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* Posts by Pete 2

2081 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Pete 2
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Wish it had been

> the periodic table was almost empty in 1970

Boggle!

Where do you get this information from?

Actually, if it had been it would have made my chemistry O level a lot easier. Though Tom Leher would have 1 less song to his repertoire.

Oh yes, nobody thought the world was flat 400 years ago. It's been known since the ancient greeks that it was round. Eratosthenes even calculated its circumference.

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Pete 2
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Need to apply the usual solutions

Just install a few wind turbines on the sun's surface - isn't that the standard fix for all climate-related problems?

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Steer clear of the desktop virtualisation bootstorm

Pete 2
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Only a surprise to noobs

This effect has been around since the beginning of time.

Whether it's hundreds of users coming in on a monday morning and all trying to access their email (off the one single server, that was only capacity-planned for a steady-state load) at the same time.

Or the hundreds of call centre staff who all go <click> when their shift starts: like the email or Windows servers "storm", but much more intense, as they all start within a few minutes of each other.

Or (worst of all) bringing up a system after a crash when EVERYone tries to log in continuously just as soon as they see the login screen.

It's even been a problem in the days of mainframes when everyone tried to fill in their weekly timesheets at 16:30 on a friday afternoon (they had to be done before you left, you couldn't fill them in earlier - 'cos you didn't know what you'd be doing - well you did: you'd be waiting for CROVM4 to respond for about 15 minutes)

But, of course, no manager is prepared to shell out for a system that's specc'd at 500% of their steady-state capacity requirements, to handle a workload that will only exist for a few minutes once or twice a week.

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A sysadmin's top ten tales of woe

Pete 2
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It's not disaster recovery unless you know it works

In a meeting a couple of years back when the following dialog took place:

Yes, we have a best-practice disaster recovery procedure. We have fully redundant hot-standby servers at a beta site, mirrored disks at the location and two sets of network connections with no common points of failure.

When did you last perform a failover test?

Oh we've never tested it

Why not?

It might not work.

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Living, biological raygun produced in lab

Pete 2
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Would be more worried

If this had been found in the seas off Fukushima

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Psychology graduates remain poor for life, study shows

Pete 2
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Psych-ing the boss

> Doesn't psychology give you a set of skills to give you an unfair advantage over everyone else in those situations?

In an ordinary job, maybe. However don't forget how the psych's boss got the job in the first place. Chances are they were/are a psychologist, too so they know the tricks (and can probably out-psych the minions, to keep them in their place, as well)

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Pete 2
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Joint degrees

> It's just a shame there wasn't a course on dealing with sad arrogant IT tw@ts who as usual don't know what they're talking about.

Errr, isn't that why you took the second degree in Management?

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Pete 2
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They think the degree doesn't matter

Why is (an obviously employable subject) so unpopular with BRITISH students?

My small amount of observation has led me to the conclusion that most children in british schools receive very bad advice - or possibly, they also receive good advice which they choose to ignore. This comes from schools careers advisors and teachers who, themselves have no great incentive to push children into hard, technical subjects (some public schools may be the exception to this, I can't say - but it would explain a lot). Without getting into the whole debate about rearing children: should they do what they're told, or what they want to? there does seem to be a view that a university course should be one they like - not necessarily one that will get them a good job.

Now, maybe there's some merit in that, provided they are also told that when they graduate at age 21 they will only be marginally more employable than they were at 18, but with another 3 years "on the clock", some unrealistic expectations (fueled by the popular myth that any degree == a job) that they are "worth more" than someone who didn't go to university, and a large millstone of debt around their necks.

So given that their attitude is close to the idea that university is three years of partying with the occasional essay to hand in, and that they'll walk into a job at the end of it all, why should they pick a course that requires hard work and good "A"s? Especially when they haven't been encouraged to pick difficult subjects at school: what with the schools just wanting lots of A-grade passes for their league table position - irrespective of the subjects.

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A cloud hangs over the sysadmin

Pete 2
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This article is timeless

It could have been written at any point since the start of commercial computing

If it had been written in the 1960s it would have been about the advent of timesharing systems, rather than the cloud.

