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Comment Re:attendant (Score 1) 79

In London we have the "Docklands Light Railway", which is entirely autonomous. Every once in a while someone gets on, opens up a control panel of some sort and start operating the train in some way. I've always wondered why - if they're there for safety or security then that's fine, but why do they need to 'help' a train that runs without their help without any problem...?

As for this... I'm left wondering why it's not on rails, given they've had to close a load of roads to make it work.

Comment Re:Image problem (Score 3, Interesting) 30

I just took a look at their 'about' page - I'm still none the wiser what they (were) up to. Advertising and outreach definitely wasn't big on their list of priorities it seems. They probably have more 'mind share' today, because they're closing down than they've ever had before.

Comment Re:Browsing through smut could be a great job (Score 1) 297

Ahh... the old school is "just pull yourself together" psychiatry, eh?

This isn't about having to look at sick stuff - it's about not being given sufficient mental/emotional support for doing so. Being told to take a smoke break works about as well as telling soldiers just to look away when their pals get limbs blown off. All MS had to/has to do is provide sufficiently qualified and useful counseling/psychiatry to the people they hire to look at this stuff (ie. have the facility and give them paid time to use it) and only let them return to work when they're ready to do so.

Comment Re:You mean his GF's sex video? (Score 1) 297

For espionage to take place you have to use the information you get from listening into a skype call inappropriately (ie. telling someone who can use the information themselves, or otherwise using it yourself). For example, you overhear Verizon and Yahoo setting a price for the takeover deal. You talk to your pal at Google and give them the price, after which Google makes a counter offer for Yahoo. If you hear them setting the price and do nothing with the information, then nothing happens at all (and there are usually procedures where you disclose what you've heard to your legal people to vindicate yourself of any possible issues in the future). The worst you could be done for is evesdropping/privacy invasion or similar. However, given the ToS, you couldn't even be done for that because you're doing it in the course of your duties as defined by your employer (none of which would be true if you somehow did it yourself from your basement).

MS isn't doing anything unique here - they have people and algorithms looking for CP and other illegal material. Anything that looks suspicious gets reviewed by a human and acted upon. All the major providers are doing the same thing in some form or other. If you don't want your stuff spied on, encrypt it, or use a different means to communicate.

Comment Re:Who, what? (Score 2) 23

Comments about your geek card aside... ;-)

Sonos is a brand of network attached music players. Most of their products are essentially 'wifi speakers', which not only connect to your local wifi (or wired lan), but also communicate with each other when necessary to create stereo pairs or groups which all play the same thing exactly in-sync. They claim to be able to play just about all the audio on the planet, although Amazon Music seems to be a constant problem, as does SoundCloud. That said though, they really do play an awful lot of stuff extremely well.

There are some (reasonable) criticisms of the product line though. They're considered to be expensive (and more expensive than most competing products), and whilst their audio quality is generally considered to be pretty good, it could be better. Products like the 'Amp' (which has no speakers, it needs some wired speakers to be added) is only 50W, whereas pretty much any amp you could even consider being decent quality is more like 200W upwards. Also, the Amp costs more than two "Sonos 1" devices (which are, more or less, single speakers + network attachment), so it's expensive, and not as good as it really should be, given Sonos pitches itself as being somewhat 'premium'.

Technically, Sonos is pretty interesting. To work around people's crappy home wifi, Sonos has it's own mesh network which means that a Sonos device can be out of reliable range of your Wifi, but still play music just fine. The magic sauce that makes it all work is proprietary, and so you can't hack together a Sonos-compatible device on a Raspberry Pi or something. There are some 'hacks' you can do though, like turning off all wireless in devices you've wired to the lan. It's not really documented or talked about, but if you fill a rack with a load of sonos it'll probably crash your wifi (even if wired) until you turn off wifi on the devices. Devices have dual ethernet ports in a sort of hub arrangement, so you can daisychain them together if you need to.

As for John MacFarlane - honestly, I have no idea who he is. From the summary, I'd guess he's a somewhat visionary tech-savvy business guy who started a company from very little and made it into a multinational that at lot of people have heard of (granted, that doesn't appear to be you). I'm guessing his moving on suggests that Sonos's business will change in the coming months, and as is so often the case, that may not be a good thing for those of us with an existing investment.

Comment Re:Still a bit much (Score 1) 238

Yep - OLED = early Plasmas

Back in the day of CRTs, plasmas looked amazing. Every pub got one because they were big, light enough that you didn't need to have reinforcement put into the walls to mount one up high and some of the were ready for the hood.

