* Posts by goldcd

802 posts • joined 12 Jul 2010

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The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

goldcd

If you really want to 'fix' your start menu

Stardock have their "Start"<windows version> app, which pretty much lets you choose which start menu you want on whatever version of windows.

(The correct answer of-course being the Windows 7 one)

BT accused of 'misinformation' campaign ahead of strikes

goldcd

You forgot my favourite "Stock buybacks"

Which are pretty much "We're going to use our money, to buy our own shares, solely to support the price"

Or "The quarter isn't looking good, so instead of investing to earn more money and raise the price by adding value - we'll just hand you our investment pot and worry about next quarter later"

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing - (on Netflix) is excellent for showing how this works out.

Telcos fear Big Tech will bleed them until they can’t afford network builds

goldcd

Indeed

Bit like how it use to be buying stuff from amazon.

Your order would have a charge for the item you bought and another line charge for the price going to the shipping company to get it to you.

Similar to how your eyeball pays google a fraction of a cent for the search service and then your phone/internet bill pays a similarly small fraction for getting those results to you.

Amazon could beat down the courier prices to the bare minimum as there was competition between them - but in the end worked out it was cheaper to cut them all out for most deliveries and do it themselves.

Telcos hate being called dumb-pipes, but there's absolutely nobody other than themselves who wants to them to anything more.

The end of the iPod – last model available 'while supplies last'

goldcd

I think the original ipod was the last gadget that blew me away

Whole racks of CDs moved into that satisfyingly small (and annoyingly scratchable) little brick you could easily drop into your pocket and later drop into a little dock nestling on-top of a speaker. Latter was also maybe the 'death of the hifi in most homes'

iTunes (especially on my PC) was never perfect - but a quantum leap ahead of previous music management software.

Also allowed podcasts and audiobooks to really take off and sit alongside music.

Continuing my defence of the slighted, the Zune wasn't bad, but just that bit clunkier and late. Did do some interesting things around music subscriptions and sharing, whilst Apple was still wanting to just sell you CDs, but digitally.'

Chromebook sales train derails as market reaches saturation

goldcd

I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

I knew "Chromebooks were a thing in education", but 2 large vendors still shifting 34 million still feels pretty significant.

AMD Threadripper CPU supply severely low, PC makers say

goldcd

I'd be a little more more forceful in my displeasure than:

"I think I can speak for everyone that we're weary of product launches that not everyone can participate in,"

I'd be apoplectic - not just that it's a launch of something you can't buy and sell, but it's an announcement that you customers are best going elsewhere, through no fault of your own.

Google to sell replacement Pixel phone parts via iFixit

goldcd

I think you're being over-cynical

Providing ifixits guides with google's parts - gives a pretty damn good mechanism to let you repair your phone.

My guess is that repairing phones has never been a profit centre (even for apple with their battery swaps) - the fight within the coporations has been between planned obsolescence and buying the latest version.

Pendulum has been swinging back against this for numerous reasons - there's the right to repair lobby, there's the decreasing levels of progress between the yearly updates - and maybe more importantly the shift from making money from the hardware to the services that can be sold over it.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York unionize in historic win against web giant

goldcd

Not an unequivocal union fan - but I applaud this

I like the idea that amazon has to deal with a unionized workforce.

Mainly as I like and want to use amazon, but I don't want that to be part of a system that legally has to grind down workers to legally appease their shareholders.

Where I think the tech-bros are missing a trick, is harnessing their customers as part of the justification.

Email me and give me a button to press, that lets me say I'm prepared to pay say 2% more to cover better benefits for their workers that fill the box and deliver it to my door.

Axed data scientist sues IBM claiming he was discriminated against as a man

goldcd

I'd agree that there's plenty of competition out there for bad employers

Maybe IBM stands out as they had the history of being the "job for life, benevolent employer, in IT"

The name carries a lot of baggage with it - they were never really a dot.com darling, nor a bonus-shitting FANG today. But neither were they considered an off-shore-centred, body-shop.

