* Posts by hitmouse

453 posts • joined 15 Dec 2008


AWS launches BugBust contest: Help fix a $100m problem for a $12 tshirt


Dear Amazon - there's a typo in your Kindle user interface

Amazon Customer Service - have you tried rebooting your device?

[actual event]

Words to strike fear into admins' hearts: One in five workers consider themselves 'digital experts' these days


This will surely pur "digital expert" into the same bucket of resume euphemusms as "proficient in Microsoft Office" = "can type".

Customer comment and contributions no more as Microsoft pulls the plug on Office 365 UserVoice forum


Feature Parity

So now Microsoft feedback is at the same level of Google, Apple et al who just strangle their forums or busy threads every few years ... or Amazon who simply don't allow customer feedback any more.

Apparently all the people who are supposed to be fixing bugs and analysing user feedback just spend all their time writing comments on other sites.


I think this was flagged as a Smart Tag feature about 20 years ago and the world and its dog said "hell no". Then Google did an amped up version of it a few years later, and everyone rolled over for a good rogering.

1Password has none, KeePass has none... So why are there seven embedded trackers in the LastPass Android app?


Re: Not in my settings!

In one of LastPass' numerous UI design fails, there is also (from the browser)

Security Dashboard -> Account Settings . A dialog comes up with a "Show Advanced Settings" button at the bottom. Click that and scroll down to the bottom, where there is a Privacy section with two checkboxes:

* Keep track of Login and Form Fill History

* Send anonymous reporting data

This is different to what you get from the Account Options menu on the browser add-in, and also to the Advanced Options on the Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard is just a clusterf*** of poor design that this latest news and the imminent expiry of my LastPass Premium subscription has motivated me to move to another product.


Re: Not in my settings!

Not in Chrome Windows nor Android app.

Lenovo's ThinkPad line goes under the knife: X13 models look a bit taller but worry not, the 'nipples' are still intact


I would definitely like to see the 3:2 aspect ratio trend continue : I read more documents than I watch movies on my laptops. I suspect that those wanting to watch movies in bed do so with a tablet/phablet these days. Even so, I can only pray that we quickly get to having 15-16" screens with a resolution that that allow true A4/Letter 100% presentation.

Big Tech workers prefer 3 days at home, 2 in the office. We ask Reg readers: What's your home-office balance?


Re: It all depends ...

The problem I found is that irrespective of which days I'm in the office there are people I need to meet with who are WFH. Because we have few quiet rooms for online meetings now, it can be very difficult to schedule useful meetings.

Covid distancing rules have also meant that large meetings can no longer be held in a single room, so some attendees have to find somewhere to remote in from. In one instance, it seemed that all the meeting spaces on our floor were taken up by individuals remoting into the same meeting!

Diplomats are supposed to be subtle and clever. Australia’s just leaked 1,000 citizens’ email addresses


Re: classic problem with emailing groups on MS products

The email package is irrelevant - people misuse lists from list servers just as often.

Government agencies do not value IT training, and so you have an endless stream of these basic failures in digital competencies. They also fail to appear on mandatory reporting lists for such breaches.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log


Re: International Standards Organization

The English language strategy is usually to borrow the foreign word, otherwise there is no special need to have a single word to express every concept. Some languages will have single words, others will have compound expressions and others use phrases, e.g. English "ninety" vs the French "four times twenty plus ten".

A phrase translation is more than adequate. That's why I get peevish about articles on "words that can't be translated into English" which then proceed to translate all the foreign words into English. The article title should be "words that have no single-word equivalents in English".


Re: International Standards Organization

"mispronOUnciation" is the most common mispronunciation


Re: International Standards Organization

There are multiple "language" options for software that are independent of each other:

1. UI language -> what the menus, dialogs etc are displayed in

2. locale -> basis for units such as dates, temperatures, weights and measures

3. doc language -> for instance a word processor can display, edit and proof text from dozens of languages in a single document, although you might need to download add-ons for specific tasks such as Finnish hyphenation.

Problems (usually worst in Anglophone countries, but officially multi-lingual places like Canada and Switzerland have their own issues)

1. (not as bad as before) Manufacturers distribute computers with US English settings that are never reconfigured by the user or IT department to meet local expectations. Consequently every bit of software subsequently installed reads the system default and matches settings.

