* Posts by ttuk

61 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Sep 2010


How to go from the IT dept to being a rogue trader

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my god..

This article is bang on the money.. (Well not sure about the rogue dodgy practices, but the general stuff about working in IT for traders it's like the author has been stood over my shoulder the last few years)

Particularly the stuff about skills etc. VBA / SQL etc.. and the visible fixes.. The fact that getting the solution made as quickly as possible ignoring the fact that it'll obviously be buggy and shit.. The fact you get more credit for continually fixing stuff that breaks compared to making something that works.. The almost complete abscence of testing and any form of quality control..

I've worked as a general IT support monkey for traders in small hedge funds the last few years and I'm desperate to get out of it now.. No desire to go into trading, I know I don't have the appetite for risk, trouble is the last few years mean my IT skills can now be summed up as VBA expert but everything else mediocre / forgotten.. It's crap.. I realised the other day I'd forgotten how pointers worked and had to go look them up.

Anyone have any tips how to move out of cowboy coding VBA for traders and into something more interesting / rewarding??

RIM to turn in BlackBerry-using looters after London riots



I'd be surprised if blackberry just handed over data of arbitrary users without asking the police to get a court order or whatever first, there would have to be burden of proof that someone was implicated before this would be allowed. It'd be a PR disaster for the firm, imagine if a mobile phone company said they would hand every SMS sent at a certain time via their network to the authorities.

My guess is journos are reading too much into that tweet, and a PR guy at blackberry is getting a severe telling off for giving people the wrong end of the stick

Bullfrog Syndicate


A-z and/or 0-9

yes fantastic game..

I used to like holing my agents up somewhere safe and pulling all their drugs down to the minimum for a while, this giving the advantage then you could then go.. right.. time to fuck things up, put all the drugs up to the max (and they would stay there for ages since you'd lowered them before) and march into a massive fire fight.. (with a horde of zombie cannon fodder too)

cannon fodder also worth a mention as an example of a game that took part of the idea and made a cool fun arcadey style title from it

Ten... in-ear headphones



Have also had cables go. My first set, and then the warranty replacement. Seems a very common problem. Untill the design changes I am avoiding shure


kipsch image s4s

I got a pair of these about a year ago for 60 notes and thought they were great value. They sound at least as good as the shure e2cs I used to have before. Nowadays you can pick them up for 35-40 pound, bargain..

Also shure build quality isn't the best, I had a pair of shures and the cable went (housing disintegrated).. replaced under warranty and the same thing happened within a year or so.. looking on forums lots of other people have had the same problem.. there is something not right with their cable design..

George Lucas defeated by Stormtrooper helmet man



out of copyright.. and no contract in the first place anyway.. Makes sense.

Screw Lucas!


exactly what i was thinking

every development job I've ever done the contracts I've signed have made it very, very clear that anything I create as part of my job belongs to my employer..

Sorry, time travelers, you’re still just fiction


no TFL travel either..

engineering works..

Groupon: Scoopon’s catch of the day


letters / digits

No.. I think Groupon takes around 50% of the voucher value..

However, I believe, Groupons lack of profit thus far is mainly due to their incredibly rapid international expansion..

As long as they are the "goto" guys for businesses wanting to promote offers they will eventually make money..

However there is nothing to stop someone with money to burn copying their business model and offering deep discounts to all the businesses that want to do offers.. then groupon runs out of offers to offer and money and folds. Then the first company just puts their cut back to normal and recoups their money...

The other observation is that companies are starting to realise that in many cases offering deep discounts is neither profitable, nor raises repeat business / brand awareness sufficiently.. The upshot being that the number and quality of offers being made available is going to fall. If there are no offers for groupon to sell (or if people stop buying them because they are crap) then groupon will disappear


the problem with groupon...

is that it's such an easy business model to copy with very low barriers to entry..

You don't need fancy technology or intellectual property or software patents like google..

You don't need to have a huge userbase before you can make a profit through selling adverts, like facebook....

You just need to ring up loads of businesses and agree on the cut you will take for any offers the business wants to sell through your site.

It's not surprising there are loads of copycats and I wonder how long groupon remains the market leader..

In fact as was stated on an article on here a few weeks ago (or maybe it was bloomberg.. don't remember) there are many worries about whether the business model can every be profitable

Spotify trumpets move to US (and little else)

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+1 for grooveshark

I'm in the UK, and find myself using grooveshark.