They held the position of being the sensible, small-c conservative, back-bone of IT - makers of both mainframes and the thinkpad you wanted in your bag.

A partner that would outlive you the customer - a safe pair of hands.

My feeling is that all these stories about "IBM being dicks" are really just shorthand for "the old industry being dicks"

Play Store class action has £15m budget for defeating Google in London court

goldcd

But it's a bit like short-sellers in finance.

They're doing it for selfish reasons - but they perform a useful service 'outing' and 'punishing' illegal behaviour/fraud.

Of course it would be better if this was all handled by the regulators/governments, but knowing they're out there with their giant pockets, sniffing for blood in their water - well it's not going to make anybody behave worse, and that benefits us all.

MariaDB takes a dip into Angel Pond to clean up and go public

goldcd

Well I hope that the inevitable next free fork

has a better name than "Maria"

New York Times outlays seven-figure sum for 1,900 lines of JavaScript – yes, we mean Wordle

goldcd

I am very happy for him

Maybe what got overlooked isn't so much the game though - as is endlessly mentioned it's quite simple and could be knocked out by any competent dev and isn't even that original.

My thoughts:

1) It's the absolute antithesis of any recent game. No ads, you can only play it once a day, still no ads and not an f'in "best value gem pack" to buy.

Each day you have fun for a few minutes - and hope to see you again tomorrow.

2) The UI is slick. It gives me pleasure just interacting with it. The keyboard that auto-marks your burnt letters, even the feeling of commitment pressing enter gives (despite a lesser designer thinking it would be pointless as you've entered 5 letters, so "let's remove that extra click" - that click extra click makes it better)

3) Everybody gets the same word each day. I'm not sure if we have the oft-desired 'water-cooler comments' we used to back in the day. With everything being optimized and customized on every refresh, it gives you the opportunity to say "Don't you think that word today was a complete bastard?"

4) The game is for everybody - can't think of many games I'd happily point my grandmother to (Unless Raid:Shadow Legends had promised me a gem-pack and a 50% cooldown boost, if she spent $50 on Ork powder)

5) The ability to share your results/show-off, without spoiling the game or making you feel like a shill. This is the thing that I suspect drew most people in.

Not some cookie-loaded URL - you can literally just paste it into anything. People are intrigued, they click and happily go through my previous points and become 'one of us'

Really glad to see it's paid off for him and glad to see it's found a home that seems like a good fit.

My real point, if I had one, was that whilst Wordle was small and simple - it shows that's all you need if you're prepared to polish it until it shines.

Intel R&D spending surges after years of neglect as Gelsinger pledges to make Chipzilla great again

goldcd

I wish Intel all the best

I'm sure it was noticed that AMD's recent renaissance neatly aligns with the rise of their "technical CEO" in Lisa Su - I hope Gelsinger can do similar for Intel.

Being vertically integrated, Intel has a riskier path ahead - but with that risk comes the potential to reap greater rewards.

There seem to be some promising noises about their return to the discrete GPU market - currently an over-priced duopoly constrained by TSMC.

If they can nail that (or get close enough) and then crank out the wafers 'at cost' - they'll be untouchable as they can pick their retail price by just adjusting some internal budgeting to their desire to destroy their competition.

Maybe 5 years of crushing - before they decide to reappoint a bean-counter and the cycle will continue.

You're fabbing it wrong: Chip shortages due to lack of investment in the right factories, says IDC

goldcd

Sounds like a fine business model

Historically we're had leading-edge manufacturing making goods to a higher and higher quality.

Then in parallel we the movement of production going off-shore, allowing us all to buy the high-end for less.

Last few years have shown us that the two progressions above have left holes on our manufacturing.

Whereas previously a skilled person with a machine lathe could have made your required legacy widget for a handsome markup, there are now holes. You could offer $50 for that $5 chip your car needs - but nobody can make it for you - they're now making $500 parts and don't feel the urge to answer your RFP.

