* Posts by gobaskof

174 posts • joined 4 Dec 2015


Too easy. Microsoft introduces moderation for Winget package repo after spike in bad submissions

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Re: Typical Microsoft

Not to mention that creating something to point at installers had a downfall when they "required user input". I have never seen a windows installer that did not ask me to click next 45 times. Every time I see a Windows user installing things on their new machine I am just bamboozled with their patience as they click next 85 billion times. I have a text file that I pipe into apt and then I walk off.

Tesla Autopilot is a lot dumber than CEO Musk claims, says Cali DMV after speaking to the software's boss

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Re: Hedging your bets on narrow roads

I spent 4 years in America. And growing up with single track roads, trying to navigate 7 lane each way highways, and super wide roads with tonnes of stop signs and traffic lights you can turn through on red unless there is a sign saying you can't...... Man, it stressed me out no end. As always, better the devil you know. But that worries me is that those who program and test this stuff will do the testing on US roads and assume it is applicable in places it is not. And we can be sure it won't be truly intelligent enough to adapt to a new and unknown situation.

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Re: Fully Automatic my arse!

I think it currently can only drive if there are lane markings. Lane markings!? Plenty of lanes here in Somerset, can't think of many that have any markings, unless you count the horse poo in the middle.

What worries me most is that they will be designed to drive the speed limit. Which means that they will probably try to drive 60 down a single track lane, not realising that national speed limit means "drive at an appropriate speed, we have not assessed every bend and blind spot. Saying that, city dwellers with a SatNav do the same.

GitLab tries to address crypto-mining abuse by requiring card details for free stuff

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I understand the need to limit abuse, but this is a great shame. We run a collaborative project with numerous African partners. It is good if pipelines run on a fork so we cannot enable group runners. It is common in some partner countries for members not to have a credit or debit cards, with many banking through their phone.

This week in AI: Man arrested after cops say he rode in backseat of Autopilot Tesla

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Re: There is an

PS dont blame the tesla if the owner is a moron

But also do. We can't blame them for this specific moron, but we can blame them for the class of morons they have created. In all honesty who thinks that a car that self drives except in an emergency is a good idea? That a human with nothing to do will keep as alert as one who is actually driving, and will be just as ready to avert danger. Yes, climbing into the back seat is moronic, but how many others, stopped paying attention entirely or even dozed off while they were doing nothing but still legally in charge of the car? They are testing dangerous technology under the guise, and blaming distracted "drivers" when it goes wrong.

Japan to start stamping out rubber stamps and tearing up faxes as new digital agency given Sept. 1 start date

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I got a cheque in US dollars a year or so ago. That was really hard to pay in, my Building Society wouldn't touch it. This is a shame as the US still loves cheques.

When software depends on a project thanklessly maintained by a random guy in Nebraska, is open source sustainable?

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"it's unlikely that the commercial entity will vanish overnight"

That seems like bollocks, but more importantly commercial entities abandon software all the time. If you build your business on a software/framework that a company discontinues you are out of luck. With OSS, you are in practice out of luck too, but you have the options of trying to maintain the software yourself, or trying to co-fund a developer to take on the project.

I am not denying there is a problem with OSS funding. But saying that relying on proprietary software is more stable appears to be a statement built upon bias rather than evidence. It depends on the context. We have seen RT linux outlive commercial soft realtime OSes like PharLap. But, that does not mean you should build your business about a GitHub project with a commit a month for the last 2 years (you could always hire the dev to keep the project alive). Context is everything.

University duo thought it would be cool to sneak bad code into Linux as an experiment. Of course, it absolutely backfired

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Re: @gobaskof - Using your arguments

Fantastic strawman there. How big did you feel when you kicked it down? Almost big enough to take off your mask?

gobaskof Bronze badge

If the researchers informed the maintainers after the email and before it even became a commit then what was learned? If they wanted to see if such a patch would be accepted then you would think they would let the kernel review process happen, let it get past some level of scrutiny and then stop it at a late stage.

Yes, this would be far more annoying, but at least it would actually probe if the project would catch the malicious code. Perhaps I misunderstood the article?

Microsoft realises constant meetings stress people out, adds Office 365 settings to cut them short or start them late

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What would be better is if the standard meeting lengths were 25 or 55 minutes - so at least giving you five minutes between meetings.

