* Posts by Warm Braw

2511 posts • joined 6 Sep 2013

Das Keyboard 4C TKL: Plucky mechanical contender strikes happy medium between typing feel and clackety-clack joy

Warm Braw Silver badge

Given that UK retail prices include 20% VAT and that the exchange rate is less than 1.3, there's not presently the discrepancy that you imagine.

When there is a larger discrepancy, it's usually because sufficient people will complain vociferously, but part with their money regardless, so why would you sell it cheaper?

Infor pays UK construction retailer Travis Perkins £4.2m settlement following cancelled upgrade of 'Sellotape and elastic bands' ERP system

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Barely any input from the IT department

That rather suggests things might have gone badly awry even before the contract was awarded.

Don't be BlindSided: Watch speculative memory probing bypass kernel defenses, give malware root control

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That's depressingly close to the Brexit argument: we don't like the current, imperfect situation, we're unable to create a perfect world for ourselves, but we're sure if we just insist that someone else will do it for us.


Huawei set to exit server, storage, networking business in the UK

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Re: Hasta la vista

once USA resolves its presidential roadmap

Timing may depend on whether the US settles for just one more civil war or decides to make it the best of three.

Tech ambitions said to lie at heart of Britain’s bonkers crash-and-burn Brexit plan

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Re: Can't wait to see...

There's not only the question of "picking the cronieswinners", but also a problem of scale: Apple's market cap is around 70% of the UK's entire GDP...

Upside down, you turn me, you're giving bork instinctively: Firefox flips as a train connection is missed

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The UK government was forced to step in

Much of the Northern saga results from (a) delayed Network Rail electrification projects preventing rolling stock being released for other lines and (b) the government not funding the Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road Capacity Scheme while insisting extra trains be forced through the congested Castlefield corridor. So it's more the case of the government stepping in to scapegoat the TOC in order to divert blame from the government.

Ironically, one reason the "Nodding Donkey Pacers" are being withdrawn is - not that they're noisy, uncomfortable, draughty, slow and polluting - but that they don't meet accessibility criteria as they lack, inter alia, electronic displays ...

No, Kubernetes doesn’t make applications portable, say analysts. Good luck avoiding lock-in, too

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Most applications won’t migrate between cloud providers

It's not so much the technical lock-in that's the problem as the financial lock-in that accompanies it. Especially if, long-term, the trend to "cloud" means that you can no longer get hold of the kit you would need to revert to on-premises operations because it's all being custom-made for proprietary bit barns.

SMEs to UK.gov: We need vouchers for tech and training ahead of final Brexit curtain falling

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Re: More than vouchers needed here

I think what they actually need will be customs agents - or at least the 20% of FSB members that are actually exporters will do so. Vouchers aren't going to help with that.

If anyone sees the smoke from the Brexit bonfire of bureaucracy, do please share a photo.

Brexit border-line issues: Would you want to still be 'testing' software designed to stop Kent becoming a massive lorry park come 31 December?

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Re: Testing? Are you having a larf?

needed even with a deal

Also, (parts of) it will be needed, even with a deal, for moving goods between GB and NI.

And most trade between the Irish Republic and Europe transits the UK to/from Channel ports.

But apart from that everything will be fine.

I wonder if Dom is planning to project pictures of the queues on to the walls of his E-mission Control [Warning: Daily Mail] in 70 Whitehall?

Under fire for 30% cut, Apple really isn't giving anything away with introduction of subscription offer codes

Warm Braw Silver badge

Apple has also informed its developers ...

I have a vague memory (IANAL) that contract law has some notion of equity, meaning that the contract is a result of valid negotiation between parties having, if not equal power, at least comparable stakes in the agreement. I'm not sure where "Apple has informed its developers..." fits in that picture of equitable negotiation between a company with a market cap of $2 trillion and a small independent developer.

Surprise! Voting app maker roasted by computer boffins for poor security now begs US courts to limit flaw finding

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Allowing tech companies to threaten criminal action...

