34 posts • joined 5 Aug 2010
Re: Fresh out of the Box smell
Excellent, valuable advice that should be taught and echoed at every opportunity.
Just because it's last year's (or 2 years old) doesn't mean it won't be fit for purpose and resolve the problem you have.
Likewise the idea of using lower or zero cost community versions of enterprise systems is a good one with, as is mentioned, the caveat that you need the technical people capable of implementing and supporting it.
It's sad that too many people with 'Director' and 'Manager' in their title don't realise that the product to fix their problem doesn't always come from someone wearing an expensive suit, a designer watch and who takes them for £100+ lunches.
Re: Security deserves more attention. @Phil W
You hit the nail right on the head, distance learning is a fact, it works, it's results are as good as any fixed university, and it's cost effective, so why are we paying for all of these university buildings and students accommodation when they could stay at home studying, have lectures delivered via webcasts and if they need to speak to the actual lecturer, they can speak via video conference applications like Skype. You could house the actual teaching staff in an anonymous office building on an estate and get rid of many of those costly university buildings and extra staff to run them. Big savings all round! Now the only university facilities you need are for those with highly specialised equipment in the fields of research (and even then much of that could probably be virtualised) whilst the purely academic courses such as maths don't really need any specialised equipment, so need no space on a university campus.
Meanwhile we could remove the high costs of the intangible courses (such as your humanities, arts and others which have no tangible return or use) and just have those vanity courses taught on line in an efficient manner, the reduction in building and staffing would make the whole cost of the vanity courses affordable to those who were interested and remove another burden from the tax payer.
"(Apologies if you don't work in a university. But if you don't, you are wrong to write misleading things. Ha, I win either way!)"
I don't work in a university, never have, never will! As for writing misleading things, another writer here commented on the expectations of students to fix their broken IT by the University IT dept. As for the cost to the tax payer, who do you think ultimately pays for all this? It comes from corporation tax and tax paid by people working in this country. Both entities are tax payers. All I ask is this, does my tax deliver acceptable ROI to me? I don't see what the money spent on Universities does for me, or for the companies which I work for. Given the higher education budget for the Uk, the return seems poor. BYOD seems an extravagance we cannot afford, students should be todl what to buy and what is supported, it's up to them to supply compliant equipment which are to IT policy of the Universities, this would be more efficient and economical. I really don't see the problem other than a bunch of spoilt students wanting to do what they want at my expense.
Re: Poor you
"Students have never paid more for the higher education than they do now. The tax payer is steadily reducing the available subsidies to higher education, and has been for decades."
So essentially students have been freeloading off the tax payer for years and now you're upset because you're asked to take resposibility for what you cost the country (which is made up of tax payers who fund it's continued operation). The tax payer subsidy does not need reducing, it needs removing completely, and students should take responsibility for their education, like companies and individuals have to in the private sector.
"Bandwidth? Yeah, the university pays for it through a combination of corporate R&D money and student fees, and the taxpayer benefits from the enormous pipes that university institutions have laid between them (and a few taxpayer subsidies implied - good use of money IMHO)."
No, we don't benefit, the pipes are part of JANET (again paid for by the tax payer), if you want a truly good use of tax payer subsidies, try superfast broadband for 100% of the UK, in case you've not noticed the roll out is being slowed down to consumers by the massive investment required by the private sector. I don't see the benefit to me from the high bandwidth JANET network.
"I wouldn't pass too much blame onto the media studies students either - they pay 9 grand same as I would if I was studying engineering. My labs and full week of lectures cost considerably more than their space in the library and their 5 hours contact time a week. I think if you look at the books, they're paying the subsidies to train engineers and doctors - you know, these people that you and society has come to take for granted."
Yes, and exactly what does a media studies graduate do for a living, I can't think of a valid use for one of them, and if they can't be found ause for, the loan doesn't get paid back and that costs the country. As far as taking engineers and doctors for granted..you're joking, I pay via tax and NI for the doctors in this country, and I work with 30+ engineers at one of the sites I look after and have respect for their field and their education, they actually do produce something valid - a profit for the company employing them!
