An omnibus of tech posts by s Futurologist on software development
Friday, 30 December 2011
China cancels dodgy degrees
Can only be a good thing. Like degrees in kites and surfing in UK !
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
My thunderbird tuning:
mail.showCondensedAddresses change to FALSE. This means that all email addresses are visible. if set to TRUE, only the vanity tag is displayed.
Labels: Mozilla, Thunderbird
Sunday, 25 December 2011
C++0x, now standardised as C++11
Labels: Coding, programming
Download the latest edition of the C programming language, C11
. This follows C99, which followed C90.
Labels: C99, Coding, Compiler, programming
Friday, 23 December 2011
WikimediaUK Insecure personal details aquisition
After donating on 19 Nov I noticed Wikimedia UK form was insecure for "UK Gift Aid" records. I've submitted my personal details in the clear! oops WikimediaUK.
The URL to watch out for:
This isn't the first time they've fessed up
I've emailed WikimediaUK several times, but no reply. So I don't know if they are still trading...?
What should the next versions of C++ and C language support?
- Standardised library interfaces, and errno reporting, including POSIX standard.
- Logical bitfield ordering
- switch case mask support
- binary number support b1010;
Labels: C++, C99, Coding, programming
C, C99 and C++ Standard free PDF downloads
Thursday, 22 December 2011
Features on my POSIX 2012 wish list:
- All APIs that require valid pointers, should be specifically documented in the interface contract to check for the "null pointer constant" NULL. Functions like aio_cancel can of cause still keep using NULL in their interface contract.
- Add errno.h value for -1, e.g. EERROR
- Add errno.h value for 0, e.g. ESUCCESS
- Document standard interface for all functions. e.g. printf does not currently say it will ever set errno when an error has occurred. It should set errno -1, and return EINVAL, EFAULT etc etc.
How to handle NULL pointers
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Different train companies, same train time
Why does National Rail allow different train operators to run trains that stop at same station, at same time, to same destination. Makes it impossible to figure out which train to get on.
A good example is the London Midland and Virgin Trains service from Milton Keynes to London Euston at 18:47 daily. Virgin takes 33mins, the other takes 1h13!
The web is dead? Nah
The web is dead? Nah. Why do magazines keep thinking the web is dead and apps are again the the future.
Apps take so much more time to prepare, test, deploy, support. They must be prepared for each platform. Compared to web, which works on everything, out of the box ;)
Web is best for simple processes. For intensive number crunching, that must be native applications of cause.
Paypal Considered Harmful
Paypal single point of failure
. For this reason Paypal Considered Harmful.
Why is Paypal still refusing to provide proper online payment security systems? Its 2011, and they don't provide:
- Digital pin card reader
- Two stage login
- Additional login verification from new PC
- Multiple attempt login blocking
- Phone number to report compromised account
- Memorable pass-phrase which they only ask for 3 characters from.
This is a major single point of failure, just waiting to occur.
Standard Variable Rate Gas Price Tracker
How come I can get a variable rate savings account, 2% above the base rate, a variable mortgage account that is 2.69% above the base rate.. but my gas is still charged on some other scheme which makes it impossible to quantify and compare?
Let's promote Ofgem the Gas regulator to set the base national Grid Gas price, and then each Gas supplier can market themselves at 2% above base rate price etc. Simples.
Apply same solution to Electricity marketplace. Then I can really see how much cheaper Ecotricity are.
Labels: energy, Environment
Ubuntu needs brightness/contrast control
Due to many displays brightness/contrast controls not working with Ubuntu. It should have in System Settings a Brightness/Contrast control setting; this could simply set xgamma etc.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Easy use computer vision
Obsession with M-class planet is good ;-)
Road signs are a design classic UK
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Lean Systems - Business and Departmental Optimisation
Lean Systems, a tool for Business and Departmental optimisation, but what is it?
Well, in a traditional top down approach invocation only occurs at the top, and the lower-level staff are almost considered to be "robots", just performing actions, and following pre-defined processes that appear as decrees.
However, in Lean Systems, there is a regular "revolution" of processes, and the people looking at, and inputing into this process are the staff that are doing the *actual* work -- as they are the ones best place to give the input and feedback on how systems (processes) can be improved.
Workers who perform filling, or form filling, ticking boxes and checklists may realise that these forms and process are out of date and even no longer applicable, but they are not in a position that can influence change, so they have to keep wasting time filling in the forms and ticking the check-lists. I say: Take their feedback, and tailor the processes. It may be that the full checklists are needed sometimes, but for most things they may not be needed. This can only be determined by looking at the processes.
Firms should introudce monthly "Innovation meetings", where each member of staff is invited, and suggested to bring an idea or two along. The output of the meeting would be agreeing on some of the team working on an implementation of some of these innovations, and rolling out across the department or even company with wider involvement.
Innovation meeting, white board, presentations, even post it notes on a pin board. All discussion facilitators that should be harnessed.
RBWM council in Autumn edition 2010 Around the Royal Borough
has an article discussing how they approached. Quoting:
"Lean is transforming the way we operate, principally because it challenges borough stgaff themselves to look at how they work and make sure that everything they do adds value for their customers. They are the experts, ideally placed to identify where there is waste and needless bureaucracy and how things could be done better."
They have improved: 10% reduction in incorrect parking penalty charge notices.
Benefit claims processing down from 25 -> 15 days.
I say: Bring it on!
iplayer flickery background
Any one else noticed how the background image hatch pattern
causes interlaced and TFT laptop displays to flicker? This is basic stuff the BBC should know.. this is why cheque/tartan shirts are not allowed on TV! Will they fix it?
Saturday, 3 December 2011
ecotricity - not so eco with post
Switched my current account, which took with it my ecotricity Direct Debit. I was surprised just how many items of post they sent me about this process. Expected at most one, but got three. Each letter was posted by 2nd class post (36p each)
- "Setting up your direct debit"
- "Confirmation of Direct Debit"
- "Direct Debit Payment Review"
They all contained roughtly the same information, (1) was brief and missed most info. (2) said payment would show up as "The Renewable Energy Company" rather than Ecotricity, (3) included the payment amount. All of this I already knew from when I switched to Ecotricity 2 years ago and they sent me all the letters then as well.
I let them know via email, noticed their reply said " Hug that tree. Don't print this e-mail unless you really REALLY need to.". It's a shame this isn't applied to their postal dept!
Posting these letters cost £1.08, plus admin staff I estimate at £5. So around £6 wasted. I see that means they are £6 inefficient, for every customer, doh! Hope they have the will to sort it out!?
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