118 posts • joined Monday 27th October 2008 19:13 GMT
Re: Sensible hat on - a better use of £12bn
An "embarrasment"? What's this, keeping up with the Schmidts and the Duponts?
I couldn't care less if France has fast rail or not. Dubai has the smallest skyscraper on earth. Mecca has the largest clock face. So what? If the Germans, French or Arabs want to blow their money on boondoggles, they're welcome to it.
Personally, I'd rather the country spent my taxes wisely. And if fast rail doesn't add up, I'll keep with slow rail.
Re: Past and future
That's a fallacious argument that assumes that no investment/spending is worthwhile.
If you can go from horse to train, the cost/benefit is immense. It's a total no-brainer. You can have people going from London to Bristol in a few hours (at Victorian speeds) rather than 2 days. Someone no-longer has to waste 4 days to go someone, but can do it in one day. No coaching inn costs.
We're talking about a change from an hour and a quarter to around 45 minutes.
It's like someone owning an old 386 PC and then buying an i3. Should they then buy an i7 that's barely going to improve their performance?
Change the law then...
If she thinks they don't pay enough, change the tax law or shut up.
Personally, I avoid as much as possible. If you've got £11bn to spend on a 3 week hop, skip and jump competition, you don't need any more of mine.
Re: I disagree
Oh, please. You think Geeks are threatened by iPads? Who do you think is writing all the apps? Who do you think is still maintaining all the network infrastructure that they use? Or the websites that you access? If anything, iPads have earnt me money as I had to replace Flash with jQuery controls.
There's a lot of smart people in computing, and if they could get their programming done quicker, cheaper or more reliably on an iPad, they would. Same with authors, graphic designers and accountants. But, and I cannot emphasise this strongly enough, almost no-one is using an iPad as a device to produce things. If you want kids to learn how to play Angry Birds, post on Facebook or look at cat photos, fine, but I thought schools had loftier aims than that.
As for that article that you linked to, there is nothing in there that couldn't also be done with a laptop.
Very Bad Advice
"COBOL is good for another 10 years thanks to its huge presence in mainframes and on Unix systems running mission-critical apps in banks and government."
Right, and how many jobs do they think that is, in total? People making occassional updates to overnight batch or inland revenue systems? How many people do they think these organisations already have who are in their late 40s/early 50s who are just looking towards retirement?
I have lots of mates that once knew COBOL and a couple of them are still doing it. Most have moved on to .net, PHP, Java or whatever else.
There are 17 jobs that come up for COBOL on Jobserve, most of which have it as a minor skill. That compares with 2000 C# jobs and 600 PHP jobs.
If it doesn't exist in London, as far as politicians and mainstream media are concerned, it doesn't exist.
the whole "silicon roundabout" shows just how London-centric these people are. There's a ton of startups in the Reading/Bracknell area but they're completely oblivious to it as it isn't a tube ride away or run by one of their pals.
In other news...
... still no cure for cancer.
Presumably someone in Cambridge is researching development of viruses that can be deployed via an Apple Mac to destroy an alien invasion.
Make the License Fee Optional
The BBC might be independent, but that doesn't stop it from being biased. And it isn't biased towards "the left" but towards itself and the establishment. Any opportunity to bash the free market will be taken. They will automatically side with NGOs like War on Want and Greenpeace against companies, before even checking the accusations they are making. The question is never "minister, don't you think we have enough government?" but "minister, don't you think this extra chunk of government being suggested is a good idea?".
I'd like someone to actually produce some evidence to show that in say, news, they do any more public good than the free press.
Most importantly, we no longer have the limited amount of media channels that we had in the 1960s. I grew up with 3 channels and you can understand that government might want to ensure that you get diversity, but in these days of Freeview, satellite and the internet, there's plenty of diversity. On YouTube, I can watch videos of economists talking about Hayek, 90 minute reviews of the Star Wars prequels, performances of Verdi's Requiem and a bloke doing a metal version of Gangnam Style.
And there's no reason today that it can't be done by subscription and a smart card.