Hi A Non e-mouse,

Just saw you have a 5 min gap in your calendar. I scheduled a quick call as I have an update. Shouldn't take long.

Best wishes

Someone you hate, but who is too senior for you to tell them where to shove it

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Single organisation calendar quirks cause havock when you collaborate

My work has a timetable where all meeting start at 15 past the hour. Not to give us a 15 minuite break, just the entire work schedule is shifted by 15 mins because of a historic. long-changed, bus schedule. Now try having a time table where everything starts 15 mins late, but then you need to work with people on a normal schedule it just gets a bit weird. Sometimes you get a nice break between an external 1h meeting and and internal meeting. Often you end up either having meeting clash or having a 45 min meeting butting up into another meeting.

Human nature is that meetings end when the agenda is done, or when too many people have their next meeting. If every "well-being champion" (or whatever they are called this month) starts enabling early late starts and early ends in their companies calendar's you will start to get the carnage we have here. Combine with the fact that some programs will follow the defaults others wont.

If you want to promote work-life-balance, then do something meaningful to assess the work life balance of your staff and intervene if necessary. All this setting does is create a new set of scheduling headaches. Eventually someone may try to then stick my head in an EEG cap so they can tell me that scheduling headaches are causing me stress. That person may get shanked.

Debian devs decide best response to Richard Stallman controversy is … nothing

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Interesting you say it is unusual for Condorcet to have an outright winner. I am in a community that is going through a lot of discussion about voting as it formalises. Everything I have read claims that there normally is a Condorcet winner, and that tie breaking is complex but rarely needed. I have no idea how true that is. I suppose perhaps what I am reading is written by people who expect 200k people are voting not 200?

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They very nearly went for Option 2 "Call for Stallman's resignation from all FSF bodies". Option 2 only lost in its head to head comparison with Option 7, and only by 8 votes. Condorcet voting is very fair, but an arse to unravel the data into a sensible, understandable, and transparent form.

What next for Visual Studio? Microsoft's monster IDE can't please everyone and 64-bit will not solve legacy problems

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Re: git integration / Azure devops push

Because GitHub Desktop (last time I checked which was over 18 months ago) was so damn basic that you can't set a second remote. Therefore you can't keep a fork up to date with upstream. So unless you just work on projects you maintain, and never contribute to others, it is just dead weight.

Personally I also never use Git features in my IDE, unless you count the fact that my terminal is in my IDE, and from that I run Git.

Oracle cuts support for South African energy biz Eskom in long-running licensing dispute

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How do we know it is Oracle's fault? Seriously? If you run in with layers demanding $500m. Oh wait no more like $41m, wait no $28m. You can see why a company does not trust your figures. Maybe it is $11.65m maybe it is $28m. The fundemental problem is that a license terms can be so ambiguous that the range of possible values can span $500m to less than $12m. And that problem is not just Oracle's fault, it is Oracle's business model.

NHS COVID-19 app update blocked by Apple, Google over location privacy fears

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Re: “ how it managed to develop an entire update without realizing it would be blocked”

You mention senior civil servants, but Test and Trace displaces the top civil servants to put Dido Queen of Carnage in charge and she surrounded herself with consultants. Capitalism and greed...

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Re: “ how it managed to develop an entire update without realizing it would be blocked”

It is really sad that at a time when even Google and Apple can pull together on an API, every country has invested in building their own apps, rather than make one that works across boarders. Not that I blame Scotland for steering well clear of this (very much not the NHS) NHS app.

Key Perl Core developer quits, says he was bullied for daring to suggest programming language contained 'cruft'

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A big issue I have always found in Open Source is people spend long hours often unpaid on a project because they care. This emotional investment leads to emotional language and strong feelings. I have upset people in the past by writing long posts criticising things in detail in a project I maintain. I was not attempting to bully, I was trying to robustly explain my opinion in enough detail to show I had given the topic due attention before savaging someone else's work. Turned out major changes combine with what was described as "a Manifesto of what I did wrong" was counter productive.

Robust debate is useful to find the best ideas, but facilitated it can feel toxic. I am not sure I want to advocate for specific facilitators. But attending a professionally facilitated event to draft an open standard was eye opening. Heated discussions were very effectively resolved by understanding when people not prepared to agree, but were happy to disagree yet commit to continuing anyway.

