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* Posts by Mark Pawelek

48 posts • joined 8 Dec 2007

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Mark Pawelek

Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed

Solar and wind will always be too expensive, although solar has the potential to beat wind on price - even in the UK. The main problem with solar and wind is that

* the sun does not shine at night

* short, cloudy winter days can result in very little solar, when we need energy most

* UK can go for weeks on end with a tiny amount of wind energy delivered to its electricity grid (just like the first 3 weeks of Sept 2014).

* energy use is only 1/3 electricity anyhow. What about industrial energy, transport fuels, etc?

This necessitates backup using

1. Dispatchable gas or coal fired electricity AND/OR

2. Energy storage, charged up during times of plenty

If (1), we find that solar and wind are no longer carbon free, and that we need twice as much plant to deliver our electricity. All those coal and gas fired stations must be built and manned 'just in case'; adding greatly to expense.

What about (2) energy storage? When energy storage is factored in to support renewables we find that renewables can't even generate the energy needed to sustain its own production/reproduction. Energy returned on energy investment (EROEI / EROI) studies show that renewables + energy storage won't work. Nor will route 2 stop blackouts.

Countrywide renewables such as wind and solar won't work for the UK. Nor can tidal, wave, geothermal, hydro, ... That's why the Tories plan to build lots of new nuclear power plants and invest in fracking.

Is alternative energy worth it?: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16729

Catch-22 of Energy Storage: http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

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Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

Mark Pawelek

Re: A new way, won't make the hay

1. Businesses don't want to pay for training.

2. You make it sound as if a STEM graduate can be taught in a few months. It takes 2 years of A levels followed by 3 years as an undergraduate.

3. Business doesn't think 5 years ahead. They want someone now, whom they'd like to sack in 18 months.

4. Graduates want degrees. A degree allows one job mobility and some negotiating rights.

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Fukushima radioactivity a complete non-issue on West Coast: Also for Fukushima locals, in fact

Mark Pawelek

Re: Cs-137 plume

If we take the water in only the top 1 metre of only a tenth of the Pacific ocean and assume 110 kg of caesium-137 diffused into it the concentration would be about 7 nano grams per cubic metre, with an activity of 22.5 becquerel (Bq). If we assumed the caesium-137 diffused to a depth of 10 metres, the activity in a cubic metre would be 2.25 becquerel.

Radiation is a lot more dangerous inside one's body than outside. Alpha and beta radiation won't get past your skin. Only gamma- can harm you but it has to get past the water first. I reckon about 8 cm of water will take half of the gammas out (pure guess)

Note 1: 1 becquerel (Bq) = 1 disintegration per second.

Note 2: To reduce typical gamma rays by a factor of a billion, thicknesses of shield needs to be 4.2 meters of water.

To conclude, I wouldn't care a jot about swimming in the Pacific, unless I was afraid of sharks.

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Apple’s Mac turns 30: How Steve Jobs’ baby took its first steps

Mark Pawelek

Steve Jobs orchestrated Silicon Valley wide conspiracy to keep tech workers wages low

1) How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages:

http://pando.com/2014/01/23/the-techtopus-how-silicon-valleys-most-celebrated-ceos-conspired-to-drive-down-100000-tech-engineers-wages/

2) Why George Lucas, Eric Schmidt, (and yes, Steve Jobs) Should Go to Jail: Conspiring to Reduce Wages of 100,000 Tech Pros

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/01/george-lucas-eric-schmidt-steve-jobs-go-jail.html

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Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

Mark Pawelek

Re: The only weird thing is this article. How so?

Solaris and BSD, are still based on that ancient Unix design, back in the day when consoles were dumb and one typed in line by line - hence the term 'line editor'. Solaris, BSD and Linux variants aren't alternatives; just more of the same.

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'Silent' staff stood by as £100m BBC IT project tanked – DG

Mark Pawelek

Not all the fault of Siemens / Deloitte

The contract was given to Siemens, with consulting by Deloitte, in February 2008 but taken back in-house in summer 2009 after the BBC decided that Siemens were not delivering. Up to then losses were only £11m. The BBC's real blunder was to blindly continue with Siemens solution rather than first evaluate it before continuing in-house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_controversies#2008.E2.80.932013:_Digital_Media_Initiative

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/vfm/digital_media_initiative.pdf

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Mark Pawelek

Tony Hall is full of so much crap.

These execs create the corporate culture we all have to work in. It's full of people who just follow orders. They dot their t's, cross their i's and never cause trouble. It's the Tony Hall's of this world who're responsible for this culture.

It's bizarre how these self-proclaimed masterminds justify their salaries by claiming to manage. The truth emerges and we discover that none of them could be bothered to actually talk to their employees to find out what's actually going on.

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Spotify: If musicians don't give us their stuff they get pirated more

Mark Pawelek

It isn't called theft it's called copyright infringement. Andrew knows this full well. Nor does copyright infringement have any relationship to piracy.

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Jack Vance: Science fiction’s master of magic, mischief and sex

Mark Pawelek

RIP dear Mr Vance

The Eyes of the Overworld will always be my Vance favorite.

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Why are scribes crying just 'cos Google copied their books? asks judge

Mark Pawelek
Thumb Up

Re: Seems counterproductive...

Go Google :-)

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Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

Mark Pawelek

Lets all ditch Flash

I uninstalled Flash yesterday - all 6 versions (6,7,8,910,11) I found on the PC. The motivation to do this were the regular red blobs in the PCs event log. On finding these errors I googled for a solution. Found nothing, so decided to unistall it. Interesting that the Flash auto-update had already been disabled my me. The only reason I unistalled it were the regular issues I've seen from Adobe updates. I wish I could do the same for Acrobat.

As for the security issues - it's mostly the users fault; if they won't stop visiting dodgy sites and clicking on obvious evil links they're going to find their PCs attacked. The only antivirus I have on my PCs are the ones they force me to use at work. They even put AV on the database servers sitting behind corporate firewalls! What's that? - architecture done with paint-by-numbers?

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Mark Pawelek

Naturally all the money belongs to bankers anyhow...

According to Tim Worstall, CDS don't exist. The US government never bailed out AIG to payoff the hedge funds and others holding these CDS which the London office of AIG never sold to anyone. Tim Worstall offers an alternative version of history where finaciers do no wrong. They don't fabricate CDO mortgages to fail (those hedgies just happened to guess that there would be a massive blowout. They guessed that the US treasury would pay them off because, off course, the US treasury belongs to them - as does all money. They've earned it - they work 16 hour days to make all that money.

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RBS and NatWest FAIL downs services across UK

Mark Pawelek

Re: FAIL felt as far as Oregon

Nationwide

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Mark Pawelek

Re: Bloodbath of the Contractors

When a business person thinks about software all they see it the UI. They think the UI is it. A hole-in-the-wall has a pretty simple UI so the software must be really simple, right?. They can out source the whole lot to some guy in Vietnam, hire a business analyst, a project manager, a cool babe to do the translation, and a product owner and still save loads of doh left over for their bonuses.

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Sir James Dyson slams gov's 'obsession' with Silicon Roundabout

Mark Pawelek

Follow the Money

The problem isn't limited to government.

As Josh Lerner wrote recently [see footnotes], more and more venture capital funding is being channeled into IT (social networks, etc) because they can get their capital back within 8-10 years. 4-5 years funding followed by another 4-5 years selling off the business.

Many other business areas [especially hard tech for export] don't all such precise and time limited investments. Venture capital funding for cleantech has bought no rewards (losses if anything). IT/Internet has been the consistent payer for them.

This government takes it's lead from business. It may not seem like it to you (working in IT) that there's a boom going on but, relatively speaking, there is. When it stops there will be little investment in the West in anything. I don't see it getting better.

