Bring Your Own .... Dead ?
Time to air the BOFH's closet, perhaps?
2532 posts • joined 20 Dec 2009
Bring Your Own .... Dead ?
Time to air the BOFH's closet, perhaps?
"I didn't need safety training to know electricity + water = danger... but others - even after training - are simply too lazy and too negligent to avoid risks."
Doesn't your country's H&S require suitably sensitive trip switches that the power will cut at the first drop entering the connector?
Hell, the ones we have are so sensitive that very humid days can trigger 'em!
I've had H&S training for stuff that isn't even a part of my job. I wonder if management signs random people up to random courses so they can be seen to be "educating the staff" or somesuch?
There's a part of me that wants to choose all the really dumb responses just to see if anybody notices . . . but I don't as I'd probably get even more training in irrelevant rubbish.
Maybe I should dig out the Lain discs next?
"to the point where I'd often end up writing chunks of asm code simply because it was as easy as writing the equivalent in C. Try doing that with an ARM-based system and see how far you get..."
Oh, I do. Because the ARM is nice and if C's pointers are starting to get messy-complicated, it's usually far easier to drop in some assembler where I know exactly what is where without a language syntax getting in the way. ARM code is just generally pleasant to work with; and when you're writing application code you don't need to concern yourself with messy things like page tables and address caching, just leave that stuff to the OS...
Not to mention the equally vital skill of recognising that USB plugs fit nicely inside RJ45 sockets, but won't work there no matter which way up you insert it.
Protip - something I realised the other day: on every device I own, the side of the USB plug with the USB logo embossed or stamped upon it goes upwards. Noticing that has saved me a lot of random fiddling.
Come on guys, see the con ! - "haters gonna hate" but let's take this apart anyway... Note, I'm talking about the Pi1 model B here.
To use it properly you will need to buy a monitor. - you can use a TV but it isn't so nice. However, you can buy HDMI to VGA adaptors for about €10 off eBay which opens up a world of cheap second hand analogue displays. Mine is running a 1280x1024 flat panel that cost me €5.
You will need to buy a keyboard - £8 from a major supermarket. Price in £ as a friend got it to save me the hassle of the horrid AZERTY layout.
You will need to buy a mouse. - I rescued an older style optical mouse from a bin at work. Let's just say there was an incident involving coffee. A bit of TLC later, it works fine. If I had to put a price to this, I'd suggest looking at basic keyboard/mouse combo-packs, I think they start around €15 or so.
You will need to buy an external hard drive - really? I don't have one. Well, I do, but I've never used it with the Pi. I doubt the Pi's USB output is enough to run spinning rust.
You will need to buy a power supply - probably. You can run it from a mobile charger but it might be a bit 'iffy'. However, starting from around €10 you can get multi-output 2A tablet chargers. Enough to run the Pi, the HDMI thingy, and a Vonets WiFi adaptor without grief.
You will probably need to buy a usb drive - possibly, but how many people have USB drives kicking around in a drawer? For instance, when I run the Pi with RaspBMC, it is actually installed via the NOOBS package on a 2GiB micro SD card. The same 2GiB micro SD card that was supplied "as standard" in my phone, and got swapped out for a 32GiB one within the hour of purchase. Lower capacity cards aren't so useful or commonplace these days, so I think there are a fair few lying around unused that could be repurposed.
You will probably need to buy a decent container for it to keep it safe. - I have a cute translucent orange one. About €6 from Amazon. The Pi was easy. The Beagle xM not so much, so I found a tupperware container that was Beagle sized and cut holes in it in the right places...
A usable Raspberry Pi for kids to learn to program on will cost as much as a small netbook computer - adding up the above (using €15 for keyboard/mouse combo), it comes to €46 plus the Pi itself. Say maybe €80 as a ballpark figure to include some variations in price. That's less than a useful budget tablet, and less than a third of the retail price of a netbook.
