* Posts by RW

1097 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Apr 2007


Audio tweaked just 0.1% to fool speech recognition engines


Re: So, it's crap?

Some decades ago I briefly crossed paths with an AI researcher. As a result, in my books, the correct term is "artificial stupidity."

NHS could have 'fended off' WannaCry by taking 'simple steps' – report


Re: RE: "but where does the money come form"

"Thats easy: instant dismissal for all managers who should have sorted out security but didn't. And their bosses for slack supervision."

Won't happen. Surely you know that once elevated to the ranks of management, one is untouchable.

Who botched Oz cancer registry rollout? Pretty much everybody


"Medicare data.. was incomplete and unreliable."

What else did they expect? Incompleteness and unreliability are to be expected, many times over, when you merge multiple, formerly independent, sets of public data. Private, too, but my experience only extends to public data.

Were Telstra such fools as to expect otherwise?

Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86


Re: There were five in the UK..

Since you mentioned a name now lost, let me mention another, also an OS wizard: Jim Oma, who was one of the tiny team (about six people) that maintained Burroughs's large systems MCP.

Jim died around 1973; he's long gone and most people have never heard of him. Clever guy!


Those fast Burroughs card readers

Yes, indeedy!

[I worked for Burroughs for a couple of years in the early 1970s.]


More mainframe OS code

IN 1974-75 IBM provided the source code for their mainframe OS to some customers. A university I worked at then had it on microfiche. Somewhat later, a large insurance company in Vancouver had it, too.

And Burroughs provided source code for the MCP in that era, as well.


Re: Primos

There have been any number of very good computer manufacturers. Philco and Bendix, names perhaps better known for household appliances, had extremely innovative designs for their mainframes, but eventually went under as far as computers were concerned.

It's time for a long, hard mass debate over sex robots, experts conclude


That horse has long since fled the barn.

Those self-proclaimed "experts" clearly haven't heard of the Venus 2000 (now known as the Sybian for Men). I wonder if they've even heard of the Fleshlight.

Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes


Re: Humidity control

"big boxes with glass lids"

Maybe IBM 2314 disk drives. Removable disk packs.


Not au natural. "Au naturel" is correct. "Au naturale" is incorrect. But none is quite right.

"Commando" is the word meaning clothed without wearing underwear. There is the implication that underwear doesn't show if you are dressed, which is not always true.

Drawback: "Commando" may be too male a word to be used for a woman as it's connected somehow with the concept of letting the boys hang free.

HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS


As is this pensioner.

BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'


Re: Really a power failure?

There are authenticated cases where, for example, a hospital cleaner would unplug clinical equipment keeping patients alive so he could plug in his floor polisher.


A good, nay excellent, example of a single point of failure.

Unless by "power supply" they mean the entire power grid for Great Britain.

90 per cent of the UK's NHS is STILL relying on Windows XP


Re: The fault is the operating system

You take care to send them emails (of which you have printed hard copies) pointing out the mistake they are making. Use exactly the phrasing you used in your post, go ahead tell them that their penny pinching and short sightedness mean long term business needs are not being met.

At least then you have covered your own ass when the wheels fall off.


Re: The fault is the operating system

Remember, Microsoft makes a lot of money out of software churn.

Where does that money come from? Right out of the pockets of their customers, including ones left high and dry by the latest release of Win.

I am astonished (still, after decades of coping with Windows in different versions) that anyone would use Windows for mission critical apps, particularly life-or-death situations that are so common in hospitals.

I run Linux myself at home, but I'm far from prepared to say that Linux is the solution to software churn.


Re: Software does not wear out

I switched to Linux, Ubuntu 8, in 2008. It was interesting to watch Firefox fail to work with a greater and greater number of websites, particularly those who had converted to HTML5 for video support. Of course, I finally had to get a new computer (with Mint LInux 17) so I could still go a-youtubing, but now I keep seeing websites using only Flash for video.

The more things change...


"Relatively mission critical functions"

Strike the word "relatively".

As fate would have it, I was just thinking about the unnecessary use of "relatively" earlier today while out and about. The things one thinks about!


A better analysis

The correct summary of this event: NHS tells Microsoft to stop changing API's and UI's when it's not necessary.

