2245 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
> 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)
Modern day psychometric testing
I suppose this is the equivalent of filling in "personality tests" at interviews. You know: the ones where you quickly work out what sort of person they want for the job and fill in the little boxes according to the required traits.
As it is, a lot of people (who have active FB accounts) adopt the persona of the person they'd LIKE to be - that outgoing, lively, vivacious, GSOH type that they'd describe themselves as in the lonely hearts ad - instead of the dull and uninteresting saddo who spends all his/her time glued to a screen (TV or computer) as they have no proper friends.
What an FB account, and any/all photos posted, can tell you about a person - to some extent anyway, is whether a potential interviewee harbours any of the attributes that you are not allowed to enquire about during a job interview for equality reasons. So while employers are prevented from selecting for reasons of age, gender, ethnicity it's easy for an immoral boss - or recruitment agent to preselect for interview candidates who volunteer this information in a social forum.
Typically british excuse
> The key to the minor impact, ... was the orientation of the mass ejected from the Sun
So basically: it was the WRONG SORT of solar storm.
Re: It's not like mass producing electronics is incredibly difficult
> You can easily set up a state of the art production line
I'm guessing, but here "easily" means: 2 years to secure finance, find the right location, agree the zoning, order the equipment and outfit the building. After that, recruit and train the personnel - then wait for orders to start being diverted to this "local" line.
The problem is not so much setting up an electronics production company. The problem is maintaining it in profit, so when the occasional British manufacturer does come along, there is spare manufacturing capacity that they can just slot in to. GB is such an expensive place to make stuff that all the plants have to run at as close to 100% as possible. That means there is no spare capacity for "walk-in" customers.
Fortunately, China has so many manu's with such high capacities that they can fit a bitsy-little run of 10,000 units in between the cracks in their bread-and-butter orders.
Re: Can I please buy one made in the UK
> I'd happily pay an extra £10 for one made in the UK
You can easily achieve the same result. Buy a Pi, then walk into your nearest highstreet technology shop. Deposit £10 on the counter and walk out.
Modern vs. Traditional crime
Given the choice between having a baddie persuade a bank to give them several hundred pounds, using _my_ credentials and getting whacked over the head in a mugging - I think I'd prefer the bank to write off a small amount of its profits than for me to end up with a concussion, or worse.
It's Linux, all over again
In the red corner we have a product that is tightly controlled, restricted and expensive.
In the blue corner we have a multiplicity of suppliers, apps available from everywhere and an emphasis on "it's not from 'The Man'"
While there won't be a knockout blow, and the first round or two went to the freetreads (after they turned up, late) the fight seems to be going in favour of the packaged/glossy/easy-to-use product. That people are willing, or maybe even desperate, to choose ease of use over getting their hands dirty - and to pay for the privilege - should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen the previous O/S wars.
Those who don't learn from the mistakes of history ....
Prof. Skinner was a behavioural scientist who showed how pigeons (and rats, but let's not call advertising targets "rats": "bonkers" is probably derogatory enough) can be conditioned into performing actions for rewards. In his experiments, the pigeons would peck at a disc and be rewarded with a small amount of food. They quickly cottoned on to the action/reward idea and the Prof astounded the world with his discovery.
It now seems that advertisers have caught up with the research and are now attempting to train people to do similar things for even less tangible rewards. Who says the human race isn't progressing? Maybe we're evolving into well-trained pigeons.
Old problem - old solution
ISTR there's (at least one) a small road leading from Cheddar Gorge with a small, old sign warning potential drivers: Not Suitable for Charabancs. It's been nigh-on 30 years since I frequented the area but the problem does seem to pre-date the Satnav era and the solution seems to be simple to implement.
Why not just put up a few more signs?
A more accurate SF prediction
Sadly, the future will probably turn out more like Incompetnece [sic] by Rob Grant.