"(which will come with a guarantee that all the bits will work together or you get it replaced.) - the important thing is to go for cheap generic stuff. When you go for fancy multi-key-rollover keyboards, mice with a dozen extra buttons and built in document scanner, and SD cards that are like 40x turbocharged - that's when you are going to hit weird compatibility problems. The first keyboard I tried was a fancy gamer's keyboard (not my choice!) which just about worked under RISC OS and failed entirely with Linux. The keyboard I use now is the cheapest thing on the shelf and it works perfectly.
A Raspberry Pi will cost more than a android tablet. - if you think you can get anything useful done with an Android tablet running an 800MHz single core processor, with maybe 360MiB RAM, a 0.3 megapixel camera (if you're lucky and have one at all) and a tablet sized 640x480 display (can't you see every pixel at the spec?), then yes. The Pi is more expensive. But let me ask you - do you seriously think you could learn anything on such a device? Programming it would be unpleasant without an SDK and dev suite on something else. Those sorts of tablets are consumption only devices for people too clueless to understand why spending another thirty would have been a better idea. Or for parents to give to stressy children that will probably throw it across the room when it doesn't load Facebook fast enough...
A Raspberry Pi is a toy for hobbyists to play with. - probably, yes. If I had children I would get them into using and understanding it as soon as I could. But I am from a different era. I grew up when games were kind of crappy and you bought them on tape. But the most important thing of all is the fact that you could play something, observe it carefully, and think "I could do better than this!". Doing exactly that is how some of us got our first interest in programming. I wrote a rather nice space invaders clone for the Beeb and I guess I should have sold it instead of just giving it away to friends. I wasn't after making money, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do a better one than the tape I paid £9,99 for. But look at the bar today. Grand Theft Auto 3 on an ancient PS2 is pretty decent looking. I'm enjoying Fatal Frame (aka Project Zero) on the same PS2. If I had more money, pretty much the only game that has interested me in the last few years is The Last Of Us. Can a modern child look at those sorts of things and think "I could do better?". Don't be ridiculous. So we, as the been-there-done-it adults have to find other ways to interest the younger ones in programming. And I don't mean a never-ending stream of fart apps. Maybe if this BBC santioned device is a basic piece of kit, we can throw away the magical mystical high level rubbish and get right back to the core of programming, what really goes on inside a processor. Because for me, the magic is not inheritance or object orientation, but the fact that I am typing this in a browser on an iPad and you will be reading it somewhere else in the world in a browser on whatever - and all the processor is really capable of is pushing values around memory and performing some fairly basic mathematical operations on those values. From these basic operations, we have created UIs and browsers and cat videos. That, to me, is the magic.
"an 8 bit cpu with 2.5kbyte ram"
Ought to be enough to beat you at chess. (^_^)
While a more advanced machine might be nice, there is something to be said for limitations. You learn how to program efficiently and don't do dumb things like allocate yourself a hundred kilobytes of memory just to store some flags.
Think about it - washing machines and bread makers and central heating controllers are really low spec devices - my bread maker is an 8051 clone with I think 2K ROM and half-K RAM yet it has a dozen cooking programs and seems to be fairly capable with various weight/cooking options; a third of the I/O is the user keys, a third is the user display, the last third being the sensors and heater/motor control. All this with a basic microcontroller inside, not something complex running an OS and loading application software. So don't knock low spec devices until you've thought about what you can actually do with them.
"When you factor in the support stuff it needs to make a complete workstation - case, PSU, SD card, leads, keyboard, mouse etc - it no longer even looks particularly cheap compared to some other alternatives."
You're right. The Pi needs a display, keyboard, mouse, SD card, power supply... I reckon those added maybe thirty quid extra or so but I was lucky to pick up an old analogue flat screen monitor for a fiver.
The thing is, though, that once the Pi is set up, it is itself the "workstation". Whether you're running a lightweight OS like RISC OS or a Linux version or just using it to watch videos, it does this itself. I write code that runs on a Pi and the Pi itself is the development environment.
This Beeb machine, on the other hand, would appear to require a complete other workstation just in order to use it! This isn't anything like a Pi then, you can't give this to kids and expect them to just get on with it, it'll surely need to be tethered in order to get anything code-wise done.
