* Posts by Skizz

155 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Aug 2008


Apple checks under the couch for $500m in spare change, offers it to make power-throttling gripes disappear


Re: Huh?

Well, the opening paragraph of the article does say:-

"that the company secretly slowed certain iPhone models to preserve battery life"

and I haven't seen anything about encouraging people to upgrade their phones, if anything, it appears to be discouraging that as the phone will last longer. The article then says:-

"offered a discounted battery replacement program"

which, again, seems to be the opposite of the idea of making people upgrade.

If anything, Apple should have been more open about it from the start that the throttling was being used to extend device life - but that's a UI issue more than anything (and good UI is hard!).

Have I missed a bit in the article?



So making an engineering decision to make the product more reliable and last longer is now sue-able. So do people prefer the sudden shutdowns and loosing their work? Oh wait, no, that's another lawsuit isn't it. Can't win with lawyers can you?

Not sure which icon to use with this.

Alexa, am I having a heart attack? Here's how smart speakers could detect their masters spluttering to death


Re: Doubt I'm the first...

Oh good, wasn't just me that saw these reasearches as just a bunch of old pervs then.

Womder if it'll be linked to the advertising platform?

"oh oh oh"

"Would you like some Durex Ultrasensitives with that?"

Well, that would be better then:-

"You seem to quite active this month, should I book an appointment with the clinic?"

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient



...there isn't a version with the lock/keypad in the door frame - can have more than one bolt, harder to drill, can be run off the mains with battery backup, no big lump on the door. OK, harder to install I grant you that. I presume the bolt is attached to a solenoid of sorts, so have multiple bolts.

I'll take royalties on that idea thank-you-very-much!


Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed


Never got the Points System

Surely, relying on a points system would mean all the best jobs go to foreigners and all the unskilled rubbish jobs go to locals because there won't be any immigrants to do the crap jobs. Wouldn't it be better to improve education and then limit skilled immigrants thus providing more high paid jobs for locals and allowing in the unskilled people to do the menial jobs?

Am I missing something here?

'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'


What if...

You don't have any social media accounts *cough* me *cough*? Or would that, in itself, be a reason to refuse entry because you're obviously a terrorist hiding stuff? Or what if I don't know the password until I enter the States, someone else could have set it up for me and posted the password to where I was going to be staying? It's the stuff of bad movie plots!

Inside Nvidia's Pascal-powered Tesla P100: What's the big deal?


When the title mentioned Pascal I immediately thought of the programming language and a step backwards in performance. I need to get out more.

Confession: I was a teenage computer virus writer


Those were the days...

...trying to dream up novel ways to annoy your fellow students at univeristy!

I remember writing on TSR that hooked into the keyboard interrupts and, at random intevals, would replace the keys codes the user was creating with a predefined message so it looked like the user had typed the message to hilarious effect (I wish).

And then I discovered how to control the video hardware and created a TSR that would turn a text mode screen upside down by switching the page the video hardware was displaying and then frequently copying the default page to the displayed page (OK, it didn't turn the individual characters upside down).

Fun days indeed.

BitTorrent not to blame for movie revenues, says economist


As we're talking about films...

Can I be the first to say "Hello to Jason Isaacs"?

BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept


I have no idea!

When visiting the hospital at the time my child was born, I was following the signs for the maternity ward and saw a sign pointing to "F.O.A.D". I have no idea what they did there ... patient services perhaps?

Hungry for humbler Pi? Check out kid-friendly LED-laden Pibrella



The location of the push button could be a problem as there is no support under it so the pressure is transfered to the connector. Apart from that, looks great.

Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer


I Buy Organic sometimes...

...because it tastes better (in my opinion). No other reason.

Blurred lines: Android e-ink mobe claims TWO-WEEK battery life


The Young 'uns

...just stare at you-tube videos.

UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard


"Productivity" Software

Not very related, but every version of Word was touted as having improved productivity. My first proper word processor was Word2.0 (I think) for MSDOS (no GUI!) and I could bash out degree coursework in no time. So, by extrapolation, I should be able to write those same documents in a fraction of the time. This isn't to say any other software is more productive, just that the whole "improved productivity" seems to be marketing speak for "more frustration and time wasted".

Oh, and to get back to the topic, I don't think there's a current version of Word that could read those old Word files.

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code


Oh, FFS!

Firstly, writing HTML is not coding!

Secondly, if Tech City is desperate for coders, how come none of my applications have ever got through to them, after all I've 30+ years of coding experience! Oh wait, is it because I've not got .Net 4 on my CV but only .Net 3.5? (OK, that's more a gripe aimed at so recruitment agencies.)

