* Posts by doug_bostrom

69 posts • joined 4 Jan 2017

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Can't unlock an Android phone? No problem, just take a Skype call: App allows passcode bypass

doug_bostrom

Wait, the operating system allows an application to roam about without authentication being plugged in, but it's the application's fault?

Oh, the things we have seen-- and forgotten. Securing a file system and other machine resources isn't really the job of an application.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

doug_bostrom

"Sir William Cash piled in, suggesting that the UK could simply knock the Galileo £1bn off the eventual divorce bill."

Yes, and next time we change our minds in the middle of remodeling our home and want the old look back, we'll complain bitterly when it turns out we're still on the hook for commitments made to contractors, and them even spitefully refusing to put it all back together for free.

Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing

doug_bostrom

Complete end-end testing of software necessary to land on the moon was not completed until a few seconds after the descent engine of the first LEM to land on the moon shut down. It was deemed acceptable to allow two volunteers to participate in this activity, and they were nothing if not fully informed.

I don't recall "do you want to travel to the moon as a passenger on a freshly designed spacecraft" being the referendum question.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

doug_bostrom

Short of pretending that human nature is inherently good, so-called "libertarians" such as Pai could simply mandate that carriers publish their applied network management policies.

After all, the "free market" ideal assumes perfect information on the part of consumers. Here we're not dealing with a force of nature that really needs scientists to tease it out, just the ripples emanating from boards of directors.

But Pai won't do that, because he's actually still a lobbyist.

Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server

doug_bostrom

Engineered scarcity first, you second. That's the system.

In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you

doug_bostrom

Wasting user time in getting familiarized to the latest "design language" is the principal stock in trade of too many software firms.

Although a pencil shaped like a pretzel is a novel "experience," so is chewing-gum in the hair. There's no good reason for either.

All tools reach an optimum utility level and then offer distinction only by dithering around optimum efficiency. See ratchet wrenches.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond

doug_bostrom

'"Worst part is, the Alarm is stored locally so it still works... But you can't turn it off because Alexa doesn't respond to voice commands.. like "Alexa, stop"!!!'

Yeah, and the poor Eloi don't know what a power cord is, and can't ask.

Alexa: make yourself into a brain-dead quadraplegic.

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

doug_bostrom

"I am now contributing to saving the planet by owning a dozen solid plastic reusable cups that will probably outlast all life on it. "

Look on the bright side. Every molecule of HC drilled, pumped, massaged, excreted temporarily into your hand and then put safely back underground in a landfill is a fraction of a millimeter less sea level rise. In other words, a forever plastic cup is better than an ephemeral flame.

The whole plastics recycling thing is crazy. Bury it back underground, as fast as possible before the HC gets burnt or the plastic ends up floating in the ocean.

Microsoft reveals train of mistakes that killed Azure in the South Central US 'incident'

doug_bostrom

The promise of cloud is lower cost but with a heavy seasoning of better reliability. Presumably customers are doing the math on this finding the promise to be true?

Trading random, asynchronous private data center outages of the old days for the modern, synchronized 100 megaton variety at least offers a ray of hope: everybody can take the day off, secure in the knowledge that everybody is stuffed. But that presumes they can still communicate.

Perhaps "outage as a service" could be a thing? There must be a way to charge for this.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt

doug_bostrom

It's odd that even as China is such a powerful player in objective terms it behaves in such a weak and humiliating manner.

All that hair dye soaking into the poor old brains of the geriatric leadership? They seem so frightened; bizarre.

Snooping passwords from literally hot keys, China's AK-47 laser, malware, and more

doug_bostrom

Thermal technique will be deployed in some movie that also includes bleeping/churring noises with each key-press, long persistence phosphor displays driven by 300bps connection, stock footage of kernel compilations.

And nowhere else.

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

doug_bostrom

We can expect plain sailing with MaxFac. History tells us we should be confident. Of course history also tells us that such a project will conclude only after a couple of decades, two or three prime contractors, several low-level ministerial ritual executions, money multiplication factor of 5-10X. But we may be sure that it might succeed in the end.

Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash

doug_bostrom

Considering that inattention is the autonomous driving product, it seems more interesting to wonder why Uber's vehicle was traveling at 44mph in a 35mph zone while overtaking another car in the wrong lane in the middle of an intersection.

The promise was to remove the human factor from driving, but the car was behaving like a human.

Low AI rollout caused by dumb, fashion-victim management – Gartner

doug_bostrom

"But to make it work there needs to be a business value proposition. The key point is the customer journey."

Drank the Kool Aid.

'Autopilot' Tesla crashed into our parked patrol car, say SoCal cops

doug_bostrom

"...drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.."

Otherwise understood as the "notapilot" feature. Used as intended, it's really doing nothing at all.

