* Posts by Doug Bostrom

127 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Oct 2008


Trump carded: Wannabe prez's hotels 'ground zero' in banking breach

Doug Bostrom


To Eric, poor guy. Imagine living under that cloud.

Careful, Reg, or Donald will ban you.

Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2

Doug Bostrom


I've never once read a positive remark on glossy screens in reviews. Here we find the "premium" model afflicted with a glossy screen, with the otherwise less-desirable cheap version being praised for its matte display.

But manufacturers continue to produce glossy screens? Why? Is this some kind of manufacturing cost issue recovered by selling a poorer, less expensive alternative as a feature, akin to track pads?

Inside GOV.UK: 'Chaos' and 'nightmare' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

Doug Bostrom

It's comforting to think that as with so much of what Andrew has written on other subjects, this article is probably not worth worrying about.

Or is it? How can we tell?

Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

Doug Bostrom

Fully agree.

Odd that we went through a period of human factors research application during which automobiles were judged in part on how easy it was for a hand to discriminate between controls without the use of eyes, something proven worthwhile by research, only to forget all of that.

Things that can be printed are cheaper. Every electromechanical control eliminated from a dashboard is money that can be spent on useless tinsel, or pocketed. Same deal as the amazingly stupid scrabblepads on laptops. Still, there are benefits. How many cumulative hours per year are spent iteratively scraping cursors toward their destinations, or attempting to select lines of text? Couple those regressions with tappable pads and voila, a reduction in the unemployment rate! In the case of automobiles employment will be boosted by repairing wrecks, performing reconstructive surgery, providing long term care for people physically crippled by human interfaces.

Docker part 4: Microsoft CAN'T ignore it. Aux armes, citoyens!

Doug Bostrom

Rendered obsolete by miniature mongrel poodles

Regardless of Docker's fate it's not remotely rocket science to build a generic machine suited for hosting containerized applications and too distribute that by whatever means. Putting together containerized applications isn't difficult either.

For instance, how long is it going to take Atlassian to figure out how to deploy a complete installation (including OS platform) of JIRA that will boot along with other application denizens on a vanilla container base? I'm not exactly the brightest bulb on the ceiling but it took only about 4 hours of noodling with Xen from a cold start to accomplish that and has subsequently saved oodles of time and money. People tend to notice stuff like this.

Picking again on them as an example, maybe Atlassian is already providing a turnkey containerized instance option; it's so likely and inevitable is it worth checking?

As it happens it isn't Windows that is suited for this work and it's hard to ignore that; the contrast in efficiency and cost for putting applications in/on containers between Windows and other options not freighted with so much baggage is too glaring to miss.

It also may be that containerization is at root so simple there's little need for big gorillas in the picture.

Meanwhile, if one is not using a truly canned item such as JIRA then it seems as though containerization does little to save one from configuration.

I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!

Doug Bostrom

Re: Sorry

Audi: German for "asshole." Here in the States, anyway; something to do with ad campaigns creating a self-selected market of the self-absorbed.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, generally found at the dinner table after one remarks that "Audi is German for asshole." :-)

Windows 10 feedback: 'Microsoft, please do a deal with Google to use its browser'

Doug Bostrom

Expensive advice

"...modern apps should not all start in full screen in desktop view, some apps (eg, Calculator) should default to a smaller size,” say 30 users."

"You mean a pencil is not as useful when it's in the shape of a pretzel? How are we supposed to innovate if we can't change its shape to something slavishly following an abstraction?"

Astonishing that MS would need to obtain blindingly obvious suggestions to restore lost functionality such as this via such a cumbersome route. Users might want to use a calculator in conjunction with some other activity, such as a document being edited? Wasn't this the whole point of windowing and Windows in the first place? Sure enough we got it right, 30+ years ago.

Truth is truly stranger than fiction.

Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10

Doug Bostrom

Decisive move to confusion.

From fail to flail, on the count of two.

Maybe the preview is premature.

NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away

Doug Bostrom

Re: Dust removal

Have you looked at the top deck of these things? Do so and report back with the number of wiper arms you'd need. Take into account that you're not wiping the windscreen of an automobile; the design of the deck requires a plethora of protrusions, PV cell interconnect wiring, etc.

Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Doug Bostrom

"Everybody else dips their pencils in s--t so I have to dip mine."

Why the situation stinks for everybody: by mutual consent.

Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

Doug Bostrom

JIRA's a fat pig, but sexless.

