* Posts by Andronnicus Block

21 posts • joined 16 Dec 2016

Smartphones are becoming like white goods, says analyst, with users only upgrading when their handsets break

Andronnicus Block

Re: They all look the same these days....

Agreed. I’m still using an iPhone SE (with another as a hot spare) and Mrs Block is very happy with an iPhone 5S. For me, the phone is just a phone with occasional useful features like the camera, pay by phone parking app, the odd bit of web browsing and so on. But then I’m retired now and when at home would rather use one of several iPads (Pros and also Air 2s - don’t ask) with a far bigger screen and nicer user experience.

Has Apple abandoned CUPS, the Linux's world's widely used open-source printing system? Seems so

Andronnicus Block

Re: will drop PPD file support soon

Sometimes in the quietest moments I muse on a variation to the meme that, come the nuclear holocaust, the only survivors will be cockroaches and Laserjet 4 printers - the latter continuing to churn out for eternity page after page with each sheet bearing just one character from the extended ASCII set due to a radiation corrupted printer driver.

In-depth: Deloitte and accounts expert both cleared what HPE described as 'contrived' Autonomy sales

Andronnicus Block

Re: Is this the best HP have?

Actually, I think that the HP expert witness would have access to the same material. I say this because I recall (but cannot find at the moment) something in the Post Office trial judgements where the judge was saying (paraphrasing) that both expert witnesses must have access to the same material (disclosure) and then apply their individual expertise to that common material.

The HP expert was given clear guidance on how to conduct his review - from the preceding article footnote:

* Peter Holgate was given several sets of specific assumptions - around a dozen each time - to follow when assessing various categories of Autonomy sales.

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears

Andronnicus Block

Re: I guess

Your comment just reminded me of the saying that “the past is a different country” and of advertising material I saw from the mid 1850’s in the UK for what was then cutting edge technology in the shape of steam hauled passenger trains.

They obviously didn’t have a lot of faith that any particular train would reach its destination without the boiler exploding - but sought to reassure passengers by recommending that they sit toward the rear of the train. If the boiler did explode the guidance continued, they would likely only suffer broken bones or amputated limbs - but were very unlikely to be killed!

Perhaps Boeing could take that as inspiration for some updated 21st century promotional material for the 737-MAX when it is eventually allowed to fly sgain

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

Andronnicus Block

Re: Another vote for Outlook

... and therein lies the problem. It would (I assume) take an awful lot of effort to make a PIM that matches everything Outlook currently does and to what gain?

- there will be those who will never move away from Outlook (and Office) for any number of reasons including inertia, lack of desire to learn something new and for quite a few, fanatical devotion to Microsoft.

- since Microsoft can so easily change the way Outlook works any and every time they choose, we will finish up with a product that is almost, but never sufficiently compatible with it, to convince people to make the change.

I think that the PIM issue is one that open source software can never take on and succeed with.

Oh, and for me Desktop Linux succeeded nearly 10 years ago and I will never go back to MS Windows. I had to use Win 10 a few months ago (to help a friend) and was driven to distraction by it. YMMV.

Post Office faces potential criminal probe over Fujitsu IT system's accounting failures

Andronnicus Block

Re: They thought it was all over...

So, let’s see if I have it right...

PO, at the highest level, in the face of massive public and media interest engage forensic accountants (2nd Sight) to search wherever they want, to uncover the truth,

2nd Sight start reviewing internal P.O. prosecution papers and find serious issues,

PO senior legal counsel block all further access to said papers,

2nd Sight request access to PO Suspense Account records

PO (at the highest level presumably) terminate 2nd Sight commission,

... and for the next nearly 5 years, P.O. senior management continue to deny any knowledge or evidence of doing wrong.

There are some serious questions to be asked, and yes having been close to this for many months, I truly believe that some senior P.O. people are going to find themselves in deep, deep s***t.

Andronnicus Block

They thought it was all over...

The news on this story is breaking so quickly it is hard to keep up. Read the latest post at https://www.postofficetrial.com/ referring to a statement issued today by the M.D. (Ron Warmington) of Second Sight - a company of forensic accountants that were commissioned by the PO back in 2013 to conduct an independent investigation They were then sacked at short notice when they obviously got far to close too the truth. Amongst other things, they believed that a lot of the so called losses at branch level ultimately found their way to the PO P&L.

Quoting his statement

"the Post Office has improperly enriched itself, through the decades, with funds that have passed through its own suspense accounts. Had its own staff more diligently investigated in order to establish who were the rightful owners of those funds, they would have been returned to them, whether they were Post Office’s customers or its Subpostmasters. When is the Post Office going to return the funds that, in effect, belonged to its Subpostmasters?"

He adds:

"It also seems to be clear now that some of those funds could have been generated by Horizon itself, or by errors made by the Post Office’s own staff, or by those of Fujitsu. They weren't "real" losses at all. They were phantom discrepancies."

You can read their final report here...


Not that long, but highly critical of P.O. I have just read a tweet from RW saying “...we were fired immediately after we demanded access to the PO Suspense Account records.”

