* Posts by trydk

34 posts • joined 24 Jan 2010

Overheard at a Brit mobe network: On the count of Three UK, smile and say, er... we lost how many customers?


Good experiences with Three

I don't know if I dare say this: I have only good experiences with Three. Oh blast, now it's out. Ah well.

I have a phone with 12GB of data and a MiFi box (my internet connection) with unlimited data for a monthly total of £26. Yesterday I had a problem with the internet connection on their network (affected my phone and the MiFi box), called them. They said it was a problem with their network and would be fixed in two days. I complained and said that it was my only internet connection and I used it for my work. Within a few minutes they gave a £15 credit, suggesting I bought a SIM card from another network supplier and used that as an interim solution until their system was up again. I got a text message a few hours later saying it was now working, and so it was ... and not a few days later, as they had predicted.

Way better service than my previous provider TalkTalk, who did improve their service just before I left them for Three, to be fair.

I chose Three for their good data offers and because I can use my allowance in the countries I most often travel to.

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics


Re: It's 2018

I'm afraid requiring computer skills in this age is an attitude that not only looks down on people with other skill-sets or abilities to the extent that you cannot become a brick-layer or gardener in some countries without actually going to school. Denmark, if I remember correctly, has stopped apprenticeships and force all craftswomen and -men to attend colleges instead.

We've reached a point where many (most?) people seem to look down on non-academic people, almost to the extent that non-academic people do not seem to have a right to live, love and work any more.

C'mon people!


Re: The right attitude

@Potemkine! and @phuzz

I'd like to recollect two examples of problematic communication, the first was when I held a series of Windows 95 workshops for a large oil company. The prerequisite for the workshops were high-level computer skills.

At one of the workshops there were two people, a man and a woman, that sat at the same table, incidentally. Unfortunately, it seemed that their "high-level" skills did not include the art of double-clicking (and much, much more). At some point near the beginning of the workshop I had to show them how to double-click. The male participant did not have the fine-motor skills do it and gave up (I showed him how to single-click and then press Enter instead, which worked most of the time). His double-click consisted of a click, a slight pause, a jerk of the hand and then another click, and as you probably know, Windows does not register a double-click when you move the mouse between the two clicks.

The second actually happened before the "first" on my personal timeline. I was a student and a Teaching Assistant at an Engineering university. I helped with the practical experiments in weekly, all-afternoon classes. In this particular case experiments with an 8080 processor. The students (in teams of four) had to connect the processor box to the power supply box at the beginning of the class. The power supply had a mains lead and five coloured sockets for each of its four voltages and ground (Red socket = +12V, Orange socket = +5V, Green socket = -5V, Blue socket = -12V, and Black socket = Ground). The CPU box similarly had five sockets in the exact same colours and then there were five coloured leads in, guess what? Yup, the same five colours. About half an hour into class, one of the teams approached me and said their setup did not work. I looked at what they had done, which miraculously involved connecting the mains cable correctly to the mains power as well as connecting the five sockets on the power supply to the five sockets on the CPU with the five leads, only ... No two sockets of the same colour on the two boxes were connected to each other and no lead/socket combination used the same colour, instead something like Red power supply socket connected with Blue lead to Orange CPU socket, etc.

I asked the members of the team (nicely!) to observe the colours of the sockets and the leads, and asked them if they thought the leads and sockets were coloured for a specific reason. (A learning opportunity, eh?) They didn't take that very well and asked me (not entirely nicely ;-) to just f***ing tell them what to do.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Miraculously, the CPU had actually survived the misleading (sorry!) connections.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype


Re: Go home, use fiber...


"[...] others are not the same as me"

That is so true, but you miss the other part: Some people may not be in the same situation as you. I, for one, work abroad with a six-hour commute twice a week and thus watch a lot of stuff when on the run go. What better way to enjoy yourself, when reading a book becomes too much bother? Or when your book has run out of power?

