* Posts by sbt

628 posts • joined 9 Aug 2017

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Android dev complains of 'Orwellian' treatment as account banned after 6 years on Play store

sbt Silver badge
Megaphone

I understand. I do not accept.

Google, Facebook and pals are trying to hoodwink the public and regulators into accepting that they can build giant organisations with elephantine revenues, without having to build appropriately scaled and resourced customer service departments. To them, it's a cost that would eliminate their competitive advantage over "legacy" businesses when it comes to the ludricrious profits required to keep the stock markets happy.

Thumbs up, tho'.

sbt Silver badge
WTF?

The repetitive content issue.

Yes, I'm not sure why Google would have such a bee in its bonnet about this. The dilution just results in cannibalising your own revenue I'd have thought. There are worse sins like data collection and excessive demands for app privileges.

No, you spanner, your tip calculator does not need access to my address book. GTFO.

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Flame

Any setup friction can be a killer

That'd work for me, but consider the intelligence of the median person and realise that half the population are dumber than that.

I've said this before, but app stores should not be a monopoly. Particularly one that is too big to moderate effectively and provides proper avenues of appeal for arbritary and capricious decisions like this.

Don't be evil? Don't make me laugh.

Promise of £5bn for rural fibre prompts Openreach to reach for the trench-digging diamond cutter

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FAIL

They might want to ask Google about micro-trenching

Since this new technology's been unsuccessfully deployed in Google's US fibre deployments, leading to tripping hazards, cable breakage and angry government departments complaining about the damage.

This stuff might be great for those difficult-to-reach areas but there's no way 9 out of 10 dentists will recommend BT. Or 9 out of 10 non-dentists, either.

Diggerland comes to Mars as boffins battle to save InSight's mole

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Paris Hilton

Re: Duricrust??

Definitely seems more branding, less science.

Looks like they should have dialled before they dug. I could have told 'em they'd hit something hard on a barren, rocky planet.

Since they've already tried turning it on and off again, I don't have much hope, sadly. Good luck to 'em, though.

Excited about dual-screen laptops? Make your own with duct tape and the ThinkVision M14

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Devil

My workflow is fine, thanks

My desktop has two screens and about 4-5 virtual desktops per screen, without visual effects except a wipe (which is useful for orientation). It's extremely handy to run two applications full screen at once, since I will other need to refer to both simultaneously. Sure I can keep swiping back and forth, but my short term memory's not that great. That's one reason I have a computer.

I switched to two screens over ten years ago and you can pry them from my cold, dead hands. I haven't tried more, but I expect the laws of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly, unless you're in net ops or something.

I can use a laptop with a single screen, but it's slower for complex tasks.

It's a bit pricey, but I wonder if it'd work with the new Raspberry Pi 4's?

Licence to grill: A year on, MongoDB's Eliot Horowitz talks to The Reg about SSPL

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Pirate

They out-Stallmanned Stallman

It's a pity there was so much FUD around this. I don't use these kinds of DBs, but I'm sympathetic to MongoDB's beef here. The cloud providers have been making out like bandits off the back of Free Software, without honouring the intent to keep software free, or the effect that contributors at least get paid in code. The GPL is showing its age in these cloudy times and if MongoDBs licence makes their product better and creates a more sustainable company to support it, good on 'em.

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool

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Paris Hilton

Not an acronym, but no place for an Abort button

Before it shipped, I drew my boss's attention to the fact that our application, designed for pregnant women to video-conference with their OB/GYNs remotely via modem (so this is a while ago), contained numerous dialogue boxes (e.g. for dialling the connection) with Abort buttons.

It probably would have been lost in translation, since it was for a non-English speaking market.

Surprise! Copying crummy code from Stack Overflow leads to vulnerable GitHub jobs

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Holmes

Ephemeral links

I get why SO and co have this policy, which I characterised as link rot. To be clear, I'm not saying it's a bad policy or SO should change it. I'm just saying it contributes to the bias away from links to in-depth sources or more complete or in use production code samples.

Now that so much code is browsable on the Web thanks to Github and co, there must be plenty of good working code examples to refer to.

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Alert

Refer them to the framework's documentation

Certainly a better idea but difficult given the moderation policy on SO and sister sites about self-contained answers rather than off-site links. I can see why they want such an approach; it increases the value of the site, reduces the SEO juice shared with other sources and reduces the risk of link rot. This policy creates a bias towards short direct answers lacking in context, making a naked code snippet more likely to get upvoted.

sbt Silver badge
Holmes

Free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.

If you're trying to answer a question clearly and simply about an algorithm, pattern or data structure, coding best practices such as input validation can cloud the issue. It's an education site and it's on the users if they're taking example code snippets unvarnished into serious code bases and it's on employers and clients for hiring folks unqualified to write code properly and who can't use SO and similar resources responsibly.

