2371 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Every SQL programmer knows there are 4 gender codes:
- don't know
- not applicable
which seem to cover most of the cases where knowledge of gender is needed to facilitate a decision.
Given that we're all supposed to be equal these days, the number of cases where such information is crucial is probably smaller than most people think and questions about possession of X and/or Y chromosomes (and maybe some others, too) might be more pertinent.
Call me waldo
Forget communicating with interplanetary craft. This sort of bandwidth sounds ideal for multiple remote controlled robots in orbit. What you'd need to make that practical is a set of "eyes" on the robot(s) (preferably stereoscopic vision) and a real-time video link back to the ground control centre. Plus of course the less data intensive uplink to tell the robot where to wave its arms.
It's hard to see this being a go-er for much further than lunar operations, due to the latency involved, but it does sound like the first step in doing something constructive in space.
Deja vu, all over again
> the 43 forces in England and Wales use a multiplicity of different IT systems
Sounds like they need to take a leaf out of the NHS book and centralise and consolidate all their computer systems. That way they will get the benefits of a single, standard system and reduce the cost .... sorry. I can't go on, I'm laughing too much.
OK, I admit - I'm bored
so here goes:
failed flush fries fuse,
server severs system,
monitor militates meltdown,
pipes purged - poo probably precipitated problem
> do these kids know what 'vital' means??
I think these days you have to prefix a phrase with "literally" :) before anyone starts to take it seriously. Otherwise deduct at least two steps of urgency to get back to the real meaning. Thus:
vital -> important -> convenient
need -> want -> impulsive desire (that will soon fade)
literally hate -> hate -> dislike
> to establish clearly who is behind them
and if the threat is found to be extraterrestrial (either in reality, or due to faulty software/sensors) we'll no doubt have our first interplanetary war. I expect the people behind the pork are just itching for an enemy that will let them open up such a lucrative source of everlasting FUD. Especially if the only evidence of the "threat" comes from their own systems.
Green with envy
Presumably this is the worst possible discovery for those who have decided for us that what we need are renewable forms of energy, not cheap ones. Maybe the answer is to redefine the "scouse" as an endangered species, who's natural habitat should not be disturbed?
... and if you want to track it, heavens-above.com have a nice, real-time view of who's under the flight path.
The irony is that if it does actually come down on top of some unfortunate person, they will be one of the few, verifiable, casualties of climate change. Though not from its earthly effects, but our efforts to do something about it.
The fifth column
During the Spanish civil war, the nationalists had 4 columns of troops attacking Madrid. Their leader broadcast that these troops were helped by a fifth column inside the besieged city. So it is with with IT systems. Every company regards the customers, or non-employees as "the enemy" so far as computer and financial security is concerned, but few take any heed of the underpaid, over-screwed (and not in a good way) people who daily, have access to all the revenue and orders that flow in or out of the company. Be it a financial trader, bank, plumber or local authority. Consequently, almost all security measures are outward-facing and few are designed to slow down the operator/programmer/sysadmin with the root password and the balls to use it.
Even fewer of the internal security measures are ever tested - for the simple reason that they'd almost all be found to be completely ineffectual against an internal attack from someone who knew what they were doing.
And when a discrepancy is discovered, the only place the investigators would look is at the audit trail, on the presumption that the trail, itself, is uncompromised: not a valid assumption against "root" and someone with a well thought out plan. [Although in fairness, there are lots of cases where computer staff have been caught, some even nicked. Generally these are the result of rushed or faulty frauds caused by unexpected opportunistic situations that didn't allow time to plan the crime properly. When doing Unix support I occasionally found myself being "parachuted" into a major credit card/finance company's machine room, logged into root and my "overseer" saying "... be back in half an hour"]
So why don't you hear about rogue sys-admins, who lose their companies millions, or billions? or end up spending their autumn years in the Carribean? Simple: Not because the dishonest ones aren't getting their (unfair) share, but because they've been able to shift the blame onto some "rogue" trader, somewhere.
going back in time
Consider the american manned space programme.
Nothing now, the scuttle in the 80s, the moon landings in the 60's
They ARE travelling backwards in time.
