2245 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Re: Are they stupid or something?
Actually, there's a very strong deterrent effect from telling people that every aspect of their lives is being monitored, scrutinised, reviewed and judged. It makes them think twice about stepping out of line and invokes a feeling of fear that keeps them under your thumb, but without the inconvenience of actually having to do anything.
Plus, if you do want to arrest some "troublesome" people, it's dead easy to make an example of them and cite "security" as the reason why you can't reveal the why's and wherefore's of their activities.
Same reason defence spending costs so much ...
... and produces so little.
Because the estimates don't deal with the expected cost, but with how much the proposers think they can credibly ask for. Of course once they get that, then the "in for a penny, in for a pound" mentality takes over and the real cost will be 3, 4, 5 ... 50 times the original ask. The more secrecy the project can be held under, the greater the costs can escalate to without anyone poking their noses in.
Wise advice from my gran
"Well dear, if it turns purple, you're holding it too tight"
Though she was talking about babies - since iPhones hadn't been invented then.
Re: Converting to old fashioned units
> How do you feel about PI?
Many answers depending on circumstances.
3 is generally good enough
sqrt(10) is often handy. Pi**2 comes up a lot in physics.
Also 78.5% is far more useful if you're working out areas (the percentage of the largest circle that fits in a given square)
Converting to old fashioned units
If you do decide to keep the old, imperial units, could you at least stop converting to (or even bothering with) multiple decimal places. For example in the article, does it matter that the dude in question reached a speed of 586.92 km/hr or that 1,315kg is 2,899 pounds.
Although I appreciate a bit more than "in a pressurised rather heavy capsule", I doubt it matters to anyone reading whether the capsule's weight is given to 4 digits of accuracy when 1.3 tonnes (or tons, the difference is slight and immaterial - just please god: not metric tonnes) would tell us all we need to know. Though informing us what that is in olympic swimming pools-full of linguini is obviously a definite requirement.
It would be even more of a waste if he jumped from that height and then missed the earth
First rule of spaceflight
> spacesuit leap delayed by bad wind
Don't fart in your spacesuit
Just the start
Wait until the Amazonians see the "customers who bought office blocks also bought ... " list and start getting spammed daily with emails telling them about all the other office blocks they could buy, too.
Diligently obeying the law
> legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations
Somehow I can envisage the rest of the EU, while being subjected to the same laws and restrictions will somehow just give a good old gallic shrug and carry on as before. It does appear that, unique amongst the EU signatories, the UK politicians and civil servants have a view that these "laws" are absolute and immediate - and must be obeyed to the letter, irrespective of the consequences to the proles who ultimately get stiffed with the consequences.
While it's probably a good idea to reduce emissions where we can, it makes no sense to do so when we're plainly not in a position to fill the gap with alternate energy sources.
It may give some UK politicians an extra bit of swagger, when dealing with their european counterparts (who would still have their lights on), but rather than praising them for obeying the rules, we should be holding them to account for not seeing this coming and getting their arses into gear and do the jobs they are paid to do.
Original uses for the accelerometer
> no tipping until 2013
Shame, I'd really like to see the Fivebucks shop assistant be slaved to the phone app. The further I tilt the phone, the greater the degree of tipping they are subject to. I wonder if it's possible to get one past 45° and still stay on their feet? I'd pay extra to see that
How to tell a security specialist
> these security specialists are regularly spammed with requests to submit articles
Surely any self-respecting (or even slightly competent) security "specialist" would never do anything as naive as giving out a real email address to an online publication?
Re: Please Speak English
I claim no originality for it. Check out the Dilbert cartoons and books.
Re: I call shenanigans
Maybe she's not being productive per se. But at least she's not stopping other, actually useful, employees from working. It may be that the best you can hope for with some co-irkers is that the less they do, the less they screw up for others to fix.
Re: Well, it worked for songs on iTunes
The big difference is that you listen to songs more than once.
There may, just, be a few websites that hosted material which was relevant enough and refreshed frequently enough that I'd be willing to pay 15p once as a subscription to access that content for a long time, across a whole raft of devices. But so far as stumping that much to access a single article on only one occasion? It would have to be a dam' good article: interesting, relevant, insightful - all the things that most web pages (El Reg excepted, 'natch!) couldn't even dream of being.
