1609 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
security makes dedupe irrelevant
If you do what we're always being told to and encrypt your files there is no possibility that a deduplication process (or a file compression regime, for that matter) can work.
All this tells us ...
... is that people are selective. They tend to read articles that support their views. They tend to remember (and quote) them, while dismissing, ignoring or twisting information that runs contrary either to their pet beliefs - or how they think things "ought to be".
The difficulty with the internet is that you can't tell the difference between a journalist and a 13 y.o. american, They can bother write blogs. They can both create forums (and the level of debate in either's forum will probably be at much the same level). They can both claim to have researched their material - although I expect this research is mostly just plagiarising the work of others - with whom they agree. And you can't tell if they miss a deadline because their mum has revoked internet privileges or because they've just spent a week in rehab.
The wonder of closed systems
The biggest difference between these phone-enabled mobile computers ("super phones"? pah!) and their stone-age cousins is the app store. One thing that Apple have succeeded to do is shut off the flood of "stuff" that made PCs what they are today. Now, yo can only run stuff that Steve himself has blessed.
They've effectively got back to the 1960's when IBM ruled the roost. You rented the hardware from them. You rented their apps and ONLY their apps. You upgraded when told to, You clucked like a chicken when required and gave thanks and praise for their little logo on the side of the box.
It was only when those people from Amdahl came along and effectively "jail broke" the mainframe (a thing that would never be allowed to happen today) to let all the exploited and bitter users feel slightly less exploited and bitter with a slightly cheaper competitor that things started to go wrong. And from there we ended up with computers that would run any old software ... and viruses ....
In some respect the closing and uber-controlling of OUR iPads, phones and gizmos is just a symptom of the uncertain and fearful world we now inhabit. However, from the perspective of the new-generation of portable appliances it's all they could have ever hoped for. They don't have to worry about people running any old stuff, they are getting to the point where you can only load the DATA they want to you (and take their 30% for pimping it to you). This form of marketing is obviously a success. While Apple have a smallish share of the flash-git phone market they have an enormous profit-share of modern phones an' stuff. A position all the other vendors must be looking at to see how they can do it, too.
The answer is to close off as much of the feature-scape as possible. Control the access to the device and make money off the content (old man Gillette would be proud). While this may well be a route to shutting off security issues, it vastly reduces the utility of portable devices - which presumably means they won't be sold on their uses, but on their looks.
This was the RETURN flight
> a massive suitcase then start bitterly complaining about the charges
Unless they had all been on a suitcase buying spree in Lanzarote, they would have taken their suitcases with them on the flight out - and presumably been charged for the privilege. So to start whinging when the same thing happens on the flight back makes no sense.
Burden of proof?
So you have two or more people standing on the street. A policeman walks by <sniff, sniff> looks at the people - how does he know which one to arrest?
All I can think of is invoking the old playground rule which would mean turning himself in.
The real benefit of change management
It does for organisations what an operating system does for a computer: slows things down to a manageable speed.
We know this works, since my W7, 4GB, 1TB box takes as long to boot now as my CP/M, 64k, 3½" floppy box did in 1986
ticking the box
If you can boost the output power by 20dB then your transmitted signal will go further. However, unless the equipment you're talking to has also ticked the box, their transmissions back to you won't have the added ooomf (technical term) so won't reach you - or the SNR won't be high enough to sustain the same data rate in both directions.
Whether the kit you've got has the smarts to deal with that sort of asymmetry would be an interesting thing to know
P.S. In that sheep field you had to dig up, how close together do you plant your sheep?
Here's what you do.
You pretend you bought a Galaxy Tab and that you've had it just long enough so the novelty has worn off and all your friends are sick to death of hearing about it.
By that time you will have come to the conclusion that at nearly 8 inches long and nearly 6 across, it's too big to fit in your trouser pocket - so you need to carry a bag to keep it in. You have further realised that having it in a bag is very inconvenient when someone calls or you want to plug your head in for some tunes (esp. if your bluetooth connection gets shielded by the bag) so you carry a phone in your pocket, too.
Since you now have to carry a bag, you might as well have a laptop in it - with a decent sized screen and a proper keyboard, rather than that greasy, dirty and fingerprint covered touchscreen (where you cover up with your finger exactly the thing you're trying to access).
