1650 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
It's a badge, not an appliance
Just like in the 70's the height of cool was to have a couple of Led Zep. albums under your arm. You may never get to play them, but the mere fact that you had them said something about you. So it is with this gizmo. It says "I am at the foreski^H^H^front of technology. I have a lot of spare money. I value pretty design." The hope is (as in the 70's) that people of a like mind will come up and be your friend, maybe even offer you a puff of whatever they were smoking.
So it is today. It's more a thing that says "look at me", rather than just quietly getting on with doing the job. That's all fine, but I bet they have a laptop squirreled away somewhere, too.
 or 'Floyd, or Moodies
So if overweight men are just as healthy as women, because they are just as likely to be on medication, how come thye don't live as long as those women? It's one of the known but unexplained problems with modern medicine that on average, women get ill more than men (more times and for longer). However they live longer.
So the amount of medication a person takes tells us nothing about their life-expectancy. Add on to this, that studies of people under 40 are pretty much a waste of time when considering life expectancy, since most people are much older than that when they die. So to say that men under 40 can be overweight or obese with impunity is nonsense, since it's only when they're older than that, that too much fat (and the unhealthy diet that goes with it) starts to take its toll. That's when the type 2 diabetes tends to kick in, not before.
It's a bit like saying - you can be as unhealthy as you like - it won't affect your life, at least up until the point when you die.
for NEWS, yes. Celeb gossip, no
I do pay for news. Where news is information about events that effect ME and people I know. I place a high (-ish) value on that information, depending on what the effect it'll have on me/them actually is.
However, I won't pay to hear about the latest stupidity by footballers, their WAGs, celebrities, politicians, or other assorted non-entities. I won't pay to hear about sports I care nothing for, nor for engaging little "and finally" stories. I also reckon I can live a full and happy life without having to hear about bad things happening in foreign countries that I never intend to visit, tales of political correctness (or other absurdities), natural disasters, man-made disasters or the second coming.
With all that out of the way, and recognising that I live a fairly dull and boring life (for which I'm very grateful) it seems that the only newsworthy items that might concern me are traffic reports and weather forecasts. What would I pay to hear about them? I reckon 10p a day should cover it!
minor drop in the ocean, no-one notices
After The Times goes paywall, or to be more accurate: disappears, all that will happen is a lot of web readers (well, actually not that many) will just update their links to point to the Guardian or the Independent (has it gone bust yet?) or possibly even the Telegraph.
After a month everyone will have forgotten about the Times online. By christmas it'll either have quietly dropped the website entirely, be giving away vouchers in the newsprint edition to visit the site gratis, or be running "special offers ... this week only .... read the Times online for free".
What will we learn from that exercise in carefully aiming at your own foot and then pulling the trigger? Only what we already know, that web-users are a bunch of cheapskates for whom the difference between £0.00 and £0.01 is infinite. We will also be reminded that being forced to sit in front of a screen to read pixels is no substitute for being able to sit at the breakfast table, or on the train and use the paper as a barrier against the outside world.
Plus, you can't swat flies with an online edition.
non english speakers
Most europeans don't speak english. Most internet content is in english (well, american, at least). The use that most mono-lingual europeans can get from an internet connection is much, much less that what a brit can - simply because the amount of content accessible to them is so limited.
Next thing. A lot of countries (france, spain, italy, portugal etc.) have much lower population densities that the UK. When you get away from cities it very quickly becomes uneconomic to provide phone lines for miles, just to service a couple of houses in a hamlet. Even telephone (excluding mobiles) coverage in rural communities is sporadic. Upgrading the quality of the line to ADSL standards is expensive and lacks demand.
A lot of people in other countries don't have the disposable incomes of northern / western europeans. they also have to pay much more for their technology, so the inclination to have a computer at home is much less, and for people who's kids have grown up and moved away - even less still.
Rather than thinking of the average european as the sort of two-car, semi-detached household we are used to (which I agree with you, almost always have and use the internet) think of a family of olive farmers in southern Italy, who's children would much prefer a moto than a PC, since that's what all their friends have got.
have access to != get it for free
Any country could fulfill this very easily. Simply install a honkin' fat pipe to the local town hall and bung a few PCs in a room there. Voila! Job done. Everyone would be permitted to use it for no charge,. Alternatively, well M'sieur you want 30MBit/s in your 'ouse? Certainment, that will be 10,000 euros to install it and 100euros a month (which isn't far off what telefonica charge for rural 2MBit/s access in Spain) subscription - for 5 years, minimum.
