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* Posts by Tom 38

2406 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Brit cops blow £14m on software - then just flush it down the bogs

Tom 38
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Stop

Re: Why are these public sector idiots allowed...

Forget the headline and work it out. Since 2005, they've spent £14m. That's £1.75m a year. Say this is in-house developed tech - a lot of the costs are in development personnel, lets say £40k/person for public sector IT, which would cost the force ~£50k once you take into account EE NI. Lets assume a team of 20 developers - that's £1m/year. There were probably external costs - equipment, training, auditing, the 'independent report' which led to it's binning.

Now, the report says that they spent £14m and threw it away. That's probably not accurate. They built and maintained the system for 8 years, for which it 'worked' to a certain extent. At some point, they looked at this 8 year project, looked at what their needs for the next few years are, and estimated how much work it would be to get it to a state that they now need.

Obviously, having done this analysis, they decided that it was more cost effective to ditch it and start again, and even more cost effective to ditch it, and buy a solution rather than implement it in house.

Who hasn't had to do this at work? That PoS VB application that your predecessor poured his time in to, but still doesn't bloody do the job - do you fix it, or bin it? Do you reimplement it yourself, or is there COTS solutions available now that didn't exist back then?

This is not necessarily black and white.

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'You can keep it' - Brit's nicked laptop turns up on Iranians' sofa

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: How did they manage to log on?

So either no security set or the security was hacked - bad in either case. Don't know which but even the least techy person uses full hard disk encryption these days on laptops.

.. later ..

What I didn't say is that 'every' non-techy does - which is what I think you are implying.

English isn't your strong point, I take it.

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WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?

Tom 38
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Re: GPU encoding @James Hughes

Yep, this is true. The problem is that GPUs will be sold with this feature to consumers, and they will act like the video encoders in todays set of hideously expensive graphics cards - poor quality, and poor speed. With GPUs, this is without doubt due to "good enough" implementation of the software.

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Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Patients?

If H264 was so ruined by patents, how come it's the dominant video codec used in broadcast video, blurays, internet video, webcams, digital camcorders, "the scene".....

PS - 'Patents' not 'Patients'.

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Tom 38
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Devil

GPU encoding

Current GPU encoding of H264 is of shocking quality. It might go fast (then again, it might not), but it regularly produces daft encoding results:

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/128681-the-wretched-state-of-gpu-transcoding

http://www.behardware.com/articles/828-1/h-264-encoding-cpu-vs-gpu-nvidia-cuda-amd-stream-intel-mediasdk-and-x264.html

Quote from one of ffmpeg's developers:

In general, developers believe that you generally get slower encoding with worse quality if you are not using the CPU. … The typical case is a very fast CPU with a GPU that encodes slower at a significantly worse quality.

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Google asks Blighty to slave over its Maps for FREE

Tom 38
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use Google Map Maker to make the map of the United Kingdom (along with Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey)

Wonder what Alderney did to piss off Google

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Bitcoin gets a $100 haircut on rollercoaster trading run

Tom 38
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Joke

WeeXchange

Where you can swap urine products with other like minded urine enthusiasts.

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Production-ready ZFS offers cosmic-scale storage for Linux

Tom 38
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Re: AC Destroyed All Braincells Gordon BTRFS? You must be joking...

Your ten reasons:

Reason 1 is "I love the GPL", Reason 2 is not true (this list is from 2006), Reason 4 is "ZFS is for servers", Reasons 3,6,7,8,9 and 10 are all "I mistrust and dislike Sun". Reason 5 is the best, "don't use ZFS, we've got Resier 4".

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Tom 38
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Re: zpool scrub == fsck

Also, zfs scrub is exactly the same purpose and design as a data scrub/patrol read on a RAID array. It's the one thing people with RAID arrays often forget about until they have a single disk failure, do a rebuild and find out they have double disk failure.

zfs or RAID, if you aren't scrubbing your data each week, you don't know it's actually there.

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Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Tom 38 Open source purity

"Slowaris" - what are you, 12?

There is more going on here that meets the eye, I'm sure. Show me on the doll where Jonathan Schwartz touched you.

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Tom 38
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Re: zpool scrub == fsck

If you use ZFS on Solaris, there are excellent monitoring tools built in to the OS. The other OS's aren't quite as integrated, although there are plenty of zfs monitoring scripts for things like munin.

The "ZFS needs no fsck" is mainly of interest to users of FS where an unexpected reboot will require a full fsck before coming back online again. A full fsck on a 3TB UFS RAID 5 can take many, many hours. ZFS never requires this, and you never need to run fsck ever - data is always consistent on disk.

You do have to periodically scrub a ZFS array. This ensures that your data is always readable, and helps discover disk flaws earlier than usual usage, and is a positive thing.

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Tom 38
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Re: Open source purity

CDDL code cannot be included with GPL code because of GPL's insistence to relicense the CDDL under GPL.

It can be included with BSD code, since it is open, free and un-encumbered, and BSD has no clause forcing re-licensing under BSD.

Explain again how that is a problem with CDDL and not GPL?

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Tom 38
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It does indeed. A modest home NAS running ZFS demands a minimum of 8GB and 16GB is preferable if you're running any kind RAID-Z.

Run many yourself have you? I ran a 8TB home ZFS server no problems on 4GB of RAM, reserving 2 GB for OS and applications, so effectively a NAS with 2GB RAM.

The more RAM you give to ZFS, the more it can cache, and the faster everything goes. You do not need 1 GB for 1 TB as is often mentioned.

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Tom 38
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Re: > scrawl "except for ZFS which is ok so far as we're concerned" somewhere in the middle of GPL2

Afaik there is no bsd licensed assembler or linker. clang isn't enough if it is still using binutils.

Give us a chance, we're getting there! Lots of the standard tools have recently been ported from their GPL equivalent, iconv, sort, grep are all on their way to being fully replaced, clang introduction has been very good, the toolchain will land by FreeBSD 12 I'd guess.

IIRC, the 'problem' with CDDL and GPL is not that the CDDL prohibits the GPL, it is that GPL prohibits itself from CDDL, since it cannot re-license it as GPL. CDDL isn't a problem for a BSD licensed OS, since we just want to use the code, not re-license it.

The zfsonlinux guys are very active in the ZFS community, and have fixed lots of bugs in the upstream (which is Illumos, open source ZFS has little to do with Oracle/Sun anymore). The only feature missing from ZFS, Block Pointer Rewrite¹, will probably come from zfsonlinux if anywhere.

¹ Block Pointer Rewrite is the ability to dynamically resize a pool by adding or removing vdevs, eg by adding a single disk vdev to a 4 disk raidz pool to make a 5 disk raidz pool.

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Library ebooks must SELF-DESTRUCT if scribes want dosh - review

Tom 38
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Mushroom

Re: Back into medieval times

4 upvotes for a philistine who wants to close libraries?

Do whatever you want with ebooks, get your mitts off our libraries. If anything, we need more and larger libraries, not cheap ways for the privileged to get ebooks.

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Get lost, drivers: Google Maps is not for you – US judge

Tom 38
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Re: I always use my phone for Google's GPS when I'm in California

But that's the problem - when I go to California, I'm in a rental car - I don't have a GPS holder on the dash. If I need to look at the GPS on the phone, I've got to pick it up in my hand, or find some spot by the cupholder where it will sit with a good viewing angle.

Or rent the right kind of car. Or fix a detachable holder. Or any number of things apart from "ignore the law and break it because it doesn't apply to me, I'm special".

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Parking ticket firm 'exposed private info' - ICO making enquiries

Tom 38
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Go

Hacking

But one ticket recipient claimed to have found that by tweaking values in this web address, he could access thousands of other digital photographs of other people's vehicles.

In certain climes, this is considered hacking. I'm glad in the UK we see it as a privacy failure by the firm, rather than hacking by the punter.

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Nokia Life touches down in Kenya, jingles pocketful of Microsoft money

Tom 38
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Joke

Re: Can't help yourself, can you?

Isn't it funny how Windows Phone users generally have no problem with Android or iOS users, but you fanbois and fandroids have just gotta hate, haven't you?

This the Tribe Effect. If you are in a big strong tribe, you can be rude and mean about the other tribes, you've got plenty of homies to back you up.

However, if your tribe is small and feeble, then you have no-one to back you up, and hence you have to try to get along with everyone.

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Spooky action at a distance is faster than light

Tom 38
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Re: 1.38 x 10^4

"Oh I'm not right, so I'll just claim it should be obvious and you're a cretin for saying it is not" - I'd have marked you down if you tried that shit.

In this particular case, there are no units listed because there are no units to be listed. The value quoted is a ratio of the speed of "speed of spooky action" against the speed of light in a vacuum.

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Hold on! Degrees for all doesn't mean great jobs for all, say profs

Tom 38
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Re: clearing...

The 'requirement' for a degree generally means you're working for a company/manager who doesn't really understand what they need.

Not really, it just means you are working for a company that has an HR department. "No degree" is a standard first level filter for HR.

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Gartner: RIP PCs - tablets will CRUSH you this year

Tom 38
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Re: makes sense

Maybe you should learn to read, it isn't me having the problems, it is people who expect me to fix their shit.

They have no problems making windows run slower over time. Most of them even pay some dude called McAffee to do it for them.

One of my relatives has an aged Vista machine, it takes about 10 minutes from pressing the power button to opening a browser and having the webpage displayed. Vista post-dates XP, no? In the NT line? Or is this one of the "Vista doesn't count" exclusions?

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Tom 38
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Re: makes sense

A tablet that runs windows - real windows - isn't a tablet, it's a laptop that has no keyboard. It will behave like a laptop, get slower like a laptop, have shit software installed like a laptop.

I've had to fix various family members issues with shitty ancient laptops for the last ten years. I've never had anyone ever ask me to do anything to fix an ipad.

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Tom 38
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It wasn't the mortgages that banks themselves loaned out that was the problem, it was the mortgages that other companies sold, which were then packaged up into financial instruments offering a high rate of return for apparently zero risk.

These instruments were then sold around the world to other banks. It is these debts which became toxic, the liquidity issue was due to the fact that all these banks had these toxic instruments, but no-one could tell, or was willing to find out, the true value/risk associated with them.

ABN Amro wasn't saddled with massive debts because the Dutch don't pay their mortgages, it was because it used it's assets to buy this external debt that turned out to be worthless.

This crisis was caused by the creation, marketing, selling of these financial instruments, all of which came with AAA ratings from the people who are supposed to assess risk. The ratings agencies made fuckloads of money rating these bonds, the companies creating and bundling these mortgages made a fortune turning worthless sub-prime into AAA gold.

None of these people have ever had to answer for fucking us all in the ass.

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Tom 38
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Stop

RBS went bust because it bought ABN Amro for too much money.

It was only too much money because ABN Amro was lying about the value of it's mortgage assets, with the connivance of the rating agencies. It's like saying someone who drowns has died of suffocation, technically it is accurate, but it's missing the bloody point.

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Gates and Allen reshoot historic 1981 Microsoft photo

Tom 38
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Love that film, although I thought it portrayed Gates as someone who would fuck anyone over to get the result he wanted, Steve Jobs as the crazy maniacal business genius - all sharp suits and smooth talk - who shouts at people until he gets what he wants - the scene where he reams out a developer at 3 in the morning is class - and Woz as a out of his depth techy slowly going mad under Job's thumb.

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Prime Ministerial exploding cheese expert to become 'entrepreneur'

Tom 38
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WTF?

en·tre·pre·neur

/ˌäntrəprəˈno͝or/

Noun

A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

I don't know the chap that well, but it doesn't seem to me that he has ever done either of those two things.

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If Google got a haircut, a tie and a suit, would it be Microsoft?

Tom 38
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Browsium said […] no one it has spoken to has made Chrome the primary office web browser

They can't have talked to that many people. Which makes their 'insight' into the browser market somewhat dubious.

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Judge: Facebook must see Timelines Inc in court over trademark

Tom 38
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Re: Saint Zuck?

Any market where you are the dominant player is one that you want to continue dominating. Most executives would say the same sort of thing, but without being as overly crude and arrogant as Zuck.

The only way FB can lose is if they allow a competitor to overtake them in terms of features and users start to leave them. Therefore, make sure your competitors aren't standing.

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Living in the middle of a big city? Your broadband may still be crap

Tom 38
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Re: 5.3Mb

Canary Wharf is also really bad because it is the docklands. The cables wind around the docks, so you can have extreme cable length for a relatively short "crows distance" to the exchange.

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IT Pro confession: How I helped in the BIGGEST DDoS OF ALL TIME

Tom 38
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Re: You're lucky...

Yep, top fail. You should never run an authoritative DNS server as a cache, you should run separate instances of them on different interfaces if you require both DNS caching/recursive lookup services internally and authoritative DNS externally.

If DNS isn't your main job, you might look at easier to use alternatives to BIND. BIND is really powerful, but some of that power is the ability to shoot yourself in the foot. Something like djbdns is much more thought out and less error prone for the novice than BIND.

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Orange is the new TalkTalk of the broadband complaints league

Tom 38
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Re: Is there a GOOD broadband provider?

LLU ISPs often prefer you to use the supplied modem, as it should match up perfectly with the equipment they install in the DSLAM. With my soon-to-be-Sky ISP BeThere, they are perfectly happy for you to use a different modem, but if you have line problems, they will want you to plug in the box they supplied to diagnose faults.

It's also possible for most supplied modems to be put in to bridge mode, so you can use whatever device you want as your gateway, bridged to the ISPs modem.

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US bill prohibits state use of tech linked to Chinese government

Tom 38
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Re: All of it?

the network drivers for a certain OEM was shadowing all traffic to an IP address in China several years ago. And that's just the one I heard about. I'm sure that it's been found with other OEMs

Citation or GTFO. Yellow peril is so 19th century.

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MI5 undercover spies: People are falsely claiming to be us

Tom 38
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MI5 have a logo?

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Torygraph and Currant Bun stand by to repel freeloaders

Tom 38
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Tried papers on tablets

They are universally rubbish. The Times app is OK - ish - but the Sunday Times app is atrocious, it's a series of stitched together images mainly, meaning each section is massive to download.

The whole point of sunday papers is to completely cover every flat surface in your house with newsprint, so cramming it all into a small tablet doesn't actually work that well.

The only time it is really useful is when you cannot get the real thing - probably abroad. In that case, the huge downloads really make it suffer. Who wants to wait 3 hours to download the Style supplement?

Finally, the price of most newspapers is outrageous. In London, we get served with free newspapers - not the Metro, but the Evening Standard is actually decent quality. The BBC has impartial (well, BBC impartial) reporting of all main events.

The only paper I actually regularly pay for is Private Eye, which is a magazine anyway. Private Eye, Evening Standard, BBC, The Register. Sunday Times on a sunday if I have 4 hours to kill.

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GCHQ attempts to downplay amazing plaintext password blunder

Tom 38
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Farrall only got round to blogging about the issue this week, two months after the offending email.

Presumably after not getting the gig.

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West Virginia seeks Google Glass driving ban

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Walking down a public street

When walking down a public street one has privacy rights in most countries and the recorder can show his street filming without individual permissions only in very limited scenario e.g. nobody is singled out and crowd is the subject, it has high news value for the public.

Completely incorrect. If you are in public, you can take a photo of whatever you want for whatever reason you desire.

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Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: OMG

How is this sensible? There are two ways of producing legislation, you can proscribe actions - "You can't drive whilst juggling", or you can proscribe behaviour "You can't drive without due care and attention".

Driving whilst watching cat videos is already proscribed - it's driving without due care and attention. So why would you want to amend it to specifically proscribe it - apart from the obvious "I'm a politician from West Virginia and want to be heard".

What if next week the craze is for juggling alligators whilst driving - do we need a specific amendment for that, or do you think we are already covered?

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Inside Adastral: BT's Belgium-sized broadband boffinry base

Tom 38
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Re: research my arse

This, plus the fact that the research stopped in the late 90s when BT made redundant/retired almost all the research staff (and almost all the Greybeards).

The whole reason it is 'Adastral Park' and not 'BT Research Laboratories' is that after this mass culling they found they had masses of empty office space, along with the only decent internet connection in Suffolk, so they became landlords instead.

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Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Low tech badging

Kevin Warwick, and no, it wasn't.

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Review: Renault Zoe electric car

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Lies...damn lies...and statistics.

And the inability to power your vehicle from ANY system other than fossilised plants.

Most diesel ICEs can run quite happily off vegetable oil, and most petrol ICEs can run quite happily off ethanol, neither of which come from fossilised plants.

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Osborne slashes growth forecast by half in bleak economy statement

Tom 38
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Re: Good budget I thought

Something is only worth what someone will pay for it. People are paying for houses currently - the market still exists - ergo houses are worth that currently.

I understand your argument, that house prices are artificially high due to constraint on supply. However, a constraint on supply is still a constraint on supply. If someone cut down 90% the lemon trees in the world, that would be an artificial constraint on supply, but the value of a lemon would still rise.

Your plan to destroy planning constraints would move people out of your supposed 'pretend negative equity' and into real negative equity, and that would not stimulate the housing market, it would destroy it. 90% of home-owners would never be able to move house.

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Tom 38
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Re: Good budget I thought

What he could have done (and should have years ago) is rip planning regulation to shreds providing lots of cheap land for large and efficient builds (instead of having to build shitty expensive hovels 2 or 3 at a time in tiny brown field sites). That would have bottomed out the property market quickly

I agree with a lot of what you said about the "too late and too wrong". Every budget has something to try and assist the first time buyer, rarely do they work. I'm hopeful this time, because I want to be a first time buyer some time soon - drives me crazy paying more in rent than I would on a mortgage, just because I can't get the mortgage in the first place.

'Solving' the housing crisis is extremely hard. If you make building new houses much cheaper, by ripping up planning as you suggest, then the value of houses would drop massively. This would push a huge section of homeowners into negative equity, and would probably worsen the recession.

The other aspect is that building houses needs to be profitable for the house builders in order for more houses to be built. If you suddenly slash the value of land, any property developer sitting on land takes a huge haircut, and now can't afford to build houses.

What I would like to see is more house building ordered by councils, in conjunction with house builders. They should be allowed to acquire land and bypass some planning regs in order to build more affordable housing that is available to rent for social tenants. They should use the housing as an incentive for the social tenants to keep in work, being good citizens etc, by offsetting rent paid against purchasing the house, eventually leading to home ownership.

This would hopefully not overly affect house prices, but then I'm neither an economist nor a politician, so wtf do I know :)

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Tom 38
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Good budget I thought

Lots and lots of job promoting tax cuts, raise in personal tax allowance to £10k is impressive - a rise of almost a third since the coalition came to power - and I very much like the mortgage assistance and new home building changes, which should encourage more buyers, and contribute to growth.

Things like how the Employers NI contributions changed are also very clever - they disproportionally favour smaller firms, so it is less likely that it just gets pocketed by big companies.

Slight cut to corp tax to promote job growth in larger companies too. Just need to spend slightly less and have the economy grow a bit and we're golden.

We have to recognise that our growth will rely a lot on the EU. Whilst they are stagnating, it is a lot trickier to grow.

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Joyent tools up for Amazon battle

Tom 38
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This is interesting, but scaling NoSQL is not exactly hard. Wake me up when someone has a DBaaS that offers an RDBMS with insta-scaling.

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Tom 38
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The point is that their DB has specific DTrace hooks to instrument various things. You can of course use DTrace to examine almost anything, but examining something that has been designed for DTrace gives you massively more useful data for much less work.

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Review: HTC One

Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Of course it doesn't need charging.

It's amazing how people who are vehemently opposed to iphones know everything about them.

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Twitter patents sending messages, promises not to sue everyone

Tom 38
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WTF?

I dont speak lawyer

7. The method of claim 1, wherein translating the update message into an appropriate format comprises translating from a Latin based language to a double byte type based language.

£100 says that in the code that implements this claim, the word "iconv" is used somewhere.

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Apple fixes iOS passcode-bypass hack with 6.1.3 update

Tom 38
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Re: Jailbreaking

Each 'jailbreak' is not just a convenient hook to unlock your phone, it is a security hole allowing unmanaged code to run.

Generally speaking, when software maintainers discover such holes, they tend to want to plug them.

You don't have to jailbreak your phone to use it - even how you want. If you want to install apps from outside of the app store, perhaps you don't want an iPhone.

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Is UK web speech regulated? No.10: Er. We’ll get back to you

Tom 38
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WTF?

…an English court decides who is a publisher and what is news

Are you surprised, politicians pass laws and judges interpret them, this is the basis of English law.

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