You are now ahead of the field. Whereas most people are still in the thinking-of, or buyers remorse stages, you have a good 3 months on them. You can talk sagely to prospective buyers about the advantages (for you have read the reviews, too) and you can warn them of the disadvantages - or not. You can feel superior to people with even the latest tablets and if you really, really can't shake the desire to actually own one - don't despair, they'll be up on eBay soon when everyone who did buy them in the first flush of enthusiasm discovers the drawbacks for themselves.
possible != probable
So there's a possibility (Q: has it ever, actually happened) that a bad person could change the details of a fliers booking, or cancel it. So, apart from doing mischeif what the hell would be the point? There's no possibility the bad person could make a financial gain for themselves from this - which therefore rules out 99.9 ... percent of the motivation for doing bad things to other people via the internet.
At best the miscreant would cause an unknown amount of inconvenience to a person they've never met. [If the target was someone they knew, they would surely have more direct ways of annoying them and could use their knowledge of that person to much greater effect].
So, yes. In theory this sort of activity may be possible. In practice the reasons for doing so would be so slight that an argument could be put that the person doing it had a mental health problem. In the real world it would be interesting to hear if there were any stories of this happening - either proven or even hearsay, to let us quantify the actual size of the problem.
And when the dust settles
collect up all the usernames, nicks, contact info, friends lists and "likes". Find out the real people behind them and start the reckoning.
BTW. In that case, it doesn't matter which side won, there will be a purge/backlash against those foolish enough to associate themselves with the losers. The internet never forgets you.
Egypt: not as internet driven as we thought
> Egyptian protests continue - without Twitter and Facebook.
It's a common conceit among the interneterati that the unrest in Egypt either came about, or became significant, due to the effects of masses of people using the internet. It didn't. The unrest had been growing for a long, long time and Egyptians using the internet made practically no difference to the level of unrest within the country.
What t' 'net has effected is our methods of receiving news. So people wrongly assumed that just because we, in the west, almost require stuff to be fed to us through an internet connection - that the same MUST therefore apply everywhere else. It doesn't.
More dangerously; we make the assumption that somehow the internet is a sort of anti-establishment tool. That information we get from people "on the ground" makes us somehow closer to the truth and free of government spin and propaganda. In fact, believing information from one unknown, unvalidated and anonymous source is just as likely to be incorrect as believing it from any other. So while we might think that just because we're seen a posting from someone at the riots, that somehow everything they say must be true. Bzzzzzt. It's just as easy for either side to post stuff - we use our own biases and opinions to select which snippets of information we choose to believe, without having any clue abou the big picture.
I can see a time when, far from cutting off the internet during times of strife, governments will realise that they can manipulate foreign opinion just as easily as protesters - by using their own people, tweeting/FB-ing that the riots are really justa small group of criminals and there's really nothing to worry about. Of course, then human nature takes over. Since we all love a good crisis (especially when it doesn't affect us, directly) we're predisposed to always believe the worst. That means that whichever side can paint the most disastrous stories will easily win our sympathy. Maybe it's time to go back to believing what we experience ourselves and treating everything else with a healthy dose of skepticism?
Worst advice ever
> best chance of reducing UK youth unemployment was to get people to start their own businesses
So you come out of college with £20k of debt round your neck and a credit rating that makes Greece look like Fort Knox.
"Oh well, if you can't get someone to employ you - just start you own business" Get a grip! For a start, people coming straight out of school (or university - same thing; different name) have literally no idea about working for a living - I know, I didn't and most new graduate recruits flounder just as much as I did. They've never done it, they don't know the disciplines involved or what is the difference between a saturday job in Tesco and a career. The absolute last thing they should be doing is making their own precarious existences more complicated by adding on to of that the extra burden of running a business: PAYE, VAT, billing, marketing, product design, dealing with suppliers or (worse) customers.
Since most of the academics in university (and almost all of the ones in schools) have never had a proper job outside their cloistered calling, they are in no position to offer careers advice - even though they often do. They won't offer their charges any training in how to "do" a career, let alone how to "do" a company - ask them to fill in a VAT return and they'd probably cry.