Using light beamed from earth to power spaceships .... OK, but isn't there already quite a large source of light available for free.
However, if you wanted to develop a realllllllly power laser for other purposes, such as burning holes in other countries, this would be a great cover story.
First of many
So this should increase the value of the ".sucks" TLD nicely.
People who live in the "glass houses" of celebrity
shouldn't do yoga in the nude.
Don't want photos of yourself plastered all over the place? Simple: don't take them in the first place. Why is that so difficult to understand?
why are all these celebs different?
Because when you (and yuor OH) were in the queue for a standard issue of common sense, they had gone back for an extra helping of narcissism.
A fair reward?
> " ... rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly".
So a musician produces a track, plays it to a friend in the biz. Friend likes it and uses his/her contacts to get it played on radio. It becomes a hit and the muso makes £1M. Another musician, equally talented, produces a piece, but isn't so well connected. He/she/it goes on the road playing clubs, pubs, underground stations and anywhere until they get moved on. Over the years they sell a handful of CDs for £5 each.
Where's the fairness?
Films, TV, music, any of the creative arts is essentially a lottery. Some artists strike it lucky, other equally deserving and talented ones die in poverty. I would suggest that this initiative (like all the ones before it) has nothing to do with the content creators - who have a long tradition of getting screwed by all and sundry - but has everything to do with the fat-cats at the top of the pile.
I'm all for making sure the creators get their dues - and anyone else who adds value, in proportion to what they contribute - and ISTM the simplest way to reduce piracy is to cut out almost all of the middle layers that get between a content creator and the content consumers (or maybe sponsors would be a better description). Make the provision and purchase of content direct and personal and I have a feeling that almost all the piracy will simply disappear - once people form a link with the authors and are asked to pay a sensible price for the entertainment they enjoy.
A simpler solution
Somewhere deep in National Power (or should that be National Pwn?) there is a little RJ45 socket with the label "Internet" on it. Out of that comes a long grey cable that leads directly to the central machines that control their power generation capability. At least that's the picture painted by this report.
Why not just unplug the crucial machines from the 'net, altogether?
That doesn't mean thet have to go the whole BSG hog and be completely network free. Just that these utilities have a few bits of Cat5 that are not connected to all the other bits of Cat5 which talk to the outside world. After all, there can't be many reasons why a generator control system (or some Uranium purifying centrifuges, for that matter) should even be aware that the internet exists.
If these core computers do somehow become aware and conclude that "there is another system", then there might be trouble. But let's cross that bridged network when we come to it.
Qute easy really
Just keep sending the data round and round "the internet". Using the cache on all the servers and routers it passes through to store it. Then when you want to retreive it, just wait until it comes round through your severs on it's next "orbit"
It's a mashup of mercury delay line memory, logistics companies using their lorries as warehouses (while they're on the road, delivering your stuff) and the standard internet/cloud marketing BS.
This could be all we'll ever have
The barriers to entry for creating your own operating system were traditionally low. Snarf a copy of Linux, add some drivers, GUI-fy it and with 20 person*years you'd have something that could put up a credible performance at an industry electronics show.
However, once you try to make money off that your £1M of investment becomes a £gig. and takes years. Primarily because of patents. The consequence is, that until there is a radical change in hardware - comparable to the difference between procedural and object orientated languages, the O/S's we have today are probably the only ones we'll have for a long time. Just like car engines are either petrol or diesel ... oh yes, or electric (mustn't forget the C5)
Faced with the obstacles of coming up with something new and legally acceptable, you can't blame the phone companies for adopting a "Bones-esque" attitude of "Dammit Jim, We're a phone maker, not a computer company".
Under the chilling legal circumstances, sticking with Android may be the least worst option.
At a guess
some webby-edity-thingy had an autocomplete set, which said gopher (Q: does anyone still use that?) just accepted by default and didn't bother to check.
The wrong way round?
The government has decided to spend all its time rabbiting on about thing IT wants to talk about - not things THE PEOPLE (who, incidentally put the MPs there) want discussed.
