* Posts by Simone

35 posts • joined 30 Oct 2013

Razer – perfectly happy to sell you a laptop for over $2,000, but when it comes to fixing security holes... tough sh*t

Simone

Article conclusion???

To quote from the article:

"If you have a software nasty on your computer with admin rights, it's already a game-over situation"

Depending on the malware, you need to (do whatever) to remove the 'software nasty', so not quite game over. But:

"with the ability to write to and bury itself in your motherboard firmware via this left-open mode, the malware could ensure it survives a drive wipe or change, and evades detection from antivirus tools"

So why this conclusion in the final paragraph?

"exploiting this bug would require the aggressor to have local admin-level access to the machine, and if a miscreant is running privileged code on your PC, there are about a thousand other things you'll want to worry about before considering the integrity of your mobo firmware"

With the 'bug' fixed, your PC has a big problem; without it your PC (mobo anyway) is a piece of scrap. This is a serious, and simple to fix (?), problem. No excuses required

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

Simone

two forms of non-photo ID...?

What would this be then... in today's society, not that of our grandparents.

Live in a city (no car because it is expensive, cannot park it anywhere and the public transport is good enough), have young kids (holidays abroad are too much trouble) so have no photo ID. Bank, utilities etc. are all online, so don't have paper bills (*IS* one printed from the internet OK?); and most of those are in just one persons name from a couple (have you tried to get both names on the account?).

These may be easy to solve individually, but there is a threshold where it is just too much trouble. That threshold is lower for certain groups of society, who then become disproportionately excluded from voting. What is the impact on democracy? We have seen what a cock-up the last lot of reforms were in the UK.

Git it girl! Academy tries to tempt women into coding with free course

Simone

Post school or at school?

Makers Academy is a post-school organisation, with a small number of students per year, if I read their website correctly. How well they affect the IT jobs market, I cannot say.

Their case is different to that of schools. It is hard to see how every child will be keen to be a programmer, or even be tempted by coding, just as it is difficult to see how every child can become a top sports star. We all, as a society, have to change the ethos that exists in the school system. It has started to change, as not so long ago IT classes (does anyone outside of schools use the term ICT?) were on 'how to use Microsoft Office'. This made those classes expensive to run in terms of upgrading equipment and software.

The alternative ethos, typified by the 'community' of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and partners is a much more of a "cheap coding for those that want to" ethos. The number of Code Clubs (free to children) is growing, and the sensor hardware available is expanding in capability. There are also several free coding sites on the internet which don't need any money to be spent (provided there is access to a computer / tablet / phone and an internet connection). It does not need to be hard for schools and libraries to provide coding skills to children, nor for them to continue to learn at home.

Amazon adds cloudy Linux desktops to encourage developers to code for EC2

Simone
Pint

Hey, hey! 2018 - the year of the Linux Desktop !!

How a tax form kludge gifted the world 25 joyous years of PDF

Simone

Open format !!

Forget the forms and other nonsense. The basic PDF functionality is a standard and has not changed for years. I don't think people realise how useful this is for keeping archives of useful information. Reference information that does not go stale after a few months, or is useful for historical analysis. Having a page 17 that always contains the same information makes it a lot simpler to refer to something in a document in PDF format than in something that reflows.

Adding a PDF output printer driver to a device allows (nearly) any software to create an electronic version of whatever it is showing that (usually) stays the same and can be opened years later. How many government organisations, and similar, publish 'stuff' in Word? How many can still be opened today? The UK National Archives have been investigating keeping old technology and software so some of their material can still be referenced in the future (I think I remember this).

If we want things that can be read for a long time to come, is there anything as robust as PDF? Why do we need Adobe Reader, when there is a lot of other reader software available?

Great Western Railway warns of great Western password reuse: Brits told to reset logins

Simone

Re: We need a court action

I can't remember all the list, but there are some basic rules that all users can check when they sign up to a new website. Perhaps this could be set as the "minimum level of protection"?

* Passwords should not be accepted if they are the common 'words' used for passwords, i.e. password, secret, 1234, etc.

