This will end in tears
What a disaster waiting to happen. This is not going to be pretty.
243 posts • joined 8 Apr 2012
What a disaster waiting to happen. This is not going to be pretty.
It's not the few cents worth of "international fee" that bothers me so much as the damn administrative overhead at my end. Yes, it's only one more transaction to buggerise about with when you reconcile your statements, but it's one extra every damn month. With four or five subscriptions (one to Adobe for Photoslug, various others for other things) all of a sudden you have around 100 extra transactions to record, classify, make typos entering, forget to enter, double-count, any other trivial mistake you can make at the end of a long day when you really don't feel like reconciling bank statements, and you only bought four or five products.
Some of these subscription products you can arrange to pay once a year in a lump sum, others you can't, and others you probably could but you quail at the thought of ringing/emailing customer service and just don't bother. It all takes time. I'd actually pay a little extra if I could have one single transaction once a year to cover the whole thing, just for the convenience.
(And yes, I could use one of those services which auto-read bank statements into an accounting package, but that's a whole different can of worms I'm not going to open.)
Lots of Windows users here, you know, and most of us (or at least the more intelligent ones) are pretty good at spotting the howling errors Windows is notorious for.
So who don''t we all switch to 'nix? Lots of reasons. Many of us depend on a must-have application which isn't practical on anything bar Windows or (in possibly Mac in some cases); others need to keep their Windows skillls current for professional reasons; others again are restricted by company policies, and so on.And there are things Windows does better; some of us like that.
Yes, there are a few Linux fanatics that post here, and yes they can be a bit tiresome now and then, but the vast majoritty are sensible, knowledgable, and friendly.
In fact, most of the Windows criticisms here (and elsewhere) come from Windows users. Windows users know Windows far better than non-users after all, and it's not as if there is any shortage of Windows mistakes to grumble about - especially these days since Microsoft has (a) finally worked out how to make the mission-critical function work properly most of the time, and (b) totally lost the plot when it comes to understanding users and treating usability as if it matterred.
Gibberish. Try posting in a known language, such as English.
Maybe WD's drive cloning software will actually work on these nerw models now.
(It refuses to work on Sandisk-branded drives, even though the box proudly says "A Western Digital company". This was annoying enough to make certain that I'll return to Samsung SSDs next time.Damn shame you can't get Samsung spinning rust anymore. They weren't quick but their reliability was fantastic, and nobody buys rust for speed anyway.)
This is not the case, Pompous Git.
The Snowtown wind farms in the north of the state started reducing output (shutting down individual turbines, one by one) because of the extreme wind force well before the blackout and had already restarted by the time the towers blew over. Snowtown started reducing output at 3:50pm. Wind speed there peaked at 3:58pm. Shortly after 4, Snowtown was back in business and ramping up towards full power.
The outage did not began until 4:18.
When wind farms shut down, they do so on an individul, tower by tower basis. An entire wind farm doesn't suddenly shut off in an instant, still less two completely different ones a long way apart.
The outage itself was, given the tornadoes that took the towers down, pretty much inevitable.
The real mystery is (a) why it took so long to get restarted, and (b) why much of the state's gas generation capacity was left idle right through the main part of the outage. (SA has enough gas generation, remember, to power the whole state without any help from South Australian wind, Victorian coal, Tasmanian hydro, or solar. The reason gas generation doesn't operate all the time, of course, is that it costs more than wind, solar, coal or hydro. They switch gas plants off when they don't expect to want the power.
The questions we need to be asking are (a) why, given the known extreme weather on the way, was there no extra capacity on standby? And (b) why was it that two different large South Australian gas generators, both supposedly black-start-capable, were unable to restart in a timely manner and get the lights back on?
(As a matter of background, it is normal for most power stations to require power to enable start-up. They need to do things like run cooling pumps and control electronics before they can start generating. It is also normal for a power network to have two or three designated "black start" generators, any one of which can provide its own start-up power and thus be the first one back online, this enabling the other (non-black-start capable) stations to start up in their turn. The designated South Australian black start stations failed, and the outage went on for many hours as a result.)
