2038 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Better check its internal logs
Maybe it got too warm, or was really cooling, or used to be much hotter than it is now.
I'm sure a few talented
philosphers climatologists could keep disagreeing with each other and slagging each other off in the popular press, about WHY it failed, to keep themselves on the gravy train for life.
That IS the name of the game, isn't it?
> My complaints about portable computers clearly hark back to the days when they really were crap
Oddly, my 1997 vintage Olivetti laptop would fit right in with today's offerings (apart from it having a sensibly proportioned 4:3 screen). Sure, it was slower and had less memory - but W95 (when it didn't crash) was so much faster, esp. without the need for anti-virus and more frugal that it balances out - ref: Wirth's Law.
The screen was a usable 12.1 inches, comparable with most screens today and the number, size and position of keys was exactly the same. So in terms of development, there's been little progress in the past 15 years. Even the screen resolution wasn't too far off todays low-end models (1024x768 vs. 1366x768 and in colour!). Battery life, too, was neck-and-neck.
The only thing that differentiates was the price: £3,600 back then and maybe 1/10th of that now.
So as far as crappiness goes, it seems like not much has changed.
2 solid hours of blue beings arguing. Nuff said, innit.
Re: So the unprofitable users are leaving
> build a company with a long term future,
Yes, that's an other option. However, historically web-based businesses don't have a very long shelf-life, unlike well run "proper" businesses with tangible products. So if a major FB shareholder suddenly developed a philanthropic bent (or just felt the need for redemption), then IPO-ing, and cashing in his/her chips to go off and do good works seems to be the way forward.
So the unprofitable users are leaving
The kids, being kids, are all fluttering off to the next fashionable location. Does that really matter? they don't have much in the way of disposable incomes, anyway.
> An older Facebook demographic ... an audience with deep pockets,... consuming content and completing transactions
and that's where the money lies. I once read an article about tourism from the tourist manager of a large provincial town. The view there was that it's far better to have 1 visitor who spends £1,000 than to have 1,000 visitors who spend £1 each. Maybe if FB takes, or is forced down, that route it wouldn't be such a bad thing for them.
However, if I was Mr. FB I'd hardly be worrying. So long as the share price holds up until I can cash-out that's all that matters. After that no doubt he'll stand down so he can spend more time with his money and maybe (follow Gates) into doing some good, or colonising outer space, or buying a presidency or two - either for himself, or his friends.
> We really are aspiring for this to be the Linux of the cloud
Hmmm, so that would be: something few people use, fewer get to work properly and fewer still who make money from?
A little bit more
> the proposed GCSE runs the risk of turning out students qualified to support Microsoft or Cisco products
You'd kinda hope (maybe in vain) that people going into IT as a profession would have a little more than a GCSE in CompSci. If A levels are to be made harder, then that would at least start to separate out the chaff.
C4's "Home of the future"
Channel 4 did a series about this a month or two ago. After spending a quarter of a million quid (so they say) on kitting out a house, the overriding impression was that a lot of the gadgets weren't very good.
Yes, you can control the heating when you're out - but really: who cares (you're OUT) and you could probably watch live video of your house being burgled if you had the desire - but still couldn't do a dam' thing to stop it.
What the programme couldn't do was make the technology disappear - it still needed people to actuate and control it. All the programmes managed to do was to show off a few point-solutions to some rather unrealistic situations. The best example being the (hopelessly cliched) Roomba (other home vacuums are just as bad). Sure, it could go across an unobstructed and level floor and move the dirt around, but as a home vacuum cleaner it was and always will be a failure. How can it clean the stair carpet? What about the dust behind the TV cabinet? What chance of reaching the cobwebs on the ceiling? What about emptying it's own bag - not a chance.
And the same story played out for almost all the gadgets that feature in home automation / HotF articles. Eventually a person needs to step in and complete the job, or fill in for the gaps in the gizmo's abilities. What that means is not only do yo buy a gadget to do half a job, but you still need all the paraphernalia to do the work yourself.
Since houses are designed for people and built to a human scale, until and unless the gadgets take a similar or more adaptable form, we'll still be a slave to the technology: having to move the furniture so the little robot can get behind it to clean. FAIL.