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

doug_bostrom

Same congress that can ask the question, "is sea level rise due to rocks falling in the ocean?"

Calculated stupidity.

Capita cost-cutting on NHS England contract 'put patients at risk' – spending watchdog

doug_bostrom

Where private sector provisioning of public services begins: unaligned objectives. The whole point of the private sector is to divert money from fulfilling the needs of consumers, what we call "profit."

Capita's intended purpose is to make money first, provide services as an unfortunate side-effect of making money.

So we're not really surprised by this, are we?

You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods

doug_bostrom

Systemd is the Linux world's MS Office "ribbon," another of those sad inflection points where developers have crawled up their own asses and lost sight of the light of day.

NASA boss insists US returning to the Moon after Peanuts to show for past four decades

doug_bostrom

The usual inversion as practiced by agents of Agent Orange: first move was to cancel almost-ready rover which would have been useful for locating resources for visitors.

The rover was not football-shaped but was certainly yanked away at the last minute.

Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why

doug_bostrom

Oh, yeah, hydrogen cars.

See the kit involved in transporting slightly more than 200kg of transport fuel hydrogen to a refueling station, and the mayhem resulting when ineradicable human nature encounters a fuel that is even trickier and less forgiving than gasoline:

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/HMD18FR001-preliminary.aspx

Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms

doug_bostrom

"...how effective Facebook really is at political profiling and mass manipulation is difficult to measure and an important question to consider."

And CO2 is only a trace gas and how can we tell it's affecting anything, anyway? Answering these questions with absolute certainty comes too late. Precautionary principle applies.

US Navy gives Lockheed Martin $150m big frickin' laser cannon contract

doug_bostrom

Lockheed: they have the patent on being rewarded for failure.

Boring. The phone business has lost the plot and Google is making it worse

doug_bostrom

At a certain point we stopped being excited with pencils.

Once we'd seen round vs. octagonal, mechanical vs. traditional, a range of softness and the all-important addition of a built-in eraser there wasn't much left to maintain enthusiasm over what is of course only a tool to make life a bit easier.

But in the "high tech" world it seems we must never be allowed to settle into comfortable coexistence with what are really only prosaic tools. Hence we are challenged with often lunatic "innovations" that are imposed on us, to the detriment of productivity. The ribbon in Office comes to mind.

Phones can indeed benefit from refinements, along the lines of the titanium hammer replacing steel in professional kits. But changing the entire shape and function of a hammer isn't really possible.

PowerShell comes to MacOS and Linux. Oh and Windows too

doug_bostrom

PowerShell on Linux. That's rich. "Here, Yoda, let me show you how to use that there force."

Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet

doug_bostrom

Reminds me of friend's neighbor, who had a nifty alarm with inside siren. The home was burgled with neighbors present on both sides and of course nobody could hear the alarm, because it was inside. An inside-only alarm goes beyond simple impoverishment of the imagination and reaches stupidity. (and forget the cops being dispatched; a real human hiding in a closet will produce a response time reaching greater than an hour, according to our own neighbor's report after her hiding in her closet for more than hour until the plods showed up after she called on a prowler).

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means

doug_bostrom

Not to slight "DevOps" but it's another method, style or approach (possibly perfectly valid) that comes under the general heading "once and future doing it wrong." DO possibly especially stands out as something that would have been considered extra screamingly incorrect not so long ago. Will its stock sink so low as to regain the name "chaos?"

Most of this churning and reflux is really about perfecting human nature. Good luck!

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

doug_bostrom

So much for disruption, innovation and all the rest of the gloss. Facebook has "reinvented" Happy Meals for Kids. BFD.

Get 'em hooked while they're young.

And just like Happy Meals, we'll insist that the product not be --acutely-- toxic and then call it all good.

China reboots internet conference with keynote from Cook

doug_bostrom

How is it possible to have an internet conference in a country with no internet?

Denied: Uber's request to skip to UK Supreme Court to appeal workers' rights

doug_bostrom

Formal admission from Uber that they are rooted in the same past and share the same history and limitations as the rest of the world is an existential threat to the firm. The company needs to prove that the rest of the world is crazy for participating in the social contract. It's a hard case to make.

Aviva dumps DXC, shoves data centre support at Atos

doug_bostrom

The beautiful but imaginary efficiency of bungled outsourcing demonstrated yet again.

Choose another sole supplier and imagine things will be better this time, despite witlessly yet again buying into the private sector equivalent of a planned economy but an economy with an important difference: it's actually designed and intended to perform inefficiently for the customer.

By sole-sourcing, we remove the single reason to put up with the inefficiencies axiomatically entailed in supporting somebody else's business plan. Only real competition provides the existentially threatening level of motivation for an external business plan to actually perform beneficially for your own.

