* Posts by NohSpam

20 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Oct 2013

Google reportedly in talks to buy infosec outfit Wiz for $23 billion


by revenue, criticality, virtue, resilience or what?

It's trite to say Microsoft leads OSs in world where Linux rules from supercomputers to IoT endpoints and IBM’s Z/OS just keeps the world working, more reliably, faster and cheaper than all that distributed nonsense Microsoft peddles!

Microsoft Edge ignores user wishes, slurps tabs from Chrome without permission

Big Brother

Re: can you do that

Don't use Google apps, use apps from a trusted APK repo or FOSS apps instead (for my needs, they're sufficiently equivalent and in some cases better), Force stop and disable Playstore Services. Don't allow location to skim wireless or bluetooth (just GPS for location is fine). Use Firefox to browse & DuckDuckGo to search and uBlock Origin, Facebook container & Privacy Badger browser plugins

I'm sure there's more but I did all this ages ago and I have a much lower presence on the Web than most - some leakage is inevitable but you can only do what you can do.

The GIMP turns 25 and promises to carry on being the FOSS not-Photoshop


Re: I found the learning curve

Tosh & Piffle

There is no axiom that complex problems require a complex solution. There are frequent correlations between developer or technical architect lead projects and unusable or over-complex UI. A better way is 'three in a box'*, user centred design (such as IBM Design Thinking**) and research/validation to accomplish good*** design.

I know Gimp is powerful and I know it has a steep learning curve and I know it's OSS and assembling a cross disciplinary team and changing the culture is a very tall order but if you want powerful but usable products this is a great way to achieve it.

*Offering manager/Design(UX, UI, Visual, Research)/Software Engineering, all cooperatively collaborating as peers,with research based design from market positioning, design, through to implementation and release.

**If your knee-jerk reaction is to wheel out a bunch of ancient anti-IBM tropes, I suggest you read https://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/ first! It's an enterprise-grade of Design Thinking that's been proved to work in IBM over the last 5-6 years.

***sufficiently powerful for a user's needs at the point of that need but with intuitive UI and shorn of unneccessary complexity -

Brit uni's AI algorithm clocks 50 exoplanets hidden in Kepler space 'scope archives

Black Helicopters

I never understood why Kepler detection was even a solution, mainly because of the tiny proportion of planetary planes of rotation actually intersecting with Earth to enable a measurement to be even attempted. If, as it seems, there are at least a measurable number of these instances, think how many planets there must be, assuming an even spread of random orientations!

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended


Re: Sideload to restore old version

I went straight to APKPure and uninstalled 79, reinstalled 68.11.0 and also installed nightly build of 79, which at least still has about:config (to re-enable DNS over HTTPS), which 79 doesn't. What an absolute shambles. Mozilla - drive decisions by user research not feature bingo. And it's definitely not about emasculating Firefox to make it simple to use. Complexity and simplicity can easiliy coexist, as we prove daily with zOS, CICS and other mainframe products.

Just to be clear, the reason I use Firefox is precisely because of the granular control I can have over what I allow. My aim is to stimey every single arse who thinks it'd be nice to know a bit more about me to sell me stuff I don't want, or try to influence me to deliver their political agenda. Mozilla, WTF are you playing at!

IBM looks to boost sales the same way it has for 65 years – yes, it's a new mainframe: The z15

Thumb Up

A user may not know they're on a Z hosted cloud but if they specify qualities of service that can only* be achieved by Z, then I guess that's where they'll probably end up - where Z is an available cloud platform

*QoS claims may be made by other cloud providers but, ... Z - robust, scaleable, fast & secure, smaller maintenance footprint

Strewth! Apoplectic Aussies threaten to blast noisy Google delivery drones out of the sky


If they were near my property, I'd fly a bunch of balloons, with the tether trailing long prop snagging filaments. I guess it would only keep these menaces above a base height but at least it's passive (not a gun). Alternatively, a cheap pop-bottle rocket with an Arduino based sound homing device?

