Feeds

* Posts by Pete 2

2342 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Microsoft's MS-DOS is 30 today

Pete 2
Silver badge

All growed up

And now it's in version 7, with a nice little graphical bit tacked on the front.

"The Space Shuttle of operating systems"

5
11

Hacking scandal starts to spread beyond News Corp

Pete 2
Silver badge

Journalistic churn

Since there are only a small number of potential employers for a journalist from a national newspaper to go to when he/she/it changes job it seems to me that there is a huge potential for cross-corruption within the whole industry.

Everybody has been bored by the new recruit who constantly compares working practices at their new job with how things were done "when I was at ... we did ...." so as soon as one maggot leaves one rotten apple and joins another (possibly not-so-rotten) you can bet that apple is on the way to a sludgy mess, too.

I can't imagine that soon after an ex-NoTW journo joins another newspaper (and by newspaper, I really mean tabloid - who else would have them?) and starts bringing in "questionable" stories, the whole lot of them will be reading the Nokia users' guide, instructions for every answering machine known to man and eagerly asking their new "colleague" if they happen to know the names of any good private investigators who can help obtain some "difficult" information.

Since they're all under the same pressure to produce stories, none of them would permit a newcomer to monopolise a particular technique; no matter how dubious/illegal - especially when t'management turn a blind eye to the practices and lap it up as eagerly as the readers do.

1
0

Legal expert: Letters can be evidence, so can Facebook

Pete 2
Silver badge

Tamper

One big difference between a written, tangible piece of evidence such as those traditionally considered and an entry in a blog, or tweet is being able to demonstrate that the pattern of bits a lawyer wishes to put before a court are the same bits that the person actually wrote.

So while it's possible, if not easy, to determine if a written entry has been forged or altered that isn't necessarily the case with a piece of computerised evidence. For example, if the website in question passes stuff through a spell checker, or censor before publication - is that then what the person actually wrote? Also is the entry put before a court the final piece of work - complete with corrections, second-thoughts about the content and rewording/clarificatiosn, or is it merely one of the drafts that best supports whichever view the lawyer wishes to promote?

At best "evidence" from a website/forum seems to me comparable to evidence written in pencil: not permanent, easily altered (either before or after the evidence gathering process) and possibly only has the status of a doodle on a post-it, rather than a literary masterpiece from a professional letter-writer or diary-keeper, with the difference in intent and prior thought that goes into it.

If I was on a jury, I would definitely be highly skeptical of a FB entry presented to me as evidence. And if the evidence had been obtained from the prosecution using the owner's password to obtain it, I'd probably discount it unless the site itself could prove it was what the person had written and meant to have published.

3
0

LOHAN: She's low orbit and helium assisted

Pete 2
Silver badge

Orbit's fine

A landing (crash, splash, controlled, etc.) is merely an orbit that intersects the surface. No biggie!

0
0

Beeb to fund ad-mungous Local TV for local people

Pete 2
Silver badge

Never mind the quality

feel the bandwidth.

If the beeb have the odd £40 mil of our money just sitting around, why do they think spending it on an experimental local service is better for us licence fee payers, than using it to make some higher quality programmes for it's existing 9 TV channels?

5
1

Rescue privacy before it vanishes forever

Pete 2
Silver badge

Clarity

Maybe I didn't make myself clear.

You go to the FB home page. Where is asks you to log in, you enter one of your (registered) email addresses and the corresponding password, You are then in a FB account. You may, or may not choose to add friends to that account and you may or may not have used your real name (the FB rules say you should, but what exactly _is_ a name? Merely a tag - possibly one that a parent assigned to you). However, once logged into that account you can use it to validate an identity to register with other web services, as the original article described.

If you log out of that FB account and then log back into FB with a different email address that was registered to a different FB account, so far as their system is concerned you are a different person - even if you have used the same name as in the original account,

You don't need coffee shops, or VPNs and what an ISP does, makes no difference. The worst that FB might "think" is that two people are sharing the same computer. For convenience it may be easier to use separate browsers: Firefox, Opera, Internet Exploder, whatever Macs have, Dillo, etc. so you can keep the cookies and bookmarks separate,

1
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Multiple personalities

Let me guess: you only have one single lousy email address and all your registrations go to that. So with only 1 email, you only have 1 FB account, only 1 twitter account and so on and so forth.

