* Posts by Barry Rueger

985 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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Even Facebook struggles: Zuck's titanic database upgrade hits numerous legacy software bergs

Barry Rueger

Waiting for the Big Crash

Every time that I read a story like this my immediate thought is that the entire Internet has become a house of cards that inevitably will collapse under its own weight. The Akamai crash this week was just the latest demonstration that we've built in far too many single-points of failure.

This is why anything that actually matters lives on my local hard drive, not in the cloud, and why I backup anything that I'm forced to keep on-line - I just don't trust any of the major Internet behemoths to keep my data safe, or available when I need it.

I guess it's a factor of age, but I can remember when the Internet was a cool new thing that added considerable utility in some areas, but wasn't yet critical to nearly every task and operation our lives. The fact that it's been allowed to grow so fast, so willy-nilly, and so entirely unregulated is cause for great concern.

And of course (Internet Archive notwithstanding) it saddens me greatly how much of our history has already been lost forever when web sites and news services just close up shop and disappear. Future historians will shake their heads and condemn us for the great gaps in our archival processes. Even sadder are the individuals and families who have entrusted their entire family histories and photo albums to Facebook or similar services without understanding that they could lose everything at a moment's notice.

Ultimately though what gives me pause is a firm belief that at the end of the day none of the big social media companies give a sweet god-damn about individual customers and users. Their utterly abysmal customer service is evidence that they really couldn't care less if you or I are harmed, locked out, or just leave. That attitude surely spreads to every corner of the operation, and leaves us all at considerable risk.

Cut us some Slack: $27bn+ later, collab tool officially belongs to Salesforce

Barry Rueger

Re: More mediocre software

Sure, the interface has grown fatter over time, being currently cluttered with too many options and functions, but that's basically evolution of every software ever.

That is one of my complaints, but honestly I find Slack clunky and unintuitive to the extreme. The editing function irritates me, and having thread pop up at the side of the screen is just strange. I'll acknowledge that some of these things are a matter of taste, but surely we can do better than this.

Plus it feels like the 1980s....

Barry Rueger

More mediocre software

What baffles me is how much software these days is arguably just not very good. Slack is a case in point. I think that any user can see a dozen ways it could be dramatically improved. Microsoft products too. I can't imagine going back to Windows or MS Office, if for no other reason that periodically they just change everything with no warning, and no obvious reason.

Say what you want about Open/LibreOffice, it's the same year in and year out, which makes it a lot more productive. I am a couple of decades beyond finding "novelty" appealing in work products.

And don't get me started on phone apps; one-third poorly thought out interface and two-thirds intrusive ads. From a Google store that makes it all so difficult to find the one gem in dozens of pieces of utter garbage.

The really crazy thing though is that I'd be happy to pay for the really good stuff, especially ad-laden services like Twitter. A few bucks a month to get an ad-free version would be wonderful. Or a Play Store that actually limits itself to products that are good.

I guess we just need to hope that when Windows 11 becomes a monthly subscription service we'll see people abandon it.

Zoom! That's the sounds of comms firm chomping down on loss-making Five9 in transaction valued at $14.7bn

Barry Rueger

Bravo Zoon!

It's truly great to see a company with a good product that delivers what it promises, is free of clutter, and is well thought-out enough that literally anyone can use it

The rest of the Internet, and 99% of phone apps, could learn from their example.

Plus they don't shove endless ads and pop-ups in your face, and seemingly don't datamine everything that you do.

Imagine a world where Apple shacked up with Xerox in the '80s: How might it look today?

Barry Rueger
Coat

Re: Big credit

"Why would anyone not want a GUI?"

For a very long time offices -at least the women who actually produced documents - ran exclusively on WordPerfect 5.1. On MS-DOS. It was a glorious chunk of software that arguably is more productive and powerful than the GUI products that replaced it.

Thise of us who actually began computing before Windows and Apple arrived are probably better able to talk about the relative merits of command-line and windowed OSs. I'm still not convinced that a plethora of features, bells and whistles necessarily makes software better.

* Mine's the one with a big fat copy of Acerson in the picket.

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra: Strong effort from an entity-lister, but your tiny child hands may struggle

Barry Rueger

Chinese Boogyman

What's with all of the "Chinese phone is evil communist and will 'phone home' '" scaremongering? I'm significantly more worried about Facebook and Google than I am about ZTE or Huawei.

For years the Reg comment section has been thankfully free of deranged American right-wing blather, but I fear those days are gone.

What's next? Anti-vax spam shoehorned into every discussion?

The M in M1 is for moans: How do you turn a new MacBook Pro into a desktop workhorse?

Barry Rueger

The upside

Count your blessings. Apple could have put both USB-C ports on the bottom of the Macbook, like did with their mouse.

