* Posts by sad_loser

108 posts • joined 25 May 2010


We'll pay £400k for a depth charge-proof robot submarine, says UK's Ministry of Defence


Re: An off-the-shelf buy for this autonomous submarine capability requirement?

This is very similar to NHS procurement esp of IT.

There is a game where the customer specifies a kitchen sink product, which we then underbid.

We then build the product specified, and get to testing where they proceed to build more kitchen sinks of different colours and sizes to the original one. Every time this is done then we charge eye-watering amounts of money because a) it's expensive to retrofit b) that is the only time you make any margin.

Most of the time the procurement team did not bother engaging end users, and so the product is roundly hated, gets ignored / workarounded, and the procurement cycle starts again.....

Purism's quest against Intel's Management Engine black box CPU now comes in 14 inches


system 76 - coreboot

system 76, producers of the wonderful POP-OS have written their own firmware called coreboot.

first Linux on desktop I have tried that passes the usability test - esp now they have moved to flatpak for their in-house store - like apple or google store, but free!

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets



Black squirrels are just a variant of grey squirrels

We occasionally see them in the UK.

I serve our squirrels as sushi ( squshi), soup (squoup) or curry (squrry), the consumption of which is a keenly awaited rite of passage for suitors of my teenage children.


If someone could stop hackers pwning medical systems right now, that would be cool, say Red Cross and friends


Haven't they heard of the Streisand effect?

I work in medical informatics and the sad fact is that most of the kit is abysmally bad, and is held together with the IT equivalent of duct tape, and completely deserves to be hacked.

The root cause for this is that there is still a mindset in healthcare that good data / information is a 'nice to have' rather than being part of the core.

To its credit, this is something that HMG have been actively trying to remedy and this increased post Wannacry.

There are good standards in healthcare IT e.g. 27001 / 13485 / OWASP but they are not properly enforced, and we have got a load of cowboy wannabe healthcare IT clowns who have been allowed to deliver kit that is not up to scratch.

Started from the bottom, now we're near: 16 years on, open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape draws close to v1.0

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Re: 275 GTB vs Midget

I had always liked Corel Draw - had some of the best vector clipart as part of the package - stuff that was genuinely useful - not just cheesy graphics to torture people forced to listen to my PowerPoint sermons (although that is clearly a worthy use).

Only recently came across inkscape and it is very good indeed - now have migrated from OSX and Illustrator, to POP-OS (tech/ analyst focused Ubuntu) having a product that doesn't try to fleece and / or update me every 5 minutes is a welcome change.

[are there any good vector graphics libraries any more?]

Delivery drones: Where are they when we really need them?


Re: Er ...

And in related news, catapult sales have taken off (pun intended)

The tidy beards and man-buns who dream up this shit need to understand their customer and test things in areas stuffed with scallies and flat-roofed pubs. Then they'll know if the technology works or not.

Microsoft's Bill Gates defrag is finally virtually complete: Billionaire quits board to double down on philanthropy


Nobel Peace Prize

is clearly what he is after.

Should go to Berners-Lee if anyone.

I would give it Trump ahead of Gates.

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks


obligatory link to Dilbert 'token ring'


Two startups enter, one leaves: Intel kills off much-delayed Nervana AI training chip, pushes on with Habana


think like a business

When [big corp] buys a company for small change, it is not buying the company, it is buying an option to develop that technology buy pumping some more money in, binding the core people in and ring-fencing the IP. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Tabletop battle-toys purveyor Games Workshop again warns of risks in Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP project


I'm in the wrong job

£55m pre-tax profit fleecing the undead. That's better than any unicorn!

How many vintage black Iron Maiden T-shirts does a man (and I use that term advisedly) need?

What if everyone just said 'Nah' to tracking?


Poison the well

use Ad Nauseum

a special version of ublock origin which blocks ads but clicks on all the ads in the background


this then makes your tracking data meaningless as it cannot tell the difference between a fake click and a real one.

Internet of crap (encryption): IoT gear is generating easy-to-crack keys

Black Helicopters

this matters more than people think

if the IoT is a medical device.

compromised pacemakers etc are already in the wild.

you would think with all that interaction with nature the opportunities to seed would be endless.

US and China wave white flags, hit pause button on trade war


I think you mean

The Democrats have completely played into Trump's little orange hands

Apple's latest keyboard travels back in time to when they weren't crap


Re: Bad keyboards...

I have found the solution to my 2016 MBP keyboard problem on the System76 website.

Linux done properly with decent quality components and a proper operating system that integrates with the hardware.

I am enjoying life outside the walled garden

I looked at google and MS and was truly shocked at their rights over my data.

