* Posts by Joel Mansford

102 publicly visible posts • joined 3 May 2007


Humanoid robot takes a retail job, but not one any store clerk wants to do

Joel Mansford

Pilots /Supervisors in Developing Countries

Even if the AI doesn't get going why wouldn't these things be piloted by people in lower cost locations?

In a way it's bizarre that more complex call centre roles (like for banks and insurance) have moved but low-level physical ones haven't just due to practical reasons

Nice smart device – how long does it get software updates?

Joel Mansford

Re: Nobody

Get pretty-much any zigbee hub (Philips Hue is popular) and then any battery Zigbee push-button. Aliexpress has _tons_ of them.

Most of the big-brang Zigbee hubs having integrations with Google / Alexa.

For bonus points run Home Assistant on an old PC or a Pi, add a zigbee transmitter and do the whole lot locally. It's extremely satisfying I assure you!

SQLite maximum database size increased to 281TB – but will anyone need one that big?

Joel Mansford

But will your Mac let you RAID those drives in some way such that you can then have a single filesytem spanning them to put the single, big, SQLite file on?

Email innovator Hey extends an olive branch in standoff with Apple, tweaks code to make the iGiant appier

Joel Mansford

Now imagine starting, I don't know maybe a barista-free, Covid-safe coffee business where you use your phone to order your coffee but take payment via contact-less credit card.

This is a great idea, people expect apps so you write an iOS & Android app and attempt to put them on the respective stores. Apple however turnaround and say "this isn't free you're charging offline" and demand a percentage of your company revenue.

Now what do you do? Ignore all Apple users or go to the media?

Personally I think big businesses get away with far too much of this kind of shit which is one of the reasons I really like what Joe Lycett has been doing:


IBM veep partly blamed Sopra Steria for collapse of £155m Co-Op Insurance Agile project

Joel Mansford


Well, if the 'transit' is entirely inter-server within a Co-op data centre then ok, encryption probably isn't entirely necessary. However if that data is in any way getting to the client unencrypted then I'd say that's unacceptable.

I know near-nothing about this case but I could well imagine the contract being silent to encryption in-transit then some techie at Co-op realising that it was unencrypted and shouting a "WTF?!" to which IBM consider this a change in requirements.

I wouldn't be at all surprised that the scenario in question any of us would have just assumed as a Software Engineer you'd encrypt it.

HMRC claims victory in another IR35 dispute to sting Nationwide contractor for nearly £75k in back taxes

Joel Mansford

Re: Rigged definition of an employee

Whhhooooooooooooooa, so if I get a cleaner to come in 1day a week to my house is she now my employee?

I'm pretty sure I have a veto on someone else having a key to my house and I would insist it's her, herself who comes in.

Don't I direct what work she does?

Shall I be expecting a tax bill next year for her?

£1bn Brit court digitisation scheme would be great ... if Wi-Fi situation wasn't 'wholly inadequate'

Joel Mansford

Re: Maybe I'm old...

I think the answer is having the option to have both available. I spent an obscene amount of time in family court over a 3year span and found that having access to ALL of the documents stored in a format that could be searched invaluable not least because court time is so limited.

On one occasion at the end of a 3day trial I had the judge and both sets of counsel passing my laptop around to look at documents which hadn't been thought to have been relevant (and thus weren't in the bundles).

This is an area technology can make a massive difference to the efficiency of a group of very expensive individuals!

The Gemini pocket PC is shipping and we've got one. This is what it's like

Joel Mansford

Re: Where Gemini's value really lies

I run a Blackberry Key2 which I absolutely love for email, I have a terminal emulator and had every intention of using it for remote admin until I discovered that my key customers' VPN client has no Android support (but does Linux) !!

Also the Blackberry's lack of CTRL key is quite annoying...

Scientist, war hero and gay icon Alan Turing is new face of the £50 note

Joel Mansford

A Monkey would be 10xDarwin, if we were talking Darwin notes then you wouldn't give a Bull's-eye (my alternative spelling)


Burn an offering and backup your system cuz Windows 10 19H1 might actually arrive for spring

Joel Mansford

I second that, wtf - save is right-aligned on the toolbar .... WHY!?!