You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias



Isn't home automation in the instance of the multiverse where Jaba The Hut became the evolutionary endpoint from 21st century Humans?

UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report


I love the dry sense of humour in comments here, but lazy generalizations like this will bring the world to its knees. You are personally responsible for the rise of the alt right, Momentum, Trumpington and Brexshit.

EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.


Hydrogen fuel cells

Cold fusion


Solar power

Hamster power

Regenerative charging from jaw movement when you talk on the phone

Pezio charging from shoe soles

Potato or lemon + zink


Just sayin'

Dear America, you can't steal a personality: GDPR godfather talks privacy with El Reg


Are you referring to the mandatory in-vehicle SIM cards, nominally for crash detection and emergency response automation etc? (where the 'etc' is the scary bit)

Big Brother

My Data, My Rules!

There's a whole new business sector in the offing here!

If Europe were to legislate that we own our own data, then businesses who currently treat our data as their private property would have to start to reveal the actual value of the data in order to access it.

Each contractual relationship with a supplier would be predicated around ONLY the core data actually required to deliver the product, utility or service and any data over and above that would be the customer's to keep private or reveal, with control over the granularity, purpose, time, reuse rights, etc. If you begin a contract with a new electricity supplier, the core data might be your name, address, bank & standing order details, and quarterly meter readings (whether manual or smart meter). More frequent readings are useful to them and the customer should have some quid-pro-quo on that value AND the right to all the data in a form they can read and store. Any legislation would need to protect from suppliers changing terms so that you're effectively forced by price or features to hand over more data.

I'm not suggesting anyone would want all of their suppliers to bombard them with data they have no interest in and mostly wouldn't know how to read or exploit. I'm suggesting, coming back to the idea of a new business sector, that if the data is mandated to be available in an open, semantically rich format (e.g. XML or JSON), then there would be a niche where we have a proxy who stores the data for us. The data storers could compete on reputation, security, price, ease of use, value add and insights. Particularly value add or insight. With all our data aggregated from across our data generating lives in a semantically rich format these storers could mash up, analyse and correlate across disparate data streams giving us genuinely useful insights into our lives that have value for us and which should we wish to, we could make available to other companies, for a reasonable market value but with the surety that we can contractually control the usage.

I am under no illusion that pretty much every company on the planet would rather maintain the status-quo and would lobby strongly for it but the EU has a reputation for standing up to that corporate strong-arming.

Anyone else like the idea?

Just how are HMRC’s IT systems going to cope with Brexit?


Re: How?

Mainframe & Mainframe software is the answer here - it's been doing this kind of thing for decades, safely, robustly and fast AND runs cheaper and more reliably than server farms at these kinds of volumes.

Giant frikkin' British laser turret to start zapping stuff next year



Get yourself a nearly FREE laser weapon by buying a mirror

IBM's Internet of Things brainbox foresees 'clean clothes as a service'


Re: "they could actually carry out real world testing in the field"

To answer your false inference that doing this means a manufacturer isn't doing user testing...

"Whatever happened to focus groups and user testing?" Focus groups are a bit last century but user engagement of all sorts is more prevalent and effective in IBM than ever before. Check out: http://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/

IBM Design Thinking is being used on IBM products and in a variety of customer engagements, presumably including those with white goods manufacturers (or could be).

Restless reinvention!

I also think you've confused outcomes for one release of a product with evolutionary improvements made over time, to more accurately track users' needs (whether changing or relatively static).

I've never stumbled across a business that says, "y'know that last product we built? That was perfect! We're stopping now as it would be pointless to try to improve anything."

There's always something to improve. If a manufacturer can monitor aspects of usage with an intent to really improve subsequent products, then there can be accelerated evolution to better design. If they just want to gobble data... well they're rubbish and won't compete with innovative competitors.

Graphene solar panels harvest energy from rain


Is solarPV a waste?

My understanding is that:

1/ Solar thermal has a longer generating opportunity than solar PV, because it can exploit radiation that passes through clouds, which PV cannot match.

