336 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009
Re: Phase two - Robot Wars ON THE MOON please
You're encouraging armed robots to evolve? We all know how well that turns out for us ;-)
Building from the ground up
As Chris says, it would most likely involve building from the ground up. Many of these systems are more patched than Frankenstein. Over the years (most likely decades) functionality has been added to the basic systems, often programmed in different languages by people who left long ago.
It is a genuine nightmare for many of the larger institutions.
Re: @Oliver Mayes
Oh good lord yes, we introduced change control to a company that had never used it before and requests went down from around 200 (seriously) to about 3 a week. Suddenly projects got completed on time and to budget. The company eventually went bust when they put a director in charge of the company's biggest and most critical project who refused to use any form of change control. After calling endless meetings (one a day, minimum) to discuss why the project wasn't up to date and micro managing every single detail, the project foundered, as did the company.
Phablet, Phablet, Phablet, Phablet, etc...
Yep, it is bleeding obvious to anyone who walks down the street. So was the "fact" that the sun went round the earth every 24 hours. Then some bright spark decided that the opposite was true (despite being persecuted by Popes and possibly sylvan dwelling/defacating ursines). Once proven everyone went "oh yeah, that was obvious, dunno why that Galileo bloke wasted his time".
Now we know that our anecdotal evidence is correct and why, so we're straight into the "oh yeah, that was bleeding obvious" stage ;-)
Excellent - now I've got a useful warning device to go with my tinfoil hat, lead-lined boxers and iodine tablets ;-)
Re: Shalmaneser when?
Damn you for mentioning Shalmaneser, now I'm going to have to waste a couple of days reading the book again ;-)
Re: A simple suggestion
Ah, the smell of roast long pig.
Only one little problem
Nice to have the model - only testing it against "real world" data might prove a little tricky. Oh, and did the eruption of Mount Doom reduce the global warming caused by Saruman's industrial revolution?
Quite a few of us stumbled into IT by accident. My first degree is in archaeology as was my career, but as technology developed I found myself learning CAD, then 3D CAD, then web design/editing and eLearning. Since I could use one of those new-fangled Babbage engines, I involuntarily ended up doing unofficial support, network design, etc, etc. Then I found out that the salaries in IT were double what I was earning as a senior(ish) archaeologist, so switched careers so fast I left scorch marks on the exit .
I've since met a whole bunch of folk in various roles and positions in IT with degrees in everything else but computing - most learned on the job or as a hobby. I did later do an MSc in It, but it wasn't sufficiently advanced to really bother with, it was hard to create curricula to keep up with the advances being made in the 90s.
Excellent - I'll be in Lanzarote (and not in a big resort either) so for just once I might be able to get a decent view….
Re: No, Liam, I won't be using a fondleslab as my primary computer.
Too right, as I sit here with two high end laptops and three screens, creating interactive lessons, editing audio and video, I wonder how easy it would be to do on a slab. No, really, I don't :-) I've been knocking out stuff for people to consume for a couple of decades (or so). It doesn't really matter what on, dead trees, no problem, big screens, got that covered, slabs and phones, hell yes.
I'm not sure that it will be possible in the near future to do all this via a slab using cloud/server-based software and storage, there's a little too much latency and unreliability involved for my taste. I believe (so will probably be wrong given my prognostication record) that there will still be a market for desktops/laptops, just a much smaller and more professional one.
Basically, consumers and many professions don't need the traditional computer, as they don't actually "compute" - we still do.
Oh lucky us
Great, we get to choose from such a restricted set of rapacious capitalist bastards (allegedly, your honour). It's a pity about FAGAMe, FAGIN would work much better ;-)
If I didn't like my phone so much (and I couldn't do without Here Maps and their downloadable maps) I'd definitely give this a whirl, sounds great for the price. My favourite dumb phone was the tiny Motorola Pebble, so only have good memories of the company - missed out on the "bad" phones ;-)
...I'm betting that there will be a good number of people who will… "Borrow the £350 necessary to buy a PS4 and you'll only have to stump up £108.31 in fees and interest if you pay it back within 29 days."
