* Posts by David Black

111 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jul 2007


Inclusive Naming Initiative limps towards release of dangerous digital dictionary

David Black

Re: Too Anglocentric

Wasn't that Elon Musk's slightly twisted point when he describes himself as an African American? Isn't it grotesque racisism to flatten the multitude of diverse ethnicities for an entire continent into an inoffensive synonym for black?

Metaverse? Apple thinks $3,500 AR ski goggles are the betterverse

David Black

Re: With the phone 'switched off'?

Hazardous environments, particularly unlit where a personal HUD with AR could greatly assist. Having helped my neighbors get off our smoke filled corridor in my apartment building, I can honestly say it'd have been nice to know which way was up let alone feeling for door handles to find the exits.

True it's once in 50+ years as I'm not a firefighter and the sprinkler systems would have likely been a tad unkind to the glam mask. But there undeniably are some "killer" use cases, just not sure how lucrative or abundant they may be.

Laid-off 60-year-old Kyndryl exec says he was told IT giant wanted 'new blood'

David Black

Re: Why not tell the truth?

Except it is. Policies that discriminate directly (you are too old, f'off) or indirectly (everyone with grandkids, f'off) are seen as identical in both the UK and US. Actually indirect discrimination tends to come with higher punitive fines in the US as you are seen to be knowingly trying to subvert the legislation as opposed to just breaching it. Before any significant layoffs are planned, you do need to assess the impact across all the major classes of employee too.

They are just walking into the lawsuits which makes it pretty clear that they decided want this publicity (deters older applicants, sends a signal to older current workforce that they'll come get them so they might want to self-shuffle out) to act as a signpost of their values, a bit like institutional racism does wonders to reduce diversity of applicants.

UK government scraps smart motorway plans, cites high costs and low public confidence

David Black

Er, I thought we'd moved to hating cars for new reasons

As an owner of a lovely 100% solar fueled EV (go on nitpick over the rare earths and construction) it does irk a little that folks always associate cars with pollution. As someone with limited mobility, life would be insufferable without a car and I probably wouldn't be able to contribute my many of tens of thousands of tax revenues every year. Some of us actually want a car and to be considerate about it's impact.

Smart motorways are just mostly insufferably dumb, poorly implemented with decades of of date technology staffed by Crapita minimum wage folks. All the profits go in the construction and there's thin pickings in the preventing people being wiped out in the operation. Flip that around a little and incintivise saving lives and deploymoent of the latest technology on a constant basis and we might actually progress.

We've got plenty of AI now but who asked for it? El Reg's vultures chime in

David Black

We overstimate ourselves

The so-called AI we have today is pretty much just complex procedural learning scripts with a little added ability for random deviation. It's not vastly different to the majority of human intelligence and underestimating just how predictable, linear and procedural almost all human thoughts and deeds are is the risk. Yes, we have massive capacity for creativity and can make leaps of abstraction and create new constructs for reality, but we don't 99.99999% of the time and we've constructed societies to support this lack of thought, bombarding free-thinking with junk.

We are not as clever or complex as we think we are, by choice. Future iterations of AI are about to show us that.

US EV drivers won't be able to choose vehicle safety alert sounds

David Black

Re: So much for slipping quietly into the driveway

Exactly this. I own an EV which replaced my diesel Volvo and I was genuinely looking forward to my 5am starts not waking up the entire neighborhood, but no, my EV is equipped with the pedestrian warning noise maker which is an intentionally attention grabbing sound as well as a reversing beeper. I mean, just wtf... I'm like a Tesco devlivery van.

There's seriously no need to intentionally introduce noise pollution when we've the chance to get rid of it. All of my neighbors have commented that it wakes them up, especially in windows open nights in ways that the banging box of diesel engine rattling and clattering didn't. Even more irritating is that the car has full collision avoidance and steers and brakes itself negating the warnings and the only time that tripped was when an airpod wearing jogger decided to run across my path with their nice noise cancelling headphones on.

Really the most disappointing thing about the EV ownership (I'm sure others may have more).

