* Posts by Barry Rueger

780 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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What happens to your online accounts when you die?

Barry Rueger
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Not Twitter....

...they will give advice should you contact them, whether social network, email service, or web host.

Says someone who has never tried to communicate with Google, Facebook, or Twitter. It is nearly impossible to raise a living breathing human at these companies.

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Your Twitter app stopped working? Here's why

Barry Rueger
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Counting the Days

Twitter is the one social media that I use constantly. Facebook became irrelevant years ago for anything beyond family news, and Google+.... Well, you get the point.

Still, I can see the writing on the wall. The beauty of Twitter is the sheer simplicity of the platform, and a user base that can get the most out of it.

Sadly I expect that Twitter will jump headlong into a Facebookization, adding piles of crappy features in an effort to make money. Quality will decline and loyal users will walk away as soon as something better appears.

The crazy thing is that I would happily pay for Twitter as it is, and suspect that a large group of users would do the same. Surely all of us understand that "Free" is just an illusion, and that the user is often the product.

It's time for that to change.

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Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

Barry Rueger
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Re: Why still a phone line on it??

Fax machines are ubiquitous because even the most technically illiterate punter knows how to use one.

Every year our accountant emails us a fancy Adobe e-signature thingy. Every year it fails to actually work, or seems to involve way, way too many steps to bother.

So every year we print, sign, and fax back the signature page.

In an average year we likely send 20 pages by fax, and maybe receive a quarter of that amount, but when we do need it it is still perfect for the job.

Even though I now default to gscan2PDF for almost everything, there are still a handful of times when fax is what's needed.

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Hello darkness my old friend, what happened last week in Redmond?

Barry Rueger
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Skype? Ha ha ha!

Just this week...

Android phone: installed and working great.

Mint Linux box: installed and working great.

Windows 10 HP laptop, pre-installed: believes that another application is using the web cam, and simply cannot find the microphone.

Seriously Microsoft?

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Cache of the Titans: Let's take a closer look at Google's own two-factor security keys

Barry Rueger
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Bluetooth? OK.....

Although I actually like the idea of a hardware key, Bluetooth can't even reliably manage to play a podcast in the car.

The chance that I'll rely on it for anything important is zero.

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Span hits F#, LinkedIn gets mumbly, and UWP (yes, it's still clinging on) furnished with new toys

Barry Rueger
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Yes. dear God.

It is impossible to kill off all the LinkedIn emails - God knows I've tried - but this really pushes things over the edge.

I have to think that the point is to allow Microsoft to build a reliable and valuable voice recognition database.

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Ecuador's Prez talking to UK about Assange's six-year London Embassy stay – reports

Barry Rueger
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Comrade Assange?

What I've been wondering about is why Trump hasn't embraced Assange and promised a pardon for crimes real or imagined. Or for that matter why Putin hasn't offered him a Snowden style deal.

Could it be that even those two find him too slimy to touch?

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You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

Barry Rueger
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Re: Not a good idea for me.

@nematoad "Not if you are my age."

God yes. Sixties, incipient cataracts, and every other twenty year old web page designer has decided that grey text on a grey background would look Reel Kewl!

Said it before, and I'll say it again, there's a reason why every book, and almost every newspaper publisher in the universe uses black text on white paper.

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Psst, says Qualcomm... Kid, you wanna see what a 5G antenna looks like?

Barry Rueger
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I'll wait...

So, in short, it would be smart to wait out the first couple generations of 5G phones until they make it actually work right.

Oh well, wireless prices in Canada are so expensive that no-one can afford to use that much data.

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As Corning unveils its latest Gorilla Glass, we ask: What happened to sapphire mobe screens?

Barry Rueger
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Otterbox Defender

I was averaging 8 months between phones due to my jobs, and an inherited hand tremor. My last two devices were wrapped in an Otterbox Defender and remained intact after two years.

Excellent product.

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Either my name, my password or my soul is invalid – but which?

Barry Rueger
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Gmail addresses with dots

For many years my primary email has been :

firstname.lastname@gmail.com

The period in the middle does seem to make everything clearer.

