nav search
Data Centre Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes
BOFH
Lectures

* Posts by Buzzword

919 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

Page:

You're alone in a room with the Windows 10 out-of-the-box apps. What do you do?

Buzzword

A/B testing

I propose two streams. In the A-stream, you create fancy new apps with all the latest bling. Calc.exe does blockchain, notepad.exe becomes notepad.js, Paint uses AI to predict what you want to draw, etc. In the B-stream, you leave everything exactly as it is. Randomly assign users to A/B, and after a few months see which is more popular.

34
0

Spent your week box-ticking? It can't be as bad as the folk at this firm

Buzzword

Counter-argument

I was a contractor for a government body which, every week, had to record a short document into two different systems. I was asked to quote for a script which would link the two systems together, ensuring that whatever data was entered in one system would automatically be forwarded to the second.

I gave them a quote, but pointed out that the potential savings were meagre (15 minutes of clerical staff time each week) and unlikely to cover future support costs. The manager concurred and I never got the job.

37
0

Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

Buzzword

Only 4GB of RAM ?

Even mobile phones have 6GB these days. For similar money I'd rather have a Samsung Galaxy S-whatever and a DeX dongle.

12
1

Surprise! VAT, customs likely to get a bit trickier in a Brexit no-deal world

Buzzword

Re: Good job the UK has

But what do you do with the goods once you've brought them ashore? Let's say you've snuck in a container-load of cheap phones from Shenzhen. From a tax point of view, it's as if they'd grown on trees. Customers will still need to pay VAT on the phones when sold in shops or online. There's simply no money to be made by sneaking goods into the country undeclared.

Notable exception for cigarettes, where VAT + two forms of duty add up to over 400%. That's enough of a mark-up to attract criminal enterprises.

5
0

If it doesn't need to be connected, don't: Nurse prescribes meds for sickly hospital infosec

Buzzword

HTTPS doesn't solve much

"Since the infection, most hospital websites have moved from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS, according to Milosevic – a move that wouldn't have halted the virus's spread but is indicative of IT staff taking security more seriously."

Or, it's indicative of IT staff fixing the easy and most visible stuff, while leaving gaping holes open elsewhere.

9
0

Forking hell. It's summer, and Windows 10 is already thinking about autumn

Buzzword

Notepad to support *nix line endings

This is long, long, long overdue.

It’s either a case of too little, too late; or Microsoft finally listening to end users. Time will tell.

10
3

You know who deserves more help from UK.gov? Startup investors, say policy wonks

Buzzword

Since it obviously works for government contracts ...

Not so long ago, our great government promised to award more IT contracts to small businesses and/or startups. This implies that "If the startup failed to deliver, the scheme [i.e. the government] would pay the first customer [also the government] the contract value".

Since the government has roundly failed to award more contracts to smaller suppliers, perhaps the whole principle of providing government backing to startups isn't all that wise.

Besides, any businessperson knows that landing the first contract is easy; it's the second one which proves far more difficult.

3
0

Facebook stuck with IRS bill after court tosses $7 BEEELLION appeal

Buzzword

“the IRS gets to decide what does and doesn't get an appeal hearing”

Rather defeats the purpose of an appeals hearing, if the opposing side gets to decide whether to let you fight.

9
0

Uber JUMPs, slurps San Francisco bike biz

Buzzword

Re: moving bikes to popular start points

Always in San Francisco. It’s rather hilly.

0
0
Buzzword

Re: moving bikes to popular start points

For regular bike hire schemes, popular start points are at the top of a hill and popular end points are at the bottom. Hence the need for an army of drivers to shuffle them around.

Battery-powered bicycles can go uphill quite easily, thus neatly avoiding the problem in the first place.

1
2

El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about UK.gov's pr0n block

Buzzword

Re: Bang on!

Yep, and very tastefully done too!

7
0

Techies building UK web smut age check tools: You'll get a spec next week

Buzzword

Shoved down our throats

Dear Reg,

I get that you’re trying to be all grown-up by dropping the innuendos, but couldn’t you have slipped one in for us loyal readers? Perhaps ask Dabbsy to write next week’s piece if & when the spec is actually released.