So what _should_ the outpourings from our academic institutions be looking for? First of all, count their inherent advantages: they can legally be employed in Britain, they live in the country, they speak good enough english and can often write and read it, too. Some can use a calculator and a few will own a suit. Sounds like the ideal qualifications for an estate agency. For the non suit-owners? well, there's always the saturday job in Tesco's that they scorned, for three years of carefree drinking.
The easiest business case in the world
Boffin: "We've got to keep the LHC running for another year - that way we'll open an interdimensional portal and we will be able to communicate with the future"
Bean counter: "How can you be sure"
Boffin; "Simple, I got am email from myself, dated 2013 telling me how to do it"
More things to get rid of
Before we embark on a crusade against an insignificant pattern of pixels, how about tackling things that actually matter?
Before ridding the world of Comic Sans, let's fix poverty, disease, repression, oppression, suppression, ignorance (ooops, we're back on fonts again), intolerance (gah - and again), fear, guns (doh! same thing), greed, exploitation, climate change, crime, smoking, baldness, inflation, nagging, corruption, commercial fusion, algal blooms, spam, obesity and late trains.
Once we've got all of that nailed, then it's time to worry about the trivia - though I've got to say the ability to spell has got to come before what font you misspell your language in.
Ever read The Economist?
If you do read The Economist, you'll find that it's probably one of only two (FT being the other) newspapers that is willing to give a balanced and dispassionate view of events: whether in Britain or around the world. Sure, it takes a view that money matters and that having it is nothing to be ashamed of (assuming it was obtained legitimately), but that's surely better than measuring a person's worth by the size of their chest.
As for Egypt: To quote from http://www.economist.com/node/18010573 "The ruling party is arrogant, nepotistic and corrupt. ... " and nothing in the piece makes any mention of business (nor Vodafone, for that matter).
 They do refer to themselves as a newspaper these days.
Meanwhile, across the world ....
> the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it
> Virtually all internet access was cut off late last night.
many, many other governments are wondering if they could get themselves some laws like that. And whether it would be best to present them to their citizens as "child safety" legislation or anti-terrorism regulations.
The message, not the medium
I suspect that what really sold you was the access to a knowledgeable person - not the fact that they communicated with you through instant chat. You would have been just as happy, maybe even more so, if you had spoken to them on the phone, or via a video conferencing system.
Likewise, if the IRC fairy had said "please enter your 128 character customer ID." ... "now enter the answer to your security question *what are the names of the pets of everyone in your street" "Now please enter your date and time of birth, to the nearest second - using the Julian calendar" you might have been less happy, even if the communications medium was trendy "chat".
Chat does not magically transform an obtuse call agent into your new best friend. It does not raise their IQ by 120 points (so that it becomes at least a positive number), nor does it necessarily circumvent a poorly designed customer interface. The only reason it appears more helpful is that it is small-scale: not yet mainstream. Just as soon as the world's major call centres realise that by using chat instead of voice, each agent will be able to hold 3 clients on the "line" simultaneously it will become just as slow, annoying and obstructive as every other "lowest cost wins" form of customer interaction.
The _real_ reason to use flash
As a fly on the wall when a few website designers have been in, hawking their warez, sorry: wares. The person the website has to be sold to is NOT the person on the end of a search engine, it's usually the least savvy, most superficial person in the room: the M.D.
In order to get that person to sign on the dotted, it's not necessary to talk about keywords, content, rankings, load-time, bloat, Java, accessibility, CMS or any of the things that make a site successful (or not) to the end user. All you have to do is go for the "ooooh, shiny" reaction and possibly wipe the dribble off their chin. It's only once the site has been delivered and gone live that reality starts to bite - and features that were paid for get removed (but the fees never come back) in order to make it even slightly usable.
As with all sales: it's a case of "know your client" and in most cases, web-designers do, and we have to live with the consequences.
 The household name that so stuffed their home page with widgets, gadgets, trivia, effects and popups that the only time it ever loaded within the contractually stipulated time was on the internal 100MBit network.
The lessons of Standard Oil
We know what happens when one company becomes dominant. It starts off well then discovers how easily it can abu^H^H^Htake advantage of its commercial might, but it ends in tears.
BTW, if you're not aware of the story, you can errr.... Google for it.
If content is king
Then search ranking must be power behind the throne.
