Feeds

* Posts by Pete 2

2320 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Tell me, professor, what is big data?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Signal to noise

The primary characteristic of big data is that for any particular problem you wish to apply to it, the proportion of interesting information compared to the amount of garbage you have to sift through is very, very small. With old-fashioned databases, designed when storage was expensive, the intended use was to focus on a small number of very well defined questions: where does account number 8892784237 live? How many months in arrears are they? What was their latest purchase?

While we're getting better at storing big data, which just increases the volume of stuff we collect, we're still in the infancy of extracting relevant, accurate and causally-linked intelligence from it (just ask the NSA or GCHQ). Sure, you can use it to foretell failures, a la HAL in 2001 - so long as your computer doesn't have an agenda of its own - but the number of false positives is very high. There is also the danger with BD of treating everyone as if they were Mr. or Mrs. Average and not designing enough flexibility into its reporting to allow for the possibility that maybe some people are different, or purposely give odd answers.

So while BD probably has some advantages in industrial processes, can feed back failure modes to manufacturers to design-out faults from products - it also leads to an increasing homogenisation when applied to people. Until we can advance the data selection processes to match the data collection abilities there will always be the wrong attributes applied to the wrong people, just because we accidentally triggered something while buying granny's incontinence pants on Amazon.

1
0

Tax dodging? It's harder to do - and rarer - than you think

Pete 2
Silver badge

It was never about tax

All this talk about paying "fair" tax is merely a sop to the sound-bite addicted millions of people in the country who can't do sums.

Even if all the companies involved in "scams" coughed at the same level that the average wage-earner does, it would still make bugger all difference to the government's expenditure plans. Raising a few billion, or a few tens of billions by grabbing these companies nuts and squeezing "until the pips squeak" is a drop in the pot compared to the half a TRILLION or more of revenue the government rakes in - and duly spends again - every year.

Sure, an extra bil or two would allow someone to employ another 50,000 nurses, or policemen or paperclip benders(!), but unless that can be shown to have a tangible effect on anything except the paperclips it would not benefit the country as a whole. Specifically: would it do more good than the damage caused by having a bunch of multinationals pulling out and causing probably the same number of redundancies, as they leave the UK and go elsewhere?

It does however, make an exceedingly good headline (provided the readers don't immediately go: Hmmm, and reach for their calculators - which, lets face it, the sorts of rabble who are so easily roused are hardly likely to do). And that's really all it was intended to do.

3
2

Top Brit biz giants love to outsource IT so much, they're gonna do it more

Pete 2
Silver badge

Admission of failure

Outsourcing a part of your business is admitting that someone else can do it cheaper, if not better than you can. Although that's what successful businesses do: focus on their strengths and buy in goods and services from outside (after all, no business makes everything it owns or uses - that would be silly), the question that needs to be asked is whether IT is a core part of your business or simply a necessary evil.

Given how much all modern businesses rely on their IT to survive it seems short-sighted to hand over total day-to-day control of it to the lowest bidder.

4
0

Bloke in shed starts own DAB radio station - with Ofcom's blessing

Pete 2
Silver badge

More stations than listeners?

> a Raspberry Pi could have filled that role

'cept that the RPi doesn't have an audio input - hence the need to generate the stream elsewhere and pipe it in using IP.

But really? DAB - does anyone care?

4
6

Sergey Brin's 'test-tube burger' cooked, eaten, declared meat-like

Pete 2
Silver badge

Condiments

> What was consistently different was flavour

Which is exactly why we invented hot chilli sauce (and beer). Enough of either of those and you really won't care whether it tastes like meat. As many a burger van owner will attest.

7
0

Jimbo Wales: ISP smut blocking systems simply 'ridiculous'

Pete 2
Silver badge

What we need is a confusion filter

Jimbo's right: the software won't work AND it won't deter people who choose to opt in (though it will give the government a nice list of "the usual suspects" to haul in every time someone suspects a single man might be having naughty thoughts.