2. Vendors confusingly conflate the different language settings, often using the locale names (e.g. English (US), English (New Zealand), French (France), German (Switzerland) ) in place of language names.

3. Browsers download as US English and ignore the system settings. Each browser has its own complement of language and locale settings to cover date display, spell-checking etc.

4. Online software is generally worse at handling this than desktop software. For instance Microsoft 365 seems to have US date formats hard-coded all over SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams etc so that any string 01/02/03 could be a dd/mm/yy or mm/dd/yy depending on the browser you open it in or indeed if you open a document in a desktop app rather than online. Google. Apple, Facebook and Amazon have similar problems across their platforms and services. Websites also perform weird redirects based on language to subdomains in different locales.

5. Most of the developers (even in open-source land) are in the US and cannot be bothered fixing bugs to do with non-US issues. There are bugs in Chromium relating to such stuff that go back over a decade, and are constantly merged and deferred.


Re: Simple solution

"until Excel has a tool to swap format without altering the digits in the string displayed. "

There are literally so many ways to deal with this via formatting, functions or scripts and they have been there in Excel for roughly three decades. I can only assume that you're a geneticist.

A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos


Re: Make use of the problem

They need to be labelled. I can't tell them apart.


You can fit a skyscraper under those bridges, so a ferry should be a doddle.


The current govenment - who are engaged in pointless moves of existing buildings from the city to Parramatta - would think that is an excellent idea. It also gives them an exciting opportunity to extend the floodplain.


We have bad news for non-US Microsoft fans: The incoming Surface Duo is underspecced, overpriced, and over there


Re: "irritating its non-US fanbase" by not offering them the phone

There are hundreds of consumer IT hardware products that you can't get outside of the US except by personal import, and even then you'll be faced with electrical adaptor and warranty issues. This is not news.


Re: MS **STILL** Making phones???

I call BS. Jobs tried to poison the well with Tablets because Microsoft beat him to it. Mr Calligraphy was forced to tell the world that no one wants a stylus. Apple basically had to wait for Jobs to die to start doing an Apple Pen etc.

The Surface came out of frustration with OEMs making grey boxes and mobile grey boxes. Far from copying everyone else, Apple, Google , Amazon etc are full of ex Microsoft people doing stuff that was initially done inside Microsoft.


Re: Why?

At one point Microsoft had more hardware designers than the top 10 OEM PC makers put together. To a degree it's providing a kick in the pants to hardware companies that are not innnovating and/or are dying slowly by only selling low-margin grey boxes.

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


This is how we get bloat, creating features to "solve" a problem that exhibits for 0.0001% of users who could easily RTFM and circumvent the issue.


Re: Logically ...

The heuristics are excellent for the 99% of cases that they encounter. I can't imagine that people importing gene sequences are more than about 0.00001% of users. Trouble is people are seeing their glass as 0.00001% empty rather than 99.9999% full.


The user interfaces for most of the scientific software I have seen (which is quite a lot) suggest that their practical and aesthetic sensibilities were developed sometime around 1990. While it wouldn't take much effort to update most of these interfaces, their file import/export, and god-forbid their network handling, they will also charge a phenomenal amount of money for updates. For those people who think Office is expensive (because they don't remember when Lotus 1-2-3 by itself was $2000 in the mid-80s), science packages run into the $10Ks with huge hikes to "support" operating system updates.


Re: User Error

If you're in a university then most of these alternate tools are actually available, if not in a standard disk image for computers given to researchers, then by a download from a standard set of enterprise-licensed research tools.


You do have that choice - and people are complaining about the auto-guess step. If you import via file open then you get to override those auto-guesses with a simple columnar application of format buttons. if you import via well.."file import from text/csv" then you can nerd out on column type choices and token separators.

This stuff has been around for decades.

This response exemplifies the user issue of simply not doing a very simple check on how to use the tool properly.


Re: I must be missing something...

"if MS simply added an import wizard such as the one for txt files, it would almost make things bearable."

Like the one on the ribbon labelled "Text/CSV"?


There is an entire Data section on the Excel ribbon, of which the left hand side is given over to importing and formatting data. The underlying functions have been available for decades.

