224 posts • joined Monday 21st July 2008 15:59 GMT
Erm, the rail network was 99% built with private money and was privately owned until surprisingly recently. All the companies went bust and the government stepped in and brought them under public ownership.
Almost all utilities started as private enterprises - it's only when they've reached a certain size that they become nationally important. What tends to happen is that investment becomes necessary but can't be found because of long payback times or that price falls and the business can no longer service the debt it incurred building infrastructure. At that point another business buys all the assets in a fire sale - as Virgin's predecessors did with the cable companies - or government steps in as it did with the railways.
Public investment is sometimes required, I'm not sure that public ownership always is. The arguments that then arise around those two statements are as much ideological as economic.
I thought some clubs did have their own Internet TV stations? Southampton do I believe.
I think the main problem - and the unforgiveable error - is that he didn't check to see if anyone had already done what he proposed. Modern C64 interpretations have been built before and are largely, very good.
Hardware recreation is difficult - not least because the C64 incorporated flaws in its 6510 and other ICs as 'features'. This gave the designers of the C128 (and I presume the C-One) plenty of headaches, let alone someone with no skill in this area. Given that difficulty, it's easier to emulate - but that's been done superbly in VICE which emulates pretty much all 8-bit Commodores.
That leaves the proposal with no unique features, other than that it's being proposed by someone who by their own admission doesn't know what they're doing. That's a tough sell.
Great work from Elon Musk - he's the Edison of our age.
Re: could someone explain this (network newbie here)
OK, I'll no doubt grossly over-simplify here, but stick with me.
Up until the 1960's, telephone exchanges (broadly) used the same switch-plane for traffic and control/signalling. The problem with that is that it's blind to what's ahead. If something further along in the chain is broken, an element earlier in the chain probably won't know and will blindly keep sending calls to it, all of which will fail. (Massive over-simplification).
To use an analogy, it's like driving to a destination you've never been to before without consulting a map. Instead of planning a route, you stop at every junction and ask the way.
With packet as opposed to circuit switching you can take that hit - if the bridge over the river to the place where you're going is down, you can just send out someone else in another car - and keep doing so until someone gets there. Eventually the people giving directions will know the bridge is down and give you an alternate route.
Separating traffic and signalling in telephone exchanges began with Ericsson's Crossbar and the BPO's trio of experimental electronic/digital exchanges in the 60's - Highgate Wood, Empress and the TXE1. That separation allows you to plan a route in advance, to know that the elements in the chain are working - with (most) digital exchanges the switch path isn't created until the signalling path has made the distant phone ring and the called party has answered. It's efficient with bandwidth - especially compared with setting up a path from Exeter to Edinburgh just to have the exchange in Edinburgh return engaged tone. If you separate traffic from signalling/control you achieve the same result without taking up bandwidth for no benefit. Separating the planes means that the traffic bandwidth is just that - traffic - with no bits given up for signalling or control - payload increases for a given throughput.
SDN is heading in broadly the same direction - to use intelligence to plan and set up a route end-to-end, instead of making a routing decision at every switching element, every time, for every packet. Best route instead of first available route, and only set up the route once you know that information exchange can happen. Better route decision making is needed in IP networks for the same reason it was needed 50 years ago in telephony networks. Done right, it makes it cheaper.
To me, this introduces a conundrum. The logical outcome of such a step, longer term, is a return to circuit switching. If you've gone to the effort of setting up a 'best' end-to-end path, why not leave it set up for the duration of the information exchange? That gets chaps with beards dusting off research papers with B-ISDN written on them - the telecom world's proposed approach to high-speed global networking before TCP/IP won the networking war.
What, you should expect it to catch fire? I'm not sure I follow your logic.
Are you suggesting that before privatisation the electrical cables in the ceiling used a different set of physical laws that would have prevented them burning? Or that there was a better fire detection system in place that got removed post privatisation?
Re: Dirty Laundry and Empty Packaging?!
Apparently some of the instruments and kit they use on the ISS are kind of fragile. Being launched into space by a rocket can be a little bumpy. I'm not sure that binning the packaging is such a good plan. Sending the item and packaging might be expensive, but it's almost certainly cheaper than sending the item twice.