Has more music than spotify, is audio ad free (banner ads in the desktop client but no ads in what you listen to)

and best of all is free..

they do offer a "premium" service which gives you a slightly nicer client, plus access to mobile apps. However their mobile app, last time I tried it, was terrible and crashed all the time and failed to stream. BUT there is a 3rd party app that uses their api and works a treat.

Cloud iTunes DESTROYS music business FOREVER!



If the autosync in iCloud works anything like the autosync for ipod then I predict lots of people losing data accidentally....

So many people I know lost music on their ipods by having autosync on...

Sure the icloud is different, but I bet there will be a significant minority of non technically minded people that experience data loss/restore headaches

App Engine: Google's deepest secrets as a service




I did see there where some decent looking hosts for around $10 a month.

I would not have been comfortable on a vps since I don't know much about server admin at all.. would no doubt have been a security nightmare.

The thing I like about the google system is it'l pretty much all setup and ready to go.. You spend say 30 mins reading some of the intro docs and then you can get write on with implementing your app..

You run one script to upload.. and bang! It's live.. minimal faffing... Lets you concentrate on the app development and not server admin stuff. It's also free! And the admin tools are pretty good also

The only slight annoyance I had last night is that the runtime python environment is 2.5.. My linux distro, like pretty much everyone else is 2.6... I did try installing 2.5 on my system alongside 2.6 but it didn't seem to work.. some problem with one of the modules that I couldn't figure out..

So when I uploaded I had to make a few small changes to syntax.. Also one of the 3rd party libs I used, used a datatype that was only available in 2.6 so I had to do a bit of googling to find 2.5 compatible source code for it to drop in.. I'm just being careful now as I do new things to check when features where implemented to the language

So far.. all good

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for hobbyist use.. I like it.. mostly..

Funnily enough I've just started developing an app using app engine.

I do a bit of python coding at work, and have worked on simple small company intranets in pylons, but to be fair it was a fair few months ago and I spend most of my time developing in excel

I came up with an idea for a simple web application that I'd find useful (and probably a fair few other people) a while ago and wondered about coding it up myself in my spare time, it'll add a little to my CV at least and be useful and interesting too.

Then I wondered about hosting... Any webhost that would let me setup server side code generally seemed to require a $$ a month commitment, which considering I was doing this as a project for my own amusement in my spare time, I wasn't too keen on... especially as I wasn't sure if it would all work in the first place anyway.

Then I heard about app engine.. free, runs python..

So far I've only developed locally on the dev server, I haven't uploaded yet.. Thoughts..

They say you can run whatever framework you like on there (Django, pylons cherrypy etc) but it seems far from trivial to get it setup, plus certain restrictions in gae break features of the framework. So I've stuck to the simple framework they have. My app isn't too complex for the most part so it's fine..

But.. some of the restrictions and so on do take a bit of getting your head round... there's no session management to speak of builtin so you have to rethink the way you might normally do things to get it to work.. It's easy if you expect users to login to their google accounts.. but if your app doesn't use google services then that's not massively helpful..

Documentation and tutorials are pretty good..

Of course I don't know how well this would suit a proper business.. Also not sure what I will do if I start to hit the free limits in terms of bandwidtth / cpu and google require cash of me to pay for it... I guess this is the point, they will help me setup adsense on there or something to fund the cost..

Basically they got me with the free model.. I have a server setup, that will run the code I want sat there waiting for me, for free.. Of course if what I do is succesful then google may well end up getting me to upgrade to the paid version...

NHS Direct

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This article has been live for over 2 hours and so far no comments about govt "wasting" money on developing apps when we are supposed to be cutting back...

To me it seems like a logical extension to the website, although of course the ability to show you local options without redirecting to your browser would be good

Ten... fantasy gadgets you wish you owned

Paris Hilton

X-Ray specs

Can't believe these weren't on the list.. Why are they taking so long?

Paris of course

LastPass resets passwords following possible hack


it should..

but its not critical...

It's only really an issue if a hacker manages to get hold of the encyrpted data, as then they can sit and try and brute force it offline..

However to download your encrypted data you need to enter the right password to their server (which is sent over as a hash, they don't have it).. but you only get 5 tries before they lock you out..



from what I can gather they are only asking people to reset if they see a login attempt from an ip address you haven't used recently

Nokia touted Meego to rivals, but nobody wanted to know

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kind of wish it had took off

If some of the bugs could have been ironed out, moblin was far and away a very sleek and fast distro for netbooks.. It ran like lightning on my aspire one, and booted in about 5 seconds.. just a shame it was a bit buggy and installing mp3 codecs and so on was a real pain in the neck..