* Passwords should require a mixture of upper / lower case, numbers and 'special' characters (I am not sure how much this helps)

* Passwords should be a minimum length

* Passwords that have been used before should be rejected (a time limit or quantity)

* A forgotten password link should not be able to send your password - it must be encrypted in the websites database and so be unrecoverable. The recovery process should require the user to enter a new password before gaining access.

* After a small number of failed attempts, login should be disabled for a time

I'm sure there are other simple rules. Anyone can check for these rules when they sign up. There should be a way of reporting sites that fail these checks.

This would not have protected GWR though.

Breaking up is hard to do: Airbus, new bae Google and clinging on to Microsoft's 'solutions'

Simone

I would consider a bet that this is a risk management exercise. I assume that their current MS systems are all on-premise, otherwise that secret data is already 'in the cloud'. How long before they would be forced to ditch the on-premise MS stuff and move to the cloud based offerings?

Bringing in Google now means they get a head start on any mitigation activities they would be forced to undertake later. This exercise would highlight issues with where their secret data is stored and how to access it, giving them time for a properly developed solution.

Despite many wishes and protestations, Excel is not a proper database, especially in the hands of most office staff. This on it's own probably justifies having a shake up of the organisation.

I don't have a crystal ball, so what software will we be using in two years time? Anyone?

Mozilla ponders making telemetry opt-out, 'cos hardly anyone opted in

Simone

Blocking add-ons?

When I heard of the proposed change to add-ons, I installed the Addon Compatibility Reporting Add-On. My Add-On list shows "Multiprocess is not enabled", and each Add-On shows "Compatible with multiprocess" or "Not compatible with multiprocess". Classic Theme Restorer and Adblock Plus show they are compatible, so can I assume that these still work when the change is implemented? I might have misunderstood something!

The open source community is nasty and that's just the docs

Simone

Measure attitudes AND success?

I looked at the summary, not the raw data, but it does seem to focus on the attitudes. A lot of the attitude results is easily explained, but it does not include the success of the projects, e.g. in terms of project life / code size or number of contributors / contributions.

From the summary:

"Documentation helps orient newcomers... create inclusive communities / Incomplete or outdated documentation... observed by 93% of respondents"

So the conclusion is "newcomers are unwelcome", based on the lack of documentation?

"open source work (is) important to getting (a) job / Users care about stability... and security"

People want to get the 'badge' for their CV, but their contribution is not good enough to meet the requirements of stability and security?

"50% have witnessed... a negative interaction & 21% of people... stopped contributing"

What type of negative reaction? Poor documentation means a newcomer does not understand the project? Poor contributions are rejected, and the contributor cannot take the rejection? Do people stop contributing because they cannot understand the project or realise they are not good enough?

Perhaps people should read "The Cathedral and the Bazar"; a bit old, but it gives a bit of a guide on behaviours. When you contribute, that bit is no longer yours, and others are free to change it if they wish. If you want to extend functionality, be prepared to see that functionality through to the end.

Although Linus gets some bad press, he does maintain some level of direction and quality. I have seen quite a few projects that are not properly designed, or have contributions included that do not work, or where documentation and testing are missing. I admit these were small projects, which I looked at and decided not to get involved in.

Toyota's entertaining the idea of Linux in cars

Simone
Joke

but... but... but...

I thought that it was difficult to get drivers for Linux !!

Microsoft court victory prompts call for data-grabbing regime

Simone

Re: Guardian article

That is not a summing up of the issues, it is a justification of the medias bad behaviour.

I can only reference the film and TV examples, but several of those have shown where holding back minor details of crimes have helped to reject the claim of someone taking responsibility for the crime. e.g.

Detective: "You gave the bomber the device? What brand of bag / type of detonator did it use?"

Glory seeker: "It was a North Face, black one..."

Detective: "Stop wasting our time!"

Parallel programming masterclass with compsci maven online

Simone
Unhappy

Re: slideshare.net

Didn't work for me too, until I enabled cookies

While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

Simone

Is there hope... ?

As you say here, I'm getting the popcorn. I listened to the coverage of this disaster last weekend, with increasing rage over the comments made with apparent lack of proper facts and the self righteous claiming that people taking a risk deserved their punishment. I tried to find some facts, and struggled. It does seem that there is a large pile of reasons why this happened, many of which can be attributed to "it costs too much to do it properly, and we would be driven out of business by our competitors" or to "if I do it properly, my boss will 'tell me off' and I need this job". Link that to the large number of people involved in this environment and it is no wonder there are so many excuses around.

