416 posts • joined 29 Jan 2010
How much does it cost to rent the site, buying their offices might be a better investment at the moment than anything else they could buy. Their return, is not paying any rent, against the buy and maintain costs.
Oh god I really am catching Solutions Architecture, can I go back to being a z80 programmer please 100 million washing machines can't be wrong.
No, "How dare the government do this kind of thing in our name", has the readership grown up suddenly.
Good article, how about the other bits that your readership seems to think are capable of bond like capabilities. We tend to think CSI, Spooks and a like reflect reality. How about a technology Mythbusters series.
Re: @tkioz unlikely do anything more then knock people down"
Mmmmm, better hit the target first time then, you won't get a chance to re-aim, or do the well known double tap to the chest.
Re: Bondnote 3
Waltham PPK, isn't that a front for the Essex Liberation Army.
Hang on a minute
Did Natalie Apostolou actually read the resolution, apparently not, so for those of you who would actually like to know what the OAs said it was this:
And just in case you wondered what the FO said, it was this.
‘‘You should be aware that there is a legal basis in the U.K. — the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act — which would allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the embassy.’’
Not much of a threat, but a dumb thing to say to a South American country, where they just love making them selves look good by standing up to the imperialistic europeans. Something that hasn't been true for the last 40 years, but helps the public image back home, no matter what the truth.
Any one who really thinks the UK would actually raid an Embassy for an alleged common criminal, is just as stupid as the FO wonk who thought a reminder of UK law was a good idea.
FAQ | House Rules
TUPE doesn't really give you any protection whatsoever, there are loads of ways around it, and there's nothing to stop BB making anyone it wants to redundant on day 1, it just has to bear the costs.
I wonder who BB got to front their IT, not something they are known for.
In general these Mega-deals are stupid, they only look good to the accountants. It puts you in hock to a single provider, at what look like attractive terms, but actually aren't. BB will probably be using smaller suppliers to provide the services, rather than do it themselves. A better deal for tyneside would have been to look at the local suppliers and to sign them up to a bidding framework. That way the jobs and money stays local, this way you have one price forever.
Re: it's NOT the HW costs, stupid
Ah that old chestnut again, no IT supplier sells a £400 PC for £3750, that's the whole life cost including software and support.
BTW. The problem with cheap, is that you get what you pay for, and a standard ruggedised slab won't cut it, just think about what that device would need to stand up to for a beat officer. It has to be rugged enough to survive fights, chases and so on, so you actually need a military spec slab, fully encrypted and supported. They won't be cheap, look for a whole life cost of around £3000. A police portable is far more likely to go into 'combat' than a military one is.
Re: OK, so who's getting a job with G4S soon?
No one is, you just don't understand how it works. G4S has a compelling commercial offering, I know, I work for a competitor, and I've seen it, it is very hard to beat. The problem is that all of us have to play catch up, and come up with something better, at a better price. If you have this kind of offering, and you are bidding into a bunch of contracts, all the same, remember all Police forces are doing this over the next few years, you get economies of scale your competitors can't match, and you have a successful track record, and in part they do.
So they bid 4 contracts, and win 1, great, no problem, win 2, resourcing issues start, the people who know the job are already on contracts. So the more you win, the more resource problems you have, win all 4, and it's a disaster, you can't deliver any. So bid one, ah risk, you might loose, and you're not in the game for the other 3.
Ultimately all the procurements are run independently, yes the forces talk, but they will go for the best bang for the busk, and you have to have a damn good reason not to award to the best value solution.
The olympic cockup will temper the G4S reputation, but they will still get a lot of work, and it will still be more than they can manage. The alternative players are Serco, Amey and Capita, and their consortium partners.
At a guess, some forces will go for distinct services, others for monolithic contracts, and they will all use the free consultancy for the services they have no intention to outsource.
The process is not corrupt, but it isn't intelligent either.
I've just looked.
