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* Posts by John Brown (no body)

2492 posts • joined 21 May 2010

Home Office awards Raytheon £150m over e-borders cancellation

John Brown (no body)
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Hard to apportion blame

I wonder if it was Ratheon being crap or Govt. continually moving the goal posts? Or both.

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John Lewis stakes £100,000 on building a working tech creche

John Brown (no body)
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I like the sofa thing

...but I'd like to be able to upload a photo of my living room and have the computer place an item of furniture in the photo for me, to scale. With the option to move it around. A little limited I know since it's a 2D photo, not a 3D model of my room. But it should be do-able. Modern image processing should be able, possibly with some user interaction, to identify the walls/floor and their angles.

This would be especially useful of on-line sales since it's difficult for many people to visualise furniture items in situ, especially large ones.

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'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

John Brown (no body)
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"As for delivery, you might get it quicker from china than France."

My wife buys a lot of stuff from China for her handicrafts. Shipping times are variable from a few days to a couple of months. But the P&P is almost invariably cheaper than sourcing from a local UK supplier. Even when the product is the same price (hah!), UK P&P shoves the price above importing from China.

It's always small, low value packages for personal use, so as far as we know, know VAT or other taxes are payable.

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Microsoft and Oracle are 'not your trusted friends', public sector bods

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Licensing audits

"I have 200 Machines, They all have windows and office on them...that means I need how many licenses?"

I don't know. What server systems are you running? How are they licensed? Concurrent users? Total number of users? Is that adjusted by number or CPU cores used or VM instances?

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John Brown (no body)
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"you end up with people thinking they have valid licences to spare when they're actually short"

In some cases at least, they may be over licensed and don't even realise. I see many large sites where every PC has a Windows licence sticker on the side of the (desktop) box that's not in use because they re-image with their site licence.

It may be that the supplied licence with each desktop is for a different version of Windows, but either way, they are buying licences which they never use. Maybe they need to audit those unused licenses and supply them back to MS to pay off the "fine".

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: So, give them the boot - use open source.

"(calendars, free/busy management/email of course/tasks/journaling/archiving etc etc)"

and how much of that is the mail platform and how much is bolted on extras? That's part of what creates the lock-in in the first place. It also creates a mindset that the only way out of the Exchange lock-in is to find an exact clone of Exchange.

Sometimes, it's more about looking at other ways of working instead of just a different back-end capable of maintaining the existing way. Installing email in the first place was a revolution in the work-place involving changing working methods and investing in training, so why should it be such a "pain" to change again all these years later just because someone can't see a short term gain and only sees a short term cost?

It's not as if many of these organisations haven't already transitioned through mainframes/terminals, Novel, Lotus Notes et al in the past for long term benefits at a short term cost.

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How a hack on Prince Philip's Prestel account led to UK computer law

John Brown (no body)
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Re: I'm a republican…

"happened to fall out of a certain cunt"

Oh, well played. How to lose any small amount of respect you may had and not influence people

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Marathon race ace FOUND ON MARS – NASA boffins overjoyed

John Brown (no body)
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Joke

Re: Outstanding...

"The next rover, however, is likely to be considerably improved, given what we now know about Mars thanks to these two."

I'm curious about what made you say that although personally I'd like to see a nuclear powered tank armed with laser, drills and robotic arms, assuming no one has already done that.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

John Brown (no body)
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Re: If you need to be seen, sidelights.

"it's harder to see the cyclist in front of me if there's a twat with superbright headlights coming in the other direction."

...or even a cyclist coming towards you with a high intensity flashing front light as bright as a car headlight FFS!

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John Brown (no body)
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Megaphone

Re: My wife's car has automatic headlights.

"If anything, they probably come on quite often when not necessary."

Yes, they do. Bloody annoying for those of us who know how and when to use the cars lights properly. Especially the dazzling HID ones. Few people, especially those who leave the lights permanently on "auto" seem to know when to use side lights. Auto lights don't seem to use the side light setting at all.

And while I'm having a rant, front fog lights are NOT a replacement for one or more failed headlights, especially in town. If the street lights are on and you don't exceed 30mph, sidelights are all you legally need to use.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: @BrisolBachelor -- Nope...

