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Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide

ItsIllak In other news, students... (564 comments)

In other news, students and staff have reported that their computers are performing much better than usual and site-wide malware and associated bandwidth hogging has massively reduced.

University now plans to do this every month.

about 2 months ago

Google Announces "Classroom"

ItsIllak Re:"For advertising purposes" (143 comments)

That's completely unfair - they'll decided to retire the product in a couple of years not only ceasing collecting information from those users but also leaving them stranded and without a solution because they'd spent the previous years stifling competition by offering a competent free alternative.

about 3 months ago

It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music

ItsIllak That's me to a tee (268 comments)

Not read the article (sorry, it's just tradition not to), but sounds like me - The only music I really tend to like is music that reminds me of my youth - nothing else much inspires me or attracts me.

about 5 months ago

Nokia Lumia 1020 Video and Photo Shoot Preview

ItsIllak Re: Digital image stabilization makes a comeback. (178 comments)

As far as I'm aware, the only thing is lacks is any sort of aperture control. That's because it's fixed at, from memory, F2.2.

Does that mean it's not the same as a DSLR? Yes, that's exactly what it means.

Does it mean it's much better than anything else you can get in a phone (and most things you get in point-and-shoot)? Yes, it does.

But the killer app here is the 41mp. Each photo sensor is awful - look at 1:1 zoom and you'll see so much noise it'll give you headaches. But that's not the point. The point is that you can scale that down to 21mp and there's be much less noise. Put it through noise ninja and there'll be less again. Bring it down to 5mp and it'll, in some circumstances - common circumstances - be up there with the Micro 4/3rds cameras.

I'll be buying one, and I'll be buying the camera grip with the extended battery built in. When I'm out as a tourist or a proud dad, I'll carry them both. From day-to-day, I'll just carry the phone and be ready to take far better photos than almost everyone else.

1 year,5 hours

English Schools To Introduce Children To 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, Robotics

ItsIllak Re:Raspberry Pi (119 comments)

I just don't get how it's actually supposed to do it.

One of the independent coding initiatives (in fact, most of them) in the UK had a bunch donated to them by Google. My club of 15 kids got three and I'm supposed to give them out to the kids. I'm almost 100% certain they will sit in a cupboard and never get used - I mean, what's the point? 99% of families have a laptop - that includes a keyboard and a screen, without that - for most people - a computer is useless.

1 year,21 days

English Schools To Introduce Children To 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, Robotics

ItsIllak Re:What is behind the changes. (119 comments)

Decisions on equipment like this are usually made at school level (by the head and by the board of governors). I don't recall any mandate to buy interactive whiteboards.

That said - I can't see why you use that example - they are amongst the most engaging pieces of equipment in the classroom and allow the teachers to "buy in" materials to really add interest to their lesson plans.

The sad thing is how the schools are ripped off by vendors, in fact LEAs pretty much mandate that schools should be ripped off by forcing them to use specific vendors. Something rotten in the state of Denmark...

1 year,21 days

English Schools To Introduce Children To 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, Robotics

ItsIllak Re:too early (119 comments)

I've taught 9-11 year-olds programming and about 80% of the class is capable of learning enough to solve simple problems given to them. Frankly, the 20% are unable to concentrate on anything other than video games or TV - they're the ones that would be staring into space or playing football every waking hour 20-30 years ago.

20-30% can excel and really grasp some or all of the basic concepts in such a way that they can solve significant novel problems and even set those problems for themselves.

1 year,21 days

Fixing Over a Decade of Missing Computer Programming Education In the UK

ItsIllak The problem: Too many cooks... (117 comments)

...but the government isn't one of them.

We now have Code Club, Coder Dojo, Coding in Schools and half a dozen more individuals and groups working towards roughly the same goals. Each one of these groups is effectively cannibalising each other's target audience. All these people at the helm of each of these groups needs to be congratulated and then locked in a room with all of the others until they can agree a single national plan.

Personally I've gone with Code Club and teach a weekly hour class in my kids' primary school (kindergarten). I've brought one set of kids through the first of three "terms" of coding, been given 3x RPi to give out to semi randomly selected members of the club and plan to do a better job next year. The weekly tasks do a pretty good job of introducing practice in the basic concepts of programming (variables, variable scope, loops, conditions etc..) but weren't explicit enough to allow the kids to use them outside the context in which they were taught. To be honest, I think much of it was done by mimicry rather than understanding.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Start Reading Other's Code?