Your snoozing iOS 15 iPhone may actually be sleeping with one antenna open

David Black

Re: With the phone 'switched off'?

The phone is really just replacing the physical car key fob and, though I had pretty similar concerns, I actually do see some benefit of just having one item (phone or my preference, smartwatch) rather than two when I go to the beach etc. Losing the phone is pretty much the same risk as losing the car key fob... technically it's probably a little better for some folks, as few leave their phones right next to the front door when they go to bed.

Would say that you do definitely see the additional use of battery once you've enabled the phone as a key though, prob around 0.5-1% per hour additional drain in standby. Curiously, switching off bluetooth does stop the phone working as a key but doesn't remove the drain. I had to disable the key function to fix that so it could be just crappy coding by the car app folks rather than the hardware.

Ad blocking made Google throw its toys out of the pram – and now even more control is being taken from us

David Black

Re: A simple answer

Always wondered about this. Given that the "pool" of ad and revenue mapping is actually a pretty awful murky swamp, I don't think you'd need to inject much fresh sewerage in a very overt, public way to draw attention to how poor the revenue spend is tracked.

Actually, I suspect you'd just need to say that you've build a bot farm and are spewing in millions of fake clicks and no one could disprove it. Lack of credibility would drive down ad revenue pretty quickly. A bit like a run on a market, it's knowing that markets are based on (mostly misplaced) confidence, remove the confidence and watch the tumble. Right now ad buying business are just paying cause others are, not because they are getting ROI.

Apple succeeds in failing wearables

David Black

I get mine "free" with my work's health scheme to track my every movement.

Battery life on my first watch, 42mm series 1, was about 36-40h so could just about do 2 days activity tracking. Even 2 years old it was still doing 30h+ quite easily.

My new 42mm series 3 seems to be doing around 90h between charges and recently did do 4 days activity tracking while I was away for a long weekend and forgot my charger.

I'd say I was a fairly typical user but obviously YMMV and if you do a lot of on watch activity (I read emails/texts in meetings usually and check the time a lot) or try to record lots of work activity if may be much less.

I did find the watch transformed my activity levels and made me aware of just how inactive I was previously. I'm not sure I'd splash £300-400 of my own cash though and that £14.99 tracker sounded interesting :)

The EU is sooo 2016. We're all about the US now, say Brit scaleups

David Black

Kudos to you for trying to make counter arguments on the toxic Brexit topic. Not that I agree with your general overall neoliberal unfettered trade arguments but you do have some legitimate supporting points that rarely get aired.

93% of EU migrants wouldn’t meet the earnings or skills test of non-EU migrants. While I suspect few are in agriculture as you suggest, most are propping up viscous service companies and they definitely do have a bearing on low-end pay across the society and are massively stalling technological innovation. Look at car washes to see this. 20 years ago, many a forecourt had a lovely automated wash machine with nice complex sensors and some lovely software control as well as an army of technicians who drove around maintaining and servicing them. Now you have a team of east European guys with dirty sponges earning a fraction of the minimum wage as independent car cleaning self-employed staff. Still costs you a fiver but the economic net benefit is screwed, tax receipts are down and our productivity declines. So those low-end, low skill jobs do kill tech jobs further up the chain. With limitless migration, all but a wealthy elite become enslaved as automation reverses into human automation at slave pay. It is no coincidence that the number one destination for even moderately educated Greeks is now Germany. There’s no no need to use tanks and invasions to build your empire when you can use Central banks, loans and undemocratic institutions. It won’t end well for any of us.

Have a good weekend :)

Zuckerberg thinks he's cyber-Jesus – and publishes a 6,000-word world-saving manifesto

David Black

Dear Mark

How about you change the world in a way that you can, directly.

How about securing online privacy rights and transferring ownership of people's personal information back to them. If they wish to open it up and sell it, they can. You could create an entirely new market, a new economy, you would revolutionise advertising. You could empower people to make decisions with their life and spark competition and innovation. Remove the concept of "free" services, show the real monetary value being transferred. All within your hands today. A new vision of a world based on openess and empowerment, not secret slurping and spying.