"For the time being, executives in industry listen to their scare stories of viruses and pen drives being open gateways to the pirates in the East who will steal all IP they can get their hands on (i'm not arguing that these are false threats), but the world is changing, and corporations will have to start tackling this problem head on."
These are not scare stories as anone with 20+ years experience in running and securing systems will tell you. the recent PRISM scandal should tell you all you need to know, and if you don't see the relevance, then it proves you've never had to be accountable for IP and data protection in the real World.
" I've often heard that brand new graduates are often the cause of the most major security breaches at corporations. When that is happening, it's time to up your game."
Wrong, it's time for you to grow up and learn to follow corporate IT policy, you're paid to do a job according to company rules, learn how to do it or there is a P45 in your near future.
"Restrictions that work with your current employees do NOT work with my generation, we've had years in school to learn how to circumvent filters to do what we want, and to use our IT for our purposes efficiently. IT security is generally not something we take seriously, but that is your problem to solve"
No, you follow the restriction or you don't have a job, employees do not dictate policy, you learn to work within it or you're shown the door. If you don't like it, a job on the checkout a Morrisons beckons.
"It's getting to the point where I can either obey IT policy or I can do my job, but not both"
When you actually have had a few real jobs with resposibility, and you have experience, come back and start talking with some facts under your belt. I have 25 years under my belt and given the attitude of people like you, many more to come!
Basically this article explains where my tax money is going, into providing high bandwidth torrent access for a bunch of students who take out massive loans and cost me, the tax payer, the better part of £100K for their higher education each, who take out loans which are only paid back once they earn over a certain amount of money.
This mob then expect me to pay to maintain their broken IT crap, whinge incessantly when they can't stream the latest episode of Big Brother, and who have no real SLA demands other than cheap access to beer at the student union bar, yet this is still meant to be some example to business IT?
Add to this the fact that they're poncing around studying media studies or humanities, which no employer in the known world who has to actually make money is interested in, they spend 3 years passing around viruses (both computer and STD's), then leave to go work part time for a minimum wage in a supermarket, or if the likely grade is really bad, the girls get themselves pregnant and live off the state for the next 16 years.
Somehow, I really don't see the commercially relevant example here!
Proprietary backup format = No backup
You make a good point, storing ageing data in a proprietary format is fraught with problems.One site I worked at had a badly organised backup & storage system which eventually failed. Recovering the data involved building a Netbackup server from scratch to recover the data. If those files had been stored as a regular tar ball or a filesystem dump they could have been recovered far more rapidly.
Don't confuse the backup with the archive. When I backup archive data, I always use the original format and ensure an O/S install disk is kept with it. I tend to favour optical media now, I find it durable and readers are easy to come by (I can still read CD-ROM's from 20 years ago). This way, once the O/S is up and running, the data can be accessed easily.
Avoiding proprietary formats means there is one less problem between you and your data.
If Daisy Group have taken over this company, then I would be avoiding them like the plague. Every company I have dealt with that has been owned by or taken over by Daisy Group has turned into a disaster. I would say those people who are keeping their jobs should be sending out their CV's right about now, they won't keep their jobs. One client of mine had a mobile phone contract with a mobile phone provider which was taken over, mid contract, via Daisy Group. Under Daisy's leadership, none of the original staff stayed, the company broke the terms of it's original agreement and Daisy made it a nightmare for my client to leave their contract, eventually requiring the intervention of the mobile phone company itself.
If I were an 2e2 client, I'd be making plans today to leave, your contract won't be worth a thing now these clowns are in charge.
This is just my take given what clients of mine have been through.
PS...This will be the first of many cloud failures I predict.
I wonder what has happened to the PC software which allows you to upload and download to a Tivo hard drive, and to watch Tivo programs on a PC.
I know this software is available in the USA, but Virgin have been very quiet about this functionality here in the UK.
Has anyone heard any further news about this software?
Lovefilm to the rescue
£125 seems rather excessive - this is available via Lovefilm.
I can't help but hope we'll see the headline that Apple has had to go crawling back to Samsung to ask if it will make it's iPhone 5 screens after Sharp crashes out of the business. It would be even funnier if Samsung said yes......at twice the price to cover it's escalating legal bills!
Press miss out on Ashes coverage - Showing sport from London instead
How come the British press missed out on this superb tournament, instead focusing on a few people aimlessly running around in London's East End. I would have preferred to have has this televised instead.
How about a European tournament next year, with competitors bringing not only balloons and payloads, but also their own nations beer, that we can see three battles at the same venue, for altitude, payload functionality, and best beer.
I'm sure we can get a contingent of BBC reporters in for that one!
BTW, congratulations to all concerned, all these photos are of superb quality and something to be proud of.
Re: The psychoacoustics of the saleman...
Actually the days of the dedicated Hi Fi salesman are long since over, now the best salesmen in these stores are almost invariably the stores owner. I remember a store local to me which I frequented as a teenager, and when the late 80's recession hit, the bank sent in management consultants, who decided that the owner could get down his operating costs and pay their vast interest rates and consultancy fees by firing the experienced sales people who had a relationship with the cusotmers, and replacing them all with students working part time at a fraction of the price (this was before minimum wage). This was basically inflicted on the poor store owner to reduce his costs in order to keep the 'support' of the bank. The store owner complied, and within 24 months was in receivership.
the other problem is the greed of both distributors and stores, with some distributors demanding 30 - 50% profit margins, and dealers wanting 25 - 35% on source components and amps, 30 - 50% on speakers depending on brand and marketing power, and 40 - 60% on 'accessories' like stands and cables. It's no wonder the actual cost price of this equipment has little bearing on the final retail price, a typical relationship in Hi Fi is of 7 - 8:1 relationship of cost to final selling price.
it's this kind of thing which makes Hi Fi equipment seem so expensive.
Now the staff in many of these stores are little better than Currys staff, thoughb I will say the staff in Richer Sounds are the exception to this rule, courteous, intelligent and genuinely helpful, if you are buying any lower to midrange component you can do a lot worse than speak to someone in Richer Sounds.
Re: Oh dear, not this again
You're spot on here.
I used to review Hi Fi equipment for a couple of magazines, and I would never review digital cables, because I could not credibly recommend anyone to buy them. I tested £1K super high end digital cables on S/PDIF (phono & BNC) against some cable I built from true 75 Ohm connectors and Belden video cable. I had a friend switch between inputs blind, and I could not tell the difference. My cable cost me around £10, and that was only because the connectors were from the USA as most RCA Phono connectors are not true 75 Ohm devices.
The truth is that most CD transports and DAC's do not have true 75 Ohm connectors on them, and if the loading is wrong, this can introduce measureable signal problems. So the claims that digital cables sound different are not wrong, it simply mean that they work better with an interface which is out of spec then another cable, and there is no guarantee that the cables are true 75 Ohm items either.
Thankfully USB to DAC has removed this nonsense, though the audio industry is now desperately trying to sell us high end USB cables which sound better. I await to be convinced!
I'm sorry, but Meridian is really taking the p**s with the Media Core 600. Can you imagine going to an IT supplier for stroage and them asking you for £6K for 2TB of storage? If a salesman came here quoting me those kinds of figures he'd be sent down the road in 30 seconds flat.
Let's be clear here, Meridian are asking £6K for a 2 bay NAS with a pair of 2TB Samsung HDD's. I can buy that kind of thing from PC world for under £400.
This kind of stupidity is really destroying the Hi Fi business today, I know they're struggling, as the CD player of yore are now irrelevant in a world of media streamers and NAS devices, but the industry does itself no favours by trying to sell storage at vastly inflated prices, and the damn dealers are still demanding 30%+ margins with minimum wage Saturday boys in the shops with questionable knowledge and skills.
The future for the whole business looks very bleak indeed.