The problem is largely around the complete failure of universities and other institutions to take software training seriously. Since most of these people can't even book a meeting properly, forget about them trying to manipulate data.

Reply-All storm flares as email announcing privacy policy puts 500 addresses in the 'To' field, not 'BCC'


Also if you emailed their published privacy email, the response is (from mailer-daemon@googlemail.com>)

We're writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (privacy) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren't able to post:

* You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.

* The owner of the group may have removed this group.

* You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.

* This group may not be open to posting.

If you have questions related to this or any other Google Group, visit the Help Center at https://support.google.com/a/substackinc.com/bin/topic.py?topic=25838.


substackinc.com admins

Microsoft accused of sharing data of Office 365 business subscribers with Facebook and its app devs


I read the 38pp complaint from the plaintiff (who has a $120/yr Office Business Premium account*) and cannot find anywhere where it says this happens, just that it is "alleged more specifically below" and "below" never comes.

* "Plaintiff Davenport is investigating replacing its [$120/yr] Microsoft subscription with a"different solution, a transition that would require significant time and money. " and is looking for $5million.

Australia to refund $720m in 'debts' determined by dodgy algorithm


Re: Interesting

In some areas, you get an automated letter from the department of revenue or "debt recovery" and there is no human you can talk to other than going to court. It enables the government to reap in money in installments just under the level at which someone can take time off work to go to court to get it back. My solicitor calls it legislated corruption,

Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?


Re: They didn't vote for him

"The real cruelty of all of this is that lockdowns, social distancing, masks, forced shutdowns of business, stay at home orders, and all of that stuff, does not actually save anyone from coronavirus. It merely delays the deaths."

Wrong. More people die who would otherwise have had an opportunity to be shielded by a vaccine. Also more people die due to complications with existing conditions or because medical responders cannot attend to them in time due to lack of equipment, over-stretched hospitals, and staff who have died from the disease.

Sweden didn't get it right. They have a massively increased death rate compared to their neighbouring states, and didn't manage to lift herd immunity noticeably.

The extra deaths and economic side-effects in the USA are because the pandemic exposed the basic cruelties and inequities in its economy and social services. Look at countries like Australia and New Zealand where the #deaths nationally approximates the numbers in a single building in the United States, and where rapid consensus between national and state leaders of opposing parties made rescue packages possible.

Look at countries sharing land borders with China (Vietnam, Mongolia) where the disease effect of the virus is vanishingly small.


These analogies do a disservice to chimpanzees.

The level of intelligence and stench involved suggest a flailing yeast colony raised on sewage.

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans


Re: It hasn't been able to kill lots of stuff

"The Command prompt has been becoming more and more powerful." ... how like all software

Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban


Make American Garnish Again

(in the voice of Maxwell Smart) It's the old east-west technology ketchup game.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word


Just set the document or text range to no proofing. Easy. Doesn't require you mucking around with any other feature disabling.


Turning autocorrect/proofing off is one element of a style.

If you make a paste error than undo + redo with preferred paste mode is about two seconds of work. Making a word processor into a code editor is a classic example of asking for feature bloat.


It sounds like your main gripe is that Word is configurable. I don't know why people are more upset by setting the spacing preference then they are at setting their favourite default font or margin size.

Code blocks are trivial to do with styles. Let me Google it for you ...


Re: XyWrite

Only flags it if you set it in your proofing preferences. You can have it ignore it (which it defaults to on my Word) or set a preference of 1 or 2 spaces. Easy, just what you'd expect a word processor to do.


It already does, and most of the settings that people here bitch about have always been easily configurable in Word's quite detailed proofing settings section. Options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces".

Oxford comma also configurable. Chances are if your language settings are not English(US) then you will get what you are used to.


Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

Yes it, and every other spelling/grammar/style setting is configurable. I just checked and see my options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces".


Re: "Fall Creators Update"

You set your spacing preference yourself in the same Word Proofing settings that have been around for decades. I just checked and see my options for spacing are "don't check, one space, two spaces". My preference is "don't check".

I presume all the IT professionals here know how to do this. Assuming they aren't the ones who've set up Office/Word with the wrong language & proofing defaults.