The point to internet access is to make it cheap enough to be ubiqutous, and easy enough that everyone can use it just like a TV. Not to overcome the technology challenges about suppling the connectivity. As it is a lot of people (of whatever age) either don't want, can't see the need for are positively hostile to "all this computer stuff".
While you can lead a horse to water, you have no right to shove a firehose up it's .... sorry: down it's throat.
Price of RAM? Bzzzzt!
OK, I just had to do it.
Up into the loft. Pulled out the May 1987 copy of Wireless World (Ok, ok, _Electronics_ and Wireless World). Advertisement from the now long defunct Microkit lists a 1Mbit TC511000 dynamic RAM chip at £32, so multiply up by 8 for 1MByte, or by 9 if you want to be flashy - error corection? who needs it? fro £250-odd per megabyte. You could even get a full PDP-11/73 (with 1MB of RAM) for £4500 in the back of the same mag.
So far as 15 IOPs disks - I don't buy it. At the time I was working for an OEM and our 300MB SCSI drives were 3600RPM, roughly 10mSec access time, so would easily have given you 40 IOs per second.
Too many verifyable hole sin the orginal article to have any credibility.
Postscript: I've long been aware of the "5 minute rule". However, it's incredibly hard to measure the cache life of a piece of data - even using Oracle's extended database stats. In fact pursuant of this rule I've seen mainframe installations where the memory cache was set so large that the time taken to scan it end-to-end was longer than the average seek time to the disk arrarys.
Always wait for X.1
Waiting for the first update is always a good business strategy. Nearly as good as not upgrading unless you absolutely have to. Apart from meaning you don't commit to a turkey that doesn't even last long enough to get to it's first update, it means there's a fair chance the worst bugs will be fixed, too.
Most software development is a race to the first release. Getting the new stuff into the hands of the reviewers is far more important to suppliers than making sure the people who would actually buy it (or even download it for free) get a decent, reliable and usable solution. After all, it's not as if a reviewer has the time to fully explore every feature or test every piece of hardware it claims to support.
So taking the brand new, hot off the DVD presses, product is often a step onto the path of debugging the product for the supplier, as well as being the schmuck who pays full price, before the discounted marketing kicks in to further punish loyal customers and early adopters.
Making the situation worse
Now the news is out, that a regulator (with all the respectability and authority that term confers) is contacting potential "suckers", isn't that just a cue for all the scammers to start sending out letters or email of their own, purporting to be said regulators and asking the suckers to send them money?
I doubt that there are many lists of 38,000 contacts, so every scammer who has that list (or any other list, come to that) now just has to contact their "clients" and say that they can offer protection from the aforementioned bad people. For a small annual subscription they can be assured of protection and so on ...
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
and by extension, I'd reckon we can assume that if there are (or were, or could be) minors within the group of recipients, the "think of the children" brigade will demand a zero tolerance. Not so much because there's any possibility the little darlinks would hear any phrases they don't already use on a daily basis, but simply as an abuse of power by their parents, to show off to their friends what good and caring and protective they are.
but if it were real?
I understand your position, basically: no-one would be stupid enough to use their real name. However, let's recall just how stupid some criminals (and, it must be said: ordinary members of the public) can be. From the burglar who used his victims PC to check his facebook page, or criminals who've left their mobiles at the scene. It's a fair bet that a lot of twitterers, admittedly the ones from the shallow end of the gene pool, don't realise that their real-world identity can be got from a twitter / facebook account or SMSs they send. While this case was meant as a prank, I am sure that in the past and more so in the future, people will send genuine threats that they mean to follow up via these media.
In that case, what happens when something bad happens and a member of staff at the site says "yes, we did get a warning, but it was only an email, so we assumed it was a joke?"
It's in the urban dictionary
stupidious - 1 definition - a truly lame act; someone that has overacheived in being an idiot.
Like MonkeyBot's example a classic would be posting on a support forum: "When you do <this> and <this> and <that> the system wipes all your data and destroys your hardware.
Which gets a response of: "Oh .... yeah. It does"
bubbles do have surface tension
>Clearly there is no surface tension across the bubble,
Then what is it that makes the bubble? Surface tension acts on a drop of water to make it spherical (as that's the shape with the smallest area::volume ratio) since the surface tension will try to minimise the size of the droplet. Bubbles are the same shape for exactly the same reason - because they ARE formed by, and therefore have, surface tension at the air-bubble interface.
