* Posts by Tim Almond

251 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Oct 2008


Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

Tim Almond

Re: Easy win but challenging keep.

It's a really unattractive job. First of all, you have to spend years of doing crap like pushing leaflets through letterboxes, then spending time fighting campaigns that you will lose just to show that you work hard. Then you get selected for a marginal seat. But if you time it wrong, you just lose because your party is not in order. Then you become an MP where most of your day is just voting with the party, doing some trivial nonsense in select committees. Your personal life is considered as public record. Voters will bother you for all sorts of nonsense. And in 5 years you could be redundant and out of a job for a decade.

Why would you do that rather than working in medicine, software or engineering?

Local governments aren't businesses – so why are they force-fed business software?

Tim Almond

Re: Inevitable

I have a strong belief that if you are buying a product from a company, you should not pay them to customise it. You should buy a product where you have every API documented, how to use any plugin architecture and you evaluate those, pay for the product and then create an in-house team to maintain it who are loyal to you, so you retain source code and knowledge. I can this the "no salesman will call" philosophy. If I can't enter a credit card on a website I don't want to buy it.

I've done projects with Dynamics and we didn't have to get Microsoft to do anything. We could create custom types, we had custom menus, we had a we service feeding data in. That's how all 3rd party software should be treated. As an off-the-shelf black box that you can also use as a component.

C++ zooms past Java in programming popularity contest

Tim Almond

Bad Methodology

If your methodology ends up with Delphi/Object Pascal as a bigger language than Ruby or Objective-C, it's just rubbish. I think the last time I knew anyone who was using Delphi was last century.

Measure it by jobs using something like Jobserve and C++ is way below C# or Java.

If you want to know the future, look at something like Advent of Code. What are people who are young and doing fun stuff using right now. A decade ago, this will be mainstream. And the most used languages are: Python, Rust, Javascript. C#, Java. C++ was in 8th place. If I was advising a kid on what to learn, I'd probably go with the top 3: Python, Rust, Javascript (and Typescript).They'll still be lots of old C# and Java around but the new stuff is going to be more in those languages.

Plans for UK rival to Silicon Valley ditched

Tim Almond

You can't "build" silicon valley

The stories of why certain industries are centred on a particular place are often too weird for words. Why is silicon valley in California? Because William Shockley loved his old mum. Why is Grasse in France the global centre of perfumes? Because they made excellent leather goods, but they smelled bad, so they started creating fragrances to cover the smell for the trip to Paris.

It's almost impossible to predict any of this stuff, and especially which industries are going to be huge. And government are worse at it than anyone. Remember all the money pumped into Concorde. Look at how much we're blowing on HS2, even though commuting has just halved.

I'm not even sure there's going to be a "silicon valley". Seems to me that people can work in all sorts of places remotely, so it's going to get spread around more.

Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ – but it performs better than just OK

Tim Almond

Re: Colour me impressed...

I have this argument with people all the time about why I still buy blu-rays rather than buying "HD" streaming. Blu ray is losslessly compressed and the interface can handle 20-30mbps. A rapidly moving action scene where a lot of the pixels are changing colour works, while streaming will be a mess of a blur.

Apple, Amazon fined to the tune of €200m for colluding over Beats headphones sales

Tim Almond

Re: That's Terrible

But who really cares? People who buy this stuff were clearly lucky to ever get together with their money in the first place. That Dr Dre or Tim Cook take it and stick it in their pockets is just restoring balance.

For any fashion brand product, there's a cheaper product that does the same thing out there for less.

Apple sues 'amoral 21st century mercenaries' NSO for infecting iPhones with Pegasus spyware

Tim Almond


This is really about embarrassing Apple. They're a trillion dollar company who make most of their profit from one product and one of the two of 3 biggest marketing points about the iPhone is privacy.

It's not explicit, but the point of their marketing is that Android shares your data, and it's well worth spending 5 times the price of a Moto for a nice piece of jewellery and that your data won't be shared.

