* Posts by Timo

365 posts • joined 26 Sep 2007


Japan unveils new scheme to speed up adoption of cashless payments


Very analog indeed

When I was in Japan, the suica card was really just a place to store cash. There was not a way to load it with funds directly from a bank, etc. It was not a debit card either. And so every form of payment involved cash at some step. I don't recall if the subway accepted credit cards, I seem to remember that it did not.

The Japanese are also incredibly frugal, and so I imagine they frown on the concept of giving the card processor a cut of the business. Either from the payer or payee's perspective.

Unexpected victory in bagging area: Apple must pay shop workers for time they spend waiting to get frisked


Re: Good

I'm not sure "alienating" is the look they're going for. It may be more about humiliating them in the effort to demonstrate who is the boss.

We've reached the endgame: Bezos 'in talks' to turn shuttered department stores into Amazon warehouses


Catalog pick-up locations

In the 70's both Sears and JCPenney had catalog pick-up locations. I guess because shipping was so expensive. You'd order something from the catalog (!) and it would ship to the closest pickup spot. Where I grew up there was a small pick-up spot in town.

You have to remember that Sears or JCPenney carried every product on the planet, many more than would fit in a store.

So it made me laugh when the ecompanies started putting in pickup kioscs. It was just like the old days.

Nine in ten biz applications harbor out-of-date, unsupported, insecure open-source code, study shows


Software life cycle is like buying someone a puppy

I've always said that software is like buying someone a puppy. It all sounds great when you look at them, they're so cute, etc, and they don't seem to cost that much. But then you get them home and have to buy food for them, and someone has to go pick up after them.

Software is much the same way, its so "fun" to create stuff, but 90%+ of the cost is in maintaining it for the rest of its life. Many companies run in and try to save that initial money by using open source or free stuff, but then they don't realize what they're getting themselves into, in that they're also on the hook to support it and maintain it. If you could do some estimates of those costs over the life, then maybe commercial software with a support contract wouldn't look so expensive. Not to mention the opportunity cost of your people who could be doing other things.

But I suspect that many companies just go for the cheapest up front cost and hope it all works out with no plans at all for maintenance.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2


Been screwed by something similar

There have been a few times where I've received a document by email (usually Excel), and have toiled away editing it, and saving it.

But then if I go back to work on it, I have no idea where it got saved, was it in temp, or downloaded files, or yet another folder that isn't the one that I expected it to be in?

In that case the "recent documents" list is about the only way I can find where that file went.

Thought you'd go online to buy better laptop for home working? Too bad, UK. So did everyone. Laptops, monitors and WLANs fly off shelves


and desks and chairs at IKEA

I'm sitting in my basement working on a folding table and chairs, and there are likely many others in the same situation. I bet there's a run on desks and chairs at IKEA as people get tired of working at the kitchen table (while the rest of the family is home too), or worse, and look to set up something in a far corner of the house.

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!


Re: Shonky-net

I bet they have improved on the process... by emailing the information downstairs. Maybe even had to hire someone to be stationed as the receiver of the info. Government efficiency and all.

How's this for a remote support fix? Solar storm early-warning satellite repaired with million-mile software update



For the early warning part to work... it means that the speed of the solar flares is slower than the speed of light?


Parks and recreation escalate efforts to take back control of field terrorised by thug geese


Federally protected

ISTR that Canada geese are federally protected in the US, so a layperson can't just go move nests or do any harm without severe penalty. So there is an industry of certified goose-botherers that has cropped up, with their dogs or their shotguns with blanks.

Satellite operators' shares plummet as FCC plumps for public 5G spectrum auctions


this will be US-only

Other regions of the world will still be able to keep using C-band, as they have uses for it.

Also - for the US it is only affecting part of the band, this would be 200-300 MHz of the 500-MHz C-band. So there would still be some capacity there if needed.


bent pipe satellites don't work that way

That's not generally how satellites work - they don't use C-band for the terrestrial link and Ku/Ka on the terminal link. I'm saying "generally" because there are some in the recent generation of equipment that do translate.


VSAT uses the Ku or Ka band, as physics of the higher frequencies allows for smaller physical antennas to have much higher gains. Most applications have moved away from C band anyway due to the huge dish required to get usable gain. As people have already noted Ku and Ka are much more susceptible to rain fade, but can be somewhat overcome by power control margins.


Re: There goes international roaming

Mobile device manufacturers certainly could make a device that handles all bands, but it would not be practical. Each band generally needs its own filtering, amplifier and antenna, although a few bands overlap so could be supported without as much work.

So it drives up cost and complexity, and size. And power consumption. It was a huge breakthrough to get 4 bands in a phone.

After 10 years, Google Cloud Print will finally be out of beta... straight into ad giant's graveyard


Of course they'd kill it

It seems that they just made some improvements and it's working great. Time to end it.