Quick tip: email addresses are free. Grab a handful. Get on Yahoo! and gmx and spamgourmet and all the others. Sign up for an account on all the social media sites from each email and then your webby footprints will be so diluted and diverse that there is no possibility they'll be traced back to your "real" account: the motherlode - unless you start being "friends" with yourself, but what you do in your own time is none of my business.

3
0

'There's too much climate change denial on the BBC'

Pete 2
Silver badge

Is it hot in here?

So far as climate change goes, the issue isn't whether the planet is getting warmer[1]. The arguments are about whether mankind needs to do anything about it and if so, what.

The problem with that is there are too many vested interests: from scientists who are paid from the grants they get to investigate (and who would be out of work if the answer turned out to be "no" and "none") and are therefore, themselves a dependent variable - through to companies that make an enormous amount of money (although money is really just a manifestation of expended energy) to create and then satisfy consumer demand based on the fear they generate - through to governments who have identified potential vote-winning strategies based the "yays" or the "nays", and will therefore cultivate those views for their own self-preservation.

All we can say is that historically, most research turns out to be wrong. Most commercial products turn out to be failures and almost every single government strategy turns out to be a monumental waste of time, money and effort. So whether climate change is something we should be concerned about - or not, there is no possibility that the forces at play right now are in any position to make clear, independent and unequivocal statements of degree, outcomes or remediation. At present it's just another religion.

[1] For a purely dispassionate answer, ask yourself: How many times in 100 years would you expect the statement "this is the warmest summer for 100 years" to hold true if temperature fluctuations were truly random. For extra points, find out how many times it HAS been true. What conclusion is drawn from this?

5
1

End of an era: Atlantis hits the tarmac

Pete 2
Silver badge

China and India

> They have no self-induced pride to save

Oh, I don't know. Given that this is their century (unless something goes dramatically wrong) I would suggest that a space presence would be a fitting manifestation - just as it was for the americans in their century.

It's also possible (probable?) that India and China, being the two most populous countries, will be the natural competitors for power, influence and raw materials. In which case a space-race might be a better dissipation of that competitiveness than warfare.

1
1
Pete 2
Silver badge

Not forgetting ...

The Russians (first in the game and still going strong), and the Chinese. Possibly coming soon to an orbit near you: India and maybe if they can sort out the internal squabbles ESA - though I kinda doubt it.

1
0

STUDENTS EXPOSED in university IT blunder

Pete 2
Silver badge

Saves them the trouble

> Information included dates of birth, mobile numbers, A level results and addresses.

Don't students voluntarily put all this and more on Facebook anyway?

0
7

Complexity killed the IT quality of service ...

Pete 2
Silver badge

Fixing problems that haven't happened yet

> I noticed a server that had this burnt solder smell to it

This is one of my continual bug-bears. What is the point of having tools (or noses) that detect *potential* problems, when all the business processes are intended to be reactive? In theory it's possible to raise tickets on predictions, but the priority is so low that they never, ever get addressed.

I am frequently able to detect and report bad things that WILL happen in the future. Whether it's disks filling up, batch jobs trending upwards over time, email response times slowing down or a multitude of other possibilities. However for most of these the support teams express no interest whatsoever. The reason is that to nurse a non-urgent change through the system takes a huge amount of time and effort, whereas an emergency change after a crash gets approved just like that <clicks fingers>.

So from an "efficiency" point of view i.e. doing the least amount of work, it's far better for the techies to wait for a failure (after all, it might not happen) and then look like a superstar by fixing it, rather than doing preventative work that takes time, but never gets noticed.

With outsourced systems it's even worse. Approach the support team with a "did you know disk X is about to fill up?" question and the best you can expect is that they'll ask you for your cost code, so they can investigate _your_ problem without paying for it themselves. We've pretty much given up trying to help these guys and now we just let their systems crash and burn.

0
1
Pete 2
Silver badge

The simple solution

The basic problem is that IT staff tend to only monitor stuff inside the datacentre - not the user experience. That might have been sufficient 20 years ago, but nowadays the only reasonable approach is to start with the users' experience and to work backwards from that.

The reason we have that situation is that the tools that come with most IT systems are really only designed for monitoring servers. Looking at a small number of parameters: CPU, memory, disk I/O and network traffic. Any dashboard is usually simply plopped on top of these metrics.