"Developers face the problem that MS doesn’t love them anymore, seeing us as disloyal peasants, best expressed when Visual Studio Express was intentionally crippled to produce only Metro (or No-tro, or whatever it’s called) apps."
You're 5 months out of date. Microsoft relented on that and have a version for Windows 8 and for Windows desktop. Because they... errr... listened to those "disloyal peasants".
Personally, as an ASP.NET/C#/SQL/XAML developer, the one thing that I'll always credit Microsoft for is that they love developers. I got a free day covering Azure, days like the DDD days, free evenings with pizza going over technologies, Microsoft people on Twitter and blogs who are happy to talk about stuff.
And honestly, ASP.NET MVC is a dynamite development platform. Nothing comes close for building a solid web application.
Can I get a refund on The Phantom Menace then?
Re: What's the problem?
C'mon, most use their tablets for what? Surfing the web, listening to music and watching an occasional video. What part of that is prevented by a walled garden?
In which case, why spend out the £480 for a Microsoft WinRT tablet when a £160 Nexus will do the same job and has more apps?
My feeling is that there just isn't a place for Microsoft on touch. They arrived too late to the party and Android is already well-established in the place they should be. People with deep pockets are going to buy iPads and people seeking value will buy Android.
I know a lot of .net people, and one of them has ordered a Surface, and he happens to be writing a WinRT book. If you can't get .net devs interested in a Microsoft product, then frankly, it's doomed.
I was thinking about playing with NFC and one idea I had two days ago was an app which would allow my local cafe to replace their rubber-stamp-and-ink loyalty card with a digital solution which would... connect to a server and record the results (mostly because I keep losing the loyalty card).
It's not a patentable problem. It's a functional decomposition and software engineering one.
It strikes me that Google and Amazon have correctly priced these toys in the toy price bracket. A lot of people out there will drop £130-160 on something on a whim, but £269 is a bit more of a commitment.
(yes, I know that someone will have some stories about how these are used for some serious application, but most of them are really toys).
You Can Certainly Count Me as a Type 3
Look up how many deaths are anticipated from global warming over the next century, then the number of deaths each year from diarrhea or malaria.
Two of these are, in global terms, quite easy to fix. Certainly far easier than making a sustainable (as in not requiring massive financial inputs) clean energy.
So, that's not to say that you shouldn't fix global warming, but that you're better off spending money on research rather than implementation into energy savings, while fixing the other two problems.
"Henry Ford's name is still trotted out on occasion; the Kelloggs also had a full-on Hollywood bio-pic made about them. (And those two really didn't get on!) This isn't new."
Yes, but when was the last time that you called into a Ford dealership and they stuck a video in your way to watch before you could talk to a salesman?
We're not talking about Microsoft having a tribute when Gates dies. It would be quite normal for a company to have a public tribute to a founder of a company.
The "one year on" thing is unusual, though.
My first reaction to this was "eh?" and my second one was that Apple are basically rallying the cult members after the disastrous iPhone 5 launch.
We'll probably find out in a few years when Tim Cook gets canned.
Please... make it stop...
"Rosina claimed the average sales prices of all-in-one computers has fallen "significantly" and will drive touchscreen adoption in business, "an element of which will be at the core of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8". "
Firstly, no-one cares about touchscreens. Go into any FTSE 400 business, and you will struggle to find even 1, despite the fact that there are touchscreens available that work with Windows (they simulate the mouse click).
Secondly, no-one in business wants all-in-ones. You've got a desk, you've got plenty of space under it for the PC grey box. That is, a box that can be easily repaired, upgraded or re-imaged and costs very little. All-in-ones mean locking yourself into proprietary repairs. Monitor dies with a PC? Throw out the monitor, spend £150 on a new one. Monitor dies on an all-in-one? Throw out the whole PC.
At what point are journalists and analysts going to face the fact that 99% of fondleslabs are being used by people playing Angry Birds and updating Facebook in front of the TV and that a lot of people, and not just command-line junkies, can see little benefit in owning one if they already have a PC.
Google never built the iOS maps app. They just supplied the back-end services for an App that Apple built.