Re: Let's call it a draw...
"Are you saying that he is to technology what BoJo is to politics?"
How so? Boris's job *is* politics. Fry's job isn't technology.
Re: Time For an Interview?
How so? I can't think of a single instance where someone would be in a position to employ technical information, where they would have gained the required knowledge from a celebrity posting on Twitter.
What harm has been done to the world by him telling people that atomic clocks run the Internet? Barely anyone will remember, and even amongst those who do, no harm will come of it. It matters not one jot. If you have a job where knowing how the Internet works is important, you'll know that the clocks reference points to an earlier era and the operation of PDH and SDH line transmission and circuit switching. If you don't have a job where knowing how the internet works is important, who cares? The worst thing I can conceive happening is that the answer to a pub quiz will be wrong.
" if you present something as fact then please make sure you get it right!"
I'm not convinced it matters all that much. Using Stephen Fry as a factual source on technical matters is a couple of rungs down the ladder from Wikipedia and no-one who intends to actually use the information in any kind of even vaguely important fashion is going to do that.
No DBA is going to make some kind of monumental cockup and then blame it on Stephen Fry sending a factually incorrect tweet about how database backup technologies work.
He mentioned Turing in the context of some thing that he wanted people to vote for. It's not a thesis on the development of multi-purpose machines, it's a bloody tweet saying 'vote for Turing, he was clever'.
I'm not sure how well any of us would stand up to writing a novel, presenting a TV show, or doing voiceovers and I'm reminded of that thing about people who live in glass houses....
If having our own tiny power plants was a good idea, we'd all have diesel generators at home instead of taking power from the national grid. It's obvious to anyone after a second's thought that large scale power generation that is distributed to the point of usage is most efficient.
The other big change we need is interchangeable battery packs. It's been done in the past. When the driver of a petrol car pulls into the station, they don't wait around for it to be refined. We need a new type of petrol station that exchanges flat battery packs for charged ones and charges the ones it gets. It needs to be robotised and we need standard pack sizes, but it's not beyond the intelligence of man to achieve.
Re: Tested a drivers skill...
...or you could obstruct an emergency vehicle, fail to spot a situation developing behind you or on the junction - if you're in your car, with the engine one, on the road - pay attention. If you need to not pay attention, park.
Re: Drunk piloting (of any device )
And the relevance of any of your rant to the story in question is....?
Not true. It's absolutely provable that the highest risk time to be on the road is after 11PM. That's why some insurance companies will give you a discount if you agree not to drive at certain times.
You may be more likely to have a minor incident during rush hour - but your chances of a serious, KSI (killed or seriously injured) accident are much, much higher late at night.
Your comment is an example of someone extrapolating from limited personal experience instead of looking at what the evidence tells us. I once walked down a live railway line believing it to be disused. My map said it was, the preserved railway line who owned it had extended since the map was printed. I wasn't run over or killed. That doesn't mean that walking on live railway lines is safe.
Re: "limit of 0.5 g/l"
Its also the logic that shows why speed cameras can't be a revenue source. Catch someone four times and they lose their licence. Compare and contrast the revenue of a few hundred quid from fines versus the loss of income tax and NI revenue from someone losing their job.
If people who have been caught three times suddenly gain the ability to drive more carefully then the camera has done its job - someone who previously drove poorly is now driving more carefully.
Re: Driver training
Your argument being that it's better to let things catch fire and have fire extinguishers available than it is to prevent the fire in the first place? Most people would argue neither is sufficient and that both measures should be adopted.
Re: Just wrong
So you have your own published study that counteracts this one?
I am amazed daily by the number of people who post on an IT and computing site who seemingly have no faith in evidence, statistics or the scientific method. Maybe I've worked in the wrong companies, but I don't recall ever meeting a successful analyst, programmer, systems engineer or DBA who laughs in the face of evidence and instead goes with whatever their gut reaction to any input is.
Re: possibly one of the dumbest things i've ever read
Define 'better'. Completing a controlled course in the shortest possible time is in no way equivalent to driving on public roads with other traffic, with pedestrians and cyclists.
And how many safety critical real-time spatial problems do you tend to solve in your cube farm?
The headline is Mr Page's - nothing to do with the study.
