1612 posts • joined Wednesday 10th June 2009 14:47 GMT
A very quick way to destroy your business
...is to bet your future on what people SAY they'll do.
Yes, everybody would like to live somewhere nice - though I doubt if the S.E. would qualify as "nice", after it's become completely chokka with the massive influx of people who _say_ they'd like to move there. Maybe the question should have been:
"Would you like to spend 50+++% of your income on a mortgage for a tiny little rabbit hutch of a house, just so you can live in a region where the rain is a little bit warmer?"
When phrased like that, I doubt if you'd get many takers - especially ones who (as the piece notes) would still be willing to lose £6,900 from their pay to do so.
Personally I don't care where I live, so long as I have some space around me, a decent sized house (reckon on 1000 sq. ft. per person), some garden, a supermarket, pub and transport links. But most of all, it *MUST* have a fast broadband connection.
Maybe I'd sell my tiny little shoebox in the S.E. and buy up an abandoned town somewhere "ooop north" - so long as it has ADSL, of course.
and the most significant cock-ups are ...
... from management. Who don't understand the effects their decisions will have, fail to communicate all the relevant information to the design teams, put pressure on meeting delivery targets rather than quality targets and only have an attention-span long enough for sound-bite conclusions.
Of course, since they're not the people pressing the buttons, none of their mistakes ever make it to the light of day. All that happens with poorly managed companies is that their security gets worse and worse. They implement less and less efficient policies in a series of ill-thought out panic measures, becoming more and more restrictive and slower to innovate: given all the layers of approvals, decision making, buy-ins, CYA-ing and shared responsibility until they are totally unable to compete.
sounds like ...
... the americans invited a whole bunch of countries to a war, but they all had better things to do.
This VDI thing - I can't shake the feeling that it's Citrix desktop all over again. That somehow got stuck in a time-warp from 1999 and has reappeared with a bunch of (forgetful) venture capitalists willing to plunk down a load of cash for something that's been done before.
No matter how you wrap up thin client computing, you still have to put a PC on user's desk - though we don't call them PCs, so that's all right then. After that, you don't use this PC (sorry: thin client) to actually run the stuff the user wants. You put a number of delays in the system and a honkin' great server - that has to keep running 24*7 even if there's only one lonely git in at weekends - and run their stuff on that instead. Along with all the other users who will each have to compete for resources at peak times, which is exactly when they need their own MAX performance - which their PC (ooops, again) has plenty of - going to waste as ill its doing is running a pretty front-end, and trying to compensate for all the inefficiencies designed into the thin clients, by thick suppliers.
sounds like making the evidence fit the result
Q: How can we spin this so that it seems like these birds are attracted to intelligent males?
A: find out what the most successful males do better and call that intelligence.
Whereas in fact, the females are simply being turned off by "naff" red objects in the males' bowers. This sounds to me like taste / fashion / fadishness, rather than anything deeper. If that's so, then it sounds like Aussie birds are being turned on or off by the same traits that turn on (or off) other birds of all nationalities and species: namely they are attracted to males who show some amount of style, or even (perish the thought) fashion-sense.
There is one telling phrase in the report:
The best problem-solvers scored the most copulations,
Again, when the problem is "how do I score the most copulations?" this would seem to mark a success. However if the problem was "how do I get the high score in my video game?" then those birds probably wouldn't get it off very often - but might have equally satisfactory lives, based on their own measures of success. provided you don't mind the high-scorers forming a dead line in the evolutionary tree.
Maybe that was the dinosaurs' problem: great at gaming, crap at procreating.
A passing phase
The evolution is from "dumb" phones with local storage to smart phones and their ability (if not requirement) to hold data on a third party's system - whether that's gmail, office applications or whatever. In that situation, breaking into, hacking or cracking the phone becomes a futile activity -as the good stuff won't be held there anyway.
If all the police are interested in is finding the phone owner's identity, there are easier, faster and more reliable ways of doing it - such as DNA evidence or even looking in their wallet / handbag. However if that's merely a smokescreen to their real intentions of snooping in other peoples' affairs then I can't say I'm sorry if anyone makes that difficult for them.
and it was going so well
right up until the last word. Try "brouhaha".
for all the "barbaric" and "primitive" posts
so you've never seen the police squared up against a demonstration in britain, with batons out, then?
Just as barbaric, probably far less targeted and completely without any judicial process (or oversight) about who gets hit, with what and how many times or even if they were doing anything actually illegal.