To put it in perspective, if all the 100,000 people who signed any one of the qualifying e-petitions could be bothered to get off their arses and actually vote, they'd represent the majorities of the 4 safest parlaimentary seats (or the 60 least safe: which had majorities less than 1,500 votes). You'd think that sort of political influence would gain some respect. But I guess that since there's no possibility of another election for several years - where these e-petitioners could register their displeasure at being ignored, the people in charge can afford to ignore them all. Isn't democracy a wonderful thing?
Saturday, Sunday and evenings
Why is it so impossible to get stuff delevered at times when people are actually at home?
I know that all the couriers base their delivery models around businesses and therefore only want to deliver during business hours. And apparently make so much money doing that, that none feel the need to expand the reach of their business.
But you'd have thought by now that at least one of them would have had a couple of neurons accidentally bang together and thought "most of our deliveries are to peoples' houses ... why don't we make our deliveries then? ... <head explodes>".
After all if pizza delivery companies can manage it, then you'd think a multi-billion £££ concern like Amazon could - though it might be difficult getting a 3 piece suite on the back of a moped - and it would probably arrive without the peperami.
Survey results need a small proviso
> read their emails ... review someone’s search history ... financial records ... listen in on their phone calls ... video surveillance in public ... torture ... harsh interrogation ...
Provided these only happen to OTHER PEOPLE. Don't you know: *I* have rights!
Haven't we been here before?
Putting aside the benefits or not of cheap/green energy, let's look at carrots instead.
In the 80s and 90s the governments of the time were pushing home ownership for all. Stop paying rent, which is monkey down the drain - take out loans and a mortgage instead ,,,, and we've seen what the effect of that "boom" was.
So just considering what the politicians' motivations are: to stay in power and win elections (at any cost). It does seem that they're up to the same old malarkey again. Proposing cheap fiscal "tricks" to make people appear wealthier and associate that extra money with the party in power. Using the enticement of more spending money to garner favour and win votes.
That's fine, but what goes down - energy prices - inevitably seems to go back up again. So we get cheap power ... for a time ... we just start using more of it (or buying goods that need energy for their manufacture) until we're back to the same natural economic state again: spending up to the limit of our earnings. Then at some point in the future, after todays politicos are dead, emigrated or wearing the profile of their backsides into that seat on the board we find that it all goes pear shaped, just like the 90s credit boom did.
It's a retrofit
The only reason to buy a discrete satnav is because your car doesn't come with one preinstalled ... yet.
The satnav market (by comparison with the smartphone market) is merely satisfying a lack of vehicle specifications. Just as if cars didn't come with windscreens, you'd expect companies like Everest to step in and fill the gap (literally, though quite how well they'd do it is another question) - but ONLY until car manufacturers realised their mistake and retooled their production lines.
So what's the future fro the satnav suppliers? Well, not too good if they want to sell to the public. Better if they make OEM products for Nissan and the others. However, just like Motorola started off making car radios, they'd better diversify pretty dam' quickly - and wisely. Otherwise they could find that they either shrivel and die or get bought by a search company - presuming they have some patents, hardware or balance sheets that makes them desirable, 'cos their suitors won't be after the satnavs.
Did you know ...
> they could not bury the evidence such as the For Neville email.
"For Neville email" is an anagram of "evil liar felon me".
Not accusin'. just sayin'
Got to be the dumbest ever
I mean, who'd put the title as "For Neville" in an email - isn't that apparent from the address? Though I suppose "Everyone knows about phone hacking" might be a little too obvious.
As for knowing - uhhh, sure. But as any lawyer and politician knows: it's what you can prove, and when they knew it, that matters.
Real name policy?
I'd be interested to see the registration details for Gods FB account - not just real name, but age (could throw cosmology into a bit of a spin), gender and status could start/finish a few wars, too.
Re: The Contract Market is bouyant.
> all their good contractors walk straight into other contracts
One would assume that if UBS are having a tough time, that this has already happened - maybe for several cycles of "good" contractors.
If these guys ever wrote a compression algorithm
... you'd have to pump a few MB into it to get back to a zero length file. Thank dog the laws of physics don't work like that,
Hang on, quantum mechanics ... entanglement ,,. tunneling ..... hmmm. Maybe that's where they got the idea.
While we're at it
How about a FixMyWeather.com to complain about all the days we've had this month (and to be fair, last August, too) when the temperature's barely reached a high of 15C.
