Re: The Joys (and not) of Contracting
Interesting inverse correlation - my car is 21 years old and my dev lab stretches to 4 machines that wouldn't disgrace a minor university
43 posts • joined 14 Feb 2008
Interesting inverse correlation - my car is 21 years old and my dev lab stretches to 4 machines that wouldn't disgrace a minor university
That's not just a feature of the public sector - I worked as a permanent employee with 3 different companies 2001-2009 for exactly the same salary throughout (and a consequent drop year on year in real terms). In 2009 I returned to contracting and found myself paid exactly half what I was earning as a contractor in 2001 (but significantly more than I was paid as a permanent).
So it goes.
*strokes beard thoughtfully while sucking on a Werther's original* Abstraction of interfaces to avoid hard dependencies on third party software is a concept that predates OO by some considerable time span. It is as applicable to attempting to make an application run on both X and MS Windows in 1992 as it is to switching web apis in 2015. It's just that the latest crop of young whippersnappers are too lazy and too caught up in instant gratification to craft around such pitfalls..
*grin* That looks like an atempt use the Vulture staple of sex and scientists to steer the conversation away from discussing your algorithm for choosing topics for new columns
"But women will educate us in what works and once the lesson sinks in that asking 50 random strangers “Hi, wanna jiggy?” doesn't actually work, then our approaches will be tamed down to those that do work."
Is this not just the mantra of "the market will prevail" applied to human relationships? If I were a cynic, I'd suggest that quite a few of Tim's recent columns involved the application of this precept to matters not traditionally covered by economics.
@Codejunky: If a company is not obliged to have a "branch" in any one country that it operates, could it not refuse to have a branch in any country and thus reasonably claim to be exempt from tax? I suppose all it takes is one country to declare itself corporation tax free, and all companies would move there. Such a country could support itself with, say, advertising instead of tax revenue. We would all be happy to accept that Microsoft et al were no longer well-known Luxembourgian or Irish companies but were say Bhutanese
@Tim: Common law is by it's definition mutable. What you have stated is thus convention - it can change with legislation or sufficient case law. Incidentally, what is the original purpose of the corporate veil? Is it still genuinely relevant or is it a convenient hold-over from an earlier time?
I find it surprising that none of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon or Apple have a branch in the UK. They have 1000s of employees between them, hundreds of offices and storefronts yet have no branch in the UK? I can't imagine it's because they cannot afford a "branch". Perhaps that is the solution - to mandate businesses with operations over a certain size in a country maintain a "branch" in that country.
This gives me an idea - as there is no formal agreement between the customer and Google in the case of Google Analytics there is no requirement to submit the correct GA cookie. It wouldn't be that hard to write a browser plug-in to swap GA cookies randomly between signed up parties.
This would reduce the value of the data held by Google proportionally to the number of people taking part. Just leave your cookies in a bowl by the door on the way in ... and wait for the vicariously juicy and exciting advertising originally intended for someone else.
From the sales blurb: "The design of the aircraft and its low cost makes it an attractive training UAV that can be recovered for multiple use."
That's actually pretty clever for a target drone.
"What to make of Sony’s Morpheus and the Oculus Rift – VR headsets that, let’s face it, probably won’t make it into most gamers’ lounges. Certainly not in the near future, at any rate."
Having played a reasonable chunk of Half Life 2 on an Oculus, I'd say the above statement is short sighted. You are getting total immersion for a small fraction of the price of a large TV. When asked to guess the price after a demo, people generally go with £800-£1500. On finding it out it's significantly less, most walk away with that wistful look. I think these are going to sell and sell.
While I can't argue with your observations on Mao and Stalin, I do question your last paragraph.
The Germans took the personal details of all those interned in the death camps and recorded them on the punch cards. The details recorded fell into 3 broad categories: their undesirability (Jewish, Communist, agitator etc), their useful skills (machinist, baker etc) and their current state (sick, unproductive etc)
They would use the tabulating machines to run queries such as "find me the most undesirable people without currently useful skills who may well die in the next 3 months". Those returned by the queries would be lucky to see out the day.
I would say the Nazis were far from inefficient at identifying the individuals with whom they could most easily dispense. You are, however, right in that these skilled workers could have been far better utilised by a non-genocidal regime.
You are effectively telling me that size matters, such that Mao and Stalin's purges are more noteworthy as they killed more people. Leaving aside that this is highly debatable, it is a question of efficiency (interesting use of the word "better" btw ;-) )
Suppose we asked IBM whether it would prefer to be the largest tech company in the world or the most efficient. Even pre-'93 I expect the answer to that would be "most efficient", because efficiency will lead to growth (well, unless your competitors all club together and start shooting at you, as happened to the Germans).
In truth, the situations are different. Neither Stalin nor Mao were facing a war on 2 fronts at the times of their worst excesses. They had no need for the people they purged. On the contrary, the Nazis needed to make efficient use of the workers in the death camps and they made a telling contribution to the war effort. How much sooner would the war have ended had the Nazis not had access to IBM tabulating machines?