Paying off your student loan is the worst idea possible
New loan-takers get an extremely generous deal on their student loans. The interest rate is guaranteed *never* to be above the rate of inflation and currently stands at base-rate + 1%. if you have savings you can beat that easily with an ordinary savings account.
So if these guys are making money from daubs on their faces (do students still never wash?) then they should be putting the cash into a savings account - not paying off their incredibly cheap debts.
Presumably they're not economics students.
Buying beer from a disgruntled workforce
... sounds risky.
Too many opportunities for new "additives" to find their way into the mix.
"All the beer from this brewery has been passed by the workers"
Tons, metric tons and tonnes
To all intents and purposes they're all the same. Let's forgive the odd 35-and a-bit lbs (in obsolete units) and just call a ton a ton
Damned if they do ...
Councils get a kicking for not having easy to use websites. I'm sure they can live with the pain, when it would be compared with the fulminating tabloid headlines if they went out and engaged a "high priced external consultant". You know; one of those people who actually KNOWS how to design websites.
"Enough with the firmware updates, while you're at it."
Actually, some firmware updates would be lovely.
Since we got our "smart" Toshiba a year ago (simply plug in TV, HDMI and network, switch on, scan DTV, assign names to inputs, enable wired IP - and done in < 5 minutes, easily) there have been no updates, ever. Not OTA updates, not IP updates, nada.
What would be better is if the TV manufacturers opened up their specs. I can see the TV runs Linux and I doubt it's harder to hack than a Dreambox, so why not let the users create their own apps - maybe even have a TV "app store" if the control freaks insist on micromanaging things.
A donkey among asses?
> what his future role at the SPB might be...
You could always lend him to a journalist in return for lots of highly favourable reportage
A watchdog with no teeth ...
... nothing sucks more
From their own website:
"The ASA is a non-statutory body so we do not have the power to fine or take advertisers to court."
You've got to wonder, just what is the point of them.
Re: @Pete 2
> you obviously have no idea
I have a very clear idea (though I don't own a RPi). While it can run Linux, that doesn't make a device a computer. My TV runs linux, but it's still only a TV. I have mini-ITX boards that sit on a bench and host Linux/Windows off a n/v RAM module - but they're not "computers" either - even though they run "just like my desktop Linux box".
The RPi is simply a component, in that it's uncased, cannot work without additional, non-bundled, hardware and is being sold to developers rather than to domestic users as an appliance in its own right.
Re: Re: @Jason
Doops, sorry - should've been @James Hughes 1
> This is a fully functional Linux machine, not an Arduino knock off
Take a deeeeeep breath and check out the spec. of this CIRCUIT BOARD.
Essentially you're getting a 700MHz ARM processor, 256MB memory, ethernet, SD card, Wifi, HDMI and sound. This isn't a "fully functional Linux machine" it's the computing core of a cheap tablet. (Though I doubt there are many tablets with sub 1GHz CPUs being designed these days).
In fact, the product up for grabs isn't even an embedded component. It's the development hardware for a company to embed RPi developed (open source) hardware into it's own designs. Expect companies like TV makers to take a look at this and then decide that there may be a few usable ideas - or that it would have been cutting-edge 2 years ago, but their own internal developments are already way ahead of this hardware.
Never trust a publicity junkie
So what todays events boil down to? The announcement we were advised to "buy an alarm clock" for is simply to tell us that there will be 2 companies selling the "B" model, at some point in the future. And if we wish, and if we can get onto the thoroughly slashdotted websites, we can put our names on a waiting list.
The Raspberry Pi people have certainly achieved their goal of creating the maximum amount of media buzz about their (still unavailable) product, I can't help wondering if that media frenzy is all it will be remembered for.
Although the technically minded are in no doubt that this is merely an embedded component that, with a lot of work *could* be integrated into some future products, the lay press is pushing it as a "$35 computer" [ ref: cbc.ca ] and this seems to be with the consent and tacit approval of the designers / pushers, themselves. Given that the first run is a trifling 10,000 units and the amount of (misdirected) interest is sufficient to kill 2 commercial websites for some hours I can't help wondering if the sheer volume of publicity has been somewhat over the top.