An absurd inability to plan proper redundant systems seems to be an area of genuiine Aussie expertise.
You remind me of the notorious 20-day gas supply failure for the entire state of Victoria in 1998, which was all caused by the failure of a single oil.pump, which led to a fire at the Number 1 gas plant.
No problem there, right? The system planners had intelligently built three independent gas plants, any one of which could (at a pinch) supply the whole state. They had also decided that it would be cheaper and easier to build all three independent gas plants side-by-side on the same block of land.
Result: when #1 Plant blew up, it took out #2 Plant and #3 Plant as well, and the entire state ground to a halt for three weeks. No heating, no hot water, no cooking, and in many cases no job to go to even if you could cook breakfast and get clean enough for it.
(And yep, I can't possibly lock myself out of the house. I have two spare keys. 100% safe. Look - there they are - right here on my keyring.)
Yes. More to the point, the question is misleading about the difference between the two schemes. It says the all-fibre scheme:
* Would have taken longer (correct)
* Been faster (technically correct but rather misleading insofar as the hybrid scheme is amply fast for most users and will remain so for quite a few years. In practical reality, speed is and will be almost identical for 95%+ of users until the copper components need replacement in around 10 years, give or take.)
* Cost more. (False. The hybrid scheme is only slightluy cheaper up front, and that only because it leaves most of the work undone, or skimps on it by using outdated technology. But the overall cost of the hybrid scheme is far higher as most of it will have to be done again in a decade or so. The TOTAL cost of the hybrid scheme will be in the order of 50% to 100% more than the fibre scheme.)
* Last much longer. (Obviously true but the question mysteriously failed to mention it!)
Yep. I have that gift. Computers like me. Back when I used to have a bigger place with hot and cold running staff, the lads in the workshop used to troubleshoot intermittent hardware problems they could not duplicate by sending me outside to stand on the footpath with a cuppa because they swore black and blue that the bloody things wouldn't go wrong if I was in the building. True story! I never used to mind that, except when it was cold and raining.
But my little gift only works with computers. Don't ask me about bloody lawnmowers. :(
Just so. But that straight-through / null modem / gender changer mess had serious consequences. Equipped with a gender bender, any slightly intelligent user who didn't know better could figure out all by himself that all he needed to do to get the parallel cable to fit into the serial port correctly was connect the gender changer. Worked first time every time. (Assuming that by "worked" we mean "let the smoke out", of course.)
And then there were those DB-9 monitor connectors (back before 15-pin VGA became universal). They were fine, nothing else would fit in them .... until modern 9-pin serial ports started replacing the old DB-25 style and instead of blowing up $25 serial ports by plugging them into $200 parallel printers, we could blow up $500 monotors by plugging them into serial ports.(Or was it the ports that blew up. Can't remember now.)
Anyway, I used to teach people that the only thing you needed to know about using gender changers is don't.
Which brings me to the ridiculous visual similarity of HDMI ports on laptops and USB ones. Right next to each other too, and every damn thing is (a) out of sight under the stupid curve in the laptop case edge, and (b) black on black. Haven't managed to blow anything up that way yet, but there is always hope.
If you really are going to do it again, that's fine. Just one thing: you have to do it right. You have no excuses.
IPv6: networking's answer to Windows Vista and XHTML. Older than both, as it happens. Sadly, while Vista and XHTML have both failed and been long forgotten, IPv6 has failed and yet we seem to be stuck with it forever.
Australiand don't "moon". Ever. Australians "flash a browneye".
Only Americans moon. (Possiily citizens of other places too; I wouldn't know about that.) Australians flash a browneye. Get it right.
(Yes, yes, the Act quaintly bowderises the normal term and substitutes a foreign term, presumably in the hope that eaisily-shocked Victiorians won't know what it means if it's written in the American dialect instead of the native tongue. This reminds me of the Victorian (era not state) practice of expressing any passage which was even slightly racy in Latin. So ... er ... what is the Latin for "flashing a browneye?" For some reason tmy classical education seemed to omit that useful term.)