Stories about malware that can work by simply opening an email damage that reputation. Yes, I'm sure that Android has the same problems, but Apple explicitly market on this point, like Android doesn't. And if you're just saying that your phone is as secure as an Android, why not buy an Android (they still work as jewellery, I suppose).

So what if I pay peanuts for my home broadband? I demand you fix it NOW!

Tim Almond

How to do Meetings

a) have 1 or 2 agenda items

b) make sure the relevant parties are present and only the relevant parties

c) make sure there's actions at the end of it.

d) set a maximum time of 30 minutes, preferably 15. If it takes longer than 30, you probably need to go away, get information and have another meeting

e) do everything possible to avoid a meeting. this should come after you've exhausted email and just need to get people in a room.

f) "team meetings" are a colossal waste of time. If you need to tell people something, send an email around.

Oracle Zooms past rivals to run TikTok’s cloud, take stake alongside WalMart and ByteDance investors

Tim Almond

"technical decision"

Sure, sure (insert gif of Jennifer Lawrence nodding)

Oracle would have to be in a different league of performance or price to AWS or Azure before I'd go anywhere near them. I suspect Oracle offered Zoom and TikTok really nice deals for all of this. Maybe they're even losing money just to seem relevant to the market.

It won't work because everyone hates Oracle. If your company is running Oracle, it's because it's a mission-critical system from the 1990s that everyone is too scared to migrate. No-one likes the tools, no-one thinks it's great tech. Even your boss hates them because of their sales guys.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

Tim Almond

Re: International Recognition

It's more complex than just beating the language out of people. It's also about the opportunities that language affords you, and as technology widened communication, you get less languages because learning the more common language and ditching regional languages profits people more.

So, the unifying of languages in England starts with the printing press. If you want to read a book, it's probably going to be in English rather than Cornish, so you learn English. Trains facilitate greater distance travel. Then telephone and internet. English is now the global lingua franca because the internet has brought so much trade. No-one is beating it into Indian and Chinese kids. They want to learn it.

Trying to keep languages alive by government intervention is ridiculous. We throw a load of money at BBC Alba despite every viewer knowing English, most as their primary language. it's like having a load of old network stacks installed on PCs, when everyone's running TCP/IP.

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Tim Almond

Re: I must be missing something...

"They should because the office software is part of their job. Now probably it shouldn't be that big a part, but if they insist on using Excel for their database, then they need to know how to use it for the database-style things they intend to do. Column typing is one of those things."

It's no excuse to not know about the tools you use. No chef would say that they don't know about the different knives and pans they use. No violinist would be blase about the violin they use. As a programmer I'm really fussy about my hardware, hosting and tools.

I've known that Excel makes assumptions for years. One of the reasons I try and get people using a combination of SQL Server + some sort of sql reporting tool is that SQL doesn't mess with your data. You can also set up things like SSIS jobs that will import your data in a consistent way (like filtering data or removing columns). And this stuff is cheap now.. Put it on a server and run PowerBI.

For the price tag, this iPad Pro keyboard better damn well be Magic: It isn't... but it's not completely useless either

Tim Almond

Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

But actually, they really don't. Because Apple will just stop your machine upgrading to the latest O/S. And then block you updating to the app store with the old O/S. And various other "need the latest OS" to run software.

My daughter just got rid of a 10 year old single core Vaio. That also worked. And was running Windows 10 And upgrading to SSD was easy.

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

Tim Almond

False Positives

There's some fascinating stuff out there (and I can't remember the link) where people have looked into where there have been massive spreads and where there hasn't, and it doesn't appear as simple as being next to a person. Cinemas and concert halls didn't lead to much spreading, but funerals and weddings did.

The writer seemed to speculate that things like physical contact, or talking to one another were much more likely to spread the germs. Also, what's the effect of indoor vs outdoor?

I'm wary that there could be catastrophic effects of this app: everyone goes paranoid and locks themselves away for an almost imperceptibly small risk. Remember, all of this isn't supposed to be about 0%, it's supposed to be about managable levels.

