Everything went almost too fast for me, but this was one of the best articles I've read on the Register for a while
992 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009
Re: The Rise of IT Consultants...
I'm in my 30s and I've never heard of bulls going for meat. Beef cattle are either bullocks (castrated bulls) or heifers (females not in calf).
fuel consumption by the hour
I drove a wee Fiesta* across northern Germany recently and thought that litres per hour for autobahn driving might be a useful fuel consumption guide as I was sort of estimating in my head how long the tank would last, not so much how far.
* Fiesta did well: nice to drive, hit 95 mph on the Autobahn and cruised nicely at 80+
You know, I never even noticed the death of the Laguna.
The photos! :(
Great write-up, but the photos look terrible (bad downsampling is the term, I think).
Give me Bugs, any day
Spooks just turned into a 24 rip off
How things change
Let us not forget that Tony Blair gained his UK parliamentary seat on a platform of exiting the Treaty of Rome, aka, the nascent EU
Re: Avoiding war
We have avoided war simply because the last big one was so bad. Germany, France, the UK and most of europe were, if not physically devastated, at least mentally devastated. There was no appetite for war on a grand scale after a certain point in WWII (or the Great Patriotic War). Churchill proposed war against the USSR, but the UK was exhausted. The division of Germany (don't forget French administered Saarland!) was a punitive measure to keep it in check*, but it I believe it was unnecessary for ensuring peace.
True there have been many skirmishes since then involving the European powers, their empires and colonies (Algeria, Vietnam, Malaya, Dutch East Indies, Kenya, etc) and Korea, but rarely anything on European soil until Yugoslavia erupted. And even then it was kept pretty contained.
New generations are growing up now in Europe who have not known war and its horrific destruction, but who may feel disenfranchised and burdened by the economic policies of the euro-elite. It's unlikely, but a peripheral nation like Greece or Portugal (or even Spain), suffering hardships could decide that a war may be preferable to mass unemployment. Perhaps a new great bulwark against future war in Europe may be from refugees of African and Middle eastern conflicts who have settled here and do not want to see more war.
* Not sure who's idea partioning Germany into east and west was, but the Russians arguably had more reason to be punitive than the US/UK (though Thatcher still wasn't hot for re-unification after the Berlin Wall fell)
Re: Yet another stunning achievement...
"They regularly seem to be able to make these probes last far longer than envisaged. That's real value for money, especially when everywhere we send one of these things turns out to be far more interesting than anyone ever envisaged."
What happens is that they design to a certain specification, e.g. all systems fully functional for 18 months. That helps with budget planning because someone has to stay in contact with the craft for that length of time to ensure everything is working and that the observation data are coming back OK. Basically, it's like saying, "if we spend $100 million dollars on this probe, how long do we think would be a good length of time for it to be operational?" This 'time budget' also helps when engineering the probe to work out what sort of tolerances are required for the components or the necessary amount of propellant for the planned mission length. It's not all that much different from designing a car. The manufacturer plans its useful life to be about 5 years, but it will generally keep going far longer than that.
No mention of the font? OS X finally gets Helvetica Neue to be in line with iOS, then the Watch comes along with something like DIN, which is nice and it is far far better then the ugliness that is Google's Roboto, but it's still not as good as the masterful Helvetica Neue.
meh. After a few years the Top Gear formula got tired.
Re: There was never a need for a combined currency all over Europe
"We can also reduce the monetary problems by having integrated fiscal policy (ie, taxes raised in one area are shifted to pay for problems in another area). But the EU doesn't have that."
True, but there is a boat-load of money being pumped into the EU periphery via various funds. The Hilton Hotel in Belfast has a 'Part-funded by the EU... fund' plaque beside the front door (the Euro-crats need somewhere to stay, when they visit, after all*) as well as the trains**, some of the recent motorways, etc.). Along with infrastructure, there's also the Peace and Reconciliation funding for a lot of pretty soft projects and the EU Social fund that props up many charities and social services.
* Though I'm sure they'd all probably book into the Fitzwilliam instead because the Hilton was built beside a busy railway.
** built in Spain instead of Derby, probably so that the profits don't go to Canada
Re: input vs. output
Electricity is a wonderfully adaptable thing, e.g. if all your weapons were lasers, you could divide your power budget more flexibly, like providing more speed if you don't need to fire. However, the batteries and fuel required to store the energy needed to create the electricity would probably not be much safer to transport than explosive munitions.
I'm not the creative type of geek who has to tinker with home automation and constructing computer controlled reversible sedgewicks in my spare time, so I shouldn't judge, but I'm a little saddened that most of the comments here are about using the Raspberry Pi as a media server instead of controlling an automated fish tank feeder that automatically orders more fish food from Amazon and remotely controls your washing machine.
As for the MIPS board, I can see it finding a home in universities where there's more need to teach fundamentals than secondary schools that are teaching the basics. i.e. if you're learning about architectures and assembler, you might as well have hardware to demonstrate things on, say MIPS, ARM, 68k, etc.
Gerard Adams (SF, Belfast West) had to be given one of those offices when he resigned to stand for election to Dail Eireann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Adams#Election_to_D.C3.A1il_.C3.89ireann), which was a beautiful constitutional irony.
Re: Actually Buffet went further
I don't really know the specifics of RR's finances at the minute, but it has had a really rough ride and the people making money are more likely the bosses and the contractors, not RR's investors
We've an ultracheap 22" 1080p capable TV (but too old for FreeView HD built in) so we got TalkTalk's cheapest YouView option*. The HD channels are much better than SD, especially for sports. However, I chanced upon the Graham Norton show the other night while channel hopping and it looked AWFUL in HD: the set design and lighting were utterly crap.
* yeah, it's a bit crap if you don't pay for extra channels, but hey, 50p extra per month for a year, then another couple of quid for 6 months, seemed cheaper than a Freeview HD box; and the YouView at least lets you watch iPlayer without using your laptop.
Re: TAX shouldn't be taxing
The people with Swiss Bank accounts couldn't bear the shame of sending their kids to state schools or using the NHS.
Re: Speed of electrons
The electromagnetic wave travels about a foot in a nanosecond, but the electrons themselves don't go nearly so fast.
Re: We already have this
Fractional reserve banking is obviously not necessary for an economy, but it's one of those things that we all accept because it gives us interest on our savings and free current accounts, like Google gives us free web services because of all the data it aggregates and then sells.
If we didn't have fractional reserve banking, I'm sure the politicians would have plans for all that capital lying around doing nothing.
Re: Another DAB "put-down" !!
I'm going with the analogy of DAB is to digital radio what NTSC was to colour TV. NTSC was a great idea and an improvement over black and white, but then PAL came along and had more accurate colours, but the US was stuck with NTSC because it had too much capital invested in it to change. DAB was a great idea and has the potential to be better than FM, but then improved digital radio technologies came along and left the UK behind because it was too invested in DAB.
(off topic 1: can you get a DAB receiver that can be switched on from the mains socket switch (without having to turn on at the unit as well)? You could do that with a cheap FM receiver! Meant you could keep the radio out of the way (e.g. top of a cupboard) and switch on and off at the mains without having to switch on at the unit, which can be fiddly for smaller units, often requiring two (clean) hands)
(off topic 2: yeah, yeah, some of DAB's problem is over-compression, much like Freeview/YouView, where SD broadcasts look awful, where they used to be nice and now HD barely looks better than analog)
Exactly, it's fear of liability in case of an accident that prevents things, not the HSE. Police prevent cheese rollers from rolling cheese because they fear being held liable for any injuries incurred.
Markets are socialism!
When people are allowed to act in markets (unlike being shut out because prices are set by the force majeure), then markets are by definition the will of the people.
Did anyone else keep mentally picturing Roberto Picardo, the Emergency Medical Hologram in Star Trek's Voyager era?
low wages and the unions
The unions also fund Labour and Gordon Brown's great idea for being pro-business, pro-employment and pro-worker was to give tax credits to people on low incomes. The unions are mostly in favour of those tax credits because they raise incomes and are seen as redistributive, but as stated above, it is those tax credits which can act to depress wage growth.
I know I'm citing Wikipedia, but Jeffrey Archer sold 250 million novels. Very few authors have had that kind of success. I'm struggling to find a comparable figure in IT. Maybe someone like John McAfee?
Re: Metella est mater
Little amuses, etc, but our class loved the bit where Caecilius bought a new slave called Melissa, and Metella was not happy about it. We were all sad when SPOILER ALERT Caecilius died after Vesuvius's eruption and were pissed off we found out that his annoying son Quintus survived.
Caecilius in lecto recumbit, et ceteri, etc ceteri...
Person beside me at work has a Chromebook. I think they're very happy with it apart from not being able to use the remote desktop software for work.
Re: broken down into smaller and more efficient units?
1) Read the article: Vermont set up monopolies for each district, which Singapore did not.
2) Vermont has a population one quarter the size of Singapore's.
Took me a while to realise you meant Brad Pitt instead of the Mr Pitt who was Elaine's boss in Seinfeld season 6.
Re: El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.
I came to the reg and there was only ONE HUGE STORY.
Bring back the carousel.
I found the last version was great for discovering articles. Too many storage stories, but the carousel at the top and the strip a couple of rows down highlighted a few stories for me I was most likely to read. Now there is only ONE STORY and it takes up my WHOLE BROWSER WINDOW!
BBC Sport's YELLOW redesign wasn't pretty, but it was mostly functional and highlighted the top stories well
Re: BBC 3 or BBC 7
I don't mind the logos too much. What I hate are the 'animated snipes' like the Hotel Inspector striding onto the screen every five minutes beside a banner saying that she's on next after Hotel Inspector.
iOS dev's view
tl;dr: an iOS app can scan for URL links it knows beforehand.
OBE == sir?
I thought it was just KBEs who got to be called sir.
Re: Like opening your mail
If you read Simon Garfield's lovely book To The Letter, you'll find out that the various postal services around the world have always been very keen to open people's mail. The difference now is the sheer volume of post makes it very difficult for them to do it except on a very targetted basis.
Oh, you mean the crappy film. The book is very different and much better.
Turkey is not dirty. Stupid when alive, maybe, but roast it is delicious. And a cheap alternative to chicken for stir fries.
When cooking goose, though, don't forget to put it in a very deep roasting pan, or put it on the wire rack, with a very deep roasting pan below it. My mum cooked our own geese one year and vowed never again because of the flood of goose fat that came out of the oven.
My sensei when I got my yellow bet in Tai Jutsu* said he laughed at Jujitsu because the stance was too narrow (I think for throws, specifically) and Tai Jutsu would help you be more stable.
* I'd never heard of it either, but the class times suited me better than the other martial arts.
Re: If the Beatles weren't paid so excessively they'd have stayed together
If you look at the histories of most of the most successful acts, like the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and others, excessive amounts of money did contribute to their downfall, usually in terms of inflated egos clashing and drug problems, but I'd say the money only amplified the problems and their celebrity made it more apparent to the rest of us. Is the longevity of the Rolling Stones merely an accident? They got rich and wanted to stay rich, but they also were able to work together. Other bands wanted to stay rich, but couldn't work together.
ABBA, on the other hand, had the same intra-band relationship problems as Fleetwood Mac (most of their best songs are about break-ups and divorces they experienced in the band), but the money was far less of an issue. Mark Steyn has a great history of the band here: http://www.steynonline.com/5577/waterloo
On the other hand, a band's longevity can work against it. After all, if they keep producing new stuff, concerts will always have a tinge of disappointment if they don't perform your favourite song.
Re: Let us face, top musicians and movie stars are now "The Man"
twas ever thus. The guilds protected the jobs of their members and made sure no-one else could do that job. Great if you were in the guild, but difficult to work in that field if you couldn't join or were kicked out. It's why big corporations often lobby for more regulation, because it keeps others from breaking into their industry. It's also swings and roundabouts. The workers on movie sets I'm sure used to be treated really badly, but now the labour unions in Hollywood control so much that it's often cheaper to shoot anywhere else (usually Canada, which also I'm sure offers tax incentives)
Re: There is really only one taxation system that makes sense
Oh, yes! The golden bullet. That old chestnut of a small tax on all things, no exemptions, etc. But it is politically expedient to make exemptions. I don't think churches should necessarily tax free, but you might think charities should be. Best case, someone will write the rules but there will be unintended consequences that hammer the poor or discourage wealth creation. Worst case, the rules will be written by the people in power to enrich themselves and their friends.
On the subject of turning the camera on, my 400D's battery lasts so long* I never bother to turn it off because I'll be sure to charge it before an event anyway. In fact it's really annoying when someone tries my camera or looks at pictures on it and turns it off before handing it back to me. The only problem with this is that is doesn't regularly do the sensor shake thing.
* If I'm away from electricity it will even last almost a week with moderate usage.
Yes, but the Cortina didn't have all the extra gubbins the Focus has. Plus, the Focus is HUGE compared to a Cortina.
Re: Myth Busted
The problem with going into the back of your winnebago to make coffee is that in the event of an accident*, you are no longer strapped to your seat (and there is hot liquid going everywhere, though that may be the least of your worries)
* Granted, with autonomous vehicles, the accident rate may well plunge to negligible
Re: There was one big scary moment for me...
I don't know why I read all this stuff, because I have no interest in actually watching Dr Who, but an appearance from Statto would get me watching!
Why the downvotes? I came here to post this, too. iOS is much closer to UNIX than QNX.
Linux <> UNIX
Meltemi/Meego/Maemo: none of these are UNIX any more than Android is UNIX. They may be POSIX compatible, but iOS is the most UNIXy of the OSes.
Re: Yeah right
Nokia was the last manufacturer with serious Windows Phone production volume and variety of handsets, but HTC and Samsung have also been chugging along with Windows Phone
Re: One Mate
The Samsung UK site listing all its current Smartphones has a big Windows OS choice right under Android OS. Granted there's only one Windows Phone on there at the minute (Ativ S) compared to 52 Galaxy Android options, but it's there. Not to mention that Samsung has long been pretty OS agnostic. They've got their own in house OS (Bada, which was succeeded by Tizen) and they used to produce phones with Symbian and Windows Mobile.
The only hurdle to Samsung putting Windows Phone 8.1 on a Galaxy is Samsung's branding strategy, which currently identifies all Galaxy devices as running Android.