1911 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
Databases and printer ink?
Not one of nature's most obvious pairings.
Oracle already own Sun, traditionally one of the major platforms for their software products so I can't really see why they'd want another, sicne they don't really seem to know what to do with the one they already have. As for the printer / consumables side, while this is the major part of HP it doesn't sound like there's any real match. Maybe Oracle could do with some high-end calculators, though?
Ear plugs are becoming indispensible on flights
Not just to block the screaming kids, but the annoying games consoles, the irritating safety announcements and intrusive in-flight sales too.. I just hope my plane isn't doomed to crash, the first I'd know about it would be the oxygen mask, or the seat in front, banging me on the head (which might not be such a bad way to go).
Seems like they should pay up
Makes you wonder what would have been the outcome if she had been working at the office, rather than at home. I can't see there'd be any doubt over who paid for the damage a fire caused then. It seems pretty obvious the same rules and standards must apply when working from home.
I suppose the big problem is making sure that people who do work from home have a suitable working environment there. I know some employers mandate home-workers have "approved" office desks and chairs for H&S reasons - (though it's more likely CYA reasons). Maybe they should also ensure office-standard safety equipment and precautions are in place too? Although that would probably kill off a great deal of home working - who would want their homes torn apart so an employer could fit an industrial grade fire alarm system, complete with sprinklers?
Disproportionate cost? what's that smell?
> figures for Google and other search engine providers were not available, and extracting them would result in a "disproportionate" cost
Yes, it must be terribly expensive to log into your adwords account and see how much you've spent. Or to look through the computerised invoices to see how much was paid out.
Meanwhile,. what would be much more interesting would be to get some measure of how effecitve those PPC and keyword purchases were - and which ones they had taken.
So far as the smell goes: I don't think it's horses, or sheep but it could just be the bull.
Oh all right, I'll do it. Just send over the stuff and a large box of money and I'll see what I can do.
I have one question though:
> Cat-like curiosity ... do I have to be able to lick my own (or someone else's) bum, too?
But advertising has to be true
If the ISPs made cars I would fully expect them to build Trabants, but with speedometers that have labels up to 300 MPH. if they then followed their internet marketing strategy they would sell those cars as "UP to 300MPH *" and "SEATS FOR 22 PASSENGERS **
* Indicated maximum speeds should not be taken as a promise that you can actually attain this speed.
** Subject to our fair usage policy which limits the number of people in a vehicle to 4
Admission: they are a complete mystery to me!
I mean they have taken fairly well-known words like: "unlimited" for example, and completely changed its meaning to be "extremely limited". And all they have to do to make that legal is to add a little asterisk after it.
The mystery is how they have been allowed to get away with such blatant mis-selling and false advertising for so long, when so many people have told the regulators in no uncertain terms that this has been and still is, happening.
It's always possible that the problem isn't with the consultants themselves, but with the expectations generated from the sales process of getting them in to a client in the first place. If there is too much hype and too many promises made by the consultancies sales people then it's going to be impossible to live up to the commitments made by them, no matter how good you are as a consultant - or how quickly you work.
> The UK is as much "in Europe" ...
Hence the qualifier in what I wrote. The major point being that most other countries in europe are used to an ID card system and therefore are quire prepared to carry and show documentation. It's only the few who rattle on about "freedom" an' such who are a bunch of drama queens (and queeness's) about not carrying the means to identify oneself.
Oddly, I've come to the conclusion that as a whole, individuals in mainland europe (whoops! there's that qualifier again) are much more concerned with preserving their own personal freedoms - to the point of ignoring laws which supress them, than brits are. My guess is that we're more blase about loss of freedom since we haven't ever lost ours, whereas most other countries in europe have been invaded or occupied within living memory.
I call your BS
OK, maybe there are occasions (such as when travelling in a party, booking in en masse), but my experience as a lone traveller is that every time I book into a hotel in mainland Europe I have to show a passport - even little gites and hostals require them. Every time I want to rent a car I've been asked for a passport as well as a photo driving license. It's not infrequent that I'm asked for a passport when using a credit card, too. (Maybe I'm just shifty looking?)
In a lot of places you'll get a hefty fine if pulled in by the fuzz and you don't have your identification with you, there and then - no "producers", just a €90 spot fine. So yes, without a passport or government ID in a lot of countries which have ID cards you are, royally, screwed.
OK, so to get a replacement I can see that you'd need to provide proof of identity. But how did it take this guy 3 months "languishing in Amsterdam" (although as languishing spots go, I can think of many that would be worse) to come up with the necessary info to get a new passport.
