120 posts • joined Sunday 13th January 2008 01:54 GMT
Fujitsu has the IT services contract for my council (Highland) and they hit the headlines quite frequently for cocking things up, today's being their loss of email for the whole council for three days. I'd bet their customer relations managers are considering the strikes have timing which may be less than ideal.
RE: I must be getting old...
No, there was an obvious attempt to Britify the spelling with 'labourious' although I'm unsure what language 'instantiations' comes from.
[The online dictionaries say it means to give concrete examples of abstract concepts. Providing substance would be to substantiate, so back-formation would give us providing an instance. Ah I see.]
I hadn't known any of that stuff (and nor will it make me change my lifestyle any) but it sounds important and I wonder why the Congress didn't know any of it despite having the biggest library in the world outside Google or maybe they'd not have decided to dispose of the helium.
Of course, maybe the dome's been leaking since Petra came to Blue Peter and the guys minding it want to pretend that they've deliberately got rid of the contents when an auditor discovers it's empty ...
Here's a novel idea
To counter the email surveillance, send hand-written letters in envelopes, sealed with first-class stamps on so they get there in a week or so.
Oh, I see the flaw: GCHQ will get us to register all letters sent with an address from and an address to, and transcribe the contents in a standard way with a non-smiling photograph, and pass the letters through Your Local Police Station where they may be checked for special keywords and stamped with an official stamp.
But I'm doing nothing wrong so I have nothing to fear...
Avatardy (and Nexox)
They've a much better version of the Exowhatnot in Avatar: the Lockheed people must have seen it and be getting worried that someone's looking at their files. Anyone reading Heinlein knew about it half a century ago. He also supplied a power system that these things would need, you twist it out of another universe using wiggling bent coat-hangers.
Mine is the lead-lined one standing over there ...
Dara Ó Briain?
The video clips don't work for me either, because I'm now unsure if that was Steve Ballmer or Dara Ó Briain, high on something and dancing about the stage before telling Click that he didn't like looking at the past (failures) or at the future (failures).
Office 2007 sucks, but I use MS software all the time, and don't really understand how any company can have billionaires all over the place, and am really very confused. Will Windows 8 make this worse for me or better, or will it just happen? When I've started paying rent on it, will they send me a 54-digit activation code each month when my direct debit goes through? Otherwise, if I stop paying, how will they get my computer to stop as well?
And what would happen if Tesco moved into OS software now they've cornered food, tellies, stationery, petrol, clothes and banking? They're so like MS in helping us to spend less every day, that if they merged we'd all get richer.
I think I'll go watch Avatar again.
I speak for the Fuzzies!
I see we have few SF fans writing today. who would recognise H Beam Piper's Fuzzy stories, Anne McCaffrey's Pern, Ursula le Guin's Word for World is Forest, Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and other books, and Roger Dean's art and Chris Foss's and on and on I could go. James Cameron copied from the best and made a good job. So there.
I didn't think Chinese oppression as I watched it, I thought Europeans dealing with Native Americans. This reminds me: for a storyline, Failblog shows a description of Disney's Pocahontas with all the names crossed out and Avatar equivalents put in their places. Pocahontas was awful, but Avatar isn't despite the neat fit.
What about an IT angle? The 3D kit the invading forces worked with actually looked useful, unlike the oversexed crap that CSI Miami uses and pretends is nowadays stuff.
Plus ça change
Good article that.
An earlier-generation man I knew often bemoaned the way you couldn't tell a man from a woman now that they all wore jeans. I asked him what his motives were in wanting to know?
Nowadays it would be ditto gay/straight/ambidextrous. Ditto Catholic/Protestant/Other. I'm glad we're free now.
I wish they'd leave the Naked Rambler alone to do his naked rambling. I wish protectionist laws weren't later applied to areas they weren't designed for like using RIPA to stop people moving house to get their kids into a school that they want to get them into because of published league tables to let people know where the good schools are.
Vetting to stop anyone seeing kids unaccompanied by politicians who wouldn't know one if it bit them. DPA and HASAWA to stop nearly anybody doing anything. I'm so glad we're free now.
I've been very mild in this post so that I can't be accused of a hate crime. I daren't say I love children or I'd be a paedo. I daren't say I love everyone or I'd be a sexual deviant. Deviating from what? I'm far more confused now than I was a decade or two ago, when laws still included the word 'reasonable'.