Behave as you would when driving. If you typically ask people to hold on, do so. It won't change the outcome.
You somewhat miss the point about statistics. The concentration argument is similar to the speeding argument. No-one suggests that if you speed you will instantly crash. No-one suggests that if you stop concentrating you will instantly crash.
What statistics do suggest - in fact more than suggest, prove - is that either of those things increase at a macro level the rate at which people crash.
We're reasonably good at car occupant safety in this country - congested roads and a modern car fleet mean that most accidents happen at speeds that a car's safety systems can deal with. What we're awful at, compared to our European neighbours, is the safety of more vulnerable users. If you have children, by far the greatest risk to their health is being hit by a car - a car driven by someone not concentrating or speeding.
If you ever do an advanced driving course you'll be taught - like a pilot - how to adopt a systemic approach to driving. A continuous cycle of Observe, Assess, Plan and Act. Only by consciously following those steps will you reduce your chances of having an accident.
Re: Bottom line.
Exactly. If people aren't prepared to do it properly, then driving isn't compulsory. They can take the bus or the train instead.
There have been studies that show why - specifically - using a mobile phone is more dangerous than tuning a radio, talking to a passenger, smoking a cigarette or even using a half-duplex device like a CB or taxi radio etc...
If you are holding a duplex - i.e. both-way - conversation with someone you can't see, the same part of your brain that is used for dealing with spatial problems gets used to create a pseudo-image of the person you are talking to. Driving is a spatial problem. Being able to talk duplex to someone you can't see is a very recent thing in terms of human history and evolution (as is being able to travel faster than a horse can run). If you use a mobile phone while driving, you are significantly impaired. Our brains don't know how to do this very well yet. It's partly the reason that some people will get up and walk around when using a mobile - subconsciously their brain is encouraging the person to go and look for this person who they can hear but not see - they must be hiding behind something.
It's easy to test this for yourself. Fire up Tetris. Tetris is a game that deals with a spatial problem, though there are far fewer inputs and variables than you experience when driving.
Play it three times. First, on your own with no distractions. Secondly, with someone sitting beside you and talking. Thirdly, talk to someone on a mobile while you play it. Don't make the topic of conversation the task or Tetris, make it a typical 'what shall we have for dinner' or 'have you thought about our holiday this year' or 'can we fit in an extra bit of work for client X' conversation.
I guarantee that after this experiment you will never use a mobile phone while driving again.
Heh, I had a Computer badge when I was in Scouts in Britain back in the mid 80's.
I had to write a program (on my Oric) to let someone enter a list of teams in a league and then enter their scores weekly or what have you. The program had to award points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) and then sort and display the league table after each week. It was supposed to save the league to tape as well but the examiner let me off that bit due to the slight problem that the Oric-1 had a ROM bug preventing the saving of data (as opposed to whole programs). I don't think I ever met another Scout with that badge (at any meeting of Scouts, they secretly look at the arms of their colleagues to try and work out relative status).
The problem for mobile operators is that spectrum is finite. If there are too many players in a given market then not everyone gets enough to run a comprehensive network. I have no idea though what the commercial or technical remedy would be to allow more competition with that finite spectrum - the mobile equivalent of something like Openreach or Network Rail?
Re: minor details
You'd be taking the guy with the screwdriver away from other work. How much would you have to pay him (bearing in mind employing someone costs twice what you pay them) to realise that £10K?
Re: The difference between UK and European Law...
You're out of date by several hundred years. All EU states are liberal democracies, meaning that which is not prohibited is permitted. Regardless, theft means the same in all countries. You can't take things that don't belong to you.
No - the ruling is quite clear. You can't steal things from your employer. What the thing is, its usefulness or value is irrelevant - you can't take stuff that doesn't belong to you. All your 'what ifs' are irrelevant, because he didn't do any of those things - he stole stuff.
He's a thief. Gun runners and drug dealers are also quite enterprising. Doesn't mean you'd want to employ them.
Re: More TV spectrum gone!
"Why can't we have high bit rate DVD like SDTV and proper 1920x1080 HDTV?"
Because increasing numbers of people want high speed broadband on their mobiles and spectrum is a finite resource. There are other ways of delivering high quality video to people's homes.
