All it needed ...
> police, firefighters, paramedics, SES (State Emergency Service)" and a Search and Rescue Squad from nearby Shepparton enthusiastically responded.
... was a spin-doctor
2453 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
> police, firefighters, paramedics, SES (State Emergency Service)" and a Search and Rescue Squad from nearby Shepparton enthusiastically responded.
... was a spin-doctor
Blackberry and Alicia Keys.
Both are names I know. Though the only AK song I could strain to think of (maybe blokes aren't her audience?) was Black Velvet - though it turns out that was done by Alanna Myles, not AK.
So, like Blackberry, the name is familar but the product remains a mystery. Possibly due to better marketing than content.
I wonder whether RIM will approach Ozzy as a replacement?
> I think you're struggling with the concept here a bit because you don't actually know what property rights you have today.
A fair point.
The difficulty is: knowing which of the outfits that you allowed access to your privates, did the dirty on you. For example, say I received a dozen of more spams saying "Happy birthday Pete 2, not that you're getting on a bit, would you like to take out our special old-people's life insurance. If you apply today, we'll send you a free bus-pass holder".
Now there would probably be many organisations that have either been given my date of birth, or that could have inferred it. For example: Amazon getting lots of gift-wrapped orders (I wish) to my name and address. Unlike the example of the Daily Wail using my photograph, I wouldn't necessarily know who had leaked my personal data.
There is also the issue of scalability. Even if there was a route to cheap justice and a swift judgment, would that process still work when every citizen had several outstanding claims against multiple infringers: each of whom was located in a different country and had an interest in having the proceedings held in their own home country. I can see a situation where the legal process might only take 5 minutes, but there is a 6 month wait for your 5 minutes.
> Then we can begin to assert that we own everything we produce, extending copyright rights and practice to our own data.
Having "rights" is fine and dandy ... if you are a law student making an argument in some ivory tower. However when an average guy on (maybe) $50,000 a year tries to assert those rights, up against the corporate might of a $100Bn corporation, there isn't even a smear left on the tracks of the juggernaut that rolls over him.
Recourse to the law is only practical when it is affordable (without ruining either side: win or lose) and there is some degree of symmetry between the means of the parties involved.
So how would an average guy "defend" his rights to his data? The answer is that he can't. Nobody can. As software companies learned with software piracy: once it's out there, you can't stop it. The only way to restrict the proliferation of personal data is to stop it getting "free". One model would be for all personal data to only be available through some sort of personal server (real or virtual) that required specific, tailored access to be granted on a case-by-case basis, by the individual in question.
The problem is that few would wish to take the time to police their data. We already know that personal privacy comes a long way down the list of most people's priorities - as most (rightly or wrongly) don't consider it to have any value and so far they haven't been proved wrong.
Maybe a better solution would be a way of allowing people to declare tabula rasa every few years. Change their online identity, walk away from all the crap that's been written about, or by, them and stop all those dam' cookies from following them around.
The idea was popular in early Jewish/Christian tradition as Jubilee where slaves were freed, debts wiped clean and sins absolved. Maybe the internet needs the same? Though 50 years could be too long an interval - 6 months might be better.
> First, nothing gets extremely smart and creative people excited ...
Very true. Now consider this: There are 300 million americans, 500 million in EU countries and 1.2 .... sorry: 1.3 ... err, 1.35 billion chinese. Maybe at present the balance is tipped in favour of the USA due to its predominance and it's ties with Europe. However, over time it's simply an inevitable matter of numbers that there will be more "extremely smart and creative" people inside China than inside America.
Don't take that as me advocating one side or the other. Just look at the numbers and ask two questions: when will (or did) it happen and what will be (or is) the effect on the west and its ability to out-smart the other guys? I am absolutely convinced that there are high-powered think-tanks working for every major government that are fully engaged on this question, already. I just hope we all manage to come to some sensible conclusions.
I'm not concerned about the surveillance issues regarding SWIFT - that boat has sailed. In fact it's over the horizon and out of sight by now. Nor am I going to lose sleep about personal privacy: that boat also gone.