The motor manfacurers (as an example) have now learnt that battering down suppliers on price doesn't work for high-investment parts, like it maybe previously did injection molding the plastic on a wing-mirror.

My guess is that this is a "one time" lesson - long term availability will be baked into contracts going foward - or like Tesla they'll design a product with replaceable components.

Weed dispensary software company's ambitions pruned after Spotify trademark clash

goldcd

Idal was the best I could come up with

(Tidal and weed-related laziness)

But prefer your Weedwork

Logitech Signature M650: A mouse that will barely emit a squeak or a clickety-click

goldcd

It's most definitely the surface breaking down (in some cases)

I had a cheap infrared thermometer that's got black rubber over-molding over yellow (looks like a DeWalt tool) - randomly picked it up a week ago and rubber stuck to my hand (consistency of a thick caramel). Didn't slowly deteriorate - was fine for years and now I can pull bits off it with my fingers.

Much older real DeWalt stuff like my drill - still absolutely fine.

No idea what the difference in the chemistry is - but there is one.

Db2, where are you? Big Blue is oddly reluctant to discuss recent enhancements to its flagship database

goldcd

Re: Throwaway society mentality comes to IT

As an opposing/devil's advocate - you must remember the hell of a customer asking you which very expensive machine to buy based on some vague "transactions" and then a vague "number per second with some order of magnitude high/low random numbers".

Now you can ignore all that - customer can burn as much money as they like to get the performance that they want and you still have the option of re-writing the odd asinine query - but now you get to produce some gargantuan opex saving for your 30 minutes of work.

Shocking: UK electricity tariffs are among world's most expensive

goldcd

Re: 70's electricty

"The day the wind stopped" - a new blockbuster

Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

goldcd

Re: I was looking forward to this one... :(

*small voice* - I'm quite enjoying it.

I've bought everything from VietNam onwards, although 1 and V only got a small amount of play.

I like the modern-ish periods and BF4 is still filling servers to this day.

I feel a lot of the criticisms out there are unfair. Hiking across a map is part of the game (and punishment for letting your squad die). I don't need a bazillion weapons and mods.

Now easier to get useful addons (no week of trying to snipe with ironsights to get a useful scope, while being picked of by those already with it etc).

Being able to swap from a set of gun mods in game is a great improvement.

Portal has the scope to be incredible.

Some stuff I'm ambivalent about, like the new class/specialists.

I like the flexibility - but it's now harder to at a glace work out what the people around you can do.

The special skills is fun (but clearly a mechanism to screw more money out of us later)

Some stuff I hate, but can be fixed. Big gap for me is the lack of tighter/smaller maps (and low number of maps in general in the main game), end of match stats.

The bugs - last patch managed to prevent you from looking left and right.. (until you deleted your local config, which forced you to sit through videos and intro-bot-mission again).

Some stuff I hate they're not going to fix (the f'in 'specialists' posing and catch-phrasing between rounds) - actually the general menu system is an unintuitive mess.

If you want to give it a go, signing up for a month of EA Play gives you 10 hours - which is enough to decide if it's for you.

Qualcomm makes its own mobile gaming rig, hypes new Windows 11 chips

goldcd

Can we all out 5G as BS yet?

*not* for the technology itself - but for the increasingly insane and ever more obviously ridiculous edge cases, such as this.

So.

You can plug your VR headet (you probably don't have) into this device (rather than the high-end PC you have if you did have a headset), and it can use the near non-existent, blocked by a leaf, mm5G to connect you to the *acutally* non-exsistent edge-GPU compute, to allow you to stream a VR experience that doesn't exist.

As a though experiment, imagine how much you'd pay per month/minute for the above - the number you're thinking of, isn't enough to make it nearly happen.

I'm old enough to remember the excitement of 3G video calls - which cost some ridiculouus price per minute and even once we'd both bought 'high-end phones' barely worked and were flakey-a-f cross-network.