A few years later, those same plasmas started to look pretty shabby. They had screen burn, they'd cost a lot to run because they were ran very hot and in some cases needed to be regassed.

2017 might be the year of OLED, but that just means 2018-19 will be the year of QLED or whatever refines OLED. We just bought a new TV a year or so ago, so I guess we'll be waiting for OLED/QLED to be commodity before we buy another TV.

Comment Re:Tesla Currently (Score 1) 198

Yeah, I saw that too. Samsumg *may* have something twice as good as Tesla do today, but in 5 years time. Tesla *will* have something better than they do today in 5 years time. Tesla's will also have actual usage facts.

I think Samsung either need to do something useful for today, or else start aiming a bit higher. Twice as good as today in 5 years isn't going to be particularly compelling by the time they try to sell it.

Comment Re:I've been doing computers ... (Score 1) 399

...and in fact Google too. Google's search results are still better than anyone else, but they're getting worse because they're too busy pushing their own agenda instead of just doing what people want.

Ironic that possibly the only company who could reasonably compete with Google's search is dying just as Google is making enough space for someone else to make a viable search business.

Comment Re:Carly Fiorina 2.0 (Score 1) 399

When I worked at Yahoo, someone noted that in the US many employees were often filing patents for stuff, but that the company hadn't 'engaged' the Europeans as well because we'd filed maybe one or two in the whole history of the company.

I did point out that any EU country's patent system has a higher entry requirement than a bit of cartoon strip and some fiction writing. As such, we were genuinely finding it hard to think of anything patent-worthy that we did in our brick-in-the-wall work lives.

Comment Re:It happens, but way too commonly with google (Score 1) 150

...and in fairness to them, they launched the API in 2011 (https://techcrunch.com/2011/09/20/google-launches-hangouts-api-for-developers/) - so they've given it about 6 years. There aren't many assets you can rely on for 6 years without having to do some sort of rewrite/patchup or whatever.

I think the real issue here is for people who've only just decided to integrate with it. They've just spent however much time/money engineering it in, and now they've only got until April (a proper bummer if you just implemented in the last couple of months).

If there's any real criticism to be leveled at Google here then, it's to give people a lot more notice of taking things down. I'd say giving people a year of 'EOL' time during which they'll accept no new entrants, but continue to support the old ones would demonstrate some good citizenship. That would put their costs up a bit, but I doubt by much and it'd more or less debunk the reputation they're getting of pulling services people that rely on too easily. Until they start to commit to doing something like this though, integrate with Google at your own risk.

Comment Re:Well that's a hell of a security hole. (Score 1) 254

Do they have a digital assistant too? Oh I wish they would...

Me: "Alibaba! I'm at the front door - open sesame!"

Me: "Alibaba! How do you get red wine out of a carpet?"
Alibaba: "...Soak in white wine, then fly for at least half an hour to try it out"

Me: "Alibaba! I think I've been robbed, call the police!"
Alibaba: "Er... no, sorry, you left the place this messy when you left this morning"

Comment Re:This is no technical problem (Score 1) 196

+1

If your networked product gets hacked and participates in a botnet, data leak, data ransom, etc, then you must provide mitigating solutions at your own expense to the owner for a period of 2* years after the date of purchase, or expect lawsuits from those customers or their representatives for non-compliance. In return for doing all this, we'll grant you a special marque you can put on your product and supporting materials to indicate your good internet citizenship to your customers. We'll be operating an on-line database of all the products which have the qualifying marque so consumers can verify manufacturers claims and have the means to report any non-compliance.

* I realise 2 years isn't actually that long for something like a fridge or even a TV, so maybe it needs longer for for more 'permanent' products. I figure 2 years is already way more than a lot of manufacturers actually provide on things like routers and webcams that asking for this would already be a huge improvement in a lot of cases.

Either way, just pop my $25,000 in the post please ;-)

Comment Re:surprise surprise (Score 1) 483

I am surprised by this, actually.

I'm not American, but I'm wondering what sort of University is this? Does it not have any students that need jobs to pay for their excessive drinking? Do none of them want a few hours a week working on the support desk or fixing up desktops? It may just be something that happens in other countries, but learning some related-but-not-exactly-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life skills can be useful (and probably more useful than learning how to flip burgers or tend a bar), even if you're not getting paid what you would when you graduate.

As for everything else, I realise Unis aren't charities, but as they get some/all of their money from the government, they should probably be following the intent of the government. As I understand it, your new government is trying to stop outsourcing being quite so cheap/easy, so I wonder if this decision will be reversed in the coming weeks after some PR work by the uni involved...?

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