Motes and eyes, anyone?
It makes doing remote support SO much easier.
For family members who are clueless about technology (or CIOs - the situation is the same), you can't get a rational explanation about what's gone wrong, so being able to attach remotely to the underlying O/S and then go into their VMd environment is worth every penny that the freeware costs.
The biggest benefit comes when you can couple this with VNC: "show me what you mean" is worth half an hour of questions and answers and then being able to reboot their VM while still staying connected to the Linux system underneath is very convenient.
So long as you've been able to set up the system to boot up and start their windows O/S automatically, the users never have to be aware of what's going on. Since they aren't likely to want to play games, the need for speed just doesn't arise. (Aside: most office users don't even need the performance that a 1GHz box supplies - provided they stick to a decent windows O/S like XP. Further, software developers should be MADE to develop their applications on the minimum spec. box they claim will run it. That way they'll take care about writing efficient code.)
It does have one drawback however, instead of trying to fix faults themselves, the ease at which intra-family support (i.e. me) can sort things out means that the call goes out for every little problem.
Haw many staff *really* need to send external email?
So, you're sitting at your desk in the chicken-farm. Along with all the other drones: in long lines, each with the company approved PC, phone, chair and pen. What part of your job requires you to send emails to your personal email address / your friends / other companies (who aren't on the approved supplier list)? You may even ask: what part of your job involves surfing, using facebook, linkedin (I didn't know that was still going), twatter etc. - not that you could send much confidential info in each twot, but I digress.
Maybe, rather than employ staff to oversee, censor and inform on all these dubious activities, why not save some headcount, increase productivity and cut virus infections AT A STROKE by axeing internet access. Let's face it, most orders are send without any human intervention, most emails get ignored or misinterpreted and the only real way to get high quality information is face-to-face: with phone calls a very poor second - maybe even third choice, after posting pieces of paper.
Not that this would have any effect on leaks of real information. That would still get left on trains, smuggled out on thumb-drives, stolen on unsecured laptops and slipped off the MD's tongue after the 4th G&T at the golf club.
All you'd really do (apart from massively increasing your staff productivity) would be forcing them to invent other excuses about why the business is doing badly. Most organisations don't actually have any secrets worth a damn, anyway.
lamp-posts and blame
If you fed IBMs announcement through a bullsh!t filter, you'd probably get nothing out the end. However, if you turned the setting down a bit, so it just removed the total BLX, it might, just come out that IBM want to sell local councils a chap(ess) with a calculator, as they have realised two things:
- local councils have access to vast amount of money, as they can just tap all their residents for as much as they want - without ever having to justify it. And they'd like some of it, too, please.
- council employees aren't as bright as IBM (thinks its) people (are). They therefore need somepone else to state the bleedin' obvious to them and to back that up with reports: for which they charge by the word, that no-one will ever read but can point to if challenged.
- third (did I say two things?) the one thing that councils, or any other government body wants more than it's limitless supply of other people's money is indemnity. The ability to have another person or company who they can point the finger at and say "it wasn't our fault. It was them." This is the real value that IBM are selling here and one that any elected body will pay dearly for. The role of "can carrier" for all the stupid decisions that local councils will now be able to foist on them, rather than having to make up excuses for themselves - which no one ever believes, anyway.
I would also expect that IBM's reports will be used more to justify councils' random decisions, than to inform them, in the same way that drunks use lamp-posts.
No worse than a credit card
> NO2ID is concerned about the normalisation of handing over huge amounts of info where there is no clear need
This sounds like a knee-jerk reaction. When you use a credit or debit card, you're handing over more info than this (as it includes your CC number) which could be put to far worse uses. If this bunch are worried about "normaliing" the handing over of data, I'd suggest they are far, far too late. As for HUGE amounts? The card user only has 2 pieces stored: that's not HUGE. This just makes them sound shrill and loses whatever remaining credibility they may have started out with.
P.S. I wonder if they require people to give their names and addresses when they join NO2ID
doctors have heard it all before
People come up with some ludicrous excuses (so I'm told!) for how certain items and appliances got attached to, or inserted into, their more intimate areas. However, lashing up a youtube video just to explain why you've got a USB stick up your bum, is taking it to rather extreme lengths .
