* Posts by Barry Rueger

955 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007


Lizards for lunch? Crazy tech? Aliens?! Dana Dash: First Girl on the Moon is perfect for the little boffin-to-be in your life

Barry Rueger

Re: An interesting review

Podkayne of Mars too.

From Accompli to Microsoft to Google: G Suite chief Javier Soltero chases the 'complete collaborative experience'

Barry Rueger

MY axiom of choice.

I like my email program to just do email, with a contact list and calendar. I like my browser to browse, and my word processor to just write.

The same is true of virtually every computing task: a stand-alone app is invariably better and more reliable.

I also much prefer to have all of these on a local machine, not Google's server. Ultimately I don't trust them, either with my data or to not shut down serve at I use.

Also, let's face it, Google Docs really does suck.

One lesson learned years ago is that any toll that claims to be "three-in-one" will wind doing at least two things badly.

Nokia 5310: Retro feature phone shamelessly panders to nostalgia, but is charming enough to be forgiven

Barry Rueger

Re: This is NOT that suitable for older people

(Reposted from my Twitter feed)

I've known people who were old and living in the suburbs in their 20s. My wife on the other hand in six months has moved a thriving piano teaching practice to Zoom, mastered a ton of software that I don't fully understand, and this weekend finished learning Openshot and editing her year end recital. The little tiny kids played live to Zoom. The older ones recorded their own recital performances at home, then uploaded them to her. I am, no exaggeration, bloody well amazed by her.

Susan is 74. She moves effortlessly between her iMac, iPad, Windows 10 laoptop, and Android phone, aside from the usual; built in issues that friustrate us all.

Age is no indicator of comfort with technology.

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

Barry Rueger


Five years from now the changes will have happened, it will have turned out to be No Big Deal, 99% of people will have moved on to more important things, and forum posters will still be raging about it. At least when they're not raging about SystemD.

Microsoft takes tweaking tongs to Windows 10's Start Menu once again

Barry Rueger

User and device signal

The "Programmable Taskbar" will only apply to new accounts or first logins, and Microsoft plans to tailor the layouts "based on user and device signal" to cut down on "perceptions of bloatware".

Leaving aside the absurd suggestion that Microsoft will do anything to reduce bloatware, I really do not want them auto-magically sticking things on my taskbar. It's the one place in Windows where I'm in control, and they can stay out of it.

Huawei wins approval to plonk £1bn optical comms R&D facility in UK's leafy Cambridgeshire

Barry Rueger

In a post-Snowden age is there any doubt that the US government hasn't also "positioned itself there to "Borrow" research from other Cambridge studies" while maintaining "links and spies that allowi them to build a base of operation."


Barry Rueger

Re: I know...

Phones as well

Just really nice, well manufactured devices. I'd buy Huawei again in a flash.

The girl with the dragnet tattoo: How a TV news clip, Insta snaps, a glimpse of a tat and a T-shirt sold on Etsy led FBI to alleged cop car arsonist

Barry Rueger

Missing info

I'd appreciate knowing how the cops* got all this information. Subpoena? Did the company just hand it over? Veiled threats to amateur photographers?

And when have we ever heard of cops doing this much, this fast? Somehow other investigations take weeks, months, or years compared to this relatively small property crime.

Still, if you're attacking cops or their toys and allow any kind of identifying attributes to show then you're not too bright.

* yes, FBI=cops.

Windows 10 once more in print condition: Microsoft applies out-of-band fix to Patch Tuesday cock-up

Barry Rueger

At the risk of repeating myself

New Linux install to Dell laptop. Fifteen minutes, and it found four different printers, by three manufacturers, in our building and they all just worked out of the box.

I do not understand why Windows can't do the same.

Microsoft disbands three-ring Windows Insider circus and replaces it with 'channels'

Barry Rueger

Missing ring

Did they also rename the the end-user and retail ring, where MS products get tested in the real world, on a wide range of hardware, and is discovered to include major issues affecting thousands of users, who have long since accepted that no fix is ever coming?

US govt: Huawei is a national security risk and a menace, except, you know, when we need it for 5G standards work

Barry Rueger

Meanwhile in Canada

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou remains under house arrest while fighting a rather dubious US extradition order. Canada remains unwilling to do anything that might upset The Donald.

CBC story here.

Last month a Canadian court ruled that Meng 's alleged actions would have also been criminal in Canada, even though Canada is not part of the US embargo of Iran.

An Internet of Trouble lies ahead as root certificates begin to expire en masse, warns security researcher

Barry Rueger

House of Cards

More and more I feel that we're heading for the day when the entire Internet comes crashing down. It really is a disaster waiting to happen.

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

Barry Rueger

Re: Never understood this

Geez, I'm 64 but even I know that influencers live on Instagram, not Twitter.

Thank God.

