* Posts by hairydog

98 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Oct 2011


Giant outsourcer keeps work from home, loses tax breaks. Government says 'good riddance'


Re: Shocked

I recall working at that site. Two minutes from the Metro station, but it was a 20 to 25 minute walk from the gate to my office.

I walked past loads of newly-built office blocks full of people all working alone at a screen, communicating by phone (their glacial email took far too long). They started at the crack of dawn to be able to secure a parking space.

Each time I wondered why on earth weren't they all working from home? 20-odd years later, I bet nothing has changed. It's simply a lack of confidence and imagination in the management chain.

UK's state-owned bank launches hunt for core systems worth close to $1b


Due to an unspecified IT cockup a year or two ago, NS&I prevented me accessing my account for nearly four months.

I wonder how well a new system will work, given the track record of government IT outsourcing.

UK government responds to post-Brexit concerns and of course it's all the fault of those pesky EU negotiators


Rather a baseless assertion. Even today, it is still not clear what Brexit will be in detail.

All those years ago, it was a wise response to say that you didn't know what was being offered, so it would be foolish to express an opinion.

It's reasonable to assume that not voting for a change is a passive vote for the status quo to remain. It is not reasonable to assume the reverse.

The figures were pretty clear: 37.4% for change, 34.7% actively voted for the status quo.

The remaining 27.9% presumably included "don't care", "don't know", "can't decide", "fed up of being lied to", the sick and those on holiday.

Of course that was then. The outcome would be different now.

Huawei's AppGallery riddled with malware-infected games


Of course, the Huawei App Gallery is only needed because of the ludicrous Google Play ban.

Honor 50 Lite: Google Play Services are back on Huawei's former stablemate but that's nothing to get excited about


Hello... can you hear me?

In my experience, the one huge advantage of Huawei phones - and the reason I've bought them in the past - is now considered so unimportant that reviews don't even mention the subject: its ability to connect to the mobile network.

I used to find that Huawei phones worked in places where other phones couldn't get a signal.

Reviews, such as the one I'm commenting on, don't even mention the ability of a mobile phone to do its primary task.

Insteas we get loads about the user interface, which I almost always replace anyway.

Tech bro CEOs claim their crowns because they fix problems. Why shirk the biggest one?


Re: I wish...

We don't have *any* wealth tax, though if we had, it would probably be at something like 0.01%

Taxes on income tend to be up to 95% but the same rules should apply to everyone.

A billionaire still gets the same £11,000 tax free allowance, the same standard rate band, and they only pay higher rates of tax on their "excess" income.

To suggest that anyone can have earned a billion is nonsense.

Assume that you earned £1000 per day (which is normal pay for maybe a dozen people) and is a sensible limit to the actual wage for one person. You worked five days a week, fifty weeks a year. And you paid not a penny in tax.

How long would it take you to earn your first billion? Just four thousand years!

No, billionaires are that wealthy because they have benefited from the resources of others without paying for that benefit.

It is entirely reasonable that they get the same tax breaks as the rest of us, but it also fair that society gets back what has been taken from us.

And if you really think that billionaires add a sort of empowering magic to a business which would stop if they had to pay sensible amounts of tax, I suggest that you really don't understand either business or humans.


One of the most consistent things about wars throughout history is that their conduct is staggeringly inefficient, wasteful and inept.

When at war, governments tend to turn up the pressure without measuring the effect, and almost every thing they do is done inefficiently.

The side effect of this terrible financial and human cost is the appalling environmental cost.

Stopping the march of climate change has to be a huge priority, but treating it as a war effort is probably the worst possible way to do it.

One click, one goal, one mission: To get a one-touch flush solution


Why not just cut the power to the thing?

Or replace it with a £55 toilet from Screwfix?

Google deliberately throttled ad load times to promote AMP, claims new court document


Re: Who would've thunk it?

Capitalism has never been about equal opportunity.

Windows 11 Paint: Oh look – rounded corners. And it is prettier... but slightly worse


I didn't know that anyone used paint, ever. Why would they, when paint.net is free and vastly better?