I've been using it at home to put an old "classic" printer online, I can print to it from anywhere, and the assorted family machines of tablets and laptops just work. I use it to send myself reminders so when I get home there are receipts and notices waiting on the printer. Dammit.

Ex-Twitter staff charged with spying for Saudi royals: Duo accused of leaking account records, including those of critics


PBS Frontline episode

There was just a documentary in the US about this - on "Frontline".


Seems the new crown prince was (is) looking for ways to finger many people as dissidents.

Not sure if they've got it region-locked but was interesting to watch, if almost 2 hours in duration.

America's 5G auctions will make someone a fortune – but for whom exactly, and who pays?


Life or death for satellite operators

The lives of a few satellite companies hangs in the balance of this decision. Intelsat, for example, is virtually bankrupt on paper but still carries a market value based on.the anticipated value of their C-band spectrum. And that market value (stock price) fluctuates wildly with speculation about this upcoming auction.

Linky revisited: How the evil French smart meter escaped Hell to taunt me


About cutting power

If you allow some leeway in "civilized country", over here on the left side of the pond ComEd does very much have the ability to cut power remotely. I suppose it is both a good and a bad thing.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline


"there was an error message and I clicked on it, what was it?"?

Ahh yes, since you do computers you somehow should know what Windows is telling her.

My mom still does that, even after 20+ years. It's like the computer is one big monolithic box with only one program that runs.

I've been able to use TeamViewer to at least see what she's doing wrong to generate the message. Still haven't found a way to explain the cloud to her and why she can't see all the emails on her phone, that she's moved to her local drive...

Breaking, literally: Microsoft's fix for CPU-hogging Windows bug wrecks desktop search


And lots of bluescreens

Our company pushed out the updates and it more or less stopped us from working. Had an hour or two of reboot, patch, reboot, and then a couple hours of blue screen crashes.

The purple SIM of fail: Virgin Mobile punters left in the dark with batch of borked cards


Why are people swapping SIMs?

Please tell - why are people swapping from their functioning red SIM to the purple ones in the first place? Is it to access a different underlying MNO? The various intricacies of the mobile networks is vast and confusing.

Apple blinks on iPhone repairs, touts parts program for independent tech mechanics... sort of


They may be figuring this out

Apple may be figuring out that they've put themselves in a strange position. They've built their devices out of glass and made them unrepairable. The devices are also so expensive that people are keeping them longer, which would be driving up demand for repairs. (I wonder what the average time to screen breakage is for a $1k phone.)

And due to the escalating price people may be much more likely to replace those things with another vendor, as you have illustrated. So if Apple wants to keep consumers inside their walled garden they need to do something.

Yes, TfL asked people to write down their Oyster passwords – but don't worry, they didn't inhale


Re: Mad

Does "disposed of securely" include dropping the paper into the bin next to the desk? If that it true there may be a goldmine of accounts right there.

Overstock's share price has plummeted. Is it Trump's trade war? Bad results? Nope, its CEO has gone bonkers...


Re: Uncharitable

Overstock is on the list of "most shorted stocks". It's the way to make money on the way down, betting that the stock price will fall.

BOFH: Oh, go on, let's flush all that legacy tech down the toilet


Re: This is both taking the piss..

If they made me pay to go to the loo then I'd probably be fine with leaving it by the door. Or down the wall.

Enjoying that 25Mbps internet speed, America? Oh, it's just 6Mbps? And you're unhappy? Can't imagine why


Re: 6MBps? Luxury!

Why not get a link extender and hang off your neighbor's cable? If you're friendly with them they might be welcome to splitting the cost.

There are a few ways to pick up a point-to-point connection between your two houses and you could appear to have separate networks up to the cable gateway, to minimize security concerns.

We don't mean to poo-poo this, but... The Internet of S**t has literally arrived thanks to Pampers smart diapers


Re: Sleep reporting for infants?

When we had our kids, a buddy that already had 4 in grade school saw our new baby monitor and said "best way to get the kids to sleep through the night is to shit that thing off". His point being that you shouldn't run in for every little squeak they make. Everyone will sleep better.

Could an AI android live forever? What, like your other IT devices?


No copper

I believe you'll find that there is nearly no copper in any of those said cables. Which could be the cause of the failures. Earphone cables made of a single string of copper atoms.

Hot desk hell: Staff spend two weeks a year looking for seats in open-plan offices


This is true

I've worked in a semi open plan office, and what happens is since the noise carries so much everyone uses headphones or earplugs to block out the noise. And it is uncomfortable to have a conversation, even a work one, as you know you're bothering everyone within earshot.

So to avoid breaking the library-like silence you will IM with the person next to you, and send emails all day long. It's really isolating and demotivating as each person is their own island. And if your cellphone rings you get to run to find a phone room, wasting a lot of time in the process.

