* Posts by dajames

1022 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

Page:

You: 'Alexa, open Cortana.' Alexa: 'Who?'

dajames
Silver badge

My poor father-in-law was given an Amazon speaker thingie for Christmas by some subset of his loving but lost-for-present-dead daughters last year. It is without any doubt the most gratuitous piece of pointless, overpriced, shite that it has ever been my misfortune to encounter

It has once given me cause to smile, though:

Me: Alexa, how many beans make five?

Alexa: If you plant them carefully you can get more than five beans by planting one bean.

... and there I was expecting some stock answer like "two in each hand and one in your mouth" ... but, of course, Alexa doesn't have hands or a mouth. We anthropomorphize these things too readily and we really shouldn't.

1
0

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

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Just add wireless charging

Power mats that can charge multiple devices at once can do this with less resources than multiple chargers and could ultimately reduce the need for chargers.

A single wired charger with multiple USB-A sockets to accept multiple charging cables -- be they Lightning, micro-USB, or USB-C -- would surely charge multiple devices more efficiently still?

11
1

If you drop a tablet in a forest of smartphones, will anyone hear it fall?

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Huh?

I know Windows is doing rather well on tablets, but I wouldn't have thought they were even above Android, let alone dominating the market...

I imagine a lot of that is Microsoft Surface devices ... they're not really tablets, they're laptops (OK, maybe they do have detachable keyboards) running full-fat Windows.

Methinks they don't really belong in a survey like this.

0
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: big screen landfill

Depends on what you wipe your arse with, really! ;-)

I don't think there's an app for that ... not yet, anyway!

(Thinks: Maybe a bluetooth remote for one of those Japanese-style electric toilet-seat-cum-bidet thingies?)

1
0

Oh my Tosh, it's only a 100TB small form-factor SSD, SK?

dajames
Silver badge

Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

I refer the honourable member to the statement allegedly made by Mr William Gates in 1981 "640K ought to be enough for anybody", often paraphrased as "No-one will ever need more than 640K".

In all fairness to the said Mr. Gates, the remark would have been made in in the context of a machine architecture that couldn't address more than 1MB in any case, so his figure of 640K wasn't completely ridiculous, at the time.

It was still wrong, though, when there were machines like some of the Apricot and Sirius computers that could run DOS with 896K of free RAM.

3
0

Here's a fab idea: Get crypto libs to warn devs when they screw up

dajames
Silver badge

my experience is, crypto APIs are incredibly complicated, hard to use, and poorly documented. this especially applies to openSSL.

Designing and securely implementing cryptographic interfaces is a complex process really hard to do well ... but using them is much easier ... or would be if there was any documentation, which there all too often isn't (yes, OpenSSL, I'm looking at you, too).

Adding a few carefully-worded Doxygen comments would make all the difference ...

0
0

Sur-Pies! Google shocks world with sudden Android 9 Pixel push

dajames
Silver badge

Parkin?

Penguin (it does use a Linux kernel, but so has every other version)

I was SO sure it was going to be Popcorn ...

2
0

'Unhackable' Bitfi crypto-currency wallet maker will be shocked to find fingernails exist

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Money talks, bullshit walks

You mean Esther Rantzen and her curious shaped vegetables?

Vegetables? I had some idea they might be teeth ...

0
0

Well, this makes scents: Kotlin code quality smells better than Java

dajames
Silver badge

Re: The smell of outdated coding practices

Elderberries?

Only if your mother was a hamster.

1
0

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

dajames
Silver badge

Re: haven't ad's died yet?

He / She says, whilst posting on The Register - a website funded by Ads.

There is a certain irony, isn't there?

If funding by advertising works for The Register that's fine for The Register (and I'm happy to get it for nothing) ... but, like the earlier poster, I don't understand how that works. Why does advertising pay? Are we really such a bunch of feckless shallow fools that we spend our money on things just because we're seen them advertised?

I'd really like to believe that we weren't, but the evidence seems to be to the contrary.

3
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: I'm seriously thinking about charging Coca Cola rent.

... it isn't McDonald's fault that their customers are stupid fucks who litter because its easier than thinking.

Of course it is. If they wanted a more discerning clientele they'd market a less disgusting product.

2
0

Some of you really don't want Windows 10's April 2018 update on your rigs

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Linux and software installs and RPi

With Windows there are packaging tools (such as InstallShield) where you download a file to your PC, run it, and it does all the hard stuff for you. Leaving aside security issues (a long and thorny subject) I can't see Linux becoming useable by the average naive user until third party software installs have the same one click approach as Windows software.

