* Posts by Stuart Castle

757 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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A computer file system shouldn't lose data, right? Tell that to Apple

Stuart Castle

Re: Error handling is hard - let's not do it!

Re: It was heads and shoulders above the previous consumer-oriented OSes available at the time.

It was. But that doesn't mean it wasn't dangerous. XP was marketed as being based on the secure NT platform, when, although we didn't know it at the time, the NT security was half hearted at best. I would argue that this made it more dangerous, because people thought it was secure (even Microsoft didn't pretend the consumer editions of Windows were secure), so were less likely to take care when using the machine.

XP was relatively secure at the end, because Microsoft changed their whole approach to security before they release SP2.

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Stuart Castle

Re: Rotten apple

While I can understand NFC is a conveniant way to set up WiFi and MFDs (I assume you mean MFDs), I've never understood why people even bother with it on headsets or headphones. How many times do you have to repair your devices? I use various bluetooth devices (watches, headphones, tiles). I've needed to pair them *once*. I would argue the time saved isn't even worth the cost of installing the circuitry.

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Apple to devs: Code for the iPhone X or nothing from April onwards

Stuart Castle

Re: Have Apple learnt nothing from the Microsoft's Metro/Tile Interface forced rollout?

While I hate to be in the position, but..

While I agree with your comments about the Metro interface, Microsoft did improve it a lot by crossing it with Window 7's start menu. Not perfect, but a good improvement.

However, the Windows 10 Enterprise edition does not enforce the update requirement, and apparently does not send telemetry. Microsoft do release the major updates for the Enterprise edition, but if you wish to deploy these, you have to use any existing deployment system you have. The Enterprise editions of Windows are also barred from joining the Insider Preview program, at least the publicly accessible rings.

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Vodafone boasts 200Mbps with 4G mini mast in Cornish trial

Stuart Castle

Re: Planning Consent

I am no expert in planning permission, but surely it helps that that mast is considerably less invasive than existing masts, which, even assuming you don't need to build a tower to support them, still need a couple of cabinets worth of hardware nearby to contain the electronics?

After all, they do allow for building street lighting and traffic lights in conservation areas. Yes, you can argue that these are both required to ensure safety of the local population, but this arguement can also be made for providing mobile phone masts. After all, given a good mobile signal, even passersby can call 999.

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Ghost in the DCL shell: OpenVMS, touted as ultra reliable, had a local root hole for 30 years

Stuart Castle

How many other old Oses run the central computing systems of major banks?

Not that I'm pushing the panic button or anything, nor do I think this will be a massive problem, but there is a reason this researcher went for VMS (open or not) rather than the myriad of old oses he could have. That reason is likely to be that it is still used.

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UK PM Theresa May orders review of online abuse laws in suffrage centenary speech

Stuart Castle

Not sure I agree with most of the comments here.

While I would be the first to say that Theresa May is wrong for the job, and would also be the first to argue that she only got the job because she was the last man standing when DC left, She is totally inept at her job, at a time when I would argue we need a good, strong leader. She only "won" the election because the papers did such a good job of destroying Corbyn (he is far from perfect, but at least he doesn't seem ready to fling his beliefs out of the window for his career).

But, she is right about the abuse. Disagree with the government, fine. Express it rudely, fine. Disagreeing with the government is a fundamental part of our democracy. Even doing it rudely isn't always abuse.

That's not what Theresa May is seeking to control though. We've had women threatened with rape online because they expressed the opinion that they'd like to be treated equally. We've also had Gamergate, where several journalists and developers got abuse because they dared suggest that woman could create games, and that there should be more female lead characters. I've also read instances of teenagers being driven to suicide because of what they read online. There are also millions of other examples of abuse, and I am talking about abuse that is a lot more serious than merely calling someone a name.

However, she has already failed in one way. The newspapers have given anyone who dares suggest that Brexit might not be the best thing that ever happened to the UK a *lot* of abuse. Abuse that I would argue is actionable, yet Theresa May has failed to do a single thing about it.

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Here's why online social networks are bad for humanity, the nerds who helped build them tut-tut

Stuart Castle

I think the problem with kids is not so much social media, gaming or anything technology offers. It's parenting.