In the 70s it would have been about minicomputers

In the 80s about the rise of Windows and PCs

in the 90s the big thing was networking

In the 00s the internet was the latest development hanging over IT

and now we have the cloud requiring that "IT administrators who take the time to broaden their skillsets should be in a good position for the future."

Sound advice - as it will always be.

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Dragon scoops Expansys into his Marlow den

Pete 2
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Uuuuh, oh! They're looking for "versatile" accountants

A quick trawl through the job-ads only throws up 5 possible "wants": a couple of sales positions a secretary and two energetic and versatile accountants.

Now, call me a fuddy-duddy, but the last thing I'd want from an accountant is versatility. I'd much prefer they knew the rules of accounting and stuck to them, rigidly.

I suppose the versatility could be along the lines of my boss's definition of flexi-time: you're free to work as many extra hours as you like. But the "energetic" bit? Is that for doing a runner, or just recruitment-talk for someone who doesn't spend all their time snoozing, quietly at their desk, flexibly of course.

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Pollster: Performance has little to do with pay, bureaucracy

Pete 2
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Unmeasurable, ill-defined and over-generalised platitudes

The first thing to recognise is that in IT, no two staff members are the same. No two staff members do the same job (even if they have the same job description, pay and conditions and boss) and no two staff members want the same thing from their employers.

So putting together a soundbite or two of what makes a successful organisation is absolutely no help to anyone - even if all organisations measured their success the same way.

You also have to recognise that a large proportion of your staff (maybe even most of them) are in the wrong job, at the wrong company. They got to their current position through a series of accidents and either can't, are too scared to try and change anything or simply have no real idea what sort of job they WOULD like - or be good at doing.

If you're lucky you might just stumble across some attributes of some employees that you can manipulate to control their behaviour. However there is no "one size fits all" approach - or at least not one that works. Some people like money and are prepared to work harder to get more of it. Some just want an easy life: counting down the days until they retire. While others want to earn enough to keep themselves going while having enough free time to make it all worthwhile. Apart from those types there are many, many more that defy description (apart from the bullies and competitive jerks who's rewards require them to sabotage the other workers) or who might even have changing priorities and desires as circumstances change.

However, the things that are most likely to help people do a good job are a clear understanding of what is expected from them, the feeling that there's a reason for doing the things they're told to and at least the illusion of competence from their boss. While those are still ill-defined and unmeasurable (and probably over-generalised platitudes, too) at least they sound like the real thing, and if you can fake that, at least there's some hope for you.

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Porridge for Ofcom IT boss in £500k software fraud

Pete 2
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Next month's news: Ofcom deluged by dodgy invoices

> he realised that invoices were being paid without equipment being delivered

It's a well-known scam (particularly during the summer, when the single proficient person in a company is on holiday) to send bogus invoices/final demands to companies on the off-chance. I wonder how many other scammers got a nice little pay out due to Ofcom's slack and sloppy administration.

(and I wonder how many millions more they'll get after reading that they don't bother checking them)

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Top telly tech fails to drive new set sales

Pete 2
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Benefits, not features

We don't buy stuff for it's features, we but it because it gives us benefits. So, for assorted items:

Feature: higher fuel efficiency. Benefit: lower cost

Feature: thinner screen (irrespective of why it's thinner). Benefit: takes less space

Feature: faster CPU. Benefit: does stuff quicker

apart from the following

Feature: new, expensive tech. Benefit: bragging rights

there's little in the way of benefits to getting a 3D/led/internet TV. The programmes are the same, the remote control does nothing new and you still have 3 platefuls of spaghetti hanging down behind it. Until the TV makers come up with some BENEFITS of their new technological features, there's little point trying to sell them and even less point in buying them.

Why is this so hard for them to understand?

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'Backward' resellers impede cloud progress. Yeah, right

Pete 2
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Cloud? Isn't it just outsourcing?

All you're doing is tossing your data over the wall into cheapo-land and hoping someone there will "do it" for you. It's really just the same as getting in a company that's better at running IT operations than you are, and having them annoy your users, instead.

