* Posts by Warm Braw

2381 posts • joined 6 Sep 2013

Staff in a huff, personal call with Trump, picking fights with Twitter, upsetting civil-rights groups – a week in the life of Facebook's Zuckerberg

Warm Braw Silver badge

I cannot keep excusing Facebook’s behavior

The first time you excused it you became the problem you are now complaining about.

As anti-brutality protests fill streets of American cities, netizens cram police app with K-Pop, airwaves with NWA

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

clearly somethings wrong

I think people got that.

The man was already handcuffed. He didn't need restraining. The knee remained in place well after the man was dead.

It wasn't an unfortunate accident, it was deliberate. It wasn't "restraint", it was murder.

The problem isn't some unapproved restraint technique, it's that police offers can murder people in cold blood and, often, escape any sanction by making obviously fictitious excuses in which the criminal justice system is subsequently complicit. That's why crying "rule of law" in response to mass protests is a hollow sham.

UK.gov dangles £400k over makers of IoT Things: Go on, let's see how you'd make a security cert scheme

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"industry-led" assurance schemes

How about a consumer-led assurance scheme instead? Otherwise it will simply be the case that the slickness of the brand deceives the eye.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

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Re: I Remember...

in the second year as we had data entry terminals

There was a time at Newcastle - and I presume elsewhere - when you were expected to use mechanical calculators for work on numerical methods. I gather the exam halls echoed with the sound of whirring and pinging.

Visual Studio Code finally arrives on ARM64 Windows. No, you haven't woken up in 2017, sadly. It's still 2020

Warm Braw Silver badge

To those developers wondering if ...

... that pricey Surface Pro X was really worth all that precious cash

Still a no, then?

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

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FCC is an odd choice seeing as it cannot regulate...

... anything very much at all, apparently.

Given that Trump has an entire national TV station devoted to spreading his every lunatic utterance, his problem is not that he does not have the technical apparatus to communicate to the masses.

Gone in 9 seconds: Virgin Orbit's maiden rocket flight went perfectly until it didn't

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Re: Oh. Again?

being able to launch from pretty much anywhere, anytime and likely above any inclement weather

Shame the same can't be said for the Virgin Balloon Experience.

Made-up murder claims, threats to kill Twitter, rants about NSA spying – anything but mention 100,000 US virus deaths, right, Mr President?

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Re: But no one cares what Trump has to say

there is really almost no point at doing comparisons between countries on deaths per capita

It depends what inference you're attempting to draw.

That the UK has a higher per-capita death rate on any reasonable measure is pretty indisputable at this point and has been since the start of the epidemic since the US is a couple of weeks or so behind the UK curve.

All I wanted to point out is that at this specific moment in time, the UK government has a bigger public health failure to explain than the US government. I have no idea where the US and UK will end up in excess mortality terms and even then it's not clear that an overall number for the US is useful given the variation in the approach of different States.

One of the troubling signs in the latest UK analysis is that there's not much significant regional variation, suggesting that there had been a widespread geographic spread before the lockdown. That's a mistake the US government has, in principle, had the opportunity to avoid and possibly still could mitigate.

Warm Braw Silver badge

But no one cares what Trump has to say

But they do care how he says it. His voters want him to "say it like it is" and as long as he keeps doing that, they'll ignore that he's now the person with most responsibility for the way things are. America got the government it deserves. See also Britain - whose per capita Covid-related death rate is (currently) significantly higher.

In Britain, Johnson was managing to ride the tide of criticism about deaths, PPE and care homes. It was the Cummings saga that made the government so pathetically ridiculous that only the most head-banging Brexiteers have been able to keep a straight face: Johnson is now a burst balloon. There's not much point attacking Trump on his record - voters aren't that interested. Given that he daily courts humiliation, it's difficult to suggest that as an effective alternative, though.

Twitter ticks off Trump with new 'Get the facts' alert on pair of fact-challenged tweets

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Re: Rootin' Tootin'

I, as President, will not allow it to happen!

A hundred thousand deaths, on the other hand...

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Ooh, fun!

