* Posts by Dennis Healey

34 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Red-faced chip-fryer AMD pulls blog offline after hackers munch 32KB

Dennis Healey

Re: One more reason...

Lock do slow the bad boys down and stump some of them. They also slow the legitimate user down when they have an armful of shopping and need access to the car.

OccupySF BOFH runs protest network on pedal power

Dennis Healey

Help for Admins

We the management are investing in IT - the bikes arrive tomorrow. Bikes cos you need redundancy.

My work is done

Apple reportedly plans ARM shift for laptops

Dennis Healey

Re - not anytime soon

.... or apple could make sure they have enough ARM cores and encourage developers to use them, maybe dedicating them to specific tasks. They could be driving change here.

Increased battery life is always useful, particularly if your competitors don't have it.

Reducing the temperature means less energy wasted cooling redundant heat production and therefore increasing battery life

Any cash saved could be put towards some flash memory (increasing access speed & economising on power). if you still need a HD this could be switched off as it would be lower level storage than the flash memory.

This sound to me like quite an attractive machine

New top-secret stealth choppers used on bin Laden raid

Dennis Healey

Spanish Inquisition!

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM's wasted R&D billions

Dennis Healey

Look at the positives

It is easy to slag Apple off for just taking other peoples technology and using it. Such is the case with any commodity/manufacturing company, however, it misses the point.

Apple are Designers par excellence. This is not just slapping a few components in a pretty box with a bow on the front, anyone can do that and many have tried. What design, at its best, represents is careful and insightful thought into how to connect the bits together and importantly how the user may use the item in the best way not only in terms of raw functionality but to make the use of the item intuitive.

It is this insight that pushes Apple out ahead of the pack and in itself this is inventive - it certainly provides a very tangible benefit to the users. In many ways Apple provide the usability benchmark (which they keep moving) and as a result everybody has to improve. This detailed inventive, creative thought process (bordering on obsession) of course does not stop there - the internal and external form and function must also be right.

Design at this level is analogous to the architect. You have to see how the building relates to its environment, make sure it looks good, functions well mechanically, and ensure that the building works well for the users of it. You are concerned with the whole design from the widest view to the function of the bolts on the toilet door.

Clearly no one is perfect and I would guess that, to people who get irritated by an inelegantly routed wire, the recent woopsie with the iphone antenna was the cause of much angst and soul searching - these people will care!

To be a large successful company and still be innovative and also have a productive R&D arm is a tall order and requires different cultures in different parts of the organisation. If the prevailing culture is that of the dead hand of the bean counters, or the superficiality of the marketers you will struggle. Some companies manage it to a greater or lesser degree. Companies with a strong vision, often young and owned by the founder can have a purity of purpose. This is helped if they are privately owned as decisions are make quickly and you do not have to worry about the short term city gamblers reactions.

Apple is an established company that is, unusually, led by its founder - a man with a very strong vision and an aesthete to boot. Probably uniquely as a technology company they are design led.

For all it's faults Apple has a role to play challenging the more stodgy companies to raise their game. The world could do with a few more fruit in other areas.

ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

Dennis Healey
Thumb Down

So what happens when

So what happens when you buy the company including the computers - does it cease trading until the software is re-bought?

Asus to punt Core i5 Windows 7 tablet

Dennis Healey

How about.......

A biggish screen, a stylus/pen/pencil/brush, form factor slate/pad/drawing board and enough power to do graphic manipulations in real time and you have the ability to sketch and draw/sketch and paint in a human centred way anywhere you like.

Maybe it will not be capable of these things, but the slate concept has the potential to make the computer more human friendly.

The criticism that it isn't very good a doing spreadsheets just shows a stunning lack of imagination.

Facebook trains self to recognize your face

Dennis Healey
Black Helicopters

Serious question!

I can see that it is a cool feature to help tag your own pictures and that the privacy setting is good.

