Now all we need to do is take that object-oriented stuff out...
403 posts • joined 24 Apr 2008
Now all we need to do is take that object-oriented stuff out...
Please celebrate Shakespeare's birthday, but the quotation is "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned - Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, 1697
I gave you an upvote.
I agree that people don't engage with systems that are clunky and complex. A simple easy to use interface, if well designed, shields the user from the data store which can be as complex as required. COBOL is still used in a lot of systems, for instance I believe that it still lurks within DVLA systems. A lot of legacy banking type applications use old z/OS and/or COBOL but the punter sees a web-based front end.
Facebook, I think, uses their own customized Linux across much of their systems Being old, I consider Linux to be a *NIX, although I admit that I might be biased towards systems that have a BSD legacy.
I have worked in the Scientific Civil Service (a long time ago); then as a science/technology specialist and advisor in a very large public organization; then as the senior technical bod in a high tech private company; and then, until I retired, as the MD and major shareholder of a tech/consulting/software/science company. I have a radical idea. Why not go back to the old days when the UK science/tech civil service used to be "a job for life".
They used to oversee all of this stuff. For a large project you would have a (very) few (very) short term technical consultants in to teach/mentor the full time civil servants. The government types knew that, short of gross moral turpitude, they had a job for life - So they tended to make decisions based on their long term careers inside the service and (I can say this with a straight face) for the general good.
This tended to avoid the responsible people choosing whatever technology was new and likely to gain them employment outside the service. I have personal knowledge of a large public service contract in the late 1980s that was awarded because it used the new, shiny, coming-thing that was Sun kit. The project was implemented, and then the staff left for private enterprise. Something similar happened with Java in the mid to late 1990s...
It seems to be a mind-set issue - Way back then if you asked a public servant what they did they would tell you that they were employed in the public service. They did not say that they were a network engineer. This stuff worked really well until the commercial and political fiddling and cronyism that came in later. To encourage good people to stay, salaries were at least comparable with those outside (not now)."Special Merit" promotion grades were available to skilled people - If you were good at your job you were promoted, but you still did similar technical work. A "normal promotion" generally meant that you stopped doing what you were good at, and became an administrator (which many techie types are very bad at). Obviously there were the typical project creep/budget and implementation problems that you would expect, but there was little perception of practices that tended toward subornation.
I am expecting a lot of down votes from people who do very well with the current, broken, regime...
... of having many state employees. You have described a consequence of Cyril Northcote Parkinson's Law. He was one of the first people to formulate the inevitable increase in the public service in a 1955 article in the Economist. Describing this as a state/government problem is, perhaps, unfair - This phenomenon can be observed in any large organization including private companies.
I thought that Mark might have been reviewing cartoons featuring Linda, not Ada...
" A 3% net profit margin is excessive now?"
I too have run businesses, I would be more interested in what sort of return the principals were actually getting - You know the ones that include "salaries", "fees", "rentals" "charges" etc.
Before I had a company where I was the main shareholder, I ran a high-tech business for a banker who could always adjust the books by paying himself a very large salary whenever the net started to look too high. He also charged the business for the rentals on a Mercedes 600 saloon and a coupe, etc. Just before I left he sold it, but removed these charges so the net look a lot bigger...
Charity actually doesn't bring that much benefits since in the US people seem to just deduct them (up to 50%) in income taxes, and which percentage of the money is actually used to help people in need?
After being on the Board for a number of years of a medium-sized but respected charity, I came to a regretful conclusion: Stop tax relief on all charities. That includes relief on donations and on charities' operations.
Most charities are run as a "business". They are not. They almost always seem to morph away from their core purpose and to increase their overheads by expanding the number of paid staff that they have (Volunteers are much harder to manage), or they subcontract their core activities to real businesses.. After a while, to ensure reliable revenue, they tend to expand to encompass more work that is done by a "real business" which does not have the tax break; or they do work that was previously done by governments, often with public money.
Large donations are often used to drive the donors' personal, political or business agendas. This can be potentially even more damaging when the charity is set up by wealthy "philanthropists".
Alternatively, if we are going to allow tax relief, how about relief being dependent on the charity being wound up after, say, 5 years - Any excess monies being directly given to the beneficiaries - Failure to comply would cause a full audit and any tax deficit to be paid by the directors...
Actually, two very ancient and knackered Ampex machines were eventually stolen from deep storage. The insurance settlement bought four new PCs with audio software!
OK, BOFH, so what did you do with the ancient Ampex machines then?