Except for the sales teams who love the open plan and chatter all day long.

A real head-scratcher: Tech support called in because emails 'aren't showing timestamps'


Came here to say just that

This was mid-90's and one of the managers at our customer site would do something similar. He was a paper based person and would have his secretary print the emails, to which then he would spend time studying and filing them. I don't remember if he was capable of responding to them all by himself or not. He was a simple man in a bewildering world.

His predecessor was much more advanced in terms of technology - that guy would queue up a bunch of documents with the secretary to be faxed at certain intervals during the day, and then he'd be off to the golf course.

Apple disables iPad for 48 years after toddler runs amok


Three year olds can't read

They can't read, but they can sure figure things out. So the child would not have been able to understand the error or lockout message.

It's wild, everyone else (parents) have been reading for basically forever, and it is easy to overlook that fact when encountering a situation where the ability to read is (urgently) needed.

Town admits 'a poor decision was made' after baseball field set on fire to 'dry' it more quickly


Quick dry

There is a product called Quick Dry that will rapidly soak up the water in a damp field. Go Google it.

Also helps to get out with a rake and work on the low spots, spreading out the wetness.

It takes more than a few minutes to work, so some planning ahead is needed. Rake and put down quick-dry, then wait a few hours. It is effective but won't make miracles happen.

My kids have played spring softball and those fields are just unplayable a lot.

Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that


What, no three way call faux pas?

I'm sort of surprised that nobody has offered up this one: it was common to "tap" someone into a call, making it a three-day call. And by "tapping" again you usually dropped the third party.

But not this time. We were in a meeting, calling anther office, when it came up that we needed some information from a co-worker who was not particularly fit for her job. Tapped her on, asked the question and got a response, then boss tapped to drop her from the call and said something to the effect of "man I hate working with her she is such a pain to work with", only to hear a response of "hey Bob I'm still on the line". Much backpedaling ensued.

From then on it was determined that it was better to hang up completely and redial the first call then to risk getting caught with the third party still engaged.

It's 2019, and a PNG file can pwn your Android smartphone or tablet: Patch me if you can



My aging Moto phone on 7.1.1 says that it's security patches are from June 2018!?!

I bet it will be the 32nd of NEVER when the next set of security updates will be released. Might as well leave the barn door wide open.

Jammy dodgers: Boffin warns of auto autos congesting cities to avoid parking fees


Re: Captain Obvious hits back?

Dear AC, I think your two ideas, while good, appear to be completely contradictory. If autonomous cars are not allowed to roam the streets without passengers, how will they legally be able to go park themselves after disgorging said passengers?

And I bet that will be how government will attempt to regulate it.

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss


Re: I did use Edge...

I also used Edge as it came with a new work laptop. It did seem faster and fairly integrated. But after the silent "upgrades" blew away my bookmark files for the third or fourth time, I decided it wasn't polished enough to be ready for actual use. Too many other options out there that don't shit the bed on the easy stuff.

Is Apple going ease off its HomeKit chokehold? Sure looks like it...


will need hubs or gateways?

I think you will still need at least one hub or gateway/bridge to get the IPv6 packets out of your network and into the mesh, won't you? It does help clear up compatibility concerns, and the clutter and expense of having to buy a different wireless bridge with each brand of smart home device. I bet the the HomeKit devices were more expensive to manufacture because of the chip and its licensing costs, making them either higher priced and uncompetitive, or lower margin, so would have been a deterrent to manufacturers.

CableLabs sends its time lords to help small-cell mobile nets


Tight timing needed

For the higher throughput 4G and 5G situations the user device will often be receiving multiple streams of data from multiple sites.

Also in order to improve throughout at the edge of a cell's coverage it means that the interference from adjacent sites must be managed and coordinated. With LTE's OFDM structure it can mean that other sites will not transmit in certain time or frequency subgroups so that the air is clear for the mobile to hear from it's serving site, thus requiring incredibly tight timing to pull it off.

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


using microwaves to charge your phone

I heard that Apple products could be rapid-charged by putting them in the microwave for 20 seconds!

But what if that really worked? And why is there no internet urban myth about that?

1 in 5 Michigan state staffers fail phishing test but that's OK apparently


In other news

11 out of 6 people are bad at math

Airbus CIO: We dumped Microsoft Office not over cost but because Google G Suite looks sweet


Re: Exell or not with Excel

A large company will have a dedicated accounting system, but as soon as the beancounters need to make sense out of some info they'll dump it into an Excel file and massage it into a report.

Probably not the best tool for the job, but the one that people can get around on.

A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it


Re: Back to basics

Could it be something going on with the network? Since that phone is packed with radios, any change in the RF conditions or configuration of the networks might adversely affect the battery drain. The lower your received signal the higher it will need to transmit to get back to the tower. Same if the operator has configured the system to ask the phone to register with the network .

