* Posts by Alex Stuart

51 posts • joined 20 Jan 2021


General Motors charging mandatory $1,500 fee for three years of optional car features

Alex Stuart

Re: Microtransactions?

Audi has replaced BMW in that meme for a good few years now.

Union tells BT: Commit to pay rise talks next week or else

Alex Stuart

Re: Profit

They can't have invested that much, I have 30Mb internet in 2022, and don't live in the sticks.

I had 1000Mb in India 5 years ago, in comparison.

UK Home Office signs order to extradite Julian Assange to US

Alex Stuart


I take it we're getting Anne Sacoolas in return, because if we're going to do the extradition thing, that would be fair, right?

Shanghai lockdowns to end, perhaps easing tech supply chain woes

Alex Stuart

Re: So, how's it working out for them?

> Don't most people realise this by now? Is anyone still on "team lockdown"

It'd make sense if the purpose was to buy time to attain extremely high vaccination rates, but that doesn't appear to be the case in China.

Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay

Alex Stuart

Re: And next week

You know when someone uses the phrase 'socialised medicine' that we're not going to have a good faith conversation about healthcare...

Logging and monitoring can be a form of bullying, and make for lousy infosec

Alex Stuart

Re: A much bigger problem for surveillance and more than just bullying

Good bot

Google releases beta version of Android 13 'Tiramisu'

Alex Stuart

> Thirty years ago, a Sega or a Nintendo knew its place - you turn it on, it works, no quibble, no updates, no IRQ clashes, no advertisements.

Consoles are still largely the same. Yes, they're now x86 PCs in a snazzy box, and they have updates, game patches and ads for their own services, but the games tend to just work. I haven't had a game crash on PS5 so far, and had *one* crash on PS4/PS4 Pro over the course of 8 years, and that's thousands of hours, probably into the tens of thousands of hours, gaming.

British motorists will be allowed to watch TV in self-driving vehicles

Alex Stuart

Re: Clippy behind the wheel

> However, the existing roads and Highway Code are set up for humans and they will need to be adapted to accommodate the self driving cars, rather than trying to make the self driving cars adapt to human environments.

I'd be up for this. England has some truly appalling road designs in places, and pisspoor paint replenishment levels. I find it far easier driving in America on the wrong side of the road than in an unknown English area.

More squares and less roundabouts, please. Even if I have no problem with roundabouts, enough other humans do that it's dangerous.

Alex Stuart

Re: Sensors

> and good luck on the country lanes in Cornwall

Well, I'd like to think a robot would've outperformed the meatbag in this recent instance, at least -


Alex Stuart

I thought the same thing, we're not building the tech or cars here after all.

Unless they mean adjustments to existing jobs i.e. those building 'smart' motorways will now build something else. Kind of like the '40 new hospitals' thing.

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options

Alex Stuart

Re: 'Peak Netflix'

The writing was on the wall when they scrapped the stars system for 'like' - 'we don't have any bad content, just content you might not like as much as other content!'.

And the social-media style endless scrolling panels - 'keep scrolling, there's no end, just more great stuff!'

I won't cancel as they have enough good stuff (esp in 4K/HDR) that it'd be cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I'm not as happy about it as I used to be...

Windows 11 usage stats within touching distance of... XP

Alex Stuart

For me, as a tech nerd, developer and gamer, Windows 10 is brilliant, the best version yet.

It looks good, does everything I need it to, and doesn't crash.

I have absolutely zero intention of installing 11 until Win10 is completely out of Enterprise support.

Even then, I'll be modding it to look like 10, if there is no option for classic start menu/taskbar etc.

Beanstalk loses $182m in huge flash-loan crypto heist

Alex Stuart

Re: Remind me again

Because using normal currency in an FSCS-backed and fraud-protected bank and being able to transact essentially instantly via credit card/NFC around the globe with 0% FX fees (Halifax Clarity) is not good enough because....centralisation?

Get with the times d00d.

Relational database = bad.

Blockchain powered by graphics cards pointlessly sucking energy out of the planet = good.

Alex Stuart

Re: "The Web's Currency"

14 year old me bought his first razor with Beenz. Fun times.

UK spy agencies sharing bulk personal data with foreign allies was legal, says court

Alex Stuart

Re: We really do need to do better

> (How often have we heard that "we had him under surveillance but decided he wasn't a risk so we dropped it" in recent years.)

Quite, but reading between the lines, that would seem a failure of the legal system, not intelligence. They know these people need locking up or deporting, but can't act on it because short of planning or executing an actual attack, the courts won't let them do anything.

UK suit over reselling surplus Microsoft licenses rolls on

Alex Stuart

Re: Licence, not license

I'm with the Americans on this.