'He must be stopped': Missouri candidate's children tell voters he's basically an asshat


Re: There are some people that the


The biggest problem — in my opinion, obviously — is the (mis)management problem in the public sector. The current government (and even some in Labour) has a mantra for the public sector: Privatise. Privatise! PRIVATISE!!!!

Under ideal conditions (I'll come back to that later), the only real ways for a private company to be more efficient than a public service is by having a "secret sauce" that cannot be implemented by the public service, as the private company — all else equal — needs to pay its owners/investors/shareholders on top of the expenses for delivering the service. A private company should thus be less economical than a comparable public service. For pure services it is very hard to have a "secret sauce" as there is only so much you can do to be more efficient without somehow entering the realm of exploitation or fraud. When a doctor needs to see his patients and there are few ways of doing it more efficiently than it is currently done, whether it is a privately employed doctor or a publicly employed. You can obviously try to automatise some of the processes (remote visits by webcam, electronic records, automatising administration, ...) but those are not in the "secret sauce" realm as they are equally available to private companies and public services.

So, when getting down to the basics, the main (only?) reason public services seem to lag behind private companies in efficiency seems to be a matter of proper leadership ... or rather a lack of it. My partner is a public employee and I have had a few, miserable years there too. Miserable exactly because of the poor management and the huge management pyramid (think about it, it starts with a minister, via civil servants, going on in maybe ten layers or more). Management in the public service is often farcical, even beyond the "Yes Minister" level. Unfortunately I know this first hand as I still work for public services, though now as a contractor, which has its benefits as long as I am not hit by IR35.

And, coming back to a more direct response to your post, most Union Reps are doing a good job (disclaimer: I was a union steward for several years) ... within their abilities. Union Reps are mostly just elected from within the people working in the organisation, i.e. with not specific knowledge of all the intricate aspects of the law, apart from what training they receive, and they are mostly dealing with everyday problems like bullying, harassment, grievances, policy issues, ..., not how to actually improve the services. The people higher up in the organisation will partly deal with efficiency and management issues but their remit is really to improve the conditions for their members, which often boils down to a matter of getting them as much money as possible.

So yes, there is a lot that could be improved and it is mostly by managing the public services better, which would reduce waste and thus cost. And the ideal conditions are therefore a public structure with few, efficient management levels and a public workforce that understands that they have to deliver the best possible service at the lowest possible cost without compromising their own income and well-being.

Oh, and regarding the work ethics of public workers, I have met and impressive amount of people that go well beyond what could rightfully be expected of them, often helpful to a fault (especially within the health sector). I have also met people that were overzealous and went beyond the reasonable without any consideration of the people they are serving (Public Servants, remember!) — HMRC and DWP are you listening?

Oh dear, that became a long rant.

Security MadLibs: Your IoT electrical outlet can now pwn your smart TV


Re: Hoping for help from politicians ...

@ GSTZ: The technology sector as a whole (more or less) has shown that they cannot fathom that security should be more important than money, thus we need some appropriate paragraphs to push them in the right direction.

A simple and rather non-intrusive law could state that the producer of a thingamading* is entirely responsible for the damage (direct and indirect as well as collateral) a hack causes in all aspects from money over property damage to reputation where applicable. Add some punitive damages to that, say 1% of worldwide yearly turnover (not profit as that can be fiddled with), and I think even the big multinationals would sit up and listen!

* Yes, there are a few corner cases like software installed on a computer but I'm pretty sure that some nice people on here can sort that out othewise there'll be plenty of opportunity to downvote me.

Apple shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to find gambling in its Chinese App Store


Re: Sensor its service?

@davenewman: It is their censor sensors, the new AI to automatically rewrite history in Newspeak.

Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design


Re: Is that legal now?