"In addition the car would also have a built in GPS with the maps containing the road, its classification, and its default speed."

A stretch of road between the motorway and my town has had a 40mph limit for about 8 years now. My SatNav, 3rd one since the limit change and regularly updated maps, still shows the old 60mph limit. It also warns that it is a 30mph "safety camera" zone ;-)

I've also seen my SatNav suddenly report a 30mph limit while on a motorway because a local road is parallel to it and the Sat accuracy has dropped for some reason.

Then there's a 70mph dual carriage way where the mile long "slip road" (close spaced dashed line sepeator) is currently signed as 50mph because of the major roadworks at the roundabout under the trunk road while the straight on lanes are still 70mph.

Engine braking might not be sudden, but during a busy commuter run i would NOT like my car to suddenly slow down just because some programmer didn't take into account ALL possible edge cases.

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This is what happens when a judge in New York orders an e-hit on a Chinese software biz

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Messed UP!

"Also the DRM / Copyprotection is STILL there when copyright expires. "

True. But will anyone care in 70 years when there are no working BD players left?

This does, however, raise the question of whether it's illegal to crack DRM to make a copy of something no longer in copyright. Copyright is expiring everyday. Is a BD version of a 70 year old film a "new" copyright on that specific medium? What if it's a special, cleaned up version of an old film? Or a re-edit? Is that now a derivative work with a new 70 year copyright period? Are you only "safe" to make copies from the original film or exact copies of the original? Is the fact it's even on some form of digital media mean that version is in copyright so you can't rip the digital version but can scan in the frames of the film yourself?

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Hated biz smart meter rollout: UK.gov sticks chin out, shuts eyes

John Brown (no body)
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Re: I don't get it at all.

"read-it-once-every-year (if we can be arsed) "old" meter."

FTFY

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Treat us like the utilities we believe ourselves to be, say UK operators

John Brown (no body)
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Re: False Equivalence

"The closest comparison would be telephone pole,"

Power lines and their associated pylons.

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Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

John Brown (no body)
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Re: How do I tell if I'm registered to vote?

"Can I check, easily, if I'm registered?"

No. You have to phone or visit the relevant department at your local council. From the article, commentards posts and experience, the online thing is only a web front end to the old fashioned manual process so you can't check online easily.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Head of the household?

"He never did, of course, because it is not a definable term in the modern world, so can only be applied in a single person household."

I am the head of the household. My wife gave me permission to say that.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Not helped by ambiguity of need

"So we went and re-registered anyway, and will await duplicate polling cards no doubt."

After the hassle we had getting my wife registered, (no passport/drivers licence/doesn't work), I wanted to confirm the registration for both of was correct. I can't find anywhere on the council website to check. Everything else related to how to register, how to vote, guidance for young voters etc is there, but no way to check if a registration is correct.

In my travels around the web I found various websites which claim to use electoral roll data and on at least two of them I found my wife, my fiance and her son all living at my address. It appears they add new electoral roll data to their databases but don't remove old data. Son left home years ago and I married my fiance quite some years ago. At least now I know why she's such high maintenance now. There's two of 'em!!

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Scientists splice mammoth genes into unsuspecting elephant

John Brown (no body)
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a technique known as Crispr

Mmmmm....Crispr Mammoth bacon!!!!

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Standard General bids to save RadioShack from oblivion

John Brown (no body)
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I suspect the press release author was taught English at the George "Dubya" Bush school of American "english" ;-)

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3,500 servers go down – so my FIRST AID training kicks in

John Brown (no body)
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Flame

Re: Late shift running off?...

"the shit is hitting the fans, rarely do the 'finishing' staff run away asap"

Yes, that surprised me in the article. I'd expect the contract to include "working through" when there's an emergency, not pissing off home on the clock. If that is genuinely what happened rather than the story being badly edited, I'd expect most organisations to have sacked that guy.

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Summer bust-up expected with new Apple TV and Roku coming onstream

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Net neutrality

Actually, I was thinking of HBO. But it applies to any content provider who doesn't want to pay for their content to be streamed but then sign exclusivity agreements with platforms,

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John Brown (no body)
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Unhappy

Net neutrality

Funny how the people shouting loudest in support of net neutrality are the same ones signing exclusive carriage deals for content.

