* Posts by Syd

90 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Oct 2007


UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal


Re: Can tell when you're within 6' of an infected person? Skeptical.


And then what's going to happen when EVERYONE in an apartment block gets a notification (at the same time!) telling them they are under de-facto house arrest for 2 weeks?

Will they...

a) calmly accept it;

or b) go on a witch-hunt?

Answers on a postcard, postmarked Salem, MA!

if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders


Baked In

This was baked-in from the very beginning. Jeff Atwood said he wanted to make it like playing XBox Live (or whatever it was called back then), and that is what he did. I was part of the original closed beta and I quit after a couple of weeks, emailing Jeff to warn him that it was already becoming toxic for anyone who wasn't an "Alpha Male". To be fair, he was apologetic... but nothing changed because that _was_ his vision, and as far as I can see nothing has changed in all the years since.

WhatsApp irons a shirt, dons a suit, prepares business services


This is potentially interesting, even at cost - a lot of businesses spend a fair bit of money on SMS notifications ("Your appointment is at...", "Your delivery is scheduled for...", "Thank you for your payment of...") - so it only has to be cheaper than SMS to get businesses very interested.

Google's video recognition AI is trivially trollable


Isn't this more of a tiny "bug" than a fundamental problem? Like the old trick of putting misleading stuff in the HTML meta-tags, the defeat is easily defeated - just ignore frames that are out of place?

Of course there will potentially be an arms-race, just as there still is in trying to... er... "optimise" Google search results; but that doesn't mean Google search is fundamentally broken, any more than this is?

Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'


Re: Yellows, no

"If you can safely proceed through the intersection, you should do so. "

You aren't going to like this, but this is exactly backwards I'm afraid.


"AMBER means ‘Stop’ at the stop line. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident"

(And if you don't understand the difference between "you should go unless..." and "you should stop unless..." then I hope to God I never have to use any software written by you.)

Autonomous cars are about to do to transport what the internet did to information


" That sweet spot means we will be able to use an app to summon a vehicle anywhere, at any time, at a price that will be very inexpensive, because all human labor has been taken out of the equation."

How would these cars stay clean? Self-cleaning seems unlikely; and people won't keep them clean, because they won't have "ownership" (if you don't believe me... check my office bathroom at 6pm!) So either people *will* "own" them (because they will want them to stay clean*) or there will still have to be humans to clean them. (Suspect the former... not least because the car companies will want to keep the market as large as possible... even before we get to the issue of people wanting the status that comes with a particular vehicle.)

* I know many people don't _appear_ to keep their cars clean, but when it is your own mess, it somehow feels clean even if it isn't!

Top VW exec blames car pollution cheatware scandal on 'a couple of software engineers'


Re: "From my point of view" ... WUH?

Pretty sure he wasn't suggesting they would patent the defeat device - they would patent whatever it was in the engine which made it run much cleaner than any of their competitors for the same performance.

GCHQ wants to set your passwords. In a good way


Someone Tell PCI

Totally agree with all this; but others need to come on board with the same sense - in my case, PCI, which is the source of all the stupid requirements I've had to implement over the past few years, including all the "secure but actually insecure" things described above, like having to include punctuation and forcing a change of password every 6 months.

Let it go, let it go ... Sales of games, video and music up for second year


If Frozen is a 'kid flick'...

... then dose this 40-year-old guy up with popcorn and (diet) coke and call him a big kid, 'cos I loved it!

DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life



My (10yo) son got Minecraft working on the latest Ubuntu - he even (after much swearing) persuaded some mods to work. It was a very good exercise actually - forced him to learn stuff about how it all works.

The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+


They don't JUST need a roadmap...

... they need a roadmap devs will actually believe; and given MS's corporate ADHD* over the past few years this is the root of the problem.

(* The next big thing is... Winforms... oh no, sorry, it's actually Silverlight... oh no, sorry, it's actually WPF... oh no, sorry, it's actually RT...)

Microsoft: TypeScript isn't a JavaScript killer



I respect AH enormously - clearly one of the geniuses of our profession. And I love C#. But I'm not even going to waste my time looking at this, because I just don't trust Microsoft to follow-through any more - they've cried wolf too many times over the past few years.

Atlas... Silverlight... WPF... Metro... TypeScript.

It's like a bad case of framework ADHD.

Rumour: Asus rejects $99 Nexus 7... rumour


Re: "Google Play shop to which the Nexus 7 is tightly tied"

While this is clearly correct, it isn't quite the full story - you have to manually turn on 'Allow unknown sources' in the security settings; and when you do so it presents you with quite a severe "security warning" dialog, which basically says that you are putting your device and your data at risk by doing this; so I can't see many non-techies doing it, to be honest, which makes it "psychologically tied", shall we say, even if not physically tied.

