* Posts by ChrisC

656 posts • joined 2 Jul 2009

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Hubble Space Telescope to switch to backup memory module after instrument computer halts

ChrisC

Re: Support contract

And just imagine the mileage claim...

Lenovo refreshes workstation ThinkPads with 11th-gen Intel CPUs, RTX graphics, 5G

ChrisC

Ooh, discrete touchpad buttons instead of the godawful clickable all-in-one touchpads that almost every other manufacturer wants to foist on us now - even without the added bonus of some decent screen options, that instantly earns them a spot on my (very) shortlist to replace my existing laptop.

Brit IT firms wound up by court order after fooling folk into paying for 'support' over fake computer errors

ChrisC

Re: Companies wound up huh?

Don't forget Internet Rule #37 - whenever thou useth the style of prose known as sarcasm, thou shalt always embellish thy works with a /s so as to educate readers of all persuasion that they shall take thee not seriously, for fear of misinterpreting thy words...

...you know, just in case someone's having a comprehension fail and doesn't pick up on the subtle hints you may have left for them :-)

ChrisC

Re: Whack-a-mole.

"Vogon poetry is a bit harsh"

If it's only a *bit* harsh, then it's not real Vogon poetry you've been listening to. Probably just a random sampling of the endless mindnumbing chatter from the good folk of Kakrafoon Kappa...

Hybrid working? Buckle in, there's no turning back as survey takers insist: You can't make us go back

ChrisC

Re: Hybrid is a poor idea

If it was really that easy to offshore a job, chances are it'd have been done already.

How many times have we seen companies attempting to offshore only to realise sooner or later that it wasn't the best decision they've ever made, and bringing those jobs back in-country? It's not always as simple a matter of whether the work itself can be done remotely, it's sometimes just as important to consider *who* is doing the work and whether that plays any part in how effectively the work can be done remotely.

I'm not saying it'll never happen, I just have strong doubts that the number of companies wlling to go through with it, and all the risks it entails, are high enough to justify the number of people who seem to think it can be used as a valid point of argument against WFH.

ChrisC

Hence why the very first few words of FlamingDeath's comment were "Travelling pointlessly to a destination".

If a job CAN be done from home, but your employer insists on you being in the workplace anyway, then that's a pointless commute. We're not saying that commuting per se is pointless, merely that an awful lot of commutes occur only because employers aren't willing to go all-in on WFH (except when their hands are temporarily forced by lockdown legislation).

Imagine how much more pleasant the commute would be for those workers who do genuinely need to attend a workplace, if the roads, trains, buses etc. weren't also having to deal with the impact of workers who really don't need to be travelling any further than to whichever corner of their home they prefer working from...

ChrisC

I'm an embedded systems designer, I work with real things, in fact I have a pile of them sat on the desk next to me gathering diagnostics data as I sit here in my small home office area having a late lunch break...

I get the intent of your comment here - clearly there are *some* jobs that genuinely cannot be done from home, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find many pro-WFH'ers who claim otherwise - but it's a gross simplification to presume that a "desk jockey" can WFH (e.g. if they're dealing with certain types of data then WFH may be a no-no due to security requirements) whilst a "real things worker" has to attend a workplace to do their job successfully.

Our argument isn't that people MUST work from home, because that's clearly every bit as stupid as insisting that people MUST head into the workplace to work. Our argument is that, if a job can be done successfully from home (as many of us have now proven is the case), then it should be for the individual employee to choose for themselves whether they want to work from home or head into the workplace, rather than leaving it to the goodness of our employers to come up with WFH policies that do anything more than just paying lip service to the idea of WFH as being something more than an annoyance that they've had to put up with because lockdown legislation said they had to

Indeed, the lockdown legislation seems like a reasonable place to start when drafting a WFH law - we've just spent the past year and a bit living and working under rules that said we should WFH where possible, but that (provided our workplaces were still open) we were able to attend the workplace if necessary.

So rather than stating that people should WFH where possible, we'd just need it to say that people CAN WFH where possible, which then places the onus on the employer to justify why an employee can't be allowed to WFH, rather than giving them carte blanche to simply refuse to allow WFH without any justification being needed.

Whilst any such law could still be abused by dodgy employers making up spurious justifications, we'd at least then have a legal framework within which employees could bring claims against their employer if they believed the justifications for refusing WFH weren't genuine. It'd also help focus the minds of employers on the point that WFH shouldn't be seen as a luxury, a bonus, an optional extra to be dished out only to the favoured few, but instead to be treated as an integral part of modern working that deserves proper consideration and handling.