Looming ventilator shortage amid pandemic sparks rise of open-source DIY medical kit. Good thinking – but safe?

Tim Almond

3d printing

3d printed stuff is often quite fragile, and more suited to prototyping.

But under the circumstances, what do you do? We've all changed buckets for a leaking roof until someone arrives to do a proper fix. None of this has to be designed with long-term solution in mind. It can be a stop gap while someone makes the proper machines, or until it's all sorted.

Tim Almond

A parallel to this

"ResMed recommends only using medical devices that have been approved by regulatory bodies who have jurisdiction for their particular countries,"

Imagine this in terms of cars:-

1) you've been driving it for months, but the MOT expired yesterday.


2) your headlight is broken, so failed the MOT

In both cases, your car is "not approved by regulatory bodies". If you drive it on the public road, you're breaking the law. And normally, that would be a bad thing. You shouldn't go for a holiday to Dorset in a car like that. But let's say a homocidal maniac is chasing you with an axe, in daytime, in a remote farm with no phone. Are you going to get in the car to drive to the nearest safe town, or not?

Normally, the choice is excellent, regulated ventilator, or very good, unregulated ventilator, and while I have some problems with the regulatory bullshit in medicine, that's normally fine. But we have a choice of very good, unregulated ventilator, or no ventilator.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)

Tim Almond

Re: That's horrible.

"Really? Not sure I could tell the difference at a glance."

And I probably couldn't tell the latest Nikes from last years, but there's kids who do. And you're cool if you have the 2019 Air Jordan plimsolls rather than 2018 ones.

Tim Almond

Re: That's horrible.

Seriously? Bond product placement is obnoxious. It's so obvious to me when a shot is being done in a certain way (like how long it's held for) just because of a contract between the movie company and the product creator.

I don't mind product placement if it's natural. A character is going to be drinking some whisky, why not get Talisker to pay you some money and use theirs rather than another whisky. The problem is that the product owners want to know they're going to get something for their money and that it looks good. As Alex Cox once pointed out, you know if an aircraft is going to be in trouble if it has a fictional airline.

Tim Almond

Re: That's horrible.

"Would you have posted this if he had a £2k Lenovo stolen?"

But he probably wouldn't have done. People don't steal Thinkpads like they do Macs because Thinkpads aren't status symbols. Someone who just wants a laptop for the web and writing their CV can buy a legit used laptop for £150, or from a donation (or probably even a skip).

Macs are good machines, but they also have the status thing. People like to be seen with them. Everyone knows what's a new model vs an old model in a way that you don't with Thinkpads.

Tim Almond


It's an awful experience. Not just because of the cost, but how it makes you a bit more paranoid about it happening again.

"You can only get one laptop with this kind of snatch-and-dash effort. I doubt the resale value of an old Macbook Air, no questions asked, is more than $150, which is very little payoff for the risk. It only makes sense if thrill seeking is a key component of the crime."

Firstly you have to remember that criminals generally aren't very bright. The average take on an armed robbery is tiny, a couple of thousand dollars, and that's a decade in jail. They don't generally think they'll get caught. And if you can do one of these every hour, $150 split two ways isn't bad.

Dropbox would rather write code twice than try to make C++ work on both iOS and Android

Tim Almond

App Store

I looked into apps a few years ago and walked away from it. It wasn't the development side but the ecosystem, particularly the Apple app store. The costs of an annual license, having to own a Mac, and a recent Mac to upload to the store, how it has to be reviewed before a change goes up, have to use their ad service, they can reject it because of how it looks or behaves. They've even interfered to stop people making off-the-shelf templated apps or code generators.

The Play store was much more reasonable, but if I'm going to be doing one, I'd really have to do both. It's not even just the cost of buying that stuff, it's that it's deliberate pain by Apple, and that gets my back up. Coming from the world of the web, where it's a whole load of open standards and you use what you want to use to do what you want to do, it feels like a backward step.