However, it should also be recognised that this filter was never meant to STOP anything - except the continual whining and muttering by the "I'm against everything" brigade. Since none of them can decide what pornography actually is, they won't ever know when they've succeeded in filtering it - but I suspect the issue is more about wielding power, than making progress. Even recent articles on this site have confused nudity with pornography: not to mention the difference between skimpy clothing and wearing _no_ clothing, which seems to be another area where the tutting busybodies go into overdrive (maybe we should ban swimwear and shorts too - or ban the display of ankles and everything above, just to be "safe"?)

Before anyone starts banning, filtering and marginalising anything, the first thing that should happen is that whoever is pressuring for this added censorship should be asked: "What is it you actually want (as opposed to being against)?" Then, if they can come up with a coherent response, there may be something to base a national debate on.

5
0

Upgraded 3D printed rifle shoots 14 times before breaking

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: whats the point?

> Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.

The root of the problem is that there are too many afraid americans who think that having a gun will make them safer AND too many saddo's who think that having a gun is a suitable substitute for "character", or could somehow make them into a "man".

18
4
Pete 2
Silver badge

Do ya feel lucky?

"I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five fourteen shots or only thirteen?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is an unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"

That spinning sound is Dirty Harry¹ at the prospect of having his "my that's a big one" .44 Magnum replaced by something that you'd expect to get in a box of cereal.

[1] Yes, I know Clint's not dead, but I doubt the character would have a very long life expectancy, given how he conducted himself

2
0

Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!

Pete 2
Silver badge

A modern day laser

In the early 1960's LASERs were touted as a solution looking for a problem. It appears that whoever came up with this advertisement article has created a problem, or a whole set of problems to fit the solution. (And to be fair to 3D printing, maybe in 20 - 30 years it will evolve into something worth doing, too)

There are a few issues however. You don't need to buy this printer to get the tat it produces - you just need someone in the neighbourhood to sell this junk at a car boot sale. Second is that once you've produced your ration of cheap, plasticky garbage you don't need the printer any more - so off it goes to eBay, or FREEGLE if it still works. So the second hand market for these things should be quite bouyant (provided you can wait the few months for these to trickle through).

Finally, if you're producing all these things yourself, what is little Jonny going to bring home from his/her/its woodworking class? Maybe schools need to adapt and move with the times.

4
0

Terror cops swoop on couple who Googled 'backpacks' and 'pressure cooker'

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

> I wonder how long it will be before the sheeple get pissed off & demand changes

Probably never.

The great thing about our mass-media, always-on world is that we can be shown the "results" of terror attacks live on TV, and then over and over again. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing and imprints certain "facts" on the public. Like every time you see a plane fly into an office block it reinforces the view that the threat is current and as real today as it was ten or twelve years ago. After that, it's just a case of sitting back and letting public opinion paranoia do the rest.

The worst outcome a terror attack can have (for the perpetrators) is not that it fails, it's that nobody talks about it.

10
0

HALF of air passengers leave phones on ... yet STILL no DEATH PLUNGE

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

> these same 'stupid rules' may have been ncecessarily correct 30 years ago

Possibly (though it's more likely that a 1980's mobile phone's battery would have caught fire than the R.F. would cause interference). The problem with stupid rules that everyone ignores is that they are indistinguishable from the sensible rules that only a complete fool would ignore. So once people start ignoring the ones they consider dumb - generally judged only by the level of inconvenience the rule causes them combined with the lack of immediate tangible benefit they see) they are more likely to start ignoring the "good" rules, too.

Stupid laws have the same corrosive effect. They reduce the credibility of the law as a whole and also reduce our respect for the people who try to enforce those laws: the "the law is the law" types.

6
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Blanky

> 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone and nine per cent said...

It does appear that a significant proportion of the (presumably adult) sample regard their phones as a sort of good-luck charm, or talisman - in the same way that insecure children will cling on to their favourite object / toy / blanket to comfort themselves.

I guess in the past, this role would have been fulfilled by a St. Christopher medal, prayer beads or some other quasi-religious artefact. And now those same, impressionable and insecure types just worship at the altar of Nokia, Samsung and Apple instead..

19
1

Apple FINGERED our personal packages every day, claim shop staff

Pete 2
Silver badge

Don't drag the bag

> they are fed up with out-of-hours bag searches

... and yet they still insist on taking bags to work with them (or more significantly: trying to take them out, afterwards). Slow learners, or what?

