97 posts • joined Friday 6th March 2009 14:08 GMT
"But we can't help but agree with exasperated folk stranded at airports over the weekend who - quite reasonably - asked why such a failure could have happened in the first place with a critical system. Redundancy, much?"
The fault sounds very much like a configuration problem, if caught at implementation its usually a case of revert to prior state... but once its been in use for a period its the sort of thing that in the middle of a safety critical system can be immensely hard to back out (do you really want them to shut down all phones on the air traffic system???).
Redundancy means having a duplicate system - hardware wise that's easy, software wise do you really mean they should maintain a completely parallel system with distinct config at all times? I appreciate the trite answer to this could be yes - but in a real situation (which has to interact with external parties) that can quickly become utterly pointless.
Frankly I'm quite impressed that they managed 80% throughput in the circumstances - I'd guess the contingency plan became a lot of post-it notes very quickly.
one of the most interesting decisions is that the 8GB / 16GB storage is actually a micro SD card rather than chip based flash.
Re: The VERY definition of Android Landfill
the battery will be good for at least two years, and replacement looks pretty straightforward (a few screws, some light prying and one plug). Yes there will be some - but if that becomes a common failure there will be plenty of people able to refurb them for £20-£30.
Got mine last week
Have to say I'm impressed, its certainly more of a functional phone than a pretty phone with the default black back - but that's what I want. It feels solid and its perfectly fast enough for anything I need. My old Galaxy S had some flex, and the odd squeak from the case - this doesn't, its hard to quantify but physically it feels reassuringly solid.
The battery might not be "removable" but I've read a couple of teardown reports and its certainly replaceable - the inner cover comes off with a few screws and there is only light glue holding it in place. I don't need to swap batteries during the day, but I do object to throwing away a device if the only fault is that the battery isn't holding charge.
Yes an SD slot would be nice, but with the 16GB model I cant honestly say I feel stuck for space (although I personally would find the 8GB model hard to live with)
The Motorola migrate app also worked pretty well, so for an average user the migration should be pretty painless.
Having used CM 9/10.1 for the last year stock android is what I'm used to - and frankly seems a lot nicer than the bloat overlays that other manufacturers put in. The oddest sensation I've got therefore is that it looks almost the same as my old phone, just fractionally bigger, a little heavier and a lot faster.
All in all it seems a really good handset.
Re: say wot ?
I think you are being a bit unfair there. Cars have a tendency to be involved in accidents, part of a cars design is that it includes an energy store. Under failure the stored energy may get released in an uncontrolled fashion, especially if the failure includes significant physical damage.
I like the idea of electric cars, and will buy one once they hit 300 mile range on a charge, and either fast charge or range extended. However, i fully appreciate that the design issues of a large energy store are significantly different from a laptop battery. From a h&s perspective it's the difference between injury and multiple deaths
Re: At the risk of resurrecting an old joke ...
anything blends if you have access to an industrial grinder for HDD disposal
"Only" 8.5% attended a bullfight....
On a national scale that doesn't sound like a small number to me.
Re: This needs a name.
I dont like to say I told you so...
but I thought this was a natural step to take for electric cars:
Re: But will gam devs use it?
The article does explicitly say that its for non-latency sensitive elements. Back in my school days I wrote a turn based tactical squad game on the *cough* Archimedes
it wasn't brilliant and the AI for the bad guys was incredibly basic, but at the time I remember having to run a loop that repeatedly polled for mouse movement/clicks. Because of the low power of the systems in those days I wrote the AI to sequence its planning in small chunks and processed one chunk each cycle of the UI loop (which had the nice side effect that if you moved quickly most of the bad guys would simply repeat their prior actions).
Abstract this up and I can imagine having a local basic tactical AI, but with a cloud based strategic AI backing it up. The local system could handle basic tasks such as target selection, choice of cover and advance/retreat type options - the strategic AI could look at flanking, co-ordinated cover fire, moving units to elevated positions, etc...
Technically the system could send out one packet of current locations and waits for strategic input from the cloud - which can happily take 3-5 seconds to return it because its operating at a higher level and in while its waiting the local tactical AI is still doing a reasonable job of the second by second tactics. Hey presto, cloud based service improves the game, but an outage it doesn't prevent it from running in a basic sense.
I'm not saying this is what would happen, but its one way I could imagine it being used.
Can a properly managed paid development / test team produce better results - probably (I've known plenty of buggy commercial software), but in practice they are focused on the latest handsets so access to newer features is largely via custom ROMs.
I run CM9 on my i9000 (Galaxy S), custom ROMs are the only way to get Android 4.x on that handset. Yes it has the odd bug, but I can live with that easily for not having to spend £300 on a new handset (either one off or via increased monthly costs).