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

Barry Rueger

Re: git broke English

"Huck" is a term we used when I was a kid growing up in the Antipodes doing stupid things with fireworks.

"Huck" was common parlance in Canada as well, which suggests it may have had British roots?

Snapping at Canonical's Snap: Linux Mint team says no to Ubuntu store 'backdoor'

Barry Rueger

If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Actually I appreciate the clear and detailed explanation of the reasons why Canonical is choosing to mandate Snap. I can see the logic.

However at the end of the day I'll stick with whatever Mint decides is best for me. Year in and year out I enjoy a stable, reliable, and consistent environment that "just works" and which thankfully shows very little change between versions. I appreciate that I can pick up a new (to me) laptop and have Mint installed and configured to suit my needs in less than fifteen minutes. And that thereafter I can ignore it, let updates install without worries, and trust that it won't suddenly break itself.

Our household includes my two Mint boxes, two Windows 10 laptops, and a shiny new iMac. I'll leave it you to guess which computers have the least issues.

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

Barry Rueger

Yet again, screwed over by Google

I absolutely love Podcast Addict, even the endlessly convoluted menus.

More and more I look for alternatives to Google. Whereas the biggest problem used to be Google shutting down a Google app or feature that you need, now it's perfectly usable third-party apps that stand to disappear.

I for one look forward to Huawei developing an Android and Google free phone OS.

Facebook-for-suits puts on a fresh jacket. 'Classic' Yammer is so 2018. Behold, a public preview of 'New' Yammer

Barry Rueger

What? Yammer?

It likely speaks volumes that I assumed "Facebook-for-suits" referred to LinkedIn.

Wanna be a developer? Your coworkers want to learn Go and like to watch, er, Friends and Big Bang Theory

Barry Rueger

Vegetative States

We once started a round of interviews by assuring candidates that we wouldn't ask them which vegetable they were. Which if course meant that they laughed and told us.

The really strange part was that three of them said "zucchini."

To this day I still ponder what on earth that was supposed to tell us.

One thing I did finally learn is that after a certain point your efficiency and attention to detail drop significantly. Anyone who thinks that there's a point to working fifty, sixty or seventy hour weeks is fooling themselves. That was summed up a long time ago when I was working trade-show set-up, and the Lead Hand stopped us at 1 am to say "It's late, and we're all really tired, and that means that we're all really stupid. Just slow down and think twice before doing anything."

The iMac at 22: How the computer 'too odd to succeed' changed everything ... for Apple, at least

Barry Rueger

Re: So near, yet so far

EQmac for the win! Thanks!

Barry Rueger

Re: So near, yet so far

Every five years I buy a refurbished Dell laptop, install Mint, and it just goes forever. Susan on the other hand loves gear - especially now that her piano teaching has moved on-line - and loves asking tech to do more than was intended - two laptops, two webcams (one purchased the day before Amazon ran out) a Rode mic, an upgrade to faster fibre, and a plethora of cables, including ethernet because WIFI didn't deliver.

I actually don't know where the iMac will fit in, but it is lovely hardware. My only involvement is oohing and ahing.

I feel obliged to note that Susan is 74 years old and has no idea how tech savvy she us.

And thanks to everyone for the EQ suggestions. A quick Google turned up nothing.

Barry Rueger

So near, yet so far

My wife, after years of battling Windows 10, bought an iMac this month. It is unquestionably a lovely machine, although we're baffled that there's no way to adjust bass and treble for sound output, making that lovely screen useless for watching BBC I-player.

That sort of thing is why I eventually abandoned my G4 Powerbook: when you buy a Mac it's all or nothing. If Apple 's design choices don't meet your needs or tastes, too bad.

Since then I've been very happy with Linux, which gives me complete control of every part of the computer environment.

Although, to be honest, the only change that I made to a fresh Mint install this week was to disable Caps Lock.

The Mac is beautiful, but unfortunately I can't work within its limitations.

Where the hell Huawei? It should be a bit easier to tell now the AppGallery has its first proper navigation app

Barry Rueger

Re: "Huawei has earmarked over $1bn to bolster its own app platform"

Chinese companies are forced to build themselves up and create their own ecosystem,

They've already done that. Because Google has not been available other China based companies have stepped up and created a mobile phone based system that US companies can only dream of.

Everyone pays for everything using their phones, and WeChat and other companies are how pretty much everyone connects to the economy, and to each other.

The US really needs to get over the belief that a lack of Google equals a backwards country. If anything it ' the Americans who are playing catch-up.

Barry Rueger

Less Google is a selling point

Even if you ignore the global mega - issues with Google, the sad fact is that their products are often just not very good.