Not once in the article did you say how large this hadron boffin was. Was it lost in editing?
You can't mean ...
You gave a tail-end mention to "a Navy officer named Grace Hopper". I suppose your next article on relativity might give passing thought to a post office clerk named Albert Einstein and one on cryptanalysis to a soldier named Alan Turing.
Here we go ...
"I intend to listen to ... people outside the system"
Great! No2ID to start with. That's them listened to and ignored. The non-Labour politicians who say we can't afford it. That's them listened to and ignored. El Reg of course. Listened to and ignored. ho next to listen to and ignore?
Perfectly reasonable ...
You missed that she was dreaming. Her *body* was asleep here and her spirit did the visiting, but not necessarily in real time. I think it's clear that she attended the steamy green marshes of Venus half a century ago when Heinlein was writing, or perhaps a few millennia ago before the planet started its wild Velikovskyan ride through our bit of the cosmos. Really you people have so little appreciation of Strange.
Of course nowadays, when petrol stations and supermarkets don't take cheques, and we use credit and debit cards, and perform online shopping for things like certificates in life skills, the cheque-book balancing skill is about as useful as adding up £sd columns--both of which I can do, but who needs 'em? The kitteh is welcome to the diploma but I still won't hire her.
Keep the revenue stream up
"We encourage any Soapbox user that wants to keep their videos to download them off of Soapbox prior to August 31.," Microsoft says. "We will be communicating to our valued Soapbox community..."
They tried the social networking Facebook idea on Hotmail much to my ignoring.
Don't want 2010
I'm no five-minute user: I've been using MSOffice and its predecessors for donkey's years. I use them in my work and hobbies and train people too. I'm perfectly happy to move with the times and am not distressed when someone moves my cheese.
MSO XP had a brilliant task pane that was a one-stop shop for anyone starting work on something and they diluted it with MSO2003 by taking away Create that people use and adding help that no-one needs first thing, and if you used help it no longer produced the answer at first entry like MSO XP did. MSO 2007 is worse. The ribbon is fine and merely means that I've wasted years training people on how to use the task panes.
That's the nub of my problem with all this: people cannot become good at something with years of experience, because if they do then MS changes the ball game and the position of the goalposts and the game rules and the ball park its played in. All to keep up the revenue stream and to 'differentiate' itself from the other players. By the time my employers move onto a version it is already several years old and MS doesn't give a toss about my dislikes because they're working on pushing out the next wonder.
The dictionary (that El Reg suggested some time ago and that started this set of comments) could include a section on the Willy and why the UK side of the Pond finds very amusing a film title 'Free Willy' and a suggested new name for the SEARS Tower: Willis Tower or The Big Willie.
I am happy to supply a paragraph on Shakespeare's use of the term, usual fees apply.
Teach 'em to suck eggs
I'm torn between the Pedant icon and the Get-my-coat one ...
Direction words usually have an 's' as in towards/inwards/upwards. Without an 's' used as an adjective, as in a 'leftward movement.'
We dropped the 'ten' from 'gotten' centuries ago, please try to keep up.
Pants = lady's undergarment not trousers. Also another word for 'bad' as in "The film/dinner/new-IT-system was pants."
Mince = very similar to 'pants' although maybe just in Scotland, where we also use 'neds' rather than the English 'chavs' but that's by the by.
'Fanny' very specifically much more personal than the general 'bottom' they talk about on the far side of The Pond.
Hare-brained is not spelled 'hair.'
'Pissed' = drunk, it does not mean 'annoyed' (that's 'pissed off') And 'piss off' is an instruction to go away.
Twig = understand.
How hard are these wrap your heads around?
Where's the business reason?
Boards of businesses don't care about OSs. They care about contributions that people and systems make to the business and the costs of doing the business. Anyone proposing to change infrastructure has to present the business need for scrapping the old OS, buying the new, training the staff in its nuances, investigating the current inventory of hardware and software to make sure that both will cope with the change, repairing and replacing both where necessary, and then doing the rollout. The more costly, the more justification. Win XP is eight years old? It hasn't been installed for eight years in any sensible organisation that existed before eight years ago.
