741 posts • joined Monday 28th June 2010 14:47 GMT
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...you've got the job!
An hour of local news
If you've accidentally kept watching after the national news has finished, you'll know that they have great difficulty filling five minutes with local news, never mind an hour. Take a look at your local freesheet and ask yourself how you feel about an hour a day of that sort of stuff.
The result will be like BBC News 24 - the same story endlessly repeated. One of the true horrors of being stuck in a foreign hotel room is BBC News 24.
Re: We don't train you to leave...
@AC 09:46 "There is just no money if you work in IT, work in sales or finance instead."
In my experience this isn't true. If you work in IT you have skills that are readily transferable, and relatively easy to upgrade. If you think you're underpaid, find a new job. I'm told that the market is buoyant at the moment.
Re: No training here
In <mumble> years in IT, my total training amounts to a 4-day course on the RT-11 operating system and a 3-day one on Microsoft Siteserver. As you can probably imagine, with these skills on my CV the world's my oyster. Oh, and two weeks training as a Unix sysadmin (at which I am useless, because I never did it for real).
My view is that if you want a new skill, you'd better teach yourself. Courses are too short to do more than scratch the surface of any knowledge domain that's worth learning, although they do impart a useful sense of confidence.
Starting with a new skill is a bit like being on a bike at the bottom of a big hill. It's always hard, but after the first few times you come to appreciate that climbing hills is one of the things you do.
Re: Why would whomever knows something of it fess up?
You were lucky. A couple of weeks ago I suggested that a man who shot his daughter's laptop might not be acting in a reasonable, moderate way, and I got 59 down-votes!
Equally mysterious is the fact that your post about the down-vote has itself been down-voted twice. I'm more than a little worried about the votes I'll get for this reply.
My information was based on what I was told when I worked for TNPG, the consortium that built Magnox and AGR stations. But that was in the mid-60s, so my recollection is imperfect, and I may well have misinterpreted what I was told at the time anyway. I Googled to try to verify my recollection, but this may have munged the information even more.
I'm pretty sure that there was a Magnox station in North Wales that was linked to pumped storage, but I defer to your greater knowledge.
Re: Re Time to phase out cheques
"You're in, your windows get cleaned. You're not, you book them in advance by some method (usually, from what I remember, by paying them the week before to come the next week)."
What part of "I'm never at home when the window cleaner is here" do you find hard to understand? I can't pay him the week before for the same reason I can't pay him this week: because I'm NOT AT HOME.
The suggestion that I ask him to clean the windows at night was ironic, but you seem unable to understand that, either.
"sexually suggestive poses ... & that's not something my wife or I do in front of the children"
Thanks, AC - I now have a mental picture of you and your lady wife adopting "sexually suggestive poses" whenever the kids aren't around. I can do without that.
Re Re: Time to phase out cheques
@Lee Dowling: "Have window-cleaners stopped taking cash then?"
No, but like most people who have a job, I'm not at home when my windows are cleaned. The window-cleaner leaves a Freepost envelope and I send him a cheque.
What alternative do you suggest? Send him cash? Leave the cash in a tin by the door? Send him a postal order? Send the window-cleaner my credit card details? Open an account with the window-cleaner and pay by BACS when he sends me an invoice? Resign from my job so I can be around to give him the cash? Ask him to clean my windows at night when I'm home?
Re Re: Modern vs. Traditional crime
Yeah, but higher charges etc are still better than violent assault.
Re: Self-evident wisdom
The Dinorwic pumped storage system linked to the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station was a version of this.
Nuclear power stations are slow to start up and shut down, and their high capital cost means that they cost a lot even when shut down. Pumped storage allows you to keep the reactor running when the station is offline.
For some reason pumped storage never seems to have taken off. Perhaps we haven't got the geography for it, or that geography is too far from where the power's needed.
Desktops? Why bother?
I'm guessing that Microsoft has downgraded the desktop market in general, and the corporate desktop in particular.
Home desktop users only upgrade their operating system when they buy a new computer. Sales in this area are all cheap OEM licenses and volume is limited to sales of new machines. As the race between software bloat and hardware capability seems to have been won by hardware, the number of sales in this area isn't going to expand. One possible exception is the "laptop for the kids" market, but this may well take a big hit from tablet sales.