No. The bigger issue is the NSA promises that systems can be hacked "at the speed of light and the implication that the trust we implicitly have in EFT and all other electronic financial tools - even down to reporting share prices - can no longer be guaranteed while the NSA has this capability.
Traditionally, wars have been about physical confrontation and destruction. Whichever side manages to beat the crap out of the other: they're the winner. That has mutated somewhat into an economic war: whichever side manages to get the other's "fiscal nuts" into a vice and turns the handle: they're the winner. The Cold War might well have been the prototype for this sort of conflict - won not by military means, but by out-producing and bankrupting the adversary.
If the financial equivalent of sabotage can be developed and deployed - possibly to make electronic transactions involving "enemy" states or their companies unreliable, corrupted ("why was that transfer declined, there are billions in that account?") or too slow - such as by adding 1 millisecond to share dealings, then that is an effective tool of warfare. Unfortunately, we all then stand the risk of becoming collateral damage in a "clean" war, where victims die from economic malaise in their still-standing homes, rather than a bayonet to the guts in a muddy field, thousands of miles away.
> a government agency is more capable of analysing the bugs and finding their root causes than MSFT itself
Is it more likely that the NSA people are smarter than MS's techies - or that MS do the analysis for them and then hand over the vulnerability reports to the NSA (maybe even with worked examples of exploits?) , while holding back on releasing any fixes?
If the NSA was planning on actively undermining global confidence in american made, or american owned technology companies, they would probably have a strategy that looked a lot like what they're doing.
So much of our world depends on financial transactions being carried out electronically and all of those transactions are based on the trust we place in the institutions and the infrastructure being incorruptible. What this tells us is that those assumptions are completely wrong.
Leave aside the (relatively minor) issues about personal privacy. I think we all realise that is a lost cause - and was probably always a myth, anyway. But to have one country, and an unaccountable, secret entity within it, that is above (or making) the law able to track, manipulate, corrupt or deny electronic access to funds, destroys the basic foundation of the world-wide commerce system.
However, if someone was able to use that as their USP, saying: "Look. None of our systems were designed by americans. None of them use american parts. There are no americans in our factories, laboratories, sales or support organisations and we can guarantee that these systems use hardware and security algorithms that have never touched the USA, or it's allies, and are physically and electronically tamper-proof" - then you have something that almost no other country or company can sell.
The only question that would remain is who do you trust the least? The americans or whoever offers the alternative.
Following on the back of the mistakes, bad judgment, double counting and wrong assumptions. The root cause must be the inability of so many (all?) of our law-makers, governors and policy makers to have a grasp of basic arithmetic (not even maths). If they had, surely they could have applied the "sniff test" and come to the conclusion that the numbers this guy was bandying around smelt wrong?
Even if they didn't feel confident in blowing the whistle on the whole thing at that point, surely a quick look around and seeing that nobody else was following the UK's lead, would have been a pretty big clue. But I guess our betters are still in a Charge of the Light Brigade mentality, than able to sit down with a calculator and a small slice of common sense.
An even bigger problem than re-opening the enquiry would be tracking down any remains of the cyanide-laced apple. I think this is more a case of a "has-been" gay campaigner grabbing the chance of getting his name back in the media.
Although it is said that he died from eating an apple laced with cyanide, the allegedly fatal apple was never tested for cyanide.
> By point 12 it's hard to take things seriously
Bzzzzt! (“Forced program termination is not allowed ... " not exactly pro-choice, is it?)
Failure is on the cards by point #4 (Hence, the language should be English-based) - there's inclusiveness for you
and by point #10: a program rolls for a 40% chance of ... 40% of being ... and 40% of executing by a ... it seems to be suggesting that in the feminist world things have a 120% chance of doing something.
Although the chance of this language being for real is much closer to 0 than to 120%
P.S. At the time of writing (07:50 UK time, the Bitbucket repository has become unavailable. Maybe it's gone on maternity leave? Leaving all the other languages to pick up its work, for no extra rewards.
> ... to tell them that the one person who wrote to complain ...
From the article: The concerned telly lover was grumpy
[ feeble joke alert ] So maybe he was writing on behalf of the other 6 dwarfs, as well?