So, what's the best sci-fi film never made?


Iain M Banks

Some of his books certainly have the potential for great films..

I remember reading an interview where he said he had mixed feelings about filming his books, one of his his main reservations being Special effects won't be good enough, although he admitted advances in cgi mean this is not so much an issue now..

Plus I think he welcomed the idea of pocketing mega $$$

The Sun still not shining on Nintendo's 3DS


absoloute crap

the sun that is...

Like what every other person said.. when wil the sun do an expose on the dangers of exercise, or rollercoasters (no that would kill the alton towers and thorpe park kickbacks) or watching horror films (actually they've done that one to death haven't they)

I remember seeing a while ago a sun "investigation" into energy drinks where their hapless volunteer had to drink a large can of redbull every 20 minutes or something.. unsurprisingly after a couple of hours he was a jittery monster with a high heart rate and kept rushing off to the loo..

also from what I remember their 22 year old volunteer (new junior writer) likes his kebabs and beers a bit too much so his resting heart rate probably isn't too healthy anyway...

Halifax cuts investment accounts off from the web until April 2012

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It's very annoying.. thankfully it is ONLY the investment accounts and not current / regular savings accounts affected..

It'll be a bit of a pain but I can still monitor the value of my sotcks and shares ISA on google or yahoo finance all the funds are listed on there

Amazon jumps the gun on free clouds


not surprising

auto renewing subscriptions are commonplace as are are free trials that automatically start paying untill you explicitly cancel, I doubt it would take many people by surprise..

As for the access rights to files and security, what do you expect for free or < a few $ a month.. enterprise level backup solutions are expensive corporates spend thousands on backup systems that can still fail and guaranteeeing every one of the thousands of peoples files who used the service would be stupid..

Unfortunately I guess there are some people out there that will expect that a free service will still absoloutely guarantee their files, people need to learn if you want a 100% secure cloud backup it will cost big $$$ better to just shell out for a portable hard disk as your main backup solution

Zomm wireless leash

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given that many people struggle to keep their smartphone charged for a full day away from home once they've had their phone for more than about 6 months I really can't see this catching on,

Bluetooth is a big battery drain, if you have to keep it enabled all the time for this device will work then your phone will dead by mid afternoon

Hackers make off with TripAdvisor's membership list


eFinancialCareers too

A few weeks ago I got a mail from eFinancialCareers saying they had misplaced email addresses too and that I should change my password for them as a precaution.. not noticed any increase in spam though, maybe I was lucky

Samsung intros 'skinnier than iPad 2' tablets

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slowly coming around

I used to be very much anti tablets in general.. What is it for... why bother when you have a laptop etc..

But I'm gradually coming round to the idea.. a net book is all very well, but its more than I need when I just want to check a website quickly while sat on the sofa, or just have something to watch movies on a train journey (plus the battery sucks in this case) I could use my phone but the screen is very small..

If price can be got down to around the £250 mark then I may well give one a whirl.. Almost certainly not ipad though, I don't want to be locked in to apple

Dixons Advent Vega

Jobs Horns

here's your title


Catch Notes



for springpad... does simply what I need, mostly use it for reminder notes and shopping lists.. will be good when their price watching feature supports UK retailers..

iPad 2? Let's be kind and call it iPad 1.5


3rd party suppliers

"Not that Apple has ever worried too much about pulling the rug out from under it's third-party partners"

indeed.. from Bloomberg: "Zagg Inc. which sells accessories such as iPad cases, plunged 24% after Apple introduced its own magnet case for the tablet."

Password management site plugs info-leak bug


risk vs convenience

It's all a matter of assessing risk isn't it..

I cycle to work rather than getting public transport because I feel that the time saved and benefit to my health outweighs the greater risk of my being involved in an accident while commuting.

As has been said, only a USB stick style system (or an incredible memory) is really more secure when you need to have unique non dictionary based passwords made up of upper/lower case, numbers and symbols and that has weaknesses of being, lost / stolen / put through washing machine.