Dozens of Iranian media websites devoured by the Great Satan, apparently

Barry Rueger

Re: Freedom of Speech

This is, after all, the country which on one hand claims to have a rabid protection for Freedom of Speech©, yet will fine you massively for saying "Fuck" on the radio. And where self-censorship is absolutely staggering.

This move though is really not surprising, and seems to have come and gone with little or no media discussion. And of course the irony of the US doing the kind of on-line hacking that the Russians have been accused of is totally lost to most Americans.

What's frightening though is that this is likely just the beginning, and this kind of state-sponsored on-line warfare will escalate quickly.

Mark it in your diaries: 14 October 2025 is the end of Windows 10

Barry Rueger

Re: No cost?

Even FOSS comes with a cost in terms of incompatiilities, lack of features, need for some degree of technical knowledge

Aside from sticking in a USB, rebooting, and accepting the defaults it's currently incredibly easy to unstall something like Mint, plus 99% of hardware will autoconfigure itself - especially the six or seven year old items that Windows rejects.

And you avoid the hour long update and reboot nonsense, and the UI stays the same, year in, year out..

Plus Linux sytems make PDF creation dead simple without forcing you into Adobe hell.

Sure, if you need some specific apps you need Windows, but the majority of people can live happily with Linux and LibreOffice m

Beyond video to interactive, personalised content: BBC is experimenting with rebuilding its iPlayer in WebAssembly

Barry Rueger

Disaster

We're avid BBC viewers and have no doubt that we'll hate this. I cherish the increasingly rare moments when a service I rely on remains unchanged.

We seem to have materialized in a universe in which Barney the Purple Dinosaur is designing iPhones for Apple

Barry Rueger

Bondi Blue?

Am I remembering that right? The day that beige computing died.

Linux Mint emits fix for memory-gobbling Cinnamon – and future version may insist on some updates

Barry Rueger

Juvenalia

Comparing anything Mint does to Microsoft is just ridiculous.

Half a million stolen French medical records, drowned in feeble excuses

Barry Rueger

Let's be realistic

It has been many, many years since I assumed that any data about me was truly secure unless it was on paper in my own file cabinet. Digital is by nature easily copied and shared with anyone and everyone, and sooner or later every company will find that their systems have been accessed by someone who shouldn't.

Besides, Google and Facebook have it all already.

As an aside: why is it impossible for Google to identify the owner of a specific phone number? God knows they must excel at that sort of thing.

Huawei's new Mate X2 foldable phone costs almost $2,800

Barry Rueger

Re: Nothing

...and will last more than a few months.

That's why I expect Huawei will be the first big success. Their phones are very well built, and very rugged. My P20 was the first phone I've ever owned that survived the two year contract, and I'm sure my P30 will do the same. If anyone can build a foldable phone that doesn't break it will be Huawei.

By the same token the lack of the Play store may not be an issue. The Chinese market does mobile in ways that Google can only dream of - whole swaths of the economy rely totally on WeChat and Alibaba for transactions. I have no doubt that the Huawei app store will grow and prosper, and just maybe will manage to avoid the heaps of pure dreck that fills the shelves of Google's offering.

I would not be surprised to see Huawei do the app store game much, much better than Google.

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1

Barry Rueger

Re: Painless!

And me too. Aside from a baffling and recurring scanning issue with our Brother printer I have done literally nothing except install and update for years.

My wife's Windows box on the other hsnd...

That's it. It's over. It's really over. From today, Adobe Flash Player no longer works. We're free. We can just leave

Barry Rueger

Internet Archive

Internet Archive actually has been archiving a massive collection of Flash content and games,.

Go explore!

https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_flash_showcase

My website has raised its anchor and set sail into the internet oceans without me

Barry Rueger

Re: Nether web

People who actually work in Web archiving (museums etc) will tell you that the Wayback Machine is not it, for a long list of reasons.

Sadly a significant proportion of the Web making community thinks that it is.

Developer beta for Huawei's Google-free HarmonyOS is here – but you may need to Google Translate the docs

Barry Rueger

I won't miss Android

Let's be honest, the list of reasons why Android sucks is lengthy, and grows with every version. And that's true even if you ignore the whole "Google is Evil" thing.

I'm happy to see any serious challenger, and am sure that Huawei is a company that could pull it off.

Google Mail outage: Did you see that error message last night? Why the 'account does not exist' response is a worry

Barry Rueger

Re: You Get What You Pay For

Anybody else had this issue?

Yes. I wound up abandoning a .CA domain name for a new .COM one to get around it.

Why anyone would trust Google for critical services is beyond me.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is so mired in strangely hardy glue that the display shattered during iFixit's teardown

Barry Rueger

Re: I did it Huawei

Absolutely would. We have a P20 and a P30 in this house and they are hands down the nicest , and most rugged, phones we've owned.