Normally if you lose yours while abroad, or have it stolen, you can get a replacement document in a short time, so long as you can prove who you say you are. There does sound like there's more to this than meats the eye - and since when did people put on weight around the ears?
Carts and horses
which comes first?
Unless our overlords are willing to have some sort of alternative to cars in place before implementing road charging, it becomes just another tax.
And by alternative I don't mean the ability to wizz punters from city-centre to city-centre at the mercy of whatever the rail operators choose to call "peak time". No, any alternative has to include the "last mile" bit - otherwise it becomes useless. So, not only must it get me somewhere close to (say) Manchester on a Friday afternoon, or Monday morning, but it must get me to the industrial estate just off the M60, where trains are unheard of and bus services fear to venture.
Without the ability to move people from source to destination (and I'm not using RyanAir's definition of a destination here: with 50 miles is close enough) or doorstep to doorstep, all this sort of plan will succeed in doing is raising more money, while concentrating business development even more tightly in city centres where the only practical mass-transport hubs will be located.
That's why companies give us holidays ...
not for our own mental heath - they couldn't give a stuff about that. No, the reason they give us holidays is to remind us in no uncertain terms that they CAN manage very nicely without us.
A company that provides remote connection tools for company's employes says that most employees of most companies need to use them. Whatever next?
As it is, the figures are extremely dubious, seeing as how a large proportion of employees hardly do any work even when they're in the office - let along giving up their vacation time to do more. Unless that "work" is chatting to their equally indolent friends about what was on telly last night, sending stooopid email jokes and using the company's network for their own private web access.
Of course, the opposite is also possible, these people _do_ actually connect to the office while on holiday, not because they have to but because it beats the hell out of having to spend time with their partners and children.
Kids hate tech for the same reasons everyone else does
Sometimes that's because it's irrelevant (who cares how a PC works, so long as it *does* work?)
Sometimes because it's too "geeky" (why should I have to learn all these commands, why doesn't it just do what I want?)
Sometimes because it makes us look stupid (when it's poorly documented or badly designed)
Sometimes because it's too much work for too little reward (see above)
Sometimes because it doesn't do what we want it to (see above, again)
Sometimes because the manual is too long to read through (see above - hmm, there seems to be a pattern emerging here)
Sometimes because just as soon as we learn how to do something, it all changes in the next release
and sometimes because the people who teach it have turned a previously interesting subject, full of potential new discoveries and into a tedious, unfocused or confusing course due to their own disinterest, lack of teaching ability and obvious disdain for anything remotely technical.
The same fundemental drawback
All touch screens suffer from the same basic problem (yes, even ones blessed with a half-eaten fruit on the logo) - your finger covers up the thing you want to select.
That doesn't matter too much with little media players, but it's a helluva problem when you're trying to draw or alter a picture. "Now where exactly does that line end? Oh yes, somewhere under my left index-finger"
Same goes for cut'n'paste: with fingers the size of mine it's tricky to see exactly what words you're including and where the CnP ends.
Maybe when Apple patents transparent fingers, so it's possible to see what is at the point-of-selection it'll become easier. But until then, I'll stick with a selection tool that does not obscure the very part display I want to make the selection from
So basically you have a 4GB+ SATA drive on the motherboard
Which is ideal for "instant on" computers that have SATA interfaces - such as the laptops suggested in the article. It does sound rather heavyweight for simpe things like mobile phones, but maybe when they evolve into computing devices, with user writable and upgradable disk type operating systems, they'll see the benefit, too. This should help.
Gotta say, if I was in the market for a MB and I saw one with a built in SATA drive, I'd go for it.
Assumes you assembled it correctly
Or you'll end up with your knickers int he microwave, the washing up in the fridge and your ready-meal in the dish washer.
(actually, that sounds a lot like our place after a party - never did find out who's knickers they were)
So presumably telling the angry, disaffected and grumpy that they're more likely to die sooner will just make them more annoyed and therefore speed up the process.
The question I have is: would publishing this information in the Daily Mail make you responsible for all the burst blood vessels, heart attacks and early deaths it would cause in their readership?
The simple solution to brute forcing ..
.. is to implement a delay before another attempt is permitted. So give people(say) 3 shots at getting it right then force a 5 second delay before try #4, then 10 seconds, then ... well, you get the idea.
So yes, with a computer the size of a planet and the ability to shoot crack attempts at your victim at warp speed may well result in "hopeless inadequate" passwords that are shorter than War and Peace. However, in practice it really doesn't matter. Most of the hack attacks I get on servers is simply a dictionary attack against a list of guessed passwords of popular names.
However, I would say that when compared with social engineering, even a 4 character password (a la a PIN) is still more secure than calling someone, pretending to be "Jack from support" and just asking people for their passwords.
