4525 posts • joined 31 May 2010
Good on them. Frankly, I can't see why this is a bad thing. After some requisite testing and paperwork we could really be on to some decent mass-market stuff here. The market for "real" meat wouldn't evaporate, but I suspect that the vatmeat would be significantly lower cost.
This would move "real" meat into a luxury good position, probably not costing much more than it does today. (It will just seem "luxury" when compared to cheap and nearly-as-good vatmeat.) Seems like a win all-round.
I suspect the first commercial application will see it's use in high quality pet food, and why not? Beats what's in there today. Or what's in a hot dog, for that matter...
Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. Based on the volume of posts I would say that the majority of El Reg's forums are neither pro nor anti-MS and are, in point of fact, quite agnostic to the whole debate. Most forum posters - and voters - seem to be entirely willing to acknowledge the good and condem the bad of Microsoft AND open source. This is The Register; cynicism is the name of the game, and that means equal opportunity piss-taking.
The issue is that you conflate those in the middle with being "against Microsoft" simply because they'll upvote a good rant that aligns with their experience. You miss entirely the part where they will downvote an anti-MS rant that doesn't match their experience. The handful of true anti-MS zealots here is roughly the same as the handful of true butt-snorkling Redmond-flag-waving types. They more or less cancel eachother out.
Maybe what you're missing is the fact that general attitudes amongst people have shifted against Microsoft. It has nothing to do with The Register specifically, but is an overall attitude amongst all the various customer bases. That happens when you spend years pissing in the entire planet's cheerios.
Again, however, I find El Reg to be more restrained than most; they'll still upvote a good technological discussion even when they'll also upvote a good moralistic "fuck the man" rant. Maybe that should tell the Redmondian types something. Perhaps it should even tell them the sort of thing I wrote about in my article: that you can have the best technology int eh world...but it doesn't mean a damned thing if your execution is so poor that you destroy community engagement.
But who am I kidding; the type of people who are actually capable of seeing Microsoft as the poor beleaguered victim of the tech world are not the kind of people who will ever be psychologically capable of understanding concepts like "community engagement" or "listening to customers." It's antithetical to the mindset.
Oh, and before you set about accusing me of being "anti-Microsoft", you should stop and think for a bit. I'm rather demonstrably not. I am anti-how-Microsoft-treats-it's-user-communities-and-customers, but I am rather a fan of their tech and many of the people who work there.
Looks like people - just as with companies and most other things in life - just ain't so black and white as we'd like 'em to be, eh?
There certainly are a handful of hardcore anti-MS types out there, but there are just as many hardcore anti-FOSS types in these forums. I'd say that one balances the other. You get downvotes for anything that even seems pro-Microsoft, but you also get upvotes. Choosing to focus on a handful of downvotes and wave that around as "proof" that the forums are "biased" is crap.
Some people in the forums are biased. No question. But I simply do not believe that the overall posture of the forums is anti-Microsoft. If anything I think there are more pro-Microsoft commenters that come out with every article to defend his majesty's Redmonian honour than there are those who seek to tear MS down simply out of spite.
Where each party to the debate gets all muddled is that they have a deep seeded psychological need to claim that moderates, cynics and agnostics are part of "the enemy" and thus anti-whatever-it-is-they-are-pro and vice the versa. It's perception, not reality.
I think you're full of crap. There are plenty of people who talk up Microsoft's legitimate achievements and get upvoted. Plenty more who bring up legitimate issues with Linux or open source and get upvoted. The issue here is "legitimate."
Microsoft make good tech. They also suck out loud at basically everything else about bringing that tech to the masses. They exist today only because of their ability to milk the monopolies of yore; they have a built in customer base that they can keep failing to execute properly on for some time yet.
Contrast this with Linux. Open source developers - mostly - highly responsive to community demands. So much so that nothing ever seems to actually move forwards some times. In the instances where some major open source project stops listening to people the entire community loses its shit and a dumps that project nearly instantaneously.