ItsIllak Document it (254 comments)

Chances are that no-one else has and doing so will help you understand it as well as producing some useful output to get the project going again.

about a year ago

Amazon AutoRip — 14 Years Late

ItsIllak Poorly thought out service. (215 comments)

I read about this on the BBC news website (, missing the first line of the article that said it was US only, I logged into the service to see what I'd bought that was going to show up. Immediately, Beautiful South, Gaze popped up. Strange, I didn't actually remember buying it but it's possible. Then that was it. So I go through my purchases and, like others, there were heaps of popular CDs that I'd bought as gifts.

Apart from the obvious problem, I put a message in to Amazon wondering why Gaze was the only track I got. About an hour later I got a call (during the work day, to my mobile from a hidden number!) from a confused CS rep. Eventually established that it was US only and that Gaze was some weird quirk and I shouldn't have received it.

Somehow, this seems a bit of an ill conceived dodgily implemented service. I bet it sinks without a trace. I assume Amazon are having to pay for all these tracks (at some massively discounted rate) and are doing it to try to convince people to use their service. That's some financial commitment - wonder if the physical CD prices are about to be hiked...?

about a year and a half ago

Google's assault on Windows Phone continues with a block on maps

ItsIllak Re:Do No Evil, my ass. (3 comments)

Still "pending" - you never know. Google should really scare us at this point - actively seeking new monopolies when you're whole business is based on a cash cow monopoly (adwords) - it's not called "anti trust" for nothing.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For Developers To Start Their Own Union?

ItsIllak Purpose of a union (761 comments)

Has anyone who's posted so far actually ever been in a union? They don't just try to protect incompetence or continually raise pay rates (though, yes, they do tend traditionally tend to try to do that as well). They also enforce worker protection laws. They provide legal protection and legal insurance. They provide workplace representation, worker representation.

Seems like a bunch of turkeys voting for [Thanksgiving|Christmas]...

about a year and a half ago

The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

ItsIllak Re:I code in C#, (586 comments)

Totally agree - VS is a great IDE and one that really helps with code navigation, standards compliance and more. Gotta think the GP has no idea how to effectively use all of the features even the worst of modern IDEs bring. I suppose, if Eclipse is the best you've had, notepad++ looks promising but if you've used VS - there's no reason to use anything else.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Surface Review: a Tale of Two Tablets

ItsIllak If only it were about the product, not marketing (183 comments)

What is such a pity about this is that it really doesn't matter how good this is, how bad the iPad is, how boring the Android is, or any combination of those 3 features and platforms. Apple will either continue to convince the world that the Emperor is fully dressed, Android will convince the world that cheap is good or MS will convince the world that, well, they shouldn't change horses mid-stream.

The three platforms all work just fine. I happen to think and hope that the Surface Pro will show the world that both bulky laptops and tablets in general are technology of the past, but for the majority of consumers the difference is moot. The real challenge here is ridding the world of java applets and flash videos and getting moved on to decent, compliant, reliable web standards... Then who cares what the medium is...?

about 2 years ago

First Impressions of Windows 8 Powered Nokia Lumia 920 and 820

ItsIllak Re:Nokia stock price plummets (396 comments)

Just thought I'd pop back... Stock price "plummeted" from 2.80 to 2.40 - it's now back up to 2.79 - as I said, easy 10% on your money...

Stock market swings are not a reflection of the consumer market, it's a reflection of how bankrupt that whole industry is...

about 2 years ago

Apple Says "No" To Releasing New Dock Connector Specs

ItsIllak Compares badly to Nokia's adoption of Qi (393 comments)

Just sayin'

Buy a (relatively cheap) Lumia and you can use the industry standard for wireless charging and also NFC + open data transfer standards (bluetooth to the speaker systems for instance). Buy a (relatively expensive) iPhone and you'll be stuck with even more expensive accessories, with god knows what means of communicating with them.

about 2 years ago

First Impressions of Windows 8 Powered Nokia Lumia 920 and 820

ItsIllak Re:Nokia stock price plummets (396 comments)

I think some were still expecting a 20MP sensor and a tablet device.

