401 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
It does _what_, now?
> Existing tagging technology sends a fax to police stations if an offender leaves their home
Fax, eh. I wonder if they've considered homing pigeons.
Re: only in the warped reality field of the Register...
> Which is faster growing now that it is no longer a ratio of a ratio?
Ummm... the one that is adding the most machines per year, maybe? The one that's added 300,000, as against the one that's added only half that?
I see what you're driving at, that a small company growing its market share by half as much as a big company would be impressive, but in this case both companies are Microsoft.
If you plot the data El Reg is punting, though, it becomes clear that the Jan-Feb changes don't support drawing any conclusions at all.
Re: only in the warped reality field of the Register...
Wait a minute... 29.53% - 29.23% is 0.30%, while 4.1% - 3.95% = 0.15%. So the growth in the former is indeed higher. Uh, tell me you wouldn't be tempted to work out the percentage difference in the percentages... because ratios of ratios are Math Abuse of a high order!
Re: I worry about the squirrels and otters
> a lot of perfectly good computers going into landfill
Actually, that could be a source of the apparent growth, if you think about it. If large numbers of corporations are finally biting the bullet and replacing their XP installations by upgrading both hardware and software, lots of re-purposed XP machines might be coming out from behind NAT curtains and appearing on the interwebs? Just a thought...
Here we are again
Once more, in the diffusely-connected, global, opinionated and pseudonymous reaches of cyberspace, it comes down to who you should trust. The Encyclopædia That Anyone Can Edit was always going to have a problem in that respect. Dead tree encyclopædias print the names of their editorial boards, and their contributors, and if you cared enough you could research their biases (for we all have them). Wikipædia ought to require real name disclosure, and it should be easier for users to find sock puppetry in action. At the moment, all we can do is have a healthy distrust for anything in WP which is anything like controversial.
The same issue, to go off-topic for a moment, underlies all the 'social network' ideas, like Facebook Likes, Google Plusses, even the up and down arrows which appear underneath this. I don't necessarily trust my circle of friends, acquaintances and cyberpals to be founts of reliable knowledge.
I also think that companies and politicians will have little difficulty in finding activist editors who will colour their wiki pages favourably without being paid so directly that this disclosure regulation will apply.
The story so far
> explain to me like I'm 5 how the hell HER actions constitute HIM breaking the NDA
Daddy Snay got some some money from the Bad School. And he promised not to tell anyone except Mummy Snay, and the Nice Lawyers. But Daddy Snay and Mummy Snay told Baby Snay, even though they had promised not to. That was silly, wasn't it? And then Baby Snay went onto Facebook, which was silly, and told EVERYONE, which was even sillier. What do you think of that? Of course, then the Bad School knew that Daddy Snay must have broken his promise, so the Big Court said it was OK for the school not to give EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to Daddy Snay after all.
And Daddy and Mummy Snay were sad, but not as sad as Baby Snay, who didn't get her European holiday after all.
Hardly anyone lived happily ever after.
Re: call me a cynic
> If you don't have patents and don't assert copyright, you don't really have any IP
Trade secrets are a real thing. Sometimes keeping an invention secret is an attractive alternative to disclosing it in a patent publication.
For a long time, I and others resisted the term "intellectual property", as it seemed to me to blur the boundaries between patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secret material. Now that the UK has an Intellectual Property Office, I think that battle is lost!
Re: I'm no Frontiersman
> the people who really make a profit aren't the miners themselves, but the people selling equipment to them
And, regrettably, in all the real-world gold rushes, claim-jumpers and out-and-out robbers who had no compunction about relieving a miner of his gains, and maybe his life. So no change there, then.
The estimate is 61,000 kilometres per hour, not miles. I can do the maths for the kinetic energy (m.v^2) = 1.15 x 10^11 joules, but I have no idea what the energy released by TNT is, and I'm not going to get any search for it into my browser history.
Given that the machine should have perfect control of its motions, and access to really fast calculation of trajectories, as well as great power, I wonder if it's smart enough to work out that it can force a human back from the table with fast powerful strokes and then defeat him with the most delicate of drop shots. Could be a short match!
Shouldn't need to be said, but...
...yes, it will have been costed up and deemed to be worth it. Publicity for a fast accurate robotic system is probably hard to come by, and this will capture imaginations around the world. The company doesn't sponsor a table-tennis player in order to build karma; they've had this in mind for a long time. And of course their aim isn't to build a table-tennis player for competition. As someone pointed out above, several of the rules of the sport pertain to humans, so robots aren't eligible.