The tepid reception to Ubuntu's Unity gave rise to massive community backing for Mint virtually overnight. The Gnome team's awful handling of Gnome 3 lead to at least 3 major forks and unprecedented hostility. KDE 4 still has a bad reputation, in no small part because of the "up yours" attitude of the devs towards the community.
I completely disagree with your thesis that there is an anti-Microsoft bias here on The Register....at least insomuch as it is stronger here than it is amongst the general population. I think The Register is representative of "people in general" in that there is a "don't treat us like shit; actually listen to what we have to say and factor it into your development plans" bias at work.
Most commenters on The Register will cheerfully upvote an insightful comment discussing the technical merits of something Microsoft built. Those same people will get all uppity if you try to praise Microsoft as a whole because - shock and surprise - people tend to give fucks about more than bits and bytes. We care about how you treat us...and Microsoft treats us all like shit.
Re: Game Over.
The traditional PC (defined by a keyboard and mouse, be it a fixed workstation or a notebook) is no more going away than mainframes did. That said, what was once "virtually every endpoint that users used to interact with data" is now less than 35% of the market. Bear in mind that "the endpoint market" is also far bigger now than back when PCs ruled.
Millions upon millions of PCs will continue to be shipped for at least the next decade. Probably longer. That said, they will become ever more niche as "workstation"-class tasks become the minority of human interfaces with data. (The majority being the consumption of data by humans for various reasons rather than the creation or curation of said data.)
Another way of looking at it would be that tablets and mobiles are not displacing the traditional PC so much as replacing the "dumb" televisions, radios and newspapers that were the traditional data consumption methods used during and prior to the PC-dominant era. The difference today is that instead of using PCs to create and curate content for this "old media," we're doing so for "smart" devices that are proper computers in their own right.
The line between content creation, content curation and content consumption devices has blurred almost into insignificance and will continue to do so. The problem for Microsoft is that it only "owns" the traditional PC market; a shrinking piece of the pie as these new "smart" consumption devices gain creation and curation capabilities in their own right.
Agree entirely. Did you miss the end of the article where I talked about how in order to survive MS have to figure out how to engage with the community? I maintain that they can't keep us all happy, but they are doing such a terrible job keeping any of us happy that I believe this is their moment of vulnerability. There are ways that Microsoft could address the issues, changes in products, licensing and culture that could ensure a stable, strong Microsoft for decades. Similarly, if you're an MS competitor there are ways to capitalize on all of this to steal some very serious market share from MS.
Damned if I'll tell what they are without a fat cheque though. :)
Bullshit. Your generation hasn't paid for our generation at all. It is our taxes that are subsidizing you. It is your obsession with living beyond your means that is robbing from generations as yet unborn to finance your way of life.
I'm perfectly okay with throwing the lot of you away. We'll find our own way through the maze, and frankly, we'll do a damned sight better than you. At least my generation accepts how utterly screwed we are. If we want to do better by our descendants than you did by us we are going to have to make some very large sacrifices; paying through the nose for you greedy geezer fucks on the one hand and working our asses off not to steal from the future on the other.
You can cry me a river about how terrible it is in the miserable home we lock your asses up in, I won't care. Mine is the generation that has to pay for the sins of the past; but we'll do it honourably. A concept "me, me, me" boomers know nothing about.
"How ready are you to give up cheap books and cloud"
Very. There won't be pension funds by the time I retire. That tax money funds my health care system directly. It does not get given to the same spendfree baby boomers that got our entire planet into this mess in the first place. As far as I am concerned the entire baby boomer generation should have their financial management licences revoked en masse.
There are double the number of these retiring "want-it-all"s than there are members of my generation. They honestly and earnestly believe that they are somehow entitled the fruits of other people's labour after having spent the past two decades raping my generation's future and trying to reduce the "entitlements" of their parents.