Over a decade on, and millions in legal fees, Supreme Court rules for Google over Oracle in Java API legal war

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Re: Minions Finally Lose

So is it over over? Or just over until it is not over? I am never sure with big tech battles in the US?

IBM, Red Hat face copyright, antitrust lawsuit from SCO Group successor Xinuos

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Re: Ah shit ...

"Oh no, not again." indeed. Who is sitting around wondering what to do with their life and thinks: "You know what why don't I invest millions in buying the IP off SCO and continuing a soul destroying court battle for another decade or two". Even if they win, could it ever be worth it?

Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies

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To stop using the GPL is a knee-jerk and bizzare reaction.

"The Processing Foundation, which oversees the development of popular software sketchbook libraries, said it was moving away from using the GPL"

What? Moving away from a commonly used license is a silly reaction to this. If you create a new copyleft license you add to the problem of license proliferation. If you move to permissive licenses then you are forgoing the freedoms that copyleft brings. Go permissive because that is best for your goals, not because you disagree with the man or the FSF. If you want to distance yourself from FSF/RMS then next to your GPL you could say something like "We use the GPL as one of the most common and freedom respecting licenses, our use of the GPL implies no support for the FSF or Richard Stallman". Or you could not say anything because who sees a license and assumes that signals support of the author rather than a will to use the legal contract?

City of London Police warn against using ‘open science’ site Sci-Hub

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Re: "data and research ... is ... more strategically valuable ... than copyright-busting"

This list of things the university pays for misses "Gold Open Access" where some countries have decided we want all our papers to be open (good thing) so we use the same closed journals and page £2k-5k per paper to make it open. Still we do all the writing, most of the sodding copy editing, all the reviewing, most of the editing. And then we still have to pay when we want to see articles from other countries.

Out library is cash strapped. We get emails regularly from our department "Open Access Champion"** telling us the budgets are spent please stop publishing in these sets of journals. I could skirt these journals on moral grounds but I did that earlier in my career and it really screwed me. But, when we don't have access to a paper, I am not going to do less/worse literature review. I am not going to give the bastards more money. I am going to use Sci-Hub. Via a VPN/proxy if the uni blocks it. Governments need to grow a spine, pull together and crowd out this cartel of arsehole publishers. Not protect them with copyright bullshit.

The point about "strategically valuable" "never-for-public-access data and research"? I would rather chew my left bollock off than sign an NDA. I'm an academic. You want my data,even the pre published stuff? Send me an email. Want my code? Go to GitLab. Want a copy of my behind a paywall paper from pre Gold open access? Well, I might have to get my own paper from Sci-Hub if you want the final published version because good god I might not have it. But I can do that and email it to you. But it saves all of us time and energy if you just go to Sci-Hub.

** All departments must have an Open Access Champion. They pick someone who will champion verbatim repetition of bad news not actual action on open access.

Richard Stallman says he has returned to the Free Software Foundation board of directors and won't be resigning again

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The thing with Stallman as always is he is extreme, weird, and extremely weird. Between eating things he finds on his feet and writing a rider with speaking demands about parrots he expresses a lot of opinions. These opinions very from nuanced points on free software, to the crazed ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. Herrin lies the problem. Having Stallman around will bring to light important points that probably no one else would raise, however this has to be filtered from the absurd. The FSF does a good job of filtering out the non-software related political/social commentary. The result are some suggestions which are still pretty unrealistic for those of us that want to do work in the real world. But I appreciate that they shift the Overton window towards software freedom. This all said, letting Stallman back in after what he said, and his characteristic refusal to apologise makes it very hard to argue that the FSF is an organisation that represents the movement. It makes it clear it is an organisation to promote Stallmanism, this damages the FSF and free software as a whole.

SaaSy move: GitLab floats a new company over the Great Firewall of China

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Oh no! Really? Whoever valued GitLab at $2.7Bn 18 months ago must really have egg on their face. Maybe it was a rounding error?

UBports community delivers 'second-largest release of Ubuntu Touch ever'

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Re: Why not fork Android + make it a shell

There is a difference between a fork and a downstream.

