774 posts • joined Monday 28th June 2010 14:47 GMT
"until the 1950s, computers were non-electrical calculating machines"
Wrong on two counts.
From at least the 18th century until the 1940s, computers were people who did calculations for a living. I believe the first electronic computers were so called because they were designed to calculate ballistics tables, a job that was previously done by human computers.
"Calculating machines" were called, er, "calculators". Before the 1950s they would mostly have been manually-powered, but I'm pretty sure electro-mechanical ones existed.
For some reason my colleague Mr Paedo Burgles keeps having similar problems.
Oxbridge colleges and Zen-like questions
At my Oxford college interview, I was asked "Did Modigliani paint long thin people because he suffered from distorted vision?". I provided a logical answer: "No, because the visual distortion would make normal pictures look long and thin to him" and got the place.
Some years later, the Philosophy tutor who had interviewed me said, by way of a put-down, "We agreed to award the scholarship to the first person to get the Modigliani question right". I was delighted to tell him that although it might have seemed right to a philosopher, my answer was actually wrong. Perception of objects and perception of paintings are not the same thing, and people with severe astigmatism actually produce distorted drawings.
So much for Zen-like puzzles.
"...43 per cent of the population have medium or high internet skills – meaning they can make a phone call online or create a web page..."
This is a weird statistic because the range is ridiculously wide. A bit like saying "43 per cent of the population have medium or high navigation skills – meaning they can find their way to the shops or sail across the Atlantic".
Have you seen Windows 9?
The window is almost black and it fills the whole screen. All the text is greyish-white. The cursor is a big flashing square thing. When you press a key it makes a loud click noise. When you move the mouse nothing happens.
For Windows 9 Home, the interface is called VT52. If you're prepared to spend the extra money you can have the Professional interface, called VT100.
Is it just me, or is the chart in this article distinctly baffling?
The left-hand is a set of targets, but the on right-hand side there is a time-series. Each bar seems to be intended to look like some kind of network patch cable. Some, but not all, have a percentage on the connector, and most, but not all, have a coloured L-shaped stripe coming out of the right-hand end, followed by another percentage on a black rectangle.
The legend seems to imply that the connector shows a percentage for 2009, and the L-shape shows a 2011 figure. If so, is it really claiming that 50% of households had Broadband better than 30Mb/s by 2011?
Re: "The Last One"
Exactly what I thought when I read the article. Every decade produces a magic solution that's going to put an end to software engineering. TLO, 4GL, RAD. The cloud is mainly different because it has a name instead of a TLA. It's still the same old snake oil.
I'm sure a large part of the problem is that "consultants" like this don't have proper jobs, so they're unaware of the thousands of vital business applications that companies rely on. They think "software" means Facebook.
@AndrueC "So they want next generation broadband...on the cheap."
The article actually seems to say that the suppliers have been asked to re-submit because they haven't tendered for what was specified, not because they were too expensive.
Re: W3 Validator
@Andrew 63: If you think you need HTML5 for web sites that aren't "minimalistic, plain, uninteractive", then you need to upgrade your skills. Competent developers have been building such sites for years, even in IE7 and, dare I say it, IE6.
It doesn't really matter what US laws say now. The main issue is that the US government (or any other government, for that matter) can do anything it wants to in the future. It's an act of state. For US citizens' data, this is OK because they elected that government and they have the theoretical ability to throw them out.
European citizens whose data is stored in the US would have no sanction beyond saying "I'd rather you didn't", because we didn't elect them. Whereas we have control over data stored in Europe because we elected the people who run Europe and we can throw... Hang on... no we didn't, and no we can't.
Left a bit...down a bit... Bernie - the bolt!
(Actually, "international law expert Alain Pellet" sounds more like digital air-gun shooting.)
Re: Too much added, not enough removed
"The amount of times I've had to correct native English speakers which there / their / they're to use it absurd."
How about "number of times"?
"... fixing english ..."
I think you mean English.
Re: Is not this called Pavlovian conditioning? ??
I don't think it is Pavlovian conditioning. It's Skinnerian, or operant conditioning. Pavlovian conditioning alone would only make rats expect food when they were dumped next to mines. The conditioning that encourages them to find the mines seems to be training.
Pavlovian, or classic conditioning starts with an unconditioned stimulus-response pair, such as salivating when exposed to a meaty taste. An unrelated stimulus, such as a bell, is introduced alongside the true stimulus. When conditioning is complete the bell elicits the salivation without the meaty taste. The order of events remains stimulus-then-response.