Can we also start seeing something similar on UK Govt & Tory tweets, and anything from Cummings.

The absence of the #mediascum hashtag is probably a sufficient marker.

I haven't previously paid much attention to Twitter and still don't have an account, but it's been quite fascinating to see the social-media-fuelled "culture war" eat itself over the last week or so.

Microsoft blocks Trend Micro code at center of driver 'cheatware' storm from Windows 10, rootkit detector product pulled from site

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Re: Hanlon's Razor does not apply today...

This is supposedly the product of an expert security company.

Uber plans to ride out of stable Singapore, move APAC HQ to high-tension Hong Kong

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The new headquarters will oversee nine countries

I don't think Uber will last long if they claim Hong Kong is a country, especially at this precise moment...

Microsoft brings WinUI to desktop apps: It's a landmark for Windows development, but it has taken far too long

Warm Braw Silver badge

I'm not that bothered about the appearance, but the reason that people continue to write Win32 based software is that it works, it works on previous versions of Windows and if Microsoft stop supporting it in future, Windows will be dead anyway. There's really no point in writing a UWP app, it simply restricts the platforms on which it can run.

And, as you say, there have been so many abandoned futures; the only survivor has been the past. Legacy has become Microsoft's USP.

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam

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Re: Is it wrong to be in favour of this?

I don't think my personal data is at much risk from the Chinese government (at least for now) as it is from the Five Eyes, so I've not been terribly concerned about the data capture issue - the traditional telephone network is full of holes already.

What seems rapidly to have become a bigger risk is the use of economic sanctions to achieve political ends - and it's not just China we have to be concerned about: the US is behaving just as badly. It would be very unfortunate it the national communications infrastructure became degraded as a result of an embargo on spare parts, or suppliers being placed on "entity lists". If we were part of some larger economic alliance we might have a bit more clout but trying to practise market defence on our own is going to be quite tricky.

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

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The helpful "personal" message from CEO Johan Lundgren

As soon as we became aware of the attack, we took immediate steps to manage and respond to the incident, closing off the unauthorised access. We engaged leading forensic experts to investigate the issue and we also notified the National Cyber Security Centre and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Which sounds remarkably like "as soon as we aware of the pandemic we took the right measures at the right time and followed the scientific advice". He even adds:

You do not need to take any action apart from continuing to be alert.

It's almost as if Dominic Cummings was moonlighting for Easyjet during his little sojourn at his parents' house. If so, he can credit himself on devising the universal platitude for all crises.

For the price tag, this iPad Pro keyboard better damn well be Magic: It isn't... but it's not completely useless either

Warm Braw Silver badge

A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

Not even pokey, at least by London standards. And I suspect there will be cheaper examples when students decide they don't want to pay £9K a year for video lectures.

Just keep your parmo well clear of your £350 keyboard.

Apple, Google begin to spread pro-privacy, batt-friendly coronavirus contact-tracing API for phone apps

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Re: Batt friendly?

Expect Trump to charge them shortly.

UK's Ministry of Defence: We'll harvest and anonymise private COVID-19 apps' tracing data by handing it to 'behavioural science' arm

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Re: Quelle Surprise!

According to recent reports, the "people they've recruited" thought they'd been recruited for retail customer service jobs and the first time they realised they'd signed up for contact tracing was in shambolic video "training".

It's also emerged today that contacts, assuming they're identified, will likely not be tested but merely asked to quarantine regardless. And that there's some sort of turf war between PHE's contact tracers and local authority public health staff.

Meanwhile, the shelves are starting to look rather barer again in my local supermarkets - looks like the citizenry are already preparing for the government's "success".

We really doing this again? Rumour has it that Apple is nearly finished developing augmented-reality glasses

Warm Braw Silver badge

If Apple is ... developing augmented-reality glasses...

... it's presumably to help you appreciate their augmented-reality price tickets.

Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?

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Re: About ten years ago I predicted

That's pretty much the only way it makes sense. I can understand Microsoft's reluctance to be the optional layered component, but this is essentially an extremely convoluted way of making it somewhat less inconvenient to use Visual Studio for development on Linux. It could be a lot better if Microsoft, however unwillingly, embrace their desktop fate.

