* Posts by JCB

35 posts • joined 10 Jun 2010

Refactoring whizz: Good software shouldn't cost the earth – it's actually cheaper to build

JCB

Not My Budget

You are missing the "not my budget" problem. Develop the application within budget and working well enough, then everyone is happy. Of course we all know that any project of any scale will have bugs. But these bugs don't show up until after delivery. Bugs get reported and possibly come back to the same manager as supervised the initial development, but he is still happy as the hours fixing it will be charged to a warranty budget. Staff are kept in work between projects and the department has additional warranty money coming in to cover it. Manager and staff remain happy.

Galaxy S7 Active can't swim, claims site. But it can, vendor retorts

JCB
Coat

A real 5 foot or a pretend 5 foot

"The review site tested a pair of S7 Active handsets subjected to 30 minutes underwater at 2.12 pounds per square inch (the equivalent pressure of five feet of water)."

So they didn't actually drop it into a tank containing water 5 feet deep then? I take it this was a simulated drowning rather than an actually drowning, to coin a phrase. I read their words to mean that they put the phone in a press vessel, covered it with a little water and then pumped up the pressure. At the very least I can imagine a pump produced a momentary over-pressure as the nominal value was indicated on pressure sensor in the vessel. Easy enough to make a true 5 feet of water using a 5 foot length of wide-enough pipe stood on end if you don't want to take it to the local swimming pool and explain to the supervisor what you are doing.

You must have at least 8 inches for Windows 10 to go all the way

JCB

Re: This is going to be fun

"You didn't think to read the article before commenting?"

It's always going to happen. It's one of the dangers of the silly decision Microsoft have made. Some people will misread and mishear and others will deliberately muddy the waters. There will be a significant group of potential buyers who will get the garbled message that Windows tablets don't run desktop. Even the idea in a buyer's head that "some tablets" don't run desktop will put sales at risk.

I remember that I had heard that WinRT didn't run desktop. I used up significant time and energy making damn sure that my Toshiba Encore did run desktop. I would not have bought it without desktop even though many days I only use the Metro interface. Without desktop it would be a Metro tablet not a Windows tablet. I already had an Android and without the lure of desktop I would have stayed with that and later upgraded to another Android come the time. The Tosh cost nearly twice what I had paid for the Android. I would not have paid that just to get a different, incompatible set of tiles.

It is well known that big manufacturers deploy FUD to try to drive purchasers towards there own products. It takes real business flair to use the fear, uncertainty and doubt to drive people away from your own products.

Microsoft, if you are reading, a tablet without desktop is not a Windows tablet. It is a Metro tablet and I would buy an Android or maybe an Apple in preference to a Metro tablet. The point of a Windows tablet is that it is compatible with a Windows PC and what I can do on the one I can do on the other, to the extent that not only do I run desktop on the Windows tablet but I also run Modern apps on my Windows PC. It's two devices but one system as it stands at present, but Microsoft are breaking that.

JCB
Stop

No sense? Nonsense

"It is a dilemma. The traditional Windows desktop makes no sense on a small tablet. It was not designed for mice and keyboards, not fingers on touchscreens, and it was not designed for tiny displays."

One of the reasons I bought a Windows tablet is because it can run Desktop. If you only want apps, does a Windows device make any sense at all? Yes, desktop is fiddly on a small screen. It can be made easier by having a cheap stylus to hand, and when I really want to run serious desktop software I can turn on a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It all works, and so do all the USB accessories collected over the years.

For example, I can plug in my old Epson photo scanner with an OTG adapter. The Epson software loads without bother. It is a lot easier to take my tablet to the scanner on the table than to try and find space next to the PC for the scanner.

Just because you have Desktop available on a tablet doesn't mean you have to run desktop every day but it's good to have the facility when you want it.

REGARD our TINY but POWERFUL LASER, suitable for very SMALL sharks

JCB
Coat

Correction

As previous commenters have stated, a maser and a laser are different, although light and microwaves are just different forms of electromagnetic radiation, so both could be termed Electromagnetic Radiation Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Thus we can have a handy acronym covering both. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the eraser.