I can think of a number of tech companies that would be overjoyed if they could actually prosecute people for failure to comply with their tracking requirements. It's simple "law & order" - they buy the law, you follow their orders...

Why cloud costs get out of control: Too much lift and shift, and pricing that is 'screwy and broken'

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Now it's ... a single vendor

That, alone, should give pause for thought.

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

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Re: Competence? We've heard of it.

When Nominet was first created it was a paragon of rectitude in an otherwise lawless landscape.

While its moral decline is regrettable, I can't help be amused that the current "business" regime have a licence to print money and yet can't make that work for them.

Classic case of their eyes being bigger than their stomach.

Not Half bad: Microsoft back to 16 bits with new storage-saving type in .NET 5

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Re: "the total precision was actually 11 bits"

It's already clearly defined and it's mostly domain-specific for certain graphics environments and ML.

In the frame with the Great MS Bakeoff: Microsoft sets out plans for Windows windows

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the UI and the OS are two different things

They really aren't. A reasonable Linux GUI needs something like D-Bus and reasonably performant filesystem notification so that the desktop can pick up on device hotplugging, directory views can reflect realtime changes to the file list, notifications can be handled, etc. It's only when you start creating the GUI that you realise what services the OS did not previously need to provide are now required. You probably also need a scheduler that can give priority to interactivity and assure realtime performance for audio and video. You might reasonably want to ensure the implementation of those services is appropriately layered, but in order to have a GUI you need an OS that has support for one.

Windows and Linux came at the problem from different ends - Windows focused on the GUI whereas it was rather more of a borrowed afterthought for Linux - but have ended up in largely the same place. The main distinction is that, having a commercial product to ship, Microsoft were prepared to blur layer boundaries to improve perceived performance - but that's an optimisation, not a fundamental design difference.

Amazon spies on staff, fires them by text for not hitting secretive targets, workers 'feel forced to work through pain, injuries' – report

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Re: I wonder how many UK Amazon workers voted for brexit?

I would imagine a sizable number are from the continent. The only vaguely credible benefit of Brexit was that the new immigration policy might have meant the likes of Amazon having to make their jobs more attractive (at least until they worked out how to eliminate them altogether). However, Covid unemployment has put paid to any chance of that.

Facebook rejects Australia's pay-for-news plan, proposes its own idea: How about no more articles at all, sunshine?

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News represents a fraction of what people see

In which case it's going to be pocket change to acquire it.

This sounds very much like a synthetic fight to divert attention from the bulk of what people see which is definitely not grounded in and built on facts. It's pretty self-condemnatory to effectively admit it can survive without facts, but not without conspiracy, racism and misogyny.

Google and Facebook abandon Hong Kong landing of new submarine cable

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USA's Clean Network

I think the graph theory definition is disconnected.

It rather reminds me of all those fears of the French invading through a putative channel tunnel when in reality a bunch of Brits used it to buy up the Dordogne.

China trolls Trump with tech export rules changes that could imperil TikTok sale

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Re: Just a reminder

Trump likes to think he was smart writing ' The Art of the Deal'

He likes to think he's smart in being able to persuade people he wrote it, despite Tony Schwartz being the actual author. And I suppose he must be smart, because millions of people buy the lies - after the Goebbels-level of falsehoods at the Nuremberg-style rally Convention outside the White House, his poll ratings actually went up.

The problem for Trump is that his only ambition is personal and the "America" thing is just bait for the voters; Xi's nationalist agenda is rather more sincere and he has the resources and infrastructure to work on it without the pesky interruption of elections.

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means

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if you want a high flying career then your employer is going to own your life

I'd rather assumed that a high-flying career would be one in which you had some kind of autonomy. It makes my depth-plumbing career sound quite attractive by comparison.

Hidden Windows Terminal goodies to check out: Retro mode that emulates blurry CRT display – and more

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Re: I've used a lot of terminals...

a huge amount of effort was put into making the good old "shell" an effective way of interacting with the machine

Then it was hopelessly misspent. Using bunch of randomly-named commands with poorly-documented and often misspelled options is not an effective way of interacting with anything. It's also actively hostile if your first language isn't an approximation to English or, worse, doesn't use the latin alphabet. It also promotes an exclusive culture that demands you are initiated into the arcana before you can practice your craft (and I say that as someone who used to write JCL...).