Now that this pack of self-centered "me, me, me" geezers is finally retiring they are facing the prospect of actually having to live with the consequences of their own asshattery. Too bad. I'll weep not a single salty tear for them and they can have not a bent penny more than would be gleaned by playing within the rules.
And oh yes...I'm entirely in favour of changing the rules to close loopholes. The boomers spend two decades fucking our entire planet sideways, in the face with an angry gorilla. Now that Gen X is coming to power - and Gen Y hot on our heels - we're going to start to put things to rights.
So just don't you fret about climate change, racism, homosexuals, women in the workplace, entitlements or any of that other stuff that kept you up at night. Just breathe deeply; Gen X is now going to start down the long road to redemption (though the burden for fixing ecological damage will sadly fall mostly on Gen Y) and as for you boomer fucks?
We're putting your asses in a home. The ones you see on your precious Fox News.
You're all going to jail for discussing the Emperor's wardrobe choices.
Re: Radio stack?
Further complications arise from hardware that has contractual obligations not to ship with open source drivers. nVidia is an example of this; they use the same GPUs for the general public as are provided to the military and thus are not allowed by contract to supply an open source driver for those models.
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
I consider it a matter of statistics. Talking about how things "should be" in IT is like physicists talking about a spherical cow. Everyone talks about the whitepapered version of reality in which everything has infinite budgets, change controls and completely pliant users that do whatever IT says.
Why would anyone read about that? Why should they? Such imagined fantasies have less to do with the real world than the spherical cow. In my view it's far better to begin discussions by asking "what are the constraints of operation and budget?" Skip 14 layers of dancing around the problem and argument and get right down to "where are the walls and what can do within them?"
I also think it's interesting to discuss real world implementations - both successful and failed - because they have to work inside these walls. The reason we get paid isn't to implement spherical cows but to make judgments about where compromises could or should be made.
Discussions that revolve around "no compromise" scenarios help noone; the discussions that need to be happening are "what are the constraints in existence, what compromises were made and were those rational compromises given the circumstances?" If the compromises aren't rational, then where should the compromises have been made? It is in discussing the making of the sausage of IT - when and where we can and should be making compromises to turn our spherical cow into a real one - that we evolve the discussion of our craft.
I posit that there is far more to be learned from failure - and from successful compromise - than there ever will be from "by the book."
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
@Ammaross Danan: you seem to believe that everyone will listen to their sysadmins and/or be swayed by logic. Even if you pull out bullshit ideas like "it is the network admin's job to teach that" you are still simply wrong. Computers are easy, politics are hard...and you cannot simply reprogram people until they obey you.
Armchair quarterbacking on the internet is so much easier when you can simply demand that other people change the rules around them though, isn't it? Makes me ask all sorts of questions about how well you manage to interact with human beings in the real world. Or if you do much of that at all. Compromises suck, but they are the way of the world.
Re: Tiger Team
Agree entirely. And it's a fantastic argument for external audits, too. :)
Re: DR plans
You are absolutely correct. In fact, I think I've written the exact same thing in about a dozen different ways on this very site. Unfortunately, nerds don't control the business.
Or fortunately? It depends on your outlook. Nerds would spend a virtually unlimited amount of money on things, restrict changes to rigid procedures that had long time horizons and generally play things incredibly paranoid and "safe." This would result in an unbeatable network, but a massive money sink and virtually zero agility. At large enough scale you could provide agility - sort of - but certainly not in the SME space. So the owners of the business make choices and they take risks. "Continue operating today" versus "prevent a risk that may not happen." There isn't always money for both.
What really gets me is the armchair quarterbacks that seem to think that any systems administrator or contractor on the planet has the ability to force their clients/employers/etc to spend money and make the choices that the armchair quaterback would make.
Of course, when the Anonymous Coward knows only 10% of the story, that isn't a problem, because it's obvious that everyone should do everything according to the most paranoid possible design costing the maximum amount of money using the best possible equipment and all of the relevant whitepapers. The part where doing that would bankrupt most SMEs is irrelevant. Nerds believe in IT over all things.
