1084 posts • joined Friday 5th March 2010 16:20 GMT
Once again, a reminder
we have no idea what's in our own oceans. More people have been to the moon than to the deepest ocean floor.
My 2p worth
When our lad was choosing his GCSEs in 2009, we had an open evening at school, where local Universities turned up to encourage pupils to think about choices that would lead to higher education.
One particularly odious character told us of a recent graduate who worked as a "political economist" for a US bank, earning over £40,000 a year (in the US) . He really didn't like me very much, when I put my hand up, and asked if he could give us an example of a graduate who (a) was helping the UK economy and (b) was doing something useful - like medicine, or engineering AND earning £40,000.
Many years ago, a company I worked for had offices in a really out-of-town (nearest store 1mile) technology park.
One day we had a frantic phone call from the office manager. Thieves had broken into our offices, and then used our computers to break the windows into the office across the hall, and steal their computers.
Re: Torvalds insisted he was a mild-mannered man of peace
or someone with a wry sense of humour - clearly not American*
*Well, some of them ....
The day a site mandates using Facebook to log in
is the day I stop using it.
Ah, but Amazon ...
allow a debate on a review ... a neat feature which helps balance things out. I recently purchased a set of grab rails from an Amazon retailer. They were notably cheaper than anywhere else (anything intended for disabled people seems to attract a massive premium). There were a few 4/5 star reviews, and a couple of 0-star reviews. Reading the 0-star review it became clear the author was upset because the rails (which they admitted were "faultless" weren't supplied with rawl plugs and screws.
There were a few replies to that review, effectively saying "what a twat - you're saving £4 per rail, and you're niggling over 50p worth of screws".
every time theres a cert snafu, you get a rash of browser warnings which will (correctly) light up helpdesk switchboards for weeks. Then you have to explain to users it's OK to ignore the warning. And therefore weaken the point of the warning in the first place.
Maybe, just maybe ...
ISTM peeps here have missed the bit that polaroid are adding to the mix ... "phototenders" (which is too clunky to work) which you DON'T get at your local Boots/ASDA (also bear in mind this is a US story, and they have a completely different retail ethos).
Also remember that not everyone who owns a smartphone/digital camera is a tech whizz. If these "fotenders" (see, didn't take long !) can genuinely improve the pictures (and presumably subtly suggest the customer buys an extra copy, or has a mouse mat made from one) then it could be an interesting - if niche - service.
I think - irritatingly enough - that sociologists will become increasingly important in business ventures. The more we isolate ourselves with online services reducing our points of contact with our fellow man, the more chances there are that services that can engineer human contact will flourish. I already know a couple of people who despite online shopping for most things, still go to shopping centres just to have a coffee, meal, and "interact".
Maybe Polaroid could team up with Starbucks, and have in store coffee ?
what has happened or failed to happen to home automation?
One of the biggest wins for true home automation is reduction in fuel bills. Intelligent heating, coupled with presence detection and the ability to remote control (decide to pop to pub after work ? Put heating back 2 hours via phone*). This clearly steps of the feet of the companies that want to push massively subsidised wind farms down our throats, along with energy companies who (despite what government would have us believe) want to sell us more and more energy.
*Phone. Yes the system can be so depressingly low tech you can control it via SMS - no fancy smartphone needed.
Just a thought ...
is this *only* available to unemployed ? I have visions of employed people using it to snaffle the better jobs ....
Instagrams big idea ...
will be something like a package they can offer to corporates for dynamic marketing.
Let's take Starbucks as an example. Instagram sign them up to the "platinum" package. Everytime a photo is uploaded from a Starbucks, or featuring a Starbucks, Instagram will flag it, so that Starbucks can feature it in a dynamic ad. Maybe a picture on their website "The latest satisfied customer".
It would be a shame if inappropriate images were to get through though. Like somebody holding a banner saying STARBUCKS in big letters and "pay more tax" in little letters. But I am sure the system would be flawless.
Amazon user since 1997 here.
What can I say ? They are competitive. The way they have changed their site should be a lesson to all. Incremental upgrades. Useful features rather than flash. And the product descriptions, reviews and discussions all help to give you a feeling that you are empowered and informed. I've never had a problem with them - simple as that.
The nice feature of "people who looked at ..." and "people who bought..." and "Other things people bought ..." is incredibly useful to allow you to weigh up between different models and features.
The only improvement I can think of would be the ability to add an item to your wishlist from a search list, rather than having to click on it first.
Amazon is a shining example of how to do Web 2.0 incredibly well.
Re: Sorry, I call "bollocks"
The problem here is that you think the *state* is responsible for everyones welfare.
Sorry, I call "bollocks"
"at least they try and form evidence based policies and reverse previous decisions on the basis of new evidence."
I refer you to Mr Camerons recent pre-decision regarding cannabis. No matter what the evidence, he's made his mind up (I believe, using Gordon Browns turn of phrase, he's "minded").