Windows 11 comes bearing THAAS, Trojan Horse as a service


Re: "and in a few short years we were liberated."


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


The point is that Zen are in the right here. They cannot do anything to resolve issues within the Openreach section. They can only lean on Openreach. Which they have done, without success.

BT (owners of Openreach) is a private company that exists to make a profit, not to provide a service. This was a political decision to set up.

The best way to lean on OR/BT probably is to contact your MP. But he chose to ignore that advice - perhaps his MP is as useless as mine!

It makes no difference which ISP you go to: they all depend on Openreach engineers fixing the same fault in the same pair of wires.

The difference with Zen is that they don't bullshit you. The people you speak to are knowledgeable, not reading a script. And if your connection is good, your service will be good too. But it is always going to depend on the weakest link in the chain, and that's clearly in the Openreach sector in this case.

Big right-to-repair win: FTC blasts tech giants for making it so difficult to mend devices



It's not just IT kit. A Mercedes car has loads of parts that can't be replaced without "coding in" the new bits. And the coding equipment isn't available.

To make matters worse, components aren't available. My car needs a new DVD drive head for the navigation system.

It'd probably cost a few quid, but you can't buy one. You can only buy the whole unit, which has to be coded in on the 'Star' system. The £3 head would cost well over £2000 to fix.

Nominet ignores advice, rejects serious change despite losing CEO, chair, half its board in membership vote


I would like to know who appointed Nominet to be in charge of the UK domain registration. If it was some sort of official body, perhaps they should be pressed to reconsider.

If no-one specifically appointed them, is it now time for Ofcom to look into whether this vital national resource should remain in the hands of such a corrupt, self-serving organisation?

Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies


How do you go about being the boss of such an organisation?

Did he simply appoint himself, or was he invited?

If so, by whom?


UK's Superfast Broadband programme delivered value for money, says report, just don't ask about rural deployments


I live in a rural village. Our FTTC broadband was fed from a cabinet a kilometre away, getting slower and slower as take-up grew.

Then a new fibre cabinet appeared in the centre of the village, about 180 metres from my house. Great: that'll give far better speeds.

But no. Seems that Openreach will only connect you to the new cabinet if you don't already have a wire (active or not) connected to the old cabinet.

An hour spend checking estimated speeds on the checker identified two buildings that can benefit from this, because they've never had a BT phone line. One of these buildings is derelict. The other has not taken up the service available.

Even if you are willing to pay for a new line, Openreach will not put in a new line if there's an old one they can reuse.

So that's a few thousand pounds of public money "spaffed up the wall". It's not even as if Dido Harding was in charge!

So the community money that went into this cabinet is wasted.

Apologies for the wait, we're overwhelmed. Yes, this is the hospital. You need to what?! Do a software licence audit?


Not sure what I think about this.

Yes, it seems insensitive timing, but if hospitals say they are busier than ever, presumably their need for software licences will also have peaked beyond normal (aka paid for) limits.

Can the software suppliers rely on hospitals doing retrospective audits after the crisis has passed, paying for the extra licences for the peak use? I suspect not.

Will the software companies be in trouble without the extra revenue? I doubt it.

Is it a risk I'd be willing to take? No!

HP bows to pressure, reinstates free monthly ink plan... for existing customers


So HP started by deciding to breach the contract that the printers were originally sold under. That was never going to end well.

Now they've backtracked, they've shot themselves in the foot a second time: nobody will switch to a paid-for tariff because they wouldn't be able to move back.

I guess their marketing department has been taken over by a competitor.

And for some of the others commenters here, no it does not print advertisments. and yes, fifteen pages a month is very useful.

Cleaning the heads isn't going to to change:the heads are part of the cartridge, changed for free when the ink runs down.

I've been using one of these printers for a few years. It is mostly used when I'm away in my motorhome, or for when I want a quick one-page document printed.