Greenland glacier QUADRUPLES speed, swells seas

Doug Bostrom

"Who keeps posting this kneepad-style AGW bilge? "

Funny to watch some of the folks here flailing around, trying to punch their own shadow. Didja notice? The article didn't actually mention C02 or anthropogenic climate change at all.

Chill out. :-)

'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

Doug Bostrom

Re: Needs Microsoft account to use

Yup. The multiple hassles around satisfying the elaborate artificial-scarcity engineering requirements make it a non-starter.

From all the captivity efforts built into the machine and OS, this sounds like MS is trying to reboot the '90s, via a slightly different path. No thanks.

Doug Bostrom

Quick question: what's the difference between extended battery life during standby, and extended battery life during "off?"

Presumably it's down to boot versus no boot?

Point is, touting how long the battery lasts when not using a device seems a bit of a desperate reach for exciting features to tout.

Boffins find MEXICAN WAVE pattern in random climate wobbles

Doug Bostrom

Pass the hammer

Only the latest final nail in the coffin of global warming.

With so many final nails, one would think the monster dead already. Perhaps we're hammering on the wrong coffin?

Brazil's anti-NSA prez urged to SNATCH keys to the internet from America

Doug Bostrom

Issue is metaphor for larger problem

Leaving aside the exact details here, we're coming to a point where sovereign state borders are becoming quite anachronistic for some purposes.

The message of commercial globalization is that borders should ideally be porous to resources. Resources of course include information.

The sole remaining legitimate purpose of borders is to containerize and lend shape to cultures, probably most importantly the cultural feature of local systems of law.

The question Brazil is asking is, how do we preserve our preferred systems of law in the face of the ad hoc, unagreed power-sharing arrangement of the Internet?

'Modern warming trend can't be found' in new climate study

Doug Bostrom

Just to help the discussion, here's the abstract:

"In the eastern Mediterranean in general and in Turkey in particular, temperature reconstructions based on tree rings have not been achieved so far. Furthermore, centennial-long chronologies of stable isotopes are generally also missing. Recent studies have identified the tree species Juniperus excelsa as one of the most promising tree species in Turkey for developing long climate sensitive stable carbon isotope chronologies because this species is long-living and thus has the ability to capture low-frequency climate signals. We were able to develop a statistically robust, precisely dated and annually resolved chronology back to AD 1125. We proved that variability of δ13C in tree rings of J. excelsa is mainly dependent on winter-to-spring temperatures (January–May). Low-frequency trends, which were associated with the medieval warm period and the little ice age, were identified in the winter-to-spring temperature reconstruction, however, the twentieth century warming trend found elsewhere could not be identified in our proxy record, nor was it found in the corresponding meteorological data used for our study. Comparisons with other northern-hemispherical proxy data showed that similar low-frequency signals are present until the beginning of the twentieth century when the other proxies derived from further north indicate a significant warming while the winter-to-spring temperature proxy from SW-Turkey does not. Correlation analyses including our temperature reconstruction and seven well-known climate indices suggest that various atmospheric oscillation patterns are capable of influencing the temperature variations in SW-Turkey."

Read carefully. Be careful what you wish for.

WET SPOT found on MARS: NASA rover says 'high percentage'

Doug Bostrom

Is it real?

This is intriguing but considering that I'm reading in the same venue where Andrew Orlowski is published, I guess I'll have to verify it elsewhere.

Thanks anyway.

Rare gold iPhone 5s goes up against 50 caliber high precision rifle

Doug Bostrom

How about if he shoots his own camera? That would be fun.

EasyJet wanted to fling me off flight for diss tweet, warns cyber-law buff

Doug Bostrom

Opportunity costs?

EasyJet paying money for reputation management that could instead be diverted into actual logistical improvements thereby avoiding the necessity for reputation management?

I suppose it's more likely that the queue were tittering about the twitter enough to catch the ear of the local mis-manager.

WHY do phone cams turn me into a clumsy twat with dexterity of an elephant?

Doug Bostrom

Re: It's in da nose, stoopid!

Forcing everyone into dork-mode is way less expensive for manufacturing. Short of a DSLR a coupled, optical rangefinder is ok and can be made very tiny but purchase options for those have gone into the stratospheric, boutique price range, another mode of dork.

Lugging a DSLR is ok in some circumstances but for something to put in a shirt pocket we have few reasonable choices. Even though in some ways it was pretty mediocre I still miss the nice rangefinder of my Fuji E510, the lamented victim of salt water. New camera is compact, waterproof, shockproof, dust proof and Doug-proof but waaaaah-- no rangefinder.

ATTACK of the ROBOT BANKERS brings stock market to its knees

Doug Bostrom

And this relates to financing and managing a publicly traded company -how-?