ChrisC

Re: It seems that the worst is to come for companies that rent office space

CGT is, as its name suggests, a tax on any gains made in the value of whatever it is you're selling. So exactly how much value do you suppose is added to the typical UK home by someone WFH there, vs by someone merely living there? And bear in mind that CGT isn't applied to sales of your main/only home anyway...

Whilst I can see how insurance may need to be adjusted depending on the nature of the work being done from home, and how much work equipment you might then be housing there, as a rule of thumb most work that people would typically associate with WFH isn't the sort of the work that would require seperate business insurance - if you're doing work like that at home, then you're into "running a business from home" vs merely "working from home" territory, which is more than just a different way of saying the same thing.

Someone sat at home tapping away on a keyboard all day, instead of heading into the office to do the same, is a far cry from someone operating a car dealership, hairdressers, childminding service etc. from their home address.

And if insurers did start playing the "WFH, need business cover" card, I'd expect a shit-ton of pushback from their customers along the lines of "OK then, but since the house is now occupied for significantly longer periods than before, we want a corresponding reduction in premiums due to the reduced risk of a fire/leak going unnoticed and causing more damage, or of a break-in whilst the home is unoccupied, or any of the other stuff you'd traditionally rated as a higher risk based on occupancy or the lack of". I'd also expect employees starting to ask questions of their employers re getting cover provided if required for any work-related activities/equipment at the home address, given that if WFH really has increased the insurance risk for the home address, it'll also have reduced the risk for the business address - e.g. fewer tasty bits of IT kit left in empty offices just waiting to go walkies in the middle of the night.

ChrisC

"even people who do need to commute will find the roads significantly quieter, reducing further the demand for train travel."

OTOH, if the trains are no longer rammed every morning and evening, it may encourage people who used to drive to work rather than face being crammed into a carriage, to give the train a second chance for their commute. I can also imagine that, if employers properly embrace flexible working, then there'll be some employees who choose to split their time between home and the office during the same day depending on what it is they're doing that day, rather than just heading into the office for a full day, which could lead to a rise in passenger numbers outside the traditional periods.

ChrisC

Yes, which is why I'd be happy for the choice of WFH vs WFTO to be left to the individual employee, and for their managers to then decide - just as they've always done - whether or not that employee is working as effectively as they need to be and whether any adjustments need to be made as a result.

What I'm not happy about is the way rather a lot of companies (including some who you'd think would be more attuned to embracing WFH) are/will be insisting that every employee returns to the office for at least x days a week, with the option (various conditions permitting) of working the remaining few days from home. Great for those who don't like WFH - they simply don't take up the option of WFH on any day, and go back to working in the office every day - but rather less favourable for those who do like WFH who aren't being given a similar level of flexibility to choose their preferred working location.

ChrisC

When so many of us have worked our arses off from home over the last year and a bit, remaining as productive (if not moreso) as we'd have been if we'd been in the office "as normal" all that time, and proving to our employers that full time WFH really does work, it feels like a particularly hefty kick in the teeth that so many of us are now faced with having to return to the office even part-time just because our respective manglements think that getting back to normal means getting bums on seats in the office again regardless of whether or not there's any solid business need for having those people in the office on those days.

I'm quite happy to continue heading into the office as and when required, just as I'd been doing throughout the past year, but I really don't appreciate being told that, once our new policy takes effect, I *have* to be there for at least x days a week regardless of what I'm working on that week. Especially not when, if what I'm working on does require me to spend all week in the office, the policy doesn't then allow me to "bank" the WFH days I wasn't able to make use of that week for use in subsequent weeks where there really isn't any need for me to be in the office at all.

So sadly, I'd have to side with those survey respondents who indicated a preference for making enforced time in the office illegal - treat employees as professionals and give them the freedom to choose for themselves/within their teams how they want to split their time between home and office dependent on whatever it is they're working on at the time, with the understanding that if their productivity suffers as a result of their choices then they're at risk of a bollocking from their line managers, exactly the same as they'd get if they were in the office all day but not pulling their weight.

ChrisC

I wonder how much of that is due to the reopening of businesses (such as cinemas) where WFH isn't an option for most employees, combined with (as the article alludes to) the reluctance of some other employers to give their employees much choice in whether or not to continue WFH?

Tesla owners win legal fight after software update crippled older Model S batteries

ChrisC

Re: Carbon neutral

"Vauxhall Ampera, Chevy Volt... Hardly exotic."

But also hardly a shining example (at least as far as Europe goes) of this type of EV drivetrain, given how little time they spent being sold over here, and how few have ended up on the roads. So if the previous commenter is Europe-based, then it's no surprise they're unaware of its existence.

And perhaps, given how few actually were sold over here, it's not *entirely* unreasonable to describe them as exotic - in terms of how rare they are at least, as opposed to how super/hypercar-ish they aren't...