However, it comes with a whole slew of extra disadvantages: you don't really know for sure where your data is, who's managing it, what their security is like, whether they are also hosting your competitor's stuff (and if said competitor is slipping someone a crafty tenner .... ) or even if the host's building will disappear into a hole, a flood, a bomb-crater or if it's just in somebody's garage. Worst of all, how can you get all your stuff back if/when/how the operation goes titsup. Which some, sooner or later surely will.

So basically The Cloud is really just Outsourcing 2.0 - just like ordinary outsourcing but with even fewer safeguards.

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Most gamers are middle-aged adults: FACT

Pete 2
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Bzzzt survey fail

Not wishing to pee on their parade (though I'm going to, anyway). This report misses out a lot.

For a kick-off, it starts with headlines about "who plays computer and video games" and comes up with the not-too-startling conclusion that 72% of americans do and that the average age of these 72% of americans is 37. Now, they're talking computer and video games. Presumably that includes Solitaire which is loaded on every PC, everywhere. Only later do they switch emphasis and start qualifying the results and talk about ONLINE games. Even then, they're only talking about 5% of the planet in one single country.

They also claim that the average age of people who buy computer games is 41. Well, duh, yeah! you'd probably find that the average age of childrens' parents is pretty dam' close to 41 - for exactly the same reason. But that doesn't tell you who decides what games to buy, or the age of the decision maker. or the age of the person who will play it most: "what game would you like for your birthday, little Jonny?" being a key question they seem to have forgotten about. Since a lot of the later results are about parents and children, they do seem to be aware of the difference in selling/buying patterns.

They also seem to be a little careless in differentiating people who play the odd game because their children wheedle them into it "pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese come and play daddy", with pallid couch-potato, isolated 30-somethings who spend all their waking hours zapping some silly monsters in an RPG. Both count towards the average age, but they hardly share much in common.

So forget the headlines, they are only there to catch journalists' attention - but they don't convey any information about the habits of ordinary people, even in america which is all this is about. Not the rest of us.

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Has Steve Jobs killed the consumer hard disk industry?

Pete 2
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Short answer: no

Let's summarise: The figurehead (retired) of a niche electronics firm has decided that one of their applications won't need users to have a PC any more.

What does that mean for the 90-something percent of ordinary folk who don't use their products? Answer: not a single dam' thing. The key to this answer is to realise that just because Apple is a "noisy" marketer -- the amount of publicity they produce is disproportionate to the number of units they sell -- doesn't mean they affect the lives of most computer users.

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Germans completely humourless: Official

Pete 2
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There is *one* german joke

What comes between fear and sex?

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answer scroll down (yes I know that doesn't work on the forum)

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funf

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Cameron calls for ISP-level parental censorship tools

Pete 2
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This is an EXCELLENT idea

Provided it's implemented as follows ...

ISP contractees get to answer one simple question and the level of censorship applied to that ADSL connection is then invoked completely. All the time. No exeptions. For every user. No other connections are allowed.

The question is: what is the age of the youngest under-18 who will have access to a computer connected to this ADSL line?

The degree of censorship is then set to this lowest common denominator. No "9 pm watershed" no exclusions for mummy and daddy. No loopholes for approved websites. Everybody gets the same. After all, you wouldn't like little Jonny or Joany accidentally logging on to an account someone else had left running, or discovering a parents' password and using their account. Nope, if your children really do need this much protection, then it must be applied across the board - think of the children!

Personally I reckon these accounts would last a couple of months, until all the parents kicked them into the long grass (all except for a few idealists, for whom the question was never about censorship, but about being seen to be better at protecting [or should that be emotionally stunting?] their little darlings, purely for school-gate bragging rights).

Once this happens we will see the whole initiative for what it is. Not something that's in the childrens' best interests, but merely a sop to remove the inconvenience away from the parents onto some anonymous "them". However, once this abrogation of responsibility has a cost or an effect on THEM, then I fully expect a flood of "the concerned" washing their hands of the whole sorry debacle and realising that everyday life does require people to grow up occasionally and the real trick is to equip our children for that time, not to try and hold back the tide and dumping the task on someone else.

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Oxfam's 'Grow' world hunger plan: More peasants

Pete 2
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It's a balancing act

> Subsistence farmers eat most of what they grow, and don't have much, if any, money.