I am getting the popcorn because I think it is time to wake up and realise what has put us in this position, and how difficult it is going to be to sort it out. Consider these; find facts if you have time:

* For years, software has been seen as a cheap way to provide functionality that used to be mechanical or electronic. It is hard to write robust software, even harder to predict problems that might appear years later, when the writing and testing tools have improved.

* We have been taking shortcuts in software education, because we needed so much software that having 10 people who could write bad 'working' code is better than 3 people who write 'safe' code.

* Salaries are so high, because of the shortage of developers; and support contracts are expensive; the only solution if you cannot get your own team for support.

* Support contracts explicitly forbid changes to the software, and charge a lot for making the changes under the contract.

* Support contracts are accepted by 'managers' because they don't know better (or, think they do know better), then cannot change them easily or have to go to court.

* Third party suppliers write code on top of other systems or using libraries, then those are changed by the owners and the third party software is 'quickly fixed' so it works again.

* Software companies issue updates that fix bugs, but also extend functionality or add unwanted features, because that makes it more attractive to non-users but more vulnerable to existing users. You cannot choose bug only updates because that would need too many branches in the codebase.

* Software companies have to add functionality or they can no longer sell it, because similar software does have these features.

* Some industries require the software they use to be certified to some law; the certification rules mean software cannnot be upgraded, and where those rules need a change of law before being changed.

* We are increasingly reaching the point in all technologies where the mechanical elements of a machine still last for 10 years, but the software is out of date in 2 years. It costs extra to code a machine control system so that it can be upgraded; focus on selling a new machine instead, leaving your users with unsupported machines.

* We are reaching the point where fashionable things have replaced durable things, and fashionable things need to be changed quicker, and be cheaper each time, or they will not be saleable. Nobody seems to have the time or money to understand what they want from their gadget, and does not consider what they need to do to replace it for the next one.

* Practices and mistakes by software companies are undermining confidence of their users, who then don't trust what those companies say. It is easier to search for a simple and often wrong alternative view, then believe "you know better".

So, it is expensive to run a software system. It is not always easy to change it, nor is it possible to see the future. Software and support companies have you where they want you, and you are stuck. Still worse, you don't have the power to change things. Fix that!

Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Simone

The same everywhere...?

Take any browser, load a page. Now decide that you want to do some work, so the browser can only use half the screen.

The irritating designers that want users to see their layout, which usually wants a lot if not all of your screen, and often is a fixed width, make this choice impossible. What happened to the idea that HTML would 'flow' around the page, adjusting to match the width. I want to see the stuff I want to see, in a window that is as big or small as I want it to be (not ridiculously small, obviously). I want the elements on a page to move around to use all the space I have given the browser.

Connected car in the second-hand lot? Don't buy it if you're not hack-savvy

Simone
Joke

Ahh... wifi

An old story, 2015, but here is a reason to connect vehicles to the internet. Brilliant!

https://www.nctx.co.uk/2015/04/brand-new-buses-on-south-notts-launched-with-smart-paint-technology/

Learn to code site Code.org loses student work due to index bug

Simone
Holmes

Oh dear... "there's an hour of your life that you won't get back"

To (mis-)quote a comedian (sorry forgotten his name)

"unless you have a way of defeating the linear nature of time, you won't get back EVERY hour of your life"

Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Simone

Are we nearly there yet...?

The chicken and egg problem for electric cars is the money for investment; in car design, battery performance and national infrastructure. They are not selling in large volumes so the return of investment takes a long time.

There is now an electric racing car Grand Prix; Formula E. Several big companies are sponsors. As this gains popularity, there will be more incentive to sponsor, and more money for the research and design of the cars - this happened in the F1 Grand Prix many years ago, with a lot of the developments being fed back into public cars. Their biggest problem is the battery, and they have two cars per driver with a swap half way through the race.

There is a development in electric cars where the battery is leased; when it is nearly run out you drive into a recharge station and they just swap the battery. I think this is something the Tesla and Renault have / are trying. This is quick, and the battery owners get to remove the worn out batteries from circulation to keep the technology current.