ChrisC

Re: Fuel is the least of the cost in the total life of the car

Fuel costs can be an insignificant fraction of the annual cost of ownership for someone just doing a few miles every now and then, or can represent almost the entire annual cost for someone doing mega mileage, so without knowing what the OP's annual mileage figures are, they may well be correct as far as their perspective on being a car owner is concerned, just as you're correct to say fuel is a larger cost based on your perspective.

Then again, aren't you forgetting the other costs of ownership in your comparison, such as insurance and ad-hoc expenses (new tyres and other comsumables, unscheduled repairs etc.), or is that all bundled into your EUR700 "annual checkup" figure? I hope for your sake it is, because if you're really suggesting that your car costs you that much each year just for its routine annual service, then kindly let us know what make/model it is so we all know to steer well clear the next time we're looking to buy...

ChrisC

Re: Carbon neutral

Dinocells...

It took 'over 80 different developers' to review and fix 'mess' made by students who sneaked bad code into Linux

ChrisC

Exactly, but if it hadn't been for the attack focussing attention on *all* commits coming from umn.edu, how many of these previously-accepted-but-now-rejected commts would *still* be present in release builds?

Which begs the question - if these now-rejected commits are bad enough to need removing now, what went wrong with the review process originally to allow them to be accepted?

Which begs the follow-up question - what *else* has slipped through the review net and made it into the release branch?

The university went about this the wrong way, no question about it. But isn't it ever so slightly embarrassing for the Linux gatekeepers that, had it not been for this research project shining a light on everything the uni has contributed to Linux so far, those earlier bad commits would still be present. People are right to be pissed off at the uni for the rather anarchic way in which they performed the research. But let's not kid ourselves that the uni is the only problem here...

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

ChrisC
Coat

Re: eh

Quite. Back in the days when GHz CPUs first started hitting the scene, and heatsinks started becoming a mandatory part of every PC build, ISTR the enthusiast sites were filled with how to posts for polishing the heatsink and CPU surfaces to attain as smooth a contact patch as possible, such that you'd only need to apply a smear of thermal compound to fill in any hairline scratches that polishing couldn't remove. I've never bothered to achieve the mirror-like finish some people would strive for, but giving them at least a light polish to remove the worst of the factory undulations has been part of my PC build process since I put together my first Athlon system what feels like a lifetime ago.

So the idea of simply slapping on a precut slab (relatively speaking) of TIM and treating that as an effective interface between heat generator and heat dissipator feels really very wrong to me, and if the design of the heatsink assembly *requires* a thick layer of TIM to bridge the gap, then it would make me wonder what other shortcuts have been taken in the design.

Yes, that's mine, the one with a half-used tube of arctic silver in the pocket...

Beyond video to interactive, personalised content: BBC is experimenting with rebuilding its iPlayer in WebAssembly

ChrisC

Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

Mmm, I'm still pissed off at the way they threw away all that was good about iPlayer Radio (not least its ability to work pretty much flawlessly on older devices, plus various things about the UI that made getting to what *you* wanted to listen to easy, as well as making it easier on the eyes of those of us with less than perfect vision) and ignored all resultant complaints in the process of lumbering us with BBC Sounds.

Which, despite several years of development since then, is still a bit crap in places where it really shouldn't be if the developers would only control their egos long enough to learn some lessons from the past, and pay attention to the things that really were good about iPR rather than being so determined to reinvent the wheel once again that they end up producing something that has a smashing new logo on the side, but doesn't sit true on its axle so ends up giving the user a rather uncomfortable ride...

And that was just the latest in the ongoing trend of BBC developers to take something that worked pretty well and really just needed a bit of polishing to turn it into something truly world-class, and instead throw all their resources into coming up with a completely new replacement which ignored the lessons learned from the existing product, as well as anything other than 100% positive feedback from users during the transition period where we could still use the old whilst evaluating the new.

Still, they're in good company - it seems to be an annoyingly common trend for developers to now adopt a policy of "if it ain't broke, make up some other excuse for replacing it with something completely new anyway". I'm an R&D engineer earning a living out of coming up with new solutions for problems, which means I'm absolutely not opposed to change where change is justified. I just hate, truly hate, this modern concept of change for the sake of change that too many developers seem to subscribe to.

Cloudflare launches campaign to ‘end the madness’ of CAPTCHAs

ChrisC

Re: Hardware dongles?

A bike, fair enough.

A bus? Do you live in a country/region where most buses are single deckers, where most are double deckers, where most are minibuses, where most look more like long-distance coaches, where there's even a bus service against which you can hope to have any concept of what a "bus" looks like in your local area let alone in whichever part of the world the captcha images originated?

