9 posts • joined Thursday 25th February 2010 11:58 GMT
Old news, but still worth re-iterating
At the end of the day if you have any smartphone you are at risk of being mugged. Apple, Android, Blackberry (well, maybe not them so much) are targets especially if you are walking down the street at night - these things light up like a huge beacon just begging opportunistic louts to go over and take it. Then you have the 'fanbois' who walk around like a giant apple advert.
I have an iphone. So far (touch wood) nobody has tried to 'relieve' me of it - I suspect that's partly because I don't whip it out at every opportunitiy to show off crappy instagrammed photos of my lunch, and I also ditched those crappy white headphones early on (Sennheiser ftw?).
This is not a new problem by any means - and happens all over (http://gizmodo.com/5953494/hold-on-tight-smartphone-mugging-is-more-popular-than-ever) - Maybe if people stopped advertising they have expensive tech products they might make themselves less noticeable to the criminal element. But I imagine most fanbois are very proud of their iDevices and love showing it off to anyone who will listen.
I make use of iCloud for backups, which in turn allows me to use the 'find my iphone' tool. Mind you, if I do lose my phone, it's maybe a few days inconvenience till I can either retrieve my handset (after remote bricking) or get a new one and restore from my backup. I'm less phased about the hardware, I am more concerned about the data that's stored on it.
I have read a few stories of people having their iDevices lost/nicked and then located through this service - which is pretty great, but as to how responsive the authorities are with this info is a bit unclear to me - have yet to see any articles that talk of people being caught and prosecuted thanks to this service.
That's not to say it doesn't happen - but surely more people need to know about such things and that essentially stealing mobile phones is a losing game that could land you in jail unless you can kill off a GPS signal without destroying the phone in the process.. Just make them less appealing.
With VM for first time, since Jan. I do not want VM controlling my border security so I switched to modem mode the day it was installed and use my own firewall/router.
So far little to report for my 100Mb service - though during their "busy" periods I do experience issues with certain things - Spotify for example gets very bitty between 6 and 10pm, which is apparently due to their poor peering arrangements. Hopefully they'll sort this out in due course. I have been kicked out of online games regularly on PSN though.
Prior to this I was a Zen customer for 10 years, and had no complaints whatsoever. BT were occasionally a nuisance but generally it worked as expected (albeit I'd get a max of 16Mb where I was, not tried their fibre service yet).
I do have the same complaints about their customer service droids. When my parents had problems with their hardware, I recall spending an hour on the phone to them being asked to reboot my devices before they'd admit they had a fault and send an engineer round with a replacement part. Quite tedious but then they have to account for their hardware.
I liked the fact that Zen had degree-educated network engineers who knew their stuff and I could speak to them in my language when I did have problems - usually initial setup issues with house moves, which were largely due to BT...
I guess next time I ring up VM support I'll ask to speak to the network goth in the corner.
We've all seen 'Make Love not Warcraft'
This is not news.
The Natives are restless
Er.. There has been a linux native client for well over a year; it might only be open to 'premium' subscribers, but I've been one of those for nearly two years, largely thanks to the iphone app which works great in the car on the dull drives into work.. Oh and the one I had on my old Nokia before that.
So - PC, Mac, Linux, JesusPhone, Android, Nokias - I'd say they covered most of their bases with that one. PROBLEM?
I happily pay a tenner a month for my legitimate access to 13 million+ tracks. It's an album a month, which assuming Spotify continues to operate - means I now no longer have to add to my creaking CD tower (which has been gathering dust for some time) - the freetards just want something for nothing. Stream from youtube if you don't like it.
How many companies make money from Linux or open-source software?
Being a Linux sysadmin for the last 10 years or so of my career in IT (and Windows before that) I can say that there are a large number of businesses out there who use Linux over Windows in their production environments for some pretty simple reasons:
It's stable. It's actively developed by lots of people who are not necessarily interested in the bottom line, but in making a product that does what they want. Some companies sponsor OSS development as well of course.
Oh, and it's free. As in speech, beer, whatever.
Granted there are many distributions to choose from, but why on earth if you go to a restaurant to eat some good food should you be presented with a menu with only one meal on it? The choice is all about how well you understand your requirements. Oh and if you get a side order of fries.
I have been using webmin since around 2001 on various systems- from SGI IRIX to the latest Ubuntu, and I must say that it took a lot of the pain out of administering an OS. It gives you an enormous amount of power (also read: ability to doorstop a box if you are not careful). You can build a fully working Linux server with a webmin interface within 15 minutes. Less if you have a big fat internet connection and the right setup. In the previous job I used to look after 200+ servers, a mix of RHEL, Ubuntu and Solaris. All with webmin set up in a cluster. Very handy when it comes to deployments, patching etc.
In certain environments, the ability to commission new servers quickly and efficiently can make all the difference to a business deal coming together or the company falling flat on it's arse.
Now do that with Windows, fanbois.
My own experiences
As a professional geek, it was inevitable when I was a kid that I'd end up working in IT.
Before the age of 10, I was coding in Pascal and had started to look at other OO languages. However I was lucky enough to have parents that while they were quite computer illiterate, saw that my interest in computing was more than a passing fad and tried very hard to keep up with modern technology. It was an expensive business as despite the fact my local schools did have some computing environments in the late 80's/early 90's, it was all BBC model B's and Masters, which while being great educational tools initially, were already long in the tooth and marching headlong into obscurity while Atari/Commodore and eventually IBM-compatible PCs were taking over the homes and offices across the country.
However there were several problems. IT had not really been accepted as a mainstream academic topic, and the only options I had was to attend the limited number of after-school activities or chat with friends who were in a similar position. There were many trips to the local library for books on varying subjects including the history of computing, programming etc. But there was virtually no support from the local educational facilities - it was all word processing, spreadsheets and other subjects that were not really of much interest to the stereotypical geek that I was, I had already been there, done that and was thoroughly bored.
The first real foray into IT was at 16, and a 2 year college course which gave a limited overview of the arenas available and introduced us to higher-level programming, networking and some project management skills. That had its limits, but at least did not have the blinkered view that the previous schools had, and they had a pretty impressive IT suite which catered for around 200 IT students - which was not bad in the mid-90's for 16-18 year olds.
However, I was able to drag myself along primarily due to my own personal interests in the subject, interests that have continued on as I get older. I ditched coding in favour of being more hands-on with the nuts and bolts of computing. I've been a sysadmin for a number of years, IT manager for a few as well and now am a contractor in the industry earning a decent buck with my Linux and open source skills, and am constantly progressing and training up in areas such as virtualisation, and large-scale web systems.
So while school may have failed me in some respects of my own educational requirements, my own fascination with the industry and perseverance to learning off my own back have paid off and hopefully will continue to.
On a side note, I'm sure those kids who picked on us 'nerds' are thoroughly enjoying their jobs flipping burgers now.
Waste of time & money
A few years ago I designed and built a Citrix thin client environment for the company I worked for, for approximately 700 users, across 4 sites including India. We originally used whatever hardware we could get our hands on, which was predominantly Dell desktops. The on-board NICs supported PXE so we built our own thin client image using Ubuntu and the Linux ICA client. It worked a charm and meant we didn't have to go round upgrading every single desktop to run the new main business app. It was refreshing to see a crappy beige P2 dell desktop running a session to the same standard as a brand new P4 machine. Eventually we stopped buying desktops altogether and moved to the HP thin terms - at about £100 a pop. They weren't as reliable as the desktop machines but given the price they were deemed more "disposable". There is no way a company who has already invested heavily in a centralised infrastructure would choose to spend more cash on a thin term device like this when cheaper alternatives (even desktop PCs running as thin terms) are still out there. Bad move Dell, if these boxes were ~ £100 you might have stood a chance.
I would settle for a working service
Having just moved house where I had an 8mbit Zen ADSL connection (I have been a Zen customer for 8 years) to a house already connected with Virgin 20mb, I have to say the difference in service quality is absolutely shocking. 100mb to the door is only going to be any good if Virgin improve their own backbone and external links to the rest of the Internet.
Random disconnects, high latency at ALL TIMES and those irritating customer service droids culminate in a product that is not 'fit for purpose' IMO. Youtube runs dog slow even at 2am, playing online via xbox live or PSN is jittery. Video games doesn't cause people to kill, serious network lag does!
Luckily I am moving again in a few weeks time and will be resuming my good ol' trusty Zen connection, Virgin can suck my plums!
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