So it's business as usual
Give or take the odd hurricane, record-breaking heatwave and droughts. ... the climate's just as it's always been.
A small question
The only reviews or suggestions worth a dam' are from people who have actually bought kit with their own money, used it for several months and THEN written about their experiences: warts and all.
So: how many of the items listed does the reviewer own, himself?
For extra marks, what stuff does the reviewer own, and what's his view on that - good and bad?
The "b" word
A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision. [ Devil's dictionary ]
Since most western countries have passed laws making bribery of officials illegal (sidenote: I wonder how many palms were greased to get those laws through?) You can't just bung a wad of dosh at a purchasing manager and hope for the best. No, you have to make it all look official, above board and thoroughly respectable. What could be more respectable than a government backed scheme to tell the russians how to use their oil reserves more efficiently?
Obviously it's not an inducement, as it's all out in the open - or at least it is now. And if the russians, or the indians or the chinese or anyone else was to just happen to decide to award some "consultancy" contracts to british firms? Well that just goes to show how effective government "grants" can be.
So if you don't opt-in for smut, does this provide an alibi if something "dubious" is later found on your computer.
"But constabubble, I never *asked* for pr0n, so it's not my fault ... "
Something tells me you'd still get banged up - though it would be interesting to see how the ISPs would weasel out of admitting liability, or paying compo for the "damage" caused.
Now that's what I call ...
> a ten-meter, 1½ ton distant relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex
... an Angry Bird
One way to beat this law is to post complete rubbish and then plead insanity. If you can mangle the spelling and grammar as well, that adds reasonable doubt over what you actually said, or meant. Some might argue that a large proportion of internet users have been doing this for years.
and who eventually pays?
"This is an important step in transferring the cost of nuclear third party liability from taxpayers to
So all that will happen is that if a nuclear plant does go pop, all the people who got their electricity from that supplier will very quick switch, in the expectation that they will end up paying the fine through increased tariffs. All the other providers will, on the knowledge that Unlucky Leccy Inc will shortly be upping it's prices, themselves prepare price rises for all new customers who they will expect abandoning the old ship and joining someone without a billion euro millstone around their necks. Miraculously, those new rates from all the other suppliers will be just a smidge lower than the old supplier will now be charging.
Predictions are like standards
There are many to choose from, just pick one that best describes the current situation.
Of all the predictions, forecasts, WAGs (wild-assed guesses if you ever watched Rubicon) and speculation it's hardly surprising that one of them wouldn't be within a credible range of what we see, after 30 years - especially if you draw the pink line thick enough.
The crucial point is NOT the accuracy of the
prediction crystal ball, but the reasoning process that supported it. If that can be shown to be rational and valid, then there's some possibility that we can be confident in what it predicted (provided we don't move outside it's boundary conditions - or know where they are). However, if it's made up of a mish-mash of lucky coincidences that just happen to give rise tot he observed results, it's just as worthless as all the other ones that didn't happen to agree, randomly, with what actually happened.
They tell us the planet is warming
and the cause is the carbon we're burning
But no-one is sure
If we keep burning more
That the research will keep us in earning(s).
Show me the money
I'd only want to risk using my own equipment at work if it made me more productive. Even then, I'd expect my employer to cover the cost of that risk: loss, damage, wear & tear - 'cos business use sure as hell isn't covered by my home contents insurance.
Further, it also appears that I'd be subsidising the company by not having them fork out for the tools necessary for my job.
So we have a situation where I'm doing more and/or better work, paying for the kit myself and bearing the risk if a co-irker makes off with it. Unless I see some hard cash (net of tax) to make up for all these benefits the company gets, I really don't feel the need to give away all that free stuff. Especially considering the pay rises over the past few years.
A long way past satire
The pivotal point about Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister was that someone was actually in charge - controlling what happened (or stopping things from happening). The gag was that it was never the (prime)-Minister.
What's changed in the intervening years is that nobody now believes anyone in Westminster is in control. All that our politicians and civil service do is run to catch up with events that happen around them and try to explain them away as "We meant that to happen", "It's not what it looks like", "Yes, it's terrible but it's not our fault" or "That is the fault of the other lot".