ISTM the basic problem that Oxfam has is managing their donors. On the one hand they rely on the chattering classes to put their hands in their pockets to bail out the "poor hungry farmers" in dusty countries. On the other hand, if they turn these PHFs into productive, industrial workers the chatterers will worry that they're contributing to global warming with all their "new" CO2 emissions. [It's not lost on me that it's usually the 4x4 brigade who are so worried about other countries getting up to _their_ standard of living and "destroying the planet" with _their_ emissions]. Just as they now "tut" about the Chinese having the temerity to want electricity in their houses, and meat an' stuff.

Therefore to keep the donations flowing, and as has been pointed out: themselves in business, the PHFs mustn't starve to death, but mustn't get too consumerist either.

Luckily for Oxfam, that's very unlikely to happen as the dusty country's long-term problems are less about food and more about drought, war and corruption: all of which cause each other. Until someone cures those fundamental barriers to investment and growth, the PHFs and their families are pretty much doomed to a subsistence lifestyle - no matter how earnest Oxfam and their followers get.

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Entire London 2012 Olympics' cultural events database held on Excel

Pete 2
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Usual project phases

> Have I missed anything?

(presuming the Paralympics has their own spreddy of cultural thingies)

I'd suggest penciling in dates for:

mid-August: hunt for the guilty

August-October blame for the innocent

May 2013 (deadline forThe New-Years honours list) rewards for the uninvolved

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Cellphones as carcinogenic as coffee

Pete 2
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The possible and the probable

I don't know if we can blame the lack of numerical literacy or the lack of credibility that "clever basterds" have, ever since Magnus Pike and Patrick Moore broke into song on The Morecambe and Wise Show. However the gap between what's possible (hint: almost anything) and what's probable (hint: very little) seems to have got lost in the mix, somewhere.

It's that lack of being able to quantify the risk in the statement that leads to a lot of the ludicrous decisions that get made these days. Yes, it's possible to get cancer from a cellphone. But is that more likely than dying from an infectious disease caught from an unsanitary handset? Unless the risks put into a meaningful context: HOW MANY people have died from cel[phone-induced cancers in the past 25 years? Am I likely to be one more? there is nothing but a little more free-floating anxiety which is probably more harmful to us, as a society, than all the one-in-a-trillian chances that make up daily life.

Personally I plan to ignore this scare story and carry on using my phone, inside it's tinfoil wrapper - though dialling numbers while wearing hazmat gloves is becoming a bit of an inconvenience.

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WW2 naval dazzle-camo 'could beat Taliban RPGs'

Pete 2
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I'd be very impressed indeed

... considering Afghanistan is land-locked. Maybe they could fly it in, in pieces?

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Francis Maude goes back 110 years for cybersecurity strategy

Pete 2
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Essentially, he wants to control it.

Standard government gnome's response to anything new: it must be regulated and brought under government control. After that, the next stage is to apply restrictions "to stop abuse" and ensure <whatever> remains safe and legal. Stage 3 is to start taxing it, ostensibly to "cover the cost of regulation" and later to limit it's use (though really, just to raise revenues).

As for "assuring the public that we are not creating a Big Brother state." just who does this guy think he's fooling?

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Canadian prof: Wikipedia makes kids study harder

Pete 2
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Work harder for strangers?

So this professor is saying that the students are more motivated into being careful once they know that a bunch of complete strangers will read their work, than they are when they know their teacher will read it.

Tells you a lot about the amount of respect they have for their teachers.

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Wake up, Linux hippies: No one 'morally obligated' to give back

Pete 2
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Corporate OSS: somebody, somewhere pays for it

... and if the corporation that's "giving back" has customers and/or shareholders, that's who will foot the bill.

Leaving aside the loner hobbyist who hacks out code (but hardly ever documentation) in their own time and for their own reasons. They're different from industry-quality OSS contributions. However for corporately sponsored OSS there is a measurable cost: the developer costs money, the support costs money, the legal defence costs money, even the publicity and promotion costs money.