Sounds like an advertisement for a weak beer.
So this is how Apple gets to patent the wheel
(I wonder how long it took their marketing department to decide what colour it should be?)
> mentored by their under-30 employees
So if these sub-30s are so good at IT and busting with great ideas, why aren't they all starting their own businesses?
Ideas are ten-a-penny. Knowing what's trending on FB is worthless. Having the abilty to pick the winners is one in a million and combining that with the skill, determination and money to turn them into a success is incredibly rare.
> about 0.26 per cent of humanity, can code
But how many can debug?
Why not go the whole hog and turn your entire face into an input device?
Scratching your ear could turn up the volume.
A cough could tweet your location
Picking your nose could act like a mouse click - depending on which nostril you choose
and when someone takes offence and smacks you in the mouth - well, that could be the signal to switch off.
> payday loans firm has received a £175,000 fine
So can they be charged their own rates of interest for every day they're late paying the fine?
Distie-hood is no different from being a high-street retailer. If all you're offering is the same stuff that buyers can get online, but cheaper, then you're screwed. And good riddance.
Just because you hide behind a corporate facade doesn't mean you are immune to market forces (or disintermediation, as the effect has been called for at least 25 years) just as your domestic counterparts have already discovered to their cost.
The only companies that haven't cottoned on to the need to add value (or think that having a flashy marketing campaign and a 25% mark-up to pay for it counts as "adding value") are the ones who are either dead, or dying. However, even adding value isn't the same as it used to be. Integrators are finding it tricky, too. Instead of selling individual computers, bundling them together, installing some software and calling it a "system" is also a flawed business model - as so many end-users find that the internet gives them all the knowledge and expertise to do this for themselves.
> the NSA rifling through service providers' servers was not seen as exacerbating these concerns.
The reason nobody at the top is concerned is because the NSA are shafting every company, equally. It's not as if there is one particular company that is under greater surveillance than any other - the NSA is being (laudably) non-discriminatory over who's privacy they violate. Therefore there's no reason for customers to single out any one company as having more or less of their rights infringed. It doesn't matter where you go, you'll still be spied on.
Of if the NSA is targeting particular organisations, they've done a better job of keeping that fact under wraps.
> What's wrong with being in unelected in a position of power
Well, the only people in the UK who have positions of power are CEO's of multi-billion £££ companies (even they are severely constrained by their shareholders and regulatory bodies) and workers in The Treasury. All the rest are merely puppets, or straws blowing in the wind of
public opinion media headlines. Just how many financial civil servants and special advisors are ever elected - or who's names we will ever know?
Real power will always be anonymous and unaccountable.
But did anyone else read the summary and think that pisspoor.uk was Nominet's new website?
When buying technology (for anyone: parent, child, husband,wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or all of these) just bear in mind that as soon as you give someone any present that requires a plug or has an on/off function you are responsible for its correct operation forever.
That includes explaining how it works, getting it set up, telephone support, "emergency" visits to fix any problems, perennial "while you're here, could you show me again .... " each time you visit that person and the ever popular "why does it do .... " followed by the vaguest and impossibly non-technical description you could ever get - and the hopeful and expectant look in the eye of the asker that you won't go home until it's working the way they want it to. Whether that's physically possible or not.
After that you'll understand why planned obsolescence is such a good thing - and hope that it will hurry up and arrive soon.
> work on quantum gravity and the unification of the fundamental physical forces ... organised with the help of Vanity Fair and attended by a bunch of celebs including ...
It's a shame that mention of the camera-hungry will get this event more publicity than an explanation of what the research was about, ever could.
“Scientists should be celebrated as heroes, and we are honored to be part of today’s celebration of the newest winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Fundamental Physics Prize,”said Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin.
+1 to that.
> consideration for passengers who would otherwise be subjected to the chatter of others.
So a giant first step in that direction would be to outlaw US politicians - especially ones who appear on TV with half-arsed suggestions, opinions and comments. The ones who spend their whole terms asleep or crawling up to their rich
masters sponsors - they're OK (apart from the damage they do to democracy, obv.)
