336 posts • joined 2 Jun 2008
Re: Are there ANY success stories?
I've worked on a few. For example the IT system for ESA (employment and support allowance) was huge and that was on time and on budget in 2008
... there aren't that many countries that he would be risking travelling to anyway, but nice to have the option.
Sad but true
One reason I've stuck with Virgin Media is the telephone extensions around the house are wired into the Virgin telephone socket and I can't be bothered to rewire everything.
Luckily the service is pretty good where I live, and the BT cabinet is a little way away, so I suspect FTTC wouldn't get me more than 30-40Mbit anyway.
The problem with CBA...
While a useful tool the CBA has some serious limitations when dealing with infrastructure investments that will have payback periods beyond 20 years. Things like smaller road and rail schemes are easy to work out, as they payback in 10 years or less, and the assumptions that they are built can be made reasonable particularly with a well done sensitivity analysis.
Things like the severn barrage are almost impossible to evaluate quantitatively - taking that as an example, it would have had an operational life of 100 years or so. You can do some work on the electricity price projected forward (which is what they did), but the qualitative benefit of having a power source that will provide a predictable amount of electricity twice a day (or more depending on the configuration of the tidal pools) 50 years hence when we may be running out of hydrocarbons is really only a qualitative point to be evaluated. What really killed the Severn Barrage was how unlikely it would have been to get a private sector partner involved given the huge uncertainty.
That applies to the NBN now - a full analysis has to be guided by a qualitative look at what the infrastructure could do for the economy over the next 40 years, as well as the more predicable payback over the next 20 years. Just because the CBR is lower than 1, does not mean we should not do it.
Re: Guillotine ...
That's because you never hear about the successful ones as they are not news worthy, just the ones that screw up.
And from my experience the private sector screw up just as much, they just don't have the public accounts committee to publicise it.
Was very annoyed...
... as it's not like they didn't know that it was coming. This kind of stuff seems to happen quite a lot. Is there a shortage in techies who know how to build a properly extensible infrastructure, or have Netflix and LoveFilm employed them all?
Still, managed to find a work around with some quick googling. Thank you TVCatchUp
Re: muppet show
Impressive. Someone who never ever makes mistakes. I take my hat off to you - clearly a new step on the evolutionary ladder.
Meanwhile, for the rest of us some kind of AV is a pretty good idea - I still use AVG as its nagware doesn't annoy me too much. i think I've now worked out where the controls to switch off almost all of the nagging, that stupid tool bar and the AVG search home page it keeps trying to make me use.
Please let this not be true...
.... it's all turning a bit Jar Jar otherwise
Isn't this one of the selling points of the Tetra tech used by the emergency services?
While a very interesting car, not sure I would compare it to a supercar like a 458 or MP-12C. Looks more like competition for grand tourers than out and out supercars
Re: "signed off"?
Things have changed a bit in the last couple of years since I was working in this area of government (currently working in the private sector - exactly the same screw ups but you never hear about them), but big projects typically have several stages to the business case as work to develop it progresses and funding is released.
Given the disaster that is UC, I suspect they are not going along the normal process, but there should have been a strategic business case (SBC or SOBC), an outline business case (OBC) and a full business case (FBC) - its probably the sign off of the full business case (releasing the remaining funding for the project) that has yet to be approved, probably due to missing approval gates from the major project authority and /or complete IT disaster.
Remember, when it comes to the public sector, never assume its deliberate if it can be explained by a screw up.
Agree - it seems like the new TIM hasn't made that much of a difference in the early examples.
My Sandybridge CPU does a very stable 4.5Ghz using a relativel cheap air cooler and I was hoping this would be a significant improvement. Of course there are some other architectural improvements from Sandybridge so I'm sure this would bench quicker then if I ran mine at 4.7Ghz, but I was hoping for something more.
Always thought that their 'dime sized antennae' based excuse sounded a little hollow. I'm all for disruptive technologies, but this always sounded to me like they had stepped over the line
Good to see 'leccy cars improving. Cost is still too high for me (if I had £50k I'd be buying a second hand 911 and saying sod the environment), and my ideal would be to have a small on-board engine to get me home if I'm too far away from a fast charger.
Still, another 10 years and I may have an electric car sitting on my driveway
Re: Nice idea..
See my comment above - you clearly haven't worked on social security or tax systems.
I've seen more complex and seemingly outlandish examples included because of the sheer number that crop up, meaning meatbag processing would be quickly overwhelmed .
We were not stupid - only complexity that needed to be in the system was there. There are plenty of manual workarounds on the system for complex situations where the numbers are small. However, you also need to consider the number of workarounds - they soon mount up, and before you know it there are as many cases being processed off system as on system.
