103 posts • joined Friday 25th January 2008 14:42 GMT
The more things change...
Web 2... The cloud...
Look, all that's happening is a re-branding exercise! Someone comes up with an alternative branding for existing technology, that's all.
Mac clones. I'm not going to bother with the legal issues to any great extent.
However, look at the history of Apple. Whenever Stevie 'Boy Wonder' Jobs has been involved (remember, the board of directors DID ease him aside for quite a few years) Apple has exhibited a particular type of behaviour.
For example: Innovation. You know, they 'invented' the WIMP system - except they didn't - Xerox did.
Then there's Litigation: since Apple 'invented' the WIMP interface they got into a cat-fight, which they lost, with Micro$oft over the Windows OS. Apple, under SJ, has historically got into endless litigation with various people. Even, on occasion (remember 'Apple Corp' and the 'no sound if you use our name' row - ever noticed the system sound called 'Sosumi', which exists to this day?) breaking agreements with others. That shows SJ's real attitude to the law...
Finally, there's a degree of protectionism in Stevie's makeup. Getting spares for an Apple product is nearly impossible. To this day. This year my Intel iMac 24, which I use for work, died, for the third time in less than 18 months. The delay on getting a repair (it was on a 3 year warranty) was unacceptable, So, I now have a MacPro. Which suits SJ just fine...
As far as the 'you CAN replace the battery' argument's concerned - yes, you can - NOW. Because, for once, Apple had to back down. The uproar about iPod batteries, within a year of it coming out, was such that with a successful class action looming and a lot of negative publicity they gave in.
But obtaining out of warranty Apple spares is still virtually impossible.
SJ is on record as considering the Mac OS as 'the crown jewels'. Bill Gates once advised SJ to follow the M$ route, SJ predictably scorned the idea. Mac Clones only existed when SJ wasn't in charge.
SJ's business model, certainly in the computer field, is to sell marginally adequate hardware (no really - I have a PC (twin core 3.2Ghz, 2Gb RAM, 8800GTX) standing on my other desk that leaves my new MacPro (8 core 3.2, 8Gb RAM, 8800 GT, XP and more than twice the price) in it's dust) - in 'designer cases' - at hugely inflated prices, while defending this practice by aggressively litigating against anyone using 'the crown jewels' on more cost effective hardware.
IF the Apple Mac hardware were as good as SJ would like you to believe, then there would be no need for this. The fashionistas would still buy Macs - possibly even after they realised 'the crown jewels' would run on far more cost-effective hardware. The rest of us, who actually like the Apple OS and some of the software that ONLY runs under it, would have cheap, reliable hardware that we could upgrade and/or repair easily and cheaply...
But that would dilute the immensely valuable revenue stream that Apple's extended warranty and Apple authorised repairer schemes represent.
I think that Apple loosing this litigation would actually turn Apple into a more competitive entity. Sales of the Mac OS would soar. Yes, hardware sales would decline. But this SHOULD be sufficient motivation for Apple to start designing truly 'state of the art' hardware. There's no shortage of existing PC hardware out there that could transform Macs from 'previous generation' state of the art hardware into something truly jaw dropping.
As things stand, have stood for many years, Apple is poor at hardware, and rather good at software, especially in the field of the user interface. Given the present economic conditions, 'the crown jewels' are indeed Apple's most valuable asset - but NOT locked into overpriced, under specified hardware.
SJ has a big ego. It's now (again) Apple's biggest problem. That and his 'not invented here' syndrome. Or should that be 'not invented on MY watch'?
Remember the Newton? For it's time it was actually quite amazing. So, when he returned to Apple, he ordered it dropped - he also said that any Apple staffer seen with one was to be sacked...
While I admire Steve Jobs to some extent, the man is, after all, an innovator, he's also not the ideal man to have at the helm today. Being forced to change Apple's strategy would be, I feel, no bad thing.
One problem will be that the shareholders see SJ as God. Notice the effect his recent health problems have caused for Apple share prices?
