* Posts by Alan Hope

81 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jul 2016


Bill advances to exonerate hundreds in Post Office Horizon scandal

Alan Hope

That's very welcome for England, Wales, and NI, but what about the poor Scottish Sub-postmasters who were similarly wrongfully convicted, in their case by Scottish Government Lawyers.

I've a sickening feeling that Scots Law may uphold all the unsound convictions north of the border to save face for both the Legal System and the Scottish Government. Would be par for the course.

UK govt office admits ability to negotiate billions in cloud spending curbed by vendor lock-in

Alan Hope

Re: Cloud

Read the book "Vaxxers", the Oxford Team's account of the vaccine development. They knew the importance of the project (politicians and the media never properly understood vaccine development). UK Government funding was both belated and came in dribs and drabs. So the Oxford Team diverted funding from other projects and took some huge financial risks not knowing if Gov funding would ever come through at all.

It was a nailbiting game that fortunately worked out in the end. The UK owes a great debt to those researchers.

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

Alan Hope

Re: We're very hard coded for a 24-hour sleep cycle

Circadian rhythms are, at least partly, driven by meal-times.

Japan's lunar lander is dying before our eyes after setting down on Moon

Alan Hope

I remember Lunar Lander always being pretty tricky.

Take Windows 11... please. Leaks confirm low numbers for Microsoft's latest OS

Alan Hope

Re centred taskbar icons - it's a yes from me.

I actually liked W10 a lot, but my new PC has a 43 inch 4k screen and having taskbar buttons left-justified are a pain from the mouse-movement point of view.

So I like them centred, my muscle memory has quickly adapted, and I wouldn't go back now.

Maybe MS foresaw the rise of bigger screens.

Bad software destroyed my doctor's memory

Alan Hope

You're kidding, yes?

As a clinician using computers in a major hospital I have to smile at your naive optimism. You have no idea what we deal with daily, and I work with recently installed and expensive systems.

In our prescribing system searches/filters only work from the beginning of a list of terms - you can't search on the second word/term. Wildcards are not implemented.

Multiple scrolling windows within scrolling windows - even worse mostly negotiated from Laptops with dodgy touchpads.

No confirmation messages ever: for example, order a blood test and click on "Submit", you go immediately back to the home page. No "order successfully sent" message. Did it go? Wait and see.

A near random position of buttons in screens: "next" at the top, next screen "next" at the bottom, next screen "next" on the right.

No "Print" buttons in one major package, all the print functions are called from buttons saying "Complete".

Labels that become buttons then revert back to labels without changing their appearance in any way.

An almost invisible very pale grey X in a white box as the close button in some windows.

I could add a hundred other basic interface disasters to this list. Medical software interfaces are clearly written by disinterested 16-year-olds doing School projects.

Brit healthcare body rapped for WhatsApp chat sharing patient data

Alan Hope

Whatsapp gave them a heady taste of efficient clinical communication

I get the GDPR breach, but what was the "actual harm" / "actual clinical benefit" assessment in this case?

There will be a clamp-down, but multi-way communication between busy clinicians will become more cumbersome and unreliable.

UK smart meter rollout years late and less than two thirds complete

Alan Hope

I remember one guy saying he tracked the influence of their new Smart Meter on the familiy's use of electrical appliiances / lights etc with his kids. He thought it would be a great life lesson for them to learn to be careful and frugal in their use of resources. After the first month, with house lights more off than on and appliance use minimised the family saved £1.49.

They all ended up wiser.

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final

Alan Hope

My completely silent, copper-heatsinked, stable, fast, Intel i7 PC doesn't (quite) support W11.

Stuff you Microsoft.

Google's claims of super-human AI chip layout back under the microscope

Alan Hope

"Nature" simply must prominently label papers like this one from Google as "advertorials" where independent researchers can't duplicate the methods. This is not science, and Nature goes right down in my estimation.

Patients wrongly told they've got cancer in SMS snafu

Alan Hope

Re: More money for the NHS?

It's hard to avoid "janky excrescence" in the medical software world.

IBM doesn't think Brexit is such a bad thing these days

Alan Hope

At last we will be allowed to import "bananas of abnormal curvature" !

Windows 11 runs on fewer than 1 in 6 PCs

Alan Hope

I like W10, it's been stable and fast for me and does not get in the way of what I do.

I can live without all the additional mouseclicks that the W11 interface apparently imposes.

Oh, and my very fast, reliable and silent PC is not able to upgrade to W11 without some possibly support-breaking kludge - so not a difficult decision.

NHS data platform procurement delayed for a second time

Alan Hope

Scratch the surface of any large UK public procurement and the phrase "US Hedge Fund" is found.

Alan Hope

Re: stinks

All public procurement is similarly tainted - it is built in.

Microsoft plans to dig through your Edge Collections to make suggestions

Alan Hope

Re: Can you block it?