I also have an original Note 10.1 which I like a lot, but I'm still waiting for a 4.2 update from Samsung and I am starting to be dubious if it will ever arrive. As my kids also use my tablet I would *really* like the multiple profile functionality. At some point I may wipe that and install a current CM or similar ROM.
Re: hard to count
all you can say is that there are examples where the security services have made a fanfare about having stopped particular plots - you have absolutely no data on what they havent publicised.
How would you ever know if someone was identified as being crucial to a terror plot but that the authorities didnt want to advertise the source of their intel, so they are picked up for say handling stolen goods instead.
It could be zero, it could be two a week - neither you or I know.
Actually all they've accepted as I understand it is that Fairfax have a preferred status to offer to buy out the company for $9 per share. BBY are free to talk to other parties and could accept an alternate offer subject to a (significant) penalty fee.
At present nothing is binding on either party and they are still trying to arrange the funding to allow the deal to be completed .
May well happen - but its a long way from certain.
I think the point is that Nokia doesnt sell to the end consumer - they sell to the network. So they want a device thats desirable to the end user, but only to negotiate with the network. I suspect that at a simplified level these deals have an initial fee and a per device fee - I'd be curious to know the split in revenue between those two parts.
Re: Now watch all Western European Mobe companies go bust overnight
if you read what was proposed there are two options:
a) allow roaming at no additional cost
b) allow a user to use a different operator without changing SIM
I wouldnt be overly suprised if this leads to tariffs which dont allow roaming at all (or perhaps only roam voice/SMS) and the model could become buy a PAYG card when you get to the country you're going to.
Re: re: Battery life
get an EyeFi card - I have one and sync with my Note 10.1, I agreed I'd prefer a full sized slot and just popping a card. But generally it works about as well.
My inbuilt satnav also doesnt have full postcode search, it really bugged me for about the first month. Now I'm used to it I actually prefer it, I've had mixed results with postcode searchs in the past (e.g. being dropped within a couple of meters of where I wanted to be, but the wrong side of a 15 foot wall that didnt have a door and in a one way system)
The system in my car lets me use the first part of the postcode (e.g. AB12 1) and then street and number, so far its put me outside the door I wanted every single time. The only time its annoying is when I'm driving somewhere and need to make a course adjustment mid-way as people are a bit suprised when they cant just give you a postcode.
Still overall I dont think its too much of a deal having lived with it for 6 months.
or alternatively - somewhere under the cost of 10 days benefits payments from 2010
Re: Just what I wanted
I honestly cant decide if that's a joke or not....
Nokia is more than a single division
"Nokia’s stock actually rallied on news it was finally going to stop trading as an independent company"
They are buying one of its divisions (the loss making one) for about half of its market capitalisation at the last business day close. From a stock perspective Nokia is going to remain as an independant company, just not making phones any more.
As the first Data Protection Officer I ever worked with put it - sensitive personal data means the things that the Nazi's killed people for
Re: Too bad
hmmmm not convinced. I run CM9 on my phone and am very happy with it - but I'd regard anything physically built into my car as having the potential to be safety critical - I appreciate that it *shouldnt* be, but that doesnt mean it absolutely isnt.
I have a satnav built into my car for which there are unoffical ROMs floating about (essentially hacked versions of other regions binaries)... I thought about applying one for maybe 5 minutes and then decided the grief simply wasnt worth it. Plus the cost of replacing a bricked embedded device can be very large (as opposed to a bricked handset where I can easily replace it with a second hand device at a known cost in a lunch break)
Just because something can be hacked doesnt mean its sensible to do so - as above some people do already do this, but I really cant see it becoming main stream.
APIs to standard sensors (e.g. GPS, pressure sensors, etc... I can imagine, and the mirror screen tech that allowed a handset to use a cars screen also makes sense. But replacing an embedded system with something that I have relatively little assurance over the development, codebase integrity and testing? No thanks.
Re: In response to "A" Key Removal..
I know someone at university in the late 90's who managed to get a cursor left ASCII code into thier password this way on the basis that if anyone key logged him it would overwrite the previous character and he'd still be secure.
Almost as nice as the guy who wrote a postcript fractal generator which locked a printer for about 8 hours when sent.
Re: a question
I'd argue that your first reason is actually a great reason for a company to create a subsidary - its a way to take risks without necissarily putting the whole organisation at risk. As a consumer you want companies to be able to take risks or there would be less inovation (of course it does require anyone dealing with the subsidary to recognise that its not the parent and therefore is more likley to go bust). A good example of this is expanding into another teritory.