I seem to remember the particular example above was included as it tipped over the de minimus for stupidly complex cases - can't remember exactly what it was but it was in the low thousands. Sounds unbelievable, but to be honest once you've worked on social security systems your threshold to be surprised by the situations people can get themselves into is pretty high.
Re: Nice idea..
How easy to type, how hard to implement in practice.
The idea behind UC was kicking around for YEARS in DWP before IDS came in. A smaller attempt was made to bring benefit systems together in the mid 2000s which was scrapped as it quickly ran into the sand.
There are two reasons the benefits system is complex - one is the incremental nature of it, with things being layered on top of each other for years and years until we end up where we are now.
The other is that life is stupidly, incredibly, ridiculously, unbelievably complex, and the benefits system has to take account of that as the impact of ignoring it can have profound consequences for people.
Lets take an example - I'm a bank and a customer wants to open an account and give his 3 wives (he has a polygamous marriage from his time living in Qatar) access. A bank may look at that use case and say "screw it, too costly to implement the functionality, hardly anyone needs that so I won't build the functionality in to the system and if he doesn't like it I don't care, he can naff off to another bank"
The DWP can't say that, as if he can't claim benefits he and his wives and his kids will starve (lets ignore the arguments over whether or not he should get benefits). In the UK polygamous marriage is not legal, so which marriage do we recognise (the first one, as the rules currently go - yes this is a real example I've worked on in the past) ? What do the other two women with kids do about their benefit claims? They all live in the same house, so how can we work the rules to ensure they have enough to live on, but don't get more than their fair share and take the piss.
If you think that is a ridiculous use case, then you clearly have never worked on social security or tax systems. There are many many many examples like this - my favourite is the guy who changed his name to his national insurance number which caused a re-write in a bunch of modules as it broke some validation rules designed to weed out mistypes.
As my boss used to say, when your IT system has to deal with the entire working population every month (for example with national insurance), then one in a million situations happen at least once a day.
I agree as well - I replaced the heating system in my house last year (we had not long moved in and it was ancient and partly broken) and I couldn't see much benefit from the clever gizmos on top of a cheap programmable thermostat and thermostatic valves on the radiators.
We have a combi boiler, so hot water timing isn't needed, and things just don't change that much in the house that often. The timer can be set to different times and temps on different days, and the thermostatic valves are set to a lower temperature in the 2 rooms we don't use much (junk room, spare bedroom). It also has a holiday feature to override the normal settings between specified dates
I guess if the time you leave and come back to the house varies a lot then then being able to switch the heating on before you get back might be nice. And if you have air con (my mate is an air con engineer and has fitted some end of line units in his house - very jealous in the summer) and / or underfloor heating then I can see the benefit in linking things together. But for most of us whose times in and out of the house are controlled by work and school, I can't see much benefit for now.
Which is a shame, as I love gadgets :)
Is this a joke?
I already use my Oyster to travel pretty much anywhere inside the M25 north of the river, and a fair chunk south of the river (there be dragons etc etc) on overground, underground and buses.
So this is adding Oyster to some more Southern trains stations (extending out past Leatherhead for example), a few extra buses (the one that goes past my house to Watford Junction would be nice, and not that difficult as other Oyster enabled buses go to Watford Junction) and Taxis?
How can they talk about this with a straight face?
Re: Lenovo Yoga 2 > Surface, at least for business
My Yoga 2 is 1920 x 1080 - not sure I'd get any benefit at a greater resolution for the vast majority of the work I do.
We try and keep the number of words on a slide down to a minimum for senior management. Don't want to confuse them, the poor dears :)
Lenovo Yoga 2 > Surface, at least for business
I've been using a Lenovo Yoga 2 as my main work machine for a bit now, and it seems to provide a good enough tablet experience without compromising its main duty of letting me do a day's work in MS Office (yes, I gave up being a 'proper' techie a while ago - editing slides in powerpoint pays so much better )
Remember this is a business machine. Tablet duties at work are limited (taking notes in meetings, showing things to people at their desks etc), and limited at home as well as I already have a Nexus tablet to play games / surf / try and wrestle out of the grip of my kids.
I can't really see any benefit that the Surface gives me over the Yoga. If I was going to use it primarily as a tablet with a bit of laptop work, it may be different.
.... that it's even half as good as the stupendous original.
Anyone remember the novella that came with the boxed BBC version of Elite? I've lost it now, but seem to remember that it was a very passable bit of si-fi fiction.
Re: £900 ???
I don't think I have more than 30 or so PC games that work on my current PC either. I certainly don't get time to play more than a couple (bloody kids).
To my great annoyance I had to buy the command and conquer full set (only £10 admittedly) to get Tiberian Sun working, as my old copy simply refused to work with my modern graphics card. And I don't like to think of the hours I've spent trying to get the original Carmageddon working....
Re: £900 ???