SJ can and very likely will play his ace card at some point in the not to distant future - by offering to step down.
His real problem will be that the courts aren't likely to be impressed with that...
Share holders he can probably ignore. But not the courts.
Meantime, PsyStar do appear to have surprisingly deep pockets. Clearly Apple's plan was to use prolonged litigation to break PsyStar. This hasn't happened. So now the rumor's being spread that PsyStar have 'a backer'...
Well, the list of potential candidates is long and complex. I won't speculate. Except to say I very much doubt Bill Gates is on it. Now if you made a list of ex-Apple board of directors members, that might be where to start looking.
This whole thing's set to run and run. Sooner or later Apple's business model has to change. The longer it takes, the more damage Apple's going to suffer.
Shows he's unprepared and doesn't learn...
First of all, at an important event he doesn't bother to turn the bloody thing off.
Secondly, when it does ring, as it was sure to, does he take the right action and turn it OFF. Nope! He declines the call. (What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that?)
So, says it all really, doesn't it? A stupid prat who hasn't a clue and doesn't think 'it' could possibly happen to him.
And people still listen to him? Pray tell me - WHY?
Time Machine on a MS system?
An intriguing concept. Maybe MS will have enough sense to have it check the backup media is still THERE before it does its 'backup'.
(Comment is a result of a Leper Mac failing to realise that the external drive it was 'backing up' to had actually FAILED some two weeks previously! Now that's what I call user friendly backup...)
What Nanny State really wants...
...is for you all to sit in your cells, under 24/7 surveillance, forever.
That way you can't hurt yourself, rock the boat, or do ANYTHING.
If you can see any tiny flaws in this plan then you are part of the problem!
Super stuff - yawn....
The burning questions here are:
Is Snow Leopard going to have a slightly more reliable file system than Leopard?
Will Snow Leopard actually network with PCs reliably enough for serious use?
Can Apple possibly make AirPort work properly?
And, most importantly, will Apple kindly stop making expensive hardware that works with earlier versions of the OS that work rather better (speed/reliability) than Leopard?
A lot of us aren't too worried about the techno-geekoid bleeding edge features - we just need a stable OS that, to quote Stevie, 'just works' - Leopard doesn't - and hardware which allows us to stick with earlier OS versions which worked reasonably well. So we can earn our living with the kit. So we can afford Apple's inflated prices...
Don't get me wrong - I like Macs, I like the OS user interface. But the currently available hardware/software is trying my patience rather badly!
Sod the technology
Imagine living in the aftermath of a 90-99% death rate.
Imagine the corpses with no one to dispose of them... Yuk. Still, no shortage of food for the cats, dogs, rats, foxes, etc. Until the carrion runs out!
Then lack of comms becomes the least of your worries.
... consider yourselves lucky it even runs, after a fashion!
You might care to check out the licence terms on ANY software - it boils down to, 'you paid for this, but if it works, consider yourself lucky - if it doesn't then you've been had and there's nothing you can do about it'.
That's how the industry works.
The point is...
... no one's really interested in how 7 (Vista ME) 'improves' on Vista.
All any-one's now interested in is how, and if, it can improve on XP SP2.
I don't include SP3 as M$ having grafted on several Vista 'features' completely buggered SP3 up from most users viewpoint.
Historically XP has been, and continues to be, the best OS M$ has come up with so far. Anything that genuinely improves on it is worth considering. If it doesn't, then it's a waste of money, both for M$ 'developing' it and anyone foolish enough to buy it.
Personally, I don't care how M$ gets there - voodoo rituals, a change of corporate culture, listening to customers, castrating developers - it's all the same to me.
One thing I DO know however is that PR fluff won't result in a functional and improved OS!
So M$ - can the B$ and deliver the goods. This one has to be good. If not... well, a hard rain's gonna fall.
Meh... We KNEW it was going to be Win7. The question is - will it be a repackaged Vista - with all the rubbish? Or is it going to be a sensibly enhanced XP?
