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Submission + - Surely writing passwords on paper is the most secure method?

Peter (Professor) Fo writes: I have physical security which I understand. Someone has to come into my house and find the piece of paper with all my passwords on it before they can make merry hell with my on-line accounts.

Even in an office I might have 'personal' passwords and 'operative' passwords (user=fox pw = 123abc) where my operative passwords are basically at the behest of my employer. No issue. I keep MY list in MY wallet and if I have to use it at work then snoopers might see it, but there are limits to daily paranoia.

Surely WRITING DOWN passwords, the thing we're indoctrinated never to do, is absolutely the best thing. If my wallet gets stolen (Hint. None of the passwords as written down will work without 'salt' ) then I'll soon know about it.

Comment And once fixed it will last forever? (Score 1) 234

You have a POLICY to make, not a one-of decision. Maintenance will be on-going. It's a people problem.

I would have a be-nice-to-good-people policy. Make them feel wanted and respected. That's down to your management. Then if you hire-in an outside company use an NDA (of course) and make it clear this is an ongoing relationship.

Comment Part of the solution is... (Score 1) 315

Have a 'decoration key' that adds accents (etc) to undecorated symbols.
I've done this for Windows and Javascript with a really sweet UI


This is a practically no-learn UI because the same key is used for everything. Want to turn '2' into 'squared' or 'P' into 'pawn' (for chess addicts) or do your French homework using a single key? Then have a look.

And the problem is I don't know how to make it more universal. Mac? Linux? Smartphones? I've no idea, but the feedback on the UI has been 100% so why not have a look and see if you can implement the really simple algorithm?

Comment Hard copy output (Score 1) 140

Whatever the exercise there must be something to physically take away, and perhaps titivate later.

'Draw a graph' might start with rows of stars bashed out on a teletype... which then needs !'s for the horizontal scale and +'s for the vertical scale... and then the scales may need to be scale to fit the data. Of course by now you're drawing symbols on a pixel map then converting it to a matrix printer. Then instead of a fixed X axis you move to X-Y (or scatter) on a virtual drawing surface that gets expressed on a laser printer.

(I put the teletype in there for fun, but there are plenty of tech limitations around today.)

I'm a bit worried about the 'go and research it' bit. I'm all for 'use the internet to help crack specific problems, steal code etc.' but it's your job to be right with them while they're trying to get their ideas together and then to work. When they're floundering you've got to show them the way so they can move on.

Comment Good luck with that! (Score 4, Interesting) 148

(1) Kindles and (much better) e-books don't do that. You might as well have asked for a flying pogo-stick.

(2) You may be confusing pop-up with box-out or even foot-note. If you want the 'less accomplished' to keep up then you can't do it with pop-ups[1] Instead write two books.

(3) An e-book reader is not a multi-media volcano of goodness. The opposite: A constrained text reader with occasional images and no character.

[Footnote 1] Note that a box-out remains in clear view forever. A pop-up vanishes after first use, so after being shown it isn't there for re-reference. A footnote a diversion for someone with a particular interest.

Comment Have a look at this paper (Score 2) 77

I wrote this paper nine years ago. Go to and follow the link to The future of collaborative software development

One of the key ideas is that a theatre company has all sorts of skills unrelated to acting or play-writing. A collaborative software project should be half a dozen people at a minimum. Once the group has 'done' one project it'll soon find something else to work on, whether extending the objectives, enhancing the deliverable or something completely different.

I have a dozen FOSS contributions on my web site but I just don't want to get into the hassle of Git or licensing or selling or even promotion. I'm an inventor not a financier or sales executive!

Comment Make registering worthwhile (Score 1) 195

If the Govt. encouraged drone-flying then it would have a cadre of skilled operators who took their hobby seriously enough to want to see it well regulated and free from idiots. That way a basically unenforceable law costing millions to police would be mostly self-policed by people with decent civic values... As well as cutting edge skills and technology. Hey what's that you say Sooty? 'Nerds being sociable?' Yes, why not.