However when other people tag your picture, is that a public and therefore internet wide tag? If so there is no point in the privacy setting. A nice tool for Mr Plod and his more shady friends.

Or is this just my paranoia?

Horror AVG update ballsup bricks Windows 7

Dennis Healey

Review of security solutions ?

Don't forget Commodo if you plan to review security solutions. AV & Firewall all free, has been faultless so far, and from the point of view of someone who is not terribly techie the help is exceptionally informative

Jumpin' Meerkats! Ubuntu moving to daily downloads?

Dennis Healey

Why not pick an intermediate path

Clearly rolling updates have risks as the base keeps changing. Would it not be better to release the components as and when, in a new releases category that the enthusiasts get to try. These would be "Release candidate" grade.

These then get rolled into the "Stable" release that happens monthly.

Those of us who are more cautious get an improved, proven system more quickly than before as there is more chance of a sensible test regime and risk is reduced because there is in effect a soft launch that will catch the minor quirks more effectively.

Google shuts down GOOG-411 voice data honeypot

Dennis Healey

Interesting* US vs. UK phone number difference #

If memory serves me correctly BT (or was it the post office at this time) took the lettering off the phones it supplied when the STD exchanges were introduced and areas given numbers.

As you had to have the number they issued you with, there was no opportunity to get a phone number that made a word, so it was a totally logical action at the time.

Makes you misty eyed for the days when you had to wait 3 months to get a phone connected and then it may only be a party line if they did not have a spare connection at the exchange.

US.gov set IPv6 upgrade deadlines

Dennis Healey

Simple really

Tax all routers that are not compliant with the standard (from say 6 months time).

Stand back and wait 2..3 years - the place will not crash and burn in mean time.

By then a high proportion of people will have it and if they have got it will start using it - a seamless transition.

I'll accept a pint of you all.

LG publishes bendy 19in e-newspaper

Dennis Healey

So the scrolling display is back!

Now who has the nerve to claim intellectual property right on the scroll?

Could work well with the electronics, battery (though it needn't be big) and the controls on the core. The only problem being the tendency to screen curl.

Mozilla teases surfers with near-final version of Firefox 3.6

Dennis Healey

Spot on Bruno

Its good to see some rational comment Bruno. Some of the negative comments seem to come from characters that take all the body panels off their car to save some weight, regardless of how it looked and how cold it is.

Undoubtedly there are some problems and it can always be better, but as long as it is built with the fripperies capable of being switched off it should work for most people.

Mozilla to open - gasp! - Firefox add-on store

Dennis Healey

Avoiding Googles Googly

If Mozilla is to rely less on Google funding they may be forced to raise funds elsewhere.

A simple approach of £5 (or $10) per item with £2 going to Mozilla and £2 to the developer and £1 to cover tax (the remainder going to a charity of the customer's choice - chosen from a list) would work well for everyone.

It would be cool if the developer could specify that all the cost went charity (the Mozilla component as well).

Also useful would be a 1 month trial download so that you could verify the products usefulness and do whatever testing on your system you need to do. therefore when purchasing you purchase the product as is.

[Googly - see Wikipedia]

Sequoia opens kimono with e-voting code handout

Dennis Healey

Ok lets over engineer it!

Place your cross on a piece of paper (sequentially numbered from a pad so you can account for them all).

Take them to a central location and pop them through an OCR reader (cheap piece of kit which you can use for other things) with a simple counting program that any school kid could write.

If there is a dispute or you want to verify the program you always have the paper. If the kit breaks down or you have no power you can still count the votes.

No need for expensive specialist kit that gets used once every 5 years.

This is good use of public funds to develop a resilient and accountable system ...... chances of it happening ?

Time for a pint

iTunes gifts Blighty 12 freebies of Christmas

Dennis Healey

@ The Cube

Good to see the spirit of Christmas and goodwill to all is at hand. Merry Christmas !

Legendary McLaren F1 designer talks up e-car plan

Dennis Healey


Is that the the Imperial Shopping trolley or the metric shopping trolley? Standards are important to us Brits as we are going metric inch by inch.

