* Posts by Herring`

209 posts • joined 23 Mar 2018

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Dratted hipster UX designers stole my corporate app

Herring`

It's not just designers

People in IT rarely seem to be interested in spending time watching what users actually do. Specs are often thrashed out with managers of the users who don't spend any time with them either. I've winced when seeing people in the call centre trapped between an angry caller (with broken $EXPENSIVE_THING) and shit software that doesn't tell them what they need to know.

The other thing with software for internal use: if users are on it all day, does it make more sense to have something that takes a little longer to learn but once learned is very fast to operate, or to have something "intuitive" that's always slow to operate?

Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...

Herring`

Re: Ads on the web

I subscribe to one that tells you it doesn't advertise/track if you subscribe. I use a blocker as well though.

Herring`

Re: Ads on the web

$1.40 a day sounds OK to me too.

Maybe, instead of wasting time on the internets while pretending to work, I should set about designing a global micropayments service. I reckon you could preserve privacy too by having the service throw anonymous tokens at the sites providing the content and then bundling up all the payments in one.

Hmm.

Herring`

Ads on the web

The ad people don't seem to get it. If you make adverts intrusive and annoying, people will start ad-blocking. Once they start blocking, they won't stop. Running a fucktonne of 3rd party JS counts as intrusive and annoying. Advertisers are the ones who have killed the goose etc.

If someone could come up with a decent micropayments service for accessing things like news, that might be better. I pay for news sites I use all the time, but I'm not going to subscribe to sites that I look at 5 times a month.

I am just a mapper: Solar drones take to the skies above Blighty

Herring`

Re: What can you fit in 25kg...

I couldn't watch the animation, but 60,000ft is a bit less than 20km while a stable low earth orbit is more like 200km. Since the demise of Concorde, no passenger jets get higher than about 45,000 feet.

Oh dear, Lads: Spam marketing bosses banned from forming UK firms for clobbering folk with 500k calls and texts

Herring`

Companies House is supposed to keep tabs on disqualified directors and prevent them setting up another limited company - and they aren't going to set up a non-limited company for obvious reasons.

However, a wife or an uncle or a mate could act as a director. Seen it happen.

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

Herring`

Well, one is obviously 1,654 better than the other.

Herring`

If it looked and worked exactly like Office 2003, I'd be on it like a shot.

German competition watchdog tells Facebook to stop combining user data without consent

Herring`

I like it when websites try to tell you that "targeted advertising" is a benefit for users.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

Herring`

Notes

OK, I may be in a minority here, but aside from the horrible UI, Notes was pretty good for developing workflow apps. Also some nice security features. These days I sometimes come across a requirement for something that needs workflow/DMS/email/security etc. but there isn't anything else that quite fits the bill.

Microsoft decides Internet Explorer 10 has had its fun: Termination set for January 2020

Herring`

Browsers

Can't we have a moratorium on developing browsers? Just bug fixes and security patches to existing ones - no more features. What started off as a way to display HTML pages has turned into a bloated monster that eats all your RAM and lets the bad guys get to your stuff. Enough.

Disk drives suck less than they did a couple of years ago. Which is nice

Herring`

I keep thinking I need to build/buy an external storage thingy for home (RAID 10). I was thinking of buying drives from different manufacturers so they don't all fail due to the same cause at the same time. Mirroring across identical drives (from the same batch) seems like a recipe for trouble.

Gripe to UK, Ireland, Poland: Ad tech industry inhales, then 'leaks' sensitive info on our health, politics, religion

Herring`

I don't know why the big tech companies have such a hard time understanding GDPR. Even managers can grasp the fundamentals.

By gum(stick): Samsung speeds up 970 EVO Plus drive

Herring`

Re: Is my maths wrong?

Cheers for confirming.

The cynic in me looks at the hardware we're running these days and thinks "what if we were writing software as efficiently as we were 25 years ago?"

Herring`

Is my maths wrong?

But PCIe 3.0 x 4 is 32Gb/s. So 3.5GB/s is close to the limit.

My motherboard only has one M.2 slot - which is a shame. Being able to stripe these could up the throughput a bit. If I had enough PCI lanes. Which I don't

Slack to fend off the collaboration competition with... a new logo

Herring`

What's wrong with IRC?

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Herring`

Bigger than the SSC was going to be

Well, according to Wikipedia. I think they should go bigger though.

Computing boffins strip the fun out of satirical headlines

Herring`

The problem is, it's 2019 and increasingly difficult for anyone to tell the difference between actual news and satire.

Microsoft vows to destroy Office, er, offices: Campus to be demolished and rebuilt

Herring`

I bet there will still be key parts of the foundations that date from the late 80s.

