Ghostery, uBlock lead the anti-track pack



I use noscript as default but if I have to turn it off for a site then I use Adnauseum to p1ss in their swimming pool.

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


Re: Squeezebox

Had a couple of these, but binned when they got taken over and software pain.

Now: Plex + [ device ] + Bluetooth 4.0 + denon ceol

How much for that Belkin cable? Margin of 1,992%?


Re: The sector that paid the highest average margin in 2016 was the NHS

I sell to the NHS

You just price in the incompetence and inability to spec anything properly and 30% is cheap!

Google's macho memo man fired, say reports


The World Athletics men's 100m final

Wasn't very diverse.

Where do I register my protest

Numbers war: How Bayesian vs frequentist statistics influence AI


Re: If there is no infection at all then 1% of the population will still test positive.

This gets into understanding how medical tests work (IAAD, and this is a bit of a niche) and which tests you should use.

If there is a very low infection rate, and you are looking to 'rule in' you need a test that is very specific (is only true in disease) otherwise you suffer from too many false positives.

Equally, once the infection is fairly widespread, it is generally safe to assume that anyone who looks like a zombie, is a zombie.

We generally use medical tests with a 1% 'error' rate because in practice that is usually good enough.

To look at this problem in a better way, Likelihood Ratios are the way to go.

Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report


Re: It really is like a war ...

Firefox + AdNauseum = everyone wins

I see no adverts on my page, but in the background the ads get shown and clicked on

The site get the click throughs, I don't see the ads and (even better) it polutes the metadata aggregator profiles so they don't know who I am or what I am actually interested in.

BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted


Re: If it got interrupted...

The issue is that what was someone doing in the DC playing with buttons they should not have had access to.

If your IT workforce is all in house then you don't get contractors wandering around unsupervised.

Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs


Great analysis - thanks

So the question is - why have you got several thousand W7 desktops unpatched?

While I understand that the servers will need to be a variety of VMs I would just use a standard image of NHSbuntu [ www.nhsbuntu.org ] for the sheep as I can lock it down tighter than a duck's chuff, and it has secure email, an office suite, web-browsing and that is all I want them to have.

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry


It is the apps tied to ActiveX that cause the problems

[I work in NHS IT]

Some of those places worst affected are just poorly managed but the reason why somewhere like Royal London (a new £1bn hospital) kept all these PCs with XP was that certain critical software could not be (cheaply) updated because it needed XP because the browser interface was written with a load of ActiveX that only worked in Internet Explorer 6 which is part of XP.

The root cause of these issues is therefore Microsoft's use of non-standard extentions as part of the embrace / extend / extinguish browswer wars.

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+


Re: Risk Management

This whole episode is microsofts' fault.

The root cause for all this is IE6's non standards compliant browser with ActiveX controls that microsoft then did not upgrade.

A lot of NHS software was written by people at that time and now cannot be upgraded, and so we have a lot of XP systems sitting around.

At the Royal London then the CT scanners went down so it could not take trauma / stroke / cardiac patients as these are all likely to need CT scanning.

Round-filed 'paperless' projects: Barriers remain to Blighty's Digital NHS

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there is a bigger problem

The medical heirarchy are wedded to a 1970s vision that all data must fit insided a RDMS model.

The dinosaurs have not yet worked out that while some structured data needs to be collected, the advances in indexing an mapping unstructured data in the last 15 years mean that they are using ancient technology to sove a problem that now does not exist.

Cyanogen parts ways with its founder


The curse of M$ investment?

Invest, extend, extinguish

The new business model!

Euro Patent Office prez 'a disgrace to France'



I can remember that the EPO is the biggest cesspool of technical and managerial incompetence this side of NHS digital. And that is impressive on its own.

What I can't remember whether this guy is heroically trying to drain the swamp, or is busy dropping his own Gallic flavoured brown trout into it.

EU puts out prescription for smart hospitals


ISO 13485 does this, and is already here

And surprise surprise, good quality software which has properly tested is expensive.

Unbranded untested IoT junk from China is cheap.

This is why the hubristic Shoreditch clowns who claim that the NHS is going to be cured by funnelling vast quantities of landfill data from Mr Averages' smart watches may need resetting by the BOFH.

Bookmakers William Hill under siege from DDoS internet flood


This does sound targetted

On the Melbourne Cup, the biggest race in the Southern Hemisphere

BYE, EVERYBODY! Virtual personal health assistants are coming, says Gartner


Replace Emergency Departments

This is the only NHS you will be left with once Jeremy Hunt has finished.


Super Cali: Be realistic, 'autopilot' is bogus – even though the sound of it is something quite precocious


self driving in Europe != success

I followed a Dutch registered Tesla model X on the outskirts of Cambridge last week that appeared to be in self-driving mode.

The reason I know this is because it spent most of the time with its outer two wheels way over the white line in the middle of the road, and this would never happen in a normal car - even LHD. The oncoming cars were understandably distressed by this behaviour.

I think self driving is fine if you are on a big ol' highway in Murica with plenty of room but in Europe it is going be much more challenging.

Celebrated eye hospital Moorfields lets Google eyeball 1 million scans

Black Helicopters

This is OK


If I were a patient then I would be OK with this but I would not be OK with what Royal Free did which was to release the whole lot of identifiable patient information which is totally unacceptable. If Royal Free were a company then the Board would have to resign and there would be an eye-watering fine.

How about a rule that if there is a hospital data breach then the directors should pay the fine themselves AND have their medical data published on wikileaks?

Who's to blame for the NHS drug prices ripoff?

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This problem has been sorted in the past

but big pharma killed the process because it was so effective.