Still, nearly ten years later, and despite Gmail owning 75% of the webmail market, there are sites that reject that dot.

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Skype Classic headed for the chopping block on September 1

Barry Rueger
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Re: Contacts list?

Still better than the new Google Mail GUI then, which moved away from a contacts list for some magic, ethereal AI driven ...

Thank you. I knew, just knew, that I should refuse Google's invitation to change to the new Gmail. I think I'm still on some version from a few years ago, when they started shoving emails into tabs.

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You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Barry Rueger
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Cool? All ads, all the time!

Old Reg on LG G4: Reg header + three stories.

New Reg on LG G4 : Reg header + big honking Microsoft ad, with two words below, at the very bottom of the screen: Top Stories.

Do I need to explain the problem?

(Admittedly it seems to be all the rage these days to design mobile sites to showcase advertising at the expense of content.)

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LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

Barry Rueger
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G4+3 = better?

The G7 includes a dedicated key for the Google Assistant

I've yet to find a way to kill off this idiotic feature on my G4. I have no interest in yelling commands at my phone, and resent Google Assistant taking over my screen over and over again nagging me to use it.

I'm pleased to see that LG has continued the tradition of placing essential things like the power button (or fingerprint sensor?) directly below the camera lens so that every photo can be artistically smeared.

My G4 has any number of endlessly irritating "features" that will discourage me from ever buying another.

Does the G7 still have the idiotic "Your battery is charged. Please unplug your charger" notification? The one that can't be disabled, no matter how annoying or pointless it is? Ten times a day, and more as the battery slows down after two years?

(Just to be fair, some of these might be stupid Android tricks and not LG's ideas.)

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Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived

Barry Rueger
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No, consistency is a FEATURE.

The worrying thing for Slack is how little it has changed since 2015, when it first took off.

Count me among those who don't like software changing features and functions every other month. (Yes, I'm talking to you Gmail.)

Constant change disrupts work-flow and impairs productivity.

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Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

Barry Rueger
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Re: If only...

Whats so great about Point "A", that so many Prople from Point "B" are so keen to get there,

Point A has a great WIFI connection?

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

Barry Rueger
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Re: Missing a few...

I am so fed up with people asking me what OneNote

OK, you convinced me to finally find out what it does. I was immediately reminded of all of the strange products that are endlessly promoted by Google, but never actually used by anyone but fan boys.

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UK taxman warned it's running out of time to deliver working customs IT system by Brexit

Barry Rueger
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A Modest Proposal

Given past experience with government attempts to implement large, complex computer projects it seems utterly impossible that this will be ready.

I'd suggest hiring 1000 clerks and planning on moving all customs processing to paper forms and fax machines.

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Software changed the world, then died on the first of the month

Barry Rueger
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Re: Data format parsing

or require a State for all addresses.

"What's yer zip code Honey?"

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Ubuntu reports 67% of users opt in to on-by-default PC specs slurp

Barry Rueger
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Over the Top Much?

I fail to see the problem with sending Canonical the sort of basic system information requested, and can see the obvious utility in knowing how their customers use their products.

Compared to the likes of Google, Facebook, or Microsoft this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing, especially if you can opt out.

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Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

Barry Rueger
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Re: More Deadly Waves!

And all of the sales geeks at Best Buy will say "it charges up to 30 feet!"

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Barry Rueger
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More Deadly Waves!

Out on the West Coast we still have a fairly vocal crew that is convinced that all radio waves (except inexplicably AM, FM, and TV) cause cancer and/ or brain damage.

Yet I'll wager they'll all be iPhone users....

Energous claiming to be able to provide power to multiple devices from three feet away, up to a 30-foot "envelope".

God I love marketing speak. A pint to anyone who can make sense of that.

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IBM loses mainframe docs down the back of the web, customers cry 'sabotage'

Barry Rueger
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Yet Again, The Almighty Cloud.

I truly fear the amount of human knowledge that now only exists on-line. And I can think of many, many resources that have already disappeared entirely due to mergers, bankruptcy, or general stupidity.