Maps, and Drive, and Docs, and Search may be ubiquitous, but none of them is particularly pleasant to use, with UI design that defies both logic and intuition, and Google 's habit of deprecating features at an inexplicable whim

The Play store is among the worst of Google products, and I genuinely dread trying to find an app to do some simple job. Between a rating system that seems to be copied from Yelp, and which is plagued with obvious spam and astroturf, and apps with so much advertising that they border on useless, I would love to see a properly curated app store with one or two really good apps iin a category nstead of dozens of utterly crap ones.

Our Huawei phones are excellent hardware, and have pretty decent software. I'll sign up for their app store in an instant.

Linux fans thrown a bone in one Windows 10 build while Peppa Pig may fly if another is ready in time for this year

Barry Rueger

I'm confused..

The reason I install Linux on a computer is to avoid Windows.

(And judging by my wife's brand new Win10 laptop that remains the case. What a friggin mess! I'm still gobsmacked that there's no simple way to move her profile from the old machine to the new. Like the one built into an Apple!)

Not only is Zoom's strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn't even that strong

Barry Rueger

Re: People don't buy encryption

OK, Zoom just launched a major clusterfuck by mandating passwords with no warning and no reasonable warning. Two dozen students scrambling to figure out how to join the first ever online piano recital.

Although I appreciate the intent, this was really, really messed up.

Barry Rueger

People don't buy encryption

My significant other has a thriving piano teaching business, with a predominantly Chinese client base no less.

When it became obvious (three weeks ago) that face to face lessons would soon be impossible she moved everything to her home piano room, bought the last two webcams in town, and moved on line.

It didn't take long to realize that Zoom put Skype to shame, and after a couple of weeks she's still finding genuinely very smart and useful features.

And, in what's sadly an unusual thing these days, everyone has found Zoom remarkably easy to set up and use.

It's fine to criticize Zoom 's security shortcomings, but the actual product is pretty darned impressive.

And hey, if you can see your userbase grow that much, that quickly, without a major crash and burn I'm impressed.

UK judge gives Google a choice: Either let SEO expert read your ranking algos or withdraw High Court evidence

Barry Rueger

Foundations of the modern Internet

A globally dominant search and services giant, operating almost entirely behind a very opaque screen, answering to no one, battled by an army of highly-paid SEO gurus who rely largely on tea leaves and rumour to understand how Google works.

Meanwhile, it's my experience that Google search becomes less useful every day


Slack hooks up with Microsoft Teams and Zoom VoIP calls

Barry Rueger

My MusicStaff

The rather excellent My MusiStaff package for music teachers added Zoom support last month, a lovely one-click to connect students and teachers.

Tinfoil hat brigade switches brand allegiance to bog paper

Barry Rueger

Re: you'd still struggle to get through a couple of rolls

In all seriousness, do all of you people really know how much toilet paper you use in a week?

And more importantly : WHY?

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds: They're good – though for close to £300, they really should be

Barry Rueger

Re: Waxy build-up

I tired every DIY wax removal trick, and suffered multiple doctors who couldn't or wouldn't remove prodigious wax build - up. I finally found the solution.

Fly to China, go to any park, and you'll find guys who, for a couple RMB, will carefully and quickly scrape the wax out with little bamboo tool.

It's hardly rocket science and I fail to see why western doctors can't do the same.

Yelp finally gets its chance to tell US Congress how Google screws its listings service every minute of every day

Barry Rueger

Re: Yelp

To be fair, Yelp sometimes also loses positive reviews for no apparent reason.

None of the "user" generated review sites are very good. I have yet to see one that wasn't wallpapered with obvious spam positives.

Yelp's biggest problem though is an utterly horrible UI, second only to Facebook for clutter and irrelevant information.

More than a billion hopelessly vulnerable Android gizmos in the wild that no longer receive security updates – research

Barry Rueger

Re: Gotta luv them Softies...

In Androidland, capabilities such as USB mode, call recording, Bluetooth compatibility and even 'Do not disturb' (to name but a handful) get arbitrarily deprecated.

On my laptop and desktop I happily run Linux because it's stable, reliable, and because the application that I installed a year or two back still works fine.

I don't think I've ever gone a year without Google disabling some part of Android that I actually rely on.

Spider-eyed Lite version of Huawei flagship flies out before actual P40 launch event

Barry Rueger

Bonus selling point.

We bought Huawei phones specifically to piss off Donald Trump. The fact that they're really great phones is the bonus.

While hype merchants push chatbots, CIOs are saving up pennies while expecting a recession, reckons study

Barry Rueger

Hate chat-bots

”Chatbots and virtual assistants fell short of expectations for 73 per cent of organisations.”

By the time I actually give up and resort to trying to get help from a company I usually will try anything to avoid the irritating "Chat with us!" pop-ups. I don't think I've ever got a useful answer from them.

Aw, look. The UK is still trying really hard to be the 'safest place to be online in the world'

Barry Rueger


Canada is looking at something similar. The Internet has become such a horrid shitshow that it seems inevitable.