The basic problem with search engines (and by that I mean Google, none of the others really matter in the english-speaking world) is that they rank sites based on their popularity. You can have the world's most authoritative source of information, but if no-one knows about it, then no-one will link to it and the crawlers that our sites live or die by will note that and it will be lost in the noise - on page two of the search results (which with Google Instant, means outside the top 10). Once it disappears from the only place that 95% of people will look, it simply becomes invisible, and will never get the visits or links to improve its position ...
Now there are plenty of strategies for bootstrapping yourself - and (I'm told by their creators) that a few of them might even work. The difficulty is having the webmeisterly knowledge to separate the sump-oil from the antifreeze and be able to judge which ones will produce results and which ones will just take your money. Especially when the odds are stacked against finding truth as opposed to beauty.
So while a lot of companies have reached the conclusion that "everyone has to have a website these days, so we'd better have one too", most of them - the ones that are NOT household names, are getting next to no benefit from it. For most, the only traffic their sites generate are sales calls and SPAM from people promising to get them into the top rankings. Maybe that's where the money really lies.
Just like Tesco
Try this. Go to your local supermarket, corner a shelf-stacker and start asking them about the calorific value of their chunky pickle, or whether "I can't believe it's not butter" is better than "Olive spread". You'll get just as poor quality advice from their untrained and disinterested staff as you will from the untrained and disinterested staff in any computer store.
The big difference is that shoppers in computer stores generally know even less about the products they are prepared to hand over money for, than the untrained and disinterested employees. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Now, I appreciate that yer average ASDA doesn't advertise about how every checkout person has a PhD in nutrition or food science. But it's *advertising*, people - you really shouldn't expect facts, truth or fairness. They're after your money, for the least cost to themselves, surely that's not a surprise to anyone?
The good thing about computer stores (and those ones that sell electronic toys) is that the staff know that they know bugger all about any of the products and will go to great lengths to avoid talking to or eye contact with, any potential customers. In that respect at least, they're helping us.
First of all, the guy did NOT win
He missed his flight. That's not "winning". He got off the charges brought but that's a small consolation for being detained and inconvenience he went through. Even if he successfully sues or gets compo, that's purely retrospective and his freedoms were still denied. In order to have "won" the encounter, he he would have to have been challenged by the gourds, presented his counter-arguments and persuaded them by means of the clarity and eloquence of his replies ..... 'scuse me, I've just stopped laughing at the thought of that ever happening.
Secondly (disclaimer: I've only flown in/out of Albuquerque a couple of times), but it's a shared civilian airport and airforce base. Apart from commercial flights, there were (when I was there, anyway) a lot of fighters buzzing around, taking off and landing and easily visible from the area where the guy was filming.
If security guards at "ordinary" airports are touchy, I would expect them to be even more so at ABQ for that reason.
With cash you can buy food AND popularity.
However if all your company has is popularity, the only thing you'll get is lots of people l saying what a shame that it failed.
Too many conditionals
The article (and one presumes, the underlying justification for the product) is packed full of assumptions - sentences starting with "if", "assume" and "can"s all over the place. These are presented as if they are facts, rather that wild and optimistic guesss. The 20:1 shrinkage only comes about if 95% of a company's data is copies of other stuff.
For most organisations the vast majority of the data they hold is either business/product/customer data in held in honkin' big databases or it's the mass of timewasting trivia known a email. The business data is all there because it has been justified in costed business cases and the email is there because most employees need to fill their pointless days doing something.
If you wanted to reduce the size of backups - or more importantly: the time required to take/restore them, a better solution would be to purge all the MP3's, video and browser caches that the staff amass on the core storage. But with disks costing fifty quid a terabyte (i.e. roughly 1 hours "funny money" cost of a sys-admin) the case would be very hard to make.
an uneducated guess
Once the website went live, they "retired" the person who developed it (or their mum won't let them do any more freelancing until the school holidays). Now they need to get their security sorted out that person, or the Post-It they wrote the documentation on, is no longer available.
The real question
This is where we start to find out if the local councils can tell the difference between what's necessary and what's a luxury. When they start to cut, or reduce their specifications, will they accidentally omit crucial components from their requirements. You know: obviously unnecessary things like 60-inch plasma displays for the control room, redundant and diverse network cabling, backups, aeron chairs and staff training.
Business card envy
Next time I get some business cards printed (which could be tomorrow if I can find a deal), *I* want to be a Chief of Information Dominance, too,
The question is, what's that in chinese, to print on the other side?