35
2

Boring. The phone business has lost the plot and Google is making it worse

Buzzword

Re: Stock Android

Yep. Recall the period from 1995 to 2012, when Windows barely changed. You could learn Windows NT 4 (released back in 1996), fall into a coma for a decade and a half, and come back to find the Windows 7 desktop experience almost exactly the same. Same for Microsoft Office, right up until that bloody ribbon. Users didn't have to re-learn everything every two years. Given how much crap we've suffered in Win8/10, I'd love to have that stability back.

108
1

Ah, uni days! Drugs, sex, parties... sci-tech startups? Not so much

Buzzword

Meanwhile in America ...

... someone stuck wifi on a doorbell and sold it for $1bn.

If I had a brainy idea, I'd be on the first flight to Silicon Valley to bring it to market.

7
1

BBC presenter loses appeal, must pay £420k in IR35 crackdown

Buzzword

I’ve never seen an IT contractor send an equally qualified substitute to a client site.

5
2

Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!

Buzzword

Unspecified amount of money

I too have invested an unspecified amount of money in Magic Leap.

But since you ask, I’ll specify: zero.

23
0

UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

Buzzword

99.995% is impossible

Even humans aren’t that accurate.

If you’re positively identifying terror videos at that rate, you must have a huge false-positive rate. So a movie like Mad Max Fury Road, featuring fighty young people with big guns on dusty desert roads, would probably be flagged as jihadi propaganda.

72
3

UK reaches peak Bitcoin as bin firm accepts cryptocurrency

Buzzword

BusinessWaste.co.uk

Ahh, that cherished outfit. They really are quite thick. The blogger Tim Newman has eviscerated their press releases in the past:

http://www.desertsun.co.uk/blog/?p=4246

0
0

Lenovo spits out retro ThinkPads for iconic laptop's 25th birthday

Buzzword

17" laptops

I'll direct you to this handy chart of laptops with matte screens (because glossy screens are the devil's creation): https://www.productchart.co.uk/laptops/sets/1

Basically the only 17-inch options are gaming laptops such as Asus ROG (Republic Of Gamers), Dell Alienware, Acer Predator, or MSDI Dominator. There's one decent-looking HP Pavillion laptop too.

Screen size seems to be inversely proportional to screen resolution: my pocket smartphone has something approaching 4K resolution, whereas hardly any of the 17" laptops have anything more than 1920x1080.

9
1

2019: The year that Microsoft quits Surface hardware

Buzzword

If it's good enough for Google and Apple

> The logical thing to do would be to let the manufacturers innovate and produce these devices while Microsoft concentrates on the operating system, software provision and services, Azure, etc.

Just as Google are concentrating on services, and not rolling out their own line of Nexus phones, having bought up Motorola in 2014 and HTC in 2017 ?

Not to mention Apple, whose tight integration of hardware and software has long been the envy of Microsoft.

14
1

NFS is now on tap in Azure – and NetApp is Microsoft's provider

Buzzword

Migrating without adapting

: enabling on-premises NFS-using applications to move into Azure

Great, we're going to see on-premise apps loaded half-arsed into the cloud, without any accommodations for cloud-specific issues (latency, bandwidth, etc.). This is unlikely to end well.

0
0
Buzzword

Re: NFS?

Looks like the same NFS. This is a joint development with NetApp, and their existing NAS products use the standard NFS protocol.

0
0

What is the probability of being drunk at work and also being tested? Let's find out! Correctly

Buzzword

Re: Let's be real here.

It's not always obvious though. Can you tell the difference between someone who is still drunk from the night before, and someone who has a cold? What if they simply haven't slept properly because of external factors (heat wave, noisy neighbours, etc.)?

5
0

Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Buzzword

Re: would a

And to stop mobile phone transmissions, can we make the net's mesh size small enough to block mobile phone signals (i.e. a faraday cage)?

13
0

Trump's tax tease will be a massive payday for Valley tech giants and their shareholders

Buzzword

Re: *raised eyebrows*

Quite. Ideally Trump should aim to get the tax changes enacted for 2019, as it should produce a nice stimulus to the economy just in time for his 2020 reelection.

0
0

Scared of that new-fangled 'cloud'? Office 2019 to the rescue!

Buzzword

Re: Pricing

I'm not going to defend the quality of Open / Libre Office here, and I've lost track of which one is better on any given day of the week.