The consultation document is over 130 pages long, and the online response form has 21 questions about the content asking for specific agreement or not to various questions, with a single small overall comment field. I do wonder who they think will have time to respond to this.
I don't think the summary is much use in this exercise.
What's wrong with
Leaving it at you local sub-post office, Parcel Force already do, you pay £1 to collect, so 50p for a letter seems reasonable, and it increases the viability of our remaining post offices.
My village post office would be up for it.
Re: Bigger purchase orders
Sorry, but just who is taking these bungs, I've been winning major government IT contracts for the past 10 years and never yet come across someone giving or receiving a bung. My experience is that the client side purchasing team are uber professional and won't even let you buy them a coffee.
So come on who's doing, put up or shut up.
Re: Assange the journalist...
yup, certainly not worried about those who stood his bail for him, bet they are a bit ticked off, even if they have more money than sense.
Re: Lack of comprehension from our Jules
Don't forget that for the US to extradite anyone from a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights they have to take the death penalty off the table, and any other cruel and unusual punishment,
Personally I think Wa Julian is a cruel and unusual punishment for the rest of us.
I suspect that it would be more difficult for the US to get him out of Sweden than the UK as well, so do you know what, I think he's more afraid of being charged with a sex offence in Sweden than he is anything else.
The people who implement this kind of IT are not morons or halfwits, and so on, but then you know nothing about Government IT.
IT professionals within government have to operate within a dysfunctional funding system which means funding for x initiative is available for y period, if you don't spend it in that period it's gone. Y is never long enough.
All this is done by politicians and their creatures, who wouldn't know IT if it slapped them in the face. un-fortunately their plan to blame the IT professionals seems to have worked with you.
Re: At the idea of breaking the platters...
Actually there's a company in not far from this trust that will grind disk drives to dust. If they are serious they would blanco them as well.
It won't really happen
What software, exactly are they going to use in a cloud. Government is shifting towards ERP and packaged solutions, very few of those, if any, are open source, some can use databases or Linux, but certainly don't integrate to Open Office et. al. The vast majority of applications work on Windows and rely on Orifice for desktop integration.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea, it'll keep me in consultancy fees for years to come, but you can bet those in the cabinet office who had this idea, really don't understand their domain, or Open Source.
The outsourcers have spent years paring down their software support to just a few key vendors that they can charge low rates for, an Ok we can and do do open source, but you pay a premium because it's not mainstream technology.
How most users will react to having to use an Open Source Office alternative is anybodies guess, most civil service departments went Office because that was what their users had at home and the users liked it.
For open source to really get traction, there needs to be a coherent plan to try it out, with the cabinet office saying, this project will be open source, and it will be a pathfinder, but they don't want the cost or risk, and competitively it's too much risk for an SI to bid open source against, say Microsoft.
So Rahid, if Open Source is the way to go find a proper project you can actually deliver and take the risk.
What do you mean now, they always have behaved like this, and not just in IT, but it's not the Civil Servants who burn the budget, its usually the lawyers and procurement consultants.
Re: A sensible and lucid statement
More likely he'll run off to a cloud consultancy at a grossly inflated salary because of his special insight into government cloud strategy.
Who'll come out of the woodwork.
I wonder who else will bid, if anyone, BT, BAE, Tata, Mastek, or perhaps they'll go for the enlarged group when it starts to fail.
CGI won't frighten Logica's more delicate clients though. Pity, the last genuinely British SI of any size.
Re: All for the public good...
Thing is, if you commit a data breach and are disciplined by your employer, the public interest defence won't wash at all, as even if it was they wouldn't agree, that would require you to go to court and prove it. If you have accepted payment for that data then, you really would have a hard time.
It would be interesting to know how the data breaches occurred the usual way is social engineering, or exploiting our habit of being helpful, I doubt there are many true instances of corruption, but the DWP pay peanuts and expect intelligent and professional behaviour, as does the tax payer, hmmm.