A fire hydrant? Here in the UK, hydrants are mostly, if not entirely, below ground level and accessed via a hatch in the pavement (or sidewalk, if you're a left-pondian who thinks the pavement is the thing the cars, sorry, automobiles, drive along), so the only way the average UKian will recognise the typical fire hydrant shown in a captcha is if they've spent enough time watching US TV shows or films, and are now able to associate "fire hydrant" with those odd lumpy looking bits of metal sticking out of the pavement (or is it now a sidewalk - I'm so confused...)

So whilst the name of such objects may (*) well be known across the globe, it's definitely not safe to assume that the physical manifestation of such an object from one region will be recognisable as such an object to someone in another region.

(*) though as someone else has already noted, some captchas ask you to identify crosswalks, which not only requires the user to be aware of what a crosswalk looks like in the US, but also to know what a bloody crosswalk is in the first place, because that's a term most assuredly NOT used globally...

The Starship has landed. Latest SpaceX test comes back to Earth without igniting fireballs

ChrisC

Re: Coming in high

>> What on earth are they going to make of it when NASA launches their SLS and the thing just falls in the Indian Ocean taking 4 hugely expensive and historic rocket motors with it.

> That's a big assumption, and maybe highlights the different approaches. SpaceX seems happy to produce scrap, SLS is presumably working on the principle that it won't fail. If it does, it'll be rather embarrassing, but it's using less novel stuff than Starship.

I may have misunderstood what awavey's comment was actually about, but it seemed like they were making the point that, with the public now somewhat attuned to the idea that rocket first stages can deliver themselves back to earth in one piece for easy reuse, seeing the SLS first stage unceremoniously dumping itself into the briny by design might come as a bit of a shock.

So to me it didn't feel in any way like a suggestion that the first SLS launch would fail to go as planned, merely that it'd be a reminder that what SpaceX have achieved with Falcon recovery and reuse is still anything but routine, and that your average 21st century rocket launch will always end up with most of the launch vehicle reduced to scrap, regardless of how well or otherwise the launch goes.

Bitcoin is ‘disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization’ says famed investor Charlie Munger

ChrisC

Re: Insert meme here

"whereas you never hear of anyone going to an ATM to 'buy some banknotes'."

You do however hear of people going to a bureau d'exchange to buy/sell foreign currency...

UK government gives Automated Lane Keeping Systems the green light for use on motorways

ChrisC

Re: Cruise control / License minder

Yup. Every car I've owned has had cruise control, however after a bit of initial experimentation with it on my first car during long motorway drives, I came to the same conclusions as you regarding the pros and cons, so from that point on I've only ever used it whilst checking that it works as expected each time I replace one car with another.

OTOH, the last two cars I've owned both also included speed limiters, and that's proven to be a far more useful addition than cruise has been (especially for lengthy average speed check zones), to the point where if I had to choose one or the other then I'd quite happily delete cruise from the spec sheet.

ChrisC

Re: Why is the Holborn problem a problem?

As someone who *has* experienced the delights of driving in the motoring paradise that is London zone 1, the problem with prioritising pedestrians over vehicles is exactly as noted in the article - if you give pedestrians carte blanche to stream across the road, then traffic - ALL traffic, buses, taxis, delivery vehicles, not just private vehicles - trying to get through that junction will end up at a complete standstill for extended periods of time, with all the knock-on effects on other parts of the road network nearby.

This isn't just some theoretical presumption about how pedestrians and vehicles would end up interacting at such junctions, it was a regular feature of trying to drive through those junctions at times of the day when pedestrian numbers were high enough such that they felt emboldened to simply keep on streaming across the road long after the lights had changed to give vehicles a green light, rendering that green cycle almost, or entirely, useless as far as helping vehicles to get through the junction was concerned.

Does the boss want those 2 hours of your free time back? A study says fighting through crowds to office each day hurts productivity

ChrisC

Re: Who got the extra time?

"Describing people who don't share your point of view as "zealots" is more than a tad polarising as well"

Quite. The pandemic has given many of us what may well be our first real opportunity to experience an extended duration of full-time WFH, as opposed to the occasional WFH days we might have previously been able to get approved by our managers. And whilst it's certainly true that not everyone is enjoying the WFH way of life, it's also true that a hell of a lot of us really ARE finding it a much better way to balance our work and non-work lives, and would very much like it to continue.

Maybe when I was younger, living alone in a one-bed apartment and just getting started in my career, I'd have been less enthusiastic about a lengthy enforced spell of WFHing, but now I'm older and greyer (at least those bits of me that still have any hair cover remaining), with a wife, kids and cats at home, I'm massively appreciative of the opportunity this past year has presented to me to be able to spend more quality time with them without taking anything away from my ability to still do the work I love.

