* Posts by TheOtherHobbes

1028 posts • joined 15 Feb 2012

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Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Indeed :(

"Then they might have been able to afford to pay their staff more."

But why would anyone want to do that? [confused]

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Another day, ANOTHER Windows 10 build for us Insiders

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Interesting wallpaper

"A new dawn" or "On the rocks"?

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SEX-starved worm can GIVE HEAD to ITSELF to reproduce

TheOtherHobbes
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Does it work for Microsoft?

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Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: The Purpose of Government.

>Anyone with memories of the old broken rail will know why there was an attempt to privatise the mess in the hope that it might start to run trains and not just be a job centre annex.

No, that's completely false. BR ran apprenticeships, had some reasonably competent and experienced management - enough to produce a world-class train like the 125 - and also had the engineering and manufacturing skills to keep railway traffic growing and affordable.

What it didn't have was money. Successive - mostly Tory - governments were ideologically opposed to public transport, and so BR was systematically starved of cash from Beeching onwards.

The executive summary is that after privatisation rail has consistently received far more in public subsidy than nationalised rail ever received while also making rail travel more expensive by at least a couple of orders of magnitude and simultaneously failing to make significant long term investment in track quality.

In no rational universe can this be considered a success - except for the shareholders of the various companies and banks associated with private rail, who have mostly done very nicely out of it.

Which is the problem with privatisation: companies don't compete for customers by providing better goods and cheaper services, they compete for shareholder cash and fall over themselves to provide the best returns possible.

Paying customers are at the bottom of this scrum, not at the top of it. Now, if you're going to ask if private companies can consistently provide better service quality than public companies, the evidence is very mixed, and it's near impossible to compare like for like - precisely because government funding itself magically seems to improve as soon as a company is privatised. Suddenly Westminster discovers a peculiar desire to throw cash at private corporations which was oddly absent when the companies were state-owned.

Obviously, this makes a nonsense of any claim that privatisation is "better" in some absolute sense on any metric you care to choose.

And when you're dealing with critical infrastructure and affordability criteria for use of same, it's clear that privatisation in the UK and private quasi-monopolies in the US both are famous for an incredibly poor delivery record.

While some countries have been investing heavily in broadband, the UK is only just getting around to the idea that maybe rural broadband of more than 1MB/s might be a good thing.

What's missing from the privatised view is any concept of nationally critical strategic investment. Private companies simply don't have the brains to think on that scale. The better national governments - which largely excludes the UK - most certainly do.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Hmm, the logical consequence is...

>So essentially what Capita is doing is to start a program to lower the quality of their services.

At what point does the limbo factor become negative?

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Apple's iPhone 7 to come loaded with depth-sensing camera, supply chain spies claim

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Two cams?

>Most of us do okay with two eyes…

But for best results you really need all three.

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Microsoft's magic hurts: Nadella signals 'tough choices' on the way

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: WinPho not doing better than before?

>WinPho is becoming the betamax of smartphones.

The Edsel of smartphones, surely?

So MS crashes out of the phone market, the Nokia brand reverts to Nokia, Nokia rehires some percentage of the devs who were put through the MS meatgrinder, and after all the smoke has cleared MS has wasted $$$$$$ for absolutely nothing.

No wonder Elop is out.

MS should just give up on mobile and turn itself into an enterprise and R&D company.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "a brave person who said that HRA has no audible benefits"

Just because something says SACD or DVD-A on the label doesn't mean it was mastered as high-res audio.

Back in the early days of vinyl, I know for a fact that some CD masters were recorded from vinyl copies.

Record companies tend to be cheap and nasty, and the likelihood they'd consistently make a special effort to get the very best from high-res media isn't high.

At the very least I'd have wanted to see some word length analysis to check that the supposed high-res content was actually there in the first place.

A more realistic test would be to record high-res audio with a clean signal path to master recorder, and then run that through the A/D/A system.