Talk of biometrics is irrelevant
Turning their quote back on them
>underpinning interactions and transactions between individuals, public services and businesses and supporting people to protect their identity"
Now, unless each individual whose transaction is being "underpinned" just happens to have a gizmo capable of reading a card's biometric data, all you have is a laminated piece of card with a photo on it. Even if (somehow) a private citizen is capable of - or allowed to - read the information about someone else's fizzog, they still have to decide if what the card tells them actually looks like the person holding it.
What will then happen is baddies will start carrying an ID-card "lite", which is just the laminated card - sans biometrics, with whoever's name and details they choose. These can be used to exploit the trusting nature of the general population, while allowing them a full getaway as any of their victims will be able to recount to the cops (if they are even the slightest bit interested, or turn up at all), the identity as was written on the bogus card. Having been lulled in to a false sense of security, that "it's a government issued ID card - it must be all right".
So the only people who might, just, be able to use all this wonderful tech. are government agencies, including the police. I would hazard a guess that very soon, failure to produce an ID card will become an offence with a fixed penaly attached - say £50. Which is enough to make it worth collecting, but too little for victims to risk the costs of asking for proper justice through the courts.
How often does someone tell you (or you tell your boss) that "it'll be ready in two weeks". It seems to be the favourite about of delay to report - being close enough to be not worth kicking up a fuss over, yet far enough away to remove the immediate pressure. Of course, in two weeks it'll still need "just another couple of weeks" to finish it off.
And so to NASA, who keep delaying, postponing, pushing back and rescheduling pretty much everything they are asked, or propose to do.
Looking back at the Moon landing, one insightful individual commented that as well as being NASA's greatest success, it was also their biggest failure. Until that time, they had a goal: a very prestigious goal, with money no object. After Neil had fluffed his lines .... they had nothing: job done, party over, time to pack up.
Ever since then, they've been trying to get back to those glory days with some nice big spectaular successes - and if they happen to bring about a small increase in the sum of human knowledge? well, that's nice, too. However they've learned the lesson from 1969. Make the pitch, get the sale, promise the Moon (or Mars), but for God's sake don't deliver - as once you do, you're back to zero again. Far better to fob off the politicians, who want to know when they can hijack the publicity and bask in all the fame-by-association, with the NASA equivalent of "it'll be another couple of weeks" - or in this case "a few more years".
Just keep 'em on the hook, throw 'em the occasional bone (!), but make sure you never land on the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Why pick on twitter?
> Most of Twitter is pointless babble, spam and self promotion,
he same can be said of the internet in general, TV too, newspapers definitely and probably of the whole of the human race's interactions within itself. The trick is to select the pointless babble that coincides with your points of view - and to discard the rest.
Don't even get me started on people who talk to their pets
Sounds like just another tax
Charge for this, charge for that - no matter how they wrap it up or how much spin is applied. It simply boils down to people paying money to the government. Usually without any say in the matter, nor with any options being made available, and frequently without even the ability to opt-out.
promising, but still a work in progress
The developers talk about automatic take off and landing, GPS waypoint navigation. However, all the video shows is an R/C toy - controlled from the ground.
I would guess that their choice of battery powered motors (c.f. liquid fuelled) would reduce the flight-time of the vehicle, but no information was given about how long it could stay up, or about it's ability to keep station in windy conditions.
I hope this project gets developed and I *really* hope they can get the unit to the point where it fulfills all it's objectives and becomes commercially available for a couple of hundred pounds / euros.
No doubt then it'll get banned.
And how many employers lie about the vacancy
phrases like "interesting and challenging", "scope for promotion", "lively and motivated team", "excellent work environment". I think that if anyone was bold enough to carry out this survey the answer would be that 100% of them do.
Frequently the doc is only a small part of the experience
Just as important is how easy the surgery is to get to. What parking is like. How efficient are they at losing people's notes and other data. Whether the receptionists are complete facists (or show a glimmer of humanity). How easy it is to get an appointment and just what other diseases, ailments or injuries you're likely to pick up in the waiting room.
Probably the best indicator of a "good" practice is where the other doctors go when they're ill.
Meteors? meh! Iridium flares rock
Funny thing about the Persieds. The moon is either in its first or last quarter when these are on. Plus the light pollution that smothers almost all the populated parts of the UK - and then there's the cloud!
Much better to check out sunlight reflected off the Iridium satellites (known as "flares") which happen all year round, are predictable and brighter than 9 out of 10 (or 99 out of 100) meteors. Pop over to www.heavens-above,com, plug in your lat./long. and get a forecast for the next week.