Who wouldn't not want no tracking prevention?

[abort] [retry] [ignore]

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants

Alan Hope

Peer review?

Studies like this should go through a peer review process - rather than just generating headlines while having their methodology and conclusions criticised. Now we simply don't know where the science lies on this one.

Windows 11 growth at a standstill amid stringent hardware requirements

Alan Hope

Re: Gaslighting

Watch the film "Gaslight" - it's old but interesting. Then you'll get what it means. It's a horrible form of psychological bullying involving manipulating another person's experience to make them think they are going mad.

I don't see it being the right word here.

Google helps develop AI-driven lab machine to diagnose Parkinson's

Alan Hope

Re: Understanding the limitations

I presume the presentation was significantly atypical in some way. The clinical diagnosis and management of PD is long-established medicine and familiar even at student level.

Alan Hope

The assessment of Parkinson's Disease based on the pill-rolling tremor, a festinant gait, muscle stiffness etc is perfectly adequate for the diagnosis and to guide the medical management of this awful and incurable disease.

Clever, but changes little for sufferers.

China's tech hub relaxes COVID restrictions to restart industrial production

Alan Hope

Re: Covid's done, the vaccines work

"Vax'ing is MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY if you have antibodies."

Of course, but vaccination is by far the easiest and safest way to get antibodies.

Microsoft brings Jenny, Aria, and more interface tweaks to new Windows 11 Insider build

Alan Hope

Without support or guaranteed access to updates. No thanks.

Alan Hope

"an acrylic background on the new input switcher" ... this sort of sums up W11 for me.

A fifth of England's NHS trusts are mostly paper-based as they grapple with COVID backlog, warn MPs

Alan Hope

Well Google NPfIT and read about what happened. As both a keen amateur computer coder and clinician I was fascinated to follow the progress of this mind-bogglingly expensive digitalisation of my profession in the early 2000s. I attended presentations from the IT teams, and had hands-on demos of their interfaces (in weird, expensive, air-conditioned coaches specifically adapted for the purpose).

And it was the most disappointing, half-baked, badly thought-out computerisation of anything I have ever seen. It was clear after even a few minutes experience that the major IT companies involved had failed to grasp any of the subtleties of clinical management and interactions. I just remember an awful sinking feeling that the whole thing was going to fail ... and it did. Spectacularly.

We perhaps got PACS (a useful sort of Youtube for X-rays), although the idea and the initial development of that pre-dated NPfIT. And a global database of names and addresses. And that was pretty much it for 6.2 billion UKP.

Luxembourg judge hits pause on Amazon's daily payments of disputed $844m GDPR fine

Alan Hope

A Luxembourg judge. Perhaps Amazon considered moving its European HQ.

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'

Alan Hope

My goodness!

Windows 11 in detail: Incremental upgrade spoilt by onerous system requirements and usability mis-steps

Alan Hope

This is the sort of thing they would pick up almost immediately if they ran "usability labs".

One-size-fits-all chargers? What a great idea! Of course Apple would hate it

Alan Hope

Doesn't sound quite right...

I'm curious, if your original Apple connectors never failed, why were you having to buy "plenty of third party" connectors which then did?

LibreOffice 7.2 brings improved but still imperfect Microsoft Office compatibility

Alan Hope

I'll try it, but...

Can Libreoffice now do one-click "save and email" ?

I try each new version, but it's the slick little timesavers like this that take me back to Microsoft every time.

UK data regulator fines American Express up to 0.021p per email after opted-out folk spammed 4.1 million times

Alan Hope

Appalling reputational damage to the regulators.

That sum won't even cover the cost of the admin leading to the fine.

Zero deterrent value - the message is clear to all other businesses, you can span in the UK with absolute impunity.

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

Alan Hope

or just get a desk and a flask.

Alan Hope

correction, 60deg will take 30 minutes to pasteurise anything. Actually 63deg.

Brexit freezes 81,000 UK-registered .eu domains – and you've all got three months to get them back

Alan Hope

Do the letters EU in a .eu domain signify "Europe" (ie a geographical entity), or "the European Union" (ie a political entity) ?

Capita inks deal with NHS to 'bring back staff': Workers get an hour of training to recruit and vet retired doctors, nurses

Alan Hope

Re: Training problem?

Perhaps Capita thought you were a surgeon, hence a Mr.

Alan Hope

Re: Just use pay roll records from a year ago ...

We totally don't want doctors from 5+ years ago to do anything clinical without an extended induction. They could help by turning patients which is a team effort, arranging blood tests, or taking rubbish bins out though.

"Payroll" do not run clinical services.

This is also a system for GPs, right? UK doctors seek clarity over Health dept's £40m single sign-on funding

Alan Hope

GP Appointments...

"Can I have an appointment, please."

"How about 10 tomorrow?"

"No. I only need the one."