The corporate market is probably even more saturated. Most companies have all the PCs they need, and have limited interest in hardware upgrades for the desktop. A vast proportion of them are running XP. Nobody wants to upgrade Windows because it's a lot of cost and risk for very little benefit.
The tablet market is a different matter altogether. The hardware is varied, the race between software and resources is back on, and there are several operating systems to choose from. In some ways it's like the PC market 20 years ago. The operating systems are a bit immature, and tablets are more vulnerable to damage than desktop machines. All of which means that the next decade will see lots of replacement sales. In the consumer market, a laptop has usually been an alternative to a desktop, but a tablet is sufficiently different for people to want both (or sufficiently limited for them to need both).
That's where the money is.
If it works as well as FrontPage
... we developers are all out of a job.
Ecstatic though I am about having a 5-core phone that displays HTML 5 etc, I'd just settle for a smartphone with sensible battery life. My HTC Desire can just about make it through the day if I don't actually use it for speaking to people.
And I'd gladly pay extra for a phone that comes with a cast-iron guarantee that it will under no circumstances transfer money to anybody.
...commonly induces vomiting. How sexy!
Fedoras and trenchcoats? Those are old-style cops.
Old-style crooks wear striped jerseys and masks. They carry sacks labelled "Swag".
Form v Function
I like things to work well. But a lot of what is considered functional design is just a styling trope. A better name for it would be "functionesque".
Ask anybody who occupies a 1950s "machine for living in" (le Corbusier) with a flat roof how functional it is. Check out all the "functional" 1960s buildings that are now rightly being demolished because they're inefficient, uncomfortable and badly-made. Try spending any length of time sitting in a Barcelona chair (Perhaps I'm being unfair here - Mies van der Rohe was apparently horrified to learn that people wanted to sit in them. He designed them as chairs for looking at.) You see many examples in the kitchen, where homely implements that have evolved to do a job are stylishly redesigned so they don't work very well, like the Philippe Starck lemon squeezer.
When I was a teenager, back in the Analogue Age, you could make free calls from phone boxes by jiggling the receiver rest to simulate pulse dialing. We called it "phone tapping", though even in those days that meant something different. A little later there was a technique for making long-distance calls at local cost by dialing local hops all the way to the destination. The attenuation was appalling, but long-distance calls were expensive. Finally, people learned how to manipulate the phone system with audio oscillators, a practice known as "phone phreaking".
I was led to believe that people who were prosecuted for these practices were charged with stealing electricity to the value of a fraction of a (pre-decimal) penny. I don't know what the penalties were - transportation to Botany Bay, probably.
Re: Eventually ...
My work activities are such that daylight isn't important (or even, sometimes, visible). But I have my own story of the stupidity of DST.
For 20 years or more I cycled through central London to work. People used to say "You're brave", and I would answer with a self-deprecating smirk. When I moved to the country, I thought my cycle journeys would be safer and more enjoyable. They were, until the clocks changed.
The mornings, of course, were OK. At this time of year it gets light at about 6:30 in middle England. But it gets dark well before home time. Try cycling across the Cambridgeshire fens in the sort of darkness that I could never have imagined when I was a city dweller. The roads are narrow and bounded by ten-foot ditches. Many of the motorists are people who, as a result of inbreeding, only have a few thousand brain cells, and those are fully occupied rolling fags and tuning to Radio Dickhead. One night I had two near-death encounters (even with five lights on the back of my bike**) and I gave up cycling until BST.
** As a letter to The Times pointed out last week, many drivers are unable to see a bike when it's lit up like a Christmas tree, but they have no trouble spotting lots of cyclists without lights.
Re: Re: Eventually ...
I've always been in favour of year-round UTC (or GMT). But the way you describe adjusting the working day makes it sound like a tremendous hassle.
How many people really need to align their working day with the hours of daylight these days? Those who really have to, I suspect, do what they've always done: start earlier or later and finish earlier or later. For the rest of us, who spend the day in artificial light regardless of outside conditions, there's no point in the change.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple solution
WTF indeed! I've re-read John Robson's post several times in an attempt to guess what prompted the downvotes. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm reading El Reg or the Daily Fail.