Although I agree that usability has largely been forgotten in a lot of UI design, it's never going to be fixed if we continue to make a fetish out of yesterday's technology.

Warm Braw Silver badge

I've used a lot of terminals...

IBM 2741s and 3270s, KSR33, VT52, VT1xx, VT2xx... and then we had the merciful release of the GUI. No-one at that point would have imagined that programmers in 30 years time would be spending their time more perfectly reproducing the experience of the 1980s.

Or, indeed, that vinyl records would be on the shelves of cloth-eared and cognitively dissonant youngsters supposedly concerned about plastic pollution.

What happened to progress?

Life with Amazon's fitness band: Upload your half-naked pics to see how fat you'll look without exercise. You now sound stressed – relax!

Warm Braw Silver badge

For those of you concerned about your privacy...

... move swiftly on.

And if that makes your thighs chafe, then you should probably eat less.

Here's some words we never expected to write: Oracle said to offer $10bn cash, $10bn shares for TikTok US – plus profit share promise

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The world has left us all behind and become a nonsense factory

Unfortunately a goodly chunk of our fellow citizens willing work in the nonsense factory and avidly consume its production. If all of us had been left behind it would be less of a problem.

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

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Re: "they don't know how to send a plain-text email"

Fine, there is the door

I can't imagine why a community with such welcoming attitudes and openness to technological change says that it’s really hard to find maintainers. You'd think people would be queuing around the block to join them.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles

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Re: International Recognition

mainly about power and politics

Indeed, but it does work both ways. Suppression of languages is one side of the coin, but the other is promotion of languages that have outlived their usefulness to construct a politically-useful "identity".

Highways England primes market for £2bn tech spend as part of massive investment in crumbling roads network

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And no hard shoulder for added extra accidents

Indeed. Still, the more people that die, the greater the likelihood that drivers acquire herd immunity to impact...

Microsoft sides with Epic over Apple developer ban, supports motion for temporary restraining order

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Re: Meanwhile, in other news

There was a time - when it was trying to fend off monopoly accusations - that Microsoft was desperate to prop up Apple (with investment and collaboration over Mac versions of Office) so it could show it had a competitor, albeit one that was unlikely to significantly threaten its revenue.

Another time, another boot, another foot.

Accenture scores £20m contract extension with UK pensions department: Competition? We've heard of it

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Re: One wonders

Speaking as an aging technologist, my first reaction was to wonder why this was perceived as a problem in the first place if it's working as intended.

I suspect the real problem is that it's suffering from an accumulation of poorly-documented changes that have been applied to deal with arbitrary government policy vascillation and that its replacement will, owing to the complex historic legacy of pension entitlements, have to replicate all of these features before accumulating future cruft and consequently be even less maintainable than its predecessor.

Dido 'Queen of Carnage' Harding to lead UK's Institute for Health Protection because Test and Trace went so well

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We have a government of journalists and spouses of journalists: it's precisely because they're only interested in the news agenda of the moment that there is no actual implementation to back up the attention-grabbing headline.

UK govt reboots A Level exam results after computer-driven fiasco: Now teacher-predicted grades will be used after all

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The AV referendum was deliberately set up to fail - it wasn't ever a real opportunity for change. Unfortunately, it left Cameron over-confident of his ability to engineer referendum results...

ANPR maker Neology sues Newcastle City Council after failing to win 'air quality' snoopcam project bid

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Regrettably, this is just the latest unfortunate chapter in a sorry saga.

The Clean Air Zone was originally going to be similar to London's Congestion Charge: there'd be a charge (£3.40 for private vehicles) on entering congested areas with low air quality. Following an outcry from the motoring public, the plan to charge private vehicles was dropped, but buses will be hit by a £50 charge, while the number of lanes across the Tyne Bridge will be reduced. So, there will be a strong disincentive to use public transport, and congestion will be increased owing to the throttling of a key crossing point.