You'd have to buy an awful lot of games to make up for the £500 price difference between a PS4 and this (PS4 is approx £400 which for me was £350 + a year on PS Plus). From what I've seen of the games I buy for my PS4 (typically blockbusters like Call fo Duty) the price difference is rarely more than £10-15 on launch day (much less after a couple of months). I'd need to buy around 40 games just to break even (assuming I buy into PS Plus every year). That's as many as I have in total for my PS2, PS3 and PS4!
Am I unreasonable in my expectations, but £900 seems really expensive to have a moderately powerful PC that is quite small.
That's more than my desktop cost - granted its an ATX case, but I could have easily plumped for the same components in a mATX case so it could be hidden behind the TV cabinet rather than under my desk in the study, and it is much more powerful for running games.
Can't see this displacing consoles any time soon.
A better business model...
... would be to bundle a 1 year sub into the price of the car, and be prompted to renew at the annual service. Another hook to keep people coming to the dealer and you start to just see it as a cost of maintenance of the car
Dear god noooo
What the hell are they doing? This may be good for google, but it's likely to be rubbish for consumers as it drives away other manufacturers from the premium segment. One of the reasons I switched to Android from iOS was the much wider range of phones on offer - want a big screen? There's a phone for that. Want an SD card slot and removable battery? Yup, there's a phone for that. Want a cheaper phone that does the job almost as well? Yup, there's a bunch of them.
In the long term this can only reduce the number of manufacturers and variety of handsets. If I only wanted a small number of handset choices, I'd have stayed with iOS!!
Love the idea of the swivel camera, and the software sounds great. I'd prefer a smaller form factor, a removable battery (you'd be amazed how much I make use of battery swapping on my S4) and an SD card slot. And the price, given the internals, sucks.
Still, as a first effort this looks great as they will only get better. Their next gen may be a good replacement for my S4 when the time comes
still no reason for 99% of people in the UK to bother with bitcoin
Why the chuff would I pay for anything except, ahem, questionable items with bitcoin. My credit cards and debit cards work perfectly well, with the benefit if someone tries to swindle me I can avail myself of the current legislation and get my bank or credit card company to pay me back. Like the vast majority of the population of the UK I hardly ever make international transactions, and the convienence of doing so using my existing cards far outweighs the transaction fee.
The only current benefit of bitcoin I can see is not having my bank or credit card company having a record of my transactions - which I don't care about. At all. And if the public reaction to the Snowden revelations is anything to go by, nor does hardly anyone else.
The currency fluctuation is HUGE, the hassle of setting up a wallet and exchanging some cash is not small and I can only see a benefit for a vanishingly small number of people. Tell me again why any retailer would pay for a machine to take bitcoins except for publicity purposes?
Up the road, not next door
The Ministry of Fun is at the top end of Whitehall, so he will have wandered up the road from the Treasury (he won't have been based in No11, too junior for that)
Re: I don't think that Prime Minister David Cameron knows what he's defending.
He's reading a brief prepared for him on the basis of guesses of what questions will be coming up.
IIRC the call goes out across Whitehall from No10 on a Monday lunchtime for briefs by the end of the day, giving the squirrels in No10 time to package it all up for Wednesday morning when the PM starts his prep. It's a well oiled machine, only punctured by your cynicism :)
Re: Could competition have worked?
Virgin because of suburban in-fill (there are quite a few places that get crap broadband over BT wires and the Virgin cable is at the end of a road close but doesn't extend down it) and new estates and edges of towns they are in already.
Agree their network model would mean they are unlikely to be laying cable down country lanes.
Could competition have worked?
I do wonder whether we were barking up the wrong tree trying the competition angle at all, and whether it would have been better to do a top level deal with BT and Virgin from the outset, with some cash set aside for communities to go it alone where it isn't commercially viable.
With hindsight, I do wonder whether no matter what we had done, under the existing regulatory and EU competition laws there would have been the same result anyway.
Use it for work. Love it.
People are different - who could have guessed?
Don't do it...
It's a cunning plan to get the worst commentard critics in one place and 're educate' them, BOFH style.
Cattle prods at the ready...
Reinforces my view...
... that there is likely to be no point in the average person ever bothering with BitCoin or any of the other crypto-currencies
No advantages for most of us, lots of disadvantages.
The annoying thing is...
... that he did have a point before the $100bn return was announced, as Apple was hoarding shareholder's cash and there was no good reason not to return it. The cash is not Apple's, or Snr Jobs' or Tim Cook's - it's owned by the shareholders and if the management can't demonstrate how they are going to make shareholders a return on the cash they should give it back.
Yes the man is a tool, and a corporate raider, but corporate governance at the moment sucks monkey balls - far too many CEOs and boards treat companies as their property and put their needs above those of the owners.