I can just imagine the process
Given that it's a _government_ system and due process is far more important than cost, efficiency or time taken - and that they must audit each step, I can see it would work out something like this:
step 1. print out all the records
step 2. delete the next record on the list
step 3. verify each record has in fact been deleted
step 4. tick that entry off the printed list.
step 5. when all entries have been deleted, start deleting the ones off the printed copy. goto step 1
Any half-decent government administrator could turn this simple task into a job for life.
translated into english
> UK short 100K tech recruits this year
We need a lot of people who will work for the minimum wage, doing dull, administrative, menial tasks in unsociable hours that involve using a keyboard and (often) wearing a headset.
Oh, you thought we meant programmers and sys-admins? Hell, no - we don't need any of those. What isn't off-shored, we ship in from other countries - much cheaper and we can sack 'em when the project gets cancelled.
Most disaster recovery processes are NEVER tested
Lots of companies have DR, or business continuity strategies - some are required to have them, by law. The problem is that what happens according to the theoretical, ideal, document - written in the cool, considered environment of an office usually bears little or no resemblance to the reality of trying to implement a recovery programme after an actual disaster. Of whom none will have ever experienced a real-world IT disaster.
So while your planners might have considered how to recover to the "B" site in the case that your production environment is subject to a fire, or has suffered a crippling power outage, or was flooded or ,... It probably hasn't considered what to do if all your sys-admins go down with food poisoning after a dodgy meal in the staff canteen - or even the 'flu.
Even with the common-or-garden disasters, it's inevitable that things won't go according to the book. There will be some changes that didn't get incorporated, or some incompatibilities that were missed out. However, the cost of testing a full-blown DR and the risk that you can't get the B site up (or revert back to A, afterwards - the forgotten final phase) and the sheer upheaval that it all causes means that most MDs are quite happy to remain ignorant of the true state of their emergency procedures. After all, if the worst does happen they can always get another job.
A fairer test of electric cars?
The last time I was in a Mini was many years ago - 20? 30?
From memory, they have 4 seats and a quick squint at the photos in the article seem to confirm that the "E" has 4 seats, too. On that basis, the makers are tacitly saying that this puppy could carry 4 people. So it seems to me that if you wanted to test the capabilities of this vehicle, then it should be with a driver and 3 pax - not just some luvvie who wanted to keep his name in the media.
Although I can't see any possibility that the extra payload would improve the performance of this car, it would given a more informed view about it's real-world capabilities. You never know, with the extra people available you might even be able to extend it's somewhat pathetic range - by pushing it to the next charging point.
Judgement of Solomon
Maybe the DWP should brush off its bible to learn how to resolve parental disputes regarding children?
As it is, surely the fees they wring out of stubborn parents will just be added to the list for the divorce settlement. So no matter who initially pays the fees, the ultimate cost will be borne by the partner who "loses" the financial part of the divorce - with a huge multiplier added by each sides lawyers.
Costing kit in the real world
This piece tells up that the decision was primarily driven by cost (and also by the ability to lower risk, due to improved media reliability).
The problem with a simplistic, accountant-driven approach to data centres is that they spread the cost of stuff in a rather impractical way. So if your datacentre costs £1M to build and houses 500 servers, then the cost per server is £2000. However this conceals far more than it tells us about the true costs of expansion - or consolidation. Given that regime, you could be forgiven for using that number in a cost case and saying to your boss "Therefore if we can consolidate 20 servers, we'll save $40k in datacentre costs.". When in fact the actual saving (measured in money spent) is zero.
It also masks the real cost of adding new servers - presuming that if you need to add another one, the walls of the datacentre can somehow be pushed out a little, to make room for it. In real life, most new servers will add exactly nothing to the actual datacentre costs - until all the floorspace is used up. After that, the very next server will cost you another £1 million, as you would (theoretically) need to build a new datacentre to house it, since the old one would be full.
Re: faking it
Yeah, their fakery has got to the point now where they're faking stuff that we in the west haven't even invented yet.
Fighting the wrong war
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Likewise when you have the biggest collection of military hardware in the world, everyone else looks like an enemy. They're not. Mostly they simply aren't interested in what you think.
