* Posts by Buzzword

1009 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

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OOP there it is: You'd think JavaScript's used more by devs than Java... but it's not – JetBrains survey

Buzzword

This metric doesn't measure "popularity"

Let's say you have a particular functionality requirement. It takes 20 hours to code it in Java, but only 10 hours to code it in Javascript. Your metric would conclude that Java is twice as popular as Javascript; when in fact it's just twice as tedious.

I'm not claiming that Java is less productive than Javascript; just that we can't tell from the given metric alone.

As Twitter blocks white supremacists posing as anti-fascists, FBI appeal is flooded with images of cop violence

Buzzword

"white supremacists posing as anti-fascists"

How can they tell?

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Ever felt down after staring at your phone late in bed? It's not just you – mice do too

Buzzword

Did they try other colours too?

Had to read the original paper to check, but yes, they compared blue vs pink. Only blue caused the depressive mood.

Microsoft announces official Windows package manager. 'Not a package manager' users snap back

Buzzword

What about the Microsoft Store?!?!

Windows already has a tool for installing pre-packaged apps: the Microsoft Store. Sure, it sucks; but why not improve it rather than inventing a whole new tool?

Mad dash for webcams with surge in videoconferencing has turned out rather nicely for Logitech

Buzzword

Video calling - a solution looking for a problem since the 1990s

Once the novelty of teleworking has worn off, most people will realise that video calling isn't all that useful. Video phones have been around since the 1990s, but never became popular anywhere in the world. Even video-calling the grandparents on Skype is more trouble than it's worth. Far easier to just pick up the phone and make a voice call.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

Buzzword

Compare with WPS Office?

See title

Samsung calls it a day on liquid-crystal display, says quantum dot is really hot

Buzzword

Apple holding out

Of the current iPhone range, only the top-of-the-range iPhone 11 Pro has an OLED display; the rest are plain LCD.

What do Apple know that Samsung (and the rest of the industry) don't?

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

Buzzword

Vertical cars?!

cars of the future will include vehicles that travel up and down the outsides of such buildings

What are these futurologists smoking?

Taiwan collars coronavirus quarantine scofflaws with smartphone geo-fences. So, which nation will be next?

Buzzword

What if you leave your phone at home?

Or better still, borrow a neighbour's phone when you go out, so that you have something to show if the police ask.

I'm not condoning such behaviour; just that compliance seems to depend a lot on the detainee's willingness to follow orders.

Apple grudgingly opens up its check book, pays VirnetX $454m in patent royalties after a decade of wrangling

Buzzword

Here's the detail

There are four patents at stake:

6,502,135 - Agile network protocol for secure communications with assured system availability (filed 2000)

7,490,151 - Establishment of a secure communication link based on a domain name service (DNS) request (filed 2002)

7,418,504 - Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names (filed 2003)

7,921,211 - Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names (filed 2007)

All four of them mean broadly the same thing: When you try to connect to server X, the software first checks if X is known to be a secure server. If so, the software sets up a VPN to initiate a secure connection; if not, it initiates an insecure connection. The details vary between the patents, but the gist is the same.

I'd have thought there'd be prior art to invalidate all of them, but U.S. patent law is a curious beast.

Microsoft, Google, Slack, Zoom et al struggling to deal with a spike in remote tools thanks to coronavirus

Buzzword

Remote working hype cycle

"big tech has viewed remote working as a potential goldmine for years"

Really? The same big tech that insists all their employees live in Silicon Valley? The same big tech that builds shiny new campuses with all services on-site, so that staff never have to leave? I'll believe the teleworking hype when the FAANGs embrace it.

Password killer FIDO2 comes bounding into Azure Active Directory hybrid environments

Buzzword

Re: Get rid of the commercial middlemen

Can you point to one company that actually uses SQRL?

Buzzword

Re: Infrastructure

This particular article is about enterprise scenarios, where it's perfectly reasonable to be able to track users (i.e. employees) activity on enterprise systems.

On the broader question of whether FIDO tokens can behave like super-cookies, the answer is no. Your sign-in key for e.g. Google will be completely separate from your sign-in key for Microsoft. Neither company can access the other's keys - that's part of the WebAuthn spec.

Google exiles 600 apps from Play Store for 'disruptive advertising' amid push to clean up Android souk's image

Buzzword

Disruptive ads

An example of a disruptive ad would be one that covers the entire mobile device screen, without an obvious way to get rid of it.

Like those ads on YouTube which don't have a "Skip Ad" button?

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

Buzzword

Re: It's not just IR35 though

VAT is a cost for everyone. Last year's total VAT receipts were £125bn. If that were still taxed at the old 17.5% rate, we'd collectively save £15.6bn. That's around £230 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

Buzzword

Re: It's not just IR35 though

Don't get me started on childcare.