A link with a bit more meat from the Pheonix article from Macalope at Macworld last week:
Linux Australia notified Australia's Privacy Commissioner about the breach and has tightened the screws on the rebuilt server. It has committed to better patching regimes.
The group has welcomed assistance from Computer Emergency Response Teams in identifying the exploited unknown vulnerability.
Or Theo could lend them a server running OpenBSD?
Good point, but governments don't want increased productivity - They say they do, but they really don't. A nightmare for a government that has to pander to a small vested interest, is a high productivity economy that allows their population lots of free time. You can have only so much of bread and circuses before the proles start asking questions instead of being safely at work, or travelling to it.
This might be one reason why we have created so many "non jobs' since industries were off-shored. The last thing that our rulers want is a lot of over-educated people with spare time. The other effective mechanism of high levels of un(der)employment, or forced leisure can only be held at a certain level before the rioting mobs start setting fire to stuff.
I wonder what we will do when the current Indian, South American, and Asian work force is too expensive; and they too are replaced by automation and workers from still cheaper countries? I remember the 1970s and 1980s, when I was one of the people tasked with increasing productivity by means of automation - We were told that everyone would only have to work 2 days a week, and that would apply to our children too, who we should encourage to go into service and leisure related jobs...
A. "Yes, because it's the workers in those countries who would pay corporation tax if it were collected. Thus tax dodging raises local wages".
One of the things that could effect this is whether the supplying countries are sufficiently powerful and organized to set up an effective cartel.
I think that local wage taxation only fully applies when you go tax and price shopping between developing countries. If there was a similar cost for a raw material in all the developing (lesser developed) countries that could supply it, and the tax rate was the same for all of those countries, wouldn't the tax have be paid by the corporations and thus their shareholders and customers in the developed world, and not the local workers? Obviously some developed countries supply their own raw materials, and export their production surpluses weakening this potential effect.
I note that Australia (and Brazil) were/are major suppliers of tantalum - Did the destabilization of world prices cause the war lords of the Congo to become significant suppliers (up to 10%) or was that an effect of them effectively enslaving their workers and undercutting Australia and Brazil?
They could look up Yahoo while they're at it: "Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" as Defoe considered them...
Lemuel Gulliver, Gulliver's Travels Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms (1715) by Jonathan Swift.
OS platform fan boys, you are not secure.
I have a computer that I can set up with only the default install of OpenBSD on it and curl.
Then I can curl the websites I need and download them; then transfer the files that I created to a computer with a browser. Now, what can I use to do the transfer? Maybe SFTP; copy to floppy; burn to CD; transfer to USB - Oh crap, they are all potentially insecure.
I suppose I could always write my own compiler and OS and browser...
I worked with police officers in the 70s and early 80s. Trust me, Life On Mars was closer to being a documentary than dramatic (science) fiction.
My Longines watch was bought by my father in 1942 for £5 - Or a nearly 2 weeks wages for a working man. It is now worth about £1,000 or nearly 2 weeks wages.
It has been cleaned/serviced 5 times in its lifetime. The last one was 2 years ago and was £150. The total cost of ownership, so far, in real money is about £0.20 a week. I think that I can afford that for something that tells the time, looks good, and of course has a certain reverse-snobbery chic.
My father was an accountant/senior local government officer, and one of the early people who invested local government money in OTC Spot Markets. He said that for much of his working life retail/high street banking was the "Three Threes" - Borrow at 3%, lend at 3% more than you borrow, and be on the golf course at 3:00pm.
Fortunately he had retired when we all started paying ourselves too much for too little, Then came deregulation and the Big Bang when merchant bankers started playing with the money that little old ladies had put into retail bank investments.
I remember when interest on my mortgage was 18% and everybody was in an inflating market (partly due to poor tax practices and high brokerage commissions). One of the upshots was that when inflation was high, mortgagees were encouraging people to trade-up based on their apparent increase in collateral on their homes.
Before that period mortgage lending was almost sensible, a mortgager would expect a 10% deposit and only lend a first-time buyer 3 times their salary (or if you were a couple 2-2.5 times their combined income) - But only if they had a secure job. How the hell did we get to people being lent 8 times their salary in times of apparently low inflation? This seems to drive relative house prices higher, and pushes all linked prices up. This might be a reason why many younger people will be unable to purchase their own house - Whether that is a bad thing, or not, I don't know, if we compare, say, the relatively high rental property share in Germany to that of the UK.