Oh, and pay your taxes, you don't *need* to offshore and process profits through 13 business entities. You can because global legistlation is lax, but you could also go to a favela and shoot street children without much chance of being prosecuted either. It's about morality, get some, it'd look good with all your wealth.

Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

David Black

Re: ,So there's an online fix for not being able to get online?

Did "ipconfig /release" and "ipconfig /renew" actually work for you? I'm trying to get a machine running remotely and it didn't work and neither did the soft restart that MS suggested might work.

David Black

Re: ,So there's an online fix for not being able to get online?

Couldn't agree more, this is worst half-assed fix description ever.

I've been supporting my elderly father with his windows 10 machine (actually a nice bit of kit, large keyboard for his slightly less agile fingers and a lovely bright clear screen but jesus what a god awful OS) for 18 months now and it's been a total shitefest. As someone who is significantly housebound, Skype is great for him to stay in touch yet 4 times I've now had to remote access the machine to fix it due to whatever the fuck microsoft is doing to a once stable platform. Another update screwed the video driver which was a PITA to fix cause it messed with the remote desktop view too... but in about 3h I got him to execute the right sequence to patch the driver. There was the browser patch that cleared all his cookies... cheers for that, luckilly I kept a text file laying around with everything in it, but still he has to remember and re-type everything. Now this crap. How the fuck am I supposed to remotely fix his machine when it won't connect to the internet??? Sure I'll see him on boxing day when I fly up to see him, but still, now he'll miss seeing the grandkids on Christmas day and his social isolation will be compounded. Either that or I have to pay one of the crappy service places a stupid sum to do microsofts bidding.

Seriously, fuck you microsoft if this is what you do to your customers.

'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

David Black

Re: Interest

Quite agree, why is there no panic about the fact that nursing is still >90% female? Is it because males are somehow lacking in apptitude or education? Balls.

Mal Men men hit LiveJournal with Angler exploit kit

David Black

Strict liability would sort it

Simply hold the sites responsible for the security of all site visitors. If I visit a hotel and the staff rob me, the hotel incurs the liability for their actions, it should be no different. Sure it may drive up the cost of hosting and delivering online ads but surely that could be a good thing as then subscription based offerings might get a chance to survive and the number of ads overall would drop.

7 million Apple Watches just buried the competition – Canalys

David Black

Re: Now this IS interesting

Yep, similar to my use. I got my watch for free as I would never have bought it else as I was fairly dubious about it. But overall, I find it really good for the encouraging me to get off my ever fattening arse and, amazingly, it tells the time. Sometimes I scan my endless tide of incoming mails and read my messages on it but the battery life is easilly 50% does a day and 50% charge takes about 30-40 mins. If I turn it off at night, it'll do me 2 days just fine. Has definitely boosted the life of my iphone too (no screen illumination with each new notification) and again I can easilly get 2 days of use on a single charge.

Not as shit as I expected and I didn't dump it to ebay as I thought I would. Tag lives in a drawer now.

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?

David Black

Agree completely, the principle behind limited liability is solid but there's so many bastardizations of the principle now (everything from public transferrance of liability for banks through flatpack administration to companies are people) that it probably should be disqualified.

Still safe as houses: More CCTV for the masses

David Black

Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

Oh, and internal cameras are creepy and only for weirdos. I'd also suspect there's a risk of ending up on the sex offenders register if your kids are anything like mine and regularly run around naked and you then pushed that footage to anywhere...

David Black

Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

Yep, even the freebie router I was supplied by EE came with a 4G dongle that plugs into the USB port. Though you do need a SIM and obviously a data sub... I'm surprised that no operator has thought of doing an "emergency" sub that allows passive connection and only charges massively when used. Few PAYG deals enable more than the odd meg or so of data on use rather than as an upfront cost.