As for the "cure" for all aircraft audio annoyances? Hearos
To get twice the range (for the same receiver sensitivity) you need 16 times as much power. Strictly speaking: EIRP
16 = 2^4
> military are high powered, heavy, and demanded large antenna arrays
Because military radar isn't used to detect whether the general in the next room has fallen of his/her's perch. The problem with RADAR is that it suffers from an inverse squared, SQUARED law. I.e. 1 / (r ** 4) power/distance relationship. The signal going out from the transmitter is the normal 1/r^2 degradation with distance to the target and the signal reflected off the target (assuming it's "playing the game" by not being stealthy) comes back with the same power::distance ratio. Hence the need for massive amounts of power, huge receiving (and transmitting) antennae and therefore large installations.
I'm sure that given their expertise in the area, the military are more than capable of making a bitsy little version - and could / would / probably-have if there was a requirement ... say from the clandestine services.
Now where did I put that foil-backed wallpaper?
> The UK is by quite a long way the place where people spend most online
When you add together the effect of a poor range of shops, with small choices of goods, high in-store prices and lousy parking/access, is it any surprise?
Sky's hell desk must be raking it in:
BT customers pay 5.1p/min and 13.1p connection. Calls from other providers will vary.
Time for the fuzz + 7 other outfits to nail 40 infringing websites: 3 months
Time for an owner to register a new site & carry on streaming: 1 hour (guess)
I think we can all work out how this will end.
> total random selection would be just as good a selection method,
You may well be correct. However the very first time your randomly-selected candidate screws up, the blame-balls will start flying. Sooner or later someone will ask two questions: was this person qualified? and who hired this idiot?
Now, it may be that if you're hiring CEOs for The Co-Op Bank people won't ask - but for any normal organisation you don't want anyone putting your name up to answer those questions. At that time it's no good saying "Well I saw an article on Wikipedia that said random selection was just as reliable as academic selection", as you could soon be finding out, personally, that the recruitment process is much more arduous and deeper probing than that. As for the competency point: yes, nobody can assess whether a recruit will be able to do a particular job. However since the name of the game is CYA (or "indemnity" as professionals call it), if you can point to some objective criteria - no matter how irrelevant - and say that this person scored better than others, you stand some chance of still sitting at the same desk tomorrow. The worst that will happen is some jobsworth will set up a process review and witter on about "continuous improvement" and "learning lessons" - the lesson to learn is to avoid these people.
Finally, there's the perennial issue about HR. While they don't care about whether a person can do a particular job, they do care that the organisation (or more properly: they) doesn't get accused of unfair hiring practices. Therefore a process must be in place. It must have been approved and there must be documentary evidence to show it's been followed. If that all sounds a bit "ITIL-y" or "ISO-y", then I agree. However it's one of the hoops you have to jump through.
> If some of these major companies actually paid their taxes in the UK
So if these mega-corps are required to pay extra taxes, where will the money come from? They won't raise their prices and hurt their market share and they're already squeezing their suppliers dry - so the only viable source of money to give to the government is from the pay (and numbers) of the employees.
It might be nice for a few idealists to say "oooh look, we made these companies pay their fair share of taxes". But what about the wage cuts and redundancies that are imposed to move that money from being in employees pockets, to being in government coffers?
What would yo say to a freshly-sacked employee, then?
> merely as an easy screening criteria
The problem is when you have 1 vacancy and you get 200 applicants for it. What do you do?
It is impractical to diligently read each CV - I once got one of 40 pages (instant rejection, BTW) - so you need some way to come up with a list of "possibles", then a list of "probables" which you interview.
Also, for better or for worse, HR insist that any selection criteria must be non-discriminatory - which is a lovely idea, but very subjective (oh yes, and must be within the skill-set of HR's newest trainee). So a first pass: that has to be quick, objective, legal and relevant is to search for academic qualifications. (Another: that's based on spelling and typo's on the application is possible - but so many HR-types have such poor spelling & grammar that "LOL" and smilies would probably pass their filter).
After that, once you have got down to 10-20, you can start to actually read the CVs. Just bear in mind that you also have real work to do, in addition to recruitment duties. So detailed analysis of what the candidates (as they now are, as opposed to merely applicants) have to say is still a long way off.