It must be one of those, because at Micro$loth's normal development rate, there's no time for anything else?
Repackaged Vista will be another nail in M$'s coffin. XP 'super' might just save the day.
So. I guess that means repackaged Vista then?
And, what about all those people who got lumbered with Vista? A discounted update maybe?
Wait! Let me sit down and take a deep breath... I'm obviously loosing it here. Of COURSE not! Silly idea...
@ AC (Stupidity UK)
'anyone know what stalinist russians chanted when praising their genocidial dictator?'
Whatever they were told to!
What really needs looking into...
...is not so much the security aspect (securing media that is) as the reason all this data is being kept.
After all, prior to the introduction of computers (say, 1960), did they retain all this data?
I rather think not. The problem seems to be that it's now so easy to store the data - insecurely of course - that there's a magpie tendency to acquire and hoard everything... Useful or not, relevant or not.
What's going on?
Simple - Apple is cleverly destroying the lead the iPhone had. It's the sort of thing that happens when CEOs have had delusions of competence for way too long (in Job's case, since he was born/hatched/fissioned it appears) and start getting carried away...
Nice timing too, given the SatanPhone's recent release.
...are more equal than others
What did you expect? Honesty? Playing by the rules? :-)
No such thing. Intakes from the great outdoors - but exhaust through heat exchangers. You now have an energy differential, which can be used to generate... power. Not a lot, but surely better than just venting it?
One wonders if these great IT 'innovaters' are at all serious about the idea of cutting running costs?
Helium's a bugger to confine - which is why it's useful as a leak tester - without cooling it to super-fluid levels, at which point it becomes EXTREMELY difficult to contain, even in a 'closed' system.
About the only way you'd realise it was leaking would be when gaseous helium started appearing in the secondary containment, which is, I assume, monitored for just such an event. Certainly no risk of asphyxiation, or 'Donald Duck' there though, it's not an area where life could be sustained anyway.
Bummer. There I was waiting to see what actually happened... So, now a few months wait for 'Universe 2 - the Sequel' to be triggered.
In fact, because the leak seems to have been caused by a couple of magnets suffering 'mechanical issues' due to an electrical element melting - i.e. the temperature differential caused the cooling system to develop a leak (read 'crack'), this could stall the attempt to end the original universe for some considerable time. A year possibly.
Hope they have plenty of spare magnets, this could be an ongoing problem. Things cooled to super-fluid temperatures develop some very odd characteristics. Brittle isn't half of it!
Seems to me...
...you're all missing the point.
Russia still controls areas East of the Urals - with massive Uranium deposits. So, why are they even thinking of buying it from Australia?
Come to THAT, they have all those Oil/Gas reserves. So, again, why are they buying up oil/gas from FSU states in Central Asia and exporting the same oil/gas to Europe?
To my way of thinking the Russians may have the reserves, but exploiting them may well be beyond them these days. Especially as they keep screwing over foreign 'partners'.
That or the want to hang onto them for themselves while making a profit acting as middle-men selling on third party's reserves - thus forcing up global energy prices...
@AC Stop it now
The point is - whatever Lehman Bros may have done IN THE PAST, they, and the other outfits, with their 'innovative wealth creation schemes' have torn the arse out of the global economy.
Recent years have seen far too many 'new financial products' that exist simply to create obscene profits for an ever increasing tribe of middle-men, each taking their slice of the pie (the only real 'growth' in the financial sector). Well the pie just ran out!
Seed money for new technology is one thing. Dubious things such as derivatives, sub-prime lending and playing the futures market are something altogether different!
Buying up debts based on selling loans to those with a poor credit record is hardly the wisest of investments, is it?
And speculating in oil/gas futures to force up energy prices, with the resulting world-wide economic issues is actually destructive.
I think some of these geniuses saw 'Wall Street' as kids and confused Gordon Geko's mantra 'Greed is Good' with reality...
Kids are Soylent Green...
Ah, I see...