I know nothing of the US electrical code (or whether you are based in the US) but in the UK (and in most of the rest of Europe, I think) all modern installations have RCD (Residual Current Detectors) that will trip if there's a difference in current leaving the Live wire and returning through Neutral. These RCD units will trip if current is flowing from Live through anything (incl. a person) to ground without actually returning through Neutral (e.g. the hair-dryer in the bathtub) or current flows between two phases (again nothing returns through Neutral). Special RCD units are used for multi-phase equipment that utilises the higher inter-phase voltage.



This case is a nice example of two mistakes (the missing protection on the UPS and the sysadmin's cabling) exacerbating each other with a rather bad result.

Many comments go on architects and how aesthetics has priority over functionality, which I've seen in a number of cases.

One of the more entertaining was a consolidated IT department moving into a new, open office environment. Huge room with lots of space. The Head of IT had asked me (IT architect, not building architect) what I thought. I suggested to have enough network connection points and power points spread across the whole area of the room to support at least one and a half or maybe even twice as many people as they expected to use the room. What they did instead was assigning just about enough for the number of people moving in, and all along one wall. So when they moved in, the room became littered with extension cords and long network cables running across the floor (high ceilings, so no-one tried to run them up there). In a month or so, the department increased in size and now the multi-socket extension cords had further extension cords attached, sometimes chained like three or four times. And the network was extended with consumer-level network switches to support the new people.


Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

Paris Hilton

Re: Heard that one before

@Anonymous Coward, Tuesday 7th August 2018 13:15 GMT

So, by physical world analogy, it is OK for Halifax to send you a packet containing a robot that surreptitiously scans your home to check that all windows and doors are properly closed, send the result off to themselves neither informing you that they've done it nor of the result? The big difference here is that the robot probably would not go unnoticed, right?

You cannot in earnest argue that it is OK as you "scan yourself"? If that is a valid argument, it means that anyone making you download a piece of malware go scot free as "you did the malicious part yourself". No ma'am/sir, it ain't working that way!

Ticketmaster breach 'part of massive bank card slurping campaign'


Re: Why do browsers allows JS from other domains to run

@tiggity: Unfortunately, this is simply capitalism at work.

I can invest in better security and have a team ready to keep my site safe ... OR ... I can outsource it for a pittance and pay a small fee whenever I actually use it.

Hmmmmm, difficult ... Nah, outsource and the more money for me.


Re: Why do browsers allows JS from other domains to run

@tfewster: I thought Verified by VISA ran in a frame thus not mixing JavaScript domains. NoScript only tells you what domains want to execute JavaScript, not the source of the calls.

This actually reminds me that I want NoScript to be able to show the domain of the caller AND to have the permission either apply globally (so very.trusted.domain.earth can be trusted everywhere) or from specific domains (so do.much.evil.hell can be trusted only from specific domains). google.com is a domain that seems to crop up on two thirds of the sites in the world so Google can track me on all those sites even if I need them only on one of them unless I jump through hoops to avoid it (visit site, temporarily allow google.com, go to this other tab with another site, disable google.com, back to first site, re-enable google.com, ...).

Boffins bash out bonkers boost for batteries


Re: Two improvements

Sorry to correct you but they are normally cylindrical like the ones Tesla's battery packs. Tesla packs the individual cells into box-shaped containers that also implement cooling facilities, which makes use of the space between the cells.


Two improvements

There seem to be two improvements at work here: One is making the batteries hexagonal, thus eliminating most of the wasted space between each battery element, which is about 10% or more with traditional cylindrical elements. The other is a reduction of the losses in the accompanying electronics for charging and load-levelling purposes.

How these improvements can result in a hundred-fold improvement without changes in chemistry and such is quite baffling — maybe there is some cold fusion involved too?

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google


Re: Contacting someone implies you were successful;...

Historically, I would say "pinging" implies you used a sonar, which really shows how conservative we are when it comes to language.