In 6 months, when the hype has died down and several thousand tinkerers have bought one of these - only to wonder, when a circuit board drops through their letter boxes what the hell they're supposed to do now - what will be the end result? A few will have turned into the sort of apostles that Sinclair's early computers produced, but most will realise they have neither the time or skills to use it, nor the need for one . Then, and only then will some actual worthwhile products start appearing that are based on RPi circuitry. But they'll be deeply embedded in a domestic appliance and nobody will even be aware of it's origins.
That's the true destiny of embedded electronics. To be so good that it becomes invisible. if it does succeed, few will (therefore) know and most will simply not care - just so long as it works.
What's sauce for the goose
> the hacking attack... ended up making the company stronger and more effective.
So presumably the hackers will be able to invoice the company for the services provided. After all, if companies can claim damages for adverse effects of hacks, surely they should be made to pay for benefits, too.
The new latin
Coding in a language
as dead as dead can be
it killed the ancient programmers
and now it's killing me
Absolutely right. Sit down, put up the newspaper "barricade" and plug in the in-canal earphones. That way it's perfectly clear that you have no wish to interact with the other strangers on the plane.
Maybe the thing to do is to create a new FB profile (we all have several - or none - don't we?) with things like:
Interests: I love garlic and bean sandwiches
Hobbies: Pig farming
Which should guarantee not only that nobody would want to sit near you, but that you get the whole row of seats to yourself.
I assume the phrases "post something they regret" , "young men are the most impetuous" and "men to be the least privacy-conscious people online, and the most likely to make a gaffe" are merely roundabout ways of saying that (young) men are more likely to post something while out of their skulls on <chemical of choice>.
Failing that, maybe it's simply down to the sorts of people that social networks attract? Not "men" or "women" in general, just the fraction who actually spend their time posting stuff.
A team effort
We're fortunate that there are very few people in the world who wish to cause harm - and even fewer in positions of trust and with the ability to do so. Luckily (!) most of the attacks we've heard about have either been from external forces - limited by their ability to insert bad stuff accurately, or by lone insiders acting out a personal vendetta. Whether the situation of a concerted inside-job by a focused team will remain a fiction, or whether it will be targeted as the "soft underbelly" of the whole computer industry, remains to be seen. However, it would be incredibly easy to do given the time and inclination of those involved.
Afterthought: Given the amount of mis-management, overruns, over-costs, poor implementations and buggy products - maybe this sort of sabotage has, actually, been happening for years - or decades.
 Scenario: An HR person with a particular "outlook" preferentially recruits techies with the same outlook. As part of a slow-burning plan, they all gravitate towards working on the same vulnerable system and from that position of self-supervision are free to implement whatever bugs, backdoors, weaknesses, logic-bombs or espionage they please. How many people? A team leader, couple of coders, a tester. Maybe half a dozen: tops. How long? Maybe a year or two.
Re: It's not just retard
> nearly all words ending -ard are (or were once) derogatory tags
I'm sure the "bARD" would disagree. Surely you would rewARD his talent and have regARD for his hARD work. You wouldn't give him his cARDs. I think you've been hoist by your own petARD.
Push back the limits
Anything that stands against the tutting, intolerant and politically correct must be a good thing.
Remembering a password is no harder than remembering a phone number
It must be so difficult, living in modern times. Apart from having to remember your address - or getting lost 'cos you've forgotten where you live. Or your registration number and wandering the neighbourhood attempting to get into every vehicle you come across (at least that's what I told the nice officer). Or what channel your favourite programmes were on. Or your spouse's name (not one you want to get wrong!) or any of the other gazillions of pieces of information you need to recall just to live your daily live.
Now add on top of all that, three or four (or even 10 or more) passwords. It must be pure hell.