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

Herring`

Games

I quite like the recent Tomb Raiders - puzzles + platforms + shooting - but I do miss Llamatron.

Boffins manage to keep graphene qubits 'quantum coherent' for all of 55... nanoseconds

Herring`

The real problem with a process running on a quantum computer is that it only works when you're not looking at it. Debug that.

China's loose Chang'e: Probe lands on far side of the Moon in science first, says state media

Herring`

Re: CNSA has a nice logo

The Federation logo from Blake's 7 has a bit of a resemblance to the Starfleet logo. I don't recall any fuss them. But it probably wasn't worth suing a show where the SFX budget was £4.50 per episode.

Herring`

And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too ...

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?

Herring`

AI

What passes for AI these days seems to have little resemblance to any actual intelligence. I would lose at Go to any competent player (never played it) but I know what a "game" is and what "lose" means. There isn't a machine that understands those concepts.

It's certainly not my field, but I wonder if perception is a key thing that's missing. A human baby, using sight, sound, touch etc. is able to build a mental model of how the physical world works. Is anyone exploring this process with machines?

Also, I note that the attempts to build self-driving cars use far more energy than a human driver would do. Plus sooner or later they are going to come across a situation which they cannot classify or classify incorrectly. What happens then will be ... interesting

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?

Herring`

Re: The Hot Shot Database Team

Turned out the latency killed it

I remember going on a (rare) on-site visit with a user of our software. Watching them operate it, there was one bit of processing where they copied everything to the local drive, ran the processing, then copied it back to the network. Intrigued, I asked why. They said that on the network drive, the processing took half an hour instead of a few seconds.

We'd not seen this but I did spot one thing: they were on token ring and we were on ethernet. Getting back to the office, I investigated and found that one of my colleagues had decided that the best way to write a bunch of binary data to disk was looping through the buffer writing one byte at a time - instead of just one write operation for the whole thing. The effect on ethernet wasn't really noticeable but on token ring, well it had to wait for a token for each byte. 30 second fix once found. The guy who wrote that had a particular talent for coding obscure bugs, hiding a stupid decision behind many layers.

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

Herring`

Here's an idea: anyone with one of these devices, every time you go out, leave a recording playing of you saying "Alexa, what's the weather forecast for Tashkent?" on a repeating loop. Eventually they'll run out of disk space. Also, using locations that you have no intention of going to will screw with their algorithms.

Herring`

It will be interesting to see which of the "tech giants" is the first to get a maximum GDPR fine. They all seem to be taking the piss, big time.

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

Herring`

I Haven't watched the video, but I suspect it is nowhere near as good as HMHB's A Song For Europe.

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

Herring`

Re: Environmental Protestors?

Could be locals opposed to airport expansion.

It's beginning to look a lot like multi-threaded CPUs, everywhere you go... Arm teases SMT Cortex-A65AE car brains

Herring`

The way I understood it (which may be wrong), on Intel, effectively each core has two ALUs and one FPU. So hyperthreading increases throughput unless your work is mostly floating point - in which case the extra thread switches would be counterproductive. I don't know for sure, but I would've thought that a lot of things in a self-driving car are floating point. But maybe those are pushed off into a GPU.

Pork pulled: Plug jerked out of beacon of bacon delight

Herring`

Technology

I was wondering if you could have a cook and dispense system using something like the fusing rollers from a laser printer. Raw bacon goes in, cooked bacon comes out. Vary the speed to adjust how cooked you want it.

It's not quite as good as my idea to use a raclette grill mounted sideways to make a personal doner kebab machine.

Spending watchdog points finger at Capita for 1,300 shortfall in British Army rookies

Herring`

Re: TBF...

The whole social contract needs rewriting, the treatment of veterans and their families is nothing short of disgusting,

When Help for Heroes got big, a lot of people were "Oh, isn't this inspiring. Isn't it great!" I don't consider it "great" that injured servicepeople are reliant on charity. Look at the number of ex-soldiers who end up homeless and/or with mental health issues. This isn't "great". If we can pay to send the military into combat, then we'd better be paying for the consequences of them too.

Back on the subject of the article, Private Eye has been covering this for years. Why governments keep doing the same thing - handing over public jobs to the same big companies who have no expertise and a shite track record - I really don't know.

Equifax how-it-was-mega-hacked damning dossier lands, in all of its infuriating glory

Herring`

The thing is

it wasn't people who gave their personal data to Equifax - it was companies selling financial products. In a just world, there ought to be some liability on them too. They didn't take steps to ensure that they were handing over our data to someone who was taking the necessary steps to secure it.