So you'll just have to excuse those of us in the pro-WFH camp if we sometimes get a bit over-enthusiastic about how great proper WFH has turned out to be, and how much we'd like to keep on doing it.

ChrisC

Re: "... expecting minions to re-embrace the daily commute"

Yes, the whole "if you're not a critical/essential worker, then you've obviously been lounging around on furlough all this time, learning new languages, musical instruments, how to paint etc etc" way of thinking is something that really isn't helpful.

Once things get back to something approximating normality and we start socialising for real again, I can imagine some of the conversations are going to get a bit frosty when you get some people going "wasn't this past year just amazing, I learned Mandarin, Spanish Guitar and put together an illustrated history of the local area in watercolours, what did you get up to in your time off?" only to be faced with a response along the lines of "Time off, sorry, remind me again what that is?" Only probably somewhat less politely worded.

US aviation regulator warns of mid-air collision risk if Garmin TCAS boxes are not updated

ChrisC

Re: There is More Wrong Than Just Garmin Than Just TCAS Boxes

Garmin manufacture consumer products, yes, and that *may* (I don't actually know, nor is it really relevant here) be their main market in terms of units sold/income/a.n.other metric, but it's a bit of a stretch to go from what the consumer products side of the company does, via the evidence provided by your friend based on their experiences with one particular example of their avionics product line, to making a rather sweeping accusation that the avionics side of the company isn't producing "real professional gear".

ChrisC

Re: Can I just say that I love the euphemism there...

And at really busy airports, you'll often have several aircraft strung out in the sky at differing points of their final descent, so unless you're at the head of that string then it's not just the one already on the runway that you need to be concerned about.

My last such experience was arriving at Heathrow on a 777 from Shanghai - having burned off most of the fuel load it'd hauled off the runway at the start of the flight, it proved just how sprightly a lightly-loaded modern airliner can be when needed.

Microsoft revokes MVP status of developer who tweeted complaint about request to promote SQL-on-Azure

ChrisC

Indeed. Whenever I'm searching for help with a MS product and I find a forum thread opened by someone else with the same problem, I can pretty much guarantee that the first half-dozen responses can be skipped over immediately, because they're either all from overly-eager MVPs trying and failing to be helpful by regurgitating what seems to be a common script, or responses to those MVPs from the original question asker, pointing out that their "advice" is just asking them to do exactly the same stuff they'd already explained in detail that they'd tried with no success...

It's usually only once you get past the MVPspam and into the part of the thread where other end users (and possibly also people who'd prefer not to admit to being MVPs) start to give decent advice and suggestions that the thread becomes a useful problem solving resource.

ChrisC

Re: Cancel culture

Debateable. All that's really happened here is he's been stripped of his MVP status. This might mean he's also lost his ability to post on any MVP-only forums, or to have his posts on open MS forums tagged as coming from a MVP, but as this article so neatly demonstrates, he's not been stripped of his ability to make his views known to the world at large via any of the well known means of global communication not controlled by the numpties at MS.

And it seems likely that, had MS *not* stripped him of his MVP status, then this whole hoo-ha over their attempts to use MVPs as human adbots may well have gone entirely unnoticed, so if their intent really was to try and cancel his message, the end result has been the polar opposite - cf Streisand Effect.

ChrisC

Re: MVP status

It does. It's just one of those acronyms where context is required to avoid (or at least minimise) the risk of misinterpretation. Right now my primary interpretation of MVP is also minimum viable product, because that's the only context in which I've been actively using it for the past few months. Before that however, my primary interpretation would have been the sports-influenced Most Valuable/Valued Player, unless I knew I was reading something Microsoft related, thanks to all the years I spent following American Football as a kid.

Sticking with the IT angle, AWS is another one open to differences of interpretation - unless directed by context, my thoughts will initially tend towards a type of railway safety system, and not to a cloudy service operated by Team Bezos.

'There was no one driving that vehicle': Texas cops suspect Autopilot involved after two men killed in Tesla crash

ChrisC

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

The impact on the EU emissions test results of carrying a full size or even space saver spare has encouraged some manufacturers to drop them as standard fit (and I suspect some other manufacturers have then seen a way to boost their profits a little more per vehicle sold by similarly deleting them), but manufacturers choosing to stop providing them whilst still giving buyers the option of adding them as optional extras, is a far cry from the EU having plans to mandate their removal from all cars.

So unless you can point us in the direction of some evidence to support your claim, then you're going to have to count me amongst the ranks of the disbelieving incredulous here.

