* Posts by David Hicks

1235 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Apr 2008


The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

David Hicks

Re: Missing the Point?

Python is not a fad, it is a very useful RAD language, and also good for quickly knocking out scripts. It's perfectly good for full-on app development where performance isn't an issue.

I agree it's not the best thing in the world if you want kids to understand the real low-level stuff. But for beginners it's far more important to get them interested with rapid results (IMHO) than it is to get them understanding the whole stack. That can come with time.

David Hicks

Re: More programmers?

"What's needed isn't Moar Programming"

So why are the leaders of industry always in the news bleating that they need more IT people and if we don't get any then they'll have to import them? And why are the job sites full of vacancies?

(OK, so I know a partial answer is "they want cheaper people" and "they aren't paying enough", but still...)

David Hicks

Re: Oh yeah, M$FT $HILL

"The truth is, RPI is "all the computer you need" for a useful programming education."

The truth is the RPi is not really innovative, not the first single-board computer, not as open as it promised or as much of the competition is, nor really anything special. All of those things can and are done with other systems. I hope that RPi doesn't end up killing them off, or become the only platform these things work on, because it would be a shame if we got a monoculture.

What it has done is drive prices down, and that I like.

Ubuntu 13.10 lands on desktops, servers and (er, some) phones

David Hicks

Re: One size fits nobody

Why is it broken?

It's not like Windows where you get forced to use the same interface.

'Stupid old white people' revenge porn ban won't work, insists selfie-peddler

David Hicks

Re: The law?

>> It should be possible to claim copyright and have photos taken down, but the fact remains that if an image is on the net then it will never ever disappear

Interesting angle actually, yes. If the 'victim' is also the photographer, then sending it to someone does not confer rights of distribution to them, just the normal provisions of copyright (copy for archival allowed, distribution definitely not).

So where someone is distributing the material for profit, you ought to be able to sick 'em with the full force of pretty much all the laws that the MPAA and RIAA have paid for in the last couple of decades.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 region-locking saga CLEAR AS MUD

David Hicks

>> This is why you don't support one manufacturer at the expense of the rest. They all get greedy and screw their customers eventually.


Had started noticing I had a lot of Samsung kit around the place. They've started to be huge and that means eventually they'll start trying to abuse their position, or just get complacent and dumb.

Locking is never a feature. You're making your product not work in some cases. This is not a positive!

Shopping list for Tesco: Eggs, milk, bread, tablets (the £60 7in Android kind)

David Hicks

Re: A bit late to the party arent they?

It's not going to be that bad. From what I've read it has full access to the play store, so app selection shouldn't be an issue.

Nokia quiz: Do you know what a phablet is?

David Hicks

The word sucks

The devices are great - huge screen and decent battery life (because you can actually fit one in!)


David Hicks

Re: Good point

>> How many unchecked 'droid apps get installed every day?

The point is not Android vs iPhone. The FSF are not coming forward as Android fanboys, and I'm sure they're aware that not everything is open about android either.

The point is that, in isolation, not comparing to other vendors, not making favourites out of anything else at all, the iPhone is a closed ecosystem and you cannot know what's going on there, and this is pretty much against everything the FSF think is right and good with the world.

Open systems at least *can* be audited, and you hope that with a fully open system (which I agree, android as it comes from a manufacturer is not either) then people have eyes on it.

David Hicks

Re: Blah blah blah -@AC 14:24

That specifically? No.

On the other hand they may be legally unable to reveal that all fingerprint data is sent straight to the government, because it turns out we do actually live in that sort of Kafka-esque world after all, with secret trials, secret evidence gathering, gag orders etc etc

Verizon, Experian and pals bag £25m to inspect Brits' identities for UK gov

David Hicks

This sounds distressingly like ID cards

By stealth, and in the hands of private companies.

Not good.

Web showered in golden iPhone 5S vid glory - but is it all a DISTRACTION?

David Hicks

Re: @uhuznaa What's interesting

"Apple don't care about market share, the only share they care about is the profit share, and they take like majority of it! "

No longer true.

Google Glass: Would you pay a mere $299 to plop one on your brow?

David Hicks

Re: For Teachers?

Better surely, as it could capture the whole room rather than just wherever the teacher's head happens to be pointing.

Did Linux drive supers, and can it drive corporate data centers?

David Hicks

Re: FreeDOS server market share

"But far more people bought the few PCs that came with Linux, wiped Linux and installed Warez Windows...."

Why would they have done that? The vendors pretty much always charge more for their linux options.

USB accelerates to 10 Gbps

David Hicks

Erm, some ARM procesors absolutely are made for speed. Quad core parts running at close to 2GHz are not exactly sluggish.

AMD's newest chip: Another step toward 'transformation'

David Hicks

Re: eleventy squillion x86 developers?

Pretty much. And ARM cores are getting good enough now that the hassle of cross compiling is unnecessary on a lot of them. You can just install linux and code for them in exactly the way you would an x86 machine.

I know that in the last few years we've not had much of a heterogeneous landscape in workstations or even servers, but when it comes down to it even C code, lower than most people get to, is easy enough to write to target multiple different platforms. We used to compile and run on Itanium, PA RISC, Sparc, Power and x86 from the same codebase, and so long as you account for variations in endianness, there really wasn't much difference for the majority of the code. I don't think going to ARM is really any different.

Now vector processing and GPU code, that's a different ballgame.

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

David Hicks

Re: Pay more taxes?

>> It is true that many/most corporations don't pay much in the way of taxes - but that is because those profits are passed on to the shareholders

No, no they aren't.

They are accumulated in tax havens. They are hoarded. Shareholders of (for instance) Apple stock have already started to complain that they aren't seeing their cut and the money isn't being invested either.

New in Android 4.3: At last we get a grip on privacy-invading crApps

David Hicks
Thumb Up


I believe this feature has been available in a few root-only apps and in Cyanogenmod for a little while, it's nice to see it get into mainline android.

There are a variety of apps that are useful that want way too many permissions. Skype is a major offender in this area. Being able to deny it some of what it wants is a good thing.

ISPs: Relax. Blocking porn online won't really work

David Hicks

Re: explaining to the significant other

>> find something you or your wife wants to see that isn't porn but is disapproved of by the controlling bastards setting the blacklist, demonstrate it not working. Shouldn't be hard with the certifiably insane pressure groups politicians love listening to.

One of the obvious ones that usually gets caught up in this are LGBT rights issues. Because clearly anyone searching for "Lesbian" is looking for porn.

Something that I personally have run into on mobile phones is that the filter has decided that music festivals are an "adult" topic, and banned me from looking at the schedule for a festival I was in at the time. It was full of kids too!

Texas man charged in multimillion-dollar Bitcoin Ponzi scheme

David Hicks

Re: @ David Hicks

>> And people wonder why investors keep on 'falling' for these Ponzi schemes?

Because they think they'll be the clever one that does exactly what you say.

Funny how it seldom works out that way. Even the folks that withdraw cash tend to get suckered in for more and more money.

David Hicks

Re: yep

>> If you get in early and the scheme runs for years you could conceivably make a shit ton of money.

IF you know it's a ponzi.

IF you get out after a while.

IF the scheister actually pays you.

Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless Plus: Triple-tech connectivity for the home

David Hicks

Re: 100Mbps < 500Mbps

There are a variety of bits of powerline kit coming out now that do have gigabit ports. I'd be interested to know the potential throughput of these because I like powerline kit.

It seems more reliable for streaming and faster for file transfer compared to any wireless setup I've encountered, and it's useful for linking network segments in various parts of the house together.

Nokia flops out its 4G, 4.7-inch WHOPPER: The Lumia 625

David Hicks

Re: Makes sense... sort of...

"This is a sensible piece of positioning - WP works better on big screens, and it pre-empts the next wave of phablet things"

Errr, not really, phablets are WAY bigger than that. Even the first Note was a 5.3 inch device. 4.7 looks pretty small. Thew wording in the article was a bit weird there. IMHO.

David Hicks

I like the very careful wording

> "Looks like another quarter of +30% smartphone growth for Nokia Lumias..."

It's probably going to be another quarter of sales figueres decline for nokia.

It's probably going to be another quarter of year-on-year decline for their smartphones.

But if we make this just about Lumias then by golly we might have found something we can spin as a positive!