In the down leg of a siphon, you have the weight of the water from the bottom of the tube to the bubble weighing down. then you have the bubble fully enclosing the width of the tube (otherwise it wouldn't be stable and would just float up) then you have the rest of the water column. The weight of the water below the bubble will expand the size (actually the length) of the bubble - which still holds together under surface tension, unless the weight of water below it is too great and "breaks" the surface tension - thus fracturing the bubble into smaller ones which then wouldn't fit the width of the tube and so would rise to the top of the siphon. As the weight of water increases the size of the bubble, the bubble's volume increases and it's internal pressure drops BUT the bubble still holds together due to the surface tension acting on it. The bubble still gets drawn down the siphon by gravity on the water below it and the surface tension keeping it as a single bubble. So I stand by my original point that it's the surface tension of the water which makes the siphon work. it acts like the "glue" which holds the water column together as it is drawn down the tube.
surface tension (as opposed to scientific tension)
The crucial thing about siphons is that the liquid being drawn must be continuous - you can't siphon sand. It;s the continuity that holds the key. Once you have used (the lack of) air pressure to get liquid out of the container and over the hump and down to below the level in the container then yes, the gravity on the liquid _below_ the level in the container does draw it down.
However, if it wasn't for surface tension holding the column of liquid together, all that would happen is that the bit of liquid you've sucked over the top of the siphon would fall down the tube and the rest would fall back into the original container. It the ST which ensures that once gravity has got a grip on the liquid in the tube which is below the level in the container, it will continue to be drawn out of the container and down the siphon.
p.s. if scientists can't agree on what causes an effect Archimedes observed X thousand years ago, what hope have they got discovering fusion or researching climate change?
It'll be interesting to see if this applies to vacancies, too
This is one area where, even with the best will int he world, it's impossible to try before you buy. or even to get a demo of what the job will entail before you start. If the vacancy starts rattling on about opportunities, or "a great company to work for" or makes any other claims - why can't they be held responsible as well? After all a new recruit has pretty much burned their boats by taking the new job, so if they can show that it's not all it was cracked up to be, they should be entitled to compo, too.
Not news: people cross-charge to where the budgets are
Everyone has to account for their time. If one project or cost-code has 70% of the IT budget, it'll attract 70% of the time allocation, whether or not the people in IT actually did any work in that area. So if supporting current systems has 70% of the IT budget then guess what? Yup all the sys-admins, support staff, cleaners and managers (listed here in order of importance) will charge their time to this category. If you reorganise things so that "special projects" or consolidation or innovation or any other dam' thing gets the lions share of the budget then all the BAU activities will magically transform themselves into that kind of work.
Ultimately all HP are saying is "your business is bloated, expensive, slow, inefficient and resistant to change - just like every other IT department". But if you spend money with them, at least it will look as if you're addressing the situation. In the end it;s the appearance of activity, rateh rthan the end result wich is important. After all, that's how we got into this state.
Could open the flood gates
.. for victims of every over-hyped and badly documented piece of carp to pursue software vendors. The judgement does seem to say that the onus is on the supplier to provide adequate documentation and where that isn't done, to "know" how the users expect to use it. I also got the impression that the company is being held liable for the claims made in it's sales literature.
Hopefully we'll see many more software suppliers held to account for bad software, poor support documentation and unrealistic marketing in the future.
Long range weather forecast
Rain, rain rain and cloudy weather.
So not much change there. Although I'm not clear what or who gives this guy the right to turn off the sunshine for the whole planet. Maybe he should try it out near the shores of California and Florida first, see how the people who caused most of this problem like it when their holidays get clouded over.
Well that's half of all internet messages taken care of
It's not a big leap of logic to extend this to any offensive or threatening content in any email, IM, forum port, usenet article or comment.
So if you'll just send your names, addresses and preferred method of paying the fines to the Moderatrix, I'm sure she can take them all down to the local nick.
Email's not the problem
The problem is that we are still evolving a way to approach it.
For example, most people have one email address. Just one. Which they give it out to all and sundry: friends, family, the boss, companies they deal with, web promotions they sign up for, forums they post in and anyone else who asks for it. Under those circumstances, it's no surprise that they get flooded with crap - nor that they then pass it on to everyone else in their (single) address book.
What should happen is that people are taught how to use email (and every other internet service, too). But they should be taught to use these things defensively. Just as we are taught to treat every other driver ont he road as if they were drunk, on drugs and falling asleep, when they should be focusing on the road ahead. Email users should be taught to compartmentalise their email: one account for personal use, a separate one for work, a third for buying stuff, another for all the dodgy activities they sign up for and a slew of secondary, disposable addresses for all the crud they suspect that signing up for "free" offers will bring.After all it costs nothing to set up accounts and there's a great opportunity for an enterprising ISP to make the process simple and painless (and also to tie customers in).
Maybe in a generation or two, email ettiquette and practice will have got over it's learning curve and users will understand that keeping unconnected things apart helps them, as well as helping everyone else.
the right demographc?