...and who, precisely, is going to determine what is 'good' information and what is 'bad' to enable "filter(ing) (of) good information from bad"?
Me? Sir Tim? Yankee Creationists? Fundamentalist Islamic Clerics? Born Again Christian Fundamentalists? Some of Nu Lab's seemingly endless supply of hysterical curtain twitchers? The 'Security Services' - if so, who's?
Basically, Sir Tim's 'hometown', CERN, has had some bad press. So, his solution? Turn the 'free and open web' into a censored politically correct (HIS politically correct of course) sanitised bland wasteland...
It would almost be funny, if it weren't so bloody sickening to see yet another liberal display alarmingly flexible principles as soon as he feels the least bit threatened.
Hey! Sir Tim! Do you recognise this acronym?
Remove about 80% of the bloody signs!
I regularly drive a route where a dual carriageway turns into two single carriageway roads at a roundabout.
In the 500m before the junction, in a single carriageway of the dual carriageway, there are THIRTY SEVEN signs...
If someone installed landmines 10m from the roundabout and installed the necessary signs, carnage would result - because no one would see the warning signs in that mass of poorly considered visual information overload.
These days I tend to attempt to simply blank out the roadside rubbish as it causes dangerous distraction.
On familiar routes I try and concentrate on other road users, road conditions and my ECM systems. On unfamiliar routes I also attend to route instructions.
Do I really NEED 3 'roundabout' signs, plus 6 'distance' warning markers for a clearly visible roundabout? Does ANYONE?
I don't think so... and of the other 28 signs, possibly 6 might be of some use.
Yet nearby, in the same county, there are, in urban areas, sprawling acreages of nearly deserted dual carriageways, punctuated at ridiculously short intervals by vast featureless roundabouts where it's pitifully easy to get completely lost if you don't know the area like the back of your hand - because there are virtually NO road signs whatsoever! Unlike the overkill available a mere 25 miles away.
It strikes me that's what's needed is a comprehensive survey of what signs are where, because it appears no one actually KNOWS.
And the abolition of signage installed because some obscure and ridiculous 'rule' mandates it is 'necessary'. The final decision for sign placement should be based on whether the information is essential to the majority of road users.
Oh, and the new icons are indeed crap. If it ain't fcuked, why 'fix' it?
Who'd have thought it?
Especially when it's done by immensely rich global companies with highly paid legal departments...
Wednesday? NEXT Wednesday?
I'm off on holiday from Thursday too. Be just my luck if the universe decides to cease to exist on Wednesday...
I wonder if my holiday insurance covers that eventuality?
I mean, why bother referring to the published legal precedents, or looking up the statute book, when you can refer to Wikipedia for unsubstantiated, personally biased, instantly editable by anyone, rumour?
Actually, what's scary is that anyone even contemplating this wasn't instantly disbarred!
Where does America get its Judges? The local Job-Centre?
Are my memory cells failing? But wasn't RFID technology developed as a stock control system?
Could it be that the uptake hasn't met expectations, so now it's being forced into use in areas where it just isn't suited - and not doing terribly well?
OK - so they removed it
But they tried it on. Again. Google's entire attitude has become impossible.
Worse than any other software company out there. As far as I'm concerned Google no longer exists. There are after all viable alternatives to everything Google offers.
Which brings me neatly to A/C and his objection to my "And yet you accept M$'s fcuk you, we PWN you attitude? Why?"
Well, here's a couple of reasons pal: Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark... Anytime Linux can run those, just let me know! Oh, and games. And hardware drivers.
Forget OSX too, for two reasons, games and vastly overpriced and rubbish hardware.
M$ have an 'excuse'. Google don't. What Google HAD was a vast reservoir of goodwill, which they have steadily pissed away. I don't think anyone ever had much goodwill where M$ was concerned...
The problem is...
...Google is slithering into every niche in the web it can find.
I don't really trust them. I don't like the 'Fcuk you - we OWN you' corporate attitude revealed by so many of their statements.