The likes of Google and Facebook have refused time and again to step up and manage what they publish. It was only a matter of time before public pressure forced governments to step in.

Besides, I still trust government marginally more than Facebook.

Super-leaker Snowden punts free PDF* of tell-all NSA book with censored parts about China restored, underlined

Barry Rueger

Across America, confusion peaks

Damn that Snowden! He's just a commie traitor who should be prosecuted and shot!

Except now he's attacking our sworn, Huawei supporting, enemies the commie Chinese, so he's a hero!

Except he's doing that by telling them super-secret American spy stuff, so he's.... um ... A traitor-hero?

Ouch. My head hurts. Can I just ignore this and watch Apprentice reruns instead?

Whoa, France. Take it easy. Wow. You're out of control. Fining Apple 55 minutes of revenue for secretly slowing down iPhones? Maniaques!

Barry Rueger

Hurrah! Brexit!

No longer will Apple be hobbled by the boot heels of Euro-consumer-protectionism!

Give me my slow IPhone or give me death!

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Barry Rueger

Mixing console.

Taco chip, somehow inserted into a Penney & Giles slider. Back in the days when all DJs smoked, in between spilling coffee onto electronics.

Guess we have to do this the Huawei then: Verizon sued by Chinese giant for allegedly ripping off patented tech

Barry Rueger

Big Bad Huawei!

Looks like Verizon is banking on all of the anti - Huawei propaganda to let them avoid some costly licencing agreements.

The BlackBerry may be dead, but others are lining up to take its place

Barry Rueger


I have a Blackberry keyboard APK that has moved through multiple Android phones since my Q19 got crunched.

Even though every phone and manufacturer insists on "improving ' Android with annoying third-party features, at least I've had a consistent, reliable keyboard across devices.

AI snatches jobs from DJs and warehouse workers, plus OpenAI and PyTorch sittin' in a tree, AI, AI, AI for you and me

Barry Rueger


Back around 2001 in Frankfort, Kentucky I had a very proud radio exec brag to me that they finally had a radio station with no studio, no offices, and no employees. Just a transmitter rack, a computer full of songs and pre-recorded ads and breaks, and a network connection to headquarters.

In many North American cities it has been a couple of decades since real live DJs selected or played real live music. All of that is handled by computers overseen by consultants.

By the way, this predates computers by another couple of decades, with giant machines playing music and voice clips using a belt full of pre-recorded tape cartridges.

Remember those infosec fellas who were cuffed while testing the physical security of a courthouse? The burglary charges have been dropped

Barry Rueger

Re: "...elevating the alignment between security professionals and law enforcement."

Don't forget, this is a country where sherrifs and judges are often elected!

And presidents...

Will Asimov fix my doorbell? There should be a law about this

Barry Rueger

Hello Australia!


Actually, Australia feels like Britain's post-Brexit future.

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

Barry Rueger

Paste special HTML

Please, please, can we change the default when pasting from a Web page to Writer to be "plain text."?

Yes, it can be done somewhere in settings, but seriously is there any common use case where you want Web page formatting carried over to a business documenr?

Google halts paid-for Chrome extension updates amid fraud surge: Web Store in lockdown 'due to the scale of abuse'

Barry Rueger

Bye bye Google

This is why for the past year or so I've been moving everything possible out of the Googleverse. Though it's a pretty onerous project I ultimately feel a lot more secure knowing that tools I rely on won't just be shut down with no warning , and no practical avenue for appeal.

I can't imagine building a business that relies on Google.

To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details

Barry Rueger

Re: Invasive or what?

Or how about being able to store contacts on the phone?

I don't know about the camera, but Nextcloud handles my contacts and calendar just fine.

Getting Android apps to (mostly) default to non- Goigle sources was a challenge*, but worth it in the end.

* "challenge" meaning "pain in the ass."

Barry Rueger

It gets worse

My new BlueTooth equipped furnace air filter also demands access to location data before its app will work.

Which I guess would be useful if my furnace was stolen....

That's Huawei we roll: Firm claims it's slinging 100k of its pricey, China-exclusive Mate X foldable phones each month

Barry Rueger

Meanwhile in Vancouver

Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou remains under house arrest. CBC Radio's ”Sanctioned" podcast has a new episode this week describing the pre-trial court room manoeuvring.

Flying taxis? That'll be AFTER you've launched light sabres and anti-gravity skateboards

Barry Rueger

Re: Flying taxis = wrong solution to right problem


Is it a make-up mirror? Is it a tiny frisbee? No, it's the bonkers Cyrcle Phone, with its TWO headphone jacks

Barry Rueger

Kids these days...

Two headphone jacks? Sony did that forty years ago with original cassette tape Walkman.



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