But at least with 3G, there was a real sunny-day scenario demo that was 'real'

*nobody* wants their mobile operator to be anything over than a big dumb pipe, that gets faster and cheaper.

Amazon India execs questioned after sellers allegedly use site to smuggle marijuana

goldcd

Re: Always wondered who buys those £4K books

Also handy way to inflate the price of something obscure.

List it on a few different sites for an outrageous sum (maybe even fake a sale to yourself)- then offer it to sale to a third party at half the price. They then check what it's going for and think they're going to be able to sell it for a profit.

Microsoft surpasses Apple as world's most valuable biz, by stock price at least

goldcd

That's just because

if you miss your revenue prediction you get a massive kicking, whilst if you exceed it you get a pat on the back and ability to award each other another bonus.

So everybody low-balls their forecasts, so the analysts ignore them. Instead they come up with a figure that they think you should be making and it's on this the market prices your shares.

Or looking at it another way, unless you miss your projections as often as you exceed them - your projections aren't accurate and are pointless.

Informatica UKI veep was rightfully sacked over Highways England $5k golf jolly, says tribunal

goldcd

Re: What about the Highways England's IT director?

Indeed.

If say the director is taken out for a golfing trip each year by Informatica, then he might even subconsciously want to ensure a relationship is maintained with them. Might not be handing them work, but maybe just asking whether they made the shortlist or were considered for RFPs

Element celebrates The Great Facebook Outage with a Signal bridge for Matrix

goldcd

Re: How does Signal fund itself?

From facebook (indirectly) - setup by one of the creators of Whatsapp, who got an awful lot of money when Facebook bought Whatsapp - and he walked away from his Facebook job and even more money as he didn't like what they were doing to his baby.

Scalpel! Superglue! This mouse won't fix its own ball

goldcd

and me

Took apart the mouse on the very expensive new family PC and after a bit of experimental poking, managed to break one of the o-rings.

Quietly shitting myself, I reassembled and whilst it seemed to work, was anticipating the bollocking to come.

Penny only dropped when the o-ring re-grew.

Beige pencil stockists on high alert as 'Colouring Book of Retro Computers' hits the crowdfunding circuit

goldcd

Re: Data centre

And was it?

You can't just leave us hanging here.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell

goldcd

I prefer

That I am not immortal and I fear that this job will consume my limited life without providing me the opportunity to make a lasting mark on the path of humanity.

Oh - and sarcasm in the face of pomposity.

I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key

goldcd

I think the problem is the outsource of manufacturing

All brands want to have that full set of white-goods for your kitchen, but a whole lot of them just outsource to different manufacturers - this one'll do my microwave, this one by dishwasher, this one my fridge - and they're all branded to look the same.

And once you've opted out of manufacture, then managing spare parts is an over-head. Oh, and then the next year you might switch to a different manufacturer - front panel looks the same, but all the innards are now based an entirely different OEM pattern.

One plus side of this all though, is that a load of the spare parts are now interchangable and widely enough used for OEMs to provide pattern parts. Thing I'd find most useful is simply if all parts had a unique ID number on them - so when I'm squinting at the picture of a dishwasher pump that "works with Bosch and looks the same" - I know it's a drop in replacement to the broken one next to me.

goldcd

I do wonder how much it would cost

to just build redundancy into the cheap sensors - as in stick another one in the other wingmirror and if they don't match, throw a sensor error.

goldcd

The backlash seems to be building nicely though

I think manufacturers are finally understanding that making products made to last or be repaired is a good marketing point.

Currently looking to replace a fridge, so looking at Miele (as previous white-goods from have been faultless) - and was just looking at https://frame.work/ for my next laptop (although might follow them for a bit, before taking the plunge).

Remember the bloke who was told by Zen Internet to contact his MP about crap service? Yeah, it's still not fixed

goldcd

Re: Write your MP

That doesn't sound too unreasonable.