It seems to me that a lot of parents just dump their kids in front of the tablet/TV/console and do their own thing, with limited interaction with the kid. Rather than just label me as some liberal fool who believes games encourage violence, please bear in mind I don't actually believe that. I believe that games can cause violence *if* the perpetrator has not been adequately taught by their parents not to use violence. In short, I believe that if your parents just dump you in front of (say) the latest Call of Duty or GTA game rather than actually teach you stuff, you are more likely to turn to violence.

Similarly, if kids are allowed unrestricted access to any social network, they are likely to learn their behavior from that network. All well and good if their social media friends are good and decent people, but if they are not. I think at the very least, a good parent should be teaching their kids to be careful what they type, and reveal, especially when communicating with people they don't know in real life, and be aware that what they post may be accessible to a lot more people than they intend it to.

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‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

Stuart Castle

A couple from me. One was my mistake, the others I just witnessed..

The one that was my mistake.

It was my first job after getting my degree. We had what we called a "server room" that was actually a bench occupying half my then office. It had a few assorted servers, including the company webserver and our NT domain PDC and BDCs.. All protected by a UPS (or so I was told).

One day, the boss was off. I had a CD walkman I bought in every day, I was doing work on one of the servers,so I plugged my CD walkman in to listen to it. Bang. The circuit breaker tripped, and the UPS lasted just long enough to shut everything down safely. When I queried it with our FM department, they said that the electrical circuit in question was up to it's limit, and my boss had been told there was too much equipment plugged in to it.

The second one was a company I worked at had a relatively new building, with a nice, riverside location (as nice as one can get in Woolwich, anyway). They spent a fortune cabling up the building for a new network and built a state of the art server room in the basement. The problem is, being on the bank of the Thames, the basement of the building was prone to flooding. They moved the server room a couple of years later.

The final one was when I left school. I worked for Network Southeast, in a local office, just doing general admin work. I heard a loud bang come from the lift next door. Had a look, and there was a rather large computer at an odd angle on the floor. I knew they were moving some offices around, and I figured it was just a delivery man dropping a PC. It wasn't. I heard several more bangs throughout the day, I queried it with my boss, he reported it. Apparently, he reported it, and found out that it was actually a removals company who'd been hired to move the servers in one room to another room.

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What a Hancock-up: MP's social network app is a privacy disaster

Stuart Castle

Even if this app is entirely above board (and the apparent lack of a data protection registration makes me wonder if it is), then what is the point?

Yes, in theory, it enables us to approach the MPs more easily, but what about in practice? In practice, it'll probably go the same way as other dedicated social networks (such as Microsoft's Yammer), in that it'll become a place where we can get a little valuable information and a lot of noise. It is likely to ultimately become just one thing on a long list of things we need to check for messages, and another app we can leak data to.

At the very least, if the MPs aren't responding to existing methods of communication (email, fax, phone, snail mail, twitter and facebook), then adding one more to the list isn't going to make them more likely to respond.

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Thar she blows: Strava heat map shows folk on shipwreck packed with 1,500 tonnes of bombs

Stuart Castle

I suspect it's not so much "Out of sight, out of mind", more that it's 1,500 tonnes of potentially unstable explosive that is sited near one of the most densely populated parts of the UK. There is also fact it it sitting on some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and that if it should detonate, it's likely to restrict access to Tilbury Docks (one of the 3 main container ports for the UK).

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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

Stuart Castle

Around the beginning of 2000, we moved into a new building at work. To celebrate (and generate a little publicity in the local paper), my boss decided to operate a free Internet cafe for a few days. Well, I say "cafe" but we didn't have any catering facilities, so couldn't offer drinks or food.

We invited kids from several local schools, and as the two technicians working in the building we had moved to, myself and a colleague ended up running the Internet cafe sessions. We basically spent our entire time trying to prevent the school kids from searching for porn.

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You had one job, Outlook! Security bug fix stops mail app from forwarding attachments

Stuart Castle

Re: "file attachments were getting cut out of messages when forwarded to others"

Removing the "Reply All" feature would cut a lot of the crap from my mailbox, Sadly, removing it's not an option as we do have a genuine need for it with certain email "threads".

