* Posts by Barry Rueger

942 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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'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

Inevitable

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

Alternatively....

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

iHeartMedia

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!

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/28/volunteer-firefighters-nsw-compensated-scott-morrison

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

MONORAIL!

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.

Shhh! It's us, Microsoft. Yes, it's 2020. We're here with a new build of Windows 10

Barry Rueger

Re: Too Slow

Haven't touched WINE since I discovered VirtualBox. I've got an elderly Vista instance that just moves happily from one machine to the next for the one accounting program that lives inside it.

Barry Rueger

Re: Too Slow

Sadly she uses a couple of Windows only applications and I have little faith in WINE's ability to handle them. Beyond that the process of moving everything from Windows to Linux is daunting given that machine is heavily used for several hours each day.

Barry Rueger

Too Slow

My wife's HP laptop just did what I take was a pretty major Windows 10 update. Can anyone explain why this should take hours, and why every update requires a complete reboot?

This machine has been an endless battle from Day One, and still has significant issues with BBC I-player, but only at home, and only some times of the day - with a fibre connection and a series of different routers and mesh systems.

Obviously some of the problems lay at the feet of HP, but when I reboot with a Linux USB the performance issues disappear so Windows has to take the lion's share of the blame.

And that's ignoring the overall user interface...

Huawei's P40 and P40 Pro handsets will not ship with Google Mobile Services, Richard Yu confirms

Barry Rueger

Excellent!

Huawei phones are very, very nice, and a lack of Google crap will just make them excellenter!

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games

Barry Rueger

AKA Libertarians

Wikipedia describes the "Institute for Justice" as follows:

The Institute for Justice (IJ) is a non-profit libertarian public interest law firm in the United States.[3][4][5] It has litigated eight cases considered by the United States Supreme Court dealing with topics that included eminent domain, interstate commerce, public financing for elections, school vouchers, tax credits for private school tuition, civil asset forfeiture, and residency requirements for liquor license.

It's a Koch financed outfit that seems to exist largely to protest regulations that you or I might consider sensible safety precautions, but which they feel unnecessarily constrain corporate entities like "engineers", food cart operators, hairdressers, and taxi owners.

The point being that it's a pretty much entirely political outfit, and that some of the claims made in the story are questionable.

Or, put another way, they seem to believe that their libertarian ideals trump the rules and laws that elected representatives put in place.

Internet world despairs as non-profit .org sold for $$$$ to private equity firm, price caps axed

Barry Rueger
Mushroom

We Told You So!

Back in the day, some twenty-five years ago, the Internet was a sparkly new thing, and the noun was still capitalised.

Probably the biggest debate on-line - aside from "copyright doesn't apply" - was whether commercial interests should be allowed on the 'net. The arguments were long, and they were passionate, but at the end of the day a society where everything was for sale won the game.

Now we have an Internet where we are bombarded with advertising, where every iota of our lives are monitored and processed to better select which ads we see, and where the the idea of a non-commercial Internet is seen as a quaint and old-fashioned idea.

One by one nearly every part of the Internet that was free of commercial exploitation has been bought and sold, or like the Usenet archives that Google snapped up, shut down when it seemed that there was no profit to be made.

If you're too young to remember those days you should consider yourself lucky. Those of who do will just despair for what the Facebooks and Googles have done to the beautiful Internet that we used to have.

American telcos get 90 days to wrap up deals with, er, dangerous Chinese supplier – that's Huawei the news goes

Barry Rueger

Meng Wanzhou

Don't forget that Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is still under house arrest in Vancouver while fighting a rather sketchy US arrest warrant.

I recommend our local CBC outlet's excellent podcast Sanctioned: The Arrest of a Telecom Giant. Nine episodes to date, and more to come as the case progresses

Can't you hear me knocking? But I installed a smart knocker

Barry Rueger

Woof to Enter

My side job is taking groups of dogs for trail hikes. I have learned two things.

If the door lock relies on a battery it will eventually go dead.

But if the household children are more than ten years old there will always be at least one door unlocked.

Without any apparent irony, Google marks Chrome's 'small' role in web ecosystem

Barry Rueger

Google is exploring shaming developers of slow loading websites

Like Gmail? That consistently consumed all available RAM, grinding my not too old laptop to a grinding halt, and eventually forcing me back to Thunderbird and the generic "Email" app that came with my phone?

Any developer that doesn't test on five-year-old hardware and a mediocre wifi hotspot should get out of the business.

Chrome OS: Yo dawg, I heard you like desktops so we put a workspace in your workspace

Barry Rueger

Linux for the win

The more that I read stories like this the more happy I am to stay with Linux where I control my workspace.

I cannot imagine returning to Microsoft, Google, or Apple. I much prefer not being locked down.

We're late and we're unreliable but we won't invalidate your warranty: We're engineers!

Barry Rueger

Re: I need an electrician

I'm Canadian, so 120v is "normal" and 240v is "will kill you." Even though I’ve since worked with both, and understand that world+dog uses the latter these stories still terrify me.

Nothing's certain except death and patches – so that 'final' Windows 10 19H2 build isn't really

Barry Rueger

Re: SNAFU

Yes, keep testing those builds, so the general population won't have to.

An excellent and subtle troll. We all know that all of the most egregious bugs enhancements will appear when the Great Unwashed get this dropped in their laps.

Ow-wei, says Huawei as Chinese giant admits US sanctions smacked it right in the phone biz

Barry Rueger

China has a thriving on-line ecosystem that honestly is a few steps ahead of the US in ubiquity and convenience - WeChat rules everything. Although you'll hear people complain about lack of Google services the Chinese ones are more than good enough.

Access to the Googleverse is only an issue outside of the Middle Kingdom.

Don't underestimate Huawei and other Chinese tech giants. It's entirely possible that they may create a new ecosystem that turns Google into the next Yahoo

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