Language is evolving and has, ever since its first use, always been evolving. It is, in my opinion, acceptable, as long as it is augmenting the language (like "tweet" to mean "send a short message on Twitter" and not just the chirping of a bird) while not changing the original meaning (as to a certain extent has happened to "literally", which originally meant "using the original meaning of a phrase" ("The flour literally exploded from the spark") to now meaning "figuratively" or perhaps "virtually" ("She literally exploded with rage").

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg


Not an iPhone? Great, slither to unlock is such a drag!

Brawling neighbours challenge 'quiet' cul-de-sac myth


No Catapoolt

At least nobody was using a catapoolt to sling the feline faeces

Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying


Dear Mr Cameron

The problem with surveillance is not that it is there but that there is no natural border at which to say "No more".

By your standard, virtually any surveillance that reduces the potential risk from our foes and increases the apparent security of our friends (and ourselves) is acceptable — currently within a fairly bendable framework of privacy protection that either gets ignored or, if sufficiently many people start complaining of having their constitutional rights trampled upon, changed.

So, where is the limit? Should the movements of every vehicle in the UK be registered? More surveillance cameras? Face tracking technology? Laws against any measures that counter surveillance technology? (So long niqāb.) Checkpoints at strategic places where everyone crossing have their papers checked? (USSR, anyone?) ...?

Why not, once and for all, just suggest that we all get an RFID device implanted shortly after birth. A device that can be read at least from a couple of hundred yards and it could be connected to the cerebral cortex so it could not be removed without killing the wearer. (I never though I would thank L Ron Hubbard for anything, but part of that idea is lifted from his novel, Battlefield Earth.) Make it a felony on par with murder to tamper with the device or hamper any tracking abilities of the government. Scatter readers at every possible point where more than a few people would pass and voilà, security is increased by orders of magnitude! ... Apparently.

My point, Mr Cameron, is that more needs more and without natural limits/borders it will end up in a scenario like the one above, which is why we need to end this madness now!

Adam Sandler's cross-dresser shocker is Razzies stonker


Er, Ah, Identical Twin Sister ...?

I thought (but hey, I am just me) that identical twins had to, sort of, be the same -- whatsamait called again? -- sex!

UltraViolet: Hollywood's giant digital gamble is here


What Could Go Wrong?

OK, DRM. What on Earth could go wrong here?

Our household has four laptops and one stationary PC, all Linux -- that couldn't go wrong, could it? Or the upgrade to OpenBSD? Or to Haiku?

If I like "Debbie Does Dallas" or anything of that kin and felt a bit timid about it -- I wouldn't mind the people knowing, would I?

If the family plans to go to Northumberland (or somewhere else sufficiently far away from where we live) and plan to bring some entertainment for the car (which for some reason is always the last thing happening before the "I need the toilet") when the Internet is down and the selections are not registered to the car's player -- how could that go wrong?

My wife and I break up and want to split our stash of entertainment (or one of the children moves out and we want to donate some of our movies) -- no problem, eh?

Anybody know the answers to these problems?

EU recording copyright extension 'will cost €1bn'


Re. In what other profession

@JimC: I think you missed my point slightly. When I mention "profession", I mean other, more or less creative, jobs, like secretaries, plumbers, doctors, salarymen, ... Shares in a business and renting a house out is not exactly a profession by my standard (Cambridge dictionary on profession: any type of work which needs special training or a particular skill ...) Investing in a business is hardly the same, as you lend the business some money and expect some dividend in return. When renting out a house, you give up a tangible asset (the house) to somebody for a consideration (the rent). Investing in a pension fund, you give up an asset (your money, just like investing in a business) and expect a dividend in return.

Nobody stops artists from investing in a business or a pension fund or renting out property, just like us other mortals.

Think about the "good old days" of geniuses like Mozart and Beethoven, they did not earn a thing from other people performing their music, they were, to some extent, salaried by people like Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo (Mozart) or under patronage from people like Archduke Rudolph (Beethoven). Mozart was more or less destitute a few times from lack of employment.