For a true display of wealth, dab printer ink behind your ears instead of Chanel No. 5

goldcd

I've just rolled over and gone with HP's Instant Ink

£1.99 a month for 50 pages (and I think you can roll 100 over between months) - and easily covers my occasional printing needs.

I know I could print pages cheaper using 3rd-party carts and a less draconian manufacturer - but it nicely shifts annoyances with one colour running out before the others, blocked nozzles etc onto HP.

I pay £24 a year - and I have one less thing to worry about.

Teen turned away from roller rink after AI wrongly identifies her as banned troublemaker

goldcd

Bit hard to comment without more details

Looking at the pictures in the linked story - the girls to look pretty similar, so I could see the same mistake being made without AI

(However, I'm white, and we're all notoriously poorer at differentiating people of different races than our own)

Richard Branson uses two planes to make 170km round trip

goldcd

Indeed

Seeing them get all snippy, makes the whole Virgin thing worthwhile.

New mystery AWS product 'Infinidash' goes viral — despite being entirely fictional

goldcd

Entirely sensible

Enables you to select for the more modest time-machine inventors - I mean can you imagine having to work next to the guy who invented the time machine, and likes to drop that into every conversation?

Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot Bitcoin mine instead

goldcd

Is massive amount of excessive heat still a sign of cannabis cultivation?

From casual research, LED panels are now available which have a way lower power consumption than the traditional sodium grow-lamps.

Now I don't for one moment think criminals have 'gone green' (well not in that way) - but excessive, even if 'free', electricity consumption generates a lot of heat. A lot of heat needs to be disposed of - and lights up the building to IR cameras and requires venting which puts out that distinctive smell.

Also, whilst definitely not condoning theft of power - I'm always a little dubious of the legality of getting a search warrant for one suspicion and bagging the criminals for another crime entirely. I'd have thought in this case the difference between the observed heat radiation and paid for power would have been enough.

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

goldcd

Sure I remember people complaining the wrong thermal pads were shipping on their GPUs

Just wondering if Asus' refusal to state what the dimensions of the part are, are because it doesn't meet the spec - and would be euqivalent to saying they'd shipped thousands of cards with defects.

Nvidia nerfs RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 Ti GPUs to shoo away Ethereum miners

goldcd

Which makes sense

I've got a 2080 for gaming - and I'm just leaving my PC (powered by renewables) on 24x7 for mining.

Makes ~£30 a week. Not a life changing amount - but if you'd stretched to buy a gaming PC, it quite handily chips away at the outlay.

Or looking at it another way - quite handily covers the depreciation of buying the latest and greatest.

In case you were wondering, no, AMD hasn't managed to fsck everything up. It's still making lots of money

goldcd

I'd agree - but supply's been patchy

Also worth looking at the prices they seem to be getting.

When I bought right at the start of last year, my 3900X was ~£400 and the one above 3950X was ~£600.

Those prices have stuck there for over a year now.

New range has 5900X at ~£600 and the 5950X is ~£800

i.e. Their new chips haven't replaced their old ones, they're co-existing with a old with offset price points

My guess is that without demand, they'd have just positioned the new models at the old price points, and discounted the old.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store

goldcd

Re: I'm pissed off...

I see that, and raise you https://ninite.com/

Has 90% of the apps I want on a new install - and makes the process for getting them incredibly simple.

Odd apps I don't recognize are pretty good way of discovering something better.

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub

goldcd

Except a lot of hard research isn't paid for by the university.

Huge amounts of time and effort is spent trying to attract funding - and then walking the fine line between what you want to research and what the money wants you to research.

Additionally just 'publishing' is easy - you can fire up wordpress and do it for free yourself.

Publishing in a respected journal is hard, as you've got to convince them what you've done is accurate, innovative and useful.

Managing to get your work into a respected journal is what's going to keep you employed by the university, as it's what helps you bring in more money.

Now I do agree that the system is slightly screwed up - but the alternative (everybody doing what they want and getting paid for it, and just dropping your results on your blog (and blocking the comments of your disagreeing peers) isn't the solution.