MPs understanding the subject ...
shouldn't be a problem. They can afford to pay (with OUR money) for the very best expertise and advice in their fields.
The problem is when they get it, they promptly ignore it - look at drugs for a start, and energy policy for a finish.
I think they're trying to paint
a picture where you've bought a new PC (coz sales of them are rocketing) and when you turn it on for the first time, it's have a massive prompt saying "Are there children in the house ?" with a "YES" and "NO" button underneath it.
The silence from Microsoft and Apple (as Mac suppliers) speaks volumes. Where is this mysterious config screen going to go ? Where will the onus lie for providing it ? The retailer ? The OS supplier ? The hardware supplier ? The ISP ? How can an ISP put software on a clients machine ? Especially if that PC is running something which isn't Windows ?
Smart TVs ?
Oh well, at least the government gives us a good laugh when it tries to grapple with technical issues. They treat engineers with contempt and ignore them, and quite rightly get ridiculed when they try to live without them.
On a serious note, this could be an early indication of Camerons impending demise. Politicians usually have bullet-catchers who stop this sort of foot in mouth gaffe. Their mysterious absence, leaving their masters in the line of fire is a sure sign they've read the runes. Remember Jacqui "we'll force paedophiles to register their email" Smith ?
Real names are pretty irrelevant ...
Facebook/G+ don't give a toss who you are. They do care about who you know though. Because that's how they can slice and dice their data for the marketing guys.
But once your name
address, date of birth and NI number have gone, what can you do ? You can't change your date of birth. I really wouldn't recommend changing your NI number (HMRC fuck up enough when you keep the same one all your life, imagine the field day they'd have if you could change them). Changing address is more stressful than divorce. And changing your name is a bit of an imposition.
I would like to think we have a public think tank looking at the problem of re-securing identity after a breach like this, but I bet we haven't. Which means we'll be told how Facebook will solve the problem.
The only solution I can think of (this is my lunch break) is some sort of public registry, with individual records sealed by a PIN. Any organisation wishing to verify a persons ID submits the tokens (name, address, date of birth) and retrieves a token. The person claiming to be whoever they are then uses their PIN on the token. So when (not if) a public body sprays your data all over the interweb, you can change your PIN, effectively revoking the previous ID.
Or that search engine aggregator Copernic ?
Re: Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory
As you connect through your VPN ?
Government IT never ceases to underwhelm me ....
Back in 1986, I applied to the CCTA (as it was then) for a position for my sandwich year. Got the interview. Was faced by 5 people, 4 of whom wouldn't have known a computer if it had been paraded through on a carnival float. The fifth was clearly the "staff", and was current up to about 1970 - when I explained I'd studied Pascal, FORTRAN, ADA and Modula-2, he asked about my COBOL.
When they offered me the job, it was £1,000 a year less than had been advertised at. When I queried this, I was told that they paid salary by age band, and I was a year younger than the age band they'd advertised for.
Seems like nothing has changed in 26 years.
Madness is repeating the same action over and over again
and expecting a different outcome.
I have no love for pirates, but I can see the attraction of a nag-free ad-free programme.
Here's a question ... I can appreciate with free-to-air channels, that ads form part of the deal. But how come I am PAYING for Sky channels, and STILL getting ads ? Well, I would if I watched them. Combination of TiVo, usenet, and other sources mean I can't recall the last ad I actually sat through on TV.
I think the point is ...
a massive PR campaign on behalf of the police to scare baddies into not challenging their "evidence".
Given police claims about cannabis factories being stuffed with UV heat lamps, I'm not sure we have much to learn from their science unit.
Re: "Traces of milk lipids on the pottery revealed its original use"
Cleanest in town sir.
always pilloried as ignorant and dumb. Don't forget it was a pope who asked Copernicus to sort out the problems with a calendar, and who was happy with the end result.
And until Galileo did his impersonation of a 16th Century Assange, the church was quite involved in science, in a good way. Unfortunately (and ironically) they had this nasty niggling need for PROOF. Something which Galileo was unable to provide, because he hadn't done the maths (which had yet to be invented). The real ding-dong started when Galileo went public, called the church liars and couldn't back up his claims.
Predictable really ...
The second it dawned on our lords and masters that this meant *they* would need to "opt out" of a porn filter, this was a dead duck.
I can't help but feel this is another example where the well-meaning are unknowingly corrupted by those they oppose. Pardoning Turning would mean in future, people learning about him would not learn what a nasty, homophobic and hypocritical society we were back then, and (more importantly) how we still are.
No pardon ...
as others have pointed out, let his conviction stand, to remind us of the nasty, bigoted, spiteful nature of those that rule us. Don't let them airbrush that out of history.
Re: I consider it a public duty
I was actually suggesting getting the URL from the phishing email, and then supplying it with a few hundred bogus login details. If the hit rate for the scammers dropped from (say) 1 in 10 to 1 in 1,000 they'll soon give up. Although I'm not so naive as to believe they won't devise another scam.