Several local authorities, and increasing numbers of employers, in the UK are installing charge points, so the problem of getting recharged is being addressed.

There are a lot of problems with electric car operation, but there are a lot of people and companies experimenting. We can't be far from the tipping point where they become worthwhile, it is just a question of how quickly we get there.

Kids' Hour of Code turns into a giant corporate infomercial for kids

Simone

Join Code Club as a volunteer...

Don't get the idea that teaching coding to the 9-10 year olds (or younger / older) is easy. The Rasperry Pi Organisation have a coding initiative called Code Club. Through a network of volunteers, and interested teachers, schools are encouraged and supported to run after school clubs that focus on coding. The volunteers tend to know how to code but not good teaching practice, and the teachers know the teaching but not the coding (over generalisation, sorry). Trying to join the two groups together to provide good quality education in coding takes some doing. Why not think about joining in...

A Code Club uses Scratch and Python for it's coding projects, and HTML/CSS to create web pages. It is not surprising that the educators don't know what REAL coding is about, nor is the swarm of companies trying to scoop up some cash from books and other 'helpful' stuff.

The kids do see these coding session as playing, as they are usually coding games. As they create a functional part of the game, they are quite likely to get distracted by playing that bit for a while. It is probably the same set that think violent games create violent people that think kids should not spend much time coding. We don't tend to complain about kids reading a book for a few hours.

Simone

Re: Minecraft as a way to force Win 10 in education

The Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft did (does) not do the same things gameplay wise as the game version of Minecraft. It has a Python interface, so you can write code to add blocks, move blocks and player, etc. Minecraft is just the visualisation tool into which you put your code.

Microsoft has discontinued development on the Pi edition (no surprise there?) but it can still be installed, as is still in the latest releases of the Raspbian OS.

+1 for Minetest

Many UK ecommerce sites allow ‘password’ for logins – report

Simone

Re: I am probably going to be downvoted...but

Except... if I am trying to hack a site that needs a password, and I don't know one, I can only access a number of pages. If I now know a stupid users account and password, I have a new batch of pages that I can attack. Are you assuming that these pages have been properly security tested and that this does not matter?

Microsoft makes Raspberry Pi its preferred IoT dev board

Simone

Raspberry Pi 2B is not an IoT device

The Pi was launched with the intention of educating school children about computers, following the terrible state that the education curriculum had got into. Initially it needed the "geeks" to get it working with usable software, and as things have progressed the Raspberry Pi Foundation has pushed a number of tools / facilities / methods that make using the Pi really easy for those that are not IT experts. The launch of the Pi 2B brought a serious increase in power that means the Pi can be used for a lot of the day to day tasks that general users want (email, internet, office). A number of operating systems provide a range of programming languages that are easy to use and learn.

A look at the forum shows that the Pi is being used for a lot of things that the Pi was not intended for, but it has the capabilities to do. It is no wonder that it has been tagged as a IoT device by Microsoft; probably because it is the most suitable device around for the price. A look at the instructions for using it for W10IoT shows that you need a PC or Laptop running full Windows 10 to "drive" it. It is like using a kitchen stool as a step ladder to reach the top cupboard; it can do the job and is probably the most convenient thing to use, but it is not a step ladder.

Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

Simone

This is too complex for me to think about on my day off :)

If I just take the point about it being about markets and regulation, there are still a lot of different examples that prove or disprove any arguments. The initial privatisation process should upset most people, unless you are one of the people buying pound notes for sixty pence. The market for the shares is deliberately skewed to create the demand for all the shares being sold at once, rather than sell them off in chunks at the market price when they are sold. Elsewhere, the market for the privatised Post Office has the universal delivery constraint, electricity generation and supply by the same company seems to allow them to move costs and profits to again skew the market and the essential needs for high street banking services were mixed with the gambling of investment banking so that when the latter messed up we were all hit by the fallout.

The issue for Governments in providing what they deem to be services required for the good of the Country seems to be the inability to negotiate supply contracts, leaving companies to scoop them up and sub-contract them elsewhere taking a healthy slice of the fees. The Government also seems unable to determine the impact on the market of the regulation they impose; get the cheapest cleaners into the Hospitals and ignore the germ breeding grounds.