As someone who has spent a lot of time listening to converters, I find it amazing that it's apparently impossible to hear the effects of a mid-price A/D/A converter at all, never mind the source. Unless you're in the professional bracket (PrismSound, etc) most converters really don't sound that transparent. And I know from experience that the difference between a 24-bit master and a downsampled 16-bit master is absolutely and reliably audible.

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Guy puts 1990s MacOS 7 on an Apple Watch – without jailbreaking it

TheOtherHobbes
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>lucky the aliens' ships were Mac compatible

Of course they were. The clue was the shape.

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Tim Worstall dances to victory over resources scaremongerers

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Duplicitous

Only if you pay the market rate,

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

TheOtherHobbes
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>tins of Spam tend to be square

IME they tend to have rounded corners.

It's incredible Apple allows them to continue this blatant patent infringement.

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Taylor Swift boycotts Apple Music over no-pay-for-plays shocker

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Lend the participating artists an iPhone for free for 3 months

Something along those lines would have generated incredible positive PR for Apple.

Cook is tone deaf when it comes to PR. He gives everyone a U2 album they don't want, he invents this "Music" service, because, er, reasons, or something. he commits Apple to a watch no one really wants, and he expects creative people to supply content for his free trial without bothering to ask them.

This will not end well. It may take a while to get there, but the future is not looking rosy.

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BOOM! Stephen Elop shuffled out of Microsoft door

TheOtherHobbes
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>Does anyone have any platforms that need burning?

HP could be hiring.

Or Network Rail.

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Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: There are no...

I'm sure MS has some talented developers. What it doesn't have is competent management.

I think that's close to the real explanation - the acquisitions were made by clueless people who have no idea what they're doing, or why.

Product X looks sort-of-competitive to something MS already makes, so MS buys it.

Why? Not because it's great. Not because it has a future. Not because it has incredible market presence or the most amazing management team this side of a combined Tesla-Edison-Brunel startup.

But because on Planet MS, it's better than what's happening in-house, and Corp Dev need to justify their existence.

So.

MS has become the IT equivalent of that joke about Stephen Fry - a stupid person's idea of a clever software company.

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Swordfish fatally stabs man after man stabs, fatally, swordfish

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Rational?

"NATURE? I spit in the face of...... Ow! [thud]"

Yeah. That.

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Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Nobody knows anything

Not really a surprise that Worstall gets the author of Lord of the Flies confused with the writer of The Princess Bride.

For a more thoughtful and informative view of why the industry is having problems - written by someone who actually knows something about what's been going on and isn't just pontificating from ignorant distance because they have a column to write - see here:

SIGGRAPH - what's wrong with the VFX industry.

The real reasons are distorting tax breaks, short-term management thinking, a certain amount of art for art's sake, and poor negotiating skills.

Hand-wavey supply and demand innit is neither a sufficient nor a required cause.

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Adult FriendFinder hack EXPOSES MEELLIONS of MEMBERS

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: delightful

>And please don't tell me they have NOT copied that leaked database!

They probably set up AFF in the first place.

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A good effort, if a bit odd: Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 2

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: The Pi needs windows

>Pi was introduced because school CS classes became "a click on icon in Word" exercise

Pi was introduced to sell bucketloads of Broadcom SOCs. End of. It's been very good at that.

But once you peer past the hype, it's a terrible computer for schools. Set-up is a nightmare, the Linux desktop is a joke compared to a real computer (browse the web? I'll come back in an hour after that page has loaded) and the fun stuff - like Scratch - runs better online anyway.

It's true some people think Linux is "real computing", but teaching 8 year olds about file permissions and the difference between /bin and /sbin - which they have to know to do anything non-trivial - isn't any sane person's idea of fun.

The Pi could have been so much more. It could have come with a preinstalled web server and database which just worked, so ten year olds didn't have to dick around with apt-get to install Nginx and PHP and MySQL just to put up a web page.

It could have had some kind of useful IDE and dev environment built in (something better than IDLE - which wouldn't be hard).

It could have had some actual thought put into it.

