2084 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
China and India
> They have no self-induced pride to save
Oh, I don't know. Given that this is their century (unless something goes dramatically wrong) I would suggest that a space presence would be a fitting manifestation - just as it was for the americans in their century.
It's also possible (probable?) that India and China, being the two most populous countries, will be the natural competitors for power, influence and raw materials. In which case a space-race might be a better dissipation of that competitiveness than warfare.
Not forgetting ...
The Russians (first in the game and still going strong), and the Chinese. Possibly coming soon to an orbit near you: India and maybe if they can sort out the internal squabbles ESA - though I kinda doubt it.
Saves them the trouble
> Information included dates of birth, mobile numbers, A level results and addresses.
Don't students voluntarily put all this and more on Facebook anyway?
Fixing problems that haven't happened yet
> I noticed a server that had this burnt solder smell to it
This is one of my continual bug-bears. What is the point of having tools (or noses) that detect *potential* problems, when all the business processes are intended to be reactive? In theory it's possible to raise tickets on predictions, but the priority is so low that they never, ever get addressed.
I am frequently able to detect and report bad things that WILL happen in the future. Whether it's disks filling up, batch jobs trending upwards over time, email response times slowing down or a multitude of other possibilities. However for most of these the support teams express no interest whatsoever. The reason is that to nurse a non-urgent change through the system takes a huge amount of time and effort, whereas an emergency change after a crash gets approved just like that <clicks fingers>.
So from an "efficiency" point of view i.e. doing the least amount of work, it's far better for the techies to wait for a failure (after all, it might not happen) and then look like a superstar by fixing it, rather than doing preventative work that takes time, but never gets noticed.
With outsourced systems it's even worse. Approach the support team with a "did you know disk X is about to fill up?" question and the best you can expect is that they'll ask you for your cost code, so they can investigate _your_ problem without paying for it themselves. We've pretty much given up trying to help these guys and now we just let their systems crash and burn.
The simple solution
The basic problem is that IT staff tend to only monitor stuff inside the datacentre - not the user experience. That might have been sufficient 20 years ago, but nowadays the only reasonable approach is to start with the users' experience and to work backwards from that.
The reason we have that situation is that the tools that come with most IT systems are really only designed for monitoring servers. Looking at a small number of parameters: CPU, memory, disk I/O and network traffic. Any dashboard is usually simply plopped on top of these metrics.
We tend to value what we measure, rather than measuring what we value.
In fact it's quite easy to do the right thing. Even better it can be done for free. Using packages such as AutoIt3 for windows or Tcl/Expect for Linux/Unix, it's quite feasible to measure response times that the users experience, or the times that queries they execute take to run. We've been doing that for a long, long time and it usually provides exactly the information needed, quickly and accurately.
With the proper analysis, it's possible to see quite small deviations from normal response times. Generally users are prepared to put up with quite a lot of pain before they'll pick up the phone to the Hell Desk and report anything, so with these techniques it's perfectly possible and practical to know before they report it that there's a problem looming.
He's still "the man"
Apparently he has handed in his resignation, but is still the big cheese until a new top dog is appointed. He did make some sort of comment at the end of his turn in front of the committee to the effect that this would be his last appearance.
But he was still in charge at the time of his cross-examination, so it was appropriate to wear the uniform.
You must NEVER publish this
Because if you do, in a couple of years time it will be adopted as the schools' science curriculum. A a few years after that, when those years' students become advisors to politicians it will become our national science policy.
Yes, I think you're right. They *could* be innocent but I that would surprise me even more.
Where are the political satire shows when we need them most?
Presumably this is a simple case of deflection. By resigning, these guys are hoping that the prevailing opinion will be "well, they weren't proved to have done anything wrong and by resigning they have effectively punished themselves. So there's no reason to take this any further. Eh? What? Old bean? yes I'd love another G and T - what-ho!"
However, that ain't so. An innocent person would not fall on their sword. Two in as many days isn't "doing the honorable thing". It's a calculated attempt to minimise the damage - hoping that if they lay low, things will just blow over. Especially if the police can manage to drag their investigation out for 2 or more years. After all, you can't prosecute people while there's still an investigation going on - as the vested, establishment, interested keep telling us.
Maybe what we need is to put the investigation on hold. Prosecute some seriously deserving individuals, then restart the investigation to mop up the ones who were missed.
The tricky bit will be obtaining evidence. We found out from the De Menezes investigation that the police will all tell the same story (as they are allowed to confer before giving a statement - unlike ordinary people) and that they are willing to lie through their teeth to appear blameless in that story. We also discovered from the same investigation that it's highly unlikely that anything bad will happen to those involved. If killing an innocent person in cold blood doesn't give rise to jail time, what chance has a little police corruption got to punish the actual wrongdoers?
So, we have (so far) some high ranking officers leaving the force. We can't have any confidence in the police's ability or willingness to prosecute their own and we have an investigation that will nicely block any further legal action until at least 2013. On top of that, I suspect we have a cabal of politicians from all parties who have nothing to gain from turning over these particular stones, as whatever crawls out is as likely to bite them as anybody else. I would also expect that a lot of journalists and editors are also more than happy to drop this story as they, too, have nothing to gain and potentially a lot to lose from keeping it in the public consciousness.
A new unit of measurement
I would like to propose the ARCHER as a measurement of (or lack of) integrity.
The big question that comes out of this whole NoTW, police corruption, political cosiness and influencing affair is how many people, and whom, would cause more that a flicker on the Archer-o-meter.
I have a suspicion that no matter how many people get banged up, a far greater number will be as guilty as hell - but were just better at covering up their crimes, or simply luckier at knowing who else to blackmail to keep themselves out of the limelight.
A modern day water dictatorship
If you're a ruler, the simplest way to keep the plebs under control is to give yourself (and enforce) the power to allot some vital resource. Someone does you a favour? Give them some more. Someone honks you off, cut off their supply.
We've recently seen Russia do this to some ex-USSR states and their supply of oil and natural gas.
In times gone by, the ruler used water as the subjugating force. Without it, crops died, farmers went broke, people starved.
The neat thing about this technique is that you don't need a large army or internal security force to keep yourself at the top of the pile. You only need enough power to control your resource and everything else follows from that. The bad thing is that because you don't have a strong army or defensive force, while you can control internal threats you are very vulnerable to external ones. An invading army will have little trouble taking over as what forces you do have are not used to conflict: they're used to people doing what they're told.
Historically, water dictatorships seem invulnerable when viewed from the inside but their fall is inevitable.
So it is with Google. They have a firm grip on the internet's jugular. They control who gets the eyeballs that makes the advertising pay the rent. They don't need to be competitive, or innovative. They just need to batter competitors to death with their giant wad - and if that doesn't work, turn off the eyeballs. However, as soon as someone comes along who is NOT dependent on advertisements or search hits they're screwed.
The question is who, what and when.
But it's not practical to remember everything
... the access time would be too long.
Worse: you might end up forgetting something important, like how to speak, if that information got pushed out to make room for the names of the 1931 FA Cup final winners.
I'm sure that's how memory works - but I forget who told me so.
It's the lack of innovation wot dun it.
The question shouldn't be "why are people still running XP?" (fess: I am, and intend to continue to do so).
A better question would be "Why have we failed to induce them to upgrade?" and when I say induce, I don't mean coerce, force, threaten or demand. I mean provided new features in the new versions of XP (if this was linux, W7 would still be called XP 1.8) that would have people thinking "hey, that is really bloody excellent. I *must* have that - even though what I have now is perfectly adequate."
Now, that's not to say that other O/Ss have done any better. Apart from supporting newer hardware, fixing bugs and keeping up with the minor feature-tweaks in KDE/Gnome/whatever linux is still essentially the same old kernel and utilities and freeware that we've had to a decade or two, too.
So, why has Microsoft (and the various mutations of Linux) failed to provide any killer attractions in their new systems? I have no idea - though backwards compatibility, large installed base, poor internal culture and a focus on things that actually make money must be in the mix somewhere.
So until MS, or Ubuntu or some other bunch can come up with something that really, completely changes the rules on personal computing, I fully intend to keep running XP until the hardware fails, my virtualised environments won't support it any more, or OSX comes up with something I can't live without. So I reckon it's safe for another 10 or 20 years. Maybe XP really is all we need?
Would suit me just fine
> it's not clear that a critical mass of people outside the tech world ...
A techie version of facebook. Hmmm?
The thing is, it doesn't have to be one or the other - though I can't see much overlap between the predominantly child-populated FB (and their stalkers, ref: an earlier story) and a more technologically literate G+ that offers a similar platform, but delivering a different product. Hell, you could probably make a compelling argument for an "adult" version of FB ... in fact that one may even make money.
So while G+ may not eat FBs lunch - or it may wither and die altogether, it provides an alternative. And one that doesn't come with the FB associations and baggage.
Just trust them
> what hope for Google+? None. Because there won't be any women on it
And how will you tell if a person you add to one of your circles is a woman - from what their profile says?
Try that in real-life and one day you may get a surprise!
As for the rest
> 24 per cent of online Brit parents consider that the only reason to use Facebook ...
Presumably the other 76% are on facebook to keep track of their partners
It may even be worse than moving stuff on earth. Not only do you have to apply force to start moving each package but you have to apply an equal amount of force in the opposite direction to stop it, once it gets close to where you finally want to put it. You also have to apply more force to change the direction it's moving - to get it round corners f'riinstance.
In space you can't just put it down when you get tired of carrying it.
It's just business
> has been effectively bullied into closing by shrill crowd of ill wishers.
Last year BSlyB made a profit of around £1Bn
Last year News International made a profit of about £20 Mil. - That's all thepapers in the group not just the NoTW
When it comes down to the bottom line, newspapers are irrelevant to Murdoch, it is likely he would sacrifice ALL OF THEM to get a shot at BSkyB.
In fact the only reason anyone in Britian would own a newspaper is for the vanity and political clout it bestows. You certainly wouldn't do it for the money. I can see that if this whole sorry affair results in the press (free or not) being cut off at the wotsits, then the attraction of being a newspaper baron will evaporate as well. Once that happens the value of newspapers will drop faster than Rebekah Thingy's popularity and they will just close - no matter how high their circulation.
'Corse once newspapers become obsolete, the value of a TV news channel sky-rockets (pun intended) for those who want power and influence but none of the responsibility. And TV News openings are much scarcer that printing presses.
> Well i can but dream.
There could be a better way.
Both the aussies and the 'merkins have laws against bribing foreign officials. I don't know about how it's done down under but apparently the yanks take it quite seriously and have concluded that nothing focuses a CEOs mind better than the prospect of jail time. As a consequence they are quite willing to, and have a history of, pursuing the top individuals personally - rather than just slapping a fine on the company.
In this case (so I've read, tho' can't recall where) News Corp. is an american company and NI is a subsidiary.Therefore they are both subject to this law. It won't wash on the phone hacking aspect, but could do on the police backhanders issue. Normally I'm against the british government's policy of outsourcintg our law enforcement, but in this case I'm prepared to make an exception. Hell, I'd even be happy to bung the prosection a fiver to help with their case, so long as that isn't interpreted as me trying to bribe a foreign official.
Good to know
It's reassuring to find out that the Windscale Effect is still operational.
Have a devastaingly bad PR problem? Easy peasy, just change the name of the offending person/institute/liability. Within a few short weeks the entire british public will have forgotten all about the "old problems" and will embrace and throw money at exactly the same venture - just so long as it has a different name.
So: Unix users use Unix (shock!)
And the ones that (still) use Unix are using more Unix.
Okaaaaaay. We generally recognise that a given number of techies can handle more Unix systems than Microsoft systems and that generally those systems are less prone to "problems" and can probably be run at higher average load factors, too.
But, this survey doesn't really give any information about the number of jobs in the Unix market. It makes it sound as if the increased number of installations in Unix shops _should_ give rise to more Unix techies, but if the number of places where Unix is still spoken has decreased (albeit with a rise in it's usage where the flame is still alight) then that doesn't bode well for the lovers of forward-slashes.
I would have gone to the original report to seek the answer, but all it did was cough some error about "TCPDF error: Font file not found" I wonder if the report was produced on a Unix box
A lost opportunity
> journalists at the NotW routinely asked shady private detectives to carry out a range of actions
I think it's safe to presume that *any* news organisation that uses the services of private detectives was/is using them to do "shady" investigations. Ones they do not want pointing back to them, so they can deny (implausible deniability?) knowledge of wrongdoings.
The real tragedy in the whole NoTW affair is that with a bit more investigation and probing, we might have rid the world of the Daily Wail, too.
ISTM all the people bleating on about "privacy" don't appear to know what the least amount of information a google profile requirement, is.
It amounts to a name (which you can alter), a gender (which can be "other") and nothing more. It's not as if they demand you account for every millisecond of your existence and fully document every thought you've ever had. All they require is a few bytes of unverifiable data and a status of "public".
If you want to use Google, JFDI. If not, stop judging the intelligence and motives of others.
Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of people
Hopefully this is not the end - just the beginning of the search for the individuals who really need to get banged up.
Just like talk shows
You know that every "guest" who appears is pushing some agenda. They've got a book out, they are starring in a new TV series, they are trying to get back after a scandal/child/dry period, or have a new business venture they NEED to tell everybody about. We're prepared to put up with the endless and thinly veiled promotions provided they entertain us.
Maybe a better question to ask about the Puffington would be: who's willing to pay to READ it?
A free press?
> we need a free press, but not this free perhaps.
Would this mean free for a foreign owner to call up an editor and say "I want you to run this story on the front page"
Maybe the best way to ensure journalistic freedom, reign in some of the more disgraceful abuses of power and inject a bit of diversity into the british media (not just newspapers) is to limit the number of newspapers or TV stations a single person may have a controlling interest in to ONE. No groups, "media empires", syndicates or publishing houses. One owner, one single paper or TV channel, but not both.
It wouldn't stop them promoting their own self interested personal agenda, but it would put a fundamental limit on how far that influence (or political pressure) would reach.
> It's not a name, it's an identifier
No. It's only a name.
If it was an identifier (to identify a specific person or business) as you suggest with NI numbers, VAT numbers of PAYE references the owner of the name would not be permitted to sell it to someone else.
All the FUD
Really, it makes little difference whether a website is called www.<something>.com or www.<something> or www.<something>.com.earth It's only a name - that's all - just a name - nothing else.
If there are security issues, it's because of a Y2K-style shortsightedness on the part of name/lookup configurations and maybe (just possibly) a little slackness in some of the rules. That can easily be fixed.
It seems to me that the people who are raising objections have some sort of investment in the status quo (maybe they bought all their singles?) and are simply resistant to change. Fine: don't change and just wave the internet goodbye as it rolls off into the future, leaving you behind.
Not so fast, tiger
> a couple of Linux servers for system testing – no problem, just press a few buttons.
Hardly! You still have to go through the same change control disciplines: justification, risk and impact analysis (which are even more onerous when adding to shared hardware), cost recovery and cross-charging for all of the above PLUS actually pressing those few buttons.
If you're using VMs as a way to subvert the process, you're almost certainly doing it wrong. If you have no controls in place (Ahhh, bliss. Them were t' days) they it's just as easy to pull a gash box out of "the cupboard" and kick off an unattended install.
The other thing to be aware of about virtualisation, is that nothing is free. If you do have a honkin' big server that is good to host a dozen VMs, who pays when number 13 is needed? Does the sponsor have to budget for a whole new server, or do you divvy up the costs for the box amongst the services who asked for the VMs? If you do the latter, then there's not much saving in admin terms between the work needed to do that and buying in a separate server for each function (which, generally the users prefer anyway).
Re: Isolated incident
Surely the "Isolated incident" was getting caught?
Student studies students
So a grad student made a study of students drinking and discovered they like it.
You didn't get this piece from The Daily Mash. by any chance?
Standard support desk response
Did you try switching it off and back on again?
But then again ...
is what he did any worse than newspapers and magazines photoshopping their photographs to the point of fantasy?
how would you send it to the naughty step
Reverse bias all the diodes down it's left side?
Rapidly running out of ideas
Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of space. After all, it's plentiful, non-toxic (unless you try top breathe it), low-fat and provides seconds of fun for all the family once the clouds clear.
Really, what the hell is the point of this? If you're going to control robots, or conduct research into controlling robots there's little to distinguish controlling them from a portakabin in a low-rent area of some deserted state than there is from a (largely) airtight portakabin wizzing round the planet that costs a fortune to run and is right on the limits of human possibilty to get anything to or from.