To make satire work, the programme has to lampoon the government and make it appear absurd. The sad fact is that in reality we're so far past the government actually being absurd that any satirical opportunities have vanished.
Rather than laugh at the ridiculous situations that arise, now most people would just nod sadly and say "Yup, that about sums it up."
Re: The worst of the best
> mostly big-budget films and many have high reputations
Yes, so they're not really the worst films, just the ones that were promoted as being good and failed to meet expectations. So that would make them the most disappointing movies.
The worst of the best
None of these films really counts as "worst", they're simply bad films that managed to salvage something (not a lot, but something) by spending their way out of awfulness.
To get to the truly bad films, you have to go down a couple of levels to films that had neither the money, not the script or acting talent to produce anything of worth. However, since nobody watches anything that bad, knowledge of their existence is, mercifully, highly restricted. If you do want to discover the real worst of the execrably worst just have a look at the UK Syfy Channel's filmic offerings for any randomly chosen week.
Re: getting lower pressure
6 - fill a significant volume of the chamber with water (in one or more strong plastic bag). Use a water pump to empty the bag(s). The decrease in waterbag volume will further reduce air pressure inside the chamber. Heavy duty water pumps are more common than heavy duty vacuum pumps.
When you do apply the suck to REHAB, can we please have a video record of the outside of the garden shed? Once you start sucking the air out of it, the pressure on the shed's walls will increase a lot. We've all watched video of pumps evacuating oil cans and seeing them getting crushed by external air pressure. However, I've never seen a garden shed implode for that reason and it would be kinda interesting.
> a "science of communicating science"
Isn't that one of the things education is supposed to be about? If you try to communicate a concept without the recipient having the intellectual tools to understand it, all you get is folk-lore, superstition and regulations.
Make IT security seem even worse
> many fraudsters ... possess only rudimentary IT skills
At least if cyber criminals (or, more correctly: criminals) were evil masterminds with a brain the size of a planet there would be some, not totally lame, excuse for the number of attacks, break-ins, hacks and pwns. But if hey turn out to be only as bright as the average Joe, that doesn't put their nemesises (memesii?): the IT "experts" employed to keep them out is a very good light.
The few times the police actually DO anything about cyber crime, we often hear that the perpetrator was highly-skilled, elite, an expert or genius. That obviously bigs up the skills of the person (a policeman 'natch) who caught them and puts them on a par with Sherlock Holmes fighting his (fictional) arch-adversaries. Now we're being asked to believe that isn't the case - so presumably the police's "experts" are at a similar level of rudimentary-ness in their IT skills: just a bit luckier in their "collars".
So WE are the aliens
Since Red Dwarves are much more common than G-class stars such as our Sun, it follows that if complex live can come into being near a RD it will be more common than our Yellow-star type of life-forms (chlorophyll, DNA, etc.). That's assuming that life in systems of similar star-types share some sort of commonality - a big IF.
In that case, maybe they are all chattering to each other in Red-Dwarvish and it's us, with our "yellow-star speak" who neither recognise their existence, not share common traits. So when we do finally make contact with the massed hordes of other intelligences, we could be the ones who are oh, so different.
Failure to monetize
bought for £120m
picked up ... for £25m
worth about $5m (or £3m, to keep the units comparable)
and the same pattern will unfold for every social site if it can't figure out how to produce something it's followers value (i.e. will pay for), as opposed to simply use 'cos it's free. The biggest threat that FaceBook presents to the IT sector is that it WILL float the majority of its shares (not merely the token effort announced so far) and that WILL suck $100Bn from the daft, rich and easily led investors. Soon follweed by a FR-style plunge off the financial cliff. I have no problem with fools and their money -- but it's the knock-on IT doom that's sure to follow which concerns me.
Re: * Clients generally dont accept invitations in bedrooms.
> You need better clients.
Or a better bedroom
A new paper size standard
> using social networks could help to cut down on the amount of paperwork
So rather than wasting a huge amount of space on an A4 sheet, how about we all adopt A10 sized sheets as the standard for twitter messages. These 37x26mm (1 by 1 and a half inches, for those living in Liberia, Myanmar and other non-metric countries) postage-stamp sized sheets are ideal for jotting down a 140 character message. Not only will they save a great deal of paper, but if a council official feels like losing a year's worth of confidential (tweets? confidential?) information, they can always be used as confetti.
Re: Flawed study?
> My mobile phone number is a different matter
But aren't these marketers just looking for *a* mobile number - one that fits the expected format: i.e. starts "07" (in the UK) and with the requisite number of digits?
Extra points if you can ascertain the marketing firm MD's mobile number and plug that in.
Yes, I know about the "funny money" accounting principles used to justify projects. God knows I've written enough cost cases myself. Some - maybe 1 in 10 do turn a profit and are extremely successful. However most IT-ers can draw no link between what they have achieved / produced in any given day, month or year and any measurable income, let alone profit.
To take someone else's example: what is the "profit" from last night's backup?
I've been quite lucky in that I've spent a lot of time automating a lot of IT processes. In that respect I can make reliable statements that a given piece of AutoIT3 code saves a specific number of person*hours per year. Or that a named shell script saves so-many IT administrator-hours per week. That shows a direct relationship with money going out the door. However I can't do the same for the time spent in a weekly team meeting or project review.
As it is, companies don't run on money; they run on budgets. So, as long as you have some (imaginary) money left in your budget at the end of the project/period, nobody seems to care how you got there - or if it could be done better, faster or cheaper. The successful teams aren't the ones that achieve their goals, they're the ones who manage to wrangle a larger budget than their needs require (and therefore gain a reputation for coming in "under budget"). Those are the ones who get the rewards and recognition, not the guy who's 100 lines of optimised code invisibly saves a £million a year.
The problem _is_ management
The fundamental issue is that no matter how brilliant an IT-er we (all) are. No matter how many problems we fix / avoid / shift the blame for, the amount we can earn is limited by how well the employer does as a whole. No matter how many hours we work, what new applications (bug-free: of course) we implement or business processes we improve if someone above our pay grade makes a monumentally stupid decision, we're still in a sinking ship.
Sure, you can leave and explain to the next manager how all the people at his/her level in your last job were all idiots. But that won't win much in the way of sympathy - and if you make a habit of it ... well, nobody want to employ a job-hopper.
Probably the best that you, as an IT person, can do is to plant some pr0n on the relevant manager's PC and get them kicked out (the good of the many outweighs the good of the one) before they do irreparable damage to your pay prospects. However, there's only a limited amount of smut available and a seemingly endless supply of duff managers.
Productivity != Profitability
IT staff don't get paid what they're worth to the company - that's almost certainly true. The sad fact is that most of us get PAID FAR MORE than the profit they bring in would support. Sure, there are other requirements: such as meeting legal/financial obligations, but for most people in IT - whether programmers, testers, designers, support people, project manglers, QA-ers, planners, or trainees there is no direct connection between what they do and their employers' income. You cannot point to a line of code and say "I wrote that, and it earns us £1,000 a year."
At best, IT people can say "without us, the business would be much less efficient and have to employ many more staff, to do things manually." However that's full of intangibles, suppositories, and guesswork. Luckily no CEO has ever challenged that theory (like no CEO ever has the cojones to go into the datacentre and press the BIG RED BUTTON to see of the D.R. plan actually works).
On the flipside, this does mean that an IT-er should be able to write a reasonably credible account of themselves. Since nothing is tangible, accountable or verifiable you can easily say "I earned the company £X,000 last year (where "X" should be greater than your salary and expenses, employers NICs and office rental). and no-one will be able to challenge it. It could fall apart if some sharp-eyed HR person spotted that the entire justifications of the IT team came to more than the company earned - but that'll never happen: they're all too busy trying to justify their own, even more tenous raison d'etre.
A lucky escape
" child comes home from school with homework to make a presentation ... logs onto the BBC library. They search for real moving pictures ... They download them and, hey presto, they are able to use the BBC material in their presentation for free."
And hey presto the child gets a FAIL for plagiarism - though I suppose that in 2003 nobody was too concerned with that.
A new start
The BBC is not exactly known for it's efficiency: cost or otherwise. It also has very little incentive to be fiscally responsible, since it effectively gets it's annual billions without having to lift a finger. Consequently, they are probably not the best choice for providing a cost-effective service to restore, convert, catalog and host what must be petabytes of "stuff" that people may wish to download.
Maybe what needs to happen is that all the BBC archives are wrested from their control, they concentrate on broadcasting programmes and let a separate body - built with a sound commercial basis (i.e. not a quasi-governmental body) deal with the online stuff. Considering the BBCs history, and charter, it's questionable whether they could justify their existing online presence - let alone serving gigabytes to millions of households on a daily basis. If there was to be a different organisation created, they could be given a more contemporary remit - and without the baggage that the BBC currently has. You never know, if the new guys started to make a profit, they could even start commissioning programmes of their own.
Death from the skies
> Well, the balsa wood truss weighed a hefty 173g,
That's fair enough, but a titanium rod could easily skewer an unwitting land-dweller (comments about "especially if you sharpened the end" will be omitted for reasons of taste, ooops!)
Icing on the cake
> Air France 447
Now that brings up the very real question of how to deal with ice forming on the launch rod, to the extent where it blocks the free running of V2. (Or weighs-down the whole kaboodle and makes it un-aerodynamic)
I guess the pragmatic answer is to launch on a clear day, so the ascent is not through cloud: no matter how high/thin it may seem to be
> The Vulture 2 will simply slide off the rod, its weight breaking the rocket ignitor wires (not shown in pic), and it can then fly back to base.
Presumably if the igniter wires are broken in the situation described, that would boot up the electronics in Vulture 2, to that it's glide could be documented and its radio beacon used to find where it ends up.
Lower disposable income - simples!
The average US disposable income (as PPP) is about $23k per person, in the UK it's about $17k [ source: wiki ]
Why would anyone expect british online spend to be as much as other, richer, peoples? Or even that "more is better" or that "lagging" is necessarily a bad thing (maybe profligacy is worse) ? Given the relative amounts of spendable dosh per head, it's amazing that brits spend as much as they do.
HAVE, not "do"
> 39 per cent of us watched TV on a handset during 2011
What the report actually said was "39% of households have watched TV on a smartphone" (and 14% _have_ watched TV on a tablet). Though the report's analysis is on very shaky ground: claiming that the first "smartphone" came out in 1993.
That does not give me the impression that over 1/3rd of househoulds have members sitting around watching all their TV on a tiny little screen - while the honkin' great flat-panel sits, ignored, in the corner. It sounds to me that people do, sometimes, squint their way through a programme when there isn't any better way of viewing it.
Putting out the best china
It's amusing to watch all the London authorities trying to lay on a "do" for the olympics, only to pull all the special features as soon just as the (para)olympic flame gets extinguished. As if, somehow, it's all good enough for the visitors they hope to attract, but too good to "waste" on the people who have to live there all the time - the ones who's taxes are actually paying for the events.
And they wonder why kids make illegal copies
The underlying story is that the people who so willingly give up their own property rights do so because they don't recognise the worth, or value, of IP. Not just of their own work, but of other peoples'.
Since they attach no value - monetary or otherwise to "stuff", can it come as any surprise that they therefore don't feel there's anything wrong with "stealing" copyrighted material?
As an exercise: did anyone ever actually _read_ the Ts & Cs for El Reg before they signed up? Are there any - I don't know, I never read any conditions, I just click "I agree" - just like everybody else.
Money and mouth: same place or not?
So Google, a company that would have nothing without the internet, wants other people to make it go faster? Amazing! You can see how this guy got to be a veep.
Since Brittin made the observation that the UK was a “world leader” in e-commerce because it spends more per-head online than any other country, maybe "Dave" should return the compliment by saying "Google is a world leader in internet searching because it gets more search queries than other websites". Then they can all stop statin' the bleedin' obvious and get back to doing some useful work.
However, if Brittin was prepared to put up some cash to help get improved fixed and mobile 'net access - rather than merely suggesting that somebody else should do it, that would be an altogether different matter.
> just look at it as hiring a DVD
And that just about sets the price level. Looking at the through-the-mail DVD rental offers, it seesm that 6 quid will get you 3 DVDs a month. Each DVD of a TV series contains 3 or 4 episodes of 1 hour each.
So, totalling it all up, it seems that of those who are willing to pay, the going rate is 3 DVDs * 3 episodes for £6, or about 70p per ep.
Obviously that includes postage both ways, handling and the other overheads - and I'm sure a VoD alternative has its overheads, too. However if that's the commercial rate that people pay, then any more is either out of touch or taking the mick.
Choice is the only option
Right now paying for the Beeb is forced on us - whether a household contains just one person who never watches any BBC content, or if the place houses half a dozen wage-earners who are glued to BBC1, in every room, all the time.
Isn't it about time there was an "opt out" or PPV - given there is so much more choice of content from so many different providers? Gone are the days when TV listings contained 2 columns: Channel 1 and Channel 9 (at least in the S.E it was Channel 9). Gone too, should be the equally archaic way of financing the state-owned channels.
It wouldn't be that easy to implement: given that we've on the verge of finishing a generational change in most people's TV technology from analog to digital and the costs would be high. But given the time the beeb and the government takes to decide anything; if they all started right away, they might be ready in 20 years when the public is willing to accept another upheaval in it's sitting-room services. Of course, if the independent channels can't survive the challenge of competing against a service that can broadcast its content for free (i.e. don't have to charge at the point of use, either monetarily a la Sky, or through inconveniencing its audience with advertisement breaks) then the whole question becomes moot,.
If you have something you don't want people to see the traditional approach has been to try and hide it. Conceal it behind a sign that says "Nothing to see here", or disguise it as something else.
Alternatively, you can conceal something by making it invisible. When something's invisible you can't see it - you see right through it. It's TRANSPARENT.
So it's not a huge jump to go from using a disguise or concealment to prevent people from seeing what you're up to, to stopping them from seeing it by making it transparent and therefore invisible to view - or scrutiny. Should we therefore be worried that the real motivation behind a government "transparency" initiative is not to reveal to the general public how government works - but to stop us from seeing those workings by making them invisible, yet still present?
Beats having to talk to your date
Now, instead of spending a romantic evening (though in an M&B theme-pub? maybe not) each party will be able to prepare themselves for their future lives together by ignoring each other and spending the evening SMS-ing their friends, surfing the dating sites for better prospects or just watching the TV that they'd have otherwise missed by dint of being in the pub.
Many couples attribute the success of their relationships to the simple technique of never talking to each other. It sounds like adding another opportunity for mutual avoidance could even help them stay together.
Re: Makes a nice change
> Let's see if our ever more conservative leaders have the gonads to regulate this then!
Regulate? Hell, Boris Johnson's even appeared on Eastenders. They're more likely to queue up for bit-parts than try to regulate it.
It's on TV - it must be true
We see this stuff on major channels. That makes it OK. After all, to get there it's been approved by the programme makers, tacitly blessed by the "powers that be (be cee)", got through the political tests for fairness, sensitivity, balance and blandness and ultimately doesn't get complained about by the viewing audience. That means that whatever is shown in a soap, cop-show, talk show, reality programme or any other "pulp" TV must be socially acceptable ... and if it's acceptable, well then, shouldn't we all be doing it?
We know that TV has a huge influence - if it didn't nobody would advertise on it. What would be the point of telling people to buy "wonder-goop: (it'll make you look younger, thinner and more attractive to all of those weirdo's whom you don't want to attract)" if none of them ever did? So it's not exactly an intuitive leap to recognise that people will also ape the behaviours they see, as well.
The worst part though, is when audiences fail to distinguish between a character they see on telly and the real-life person who plays that role. Not only can their love/hate of the character leak out of the TV, but they start to believe that (somehow, god knows why) that actors they "know" from TV somehow have valid views on things outside the narrow characters they play on the idiot box. Hence we see celebrities getting involved in causes or politics and gathering a herd of followers simply on the basis of "ooooh, we _like_ her".
Maybe it's time TVs came with a health warning printed large, across the screen,
.horse the before cart the Putting
Before Ofcom can decide whether a given individual is "fit and proper" to own and control a large chunk of british television, don't we need to have had some sort of public debate about what sort of television we want in this country?
(Preferably NOT a debate that is instigated, lead, defined and controlled by the same guy's newspaper empire)
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