Perhaps it's time to create another market, one designed to be used by people/machines with no interest in the world inhabited by people who provide tangible goods and services?

The trading described here bears no relationship to the organic rationale for public offerings. Mixing abstractions such as high-speed trading with fundamental requirements such as producing foodstuffs is risky.

NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

Doug Bostrom

"...NIST said that working with the NSA was standard operating procedure; indeed it was required by law to consult with the NSA on security matters. "

We're supposed to understand the legal mandate to have Daddy NSA "consult" as a feature, not a bug.

NSA generously helping us keep our secrets: if it seems too good to be true then it probably isn't true. I love my dog but she's not allowed to guard my bacon.

Swiss space plane to launch robotic orbital debris destroyer

Doug Bostrom

Stay up on the latest debris

It's all covered in "Orbital Debris Quarterly."


A seriously bad problem, another "WTF were they thinking" legacy for our descendants.

Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto

Doug Bostrom

Back to the crib

"...conspiracy theorists are terrified that RdRand is compromised. "

Only days later and we're back to "terrified conspiracy theorists."

How we do love a comforting story (or insult) instead of facts, eh?

BAN THIS SICK FILCH: Which? demands end to £1.50-per-min 'help' lines

Doug Bostrom

Diagnostic of monopoly

When you don't need to worry about hearing any complaints and thus can safely deter them with a fee you're enjoying being a monopoly. Woe betide you if any cracks appear in the dam of your control, once you've built up enough resentment in your victims.

In the case of firms and other organizations still having competitors, surely it's a stupid idea to charge complainers for offering what are often useful suggestions in the form of a raspberry. Complainers should be paid.

US intelligence: Snowden's latest leaks 'road map' for adversaries

Doug Bostrom

Re: NSA - National Socialist Agency

They both need to be working from a larger dictionary.

Doug Bostrom

NSA please look in the mirror

Nothing more pathetic than seeing somebody who can't keep a secret blaming somebody else for their own failings.

Secrecy begins and ends in the hands of the secret.

Microsoft gives TechNet a one-off reprieve

Doug Bostrom

Just imagine: there's some poor drone deep in the bowels of Microsoft who has been assigned to fulfill the technical requirements of giving the shaft to TechNet subscribers who fail to match the exacting requirements of continued existence for 90 more days.

What a great job!

Microsoft buys Nokia's mobile business

Doug Bostrom

Ah, new twist on the Manchurian Candidate

Crash the value, buy the company. Nifty!

Hitch climate tax to the actual climate, says top economist

Doug Bostrom

Similarly to slowly increasing the amount of water delivered to firefighters attempting to extinguishing a blaze, McKittrick's idea would deliver too little, too late.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z: Our new top Android ten-incher

Doug Bostrom

Re: Well Done Sony

Yes, thumbs up on the water-resistance. Tablets are akin to wristwatches; what accompanies a person as a ubiquitous accessory should hopefully be at least as water-resistant as that person. As one example, it's worth noting that for better or worse tablets are finding a receptive audience with professional and amateur mariners because a plethora of expensive hardware can be replaced with marine-oriented software combined with tablets. The same tablets are used ashore for more prosaic activities. Tablets with inherent durability not requiring an awkward case will find a ready market.

Washout 2012 summer, melty Greenland 'nothing to do with Arctic ice or warm oceans'

Doug Bostrom


The circle of illumination shed by these articles continues to diminish. I suppose it's inevitable; if Lewis is to retain any slight resemblance to coherency then he's doomed always to ignore more.

Jennifer Francis et al, much?

House bill: 'Hey NASA, that asteroid retrieval plan? Fuggedaboutit'

Doug Bostrom

What about incidental data?

Presumably if satellites incidentally collects data that might be used for climate research they too will be for the chopping block? Do these morons understand the overlap in data collection? Why do I bother asking?

Doug Bostrom

Stasis guaranteed

Whipsawing NASA on an annual basis will ensure that we go exactly nowhere.

Confidence in US Congress sinks to lowest level ever recorded

Doug Bostrom

Will our memory be long enough?

In 3-4 years we'll have no polar orbiting weather satellites and our forecasting ability will be thrown back to the 1960s era because of absurd stunts such as "sequestration." There are loads of other time-delayed disasters being planted today by our ideological romantics, mostly noticeable only later. Will anybody remember to connect the dots?

"We couldn't afford new satellites" won't sound very convincing, if folks ask why we no longer can predict whether a hurricane will make landfall or not. But will we remember that we used to have that ability?