Without wanting to comment on the merits of Neology's case, I cant help feeling we're going to see more of this type of claim. Councils have been hollowed out by cuts and additional spending on Coronavirus so their ability to scrutinise procurement and defend action taken against them is inevitably diminished.

How do you feel about single-use plastics? OK, interesting. Now tell us your views on surprise Windows updates

Warm Braw Silver badge

This update could take a while

Having carelessly let my laptop battery go flat, on supplying it with power it rebooted into an elderly Windows 10 on a small chunk of eMMC before I could stop it (laziness on my part as I also need to move the boot partition) and it was desperate to update. I thought I'd just let it get on with it - how long could it possibly take? Seems like that's a question to which I'll never know the answer because after 10 minutes and a total progress of 0% I gave up and caught the boot menu in time to return to the relative sanity of Linux.

However, I suppose it's finally the excuse I need to move that boot partition and wipe the eMMC so it can more usefully be employed.

I'd hung onto Windows 10 "just in case", but the case seems to be diminishing - it gets considerably less use from me than Windows 7 - and casual daily IT is now all Linux and Android. Why anyone would use it for an information display is completely beyond me.

Shocking no one, not enough foreigners applied for H-1B visas this year so US govt ran a second lottery

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: You'd have to be mad -- or desperate -- to come here on an H1B

I'm now a citizen

I presume that in theory you could get a NAFTA work permit for Canada, but age gets to be as big a constraint as politics at some point.

Softbank confirms talks to offload Arm as it posts rebound profit

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British Government take note

The government that the present government likes to characterize as a "former" government, despite it ostensibly being of the same party and substantially the same manifesto, had no interest in state ownership and heralded the sale of Arm as a success. The present government is interested in state ownership of industry it sees as strategic (eg OneWeb), but very specifically to drive Cummings' technical fantasyagenda.

I fear it is unlikely any government would buy it for the express purpose of leaving it alone: the regrettable question we need to ask these days is what would be in it for them?

What are you gonna do? Give me detention? Illinois schools ban pyjamas in online classes

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

Quite. The whole ethos of UK education seems to be transactional: you do what's expected in order to get a piece of paper that lets you go on to do more of what's expected in future and if you step beyond grudging compliance your expected future is withdrawn. Nothing to do with actual value - or interest - in knowledge or research.

It would be a start to teach kids that the world is actually interesting rather than reducing knowledge to a selected list of facts that must be learned (even though they're mostly not facts....). And we might not have 22% of 16-24 year-olds saying they'd refuse a coronavirus vaccine. And if we didn't base educational attainment exclusively on exam results, we wouldn't have the current grading fiasco either.

But that's all hippy communism, I'm told by people who seemingly confuse recall with understanding.

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: So long as it's not mixed thread...

There's a rather odd argument put forward for school uniforms is that it prevents rich kids from parading their wealth in ostentatious designer wear when it actually means that poorer families have to buy clothes, often overpriced from single suppliers, they can't usefully use on other occasions.

I always felt school was just preparing kids for a life of taking arbitrary orders from people with more money /status/louder voices and any education was merely incidental. It's a theory that social media would seem to validate.

Can I get some service here? The new 27-inch iMac forgoes replaceable storage for soldered innards

Warm Braw Silver badge

Re: Thing is, would you even want to buy it?

You wouldn't. I wouldn't. Macs make up only around 7% of PC sales and less than 10% of Apple revenues and that's probably the sweet spot for ROI: they really don't want us ruining that.

Police face-recog tech use in Welsh capital of Cardiff was unlawful – Court of Appeal

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Not convinced it's a good idea to focus on the race angle


to protect the whole society from building the enabling technology for a repressive state

The whole point of repressive states is to repress some people more than others. If the technology is effectively choosing who gets targetted that's actually a different problem to state actors making the choice (though it may stem from the same cause and lead to the same outcome) and needs to be fixed by different people.