Microsoft, of course, keeps changing what doesn't need changing because they make money from software churn. That this imposes the high cost of employees endlessly having to crawl up new learning curves is something Redmond simply neglects to mention.

There is also the cost of re-writing custom software.

Part of the theory of biological evolution says that most viable mutations are small because most organisms are already so well adapted to their environments that very little improvement is possible. Any large change will probably (n.b.) be for the worse. The same is true of mature, tried-and-tested software. Like WinXP.

Bill Gates needs to stop hoarding cash and accept that the personal computer market is now mature, so profit levels will not be what they used to be.

Two new dinosaurs walked from South America to Australia, via Antarctica


Very bad headline wording

That headline was very badly worded in that it pretends that S. America, Australia, and Antarctica have always been in the same relative positions as a way of exciting astonishment and awe.

They haven't, thanks to continental drift.

I grow a plant in my garden (Myrteola nummularia, a little low creepy crawly) that is native both to Tasmania and the southern tip of South America. Lots of plants have the same kind of distribution, as any book on the geography of plants will point out.

Licence-fee outsourcer Capita caught wringing BBC tax from vulnerable


Re: ..taxing

"Dog taxes", formally called "dog license fees", are actually in place to ensure that all dogs have been vaccinated against rabies, a prerequisite for obtaining the metal tag that all dogs must wear on their collars.

Rabies may be a non-issue in the UK, but North America has many wild animals among which it flourishes: foxes, raccoons, bats of many species, etc.

What's the difference between you and a sea slug? When it comes to IT security, nothing


Re: Not a lot of options here.

Question: has anyone ever bought anything online solely because of online ads?

I will make an exception for joke purchases.


Re: "engineers need to worry less about attacks, and more that the neurobiology"

This is why the first step in designing new software should always be to mock up screens and reports on paper, then pass them in front of a user review panel.

If something is wrong (or even just slightly misshapen), they're cheap as all get-out to revise, among other advantages such as needing no software or hardware to display.

Next step is to mock up inputs and expected outputs. Final acceptance then depends on matching the expected results for specified input. When I used to do IT for a living, I always told user test panels "don't input something just to see what happens; figure out what is supposed to happen, then see if it does."


Re: When will they...

Never mind that 10% ispropyl alcohol won't dissolve many of the very substances isopropyl alcohol is used to clean off gear.

Hello, cannabis tar blocking a bong.

Folders return to Windows 10's Start Thing


The situation is rather like biological evolution. Most organisms are already very close to the optimum, so any large mutation is almost certain to produce organisms less well adapted. Only very small mutations have a chance of success.

Just so UIs. At some point (possibly Win3.1) UI design reached a state of "best", and all changes since then have been counter-productive. But M$ can't make money on software without lots and lots of software churn so they keep fiddling and fiddling and fiddling with things, having bright idea after bright idea. [note sarcasm] Gee, Ma, where'd all that money come from?

Apple had the right idea in the early Macs, where the details of the UI were specified in great detail and what worked in one program worked in another.

The question remains, what is the optimum design?

Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'


> I can see a monumental outage or fuck up coming with Azure and then MS will sink,

Just wait until such an outage utterly destroys important data that can't be replaced.


Too little too late. My next OS won't be from Microsoft.

I switched in Linux in 2008 and have never regretted it.

Modern distros for the home market are perfect for Aunt Sally who only uses her computer to send and receive emails, look at photos of her grandkids, and occasionally watches a porn video.

They work very well for a lot else too, but even your doddering old aunt may appreciate a computer that never crashes. (Actually, Linux crashes once in a long while, but the problem is more than I don't know how to recover from a crash without rebooting.)


Re: Repentance?

M$ is sorry only for the flap they caused, not for any harm or inconvenience they caused their customers.

Much like people who are only sorry when they are caught at doing something reprehensible.


Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

This reminds me of some dealings with my bank.

Advertising bumf arrives from bank announcing that now I can do my banking from home, hip, hip, hurray!

I phone bank and say "disable online banking on my account." "Why?" "I consider home computers inherently insecure." "Oh, no, our online banking system is completely secure." "Oh? Then how could it have been enabled on my accounts by some marketing wonk without my permission?"

[silence] "We'll disable it as soon as possible, sir."