Microsoft expands AI features in Office, but are they any good? Mixed, according to our vulture


Re: Not off to a great start...

It would depend on your Word settings for Grammar & Refinements (or Grammar & Style) as it was previously known. There is a checkbox for Oxford commas which is possibly connected to your language default (EN-US, EN-UK etc)

Many of the settings have been around since Word for Windows 1.0 nearly 30 years ago (when I started using it) - and labelled as Style rather than Grammar settings. Hasn't stopped endless opinion pieces on Microsoft's grammar rules.

Microsoft qualifications will pad the CV for another year, Teams for ventilator boffins, and Windows 10 threatened with very retro news app


If you play your cards right

Microsoft staff giggle beneath the weight of a 52,000-person Reply-All email storm


The Bedlam DL3 email storm of 1997 did actually have an impact on mail server design. See Wikipedia and various first person accounts on the web,

There was another MS-related email storm last week when 3000 customers were sent an invite to an online webinar and instructed to reply-all. Cue hundreds of IT professionals sending "Unsubscribe" messages that added to the storm. Not a single one noticed that they had received N-1 unsubscribe requests that were the essence of the storm.

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo dies aged 92


Re: O tempora, o mores!

I certainly contend that Asterix in Britain is funnier in the English version. Goscinny credited Anthea Bell with some better jokes according to her obituary: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/oct/18/anthea-bell-obituary

For me the translation of Idéfix to Dogmatix is exquisite.

There's a great very translator-geeky appreciation of the English translations here: https://auntymuriel.com/2012/12/23/asterix-in-translation-the-genius-of-anthea-bell-and-derek-hockridge/

I started collecting the books when I was about 11. My father used to pinch them and my Tintin books on a regular basis. He probably read them all far more times than me.


O tempora, o mores!

I remember as a teen wanting to learn French "to read Asterix in the original".

I've been enjoying the recent efforts from Didier and Conrad much more than Uderzo's solo outings. As much as he was a genius visually, his own stories kinda jumped the shark in a manner I can only compare to late-stage Heinlein.

I shudder to think what the new American-translations of the back-catalogue will be like. Previous American reworkings found their way into Australian Sunday newspaper comics back in the day, and were completely devoid of all the cultural references and subtle humour found in the superb translations of Anthea Bell (d.2018) and Derek Hockridge (d. 2013) who sometimes made the translated versions funnier than the original. That these translators' names roll out of my memory and no others do is testament to their virtuoso efforts.

Microsoft drops a seemingly innocuous Windows Insider build, teases the future


Snip & Sketch (connected to Win+PrtScr) has been intermittently broken across all my devices (all different manufacturers and video drivers) for months and now seems uniformly borked everywhere. I've reset it , reinstalled it, but it just refuses to capture anything. Thank goodness the old Snipping Tool hasn't been permanently removed yet.

RIP Katherine Johnson: The extraordinary NASA mathematician astronauts trusted over computers


Much like the "don't ask don't tell" policy forced military intelligence to get rid of most of its Arabic translators and many other gifted personnel.

Outlook more like 'look out!' as Microsoft email decides everything is spam today


They're aiming for parity with GMail which insists on labelling many of my subcriptions as spam despite having the sender in my address, explicit rules saying that they are never to be labelled as spam, and finally, clicking "Not spam" on each item for months, if not years.

I'm not alone in this, read comments at:

* https://www.jotform.com/help/404-How-to-Prevent-Emails-from-Landing-in-Gmail-s-Spam-Folder

* https://www.askvg.com/fix-gmail-marks-your-important-emails-as-spam/

Verity Stob is 'Disgusted of HG Wells': Time, gentlemen, please


Re: update the social touch-points

Talent is immaterial in a world where people create new IMDB accounts just to give 1-star reviews to content that has non-white-male characters


This production had its flaws but I'm not worried by the content updates, which in some ways draw on Wells personal life.

Wells' writing was informed by the social issues of his times e.g. WotW by the genocide of the Tasmanian aborigines. I'm sure he would have received plenty of 1/10 reviews headed "PC snowflake" crap if the book came out now.

In order to remake something with the same sensibility as the original you need to update the social touchpoints.



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