Re: Getting stuff on expenses
So in actual fact the cost of the extra bits you buy = The cost of your spare time going and buying them + the cost of processing your expenses, the cost of you filling in your expenses and the cost of the stick.
So if we assume the cost of your time is cancelled out by your filling out a requisition, then we are left with the cost of processing your additional expenses.
The cost of any IT purchase within an organisation includes the service costs of supplying it to your desk, which includes the supply chain costs for your outsourced procurement, so the headline price might well be higher, but the total cost probably isn't.
I shan't ask what you need USB sticks, and I hope they are appropriately encrypted.
And the idea that the supplier gets a kick back from the outsourcer is laughable, all I can say is that you have never worked for a government contractor in the UK, and been involved in a bid to a government department.
Another Solution Please
I own two cars, one of which is a VW, and is the most boring car I have ever owned. I drive in excess of 600 miles a week to and from work, a lot for the UK, and I would love not to spend all that time on three different Motorways.
The nature of SI work, and the general inability of SI resourcing to resource locally, means that IT is unlikely to be very green, well the carbon foot print of the company is dropping inversely to the carbon footprint of its employees,
Vehicle systems that allow me to reduce that footprint would be great, on a good day I have had 90 MPG out of my 1.9L Golf, but in practice 60 - 65 is more likely, the difference being congestion.
Even better would be a decent radial public transport network, and rules that allow new office parks to be built only near a railway station or other public transport hub. It would also help if stations had sane parking charges.
As much as energy efficient and green research is required for personal transport, its also required for public transport, and for how you can provide transport improvement quickly and cheaply. You can build a logistics park or office park in 12 months, try putting a rail connection with appropriate rolling stock in that time, it takes years to procure. In the UK you even need an act of parliament to build a railway, though not a road.
Difference in the Law
Jay walking is an offence in the US because pedestrians do not have right of way on the public highway, except at designated crossings.
In the UK pedestrians always have right of way, and can cross the road where they like, it is up to drivers to avoid them, no matter how stupid they are. The only exceptions are Motorways and Clearways where it is an offence to walk on the highway.
Good drivers always keep their eyes on pedestrians, and should assume they may suddenly decide to cross the road. A good plan with children and running pedestrians.
You may think running someone down is no problem, but it isn't, unless you are a sociopath, you will suffer emotional trauma. Even if you are a sociopath, you will still have all the hassle and cost of repairing your vehicle from the substantial damage caused from hitting a large solid object, unless you drive an HGV.
Keeping their distance?
Since when did the Chinese care that much about Human Rights, surely that's their USP in Africa, "We won't criticize you, just as long as keep the business going".
So that's the headline grabbing low lights of the company report, how about a bit of informed comment about the results, better or worse that others, doesn't matter , perhaps a bit of effort on your part to inform the IT community of what the report meant.
Is it the nature of the game that large scale procurement can really skew the numbers in any year or quarter, when compared to previous years.
Think you need to do a bit of research on Belize.
Canada has much better human rights protection.
The US is only jealous that they aren't as nice and well balanced as the Canadians so they always like an excuse to criticise on trivia.
The vast bulk of Police Officers and Priests are good and honest people, even in the Met. It is only a very few who are not.
Our expectations on the proberty of public servants seems to me, to exceed the reality of the human condition. There always have been, and always will be corrupt people, some deliberately so who will put themselves in positions of trust to maximise their ability to abuse it. Within command organisations it will always be more difficult to publicly denounce wrong doers because the esprit-de-corps is ingrained into behaviours, and you have to trust your colleagues.
Corruption runs at individuals in thousands, not the reverse, which is how some people seem to view it. So you knew a Vicar who was on the fiddle, So you knew a Policeman who took a bung from the local rag, I know many, many more good men and women of all faiths and political persuasions who server their communities honestly and justly, but they don't sell news papers.
Perhaps you should look more closely before you condemn whole groups because of the behaviours of the few.