Easyjet hacked: 9 million people's data accessed plus 2,200 folks' credit card details grabbed

Warm Braw Silver badge

Easyjet would probably only offer them vouchers anyway...

Fancy watching 'Bake Off' together with mates and alone at the same time? The BBC's built a tool to do that

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Network latency?

Even assuming no buffering

You need at least enough buffering so that the lowest latency link is delayed to match the highest latency link. At least in principle, each frame has a time code defining when it should be presented to the user (relative to the start of the programme). If you can measure the latency, or estimate it, you can adjust the effective reference clock to ensure each frame is presented to everyone at roughly the same time.

You can use direct feedback from the player app to give you latency information or estimate it based on the requests you're getting for the next chunk of programme material. You can change the effective reference clock either directly in the data stream, by adding and removing frames from individual streams or by adding further metadata. If there's a substantial difference in bandwidth, you can use adaptive streaming to change the quality. I'm not sure exactly how the BBC are doing it, but it should be possible to do it with less variation than people chatting about it on their mobile phones at the same time will experience.

Latest NHS IT revolution is failing to learn lessons from the last £10bn car crash

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No one seems to understand who is responsible for what ...

... in terms of NHS anything.

It's never going to be possible to have a successful IT project unless there is a clear understanding of what it needs to deliver. There doesn't even seem to be a commonality of purpose about clinical outcomes and how best to achieve them: every time there is some danger of consensus arising the NHS gets reorganised so that chaos can be restored. We have a messy patchwork of private businesses (such as GPs), hospital and mental health trusts whose boundaries do not match each other or obvious local political units, social care, district nurses and public health all under the separate control of local authorities and a complex and largely unnecessary system of cross-billing that actively prevents referrals and treatment. You'd almost think it had been designed to prevent anyone being held responsible for it.

You don't start to sort that out with IT.

TensorBlow? Data boffins struggle with GPU shortage in Google Cloud, opposition offers to help out coders

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This year's AI super-conference, NeurIPS

I was disappointed to see that the paper reviews are so labour intensive, involving initial reviewers, area chairs, senior area chairs and program chairs. If only there were some form of technology that could assist - CPU cycles permitting.

Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

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Re: Please please please...

To be fair, it is grating more than hitherto.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: 1% are the 1%

Seagoon: I was 6 ft 3 when I was young, but I was struck by a lift.

The Mystery of the Fake Neddie Seagoon.

If you're appy and you know it: The Huawei P40 Pro conclusively proves that top-notch specs aren't everything

Warm Braw Silver badge

Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger are nowhere to be seen

Nor are the usual bachelor staples of Uber Eats and Deliveroo

Sounds good so far. If they can guarantee Zoom will never work, I'm buying one for the lockdown.

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Warm Braw Silver badge

Waving it around wildly and then smacking the side of it

Left hand down a bit...

Everybody down!

Tales from the crypt-oh: Nvidia accused of concealing $1bn in coin-mining GPU sales as gaming revenue

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Re: Traders deserve what they get

I'm afraid anyone who buys shares from an existing shareholder is a trader - the company sees none of your "investment". Perhaps if it did some of the more egregious speculation might be deterred.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

Warm Braw Silver badge

I'm not sure what an independent definition of "responsible global corporate citizen" might be, but I suspect it would not include someone picking random fights with a broad spectrum of foreign countries in the hope it might increase his chances of re-election. If you're claiming to be world policeman, it doesn't help if you're simultaneously arbitrary, capricious and corrupt.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Grindr.....?

Not sure why you would "obviously" want to be anonymous...

However, proximity apps tend to use the device's location API to detect when users are between hundreds of metres and several miles of one another. That's not close enough for this purpose. Secondly, they'd have to communicate their present location constantly back to a central server since there would be no direct connection between phones. At that point you might as well harvest the cell tower information which is precisely the level of surveillance we are supposedly trying to avoid.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Just say no

So the question is who do you trust most?

