* Posts by MrJOD

15 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year


Re: IT snobbery

She was really awful.

Ranted about sexism and lack of equality representation in technology and ended with "and women are better programmers". Pot, meet kettle.

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs


Too Hard? WTF

Just been through GCSE selection with my son, who adores programming and is confident in Python (and, increasingly, in C#). We spent a long time time looking through the syllabus and exam expectations.

Our conclusion: it would have been a waste of his time, although he would probably have received a top grade.


- Use of VB.Net for the course. I, and several other parents (there are quite a number of parents at my son's school who work in the technology sector) queried the sanity of this as a choice - apparently it seems that the more mainstream languages are too challenging for less able students.

- 100% examination based. This was the real WTF. How can you have a usable qualification in computer science based only on the ability to answer questions about how loops might be used for iteration.

It seems, talking to parents, that many of the most able students are put off because they perceive the course as boring and the less able see it as too difficult.

Why software engineers should ditch Silicon Valley for Austin


It's not quite the same as real ale, but San Diego at least has several excellent Microbreweries. Kark Strauss is an institution for Qualcommers ("Building K") and New English is excellent.

I'm told, but don't have personal experience, that there are great microbreweries throughout the state. The days when you could get Coors, Miller or Bud are long past, thank Trump.

Wi-Fi for audiophiles: Alliance preps TimeSync certification program

Thumb Up

Re: This will never appeal to True Audiophiles (TM)

You are probably right. Most likely I wasn't using it properly, which explains why I didn't get the right effect.

Thumb Up

Re: This will never appeal to True Audiophiles (TM)

I'll be sure to include a claim about photons that have been hand-picked from the thighs of Japanese virgins for my WiFi enhancing crystals.


This will never appeal to True Audiophiles (TM)

The "One True" audiophile industry has always produced its fair share of snake oil - special marker pens to mark the edges of your CDs which produce a dramatic improvement in sound quality because ions or something.

That WiFi RF is probably in the hearing range of your dedicated audiophile - it is only a 5GHz or so, after all.

I'm off to design some beam forming crystals which de-ionize the WiFi signal using a patented technology with magnetic resonance. Only then will this wireless thingy be fit for the True Audiophile.

More seriously, unfortunately this will probably get integrated into consumer grade tat that says "audiophile" on the box.

I'll get me coat now.

Dotdot. Who's there? Yet another IoT app layer


Re: :/ :/ :/

I was going to give up on Haskell and move to ZCL on the basis of TFA. However, since it's just a protocol, maybe I won't.

The fact that there's a closures specification looked especially exciting, but it turns out that this is to do with doors and blinds and won't help in using first-class function definitions.

It's ideal for IoT though - no security at all (I suppose it is meant to sit in the transport layer, but really...). I'm looking forward to sending the Unlock Door command to all of my neighbours' networks.

You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack


Re: I want one, but only because our meters are in an awkward spot

You could always cook and eat your Sunday Roast at 3am.

Windows Media Center EPG has SWITCHED OFF, wail Euro users


Re: Does anyone use Windows Media Center any more?

TV tuner support in XMBC is still Beta - right?

I actually like J River a lot, but the TV support is nowhere close to WMC.

WMC 'Just Works' (or used to).


Re: yet more pseduo-news with a ridiculous headline

Err - issue also applies to Windows 7 and Windows 8. I paid for my Windows 8 license less than two months ago.

EU approves push to get the unknown security in ARM chips into use


Re: In choices we trust ...

I couldn't agree more.

Yes, given time and some expertise you can remove/change the root certificates embedded in your OS and browser, but this is not for the faint-hearted.

The bit which *really* annoys me is that almost all website certificates are of the 'no liability accepted' variety - that should tell everyone just how much they can be trusted.


Re: Who's security are we talking about ?

"The only valid one of the above is the user"

That's a massive over-simplification. It is potentially about the security of any and all of the above. An example: there is a SIM card in every phone made for the European market in the last 20 years. It protects the telco (cloning of phones was rife at the end of the analogue cellular era), but it protects the user, who isn't suddenly hit for massive usage by a clone of their phone of which they have no knowledge. Same for credit cards: the near-universal use of Chip and PIN (for all its flaws http://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2010/02/11/chip-and-pin-is-broken/) has greatly reduced fraud and benefits card issuers and customers alike.

It is about protecting assets - things that someone (any of the above may care about). Yes it will be (is!) used to protect HD video content. Yes it will be used by telcos, smartphone manufacturers, governments and companies too, but it will also be open to the savvy user as a means to protect privacy and confidential information (http://globalplatform.org/documents/Consumer_Centric_Model_White_PaperMar2012.pdf).

I am actually looking forward to a time when we have the means to perform pretty strong authentication of a large class of the users and devices on the Internet, although I'm sure plenty (pirates, organized crime and, yes, some with legitimate arguments too) would disagree.

Big Brother

Re: In choices we trust ...

As with so many things, the technology is neutral, but the applications (and business practice behind them) may not be.

Some services - your credit card or your passport, for example - are not open to you to customize. It's take it or leave it because in fact the issuer (credit card company, govt etc) needs to trust the instrument being used to verify the identity of the user. You don't have to have a credit card, passport etc., but if you want one, those are the rules.

It might make it hard to run a custom ROM, but probably not. What might happen instead is that your credit card issuer may tell you that you cannot put your credit card on a phone with a custom ROM, and they will be able enforce this. Similarly, you may not be able to get a Netflix subscription for the same reason.

You may not care about these things, in which case you can carry on with a custom ROM quite happily.

The BBC Micro turns 30


Mode 7: definitely a model A feature

I was one of those who took the 'savvy' route - not so much to save the 60 pounds, but more because I wanted a BBC so badly, and didn't want to wait the extra 6 months it would take to save from my Saturday job for a model B.

So I bought a model A and upgraded the RAM about 6 months later. I can assure the writer of the piece that mode 7, the 'Teletext' mode was present on the model A.

Actually, it was all but essential as even the least capable graphics modes used 10K of the just under 16K of available RAM.

My model A was an upgrade from a Microtan 65 - another interesting machine.

RIP Personal Computer World

Dead Vulture

Sad demise of an institution

Sad, but inevitable.

I remember, as a teenager, rushing to the newsagent for each new edition. I was ecstatic when a family friend/geek gave me an older stack including PCW#1-20 and some editions of Elektor.

Started with a Microtan 65 (remember that?), and moved to a BBC Micro, and PCW remained an essential purchase... until the market basically became this months PC clone which was 100HMz faster than last month's. The irony is that I think the computer market is about to get interesting again...

I've spent most of my career as a software developer in mobile telecomms, and PCW was definitely a large part of what got me started.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021