Sitting pretty in IPv4 land? Look, you're gonna have to talk to IPv6 at some stage

Joel Mansford


I was using a tunnelling provider then discovered NetFlix wouldn't work on my home network as a result. Not Happy. Am on Plusnet who carry a "won't do" attitude towards IPv6 so limited options here.

HMRC 'reluctant' to crack down on VAT fraudsters – tax ace

Joel Mansford

Re: This is a road to a bigger issue

Sorry, but you're outright wrong. Amazon is very different to a classified ad since you're giving your money *to Amazon*, you're relying on the listing *on Amazon* and all communication with the vendor is *through Amazon*. Finally the goods are often dispatched *by Amazon*

Customers pretty-much think they're dealing with Amazon as a result of them inserting themselves in every interaction you have with the so-called "vendor". To me Amazon starts to look more like an 'agent' or middle-man. Lettings agents are obliged to give all landlord's details to HMRC, any reason Amazon shouldn't be doing the same?

Joel Mansford

What about those that fraudulently *charge* VAT?

I bought a phone via my ltd company from Amazon from one of their marketplace sellers. I subsequently requested a VAT receipt. The supplied receipt showed a US address (even though the item had come from the UK) and had VAT listed at 20% but, as you'd expect had no VAT number rendering it invalid.

As a VAT registered business this means that the phone was actually more expensive than other suppliers on Amazon. Amazon have been useless and the supplier is still trading on Amazon.co.uk defrauding customers and UK plc.

It's very easy to verify a company's VAT status and I can see no excuse for not doing so.

BlackBerry ponders putting Android on future mobes

Joel Mansford

Blackberry Classic User over here

I run two phones, a Sony Z3 compact and a Blackberry Classic (that's the newest one with a keyboard running v10). What's surprising is that I tend to use the Blackberry most due to the keyboard, I can type without looking, I can hang-up a call without taking the phone out of my pocket. I have a few android apps on it which mostly work ok. For taking pictures, GPS navigation and reading web sites it's the Sony every time - this isn't the majority of what I use my phone for though.

After I think two years on v10 (I had a Q5 before) though I still don't find the gestures intuitive.

I think Blackberry make quality hardware and, if they went to a proper native Android build I think they'd get a lot of business customers who actually type emails on the move - you know the original reason they were popular. No one else makes a decent Android phone with buttons anymore.

They could be sensible and release a developer OS release for an existing device and see how many people try it. They can maintain that it's unsupported as is the case with the unpublicised Android app support currently.

Dell thuds down low-cost lap workstation for cheap frugal creatives or engineers

Joel Mansford

Re: wot?

Call Dell up and you'll get a better price than that.

Joel Mansford

Re: As a lesser mortal...

I develop BI solutions using QlikView which is an in-memory database. I use all 16Gb in my Dell E6430.

I've done various other development where I've run the server stack in a VM on my machine, in corporates it's much easier to run your own 'virtual datacentre' then to involve the IT guys!

Also, a lesser known fact about the Latitude E-series and equivalent precisions is that on the docking station it's possible to run 3 external displays plus the laptop display providing you have the nvidia (discrete) graphics card option.

Microsoft tries to trademark 'Mod' in the US

Joel Mansford

NT4 & Win 95 the exceptions

Actually, NT 3.51 with the 'new shell' addon was the one that got it right, NT4 happened to be the marketed version of said product. Yes, there were some changes to where the video drivers sat, but fundamentally 3.51 with the Win95 shell got it 'right'

Google Nexus 5: So easy to fix, it's practically a DIY kit - except for ONE thing

Joel Mansford

Re: Really?

Not quite 'buy a new phone', but rather buy a new front case / glass which hopefully will come supplied with screen already intact.

Microsoft's Windows Azure Plan B: A hard drive, a courier and a data-centre monkey

Joel Mansford

Just secure the files?

I'd imagine you just ensure that whatever the files you're putting on that NTFS partition are themselves encrypted to your satisfaction. Afterall the onus is on you to do something useful with the data anyway.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet review

Joel Mansford

Split screen...what next...

