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UK Announces Hybrid Work/Study Undergraduate Program To Fill Digital Gap

Dr_Barnowl Re:Why the subsidy? (102 comments)

Because the economy increasingly runs on good IT people, but there aren't enough to go around.

People around the age of 40 - 45 in this country come from a real boom for the IT industry - the introduction of the "home computer" - 8-bit microcomputers within the budget of the working citizen.

The perfect storm of kids TV that only lasted for an hour or so each day, and computers that came with a BASIC interpreter, and you needed to learn at least one BASIC command on to get them to do anything, created a generation of "bedroom programmers". People would learn to program for fun. We then had a perfect progression through 8-bit micros, to 16-bit, and then 32-bit PCs, learning all the way.

The skills you need these days to get your computer to do something interesting, whether it sits in a box under your desk, on your lap, or it's just a circuit board behind a flat piece of glass, are very much different, and typically involve poking a couple of pretty icons.

Kids get very disappointed when they can't make things go all whizz-bang within 5 minutes of their first coding lesson. It's always been a special fraction of the population with the inclination to be programmers. But these days, the bar has been set even higher - you have to have a real obsession with programming to overcome the draw of all the other shiny toys out there, especially when they discover that to make even one simple app requires many hours of dedicated study and practice and work.

That's the problem. Computers were fun in our day because we were doing things that no-one else had done. Catching up to others is work.

yesterday
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UK Announces Hybrid Work/Study Undergraduate Program To Fill Digital Gap

Dr_Barnowl Re:Could be a good idea.. (102 comments)

It boggles the mind, doesn't it.

One of my favourite interview questions is "What's your favourite data structure, and why?", and when they answer, I ask "How would you implement it?"

For something like 80% of the candidates I've interviewed, the answer is usually "erm...."

The vast majority of the remainder say "ArrayList" but don't usually say why.

Out of those, I've only interviewed one who could give any kind of basic indication that they knew how to implement one.

The state of the industry is shocking.

yesterday
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Slack Now Letting Employers Tap Workers' Private Chats

Dr_Barnowl So what? (78 comments)

What, we don't think that Lync and everything else that offers a chat server in your own rack can't be configured to do this?

Hell, at my last office, they were feeding all our VoIP calls through this SIGINT app ; the only reason I found out was because I was copied in on ICT change reports for operational reasons and one of the changes was they moved the storage for the VoIP calls to another server.

Presume that you're being watched. You likely are, by someone.

3 days ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Dr_Barnowl Re: More detailed ratings are a good thing (641 comments)

The NHS might be far from the best healthcare system imaginable, but it's official - it's one of the best universal healthcare systems, in terms of both efficiency and outcomes.

Mirror, mirror.

about two weeks ago
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World's Youngest Microsoft Certificated Professional Is Five Years Old

Dr_Barnowl Re:Which says what? (276 comments)

I'm really not sure it puts out a good image of your product if a 5 year old can pass your professional certifications.

It either means your certs are weak sauce, or your product is lamentably simple.

about two weeks ago
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Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card

Dr_Barnowl Re:Well... no. (126 comments)

People are going to have to start accepting cryptographic signatures (maybe from keys signed by the government, like they have in Estonia).

Most of my utility bills are now via email.

about three weeks ago
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Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card

Dr_Barnowl Re:Well... no. (126 comments)

Screw that.

Keep the card in a foil lined sleeve. You can get a pack of five for a few dollars, or get a fancy shielded wallet. I quite like the look of the ones made of woven stainless steel thread. I tested the el-cheapo ones that are just card and foil and they prevent card reads from all the readers I tested.

Then your physical removal of the card from it's sleeve is required to complete any transaction, contactless or otherwise. No-one will have a reason to amputate your finger.

If you scan things into Apple Pay it's not a copy of your card (unless someone seriously fucked up when they designed the crypto schemes for your payment card). You have to trust Apple, who are no doubt greatly enjoying the information about your payment history.

about three weeks ago
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Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants

Dr_Barnowl Re:seems to me (284 comments)

H1B tax.

