* Posts by Buzzword

911 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

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Mozilla pushes out final Firefox 5 test build

Buzzword
FAIL

Architecture mistake

This is a bad idea. The whole point about big and small version numbers is that you know what to expect. If you develop an app for Windows 2000 (5.0), you expect it to work in Windows XP (5.1); but you expect problems in Vista (6.0). Same with Firefox extensions - if it works in 3.5 then it should work in 3.6, but you can expect trouble with 4.0. Minor version numbers should only contain superficial changes; major versions should make deep changes to the APIs.

Continuous change simply isn't possible; sometimes you need to stop and re-write large parts of the system from scratch.

Reminds me of the time Microsoft bumped the version of Word from 2.0 to 6.0, because people thought it wasn't as good as WordPerfect 6.0.

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Adobe patches critical bugs in Flash and Reader

Buzzword
Unhappy

Foxit is following Adobe

Foxit used to be great, but it too has gone down the Adobe path of adding too many features and bloat. Foxit 5 in particular keeps crashing (using Firefox 4.0.1 on Windows XP). Highly recommend Foxit 2 or 3 though, if you can find them!

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Stand by for more big, windfarm-driven 'leccy price rises

Buzzword

Domestic or commercial first?

Rather than fitting expensive new smart-meters to every house, and fitting every fridge and television with a remote off/on switch, wouldn't it be better to target commercial users first? In most shops and offices, we'd barely notice if the air-con went up by 2°C for a short period. Whether that's sufficient to make a difference, I don't know.

How predictable is the wind? At present the grid is able to forecast demand spikes (e.g. when everyone switches on their kettles after Corrie); couldn't it also forecast supply shortfalls, and prepare the backup power? Seems easier than reaching into everyone's home and fiddling with their ovens. But yes, the whole thing is a ridiculous expensive charade.

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Sony hack reveals password security is even worse than feared

Buzzword

Quite possibly

If password "Whbbmpap" can be derived from the first eight words of your company's website's tagline (the bit below the flash animation), then yes, it was you. And I recall you did like beer!

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Buzzword

Depends what the security is for

On Gawker, passwords merely allow registered users to post comments. They don't give access to your bank account, or to your email / iTunes / Amazon / Paypal accounts. It's perfectly acceptable to use a simple password on Gawker (or even on El Reg), so long as you use multiple more complex passwords where needed. Personally I'm not *that* bothered if somebody posts comments in my name.

A useful password mnemonic I was taught is to take a line from a song, then take the first letter from each word or each syllable. Additional characters can be derived from word sounds or appearances. For example: "Is this the way to Amarillo" becomes "Ittw2Am%"

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Feds turn one in four black-hat hackers into snitches

Buzzword
Meh

Beaten to it by China

Isn't this what China is already doing? Every time a western company reports a cyber-attack, the Chinese government just shrugs its shoulders and says "not me guv", and blames some random hackers or criminals.

Then again that's what spy agencies have always done - make acts of war look like ordinary crimes.

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FT sticks it to Apple

Buzzword
WTF?

Why don't they use HTML5 ?

HTML5 ought to be sufficient for paywall news sites. Content can be cached offline and authorisation can be handled with cookies etc. Both iOS and Android support HTML5 to varying degrees. I'm surprised more news sites haven't gone down that route. Most newspapers contain only text & images, nothing fancy.

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Brit rubbish-dump worms in space station science triumph

Buzzword
IT Angle

Clear IT relevance

Could this same technology also be used to prevent muscle wastage in desk-bound IT workers? Normally we're all at the pinnacle of fitness, but sometimes when projects are running late, we just don't have time to flex at the gym.

Just wait til the "pro-active" yoghurt marketeers get wind of this.

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Mac trojan evades Apple's brand new security fix

Buzzword

The next version....

"Now that Macs by default will update a list of known malicious applications every 24 hours...."

So the next version of the virus will disable the auto-update feature as soon as possible. Seems obvious, surely?

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Skype pushes gaming software down users throats

Buzzword
FAIL

Business users

If MicroSkype are aiming for the lucrative business market, then this is a terrible mistake. Foisting games onto end users really doesn't endear them to the corporate world.

4
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Brit expats aghast as Denmark bans Marmite

Buzzword

Yes

Click through to the Guardian link in the article, and you'll find this telling phrase:

"Food giant Kellogg's withdrew some brands of breakfast cereal from Denmark when the legislation passed in 2004."