Figure it out: the reason for Aviva's existence is to divert money from performing services or goods or whatever is on sale, as with all private sector enterprises. Profit is the objective. Yet from our perspective as customers other people's profit paid from our money is waste.

With no checks on this motivation in the form of stiff competition the story will always end sadly and badly for the customer.

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'

doug_bostrom

It seems highly premature to draw any conclusions about the Trump administration's approach to anti-trust.

That $10,000 Facebook bug: Photos shafted, addicts screwed by polls

doug_bostrom

Helping Facebook is antisocial.

10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time

doug_bostrom

My favorite:

"May I ask a question?"

"You just did."

SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in

doug_bostrom

One of those situations where we definitely do not want the power supply wedged in amongst the sofa cushions.

AT&T wants to bin 100,000 routers, replace them with white boxes

doug_bostrom

Cisco, Juniper and other cultist operations offer the usual advantages of cults: by the use of rote learning and faithful repetition it's possible to make fully functioning acolytes (IT personnel) out of staff barely able to connect one synapse to another. That is, as long as the horizon doesn't extend past the doors of the temple (or brand of networking gear).

Does AT&T really want a lot of thinkers on its hands?

While you're preparing to carve Thanksgiving turkey, the FCC will be slicing into net neutrality

doug_bostrom

Maybe the world should help the US by making it swallow some unpleasant medicine, the exact same medicine on offer from the US oligopolies promoting this fiasco? After all, it's supposed to be "good for the consumer."

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

doug_bostrom

Nothing else does carbons and carbons are a pretty efficient way to spew copies.

Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat

doug_bostrom

As we're all aware, elegantly efficient code is created by a limited number of people, a proportion very difficult or perhaps impossible to expand. We can all be trained to write musical notation but few of us will ever be brilliant composers and it's not at all obvious this limitation can be remedied by training.

As well, our plethora of half-baked commercial tools with their designs centered on extraction of money as opposed to more fundamental concerns does not help.

Slashing regulations literally more important than saving American lives to Donald Trump

doug_bostrom

Money trumps lives. Just ask investors in SWHC, RGR etc. There are several industries in the US accustomed to surfing the maximum allowable death rate for bystanders and others not enjoying certain forms of groping by the invisible hand of the market. At least we can be happy that the product of the US auto industry is not actually engineered specifically for causing mayhem.

First iPhone X fondlers struggle to admit that Face ID sort of sucks

doug_bostrom

So it's scrabblepad ("touchpad") redux.

I'm guessing the reason why is the same: it's less expensive to manufacture and more profitable to clone software, similarly to the scrabblepad which was cost reduction first, convenience second. As with other beancounter dung we'll get used to it.

Even more warship cuts floated for the Royal Navy

doug_bostrom

"The root of the problem here is ..."

trying to run the country on magical efficiency elves that are expected to substitute for any amount of money diverted to offshore tax dodging schemes.

Scroll, scroll, scroll your note gently down the screen. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, FB's code's a dream

doug_bostrom

It's nice that we're making the collapse of civilization truly developer friendly.

Knock, knock? Oh, no one there? No problem, Amazon will let itself in via your IoT smart lock

doug_bostrom

PanOptiKey will change our lives in unimaginable ways! Nobody expected a subpoena for footage, etc.

What's HPE Next? Now it's unemployment for 'thousands' of staff

doug_bostrom

Always striking how these great leaps forward include a tacit admission: management screwed up massively, hired thousands of people by accident without noticing they were not doing any useful work.

Ideally the great leap forward would begin with a purge of incompetence at the top but somehow that almost never happens.

Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

doug_bostrom

"Currently, space junk is destroyed by firing rockets at it. "

Really? Where may we read about that?

Russian spies used Kaspersky AV to hack NSA staffer, swipe exploit code – new claim

doug_bostrom

It would be nice to believe Kaspersky's strident denials. But: given that in other arenas there is virtually no separation between the Russian government objectives and "private" enterprise, with private enterprise alternately stroked and smacked by the government depending on requirements and the level of enthusiasm for government shown by private enterprise, how likely is it that Kaspersky exists in a magic bubble, strangely immune to threats of "taxation problems" and all the other useful levers available to the government?

China censors drop the soap operas, sitcoms

doug_bostrom

Surely a citizenry voluntarily, spontaneously and enthusiastically self-neutralized by distracting rubbish content is a safer prospect for totalitarian rule?

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

doug_bostrom

Enhanced screening: "Give us all your passwords so we can check for bombs."

Remember, it's the USA. No logic is required.

Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

doug_bostrom

Rule #1: it's engineered to be a one-way trip.

IBM: ALL travel must be approved now, and shut up about the copter

doug_bostrom

Funny how private enterprise always converges on the Soviet model.

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