You should pay a tax on top of the H1B employees wages that makes the full package 20% more costly than employing a US worker.

about a month ago
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Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

Dr_Barnowl Re:Oh yeah, that guy (289 comments)

He's not in England. He's in Ecuador. The embassy is their sovereign soil, by international treaty. If the English police set foot in there to deport him to Sweden (as they would do if he left), that's an invastion of their territory.

about a month ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

Dr_Barnowl Re:UK article, US units (165 comments)

I have one Triganic Pu. Will they make change?

about a month ago
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Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Dr_Barnowl Re:About CVS Only! Not SVN! (245 comments)

I was unaware CVS had any way to do this

CVS is just a layer on top of RCS. RCS stores all history for a given file, in a file in the RCS store named for that file.

Therefore to purge all history for that file, you delete it's repository file. Tada! Gone.

CVS is just a layer on top of something designed for single file programs, and it shows. It doesn't handle renames well. It doesn't handle getting arbitrary revisions of entire projects well. The more files you have in your project, the more overhead you'll consume attempting to track global project revisions.

SVN does at least fix some of that.

about a month ago
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Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

Dr_Barnowl Re:I am not going to convert (245 comments)

Indeed.

VSS had this feature. It was called "Purge".

If you used it, it destroyed the entire history of the given source file. It was then no longer possible to replicate any build that included that file, ever again. That's a bad thing, in a revision control system.

about a month ago
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Google Announces Motorola-Made Nexus 6 and HTC-Made Nexus 9

Dr_Barnowl Re:Bring the 10 Back (201 comments)

I found a lot of these problems were resolved by doing a system cache wipe ; it went from hardly charging at all to charging in sensible time. Currently the tablet has been sat lurking in an IRC channel on my nightstand, off charger, for at least a week, and still has more than 40% charge.

The only cable problem I had was when I dropped the thing on the floor when charging ; I had to rebend the shroud on the USB socket back into place. It's still a bit loose, depending on the cable you use.

Yes, you shouldn't have to tinker with things. I can't say I'm impressed with the overall quality of Asus's tablet offerings - my girlfriend has one of their transformer tablets, and the keyboard dock has failed - the connection seems to work fine, because the touchpad part still works... just the keyboard doesn't.

about a month and a half ago
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Online Creeps Inspire a Dating App That Hides Women's Pictures

Dr_Barnowl Re:How about... (482 comments)

Yeah, I can really relate to this.

The decent chaps (particulary ones who naievely point out "not all men..." before discovering this is like a red rag to a bull) are the ones who attempt to engage positively with these issues.. and because they are the ones trying to engage, they are often in receipt of some of the unpleasant feedback that should really be going to those other guys.

The problem is that once bitten, twice shy - it inclines most of us to back away and not prod that particular hornet's nest again. Which is a shame, because the idiots who create these problems in the first place are far more likely to listen to "bro's before ho's" - getting more of the decent men on side and active against their idiot step-brothers would be a victory for feminism.

I was really encouraged to see this point of view put forward by Emma Watson in her speech.

Both sides have something to learn - the well-meaning men need to learn that they don't need to engage with the women - they already *know* about discrimination. They need to engage with the misogynists.

And the feminists could help matters by swallowing some of their totally understandable rage and politely explaining this to us, instead of biting our heads off.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Dr_Barnowl Re:Camel = Horse designed by committee... (644 comments)

It's more of a task-switching thing for me.

I have multiple contexts I work in during the day. Each time I change tasks, but don't want to close the windows for the task I was doing before, I move to a new desktop. That, plus one desktop devoted entirely to communications (email, social media, etc), and I can switch between contexts with one or two ctrl-alt-arrow key combos, rather than painstakingly reconstructing the window layout each time I switch.

Until the OS supports saving a group of apps, complete with window position, open documents, etc (which would require a lot of app support), this is the best solution to task switching I've got.

about 2 months ago
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The Physics of Space Battles

Dr_Barnowl Re:In space (470 comments)

Virtual audio is how I reconcile it.

