2041 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
On a roll
So this is how Apple gets to patent the wheel
(I wonder how long it took their marketing department to decide what colour it should be?)
Boat based bonking?
Sounds like an advertisement for a weak beer.
So good, it's bad
> mentored by their under-30 employees
So if these sub-30s are so good at IT and busting with great ideas, why aren't they all starting their own businesses?
Ideas are ten-a-penny. Knowing what's trending on FB is worthless. Having the abilty to pick the winners is one in a million and combining that with the skill, determination and money to turn them into a success is incredibly rare.
It's not the code that matters
> about 0.26 per cent of humanity, can code
But how many can debug?
Why not go the whole hog and turn your entire face into an input device?
Scratching your ear could turn up the volume.
A cough could tweet your location
Picking your nose could act like a mouse click - depending on which nostril you choose
and when someone takes offence and smacks you in the mouth - well, that could be the signal to switch off.
> payday loans firm has received a £175,000 fine
So can they be charged their own rates of interest for every day they're late paying the fine?
The industry's Comet
Distie-hood is no different from being a high-street retailer. If all you're offering is the same stuff that buyers can get online, but cheaper, then you're screwed. And good riddance.
Just because you hide behind a corporate facade doesn't mean you are immune to market forces (or disintermediation, as the effect has been called for at least 25 years) just as your domestic counterparts have already discovered to their cost.
The only companies that haven't cottoned on to the need to add value (or think that having a flashy marketing campaign and a 25% mark-up to pay for it counts as "adding value") are the ones who are either dead, or dying. However, even adding value isn't the same as it used to be. Integrators are finding it tricky, too. Instead of selling individual computers, bundling them together, installing some software and calling it a "system" is also a flawed business model - as so many end-users find that the internet gives them all the knowledge and expertise to do this for themselves.
No competitive disadvantage
> the NSA rifling through service providers' servers was not seen as exacerbating these concerns.
The reason nobody at the top is concerned is because the NSA are shafting every company, equally. It's not as if there is one particular company that is under greater surveillance than any other - the NSA is being (laudably) non-discriminatory over who's privacy they violate. Therefore there's no reason for customers to single out any one company as having more or less of their rights infringed. It doesn't matter where you go, you'll still be spied on.
Of if the NSA is targeting particular organisations, they've done a better job of keeping that fact under wraps.
Re: What's wrong with 'unelected.uk'
> What's wrong with being in unelected in a position of power
Well, the only people in the UK who have positions of power are CEO's of multi-billion £££ companies (even they are severely constrained by their shareholders and regulatory bodies) and workers in The Treasury. All the rest are merely puppets, or straws blowing in the wind of
public opinion media headlines. Just how many financial civil servants and special advisors are ever elected - or who's names we will ever know?
Real power will always be anonymous and unaccountable.
Just me, or what?
But did anyone else read the summary and think that pisspoor.uk was Nominet's new website?
When buying technology (for anyone: parent, child, husband,wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or all of these) just bear in mind that as soon as you give someone any present that requires a plug or has an on/off function you are responsible for its correct operation forever.
That includes explaining how it works, getting it set up, telephone support, "emergency" visits to fix any problems, perennial "while you're here, could you show me again .... " each time you visit that person and the ever popular "why does it do .... " followed by the vaguest and impossibly non-technical description you could ever get - and the hopeful and expectant look in the eye of the asker that you won't go home until it's working the way they want it to. Whether that's physically possible or not.
After that you'll understand why planned obsolescence is such a good thing - and hope that it will hurry up and arrive soon.
An unlikely combination
> work on quantum gravity and the unification of the fundamental physical forces ... organised with the help of Vanity Fair and attended by a bunch of celebs including ...
It's a shame that mention of the camera-hungry will get this event more publicity than an explanation of what the research was about, ever could.
“Scientists should be celebrated as heroes, and we are honored to be part of today’s celebration of the newest winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Fundamental Physics Prize,”said Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin.
+1 to that.
Healer, heal thyself!
> consideration for passengers who would otherwise be subjected to the chatter of others.
So a giant first step in that direction would be to outlaw US politicians - especially ones who appear on TV with half-arsed suggestions, opinions and comments. The ones who spend their whole terms asleep or crawling up to their rich
masters sponsors - they're OK (apart from the damage they do to democracy, obv.)