3
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Opera rolls new Mini onto iPhone and iPad

Buzzword
Thumb Up

Sing the good news!

Opera Mini is absolutely essential for web surfing on 2G or 2.5G (Edge) connections.

3
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O2's southeastern crash caused by 'well-organised theft'

Buzzword

Any relation to recent events....

... in Libya? There aren't many other places in the world where a lorry-load of stolen mobile network gear would be useful, surely?

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Scala daddy wraps his Java baby in Red Hat-ness

Buzzword
Thumb Up

Thanks

Thanks for the useful answers!

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Train firm offers phone-based ticketing across UK

Buzzword
Flame

Great idea, but...

What happens when the battery runs out? At the end of a long day-trip from Warwick to London, your fancy smartphone is likely to have run out of juice. It's not like the conductor can just swap in a new battery. Even plugging it in isn't an option - it takes 5-10 minutes for my 3GS to become usable after plugging it in - far too long for a train conductor to wait.

Good to see J2ME devices covered though - they typically have a battery life measured in weeks, not hours!

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Cable thieves cost UK rail £15m a year

Buzzword

Gardens?

Why do you have large quantities of copper wire in your back garden?

0
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Whitehats break out of Google Chrome sandbox

Buzzword

There's more than one government

That's only a good thing if you consider government to be good. What if the buyer is the CIA? Or the Chinese government? Or Mossad?

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Boffins herald end of stiff screens

Buzzword

Not all e-ink screens are born equal

Video looks terrible in this example, but the up-and-coming Qualcomm Mirasol e-ink display appears to offer the full colour and smooth video of LCD while retaining the battery life and sunlight-readable quality of e-ink.

1
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Janet 3G to go live in June

Buzzword

With luck

Essentially it's just a group bargaining deal with one or more existing mobile networks. If the negotiated tariffs are made public, then it gives the rest of us a bargaining chip when haggling with the networks. "Hey you gave my local university a £3/month deal, surely you can do something similar for me?" Failing that, tap up a pal with a .ac.uk email address.

1
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Private investors pile into data centres

Buzzword
WTF?

Planning permission in the greenbelt

Funny how you can easily get planning permission to build a whopping great office park, a data centre, or a Tesco's in supposed green-belt areas like Chesham. But if you try building one extra house you're told it would "devastate the local community and put unbearable pressure on local services".

Tory councils: looking out for the best interests of homeowners and big busines, never mind the rest.

1
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Kindle beats Apple's closed book on choice

Buzzword

Kindle reader

"On their Android device. On their iOS device. Even on their PC."

How many Kindle users are actually reading on multiple devices though? The Kindle reader device itself is far and away the most popular e-book platform. People simply don't want to read novels on their smartphones. Lighting the screen all day will quickly drain the battery on an iPhone and there are too many distractions - another round of Angry Birds, or a quick browse through status updates on Twitface. The Kindle's advantage is the absence of distractions or interruptions. It does one job and it does it very well (and at a great price).

2
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Microsoft markets 'collection' of PCs to consider

Buzzword

Desktops?

They're nearly all laptops. There are a couple of all-in-ones for "entertainment" and a couple of desktops for gaming, but no bog standard desktops. That's a shame considering how much cheaper a desktop can be.

0
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Dear Facebook: your privacy sucks

Buzzword

Agreed

Quite right. Why on earth would you put HTTPS on something that is not private?

1
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'Fierce competition' drives Apple's iPhone 6 changes

Buzzword

Looking dated

The iPhone's 3.5" screen is looking rather dated, compared with competitors' 4" and higher screens. The retina display is all very nice but the high resolution is almost wasted on such a comparatively small screen. If the iPhone 5 doesn't get a larger screen, I might just jump to the Android or WinPh7 camps.

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UK is 15th best place in the world to do IT

Buzzword

London != UK

It would be interesting to see where London (and the south-east) would rank if it was included as a separate entity from the UK. For a company choosing to relocate or opening a European office, the choice of specific city is at least as important as the choice of country.

See also Richard Florida's seminal article "The World Is Spiky".

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Open source and the sluggish UK public sector

Buzzword

Smaller, £100m-sized chunks

Is it just me or is a £100m-sized chunk still rather hefty?

