* Posts by Maria Helm

21 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jun 2007

Dogs would say: size is important, shape - not so much

Maria Helm

Re: I always wondered...

Having been around a lot of dog training, I can answer this one. They are given additional cues. Dogs trained for police work, search and rescue, etc. don't just work off "he is running, so get him". They also work off a scent cue picked up early in the chase, and are also trained to take directional orders from their handler. So, the dog can be halfway across the parking lot and the handler can yell a command and make the dog turn right, or left, or even stop completely. The training must override the instinct, or they won't make a good service dog. Being extremely well trained is life saving TO THE DOG.

IBM floats Microsoft Office web challenger

Maria Helm

maths & living in the past

RE: Maths - I'm not sure, but I think the benefit is intended for corporations who buy MS Office "packs" for lots of employees. This keeps them from shelling out upfront. These are also typically places that will have bigger problems if their internet access goes down. Might also be a good idea for small businesses, since the initial cost layout is lower and licenses can be added, or removed, individually as employees needs dictate.

RE: Several comments (and more to come, I am sure) about "I USED to work somewhere that had Lotus Notes" and also "Lotus 123". Lotus 123/SmartSuite hasn't been around for a while. Symphony replaced that offering several years back. Domino/Lotus Notes has also gone through multiple upgrades/reincarnations. Additionally, your company's Domino/Lotus Notes implementation was only as good as the people they hired to administer/develop it. A lot of companies in that era installed Notes and expected their MS-trained employees to automatically know what to do with it. (I know, I was one.)

So if you aren't commenting upon a VERSION 8.0 HIGHER, JOIN THE NEW MILLENIUM. That was two decades back. We can ALL complain about what crap software our company had in the LATE '90s...no matter what vendor it was from.

Renew your firearms licence via your iPhone

Maria Helm


It says to RENEW the license. So, these are people who have ALREADY BEEN APPROVED to have one, and probably DO have one. This does not make it easier for someone who doesn't have a license to get one. Don't Panic.

Mail my printer - I'm busy!

Maria Helm

sounds like a wonderful device...

...for a company that makes money off of ink cartridges.

But aren't most of us moving in the "paperless" direction?

Some flaws in the thinking here:

1. Impulsivity: "This is an awesome picture. I can't wait to see it big. I'll just email it to my printer..." LATER: "Why on earth did I think I needed a paper copy of THIS?"

2. "I just knew you were going to want to see the latest picture of little Billy with a bowl of spaghetti on his head. It is even funnier than the one from last week! So I sent it to your printer..."

3. And, God forbid, the moment someone-you-know gets malware that sends itself to every address in their email contacts. Including the one they saved for your printer.

Consumerisation and client computing

Maria Helm

choices aren't that simple

The choice to support/not support 'consumery' devices and services isn't that simple. Some of the issues IT departments face which might drive them to ban such things are:

* management attitude (They don't need that. They are here to work, not fool around on the internet.)

* Repair issues. (If you're using a work laptop and it breaks, we just hand you another and send yours off under our less-than-a-week warranty agreement. But if you're using your device and it breaks...it is up to you. Or is it?)

* Security issues. I can't tell you how often we've had an exec come back from vacation with a virus on his work laptop, because he was connected to hotel wifi, but never connected to our system to get his AV pattern updates. I can only imagine what that would be like with people's home laptops not loaded with our AV.

* Liability issues. (You installed that corporate software on my personal laptop, and now my itunes doesn't work. - Even if they have nothing to do with each other, the user will blame the IT department for 'breaking' their machine.

About the only way using home kit makes sense is if you let them use their own air card and come in over your VPN or Nfuse. Then you are not installing anything on their machine, and they are not running their stuff on your network.

Iraqi insurgents hack US drones with $26 software

Maria Helm

It was unencrypted?!

Let's take a little plane, fly it over, have it take pictures that are military secrets, but have it wirelessly transmit them - unencrypted - halfway around the world. Real swift. Thank you, US Military, for providing our laugh of the day!

Femtocells know you're home again - but so what?

Maria Helm

How about changing ring volume?

I turn my ringer off when I arrive at the office, on high inthe car, and on low at home. It seems to me if the phone could tell when I'm at home (and when I'm in the car/office), then it could take care of that for me. I might also want it to disable my web browsing while in the office...mmm...maybe not...

Vista and Lotus: Knowing when to let go of a brand

Maria Helm


(A) Don't like the Notes client interface? Don't use it. Use the browser for email/calendaring/apps, with a Domino server. No additional servers or addons required.

(B) Windows 3.1 was crap{ *I* was scarred by it!} But (most) people were willing to give later versions of Windows a chance. But these same people will use Notes 3.1 or Notes 5 (pre-Y2K people!) as excuse not to consider Notes 8.5. If this were a political argument, you'd all be accused of being closed-minded hypocrites. I CHALLENGE the lot of you to go download the free trial 8.5 and blog your experience.