In the UK plane spotters were once seen as some sort of terror threat but then it was realised that the anoraks would be the best people to spot an unusual sort of person.

At the start of WW2 many 'radio hams' were available to become the core of rapidly expanding signals sections.

By all means have an unlicensed backyard toy category of no registration (though everyday laws of privacy, harassment etc still apply) (a bit like flying a kite.) and a 'big-boys' category but make it something people want to achieve, belong to, participate in, rather than endless form-filling and wallet opening.

Comment UI goodness -- who decides? (Score 1) 192

The current UI can't be a disaster because new customers would be few and far between, which isn't what you're reporting. So the current UI might be 'old fashioned' but just the WISIWYG interface that appeals to customers who have to train staff to 'go through the steps' not 'guess what button to press'.

Especially when people do a repetitive job they don't need icons or 'are you sure' or touch-screen-goodness. They need Ctrl-A, Q then T to get them to the bit they want. Horribly 1980s, but it works a treat and doesn't need a single second reaching for a mouse.

Comment Panic buying (Score 1) 188

If news leaks out before the event there will be Panic Buying which will turn a few hours of physical disruption with say a 10% overall infrastructure failures for a few days, into a maelstrom of stockpile madness. How will the repair trucks get their fuel when it's all been bought by consumers?

The telecoms used by telecoms repairers to order parts etc is a 'how does the snowplough driver get to work' problem.

Comment bow - locks (Score 1) 100

Without the 'cyber' we have a 15-yo walks in through the front door of a major corporation, whistles a merry tune as he steps into 'PROTECTED AREA' where the customer records are floating about like confetti and walks out. No. Once upon a time the UK justice system had competent state-funded lawyers to protect lads like this. Talk Talk still got shafted. Even if the wrong-un is convicted they were still shafted.

Comment Don't try to be too clever (Score 2) 134

The number one problem is at the input interface: People will only use it if it's useful or there is someone standing over them with a cosh. So how do you do that? By finding applications they find useful for their knowledge or sharing knowledge. Progress report, interface specs, requests for changes or whatever the knowledge generators want. So it's a management problem.

Say to management, "I have this as a solution, I think it's the most flexible, can we give it a try? Look! I've piloted it on my latest project and see what it can do... Think how useful if..." When management champions it there is some chance of it working. Until then paddle your own canoe and offer to show people how clever you are.

It's a good overall question, but exactly the same issues apply to 'Enterprise'(whatever that is) and novelists trying to keep track of places, people, timelines, todos, feedback etc. Until you've really put any solution (I've tried all sorts over 35 years and keep coming back to a book of notes or a master notes document.) to the test by actual use you won't understand the practicalities. The human brain is a pretty good filter if you can do basic organisation and remember to make notes/put things in the right place.

Comment Ads are NOT necessary (Score 3, Insightful) 351

If you have a valuable commodity then somebody will voluntarily support it. Wikipedia for example. Or you might find people want to buy what you have on offer. When I see people without ad-blockers I'm amazed at their crap experience, but they don't seem to know any better. If you want to see model this in print then buy Private Eye. Excellent Journalism worth paying for and ads at front and back which I skip over because I've got no money to spend, but presumably some people do because a lot are repeats.

Comment PHP - 21st Century COBOL (Score 0) 158

It works. It isn't sexy. Who cares? You can write awful programs... Unlike any other language of course It evolves slowly. To paraphrase Tolstoy: "Happy programmers are all alike; every language is unhappy in its own way." Most of us never come across edge-cases and PHP is still getting regularly fixed. But also the tectonic shifts are happening at tectonic speed as they should. So to my mind the repairs and resdesigns are suitably separated and yet both going on.. PHP is here to stay for the next 40 years. Personally I try to nibble with node as it's a completely different mindset, tool chain and opportunity but PHP is a workhorse. We should be pleased to see v7 is emerging. None of us is going to bet on V 7.0.0 but by 7.1 or 7.2 we'll have jumped at our own comfortable pace.

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