Josh Lerner, The Narrowing Ambitions of Venture Capital, MIT Technology Review <http://www.technologyreview.com/news/429024/the-narrowing-ambitions-of-venture-capital/>

Josh Lerner, The Architecture of Innovation, Harvard Business Review Press

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What Compsci textbooks don't tell you: Real world code sucks

Mark Pawelek

Re: They never seem to point you in the direction of what is "right"

They never seem to point you in the direction of what is "right"

They do. Just remember that there is no such thing as quick and dirty; there's either clean and working or slow, dirty and horrid. http://allankelly.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/quick-dirty-myth.html

All sorts of people have written good books on how to write good code. Such as:

Michael Feathers - Working Effectively with Legacy Code

Steve McConnell - Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce - Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests

Martin Fowler et al - Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

Bob Martin - Clean Code

Bob Martin - Agile Principles, Patterns and Practices in C#

Bob Martin - Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices

Neal Ford - The Practical Programmer

Furthermore there are now lots of free courses teaching programming on the internet at places like coursera, Udacity, edX. Someone's even written an aggregator for you: http://www.class-central.com/

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Mark Pawelek

Re: Recognise this picture?

This is another management problem. By not embedding code-review into normal production process, a problem like this is caused when ever someone tries to introduce code review from the ground up. Comment on someone's code and they'll regard it as either a personal attack. In such places managers are likely to be predominantly ignorant of coding. The best thing you can do is leave such a place.

PS: Code review is one of the few coding practices for which there is overwhelming evidence in favour. Aka - everyone should be doing it (or pairing).

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Mark Pawelek

Re: I'm not convinced very many skilled programming staff exist.

It's still a money problem. If skilled programmers aren't around they could be trained ... but ... "that will cost too much"

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Mark Pawelek

What are they doing giving jobs to cowboys?

We shouldn't be employing cowboys to write code, unless we want to drive our businesses to a slaughter factory.

Seriously folks. Try to put recruitment into the hands of people who know what they're doing; then there's a chance they'll be able to write good code rather than garbage.

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Mark Pawelek

Re: @AndrueC -- Include some comments

In other words, you can't be arsed to update a comment or three after you poke at the code?

No. It's better to break down code blocks into short functions (aka methods) and to use meaningful, explanatory names for these methods. Then your code is self-documenting and there's no possibility of comments becoming detached from code, or worse, comments mis-describing code. The main problem with this technique is a tendency for the less wise to economise by writing short method names, or to think that, just because they have a long method name, the code must be self-documenting. Public API code still needs documenting.

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Mark Pawelek

Refactor when you must but put tests in place to prevent breaking changes

redpola : Ultimately, apart from "but the developer likes it" there is no justification from any angle to introduce change for change's sake.

One compelling reason to refactor code is to make it testable by introducing seams or decoupling dependencies. People tend to exaggerate in these forums.

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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Mark Pawelek

Obsolete by well over 10 years

It still doesn't support epub. The amazon book format is based on mobi pocket book format which is itself based on html 3.2. Html 3.2 has no proper css support. The maker can not easily style these books. It's obsolete by well over 10 years. If Amazon must use a proprietary format they should, at least, keep it up-to-date.

PS: epub is also slightly obsolete but much less so than mobi format.

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Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight e-reader review

Mark Pawelek
Coat

Amazon == stone-age technology

There's one crucial thing you missed from this review. I have a kobo touch. The kobo touch has no way to follow a hyperlink. For instance, if I want to follow a reference or an indexed word I can't.

Is it possible to follow hyperlink with the Nook?

PS: I like the Amazon reader hardware. Shame it can't handle epub. mobi and amazon format books use html 3.2, which hails from 20 years back; no useful css.

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Why women won't apply for IT jobs

Mark Pawelek

Women out there - please tell us what you want!