Forget the people, forget cashflow; the money is always (magically) there, it is just that business owners are withholding it to fund their massage chair. Salaries of staff don't need to be paid; you need to hire more IT guys. The ability of sales, marketing etc to generate revenue is irrelevant, all that matters is that they cannot possibly affect the system stability and that the data (generated by what? Why?) is secure.
So yeah; shit happens, and in a perfect world you'd get an up front investment from them to prevent issues and solve potential issues. In the real world, however, things get messy. Oftentimes they simply don't have the money, can't obtain it and/or aren't willing to do things like mortgage their own house to cover a remote possibility event.
Other times, they are unwilling to make the investment and there's nothing you can do. It's your job as a sysadmin to do the best you can with what you have. You make your recommendations, you accept the choices the client makes and you help them as best you can.
Re: So, you didn't test your DR plan...
You're funny. That would only occur in a world where the people in question have the kind of money to throw away whole servers because they act up. Try fighting like a caged rat for two years to get a storage replacement for 6 year old drives and then having to spend the better part of two months grinding every vendor on earth against eachother to slide in at budget.
Re: Relying on capped data links
If wishes were horses we'd all ride.
What I would like from an ISP arrangement, or amounts of available bandwidth, or budget, time, storage, development cycles, applications, operating systems, coffee vendors, dispensaries of bagels and whatever else it is that runs my life has very little to do with what I get. You get what's available. Your job is to make things work as well as possible within those boundaries.
As it is, the cost of bandwidth is mind-numbingly prohibitive. Canada: lots of cheap, shitty quality downstream bandwidth, but you'll have to toss virgins into a very rare Ebrus-class stratovolcano to get upstream that isn't utter pants.
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
That's where the political issues come in. If a "live synced" copy existed then the powers that be would take a matter of days before they demanded that production workloads started operating off of it.
TPTB would also demand that switchover be automated. That would mean that any minor outage in the primary site (say because the ISP is having problems with the fibre card in their routers again) immediately trigger a switch to the copy stored on the DR site. They would not be capable of viewing the synched copy as "for emergency, disaster-only use".
This would result in either things going horribly wrong as databases diverged or massive amounts of resources needing to be invested in retooling the application in question (and a large chunk of the rest of the infrastructure) to go from "DR" to "multi-site HA."
Solutions that are "technically possible, if you can control for various factors" don't work when politics do not let you control the requisite factors.
Re: So, you didn't test your DR plan...
The bitch of it is the corrupt VM ended up being caused by a flaky RAID SAS cable combined with some flaky disks on the backup server. Not outright dead, but dead *enough* that things acted wonky. It has since been replaced.
Seriously, it isn't just testing the DR plans...it's testing them with some regularity. One bloke up thataway made mention that even a minor change can invalidate a DR plan.
Like "yum update", perhaps?
Security says update every month, at a minimum. Do you have time/money/etc to test your DR plans for every single change every month? If so...I want to work where you work.
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
I'm sorry, David Harper 1, it looks like you're either a troll or you don't actually read other people's comments, interjecting instead your personal experiences as though they were valid for all circumstances. I could cheerfully write an application such that it would work just fine with MySQL replication. I could also write one such that it didn't.
MySQL Master-Master replication would work for the application at hand, but it would also be a monumental bitch to set up and maintain. Master-Slave doesn't work and causes muchos big time problems in failover.
I can believe that your personal coding practices - and those of developers you work with - are subconsciously such that they "just work" with master-slave replication. Bully for you. That said, your experiences, tics, mannerisms, and stylistic choices are not present in all members of our species. Different people do different things. This results in configurations that even you, with your vast and phallus-enhancing experience haven't worked with. The job of the sysadmin is to beat the infrastructure into shapes that cope with such things. We don't always get to have things recoded to meet our desires.