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'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

Stuart Castle

Re: Improbable

Having had to deal with a SCSI ribbon cable catching fire when plugged in to the motherboard, and having seen motherboards fry because someone plugged a dodgy card in to them (even a perfectly healthy card plugged in incorrectly can blow a motherboard), I would tend to disagrree. Regarding the hard drive, it's also entire possibly that a faulty motherboard could take that out. All it would take is for the drive interface (be it SCSI, SATA or IDE) to wack a voltage up the wrong wire, and it could easily fry the drive electronics..

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Wait, what? The Linux Kernel Mailing List archives lived on ONE PC? One BROKEN PC?

Stuart Castle

Re: £120 for 4MB

Yep. Same here.

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Remember those holy tech wars we used to have? Heh, good times

Stuart Castle

RE: Since I'm posting anonymously.... Amiga & C64 win everytime! :)

Damn right, and I am not anonymous.

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Stuart Castle
Joke

Fucksake..

You know the best option is nano..

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Microsoft offloads networking to FPGA-powered NICs

Stuart Castle

Sadly, at least on a consumer level, the PC market has separated into two camps. The consumer, who wants everything for as little money as possible (and the cheapest way to do this is use the CPU for as much as is possible), and the high performance/gamer market. These are people who can and will pay thousands for a PC, and often end up buying "snake oil" solutions to make that PC faster. They will pay hundreds of pounds for performance they rarely need. Personally, I am in the middle. I am a PC gamer, and will pay money to increase the performance of my PC, but I have neither the money nor the inclination to spend thousands upgrading my PC to a level where I'd rarely use all it's power.

Even enterprise customers want to pay as little as possible, often preferring to offload vital parts of their operation to the cloud (which offers a whole load of benefits and dangers that are beyond the scope of this comment).

The result is that as CPUs have gotten faster, I feel we've stayed still a little in PC design. The way to process data most efficiently (be it graphics, network or whatever) is to use a processor designed to process that data efficiently, and not a generic CPU that, while it may offer facilities to speed up processing given kinds of data, is not as efficient as a dedicated processor. Trouble is, the dedicated processor costs more.

I say stayed still because, in the 90s, there seemed to be a move to give every interface on a PC the power to do it's own processing, with SCSI cards, Sound Cards, Network cards and other interface cards. There was even a market for hardware DVD decoders.There is still a market for GPUs that do their own processing, although the processing for everything else has largely been absorbed into the CPU. On low end systems, the CPU even does the GPU work..

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Stuart Castle

So, after 20 years and god knows how many millions of pounds of research, Microsoft have come to the conclusion that offloading the network processing to a dedicated chip (as the 3Com 905 cards did) increases network throughput and decreases the workload of the CPU?

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To Puerto Ricans: A Register apology

Stuart Castle

Re: Every day

"Naturally a Democrat politician is exempt from such trickery, no matter how culpable. Witness the disaster caused by the Democrat mayor of New Orleans, who was somehow overlooked in the media's rush to pin the blame for Hurricane Katrina on George W, via an avalanche of insulting lies and fabrications. To this day there are millions who believe Bush actually did 'something' wrong, somewhere.

"

Oh look, it's the "BBBBut, the Democrats did it ,so it's got to be OK" defence? The Democrats are not in power over Puerto Rico. The Republicans are.

Trump's response to this has been abysmal. it's 100 days after the hurricane and half the island still does not have power . (source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/half-puerto-rico-without-power-100-days-after-hurricane-maria-a8134496.html ) . From the start we've had delays to food shipments caused by some obscure maritime law that the administration was apparently unable to remove or alter. We've had the Administration apparently unable to send in adequate numbers of helpers, and apparently unable to send in engineers to sort out the problem, preferring instead to offer the contract for the refit to a tiny company who is going to subcontract it. We've also had the President go to Puerto Rico, use it as a photo opportunity while throwing kitchen rolls at the population. Oh, and he's repeatedly had a go at them on Twitter..

What they should have done immediately is to suspend the laws restricting what vessels can call at the docks, and also bring in engineers to at least establish emergency supplies for electricity. Trump should not have mentioned it on twitter at all.

I feel sorry for the American's though. We English voted for fuckwit, but at least she is just incompetent and not actually vindictive. Trump is vindictive as well.