Next gen ransomware: Elliptic cryptic, talks on Tor, demands Bitcoin

JCB

Re: Specific to VMs...

"Running the program in a VM allows the researcher to observe "from the outside""

What does exist in the way of hardware monitoring (for PCs I am assuming)? Back in the day when I did mainframe OS support for ICL VME/K, the development team had hardware monitors they could attach for particularly recalcitrant bugs. Although I will accept that hardware monitoring is likely a lot more expensive than VM monitoring.

JCB

Re: Specific to VMs...

"Im sure the AV researchers have decent budgets for R&D."

You don't need need high end kit to get pwned. Does the ransomware have a minimum hardware spec? There's lots of cheap ex-corporate kit around to build a honey pot. (It might even arrive already loaded with malware.)

How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

JCB
Meh

Why must I always give a star?

I hate those feedback options where you have to give at least one star out of four. I don't see why I should give any stars when I am dissatisfied.

As for rating something on a scale 1 to 10, I treat it as a binary option, 1 = Bad, 8 = good.

I always wonder when I see a survey of children's knowledge, such as only 4 out of 7 children know King William the first was a Norman, oh how stupid children are today. How old were the children they asked? Five year olds don't actually know a lot anyhow, and if they are any older I can imagine a group of little boys in the playground afterwards - "I told her the earth was flat You should have seen her face. What did you tell her?"

On the whole I don't fill out surveys. I discovered some years OK that for real market research, they select people from their panel according to criteria to get the right balance and then PAY for your time. I stayed with that long enough to get a couple of hundred quid while it still seemed like a good idea. After that it seemed silly to do the same thing for free. If they won't pay for your time, the survey obviously isn't worth the effort. If they pick respondents at random, then they will get random results.

Danish lit star Helle Helle, Marianne Faithfull and Jim Al-Khalili on Quantum Biology

JCB

It's always been quantum

"Scientists were very dubious as to whether these phenomena were active in the “warm and wet” conditions of living cells, but it turns out that on a minute scale, particles within living cells obey the same principals as those in non-living molecules."

This seems to me to be not just a sweeping statement but a wrong statement. Chemical reactions at the molecular level are quantum processes, dependent on stuff like quantized energy levels in electrons and ions. This applies to cell chemistry as much as inorganic chemistry. Another immediately obvious quantum effect is vision, depending on the corpuscular nature of light.

Reg hacks see the woods or the trees In the Forest of the Night

JCB

Assumption

"My assumption is that they captioned "London Zoological Museum" because they want to market the program in the US and assumed Americans are unable to understand what "Natural History" means"

Seems like a pretty stupid assumption to me. Why would anyone assume that an American would understand the term natural history any less than a Briton? It's in Merriam-Websters dictionary with no suggestion that it is foreign terminology. I'm assuming you know what a dictionary is.

JCB
Flame

Time for my pill, please, Nurse

Yes, saw that Guardian review too, and I am not quite sure which irritated me more, the review or the blatant non-science nonsense in the show. Yes, it's a kids' show (apparently) and I am a fully qualified grumpy old man, but I do remember my O-level work. I'll forgive a forest that grows overnight and a killer solar flare, but the Tunguska event wasn't a solar flare, and the oxygen from the trees ain't going to protect anyone.

They were taking the piss out of special needs schoolkids in the show and the show takes the piss out of perfectly normal kids watching. No half decent SF plays fast and loose with science the way Dr Who does these days. Kill the Moon was taking the piss the same way with the moon putting on weight and bacteria getting oversized just because their host was Bi-i-i-ig.

The atmosphere won't expand because trees are converting CO2 to O2 and it is charged particles that could protect the earth, not a mass of neutral atoms.

Time for my pill, please, Nurse.

Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet

JCB

Off with his head

Little old lady musters up courage to send he first tweet and straightaway gits like that Alex Hern are trolling her. Of course she might get into the swing of it. There would be a Twitter threat you would have to take seriously.

