* Posts by jmch

1614 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017

He was a skater boy. We said, 'see you later, boy' – and the VAX machine mysteriously began to work as intended

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Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but... why were they allowed in the first place?

jmch Silver badge

Re: Great they are doing this...

"tracking one's children is a normal and healthy thing to do"

Erm... No? You trust your children or you don't. I can understand having it as an emergency option for (a) at-risk children of wealthy or politically exposed people in countries where kidnapping is common, and (b) children with a history or signs of troubling / destructive behavior.

Otherwise its absolutely not normal

0ops. 1,OOO-plus parking fine refunds ordered after drivers typed 'O' instead of '0'

jmch Silver badge

Re: And this ladies and gentlemen...

"O and 0 look exactly the same, as does I and 1. The only way to know which it is is to know the position of the character on the plate"

How effing difficult is it to use a 1 with serifs and 0 with a strike through?

jmch Silver badge

Re: good grief

Which is an absolutely terrible way to run things. Why use letters at all? As far as I know, anyone else outside UK only uses letters as a prefix to identify a region. (again, not really sure why but I presume in the era before digitisation each local office could keep its own house in order)

Surely it's far more sensible to have only letters or only numbers, and if you want to identify registration year or half year put it in front or tag it on at the end instead of randomly plonking it down in the middle.

I know, far too sensible for a committee of buerocrats

Apple to Epic: Sue me? No, sue you, pal!

jmch Silver badge


Apple and Google have a functioning duopoly, which is clearly shown by the fact that they both charge the same 30% in their stores, which in a healthy market would have reduced

Why cloud costs get out of control: Too much lift and shift, and pricing that is 'screwy and broken'

jmch Silver badge

Re: Cloud is expensive

Not sure why bean counters hate capex. Simply because it's not the same every year and they like regularity. I would have thought capex had more tax benefits than opec

jmch Silver badge

Re: So now the truth is coming out

To be fair, most of the same issues of overspend and under-utilisation were there when moving to VMs started to be a thing. And when the move to network PCs happened. When fundamentally changing an architecture, it takes a while for all the parts to catch up, and some legacy applications never do. And having hybrid architectures is cost-inefficient. And working with a new architecture you initially don't have the kno to optimally use it.

I don't think any of that is specific to the cloud

Surprise! Voting app maker roasted by computer boffins for poor security now begs US courts to limit flaw finding

jmch Silver badge

Re: Can someone remind me...

Because somehow democracy would be destroyed if we know the election results within 48 hours rather than immediately. Remind me how voting used to be counted in the 70s and 80s again?

And of course the other reason, cost. Because of course we want to save a few hundred million to cut corners on unimportant things like democracy but don't mind throwing billions down the drain in pork barrel 'military' programs that will never be used

Snowden was right: US court deems NSA bulk phone-call snooping illegal, possibly unconstitutional, and probably pointless anyway

jmch Silver badge

Re: What is the point of the court ruling ?

"The NSA has probably got enough blackmail evidence"

Interesting to note that it's become taken for granted that any politician in a high enough position has something they can be blackmailed about

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

jmch Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution


jmch Silver badge

Re: There's a simple solution

I get my books from the book depository. Might be a tad more expensive but free delivery. And I'm not that bothered by a couple of days leeway in delivery date

What's 2 + 2? Personal info, sniffs Twitter: Anti-doxxing AI goes off the rails, bans tweets with numbers in them

jmch Silver badge

Re: No AI

Agree. No one really knows what consciousness is or how it emerges. Saying that it emerges from complexity is a random stab in the dark, a delusion that a computer wired the exact same way as a brain will behave the same. We are many many years from being able to successfully simulate brain hardware and we still are even further from understanding the software.

And even then there is no guarantee that simulating a human right down to the cellular level will generate consciousness

As promised, Apple will now entertain suggestions from the hoi polloi on how it should run its App Store

jmch Silver badge

Here's an idea

Allow other app stores besides the official Apple one from working with iPhone / ipad. (subject to minimum security guarantees), and decouple Apple's app store from the OS so there is no 'default' (similair to the Windows - Internet explorer decoupling)

Then devs not happy with Apple's 30% cut can punt their wares elsewhere, and we'll soon see if the 30% is a fair rate or not.