The other issue for cameras is the "top of head" database from external cameras. Most captured footage is useless to the police to id against suspects in the database due to the view angle. You really need at most 15 degrees off straight to get a match... Typically this means fitting cameras at around 7ft height which is too tamper friendly. Also fish-eye lenses and wide angle lenses are no-nos for the same reason :(

Then there's the spiders... all cameras with IR sources will attract spiders and you'll end up watching a lot of nature footage on your motion detection recordings. Actually that would be a great feature for the software that is mostly missing today -- in the playback window jump to the frame and highlight the trigger object rather than making me watch a few seconds only to see the neighbours cat heading in for its daily crap in my garden.

But loved the article and agree that all solutions have a ways to go.

Safe as houses: CCTV for the masses

David Black


I've got a couple of HomeMonitor external HD cameras and they are great. Free lifetime cloud upload and very nice lenses and good sensitivity options. Install was a doddle too once I'd sourced a PoE supply and some nice flat Ethernet cable. I'd never heard of them before but a crime prevention officer recommend them to me as a fairly simple project for someone a little techie. There's always a deal every other month and I paid £120-140ish each for them... price I pay for a nice house in a not so nice area. Over a year and delighted, caught my one alarm trigger in beautiful color too!

The only thing I'm conscious of is that the thieves will get wise and start cutting the phone cable to properties in future. My hub does have a 4g fallback but I'm lucky if I get 2g so not ideal for all :( BT and Virgin do make their cable entry points pretty easy to spot.

How much of one year's Californian energy use would wipe out the drought?

David Black

Isn't this just a case of parasitic capitalism where the large agri-business are feeding off the public infrastructure without sufficient compensation. Impose higher taxes for water usage by farmers or production duties on their crops and you have the funding. Sure some farmers would stop producing and their costs of operation rise but that would then correctly incentivize others in more water rich areas to compete.

As for location... Well there are quite a few fugly blights already on the California coast, simply co-locate or alternatively use some of the vast amounts of land given over to the military bases for public good.

Interested in building 'community' Mr Corporation? Please swipe here

David Black

Sadly the management and operation of many foundations is highly questionable too. There are a few with highly motivated and driven individuals who are awesome but many are populated with the dross from the product management and marketing departments formerly of the large "contributing" vendors, consuming large salaries with little justification. They then drift from one foundation to the next, spreading their little knowledge very thin for great reward.

Maybe there should be a code contribution threshold for being on the foundation gravy train payroll.

Nissan Juke Nismo RS: Family hot-hatch SUV that looks a bit like Darth Vader's hat

David Black

Re: What about the increasingly vertical frontal aspect

You have the Internet and I'm fairly confident you could go find a decent source. But I would say that the progressive improvement of pedestrian safety (including children) is a massive leap forward in the last couple of decades (originally pioneered by Volvo). While those frontages may look more aggressive, they are MUCH softer and crumple friendly. Speaking as someone who has had his skull shattered by a vehicle (white transit if you must know), it's close to my heart and the response from regulators and vehicle manufacturers is fairly decent and progressive. Commercial vehicles are still a joke though and account for around half of head injury pedestrian fatalities when they actually make up less than 5% of all traffic.

If you don't believe me, bend over and run head first as fast as you can into a selection of stationary vehicles. 4x4s, saloon, sports, or convertible cars, even motorcycles... go for it, but I guarantee the one that'll hurt most is the ambulance you'll need :)

Security world chuckles at Hacking Team’s 'virus torrent' squeals

David Black

Re: Starts to get sinister:

You mean when one unsafe conviction gets overturned on illegal evidence? I always had my doubts about "owning" of child pron materials on a machine as I'm sure most commentards here do... it is just so easy to plant through soooo many routes and this just proves the point.

I have no truck with kiddy diddlers but knacker finds it much easier to go "there's a PC, it has child porn on, you're knicked kiddy diddler" and the jury and courts agree pretty much unquestioningly. Rather than gathering the evidence from the vulnerable victims about the vile acts most likely committed by a family friend or relative (this descends into brutal disragard for those victims if they are in our care system). If all these "cyber crimes" are seen as a bit unsafe in terms of conviction, maybe the cops might go back and do that nasty police work and really help victims rather than just add to the puddle of human misery.