(C) RE: AC "2gb plus of ram ". Release notes for 8.0.1 client, 32mb ram min. Plus, as has been said before, Notes client runs applications - java, eclipse, etc... Not just an email client. That's why it would require more memory.

(D) Yes, Lotus has an interest in showing numbers that measure them close to having market share with MS. But I agree with other posters on questioning the accuracy of the Reg survey's results. Small sample set. Also, Reg readership might not encompass a lot of Domino shops, considering Reg Very Rarely covers Domino press releases, events, or product reviews.

(E) A lot of the 'Notes' problems people are reporting here sound like they were really 'talk to your helpdesk' problems:

Lost your address book when upgrading? = We upgraded 300+ users and not one lost their address book. Sounds liek they configured your auto-upgrade service wrong.

Slow? = Did your IT department make sure your server and PC had enough RAM...and what about network traffic?

Weren't sending outbound email for a week because admin didn't notice SMTP was down? = Incompetent admin for not checking and not setting up alerts.

Still running Notes R5? = Do they still have you on Windows 98 as well?

(F) RE: Wrong Problem By John Savard - Actually, you've got the wrong problem. Lotus was never really trying to compete with word processors or spreadsheets. It was busy building a single SERVER that did HTTP, SMTP, LDAP, IMAP, POP3, applications, JAVA, etc. Sure, they threw an office suite out there, and they have a new, more competitively designed one with Lotus Symphony office suite. But the Lotus brand has always been more about the do-everything back end server and development.

(G) @Lunatik - your IT department is FAIL. Afraid you would lose your email (which is stored on the SERVER) if they upgrade your CLIENT (on your PC). Not possible. You obviously do not have an actual Domino admin there. Your problem is with staffing, not Notes.

And finally - our users don't complain about the Notes client. We keep it upgraded, and that helps in any environment. We have a dev and an admin who know what they're doing, and that helps in any environment. We've had a lot of new hires in the last few years, and I've set up most of them myself. I've not had one come back and ask if they can use some other mail client. Overall, their reaction to Notes client email is "well, that isn't so different after all". Imagine that.

Collar the lot of us! The biometric delusion

Maria Helm

current technology is not mature enough

It sounds to me like the problem is not that it would be impossible to use biometrics, but that the current technology for it is not mature enough. It is the reliability of the technology used to record and to check the biometrics that poses the problem. Perhaps it is a problem that could be fixed by making it record more points, or be more sensitive. Or maybe we find ways to measure multiple biometrics, or different biometrics, to obtain more reliable results. Then the assertion that you could use biometrics for a national identity system becomes more likely.

However, the issue of scale, as mentioned in the beginning of the article, is still problematic. And the problem is not just that so many people would need to be loaded into the system, but also that so many "individuals, public services and businesses" would be using the system constantly for so many transactions. We're either talking about one massive supercomputer, or one huge network. It's not going to be something that one could download and run onsite. And if you're not connected for some reason (ie local power/network outage), then it ceases to work completely, and you either stop making money or go back to the old system.

The author asks "do politicians and civil servants all over the world continue to advocate the use of biometrics when the evidence simply doesn’t support them?" The answer is because your biometrics are very, very much harder to fake or steal than a passport, driver license, or any other current ID method. Even if you consider that someone could potentially hack into the system and swap your data with theirs to assume your identity, this is still a lot harder to do. But even then, we have to get the security right on multiple levels to prevent hacks and abuses.

The bottom line is not that it is impossible, but simply that the current technology is not mature enough.

Endeavour set for Saturday launch

Maria Helm

lazy journalism

So, NASA stupidly didn't give you the lineup of names to go with the photo. That's no excuse for lazy journalism. It took me 2 minutes to put together the lineup using Yahoo image search.

Left to Right:

1. Mission Specialist Tim Kopra

2. Mission Specialist Tom Marshburn

3. Mission Specialist Christopher Cassidy

4. Commander Mark Polansky

5. Mission Specialist Dave Wolf

6. Julie Payette

7. Pilot Doug Hurley

iPhone users to walk and read at same time

Maria Helm

other uses

Now I won't miss an important play when watching the game just because I was distracted by my email.

Now millions of teens can email AND babysit at the same time.

How long until someone posts a picture of them using email-and-walk to view another iPhone using email-and-walk, viewing another iPhone using email-and-walk...etc...

NOTICE, people, that it is NOT Email-and-DRIVE.

Yes! It's the cardboard PC!

Maria Helm

which is worse...

(1) the prospect of the thing going up in flames

(2) that some well-meaning soul cleaning your house will throw away the pile of cardboard sitting on your desk

(3) that the dog or cat will chew on your cardboard PC

(4) that the first time you spill coffee on your desk you will need a new case

'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

Maria Helm

@By Anonymous Coward (RE: @Marie Helm

Helps when you read the entire post. I clearly stated a wasn't interested in arguing the fact or theory part of the proposition.

My main point was that you can't effectively teach students while ignoring their cultural heritage. Ask anyone who has ever taught in a foreign country.