Now, I appreciate that it's customary to regard large faceless organisations, financial institutions and governments, as "them" - as if they exist in a parallel universe and receive and disburse money in a way that's completely unrelated to us and our "real-lives". However, their revenues come from somewhere and for every £ they spend, they've got to earn (at least) another £ from customers or taxpayers or investors.

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MP headshot sex rating site: Gentlemen prefer Tories

Pete 2
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And in party offices all over the country

activists, volunteers, passing members of the public and even trained monkeys are being paid out of MPs expenses and office management budgets to get their local representative to the top of the poll.

Never mind ability, vision, leadership, honesty <choke, splutter> or willingness to tow the party line. This is IMPORTANT, dammit.

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eBay calls for cheap 4G networks

Pete 2
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If only

> eBay wants 4G radio spectrum to be cheap

Yeah, and I'd like beer to be free, politicians to be honourable and TV to be entertaining.

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CIX conferencing system is bought out – again

Pete 2
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top or bottom?

> bottom-quoted as the hypothetical deity intended.

See, now you're just trying to start an argument.

I do miss getting PQMFs for cheap hardware, though.

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Vatican crackdown at Rome's Playboy Mansion-style monastery

Pete 2
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So that's what they mean

by monky business

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Naked cyclist streaks through Suffolk village

Pete 2
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Very silly move

> wearing nothing more than his specs and a pair of trainers

He should have had his helmet on, too. Though the report contains a curious set of priorities:

"I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks" Hmmm, so that would've been OK, then - depending where the sock(s) were worn?

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$8.5bn Skype goes titsup again - including website

Pete 2
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That's one helpdesk I wouldn't mind working on

Whenever the service has major faults, the desk goes quiet.

"Problems? we haven't heard of any problems? In fact it's not busy at all. Ahhh ...."

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Yanks officially recognise the word 'boffin'

Pete 2
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abbreviated present continuous

Of course boffin is a word. It comes from the verb to "boff" an activity that even scientists do.

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Zuckerberg: Give me your children

Pete 2
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FB is probably one of the more benign 'net destinations

Trying to stop a child surfing is as pointless as trying to stop them swearing or watching the "wrong sort" of TV or sneaking some booze. They'll deny they do it, and it serves their parents interests' to go along with that charade - even though everybody knows they are almost certainly lying. Just like their parents' generation did.

So on that basis, would you prefer the little darlings to spend time on a popular website that has a great deal to lose if it's reputation goes sour, or to be frequenting some of the webs darker corners? It's not a choice of internet or no-internet: that battle was lost years ago, but where the tykes go.

So, employing the "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" principle it's better to give the children a piece of FB they can call their own. Safe in the knowledge that the laws that govern it are some of the most restrictive, unforgiving and prudish in the western world. Maybe once this "playground" version of FB is up and running, kids can build up some sort of history that (assuming good behaviour and indications of a degree of maturity) will eventually permit them to graduate to the "big boys" Facebook. You never know, that sort of qualifier or probabtion could even be a good entry requirement for ordinary FB and it's supposedly mature users.

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ESA: British Skylon spaceplane seems perfectly possible

Pete 2
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Gates Halo

Being unmanned is the key

That's really where the scuttle went wrong (the Soviets managed it, with their Buran: who's one and only flight and landing was handled autonomously by the on-board AI).

Without the weight overheads of people and all the inconvenient stuff they must bring along,, the cost goes down considerably. Likewise, the preflight checks don't have to meet human-standards of safety, so there is a possibility that one of these, could be turned around in a few days.

I just wish the development cycle for this could have been measured in years, a la Apollo, rather than the decades it's taken so far and another one to get something onto a runway.

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WTF is... 4G

Pete 2
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So, after all that

It might be a bit faster than 3G

Provided you have enough data credit to make the extra speed worthwhile

Provided your telco isn't traffic-shaping/speed limiting

Provided whatever you're (eventually) connected to can send data fast enough

Provided your signal is strong enough

Provided there's no interference with the signal

Provided few, or no, other people are trying to use the same mobile tower

Provided your phone has enough grunt to handle that many packets/second

.. or then again, it might not.