But if you read non-techie forums such as Mumsnet, people are actively recommending (Libre|Free)Office for home users. By pricing out those home users, Microsoft will lose valuable feeder users who both build brand loyalty and who may eventually graduate to full-blown Office.

2
0
Buzzword

Pricing

At £119 for Office Home, it's looking expensive. Apple's iWork is free (though granted it's not nearly as powerful); LibreOffice provides maybe 80% of the same features & quality for free.

The old Microsoft Works was just £40. Microsoft desperately need something at that price point to hook new users in; otherwise they don't have that valuable chain of users migrating from Works to full-blown Office as their needs expand.

1
1

Is this cough cancer, doc? No: it's a case of Playmobil on the lung

Buzzword

Re: felt poorly for a year, coughed up some very nasty stuff and so visited a respiratory clinic.

Are you not familiar with the NHS?

7
1

Microsoft teases web-based Windows Server management console

Buzzword

Desired State Configuration, Puppet, etc.

I'd like a button to export the configuration from one server as a text file (like Puppet etc.), then import it into another server. Far better than our current approach of trying to play spot-the-difference between two servers, where one is behaving and the other is not.

4
0

MPs accuse Amazon and eBay of profiteering from VAT fraudsters

Buzzword

I avoided VAT just last month

Bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 for the missus. Ordered through a 3rd party seller on Amazon UK. Paid roughly 17% less than the version sold by Amazon themselves. Ordered on Saturday, dispatched same day, received the following Wednesday. No mention of VAT on the receipt.

It is trivially easy to evade VAT in this manner; and it's obviously not illegal. The government does need to change the law to create a level playing field for both domestic and overseas sellers.

2
0

Paris nightclub red-faced after booze-for-boobs offer exposed

Buzzword

Streisand effect

And that's how you drum up business in Paris during the slow August holiday season.

27
0

Continuous integration platforms are broken – here's what needs fixing

Buzzword

Stability

I just wish we had some stability. Ever tried writing for the browser in 2017? The toolchain keeps changing. We had jQuery, then React, then Angular. Building it required Grunt, then Gulp, SystemJS then Webpack. Modules went from AMD to UMD to CommonJS to something else. Package management moved from Bower to NPM to Yarn and back to NPM again.

Examples and quickstart projects which compiled perfectly six months ago no longer work because somewhere a package was upgraded. Answers on StackOverflow are irrelevant because they applied to version 1.3.5, and you're using version 2.7.1 now. Bugs on Github are left open, with not even a WONTFIX comment from the developers.

Not so long ago I remember a world where major tools were upgraded every 2-3 years. Windows XP was standard for over a decade. VB6 even longer. We had years to learn the quirks of IE6's "quirks mode". Nowadays if your Github project isn't on a six-week release cycle, it's abandonware.

I'd take a sabbatical if I could, but my skills would be worthless by the time I return.

All of the above problems are magnified on a CI system, because half the tools don't log to stderr or set the error code correctly.

Edit: this guy nailed it: https://hackernoon.com/how-it-feels-to-learn-javascript-in-2016-d3a717dd577f

6
0

Intel's diversity numbers are out – and that 'push' has become more of a 'gentle nudge'

Buzzword

Re: Can we just clarify...

They'll be using the U.S. Census Bureau's definitions: https://www.census.gov/topics/population/race/about.html

"Asian" means both Oriental and Subcontinental (India/Pakistan), but not Middle-Eastern (they count as White).

"White" includes Europe, North Africa, and the Middle-East.

2
0

FBI's spyware-laden video claims another scalp: Alleged sextortionist charged

Buzzword

"regularly accessing 4chan"

Is that a known sign of a nonce?

3
2

VCs to Trump: Don't lock out our meal tickets! Save startup visas!

Buzzword

Canadian startups

So why isn't Canada a hotbed of startup talent and entrepreneurship? I'm struggling to think of major Canadian tech companies other than Nortel (bust) and Blackberry (slowly going bust).

1
1

If you love your email standards, SMTP your feet: 35 years later

Buzzword

Already exists

That user-defined whitelisting string already exists. It's called your email address.

Without it, the email never reaches you.

With it, the email does reach you.

9
9

Devs shun smartwatch work, gaze longingly at web-only apps again

Buzzword

Privacy

Native apps are too nosy. When installing a typical Android app, it pops up a list of permission requests as long as your arm. If you don't want to share your location, your installed apps, your contacts list, and your mother's maiden name, then a web app is the only option.