Re: Remember the hard drives
You can already do this for a very low price. Mini ITX based computer with Windows 7, store the music on a NAS (you'd be amazed at just how much uncompressed music fits into 1TB, so much it's almost not worth worrying about compression anymore to save storage), Now install a 128GB Intel SSD and run the machine with 4GB RAM. Load it up with a piece of software called XXHighEnd, which copies the tracks to RAM for playback, and you have a silent computer which plays the music back lossless from RAM. Now supplement with USB DAC to your liking, sit back, and enjoy the music. The whole system can be built for around £400 + DAC, and for me this lossless playabck system betters a £6K CD player when used with a modest (sub £400) USB DAC.
I have a collection of over 700CD's, and I don't recall actually playing one of them in the last 3 years because I rely on a streaming system now, and yes, that entire collection fits in under 1TB of storage.
Has an omission been made in the team listings, or is there no entrant from UK?
Re: Backlit - Edge or direct?
Joseph: Can't argue with anything you say, I think your anlysis of the marketplace is right on the money, people want the 'look' of the panel rather than the unadulterated 'performance' of the direct panel with the slight aesthetic downside of having a thicker panel, they go for the looks of the device rather than pure performance, though local dimming edge lit panels are better than they used to be, they still lag behind direct backlit displays. Likewise, the digital bling is there for the mass market and it does pull down the price of the finished product, I just mourn the mass market going towards digital widgets rather than demanding the best possible display quality.
Yes, the chipset choice was probably made a couple of years ago, but I still found ti odd that the review didn't chastise Sony for this oversight given the more technical audience reviews on here usually attract.
Whilst local dimming edge lit TV's are much better than they used to be, I can still see light traces at the edge of the screen on dark scenes with bright details. This is less of a problem for me as I am fortunate enough to use a video projector, but for many people they have to use panels, so they will have this slight but irritating side effect of edge lit screens vis a vis direct illuminated screens.
REgarding the broadcast option, yes, you're projections are pretty much spot on, broadcast reference panels are hideously expensive, but I just wish there was still a market niche big enough to justify Sony resurrecting the Profeel name from the late 80's. Probably just a hankering for the old Sony at it's best.
Backlit - Edge or direct?
I note it is not mentioned whether this TV's backlighting is via edge backlighting, or direct?
I am surprised that the review didn't highlight the folly of producing a supposedly 'smart' TV which cannot natively decode MKV's? Most of my video is now held either as ISO images or MKV files, so this TV's media playback facilities would be rendered useless to me, LG 'smart' TV's can natively decode MKV's, this would seem to be a major oversight.
Increasingly in our fashion led World, image and styling is everything, actual performance seems to matter very little apart from digital bling like making TV's 'smart' or supporting 3D. I've found that very few companies seem to make the direct backlit panels any longer, yet TV's featuring those panel are (were) often cited as having the best picture quality, without multiple post processing measures being required. Does this mean that the consumer is no longer interested in true performance, instead being placated with mediocre image quality with lots of digital bling?
If Sony really wanted to capture it's past glories, maybe resurrecting the Profeel name with a direct backlit panel would be the way to go, with the tuner and image processing hardware in (optional) remote modules. SIM2 do a very similar thing with their high end video projectors.
I am now being driven to buy high end TV's with a multitude of irrelevent 'features' just to get a good basic panel. It's almost like the manufacturers are deliberately keeping the direct backlit panel for their high end sets with their prices inflated due to unnecessary gadgetry.
Re: Supa-Dupa-Hi-Def-o-Vision (with smell-o-vision)
Whilst this can't be faulted on either technical or ease of execution grounds, I would have a major problem with content.
I live in Lancashire, do you know how often you see a woman who looks like Charlize Theron or Cameron Diaz around here?
Do you know the definition of Audiophile?
The definition of an audiophile according to the OED is 'a hi-fi enthusiast'.
That I am, guilty as charged, I love music, I love hearing music in my home that actually sounds like music, not some bass bloated thumping noise or something coming out of a mobile phone speaker.