Ivee never needed toa print as many as fifteen pages in one month: the problem is remembering to print something at least once a month to keep it clear. If it have a big print run I use the big laser printer.

Tax working from home, says Deutsche Bank, because the economy needs that lunch money you’re not spending


Perhaps there should be an extra tax on people who insist on pointless commuting?

UK's National Audit Office warns full-fibre rollout strategy is leaving rural Britain behind. Again


Superfast swindle

A collaboration including taxpayers' money has provided the village I live in with a shiny new FTTC cabinet, bringing superfast speeds to new phone lines in the village.

The trouble is that almost every house in the village already has a phone line, connected to a cabinet well over a kilometre away in one direction or another.

It isn't possible to get connected to the new cabinet.

Even if you pay for a new installation, Openreach will re-use the existing line rather than run a cable to the new cabinet.

I wasted half an hour looking, and found just one single address where the BT speed estimate was the 60mb/sec the new cabinet gives, rather than the 20mb/sec (or less) the existing cabinets are estimated to give. That address has no phone line at present.

Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?


The way BT is doing it, we'll never get good speeds. I live in a village with so-so broadband speeds.

One of the community partnerships has paid Openreach to put a new FTTC cabinet in the middle of the village. But almost nobody can use it.

Anyone who has a line already is connected to a cabinet almost a mile away in either direction (depending which end of the village you live.

Even if you order a new line, they'll almost certainly just use a spare pair in the existing cables. I have found just one address in the village that is predicted speeds that reflect a nearby cabinet: that address has never had a phone line.

As long as penny-pinching is more important to BT than delivering a good service, giving public money to BT is throwing it away.

Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020: Nothing too crazy but at least it's more fixable and cheaper than comparable Apple wares


I have a previous version of this laptop, and after a couple of years of use, I would say that it is nothing less than wonderful. Way cooler-looking than a Surface or a Mac, but also better in performance and usability.

The fingerprint reader is superb. Always works first time.

The battery life is stunning.

It charges really fast using USBC. The second USBC port also does Thunderbolt, I understand, though I've never used it for that.

The screen is amazing: It is 3000x2000 though I generally run it scaled.

It happily drives three other monitors at the same time, as well as ethernet and power in, all using one USBC plug (though the included adapter doesn't have ethernet).

I don't have much to say about its actual performance, because I don't play games. For business and multimedia, it is always way ahead of the load. I've never had to wait for it to do anything.

Yes, the webcam is a silly setup, but at least it is easy to switch off.

There is only one thing I dislike about this laptop: it has no page up, page down, home or end keys on the otherwise superb keyboard. I can live without them, but after two years, I still mourn their omission.

Capita's bespoke British Army recruiting IT cost military 25k applicants after switch-on


Re: "it must still pay maintenance fees to Capita for the upkeep of the software"

The valuer (didn't waste money on a survey) queried whether the extension that houses my utility room had planning permission. It was added in 1770.

Hey is trying a new take on email – but maker complains of 'outrageous' demands after Apple rejects iOS app


Top posting the standard? I don't think so. It's just a sign that you're corresponding with a numpty.

Microsoft's rubbish email clients started this with the reply cursor at the top, but it's not a great choice of email client for so many reasons.

All-electric plane makes first flight – while lugging 2 tons of batteries aloft



I watched this stupid video, not to see what a light aircraft looks like when flying, but to see if it is quieter sounding than a non-electic plane.

I guess it isn't quieter, or why else would they have put the moronic "drug dealer chimes" attempt at music over the soundtrack?

Senior MP tells UK Defence Committee on 5G security: Russia could become China's cyber-attack dog


Re: Insights

Remember System X? The telephone exchange system, designed specifically so that the government could track all phone calls?

This requirement made it expensive, but a price worth paying for any state that distrusted its citizens.

Although it was installed widely in the UK, no other countries would buy it. Thank goodness.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style


Re: Test, test and test again...

Sadly, that approach looks really good from a modern perspective, but it was still suboptimal.