Already I find myself downloading or backing up things on-line just in case they suddenly disappear, or because I fear that some new and improved version will replace what I've come to rely on.

If information is important enough, you really should work from the assumption that it up to you to safeguard it rather than trusting unknown persons at IBM or Microsoft.

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

Barry Rueger
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Re: Format of choice for immediate offline reading, easy sharing or simple portability

Where to start...

The reason why PDF is ubiquitous is simple: you can be 99% certain that it will display properly and legibly on any and all computing devices, from monster water-cooled super fast gaming rigs to the lowliest of cheap ass Android phones.

It has been many years since I have heard someone say "Your PDF file won't open on my computer."

Aside from TXT there is no other document type that can make that claim, including some sub-sets of MS Office documents.

(Once had some goof "Web manager" send an MS Project file to a group of 100+ piano teachers. Oh the hilarity that followed!)

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What can you do when the pup of programming becomes the black dog of burnout? Dude, leave

Barry Rueger
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Black Dog is not Burnout

Perhaps being pedantic, but "the black dog" is usually a reference to clinical depression, not burn out. (Though one may influence the other.)

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Barry Rueger
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Re: The Bruce Willis film RED

A stunning number of supposedly secure offices have walls that only go as high as the suspended ceiling. Pop a tile, jump over, drop down on the other side.

Then open the door from the inside and replace the tiles.

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Cardiff chap chucks challenge at chops*-checking cops

Barry Rueger
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But! But!

Think of the children! I mean, the terrorists! I mean the terrorist children!

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Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, 8.1 support forums

Barry Rueger
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I concur with those above!

Since my wife bought a shiny Windows 10 laptop I've had the endless pleasure of trying to make stuff work. The official Windows forums are the absolute worst, and I too have never seen a jot of useful advice from official MS people.

Have you tried turning it off, and on again?

Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn.

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Yahoo! Kills! The! Messenger!

Barry Rueger
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Even fonder memories of the time, before AltaVista and Google, when Yahoo! was the go-to place to find Web sites, the preferred directory.

Yahoo!'s strength was that every listing was approved by a real human, eliminating a lot of utter dreck.

Instead of gaming SEO to get a high ranking you actually had to submit your site to Yahoo! and hope they accepted it.

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NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

Barry Rueger
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Re: The only site that...

Or Lucifer's Hammer (Niven/Pournelle). Must re-read that....

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Four hydrogen + eight caesium clocks = one almost-proven Einstein theory

Barry Rueger
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Facebook's Trending news box follows fired freelancers out the door

Barry Rueger
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One minor problem...

Facebook algorithms consistently feed me ads and "news" that are entirely not of any interest. I can't imagine why any company would advertise there.

Google at least manages to usually send stuff that matches my interests.

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Your F-35s need spare bits? Computer says we'll have you sorted in... a couple of years

Barry Rueger
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Re: I'll have some of that business please

Are they serious £23m per plane to give it a software upgrade or does that include hardware upgrades to allow the software upgrade?

This is a truly bespoke service, and one which avoids the security risks associated with USB sticks or networked connections: each software upgrade will be typed in manually by a technician seated in the plane with a wired keyboard in her/his lap.

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US websites block netizens in Europe: Why are they ghosting EU? It's not you, it's GDPR

Barry Rueger
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TL:DR

As far as I can tell this morning, all of the outraged comments posted here can be distilled down to:

"Hi, I'm that American guy that posts endlessly about how Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft are SLURPING my information, and I'm outraged that the EU refuses to allow Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft to SLURP my information."

(With a smattering of UKIP types of course.)

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About to install the Windows 10 April 2018 Update? You might want to wait a little bit longer

Barry Rueger
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The Real Dilemma

It's fine and dandy for knowledgeable people (or at least those who think they are) to declare that it's better to not install Microsoft upgrades, or at least wait a few months until they've proved themselves.

The challenge is what do you do with Uncle Joe, the average computer user that doesn't want to know the inner workings of his PC, but still wants to be safe? My experience has been that it's better to leave auto-update turned on, and know that regardless of what other problems might emerge, at least any security updates will get applied as quickly as possible.