You can also watch the BES Select Committee hearings back in February 2015 - just my opinion but the PO team got absolutely skewered - link below.


Many observers of this lengthy case, thought it was all over when the mediation settlement was agreed last week. It now looks very much like that point marked the start of a whole new chapter, but this time the PO is going to have an awful lot of questions to answer.

Stop using that MacBook Pro RIGHT NOW, says Uncle Sam: Loyalists suffer burns, smoke inhalation and worse – those crappy keyboards

Andronnicus Block

Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

A bit of lateral thinking would go an awful long way.

When I was working I had several laptops -all refurbished Lenovos, a couple of T60s and also X201s - none of them cost me more than £150 each and all ran for years.

The real saver? I was using Linux and would use rsync as my go to back up tool to copy new or changed files across to ext formatted usb drives. This ensured that no machine was ever more than a few days behind. To be brought fully up to date was just a few seconds work, plug in the most recently updated usb drive and rsync from that to the laptop drive.

And because backing up was so easy, when I was using whatever I had chosen as my work machine for that day I would keep a usb drive plugged in and back up using rsync, usually several times a day. I also always checked that the files written to the usb drive were readable before ejecting.

Moral of the story: a laptop failing was absolutely of no concern to me - if it happened, just go and pickup one of the others, update it and crack on with my work.

DXC Technology warns techies that all travel MUST now be authorised

Andronnicus Block

Re: This won't change much in day-to-day DXC life

Just asking, did you mean run the company, or run the company into the ground?

Reading your comment, I couldn’t help but think about the HP/Autonomy fraud trial going on over here at the moment and the consensus opinion of almost all the commentards that HP would have been far better off in every way if the entire board had been replaced with cardboard cutouts.

Of course, being cardboard cutouts, they wouldn’t have been able to carefully read and study a due diligence report expensively prepared ahead of a £multi-billion aquisition, like what a real board of directors would do.

Hang on a minute...

HP CFO Cathie Lesjak didn't even read KPMG's Autonomy due diligence before $11bn biz gobble

Andronnicus Block

Re: Still reading the document. You are evil.

I recall reading somewhere in the myriad of documents (which I now cannot find) that Cathy Lesjack had 3 key concerns about the deal:

1.) that the funding cost would badly impact their credit rating, down likely to BBB- or at best BB+

2.) the negative reaction of shareholders to the deal

3.) the most damning - that HP had a terrible track record when integrating previous acquisitions and, by inference - why would this acquisition be any different?

I have also read the Deloitte audit reports from the years around the purchase and the issue of the disputed hardware sales is clearly covered and discussed at length. From memory Autonomy had the costs under Marketing Expenses, and Deloitte had queried this but were persuaded by Autonomy that this was the correct place due to their plan to develop a long term relationship with Dell(?) as a preferred hardware supplier. Regardless, if you read their published accounts the issue of hidden hardware sales is a complete load of rubbish.

There is much talk about HP being keen to close the deal ahead of Oracle and rushing everything. Have they never heard of exclusive bidding rights? pay a small premium to have sole access to the books etc. for a period long enough to complete due diligence properly.

Another thing I don’t understand is why this needs such a long drawn out court case to resolve:

- HP allege fraud

- HP provide all the documentary evidence needed to demonstrate how they were defrauded and the calculations leading to the size of the post acquisition write-down

- Autonomy provide evidence showing that HP had all the information and time they needed to be able to determine the fair value of the business and thus HP were not victims of fraud

- the judge weighs up all the evidence and makes a decision.

Finally, I (like many) cannot see what value these senior HP witnesses are adding to their case: to a fair minded observer they seem to be as intent on destroying their own case now as they were in acquiring Autonomy in the first place.

It is fascinating to watch it happening though.

Apple disables iPad for 48 years after toddler runs amok

Andronnicus Block

Re: Three year olds can't read

Well of course there is reading, and then there is understanding.

In my case I was a precocious reader from an early age and by my early teens was already devouring material from the adult section of the public library. And no, not that sort of adult material, that came a bit later...

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Animal Farm by George Orwell, which to me at almost 13 was a brilliant story about talking animals with problems to sort out. The hidden message (thanks Wikipedia, much better than I could ever summarise) - a “fable reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union” - went completely over my head.

As I recall, I finally understood what it was actually about was when I read it again as one of the set books for “O Level“ English Literature back in the early 1970s.

My god that dates me.

Andronnicus Block

Re: Three year olds can't read

Well of course there is reading, and then there is understanding.

In my case I was a precocious reader from an early age and by my early teens was already devouring material from the adult section of the public library. And no, not that sort of adult material, that came a bit later...

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Animal Farm by George Orwell, which to me at almost 13 was a brilliant story about talking animals with problems to sort out. The hidden message (thanks Wikipedia, much better than I could ever summarise) - a “fable reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union” - went completely over my head.

As I recall, I finally understood what it was actually about when I re-read it as one of the set books in “O Level“ English Literature back in the early 1970s.

Facebook's new always-listening home appliance kit Portal doesn't do Facebook

Andronnicus Block

Re: WTF?

Obligatory - almost relevant - XKCD reference


And the same with an explanation...