In 2005, Childcare Vouchers were introduced, saving a higher-rate taxpayer up to £2,916/yr.

In 2011, higher-rate taxpayers' savings were capped at £1,484/yr.

In 2018, childcare vouchers were finally scrapped, replaced with Tax Free Child Care. This offers savings of up to £2,000/yr. If you earn £99,999, you qualify. But if you earn just £1 more, you face a bill for £2,000.

You can use pension contributions to reduce your "adjusted income" to below £100k; but pension contributions have an annual limit of £40,000, so if you earn over £140,000 then you can't bring yourself below the magic £100k mark again.

Even that £40,000 limit represents a new tax of sorts. The pension contribution annual allowance for the 2010/11 tax year was £255,000 but reduced to £50,000 for the 2011/12 tax year and £40,000 with effect from April 2014. Not to mention the fact that pension allowances taper off above £150k.

Look, I don't expect much sympathy for people on £100k+ wages. But understand that the environment today for skilled (i.e. high-earning) workers, particularly contractors, is nowhere near as attractive as it once was. No surprise that many of them are planning to leave these shores.

Buzzword

It's not just IR35 though

There have been a lot of tax increases in the last few years, making the UK a significantly less desirable place to work for high earners. Many contractors from EU countries are actively looking for work elsewhere in Europe; and fewer are arriving here.

Recent tax increases include:

* Pension Lifetime Allowance of £1.5m introduced (2006)

* Personal allowance withdrawal over £100k (2010)

* Additional Rate tax over £150k (2010)

* VAT rises to 20% (2011)

* High Income Child Benefit Charge (2013)

* Air Passenger Duty continuous rises

* Marriage Allowance excludes high earners (2015)

* Dividend tax (2016)

* Travel and subsistence expense clampdown (2016)

* Pension Lifetime Allowance reduced to £1m (2016)

* BiK (Benefits in Kind) clampdown (2017)

* IR35 for public-sector (2017)

* Tax Free Child Care excludes anyone earning over £100k (2017)

* Insurance Premium Tax rises to 12% (2017)

* Dividend tax threshold reduced (2018)

* Pension contributions capped at 20% (2020?)

The rising burden of regulation on limited companies means accountancy fees have been rising too.

NBD: A popular HTTP-fetching npm code library used by 48,000 other modules retires, no more updates coming

Buzzword

All software is terrible

"Developers using *INSERT SOFTWARE NAME* today are often including layers of indirection in order to port those old patterns to new ones," he said. "This shows up in bundle sizes, performance, and debuggability, and there are numerous newer libraries that don’t have these problems."

Applies to nearly everything. Windows. Linux. Office. You name it, it's a cesspool of legacy fixes, edge case hacks, and backwards-compatibility kludges. Let's put a strict time limit on all software - ten years of active development, five years of LTS - followed by not just a rewrite, but a completely new product every decade.

NexDock 2 revisited: Could it be more than a handy Pi hole?

Buzzword
Coat

It's like an electric car

Yes, there are plenty of times when a NexDock2 and a Samsung phone, with their limited capabilities, are sufficient to work productively. But there are enough times when you need a proper laptop, so you might as well get one and save yourself the hassle.

Yes, there are plenty of times when an electric car, with its limited range, is sufficient to get you where you're going. But there are enough times when you need a normal car with longer range, so you're probably better off with a normal car.

As the original review of the NexDock2 pointed out, for the same money you can get a decent second-hand laptop. With a UK keyboard.

I'll get my flameproof coat.

They can't collect your bins or fix your roads. They let Google stalk visitors to their websites. Yes, it's UK local government

Buzzword

Why do public sector websites have adverts at all?

I can just about understand advertising on bus stops, or on the London underground. But why does a public-sector website need ads? (NationalRail.co.uk is one of the worst offenders.) By definition, the ads are getting in the way of delivering the service. Does the local council's telephone line play radio ads when you're on hold? Do the local authority's offices have billboards plastered all over them? Just don't do it, guys.

It's calculated Apple leak time: Cheaper iPhone, laptops with proper keyboards, and, oh, a Tile competitor

Buzzword

Re: Tile user base vs Apple user base

The correct comparison is the number of Tile users versus the number of Apple device owners.

Tile has sold 25 million "tiles" since it was launched. Apple sold 70 million iPhones in the last quarter alone.

Therefore you have a far greater chance of a passing iPhone user finding your lost item than a passing Tile user.

Shopify goes all in on React Native for mobile development 3 years after Airbnb dropped it like 3rd-grade French

Buzzword

Lack of type safety in Javascript

FWIW, you can decorate your code with JSDoc comments (@type, @param, @returns, etc.), then use either the Typescript compiler or the Google Closure compiler to validate the type-safety. If you find yourself in an environment where you can't use Typescript directly, this is the next best thing.