I guess Uncle Joe's advantage is that he likely has a bog standard PC, unchanged from the day that he bought it, so in most cases updates will just work without too much trouble.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Time to fix the installation process, too !

One cannot expect an OS to install on all PCs without problems.

No, but you should be able to expect that it will install successfully on the majority of non-exotic hardware. If I'm installing on some weird ass custom gaming machine, then yeah, I'll be taking a risk.

If I'm installing on a two year old Dell it really, really should just work.

And should find and set up my printer. Which Win !0 was unable to do.

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Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update downs Chrome, Cortana

Barry Rueger
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Re: Try Linux. - Or DON'T! (My love/hate Linux rant.)

@doublelayer And here's where the problem came from:

Windows, apps, and websites will appear in the first language in the list that they support.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Try Linux. - Or DON'T! (My love/hate Linux rant.)

@doublelayer

If you want to change the language back, you should be able to do the following steps:

I'm trying to find time to jump down that rabbit hole. It's truly bizarre. She enabled another keyboard briefly to type in an eastern European composer's name with the appropriate diacritical marks. I believe she changed it back to US English, as that's what the little widget in the tray says it's set to.

What baffles me is why changing the keyboard language would change some (but not all) of the application names in the Start Menu, and cause some (but not all) applications to operate entirely in Slovak. Logic says it would either change the entire OS to the new language, or just leave it alone.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Try Linux. - Or DON'T! (My love/hate Linux rant.)

E-v-e-r-y ... s-i-n-g-l-e ... t-i-m-e, for over a decade, Linux lets me down.

Ah yes, the inevitable "I tried Linux and it wrecked my computer, burned down my house, neutered my dog, and left town with my wife" guy.

I did a fresh Linux install yesterday. It took fifteen minutes, including updates and disabling Caps Lock. It's rock solid stable, has everything I need on a daily basis, and has a UI that is completely free of the Win 10 mess. By which I mean it's essentially like Windows XP, VISTA, 7 etc.

My computers get updated more or less daily without incident, don't break things, and don't demand a reboot every time.

For the vast majority of people with the vast majority of hardware a move to Linux will be fast, safe, and painless. Unless there's a specific application that you need - accounting, Photoshop (Web based now, does it even it need Windows?), gaming, there is no reason whatsoever for most people to stick with windows.

And, as I speak, Win 10 has translated half the programs on my wife's computer to Slovak language instead of English. I dread trying to fix that mess.

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Did you even sweat, tho? Plaintiffs told to amend claims in Apple headphones suit

Barry Rueger
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Simpler solution.

Sometimes the best course of action is to say "Wow, these are crap," throw then in the trash, and do business with a different company.

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Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

Barry Rueger
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Stuff that matters

It strikes me that two things come to mind when reading these reviews, both of which tend to be ignored.

1) How close is the UI to stock Android (especially the locations for various settings!), or have they "improved" it in new and inexplicable ways?

2) What's the record for continued and timely software updates?

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Apple MacBook butterfly keyboards 'defective', 'prone to fail' – lawsuit

Barry Rueger
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Re: Solution: Morse code

Apple will fix this by the high-profile release of another set of Emoji which can only be accessed through the touchbar.

Please, this is Apple. Surely you mean Animoji!

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Look, we're doing stuff: Facebook suspends 200 super slurper apps

Barry Rueger
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Dubious.

Yet again a tech company leaps up and proclaims a great love of Corporate Responsibility -- after they've been caught.

If Facebook (and other companies) actually cared about user privacy they would have built in protections from the ground up before anyone was able to misuse data.

Or they could have devised a business model in the first place that didn't demand the collection of great volumes of personal data to be profitable.

The only path forward is to regulate the bastards.

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Let's kick the tyres on Google's Android P... It's not an overheating wreck, but UX is tappy

Barry Rueger
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Nuff said

That typifies a design which is very smart, but not always discoverable or usable.

I doubt I am alone in finding that Google products in general, and Android in particular, become less user friendly and more irritating with every version.

I am completely convinced that Android P will remove some things I need, hide settings that I want, and in general make my life less productive.