Whoops, our bad, we may have 'accidentally' let Google Home devices record your every word, sound – oops

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Re: Damn those lone rogue engineers

I wonder if engineer Doe has been keeping his head down for the last 10 years or whether his activities in the intervening period have still to come to light.

That's how we roll: OWC savagely undercuts Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels with bargain $199 alternative

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There's 360˚ of rotation

That is, to be honest, my minimum expectation of a wheel, even if it is a "bargain".

Trump administration labels WeChat, TikTok ‘threats’ to national security, bans transactions with both

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Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

Rather than speculate about Trump's plans, perhaps we should wait until November and see what actually plays out.

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

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realistically: Excel isn't going to change

Realistically, biologists aren't going to change. That's actually more concerning.

UK insurance biz Direct Line drops 'misrepresentation' claims against IBM in £36m database platform lawsuit

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Re: Direct Line didn’t do their side of the work

It's hardly unusual that prospective clients don't have exhaustive documentation for their existing systems. It's always wise to sanity check the brief at an early point in the development - for example by processing a representative sample of existing data to check its conformity and ensuring you schedule your coding so this is possible. Whether it's legally necessary, the court will decide, but if you get to a position in which you've spent a fortune on development effort but find you can't actually process your client's data, noone is going to come out smelling of roses.

Oppo Find X2 Neo: We're not getting any slimmer through lockdown, but phones are

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Attractively priced with an MSRP of £599

It's always the casual, throwaway remarks that give you the clearest insights into other people's lives.

TriggerMesh hooks up with AWS EventBridge to connect 'virtually any application' with cloudy service

Warm Braw Silver badge

The option to trigger workloads on any cloud native architecture

This is not the first product that promises to reduce your dependency on specific large, established cloud providers by, seemingly, adding a further dependency on a considerably smaller provider new to the scene.

It may be convenient in the short term, but I'd need some serious persuading that hard-coded integration to a single service isn't preferable, especially if we're all doing CI/CD where changes in this area should be BAU.

Wrap it before you tap it? No, say Linux developers: 'GPL condom' for Nvidia driver is laughed out of the kernel

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Yes but that is dishonest

It's called market segmentation.

When the first microVAXes came out they were rather expensive to produce which limited the number of potential customers when the usual margin was added. However, the development had been expensive and there wasn't going to be an immediate successor model. The solution was to take a proportion of assembled PCBs and fill the expansion slots with epoxy resin to prevent them being used. The resulting systems were then sold more cheaply to customers who didn't need the expansion capability - lower margin, but higher volume.

University of Cambridge to decommission its homegrown email service Hermes in favour of Microsoft Exchange Online

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Re: But It's Shiny!

we like doing interesting stuff

It's been a long and slippery slope.

Back in the old days there wasn't much alternative to rolling your own: Phoenix involved writing an alternative to IBM's woeful TSO and repurposing a bunch of PDP-11s as async terminal concentrators. Teaching was largely done in BCPL, which was of no specific commercial value as a skill, but the compiler writer was conveniently on hand. Other commercially niche languages that formed part of an undergraduate course included LISP and Algol 68.

There is an argument for having your researchers and students contribute to real projects with impact on real users - it can be a great teaching and learning experience - but you'd be unlikely to get research funding to support operational services and a decent developer could get significantly better paid elsewhere, so it no longer works economically. Equally, given the rate at which programming languages come and go, there isn't any reason why you might want to teach those that are currently commercially valuable - it's the principles that count - but try telling that to someone paying 9K a year for their course.

I'm sure it's a similar story with Microsoft Office - students expect to be given it "free" as part of their course - so it's made available when it would be a useful lesson for most students that other office suites are in fact available, some without cost.

Doctor, doctor, got some sad news, there's been a bad case of hacking you: UK govt investigates email fail

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Re: There but for...

why did he have official papers in his personal email

Presumably for the same reason lots of his MoD meetings were attended by an unvetted personal friend: it suited his convenience and he doesn't care about the rules.

It's a real suprise he isn't still in the cabinet.


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