Yes, it's largely random. Sure, some gems will slip through, Time consuming it certainly is. However it's still better than one proposal a colleague suggested: throw all the CVs into the air. If one of them sticks to the ceiling, that's the one to hire - since luck is as good as excellence (esp. if you're Napoleon and you are recruiting generals). However, the "lucky" ones might be the ones who don't get to work for you.
> A degree is not enough
Indeed not. According to some recruitment agencies, 5 years experience in 3 year-old technologies is a must-have.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
And on the same basis, that allows the FTSE Group (an organisation I had previously credited with more common sense) to redefine words willy-nilly, I henceforth declare that day is night, good is bad, tv is quality entertainment and that our politicians are caring, dutiful, honest individuals.
> "rich in fireballs"
Well, rich in some sort of balls.
We had a supposedly bright comet at the start of the year. Barely visible in the haze of sunset (aircraft contrails look almost the same, are brighter and more plentiful). There was another one a week or two ago that fizzled out and more meteor showers at irregular intervals every year. All of which get hyped by ignorant media, uncritically cut'n'pasting somewhat hysterical press releases from individuals and organisations that should know better.
Now I like a good stargaze as much as the next geek (but please: let's not talk about the BBCs Stargazing Live which contains no stargazing at all). But all the squeaking from over-enthusiastic media types - and the subsequent disappointments have reduced their credibility to an all-time low.
So can we, please, cut down on the media hype? Remember that most people live in overly-lit streets and therefore only ever see orange skies at night - with possibly the Moon and a few of the brightest stars visible.
If you want to promote amateur stargazing, a better line would be: this is what you could see, but since you live in a light polluted city, with almost permanent cloud cover - you don't stand a chance. If you want to see the glory of the starlit night, get your local authorities to turn down the light pollution.
> they're working on 3d printers for housing and food
But what is "printing" for housing - or building in general? I'd suggest it's a process where materials are stacked layer by layer according to a design. If that's not what a brickie does already, then what is it?
> post-scarcity society
Where the rarest resource is, as now too it would appear, common sense.
Quickly followed by the simple, innocent, yet very hard to answer questions about where the raw materials will come from, the sustainability/cost/efficiency of the energy the printer uses and possibly something about reliable designs, as well?
> swerved a huge corporation tax bill
Maybe FB should convert all their excess cash into Bitcoin. That'll soon reduce their profits and thus, their tax bill.
The thing about importing talent is: what do you do with it, once it's here?
It appears that the government has swallowed the idea of a "magic bullet". That if you have a problem ... if nobody else can help ... that all you need is an "A team" and they'll somehow use their "world-leading talent" to sort you out.
Most of the problems that the UK's IT industry have are nothing to do with IT. So bringing in outsiders to give it a boost won't produce the hoped-for results. The fixes that are needed start with better technical education, move on to recognising the worth of people who can wield a soldering iron (at the right end) or spanner or stack trace, and also address the basic issues of expensive cost-of-living, unworthy management, short-sighted investors, an innovation-stifling environment and a reticence to taking risks and recognsing opportunities.
As a country, the UK is quite capable of producing its own top-quality IT people - rather than sucking the talent out of other countries. But it needs to nuture, grow and reward those people. Not just cover them in fertiliser.
Haven't they hit what they're aiming at yet?
... and I'm only plucking pheasants
'til the pheasant plucker comes.
Yup, still gets my vote.
Although one of the later verses is, IMHO, more likely to trip you over:
I'm not the pheasant plucker
I'm the pheasant plucker's wife
Me and the pheasant plucker
have a pheasant plucking life.
I guess this rhyme didn't make the cut as the "downside" of getting it wrong wouldn't appeal to too many. Especially if a newsreader (ill-advisedly) tried it live on air.
Though, considering the number of people who are unable to pronounce "nuclear", I'd say it doesn't take much to be a tongue-twister, these days.
> He was convinced his code was not to blame
And that's the problem. While his code worked, it sounds like it had many unforeseen (and on a production system: unforgivably untested for) side-effects: possibly including high I-O usage, unintended database locks, de-cacheing, or futzing (technical term) with the middleware - among other possibilities.