Boffins don bad 1980s fashion to avoid being detected by object-recognizing AI cameras


razzle dazzle

you wonder whether they thought of this


'Is this Microsoft trying to be cool? Want to go to the Apple Store?' We checked out London's new retail extravaganza


Re: Pavement Plodder

I think OP is trolling.

MS are so late to the direct retail game and sounds like they have missed the point so embarrassingly that it is not funny.

They had a PR event to build up the buzz about this outside Kings Cross the other day and it was lamentable and even the PR people looked embarrassed.

Apple realised that they needed the stores to target the rich and stupid aka upper middle class professionals with too much money who wanted a good computer (but weren't prepared to invest any time learning) and get them suckling on the apple ecosystem teat, and this has been remarkably successful. Apple stores were never for the people who read El Reg.

I bet this store will be closed quietly after Christmas.

Oh good. This'll go well. Amazon's Alexa will offer NHS advice


mixed feelings


At one level I am worried about patients telling Alexa confidential information "hey alexa, my friend has a drippy dick, what should he do?"

[Can play some good jokes on friends by asking their Alexa some interesting health questions.]

On the other hand, people are going to be using Alexa for health anyway, and with so much disinformation / misinformation e.g. vaxxers then there is a public health justification in ensuring if accurate and well-curated information is available, and the cost is zero (because this information is already developed) why would you NOT do this?

The difference between October and May? About 16GB, says Microsoft: Windows 10 1903 will need 32GB of space


I was looking forward to Paint again

I had been with Mac the last 15 years but had grown bored of the complete lack of innovation since October 2011.

I bought a sexy laptop with a nice NVIDIA graphics card to do tense ML things and I was looking forward to seeing some of my favourite apps from the past like Paint, TextEdit+, Winamp, Duke Nukem etc. I always liked CorelDraw more than Adobe.

I got W10 Pro and was horrified by experience, from the gag-inducing false bonhomie of the sign-up process to the relentless and devious acquisition of all possible personal data. The final straw was not finding Candy Crush installed, but was rather that whenever I deleted it, it came back. Really? on a 'Pro' system? Do people still treat their customers like that? That reminded me of the Belkin router that spammed its owner:


Ubuntu had always driven me away by being the Tony Blair of operating systems - trying to be all things to all people, and not really believing in anything.

I was pretty despondent and thought I had bought a big shiny paperweight, but then found POP OS by accident. The security of Mac but allows you freedom when you want it. None of the vacuous and abusive cruft and bloatware of Windows.

Libre Office finally works. An app store that allows me to find stuff I want and just puts it on for free without trying to sell me a load of stuff I don't want. Evolution even works with Office365 which I have to have for work.

I had tried linux for the desktop first with RedHat 6.2 and it was horrible and clunky, but I have now binned my W10 partition and sold off my 2016 MacBook Pro, and POP OS 'just works' in the way I remember finding with my first mac.

POP OS is so good I feel guilty and want to send them some money! Maybe then they can port Paint to POP OS?

Be wary, traveller: There is no going back if you step over the Windows 10 20H1 threshold



>> Running Windows 10 is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

My latest laptop came with W10 pro and I was keen to try Windows again as I had been on macs for the last 12 years, but am now in a MS corporate environment, and was encouraged by a friend who has used the preview builds.

What really shocked me was the bloatware (Candy Crush etc) and cruft that came with the product that I (someone who had been using Windows for 30 years) could not get rid of. That and the 'I want to be your friend' vomit-inducing sign-up process where Microsoft repeatedly try to data-ream my pristine data-butt. I very rapidly came to the conclusion that this was not a company I trusted to treat me as an adult or would respect my privacy. These are things that Apple have got right, but the thing that has driven me away from Apple is the failure to innovate since October 2011, and my organisations have gone for Office365, which has turned out to be a good response to Google's challenge (and the sort of thing that Apple could very easily have done if they had the vision).

While always using server versions of linux, I had tried many versions of linux on the desktop since RedHat 6.2 and all were crap or clunky, but have finally come across POP OS, a stripped back version of ubuntu set up with packages for analytics and machine learning, and everything Just Works. Even looks good.

So with Evolution to deal with my Office365, Libre Office and native packages for sci-kitlearn and tensorflow with GPU and Steam running smoothly - POP OS does everything I need both for day to day use and exploratory learning.

Would be nice to have a Reg review of POP OS please.

What has an 'open-door policy' with industry and puts the X into NHS? Brits, let app-happy Matt Hancock tell you


Will this work?

This does not deal with the cultural problem which is that digital is not embedded in NHS thinking, and taking it and putting it in a separate box really doesn't help that. It will be the same people in a different box.

NHS Digital is rudderless and has not got its head around the fact that its sole purpose in life is to help clinical staff do a better job. There is zero customer awareness.