A great audio system to me brings me closer to the sound of the artist in the studio, and I don't waste money on £50 + tickect to live events with sound so loud and so bad it should carry a health warning, with a stage which I can see clearly, as long as I have a pair of Swarovski binoculars. That way my system pays for itself many times over during a lifespan which, for a good component, can be 20 years or more.
And yes, I still consider the sending of a Blackpool ICT boss to London conference a waste of MY money!
Why is Blackpool council wasting it's money send delegates to Infosec?
I don't get why a representative from Blackpool Borough Council is burning through council tax payers money at Infosec in London and pontificating about BYOD practices when the council has presided over some of the most moronic wastes of money in the last 15 years which has systematically destroyed any sort of commercial future for the town?
This is the council which has spent 10's of millions of tax payers money rebuilding a tram infrastructure run by a private company which made so little money they couldn't afford to maintain it themselves. They should have just made it a dual carriageway right along the promenade, at least that would have had value for residents and those in the town that do work (a minority). They wrecked the promenade road and removed traffic capacity without thinking about how to increase it anywhere else to compensate. They ahve put buildings on the promenade which everyone believes are ugly and the butt of jokes locally, which no one seems to use. The deficit the council is running at means they are wrecking local services.
All this, whilst this idiot is pointlessly prattling on about BYOD to accomodate people wanting to carry vanity with them rather than learning how to use the employer supplied devices effectively.
In case you're wondering, yes I am unfortunate enough to live in Blackpool and keep harbouring this hope that the town realises that it is no longer a viable tourist destination, and realises it's future is in commerce and as a commuter belt town for Preston and Manchester with excellent road links.
I will be writing to my councillor asking why this fiasco is being paid for by me!
Re: Thank you
Well said Sir - a beer does seem somewhat an inadequate accolade, but I am sure many of us will raise a drink to Mr. Tramiel and remember the many house of enjoyment he brought to us, and for many of us the effect his company and his equipment had on our lives.
RIP Jack Tramiel - We lose another great man.
Like Steven Roper, I also owe Jack Tramiel my career, starting with the VIC-20, them moving through the CBM-64, Commodore 128, Amiga A-1000 and onto the A-2000, I was a major devotee of Commodore computers, and consider them to be as important in the history of our industry and the BBC Model 'B' and the Sinclair ZX-81 in terms of getting young people enthusiastic about computers and working in IT. I learned more about programming and hacking on these machines than just about any other platform, and as such I can say Jack Tramiel's company and it's products have had a truly profound and important effect on my life.
In losing Jack Tramiel we have lost one of the great's. Most can only wish they can have the effect on as many as Jack Tramiel had. May you rest in peace, Sir. I am sure many on this forum and in IT would wish to convey their condolences to his wife and children for their loss.
Those who do not blindly believe in Anthropomorphic Climate change are simply saying that the present evidence presented is of insufficient quality to convince them.
The climate change models are provven to be inaccurate, I have not heard of a single prediction made by a climate change model which has actually tracked with what is happening in the real world, there would appear to be many contra indicators that anything we do is having a measurable effect on the climate. I have still to see the evidence which shows a climate change which is irrefutably caused solely by something man has done, which could not possibly have happened without man's influence. I am sure if that could be shown, then we could start talking about the supporters of anthropomorphic climate change actually having a fact to work with, up to now everything is conjecture based on manipulated data and questionable models.
If the Prof. is suggesting that we should be made to believe in anthropomorphic climate change, rather than the onus of irrefutable proof being put on those expecting us to change, then maybe the salutation of Prof should be changed to reverand?
Re: Yep Yep
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow." - Name the Quote.
OK, I'll bite, Men In Black, Agent K (Tomme Lee Jones) addressing agent J (Will Smith) before he joins the MIB.
Blackpool - Only one store closure?