Instead it was pushed out the door on some kind of weird nostalgia nerdgasm wave (see also, TV adaptor) packed full of exactly the wrong kind of Linux shovelware, capturing none of the ease of use and graded learning that made the original 8-bit micros so brilliant.

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Apple announces 'Home' iOS 9 app to run the Internet of Stuff

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: oh £100 light bulbs with that special glow

>And at 2:14 a.m., EDT, on August 29, it gained self-awareness ...

And lo - there was toast and house music for all.

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Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

TheOtherHobbes
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>However, the rest of the pitch is, as I compared it with last time, something out of the South Sea Bubble.

Well, duh.

The point of something like this isn't to make something that works, it's to part Greater Fools of all stripes - including VCs - from their cash.

Considering the number of ASIC vendors who never deliver, and the number of BitCoin exchanges which inexplicably "lose" some of the BitCoins they're supposed to be holding, this is just a variation on the same old scams with some extra lipstick to tempt the Butchers of Sandhill Road.

It might even work. My guess is not because it's on the obvious side, even for a startup.

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Backwaters in rural England getting non-BT gigabit broadband

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Gigabit home internet? Crikey!

It translates to "Internet that just works" - multiple video, music streaming, games, Skype/Facetime/Whatever, small business home hosting if you're that way inclined, all working at the same time without congestion.

And most people won't use anything close to the full speed limit, so it should stay robust for a while.

Where I live BT and the local council are only just getting around to considering the fact they don't want to upgrade the village from the current <1.5MBps "broadband" because greed and stupidity.

So if this telco-in-waiting wants to expand south and west a bit, they'll find a lot of customers.

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You say you want a musical revolution. Actually, have three

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Music, But Not To My Ears.

>For those who want less music in their music.

Try academic electronic music - no harmony, no melody, no rhythm, no audience.

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Human rights aren't EU

>This is sophistry.

Does Timmy ever offer anything else? This is the man who believes economists keep governments honest, because economists never say stupid things.

Anyway - as a digital trader, I'm thrilled by the idea of having to deal with a whole new set of tariffs and exclusions just to be able to sell stuff to a country less than twenty five miles away.

Of course someone like Tim who specialises in buying and selling stuff that has be handled carefully to stop it poisoning people isn't going to be too happy about all those terrible safety requirements.

But what about those of us who already sell to clients in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, and the rest? Suddenly the shutters come down and we find that - against all reasonable expectation - the UK market on its own is a poor substitute, and the US market has miles of red tape to keep foreign nationals from setting up there. (Delaware LLC? Easy. US bank account? Ha ha ha forget it.)

And then there are the implications for roaming charges. VPNs. The extra paperwork needed to ship physical stuff. Visa problems with travel. And so on.

It's strange that someone like Tim, who's such a fan of markets (he says) would be so hostile to the benefits of a huge market on the doorstep.

Anyway, I doubt it will be happen - not just because it would be incredibly stupid and financially suicidal (never been a problem for Tory economics, that) but because a lot of Tory grandees make a ton of free cash from Common Agricultural Policy handouts, and they're going to be really unhappy about losing those.

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VOTERS! This Election: Vote #Smart, Vote #Digital

TheOtherHobbes
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>what I want are working email addresses for government departments

Er - why do you think they want to get email from you?

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Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "By definition we couldn't"

>I can easily imagine a human with a brain that has been hijacked or damaged to remove certain modes of thinking or block ideas.

You don't need to imagine this - it's quite common.

>The human brain is just a machine,

Not proven. Won't be proven unless we start making machines with similar properties.

But I agree with the criticisms - Bostrom's insights are trite and not very interesting. Real AI is likely to be much more challenging than a giant paperclip bot.

For example - imagine an AI with deep insight into human psychology, and the best social and political skills in history.

There's far more power in persuasion than there is in a giant paperclip factory.

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Apple Watch HATES tattoos: Inky pink sinks rinky-dink sensor

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Won't Work [on] Hipster[s]

Forget the Hipsters - will it work on black or brown people?