Skinner's conditioning associates a reward or punishment (known as positive or negative reinforcement) with a pattern of behaviour. As training proceeds, the reinforced pattern becomes more likely to occur, and, in due course, so do behaviours that tend to lead to it.
caveat this is 40-year-old knowledge, acquired at a time when my guiding principle was to do as little work as possible, so it may not be entirely reliable.
Re: What I want to know is...
Not really FF. Sometimes it just means record now+watch later, which isn't exactly cutting edge. It might also mean "pause live TV", which I guess is a matter of reading the early part of a file while the end is being appended to. If it was clever it could also treat the file as a ring-buffer so that you could do this indefinitely without running out of space. Dunno what TiVo think they have a patent on.
Rhubarb gargle gargle
"we have undertaken some early market and stakeholder engagement to define the requirement before commencing full market engagement in the coming weeks"
I see the Plain English Campaign still has battles to fight.
@The Indomitable Gall "In which case Spreadex's business model is bad."
I don't know about spread betting (I'm not that stupid), but your comment suggests that you don't know anything about trading platforms.
The main differentiators between top-line systems and those in lower tiers is speed: how recent are the prices, how low is the latency. Owners of trading platforms typically put in lots of expensive features to enable users to make trades quickly. Entering a password before every trade is out of the question.
Crap technical support hours
I moved to Zen about six months ago. No complaints, but I was disappointed to learn that their technical support lines aren't manned 24 hours/day. 0800-2000 weekdays is almost exactly the time I spend out at work. 0900-1700 weekends isn't even trying - our village shop is open longer than that.
Kensington and Chelsea are pleasant enough, but I think "historic" is stretching things.
The simple answer, of course, is to disguise the cabinets as parked cars. That's what all the streets in RBKC are already lined with.
Once again the Public Accounts Committee concludes that a public sector project was a stupid idea that wasted taxpayers' money.
Is there any chance of getting them to do this before the money is wasted in future?
Excuse me, you just used the word "oly*p**s" in public. You're nicked, sunshine.
@fandom "if everyone drives things like these, a lot of money won't be sent overseas to pay for oil"
Quite right. It will be sent overseas to pay for natural gas, instead. Did you think electricity comes from nowhere?
There is an old and well-known* saying "De minimis non curat lex", which means "The law does not concern itself with trifles".
Clearly this is no longer the case, and our Judges are in danger of getting jelly and cream all over their wigs.
*OK, well-known among lawyers who speak Latin. But well-known enough that it's usually abbreviated to "de minimis".
"The desktop PC is going nowhere anytime soon."
I can't help wondering if this statement, interpreted slightly differently, is an important factor in Microsoft's strategy. Many business desktop installations seem to be happily stuck on XP. Cessation of support for XP doesn't really increase their risk, as there won't be many nasty surprises left in an 8-year-old operating system. None of the applications that require post-XP versions seem to have anything compelling to commend them.
From the perspective of a corporate IT manager, I suspect that desktop Windows upgrades just look like expenditure on licenses and user training with little if any measurable return. From Microsoft's perspective, it may be that upgrades to corporate desktops are pretty thin pickings anyway. Home desktops, meanwhile, mostly run whatever was installed when they were new, so Microsoft get the same sales whatever their latest operating system.
If this is all true, then it makes sense for Microsoft to be looking for footholds in new markets.
Re: Project Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre also wrote Huis Clos, translated into English as No Exit or Dead End. Just like following a lorry for hundreds of miles.
I notice the Swedes were sharp enough not to use their own motorway for this adventure.
Re: It is God Awful to be fair.
At least they don't appear to have spent much public money on networks or servers. The home page takes about 6 sec to load, so I'd guess it's running on an IBM PC-XT connected via a 1200 baud dial-up.
for (int ndx = 0; ndx < 10; ndx++) // can I have my £50k now?
Yeah, but if you had an Aga, your oven would take about 8 hours to heat up, so you might want to switch it on while you're on the way in to work in the morning.
Or you might want to have it on a timer, like sensible people.
Most people install their cooker in the kitchen.
Unsurprisingly, the iAga fanbois (fangurlz?) have decided to have it in the music room. That piano's going to be a delight to play on with a few months of cooking grease on the keys.
Re: Why not run your own power station, too?
I know SMTP is an old protocol, but 18th century?
Re: time on mars
So who decided where the Greenwich of Mars is? And how? Has it got a dome?
