* Posts by John H Woods

3069 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: DAB Is dead in the water

yep - in my experience 3G/4G internet radio works better in the car than DAB.

Dutch national broadcaster saw ad revenue rise when it stopped tracking users. It's meant to work like that, right?

John H Woods Silver badge

makes sense

Targeting probably works best for campaigns, when you can benefit from repeatedly hitting the target with similar messages. Much less useful to advertise an endless succession of crimping tools to someone who has just bought a crimping tool.

Euro police forces infiltrated encrypted phone biz – and now 'criminal' EncroChat users are being rounded up

John H Woods Silver badge

re: Except the rubbery ones.

Except Halloumi, which is both rubbery and excellent

One map to rule them all: UK's Ordnance Survey rolls out its Data Hub and the juicy API goodness that lies therein

John H Woods Silver badge

re: proprietary product

Sure W3W is proprietary, but the general principle of being able to convert numerical grid references to words is not proprietary, whatever W3W think (and I'm no fan of their litigious approach). You don't really need maps at all for an address database, you just need a coordinate system.

OS already has a decent coordinate system, AAnnnnnn which gives you a 100x100m box. Maybe we shoud see if there is some way of adding a couple of numbers to a postcode to make it more precise?

I know the biggest outcode is IV27, over 3600km² . I don't know about the size of the incodes (although I know they only contain 70 actual letterboxes) so, if all had an official number (I suspect they don't), that number modulo 70 would tie to an actual letterbox.

Out in the country, though, it's still problematic. UK is about 250000km² so you need to address about 25 billion 10m² boxes. Maybe 8 digit case-insensitive alphanumerics (excluding 1,0,I,O) would do? If we factored enormous postcodes like IV27 we could maybe get down to Outcode + 4 alphanumerics?

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Could this become the official UK postcode and address database?

Have you seen What 3 Words?

'It's really hard to find maintainers...' Linus Torvalds ponders the future of Linux

John H Woods Silver badge

re: where to begin

And that is what the greybeards need to spend their remaining working years doing - creating the in-depth documentation, examples, etc that are needed for new talent to get into this field.

One does not simply repurpose an entire internet constellation for sat-nav, but UK might have a go anyway

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Brexit sat-nav eh?

"Mines the one with the list of prepared jokes in the pocket."

Ah yes, I thought you must have left it in the cloakroom

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: £92m

Following the links from the article, it seems to have originated on this .gov.uk page

EDIT: Reading that page it appears the study is of 18 months duration, so if it really cost £92m thats 200 FTEs at £150/hr

John H Woods Silver badge

Re assume...

"the possibility that the government has considered this after consulting experts in the field and may have ideas beyond the obvious"

something something extraoardinary claims extraordinary evidence? Ok, I'm exaggerating, but I don't think it's a fundamentally safe assumption, even if it isn't that out of the ordinary.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: This is why we can't have nice things.

It's not just wild animals - it's other peoples animals. I know lots of cases of horses that have become seriously ill or even died because well-meaning people think that they might like oaty bars or grass clippings. Unfortunately, horses eat tasty things and, unlike dogs, can't vomit.

TikTok boom: Brits spent a quarter of their waking hours in lockdown online – Ofcom

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: How do they specify time spent online?

Yep, I should imagine I'm more or less online whenever my eyes are open. E-books count, right?

The state of OpenPGP key servers: Kristian, can you renew my certificate? A month later: Kristian? Ten days later: Too late, it’s expired

John H Woods Silver badge

Not just open source...

For instance, I love CodeSector's "Maverick" Android mapping app - but the developer appears to have gone awol. Such a shame.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: I clicked on 'Accept All Cookies'.

No, just cookies

John H Woods Silver badge

hypocrisy ...

... it's so galling, it's always hard to remember that it doesn't invalidate the point. When my fat, alcoholic doctor tells me to excercise more and drink less I know on an intellectual level that it's still good advice, but my instinctive response is to dismiss it.

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: distance and signal strength

"Radio waves in free space travel at the speed of light - approx 1 foot per nanosecond. To be able to tell the difference between a proximity of, say, 3m and 2m, the system would need a timing resolution of 3ns or better."

Yes - but I have a relatively inexpensive laser measure (5% the price of a new phone) that matches my tape measure to 1mm over anything from 1cm to 80m. Presumably that's done by timing? I can't see how it could be done by divergence measurement or anything else. Don't modern chips have highly accurate hardware timing? Don't you need a clock that good for meaningful GPS, anyway?

Again, genuine Qs, just interested.

John H Woods Silver badge

distance and signal strength

Genuine Q

Why are we using signal strength to estimate the differences between devices? Do most phones not have the clock resolution to do it with timing?

The incumbent President of the United States of America ran now-banned Facebook ads loaded with Nazi references

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: I didn't know of the triangle badges in the prison camps

Nazis hated Socialists. It's a fact.

No surprise: Britain ditches central database model for virus contact-tracing apps in favour of Apple-Google API

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: echo chamber ...