I'd suggest privatising the contract negotiation and regulation, but we already have the advisers to the tax dodgers helping create the tax rules, and vice versa.

LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

Simone

Why can't IT projects be delayed before spectacular failure

It seems to look like the contract was "negotiated" in a way that failed to take account of basic commercial responsibility

Was the educational software commissioned with no penalty clauses? It does not seem to have been validated as fit for purpose, and it was not ready on time. Whoever was doing the project management for this failed to check progress on completion and testing. The whole project should have been delayed until the next year, and the software delivery people should have paid for the delay. There would be no need to buy the iPads

The project seems to have selected the iPad as fit for the project with no management plan for these units (not enough detail given to make a judgement). What controls were there to ensure they did not get "lost"? Again there seems to have been software involved that was not up to the job, which was hacked by clever kids or determined script kiddies - either way the project should have been cancelled or delayed

Having failed to manage the project we are left with lawyers sorting out a mess that should never have happened

RIP P4ssw0rd? IT giants agree to share patents to rollout two-factor auth

Simone

Security of Passwords?

So, it is foolish to write down passwords, and if I forget them I have to "piss off IT workers"? If I keep the piece of paper / notebook hidden away at home how is someone going to get that? Perhaps I should get my "device" to remember them for me; it won't get hacked will it?

And if my password is compromised, I can easily change it

What about biometrics? If that is compromised I cannot change my fingerprints. What about the "spy film" techniques of grabbing my drinking glass and lifting the fingerprint off that? Do I now wear gloves everywhere?

I am not sure about the technologies, or the perceived problems with authentication, but I feel they are trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be. They should start by addressing the industry practice of making me sign up to a website just to get a price on something

Under the Iron Sea: YES, tech and science could SAVE the planet

Simone

Cooking is simple, science is not

So, 2 + 2 is 4 ? It depends on the context of those numbers. If using base 3 maths then 2 + 2 is 11. If it is 2.3 + 2.4, that is 4.7, and by rounding to integers 2 + 2 is 5. Research is funny in that experiments can be constructed to try to prove this or that, or to quantify something, but the results can then be viewed, analysed or fiddled in different ways to give different conclusions. It is important to have GOOD research that has a controlled environment and peer review, to mention just two things. It also needs funding - give me loads of money and I'll do some research, but there is no guarantee of any results, certainly not a return on that money. Anyone likely to offer anything?

Having a simple stance makes it easy to get the message across, on both sides of the argument. Sadly, that stance may not be valid but still gain unstoppable popularity. The complexity gets lost but the call for a solution grows; do this, do that, do nothing - if the stakes are high we risk picking the wrong one in our haste, perhaps making things irrevocably worse

We're doomed!

Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards

Simone

It is a copycat...?

There is a problem with this board (if not many). It is not Raspberry Pi compatible; this is confirmed by the article. It also does not use the same CPU chip as the RPi so any software that needs the firmware of the RPi will not work, not to miss that the code for the RPi firmware is not available

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is opposed to this board, pointing out their trademark rules (http://www.raspberrypi.org/trademark-rules/). As the law stands they have to defend their trademark

Not only that, there are threads on the RPi forum that start with "I can't get XXX working" and end with "I am using a Banana Pi, does this make a difference?". That seems to annoy the regular posters who offer a lot of help. This demonstrates that it is easy to confuse or associate the two. Why didn't they use a different name?

Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

Simone

Oh, not again...!

Once again The Register gives 3 reviews in one article - a confused mess to rival each writers opinion of the Dr Who story line. Lets hope that The Reg does not ask them to watch (or write) again.

The writers need to get an education. Before attacking the science in a SCIENCE FICTION show, learn some science (or at least the Who extensions of it). The stumbling Cybermen are 'like children', nothing to do with emotion inhibitors, yet clearly there would be others that had been 'born' a while before who could attack the plane. Perhaps they attacked it because Missy was on board? The Master surviving? He/she is a Time Lord, like the Doctor, and can regenerate (why not into a woman?). Cyberman DNA does not reanimate, it kills. The Time Lord technology captures the conscience of the dead and reloads it into a Cyberman suited body. An extension on previous Cybermen in the rebooted series. St Pauls is a Tardis sized structure on the inside, easily big enough for a Cyberman factory and Cybermen metal store.

