98 posts • joined 30 Jun 2009
Re: It's So Obvious It's Sad
Those brave one-handed early adopters deserve their own name.
True, a large part of the problem is that the elimination of non-typical IT professionals happens long before they even apply for the jobs (the same is true of a lot of other professions).
It's often stated that the proportion of students studying computer science degrees who are female has fallen over the last few years. I very much doubt that this is because loads of school-aged young women do work experience at IT firms and decide it's not for them. Rather, it suggests that there are other things putting them off- in all likelihood, stereotypes.
It suggests that the IT industry should be going into schools and tackling the stereotypes there. I say should, because if entry into the field's being restricted by anything other than ability, then the whole field suffers.
Asleep at the wheel
It reads a lot like a company whose board was asleep at the wheel, suddenly woke up, panicked as they saw that they were drifting off one side of the road and oversteered themselves off a cliff on the other side.
The only thing worse than complacency is massively overreacting when you realise how complacent you've been. The move to Windows was, probably, in the long run, the right one. But burning your platforms all at once and leaping into the unknown (especially when there's even now strong demand for long-battery feature phones in developing countries), then going wobbley and selling when you don't immediately get results was madness.
Our sympathies go out...
...to the people with names that Facebook will think are parodies and who'll have to go through the excrutiating business of convincing them that, yes, they really are called Hugh Jass, I.C. Weiner etc.
Obligatory Brass Eye paedo moral panic quote thread
"Security footage from Sheffield shows a paedophile disguised as a school. Have you seen him. Do you know him? Call us."
True, but if it's something really urgent, like medication, it'd be much better to risk a drone or two than a crewed boat.
Hang on, how are foods taxed by the EU?
Potential uses here
I imagine that an accurate 3D map of the UK available to everyone in a readily-accessible format has the potential to be extremely useful. Especially if it gets dynamic compenents like realistic(ish) trains.
Re: The Moon has more to offer.
I dunno, the ISS has taught the participating space programmes a lot about the logistics of running a piece of kit that complicated in the long term. Every spacewalk to fix something, every incorporation of a new bit of equipment or new way of doing things is a step forward. In retrospect, saying the ISS is a bit of a lemon might be like saying Gemini was a bit of a lemon- it didn't do much at all compared to Apollo or Mercury in terms of milestones, but it was a vital stepping stone between the two.
In recognition of that, personally, I'd be in favour of one last resupply mission (or more) carrying nothing but fuel to try and put the thing into a much higher orbit, one that will be stable for a few centuries at least. That way it can be preserved as the historical artefact that it will surely become.
I'm probably speaking too soon, but it looks like the Americans have cracked the whole "getting a probe to Mars" thing- everything they've sent there has made it for the past 15 years. Quite a winning streak.
The overall Mars probe success rate of just 51% and the Russians' recent failure with Fobos Grunt show just how hard that is to do. Have a virtual beer, NASA.
I briefly did marketing
I was young and foolish (i.e. a student). I did one internship and never looked back!
The clusters that they've identified will be the results of some fairly large-scale surveying of the customers in their stores and the statements are likely to have been at least based on things that customers actually said (if not actual verbatim quotes).
The slightly snobby but catchy names are fairly standard on the research end of the dark art that is marketing. It's also worth noting that graduates who work in marketing and do the legwork for these presentations are overworked and very poorly paid compared to their university contemporaries (to add insult to injury they're not even doing something worthy or even particularly creative when all's said and done, which would take the edge off a lower pay packet). I suspect giving a degrading nickname to a group of people who work less than they do but who have a lot more money is cathartic for them.
Indeed. The revelation that Snowden brought was not that people who might be engaged in terrorist activity were being monitored (we all knew that anyway) but that people who the authorities knew were not involved in terrorist activity were also being monitored, the extent of this monitoring was probably illegal, the information gathered was routinely used for things other than counterterrorism and that the oversight of these authorities was horrendously lax.
Unfortunately, the treatment of whistleblowers has been so terrible (the pre-trial treatment of Manning can rightly be described as torture) that the only way anyone will blow the whistle is by gathering up a massive amount of data and then skipping the country. And if you're really going to have to sacrifice your life as you know it to blow the whistle, you're going to get *everything* on your way out.
Pay TV is in fact currently under investigation. The Commission really doesn't like the fact that you can't get a Pay TV subscription for one Member State in another. Seems to be a pretty flagrant interference with the principle of the single market, and I'm not sure how justifiable it is.
Mrs Murphy, aka the Premiership pub football landlady who bought the Greek feed, was only successfully prosecuted because she showed the footage publicly (meaning copyright kicked in). Had she consumed the content in the privacy of her own home she would've been fine. Funnily enough, the Premier League's private prosecution of Murphy seems to have been the trigger for the Commission to sit up and take notice of the practice.
One to watch for the politics. If the EU *does* find against Pay TV practices, Murdoch will spit blood (even more than he would've done otherwise) on Brexit if we get a referendum in 2017. Then again, the EU might get serious brownie points with the British public for allowing them to get half price football subscriptions.
Not for fitness nuts
As someone with a garmin watch (I bought the forerunner model from 3 years ago, 2 years ago- the price plummets when the new models come out), I imagine that the whole Watch thing is aimed at people like me, or at least at people who will use the Watch in the way that I use the garmin.
Not gonna happen. That little garmin has been battered, ducked, soaked, been trodden on, landed on (by my not exactly petite frame and by my bike), scraped, covered in mud, etc, etc. It's still going (albeit with a couple of scratches on the bezel).
Unless Apple have massively amped up the durability for their Watch, it wouldn't last 2 weeks on my arm, let alone 2 months. Even if they have, they've got a mountain to climb to convince me enough for me to risk what I'd have to pay for a replacement before I took it out.
You can't be a company that washes its hands of water damage (pun unintentional) that at the same time tries to push a device that's designed to be worn without any protective covering on someone doing exercise.
Re: The BBC...trading in a reputation for quality it lost a long time ago.
They are in a huge bind though- on the one hand they won't be legitimate if they're unpopular, given how wide the licence base is (hence programmes like Strictly, Mrs Brown's Boys etc). On the other hand, to be legitimate as a public service broadcaster, they've also got to go with highbrow stuff for the artsy liberals and take risks for the "it must correct market failure" people.
The problem is, finding something that ticks all these boxes at the same time is pretty much impossible and so people who firmly occupy one corner of the triangle will always criticise the programmes that pander to either of the other two corners and not their own.
Any Government of recent years however should note that the Beeb and the Licence Fee are far more popular than they are- fewer than 25% of the population voted Tory and support for the licence-funded BBC has never dropped below this. I'd argue that, until these different levels of support change round, any governmental dismantling what's become a cornerstone of modern Britain won't be legitimate.
That being said, the Licence Fee people are nuts- unable to accept that you don't own a TV. The only way to deal with them is to respond to their Kafkaesque nonsense with Dadaist replies.
Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...
Have you *watched* Discovery recently? It's all reality shows disguised as documentaries.
Even Shark Week (originally designed to get people to respect and understand sharks rather than fear them) has descended into a "docufiction" about a prehistoric shark eating a pleasure boat (no, really!).
Re: "Antitrust" ... misused as regularly as "Antisemitism".
Icke also states that the Queen displays classic being a lizard from outer space tendancies, so maybe he's not a good person to quote about....anything.
A big company also has diminished empathy and remorse, two other key psychopathic tendencies. A table (or any other inanimate object) also has these personality traits. Maybe that's because they're not things that can feel emotion/empathy (making the whole "X is a psychopath" wholly devoid of meaning).
Joke adapted for a new century
I object to all this sex on my iPhone. I keep falling off!
Re: Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Ariana Grande
You might say that about the other two, but the first is a three time Oscar-nominated, one time Oscar-winning actor and the front of one of the most successful movie franchises of the last few years.
Re: The Met
It's like the "it's illegal to take photos" rubbish all over again.
Experience seems to suggest that the best thing to do when it comes to legal advice from the police (if it's not on blatantly obvious things like throwing bricks through windows or beating people up) is to assume that it's wrong until someone who knows what they're doing agrees with them.
Some of this seems awfully familiar...
REG: Listen. If you wanted to join ISIS, you'd have to really hate the Americans.
BRIAN: I do!
REG: Oh, yeah? How much?
BRIAN: A lot!
REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Americans are the Judean People's Front.... I mean, the Shia.
"42,000 pages" of evidence gathered against him
An oddly specific claim here.
How does he know? What counts as 42,000 pages? Did they print every single email that was sent (along with the duplicate text of the thread repeated below) and how did they set out page borders? Is that 42,000 pages in native file format, or is it when the document management system outputs it all to an image file?
Or has he simply made up this number because it sounds big and vaguely realistic?
This is driving me crazy
Are the pictures in black and white or not?
It's even worse than being a penguin in a snowstorm trying to work out whether or not he's gone colour blind.
Something worth buying a new computer for?
Part of the decline in PC sales can be blamed on the lack of things that the average user actually *wants* their computer to do, that can instead be done on a tablet or an older PC.
If you want to web browse, watch streaming video services, type up a couple of letters and organise your photos, then you're good to go with a 5 year old PC. Why would you ever upgrade? You can see why this would be a nightmare for Microsoft (and you can see that with some of there "I bought a PC because I changed my mind on my need for an upgrade" adverts).
I imagine that we'll start seeing a lot of these kinds of high demand/domestic application services being developed by Microsoft in future, in order to try and persuade people to get back on the upgrade conveyor.
Data Protection is everyone organisation's favourite bogeyman where a "health and safety" excuse can't be made up.
I've had some experience of the Data Protection Act myself and I have to say that I have never come across a genuine "data protection" excuse that's actually hamstringing someone from doing something that you'd actually want them to be able to do with your information. One suspects that this experience isn't atypical and that the proportion of reported problems that are *actually* down to data protection issues is a miniscule fraction of the total.
Re: On handguns
Not in the EU :P
Actually, a lot of EU countries have much less restrictive handgun laws than the UK (France, for example).
Like the author, we tend to forget this, as there don't seem to be any Europeans who are fanatically devoted to a perceived "right" to bear arms as an insurance policy against oppressive government or invasion (despite having far more historical justification for having such devotion).
Re: The key to this is in the final para
Google seems to have spent much of its time in Court arguing that it wasn't subject to the jurisdiction of the CJEU as it wasn't in Europe. It said that its servers were all in the US and therefore it couldn't be touched (presumably if/when it did build those big server boats we were briefly reading about and sent them into international waters it would've tried to pretend that even US law couldn't touch it).
This was flatly rejected as the Court pointed out that Google sold google.es ad space that was targetted at Spanish users and sold to Spanish businesses. If it does the same thing with its .com offering (and it looks like it does- I just used google.com and found that the sponsored ads were largely coming from UK businesses) then it seems to me that it would fail to convince the Court that it's not operating in the EU for exactly the same reasons that it failed to convince them on google.es.
Re: Built for America
Sight isn't everything though. When I was 17, I had better eyesight than I do today*. Was I a better driver then? Hell no.
*it's still better than 20/20 in case anyone from the DVLA is reading this
Built for America
A lot of what I read about Google's miracle car suggests that it's been designed very much for American roads. More specifically the wide, ruler-straight, multi-lane (even in the middle of towns), low speed roads of southern California, with a ban on jaywalking and a separate lane for cyclists most of the time.
When you drive down the street in Mountain View, people *do* wait a second from the lights turning green before they go. You *can* overtake a snake of cars, because you've usually got an empty overtaking lane to use. You almost always are in reach of mobile data access, because there's wifi dripping (metaphorically) from the lamp posts.
To be fair, a two year old could drive on these roads. A driverless car is a much harder proposition pretty much everywhere else in the world. I imagine these autodrivers will be worse than useless outside of their native environment, and given that we haven't heard that they've been taken on the backroads or on a narrow, twisty turny good old-fashioned European street, I suspect that Google agree with me.
So go on Google, show us a driverless car negotiating the Paris rush hour. *Then* we'll buy it.
@John Smith 19
I should clarify here, and also apologise for being less than clear before.
My understanding is that the 40 year figure relates to our *current* level of gas demand, i.e. the gas that we currently use. The government has suggested that we should be getting more of our energy from gas and less from other sources. Gas is currently around 30% of our current electricity usage- this proportion is only going to increase as it replaces coal and nuclear. Also, if electric cars (and other technologies that use electricity rather than combustion) take off, more of our energy usage will come from the grid. I think it's clear that we will be using much more gas than we currently are if the government gets its way, meaning that what's in the ground won't last anything like 40 years.
When I say "a few" years, I mean "less than the life expectancy of a power station". A power station is built to last for up to 40 years- I don't think that the shale gas will last this long in the circumstances, even if we do manage to get as much of it out the ground as the most optimistic report published so far suggests we could.
2015? It's already too late then.
Currently, the fracking being done in the UK is for exploration rather than commercial exploitation. Assuming that the exploratory wells confirm what we think we already know, commercialising those wells will take longer than 2015/16.
The amount of shale gas in the UK is tiny- what we think is there could sustain our energy needs for a few years, nothing more. The real reason the UK government is so keen is because it would see much of the revenue from what came out the ground in the form of tax.
Furthermore, the upcoming power cut issue is more to do with plants (mostly the older coal-fired plants)being decommissioned before new, cleaner, plants take their place (we prevaricated over what to build for too long), not to do with running out of gas. Car crash it may be, but it's not one we can frack our way out of.
Re: Will the free market come to the rescue?
There's an interesting question hanging in the air of what the cable providers will do once TV on demand becomes properly widespread (while on demand is no longer exclusively the domain of the early adopter, I don't see my parents or grandparents taking it up any time soon).
Right now, cable subscriptions provide a large, predictable and presumably high-margin slice of revenue. Especially compared to what on-demand costs. This is even true in the UK- NowTV gives you what you'd actually want from a Sky subscription, at a fraction of the cost and (so far) with no ads. Interestingly, it's done by Sky (presumably they're of the view that the service competes with piracy and Netflix/Amazon rather than cannibalising existing subscribers). In a rational universe, the vast majority of people with a decent broadband connection would be binning their dishes and £50 p.m. TV contracts for the cheaper service.
But if everyone does this, providers will have much less revenue to play with- and what they've got coming in now doesn't go into a Scrooge McDuck-style money bin. Weaning these organisations off the money fountain that Cable TV has been for the past few decades is going to be painful for them (even if the revenue lost is just being spent on inefficiencies right now). This looks like a motive for 1) throttling and 2) (when you can't throttle) replacing the revenue stream with a levy on Netflix.
I'm not condoning throttling (quite the opposite) but I can see why they'd want to do it.
Not human rights from the European Convention on Human Rights, but fundamental rights and freedoms from the EU charter.
One's from the Council of Europe (not the EU) and is all that Human Rights stuff you're always reading about in the tabloids (hilariously, Russia is a signatory to the ECHR- some of the cases that get to Strasbourg from there are incredible).
The other is a similar charter that the EU has put together which contains all the ECHR rights but also some special rights of its own, which are a bit more up to date (while the ECHR is a post war creation the charter is from 2000). One of these rights is the right to data protection (really, Article 8 isn't a general privacy right, it's right to personal data protection). There's also a right to education and a right to science (this one is far more interesting when it's not explained).
Re: Funny How Times Change Innit
This would be the same Lord Denning who refused to hear allegations of police brutality in court as they would undermine faith in the justice system if proven correct. And the same one who didn't want ethnic minorities to serve on juries.
Denning was a great champion of liberty and justice but only for those he saw as the right sort. I suspect that he would have been absolutely fine with the state coming down on a foreigner without an NUJ card.
If you head on over to the FT, there are a load of Surface fans making the case for it as a business tablet, with its Office support and serious keyboard.
Unfortunately, Microsoft tried to pitch it as a direct competitor to the Android and Apple recreational machines, with happy clappy college students rather than middled aged people in suits who wanted a new way to flick through a spreadsheet on the sofa.
Right product, wrong target. Yes, there were other problems (e.g. the ARM/x86 issue), but I wonder whether in a parallel universe they couldn't have hacked it out a niche as the go-to corpo-slab.
Re: Wait a minute
I get the feeling that the bods at GCHQ had got fed up of their tech-illiterate superiors' demands for them to "destroy teh files" and carried out their instructions to the letter, just to shut them up.
Something tells me that, if this did come in, we'd find that half the internet lived at 221b Baker Street, 10 Downing Street, 6500 Pennsylvania Ave and a handful of other famous addresses.
Shotgun 29 Acacia Road, Nuttytown (Bananaman's house).
"Probably", yes. But there are many, many more police officers with access to the PNC than officers of the RSPCA so that's not really the issue, is it?
The real questions about potential abuse of the PNC by members of the RSPCA are: 1) is the rate of abuse greater per user than among the police?; and 2) what is done to prevent and punish abuses of the system?
Unfortunately, given the complete lack of scrutiny suggested in El Reg's report the answers seem to be 1) there's no way to find out; and 2) nothing. The second answer is especially worrying.
It's also because the businesses have studied priracy and pirates' attitudes extensively and come to the conclusion that cracking down on downloaders themselves actually *decreases* legal sales, as the downloaders (unsurprisingly) react to it with hostility and know that their individual risk of getting caught is virtually zero.
Also, they're too busy going after the people who pirate *and* charge for their bootlegged content (whether through adverts or otherwise).
Re: New 4-in-1 Bold washes whiter
"He would say that wouldn't he" was rubbish when it was coined (Rice-Davies now appears to have been lying) and is a lazy way of dismissing someone without properly looking at their research and critiquing that.
the Headlines/court cases of tomorrow
If it's anything like O2's current mobile network blocker, it'll restrict a lot of sites without a trace of p0rn on them as well. Even a nun (was going to say priest, but bad example) would need to ask for the block to be taken down for the full browsing experience.
Of course, once the filters are in place you'll have tabloid headlines of "TV personality/school teacher gets dirty internet [sic]", taken from the inevitable leaked lists.
Far more worryingly, there's a very good chance that prosecutors would seek to have how a defendant's internet filter is set up put entered as evidence and an even greater one that the police would see an opt-out as grounds for suspicion. "He's gets teh p0rn, he must be a bad 'un!"
And all because our politicians are too gutless to tell Joe Public and the Daily Fail that, if someone's too stupid to be able to tick a box and opt in to the blocking if they want it, then they probably can't be trusted with the magic box powered by sparks that gives them the internet in the first place.
If only there was some kind of forum in which the select committee could make their opinions felt. You know, some kind of chamber, in which the members wrote laws, debated them and then, having voted on them, brought those laws into force.
Hearing an MP bleat about bad tax laws without suggesting amendments to those laws is like hearing someone who's just torched your sofa complain that it's hot in here.
Yep, funnily enough, if you confiscate all of the wealth from a significant chunk of your population and default on your debts (when no one's lending to you anyway), you'll suddenly find yourself flush with cash.
And, if you drive an even larger chunk of your population out of work (they drove women out of work as well as people from races they didn't like) then your official unemployment figures will improve.
Two one off ways of creating sudden windfalls that make you look like a genius, provided no one's actually paying attention, but which are actually extremely destructive in the long term (like the Romans, their economic policy was so inefficient that they would have faced economic ruin had they not tried to steal more stuff from their neighbours).
Re: 76 officers in London have been investigated
Indeed- I'd also bet that the number of people actually abusing the PNC has probably gone *down* rather than up, as a result of it becoming more traceable and more of a priority.
Doesn't make it any less outrageous- indeed, the fact that so many are being caught for it suggests that it's ingrained in the culture.
Re: Held prisoner at work?
There's also the issue of oil rigs, mines and similar, where it's very difficult to allow the employee to leave safely, whether or not their shift is over.
There's a very old Court case (from the 1910s) where someone quit on the spot while at the bottom of a mine shaft (it was never revealed why he waited until he was hundreds of metres underground to decide that this wasn't the line of work for him). Essentially, he accused his employers of illegally detaining him until the end of the shift (which was the earliest time the lifts became free for people rather than coal). Long story short, he failed as there was a good enough reason to keep him down there for the day.
Re: Sublimed? That was the theme of the Hydrogen Sonata
The was a certain film-like quality to his descriptions. But, on the other hand, a large part of his skill at description was in describing things that couldn't be filmed and shown to human-basics such as ourselves in a form we'd be able to comprehend: seven dimensional hyperspace, battles lasting nanoseconds, solar system-sized megastructures...
Surface Detail has raised some interesting issues on what it might be like to be made immortal through technology. Hydrogen Sonata did the same on the idea of what you might do when your civilisation runs out of steam on this plane of existence (as well as briefly raising the suggesting why the Minds are so keen on keeping the humans around).
While it's a shame not to see these ideas come to fruition, I'm grateful for them having been brought up in the first place. Thank you, Iain (M) Banks.
Depends on how it's written. Whether or not an agreement is against competition law comes down to whether or not it has the object or effect of reducing competition (that's the UK/EU wording- in the US, it's an "unreasonable restraint" that's then clarified much more wordily, but for the sake of this thread it's basically the same rule).
If the MFN clause says something like "we will pay you X and you can't offer your products for less than X to anyone else", then that's likely to be price fixing. There are some exceptions to this general rule (for example if the MFN promoted competition e.g. through the buyer opening up a new market in return for getting the best price for a limited amount of time), so even if there was a clause like this in Apple's agreement, they've not necessarily been caught out.
If the MFN clause says "we will pay you X, but if you offer a lower price to anyone else then you have to offer it to us as well", then it's not usually price fixing. You're not restricting competition here, you're just making sure that you're getting a good price.
Re: How to save the high street
Very much in agreement on the "knowing how electronics work", or anything else for that matter, point. A lot of the places that have gone titsup are those that I remember going into only to find that the staff knew absolutely nothing about what they were selling. In situations like that, there's no point in making the trip and paying the premium over online.
You never hear about Richer Sounds being about to go under and from what I can tell, they seem to be bucking the trend. This might be to do with the staff actually knowing (and caring) about the products.
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