1495 posts • joined 5 Mar 2010
Anyone ever read "OMNI" in the 80s ?
I'm sure they had an article about the problems of long distance space travel, and someone suggested a drive based on heating metal up. The glow of photons would create a tiny thrust, which - over time - would accelerate to quite a speed. IIRC the artists illustration (OMNI had some stunning sci-fi fantasy artwork) showed something like a car cigarette lighter in space ....
Deja vu ?
every so often, you get stories about "joined up government". They have a brief vogue, and then die down again.
My suspicion is every so often, a new, wet-behind the ears minister dreams up a wheeze, which sounds brilliant.
They then take this idea to the civil service (who have seen it all before) who point out that maybe it might not be such a spiffing idea after all, since it would have to apply to the minister, their spouse, their children, and could make life a tad tricky, but that there's a desperate need for international standards around the internet of things, and that the minister would be better serving the government by devoting the next 18 months to that line of work.
Rinse and repeat.
The road to hell
and all that.
It's never *this* government you need to worry. After all they're cute and nice, and love their cats.
It's the government as yet unseen - the next one.
 is paved with good intentions, and things which seemed "a good idea at the time".
Re: Is watching Twitter taking your eye off the ball ?
Maybe, just maybe, because there aren't that many to start with ?
Just like the press try to convince us there's a paedo lurking in every bush, the government (who, by the way, are the ones who define terrorism) would have us believe there's a sleeper cell in every street.
Re: Tablets are neither phones nor PCs
True. And what tablets *have* done, is demonstrate that for certain values of "PC User", a tablet is quite adequate.
Take my wife for example (I wish someone would ;) ). Totally non-IT person, but uses email, and browses a lot, and likes Amazon. When the only tool we had to achieve these tasks was a PC, she used a PC. However, after locating a decent high-spec 10" HDTV android for <£200 at Christmas, she hasn't used the PC once.
Speed through checkouts ...
MrsPage and I have have been using these fold-up crates to pack our shopping into. Get to the checkout, unload on belt, get to other end, and pack crate (in trolley) faster than the checkout operator can scan them. Really flummoxes the twunts who like to make customers scrabble by not turning on the output belt, as I can take the item from their hand.
Added bonus is box can then be stacked nicely in boot, and not fall over like a collection of bags.
As to scanning items individually, it's the trained procedure. There are numerous lines where items look identical, but aren't ... not only is there the risk of a pricing difference, but also stock control and special offers need to know.
You might think you invented the idea of jerking around with customers, with your youth, haircut, and facial ironmongery, but you don't realise this 45+ duffer used to work in Sainsburys on Saturdays, just like you ...
I have to write *something*
as I need to express my delight as stories like this ->
No mention ...
of how a dropped screw can disappear into a trans-dimensional vortex, never to be seen again ?
Until you walk around barefoot, this is.
Why, oh why, do I keep reading this as "Cortina" ?
Bring back the Ford Cortina !
How does this square with the mantra of "public transport" ?
In the 90s, I was convinced that MS had two departments, at opposite ends of the building. One was dedicated to *fighting* piracy, and came up with all sorts of whizzy ways to stop it. Their work was then taken across the building to the other team, who made sure it never happened, since some of Microsofts market dominance is undoubtedly based on how "porous" Win 3.1/95 and Office 97 and Visual Studios 4,5 and 6 were.
Certainly at the local level, councils up and down the country have done their damndest to deter private motoring. This is no secret. It's a stated policy. I have an email in reply to my observation that resequencing some local lights would improve the efficiency of the junction. The reply I got basically said that as a means to encourage public transport, anything which made it easier to drive was undesirable.
There are two examples of this in concrete and tarmac in SW Brum, where the A38 passed through Selly Oak and Northfield. The bypass is 5 minutes *longer* than the previous route (a fact locals have twigged, meaning the original route is used to bypass the bypass). This was by *design* not accident.
Re: On the whole
Since the majority of the panel seem to be fairly well educated, even if not in a scientific subject, I would suggest they are all bright enough to make a fairly sane assessment of the situation.
Well, highly educated men once thought that you could fit 10 angels on the head of a pin, and that disease was spread by bad air.
Point taken ? Or are you prey to the conceit that we're perfect, whilst laughing at our ancestors ?
Serious (maths) question ...
If we're all agreed that weather is a chaotic system, then is there some theorem somewhere which shows that sampling a chaotic system regularly over time (say, every day) will result in an overall data set which *isn't* chaotic ? Because if the answer is "no" then it seems to me that climate is as chaotic as the weather it drives, and - by definition - no amount of modelling, or knowing start states is going to give us more than a few reliable data points, before it starts drifiting.