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Oh good. Transport for London gives Capita £80m for WAN, LAN and Wi-Fi

Stuart Castle

Re: failure is a positive

The article doesn't specify which TFL network infrastructure is covered by the contract. It's all very well scoffing and saying you don't need Wifi on the tube, but TFL themselves have various networks that will be covered by the contract, and these may do things like enable communication between important parts of the tube network, such as the signalling systems.

Wifi may or may not be important, but you need to be able to communicate with the signaling systems, and it''s entirely possible that modern signalling systems (such as that used on the Jubilee Line) will use standard networking hardware and protocols (such as Twisted Pair cabling and Ethernet) to communicate. Scoff all you like about Wifi, but TFL need to be able to communicate with the signaling systems.

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This week in 'Bungles in the AWS S3 Privacy Jungles', we present Alteryx – and 123 million households exposed

Stuart Castle

Re: It would be nice if...

It would, but the hacker would need to announce it. Otherwise, how would they spot it?

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Brrr! It's a snow day and someone has pwned the chuffin' school heating

Stuart Castle

Re: lax installers who have disregarded installation advice

The manufacturers can put in the most secure defaults possible, but if an installer changes them or the systems staff give the control systems publicly accessible IPs, then you have a security problem.

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Tom Baker returns to finish shelved Doctor Who episodes penned by Douglas Adams

Stuart Castle

Saw Shada at the BFI on Saturday. Got the DVD, but had already pre-ordered the blu-ray.

In terms of quality, on the blu ray, they have upscaled the original 576i video rather than go back to the negatives and present the lot in 1080p. This was apparently a deliberate choice to maintain the look of the original show. That said, the studio based stuff (which would be most of this story) would have been shot on video rather than film, as UK TV companies mostly only used film for exterior and location shots (I say mostly as I believe some independant producers did shoot the entire programme on film).

The extras are HD, where available.

Anyhow, the story is excellent. Lalla Ward wasn't (unfortunately) present at the screening, but she sent a message saying that she always thought Shada was the most Douglas Adams-like Dr Who story, and having seen it, I agree. Oddly, the fact it looks crap almost adds to the enjoyment.

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Stuart Castle

Or, if they decide not to regenerate. The ability to do this appears to be something Steven Moffat has tried to introduce.

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Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Stuart Castle

Re: Do people care?

On the spot fines have always worked like that. You don't need a ticket to go to a station. If there are no ticket barriers, you don't need one to go on the platform, but if a ticket inspector sees you and there is even a chance you have been or will get onto a train, they will try and fine you (I have experienced this: I was waiting on the platform for my sister who was on a train, and was threatened with a fine because the ticket inspector saw me. He backed off when I asked him to take me to court).

It's the same when you are dealing with some government departments (the Information Commissioner's office and Health and Safety Executive come to mind). If someone lodges a complaint against you, they will investigate it. They will investigate it under the assumption you are guilty, and if they find you are, they will fine you. To avoid the fine, you have to prove you are either innocent, or have taken steps to avoid the complaint will not happen again.

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Inside Internet Archive: 10PB+ of storage in a church... oh, and a little fight to preserve truth

Stuart Castle

Re: Essential service

No, The Bird Is The Word,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WNrx2jq184

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Thousand-dollar iPhone X's Face ID wrecked by '$150 3D-printed mask'

Stuart Castle

Re: When will they learn

Re: " The deal is that you make a trade-off between security and convenience; it's not hard to understand. I wouldn't go back to using a phone without a fingerprint sensor," .

Indeed. As my old Software Engineering Management lecturer (who actually included a lot of security info in his lectures, particularly focusing on secure design of systems) often reminded us, the old security adage is "Security, Ease of Use, Functionality. Pick two".

Regarding the face mask, I can see it would be a problem If you have any valuable info on your device. Apple Pay is not so much a problem as I would hope the staff of any given shop would notice if you suddenly pulled a face mask out of your bag and used it to pay for goods.

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Augmented reality: Like it or not, only Apple's ready for the data-vomit gush

Stuart Castle

Personally, I think you are right in that VR will sell to gamers, particularly those with mid range and high end rigs (IE, probably the only people that would call their computers "rigs").