Microsoft splashes big bucks to blast Google Apps

Doug Bostrom

Microsoft: Innovator of Problems

Microsoft's main development vector still seems to hinge on making sure that user data is securely locked into their "experience ecosystem" or whatever they're calling their magic spectacles these days.

It's possible that customers will eventually figure out that when Microsoft says "the other guy's software won't read your data," they really mean "we scrambled your data and you paid us for it, suckers."

Microsoft hosts bar mitzvah for mature Azure

Doug Bostrom

SSL certificate renewal automated=mature?

Boeing outlines fix for 787 batteries

Doug Bostrom

Re: Hindenberg

Years ago I was the lucky person with our firm who took the (Christmas week) phone call announcing that a device which we'd just installed had exploded and reduced itself to small fragments and a cloud of black smoke in a shopping mall in the NE US, prompting an evacuation and demand that we immediately remove the approximately 1,800 other copies deployed around the mall's local community (this was in 2001 and in general emergency responders were quite jumpy, to say the least).

Reversing this setback was quite an education. Although their battery had exploded for a reason that was never satisfactorily explained, luckily our vendor (a very large French battery firm) appeared well-versed in the art of euphemisms as they apply to badly behaving batteries. We were instructed to never use the words "explode" or "detonate" or "burst" in the technical reports demanded of us by regulatory authorities; the proper words to use were "spontaneous disassembly."

And lo, the magic words worked. We never removed a single device. :-)

World+Dog don't care about climate change, never have done

Doug Bostrom

Nice to see that Lewis has finally given up on understanding the sciency part of climate change.

I suspect that prior to 1950 few would have rated wearing seat belts among the things they could do to improve their safety while riding in automobiles. Happily we're not solidly rooted in ignorance.

Microsoft brings Azure back online

Doug Bostrom

A day passes, and then another year

"We will continue monitoring the health of the Storage service and SSL traffic for the next 24 hours..."

...and then we will ignore the situation for 364 days, until our cert once again expires.

Only for 24 hours? Surely not, but surely they'd also be a little more careful in their phrasing, one would think.

Boeing 787 fleet grounded indefinitely as investigators stumped

Doug Bostrom

Re: I'd look at the Battery Power Conditioning Circuits

Individual cell-reversal will cause destructive failure as well. Possible a cell died, began trying to conduct "backwards?"

Doug Bostrom

" Initial tests at a facility in Arizona show no problems, while Japanese investigators report that their APU circuit boards are too badly burnt to provide meaningful data at this time."

Hopefully the entire facility will not burn to the ground --again-- when testing becomes spontaneously and spectacularly exothermic, as happened earlier in the 787 program. That would slow down the investigation.

Next IPCC climate assessment due 2014 now everywhere online

Doug Bostrom

Rawls surely could have done better than getting it backwards?


Needs coffin nails and nothing to hand but a bag of hammers. Tsk.

Windows Phone 8 must be Microsoft's priority one, two AND three

Doug Bostrom

Re: I just bought a Windows phone

Not called "the Borg" for nothing.

Doug Bostrom

Re: Fewer apps == fewer crap apps

It's too hard; how do I tap and swipe that? Or can I just pinch it? I've forgotten how to use 3 out of 5 fingers. Plus I'm having difficulty writing this with only an index finger; isn't there some useful way to use all these extra digits draping from my hand?

Also can somebody help me open my jar of jam?

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

Doug Bostrom

So it's kind of like a recession, or depression: by tacit consensus to remain enslaved to notions of economics that have lost their roots in the physical world we all agree to be miserable. It's a sad day when the physics hand we're dealt has nothing to do with our quality of life.

The Sinofsky Letters: Defenestrated Windows overlord corresponds

Doug Bostrom

Re: Dinosaurs

And if Faber-Castell decides your pencil will henceforth be in the shape of a pretzel, be a Marine, suck it up, go with the flow. By all means, don't look for another pencil vendor.

Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 3

Doug Bostrom

Great story, well researched, engagingly written. "Where are they today" bit was also intriguing. Thanks!

Facebook beats the heat in North Carolina data center

Doug Bostrom

Wouldn't it be even more intelligent and savvy not to locate data centers in places where it becomes very warm for many weeks of the year? Let alone NC, how about the weird fascination of Las Vegas and other places in the SW US for operators of data centers?

What about right next door to HydroQuebec's dams in northern Canada? Rail leads to the rest of the world, meaning fiber connection is a snap. Granted the operators would have to be pretty strange people but how is that any different than somebody locking themselves in windowless fortress in Las Vegas, really?