Re: So many Anonymous Cowards
"We're definitely in an incremental increase phase for mobile phones at the moment." Agreed, I made the same comment in another discussion a week or two ago. I really can't see where the next major development in phones is coming from. I like what Nokia are doing with their cameras and Sony with waterproofing, but nothing else recently has got my interest genes twitching.
It seems that phones are very much like PCs/Laptops now, a mature form factor where the differentiators boil down to a matter of favoured OS, build quality, price and taste (colour, size, etc).
Re: Right now I can see only specialist application
True, but there are a lot of specialist requirements out there. One use I can see is making obsolete components. Say for example your company still has a use for a dot matrix printer (true case). One tiny but vital part breaks and you can't get it fixed because nobody makes that little thing anymore. That's a trivial example, but there is a whole world of difficult to fix machinery out there.
Re: Placebo effect?
Absolutely true - the effects of stress on both the speed of transmission of venom around the body and of the mental state of the patient have been known for a long time. Even if bitten by a pretty venomous snake you are advised to keep calm (very, very difficult) and relax while help is (hopefully) on the way. You can get pretty near to frightening yourself to death. Oh, and knocking back the booze won't help much either :-(
Got a watch
There's this lump of stainless steel on my wrist - tells the time and date. It's waterproof, doesn't mind being dropped and doesn't even have a battery. I find each one lasts a decade or more before getting lost/nicked or suffering some sort of major catastrophe.
Why in the name of Satan and all his little imps would anyone actually want something less functional, aesthetically pleasing, durable and reliable?
Those nice people still send out paper manuals (at least for the Designer Pro software) - even when you purchase the download version :-)
It does seem if phones have now reached some sort of plateau of maturity. Most have a similar form factor, run for a reasonable (if not great) amount of time, have fairly mature OSs (and yes, I'm including Win and even Blackberry here) and are operated in roughly the same way.
There are plenty of incremental improvements that can be made, thumbs up to Sony for waterproofing for example and Nokia for trying something new in the camera department.
It's going to be more and more difficult for any company to claim that you must buy their phone because it has made a great leap forward, so attempts to differentiate with curves, tassels and bells are something we'll be putting up with for a while.
Cape Fear River
If you're ever in Wilmington, take a boat trip up the river - it is a bit spooky, increased salinity in the river has caused many of the trees along the banks to die, so there are all these bleached skeletal trees there… (lots of them have nesting Ospreys, very cool, but distracts from the spookiness).
iPads and iPhones should be regarded as niche products, not mass market. People buy what they can afford, or what they aspire to owning, and it's Apple's true genius to market their products as aspirational ones.
As the market for tablets grows Apple's market share should diminish, while numbers sold should carry on increasing, although more slowly. As long as they are perceived to be "the best", they will continue to be able to make a disproportionate profit. Not a bad position to be in.
Don't be afraid of the dark
With apologies to Pink Floyd...
There is no dark matter really. Matter of fact it's all dark.
Even the most experienced of us (that really doesn't mean me) are users to some other sysadmin/help desk jockey, etc, unless you know everything about every bit of technology/software that you use at work or at home.
So, be nice to your clients/customers/colleagues/whatever, or the wheel of karma will come full circle when you need support ;-)
Re: Speaking of rudeness...
Or, if the management decide you must attend a meeting, even though you are in the departure hall of a really busy airport, so all they end up with is tannoy, static and children's screams.
Never fly strictly sober!
It's a good job there's a bar on board. The question is, can you drink enough in the climb and hang around phase to make you comatose for the "gravity powered screaming plunge of terror". (Thanks for that lovely mental image Pete).
Re: It blows my mind
"Apple still has no need for a Patch Tuesday to ensure people get any work done in between the rebooting."
Bloody well does this time, several bits of our software that worked perfectly happily until Mavericks was installed just died.