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Woman caught on CCTV performing drunken BJ blew right to privacy

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Good

"No offense is committed in the leaving of urine on a floor."

Littering?

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AUTOPILOT: Musk promises Tesla owners a HANDS-OFF hands-on

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Speculation

"Believe it or not, drivers do do crosswords, read books, and watch telly while (supposedly) driving. Keep a close eye on long distance lorry drivers (they're easier to spot but not the only ones, and we're not even getting into texting/fiddling with the phone territory) and you'll see of all the above. "

I drive about 1000 miles per week. Have done for years. I've seen all of the above and worse. Much worse. That's why partial driving assistance worries me so much. There are too many brainless meatbags on the roads for comfort already and anything which allows more people to switch off their brains while in charge of 1-2 tons of speeding death is scary.

I can't actually see what lorry drivers are up to in their cabs, but rarely a day goes by when I don't see at least a few who wander a foot or two into the hard shoulder at 56mph. So, while I agree that "automatic" driving skills take some brain function up that could be better used for situational awareness, I don't believe that all drivers would use those extra brain clock cycles sensibly.

Although I'm just guessing, I wonder how many multi-vehicle pile-ups include drivers on cruise control who don't react quickly enough because that part of driving had been "taken over" by the car so had more brain capacity for other stuff rather than driving.

As I've said in other posts, partial abrogation of driving responsibility to the cars systems (AI or otherwise) worries me more than total AI control. But that becomes a chicken and egg situation. Who is going to provide full AI control on roads full of none-AI cars? Who is going to assign a motorway lane to the very few early-adoptor AI cars? It needs to be incremental to be economic but will there be a carmageddon during the transition time it takes for the expensive high tech to filter down to the average car?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Speculation

"you can just sit there and watch out for hazards on the road without being preoccupied with the monotonous routine mechanical driving actions."

I suspect that in practice that would cause the driver to be less attentive.

The "monotonous routine mechanical driving actions" are pretty much automatic for most drivers but do serve to keep you attentive on what you are doing.

I had a hire car a while ago which had lane assist. A mid range korean brand car. The lane assist just beeped on getting near a lane marker or buzzed if crossed, with a dash display to tell you which lane marker it was (left or right). I'm not sure of the utility of the display since it didn't have any control over the steering so the driver really ought to be looking outside rather than at the dash to see which way they'd just wandered. The drivers manual had a list of about a page and half listing the circumstances where the lane assist might not work fully or at all.

I'm not sure adapting cruise control to assist in steering is a good idea without going for a full autonomous system. I can easily imagine some drivers treating it as a full AI at the wrong times and causing mayhem. Even if it's something as "simple" as the car suddenly braking while in super cruise control mode due to the driver doing a crossword and not seeing the truck pulling out in front.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: They'll get burned by these updates eventually

"Even if the car companies have private networks they are at risk"

Just install Norton Internet Security for Cars.

The downside is that the luggage and seating areas will reduce in size and top speed will be reduced to 35mph.

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Fanbois: We paid $2000 for full satisfaction but now we have SPREADING STAINS

John Brown (no body)
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Anti-glare coating...cosmetic damage

Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? Either it's cosmetic and has no function or it's functional (ant-glare) and therefore not cosmetic.

Of course, that assumes the complainants are being totally honest and have done nothing to cause damage to the screen through any form of cleaning chemicals. It might be a bonding issue at the factory which is probably quite rare based on the numbers of complaints versus numbers sold. Or maybe those "clean" cloths used to clean the screens had been used for other cleaning duties and are now impregnated with some random cleaning chemical or other.

Obviously there are many possibilities, but for Apple to simply brush of the problem as user caused cosmetic damage is certainly not good customer service, even if denial is the default stance of most customer service these days. I'd have thought a company such as Apple would almost certainly be investigating at least a sample of these faults very closely and clearly stating that they are investigating. If they find it's their own fault, they will fix it and if they prove it's the customers then they can definitively state the cause. Either way, they end up looking better than they do simply denying there's a fault.