Put a phone in a metal box and it will drain the battery searching for a signal and trying to reach any tower it might find.

From tomorrow, Google Chrome will block crud ads. Here's how it'll work


OpenDNS at the firewall

OpenDNS is free, sure they scrape your queries, but I find that there are settings in it that hobble many of the most obnoxious ads and don't break much. They also steer you clear of malware sites, and others if you wish. I have been blocking doubleclick domain resolution as well, and it cut back on the ads without breaking much of anything.

Configure your firewall to use it for DNS instead of your ISP's, and then for extra umph set up the firewall to funnel all DNS queries through it (individual devices and smartphones can select their own.) All of a sudden your internet got a cleaner.

BOFH: We want you to know you have our full support


All true

Amazon product reviews mimic this exactly, as do everything on the Microsoft web page.

I haven't figured out the ones that come back with "I don't have the problem you describe and I don't even own this product, but it seems like it might/should work for you."

I think it is because there is some sort of community pissing contest where people are ranked based on the number of comments, regardless of their helpfulness.

You did miss the usual Microsoft support site canned reply of "I can't/won't help you unless you spend the next 5 hours dumping all of these logfiles and tracking down a long list of details." Those copy/paste-tards usually are able to do everything EXCEPT actually help.

'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'


Re: Improbable - disagree

We let the smoke out of a bunch of lab equipment, many times. I was working at a company that supplied equipment for airplanes, which run at 120V, 400 Hz, and we would have to run our checks from a PC connected by a serial line (120V 60Hz).

To save money on the 400 Hz system they did not tie the grounds together, and you can imagine what happened. Plug the device under test into 120V 400Hz, then connect the serial port to the device, and nothing would work. Blown serial port. We got really good a replacing plug-in serial boards, because we blew them out so often. Maybe once or twice we would blow a power supply, or in those days pop a fuse. the one 400 Hz power outlet gained a huge note "FLOATING GROUND".

Magic Leap blows our mind with its incredible technology... that still doesn't f**king exist


Hyperbole aplenty

The last time I recall getting this amount of hype and superlatives was with the Segway. It was going to revolutionize walking or something, and be bigger than the Internet. And it too was delayed, to heighten the hype and drama.

And didn't it have some nickname too that played on the magicalness of it all, wasn't it Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers type of "secret hype code name"?

Apple succeeds in failing wearables


I'd like to fail like this

Even though they're a failure they still sold over 3 million blingpieces in a quarter of the year. I wish I was such a failure.

Online outrage makes Logitech drop a brick: Now it will replace slain Harmony Link gizmos


why did it need the cloud

Seriously I have the question of why it needed "the cloud" in the first place. Not owning any Logitech remotes I assumed that the cloud link was so that the user could go to the cloud and download profiles for new types of remotes to impersonate. In which case the cloud access would be pretty useful. Is that true?

It would still suck to orphan them though.

One-third of mobile users receive patchy to no indoor coverage


Yes that is true. But the places where you likely need it the most are home and work, and presumably you're already set up on those networks. In practice I sometimes found out that I had low/no coverage and would then connect to the nearest hotspot.

There are some of the new disruptive cellular alternatives (Google Fi) that prefer a WiFi connection and will log in automatically if they have deals with those network providers.

Robot takes the job of sitting on your arse


other names

What about:

The Butt-ler


Robo-butt, Ro-Butt

With flames shooting out of its arse.

Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?


agree completely

We have three Roku boxes in the house. They're the quickest and easiest way to get smarts in a TV. Plug them in and they work.

Started with Roku3 so we could stream Netflix, then a Roku1 to smartify an old projector to watch movies outside on the garage. Just upgraded a couple months ago to a Roku Stick ($45 USD), and honestly it does everything the Roku1 it replaced did, just a little bit faster. And that's about it. I loaded Plex on a machine and serve up a hundred or more movies for watching around the house. I specifically didn't go all the way up-range since they all do basically the same thing.

I am waiting for some of the usual cable channel providers to de-couple themselves from cable and allow direct subscriptions. Roku may be in the best place with their content-agnostic strategy, any provider could come up with their own app and you subscribe directly (many offer streaming apps and for now you authenticate using your cable TV account, which is really strange.) PBS has an app but it could be better, and as you mention the Roku is blind to it. The overall user experience becomes handicapped by the quality and eccentricities of the app itself (Netflix's app is both good and frustrating at the same time). The Roku search function does well to find a certain show across all of the online libraries. In general it works but the seems to be nothing breathtaking about it. Casting is convenient but my Android phones don't seem to support it.

You may not have experienced the oddities of the Roku app and how it struggles for control with the included remote. There's just something about how it is a dumb remote rather than an extension of the interface that is baffling to me. In my experience Tivo has a much better Android-app remote where it acts as a smart extension of the controls.



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