As for 'Code in an international language' - hah, ever tried to decode variable names written in Spanish or French or whatever?

"How long to teach how to teach coding?"

"Pick it up in a day"


I might know how to speak and write English but I'm not going to create works like Shakespeare. Syntax is easy, coding is hard! Just see the Q's on Stackoverflow from users with 1 rep point.

I did find the bit from 0:45 onwards very funny:

voice over: "presented with baffling computer commands"

on screen: if (distance < radius) { } else { } //END if statement

What I find most annoying about all this is how it's going to devalue my career with an influx of kids that know very little about 'coding'.

Candy Crush dev stuffs EU 'candy' trademark down gob


Re: Prior art

Prior art has nothing to do with trademarks. Trademarks just give protection against competitors producing similar products with similar names.

Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly


Devaluation of the K

The K used to be 1024

Then it became 1000

And now it's 960!

Munich signs off on Open Source project


Re: "we're a bank/florist/heavy engineering company"

"lots of banks employ lots of IT people already."

Apart from RBS of course.

Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'


Well in that case...

probably a good idea to get rid of all those other subjects that "only appeal[s] to a limited set of people", for instance: physics, chemistry, biology, geography, to name a few. How many young 'uns are going to become scientists!

Just teach them how to put an X next to the conservative candidate and pay your taxes without querying it and you're good to go!

Kids hooked up with free Office subs at Microsoft-addicted schools


Joking, yes?

Are there really educational institutions out there that would spend that much on software just to allow the students to have free software? And here was me thinking that educational policy (at least in the UK) was to restrict the funds from government for education and pass as much of the cost onto the students.

Scottish leader splurged £20k appealing disclosure of EU membership legal bungle


I'm not keen on Mr Salmond

Ever since watching "You've Been Trumped" and how the government overturned a local planning decision and ended up bulldozing an SSSI. Shocking. Should be shown to all the Scots voting in the referendum to show just how much Mr Salmond's government loves Scotland.

Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates


I don't believe it!

Couldn't you break the watermarking by taking two versions of the watermarked file and randomly choosing pixels from each source? Thus you mess up the watermark data without needing the unwatermarked original.

Also, are they serious suggesting that content DRM is tied to a physical device? That would mean re-authorising content every time the playback device dies?

Atomic clocks come to your wrist


"I'm assuming that the size of the watch is down to the lead lining to prevent the wearer suffering radiation sickness.......

"Does it come with a dosimeter?"

Why would you need one of those. Caesium 133 is a stable isotope and doesn't emit any radiation.

Oh, you didn't think that 'atomic' meant 'radioactive'?

Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me


Re: Commercial fusion may not be as far away as you think

I do.

I don't think a company like L-M would say something like that without a degree of confidence. They've obviously been working on this problem and have come up with a different approach (unsurprising, given the type of facility it is).

The problem with ITER is that it's government funded and governments do so hate to try something new when they've invested so much time and money into something already. It's not surprising that in the twenty or so years ITER's been in development, a more agile, private company has come up with a better way. I'll wager that even if this mini-fusion system comes to fruition, the ITER will still get built.

Time to invest in L-M shares?

IRON MAN MUSK: Elon reveals Tony Stark-style 3D design smarts


What a load of Rubbish!

The spinning and zooming demo was total pants. It looked awkward and imprecise. Using a mouse and keyboard is much more efficient, and you can access all the other editing commands easily. It looked like you had to hold your hands stationary for a moment before moving them away from the camera so the system didn't think you were trying to spin the object (which happened to the presenter bot).

Been watching far too much Minority Report.

Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption


Re: Really?

Statistical ignorance strikes again!

1 out of 5 job applicants with backgrounds warranting further investigation

That sounds abnormally, insanely, ridiculously high

What you've missed is the fact that we're not given a figure for the number of "applicants with backgrounds warranting further investigation". If only 1% of applicants warrant further checks then "1 in 5" becomes 0.2% of all applicants. The 1% figure is something I made up, it's probably much lower for a job like this as the initial checks are probably very thorough.

Qualcomm reveals 'Toq' smartwatch


Battery Life

A battery life of days! I remember my first watch had a battery life of years! That's progress I guess. There's no real killer app in any of these watches so far, they're just cut down phones that require a phone nearby to work. Just use the phone FFS.

Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow


Re: Good luck

Even if it rocketed up to US$20bn, that's still a lot less than the $68bn or so they're thinking of pumping into a 'highspeed' (i.e. Intercity125 speeds) conventional train line, which would cost more to ride on and take longer. True, it can take a lot more cargo.

This is a project that really needs to be done. There will be naysayers, but there always is with new things (think, the first car, the first plane, etc).

Patching Xerox's number-changing photocopy phlaw will take weeks



Just looked at the Wikipedia page for that compression method. It's no wonder this has happened. I guess we can tell from this that Xerox don't sell into Russia, since there's a lot of Russian characters that are really hard to differentiate and would have flagged up this issue really quickly.

iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close


iPads in Schools

I remember a year or so back my sons' school (state primary) handed out leaflets about the future of the IT in the school. "Our Apple Vision" was the headline and it extolled the virtues of the device. Needless to say, most of the use cases for the device involved going to the iTunes store for apps and (Apple authorised, American) text books, admittedly most of it was advertised as being free. There was a very biased questionnaire attached, questions like "Which iPad/iPod would you buy", no suggestion that there were non-Apple alternatives available.

So I and my wife wrote very lengthy replies, she took the social angle (kids as mugging targets, breakages, cost, etc) and I took a tech angle (consumer device, no scope for CompSci work, networking, etc). Needless to say, there's been no word on the subject since and the teacher that was the main driving force behind the plan has since left.

Oh, and did I mention the all expenses paid Apple-in-Education junket the head and IT teacher went on at St Pancras?

Finally, one use for an iPod touch - use the stopwatch app to time races. Good grief.

Higgs data shows alternate reality will SWALLOW UNIVERSE


Re: Oh, well...

And just enough time to sanitize your telephone too. Or make a documentary about the trials of living with impending doom!

Obama calls for study into games ‘n’ guns link


A possible solution?

Well, there have been many amendments to the US constitution, some as recent as 1992, so why not add a new one to clarify the right to bear arms since the ambiguity of the original is often used by groups like the NRA to justify gun ownership. Perhaps a clause to only allow "the security of a free state" as a reason to own a gun. So unless the "security of the free state" is at risk, there'd be no reason to carry or own a gun! I fear, though, that the lawyers would still find a good way around it.

Of course, the current amendments do allow a US citizen, if they feel that the government is a threat to the free state, can storm the White House / Congress / whatever it's called, with a gun a shoot members of the government!

NRA: Video games kill people, not guns. And here's our video game


Re: @Alpha

"Personally I prefer knock down targets and paper targets with scoring rings to improve my accuracy as I go to the range for a relaxing shoot. Something I find very good at relieving stress."

Well, if that's all you want to do, then why not leave the gun at the range? No need to take it home with you. You get to keep the right to let off a few rounds, everyone else gets the right to stay alive - sorted!

Raspberry Pi daddy: Stroke your hardware at night, land a job easy



"...when hiring people we probably cared more about our assessment of their ability to learn new stuff than their ability to do things when they come in the door."

Of course, the problem with looking for work is that many recruitment agencies just do keyword matches and miss the important element of being able to learn and adapt. I'd much rather have a great programmer with no experience in the specific areas the job requires than a poor programmer with lots of experience. A great programmer can learn new languages and systems quickly and start producing quality code within a short time.

There must be a better way than what we've currently got in the recruitment agencies. StackOverflow careers is possibly a step in the right direction.

Slideshow: A History of First-person Shooters in 20 Games


Well, the graphics have certainly got better but...

...the gameplay hasn't changed much.

Boffins baffled: HUGE EYEBALL washes up on Florida beach


Obvious really...

...there's an island populated with scientist, artists and clairvoyants where they're genetically engineering a bug eyed monster and this is one of the early attempts.

Google in new Maps patent row - but not with Apple


Obvious Indeed

1. Get a MAC address / SSID

2. Look up in database

3. If found, read location

4. Else, if current location is known, save information to database

Go on then, sue me!

NASA releases stunning image of our universe's distant past


For a laugh...

...I partially read the AnswersInGenesis page the article linked to. If there ever was a case to prove how bad science and maths education has got, that is surely it.

LONDON iPHONE 5 MADNESS: 'You must be CRAZY to buy Apple'



"In fact the Chinese government is actively encouraging families to have more children as it's begun to realise, in a much bigger way than say Europe, that their population is ageing very rapidly"

Is time running faster in China? Maybe they're just trying to get to the future first so than can patent everything before anyone else.

New guide: Bake your own Raspberry Pi Lego-crust cluster


Nothing to say really...