The analogy is not exact, but it's much the same spirit: "hold still while we do you this unasked-for favor."

Ad-slinger Turn caught with its hand in Verizon's 'supercookie' jar


False premises

I am faintly (very very faintly) amused that the advertising wonks think that tracking anyone as they browse the web will reveal their "hobbies and interests". Let's face the truth: advertising wonks are professional liars. They lie to the target of their b.s., they lie to the people who hire them, and they lie to themselves about the efficacy of their filthy tactics.

Offhand, I can't think of a single thing I've bought as a result of online advertising. Amazon does make "recommendations" based on my browsing of Amazon, and those have sometimes led to a purchase of music I wasn't previously aware of, but that's about it. And even Amazon isn't right a lot of the time. My purchases of a couple of small, sensitive scales (one good down to 1 mg, more or less) are related to weighing the cat's medication and nothing else, and I have no interest in buying another scale of any type.

It will be noted that weighing the cat's medication is not an interest or a hobby.

Adblock-Plus makes browsing almost entirely ad-free and much more pleasant (and useful) than when your browser screen is cluttered with silly, pointless, ignorant ads.

PS: The medication I refer to is KCl; kitty has a slight K deficiency.

Los Angeles to extradite bloke from Nigeria after scores of city workers fall for phish scam


Los Angeles needs to revamp training of its workers; clearly the current training does not get the point across.

Is your Windows 10, 8 PC falling off the 'net? Microsoft doesn't care


Re: It's all a bit farcical, isn't it?

Sounds like you thought I meant a static IP rather than a static address for DNS.

People not thinking I meant static DNS address.

If people are misconstruing what you wrote, then you need to work harder at writing without being vague and/or ambiguous.

UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012


Power companies like to pretend that using power during peak demand should be penalized. But guess what time is peak time? It's early evening in the winter when lights are on, dinner's being cooked, and the house is warm: things you pretty much have to do at that time.

The real reason behind this lying propaganda? It saves the power companies from having to build infrastructure to handle peak demand. This implies that some MBA's were involved in the decision.

I'm waiting for a spell of seriously cold weather in the UK when snow and ice keep most people at home and the UK gubbmint announces that because demand exceeds supply, peak period people will experience automatic shutoff just when dinner's half cooked.

The dimbulbs that come up with these schemes seem to rarely think through all the consequences.

Das ist empörend: Microsoft slams umlaut for email depth charge


Re: Two dot ...

"Two dot ... umlaut? Is there any other kind?"

Yes, there is. The Hungarian umlaut, as in



It occurs to me after reading AC's remark "that legacy is doing a fair bit of own petard hoisting...", that one of these days M$ will hit an unexpected brick wall when something goes wrong with Windows and they can't fix it! because Windows is so burdened down with code to support legacy soft- and hardware. Where did I read that the source code for Windows is in excess of one billion lines now?


Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Please!

I wonder how (and if) this bug manifests itself when a script other than the Roman alphabet is being used.


UK NHS 850k Reply-all email fail: State health service blames Accenture


Re: The usual suspects

I hope you will allow me to extend your list:

3. Email recipients who seem incapable of editing their replies and instead quote the entire message replied, no matter now long it is.


Re: The usual suspects

We've all been well aware of the reply-all idiots for a long time now, so if the systems aren't configured to take into account that idiocy, you can hardly blame the users. Note that in this case, the responsible idiot is one of the IT staff.

Another issue: clearly NHS employees are not given proper training in the use of email. Whose responsibility is that, pray tell?

Trump's torture support could mean the end of GCHQ-NSA relationship


Re: Re Big John

Massive stroke is a definite possibility. Drumpf is well known for not taking anybody's advice about anything if he doesn't agree, and any doctor who tried to tell him to lose some weight, eat less, and get more exercise (golf doesn't count) would be wasting his time. Drumpf is a very self-indulgent man. Very fat, too. With skin that to me screams "not in the best of health".

I wonder how drumpf will like being a patient at Walter Reed?

Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes


Re: If something is free...

You are neglecting the many profound differences between the RCC ("the Church") and the many small independent Protestant churches in existence.

Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'


Re: is there a comprehensive list of cockups?