0
13

Intel's homage to Raspberry Pi: The much pricier Minnowboard

Pete 2
Silver badge

Refreshing the parts other SBCs can't reach

> Why would potential customers be interested in x86, if they're not tied to Windows?

Well that's the key, isn't it? Say you're an OEM making annunciators for trains, or portable ATMs, or things that trundle round warehouses following lines on the floor. If your *current* products are based on WinTel technology and you want better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, more power and a board that hasn't recently gone out of production then yes: this could be for you.

If you're upgrading an existing product or giving it a mid-life boost you don't want to spend vast amounts of developer time (and time to market) redeveloping stuff, checking if drivers will still work and integrating peripherals, USB thingies and so forth. You just want to drop in a new "heart" to the machine and get it out the door.

However if you're building a mass-market product where space, power consumption and unit-price are more important and you're writing all the software from scratch anyway, then you probably wouldn't consider this board.

3
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: Devil's advocate

Yes, this product is obviously not aimed at the RPi buyers and seems to be intended for the "big boy" embedded systems manufacturers (who will no doubt get some juicy discounts) who produce products for corporations, not hobbyists on a budget.

For them, the Pi is a nice starter board and other products like the BBB (also made by CircuitCo I believe), or the Olimex Linux boards (some with wifi or SATA on board) are much more capable as Linux hosts and a great deal cheaper.

3
0

UK economy to lose £198m if BBC and pals lose EPG slots - Ministry of Fun

Pete 2
Silver badge

Award to reward

> Other channels also commission UK-created content, but to a much lesser degree

So just award the primo slots to those broadcasters who screen the most hours of original drama, current affairs, sport, light ents and factual programming. If there really is a link between EPG pole position and audience figures, that would incentivise the content creators and reward them with larger audiences and therefore greater advertising revenue. Review every year.

Though I suspect that the "big 5" channels would stay in their current positions, more or less and everyone else would be right down at the bottom.

2
0

Typical! Google's wonder-dongle is a solution looking for a problem

Pete 2
Silver badge

Going back to basics

> Google simply doesn't have the material today that drives any significant demand

And what is the single biggest driver? Yup, porn.

Maybe that's what Google needs to dip it's dongle into. If they're smart they could spin it as "look: we're taking all the porn off the internet searches and only making it available through our specialised hardware (that only 18+s can buy)"

The best part about that is that apart from satisfying all the prudes in the universe it would make all the other search engines look bad if they didn't follow suit. But without a dongle of their own, they'd be stuffed.

0
0

Selfridges dreaming of a snot-themed Christmas

Pete 2
Silver badge

Hit and miss

> "Every object is original and unique,"

Is that just a polite way to say that 3D printers can't reproduce models accurately?

12
1

Crumbs, we're going to lose that public sector bid - Jeeves, send for the lawyers

Pete 2
Silver badge

Failure is not an option ... it's a distinct possibility

> For example, businesses will complain about the procurement strategy that public sector body is following if they think that strategy favours their competitor

Remarkable! You'd expect people or companies who felt they were being discriminated against to just sit quietly and let it go.

I wonder if the Cabinet Office, who investigate these complaints could ever come to the conclusion that most of them (In 19 per cent of the cases investigated no serious concerns were found) - the other 81% - DO actually have merit and the fault could simply be that the officials responsible for drafting the bids are a bunch of clueless bureaucrats who have no idea about what they want, how business works or even what is technically possible.

It could also help to explain why so many government projects are so utterly flawed.

7
1

Dumpsters begone! App matches diners with leftovers to broke, hungry

Pete 2
Silver badge

Doin' the 2-step

Step 1: you advertise a load of left-over food on a regular basis

Step 2: All the local vagrants start hanging around outside your house

Here's a thought - either BUY LESS or get a refrigerator and some tupperware to store your leftovers until you're feeling hungry again.

0
0

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Pete 2
Silver badge

@Chris - The first sane post

Having read through this whole collection of comments, I weep for the future.

It does seem to me that there is so much ignorance, so much naivety, so much idealism and so much ignorant, naive idealism that the only solution would be to take the entire population of the country and force a copy of The Economist down their throats (other orifices are available) every week and hammer them home with a copy of the weekend FT.