ChrisC

You don't necessarily need to know how to *change* the oil, but you really should get into the habit of *checking* it at regular intervals between each trip to the garage for servicing. Especially if you drive certain diesels fitted with DPFs, where a known failure mode is for the DPF to become saturated with diesel fuel due to repeated failed regens, causing diesel to then start migrating back up the exhaust system and through the cylinders into your engine oil. Which, if you're not familiar with diesels (especially the more finely tuned engines of recent years, as opposed to the unbreakable lumps of yore) is A Bad Thing.

The first you'll know about this fault is when you start to notice the oil level *increasing* over a period of time, instead of remaining steady or decreasing slightly as is normally expected. Catch it quickly enough and you can usually fix the problem without any damage to the engine, otherwise there's a good chance your car (or at least the engine) won't make it as far as the next service interval...

There are other faults that can also be detected before they cause lasting damage through routine checks of the oil - e.g. check under the filler cap for signs of gunk which might indicate coolant leaking into the oil (may be a sign of head gasket failure, or a porous oil cooler if your car is fitted with one).

It's all well and good leaving the actual spannering to the garage (other than basic stuff like changing light bulbs and the occasional wiring harness/engine sensor swap where said part is accessible either directly or behind easily removed/replaced things like trim panels, my local indie has always done all of the hands-on work on my cars), but knowing what to check on your car so that the next trip to the garage doesn't end up being far more expensive than you'd anticipated is a basic skill that every car owner really ought to have.

It also gets you into the habit of checking other things on your car - exterior lights, state of the tyres etc - that too many drivers don't seem to give a crap about even though they're legal requirements and where not realising there's a problem until it's too late might leave you with more than just a hefty garage bill to deal with.

ChrisC

Re: "more of a super-cruise-control"

"...until the system has been reset by the civil authorities after they've arrested you"

...or have provided you with medical care appropriate to whichever serious condition struck unexpectedly and caused you to no longer remain in control of your vehicle.

Not that I'm suggesting this, or any of the other similarly newsworthy Tesla crashes, was caused by a medical issue, just making the point that sometimes crashes are caused by the driver becoming incapacitated, so having a "stop vehicle in safe place and alert authorities" feature which kicks in if the driver no longer appears to be responding could also be promoted as a positive driver-assistance feature, not just as a way to kick the arses of idiots who think it's entirely acceptable to deliberately relinquish control of a moving vehicle, outside of a controlled environment, to whatever level of automation is fitted to said vehicle

You want a reboot? I'll give you a reboot! Happy now?

ChrisC

"The reboot meant every client of ours was uninsured for the eight minutes it took to reboot the server."

By the sounds of it, the design of the policy update process means that, even in the absence of any unexpected server reboots, all of their clients would regularly suffer periods of being "uninsured" (as in, *appearing* to be uninsured due to their policy not showing up on MID, though not *actually* uninsured through not having a policy in the first place) for however long it took to upload the new data having first wiped the old data each time the update process was run.

Zorin OS 16 beta claims largest built-in app library 'of any open source desktop ever'

ChrisC

As someone who started his smartphone life off with a series of Windows Mobile-based devices, I appreciate the efforts that have gone into making phones far easier to use when being poked and prodded with a finger, now that they've ditched any pretence at trying to look like a classic desktop OS.

However, I utterly detest the way these touch-related UI changes have now been allowed to seep back into the desktop environment where touch-control is still rarely found, where mouse+keyboard shortcuts remain the primary means of UI interaction, and where those classic OS design themes are still therefore entirely relevant and useful. This is now a real problem both at the OS level (yes, Windows 10, I'm referring to you) and within individual bits of software or webapps which have deliberately chosen to adopt similar styles of UI design even when running on OSs which natively still provide UI elements which are mouse-friendly.

So yes, people can learn to adapt to different styles of UI on different devices, and where the physical nature of the devices means that a one size fits all approach to UI design wouldn't make any sense, then it's entirely reasonable to have different styles. Where it becomes harder to justify is when you're asking users to learn a different UI design on the same device when nothing else about that device has changed and where there's therefore no obvious justification as to why the UI needed to change.

ChrisC

Re: re: User Experience Designers

It's never too early to rant about the horrors UX teams have foisted on their helpless victim...err end users.

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user

ChrisC

Re: I had to deal with the next generation upgrade

When you were asked to compress the files for storage, that's not quite what we had in mind...

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine

ChrisC

Re: Hummmmmmmmm.....

Ah, the Panaga Club... just a short stroll along the beach from my relatives house, so spent some pleasant hours there lounging by and in the pool, spending our chits at the poolside bar, before a slow wander back along the beach taking in the view.

First time I'd been further afield from the UK than the regulation week in Spain, so to be stood there with the warm waters of the South China Sea caressing my feet, felt like I was in a dream. Also the only holiday I've been on where I've spent so much time in the same place that I've started to feel like a local - took a few days to get used to being back in the UK at the end of it.