Iran tried to hack hundreds of politicians, journalists email accounts last month, warns Microsoft

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Unhappy

Bad at being bad is better

Agreed to some extent; at least the incompetent ones get caught out. But the resulting distraction, embarrassment and partisan sh*t-fight is also damaging to the trust of citizens and allies alike. And much diplomatic harm can be done by the executive cronies without congressional oversight via mere public statements particularly when they're inconsistent, hypocritical or patently false.

sbt Silver badge
FAIL

Publicly encouraging foreign powers to hack didn't prevent Trump's election

Of course there were many other deeply disturbing public comments that didn't harm him, either. There's clearly a lot of cognitive dissonance going on amongst Republicans.

I disagree with a lot of Trump's policies (particularly foreign policies), but much more so his ham-fisted approach (c.f. Iran's nuclear program) and general incompetence (c.f. burning allied intelligence service assets (the Israelis', no less!) to the Russians). Even when impeachment fails in the Senate, the foregoing criticisms will stand.

Sad!

Watch out! Andromeda, the giant spiral galaxy colliding with our own Milky Way, has devoured several galaxies before

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Devil

I have this sneaking suspicion...

... that dogs don't live that long. If they do, it's not going to be a quick pee.

sbt Silver badge
Trollface

*sets alarm for 4 billion years ahead*

"Integer overflow in alarm.js:42"

Tetraplegic patient can now move his four limbs with the help of a badass neuroprosthetic suit

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Thumb Up

Great stuff; could be boon to the elderly as well.

Going to hold off on building that wheelchair ramp.

Hope they add a Combo 2 style plug for quick re-charges.

GPS cyberstalking of girlfriend brings surveillance and indictment for alleged American mobster

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Facepalm

Hubris

It seems these wise guys develop overconfidence from their strong network of family and crony connections, as well as the feelings of superiority and control over the public and LEAs that develops over extended periods of "getting away with it". They let their guard down and the LEAs can just scoop them up.

Of course there's a bias towards dumb in the ones that are stupid enough to get caught. The smart ones, you don't even feel the sting.

Oracle demands $12K from network biz that doesn't use its software

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Paris Hilton

Re: This reminds me of that scam..

... and there was a good chance the member of staff that ended up with the delivery needed some carbon paper on a regular basis, would crack open the package and start using it, preventing returns.

It was clever. Now stop making me feel so old!

sbt Silver badge
Happy

While you're at it, add in support for ... *BSD

Well, FreeBSD supports guest additions via the emulators/virtualbox-ose-additions package or port. It's just not bundled with VB.

It appears there's support for NetBSD as well.

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Terminator

Re: Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems...

Nest? Was it filed circularly straight away?

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Childcatcher

Re: Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems...

I thought they were too busy cancelling their own projects. What have they bought and bulleted? Was Wave a buy-in?

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Unhappy

Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems...

...must be the worst in terms of outcomes for customers of all time.

Change my mind.

sbt Silver badge
Happy

Well, gosh.

Thanks! Really, the kind words mean more than another thumb; no extra login needed.

sbt Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: VB, phone home

I've seen conditions as part of privacy policies saying that they'll try. I've never seen one that says you'll be charged more for running it air-gapped (virtually or otherwise). Is there an example you have in mind?

sbt Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: VB, phone home

I use different IPs for VMs; no problem for firewalling. Much of my application blackholing is destination based, not source based, since most phone homing seems to be port 443 anyway.

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Thumb Up

That app you MUST use for your job

Well, if it's work related, they'd be licencing it properly, of course. If an employer or client needs an app to have unfettered net access, it's going to be on a separate physical/virtual client with suitably generous FW rules. And there's always VPNs, etc if you're worried.

sbt Silver badge
Facepalm

I don't, but...

Since my home IP address is also shared with my business, I could fall afoul of this f*ck up.

sbt Silver badge
Mushroom

VB, phone home

Then people wonder why I bother to blackhole applications that phone home. If you're not a web browser or a mail client, as the Snoop Nazi says: NO NET FOR YOU!

Remember the millions of fake net neutrality comments? They weren't as kosher as the FCC made out

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Flame

In the words of the great John McEnroe

China is quite close to a fully functional benevolent dictatorship

You cannot be serious!

In case you are, may I respectfully draw your attention to:

  • The failure to honour "two systems" for Hong Kong;
  • Sabre rattling over Taiwan;
  • Tibet;
  • The Uighan genocide, sorry "re-education";
  • The ongoing censorship and re-writing of history, e.g. of the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989;
  • The failure to protect worker's rights in industry from exploitation and abuse;
  • Environmental destruction and pollution on an epic scale;
  • Systemic and entrenched corruption by CCP cadres;
  • Blatant disrespect and defiance of international norms, treaties and court rulings, e.g. territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Shall I go on? A really benevolent government is not afraid of alternative parties, a free press or free elections. Note my beef is with the CCP and its DFL, not the Chinese people.

sbt Silver badge
Facepalm

Seems like a clear case of mail fraud

It is an ongoing source of shame on the legal system that these sorts of non-financial crimes (but which still have tangibly harmful impacts on the populace) go un-punished. Still, they don't even prosecute the charlatans, fraudsters and snake-oil merchants of quackery, mentalism, etc., so I guess my expectations should be as low as Chairman Pai's ethics score.