> "affluent consumers with solid wealth"
So they'd like to think ....
Alternatively, since most appear to be below 30 years old, they could just be living with their parents. Without the cost of a mortgage (or even rent) and family commitments the cost of an iPad wouldn't take up much disposable income, or pocket money.
Electronic voting - worst possible solution?
At least we still use a tangible, reviewable system that holds a physical record of what voters expressed. It may take a bit of time (although overnight - not that much) and it might seem "old fashioned" to require actual paper, However, it instills a confidence in voters that their vote does, actually have a reality that pressing a button or clicking a website simply does not.
The only real problem is that it's possible to determine which voter used which ballot paper, thereby creating a trail from person to their vote. While there's no evidence that this has (ever) been misused, it opens the possibility of some undesirables finding out who voted for which candidate.
Most businesses already have a strategy
You'll have a tough time ttrying to sell a non-intuitive conclusion to a CEO - no matter how many scads of data you have "processed". If you can't present a consistent (and simple: very, very simple) argument about why a particular strategy will bring huge returns, there's little possibility that they'll risk their career and bonus on something that doesn't appear to make sense.
Most companies have a very straightforward and well understood business strategy: find out what the competition's doing and do the same. It's not so much about making huge profits, as avoiding huge losses. While no CEO ever got fired for doubling the dividend, not many get fired for making a loss - provided all the other, similar, companies are doing the same.
I know what you need
.. you need the geordie Operating System. Based on Windaz2000: http://www.jardmail.co.uk/attachments/windaz2000.gif
Sounds very superficial
All the talk is about the colour scheme, themes, where buttons are.
*********** WHERE'S THE BEEF? *******************
Where are the _new_ applications? What can I do with this version that I couldn't do with (any of) the previous ones? Why should I go to the trouble of upgrading my workhorse 8.04 to this?
Linux always falls into the trap of promoting its features and forgets that normal people don;t care - they (we?) want benefits. Reasons why this version lets them do things better / faster / cheaper than they could before.
Until the Linux community realises that people don't care what the O/S is, they only care about what they can do with it, they are doomed to push a product that has no reason to exist.
A real place?
> that cyberspace .. is a real place with real connections
Ahem. Real places are ones I can walk,drive or fly to. They are ones with ground under your feet and trees and buildings. Now I appreciate that the person who made that comment may not have common sense as a first language, but even so - to describe what is in effect a diary as a "real place" shows a level of detachment that's alarming.
There's only one valid test
Cut off their utilities and see what stays running.
While not forgetting that water takes energy to be pumped to the house, more energy to be made safe to drink and yet more energy to take the sewage away afterwards (always supposing they don't manage to dispose or recycle their own waste products).
Just to be safe
***** ** **** ** * *** ** ***** *** *** **-*** *** ** **** * ****. ** **** *** ******** * *** ***** So there!
Rather depends on how many arrive
The thing about the european colonisation o f N. America is that there were bloody millions of them who turned up. Not just a Mayflower-full. If our first contact with aliens results in them phoning home and saying "Hey, look what we've found ... come on over and bring your friends" then we may well be the subject of an invasion. Although if the indians had had nuclear weapons, the story might have been different.
On the other hand, if we come across a single individual, or a spaceship that has taken hundreds of years to get here then the balance of power could well be tipped in our favour. Simply by strength of numbers (readers of Footfall will be familiar with this situation) as the aliens couldn't be everywhere, all the time.
Personally, I think if aliens did come here, they'd either not notice us, or would react the way we do to an ant-hill when out walking: something to be ignored and avoided, unless it becomes a nuisance.
If we all club together
and fax the bog-roll makes some high quality paper, the shortage will disappear!
He'd never even have got the job in the UK
He'd have fallen at the first hurdle with the recruiting agency:
Drone: "So Ken, what skills do you have for this vacancy?"
KT: "Well, I designed, wrote and developed a language called C".
Drone: "Hmmm, that's interesting. how do you spell that?"
KT: "Like the letter"
<drone writes down "cee">
Drone: "and how long have you been programming in , errrrrr, cee?"
KT: "I wrote it in 1970, and I've been using it every day ever since"
Drone: "Hmmm, I'm afraid you'd be a bit too old for this client, how much experience have you got with Lie-nux?"
Is that an iphone in your pocket
or are you just pleased to see me?
I was just about to take this piece seriously (more out of desperation than belief) until I read the quote: "There's just something about a man who's good with computers that makes him more trustworthy"
What he's really saying
is "I run an extremely expensive business, with huge overheads, almost no customers and such a paltry bandwidth allocation that it makes smoke signals look fast" All this guy wants is for everyone else to suffer for the poor choices he made when he started in the satellite business, and use the same cost structures that he has got himself into.