In Australia in the 90s they had the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that priced all drugs of a certain type according to the cheapest price. If people wanted the more expensive branded version they had to pay the difference.

It worked a treat, to such an extent that big pharma killed it off as part of a big trade agreement.

Prospect of fertilisation really blows bees' hair back


I think you mean

Prostitutes for the bees.

The sky's beginning to bruise, night must fall and we shall be forced to camp.

Commercial software chokkas with ancient brutal open source vulns


Re: In fairness...

top handle there, PG!

Surface Hub: A Howard Hughes folly, or a cunning Post It Note killer?


Jumped the shark

And done it in style. Big shark, big jump.

This is going to make Zune look like investment of the century.

Trebles all round.

Smartphones help medicos, but security is a problem


other options

IAAD and this is a real problem. In the ED we quite often want to take pictures of wounds, particularly if there is bone sticking out, as we don't want to keep unwrapping them to let people have a look as it makes infection more likely.

The NHS rules are very clear that taking pictures yourself would be a major offence .

The other way to do this is to use the patient's own phone to take the picture, and very few patients don't have a phone with a camera these days.

There is a wider problem with consumer technology being touted as a medical device e.g. heart sensors etc without going through proper (ISO 13485) accreditation. This means that Billy No Mates can create an app for health use with no quality control in either software or hardware engineering. This is why Apple has just shut down a lot of its health programmes - the risk of harm (= swingeing lawsuits) is not worth it.

The NHS needs to get its act together and regulate on this or face a lot of pain when these apps are shown to be as effective as the Bomb Detectors the UK sold to Iraq. Reminds me of a quote from that great philosopher Benny Hill - 'just because no one complains, it doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect;,

Security real talk time: So what exactly do we mean by 'backdoor'?


Backdoor Beauty

I can never talk about backdoors without thinking of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Open source Gov.UK is 'example of UK soft power'


G Cloud mixed blessing

The overall look and feel and sentiment is good.

is a nice idea, but we didn't get any contracts out of two cycles so have not been a direct player for the current one, and we are exactly the SME it was set up to attract.

NHS procurement is ridiculously complex and there is an opportunity for G Cloud to be a threshold test, and if you meet that and there is a specced contract that is all you need.

We can't all live by taking in each others' washing


Don't feed the troll

Your columns are excellent and are pitched just right for an audience that is interested in this and has a bit of experience.

Also appreciated by my daughter who is doing economics A level and applying to university to do economics.

My guess is that the push is to be more IT focussed rather than expand the magazine aspects of the weekend topics.

This is a mistake as the Register was building a powerful brand 'more than just IT' and as we know from Top Gear, this sort of branding that reaches across many demographics is very valuable, very difficult to build and very easy to destroy.

Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Black Helicopters

more to this than meets the eye

While I would like to believe this is a straightforward 'plucky brits give johnny foreigner a bloody nose' story, I wonder if there is something more.

It looks like a great phone and well put together at a knockout price, that manages to undercut some big boys.

It is running cyanogen.

Now let me think, who owns a chunk of cyanogen, has failed completely at mobile, has lots of money, and wants to piss through Google's letterbox?

Would be interesting to look through WileyFox's accounts and see just how much they are being subisidised.

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Black Helicopters


I never buy Belkin products because they did something relatively benign (router inserted ads over your html pages) a long time ago.

It is the Pinto Memo problem.


It is not just that someone has done something bad to their customers, but they have calculated the risk of being found out / it going wrong and they have still done it !

Commercial suicide in the internet age

Care.data is a complete omnishambles, says study into hated scheme


care.data is ....

the turd that won't flush.

I work in informatics and do a lot of work in/around the NHS and they spend so much time gold plating the most minor stuff and then mess up all the really big things.

Information Governance is not handled too badly at a local level but that is irrelevant if at a central level the captain has broken the team's bats.

The people in HSCIC at a junior and mid level are decent people trying to do a good job, but higher up there are a lot of people who are promoted way above their knowledge or competence.

Google presses 'send' on 'undo send' – AT LAST


Thank you Malcolm

I think there is a generation of us who have learned the hard way and who now always double check.

The biggest danger I find is colleagues who will forward stuff that is obviously confidential to the least suitable person

I would like a non-forwardable self-destructing email and although it would be possible to screenshot, most people are not capable of doing this.

Agree - nice MT reference

It is so hard to get a leadership mentor these days, but with virtual leadership coaches like David Brent and Malcolm Tucker, the NHS is safe in my hands.

my personal favourite - Malcolm doing some career counselling. ( NSFW, but this was a broadcast BBC show!)


Post-pub nosh neckfillers: Reader suggestions invited



No one seems to have mentioned Special Fried Rice.

My top 3

Lamb rogan josh with a naan bread

Kebab made from lumps of identifiable meat rather than elephant leg


Big Content picks on small Australian ISPs again


Fighting a losing battle

You can get pretty much all the media content you will want on a 3TB hdd which costs £75

If they stamp on downloads I would be able to mail order a pre-loaded hdd +media server from china for £100.

At the moment home media server set up is a bit geeky.

They might find it rapidly goes mainstream if they do this.

Mad Frankie Maude hangs up his axe


we have had a lot worse

he has got his hands dirty in policy and understood the importance of good information.

he has the testicular fortitude not to be bowed by the big corporations and a politicians' common sense when he sees a care.data turkey.

imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and other governments e.g. Australia have copied Maude's work through the Cabinet Office, so I suspect he has done a pretty good job.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chickpea stew à la Bureau des Projets Spéciaux


WTF ???

Schoolboy error here I'm afraid

fry the pancetta,onion chilli and spices first.

Then tip in one's precooked garbanzos and some fresh tomato.


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