Just so. Compare with the 1980s direct equivalent of a USB stick, the floppy disc. With a floppy, the interface between drive and system was simple, and being so simple, was dead easy to secure and trust.
In this instance, you simply typed "format a:" before attempting to read the drive. 100% success rate.
If you wanted to write-protect a disc, there was a physical switch. Flip that switch and no electronic tricks could get around it. (Hacking the mechanics of the disc drive would work, but that is a physical attack.)
Simple is good.
"You want a crackerjack WWII naval film, watch Tora! Tora! Tora!. Midway wasn't half bad, either."
Or just watch one of them. It's the same footage.
(Yes, really. Making the second one - from memory it was Midway - they saved some money by re-using footage from the earlier one, and not just outtakes. Apparently there are good slabs of film just grafted straight in, presumably because they thought no-one would notice.)
"it deluded itself into believing that excited press coverage was as good as profit margin"
Gosh! Now where have I seen that done before? Don't tell me, jet me guess.
Err .. was it 8921 other brainless startups?
There is no evidence presented here that the program was in any way partisan. While there are, of course, isolated urban blackspots, the vast majority of area without coverage is, of course, in rural districts. Off the top of my head I can't think of any genuine rural electorate which not a rusted-on conservative stronghold.Is there even one rural seat held by Labor or the Greens? I don't think so. Given that, you would expect something like 90 or 95% of the funding to go to government-held seats, which is exactly what happened. On this evidence, there is nothing to see here, move along please.
* Note 1: I'm not saying it wasn't partisan. Indeed, if it was fair it might just have qualified as the first and only program this notoriously unfair, mean-spirited, revenge-obsessed and very partisan government has ever run. (Well, possibly the second such. Doubtless there is at least one other. Somewhere. I can't actually think of one, but I admit the possibility.) I'm simply making the point that no evidence has been presented here to show that the black spot program was in any way partisan.
Note 2: We should, however, consider the various rural independents. From memory, during the period under consideration there were two: Bob Katter in Queensand and Cathi McGowan in Victoria. You would expect that their electorates would be, on technical grounds, just as deserving of network expansion as the various surrounding (mostly) National-held electorates. Did those two get their fair share? Or were they punished for not voting Coalition? (As, in fact, outed Liberal Sophie Mirabella claimed had happened with health spending in Benalla because she wasn't there to fill the pork barrel. Not that you'd want to take anything Mirabela says as truth, of course.)
This is your plan to rejuvenate the tourism industry then.
"Actually, Australia is moving at about 7cm a year, which is about double the rate of fingernail growth."
Actually, he said fingernails. Plural. So, taking the conservatibe view that the plural indicates two rather than some larger number, 7cm a year woud be about right.
(Just stand there for a year with your arms outstretched and your fingers pointing in opposite directions.)
(Try not to scratch.)
Well, that's the problem with Android, isn't it. No hosts file, at least not in the sense of something that you, the owner of the device, is able to control. It's seriously bad design. (Deliberately so, one presumes.)
(Disclosure: no axe to grind here, I understand that Apple kit is as bad or worse in this regard.)
Steady on there chaps. What's actually wrong with storing things in some murky overseas system beyond the reach of Australian law that most voters have never heard of anyway? After all, Mal happily trusts all those millions to a repository somewhere in the Cayman Islands so he should know. What could possibly go wrong?
"Bucky 2 - "You have to have morals to claim the moral high ground".
^ What is there left to say after this? Nailed the whole issue in one short sentence.
People aren't stupid, you know. They read the article, and the article is at pains to say that Firefox will redirect 404s to the archive. It does not, repeat does not, bother to make it clear that (according to various grumpy comments above which I have no reason to disbelieve) this isn't a redirect at all but a glorified error page that offers to serve the archive page instead. (A very different - and much more sensible - thing.)
Subject to who you are and how plausible your message is, people tend to believe things you tell them. When you are a writer for the Register, we tend to think you probably know your stuff and take it at face value. (Stand aside one loopy science malreporter, of course.) When what you write seems plausible (e.g., when you suggest that Mozilla management have come up with an ill-considered "improvement" of dubious value - just to pick an example completely at random), people tend to believe it.