For a few, some of the economic wisdom they publish might rub off. For the remainder: at least it would get some fibre into their diet.

2
2

Kids LIE about age on Facebook, gasps Brit ad watchdog

Pete 2
Silver badge

Control group

So what needs to happen now if for these "victims" (sheesh!) of being "exposed" to over-aged advertising to be compared with children who haven't seen stuff they weren't supposed to (if there are as many as 24 in the whole country who fall into the category). Then we will be in a position to gauge what "damage" has occurred. However, if it turns out that these children are indistinguishable from the unsullied, there is an obvious question about the effect of adult material on the under-aged.

0
0

Comrade! If you dare f$%^ing swear on the internet, WE'LL SHOOT

Pete 2
Silver badge

What the fork?

The problem with banning specific words is that there are so many near homophones that would be impractical to ban. Until anyone in power comes up with the ability to ban context rather than content schemes like this will always be flawed.

Of course, when people realise that there are many, many acceptable words and phrases ("taking the mick", being a fine example) in everyday use that have exactly the same meaning as "nastier" equivalents and that by using the sanitised versions they are committing the very offences they are so outraged about - just with different words, what will they do then? Somehow I doubt they will recognise their own hypocrisy: they'll probably just make it illegal to point out how inconsistent all these rules are.

1
0

Been hacked? Don't dial 999: The plods are too dense, sniffs sec bigwig

Pete 2
Silver badge

Not their job

> Police are powerless to stop ... criminals from hacking

Although the way the police work, it's rare for them to jump in during the commission of a crime and stop it. Historically, the police have always been a force that acts after a crime: both to catch the baddies (if possible) but mostly to act as a deterrent to prevent further crimes being committed. More recently they have acted as both advice-givers to help citizens enable themselves to not become victims of crime and most recently they have been used as a salve to reduce the fear of crime - rather than crimes themselves (although recent figures suggest that crime rates are at their lowest for 30 year, for what that's worth) so it looks like something's happened.

For more "modern" crimes against companies, organisations like the Serious Fraud Office have been set up - although their success rate is amazingly low, the cost of their prosecutions is amazingly high and the time it all takes is amazingly long. It appears that we need an SFO for cyber-crime, but preferably one that is actually able to be effective: both in catching the baddies and deterring the noobies.

Although before any crime-fighters can start to take action, we need a decent set of laws and some judicial precedents setting out what is OK and what is actually a little bit naughty.

2
0

Google Chromecast: Here's why it's the most important smart TV tech ever

Pete 2
Silver badge

Just another thing to hang off the back of my telly

> sends is just a command that tells Chromecast to grab the content stream and render it itself, via a custom receiver application that's loaded and run on the Chromecast dongle.

So basically you use your PC, lappy, tablet or phone to find something you want to view or listen to. You then use an app on that device to send a link to the Chromecast dongle saying "here, suck on this teat". CC then tickles the source and starts to pull the stream with no further interaction from you or your "big" device.

Okaaaay, so the CC dongle is still basically just a dongle. The cleverness is in the two apps and the commercial power of Google who can persuade media companies to develop CC interfaces for their stuff.

So why can't I just have the Chromecast software on the Android TV dongle I bought last year? The app that sits on my tablet would be just the same and since there are already millions of TV dongles out there, the market has been established. It sounds like I already have all the hardware needed to implement this. The tablet/laptop app would be the same irrespective of the dongle used, so I just need a Chromecast for Android app to run on my existing dongle.

Sounds almost yawn-worthy.

9
3

London Mayor shows off GIANT BLUE COCK in busy square

Pete 2
Silver badge

A long way to go

> poking fun at the fact that a woman had created a male image.

Because men *never* create female images. Oh, wait ...

(maybe this means that all straight male porn, most advertising and pretty much every nude portrait has been completely misunderstood and is really just an ironic commentary?)

4
1

Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Never forget the personnel angle

> two sayings are worth keeping in mind:

There's a third. Restores are useless unless you have the staff available to apply them

All the talk about backups, restores, DR, high-availability focuses on the technical aspect and never seems to address the issue regarding people. There's little point having a full tested recovery plan, or backups that you *know* you [ well: someone ] will restore if needed, if that someone is either unavailable, indisposed, sacked or chooses not to do it (Yeah, go ahead: fire me. How will that get your system back up and running?)

