* Posts by Lxbr

27 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Aug 2010

Expert sounds alarm bells over upcoming NHS data platform


Interesting but irrelevant

The report makes good points about Electronic Patient (or Health) Records (EPR / EHR) systems, but this is actually irrelevant to the Palantir contract, because that is for a FDP - a federated data access platform. Every single NHS hospital and GP surgery in the country *already* have EHR systems, but from a number of different providers, so they aren't joined up - the Palantir contract is for a federated data access system enabling easier access across the different systems. The issues with the FDP are concerns about making it too easy to access patient data, not with usability affecting patient care - since clinicians at the point-of-care (i.e. in hospital, GP, or other clinical setting) probably won't be using the FDP directly. Instead it will mostly be used by planners, administrators, and researchers (or that is the idea anyway - obviously there are concerns about it being used for e.g. commercial pharma research, training ML models etc.).

Facial recog system used by Met Police shows racial bias at low thresholds


How could it possibly go wrong?

How could this possibly go wrong? Nobody could possibly think of a scenario. For example, it would never happen that:

1. If the Met were scanning a large crowd of people for a dangerous and potentially armed suspect;

2. They were certain the suspect was present (based on intelligence), but got no matches

3. They get the operators of the facial recognition system to reduce the match accuracy until some positive result was achieved

Even if this did happen, the Met would never shoot dead an innocent unarmed black person on the basis of faulty intelligence; or injure or kill them during an arrest; or detain them in circumstances leading to their death.

It's good to know that it is completely inconceivable* that any of this could ever happen.


>Mansfield added that he believed the Met did not operate the system at these thresholds.

This is the very definition of weasel words from somebody who is supposed to be researching the system, and 'did not' != 'cannot'

(* "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means" - Inigo Montoya)

Linux on Windows 10: Will penguin treats in Creators Update be enough to lure you?

Paris Hilton

Is it better than Cygwin?

Can anyone with experience of both say if this environment is 'better' / 'worse' than Cygwin? I use Cygwin (including the Cygwin/X server now, since we lost support for Exceed) as my Linux-style comfort environment on Windows 7, and will probably have to update to Windows 10 at some point.

Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job


David Davis vs. David Davies

It's easy to get mixed up between David Davis MP https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Davis_(British_politician) or http://www.daviddavismp.com/

and David Davies MP

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Davies_(Welsh_politician) or http://www.david-davies.org.uk/

- the article has the bio correct for Davis (Univ. Warwick, now Secretary of State for Brexit - also ex-21 SAS Territorial interestingly), but you have spelt it Davies, which is wrong.

As far as his politics goes, he has more in common with the right wing of the Tory party than any other part, and he has been a Eurosceptic for years before Brexit made it fashionable (which puts him on the right for Tories). However he has not gone with the right wing on many topics such as privacy and surveillance, torture and rendition, and at least some aspects of human rights legislation. You might say he is on the "libertarian right" rather than the "authoritarian right" though I'm not sure that is an accurate reflection of his positions.

Contactless card fraud? Easy. All you need is an off-the-shelf scanner


Where are they shopping

Where are Which? shopping online that they don't need to enter a CVV code or use 3D Secure? Because that sounds really convenient, if amazingly insecure.

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little


Does anyone actually believe they have stopped collecting metadata?

So any existing investigation is grandfathered in, and "fighting terrorism" is an investigation. I'm genuinely interested to know if anyone truly believes that Section 215 lapsing has changed what the NSA collects at all?

Citizens denied chance to vote in local-government IT cockup


Re: Solid Labour seats

I was very worried when I saw that report, and if the Tory sitting MP hadn't increased her majority to 10000 I'm not sure what would have happened (as you say, those 'several hundred' ballots going missing were more than the majority in 2010). It seems I've gone from living in a high marginal to a fairly safe Tory seat (which historically, before Evan Harris won in 1997, Oxford West & Abingdon was for a long time).