The casual gamer is likely to be impressed should they see a decent VR system in action, but unlikely to be able to afford (or justify) the expense required for the headset and a PC powerful enough to do do it justice.

It's also worth noting that beyond games and entertainment, it is difficult to see a use for VR outside those industries though. It's use in enterprise is also limited by the fact that by definition, someone using VR is unable to see anything outside the helmet.

AR has the advantage that it can display objects as if they were in the real world. This means it's entirely feasible that, say, a field service engineer can use it it to view mantenance instructions while actually maintaining the machine. For instance, I've been told that ThyssenKrupp are looking at using the Hololens to enable their lift engineers to look up Life maintenance manuals while fixing the lift. It could also be feasibly used in conjunction with something like Skype, so enabling people to communicate and, Kingsman style, appear to be in the same room. If you have executives that spend most of their lives flying all over the world in Business class, then even the £3,000 or so Microsoft charge for an Enterprise Hololens suddenly starts to look cheap.

For consumer AR, I suspect the Skype style virtual presence system I describe above could also be a selling point, but the main use is probably in gaming and entertainment.

In both cases, there may be a potentially hefty cost to implement AR on a desktop or laptop computer.

With regard to Apple's action, assuming the market does take off, including AR support by default in iOS 11 gives them a massive advantage. They already have a potential audience of millions, that they can sell apps to.

Don't get me wrong. I have access to a Hololens at work, and the geek in me loves being able to wear it, and pin webpages to the wall as if they were posters. I am also actively looking for ways we can use it in our day to day work. I also have access to VR headsets (Gear VR, Vive and Rift) and love them. I'd also love to be able to buy my own Hololens and Rift for home use (although at home I'd get more use from the Rift), I just think the potentially expensive dedicated hardware will be over taken by phones that have AR support, as people can more easily justify spending hundreds of pounds on a phone (which has uses even if the VR and AR don't take off) than they can on a device that may be obsolete in a year.

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39 episodes of 'CSI' used to build AI's natural language model

Stuart Castle

Re: visuals?

Re: A TV show (no matter how lame the story line and acting might be) is a complex interaction of visual, speech and musical clues... remove any "channel" and you're likely going to miss a lot of the action.

Depends on the show (and in particular, the director). If you watch any soap, the drama tends to be in what the characters say rather than do, and the visuals don't actually change much. Certain other TV shows are like that as well. For instance, you can generally get the gist of what is happening in Doctor Who by listening to the dialogue, if not the finer detail. Then there are other shows where the soundtrack is almost secondary to the visuals, and you would have little or no clue regarding what is happening if you weren't watching (e.g. Legends of Tomorrow).

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Official Secrets Act alert went off after embassy hired local tech support

Stuart Castle

Thankfully, as a tech support box, I've never had to fish a USB stick out of monkey shit, but I did have to clean a rather expensive microphone (nearly £500 to replace) when a user returned it, and it came back so slimy I could barely hold it without it slipping out of my hand. I never found out how it got like that. The user claimed he had never even taken it out of the photographer's metal case we leant it to him in.

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DJI Aeroscope won't stop drone-diddlers flying round airports

Stuart Castle

Re: Low hanging fruit?

Any system requiring any form of cooperation from the user's device (be it a transponder or even software based) is open to abuse. That much is a given, and the authorities know that.

However, systems like this, while not a total solution, should actually help. How?

A lot of people, once they realize they are doing something against the rules, and are likely to get caught, will simply stop. After all, they are often just mucking around and wouldn't want to risk being punished for that. That will reduce the problem, potentially a lot. It also means that those who do stray into controlled airspace are more likely to have done so deliberately, which in the event of legal action, may make it easier to prove.

However, I suspect this system is a defence in another way. It seems inevitable now that at some point, the various governments are going to tighten up the controls. By introducing this, not can DJI argue that they are trying to control their own drones, but they can probably argue that other drone manufacturers can probably implement support for this for less money that it would cost them to develop their own system. Thus, not only can they avoid any government action (which can be a lot more severe than they would take themselves), they can also potentially profit from it.