Because - you know - it would be just a tiny bit embarrassing if it didn't.

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Hardly a bug, is it...

>The issue here is more around if Apple know / knew about this issue before his purchase

Big visible tats aren't likely to be an Apple employee thing, are they? Everyone in the ads is super-clean and oh-so-shiny, so I'll bet no one at Cupertino even considered the ink problem.

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Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "if you're worried about longevity in overpriced consumer tech, you're in the wrong market."

>I see no reason for smart watches at all.

At half the thickness, ten times the battery life, half the cost and enough processing power for good speech recognition I could see some reasons.

But this is just a dumbed down overweight iPod nano with the music removed.

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Tesco broadband goes TITSUP, world keeps turning on wobbly-wheeled trolley

TheOtherHobbes
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With a £6.4bn loss for the year, they probably can't even afford a BT account.

Or a packet of biscuits.

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Flying giant octopus menaces New York

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Buffalo burghers

>to 50kg of calamari.

It's a trap!

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Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Don't they know anything?

>What do you mean, Star Trek isn't real?

It is real.

It's just not real yet.

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Make up your mind: Microsoft puts a bullet in Internet Explorer after all

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Well that was clear as mud

They're not that great at software, either. (Allegedly.)

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Standard General bids to save RadioShack from oblivion

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Next

Yep. The Maker Nerdgasm market isn't anywhere close to big enough to keep a big retail chain going.

AdaFruit and SparkFun are doing fine at mail order, and they have more technical smarts too.

How many people need an Arduino board right this second - for values that don't include "Actually next day is fine, thanks."

Electronic clubs would help, but not enough, I think. The interest among most of the population just isn't there. It's nowhere close to the levels of the 70s/80s when electronic DIY was serious bizness, and you could make real money from a store selling 555s/Z80s/74xx to spotty virgin teens/middle-aged men.

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Google Glass DIED from TOO MUCH ATTENTION, Captain Moonshot admits

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: He missed the main problem...

It wasn't a stupid idea. It was a badly executed idea.

AR glasses are fine. AR glasses with a camera that record you without your permission are less fine.

Glass was Google's Newton moment. The idea is maybe 10-15 years ahead of the available technology.

And unlike Newton, there are a lot of privacy issues and other legalities to consider.

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

TheOtherHobbes
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As a lot of City men keep finding the hard way, shagging gold diggers is rarely a good investment.

What's less obvious to these City men is that only a minority of women are gold diggers. But they don't have the social skills to deal with them, so they never quite work this out.

As for Apple - the blingo-watch has cheapened the brand and moved it out of the "affordable mass-market luxury" market Apple used to dominate, into the "fuck you if you're poor" fashionista narcissist market.

That's an idiot move. They're poking their mainstream customers in the eye while not making it into the luxury Veblen space the exclusive hyper-bling brands live in.

$17k is a lot, but it's still sort-of affordable-ish, in a not-really economic uncanny valley kind of a way.

The Veblen-smart move would have been to make a very limited edition blingowatch out of the most exotic and expensive materials possible, and sold it to a mere handful of slebs for seven figures.

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A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

TheOtherHobbes
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>Never forget that the ideal Apple computer is powered by your adoring gaze and your friends' envy.

Eventually there will be no sockets.

Then the MacBook itself will start to become transparent. Soon, only the screen will continue to levitate in space - disembodied, wireless, cloudy, a serene slab of glass and metal floating effortlessly above the turbulent surface of valley life, displaying infinite views of brightly coloured smiling people enjoying their lives so very, very much.

Soon, even that will start to disappear.

Eventually there will be just the faintest ghost of a design idea.

No case. No screen. No keyboard. No denim. No turtleneck. Just a barely audible sigh that sounds like a cross between 'Jony...', Japanese rain on apple blossoms, and a really annoying 1950s telephone.

Perfection will have been attained.

The day after that, the Borg ships will land.