We tend to value what we measure, rather than measuring what we value.

In fact it's quite easy to do the right thing. Even better it can be done for free. Using packages such as AutoIt3 for windows or Tcl/Expect for Linux/Unix, it's quite feasible to measure response times that the users experience, or the times that queries they execute take to run. We've been doing that for a long, long time and it usually provides exactly the information needed, quickly and accurately.

With the proper analysis, it's possible to see quite small deviations from normal response times. Generally users are prepared to put up with quite a lot of pain before they'll pick up the phone to the Hell Desk and report anything, so with these techniques it's perfectly possible and practical to know before they report it that there's a problem looming.

2
0

UK top cop: Coulson 'blindingly obviously' mixed up in hacking

Pete 2
Silver badge

He's still "the man"

Apparently he has handed in his resignation, but is still the big cheese until a new top dog is appointed. He did make some sort of comment at the end of his turn in front of the committee to the effect that this would be his last appearance.

But he was still in charge at the time of his cross-examination, so it was appropriate to wear the uniform.

1
0

Pick a winner: The Sarah Hunter Google competition

Pete 2
Silver badge

You must NEVER publish this

Because if you do, in a couple of years time it will be adopted as the schools' science curriculum. A a few years after that, when those years' students become advisors to politicians it will become our national science policy.

1
0

Yates of the Yard quits Met over phone-hacking scandal

Pete 2
Silver badge

On reflection

Yes, I think you're right. They *could* be innocent but I that would surprise me even more.

Where are the political satire shows when we need them most?

0
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Not enough

Presumably this is a simple case of deflection. By resigning, these guys are hoping that the prevailing opinion will be "well, they weren't proved to have done anything wrong and by resigning they have effectively punished themselves. So there's no reason to take this any further. Eh? What? Old bean? yes I'd love another G and T - what-ho!"

However, that ain't so. An innocent person would not fall on their sword. Two in as many days isn't "doing the honorable thing". It's a calculated attempt to minimise the damage - hoping that if they lay low, things will just blow over. Especially if the police can manage to drag their investigation out for 2 or more years. After all, you can't prosecute people while there's still an investigation going on - as the vested, establishment, interested keep telling us.

Maybe what we need is to put the investigation on hold. Prosecute some seriously deserving individuals, then restart the investigation to mop up the ones who were missed.

The tricky bit will be obtaining evidence. We found out from the De Menezes investigation that the police will all tell the same story (as they are allowed to confer before giving a statement - unlike ordinary people) and that they are willing to lie through their teeth to appear blameless in that story. We also discovered from the same investigation that it's highly unlikely that anything bad will happen to those involved. If killing an innocent person in cold blood doesn't give rise to jail time, what chance has a little police corruption got to punish the actual wrongdoers?

So, we have (so far) some high ranking officers leaving the force. We can't have any confidence in the police's ability or willingness to prosecute their own and we have an investigation that will nicely block any further legal action until at least 2013. On top of that, I suspect we have a cabal of politicians from all parties who have nothing to gain from turning over these particular stones, as whatever crawls out is as likely to bite them as anybody else. I would also expect that a lot of journalists and editors are also more than happy to drop this story as they, too, have nothing to gain and potentially a lot to lose from keeping it in the public consciousness.

16
0

Blighty's top cop quits over phone-hacking scandal

Pete 2
Silver badge

A new unit of measurement

I would like to propose the ARCHER as a measurement of (or lack of) integrity.

The big question that comes out of this whole NoTW, police corruption, political cosiness and influencing affair is how many people, and whom, would cause more that a flicker on the Archer-o-meter.

I have a suspicion that no matter how many people get banged up, a far greater number will be as guilty as hell - but were just better at covering up their crimes, or simply luckier at knowing who else to blackmail to keep themselves out of the limelight.

12
0

Google: The one trick pony learns a second trick

Pete 2
Silver badge

A modern day water dictatorship

If you're a ruler, the simplest way to keep the plebs under control is to give yourself (and enforce) the power to allot some vital resource. Someone does you a favour? Give them some more. Someone honks you off, cut off their supply.

We've recently seen Russia do this to some ex-USSR states and their supply of oil and natural gas.

In times gone by, the ruler used water as the subjugating force. Without it, crops died, farmers went broke, people starved.