In my experience, the biggest potential gains from Open Source are in the local government sector. At the moment there are several hundred local authorities, all given the same instructions from central gov, then each going out to different suppliers to procure software. It's a bonanza for the companies involved, but poor value for government.

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The BBC struggles with concept of 'tech bubble'

Buzzword

Some notable successes though

"Many of the start-ups are simply third-party add-ons to Facebook...."

What about popular Facebook add-ons such as FarmVille and FishWorld? These are made by Zynga, a rather profitable company. Clearly there's a long tail of unprofitable companies, but that doesn't mean all investors are wrong.

0
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The new killer app is … MMS

Buzzword
FAIL

How much?!

It costs between 25p and 40p to send a picture message in the UK. They aren't usually included in allowances either. I can send an email or a Facebook photo for free (using my monthly data allowance); but the 30p MMS charge is enough to put me off. Even if I personally don't care about the cost, the other party might not want to reply via MMS because of the cost.

Besides, there's the argument that smartphone owners are (a) richer and (b) more likely to splash money on the latest shiny toys. That makes them a golden target for advertisers.

1
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Commodore 64 revivalist posts prototype PC pics

Buzzword
WTF?

Just one question.....

Why bother?

7
1

Photoshopped image scam used in rogue Facebook app trap

Buzzword
Boffin

No malware is getting spread....

This is a perfect example of a Cloud Virus. How long will it be before we see the equivalent of Word macro viruses spreading through Google Docs?

1
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Fuel foolery, merger warnings and Budgetary boons

Buzzword

Yes

If employers' NI was merged into income tax, then legislation would be required to force employers to pass on the difference. Otherwise they'll just try to get away with it. The minimum wage would also have to rise to match.

0
1

Privacy group demands answers from Skype

Buzzword
Boffin

China, dodgy internet cafes

HTTPS doesn't protect you from a compromised download repository. What it protects against is a man-in-the-middle attack. If you travel to China and want to download Skype while you're there, how do you know that www.skype.com in China isn't being secretly redirected to their own spyware-infected variant?

Think what happens when you try to connect to the internet in an airport or in Starbucks. You connect ok, no wifi password needed. Then you go to www.google.com and hey presto you're redirected to the hotspot payment page. Worse still, you might think you're connecting to the internet in Starbucks when in fact you're connecting to the wifi network provided by the C.I.A. van parked outside. Before you know it you've downloaded a bugged copy of Skype and your terrorism plans / freedom-fighting plans are ruined.

Looking at the URL doesn't protect you if you can't trust the network operator. The operator can serve up whatever they want, without telling you. Only HTTPS can protect against this kind of attack.

1
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Fukushima update: No chance cooling fuel can breach vessels

Buzzword
Terminator

Comparison with other energy sources?

Lewis,

The obvious figure missing is the comparison with other energy sources. What is the rate of deaths-per-megawatt for coal, gas, oil, wind, hydro, etc.? What would be the increase in death rate if we used less electricty and thus had darker streets and colder homes?

(*Also tally cancers-per-megawatt, birth defects-per-megawatt, etc.)

0
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Asus Eee Pad Slider

Buzzword
Go

Yes

I like this. Tablets like the iPad just aren't productive enough - they're a chore for composing emails or editing code. After a couple of years with a smartphone, fondling the screen feels natural; to the point where I sometimes forget and tap links on my laptop's screen too. At that price I like even more. Not sure if Android covers all my use cases; but it should be easy enough to flash it with a Linux distro.

2
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Data-mining technique outs authors of anonymous email

Buzzword
FAIL

Burden of proof

"Reliable enough to be used in courts of law.... the technique identified the author about 80 percent of the time."

80% is reliable enough for a court of law? *despair*

0
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Welsh baby-kisser's tweet sets him back £53k

Buzzword
Stop

Nice little gravy train

£50,000 legal costs for a £3,000 defamation award? That's absurd. It should have gone to the Small Claims Court. The legal system is turning into a money-making scheme for those on the inside. Simplify the process and cut out the wasteful steps.

My job involves improving business processes through proper use of IT. Often it's clear that the problem lies in the business process, not in the software. The UK's legal system is one business process which needs to be drastically simplified.

11
1

Museum readies touch-tastic retro comms gear hands-on

Buzzword
Alert

Warning next time

An NSFW warning wouldn't go amiss here.... (yes I work with prudes)

0
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Turkey bans Google Blogger over pirated football feeds

Buzzword
WTF?