In fact, recalling data that you use on a daily basis is no big deal - we do it thousands of times every day. So, provided you pay attention when you set the password and use it regularly, it's as easy as remembering to get dressed before you leave the house. The big problem only comes when one of the stooopid "security" systems insists you change a perfectly good password on a regular, or frequent basis. Now that IS dumb.
I'd love to live in your world
> What happens when we predict icy roads properly?
Where I live the gritters go out and salt the 1 major road through my town (pop 20,000) and the bypass. However they never, ever grit any of the side roads. So the arterial routes are lovely and clear, but since nobody (the people who's council tax pays for the gritting) is able to get through the snow-blocked residential streets to use them, they remain clear - except for the occasional gritter wondering why they bother, since nobody is using the road.
Sometimes the answer is "we just don't know"
In Britain most of the weather we get only develops in the last 2 or 3 days before it hits us. While it may be possible (sometimes) to say "there's a storm coming our way", or "some places will be windy" predicting exactly WHERE will be hit is probably outside the bounds of the knowable.
Even within 24 hours of an "event", the precise location - or worst hit spots - probably won't be evident until whatever it is actually starts to rain/blow/bake or blizzard all over it. if the Met Office was to buy some new sooper-dooper computers, would they really be able warn a particular village that it would be flooded, but the one 10 miles away wouldn't? Without that degree of certainty, we could end up in even worse bother: with the wrong emergency services being sent to the wrong place in advance of an imprecise prediction - instead of being held on "alert" until some calls for help actually came in.
Maybe what Britain needs is a bit more awareness (such as not building houses, or critical services, on flood plains or near rivers) having a few more gritters and the will to use them and for someone to be in charge, rather than diluting responsibility to a mess of small and poorly organised local councils who don't really have any incentive to take precautions against once-in-10-year weather events.
A spot of wind
Aside from the question of balance, the design needs to be able to withstand high winds. ISTR that PARIS encountered some blowage at height and the extra stress of balloons wanting to go in different directions (a phenomenon some readers may be familiar with) could exceed the design loading of the truss.
Re: Going up!
Wot 'ee said!
(must learn to type faster)
Going ..... up!
And with the increase in utility - especially financial utility, what with Barclay's recently announced foray into mobile monkey and the possibility of NFC becoming useful, the level of insecurity and dependency can only rise.
Just like it's common sense to have more than 1 housekey or credit/debit card (and not to keep them all in the same wallet/purse) , surely the trend of concentrating too many functions onto one not-very-secure and easily nickable piece of shiny plastic can't be a good move. Eggs and baskets comes to mind.
Money, money, money
> they were doing all kinds of things to try to retain and attract Linux talent
All kinds of things ... except paying enough to attract recruits, it seems.
If you really, REALLY want to fill a Linux position, simply offer a salary that will attract applicants. Not getting any applicants? then your headline salary is too low. Getting applicants who are crap? Then your recruitment agency needs a kick for not screening properly. Getting applicants who turn down your offers? Then look inside at your company - the work, the conditions and (most important) whether the boss is an idiot.
The problem is that in a lot of large organisations: multinationals, government departments, utilities and the like, all regard IT workers as the same. I've seen instances where the HR people and the IT senior managers were seriously saying "but they're all support staff, why not just get the Windows team to do it?" With no understanding - or even awareness - that the skills are different. When you start with that level of ignorance, it's no surprise that the so-called "perks" listed in the article fail to attract.
Beer and broadband
Just imagine if Tesco (or, TBF any other supermarket) sold beer the same way they sell broadband.
Beer: quantity UNLIMITED (subject to contents of bottle). ABV: up to 4.5% and then noticing that the bottle top doesn't come off, and you can't get the stuff out at more than a trickle.
What he meant to say was:
> these discussions have evolved into a potential go-forward framework that is currently in the government's review process,
If we're lucky the government might bung some sympathy work our way. If that does happen, and our shares get back to anything like last year's level you won't see me (or the rest of the board) for dust.
Now where did I leave my golden parachute?