Then there's the psychology. The Master has always been manic, power crazy AND wanting to play mind games with the Doctor, his childhood friend. The Doctor has frequently grieved for being the last Time Lord, and the rescuing of Gallifrey last series would give him hope. No wonder he cracks up when he finds that once again the Master has tricked him into thinking it would be there.

The Doctor has always had an issue with his actions, using his 'power' to resolve a conflict and wondering if he was doing the right thing. So is he good or bad? He does not know. He has always been against those who take up arms; hence his dislike of Danny Pink. Danny went away to fight, did as he was told and killed a child. He has a dislike of authority figures, and sees the Doctor as one. Cue conflicting attitudes.

UNIT, and the rest of the leaders of the Earth, need a powerful leader for unearthly events. They decide that the Doctor should be World President, a role he does not want. Their relationship has always been uneasy. This added another dimension (sic) to the relationship with Danny Pink and with the Master.

Clara was brought together with the Doctor to KEEP them together, part of the Masters plan (not every time they met). She was clearly close to Matt Smith, but was confused by Capaldi's Doctor. He was clearly confused by his regeneration; the good/bad dilemma adding to him not knowing who he is. The relationship destroyed, her controlling nature leads to her trying to be like the Doctor. Rather than be killed by the Cybermen, she continues to pretend, to save her life; a role she had succeeded with in the 2D/3D invaders story. To avoid inflicting heartbreak on each other, they both lie as they go their own ways.

Like (apparently) the authors, I have not researched the facts here, but I do accept that the majority of the episodes do make sense, in a Dr Who way, given that the episodes are only 45 minutes long. That is not long enough to knit together all the threads of the plot in a way that is simple enough for the authors to follow without using their brain.

'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Simone

I might have missed this, but to those of you suggesting that the maker is correct to provide new ways of doing things without considering user acceptance I suggest this.

Go back in time to a point where there were no Japanese motorcycles. There were plenty of British brands leading in the market. To start them, you set it ready, then pushed the starting lever with your foot (or jumped on it if you were light weight)

Go forwards a bit. Japanese bikes appeared in the UK. To start them you turned the ignition key and pressed a button. This is clearly and demonstrably easier; the Japanese took a lot of the market

Now, take the current desire (in all things) to have a clean and uncluttered layout. Logic might say it is better, but when people struggle to find things that have been hidden, they don't like it. If it is something that they don't do very often then they forget what they did the last time. Microsoft can do what they want, but they do seem to be dismissing a lot of user feedback. Ignore that and they risk losing market share to others who do offer what people want. Their choice; their risk; their unhappy users

Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Simone

It seems to me that phones have reached the same point that Windows XP did a while ago - most peoples phone handsets do all they need to do, and are reliable enough to keep going for a few years yet. Those people decide that a sim only contract is all they need if they keep their current phone, and the contracts for them are not so complicated and are easily compared. Why bother paying a middle-man with lots of expensive shops when the carriers can take orders on a website and deliver a sim in an envelope?

Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Simone

The BBC (and other broadcasters) used to have to pay for transmitters for the radio broadcasts. Now they do a lot of it over the internet

I pay my ISP for their service; I get access to the internet. Hopefully my ISP makes sufficient money to continue to deliver that service

Now the BBC (and others) want the ISPs to provide resources to police the delivery of their content. The cost of those resources will either come from the ISPs profits or be passed on to me, neither of which makes my service from the ISP better value for me.

Why don't the ISPs charge the content providers for their traffic; not just their own ISP but ALL ISPs that carry it?

Silly sysadmins ADDING Heartbleed to servers

Simone

Re: holy fuck, three hours?

On one line of CLI... to patch the software, revoke the certificates, install new certificates and reset passwords (and possibly notify all users or add a comment to the login page)... wow!

Hungry for humbler Pi? Check out kid-friendly LED-laden Pibrella

Simone

Connectivity?