The neat thing about this technique is that you don't need a large army or internal security force to keep yourself at the top of the pile. You only need enough power to control your resource and everything else follows from that. The bad thing is that because you don't have a strong army or defensive force, while you can control internal threats you are very vulnerable to external ones. An invading army will have little trouble taking over as what forces you do have are not used to conflict: they're used to people doing what they're told.

Historically, water dictatorships seem invulnerable when viewed from the inside but their fall is inevitable.

So it is with Google. They have a firm grip on the internet's jugular. They control who gets the eyeballs that makes the advertising pay the rent. They don't need to be competitive, or innovative. They just need to batter competitors to death with their giant wad - and if that doesn't work, turn off the eyeballs. However, as soon as someone comes along who is NOT dependent on advertisements or search hits they're screwed.

The question is who, what and when.

13
1

Google turning us into forgetful morons, warn boffins

Pete 2
Silver badge

But it's not practical to remember everything

... the access time would be too long.

Worse: you might end up forgetting something important, like how to speak, if that information got pushed out to make room for the names of the 1931 FA Cup final winners.

I'm sure that's how memory works - but I forget who told me so.

2
0

Microsoft COO: Our greatest enemy is old Windows

Pete 2
Silver badge

It's the lack of innovation wot dun it.

The question shouldn't be "why are people still running XP?" (fess: I am, and intend to continue to do so).

A better question would be "Why have we failed to induce them to upgrade?" and when I say induce, I don't mean coerce, force, threaten or demand. I mean provided new features in the new versions of XP (if this was linux, W7 would still be called XP 1.8) that would have people thinking "hey, that is really bloody excellent. I *must* have that - even though what I have now is perfectly adequate."

Now, that's not to say that other O/Ss have done any better. Apart from supporting newer hardware, fixing bugs and keeping up with the minor feature-tweaks in KDE/Gnome/whatever linux is still essentially the same old kernel and utilities and freeware that we've had to a decade or two, too.

So, why has Microsoft (and the various mutations of Linux) failed to provide any killer attractions in their new systems? I have no idea - though backwards compatibility, large installed base, poor internal culture and a focus on things that actually make money must be in the mix somewhere.

So until MS, or Ubuntu or some other bunch can come up with something that really, completely changes the rules on personal computing, I fully intend to keep running XP until the hardware fails, my virtualised environments won't support it any more, or OSX comes up with something I can't live without. So I reckon it's safe for another 10 or 20 years. Maybe XP really is all we need?

0
0

Google's Facebook: It rocks, but who cares?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Would suit me just fine

> it's not clear that a critical mass of people outside the tech world ...

A techie version of facebook. Hmmm?

The thing is, it doesn't have to be one or the other - though I can't see much overlap between the predominantly child-populated FB (and their stalkers, ref: an earlier story) and a more technologically literate G+ that offers a similar platform, but delivering a different product. Hell, you could probably make a compelling argument for an "adult" version of FB ... in fact that one may even make money.

So while G+ may not eat FBs lunch - or it may wither and die altogether, it provides an alternative. And one that doesn't come with the FB associations and baggage.

4
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Just trust them

> what hope for Google+? None. Because there won't be any women on it

And how will you tell if a person you add to one of your circles is a woman - from what their profile says?

Try that in real-life and one day you may get a surprise!

2
1

Many parents are only on Facebook to stalk their kids

Pete 2
Silver badge

As for the rest

> 24 per cent of online Brit parents consider that the only reason to use Facebook ...

Presumably the other 76% are on facebook to keep track of their partners

4
0

ISS and Atlantis crews face 'daunting' box-shifting job

Pete 2
Silver badge

Double bubble

It may even be worse than moving stuff on earth. Not only do you have to apply force to start moving each package but you have to apply an equal amount of force in the opposite direction to stop it, once it gets close to where you finally want to put it. You also have to apply more force to change the direction it's moving - to get it round corners f'riinstance.

In space you can't just put it down when you get tired of carrying it.

0
0

News International grabs SunOnSunday.co.uk domain

Pete 2
Silver badge

It's just business

> has been effectively bullied into closing by shrill crowd of ill wishers.

Not quite.

Last year BSlyB made a profit of around £1Bn

Last year News International made a profit of about £20 Mil. - That's all thepapers in the group not just the NoTW

When it comes down to the bottom line, newspapers are irrelevant to Murdoch, it is likely he would sacrifice ALL OF THEM to get a shot at BSkyB.