If you fork Android you must continue doing all the dev work for android forever more, you soon become out of sync and incompatible with new android and you are maintaining a huge codebase that for years has been designed to be incomplete and require proprietary services.

If you make a downstream, as people have tried before you are at the mercy of Google each time they pull a part of the OS you are relying on. Bering 100% at the mercy of the competition is not a good place to be.

I do worry that Ubuntu touch/Plasma active are developing too slow to ever be good enough. But at least if they do they will be maintained by a community that built them and understand them. Unfortunately as a frequent traveller to areas where WiFi is not a thing and 4G is the only means of communication, I rely on my phone too heavily to experiment with the OS. But then I have been in lockdown for a year, and all my funding has been cut by the AID budget reduction, so I am probably not going anywhere too sool. Maybe I should build a time machine and install Plasma active this time last year?

In the lab: Robotic AI-powered exoskeletons to help disabled people move freely without implants

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"What could possibly go wrong?"

I like the idea that "Disasters are prevented by including a kill switch." What if it doesn't properly work when going downstairs, does the kill-switch also turn off gravity? Or activate a jet pack?

The whole article talks about the user's intent being to walk up the stairs if there are stairs in front of them. What if the user's intent is to turn around and go to the loo? How is that communicated?

Most importantly what if someone puts a post-it on a door saying "no door here"? Will the AI walk straight into it?

Surprise: Automated driving biz finds automated driving safer than letting you get behind the wheel

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Re: False comparison and policy based evidence

"even if I were to take up alcoholism and wish to practice it outside of my home." - I for one am looking forward to the reopening of pubs so I can practice my alcoholism outside my home. This way I need to stay sober enough to stumble 1.5 miles home up a hill, which also keeps me fit. Instead, during pandemic I only need to stumble up the stairs, and to be fair this is optional.

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Re: False comparison and policy based evidence

Or rural Somerset. Lots of steep hills, single track roads as wide as one car. Reversing into a passing space if a car comes the other way. Negotiating reversing right into a bush making contact with the bush when a big van comes the other way. Having no traction trying to hill start on wet leaves. Avoid these roads like the plague when it is slightly icy out.

The road down to my waterwheel is so thin with overhanging bushes that they touch both sides of the car. I once went down in a car where someone had these new-fangled parking sensors. Gordon Bennet, you would have thought we were a fleet of lorries reversing over an alarm factory with the number of alarms that went off as we drove down the road.

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Re: False comparison and policy based evidence

So what they have shown is that "When simulating the optimal conditions for a self driving car, the simulated self driving car performs optimally." - No shit. How does a human driver do in the same simulation, with no other traffic or distractions, or weather conditions.

Third time's a harm? Microsoft tries to get twice-rejected compression patent past skeptical examiners

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Re: Nope

"Hobbyists and academics are free to do what they like as long as it's for experimental research." - Very much depends on the country and the type of patent. Perhaps you have misunderstood some of the fundamentals yourself?

gobaskof Bronze badge

1000 patents is still 1000 too many

Even when there were few patents they got in the way, just look at the steam era. James Watt, was an incredible engineer who gave us separate condensers, governors, double acting engines, parallel motion linkages etc. He turned steam engines from a niche inefficient pumping machine into machines that powered the industrial revolution. But Watt refused to licence his patents, slowing the innovation of others. To avoid cross licencing with others he had to circumvent the already emerging patent landscape. For example he created complex and inefficient schemes to turn linear motion into rotary motion because the crank was patented. Efficiency of steam engines hardly improved in the later years of Watts monopoly, and then increased by a factor of 5 in the following 30 years or so. Not to mention the vast increase in the availability of steam engines once Watts monopoly was broken.

Yes we need a way to reward true innovation, and James Watt was truly innovative. But patents are awful at this. This is why in the years following the Watt era the greatest engineers of the next generation (including Isambard Kingdom Brunel) campaigned to end patents entirely. The problem is not just the number of patents. It is assertions that innovation comes as single leaps of brilliance rather than the result collective work, and that people would stop being innovative without the reward of a monopoly. 16 years of monopoly stifled innovation in the 1700s (well more if you include patenting further incremental improvements afterwards). With the pace of innovation today 20 years of monopoly, even for the best of ideas, it patently absurd.