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Massive DDoS racks up $30,000-a-day Amazon bill for China activists

John Brown (no body)
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I'm not sure how it's different to the bad old days of dial-up when users got infected by premium rate diallers. Sometimes the telcos would waive the enormous bills, other times they simply said that the calls were made, pay up. It's down to their largess more than anything else.

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Blighty's 12-sided quid to feature schoolboy's posterior

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Coin-swallowing machine

"It generally returns the deposited amount in 1 euro coins, or at worst 50c ones."

The same applies to the self-service tills in some shops. Morrisons in particular use a big cup-like thing with a conveyor belt in the bottom but return any overage using the minimum number of coins. Asda and B&Q on the other hand are coins slots so it's a bit less convenient to just dump a pocket full of change in them.

It's certainly cheaper than using those Coinstar machines so long as you're not dropping the entire piggy bank or penny jar in them :-)

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

John Brown (no body)
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Re: This update may brick your motherboard

"Right up until I'd lost the 3rd motherboard using the vendor's foolproof upgrade utility that went out on the internet and retrieved the current version for the motherboards."

I've probably flashed 1000's of motherboard BIOSs over the years. But we use the latest approved one that also puts our company logo in the boot screen. We also announce new BIOS updates to our customers which come with the same warning mentioned above not to update unless one or more of the listed "fixes" are something they need to deal with. I've never had a failed updated or bricked a board which, to be honest, surprises me :-)

On the other hand, I have never seen a BIOS "fix list" mention anything AT ALL about security fixes.

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$30 Landfill Android mobes are proof that capitalism ROCKS

John Brown (no body)
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Re: "Higher prices mean cheaper electricity for everyone"

I still think the key question is, "What is money?"

Money is energy. The stock market is potential energy but only some of it is really there.

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My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

John Brown (no body)
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Robo roads.

I would prefer it if these AI controlled cars were restricted to special roads or lanes. Otherwise they are manually operated. Mixing AI and manual cars on country lanes or in busy towns and cities is going to be dangerous, no matter how good the AI is. At best, city centres modified to help AI vehicles with a 15 or 20mph speed limit might work, with the emphasis on discouraging human driven vehicles from entering that area at all. Minus the AI vehicles, this is how many city centres are moving now anyway with high parking charges, limited parking, congestion charge areas, shared vehicle/pedestrian areas, roads closed to traffic and permanently pedestrianised or at least during working/shopping hours.

We currently have rail based trams "on" the roads in some cities, special guided bus lanes in others, so there are models for some limited and partially segregated traffic already. Adapting this to motorways should be do-able.

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John Brown (no body)
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Terminator

autonomous driving license

I'm confused. Why would I need a licence if I'm in an autonomous car? I'm not the driver. I don't need a license to go in a bus or taxi. Only the driver needs a pass a test and hold a licence.

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Galileo! Galileo! Galileo good to go after six-week recovery effort

John Brown (no body)
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Re: "satellites orbit every 20 days compared to the rest of the constellation's ten"

Yeah, I was just thinking that a 20 day orbit would put that bird in an orbit nearly 3/4 of the way to the moon.

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Adobe: Flash, pah. Look, we're doing just fine in the cloud, thank you

John Brown (no body)
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Re: I am one of these

"But I, and I'm sure many others, would prefer it if you'd kindly not take the rest of us, who prefer to retain control of our own software assets and data, down with you by funding this execrable rentism business model."

...and there's the rub. Those of us who can see the obvious pitfalls are far outnumbered by the sheep who blindly march forward to the slaughterhouse leaving us with no alternative but to follow or leave the game, especially when there's little alternative to what is on offer.

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Respect mah privacy! EU delegation begs US to play nice with data

John Brown (no body)
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access US courts under the same conditions as US citizens

Ah, so if some US company abuses my privacy I can sue them? Do I have to attend court like a US citizen? How will the TSA treat me on arrival when I declare the reason for my visit to their fair country bearing in mind I'm not even legally in the country until I get past the TSA? Can I even afford to go in the first place?

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Flying cars will take to the skies in 2017, if government allows

John Brown (no body)
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"Also, 81 MPH is a high rotate speed for this class of aircraft, so it is going to need some big fields."