Nothing like a good misinformed rant.
First off, £200m for a command and control system is a hell of a lot of money. As pointed out there are very few bespoke C & C systems, and Steria and Capita Sungard PS are pretty good at delivering them to all the emergency services.
You should also never believe the headline number in an OJEC, for 10 years, actually the win price will be around £120m. As to it being a waste of money, well technology has moved on a lot since the last C & C was done at the met, and a lot of the integration will be belt and braces, the new systems integrate a lot of stuff that just didn't exist a few years ago, the old system really will be life expired.
Still we shouldn't underestimate the Mets ability to ignore reality, and do different and expensive, no matter what the Home Office tells them. Hopefully the London Ambulance Service system will still be fresh in their minds.
Home Office wants caring and sharing between Police forces, not something the Met has ever been good at.
Re: Bottling it
Yup, about £3.95 from John Lewis, in pretty colours, refil from your water filter or tap, saves money actually, and eco-friendly.
Line of Least resistance
With some government departments and agencies expected to cut 20% from their budget, and even those like the NHS supposed to save to invest they will continue to go for services that cost less, doesn't matter about the wider economy, only their targets.
It is easy to show a drop in expenditure in your own department, easy to collect the bonus attached for meeting the target. No agency or department will try to justify an increase in their costs with a drop in anothers, it's too difficult.
So contracts will continue to go to the largest suppliers with the lowest costs and jobs will continue to move to India until it's cheaper to go to somewhere else.
Managers are to selfish and stupid to recognise this, and ultimately the Tresury doesn't care, the current government will continue to drive costs down regardless of employment numbers because they are not capable of thinking differently. Labour would be no different. Sadly those in the major parties who understand this have little influence.
The easy way and the hard way
The reason the government gets ripped off, is because they set unrealistic goals, expect an unrealistic price, never stick to their requirements and micro manage contracts.
If the government actually ran its procurements with people who understood the costs of IT delivery thy might actually get projects that run to time and budget. Most SIs run development projects at a loss, and make the money on support over 7 - 10 years, because they would never win if they tried to charge the upfront capital costs, upfront. The government like it this way, because it lowers capital expenditure.
The rip off numbers usually arrive in the second half of the project after tech refresh, which is usually the contract break even point fot the SI, and the real profit appears in the seconf half.
Change, isn't usually a rip off either, it only appears so because the rates are more realistic, but are also open book, and subject to fixed and agreed margins, usually not that high, maybe 5%. Yes sometimes the marging is much more, but that's usually because the risk and contingency were not used on fixed price. The other thing that happens is inflation, so that rates assume say 2% per annum, but costs don't rise by that much. Older contracts probably allow 4%, but with staff not getting pay rises, this goes stright to the bottom line.
Ultimately, there are very few genuine rip-off IT projects.
Re: With software licenses or not?
Hang on isn't this a replay of a story last year, I seem to remember commenting then, that it depended what the £3500 covered, and the contract it came under.
Dead easy to get a PC to cost £3500. PC + Software + Support (The big cost) + Secure Network + Infrastructure + Peripherals + Location + Consumables.
Lets be clear, when a government department buys a PC it costs less than a PC from PC World or anywhere else, just like any other corporate, however the TCO depends on the accounting regime used, some departments break it all out, others don't, just depends on the service you are buying, and what you want the PC for.
And there goes Hunt....
With appologies to Murry Walker.
What will be interesting is...
If these ever come to court, as said elsewhere, throwing employees to the wolves doesn't promote loyalty, but maybe saying, just plead guilty and we'll look after you might. That way you don't get you dirty linen aired in public. A good pension can make up for a couple of years in an open prison.
In the media, it isn't even terminal for you career, you can write about it later, and still make money. Think of the tag lines: "MY SHAME AT LETTING RUPERT DOWN", ching, "THE OPEN PRISON COOK BOOK", ching, "MY HELL IN FORD", ching.
There's a pretty good chance the US will get him for corrupt practices over here, and he is a US citizen, under their corporate laws, that's what really scares family Murdoch.
Why do I get the Idea
That the people fighting these cases know nothing about technology, and have probably never written a line of code in thier life.
Law enforcement in general
We shouldn't be too hard on Salt Lake's finest, police always assume Guilt and the US are worse than Canada or UK, but still, if you don't think someone is guilty, it's a bit difficult to justify arresting them.
The idea that someone is innocent until prooved guilty just does not penetrate the mind of your average LEO, they tend to work on Occam's Razor. Remember folks if your management is elected on being tough on crime and providing a low cost service, then innocence is an expensive inconveniance to your next electoral campaign, as the UK is probably about to find out.
Mind you if you work in a job where 90% of the people you deal with are hiding something, it can be very difficult to be totally objective.
In the UK cell providers can, as they did for 7/7, suspend service to all but Emergency Service users, spookily they use their cell phones a lot.
Re: It's a matter of jurisdictions.
I believe that NDEX, the US version of PNC serves 18,000 LEAs.
Re: embedded within the phone....
Er, what makes you think they need a database to do that. All any police or security organisation needs is an interception warrent. Been that way since phones were invented.
Fighting a loosing battle
In my SI it's all about delivering clouds, and whilst you can do it on SPARC, X86 and VMWare seems to be where it's at. The sales side driving this is looking more at perceived low capital costs and cheap running costs. Any attempts to point them in a different direction are rebuffed.
Oracle's reluctance to play in the commodity market means that we tend to go for IBM on x86.
Our Ops people want all unix out, and just Windows. They have decided that all our customers want Windows, even when they explicitly say they don't.
I doubt we're the only SI with this attitude.
BTW - I actually prefer heterogeneous solutions at all levels, and to avoid lock in. So I like architectures that are WINIX and x86ARC. I remember IBM's behaviour in the 70s, and I firmly believe MS, Oracle and others are beginning to behave the same way again.
So that'll be an extra £100 for the compact size will it.
Lets be realistic shall we.
The UK government does not have the budget to spy on everyone.
The Security Services have enought to do chasing terrorists, let alone spying on every one.
The Police have enough to do catching criminals than worry about which porn sites you visit.
And the latter sums it up probably, how many of you think that the fact you might visit a porn site, might come back to haunt you. Or maybe that troll eMail you sent to someone when you were drunk.
This act is about allowing the police and security services to check your communications history once you are identified as a suspect in the same way that they do for telephones and then use it as evidence.
There is just too much internet activity to watch everybody, and targeting someone just because you can is bonkers, they have quite enough to do as it is. You guys need to get a grip, and work out just how much what you fear would actually cost to do, even if it were practicable which it ain't.
A good point
There is so much data flowing on the internet the security services and police cannot monitor it all, nor do they want too. All they want to be able to do, is to do what they can already do with the telephone network. The telephone network has for years provided a list of calls made and recieved, and when someone is suspected of a crime their call history is checked. A serious target might have their phone bugged, but it takes a lot of officers to live monitor a single phone line.
It is touching the faith some of our commentators have in the technological capabilities available to implement a survailence society. The government could wipe the unemployment queues in a moment to provide the service some of you think they are capable of.
IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Our security establishment just isn't big enough, and no government will pay for it to be so. I think that you would be very upset if the stuff that is done is stopped. Just how difficult do you want to make it to catch criminals and terrorists, impossible I guess, right up until you are the victim.
The state must always do distateful things and invade our privacy on occasion to protect society, it does this by exception, they need a reason to look.
The £100m IT project
Sorry, but, it's very difficult to spend £100m on just IT, and that's where the problem is. This kind of project is not just about IT, its also about business transformation, and long term support.
So many government organizations believe that their shiny new IT system will cure all their problems, start with high hopes, and then decide we're not going to change the way we do business, so this great new system has to do what the existing one does, and then they start to change it, before it has been implemented, often contradicting established requirements.
£100m buys you a 10 year deal for a government organisation of about 6,000 under a your mess for less, type deal, of which about £3m will go to SAP, Oracle and Microsoft without them lifting a finger.
£100 will also buy you a shiny new national system to do something for a large department, like the NHS or HMRC, to get that on IT alone, it really has to be a Lot of IT.
Re: so what happened
Um, not sure which small businesses you would mean here. There are smaller players but the trouble is the big boys have a habit of buying them up once they get to a certain size. I'm not sure you'll find a viable small company that supplies enterprise database software anyway, there are some in the applications and collaboration arena who compete quite successfully with MS and Oracle.
The other thing is that you quite often need to get applications accredited to common criteria standards, and small companies can't afford that. When your department says all IT products must be evaluated to EAL 4, regardless of appropriateness, well...
Trouble with the big boys and applications is that they market leaders and turn them into also rans.
It will be interesting to see how the new model affects those departments with universal licences which give unlimited usage for database and middleware products.
Good old VBS & IBB
One of the things about VBS is that is was about the suitability of a person to work with children or vulnerable people in general. The IBB were responsible for actually barring a person, and you could be barred for more than abuse.
You also would have your registration suspended whilst you were investigated, and as many a teacher will tell you, the complaints are often spurious, and malicious. You could be barred because of your criminal record, which might be anything from theft to drug dealing, even to the level of cautions, which by the way also come up on CRB checks.
As paranoid granny proves, it wouldn't matter why someone was barred, she would assume the worst, and probably tell all her friends. It wasn't long before VBS went into development that someone was lynched because he was thought to be a pedophile.
The good thing about VBS was it was a once only application process, that then monitored your criminal activities, rather than CRB checks which are required for each organisation you work with, and need to be repeated regularly to the financial benefit of Capita. The bad thing was that once you were on it, you were on it, and it would have been very easy to widen the scope to cover just about any offence. Drink Driving conviction, sorry mate not having you teach my children, and so on, just a matter of a minor tweak to the law and the system.
VBS was never fully implemented, and then scrapped, but the whole CRB thing is up for renewal, it's probably Capita's to loose.
There is, and always has been commercial child exploitation of one kind or another, and it has its presence on the Internet. As to its value, who knows, any more than a true value can be put on any criminal commercial activities. Big numbers are politically expedient to both the zealots and the ambitious, they grab headlines and budget, for a good cause, and this is normal behaviour for the politically astute, not just in public service, either. The people who consume illegal services provide the market, do you think criminals are not going to use the latest routes to market for their products when they can. Criminals traffic in illegal commodities, be it powder, person or media, and some do it interchangeably, if you are capable of selling drugs to primary school children, then I doubt there is much of an ethical leap to child abuse of other kinds.
CEOP has a tough job, and not all its results bare its name, they liaise with and provide intelligence to national and international forces, GMP et al. might kick down the door, but CEOP's always there or thereabouts as well.
Criminals of any kind are very secretive, and getting better at evading detection, just as the detectives are getting better at detecting.
The age of consent
In the UK the legal age for Marriage was 12 for Girls and 14 for boys until 1929 when it was raised to 16. Other european countries were much later, even into the 1970s. Consent for Marriage could be given as early as 7.
Modern health provision has greatly extended lifespans, and we no longer need to breed at a young age, we can allow our children to have a much longer childhood, even in the early 20th century life expectancy was only around 30 years, though much higher if you made it past 21. For the gentry the need to ensure the heir and spare, and the daughters for alliances is no longer an issue.
Attitudes to child protection have changed markedly for the better over the last 100 years, childbirth, child and infant mortality has dropped in the western world. In fact I think, I'd raise the legal age of consent to 25, well perhaps not. There are still places in the world where, once a child has passed puberty they are considered an adult, thankfully not in the UK anymore.
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