The good thing is, you can drink just as much beer, lying back on the sun-lounger, waiting for the flare as you can waiting for a meteor that never comes.
Q: what is the actual cost incurred for a phone call.
We know what the operators charge for (say) a 1 minute call. What I'd like to know is how much money does that 1 minute call actually cost them. How much do they pay out to other operators, what costs of theirs go up - that wouldn't get paid or go up if the call wasn't made. And what proportion of the call goes to paying their debts, overheads, shareholders and infrastructure costs.
And the same for a text message, MMS and 1MByte of data transmission, please.
Too tired for a shag at night? Simple ...
... shag in the morning, instead. You never know, that might even help to lower the number of office affairs, misconduct accusations AND make people happier at work. At least it would make the morning conversations at the coffee machine more interesting.
So every time an american court has a hearing and makes a filing, it's breaking their copyright law. So, that break in their law should lead to a hearing which would require making a filing. That filing would break copyright law, which would require a hearing and more filing ....
it sounds to me like the (lucky) lawyer who gets to deal with all these violations will very soon own the whole country, as there is apparently no way to stop each case leading to a new one - until the whole system runs out of money and declares itself bankrupt. However, that would also require a hearing and therefore lead to a filing, which would start another line of infinitely recursing hearings, violations and (presumably) fees owed - but not paid, seeing as how the whole legal system would now be bust, to lawyers.
Higher profits for Apple, lower profits for insurance companies
I foresee one outcome of this being a lot more electronic devices being "lost" or "stolen" or "dropped". Rather than claim back on warranty - or consumer laws, people who fiddle with their kit and break it will now just claim on their insurance, or credit-card cover. All that's happening is Apple are reducing their insurance costs, while keeping the goods the same price and passing on the risk to people who buy their stuff: a price rise by stealth.
@Oliver Humpage Three letters: ESD. Remember this is just phase #1. Next will come the idea that if it was opened, it should have been done by a qualified engineer, with a certified anti-static regime (read: Apple approved outlet). Otherwise opening will be deemed to have zapped something, which will void your warranty. This isn't such a new idea: we've all seen these labels on disk drives and no-one expects to take one of them apart on the kitchen table and be able to use it again afterwards.
@Glen Turner 666
> a world flooded with artificial images is new
Not that new.
Every studio-shot TV programme is full of participants who have spent hours in "makeup" before the camera goes on. On the few occasions where there's an outside shot, with the presenter "au natural", the difference between them and the perfect example of the makeup artist's art in the studio is stark (but welcome).
An article a year or two ago commented that HDTV was meeting some resistance from the vainer members of the (ooops, I nearly said "profession"), TV clique as their facial hair, pimples and imperfect teeth were now more prominent.
Maybe a better use of this lady's time would be to campaign for actors and presenters on TV to appear as they really are.
however the saddest thing
is that the youngest of these films is 25 years old.
Since it's a poll, not a sales volume thing, there's no advantage from older movies having more time to sell in greater numbers. However, the age of the top ten entries might just tell you something about the age of the poll responders.
(I'm not sure why the article calls Vangelis' score "seminal" he'd done lots of stuff, before that piece - including Chariots of Fire, so it wasn't even his first major film soundtrack).
I smell a "sloan ranger"
"but, my dear, I simply can't live without my Range Rover - I don't know how you manage with that bicycle (and with only the one, too)".
Really, this is the most sniffy, superior piece I've read in a long time. Calling uptake in internet usage an improvement. Would the same be said about car usage? - maybe in the unenlightened times of 50 years ago!! Hmmm. The tone is similar to what you hear about "the olden days" when people only had black and white TV, or rationing, or steamships as the only way to get from continent A to continent B.
There are lots of people (incl. my mum) who live full and happy lives without internet access. There are just as many - probably even more, who don't have a phone line to hang their ADSL off. Are they deprived? are they unhappy with their lot? are they somehow less important, or significant because of this?
Given that in large parts of Europe, away from urban centres, a basic, slow and intermittent ADSL connection will cost you over £300++/year, ON TOP of a phone line rental - a better question might be: do most people who actually pay the bill, get value for money from all this internet hype?
while they're at it ...
... why not ban cosmetics, diets, implants, designer clothes and hair colouring, too.