Down the police station.

Mr Hern "I got a death threat on Twitter."

Desk sergeant "Hmm, @BritishMonarchy. Yes, that looks genuine. Just come and wait in this safe little cell, Sir. We'll sort you out."

JCB

What next?

"1 wishes 2 send a selfie 2 1s husband @Mr_Holbein"

Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes

JCB
Pint

Add mine too

"They're also collecting the most popular passwords, so they can just have a drop-down list on password fields, instead of having to type it in all the time."

Cool. Can I get mine added to the list. It's "s3cr3t"? With the quotes of course.

Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST

JCB

Re: Pebble still seems the best

"(Not that I can ever understand the need to bring information about the current weather to my wrist. I can look out of the window for that.)"

You've not worked at the places I have. There are places you simply do not have windows to look through. I was upgrading a system on one site near Nottingham and a few minutes before lunch the PA system would announce the weather conditions so you knew whether to pick up your coat before you went out. Inside you simply had no inkling if it was sleeting or scorching. and once you got to the exit there was no chance of turning and going back against the flow of people off to the canteen or the shops or whatever.

Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots

JCB

Take off the sign saying POLICE

and replace it with one saying TAXI. Everybody seems to ride in the Tardis these days. It used to be off limits to ordinary people, didn't it? Perhaps when the doctor finally loses his bottle, he will see out his remaining years as a taxi driver. There's an idea for a new show, "Taxi".

Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

JCB

Windows 7.9

Captures the essence of moving on to version 9 while pretending that 8 never happened.

Teardown gurus iFixit play with Fire – Amazon's new mobe

JCB

and the half dozen screws that were left over...

You have to remember you are on a war footing here. Remember the report from The Falklands - I can't tell you how many there were, that is a secret, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back in again.

Android update process gives malware a leg-up to evil: Indiana U

JCB
Happy

Re: @the Anonymous Swiss Cheese connaisseur

"We all should face a fact that Android is the new Windows."

Or perhaps we should view Android as the old Windows. Having now replaced my Android tablet by a Windows tablet, I now have a reliable and regular upgrade process independent of the hardware manufacturer. I now have a tablet PC that works ... like a PC.

Desktop can be a bit fiddly with an 8 inch screen and a fat finger but I've got used to it and my accuracy has improved. ModernUI works like a tablet interface. I use each as the mood takes me. For stuff like Kindle say, I have a choice of "Windows 8" version for Modern and "Windows 7" version for desktop.

ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

JCB
Alien

I have two unique addresses with two companies later absorbed into Santander. I started receiving spam on both of them at around the same time. They have certainly never been used for any purpose other than corresponding with the banks. In fact when I looked closer it appeared that one had never even been used for that purpose, but existed only because an email address was required on a form many years ago.

Life's too short to try and persuade a bank that they have done something wrong. How do you supply the level of evidence required? Have a minister of the church swear in triplicate that they definitely saw that you never ever used the email address at any time? "Yes, M'lud, I definitely saw him not doing it."

One good thing from the Flappy Birds crapp flap: It's a handy 'tech' media rating system

JCB
Pirate

D for Dunce

"We'd note that it's quite reasonable to regard use of Flappy Bird since it was pulled as piracy."

Definitely D class journalism. D for Dunce. I shall continue to play until I have had enough, or Google pull it (as I believe they can) from the devices to which it was legitimately downloaded. Mr Nguyen has not asked me to delete my copy. Illicit copying can be piracy, depending on the circumstances, but continuing to use a legal download is not.

The payment system, as everyone should be aware, is by ad fees, so copying does not directly disadvantage the author financially. I have seen nothing to indicate that the flow of ad funds has been blocked. I am not sure on what basis a case for damages could be brought. If the author has difficulties, I sympathise, but if he doesn't want the lolly I am sure the RSPB would appreciate a donation.