If I were doing this I would leave the existing structure and find a bunch of digital headkickers - people who have made things work and give them the resources to do more.

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently


Re: Google are cunts


The best thing about Firefox is AdNauseum.

Not serving their ads is not enough, pissing in Google's swimming pool by clicking on all the ads in the background.

Download and enjoy!

FF + Adnauseum + NoScript +/- privacy badger + delete cookies on exit = happiness

Top GP: Medical app Your.MD's data security wasn't my remit


Clinical Safety Officer

This case is pretty embarrassing as Maureen Baker set up the programme for accrediting clinical safety officers who have to be clinically qualified.

As a clinical safety officer I have to review IT in structured way and assess the risk of it causing harm to patients.

As a clinical safety officer, there is no way I would sign off the 'Clinical Safety Case' if I did not have reasonable assurance that any software was compliant with the relevant legislation - in this case

- ISO 27001 (data security)

- ISO 13485 (medical devices)

- OWASP top 10 ( www.owasp.org - web security)

- MHRA - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/medical-devices-software-applications-apps

And from the description, it sounds as though their app did not tick many (?any) of those boxes.

It sounds like she got away pretty lightly, as a barrister who knew their way around this particular minefield could have made things very uncomfortable.

NHS supplier that holds 40 million UK patient records: AWS is our new cloud-based platform


Half-baked babble

This is going to go catastrophically wrong, and will be a magnet for ne'er do wells.

There are companies in this space who operate private clouds and that is fine - I even think it is fine to have cloud based back-up, and I could see a role for cloud-based dockers providing the front end, but hosting the data? I don't see this ending happily - there is a reason the banks are not on the cloud.

Health secretary Matt Hancock assembles brains trust: OK, guys. Let's cure NHS IT



According to her website, Nicola Blackwood has the medical trifecta of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalitis and Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

These are uncommon diseases so it seems very unfortunate that one person could have so many.

She was chair of the Commons Science select committe which is a disgrace - surely with 650 MPs they could have found someone with a credible scientific background.

Building your own PC for AI is 10x cheaper than renting out GPUs on cloud, apparently

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Old MacPro hardware

Also rocks as cheaply upgradeable Xeon chips.

The purpose of the main CPU is just to feed the GPU beast.

Apparently GPU memory bandwidth is usually the rate limiting factor.

Basic bigot bait: Build big black broad bots – non-white, female 'droids get all the abuse


Re: I can see where this will lead

Did their research use a null hypothesis?

It strikes me as 'Cargo Cult Science'

Doctor, doctor! My NHS Patient Access app has gone TITSUP*


NHS Digital is a failure magnet

Repeated rebranding has done nothing to dispel the stench of failure that hangs over Leeds.

The sad thing is that there are some really good people in there, but they are crushed by a tsunami of ineptitude and promotion above capability.

There are very few active clinicians (retired GPs don't count) involved and as a result the service delivers products that don't work and / or no one wants.

I would pare back NHS Digital to some architecture people, and outsource all the work to some dynamic organisations who have some concept that speed and competence are desirable traits.

We have killed the health SMEs in this country by locking them out of the infrastructure, and post-Brexit we need to do a lot better than just inviting a bunch of Americans to empty our wallets.

IBM's Watson Health wing left looking poorly after 'massive' layoffs


AI = Magical thinking

There is real value in AI but not 7,000 staff members’ worth in health alone.

They failed the Rumsfeld test: they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

AI does not overcome the basic law of stats, the standard error of the mean.

They didn’t understand the data and they bet too big.

There's just one month left 'til the big day: May 25... but don't panic!


The EU does have a sense of humour after all

Too bad we only found out now

Oh, baby! Newborn-care website leaves database of medics wide open


This is overhyped

It is just a training database for doctors.

Incompetent - yes, but no patient / disease details leaked.

Will be interesting to see what the current Russian pen testing of the NHS reveals.

Creaky NHS digital infrastructure risks holding back gene boffinry, say MPs


This is blue sky science

And none the worse for that.

The tension here is that government/ NHS will mess up the development of this but that pure industry - insurers and pharma - will use it to rip off the IP and the population, and the money goes overseas. Once the data has been copied, its value decays exponentially.

Pharma ought to be the best choice but the latest example of price gouging is holding the government to ransom over a cystic fibrosis drugs at £100k a year for marginal (non curative) benefit.

Better to commission an institution set up between uk academics and industry to manage the IP generated, and keep the data locked up tight.

The Register Opera Company presents: The Pirates of Penzance, Sysadmin edition


Re: Ooh, tempting

Mary had a little lamb

And it was always grunting

She tied it to a five bar gate

And kicked its little head in.

When clever code kills, who pays and who does the time? A Brit expert explains to El Reg


There are already some standards out there

e.g. ISO13485 covering medical devices, that does specify code audit, input and output limits etc.

