2034 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Business policy by popular vote
Let's take this a bit further. As well as turning their investment strategy into a game show, they could also have a website where customers can register a view on how much their staff should get paid. It could even be a "please stay on the line to vote" feature of calling their help-desk - once their victims have recited their personal details for the tenth time, been kept on hold for half an hour and cut off thrree times, they could be asked how much "My name is Steven" should be remunerated for the "help" he/she/it provided.
Lucky for us
Any recipients (un)fortunate enough to have received and translated the messages from planet Bebo will have concluded from them that we pose no threat whatsoever. Though they may puzzle how such an obviously retarded species ever got the technology to create fire, let alone beam messages across the void.
Oh yes, one small point - you missed out a word:
>tidally locked - with one face constantly turned to its primary, like Mercury
should read "_unlike_ Mercury". it's been known since the 60's that this wasn;t the case.
No (unless you count the passenger)
yes - though it was a helicopter and it was crop spraying and the car did get doused, liberally
yes (deep shame)
badger? no - though I once braked for a wild boar
s/badger/pigeon/ yes - when it hit the windscreen
a badger in a light aircraft with a blue flashing light following a satnav while eating and stoned? - err, not yet - though that would be one _interesting_ insurance claim.
Marked as a road?
While driving through France and Spain, I'm constantly amazed at what my Satnav software has marked as a road. This is not about stupid people following instructions blindly (though there is often a lot of that, as well). No, this is about why things that are so obviously footpaths, goat trails, muddy tracks and farmer's shortcuts are even included in the cartography as being potential routes, at all. I've not driven in Switzerland but have had my fair share of daft instructions from a multitude (Oh, alright: three) different GPSs in various cars urging me to take turnings which have been barely discernible as places where you'd herd sheep, let alone want to take motorised transport.
So while we may laugh at people who do whatever the voice from the little box tells them to, there is also a large portion of blame due to whoever programmed these non-roads into the databases in the first place.
Not just luck
> leading edge of the baby boom were able to get in and have terrific careers
Mostly I think the people who did well out of the BB are the ones who worked hard and had a lot of talent. it wasn't the pure dumb luck of being in the right place at the right time (though as prosperity increased during the 50 s and 60s, that helped) - it was having the right skills, working long hours doing difficult jobs in risky industries that got them to the top. Just as it does with the winners in any generation
> Westerners in the 40-59 age bracket (as the Boomers now are)
I've always understood the "baby boom" was post WW2 when all the military went home and ..... boom!. That makes the boomers born from 1945 to (say)1955. In that case they'd be 55-65, not 40-59 That fits in with being hippy age group in the 60's (aged 15-25)
Also, while the boomers are generalised into ex-hippie, red-braces, greed-is-good types, most people of that era weren't hippies, didn't do drugs. they didn't own a red Porsche in the 80's nor did they wave their wad while drinking champagne.
Although it makes a nice story - complete with a small peppering of schadenfreude for the spiteful to get off on, I don't buy the basic premise, let alone the faulty maths or the generalisations.
If you've done nothing wrong, what have you got to hide? Goes the question asked over and over again by the "I'm happy and like the idea of being scrutinised every minute of the day, it makes me feel safe" brigade. Well, the simple answer is that no matter how innocent. blameless and generally bound for sainthood you might be - or think you are, there's some scrote out there who looks just like you.
If the mugshot of that person shows every blocked pore, every chipped tooth and nasal hair, then a reasonably observant person can, when presented with your phizzog in person and a high resolution print of said photo, tell that you're not the same people. However if the pixel-limited, poorly lit, motion-blurred and partially shadowed glimpse of someone doing something bad correlates on someones computer with the glum, washed out passport photo [ BTW: smile on your PP photo and it'll be rejected - they like their travelers to look oppressed and down-trodden] you submitted some years ago then it's chokey for you, sonny Jim. At least until a real person gets to review the "evidence" after some days of inconvenience and scurrilous rumours amongst the neighbours, when your front door was smashed down at 5:00 a.m. by the anti-<whatever> task force.
It is pretty obvious that you can't make data out of nothing (except in some cheezy cop shows, when you can zoom in on a mobile phone pic. practically down to the quantum level). Most people's eyes are 60 + a bit mm from pupil to pupil. If you have 80 or 90px between eyeballs, you get sub-millimetre resolution. Drop that down to 12px and your resolution (even using sub-pixel interpolation) is going to match maybe one in every ten people just based on their eyes. Add in all the other facial recognition points and you'll find everyone in the UK matches maybe a few hundred or a couple of thousand other, non-burka wearing, individuals - even under the best conditions. You're effectively taking part in an involuntary identity parade every time you're subjected to this sort of facial recognition technology. I just hope you can account for your movements at all times - you might just need to, one day.
and some added bonuses ...