Yeah, I know there's no chance of this happening.

Lenovo tells Asia-Pacific staff: Work lappy with your unencrypted data on it has been nicked

Herring`

HR

They get all funny about allowing anyone from IT anywhere near their data - including the security people. In some places I've worked, the annual leaking of the payroll data (just after pay rises) was a tradition.

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

Herring`

The problem is no ID cards per se, it's how they could be used or abused. There are a few advantages - particularly with the upcoming confusion over who does and does not have the right to live and work in the UK. The Windrush scandal was caused by the Home Office demanding unreasonable amounts of documentation - stuff that no person would have kept.

Also, I recall many years ago being nicked for something (drunken stupidity). Turned out that there was another person with the same name as me, whose place of birth started with the same four letters and was a "proper villain". The police would not have it that I wasn't this person.

But yeah, if we had ID cards, there would have to be comprehensive oversight, strict rules about scope and it would have to be implemented competently. The chances of all that happening are pretty much zero.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

Herring`

Re: Oops

Then you have to renew it every 11 months. Why is that so hard?

I know that, and you know that. But the people whose job it is to renew certs, not so much. Aided by the purchasing department that can't just go on the internet with a credit card but has to find out if it can be "bought more cheaply somewhere else".

Herring`

Re: Oops

Certificates and their expiry dates are well monitored now.

You're lucky. Place I worked at, every bloody year on this one system the cert would expire and people would flap around like headless chickens trying to find out why it had mysteriously stopped working. The security people in the US wouldn't let us use a cert with a longer expiry.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Herring`

Hang on

Isn't there still some super plan to put the emergency services onto 4G? Has this been thought through?

GOPwned: Republicans fall victim to email hack

Herring`

What's interesting is that Trump appointed Giuliani as "Cybersecurity adviser". I suppose that chimes with him appointing people who know fuck-all about science to science positions.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

Herring`

Taking back control

People are missing the massive benefit that a UK positioning system could have. Rather than being shackled to foreign systems like WGS84 - which doesn't even put the Greenwich meridian in the right place - we can use good old OSGB36. Hoorah! Rule Britannia etc.

Mystery sign-poster pities the fool who would litter the UK's West Midlands

Herring`

I seem to remember

that the characteristically blunt Aussies had a public information campaign against littering with the slogan "don't be a tosser". This, I like.

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Herring`

Re: Roadside drug tests

Yes. There seem to be a lot of cases where these are throwing up false-positives - look for demos on YouTube where they test common stuff like chocolate against these things. The problem is that law enforcement have invested time and money in these things and so admitting that they are a bunch of bollocks is difficult.

Hopefully this case will push them to reconsider.

Sacked NCC Group grad trainee emailed 300 coworkers about Kali Linux VM 'playing up'

Herring`

I know it's unlikely

But I have seen one instance of an employee messing with another employees computer in order to mess with their head. This was made easier in an environment where credentials required to just get stuff to run were widely shared.

But Hanlon's Razor and all that.

Groundhog Day comes early as Intel Display Drivers give Windows 10 the silent treatment

Herring`

Well, if you don't update Windows then you have a possible risk from malware. If you do update then it's a probable risk from shitware. Not updating is safer.

Peers to HMRC: Digital tax reforms 3 days after Brexit? Hold your horses, how 'bout 3 years...

Herring`

Re: Nope

I'm assuming that my accountant has this in hand. I've been submitting VAT quarterly anyway - well, my accountant has. I'm on flat-rate too.

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work

Herring`

iStuff

Before Charlie Brooker converted, he described Apple things as "glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults". I think that's fair.

Merry Christmas, you filthy directors: ICO granted powers to fine bosses for spam calls

Herring`

As someone mentioned above, likely it will just drive them offshore. It would be nice to put some responsibility onto Telcos - who are making money out of this.

And has nobody posted a link to the Bill Hicks Marketing bit yet?

Australia's 'snoop minister' wants crypto-busting law probe wound up, proposals back into parliament

Herring`

Hmm

End-to-end encrypted messaging isn't exactly brain science. Put together something that works and open-source it. I would, but I have stuff to do.

Townsfolk left deeply unsatisfied by Bury St Edmunds' 'twig' of a Christmas tree

Herring`

Maybe

it was ordered by Nigel Tufnel.

Used to work under a clueless head of development called Nigel. "It's not your job to be as confused as Nigel" was a stock phrase.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

Herring`

I have

a T800 Transputer board - connects to a PC via an 8 bit ISA slot. One day it might be valuable.

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