Now I appreciate that there's very little for people on the ISS to do - apart from trying to keep it (largely) airtight and not too hot and not too broken. But this does sound like make-work of a "we've got it, we better find something to use it for, now that the scuttle is virtually a historical footnote" nature.
I'd like to see lots of research into robots, but it seems to me that the benefits of sending them to the ISS are miniscule and the costs are huge. Far better to do the work on-planet and spend the dosh that's saved on doing more work. But then what else is there for the ISS caretakers to do all day?
In through the cynical ear
"This is the dawn of new relationship between two customer-centric organisations. T-Systems will play a critically important role in delivering cloud computing capabilities to meet Everything Everywhere’s challenging Information and Technology requirements."
and out through the ...
the dawn: we're all still in bed and have no intention of getting up for a while, yet
new relationship: all new relationships start with someone getting screwed
between two customer-centric organisations: between two organisations
critically important role: a minor part
delivering cloud computing capabilities: outsourcing
challenging: confused, conflicting, overly-complicated, far too expensive and without a hope of ever working
Thinking 5 moves ahead
It's chess - presumably this is part of his strategy
Same goes for online booking fees
Not only do they require another £6 to pay by credit card (each way, £12 for a return flight, per person), but RYA, to name the most famous if not the worst, also have a £6 web check in fee, also for each leg of a flight, also for each person
So while everybody knows that they WILL screw you, one way or another, it still grates that the cost of the online transaction - you even supply your own paper & ink to print the boarding passes - is frequently more than the cost of one of the flights, itself.
The watchdog (so named because all it does is watch) has been aware of this for many, many years and occasionally growls: much to the hilarity of the low-price airliines who either pee on it or just ignore it completely. But it never actually gets off it's ass (a watch-donkey?) to do anything. Maybe we need to worry less about the costs - which are made known before you pay - and give the OFT a good kicking, instead?
Who's marketing whom?
> the Bishop of Rome tapped an iPad
So is this God giving Apple his (or her) blessing, or is it Apple sponsoring God
It's cyclic. The people who got screwed 30,40,50 years ago the first time round - when the big boys said "You don't want to bother with all that - let us handle it all for you" are all dead/retired or out of the biz - or not in a position of influence. There are now rich pickings to be had from trying the same old cons to a new generation of smug innocents who think they know better than their forebears and are too arrogant to listen, anyway.
They will learn. Eventually.
After that, I confidently predict that in 20 or 30 years time, there will be a renaissance of newly discovered "open" systems, complete with published standards, APIs and interconnectivity. At that point all the 30-something pundits - todays toddlers, just learning to dribble on a Wii - or is that wee on a Drobo? - will praise it as "revolutionary" and wonderful and new and much better than these nasty, closed, cloud systems. Just as today's journos, who make a living out of hyping stuff just because it's novel, are currently doing (swept along by the Gartners who do the same, but witter on to CEOs rather than credulous surfers).
You never know - there might even be some anti-trust cases (though I don't know how the Indians and Chinese will handle them) that eventually slap down the worst cloud exploiters and transgressors, after a few spectacular bankruptcies.
That clicking sound you can hear
... is the sound of the clock being turned back to the 1960s when software was RENTED from the monopolistic incumbent. It will shortly be followed by a loud THUD, which is the door being slammed shut as your data gets locked into a place that only Microsoft holds the key to.
Seriously, didn't anybody learn anything from the excesses, exploitations and abuses of the past? I'm just waiting for the brand new punch-card technology to be [re]introduced. I'm sure that someone, somewhere will be able to spin it into something desirable for their callow customers to gobble up. After all, it's recyclable - innit?
Keep flippin' the coin
... until you get the result you want.
You wanted heads, it came up tails? never mind: go for best of three. D'oh, heads again - make that best of 5.
And so it is with the soft sciences - just keep doing more and more studies until you get the answers that fit your own personal opinions and "gut" feeling. Then stop - that bit's important.
Maybe what they really need is a study into why their all other studies keep producing different conclusions every time they're done.
