* Posts by Scary Biscuits

20 posts • joined 25 Jun 2012

Supreme Court raises eyebrows at Google's cozy $8.5m legal deal

Scary Biscuits

I really do wonder at how demented some journalists have become by Trump.

More than most, journalists benefit from a strong legal system to be able to do their job, criticising the powerful without ending up in prison. Yet this article undermines that protection, supporting instead mob justice, 'credibly accused'. Witches were 'credibly accused' in the Dark Ages. You won't like it when the mob turns on itself or on you, as it always does eventually. Idiots.

Watch Series 4: What price 'freedom'? About as much as you'd expect from an Apple product

Scary Biscuits

Re: Not for me...

I agree that a round face looks better. I've got a Garmin Forerunner 645 and that also seems to trump the iWatch 4 on battery life (7 days). It's also better for sports apps and works well with my bike computer.

Scary Biscuits

Anybody else had experience with a Garmin watch vs the iWatch? I've got a Garmin 645 Music with an Android phone and found it to be superb but at about half the price altogether. The Bluetooth connection is rock solid and it's really handy to see who's just texted or rung you without getting my phone out. I put my phone on silent permanently now and know when my phones ringing from the watch vibrating. It lasts about 4 days for me with everything turned on (manufacturer quotes 7 days in watch mode). I also now leave my phone at home when I go for a run, which gives an additional sense of freedom, and can listen to music or podcasts via Bluetooth headphones. Spotify is also available in the USA now I understand and promised soon for the UK. If you bank with Santander in the UK you can also pay with your watch, which still impresses people in pubs and shops (also doesn't have the annoying £30 limit that your contactless card does). Overall very happy. Does anybody else think that the Garmin experience is better or that I would have been better with an iWatch?

Boffins baffled as AI training leaks secrets to canny thieves

Scary Biscuits

It's much worse than this

There is no such thing as non-confidential personal data. All data is confidential because it can be combined to fill in whatever is missing. Much of the 'anonymised' data sold by Google et al simply has names removed. But if you correlate it with another source, you can easily de-anonymise it. E.g. location data can be cross referenced with publicly available names and address then simply searched for where you go at the end of each day. Similar techniques can be used to extract full credit card numbers from just the last four digits. AI is already doing this in an unstructured way so it's inevitable that its memory will contain confidential information even if it isn't fed any. The larger the database, the sooner this happens.

Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Scary Biscuits

If capacity is the main problem on the WCML, you don't need a high speed train to address that. You need a standard speed train because (a) it would cost probably less than a quarter of the price and (b) it would generate a lot more capacity and (c) give more route flexibility allowing many other journeys to rather than just ones to London. Track capacity halves for every doubling of speed (due to increased spacing required between the trains). Also, the WCML may be full but it is far from the most congested on the network. The Great Western line is more full as is the East Anglia line and customers in these places also have fewer alternative routes than northerners do. Finally, whilst Musk and Branson might not have the right answer, TGV trains from the 70s are hardly cutting edge technology. So why again are we building HS2?

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Scary Biscuits

Another worthless appeal to authority. Apparently because Norgrove was a civil servant when Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister, he's clearly far right. Actually, he was never 'her personal policy wonk' but her private secretary (think Bernard Manning in Yes Minister) responsible for organising her diary and personal correspondance.

Scary Biscuits

Surprisingly, for an article supposedly written by a professional statistician, no evidence is cited to support the claim that Boris has misused statistics, other than the allegation of the head of the statistics authority. As reg readers will know, this is nothing more than an appeal to authority, a logical error.

The £350m isn't actually a statistic anyway: it's an amount, a bill we must pay in cash every week. Nor was there any small print, as this article misleadingly alleges. There was a sentence in the Telegraph that was clearly referring to the gross amount and the fact of control. The complaint from Norgrove and this article seems to be more about the referendum campaign, not the actual sentence in Boris's article. Whether you agree with this or not probably depends on your political views. Either way, don't be misled by people claiming to be experts, whether they be civil servants or journalists.

Trump's cartoon comedy approach to running a country: 'One in, two out' rule for regulations

Scary Biscuits

It worked for Maggie

Overcomplicating government, making it out to be rocket science, was always just an excuse for inaction by ineffective politicians, unable to bend the bureaucracy to their will.

Mrs Thatcher had exactly the same rule when Geoffrey Howe was Chancellor. Worked pretty well for them.

Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3

Scary Biscuits

Nadella, really has no clue what he is doing. He comes from the cloud area of Microsoft, which Ballmer criticised for publishing 'bullshit' results, i.e. not being honest about how crap they are. Office, the cash cow for now, struggles on, repeatedly re-writing the back-end to keep the programmers busy whilst neglecting the customer, downgrading the front end functionality. Windows 10 is still a mess, stable (at the third attempt) but visually all over the place and lacking any real innovation, steadily losing ground to Linux. Hardware is a disaster across the board. The Xbox One lags woefully behind the PS4. The Surface Book/Pro 4 made a Fiat from the 1980s look reliable. Lumina has disappeared due to management just not caring. Now ditto the Band.

What SadNad doesn't seem to get as he converts Microsoft into the new IBM, is that no matter how profitably the enterprise market is for now, sooner or later what is consumer today becomes the enterprise. By abandoning consumers and letting this side of the business wither he is flattering financial results today whilst destroying long term shareholder value. But that's what you get I suppose when you replace company founders with a greasy pole climber.

Come back, Steve, all is forgiven!