Icon, not because I claim to be one, but I'd like the answer from one ->
Says it all
about the value of science in 21st century Britian
er ... actually
a 100% mesh grid of smart meters will tell you *exactly* where the leccy/gas is being pilfered from.
Re: Stuff the meters
Burglars will have a field day when all the lights go off ....
All these posts, and no one has hinted at the real agenda ..
Smart meters will allow the supplier to reduce - or disconnect - the supply at will. It's a prelude to two-tier energy supplies, where the rich get nice permanent expensive power, and the poor get a supply that can be cut at a whim.
I didn't read anywhere in that article how many new power stations are coming online in the next 10 years, although it's a nice round number ....
Will El Reg readers be offered a chance to buy themselves one of these patches ? Or get a baseball cap with the design ?
We need a "Ker-Ching" icon ....
Re: Definition too broad?
I am afraid of the politicians.
Re: Sexual Offences Act 2003
In the consultation phase of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 the drafting committee specifically left out the words "with intent" in the "indecent exposure" clause - because the police said it was making it difficult for them to get convictions.
Leading to the alarming situation that a woman could catch a glimpse of her [male, natch] next door neighbour sunbathing nude, and get him arrested and charged with indecent exposure, and a spell on the Sex Offenders Register.
Re:They have the tape.
Indeed. A fact *you* can use to *your* advantage. A favourite trick is to ignore the droid and just preface anything you say with "for the record", adding that in your experience it's made it easier to locate the relevant portions of the recording in court.
a quick scan (ignoring declension and case) seems to suggest a craft belonging to the speaker is full of something ...
I'm going to take a punt that anguillarum is eels ? From anguilla ?
Is it too late to point out
from my O-level days, that (IIRC) most educated Romans spoke Greek. In fact doesn't Robert Graves put a brief bit in "I Claudius" as to why it was written in Latin, rather than Greek ?
In which case, I introduce astroployen from 35 years ago, as the Greek word my friends and I invented for "spaceship". After all, we use "Astro*naut*" ...
sausage rolls ...
Downvote explained ...
In general, (certainly in the UK) Bill Shatner has been adopted with affection, because ... he gets it, and is more than happy to send himself up at the drop of a hat ... as his appearance of guest host on HIGNFY showed.
Henry Rollins used to tell a hilarious tale of how he got roped into singing on a William Shatner album ...
Are analysts really *that* thick ?
of is there an element of keeping themselves in work ?
I am heartily sick of responding to every piece of demographic research that "the 50 years of today, are not like the 50 years of 10 years ago."
Now this may sound like it comes from the school of the bleedin' obvious, but it has deep ramifications for the IT industry and those who work in it.
Here's one example, from *my* crystal ball. Phones/Tablets (and their apps) will evolve to take account of the fact that someone who was (say) 45 when they bought their first iPhone, back in 2007, is now 52. With slightly poorer close-vision. They are not going to stop using their new shiny. And given they will be the richer demographic - you can sure as hell guarantee they will be catered for.
We're not stuck in some stratified society. Bear in mind, *some* of todays "silver surfers" were systems programmers in the 60s.
The most hilarious thing is the fact that politicians seem to have missed this ... they seem to base their campaigns on some idea of what society looked like 40 years ago.
Re: unexpected consequences.
except they weren't. Unexpected that is. Critics and opponents at the time warned of the consequences. Exactly the same as people in the UK warned that if you create sweeping powers (RIPA) for surveillance, you will get abuses.
In both cases, when the predictions came true, you had this pathetic show of "we had no idea".
If there's one thing the internet is good for, it's as a memory bank for the masses, to be able to record these denials at the time, and play them back when the politicians try to pretend they weren't told.
Bleeding obvious ?
I thought the Goldiliocks zone was specifically that which allowed liquid water, which kinda implies oceans (that water has to be somewhere).
Is there anyone reading this who *didn't* think this ?
There's a peculiar phenomenon at work here ...
Where people seem to be almost pathologically incapable of imagining that tomorrow may not be the same as today. Hence @JahBless failure ... people cannot picture a government tomorrow that will abuse these powers.
Time for the old story about frogs not noticing being slowly boiled ...
In 2006 ...
I bought a new phone, and they threw in a "free" bluetooth headset.
Since then, it never ceases to get my gander up to see people in £40,000 cars, on £600 phones, yakking away with no bluetooth.
I'm not a big fan of Draco, but I would happily see offenders cars seized and auctioned. If you can't obey the law, you shouldn't be allowed a car.
Only this Saturday, MrsP and I were shopping, and noticed a car (ironically it was BMW Mini - see above ;) ) which seemed to have a lot of problems parking ... in, out, in out. As we walked past we saw the reasonl The dozey woman driving it was yakking on her phone, so had to take her other hand off the wheel to change from first to reverse. Then she clamped the phone between shoulder so she could use 2 hands to steer, but then she couldn't turn her head properly, so couldn't see when she was lined up into the space.
On most non-trivial (longer than 20 minutes) journey, it's rare not to see at least one person yakking away.
Just your footage is enough to get them "convicted"
Can you back this up, please ?
One of the Jennings books (a *real* pedant would know which one) by the peerless Anthony Buckridge.
Re: Word order ?
Upvoted for your pedantry ... and for reminding me the program declined nouns.
E pluribus unum ?
Civile si ergo. Fortibuses in aro. No vile, deus trux. Watis inum ? Caux an dux.
Word order ?
From my recollection, Latin has no word order - you know what each word is doing by it's declension.
One of the first computer programs I wrote was in 1981, and it decline Latin verbs. (Apple BASIC string handling was cool).
As Jean Charles de Menezes [unwittingly] demonstrated, a false positive can be a lot worse than a little inconvenience.
And since nothing has changed, and no one held to account over that state execution, it *will* happen again. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in 20 years time.
My first thought was ...
which leads on to the salutatory story of Alfred Beck.
And todays conspiracy theory is that I seem unable to find a web resource which details his story. Basically he did five years in chokey, because he looked like a known fraudster. This was just before fingerprints, and did for Bertillonage in the UK.
It's worth repeating ...
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.
Alexander Fraser Tytler (although disputed)
In other news ...
The tories want to redefine human rights ...
Long shot, I guess, but any chance
of getting a bare android phone, with no ****ing Facebook. Or Twitter. Or G+. Or any of the other battery/data draining apps that I don't need or want, and didn't ask for ?
hasn't it always been thus ?
Going retro ... another idea
I wonder if going back to *really* old versions of software would have a similar effect. You know, *before* they were compromised.
Is it possible in the future I put Wordstar under CP/M back on my cv ?
Why should the Swedes come here ?
Their legal system doesn't allow for interviews to be held outside Sweden, which is fair enough. I would wager the UK system is the same.
Why should *Assange* get to make the rules ?
We *needed* those emergency powers ....
Re: I have a really excellent method for dreaming up passwords.
but the margins here will not permit you to write it down ?
"Could agree what makes a good password"
How come, in this age of ISO, BSI, CE etc etc, no one seems to have devised an internet standard for the creation and handling of user authentication credentials in an organised, systematic way .
Because it seems every man+dog site has their own ideas, and implement accordingly.
Here's some starters for 10:
1) define a minimum password length
2) mandate the form (one letter, one number, one non-alpha)
3) mandate that passwords must be stored as hashes (because I *know* there are sites with a backend of passwords stored in plaintext)
4) mandate a password recovery mechanism with one alternate *not* involving email.
5) mandate a password refresh period and password retention policy (can't reuse the last <x> passwords).
Actually, that's not a bad idea.
If enough people just added firstname.lastname@example.org to their emails, and (say) once a week dumped a log of their browsing history to a file and emailed that, plus a log of their phone calls (most mobile companies let you access it online) it wouldn't take long for something to break.
Obviously they'd try and prosecute under under some sort of harassment law, but they'd have to argue that they didn't need the data (as they had it already). There would also be the terrible niggle that somewhere in that mound of data there really was something of value.
It's such a good idea, I might contact my MP and ask if they can supply the correct email address.
After all, in these times of austerity, it's only right we should help save them some money.
Also, just a thought that popped into my head - could it not have been a power cut that reset the charging flag? does it also record the fact that a physical "unplug" happened?
If the Oz legal system is anything like the UK one, the defence will have been given advance sight of the prosecutions case, plus any details of crucial evidence like this. It would then be up to the defence to accept, or dispute the evidence. Whilst they might be able to suggest alternative explanations for the evidence (in this case the fact the phone reported being "charged" at a certain time) they would also have to back it up with some proof - maybe a report from the power company ?
There are several alternative explanations beyond that. Faulty charger ? Faulty mechanical connection ? Faulty phone ?
The thing is these alternatives should also have occurred to the prosecution, and been eliminated *before* deciding to introduce it into evidence.
but still subject to US data laws
so what's the point ?
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