There was never any comparable complaint of inaccuracy in the days when motorists used maps to navigate. And maps were liable to be much more out-of-date.
Possibly the mental effort of map-reading was too much for the idiots who now blindly follow satnavs, so they never went anywhere.
It might be nice to have nested replies, so we can tell the difference between a reply and a reply to a reply.
I suppose that's what "Re: Re: Re:..." is for.
Not really interested in SMEs at all
"Opensource software is not three guys in a shed anymore." That sounds like an SME to me. Presumably the Government is really interested in Open Source now that you can get it from the usual multinational megacorps.
What the customers of Megacorp don't realise is that the three guys in the shed are probably really bright people who know everything there is to know about their product. Megacorp, on the other hand, delegates your support request to one of their offshore drones.
"Gun laws in the US may arguably be less than sensible, but this doesn't, per se, make anyone who owns a gun a nut."
No, but shooting a laptop does.
And using a lethal weapon to express annoyance with a family member does.
And posting your ill-judged demonstration on Facebook for the world to see does.
It sounds like the daughter thoroughly deserved to lose her laptop, but from this side of the Atlantic the father's response says "Redneck".
Count me in
I've got to contribute to this, as my Mum worked at Bletchley Park during the war.
Sadly, by the time it was permissible to tell us about it, she couldn't really remember much of it. It didn't sound like it involved Colossus. Even if it did, I don't suppose a 21-year-old former Classics student would have made a big technical contribution.
Just what is the problem so many people have with SQL and relational concepts in general?
SQL is a small, simple language. It's not without a few ugly features, but it's easy to learn, clearly defined and consistent. Relational databases are simple enough that Edgar Codd could define one in 12 rules. (Simple, that is, from the perspective of the schema designer and application developer - DB administration is something else.)
But numerous apparently intelligent developers seem to fear these things as children fear to go in the dark. I'm forever hearing bleats of "do we really have to have a primary key?", as if the cost of the key was being deducted from their salary. Time and again I start work with a database and find that the schema was created by people who couldn't see the point of foreign keys, so the tables are full of junk values. And don't get me started on normalization.
This stuff is all so difficult that we have to re-invent the wheel, only this time we'll make it elliptical.
Not for the first time, I wonder who are the people whose time is no precious that they have to be able to pay by waving a card or a phone. Perhaps I'm a Luddite, maybe I'm stingy, but I prefer to know when I'm paying money out.
NFC payments look suspiciously like technology push to me - a solution in search of a problem.
To judge from my experience "elaboration" is a boring phase that comes between specification and development (I expect these two had special polysyllabic names, too, but I couldn't stay awake long enough to find out).
The idea was to turn a statement of requirements into something that could be built and, more important, tested. Quite a few requirements would be thrown out because they were non-testable and therefore vaporous.
"Facilitation" of course is the same as making something easier, except that it costs a lot more.
A bit harsh
Many of these IE6-only applications are probably legacy systems that were written at a time when IE6 dominated the market. It was only when standards-compliant browsers were more widespread that it really became clear that applications written for IE6 were not portable.
I doubt that there are many cowboy developers who create bad or non-portable code with an eye to future support work. All the developers I know dislike support work, hate supporting old code, and utterly detest working on code designed for an obsolete platform.
'Development costs time and money, so to recoup that they need to "pander" to the most common platforms to see a reasonable ROI'.
How are they going to get a return on investment from something they give away for nothing?
The development costs come from taxpayers, so it's not unreasonable to expect that any taxpayer with internet access will be able to see the benefit.
"Internet search engines that operate in the UK"
Clear evidence that they don't get this internet thing.
Who knows where a search engine "operates"? It might or might not have web servers in the UK. They might be handling requests themselves or proxying for app engines elsewhere. The underlying databases are distributed replicas of a dataset that's probably been created by numerous little computers in lots of locations.**
If your search engine really is located in the UK and it stops giving you the results you want, you'll just switch to a different, possibly offshore, one.
