325 posts • joined Thursday 14th June 2007 11:42 GMT
They were called podules before Archimedes!
Within Acorn, we used to use that name for expansion modules for the A500: the first-ever ARM desktop machine. It was an Acorn-only development machine, and featured a better spec than the subsequent Archimedes commercial models. (More about it at Chris Whytehead's site.)
I don't know why Acorn deprecated the term "podule" - it was a fine word, and always got a smile - but then, I don't really understand a lot of the business decisions Acorn made at around that time.
Classic, just classic!
"If you haven’t utterly trashed your system multiple times in your comp-sci degree you’re just an arts grad who didn’t get laid."
Dominic, consider yourself nominated for QotW!
Re: "Think different?"
I think Greenly! (The clue's in the name...;))
Re: "Think different?" - oops!
...or, indeed, an adverb. [...] Oh dear...I'm for it now!
'It's not "Think different," it's, "Think differently." Different is a comparative adjective. Differently is an adverb. You don't use a comparative adjective when you need an adverb. You're changing or qualifying a verb, so you use an adverb. It's wrong to use a comparative adjective to qualify or change a verb. Are you an idiot? You must be an idiot to use an adjective when you should be using an advert. [...]'
I'm not sure SAP is quite ready for what's to come...
Re: The one basic attribute ...
An update for the amusement of Unix historians and the nostalgists amongst our number...
Dominic is indeed correct: QMC did have - as far as can be determined - the first Unix installation in the UK. It initially ran on a PDP-11/40, and that version was Bell Labs Version 4. The first terminals used with Unix in QMC were ITT 3210 units. I'd forgotten them! They were dusty and unused by my time.
Re: The one basic attribute ...
Where is QMC. Queen Mary College, University of London. These days, they omit the "College", and generally abbreviate to QMUL (http://www.qmul.ac.uk).
What year ? In my case, 1982-5; I think Dominic was in the year before me. We were both in the Computer Science department.
And I thought VAX systems ran VMS, not unix ? That was the standard provision, of course, in the same way that PCs are usually supplied with Windows. As Dominic said, QMC had one of the first - perhaps the first - Unix installations in the country, and Unix at that time ran mainly on DEC hardware: originally PDP-11 kit (and other PDP variants), but soon ported onto the VAX. George Coulouris, our illustrious and wise Head of Department, believed that Unix was the future, so most of our VAXen and PDPs ran that, rather than VMS or (for PDPs) RT-11, RSTS-E, RSX-11M+, and the other DEC stalwarts.
Re: The one basic attribute ...
Good article. I want to hear more about this first unix box in the UK.
A DEC PDP11 (probably the CS Department 11/70), running Bell Labs Version 7. There were also an 11/44 (in my time, used for electronic engineering), and a few other miscellaneous '11s knocking around. We had the source code for everything - it was a bit like hacking Linux! - and brutalised everything in sight, including the ROMs in the Hazeltine 1510 "dumb" terminals. Happy days...
Amen to joining the PCG
I have the full ("Plus") membership of the PCG. It costs me £220 (plus VAT, which I reclaim) per year. It's superb value for money. That extra membership tier provides really comprehensive tax investigation insurance. Second-hand accounts tend to suggest that saying to HMRC that you're a PCG member with full audit insurance somehow reduces the urgency, and subsequently the necessity, of the investigation. Frankly, it's worth it just for the very well produced template contract agreements and the IR35 advice. Without the PCG, it would have been a lot more difficult to discover exactly how IR35's being operated /this month/, and how to ensure you're not falling within its evil clutches.
Honestly - if you're a contractor, join the PCG. Just do it, and accept it as a necessity, in the same way as statutory insurances and accountants' fees. HMRC's attacks on contractors are becoming more aggressive, and it's your best armour.
Worth migrating yet? Perhaps not.
If you're not using servers for short periods, the per-minute pricing won't make a lot of difference. In other respects, Google's pricing is broadly similar to Amazon's, with a less-sophisticated infrastructure support. Even if Google does get into a price war with Amazon, the differences will be marginal unless one or the other is running a short-term loss leader to try to get a market shut-out.
Right now, with most of our VM instances running constantly, I'm not seeing a strong incentive to migrate from AWS (with GreenQloud fallback) to Google - but I look forward to seeing the bun-fight - and reaping the benefits - as these two big players (I'm not including Azure here) compete for dominance.
"Google Glass seems much more reminiscent of the Sinclair C5"
Odd really, because the people who've actually used it, like Rob Scoble, have been absolutely raving over it - and I don't think that's because they're still justifying the $1500 outlay to their spouses! The rest of us will have to sit and wait until we can test it for ourselves.