Re: Solid Labour seats

I fully agree that it is unacceptable for people to be denied their right to vote. I think it should be a criminal matter (criminal negligence anyway) if this happens.

However, the article mentioned that it "threatened the legitimacy" of the election - that simply isn't the case (in Hackney).


Solid Labour seats

Both Hackney North and Hackney South are pretty solid Labour seats, so unless ~10000 people are affected this won't affect the legitimacy of the results. It would be unfortunate if this sort of thing happens on a large scale in any of the more marginal seats, but I haven't heard any reports of that happening.

Brits' phone tracking, web history touted to cops: The TRUTH


Need details

It's well know that anonymized (or pseudonymized) data can be de-anonymized if enough data points can be correlated with existing known data. So we really need details of what data EE sold to MORI - how was the data anonymized, how was it grouped together in these blocks?

Infinite loop: the Sinclair ZX Microdrive story


Remember ZX Net?

As well as the microdrive interface, the Interface 1 also had a 'proper' RS232 socket and a ZX Net socket for Sinclair's proprietary Spectrum (and later QL) LAN setup. Me & my Dad once networked about 10 Speccies together, mostly to see if we could - there was hardly any software available that actually used ZX Net. I believe the limit was 64 nodes on the LAN, probably someone once did that many for a laugh.

Comixology cloud fails to Make Mine Marvel


They download on iPad

I can access all my previously downloaded stuff in the comixology client on my iPad - so there is a copy in there unless you delete it (they do take up quite a lot of space). I think the main complaint is people not being able to get their weekly pull-list of new titles - because all the servers crashed trying to hand out free Marvel comics.

Capita bosses defend £30m migrant-poking IT deal with Border Agency


Re: What about the 300 000 back log of asylum seekers.

Is it your contention that they are 'in the black economy' so much that they never buy anything with VAT on it? Only e.g. stolen goods?

Help-desk hell


Stealing the mouse

One lunchtime I was helping out in the school computer lab. Two students were sitting side by side on two PCs, one a bit of a bruiser, the other a more shy and retiring type. The larger boy was messing around, swiping his mouse cursor around the screen. It happened that he drove the mouse to the right-hand edge of the screen and therefore lost track of it (since it was the usual left-pointing arrow shape). Coincidentally at about the same time, the boy to his right moved his pointer from the left-hand edge of his screen into the middle. The bruiser immediately jumped up and threatened to thump the other boy for stealing his mouse pointer, luckily I stepped in between them and managed to mollify him by moving his pointer back to the middle of his screen, though he remained convinced that the other boy had somehow managed to nick the pointer...

What a clockup! Apple's Swiss clock knock-off clocks up $21m fine


Weird that they didn't license it in the first place

I was surprised when I saw the Mondaine clock show up in iOS6 - it is so obviously similar to the classic Swiss railway clock design, which is very well known (at least among design people), and the Swiss Railway licensing guys are well-known to be litigious about people using the design in any way, that I assumed that Apple had actually licensed it already. I can't believe they thought they would get away with ripping this one off.

20 years of GSM digital mobile phones


Loved my Nokia 7110

The Nokia 7110 had the best ever single feature in it's spring-loaded slide-down cover. I used to spend hours just hitting the button to open it, then sliding the cover back into place with a lovely chunky click, pretending I was a cool haxor dood in the Matrix*. Probably spent longer doing that than actually talking on it. I was sure that the spring would eventually break or pop out, and sure enough it did, but only after several years of abuse and after I had bought a new phone anyway. Nokia had some good build quality back in the day.

(* Yes pedants, I know that was a mocked up version of the 8110 in the film, but no-one could tell the difference down the pub.)

BT to fibre up another 163 exchanges, coy on exactly where


Said to be up to 80Mbps

"with downstream speeds said to be up to 80Mbps" - no need to be mealy-mouthed about it, I'm about 50m from the cabinet and get 80 down and 20 up. It's perfectly possible if you are close and the copper to the cabinet is in good condition.

Twitter API outrage: Break our rules and we'll break app kneecaps


I'd rather they just be honest

Even more than the content (if you could figure out what they were saying), the style that the Twitter post was written in was offensive - it was the worst sort of business school waffle, with bullshit 4-quadrant charts (to make it look as though 3rd party Twitter-posting clients are just an insignificant part of the software using the API, of course). I would have more respect for them if they just came out and said that in 6 months they were going to cancel the API keys of all 3rd party full clients. This is clearly what they want to do, but their plan seems to be to nickle-and-dime the 3rd party developers to death with fiddly API guidelines - presumably this is so, when the Tweetbot and everyone else finally give ups, Twitter doesn't look like the bad guy - "Hey, we gave them a chance, but their client was making 61 requests every 90 seconds instead of the 30 every 45 seconds that we said they could have..."

Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview PVR review


Like Humax but won't buy them any more

Unfortunately my HDR FOX T2 died just over a year after I got it. It was a great box while it was working, UI was nice, particularly good at picking up low strength Freeview signals, and the picture looked somehow better than my TV built-in decoder, but I'm avoiding them till I get positive evidence their quality control has improved.

Barnes & Noble plans instore NFC Nook-book bonk-buying


Does anyone actually do this?

Just out of interest, does anyone who is interested in buying ebooks actually go in a bookshop? I think I've been in one once since I got my Kindle (Xmas 2010). I can see people going in a bookshop and checking the barcode on Amazon, then ordering the physical book from them because it's cheaper, but if you mostly buy ebooks, do you spend a lot of time browsing a physical bookshop?

Ofcom needs you... to carve up 37GHz of spectrum


Why is North-South more popular than East-West

Can someone explain why North-South directional signals are more popular than East-West? For the sake of argument, assume I know nothing about radio engineering or physics...

Fire burns away the Kindle dream of interactivity


The keyboard on the 3G Kindle is pretty much useless even for the two main uses anyone ever has for it - entering WiFi passwords, and going to a specific location in a book - because the keyboard *has no buttons for numbers*, which have to be entered using a soft keyboard navigated using the 4-way rocker control.

The 1G and 2G Kindle keyboards at least had buttons for numbers, but I can't see anyone typing out anything significant on them.

LaCie cues up Thunderbolt hard drive


Other interfaces?

Presumably all these 'Thunderbolt' disks that people are announcing will also have USB3/FireWire (and who knows, eSATA) interfaces as well? I may be mad enough to have a Mac laptop but I'm not mad enough to buy a disk that only Macs can plug into.

Oracle and Java: Mobile dev FAIL dooms Ellison's future


Cloudbees and Hudson?

Cloudbees looks to have swapped to Jenkins from Hudson, just like everyone else without an oracle.com email address. They haven't quite finished the search-and-replace on their website yet though.

Humax adds BBC iPlayer to Freeview HD DVR


Update looks available for download

Don't know about the OTA update (my box isn't picking it up either), but the update looks to be available for download from the Humax support site now:


- note I haven't tried installing it myself yet as I wanted to see a few reports from people who had (just in case it rendered the box dangerously unstable, as has happened to me with the old PVR 9000).

Three punts UNLIMITED smartphone package


1GB limit

It doesn't say unlimited on the linked page, it says 1GB? Can't really complain that they're selling it as unlimited. Most of the networks do a 1GB/month plan or similar now (which is enough for me, though obviously if you are tethering it wouldn't be) - 3 also has a SIM-only deal at £10 per month for 1GB, rolling contract, which seems like better value than this tariff.

India threatens BlackBerry ban


Why the concentration on BlackBerry?

Can someone explain why BlackBerry is getting some much heat at the moment? Are they much more secure/harder to tap than, for example, accessing an Exchange server over SSL, with the Exchange server in a different country?