I'd advise that the drop is entirely temporary and you can make yourself an easy 10% in less than a month by buying today.

about 2 years ago

First Impressions of Windows 8 Powered Nokia Lumia 920 and 820

ItsIllak How about some enthusiasm from a sub 100k ID then? (396 comments)

Not in the 10k region but still - I appreciate the first post was a bit heavy on the enthusiasm - my guess is an enthusiastic MVP rather than anything more sinister..

A dual core CPU and a huge battery are pretty great hardware specs. Also a mechanically stabilized sensor mechanism could be very big news, especially if their software really does make innovative use of the available pixels. The point has been made recently that for PC usage (sharing on FB etc, 2MP is more than enough, for print 5MP is enough - IF THE QUALITY IS THERE.

I assume the stock has plummeted because until a few days ago everyone was hoping for a 20MP sensor and a new tablet to go with the phones. On the other hand - the markets are idiots - buy today, you'll be 10-15% richer by the end of the month if you sell at a time when they don't arbitrarily decide to mood swing again...

I am a bit disappointed that we loose the smaller screen model - the 820 doesn't really replace the 800, it's more of a slightly smaller variation on the 920 - which is a pity. I personally prefer to hold a smaller screen closer to my face... However, for the feature set that WP8 brings (NFC, more home/lock screen flexibility, better camera tech), I might just have to go larger.

Final comment as everyone takes a snipe at this. I have a lumia 800 and I'm looking forward to windows 7.8. I don't care that they're not giving me Windows 8 - the differences between 7.8 and 8 are the differences between the base specification of the current hardware and the next gen hardware (screen resolution, NFC etc). Microsoft are just being honest that their latest phones have features that their older phones don't support. Apple astroturf that fact and that causes heaps of faulty software that fails to cope well enough.

Love Windows Phone, like iPhone (though these days can't justify the cost), frustrated by having to sideload, hack and generally tweak Android whenever I use it.

about 2 years ago

Unbreakable Crypto: Store a 30-character Password In Your Subconscious Mind

ItsIllak Good direction, impractical solution (287 comments)

Passwords are clearly a very bad idea - they just don't work for any number of logical, social and practical reasons. So it's great to see real thought going into alternatives. Although I think the overhead of 45 mins learning and other issues with this are a problem, I think the general premise must have something in it that would work well.

The fact we can recognise that we know something, even if we can't repeat it - e.g. you know if someone sings the wrong lyrics to a song even if you can't remember them yourself - MUST have some solution to this problem embedded in it somewhere...

about 2 years ago

Millions of Subscribers Leaving Cable TV for Streaming Services

ItsIllak Living room convergance finally here.. (380 comments)

It wasn't long ago that you'd have had to watch these on a laptop, at best hooked up to the TV for the duration of the show. Complete, probably, with AV, update and email pop-ups...

Now we just watch it on our $200 XBMC boxes, our XBOX 360, Wii or whatever device it is we normally hook up to the TV. We also get it in every room (Wii in the Playroom with Netflix + netflix kids, Xbox 360 in the main room, old xbox running xbmc in the kitchen, tablet everywhere else).

And that's even with a very limited selection of shows - just wait until the rest of the world catches up with content, Cable and Satellite will be converting all their resources to suing their customers MPAA stylee!

more than 2 years ago



Google's assault on Windows Phone continues with a block on maps

ItsIllak ItsIllak writes  |  about a year and a half ago

ItsIllak (95786) writes "Reports started coming in last night that Google have targeted the users of Windows Phone devices and begun to deny access to their maps in-browser service on the increasingly popular mobile devices. On the back of their recent withdrawal of Exchange Activesync from Google Apps, the announcement that they would not be writing their apps for the platform, and several other decisions this brings into question the company's "Do No Evil" motto when it comes to users who choose competitors systems."
Link to Original Source

Paypal withdraw Wikileaks donation service

ItsIllak ItsIllak writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ItsIllak (95786) writes "The BBC are reporting that Paypal are the latest company to abandon Wikileaks. The list now includes their DNS providers (EveryDNS) and their hosts (Amazon). Paypal's move is unlikely to result in many more people boycotting the company as most knowledgeable on-line users will have been refusing to use them for years for a wide variety of abusive practices!"
Link to Original Source

ItsIllak ItsIllak writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ItsIllak (95786) writes "The BBC is reporting on a UK government commissioned report that includes such sane comments as " is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.". The report also suggests that copyright terms should not be extended beyond 50 years and that users should have the right to copy their own media for personal use."


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