A more pratical example is sometimes a "compay" isnt allowed to conduct two forms of business (e.g. insurance broking and under writing) - in which case a group might want to own to companies to isolate the regulatory requirements (and then possibly a third service company to park various support staff like HR, finance and IT who arent allowed to be directly employed by both but realistically do need to work with both). Under that arrangement the point of sale staff and key senior management for each company arent subject to the conflicts of interest (or at least the conflict is very much reduced).
Re: An obvious choice
which does beg the question - is the answer to break MS up? (and thats a business question not a monopoly one)
within the UK "anonymous" usually means that the organisation can't identify you as a specific individual from the information it collected plus other information it may hold (or may reasonably expect to acquire) - this is the DPA definition of personal data. I think this may also have now been broadened to allow the concept of reasonable effort (i.e. if you could identify someone but it would require 10,000 hours to go though boxed files then they are still considered anonymous)
This doenst mean that the information will continue to be anonymous if accessed by someone else with better access to more information.
An example would be an IP address - to most organisations this would probably be considered anonymous data, but clearly can be narrowed down quite a lot by law enforcement (I wont go quite as far as to say it identifies an individual due to NAT, etc...)
It gets more interesting with large scale "anonymous" tracking, as the start and end points of an individuals subjects movements can become a signature in their own right. So for example in a shopping center, if someone wanted to stalk a member of staff they could potentially isolate the "anonymous" trace that always entered from a particular car park, at a particular time of day and ended up in a particular shop.
"picked out things that wouldn't harm anyone or endanger national security"
whatever the rights and wrongs of him releasing the data - its utterly naive for him to believe he was in any way able to make that determination given the volume of data released
As a single person he'd never be able to understand the linkages between all that data - at best he can say I only released things that on their own I didn't expect to harm anyone. All sorts of apparently innocuous things when put together become significant... and some of it may only be possible with data outside of the communication list.
Its not a good legal defence, but the only credible position is that I knew there would be some damage to operations and the possibility that someone may be harmed as a result, but I tried to minimise this and believed it was worthwhile.
The problem with this is you'd actually need to cut a deal with Apple and Google (who run the stores which track licencing) plus the developers - the chances are Apple/Google would refuse and even if they didnt it would be massively complex to implment and manage.
A far simpler option would be for MS to bundle say £5 of store credit with each phone (keyed to something like the IMEI for a one time activiation into an MS account). That said I'm not sure this would make much difference to the average buyer.
I might have spent £50 on apps via Google over the last couple of years - but as they've mostly been £2-£3 purchases of games I've looked on them as mostly a disposable spend. Yes I still have the licence but I dont really play the game much when its finished - with maybe a couple of exceptions.
The "sticky" apps for me at least tend to be free and linked to a cloud service.
Re: Windows Phone
I do wonder how many of these comments are from people who've used WP... I've just swapped my work blackberry for a Lumia 620 running WP8 and while I dont like it quite as much as my personal Galaxy S i9000 running CM9, its pretty damn close.
I've a couple of very slight niggles - I find the app switching a little slow (slightly masked by the animations but I know its there), there are a couple of nieche apps I cant find equivalents for and shortly there wont be a sync option for my google contacts (not that I'm using this now as its a work phone - and anyway thats slated to be fixed in the next update I believe). I also dont like not having a data usage counter available - but again I believe thats due to be fixed in the next update. I'm also not entirely sure I like the single home screen, but I think I can live with that
Do I believe WP8 is the best mobile OS, absolutely not. Do I believe its good enough for me to use it as a primary mobile device - for me yes, but only just and not enough for me to swap. Do I believe that it would be good enough for me to swap once google contacts sync and data counters are in place, Yes.
Will I swap - I dont honestly know, but having lived with one for about a week its certainly something I'd consider.
Re: don't feed the bumpkins
40 bits is actually the effective key length of single DES (there is some redundancy in the 56 bits), this is the determining factor in the size of the rainbow table (you need one entry for each key). The length of the response message (or even the hash string) is irrelevant, that would increase storage linearally rather than increasing the bit length for which each bit doubles the search space.
ummm no... i don't think there was any suggestion that the Hassblad was comparable. in there same way that a Range Rover or Merc isn't comparable to a motorbike... they excel at different jobs in different environments.
as someone with a D300s and full set of studio lights (and an Olympus XZ-1 for when i want something lighter) i am interested in this Nokia unit and will demo one when my current contact runs out.
Re: Never failed....
much like my magic rock
go read some contrarian investing theory
nothing to see here - high P/E stock misses unrealistic projections, cue signficant drop in share price. Buying "leading name" tech firms is pretty much guarenteed to end this way as they are all priced on stupid long term compound growth rates.