I reckon it would stand about as much chance of getting some positive outcomes as the travel version, or the street versions.
Best place to sell 'em
Considering they're going for £150-£200 on the 'bay, these days - that would seem to be the best place to shift them. It might be worth HP's while to qualiifiy the sales as "legitimate stock, not looted" though.
Since it's there, might as well use it
> Mobile networks aren't ideal for such things,
Actually they sound like quite a decent fit for this application. It's not as if the meter HAS to send its readings only once at peak times on a weekday or it's lost forever. They can (and may well be) used overnight and send their readings every few days. If the SMS fails the first time, it'll be no worse than the meter reader trying to call when you're out.
What kind of filter?
> "Without some form of filtering, we would drown in information. So the real question is, if not personalisation, what kind of filtering should we have?
Just a wild idea here. How about a filter based on FACTS, not opinions, biases, dogma, politics, religious belief, what some "personality" thinks or wishes. Since Google already has a ranking algorithm, would it be so hard to tweak it so that actual information is presented above conjecture, gossip, and celebrity.
The problem then is that Google takes the role of "Ministry of truth" (if it hasn't already) and gets to define what we believe.
So would they be including "recreational herbs" in the garden, too?
People will buy a "bargain" even if they never use it. (Cue the Monty Python sketch.)
If this tablet had gone on sale at $99 (or equivalent in the other 95% of the world) it would have been a minor success as "the cheap iPad". However the people who bought it would soon realise it's the I.T. equivalent of a wok. Something you can think of many uses for, but after the first couple of times, never get round to using again.
However, sell it for $hundreds off list price and suddenly the horde is scrambling for it. It'll still end up in the cupboard between the wok and the USB coffee mug warmer, but people are only buying it because it's a bargain - even without the piston engine.
Three lucky guesses in a row
That's the standard definition of an "expert". The same can be applied to a CEO. So far as Jobs and Apple (more specifically, Apple's success with the iPhone/Pad) his three lucky guesses were:
- Make it look pretty. Every other phone was pushing function, features, battery life, cost, size or camera-pixels. Jobs went after the "I don't what it does, but I WANT ONE" market.
- Optimise profit per unit. When the rest of the bunch were chasing market share and making pennies per device, he bucked the trend and went for the high-end. That Apple could exploit that exclusivity, helped too.
- Its not really a phone. This was the biggie. Stevie-boy called it a phone to keep it familiar, but really it was a platform to make buying apps and content easier. It also made calls.
and a bonus, to achieve true super-hero status:
- Make people feel good about owning one. That means get it associated with success, make it visible on TV and in films (but only "good" films, of course), keep the name in the spotlight and squash any and all bad publicity.
So what should Jobs' successor do? Probably as little as possible is the answer. Apple and the i<thing> won't last forever. However the best way to hasten its demse is to mess with the successful formula. Don't introduce a cheap version, don't let the competition grab a share of the "cool" reputation, don't sacrifice "shiny" for production costs, keep up the hype with new models every year and never, ever let it become a commodity item.
So long as the new guy can resist the temptation to try and "make his mark" - the downfall of most post-messianic leaders' replacements - and just keeps playing the game, Apple's probably got another 5 or 10 years left before the maggots get it.
People value convenience over possible small savings
It sounds like Which? would have us spending all our time scanning the internet to search out deals that were lower in cost than what we're already paying. Fine. Some people are rate-tarts and will switch providers at the drop of a hat - or a penny off a tariff.
Many more, however are apparently satisfied with the service, phone, coverage and cost of their existing mobile phone and don't feel the need to waste hours in the pursuit of a deal that may be a little cheaper, may have more "small print", may require them to learn a new handset (when all they want to do is press a button and talk to someone), may not provide such a good service where they live/work and may balls-up the switchover and leave them stuck.
Let's face it, to the majority of people a mobile is merely a device that lets them talk to people. It's not the source for their entertainment, it's not a "lifeline" to the world, it's not a crucial part of their identity and it's certainly not a status symbol - it's just a phone: a minor annoyance, but occasionally handy to have around.