Actually the game is rather fun. I quite like to have a game I can play for a few moments without having to commit significant time. I just hope my neighbours can't hear the expletives when Flappy turns out to be a duck.

Someone told me that if I got a platinum medal I could turn it into a Bitcoin, so I am pressing on.

Forget ski-jumping – Russians setting records in Sochi visitor hacking

JCB
Coat

TV Magic

" But, as Wilhoit later admitted on Twitter, there was more than a little intentional fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) added to the report – or as he described it "part of the 'tv magic'". "

TV Magic - I shall use that in future to describe the deliberate misrepresentation that is presented as TV journalism. "No, it's not wrong, it's just TV magic."

Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

JCB

Re: Mail spam

"A few weeks later I got a large wadge of weird religious bumf mailed to that 111a address. I figured someone at the cable company had harvested my name and address privately and taken the opportunity to give free rein to the voices in his head while spending a few quid on postage (this was a thick wadge of A3 colour photocopies). There was no financial gain for the sender (at least as far as I could figure out) or even a solicitation for money, just disjointed rambling and Jesus clip art."

I think they just take satisfaction in saving your soul. In olden days, when The Times printed the postal addresses in letters to the editor, I had a letter published. I had about half a dozen letters sent to me as a consequence, all perfectly polite, and I had a conversation with a couple of them regarding the subject of my letter. It was quite some time later that I had a letter, four sides of notepaper filled with closed space handwriting about god and Jesus, etc. I suspect that they took my address from The Times too. As you said, no request for money or anything, and no return address.

Back on topic, I too have had spam on two unique addresses used for banks that were later absorbed into Santander. Like other commenters, I have more than one personal internet domain, and i use mostly unique addresses for non-personal stuff. The style of spam is unique to these two addresses and started arriving simultaneously. All my spam is personally hand-deleted by myself from the catch-all folders. The addresses could only have been harvested from Santenders internal lists

Kinky? You're mentally healthier than 'vanilla' bonkers

JCB
Unhappy

Re: WTF?

" where the "average" is (that is, where is the line where half the people are above the line, and half below)"

On average, people don't seem to know the difference between the mean and the median.

Twitter adds loopy videos with Vine integration

JCB

LOLcatz

6 seconds sounds ideal for little Fluffy's antics - pounce ....6 secs ... pounce ... 6 secs ... etc

Senate votes to continue FISA domestic spying through 2017

JCB
WTF?

WTF ...

... does FISA stand for? If you told me in the article, then I'd know what you are getting so aerated about.

Ten... Apple iPad Mini alternatives

JCB
Thumb Down

Not rooted out of the box?

I hadn't realised that the Nexus 7 was not rooted as delivered. I decided against the N7 for a couple of reasons, like no SD micro and I prefered an 8 in display. Still there are plenty of tablets to shoose from that run Android. The market is changing fast. There should be some interesting stuff by tis time next year and I may well be tempted to upgrade.

JCB
FAIL

But the Ipad mini is an 8 incher

The first thing that struck me about this review is that the devices chosen were mostly 7 inch or widescrenn displays. That is not much help to someone who wants an 8 inch 4:3 aspect ratio 1024x768 display at a comfortable weight; something lighter than a 10 inch iPad but bigger than a 7 inch widescreen. For some of us the screen size and weight are important, and that is the basis on which I chose my tablet. Ok, my Android tablet doesn't have everything that the iPad mini has; it certainly doesn't have the price tag. I was able to but my Scroll Engage made by UK company Storage Options for £120, and you can buy it for about £100 now if you shop around in the main online stores. The format is just right for me. As I said it doesn't have everything the iPad has, but then it does have physical connectivity that the iPad doesn't (USB, Sdmicro, HDMI). I can't comment on the iPad mini itself as I haven't handled one.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD and HD+ hands-on review

