* Posts by shrdlu

40 posts • joined 10 Mar 2010

Tech to solve post-Brexit customs woes doesn't exist yet, peers say


Re: Technology that doesn't exist

We don't have the technology to implement a no-deal decision and neither has any other EU country.

Scam alert: No, hackers don't have webcam vids of you enjoying p0rno. Don't give them any $$s


Hacked forum??

By ' a hacked forum' you mean Facebook?

Facebook hacked again?


Facebook hacked again?

I've just received a spam email threatening to publish a video of me doing disgusting things while watching porn. So far, so ho-hum. The difference this time is that the email quoted a password that I used to use for Facebook and only for Facebook.

Windrush immigration papers scandal: What it didn't teach UK.gov about data compliance


Data Debt?

It seems to me that the aim of data protection legislation would be furthered if destruction of personal data also required consent of the data subject. If this were so then any data controller that acquired personal data by any means would incur a liability that they would have to carry on their books as a debt. It would make companies think twice before collecting the data.

To make it practical there would need to be a simple method of discharging the debt by sending the data subjects a copy of all of their data before deleting it. It would make sense to require that to be delivered both on paper and in machine-readable form where that is practical.


"it was their responsibility to see that their paperwork for becoming a British subject with right of abode and work in the UK was completed and registered."

But they did complete and register all of the necessary paperwork. Then the Home Office shredded it.

Mac fans' eyes mist over: Someone's re-created HyperCard


Re: That reminds me...

One thing that's frustrating about products designed by programmers is their assumption that in their hearts users really want to become programmers. "Point and drool" products are first-class applications in their own right. Thinking of them as just an on-ramp to C++ isn't helpful. We don't just need yet another IDE for BASIC, Python or any other programming language. We need a better point and drool product designed from the ground up as such.

Most IT contractors want employment benefits if clobbered with IR35


"The National Audit Office has said Whitehall may need to spend £244m on contractors if it is to meet the serious shortfall in skills."

That m should be a b.

MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'


Don't Panic!

It won't be any worse than Y2K, apart from the 20+ years of pre-planning that is. (Anyone know where I can hire a development team for a short contract at short notice. I reckon I'll need around 300,000 developers plus support.)

One-third of mobile users receive patchy to no indoor coverage


Availability Maps

All of the networks claim that we will get good coverage indoor and out. All of them lie. We only get usable signals in one upstairs bedroom. Perhaps its time for Ofcom to take a look at the truth of these claims.

Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws


Re: what...

> And many decisions made by humans are pretty arbitrary anyway -

> such as the binning of applications based on a cursory scan of a

> CV. Are all such decisions to be regulated, even in the absence

> of a computer? Will you be able to challenge why you weren't

> called up for an interview?

Your CV is sensitive personal data and any processing of that is already required to be done accurately fairly. It doesn't matter whether it is done by eye or by algorithm. In agencies who routinely use search algorithms they should be required to prove that the algorithm is fair and accurate. The Information Commissioner should be auditing these.

> If your bank decides not to offer you a loan, will the law compel it

> to do so? This implies not only that the bank will have to reveal

> its reasons not to offer the loan - the so-called "algorithm" under

> discussion here - but also > for those reasons to be challenged

> and potentially overridden.

The same rules apply. Failure to process the data accurately and fairly is an offence. If your application is rejected unfairly then the bank must either grant the application or pay compensation. They may also need to consider whether they have a taste for cocoa and porridge. The ICO should be auditing these decisions.

> This in turn implies that you would have a statutory right to receive a

> loan from a bank, if you meet some criteria decided in law or

> by a judge - not those criteria chosen by the bank itself.

That is how courts work.

UK Snoopers' Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors



The LINX board were sailing pretty close to the wind by drawing attention to this situation. LINX and its individual employees are bound by the law whether their members agree or not. LINX may be required to enable surveillance and may be forbidden from telling its members that it has done so. The consent of its members is not required. In fact after an access request LINX may be required NOT to tell its members. The police could approach an individual employee on site and instruct them to install a tap and not to tell their management that they have done so. Britain has always had the legal infrastructure to implement a functioning police state. None of this stuff is new.

Clusters f**ked: Insecure Hadoop file systems wiped by miscreants


Only 165 sites hacked?

OK, so 165 sites had their data erased. How many had their data altered?

Euro bloc blocks streaming vid geoblocks


That's the BBC buggered then

Without the geoblock won't be able to sell its programmes across Europe. The TV license funding model will have to be replaced by either advertising or pay-to-view.