If licence and license are pronounced the same way, the spelling should be the same.

Same with other changes like 'sanitize' that make the language more logical.

US is best place to be a software engineer, salary survey finds

Alex Stuart

Re: There's more to a job than a salary

I think most software engineer jobs would come with company health insurance as a benefit.

I've looked at quite a few jobs over there as looking at the idea of migration, and all of them had company health + dental insurance. And more holidays than just national ones - I agree with you WRT time > money and I wouldn't take a job with only 10 days off per year, but many jobs offer more.

A lot of shade being thrown at the USA on this thread - some jokes, some serious - but from what I can tell, professionals can expect a higher standard of living than in the UK. Better pay, lower tax, cheaper housing, cheaper fuel. And way more flavours of Ben and Jerrys...

Boys outnumber girls 6 to 1 in UK compsci classes

Alex Stuart

Absolutely - one very easy thing to do would be to simply *ask* girls/women why they don't (or do) want to work with computers. Maybe this has been done - but I've never seen such a survey mentioned in the multiple articles on women in IT I've seen. They just state the gender split, imply it's a problem, and leave it at that.

IMO, the vast majority of the gap seems explainable by natural average differences in interests - see https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19883140/ as one example of a study looking at this - there are many others.

So I think the answer would most often just be 'I don't want to'.

But of course we should work to fix any issues making up any genuine negative external factors.

Alex Stuart


There's an assumption baked into these sort of discussions that the gender split of people interested in computers (and by implication any hobby/profession) should be 50/50, and anything other than that is therefore a problem of some external cause that needs to be fixed. That assumption is deeply flawed.

114 billion transistors, one big meh. Apple's M1 Ultra wake-up call

Alex Stuart

Re: It's just more of the same but faster,

Stadia is an impressive achievement, yeah.

But it's for casual, or relatively casual, gamers only.

It's unusable on a standard ADSL connection when I tried it recently. Both lag and graphical quality were abysmal.

Even if I had a better connection, there's no way it can replicate the fidelity of, say, my PS5, given that HDMI 2.1 bandwidth from the console to the TV is 48Gbps. There's simply no way to funnel that through any remotely normal internet connection without massive compression loss.

Huawei UK board members resign over silence on Ukraine invasion

Alex Stuart

Re: Must be quite a sight, these "Sirs" kowtowing to the chinese.

I think most reasonable people would read 'the chinese' as 'the Chinese government' (and by proxy its supporters) or to be pedantic perhaps 'the Chinese political-industrial complex' not 'the Chinese race', in this context. It's the only sensible interpretation of the word.

'Hundreds of computers' in Ukraine hit with wiper malware as conflict continues

Alex Stuart

Re: "Of course you realize, this means war"

Any evidence for him being a few inches shorter than average being responsible for invading a country, or just casual heightism?

JavaScript survey: Most use React but satisfaction low

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Arm's $66bn sale to Nvidia is off: Deal collapses after world's competition regulators raise concerns

Alex Stuart

Re: Worthless?

That's mad. Hopefully the world continues to wise up to China's game.

Tesla to disable 'self-driving' feature that allowed vehicles to roll past stop signs at junctions

Alex Stuart

> But until they do, this kind of thing should not be allowed on the road.


I also think we're looking at the problem (human drivers) the wrong way - by trying to replicate human drivers on an individual level.

Sure, at some point software will be clever enough to better human drivers. But before then, as that may a good while away, we should utilise the other power of computers we don't have - networks.

Motorways/highways and cars being networked together so they don't have to look for other cars because they *know* where they are, seems a much lower hanging fruit than 'full self driving'.

You get on the motorway and the car syncs to the 'grid' and autopilot takes over - all cars can accelerate and decelerate simultaneously and agree on lane changes etc.

Though there is the obvious problem that it wouldn't be 'all cars' until it is all cars, but it still seems like a worthy intermediate step

Alex Stuart

> Thankfully, most humans can detect very, very slight movement in their peripheral vision, making your point rather pointless in this context.

As a motorcyclist, I can tell you this detection is not massively reliable in the context of actual road scenarios.

i.e. they may *detect* the movement, but then instantly forget they detected it after looking the other way, before pulling out and... 'sorry, I didn't see you'

It's also a known issue that humans are not as good at judging speed and distance of a single approaching light vs multiple lights.

For all the issues with 'self driving' systems - and there are plenty - this is one area that a computer could easily beat a human at, because it won't 'forget' it just noticed an object approaching, and it can look in both directions at once.

Crypto outfit Qubit appeals to the honour of thieves who lifted $80M of its digi-dollars

Alex Stuart

Re: As someone who understand blockchain ...

> In any case, lower-power miners are becoming available (Intel just released one, they know where it's at).