Re: WTF is
"Why did they even invent keyless entry etc?"
Key locks are easy to defeat. Keys themselves are trivially easy to copy. Governments put pressure on the car industry to make cars harder to steal. They removed the weakest point in car security - the keys and locks.
Re: One question though...
The limit is set based on a number of factors but mainly the expected competence level of an average driver and an analysis of the speeds likely to be attained by slower vehicles.
Speed limit planners will look to set a limit that most people can drive safely at most of the time, and will seek to limit big variances between vehicles - so no 200MPH limit for cars if lorries can barely manage 50 on big hills.
I'm sure you know that there is no argument that says 'If you break the limit you will crash' - what happens is that as speeds increase the likelihood of crashes increases and the outcome of those crashes will be worse. Limits are also set to keep accidents at whatever a given society believes is the upper threshold of acceptable.
It has to be that way, else you're trying to set a limit and enforce it based on the combination of driver and vehicle which would become 'time consuming' - it would also ignore the problem that other vehicles travelling faster puts pressure on drivers travelling more slowly and gives them less time to Observe, Assess, Plan and Act (the standard safe system of driving) and so the people having the crashes might not actually be the people driving quickly.
I'm not sure I follow your logic. If the rollout had been more widespread, there'd be more cost needing to be recouped and the price might have been even higher.
The problem with consumer data - I think both in the fixed and the mobile world - is that the market sets a price that doesn't allow the providers to actually make any money. Price it low enough for people to buy it and you lose money on every customer, price it high enough to cover your costs and you don't have any customers.
It's largely the same problem the railways had 150 years ago. Infrastructure investment pays back slowly but commercial investors want to see a return now. The solution then, and what might end up being the solution now, is to sit back and watch the original network builders go to the wall and then pick up their assets cheap from the administrators. Only by paying a fraction of what the stuff actually cost can you make a return on selling it to people.
You're right about people not actively buying 4G however. Most non-technical people I know either have never heard of it or are convinced that "it's all 4G now" since the launch of an Apple phone with the string '4G' in its name.
Re: "he drove the car off the road when it ran out of petrol."
You don't need power steering when moving at speed and French motorways tend to be fairly straight. Vacuum assistance for braking is maintained for at least a couple of full depressions of the pedal after switching off and even without that a switched-off engine in the drivetrain tends to slow a car down quite quickly.
Re: "he drove the car off the road when it ran out of petrol."
Whenever incidents like this occur, almost always the driver lied, was confused, or had some kind of behavioural problem.
There have been cases of runaway cars - the US Fords that had a cruise control that could be triggered
by mobile phone frequencies for example - but even in those cases, turning off the ignition would have stopped them.
I'd argue that unless it's been tampered with, there is always a way to stop a car from inside it. Even a fly-by-wire Renault. Just hold down the start/stop button.
They quite possibly put the fake plates on when it was a worksite and put real plates on to move it around.
Are you sure you've factored in the cost of storing nuclear waste safely so that we don't kill people as far away in the future as we are to the people in the bible? I think that makes wind cheaper than nuclear.
Crikey, if only someone could find a way of storing energy. Maybe via a hydro-electric solution or maybe even something future scientists might invent called "batteries".
Just think, you could even make computers or telephones portable if it were feasible to store energy and use it even when not connected to a generation source.
It's not a hope, it's a legal requirement. To operate in the UK and hold data on UK subjects, you must comply with the Data Protection Act. That includes a ban on exporting data to countries where protections are not broadly equal to those in the EU.
Re: @ James 51
I don't think that's exactly what the article says. there's no wholesale repurposing of frequencies going on, operators are just being allowed to use some GSM frequencies for 4G where needed.
Re: Ha ha ....
Probably... If the cell is dimensioned for the number of peak users expected in the current cell footprint, increasing the size of the cell will give congestion problems. That may or may not be solvable - in some cases you'll find that a bigger cell can't support the number of users it will attract.
Re: Acronymns Really Bite
I expect he meant Amber Rotating Beacon. An acronym that anyone who has ever driven any kind of utility vehicle will know.
Interestingly, if you've ever had to drive on an airport, you'll have used an AFB instead.