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Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Apple Pay?

I'm guessing the phone has the NFC credentials, so the watch on its own won't do much.

But that just means you have to steal the phone, the watch, and a finger, I guess.

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TheOtherHobbes
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>18 hours = all day

I always suspected Apple lives on another planet.

Now I know it's true - one that spins much faster than Earth does.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: In the news over the weekend...

>"We've doing this because of the overwhelming demand from the consumer..."

S'true. It's just that you're not the consumer they mean.

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Slough isn't fit for humans now, says Amazon. We're going to Shoreditch

TheOtherHobbes
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>Were there any "sweeteners" on offer

At a guess, moving out of Slough would have been very close to the top of the list.

It's completely lacking the breakfast pop-ups, microbreweries, owl cafes, and hipster beard management boutiques that make Shoreditch such a creative hub.

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OK, they're not ROBOT BUTLERS, but Internet of Home 'Things' are getting smarter

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: This is just stupid

Don't worry - The Internet of Brains is up next.

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World’s oldest IT dining society breaks into the House of Lords

TheOtherHobbes
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Will !Lord #Bong be there.

I'm only going if he is.

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How many Androids does it take to change a light bulb?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Uh-oh

>Does this mean I'm now going to be called upon for more free tech-help from friends/family when they start buying device-controlled lights?

Doubt it. Not expecting these to be strong sellers. Most people are just fine with switches and (maybe...) dimmers.

There's an obvious security application, but I'm not sure current products have worked that out yet.

I suppose eventually you'll have light that follows you around and/or responds to voice commands. But you'll need something a bit cleverer than an app with a couple of buttons and sliders for that.

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I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

TheOtherHobbes
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Or maybe Roomba - picking up trivia, going around in circles, and always giving itself a plug.

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

TheOtherHobbes
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Then why not just make the changes in Word and use Scrivener for note keeping and overview?

Honestly, it's not that hard to do a final pass like this.

I know everyone hates Wurd, because it's a pile of donkey crap with a cursor and a ribbon.

Even so. Less drama, eh?

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: @John Robinson

>They track changes on texts.

Not in the way Word does. Track Changes doesn't mean "find the diffs and blames", it means "show all editorial comments in a different style, show content diffs, and get rid of everything except the final raw copy when editing is done."

You could probably hack together a script to do it, but only insane people try to write a book using a code IDE.

(Actually I believe some tech publishers use a tech workflow and will accept copy in - e.g. - MD, but that won't work for most writers.)

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Don't touch me up there! Photoshop creator appeals for 'ethical' use

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Defending Subsrcriptions

>The current subscription model is the ONLY way i could afford to 'own' all these products.

You mean 'afford to rent', surely?

Adobe could just make a full CS licence and/or individual products much cheaper.

They could also fix the scanning in PS for Mac so it works properly. Currently it doesn't, and hasn't for a while.

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Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: What a load of rubbish...

Let us know how it works out for you, eh?

I'm sure Mr Worsted has every confidence that HMRC will apply the same rules fairly and without bias or prejudice.

The fact that there are various revolving doors between the big accountancy firms who manage this kind of thing for the BigCorps, and the Treasury, and HMRC, is entirely coincidental, and in no way relevant to - hey, derp, look at this shiiiiiiny penny!

As is the fact that HMRC's senior team have been caught lying and red-handed by the HSBC story.

Although I'm sure we all expect that to be a one-off - of course.

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ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Nah, we're safe

>strut around wearing silly antennae making bepp-beep noises

Basic level.

Advanced level is inventing and running social media websites to emotionally scar the natives.

(I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide if that includes El Reg.)

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Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I can see how would work

You can pretty much just skip to that last step.

But it's Risky Bizness. Some of those investors will have resources.

Having a few hundred million is going to help avoid those resources for a while. But it's not going to be a quiet and relaxed rest-of-life, however long it is.

On the upside it's less dangerous than making off with Swiss tax secrets. (Probably.)

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