1198 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010
Re: But whose data is it?
NOFORN has a quaint hillbilly ring to it: "We don't want no fornahs readin' this heah"
Re: How many lives
In 2012 the NHS budget was set at £104 billion so £12 billion is over 10% of the budget.
Re: "that's called Democracy"
What we have today is not a "parody of democracy", it's representative democracy, the worst possible system except for all the others.
The pure, direct democracy practised in the Greek city states of antiquity was impractical in the populous Western European societies that re-introduced democracy. With modern information technologies it might be possible to revive direct democracy, but that wouldn't necessarily be a good idea. The voters of Athens may have been in a position to know everything about the subject of a vote, but that didn't necessarily mean they took the trouble to do so. Don't forget that "demagogue" is a Greek word.
Re: At the risk of...
@AC 19:37 Because when things go wrong, they can go wrong in a BIG way
This is exactly the mental process behind fear of flying. Air travel is much, much safer than road travel, but the rare accidents are much more noticeable. People think (wrongly) that they can escape from a road accident, but that they're powerless in the face of an air crash or nuclear incident.
Re: And why aren't the Government using the law for these things?
Some of the data leaked is stuff the UK gave to the US
So, now we know they can't be trusted to keep it secret, I expect we'll stop giving it to them.
limits deployment to clusters of up to 6 processes per month
A FoundationDB process is a single worker process you run on a computer
OK, I think I grasp what a process is. But what's a "process per month"? It sounds like floating-point ops per foot. or GHz per millibar.
Or does this in fact mean that every month you can deploy to 6 cores? So at the end of the year you have 72?
Re: Huge flaw in article
"You're assuming the people from GCHQ are in some way competent."
Let's not be too condescending. Remember that these people are from the organisation that pretty much invented the computer*.
I think JonP has it about right.
* GCHQ was previously called GCCS, and was based at Bletchley Park.
I would love to believe that the whole Miranda affair was a successful coat-trailing exercise. There seems to be no particular reason why he should carry Snowden-related documents on his laptop, especially if flying via London. It's probably not an accident that the Guardian acceded to the disk-destruction demands of GCHQ on the same day.
The only word that adequately describes the recent pointless behaviour of the security services. They're incapable of doing anything effective, so they start detaining people and smashing kit to show how tough they are.
It's especially disturbing that stuff leaked from an American agency by an American national is safer in New York than London.
Re: What about any semblance of security...
used the free wifi to check her bank balance
You're confusing the security of the network transport (probably none) with security of the browser protocol (probably HTTPS) and security of the banking application (good, one would hope, but it seems to vary from bank to bank).
Anybody relying on the security of the network transport can expect break-ins, whether it's free WiFi or ADSL through a private phone line.
Re: To misquote Harrison Ford...
people are still wary of making large electrical purchases online.
I can only speak for myself, but white goods and larger brown goods are things I only purchase online. White goods, especially, all look much the same, and you can't evaluate their efficiency or reliability in a brick and mortar store. So my usual purchasing strategy is to decide on a brand and model using sites like Which, then search for the model number online. Having filtered out the obviously dodgy suppliers, I order from the cheapest. I don't have to waste my free time driving to retail parks and gawping at twenty similar appliances.
Customer service? I can't say I've been impressed by the service in Curry's, Dixon's, Comet et al. And if your washing machine breaks down, you don't take it back to the shop for repair.
Speedy delivery? Understandably, most stores don't hold stock of large white goods on site, so the delivery process is much the same as for an online purchase.
I always thought that Baba O'Riley owed its ultimate debt to Steve Reich.
Re: Sad Gits
Of course I meant VESPA Zimmer Frames...
Take my advice, ride a Lambretta. You don't get the auto-correct problems.
I only buy and eat these things because of their distinctive shape. I have to put up with the chocolate and biscuit in order to enjoy the fingers.
... off to the vending machine again.
I assumed that this gadget would track the position of your fingers on or near the screen, thereby providing a rough and ready touch-screen. Instead, it seems to track fingers near the keyboard. How does is differentiate between pointing and typing?
developers downloaded out-of-date versions of the most popular frameworks 33 per cent of the time
If your application is running in Framework version X, you don't need to keep downloading it. I would guess that most downloads of obsolete versions are intended to build developer environments when legacy applications have to be modified or maintained. In an ideal world the application platform would be upgraded at the same time - in the same ideal world we'd all have unlimited time and money.
To judge from the picture it does look vaguely like a space-going Reliant Robin.
Quote: "your posts have been upvoted 2015 times and downvoted 279 times"
Am I mistaken in thinking a badge upgrade is overdue?