David Hicks

Re: Windows Phone

Two non-techie friends have now tried them and sent them back due to awkwardness around ringtones and inability to set background images.

I'm not sure who they're aiming these phones at, but I'm pretty sure they've missed.

PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

David Hicks

To add to the list -

I was at a music festival last year, and couldn't look up the program of events on my phone because Orange decided that it was adult content.

The conversation about what and what is not appropriate to put in a filter has most definitely not been had. Pornography should not be singled out. Sex and the display of sex is far less offensive than many, many other things we allow and should continue to allow unfilterered.

It should not be the childrens internet by default, and children are exactly the ones that will find their way around the blocks fastest.

PM writes ISPs' web filter ads for them - and it must say 'default on'

David Hicks

Re: "nobbles DNS lookups" - correction

>> All the ISP has to do is intercept and re-route all port 53 traffic, then regardless of which DNS IP you *think* you're talking to, you're not.

Well, DNSSec works around this, and is already usable with Google's public DNS, so you should be able to tell if you're getting doctored results.

>> I do this at home, to ensure anything on my LAN *cannot* bypass my OpenDNS settings.

Unless they have a tor client, which to be fair is something that mimics VPN, and gets around any/all IP blacklists etc. I only really mentioned DNS in particular because if that's all that Sky are messing with then that's pretty damn easy to work around.

David Hicks

"nobbles DNS lookups"

So... is it actually going to detect these and discard them, or is it just going to return NXDOMAIN when someone looks up something naughty on the BSkyB DNS server?

Because that latter is circumvented with a quick change of DNS setting to

I also forsee a lot of teenagers getting this "tor" business figured out pretty quickly.

Gadgets are NOT the perfect gift for REAL men

David Hicks

Wanna Hang?

Right, so wanna hang allows you to remotely/discretely proposition potential mates in the same room. One presumes then that these folks are supposed to also be running the App, which will ping and beep when a message is received.

And this is a non-interruption?

Either way, it requires someone else to go into a pre-meditated "yes I'm looking for some attention" state, which seems pretty bloody unlikely outside of a 1970s car-key party.

Sleek Nokia Lumia details EXPOSED ahead of Thursday's disrobing

David Hicks

Re: "I'm saying it fails on its own merit."

>> Based on a sample of one.

One I have had the chance to observe. The marketplace as a whole would seem to have me backed up on this though, don't you think?

David Hicks

Re: Same old, same old...

>> Didn't like WP, previously didn't like And., maybe she wants an iShine so she can join the other giggly girls in that corner of the pub?

Err no. Sexist much?

David Hicks

Re: Same old, same old...

>> Your friend didn't like WP? Oh no, quick call MS. Clearly nobody ever disliked Android or iPhones enough to return them.

Err, yeah, but if MS market differentiation strategy can't even pick up disaffected android users with a history of nokia-buying and *who have been persuaded to take a winphone home for a trial period* then they're a complete joke. I'm not sure what you're driving at here.

I'm not trying to say everyone always likes the other OSs, I'm saying it fails on its own merit.

David Hicks

Re: Same old, same old...

>> Change the OS to one that consumers actually want and it'll sell like hot cakes.

Pretty much.

A friend went to buy a new phone at the weekend, and was persuaded to try a winphone. It went back the next day because it was crappy. This is a non-tech friend who hated her last android. If MS can't appeal to that demographic then it seems all is lost.

Universal Credit? Universal DISCREDIT, more like, say insiders

David Hicks

I *still* haven't had a decent answer out of them as to why they're using Google Analytics on a UK government website. It's almost like they want to share every detail of UK citizen/government interactions with the US...

Seven snazzy smartphones for seven sorts of shoppers

David Hicks

Re: Yes, but how good are they as phones?

>>the ability not to have random settings selected by your ear while you are trying to talk to someone

What? Why would you want to do that with your mini tablet? Put it near your head? I'm not sure I understand. I have heard of this new feature "Instant Voice Chat" but.... I don't think it'll ever take off.

David Hicks

Re: Or at least until the iPhone 6 comes out.

Nah.... I think you'll find the world is anticipating the Note 3...


Every Friday is rat-out-your-boss-for-software-piracy Friday

David Hicks

God I would love to

But we're all FOSS round here so I've got nothing to shop the bugger for.