It's why web apps and PWAs are the real future. Cross-platform, open standards. The devices are fast enough to do some pretty sophisticated stuff with a browser. Chrome is adding more and more stuff that can be accessed via Javascript, so you don't need an app to get NFC.

Stop using that MacBook Pro RIGHT NOW, says Uncle Sam: Loyalists suffer burns, smoke inhalation and worse – those crappy keyboards

Tim Almond

Buy A Thinkpad Next Time

"As a UK-based freelance developer who relies on his macOS notebook for his living, going without the laptop for more than half a month was a non-starter."

They're also well built, but one of the reasons I use Thinkpads is that repairs are easy. You can find 1 man bands who can easily get the parts and have a repair turned around in a day or two.

Seriously, what's the draw with Macs nowadays, anyway? I know in the past people could argue Mac OSX was more robust or it had a better choice of media software, but today? I know a dev that uses Macs and he gets stuck all the time because there isn't the same range of utilities and shareware Windows has.

Apple kills iTunes, preps pricey Mac Pro, gives iPad its own OS – plus: That $999 monitor stand

Tim Almond

Re: "Cupertino idiot tax"

Go for it. Tell me about the large companies that have lots of macs in their desktop estate.

Tim Almond

Re: "Cupertino idiot tax"

"Cisco, IBM, SAP, British Airways, AXA, all these have years-long enterprise partnerships with Apple based on ROI. These companies don't move unless there's a serious financial motive to do so."

Really? How much of British Airways or AXA desktop/laptop estate is running on Macs?

I work in a lot of different places as a freelancer. Banks, manufacturing companies, local authorities, telcos, software companies,marketing companies, estate agencies, MoD. Almost no-one uses Macs. The new media company I worked in had about 60% Mac, because designers pretty much insist on it.

In most companies they have one or two Macs and that's simply for website testing. Do the website changes look fine on Safari on Mac?

Macs are really not good ROI. They're like owning a VW Beetle instead of a VW Golf. Essentially, the same guts. You just pay more because a Beetle looks cute.

Tim Almond

Re: How much? They gotta be kidding, right?

"But this is for workloads than can hardly be farmed-off to a remote server, like (color-correct) editing those 8k video-streams or music-sheets with lots of instruments."

But you could farm it off to a rendering server in the basement, couldn't you? And I bet you'd get a lot more vanilla Window server grunt for your money than Apple charge.

For me this stuff is also about having components. A really powerful Mac is like those TV/VCR combos people buy, and then the TV dies and they lose both parts. And a farm is easily upgradable and replacable.

It's the curious case of the vanishing iPhone sales as Huawei grabs second place off Apple in smartmobe stakes

Tim Almond

Cheap Phones

I recently got a mid-range Huawei. I was just going to renew my data contract with the telco, but there was a deal that was better that included a phone. Anyway, it's a P30 Lite. £270 of phone. It has 128GB of storage. And takes an SD card (as if I care with 128GB of storage). Camera seems great. Seems to last all day. Speaker is rubbish, but fine with headphones.

I honestly don't know why anyone would spend more than this. OK, it's not waterproof, some phones have longer battery life, maybe a case made of gold-pressed latinum, maybe not as good for high end 3d games but how much is that really worth to anyone?

Talk about a ticket to ride... London rail passengers hear pr0n grunts over PA system

Tim Almond

Re: Train Strike - next week

Very much true.

The real money to be made from railways is the land around stations which rises astronomically in price. You can see the same effect with line improvements. If you reduce the time for a commute, the house prices near a station rise in price.

NPM is Not Particularly Magnanimous? Staff fired after trying to unionize – complaints

Tim Almond

How do they make money?

The product is free, isn't it? Never heard of anyone paying NPM for anything.

Fed up with 72-hour, six-day working weeks, IT workers emit cries for help via GitHub repo

Tim Almond

Who is Complaining?