There are a lot of 'nice' boards out there (still have not got round to checking them out yet). Most seem to 'capture' all of those 26 pins by not having a connector on the other side of the board that allows another board to be plugged in. A lot of Arduino shields do have this type of connector, so can be stacked. Still, it is cheap so I might check it out

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Simone

What IS the problem!

Looking at the stories about IT issues or failures often reveals that the IT project failed to gain the understanding between what the customer wanted and what was coded. In between these two steps is the design step that needs people on both sides of the contract to understand both the IT principles and the business processes. I often visit clients where the "office youngster" has "written" a spreadsheet for some office task, because they found themselves ahead of those that have not been taught, but has now moved on. It saves a lot of clerical effort but puts enormous holes in the process auditability, and no one knows how it works. We teach youngsters MS Office without the principles that need to be followed in IT.

If more people in organisations understood IT principles enough so they can have meaningful discussion with an IT Consultant they have just hired, those IT projects could be designed better. The internet is full of projects that someone has started and dropped or is "rambling on" because there is not a good understanding of what it should do; these projects need design, management, leadership, documentation and testing, none of which need expert code writers.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation have stated that the Pi is not for classrooms but for students; a subtle difference that suggests they would be better in after school clubs than in mainstream classes. Like science, engineering and languages some people won't see the point and just want the IT in their phone or games console to "just work". It is the others, who find them interesting or even fascinating, that we should be filtering out and encouraging, not for a life of programming, but for the other things that are important to business.

This Year Of Code seems to be trying to muscle in on the success of the Pi, which has shown that some need exists; I just don't think it can be simplified to one topic. Look at documentation for the Pi, a lot of it is trivial or out of date and published to grab whatever money was there to get. This shows that the Year of Code will not be much different.

I knew an IT manager, who spent a lot of time talking to business users, trying to get them to answer his question: "What you have asked me for is your solution; can you explain to me what the problem is so the IT department can find you the right solution"

The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Simone

What is the Pi for?

There is a lot in the article and comments above that I fail to agree with, although most of that comes down to one key question: "What is the Pi for?"

I work in IT, but in a Business Analysis sort of way. Programming is not part of my job, but is a hobby. I had a BBC when I was young (ish). Looking at the stories about IT issues or failures often reveals that the IT project failed to gain the understanding between what the customer wanted and what was coded. In between these is the design step that needs people on both sides of the contract to understand both the IT principles and the business processes. I often visit clients where the "office youngster" has "written" a spreadsheet for some office task that saves a lot of clerical effort but puts enormous holes in the process auditability. We teach youngsters MS Office without the principles that need to be followed in IT, and they find themselves ahead of those that have not been taught. I got into IT in the first place because I knew more than others, not through being taught programming. I have learned the rest by seeing the same mistakes made over and over again.

If more people in organisations understood IT principles enough so they can have meaningful discussion with an IT Consultant they have just hired those IT projects could be designed better. I don't think those skills are being taught at schools. The internet is full of projects that someone has started and dropped or is "rambling on" because there is not a good understanding of what it should do; these projects need design, management, leadership, documentation and testing, none of which need expert code writers. People do not need the Pi to do these things. Many of these projects would not run on a Pi, so it wouldn't be a help anyway. I think we should be encouraging people to help on these projects.

The Pi Foundation have stated that the Pi is not for classrooms but for students; a subtle difference that suggests they would be better in after school clubs than in mainstream classes. Like science, engineering and languages some people won't see the point and just want the IT in their phone or games console to "just work". It is the others, who find the subjects interesting or even fascinating, that we should be filtering out and encouraging, not for a life of programming, but for the other things that are important to business.

So, what is the Pi for? I don't think there is only one answer that it can do justice to, but it can be a good thing for many uses. The limitations of the Pi make it easy to find alternatives for many of these uses. Sadly the Pi community rather exploded and fragmented because of that early success and there does not appear to be adequate leadership in a lot of those areas. Hopefully something can rise out of the smoke; something that is worthwhile that uses the Pi and other equipment, not something that can be done because we have a Pi. I see the Pi as more of a major piece of an electronics / computing kit rather than a computer; something that invites the buying of additional parts on birthdays rather than a one-off purchase. I hope that it can catch and encourage those that can develop an interest, but at least it is cheap enough to risk on those that don't see the point of it.

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