Think your smartwatch is good for warning of a heart attack? Turns out it's surprisingly easy to fool its AI

Alan Hope

Re: Training...

In this case, is there any point? I can confidently, instantly, and correctly identify the examples given from across the room. The ECG is a millivolt signal which in the real world always has some perturbations - we are used to this. This particular example is a disastrous performance for the AI.

Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

Alan Hope

"The Liberation Serif font, which is the default, does not look good on screen, in Windows at least. The kerning is not quite right, which affects readability."

It's not just Liberation Serif ... LibreOffice cannot kern ANY font correctly: Arial, Times New Roman, etc etc.

I dearly wish they would fix this instead of playing about with things like auto-redaction. And yes, I know we have to forgive LO all its rough edges because it's an open source project, but do none of the code contributors care about the poor typeface rendering?

LibreOffice 6.4 nearly done as open-source office software project prepares for 10th anniversary

Alan Hope

Can Writer handle typefaces yet?

Ach, I'm always tempted to have a go. But LibreOffice Writer is still unable to render and kern fonts to anywhere near the quality of MS Word and I hate having my eyes jarred by every document I load or create. So I uninstall yet again and wait for the next version. Anybody know if font rendering and kerning has been fixed in v 6.4?

Bon sang! French hospital contracts 6,000 PC-locking ransomware infection

Alan Hope

Re: La Guillotine

Yet another "scan-negative headache" doctor.

Yes, it's great.

Traffic lights worldwide set to change after Swedish engineer saw red over getting a ticket

Alan Hope

Surely you don't need to change the amber light timing, just add a tiny delay to the time the red light camera gets triggered.

The Tell-Tale Heart! Boffins build an AI that can tell your sex using just your heartbeat

Alan Hope

In ECGs in women, overall: the heart rate is faster, left axis deviation is twice as common, ST and T-wave abnormalities are almost twice as common, LBBB (left bundle branch block) is slightly more common, etc etc etc for all other ECG parameters.

So I could probably give you a decent guess, from a standard 12-lead ECG, whether it was male or female. I doubt the AI is doing anything more.

But there is a more reliable and faster way to determine whether someone is biologically male or female.

ps the title is slightly misleading, it's not from your "heartbeat" but from a 12-lead ECG (which is a complex surface electrical representation of your "heartbeat").

Bit of a time-saver: LibreOffice emits 6.3 with new features, loading and UI boosts

Alan Hope

Opened Libreoffice Writer. Typed my first name "Alan" in Arial (12 point).

Yep, ugly as ever, LO Writer STILL can't kern text. The "A" and the "l" are squashed together then an ugly gap before the second "a".

Guys, look at Microsoft Word (any version) to see how text should be displayed!

Sleeping Tesla driver wonders why his car ploughed into 11 traffic cones on a motorway

Alan Hope

Re: Autopilots aren't infallible

Indeed. Tesla have not addressed the psychological consequences of driving while using Autopilot.

Brexit? HP Inc laughs in the face of Brexit! Hard or soft, PC maker claims it's 'no significant risk'

Alan Hope

Re: Impact will vary

You state "The brexitters assure us that 'no deal' and WTO rules will be absolutely fine." ... well, no Brexiter I have listened to (the pub doesn't count) has said this - although that bald statement is probably truer than the "utter disaster" ones if you really insist on polarising things.

Brexiters state that a friendly, mutually beneficial deal would be better for both the UK and the EU than WTO. The EU looks like it may deny us this. However, UK under WTO will be a constantly improving scenarion depending on the scale and nature of the preparations made in the run-up. That is now key. WTO trading will be a bit scrappy for a while, but the UK is not a trivial player in world trade terms and will do at least OK, and I like to thing probably rather well in the longer term.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

Alan Hope

Re: Font problems

I noticed this too - hits the first time user between the eyes when they fire up Writer and type in their first 3 words.

First impressions matter, guys.

Alan Hope

And Writer is developing into what looks like a usable epub creator.

6.2 can handle images. You can specify a cover. epub2 or epub3.

Keep working on it guys, this is one feature MS do not have.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

Alan Hope

If GCHQ could already use ghost accounts to access our encrypted comms then this is EXACTLY the sort of request and discussion they would want in the public domain... an easy way to feed us the notion that currently we can use these apps freely and securely for our deepest darkest secrets.

EU Android latest: Critics diss Google's money-spinning 'cure'

Alan Hope

Perhaps we feel that Google should pay users for their cash-cow slurp by giving them their software free plus a regular sum of money which represents an individual user's fair share of their mind-bogglingly vast profits.

The Chinese are here: Xiaomi to bring phones to the UK next month

Alan Hope

Re: If this was five years ago...

"... GPS pointing in entirely the wrong [random] direction, ..."

fyi, GPS is non-directional, it is purely a position system. For direction you need magnetometers, but more and more phones are coming without these. In which case your software needs to use a moving GPS location to generate direction.