Applications need to be aware of replication insomuch as the developers of those applications need avoid doing things that break replication. (Which I call a replication-aware application. It is designed with the idea that you need to do things "properly" from the beginning.)
One scenario in which things go sideways is when your production facing servers can't see the "master" DB at all. They can only see their local copy. (The DBs can talk to one another.) In the failover scenario where the DR site is now the "active" one then the DR site's system will start writing to the slave. Bringing up the primary site won't cause the slave to replicate back it's new data, but the automatics would switch the front-facing servers back. (Politics dictate that if real-time replication were occurring then automated failover and re-transfer would be gun-to-the-head forced.)
The application simply blows up if it cannot write to the DB (every single script writes something, even if it's only tracking data) and thus can't work with a read-only database copy. Worse, if I had a fully active setup on the DR site linked to a slave system I could measure the time before a pointy-haired-boss demanded that we switch our setup to pulling reports off the DR site's copy in minutes. As I said, every page performs writes and your databases suddenly start diverging.
For added fun and games, the web servers running the PHP on the DR site will never be allowed to "see" the master DB. (Routing rules.) The database servers could be set up to tunnel to one another for replication, but items in one site's DMZ would not be allowed to talk to backend systems in another site's DMZ.
These are scenarios that break replication. They are dealing with "real world stuff" that includes politics, bad design choices by developers and more. MySQL master-slave replication does not solve all ills.
Re: DR - never important until you need it
We worked from the bandwidth on up. We have a fixed amount of bandwidth every night that we can use for backups. X number of bits can be transferred every night. Backups is all about fitting everything inside that window.
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
If you're running apps that either aren't master-slave aware and require write capability to do even basic things then you usually end up in a multi-master scenario. MySQL built-in replication just doesn't work unless you have a properly designed application. By "properly designed" I mean something that's aware of DB replication scenarios and which uses the database architecture for relational key tracking.
As soon as any part of your app is manually creating or updating indexes, or is storing data in a table somewhere along with an index reference but isn't using that index reference in a relational manner (common when the application is designed by a developer and not a DBA) then you're deep into a world where replication cause all sorts of horrible, horrible things.
How many times in our industry has some horrible kludge designed to solve a temporary problem been pressed into mainline production, build upon dozens of times over the years and ended up as some patchwork bandaid application that is layers of plaster over the same kludgy, unscalable core? How many applications both in house and off the shelf suffer this? Too many, in my experience.
MySQL replication assumes a spherical cow. That's great if you're designing from scratch, but not so helpful if your cow is in fact a 12th dimensional meatcube extruded through a hole in space-time.
It isn't the "right operating system version." It's about the config file version. The version of the OS on the production system is up to date (binary-wise,) however, the originally installed version was older than than the newest installed version. This means that a brand new install to the same version as is currently running in production will install different default config files.
The real lesson here is "add the php config files to the nightly backup set." It obviously isn't enough to rely on operating system version to keep those straight.
I would have thought that for someone who read the article that lesson was a no brainer.
Re: Not too shabby
It isn't enough to just test the DR plans; frequency of tests is an issue. A copy of the VM existed on the target site...but that copy was corrupted. Couldn't get it to boot. (Most likely an incomplete backup run at some point.)
So the DR plans were good, they were tested to inject new information and files into a known-good VM...but the known good VM turned out to be not so good. At that point, down the rabbit whole you go...
Re: Out-of-date OS?
The live version is fully up-to-date (at least as far as Yum is concerned, and both the 5 and 6 series are under active support) but the original image was an older version. That means that the php config file was from the past - and allowed the short tags - but the binaries got updated over time.
The theory behind the stuff that isn't replicated off-site is that it is relevant only to that site. That means that if it all goes splork and we can't recover it something horrible has happened to that site and we're in to "contacting the insurance company to replace a site" anyways. By the time the site is back online the data in question will no longer be relevant.