Important though this is, is it relevant to this thread? Possibly. Is it relevant to this site? Certainly. Who were operating the machines? I was chilled to the bone when I understood how the IT consultants of their time were so complicit in the deaths of millions. Previously I had always considered my profession to be mostly harmless.
The key difference between IBM and Norway is that the Norwegian iron ore was, for the most part, used to annihilate combatants. The IBM/Dehomag kit was used to tabulate civillians with a view to calculating when their usefulness to the Reich had expired. The book "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black makes the case that the Holocaust would not have been possible on such a large scale without IBM tabulating machines.
I take your point that an article on the S/360 may not be the place to raise this issue, unless you were to take the view that the later mainframes were a derivation of the earlier tabulating machines. They did largely the same thing, after all, just substantially faster.
The key concepts of this book are as relevant today as they were back in the 60s and 70s - it is still oft quoted ("there are no silver bullets" being one I've heard recently). Unfortunately fewer and fewer people have heard of this book these days and even fewer have read it, even in project management circles.
The opinions outlined in the comments here are very interesting. The Vulture community has a much higher proportion of technoliterati than the general population, yet all who have spoken out are speaking out against Facebook. Are we not expected to love that technology, our metier, has wrought such social change? Although I might be hamstrung by the fourth dimension on this one, not a single person has commented that Facebook is a universally great thing.
Were I not mired in apathy, I would be tempted to rewind and visit the comments section around the time of the birth of Facebook. I feel sure that at least one or two of the nay sayers today would have very different opinions about Facebook being the next great thing.
So why is it we have all turned on Facebook? Is it because it hawks all that we hold private? I think not - that was always on the cards. I'd say it was because everything that set us apart as a group - from OMG and LMFAO to checking our message stack every 10 minutes - is now utterly mainstream thanks to Facebook. How is it that "online" is now the 9th most uttered word on radio*? Never mind that Facebook has eaten our privacy, it has commercialised our geek identity.
* ok, I made that one up, but you get the picture
That is a variation on the theme of "Who cares that the product I am buying is sold at a loss by a company trying to corner the market? The only thing that matters is it's cheap"
Twitter is a game == life is a game
If anyone asks, Ken sent me
I am still running an original WRT54GS with White Russian on it. Most of the time it lives at the back of the house where the main wifi signal does not reach. Every so often, when whichever cheap router I've bought most recently dies, it is pressed into service as the main house router.
It has never failed to deliver the goods. In fact, just last week it finished a 6 month stint front of house - not bad going for what must be an 8 year old router in a house containing several web sites handling dozens of concurrent users* (the previous brand new TP-Link only lasted 4 months total before burning out).
So, if the new incarnation has the longevity of the old, then $299 is not so much to pay. Or pick one up second hand for less.
* yes, I realise there are websites that handle more traffic than this
Star Raiders was a decent commercial stab at making an all-action version of the Star Trek game but was very different in character. You had photon torpedos but not phasers and generally you knew exactly where the klingons were. Consequently It lacked the tension and strategy of the original in favour of greater accessibility to the arcade generation. Still, it gave me a real thrill the first time I made Star Commander Class 1
Hah! That is the game I first played and loved in 1981 on a TRS-80 Model 1 (the one with the 32k RAM expansion you could beat someone to death with). I have often credited this game (and hacking it's internals) with setting me on course for a stellar career in software development. More lately I've been cursing it's name for setting me on course for a unrewarding two and a half decades listening to idiots explain why doing a slovenly, half-assed job is in whichever business' best interests at the time
That icon is a pint of bitter, right?
It would have been kind of hard to hide it from her as she was probably wearing most of it
Couldn't agree more - Bristol is drawling in the douchebags - it's a slippery slider from Asdal chic to poser centrawl
<emo address witheld>
I have to second this opinion - I've been an Android afficionado since the G1 but recently I've found their sheer prevalence and genericity to be a turn-off. The Q10 will no doubt fill the quirky niche admirably while also providing all the features we expect. It's almost worth buying solely on the grounds that it will deliver a kick in the teeth to Microsoft in the so called race for bronze.
I still rate Midwinter as one of the greatest games of all time - despite his apparent lack of success in the modern industry, many of the more recent sandbox games (Just Cause 2 and Far Cry 2 to name but a couple) can trace their lineage back to the concepts developed by Mike Singleton. He was one of the true greats
Love the Freudian slip
What Steve doesn't know is "Eben" is in fact the Maas Neotek robot formerly known as Julia and he's just failed a Turing test
Diaspora is more open-source software than open standard - a substantial difference. Nonetheless I wholeheartedly support their mission. I didn't mention them in my comment as, despite their worthy goals, they have so far failed to produce anything tangible. The concept of an open standard in social networking is a good one despite the perceived failures of those trying to execute that concept. To mention Diaspora would have confused the issue of "what to do" with "how to execute it"
As you and many of the posters here have pointed out, you simply cannot trust any online social enterprise to store your precious memories. Here today, gone tomorrow.