P2P snafu blows lid on secret Congress probes

Dennis Healey


Lets all blame the end user - he/she lacks knowledge.

Those with the knowledge (the system administrators build their systems so that contractors and employees can download to removable disks and USB devices. The reason you would want to do this? - so you can remove data from the site ie create a security breach.

RIM R&D demos BlackBerry Bold 2 new features

Dennis Healey


Can anyone tell me why it is a good idea to put the speaker on the back?

All the sound energy goes unto annoying those around you as you have to turn the volume up to hear it from the front, and as a consequence the battery is hammered unnecessarily. Don't these people use the devices they design?

Feds’ insider trading wiretap snares IBM heir apparent

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Well well !

I know it is asking a bit much to ask people to forgo self interest and take a "moral" approach (how old fashioned is that word), but you can not be surprise if there is cynicism from the people when there is so much cynical self interest from their leaders.

Paris - at least being screwed is a pleasure

Disney kicks 'Ho White' out of bed

Dennis Healey

We need a lawer!

So even if this is a visual copy - when does the corporate copyright on these things run out? Presumably it can not be indefinite, and presumably it will differ in different countries.

Bloggers howl after conference snoops on 'secure' network

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

OOps - pants around ankles!

Isn't the point here that experts who fully understand the issues get caught, so god help the rest of the general public. They are only complaining about it being illegal because they are embarrassed - after all real hackers consider the legal implications don't they?

Paris - because she was caught n flagrante delicto

Microsoft apes Google with chillerless* data center

Dennis Healey

Geographic Opportunism

When will some overpaid consultant come up with the bleeding obvious - put these things in cold parts of the world rather than the Arizona desert.

At a stroke we could save the Icelandic economy and sell the waste heat on to warm the offices. It is simple stuff like this that will save the planet rather than Byzantine carbon trading schemes that no one understands.

So at my consultancy rate of £1000 per day that will be £2.08 (please) for the 10 minutes this has taken.

DHS battles Axis of Exorbitance with software overhaul

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

W... T.. F...

What the fuck is credentialing, or on-boarding.

Perhaps the later is some sort of torcher by submersion under a sea of Americanisms and butched English.

Paris cos she is sensitive when she gets her tongue around the English

25 years of Mac - the good, the bad, and the cheese grater

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

But don't forget

Good article - I'd forgotten just what they managed to do with sod all memory and processing power.

If we are thinking about companies that made an impact don't forget Acorn. The BBC micro had a massive impact in the UK, found its way into schools and was Ideal for running experiments in the lab and controlling machinery (I bet some are still running in schools and hospital labs throughout the country) + they spun off ARM.

Paris cos she never had a problem with a small amount of memory but was always pleased to get more RAM

Budget airlines break new rules on opt-in website pricing

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Tax rip off

Remember - if you have to cancel or don't take a flight you can claim the tax back as it is not the property of the airline - they just collect it for the Government and the airport .......you weren't taxed because you didn't fly.

Good if the fair is 99p and the tax £40

Paris cos she is on special offer all the time

Honda: future's full of hybrids and fuel-cell EVs, not plug-ins

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton


Electric vehicle are very efficient at changing electricity into power and recycling (ie not loosing) that power when braking. What the proponents of this technology don't tell you is that the power plant that makes the electricity is only 40% efficient so you have an effective efficiency of 90% (or whatever the figure is) of 40% - which would be 36% in this case.

Not such a clear cut argument then ... how about going after that 60% waste - 1/2 of that is worth having!

Paris cos her waste is small

SanDisk pitches 100x SSD speed boost tech

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Cache Fix

So we want to use a write behind cache + wear leveling in order to speed up mass storage. We still have the same problem of inadvertent power failure / system abnormality etc. causing data loss.