I wish folks could look beyond partisan politics around size-of-government, regulatory tightness and public vs. private funding questions and focus on the harm bad actors do, particularly to the levels of political engagement, levels of trust in institutions (both public and private) and hope in general.

TalkTalk says WalkWalk if you've got a mouldy Tiscali email address, or pay £50 a year to keep it

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Thumb Up

Still IT news.

Yes, and very much of interest, particularly to anyone with an e-mail address subject to the change. Also another opportunity to reinforce the dangers of relying on your ISP for e-mail; they get great lock-in value from a pretty cheap offering.

I guess I was make a comparison between this particular action TalkTalk have taken vs. their general customer service reputation. I was almost pleasantly surprised.

sbt Silver badge
Meh

In this case...

...since they're giving fair warning in advance and an option to pay for continued service, I don't see anything scandalous about this move. I wouldn't expect any ISP to provide free e-mail services to non-paying subscribers. It's better than doing a shoddy job of it to minimise support costs where there is no revenue to offset, creating the previously reported hijack issues.

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force: How the tech boys club remains exclusive

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Alert

Cure vs. disease

Research also shows women already experience imposter syndrome at far higher rates than men. Now imagine how things will go with overt and widespread quotas.

Karl Marx was spot on with his diagnosis of the problems created in Europe in the 19th century by capitalism. However, experience has shown his radical cure to be extremely harmful on balance, and this is all too common. Easy to see the problem, hard to find a fair solution. There's no question there is a long standing distortion in opportunity and reward between the sexes, fostered and maintained by the patriarchy (that continues, and is embraced/supported by some women, even today). It is extremely difficult to right historical wrongs; that also applies to colonialism, slavery and wrongful convictions.

I'd support a biased approach in education, training and opportunity for women to enter the corporate or technology arenas, but I think arenas should remain level fields. More training and armour, not a spear to the leg of the competitors.

When the satellite network has literally gone glacial, it's vital you snow your enemy

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Headmaster

You learn ...

... for example to ask the question "What have you tried already" before calling it fixed. That way you find out about the on-site chap turning up the gain.

The OS is 'no longer' important to Microsoft, and yet new Surface kit has 3 Windows flavours

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Go

in a lot of areas, cloud based solutions are a simple no-no

Absolutely. My whole business model is predicated on a decent niche of organisations needing on-prem systems for the foreseeable future, due to security, performance or connectivity constraints. But I've argued there's still a clear trend from on-prem to cloud for the mainstream.

sbt Silver badge
Meh

Re: "client platforms become less critical in the Web app age"

I was thinking desktop apps for business; the sort of thing that drives whole organisational platform choices, and MS's bread and butter. Sure, Apple have made some in-roads in education and media sectors, but at least around here, Windows is the most common platform for business apps (e.g. CRM, ERP, accounting/payroll), except that now, new systems are often going in as cloud-, and/or browser-based.

That's low hanging fruit given the relative simplicity of transactional apps vs. CAD packages or similar, but it's early days and I'm seeing more desktop apps deployed on browser platforms or Electron to get cross-platform support cheaply.

The time of the thin client may have finally arrived. Still waiting for the paperless office, although smartphones seem to have made a difference.

sbt Silver badge
Meh

Windows becoming less profitable

Well, they struggled to give 10 away.

Their massive failure to attract devs to their phone platform was a good reminder to focus on keeping the platform relevant to users (via default shipping with hardware) and devs (via strong toolsets). They've done surprisingly well in the cloud (given earlier competitive landscape) so while the tentacles are still reaching well into IT use cases of all kinds they have less reason to worry, particularly as client platforms become less critical in the Web app age and non-Windows related Azure revenues are heading in the right direction.

sbt Silver badge
Windows

Sounds like an admission of defeat

The classic claim, in the same vein as I never really loved you, or winning isn't everything, etc.

Windows isn't important to me either, hasn't been for a long time. XP was fine. Vista was a hard no. 7 wasn't enough to return. 10 just confirmed my earlier decisions.

Jamf emits mystery security fix for Pro macOS, iOS wrangler, keeps admins in dark by censoring chatter

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Joke

They can be ill-timed, sure;

But never gratuitous.

EU's top court sees no problem with telling Facebook to take content down globally

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FAIL

Too big to fail (to moderate)

Big tech argues they have too much content to moderate, but they have no problems sharing it and monetizing it. Another classic example of private profits, socialized losses.