Not proprietary software either, things like the corporate-wide VPN software and Adobe Captivate. Waiting for patch Tuesday now ;-)
So long and have fun!
I hear there's a vacancy at Delphi for an Oracle ;-)
Make a ball of parcel tape (requires a considerable amount). Any straight thing will do as a bat. Use one or two handed depending on length of straight thing. Devise rough rules and a rougher boundary. Play. Under no circumstances use a real cricket ball - unless company bust and you've all been laid off.
Re: You guys.....
How dare you sir! Don't you know that showing the slightest hint of the merest intention of possibly even faintly praising Microsoft is viewed as heresy here. Off to the stake with you!
Re: Backups, backups, backups!
Yep, backups do work, whether for corporate data or personal machines. It's little things like installing a new OS version yesterday and finding it borks some vital software, even if the testers didn't spot it at the time. (I'm not naming names, because it can happen with any new OS).
How to repair, simples, you've got a backup, just find the last sane version and restore.
You haven't, oh deary, deary me.
Your New Jersey data center gets flooded - you have offsite backups somewhere a bit higher? Fantastic.
Despite ALL the warnings someone in PR downloads a famously virus-laden email and infects half the company (true story) - you have decent backups? Yes, excellent.
JFDI, it's not bloody rocket science.
Is anyone else old enough to remember when companies used to reward loyal customers? You know, the longer you stayed with them the better deal you got? Insurance premiums on cars used to go down the longer you stayed with the insurer (assuming you didn't actually claim anything) for example. Now you have to switch every year to get a reasonable deal, yet they still complain about churn.
I've worked with a whole bunch of companies in the consumer sector, they all complain about churn, but then bring out policies that have customers fleeing in droves - very, very odd/
Four way split
I'm thinking (and given my reputation for getting every single trend totally wrong, caveat emptor) that the popular tech market is / is going to split into four sections.
1. Luxury/aspirational = Apple
2. Business (laptop, desktop and some server) = Mostly Microsoft with lots of Linux on the server side and some Apple on the laptop/desktop.
3. General Consumer = mostly Android, Apple where 1. applies and Microsoft where business compatibility affects buying decisions or for gaming or "creative" uses (where 1. doesn't apply).
4. High-end computing = Linux (lots and lots of it) Unix, Microsoft and various bespoke OSs, inc the IBM ones.
No one dominant company across the spectrum of computing and plenty of opportunity for competition
Re: That's a lot of effort to go to
Free on all Windows phones - although the maps aren't sometimes as detailed as Google's splendid offering. The fact that you can download individual country maps and use them offline with GPS is a real bonus for driving (and sometimes hiking) abroad or when there ain't no signal in this country.
Re: Good efforts
That really is the point - we don't know which technology will be widely adopted. When tablets came out I just thought - meh, can't see a use for them - and how wrong was I? I didn't realise that most people don't need a "real" computer, just something to consume media on, play a few games and use as a comms tool.
Since I can't see the point of smart watches y'all might think of buying stock in any company making them ;-)
A quote from one of our salespeople.
"Our software is so intuitive, users won't need training".
Ha, ha, ha.
Oh, Hyundai Coupes have a nice trick, the indicators and wipers are on the opposite sides of the steering column to most other cars, hence occasional frantic wiper action when approaching a junction.... and then on holiday you hire a normal car - guess what happens.
A slightly tepid war
Ah, a scientific reprise of the worst days of the Cold War, how quaint.
Ah, I see that some of us haven't done much engineering or software development. You can test all you want, try and replicate every real-world situation you can think of, get sort of smug and launch your product and then, guess what, hubris is followed by nemesis.
Then you go back and fix the problems: change the antenna in a mobile phone; replace a start button; recall 2 million cars to fix a problem; put helium in airships, not hydrogen; don't build reactors in tsunami-ridden earthquake zones; whatever.
The Cambridge people tried, it didn't work as envisaged and they've learnt what doesn't work, a normal real-world development stage, not a disaster.
I'm just guessing, but I'll wager a small bet that many of us on these forums are indirectly responsible for creating joblessness on a major scale. I've been training (mostly) various brands of business automation software for many years and I know that I've helped put many hundreds of people out of work. Sadly I have a conscience - even more sadly I ignore it.
The Fast Checkout machines could have been invented to force people like me to do penance - a sort of satanic version of saying several hundred "Hail Marys".
Re: I wonder...
Fate says NO, it's usually after some pedantic prick splashes their erudition over the forum, pointing out what a hopeless numpty you are... that you notice. Then of course you notice that in their pedanticness (new word) they have made rather more spelling and grammatical errors than you did originally ;-)
Re: Was it a wool jumper?
It's the brown suit that's offensive - anyone wearing one is definitely guilty of something ;-)
Re: I don't like them but that doesn't mean they won't sell
You'll find Windows phones around here. Much prefer my HTC 8X to my old iPhone 3S and the 5 which work supplied me with. T'other half would need her Nokia 720 prying from her cold, dead hands. Oh, the monthly charge is much lower too.
My boss dotes (in a rather worrying fashion to be honest) on his helipad sized Galaxy - far preferring it to his old iPhone. We're serious Mac users, not Apple haters, but just find the phones a bit lacking these days.
Credit where it's due
That contraption is worthy of many, many, major geek credit points. With that level of garden shed style engineering you might have thought he was British ;-)
I am an unashamed environmentalist, but very few things make me more annoyed than those who cry wolf with no evidence that a particular project or technique is going to cause any real environmental harm. In the case of fracking all the evidence points to it being a relatively safe and moderately clean method of extracting gas. The very few problems that have occurred in the States appear to be down to operators cutting corners.
If fracked gas can replace coal in power stations (and lignite in Europe), that is an environmental gain, not a loss. More importantly, it's a human gain, cleaner air is good for humans too, ask the Chinese.
As implied in the article, if environmentalists don't fight the right battles, there'll be no public support and belief over the really important things.
Another W8 household
Looking for a reasonable deal on a new phone when my iPhone 3GS started dying, I ended up with an HTC 8X. I find it preferable to my work supplied iPhone 5. Herself went for a Lumia 620. We're both very happy with our phones, they work well and the OS makes iOS and Android look and feel rather, well, 20th Century. OK, I have some apps that I can't port across (ditto some music, bastard, bastard DRM), but otherwise the transition was fine.
It always entertains me when any piece of tech gets criticised by the sad juveniles who have either never used it, just have an irrational hatred of it (or the company who produces it) or who's experience is dated and irrelevant (or any combination thereof). I would suggest they grow up (or get a life), but that would seem just a touch unlikely.
It was as tough as old boots, until a crack started radiating from the power connector slot across the back, but that was after nearly four years of rough handling. Now replaced by an HTC 8X (so I could see what win phone 8 was like) and a work iPhone 5. Much prefer the HTC, both for the build and the OS (sorry Windows haters, y'all need to get a life, iOS feels positively antiquated by comparison).
Still running a mk2 iPod Touch, now that is indestructible - must have hit the gym floor 20+ times, been stood on, got caught up in a rowing machine, etc.
OK, totally made up statistic time. I'd suggest that 99% of people don't actually need a computer, whether PC or laptop. What they want is a communication and media consumption device, with perhaps a little light photo editing and some casual games play. For those purposes a tablet is ideal.
I don't see anything other than a continuing decline in PC/laptop sales, certainly in the richer countries where the market is already saturated. We're looking at a market consisting of businesses, scientists, "creatives" (including programers) serious gamers and a variety of hobbyists, not the general public anymore.
Re: Chief Druid
As long as the Chief Druid is a proper Iron Age one, not the dreadful 19th century fantasy copies. Admittedly it might be tricky to get the human sacrifices cleared under European human rights legislation, and the sacred groves hung with the victims would breach a whole raft of environmental and health and safety laws, but hey ho, at least the poetry should be good.
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