Re: Move House
The government mandates that some actions -- such as filling in a self-assessment tax form or making a VAT return -- must be carried out online. This saves them a lot of money.
Is it not reasonable that people in rural areas should ask the government to spend some of that money on the infrastructure that makes those savings possible?
You don't need 2mbps broadband to fill in online forms. Even on 33K dial-up, sending a few K of data is not slow. 2mbps broadband is for entertainment and a few niche purposes.
Re: Move House
OK, London, Bath and Cheltenham are all more expensive than the areas outside of them. Now try the same exercise with most of the rest of the country.
Re: @Tim Almond
"Well, the other commentors have already passed on most of my thoughts on your post, but also consider this...if farmers don't have decent broadband to help them (Farming is now a high tech business), your food price is going to go up. Would you be happy with that?"
If having decent broadband is going to help them, they can pay for it, as they'll see the benefits.
Re: Move House
what's that got to do with the fact that broadband relies on higher population densities?
Re: Move House
"As for most of them being middle class - please do wake up and pay attention. Most people outside of London do not live on large country estates being waited on by a staff of servants."
Which is hardly a definition of middle class. But go on, tell me whether people living in central Birmingham are richer than the people living in Solihull or Sutton Coldfield, or whether people living in central Manchester are richer than people living in Alderley Edge.
There are parts of the UK where being rural means poverty, such as mid-Wales and Lincolnshire, but on average people who live in villages in this country are richer than the people who live in towns.
Most people who live in the country do so out of choice. Not because they're dry stone wall builders or milkmaids, but because they're middle-class people want to live in their faux bucolic rural idyll.
That choice means that you don't have crowds, which on the upside means it's nice and quiet, but on the downside means that certain services that rely on higher population densities (like broadband) aren't on your doorstep.
So, if you don't like it, sell your house and move back to town. No-one says that people in rural areas should have ice skating rinks and bowling alleys, so why should they get 2mb broadband subsidised by people that are generally less well-off than them?
"If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle to do their homework?" he asked rhetorically. "The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it."
Would someone use an iPad to do their homework? And no, no cheating here. No bluetooth keyboards, no stands.
I'm still not really switched onto the idea of tablets. They seem OK for sitting in front of the TV and checking what's happening on Facebook, but my phone will do that too. At least when the Nexus costs £150-200, you're in the range of "toy" spending. And some people will spend more for the gorgeousness/Veblen aspects of them, but MS doesn't have that.
Do you think anyone comes up with these justifications for the Olympics after detailed analysis and planning?
The detailed analysis of the Olympics, carried out by economists repeatedly reports that it's not worth hosting them. The only benefit is that the nation gets a 3 week party and that's a pretty damned expensive party, especially as it's full of sports that people normally couldn't give a toss about.
I'm not sure it matters so much to technology, but I think it does matter with regards to how people see the license fee.
We've been told for decades about all the great things done at the BBC because of how it's uniquely financed, but I honestly can't put their drama or comedy over the things coming out of the US. I'd probably put C4's output above the BBC's now (Being Human was very good, but I'm struggling to think of much else that I set the PVR for). The best two recent comedies (The I.T. Crowd and The Inbetweeners) were both on C4.
The trouble is, of course, a lot of folk own DVRs already. No problem, says the ebullient Sir Alan, "this is the box their going to replace their DVRs with".
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
Sugar was on TV this morning talking about how iPlayer wasn't easy, that you had to go to a PC to use it and type in a web address, despite the fact that it's on tablets, smart TVs and every console.
The whole thing looks like a lot of old, tired companies getting together and thinking they can palm off the public with a box that might have been interesting 3 or 4 years ago. You can buy a TV that will do iPlayer, LoveFilm, Freeview, Blinkbox and Netflix today for around £450 and that includes a TV! Or an Xbox for £129 will do a lot of that too.
"Ultrabook=Tablet with a screen? - but tablets can do that already"
But the tablet is only a subset of the ultrabook features, while the ultrabook does everything a tablet does. And of course, everything's controlled in a way that PC's just aren't. And the tablets are so crippled and controlled that you'll probably want a PC anyway.