** I stand ready to be corrected by somebody who actually knows about search engines.
Well, everywhere I've worked over the past 20 years has had developers building and testing on Windows and deploying to Unix or Linux. Why don't the developers get with the zeitgeist and work on Linux? They don't have a choice. Their workstations are usually corporate standard builds, same as everybody else has, with a bit more memory and local admin privilege if they're lucky. (Unless they're contract developers, in which case their workstations came out of a skip. Me? Bitter?)
The IT infrastructure people in all but the smallest or most feckless companies have expended immense efforts on taming Windows workstation deployment. I don't suppose they'll want to start again just because "cool guys develop on Linux".
The usual reason why convicted terrorists, mad Mullahs and the like can't be sent packing as they should be is that is a risk they will be tortured or judicially killed if returned to their country of origin.
The USA, as we all know, would never condone torture or judicial execution. Oh, wait....
All the WiFi routers I've ever seen have in common the fact that they need to be connected to a wired network. So does this mean that Mr Cool with his WiFi cufflinks is tethered to the wall by a length of CAT5? Does he run it up his trouser leg for neatness?
I guess a wireless router doesn't actually have to be connected to a wired network. The function of a router as I understand it is to join two or more subnets, so this could just be a way of joining two wireless subnets. Is this a sufficiently common requirement to justify carrying the solution around on your person?
Stick to what you know
"A group of scientists from Berkeley has used..."
Does anything about the first character of this extract strike you? In case you're too thick to count up to one, I refer to the indefinite article "A". It's a while since I had to learn English, but at the time "A" was used with singular nouns, such as, er, "group". The third person singular present indicative of "to have" is "has".
But carry on making your verbs agree with the nearest noun, rather than the subject, if you like. Just don't bore us with your ignorance.
If this proposal is adopted, then the prime meridian will drift (very) slowly towards Paris, where the French wanted it to be in the first place.
Revenge, as they say, is a dish best eaten cold.
It's striking how many non-technical users are addicted to removable media. Their tiny brains believe data is safer when it's stored on something they can see and hold (and lose). I once worked with a department that copied all its documents on to floppy disks and locked them in a filing cabinet - so much safer than a Vax disk in a secure machine room that was backed-up every night.
The answer is to make all removable drives (including USB ports) on desktop workstations read-only. People who want to copy sensitive information would then have to explain exactly why they need to carry it around with them. Of course, that won't stop them sending it by email.
The problem with cows is, apparently, not farting but burping.
The benefits of less meat consumption are, I think, fewer ruminants burping out methane and less manure emitting methane.
Your assertion that "all animals fart" assumes that the vegetation-to-methane cycle would remain the same without cattle farming. I'm not sure this is true. Meat production is a fairly inefficient way of turning vegetation into food, so the farmed acreage would probably be smaller if we all ate less meat. If it's not farmed then the land will revert to grassland or forest, neither of which produces much methane. And despite the bean jokes, humans on a vegetarian diet produce a lot less methane than the cattle required to feed them.
"art" for art's sake?
"Yet even the Æsthetes, that art the disciples which loveth the Jesus phone the most, were discontent."
"art" is the old second person singular of the verb "to be", as in "thou art". "loveth" is third person singular. Neither agrees with a plural subject such as "Æsthetes" and "disciples".
I revere Verity Stob this side idolatry, but a syntax error is a syntax error, as even the authors of the King James Bible knew.
Half of the population are more stupid than the average person.
It rather depends on whether your average is the mean, mode or median. Bear in mind that almost all the population have more than the mean number of legs. Stupidity is probably a more symmetric distribution, though.
No cables, boxes or hassles
"TV as it was intended: no cables, boxes or hassles".
Er, I think I have one of these already, although I must admit there is a cable to the mains supply, and another to the aerial, now I come to think of it. I can't wait to upgrade to Ubuntu TV and get rid of these.
It appears, however, that Ubuntu TV is actually going to come over the Interwebs, via my mobile phone (500 Mb per month) or ISP (2 Mbit/s on a very good day). I can't help feeling that this will involve quite a lot of hassles (plus perhaps cables and boxes).
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