If the IT infrastructure is mostly MS then rollover costs will be greater by shovelling MSO into the mix but then only one rollout exercise would be needed. But people care about that because--unlike the OS--they use it to type stuff and calculate stuff and the rest. Most people don't give a toss about the football field, they care about what they can play on it. But that's even more cost in scrapping-purchasing-retraining.
They're not dinosaurs if they keep something that's working for more than a few years. Remind me: where is the business justification?
Confused? You will be ...
The world has agreed on A4 (etc) for paper size. The world except for the US which sends me certificates for my IT skills that I have to fold to fit in plastic pouches.
The world works on Kilometers to go places.
(With the odd local exception like road distances in the UK and the German word for 'miles and miles' meilenweit which is easier to say than kilometerweit. Oh damn my examples are falling around me)
I'm 6'1" and weigh lots of stones, but will sell stuff in 25kg bags, 40 to the tonne cos it's easier that way and £sd is far superior to £p and I can add it up in my head and give change. What a useful skill.
No I need my size-10 shoes or is it size 28 or American size 11 (always 10% bigger than ours), with my coat size something Lord knows what, and I'm going now ...
Why can't I get away with it?
We all know we elect the government we deserve, and that if voting could change the system it would be illegal, but I vote because I then have the right to moan, not like all you non-voters out there.
I feel it should be easy: at my work I claim for expenses, justifying and coding every single line and supplying receipts as backup. I may not claim £250 each month in undetailed 'petty cash' (not that 250 nicker is 'petty' in my life) and when I was unemployed and allowed to claim mortgage interest I had to follow all sorts of security rules.
As I go back to watching those benefit-fraud TV ads telling me that They Will Catch Me, I will think longingly of the coming by-elections and general ones that will have a new piece included in all the wannabe spam-post: how good they had been/would be with their expenses!
What about my kilt?
If I worked there I'd expect to be allowed to wear my kilt and there is a special dress code for these which supersedes any other.
And everything under mine is in perfect working order thank you (or so people tell me).
oooh you city slickers!
We rich elitist country dwellers, or penniless bumpkin hayseed village idiots according to the commenters above, are not all millionaires like the London City guys who nearly broke the country and needed billions in bail-out money.
We ordinary town or country dwellers earn a helluva lot less than those with city weightings and would like to use the internet as much as you guys who think milk grows on milk-trees. Oh, and I wear a tie to work, spent years in IT support, can use phones and stuff and have a television at home. Nor am I being subsidised by someone who thinks an Underground strike is the end of the world as we know it.
Let's pull together and complain about ID cards, Paris Hilton and BT profits from Indian call centres going to their shareholders
MS terribler than the others?
Start Panic figured out ten of the eleven sites I'd visited since midnight when I have IE8 set to erase the history every 24 hours. I don't know why it didn't notice Scroogle though. Then I tried a few with the InPrivate setting and it didn't see them either. Yes it's all very bad, but IE isn't quite as hopeless as you suggest.
Something nasty in the shed?
A 'shed' used to a very small unit of area, that googling reminds me is is 1 x 10^-53 square meters. This shed's too small for something nasty to happen in it, but at least no-one would be upset if it did because whatever it was would be invisible.
Cheap Luminous-Dial Wristwatches
Quite apart from thinking that Lewis is going a bit OTT seeking closure after many years of guilt feelings from having lost his watch in the Gareloch by taking it out that nice, concerned, Grauniad writer, the use of the CLDW would seem far more sensible a unit than high levels of bequerels where gigas and teras are the norm.
(Although I remember scare stories about wearing CLDWs ...)
(And SEPA's E stands for Environment not Environmental)
Not just sex ...
We got the Dangerous Dogs Acts, where the evidence seemed to have been based on headlines and the effect has been to proclaim as 'dangerous' any loose dog that makes a loose human nervous. It has not stopped more such headlines.
Whatever happened to that special law against stealing mobile phones? It came in because of a rash of such events, and 'a rash' can only be defined as 'a matched set of newspaper stories over a short period.' There's our evidence system.
We now have a special event-set called Knife Crime, with victims and dangerous people and amnesties and so on, and in due course we'll have a special law about it.
Best and simplest law is probably just a nice general one against harming anyone. Evidence of the harm by fist or knife or baseball bat or penis or car or newspaper headline or whatever will be used by one side and evidence of consent or age or alibi or whatever will be used by the other.