+1 This has the most desirable side effect of stopping any bugger from trying to update the "wrong" file, or creating new ones while the copy is in progress.
p.s. Don't forget the second part of any professional data copying activity is to VERIFY that what you copied actually did turn out to be the same as what you copied from. Many a backup has turned out to be just a blank tape and an error message without this stage.
Change is the enemy of automation
So you've got a bunch of screen-based processes and procedures you have to carry out: Whether it's adding new users, updating the helpdesk status of support requests or reporting the consumption of storage space across the enterprise. All fine and dandy, then some numpty in another part of the organisation goes and changes something.
They might do a software upgrade to the storage manager, or patch the helpdesk software or change the default width of the user's address field. Whatever it is, no matter how far ahead they published the change notice or how innocuous it seemed at the time, things like this break automated processes. You can't test for them before deploying your automated scripts as the nature of the change is unknowable (even down to correcting a spilling mistake that you were screen-scraping for, or creating a new one that you now miss). Hence you now have to spend the time you saved automating something to fix the automation script to account for the new environment.
The end result is that as long as people make software changes, we will always be playing catchup with our automation suites. So all that happens is sysadmins go from spending boring days doing repetitive tasks to boring days debugging faulty automation scripts.
More app suggestions:
The Earth is round
The Earth orbits the Sun
There is only so much oil
The Moon is not made of Cheese
Fire is hot
There are many other countries
It has come to my attention that this country faces serious threats from as yet undisclosed sources of an unknown nature. It is my considered opinion that the treasury should allocate funds sufficient for us to identify all unknown threats and thence to develop countermeasures against them.
Given the nature of the problem, it will not be possible to say when all the unknown threats have been uncovered, therefore it will be necessary for this project to be open-ended. Further, until the nature of these threats is known, the cost of countermeasures will also, be unknowable. I would therefore suggest that we waste no time in starting to look into these potentially disastrous possibilities and set up a series of committees to monitor progress. We should also invite tenders for research into the nature of future developments and provide finance accordingly.
Given your position at the centre of this initiative, you will be ideally placed to direct the companies carrying out this never-ending research and subsequent development when your present term as minister for imaginary, scary hokum comes to an end. This will be a job for life, or until the next government comes to its senses and I therefore popose we dub this PROJECT GRAVYTRAIN.
which is more likely?
> Four files in the database were awry
I wonder is "awry" is a code word for "accidentally deleted"?
There are so many possibilities, such as a tablespace that couldn't auto-extend, database files that had permissions or ownership changed. I doubt that we'll ever be told what really went wrong unless this gets taken to court and all the gory details get reported in the technical press.
Just look out for DBA, storage admin or sysadmin vacancies at Morgan Chase - that'll probably be the only clue we'll get.
The folly of hot backups
> and this corruption was replicated in the hot backup.
Uh, well, duh! yeah. These things only protect against hardware faults. Against buggy software or human error (or malice) they are useless, since whatever gets done to the production instance is automatically done to your copy (maybe if they'd used the word "copy" in their systems architecture, rather than "backup" the apparentness of the shortcoming would have been spotted).
it does sound like a strange choice of resilience - given that the system which failed was already clustered and presumably the EMC storage was RAIDed to hell and back. So any single hardware failure could already be detected and hopefully mitigated in the server cluster or the SAN. Sounds a lot like "management by glossy brochure" rather than a professionally designed _and_ _tested_ failover system.
bluffs of our time
Classic fishing expedition stuff. So far as the tax authorities goes they don't have to use the tech, they just have to make people *think* they're using it. Since no-one on the end of a phone call from the tax man (or woman) can possibly know what they've got wired up to their phone, the conversation can be as simple as:
"Sorry Mr. Pete 2, but our Voice Risk Analyser says you're not being entirely truthful there"
"Ok, you've got me. I *did* forget to include the £1.04p interest from my curent account in last year's tax return"
Which, when it comes down to it is exactly the same technique that the TV Detector vans have been using for decades.
Isn't that just one of the benefits of urban living?