The great Microsoft cull continues as paid content set to be stripped from Business and Education Store

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Ah, Azure active directory. Our university IT decided to follow Microsofts advice of pushing it onto all working computers including staff and student laptops. But instead of telling students "THIS WILL DELETE YOUR PROFILE, ALL SETTINGS, ALL SOFTWARE SETTINGS, ANY DATA YOU DO NOT MIGRATE ON OUR CALL" they just put out the Microsoft advertising about how great the new features would be. I now know lots of students and staff who backed up "core" data, but have lost access to software until the can get new licence keys, lost cached data for weeks worth of simulations, all the stuff you don't do when you are asked to "back up essential data".

Of course this is our incompetent IT department not Microsoft. But I wonder how much was driven by Microsoft trying to force everyone onto Azure Active Directory. Day one of getting my machine I wiped the hard drive, put Linux on it, and told them that they can send bailiffs or fire me if they want control back. I don't have time for their "support", I have work to do.

GitLab latest to ditch 'master' as default initial branch name: It's now simply called 'main'

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Re: We did it anyway...

git chec[tab] mas[tab]

takes the same amount of time to type as

git chec[tab] main

Anyone who make a branch that starts "mas" is going to have it rejected on principle

Microsoft lines its UserVoice forums up against the wall, readies firing squad of '1st party solutions'

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It seems that some people use the Microsoft store.. I was asking a PhD student to install Python and his first question was "Is it in the Microsoft Store?". Being a Linux user, I had no idea. Turns out it was!! So easy! You just click install. You have python and pip on the path. Every other module that has a defined command line entry point is totally ignored. This leads to sporadic breakages, inconsistent errors, and a hours trying to untangle what is happening. A true Microsoft developer-first experience.

You only need pen and paper to fool this OpenAI computer vision code. Just write down what you want it to see

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Re: Open "AI"

"Open" "AI" - It is not open, it is not intelligent. Maybe it should just be called A

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Re: still deciding on whether to release the code

"OpenAI is still deciding whether or not to release the code." - Then maybe they should change their name? If you want to be "open" then work openly. If your work is too, dangerous, important, racist, or crap to be released they change your company name to "BiasedAI", "ClosedAI", "YAFAC - Yet Another Fucking AI Company"

Brave buys a search engine, promises no tracking, no profiling – and may even offer a paid-for, no-ad version

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Re: Stopped trying in Google or Bing

Another DuckDuckGo weirdo here. I find that less and less frequently do I need to also check Google. DuckDuckGo used to never have good non-American options, not it is Google that strugles with country specific things in my recent experience. The biggest reason to go to Google is to for exact matches. DuckDuckGo can do exact matches, but it appears less good at them, and lest good a highlighting the exact matched section in the search results.

Google seeks to placate AI researchers complaining of Big Brother-like working conditions

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As an academic who writes papers I couldn't agree more. I spent ages today agonising with a co-worker over how we were reorganising a sentence because my original sentence was crap to read, but his sentence was subtly less correct. We eventually converged on a better sentence. The point is thought, this was a discussion over improving clarity of the writing while maintaining accuracy. This was not about PR.

The problem is not that Google's legal and PR teams police their academic output. It is that a company with a clear bias and motivation for a particular result is allowed to claim it is doing academic research. If Google really cared about the research it could fund these same researchers to work in academia and give them full freedom over their publications. The thing is Google does research because it is good PR to do research, and so it can attempt to control the academic dialogue. Journals that allow them to publish, and academics that work for them have sold out the very concept of academia. To cry foul when the obvious happens, displays either obvious naivety or total hypocricy.

'Meritless': Exam software maker under fire for suing teacher who tweeted links to biz's unlisted YouTube vids

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Re: Herein lies the problem

Working at a university (that luckily does not use this shit, all remote exams open book) you can insist all you want, they won't lend you hardware. This is such an insane violation of privacy I am not sure how I would act, but there would be lots of shouting and swearing. I was angry enough 12 years ago when a lecturer wanted us to sign up for iTunes to get podcasted lectures.

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"Proctorio uses an opaque proprietary system to measure 'behavior', calculate 'abnormalities', and then assign a 'suspicion level' to each student,"

Orange lied to us! We were promised a bright and orange future, not this dystopian hellscape where computers assign us suspicion levels from cameras in our homes. Fuck any university that thinks this is ok.