Maybe M$ should stop changing driver architecture with every version of Windows. It can't be an accident that this occurs.


Re: is there a comprehensive list of cockups?

> what incentive was there from Redmond to make them not work?

More crap from the so-called marketing wonks. M$ has a long standing habit of doing their best to disable both hard- and software not branded M$. My suspicion is that said wonks think that if they can disable Popular Item #33, customers will flock to the M$ equivalent.

Back in DOS days, M$ thought their slogan was funny, "Dos isn't done until Lotus won't run". Deliberately introduced malfunctions are an old, old practice in Redmond.

This is wrong, both factually and ethically. Rather like the Young Turks' comment on Donald Drumpf, "running profitable businesses is a much better plan than repeated bankruptcies." [paraphrased], a much better plan for M$ would be to build hard- and software so good people are happy to adopt it without childish efforts to force them to.

The unethical aspect doesn't need spelling out; it's obvious. I'm surprised that this doesn't violate fair trade laws.

You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh


Re: When life imitates art...

"some builders needed to get a cable out of the way and just snipped through the cat 5..."

Builders (usually "contractors" in Canada and the US) do that kind of thing. The Atlantic City Music Hall contained a huge pipe organ with pneumatic action. Eventually it fell into disuse, but remained intact....until contractors working on renovations simply cut through the bundles of tubes that connected keyboard with pipes.

[I'm paraphrasing this from memory and hope I got it right.]

Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF


Microsoft: the Donald Trump of software?

They do bungle things pretty badly and pretty often.

LinkedIn sues 100 information scrapers after technical safeguard fail


Re: Pot? Kettle?

> How about going after those who incessantly send unsolicited invites

> and reminders to people who have no interest in joining their social

> media site but happen to be in the email address book of someone

> who accidentally clicked the "spam everyone I know" button?

I kept getting linkedln join requests from an idiot who, apparently, subscribed to a mailing list I subscribe to, kept all the emails sent out by the list, and let linkedln harvest them all. Once that's done, it's linkedln itself that spams them.

I finally resorted to writing him each time and complaining in a vociferous, not particularly polite manner and it stopped. There may have been threats of complaints to the guy's ISP.

Red Hat redraws Ansible Tower so even enterprise managers can get it


The word "ansible"

Ursula LeGuin coined it in her early SF novels such as "Rocannon's World" for a FTL communication device.

White hat banned for revealing vulns in news sites used by London councillors


Re: Meet the tool of the Police State: Nextdoor.com

"neighborhood association"

In the City of Victoria, BC (sensu strictu) the mayor and municipal council are great fans of nbh assocs and follow their lead in much. Minor problem: afaict, most of the local nbh assocs have perhaps half a dozen active members; they do NOT speak for everyone in the neighborhood, merely the busy bodies active in them.

Windows Mobile users suffer backup super-slurp as Redmond forgets Wi-Fi switch


No surprise here

M$ has been pulling this kind of stunt for decades. It's an inevitable side effect of M$'s dedication to software churn. They keep fiddling with the software, so naturally they break it from time to time.

I've often thought that M$'s problems largely arise because their staff doesn't include enough old grizzled no-nonsense engineers with the authority to tell the youngsters (and the assholes in marketing) that no, you cannot release that software that way.

Gov must hire 'thousands' of techies to rescue failing projects


Managers don't deserve the big bucks

2: Departments refuse to pay them [IT professionals] at appropriate levels, because that would mean they're earning more than management.

Every manager should have subordinates who make more money. It teaches them humility and their proper role in life: they are support systems for the people who do the real work, the difficult work. If you need to hire a manager, the people waiting at the nearest bus stop form a perfectly satisfactory pool of candidates for the job.

Also, internal promotions to management are generally the result of ass kissing.

No escape: Microsoft injects 'Get Windows 10' nagware into biz PCs


Re: I am not a fucking product.

I suspect that if yuuuge corp X sues M$ as described, M$ will simply pay and pay X to keep quiet.

Remember, m$ is itself a "big enough corp" and they're all in bed with one another.

UK Home Sec stumbles while trying to justify blanket cyber-snooping


Re: Well she could but "We wants it because...

May is not "like" a power mad dictator with a Stalin sized desire for control of everyone.

That's what she is.