Maria Helm

Science with blinders on

The difference between now and 30 years ago is that they used to teach the "theory" of Evolution, and they used to teach that a "theory" is something that fits the facts but cannot be proven. This leaves room for people to learn the scientific basis for evolution, while still holding their own theories/beliefs . Now, they want Science teachers to say that evolution is a proven "fact", and as such that it rules out all other theories/beliefs "so we won't even talk about them". Regardless of whether evolution is a theory or a fact...You can't teach science in a vacuum.

It is just as foolish to teach evolution without at least addressing creationism (which every one of those students has at least heard about), as it is to teach abstience without addressing "what teens really do". They are just encouraging teens to do to evolutionism what they do to everything else adults teach them - recite it back when asked, and then believe/do whatever they want when those adults aren't around.

Why do they not trust kids to consider all the facts and come to a logical conclusion? Aren't they doing a good job teaching the scientific method, logic, and reasoning in the schools? No, probably not. They would rather have a bunch of good little citizens who just take the government's word for things and don't try to figure them out on their own. So sad.

Hotmail dies on both sides of the Atlantic

Maria Helm

Windows Live Mobile OK

Windows Live Mobile OK , East Coast US. Just checked it and sync'd it. I wonder if it's the sites or something DNS. Probably some routing changes working their way across the internet.

As to who would use it: I got it before MS bought the company, and have had the same email address since 1993. Need I say more?

Inventor promises bottle-o-wind car in a year. Again

Maria Helm
Thumb Up

foot powered pump

Combine your gym's step machine with a foot-powered tire pump, and you'd have it made. Charge your car and get fit at the same time. (Provided you didn't have to take more steps to charge it than you'd take walking wherever you're planning to drive.) And, if you keep a foot pump in the car, you'd never run out of "fuel"!

US scientists puncture the ethanol biofuel bubble

Maria Helm

switchgrass lawns

Seems much of the complaint is over converting food crop land or converting non-farming land. The solution is to convert to switchgrass all those 1-acre ChemGreen lawns in the McMansion subdivisions that keep popping up everywhere in the US. Nobody lets their kids out to play in those neighborhoods anyway, and they could get them 'mowed' for free by whatever business collects the switchgrass for fuel...possibly receiving fuel credits in return. All you have to do is convince them it's an *upscale* landscaping option...perhaps charge them 10k to have it installed when the house is built..

Apple applies to light up laptop touchpads, iPod clickwheels

Maria Helm
Thumb Down

like my smartphone already does?

Keyboard on my smartphone lights up when you type. I don't think this patent should be granted, as it's not exactly unique.

London man coughs to 172mph Porsche jaunt

Maria Helm

It'd almost be worth it

Depending on the fine, it'd almost be worth it to get your name in the paper as having done 172mph. I imagine he'll have something to brag about for quite a while.

Boffins simulate plasma-eating dusty 'life-forms'

Maria Helm

that explains it...

"...charged particles of dust can form themselves into life-like structures that appear to be capable of reproducing ..."

That SO explains what happens in my house between cleaning days.

"The next step is to go hunting for a real environment where such structures could have emerged. "

You're welcome to investigate the space behind my couch, or on top of my TV. Just so long as you take all the little aliens with you!

Digital data can bite you in the ass, researcher warns

Maria Helm

RE: Er

How would you feel if you were passed over for promotion, because of the political beliefs you hold being stated in a blog comment, say? Or losing your job due to your sexual orientation, discovered from your profile on a social networking site?

That would stink - BUT - How is that different from political beliefs you stated while standing at the water cooler, or when a co-worker came over for dinner, or that were revealed by the fact that you regrularly schedule vacation days when certain protests occur, or because someone saw you on TV? How is discovering your sexual orientation on a networking site different from discovering it because a neighbor gets hired at the company, or someone you went to school with outs you to your boss, or someone you work with sees you at the mall with your date? And checking out someone's cache or search history isn't so different than checking their library book records, (and those have been used as evidence in the past).

The point is that what you do online is PUBLIC. It is just as public as what you say at work, what you do in a restaurant, where you go on vacation, or what you publish in the newspaper. And just like anything public, it is discoverable by people who weren't there at the time. Offline, we call this gossip. The only difference is the online version sticks around a lot longer. And, just to make you even more paranoid, with the proliferation of camera phones and Flickr, there are probably already pictures of you online even if you didn't post them. I don't see any way of stopping it. What are you going to do, take away everyone's cameras?

For those who are concerned that the data can be skewed to make you look guilty when you aren't, remember (1) that's been going on forever, regardless of if the data was digital or not (2) it can also be used to clear you.

The bottom line here is that we're all going to come back to a small-town level of accountability for our actions, consideration of the future implications of our actions, and honesty about who we are and what we do... even when we're miles away from home. I'm not saying if that's a good or bad thing...I suppose it will be both in different circumstances. The take-away here is don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in public, or that you wouldn't want anyone else to know you are doing. Just because you are sitting in your living room when you go online doesn't mean you aren't on the "World Wide Web" for all to see.