'Grey technology' should be the new black


For what it's worth

A partially-sighted friend is very pleased with the keyboard I bought him. I found it in a local toy shop. It's twice the size of a standard keyboard, fluorescent green with large colour-coded keys. There are assistive technology products made in small numbers for those with special needs so the technology does already exist.

And for our next trick, says Google while literally wheeling out a humongous tablet ...


Late to the party

What is the difference between this and the smartboards that have been available off the shelf (and in larger sizes) for years?

Mysterious algorithms, black-box AI recruiters are binning our résumés


Applicant Trashing Systems

I saw the summary that one ATS generated from my CV. It said that I had no management experience. It apparently missed the sentence in my CV that said "I have more than ten years experience of managing people."

This might perhaps explain the apparently incompatible "facts" that a) Britain has a skills shortage in IT b) unemployment in IT staff over 50 is running at over 50%.

£8 BILLION is locked into UK.gov's failing IT schemes, El Reg analysis reveals


You ain't seen nothin' yet

For brexit all of the code used by every government department will need to be reviewed and a lot will have to be modified. Don't expect any change from your hundred billion pound note.

Help! What does 'personal conduct unrelated to operations or financials' mean?


Re: ???

Yes, but only if you can't find a better justification.

Manchester 'wins' £10m to test talking bus stops


Re: Cheaper option

We can do better than just run to schedule. When there is demand add another run announced via the app. Buses are always crowded when it rains, build a wet-weather timetable.

4 new twists that push the hacker attack on millions of US govt workers into WTF land


Elephant in the room

Of course the entire database is compromised and the data in it is no longer trustworthy. How many fake personnel records did the hackers insert?

EE's not-spot-busting small cell trial delights Cumbrian villagers



Please, In My Back Yard

Our system handles £130bn and it's BUST. Want the job of fixing it? Apply to UK.gov


DWP software

A few years back I used the DWP's new online system to register as unemployed. Filled in all the information and clicked OK. I got a message saying that everything was fine and that my claim had been registered. Some weeks later having heard nothing from DWP I checked the claim online and it showed a status of pending. Assuming I had forgotten to click on the commit button I submitted it again. Again I got a message saying that the claim had been accepted.

Later I registered my claim by phone in the usual way. Did they backdate my claim, did they fuck. Apparently believing the DWP computer is not a sufficient reason for failing to file a claim by phone.

Turned out that the system was silently returning all of the applications to "pending" status after they had been submitted and acknowledged. Seems to me that a system that can send a false acceptance message probably has architecture issues.

I suspect that the system went live without ever being seen by a competent architect. So I'm sure that DWP management doesn't have any competent development staff because it doesn't know how to hire competent people. It doesn't know how to hire people who can identify competent people.

Call the Commish! Ireland dragged into Microsoft dispute over alleged drug traffic data


A suggestion

I assume that Ireland has some equivalent to the UK laws on conspiracy. The Irish government could file a European arrest warrant for judge Loretta Preska on charges of conspiracy to breach the data protection legislation. This would be largely symbolic, unless the judge is then foolish enough to book a romantic holiday in gay Paris.

Fujitsu boss sets CDOs against CIOs at annual do



Traditionally IT departments have a reputation for stifling innovation. There is some truth in that. But of the projects that get past them 75% will fail. The problem isn't that IT kills too many ideas. The problem is that they don't stop enough and too many dumb ideas get past.

SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future


Yes future

"A terrible vision of some distant future in which the BBC filled its schedules with cheap cooking shows and talent contests filled the room."


Believe me without the BBC the quality of TV programming would be vastly different. There would be no need for the commercial TV companies to produce anything as exciting as Masterchef. We wouldn't even be able to import better stuff from the US because the only think that keeps their dismal output viewable is the need to compete with BBC's exports. Without the BBC television quality around the world would be in freefall.

On the road with an IT ball-gazer: Forget big data, the future of tech is the 'social enterprise'


Social Enterprise

Nice concept but the name is already taken. Social enterprises are commercial operations run to achieve worthy objectives. They are often run by charities or nonprofits.

THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla


Re: Come on

Vanilla beans will be cheaper than castoreum but still too expensive for most purposes. Commercially vanillin is made from wood pulp. It's a by-product of the paper-making industry. So you should only expect castoreum in very high-end organic foods and the most expensive perfumes. The most expensive perfumes also use musk collected from the scent-glands of musk-oxen and civet cats. You definitely won't find musk in a vanilla protein shake.

Tesla unveils battery-swapping tech for fast car charging

Thumb Down


I hope they aren't going to try to patent this. I came up with the idea years ago and posted it online.