Which? also seem to be missing the bigger picture. These people, who are satisfied, actually subsidise those for whom price IS the overriding factor. If everybody chased the lowest cost deal, all the time, then phone company margins would drop. When everyone was on the cheapest possible tariff, all that would hapen is the phone companies would increase the cost of those tariffs for everyone - just to get their margins back. That would hurt those individuals who really, really needed to save 50p per month (though they'd save even more by not having a mobile - it's not a necessity; like food or rent - maybe someone should have a quiet word?) on their package, to the benefit of those who don't care much if their monthly bill is £60 or £75.
Where's the benefit to Which?'s low-cost chasing horde, then?
Drupal: It's about the modules
Basically, Drupal gives you the skeleton. Whether you dress that up to produce a Jennifer Lopez or a Bella Emberg depends on which modules you base your design on - and whether they can be persuaded to work properly.
Most Drupal modules are, let's say, pieces of hobby code - written by amateurs for their own reasons. When Drupal 7 was being prepped, there was a major initiative to house-clean and "certify" some of the most popular modules, in an effort to whip the Drupal world into some sort of shape. So while the number of modules that can claim some sort of association with some version of Drupal may well be in the 6-figures, the number "blessed" by drupal.org is an order of magnitude less than that. The number that are known to work with Drupal7 is a bit over 2,000.
However, there are probably less than a couple of hundred freely available Drupal7 modules that form the core of reliable, inter-workable and documented code that website designers reach for when creating a Drupal7 site. Even then, the knowledge of HTML, XML, CSS, PHP and a whole lot more alphabetti-spaghetti that you need to know, to get them customised for a professional standard website is huge. Worse: amount of expertise necessary to work out what the hell the previous web designer did, to produce the (undocumented - for they are ALL undocumented) website you're being asked to modify is nothing short of miraculous.
One would presume that to get the next incarnation of Drupal to spit HTML5 would require these modules to change hymnsheets and go through a rewrite process similar to the ones they did to attain Drupal7 standards. It will be interesting to see how many make the grade and how much work will be needed to cut a website across from Drupal7 to Drupal8 - even with all the redesigned needed for a mobile, postage-stamp-sized screen.
SEP? Not forgetting it's close cousin
The sort of mathematical rules that come into play when you try to divide up a restaurant bill. No matter how you do it, it never tallies with the amount on the invoice.
The problem with performance management is that no matter how you do it, it always fails. You monitor all your services. Identify a bottleneck. Spend ££££'s to fix it. Sit back in the glow of a job well done. The phone rings and it's users complaining about the NEXT bottleneck, now that the original one has been relieved.
Bottlenecks are like traffic lights: as soon as you get past one set of delays, you get a little further and the next one gets you.
So the net gain of the ££££'s spent is a small, imperceptible and soon forgotten benefit - whereas the cost is a monkey on your back forever. Each time you ask for more money to fix a performance problem, the bean counters remind your boss that the last attempt didn't work, or was only effective for a few sort weeks. Even if you have the experience to say "ah ha! we need to fix not only the prima-face problem, but all the structural issues behind it" and propose a cost-case to do it, you usually find that the problem goes so deep, the costs are so high and the upheaval so intense that you don't stand a chance of getting it approved. Certainly not for the miniscule and intangible benefits you can only _estimate_ it will bring.
Even invoking the third law of project proposals: The higher the price, the greater the chance of success.
Experience has shown that the best way to deal with performance problems is to ignore them. Leave them until they either cause something vital to crash and burn OR that they start to affect the CEO's computer. (In that case, fix his/her's machine and maybe "have a quiet word" while you're in their presence.) However, to succeed in this strategy, it's vitally important that you do not have any responsibility for systems performance, capacity planning, service quality or any of the other buzzwords that could let someone legitimately ask "Why did you let this happen?". Provided you leave it long enough, and the performance melt-down is severe enough (and can be shown to be someone-else's fault) you can get practically anything you like to fix it - except, of course, a raise.
Just as with the restaurant and settling the bill, performance is something everybody has, but nobody wants to pay for.
Q: How can you break the law if you can't be punished?