[q]I take on at least 2 graduates per annum as trainee (permanent) web developers. ... about £140 per diem.[/q]

£140 per diem is far more than women can expect to earn in a nail bar or behind a retail counter, etc.

He taking on recent grads with no actual experience. Why is he unable to recruit any women?

Women out there - please tell us what you want!

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Mark Pawelek

You're all wrong

quoting ...

* most want 5 different specialties in one body

* cycnical job ads written to perfectly match the only (internal) candidate that can fill the job

* disconnect between the insane HR departments and the real world

I disagree with these points made early on {repeated later}. Some people I know deliberately ask for more than they need because they only want the best and most experienced developers applying. The perception is that the best developers are several times more productive than the average and that the worst developers will actually cost you by writing rubbish.

[All this is from the kind of informal survey results I build in my mind from having talked about recruitment (with others) for several years now. I go out to several cons and at least 25 after-work meetups each year,]

The issue is the derth of women coders everywhere and who's actually addressing that issue here? If they want cheap techies from outside the UK why aren't they bringing in cheap female techies?

HR don't specify technical requirements - techies do that.

I personally wander how severe the anti-IT peer pressure is that women exert on others?

PS: My comments refer to dev roles.

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IP law probe MPs hunt for smoking gun, find plenty of smoke

Mark Pawelek

Less waffle, more evidence please

[quote]an insight into how policy-making within the IPO was driven[/quote]

In the USA, such policy-making has been driven by Disney and Hollywood, their lawyers, lobbyists, and paid cronies in Congress. They've extended copyright law over 11 times since the mid-1970s. Has that generated any 'economic growth' at all? Does IP law, in any way, promote productivity gains? Just show me the evidence. otherwise I must assume Andrew Orlowski is applying similar 'magical thinking' as those he discredits. The theory behind patent law says that the general productivity of the populace is enhanced by publication of inventions (but only if the inventions are thereby applied). Better for us that Google, Oracle (and everyone coding) use best practice. Show me a single patented software invention that has led to any productivity increases in computer programming. Show me evidence - I don't need to read more waffle by Andrew Orlowski. I'll show you loads of open source products that have enhanced my productivity; loads of books and talks promoting ideas held in common (principles, patterns, DRY, SOLID, simple design, TDD, etc) - I can't find a single patent that made me a better (more productive) coder.

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Mark Pawelek

Where the evidence?

Bizarre that Andrew Orlowski, who often champions science, can be so wishy-washy and unscientific when it comes to economics. Is that economics for you? - must it always be about magical thinking, blind prejudice and faith. Is that ever any room for evidence in economics?

The USA became the greatest economy in the World in the 19th century when they, more or less, ignored so called intellectual property. In the last 35 years, the era of its downfall, they've passed endless new IP laws to extend and enhace the IP.

Patent law was created to ecourage manufacturers to make their ideas public so that everyone could use best-practice and the general productivity of the population be thereby enhanced. You may think that's just quaint 19th century economic thinking but, pray, prove that we do economics better today. Where's the evidence?

[quote]Yeates also noted that officials had downgraded the contribution of creative industries from 8 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent overnight, much to everyone’s surprise.[/quote]

Exactly what is GDP anyhow? Does it bear much (or any) relationship to 'wealth creation'. Why is GDP so important to Andrew Orlowski? Why not discuss productivity increases, as the driver of economic growth? I'm keen to know how to enhance my programming productivity by patenting so-called software inventions. Will these inventions help me with fewer bugs, enhanced readability, better maintenance, etc. No. Software patents do not create wealth, but only serve to move it from the many to the few. [but they don't even do that very well - ask Oracle!]. How will 90 years copyright protection for my source code encourage me to write more and better code? Given that code is obsolete within a couple of years [we will always write it better the 2nd time around], how are long (c) terms beneficial to programmers?

What magical thinking can anyone bring to bear on these questions?