In fact the only reason anyone in Britian would own a newspaper is for the vanity and political clout it bestows. You certainly wouldn't do it for the money. I can see that if this whole sorry affair results in the press (free or not) being cut off at the wotsits, then the attraction of being a newspaper baron will evaporate as well. Once that happens the value of newspapers will drop faster than Rebekah Thingy's popularity and they will just close - no matter how high their circulation.

'Corse once newspapers become obsolete, the value of a TV news channel sky-rockets (pun intended) for those who want power and influence but none of the responsibility. And TV News openings are much scarcer that printing presses.

0
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

> Well i can but dream.

There could be a better way.

Both the aussies and the 'merkins have laws against bribing foreign officials. I don't know about how it's done down under but apparently the yanks take it quite seriously and have concluded that nothing focuses a CEOs mind better than the prospect of jail time. As a consequence they are quite willing to, and have a history of, pursuing the top individuals personally - rather than just slapping a fine on the company.

In this case (so I've read, tho' can't recall where) News Corp. is an american company and NI is a subsidiary.Therefore they are both subject to this law. It won't wash on the phone hacking aspect, but could do on the police backhanders issue. Normally I'm against the british government's policy of outsourcintg our law enforcement, but in this case I'm prepared to make an exception. Hell, I'd even be happy to bung the prosection a fiver to help with their case, so long as that isn't interpreted as me trying to bribe a foreign official.

0
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Good to know

It's reassuring to find out that the Windscale Effect is still operational.

Have a devastaingly bad PR problem? Easy peasy, just change the name of the offending person/institute/liability. Within a few short weeks the entire british public will have forgotten all about the "old problems" and will embrace and throw money at exactly the same venture - just so long as it has a different name.

11
0

Unix still data center darling, says survey

Pete 2
Silver badge

So: Unix users use Unix (shock!)

And the ones that (still) use Unix are using more Unix.

Okaaaaaay. We generally recognise that a given number of techies can handle more Unix systems than Microsoft systems and that generally those systems are less prone to "problems" and can probably be run at higher average load factors, too.

But, this survey doesn't really give any information about the number of jobs in the Unix market. It makes it sound as if the increased number of installations in Unix shops _should_ give rise to more Unix techies, but if the number of places where Unix is still spoken has decreased (albeit with a rise in it's usage where the flame is still alight) then that doesn't bode well for the lovers of forward-slashes.

I would have gone to the original report to seek the answer, but all it did was cough some error about "TCPDF error: Font file not found" I wonder if the report was produced on a Unix box

0
0

PM promises change as police interview ex-spokesman

Pete 2
Silver badge

A lost opportunity

> journalists at the NotW routinely asked shady private detectives to carry out a range of actions

I think it's safe to presume that *any* news organisation that uses the services of private detectives was/is using them to do "shady" investigations. Ones they do not want pointing back to them, so they can deny (implausible deniability?) knowledge of wrongdoings.

The real tragedy in the whole NoTW affair is that with a bit more investigation and probing, we might have rid the world of the Daily Wail, too.

0
0

Google: Go public on Profiles or we'll delete you

Pete 2
Silver badge

+1

Quite.

ISTM all the people bleating on about "privacy" don't appear to know what the least amount of information a google profile requirement, is.

It amounts to a name (which you can alter), a gender (which can be "other") and nothing more. It's not as if they demand you account for every millisecond of your existence and fully document every thought you've ever had. All they require is a few bytes of unverifiable data and a status of "public".

If you want to use Google, JFDI. If not, stop judging the intelligence and motives of others.

2
0

News of the World TO CLOSE

Pete 2
Silver badge

Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of people

Hopefully this is not the end - just the beginning of the search for the individuals who really need to get banged up.

1
0

HuffPo goes UK: But shills and pols writing for free isn't new

Pete 2
Silver badge

Just like talk shows

You know that every "guest" who appears is pushing some agenda. They've got a book out, they are starring in a new TV series, they are trying to get back after a scandal/child/dry period, or have a new business venture they NEED to tell everybody about. We're prepared to put up with the endless and thinly veiled promotions provided they entertain us.

Maybe a better question to ask about the Puffington would be: who's willing to pay to READ it?