A Google browser?
Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.
NASA - bunch of Onanists!
No, seriously. The article that I read (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7583805.stm) stated that NASA has NO anti-virus systems in place on the ISS - OR laptops used by crew.
"The laptops carried by astronauts reportedly do not have any anti-virus software on them to prevent infection. "
"Muppets who know it won't happen to them because they are too smart" springs to mind...
OK, fair enough, IF the onboard systems are completely isolated from the laptops the astronuts use - which NASA claim is the case - fair enough, there's justification for keeping those systems as 'clean' as possible.
Let's take the risky ('risky'? Yes. given the level of incompetence evident here, I think that's a fair assessment) assumption that that is the case.
That leaves NASA clearly in the position of having NO 'corporate' policy regarding virus/spyware/malware protection for portable computers used by their staff/visitors (God alone knows what the situation is throughout the rest of the 'organisation'!).
And that suggests a level of irresponsibility that is, especially in this case, beyond belief.
In my area own of professional responsibility I ensure that all systems are adequately protected, staff are made aware that they MUST use the recommended protection software (which I provide and if required will install and set up) on their own systems, both 'home' and 'private' laptops (it's a publishing company, anyone with experience of such outfits will be aware of why this is necessary...).
In addition, visitors are NOT allowed access to the network until their laptops have been checked for adequate protection.
Anyone failing to comply is held directly responsible in the event of problems arising as a result.
So, who the hell's in charge of NASA's IT security?
Ah, right, that would be the complete tosser who's already mumbled excuses about "USB drives"
"It is thought that the virus might have travelled via a flash or USB drive owned by an astronaut and taken into space."
Nice try asshole - but IF you were doing your job, IF NASA had something resembling a half competent IT security policy, it couldn't have happened...
Pop in an external device with infected files and the software you didn't even have installed would have prevented the issue, after all, it's not as if this was a brand new (August 2007 FFS!) previously unheard of worm...
No wonder this outfit has a record of incinerating Shuttle crews!
It's blindingly obvious that NASA's management is totally incompetent.
Unfair? Nope. Shit runs downhill. If you find an organisation that has a record of failure to perform, in my experience, the problem starts at the top.
And while I may not be qualified to comment on NASA's inability to keep Shuttle crews alive, I certainly am qualified to judge their inability to handle IT security!
Arrrrrr! Bring me another cabin boy! This'un be burst...
Duhhh... Another person who simply doesn't understand the laws of chance, statistics, sample-space.
Look, it's like this: Toss a coin, the chance of it coming up heads is 50%, right?
OK, now, do that 10 times, 1000 times, 1000000 times - guess what?
The chance of it coming up heads remains 50% EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU DO IT.
It doesn't matter how many times you toss the coin (buy the lottery ticket/see the asteroid approaching) the chance of it coming up heads (winning the lottery/earth getting hit) remain the same.
And please, not the old 'but if I buy every possible lottery ticket' chestnut. The quoted chance is for any single random ticket. That's where sample space comes in.
The Asteroid hit chance? Calculated for any given orbital pass WITHIN the currently defined parameters. That's the relevant sample space for that calculation.
"It's "best" chance to consign humanity to firey oblivion will be 13th April 2036, when there's 0.0022% probability of a collision. That's 1 in 45,000, which is not dissimilar to the odds of matching 5 balls in the lottery."
Ah, that's OK then - because no one ever wins the Lottery, do they?
Leaving the Beeb out of it, and Level 3 (PLEASE leave L3 out of it...), I don't like the sound of Zen mumbling about 'increased costs'.
They in particular could be in trouble here. Zen is currently one of the most expensive ISPs in the country, possibly the most expensive, with their decidedly tight bandwidth limits and high top up charges.
I don't believe they can increase their charges. So, what next? Even tighter bandwidth allowances? Reduction in their excellent English speaking support?
The first is effectively raising prices.
The second destroys one of their major advantages and places them on a level with the majority of ISPs who are far cheaper - effectively raising prices.