I find all of this talk about "split screen" pretty amazing, think about the logical progression whereby you may want something small, like a calculator app to appear over the top of a word processor?

How, could you achieve this? Maybe by allowing the app to be resizeable and ... moveable...maybe something similar to "Old Windows". Isn't it laughable that as MS try to make everything full-screen to mimic tablets here is a tablet getting closer to mimicking Windows!!

Atos IT workers threaten strike during Olympics over 'living wage'

Joel Mansford

Re: Not surprised they're threatening to strike

@Andy I drew attention more to the tube drivers who I cannot understand how they can justify being paid more during the olympics. I believe these guys are on nearly £50k/year these days for what is a semi-skilled job.

That's more than the majority of IT people I know. Do you know any devs who get paid a bonus for working their normal hours during a busy period?

Joel Mansford

Not surprised they're threatening to strike

After all the tube drivers managed to get a bump as a result. As did the bus drivers.

I'm intrigued to know how a tube driver is working any harder as a result of the olympics.

Google flings Bing into search engine bin

Joel Mansford

Bing needs to improve

I leave a couple of my browsers defaulted to Bing but quite often simply don't see the search results I expect.

So then I go to the URL, change the bing to google (leaving all the parameters in place), hit enter and find loads more, relevant hits.

Bing's image search is very good but in every other aspect unfortunately I have to see it's inferior to Google.

We need it to improve otherwise there'll be no competition in the search engine space...

Dell Vostro V131 13.3in Core i5 notebook

Joel Mansford
Thumb Down

But Vostros have no Dock

...and often don't use latitude-compatible PSUs which are literally the only two reasons I've not bought one.

Come on Dell, make a pretty laptop with a docking connector...

Microsoft's high-risk Windows 8 .NET switch

Joel Mansford

Are MS missing the point?

I'm sure I'm not in a minority in developing BUSINESS applications for Windows. What is Metro going to do for me when I need to write something for Purchase Order generation? What about that complex DB front-end?

Anything that I'd write for Metro I'd probably first develop as a browser-based application. If it's not suitable as a web app then I doubt Metro will cut it either.

Am I wrong?

Windows Server 8 plays catch-up with VMware and Unix

Joel Mansford

I don't get it

*WHY* not run a GUI on a server, I mean if my DECT phone can have a basic GUI, and my phone support a GUI not far off Win NT 4 are we really saying that it's too much of a resource hog? Really?

Windows servers have GUIs...the clue is in the name. Seems like a pointless waste of time to me.

VW Scirocco BlueMotion Technology TDI 140

Joel Mansford

DSG 'rocks'

I have a Mk5 Golf GTI DSG and love the gearbox. I'd say that it scores in two main areas: 1) around town (slow moving traffic and also it'll get in to 5th gear quickly at 30mph)

2) overtaking, it has the balls to drop to 4th at 95mph which I sure as hell don't myself if you bury your right foot.

Regarding stats, I think VW 'massage' their 0-60 figures to differentiate more between their lower-power and higher-power models. Officially my GTI does 0-60 in 6.9 but using Racetech kit can consistently pull 6.5 which is close to the R32.

I reckon they do the same on the diesels to make a case for the 170bhp.

Murdoch muscles BBC out of Formula One driving seat

Joel Mansford

What kind of deal is that?

Half the races? wtf!?!

This is the *ONLY* sport I watch. I hope that F1 see the error of their ways and realise they benefit more from having it on the BBC beyond what they get paid directly.

HTC Salsa Android smartphone

Joel Mansford
Thumb Up

Salsa Sense is good

I ran a Salsa-based ROM on my HTC Hero for a few weeks. The Hero was just a little bit too underpowered to stop it being frustrating however the UI was IMO very good indeed. I especially liked the new lock screen

UK will obey Euro unisex-insurance rules from 2013

Joel Mansford

No CLAIMS bonus

It's a no claim bonus. Actually, grossly unfair - get hit by an uninsured driver - you'll get penalised. Have someone reverse in to you, claim it back off the third party and you will still be considered a higher risk for 3-5years.

Unfortunately the best way to deal with it is to use the legal protection cover and if you can never claim on your own insurance - even if you have a 99% chance they'll recover it.