If Apple opposes or obstructs, App store is declared a de facto monopoly and antitru agencies can limit what it charges

Life with Amazon's fitness band: Upload your half-naked pics to see how fat you'll look without exercise. You now sound stressed – relax!

jmch Silver badge

Re: It's much cheaper and simpler

"to just not do any exercise and wait. That way you'll find out for free.."

That's what most people do anyway... But I guess it appeals to today's 'now, now, now' immediate gratification mindset!

And what about those wanting to slide the slider the other way? Hit the gym now, lads and lasses!

Forget your space-age IT security systems. It might just take a $1m bribe and a willing employee to be pwned

jmch Silver badge

Quite so...

A bribe of any magnitude is useless if the funds aren't both safe and explainable. Winning lottery ticket, 'corporate sponsorship' as in fight club etc. The other alternative, for anyone without attachments, is someone willing and able to permanently relocate to some backwater (and where $1 million certainly won't last that long)

My crow soft adds audio transcription to premium Word Online... Only joking. It's pretty good if a bit on the slow side

jmch Silver badge

Local dictation

I'm still sceptical about sending audio to the cloud for dictation. Is it really that difficult to do it locally given the power of modern computers and smartphones?

Yes I understand transcription is more difficult since there are different speakers not just one familiar one, but still...

Does dragon dictate work local-only? (or does anyone have any recommendations for a local-only dictation software)

Microsoft sides with Epic over Apple developer ban, supports motion for temporary restraining order

jmch Silver badge

Not so black and white

Apple have ongoing costs for both iOS development and maintaining the store. So, they could charge to list apps and/or per download. That would pretty much spell the end of free truly apps.

Or, they could take a cut off initial cost and nothing off in-app purchases (or ad revenue*?) , and all apps would end up free but possibly unworkable without in-app purchases.

Which is not a model I would like.

The problem isn't that Apple charge both for initial purchase and for additional revenue, it's their monopoly charging of an extortionate 30%. And the solution isn't for Apple to charge less, it's to oblige them to open up to other App stores as long as they meet certain security requirements. Then we can see what the real market price of running an App store is and prices would automatically adjust accordingly

*anyone know if Apple also take a cut of ad revenue? I would assume so given their model

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

jmch Silver badge

Re: I'm trying to remember

"How many times I've gone into a car showroom and asked them to sell me something that reports my every move to some indeterminate server."

To be fair, I've never walked into a car showroom and asked for a car that does NOT do that. It's been sort of taken for granted, like I never really specified that I want the wheels to be round.

Truth is, 99% of customers won't ask or know about this, just like they don't ask or know how long the in-car software is supported and bug-fixed

Money talks as Chinese chip foundries lure TSMC staff with massive salaries to fix the Middle Kingdom's tech gap

jmch Silver badge

Re: Nonsense

I fully expect full covid lockdowns to hamper voting, further post office budget cuts to hamper postal voting, and the scaremongering, outright lies, and Russian help on Facebook to be cranked up to 11. And even if Trump loses, he will claim fraud and not concede (he already said in run-up to 2016 that he might not concede defeat depending on circumstances, and, even in electoral-college-only victory claimed he was a victim of voting fraud)

Trump is a clinical narcissist, nothing is ever his fault, and in his head he always wins. His losing the 2020 election (as I believe he will) is going to result in the mother of all meltdowns

You think the UK coronavirus outbreak was bad? Just wait till winter: Study shows test-and-trace system is failing

jmch Silver badge

Re: Thailand had 1 case yesterday

Here in rural-ish Switzerland, no one wears masks outdoors, and very few inside. Wherever there is enough space to maintain distance (and people actually respect that) masks make insignificant difference.