I do not mind artists earning money from a reasonable copyright term, neither do I envy their income from concerts and such, but I cannot see the reason behind their children and grandchildren getting a direct income from the artist's copyrighted work without having to lift a finger or invest in one way or another.

And I definitely cannot see still, how a longer copyright term spurs more creative innovation -- and that *is* the stated purpose of copyright ... or did I miss something there?


Let's get this straight

I know I am singing to the chorus and preaching to the converts and what not, but I just cannot help myself anymore.

Can somebody *please* explain to me, how important it is for the development of *new* art to have this extension? In plain English too, please!

In what other profession are you guaranteed an income from your work in what is basically the rest of your lifetime? None, to my knowledge.

When it comes to *creating* new art, I do not think it really matters much to the artist whether the copyright is 20 years, 50 years or 70 years. Few artists work that way and to be honest, how many (budding) artists are generally recognised 10 or more years later? Joshuan Kadison? Vanessa Carlton? F. R. David? Thought so.

I'll just step down, dust my soapbox off and trot home now.

Use of Weapons declared best sci-fi film never made


Drat and Bother, I Missed the Poll

Since I lost interest in BOFH, I seem visit El Reg so rarely as to miss a poll like this. Bother and piffle!

But after reading Peter F Hamilton's books Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, I think *they* would make a good epic or two to film. Is Mr Hamilton on the list at all?

Ah, well, I will just have my thoughts linger here, near the end of the comments.

Natty Narwhal with Unity: Worst Ubuntu beta ever


Global menus

Confession: I have not actually worked with Natty Narwhal but I have had some experience with OS X (and earlier versions of MacOS).

If "global menus" means the silly idea that Apple has carried over from the early versions of MacOS, i.e. that the menus are always at the top of the screen, no matter the size and position of the application window, it is a very bad idea for mouse users (and probably for finger-poking fondlers too).

If I have a small window at the bottom of my 24 inch screen, I do not want to move the mouse all the way to the top of the screen to get to the menu, only to have to move it all the way back down again to do something in the window.

Admittedly, I do prefer to use keyboard shortcuts whenever I can, but often find that Linux (in most of its adaptations) does not support some keyboard shortcuts or they are counterintuitive or not consistent across applications or conflict in certain circumstances. And well, sometimes you have to use the mouse, no matter what.

If I can easily configure the menus to behave in the good old way, I do not mind too much, but if it is set in stone, I must object.

It is interesting to see the development from my first graphical Linux/Unix experiences on SunOS with a very simple window manager (xwm, I think it was) to KDE (which I gave up due to losing menu itmes and not being able to restore them easily) to Gnome (which I gave up as I needed too much real estate on my netbook and because it was starting to get bloated) and now Unity, which I may have to give up if Ubuntu keeps making silly UI decisions.


Who needs 600 friends when you're a bride of Christ?


Sr = Señor not Señorita

Always the stickler, I read "Sr" as the (former) nun's "title", but to the best of my knowledge, "Sr" is the abbreviation of "Señor". So, unless she has had gender reassignment or been quick to get married after being expelled from the convent, I would expect her to be a señorita and thus "Srta" -- in case she has been married, she should be "señora", "Sra".

I might, obviously, be completely off on this and "Sr" meaning something completely different -- and appropriate -- in this context, thus making an arse of myself! (That would certainly not be the first time ;-)

Google Apps boss says cloud computing is your destiny


Me too ... Sort of ... Or not ...

This is one of those discussions that seem to be pseudo-religious at times, like so many other computer discussions.

Personally I am sitting nicely on the fence, using cloud-based systems for front-end, user-facing systems that contain no real "secrets" (and absolutely NO personal information) -- everything else is on internal systems in three locations in two countries.

This is made possible by a collaboration with two other companies where we co-locate servers at each other's facilities.

Redundant E-mail?

+ Check!

Off-site backups?

+ Check!

Redundant, business-critical systems?

+ Check!