Echo chamber (n): forum where most people disagree with your opinion.

Consensus (n): forum where most people agree with your opinion

John H Woods Silver badge

Re:putting oneself forward as an MP

To get elected round here you have to be the Conservative Party candidate. However, if you are the Conservative Party candidate, you will be elected.

About half of our population live in seats where it doesn't matter how you vote nationally and local power is minimal. That is why voter engagement is so low.

The girl with the dragnet tattoo: How a TV news clip, Insta snaps, a glimpse of a tat and a T-shirt sold on Etsy led FBI to alleged cop car arsonist

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Hitler a communist, hah!

Well he killed all the communists - just saying.

Sorry: Nazis=Extreme Left isn't a valid point of view any more than World=Flat. Someone has already made the incorrect assertion that Hitler wanted state control of everything.

1) that isn't the definition of left wing - there are right authoritarian states too. (Saudi Arabia?)

2) let's have one piece of *actual* evidence that Hitler was a Leftie.

PS: there are no end of bad Leftie leaders - Stalin was a pretty good example.

No Wiggle room: Two weeks after angry bike shop customers report mystery orders on their accounts, firm confirms payment cards delinked

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: There is no breach

"The one with the debit card is normally empty"

That's a good strategy, but you usually have a *lot* more comeback for online shopping with a credit card than with a debit card.

GitHub to replace master with main across its services

John H Woods Silver badge

I understand the irritation...

I'm a pedant - I'm annoyed that 'begging the question' has come to mean 'raising the question' so I now have to either say petitio principii or use some cumbersome phrase. I'm annoyed that politicians have changed the meaning of 'refute' to 'deny'. I'm annoyed that 'hacking' now seems to mean just the bad sort. I'm annoyed I can't say 'niggardly' even though its etymology is innocent. I could go on but I can almost hear you begging me not to.

However, we have to wonder why some people seem to be more offended by the move from master to main than non-white people actually were about the term master (if they were). I'm sure it can only be because people some kind of implicit criticism: the way that many people in my village are more worried that they might be considered a racist than they are about saying things that might be considered racist. But absolutely no criticism is implied. BLM aren't campaigning for these changes. They aren't campaignining for statue removal. They are campaigning for equality.

Look, I'm no expert - I'm almost a stereotypical gammon - middle aged, fat, bald, married with kids, cis-hetero white male. My best friend, who is of Jamaican decent, isn't offended by anything. He's supremely easy going - if he smoked joints he would be stereotypically Jamaican. But I very clearly remember, when I was 14 and he was 15 and we were looking at family trees, and I was laughing at his very non-Jamaican surname, when I realised that's because it's the name of the plantation owner who owned his male ancestors. That was a shock that I can't get over.

Perhaps its stupid to change master to main. But perhaps it shows we are at least thinking about these things, and maybe that is the most important thing we can do.

In Hancock's half-hour, Dido Harding offers hollow laughs: Cake distracts test-and-trace boss at UK COVID-19 briefing

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: "......worst death toll in Europe"

Sorry but when criticicising comparisons between NZ and UK, the different national population density is almost irrelevant. I won't bore you with the biology and the maths but just consider 10,000 people in a Lunar base: the moon would make Greenland look crowded, but Covid19 would still be a very serious problem.

Facebook's cool with sharing the President's nonsense on its mega-platform – but don't you dare mention 'unionize' in its Workplace app

John H Woods Silver badge

Please explain *yourself*

"Supporting women is now considered hate speech" - no it isn't

"Twitter removes people whose opinions don't conform" - some non-conforming opinions are removed, but for reasons rather more substantial (whether one agrees or not) than nonconformity.

"Why do you post as anonymous?" - I dunno why they did, and it's of no importance to me. But I would point out that you have also posted as anonymous, so you surely you might have some insight?

"Ayn Rand understood ... " no, she didn't. There's no indication in that execrable ouvre that she had much understanding of very much at all: not even how to write well.

Sony reveals PlayStation 5 will offer heretical no-optical-disk option. And yes, it has an AMD CPU-GPU combo

John H Woods Silver badge

re: Hideous waste of resources ...

... not to mention the ensuing unecessary material (largely unrecyclable plastic) waste

Huawei's latest smartphone for the UK market costs £1,299. And yes, that's without Google apps

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: It's a marketing coup

Yep, if you like Huawei but also like thrift, go for their Honor sub-brand. Son's got an Honor nearly as good as the equivalent Huawei for half the price, and I've got a perfectly servicable smartwatch (Honor Band 5) for less than the price of a bottle of half-decent gin (£30).

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: practically worthless in about 2 years ...

... which will be exactly the right time to consider buying one!

Huawei launches UK charm offensive: We've provided 2G, 3G and 4G for 20 years, and you're worried about 5G?

John H Woods Silver badge

Surely ...

... sensitive data is encrypted? Are we just worried about the metadata?

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: The bigger issue is rising Chinese power

"Corbyn wasn't listed as 'unelectable', and replaced, he really did lose a free and fair election by a massive margin, to the point that constituencies which had been labour since WW2 were lost."