Re: Moral superiority of having less tech
I'm being sarky not because of the old phone, but because some people think that using an old phone conveys some kind of moral tech superiority - 'look at me, I use an old Nokia, bow before my greatness'.
I didn't say that because I have a smartphone I think myself to be superior.
Non smartphone ownership doesn't have any bearing on whether or not I think myself to be above you - I am superior to all you peasants for other, non-phone related reasons. Mainly my enormous intelligence and humble nature.
PS - Some of us manage to use this thing called 'willpower' to receive work emails on smart phones and not look at them if we don't want to - strange huh?
Moral superiority of having less tech
I've never understood the vocal minority of commentards on El Reg who think that not having a smartphone provides some kind of tech moral superiority, and the ability to look down on other people.
Still use a 14 year old Nokia? Good, I'm sooo glad for you. What a titan of IT you are; your tech virility on display for all mere iPhone users to behold and wonder. We tremble before your green and black screen greatness, and marvel at your 4 day battery life. Women want to be with you, and men want to be you (or at least have the honour of charging your spare battery).
Could I junk my smart phone for my old feature phone? Of course, but I don't see why I should, and I don't see why my life would be better / easier because of that.
Re: Is this the first time that ...
Excellent rant and seconded.
Universal Credit had been floating around as an idea for years before this government gave it a shot - the policy wonks in DWP loved it but no one who knew the legacy IT systems was stupid enough to actually try and do it (massive IT failure in 2005/6 excepted, and that was with just two IT systems being shoved together) until IDS started it.
On the war widower pensions, I'd heard tell that some of the records from the wars being used for pensions were written in ledgers created near the front line, with covers made from oil drums. Try digitizing that as part of a standard contract!
You missed one of the best quotes from the document, which said that the tax avoidance was an incidental aspect of how they had organised themselves, implying that tax is not the reason that all their European operations are based in Ireland.
I bet it's because of the great broadband so their employees can work from home.
Now I'm no fan of corporation tax as a principle (tax people and behaviours, not organisations if possible - see Tim Worstall column a while back for an explanation why) but while we are stuck with it then something needs to change.
Did you see his interview in the Guardian about the programme?
Interesting insight in the line he tried to tread between knowledgeable viewers and people who think Atari is a brand of perfume:
Samsung, not Apple
Looks like the bones of a Galaxy Note, not the next iPhone to me
.... another reason to be hugely disappointed by BB10's early failures. If they had had this working well at the time of launch it may have all be so different for BlackBerry :(
Cornwall was different as the county is designated under EU rules as somewhere that needs economic development (forget the technical term, but think designations on poor areas in eastern Europe) which means EU funding and development rules apply differently than to the rest of the UK. That allowed them to do a deal with BT that wasn't available to everywhere else.
As for just bunging the money at BT from the beginning - with the benefit of hindsight you may have a point, given they have snaffled all the cash anyway.
All very depressing, given I was one of the team that set up BDUK in the first place (I left them some time ago so blame everyone that was there after me...).
Interestingly, El Reg were invited to our first industry meeting and we gave them tea, coffee and biscuits - this article is how they repay us? Ungrateful B@stards - no biscuits for you lot next time.
am I the only one...
... to welcome this? My kids are both young (under 6) and I like the idea of locking everything down till about 7.30 when they are in bed. Its of course possible to do this witbout a network level block, but there are several devices in the house they use and Im very lazy so this seems like a good option - or would be if I didnt use Virgin.
wonder what his model...
... would make of the climate of the Discworld? Plenty of maps available for that.
Re: Seems a bit pointless
Because people enjoy trolling each other on Apple related threads?
Have a down vote on the post asking about down votes..... just because I can!
Finally an electric car I may want...
.... but won't buy, as if I had £29k I'd spend £25k on a caterham, and £4k on a cheap runabout .
Seriously though, this is starting to tick the boxes properly - range extending motor I can use if I want to do the occasional longer trip; doesn't handle like it has jelly for suspension; decent performance; phone app to manage charging etc.
Still not going to spend £29k on one though.
.... having worked on a successful (i.e. on time, on budget, not hit the headlines) very large DWP IT system I know it is mindbendingly complex to implement social security IT systems. It's a shame that the guys doing this one clearly underestimated the task and screwed up so royally.
However, given the complexities, I wonder how may commentards would have done any better?
UC as an idea was around long before IDS moved in to Caxton House - from what I understand everyone had been too scared to take it on previously. Looks like they were right!
Talking about Rugby can cause embarrassment as well...
... when you start talking about being a hooker (as I found when I was young on a trip to Disney).
*Note to our colonial friends - the 'hooker' is the middle position in the front row of a scrum. The ball is put in, and the hooker uses his leg to hook the ball back to his own side.
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