The ads that talk about "careful" drivers as those with lots of no-claims bonus are insulting and bullshit. It's easy to build up no claims if you drive something that you don't ever care about claiming against!!

Ten thousand OLEDs unite in live Earth replica

Joel Mansford

How cool is that!?

Don't often think that about new tech, but I'd love to see this 'in person'

HTC Wildfire S Android smartphone

Joel Mansford

I'll stick with the Orange San Francisco

£100 from Argos. OK, so you have to put custom firmware on it and you don't get HTC Sense but otherwise there's very few compromises on it - and it looks pretty good IMO.

AdBlock Plus: Open source for fun (not funds)

Joel Mansford
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I disagree

AdBlock Plus has value as a trusted brand and thus simply donating and getting to rename it to "<YourNameHere> AdBlock Plus" could simply make sense instead of attending a couple of trade shows.

If your company does internet security, web acceleration or has other semi-related features then that's a Win too.

HTC Gratia comes to UK - three months late

Joel Mansford

That Pro7 Looks Nice....

...if they get it running Android I may be interested. Am getting a bit fed of onscreen keyboards now with the latest phones not even having physical start/end call buttons (unlike my HTC Hero).

Buttons are still useful for making calls!

Salesforce buys Dimdim, continues with Facebook-for-biz ploy

Joel Mansford

Screen-sharing SF support would be nice...

I doubt this is what they'll do with it but it'd be pretty neat if they built it in to their support function so that as a Salesforce Admin we could use in-built screensharing (and IM for that matter - chatter doesn't provide IM 'chat'!) to help our users.

Ballmer says Windows on ARM isn't about ARM

Joel Mansford


"They can't very well levy a Windows tax on all those Android ARM tablets their hardware partners are shipping if Windows doesn't even run on them... can they?"

I think they probably can, look what happened in the Netbook market. Personally I bought a linux based netbook and then dual-booted it to Windows so that I could run the tools I need for work (I'm a DBA).

I've been surprised at the uptake of tablet devices. In the corporate world they're still quite flawed due to lack of VPN clients, enterprise security support etc etc. Running Windows on these potentially gets around a lot of that.

Lastly devices like the Dell Inspiron Duo would be very interesting at a lower-price point.

Salesforce.com parks cloudy database over Ellison's head

Joel Mansford
Gates Halo

I thought salesforce.com was running on Oracle...

So the question is thus what database engine are Salesforce actually using to run this? I thought it was fairly common knowledge that it's currently Oracle anyway.

Regarding the actual service - they have a long way to go before they have a database that is useful for all activities you need to do. For example I replicate lots of Salesforce.com instances to SQL Server so that we can do ad-hoc joins and aggregates across the whole dataset. This isn't possible on SOQL.

A good example is show me all Accounts joined to leads on a semi-normalised phone number? A query you may want to run to see leads which are from existing customers.

Microsoft 'Xbox TV' rumours: Over the Cable Guy's dead body

Joel Mansford

Three-letters for you...


Look it up. IP addresses are not an issue.

Regarding point-to-point how do you think 'on-demand' cable TV works? Just because it's being delivered to your cable STB doesn't mean it's not working in exactly the same way as PC streaming media. In the UK it's exactly the same cabling split your broadband...

Joel Mansford
Jobs Horns

What about iPlayer?

I mean if MS were serious at pushing the Xbox in this direction then why would they still be unable to negotiate a deal with the BBC to integrate the iPlayer?

From what I remember MS only wanted to include it as part of the subscription service. Why MS couldn't see that the advantage of offering the BBC service (and why not 4od or ITV) is increased sales of consoles I do not know.

The new "YouView" boxes being discussed would also start moving this way so MS better get a move on.

As someone who bought the Xbox 360 as it was the 'best value' media center extender this is welcome but I don't think MS have the right approach to make it happen. Oh, and I think I'd go insane if I had to listen to my '360 everytime I watched the TV - the fans are stupid noisy.

Acer: Alive, and thirsty for Apple juice

Joel Mansford

No...don't do it...

I buy (and recommend to others) to buy a PC / Android Phone because it gives us choice. It's that simple.