I consider it a public duty
to waste as much of these scammers time as possible, when I encounter them. My missis has become particularly adept, after a little basic coaching, and can happily keep them on the phone for half an hour. I wish there was a way we could have calls sent to us from the public to deal with.
I keep meaning to write a small program to deal with all the phishing attempts we receive, and just reply to them with thousands of random username/password combinations. Maybe with the dark evenings, I'll actually get round to it. I was thinking of a monitored email address which takes the URL and then loads the page and submits it again and again. In fact I'm going to go and check and see if LastPass has an API ....
Making cheese is not a walk in the park ... to discover our ancestors were up to it so long ago is incredible. The implications are astounding, since cheese making is analogous to beer (and bread) making.
The ability to adapt out environment to suit our needs is a unique trait to human species.
why can I hear bells ?
In the old days, no supplier would ever risk alienating Dixons - they were one of the major outlets in the UK.
The times they are a'changing ...
Re: Rebuilding a Speccy...
Surely a simple circuit diagram ?
My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I'm pretty certain there was a very short-term release of DIY spectrum kits* so there might be something already out there. Trying to build a modern compliant version strikes me as the IT equivalent of fitting wheels to a tomato - time consuming and utterly pointless.
*The genius that was Sir Clive realised that you could get your customers to build the unit, thus avoiding unrealistic delivery schedules *and* sell it as a "feature". Certainly the ZX80, and early ZX81s ....
Windows mobile - a real showstopper
I've whinged about the dearth of apps for Windows Mobile since getting my (work) phone 2 years ago. And it's almost a given that when I do some smart alec will comment "what apps can't you get ?" and then proceed to heap scorn on me when I list them claiming they're either "not worth it" or "you don't need that anyway".
Well today, for various reasons I needed to use Barclays PingIt. But is there a Windows Mobile version ? Is there bogroll. So there is a real crunch point. My company has dumped Windows Mobile, and has no plans to look at Windows 8. If I weren't so damned honest, I'd "lose" the phone.
Meanwhile, the Mrs sails on with her Android HTC.
Should have stolen it.
Or put it in a pigeon coop ( (c) "The Wire").
Re: Julian Huppert did well
Of course what la May really wanted was the additional benefits of all this data ...
"People who visited X also visted Y and Z"
"People who emailed A,B, and C also emailed D,E and F who visited X and then visited Y"
"After IMing K, Q IMed L. L emailed M. Last week M visited the UKIP website."
and so on.
Facebook get's it's users to give it phone numbers of people who still haven't drunk the kool-aid ? No doubt from their address book, so now Facebook knows their phone number AND their email address and name.
Nothing bad about that.
Bring it on
if it finally pushes people to abandon whizzy flash non-W3C compliant websites with yellow-on-white text that only work in IE (6) then <Al Pacino>Bring it on</Al Pacino>
How many of it's designers has it outlived ?
Re: The golden rule of passwords is to assume that they can be seen by anybody ...
Ah, fair point, but having read their spec, it's as secure as it could be given life itself.
As I said, the vault is only one element of password security. Regular changing of passwords is essential too.
To be honest, there are several trivial things that could be done to greatly improve online security. My suggestion would simply be an SMS and/or email every time your credit/debit card is used, or a payment goes from your account. I'd guess that would cut fraud by 90% ? But then the banks would be liable for more than they are now, so that's never happen.
Re: @Pete 2 Unintended consequences
"So what we're left with is higher prices to consumers, increased tax take to the government, a little extra profit to the newly "ethical" tax-paying companies and a larger one for all the others. In due course, those prices rises will feed through to increased inflation, slightly higher interest rates and a small, probably imperceptible rise in unemployment. Those would be the unintended consequences."
I say again: You believe that would be unintended ?
In a related topic, about the HomeSec snooping laws, it's being suggested that if they were to become law then more people (plus the baddies, natch) would use VPNs and drop off the grid, as if that's some unintended consequence. I would say that is *exactly* the intended outcome. Because then we'll have the government saying "it's dreadful, bad people are doing bad things. We need MORE powers".
Re: The golden rule of passwords is to assume that they can be seen by anybody ...
Not sure what you mean ...
Password vault can be stored locally and backed up. I've been able to use LP even when the website has been down (or uncontactable).
SMS - useful, but disposable
I once added an SMS facility to the emergency engineer system I worked on. Wished I hadn't, as they started relying on the damn things.
Individually, you probably don't realise SMS isn't a guaranteed medium. But when you deal with hundreds a week ....
The golden rule of passwords is to assume that they can be seen by anybody ...
until we have an ISO approved standard for database and system design for holding and authenticating user details.
Personally, I can't big up LastPass enough (not just because it's free). It's password generator means a unique complex password for every site I use. The only way it could be improved (and for all I know this feature exists in the paid for version) would be to expire passwords every <x> days and nudge you to change it on the relevant site.
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