Whether it's something as mundane as the staff canteen serving up a dodgy lunch that lays the whole IT staff low, a particularly good party that does the same but more pleasantly, a scheduling "hundred year wave" where all the players are simultaneously on holiday, off sick, on strike, on maternity leave and freshly redundant or any other unforeseen circumstance that means nobody answers the phone when the call goes out.

Possibly the worst of all is when no-one can remember the key to all the encrypted personal data that was backed up and can be successfully restored, but for one tiny detail.

So yes: make sure your tech is all fired up and ready to rock. But don't take for granted the person who has to make it all happen.

0
0

For pity's sake: DON'T MOVE to the COUNTRY if you want to live

Pete 2
Silver badge

Emergency services?

And how many of those deaths (from whatever cause) would have been survivable in the city, where medical assistance would be on the spot very quickly?

In a lot of country areas (less-so in the UK due to the much higher population density) it would take an age for an ambulance to attend any of these accidents. That's if there was a way of alerting them of the incident in the first place. While it's unusual in the UK, a lot of the boonies in america have no mobile phone coverage and no passers-by to call it in.

4
0

PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

Pete 2
Silver badge

Saving face

> People who are going to commit sex crimes, will do so

I don't think the reason parents want to prevent their chldren seeing naked bodies (and these seems to be where 99% of the pressure is coming from) has nothing to do with crime, exploitation, self-image (probably the most bogus "argument" of them all) or any of the other frequently cited reasons. ISTM the real reason is simply that they feel uncomfortable discussing such "adult" topics with their kids and will go to extreme lengths: including denial, demonising sex and making the inquisitive youngster feel like they are "bad" or "dirty" for asking, simply to avoid the embarrassment they would feel if they had to talk about it, themselves. (Or possibly because they are so ignorant of the subject, they don't wish to be questioned and have their own lack of knowledge revealed.)

If so, then this is exactly the wrong approach as it's just human nature for people to want something more if they are denied it. Or to make them more convinced it's worth finding out about if their parents keep avoiding the subject.

6
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Be careful what you wish for

> stop children getting easy access to hard-core pornography

So if you were a smut-propelled website, making your living from mucky ads on dodgy pages and suddenly you found that a goodly proportion of your income had gone, due to the UK's new filters - what would you do?

As a provider you could start advertising: but if the filters are still in place your customers are blocked just as surely as before. You could give up and get a proper job - though I don't know what, errrr, openings there are for ex-sex workers trying to go "respectable".

Or you could make your website look like an ordinary one, so that the sirens¹ don't go off any time someone clicks on your URL. Of all the alternatives, that last one seems like the most successful ploy for continuing to lead your life in the style to which you've become accustomed.

But: there's a downside. Not to you, or your pervy punters. The problem is for everyone else: who hasn't opted out of naked viewing (on the screen, not in front of the screen). Since you've tweaked your website to avoid the filters of poverty, it's now far more likely that people who aren't searching out pleasures of the flesh will stumble across your website without any warning, so successful is your filter-busting camoflage. You never know, your mother might even discover your real occupation!

So while porn-filters sound like a good idea, ultimately they might have the opposite effect: by requiring the less salubrious websites to appear mainstream, it would be more likely that visitors wouldn't just be people actively looking for stimulation, but ordinary folk who found them by accident.

[1] the audible kind, not the ones that lure unwary travellers to their doom - though maybe that's what porno websites will do.

4
2

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

Pete 2
Silver badge

For a moment I thought they were serious

until I got to the bit:

> new powers given to industry watchdog Ofcom, which will oversee the ISPs

I realise this is just the Daily Mail deciding that it knows better than a democratically elected government. And that it's easier for (call me) Dave to make some sort of announcement during the summer holidays to stop them wailing on about whatever they wail on about - and presumably to court their support in the next election (less than 22 short months to go - yippee!). But they must realise that any internet rules have the same effect as dropping a rock into a stream. The water will just go around. Drop in too many rocks and you don't stem the flow, you just flood the surroundings as the pressure of water, or adolescent males' urges shows no upper limit.

