* Posts by doug_bostrom

79 posts • joined 4 Jan 2017


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


I never have to use Office. Success.

Holy smokes! Ex-IT admin gets two years prison for trashing Army chaplains' servers


"He specifically targeted his actions to do harm to one of the company’s most lucrative contracts with the US Army Chaplain Corps..."

Structural graft might be the next worthy target of investigation.

Assange rape claims: Complainant welcomes Swedish investigation's reopening


Will the US folks taking possession of the goodies be from the pro-Trump faction within the US system or from more traditional operatives with different and possibly more legitimate motivations?

So, that's cheerio the nou to Dundee Satellite Receiving Station: Over 40 years of service axed for the sake of £338,000


The "hostile environment," pinch-purse beat-ups on disabled people, library closures, sackings of legions of police and other civil servants along with this particular degenerative event all seem to indicate a general loss of pride in the UK. Pretty much along the lines of not mowing the lawn at home, letting the paint on the walls of a home flake off, etc.

These days, political leadership is an exercise in humiliation of constituents. Let no opportunity for embarrassment go untapped.

Windows Subsystem for Linux distro gets a preening, updated version waddles into Microsoft's app store


"App store" and Linux fit together like a 22mm nut fits a 25mm bolt. Complete misfit, starting with the silo and working outward.

"App:" Eloi language for "computer program."

We don't know whether 737 Max MCAS update is coming or Boeing: Anti-stall safety fix delayed


So much easier and cheaper than doing it correctly the first time.

VP Mike Pence: I want Americans back on the Moon by 2024 (or before the Chinese get there)


Worst enemy or best friend? Stay tuned to Twitter between 4 and 6a US ET to stay up to date on that.

DXC Security exec: Yes, I'd have thought we'd spend more on certs and laptop kit for staff, too


An open window into Hell, sight and sound together.

What did people do in life, to end up in this firm?

We don't want to be Latch key-less kids: NYC tenants sue landlords for bunging IoT 'smart' lock on their front door


Stalked by a mugger, made it to the front door by skin of teeth, couldn't swipe the stupid fone awake, fone stolen along with sense of security.

"I have an atrophied imagination." Is that a box that has to be ticked by landlords before they're unleashed on tenants?

MPs tear 'naive' British Army a new one over Capita recruitment farce


This isn't complicated.

Private enterprise exists to make money, not provide goods or services. The whole point of private enterprise is to divert money from customer intentions. Provision of goods and services are secondary considerations to making money. Optimal operation keeps the customer just barely satisfied (or alive) sufficient to pay bills-- anything more is excessive and excessively harmful to profit. The system will always converge on this outcome.

Capita has zero fundamental interest in doing whatever it is we want them to do and which they claim to earnestly support -- they didn't volunteer to do our work as a magnanimous gesture. Duh.

From time to time we have to relearn this, obvious though it is.

Can't unlock an Android phone? No problem, just take a Skype call: App allows passcode bypass


Wait, the operating system allows an application to roam about without authentication being plugged in, but it's the application's fault?

Oh, the things we have seen-- and forgotten. Securing a file system and other machine resources isn't really the job of an application.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt


"Sir William Cash piled in, suggesting that the UK could simply knock the Galileo £1bn off the eventual divorce bill."

Yes, and next time we change our minds in the middle of remodeling our home and want the old look back, we'll complain bitterly when it turns out we're still on the hook for commitments made to contractors, and them even spitefully refusing to put it all back together for free.

Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing


Complete end-end testing of software necessary to land on the moon was not completed until a few seconds after the descent engine of the first LEM to land on the moon shut down. It was deemed acceptable to allow two volunteers to participate in this activity, and they were nothing if not fully informed.

I don't recall "do you want to travel to the moon as a passenger on a freshly designed spacecraft" being the referendum question.

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype


Short of pretending that human nature is inherently good, so-called "libertarians" such as Pai could simply mandate that carriers publish their applied network management policies.

After all, the "free market" ideal assumes perfect information on the part of consumers. Here we're not dealing with a force of nature that really needs scientists to tease it out, just the ripples emanating from boards of directors.

But Pai won't do that, because he's actually still a lobbyist.

Windows 10 Pro goes Home as Microsoft fires up downgrade server


Engineered scarcity first, you second. That's the system.

In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you


Wasting user time in getting familiarized to the latest "design language" is the principal stock in trade of too many software firms.

Although a pencil shaped like a pretzel is a novel "experience," so is chewing-gum in the hair. There's no good reason for either.

All tools reach an optimum utility level and then offer distinction only by dithering around optimum efficiency. See ratchet wrenches.

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond


'"Worst part is, the Alarm is stored locally so it still works... But you can't turn it off because Alexa doesn't respond to voice commands.. like "Alexa, stop"!!!'

