* Posts by Spearchucker Jones

430 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Feb 2010


GSMA report: Sorry, handset makers, 5G is not going to save the smartphone market

Spearchucker Jones

There's also the micro - tracking 5G enables. Cells are much smaller so tracking data much more granular.

Home Office seeks Brexit tech boss – but doesn't splash the cash

Spearchucker Jones

Re: What clearance?

SC is good enough here. Building a technical solution that needs to connect with "a system with x profile and y data structure, containing z actionable field" is more than enough to translate into an instruction for a border official.

Spearchucker Jones

When you're dead you don't know that you're dead. All the pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you're stupid.

I say that because 4 years ago they had a perfectly workable, highly usable and surprisingly cheap (by gov. standards) solution. A small government department and a small boutique consultancy didn't like that, and the home secretary at the time reputedly didn't like the Met, and by extension the border force - and so one of the most elegant and achievable solutions I've seen in government was torpedoed.

Microsoft Surface laptop: Is this your MacBook Air replacement?

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Tips and corrections.

I note the troll icon, but anyway. I have three generations of Surface, and each only has 256Mb storage. It's enough because I have a desktop with 4Tb storage. I've never had space issues even on a 3-month stint in Africa, where I synced all my photos to the Surface.

But then your point absolutely applies to those who use a Surface as their only computer.

UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

Spearchucker Jones


From the statement: "...is putting plans in place to resume its wider IT service."

Who other than government even speaks like that?!? Writing "...is planning to..." would be more readable. But that would also sound stupid, which in turn shows that the entire line isn't needed. Because of course they're planning to resume service. Why the *$%^@ wouldn't they?


Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Recycling also difficult

Well if they got the label they're compliant, right? And if that kind of hardware being compliant worries you then that's ok too because Brexit soon, right, so come March 2019 we can make our own labels and show them right proper, like.

Why has Microsoft stopped being beastly to Google?

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Because they are dying and know it.

So is Apple. More so, in that they've just posted a decline. Google is dying. As is the earth, the sun, and one day far, far in the future, my mother in law. With the sudden popularity of adblockers I actually have more faith in Microsoft's longevity, who make products, than I do Google's, who deliver ads, and who's "moon shots" aren't amounting to much.

No, Agile does not 'equal' DevOps: Examining complexity and the long haul

Spearchucker Jones

Micro services do not break up a monolith - they just move the sh*t to another place and spread the sh*t out. Making finding problems harder - not because technology, but because where with the monolith you may have had 1 to 3 teams, each micro service has a team. Each team probably has their own release pipeline hobbled by corporate governance and change control.

Monolith domain knowledge dilutes, contractors eagerly rub hands together, nightmare ensues, stock exchange crashes, economy collapses, flu shot evolves into the T-virus.

Windows 10 won't come to old WinPhones until some time in early 2016

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Just got a 950XL

I got one too. Loving it - Windows 10 fixes a lot of the issues I had with 8.1, and the 950XL is faster even than my 1520. There are some parts in 10 that really annoy though. When the swipe keyboard can't match a word you're typing it lists suggestions but doesn't insert the first suggestion into the text like 8.1 did. So I type away and hit send on an SMS and the message missing every other word.

That's arguably my biggest issue, but there are others, like &£$%ing hamburger menus. That they're a good idea said nobody, ever.

Microsoft shelves 'suicidal' Android-on-Windows plan

Spearchucker Jones

Re: What 'app gap'?

@JJ Carter - yeah some people complain about a lack of apps, and there are some omissions. Happily it doesn't affect me as web sites mostly work well enough - if an app wants access to microphone, contacts, camera and there's no obvious reason for it, I don't install it anyway. If I need it I write it myself. I've pre-ordered the 950XL, and looking forward to tumbleweeds in the app store.

Spearchucker Jones

Re: What 'app gap'?

Music production? On Android? With all that lag? I suspect you may be better off with Windows Mobile 6.5. It had better apps 5 years ago than Android does today. iOS is pretty much the only game in town if you're anywhere serious about music production. And no, don't take my word for it. Go see what the pros have to say about it. Palm Sounds, or the like.

For the record, I'm one of probably only about 5 or so Windows Phone fan boys. I don't use it for music production, even though, while not exactly worse than the iPhone, it's way ahead of what Android can do. That lag issue has been around for ever :-/

Wearable fitness tech: Exercising your self-motivation skills

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Talk about...

Exactly. I have a Microsoft Band, which I so had to have and got from the US before it was available in the UK. I absolutely love that thing. And I haven't worn in months.

RSA supremo rips 'failed' security industry a new backdoor, warns of 'super-mega hack'

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Bit rich ...

You're right, but that doesn't make him wrong.