As for the "cure" for all aircraft audio annoyances? Hearos
Re: Big is better
To get twice the range (for the same receiver sensitivity) you need 16 times as much power. Strictly speaking: EIRP
16 = 2^4
Big is better
> military are high powered, heavy, and demanded large antenna arrays
Because military radar isn't used to detect whether the general in the next room has fallen of his/her's perch. The problem with RADAR is that it suffers from an inverse squared, SQUARED law. I.e. 1 / (r ** 4) power/distance relationship. The signal going out from the transmitter is the normal 1/r^2 degradation with distance to the target and the signal reflected off the target (assuming it's "playing the game" by not being stealthy) comes back with the same power::distance ratio. Hence the need for massive amounts of power, huge receiving (and transmitting) antennae and therefore large installations.
I'm sure that given their expertise in the area, the military are more than capable of making a bitsy little version - and could / would / probably-have if there was a requirement ... say from the clandestine services.
Now where did I put that foil-backed wallpaper?
The perfect combination
> The UK is by quite a long way the place where people spend most online
When you add together the effect of a poor range of shops, with small choices of goods, high in-store prices and lousy parking/access, is it any surprise?
On the brighter side
Sky's hell desk must be raking it in:
BT customers pay 5.1p/min and 13.1p connection. Calls from other providers will vary.
Agile hosting always wins
Time for the fuzz + 7 other outfits to nail 40 infringing websites: 3 months
Time for an owner to register a new site & carry on streaming: 1 hour (guess)
I think we can all work out how this will end.
Re: Thinning the hurdle
> total random selection would be just as good a selection method,
You may well be correct. However the very first time your randomly-selected candidate screws up, the blame-balls will start flying. Sooner or later someone will ask two questions: was this person qualified? and who hired this idiot?
Now, it may be that if you're hiring CEOs for The Co-Op Bank people won't ask - but for any normal organisation you don't want anyone putting your name up to answer those questions. At that time it's no good saying "Well I saw an article on Wikipedia that said random selection was just as reliable as academic selection", as you could soon be finding out, personally, that the recruitment process is much more arduous and deeper probing than that. As for the competency point: yes, nobody can assess whether a recruit will be able to do a particular job. However since the name of the game is CYA (or "indemnity" as professionals call it), if you can point to some objective criteria - no matter how irrelevant - and say that this person scored better than others, you stand some chance of still sitting at the same desk tomorrow. The worst that will happen is some jobsworth will set up a process review and witter on about "continuous improvement" and "learning lessons" - the lesson to learn is to avoid these people.
Finally, there's the perennial issue about HR. While they don't care about whether a person can do a particular job, they do care that the organisation (or more properly: they) doesn't get accused of unfair hiring practices. Therefore a process must be in place. It must have been approved and there must be documentary evidence to show it's been followed. If that all sounds a bit "ITIL-y" or "ISO-y", then I agree. However it's one of the hoops you have to jump through.
Re: Do I need to explain
> If some of these major companies actually paid their taxes in the UK
So if these mega-corps are required to pay extra taxes, where will the money come from? They won't raise their prices and hurt their market share and they're already squeezing their suppliers dry - so the only viable source of money to give to the government is from the pay (and numbers) of the employees.
It might be nice for a few idealists to say "oooh look, we made these companies pay their fair share of taxes". But what about the wage cuts and redundancies that are imposed to move that money from being in employees pockets, to being in government coffers?
What would yo say to a freshly-sacked employee, then?
Thinning the hurdle
> merely as an easy screening criteria
The problem is when you have 1 vacancy and you get 200 applicants for it. What do you do?
It is impractical to diligently read each CV - I once got one of 40 pages (instant rejection, BTW) - so you need some way to come up with a list of "possibles", then a list of "probables" which you interview.
Also, for better or for worse, HR insist that any selection criteria must be non-discriminatory - which is a lovely idea, but very subjective (oh yes, and must be within the skill-set of HR's newest trainee). So a first pass: that has to be quick, objective, legal and relevant is to search for academic qualifications. (Another: that's based on spelling and typo's on the application is possible - but so many HR-types have such poor spelling & grammar that "LOL" and smilies would probably pass their filter).
After that, once you have got down to 10-20, you can start to actually read the CVs. Just bear in mind that you also have real work to do, in addition to recruitment duties. So detailed analysis of what the candidates (as they now are, as opposed to merely applicants) have to say is still a long way off.
Yes, it's largely random. Sure, some gems will slip through, Time consuming it certainly is. However it's still better than one proposal a colleague suggested: throw all the CVs into the air. If one of them sticks to the ceiling, that's the one to hire - since luck is as good as excellence (esp. if you're Napoleon and you are recruiting generals). However, the "lucky" ones might be the ones who don't get to work for you.
A time machine helps, too.
> A degree is not enough
Indeed not. According to some recruitment agencies, 5 years experience in 3 year-old technologies is a must-have.