Save your money and spend it on a bullworker so you can lift that heavy laptop.
If fragmentation is such an issue, where's the evidence so far?
How does the mobile banking app have a "domino effect"? How is it anything but a thin UI that talks to web services to get or put data? How does it stop transactions from an overnight run from BACS getting through?
As far as I can tell, phones are reaching that almost flat bit of the evolutionary curve that all technology goes through where this year's model is barely any different to last year's model. It's not worth upgrading from a 5 year old car to a brand new one because you're spending a lot for an extra 1mpg.
If the iPhone 5 does something revolutionary (and not Apple's definition of revolutionary) then I'll take a look, but I anticipate that what we're really looking at is another bump upgrade.
How much of that $2bn is maps? Tom Tom are valued at around 1 billion euros, which would suggest it would have been cheaper to have just bought them outright at that price.
As for creating a new search engine, the problem is that what Google do isn't simply an engineering and rewriting problem. It's not obvious where you start with it. That's why there's only about half a dozen successful search engines, but a lot more social networks - social networking an engineering problem.
What I think Apple are doing is using Siri to replace search for a lot of the things people want on the go, like booking a table or checking movie times, and having partnerships with the likes of Rotten Tomatoes and OpenTable to do so. This does then raise a question about how unbiased the results will be. Will you get a restaurant suggested that is nearby and most appropriate (which is how Google would decide what comes first), or will you get the ones that are on OpenTable?
Apple are even comfortable with this, because they like curated content. Google's philosophy is different and is based around openness of data and algorithms to sort it.
Re: Solution still looking for a problem
I wouldn't mind contactless payments for the bus or for parking, but other than that, not really. And even parking now can be done with an SMS in many places.
Swindon had a "cash card" pilot in the late 90s called Mondex and it sank. OK, you couldn't just "bonk" it, but it wasn't much slower. You just inserted the card and the money was taken (i.e. no PIN).
"In 2-5 years we will probably look back and see CD/DVDs in the same way we would video VHS now."
If you're saying that we'll all be on Blu-Ray, possibly. I'm still seriously doubting that streaming is going to take over, though.
The movie companies are way too protective with DRM and also offering few financial incentives to do it. It costs less for me to buy the Die Hard box set from Amazon than the first movie from iTunes. I can't lend an iTunes movie to my neighbours, resell it on eBay. I've also got to make sure I've got the media device for each TV. Apple TV is £99, a DVD player is about £25. A lot of people are still on sets without HDMI, which means that most streaming devices don't work, while a £25 DVD player will.
Most cinephiles won't buy iTunes movies because the quality isn't as good as Blu-Ray.
"I mean, they have a special Olympic website and everything."
But you can bet there's a couple of lever arch folders full of contracts about what they can and can't put their name on. Stamping the ugly logo on credit cards: yes. Branding some bank software: no.
Did you know that suppliers can't tell anyone that they did work for the Olympics until 2024, unless they've got some official sponsor badge. Remember how we were told this would be a boost for business, showing off what Britain could do? Well, it won't, because the suppliers can't make any PR out of it until long after it's passed.
The important word here is "effects". Look at the climate change ad that was shown, with footage of puppies drowning in water, as though our whole world is going to dramatically change into something out of a Roland Emmerich movie if we leave our TVs on standby.
Assuming the science is right (and I don't believe that the models have reached a sufficient level of accuracy, considering how close the temperature is to the margins of being "statistically significant"), we're looking at a problem that will still be smaller than malaria. Not that you'd get that impression from how much coverage climate change gets.
Re: Oracle bought sleepycat software, remember?
XML isn't hype. If you're using it for storage, you're probably doing the wrong thing (although it's quite good for config settings), but as a way to move data from system to system, there's nothing better.
Re: On journalists
It's hardly "ironic" considering that Michael Crichton wrote fiction.
That said, I'd sooner put a bet on "scientists recreate dinosaurs from amber" than "homeopathy works", despite the fact that homeopaths have been given space in newspapers.
"Is the public sector that bad with data?"