They have only closed the one Game store in the main shopping center in Blackpool, and whilst this is the one with the highest costs being in the major shopping center, they still have a Game Station store nextdoor to a Grainger games store with a HMV less than 5 minutes away and a CEX around the corner. I would have thought with that kind of competition they'd have decided to close both outlets in Blackpool, especially given the low income levels in this area and around 30% unemployment. There simply isn't the money to support this number of stores, and those who do frequent them are the same people who know where to go online for the best deals, undoubtedly frequent fleabay and probably have modded consoles for running backups.
I'm afraid I don't see a place any longer for games sales on the high street. It's just low earning square footage which could surely be used more profitably.
What about the program archives?
Whilst I personally would be glad to see the end of the TV Licence, as for me there are simply so many means of obtaining programming other than from a state funded broadcaster, I am troubled by the assumption that any NewBBC (subscription, PPV or ad funded) should have an automatic right to the programming of the state funded BBC.
As I see it, we, the licence payers, have paid for this, this state funded company is owned by us, the licence payers, therefore the programmes are commissioned on our behalf. Therefore, as we paid for them and commissioned them, we own them! Any private company should not have an automatic right to them unless either:-
A) The program archives are put into the ownership of another company, the shares of which are given to each licence payer and then the new broadcaster pays licence fees to that entity, and these rights are then licensed to overseas & satellite broadcaster, the profits of which are returned to the shareholders or used to commission new programming for onward licensing.
B). As the licence payers have paid for the infrastructure, the new company's shares are given to the former license payers, and the BBC then becomes a profitable PLC with profits paid back to shareholders.
I see no toher way for this to be done fairly, any other method is theft from the British public, pure and simple, but I am strongly in favour of a privatisation of the BBC using either of the above models.
The public will decide it's fate
This whole initiative is going to cost those that join up $$$$'s, and they've not asked the fundamental question, who will buy?
The public right now seem pretty happy with 1080p MKV's of the latest movies with Dolby Digital and DTS sound, and increasingly TrueHD and DTS-MA, if the numbers of these files being downloaded is anything to go by. People are used to the freedom this gives them, so the question becomes, what does the user gain from this? Forget about selling most users on the whole 'It's licensed by the movie makers" line, most of the public don't care, they just want a high quality file that they can play on their big screen TV, Tablet and laptop, if it does that, they really don't care where it comes from.
This is yet another standard set to die like Ultraviolet and "Triple play" sets with time limited digital editions.
This is how to get people out of cars
If the Government had any sincerity in their desire to get people out of cars, stop trying to pitch public transport, it's as desireable as spending time in a public toilet on a Saturday night, and instead encourage employers to to implement truly effective home working environments. You'll reduce stress, wasted resources in people sitting in traffic jams, make the roads faster flowing (due to less traffic) and given the cost of public transport or fuel, it will probably be cheaper for the employee.
Maybe the way to do this is to give grants to get companies to adhere to a target (say 20% of all work done from home) and possibly penalise those that don't achieve a minimum standard (5 or 7%). Obviously in the case of manufacturing, shiop employees etc. this would not apply, but for most administrative and desk based work, I can see little reason why this would prove a technical problem, more a cultural issue for old fashioned bosses, and amployyes who want to be seen by their management.
Personally speaking, I worked from home full time for 6 years, and now work form home a couple of days a month, and far prefer it to working in an office, no travel, no distractions from banal conversations with others and a better working environment. Why would anyone reasonably want to maintain the office work paradigm?
You ain't seen nothing yet
This is not only going to run and run, but will probably turn rather nasty before we're finished.
The situation for the 4G auction is rather different than the 3G one which went before it. When the 3G auction took place, there was far more money and cheap credit around, so the teleco's could make big bids in the full nkowledge that there was a demand for something faster than EDGE.
This time around the teleco's know the government is desperate for the cash, they are still trying to make money on 3G spectrum they purchased and the demand for faster mobile access doesn't seem as strong this time as 2G to 3G. The teleco's are more than happy to file injunction after injunction, take decision to the EU and challenge the government on any and evey point in the auctio document in order to protect their profit margtin and their business. It doesn't matter to them if this takes years to go through, because the longer this is delayed, the greater the utilisation of 3G is, and the more likely it is that the government will capitulate to their wishes as the government need the money from this auction.
The rent or lease options to me look unlikely. What if the telecos don't want that option, they simply don't rent the spectrum and we either have to hope that someone new comes along with very deep pockets to build 4G infrastructure and site new masts throughout the UK (and how long would that rollout take?) or that the rent is so low that it suits the telecos, but that's sure to be bad for the government coffers.
I fear we are still years away from seeing 4G in the UK.
Gone downhill since I joined
I've been with VM since they were Telewest offering free dial up access back in 1999. I then moved to their 1MB broadband offering as soon as it became available. Back then they were superb, the customer service was the best available and any issues were swiftly resolved, usually within an hour or so. All the techies I spoke to were well trained and knew their stuff.
Then NTL got involved and it started to go downhill, but if you got through the front line tech support then the guys were still very capable.
Then it became Virgin Media and the rot set in, overseas call center operators who would ahppily lie to you, if they understood you, and customer services who were only interested in selling you more products, rather than actually answering your questions.
I am still with them solely because their 50 Mb service is finally stable since we moved to R30 of the SuperHub firmware and I cannot get BT Infinity in this area. Most of the issues would be resolved if they moved their CS back to the UK and recruited quality UK support engineers, then actually invested in their backbone so it didn't die in the evening when you try to stream iPlayer HD streams.
Custom firmware helped sales in last 12 months
I can't help but wonder if the availability over the last year of custom firmware has helped drive sales of the hardware.
If you look back, the XBOX 360 was hacked in a matter of months and it was taken for granted that XBOX 360's could have their DVD drives flashed with new firmware to give them 'enhanced' functionality.
Until the last year this has been denied to PS3 owners, so maybe a proportion of these new owners now see the PS3 as offering a better value proposition now the running costs of buying games has been reduced through the benefits of custom firmware?
Could it be that the locking down of consoles and the lack of availability of custom firmware has an inverse effect on sales of hardware i.e. the more secure the platform, the weaker the hardware sales due to higher running costs?
Short sighted for media business
I suspect this will have a bad knock on effect on media sales in the UK.
Right now we're already paying high prices for media, which is driving scores of people into the hands of various torrent sites and download repositories. Now you're talking about taking away the mechanism by which UK citizens can legitimately purchase CD's and DVD's at lower prices, and whilst the VAT man loses £130 million, the media businesses gain from actual sales of media. Now, in the middle of rising prices and pay freezes in almost every market sector, you want to ramp up prices of media by 20%??? Are we trying to drive traffic into the hands of bittorrent sites? What the media business should do is fight against this with eveything they've got, because the losses to the media business could be double or triple the VAT losses.
I should mention, I don't like the media business, I just see where this is going!
Actually teach IT
I have seen what pupils are now being taught in GCSE ICT lessons, and I know what I was taught 25 years ago at 'O' level standard, and frankly what they're teching now is more basic office skills than actual IT.
There is no information given about the hardware, how it works, it's history etc. There are simply no fundamentals. Furthermore there is no programming involved, and surely any course covering IT must include the skills required to analyze the problem, devise a solution then implement it? When I was 13 I spent every spare hour in front of my VIC 20 / CBM 64 both playing games and writing programs, I can't believe that same interest and inquisitiveness is not there today.
We also need to make these courses commercially relevant and respected, which means at 16 the skills they're taught need to mean enough to at least get them a foot in the door, and companies need to know that someone with this qualification is actually useful and worth employing. The current course is considered a joke and as useful as domestic science in a commercial IT environment. Teach these kids about networks, firewalls, backup procedures, virtualization etc. and they may actually be of some use when they leave school.
Finally, let's show these pupils the fundamental motive behind working in IT, it pays very well compared with most jobs today. You maybe called a geek, but you're a geek with a nice car, a decent home and hopefully a very good income. Appeal to their greed and desire to want to buy stuff, and you'll be surprised just how enthusiastic and interested they become. Emphasise that a higher income could lead to a better looking girlfriend, and you'll have to run extra classes ;)
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