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Comment: Y2K was -not- a small issue (Score 5, Insightful) 59

by mccalli (#49621739) Attached to: The BBC Looks At Rollover Bugs, Past and Approaching
The reason so little went wrong is because people spent ages testing and upgrading/fixing beforehand. Had we left it all to 1st Jan 2000 there would have been issues,

It annoys me to see Y2K trotted out time and time again as a non-event. It was a very big event, and by the large part it was very successfully handled.

Comment: This is good - think OS X Gatekeeper (Score 2) 190

by mccalli (#49527595) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
This sounds a lot like Gatekeeper on the Mac, which works really well. It allows the user several levels of trust - "trust store apps only", "trust store apps plus recognised developers" (certificate signed), "allow everything".

I have mine set to "store apps plus recognised developers" and ask for the rest. If I run something else, I can right click and select Open..., it asks me if I'm sure and I say yes. This is a five second operation which gives me control over my options, whilst preventing unknown apps from running without my knowledge and explicit say so. This Windows one sounds pretty much the same, with the addition of your classic enterprise lock down features - it it's a corporately-owned machine, then yes the corporate should get say over what's running on it.

Imagine the kind of download-happy, click-on-everything user that we've all seen around. They would download cunningly-disguised-malware.exe and try to run it, and the OS would simply prevent them. Now true if they had admin rights they could go into preferences, set to allow everything etc. but it's all more effort and a quick realisation that something's unusual here.

Nope, I regard this as a good move. It already exists in OS X and works well - putting a similar system into Windows seems like a good idea to me.

Comment: Would like it if I could pick the product (Score 1) 187

by mccalli (#49389973) Attached to: Amazon Moves "Buy Now" Into the Physical World, With the Dash Button
It seems to be limited to certain products. If I could pick the product myself, I'd like this. For instance I always forget to order water softener salt until it's too late for instance - would be nice to just stick this on the water so I can press as I'm loading the last of the salt in. As far as problems go it's true that world poverty is probably the greater issue facing humanity, but it's equally true that this is a nice bit of fluff that if works as advertised could well be handy.

Comment: Re:apples real problem is utility. (Score 1) 55

by mccalli (#49377573) Attached to: Apple Extends Its Trade-In Program
You understand that the release of the latest iPhone generations produced the highest rate switchers away from Android and over to the iPhone, right?

I don't mind the debate - I've had an iPhone since the 3GS but was and am seriously looking at switching away for various reasons. The debate should be based on fact though, and the facts are that Apple doesn't have a dearth of people moving off other platforms and over to its own.

Comment: Historical hang-up from an MS hire (Score 5, Interesting) 65

by mccalli (#49078613) Attached to: BBC Radio Drops WMA For MPEG-DASH
Missing from most of the articles on this, including the ones on their web site, is that they used to employ a senior Microsoft media guy who, unsurprisingly, set about converting everything to Microsoft Media formats - Ashley Highfield. Here's a 2007 article with a section of the controversy

BBC used to have one of the more progressive approaches to media with early mp3 streams, Dirac codec then just stopped. Nice to see them get back towards the rest of the world - next step, please go HTML 5 video on the site as well and then we can avoid Flash.

Comment: Absolutely not (Score 3, Insightful) 33

by mccalli (#48819533) Attached to: First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK
I already opted out of this via the Electoral Register, I do not want some random startup faffing about with it. They have not got a single convincing reason for doing this. Have a look:

"Open Addresses UK Director Jeni Tennison states that addresses are an essential part of a national infrastructure. “They connect us to wider society and help us to access services. Everyone needs to be able to use addresses freely, which means they need to be open.”

No, not everyone does need to be able to use my address freely. In fact, they are explicitely restricted from doing so by various laws. My address is used and disclosed at a point of my choosing.

"On a more serious note, Wells explains that address data links together the digital world with the virtual, and by connecting these two worlds, better services can be given to everybody. When combined with and linked to other open data sets, allowing startup companies and developers access to this data will encourage the development of new goods and services, the organization states. When combined with and linked to other open data sets, allowing startup companies and developers access to this data will encourage the development of new goods and services, the organization states."

'Better' by who's definition? Startup companies - who on earth said I wanted to help them out?