Not a Corbyn fan but we have to be clear what you mean by "massive margin" -- it was a massive margin in seats and really not nearly so massive in votes. I personally don't think that the fact there can be such a disparity between votes and seats is hardly indicative of "fair" elections. In fact half the seats in the UK are 'safe seats' so I think we bang on about our democracy at our peril. Our democracy is rubbish.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

John H Woods Silver badge

Never mind coders...

... can we please have management stop referring to things as the Final Solution?

Moore's Law is deader than corduroy bell bottoms. But with a bit of smart coding it's not the end of the road

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: So what's the point other that Python & Java suck at calculations?

Smalltalk is always my go-to --- 'notoriously' slow but very powerful and easy to knock something up.

1966 seconds for a single threaded effort on a aging i5 whilst I was doing something else. Come on, is Python really that bad? I was going to try to learn it!

Maybe before we try to improve our algorithms (and there's some pretty clever stuff you can do with matrices) we should ensure our languages aren't taking the mickey.

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

John H Woods Silver badge

re "culture of impunity"

Yes, the establishment do seem to get away with a lot... herd impunity?

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Heads ought to roll

IANAL but I was informed online by someone who claims to be, that where people's lives have been impacted, from stress to suicide, Crown Immunity does usually not apply. He taught me two things I didn't know: there is a thing call crown censure and also that protection from prosecution does not extend to Crown employees (and, in the process, convinced me that he quite possibly was a laywer!)

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

John H Woods Silver badge

He is a pedo ...

Person Exporting Devices to Orbit

$5bn+ sueball bounces into Google's court over claims it continues to track netizens in 'private browsing mode'

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Forensic analysis of Google Chrome's Incognito Mode

"Therefore, they are going to track you no matter what. "

Ok, fine. So don't have an "incognito mode" then. Chrome says:

Your activity might still be visible to:

Websites you visit

Your employer or school

Your internet service provider

It doesn't say anything about "and we [Google] will still track you"

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Stupid web developers

So ... is there any reason why pro-privacy groups can't mirror those frameworks on other servers where the request isn't tracked? (no sarc, genuine question - I just don't know)

Devuan Beowulf 3.0 release continues to resist the Debian fork's Grendel – systemd

John H Woods Silver badge

multiple monoliths

systemd, snap and even the Linux kernel itself all seem pretty monolithic to me. Is this the new "microkernel" architecture, then, made out of a few big blocks?

I'm very far from being anything like an expert in OS matters so perhaps someone can assist my understanding ... If systemd provides all the essential services userspace needs to make effective use of the Linux kernel, why isn't it part of the kernel? On the other hand, if it's important that these sorts of services are kept separate from the kernel might that not imply they should be kept separate from each other and not all bound up into another monolithic layer?

Privacy activists prep legal challenge against UK plan to keep coronavirus contact-tracing data for two decades

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Optimists

Dido Harding DOES have a really solid reputation when it comes to PII

As anti-brutality protests fill streets of American cities, netizens cram police app with K-Pop, airwaves with NWA

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

I can well believe criminals could find the money for a Greyhound to an area where they thought they would be able to commit larceny, or even felony, with relative impunity. But it seems to me unlikely (although I am open to persuasion) that anybody is paying them: first question: Cui Bono? second question: why hasn't anyone already spilled the beans on these secret networks?

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

John H Woods Silver badge

I agree ...

... but I quite like alternate line background shading when lines get >100 chars or so - like we use in wide tables. Thank goodness for stripes.el. What, we don't all use emacs as our terminal? Ok, just me and a few emacsists ...

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Thoughts and prayers

(this might be a whoosh but ...) Gaslighting means trying to undermine other people's perception of reality: presenting false information to people in a manner which makes them doubt their own memory, understanding or perhaps even sanity. Etymology is from the play "Gas Light" by Patrick Hamilton in which the protagonist interferes with the gas supply (used for lighting) to his house to convince his wife that her perception that everything is getting darker was her encroaching insanity.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Simple Response.

I have both the same recollection and the same apathy regarding this issue.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Worst American president ever

The USA is climbing the deaths / million faster than the UK at this stage in the pandemic, although you are correct in that, according for some national adjustments for 'start point' the UK is actually the worst in the world.

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

John H Woods Silver badge

Anybody's guess....

... my guess is that, if they use the {Goog|App}le solution they won't get all that lovely data they want.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: do grandiose brandish

I think the Telegraph Crossword compiler discovered the best anagram so far:

Easily survives travel north to castle... A disaster for this contrary advice? (4,5; 7,3,5; 4,5)



HP Ink sales are in the red: Total revenue down 11 per cent as CEO says coronavirus knackered supply chain

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Just thrown out an HP inkjet ...

Well, I haven't thrown it in the landfill, it's gone in the "will be components when I can tear it down" box :-)

Bits I can't use will go in the WEEE skip and I have replaced it with a mono laser I rescued from someone else's skip :-) I'm green and mean.


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