It still all happens in a lab. right here
“In other words, the perception of quasar A determines the settings to detect particle A, and the perception of quasar B sets the detector for particle B,” MIT might have stated. “If, after multiple measurements with this experimental setup, scientists seem to have found that the measurements of the particles were correlated more than predicted by the laws of classical physics, Kaiser says, then, ummm, hold on...”
Re: Let's get one thing straight
Yep, agreed, that one thing is now straight, but there's another thing: for most Govt departments the rendering is NOT IMPORTANT! It's all about the content, or it should be, for everything that doesn't have a public interface (which is almost everything). There are no points for style in the inter-office memo stakes!
Irony Buffer Overflow
Re: Backward compatibility ?
> Government documents should remain accessible forever
Well, up to the point that they're reviewed for retention or destruction by the appropriate Officer, of course.
Your point about digital obsolescence is taken, but it should be pointed out that for most of the last thirty years government has been using word processors to generate paper documents which have been meticulously filed (if the registry section functioned properly). I very much doubt that there are any significant government documents older than ten years which do not exist as authoritative paper.
The corollary to that is that the simplest, most direct solution to the digital obsolescence/incompatibility issue for our MS Office legacy is to print out everything worth keeping, and consign the rest to the bit bucket.
I remember pioneering computerised word processing in an arm of a government department, and I'd say that productivity has declined over the last decades with the increasing complexity of the MS Office tools. When we started, we used Volkswriter to edit material downloaded to a 5 1/4" floppy, as a great alternative to using cut and paste... that was cut, as in using scissors on fanfold printouts delivered by secure courier, and paste, as in glue pens, to generate a new document. Classifications were added using an impressive array of rubber stamps! Volkswriter did the job: one needed only to be able to move text around, delete spurious stuff, proofread it, and send it to a printer. Job done.
I submit that 90% of what a civil servant does now does not require anything so very much more sophisticated. Much later, our unit's documentation standards were weighty, specifying things down to typeface and point sizes, and full of MS Office-specific features, but our output would have been equally valuable if we'd used plain text. Civil servants are there to implement policy, not to be graphic designers, so I say bring it on. A pale imitation is what we need, the paler the better.
> Facebook et al probably have enough data about you already to determine where you live and work
Behold! My leet skillz reveal a high probability that the OP is Alan and he lives and/or works in Northamptonshire. There are no prizes for guessing my real name from this post, so you needn't try.
Reselling the data
> HSCIC is at pains to point out that they won't make any profit selling our data
So how is this squared with the policy at the Ordnance Survey? There, immensely valuable data have been collected (and generated) using taxpayer's money. The last time I looked, mapping data wasn't being offered on a non-profit basis. The NHS has, on the taxpayer's dime (sixpence, maybe), collected a lot of valuable data. Why can't it make a profit on its re-use?
It's just occurred to me... personal data is defined in the Data Protection Act as that relating to living individuals. The moment an NHS patient dies, the medical data relating to them is therefore not protected as personal. Data for dead folk is possibly even more valuable for medical research. That's forced to be a business opportunity, right there.
...and don't forget "Free the Petit Four!"
...I checked you out on Google+. You're definitely dead.
Google+. If people don't stop putting spurious punctuation in names, e.g. Google+,Yahoo! etc. it's going to be hard to tell the difference between an apps list and a line of APL.
Public library services
Many UK local authority libraries subscribe to the British Library's Document Supply Service. Check it out1. In the dim distant past, I've used the service (or more precisely its predecessor) as a library member without the charge being passed on, but I've got no idea how your library might work.
Even with a cost attached, this is a phenomenal resource; BL currently subscribes to 40,000 serials titles2.
2 Serials acquisition policy [bl.uk]
Stop this nonsense forthwith, saith the icon
I suppose that nobody here is unaware of the Firefox extension NoScript, but here's a link, just in case:
You say you expect to be unpopular, but you have no downvotes as I write, and you won't get one from me. I think that many commenters are just talking about GNU/Linux  because the article talks about Microsoft's Transparency Center(s), and its so obvious that they, or rather it, won't get us within a country mile of the transparency that already exists in FOSS. Your points about many eyes making all bugs shallow is well taken, and your examples were indeed notable failures. However, they are three notable failures which were transparent. Stuxnet exploited four zero-day flaws in WindowsTM, as I recall, and all the closed-source vendors (hello, Oracle!) issue critical bug fixes with about the same frequency that I see them turning up in my Linux/GNU/KDE stack.