Now the win would be if you could develop for this on a Pi ! But can't you already get ARM M0 boards like that off eBay for something silly like three quid?
My Pi is hooked to an analogue flat monitor and while the UI is indeed a bit laggy, once the video is playing it does HD and embedded subtitles and it just "works". No licences were necessary. One is for VC1, whatever that is, and the other is for MPEG2 for DVDs (VOB files?). Those of us with more modern arrangements like XviD and the various types of H.264 - that stuff works out of the box. SD, HD, and all the resolutions in between.
Plus it runs happily from a decent tablet charger.
Plus I can switch SD card and it becomes something else.
What's not to like?
"people still using XP and IE6 is the very last group of people you want to have to explain something technical to"
Turn the damn thing off. If people complain, point out that the web has moved on and a billion year old browser don't cut it no more.
Too many opportunities to spaff data to unknown third parties with little to no oversight, and we all know how lovely and secure these things are...
Doesn't that depend upon each person? Mine spends a lot of time in airplane mode via WiFi; it's like a small tablet with the ability to be a phone once in a while. I listen to music on my phone for a lot longer than I talk on it.
That said, isn't holding the manufacturer liable for what the end user does a bit like saying that vehicular homicide is Ford's fault?
Upvote for epic rant. Seriously? He thinks WATER should be a chargeable commodity?!?!?! WTFingF?
Plastics here (France) are taken to the recycling point and placed in a big bin marked "incinerables". I always thought it was really really bad to burn plastic but I guess maybe they have figured something out? I think it is burned to make heat for purifying metal (smelting, etc). They burn waste food in much the same way...
(subject says it all)
Damn you for sticking the frog song in my head. It might be misremembered given how long ago it was but that doesn't make it any less annoying.
So I'll see your Macca and raise you that horrible little green bastard on a bike that was popular a decade ago.
Define "isn't making money". Are they truly not making money, or is this the Amazon definition?
Bought a little OLED off eBay, found the data sheets, wrote a driver. Even wrote a program to clone the display to a 128x64 mono display. Useless but fun.
I have time on my hands and I think that I learn/understand more when I do it myself.
Still, this board looks like it exposes some good stuff to interface with.
Doesn't the DCMA declaration they're required to provide state that false declaration is perjury? Can't they be done for this?
Ask around, somebody might have an older version they could extract and send you...
Reading in the car on a phone so going through 115 replies isn't an option.
Anyway, switch to English British keyboard layout and pick the one with extended or international in the name. It retains the familiar British layout but adds the typical European accents.
"then fire up a SMTP session, do the EHLO, MAIL FROM, RCPT TO and see if it is accepted"
...and the user will then find that the email address is rejected as the server discards non-SSL connections that have not logged into the server.
The company validating the address wants less spam? Guess what, so do server admins.
"and lost customers from those who can't be bothered to complain and just take their money elsewhere"
Oh hell yes.
There's a dash, it's invalid. Really? There's an unrecognised domain (.eu), it's invalid. Really? The name part is too long (no, it's a spam trap address with their name in it), it's invalid. Really?
The good sites actually send an email to the given address once to "verify my account", the bad sites choke. And, of course, if they aren't willing to accept my email address for notifying me of the status of my order, well I guess I'll just have to take my order elsewhere.
For what it is worth, it is usually American sites that display this incompetence. The same sort that let me pick a country from a drop-down list but then choke because the zip code is invalid/missing, and after wading through loads of pseudo-legalese it says in small letters that they don't ship overseas. Well, why didn't you say that when offering a country instead of wasting my time you retarded assholes...
Still, between that and the price USPS wants for sending anything, it is getting to be cheaper to order from anywhere else on the planet.
tl;dr version: random rant about incompetent online ordering
Even God doesn't want another Bush in the White House.
(would add "getting my coat" icon but that's not an option in the mobile version)
"Don't vote, it only encourages the bastards."
Surely that is the WORST tactic? If the sensible people don't vote the future will be decided by those who did vote. . . or maybe a communist/BNP coalition (or whatever horrible mutation arises) might work? Hmm, hope only goes so far.
Or... Display some words on the screen that you read aloud a few times and it can learn your speech. Provide provision for five people to be "learned", well within the capabilities of a modern SoC and should support an average family. No need to push data elsewhere.
The Samsung Galaxy comes with S Voice, a sort of vocal control system. Could be useful but unlike the Motorola one that worked on the phone, the S Voice agreement that it shows you on first use asks you to agree to share location, voice data, contacts etc etc with Nuance (the provider) and their partners.
No way in hell...
World. Population 7.125 beellion (estimated).
Here's the person I think is perfect: http://i.imgur.com/N3GxTgC.jpg
The other 3,562,499,999 (divided by two to omit males) - sorry.
Of course, she's probably already taken which means my life will forever be that of a singelton; so I'll just get my coat and slink out the door while nobody is looking...
"but in the real world, if a browser doesn't adhere to the standards, what can you do?"
I run a small unimportant website that doesn't make me money, so I was free to decide that I'd had enough of IE8's quirks, and with later versions not being backwardly compatible to older systems for a somewhat tenuous reason, I decided - that's it. No more testing on IE. I replaced IE with iOS Safari so if something on my site looks weird with IE, rest assured that it looks as intended on all of the other browsers that I test with. And no, I won't fix it. I have far better things to do with my time...
"Start Chrome, you are asked to "sign in to Google"."
No, you aren't. Samsung S5 Mini. Just turned it on. Started Chrome. It's reloading the page I last looked at with it a few days ago (I usually use the stock browser).
No asking to log in. There might be an option somewhere to log in to sync favourites and such from another version (like the Windows version?) but I only have Chrome on the phone so no need to that. And as no need for that, no need to sign in.
"Google is the only browser publisher that wants to know who you are from the outset."
Except for when Opera wanted you to (optionally) log in to do more or less the exact same thing - sharing content from one browser session to another... I think Firefox can (optionally) do that as well these days.
I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't jumped on the bandwagon here. Then we could have all sorts of fun, like "looking at porno sites at home before bed? well, okay, let's just sync all of that onto your work computer..." ;)
I pay that per month (France).
"Translated as "normally" your OS isn't obsolete in less than the length of a phone contract."
Given normal carrier laziness, your OS is probably obsolete before you buy, and good luck if you think you'll ever see an upgrade.
My current phone is an Xperia U. It runs Android 2.3.7 (I think). That was on it when I bought it in 2013. To their credit, Sony did make a version of 4.something available for it. Have Orange? Not bloody likely. Still, my contract ends in a week and a bit. Time to look for something a little less ancient.
Forcing? The only thing that should be forced is all such relationships should now be automatically annulled until such time as they can be demonstrated to be correct and legitimate.
"why boring diesels had captured the French market"
Diesel is subsidised (here in France). I don't know the difference between how far a litre of 95/98 unleaded gets you vs how far a litre of diesel gets you; but I do know that diesel is generally €0,30ish per litre less expensive and back in the days when "Some nut blew up a pipe? That's €0,20 a litre extra, thank you!", unleaded was very sensitive to price rises(*) while diesel seemed to lag a bit.
* - not quite so quick at coming down, I note.
"It took half an hour to find the bonnet (hood) release, passenger side? really?"
I feel inclined to point out that, since you drive on the other side of the road, having the bonnet release there is perfectly logical. It would be the driver side of any European model.
all thought to be secure ? He actually wrote that?
You mean you think they are "safe" (term used loosely) today. Tomorrow may be an entirely different story...
"even checked the skies for the milion drones expected to be sold this year" - I noticed that. I want to get myself a drone. I live on an old farm in the middle of nowhere so it'd fall out of range and crash before it gets anywhere like interfering with other people. Might be useful for photography, checking the barn gutters, blah blah. I thought I could pick up one as a Christmas toy. Well, there was barely a helicopter, other than a little IR indoor model or two. Huh?
"and chasing the quicksilver beads as they escaped across the lab bench."
When I started what would now be called High School, we used to poke our fingers in a beaker full of mercury and ping little blobs of it around the desk. I'm glad I got to do that, it's a really weird substance.
The year I finished High School, somebody dropped a thermometer. The classroom was evacuated and specialists in white suits had to be called in to clear it up. FFS, just give me a dustpan and a test tube to put the pieces in. What a flippin' over-reaction.
Okay, own up - how many of you followed that with the word that the BBC couldn't broadcast?
Now, own up - how many of you thought this episode would be utter crap but actually rather enjoyed it?
Sure, it isn't Who Gold, and I really really wish Danny would bugger off once and for all, but a lot of things worked well in this episode. The continual "It's a long story", the brilliant tracking shot in the "You're dying!" corridor. Santa being played exactly right. I was expecting a lot less, so this was pleasing.
I also suspect we might see Shona again. Why her? I mean she'd just watched a bunch of movies that pretty much set up the entire scene. Why her? Didn't the other three have things to add to the plot?
...and the information of everybody who downloads the film will end up on pastebin...
"I imagine each theater gets a differently watermarked (and differently coded) movie, so that if it *does* escape then the studios know who to kill."
If I remember correctly, it is called something like "cinavia" and is some sort of ID code hidden in the soundtrack. As an added benefit, some domestic playback devices are designed to detect this and stop playing, so if stuff recorded in a cinema is downloaded, it won't work...well, that's the theory. Don't know how it plays out in real life.
Ah, just looked it up. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinavia (looks like it should be quite resilient)
" total waste of $1.50 "
Only a dollar fifty? Maybe the price should have been a clue...
To all the people who think meh "stress", ask yourselves, if this is an indication of how they value (and trust) their staff, what do you think it's like working for them?
[this long post represents my meandering thoughts - if you have a short attention span, just hit Page Down a bunch of times...]
First up, comparing yourself against Amazon "because both have lots of white" is a bit dumb. People don't go to Amazon to read stuff. It isn't like El Reg and - to be honest - thank god for the accessibility option on my iPad where pressing the button three times inverts the colours. White on black is a bit old-school, but at least I can read without eye pain.
Secondly, comparing yourself against Amazon is a bit dumb because Amazon makes good use of available screen space (their webdev mission statement probably says "a wasted area of screen is a missed sale"). You? You have huge swathes of white on either side. It looks... amateurish. Like somebody playing with <table> layouts not realising the difference between px and % because "it looks okay on my screen".
Thirdly - http://m.theregister.co.uk/Week is a 404. Any plans to fix it, or are we going to be stuck with the arbitrary order? How about give us an option - "most recent first" vs "stories we think you'd like" (or something). After all, Amazon lets you choose what order to see things in. <nudge><nudge>
Could we have an "age" indication on the mobile version, please? It is useful to see if something is "X hours old" so you can quickly scan through for items that have been posted since the last visit.
I notice that you said that you don't have in-house resources to develop, and that nobody likes change. Actually, change can be good. But to handwave concerns with "nobody likes change" is a bit churlish, especially when the change is to something that does not look or feel as nice as it was before. Here's a bit in bold, please read it twice: YOUR SITE WAS NOT BROKEN. NOW IT IS. Clear enough? Would it not have been an idea to develop this in-house, run it alongside for some feedback (maybe of your gold-shield commentators) and tweak it accordingly prior to a public release? Wouldn't that have been better than a "here's shiny new whiteness, now beta test it, oh and there's no downgrade". Reminds me of Orange with their Livebox firmware (every update looks nicer but makes simple actions tedious and breaks loads of stuff along the way - thank God they only update like once every two years).
I read the link. I find it interesting that desktop advertising brings in more revenue than mobile, given that it isn't hard to remove advertising from a desktop browser, but generally mobile devices do not have this sort of functionality. What you may actually be seeing is that advertising on a desktop machine is "tolerated" because it loads quickly (even at slow ADSL speeds) and there isn't much in the way of technical restriction. On the other hand, I completely avoid visiting advertising-heavy sites on my mobile device as it takes longer to load (an eternity if on EDGE instead of 3G), most of the browsers I have used on phones have a really annoying habit of throwing away all content and refetching it if you switch to another app (even something as simple as reading an SMS), and phone contracts tend to come with a data allowance. Some have gigabytes, some have hundreds of megabytes, some have less. I have 500MiB/month, which works out to be about 16MiB a day. Not enough to mess around with advertising I am not going to read. And, some sites, sadly, accept to receive revenue from advertisers that do really shitty things like "oh, you're on Android, here's a 400KiB apk file every bloody time" - animelyrics.com I'm naming YOU, or you visit a webpage and suddenly you are staring at some game you wouldn't look at in a million years in the app store. Behaviour like that, and the fact that bandwidth is restricted (moreso if your contract is one that will let you go over and hit you with ££££ for it) mean that people are likely to be less tolerant of advertising on a mobile platform (despite Google's best attempts to insert advertising everywhere possible). As it is, I have reprogrammed my ElReg bookmark to the mobile version as the main page is massive. I can't justify >200K every time the browser decides to reload the page. But, if it continues to be difficult to sort new stories from things that I have already noticed, I'll just stop reading it during my break at work (when I read most stuff on ElReg).
Your linked article finishes with "This is why the media industry's crumbling fortunes cannot be ignored." What was ignored for too long was the media industry publishing generic mass produced junk that alienated the readership. Take, for instance, Dr. Dobb's - a recent story here on ElReg. It started being hardcore, then it went commercial, then it went through long protracted death throes due to having lost the readership that it had in the beginning, and having lost the essence of what made it different. It might do for the publishing industry to start making things that people are willing to pay for, instead of trying to "make a killing" by publishing things that some clueless marketing twat thinks the readership might like. There's a magazine I buy from time to time. The subject matter is Japan. Things to see, interviews, lots of J-Pop, reviews of manga and such. Somewhere along the way, it started taking on a lot of stories about K-Pop. Now, I understand that maybe to a clueless Westerner, Japan and Korea are kind of the same place, but to those of us who can actually find them both on a map, they're not the same, their language isn't the same, and don't they kind of dislike each other anyway? My knowledge of Korea is a few seriously bad-ass films and That Song That Broke YouTube. Obviously, I haven't bought the last two issues, and judging by the fake sticker on the front saying "100% Japan" on the latest issue, I'm not the only one to think that. If they want to promote Korea, go for it. In a magazine all about Korea. Simple! It's really the same sort of story as Dobbs, isn't it? It's a balancing act between satisfying a potentially smaller readership versus attracting new readers while not alienating the ones they have, and not becoming so generic that their publication has nothing to make it stand out of the crowd. Perhaps, instead of whining about how mobile pays less, publishers might want to think of things that people would actually pay for...
"This may sound lame to you but we have 50 mouths to feed." - fair enough. I can't say I agree, but it's your site, your decision. You've already pretty much lost a mobile-device reader and you're in danger of making a regular become a part time lurker. Is this what you intended?
"Your foreigner can be quite tricky, some of them even speak English. You could insist that they explain how to bowl a Yorker or play a few rounds of Mornington crescent, that should catch Jerry out."
Your foreigner could be me. I live in France. As a Brit, those questions wouldn't faze me. But send something to me, it's an export.
Oh, and for what it's worth, this is a really dumb way to approach the problem. I thought the point of the EU was to try to remove trade barriers, not erect one so massive that a fair number of people will simply refuse to trade internationally. I can understand wanting to deal with the megacorps paying a pittance in tax, but I can't help but feel that the potential collateral damage is going to be more disastrous than the problem that they were trying to fix.
<description of atmosphere> - Gaviscon, anybody?
You don't like the bacon? You're free to put bullet holes in it.
...by crawling inside your mother and dissolving inside her body? That's comic and horrific in equal measure.