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Study finds water cycle accelerating with warming

Mark Pawelek

Water vapour is a greenhouse gas

[quote]And of course the water cycle is the planets thermostat. Hotter=more vapour=more cloud carrying heat up to radiate to space = more cold rain falling to cool planet surface and sea and more cloud shielding the earth from the sun.

Completely obliterating the effects of and CO2 change by and large.[/quote]

LOL. Such extreme ignorance. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas - more so than carbon dioxide.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/29/water-vapour-climate-change

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UK biz needs fattening up on gov IT contracts, says No10 bod

Mark Pawelek

Small UK companies sell-out ASAP

Anonymous Coward said: "even Switherland has industry and manufacturing nowdays"

- as a proportion of the economy, Switherland's manufacturing is up there with Germany's.

- why is no one addressing the major problem raised here? - that small UK companies sell-out ASAP. Should any ex-employer be reading this, I'm not talking about my experience - I'm talking about all the people I meet at tech events (e.g. the people who sold out their excellent small company to a bunch of idiots without doing any providence check before accpting the dosh, etc.)

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University of Florida drops plans to axe CompSci for sports

Mark Pawelek

Where's the money going?

- What size pay rise will Gerhard Ritter get now that he's chairing a much larger department? Call yourself journalists? - you need to remember the basic question - where's the money going?

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UK could have flooded world with iPods - Sir Humphrey

Mark Pawelek

Apply more scrutiny than top scientific journals give article submissions

Is it some kind of coincidence that US politicos, EU and UK bureaucrats are all considering patent and copyright 'reforms' at this time?

1. We need to free up the patent offices so that they can use their revenue to pay competent people, who aren't rushed, to only grant patents for actual inventions. Ideally each patent should be examined by a committee of experts, in much the same way that top scientific journals examine each article before publication; but with far more scrutiny.

2. All patent applications should be open to scrutiny when an application is made so that the application can be challenged by interested parties.

3. Given 1 and 2, I feel that the likely hood of bad patents being awarded will be reduced from 99% to 0.001% so I'm not too worried about a review and challenge process for bad patents. Still, something needs to be in place just in case...

PS: Being a software developer, I'm amazed at the number of good developers/entrepreneurs I meet who brought successful new products to market and sold out at the earliest opportunity. It's not only the City who are risk averse in the UK - it's a culture right through society.

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The Node Ahead: JavaScript leaps from browser into future

Mark Pawelek

Single threaded event queue servers + html5 WebSockets rule!

We don't need no stinking threads to do multi-tasking. We have Node.js running in only one thread.

All these guys slagging off JavaScript need to wake up and start living in today's world. JavaScript is Turing complete and can be compiled rather than merely interpreted. The limitation to 1 thread is an advantage because it forces multitasking via an asynch event queue + callbacks; thereby saving masses of RAM and letting us scale to millions of 'processes' with ease.

JavaScript can do much of what Ruby and Python do. There are ways to overcome the natural lack of namespaces and the unfortunate default of global variables. Use objects to enforce namespacing and make variables local to functions - which are, of course, themseleves objects. I'm recommending Douglas Crockford's 'JavaScript - the Good Parts'.

Html5 WebSockets rule especially when I can simulate VoIP with them! Html5 WebSockets will revolutionise the web more so than Ajax. We will, at last, gain the illusion of client/server apps running in real time - on a single-threaded server!

We have the technology now. We just need to write the apps.

PS

'Event driven' is not dependent on multi-threading. We are not simplifying multi-threading here. We are abolishing it.

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Microsoft's Flash-challenger Silverlight 3 hits web

Mark Pawelek

Moonlight - will trail Silverlight by 6 - 9 months

Scott Guthrie said that the open source version - Moonlight - will trail Silverlight by 6 - 9 months.

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McAfee false-positive glitch fells PCs worldwide

Mark Pawelek

It must've been sabotage

The only way this can be explained is that someone working for McAfee must've sabotaged this update.