Lowery: The blue-collar musician at the eye of the copyright storm


Re: "get a real job" ? Interesting concept ..

Actually, the upper-end of the medical profession (surgeons/ dental surgeons/ etc.) are *highly* vulnerable to being replaced by technology within the next 50 years. You will be diagnosed by a computer that scans your body, and you will be operated on by nanobots which don't even need to break the skin. It is going to be an interesting process too - I don't expect the medical profession to go down without a fight; but go down they will.

Dish Networks locks horns with broadcasters over ad skipping


Careful What You Wish For (The Facebook Problem)

One of the reasons we all jumped to Facebook from mySpace was the ads - they were much more discreet on FB, but this also meant that FB's ads were much less effective, so FB had to resort to more... er... 'artful' ways of making money.

So, if you think product placements are bad now, just wait until the TV networks can't make anything on regular advertising because of tech like this.

Amazon takes on Microsoft Azure head on


Analysis Services?

Are they planning to support SSAS? (Which The-Artist-Formerly-Know-As-Azure doesn't.)

Apple blocking Dropbox SDK over in-app buying


You can't use the Amazon app to buy Kindle books, 'cos they can be used on the device.


Re: Children

Well, the Kindle iPhone app had to disable the links; which certainly implies it isn't allowed, as it is ruinous to the user experience, so they would only have done it if 'forced'.

iTunes fanbois outraged by Apple's sex-life quiz probe


Re: Dealing With The Silly Aspects of The World

"I have often resorted to the tag '<name of company>Cr*p'. Oddly enough I have no trouble remembering that one!"

Won't work - it demands a different answer to each question.


Re: er ....

No, of course, but you ARE supposed to give the EXACT same answer.

Will you really remember in 5 years time whether you typed "On my arse" or "On the arse"?

(Security questions aren't silly in principle, but ones with ambiguous answers are!)

Extended software support 'immoral and indefensible'


“… extended support fees are a cynical ploy by the ISVs to extract more cash from their customers.”

Garner, in contrast, are a charity who give all their stuff away for free.

C'mon - let's get real here - everyone knows that this is basically a "hire purchase" model by any other name, and everyone is happy with that - if they weren't, then they wouldn't buy! Or they'd buy, but be prepared to may MUCH more up-front... which (speaking as a director of one-such ISV) they won't, because they don't have the cash up front.

Hands on with the Apple iPad 3


Does dictation require an internet connection?

(Asked in the other thread and didn't get an answer there!)

'The new iPad' revealed: Full specs, rumor scorecard


Dictation Requires Internet?

Has anyone worked out whether the dictation features requires an internet connection?

(No reason in theory why it should - voice-rec software is available stand-alone for PC.)

iPhone demand strong months after 4S release


BB Poor Satisfaction = Misleading

Isn't BB's poor satisfaction rating due to the fact that an awful lot of them will be corporate-issued 'work' phones, about which the user had little choice?

Biker gang plunders Covent Garden Apple Store


How Inconsiderate!

They could at least have held-off the raid until a suitable mourning period had elapsed - I'd suggest perhaps one-to-two weeks might have been more appropriate.

School caned for losing 20K details


9 People/ Pupil?

Probably at least half of the data was expired - i.e. pupils who have left. That leaves 4/ pupil, which sounds about right - IIRC our son's school wanted details of two grandparents as well as parents, in case both parents die simultaneously, which happens more often that we would want to believe, e.g. in as car accident.

Amazon Kindle Lighted Leather Cover


This is because...

... the unlit case used the same connectors (which connect directly to the battery, thus allowing the light to... er... light up in the lit version) but with the unlit case, the connectors were painted-over with resistive (is that a word???) paint.

However, with the unlit case, the resistive paint wore off, shorting the battery and causing the Kindle to (technical term alert!) go squiffy.

The lit case will obviously not do this, because there is a switch/ bulb in the way of the 'short' connection!

Ten... festival survival gadgets



... I also used one in Bangalore recently. The high-pitched hum was audible to me, but it did seem to be effective so I lived with the temporary tinnitus... which if you are at a festival, you probably have anyway!!

Facebook's mega-billion-dollar bubble ... will it float?


The bicycle & courting

> The bicycle has been called the greatest contribution to the health of the working classes ever: it allowed courting outside the home village for the first time

This is a myth, according to Prof. Kevin Schurer (University of Essex Dept. of History) who knows far more about these things than any normal person should!

People married outside their village plenty in the Tudor period - there were exceptions of course, in particular communities, but in most places people would commonly marry up to 100 miles away... although rarely in the NEXT-DOOR village, oddly - presumably because of local rivalries!

(Have summed-up years of Prof. Schurer's research in a few lines - hope I haven't misrepresented it too much!)

Menorcan politician flashes substantial chesticles


Aren't El Reg...

... under some sort of legal obligation to mirror the page under these circumstances?

Dig deep! Radio asks taxpayers for blank cheque


And even if you buy a new car...

... it won't necessarily have DAB - my wife's brand new, top-of-the-range Nissan doesn't!

Ion readies book scanner for e-book buffs



So I could scan the book I'm reading at the moment (The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton) in... let's see... factoring in 10 seconds for a page turn (probably very optimistic)... ignoring sleep and the endless hours in on the phisio's table recovering from the resulting RSI... 3 days!

WTF is... up with e-book pricing?



You don't seriously believe that if you'll be able to download (for nothing) the same books that you bought for Kindle in 2010 onto 'Son of Kindle III' in 2020?

"Oh sorry - that isn't the same book - we upgrade the print to a high-definition format, with color capability, so you need to pay again!"

US smartphones – Once you’ve had Android there’s no going back


Android = Poor Man's iPhone

This proves nothing except that some Android phones are much cheaper than an iPhone. The only Android phone which is making any traction in the real-world is the Sony X10 Mini, because it is small. Outside of that, I would be willing to bet at well over 90% of 'normal' Android users (i.e. not techies) would swap to an iPhone in a heartbeat if the price was the same. Basically, the Android is an iPhone for people who can't afford an iPhone.

Apple iPod Nano 6G

Jobs Horns

Bad Idea?

Not from where (Evil) Steve is standing!!


Video Playback

I might have bought this to replace my 3rd Gen Nano, but I actually *do* use the video playback when I'm on the road - I'm not sure I'd want to watch a movie on it, but for shorter bites, like a TV box-set, it does the job, so no sell!

Ten Essential... Symbian Apps


As an E71 Owner

I have to say that this just demonstrates the paucity of what is available, compared to the iPhone or even a gPhone.

Admittedly, the OVI Store is an improvement on what went before, but...

/ Green-eyed monster of jealously icon!

London bike hire scheme suffers pre-launch wobbles


Thanks For Clarifying

So, not "completely bonkers" then! (To quote my earlier post!)

(We need a 'Jaffa Cake' icon - they have one on mumsnet, you know!! Or... er... so I'm told, by... er... friends!!)


£1 Per Day?

£365 per year? Just to be registered to hire a bike for a further £x per hour?

I've misunderstood this, right?

Or are they really that completely bonkers?

BBC chief acknowledges DAB flop & internet radio


Sorry I'm Late, Boss

But my internet connection was down, so my alarm didn't go off!

ID cards poster girl laments her £30


Obviously Doomed?

While I agree with the general sentiments entirely, which I think could be neatly summed up as: Ha-ha!

Nevertheless... "obviously doomed"?

Do you really believe that a majority conservative government would have scrapped them?

'Cos... given who tried to introduce them in the first place, 20-odd years ago... I don't!!

Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad



... it doesn't work as a stand-alone computer, does it? You can't upload photos from your digital camera; you can't back-up your documents; you can't copy-over your existing music collection; etc. etc. etc... UNLESS you have (and can use) another "real" computer.

.NET for iPad stretches to Google's Android


"it's become unclear whether MonoTouch is actually allowed on the Jobsian machine"

Is anyone able to explain why there would any doubt whatsoever that it is NOT allowed? The Ts&Cs explicitly say "Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript".

Carmakers boost e-car noise standards for vision-impaired

Paris Hilton

I just have this funny feeling...

... that if we were in the process of moving from electric to gasoline, the world would be up in arms about how noisy internal combustion engines are, and we'd be devising regulations to force them towards silence.

(Paris... because...oh damn it - I can't think of a funny reason!)

ASA bans tyrannical German boss ad


Ever so slightly off-topic

Whenever I think of The Germans, I always have this feeling of great sadness - knowing that I will never, ever (even if I live to be 100) laugh so much again, as I did when I first heard the line 'Yes you did - you invaded Poland.'

Off topic, I know, but... you started it!!!

Guinness to hit three quid a pint


Is Tony Brookes...

... in favor of the OTHER recommendation - that pup opening ours be re-restricted?

Hmmm? No? Funny that!

Hackers break Amazon's Kindle DRM

Thumb Up


10 years ago, I worked on the e-commerce system at dev tools specialist ComponentSource, and it was exactly the same issue. The main reason we put the DRM on was because otherwise no one would give us a license to sell their stuff on-line.

A decade to forget - how Microsoft lost its mojo


Xbox challenging Sony


You mean, in the sense of Homer Simpson challenging Jean Luc Piccard over a comb; while Nintendo roll around in swimming pools filled with hundred dollar bills.

UK e-Borders scheme thrown into confusion by EU rules

Black Helicopters

In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz...