95 posts • joined Wednesday 24th June 2009 16:14 GMT
When Labour were in, I thought the Conservatives promised to get rid of IR35?
Phrases like "yea, right...", and "oh, you fell for THAT one, did you?" spring to mind
@Velv - (Unfortunately) you are wrong!
While I find Apple's behaviour in this contemptible, your comment "The Bank is taking the credit risk, not Apple" is not actually correct in the harsh reality of business banking.
I used to run a small web-based retain business and I used to accept credit/debit card payments. It's all unnecessarily complicated, but basically, if you are a company and the target of credit card fraud then I wish you the very best of luck getting your money back from the bank after you have shipped the purchased goods and then find out the card was used fraudulently. The bank will usually point at clause xyz and tell you to whistle.
It really annoys me when I see adverts aimed at Jo Public with tag lines along the gist of "don't worry about using your card on-line - we (the bank) will make sure you don't lose out". Notice that the banks DON'T say that THEY will cover the costs. That's because they don't! They pass the buck on to the retailer. This is why the banks have never really taken credit card fraud seriously. Because most of the time, the cost to the bank is nothing; either the customer pays or the retailer pays.
Like pretty much all "lets save the environment" ideas, the biofuel thing has very little to do with "saving the environment" and much more to do with making money. Just like "carbon trading" (an absurd idea that Dr. Strangelove would have been proud of), and taxing ...well ...pretty much anything you can think off that might even be vaguely to do with pollution.
I mean, why bother actually DOING anything about poisoning the planet we live on when we can do bugger-all about it instead, and make some more of that completely artificial concept called "money" into the bargain? Despair in human nature? God, I do; we deserve to die-out!
"...[you would think] sorting out software licences would be a priority from the word 'go'"
And that's the thing isn't it? When you're running a business, this sort of thing is NOT a priority. Making sure you can pay the rent is a priority. Making sure you can pay your staff, or making sure your invoices get paid, or your shipments get to your customers on time is a priority. Oh, yes, I accept the whole "it's stealing" thing (I write s/w myself for a living, and have done so for many years), but that doesn't change human nature, or the REAL priorities in life.
It's all part of the broader bluster about piracy, whether it be DVDs, CDs (remember them?) or anything else. Just because you jump up and down about this stuff, it doesn't make it important. There are many important things in life (which probably boil down to a handful in reality), but software/DVD/CD/whatever piracy is certainly not one of them.
Used jedit almost exclusively for years now. Multi--platform (as long as you have a JVM), extendable, very reliable, understands pretty much every language ever invented (or you can describe a new one to it if it doesn't know it), etc etc.
Some of the plugins can be a tad ropey, but on the whole highly recommended.
Yep - it's all pretty crappy
My Motorola Android phone is ok, but that's about all it is. Android is still full of holes and lacking functionality. To quote my long-suffering wife, the problem with techy stuff is that it's always "just a bit crap". And she's right. Yes, it works. Most of the time it even works quite well. But it also stalls, it can sometime take ages to drop calls, the sound sometime inexplicably stops working requiring a reboot to recover it (I've missed several alarms because of this), The screen flips portrait/landscape on a whim. Dunno if the newer Android version do, but mine doesn't have support for client SSL certificates. I could go on ...and on ...and on....
This is all really basic stuff and the fact that these issues exist is a symptom of the "get it out of the door ASAP, whether it works or not" problem. It's not specific to Motorola, or even Android. It's modern-day stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap (even if they are "just a bit crappy") business. Ho hum...
But trademark law doesn't work like that!
"It would prevent anybody else from using the word “Python” in goods, packaging, services, or in business papers and advertising without Veber’s express consent."
This is simply not true. A trademark only applies to specified good and services that must be stated at the time the trademark is applied for. There is nothing to stop you applying for a trademark of (say) Apple as long as your goods/services don't involve computer products or music (remember - Apple records), and probably a few other things. Similarly, a trademark of Python for a computer language is completely separate to a trademark of Python for (say) motorbikes or a chain of estate agents.
It all depends on what the intended use of the trademark is.
Re: For goodness' sake
At last - Someone said it!
IMAP does a very good job at (unnecessary relatively recent buzz word) "push" email - it's called IDLE. It works. It's a well understood and supported standard. But like so many things, it's not MS-specific so MS won't support it.
I DO find all this very very funny - watching MS squirm over something that they have been doing since year dot. Oh, how times change.
I would love an Android phone without the Google bits. The only bit of Google I want is the search bit, and that will work from any web browser, so I'm more than happy to dump the rest of the crud that gets forced upon me in my Android phone.
Re: More PC over-reaction
Actually, a "Make Me White" app would probably cause even more of a storm!
....but if a "Make Me White" app is racist and a "Make Me Asian" app is also racist (and presumably also a "Make Me Black" app etc etc) then ...errr ....if EVERYTHING to do with race ...errrr .....racist?
We really are a fucked-up species - we really do deserve to self-destruct. Oh hang on, I forgot. We're already working on that!
Sounds about right for the US
...but maybe the rather obvious and simple answer is to require any charities involved to be completely divorced from the matter in hand - if it's a privacy case (like this one) then the money should go to some housing charity, or a wildlife trust or something completely unconnected.
...but, of course, that's just TOO simple, isn't it?
Calamari? I think not
Squid this size are full of ammonia. You wouldn't want to eat it
...the code must have been REALLY bad!
The state of most(*) open source (and, sadly, paid-for "professional") code makes me shudder, so I can only imagine (actually, I can't - it's THAT dark) how bad this must have been to provoke such a response.
(*) = About oooo.... 95% (I'm being generous here)
Re: Not that I'm cynical
I too am very cynical, but in this case I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt and wish them lots of luck.
What I find slightly depressing is the lack of China and (I'm guessing much more significantly) Russia in the list of participating countries.
"Also - how come we bash Adobe for being buggy and dangerous, but nearly all the exploits are Windows-only?"
I hate Windows as much as the next geek, but even I struggle to blame MS when I'm using a Mac, or Linux, or BSD, or......
I really hope Adobe doesn't get to grips with HTML5. The last thing the world needs is Adobe continuing to inflict their cruddy software on it. It's just a shame that most people don't realise that the bloated heap of crap called Acrobat is not the only PDF tool about.
Great idea! - not
What is the bloody point of fining the police? Or, for that matter a hospital. Or the fire brigade?
How does this in any way help anything or anyone that these organizations serve?
"...it limits the opportunity for others to forward it around the school campus, or (worse) upload it to Facebook or an image sharing site."
I know it's stating the bleedin' obvious, but I'll do it anyway. If you're worried about this sort of thing then ...errr ....don't text/email naked pics of yourself to other people? Just a thought.
Oh, and shut that stable gate on your way out will you... oh shit! Too late!!!!!
The article talks about a range limit to entanglement. I though there was no limit? In theory, you could use entanglement to communicate over billions of light years of space... instantly.
Or am I talking bollocks? I'm fully prepared to be shot down :-)
Re: Why in this day and age...
The last time I looked, Android did not implement client certificates in its SSL stack - the functionality just wasn't there. It's why I eventually gave up trying to get IMAP email working on it.
No idea if client cert support is included now, but if now, this (and maybe other omissions) could explain why at least some of the apps use their own libraries?
I do find issues like this rather disturbing. I am neither condoning or objecting to what anyone has posted up on some web site; I really couldn't less what most of these people have to say.
But, like so much of modern society, prosecuting someone for being rude is nothing more than running a Thought police. It's like issues like racism (and no, I'm not in any way condoning that either), bad-taste jokes about pedophiles (oddly enough, I've heard a couple recently), poking fun at religion and various deities, and any number of other issues. The thing is, the law can not force people to like each other. It keeps trying, but it's never going to succeed. Yes, some of this stuff offends (being "offended" and "outraged" is so "in" these days, don't you find?), but locking someone up because they have been rude is not actually going change anything. It might make them bitter and more hateful, but it's not going to actually do any good. And fining them? What the hell is THAT going to achieve? Ah - money! The modern world's solution to just about everything.