...just raise a pint to those profs at Southampton Uni (from the Hobbit pub). Excellent.

Perhaps the Pi can be used as the standard unit of super-computing performance?

Wales: We'll encrypt Wikipedia if reborn gov net-snoop plan goes live


Re: Can more people

So, you don't support the Royal Mail / US Postal service (or whatever) as they can be used in that way as well, without any of the tracking that this bill is suggesting and a requirement of a Judge to oversee interceptions.

Apple, Samsung blast away in patent case closing arguments


You gotta love it!

"Let the innovators compete,"

Isn't this trial about protecting one's innovations? And why did no one point out that all cars have similar features, all washing machines, microwaves, TVs, etc, etc.

'That new Google button was our idea', claims lawsuit


It's not just Google

Video game makers have a similar problem. How to deal with unsolicited e-mails and post containing so-called great game ideas. They all just put them into the bin unopened. They need to protect themselves from the "you stole my idea" brigade. Same thing here. The idea itself is worthless, it's the implementation that's important. It's like me going to MS/whoever and saying I've got a great way for a program to be able to remember what the user was doing between sessions - I call it "Save File" - now I'll sue you for copying my idea!

Chess algorithm written by Alan Turing goes up against Kasparov


Re: What came first the computer or the coder?

Ada Lovelace settled that argument a long time ago.

Scots council: 9-yr-old lunch blogger was causing 'distress and harm'



"was misrepresenting her school dinners and distressing the canteen staff"

I think the distress was caused by the council forcing the canteen staff to serve up the food rather than the blog (which, from what I've read, never criticised the staff). I think that, deep down, those canteen staff would prefer to serve up better food (as seen in Mr Oliver's school food series if I remember correctly).

It's such a shame that now the school food campaign is no longer headline news (as it was when the TV series was on) they think it's OK to go back to the easy, old ways.

Wraps come off UK super-snooper draft plans


Doesn't Really Help

"This just turned up: http://www.opendns.com/technology/dnscrypt/"

Since the IP address is enough and all the DNS lookup does is turn a string into an IP address and going from IP address to web site is easy. I'd be surprised if the information recorded didn't contain the IP address since that's all the information that's sent when accessing a web-site (you don't send the web-sites name to the web-site you're accessing, you send it a DNS server). So, web-sites with constantly changing IP addresses would defeat this as it would be really hard to go back in time to see what was at a given IP address.

Foxconn receives Apple smart TV order - report



What I currently have:

A remote and UI for my TV, a remote/UI for my STB and a remote/UI of my BD player. Each UI behaves differently and are all a bit rubbish. I have a 8 or so cables (VCR!, consoles, BD, STB, power, etc) hanging off my TV which is pain if ever one comes loose (the TV is wall mounted - large, free standing flat panels and children do not mix).

What I want:

A TV with just one AV input and one power input (I don't like seeing the cables so they're all encased in trunking, which, at the moment is quite wide). An STB with multiple AV inputs and is the one input to the TV. One remote which controls the STB and the devices connected to it with a touch screen on it with a useful UI*.

We've sent men to the moon, why is it so hard to have a coherent TV experience? Actually, I know the answer to that one, they're designed by marketing departments.

* It just occurred to me as an example of stupid UI that the TV displays a big bar graphic when I press the up/down volume buttons to show me the volume setting (positioned perfectly to obscure any subtitles on the screen) - like I couldn't work it out from the noise that's coming out of the speakers!

Motorola Mobility loses to Microsoft in German patent battle


Re: Breaking up something large is PATENTED?

@Neill Barnes: Unless you're German, in which case you try to make every sentence just one big long word.

Stuxnet ≠ cyberwar, says US Army Cyber Command officer


Steps required to prevent "cyber attacks"

1. Don't connect important stuff to the internet

2. Stuff that is connected to the internet, make sure you have a non-connected backup system (you know, like there used to be before the internet was invented)

3. That's it.

OK, so when there's an "attack" things happen a bit slower and more inconveniently but it's not going to hurt anyone.

And who cares if FaceTwitterTube+ goes offline. Oh, wait, the sheeple will have to face "real life" TM.

Spy under your car bonnet 'worth billions by 2016'


Re: Before anyone says "here comes big brother"...

@AC 12:49

"What about those police jobs where 'silent response' with no blue lights or sirens is called for?"

Then they are not allowed to speed. If arriving unnoticed is required, arriving at speed would defeat the objective: " 'ang on, what's all these cars screeching to a halt outside all about then?"