This is purely market valuations pulling back to something sensible from previous over inflated expectations. Its one of the reasons I wont invest in IT tech based funds, when I looked about a year ago many of them had about 30% of their holdings in Apple as they were based on market capitalisation based indexes.
The tech industry as a whole generates massive benefits for mankind - but the individual stocks within it always seem to be very bubble prone.
I did consider air craft carriers - but what they have is a certain flight deck size and arrestor wire setup. Aircraft are then designed to fit these parameters so in reality these become a modular weapon.
The A10 and tanks are good examples - but they are much smaller units, the service life of the unit will principally be the service life of their main weapon.
I accept that the navy *could* build warships designed entirely around railgun technology, I just dont think they will. If you consider it from their perspective would you like a system that requires you to build a new fleet or one that you can selectively refit your existing fleet over a decade? Which option has lower risk, capital cost, lead time, etc... and which provides the greatest projection of power at the earliest window.
I would expect early rail guns to be a modular unit that replaces a current turret mount - once they've been in service for a while (10+ years) I can imagine someone saying why not scale this up for the next major battleship (presumably nuke powered). But this wont be the way that they are intially deployed.
I would imagine not - weapons tend to be designed in a modular fashion both for maintenance and the ability to retro-fit. The lifespan of a vessel (multi-decade) is much greater than the lifespan of its individual systems.
I therefore suspect that any design will have to be pretty self contained and not require extensive modifications to the platform its mounted on.
very few weapon systems are designed on the basis that you build the platform around them - the only one I can think of easily is ICBM nuke submarines.
Plus, I doubt you'd want to be using your hull as a heat sink (lovely big IR signature against a cold background)
Re: Angry Birds Activity Park
I've been (although in fairness I took the kids to Lightwater valley as it was effectively £15 for the day using tesco vouchers - and while we were there we spend about 10 minutes in the angry birds bit )
its basically 2-3 big climbing frames and few games where you have to jump on numbers on the ground following a sequence... its fun for about 15 minutes and then the kids got bored and we went on the other rides and watched the bird centre show (which is good!)
the whole Angry Birds bit isnt more than 50m x 50m, calling it a theme park in its own right is just silly.
Re: Its simple
thats right - they are a "sin"
Re: LOL at the judge
I tend to drink my alcohol straight from the glass rather than vapourising it - with the exception of flaming sambuca that is.
pulse "AND" heartbeat monitoring
wow - really packing the features into that watch.... I'd have settled for just one or the other :P
that said I have been looking at heartrate monitors reacently as my gym has inexplicably changed its cross trainers to not have pulse sensors on the arms so this is the sort of feature I'd be interested in).
Re: 1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy ?
as far as I know, when people apply for voluntary redundancy you dont have to justify which offers you accept. A selection criteria only applies for involuntary redundancy, and the package that people are shown when discussing voluntary options with a group is generally termed an illustration rather than a formal offer.
Its even legally possible to reject a request for voluntary redundancy when its under subscribed and force the situation to selection. This could happen if you had say a team of 30 staff, wanted to cut to 20 and your best 5 all asked for redundancy while lower performing staff didnt.
Voluntary is just that - its a mutual agreement.
Re: Not quite...
I think thats a bit unfair - I dont think anyone is actually arguing that Lehmans was a going concern at the time it failed, if it was it wouldnt have failed!
If you look at the other banking mergers that the UK allowed or forced at the time (RBS - ABN Amro, Lloyds - HBOS) then they have exactly gone swimmingly for the UK Exchequer over the last 5 years. I'll conceed that you could take the view that in the long term the taxpayer may make a profit - but that is certainly not on the cards just now.
Why then, would the UK goverment allow a UK bank to take over a US bank and de-facto assume its unquantified liabilities? (unquantified being a pretty scary word in those times) Moreover, this being a bank that the US goverment was actively refusing to support. From what I understand of the timeline, the US authorities never even thought to ask for UK regulatory approval until a few hours before the deal needed doing.
It probably would have been better if the US had bailed it out along the lines of the UK RBS approach - i.e. massive capital injection that diluted existing shareholders to almost nothing or even the Northern Rock approach where they simply said this bank is dead, all shareholder equity is worthless but we'll keep it running. But then again, moral hazard is a big thing and there is a bit of me thats glad at least one major bank was allowed to fail - the system needs some credible belief that it can happen in order to perform in a sane manner.
For my money Darling / Sants did exactly the right thing here - I dont see how they could have done anything different.
Re: The real problem is...
you do realise that at present we have 30-40% attendance today.... you're therefore proposing an increase of circa 30-40% against current student numbers!