In short, don't bloody criticise people for posting perfectly sensible responses to the (you would have thought) trustworthy news they read. Instead, criticise the highly misleading, headline-chasing article they are responding to.
Thankyou, Mr Grumpy and your friends, for pointing out that Mozilla haven't been as stupid (this time) as the article makes them out to be. (Assuming you have your facts right, of course, which I am happy to do.) No thanks for the manner in which you did so.
Oengus - "If I remember rightly ANZAC was 25 April 1915. What does our prime minister need assistance with for something that was over a year ago?"
What do you mean more than a year ago? This is a government stuck in the 1950s after all. There is plenty of time before the 21st Century starts.
I don't think it's just marketing that keeps 'nix off the desktop and Wiindows on it.I think people ignore a whole list of showstopper can't-run-X-on-'nix issues. That list of showstoppers includes things like Photoshop and Lightroom, popular accounting packages, and so on. It used to include a zillion games and the Microsoft Office package, but the games situation has improved a lot, and Microsoft's Office is gradually becoming a bit irrelevant because the alternatives are often just as good if not better. Nevertheless, until we have key applications like Photoshop on Linux, Windows is fairly safe.
Does Microsoft know this? Is there any concerted push by MS to ensure (for example) that Adobe doesn't port its applications to Nix?
It is quite absurd to walk around pretending that Win 10 is faster than 8.x. 8.x had a factory user inferface even worse than 10's, of course, but Classic Shell fixes that and it installs in less time than it takes Cortana (or whatever it is that they call that crud on the start bar) to start up and do anything.
But to be fair, taken as a whole, 10 is better.
Better than Vista, anyway.
The fact that this turkey can talk about "increasing customer delight with Windows" says it all, really. Sure, it's not uncommon for a sales droid to be a litte out of touch with reality, but anyone who says that about the way people interact with Windows is, frankly, hopelessly confused.
"Who remembers when subliminal ads were banned?"
Don't remember it at all. Escaped my consciousness. Must have been a subliminal ban.
Roj Blake asked "How many Americans have been killed by terrorists this year? Less than 50 is my guess."
That depends on what you mean by "terrorists". If you mean armed gangs who perform mindless acts of random murder with no discernable purpose other than to kill some people and make the other ones scared and traumatised (which seems like a pretty fair working definition of terrorism to me), then the answer is 506 and counting.
PDFExchange for me. Small, fast, flexible, no junkware. Probably misses out on 1017 "must have" features I have never heard of and don't want.
I junked Foxit years ago. For a one-time small, good PDF reader, Foxit has done a wonderful job of turning itself into a great, bloated pile of (unpleasant substance).
Gosh darn it, why doesn't anybody recognise the outstanding value of this package? It has five key advantages:
Useful to the client base
Developed for purpose
"Actually, half the country has a below-MEDIAN IQ. #math"
Actually, IQ has a symmetrical normal distribution with a mean of 100 and a standard deviaton of 15. Always. In every population. because that's how it is defined. As with all such distributions, the median is equal to the mean. (And to the mode, for that matter.)
PS: learn how to spell "maths".
They will certainly be better at running the Giant Wholesale Schmozzlemeisters than whoever the current mob is. Well, they couldn't really be a lot worse.
Ingram Micro: for when you want a verdor that does wholesaling nearly as well as Adobe does security.
@Nick Kew "Google can see if you return to its results page and try another link after 30 secs" and uses this to help adjust its rankings - sites people hand around longer on get upranked..
Now that raises an interesting point. (Slightly off-topic, but this is The Register after all.) Let's assume that Google is quite good at measuring the length of your visits that way (which shouldn't be too difficult). Well, it should work well for people who habitually use only a single browser window and seldom make use of tabs.
But what about those among us who habitually open most things in new tabs? There are quite a few of us (particularly amongst more technically inclined communites, such as this one) who will typically search on a phrase and then open as many links in background tabs as seems sensible before flipping over to read them or (if they don't have what you want) discard them.
Google has no way to tell how long we spend on those pages.