Re: DR - never important until you need it
We had tested the DR plan by restoring to a copy of the VM. We thought we had a copy of the VM when we didn't. (The copy on the backup server was corrupt.) Our records indicated the VMs in use were the latest version - and they are - but they had gotten there by upgrading from previous versions; meaning the php configuration file was from an older version despite the binaries being up-to-date.
Re: You're not using MySQL's built-in replication???
Certainly does if you are doing multi-point writes! Your app needs to not blow up horribly on read-only DB instances and/or be somewhat aware of the underlying architecture to ensure write coherence. The built in replication doesn't work for all situations, sadly...
Re: Carefull though..
From the first article about the webinar:
"None of the personal details used during registration will be retained after we've managed to get the swag out to the winners. I won't be providing the list of information to the vendors in the panel nor will I spam with you annoying marketing spam."
Marketing? Not part of the plan. Not by half. This is about getting vendors to give you things, not about giving your info to vendors.
That's fantastic! Happy sysadmin day to you and to all sysadmins everywhere. Even Australia. /cc Adam Fowler && Aaron Milne.
Re: Before PRISM
Amazon operating a cloud in DC does not solve the problem. An Australian's data in a Sydney datacenter is still going to be open to inspection by American authorities because Amazon is an American company. They can be - and have been - compelled to transfer copies of private data belonging to foreign nationals back to America to be inspected by American officials.
To be perfectly clear: Australian data entrusted to an Australian company running on servers in Australia would be vulnerable to intercept by the American government because Amazon is American.
To be 100% crystal clear and sure that even a damage control expert such as yourself can be made to understand: American cloud providers cannot be trusted with your data full stop. Anyone who uses an American cloud provider and isn't an American company with a 100% American client base is a complete fucking idiot.
In civilized countries privacy is recognized as a human right. Which means that the fact that some yanks have an economic interest in standing up public clouds does not remove your legal responsibility as a "data controller" to prevent private data - anything personally identifiable, corporately sensitive and so forth - from falling into the hands of anyone other than yourself (as the data controller), the individual (to whom the data belongs) and if absolutely nessecary the lawful intercept of a nation whose privacy laws meet or exceed those of both your self (as a data controller) and that of the data owner.
It has been established in a court of law in Canada, the EU and Switzerland that the United States' privacy laws are inadequate by the standards of these countries and it is not to be considered a country where the storage of personally identifiable information is to be allowed.
The hurdles to cloud adoption are emphatically not technical. They are legal and an American provider cannot be made to be trustworthy through any application of technology. No matter how many times you use the word "encryption" this does not guarantee that the American government is unable to intercept foreign data under the care of a foreign controller. Because this can not be guaranteed, they should never be used.
Re: Don't forget your data centers
Your cavalier attitude only works if you are a company that can survive a privacy lawsuit or six. If you're an SME then one lawsuit can screw you. Indeed; in many nations that lawsuit can pierce the corporate veil and go after the major shareholders as well. A little bit of paperwork just won't cut it when it is your personal ass on the line.
Re: We're currently rolling out a new DR / Backup system
Unitrends is good. You just either need to use their sync-to-cloud for offsite storage or you need to own two units. (One onsite one off.)
"Has redmond lost touch wIth consumers?"
I had a momentary urge to type out the full solution set to the issues at hand but thankfully, I overcame it. I charge for that now; a reasonable amount, in fact. That, and Microsoft isn't going to read the comments to anything on El Reg so why bother wasting the time? Instead, I believe a song is far more appropriate:
The roof the roof the roof is on fire/The roof the roof the roof is on fire/We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn/ Burn motherfucker burn.
If Microsoft's relevance within my sphere of practice is going to come to a miserable grinding end that seems likely to do a fair amount of economic harm to me and mine...then I might as well take whatever minor, petty pleasures I can from watching it all go down. After all, I'll see no tangible benefits except the pleasure I get from roasting marshmallows on their mouldering corpse.
"We and other economists had expected that China’s new political leadership would take decisive steps to re-ignite growth after its sub-par growth of 7.8 per cent in 2012."
The US, EU et al economies grew by how much during 2012?
"Let's devalue this stock/entire nation because it didn't grow fast enough according to our completely arbitrary bullshit that we crapped out in the hopes of convincing others to give us all their money." What an easy job: pull some number out of the air and demand a company/nation/etc grow revenues/gdp/spending/what-have-you to meet it. If they don't meet your wild bullshit, throw an international hissy fit and see if you can get others to join in on your tantrum and punish the malefactor with the bad growth by reducing investment.
Guys, I'm really pissed at Western Digital and Seagate because drive prices didn't come down fast enough after the Taiwan floods. I also am upset that areal density hasn't increased fast enough. Let's all invest our money in beef futures instead of buying hard drives for our data centers so that they know they have to meet our demands or experience doom.
This is one of them.
the Reg aren't completely evil
Some of us are. >_>
I am replying to Microsoft.
Generally when you start a new post (instead of replying to a specific one) then you are replying to the article proper. Thus:
Re: Everything you just said, and pretty much everything you will say, ever, regarding trustworthiness
You all fucking suck, but have a goddamned beer anyways, you fuckers.
Um...guys..."0 to 1000mph" is enough to turn squishy meat bags into goo unless your rail gun is really, really long. At which point it isn't really a rail gun anymore, it's a mass driver and it's long like longcat.
And longcat is loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....
Re: So ...
The point of the MOP is not to destroy the bunker. It is to get inside the bunker then turn the breathable atmosphere into face-melting plasma.
Re: Ah, so they finally noticed...@Trevor Pott
Where did I say that UK.gov should not streamline taxes or bureaucracy? I believe 100% that this is the quickest route to driving business innovation and the growth of small business. I said two things:
1) Businesses should not be allowed to dump their externalities on society. So while I believe in streamlining regulation as a general rule, I don't believe in wholesale elimination of anything and everything that businesses find "inconvenient" or "an expense." Businesses have responsibilities as well as "rights." Balance must exist; even if I believe the current balance is out of whack.
2) The UK.gov should make resources (such as capital, manufacturing capability, maybe even startup incubators or dataparks) available to small businesses to help them grow into medium enterprises. The goal being to create a healthy and diverse UK economy that exists to do something other than "risky finance" and "shovel startups at the US."
I also talked about diversity of businesses. Nowhere did I champion regulation complexity or tax code obscurity, nor did I champion BAE or driving out/allowing the merging of all the big businesses. My approach and views are complex and require handling different segments of the market differently as different challenges and opportunities exist at all levels.
I do not, however, believe for a split second that "the market" will solve everything. "The market" will grind down everyone and everything but the most charismatic and powerful few virtually overnight if left completely alone. Businesses would dump every kind of externality onto society and you'd end up with an environment so horrible that the human lifespan would be 40 years in short order.
Maybe you don't care about that; maybe you think that you'll be on top so it's okay to flush away the rest of the human race. I don't. I think there needs be things like minimum wage, social safety nets, environmental regulations and checks and balances to prevent monopolistic exploitation and corruption.
By the same token, the bullshit you have to go through to do basic taxes is absurd. The regulations surrounding meeting the obligations of your social safety net are insane and byzantine.
UK.gov has a lot of cleaning up to do to make the business environment in the UK more conducive to actually doing business. No question. But a free-for-all isn't the answer. Nor is charging along without acknowledging that to compete with the other nations of the world who have economies better geared to sustain medium and large enterprises the UK is going to need to step in and give it's own companies a leg up.
Re: How does this work?
They're only going to pay you $100M for your startup if they feel they can make quite a bit more off of it than they pay for it. Were that company developed in the UK the "quite a bit more" would be staying there, instead of heading to the US. So the buy out of your company puts a smallish amount in to the UK economy while the economy ultimately loses out on far greater amounts.