As a casual observer, it seems to me that the people least able to deal with these "improvements" are the cut-off-from-reality, idealists who, errr, did NOT grow up with all this technology. The people they assume are "victims", who are oh-so impressionable that they feel driven to look like "the girl in the picture" are in fact the most cynical, world-wise and critical individuals you will ever have the misfortune to meet. They can spot a photoshopped image a mile off and dismiss it as fake at a glance (while also appreciating the artistry that went into the manipulation).
in fact, it can have an empowering effect - as you could take the most dumpy, spotty kid on the block and "photoshop" away all the imperfections - without them having to diet, trowel on the slap or spend £200 on a hair-do.
(still) fighting the wrong war
I used to work with someone who's method of fixing code that wouldn't compile was simply to remove the offending lines. Once they got a clean compile the program was declared "working". This had the desired effect of producing a lot of "fixes" with relatively little effort, while making the lives of the testers, users and anyone associated with the software, a lot worse. As a side-effect it guaranteed that new bugs would be found and more "fixes" needed.
Now, to change the subject not at all. Let's consider american weapons of war. These usually involve making things with even more destructive power, to remove even bigger imagined threats. What they always fail to do is analyse just why the problem exists in the first place - and then look for possible fixes to the root-cause. Instead, once the target (be it a person, a regime, a bunch of uninhibited caves, or an entire other country) is removed they declare "job done" - until the same or a worse problem reappears later. Meanwhile any innocents caught up in the middle of these operations become either refugees, radicalised or dead.
Instead of using billion dollar bombers to drop earthquake bombs on people, how about showering them with a clean water supply, reliable electricity, decent infrastructure and stable jobs. It would be far cheaper, more lasting and might even win some friends.
p.s. Tip: don't test these toys anywhere near an earthquake fault.
pps. Don't give baddies any ideas about how to trigger, say, an earthquake near a major city.
eggs and baskets
First of all, virtual machines are nothing new. They've been the main, if not only way that mainframes have been managed for years, or decades even. While it's very easily just to click a new VM into existence, the mainframe world has never had any major problems with VM proliferation. This could be because the world opf mainframes is one of slow, considered administration based on a stable systems architecture. The mainframe world also comes with the tools to manage and document VMs, to ensure everyone can see exactly what's going on.
The main danger posed by virtualising everything is not understanding the risks. Running 10 VMs on one host means that if (when?) that single piece of hardware blows a fuse then you haven't just lost 1 service, you've lost a whole bunch - so the hardware reliability drops by a factor of the number of VMs each box is hosting.This is not so much an issue for mainframes, where a hardware fault is quite rare - but for a commodity level server, built down to a price-point the chances of the lights going out are higher and not well understood.
It's not just the physical hardware either. Consider other shared components such as the network. If the cleaner trips over the 1000Bt that's carrying all the traffic from all the VMs, then they too all fail at once. Same goes for storage connections too. All the reliability risks get multiplied.
Talking of which: a secondary risk, that's been in play for a long time now is an effect we see on storage arrays - people (managers, mainly) having no appreciation of how the users of shared resources interact with each other. All too often the link between allocated resources and physical hardware is too abstract, and consequently is viewed as simply a bottomless pit. I've seen situations where a production database slows down terribly for no apparent reason. After a *lot* of investigation it turns out to be because another business unit in another building has mirrored their backup staging area onto someone's production spindles. All completely different volumes, of course. However no-one made the connection down at the metal level. I can see much more of this sort of problem occurring in cloud-computing land, where no-one really knows which physical resources are being used by which production systems.
Where to start?
Bobby Kennedy once commented "20% of the people are against everything". It seems this 20% has got itself an unelected (unless you're a bishop) voice. Whatever changes are afoot, the catholics think they're a bad idea. Although whether a priest is qualified to comment about the relationships that normal (i.e. ones who have not taken a vow of celibacy, poverty and dedication to god) people choose to have, is debatable.
This just seems to be another illustration of just how cut off these guys are. Which may provide some clues about why their congregations are at an all-time low, their recruitment rates are catastrophic and their credibility virtually non-existent . Even worse: their weekly collections are suffering massively.
Maybe if god got him/her/it/them-self a facebook page, starting taking paytpal and got on the twitter - that would start to address both the credibilty and popularity issues - though Sheryl Crow would have to update her song about "nobody calling on the phone / except the pope maybe in rome"
"the world"? ... I think not
Sorry to inject some reality into this. But I just stuck my head out of the window - guess what I heard? Yup, no whining!