In particular I do not need or want "notifications" from every single app on the phone, and do not appreciate being harassed endlessly by Google Assistant nagware.

And I do not relish spending an hour or more figuring out how to turn off all of this crap.

Android has long ago become an exercise in "way too clever" over usability. Arguably some recent improvements are closer to "hold my beer, and watch this!"

The sad thing is that there were a few years when Google created genuinely innovative and useful products. Those days are long gone.

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'Computer algo' blamed for 450k UK women failing to receive breast screening invite

Barry Rueger
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Re: 'Computer algo' blamed

No, people write computer programs, people provide the training data and managers sign off and release it. Other managers deploy it.

Thank you for that. It irritates me no end when some catastrophe is blamed on a "computer bug." No, it's the fault of a person who screwed up while writing the program, or the people supervising the project, not a magically appearing "bug."

Worse is when blame is placed on an algorithm. Every choice made by an algorithm is decided by some person, usually for a specific reason. When you get screwed over it's because someone decided you should be, not because HAL decided not to open the pod Bay doors.

All of this leads the general public to think that they're powerless against "computers, " and that problems are caused solely by technology, not by the people who implement it.

Politicians know this, corporations know this, and tech giants especially know this.

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Windows 10 April 2018 Update lands today... ish

Barry Rueger
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Bracing myself...

... for a week of my wife complaining bitterly about whatever gets broken or lost.

Only last week several start menu items started appearing in Slovak instead of English, and running in that language too. Apparently she had briefly enabled a different keyboard in order to properly type a composer's name, and Microsoft took it upon themselves to start translating the whole computer.

God, I do not miss Windows

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Audiophiles have really taken to the warm digital tone of streaming music

Barry Rueger
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Albums. Love 'Em

I've got tons of music in MP3 format sitting on my hard drive, but never seemed to spend much time listening to it. We finally got a stereo system in the living room again and have been working though all of our collected CDs. And yes, a turntable is next.

Listening to a full album of songs selected, recorded and sequenced to the satisfaction of the performer really is a superior experience. Using physical media eliminates the urge to click "next" and skip a song. And of course a CD or LP has album art, notes, and other tangible things that enhance the whole act of listening to music.

In the car though it's radio. Specifically FM, of the community or campus variety, where you find real music enthusiasts who have a deep knowledge of what they're playing and who revel in the chance to share their enthusiasm. Again, it's not random tunes, it's a collection of songs chosen to make a larger picture.

I'm sorry, but algorithms just won't do it.

James Keeleghan playing right now.

And a big shout out ot KFAI in Minneapolis and Vancouver Co-op Radio!

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Reg writer Richard went to the cupboard, seeking a Windows Phone...

Barry Rueger
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Re: Apps

But my bank didn't have an app. Nor did my car, or my heating system, or my accountancy software...

Welcome to my world! (Says every BlackBerry OS user, ever.)

As much as I try to avoid apps in favour of mobile sites, sometimes you need a specific tool and an app is the only way to get it.

Yes, BlackBerry did eventually support Android apps, but it was too little, too late.

The sad thing is that most of what's in the Play store is pretty pathetic, and finding the one tool that actually works in the flood of crapware can be nearly impossible. I would (and do) happily pay for apps if there was some guarantee that they worked, but Google prefers to bury the truly good apps under a stinking pile of useless, malware ridden, half-baked offal.

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BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

Barry Rueger
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Land line usage?

Our local emergency planning people actually still encourage people to have a "land line," ignoring the reality that a significant number of homes either have had nothing but cel phones for years, or have a "home phone" provided as part of their cable or Internet service.

If emergency response is your priority the money is better spent on a robust and redundant wireless network.

Besides, we're paying $95 CDN for Internet and home phone, and another $90 for wireless service. There's no way I'm spending another $60 a month for POTS.

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Productivity knocks: I've got 99 Slacks, but my work's not done

Barry Rueger
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Re: IRC and Usenet

, but in terms of market share they may as well not exist.

Somehow "Usenet" and "market share" were two things I never expected to see together.

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