10
1

Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows

Buzzword

The city of Munich tried this

But found it cost too much. They recently announched a move back to Windows.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/13/munich_may_dump_linux_for_windows/

3
15

Ad 'urgently' seeks company to build national e-ID system

Buzzword

Children's fingerprints

Many schools use fingerprints as ID for paying for school lunch. This means kids avoid carrying cash or payment cards which could easily be lost or stolen by other kids; and it means those in receipt of free school meals don't stand out.

4
1

H-1B visa applications from India plummet (and Trump can't claim credit)

Buzzword

Re: Thanks, Trump

> those 70,000 workers who would have been in your country...

There are still far more applicants for H-1B visas than actual visas issued. Last year there were 230,000 applications, but only 85,000 places. (The total number of visas granted ends up around twice that, because of various loopholes; but there's still no shortage of demand.)

0
0

Would you let DJ E-to-the-Musk set the playlist for your roadtrip?

Buzzword

To paraphrase Peter Thiel:

"We wanted hyperloop trains, instead we got music matching algorithms."

Or as we all know, software is cheaper than hardware.

8
1

The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

Buzzword

Re: Workers defending their territory; managers afraid to challenge them.

> Ouch! This is how the Civil Service ...

Yes, fair point. But with developers, you only get rotated around 3-4 systems, so you eventually come back to code you previously worked on. The Civil Service path is one-way, so you never have a chance to apply lessons learned elsewhere to your previous mistakes.

0
0
Buzzword

Re: Workers defending their territory; managers afraid to challenge them.

And why do you think it will be any different if every single one of them is perceived as cost to be shoveled off to TaTa?

I didn't say anything about outsourcing. Outsourcing doesn't solve the problem at all: it merely shifts the problem to another company, and conceals the complexity from the end client.

Rather, it's an internal problem of employees being allowed to take "possession" over their little piece of the system (or in BA's case, their 1 system out of the 200). It then becomes hard to move or replace that person, and they become very resistant to change. I've seen this happening in a lot of places, especially large government or quasi-government organisations. The way to avoid it is for management to rotate employees around different systems so that everyone knows a bit about how three or four systems work, rather than just knowing a single system in-depth. This also helps you recover if/when the critical employee leaves.

I don't have any specific knowledge of the BA situation; but 200 critical systems in an organisation with strong unions (making it hard to fire intransigent workers) suggests something like this may have happened.

8
0
Buzzword

Workers defending their territory; managers afraid to challenge them.

This sounds like a situation where each worker aggressively defends his or her patch. "No, you can't possibly merge my legacy paper reporting system with Bob's new email reporting system, because [insert ridiculous reason here]." Given the chance, most of us will defend the systems we maintain (and by extension our jobs): it's human nature. A manager's job is to challenge the ridiculous reasons given.

BA's management are squarely to blame here.

17
0

Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

Buzzword

"and maybe do serious work"

You mean maybe spend the best part of two weekends fiddling about, getting everything to compile, getting your existing apps to work with it, hours spent searching obscure foreign-language forums (mangled through Google Translate) for an answer to why X won't work with Y, all for a 2% subjective improvement in the GUI? No thanks.

0
9

'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

Buzzword

SQL => Sequel

The first phase of the project went well; but for the next phase we need a sequel server.

I should have called the MS Access version the "prequel".

25
0

NHS U-turns on blanket IR35 tax crackdown

Buzzword

Re: husband-and-wife payments

That kind of income-splitting is explicitly forbidden under S660a; this is separate from IR35.

0
2

Attempt at building kinder, gentler Reddit downvoted off the Web

Buzzword

You don't go to McDonalds for salad

And you don't go to an internet forum for polite conversation. If I wanted to exchange pleasantries, I'd talk to my neighbours.

2
7

IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

Buzzword

Suggestions for tech firms' hold music

IBM - "Getting Smaller" by Nine Inch Nails

Amazon - "Return To Sender" by Elvis Presley

Tesla - "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant

Fisker Inc. / Fisker Automotive - "Together in Electric Dreams" by Phil Oakey

I'll let others take over from here.

13
0

Code-thief pleads guilty to pinching file system to sell to China

Buzzword

National Health and Family Planning Commission

What an Orwellian name!

2
0

Page:

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing