1616 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
I'm not a great icon user as few of them "speak to me". In fact I'd have to say I don't know what most of the ones with a face on them mean - or are for. They're too small and too busy to have an immediate impact.
We keep getting told that tablets are the way of the future, providing we keep taking them. So I'd suggest a fondleslab icon - I'll leave the details of what, exactly, should be fondled up to t'committee.
something to do until Royal Wedding fever dies down.
Reassuring to know
I'm sure we'll all sleep soundly in our meetings knowing that the Beeb wouldn't kill the internet. However, whether anyone who would (if they knew how to use their technology) quote from twitter has any credibility at all, makes me wonder about the soundness of this guy's judgement.
Know why you're doing it.
As the article says, virtualisation is a strategic decision. The people responsible for company strategy and direction inhabit the boardroom (not the I.T. cupboard - if this is being driven by the IT dept, it's fundamentally running at the wrong level) and they should be able to complete the sentence:
"We are committing to Desktop Virtualisation in order to ....."
and that answers the "why are we doing this?" question. If you have the world's only talented IT director, that sentence will be followed by a qualifier "and we'll know it's succeeded when we can do <X> better/cheaper/faster/more reliably than we could before."
> how you'd get past all the exposition required
The simple solution would be to not explain, if people wanted to know the ins and outs (which for a movie, I think they'd be unlikely to question) they can read the books.
As an emergency backup choice, I'd be happy with The Mote in Gods Eye or Integral Trees - both of which ask some interesting questions about society.
The "IT profession" has many meanings - probably one for everybody in it. At its broadest, pretty much anyone who earns their pay by sitting in front of a keyboard is an IT professional: from online porn workers to city traders (though you could argue that they both screw people for money, so the difference is small) to programmers, to CEOs.
When the cloud takes off (i.e. stops being merely fog) then it's reasonable to assume that almost all the the jobs performed by people who sit in front of keyboards can and will be done by semi-AI enabled chat bots with/without avatars - depending on how much the "john" is paying. This includes all call centres and telesales operations.
The question that arises naturally is what will all the people, that these technologies displace, now be able to do for a living. Since these were the people who originally worked the land, then worked in factories, then in chicken-sheds with headsets attached, then - what? exactly? and how long will this "revolution" take?
Maybe it's time to stop educating the next generation for jobs that won't be around for long: certainly gone by the time they retire and probably by the time they've paid off their student loans (maybe even by the time they graduate). Maybe we need to look at the jobs that only people can do - although just how many hairdressers does a country need?
Hard to see why upgrades are needed
In an office environment most workers don't need much to do their jobs (note: need, not want or would like) just basic office tools, some security stuff to slow it down a bit and a nice screensaver. That's pretty much it. They don't need to play 3D/HD video, games or have a private universe in their office.
It's really only in the home, where media and games playing is big that the need for speed arises. So it's not too surprising that people's home kit is more recent than their work computer. The work machine is good enough as it stands. You could even argue that a low-spec, low-power PC at work is more environmentally responsible than having the latest multi-cored monster with a gigahertz video card: either in power consumption terms, or by lowering materials use by not buying unnecessary replacements,.
Of course if you do feel the need to be spiteful towards your employer, there are much more subtle ways of getting a replacement PC than taking a hammer to it ...
And 100% click "accept" without reading the agreement
I have some sympathy with the 18% who were flummoxed by a BBD. Given that a date such as 08/03/11 could refer to August, March or November over a span of 8 years, it's easy to see where the confusion can arise.
It's really well past time (that time was 31/12/99) that we all agreed that representing three different fields with three identically formatted values in no standard format is a recipe for confusion, if not disaster. Surely it's not that difficult to use three letters for the month and remember the lessons of Y2K and have a 4-digit year value? Though whether that year should be western, jewish, chinese or another choice still leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.
I agree wholeheartedly. Just like my NI contributions subsidise the lifestyles of others. In that respect the "worst" offenders are the people who probably led abstemious lives: didn't drink, smoke, partake of substances, exercised regularly and ate sensibly. They will live to a grand old age, far beyond what their savings allow for and will spend many years if not decades in £500++/week nursing homes at the taxpayers expense.
Contrast that with smokers, to take an example [n.b. I don't fall into that category]. At least they have the decency to die young after generally quite short periods of incapacity/dependency - that's one reason their life insurance rates are lower than healthy peoples'.
shock news - life causes death!
Never forget, the NHS has a 100% failure rate - everybody dies at some point.
For me, the biggest question is whether I get a say in the means and timing of my demise. Do I want to drink my self to death, get knocked down by a bus on the way to a checkup, hang on grimly 'till I just fall apart or die slowly and painfully while being popped full of very expensive, yet oddly ineffective, drugs when I'm too old to care much anyway.
At some point we, as a society, have to get over this fear of death (although aversion to untimely death is reasonable) and be prepared to say: "well he/she had a good innings." or "lucky b~sterds, I hope I go like that". As part of that, we should have the right to push back against the do-gooders, nannies and experts who prognosticate, pontificate and preach that doing too much/too little of something/nothing is good./bad for us. We should be permitted to act like adults: weigh the consequences of our choices in an informed manner and just get on with it.
 other options are available.
Those figures don't look too bad
Obviously they're averages, not worst case (which would be 0 - hopefully everyone understands why). I would also expect the sample to be somewhat self-selecting, with most individuals who are satisfied with their 3G speeds to not be on the sort of crusade that would lead to search out apps to test it.
What would be more interesting would be an organised test - say to use your browser of choice (if you get any choice) to download a hefty web page and time it, from start to finish. Do this at a fixed time of day (lessay 17:30) every day for a month, outside every major rail terminus in the country and THEN see what the real-life speeds are like - correlated for location, network and phone.
Personally, I'm happy to get anything over 300kBit/sec
The logical conclusion
This (having low volume customers order "self-service" via a website) is only the first step. In the picture the author paints, it's difficult to see exactly what value the online retailer is adding. Wouldn't it be more efficient for the manufacturer to cut out the middle man, set up their own website and fulfillment operation and sell direct to the public?
I can see that most would rightly say "We're makers, not sellers - we don't have the skills." In which case the answer is outsourcing, a la Amazon Marketplace and all the other "etailers" like it.
The only value that a retailer has is when they can offer advice (even though it's never impartial advice) and provide a modicum of after-sales support. If the retailer is on the highstreet AND customers are prepared to pay the premium attached to being able to hold and/or fiddle with the merchandise, then fine. However these days most shops seem to be populated by cashiers, rather than salespeople. - Ask them a question and all they do (while avoiding eye contact) is mumble "I'll get the manager".
Even for items or spare parts that you need RIGHT NOW, most retailers fail. With the pressures of profitability and limited shelf-space, they probably don't have specialised items in stock - or you have to drive 80 miles to find the last item in the county (and then another 80 miles to exchange it when you find they sold you the Mk2 and you need the Mk3).
So, shops are still viable for people who's hobby is buying stuff, or retail therapy to try and put a worthy spin on it (blind consumerism would be a less generous observation). Where the goal is just to buy something - anything; not because you want it, but because it feels nice to have an assistant fawning over you. However those aren't really shops; they're massage parlours for the ego and as such require a completely different online solution.
So, if this is the way of the future, the trick is to recognise which way the wind is blowing. Either as a retailer and buy-out your suppliers, or as a manufacturer and take over, or build your own, web based outlet. Either way, it looks like the shakeup in retailing has barely started.
Gets dirty with age
The way it was explained to me, at the start of their lives - before they are used to generate power - the contents of a fission reactor are fairly benign. It's only during their active life, as the nucleii split into nasty fission products and irradiate the moderator and everything around them with neutrons that they become a hazard.
We know this as the half-life of uranium is in the hundreds of millions of years. So it takes an awfully long time for it to decay. It's only when we poke it with neutrons that start the fission process that more active isotopes are produced.
The thing about RTGs is they they are different. The "fuel" in them decays rapidly and the heat it produces during this decay is used to create electricity, directly. That means the fuel must be much more radioactive - and significantly, that it can't be turned on and off - if it goes *splash* then there is a lot of nasty stuff released. Typically RTGs are powered by Plutonium (not nice) or Strontium (even less nice, as it can displace Calcium in peoples' bones and therefore stays in the body until the person dies).
So, while there is a strong case to be made for not putting RTGs in rattly old rockets, since they are "live" during the launch, the same argument does not hold for reactors, as these can be activated once they get far away from earth - and more importantly once they are on a trajectory that won't bring them back again.
From an IT perspective
Time to register that ".mars" domain
Anonymity also brings freedom
Imagine if every post, comment, tweet, blog, email or download got tagged with your name, address, phone number, mugshot and personal details. Who would ever send anything?
Everybody would be "on the record" all the time. Whether they were writing a literary masterpiece or a drunken rant at an ex-partner. We rightly guard against "big brother" in the form of the state from surveilling us - but what if we had to do it to ourselves. And not just for the information to appear in a closed and secret database, but to be displayed in public for everyone: parents, children, employers, prospective dates, to see, search and form opinions from.
We need a degree of anonymity (said "Pete 2", yes that is my real name - just ask Mr and Mrs. 2; my parents) on the internet just as we have in real life - where maybe one person in a thousand - who we encounter daily: on the train, in the traffic jam, in the shops - knows even the slightest thing about us.
So we should be able to live our digital lives with the same degree of anonymity that we enjoy in the real world. Anonymity is not the problem, however. The problem is the inhabitants of the internet who feel they have impunity when they do the electronic equivalent of running up to us, shouting obscenities in our face, and running away again - as happens daily, on almost every web-space, to a significant proportion of its users.
What the internet needs is not an end to anonymity, but a more widespread system of assessing the "people" we meet on it. Just like IRL, we should be able to recognise the psychos, idiots, bs-ers, wise people, comedians and our friends. Not just on each individual forum or platform, but across the system as a whole. The trick is to be able to do that without sacrificing too much in the way of personal information. Maybe that's where the true value of FB and its ilk lies: as a universal registration/recognition system to validate online identities, while still stopping people you annoy from coming round your house with a large stick.
What's round that corner?
> hit enemies lurking around corners
Provided the "enemy" hasn't run off (if they're out of sight, how could you tell) and just left the Mother Superior with her charge of 12 orphans sitting quietly on a park bench, just round the corner from someone armed with one of these toys.
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but in modern, urban, warfare environments ISTM one of the basic ways of reducing civilian casualties is to be able to see what you're intending to shoot.
> gun's battery system,... must be plugged in to charge up.
Fortunately for all the innocent people unlucky enough to be near the pointy end of one of these, it seems like the range of any combat patrols will be limited to the length of the weapon's power cord.
Conflict of interest
Prevention may be cheaper than cures for a business - but for the support team it can be the kiss of death.
No support team ever got rewarded for the number of problems that don't happen. All that happens to a trouble-free IT environment is that the support staff gets cut (why do we need 12 techies, when nothing ever goes wrong? says the C-level exec). Then, when all the nipped-in-the-bud problems do turn into major crises, the whole mess gets outsourced.
The ideal situation for IT-ers who work in support but wish to keep their jobs and show how valuable they are, is to walk the tightrope between letting day-to-day problems grow to the point where they just start to cause pain, and then to fix them quickly - before they start to cause any major outages or suffering. Ideally problems should be limited to the CEOs machine, as this is almost certainly the most highly visible, yet least important box in the shop.
The tricky bit is to ensure that the number of problems remains high enough to justify the number and cost of IT support, while demonstrating "constantly improving kwality" by showing a long term reduction in outages, MTTR and cost per incident. Obviously, the most effective and reliable way to do this is to cook the monthly reports (just like every other service-orientated business group does)
To aid in this strategy, it's necessary to have a regular flow of new technologies and IT products coming into the organisation. Not to improve or expand the business - as IT almost never does this, but to provide new sources of errors, problems and outages to preserve the jobs of the support staff. As well as continued employment for all the developers, systems architects and managers.
Follow the herd
This is hardly a surprise, the general principle has been discussed for decades. Whether you want to look at Asch's experiments in the 1950's or just think "well, duh! that's called leadership: one person says 'do X' and all the sheeple will do it.".
There are numerous examples in day to day life where people are influenced by the views of others (you could even argue that this is how democracy works), from having a social conscience, to agreeing with the views of newspaper editorials, to doing what the uniformed authority figure tells you (though this may be more due to fear than conformity) - even down to religion or bidding wars on eBay.
So, are we surprised that a lot of people will take guidance about what is right or wrong from an anonymous line of "approval" from an unknown source about subjects they don't understand? No. Should we be worried that these same people are in a position to influence the outcome of an election, even though they have no opinions of their own? Maybe. Should we be worried that media organisations have the power, desire and ability to plant views, opinions and beliefs in peoples' minds and have the readers act on them? Definitely.
ha'porth of tar?
If I had to guess, I'd say the procurement process went something like this:
Southwark: We need a system to manage our houses
SAP: Certainly, we have a very nice system - it'll cost you loadsamoney, but we're worth it
S: We can't afford that, we're crap at collecting council tax, and it's such a dump our rates are below the english average
SAP: Tough, that's the price
S: <surfs the web> Ooooh, lookee here's one that sounds nice and it's cheap. It doesn't say if it'll do what we need, though
S (boss): Cheap! - that's good enough, let's buy it.
IBM: So you want to buy our software? Has anyone explained to you what it does or how to use it?
S: Nope, but it's cheap. We want it.
IBM: Only if you're reeeeeeeelly sure.
S (massed skills of 6 negotiators): Oh, and can you knock off a bit, 'cos we're broke.
IBM: Would you settle for a tee-shirt?
S: A whole tee-shirt? it's a deal! When can you deliver (the tee-shirt, that is)?
IBM It's in the post, with the software CD
... time passes
S (boss) Times is tough. We'll have to let our negotiating team go (idle observation: if the negotiators were any good, couldn't they have persuaded the council to keep them on?)
S (massed skills of 6 negotiators): CRY! but a at least we got a tee-shirt.
... more time passes
Boss: I can't get this software to work. It can't possibly be my lack of skills, it must be faulty.
Boss's boss: So, it's your fault?
Boss: No, we must have been missold it, it must be unfit for purpose it can't possibly be my fault.
Boss's boss: Let's see if those negotiators can remember why they bought it.
6 negotiators: you sacked us, you're on your own buddy (or words to that effect)
Boss's boss: Oh dear (or words to that effect)
Boss: I know, let's sue someone. After all, we can always raise council tax to pay for the litigation (that's what we always do, for every cost we incur)
Boss's boss: Great idea
IBM's lawyer: Well, you didn't ask us if it would do what you need. But since we're nice guys we'll give you your money back, provided you return the tee-shirt.
Boss: Nope - we want to make a point (though we're not quite sure what the point is)
IBM: OK, see you in court.
El Beaky: Case dismissed. Southwark must pay all the costs for messing IBM about and not being reasonable about a settlement.
Southwark: Never mind, we'll just jack up the council tax .... oh, hang on, it's been frozen
Boss's boss: Well, I'm not losing my big fat salary, we'll just have to fire a few proles.
Boss: me neither. I still say it wasn't my fault. Let's sack the negotiators.
Boss's boss: we already did that - that's why we lost.
Boss: Oh ..... yeah.
Loooong story, cut short
You got an unexpected iPad2 as a present. You aren't really sure what you're going to do with it. It has some value as a talking piece and you don't like the colour.
That probably puts you (apart from the colour intolerance) in the 95% iPad2 owner group. The rest being the small, but disproportionately vocal band of advocates.
Just send in Wayne Rooney
Given him an air rifle and provided he doesn't manage to shoot himself (which way round do you hold these things?) I'm sure he could make the guy "see sense". We know that millionaire footballers can shoot people with none of the nasty legal consequences reserved for ordinary people, so what have they got to loose - unless he misses, of course?
Do you really need an airforce to get rid of a dictator?
Or would one, well aimed, bullet be enough?
ISTM we're still playing war by the gentleman's rules of the eighteenth century. Mustn't shoot the leaders old chap, that wouldn't be sporting. Better that thousands of ordinary soldiers get killed or mained than "one of us" should suffer.
We know that western democracies (I nearly said "civilisations") are not above assassination - just look at the drone attacks in Iran/Afghanistan not to mention other countries long, if not glorious, history of killing enemies of the state remotely. Even the history of special forces ops going back to whenever they were invented. Sure, there may be some difficulty in finding suitable targets, once they are given the chance to go to ground - which may just be a good reason for doing the job sooner, rather than later (maybe just after they attain office?: "Do you enter name swear to uphold ... <bang> <thud> ... next please!")
If you really want to save lives, then addressing the seat of the problem is the fastest, cheapest and most effective way of proceeding. You never know, a few high profile examples may even make prospective baddies think twice.
Someone with a vested interest in promoting FOSS says we should have more. Big deal.
A lot of the places he mentions (I don't know about the french police) also have a larger proportion of donkeys used for transport than we have in the UK. Should we therefore be concerned about that, and push for more people to ride to work on one?
How much will the musicians get?
Let's base the damages award on the lost royalties the muso's have suffered. Then add on a suitable amount (say 5%) as an unearned "bonus" for the record companies. After all, it's not as if they've had to go to the expense of pressing vinyl, shipping product or promoting all these pirated copies.
Time for a rename?
It was a valid term when the world was dominated (at least in crunch-ability, if not numbers) by the mainframes, with their multi-kilowatt power consumptions and their multi-multi-kilowatt cooling requirements and processing MIPS-age to boot. Nowadays our "micro"processors are at least as capable as the CPUs of 30 years ago - even as capable as the mainframes of 10 years ago.
Isn't it time we reserved the term for the _real_ microprocessors: the PICs, AVRs and other chips that still measure their clock speeds with MHz as opposed to GHz and just started to refer to the devices in our computers as "processors" again? They've earned that much
Normal airline seats are about this wide, too.
I suppose the real question is whether the load factor on these trains actually warrants the extra seats. Will SWT be able to get more fares from more pax squeezed into these trains, or does it just mean that the half dozen or so passengers you normally find on a train outside of peak-times will be able to spread themselves across more, smaller seats?
As for stopping people from working on trains? If these smaller seats somehow prevent people from jabbering into their mobile phones for the entire trip, I'd say they're just the right size.
No wonder negligence reports are down
> levy heavy fines on organisations that experience data breaches as a result of negligence,
Presumably all that has happened is a reclassification of the root cause from the blameful negligence to the woolly and non-specific "system failure".
Just for once it would be nice to see IT people, or even just intelligent individuals portrayed as ordinary, normal people with families, decent haircuts and no trace of social awkwardness.
Why is the media so insecure about us (ahem) clever bastards that we always have to be derided and marginalised?
Facts of support life
It's quite simple really. Win7 is here, XP is here. All support organisations have to deal with both versions NOW, and will have to continue dealing with them for some years to come. Whether you like that or not is immaterial - unless you are in a position to issue a diktat that everyone in your company will henceforth, only use the one or the other.
For the rest of us it means we will support Win7 - generally on all new desktop boxes that turn up during the 5-year replacement cycle and the diminishing number of XP boxes, until someone issues said diktat and tosses them.
It's not really even worth discussing the ins and outs, or advantages and disadvantages of either flavour. But it is worth talking about the least painful way to manage the transition and to realise that any talk of "cost saving" is thinly veiled talk of reducing support staff numbers.
First time-phone message
Hello Zir, my name is .... John. I'm doing a lifestyle survey, could you please spend a few minutes answering some questions?
Let's cut to the chase
The simple answer is to give The Vote to companies, as well as (or instead of) individuals. Let's set the stakes at one vote in any election for every employee. That way the politicians can at last "come out" and start publicly courting the corporate agenda - instead of having to do it illegitimately through bribes (sorry, I meant: campaign donations), bribes (ooops: charitable works), bribes (err, that should read: a seat on the board) and corruption (dammit: ... nope, that would just be straight corruption).
At least that way, we could see who we, ordinary people, were really up against in an election. I'm sure that if all agendas were out in the open, the traditional right-vs-left of personal politics would get kicked out of sight, when we saw where the real threats to our freedoms were.
> I honestly don't know what he's talking about, so I'm afraid I can't help him with full and frank disclosures,
When confronted with a difficult question, politicians usually claim ignorance. This is quite a successful strategy as it's what most citizens think of them anyway.
What proportion think fictional surveys are real?
This is an old, old, apocryphal piece that comes up time after time¹. I recall smirking at the idea decades ago when I read a "survey" that said people believed the stuff in Star Trek was real. It's good to see that not only are poeple still responding to the same silly claims, but that they also think that survey results are real, too.
 and not because it's discovered the secret of traveling through time faster than we all do naturally.
"Best Practice" is to blame
"We are a professional organisation. We demand the best from our people. Therefore we require that our systems are the best, too. This will reflect well on the team and on the company."
What this means is that all a salesperson has to do is mention the word "enterprise" (which automatically doubles the price of every component, much as "gaming" does for home users), throw in a few "integrated" "standards compliant" (which standards? doesn't matter - there are so many it's bound to be compliant with one or another) and "expandable" and they can spend the rest of the day leafing through the Mercedes catalog in the expectation of the commission they'll get from a few random buzzwords.
The thing is, everyone's afraid that their systems won't measure up. Hence they are desperate to find out what their industry leaders consider "best practice" and slavishly emulate that. Not a thought is given to whether their requirements are the same as the multi-billion, international, FTSE-100 "leader" who did a vanity piece in a glossy mag that the IT directory just happened to see. No, that's "best practice" and since we're the "best", too we should have it. No matter that it's only meant for a 9-5, Mon-Fri email server for the part-time office manager in a far-flung outpost. It simply MUST by resilient, redundant, expandable, remotely managed, fully monitored and covered by a gold plated service contract - with 5 minute callout times.
Afterall, we want to be featured in a glossy sales publication, with the IT director swaggering about, boasting about redefining the boundaries of best practice. That is just before he/she/it jumps ship seconds ahead of the outsourcing deal which will cut the IT budget in half, as we can't afford all these gold-plated systems - forget best practice, good enough will be the new watchword.
This validates the device, not the user
> It makes no sense for O2 to check the customer's age at 2.1GHz (3G) and not at 2.4GHz (Wi-Fi) or even over ADSL
Most people have a 1::1 mapping between their phone and their eyeballs. Most individuals won't (rightly) let others use their phones or see what pops up on its display (or is stored on it). That is not the case with a PC. How would a family "prove" that everyone who accessed a communal computer was > 18? A simple credit card from the ADSL account payer won't do it. All that proves is that ONE individual is over 18, not that everyone is.
So while this scheme may just about be more-or-less viable for a personal device, it is structurally incapable of proving age for a more accessible piece of equipment.
Overdressed or spelling mistooks
One place I worked, the course we had to go on *before* being allowed to interview candidates informed us that were were only to assess the technical content of CVs. We were not allowed to consider their appearance at interview, or their writing skills - as that could be considered discriminatory.
Uhh, yes - we were trying to discriminate: the probables from the possibles.
However the HR lady was adamant that this was THE LAW. As a consequence no-one ever got recruited and the place filled up with contractors. It cost three times as much, but at least we could ditch the crap ones. And yes, they did attend interviews in suits (and BMWs)
Only discriminatory until the first claim
2 people apply for first-time car insurance. Both have just passed their test, neither has any criminal record nor has had a car accident. Should they pay the same amount of insurance, for the same cover? Until there's some DATA to say otherwise, the only realistic answer is yes.
However, once one driver can be shown to be more careful/responsible/aware/lucky or the other one shown to be the opposite. the situation changes. At that time you now have the smallest amount of information on which to assess the risk involved in insuring these two people - you can now expect their insurance rates to change, however unfairly to reflect the new conditions. That is no longer discrimination, it's actuarial analysis. (Though with only one single datum, not very reliable but better than nothing - barely)
So maybe we can expect a future where people start off by paying the same premiums for the same cover but very quickly, given the frequency that some individuals have accidents or cause claims, diverge in what their insurance costs. Maybe even to the point of it changing every few weeks depending on the miles they drive and the conditions (day/night/summer/winter/city/country) they encounter. Of course, all that extra administration would cost money, so premiums would inevitably go up, but at least the premiums would be fact-based.
It's not a question of security
It's a question of what is an appropriate level of security?
Sadly, that question very rarely gets asked. Most IT departments view security in the same way a thug views violence - if a little doesn't work, you need more. The problem is that when it's done badly, intrusive security becomes more of a problem itself than the situation it was meant to solve.
Most users don't care about security. They can't see it. They can't measure it. It doesn't make their jobs faster, easier or more efficient. From their point of view people who try to impose more of it on them are the enemy. The trick is to put the right levels of security at the right place and doing the right thing. Unfortunately almost no-one does this. We're all so fixated by the FUD/CYA mentality that we forget what our computer systems are for.
Ultimately, the only way they can be made completely safe is to lock them in a room behind a steel door, with the power turned off. They might not get any work done, but at least they're secure. What the security industry needs more than anything is a few sensible people, taking a realistic approach and finding the right balance between utility and keeping the baddies out. Not just slapping on another layer each time they read about another theoretical possibility in a technical publication.
A different sport
No, but talking b@@@@@@cks is. Sadly we didn't decide that in time to get it into the olympics (we already have a world-class stadium for it, too). If we had, we'd have won gold, silver and bronze in every possible combination of the event: Mens, Womens, mixed, team events, short-distance, long-distance and relay. Not forgetting long b@@@@@cls, high b@@@@@cks, pole-b@@@@@cks and triple b@@@@@@@cls(!!!) too.
The giveaway in the article is NOT that she was shocked by the amount of porn ...
> And so much of it for absolutely no cost at all.
There we have it. She was really disgusted that the government had allowed this to continue without carving themselves a slice of the tax revenue.
Yes, you're right, I was looking for the right word. Subjects was the closest I could get. I realise that it's not correct, but none of the alternatives seemed to work, either. What I wanted was the inverse of "rulers" or governors (see later) and "subject" is listed as a valid antonym.
Governments don't have citizens, countries do, likewise population. Customers implies there's some choice in the relationship. Recipients is too vague. Targets doesn't quite do it either. Underling sounds too personal or small-scale. Some urban slang has the right measure of contempt and disdain - if anatomically incorrect, but let's try to keep some standards, eh? what-ho?
I suppose "electorate" is technically correct, but "serf" better conveys the balance of power. Despite our lords and masters being called "public servants" there is absolutely no doubt in their minds who is in charge - maybe we get "served" the same way that lunch does.
It's not about the census, really
It's about the lack of trust that recent governments have worked so hard (and been so successful) at engendering. The reasons for knowing how many people there are is quite reasonable and necessary. But the problems these guys seem to have is that they don't believe that the information won't be abused,
As is usual, the more a government denies something, the more people will think it's true - so the more we're told the information is "safe" the less likely we are to believe it. Since trust is truth multiplied by time (for a simplistic but quantifiable definition) there is no easy way to fix that situation. It would take any government a long period of not lying to it's vict^H^H^H^Hsubjects to regain that trust and there's little indication they are prepared to put in the time, or have the inclination, for that to happen.
Only that the requirements to win are a 10 y/o's grasp of english and access the a large body of information.
Given that yer average tabloid has a "reading age" target of 10-12, then a computer with those abilities should be able to answer most questions that a tabloid reader would be likely to pose. Though whether a computer would be able to simulate the hysterical moral outrage that tabloids have made their own is a more interesting issue..
Watson vs. a 10 year-old + internet?
OK, so a computer plus the massed brains of IBM beats merely the massed brain of 1 person. Fair enough. However what would be a more interesting comparison would be to pitch this (presumably standalone) machine against a reasonably net-savvy child with a search engine.
I've never seen Jeopardy (is it an "only in america" thing?), but it seems to revolve around the contestants extracting a subject and some keywords from a "clue" and then solving the subject from the greatest correlation of keywords. In which case it needs a large knowledge base, some experience of how to extract the salient elements of the question and a strategy on deciding your confidence level / how much to bet. That's where the future lies.
Presumably tv-watching nerds already play along on their computers while watching the show. I would be surprised if they didn't wipe the floor with "ordinary" players - even the best ones.
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