Third-party software developers who don't provide their software in a format digestible by the standard Linux package managers aren't doing themselves any favours, I agree ... but please understand that when those developers do provide a package the install pretty-much is one-click.

The difficulty is that different distros use different package manages (aptitude, rpm, yum, etc) so the third party developer has more work to do to cover all the distros ... and different hardware architectures (such as the Pi, since you bring it up) require their own packages.

Building from source isn't a lot of fun, but at least it offers some hope that you can get the software to run on your own hardware, whatever that is.

0
1
dajames
Silver badge

Re: Use Linux...

Not my fault you can't use it right.

You raise an interesting point.

It used to be the case that one of the big advantages of commercial (and usually Windows-based) software was that it was much better documented than FOSS, and so easier to learn to use.

IME That's no longer the case. It's not that FOSS now has better documentation -- it doesn't. The fact is that hardly any software is now adequately documented -- and what documentation you do get is ungrammatical, misspelt, poorly laid-out, and lacking in proper indexing and cross-referencing. Commercial software is throwing away one of its clearest advantages.

1
1
dajames
Silver badge

Not designed for Grandma

Using Linux is a perpetual swim _against_ a current that is _much_ stronger than you ...

I do feel that at times, yes ... but not as much as I used to with Windows.

For the hypothetical Grandma of the title there probably isn't much difference, but for a techy like me the fact is that I actually can fix things in Linux, if I can be bothered to spend the effort, whereas Windows is just a black box full of broken parts.

Of course ... usually I can't be bothered to try.

1
1
dajames
Silver badge

Re: Stop breaking stuff

the desktops are 1280x1024 (19" 4:3 screens).

Methinks a little quick mental arithmetic will allow you to confirm that that is in fact 5:4 not 4:3.

Was it really so long ago that this was THE standard desktop monitor resolution (but usually on 17" screens) that we have all forgotten?

1
0

If you're serious about securing IoT gadgets, may as well start here

dajames
Silver badge

Re: why indeed

I always view an IoT device as (usually) an appliance, a limited function device that has been mis-designed so as not to operate without unnecessary internet connectivity back to specific vendor/product back-ends.

FIFY.

0
0

You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

dajames
Silver badge

Madness in cycles

I recall working -- ooh, a few years back -- with a couple of people who liked to use dark-on-white (dark blue, I think, was their preference) schemes in text-mode DOS on CGA screens (I said it was a few years back) because it was "easier to read".

Yes, it was easy to read ... until you made the text scroll, when it flickered like a disco and made my eyes hurt to look at it.

Nevertheless, my colleagues insisted that the default white-on-black was harder to read ...

0
0

BBC websites down tools and head outside into the sun for a while

dajames
Silver badge

Re: 60 Million people...

I know, it rarely does not rain here.

I worked on-site at a client in the West End (of London) for 18 months, a few years ago. Getting there involved a mixture of walking and public transport (or just a long walk), and I "wisely" carried a raincoat every day.

What surprised me was how seldom I actually needed it. Maybe five times in 18 months, which might have been a couple more times had I not once or twice taken shelter in the pub at the end of the day until the wet stuff had spent its fury.

We tend to forget that London has a lower annual rainfall than (say) Paris (France, not Texas).

8
0

Sen. Ron Wyden: Adobe Flash is doomed, why is Uncle Sam still using it?

dajames
Silver badge

Insecure versions of Java

Methinks there's a good case for encouraging anti-malware product vendors to get their software to report these things along with the other dangerous crap that they highlight.

It's a service that people might be happy to pay for, after all.

3
1

Some Things just aren't meant to be (on Internet of Things networks). But we can work around that

dajames
Silver badge

Rule 3 is "Try to remember that many of those 'Lusers' will be the people who actually generate revenue for the company so it can continue to exist...

So ... shouldn't they be doing that, then, rather than spending time attaching unauthorized devices to the company network?

Leave the networking to those whose job that actually is.

2
0

Windows 10 IoT Core Services unleashed to public preview

dajames
Silver badge

February 30th?

... for those moments when Debian just doesn't quite cut it.

Which moments would those be, then? I must have missed them ...

2
0
dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

A Saddle Girth

Compared to setting up a .deb repo and creating debs which is a sinch and pretty solid tech.

I'm indebted to you, #teknopaul, for encouraging me to wonder about the origin of the word "cinch" (by misspelling it).

Apparently it comes from the Spanish-American word "cincha" meaning a saddle-girth (the strap that goes around the horse to hold the saddle in place, making it safe and secure). You learn something every day!

