* Posts by IanW

25 posts • joined 10 Jan 2012

Huawei P10 Plus: The bigger brother is the real contender


Memory specs - inconsistencies?

The one thing people want (at high prices) is consistency, so what memory spec are Huawei using on these handsets in the wild? The P10 had three different memory specs; review units the fastest, some in production only half the speed. That's something that puts me off ever wanting to buy one of these handsets; you shouldn't expose end users to a speed lottery with no difference in selling price.

In 2012 China vowed 'OpenStack will smash the monopoly of western cloud providers!'


Huawei doing impressive things. They even have their Red Hat based Linux distribution (EulerOS) certified under the UNIX03 Certification at the Open Group. See: https://blog.opengroup.org/2017/02/14/do-one-thing-and-do-it-well/

Tech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware


Unmasked them recently

TL/DR version. Microsoft Support called a friend's father, managed to get paid. Managed to de-anonymise their .co.uk URL with Nominet, traced the company directors back to 12 companies registered in Coventry. LinkedIn profile listed 600 strong call centre in Kolkata, India. Found the target bank account for payments was in Barclays in the UK. Reported to ActionFraud (bad name: should be called "CountFraud", do nothing but PR release statistics). Reported to Stevenage Trading Standards, who did a thorough job getting the bank account shut down, call whitelist only equipment installed at victims house.

Take away is that continuous authority debit card payments are a pain; they follow account change transitions, and need bank HQ and local branch letters to invalidate. And now that one issue is fixed for the victim, have to sort the telesales folks selling useless vitamins.

Happy to share scammers LinkedIn profile URL and name the Coventry Business Centre where they register their businesses in the UK. Would love their scams to end.

Fresh hell for TalkTalk customers: TeamView trap unleashed


Caught the source of these support calls

One of these calls got through to the elderly (gullible) father of a friend of mine. He ended up giving access (they come in via TeamViewer, whether it's installed before or not) and paid them for the 'service' on a continuous authority debit card billing. Particularly dangerous, as those go though even if you change bank accounts - they just follow the leader to the new one.

In this case, the company was hiding behind a .co.uk domain name that had been set to be anonymous from a Whois point of view (something that should only be available to private individuals). I complained to Nominet, who then exposed the Whois data. Maps back to one of two directors who have 12 companies registered at Companies House in Coventry, who use a UK Barclays account to receive funds and who have 600 telephone based staff in a call Centre in Kolkata, India. Then worked with Stevenage Trading Standards on the result.

There is little Talk Talk can do - they hop across multiple caller IDs (about 12,000 complaints down to two specific ones). If Talk Talks voice hardware can knock out calls based on the private Caller IDs (not the editable public ones), that would be a useful service to offer. Outside of that, it's awareness campaigns (as these support calls come from one of multiple pretend sources) and working with trading standards; the Stevenage ones have been brilliant in our case.

Apple's Faulty Powers moment: iPad Pro slabs 'temporarily bricked' during recharge


Yup - happens here 1 night in 2

But a hard reset and all is good. Certainly not bricked. Fixed in 9.2.

IT crisis looming: 'What if AWS goes pop, runs out of cash?'


Author fell into the usual trap

Better to see how Amazon are really doing by looking at the volume of their cash flow and its trends. That demonstrates that Bezos has more than enough coverage to sink costs into AWS for years to come. As such, the authors headline is an attention grab, but I'd fully expect Amazon AWS (and Digital Ocean for that matter) to be there as the market consolidates.

Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles


Heard what he said, know what he meant

Seen Jean-Louis Gassee's translation? It's brilliant:


Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?


Shouldn't have been in the loop to start with...


Epic fail, Facebook: FTC complaint against creepy mind games filed


One rule for Facebook, 1000x okay for every other media outlet known to man?


Amazon's desktops-in-the-cloud 'Workspaces' switched on in Europe


Using it here

Heard about it at AWS Summit in London and fired up an instance to do some work on Tableau Desktop Professional (which is Windows only until a Mac version comes out mid year - my home and company only have OS/X, ChromeOS and iOS devices to hand). A few pennies over £20/month for a single CPU, 3.75GB memory, 50GB disk machine which feels very quick here in rural Oxfordshire.

Client software works on Windows, Mac, plus Android and iPad tablets (even my iPad Mini). Free sync add-on that syncs a directory on your local Windows or Mac file system to a drive on the hosted PC as if it were local. Bundled Firefox plus IE, and you can use Active Directory (not applicable personally, but you can authenticate and side load apps among your user community where desired). Office Professional is on two of the more expensive bundles (up to $75/month with dual CPUs and 100GB storage - my needs serviced by the $35 version).