A few age limits are useful to define statutory rape or driving age. Do bills include references to the research that led to them being prepared? Publications insist on peer reviews, do the bills?
Life is so much simpler in my imaginary world.
I'm glad *someone* reads the EULA
Whatever about the trapdoors opening before us, and the value of non-Google Chromium Iron, Steel, or other shiny metals, I'd suspect the ToS wording not to have been a complete accident.
This is the way Big Business/Government/The Man treats us plebs nowadays: speak softly and ignore the discussion. So you "haven't made the decision yet" and when you have, you hold a Public Enquiry and (after all the peasants have had their say) you decide to go with your original pre-Enquiry decision anyway.
Or your EULA gets caught and you agree to change future ones, and then accidentally don't. Oops, we-hold-our-hands-up but lets draw a line under that and move on now shall we?
Not like the UK government machine...
Your article reminded me of this quote from a Grauniad report: "... fits the pattern I saw during four years serving on the government's Renewables Advisory Board, which felt like watching several dozen episodes of Yes Minister in slow motion."
The writers once said that they were ready to write a similar programme set in Washington.
And another thing: what's the problem?
A problem with international terrorism = an aid to modern global business = speed and slipperiness of communications systems. Paper has worked in one way or another since it changed from parchment and that from baked clay tablets: for legal documents that will be used in law to prove or disprove a case. Let the gummint use any version of the Web to advertise and communicate. It will still 'redact' papers or not even write the things when it wants to hide some unpleasant history, just like it always has done. If a government wants to keep recordings of every single email and phone call and internet search we make, why shouldn't it use the same technology to record its own Blackberry calls?
There will always be special-interests that will keep recordings of speeches, TV appearances, YouTube offerings, just as others will Photoshop them when they can. We will never win against The Man, but we will always watch him and attempt to keep him in order.
@Richard and Sarah
"Generally ... because the majority of world leaders is men, who knows what it would be like if they were women, but I'd guess at ... war ... over something like shoes or bitchy comments about aforementioned shoes and a new war would be sparked every month."
And then there was history: Margaret Thatcher + Argentina = war. Imelda Marcos = shoes + no war.
Best TV ideas
WT(heeheehee)? (Not that ever need such language.) My favorite TV idea is no ads, so that three CSI/Law&Orders in a row would be two hours long rather than three. Second best idea is no red spot. Third best is no ticker-tape at the bottom of the news. That one ties with getting rid of the big red 'Breaking News!' label which translates as 'News!'
Have we coats for dinosaurs?
I can't see the article title because there's a Microsoft ad covering it up, but it seems to be about Wallace & Gromit in the Science Museum and I like them.
You're all dangerous ...
... freeloading pinko liberals! This is a free country! The police are there to protect the individual from the crowd and the crowd from the individual without fear or favour. All streets should have CCTV, and not the normal grainy unreadable kind but clear and crisp. All pubs too and shops that suffer from thievery. And all public places really so that if I pick my nose (which I don't ever) I'd be seen. In fact once the gearing-up to have sufficient watchers is done, cameras in houses too. A lot of domestic violence, abuse and cannabis-growing is done in 'private' homes. And then if public announcements needed to be made they could be fed straight to us even if at dinner or the loo! And they could have a friendly, strong, big-brother sort of character to front this. And we would be safe and free. Well, safe. Well, something.
"We've made a point of supervising him and I talk to him on a daily basis."
"In the time that I've known John, he has been a model employee, and indeed, a model human being,"
This sounds awfully like Schiefer knows exactly which closets contain whose skeletons.
[And I wonder if my employers ever Google me and come up with my Reg-rants.]
["employer's premisis" hmmm]
"All transfixed, I stood there gazing"
Whatever about loving/hating Vista, and whether or not people will discover the shift key to make upper-case letters, I still look wonderingly at the notion that anyone would think of selling an unneeded OS to the world, and put it out needing at least two service packs, and the second service pack comes out in beta just like a real program!
[Paris because, well, just because.]
Read 'Whisky Galore' ...
... where the woman on the wartime train wouldn't show her pass to the police because Hitler wasn't in charge here. I've been banging on that it isn't really the Lab/Tory/whatever Government that wants these Identity Documents but the civil-service government that wants it to keep us all tidy.