All use the same name?
So if/when we all get to change our name, how about we all change it to the SAME name as everyone else. That way we'll all gain anonymity as we'll all be indistinguishable from everyone else.
Until we have to start using our DNA signatures to log in 'cos some numpty suggested everyone adopt the same name.
2 major hurdles
The uptake of credit cards in a lot of (esp. southern) eurpoean countries is, well, less that we're used to in Britain. That kinda limits the number of prospective customers, although this will become less of a problem over time.Add on to that the lack of couriers in a lot of countries (usually the ones with less than perfect postal services, too) and you've got a bigger problem with order fulfillment.
Obviously there's a virtuous circle here. The more e-commerce there is, the better the delivery prospects, which will increase the amount of online trade. It took a while to take off in Britain (and it's still stupidly hard to get a delivery when a worker is actually at home to receive it: after 6pm or at weekends), but we'll all get there eventually.
Maybe then Amazon will have outlets in more than just France, Britain and Germany.
Boiling a frog
is done slowly, so it doesn't notice - not all at once so it jumps out of the pot
> This sort of advice has been chucked around before and society hasn't crumbled
Usually when this sort of advice has been chucked around, the country has been at war and the population has been exhorted to look out for spies or saboteurs - with the internment of those thought most likely. The problem with this campaign is that we're not at war, it breeds fear and if not a bad thing in its own right is a step down the path of heating the pot with the frog in it. We have to push back against this sort of absurdity, otherwise the heat gets turned up.
Well, that's every teenager on the list
doesn't talk to anyone, keeps their curtains closed, doesn't have a bank account.
Just pull the wagon up outside the local school and herd 'em in. the world won'tbe any safer - but at least the amount of shoplifting will go down
Not how the process works
In major projects where there is serious money at stake, the process goes as follows:
Design -> Code -> Test -> Deliver
You will notice that there's a linear progression with the inbuilt assumption that each step starts, runs, completes and the next step starts. There is no room in the schedule for fixing bugs that are thrown up by the testing, because it's too difficult to "sell" such a stage. No--one can say how many bugs will be found, therefore no-one can say how much time the bug-fix stage should be. But more importantly because when all the preceding steps slip and the delivery data is cast in stone, there simply isn't time to find bugs let alone fix them.
Everybody knows this will happen. The implementers rely on the customer changing their minds to give them an excuse for missing their targets. The customer builds in a contingency - so they never (unless they're new at this) actually expect a delivery when it is scheduled and they always expect the costs to be much higher than the supplier promised.
Just why that didn't happen here is difficult to say. Maybe someone was so naive they actually believed all the progress reports, or weren't bright enough to withhold payment until the programme had been delivered.
Excluding the extras?
Oh, you want cables too? That's an extra €100,000.
cabinets ..... <much sucking of teeth> ... €150,000 more please
and if you're not paying by Dell credit card there's a surcharge of €50,000
plus another €25,000 for using our website.
Especially when interviewed by a board
I saw this process first hand. Many years ago when I worked for an international (and very process driven) company they had teams of us interview candidates in groups - typically 6 employees would look after 30 or so candidates and during a day long selection process make recommendations for which ones should be blessed with an offer of employment.
On one particular recruitment day, an absolutely gorgeously stunning candidate turned up. While technical very capable, none of the men in the team (myself included) was prepared to put their hand up and say "yes, she qualifies for a job offer", although if all the candidates had been interviewed with paper bags over their heads, she would have made the cut with flying colours.
The obvious fear was criticism from the women in the team: "bah, you men, all you see is her .....". So given the choice between making an offer for someone who most of us would ever see again - as that vacancy was for only 1 of the teams and attracting criticism from the women interviewers who we had to work with every day, or not committing and preserving the peace, we all chickened out. The quandry was resolved by dragging in our boss-lady. She was briefed, went and had a conversation with the interviewee and thoroughly castigated us all for our immature and petty approach.
Prologue: Apparently an offer was made and duly declined. I guess the person in question realised that interviews are a two-way street and she didn't fancy working with a bunch of ugly, drooling neanderthals.
Alternative title: Mountains out of Molehills
> learning to manage application vulnerabilities.
The biggest vulnerability this guy has is that he's looking in the wrong place. Though I know that a lot of applications aren't especially secure, the main problem is found just in front of the keyboard, not in the little beige box. Secure your users and all the other problems go away.
Next, he does seem to love creating work. In one paragraph he acknowledges that Adobe reader has problems and goes on at length about how to reduce them. Later, he talks about all the alternative products that come sans security holes WELL INSTALL AN ALTERNATIVE, THEN.