I admit in my first reply to your original post I should have really just pointed out that the use of 'energy' instead of 'power' was the problem I had with it.
Yes, my use of "energy" was unfortunate. I should have qualified it with the word "destructive"; but as I said, I am possibly senile; and I believe that I was using the term loosely. As you have gathered I was (am) a chemist too, and have been for 44 years with Chartered status for over 30 years, so I do actually know this stuff.
I suspect that you (perhaps like I would have done before I worked with high explosives) looked at the numbers inferred by my post and thought that they could not possibly be correct - Largish amounts of energy liberated in a very short period of time is outside normal experience for most people - Hence your incorrect assumption that you would need a RPG with a 20 tonne charge.
HP, as you know, to be relevant, requires a time unit. That is why I included the car calculation in my reply to you - This shows a larger energy over a much longer time - If the petrol was mixed with a stoichiometric amount of a condensed phase oxidizer (a Sprengel explosive) and then detonated it would also give a large GJ/s result because the detonation velocity would also be in the order of Km/s and the time taken would be similar to a military HE.
Energy is the ability to do work - An explosive is powerful because it does that work in a very short time.
"a RPG delivers very roughly a million times that amount of energy" ... kW is a unit of power not energy... If you meant 90 kJ are you seriously suggesting that a RPG delivers 90E9 J ? For comparison TNT has an explosive yield of ~4 MJ/kg.
Please show your workings ! (90E9 J is the rough yield from > 20 tonnes of TNT) That's some RPG. Shoulder launched ?
I am old now (and possibly senile), but when I did this sort of thing as an explosives chemist for MoD over 40 years ago the rough rule of thumb was 1 cubic inch of composite HE generates 7million HP when it goes bang.
Many of us get confused about energy power and and the rate of doing work. I can get confused with units because when I was at school, we learnt ft-lb/sec, then c.g.s, then m.k.s; and then, when I was working, SI units. So, to see if I am in the right ball park, a few numbers:-
Petrol (which is a lot more energetic/Kg than TNT as it has no oxygen contained within it) has 8 MJ/L or 44.4 MJ/kg - In a 90 Kw car, that 1 kg would allow it to travel very roughly 15 km in 15 mins - The engine uses that 44 MJ in 900 seconds or very roughly 0.05 MJ/s (It doesn't because petrol engines are ~30% efficient).
TNT only has 4.7 MJ/kg. The more powerful composite high explosives would have >5 MJ/kg. A RPG warhead contains ~0.2Kg of explosive so that would be ~1 MJ. The velocity of detonation of composite is ~8000 m/s, and the maximum distance the detonation front has to travel within the charge is ~0.1 m. So the explosion takes 0.1/8000 sec or 1/80000 sec, therefore the RPG warhead explosion generates 1 x 80000 MJ/s or 80 GJ/s. Your 90E9 J value (90 GJ) has no time units.
The calculation based on the MoD rough rule of thumb:-
1HP = 7.46 E-7 GJ/s, so 7 million HP = 7E6 x 7.46 E-7 GJ/s or ~5 GJ/s. The warhead contains roughly 0.2kg of explosive with a density of ~1.5 which is ~130mL or roughly 8 cubic inches, so the total yield is 8 x 5 GJ/s or ~ 40GJ/s - Obviously this is about half of the "theoretical value" but allowing for differences in explosive material, velocity, and energy transfer; it is pretty close.
The secret of the large amount of destructive power in a small device is the very short time that it takes to be generated (The velocity of detonation within the charge being 8000 m/s). So, no you don't need >20 tonnes of TNT you only need 0.2 kg. RPGs can be particularly effective as they rely on the "shaped charge" effect, where most of the charge's energy is used to project a similar mass of copper in a jet with a tip velocity of ~10km/s and a temperature of ~500C into the target.
High explosives are generally classified as such if they have a detonation velocity of >3000 m/s. Gunpowder (black powder) as used in fireworks only has a deflagration velocity of 600 m/s and does not 'explode' unless confined.
My Renault Scenic outputs 90Kw.
Good point. To put the directed energy weapon prototypes in perspective a RPG delivers very roughly a million times that amount of energy from half a mile away at a very low cost.
The main point of expensive weapons system is to funnel tax revenue such that a large amount of money finishes up, via corporations, in the control of a very few individuals.
So, so happy ..
.. with LibreOffice.
I would be too, if it did not require Java for full functionality on OS X.
A woman down the road, who was "on the social", yet had a TV set with doors on.