While a few journos in america might be having a good old whinge about this, I would suggest that the vast majority of that country's population have neither knowledge nor interest in the situation. As for the other 95% of the world - I sincerely doubt that many of them have heard of AT&T: let alone this 4chan thing (whatever a "gullet" of the internet is) - not being english speakers, 'n all.
Maybe a better headline would be something like:
"Small, but vocal minority bleats about obscure internet restrictions - no-one really affected"
> That would be the reason Women don't get to the top of professions as much as men
Apparently not. (anyway, I said nothing gender-specific). The point is that high paying jobs are the rewards for putting in the work. Look again at what I said - there's a phrase: " ... improving the conmpany's profits ..." that's the key. Obviously the more time a talented worker spends working the greater the contributions they will make, hence higher rewards. I had hoped that would have been obvious, and I wouldn't have to spell it out. Apparently not.
If yo really want to talk about pay-gaps, which is straying WAY off topic, read this piece from the FT
Apart from the observation that “Men want power enough to hang on to it and women don’t want it enough to make them let go.” (this observation by Lucy Kellaway - I'm not saying I hold to it though), the piece considers the reasons why women tend to earn less and don't get as many top jobs as men can be summed up as:
"Far more important was what happened when children came along. If you look only at promotions and earnings, childless women are all but indistinguishable from men."
Which gave rise to my closing comment about freedom and choice.
The thing that AP and its chums have failed to realise is that their industry is dead - it just hasn't stopped running around yet. Rather than spending their diminishing resources on fighting legal battles that are, in terms of their long-term effectiveness, irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of internet users, they should be developing a strategy that assumes the internet *will* be (if it isn't already) the dominant medium for news dissemination. The job of the directors, editors and leaders in the field is to protect the shareholders' investments and transition the obsolete practices, mechanisms and legal position into this medium. If they don't manage it, they'll just get steamrollered. Firing off lawsuits won't stop it, though it might just prolong the agony and deplete their finances and really piss-off their prospective customers.
One thing we learned from The Alamo is that sheer weight of numbers is bloody hard to beat. So given that we have a handful of news, music and media organisations hunkered down and fending off technological threats. On the other hand we have half a billion bloggers, users and surfers who don't give a stuff about copyright and intellectual property (especially when it''s all in a foreign country). My money's on the horde!
The top salaries *are* worth it.
Not necessarily because the individual who hold the position actually makes the organisation that much more profit (although as they are the only individuals in positions of pivotal decision-making, very fews others have the authority to decide on the directions that make or lose the corporate millions or billions).No. these people get paid a lot to incentivise the people below them.The reward of the "lower ranks" for the hard work and long hours they put in, is that one day - if they stick at it long/hard enough, is that they'll get the top paying job and then become the figurehead who spends all day "working" with other executives, on the golf course.
People seem to think that getting and keeping high paying jobs is about talent - if you've good enough, you'll be rewarded. Those people are wrong: to get the best paying jobs involves putting in more than the 9 - 5, 5 days a week. The promotions and pay rises are rewards for 60-hour weeks, working weekends and evenings. Taking work home and spending time away from home improving the company's profits. Oh yes, and having the dependability to not rush off and abandon a piece of work 'cos little Jonny's developed a runny nose (or other orifices).
You can either have a work-life balance, or you can go for the money. It's a free country, make your choices.
there are cheaper alternatives
Namely: going to the cinema.
Really, while this screen might be useful to someone who watches blu-ray movies all day and night, for normal folk, who might sit down to one (maybe) once or twice a week, it would be far cheaper to haul your arse out of that armchair, step outside your front door and go out for the evening. You never know, you might even make an occasion out of it .
Most people will spend most of their time watching TV - whether HD or normal (discuss: HD doesn't actually make the programmes any better - the dialog, scenes and storyline are still the same. A better picture for crap content isn't much of a deal) so the very expensive extra screen real-estate is wasted. Further, although this puppy will show the full width of a movies, every producer, director, actor and audience member knows that all the "good stuff" happens in the centre 4:3 section of the screen - so that it can be later chopped about when it gets sold to the telly companies. So all you're paying for is a few bits of peripheral scenery - it's a lot of cash to lay down for what amounts to a bunch of trees.
could, may, possibly
The 21st century's weasel words strike again. Rather that actually coming out and making a definitive statement - showing confidence, leadership and certainty, we have yet another wishy-washy company trying to scare the ignorant, but powerful with a stream of invective that contains nothing except a few unsubstantiated (and possibly borderline xenophobic) horror stories. It plays on their lack of knowledge, common sense or practical experience, by waving the spectre of modern-day (but probably non-existent) boogie-men at the media, without making any sort of appraisal of the likelihood, of such a threat every materialising.