There are two needs here that you are using Facebook to address: 1) archival of important data and 2) sharing of content with friends and family
It is easier to arrive at a long term solution by separating the two.
1) can be addressed via the traditional means of offsite backups or the use of a specialized archival service (how MUCH exactly is it worth to you to keep your data? If you want it stored underground in a nuclear bunker, there are companies that provide that service)
2) is trickier but doable - it requires an open standard for social media to be drafted. This would allow people to choose their own implementation for sharing with their friends - many millions would continue to use Facebook and Twitter, while the bulk of the posters on this page would opt for hosting their own standards-compliant server. The standard would ensure that you would be able to "friend" people and "like" content held elsewhere. The biggest obstacle to the execution of this idea is Facebook itself - their value is enshrined in their users' data and any solution that would make it possible for them to move elsewhere would be resisted. However, supporting such an initiative would ensure that they would be able to hold on to SOME market share and would not end up marginalised like MySpace.
China created more international patents than any other country in 2011 ...
I have a pair of Logitech G930s and, yes, they are worth the money (though I got mine refurb at around £90) - however, I am pretty sure that they aren't PS3/Xbox but PC only (inc Linux) ... I'd love to be proved wrong on this, though, as I do still wake the kids playing Dark Souls loudly at antisocial hours
I am fully aware why quotes are unattributed - however I find that an article without a single attributed source is built on shaky foundations, as it is impossible to verify the veracity of any of it. In the US, such articles seem to have become the norm for anything concerning the government, or more specifically, the military. While this is a great thing for the dissemination of propaganda, it is less wonderful for those interested in getting to the truth of the matter.
I am not suggesting for a moment The Register has suddenly become a mouthpiece for the US military, just observing that this lowering of the standards of journalistic integrity is becoming prevalent elsewhere.
lol I just turned up here to bemoan the lack of an enlargement, and what do I find? Serves me right for glazing over before the end of the first page, I suppose - it's something to do with articles based entirely on unattributed quotes ( I have the same problem with the New York Times ;-) ) ... so I can find a picture of Paris Hilton in a wig on page 5, right?
Back in the 1940s IBM had a truly unique product and they went to great lengths in the courts and elsewhere to ensure it remained so. So, unlike Ford et al, the Nazis really couldn't have done it without them. Perhaps I am an idiot for still giving a damn (it was a long time ago, after all) but at least I am contributing to the debate.
The Third Reich's bid to exterminate a significant proportion of Europe's population would never have got off the ground without IBM tabulating machines - they were really handy for counting people and their attributes. I don't see how an honest account of IBMs first 100 years can fail to mention this - it's not like they didn't get paid for them
How can you not include Abduction! in any list of top Android games?! I have personally witnessed it keep 3 children quiet for over two and a half hours ....
So they'll be spending their couple of hundred hours sweeping the streets in Second Life then?
According to the docs, you need a valid .Mac account to use Back to My Mac. I surmise that when you fire up the network interface, Back to My Mac will register it's IP with the .Mac service, so the machine can then be accessed from elsewhere.
So your point about the IP being logged and traceable is essentially correct. The webcam part was not necessary. If I was using Back to My Mac, I'd be really careful not to plug my Mac in at my illicit lover or crack dealers house, however
A Linux equivalent would be pretty straight forward to concoct using a few boot scripts and tunneling X over SSH
Paris, because she'd probably leave her laptop on with the webcam running
The idea that sharing information is illegal gives me the creeps. The problem lies primarily with where the boundaries lie. Suppose I teach some people how to make a website (it's been known to happen), and they go off and make a website that disseminates information on how to crack set top boxes or how to make a bomb.
Surely I have facilitated the actual crime (hacking/bombing) as much as the website owners?
What about those who publish OS exploits? Should they be held liable for any damage caused by hackers, desptie the fact they are providing a public service?
It's a slippery slope ...
According to the vast majority of those living there, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. In the eyes of most of the world, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. However, the vociferous M-16-toting minority of settlers consider the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be Israel.
As said settlers are much closer to Facebooks key demographic than a horde of stone throwing intifadans, Facebooks management are more than willing to distort the truth to quieten the dissent. As you can see, "accuracy" has absolutely nothing to do with it.
I want an avatar with $$$ signs on it - Paris will have to do in the interim
Facebook can call the whole damn lot Planet Mars if it likes - it's not a Post Office and has no legal obligation to accuracy - it is one of the most irritating features of the internet that users of software (web sites) consider themselves owners of said software.
/me storms in the front door of the Register wearing a keffiyeh: "All your website are belong to us"
data transfer. The only thing it's good for. Forget video calling, forget all those other services - the only useful thing a 3G phone does that a 2G can't is shift data by the bucket load. But to my mind that makes it worth it. Ever tried checking into Facebook via GPRS?
Paris Hilton once accidentally left her 3G phone making a video call after retiring for the night - the rest is history ...
Well, I'd hate to be the one to start anything, but has anyone actually asked USAF why they haven't sorted it out yet ... ?
Looks like you've got your lips wrapped firmly around Bill Gates halo *slurp*