Microsoft announces a new Office for offline fans, slashes support, hikes the price

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Re: All companies suddenly switch to offline mode

Working at a university pre sharepoint as a linux user was simple. Open the odd document on a Libre office or via a VDI. Now everything is a bunch of sharepoint links that half work. Office 365 opens in your browser and half work, then fails to save. If you download the file and email it back everyone is now confused by a file rather than a sharepoint link. OneDrive web interface is insane.

The issue is not whether OneDrive sucks. It is that Microsoft have an incentive to use one monopoly to prop up another.

Microsoft Teams still on mute: Vid conf system crashes, 'potential networking issue' blamed

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Re: Networking problem!!

The problem is Teams appears to be on the Net, but it is not Working. Hence, networking.

Wells Fargo patent troll case has finance world all aquiver so Barclays, TD Bank sign up to Open Invention Network

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Re: Patent the bloody obvious!

"The problem is how the US patent system works in practice. Litigation is king." - Pretty much. The Patent office does check for "prior art" before granting a patent, but it only really checks other patents for prior art. This means that really obvious things, and things that people have been doing for years can get though.

It is also really bad at applying the US Supreme Court decision on Alice vs CLS Bank. This boils down to "that think we already do, but on a computer" is not patentable. Remember slide to unlock patent fiasco? Turns out you can find slide to unlock has been used for millennia.

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Re: Wonder how this will impact UK banks with no US presence?

"Do the cheque imaging patents extend to the UK/EU" - They may also have to extend back into the past to find significant usage!

Dev creeped out after he fired up Ubuntu VM on Azure, was immediately approached by Canonical sales rep

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Whereas our university uses Office 365 mail and for a while had some (hopefully experimental?) feature turned on which notified everyone who "works with who" by scanning emails. Which, for some people, suddenly showed them as working with the mental health councillors... Great idea

Terraria dev cancels Stadia port after Google disabled his email account for three weeks

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Re: This is weird

I have never liked the 1 account philosophy. I avoid google whenever possible, but they still get there tendrils everywhere and they then try to link up parts of my life that I have compartmentalised for a reason. They need splitting up.

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Re: Google

The terrifying thing here is that Google is starting to dominate at schools. Many people learn in Google Classroom and so everything in Google Docs. To many of the next generation Google is IT. The won't make a conscious decision to put eggs in the basket, they won't even realise that it is possible to have eggs outside the basket.

This egg metaphor went to far. Sorry

LibreOffice 7.1 Community released with user-interface picker, other bits and bytes

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Re: Lacks the Polish?

If yours lacks Polish then you might need to download the correct language pack or version https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/?type=deb-x86_64&version=7.1.0&lang=pl

Dynamic Data do-over denied: Judge upholds $7m patent infringement claim against Microsoft

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Almost no other country lets people patent software. And for good reason, if any new idea in software created a 20 year monopoly we would have hardly progressed at all.

Fighting bad patents one at a time is a huge burden that absorbs so much time and money. Microsoft can afford $7m, and they have been abusive enough in the past that I have no sympathy. But what about the small businesses we don't hear about?

The US needs patent reform. If companies want to protect themselves in the long-term against software patents they should support the EFF lobbying when it lobbies for patent reform.

Maker of crowd-sourced coronavirus spread tracker app sues Apple for 'arbitrary and capricious' iOS store snub

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Dammed if you do dammed if you don't

Not a fan of Apple. Not a fan of the walled garden or the control the exert over "their ecosystem". But given the way they already act as gatekeepers for the stated reason of protecting their customers, it is inevitable that they were going to control COVID apps as many will be stupid and dangerous. Was this one stupid and dangerous? Probably, but even if not I have some sympathy for them that this is not an easy topic to assess, and it all happened very suddenly.

I think the problem goes back to the store monopoly and a lack of regulation/guidance. If you, as a private company, set yourself up as the arbiter of what is trusted and safe, and what is not, then it is inevitable that you are going to get challenged. If you allow users the freedom to load apps or other app stores through other means then the ones that really want a stupid and dangerous app can get it. And if the app is stupid and dangerous enough then it should probably be a government agency not a company that has the authority to shut down the service.



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