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* Posts by Sirius Lee

285 posts • joined 14 Dec 2009

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Facebook snubbed Google's Silicon Valley wage-strangle pact, Sheryl Sandberg claims

Sirius Lee

Bet this one gets booted out

Imagine you are an exec in a company in Silicon Valley competing to get good people to join your company. You know the local pool of talent is restricted. Regardless of the salary, there are just not enough good people. So you decide the better approach is to work harder recruiting people from other locations. Over lunch with fellow execs you talk about your plan to cast the search net wider and they agree its a good idea.

This reasonable action, indeed responsible action from a stockholders perspective will have the effect of controlling salaries and reducing the number of times employees of other companies are induced to change employment.

Given that every manager, since they were a junior, will have been lectured by HR about the legal landscape around employment (I can't imagine every employers HR department lectured only me) suggests that it's unlikely that any senior managers have been playing fast and loose with employment legislation. And these execs at major corporations have to check with their in-house council whether its OK to breathe.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Sirius Lee

Of course it can

"a US-based outfit known to operate at least three imaging satellites and which last year boasted it can, on request, photograph anywhere on Earth every 12 hours"

Anyone able to put a smart phone camera in space will be able to claim the same thing: click, wait 6 hours, click, wait 6 hours, click, wait 6 hours, click. There, done and in only 18 hours. OK, you will not be able to *see* much in those images but the claim is honored. Now the real question is: at what resolution can those images be taken?

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Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

Sirius Lee

30 days?

Why can't we have access to all the content? Why only 7 or 30 days? We paid for the stuff why can't we have access to it? Such a crap organization. Of course the BBC doesn't want to give us what we want. It wants to find ways to charge us for that which we've already paid for so they can keep growing the hideously sprawling enterprise.

Much better that it's back catalogue is split from the broadcast portion so we can get access to it while the broadcast portion is whittled back to a PBS rump.

Of course there will be screaming about how difficult it is to provide access, its not digitized, etc. Seems easy enough for YouTube which is able to host ancient videos (many from the BBC) from broadcasters and content holders around the world, not just Blighty and make that content available to people all over the world.

I can accept the BBC is not up to it. Such a crap organization (have I said that already?). But that doesn't mean there are no organizations which are up to it (none of them British though), Let's change the BBC to something fit for the 21st century, something which is much, much smaller.

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Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

Sirius Lee

Re: Facts

What!? "CO2 absorbs more heat than any other gas therefore ALL the global warming is down to CO2"

How about Methane and Water vapor. Both are much more potent. But don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

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Ford to dump Microsoft's 'aggravating' in-car tech for ... BlackBerry?

Sirius Lee

Yeah, right.

#1 The suit is in California. Any friends of Microsoft live in California? Any enemies of Microsoft live in California. Ah... So the suit is frivolous and there to generate adverse column inches

#2 Is Blackberry likely to be offering their technology at a discount at the moment? Mmm.

Seems like a post justification exercise. The story is that something from Microsoft is so defective that it alone has caused a rating slump. Now the clue is in the name MicroSOFT. That's 'soft' for 'software', you know, the thing you can change so the UI is what you want it to be.

Sounds to me like Ford have f**ked up royally and want to reduce costs because those nasty people in Redmond will not negotiate to a price Ford wants to pay. But rather than taking the blame for their own incompetence, Ford management has decided to shout loudly "It not me, its them, its them".

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'Polar vortex' or not, last month among the WARMEST Januaries EVER RECORDED

Sirius Lee

Re: Doing the Warmist shuffle

"...you guys try to focus only on recent variability rather than long-term trends..."

Oh, come on. Like this is a one-sided fault. I lost count of the number of GreenPeace activists here in the UK popping up on news programmes to point out that the deluge is a result of man-made global warming. And really, your whole article is an attempt to imply that the recent weather is a result of man-made global warming.

It may be surprising to US readers but it has been unseaonably warm in the UK. Given is mid-February (normally the coldest month) yesterday I was out in the garden in a T-shirt, even having to cut the grass. But the cause of the change in weather is not global warming. The severely cold weather in the US means the the Atlantic winds have been push slightly further south by the cold air mass over the US which means they are warmer bringing warm moist air to the UK. They then tend to push north over the UK later keeping the cold air from the continent away from most of the UK.

What we are seeing is a random redistribution of heat energy. Sh*t happens. It seems to me likely that a system designed for collecting temperature information based on what might be regarded as 'normal' weather patterns will not necessarily be ideal for reliably collecting temperature information in abnormal conditions. Much as happens with the first GDP figures, my guess is that there will be a correction later on which puts the temperature guesstimate back in its box.

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HP 'KNEW' about Autonomy's hardware sales BEFORE the whistle blew: report

Sirius Lee

Re: Caveat emptor

I, too, have just reviewed the press releases and slides. In my view any claim that these indicate Autonomy was shopping itself to Oracle are unfounded. The slides show lots of financial information, client lists, publicly available trading statistics, etc but if you've never been on the receiving end of a product sales pitch you will recognize this type of content. Almost every pitch to sell high end anything includes this stuff. Moreover, why would a company pitch itself at $6bn on the basis of these financials?

My take (which is worth the cost of these bytes) is that Lynch did not try to sell itself to Oracle regardless of Hurd's interpretation of the meeting. He and Quattrone may have talked about their valuation of the company but, hey, everyone has inflated ideas of the value of their possessions, right? And if they think they have gem, why not flaunt it? If they approach Oracle with the intention of being first tier partner would the slides look any different? I suspect not.

However, maybe, just maybe, this meeting with Hurd could be interpreted by HP staff as interest by Oracle in Autonomy. If so, and if I were in that position, I'm not sure I'd be in a hurry to pour cold water on it.

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SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

Sirius Lee

Absolutely, eliminate the tax

The BBC is a massive market distortion which is kept alive by the licence tax. It inhibits competition in this market. It delayed adoption of digital technologies back in the mid 1990's.

I read someone here complaining that it would just be more cooking programmes. So Come Dancing is cultural education? It produces truly miserable programmes like Holby City, Casualty and Eastenders. Really, does the country need to be made depressed at it's own expense? These programmes would not be made by a commercial companies because there would not be a market for them. Do they sell abroad competing with programmes set in places with faultless weather? Not a hope except to that small set of places with a local community of ex-pats nostalgic for a cloud over their heads.

Of course the BBC does produce some good programmes. With the resources it has at it's disposal at least some of it's programmes have to be OK in the same way the a broken analogue clock shows the right time twice a day. There are so many examples. Comedy is one. Why would any other station attempt to put on comedy shows when the BBC stamps all over the market inflating costs. Mock the Week and Have I got New for You are funny. Live at the Apollo is funny too. But they block out many aspiring comedians and shows. The result is the same few people on our screens telling jokes and in the same style. Perhaps the only other example if 8 out of 10 Cats but that's shown on BBC-lite, Channel 4. Oh, and pretty much the same cast of characters. By the way, does anyone else but me think Stephen Fry is over exposed?

Do we need 4 BBC TV channels and CBeebies and 6 radio channels plus the countless regional channels? Does the BBC need reporters everywhere? Very often the BBC lunch time news is on when I have lunch and I'm dismayed at how many time the 'news' is regurgitated stories form Yahoo! or some other site.

It's probably due cost cutting so the staff can continue to receive their benefits. How much did staff get paid over their contractual limit when fired? How much was the BBC paying 'celebrities'? I'm happy to go on and on but you get the message. The BBC is a massive and legally mandated market distortion.

Back in Reith's day it was necessary to build new infrastructure for the BBC - transmitters all over the empire, support companies creating radio and TV sets, devise standards, build studios - a massive project and expensive. So there was the choice of funding the generation of a whole industry and the nascent BBC out of general taxation or a hypothecated tax and a special tax was chosen.

However that time has passed. market is mature, the studios built and the standards used are set by bodies outside the UK. It's time the BBC were cut free. Those who want the BBC can, like Sky or Virgin Media users, buy subscriptions.

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Hear that, Sigourney? Common names 'may not constitute personal data'

Sirius Lee

Surely this ruling has pretty significant ramifications

A marketeer calls your company looking to speak to the person responsible for buying XYZ product and the receptionist gives the caller the name of the person to speak with (an probably a contact number). Under this ruling, the receptionist would appear to have given what this appeals court considers personal information. Is the company then liable in the case of an action taken by the employee whose name has been disclosed?

As a business owner you call up your bank and ask to speak to your personal banker whom you have never met so don't recall the person's name and ask to be reminded. According to this ruling, that would appear to be personal information disclosed to you by the bank. Is the bank liable to the person whose name is being disclosed?

You call your Doctor's surgery to book an appointment and you are given a time and ask which doctor will see you. Is the practice liable for disclosing the name of the Doctor?

These scenarios seem very similar to the disclosure requested of the FSA. The obvious difference being that in the case of the FSA it does not want it's employees being harassed by a person who seems to have a grievance. But this difference does not seem to have influenced the judgement so I have to conclude that the ruling, in effect, makes it illegal for a company to disclose the name of any member of its staff even though it is (usually) a requirement that it does so if it is to continue to function.

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IBM job cuts: Big Blue starts 'slaughter' of Indian and European workforce

Sirius Lee

Re: "slaughter house"

@AC What? So governments are appropriate vehicles for optimum employment of capital? So IBM should just pay tax so one government or another is able to squander it?

Of course IBM are doing the right thing *for the majority of their workforce*. If IBM retained individuals working on projects that no one wants (judged on the basis that no one is buying the kit at a price IBM can afford even using lower cost labor from India) then it will jeopardize the employment of other company employees.

Is that what you are advocating? In Britain we've seen the consequence of this kind of thinking. Before WWII Britain was leading shipbuilder and using rivets to bind steel plates. During the war the necessity of producing merchant ships quickly to replace those lost at sea lead to the introduction of welding the plates together.

After the war British shipyards did not change their working practices and, guess what, buyers wanted the cheaper welded ships. So instead of adapting to change British shipyard started threatening to layoff workers which successive governments continued to support through unsustainably large amounts of tax payer's money in a futile attempt to keep the industry afloat (pun).

So instead of taking the tough decision to confront the issue, retrain workers (in the teeth of union opposition) and be competitive, The British government squandered £billions.

In my view this one example shows why a) IBM has to adapt; and why b) governments are not organizations that should be given cash unless absolutely unavoidable according to law.

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BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

Sirius Lee

Good

I like Freeview. Why can't I get it on my laptop? TVCatchup used to deliver a version of Freeview but after losing their court case last year now it only redirects to the site of the channel. And usually the content that is being broadcast free over the airwaves is not available on the channel's site. Not the BBC of course but ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (or their spin-offs) do not appear to show the content being aired on Freeview. Why is that? Have I missed something? I don't want catch up, I've no interest in recording anything (miss a programme on Freeview? just wait an hour and you'll see it again and again and again...).

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Satya Nadella is 'a sheep, a follower' says ex-Microsoft exec

Sirius Lee

This was a sales guy

Like all those involved in 'OEM' it's a sales role. So Kempin's ultimate boss was Ballmer who was, allegedly, fond of shouting and throwing furniture. So anyone not in that mold is going to look soft to those who accept Ballmer's way is appropriate.

The board, probably unhappy with both the management style and the results, I feel are likely to have been looking for a less acerbic more consensual leader. Ovine qualities allowed him to rise to lead a $20bn business so who's to say they will not serve him well in the hot seat?

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Alcatel-Lucent and BT unveil super fat pipe, splurt out 1.4Tb per second across London

Sirius Lee

410KM

Google maps shows the distance between BT Tower and Adastral Park is 88miles (150Km). So saying the cable went between these two points is like saying the London Marathon is from Blackheath to The Mall.

Was this cable used by anything else? It is normally used or is it a special research cable? Where does the cable go? Does it tour around Cambridgeshire first? It could visit Sheffield en route and still have some slack.

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Amazon's 'schizophrenic' open source selfishness scares off potential talent, say insiders

Sirius Lee

Jack, Jack, Jack

You're at it yet again. Third time this week. You can't lay this accusation at Amazon's door without also attacking just about every corporation on the plant. The source material for your claims are probably disgruntled former employees with an axe to grind. Perhaps individuals who wanted to attend a favored conference but one the company would not pay for them to attend.

Most if not all corporations use some open source. Maybe banks which have strengthened the Linux kernel to meet their statutory obligations should contribute that code and let hackers see *exactly* how they should attack your saving account?

In my view the premise of the article is even more ridiculous than most of your articles for El Reg. You should just give it up. However, the implication of your articles seem to me to be that you know how to run an on-line retailer better than the existing management. You should put forward your resume to see how that works out.

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KPMG cuts its funding for UK.gov's Cyber Security Challenge

Sirius Lee

Double-speak

"What we are yet to see is good economic research into what is causing a cyber-skills shortage and what interventions will make a difference"

It's yet to be seen because it's unnecessary. The answer is the elephant in the room: MONEY.

People flock to banking because there is the potential of lots and lots of money. There are always lads (and it's usually lads) who will do great things at no cost just because they can. But building a framework around this eccentric behavior is not rational. Like most people, the candidates sought want to know there is a good salary and excellent career prospects on offer. As I recall, the "opportunity" was to work with GCHQ at a salary a janitor would be embarrassed to talk about. So when I write "good salary" I don't mean good government salary. I mean a salary competitive with a profession like medicine, accounting, banking.

The solution is simple: make working in cyber-security an economically attractive option with long term prospects. At the moment it's not perceived that way. Until it is, cyber-security skills will be lacking and those lads who do great stuff for laughs will be the ones breaking in. And they are the ones that don't work in a team - that is unless its got a moniker like Lulzsec or Anonymous.

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Crippling server 'leccy bill risks sinking OpenBSD Foundation

Sirius Lee

Give a person a fish...

It's interesting that most commenters think this is a sound way forward. $20,000 in electricity? What on earth are they thinking? @andro's description beggars belief. If someone still needs ancient VAX support, let them pay for it.

But why are these guy hosting all the kit themselves? I'm sure there are many organizations that would find a home for some of the kit as they will have spare capacity and/or not notice the difference. If its an old bit of IBM kit, IBM would probably host it, DEC talk to HP. After all, these are the sort of companies that benefit.

But I'll bet some grumpy old fart doesn't want to let go of some old gear she or he has been curating for years. Donations don't seem like a sustainable approach. How about sponsorship? Convert all that inaccessible geek machinery into a museum of functioning kit so sponsors can display their name alongside illustrious names from the past while entertaining and educating the public.

This is a time to give someone angling lessons. Handouts are a poor way to sustain a project if it's thought to be important.

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Amazon's public cloud fingered as US's biggest MALWARE LAIR

Sirius Lee

Too much to resist, eh?

Jack, Jack, Jack. Too much for you to resist, eh? Another lovely opportunity to try and stick the knife in Bezos et al.? And after your little dig yesterday or your regular posts about how Amazon keep spending their profits expanding their infrastructure instead of reporting them and paying corporation tax.

What's the problem? Did Bezos lay you off? Do you work a competitor?

Blaming Amazon for the behavior of their users is like blaming a motorway/interstate for car/automobile accidents. Why not focus your energies and any investigative abilities on the people who use Amazon services to commit the crime. My guess is that it's just much easier to convey some second-hand report.

And I agree with @theodore that attacks, emails and probes from IP addresses assigned to Amazon are not my biggest headache. But, hey, it confirms your apparent bias so does another perspective really matter?

Come on Jack, prove me wrong. Find something genuinely nice to say about Amazon.

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You came for the free tools, stayed with your credit card – Amazon's new cloud brainwave

Sirius Lee

Re: Free Usage Tier ... BE WARE!

Unless you sign up again using a different email address and credit card.

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Blame Silicon Valley for the NSA's data slurp... and what to do about it

Sirius Lee

The premise of the argument is wrong

The author asserts that we are giving up something of value and that we should charge but micro-payments are not feasible. But are being paid. We use search engines for free.

Yes, it doesn't cost much for Google or Facebook or Bing or Yahoo! or... to serve up a page of result in response to a query or process an email. But it does cost something. That something is the micro-payment. It's the quid pro quo for the exchanging personal information for a search result.

An alternative is that individuals pay for searches so that they are not required to give up their data. However there seems to be no appetite among regular people for a subscription model. People like this author and many of the commentards here rail against intrusion but the average Joe and Joanna doesn't seem to mind so much. I'm sure the author will argue that's just ignorance. But really most people don't have much to hide.

In the UK you can watch advert subsidized TV or pay your TV license fee and watch the BBC advert free. There is no TV service which offers a free advert free service. And of course not, it costs to produce TV 24/7 and that money has to come from somewhere. It's the same with the internet.

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Want to be a better CIO? Get a twenty-something to show you the ropes

Sirius Lee

Re: Young whippersnappers

I'm even more cynical. Of course there is a benefit in a diversity of views and someone with a fresh perspective may see an opportunity to exploit or a risk to avoid that insiders cannot see. But that is likely to be true of outsiders of almost any age group. It's one reason we engage the services of consultants.

However the perspective seems to me to be self-serving. The author is really saying "I want to sell you some people" and good old FUD will do it. There is no magic bullet. Just a set of pros and cons to balance and I'll take the position that the younger people do not necessarily have the experience to perform the balancing act as well as someone with a bit more experience.

And those olds probably have kids who are into one social media fad after another, who want one brand of smartphone this year and another next year, who want to try an app a day. As a consequence, olds with teenage children may well be *better* able to assess the possible benefits that new channels and technologies can offer just because they experience so much of it without having to get in to the details of owning and using every single option. It's like having a free (if ill disciplined) social media research department at home. I know in 2011 I used to communicate with my kids using Skype, last year Facebook and this year WhatsApp seems to be the popuplar option. Of course, throughout, and despite the strenuous efforts of Silicon Valley moguls, good old email has been an ever present constant.

By contrast, the 22-year old graduate with not so much free time and a group of like minded friends may find themselves stuck using one form of technology.

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Sirius Lee

We get what we deserve. The concept of innovation may be alive and kicking in our universities but not in our investors. Think Dragon's Den and then scale up. In Dragon's Den you have a collection of people, allegedly 'investors' who, so far as I can tell, want to screw the poor sods who turn up. There's no sense of engaging with inventors unless the investor can get be guaranteed unreasonable returns. That's not investing but it does look like the style of 'investing' that occurs in the UK.

It's not surprising. In a country that needs a 'nesta' there is no support of innovation by investors unless the investors money is guaranteed by the state. In the US there is DARPA. But it supports truly futuristic ideas such as self-driving cars and supports it's projects over the long haul will $billions.

But it's not a new problem. Think of the computer. Invented here then labelled 'top secret' handing the market to the US. Or the jet engine. Initially met with skepticism eventually it was embraced by...the state in the form of BOAC which rapidly pulled out when Comets started falling like their namesakes. Instead others learned from the BOAC experience and took the market. UK 'investors' were no where near. Then there's the 'rescue' of car industry by Moulton and friends. The failure to commercialize the encryption used by the UK spy agencies which was 're-invented' in the US by three researchers with the initials RSA and given the name 'public key cryptography' which is now the way all web encryption works.

The list goes on. The bottom line is that UK investors do not. Not unless their return is guaranteed. And that's not investing.

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Euro judge flings out Cisco beefs against Microsoft-Skype deal

Sirius Lee

Do standards work?

Not really. Sure if two parties agree then *technically* they can. But it's not really about standards except to a techie. SIP and RTP have been around for ages and there have been lots of hardware and software components created to use them. And yet Skype comes along and users love it, not the stuff built on the open standards. So why is that?

Almost uniformly because the products based on SIP are crap. And it's easy to understand why. You put some effort into creating a software component which implements SIP that shines. Someone else comes along with a less good good but plausible implementation but which takes away market share. Then every Tom, Dick and Harriet does the same so that eventually you have a market flooded with poor quality components. The good ones die because it takes effort to implement standards well in software and effort means more expense which if not supported by a market mean death to the product.

In my opinion the likes of Avaya and Cisco play the same game. They provide plausible but inferior tools. They are just good enough to keep customers from looking at 3rd party products and come with promises of support. Microsoft appears to have done something similar with Lynx. Sure it supports SIP but as I understand it, unlike all other implementation which are based on stateless UDP, Microsoft's is based on stateful TCP so incompatible.

The effect of all this is to drive the quality of products based on standards down. So it's not a surprise that end-users choose a tool which uses proprietary protocols (which they don't care about) but one that works and has support options. Apple didn't gain market share because it's open and innovated with hardware, it gained market share because it's closed and offers support options that mean something to users.

This market is not the only one suffering from this issue over standards. Sure you could use the standard compliant Netscape or you could use the well supported browser that came with Windows. And we know how that worked out. Or, you could download a browser based POP3 client that you run on your own server or you could choose to use Hotmail or Gmail. Users made their choices in their millions.

Standards are great, but if there's no way to monetize them they will not be used or will be subverted. After all, everyone needs to eat, even the software developers using open standards.

Only people who want a free ride on the back of the efforts of others are enthusiastic about standard because it's potentially cheap for them. It is a disaster for the individuals on whom that self-serving Utopian vision depends.

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Developer CEO 'liable for copyright infringement' over unlawful tool

Sirius Lee

Re: Nicho

I think this is to miss the point. Stealing is stealing whether civil or criminal. However the offence here seems to be the creation of code to facilitate access to copyright material by others. That is like prosecuting Yale for permitting locksmiths in the high street to create keys that could open any door.

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Sirius Lee

Re: Exclusive rights

Or all those locksmiths in the high street selling products that could fashion a device to unlock a door.

This one *has* to be appealed.

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Concerning Microsoft's Azure pitch to cloud service providers

Sirius Lee

Shouldn't be allowed

This is not a feature in my opinion, it's a unjustified sales piece. Surely a feature would be about a topic and present reasonable comparatives. Of course then the article would not be worth it because Azure does not stack up.

Amazon (the retail business) has first mover advantage in this space. But beyond that, it's advantage is that it's a business built on the need to have lots of highly resilient, customer facing systems. If it does not, it doesn't have a business. Microsoft does not face that issue.

Whether you like cloud computing or not, whether you like Amazon or not, at it's core the needs of AWS business is similar to the needs of its main business. AWS has the advantage of being able to take an idea and and both research the idea and, later, test it in house where it will run the gauntlet of people who live and breath the problem not for AWS but for Amazon the retailer.

Microsoft is not like this and any ideas it has cannot be tested in-house. So it plays a constant game of catch-up but not very well.

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Sirius Lee

Re: @ Alain If they allow copyright on APIs ...

I agree with HollyHopDrive. The API analogy is the 'Book'. It has methods (APIs) of

'OpenAt(int PageNumber)',

'Read()'

'Write(int pageNumber, int chapter, string title, string content)'

'Read()' might return an object called 'Chapter' with properties like 'Title' and 'Content'.

An API is not a finished book, it is the means to create a book and is not is copyrightable. The specific number of chapters, their titles and the chapter content of a specific book instance are open to copyright.

This distinction between the abstract concept of an API and a physical instance of an object seems to be lost on legal types in much the same way as the rationale for legalese is lost on non-legal types. But that doesn't mean the rationale for legalese is irrelevant.

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Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

Sirius Lee

So the suggestion is that products are made more expensive to be recyclable when there's no shortage. Mmmm. Good idea. The report's author clearly didn't stop by their colleagues in the economics department.

An alternative might be to create big holes in the ground into which the potentially interesting parts of electronic kit are dumped. Then in n thousand years the miners and geologists of the day will be able to locate rich deposits and process them when it become economically viable to do so.

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Scores of profs give hated US patent law an F minus, demand massive rewrite

Sirius Lee

Citizen: "Excuse me, lawyer (I mean Senator/Representative) would you mind changing the law so that one potential and lucrative income stream is not available when you give up politics?"

Senator/Representative: "Mmm, let me think about that for a moment..."

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Sirius Lee

Re: Is this a story?

Every assembly line worker. The summer holidays after school I took a job on an assembly line packing loo cisterns. Easy enough but like my fellow packers, I was on my feet all day except for a 15 minute break in the morning and 1 hour at lunch. There are lots and lots of jobs like this and have been since the dawn agriculture.

What world do you live in? Maybe mummy and daddy should have forced you to use a plastic spoon once in a while.

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Sirius Lee

Re: Is this a story?

Yes, but he's really a journalist. You know, someone used to sitting on his butt all day everyday. Imagine the complaints he must have had about the blisters on his poor little feet.

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US Judge strikes out COMPUTER/HUMAN LOVE patent

Sirius Lee

Re: Sounds good...

Steve, in the US "software" alone cannot be patented. However, software that is an intrinsic part of some hardware - like the software which is part of an engine management system system or the way the image on a mobile phone screen is displayed as a user fingers it. The EU also permits this type of software patenting.

Where the US differs from most of the rest of the world is that it permits software to be patented that is part of a "business process". Then you begin to get the contentious patents appearing such as the one-click patent issued to Amazon for buying products on a web site. If a patent lawyer is successfully able to argue that some software supports a business process then the patent is likely to be granted.

Clearly Judge Cote averred with respect to matchmaking. And good for her. It's not often that common sense prevails in such cases.

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Fukushima fearmongers: It's YOUR FAULT Japan DUMPED CO2 targets

Sirius Lee

Re: No middle ground for the hard Greens...

Some, understandably, are concerned at the future consequences for humans (i.e. themselves) so wrap themselves in the comforting blanket of carbon reduction. They form an easy market for scare stories but even so, it's bizarre that mainstream media is happy to run with stories from individuals and groups that are really advocating genocide. In any other context, the suggestion that the world should take an action that would have the effect of killing billions of people (billions not millions) would be ridiculed. But for some reason not in this context. Because the earth may warm up a bit in the next 100 years and some ecosystems may change, it appears to be acceptable to advocate policies that would have disastrous consequences. Fight a highly unlikely Armageddon with a certain Armageddon.

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Rent a virtual desktop from Amazon: 35 bucks a month (PC not included)

Sirius Lee

Re: Fine, until...

Or you go to the local library and use their wifi connection from your phone or tablet, or spend an an afternoon in a coffee shop or local pub (because they all offer free wifi). The days of worrying about the unlikely event of the water company digging through your telephone line are, fortunately, in the past.

However, the cost of this service is unlikely to be appealing to home users. To include Office its $50/month or $600/year but you can rent Office for 5 devices for $100/year. That makes the cost of the desktop $500/year or the cost of a laptop or iPhone each year. Maybe AWS think those economics work for business but it's not going to appeal outside the work environment.

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How the W3C met its Waterloo at the Do Not Track vote showdown

Sirius Lee

The browser maker have little or no power. The adverts we see are not generated by the browser. They are generated by the web site you visit. The browser maker can add a handy option that puts a header into each request but it's up to the web site owner whether or not they honor the intent of the header. It's not like there's an <ad/> tag which wraps everything ad related on a page so the browser is powerless to do any filtering without also potentially affecting the content you want to see. OK there are ad blocker tool but they are very specific and, anyway, do not need a header to offer their limited help.

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In a meeting with a woman? For pity's sake DON'T READ THIS

Sirius Lee

This is not a scenario I recognize. In my experience women are as bad, and perhaps a little worse, for checking their phones for messages. I'm a bit of a stickler for wanting people to pay attention. If attendees at a meeting need to be doing better things they should be doing better things. But if they are in the meeting they should attending to the business at hand.

But it's probably me. How many times have you been talking to someone, say in their office, the phone rings and they answer it. Some random call is received and it trumps the time you have taken to visit with them to discuss a topic. If the visit was for idle gossip then OK. But not in a business context. The opposite is also true. Someone is visiting, my phone rings. Because I do not answer the incredulous visitors asks me if I want to answer the phone. Bizarre.

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Sirius Lee

Reflects my experience

I agree with this author 100%.

I, too, thought the Pi would be a good way to interest my kids. So I signed up and ordered one long before they were available and waited. Eventually it arrived and I was disappointed. I knew there was no keyboard, power supply, etc. but there are spares in my cave. But seeing this hub surrounded by wires did not inspire any of my kids, just the opposite. They can build a PC but those big cases, ugly as they are, serve to hide wiring.

My kids have grown up with Windows. High quality displays attached by a S-VGA or even better a DVI connector. Rarely, if ever, do they touch a command line and even then only with guidance from me. "You want me to get the computer to do something by typing a command?" Yes, they do it in games but not in Windows.

So imagine their horror at seeing the Pi boot to the command prompt. Oh, and the display was terrible. It was probably the screen I chose or the HDMI connector but it was horrible. It was like hooking a Spectrum up to a cathode ray TV screen used to be. Back then it was OK, there was nothing better to compare with.

By now it's all I can do to stop them running, screaming, out of the room. But I persist. We start Linux and see the GUI. I'm really pleased. To kids used to Windows XP and Windows 7 it was an alien, nightmare world where things look kind of the same but in a grotesquely different way.

I use Linux daily, mainly at the command prompt, so to me this is all normal. I really failed to understand how different is the Pi environment, how disenchanting this is for a modern kid who just wants to chat with friends over WhatsApp or play some edition of COD or watch a movie fragments on YouTube. Maybe even do their homework.

The Pi is a good idea. But the hardware is just the start if it is to be used to motivate kids to learn. As the author suggests, it's missing all the learning materials. One of the problems of much open source software is the lack of documentation - because engineers hate writing documentation. It doesn't float their boat. That's OK for much open source because the users are going to be knowledgeable and will be able to find posts from others to answer questions.

It's clear to me that the Pi is a device created by electronics enthusiasts who, like their counterparts in the open source world dislike writing documentation much less the structured learning materials that will be required if the Pi is to be anything more than a curiosity.

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Study: Arctic warming at 'stunning' rate – highest temps in 44,000 years

Sirius Lee

A specific problem with the thrust of this paper comes from the core statistic that temperatures have risen 3.9 degrees in 22 years. This may well be true, but since it is acknowledged that the temperature of the earth as a whole has not changed in 15 years, it is much more likely that there are local warming effects. But there is no analysis of what they may be. There is no real analysis of any alternative cause for the rise in temperature other than made-made causes.

The report states: “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

No, they are not known. So the author and colleagues should get off their collective butts and go find them. This is supposed to be science. In scientific research the challenge is to disprove a hypothesis not find a favorite excuse and go blame it. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are the most accurate theories we have know and yet these are under constant review. However the basic tenet of the green movement get precious little truly critical review. Why is this?

The change in temperature, if true, it large and over a vast area. The energy required to do this is enormous. So where is this energy coming from? If its from the sun, are the concentrations of greenhouse gases like CO2, CH4 and H20 higher in the artic?

The green movement suffers massively from the delusion that if they point to something and claim their favorite excuse everyone will believe. Then there's the massive sulk and tantrum when people don't agree. People are stupid - just not that stupid.

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Acronis CEO: Anyone can undercut Amazon. Reg hack: Prove it

Sirius Lee

Missing the point

In my view the article's writer has become lost and seduced by a sales person. If you need a large, permanent volume of transactional storage then the in-house route is probably going to be cheaper. You are likely to have the in-house expertise to manage that storage, access to it, backup, etc.

As I understand it, that's not the point of any AWS service. Services like (but not limited to) AWS allow an organization the ability to use large volumes when the need arises. If you need 100TB for a month or so, the arguments in this article go out the window because then you have a choice of funding a data center to cover the needs of just one month or paying the premium for being able to use existing hardware for just one month.

OK, the one month case is unlikely. But the point is, that Amazon does not seem to be in the business of replacing the data center but instead providing the ability to ramp up and down use of CPU, RAM storage, etc. on demand. If the 'on-demand' has no value and you have the skills in-house then AWS will have no value.

On the other hand, if you do not have the in-house skills or your need for a hit of CPU/RAM/Storage is short-term the on-demand route is going to look more attractive.

As ever, never listen to sales people.

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Kids hooked up with free Office subs at Microsoft-addicted schools

Sirius Lee

Re: If you get them young and you will have them for life

Schools are in the business of educating the young to be productive employees and contributors to society generally. The reality is that if they land a desk job they will be using Microsoft Office. In my view it makes sense for them to learn about the tools that will be useful to employers. All the bullshit about open source is self serving nonsense and would be a waste of time for the kids. When there are a significant number of employees using Open Office or Libre Office then there will be reason to learn about other tools. Until then, Office it it.

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Now Amazon dangles fat freebies to lure hungry upstarts into its server lair

Sirius Lee

It's a bizarre article. The premise of the article seems to be that the author knows how to run Amazon better than Amazon, that the decisions made are incorrect. Like all such article, the author only criticizes offering no alternative except the implied "don't do it" and based on the limited information to which he has access. Amazon makes money. An interpretation is that Bezos and co are investing in the future of their platform. What would the author have them do? If the author would prefer the profits be returned to investors the correct place for that argument is the AGM - assuming he is an investor.

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Google holds its nose, lets the hoi polloi run PHP on its shiny cloud

Sirius Lee

@ff22 Not the same thing, is it? The AWS API for PHP is a library of PHP code that allows a programmer to control their AWS assets using PHP (instead of Java or C# or Python). The announcement by Google is that PHP can *run* on the GAE. Of course it's not so useful.

PHP can run on any EC2 instance and the owner of the instance can do anything - for example, run WordPress. The restrictions imposed on PHP by Google seem minor in the way they are presented. But they mean you can't run WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or pretty much any other major PHP framework. So its good but only if you like to code in PHP and don't need the help of an existing framework to get your job done.

Seems like a feeble attempt to be able to say 'me too' when GAE is compared with AWS or Azure..

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In defence of defenestration: Microsoft MUST hurl Gates from the Windows

Sirius Lee

This is the second article claiming that 'three' investors want to be rid of Gates. It is claimed that together they own 5%. In neither article are the three named. That speaks volumes.

It suggests to me that if we knew who thet are, we'd be able to workout their affiliations and realize why they are so adamant Gates should go. My guess is that it would have less to do with the benefit to the company and more to do with the hoped for benefit to selected investors. My guess is that there's one of two things playing out.

One is that the call is, or is a front for, Carl Icahn. After the debacle at Dell I imagine his brand is toxic and being connected with a call like this it would never surface.

The other is that some investors are upset that other investors have been given a place on the board and the try the hustle for a place.

Disgruntled investors have an opportunity to voice their disquiet every year at the shareholder meeting. Or sell their holdings.

By the way, despite the news published (by largely California bloggers) my holdings of Microsoft stock has risen 20% in 8 months. That's a petty good performance anyway and given the terrible press they receive all the more remarkable.

Investor like me, who like the way Microsoft is shaping up and have seen good returns from a stable company, are not going to brook AC investors trying to rock the boat for their own, unstated, ends.

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BlackBerry ripped itself apart wooing CIOs AND iPhone fanbois - insiders

Sirius Lee

A sad indictment on us

For me the saddest part of this story is what it says about us (or the demands of our economies). To me it says that across North America and Europe (I've no clue about what happens in Russia or China) we are content with a 'choice' between just two products. Apple and Samsung in this case. The other choices are ridiculed. What about RIM and Microsoft?. Coke and Pepsi - what about Sprite and Dr Pepper. Dr Pepper even has to run self-deprecating adverts with the tag line "What's the worst that could happen?" Sure there are some also-rans but we seem able only to want to join one of two camps (or are told we should because all our friend do and we don't want to social lepp). They must be losers if they want anything else. 1 billion people and the best we seem to be able to have is choice between this one or that one. The other options go bust. That's not really a choice is it?

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Sirius Lee

Re: He's right.

No only is he technically right, in my opinion he's right to use strong language. In a world where any regular person's comments are drowned out by well funded 'PR' blogging. He doesn't have the funds of many of the Linux contributors so it's cute trick to make sure his opinion is heard.

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NIST denies it weakened its encryption standard to please the NSA

Sirius Lee

Paranoia

This is paranoia. Observers of the tech world getting in a tiz. The NIST process is open. The standards process is open. If you have doubt, you are able to review the standard (and the contemporaneous competing ones), talk to the researchers involved (mainly university professors at the time). You can look to see if any of the many people involved identified problems with the proposed standards at the time (and remember, not all are friends of the US).

Not only does this kind of commentary blacken NIST (and they are fair game) but also the character of the many researchers around the world who were and are involved in designing these standards. If I were such a researcher, I'd be having a word with my lawyers now about the potential for a suit for defamation to authors of posts like this.

The saying is that hindsight is 20/20. I'm sure the long lens of time has revealed potential weaknesses in algorithms designed 20 or more years ago. These are algorithms used like no others so any weaknesses are going to become more evident especially as the computing power to test them increases. But this is not evidence of conspiracy, its evidence that technology progresses and that no one is perfect.

If you have an axe to grind, why not get a PhD in Mathematics with a specialism in number theory and contribute your algorithms to the world. Oh, you can't? It's too difficult is it? Oh, I see, much easier to bray like a sheep and throw shit from the sidelines.

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Don't tell the D-G! BBC-funded study says Beeb is 'too right wing'

Sirius Lee

Re: What a Spin!

@ SergioG Let me throw almost ALL of your post back at you. You criticize AO for not including numbers and methodology details then add none of your own. So after a lengthy missive readers are none the wiser. Why didn't you include the numbers? Maybe because 'they happen to be convincing!' to AO's perspective?

The BBC is a train wreck of an organization (and I include the Trust here too). The 'study' amply illustrates the point. Why would a review like this be handed to just one person? The 'methodology' fails right there. Regardless of the validity (or otherwise) of Mike Berry's approach, it is impossible to escape the criticism of bias of any report that is written by one person or group of people. Scientific studies are conducted and then results are subject to verification by independent researchers. But this is a funding limitation. In an ideal world, multiple, parallel studies would be conducted to see if they all reach the same conclusion.

In this case there is no material funding limitation. An organization that routinely overpays severance to it buddies, that squanders millions and millions on buildings it doesn't need or projects that are out of control does not need to be concerned about spending a few extra 10s of thousands to make sure it's reviews can justifiably claim to be beyond reproach. But that's not what happened. So the review is far from beyond reproach regardless of how this specific report was written.

We, the licence fee payers, cannot know the motivation of the Trust to handle the issue in the way they have done. But with reason we can be expected to apply a healthy dose of skepticism to the findings and reject them when they conflict with our own experience.

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That earth-shattering NSA crypto-cracking: Have spooks smashed RC4?

Sirius Lee

Re: re: Why would we have known about it?

@destroy Absolutely. Blowhard is not entirely wrong (who is) but there are many examples of UK businesses killed by union intransigence. The Leyland business was poorly managed but what a dreadful place to have been a manager. It died because union leaders progressed by bashing managers and what managers want to work in that environment? Only those which cannot be gainfully employed elsewhere.

Think of the Sunderland dock yards, once a leading builder of ocean going iron ships and now gone. Why? Because unions would not adapt their practices and accept welding as an alternative to riveting after WWII. The liberty ships had shown the viability and economy of welding but it would likely have meant job losses on Weir-side so were resisted vigorously. A classic case of winning the battle but losing the war.

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Now we know why UK spooks simply shrugged at SSL encryption

Sirius Lee

Re: The code-ring on the golf course

But your root certificate doesn't need to be from Thwarte or Verisign or one of the other providers. The only reason for doing so is to have a green bar shown in the user's browser when they access your site using https. You are able to create your own certificate for free and ask users to explicitly trust your certificate and wear the initial "this site is not trusted" warning message as a badge of honor.

On the other hand, if you think this will drive potential customers away then it's your call. If you choose to go with a certificate from a root recognized by Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc. because potential customers will be more comfortable, you have to understand that it's you who is actively choosing to make the decision to put profit ahead of privacy.

We all do, but we don't have to.

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Amazon to offer FREE smartphone?

Sirius Lee

Re: Seems pretty hard to make back the price of a $100 phone

Doug, you make it sound like its a crime for a company to spend it's income on expanding it's business. As though profits must be made. Why? Amazon don't hand out a dividend so shareholders wouldn't see any profit if any was made. And any profit would be taxable so a sizable chunk of those profits would go to the US treasury.

Instead that money is spent expanding the franchise which means handing the cash to employees (or people offering value added services) and supporting the huge army of business that are dependent upon the Amazon machine improving. What you see instead, is strengthening balance sheet.

This complaint about Amazon failing to make a profit was made two years ago when the 201010-K was released. At the time the stories were along the line "Amazon profit disappoints'. The stock price dropped. A closer reading of the 10-K showed Amazon investing in hardware so I bought and since the stock has risen 50%.

In the meantime the much vaunted Apple has tanked, it's stock price is among the most volatile. Oh, and though Apple makes plenty of profit, shareholders still see none of it because the Apple board doesn't want to pay Uncle Sam. Instead they invest in lawyers and tax advisers to keep cash in locations around the world. So your position seems to be: no profit is bad but shady tactics to keep cash away from shareholders and governments is good, right? Is that what you advocate?

Go read those economics text books and find out where it says it is imperative a company makes profit. Shareholders want it, governments want it, but what the incentive for a business especially one which is, essentially, family owned?

Oh, and by the way, I'm one of those who would welcome a free phone. I barely use my phone but in case my kids want to reach me or I need to make a call I have to put up with sky-high prices and a contract that doesn't get close to suiting my needs. There are millions of us. We don't wear labels, drive cars we don't need, eat at a place just to be seen or want Roll-Royce phones.

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Chasing pack about to sink teeth into Amazon's AWS, says Gartner

Sirius Lee

Re: Non-USA?

See there's the rub:

"located, operated, controlled and legally located somewhere with working data protection and privacy laws"

and

is beyond the reach of the US and UK governments

Bear in mind these companies are investing billions in hardware I'm sure they are keen that their invests are not going to 'nationalized' by a tin pot government. And then would that same government be able to resist the temptation (or Uncle Sam's cash) to look inside?

There are many places that you can put your data if you want it out of direct access by western governments. The problem is then that it's probably not secure anyway.

But more fundamentally, what great secrets do you have that you are anxious a government should never be able to see? If you represent a major bank or multi-national company maybe you've information you'd like kept secret, especially from the tax authorities, but you also have an army of lawyers to challenge any western governments that attempt to access your secrets (and also the ability to move it around). If you are not in this category then you must have reason to believe you are in some way special, that you are likely target for government intrusions. Or maybe you're just 'special'.

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