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Dell forgot to renew PC data recovery domain, so a squatter bought it

Stuart Castle

Re: "Why do companies register entirely new domains for crud like this rather than using a subdomain "

I agree, but I suspect the reason is that it was easier for the Application Developer to request a new domain, and purchase it directly rather than go through the sys admin who has access to create subdomains on dell.com, and explain why he needed a subdomain.

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10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI

Stuart Castle

Here's a radical idea. Why don't Apple, Google or car manufacturers change their software so that music does not automatically play on connection? Maybe have autoplay as an option, but when some people drive, they may not want music (or any audio) playing. They may want silence (or as near as you can get with the engine running), but connect the phone to the in car entertainment system in case they get a phone call.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

Stuart Castle

Nowhere near as impressive, but at work a few years ago, we needed an equipment management and booking system. None of the systems available at the time fitted all our requirements (namely that any bookings made had a risk assessment uploaded, and were only allowed to proceed *if* the risk assessment was approved). It also needed to integrate with our existing inventory system.

So, we built the system in house.

Students actually used the booking system directly (hence the need to enforce the risk assessment requirement). One day, a student complained that the booking site wasn't working properly. I asked him what he was doing, and he went through the procedure he was following. I said he wasn't using it correctly. He said he was, as he had always used the site that way, and I was wrong. I said I wasn't wrong. I designed and built the site, so knew *exactly* how it should operate.

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No, Apple. A 4G Watch is a really bad idea

Stuart Castle

! have the 38mm Apple watch, and I think it's best use is for notifications. It also makes a handy remote control for when I am listening to Music and my phone is docked at the other end of the room. Contactless payments is handy as well.

It also makes a handy second screen, for apps that support it. For instance, when travelling, I can set my destination on my phone, start some music, listen to it on my bluetooth headphones, then stick the phone in my bag or pocket and go on my way without having to stop to look at the phone. I know when I need to change direction, because the watch will tap my wrist to tell me to look at it.

As for battery life, that's unimportant to me. I have to sleep myself, as does everyone. When I go to sleep, I just take the watch off and attached it's charging cable.

Don't get me wrong. I find it useful, but it hasn't changed my life and I would get along just fine without it. I didn't even buy it thinking it would be useful. I bought it because I had a couple of hundred pounds, and I wanted one.

That said, there are a couple of apps I find useful on it. One is Bus Checker. This (and it's associated iPhone app) connects to TFL and enables you to look up bus times on the watch, or Phone.

Would I use 3 or 4G connectivity on a watch? Probably not, to be honest. I already have the ability to make and receive calls via the watch thanks to iOS's Handoff system, and beyond the initial James Bond/Dick Tracy/Micheal Knight thrill of talking to your watch and having it answer, I haven't had a use for that facility.

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Four techies flummoxed for hours by flickering 'E' on monitor

Stuart Castle

Re: "by the size of his Micro Channel Adapter"

My first install was a Western Digital FileCard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardcard : A HDD and interface circuitry on an ISA card) into a Amstrad 1640 (IIRC). Surprisingly, bearing in mind I knew nothing about IRQs etc at the time, it worked for the rest of the time the company kept both me and the PC.

I was made redundant a couple of years later. As far as I know, the PC could have outlasted the company.

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Stuart Castle

Re: "by the size of his Micro Channel Adapter"

The 23cm Radar has gone now.. http://nats.aero/blog/2014/12/end-era-iconic-heathrow-landmark/

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Microsoft recommends you ignore Microsoft-recommended update

Stuart Castle

Re: Flailing Helplessly

I can see many upsides for cloud based computing.

As a company, you don't have loads of servers you need to update. This will reduce costs, not only in the purchase of new hard and software, but electricity, space and staff. The cost reductions are offset somewhat by the need to install a beefy connection, and the costs of maintaining cloud servers, but still it's likely to be considerably cheaper.

There are serious downsides though.

1) You are introducing a lot of extra hardware/software between you and your servers. If the servers are in house, you will have probably a router, a few switches and several network cables. Moving the servers off site, you also introduce a lot of hardware/software run by your telecoms provider. In computing, as in life, introducing more stuff that can go wrong increases the likelihood that something will. Yes, you can introduce redundant hardware and links, but that costs money, and one of the selling points of basing everything in the cloud is that it reduces costs.

2) With the reduced staff, you may not have staff that can fix things if the system fails.