2
0

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

dajames
Silver badge

Re: what about Apple?

You can use whatever you damn well please on Google products.

You can, as a user, yes.

The EU's complaint is that Google don't allow OEMs to exercise the same freedom by installing alternative apps instead of Google's own.

I, personally, don't mind Google insisting that all their own apps should be present on a new device -- as long as I can delete or disable the ones I don't want to use (which I can't, in some cases) -- but that's not the issue, either.

The issue that sticks in the craw is that Google apparently don't allow an OEM to produce two Android devices, one of which is fully Googled-up while the other is not. If they're different devices they should be allowed to use different licensing schemes.

7
0
dajames
Silver badge

Wrong target?

When was the last time you saw a complete open-source driver base for Rockchip or Mediatek SoCs? EVERYTHING out there is blobs, and they can legally argue on the basis of Trade Secrets.

So ... what you're saying is that the EU should be going after the SoC makers, and insisting that they publish Open Source reference implementations of all the drivers for their devices -- or face a fine or being banned from the market -- in order to enable small AOSP-based device vendors to compete effectively with the big boys and girls?

Sounds good to me ...

2
0
dajames
Silver badge

If Google are so great ...

... how come they abused their monopoly by forcing vendors to use Google Search and other services, but didn't use the same power to force them to issue security updates for the OS?

Good question. I do wish that Google would make timely support with software updates a requirement for any vendor licensing Android.

I can see why they might not, though ... part of the answer to that must be that most vendors will bow -- albeit perhaps grudgingly -- to Google's bundling requirements because complying with those doesn't actually cost them very much money. They're barred from producing some other products for which there might be a market, but that market isn't very lucrative.

Having to keep an OS version in development for an old device has an ongoing cash cost that the vendors are unlikely to swallow with good grace. Google keeps the vendors on-side by refraining from making that a requirement.

2
0

Official: The shape of the smartphone is changing forever

dajames
Silver badge

"Traditional"

The "Traditional" shape for a widescreen display is 16:10. We only have 16:9 because HD television screens have that aspect ratio and there are economies of scale in using the same panels for both (and because LCD panels are now good enough to be used for both).

18:9 (or 2:1, as we used to call it) seems calculated to remove any possibility of using the same screen as (say) a pocket TV, and so has no chance of bringing any economy.

Personally, when I view a very-wide display I find the short dimension limiting and want it to be larger in comparison with the larger. I'd prefer something squarer.

18
1

Samsung’s new phone-as-desktop is slick, fast and ready for splash-down ... somewhere

dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

"Tellie"

Really?

"Telly", surely.

"Tellies", though, of course; that's how we do plurals in English.

(I remember asking my primary school teacher how to spell "telly", many years ago, and she said that I should just write "TV" because "telly" wasn't a proper word.)

14
0

Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

dajames
Silver badge

I just hope it's not

GitStore ...

... or Microsoft SourceStore ...

... but I'm sure monetization will come into it.

1
0

RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

dajames
Silver badge

The Clangers were pink?

Who knew?

The earliest TV I remember watching was Popeye the Sailor -- which I used to watch at my Grandmother's house, because she had a TV set and we didn't, back then.

Later on, my favourites were Gerry Anderson's Supercar and Fireball XL5 ... and especially Roberta Leigh's excellent Space Patrol.

[Warning: The DVD box set of Space Patrol contains a 'bonus' episode of the series Sarah and Hoppity which I always hated but which was a favourite of my younger sister and whose theme tune is still an ear-worm. (Don't ask me how I know this)]

0
0

GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

dajames
Silver badge

The Windows GUI ...

Wasn't always as bad as it is today.

9
1

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: a sort of oversized Meccano.

Or what real engineers call "Dexian".

Only engineers that can't spell "Dexion" do that.

5
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: Only cracking I have done is

I guess the lock was cheap and must of (sic) knocked the setting as I was locking it.

... or, perhaps, some passing wag had picked the lock, changed the combination, and locked it again.

Maybe a friend of the guy in the bike shop -- he seems to have known how to go about such a prank.

3
0

No one wants new phones – it's chips that keep Samsung chugging

dajames
Silver badge

False dual-SIM

I was very annoyed to see that the S9+ takes either a second SIM or an SD card, not both at the same time.

That is all-too common, unfortunately, and is seldom correctly described in manufacturers' product specs or properly condemned by reviewers.

8
2

A slick phone Linux for your pocket PDA? Ooh, don't mind if I do, sir

dajames
Silver badge

Thanks for the links

I find it odd that the Planet -- having made so much fuss about how the Gemini would run Linux, etc. to build it up before the launch -- have not made it easier to find out just how one goes about this.