As miscreants prey on thousands of vulnerable boxes, Citrix finally emits patches to fill in hijacking holes in Gateway and ADC

Buzzword

Boxes? Boxes?!!1!!!11eleven!!1!

The plural form is "boxen", Gareth. You used to know this sort of thing:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/27/elasticsearch_malware_cisco_talos/

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/11/13/google_cloud_onboarding_box_eu/

Did the Reg's style guide change?

The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes

Buzzword

Outsourced and out of sight?

From April 2017: https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/business/leading-peterborough-employer-to-move-city-jobs-to-india-1-7896706

"Foreign exchange company Travelex, based in Worldwide House, in Thorpe Wood, has been consulting with staff for months over its plans to move some jobs to Asia. It is understood that about 75 finance jobs will be lost to Peterborough. Travelex employs up to 400 people in Peterborough. The remaining staff cover a variety of functions including human resources, IT and customer service. It is understood that the company is seeking to make the redundancies to improve efficiency and to cut costs."

Sounds like only finance roles were relocated, not IT. Would be interested to hear more from any present or former insiders.

Dell slathers on factor XPS 13 to reveal new shiny with... ooh... a 0.1 inch bigger screen

Buzzword

Re: 13" screen?

I'm inclined to agree - how does anybody over 40 manage to read the text on a 13" screen?

'Supporting Internet Explorer is hell': Web developers identify top needs – new survey

Buzzword

Re: Sigh

Yep. WebAssembly isn't what most people think it is either. It's just an engine for high-speed number-crunching. It doesn't help at all with large string processing or DOM fiddling, which are the most common choke points for large web apps.

JavaScript survey: Devs love a bit of React, but Angular and Cordova declining. And you're not alone... a chunk of pros also feel JS is 'overly complex'

Buzzword

Re: Not sure where to go

You haven’t coded much web in a few years and you’ve heard the landscape changed a bit? Step this way and read up all you need to know:

https://hackernoon.com/how-it-feels-to-learn-javascript-in-2016-d3a717dd577f

That piece was written in 2016 and, to be fair, things have consolidated since then. The proliferation of web frameworks has settled down to a handful of winners (those mentioned in the article), though Javascript itself continues to add new features at a staggering pace.

Lazarus group goes back to the Apple orchard with new macOS trojan

Buzzword

Apple tried to warn you, several times

By default, new Macs don't allow you to install unsigned software packages. To fall victim to this malware, you would need to:

(a) download a package from a third party website

(b) disable the unsigned software protection in System Preferences

(c) ignore the warning that "By opening this app, you will be overriding system security which can expose your computer and personal information to malware"

(d) grant it root access.

Perhaps Apple users are lulled into a false sense of security, so they ignore all these warnings.

Coming next: North Korean evil-doers sell car phone chargers which only work if you follow the instructions to disable the car's ABS.

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4

Buzzword

Re: Revision codes

You can look up the list of revision codes in use here:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/raspberrypi/revision-codes/README.md

Presumably when a new model comes out, they'll update the list.

UK political parties fall over themselves to win tech contractor vote by pledging to review IR35

Buzzword

Re: There are an estimated 4.6 million contractors in the UK.

Re: "Could you clarify this?"

It sounds like the umbrella company is conflating IR35 with the SDC (Supervision, Direction, or Control) rules which came into force from April 2016. Under the latter, you can't claim travel expenses if you're a fake contractor.

Buzzword

Re: There are an estimated 4.6 million contractors in the UK.

Sure, and some of them are Uber drivers or whatever. But this is an article about IR35 in an IT publication. Exaggerating the figures by an order of magnitude simply isn't helpful.

HMRC themselves reckon only 170,000 individuals will be affected: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020#impact-on-individuals-households-and-families

Buzzword

There are an estimated 4.6 million contractors in the UK.

Bollocks. In FY2018-19, just 1.2m companies submitted accounts to Companies House under the "Micro Entity" accounting rules, which apply to contractors' limited companies. That's the upper limit of the number of people affected by changes to IR35.

20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey

Buzzword

Dangers of moving from outside to inside IR35

"There is a fear that such a move could land them with a retrospective tax bill as HMRC may view that as an admission that they ought to have been paying higher taxes previously."

That's the nub of the problem. In the absence of clear guidance from HMRC, no contractor would want to risk staying with the same client and moving from outside to inside IR35. Consequently, there will be a huge game of musical chairs over the next few months as most contractors try to find new clients. It will be massively disruptive to business.

If you've wanted to lazily merge code on GitHub from the pub, couch or beach, there's now a mobile app for that

Buzzword

Plenty of iOS and Android apps already do this

Are GitHub suffering from "not-invented-here" syndrome?

Mandatory xkcd: https://xkcd.com/927/

Panel 1: Situation: there are 14 competing GitHub client apps for mobile.