3) One person, typing the wrong commend, or pulling the wrong cable, could potentially affect hundreds, or thousands of customers rather than just one. OK, that's not much of compensation if you are affected, but it's still a downside.

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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Stuart Castle

I would have thought so. There is nothing on the paper, or on the stands, stating there is a limit on how many you can take.

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Blinking cursor devours CPU cycles in Visual Studio Code editor

Stuart Castle

In the past, when I've done development work for work (which, admittedly, didn't go beyond utilities we needed for given tasks, so was never anything massive), I've always used two machines. I used a relatively fast one for development, as I usually code in C++ and most c++ compilers (especially Visual Studio, although I prefer not to use that) do really benefit from a fast machine with a lot of memory (although it seems to be the memory that generally provides the most benefit). For a test machine, I used the oldest, slowest machine I can find.

Why? The users that actually used the little apps and utilities I wrote were not likely to have had the latest and greatest CPUs and Graphics Cards. They would not necessarily have masses of memory in their machines. I needed to see what the users were seeing.

Reminds me of a story I heard about George Lucas. Apparently, when he had finished Return of the Jedi, he went to a local cinema to see it. When asked why, he replied that he had only seen it in Hollywood screening rooms, which always have the best projection and sound systems, and screens. He wanted to see what the man on the street would see when he watched it. Apparently, he was appaled, and that did lead to the formation of THX.

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Stuart Castle

Re: The solution -

"only for linux, for real pcs (!) try edlin or debug

edlin was wonderful and simple

debug is a bit hardwork but can do a whole lot more fun things"

Pah!

Edlin is easy.. Real programmers use switches to manipulate the memory directly..:)

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The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

Stuart Castle

Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

"Surely any responsible economic manager should have looked at the situation and realised it was a threat. But the electoral advantage of cheap goods and cheap loans was too much to resist. When the inevitable happened the banks had to be baled out to fend off an even worse disaster."

You forgot to mention various government ministers touting rising house prices as a sign of a healthy economy while neglecting to mention that due to the fact that people need to live somewhere, and that prices for other houses have also risen similarly, people haven't gained much apart from more debt. I know that people can move to cheaper areas, but that may not be an option due to work, family etc.

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Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

Stuart Castle

Re: Any incompetent should know what todo by now.

"I read somewhere this tactic has worked before, but for the life of me I can't remember the person who did it."

Let me help you:

Bush did it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_email_controversy ) and so did Hillary Clinton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_email_controversy ) .

This is why I laughed when the Republicans were all expressing horror at Clinton using her own personal email server. Because they had done it before. In fact, it's apparently fairly widespread in US goverment.

It's apparently because the US government email system is awful, and rather than spend the money required to try and fix it, the US government is happy to tolerate various people in Washington using their own email systems (with all the security implications that involves) as long as they allow the authorities (not sure if it's CIA or NSA, the latter, I suspect) to inspect the servers at will. Even with regular inspections, it still seems to me that that is asking for problems security wise.

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Utah fights man's attempt to marry laptop

Stuart Castle

Re: OK Computer

Re: "Yes, old plastic and foam doesn't age gracefully :)"

The scary thing is that I read that immediately after reading the words "The Kardashians" and context wise, it seemed to follow on.

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Stuart Castle

He may be right when he says that BA's system administration is not outsourced to another country. That does not mean it's not outsourced though, and it does not mean that it being outsourced did not contribute to the problem.

Regarding the comment someone made earlier about customers not getting compensation because BA outsourced the IT service. For the purposes of compensation (and any potential legal action), that may be irrelevant. The customer's contract (such as it is) is with BA. If an outside contractor is maintaining a system that BA relies on, and that system fails, preventing BA from providing a service, then it's up to BA to provide the compensation (and they will also get any legal action). They can launch any actions needed to reclaim the money from their contractor..

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Manchester college swaps out disk for rackful of hybrid flash

Stuart Castle

Maybe.

It's also possible that various departments had stuff cached locally, to increase performance.

Of course, it's also possible they had never properly planned their storage systems, merely letting the systems grow as needed, and as a result, never implemented a proper deduplication system, so had duplicate copies of a lot of data for that reason.