0
0

Verity's summer songs for programmers: Sing your pals to sleep()

Pete 2
Silver badge

Summertime

BST

and the coding is sweaty

The boss is jumpin'

and the stress level's high

Your client's impatient

and the code is spaghetti

So please little process

don't you die

One of these mornings

You're gonna stop dumping

Then you'll spawn your sub-processes

and be ready to fly

But 'til that morning

I'll just keep on hacking

and maybe the deadline won't pass me by

[ with sincerest apologies to George Gershwin ]

20
0

Former CIA and NSA head says Huawei spies for China

Pete 2
Silver badge

Defn: Defence

The ability to do unto others what they are doing to you - just do it first.

This is no different from what American companies have been doing for their governments for decades. Reporting back on the work they are undertaking, the technology they are using (subject to tight restrictions for reasons of "National Security"), quantities, locations and which other countries have suppliers in the area.

Just standard american "Reds under the bed" paranoia. - and yes: just because you're paranoid ...

5
1

Microsoft admits it's '18 months behind' with Windows 8 slabs

Pete 2
Silver badge

What took them so long?

> people want to be "productive at work, to be able to print and have a keyboard".

Sounds like they've just reinvented the laptop. If you want a keyboard, the absolute worst place to put it is on the screen - the small, expensive and in entirely the wrong place for typing - screen.

The whole tablet format is focussed on media consumption, not creating stuff. How I laugh when I see otherwise credible employees trying to type one-fingered on the screens of their trendy tablets, when the new kid with a PC (who is at the bottom of the pecking order, so doesn't warrant interesting work toys) can run rings round them in speed and accuracy.

20
0

PRISM scandal: Brit spooks operated within the law, say politicos

Pete 2
Silver badge

Redacted

"It has been alleged that GCHQ circumvented UK law by using the NSA’s PRISM programme to access the content of private communications. From the evidence we have seen, we have concluded that this is unfounded."

And who provided the evidence that was seen? And what did the three monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil & wait for the New Year's Honours politicians do to ensure that what they were given (by GCHQ: the same lot who were accused) was a full, complete and accurate account of the goings on?

6
1

IBM, Accenture play blame game over $1bn project blowout

Pete 2
Silver badge

Fixed price == fixed spec.

> That's how IBM (and others) make their money

To be fair, that's how everyone makes their money when tendering for fixed-price work. The basic problem is two-fold. First, the customer never really knows what they want - nor have worked out the conflicts between what they are asking for and what they want to do (that would take far too long). Second is that no project exists in isolation: so as (development) time moves on, the requirements: regulatory, business and technical and systems that the proposed project is meant to interface with will change, and therefore the fixed-price spec. will have to be changed to accommodate these.

The basic issue is that F.P. tendering is a flawed process. It was originally meant to put a limit on the huge, open-ended overruns of government projects based on cost-plus (where the company who won the contract passed on their costs and an agreed "profit" margin) principles.

It is possible, if unlikely, that any contractor could deliver what the spec asked for, for the agreed fixed price. However, it's almost certain that this wouldn't perform the required tasks for the reasons above. The result would then be a system, delivered to specificaton, that had to be either tossed and re-done or battered into shape with a secondary project - that would have all the organisational drawbacks that the original one had. And since only one tenderer would have sufficient knowledge, skills and background to complete the work, the tendering process would fail as there would only be a single viable applicant.

So until clients can work out what the hell they are actually trying to do (a rare breed, indeed), keep all the interfaces to the proposed system frozen until it's final delivery AND making sure there are no omissions, errors, inconsistencies or ambiguity in the design documents it looks like we're stuck with the present system - or something like it. Still: at least it keeps the lawyers happy.

3
1

Dear Linus, STOP SHOUTING and play nice - says Linux kernel dev

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: @Peter - don't rub it too hard

> where the shine wears off and the abuse doesn't

I agree completely (there, I'm sure that made you feel better than if someone had criticised your post). And in my experience, when a project starts to lose its shine, that's when the pressure gets racked up and the blame starts flying around.