I'm not sure they can be distinguished. NHSX, a name that has obviously been focus-grouped to sound cutting-edge while trustworthy, is in the same game as Apple and Google - taking other people's data and attempting to productise and monetise it. They clearly believe that health data belongs to the NHS, not to its patients, and have the same agenda as the other "big data" companies in using your data for their own benefit.

It's been simmering away in the background for a while (remember Care.data?) but it's got a whole lot creepier since Cummings and his manipulate-them-for-their-own-good data wranglers from Vote Leave have the reins of power.

In the end, health services treat individuals and, in a disease like Covid-19, the variation between individuals is significant in determining how the disease will progress. In that respect data can never be both useful and truly anonymised. The fundamental premise of NHSX is simply disingenuous.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

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Re: "notions like beauty and elegance in mind for the language"

Sometimes those minds can be too twisted for their own good! [PDF]

Still, it could be worse.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

Warm Braw Silver badge

GDPR is there to prevent your data being used without your consent.

It isn't hard to get consent, to use the data only for the purposes stated and to delete it when it's no longer required for those purposes.

It's particularly important to get consent in exceptional circumstances, such as the present, because the last thing you need is people refusing to cooperate or deliberately sabotaging your otherwise worthwhile project.

Vint began his war on privacy long before coronavirus came along. It's just a convenient excuse to rekindle it.

We'd love to come up with a Harbor container ship pun but we're too corona-frazzled. Version 2.0 is out

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Re: said Michael Michael

It's not as uncommon as you may think if you look around.

Donald Trump extends ban on Huawei, ZTE telecoms kit in US companies to May 2021

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5G technology included in the latest COVID-19 coroanvirus relief bill

Those conspiracy theorists were right - there is a link!

Don't trust deep-learning algos to touch up medical scans: Boffins warn 'highly unstable' tech leads to bad diagnoses

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Re: Hmm...

AI isn't good at any problem in which it's required to show its working. That lack of accountability is a critical deficit in many of the applications for which it is proposed - health and justice being prime examples.

Nine in ten biz applications harbor out-of-date, unsupported, insecure open-source code, study shows

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Re: Frankestein development, thanks to Stackoveflow, Github & C.

In principle, it ought to be a good thing to avoid producing code that duplicates available code that performs the required function and that has been widely deployed and tested. That's what modular programming is all about.

And while open-source software may not always be well maintained (and is often even less-well documented), commercial software maintenance is not necessarily better - in practice money doesn't get spent fixing stuff unless there's a pressing reason to do so.

If you view software as a one-off cost, then there's obviously an incentive to use a "free" source. If you take a more long-term view you have to weigh the cost of developing and fixing your own software against the ongoing effort of trying to understand what fixes may have been made to third party software that might affect your application. Or, maybe, having to fix the third party software yourself, perhaps at the risk of forking it as you don't want to take on the responsibility of being a maintainer, and then being forever out of step.

It's not so much about where the software comes from as how far beyond the next scrum you're able/permitted to think.

NHS contact-tracing app is best in the world, says VMware CEO... whose company helped build it

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Re: Decentralised

Unfortunately, there are also significant areas where there is a lot of cross-border movement for work, leisure, shopping, etc. Obvious examples are along the Irish border and the Schengen borders in mainland Europe. If these people are invisible to countries other than the one in which they live it's going to seriously degrade the information available to the countries in which they spend a lot of time, so some people may be stuck with multiple battery-draining trackers.

Of course, the jury is largely still out on whether the privacy-respecting approach will be adequate. South Korea has been very successful in containing the virus, but it has been very aggressively using all sorts of personal information such as card transactions and mobile phone data to determine exactly who has been where at any time. There is an argument that if there is only one "privacy focused" app and it fails to deliver sufficient benefits then there will be a public clamour for an immediate pivot to drastically more intrusive measures. At least if there are several attempts, and one works, other countries might have a way out that doesn't involve the South Korea or Israel approach.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

Warm Braw Silver badge

It's more the case that after 30 years, people have still to realise that WYSIWIG is only true under a very limited number of circumstances.