If you fine a local authority, it's the council-tax payers who have to pay it. Councils don't have any money of their own: only the money they forcibly extract from people in their region. If some of that is taken away from them in fines, the local people (who paid it) either have to pay more to make up the shortfall, or suffer from reduced services.
The council itself is never made to suffer.
So to say that a number of councils are breaking the law, and that they could be fined because they haven't done some stuff about cookies on their websites, is meaningless. They won't suffer, even if they are found to be doing something illegal. Councils are not people: you can't anthropomorphise them and apply "punishments" or "rewards" as you would to a naughty child. As an organisation, not a person, they are immune to punishment. Consequently trying to apply laws to non-people is ineffective.
The best you can do is ask nicely, "if they oh-so wouldn't mind terribly if they might (when it's convenient) please, have a little look at doing something about all the cookies their websites push out - no pressure at all. Thank you all, very much indeed." The answer, as with everything a council is asked (nicely or not) to do is that it will cost money and need more people - in a time when they have to cut costs and staff. So again: just as with paying fines, it's the tax-payers who get stuffed with the compliance costs.
But what does it do?
It's all very well having one of these. But apart from fondling it, using it as a frisbee or putting it on the mantlepiece as an ornament; what can you actually do with it.
It won't get any upgrades or fixes. It had hardly any apps for the webOS wotsit-thingy that it runs and nobody's going to write any new ones for it.
Now if some enterprising enterprise (or individual) was to port iOS to it, then I reckon $99+VAT would be about the right price for a slab of fondling.
Think of the children
> Getting married puts women at risk of piling on the pounds
So it's got nothing to do with having children after getting married and being unable (or not incentivised) to return to a pre-childbearing weight after the sprog appears?
H2 or He makes little difference
The key is tha amount of buoyancy a given volume of gas provides, not the absolute density of the gas, itself. Air weighs about 1kg per cubic metre. He weighs a lot less (about 1/20th from memory) and Hydrogen about half of that. So the difference in buoyancy between using Helium and Hydrogen is NOT a factor of two (the difference between their densities). It's the difference between their buoyancies, which for He would be about 0.95kg/m3 and 0.98kg/m3 for H2 - that's is a difference of a few percent, or in scientific units: bugger all.
at the very height of its success ...
At which point the CEO turns the growth chart the right way up, mutters "oh crap" and gets on the phone to his broker ... then his lawyer ... then the first flight to anywhere
Still printing money?
Presumably their printer business (last heard of: about 25% of their value) is still raking it in. As is the printer INK biz, which weight-for-weight must be as profitable as drugs - but, strangely, still legal, for all its abuses.
Re: 2 pints a week
What about those (the _other_ gender/sex) who don't drink pints? Presumably they are the balance for a lot of the wine and liquor(???? do they mean liqueurs? sweet, alcoholic drinks like my granny knocks back?) and maybe even some of the cider. Swap it around a bit and you're up to a more "respectable" 4 pints a week
Sounds like money well spent
Since the alternative is having to listen to other peoples' boring stories while sober.
Pah! Had one of these for ages
It's even built into the remote control. There's a little red button (obviously completely unknown to people who continuously complain about TV programmes: "I've just watched the third episode of .... and it's still rubbish") that immediately removes both sight and sound of any annoying individual from the TV. Even better, it saves electricity while doing so.
I think this device is revolutionary - it's certainly changed the way I watch TV and I'm recommending it to all my friends. There's even a handy feature on DVR's - they can be set to record programmes you don't like and play them when you're not in.
Personally, I've never watched a programme I don't like. If I don't like it, I don't watch. Why's that so hard?
> You did know that, right?
Which is why I drew the distinction in the first place.
Are looters the new paedos?
It looks like the british people can only hate so many groups at any one time (much to the annoyance of the Daily Wail, who's sales would be much higher if there was no limit). So given the amount of venom being pointed at looters, does this mean some other group has to be bumped off the pariah's list?
Leaving aside the people (they really shouldn't be blessed with the term "rioters", that implies there was a principle at stake) who started fires and caused damage: smashed up shops, broke windows, vandalised the streets, it'll be interesting to see whether the hate being directed towrards looters can be extended to shoplifters. After all the only real difference between the two is that one steals goods when the shops are open and the other when they're closed.
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