This just means more will be mined for the same amount of power. Proof of work systems will always expand to use as much energy as possible while remaining profitable.

Anyway - the elephant in the room.


I have yet to be given a single convincing (and legal) use case for cryptocurrencies. People harp on about decentralisation, but my very much centralised bank allows me to make an instant (for all intents and purposes) NFC payment on the other side of the world with 0% FX fee, upto £85k government protected savings, and fraud protection. It seems like a classic case of a solution to problems that don't, or barely, exist.

Rolls-Royce consortium shopping for factory sites to build mini-nuclear reactors

Alex Stuart

Re: Money for old rope

Ha - love it.

I still think we'd be worse off even without that factor. Too much red tape and a government hell-bent on outsourcing everything and losing money hand-over-fist in the process.

"What's that <serco/deloitte/acme>, you want two billion pounds to sit and think about the idea for a few years? Don't be shy, here's three!"

Alex Stuart

Re: Money for old rope


I ask the same question of why building new 'normal' size nukes is seemingly such a difficult, time-consuming and hugely expensive task, despite the world having decades of experience building them already - see EDF and Hinkley, etc.

It seems like as time goes by, we* get progressively worse** at building things. Houses, railways, reactors and so on.

* - The UK, or at least England

** - worse meaning they are either of worse quality, or take far more money and time to achieve than before. For example, we spend a lot more money per km of railway than other countries with comparable geographical constraints. And, er, HS2...

Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

Alex Stuart

Re: Assisted cruise control

> I'm really not a fan of these semi-autonomous systems.

Me either. I also consider them a solution to problems that don't exist, beyond the likes of ABS and auto-emergency-braking.

Driving just isn't that difficult. I don't even use cruise control, because having my foot pressed lightly on the accelerator is such a trivial inconvenience I have no desire to relinquish control of it - though fair dos if others differ.

If accident rates are too high then either make the test harder, increase penalties for error (we are very lax on driving offences in the UK and additionally people causing 'accidents' due to not paying attention are not criminalised as they should be - they are just civil insurance issues) or both.

This is until genuine, ultra-reliable fully autonomous driving is available, at which point, fill yer' boots and we will see a benefit in reduced accidents and less vehicles on the road through robot taxis.

Autonomy founder's anti-extradition case is like saying Moon made of cheese, US govt tells UK court

Alex Stuart

Re: Buyers’ remorse

Hear hear. As usual (remember2008?) the auditors get away with it.

The monitor boom may have ended, says IDC

Alex Stuart

Re: Blue Christmas

There's more to it than resolution - refresh rates have got higher, panel technology better (so more colour coverage, contrast etc) and also Freesync/G-Sync for gamers.

But I wouldn't disagree with a general sentiment of stalling development, at least compared to TVs, where we've seen LCD get better at HDR, and OLED get cheaper and better over the past few years.

I assume a main reason for lack of OLED in the monitor market is the burn-in issue which PC use would definitely trigger vs video/consoles.

Assange extradition case goes to UK Home Secretary as High Court rules he can be sent to US for trial

Alex Stuart

Don't do it Priti

Until the USA gives us Anne Sacoolas, why should we give them Assange ?

Academics horrified that administration of Turing student exchange scheme outsourced to Capita

Alex Stuart

Re: "Capita has something of a disputable track record in the UK public sector."

> Has anyone told Private Eye about this? (I daren't look at it these days, it's too depressing)

I hear you on that. I am numb to it at this point, after many years, so haven't cancelled my subscription yet. (Though numb != not care, at least)

Google advises Android users to be careful of Microsoft Teams if they want to call 911

Alex Stuart

Surprising bug

One would have thought that the core 'phone' processes of Android (particularly on a Pixel, where Google has total control) would be completely locked down from other apps/processes to prevent, well, things like this happening. Would be interesting to read the details of the bug(s).

Apple wins Epic court ruling: Devs will pay up for now as legal case churns on

Alex Stuart

Re: Epically wrong.

> Without Apple, Epic would still be shipping “you are in a twisty maze and your lamp is dim” text adventures for the C64

What on earth are you talking about? Ever heard of Unreal or Gears of War?

Even if you'd never heard of them and only know of Fortnite, only a minority of its playerbase is mobile - over 75% played on PS/XBox in 2018.

India backs away from digital services tax after US pressure

Alex Stuart

It is, but even 15% - I'll believe it when I see it.

Governments are good at talking, not so good at doing.

UK Test and Trace finding consultant habit hard to break: More contracts go to Deloitte and Accenture

Alex Stuart

Ah, the test kits - the same ones the USA have thrown in the trash and were sold to us by brokers making millions in profit off the taxpayer just for arranging the delivery as far as Shanghai airport.