EU threesome promises good times for data protection reform

David Black

Isn't the easiest and most efficient model just to create a market in your personal data, standardize it and that data about you always belongs to you and use of it must involve a monetary exchange? Want google's services... €99 but hey if you give us your personal information we'll give you a rebate:

search history - €25

gmail access - €25

maps/location data - €25

all other services - €24

Then we can actually chose who does of doesn't rape our personal information and we always have an opt-out right. Hey, if we're particualrly well connected, with lots of friends/followers, we might even make a buck or two just for existing :)

Cops turn Download Festival into an ORWELLIAN SPY PARADISE

David Black

Facial recognition

There is a little irony that the best defence against the facial recognition is wearing the niqab... maybe part of a government scheme to get us all converted to Islam then tag us all as potential Islamic terrorists.

I hate festivals that impose all of this crap around your own booze and gate your movements across the site. V was the first to go batshit crazy plenty of others followed and now it seems Download has gone to a surreal new level. Festivals used to be about having fun but now it is about corporate identity rape and festival go-ers chatting senselessly through the acts and just posting endless selfies and never hearing or seeing a thing. Look at me, I'm having fun...

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

David Black

Re: However...

Thumbs up for that too and maybe an explanation of how the state owned companies of other states are so keen to own our former state owned companies... that has never made much sense to me.

Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod

David Black

de Boise principle

If you can't capture and convict on a crime, move the definition of the crime closer to regular behaviour. Clearly the next step here is to extend the law and prosecute those who use encrypted comms as terrorists.

So many examples of this with everything from speeding (we enshrine the right not to self-incriminate but we made a crime of failing to disclose the driver) to nasty porn laws (rightly designed to protect victims but now covering cartoons and illustration... I'm guessing Rolf Harris proves the point).

Strangely such ambiguous and wide-ranging extensions of laws rarely impact the ruling elite (no general "financial manipulation" law?) and are only applied to the masses.

3 spectastic Lumias for price of 1 rival flagship: Microsoft sells biz on cheapie experience

David Black

One for the kids

I been handed a new Windows Phones every year for the past 3 from our Corporate IT team and I tried really hard with 7.5 and 8 to like it but it is just that long list of niggles that reminds me of the old days of smartphones where it is just so nearly awesome but not quite. So I pass my annual new device on to my ex (lawyer - they never update anything, still running XP and old blackberries) and she gets by just fine - she mostly uses her phone for, amazingly, calls and texts. But though our young daughter likes the live tiles and the easy to use interface, she just hates the apps and wants her mother to get an iphone.

Decent kit with decent price points makes it VERY appealing for a young audience but poor app support and no imessage (I know, I hate that proprietary lock-in too) probably doesn't make the sale.

YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

David Black

Surely someone round here could reverse engineer the ContentID algo and create an "auto-violater" content creator that will trip the engine but would be so obviously different to human viewers. Make it easy to generate violating content and render the engine useless and they'll improve the engine or end the insanity (hopefully).

Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

David Black

Or you could pick-up a 4 year-old Nokia N8 for £30 on ebay... superb HDMI output and a great built-in camera... odd that the burnt platform's replacement still never quite got there.

David Black

Yep, Nokia always sold MANY more low-end candybar phones when it had the impressive looking communicators on the shelves... "Want one one of those sir?" "er, yes but I only have 40 quid so give me a 5110".

Complete mystery as to why MS don't see the importance of a low selling high-end flagship.

David Black

Nice article, just wonder if it really needed to be Windows for that "featurephone" world.

Guess I'll always wonder what could've been without Elop burning his platform and chucking Nokia in the bin.

Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

David Black

Removable batteries?

Doesn't it seem somewhat obvious to just make the battery removable? You'd pull in to whatever equivalent of a filling station would be... stop over a unit that unclips your current battery, clips on a new one, charges you for the capacity you now have and you drive away... could take less time than a current fill up.