It's good to see that they're making more information and assistance available.

5
0

Amazon, eBay and pals agree to Europe's other GDPR: Generally Dangerous Products Removed from websites

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Dangerous?

I'm baffled by chargers with ONLY USA flat blade pins having a CE mark.

Such goods require a CE mark if they are manufactured or sold in Europe -- even if they are obviously intended to be used elsewhere.

0
0

Samsung loses (again) to Apple in patent battle (again). This time to the tune of a mere $539m

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

...yet Xperia phones are only coveted by the most hardcore Sony fanboys...

I'm FAR from boing a Sony fanboi, and I had to grit my teeth before I bought a Sony phone.

It was a good phone, and worked well until the ("non replaceable") battery died. I managed to open it and replace the battery once (I never trusted it to be waterproof after that) but when the second battery died I decided the OS was too out of date for it to be worth trying to source a second replacement (I bought it with KitKat, and upgraded to Lollipop, but Marshmallow as out by then and my Xperia model was not on the list to receive it).

I bought a newer Moto because it (officially) had a replaceable battery (the current ones don't, which disappoints me). If Sony want me to buy another phone they can fit replaceable batteries and start guaranteeing timely OS updates for five years.

1
0

Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04: Make yourself at GNOME. Cup of data-slurping dispute, anyone?

dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Spying

Any collection of data about me, my hardware, or my use of my hardware that is collected and transmitted without my knowledge or consent counts as "spying", no matter how innocuous that data may appear to be.

Methinks most people would agree that to be "spying" it has to be done without your knowledge. In this case they tell you about it and offer you the chance to opt out, so it can't reasonably be called "spying".

1
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: "opt-out was probably the best choice"

They are not including the IP address.

No, but they are sending the data to their servers over the internet, so the addressing information will be available from the received IP packet headers. It wouldn't be rocket science to associate the data with an IP address if they wanted.

I wouldn't say that an IP address should count as personally identifiable data, though, there are enough dynamic IPs and enough NATted shared IPs to make it difficult to associate an individual user with a particular hardware fingerprint.

What worries me more is that the data collected will enable them to discover which CPU types (for example) are only being used by a tiny fraction of the userbase, and prematurely discontinue support for those chips in order to make use of some new feature nobody has ever heard of in the very latest.

2
0

Software development slow because 'Most of our ideas suck'

dajames
Silver badge

Most of our ideas suck ...

There's nothing new there -- that's just Sturgeon's Law.

1
0

Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

dajames
Silver badge

Overspecified

The phone makers all seem to me to have taken leave of their senses. They concentrate on high-end phones that are too big, ludicrously over-specified, and coated with bling, and stuffed full of bloatware. They (perhaps understandably) charge extortionate prices for them -- and then fail to support them for any appreciable length of time.

There are some more modestly sized and priced phones available, that omit most of the unnecessary junk -- but they invariably also compromise in some area that I do actually care about.

Offer me a phone with no more than a 5" normal FHD screen, with a μSD-card slot* and a removable battery, and I'll pay attention. If it's also waterproof and takes two SIMs (as well as the μSD, not instead) then I'm interested. If it's also free of bloatware (Bixby, Samsung? No thanks!) and is guaranteed to receive timely updates for a few years I may actually be prepared to pay the asking price.

Offer me a phone that won't fit in my pocket and has a screen with more pixels than I can see, but which needs a discrete GPU to drive and gobbles the battery then I'm less impressed. Glue the battery in and fill the ROM with non-removable software that I'll never use (but which will pester me to updates it every few days) and I'll be sure you've lost the plot.

Camera? Yes, I find it handy to have a camera on a phone. It won't replace my pocket camera or my DSLR, but it'll be useful at times. All I ask is that the rear-facing camera be good enough to make a readable copy of an A4 page (around 6-8MPix). I don't feel the need to pay for more ...

* Actually, now that Android makes you choose between internal storage and removable storage when setting up a μSD card I think Android phones need TWO slots, one for each format. If a phone has sufficient (64GB+) internal flash it may be enough just to have removable storage, but the cheaper phones seem to have standardized on 16GB, and definitely need two slots.

1
0

Google's not-Linux OS documentation cracks box open at last

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Why C?

The problem with C++ is its not OOP enough.

C++ isn't an OOP language ... it's a multi-paradigm language that supports OOP among other design methods.

Sometimes OOP is the right approach to a problem, often it isn't.

Most stuff outside of GUI is not hierarchical. But that does not stop C++ coders trying to force a heir achy on stuff.