Master of all I survey
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
And on the same basis, that allows the FTSE Group (an organisation I had previously credited with more common sense) to redefine words willy-nilly, I henceforth declare that day is night, good is bad, tv is quality entertainment and that our politicians are caring, dutiful, honest individuals.
I see no ships!
> "rich in fireballs"
Well, rich in some sort of balls.
We had a supposedly bright comet at the start of the year. Barely visible in the haze of sunset (aircraft contrails look almost the same, are brighter and more plentiful). There was another one a week or two ago that fizzled out and more meteor showers at irregular intervals every year. All of which get hyped by ignorant media, uncritically cut'n'pasting somewhat hysterical press releases from individuals and organisations that should know better.
Now I like a good stargaze as much as the next geek (but please: let's not talk about the BBCs Stargazing Live which contains no stargazing at all). But all the squeaking from over-enthusiastic media types - and the subsequent disappointments have reduced their credibility to an all-time low.
So can we, please, cut down on the media hype? Remember that most people live in overly-lit streets and therefore only ever see orange skies at night - with possibly the Moon and a few of the brightest stars visible.
If you want to promote amateur stargazing, a better line would be: this is what you could see, but since you live in a light polluted city, with almost permanent cloud cover - you don't stand a chance. If you want to see the glory of the starlit night, get your local authorities to turn down the light pollution.
Re: About that Star Trek stuff...
> they're working on 3d printers for housing and food
But what is "printing" for housing - or building in general? I'd suggest it's a process where materials are stacked layer by layer according to a design. If that's not what a brickie does already, then what is it?
The scarecest resource of all
> post-scarcity society
Where the rarest resource is, as now too it would appear, common sense.
Quickly followed by the simple, innocent, yet very hard to answer questions about where the raw materials will come from, the sustainability/cost/efficiency of the energy the printer uses and possibly something about reliable designs, as well?
> swerved a huge corporation tax bill
Maybe FB should convert all their excess cash into Bitcoin. That'll soon reduce their profits and thus, their tax bill.
Oaks from acorns
The thing about importing talent is: what do you do with it, once it's here?
It appears that the government has swallowed the idea of a "magic bullet". That if you have a problem ... if nobody else can help ... that all you need is an "A team" and they'll somehow use their "world-leading talent" to sort you out.
Most of the problems that the UK's IT industry have are nothing to do with IT. So bringing in outsiders to give it a boost won't produce the hoped-for results. The fixes that are needed start with better technical education, move on to recognising the worth of people who can wield a soldering iron (at the right end) or spanner or stack trace, and also address the basic issues of expensive cost-of-living, unworthy management, short-sighted investors, an innovation-stifling environment and a reticence to taking risks and recognsing opportunities.
As a country, the UK is quite capable of producing its own top-quality IT people - rather than sucking the talent out of other countries. But it needs to nuture, grow and reward those people. Not just cover them in fertiliser.
Haven't they hit what they're aiming at yet?
Re: I'm not the pheasant plucker ...
... and I'm only plucking pheasants
'til the pheasant plucker comes.
Yup, still gets my vote.
Although one of the later verses is, IMHO, more likely to trip you over:
I'm not the pheasant plucker
I'm the pheasant plucker's wife
Me and the pheasant plucker
have a pheasant plucking life.
I guess this rhyme didn't make the cut as the "downside" of getting it wrong wouldn't appeal to too many. Especially if a newsreader (ill-advisedly) tried it live on air.
Though, considering the number of people who are unable to pronounce "nuclear", I'd say it doesn't take much to be a tongue-twister, these days.
Re: not just faults
> He was convinced his code was not to blame
And that's the problem. While his code worked, it sounds like it had many unforeseen (and on a production system: unforgivably untested for) side-effects: possibly including high I-O usage, unintended database locks, de-cacheing, or futzing (technical term) with the middleware - among other possibilities.
Too many outfits I've worked at regard "testing" as merely checking the known input produces the expected output. They don't bother checking boundaries, error handling, scalability or resource-hogging. Since a lot of these other tests would require having access to a complete replica of the production system - with a simulation of all the users and their workloads - most companies can neither afford, nor organise such a massive testing operation.
When Usenet was new, I saw a couple of posts discussing a kernel bug. The discoverer posted the method of replicating the fault - instructions on which programs to run and what options to use. This was followed by the warning that doing this would reliably kill your machine (A Sun platform IIRC).
A few posts later, someone replied "Oh yes, it does - doesn't it".
Could it be that someone within RBS had identified the cause of (one of their many) cockups, told his/her/its colleagues - one of whom then replicated the conditions ...
Re: @ Pete 2 Wither telly?