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Adam Curtis: The Rise of the Machines

Pete 2
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I wouldn't bother

I saw the first episode (a full 1 hour) last night. Not impressed. A lot of the programme was about the much vaunted Ayn Rand, but she came across as emotionally stunted and, frankly, a bit of a nutter: if not quite Barking, at least Upton Park. Although I was impressed by Curtis' earlier work "The Power of Nightmares", in this effort he seems to treat facts as plasticine: to be molded for his convenience. The description of the Asian financial crisis seemed to me to be fanciful and bore little resemblance to Wiki & other web entries (which I was reading as the programme went on in the background).

The link to computers and how they'd all look after us didn't really come over - though I guess that will be revealed in later episodes and I felt his link, tenuous at best, to Enron/Lehmans/etc and computerised trading was a stretch too far.

It was nice to hear Laughing Len's "Suzanne" as backing in one scene, though.

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Super-injunctions 'unfair' cos of Twitter gossip, says Cameron

Pete 2
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The simple answer

> I'm sure there is going to be a simple answer," said the PM.

Well, there are two simple answers. Either for the british public to stop buying papers that trade on salacious rubbish or for people to stop doing things they're ashamed of and wouldn't like to see published.

Sadly I can't see either happening any time soon - so the least-worst alternative is to get it ALL out in the open, preferably in a medium that no-one can make money from. That would remove most of the incentive for digging up the dirt (which, let's face it is neither newsworthy, relevant nor particularly entertaining) in the first place.

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Gov urged to extend rural mobe, broadband coverage

Pete 2
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We've already got it

> provide everyone in the UK with a minimum of 2Mbit/s by 2015.

If you order a Blu-Ray disc from Amazon or elsewhere (capacity 50GB) and it arrives next day thats a "download" speed of 50e9 / 86400 = 578kByte/sec or a smidge over 4MBit/sec, excluding packet overheads. Even better: if you order 4 discs you've just upped your data connection's speed close to 20MBit/sec - faster than most of the rest of the country

OK, the latency is awful - but the guy is asking for _speed_ not ping times.

Moral: be careful what you ask for

Moral 2: Never underestimate the data-carrying capacity of a Post Office van. (Royal Mail? Post Orifice? meh!)

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LinkedIn goes ballistic following IPO

Pete 2
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The difference between free and paid

Yes, this seems to be the crucial issue that the money boys (and girls) seem to be incapable of grasping. Put a product on the 'net for free and you'll get a lot of takers. Charge 1p for it and you'll get none. The difference in popularity between 0p and 1p is infinite (if not more :)) and the popularity between a free online service LinkedIn/FB/all-the-others and their paid-for cousins at least as great.

There is no possibility of predicting the popularity or RoI a service will attain when it stops being free (or goes behind a paywall) from the number of freetards who use it for nowt. You can't say that the value of advertising on these sites will recoup the investment (does LinkedIn show adverts - I don't ever see any, but that might just be my ad-blocker doing its job) as if it was already making money from them, what would an extra few $Bil get you - and why would you want to share that with investors?

None of these social websites appear to offer any value-add, nor do they have any products to monetise, so I am at a complete loss to see where their income can come from. It does seem that the "balanced portfolio" excuse is the only reason institutional investors (i.e. pension plans in the UK) would want these mega-IPOs, but surely long-term profitability is more important than balance? If not, I can see a lot of surprised retirees feeling the pinch in the near future.

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Pete 2
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IPO sure, but then what

Presuming the vastly inflated price that LinkedIn managed (flooked?) isn't just a drain for some of the trillions of quantitative easing that's sloshing around the financial world. Once the shares have been sold and the founders have finished counting their loot, what happens next?

The problem with the last tech bubble was that there wasn't anything after the IPO. The "floaters" got their money, but the investors wanted a return on their investment and there just wasn't any opportunity to make one.

For LinkedIn and their $9 Bil, sooner or later someone's going to be asking them to start making money - and an ask of around 8% would be about right, historically speaking. So: how could a website like LinkedIn possibly earn 9Bn * 0.08 = $700 million a year for the investors. Worse, the word regarding Facebook is a valuation of $60Bn (that's from before LinkedIn, maybe more now) which would imply their investors would expect to trouser several billion USD a year for their troubles.