It would be reasonable to question their motives - which one could guess are less concerned with a few baddies making free calls (and thus bringing about the downfall of freedom, capitalism and the american way of life) than with their own well-being and profits.
What I can't understand is how this company can still garner such a mass of uncritical infatuation, given it's obviously restrictive terms of business, closed designs and unwillingness to let others share and improve it's products. Don't they teach the fable of a Wolf in sheep's clothing, any more?
time to outsource?
Following a review committee, no doubt the UK will now re-evaluate it's space programme (again) and decide to cancel future projects. Instead, it will buy excursions on a piece of Brie, launched from a secret facility in the Laungedoc region.
To all the ISps' apologists
OK, we all know that when we sign up for an "up to ..." we're handing the ISPs a get-out clause on a plate. However when you look at it from a value or resources used perspective, their position changes a lot.
Think of 2 customers who live near to each other, with the same ISP and on the same tarriff. One has a nice, new phone line whereas they other has one that's connected to the local exchange with rusted up screws and corroded cables. The lucky first punter gets close to the "up to " speed - say 7MBit/sec on an "up to 8Mbit/sec" promise, . The other one gets, maybe 1.5MBit/sec.
Now the uncaring, dog-eat-dog attitude would be "well, the slow one could always change" or "well, the ISP's small print doesn't promise anything better" or "I'm all right, Jack. Why should I worry about other people's slow lines - look at me: I'm getting 100Mbit down my optical link" or a ton of other similar comments. However, from a value for money viewpoint the slow user is not getting the same service that the fast one gets - even though they're paying the same. neither are they using the same proportion of the ISPs resources - so they're in effect subsidising the fast users (or being exploited - depending on how extreme a position you want to take).
The point about Ofcom, that they have utterly failed to comprehend, or address, is the asymmetric nature of the power-balance in these situations. The ISPs have it all, and the customers have none - just the random situation: good or bad, that factors outside their control have conspired to place them in. Ofcom should be using their position to rebalance or even regulate the nature of the supplier-customer relationship, maybe with rules, maybe with a large stick - if a "quiet word" doesn't do the trick. A very good way to shift the balance of power would be to require ISPs to either remove the "up to .." clause, which predicates all their selling and price structures, or to require a metering system where customers pay for what they get, or what they use. Since Ofcom are intent to do neither, they have no worth and should be replaced with a regulator who actually plays for the side they're supposed to be on.
but can we pay "up to" £10 a month?
Borrow long, lend short. Thus goes an old "city" adage as the way to make money. Maybe this should be revised for the internet age as "advertise long, sell short". Being the lucky recipient of an "up to 16MBit/s" internet connection and being cursed with an inquisitive mind and a feeling that it never actually lived up to what I was paying for, I long ago started monitoring what I, personally, got from my ISP.
The results are, err. interesting.
The best I ever get is 14.4MBit/sec and a latency to the ISPs first system of around 26mSec.However this is interspersed with periods where the service is up and down like the proverbial - sometimes for days on end and frequently at weekends. (Whether due to higher loads, or lack of weekend cover, or that's when they choose to break: sorry: upgrade, things I cannot say). I also get more prolonged periods where the speed drops to 3 - 4 MBit/sec ever since the ISP decided to start "managing" the connection.
However, during all these ups and downs, high speeds and low speeds (and no-speeds) the one thing that it surprisingly constant is the fee the ISP sucks out of my bank account every month. Now I realise that their costs are pretty much fixed: 'puters, hell-desk, buildings, desks etc. but it would be nice if there was just the faintest glimmer of paying-for-what-you-get in this whole ISP shenannigans, rather than being sold short.
Time to off-shore those websites.`
So the govt. has demonstrated (maybe to it's surprise) that it's possible to get a website removed for what amounts to no reason.