If you want to talk about free university eduction for "the brightest" you're probably looking at a number of more like 10% which would be circa 1960s - lets just assume for a second that might be politically acceptable. But then you have the issue of how do you measure that because as multiple studies show academic achievement is highly corrolated to parents income and the ability to buy a house near a good school. Therefore, restricting spaces at university inherently impacts lower income familys much more.
Re: The real problem is...
The entire population of York is about 160k - thats a city, albeit a small one!
It wouldnt suprise me if some universities had student bodies that size in larger cities, but its certainly not the average (which with a normal distribution woudl imply some universities with 250k+ students)
Another quick check is that 186 * 150k = 27.9M, UK population is about 70M, which gives a rough figure of say 1.5-2.0M in each year group at the lower end of the age scale. With 100% attendance of 18-22 year olds and some mature students you could get the total University population to maybe 9-10M but I believe the current rate is nearer 50% of 18-21 year olds, which makes a more sensible fag packet number 4-5M.
That said, your point about the percentage of places that could theoretically be filled by priviledged people is fair - the point of privildege is that its a naturally small group.
I use my phone for 6 things (in order or priority): music player, email (gmail), web browsing, facebook, camera and being a phone.
All of those capabilities are cross platform - my "app" usage is largely via my tablet so I'm not that bothered about keeping them on the phone. Also, the people I know who have a WP handset (its on our work choice list) seem perfectly happy with it.
Therefore, in terms of being a distinguishing feature between handsets, the camera performance is pretty key for me at least, about the only other feature I'd care about would be water proofing but I've gone 10+ years without dropping my phone in a pint so thats a nice to have.
Anyway - for me this could be significant, especially if some of the minor gripes people seem to have with WP8 get fixed in 8.1 (e.g. independant volume control)
Re: It does genuinely save money
I'm not arguing against that at all - yes there are serious privacy concerns. I was actually responding to a point further up the list that said that it wouldnt drive down costs which it will.
The fact is that there is a lot more survielance than the average person realises - for example number plate recognition is *very* widely deployed and for some police forces can be queried in near real time (for certain emergency situations).
There are also already provisions within existing law that gives anything deemed to be relating to crime prevention or national security a much wider remit with regards to data collection/retention.
It does genuinely save money
Having worked for a motor insurer in the past and still being slightly in touch with these things, the claims rate for telematic equiped drivers is *much* better than an equivalent book without (i.e. using all of the age, conviction, postcode, car data thats typically used to rate).
the conclusion of the underwriters seems to be that telematics makes people drive more sensibly (go figure) . The other thing telematics boxes often do (as opposed to the phone based software options) is include a couple of highly calibrated accelerometers (sp?) so that in the event of a colision the insurer can reconstruct the impact, this then leads to much better allocation of fault and the ability to better dispute certain personal injury claims.
Insurance is a scarily competative industry and for large parts of the time the under writing elements of insurers will lose money, so yes this should drive down costs as it should result in safer driving and less spurious claims.
Re: I don't get the this Landfill Android meme
I completely agree - there is a big difference between selling a "cheaply made" knock off of a premium product and producing a "cheap to make" basic product.
The first will almost always fail to meet performance expectations and likely break much earlier than expected, the later has a decent chance of doing the functional things its intended to do in a reliable fashion and to last a long time. We shouldn't forget that in the markets they are pitching this into, $99 is still and expensive product and I suspect reliability will be a big long term selling point.
I think Nokia will want to introduce an Android phone range at some point - but I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was 2-3 years away. All the reviews of their current range are generally positive, everyone I've spoken to who's used one has liked it and they've got themselves to almost neutral in terms of cash burn.
As a business the strategy looks to be working for them - the last thing they need right now is another product line to distract them. They also don't need to get to 30% market share - 10% would do just fine and I dont think thats impossible for them.
Re: Another example of why Linux fails to gain market share
PS: as it happens I did install Ubuntu for my mother about 12 months ago when she needed a little netbook bringing back to life for internet use.
Re: Another example of why Linux fails to gain market share
I was about to write exactly this comment - I got to half way through page two before the article started to give any advice that I could consider putting in front of someone new. Frankly they'd never see that.
This article can be summarised as choice is good but scary, now let me throw huge amounts of choice at you.... if you're still reading here are some basic summaries of leading distros.
This could have been an excellent piece, as another comment said it needed a flowchart diagram at the top.
I've used any number of distro's over the years and have contributed code to FOSS projects in the past, but be honest with yourselves. That article was of no use to anyone who didnt already know the subject well, and for them it was probably little more than an opinion piece.
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