Yeah, and the poor Eloi don't know what a power cord is, and can't ask.

Alexa: make yourself into a brain-dead quadraplegic.

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?


"I am now contributing to saving the planet by owning a dozen solid plastic reusable cups that will probably outlast all life on it. "

Look on the bright side. Every molecule of HC drilled, pumped, massaged, excreted temporarily into your hand and then put safely back underground in a landfill is a fraction of a millimeter less sea level rise. In other words, a forever plastic cup is better than an ephemeral flame.

The whole plastics recycling thing is crazy. Bury it back underground, as fast as possible before the HC gets burnt or the plastic ends up floating in the ocean.

Microsoft reveals train of mistakes that killed Azure in the South Central US 'incident'


The promise of cloud is lower cost but with a heavy seasoning of better reliability. Presumably customers are doing the math on this finding the promise to be true?

Trading random, asynchronous private data center outages of the old days for the modern, synchronized 100 megaton variety at least offers a ray of hope: everybody can take the day off, secure in the knowledge that everybody is stuffed. But that presumes they can still communicate.

Perhaps "outage as a service" could be a thing? There must be a way to charge for this.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt


It's odd that even as China is such a powerful player in objective terms it behaves in such a weak and humiliating manner.

All that hair dye soaking into the poor old brains of the geriatric leadership? They seem so frightened; bizarre.

Snooping passwords from literally hot keys, China's AK-47 laser, malware, and more


Thermal technique will be deployed in some movie that also includes bleeping/churring noises with each key-press, long persistence phosphor displays driven by 300bps connection, stock footage of kernel compilations.

And nowhere else.

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on


We can expect plain sailing with MaxFac. History tells us we should be confident. Of course history also tells us that such a project will conclude only after a couple of decades, two or three prime contractors, several low-level ministerial ritual executions, money multiplication factor of 5-10X. But we may be sure that it might succeed in the end.

Cops: Autonomous Uber driver may have been streaming The Voice before death crash


Considering that inattention is the autonomous driving product, it seems more interesting to wonder why Uber's vehicle was traveling at 44mph in a 35mph zone while overtaking another car in the wrong lane in the middle of an intersection.

The promise was to remove the human factor from driving, but the car was behaving like a human.

Low AI rollout caused by dumb, fashion-victim management – Gartner


"But to make it work there needs to be a business value proposition. The key point is the customer journey."

Drank the Kool Aid.

'Autopilot' Tesla crashed into our parked patrol car, say SoCal cops


"...drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.."

Otherwise understood as the "notapilot" feature. Used as intended, it's really doing nothing at all.

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years


Same congress that can ask the question, "is sea level rise due to rocks falling in the ocean?"

Calculated stupidity.

Capita cost-cutting on NHS England contract 'put patients at risk' – spending watchdog


Where private sector provisioning of public services begins: unaligned objectives. The whole point of the private sector is to divert money from fulfilling the needs of consumers, what we call "profit."

Capita's intended purpose is to make money first, provide services as an unfortunate side-effect of making money.

So we're not really surprised by this, are we?

You love Systemd – you just don't know it yet, wink Red Hat bods


Systemd is the Linux world's MS Office "ribbon," another of those sad inflection points where developers have crawled up their own asses and lost sight of the light of day.

NASA boss insists US returning to the Moon after Peanuts to show for past four decades


The usual inversion as practiced by agents of Agent Orange: first move was to cancel almost-ready rover which would have been useful for locating resources for visitors.

The rover was not football-shaped but was certainly yanked away at the last minute.

Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why


Oh, yeah, hydrogen cars.

See the kit involved in transporting slightly more than 200kg of transport fuel hydrogen to a refueling station, and the mayhem resulting when ineradicable human nature encounters a fuel that is even trickier and less forgiving than gasoline:


Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms


"...how effective Facebook really is at political profiling and mass manipulation is difficult to measure and an important question to consider."

And CO2 is only a trace gas and how can we tell it's affecting anything, anyway? Answering these questions with absolute certainty comes too late. Precautionary principle applies.

US Navy gives Lockheed Martin $150m big frickin' laser cannon contract


Lockheed: they have the patent on being rewarded for failure.

Boring. The phone business has lost the plot and Google is making it worse


At a certain point we stopped being excited with pencils.

Once we'd seen round vs. octagonal, mechanical vs. traditional, a range of softness and the all-important addition of a built-in eraser there wasn't much left to maintain enthusiasm over what is of course only a tool to make life a bit easier.

But in the "high tech" world it seems we must never be allowed to settle into comfortable coexistence with what are really only prosaic tools. Hence we are challenged with often lunatic "innovations" that are imposed on us, to the detriment of productivity. The ribbon in Office comes to mind.

Phones can indeed benefit from refinements, along the lines of the titanium hammer replacing steel in professional kits. But changing the entire shape and function of a hammer isn't really possible.