I have a sneaking suspicion the author gets paid on a per-crisis basis - or at least likes the recognition that comes with being centre-stage, rather than rewarded for maintaining a cool, calm, secure and bug-free shop. This is quite a common mistake that IT managers make: "We have lots of problems and disasters, but luckily Fred, here is able to fix them. He's an absolute star and I don't know how we'd manage without him" (hint: probably a lot better).
It's not the product - it's the people who buy it
Consider the sort of person who, in your opinion, buys Apple products. Would you like others to think you were like them? If your view of the products were positive and you viewed the sort of people who owned them in a positive way, you're more likely to buy that same stuff than if your impressions were negative.
It doesn't matter what the product is: everything ever made has good features and poor ones. Which ones take precedence in your mind has nothing to do with the features themselves, but is about the sort of people who extol or criticise they. Primarily the early adopters and reviewers. We see a certain "type" of individual taking up polarised views about a product, a company or a political opinion and we either wish to associate or distance ourselves - not from the product but from those PEOPLE.
In that respect it's not like religion, which has no rational explanation and is universally recognised to be about faith. However, religion is also about social norms and social pressures. Factors that don't come into play with Apple, or IBM or other I.T. products where we can see lists of features and testable properties that we can make choices about - even though we don't.
HD is like Fairtrade
For the average consumer, the difference between the "worthy" alternative and the bog-standard product is slight, if it exists at all. However, the benefit comes from the nice warm feeling you get when you buy something that's just a little better than what (you think) the unwashed masses get. Even if the benefit is something intangible like a couple of pennies going to a farmer in a dusty country, or the cows getting music played to them while they lactate.
So, no. I doubt there will be any initiative to take rescanned copies of the original material. We'll just be treated to stuff that is upconverted, then compressed, then sent to our tellys, then uncompressed, then squided (technical term) about some more for overscan, then displayed with a little channel logo on the screen. Meanwhile, the story, characters and dialog will be exactly the same as on any other TV of any other size, technology, shape or screen type. Just as it has been every other time we've seen that particular episode of whatever it was, at any time in the past 40 or more years.
A silver lining
Whatever ITV do, the Beeb always seem to copy. Whether that's because they feel the need to chase audiences or just to honk them off is difficult to say. Though my money's on the latter, since the beeb seem to think it's all a big game anyway.
In this case, I fully support ITV's plans. Not because they have any programmes worth watching - except possibly the Rugby World Cup finals in 2011, but because there's every chance the BBC will follow them, lemming-like into the pay-per-view or subscription arena. If they do that, then we'll be able to kiss goodbye to the TV licence tax - as the government now call it - and only be forced to pay for the stuff we watch, rather than all the stuff the BBC board randomly choose to mug us for at present.
give up your password for a choccy bar?
Sure, why not. Here's my password - it's "chocolate" now where's my Mars bar?
While this may *look* like social engineering, one question needs to be answered. Who, exactly was manipulated? Was it the sap who divulged confidential information for a few empty calories, or was it the researchers who gave away some sweeties for a piece of unverifiable and otherwise useless information (that was almost certainly a lie, anyway).
A few high profile places I have worked in have had internal processes in place for what to do when employees were contacted by the press. It sounds like it is a very easy thing to set up something similar for IT workers to give "set" answers when cold-called by people they don't know.
If he was any good at predicting the future
... he'd have expected all this criticism and responded to it in the original article.
He would also realise that every measure has a countermeasure (and every countermeasure, a counter-countermeasure). So just coming up with some cheap and scary headline is worthless. If his guess, sorry forecast comes true I predict an increase in the sale of vacuum cleaners and a resurgence in the careers of Kim and Aggie.
Yawn! Generic alarmism, applicable to everything
Everything has risks. The more interconnected everything gets the greater the potential for harm. However this guy has not managed to quantify the risk, or the downside, so is quite incapable of making any sort of judgement about whether the risk outweighs the benefits.
Expect the unexpected
> What would such an attack involve?
No one knows. Though it's a fair guess that whatever it is, it won't be any of the things that were foreseen. Specifically, if the internet's system of trust has broken down irreconcilably, how will this guy - or any of the others, buy a plane ticket to get them to wherever it is they need to be?
A selective memory is a wonderful thing
You remember all the good times and forget all the bad one. Summers were warm and sunny, the snow was crisp - never slushy. Birds sang joyfully and the local bobby was a happy and fair person.
On the other hand, we tend to remember things we like. Things that give us status, things that empower us. So when we're told to treat every member of the public as if they were a terrorist and to investigate every suspicious activity we imprint such information with glee. The power this gives us is immense. We can stop, search, question. We demand respect or we lock you up - sorry, ask you politely to assist in our inquiries ... or get tazered for your insubordination.