Blogger supports streaming?

If I'm not mistaken, Blogger doesn't support streaming. At worst the offending blogs simply contain <embed> tags pointing to the real rogues. Shame the courts don't understand this.

2
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Chemists create current-bearing plastic

Buzzword
Thumb Up

Copper thefts

Does this mean the end of expensive copper cable thefts from railways and telephone lines? More generally, is the high price of copper set to tumble once this becomes widely available?

0
1

Council loses USB of patient records

Buzzword
Go

Key-fob security

Here's an idea so crazy that it might just work.

Every USB stick issued by the council should have a big heavy key-fob, the kind that some hotels have on their keys to remind you that it's in your pocket. The weight of it should ensure that you don't lose it.

(The weight might have to be on a chain, for desktop PCs where the USB port is some way off the ground. There should be no way to detach the weight - this thing would be soldered into the USB stick.)

5
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Jacqui Smith 'shocked' to discover we're drowning in sea of porn

Buzzword
FAIL

Radio 5 Live?

Normally a serious political documentary would be broadcast on Radio 4. Presumably the subject matter was thought to fit better with R5? No wonder Britain has an immature attitude to sex.....

1
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Microsoft finally says adios to Autorun

Buzzword
Go

Obvious solution

The obvious solution is to have Windows show a dialog box: "You have inserted a CD / DVD / USB stick. Do you want to run the setup program? (This may make changes to your computer)"

For bona fide application or game install discs, the user would pick yes; otherwise no.

As it stands, when I plug in my digital camera I get the default Windows prompt asking me if I want to run a particular application with it. Seems simple enough.

2
1

Ten... wireless keyboards

Buzzword
Jobs Horns

Yes, but...

Yes the Apple keyboard works on Windows 64-bit, as long as your Bluetooth driver works on Windows 64-bit (mine's fine). Beware not only the horrific absence of a 'Del' key, but also no Home, End, Page Up, or Page Down. There are ways to fiddle these with Fn+various keys, but if you're a coder or even just a keen copier-and-paster your productivity will tumble.

My UK Apple wireless keyboard has a £pound sign, but the @ and the " are in the US position, i.e. shift-2 is @.

2
0

Xiotech's go-much-faster storage brick

Buzzword
Boffin

Numbers not adding up

"The hybrid ISE is also a darn sight cheaper on $/GB terms at $14.03"

So a 14.4TB unit should cost ~$200,000 right?

"The 14.4TB Hybrid ISE [...] costs around $99,840"

One of these numbers must be wrong.

0
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Eyeball camera zooms into focus

Buzzword
Flame

In cold climates....

H2O is the way forward? Maybe in hot countries, but if you take this thing out in sub-zero temperatures you're in for a shock. I'd recommend a liquid with a lower freezing point.

Flame, because it's cold today

0
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McDonald's breach bares nuggets of customer data

Buzzword
Terminator

An unmanned firm?

"an unmanned email database management firm"

I know the machines are taking over, but I didn't realise they were already running companies!

5
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Amazon Kindles cash from Wikileaks

Buzzword
Jobs Horns

Awaiting approval in the App Store

What about a Wikileaks App for your iFruit or Android device? Will the Jobsian gatekeepers approve?

"Remove all classified information. Not that big of a deal. Steve."

0
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Ten... dirt-cheap voice phones

Buzzword
Thumb Down

All I want for Christmas is

What I'd really like is a cheap phone with just two features: voice calls and Wifi tethering. Then I could ditch the £499 iPhone and £529 iPad 3G, and replace them with their cheaper siblings, the £189 iPod Touch and/or £429 iPad Wifi.

Before you start shouting Mifi, I don't want a second monthly contract and yet another charger to lug around.

0
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How much bandwidth will next gen airports need?

Buzzword
Thumb Up

The future is already here

"the use of mobile phones as passenger boarding cards via a 2D bar code sent to the phone"

Several airlines already do this; for example the BA iPhone app.

0
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MySQL price hikes reveal depth of Oracle's wallet love

Buzzword
Pint

What about Sun's other free offerings?

OpenOffice looks like another potential cash cow. Microsoft charges >£100 for its office suite; if Oracle positioned OpenOffice as a reliable, professional product rather than as hippy freeware and charged maybe £35 for it, they could gain a lot of business customers.

Beer, because they'll be making a lot of beer-tokens.

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