The change that a virus would have the same "fingerprint" as a system file is minimal and the chance that McAfee would just roll out the update without testing is tiny. That leaves only one logical explanation.

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Chrome feels the need - the need for speed

Mark Pawelek

But they all use too much memory.

As I write, I have 5 Chrome tabs open. Task Manager shows that there are 7 copies of chrome.exe running using a total of 150 Mbytes.

Can someone explain to me why it needs to use 150 Mbyes of of memory to display 5 web pages which, probably total no more than 2 Mbytes (including all graphics).

Firefox has a similar problem except it doesn't make multiple copies of itself. Even after I've shut Firefox down there's often a 75Mbyte (or so) Firefox process running in the background.

Give Chrome its due, it's fast.

Installing Safari and opening up 5 tabs resulted in 1 Safari process running, but taking up 175 Mbytes.

So there's not much to choose between Safari and Chrome. Both take up too much memory, Both are faster than most other browsers at rendering.

TBH, it's not speed which worries me. It's the reckless way these thing eat up my memory.

Speed is mainly dependent upon how the websites have been programmed and deployed. The browser is just a bit part player in the speed stakes.

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Microsoft arms half-wit developers with PHP handgun

Mark Pawelek

Google's GWT uses Java

[quote]

Google does an adequate job of keeping out the troublemakers by restricting App Engine to Java or Python.

[/quote]

Seems a bit arbitrary to me. Is there a coincidence here? GWT (Google web toolkit) relies on Java - that couldn't possibly have anything to do with Google's policy could it?

PS: As for PHP - why would anyone waste their time with that when they could be coding in GWT or RoR?

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Microsoft quietly settles .NET legal dispute with web firm

Mark Pawelek

Humanity's inventiveness never ceases to amaze

I'm sure they'll take care not to sue anyone who implemented their "invention" before they filed for it.

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South African survives exploding fridge attack

Mark Pawelek

Environmentally safe!

I bet it was one of those modern 'green' fridges. They're called Green because the refrigerants are supposed to be environmentally safe. By 'environmentally safe' they mean safe for mother earth - as in not a threat to global warming or the ozone layer. They don't mean environmentally safe for the poor bugger who has to use them. They will be using hydrocarbon gases as refrigerants, which, when mixed with air, are explosive.

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How to be an instant Web me-2.0 developer

Mark Pawelek

Too long for a comedy piece.

I agree with David Whitney. It was rather too long for a comedy piece.

On the strength of what people have been saying about it, I'm giving GWT a long close look. If all goes well, I'll be able to ditch the technology I'm currently using then I'll be just another Java coder. Then I won't need to write (or read) another line of JavaScript ever again because GWT does that for me. Oh, and the Java-to-JavaScript translator really does work (so I'm told). I bet Verity has never bothered using GWT to write actual applications.

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Fujitsu preps 700 redundancies in NHS IT debacle

Mark Pawelek

Fine them 20% of their pay for burning our money.

I agree with the comment about iterative development. If you're making IT software and not doing iterative development you should sack yourself for incompetence.

Amazing that these Fujitsu employees want bonuses for burning my money! - the cheek of it. They should all accept a 20% fine in wages - not a bonus.

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Mozilla guns for Guinness world record with Firefox 3.0

Mark Pawelek

Greatness is measured by how much RAM it uses up.

@Webster Phreaky: "Once Mozilla releases settle down a few months later and many "fixes", they are great"

Ha, ha, ha. A web browser (ver. 2.0.0.14) with a memory leak that, that the point of crashing, is taking up 550 Mb of RAM is "great". No thanks I'll risk using Safari instead.

They should stop developing version 3 and try, to get just one version of 2 to work properly.

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SOCA soaks up asset recovery agency

Mark Pawelek

What do you mean by the 'fight against cybercrime'

"criticism from sections of the security community who reckon the fight against cybercrime is not getting the resources it deserves"

- Did you mean the fight against child pornographers?