As far as the glue, one rule of building stuff like portable electronics is "if it can't move, it won't break." Given that 99.99% of smartphone owners will never, ever have a phone serviced it makes perfect sense.

If lots of glue keeps the phone secure until the three year upgrade then Huawei has made the right choice.

Uncle Sam throws Huawei CFO a bone in her extradition fight, but deal will require an admission of wrongdoing

Barry Rueger

Re: @Barry Rueger - The recent court procedings have been rather interesting.

The point is that an action like this does not go forward without ministerial approval. The Trudeau government's claims that their "hands were tied" are simply not true.

They could have quietly told Trump "Sorry, but we won't do it," and accepted the inevitable temper tantrum.

Beyond that it seems entirely likely that Weng visited the US several times a year on business. Why all the drama?

Barry Rueger

Re: The recent court procedings have been rather interesting.

Thanks thames for the great summary. I never thought that this case had any likelihood of succeeding. Weng can afford lawyers to the end of time, and honestly it was ludicrous to begin with.

As a Canadian I am deeply embarrassed that the Trudeau government ever went along with this farce.

Beyond the immediate, I also remain deeply sceptical that Huawei is any more or less honest or crafty than any other company, American or Chinese. What I do know is that their products are second to none.

Cyberup campaign: 80% of infosec pros fear they might fall foul of UK's outdated Computer Misuse Act

Barry Rueger

Unauthorized? Hell yeah!

"Unauthorised" can mean as little as using a username and password from the public domain to log into an account,

I'm sorry, are we arguing that grabbing some else's ID and password from any old source somehow makes an unauthorized log-in OK?

And what is meant by "public domain"?

If one of my old log-ins shows up in a release of hacked data does that make it legal to log into my account?

This article falls very short of what I expect from The Register.

Not on your Zoom, not on Teams, not Google Meet, not BlueJeans. WebEx, Skype and Houseparty make us itch. No, not FaceTime, not even Twitch

Barry Rueger

Ah, but it can work.

I've actually been doing French classes with the Alliance Francaise using Zoom, and they've been great.

Much of that is down to an excellent instructor, but Zoom has been flawless.

I agree that VC is the current wild west, but that doesn't make it useless.

Vivo pushes out X51 5G: Chipper whippersnapper, quite a battery-sapper, but at least the wrapper's dapper

Barry Rueger

Upvote for that. I honestly don't understand why Bluetooth is so unreliable. Different phones, different cars and devices, and there's just no way of predicting whether the thing will pair or need mucking about.

The current favorite is our Fiat 500 which, seven times out of ten, needs NINE keypresses to pair.

That's after leaving the paired phone IN THE PARKED CAR while shopping.

You can't spell 'electronics' without 'elect': The time for online democracy has come

Barry Rueger

Example please!

If you want to sell electronic voting you'll need to point to an example of a software package that works as advertised, is 100% secure, and won't be broken by the next update.

And do it on-line.

Next question please.

How the tables have turned: Bloke says he trained facial recognition algorithm to identify police officers

Barry Rueger

Le Facebook

New open-source machine translation model from Facebook

I actually have a fair bit of French language news in my FB feed, and I have to say that the auto-translated summaries veer wildly between hilarious and just plain incomprehensible.

So, Facebook as usual.

Another body for the Google graveyard: Chrome Web Store payments. Bad news if you wanted to bank some income from these apps

Barry Rueger

Re: Keeping tabs ..

Step by step I've been moving everything possible out of Google. My email is hosted by my Web host. Contacts and calendar are in Nextcloud. I simply aren't prepared to risk anything to Google 's "here today, gone tomorrow" business practices.

Now is there some way to get them to kill off the truly excreble Google Docs?

What an IDORable Giggle: AI-powered 'female only' app gets in Twitter kerfuffle over breach notification

Barry Rueger

Re: Twits

a registered letter to their registered business address.

Bravo Sir/Madam! A troll for the ages.

I am constantly appalled by companies that don't have a phone number, address, or email on their website. Only some pathetic Web form, and sometimes not even that.

The hard truth these days is that Twitter is very often the most effective way to contact a human being at a large company. Apparently public shaming motivates them.

As for the value or veracity of Twitter, that depends entirely on how you use it. Some very smart and very knowledgeable people use Twitter intensively, and if you choose who to follow you can get incredible insights.

Of course there's also @realdonaldtrump.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Barry Rueger

Re: Perhaps

Turn off all alerts on email and train yourself to only look once an hour or so.

This! I disable nearly all of the beeps, flashing LEDs, and pop-ups, especially on my phone.

Very little of what happens merits stopping what I'm doing to check it out.

Silence is golden

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

Prediction

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.

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