Sure, it's hella nice for the guy who manages to sell his company. Hurrah and cheering; that dude's now set for life! What's better for the UK as a whole, however, is if that company were developed locally and the monies that would have entered the US economy via purchasing that game/software/newfangled microwave/whatever entered the UK economy instead.
What's good for one person (the guy who sells off his company) isn't necessarily good for the nation as a whole.
Re: Ah, so they finally noticed...
I don't deny for a second that there is a lot of getting out of the way that UK.gov needs to do to make small business better in the UK. I do not for a second, however, buy that removing liability or social responsibility from the owners of a business is ever a good idea. Incorporation as a legal shield is important, but corporations cannot be immune to the consequences of their actions nor be allowed to offload externalities onto society at large.
The fact that some change is needed is simply not justification for extremist reforms. Nor is it justification for changes that will hasten the "brain drain" of the UK.
Or is it simply that you have no greater aspiration for your nation than to be a poor "bedroom community" to the USA: feeding it all your best and brightest whilst hoping that they'll give you a discount on sewage treatment and mostly make sure your freshwater is fresh? How far your nation has fallen. Sad, really.
Do not take my comments for a belief that change and removal of red tap is not required in the UK. The UK is one of the most heavily bureaucratized nations int he world to start an SME in. That said, however, you will never convince me that any business - regardless of size - has an innate "right" to see externalities of their operations born by society. Balance in all things.
Re: Ah, so they finally noticed...
Oh course, naturally the solution to all ills is to remove from businesses any semblance of oversight, social responsibility or liability for their actions. This will naturally benefit the small, struggling businesses and in no way be twisted into a hammer by large enterprises and used to beat everyone else down.
You sir, are naive.
The best thing the UK could do to encourage small businesses would be to provide access to the resources necessary to start producing one's own widget. The costs are extravagant, but there is absolutely no reason that $small_business cannot evolve into $chaebol.
"Hands off" by the government will do nothing but siphon cash out of the UK to established interests which are largely American at this point. Indeed, UK_Display_Tech_Ltd wont' even fetch the same price as Silicon_Valley_Display_tech_Ltd because American businessmen place a high value on having their workers within bullwhip distance. Anything not within a couple of hours driving distance of headquarters will see a penalty on the amount offered for buyout; anything across the pond will see a pretty steep penalty.
What's more, because there aren't any alternatives - going from small to medium in the UK is nearly impossible because of lack of funds, infrastructure, support, etc - UK firms will gladly lap up the table leavings offered them. Holding out will net them nothing and will in all likelihood drive the offer away.
Crapping capitalism for breakfast and burning hippies isn't going to save your pathetic little island and it's byzantine house-of-cards finances-based economy. What will is carefully supporting local businesses interests to develop a stable collection of diverse "big businesses". The UK needs a few 800lb gorillas of its very own spread across enough sectors to be able to deal with downturns in any given handful of sectors.
That takes planning and care, especially in a global economy. The economy of a town favours only a handful of people in a town. The economy of a nation favours roughly the same %. The unified economy of an entire planet doesn't fundamentally alter the maths and the very few, chosen % of people that the global economy favours?
...is isn't you, or your little island, my limey friend. No matter how inflated the British sense of importance is; the UK just doesn't matter enough for market forced to save it.
Re: Chefs vs. Cooks
The solution is that you bring in a chef to design the infrastructure - usually called a "datacenter architect" or something similar - and use cooks to keep it running. VARs and MSPs do this quite well in the SMB space.
Re: Dodging Exchange
For that price the software better have been etched onto platters using an STM by carefully trained temple virgins who were then tossed into volcanoes at the end of the application creation in order to prevent outsiders from gaining knowledge of "the bits."
Re: I didn't think anyone would want them.
Well, there are 3 swag bags on the list. That said, I totally wouldn't have though kitsch was what people would be after. Tried to get the sweet stuff. Conference passes, Trainsignal training, licences...maybe I should have hunted the wild coffee mug with more fervour. Ah well, live and learn, eh?
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