Word processors are not page-layout designers. They record the text and metadata (such as typeface, spacing, emphasis, etc), not the exact position of glyphs on virtual paper. It's more akin to HTML than SVG. You can only reproduce the document exactly if the printer supports exactly the same imaging area, the fonts are identical, kerning is handled in the same way, etc. Producing decent typography is very hard, particularly if you want to do it for a wide variety of languages. It's extremely unlikely you are ever going to get identical results on different platforms.

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service

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I am reminded of the wonderful Joan Sanderson...

... playing the mother of Anthea Lahr in the film Prick Up Your Ears as she tries to decipher Joe Orton's shorthand diaries:

Anthea Lahr: Wink? Are you sure that's an 'I'?

Anthea's Mother: No, dear, I'm not sure at all.

Author of infamous Google diversity manifesto drops lawsuit against web giant

Warm Braw Silver badge

Pointing out gender differences and biased diversity hiring practices, which he produced when he was asked for feedback, is not sexist.

When there is no relevant evidence of the alleged gender differences and the purpose of the allegation is to defend a gender imbalance in the workforce it's difficult to describe it as anything other than sexist.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Ran out of money...

Why a fascist?

Ah, I was wondering what a "facist" was. I just assumed it was something to do with social media that could safely be ignored.

BT suspends shareholder payments as folk forgo pricey sports TV deals for matches that won't happen anyway

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Awaiting the whinging

If they're whingeing, they have only themselves to blame.

BT have a monopoly on land line provision and consequently a secure and regular income.

They chose to use that so sell and lease back various assets leaving them with regular liabilities offsetting their regular income and dependent on various more speculative ventures to provide a return to their shareholders.


The point of containers is they aren't VMs, yet Microsoft licenses SQL Server in containers as if they were VMs

Warm Braw Silver badge

And if they're genuinely lightweight, with this model you would, core-for-core, expect to get more performance per currency unit out of a container-based instance than the same number of cores in a VM.

Of course, if you're not irrevocably tied to SQL Server, you could use PostgreSQL instead and not have to worry about the licensing costs.

Go on, hit Reply All. We dare you. We double dare you. Because Office 365 will defeat your server-slamming ways

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: User education

What I used to find most annoying was the users seemed incapable, when asked, of being able to read out exactly the words on the screen in front of them.

"What does the message say?"

"Something about an error"

"Can you read it exactly?"

"Something about something being denied"

Repeat ad infinitum...

FYI: Your browser can pick up ultrasonic signals you can't hear, and that sounds like a privacy nightmare to some

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: It's the microphone, not the browser

The problem is that the browser is the "universal app". You can use the operating system controls to police single-function apps (though not sufficiently), but the browser's access to increasing platform functions makes it increasingly difficult to have the granularity of control you might require, especially given the random origins of most of the scripts in a typical web page.

It would be a start if web-based applications had to be packaged and signed by a publisher with a manifest of permission requests before they could get access to any APIs, though as we've seen from all the malware that makes it into app stores already, this is not in itself enough.

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

Warm Braw Silver badge

This was a regular sight at Newcastle. A worse problem these days is when the displays on the hopeless new Azuma trains don't work: there isn't even a sticker on a bulkhead to tell you which carriage you're in, so good luck finding your reserved seat. And if you've reserved a "window" seat it's likely to be a "wall" seat. Mind you, I suppose we have to be grateful the trains ran at all, given that in initial tests they completely borked the ancient signalling north of York.

Not that it matters at the moment as they're all empty.

Ex-Imagination Technologies boss tells UK Foreign Affairs Committee: Britain needs to stop overseas asset stripping

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Re: Communists.

would they have founded it in the first place

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but, as I recall, Imagination sold because Apple - one of their largest customers - decided to take its GPUs in house, leaving Imagination twisting in the wind. I don't think it was a question of Imagination wanting to sell so much as it being their least worst option.

The bigger problem is that there are no UK companies of scale that could be customers of Imagination or, indeed, ARM, so they're all vulnerable to the whims of larger foreign investment. The same, of course, is true for pharma - we very nearly lost AstraZeneca and the government were just fine with that too. Of course the government is now expecting them to save the nation by manufacturing vaccines.


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