However when we're told that maybe, just possibly, that person with a camera is simply pursuing a harmless hobby, or photographing a curiosity we tend to prefer to remember the days when we could and did act like Bodie and Doyle - or Arnie (depending on the haircut): crush liberties first, ask questions later - after all, you can't be too careful. So, just like you can't teach old dogs new tricks, we've still got a way to go before the excesses of the past can be rehabilitated back into normal policing - back to the memories of that fair and happy constable, now wth a stab-proof vest.
Ans: very little
Look at the BBC trust's website. You will find that just over 4% of the >£3Bn is spent collecting the tax.
As the guy says: it's a tax
The minister is quoted as admitting that the licence fee is a tax. Yet it's a pretty unfair tax, since it is collected per household - rather than per viewer. So (like with the council tax) a house of 4 wage-earning adults pays the same licence fee as an address with just a couple of workers. However, unlike the council tax, there's no single occupancy reduction.
As it is, the BBC Trust reckons that the evasion rate (the number of people who should pay this tax is about 5% - costing roughly the same amount as collecting it from the rest of us does). If they want to rethink how the tax is collected, there seems to me to be a lot of commonality between the BBC tax and the council tax - which might be the best way to approach it.
Council tax, despite its name doesn't just go to the council. It is split up and parts are sent to different organisations: the police get some, district councils get some - so adding another begging bowl to the disbursement process wouldn't be too hard. Doing it this way would also mean that the more affluent households (possibly those with the largest number of telly's) would pay more than the bed-sits with just one goggle-box.
wizzy tech is no substitute
for an engaging story, good characters played well and leaving the audience with a feeling that they enjoyed themselves. It seems that's one lesson which Hollywood is still in the process of learning. Let's hope the TV channels don't play follow the lemming.
A more practical alternative for backups
But what about the cost of the disks?
A quick look around shows that 25GB disks, in bulk, are about a quid a pop. So to back up your pr0n filled 1TB drive would take about £40 of media (and if the little test the author did can be extrapolated, take 2½ days per disk to perform - say 3 months! - something's terribly wrong there, BTW).
Compare that with the cost of buying an additional 1TB drive and the BluRay starts to look like a rather unattractive proposition. Add in the speed of copying data and the convenience of not having to swap media every few days and it becomes a no-brainer. I suspect that a 1TB hard drive would also take up less space in your "backup" drawer, too.
Obviously, this is only one facet of a BD writer. if your main aim is to copy BD's (which you <ahem> have permission to copy <cough>) or to create disks of ALL your home movies, that's a whole different proposition. The only thing to remember then is that no-one - really: no-one except your immediate family will be the slightest bit interested in them. So PLEASE don't go showing them to your guests and visitors.
asking a question and ignoring the answer
If you're going to ask someone their opinion, there's little point in responding with a list of excuses about why what they ask for is stupid / invalid / illegal / impractical / against policy / against ECHR / too expensive or simply inconvenient. That just rubs out noses in it, makes us look like fools for thinking someone actually cared and increases the level of cynicism about the gummint's us-VS-them attitude.
For a kick off, how about releasing ALL the census information. Not waiting until it's 100 years old. Follow that with all the timesheets of government employees, their expense claims and annual appraisals (after all, we pay for them, surely we have a right to know how good / bad they are at their jobs).
Maybe the real answer is just to raise a Freedom of Information Act request: "Tell us everything"
Only 2 things are certain about this story
He was travelling in first class - of course he would get a meal. He could probably have had anything he pleased. The airline would probably have served him the the cattle-class passenger of his choice, sauteed and tastefully garnished, if he'd asked for it.
The two certainties are that this story obviously has more behind it than we've been told and secondly given the airline paranoia and ability to act without oversight, review or criticism we'll never find out, either.
In a hole and still digging
So the guy says this happens on lots of different smart phones - and is even illustrated on Youtube. OK .... so .... doesn't that just mean that this is a well-documented and widely known about problem that they had the opportunity to design out of their product?
Personally it just reinforces my view that there's a large degree of "form over function" in this range of phones, which does nothing to make me want to buy something that is primarily ornamental.
Sounds like someone read Bob Shaw's "Light from other days" and somehow incorporated the concept into some kind of non-specific threat.
(briefly: the story is about a scientist who develops a form of glass that immensely slows down the speed of light. To the point where a pane of glass can "store" an image for many years and play it back. This gets used both for scenic displays and as a surveillance device - although the explanation on how it forms a coherent image leaves a lot. Mostly the book is about the social effects of always being watched)
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