Very, very impressed with it. More detailed review at: http://www.ianwaring.com/2014/05/06/fixed-tableau-on-my-mac-using-amazon-workspaces/

Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech


If you hop over to www.groklaw.net and do a search for Barnes & Noble (or B&N), you'll see what happened when a target refused to sign the MS NDA, and sued. The patents cited then were laughably weak, and when exposed, Microsoft had to buy B&N off to stop the law case to the tune if several $100M's.

That's why it's easy to frame these "License agreements" as demands with menaces.

I was sincerely hoping this was a distasteful Ballmer thing, and that Nadella would squish it to get Microsoft on the right side of a good reputation. Unfortunately, same old, same old.

Google strikes deal with EU competition chief over abuse of search dominance claims


By god he's had a flash of inspiration.

"My mission is to protect competition to the benefit of consumers, not competitors."

At long last. 10/10. Go to the top of the class (but why did it take you so long?).

Apple's nonexistent iWatch to bag $17.5 BEEELION in first year alone – analyst


I recall a guy who used to do watches for Fossil (including a Sony branded one) saying the the worldwide market for watches was circa $1.2Bn per year, with 85% of that in watches over $500 each. So, the author sounds tremendously optimistic.

The Podcast discussing this was 60 minutes long and I recommend having a listen: http://cubed.fm/2013/11/cubed-episode-011-the-smart-watch-we-wear-fasion-we-carry-electronics/

Microsoft biz heads slash makes Ballmer look like dead STEVE JOBS


Add Financial Services (Banking) and Multivendor Customer Services (Field Service as was) to the final DEC BU list...


Re: There are flaws in this kind of "One company, one egg, one basket" strategy. Remember DEC?

Thank you - yes, Ian Waring, one and the same. The missing one was Transport, Media and Telecoms - TMT.

The Software Market is now radically different. Public Cloud Services are where the future price points are, and that's wall-to-wall Linux. Openstack aims at where the puck is, not to where the industry is going. Simple Open Source stacks (Node, Meteor, RoR, etc) on Simple commodity servers is where things are headed; have a squint at Digital Ocean as a taster. They are growing 30%/month and flying well under AWS, Rackspace, Azure, etc. 0-10,000 hosts in 6 months, including some 1,500 Rackspace customers in that time.

Thinking of Microsoft, it's almost like the old Alice in Wonderland quote. But they have plenty of useful work they could use (Yammer and Skype for two examples); just need someone at the centre to call out the strategy now.


There are flaws in this kind of "One company, one egg, one basket" strategy. Remember DEC?

There is a case in recent history of a large high tech company that did an identically structured pivot attempt, and demonstrates one end game of such a "one company, one egg, one basket" strategy. I fear that this latest restructure puts Microsoft in grave danger of following the same example.

I used to work for DEC, where 1957-1982 there were many customer industry focused product lines. Things like Engineering Systems Group, Graphic Arts (that's Newspapers/Publishing), MDC (Manufacturing, Distribution & Control), Education, Commercial OEM, Technical OEM, Laboratory Data Products, etc. Some 130 of them, all pulling on the output of Central Engineering and Manufacturing, then applying their industry knowledge to ruthlessly deliver excellent value to customers in their target industries. Each product line paid for the sales presence they needed down to office level worldwide.

By 1982, there were some concerns in the Exec Committee that there was too much "who knows who" horse trading of capacity in manufacturing, so they elected to move to the same sort of model that Microsoft has just moved to. That of "one company, one strategy, one architecture" model, orientated around the strategic core asset - VAX (in the case of Microsoft this time around, it is Windows).

Aside from a financial bath in the very first quarter, where all the cracks in the processes that the Product line structure papered over got exposed, the company really mushroomed in sales performance.

Unfortunately, while specific members of the Exec Committee started citing a date when they'd outgrow IBM in size (who were 7x DECs size at the time), DEC missed virtually every strategic product transition at the low end. Management hyped up attacking the high end with very expensive ECL chips, while the labs in Hudson had $300 CMOS VAX chips ready to go. The very impressive Prism/Mica chips (30x VAX 11/780) taped out. But an exec committee that kept on flip-flopping between 32 bit and 64 bit edicts into engineering, then losing patience with the delays they'd caused - and killing the very projects that were the foundation of the next generation CPU technology. Key staff left.