Fear the Embarrassing Bodies webcam


A multi-tiered, hybrid approach that differentiates...............zzzzzzz

Any half-way competent English teacher, or hack, would realise that the "sentence" has no subject although it has far, far too many adjectives.

62,000 fewer shops: Welcome to the High Street of 2018


The decline of the high-street is going to go a lot further before the retail industry wakes up and smells the rot. The traditional retail business is dying and most of the names you now see on shop-fronts will be history in ten years. Some of the "shops" will still be occupied but they won't be there to sell anything. They will be showrooms where manufacturers pay to display their products and perhaps accept orders for delivery. The showroom function is still necessary but it is expensive and the cost of supporting it will have to be paid by the web-only retailers.

Credit insurance: The hidden data-driven force which killed Comet



What happened to GEC is that Lord Weinstock left. Maggie then allowed a law to be passed enabling creditors to demand interest on late payments. As this was the core of GEC's business model they collapsed. GEC relied on government contracts that it would complete and get paid for before it paid any of its subcontractors. A memorable event in my career was putting the whole of the GEC group on stop-shipment until they biked over a cheque. They did so immediately. I was hoping that their buyer would demand to escalate it to my management. The European General Manager was standing by my left shoulder when I made the phone call.

Judge drops TV ad-block block: So how will anyone pay for TV now?


Mind Maps

At an advertising industry conference in the late nineties I told some ITV executives about ad-skipping technology in video recorders. Someone else gave a talk about "Ad Avoiders." The words rabbit and headlights came to mind. I said that the 30-second spot was dying. It's still twitching though.

Time for another prediction. The next step will be for broadcast TV to switch almost exclusively to pay-per-view. Lots of people will turn off so PPV prices will climb and audiences will drop further. Eventually the only new material being produced will be advertorials.

WiFi Alliance pimping Passpoint


Mind Maps

The current sign-on page is an advertising opportunity for the venue providing the hotspot. This system takes that away. Who will pay for that?

Cure IT ills with a holistic approach to management

Thumb Down


Over the last few years I've spoken to senior managers in several middling-sized organisations. Without exception they said that they were trying to perform a cost/benefit analysis on their IT department. They wanted their IT Manager to justify his extortionate budget. (I've been here before. I insourced a service because its owners were perceived to be raking in cash. The owners sold us the company for a few percent above what they were charging us as an annual fee, I'm sure if we had more Chutzpah we could have had them pay us to take it away.)

The senior managers I referred to above were not exactly lying, although what they said was certainly not true. They really expected a new IT Manager who would cut the spending on IT services without impacting services. They also believed that it was the IT Manager's job to measure the benefits his department generated and that failure to do so was probably an attempt to hide profligacy. My response was somewhat more tactful than Churchill's when faced with a similar situation: "The answer is in the plural, and they bounce!"

The job of identifying the benefits produced by the IT department, as for every other department, belongs to the Chief Executive. Until CEOs take that on board then any attempt to measure return on investment is pointless.

Can a user really do BI from the desktop?


Mind Maps

I built a BI suite from my desktop thirty years ago. It wasn't difficult once I added the data warehouse. So yes there's no doubt that desktop BI is possible.

There are two questions that I still don't understand. The first is why any company would hire an executive who isn't capable of desktop BI. The second is why the universities would award a degree to anyone who couldn't do it.

Usenet's home shuts down today


Death of Usenet: Film at 11?

Before September, usenet news was an invaluable source of information for those in the know. That hasn't changed much. It's still the best communications technology for fact-based communications, and not a few virtual communities. It's not going to die completely, but if the big servers go it will be balkanized. If necessary I'll hang a server off of my home broadband system to carry a handful of groups that interest me.

Maybe it's time to resurrect Fidonet?

Getting your head around mainstream mind mapping

Thumb Up

Mind Maps

I've used mind-maps for many years and I've found them to be perfect for building structured documents and lesson-plans for training sessions. I set out the mind-map on a large sheet of plain paper then, using a different colour, I draw a contiguous path through the topics. Where the path goes through a topic more than once it is a logical place to recap on it, and this gives added weighting to more important concepts.

I have never found any computer software that is remotely helpful in doing this. By far the best technology is paper. If you really need this in electronic format buy a Smartboard.

Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers


Oooh Windows 7 is free

If there's no exchange of consideration then there's no contract. If there's no contract there's no license agreement.

Employers call for end to Mickey Mouse degrees


Basketweaving Degrees

The government's plan to give 50% of the population degrees will backfire. Because the probability of having a degree now correlates with age, it's no longer legal to use a degree as a selection criterion in employment. Anyone without a degree who thinks they have been discriminated against in recruitment or promotion has the option to take the employer to a tribunal.


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