I bought the last of the first generation Acer Aspire One netbook last year from eBuyer for £149.99 inc.VAT + Delivery. It came with a strange Linux distro which I whipped off and dual booted Ubuntu (for home stuff) and Windows XP (for emergency SQL server management).

IMO this is the right place for Acer, selling cheap machines. I'd like to see them increase quality before they start trying to get in to software. A decently styled tablet running Android (or a choice of Windows) like the new Dell 'flip screen' would be cool too...

Top Ten Arcade Classics

Joel Mansford
Thumb Up

Ah...the memories...

I'm not sure about Time Crisis, it's a little too modern but for me Silent Scope is the best in the 'got gun' category.

Anyone in Reading should go to the Allied Arms pub where there's still the table version of bomb-jack. Classic.

Street Fighter has to be the number 1.

Google cracks open Android's closed development

Joel Mansford

This doesn't seem very evil...

...sure this was Google?

I think they've got this one right!!

I'm not sure who it really hurts for the bleeding edge version not to be publicly available.

FileMaker Pro squeezes onto an iPhone

Joel Mansford


Am I the only DBA that cringes of the thought of any kind of 'business' database being user/replicated via iTunes of all applications?

HTC Wildfire Android smartphone

Joel Mansford

Android 2.2

"Although the Wildfire has Android 2.1, it takes time to update Sense to the next version, so don’t expect Android 2.2 just yet"

In fact if you want Android 2.2 wait and buy a phone with Android 2.2. I bought my HTC Hero with v1.5 and waited, and waited as HTC kept slipping the deadline. The whole time they were releasing new Sense UI phones with v1.6 + v2.1.

Then I'm pretty sure Orange/HTC still haven't released anything newer than v1.5 for the UK Hero so if it weren't for villainrom.co.uk I'd still be without.

This is a real shame and honestly my only gripe with my first Android handset

Google vanishes Android apps from citizen phones

Joel Mansford
Thumb Up

Market Place only - fine

As long as the kill switch is part of the Marketplace app (likely) and can only remove apps installed via the marketplace (not quite so likely I think) then I have no problem with it.

The MarketPlace app fully manages your applications thus it can: Add new ones, upgrade existing and remove existing ones. You would expect that it could technically do the latter in the case of a revenue model where apps were to be 'rented' - so maybe I rent a sat nav app for 1 month whilst in Italy.

If you don't like it uninstall the MarketPlace app - at least you can on Android!

Feds move in on elite iPad email leak

Joel Mansford
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Big iPhone...

...no of course it's not - you can't use it as a phone stoopid.

Adobe euthanizes Flash 10.1 for 64-bit Linux

Joel Mansford

x64 Flash for Windows?

I've been waiting for x64 flash ever since I got my first 820 based cpu and ran XP x64 on it. I can't believe that Adobe _STILL_ haven't got support for x64. Now you can quite easily buy a machine with 4Gb RAM running Windows 7 - where's the x64 flash plugin? Still no where.

Do Adobe have any x64 products?

Low power Wi-Fi fan Ozmo loads up another $10m

Joel Mansford

Well bluetooth isn't in everything...

Many corporate laptops and low-end netbooks are lacking Bluetooth. However I think that if new WiFi hardware is required surely it's easier to start putting bluetooth onboard.

There's a good reason that there's so many proprietry solutions out there - setup. I don't mean ease of setup but simply that if you use standard bluetooth (say to an onboard laptop bluetooh receiver) where software wise do you pair it to your keyboard? Then is this pairing active on the bios screen? What about on the logon screen?

Proprietry solutions can just 'plugin and go', I don't see this WiFi solution being any better.

Google mocks Jobs with Flash on Android

Joel Mansford

Good Luck...

...replacing a laptop with an iPad.

IMO most people getting iPads are of the "ooooo shiny" brigade.

The joy of software licensing on the desktop

Joel Mansford


Has to be said, this is where SaaS genuinely makes the IT department's job easier. By this I mean that you shift the responsibility for enforcement and management of licenses back to the vendor.

So in your hosted CRM system you can quite clearly see how many licenses you have purchased and who is using them.

If only the vendors provided the same functionality in their on-premise software - no reason they couldn't.