It is an OOP approach that results in hierarchies. C++ itself does not do that, but believing that C++ is just an OOP language may do so.

2
0
dajames
Silver badge

... we need a mobile OS that doesn't allow apps to poach each others' data.

Agreed, but ... It's a little bit more complicated than that.

We need a mobile OS that doesn't allow apps to poach each other's data, but that doesn't prevent the user from saving data wherever he wants and accessing it again afterwards.

All Google's attempts at doing this, in Android, have been broken in both respects. They create headaches for users, prevent popular file-manager apps from working, stop apps from being able to write portable files wherever the user wants on the SD card ... but don't adequately protect against snooping by malicious apps.

It's almost as though they were doing this on purpose!

2
0

Exposed: Lazy Android mobe makers couldn't care less about security

dajames
Silver badge

Re: No money in it

the user has paid for the 'phone ... the ROI on security updates is zero.

Not really ... I bought a Moto phone in part because the word on the street was that Moto were good at releasing timely patches. Unfortunately the joke seems to be on me, because in 18 months it hasn't been updated to Nougat or Oreo, and hasn't seen a security patch since January last year. There is allegedly a release of Nougat for at least some versions of this handset, but I haven't seen an OTA update for mine.

My point is: I would definitely pay more for a phone that was guaranteed to receive OS updates a reasonable time -- say version upgrades for three years and security updates for a couple more beyond that.

For me, it would have to have an SD card slot and a user-replaceable battery ... so the Pixel and the iPhone are both ruled out.

11
0

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

dajames
Silver badge

Re: All Pi's need USB3!

AFAIK there is no SBC with USB3.0 and gigabit ethernet, much less one for $35.

No ... but you can get the Gigabyte GA-E3800N for around £40, and that has USB3.1 and gigabit ethernet (and a couple of SATA ports, RS-232 and Parallel, etc). That has an AMD APU and isn't fanless ... and you'd need to add a RAM DIMM or two ...

It's not quite Pi-small, or Pi-cheap, or Pi-quiet ... but it's not a world away.

1
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: Fan ???? Oh no !

"Sadly, the module will need a tiny fan to keep things cool."

Oh no, not worth it vs. the previous completely passive model.

Relax. As I understand it, the fan is needed on the optional POE board, not on the Pi 3B+ itself.

0
0
dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Dates

Then again a full circle is 2*Pi so if that represents a full year or orbit around the sun then Pi would be June 30th no matter how you write it.

No, because 30th June is only 181/365 (or 182/366 in a leap year) days into the year. The actual mid-point is around 2nd July.

0
0
dajames
Silver badge

Re: Dates

Outside of a technical context then you might as well write out the month name or three letter abbreviation. MAR-14 or 14/MAR or whetever.

In the English-speaking world that works, yes.

What you and I call "January" is "gennaio" in Italy, and "enero" in Spain (note that month names are not capitalized in either language), so it's not a general solution.

0
0
dajames
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Dates

So weight of flour in a recipe is 8oz, not 228g - or even 225 or 250g ...

No, indeed ... it's nearer 227g. (226.796, it says here.)

1
0

Suspicious cert-sellers give badware a good name for just a few thousand bucks

dajames
Silver badge

Re: Certificates are an illusion of trust and security

Why should anyone trust any CA?

They are set up to make money selling certs.

Yes, that's the reason.

A CA depends on the money it makes from selling certificates. No CA with any business sense will deliberately issue certificates that cannot be trusted, because that would damage the CA's own reputation, and lead to users not trusting the certificates it issues ... which will lead to customers going elsewhere for their certificates, and the CA losing money.

That said, it's important to understand what a certificate means. All a certificate tells you is that the CA has reason to believe that the private key associated with the public key in the certificate belongs to the purported owner (the "subject") of that certificate. For a cheap/free EMail certificate the CA may do no more than check that the address to which the certificate is to be sent is the same as the address in the subject ID while for an expensive ECommerce certificate the CA will carry out offline checks on the identity of the certificate requester, and will insure against any fraud arising from misuse of that certificate (which is why such certificates are expensive).

All a certificate really tells you is the identity of the owner of the certificate (and the associated key); you are left to make your own decisions about trust.

6
1

Sony Xperia XZ2: High-res audio but no headphone jack

dajames
Silver badge

Not either/or

I'm thankful they got rid of the headphone jack, let me buy a superior DAC that makes music from mobile sound awesome

You can use USB headphones with their own DAC even on a phone that has a headphone, jack, you know. Removing the jack just removes user choice.

1
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018