I bet he gets *no* IT bug reports
Once word of his novel approach to dealing with problems becomes common knowledge, I'd be surprised if anybody would issue a bug report against any of his software, in case he applies his special remedy for "fixing" their IT problems.
It would be interesting to see his staff appraisals, too. I can imagine a somewhat shakily (hand)written assessment along the lines of " ... some scope for improving customer-facing skills"
Ignorance is bliss
> Ignorance prevented people participating in important debates, he added.
If only that was true. The biggest problem (he said, not knowing if it's true or not) with public debate on science and technology - or finance & economics - is that people who don't know the facts still feel they have a right to say what they think. We see this every day, not just in scientific debates but whenever a TV news programme needs some cheap filler and goes out on a trawl for vox-pops. Once an opinion gets onto our TV screens it assumes greater importance - as if being broadcast (and being chosen to be broadcast by an equally techno-illiterate studio-person) somehow turns fiction into fact: "Well someone on telly said ... " and is well on the way to becoming accepted wisdom. After that, no matter how many white-coated, bespectacled, bearded, geeks you put up against "what everybody knows" you're on a loser.
Maybe the first question that Paxo, or any other TV presenter should ask, when opening a conversation with an interviewee should be: "What, exactly are your credentials?" and we should be reminded, frequently, whether the individual speaking does so from a position of knowledge. It could result in much shorter TV debates.
... and of course all doctors are fine, upstanding, conscientious and talented.
The main reason for people "hiding" behind an anonymous posting is to avoid the possibility of retribution - or even of a practice deciding they don't want whingeing patients on their books. You can just imagine a situation, moments before the doctor says "cough, please" when they decide to raise the topic of your last, critical, posting of their bedside manner.
The moral of the story ...
... is to make the users do all the work themselves.
Whether the alternative - either for the helpdesk or the checkout - is one that involves lots of waiting, having to deal with barely-trained & disgruntled employees, having to beg for the most basic services (or carrier bags), trying not to appear too annoyed ... w h i l e ... t h e y ... w o r k ... a t ... t h e i r ... o w n ... g l a c i a l .. p a c e ... or suddenly decide to change shifts and stop everything for 5 minutes.
Faced with that, it's no wonder employees want to bring in their own kit and operate "self-service"
Really getting wired
> a weak current, which runs between the buds, is broken.
Now that could add an extra dimension to the music. I can just imagine some over zealous royalties enforcer requiring a chip in all new players that turns this current up to 11 if the requisite DRM checks don't pass.
On the matter of detecting which orifice an earbud is inserted into, wouldn't it just be easier to colour-code them?
Too big and too little
What's the point?
The company has been going so long (and grown so quickly) that its future expansion is quite limited - so not much scope for organic growth. Yet for all its size, it's only planning on raising $5Bn from the floatation.
That's enough to land it with all the regulatory deadweight that a public company must conform to, but not cash enough for it to drastically change its business model. All FB could hope to do would be to gobble up other companies in exchange for it's own shares - presuming they hold their value on the stock market - and then hope it can assimilate whatever novel attribute the small-fry had into it's own corporate mass. A strategy that's not known for its successes.
This IPO would make sense if the owners were planning to cash out and wanted to spend more time with their money. But in that case, without the founders' vision, who'd want to be left holding the shares?
To try and to fail
... is better than to not try at all.
The main government driver for almost everything (apart from personal gain: political or financial) is CYA. Therefore it's not important whether a programme succeeds or fails - if it's timed properly, that will be the next incumbent's problem - but to be seen to be doing something. To show that there is action being taken. That there is a policy.
So it is with this one, too. Who cares if it won't work or costs too much? Most government IT projects don't work, so the only issue is to manage expectations: downwards. As to cost -no big deal! The money's going to be spent on something, somewhere and whatever it's spent on probably won't deliver what was intended, anyway.
- iPad? More like iFAD: Now we know why Apple ran off to IBM
- +Analysis Microsoft: We're building ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
- Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'
- Analysis Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – on PCs, slabs and mobes
- Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them