Until someone can show where FB and all the others could possibly make those sorts of returns for their investors, I can't see any end to this - except tears, followed by bed time.

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Eight New Yorkers sue Baidu for $16m

Pete 2
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Put it on the tab

We're informed that Chinese banks (i.e. China) holds over $1T of american IOU's. Maybe these people should just get the chinese to knock their claimed $16M off the debt - then they could ask the american govt (nicely, of course) for their money.

Good luck with that, it's about as sensible as trying to sue.

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Mumsnet founder: Our members are 'very keen' on PORN ...

Pete 2
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Parental responsibility?

> parents needed to be given tools to control what's coming into their homes.

Parents already have this: they just choose not to, or choose not to find out how to, use it. A lot of people (still) consider having children to be a "right", rather than a responsibility - though it's really both. However, the willingness and ability to accept responsibility for raising YOUR children is the only measure of a good parent. It's not the state's job, it's not society's job, nor is it solely up to schools or the welfare services and it's definitely not the responsibility of a tenner-a-month internet service provider.

Maybe what we need are two sorts of ISP, distinguished by the answer to a simple question on the sign-up screen: Will children have access to material from this internet connection?

If the answer is "yes", the applicant is politely referred to the protected service, which has a cost structure that reflects both the additional work needed to screen the 'net connection of suspect content and the additional possibility of compo-seeking gimme's who will try to sue if they find their standards haven't been met. The other, non-protected, service would say simply: Here's our no-frills connection, off you go but don't come wingeing to us ...

Maybe mumsnet should start it's own, premium, protected, ISP to practice what they preach I would be interested to see whether parental principles extend so far as actually paying for what they believe in, or it's it's just a case of assuming it's another "right"?

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Hack attacks on US could spark military action

Pete 2
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What's sauce for the goose

is sauce for the gander.

So presumably they won't mind if other world powers take the same attitude and do some militarised arse-kicking of american nationals in the USA who take part in cyber attacks on other countries?

Though historically, a lot of the "attacks on the US", have come from it's own citizens inside the country.

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O2's southeastern crash caused by 'well-organised theft'

Pete 2
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Occam's bolt cutters

All the victims in these thefts have a vested interest in making it appear that they were turned over by master criminals or specialists, as this (somehow) reduces the burden of blame on them for having lax security and no failover/backup system.

However, it's just as likely that the stuff was nicked by a casual thief with a hookey transit and a crow-bar, and the "swag" will end up on eBay or down the scrappy for the however-many pounds per ton that gash electronics fetches these days. Obviously that doesn't put the £billion telco in such a good light, when anyone can break into their critical network hubs and knock their services offline for a considerable period.

Presumably if this had happened during Obama's visit next week it would be counted as a terrorist atrocity, or the conspiracy nuts would be having a field day with it. Maybe they still will?

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Renault readies sub-£7000 e-car for Blighty

Pete 2
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Who'd want ti steal it?

Well, it's got £1500's worth of battery in it - though you'd want a proper car to haul it away.

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Pete 2
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Batteries? That's probably the true cost, so not green at all

The battery life/cost of 32p/mile is reasonable. I'd guess it is a true-cost reflection of what a rechargeable actually costs, taking into account it's manufacture and disposal costs. I doubt that Renault make any monkey out of the battery rental side (and that it will only increase, over time).

The question that then arises is whether that makes battery operation any greener than petrol/diesel operation. On the presumption that petrol taxes already cover the CO2/carbon costs in $$$/ton - even though the government has chosen not to spend the revenue on carbon reduction - the answer would appear to be NO, since the electric operation costs are so much higher than petrol costs.

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Pete 2
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But what about the insurance?

It's all very well targeting the vehicle at "young city dwellers " (does that really mean gullible/inexperienced sorts, who are desperate for a cheap set o' wheels?) but if the insurance is going to add a few £k per year on top AND the extra spondulicks for the battery, then it's not looking all that cheap.

Plus, hasn't anyone in Renault heard of car crime (or rain, for that matter). Without any doors, they may as well put a STEAL ME sign on the back, so far as city life/parking is concerned. Though maybe it's lack of desirabiity is its main defence.

Clive Sinclair would be proud.