> How does that affect your point?
Yes, the Beeb have always given away their content for free (within the UK, at any rate). They have also been the home of minority-interest programmes that no commercial outfit could make money from. However it's only in the past couple of decades that they've abandoned the niches and moved into the ITV space (others might say "dumbed down") so aggressively, in a bid to retain viewer numbers and thus, their justification for so many £££billions from everyone. While there were only a handful of channels, they were pretty much bound to get 10+million viewers per night for peak time programmes. However to get even close to that now, they have to attract people who wouldn't naturally be BBC viewers - hence they've decided to eat the lunch of other channels that are in no position (financially) to do anything about it.
Or "screwing up the commercial business model" to be a little less subtle about it. Using their guaranteed income to compete with, rather than complement and play "nice" with those who rely on advertising to survive.
> businesses can hope to have access to consumer eyeballs for several hours a day
Is this a case of inventing the facts to fit the story?
ISTR there used to be a company that had access to the eyeballs of a large proportion of the country for several hours every day. They were called ITV - though I don't know what ever happened to them. once their competitor corporation discovered they could screw up the commercial business model by giving away for free (i.e. sans annoying advertisements) exactly the same content.
The moral being that while there may be a new monopoly in town, one should never underestimate the capricious nature of the public. All it takes is a change in the wind (or privacy, or advertising nusiances - or the next generation wanting to distance themselves from "their parents internet") and all of that hard-won "market share" can disappear. Just look at the junk heap of generation#1 internet companies to see what can and does happen to all the success stories, eventually.
Re: Kerrrr splat!
> Ah I see you saw the film Gravity as well
Errrm, nope. Though I'm disappointed you'd think so. As all I've heard about the film is how shaky the science is.
> That's ok, we have an atmosphere
Ahhh, but you don't have to toss big chunks at the planet. Just squirt a bag o' sand into the Clarke Orbit - or sun-synchronous - or GPS paths, and watch all the fragile little (but vital) satellites fail.
Or [ FX: stroking of fluffy white cat ] erect a sun shield somewhere around L1 and "solve" the planet's global warming crisis for them.
The Wild-West days are here again
> the UN decided ...
Once habitats in space become self-sufficient, the decisions of a planetary based talking shop will be completely irrelevant. Note the proviso: self-sufficient.
Laws, rules and regulations only work when they can be backed up (ultimately) by force. If a mining operation, in orbit or beyond , decided to cede, there's not a lot - short of sending up a "police" action to point out the error of their ways - that a ground based legal system can do. As readers of Lucifer's Hammer will recall: being at the top of the gravity well trumps being at the top of the food chain. And throwing rocks can be terribly effective.
So, just like settlement in other colonies, there will be a period of lawlessness, probably a revolutionary war (or war of independence, depending on who's history you subscribe to) and almost certainly a civil war or two. After that the occupants take it upon themselves to formulate their own laws, for their own domains over which they have the ability to enforce them. Given the size of spaaaaaace, it's more than likely that several empires (striking back, or not) and hegemonies will arise - whether the UN or any earthly government approves or disapproves.
Isn't this a case of buy a cheap item and get a drone for free?
How do Amazon intend to recover their drones, their expensive, highly desirable drones, after they've delivered your goods.
Maybe they'll just drop your package down the chimney? (Wherever that idea came from). Just check for smoke emissions first, please.
I think I've found your problem
> peoples [sic] aged 8-22
IMHO *all* 8 year-olds are crap at parking. Most of them can't even see over the dashboard.
I think the guy had a lucky escape.
If he had got his article in "print" and then submitted the same piece of work for course assessment he could have set off alarm bells from the college's systems that detect students copying stuff wholesale off t'net.
Obv. having the same name as the submitted work's author could help his case, but it could still lead to some awkward questions and some unwelcome scrutiny. Although any El Reg. in-house editing could be difficult to explain.
Re: Agree with most comments here...
> I gotta admit £2,4 million tax paid on £4,3 billion in sales is taking the biscuit
Yes, but what's a few billion in uncollected taxes when compared with the opportunity for some political grandstanding?
Turn the other cheek
> The site could be viewed ... in Chester Cathedral cafe
Sounds like a cheap and highly effective way to attract exactly the kind of people most in need of the church's "guidance" into their fold.
Afterthought: or was this just a case of a reporter who got caught viewing smut at work and used the tired old excuse "it's for an article I'm writing" and then had to follow through?
Blinded by the light
Beaming energy towards earth at any sort of "optical" wavelengths sounds like a great way to kill amateur astronomy stone dead. Whether the energy was beamed from the Moon (easily avoided) or satellites (not so much).