The test plan should be derived from the business requirements, not from the spec. Otherwise you are only testing that the system meets the spec, rather than meeting the needs the spec was meant to address.

Nowadays, of course, people just make it up as they go along.

Cheshire Police celebrates three-year migration to Oracle Fusion by lobbing out tender for system to replace it... one year later


Yes, of course, police HR is completely unlike any other sort of HR. It's the shape of the helmets, you see.

And every other aspect of the system has to be custom-coded to allow for geographic differences.

Once you are made aware of the need to have everything specially customised for your unique requirements, it's clear that you will need to pay for the best and understand that the work will take time. Lots of time

Oh, and do you realise that you need a special word processor to be able to write a good shopping list?

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy



If you want an example of how ridiculous an idea can get accepted, look at fingerprint retention.

If your prints are recorded by the police but you were not guilty of the crime being investigated, the EU forced the UK to bring in a system that deletes the record after a time. How long that time is depends on how serious the offence was.

So we have a situation where if you didn't commit a minor crime, your prints are deleted faster than if you didn't commit a more serious crime.

This makes perfect sense only to anyone who doesn't understand the meaning of the word "didn't", but it seems to have been generally accepted.

So what will be accepted for misuse of this data at a later date?

NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet


The wheels look very flimsy to me.

OK, the weight of the rover is only a fraction of what it is on Earth, but its mass is just as high. If it strikes a lump in the ground as it drives along, it's the mass, not the weight, that punches against the wheels. I guess they're tougher than they look. Well, I hope so!

Day 4 of outage: UK's Manchester police deploy exciting new carbon-based method to record crime


The reality is that any contract letting Capita do anything has to be dodgy. The only thing they do well is to draft contracts within contracts which allow them to charge huge amounts of money for screwing up, or even doing nothing at all.

Signing a Capita contract guarantees nothing except a huge bill.

I guess that someone must be getting rich, because Capita keep getting contracts, even though they never seem to deliver what's promised

There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that even lets them into the bidding.

Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US peeps? Well, guess what…


Re: Makes sense

The basic definition of "bad guys" is people who have broken the law. So yes, this database is good at identifying the bad guys: they're the ones logging in to use it!

TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t


Re: Was it something we reported?

To give good news about T-T would involve telling fibs, wouldn't it? Not sure we need more of that!

Remember the millions of fake net neutrality comments? They weren't as kosher as the FCC made out


Re: why is it always

Why mostly right-wing? Follow the money!

The right wing is mostly in the pocket of people who put mking money above other stuff.

The left tends to be more centred on honesty and fairness.

UK.gov: Huge mobile masts coming to a grassy hill near you soon


Re: Can someone explain...

Ionica failed because they initially focussed only on voice calls, and instead of spending on software to support data properly, they spent a fortune on swanky new head office buildings.

There was nothing wrong with the concept or the signal.

I really some dispute about software licensing too, but I forget the details.

Enemy of the Matebook: Huawei shuts up laptop shop. When is it back? Depends on America's Entity List


Ten million flies can't be wrong.

No, I'm sure that Huawei notebook sales are not huge in the UK, but my goodness they are good.

I am really impressed by my Matebook Pro - it is seriously excellent. Way better than the Macbook and Surface market-leaders.

Sometimes the best products are not the best sellers.

Hongmeng, there's no need to feel down: It's patently obvious this is Huawei's homegrown OS


I think I'd rather be spied on by the Chinese government than by dozens of American companies who are trying to sell me stuff I neither need nor even want. Google keeps tabs on everywhere you go. How can that be acceptable?

Refactoring whizz: Good software shouldn't cost the earth – it's actually cheaper to build



Unless you know what you are setting out to achieve, you are not likely to achieve it.

Software design should start from a set of business requirements, gap analyses and functional specifications.

The code should be based on technical specifications, with error handling throughout.

The test scenarios should be based on business requirements and functional specifications. Not on technical specifications.

Does this happen? Hmm. Sometimes. I saw it once, in the late 1990s.

Since then, the "waterfall method" lost out to "agile" (aka make it up as you go along).