Time-machine-like automated backup of users' systems?

+ Check! (Implemented with rsync)

Instead of using partners, the same functionality could conceivably be achieved with cloud-based solutions, but I would NEVER consider off-loading all my data to non-local servers.

Empty server room? Not here, I'm afraid.

Superphones: A security nightmare waiting to happen


Re: Windows and limited users .. nightmare. ... NOT

The few times I have had a problem changing parameters that required administrator rights, I have logged in as the Administrator, changed my account to an administrator account, logged back in as myself, changed the parameters, gone back as the Administrator and changed myself back to a non-administrator again.

Problem solved (albeit not in the most fashionable and easy way).

What I find irritating, though, are the programs that keep writing information to some odd file in some odd subdirectory that I, as a "normal" user, do not have rights to use, which requires some hunting and gratuitous use of CACLS to give myself access to do the changes. Personally, I hate the Registry, but now it is there, the software should use it!

Pirates: Good for Microsoft, great for open sourcers


Let us Get Rid of the Term 'Piracy'

I may be chasing an old idea (and lost cause) here, but all the same: Let us get rid of the term 'Piracy' once and for all.

Piracy means attacking (a ship) to steal from it (or hold people at ransom ...or both). Apart from piracy's previous maritime only connection, attack implies violence, which is not (normally, at least) the case in illegal copying of software. Steal implies taking something without permission, thereby depriving the previous owner of whatever is stolen -- even when used in a more metaphorical sense, like 'stealing the moment'. Illegal copying does not deprive the previous owner of whatever is copied.

I am not writing this to support illegal copying and I am not saying that illegal copying does not indirectly deprive the original owner of money in lost earnings ... and I have no better alternative to the term either, but I find the original implication of violence and deprivation misleading (and wrong, really), and fear it keeps sidetracking the real issues of illegal copying.

OK, I will take my soapbox and leave the scene for now.

Wireless HD video sticks demoed


A Little about the Specs


According to the specification overview on the WHDI™ website, it has got the following specifications (with my comments):

* Video rates <= 3 Gbps

* Uncompressed transmission

* Range > 100 feet (or 30 metres for the few of us that prefer metric ;-) through walls (!!!)

* Latency < 1 ms (should be good enough for gaming and probably implies no encryption as that would impact latency and since they do not mention encryption either)

* Element prioritisation

As they do not compress the signal and since they utilise the bandwidth extremely well, they did a tradeoff in the error detection/correction department instead by giving video elements of high visibility more error detection/correction bits and elements with less visibility fewer (or maybe even none). This means that any transmission problems would primarily manifest themselves in the less discernible elements of the picture, whereas trasnmission problems in the more discernible elements would be error corrected. (If I understand it correctly, they are in fact protecting the most significant bits of the signal better than the least significant bits.)

Thus no compression, but a similar effect (i.e. missing parts of the picture/artifacts) if you are in an environment with much noise or using it over relatively long distances. The 100 feet claim does not say if that is with a perfect transmission.

US may disable all in-car mobile phones


Non-Phone-Related Experiences

For a four year period I did some serious commuting and in my experience, the phone is not the worst culprit.

What did I experience? Lessee:

Lorries with drivers that had been driving for ages, apparently without sleep. One managed to drive at full pelt inside a protective railing and crash into a bridge. The cabin part was compressed to half size! He could as easily have massacered a queue of cars, but he left that to some of his colleagues. Another lorry driver was taking advantage of the full width of the motorway, swerving back and forth through all three lanes AND the hard shoulder. And what about the poor guys that realise too late that they are almost missing the exit and turn so sharply that the lorry overturns. These are creating quite a bit more accidents than people on the mobile phone, especially if it is hands free.

Other people have mentioned make-up and shaving as distractions; I can add to that reading and watching movies. I have seen people driving with books (and maps, of course) on the steering wheel, that cannot be good. And I have seen at least two cases (OK, that is probably not quite as ubiquitous as the phone :-) I remember of people with some sort of media player/DVD player on top of the dashborad showing a movie. Distracting? I'd think so!

Let us quickly put this suggestion to rest. This is obviously made by some politician who has not had his monthly/weekly/daily shot of "fame" and need something that gets a reaction ... and, Hey Presto, he got it!

Microsoft's fear of an OpenOffice


Multiple fails

First of all, I could not see the video (Sileverlight required?) on my XP with Firefox. Almost 100% CPU until closed down manually. Duh! Found some other Microsoft produced videos against OOo on YouTube instead.

Secondly, Microsoft seems to talk about the difficulty of changing from MS Office to OpenOffice.org -- how about changing from one version of MS Office to the next? I have had quite a few calls from my less IT-savvy friends after they upgraded to a newer version of MS Office. Calls like "How do I do this now? It used to be in ..." I cannot help anymore as I stopped at MS Office 2003 and have not looked at any of the newer versions. I have, in fact, not even seen the Ribbon in real life!

Thirdly, apart from big organisations (or organisations with very IT-savvy people), macros seem to be rarely used. And, as other people have said in their posts, macros can be pure hell to maintain -- especially when the original creator has left the building.

Fourthly, relatively few people use more than the absolute basic functions of the program and using MS Office is mostly due to apparent lock-in and the "Lemming Effect".

Fifthly, the cost of maintenance, especially in the bigger organisations that use more than just the most basic functions, is huge.

Sixthly, the cost of MS Office is too high (even the Student Home Edition or whatever it is called) -- especially when compared to the actual functionality used by most people.

Seventhly, MS Office interoperability with other products (even previous versions of the program) is, to put it mildly, seriously lacking.

I find it difficult to accept that so many organisations (especially public bodies) that seriously lack money keep paying over the top for MS Office despite having a number of perfectly good alternative choices. I also find it difficult to understand that governments accept that some solutions that most (if not all) departments have to report into or use, demand the use of MS Office. Some organisations cannot archive their documents unless they are in MS Word format!

I keep MS Office 2003 as I often have to deliver proposals and reports in MS Office format (by customer demand) and I need to be fairly sure that what I write is what they see -- properly formatted. This is currently not guaranteed when using other products to make MS Word files.

So, all in all, I do use MS Word, but only because it is the only program that "interoperates" with MS Word -- i.e. vendor lock-in. Sigh!

Compulsory perv scanners upset everyone


More Damn Lies ... Er, Statistics

Somebody MUST stop this bloody nonsense.

I have tried looking a little at statistics on terrorism compared to road accidents (in USA) and/or pneumonia+influenza, which gives these numbers:

Total number of deaths from International and Domestic terrorism since 1968: 90,388 (this is by using the HIGHEST figures for any given year of data from US DOS, US NCTC and RAND/MIPT).

Average yearly deaths from car accidents in USA (1980 - 2007): 43,113.

Average number of deaths from pneumonia and influenza in USA (1996 - 2006): 69,360. In the UK (2000 - 2004): 37,489.

So the number of terror killings in 40 years ALL OVER THE WORLD corresponds roughly to two years worth of deaths from American car accidents or the number of people dying from penumonia and influenza each year in USA and UK combined.

So I don't really worry much about terrorism ... but don't you dare cough in my direction!

Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts


Not the "Child Porn" Scanner

It looks to me (and from what I could glean from the German conversation) that this scanner is actually a passive infrared scanner and not the milimeter wave ("Child Porn") scanner much talked about.

If I am right, this scanner works by looking at items blocking your body heat, which makes detection of items in the side pockets (as here) all but impossible without a side scan. And obviously inside your mouth too, which the milimeter scanner cannot do either, btw. The same for items under your wig, in your crotch and under your shoes. ... Do I have to mention ears, nose and anus?

Passive infrared? Nah!

Milimeter waves? Why bother?


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