Given that the number of stories about Linus and his lack of (temper) control have been on the increase in recent years, AND that Linux hasn't really innovated much since 64 bitness and multi-processors arrived - apart from bug fixes, support for new hardware and a bunch o' stuff under the hood that users neither see nor care about. So you have to wonder how long there is until Linus' shine does get rubbed through, and whether there's just the proverbially unpolishable underneath?

2
6
Pete 2
Silver badge

Nice guys come second

> “You may need to learn to shout at people,”

Personally, I've been shouted at by experts: people who do it professionally and can verbally abuse you for 5 minutes, fluently, without hesitation, repetition or deviation (although some of the deviations you get accused of would make your hair curl and IIRC, that was one of them!). So some guy shouting at me, either in person, over the phone (ineffective: you just quietly lay the receiver down 'till they've fininshed - it's hard to argue with someone who won't answer back) or by email (even more ineffective and with the added disadvantage that it leaves evidence to be used against the shouter) might make them feel better but it will have zero effect on me.

At best you suffer from raised blood pressure and fear. Although fear is a great motivator in the short term, it's effect needs to be continually escalated to continue achieving results. At worst you get someone like me who ignores it all and just thinks of the shouty git as a complete 'hole and ends up with an even lower opinion of them.

If you want to motivate someone, someone who you have no real control over as FOSS developers can stop FOSS-ing and just walk away, you need to adopt an air of professionalism, gain respect and lead by example.

Sounds like Linus has pretty much lost it.

22
20

Planet-busting British space bullet ready to bomb ice moon Europa

Pete 2
Silver badge

We had to destroy the asteroid in order to explore it

> a “space penetrator” project, offered as a lower-cost alternative to sending rovers to our planetary neighbours

To mangle the already mis-quoted report from the Vietnam War. Firing a devastating projectile into an exploration target doesn't really work if the thing you wanted to learn about is either blown into little pieces, or so disrupted that what survives the "attack" is unrecognisable. Imagine the yay! behind: "We discovered new forms of life on Comet ZZ9 Plural Z-Alpha, but unfortunately we destroyed it in the process."

Though on reflection, I suppose this is exactly how nuclear research is done (with "colliders" 'n' all), so maybe there is a future in it after all.

0
0

Gadgets are NOT the perfect gift for REAL men

Pete 2
Silver badge

Geronimoooooooooooooo ............. <splat>

> I'll need a new reserve chute

Might I suggest it's unwise to accept a parachute from a person who stands to benefit from your life insurance.

13
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Simple enough

I was told many decades ago never to buy a woman a present that had a plug on it (if only for the eminently practical reason that it might replace you). So far as buying for men: a bottle of single malt is universally acceptable.

11
1

Sysadmins: Everything they told you about backup WAS A LIE

Pete 2
Silver badge

But who gets it in the neck?

> What is backed up is the reponsability of the data owner not the IT Department.

That's all very well. The problem is that the universal impression of pretty much everyone in business is that if it runs on a computer, it's the IT dept's fault when it fails. No matter how much you'd like to argue about charters, SLAs, job descriptions or anything else; these will all be perceived as excuses trying to weasel out of an IT failure and blame the problem on someone else.

In fact if you are successful in getting this point across you could easily find you've just talked yourself out of a job. [ MD thought process: Well, if IT aren't responsible for this, what are they doing ... maybe it's time to "do more with less" ]

3
0

BAN UK tax breaks on patented tech, fumes German finance minister

Pete 2
Silver badge

Nice idea, shame about the rules

You can see the motivation for this: get companies patenting stuff in the UK or "Yurp" and rewarding them with a little less tax in recognition of the R&D they've done.

It's just a shame that the pen pushers who come up with these rules and incentives just don't have the brain power to see where these seemingly good ideas will end up. I expect it all sounds pleasant and altruistic over a nice cup of tea in the planning meeting, but HMRC (and others) need to get out a bit more and see that in the real world the attack-accountants (!) in major multinationals will just rip these efforts to shreds in an effort to squeeze the last conceivable milli-penny from the tax liabillity.

1
1

Ciseco Pi-Lite: Make a Raspberry Pi trip light fantastic with 126 LEDs

Pete 2
Silver badge

Send P&P packing

> I often wonder how people have come to the conclusion that all shipping should be free nowadays.