PowerShell comes to MacOS and Linux. Oh and Windows too


PowerShell on Linux. That's rich. "Here, Yoda, let me show you how to use that there force."

Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet


Reminds me of friend's neighbor, who had a nifty alarm with inside siren. The home was burgled with neighbors present on both sides and of course nobody could hear the alarm, because it was inside. An inside-only alarm goes beyond simple impoverishment of the imagination and reaches stupidity. (and forget the cops being dispatched; a real human hiding in a closet will produce a response time reaching greater than an hour, according to our own neighbor's report after her hiding in her closet for more than hour until the plods showed up after she called on a prowler).

It's a decade since DevOps became a 'thing' – and people still don't know what it means


Not to slight "DevOps" but it's another method, style or approach (possibly perfectly valid) that comes under the general heading "once and future doing it wrong." DO possibly especially stands out as something that would have been considered extra screamingly incorrect not so long ago. Will its stock sink so low as to regain the name "chaos?"

Most of this churning and reflux is really about perfecting human nature. Good luck!

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids


So much for disruption, innovation and all the rest of the gloss. Facebook has "reinvented" Happy Meals for Kids. BFD.

Get 'em hooked while they're young.

And just like Happy Meals, we'll insist that the product not be --acutely-- toxic and then call it all good.

China reboots internet conference with keynote from Cook


How is it possible to have an internet conference in a country with no internet?

Denied: Uber's request to skip to UK Supreme Court to appeal workers' rights


Formal admission from Uber that they are rooted in the same past and share the same history and limitations as the rest of the world is an existential threat to the firm. The company needs to prove that the rest of the world is crazy for participating in the social contract. It's a hard case to make.

Aviva dumps DXC, shoves data centre support at Atos


The beautiful but imaginary efficiency of bungled outsourcing demonstrated yet again.

Choose another sole supplier and imagine things will be better this time, despite witlessly yet again buying into the private sector equivalent of a planned economy but an economy with an important difference: it's actually designed and intended to perform inefficiently for the customer.

By sole-sourcing, we remove the single reason to put up with the inefficiencies axiomatically entailed in supporting somebody else's business plan. Only real competition provides the existentially threatening level of motivation for an external business plan to actually perform beneficially for your own.

Figure it out: the reason for Aviva's existence is to divert money from performing services or goods or whatever is on sale, as with all private sector enterprises. Profit is the objective. Yet from our perspective as customers other people's profit paid from our money is waste.

With no checks on this motivation in the form of stiff competition the story will always end sadly and badly for the customer.

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'


It seems highly premature to draw any conclusions about the Trump administration's approach to anti-trust.

That $10,000 Facebook bug: Photos shafted, addicts screwed by polls


Helping Facebook is antisocial.

10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time


My favorite:

"May I ask a question?"

"You just did."

SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in


One of those situations where we definitely do not want the power supply wedged in amongst the sofa cushions.

AT&T wants to bin 100,000 routers, replace them with white boxes


Cisco, Juniper and other cultist operations offer the usual advantages of cults: by the use of rote learning and faithful repetition it's possible to make fully functioning acolytes (IT personnel) out of staff barely able to connect one synapse to another. That is, as long as the horizon doesn't extend past the doors of the temple (or brand of networking gear).

Does AT&T really want a lot of thinkers on its hands?

While you're preparing to carve Thanksgiving turkey, the FCC will be slicing into net neutrality


Maybe the world should help the US by making it swallow some unpleasant medicine, the exact same medicine on offer from the US oligopolies promoting this fiasco? After all, it's supposed to be "good for the consumer."

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style


Nothing else does carbons and carbons are a pretty efficient way to spew copies.

Hardware has never been better, but it isn't a licence for code bloat


As we're all aware, elegantly efficient code is created by a limited number of people, a proportion very difficult or perhaps impossible to expand. We can all be trained to write musical notation but few of us will ever be brilliant composers and it's not at all obvious this limitation can be remedied by training.

As well, our plethora of half-baked commercial tools with their designs centered on extraction of money as opposed to more fundamental concerns does not help.

Slashing regulations literally more important than saving American lives to Donald Trump


Money trumps lives. Just ask investors in SWHC, RGR etc. There are several industries in the US accustomed to surfing the maximum allowable death rate for bystanders and others not enjoying certain forms of groping by the invisible hand of the market. At least we can be happy that the product of the US auto industry is not actually engineered specifically for causing mayhem.

First iPhone X fondlers struggle to admit that Face ID sort of sucks


So it's scrabblepad ("touchpad") redux.

I'm guessing the reason why is the same: it's less expensive to manufacture and more profitable to clone software, similarly to the scrabblepad which was cost reduction first, convenience second. As with other beancounter dung we'll get used to it.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020