With their profit margins not even scrutinised by the Govt as they threw all rules out of ther window to let the pigs feed at the trough.

Do not try this at home: Man spends $5,000 on a 48TB Raspberry Pi storage server

Alex Stuart

"You can view his video below."

*sees that ridiculous 'Youtuber Face' preview*

Hard pass.

MediaTek's flagship 5G chip for top-of-the-line Android smartphones is coming right up

Alex Stuart

I bought a (very reasonably priced) Lenovo K8 Note a few years ago, powered by a ten-core Mediatek Helio X23 that I thought was going to be a power hog - but turned out to give both decent performance and battery life at the time. Competition is good!

Red Hat 8.5 released with SQL Server and .NET 6 ... this is Linux, right?

Alex Stuart

Re: Hmmm

Perhaps because it has first-class features, documentation, learning material and community support - lots of good reasons to use it, if you want to pay for it. I assume most shops running RHEL are doing so for reasons more than just 'it's not MS', though I could be wrong.

Even if it's just 'cheaper than MS', then the same justification would apply to using SQL Server instead of Oracle.

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Alex Stuart

I wonder how recently this has been implemented - I have a Samsung NU8000 bought in early 2018 that has no ads (not connected to Internet) nor spaces for ads.

I seem to recall it pestering me to connect it for a few weeks, then giving up with a whimper...

Thankfully, firmware can be updated via USB - and it did actually need one for an HDR brightness issue.

The problem is when will Samsung et al decide that no, nobody can possibly not have an Internet connection anymore, so firmware updates are only OTA.

SQL Server on Linux: Canonical offers official support, AWS Babelfish helps users move to Postgres

Alex Stuart

Re: Why?

> I just can't see any REAL reason to use SQL Server instead of "something else"

Far superior tooling and documentation, for one.

Sheffield University scales back student system after Oracle integration stumbles

Alex Stuart

Don't forget cancel culture also - see recent events https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/28/sussex-professor-kathleen-stock-resigns-after-transgender-rights-row

Though the uni did stick by the lecturer here, at least, it doesn't paint a good picture if the protesting/graffiting students went unpunished.

Windows Subsystem for Android: What's the point?

Alex Stuart

Re: SSD only?

> If it matters that much, why don't they just lease us the ruddy hardware with the OS?

Shhhh, don't let them hear you!

Microsoft: Cloud and Windows OEM sales up, but Surface? No, not even during WFH boom

Alex Stuart

They are nice, premium quality devices, but always struck me as missing a big enough target market.

Development work - clearly not aimed at that with the trendy but dysfunctional half-height arrow keys and lack of # key etc.

Professional multimedia - screen's too small

Casual touchscreen/multimedia use - just get a much cheaper Android tablet

Macbook crowd - already have Macbooks, not interested

As an MS-only member of the first category I wanted one until seeing the keyboard and cost - ended up getting a PCSpecialist laptop with full keyboard and normal size keys (very difficult to find these days) for 1/3 the price.

IKEA: Cameras were hidden in the ceiling above warehouse toilets for 'health and safety'

Alex Stuart

Where were they pointing?

I've read a few articles on this and none of them have confirmed where the cameras were actually pointed.

Was it horizontally in the crawl space with no view of below, or pointing down at the cubicles/rest of toilet area?

One of those is a non-story, the other a big deal.

New on Netflix: A corporate drama in which staff are sued for abusing early access to financial data

Alex Stuart

One rule for thee...

The people involved in this should have become senators instead if they wanted to get away with it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_congressional_insider_trading_scandal

Trebles all round!

President Biden to issue executive order on chip shortages as under-pressure silicon world begs for help

Alex Stuart

Ultimately us consumers must take most of the blame for this. We like cheap things more than we like ethically sourced products.

If AMD had tried selling CPUs that were more expensive and less performant than Intel's but 'made in America' they would have gone bankrupt. Not a case of 'preferring' but 'need to stay in business'.

Big data: Study suggests even a moderate gambling habit is linked to increased mortality and other bad stuff

Alex Stuart

Re: "the study is silent on these factors"

You're right, mathematically speaking you're better keeping the £1 than buying a lottery ticket, but I don't completely begrudge people who gamble a few spare quid on lotteries with prizes of millions to be won.

With a £1 spend you get;

a) the buzz of watching the numbers to see if you win

b) the > 0% chance, however slim, of a 100,000,000%+ return instantly making you 'rich'.

c) miniscule detriment from overall return if you use all of your other spare £s on sensible investments

For some people, that's a good way to spend £1, from a) alone.

Of course if you start throwing many £1s at this gamble, the equation breaks down - a) remains fixed, b) only goes from 'really, really, really slim' to 'really, really slim' , and c) tends towards a significant detriment...



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