Bottom line is people have always been, and always will carry with them various prejudices, and even hate (along with greed, it's why we have lots of wars), and there is bugger-all constructive you can do about it.
Re: So do we get 2 years in the UK?
Errr.... you're not the only one!
Is this some blindingly obvious law that nobody has actually been told about? Anyone know for sure?
Re: But what about Kindle books?
And therein lies the rub. Not just with this, but with the Kindle, anything with 'i' at the start of its name, and several other offerings.
I really do think we've gone backwards - back in the 70's there were the Unix wars and other such events which basically revolved around big companies trying to lock-in their customers. Everyone sighed with relief when this all came to an end with the open architecture that was the PC. Even when MS got its claws on it, it's Mickey Mouse OS's were still pretty open and you could pretty much do what you liked.
Since Apple started to rise from the ashes, we have (and still are) inexorably falling back into a culture of lock-in. Except it's arguably even worse now because what is being locked-in is stuff that has previously been open and freely available (and no, I don't mean pirate-able), like music, and books and other media. I'm guessing it will go on for a few years (maybe a decade or so) before someone comes up with another "PC" and suddenly everyone will be sighing with relief at the "new" open architecture that we can pretty much do anything we like with. Until then, it looks like walled gardens (gilded prisons) , lock-in and general control over what we do and what we don't do with stuff we've bought will continue for some time.
Re: 2 birds with one stone
I'm shocked to hear that Java is taught as a "first" language.
In my mind, the "problem" with Java is that most of the people that use it seem to have no appreciation of what happens "under to hood" (to use that dreadful American expression). As a result, they quite happily write a few lines of code that look cool and do the job in hand, but they completely fail to understand the massive complexity and (often) massive inefficiency going on behind the scenes. Because of this, their Java code might work and it might "do a job" but it does it in a hugely inefficient way.
If you learn something like plain old C, or assembler, then you (should!) never fall into this trap because the stark realities of what is going on is blindingly clear to you, and you are forced to think (or at least you should be) of efficient ways of doing stuff.
A related problem is that Java is simply too high level. You don't need to think about what's going on underneath to make it work, so you don't. And so you never actually learn the low level stuff. And without the low level knowledge, you can't hope to write good software that is fast, efficient, fully debugged, and stable. I quite like PHP (or I used to - I fear it's going down the same bloated path as Perl), but I would never consider using it for anything "serious".
Java is the Visual Basic of the modern age (not that it's that modern any more); yes, it works. Yes, it might "do a job", but it promotes some very very bad habits, and, quite frankly, crappy programmers, because they don't actually understand what they are doing, even if they think they do. It's the equivalent of doing one of those numpty courses to teach you how to use MS Word, and then declaring that you "can do computers". It's exactly why the industry is is constantly complaining that the quality of graduates is not good enough.
@El_Fev - Not so
Samsung are not ripping-off anyone off, least of all Apple. They are just following a trend that has been building for ages. It's Apple that seem to think they invented and own this stuff. Take a wander off to here. This is a legal filing from Samsung showing just this...
...the interesting stuff is reproduced here, which is a lot faster to load and read...
It clearly shows that Samsung has, like everyone else, been working on these ideas long before the iPhone was even talked about. It's the same story with the iPad - ALL the ideas in the iPad that Apple are using to sue everyone were invented LONG before the iPad hit the market. Some of the ideas like the general look and feel of thing have been around for decades.
Re: Bloody wonderful, dont idiots ever think first?
"...give governments a reason to regulate 3D printing."
Or, maybe a better idea, would be to do what the the saner parts of the world do and have the US govt regulate gun ownership? Now there's an idea!!
Alternatively, start a new campaign - "Guns don't kill people - printers do!". The whole gun ownership thing in the US is so bloody stupid, you literally couldn't make it up for even the blackest of satires. I can't imagine someone in (say) the UK openly advertising on the web that he's managed to build a bloody machine gun at home (and yes, I know it's not technically a machine gun). Absolutely insane.
Re: Not natural
No, you're not.
If you dig about, you'll also find pics of some odd and massive structures on Iapetus that defy any sort of known natural explanation. The oddest thing about anything like this though is that NASA seem to almost deliberately ignore it (not just on Iapetus, of course, but on the moon and on Mars); if they saw these things on Earth they'd be sending a team to go and investigate on the double.
One of the single biggest advantage of the CLI over a GUI is that using a CLI, you can easily remote log-in to whatever machine you like and do stuff. This is simply not possible with a GUI. Yes, I know (and it pains me to admit that I have to sometimes use) that there are remote GUI/desktop things available, but since when did passing video over the network just to run a script become a "good idea"? It's a bloody stupid and clonky idea! This, incidentally, is one of my biggest gripes with Windows - it doesn't have a useful command line and you can't remote log in to it anyway; you have to use stupidly inefficient KVM systems to achieve what you could achieve for free and out of the box with any other OS.
Another huge advantage of a CLI is that you can script it, and automate it. I have loads of scripts that do stuff that would be inordinately tedious and time consuming with GUI (even if it were possible at all).
Of course, (as you already pointed out), GUI systems tend to hide settings data etc, which means that if something goes wrong, it can be very difficult to work out what; it's all simply too opaque. Pretty, but opaque.
Of course, if you want to browse the web (to post stuff up on the Reg for example) then a GUI is great. It's just a crap idea for administering a computer system.
What about burning the stuff to a CD/DVD, or whatever happens to be the media of the moment? It might not be "Web 2.0", or "cloud" or any other silly buzzword, but it works, is simple and you know what you're getting.
Why do you feel the need to chuck your precious data out into the wild and rely on anyone/anything else to keep it safe for you (which they/it won't)?
One of the best bits of British drama I've seen on TV for some time was "Occupation" some years back. If you didn't see it, go and find it. I was skeptical, thinking it was just another James Nesbitt vehicle, but it turned out to be an excellent and gritty depiction of the fuck-up that is Iraq.
"Although the FSF discourages modified versions of the GPL, they are permitted, provided they meet certain conditions"
And who are the self-appointed FSF to dictate what is and what is not "permitted"? Arrogant sods.
Why such a fuss over someone coming up with another s/w license though? Big deal...
Here we go again
These are two very narrow examples; even the subject media (TV programs) is the same! How can you possibly let this influence any kind of policy?
I have to agree with the first comment though - when did "networked" become "cloud"? It's yet another stupid buzz word to try and make a very very old idea sound new. The only reason this new-fangled "cloud" stuff is becoming more popular with those that choose to push it is because of the relatively recent rise in mobile kit and the fact that it's handy to access the same stuff from different places. Which has always been the case since the dawn of ethernet; it's why we have protocols like IMAP, and FTP, rsync, and various VPNs, etc. What I would find more interesting is some decent standard way of doing this over the internet without some middle-man taking his cut. Oh hang on, that exists already, no?....
And none of this addresses the question of why the hell should I trust and pay someone else to look after my data? Nope - I don't have an answer to that one.
That's silly number
"...running across the 1.57 million PowerPC cores inside the box."
"I always try and believe 6 impossible things before breakfast", said Alice.
The Linux people have brought this on themselves. They have been allowing binary blobs (mostly drivers) into the code-base for years. The argument for this is, of course, that it allows Linux to acquire functionality that would otherwise be denied. While I can see the argument, the ultimate conclusion of this action is that you'll finally end up in the situation where more and more hardware manufacturers do the same thing, to the point where you don't have the source code for ANY of the drivers in your kernel! Which is a ridiculous situation.
I've recently been looking at putting together a Linux box for running MythTV. I very quickly found out that it's a non-trivial exercise getting the video to work. Apparently, Radeon chips are a non-starter which (many people agree) is a real shame because they have (arguably) much superior video post-processing capabilities compared to nVidia. the point is, we have here and now, a situation where critical bits of hardware will not work with Linux without the use of the respective blob. And the blobs are typically buggy, lack critical functionality, or fail to work for some other complex reason. And there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it.