VMware eases Windows Mobile 10's turn-your-phone-into-a-PC pain

Scary Biscuits

There already is a great virtualisation tool for Windows 10 mobile, two in fact: TeamViewer and Microsoft's Remote Desktop. You set up your home PC for automatic remote access and any app you can't run locally you get your beefy home PC. Many apps will always be better like this, e.g. SketchUp or Adobe. Even if apps like these are one day ported to UWP your phone is never going to have enough power to be used for anything serious. This is effectively what HP is offering to the corporate world.

Continuum is a great concept that really could change how people work.

The problem remains the ongoing car crash that is Microsoft hardware. From abandoning the flagship 'McLaren' just after they bought Nokia to the we-really-can't-be-bothered-to-get-excited Lumia 950, the catalogue of bugs in the Surface Book, the 'no plans' for the Band (which is approaching a 100% return rate), and the too-little-too-late Xbox One S it's just one dreadful failure to execute after another. SadNad needs to get a grip (or be replaced by somebody who actually gives a damn).

The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

Scary Biscuits

I too have lost a stone and a half in 6 months* since buying a fitness band (in my case a Microsoft Band 2). Forget all the crap reviews discussing how accurately they measure your heart rate or calories, the important point is that they help you to stay motivated and not to under or over do it.

*about 800 furlongs per fortnight.

Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

Scary Biscuits

I would simply write to Microsoft with a final demand for a refund. If they don't pay make a formal complaint. When they ignore that, them to court. In the UK it's really easy via the small claims court. A big corporate will always pay up (1) because the county courts rarely sympathize with them and (2) they can't risk a CCJ against their company. (3) in this case they have clearly failed to provide you with a working product under the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

Unfortunately this problem is not limited to IT companies. Most rely on the fact that consumers don't know their rights and are sent around in circles īn call centre Hell. Going to court cuts trough all that and leads to payment within 3 months, usually less.

Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Scary Biscuits

Windows's future is on ARM not Intel

Intel's withdrawal of Atom doesn't blow away MS's mobile strategy, it validates it. Windows 10 mobile, just like it's Windows RT forbear, runs on ARM. Microsoft have preserved with ARM support, because they didn't want to be tied to Intel's fortunes. The same UMP apps run on Windows 10 desktops, Xboxes and mobile. Microsoft is already working on porting its full-fat desktop Office apps to UMP and other major software vendors are likely to follow. Legacy apps can run in a window on the cloud (Citrix-like). Then there really will be no reason for to be tied to an Intel box or laptop. HP have already announced effectively an ARM laptop running Windows, the Elite x3.

Scary Biscuits

Re: windows phone on arm

The answer is zero. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft has ever made a non-ARM based phone.

Scary Biscuits

Re: Continuum today is dead.

MS is porting everything to ARM, including their full-fat desktop Office apps. That is what UMP is all about.

Microsoft beats Apple's tablet sales, apologises for Surface 4 flaws

Scary Biscuits

Wishful thinking

"As word spreads about the new machines' flaws, The Register imagines sales may cool somewhat."

El Reg, never one to give Microsoft a good word, meant to say, "The register *hopes* sales may cool somewhat."

Given that the teething problems should be over by the Spring and we'll be able to buy them here in the UK, actually sales could be very much higher.

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Scary Biscuits

Read <i> Dying of Money: Lessons of the Great German and American Inflations</I> by Jens Parsson.

This offers an alternative theory for why there has been no inflation as a result of QE. Basically, money printing (or QE) does not produce inflation immediately as the money seeps into a multitude of hidden repositories, especially off-shore. In the short term, then all you get are the positive effects, although these diminish with time. You also have a large and not usefully productive client state which loudly defends its advantage in the media and sponsors politicians, meaning that even as the evidence of problems accumulates, nobody of importance is interested in listening. Then, one day, the damn breaks and all the money comes rushing back at once.

The parallels between these historical examples and the current situation are very strong. Therefore, just because the effects of QE have so far been benign this is exactly as one would predict for the first decade or so and we are yet even to begin to experience the corresponding cost or the true recession.

What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

Scary Biscuits

I'd prefer a Dell 5k screen with a MS Windows PC. Better performance for less outlay and lower lifetime cost. I'd expect screen to outlast the PC or at least for the latter to need upgrading fairly soon, especially given the embryonic state of graphic card support for 5k and the rapid fall in prices. E.g. NVIDIA Titan X was launched a few months ago. Last week the GTX 980 ti was announced with about the same performance for half the price. Thus, with the same £2k budget you can now blow away the performance of the top end iMac.

One Sync to rule them all: How Microsoft plans to fix OneDrive

Scary Biscuits

OneDrive needs to behave more like a cache

There're actually six sync engines if you count the Office 365 synchroniser. It's a shame that there is such confusion at MS that even their senior managers can't keep track of how many different versions of essentially the same thing different teams are maintaining.

The solution to this ought to be to have just one version, embedded in the Windows OS and as an app elsewhere) and scrap all the others.

Secondly, it needs to operate like a traditional cache and not as something that the user always has to be aware of.

When I installed OneDrive it immediately slowed down my system because instead of getting files from my very fast SSD it went first to the online version. To avoid this I still have to manually make sure I open the local version.

The placeholders are brilliant and work well on my Nokia 2520 tablet and 1020 phone. However, again there is too much user intervention required to manage this. Many apps in full W8.1 crash or just do nothing if you try to open a placeholder and you have to manually download it first. Applying a cache philosophy would make the whole thing more transparent to both the user and the app, use fast local storage when available and slower cloud storage when not.

Office 365's live collaboration tools need to be disabled by default for the 99.99% of people who will never use them. The problem with making sure that the cache has the required data when the machine state changes (e.g. when on an airplane) is also easily solved.

Microsoft also need to address the issue that such poorly architectured software made it into release versions of Windows 8.1/Office365.

Screen idols: higher resolution means better laptops

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