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Elon Musk prepares SpaceX rocket firm for IPO

Pete 2
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picky picky

> SpaceX, founded in 2002, has made meteoric progress

Errr, don't meteors usually disintegrate and burn up spectacularly on their rapid, crashing DESCENT.

Not a metaphor you'd want associated with a fast rising company and deffo not one in the space industry.

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Northants cops blow up suspicious school play prop

Pete 2
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When you've got it you're just itching to use it

> Maybe this should also be a lesson for the police to not get so worked up over something.

But, but, but ... they've got all this cop stuff. Dogs and helos and anti-terrrrist units and robots and sniffer-thingies and emergency units and training and ... and ... if they never get to use it WHAT'S THE POINT?

Which would you rather: spend all day trying to make writing that single-page report last until knocking-off time, or being able to pretend you were Bruce Willis and you were saving the world from Dick Dastardly? Being able to strut around and shout orders and impose the overwhelming might of your will on all the local squirrels and pigeons must be better fun than trying to think of another word for "suspect".

And as far as using common sense goes. Well yes, you or I might think that (and everybody else in the country too, for that matter) but really, we have no say whatsoever. From a cop perspective, would you prefer to not get yelled at by your boss for not following the rules to the letter or NOT inconvenience hundreds or thousands of inhabitants, who just want to get home/to work/away from the place? Since they are not answerable to any of us, ordinary people in any way shape or form there is little prospect (short of elected chef constables - you know: the police who wear big white hats) that they would ever feel the need to consider our comfort, convenience or expense - especially when there just might be a bit of excitement to be had.

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David Cameron wants to push all of Blighty online

Pete 2
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The Jeremy Clarkson of t'web

While you can't fault MLF's zeal and enthusiasm, I can't help but wonder WHY she thinks everybody simply must use the internet - just as I can't fathom JC's petrol-headedness¹. Sure, the internet has it's uses, just as cars do. However that doesn't mean it's everyone's cup of tea and that non-users (whether through disadvantage, inertia or personal choice) should be thought of as somehow inferior, uninformed or mistaken - and therefore in need of her "miracle cure".

My old mum is a prime example. She's never used the internet (nor a computer since the 80's). Not because she's incapable, or simple, or poor, or unwilling to learn new things. All the "2" clan (and the "3" generation progeny) are fully up to speed on all things digital and she is fully aware of our online activities. She just chooses not to partake - just as she chooses not to drive, go mountain climbing, or exploring the culture of places further than her bus pass will take her.

In fact, I am quite glad that she has forsaken an online presence. She was brought up in a time where a stranger would be far more likely to hand you back a dropped wallet than mug you for it. When authority figures were trustworthy and upstanding and nobody troubled you (except for Reader's Digest) with exhortations to take up this special offer, this week only, save ££££'s. With that background she would be more likely than most (despite all the warnings from everyone she knows) to divulge card or personal details, to take pity on that poor nigerian who only wants to get away from the nastiness or to click on the link that is plainly from her bank.

I also take issue with MLFs assertion that cheap PCs will fix the problem. She's nursing a logical disconnect between not having a computer and not going online. What about the tenner a month ISP subs? Why not just encourage non-liners (oooh, have I just invented a neologism?) to use their local library's faciiites? If she thinks cost is a primary factor, rather than knowledge or desire, shouldn't she be more concerned with the ongoing costs, rather than the startup price? Especially if the deal with "Three" is typical of 3G internet cost-structures.

Personally, I'm planning to stick with my recommendations to MoM (My old Mum) to not invest in internet connectivity, unless SHE wants to. The few times she has needed or wanted to do "webby" things (such as claiming a fuel-surcharge refund from British Airways) Myself or another "2" or "3" relative has been quite happy to step in and press the relevant mouse buttons, just as we are to fix her leaky taps, change a smoke-alarm battery or other household chores.

Let's never forget that up until 15 years ago, most people led a perfectly fulfilled life without any home computers, mobile phones or internet access. It's really not that big a deal. No matter what the pundits would like us to believe.

[1] well I can, both he and she have made a great deal of money from their chosen zealotry. I just wish they'd turn down their messianic fervour, it's tiresome and no longer entertaining.

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