How can you gwet it right first time when "right" is redefined as you code?

Only one Huawei? We pitted the P30 Pro against Samsung and Apple's best – and this is what we found


This review of three mobile phones seems to have fallen into the same trap. It compares their cameras. How about comparing their ability to work as a communication device?

It will you next review three digital cameras and rate them on their ability to make crispy toast?

Yes, the camera is one part of the operation of a smartphone, but it isn't the only one, or even the most important.

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!


Interesting that Huawei phones have better RF performance than all the others.

Must be something suspicious. After all, how could foreigners be better at making things?

Build a wall!*

*and wall up all xenophobic, moronic heads of state in a single pen.

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?


Seems to me that Huawei products upset the competition by outperforming other brands. So they seek to smear the brand in retaliation.

It's not as if any other other major brands don't also have a hefty proportion of their innards made in China.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing


Re: Why?

The stronger the mixture, the lower the freezing point.

You can put pure antifreeze into a cars cooling system. The only reason not to is the cost. Piston-engined aircraft use pure antifreeze because it gets cold at high altitude.

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers


Re: Bollocks

You titled your reply well: it was indeed bollocks.

Managers do indeed press developers to make things happens cheap and fast. But that doesn't stop developers having to say "no, it takes longer to do it properly"

The reality is that it doesn't take much longer. Start with the "cope with error" template and it becomes second nature.

The extra dev time is compensated for by easier integration testing.

Few developers even understand the concept of a "failure first" approach, so it looks hard to them and they react with moronic comments like "Bollocks"..


V2X "vehicle to everything" - really? To pedestrians? cyclists? horse riders? flocks of sheep? cows going to milking? Circus parade elephants? Sleepy kangaroos? Spilled loads? Fallen trees?

Technology needs to address itself to the real world, not the "simplest case" that the spec had in mind.

Software and systems should be designed from failure backwards: every function should initially be designed to report and cope with failure, then the "non-failure" case should be added as an exception.

But this doesn't often happen becasue the developers are so focussed on what they want it to do.

UK's BT: It's not unusual to pull Huawei from our core mobile networks


Remember System X?

A vast amount of money was wasted on System X, devloped just so that any call could be tapped automatically and remotely.

Noone else in the world thought this an acceptable idea so it didn't sell.

So now BT are worried? Bunch of incompetent hypocrites.

And as for their track record on mobile networks:

They had Cellnet and screwed it up to the point where it was disposed of in a fire sale. Now they plan to wreck EE.

OnePlus 6T: Tasteful, powerful – and much cheaper than a flagship


"What if Huawei used OnePlus's Oxygen UI, I found myself musing recently. Wouldn't it be the perfect package?"

Why not get a Huawei and install a different launcher? This is so obvious that I must have missed something.

The launcher on my (elderly) Huawei had a new launcher within five minutes of starting it up.

UK.gov: New London courthouse will focus on crimes of a cyber nature


Difficult to think of a more stupid place to build it. Whose pockets does it line?

It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos


Those cowboys dug up a private road without permission, cutting through the tree roots so the trees will die (or fall over) in a year or two.

When challenged, they initially said they had the council's permission (a lie- the council doesn't own that road and had told them so). Then they claimed the work hadn't started on that road yet. (It had started and finished by then).

The careless incompetent of the contractors is nothing to the unbelievable ineptitude of their admin and planning.

If they run their network as well, you should buy some carrier pigeons before signing up with Virgin.

BBC extends Capita Audience Services contract to 25 years


Surely there is no way that Crapita could win such a contract legitimately, so it would make sense to look into whose pockets (or whose partners or cronies' pockets) are being lined by this deal.

As for signing a 25 year contract with such a dysfunctional corporation that has such an appalling record; well, that really needs legal challenge.

O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band


Re: Bully for O2 - and me?

I think the most attractive virtuals piggyback EE, unless you are only interested in data. And in my experience, O2 data is sloooow much of the time, so it isn't a great deal at any price