We all realise that nobody is suggesting Royal Mail should deliver stuff for free. However there is a valid point behind this comment - someone's making a nice little earner from P&P - and VAT on P&P.

Take for example an Arduino prototype shield, purchased from a UK supplier. The delivery costs alone are listed at £4.15 - with VAT payable on top.

Now consider (very possibly) the same board, bought from a supplier in China - both suppliers were chosen at random, so no intentional cherry-picking - The board including P&P comes to a grand total of $4.50. So the cost of sending a board half-way round the world to my letterbox is somewhat less than what the UK vendor charges just to send the same sized packet at most a few hundred miles within the UK.

Given that when the board arrives in the UK from China, it's RM who handles both deliveries you have to wonder why it's more expensive for the same carrier to deliver the same package, just because it was posted in the UK, not China? Who's making the money - is it the UK vendor (who's delivered cost for the same board is roughly 6 times what the Chinese website is charging) or is it RM stiffing the UK company who merely pass on their costs?

Answers on a postcard please ... if you can afford it.

9
0

Health minister asks elderly patients what they think of data-sharing

Pete 2
Silver badge

Short and sweet

It is now seeking views from elderly patients

> What do you think are the main barriers to data sharing between services to support patient care?

The main barrier is the NHS's inability to and indifference towards keeping that data confidential.

> Can you highlight any examples of where data sharing to support patient care is happening effectively?

I'm a patient. How the hell could I possibly know. My doctor can't even explain what's wrong with me.

9
0

US: We spied on you Europeans but we can still be chums. Right?

Pete 2
Silver badge

The "special" relationship

is beginning to sound more like Stockholm syndrome

10
1

Germans brew up a right Sh*tstorm

Pete 2
Silver badge

If it's good enough for the Germans

you'd hope it would be good enough for the british press. Sadly, they all seem to have reported it as variants of "s___storm" or "sh*tstorm" - as if their readers are too stupid to discover what was "beeped" out.

I now wait for its first occurence on Countdown. No doubt it'll cause a shitstorm when it appears on TV screens.

1
0

Dubya: I introduced PRISM and I think it's pretty swell

Pete 2
Silver badge

Precognition

> Bush said: "I put that program in place

Of course, the powers knew he would say that to CNN as they had already intercepted the emails and calls that set the interview up.

4
0

What's the most secure desktop operating system?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: Stupid Question

> The only 'secure' computer is the one that is not switched on.

Can still get stolen though.

For real security it needs to be encased in a room full of concrete inside a Faraday shield - but then: what's the point?

In real life all that "security" does is either slow down attackers who are intent on targeting one particular computer (or bank, or person) or deter the attackers from wasting their time on the secure machine and instead targeting some easier pickings elsewhere.

0
0

'The Apprentice' is a load of old codswallop, says biz prof

Pete 2
Silver badge

If it was done properly

Confession time: I only watched the first series. Before it started the concept seemed fresh and original. After the first series ended it was apparent it was simply a pantomime to be watched by people who thought Dallas was true to life how oil magnates lived.

If someone wanted to make T.A. real, what tasks would the performers have to participate in?

- Most original way to avoid attending a Health and Safety presentation. Performers have to come up with an excuse and then follow it through without getting caught, or found lying

- The "bladder" challenge. Performers are made to drink 6 cups of coffee (proper stuff, not decaff) and then attend a meeting. Last one to run for the loo is the winner (and no relieving yourself "in-situ").

- The screen-blank. Performers have to conceal their computer screens from the boss - whether they were just watching pr0n, updating FB or looking for a new job. The boss will sneak up on them from various directions and employing diversionary tactics. The performers must prevent the boss seeing what they are really up to.

- The day off. Similar to avoiding H&S. The performers have to come up with excuses for skyving off for a day. As in real life, anyone coming back from a sickie and sporting a suntan gets fired on the spot.

- Do unto others. The performers have to plant incriminating evidence of disloyalty or illegal activities on their bosses' PC. After all if you can't get your boss fired, how will you ever get promoted.

If you think these are all pretty boring, desk based activities when you want people running round like 6-year olds on espressos trying to sell tat to idiots, then welcome to the real world of office work.

1
0