I see lawyers and some geeks at Microsoft, but do the people at Alibaba like doing these hours?

When I was a young programmer, I regularly did 6 day weeks. The company wanted me doing extra hours and I didn't have wife and kids. My non-work time was going out places and clubbing.

If they're getting paid for it, maybe they're happy doing it.

Rust never sleeps: C++-alike language tops Stack Overflow survey for fourth year in a row

Tim Almond

Re: Not only normal meetings...

What? Japanese car factories are the opposite of that. Everyone wears the same overalls, eats in the same canteen for this sort of reason. And they're very good at process improvement.

Tim Almond

Re: Not only normal meetings...

The thing is that the standup evolved from daily meetings in Japanese car factories (known as asa-ichi) and the key thing there wasn't "what are you working on", it was about quality problems and process improvement. So, let's say that it's taking more effort to get an exhaust to fit right, or they think of a way to do the windscreens better, that's where you discuss it.

In a development context, that might be something like you're noticing that the builds are failing because of lack of memory, so you discuss how to take that forward. Or, you find a Visual Studio plugin that saved you time, and maybe we should be using it. Meetings are ultimately about an interchange, and that's why standups where people say what they're working on are stupid. That's nearly all between you and the manager.

Tim Almond

Re: Surveys

This all sounds quite plausible.

There's people who are very serious about this stuff. They do surveys, work on open source projects, write blog posts. And then there's people who turn up to work, do their job and go home. Those people don't tend to be that fussy about what they use. The boss rather likes them, because they won't get fussy if they have to fix an old system built in VB6, they'll get on and fix it.

And I guarantee there's a lot more jobs fixing VBA out there than Rust programming.

Apple redesigns wireless AirPower charger to be world's smallest, thinnest, lightest, cheapest, invisible... OK, it doesn't exist anymore

Tim Almond

Second Source

It's not only the cost thing of second source. It's flexibility.

I can get a Thinkpad repaired almost anywhere in the UK. You can find a small PC repair guy and he can fix it. He can get parts fast from a number of suppliers. If Lenovo don't have any in stock in the UK, you can always get a copy.

It's not your imagination: Ticket scalper bots are flooding the internet according this 'ere study

Tim Almond

Re: I long ago gave up

generally more fun, cheaper, you aren't watching a screen all night, the bar is better (and you can stay in the pub nearby until just before the band comes on), the fans are better.

No fax given: Blighty's health service bods told to ban snail mail, too

Tim Almond

Re: Who are the big users of the NHS?

80% of 65-74 year olds use the internet.

But even if you only get 25% of users opting for letters, that's 25m saved on postage per year.

I get the feeling a lot of people in the health service just don't want any sort of improvement to administration.

NHS needs to pull its finger out and prep staff for future robotics, genomics, data-led healthcare

Tim Almond

Hell No

"NHS needs to pull its finger out and prep staff for future robotics, genomics, data-led healthcare"

The NHS can barely manage IT at a level that your average private dental practice can. They've recently got SMS reminders at my GP surgery, something my dentist had a decade ago. They're just rolling out e-referrals instead of sending paper letters in the post. Something my dentist did years ago for specialists. My dentist also has everything digitised. There's a PC in every surgery and a PC at the front desk. You want to check what was done on your last but one visit, they can pull it up in seconds. Can my GP do that? No, he can't.

Go to a hospital and you see people wheeling trolleys of paper around. It's like something out of the 70s.

Tim Almond

Re: Duty to be exploited by the greedy and liars

"This means that we are expected by vendors to pay huge amounts of money for anything. They charge 12 billion for NPfIT and deliver nothing."

And who signed the contracts for that? Who monitored what was being delivered for the money? It's not like they walked into the vaults of the NHS with sawnoffs and left with bags of gold.

I really wish I could blame the large consultancies. I've worked with some of them and they're about as honest as a timeshare salesman but in the end, someone in government failed to manage the overall project. No-one in the private sector writes off 12 billion on an IT system or even close to it. You might get a small number of millions before someone realises the guy in charge is incompetent and fires him and replaces him with someone else.