Sure batteries would need to be standardised but we accept that for our fuel today and all that infrastructure. Stations could then charge the batteries when power demand was lower and have the option of solar during the day charging. No nonsense with millions of charging points everywhere you'd want to park a car.

Current limits would be on cost as at present the battery and its tech development probably make up about a third the price of the car... If there were ways of drawing this closer to the actual material costs (and we actually focused research on driving cost of battery down, not capacity up) then a pack could be circa low hundreds (you could just go lead and acid to be real cheap!) so storing and charging lots wouldn't be an insane cost for the filling station. If you could swap the battery in 10 secs, you wouldn't care so much about range, enough not to be constantly interrupting, but not so much to make the battery cost too high. 150-200 miles would work, particularly with doing your own overnight drip feeds where possible.

REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

David Black

I suspect it's not a great discussion to participate in on a public forum. Though I too am somewhat curious, it's more likely to have me wearing orange and eating my dinner through my arse than generate intelligent public scrutiny of how a system's vulnerability could be harnessed in a dangerous way and what could be done to mitigate it.

David Black

Re: Failure rates

Technically because of the limited lifetime of physical components and their probability to fail characterised by MTBF then the longer you have gone without a failure, the more likely one becomes. As someone who was stuck on my own with a small child to amuse from 3pm to 11pm at the boarding gate (the shitiest wasteland of an airport) I'd love to know who to strangle.

Also, given the massive increase in electronic devices, why do airports have so few power sockets anywhere? There was only 1 (until the revolting passengers also started unplugging the seemingly pointless flight information screens) outlet for a room designed to hold about 400 people.

Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

David Black

Re: Brazil, China, Japan, Finland, France, Korea, Mexico, Russia, TaiWan, ISA can, so why can't ...

Well when I worked for Vertu we seemed to be doing all that.

We often do a lot and don't have much recognition in the UK, like most of Nokia's design and Symbian for software were all UK and could be argued led the mass-market to smartphones.

France kicks UK into third place for public Wi-Fi hotspots

David Black

Re: Not my experience

Thanks for the explanation... did wonder why it was so hard to find a cafe or bar with any sort of "public" wifi.

I'm not sure of the network affiliates... that wasn't at all clear when I was there and the login hangs were a thing of legend. Cheap 3G SIM and hope for signal was the best bet :)

David Black

Not my experience

Spent quite a lot of traveling time in slightly more rural France over the summer and I can honestly say that finding a wifi hotspot was rare and finding a free one near impossible. Most of the wifi were tied to a telco provider and you need to be a landline customer to use them so for the people who'd benefit most (cheapskate tourists like me) then it's a waste. On the other hand in the US, I find lots of free wifi in most locations where there are buildings and grab a free ride and Skype til my hearts content. In the UK it's somewhere between the two. Only anecdotal I know and YMMV but the report isn't really about the human benefit.

One other point should be landmass coverage... it doesn't matter that I have 200 accessible wifi points here in London right now, I'm only using one, but finding a single one in the cafe in Tomintoul was much more valuable and it was the only one for many, many, many miles.

Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author

David Black

Dead horse still getting flogged

I think that for shareholder value, OPK was probably about the worst CEO... he oversaw an Enron like collapse of the share price.

The Elop memo that killed Symbian was cruel and unusual at the time and probably did wipe out the last European phone OS at a stroke. I only wish there was a little more precision though, even these guys seem to mix the Nokia S60 UI (which was a dog) with the Symbian platform (odd, frustrating but effective). The idea that putting touch on Symbian was a ridiculous idea doesn't make sense as UIQ and numerous others were already doing it quite well (even before the iPhone)... putting touch on S60... ah, well.

Anyway, time has passed, we can all laugh about it now.

Please work for nothing, Mr Dabbs. What can you lose?

David Black


There are too few of them in the world... I can't make a money grabbing corporation smile but I can make my 83 year old neighbour who'd just lost all her pics of her great grandkids (win 8.1 remapped the pictures folder). No whisky, no marmalade, just the biggest smile ever.