Crafty: Cricut caught out by user revolt, but will cloud stop play?

goldcd

Problem is that your hardware is bound to their software

and this fact and this attempted monetization, should now be featured in every Cricut review.

I've idly pondered buying one and now I'm less likely to buy.

I can understand their need to generate revenue for on-going software development and server costs - but they really shouldn't have got themselves into this position.

I'm familiar with 3D printing where the printer is just an appliance and the user has a choice of modelling tool and slicer. Some are Open Source/Free - and others you pay for. Some (such as the very popular Fusion 360) now provide a free trial with limitations until you pay. Some such as Simplify3D have always been pay for perpetual license. Reason this ecosystem can exist is that the pipeline from idea to print are handled with interchangeable file formats. As a user when you hand over money, you know you're getting something back. Nothing is ever taken away from you (or at least you can understand it when Autodesk gives you a nudge into giving them some money).

If Cricut want to make hardware, they just need to open their API and a lovely ecosystem will emerge (and seem to be a few 'cutting' packages out there that support other brands). If Cricut want to make software, then they can do that - and they just need to make it better than the competition.

Can we exhale yet? EU set to rule UK 'adequate' for data sharing in post-Brexit GDPR move

goldcd

Re: If UK data rules have not changed ...

I do have the niggling feeling that - who's actually checking for me now?

Someone tried to poison a Florida city by hijacking its water treatment plant via TeamViewer, says sheriff

goldcd

Agreed

Scanned for Teamviewer instances and then just hammered the 1 key a couple of times to see if a field was writeable.

Hollywood drone pilot admits he crashed gizmo into cop chopper, triggering emergency landing

goldcd

I was just wondering how a drone would react to a full sized helicopter appearing over it.

Suspect it's not a scenario that was anticipated in their design.

Was wondering if a massive helicopter sized down-draft would knock the lighter/smaller drone down, and it would automatically respond to by switching to 'full power' (maybe causing it maybe to rocket up above intended height-ceiling into the pocket of slightly lower pressure directly under the body of the helicopter).

But reading the other comments, I shall read those from others who seem to know what they're talking about.

Watchdog urges Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S, X cars to fix knackered NAND flash that borks safety features

goldcd

NAND has a finite life

Can only cope with so many read/writes.

I've currently got an old-ish Samsund SSD in my PC bleating that I should 'raise the over provisioning partition' - basically lower the usable space, so it has a buffer to reallocate the failing sectors.

Not something I'd thought about when I switched to SSDs - but makes sense when you look at how NAND works.

Slightly scary thing is that maybe this was never considered when building Smart Cars. You can separate the OS out all you like with perfect security - but this is a whole layer below this.

NAND degrades in your car like the tyres, brakes etc. Not an issue if wear can be monitored and the part replaced when it degrades. Very problematic if say the chips are soldered to the brains of the car.

Your no-socket Powerbook might get replaced after 5 years, but cars need to last longer.

NHS COVID-19 app is trying to tell Android users something but buggy notification appears stuck on 'Loading...' screen

goldcd

I'd always assumed

(and we know what assumption is) that the 'check-in' feature was just to provide a degree of partitioning between bluetooth signals.

i.e. If you check into your barber, you can probably pick up BT from the cafe next door.

If somebody later tests positive who'd checked into the cafe, you wouldn't get an alert. If the person in the cafe hadn't checked in in, or had and you hadn't - then you would - as app doesn't know you were close, but in separate shops

Checkout time isn't too important, as the proximity covers that.

UK network Three hikes pay-as-you-go rates by 400% to push punters to buy 'bundles'

goldcd

They have a a large amount of active competition...

The issue with mobile operators, is that their main costs aren't actually related to you using the service.

If I had to wildly guess is might be pandemic related, with all of us sat near our WiFi more.

If you pay for a bundle, you've just used less of it. If you're paying per MB of data, then you'll have been using less, paying your operator less - and this less doesn't come close to offsetting the cost of them not carrying that MB.

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