Will it be the Next Big Thing? Assuredly yes. Will it be a Google world? I don't think so. I think there will be a backlash against Google's monopoly on (and accumulation of) personal information through Glass: once Google has established a consumer need, rival products will flood the market. It will be interesting to see whether they overtake Google, or whether Google succeeds in "owning" the heads-up wearable computing space. It's all going to come down to quality of product, fit to market, and pricing.
Apple doesn't need another cock-up like the iOS 6 / Apple Maps débacle. Having someone who actually cares about creating good product, even if it takes a little while longer, in the driving seat is a good thing.
With hardware production, you have to pre-purchase components, reserve whole factories in advance, tool the casework machines, configure hardware pick-and-place component assemblers and gear up a production line. Delays cost fortunes, because the factory will still be charging you for the time the plant isn't making money elsewhere. If software is a little late, it's a lot less expensive. Production lines are much more generic and can be working on other products until the "gold master" is ready to press. If you're delivering electronically - which is far cheaper still - delays cost nearly nothing. Essentially, the costs of software delay are mainly deferred revenues.
Well done, Jony - seriously. Make it a good 'un, and let's see what Apple can do when its innovators are given the chance.
""I ask students what is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of intelligence. Invariably the answer is: 'James Bond.' This is a sad state of affairs. Not only is James Bond fictional, [...]"
So go on then, show us all what intelligence work is really like.
Oh, right. Official Secrets. Fair enough.
Back to Bond, then...
Re: Alcohol withdrawal?
If it's white (European), purple or crack willow, you're in luck. If it's black/pussy or weeping willow, not so much. The good news is that properly-prepared willow bark is often thought easier on the stomach than aspirin, and has some extra components that have similar properties to salicylates, and work together with them.
Re: destroying angel
A. virosa is hepatotoxic: that's to say, it destroys your liver. But that doesn't kill you immediately: it takes 7-14 days. Ironically, on the day after you've ingested it, you'll feel great: the so-called "false dawn", because if you haven't been put on the transplant list already, you've lost. Then it's a downhill slide through increasing levels of jaundice and delirium, to unconsciousness, and finally death.
So there'd be no problem with someone living long enough to give an opinion on the flavour of A. virosa - but you'd have to get an opinion in the first couple of days or so because, after that, your subject might be a little less coherent...
Do supermarkets in Spain follow their English counterparts, and throw out perfectly good food just because it's hit a fictional smell-by date?
This time of year, there's plenty of spring growth going on, probably some early mushrooms (if you don't know your mushies, do NOT try this at home!), fresh roadkill's usable, and you might just be able to rustle up some rabbit or similar. Wild herbs transform a meal, and they'll certainly boost your bone stew. (Possibly "bone" in the military sense...) For a free, fragrant tea, steep elderflowers - there's a chance they'll be out by now, where you are. And it's all free!
(Icon: forgaging for forgotten sugar/ketchup/... sachets in jacket pockets...never find one when I need it...)
I wish I could remember my login - I'd done some of the earliest articles!
""We've [...] offered our sincerest apologies as automated responses from banks should not appear on customer bills."
So what Virgin Media are really sorry about is having admitted that they knew why the bill wasn't paid. I don't see anything, anywhere, suggesting that they're going to stop charging dead people, just that they are embarrassed about being caught knowingly at it.
Re: Blindfold firmly secured? Let's go!
@Peter2 - if everyone had bought desktops at the same time, you might have had a point. But they haven't. Desktop replacement - IT equipment refresh in general - is a rolling process, and there's no reason to expect a sudden peak in desktop sales in five years' time, any more than there is in four, or three.
Quite the contrary: there's an increasing tendency amongst corporates to "big bang" transitions to "private cloud" virtual PCs, serving desktop thin clients and/or mobile computing devices, and that's where we're seeing sudden sales peaks, driven by an increasingly nomadic workforce that still needs access to corporate resources over VPN and secure client.
And workforces, far from being downsized, are increasing. In the past year, the number employed in the UK has increased by just under 500,000, with the trend generally upwards. [Source: Office for National Statistics] In general, the white-collar recruitment freezes of the past few years are being loosened by the companies that survived the financial crisis, and the startups are competing with them for recruits (as I know all too well). IT departments are having to make big decisions now, to accommodate the new arrivals, because the recycled kit from the previous departees is running out, or breaking down, and it's time to choose whether to continue down the old paths, or make a major transition now.
Re: Blindfold firmly secured? Let's go!
Not at all; I had MacBooks specifically in mind. The thing is: there may be a small migration from iPad ownership to MacBook Air ownership, but anyone who's starting out, or has been converted, by tablet use won't be hankering for a big, heavy laptop or a desktop. That's soooo last decade.