Well, as they have to type it in more than once, clearly, yes. Email addresses are so easy to get wrong, which is why most systems capture them once and if you need to email a customer, you select a customer and then their email. You then have visual confirmation. It's not perfect, but it's going to get rid of most errors.
Re: Who wants to use a Walled Garden?
Precisely. I'd rather put the extra "smart" part towards building a Media Center PC. 2 years after you buy your TV, what's the odds that Samsung or Sony will add services to existing sets, vs adding them just to new ones?
I've been researching different ways to get services like Lovefilm, Netflix, iTunes movies and so forth the conclusion is that the only thing that really works is a PC. It might cost a bit more, but it is guaranteed to work for just about everything and will continue to do so, regardless of what comes around the corner for many years.
What a prick.
That course is like being given a load of ready meals, putting them in a microwave and thinking you're a chef.
The difference between someone who is properly trained/schooled/developed is adaptation. A chef can take a recipe and change it. He has an insight into how things work in terms of what frying, baking or boiling does to foods, how flavours combine and has a pretty good idea before he even starts of what's likely to work in a way that most people don't.
Why do people link stuff to The Olympics like this? Do they think people are going to be walking around Exeter or Derby and despairing because they can't get the results of the greco-roman wrestling?
Its a 3 week sporting even featuring sports that people generally couldn't care less about, not The Rapture.
A moment of sanity
For the love of Dawkins can commentators please stop talking about "the death of Windows"? I know you love your fruit flavoured computers, but it's just a ridiculous level of wishful thinking that Windows is going to get replaced in the near future.
I've been in a number of businesses in the past 2 years and the Macs are there for the following reasons:-
1) Designers are used to them, so someone doing graphic design or web layouts has one
2) You need to test websites out on the Mac before releasing to live
So, in say, a 1000 employee business, you might find 5 or 6 Macs. And no-one is changing this. Yes, directors want their fondleslab to play with, but the call centre is kitted out with a load of Dells because that's a) cheaper b) easy to manage using AD c) can be released with a standard build.
Whiners & Moaners = Realists
Why should this be a cause of celebration?
We've spent £9bn+ on a massive sporting event, showing sports that are rarely patronised by people in the UK, which will grind London to a standstill, create a security threat and leave behind a load of buildings that will either rot, or require a huge amount of money to maintain.
It won't create a tourism boost, it won't get kids into sport, and while it will create jobs, so will building schools, hospitals or digging ditches and filling them in again.
Personally, I'd rather have had my £100 that was spent on this and put it towards a better holiday.
I send my family and non-tech friends to John Lewis, if they want retail and need advice. Prices are perhaps a little higher than Amazon, but you get decent advice and good after-sales. I've bought a few things from JL myself and never once felt like they tried to upsell me on a product.
My No 1 piece of advice to friends and family is to never, EVER buy from PC World/Dixons/Currys.
Which just shows how stupid this is
If you've got £220 + travel + official food and drink money, spend a day of your time and are prepared to take them on tubes that will be rammed and through airport-style security to see something you don't care about then you're a fool who deserves to be parted from his money.
I bid for one event that we wanted to see. Didn't get tickets, so we're going to spend the same money on something else for the family.
I suspect what's driving a lot of sales is that people just want to tell their non-friends that they went.
It just seems wrong. Q for me was part of the furniture of MI5, a solid, dependable, somewhat boring type.
I can't get into this bond. I want a villain with an audacious plot, Bond wise-cracking after killing off a henchman with a gimmick and a few gadgets (but don't go OTT). I'm there to be entertained. If I want an exploration of the human spirit I'll go and buy some Bergman movies.
"Why should it not be patentable? It fulfils the non-obvious part of the patent requirement that most of the patents out there currently for trolling seem to lack"
Apple have implemented the real-world sliding lock... on a computer. It's like saying that you could patent a shopping list... on a computer, or an accounts ledger... on a computer. It's just an implementation of something real world... on a computer, and that counts as obvious.
"The ICO ruled that the trust had breached the Data Protection Act by accidentally destroying the archived records and has ordered it to take action to ensure that staff are aware of data protection policies."
How many times has this been done so far?