Anywhere more crowded where maintaining distance is impossible, wearing mask is a no-brainer, however uncomfortable and annoying

jmch Silver badge

Re: Really?

Sweden is taking a gamble that so far it seems to be losing, since its got high mortality while economy still took a big hit. However that won't be fully known until some time next year. It could be that all susceptible people will succumb sooner or later, it could be that delaying the 'waves' can save many lives. Final outcome still unknown.

In any case its not only about mortality vs economy, its also about solidarity vs individuality: how much are people willing to do voluntarily to protect themselves and others vs how much should people be obligated to do things they don't want because the (many times highly fallible) state decreed this is what's for the common good.

For Apple's latest trick, the iCockroach – allowing it to survive while the smartphone sector faces a nuclear winter

jmch Silver badge

Re: And about to fall off a cliff

Even if they are cheaper for apple to produce, they won't be sold cheaper. Part of apple pricing strategy is: if its expensive it must be good.

AMD is now following More's Law: More chips, more money, more pressure on Intel, more competition in the x86 space

jmch Silver badge

What do stock analysts do?

Following this call, AMD stock jumped 10%, and following intel's from yesterday's article, theirs fell 10%. Is everything going on in these companies such a huge secret that the stock market was so taken by surprise?

Because surely anyone competent following either or both stocks could have made a killing, but if MOST analysts were competent, the moves would already have been priced in?

Oh what a cute little animation... OH MY GOD. (Not acceptable, even in the '80s)

jmch Silver badge

Re: ashamed ?

My question is, should he be ashamed of pushing porn, or ashamed that the porn was pixellated?

'Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it...' Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam

jmch Silver badge

Whack a mole

It's unsurprising that any area with high fraud potential will attract lots of frauds. What's surprising is how easily the frauds get to the top 10 of listings. It implies that either Google's ranking algorithm* is so crap it can easily be gamed by SOI, or else that advertisers are being boosted in search results even when they are not marked as ads. Either way it's not a good look for Google

*I refuse to call it AI

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

jmch Silver badge

Re: Never understood this

No, as I remember the brewery premises in town centre were outgrown, so they moved the brewery part out of the city centre and ran a pipe from there to the bottling plant that stayed on the original premises. I'm not completely sure of the details, but the pipeline wasn't 'direct to consumer'

$5bn+ sueball bounces into Google's court over claims it continues to track netizens in 'private browsing mode'

jmch Silver badge

Telling Google Chrome to not track you does not mean you are safe from tracking from every other tentacle that the Google octopus has wrapped around the Internet

SpaceX is about to launch its first Starlink internet satellite sporting a sun visor following complaints by astronomers

jmch Silver badge

Special purpose, as I understand, is latency. Light speed is faster through space than fiber optic. Starlink reckon they can do up link, crosslink, down link faster than over fiber optic over large distances eg transatlantic. Big banks are very willing to pay millions to get microseconds faster connections to market exchanges

Fujitsu unveils new laptops 'optimized for remote work' – erm, isn't that what laptops have always been for?

jmch Silver badge

Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

All of those except 3 are optimisations in the infrastructure and environment, not the laptop itself. What I consider to be a laptop optimised for home working is one designed not for portability, but one on which one can work the full workday at home. Battery life should not be a particular consideration, it's going to be plugged in all day.

So effectively we're talking desktop replacement : large, high-quality screen, excellent keyboard that includes numeric keypad etc.

Twitter, Reddit and pals super unhappy US visa hopefuls have to declare their online handles to Uncle Sam

jmch Silver badge

Re: Question (not a Merkin)

AFAIK constitutional protections extend to anyone in the US, whether citizens or not. So if you visit as a tourist, have a green card etc you are covered. I'm not sure about illegal aliens.

If you are applying for a visa from outside the country, you are not covered

Guess who came thiiis close to signing off a €102k annual budget? Austria. Someone omitted 'figures in millions'

jmch Silver badge

Ironic, incidentally, that the one country retaining Imperial units is the one that fought so hard for, and is so proud of their independence from said empire

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread

jmch Silver badge

Why bother?