Sad to say, if this is going to be a real issue for Zen, I suspect their days are numbered.
Zen are, for most of us, teetering on the brink of being just too expensive anyway.
Time, I'm afraid, to search out the best alternative. This has happened to me about every 3-4 years. It seems to be a sort of 'life-cycle' with ISPs. Oh well, such is life.
...is the answer.
Not the latest sad idea, but the original one.
It used a series of fission explosions to 'push' against a battleship sized spacecraft's 'pusher-plate'.
What's that you say? 'Nukes don't work properly in space because there's no medium to transmit a shockwave'?
Well, oddly enough, a bunch of the world's best minds KNEW that when they started to design it.
What they also knew was that it's possible to direct a fission explosion (think shaped charge conventional explosive) - indeed, fusion explosions would be difficult to arrange without a directed fission explosion trigger.
If you then place a quantity of a suitable substance (tungsten seems to work well) in the path of the directed energy release it will turn pretty smartly into a narrow cone of rapidly moving plasma.
And when that hits a nearby object (be it the pusher-plate of a spacecraft, or an asteroid), kinetic energy is released and it MOVES.
So, to deflect the offending incoming asteroid you simply launch a stream of these small (say, 1kt) nuclear propulsion 'bombs' at the target, set to detonate at the required distance from it.
No rains of meteors from a fragmented asteroid. No need for Bruce Willis style heroics. Just a steady push (avereged out) to change the course of the asteroid, either to impact another body (the Moon?) or into a non-threatening new orbit.
I imagine a sort of gatling gun in space launching the propulsion bombs. The Orion designers did, in fact they got design help from a major soft drinks manufacturer,
Of course, that was launching the bombs to explode behind the spacecraft, from inside the spacecraft. The principle works equally well from an external launcher though.
It's established technology. In fact, OLD technology.
Of course, it would be handy if the documentation still existed... It was recently discovered that quite a lot of Orion data had been lost by the US Government (that's lost, not 'lost') and had to be re-created from copies of documents obtained from ex-employees and their heirs (yes, the technology is that old, mid-60s).
And this sort of thing's not that uncommon. NASA was found, some years ago, to have accidentally thrown away the engineering details of the Saturn launch booster during a 'spring cleaning'...
@ Not the spaghetti monster... By Niall
"...it's the eye of Sauron! Can the One Ring be destroyed by thrusting it into the ungainly maelstrom of a black hole? Let's find out!"
Fine... fine... So - who's ring is going to be thrust into the black hole then?
Is that even topologically possible?
Gahhh, it IS Friday.
And mine's the one with "Got to work all weekend" on the back and pockets full of Modifinal...
I mean, the world is full of 'who's ringing my doorbell' solutions.
Doorbell/video intercom devices - both wired and wireless.
CCTV devices, both wired and wireless.
Wired and wireless IP cameras.
WHY get involved with this ISP provided 'solution' in the first place?
Seems to me someone bought a product without researching the field. It's a pity, but it's what happens when you do that.
Hopefully someone in this unfortunate's locality will assist, or at least put him in touch with someone who'll assist.
Funny you should ask
You see, the polar ice WOULD be retreating, except the measures taken to reduce CO2 emissions are already having an effect.
This shows that WE WERE RIGHT.
Of course, there's a long way to go yet, after all, we want to keep our new industry alive, our living depends on it.
Meantime we'll take action to prevent the reckless release of factual data to the great unwashed so they can't find out what's really happening in future.
Probably by having the data restricted in case it's used by terrorists.
Remember: We are RIGHT. We know best
Paris? Because SHE knows when she's being fucked over.
You probably get what you pay for...
My home ISP is Zen. 2.7km from the exchange. 6+ mbps evenings and weekends. Started at 1.2 mbps, I complained, they got it fixed.
Can't say fairer than that.
However - you get what you pay for. Simple as that!
I don't think there is such a thing as 'good', 'cheap' ADSL. Is that really surprising?