Life's too short,

Technology is murdering customer service - legally

David Black

Re: Do I have to talk to someone

As a Glaswegian, I resemble that insightful comment :)

David Black

Do I have to talk to someone

I must confess to hating phoning and talking to people about my problem(s)... maybe I'm just autistic spectrum or something but I really like just doing it myself and sorting my own shit out. Phoning a friendly but 99.9% useless person, labouring through my various issues only to get a "oh, I'm not sure" response just makes me feel crappy. I even avoided getting much needed knee surgery for 5 years as I had to phone up the private health insurance company for "authorization" at every step in the process. 6 months ago they replaced it with an onlne system, and bingo, surgery 4 weeks later :)

I'm sure I'm not alone. Human interaction with people who don't know or care for you is highly overrated and a bit "phony" (pardon the awful pun).

Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

David Black

Re: Someone must be blind to think thats a Window 7 Start Menu

You didn't design Visual Basic 1.0 did you? Seems suspiciously familiar to that 90s paradigm of every current selection filling the screen and lots of blanking inbetween.

Context switching is a bad thing for concentration and part of the reason for overlays is to let you retain your visual reference and enable your brain to focus on a limited subset of information delta. It's probably even more vital as screen sizes are heading upwards and the idea of frequently swapping the entire field of view could be regarded as a form of torture. On a 9" tablet, not such a big deal, but that's always where Win 8 seemed to belong.

FLIGHTMARE! Inflight cell calling debuts, dealing heavy blow to quality of life

David Black

Re: Not a "debut"

Glad soeone mentioned that, I thought I dreamt it myself. I guess the "problem" they are solving for is that the Virgin picocells aren't licensed for use in US airspace so when you get over the Atlantic, they actually switch them off which depending on routing can be 3+h before you land. Sure just fixing the licensing might be a better option.

Great service though and my 15 second call did get my cat fed :)

Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

David Black

I think you were looking for the HS2 thread... even Apple don't have that much money to burn

You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

David Black

Wish I'd done a social science degree being honest. Sure I've earned a great salary and had plenty of travel and great career progression but something inside me just aches to be a "fluffy" and work in politics, HR or marketing. I love people and IT can be so anti-human at times.

And for the record, my boss is a psychology grad who taught dance for 5 years... she seems to be doing pretty well in IT, better than me in fact :( Maybe she just does the politics a bit better?

Analyst says Brit rail broadband plan is TRAIN CRAZY

David Black

70% coverage by 2019... that's the issue

As someone who regularly does the long round-trip of London-Plymouth, I can vouch for the terrible lack of 3G connectivity. Sadly I used an app a couple of weeks agao to track my connection: in a 4 hour journey (6 at weekends, thanks Network Rail for those weekend "scenic" routes) I had 54 minutes of connectivity, most of that fairly sporadic and only really stable on the run from just outside Reading to Paddington. The longest period was 46 minutes of no data at all. On a major intercity route in 2013, that's quite frankly disgusting . Why are we even considering HS2 when there's such low hanging fruit to pick. Worse still is that when I ride what always was regarded as "the worst, most over-priced network in the world", Amtrak, I get free, fairly stable wifi for the equivalent journey of New York to Boston :(

As a side note, I'm actually surprised at how much I miss connectivity. I used to enjoy doing some nice work unplugged and getting through it without distraction. But now I always find I need access to some file/presentation held in a repository or acess to cloud based business service. Sad, but I suspect I'm typical and 2019 for 70% coverage is just too little too late.

EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

David Black

Cool, everyone in Europe will have a standardised cable pluged into all their devices until they walk to the wall socket in the various Eurpean nations and, er, fail :(

So we'll still have different changers and socket adapters for those on the Britich Isles.

South American with a dumb phone? Think Facebook can't get to you? THINK AGAIN

David Black

SIMs can be updated to add additional SIM Toolkit Apps OTA... but it depends on the SIM and it's capacity etc. Actually I think a lot of people would be amazed at the capabilities of a smart SIM... not quite Raspberry Pi but certainly great for demonstrating basic programming (some are even Java based). Shame the kit is all targeted at the operators.