Well, it has lots and lots of ways, starting with their damn analytics webspam. I suppose the question is (a) how extensive and smart is their linking of these different information sources? and (b) should I go out and buy a tin foil hat before asking (a)?
Any consumer protection law covers this.
(If you have something called "consumer protection law" in your jurisdiction and it doesn't even cover a basic "goods faulty, refund or replacement required" situation like this one, then it isn't a consumer protection law at all.)
Back to the future indeed! This is exactly how sleep mode worked on Windows 95 and 98.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Why were Telstra modems and routers resetting themselves at all? Surely this is not something that a real router (as opposed to those strange, firmware-hacked things Telstra uses) should be doing without a human's say-so?
Edit: I've been experiencing very strange intermittent DNS problems this last week or two on my (brand new) Telstra NBN connection. Possibly this is connected. (Not a new connection as such, it's just been switched to Telstra from Internode. When it actually works, by the way, it's a lot faster. iiNet's backhaul arrangements have never recovered from their ill-advised free Netfix blunder. Slow as toffee every evening peak. Telstra is vastly faster. But it has DNS problems. Should I muck about looking for a workaround? Or just assume that they will figure it out eventually and do nothing? Doing nothing is always tempting.)
Oh dear. It "shows power transfer" measured in volts. Nuff said.
I am, by the way, 87 kilograms tall.
One nice thing about having Flash content is that you can tell your browser not to run it. This avoids all those shouty, distracting things. Once in a while, when you actually do want to see something animated, you can click to run.
Is there a simple, practical way to turn off HTML5 animation or make it click to run the way you do with Flash?
Just so. Wall Street has an amazing habit of running growth tech companies up to insane prices. Look at the history of Cisco for a graphic example. The current stock prices of the darlings of the Internet advertising boom (Facebook, Twitter, Google, and the like) reflect the view that their historical growth rate will be sustained for a decade or more to come, and that's not just unlikely, it's impossible. If you extrapolate their future earnings from their current prices, Wall Street expects each one of them to soak up the entire advertising spend of the entire planet .... which seems unlikely, given that there are several of these giant tech darlings and only one planet. Total world advertising spend (all media, print, web, outdoor, radio, TV, everything) is essentially static: it hasn't changed much in decades other than in (approximate) line with overall economic growth.
Now you might argue that one of them will end up with earnings on that scale. It's not impossible after all. But they can't all have 100% of the same cake!
Apple, like most (all?) of the other tech darlings will do a Cisco. The company will remain successful, will still generate huge profits, might even continue to grow a bit .... but not at a pace anything like fast enough to justifty the ridiculous share price. In the medium to long term, going short on all of the giant tech darlings (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and etc.) is a can't lose strategy. You might (might!) be wrong with one of them, even two of them, but you'll still be a mile ahead.
(Least likely to decline: probably Amazon, followed by Google. Twitter is walking dead; Facebook has hit the wall, Microsoft .. less said the better; Apple is well past its peak.)
Since when has ad blocking ever been anything other than ethical? People have blocked ads since long before there was an Internet.
Watching TV, most normal people look away, or turn the sound down, or get up to put the kettle on, or even change the channel when the ads come on.
Reading the paper, who amongst us even sees the ads? We filter them out. We flick past them. We pull out the advertising supplement sections and put them to one side, ready to discard. We turn the pages past the full-page ads and, five minutes later, or even five seconds later, don't even know what the thing we filtered out was.
The only thing that is new here is this pernicious notion - pushed you may be very sure by advertisers - that not looking at ads is suddenly a Wrong.Thing.
It isn't a Wrong Thing. It never was. And no amount of propaganda - no amount even of advertising - can make it so.
There was nothing wrong with RLL .... unless you were doing it with an ST-238! What a disaster those drives were. Worst hard drive ever ... well ... apart from the .... and of course the old ..... No. Let's not go there. We'd be here all night and it's time for my slippers and milk arrowroot biscuit. Goodnight nurse.
But surely there is only one John Snow. He took 4/94 in his Ashes debut at Old Trafford, and destroyed a very strong Australian side at the SCG taking 7/40, including master batsmen in Redpath, Stackpole, and both Chappells. Accept no imitations.