Treaty of Roam: No-deal Brexit mobile bill shock

Tim Almond

Government taking credit

The thing when governments manage to get businesses to do things, and make a big announcement, is that it's often something business is going to do anything because of business development, and the EU taking credit for scrapping roaming charges is one of these things.

Before their announcement, Three had already scrapped roaming charges, so if Three could do it, presumably everyone else could. And this was partly about one company gaining a competitive advantage, but also that the value of roaming had collapsed. I knew someone who was doing business around Europe and switched from making calls on phones to buying hotel wifi for £5 a day and using Skype. He reckoned his bill fell from over £200/month to around £30/month.

If roaming was introduced by a company they'd gain nothing. Even if all of them did it there would be little advantage. People would just use cafes in Magaluf or Paris to upload their data.

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

Tim Almond

Often the reprehensible culprits, despite being generously permitted by an employer to acquire their own smartphones and pay for their own network contracts with their own money so they can make themselves available to their millionaire bosses 24 hours a day, have wilfully avoided buying any business-quality comms apps at their own expense. What a bunch of skinflints these employees are, eh?

I already have a phone, the services are free and given the choice between using my phone to send messages on Whatsapp and some overpriced "enterprise" solution for messaging, I'd much rather use the former, because it works, someone has thought about a good UI and it has more features.

Furious Apple revokes Facebook's enty app cert after Zuck's crew abused it to slurp private data

Tim Almond

Re: Will no one rid me of this turbulent pest?

A lot of people really don't care. I really don't care. I post photos of my dog, lunch with my family in a restaurant. Movies I've seen. I have a few hundred followers many of whom are vaguely friends. I'm not going to post the results from the VD clinic or my bank account details.

Ouch, Apple! Plenty of iPhones stuck in tech channel. How many? That's a 'wild card'

Tim Almond

Re: Apple boredom

"Steve Jobs at least made sur that there was some evolution, whereas the current numpties seem to have lost all creativity or sense of adventure."

To be fair, products hit a point where it's hard to develop them.

I remember cars from the 1970s to the 1990s getting new innovations almost every year - rear wipers, electric windows, central locking, turbochargers, fuel injection, automatic choke, servo brakes, ABS, tape players, reclining seats, heated seats, airbags, crumple zones. The BBC used to televise the motor show every year because there was a lot of innovation and Top Gear was mostly about car reviews. What's different between a mid-range Renault of 2001 and a mid-range Renault of 2019? A little more MPG? Slightly better aircon? A USB socket?

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

Tim Almond

Phones are Done

I don't really understand the sales of expensive phones.

I have a Moto G5. Cost me £150. Does maps, music, Netflix, the sort of games I want on a mobile, bus and train times, subcard, web surfing. The camera isn't great, but for posting something disposable on Facebook it does the job. I wouldn't use it for photographing the hanging gardens of Babylon or herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti but I wouldn't use an iPhone for that either. I'd use a M43 or DSLR camera.

I also just find phones too disposable to spend much. Easy to break the screen, easy for the internals to fail. Operating systems that don't have particularly long lives. I'd rather spend money on things that generally last, like a standalone camera or laptop.

iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn

Tim Almond

What's it "bound" to?

Maybe you can render a page faster, but that still depends on the network connection. Your CPU is waiting for packets of data from the server. All these cores and faster speeds are great, if everything else they depend on is fast enough. It's why almost everyone stopped upgrading PCs.

I've been using a Moto G4 for about a year and I've seen tests next to iPhone and none of it convinces me it's worth the extra. OK, the camera is nicer, but it's still a camera phone. It's for photos on Facebook, not photos for your wall.

Analyst: iPhone 7 points to price jump

Tim Almond


"Please tell me what important innovations are coming out of the Android world, other than phones that can cook your dinner?"