On top of that since the (de/en)cryption happens locally its only ever encrypted data that goes into the cloud. And the exploit discovered was not even able to get hold of that, just email addresses.

finally, I know that all really critical sites I use ie, banking, have more secure login systems that require me to enter additional information from dropdown boxes or use a card reader, this isn't in my lastpass info so even if someone did get hold of my password they'd still need physical access to my card / my brain..

low risk

Google preps YouTube movie service 'for UK'


care to elaborate

I've had half a mind to sign up, (on demand is useful, in the post is not I have no idea what movie I'll feel like watching in a few days time) but worried about performance..

What's wrong, just buffering etc??

I have a 20mbps O2 connection although my actual speeds are more like 12 or 13 mbps usually.

Iplayer, ITV player and so on usually work ok, although can stutter sometimes at peak evening time and if I have bittorrent or whatever hogging my connection

German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP



quitre happily connect my ipod to my ubuntu machine and update my music from rhythmbox. Drag and drop tastic..

God-game creator granted Bafta gong



syndicate was great.. and populous also..

hate to sound old.. but, they don't make em like they used to... there hasn't been a decent god type game out for ages.

Latvian film fan pops cap in loud popcorn eater



plus the fact that despite paying the best part of ten quid, there are 20 minutes of adverts to sit through before the movie actually starts.. of course I could show up 20 minutes later but then run the risk of having to sit right at the front in the corner..

my sofa on the other hand is always placed in optimum viewing position for my tv, and the movie starts exactly when I want

Ten... over-ear headphones



One thing that really really gets me is the crappy quality earphones that you get with apple products and other pmps and the amount of people that happily use them..

They sound terrible! Even a £10 pair of buds from HMV is a 10x improvement over the crappy free ipod earphones..

When commuting in london I regularly see obviously well off people well dressed with ipads and so on, and they're using the shitty free apple earbuds to listen to their music.. They've spent 500 quid on kit to listen to music on and have crap earbuds.

After all when buying hi-fi the recommendation typically is you spend 50% of your budget on amp and sources, and 50% on speakers.. these people have spent 100% on source..

Its almost like spending £500 on a decent blu-ray player and then hooking it up to a 14" black and white crt TV.

Personally due to the amount of background noise while commuting and the fact I'm not loaded I have spent around £60-70 on a half decent set of in ear buds. I would probably only spend the money on the ones listed above for home listening which I don't do much of.

Even so when friends see them and ask how much they cost the reaction is usually "£60 for earphones?!!"

I just don't get it.. I spend more time (1 or 2 hours a day) listening to these earphones than I do my home hi-fi setup, in terms of £s per hour of usage my earphones cost a fraction of a penny per hour..


sorry, rant over.. bloody apple consumers, all style over functionality...

Anonymous security firm hack used every trick in book



very james bond.. especially the spoofing an email to get someone to reveal details... I await the (TV) movie

Fifa, Uefa lose free-to-view footie challenge



Cue yet more anti-eu drivel in the murdoch media tomorrow then

Boffins demand: Cull bogus A-Levels, hire brainier teachers


I think there already are financial incentives

I believe there already are financial incentives for sci / maths teachers..

a friend of mine quit his IT career to retrain as a maths teacher and got his PGCE paid for by the govt. also I think the starting salaries are around 4 or 5k more than for those on other subjects.. even with that extra cash though you're still much worse off than working in industry, and horrendously so compared to the finance sector..

as it is teaching is a profession for the few graduates who actually have a passion for the subject and enjoy teaching (my friend) and (mostly) all the people that got a 3rd and couldn't get a job using their degree in the private sector. Those that can't, teach.. as the advert really should have gone..

as someone who studied maths but now earns a good but extremely boring living as an excel monkey in finance and barely uses the maths skills I spent 4 years studying to masters level I would be tempted to go into teaching.. unfortunately I know it would involve ungrateful brats, ridiculous hours and paperwork and an almost 66% cut in my salary.. No thanks.. The only thing that attracts me is the fact that it is a very transferrable skill in demand almost everywhere so would enable me to earn a living somewhere that wasn't a ridiculously huge city

Evil grain-speculating OVERLORDS will starve us ALL


a-9 1-z

"If the sum is zero, do half of the commodity speculation companies go bust?"


Because a significant proportion of the futures market is not speculators but hedgers.. I.e. organisations looking to ensure predictable cashflows in the future. e.g. company x agrees to buy 5000 bushels of wheat in June at a price of $900 a bushel.