The Economist recently [4 Dec 2010] had an article about the ascension of China and the decline of the USA. It's conclusion was that China is perfectly capable of expressing its economic dominance without the need or desire to go nose-to-nose with anyone else. It knows it has time on its side and if the worst did happen it could just unload its trillions of dollars of american debt and screw them into the ground economically rather than militarily. Though there's no need for that when nature is taking its course.
So, on that basis, I'd be prepared to view the possibility of a chinese stealth jet more as a chain-yanking effort (possibly showing the chinese sense of humour: "woooohooooo - we're coming to geeeeet you - nah, we're just messin'") that will allow them to laugh at the overreaction it will cause from their insecure and terrified neighbours on the other side of the pacific.
Ofcom: the ideal watchdog
It just watches.
Occasionally it may wander up to a mobile operator, but all it does is sniffs their crotch. After that it just returns to its nice warm basket and goes back to sleep.
Sums up the shuttle era
Discovery's final flight has some features that were common to its first flight back in 1984. That launch was delayed a couple of months, too. Due to technical difficulties. In fact it's hard to find a single shuttle mission that has gone off according to the ideal of the project for a fast-turnaround, reusable, reliable and versatile vehicle. Even now, the programme is still finding new problems that require novel solutions
While the goal of having spacecraft that can do the equivalent of Ryanair: land, turnaround quickly and be off again with the minimum of fuss, is laudable - the shuttle was a failure. After a quarter of a century of use, it never really got out of beta.
User to help desk person: "When I run the XYZ programme with these options, it deletes all my data"
Hell desk person (after a few seconds pause) "Oh yeah, it does ....."
Fewer glasses then TVs sold
That would explain why the stats for Western Europe show fewer pairs of glasses then 3D TVs have been sold [source: hdtvtest.co.uk]
ISTM the indifference shown to 3D TV is simply a failure of marketing. People just haven't been told in sufficiently convincingly terms that they NEED one of these new tellies. Even if they have only recently upgraded to a super-stonkin-massive HD set. I'm sure that when the campaigns are fully ramped up, we'll all do what we're told and buy them - even if all that's showing is Dad's Army (again)
A cheap lesson
There's a saying that if you lend a "friend" £10 and they don't pay you back that tenner was an investment, not a loss.
So be it with ID cards, maybe now people will be less enthusiastic about splashing money on silly, government sponsored, ideas. Maybe the present government should offer all these gullible ID card holder a frame to put them in and hang somewhere prominent. It could be tastefully inscribed with something like:
The cost of trusting your government
It just needs more media coverage
> the cost and logistics of snuffing convicts also a factor
Just sell the franchise to the TV companies. With standards of taste falling all over the place, surely there's a huge market for The Friday Night Execution. I'm sure it would attract the same sort of people who are happy to fill their lives with all the other sorts of public humiliation reality shows that are saturating the airwaves these days.
If that isn't enough, they could even add a You've Been Framed element to the shows, and entrap some villains - maybe even with first-person-shooter footage of the crime, sorry: SLAYING, that led to them arriving on death row in the first place. After all, we know that no-one ever went bust by underestimating the viewing audience. [deliberate misquote, btw]
Welcome back to the Mainframe
> more than half of all installed application instances will run inside a virtual machine. This has profound implications ...
All it really means is that applications will run under a 21st century version of MVS (or z/OS as it's evolved into). Nothing much changes - at least not for those of us familiar with BIG computers (physically, that is). All we can hope for is that the disciplines required, training and processes needed to keep these virtual environments running with 6*9's uptime can be relearned by the next generation of operators.
> on a political level it [an opt-out censor] would be likely to disturb many Lib Dems
Hardly, likely. We've discovered recently that the L/Ds are just as much power-tarts as all the other parties. When given the choice between sitting to the right of the Speaker or sitting to the left, they are willing to sacrifice any principles they might have persuaded us they had.
Rather lucky, really
Fortunately for the americans there is no possibility that anyone is ever likely to fire a nuclear missile at them - although the complete lack of any credible threat has never been known to stop them spending money on defences (or should that be: on their buddies' defence companies) in the past.
In the thermodynamically [i.e. snowflakes chance in hell] minute chance that a small pacific island does develop WMDs, and decides to lob one at the yanks, I won't mind if they say "I told you so".