Probability that enough people will install it to make a significant public health difference (60% of population according to the article) = 0

Probability that any data made available to government or corporations will be abused = 1

Home working is here to stay, says Lenovo boss, and will grow the total addressable PC market by up to 30%

jmch Silver badge

Re: Market +30% = wages -30%

Productive workers are productive home or office.

Unproductive workers can skive at an office as well as at home.

Podcast Addict Play Store ban: Android chief says soz for incorrect removal, developers aren't impressed

jmch Silver badge

Re: "We are still sorting out kinks in our process"

"The kinks in your process is that you have one guy to review everything."

In spite of the 'long tail' model, Google etc still get most of their revenues from a limited number of customers, none of whom will ever get an app rejected or account suspended. Everyone else, to Google, is a PITA to be tolerated, not a customer to be supported, hence much less dedicated manpower

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

jmch Silver badge

Re: Excel excels

The thing with excel is that everyone knows how to use it. That belief in turn gives them confidence trying advanced excel features, when the same user would balk at learning to do the same with a database. It's not how difficult it actually is, it's how difficult the user perceives it to be.

The other thing is, businesses are unwilling to go to the expense of training so many users up, and giving them database licenses. It also takes time to get it exactly right, time which many businesses do not have.

Excel gets it done OK enough right now, which always trumps getting it perfect next month or next year, because many businesses can operate with a bit of long term inefficiency, but most businesses would even start up if they had to wait weeks or months to be operational

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

jmch Silver badge

"Measles' survival has been greatly assisted by nutjobs."

Measles survival has been greatly assisted by many people not vaccinating. Some have valid health reasons not to do so or be willing to take any risks. When my son got vaccinated he had a bad reaction. A colleague of mine was also hospitalised and then home for 2 weeks following a routine flu jab. Some people have decided that they simply don't trust whatever their government tells them regarding vaccinations, and given what BS governments try to sell, I can sympathise. Either way, calling people with valid concerns 'nutjobs' is not helping.

The reality is that even though vaccines are mostly safe, they are not totally safe, and even tiny adverse reaction rates will result in numerous victims if applied to large populations. Even though vaccinations might give better health outcomes to the population in general, there are still individuals who will be worse off vaccinating than not.

More education and more transparency is what is needed, not name-calling

Tesla sued over Tokyo biker's death in 'dozing driver' Autopilot crash

jmch Silver badge

Re: If the experts aren't safe,

For the record, don't know in Japan but AFAIK on EU, cars are required to have an emergency triangle at all times. In case of any accident or incident that leaves a vehicle in a dangerous position for others, this should be set up 100m further back.

Most people grossly underestimate how far 100m actually is. And even if the bikes didn't have these triangles*, the van involved in the first accident would have. While assistance should always be offered to those in need, those offering assistance especially in an active lane should be extra prudent.

Ultimately though, it is the drivers' responsibility to be alert and avoid accidents.

*Not having where to fit a triangle, I always carry an emergency yellow vest on my bike.

jmch Silver badge

Re: License to Kill

"The record is clear. Tesla's "autopilot" system is not reliable and is a menace to innocent third parties"

Tesla's autopilot is clearly not perfect, but that should not be the bar to clear. Is it better than the average human driver? We hear of all the accidents Tesla provokes, what about the ones it avoids that a human wouldn't have? Is that 1,100,10000? Do even Tesla themselves have any idea?

In this specific case, yes the driver should have been in control, but clearly his inattention wasn't detected by the car, or it was and the driver wasn't sufficiently warned.

With respect to the crash itself, this scenario is a known one from previous accidents. Surely Tesla should have tweaked the software to pay extra attention when a vehicle it has been following changes lane. So in this case surely Tesla has a case to answer.

The single case however says nothing about general viability of self-driving cars

Lars Ulrich makes veiled threats of another Metallica album during web chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

jmch Silver badge

Re: Harsh...

As far as I'm concerned, the black album was Metallica's last. And for me unforgiven, one, orion and chtulhu (ballads not really the right word for them is it?) are among their best work.