Thompson is whistling in the dark; as others have said above, if customers can't verify the build from source to binary, and they can't control the nature and content of updates, then they have to suck it up and trust their vendor.
 I'm being pedantic, because only one of your examples was actually a flaw in Linux per se :)
Re: Looks really impressive
For two decades read three decades. Time flies...
We'll shortly be launching BuzzFelch Lite, without any words at all, for the seriously attention deficient goldfish demographic.
Sorry, what will you be launching? Who will it be for? Err, what will you be launching, again? Ooo, butterflies!
OK, the fault with the .odc -> .xls transition clearly lies with Microsoft then, doesn't it? I mean, the .odc file must contain the formula (otherwise it wouldn't be there when you opened it again with LibreOffice), but Excel chose to import the value rather than the formula.
In a wider context this is a worry for the people in Departments at working level thinking of acting on the Cabinet Office recommendations. For better or worse, there are huge archives of proprietary word processing documents and spreadsheets which have contractual or quasi-legal status. You really don't want to introduce any chance of corruption (in the data sense!) in that area, so the transition is problematic.
Having said that, it's a long overdue move, and I'd be happier if it was a mandate rather than a recommendation.
warnings about loss of data in Re: Excellent!
To be fair, LibreOffice does this too, if you choose to save a file in one of the legacy MS Office formats that it supports, e.g. MS Excel .xls it says "This document may contain formatting or content that cannot be saved in the currently selected file format ... Use the default ODF file format to be sure that the document is saved correctly.".
That's just telling it like it is; you can't really expect LibreOffice to track what incompatible features might have actually been used in a specific document. It reads a bit like "step away from the MS format...", but isn't really.
Re: About time
+1 for the accurate observation about the Apple Lisa, which was made much of in the press at the time. The GUI had a virtual place for the storage of forms (templates we might call them) called a stationary [sic] cabinet, as I recall. How we laffed.
I also remember a machine from Victor which was not IBM PC compatible, but which came with a choice of CP/M or MS-DOS. I did a paper exercise comparison for my employers, who were considering buying some, and concluded that CP/M was clearly the better choice.
Go on... I bet you can't remember a single thing from when you were one. What would a baby be doing in lots of teenager's bedrooms anyway?
between 1,000 and 2,000 national security letters – a presidentially issued order to hand over data
Supposing the President is available to "issue" these letters every day of the year, (he isn't) and they're spread out evenly in time (very unlikely), then there are close to three issued, to Verizon alone, every day. Since the President is a busy man, and Verizon isn't the only recipient, I suggest that "presidentially-issued" is a terminological inexactitude (or LIE), and that the President is in general perfectly unaware of the terms and targets of the national security letters sent out in his name. Has anyone asked him?
> "Young kids" who learn it's foibles don't seem to have a problem
That should, of course, read '"Young kids" who learn its foibles don't seem to have a problem', since one of its foibles is the apostrophe in it's. It's not a genitive, it's an elision for "it is". It has a genitive case: it's its.
Certificate in what, now?
Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership
Yes, that's what I thought you said.
That makes a lot of sense, you don't want half-arsed demagogues and rabble-rousers going around depleting the valuable reserves of fossil leadership, do you. You want persuasive, Certificated leaders, who draw on sustainable motivational... what? what?? I was in full flow, there.
The course is intended for people with professional experience in fields related to sustainable development who seek to develop their leadership capabilities.1
Oh, well, if you had said "Postgraduate Certificate in Developmental Sustainability Leadership", then I would have understood sooner. I also wryly note your course requirements for English language proficiency.
1Source: University of Cumbria
unless you've left you[r] helpless 65 year old mother with linux
Some of us are coming close to 65, sunbeam, and we're not all helpless. And my 85 year old mother is using Linux on a laptop quite happily, thanks, though I'll grant that she doesn't do very much compiling from source. And of course there is TeamViewer for Linux when I need it.
> ... that's still not bad
Maybe, and maybe not. :) As I understand it, the more precisely they pin down the speed of the D-Wave, the less precision there can be about its physical location. A really, really good benchmark could smear the thing out beyond the walls of the lab., no?
The fact that the Planck constant is so small is definite proof that God loves us.
Gender specific spacecraft
Several articles around the web (including this one) give Rosetta a female pronoun. I know, and approve of, the convention (in English) of referring to a terrestrial ship as "she" but this is the first time I recall it being done for a space vessel. Is it because Rosetta sounds a bit like a woman's name? But if it's named for the Rosetta Stone, then the moniker derives from the place where the stone was unearthed, in Egypt, which is definitely an 'it'.