Patriot hacker 'The Jester' attacks nations offering Snowden help

David Hicks

Re: Suricou Raven Unimpressed.

>> I would have to point out your hypocrisy given that the sheeple treat such trivial tricks as "great hax" when they were done by the Anons, Lulzsec or the like.

Whether you agree with their actions or not, the Anons and Lulzsec did quite a lot more than that - e.g. HB Gary.

EE turns up speed knob EVEN FASTER on 4G spectrum

David Hicks

Re: Pointless math

If 1GB ~ Unlimited to most people, the EE sim-only plan is still over twice the price of their 3G competitors.

David Hicks


So my 13 quid a month virgin mobile thing *still* looks like a great deal compared to anything they can offer.

What good is vast speed when data is so pricey? Surely this should enable them to knock prices *down* and competing directly with the other providers?

HP confirms it's back in the smartphone business

David Hicks

Re: Hope so

The latest Gartner figures I can find are from 1Q13 and show ~50% year on year growth.

Which might be really impressive if the market share (yes, of sales) wasn't still under 3% of the market and still under Blackberry. (reference http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2482816)

This is still a TINY proportion of sales, let alone install base. And compared to the historic market share that older Win based smartphones had, in business and with the public, this is a MASSIVE decline.

David Hicks

Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

>> I've never met anyone who actually _owns_ a windows phone that doesn't like it.

The only person I've ever met who owns (owned?) a windows phone hated it. Granted this was back in the 7 days when there were no custom ringtones allowed, amongst hundreds of other usability issues.

I've rarely seen one since.

David Hicks
Thumb Down

Re: "better to use an OS people actually want to buy"

>> From basically nowhere a couple of years ago

And from a dominant position in business and a huge share of the smartphone market over the preceding decade.

MS done screwed up.

David Hicks

Re: Hope so

>> Windows phone is growing market share rapidly

There seems to be some debate about that. Some stats-gatherers seem to think it's actually shrinking in some markets (notably the US, Germany and Australia), and that no, it's not bigger than blackberry in all markets (US again).

People mostly don't want Windows phone. MS is just not cool.

Apple dodged all UK corporation tax in 2012

David Hicks

Re: Should have read

"Until you learn the source of the pollution is in an entirely different country who could care less about the pollution since in their country that's a designated dump."

That's really no defence. Even if it's a designated dump in another country, the folks doing the dumping still shoulder the blame for their actions.

If the US were to designate the Colorado River just before it crosses the border to Mexico as a legitimate dumping ground, and ShitCo starts dumping there, the Mexicans would be pissed off. They would be perfectly right to be pissed off at BOTH the US government for allowing the behaviour, AND the people working at ShitCo itself for knowingly polluting their water supply.

Just because the government allows something does not mean it's right, nor that the people doing it are somehow blameless because they were within the law, regardless of whose law or where.

David Hicks

Re: Pay no corporation tax

>> The point being that profit is a concept rather than a reality and can be manipulated to suit the prevailing mood at the time, making tax more of a voluntary obligation rather than a legal one.

So can all the other things you've mentioned.

David Hicks

Re: You Don't Get It

There's a grey area when you set up your affairs with the explicit aim of making profits disappear.

And please don't pretend that any action that's not illegal is ethical. They are not the same thing.

David Hicks

Re: Should have read

>> you cannot blame them for following the law.

Of course you can. If someone was dumping raw sewage in your water supply, and that were within the law, you would probably want the law changed but you'd also want to punch the bastard that was putting sh*t in your drinking water.

David Hicks

Re: Why don't they just close the loopholes?

One reason is because what does the corporation get for paying the tx ?

Roads, healthy, educated employees, you know, a society to operate and profit in.

"The only reason to tax companies is because you can, you can fool the sheeple into thinking that it's not them being taxed it's Apple, or Google, or whoever, and most sheeple are too stupid to realize that they do pay that tax:"

Errr, no. The people don't pay the tax. The company does, or rather it should. This is just another libertarian canard. At the moment the money just disappears out of the country, tax would keep some of it in country. An effective tax would also allow smaller, local (to the country) companies to compete with the multinationals and keep even more of the money we spend circulating in our own economy rather than being spirited away.