2/ The larger a Stirling engine is the more efficient it is (and I believe a large thermal gradient helps too)

So I don't understand why Solar farms use PV when they could use solar thermal to create a significant thermal gradient to a large (and pretty efficient) Stirling engine, to turn its kinetic energy into electricity directly or for example, store the heat in an aquifer to help drive the Stirling engine at other times.

I realise energy conversion losses will be in play here but I understand PV isn't very efficient, particularly in a cloudy country like the UK?

Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker


Re: PVR vs catch-up

Cover your head in tin foil when popping out to make a cup of tea during the ads then

KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer


Re: Besides being users ourselves.

As an HCI/UX Designer and UI Designer since around the start of the 90's, I'm still working with some of the best software engineers and architects in the business, on anything from small, web based UIs to mainframe systems management via Eclipse, mobile and HTML5 ...</drone>

I have also used Linux/KDE pretty much exclusively since 1997. I've always preferred the extensive customisation available in KDE to anything Gnome offered. The ethos with Gnome and latterly with Canonical, Microsoft and especially Apple is limited customisation due to a presumption that their choices are good enough... nay, the best choice for all users. I've never been a chronic settings tinkerer but when something irritates me I'll usually have a way to fix it in KDE. In other OSs/WindowManagers, I usually waste a lot of time looking, only to find it's not catered for. I admit that there's a large element of getting used to stuff but KDE is just easier (with a few notable exceptions) to my mind. Live and let live though. I've recently had a Mac forced on me (need to use Adobe cloud tools) and having gone in with an open mind, I've found it to be a mixed bag. Some stuff is pure genius but there's a surprising range of UI that's just awful. An example that drives me nuts every time is the window control. It seems like there's an underlying complex state model, which determines what you can see and what size it's allowed to be. In KDE, I can pick any one of a running applications windows directly and easily specify minimised, maximised (even maximised horizontally or maximised vertically), arbitrary size or shaded (just the title bar). It's all very simple, application independent and deterministic.

Now, coming on to the Engineers ability to deliver UI. The problem with FOSS is that teams are generally self selecting, under resourced, under appreciated, are being paid to do another (commercial) job and are expected to maintain enthusiasm and drive over many releases, while frequently being diverted by life events (marriage, kids, job changes). To deliver UI, different skills are required than are generally possessed by the detail crazy, completer finisher, linear thinkers who code for a living. To do a good job on UI, we need people who can, in their initial investigations, put aside the limitations of the possible and enquire of and empathise with the problems and tasks the user is trying to handle. People who can diverge crazily and facilitate others to do the same, then converge. People who know how to see the bigger problem and be innovative in designing a solution for it. People who know how to do user research. People who know how to negotiate the relative importance of shipping function vs a great user experience. There's a lot more. I've spent my career trying to exploit these skills and hone the associated techniques, so that a software engineer can be confident that delivering a design I've worked on will meet or exceed users needs, even on complex systems. Not just because I asserted some personal conviction but because I've iteratively researched, validated and checked, with the people who ultimately will use it! Now, step forward the software engineer who's got time and skills to do everything I mentioned (and much more) and remain independent and have time to write and unit test the code - probably unpaid?

Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying


I'm a minority

1/ I'm happy with immigration. Particularly because they appear to be net contributors. I gather there's evidence, revealed to me on Radio 4, that contradicts the Daily Mail & UKIP's unpleasant bleating.

2/ I'm very definitely opposed to mass survellance and that includes the ANPR network - the small white tubes strategically placed on all through routes, face(or gait or bum or knee) recognition, mobile tracking, Google, Facebook, my next door neigbourhood curtain twitcher and god.

I'll get my coat (and ID card)

Microsoft boffins test rival 'Google Glass' geek goggles, say insiders


Comedy Opportunities

If I see any 'glass' punters face down with a blue face I'll call 999. "Hi, yes I need a Microsoft crash team and an ambulance. What do you mean you need my credit card and passport (advantage?) number?! Is that in the End User's Life Agreement?"