You'd hear the same sort of arguments from stagecoach operators, against motorway users: requiring that every car is pulled by 2 horses, has 2 employees riding "shotgun" , and never exceeding 10mph.
Basically, his industry had its heyday somewhere around 1985 and hasn't realised that it became irrelevant as soom as modem speeds kit 19.2KBaud.
Superficial or deep down?
On the surface a lot is happening. Companies are doing a lot more business with web interfaces and B2B. Short-circuiting the need for actual people to get involved. However, once you peel off this veneer, you'll find IT departments that are still staffed by the same old (old as in unchanging, not age) people, with the same old problems, doing the same old things: day in, day out. The biggest difference here is that they're doing it as employees of an out sourced, cost-cutting, process-driven organisation rather than as a crucial part of the parent organisation itself.
IT is now seen just as a commodity, not an enabling part of a company.
What about the future? Probably just more of the same: few reasons to get excited about working in IT, more processes to be ticked, more "efficiency" savings (the new word for redundancy), more standardisation, less possibility for personal initiative or improvement. Although it bears a lot of similarities to picking cauliflowers, at least you don't get wet when it rains.
So .... where do you propose we move Londons airports to then?
Well the blindingly, ludicrously obvious answer (which I'm surprised you didn't think of) is to locate the airport(s) somewhere where the flightpaths can be routed where there are no people. When you consider that Britain is an island the answer presents itself.
For 40-odd years there's been talk of locating an airport to the coast. That way all the planes in and out can fly low over the sea. Latterly Boris has been talking about an airport on the Thames estuary. We built and gave away an airport in Hong Kong that was built on an island - including all the transport access to go with it. If we can do it for the chinese, it should be possible to do it for the people who actually pay for it.
Just breaking the tedium
It's TV, it's only entertainment (either for the viewers or the presenters - in this case, it was the repsenters). All they were trying to do was jazz-up a frightfully dry and dull peice of unnecessary analysis, with some hastily thrown together, simple and cheap graphics.As with most of the stuff the Beeb does, it was meant more for their internal audience - the budget holders, than for the licence fee payers, who don't have any choice in the matter.
Either way, the Beeb's news and current affairs has drifted into new lows recently. Yesterday, when there was a brand new story (volcanos, airy-planes etc.) they gave the massive, country-wide and previously unexplained event very little morning news-time and plodded on with their pre-planned and scripted "news" about the forthcoming debate. Today, when Sky and others are coming up with some insightful (and graphic) thoughts on the debate, the beeb are focussing on the one they missed yesterday - with reporters yapping on, from outside and inside deserted airports. Not only did they completely miss the boat yesterday, but they caught the wrong boat back today.
Since I was born in W. London and have lived and worked there my whole life, so far. I didn't really have a lot of choice. As don't the millions of other people who have to live near airports all over the country (hint: no one, except maybe a few plane spotters choose to live near an airport).We do it either from necessity, lack of other options, for economic reasons or because a whim of bureaucratic randomness draws a flightpath on a map, where there hadn't been one before.
However, the real point is that when it stops this is actually a very pleasant part of the country - you just don't realise it until you get a brief respite from the otherwise incessant noise pollution.
The peace! The quiet!
While I sympathise with the pax who want to get somewhere, but can't - there is a silver lining to this volcanic cloud. One that benefits far more people than the numbers stranded at british airports. I'm talking about the lack of aircraft noise.
In the part of purgatory known as west London (and repeated at other places of redemption throughout the country) it's not unusual to be woken at about 5:30 when the first flight tears through the sky. After the first plane, they seem to come over every few minutes, leaving those of us who like to sleep with the window ajar cursing all these early birds. Repeat all day until some time around 11p.m. and you get the picture.
We had a similar respite during September a few years ago - maybe you remember that one, too?
Anyway, I'm planning on enjoying the, almost rural, quiet while it lasts and seriously wondering what the effect of increased runway numbers and flight numbers will bring to this already blighted part of blighty..
Learning stops when you leave school
The biggest differentiator between the clueful; and the clueless is how they regard knowledge. For a lot (the majority?) of people "education" is a bit like a jail sentence. You do your time, but once you're out that's the end of it. For the rest of us, education is an ongoing process - throughout life. And we take the responsibility for self-improvement upon ourselves: rather than expecting others to deliver it to us.
It would also help if our society actually placed a value on knowledge: especially technical know-how, rather than scorning it. That way we might, just, be in a position in a generation or two to start producing engineering and science graduates and (even better) not have to teach them how to flip burgers in order to get a job.