When it comes to june perhaps the price of wheat is actually $850 a bushel so whoever the entered into the agreement with x is able to make a profit (by buying the wheat for 850 then selling to x for the agreed price of 900), company x in theory though does not care, because the point of agreeing to buy at a certain price in the future (for them) was to know with certainty the price they would be paying and be able to budget and balance their books accordingly without having to worry about the risk of the price of wheat going up too high

iPad TWO: What, already?

Jobs Horns

this is how apple make money....


'Red Hat for stats' goes toe-to-toe with SAS


insightful / splus

Insightful and s-plus succesfully killed all desire I ever had to work with R.

How they could charge such ridiculous licesnse and maintenance fees for a product which is essentially a very very poor front end to an open source language I don't know...

The s-plus IDE was a nightmare to code in, then they informed us a new version was coming out with.. oooh, syntax highlighting and oooh a debugger, but only if we gave them another few thousand dollars a year to upgrade to the "premium" version.. It was around that time that I succesfully persuaded my managers to give them them the flick and we shifted everything to MATLAB.. yes proprietary but at least you get decent support and a pretty good development environement for your money..

Nowadays mind I try and use python, numpy and scipy and so on for that sort of stuff.. takes a little more work to get the prerequisites installed but its all free / open source and works..

Home Office crime maps go to street-level detail


a-z 1-9

No doubt others have got here first

1) Site doesn't work on launch day, no doubt due to huge amount of press coverage and high demand..

2)) Govt keeps talking, recession, cuts, etc. etc. then spends 300k on project that is very much a gimmick and non essential. (and can't handle demand on launch day)

3) Effect of house prices.. may discourage reporting of minor crimes by homeowners.

that is all

First DOS-based malware celebrates silver jubilee


dont' forget

to defragment your FAT/NTFS hard disk regularly too..

honestly, since switching to linux and using ext2/3/4 you wonder how microsoft have dragged their heels on this for so long..

Job application scam fleeces company of $150,000


hide extensions

ah.. forgot about that, since as someone else mentioned it's one of the first things I instinctively change whenever I use a new windows system.

Clearly alot of people on old email software that doesn't warn when opening executable attachements.. or equally likely they just clicked through the warning

Paris Hilton

dear oh dear...

It appears the payload relies on said business opening an attachment that is a .exe file, hardly sophisticated..

While its disguised with a word icon, the file name is still clearly, MyResume.exe

Surely lesson 1 for everyone when they started using email (or in fact computer in general) is "DONT OPEN EXECUTABLE FILES FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES"

If people still get tricked by this then there is a problem with the training / education (proably none whatsoever) they have received on using PCs.

Also, up to date virus scanner.. yadda yadda

Google gins search formula to favor its own services

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"Algorithmic" and "unbiased" are not mutually exclusive


The algorithm can include logic that says something along the lines of..

if domain of site contains "Google" then: increase ranking by 10

and its still an algorithm..

The real issue here is that ranking search results is an incredibly grey area and its not clear what the "correct" or optimum result is.

It's not a problem like sorting, or finding the shortest path where the optimum solution is well defined.

Susan Boyle joins Lads from Lagos



seen anything like this since about 2001/2 when spam filtering was very non existent, nowadays I never get 419s, but reading this makes me realise I actuallly miss them..

Time to delve into the spam folder on my gmail account

WikiLeaks gets Swiss bank info


is required and must contain ...

Will be interesting if this set of docs actually turns up anything interesting or incriminating...

After all everyone knows the likes of Vodafone and so on siphon money though a zillion different channels, the firm I work for technically has a HQ in the cayman islands, etc etc. plus of course lord ashcroft and all that..

If this reveals that some members of the cabinet have a very "efficient" organisation of their assets going on then maybe we'll see some fireworks ("we're all in this together" and so on) but what with the negative publicity and over exposure of wikileaks lately perhaps any revelations will not capture the attention of the media...

wait and see I guess

Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak



try not to take things so seriously.

I know this is the internet but it still shouldn't be that hard to spot the sarcasm and tounge in cheek nature of my orignial post.

To make it clear..

I do NOT believe that the US somehow drugged assange to make him egotisctical. The suggestion is a sartirical comment on all the conspiracy theorists out there.

Black Helicopters

it appears

that a sneaky consipracy spear campaign and trumped up rape charges, all orchestrated by a shadowy figure in the US administration was not required at all, assange has been given enough rope (publicity) and hung himself with it..

either that or somehow the US really IS behind all of this . and somehow drugged assange to give him delusions of grandeur

anon obviously.. with a tin hat on..