> because they don't have the necessary education to work in a knowledge economy
That's the key. Never forget that half the population has a below average IQ. While robots are very good at boring, mechanical operations they don't increase net wealth if they displace people (for whom boring, mechanical jobs were at least a living) who society then has to support.
Sure, you could just shrug your shoulders and say "get a job" but one thing an increase in automation has done is to make those jobs a whole lot scarer. Not everybody can work in a call centre.
So ISTM, while robots are good at lowering the cost of manufacture, that is of the most benefit to the "haves": the people with the wealth and income to purchase those cheap things. For the people who find their jobs have been automated out of existence, who become the "have nots", life is quite a lot different. All you've done is increase the distance between the two extremes of of society and made some people dependent on the hand-outs and charity of others or the state.
Yes, if your systems are resource-limited, virtualisation is the WORST thing you can possibly do.
When all the marketing bumf is stuffed down the sales-person's throat to get a few seconds of peace to quietly reflect on the mechanics, it becomes instantly obvious that when you have a limited amount of RAM (for example) you really, really don't want to waste it running multiple copies of an O/S, each in it's own VM - when all you need is a single O/S instance running on the bare metal.
Similarly, when you are I-O constrained, do you really want to have lots of bitty little instances, each with their own version of a disk block cache - all caching the same data? Or is it better to have one honkin' big cache with a longer tail, that achieves a better cache-hit ration and therefore REDUCES the number of IOPS?
Even more, when your hardware is old (and unlike IT staff, it doesn't improve with age) a hardware failure can bring down half a dozen VMs rather than just the one, single fully spec'd instance. Now that isn't the real problem - the real problem is the time needed to restart the virtualisation system and THEN all the VMs that depended on it. Can it possibly be faster to reboot 6 VMs than to restart one instance of a server host?
So really all virtualisation does is slice the pie into segments and hand one to each application - rather than trusting each application to not take too-big a bite every time the pie comes back round to them. It's still the same sized pie (except for the crumbs lost in the slicing-up process) and the only benefits of slicing it into different VMs is to stop one virtual environment from talking to (or leaking to) another. It doesn't magically make the pie - sorry: computer bigger/faster/better all it does is make more work for more sys-admins to monitor and try to keep running.
The nicest tie wins
> What do we really know about the provenance of this kind of data?
All this stuff tells us is that nothing much has changed.
We might have zetabytes of stuff flitting around in some cloud, somewhere - so what? There isn't enough time in the world (and certainly not before lunch) to analyse it all, so people fall back on the methods they've been adopting since the beginning of time (or at least 01-Jan-1970 00:00:00) and judging the person making the presentation and the credibility (read: prettiness) of the slides/powerpoint/OHPs/report/webcast.
People buy from people. Managers make decisions based on the credibility of the person presenting to them. So when all is said and done, forget the accuracy of the spreadsheet - nobody is in a position to question it, or understand it. Just make sure your shirt has been ironed.
> Computer Weekly are NOT female 'priming' material!
Could be .... does it have a > £100,000 jobs section?
The other side of the coin
Some companies "encourage" their employees to write poor reviews of competitor's products. Everybody treats professional reviewers/bloggers/columnists as VIPs. Most large companies have lists of their celebrity customers, who instantly get gold-plated service, just in case they might mention something bad about the supplier. So every organisation tries it's hardest to distort our perceptions of their, or competitors products - that's what advertising is.
So really false-positive reviews is just another form of online advertising. it's also worldwide, so there's little or nothing that a largely toothless and ineffectual watchdog in one single country can do. Which is rather lucky for newspapers, too - as they are amongst the worst at exaggerating the importance of their stories and inflating minor upsets into major headlines.
Maybe we just need to keep reminding ourselves that very little online content contains supportable facts (on either side) and that advertisements have always trodden the thin line between barely supportable and outright lies.
Oxford market or www.cardewoxford.co.uk (and a dam' sight cheaper than Twinings! - but then, isn't everywhere?)
A quick squeeze
> it's the only way to get the darn drink strong enough.
Not if you squeeze the teabag against the side of the mug with the teaspoon you use to fish it out. Though in Pete 2 towers, we just add another spoonful of tealeaves (Keemun) to the pot.
The best cup of tea
is brewed in a pot [tick] BY SOMEONE ELSE