The BSDs have been campaigning for years to not allow blobs in. FreeBSD (I think) ended up relenting, but OpenBSD has stood their ground. And yes, you could point and laugh and say "oh, yes, but so-and-so doesn't work on openBSD", and you might be right, but at least they have all the code for ALL their drivers, which is a lot more than Linux can say (and by the way, OBSD has far better WiFi Support than Linux). OpenBSD dropped support for Adaptec disc driver chips some years ago because after many frustrating years of trying to get enough info out of them just so a driver could be written, they finally lost patience and decided it wasn't worth it. On the other hand, OBSD has had some major successes getting h/w manufacturers to release the required info. If Linux took the same tack, then by now there would be some very big players video / ethernet / wifi manufacturers getting their fingers out and releasing this sort of info because the cost to them if they don't is loss of sales.
Many people have been saying for years that there should be a licensing clause in the Linux OS to prevent blob inclusion (but then again, this should not be needed - it's Linux people's short-sightedness and impatience that is the problem). And now that Linux is becoming much more important, we're in a mess that we can not be able to get out of, and are being held to ransom.
What a waste of time
"...However, "affiliate information sharing" about users can continue even once DNT controls have been activated, Mayer said."
Says it all really - This whole DNT standard isn't worth squat. It relies completely on the advertiser(s) abiding by the rules. And as they have spent many many years trying to get round various attempts by users who don't want this crap, and are now trying to convince everyone that DNT should NOT be enabled by default (who the hell thinks THAT's a good idea?!) clearly they can not be trusted at all.
It will be interesting to see what happens when browser makers start enabling DNT by default because that's actually what their user's want - how will the W3C and the advertisers embarrass themselves then?
Personally, I think I'll stick with the "trust no one" policy and use Ad Blocker, and Ghostery, and NoScript etc.
Re: linux gpl
While I agree with what you're saying, why not use BSD or some other non-GPL OS. Apart from being better designed, and simpler, there are no GPL worries to get in the way.
Of course it's not just the OS that's an issue when it comes to GPL, but it's a good start and there are many alternatives to GPL libraries and applications anyway.
"...the advertising world would regulate itself and honor "Do not track", so long as browser manufacturers didn't make it a default setting."
I think this says all that anyone needs to know about the morals of the advertising industry; "we'll agree to honour "do not track" as long as you don't enable it and most users don't know about it". It's just like all the other "opt out" schemes like the one for junk (non-e) mail. They really are scum of the first order.
Security? What? Where?.....
"However a senior RSA Security exec said that, in practice, the attack would only work on a PC already compromised by a rootkit..."
So if we're talking Windows here, that's ..errr ...just about all of them then!
On a more practical side, what's to stop an employee with malicious intent from (easily) gaining access to a suitable company machine and installing/running some hack to do this? Not much, by the sound of it.
I blame the FA and FIFA
While I agree that Sky has not been a healthy influence on football, I blame the FA and FIFA just as much, and probably more.
For a very long time now, the FA (and FIFA) have not cared a sod about football. The only thing they care about is money. If they cared about football, we wouldn't have the ludicrous situation where the tickets to see a match are so expensive that only the reasonably wealthy can afford to go. We wouldn't have football clubs going bust every couple of months because player wages have reaches such stratospheric levels of stupidity. And we wouldn't have the crazy situation where a TV company has to pay millions and millions just to show a game. It wouldn't be so bad if all this money sloshing about actually went back into football. But it doesn't. Most of it goes into paying a few dozen players and shareholders, all of which play for the same handful of teams. The teams in the lower leagues hardly get a look-in, and as for any non-league teams - you know, the ones that bring new talent into the game - forget it - they get squat!
Recent events at FIFA have shown what a shambles that particular institution is. It's rotten to the core. Everyone knows it, but there's so much money at stake that nobody wants to do anything about it. The FA and FIFA are a disgrace.
"It has set itself the tough task of fixing both the SSL and Certificate Authority (CA) ecosystems."
It certainly does - I thought it was blindingly clear to everyone by now that the "CA ecosystem" simply does not work. The fundamental basis of it is too easy to get wrong and/or break.
...but it STILL doesn't scale!
Why has nobody in tech press or (more importantly), the standards bodies etc, not addressed the issue of the new TLDs flattening the DNS hierarchy?
If you take this to its logical conclusion, we will have million of TLDs, thus rendering the current hierarchical nature of the DNS naming convention rather redundant. How is the DNS system going to cope with this? Has anyone analysed it?
Re: Get rid of java
Does Java support enumerations now? The last time I played with it (ooo... 10+ years ago?), you had to use some crazy structure to 'simulate' an enumeration. And I agree; lack of unsigned is just plain stupid and indicative of the half-baked lanhuage that Java is. Oh, and while you're at it, no multiple inheritance (I like to throw that one in because it seems I'm the only person in the world that thinks multiple inheritance can be useful). Java is also responsible for breeding a whole generation of third-rate softies who's idea of efficient and small is "it runs ok(ish) on a 3GHz quad core monster", and "it's smaller than 500MB" respectively.
And on a completely different tack, as far as I know (and apparently well illustrated by recent events), Java still isn't completely "free" and many people have been warning for years of the potential for the mess that we're now witnessing in the latest Oracle/Google spat. But, of course, many more people have chosen not to listen
Ok, rant over.
Ah, you've noticed then? :-)
I'm afraid you are spot on with what you say, and the problems are endemic in almost all consumer electronics companies (where, of course the 'electronics' is increasingly almost exclusively 'software'). The basic issues are:
- Timescales. There is never enough time. Ever.
- Managers that have strange priorities and odd ideas about what is acceptable and what is not.
- Patents. The industry is so riddled with this stuff now that virtually all products are purposely sub-optimal to avoid some patent or other.
- Software kids that are (quite frankly) ...and I'll be polite here ...crap. They have no idea about embedded systems (I can only guess they were taught on a PC with Java, or maybe Python, and gigabytes of memory and trillions of ops/sec). They often have no idea about good software design practice (sorry, did I say 'design'? Oops!). They can't code even if they you pay them (oh, hang on, they ARE being paid!). They're just not up to it.
One other problem that I have seen time and time again is the culture surrounding production of software. This comes from the yanks, but unfortunately has been picked-up by pretty much everyone in the far east, which is why most of the consumer stuff these days is rubbish. That is, given a software project, they chop it up in teeny tiny bits, give each teeny tiny bit to one person, and then try and glue it all together at the end. And while said bod is working on his/her teeny tiny bit, he/she comes across a problem that can't be immediately solved, they decide to split the problem off into an even smaller teeny tiny bit in the (apparent) hope that someone else will fix it at some point in the future. This means that the difficult stuff gets left later and later so when it is eventually tackled, it's done in a rush and probably by someone who's either not very good or who's been working 18 hours/day for the last month (not a joke) to get the thing out of the door. Of course, when it comes to gluing all these teeny bits together, the glue is often bigger than the "working" (I use the term loosely) code, and the whole thing needs a processor upgrade to run at all!! I wish it was funny, but it's not.
These issues all combine and result in products that are far far from optimal. When, for example, did it become acceptable for my DVD player to take 2 minutes to boot up? My old DVD player started up almost instantly. The EPG on my TV often craps out and I have to switch it off. Why? (That's a rhetorical question by the way, I know exactly why).
As for you point re warranties, this was supposed to have been tackled years ago by re-defining software as "goods" rather than as a "service". For reasons unknown, this never happened. If is had, then the software would be subject to the sale of goods act (notably the bit about "fit for purpose"). Your TV and DVD player etc might be a whole lot more reliable if this happened.
Not just over there....
...over here too!
I've been in this software engineering game for well over 20 years now, and over that time I have met very few people that I would actually consider "good". Up to a couple of years ago, I worked for about 7 years at a very well known consumer electronics company. The quality of some of the softies there was shockingly bad. Mind you, at the considerable risk of sounding racist or xenophobic, most of them were Japanese (but then it is a Japanese company).