As atmospheric creatures, audio is an important and highly optimized sensory modality for us. It makes sense for ultra-modern space avionics to simulate audio in order to utilise this sense.

about 2 months ago
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Emma Watson Leaked Photo Threat Was a Plot To Attack 4chan

Dr_Barnowl Re:So the thought behind this is... (590 comments)

The uninformed want to know.

There in your question lies the answer.

People don't know what they look like from behind. In particular, for a woman, her rear profile is ascribed nearly as much allure as her front. It's inevitable that any woman with an interest in her appearance is going to want to assess her rear profile, and it's only a short step between wanting to see it, and wanting to photograph it, these days.

about 2 months ago
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Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

Dr_Barnowl Re:Keep your important data on current storage. (113 comments)

it's basically a recording of the GDI commands.

There were a number of WMF exploits just because of this - because the WMF parser had insufficient bounds checking and you could pass malformed input directly to the Win32 API just by sending someone a picture.

This is also part of the reason that Microsoft Office Open XML isn't an implementable standard - because it contains a bunch of stuff that boils down to "call the Windows API".

about 2 months ago
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Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died

Dr_Barnowl Re:Obama is but a puppet (236 comments)

Like many others have stated when confronted with this topic - I'd love to see them make a dramatization of the in-between years of Star Trek - the time between the present (or the near future), going through to the time of Zefram Cochrane and the subsequent ascent into the civilization that birthed Starfleet and the Federation.

Of course, the real "secret sauce" there is presumably that FTL travel means that previously scarce resources become much more readily available, as starships can visit locations where they are abundant and bring them back. This presumably ushers in an era of post-scarcity economics.

If you believe that these technologies can be achieved with mere Earthly resources, then perhaps we may even live to see it...

about 2 months ago
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Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

Dr_Barnowl Re:Good (126 comments)

In addition to the notes that this is a minimal burden on most modern CPUs, Android L will offer much better battery life - on the same devices - owning to it's new execution environment, which will more than offset the additional cost.

I think it's a sop though - the problem, as demonstrated so well recently to a host of famous women, is not that your local device is terribly vulnerable. After all, we're talking one of the few pieces of data storage that most people will have on their person most of their waking hours.

The real problem is cloud storage. While much has been made of the tactics used to gain access to them, note that any sysadmin on the cloud services responsible likely has the same level of access. You'll only have "private" cloud when your device carrys a private encryption key that the service is not privy to - and this isn't going to happen on the big services (excepting MEGA, allegedly), because the reason they let you store your stuff on their cloud for free is because they can mine it for information. And could you really trust a "private" cloud client anyway? Who says the software doesn't leak your private key back to the author?

If you want private data, Free Software is really the only answer, and having your own private hardware would help too.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Eric Schmidt urges regulation of mini-drones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the CEO of Google thinks that drones should be regulated. Drones are certainly a hot topic, with appearances on both side of the divide in Cory Doctorow's novel Homeland — with the authorities using them to distribute riot gas, and the noble hackers using them to post the video of them doing it. Is Eric really concerned over how the public will use drones against each other, or is he more concerned that they might eat into Google's pie somehow?"
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UK Government - "Pay a £20 fee to acquit yourself of file-sharing (maybe)"

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK government plans to introduce a £20 fee if you wish to appeal against an allegation of copyright infringement, within 20 days of your accusation. Note that this doesn't guarantee acquittal, as only "excuses" covered in the Digital Economy Act will be valid even for consideration. This scheme could be in place as early as 2014, so John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union says "We urge ISPs to begin building their systems now and to work constructively with rights holders, Ofcom and government to get notice-sending up and running as soon as possible,". What are the thoughts of Slashdot?"
Link to Original Source
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EU Proposes HFT Transaction Tax

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that the UK opposes a proposed new tax on transactions with at least one end Europe. Why is this "News for Nerds"? The proposal includes tax on derivatives, an instrument the High Frequency Trading stories we've been chowing down on recently. With the proposed tax being 0.1% or 0.01% for derivatives, the story highlights the sheer volumes involved — it's speculated that the tax would earn some €57B a year ($78B), around 80% of it from the City of London. A transaction tax like this is something frequently proposed in Slashdot HFT discussions. The UK says that it will veto the tax "unless it was imposed globally" — should the USA follow suit and impose a similar levy targeted at the trading desks of the NYSE?"
Link to Original Source
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Sony to convert online bookstore to open format

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Sony are to convert their online bookstore to the EPUB format.