More suppliers join flagging GOV.UK Verify ID assurance scheme

Spearchucker Jones

The Government Gateway is good tech

And I don't see why the likes of Experian or a bank or any other commercial body needs to see that I'm logging in to claim a benefit, or to check into an STD clinic or do a tax return. They're not a justifiable party. GDS also don't provide a privacy-enhancing technology that hides or masks identity providers from resource providers, and vice versa.

I'm so not signing up for that bollocks.

Another GDS cockup: Rural Payments Agency cans £154m IT system

Spearchucker Jones

GDS loves the browser

When your only tool is a hammer, I mean browser everything starts to look like a thumb.

UK.gov can't get farmers onto its Verify service – even to claim subsidies

Spearchucker Jones

"GOV.UK Verify is a new, innovative way..."

Oh really? It does less than the Government Gateway. What's innovative about writing your own Id federation system that's not industry-proven, has a small subset of industry-established alternatives like Tivoli FIM, ADFS or even (*shudder*) Oracle IF?

Hey biz – cut fraud with digital ID verification. Yes, like Verify – Maude

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Out of touch with the real world of digital business.

It's worse when you consider Kim Cameron's 7 laws of identity. How is Experian a justifiable party to a driving license renewal?!?

It gets even crazier when you consider that GDS have written their own implementation of the SAML protocol to allow the likes of Experian to be ID providers. Why on earth would I rely on a home-grown, hand-crafted identity system from GDS when existing, proven, industrial-strength solutions (from IBM's DataPower appliance to Microsoft's ADFS) already exist?

The GDS solution doesn't do attribute provisioning, nor does is promote privacy (like for example the privacy-enhancing technology in U-Prove). So (dramatic example) Experian could know Peter is getting STD meds, or that Paul just got laid off...

Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair

Spearchucker Jones

Because (and I say this as a non-Google, but Facebook user) it just makes it so damn easy to share the odd comment with family that lives 6,008.41 miles (8,947.79 mi, if you prefer to drive) away. Even if that comment is little more than "I haven't heard from you. We saw whales today [+photo of big blubbery thing in the water]"

There's little I share on Facebook, but my dad knows I get a notification on my phone when he writes on my wall. It's good for that.

Auditors find encrypted chat client TextSecure is secure

Spearchucker Jones

Easily fixed

Instead of verifying the fingerprint, Milhouse sends a nonce encrypted under Bart's (actually Nelson's) public key. If Bart were legit he performs a simple operation on the nonce, re-encrypts it with Milhouse's public key and sends it back to him, thereby verifying that he holds his (Nelson's) private key.

The vulnerability is an old one. Bart can't read Nelson's stuff because he doesn't have Nelson's private key. So instead of just verifying a fingerprint, verify the existence of the private key. Kerberos does this (Needham Schroeder protocol).

Lollipop unwrapped: Chromium WebView will update via Google Play

Spearchucker Jones

Re: PhoneGap and Cordova are the same thing

Depends. If you're doing something with a lot of features, or security, or on- and offline (store and forward messaging or sync), a better alternative for an HTML5 app is a native app.

If you're doing a basic create, read, update, delete app for a single-table with look-up data, then there is probably no better alternative than HTML because efficiency. Write once, deploy everywhere.

The native approach is a ton of work, and most people (manager types) don't appreciate that a relatively complex native mobile app often needs more effort than the equivalent desktop app written in Windows Forms or similar.

Good grief! Have you seen BlackBerry's square smartphone?

Spearchucker Jones

Re: They're onto something

Ditto. Might try one when my Lumia comes up for renewal. Never expected BB to come up with something that lies me from Windows Phone.

Dead keen to have a play work one...

80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

Spearchucker Jones

No surprise

Everything you read about security says how difficult it is so don't attempt to do it without a security rocket surgeon. And that no system can be secure, so you're probably better off not even bothering. better off not even bothering. Agile people can't do anything (security) without a user story.

The IT industry actively discourages security and then cries like a baby when someone gets broken into.

Security is NOT difficult. It does require effort though. Effort to learn, and effort to implement, and effort to manage.

Apple's warrant canary riddle: Cock-up, conspiracy, or anti-Google point-scoring

Spearchucker Jones

Whenever there's doubt, there is no doubt.

That raises another issue governments have. Mass surveillance and the ability to get data of smart phones is only going to catch the stupid people. The clever ones are the ones you (governments) want to catch, and they're exactly the ones who don't have iPhones or Androids. So they spend 99% resources ensuring smart people don't use avenues stupid ones do, and 1% on avenues smart people do use. Net result is you (governments) don't catch exactly the people they want to catch.

So even for uncle Sam this is a zero sum game.

Americans to be guinea pigs in vast chip-and-PIN security experiment

Spearchucker Jones

Re: 50 ways to love your lever

The US govt. CAN crack the whip. And if the whip doesn't work, they could just invade themselves and install puppet CEOs at the banks...

UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Of course it won't get rid of MS

I like and support the decision to use ODF, but the cargo-cult statements I'm reading are a bit out there.

>> ...it will allow people to work with UK.gov without paying the MS tax

While a good thing, it's limited to those that want to -- a tiny (mostly IT-skilled) fraction of the population. ODF changes nothing. Outside UK.gov itself, people will send the government documents in the format of their choosing. UK.gov will read documents in whatever format they come in. People know what "Word" means. And "Excel". Ask the average man in the street what ODF means...

Note that the anecdotal evidence of someone's grandmammy and -pappy using Linux on a laptop != the populace.

>> It will also ensure that critical documents will still be accessible in 20 years.

Documents will be accessible anyway, whether ODF or anything else. I can access documents from 20 years ago today, and I don't see that changing. Do you mean accessible through something non-Microsoft? If. You. Just. Need. The. Information. does it even matter who created the software? Readers (even from Microsoft) are free.

PICS: Nokia Lumia 930 – We reveal its ONE unique selling point

Spearchucker Jones

I have a 920, which I loved. And stopped using when I got a 1520, which is great because I read a lot on my phone. I imagine I'll upgrade when a 1020 replacement makes an appearance.

Remember when Google+ outed everyone by their real names? Now Google's sorry

Spearchucker Jones

Re: G+ as an "identity service"

If you're splitting hairs then Google+ is a system that manages personas - it's technically not an identity system. An identity is (in the IT sense) universal, whereas a persona has a constrained applicability. Identity has a one-to-many relationship with persona (one identity will use a G+ persona to post a doge picture, and another persona to check a bank balance).

Microsoft thumbs nose at NSA, hardens crypto for Outlook, OneDrive

Spearchucker Jones

Upvoted you...

...because I agree with you. One inaccuracy is that 911 accelerated dot.bomb. It didn't. I was out of a job six months before that, and I'd clung onto that last job well past the peak of the bust. Tough time for me, so still very familiar with those dates.

Microsoft gets the hang of funky devices: Xbox magic for enterprise

Spearchucker Jones

Unintended consequence?

Amusing how an article about Google's new design language leads to comments predominantly about Microsoft.

Spearchucker Jones

Re: . . . or not

The Surface Pro 3 is a non-starter for me because the screen is too big. I move around a lot, and don't want to carry a large bag so 10" is my ideal screen size. To be fair I had a Sony VAIO P-Series (VGN-P19VN) before I got a Surface Pro 2, so am used to small text at full resolution. In a perfect world the P-Series would have the grunt to run Visual Studio 2013 at the same speed as it runs Visual Studio 2008, but that ATOM processor just can't.

Microsoft: NSA security fallout 'getting worse' ... 'not blowing over'

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Cloud security

Cloud security is only an issue when you rely on the cloud provider's security. A solid Needham–Schroeder protocol implementation with decent security primitives and HSMs can get you client-side encryption without affecting performance. The cloud service should be a zero-knowledge service, in that it traffics in and holds encrypted data, but hasn't the keys to decrypt it. If you do your job properly this will work with both structured and unstructured data.

I guess it means admitting that we're responsible for the security of our data, and not the cloud provider. That's something I don't see often.

SPIDER-TROOP, Spider-troop, does whatever a spider troop can

Spearchucker Jones


As opposed to what? Seal clubbers? War lovers? Whatever happened to the soldiers? Guessing someone ran corporate speak up Darpa's flagpole, and that got socialised out to the media...

Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Nice try Cookie..

Good thing Android has no glaring issues or your argument wouldn't have legs...

King's stocks are candy-crushed as its top toy suffers splurge slump

Spearchucker Jones

SV keeps saying there is no bubble.

Fair enough. I do however, wonder where IT valuations will go once enough companies list one year and fail the next...

Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Usable?

The file system is locked down intentionally. It means that one app cannot access another app's data unless the developer built in a mechanism to do that (like for example contacts, calendar and photos). If an app does access a shared data source is must declare that requirement in the app's manifest.

If all of that's too long-winded and boring for you, just know that you can't get a usable file manager for the same reason Whatsapp cannot be pwnd on Windows Phone like it can on Android.

You can indeed opt out of cloud storage for your data. Look for "backup" in settings, where you can see what gets backed up to the cloud, and turn individual items on or off. Windows Phone 8 already acts as a "storage mode" device from your PC. Your other points are addressed by 8.1 (e.g. not needing a search button).

As for your comment further above (that 8.1 features should've been in 7) - yeah. Absolutely. Like copy/paste on IOS. Or NFC on Android.

But hey, what I really suspect would make you happy is a Samsung G5 or an HTC One M8. All the freedom you want.

Google teases more modular smartphone details in run-up to dev meet-up

Spearchucker Jones

Cautiously curious. If this gets real it could be the first product from Google I'd shell out cash for.

In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

Spearchucker Jones

Re: I hate to bang on about this AGAIN

Ah. Silly me (and one or two others) then, for spending all that time creating a responsive design for my web site. Did you know that XAML is mark-up in the same way that HTML is? And that you can build your app using HTML and JavaScript instead of .Net?

Oh, and if you'd paid attention you'd know that you can choose which parts to share, and which not, and that you can even choose to share no components at all (*gasp*).

Spearchucker Jones

Lots more than that -

They also open-sourced Roslyn (the C# compiler written in C#), they've open-sourced WinJS, and introduced .NET Native. And then of course there's Cortana...

What does people-centric IT mean, anyway?

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Do this if you want to destroy IT

Securing the network is not enough. Ever heard of the concept of defence in depth? You need to secure the network for sure, but also every resource on that network. And that includes devices, not just service endpoints or file shares.

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Do this if you want to destroy IT

"...If that's the way Microsoft operate..."

Have you THOUGHT about it beyond gleefully bashing Microsoft?

Imagine you're an IT guy told to allow BYOD but to make it secure. You realise you can't, unless you're allowed to enforce *some* policy on the devices. So you allow BYOD, as long as your employees agree to resetting their iPads and Nexuseses (Nexi?) to factory spec + your policy.

Of course your employees can agree to this state of affairs ...or not. If not, you cannot reap the benefits (reduced cost) of BYOD.

How do YOU think this should operate?

My suggestion? Don't allow unstructured corporate data (documents, spreadsheets, presentations) onto any cloud or BYOD service or device. Structured data (database data) is allowed, but only through a corp-sanctioned (or developed) app. Email is allowed, but PIN + remote wipe policy is enforced. BYOD allows unrestricted Internet access, but taboo on corp-net.

Corp-net services are accessed through DirectAccess (VPN) or LAN using a corp-provisioned device. If you're important enough, you get a laptop. If not, you get a desktop.

If you want to do a better job of security than the NHS, MOD, Sony or Walmart, make judicious use of X509, F5 BigIP, TMG and so on and so forth. Oh, and don't rely on TLS. Supplement TLS with stuff like VPN. If you MUST allow remote access into SharePoint or something, don't expose corp-net credentials. Set up another AD in the DMZ and federate into corp-net. Don't use Google, and don't use Heroku, Azure, AWS or Office365.

Unless you're a hipster startup with 20-something pimply-faced kids, in which case simply swap out all the "don't"s with "do"s.

Microsoft: NSA snooping? Code backdoors? Our hands are clean!

Spearchucker Jones

Re: And what about services?


Go find a Windows Phone. Preferably a Nokia, because Drive and Maps also want to phone home. Reset the thing, and power it up. And after going through that process, come back here and we can have a conversation.

Spearchucker Jones

Re: And what about services?


Did you read that article you linked to? Clickbait. Lumias, like all other manufacturers (and Windows, Internet Explorer, SQL Server, Visual Studio...) ask on startup if you'd like to share your location data, browsing history and so on to help improve their services. Some of the more benign (search queries for predictive search) are on by default. Just like Google does. Others are off by default.

But yeah, totes the end of the world, because when do we let facts get in the way of a good vent.

Google Glass: Reg man tests tech specs

Spearchucker Jones

Speech recognition

It's tuned for American English, which is why it's so terrible. I tried adding "y'all" after "Go glass" but that didn't seem to help.

UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Very long term

Consistency. Our nearly obsessive desire to be (and appear to be) consistent with what we have already done. What the downvoters are so ably demonstrating is that once we've made a choice, we encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Given that my post was a factually correct counterpoint is amusing. And a bit sad, given the assumedly enlightened audience here.

Be that as it may, Microsoft do follow their own spec, just haven't implemented all of it. The problem is quantitative rather than qualitative. ODF vendors don't fare much better with their format.

Spearchucker Jones

Re: Very long term

Microsoft's format is published and freely available.

Spearchucker Jones

I've no preference

But do believe that the overwhelming pro-ODF response is because the tech community is predominantly pro open. This is good, but it doesn't mean it's a fair representation of "citizens" of which I presume most, like me, couldn't particularly give a damn.

Project Tango: Google's all-ringing, all-dancing 3D-sensing smartphone

Spearchucker Jones

Another hairbrained scheme...

...with no idea on how it should be used. If there's a problem it solves, Google would focus on solving the problem rather than asking developers to invent problems that fit the solution. Starting to sound like a cliché I know...

Anyway, I don't give it any more cred than Google Glass, which is their last solution still looking for a problem.

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Spearchucker Jones

Re: A beelion users can't be wrong (can they?)

Actually it's worse than that. WhatsApp uploads all contacts in your address book. This means Facebook get your number, but also the numbers and email addresses of all your mates.

When Facebook looks at WhatsApp, I think all they see is a data mining wet dream.