0
0

NOTW hack-hackage: Inside the personal data press mess

Pete 2
Silver badge

A free press?

> we need a free press, but not this free perhaps.

Would this mean free for a foreign owner to call up an editor and say "I want you to run this story on the front page"

Maybe the best way to ensure journalistic freedom, reign in some of the more disgraceful abuses of power and inject a bit of diversity into the british media (not just newspapers) is to limit the number of newspapers or TV stations a single person may have a controlling interest in to ONE. No groups, "media empires", syndicates or publishing houses. One owner, one single paper or TV channel, but not both.

It wouldn't stop them promoting their own self interested personal agenda, but it would put a fundamental limit on how far that influence (or political pressure) would reach.

8
2

Top level domain explosion could wreak MAYHEM on NET

Pete 2
Silver badge

Nope

> It's not a name, it's an identifier

No. It's only a name.

If it was an identifier (to identify a specific person or business) as you suggest with NI numbers, VAT numbers of PAYE references the owner of the name would not be permitted to sell it to someone else.

0
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

All the FUD

Really, it makes little difference whether a website is called www.<something>.com or www.<something> or www.<something>.com.earth It's only a name - that's all - just a name - nothing else.

If there are security issues, it's because of a Y2K-style shortsightedness on the part of name/lookup configurations and maybe (just possibly) a little slackness in some of the rules. That can easily be fixed.

It seems to me that the people who are raising objections have some sort of investment in the status quo (maybe they bought all their singles?) and are simply resistant to change. Fine: don't change and just wave the internet goodbye as it rolls off into the future, leaving you behind.

0
3

DIY provisioning: the answer to your virtualisation dreams?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Not so fast, tiger

> a couple of Linux servers for system testing – no problem, just press a few buttons.

Hardly! You still have to go through the same change control disciplines: justification, risk and impact analysis (which are even more onerous when adding to shared hardware), cost recovery and cross-charging for all of the above PLUS actually pressing those few buttons.

If you're using VMs as a way to subvert the process, you're almost certainly doing it wrong. If you have no controls in place (Ahhh, bliss. Them were t' days) they it's just as easy to pull a gash box out of "the cupboard" and kick off an unattended install.

The other thing to be aware of about virtualisation, is that nothing is free. If you do have a honkin' big server that is good to host a dozen VMs, who pays when number 13 is needed? Does the sponsor have to budget for a whole new server, or do you divvy up the costs for the box amongst the services who asked for the VMs? If you do the latter, then there's not much saving in admin terms between the work needed to do that and buying in a separate server for each function (which, generally the users prefer anyway).

1
0

NotW accused of hacking Milly Dowler's voicemail

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: Isolated incident

Surely the "Isolated incident" was getting caught?

9
0

Benefits of boozing outweigh harms, says survey

Pete 2
Silver badge

Student studies students

So a grad student made a study of students drinking and discovered they like it.

You didn't get this piece from The Daily Mash. by any chance?

0
0

Boffins fix dead satellite using 'dirty hack' in space

Pete 2
Silver badge

Standard support desk response

Did you try switching it off and back on again?

9
0

'Dirty' Hari defends radical interview mashup technique

Pete 2
Silver badge

But then again ...

is what he did any worse than newspapers and magazines photoshopping their photographs to the point of fantasy?

3
0

New plan: Send humans into space, keep the robots on Earth

Pete 2
Silver badge

how would you send it to the naughty step

Reverse bias all the diodes down it's left side?

0
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

Rapidly running out of ideas

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of space. After all, it's plentiful, non-toxic (unless you try top breathe it), low-fat and provides seconds of fun for all the family once the clouds clear.

BUT

Really, what the hell is the point of this? If you're going to control robots, or conduct research into controlling robots there's little to distinguish controlling them from a portakabin in a low-rent area of some deserted state than there is from a (largely) airtight portakabin wizzing round the planet that costs a fortune to run and is right on the limits of human possibilty to get anything to or from.

Now I appreciate that there's very little for people on the ISS to do - apart from trying to keep it (largely) airtight and not too hot and not too broken. But this does sound like make-work of a "we've got it, we better find something to use it for, now that the scuttle is virtually a historical footnote" nature.