JCB
Happy

I'm with Android

On my own experience, I would suggest sticking with a straight Android tablet. I've been reading The Times (Pressreader app), New Scientist (Zinio app), library books, Kindle books, TV listings, etc. on mine for several months now. I'm not bothered by the LCD display, 1024 x 768 resolution on an 8 inch screen seems fine. Battery life could be better, but meets my needs. As it is a straight forward tablet, I don't need to root it. I don't see any need for a dedicated e-book reader. I can stick in microSD cards, I can attach USB devices, including mouse and keyboard via a hub and a 1TB external HDD, if I want to (I don't really). A backlit screen is great for reading in bed and I can look things up on Wikipedia or the web if I feel like it. I don't see any need for a dedicated e-book reader. But then I read books on a CRT screen under DOS in the olkd days (but not in bed). And as the tablet's not tied to a publisher, I can upgrade to a newer faster one in a year or two if I like.

I think the upgrade I would really like to add is windscreen wipers to automatically wipe away the finger smears.

Microsoft: It's not Metro, it's Windows 8

JCB
Happy

LIDL?

Perhaps if the Metro group won't let MS use their name, MS could talk to the other German groups and then we could have either the Microsoft LIDL interface, or Windows ALDI. I suppose it is too much to ask to ask if Tesco would give up their name.

Microsoft: Gmail rival Outlook.com will 'look good on your iPad' 

JCB
WTF?

Reimagine? Just imagine it's not Hotmail, but really it is

Turned on my PC and reloaded my browsing session. Where the Outlook.com tab had been, there was now a Hotmail login page. So I entered my new Outlook address and password, signed in and saw Live.com flash up before I finished up back in Outlook again.

It looks like the bastard son of Hotmail and Gmail to me. But it was nice to get in early and snap up some decent addresses before they all went.

Free tool inspects all your personal 'ware automatically

JCB
Alert

Re: Why?

Maybe this extract from the T&C agreement gives a clue?

2.5 By registering you provide acceptance that Secunia may use data on applications installed on your system and may provide you with additional information, like product offers etc.

Reg reader lost for words over blank HP keyboard

JCB
Happy

Un-double-dutch

As I needed a USB keyboard and the only one I had at that time was a Dutch layout one I had been given, I fould that a quick slap of snopake let me write in the 'correct' letters with felt pen. The re-topping survived much more wear and tear than I expected. I really must learn to touch type properly.

PS I really would like a blank keyboard if one is going spare :-)

JCB

VAX

The old DEC VAX system teletype came with a bag of spare keytops (funny accents and stuff) for you to customise the keyboard to your own locality

Cloud computing, eBooks - no thanks (or not just yet)

JCB
FAIL

Doesn't really work in practice

I read 2 journals regularly, the New Scientist and The Times. The NS I have switched to digital download. It is worth it for the price saving and it is just practical to read it on a large LCD monitor and the software supplied is adequate for the job. I have been looking at switching from paper for The Times, but having tried the trial version, it just doesn't cut the mustard. It is cumbersome and quite unsatisfactory after getting used to scanning through the paper copy.

On one specific usability feature, NS allows annotations, The Times doesn't.

Even so, with the NS I do tend to get a backlog of unread/part read copies. Now I have gone digital, I can no longer catch up in the bath.

I would like to try reading either on any existing e-book reader. My comments above relate to a 24 inch monitor.

I've have been (occasionaly) reading books on screen since Bruce Sterling released Hacker Crackdown a public domain e-text (was that about 1995?). I have no intention of going to e-books yet. Most of my books come from book swap sites (BookHopper.com and BookMooch.com) or from the charity shop (typical price 75p).

Why would I want to pay for an e-book that I don't own, when it is priced the same as the RRP of the paper version, although who ever pays RRP for a book? At present, if I drop my book in the bath, my onnly worry will be that I cannot finish the story until I find another copy. All my other books will remain perfectly functional.

I regard my self as tech savvy as a retired systems programmer/designer/engineer with cable, HD TV, PVR, Xbox, etc. and building my own PCs.

Perhaps I will go for an e-book reader when there is a reasonably priced model with flexible A4 size colour e-ink display.

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