Paid for study produces expected results
> The study ... was conducted by Monash University ... at the behest of Entity Solutions, a company that puts freelancers on its payroll ... for employers to hire them.
So a freelancer agency pays for a study and remarkably, it shows that freelancers are at least as good as permies. Who'd have thought it?
Of course contractors are just as committed. They're people, just like (most) permies are, too. Human nature doesn't change just because you switch employers every few months and get paid extra as a result. In fact it's often observed that the most enthusiastic staff are the new, fresh ones - keen to make an impression (esp. when they can be canned with zero notice) and please their new boss. Before the realisation sets in of just how big a numpty that new boss is, and how lacking in leadership, skill, talent and personality they are.
Though it's unclear whether the study tried or was even capable of distinguishing between "commitment" and motivation. It seems entirely reasonable that (lifestyle choices being equal) contractors who have decided to take their future in their own hands are more highly motivated than individuals who are happy to plow the same furrow for 5, 10 or 30 years - day in, day out.
So: broadcasting == bad, streaming == good?
The bandwidth that was previously used to broadcast TV content to millions is now being sold for 4G use ... so that it can be used to stream TV (amongst other uses - minor uses?) to ... who, exactly?
Man in the muddle
> if you click the link and buy the item Ubuntu-maker Canonical gets a small percentage of the income,
That's all very well and I have no problem with someone making a bit of money for their efforts, but ...
How can this prevent someone downloading the "proper" Ubuntu <obligatory cutesy name omitted for reasons of professionalism> 12.10 and fixing it so that instead of using Canonical's referrals to Amazon it uses their own, instead?
Obviously the simply answer is to never download from anywhere except the approved repository and to always check the checksum matches the validated version. But I can see there is a lot of scope here for scammers to stick their oar into what has always been positioned as a Linux for the non-technical users who wouldn't be au fait with the reasons for taking these extra steps.
Longer is better
We're told that long passwords are
easier to forget better than short ones. And that longer crypto keys are better than short ones.
So it follows that Alice and Bob should be replaced with better, or at least longer, name. to promote this philosophy. I would suggest that in the spirit of pointless changes the following are adopted henceforth:
Anglithorpianositachinquate and Hatmaguptafratarinagarosterlous
and possibly Opfogjrbskfeepnepnkaseyoinnbretn for the interloper
Re: Blocks of flats?
I foresee the ground floor flat getting an awful lot of post
PO's been doing this for years
> other delivery companies, with whom it is required to compete these days, already have the right to leave stuff with the house next door, while it has been bound to wait for the householder or keep the parcel at the post office for collection
I must say, round here this has been normal practice since the post orifice was invented. Posties always seem to leave anything larger than a letter either with a random neighbour (with or without a card through the door, depending on how hard it's raining) or at an undisclosed location around the property - including inside the wheelie-bin/recycling container of their choice. In that respect, they're no different from any of the couriers - except they tend not to toss it at the house from yards out, or from parcelfarce who play the same games of hide-and-seek.
Personally, I'm very pleased they do this, as the local PO office is only open from 9 - 1pm, which makes it impossible for Mon-Fri workers to pick up anything, until Saturday.
Just another streetlight
Predicting the "spectacular-lessness" of comets, meteor showers, eclipses, transits (of the non-Ford variety) and planetary conjunctions is prone to hype. Not so much because of what the astronomers, in their enthusiasm, say but in the way the inexperienced media go completely doolally when they have something extra-terrestrial to report.
So yes, hopefully this comet will be bright. Hopefully if won't be obscured by clouds for months on end. Hopefully it won't be washed out by the full moon or by being too close to the sun in the sky. However, for the vast majority of people even the moon at its brightest has to compete with thousands of streetlights - all pouring wasted light into our skies and turning what should be a spectacular night-time view into a dull orange glow.
Luckily the Normans, in their conquest, didn't have to worry about such things or their tapestry wouldn't have featured a comet at all.
All the gear
... but no career.
Hug an eel
Maybe the eel just wanted to be friends - that's a-moray
Re: Say goodbye to those advertising accounts
No kidding? there's no pulling the wool over your wotsit, is there?
Say goodbye to those advertising accounts
Note to El reg. Calling Google and Microsoft "butt heads" won't win you any favours, adverts, or help with your search rankings.