I'd like to see lots of research into robots, but it seems to me that the benefits of sending them to the ISS are miniscule and the costs are huge. Far better to do the work on-planet and spend the dosh that's saved on doing more work. But then what else is there for the ISS caretakers to do all day?

3
1

Everything Everywhere IT staff get new boss, again

Pete 2
Silver badge

In through the cynical ear

"This is the dawn of new relationship between two customer-centric organisations. T-Systems will play a critically important role in delivering cloud computing capabilities to meet Everything Everywhere’s challenging Information and Technology requirements."

and out through the ...

the dawn: we're all still in bed and have no intention of getting up for a while, yet

new relationship: all new relationships start with someone getting screwed

between two customer-centric organisations: between two organisations

critically important role: a minor part

delivering cloud computing capabilities: outsourcing

challenging: confused, conflicting, overly-complicated, far too expensive and without a hope of ever working

requirements: wish-list

1
0

Chess crown stripped in plagiarism furore

Pete 2
Silver badge

Thinking 5 moves ahead

It's chess - presumably this is part of his strategy

1
0

Budget airlines warned over 'hidden' debit card charges

Pete 2
Silver badge

Same goes for online booking fees

Not only do they require another £6 to pay by credit card (each way, £12 for a return flight, per person), but RYA, to name the most famous if not the worst, also have a £6 web check in fee, also for each leg of a flight, also for each person

So while everybody knows that they WILL screw you, one way or another, it still grates that the cost of the online transaction - you even supply your own paper & ink to print the boarding passes - is frequently more than the cost of one of the flights, itself.

The watchdog (so named because all it does is watch) has been aware of this for many, many years and occasionally growls: much to the hilarity of the low-price airliines who either pee on it or just ignore it completely. But it never actually gets off it's ass (a watch-donkey?) to do anything. Maybe we need to worry less about the costs - which are made known before you pay - and give the OFT a good kicking, instead?

6
0

History's first papal tweet launches Vatican website

Pete 2
Silver badge

Who's marketing whom?

> the Bishop of Rome tapped an iPad

So is this God giving Apple his (or her) blessing, or is it Apple sponsoring God

0
0

Umbrella-wielding Steve Ballmer gets cloudy with Office 365

Pete 2
Silver badge

Meh

It's cyclic. The people who got screwed 30,40,50 years ago the first time round - when the big boys said "You don't want to bother with all that - let us handle it all for you" are all dead/retired or out of the biz - or not in a position of influence. There are now rich pickings to be had from trying the same old cons to a new generation of smug innocents who think they know better than their forebears and are too arrogant to listen, anyway.

They will learn. Eventually.

After that, I confidently predict that in 20 or 30 years time, there will be a renaissance of newly discovered "open" systems, complete with published standards, APIs and interconnectivity. At that point all the 30-something pundits - todays toddlers, just learning to dribble on a Wii - or is that wee on a Drobo? - will praise it as "revolutionary" and wonderful and new and much better than these nasty, closed, cloud systems. Just as today's journos, who make a living out of hyping stuff just because it's novel, are currently doing (swept along by the Gartners who do the same, but witter on to CEOs rather than credulous surfers).

You never know - there might even be some anti-trust cases (though I don't know how the Indians and Chinese will handle them) that eventually slap down the worst cloud exploiters and transgressors, after a few spectacular bankruptcies.

2
0
Pete 2
Silver badge

That clicking sound you can hear

... is the sound of the clock being turned back to the 1960s when software was RENTED from the monopolistic incumbent. It will shortly be followed by a loud THUD, which is the door being slammed shut as your data gets locked into a place that only Microsoft holds the key to.

Seriously, didn't anybody learn anything from the excesses, exploitations and abuses of the past? I'm just waiting for the brand new punch-card technology to be [re]introduced. I'm sure that someone, somewhere will be able to spin it into something desirable for their callow customers to gobble up. After all, it's recyclable - innit?

3
0

Proper scientists: Old folk should drink MORE, not less

Pete 2
Silver badge

Keep flippin' the coin

... until you get the result you want.

You wanted heads, it came up tails? never mind: go for best of three. D'oh, heads again - make that best of 5.

And so it is with the soft sciences - just keep doing more and more studies until you get the answers that fit your own personal opinions and "gut" feeling. Then stop - that bit's important.

Maybe what they really need is a study into why their all other studies keep producing different conclusions every time they're done.

3
3