Billionaires showered with wealth as experts say global economy set for long and deep recession

jmch Silver badge

Re: whenever governments grab MORE control...

"the RICH get RICHER, and the POOR get POORER" is a function, by design, of the type of free market capitalism championed by Reaganites and neoliberalism. It works by having LESS government oversight/regulation of big businesses and the ultra-rich. There is a clear correlation of the rich getting richer in the time of the 'robber barons' 100+ years ago, and again from the mid-1980s to now.

On the other hand, there was more equality and social mobility in the postwar years with higher taxes and more regulation.

Covid-related government measures are regulating ordinary people, relaxing those measures will not bring more equality. For a more level playing field between poor and rich, what is needed is more regulation of big businesses and less tax loopholes for the ultra-rich

NASA makes May 27 its US independence day from Russian rockets: America's back in the astronaut business after nearly nine years

jmch Silver badge

Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

That would be South African

Europe publishes draft rules for coronavirus contact-tracing app development, on a relaxed schedule

jmch Silver badge

Re: We know what you did ...

Not normally agreeing with Bob, but I do agree that

a) this and any similar tracking apps are a privacy nightmare and stasi wet dream

b) covid19 official stats are bullshit since (according to WHO) 80% of cases are mild or no symptoms, and none of these cases are being tested, and therefore not included in stats. So real mortality rate is up to 5 times less than official one.

c) many government agencies and big corporations are going to abuse the situation to their advantage at our expense while pretending to save the day

As to Bob, lay off the aps, mate, and people might take you more seriously

jmch Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile in the UK...

Spot on.

Any app is useless if self-certification is required and doubly useless if no-one can get tested unless they have severe symptoms or are VIPs.

Besides, the whole 'lock everything down' idea is bollocks, better lock down the elderly and infirm, and allow everyone else (who will mostly be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic) to catch it and get over it as quickly as possible.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'

jmch Silver badge

"If one day we colonise another planet can we leave the idiots behind?"

... and all die of an epidemic involving unsanitised telephones?

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

jmch Silver badge

Re: Europe, land of radical ageism.

20 years, 3 European countries, half a dozen different employers, never once been asked for a photo on my CV. In any case its redundant - most people put a date of birth, and age can anyway be inferred from work history.

I guess a photo could be used for uglism discrimination

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

jmch Silver badge

If I recall correctly, the best cost-to-benefit ratios are the orange and yellow sets

London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

jmch Silver badge

Re: @Zolko

"That's not how justice works"

How justice works is if a judge is convinced there is reasonable evidence to proceed, he gets charged and put on trial. He doesn't unilaterally decide he is innocent and escape.

I agree the US charge is spurious and intended as a warning for whistleblowers. But since its easier to extradite from UK than Sweden, his grounds for not even accepting to be interviewed about the Swedish rape case were spurious.

He shouldn't be extradited to US, but I agree with the judge here, he is a flight risk using corona as an excuse

jmch Silver badge

Nob or knob?

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

jmch Silver badge

Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

"The UK's strategy is to keep a constant trickle over a period of time to avoid multiple peaks as far as possible"

From the graphs I've seen, the UK is so far around the same as Italy at the same stage. In other words, within 2-3 weeks the UK's health system will be flooded regardless of any measures taken now, and if there isn't an immediate increase in restrictions, it won't be able to cope with new cases in 3-4 weeks' time.

Mind you, still better than the US, where the government seems to think it can stop the virus by writing a lot of cheques

jmch Silver badge

Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

"US healthcare isn't as bad as you think it is. It's much better than Italy's, and slightly better than the UK's"

For an IT pro who, I hazard to guess, is in a fairly high income percentile, I'm sure that's true.

While I'm not personally familiar with US system, my understanding is that as people go down the income scale, it gets worse than the UK's and perhaps even worse than Italy's, while in those countries the level is pretty stable throughout.

One advantage the US DOES have is a high ratio of respirators to population.


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