A radical new idea
I doubt it will catch on, but maybe - just maybe, if The Guardian and all its other "worthy" bedfellows started printing stuff that was interesting, popular, relevant, unbiased and informative then they'd be able to actually pay their way.
They possibly do produce one or two stories a year (between the lot of them: WMDs, expenses, etc.) that make their existence worthwhile. But not to the extent that they ALL deserve to be propped and subsidised by the whole country. Who do they think they are? the BBC?
> "thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers declined."
So does the number of "thefts" bear any relationship to the release of new models? Given that a phone is so easy to brick once nicked, as the reduction in thefts of "other manufacturers" goods indicates, you've got to wonder what's really going on.
The real question is
... did the Moon call him a pleb?
Good training opportunity
... after all, someone has to clear up those PP balls
Malice in Blunderland
"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."
So Humpty Dumpty runs a mobile phone company now.
There's misinformation, lack of information and false information
> misinformation is particularly damaging if it concerns complex real-world issues ...
There's also the possibility that sometimes the general public is deliberately misled (WMDs, dodgy dossiers etc.) to gain acceptance for a policy. There's a wide range of circumstances where the information is considered "too hard" for ordinary people to understand - especially if they are victims of the british educational system - and has to be "simplified" for their poor little brains to comprehend, On top of that there's situations where information is conflicting and incomplete - that leads to religious and factional side-taking, based more on what people want to believe, rather than on actual information.
And finally there's "we simply don't know", which would be the mature response to conflicting/incomplete information, if only there wasn't so much benefit to be had from "proving" your side was right.
Climate change has far too much invested by both sides for any truth to ever come out. Simple observation tells me that the weather I experience in my little corner of the world is hotter/colder/wetter/drier than it used to be (depending when and over what period you care to form an opinion). However, the causes are far from clear and therefore any remediation that may, or may not, be necessary is impossible to propose as we don't have any hard information regarding the cause.
Our trick-cycling hack definitely falls into the "there's money & fame to be made here" and is positioning himself to exploit that. As such he's just adding to the overall noise without contributing anything useful: ignore.
Watchdog - watches
> However Murdoch's son James ...
was savaged was briefly sniffed by the watchdog ...
who lazily opened one eye, had a quick snuffle, farted and then went back to its slumbers.
Personal data is like naked photos
You might give some to people you trust, but really, you should know that sooner or later someone will leak them.
Companies may well start off with high ideals, principles and promises, but there's nothing enforcable to back these up and once given, personal information can't be withdrawn. So as soon as that naive, idealistic company that you once trusted goes bust and its assets are sold, or it gets taken over by a more successful, predatory outfit, all the assurances and guarantees become void. Just like your ex. going to the tabloids with those photos.
Re: Genuinely confused
Yes, that's where I cam across the concept. One sandwich shop I used to frequent sliced their ham so thin you could see through it. I presume the place was run by the sorts who believe in homeopathy - so the thinner the ham, the tastier it would be. Though the question then has to be asked: why didn't my ham sandwich have an overwhelming taste of tuna?
> describes Schramm as ... post-gender feminist
Okaaaaay, feminist I get, post-gender I sort-of understand - but both together? it sounds a bit like the conflicts you'd get with a "vegetarian" ham sandwich.
If this description was merely meant as a collection of right-on buzzwords to press the buttons of the terminally trendy ("I live on the internet" - good grief), I could see the point of it. Maybe she's just having a laugh at everyone's expense, but it's lost something in translation.
Re: Umm wheres the IT Angle?
Dot matrix printer? No, but some of them look suspiciously like QR codes
There goes the neighbourhood
> The city held all the typical wonders of the ancient Roman world: temples, baths, markets
I wonder if the natives from that part of Turkey viewed the ubiquitous architecture of the roman empire in the same way that people today view the encroachment of "western" culture: McDonalds, shopping malls and multi-storey car-parks.
Did they welcome it as a civilising influence and added amenities, or just as more bloody commercialisation that was pushing out the local influences?
Behind closed doors
Juries always make their decisions (or choose which side they like best) behind closed doors - though in some countries they're allowed, or even urged, to blab about it afterwards. So the process is already shielded from scrutiny.
As well as these highly publicised patent trials (really? is a legal process the best way to adjudicate on a spat between two sets of geeks?), fraud trials come under criticism for exactly the same reasons - they're too complicated for the man on the Clapham omnibus to understand.
For both these sets of disputes, it does seem sensible for some sort of tribunal of experts to form a coherent opinion, rather than for the great unwashed to randomly spit out legal precedents. "Ordinary people" are great for "ordinary" crimes against the person: burglary, hitting people, etc. , but for plumbing the depths of arcane points of dubious laws, nothing beats the considered opinion of people who know what they're talking about.
Now, how to find 12 techies who can agree amongst themselves about *anything*
The tip of the iceberg
This is hardly news - or newsworthy.
When you look at the list, it's plain that huge tracts of IP addresses were given to all and sundry when the internet was new, empty and ran on modems. Apart from the easily-kicked target of the british govt. there are loads of companies that are also sitting on /8's. Ford Motors, Eli Lilly (who?), the long-defunct DEC. Hell: even Apple have a slice of the pie.
If there's any policy worth pursuing here it would be a "use it or lose it" across the whole 32-bit address range. Not just picking on the usual suspects.
So, purely hypothetically ...
When I get a cold caller, who assures me his name is "Simon", what are the chances of sending the right tones/commands to his voice-recognition system such that his computer's mouse will rise up and strangle him?
I'm sure that whoever created these autodiallers and VR systems will have programmed in such a back-door (at least, just as soon as they became it's targets - maybe in the v1.1 release). I guess they're keeping that information to themselves.
Re: Building regs!
Not just building regs that get ignored. Anti-smoking regs, tax regs, speeding regs - all get treated with the same degree of respect. There does appear to be a correlation between the length of time since a country was last under autocratic rule and it's native population's willingness to go by the rule book.
" ... the IPO debacle."
For FB, the IPO certainly wasn't a "debacle" - unless they're forced to reimburse the people who did make a mistake and paid too much for the over-valued shares.
Even the "HTML5 mistake" isn't a showstopper. The crucial point about mistakes is not their making, but how soon you identify a cockup and how quickly you fix it. I've worked in organisations where everyone was frozen into inaction for fear of getting something wrong - nothing ever got done.
The only real mistake in the high-tech world is a repeated mistake, although shagging the MD's spouse might be a close second.
The hazards of monkey parties
> The blue perineum, buttocks and scrotum displayed by adult males
Good to know it's not just humans that take advantage of passed-out drunk partygoers.
Beware the Pac-Man
> If Yahoo! ... is doing that poorly, what are the odds that some other company will just buy it out?
One company that could be in a position to, and knows a bit about Yahoo is Alibaba! All they have to do is sit and wait for Yahoo's acquisition strategy to go badly and then jump in. The question that remains is: why would they want to?
And they wonder why piracy is rife?
> Chinese fanbois will now have to wait ... a week after that, or, as usual, months
So the country that churns out all these shiny new toys is unable to buy them, legitimately?
That does NOT sound like a particularly well thought-out policy, as all it would take for the chinese workers to "solve" the problem is to adopt a "one for you - one for me" attitude. Where most of the production does get shipped to the right place, but a few crates happen to get "lost", or don't appear on the computer's inventory.
What did LBJ say about "better to have you enemies inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in?"
> I cannot see a need to upgrade my 4S
Surely thre reason to upgrade is that now there's a new model out, the days of the "old" one will be strictly limited.
This does seem more like a X.1 release than being worthy of a whole 1 digit increment. I wonder if the reason for there being so little difference (a few percent here, a couple of millimetres there) is because Apple have run out of ideas, or because the iPhone is so near to perfection already?
Best marketing ever!
> Microsoft ... to save the world's most endangered species (over edited for mischievous reasons)
So it comes down to "Buy Windows 8 or the Giant Panda gets it".
How can Apple respond to that?
So, basically ...
> We believe the future will be display plus cloud"
... we're back to a thin client, for about the third time. Though this time it really is _thin_
Complaining is their greatest pleasure
Presumably the same (sorts of) people got used to streetlights, TV aerials and motor vehicles when they started to appear. They'll get used to broadband cabinets too.
To paraphrase Robert Kennedy: Twenty percent of the people will be against anything
Let 'em moan.
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