Panel 2: 14?! Ridiculous! We need to develop one universal app that covers everyone's use cases. Yeah!

Panel 3: Situation: there are 15 competing GitHub client apps for mobile.

Londoner accused of accessing National Lottery users' accounts

Buzzword

Batson is innocent unless found guilty.

As always, right? Or has something changed recently?

ZTE Nubia Z20: It's £499. It's a great phone. Buy it. Or don't. We don't care

Buzzword

Not a Yotaphone

The clever thing about Yotaphone was that the second screen was e-ink, to save battery life. I'm surprised nobody else has copied that idea.

Not a death spiral, I'm trapped in a closed loop of customer experience

Buzzword
Facepalm

Re: proof of address and why I love HMRS

The Historical Model Railway Society? I'm not sure they could help.

Facebook: Remember how we promised we weren’t tracking your location? Psych! Can't believe you fell for that

Buzzword

Re: Location guessing based on IP address

Obligatory XKCD reference (low earth orbit): https://xkcd.com/713/

The wheels on the bus go round and... Oh dear. Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils spending review

Buzzword

the budget was light on technology announcements

Probably no bad thing. Government technology projects tend to over-promise and under-deliver. Focus on the existing bugs before trying to add new features.

Google security crew sheds light on long-running super-stealthy iOS spyware operation

Buzzword

Re: Entire populations: State sponsored?

China spying on Uighurs, Israel spying on Palestinians, even Russia spying on Chechens and Ukrainians. But are iPhones affordable in those parts of the world? If not, that suggests that both perpetrators and victims may be closer to home.

Don't panic! Don't panic! UK IT job ads plummet as Brexit uncertainty grabs UK tech sector by the short and curlies

Buzzword

Re: And the NHS is doomed

The NHS is doomed, and has been for the past 70 years. Browse over to Google, search for "NHS privatisation", and set the date filter to pre-2005. You'll find tons of material, including regular scare stories from the BMJ and the Guardian. Yet here we are in 2019, and the NHS is still free.

Microsoft Notepad: If it ain't broke, shove it in the Store, then break it?

Buzzword

Notepad subjected to Store updates - even on Windows Server?

Spare a thought for us poor Windows Server users, who occasionally want to remote into a server and open a log file or config file in Notepad. There's not a chance in hell that any server will be connected to the Store, for the usual security reasons. What happens when the old Notepad is removed and replaced with a shortcut which automatically tries to launch Store?

Tor pedos torpedoed again, this time Feds torpedo four Tor pedos – and keep how they unmasked dark-web scumbags under wraps

Buzzword

What about the good users of TOR? Are there any?

If you're an NSA contractor with a trove of classified documents to leak, should you still use TOR?

F-B-Yikes! FBI bod allegedly hid spy camera under desk to snap coworker's upskirt pics

Buzzword

Why would you do this?!

In a world drowning in high-definition, high quality, free porn, why would anybody resort to planting a hidden camera in a colleague's desk to get a few grainy and blurry snapshots?

Official: Microsoft will take an axe to Skype for Business Online. Teams is your new normal

Buzzword

Re: lack of conversation history

Actually, there is conversation history in Skype for Business. Open the main window, click on the Clock icon at the top ("Conversations"), then right-click on a conversation and select "Continue Conversation".

Granted it's terribly unintuitive; I only discovered it while writing this reply.

Buzzword

Teams (and Slack etc.) have a terrible signal-to-noise ratio

Skype for Business is primarily a one-to-one instant messaging tool. When the little popup appears telling you there's a message, you know it's directed at you and is personally relevant.

Teams is a group chat tool, where you hear a cacophony of voices shouting over each other. It has all the problems of meeting rooms, only worse because it never ends. Meeting attendees are desperate to show off, so there's a lot of redundant noise. You have to sift through the entire conversation, even if only 5% is relevant to you. Just as you can spend your whole day in meetings if you're not careful, it's easy to spend hours on Slack or Teams channels, poring through other people's never-ending stream of consciousness.

I honestly can't understand how any of the Teams / Slack / Mattermost / etc. tools were ever considered to be a productive use of time.

Pair programming? That's so 2017. Try out this deep-learning AI bot that autocompletes lines of source code for you

Buzzword

This only helps with the easy stuff

Writing new code is easy. Reading, understanding, and making non-breaking changes to code, is hard.

Literally braking news: Two people hurt as not one but two self-driving space-age buses go awry

Buzzword

I see you have the same bus driver as me.

Fresh stalkerware crop pops up on Google's Android Play Store, swiftly yanked offline

Buzzword

Parents

So what apps are you allowed to use to track your kids? Asking for a friend...

Dutch cops collar fella accused of crafting and flogging Office macro nasties to cyber-crooks

Buzzword

€20,000 in earnings?

Crime doesn't pay like it used to.

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