ChrisC

Re: Hummmmmmmmm.....

Spent a month out there in 1986 visiting relatives, and can confirm the ex-pat community was quite comfortably stocked with beverages to suit all palates...

Managed to avoid joining the ditch diggers club, although there were a few hairy moments during a weekend trek over the border into Sarawak thanks to the road down from KB to Miri consisting in parts of what can best be described as a churned up semi-sunbaked mud/sand mix. At one point all the traffic diverted off the road through a gap in the trees onto the beach, as driving along that provided a smoother and safer route than trying to persist with the road. Ah, fun times.

Airline software super-bug: Flight loads miscalculated because women using 'Miss' were treated as children

ChrisC

Possibly a weight distribution problem at that point, rather than a maximum weight problem - if you had one of the larger passengers sat on the left (say), then you'd need enough weight sat on the right to maintain the correct balance, but if none of the other paying passengers were then light enough to provide that balance without exceeding the overall weight limit... Enter your good self, light enough to avoid causing the latter problem, but heavy enough to correct the former one.

ChrisC

Re: Who was the developer?

Having seen how much stuff some passengers want to shove in the hold, I suspect the limits and excess charges imposed here are as much about ensuring people don't take the piss as they are about ensuring a safe flight. After all, if you can afford to pay the excess charges, you can still take all those extra suitcases, packing crates, shrinkwrapped household appliances etc. with you, so clearly their weight isn't a concern unless you're really pushing it or have found yourself sharing a flight with another passenger who's also trying to move house on the same flight.

In contrast, hand luggage is somewhat more self-policing given that you have to lug it onto the flight yourself. You're always going to have the odd edge cases (such as your bag full of balloons and a carry-on full of gold bars example), but in the main it's a hell of a lot harder to carry excess weight *into* the cabin, than it is to load it onto the conveyor at check-in and have it packed *under* the cabin.

PSA: If you're still giving users admin rights, maybe try not doing that. Would've helped dampen 100+ Microsoft vulns last year – report

ChrisC

Leaving aside the definition stretch that "companies subject to GDPR" is a market sector in the same way as actual market sectors such as "finance", "engineering", "medical" etc.- there are very few companies where every single employee spends their entire working day doing nothing but handling data subject to GDPR or other legal restrictions, and where BYOD could never be an option.

Even in companies where most of what they do is covered by such restrictions, there's going to be at least *some* work that could legally be performed at home using BYOD gear, and in many companies it'll only be a minority of the data for which this is an issue, quite often then concentrated within the data subsets handled by specific teams within the company (e.g. HR, accounting) leaving other teams almost or entirely insulated from having to worry about data handling legalities, and only needing to concern themselves with whatever their company policy is on BYOD.

So I still stand by my earlier point - BYOD *will* be an option for many companies generally (even if not for every single employee of that company) unless they're working within market sectors where GDPR or other restrictions apply to most/all of the data the company generates, hence my "within a particular market sector" reference.

ChrisC

Embedded systems engineer here, and we have the same problems with lack of local admin access when it comes to getting hardware and software configured, although to be fair to our local IT team they do understand only too well the problems the "no local admin rights for anyone except IT" policy is causing for R&D users, but it's part of the IT requirements set by our parent organisation as a blanket policy across all the group companies so they've no choice but to go along with it.

Every evaluation board, devkit etc that has a USB connection wants to install its own vendor-specific driver, diagnostics cables might also then require you to tweak driver parameters to fine tune the cable performance to the needs of whatever it is they're connected to. And every so often you find yourself needing to use unsigned drivers - there was a period of time where I was having to do this so often during one particular bit of product development, that I ended up dusting off a spare W7 laptop from home just so I could run this particular setup without having to constantly jump through the crazy hoops required by W10.

Engineering software then often feels like it's stuck in a timewarp when it comes to installation processes, and that's just considering the stuff that's still in active development and could therefore have been brought up to date if the developers could only be bothered - where legacy product support is concerned, the need to run legacy design software (whether it be commercial such as a compiler, PCB design tool etc., or something in-house like a production test tool) often goes hand in hand. Then there's the older niche design tools you've been using for years/decades, which still do the job just fine and which you can use without giving them a second thought (none of this "oh look, it's a new version with yet another new UI redesign" crap that seems to be so in fashion these days), which you really don't want to have to do without or try to find a comparable alternative.

At a general, abstract, level I get why IT teams are keen to not dish out admin access to ordinary users, and in an ideal world I'd be only too happy if I could do my job effectively without ever needing to try and remember what the bloody admin password is, but when these policies come crashing up against the real world requirements of certain types of development environments and in turn prevent certain classes of user from being able to do their jobs effectively then there either needs to be an acceptance from whoever's setting these policies that there are some users outside of the IT team who may well need additional rights beyond the bare bones essentials given out to everyone, or an understanding from management generally that applying these policies without exception *will* lead to random reductions in productivity from those users as they wait for IT to configure something that they used to be able to do themselves, often at those times when you're expecting them to come up with results ASAP.