US shoppers abandon PC makers in hour of need

Andronnicus Block

Re: to be expected

Did anybody else notice that in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year that all the big PC sellers here in the UK had their usual full page ads in the press but none of them mentioned Windows 10 in their spiel?

Not so long ago the Windows OS would have been plastered all over the advert in huge print as a big selling point but, for some reason, the likes of PC World, Currys (one and the same) and John Lewis all had almost no mention of the OS that came with their new PCs other than in the tiny print at the bottom of the advert even though you could tell from the screen-shots that it was Windows 10.

There was one full page advert - can't remember which company - that didn't even show the laptop screens - just shots taken from the back of the laptop looking at the back of the screen.

Is Windows now becoming toxic as a consumer brand following all the highly publicised criticism of the Win10 up(down)grade programme over the last year or so?

Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

Andronnicus Block

Re: Not sure about Office?

Many others have said or will likely will say it but sudo is not an install command. It is a command used to prefix another command and so gain higher level privileges than available from a normal user account. So, for a normal user wanting to install say firefox from the command line (and why not?) the command would be

"sudo apt-get install firefox"

Job done. Having said that, - again as others may point out - most normal users wanting to install Linux software would probably:

a.) use the software centre - aka the app store or, if feeling adventurous

b.) use something like synaptic package manager

c.) use the command line - particularly if following advice as most people tend to give the text which can be easily copied and pasted from a website page in to the terminal and is almost guaranteed to work.

Of course, unless their administrator had given them the necessary privileges, then they are not going to be installing new software anyway.

The funny thing is I know this yet I am not an IT professional - my profession is engineering.

Andronnicus Block

Re: Baffling

Well, I don't know how sophisticated the filters you require need to be, but in the many years I have used TB I have been able to filter incoming emails in a way that suited my needs perfectly. For what it's worth, I had a go at replicating the 2 condition filter at the end of your post (using Thunderbird 24 on Linux Mint 17) and it took only seconds to set up and works fine.

Microsoft: Our AI speech recognition mangles your words the least

Andronnicus Block

The BBC got there first...

Well at least the alternative BBC did - this being the broadcaster that can be seen on the UK fly-on-the wall documentary series W1A that was broadcast on Monday this week.

The latest version of their in-house developed Syncopatico automatic live sub-titling software was achieving 93% accuracy - with just the slight problem that the 7% errors were all related to names.

So, our beloved PM became Tweezer May, the Russian president Vladimir Puking and the actress Maggie Smith was transformed into Dame Baggy Smith.

Go Microsoft!

Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

Andronnicus Block

Re: Re:The English Electric Deuce mainframe

Is it just me, or has anyone else now got a terrible image in their minds of flabby hairy middle aged men in bras and panties?

Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Andronnicus Block

Are they really sorry for their users?

It also seems to me that they realise they have been caught out but are more sorry about that than about the trouble they have caused. And why the security argument? surely an updated older version they still support should be close to being as secure (slurping apart, obviously) as the current version.

It is nice to be able to post as an interested observer rather than as one directly affected by their antics. I started using Linux late 2009 and have never looked back - progressively and rapidly moving more and more to it and while, in the beginning, I went through the whole Wine thing for stuff like Office 2003, and creating VMs of WIN XP for one or two programmes that really needed me to use Windows, I reached the point some time ago where I don't need (and definitely don't want to use) Windows at all.

I am only saddened that so many people feel they have to put up with this sort of behaviour and accept it as part of the price for using a computer. I also really, really wish, that more effort was made by the powers that be to create a clear space between PC manufacturers\sellers and Microsoft so that a real choice to move away from Windows was easier.

Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people like Windows and that's great for them. Also, an awful lot of people don't know that there are alternatives and that is a shame - like many others who post here, I truly believe that Linux has gone from strength to strength in the 7 years that I have been using it so much so that my wife - who is a complete technophobe - happily uses Linux (Mint 17) without any problems.

2016 just got a tiny bit longer. Gee, thanks, time lords

Andronnicus Block

Don't Blink!

Not allowed to vote yet but an absolutely brilliant comment.

For those not aware, the statement is part of a line in the Dr Who episode "Blink" - one of my favourites, featuring the Weeping Angels - in which the Doctor (David Tennant) gets trapped in 1969. When trying to explain how time works to Carey Mulligan he struggles and is reduced to saying

"People don't understand time... it's not what you think it is - its' complicated, very complicated.

People assume that time is a straight progression from cause to effect, but actually, from a non linear, non subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff."

Absolutely brilliant - and another virtual up vote from me.

London's Winter Wonderland URGENTLY seeks Windows 10 desk support

Andronnicus Block

Too little time left for me to apply...

Not enough time* for me to update my CV - even if I knew anything at all about Windows 10, which I don't** - and get it across to them before Christmas.

* To explain, a CV done properly takes IMHO quite a bit longer to tailor for a job than say registering with the register - something I started to do last December, then put to one side while I dealt with something more urgent and finally got around to completing it earlier this week.

** Might be an advantage - I see quite a few jobs advertised where "experience would be useful but is not essential" - could these be two?


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