As far as the "social" was concerned a TV with doors was "furniture", which the social services could supply to their clients. If it did not have doors it was classified as a TV or an electrical appliance which the social was not able to supply.
I have written stuff that uses Oracle going back to version 4. A truth that should be repeated:-
Q. What do you call Oracle customers?
I agree, size matters. In an emergency your mug may be the only LART to hand.
These are client systems, not minimal Debian or OpenBSD server installations that can do useful stuff without a browser - Have you tried running OS X or Windows without their bundled browsers? You can't uninstall the core components on either machine, but you can uninstall a lot more of Safari. I note that Chrome and Firefox also have more high level vulnerabilities than Safari, so if you were using OS X you might not bother.
OK, I admit it - I read the original article. Not the best headline unless Betteridge's Law applies?
The original article states that Windows 8.x and Internet Explorer combined have 278 vulnerabilities including 242 High Level vulnerabilities. OS X and Safari have 217 including 67 High Level vulnerabilities...
Google - We use "open source" so that you don't have to. E-mail is obviously far to much trouble for a business to do, so we will do it for you, and monetorize you to our real customers. You are not a customer of Google even if you pay them, just a resource to ber mined.
"Don't be evil", unless it helps us become more powerful and earn even more...
Good point Chris. Have an Upvote, although I don't think many El Reg readers work 35 hours a week or less, and few don't commute, unless they work from home. Working from home was great for me when I was self-employed - It allowed me to work a 60+ hour week ;-)
I'm retired now, and have learnt a truth that you may hear from other retirees "Im so busy, I don't know how I ever had time for work".
"Rich" meaning having free time, in modern times, tends to apply to those who are wage slaves.
We know that people in many hunter-gatherer societies only have to spend a couple of hours a day obtaining food and servicing their basic needs of procuring tools, accommodation and security. It was not until humans developed agriculture that most of us have had to work for much of our waking hours. Free time for many of us in the developed world is now quite limited after the time spent at work, travelling and sleeping. On the other hand we have a greater life expectancy and toothpaste.
An interesting article Tim, you might have overdone this bit though:-
By splitting up tasks so that different people do different parts of them, each person can become better at that specific task. We can thus get more production for the same amount of labour. And as living standards are going to depend on what we can get from human labour (as Paul Krugman has said, productivity isn't everything but in the long run it's pretty much everything) then increasing the efficiency with which we turn labour into products will raise living standards.
As far as I can see, many larger businesses have effectively simplified jobs by making them more limited. This applies particularly in service industries, which are apparently where most of us will be working - Each "skill" is being de-skilled such that it can be easily and cheaply taught, such that the worker is easy to replace. I suspect that this is deliberate as each worker becomes the supplier of a fungible service - Eighteenth century industrialists understood this, so this is not new - Although it might seem novel to people growing up after WWII, before the deregulation revolution of the 1980s.
This, and a deliberate increase in structural un(der)employment may be a significant mechanism that will have the affect of making many people in the developed world worse off, with less free time.
... related to embedding Java in it, which I suspect was done as proof that even Oracle can be made more obnoxious, obtuse, unfriendly and expensive if you try really hard.
As someone who was writing stuff with Oracle databases since Oracle V4, I can assure you that it did not need Java to make Oracle more obnoxious, obtuse, unfriendly and expensive - They managed that perfectly well with C...
There was this Write Once Run Anywhere language... I've been using it for years... Very popular in the enterprise. Lots of work and lots of devs. Now what was it...
I think you meant C.
I was recently discussing software interfaces with a large manufacturer of a range of very expensive precision scientific instruments. Traditionally they are using Windows PCs for this (a long time ago they used VAXen or PDP11s).
They said that they were so annoyed with the uncertainty of Windows 7: 8; 8.1 and tablets that they were looking at a complete change of approach. One of the things that they are considering is to make each instrument with its own configurable internal web server. Its control parameters could be entered on its web pages by a PC, tablet, phone, terminal etc. There would be sufficient storage on each device that the data it had acquired could be transferred with a simple get after it had run.
If only Australia had a publicly owned communication structure then the Government could mandate what was built...
A definition of "fair" that always seems to work is a cake that is divided between two people. The rule is that the cutter picks their piece of cake after the second person has chosen.
In a non 50:50 split there may be altruism shown by the first picker, so that the cutter benefits if they have not been "fair", but not in most cases (unless the chooser is on on a diet, or doesn't really like cake).
If a farmer goes to the trouble of having soil samples analysed (normally by his fertilizer supplier) and there is enough N and P, the farmer will be told to apply a maintenance dose. That is a relatively low level of fertilizer, most of which gets washed away into the local water courses without affecting the crop. The fertilizer company REALLY does not want the farmer to not use their product - They might stop buying it when they don't need it...
Will there be award-winning fjords?
Thanks for the link to "Ignition!". I worked at one of the places mentioned with a number of the materials discussed. A particular joy of HTP was that, when over about 85%, it could set your clothing and hair on fire...
Generally, you will be OK. Multiply the numbers by roughly 2/3, but you will still be over the legal limit in the morning. In most social drinking you would eat something which will slow everything down. Younger drinkers tend to throw-up at least as much as they keep down. Potentially lethal levels start at ~0.25% - I have personal knowledge of people dying at that level, although usually after inhaling vomit.
I know of one RTA fatality at 0.1% where an elderly woman was struck by a car. The driver was just under the limit, and the suggestion was that the pedestrian was drunk. However witnesses said that she had nursed her usual single pint of Mackeson before walking in front of the car. She only weighed 5 stone.
>>==================> Approximately 2 standard drinks.
OK, I've driven to the pub, drank a gallon of beer and got a taxi home.
What point the next day am I safe to drive? It would be nice if you could buy a cheap unit to give you a vague idea of whether you're legal or not.
A rough answer, assuming that you are sober enough to do the sums: A pint is roughly 2 standard drinks (Old Peculiar is more, boy's bitter is less). So your gallon is roughly 16 standard drinks. A standard drink is roughly equivalent to a 0.03% blood alcohol level if drunk by an average 11 stone man. The same man could metabolize alcohol at roughly 0.018% each hour. So if you drank your gallon over 4 hours you would be very roughly 16x.03 - 4x.018, say 0.4%. This is a level where people can die due to respiratory suppression... Assuming that you get home at midnight, and don't choke in your own vomit overnight, at 8:00am you are still likely to be at five times the 0.05 limit.
In the real world there are a lot more variables. Women have proportionally more fat in their bodies, so their blood volume is generally less (as well as generally having lower levels of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol). If your weight is 22 stone (and not mostly fat!) you can drink more.
Generally people who drink regularly appear to be less drunk, but when analysed their blood alcohol limits are similar to people who drink less.
Libre Office for Mac. No subscription required, no MS tax to pay, no ongoing financial commitment. Nothing else to say.
Unfortunately to get full use of Libre Office, it needs Java, so no, thank you.
I never bothered to upgrade from the previous version. I'm retired and really don't need it.
On the Mac, TextEdit, Pages, vim, and nano do most of what I want. I am also sad enough to type: echo Put text in a file by echoing from the CLI. >>somefile.txt
If I need a higher fidelity copy of a Microsoft file, starting up the free MS Word or Excel viewers in a Windows VM in Parallels then printing the file through a PDF printer does it for me.
The free iPad versions of Excel, Powerpoint, and Word are also handy...
For emergencies, keep a roll of lavatory paper in the fridge.
You'll be sweating so much, you won't need a coat >>=========>
We have the new model Dyson stick without the animal head (no pets). We both have back trouble and I have a duff neck caused by a RTA. The old cylinder cleaner was too heavy and its wheels kept getting stuck in the deep-pile carpet, causing it to fall over. We replaced it with the Dyson and are very pleased with it.
I can clean our 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, small office, hall and living/dining/kitchen unit with a single charge. Not having a cable to trip over is a real bonus. The docking station is screwed to a wall in the garage, and is easy to use provided you remember to lift the cleaner slightly before pushing it into place.
I use DuckDuckGo.
On the occasions that I use Google (DuckDuckGo is not perfect) Google has to fight through a private mode browser, AdBlock, Privoxy, Ghostery, and a hosts file on a connection with a dynamic address.
So, to them, I would appear to be a paranoid tight-arse who doesn't buy anything - Well the paranoid bit may be right...
"The TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Service)" - TITSup what?
TITSUP - Total Inability To Support Usual
My wife bought us a Linn LP12 in 1974. It became a bit of a Trigger's broom, but still had the original base, bearings, lid, suspension, and top plate until I had to sell it a few years ago after a motor accident. It is still going strong with its new owner.
There real bugger was having to buy the Naim 250, speakers, radio, etc., to go with it...
My iPad Air takes just under 20 seconds to boot from off, or less than a second from Sleep...