This is not a sustainable, long term model; barriers to distributed content publishing will come down, just as they are for messaging. Gaming platforms like Discord will go mainstream and shared media outside of YT will get richer. They're already sharing dash-cam videos on Twitch.

Egyptian government caught tracking opponents and activists through phone apps

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Big Brother

More evidence (if any were needed)

That governments really shouldn't be given back-doors to encryption. On the other hand, they seem be able to hack the end-points, so it's actually harder for them to argue that they need co-operation from app devs/platforms.

I feel dirty, but I'm actually agreeing with Zuck on this one. *shudders*

Kaspersky warns of encryption-busting Reductor malware

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Unhappy

Re: Translation: We're doomed.

Crumbs, indeed.

I've been waiting for a example of an exploit that justifies serious application lock-down/code-signing and traceability. As someone who needs to roll-my-own applications and install my own choice of OS at times, I've resisted the push by Apple and co for features like TPMs, Gatekeeper and SIP to be mandatory. I've got good firewalling and user discipline around trusted sources and checksumming, but it's still a worrisome development. I may have to switch to a small target browser.

How much is your face worth? Google thinks a $5 Starbucks gift card should be good enough

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Holmes

I propose a new phrase for the occurence of expected events

We know the pope's been sh*tting in the woods forever. How about:

Does Google quietly cling to your personal info?

Here's that hippie, pro-privacy, pro-freedom Apple y'all so love: Hong Kong protest safety app banned from iOS store

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Megaphone

Friendly democracies?

There seem to be a few misconceptions here; the US doesn't care about democracy elsewhere; it will be friends with theocracies like Saudi Arabia if it suits economic or balance of power (enemy's enemy) political considerations. Trump seems inconsistent on traditional allies, favouring "strong men" like Putin and Kim (once 'little rocket man', but they 'fell in love' or he 'moved on him like a bitch' I forget which). Meanwhile the European democracies get short shrift.

I'm not saying it's always about oil or communism. But it often is.

When it's a choice between muslims and non-muslims, it's always the non-muslims. I think that explains Kashmir (and to some extent, Israel).

sbt Silver badge
Devil

It's the CCP's fault.

They can't even honour the HK handover agreement or international judgements on territorial claims in the South China Sea. I feel sorry for the mainlanders who can't even protest or even hear about it.

Apple on the other hand are a risk-averse profit-making business that doesn't need to care about sides in politics, only power. They will happily nix any app that makes them uncomfortable including via diplomatic pressure from a key supplier and customer market. Just like YT will de-monetize videos dealing with awkward subjects. These businesses are not here to serve people, promote regime change or help rock the boat.

There shouldn't be a monopoly on app stores.

Google Maps gets Incognito fig leaf: We'll give you vague peace of mind if you hold off those privacy laws

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Big Brother

The only way to guarantee information doesn't leak is to never know it.

I get that this is apparently fundamental to their business model, but it's only a matter of time before Google has a data breach on the FaceBook/CA/Yahoo/Equifax scale, and then what's true for everyone else will be true for them (see title).

Anyway, sooner or later folks are going to wake up to how little difference "targeting" advertising makes. If I just bought a mattress, WTF are you showing me mattress ads for? (I've heard, I don't see much advertising on-line). Not to mention the fake traffic issue.

£3bn Google sueball over Safari Workaround bounces through UK Court of Appeal

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Big Brother

Tens of hours' worth of profits to save £3 billion

That makes good business sense, if you're Google. Since I'm not, I hope they lose bigly.

At least the GDPR now provides for turnover-based penalties (for more recent data misuse; this is Google, I'm sure there'll be another incident soon).

UK ads watchdog bans Burger King Twitter jibe for condoning chucking milkshakes at politicians

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Alert

Attack ideas, not people.

In a democracy with free speech, attacking the opposition with anything other than words is a tactical error; it draws attention to the muppet and creates sympathy, while hardening the resolve of their supporters as the oppressed underdogs/victims. Even if said muppet is cynically exploiting fear/prejudice/etc to advance their cause.

It's a mistake to focus on the singer, not the song.

Also, total waste of a milkshake.

If you don't live in a democracy with free speech, however, milky beverages are not going to work. Hong Kong Add Oil!

Astronaut Tim Peake reminds everyone about the time Excel mangled his contact list on stage at Microsoft AI event

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Boffin

don't use a spreadsheet as an address book

Or really any application where strings containing digits and operators are not actual numbers. Or times can be mistaken for dates. Actually, despite using Excel a lot and finding it incredibly useful, I hate the stupid guesses it makes/forces on you when it comes to pasted/loaded data. It's just inappropriate if you need to get out exactly the data you put in, which is a shame, 'cause it could be great for a lot of ETL situations where sizes are not excessive.

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