Let's face it there aren't that many (except possibly the emergency services arriving while there's still something to put out, or a pulse that can be revived). The thing that makes the countryside so desirable is the LACK of other people. Where your next-door neighbour isn't forced to earwig your phone conversations and you can't hear their digestive problems every time their toilet flushes. The difference between high density living and low density living means that services are always going to be cheaper to provide for those living cheek-by-jowl than they are for those where the only sound is a goat farting, half a mile away.
Depending on who made what choices, is it reasonable for townies to have to subsidise country folk for the high cost of providing them with fast internet connectivity? If they made a conscious decision to move to the country to "get away from it all". Those who live in rural areas are already used to the lack of things such as public transport, nearby banks and shops. They accept that prices will be higher and choice lower when all you have is a village shop - compared with an ASDA just down the road. Basically: yer makes yer bed .....
All the world's a stage
and all the men and women merely players:
And at this event, you were a player too. The reason the local leaders give speeches at things like this has nothing to do with the event. it's all about tomorrow's newspaper headlines. In that respect, what he says isn't for your consumption, either.
So far as the disorganisation and in-fighting goes, that's all just part of the fun, too. NO committee effort that I've ever seen has been set up for the benefit of the cause it's supposed to serve - it's there for the players (yes, them again) to score points off each other and try for the position of "top dog". It also helps them gain recognition within the companies or administrations they work in where they can increase their own status by collecting more committee memberships than their colleagues. After all, once you get past a certain level recognition counts for more than a pay-rise anyway.
Who writes this stuff?
> virtualisation is a stepping stone to the cloud
(that splashing sound was someone stepping off the stepping stone, falling through the cloud and ending up in the river).
it gets even better:
> unless an organisation changes its behaviour across the board, then things will be done in the same vein as they have always been done
What all this verbiage boils down to is that some IT operations are using virtualisation. Some of those use it to host lots of old servers on fewer, larger boxes and some use it to provide flexibility when they need extra capacity.
Have I missed anything?
Interpretation of the law, but not tested
What we seem to have here is a clever guy, being asked by the cops what he, or she (the gender of the QC not being revealed - or relevant) thinks the law might mean. They then take this as gospel and decide on that basis not to pursue anything which their chap thinks might not count.
So effectively this QC has decided what the law will be. I guess we'll never be given the chance to discover what an actual court - with real defendants, a jury an' stuff - would make of this, since the police don't seem to be inclined to present a case for their consideration.
This narrow interpretation, narrow to the point of almost making the law impossible to break, does relieve the fuzz of a lot of work. It's difficult to tell whether that's due to their avoidance of anything to do with 'pooters (such as not investigating identify theft) or simply that the law was poorly constructed.
Did they invent the bugs, too?
Funny thing happened to my browser recently (FF, Ubuntu). I could only get 10 entries listed for a search - I have explicitly set it to give me 50 at a time.
Open up settings and, yes, the search settings had been reset back to the default of 10. Fixed that, saved my settings, went back to search - still only getting 10 entries. Switched off "instant" which had appeared unannounced next to the search button, went back to my settings (which had also reset itself back to 10 entries). Set that back, again, to 50, saved it (again) and this time it stuck.
As a test, I switched instant back on - whammo, only 10 entries returned and my setting of 50 had been set back to the default.
So Google, maybe when this facility is out of beta, and working properly, I'll give it another try. But until that time: instant search? nein danke.
Oh well, there goes all my bandwidth
> guaranteed quality of service.
So while all my neighbours are getting their guaranteed X MBit/s on the BT owned copper from the exchange to our collective local distribution box, the rest of us who just want to send the odd email will be left fighting for scraps from whatever's left over in the contention ratio.
How long till they master camouflage
They already have .... that's why we can't see that they've infiltrated everywhere
Hardly crazed - more like taking the next logical step.
Computers tell us lies all the time. Whether it's "20 spaces free" at the local multi-storey or "you don't owe us any tax" to take a contemporary example. So when you put wheels on a computer and call it a robot, there's really no difference.
As it is, most people are incredible easy to deceive (if that makes sense) and are willing to believe pretty much anything they read, hear or see on a computer screen - provided they want to believe it. So maybe what we really need is a magic mirror that lies fluently when asked "does my arse look big?"
After all it's not the computer / robot that's deceiving us, it's our own willingness to accept the lies we are told.
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
is it like the tasking capabilities: multi or single?
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.
was what I really meant.
- Vid Hubble 'scope scans 200,000-ton CHUNKY CRUMBLE ENIGMA
- Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?
- Google offers up its own Googlers in cloud channel chumship trawl
- Interview Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON
- Apple to grieving sons: NO, you cannot have access to your dead mum's iPad