Re: 12 seconds!!!!
I don't want to start another of the all too frequent town-v-country spats, but the scenario in which you join a 60 mph road from a 90 degree side turning is a common feature of driving outside towns. It's normally a two-lane A road, with continuous traffic during the rush hour. If you don't want to sit at the junction for ten minutes, and prefer not to earn the undying enmity of other drivers, there's nothing for it but to floor the pedal and accelerate up to 60 with squealing tyres and occasional fishtailing.
Allowing a bunch of lawyers and footballers to mess with anything technical is like taking your watch down to the zoo to see if the chimps can repair it for you.
Tommy developed his socialization skills at doggie day-camp...
I am fond of dogs, but, as they say in Private Eye, "Pass the sick-bag, Alice."
Probably not hacked
Opinions seem to be sharply divided on whether this man's home network was adequately secured.
I suppose there are Europeans with the skills to hack into it and take over the baby alarm, though why they would bother is a mystery. But the article also says He heard a male voice coming from inside his daughter's bedroom, calling out her name. This implies that alleged hacker gained access to a computer, where he was able to find out the baby's name, then hacked the baby alarm. Possible, but vanishingly improbable.
Re: British or European
@Captain Scarlet : Villains in American films seem to have had English RP accents since the invention of talkies. Maybe it's some kind of hangover from 1776. Does anyone know if American stage productions in the 19th century had English villains?
Picture of a Neanderthal
Scruffy red hair and beard,
Shiny black patent-leather shoes!
Re: Go Meccano
I was delighted to see that much of the Meccano used to build this centrifuge was green and notably old-looking. Unlike the modern Meccano as I've seen.
The thing that impresses me most is the lightweight frame of the base, which doesn't appear to be fixed down in any way. It must be superbly well-balanced. If I made a thing like this it would probably walk across the floor and smash the windows.
When I first encountered these lamps, I'm sure they were called Astra (or possibly Astro) lamps, and the distinctive glass container appeared to come from a swanky brand of fruit squash (oxymoron alert!) whose name escapes me.
They seemed to disappear during the 70s, along with kaftans and joss-sticks. But then they reappeared with a new name. Is this evidence of the great wheel of existence? Or is my memory playing tricks - it was the 60s, after all.
Icon of hippie with a good-sized joint.
Re: 35 minute trip with no bathroom?
Most suburban transit systems (e.g. the London Underground) have journey times at least as long, and none have toilets.
Why would you want to take a bath while you're travelling, anyway?
Re: A pipeline?
@Mips "Fit for Shakespeare"
Well, yes. But it's a modified quotation of the motto of the US Postal Service, which is in turn a translation of Herodotus. So it's either more recent than Shakespeare, or much older.
Re: Forget the privacy implications
phone switched off and in an RF protective case
Have you considered that it might be easier not to have a mobile phone at all?
In the days before world+dog got into relational databases, data had to be stored in files. When databases started to become popular there was a notorious vendor nostrum: "Just put everything into a database, and then you can get whatever information you need out".
To an extent, this was true. Extracting meaning from data stored in files was always difficult and resistant to ad-hoc queries. But the implication that a database is a sort of magician's bag, into which you dump masses of disorganised data and from which you pull meaning and truth, never was.
The advocates of big data seem to be resurrecting the magic bag.
Re: You can bet your sweet biddy
The thing you bet is actually a "bippy" (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in, c1967)
the decision applies only to switching providers on BT's Openreach copper network
As I'm not a communications engineer, can somebody explain to me what is the relevance of the element that the conductors are made from? Why shouldn't people who are unfortunate enough to be connected via inferior aluminium wiring benefit from this change?
Your standard methodology will skew the results. I believe many aficionados of China tea prefer the second infusion. Also, it effectively eliminates some very fine teas that are better drunk without milk. For example:
By way of contrast, the worst tea I ever tasted was during a holiday job as a tram conductor in Blackpool. Every member of the crew brought an enamel brew can containing pre-mixed leaf tea and sugar. After adding boiling water they'd swing the can round a bit, then add condensed milk. The result was brick-red and so sweet that you could feel your teeth getting looser as you drank it.
Re: 12 Contenders - No, No only 11
@Richard the Head: if your inside information on Twinings tea is as reliable as your spelling of their name, then I think we can ignore it.
Emily Thornberry, Labour's shadow attorney general, said: "This is government incompetence of the first magnitude."
Gosh, that's a surprise.
Don't these politicians (of all parties) understand that it's this kind of stereotyped response that makes them some of the most reviled and distrusted people on the planet?
This is a clerical error of some kind, serious, perhaps, but not "government incompetence of the first magnitude", which needs to be something bigger, such as starting a war over WMDs that don't exist, or selling off the gold reserves when the market is at the bottom.
Trolls and trolling
When I first encountered the concept of trolling in discussion groups, I assumed the reference was to the fishing strategy where a lure or bait is dragged through the water to catch predatory fish. It seemed a vivid analogy for the way trolls operate.
Lately, however, it seems to have mutated, and it now seems to be a reference to the Scandinavian monsters that lurk under bridges. The Reg troll icon looks more like one of these than a fishing lure. This feels like a much blunter metaphor.
Was I wrong in my initial assumption?
Re: Another subsidy effect...
people who can't afford the fancy plans with "free" phones get to subsidise those who do
Few people can be bothered to upgrade their phone or switch plans at the end of the contract period*. Even if you do, the total cost is usually more than you would have paid if you'd bought the phone and used a SIM-only contract.
So the subsidy is likely flowing the other way.
*This certainly applies to me and to everybody I know. Phone contracts are like gym membership - you overpay because you don't finish the contract when you could.
all part of a breeding consortium, so the dolphins had met at some point
Are you sure you mean "met"?
Re: As Sir Terry said...
I suppose the passing dolphin at Kings Cross station was catching a train to Fishguard.
Re: what are you planning on shoving down a pipe bigger than 10Mbps
@Phil O'Sophical: I'm reasonably sure that buying more phone lines would simply move the contention from inside the house to outside it.
Am truly disgusted by this news and it's another nail in the coffin of despicable things that happen all the time now.
In normal usage:
"another nail in the coffin of X" = X will soon cease to exist
"despicable things that happen all the time now" = X in the above
So, no more despicable things. That has to be good news.
As an ex-field tech for Xerox, I came across a number of problems that occurred simply because people were not willing to RTFM.
It may come as a surprise to you to learn that most people in offices have more important things to do than read photocopier manuals.
Once upon a time the photocopier was a vital piece of office equipment, and people used it often enough to know how it worked, though I don't suppose they read the manuals, even then. With the reduction in paper documents, an average person might make one photocopy a month. Meanwhile, the copiers have become much more complicated.
"putting all those headaches of DB administration off of your own plate so you can focus on app development"
My experience suggests that the headaches of DB administration involve things that a DBaaS supplier is unlikely to do for you - efficient design of the physical schema, partitioning, management of storage areas, query optimisation, persuading junior developers that primary keys and normal form make things easier, not harder.
"For millions of dollars you can build similar looking technologies on Oracle or even on MySQL"
On Oracle, maybe. But if you've spent millions of dollars on a MySQL installation, I'd like to see the receipts.
I have the highest regard for Victoria Coren Mitchell, but I think she's wrong about "sulfur".
Most British people's aversion to "sulfur" is based on a suspicion that it's an Americanism, a consequence of the misguided spelling rationalisation that gave us "ax" and "color". In fact, many European languages use "f" in their various spellings (e.g. Schwefel, soufre, zolfo). I believe the "ph" in the English spelling was actually introduced as part of the curious Renaissance fashion for making words "more classical", the same trend that added the pointless "b" in "debtor".
"sulfur" is, of course, the spelling mandated by whatever international body controls the names of elements.
Re: The most certain are the least likely to be correct.
it is not likely there even *is* one objective truth for all values of 'truth'
So is the statement above true or not? I'm pretty sure that it's an instance of Epimenides' Paradox dressed up with a bit of probability.
If you believe in multiple values of true, then it must be impossible for you to evaluate any proposition.
Pointing out the fringe is humerus
If you can point out your fringe with your humerus then you must have very flexible shoulder joints.
I expect cricket bat handles are harder to obtain than guns in the USA.
The MP shot back: "The WHOLE POINT is that they are not government ISP filters (excuse the shouting) but are the filters you are expected to install on every device now."
This is news to me. I suppose that if Perry issues detailed instructions then I might be able to install something on my routers and computers, but the TV may be a problem because I don't have access to the firmware.
Really? I didn't know "sequentially" only applied to quarters.
What word do you use to describe a sequence of days, months or years?
High water mark
June was the high water market hitting nearly a whole one percentage point of growth. Last month, though, its rate of increase slumped.
If you hit the beach like the techies are supposed to be doing, you will have the opportunity to wade into the sea until it comes up to your nose. You will find that the high water mark is not the point at which the rate of rise decreases, but the point at which the water stops rising.
A reduction in the rate of growth is not a decline, and is only indicative of a decline if you can predict the shape of the curve.
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