So malwarebytes ends up as malware.
An interesting turn in the market
(Declaration of interests: I've consulted for Citrix, and have a lot of friends there.)
I've felt for some time that Xen would be better fit as an independent product, with the likes of Citrix layering products, services and consultancy on top of it; becoming, in effect, clients of Xen rather than holding ownership. To me, this is a great move. Once Xen has been properly established in an independent development track, and the market, rather than a single company, has been shown to drive development, this could mark a renaissance, and a solid alternative to KVM and VMWare.
That first photo
Bill Gates was Paul Allen's ventriloquist dummy. Who knew?
My tablet curses anyone who steals it, too.
I've got an app for that. Well - I wrote an app for that, anyway.
The funny thing is...
...how often do these tape archives ever get read back onto disk?
So you might as well use /dev/null, because your short-term backup covers the critical stuff for disaster recovery, and the longer-term tape archive is just a waste of space and money.
I can't wait...
..for the first "anti-radiation" mobile phone case based on this technology. It might actually work, this time...unlike the poor signal-deprived phone....
Bit of a shame...
...that, for all the innovation being done at AdAstral Park the bean-counters in BT seem determined to eke the last penny out of the existing, fossilised infrastructure and to resist rolling out high-speed internet. A pattern we've seen ever since they tried to resist ADSL for as long as possible, in order to boost ISDN sales.
Polystyrene? Bubble wrap? Aerogel?
Someone hasn't thought about atmospheric pressure at altitude! Bubble wrap will pop, aerogel will deconstruct, and polystyrene will be useless, as its cells will rupture, evacuate the trapped air, and won't be a whole lot of use as an insulator!
Certainly has its uses
We fabricated component parts for the STRaND-1 satellite using a 3D printer: far cheaper and quicker than sending the specifications to an engineering lab. If you find you then need to alter the design, the turnaround time is unbeatable - seconds from saving the CAD file to starting the print.
I don't think that 3D printing is the be-all and end-all - the materials are limited for low-cost printers, and the resolution is a problem for now - but it's great for prototyping and small-run manufacturing. Will there be one in every home? Not until the technology matures, and perhaps not even then. But there's a big potential there, and a goodly-sized market gagging for improved, cheaper devices, and I'm certain that market will be fulfilled.
Ah. I see the mistake here.
You based your article on one from the Cambridge News website, that inarguably-accurate oracle of all things Cambridge.
Um, you might have spotted a little insincerity in those last comments... *grin*
"Do you even understand that it was not the casino's fault"
So remind me: whose lax security allowed the game to be gamed?
Re: No Laws Broken?
Except that Capital Gains Tax would probably be incurred, and Stamp Duty would be payable.
I like the analogy
...but it could do with extension. There are also cockroaches - virtual instances that keep spawning even when you think you've stamped on the last of the little b****rs.
Oh, and don't forget pigs: servers that eat data, whilst only ever outputting crap. And they eat. And eat. And eat. Eventually they either get culled or they die from their own obesity: either way, they only serve a useful purpose - being recycled into something tastier - after their demise.
What a great discussion to have on Red Nose Day...full marks to El Reg for bringing sysadmin dark comedy to the fore.
(Try working for a security-sensitive company and suggesting BYOD if you'd like a laugh!)
Elastic IP Address allocation
There's a lot made of the fact that Elastic IP Addresses (EIPAs) are released when an instance stops, dies, or is summarily killed off, but it's not that big a deal. If you're a heavy user, use CloudFormation to launch your instances, and include an EIPA allocation in the launch script. If you're a light (read: hobby or small business) user, create your own Amazon Machine Image (AMI) from a snapshot - it's pretty easy - of an EC2 instance that you've set to assign itself a named EIPA as it starts.
It's good practice to create your own AMIs (with auto-recovery built in) anyway, so that, if/when your EC2 instance terminates for whatever reason, it can be respawned automatically with no human intervention and little loss of service.
I'd love to "find something interesting to improve"...
...but I don't think Canonical would accept a patch that annihilated Unity and replaced it with a workspace that works nicely on a screen considerably bigger than a tablet's.
If they _really_ want to support a full range of devices, they could start by not forcing them all to behave like an Ubuntu wristwatch.
Only just joined VM...
...didn't expect to have to dump the SIM so soon. Fortunately, it''s just one a one-monther.
Re: Windows 8 is killing their laptop and desktop markets
I don't know where you got that figure. PC sales were down 8.3% in the 2012 holiday season alone (source: http://channelnomics.com/2013/03/06/pc-sales-tank-worse/). Google "windows 8 sales figures" for some somber reading for Microsoft executives.