It took a further 5 years to get Prism/Mica out - adding a couple of instructions, fixing on a 64 bit address space, and calling it Alpha AXP. By then, the rot had set in. That Silicon was the fastest CPU in the industry by nearly 2x for getting on 10 years, but the company above it faltered.

Ken Olsen (co-founder) got deposed, and Bob Palmer (new CEO) elected to move back to a different divisional model. So, he had PC, Storage, Components & Peripherals to play in the now horizontally integrated markets, and a few vertical industry ones (Consumer Process Manufacturing, Discrete Manufacturing & Defence, Healthcare - may have been one more). However, he also got the salesforce commissioned (something against the traditions of the company), and introduced a "two quarters missed financials and you're out" ethos in the divisional heads.

These final moves were Digitals death knell. You either had a lottery on who didn't get fired, handing extra responsibility to those leaders who happened to string together two quarters of good sales (largely by seasonal industry trends rather than own performance). Or the panic stricken ones would stuff their distribution channels with stock, hoping that would delay the inevitable for at least one more quarter.

Following a few Bob Palmer legal stunts with Intel and with Microsoft, the company was sold to Compaq, having accumulated losses in Bob Palmers 5 year reign equivalent to the total profits of the company in 35 years under Olsen.

Given the above, I think Microsoft need to be extra vigilant not to go the same way. The new organisation structure will give them every opportunity to follow in DECs footsteps if they are not extra careful. The key litmus test will come when the company needs to move from Windows to whatever platform needs to come next, and I currently see no seeds planted of what that will be.

Don't believe the IT hype: Ye cannae change the laws of physics



Geographic co-ordinates (both flat surface and data points on a sphere) are data types in MongoDB, and you can fire indexed queries at them to boot. They are even adding various line and polygon related functions useful in GIS apps in the next (2.4) release.

If anyone wants to learn MongoDB, there are more free 7 week, 10 hours/week online courses being offered shortly. Keep an eye on www.10gen.com or see the training pages at http://education.10gen.com/

Microsoft says Google trying to undermine Windows Phone



This is Microsoft complaining, right? I think there's a proverb about sauce for the goose. Or is it stones and glass houses?

BBC iPlayer downloads BORKED by Adobe Air update


Life is even worse for Sky Go customers

A Silverlight update last May still borks the Sky Go player on Windows (7 or XP). It just declines to play any stream due to some DRM bug. I've lost count of the number of times I've rolled back the Silverlight version (finally disabled all automatic updates). The forums are full of unhappy users, Sky Customer services clueless and no word as to when developers will bring in a fix.

The BBC appear to be far better organised.


BBC iPlayer customers more fortunate than Sky Go users

A Silverlight update last May still borks the Sky Go player on Windows (7 or XP). It just declines to play any stream due to some DRM bug. I've lost count of the number of times I've rolled back the Silverlight version (finally disabled all automatic updates). The forums are full of unhappy users, Sky Customer services clueless and no word as to when developers will bring in a fix.

The BBC appear to be far better organised.

AT&T defends FaceTime price gouge


Meanwhile on the POTS bills...

BT to introduce surcharges for phone conversations in Spanish, Greek and for people with Irish accents..,

Google Nexus 7 shipping cock-up enrages fandroids


Received here and very happy

Kindle app works fine and sync'd with all my previous purchases. Overall, joy to use.

Found the screen orientation lock at the top of the notifications screen. No music other than downloading an iTunes library, so I set up Spotify instead. Films mainly Bollywood in the UK at this stage. Would like to have the "Save web URL to icon" as easy to achieve as it is on the iPad. BBC iPlayer not in the Play store, and Sky Go promised for Ice Cream Sandwich (one version behind Jelly Bean) in the next month.

Apart from those, a fantastic, impressive, snappy experience.

Dish Networks locks horns with broadcasters over ad skipping


The very thing Doc Searls cites

Excellent book called "The Intention Economy" by one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. All PVR customers skip adverts; they've already voted. All's left is the advertising industry who are still trying to push output customers don't need nor want. Time for them to rationalise their business model; behaving like dinosaurs is not a useful long term strategy for their ultimate survival.

Is Amazon cooking up cloudy big data service?


Think Amazon may been to change the name of ARA

DEC were going to call Alpha "ARA", as in Advanced Risc Architecture - until the naming folks discovered it had an alternative meaning in Arabic. I was told it meant "sh*t" at the time.

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