ChrisC

Most companies? Perhaps most *within a particular market sector*, but widening the scope out to *any* company which has any sort of IT requirement and where an employee might want to use some BYOD kit to work on, I think you'd be surprised at just how much of a free for all it is in general.

Microsoft's GitHub under fire after disappearing proof-of-concept exploit for critical Microsoft Exchange vuln

ChrisC

Re: What. A. Shock.

Pretty much my feelings towards MS as well - I've never had much time for MS either in terms of their technical prowess or their business behaviour, but at least in the old days of Gates/Ballmer there was a level of consistency in their approach - their products were in the main workmanlike if nothing earth shattering, and got on with the job without making too many assumptions about who actually owned the PC they were being used on. And when they did do something particularly well, by god was it good - from the first time I encountered one at the tail end of 1994, an Intellimouse was the only mouse I'd be happy to see connected to any PC I had to use until I discovered the delights of Logitech rodents about a decade later.

These days they're trying, at the corporate level, to put on a veneer of huggy-feely niceness, whilst at the OS level they're making ever more presumptions about who's in charge of the PC with every update, which leads to an ever greater discrepancy between what their left and right hands are doing. When you had more native control over what your desktop environment looked like in Win3.1 than in Win10, and when the OS then didn't place arbitrary roadblocks in the way of third parties trying to provide retheming tools to allow the actual owner of the PC to set up their environment in whichever way THEY preferred it to be, rather than forcing everyone to use the environment that MS thought was best for us all, then something has gone badly wrong in the balance of power between those who merely provide the OS and those who sit in front of it for hours at a time, day in day out.

GitLab latest to ditch 'master' as default initial branch name: It's now simply called 'main'

ChrisC

Re: "legacy"

The problem with that is that "heritage" tends to refer to old stuff that's worth preserving for posterity, whereas "legacy" is more often than not just the old shit that you *have* to keep around and maintained because your employer is happier to just keep paying you to deal with the increasing headaches of doing so than they are to pay you to rewrite it all in a form that stands a reasonable chance of still being useable once you've left the company...

What happens when cancel culture meets Adolf Hitler pareidolia? Amazon decides it needs a new app icon

ChrisC

Re: But Amazon really are Hitler, aren't they?

You forgot to order the optional Albert Hall accessories package, didn't you...

ChrisC

Re: Is blue tape actually a thing somewhere?

Either my colourblindness has got much worse recently, or the use of blue tape isn't consistent across the Amazon empire - all the packages I get here that need assistance in staying closed are held together with what looks like very dark brown/black tape, so the only thing about this logo that says Amazon to me is the smiley swoosh.

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

ChrisC

I gave up on RMA'ing drives donkeys years ago after realising that cost of getting the borked drive safely back to the warranty centre (also in the Netherlands in this case, though I can't recall if it was a Seagate drive) was high enough such that I'd have preferred to just pay the extra and get a brand new drive shipped next day from a UK supplier than have to wait an indeterminate length of time to get the warranty replacement. If we now have to also throw the possibility of import charges into the mix, then all the more reason not to bother...

Maybe now's the time for a manufacturer to release a lower-cost line of drives which have no additional warranty provided beyond what's required by law, so that those of us who are happier to just replace with new and junk the old drive don't have to continue subsidising the cost of providing warranty returns for those other users who do still want the additional safety blanket provided by a longer warranty period.

Planespotters’ weekends turn traumatic as engine pieces fall from the sky in the Netherlands and the US

ChrisC

Re: Uncontained?

Not according to some of the commenters in the PPrune thread linked elsewhere, nor to the definitions here:

https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Uncontained_Engine_Failure and https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Contained_Engine_Failure

From the "contained" failure definition:

"Containment of engine failure — Historical data confirm that turbine engine failures most often are contained. This term means that even if components disintegrate or separate inside the engine, they either safely remain within the engine case or exit the engine case via the tail pipe as intended by the engineers.

This is a standard design feature of all turbine engines. The desired outcome is that the failure of a single engine on a multi-engine aircraft will not present an immediate risk to the safety of the occupants or the aircraft. (Nevertheless, sufficiently large pieces of otherwise safely ejected fragments potentially could injure or kill persons on the ground.)"

Note also that this definition only applies to *engine* parts - any other parts which may fall off as a result of the engine failure (such as the nacelle covers) aren't taken into account when deciding whether it's a "contained" or "uncontained" engine failure.

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