Yer, right. Good thinking Mr Tool. Take resources away from your useful, practical product in order to waste them on your slowly dying flagship.Yes, that one, the one you have been doing your best to wreck one brick at a time with one daft, unwanted UI change after another. yes, that's right, the one that more and more users are turning away from every month because you keep making it worse.
Upvote just for still having and loving an R60. :)
Cheers Simon, thanks for replying.
As we al know, politicians (and their servants in utilities, who have no real choice about it) love to pretend that a FTTN network is vastly cheaper than an all-fibre network, which of course it isn't. It is somewhat cheaper in the short term (estimates vary a lot but if you wanted to say around 20% I'd be happy enough to accept that as a working figure) but of course much dearer over the medium term (because it will have to be replaced with fibre sooner or later anyway).
The point here is that, having decided on a (not very) cheap FTTN network for a given suburb, they then offer individual true fibre connections at a huge added cost to the consumer, and cite this cost (typically several thousand dollars) as the "cost difference" between copper and fibre for the last kilometre - which of course it is not. This in turn is the "justification" for installing an inferior technology.
In reality, of course, the four figure "extra cost" does not reflect the difference between fibre and FTTN, it reflects the cost of installing a single, special-purpose link for just one customer. Nearly all of that "extra cost" has nothing to do with the link being fibre all-through or fibre plus copper, it has to do with the expense of doing a custom install, and it would be every bit as high if the custom service used wire, string, or well-trained hamsters instead of fibre optic cable.
It is highly misleading to talk about the "huge cost" of fibre connections when in fact, they cost about the same as FTTN ones.
Disclaimer: no sour grapes here. I'm perfectly happy with my new(ish) fibre connection, but my old HFC connection was quite sufficient to meet my modest needs. I just don't like seeing politicians' lies parroted unchallenged in what is supposed to be a technical publication.
Simon, you have really lost the plot on this topic? Why?
Example: "You'll also learn why some homes will get fibre-to-the-premises at massive expense while others miss out."
Why did you write that? You know that there is no "massive expense" involved in a true fibre connection; you know that the "massive expense" is an entirely artifical pretend "expense" cooked up to make the Fraudband network look cost-effective and sensible, you know that the actual expense of a true fibre network is little or no more than that of the Fraudband network in the short term, and less in the medium term because the real fibre connection is cheaper to maintain and won't have to be torn up and replaced the way the Fraudband links will, and you know that El Reg readers are way too smart and way too tech-savvy to fall for this ridiculous spiel .... so why write it?
I used to admire and enjoy your work. Now I'm forced, however reluctantly, to doubt the veracity of all your other work as well - stuff I used to just take as gospel truith because I thought you told it straight and knew your stuff.
I was wrong. Sorry.
In one word, yes. Millions of them. It is not difficult to remain malware-free if you have some basic skills. Anti-virus software is much less effective than simple good hygiene - never use Internet Explorer, uninstall chronic malware vectors like Flash, block ads, you know this stuff if you read El Reg. Or you should.
Edit: "basic" skills for any IT person, I mean. I'm not expecting your Granny to have them. For most ordinary users an anti-virus package is worth the cost. (Not really money, the main cost is the performance hit.) But you centainly don't need one if you have an IT clue.
"Opera is best known amongst consumers for its pioneering web browser."
Yer right .... As you would know if you troubled to consult anything other than the in-house press releases, Opera hasn't pioneered anything for a very long time. Opera development was abandoned three years ago and the once-loved browser has vanished without trace.
(There is a rebadged version of Chrome marketed by what's left of the Opera company now, but it's certainly not Opera, and it isn't even remotely "best known amongst consumers" because hardly anyone bothers using it. What would be the point? You might as well just use Chrome - which is exactly what most people do.)
I'd love to see a proper double-blind study instead of this mickey mouse psudo-science.
Of course, this would have the side effect of scrambling a few zillion cut and paste, bandwidth-hogging, slow loading code spagetti websites built on barely-underrstood bloated rubbish library imports ...
.... so when you think about it, there is no actual downside.