Not much either. But Apple are selling a high-end product. If you're just going to make something a bit faster and with a nicer case than a Moto G4 (which is a very capable phone), you're going to find people saving their money and getting a Moto G4.

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Tim Almond

Re: So!

I'm not sure if it's getting worse, or just that the Americans are getting a lot better.

I still like the news and I find I like the odd show like that Portillo railway thing, but in general, I'm more likely to be watch C4, Netflix or Amazon. It's getting close to the stage where I'll be watching it as much as ITV.

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

Tim Almond

As a software developer and project manager, something that you and John Gruber aren't, let me explain why we're cheering Google: Because Oracle's case is ridiculous. Pretty much no-one cares about protecting the headers on their public interfaces. It's of almost no value. On the flip side, being able to reimplement an interface is healthy for the market in software. It means that if I buy a component from a company and they don't want to change it, or go out of business, I can get someone else to rewrite it without changing everything making the calls.

And really, most people would be glad for this to happen. Your language/tool/standard gets used, it gives your language/tool/standard more community and then, more value. You've got Java developers on phones, well, it might make sense to run Java on your servers. And the natural fit there is Oracle as a DB. And maybe, we'll hire Oracle to do the work. That's how the modern world of software tools works. Unfortunately, Oracle are still dinosaurs that think you can make money licensing a language, despite the fact that there's dozens of free ones out there.

Ex-Microsoft craft ale buffs rattle tankard for desktop brewery

Tim Almond


you could drive down to Waitrose/your local wine shop and in 30-40 minutes with minimum hassle have one of dozens of beers produced by some of the worlds most interesting craft breweries.

TalkTalk attack: Lad, 15, cuffed by UK cyber-cops

Tim Almond

Re: Are we to believe this is the work of a 15yr old ?

I've not used it, but look at videos on using SqlMap and I am certain a 15 year old who is a bit into computing could have done it.

Like nearly all hacks, there's not some David Lightman level of hacking going on. It's nearly always someone leaving a port open or a SQL Injection attack. The idea that the government needs to protect incompetent twunts like Sony and TalkTalk is risible.

TalkTalk attack: 'No legal obligation to encrypt customer bank details', says chief

Tim Almond

Dido Harding is unfit

It's clear that her whole attitude is one of being slopey-shouldered about taking any responsibility. Her attitude to the hack not only is to view it as not her problem, that TalkTalk is the victim of a crime, but her interview on Newsnight had her pulling a load of whataboutery about how many other cyber attacks there were.

And it's not like this is Laura Ashley you're running. I might understand if someone selling soft furnishings seemed to be clueless about data, but data is your bread and butter at an ISP. You shouldn't even have any systems with SQL injection in such an organisation, because you should have figured out a mitigation strategy that can be applied globally (like using an ORM) and sometime in the past decade, that should have been a priority.

I'd love to know who does their IT. What's the odds it's some outfit that bid the lowest price stuffed full of guys from Bangalore straight out of college?

Junk your IT. Now. Before it drags you under

Tim Almond

Re: You've got it backwards

I still install IrfanView as my image viewer because despite certain other improvements, the developer has stuck to keeping it small and fast. It's something like a 2mb installer, and you click an image and *boom* it's there. You click using the built-in viewer in Windows, you're waiting a few seconds for it just to load.

Tim Almond


The problem with abstraction is that you can just end up moving the problem and burying it deeper. Abstraction costs in many ways that people don't understand, and most people do not think too hard about the risks and costs of massive levels of abstraction.

I've decided that I'm going to rewrite my personal website away from Wordpress. Because at this point, it's just this massive, unmanagable beast. I added a new page to my site and noticed it appeared at the end of the menus. So, I moved it in the menu editor. And it didn't move. Now, where's the problem with this? In the theme I'm using? Server side? Client side? In Wordpress? So, fixing it means digging through a load of PHP or JS code to find the answer. In that time, and all the times in future that I might need to do that, maybe it'd just be better to rewrite it as some .htm pages and some .inc files for the headers.