Are you assuming only the airscrew is used to get up to speed? Maybe you just shift up to 7th gear to spin the prop once you drive up to speed?

Personally, I dunno, don't care. CBA to look for the details. Just sayin'

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Aged 18-24? Don't care about voting? Got a phone? Oh dear...

John Brown (no body)
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"Despite being registered with TPS one of the 2 major political parties candidates called me at home the other day to encourage me to vote for them. It didn't end well for them."

I'm pretty sure there is an exception for political parties on campaign as there is for "surveys". Apparently robo-calls are not included at all. In fact I saw a significant rise in robo-calls after registering with the TPS. They see that as a useful list of numbers for the recorded calls rather than the human ones. You'd think they'd realise that by registering with the TPS that the person really does not want to be called at all and it just pisses them off.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Data protection ?

They seem to have back-pedalled on that later on the article and say they will use geo-location to target the ares around universities. Do all those Chinese students get to vote while they are living here?

How do they know ages anyway? I've never had a contract phone so don't know what information you have to hand over. Is your DoB and nationality/citizenship part of the contract details?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why bother?

"They show the spoiled papers to the candidates and agents..."

But do they count them and include them in the totals summary?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why bother?

"Hmmm, maybe at the next one I should stand with that name and the slogan, I'm not any of that lot."

See Brewsters MIllions

I can't remember if any of the previous versions used the same election wheeze of "None of the Above" to "waste" the money, but this is the third or fourth film version of the story.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Hasn't the ICO started ramping up action against the senders of unwanted texts?"

Isn't there an exception for certain spammers such as surveys and political parties?

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NASA wants you to help space mining corp strip mine the Solar System

John Brown (no body)
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Crowd funding...

...crowd computing...

Anyone know what the legal governance and stated aims are of this company are if it happens to be successful and ends up incredibly rich? Will all this begging the public for resources and cash give a real return to the world or just make some very rich people even richer?

I don't doubt the science being done and the good that can do, but I'm a little concerned at not being able to find anything about any future commercial returns. Yeah, crowd funding is effectively charitable giving without a registered charity licence designed to make the giver "feel good", but the list of people running this venture could find a couple of million down the back of their respective sofas.

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BBC gives naked computers to kids (hmm, code for something?)

John Brown (no body)
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Facepalm

No. Those kids grow up. And next years new batch of 11 year old kids wants theirs. They get to keep them.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Sorry to be a killjoy, bit it's dumb.

"'just another thing they plug into their PC with flashing lights'

The fact that Samsung is on board as a partner and the Bit thing has Bluetooth, I'm hoping that it can be controlled/programmed via an app on a smartphone. If that is the case, then many more kids will have access to it to"play" with outside of school.

I used to teach computer skills, including basic level programming, to YTS kids many years ago, initially on BBC Micros. They always got more interested in the programming side when there was things to plug in and lights to flash instead of "just" things on the screen. It's amazing how much fun they had "learning" about basic loops and branches to make pretty patterns and beeps instead of how to calculate when their mortgage would be paid off. The boards were a project for the YTS kids learning electronics. They had fun learning what was needed and developing the board then seeing it put to use in ways they hadn't thought of ;-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Headmaster

Re: well you know what they say...

"Displaying smut on a 5x5 LED matrix?"

I'm sure some kid will innocently program an animated pattern "Sir! Sir!, I made it look like a mouth opening and closing". Closely followed by a less innocent kid rotating the board 90o

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: who the hell is going to teach this stuff?

"How does it compare to the budget for Strictly?"

IIRC, Strictly generates revenue from overseas sales and licensing. Just like Top Gear used to do.

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Battery bods Sakti3 hoover up $15m from power-hungry Dyson

John Brown (no body)
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Anyone know...

...what is new about these batteries and their technology? For a tech site we're a bit light on details on this story.

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HP's ailing Enterprises Service unit bags 'mega' TNT gig

John Brown (no body)
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Unhappy

How long...

...before they get the TNT systems sorted out so fewer of our parcels go missing? We never had this much trouble when we used Citylink.

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Bride legs it from wedding after groom proves unable to add up

John Brown (no body)
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Happy

Re: Eh?

"technical technical colleges"

...so good they named it twice?

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Forums

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