Beat me to it...
... though I was going to suggest a nose-to-tail traffic jam of hover cars.
> Any sugar free product if consumed in quantity will do this
Up to a point, Lord Copper. To be scientific, 'quantity' needs to be, er, quantified, and 'any sugar free product' needs to be characterised.
A quick bit of research shows that maltitol may be expected to produce intestinal symptoms in 40-60 g amounts (for adults), but my entirely untested speculation is that the type and severity of the symptoms will vary depending on the gut microorganisms which are chowing down on the maltitol. The effect is due to maltitol (and other sugar alcohols) not being absorbed in the small intestine, so they are passed through to the large intestine and colon, where the Pseudomonas sp. and allies can metabolise them, producing the noxious gases etc. If your particular internal ecosystem is tuned up for gas production from maltitol, then best stand clear of the sugar-free bears .
You also mentioned stevia and 'asparane', which I guess was a typo for 'aspartame'. These are both very different to the sugar alcohols; the former is a diterpenoid derivative of a compound extracted from plant leaves, and the latter is a synthetic dipeptide compound, around which a health effects debate / conspiracy theory rages.
 And better still get yourself a proper grown up snack. Gummi Bears... WTF?
Re: Errr this is not new
> local shop
Or for a more exact analogy, that phenomenon which used to be common in rural parts (of the UK, at least), the mobile shop.
Take a reasonably sized van, equip it with shelves, make a prediction of what your customers might want, stock up the van and drive it around the hamlets*. [Emphasis added].
This worked well in the days before most people had cars and had been bamboozled by "choice". Why the hell my local supermarket has to stock 29** varieties of toothpaste I cannot fathom. In any event, the business process has been anticipated by at least fifty years to my personal knowledge, unless the USPTO is going to fall for the "... and do it with a computer" claim. Oh, hang on...
* Stopping to make sales to customers usually makes for a more successful business. Do I have to say that?
** Yes, I counted. Why do you ask?
@Wolfetone re right to silence
> So what happened to the whole "You don't have to say anything, but anything you do say will be taken down and used as evidence against you"?
It was heavily modified (and weakened, I guess) by the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act. If you are now cautioned, it will (probably) take the form of words:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention
when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may
be given in evidence.”
Re: @Graham Dawson re: No constitution, remember...?
I agree with you entirely that the UK isn't anarchic, but wished to point out to the OP that we hadn't got a written constitution which sets up a legal framework for assessing the constitutionality of laws, and your accurate observation of the "swathes of ancient liberties" being swept away rather makes my point, I think.
You wrote "On top of that: courts can and do overturn legislation all the time. Our legal system rests on the assumption that the courts have the authority to overturn legislation that is unjust", but I don't recognise that in our current systems. At the risk of being mocked for quoting from Wikipedia:
"Because of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the Supreme Court is much more limited in its powers of judicial review than the constitutional or supreme courts of some other countries. It cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament."
plaid with the Koran
Tartan around, possibly. Could have got somebody kilt.
No constitution, remember...? @BongoJoe
> have the law itself contested in the High Court
Your post reads as if you are used to living in a jurisdiction where the legislation is framed by a constitution, e.g. the United States of America? We in the UK do not. There is no analogue of a Federal Judge or Supreme Court declaring a law to be unconstitutional, for the good and sufficient reason that the United Kingdom does not have a constitution. We have a constitutional monarchy, sure, which means  that any bill that Parliament can persuade the Queen to sign becomes an Act, and the operative law, i.e. in this case the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. There is no mechanism to petition a court, crying "Not fair!".
In the US, RIPA would be declared incompatible with the Constitution as amended by the 5th Amendment. Not here.
 Gross oversimplification warning!
... The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Adams, D.
The right tool for the job
Hmm. I looked up WebView and the Basic Usage section of that documentation says:
Is this a case of building applications with the wrong Android components?
> patents are worth a lot on the books of ... companies
I'd make things much simpler, if I could. I'd make patents non-transferable. Then they'd have a value to the inventor, personal or corporate, exactly commensurate with the demand for the innovation that they disclose. Companies could continue to be able to value their patents as assets, but they wouldn't become items of commerce in their own right.
Patents were instituted to foster progress (explicitly so in the case of the USA), not to become a sort of pseudo-currency and biz-weapon. PAEs are a perversion.