Fancy coughing up for a £2,000 'nanodegree' in flying car design?


Top NB reference

Top roundabouting

Sad-sack Anon calling himself 'Mr Cunnilingus' online is busted for DDoSing ex-bosses


Door handles

Car door handles make good repositories for canine faeces.

Was better in the 80s when they were all ‘lift the flap’ design.

Ghostery, uBlock lead the anti-track pack



I use noscript as default but if I have to turn it off for a site then I use Adnauseum to p1ss in their swimming pool.

Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox


Re: Squeezebox

Had a couple of these, but binned when they got taken over and software pain.

Now: Plex + [ device ] + Bluetooth 4.0 + denon ceol

How much for that Belkin cable? Margin of 1,992%?


Re: The sector that paid the highest average margin in 2016 was the NHS

I sell to the NHS

You just price in the incompetence and inability to spec anything properly and 30% is cheap!

Google's macho memo man fired, say reports


The World Athletics men's 100m final

Wasn't very diverse.

Where do I register my protest

Numbers war: How Bayesian vs frequentist statistics influence AI


Re: If there is no infection at all then 1% of the population will still test positive.

This gets into understanding how medical tests work (IAAD, and this is a bit of a niche) and which tests you should use.

If there is a very low infection rate, and you are looking to 'rule in' you need a test that is very specific (is only true in disease) otherwise you suffer from too many false positives.

Equally, once the infection is fairly widespread, it is generally safe to assume that anyone who looks like a zombie, is a zombie.

We generally use medical tests with a 1% 'error' rate because in practice that is usually good enough.

To look at this problem in a better way, Likelihood Ratios are the way to go.

Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report


Re: It really is like a war ...

Firefox + AdNauseum = everyone wins

I see no adverts on my page, but in the background the ads get shown and clicked on

The site get the click throughs, I don't see the ads and (even better) it polutes the metadata aggregator profiles so they don't know who I am or what I am actually interested in.

BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted


Re: If it got interrupted...

The issue is that what was someone doing in the DC playing with buttons they should not have had access to.

If your IT workforce is all in house then you don't get contractors wandering around unsupervised.

Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs


Great analysis - thanks

So the question is - why have you got several thousand W7 desktops unpatched?

While I understand that the servers will need to be a variety of VMs I would just use a standard image of NHSbuntu [ www.nhsbuntu.org ] for the sheep as I can lock it down tighter than a duck's chuff, and it has secure email, an office suite, web-browsing and that is all I want them to have.

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry


It is the apps tied to ActiveX that cause the problems

[I work in NHS IT]

Some of those places worst affected are just poorly managed but the reason why somewhere like Royal London (a new £1bn hospital) kept all these PCs with XP was that certain critical software could not be (cheaply) updated because it needed XP because the browser interface was written with a load of ActiveX that only worked in Internet Explorer 6 which is part of XP.

The root cause of these issues is therefore Microsoft's use of non-standard extentions as part of the embrace / extend / extinguish browswer wars.

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+


Re: Risk Management

This whole episode is microsofts' fault.

The root cause for all this is IE6's non standards compliant browser with ActiveX controls that microsoft then did not upgrade.

A lot of NHS software was written by people at that time and now cannot be upgraded, and so we have a lot of XP systems sitting around.

At the Royal London then the CT scanners went down so it could not take trauma / stroke / cardiac patients as these are all likely to need CT scanning.

Round-filed 'paperless' projects: Barriers remain to Blighty's Digital NHS

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there is a bigger problem

The medical heirarchy are wedded to a 1970s vision that all data must fit insided a RDMS model.

The dinosaurs have not yet worked out that while some structured data needs to be collected, the advances in indexing an mapping unstructured data in the last 15 years mean that they are using ancient technology to sove a problem that now does not exist.

Cyanogen parts ways with its founder


The curse of M$ investment?

Invest, extend, extinguish

The new business model!

Euro Patent Office prez 'a disgrace to France'



I can remember that the EPO is the biggest cesspool of technical and managerial incompetence this side of NHS digital. And that is impressive on its own.

What I can't remember whether this guy is heroically trying to drain the swamp, or is busy dropping his own Gallic flavoured brown trout into it.

EU puts out prescription for smart hospitals


ISO 13485 does this, and is already here

And surprise surprise, good quality software which has properly tested is expensive.

Unbranded untested IoT junk from China is cheap.

This is why the hubristic Shoreditch clowns who claim that the NHS is going to be cured by funnelling vast quantities of landfill data from Mr Averages' smart watches may need resetting by the BOFH.

Bookmakers William Hill under siege from DDoS internet flood


This does sound targetted

On the Melbourne Cup, the biggest race in the Southern Hemisphere



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