Although radiation densities would (you'd hope) be made safe for normal eyeballs to gaze upwards, the added collecting power of a telescope could make stargazing as hazardous as turning your telescope sunwards. The normal advice given to those who might be tempted to try is "Do not repeat this with your remaining good eye".
It might be a good time to invest in white-stick makers.
Pearls of wisdom?
As far as hardware goes, I'd suggest 1 core, plus another one for each VM you plan to run and as much memory as you can afford. As a start, reckon on 2GB + 1GB per VM. Add more as the fancy takes you.
> What about the choice of Hypervisor
OK, as you say that you're "playing" I'd suggest you get straight on and ... play.
A quick google search of all the technical terms you have mentioned will give you all the alternatives and possibilities you are searching for.
Start off by grabbing copies of all the *free* bare metal hypervisors and giving each of them a test drive. After that, load up whatever O/Ss you are licenced for and try out the other VM environments you can download.
At some point you'll either find a product (there aren't that many) that jumps out at you and seems to do all the things you want - hopefully part of your experience gaining process will allow you to come up with a list of features you value - or at least fail to tick the fewest possible boxes.
At that point, I'd be interested to hear how you got on.
The only thing to remember is that if you don't know where you're going, you'll never know when you've arrived. So apart from playing around, you could help yourself by taking half an hour to work out what your goals are: learning, running some "production" services, gaining some marketable experience or whatever.
Have a nice play.
"to counter the extremist narrative ...
In my inexpert view (I've never met an extremist, and would probably just think: nutter, if I ever did) it seems that the best way to neutralise the views they hold, is to make "our" stories better than theirs.
If you spend a large amount of your formative youth hearing about how bad the west is, how morally bankrupt we all are and that our whole society is venal, ungodly and otherwise damned - then the best defence would be a charm offensive instead of confirming their worst fears by raining down firey death on anything that happens to bear a passing resemblance to the CIA's Most Wanted list.
Maybe our lot should be out there with stories about how caring we are, how we all love small furry animals and our mothers. That we have a highly charitable society that doesn't want to screw over the rest of the world and that, best of all, we'll open some Pizza Express and Starbucks in their towns, too. Maybe even a Hooters in their capitals? So that their leaders can "know thine enemy"?
Then, once their children can see all the good things we have to offer, just like their communist counterparts did a generation ago, all the hate, fear and insecurity will evaporate. Instead of bombing the crap out of their villages, we'll parachute in washing machines, Playboy, waffle-makers and icecream instead.
Make them just as dumb, fat and happy as the rest of us.
> how many £68k iPhones it has sold or expects to sell
But will they manage to sell a £30k extended warranty to go with it?
A bit harsh?
> nothing short of a "revolution".
A revolution means you go round in a circle and end up back where you started.
I know MLF is leaving the job half done, but she did make some progress.
Although the other part of a revolution is the spin ...
> that was two weeks wages for me back then
Well, you were earning more than me, then. A week's hard graft at the MAD LAB (Materials Applications and Development) left me with £22.78 in my pocket. Something over 100 pints of beer, to use a more practical unit of measure.
Did you not read the manual?
Not the computer manual, silly. The child rearing one.
The boy is 12. He doesn't want *buntu or *nux.
What he wants is something like all his friends have, but just that leeeeeetle bit better¹, cooler and (if he can pull it off) more expensive.
And next year. Repeat.
 better: bigger screen, faster, thinner, LOUDER, breaks into more piece when it is (inevitably) dropped. Plays more games. Homework? you ask? LOL.
Re: Don't be fooled...
> your certainly going to scare away any good candidates
Interestingly one IT shop I worked for in the late 80s took a similar view with its sales positions.
The SM (sales manager) made the observation that the blacker he painted the picture, the harder the job and the greater the challenge, the more enthusiastic the candidates became.
The problem was that these "enthusiastic" candidates were complete and utter arseholes: to a man - and they were all men. Their primary personality trait was "I can sell anything" (basically, they'd have won The Apprentice every year running) and everyone else in the organisation should thank me for it.. However, most of them were all bluster and no talent. They would get a "let" on their first-quarter reviews. A "must improve" on their Q2's and be out the door without completing a full year of employment.
So I would consider an advertisement like this to be a buyer-beware situation. Yes, it might be a truthful description of what the company thinks it wants. But the result will be that it will attract applicants who are completely unsuited to the kind of high-pressure yet humdrum work that understaffed (and by implication, under-resourced) IT support requires.
If you want a collection of drama-queens, sure. Go for it. But if any place I worked for was to put out a want-ad like this, they'd very soon have two vacancies to fill.
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