The police caught the two idiots who tried to burn down Glasgow's airport by tracking their car's number plate along the motorways, so that shows that they can work efficiently without pass laws to force us to show our Papieren Bitte.
As a family-history researcher I make huuuuge use of the 10-yearly census returns from the 19th century: the government wanted those to track demographic shifts, not individuals. But now we can do national databases that give the kind of analysable detail that Tesco's Clubcard gives that organisation. I think the government interest starts 'innocently' enough from there, but it gets up my nose because of the potential for abuse it will give to so many people from a traffic warden to a celeb-hunter to a would-be Stalin.
The blue-number brigade
Commenters in the Reg on these news events have demonised every Home Sec since at least David Blunkett (remember him?) in pejorative terms such as Wacqui Jacqui and now Tom McNutty.
The ideas aren't new: look at the attitude of the 70s TV series 1990 to show the fear writers could extrapolate from the Labour government policies then.
Part of it is Labour but most of it is a government machine that wants to grind us all exceeding fine so that we are all tidy and under control. The 'people' who really want national identity pass-law databases are the civil servants behind the politicians. We can't demonise them because they don't give interviews as often as Home Secretaries.
Windows after Windows after Windows
I'm not shocked and horrified: Win7 is new, it's been betaed to find cracks, cracks found and probably will be fixed and others found later. That's why I 'like' Win XP: most of the cracks have been filled. I didn't like it to start with because it gave me hassle, but that was all those service releases ago.
And now I don't want to move to Vista or Win7 unless I discover they let me do things I couldn't do before, like (uhhh), well, like (emmm) you know, like, well, stuff.
My, we are upset
There are some value-laden terms in these comment-columns describing Ms Smith: 'wacky', 'bitch, 'stupid', 'witch', 'evil' for example, and I feel these would hurt her feelings about being appreciated were she ever to hear about El Reg as being more than an online IT-related news organ.
We should remember that she's a politician with a temporary job to do, as ordered by her leader and colleagues to join in the collective responsibility, and is there to sell what her civil service mandarins have always wanted and cannot talk to the world about.
A neighbour called to explain that the online help from PC World was no use, he'd spent hours with them on a premium line, and they blamed Microsoft and Windows needed reloading, and the software support number blamed the hardware and they all put off his important problem to everyone else, but he knew I was something to do with computers ...
Whassa matter? A loud annoying buzzzzzzzzzzzz every day about 10am, absolutely definitely from the computer, and even after he'd unplugged all the kit following one support guy's recommendation to pack it all up for return. (If you can't see what's coming ask jhwker above).
It took me ages to convince him it might be that alarm clock on the bookshelf on the other side of the room.
Change it/leave it alone?
I read books written in various forms of English from the last millennium and find it interesting to see the shifts in shapes and sounds and meanings. I see no need for any radical overhaul, although I'd like education to include whatever 'standard' English might be.
Plenty of places run two languages like Gaelic, Doric, Dingwall, Fen, Yiddish, or Sicilian, and English, American, Russian, or Italian; one for home use and the other for school/work/outsiders and they manage fine when there isn't an official destruction policy.
As for writing, if you don't like what we have we could change to something Chinese-ish where the writing is the same all over but different dialects read it out loud differently: think of how (say) '1-2-3' looks the same over a lot of the world but the way to pronounce it varies hugely.
But I'd really recommend a system like the Egyptian hieroglyphs that stayed amazingly stable for millennia. Forget the vowels that everyone pronounces long or short and add a picture to give a hint of the meaning, so both Northerner and Southener could accept a word like Bθ§ (that's B Theta followed by a simplified picture of flowing water).
Shall I get my coat now? I think so.
More trees, that's what we need
El Reg missed this, but the Beeb didn't (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7878541.stm) where we should plant a billion trees (or 1Gigatree) in Scotland. Admittedly this is to achieve a forestry cover target, but it's really the best way to work on climate change and energy use and biodiversity and other green targets and I could probably bring in the national ID stuff if I tried.
@ Pierre 'Plantigrade'
"the right to plantigrade arms where it applies"
Where does it apply to have the arms walk with their feet fully on the ground so that we can defend that right?