Wells says that Google Maps could also use the open address data to improve the quality of their services. The open data can also inform devices to perform tasks with the data collected. Wells further explains that they keep the quality of the data high by using existing open, clean data sets that can help corroborate new data coming in.

Why should my life be lived in order to 'help out' the multi-billion dollar corporation that is Google? I already use as few of their services as possible. 'Inform devices' - which devices, and who says I want them to be informed?

The idea has no use cases put forward which benefit me, which allow for my consent, and in fact I believe an amount of this form of collection could actually be covered by Crown copyright laws as it is essentially duplicating the Electoral Roll.

Not with fourteen barge poles tied together would I touch this.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 331

by mccalli (#48793133) Attached to: Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?
Crashplan, amongst others, implements a backup scheme as you describe. I use it - some friends allocate drive space to me, and I allocate drive space for them. We back up remotely to each other's systems via Crashplan, and do so for free. The resultant backujps are encrypted, so they can't see my files and I can't see theirs.

Works well - I've used it a couple of times for actual recovery of files, and it worked both times.

Comment: Re: Nosedive (Score 5, Informative) 598

by mccalli (#48738075) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive
There is a indeed a heated response to it. Not sure if I can be called "rabid Apple cult", but I can definitely be called long-term user (1990 onwards).

The guy is right. The quality at the moment is noticeably poor, and rather than being pleased at new updates I now regard them with suspicion. Concrete examples exist both on the Mac and on iOS - wiping out a phone's ability to make phone calls, for instance (8.0.1, iPhone 6), is somewhat of a faux pas. On the Mac side I get daft things such as this, which slowed my 2011 iMac to a crawl until I invoked an obscure command to sort it. I get silly synchronising problems with iTunes, both the dreaded "waiting for changes to be applied" hangs and also things like "there was a problem copying these items, see iTunes for details". iTunes, of course, never has any details about it.

Then there's functional quality. The whole OS is increasingly feeling like a Zelda game, memorising which magic multitouch incantation to invoke next to do something wonderful. They also trash things - Expose now looks neater, but is far less functional as it no longer exposes ever window but does this pretty-yet-useless grouping thing. They confuse things - I have no idea what my workflow for photos is anymore, is my photo just on the phone, shared in iCloud, just on iPhoto, where does it go if I edit it, how do I delete a shared photo from just one device without taking it all out of the others - that kind of thing.

Then there's online - the Apple ID situation is farcical. Users: "give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". Apple: "here's Home Sharing! A totally new way of sharing things that's not at all confusing". Users: " Give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". Apple: "here's Family Sharing! A brilliant new way of letting multiple ids get access to the same content, possibly, but only allowing one credit card to pay for it! Give your 13 year old access to the family credit card today!". Users: "Sigh. Give us a way to merge Apple IDs please". I await with wonder what other non-solution is going to be offered to me in the coming years.

I agree with the premise entirely. I think Apple's software quality has dropped, and dropped significantly. Bugs, functionality,'s all there, and it's all worse than it used to be.


Comment: Re:Sweet!! (Score 4, Interesting) 94

by mccalli (#48308597) Attached to: Internet Archive Launches Arcade of Classic Games In the Browser
Although I agree the sentiment, I disagree specifically on Street Fighter 2 (well...on the Hyperfighting/Turbo edition anyway). Always found that one holds up because the characters are well balanced, the moves are easy'ish to remember so when playing people who are good it's less about remembering the framerate for the super-ultra-mega-30-button-combo-string and more about actual weighted tactics.

I find it interesting that my kids, who are used to playing the newest and prettiest editions of the Tekken series, still go back to Street Fighter 2 Hyperfighting. They weren't even alive when it came out and have no nostalgic feelings towards it, so clearly the game has got something to it which stands the test of time.

Comment: Very US-focused opinion (Score 2) 631

by mccalli (#48252343) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay
Very US - rest of the world already has this NFC standard. If ApplePay were proprietary I would agree it would lose out long term, but it's not - this is a global standard. As soon as Apple start enabling international cards for it, it's just BAU for non-US retailers. This isn't even a change, it's already happened - for example, I bought my lunch using this system earlier today.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor