102 posts • joined 29 May 2008
Change the government's mind?
For those who don't want to have "smart meters" introduced via legislation, it strikes me that there's an obvious way to get this government to change its mind - simply get your MEP to make the EU mandate the introduction. Then this government will immediately object to yet another wasteful imposition from Brussels costing the hard-working families of Britain billions (only, this time they'll be right).
There'll be little demand for your app.....
"..... buses are free but the Underground isn't."
That's true only for holders of the "bus pass" who live outside London. Residents of London over the age of 60 can apply for a pass (Oyster60+ or the FreedomPass if over the StatePension eligibility threshold) which gives free travel on London buses, London Underground, and most overground trains within the London region (though there are some restrictions on trains eg not before 09:30 Mon-Fri). Merseyside has a similar scheme for its older residents.
I use a trackball rather than a mouse - my hand and wrist remain completely stationary even though the pointer is zooming around the screen.
Still, it's an interesting technology, though I fail to see how it's better than a token+sensor that activates the system only when the token is less than a metre from the sensor.
Re: Homer's car
With your eyes closed, run your hands over the car, feels great doesn't it?
There's a much more prosaic reason for his design transgressions - according to legend, he was blind.....
Re: Sunbeam S7 & S8
The old (1946-'50s) Sunbeams, with a parallel twin engine, suffered badly from the inherent engine vibration. After the prototypes fell apart, mounting the engine on flexible rubber bushes in the frame was the only solution which made riding the thing tenable. If the engine is suddenly revved, then the engine would be expected to rock on its mountings. Such was the design brilliance of the British motorcycle industry in the post-war years, that Sunbeam retained the rigid mounting for the silencer...... Guess what? Rather than design the dratted thing properly, they introduced a length of flexible pipe between the exhaust pipe and the silencer. And that's ignoring the use of a worm-gear at the rear wheel which couldn't handle anything more than the modest torque of the original engine. Was it pride or stubborness that blinded them to all the benefits of the transverse-mounted flat-twin as demonstrated by Douglas, BMW, etc? At least Velocette a few years later showed how to do the job properly with the little LE; unfortunately, the market for which is was specifically designed disappeared with the availability of low-cost secondhand cars and the production the BMC Mini.
And when the inevitable happens?
How does one get a half-ton bike vertical again when one leg of the prop-stand lands on a bit of ground that can't support a quarter of a ton?
PS: If the author thinks a £75 ticket is pricey for a motoring event, then he obviously hasn't seen the admission prices for the British GP at Silverstone.
".... and the energy company EDF has said that a smartphone app would be quicker to roll-out and cheaper for consumers."
How would the 'smartphone app' work without changing the meter? My guess is that the energy companies have zero interest in consumer monitoring of energy demand but a keen interest in monitoring each consumer's usage AND the ability to remotely disconnect or 'reduce to the statutory minimum energy flow to preserve life' without having to send out a crew to cut the cable.
Re: Would their govt's migration to Linux
I think it shows a mindset in Munich that's willing to try to do better.
Re: Blue sleeves?
[For those who weren't exposed to the early days of the EDS invasion of Europe in the 1980s, Ross Perot had an apparent distrust of men with beards: no facial hair on any EDS employee.]
"The stuffed shirts at IBM were more reluctant to dirty their starched blue sleeves with such deals."
Did anyone ever meet an IBM salesman in the 60s or 70s who didn't wear a *white* shirt? I never did in twenty years dealing with them...
I thought IBM's dress code of blue suit and white shirt was part of IT mythology.
Are IBM sales folks still a source of self-deprecating jokes? As recounted by our IBM account manager:
How do you describe Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin and the IBM PCjr?
Two movie stars and a dog.
Don't they keep a log of changes?
"As the estate is used by several thousand people, 'these IT connections and security systems are very complex', and required a 'significant amount of investigative work' to identify the problem."
If the estate is complex, surely they have a change log procedure in place? Why did it need much investigation? All they had to do was to look at the log for changes made just before the problem started to appear.
But then the Director of Parliamentary ICT probably has no more trust in what the politicians say than we do.....
Re: @Don Jefe: Concrete railroad cross ties
I'm curious why you think that concrete railroad cross ties (or railway 'sleepers' as they're known in the UK) have been a failure? On Britain's railways, steel-reinforced concrete sleepers have been used as replacements for wooden sleepers for decades.
BPT's single ticketing proposal
As I understand Bletchley Park Trust's proposal for "single ticketing", BPT would pocket £15 and the Museum would get £2. But the standard admission charge for the Museum is £5 (£2 just for the Gallery which is all that BPT's single ticketing seems to offer). Would it be a surprise that the Museum would fear a substantial fall in revenue?
Methinks they'll now be spending some of that £8M Lottery funding on a better PR agency......
And Bletchley Park Trust sees itself as the daddy of the family!
UK vs EU
And in what respect do you believe that the British government is any better?
Re: How much?
Yeah, what has CERN ever done for us!
"We don't test for smell: there's no reliable benchmark for it."
Since when did the lack of a reliable benchmark stop the IT press from passing judgement?
Doesn't sound like a major problem or they've got a decent fallback system in place
"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) had to cancel 288 outpatient appointments yesterday along with four planned inpatient procedures, 23 day cases and 40 chemotherapy treatments when IT systems crashed."
With such a huge scale of operations across Glasgow, the quoted loss of activity is tiny. I'll bet the usual daily DNAs plus cancellations due to staff/theatre non-availability is ten times greater.....
Re: JFK @Eddy Ito
"Hell, even JFK would qualify as one in five by that measure."
And look what happened to him......
UK postcodes not good enough
Local authorities are supposed to use Super Output Areas(SOAs and LSOAs) for statistical analysis simply because postcodes are too small to allow anonymity. Clearly, one department of the government doesn't pay attention to what other departments have done, but then El Reg readers would be more surprised if it happened......
I have to fundamentally disagree with you.
Whilst I might find the actions of a despotic regime in a foreign country obnoxious, I have no standing. However, when the actions of the government of the country of which I am a citizen go beyond the limits of civilized behaviour, I have the right, indeed the duty, to protest.
Look more closely at what the government's submission said
To expand on what this government representative actually claimed in his submission, quoted in the BBC news item:
"[a] piece of paper containing basic instructions for accessing some data, together with a piece of paper that included the password for decrypting one of the encrypted files on the external hard drive".
ONE of the files?
Could it be that the file which Miranda had instructions on how to open contained contact information for a lawyer to assist if detained or even Rusbridger's phone number?
The government stooge also said that "many of the files were encrypted". So what was so damaging in the unencrypted files that their contents haven't been leaked by the government? His shopping list perhaps?
Re: Journalism is dead, long live the NSA
And the chilling effects go on....
Pamela Jones, a voice of relative sanity on US legal issues in IT, shut down the Groklaw blog this morning.
Re: Not everyone has a choice
And didn't Virgin Media switch its email service over to Google a year or so ago?
Big Pharma spitting feathers!
Now that the US Administration has blocked the ITC from implementing a ban which the ITC quasi-judicial process has arrived at, on the grounds of US "public interest", just how much notice should other nations take of representations from US companies when local "public interest" overrides foreign-owned patents? US pharmaceutical companies must be worried today.....
Re: Typical American behaviour @LPF
You (and Florian Mueller) are entitled to your opinion, but surely isn't the key issue that the US ITC holds a different view and banned the Apple products? The US Administration blocked the importation ban on the grounds of "public interest", not the rights and wrongs of any licence negotiations.
EU minimum tax rates
I understand that there's a minimum rate for VAT across the EU, with exceptions having to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis (eg only 5% VAT on domestic fuel in the UK). Why can't there be a minimum rate for corporate tax rates?
Or will we then see generous tax refunds in the form of "incentives for investment" from governments determined to 'beggar-my-neighbour'?
Re: Just ignore Eadon
Definitely a troll!
I tried to read one of Eadon's posts earlier this week and it's weird phraseology reminded me of the posts of the original Amanfrommars. Now, I wonder who would bother posting such inflammatory material just to generate reaction from readers?
Switching off the washing machine?
How would switching off a washing machine save electricity? If I switch off my washing machine at the wall socket, when power is restored I have to start the washing cycle from scratch - that *wastes* electricity!
Anyway, what sort of smartmeter can suspend a washing machine's operation without cutting off everything? Surely this can only work if we all have smart devices which can communicate with the smart meter. What's the capital investment required to replace all the high-consumption, but interruptible, devices?
My mother-in-law had a water meter fitted last year. That allows remote reading by the meter-man using Bluetooth. The plumber who installed it said the meter charges the Bluetooth device from the flow of water through the turbine inside the meter. I'd have thought the same principle would work for a gas or electricity meter.
Huh? Just how desperate are they?
Does Steve Ballmer think that anyone waiting for a train is going to bother with Office365 when the brass monkeys at the end of the platform are singing soprano? No, we're just hoping someone's laptop battery will burst into flames and we might just make it out alive.....
I'm happy too!
You can count me amongst those happy to pay an annual fee to avoid having programmes interrupted every 10-12 minutes by advertizing.
"We sell stuff because we think - depending on situation and customer - that it is the best solution for the situation."
But "best" for whom? From Microsoft's perspective, getting the customer to buy Premium Enterprise and Business Intelligence editions rather than Standard is much "better", so they intend to promote this by changing the incentives for the sales force. What are the odds that solutions offered to the customer will suddenly no longer include the Standard (non-rebated) versions?
Re: robots.txt is bollocks
I think John Lilburne is right that the robots.txt has to cover all possible URL combinations. In further testing to check the dates of the web-pages on my site indexed on Google, the cached option shows that Google last crawled my web-site on 13-Feb! So my robots.txt is either broken or Google doesn't respect it. I'll modify the robots file and then monitor Google for a few years........
Re: robots.txt is bollocks
I too naively hoped that Google and the other search engines would respect robots.txt. So, before posting a reply here to say "Of course robots.txt will do the job", I went to check Google for anything from my little web-site that is supposed to disallow all search engines.
Sorry, guys, but it's there on Google! Either my robots.txt* is broken or Google is displaying the original pages from the few weeks between the website going live and robots.txt being enabled, in 2005!
[And no, I'm not going to post the URL - it's supposed to be kept non-public, which does make demonstrating the issue somewhat problematic.]
* # go away
Re: Battery near ear
And as their years advance, maybe they'll become familiar with that battery-powered device that fits between the skull and earlobe: a hearing aid.
I find it surprising that nearly 1,000 thermionic valves and a load of lamps, plus all the energy required to power the relays, not to mention the losses in the power supply equipment, would require only 1.5kW. Sure it's not MW?
Re: Should be interesting (@jai)
"..... the powers that be are going to notice, and then take some action to fix the system"
Yeah, but what confidence do you have in the powers-that-be that they will apply a fix that will *improve* the patent system?
Re: Too late...
V2000? Ah, you're using the modern technology - I've only got a (working) Philips N1700 video recorder from 1979 with a stack of VCR150 tapes carrying such programmes as Michael Woods' original "In Search of ..'"series on the Anglo-Saxons (you know, the one about Eric Bloodaxe).
And, no, I'm not submitting any photos of my collection - someone might recognise and break in to steal one of the "valuable IT antiques" such as the original dBaseII (autographed by Mr Ashton himself), Multimate-II, Crosstalk or Displaywrite4 boxed sets. Oops, I shouldn't I have said that, should I!
It may be scrap, but it's got memories associated with it!
I can't claim anything really old, but a few examples from my hoard:
An Anderson-Jacobson AJ832 30cps daisy-wheel terminal (printer and keyboard) complete with pedestal on castors, bought by my wife in the late '70s for data-entry, retired in the late '80s and acquired in 1989 when they moved offices. Ideal for printing on fan-fold paper. Used since 1989? Never.
A K&N acoustic coupler - the sort that you put the telephone handset inside and closed the wooden lid. Maximum speed: 300bps.
Umpteen IBM token-ring ISA & MCA adaptors, a couple of hubs and a sackful of cables, all made redundant when I (reluctantly) switched to 100base-T Ethernet.
The 10" platter and heads from a DEC exchangeable disk pack of unknown age (it was scrap in 1980).
Half-a-dozen IBM PS/2 keyboards, over twenty years old but still our favourite keyboard - I'm typing on one now.
And an old favourite from the '70s and beyond: my paper-tape hand punch with integral guillotine - essential for splicing paper-tape for input to the 1904S. Ah, happy days......
If there is one thing that upsets a judge.....
It's having the finger of blame pointing at them!
If you read the transcript of the questioning of the prospective jurors by the judge, you'll see that whilst she explores the one case that Hogan does reveal, she immediately moves on without checking "And were there any other lawsuits you've been involved in?". Hogan may defend his apparent lack of candour by claiming that he wasn't given the opportunity to reveal the earlier cases.
What are these "major efficiency savings"?
The CPC project is entirely laudable (what's taken them so long?). But I question Benoît Battistelli's prediction of "major efficiency savings". Just where do these savings come from? At the end of the EPO press release there is: "It is also expected to enhance efficiency by supporting work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary work duplication", but that doesn't sound "major". In fact, what does it mean? Does it mean "we're planning to match applications submitted to both USTPO and EPO, to assign the research to one or other office and to grant or reject patents as if they were one organisation"? I share the fears of what might be EPO's unspoken long-term goal implied by "the CPC will be a stepping stone towards a more general harmonisation of the world's patent systems".
Anyway, what practical difference will this unified classification scheme make to the USTPO? I thought, perhaps I'm wrong, that USTPO were constrained in where to look for prior art, and it doesn't include non-US patents. So how would being able to search European patents just as easily as US patents save them any effort? And that's making the enormous assumption that the USTPO does search their own patents for prior art before granting a patent........
Re: In fairness, should also report Samsung asking for a retrial
And specifically, if Samsung's claim ".... while Samsung's witnesses were barred from explaining how Samsung's products differ from Apple's" bears any relation to reality, then I'd have thought the overturning of the verdict at the the Appeal Court was a slam-dunk.
Whilst I agree with your sentiments, have you not realised that some El Reg authors seem only be quoting FOSSpatents (Florian Muller) in order to increase the number of indignant comments?
Re: Not quite the first
Quick! Someone tell the USTPO about this prior art *before* Apple makes the inevitable application for a patent on the ability to watch BBC downloads on a mobile.
Re: What A Load Of Homo Sapiens Bullcrap !
I totally agree with your suggestion "..then please don't have a cat". But what about the neighbours' feline predators?
"But thanks to the google / oracle spat we now know that an API is not protectable"
Maybe not! The trial judge gave his judgement that API should not be copyrightable, but the appeal court may decide differently. It won't be settled law in the USA until the US Supreme Court has given judgement.
What, you think that Oracle are going to give up so soon?
Problems for the BBC?
Will adverts appear on Skype's video-call service?
Over the last year or so, I've seen several interviews with members of the public on BBC news programmes via the video version of Skype. If adverts appear during the course of the interview, then that'll mean the end of live broadcasting of Skype-based interviews to allow the adverts to the edited out. And presumably the advert-supported channels won't be too happy either.
Re: UPS: "Sorry, complete and utter rubbish"
Do you undertand the difference between an "on-line" and "off-line" UPS?
A ferro-resonant UPS would definitely obscure micro-fluctuations in demand, not to mention those motor-generator sets with spinning inertia that covered our ICL mainframes thirty years ago!
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