[as an aside: so where *did* this email originate - if the headers are available, and the cops have the ability to associate IP addresses with people for anti-terror or anti-paedo reasons, they should be able to do it in this case, too],
... No doubt we can expect them to flex their muscles in this arena again ..... and again. I would expect this sort of action to become a common occurrence as the Olympics (oh goody! 3 years today!) gets closer, to protect both the sponsors and olympics "good name" - by squashing any and all criticism under a wall of litigation. Luckily british law only extends as far as the seaside, so maybe people should give serious thought to siting their websites on servers in countries were there is still at least the semblance of freedom.
it's a peculiarly british way to execute censorship: neither as efficient nor as all-encompassing as a great-firewall-of-britain, yet draws as much flak - at least among the digitally literate.
punish the residents
OK, put aside the ins and outs of this particular case and just how many locked rooms a lappy with personal data has be stored in to satisfy this particular QANGO. Let's talk about what will happen in the future, now that we have been told the ICO are being given the power to levy fines.
In times to come they will have the right to extract money from transgressors. In the case of fining a local authority, just who gets hurt? Not the individual who's lax observance of the rules led to the lapse (well, they might get told how naughty they've been and please don't do it again, or we'll have to suspend you on full pay and send you to your room), as council workers are pretty much bullet-proof: short of causing people to die, anyway. Nor will blame be apportioned to the committees that came up with the inadequate security measures in the first place.
Given that in future those local authorities who are found guilty and fined for their shortcomings will not suffer the consequences themselves, it's hard to see what the point of punishing their tax-payers would be.
The fine will become the burden of the council-tax payers. It will reduce the council's available cash, so either they will raise council taxes to account for it, or they will reduce services to balance the budget. Given that they are not accountable to their "customers", who most councils regard as merely a source of never-ending revenue: it's difficult to see how imposing a financial penalty on an organisation who will just pass it on to the innocent, but easily-tappable residents would be any sort of deterrent.
> Sorry, but they are fucking ugly
hey, what's wrong with us fuglies?
However, I would humbly suggest that even the most raving city-dwelling greenie, once their power has been off for a couple of days, once their fridge contents have rotted, their pile of dirty laundry has taken over the bedroom and the romance of "dinner by candle light and no TV" has waned, will be leading the charge in their bulldozers. Screw the view, screw the poor 'ickle birdies and the endangered lesser-spotted dung-beetles; Their new battle cry will be " I WANT MY LIGHTS ON." and "I WANT THEM ON NOW!"
Idealism has it's place - usually in nice, comfortable armchairs, away from the hustle and bustle of cold, stark reality. Preferably in the company of other, like thinking individuals. Where they can engage in mental jousts of "risky shifts", trying to out-do each other with more extreme and impractical eco-bollox. However, once this nice, safe environment has disappeared in a prolonged puff of NIMBY-ism, what's left is a house full of screaming kids. Bratish individuals who, due to a daily diet of console games, TV, internet, instant gratification and instant microwave nosh, have the attention span of a butterfly - but the voice of a fishwife with her err, fingers caught in a mangle.
You can only hide behind The Guardian for so long - after that you've got to face them (and regret all those thoughts about "our children are the future ...") and explain that the reason they can't have hot food is because the electric cooker needs power, and they can't have any icecream because the freezer's gone off, and their videogames won't work because the electricity has been cut. And they can't even go and read a book as there aren't any lights - either. Once these people get to become voters, they will have a hard-nosed craving for power, power and more power. Too bad for communities who live in low-lying coastal regions. Shame about the increasing number of "dusty" coutries, and their parched populations. Pity that all the wildlife has curled up and died, but it's all the price they will be willing to pay for not letting the lights go off again - after the hard and well-learned lessons of their electricity-rationed childhoods.
... they'd like their sense of naive optimism back.
Britain hasn't been a technological leader since the industrial revolution - which has, now, definitely stopped revolving. Face it, we're too expensive. The price of keeping a roof (even a little, tiny roof) over your head in this country is far too high. Particularly when you're in a global market, competing with IT people over the internet. People who live in countries where land is cheap to build on, taxes are low and they don't expect 5 weeks off a year (plus national holidays). With more regulations to ensure our "health and safety" than you can shake a stick at, and the expectation that in a few short years they'll have a car, kids, fitted carpets and 200 channels of repeats on TV.
When everything (salary, NI, pensions, taxes, floorspace, infrastructure, HR etc.) is taken into account it costs about £60k to employ an IT graduate, doing graduate type wok. To create a quarter of a million of these jobs will cost someone £15Bn. A good question to ask is: who will pay this money (every year), what will they expect to get for it, and why would they do it in Britain when half that amount spent elsewhere would reap greater rewards.
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