In my simplistic world this is solved by the simple expedient of isolating the card memory behind the interface in such a way that the card interface (whether on board or off board) detects a power failure and has enough residual power to write the cache. Similarly the card's isolation means that an os failure abnormality is dealt with by the storage system in a normal way (IE writes every Xms) or by the device when the operator re-boots.

This strikes me as eminently doable and engineers love users who say that sounds easy! So tell me what is wrong with this idea.......

The difference between then and now is that then we used power hungry and relatively slow disks and now we have Solid State devices operating at low power quite quickly.

Paris who knows how to cope with a late data dump.

Ubuntu documentation in shreds

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Missing the point

Most of these comments seem to me to miss the point. The first thing to remember is that we are for the most part techies and therefore are a) in the minority and b) have a very biased view point.

All the talk here has been about documenting code. This is all very interesting for the programmers, and good code may (or may not) be self documenting, but what about the other things.

System architecture - needs to be documented as it is not obvious from the code.

User documentation - is crucial and really needs to be designed to be easy to follow and easy to find the relevant bits.

Speaking as a new user of Ubuntu and Linux who considers himself somewhat more techy than "normal computer users" (note not normal Linux users). I have installed the system & get on fine after a bit of exploration with the GUI and can do 95% of what I need to do. However when it comes to the last bit, when I need to do something a little bit more complected, to scratch under the surface it rapidly becomes much more hostile.

An example - I have downloaded several programs using the GUI and all have downloaded silkily and installed as smoothly. I then downloaded an anti-virus program which didn't. It needed access to the Root user and didn't seem to work with the graphical process. As it happens I know what root is and understand something about it (not the position for everyone). However at Install no root password was defined by me nor was I given a default. All the help I have found doesn't help.... it uses programs like SUDO ?!?! WTF

The point is - not my own problem - I'll solve that sooner or later. The point is - I shouldn't have to, and if there is no intuitively obvious solution (and the GUI makes a reasonable job of being intuitively obvious for many things) I should be able to find help, in a form I can readily understand, and it should be readily accessible. This I concede is difficult and the job of a talented Educator/technical writer but is VITAL if this is to become mainstream.

In the MS world it feels like I can take the slope down the hill of complexity to the valley of the programmers caves. sometimes its steep and sometimes not, but it is a slope.

In the Linux world I can walk about in the lush pastures with the butterfly's and the skylark or I can walk over the cliff edge.

. . . maybe I need a microlight!

Paris cos even she read a book about IT once.

Hard 'core'? Birmingham City Council's net filtering

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Just because the policeman is not standing by the car stopping you doesn't mean you can nick it.

So If the rule is "Don't surf religious sites" why are you surfing them.

The local authority puts in some software to provide some enforcement of the rules - fine that stops you having the option to transgress. The fact that the software in not 100% accurate (what is?) does not give you the right to break the rules.

Paris - from transgression central

Thales wins first UK ID card contract

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Best news yet

Don't you lot realise this the best news yet - to get the scheme sunk all we have do do is the get the Sun whipped up into its normal anti frog rage - you know the sort of thing "Frogs try to Fuck us with straight bananas" - and it will be dropped like a hot Croissant.

Paris - for those who want it the French way

Proof of age system moves net ID a step closer

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Russian Porn Ban

"How many Russian porn sites are going to follow UK legislation? Or simlar legislation from any other counries? These politicians are all thick as shit."

True - Russian sites will not play by our rules, but remember that your ISP will be inspecting your data and may need to Issue a stiff letter.

Paris - cos she knows to deal with stiff letters

American data pimper exposes ad equation

Dennis Healey
Paris Hilton

Question from the Ignorent

I am not that enamoured by the likes of Phorm analysing my transactions and usage and I regard the back street way this is being introduced by the ISPs for their own gain as nothing less that a breach of trust.

Can anyone tell me if they look in https streams? I guess the security in these is adequate, but you don't know until some Ignoramus asked the obvious question.

Paris - cos she doesn't mind looking stupid!