Whilst you should be rightly chary of anecdotal evidence, I'll offer this: I'm a tech consultant working with a lot of very high-tech firms - and I don't know a single sysadmin who's planning to roll out Windows 8. The same people who couldn't get Windows 7 out there quickly enough simply don't see a business driver for Win8, and a lot of resistance.
My feeling, for right or wrong, is that the only significant Windows 8 sales happening at the moment are on new equipment where there's not a choice - and that Windows 8 is a brake on those sales, too. The figures seem to bear this out.
It could all have been handled so much better. If MS had made it easy to switch between a conventional, windowed desktop (needed for business) and the can't-call-it-Metro-anymore touch-style full-screen interface (great for tablets), Windows 8 could have been a great success, with customers choosing which environment they prefer. As it is, it was - in my opinion - botched by forcing the touch-style interface upon users, and MS are paying the price for that decision - literally. The number of web pages devoted to ways to revert Win8 to a Win7-style GUI speaks for itself, as does the number of web articles describing the slow uptake of what should have been a decent step-change improvement of a reasonably well-liked (Win7) OS.
It's really only a, fairly minor, extension of non-uniform memory architecture (NUMA). Don't forget that the processor doesn't need to "see" the flash as anything but a slowish RAM: you can use flash controllers to hide the complexities of block erases and rewrites. Cache RAM in front of the controller (plus a bit of power buffering and emergency-write circuitry to write back a "dirty" cache on power-down) presents a near-RAM-speed interface to the CPU .
That said, you would get performance improvements if the processor did operate the flash knowledgeably. It really just comes down to what your operating system can handle easily. Obviously, open-source or open kernel API OSes would be easier for hardware designers to adapt than closed systems like Windows, but I'm sure Microsoft already has allowances for non-volatile main memory somewhere: I just don't happen to know those APIs.
Windows 8 is killing their laptop and desktop markets
If consumers still had a choice between Windows 7 and Windows 8, there might be more movement in the market. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't see things that way: it's Windows 8 or the highway.
For corporates, Windows 8 is an answer begging a question. Who wants to carry the can for rolling out an upgrade to an OS that won't allow multiple document windows (the hint's in the name, guys!) on screen at a time? What's the point of those nice, new, high-resolution screens, with only one program showing at a time? Sysadmins would have to install a custom-rolled distribution with the "Metro" features disabled, and incur large expense for little benefit, and a lot of heartache.
Retail consumers view Windows 8 from a different perspective. They're chary of the unknown, aware of the increased hardware cost for Windows 8-compliant systems, and mindful of negative reviews and experiences.
Windows 8 or the highway? There's a big traffic jam, in the direction of tablet makers. By not really understanding their markets, and trying to brute-force them - no change there in 30 years, then - Microsoft appears to have inadvertently engineered the seeds of their own slow destruction. It's a shame: they've only just started to innovate properly, for the first time since forever, but it's too late, and too little, and often in the wrong directions. Apple's Mac line is also waning, but Microsoft-based new PC products are falling off a cliff.
I'm not entirely sure whose ideology...
...would be placated by hitting technology-education charities. Nor what an extortionist could hope to achieve. It just sounds like random, mindless vandalism to me.
Perhaps Anonymous might like to try to winnow out who was responsible, and give them the Good News instead. It's the sort of thing the Anons are good at...and it would certainly fit /their/ ideology to do that.
Quark are keeping a watching eye on Linux (see thread in http://forums.quark.com/t/24106.aspx), but it's clear they don't yet see a market there. However, it would be nice if they could at least look into resolving the incompatibilities with WINE, so that Linux users could run it semi-natively without Quark having to do a full port. I'm sure it wouldn't be a huge expense for Quark, and it would generate a lot of goodwill - not to mention first-market advantage in commercial publishing software for Linux.
Have you raised that possibility with Quark?
I replaced the head-crashed hard disk in my daughter's reasonably new laptop with an SSD. From being fairly sluggardly (but light), it's now almost as responsive as my SSD-powered Zenbook. But that's still a long way from what's possible.
Firms like Steve Wozniak's Fusion-IO "got it" early: we don't need flash memory that pretends to be a hard disk, we need flash memory (or, better still, next-generation magnetoresistive or resistive RAM) coupled directly to the processor bus. RAM-speed reads, fast writes - in the case of (M)RRAM, near-RAM-speed writes with no "write wear" - and much lower power consumption.
I've argued it since the late 80s: moving-parts memory belongs in the same places as those who once invented it - retirement and (sorry) fond memories.
The most interesting question is...
...whether the comet that seeded life on Earth - if one did - contained life to begin with, from some other body. The sooner we can get decent comet samples back down to Earth for detailed forensics the better!