Too many outfits I've worked at regard "testing" as merely checking the known input produces the expected output. They don't bother checking boundaries, error handling, scalability or resource-hogging. Since a lot of these other tests would require having access to a complete replica of the production system - with a simulation of all the users and their workloads - most companies can neither afford, nor organise such a massive testing operation.
When Usenet was new, I saw a couple of posts discussing a kernel bug. The discoverer posted the method of replicating the fault - instructions on which programs to run and what options to use. This was followed by the warning that doing this would reliably kill your machine (A Sun platform IIRC).
A few posts later, someone replied "Oh yes, it does - doesn't it".
Could it be that someone within RBS had identified the cause of (one of their many) cockups, told his/her/its colleagues - one of whom then replicated the conditions ...
> How does that affect your point?
Yes, the Beeb have always given away their content for free (within the UK, at any rate). They have also been the home of minority-interest programmes that no commercial outfit could make money from. However it's only in the past couple of decades that they've abandoned the niches and moved into the ITV space (others might say "dumbed down") so aggressively, in a bid to retain viewer numbers and thus, their justification for so many £££billions from everyone. While there were only a handful of channels, they were pretty much bound to get 10+million viewers per night for peak time programmes. However to get even close to that now, they have to attract people who wouldn't naturally be BBC viewers - hence they've decided to eat the lunch of other channels that are in no position (financially) to do anything about it.
Or "screwing up the commercial business model" to be a little less subtle about it. Using their guaranteed income to compete with, rather than complement and play "nice" with those who rely on advertising to survive.
> businesses can hope to have access to consumer eyeballs for several hours a day
Is this a case of inventing the facts to fit the story?
ISTR there used to be a company that had access to the eyeballs of a large proportion of the country for several hours every day. They were called ITV - though I don't know what ever happened to them. once their competitor corporation discovered they could screw up the commercial business model by giving away for free (i.e. sans annoying advertisements) exactly the same content.
The moral being that while there may be a new monopoly in town, one should never underestimate the capricious nature of the public. All it takes is a change in the wind (or privacy, or advertising nusiances - or the next generation wanting to distance themselves from "their parents internet") and all of that hard-won "market share" can disappear. Just look at the junk heap of generation#1 internet companies to see what can and does happen to all the success stories, eventually.
> Ah I see you saw the film Gravity as well
Errrm, nope. Though I'm disappointed you'd think so. As all I've heard about the film is how shaky the science is.
> That's ok, we have an atmosphere
Ahhh, but you don't have to toss big chunks at the planet. Just squirt a bag o' sand into the Clarke Orbit - or sun-synchronous - or GPS paths, and watch all the fragile little (but vital) satellites fail.
Or [ FX: stroking of fluffy white cat ] erect a sun shield somewhere around L1 and "solve" the planet's global warming crisis for them.
> the UN decided ...
Once habitats in space become self-sufficient, the decisions of a planetary based talking shop will be completely irrelevant. Note the proviso: self-sufficient.
Laws, rules and regulations only work when they can be backed up (ultimately) by force. If a mining operation, in orbit or beyond , decided to cede, there's not a lot - short of sending up a "police" action to point out the error of their ways - that a ground based legal system can do. As readers of Lucifer's Hammer will recall: being at the top of the gravity well trumps being at the top of the food chain. And throwing rocks can be terribly effective.
So, just like settlement in other colonies, there will be a period of lawlessness, probably a revolutionary war (or war of independence, depending on who's history you subscribe to) and almost certainly a civil war or two. After that the occupants take it upon themselves to formulate their own laws, for their own domains over which they have the ability to enforce them. Given the size of spaaaaaace, it's more than likely that several empires (striking back, or not) and hegemonies will arise - whether the UN or any earthly government approves or disapproves.
Isn't this a case of buy a cheap item and get a drone for free?
How do Amazon intend to recover their drones, their expensive, highly desirable drones, after they've delivered your goods.
Maybe they'll just drop your package down the chimney? (Wherever that idea came from). Just check for smoke emissions first, please.