I wasn't aware that there had ever been a UK fight against any other form of "cybercrime"

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Sweet, sweet smell of comments in code?

Mark Pawelek

The debate is not over

Matt Stephens wrote: Clear code conveys the "what" and the "how", but not the "why"

- But the point at which XP began was that essay, in 1992 by Jack Reeves: "What is Software Design?"

The conclusion XP came to was that the code was the design, and, of course, comments are not part of the code therefore comments are part of the original design - which is not the current design.

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Dump IE 6 campaign runs afoul of dump IE 6 campaign

Mark Pawelek

Users aren't going to dump IE6 just yet

Just write code which supports the 'standard' - by which I mean cross browser compliant code for IE6, IE7, FF, Safari and Opera. Is that really too hard?

In my experience the problem is web developers not bothering to read up on the 'standard'. OK, maybe not the people here but those in some of the mum & pop stores.

As for Opera, FF and Safari supposedly supporting W3C 'standards', do the really? Do they support XSLT 2.0 yet?

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Boffin: Coconut jumbo is millstone in disguise

Mark Pawelek

GM plants are the way forward.

By the way, chemists against bio-fuel are not new. Just read what was written in sci.chem many years ago.

Bio-fuel could be made to work. First we need to improve plant photosynthesis - it is, perhaps, them most inefficient natural process known. The problem is that enzyme: Rubisco - it only converts a few molecules of carbon dioxide per second. It should be easy to create GM plants that grow at about tens times the rate of current plants. A few billion £ invested will sort the problem out. The GM plants created (using a Rubisco substitute) should also be able to grow using far less water so the world's deserts could bloom. These bio-fuel plants could be planted in what is now desert.

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Tools vendors stuck on UML and agility

Mark Pawelek

Make UML into a programming language

Matt Stephens last suggestion is pure bull. However I like the idea of being able to code using graphical+text code rather than just pure text. But the CASE tool should actually produce a working program so UML diagram makers need to concentrate on that aspect - on turning UML into a full featured programming language; anything in-between is not really worth having.

The point at which these graphical tools turn into programming languages will be the point at which they take off.

Don't bother with using UML to document your work; use it as Agile programmers do.

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Wikipedia black helicopters circle Utah's Traverse Mountain

Mark Pawelek
Go

So who's word do you trust?

I read the article and comments. These are the conclusions I came to.

* The Wikipedia critics (here) are a collection of post-modern, relativist, conspiracy theorists.

* If I want to find something out it's much faster to use Wikipedia than Google, and both are much faster than going into central London to visit the British Library.

PS: Why are Wikipedia critics posting anonymously here?

Note to Bob:

* You're excluded from my first generalisation about critics, made above.

* I don't think they'd need secure certificates. Wouldn't a GUID do just as well? However I fail to see how Wikipedia is supposed to get hold of a "good grasp on the identity of its editors", or why a secure certificate would even help in that regard. People will always be able to set up multiple (pseudo-anonymous) identities on the internet.

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Only bicarbonate of soda can save mankind!

Mark Pawelek
Go

Seems better than nothing

frank denton: "How they manage to produce 'better than food grade baking soda' is a mystery to me".

- I suppose they use fractional crystallisation. They can throw most of the bicarb away (with the heavy metals and other waste). They only need to make a small amount of 'food grade baking soda' to justify their claim.

This is the 2nd time, in the space of a week, I've come across this idea from independent sources. I guess the electricity required to make NaOH from brine is much less than that produced by burning carbon to make CO2. That reaction: NaOH + CO2 => NaHCO3 also creates heat which is what, I believe, power stations use to make electricity.

- I personally think the biggest problem will be getting rid of all that Chlorine made by the electrolysis of brine. PS: Chlorine was used as a poison gas in the 'Great War'.

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