While this format still supports DRM, it's supported on a much wider variety of readers. Is this a challenge to Kindle? It's nice to see Sony opening up to the idea of open standards ; even if you still have reservations about buying a Sony device, you might be able to patronise their bookstore sometime soon."
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Google to release another open-source OS

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports that Google are planning to release another operating system : Google Chrome OS.

This is apparently going to consist of the Google Chrome browser, running in "a new windowing system". The browser is the platform, much like it is in the Palm Pre smartphone, part of the intention being to provide a fast boot time.

They are setting their sights first on the growing market for netbooks, with ARM and x86 compatibility planned out of the starting gate.

A "browser OS" would probably do just fine for the majority of users, but I don't think I'm ready to give up my heavy client-side platforms just yet. What will be interesting to see is the Microsoft response to this — they have enjoyed an alleged "96%" share of the netbook market OS recently, so anything designed to eat into that will not be popular in the Redmond boardroom."
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EA releases license deactivation management tool.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "Electronic Arts have posted a link to a SecuROM De-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools.

This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM."

Link to Original Source
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British IRS loses database of every child in UK.

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  about 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "News breaking in the UK is that the HM Revenue & Customs (the UK version of the IRS) has lost in the post discs containing the entire Child Benefit database. Every child in the UK is entitled to receive Child Benefit, so this covers some 25M people (out of the UK population of some 60M), 7.25M families, and contains names, addresses, dates of birth, bank account numbers and national insurance number (aka SSN).

The lost data has failed to turn up under a search by HM Customs (famous for rooting contraband out of tight spaces) and the UK police.

This is data loss on an unprecedented scale. Many of the people questioning the Chancellor of the Exchequer at this moment are using the issue to raise questions about the UK government plans for a national ID database.

The data was apparently "password protected". The word "encryption" has also been used, but not in connection to the data, so it could well be something as simple as a passworded ZIP archive. The data was placed onto a couple of optical media and sent to another government office, for audit purposes, via the internal post system provided by a third party courier. This was not the first occurrence of the database being transferred in this way.

While there is no evidence so far that the data is being put to nefarious uses, this will cause total chaos in the UK banking system ; affected accounts are being flagged and mothers across the country will be phoning their bank in a panic."

Link to Original Source
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Swedish company trials peer-to-peer cellphones

Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "TerraNet is trialling a p2p based mobile telephony system. Phones are used to route calls onto other phones, constructing mesh networks of "up to 20km".

The BBC reports the natural tendency of the big telecoms providers to want to squash this. I can see other problems though. The advantages in an environment with sparse cell coverage are obvious, but network effects mean that the number of connections in a heavily populated mesh grow exponentially. What happens to your battery life when your phone becomes a node? And while the company is optimistic that they have a viable technology model from IP licensing, the demand for devices supporting this is going to be proportional to the number of devices that it can connect you to.

On the plus side, it would provide some great experience with mesh networks."

Link to Original Source
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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The BBC reports in prose and in video that Robert Soloway, an alleged user of zombie spamming networks, has been arrested in Seattle. He will be charged with aggravated identity theft, the first such charge since the relevant law was passed in 2003.

While it's highly encouraging to see spammers brought to book, the spam level has not noticeably decreased since his arrest, testimony to the more prevalent spam output of eastern European and Asian sources."

Link to Original Source
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Dr_Barnowl Dr_Barnowl writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dr_Barnowl (709838) writes "The CEO of Sun Microsystems blogs that "no amount of fear can stop the rise of [...] free software". While he avoids specifically mentioning a certain software company by name, he links directly to the interview in Fortune that started all this brouhaha.

He makes a special point that Sun "... decided to innovate, not litigate."

You have to wonder who else from the corporate world may pitch in at this point."

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