There is obviously more on Mars than we've been told.
Don't know much about telephony
... but I assume that all the excitement is about making the radio part of a mobile network faster.
My experience of EE suggests that this will make no difference. The bottleneck is their data network that appears to use wet string as a physical layer.
I thought Duplo was big Lego. Then again,. I though Aero was chocolate, and Metro a free newspaper.
Re: One of you, folks, is in great danger
I've always assumed V for looking vaguely like a caret except upside-down.
Just not cricket
"a Lord's committee hearing on the future of broadband"
I think you mean "Lords", possibly with an apostrophe after the "s".
Why has a review of an interesting little computer generated such a storm of ill-tempered comments? Calm down, ladies.
On a different subject £29, though cheap, seems unreasonable. I'm used to the "pounds for dollars" pricing strategy (though not reconciled to it). But £29 for $25 is taking the piss. Can I sell my dollars to the Raspberry people? At £1.16 each I can supply quite a lot.
Re: @Neil Barnes The (low) price of ad-free TV
@tfewster: "(we) could replace advertising revenue with subscription revenue and have dozens of ad-free channels showing quality original content from around the world. Which _does_ make the BBC look expensive."
The key phrase is "quality original content". There's plenty of junk on BBC, but I still think it's reasonable value. As far as I'm concerned, the quality of most of the content on the commercial channels is pretty much worth what I pay for it - nothing. Put it another way, there are rarely any programmes that are good enough to justify having to see the ads. The sole exception, oddly enough, is Dave, the channel of last resort. But a lot of Dave's content originated on the BBC anyway.
Another post equates the ads to "paying with your time" for content. I'm paid by the day, so I know exactly what my time is worth, and an evening of ITV programmes doesn't come near.
Re: Someone has to pay...
Another strong contender in the annoying stakes is the BBC3 habit of interrupting long-running content (usually feature films) to give you five minutes of fatuous Sleb-n-Sport news in the middle.
Does some imbecile at the BBC imagine that viewers actually like commercial breaks? Or is it because BBC3 viewers are too weak in the brain or bladder to last through a 90-minute film?
Re: You clearly haven't had enough to drink!
"All I can manage on the way home from the pub is a kebab and a minicab."
I like minicabs, but I don't think I could eat a whole one, no matter how much I've had to drink.
My car shows its fuel consumption in miles per gallon. It's about 20 years since I bought a gallon of fuel, and I have no idea how much one costs. Yes, I can work it out, but that uses brain-power that I really should be applying to my driving.
On investigation, it turns out that I can change the units* used to display fuel consumption. I can have kilometres per litre, or litres per hundred kilometer or gallons per hundred miles. What I can't have is the hybrid unit that would be really useful: miles per litre.
*When I recently set the satnav to use Imperial units, it started to display altitude in yards!
With only 38 years to go, the European Space Agency presumably has well-advanced plans for eco-powered rockets.
Will they be wind-powered, solar-powered, or possibly the most exciting prospect, powered by tidal energy?
"Beats Audio enhances the sound you get from the computer"
The name "Beats" unfortunately implies that it "enhances the sound" the way moron mechanics "enhance" your car audio during a service by turning the bass up to maximum.
Does Beats Audio do anything other than try to compensate for the crap frequency response of the output devices?
So instead of the convenient built-in optical drive, you can copy your CD or DVD to a cheap USB stick. You may need to buy another computer to do this on.
Alternatively, you can use an external optical drive. Your super-thin, light laptop ends up sharing a case with a collection of ancillary junk.
Incidentally, wouldn't it be useful if manufacturers and reviewers quoted weights including the power supply? Until battery life exceeds 24 hours (or hell freezes over, whichever happens first) I'm going to be carrying the power supply most of the time as well as the computer. I recall an HP laptop from a few years ago where the power supply was about the size and weight of a house brick.
Am I the only one who read the name as "Volester"? Am I the only one to think this is a funny name? Remember the Truckster in National Lampoon's Vacation?
Then again, Skoda actually markets a car called Roomster, so maybe it's not really funny.
"and leave yourself with no internet connection?"
By "network cable" I mean the Ethernet cable that connects the wireless access point to the LAN.
If your wireless access point is also your router/DSL modem, then you will have to get another patch cable to connect your computer to the router.
If you have a combined wireless/modem/router that has no Ethernet ports, then you have made an unlucky purchasing decision and you will have to redecorate with the attractive tin wallpaper featured in the article.