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BBC hooks up with ITV, launches long awaited US subscription VoD

Stuart Castle

Re: Please....

"You may also wish to register a complaint with ITV directly about this."

A few years ago, ITV Player on the iOS devices supported Apple's Airplay. It wasn't great, but worked 9 times out of ten. Then, when they renamed the player "ITV Hub", Airplay stopped working (it's not specifically disabled in the program, it just doesn't work). A few people complained. ITV's reposonse? To put an FAQ on their support page that cautions that Airplay may not work.

Now, it's true that the ITV hub doesn't offer Airplay as an option. It's accessible as "Airplay Mirroring" on the Control Centre in iOS. However, if they cannot support it, then the App should check if it's on, and display an error rather than just refusing to play anything. For instance, the old 4od app would stream a rather nice looking screen saying that the licences they had with the various makers didn't allow streaming over Airplay.

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Family of technician slain by factory robot sues everyone involved

Stuart Castle

Re: Trying to see both sides here...

"1) Depending on the type of maintenance being done, could it be necessary to have some power to the unit? This is complex electronics, not a Ford Fiesta that needs an oil change."

I suspect it could. However, I suspect that with most robots, it's possible to test the electronics with the mechanical parts disabled. You can test various circuits for expected outputs with a multimeter for example. I would also suspect it's possible to control the mechanical parts directly.

That said, I am not a Robot engineer. The only "experience" I have with Robots is seeing them on TV, reading about them (in publications like this) and controlling a few motors with a Raspberry Pi, so I could very well be wrong.

"2) The deceased was a repair technician, so presumably fully trained and aware of how the robot works. Were all approved procedures followed?"

You would assume that anyone who even gets near to doing something as potentially dangerous as maintaining a robot would be fully trained, and have access to any protective gear and equipment needed. Sadly, a lot of companies don't go beyond what is legally required, and some don't even go that far.

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Don't worry, slowpoke Microsoft, we patched Windows bug for you, brags security biz

Stuart Castle

wyatt, you are right.. Anti Microsoft stuff aside, any vendor needs to test patches for vulnerabilities such as this thoroughly. Microsoft, for all their faults, actually do. If they rush a patch to market it may or may not fix the problem, and may introduce others. Especially a patch to the GDI library, as it's likely that most Windows applications do use some of the functionality of this library, even if indirectly.

It may be a good idea to patch via a 3rd party patch, but you have no way of knowing how thoroughly the patch has been tested, and you are also unlikely to have any warranty if the patch fails.

It's one thing to patch if you are a home user, and have one or two machines to fix if it goes wrong. As a computer geek, you might have up to 10. A system admin for a medium or large enterprise might be managing thousands, and might be running the risk of the bad patch disabling whatever remote management tool they use.

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Munich may dump Linux for Windows

Stuart Castle

Re: its not rocket science chaps...

"That is why they have they own distro based on upstream systems (so they get the updates) but with choices and configurations limited to what is suitable for their users' needs."

Which may be what is putting a lot of Enterprises (large and small, commercial and public) off. They would need at least one person dedicated to this. Preferably more that one because if you have only one person on staff with intimate knowledge of all the customisations you have made to your OS (whichever OS it happens to be), you are leaving yourself in a very precarious position. Even if you insist they document it, you'd better make sure that documentation is checked, as it may be incomplete.

This is going to cost money, and most organisations are trying to cut IT budgets to the bone. In the long term, it may actually be cheaper to buy in a product, and the relevant expertise to use it. Microsoft have done a very good job (from their point of view) of ensuring all our schools, colleges and Universities are teaching Microsoft products, and they are also widely used in the business sector, so Microsoft system admins and technicians are far more plentiful (and therefore often cheaper) than Linux/Unix sysadmins and technicians.

There's also the fact that if you buy a product from a company (be it Microsoft or whoever) and it fails, the sale of goods act (amongst others) gives you a lot of legal protection, and also enables you to sue the manufacturer should you need to. Who do you sue if Linux (or any Open Source product) fails? You can buy support contracts, but the protection offered by the Law would only apply to the provision of that contract. The contract may require that they make reasonable efforts to fix the code if the code is the problem, but it will probably also include clauses limiting their liability in the event that the code at fault was written by someone outside the company.

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