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* Posts by Nuke

794 posts • joined 25 Jun 2007

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

Nuke
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Happy

@Frankee Llonnygog - Re: Data vs information

Wrote :- "Poor Frankie - he's but a walking shadow ... [etc]

Are you referring to Francis Maude, or yourself?

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Meh

Re: It's not Open Source it's an open standard

Wote :- "[documents will now be readable in 100 years time] Only if we keep on shifting them to whatever replaces today's disks and file systems."

Funny you should say that, because I am just transfering some stuff I wrote years ago from WordPerfect format files on floppies to ODF on archive tape. A tedious job.

But at least ODF is likely to last longer than the WP5 format, or the ability to read a present day docx document on future versions of Word. Microsoft have every incentive to keep changing the docx standard in order to force people to keep upgrading Word and Windows - or to buy into their rental software money-making scheme. Indeed, support for ODF should last much longer than MS itself; I'm not betting on MS existing in anything like its present form for more than a few more years.

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FAIL

FTFA :- "In short, ODF is last decade’s battle and the victory has been overtaken by the future.

What a load of bullshit. I don't think this guy understands the issue.

This battle, just won, is about document formats. Not software. Not SaaS. Whether the future is in the cloud or not, and whether MS provide the word processing software or not, is irrelevant to this decision.

If it floats your boat, you will be able to use MS Office to create/read ODF documents, and no doubt some people and offices will remain loyal to MS; goody for them. OTOH you could use Open Office, or LibreOffice, or Star Office, or AbiWord, or any other decent word processing software. They may come or go - it does not matter, the format is a fixed, royalty-free standard, and not under the thumb of one particular company. The ODF format is software vendor neutral. That's the point.

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Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'

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Holmes

Re: when

Wrote :- "maybe someone who claims the governments are only using environmental concerns to raise more money can explain why they are giving money away to help people insulate homes"

OTOH I don't believe it is just about money. I think it has a lot to do with the sincerly held crazed obsessions of people who, having become politicians in power, get into a position where they can impose their crazed theories on everyone else. Remember, few of these people have a clue technically. The money, if any, is just a bonus. Actually they would spend the last penny they have (from us) feeding their pet craze.

An example is my local council's rubbish recycling collection policy. They change the rules every time a new rubbish recycling officer is appointed, according to the individual's pet theories. Each tries to outdo his predecessor, and succeeds - they have even made it into international news with their barminess.

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Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you

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Headmaster

@Gambler

Wrote :- "requires a real education on how to actually write on paper and follow a straight line with no spellcheck to save you from your ignorance of the English language

Let the education start with the use of paragraph breaks.

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

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Holmes

An Outbreak of Common Sense

While, at the time of the Government consultation, there were thousands of rants on this issue on El Reg, Slashdot etc (mostly preaching ODF to the converted), I was one of the relative few who actually made a submission to The Cabinet Office in favour of ODF - one of not more than a few dozen AFAIR.

I tore the MS (and partners) submissions to pieces, as did most of the other non-MS submissions. The MS submissions were mostly on the lines of "People should be 'free' to use MS Word to read documents if they wished". I basically pointed out that people should be free to use MS Word or any other word processor to read documents if they wished, without a particular company being Godfather and Landlord to the format.

I did not hold out much hope, but nice to see the Cabinet Office concluding on similar lines.

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WTF?

@AC - Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

Wrote :- "lots of competing products that can emulate (generally poorly) the Microsoft Office file formats, but have near zero or outdated support for ODF. This is win / win for Microsoft."

You either do not have a clue what you are talking about or you have some serious typos in that statement. Microsoft would not agree that it is their win - they fought tooth and nail for their Office Open XML (OOXML) format to be adopted instead.

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Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech

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FTFA "He said it was the "civic duty" of technologists to educate the public on how systems work "

Good luck with that, and I've got better things to do

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

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Re: Smart Phones vs Smart Drivers

Wrote :- "good/smart drivers who follow the law, were mostly the ones that were good/smart enough to not use their phones whilst driving in the first place"

Agreed. I don't know about California, but around here (SE Wales) plenty of people ignore the ban. In particular, delivery men make no bones about using their phones while driving to find where I live (I'm in the sticks) and they expect me to navigate them in. OTOH I didn't use the phone while driving before the ban anyway (tried it once and realised how dodgy it was); so little change to either group there.

As for the survey's comparison between before and after the ban, there are so many other things that could have skewed the data in the elapsed time, like the advent of smart phones adding a further dimension to distraction. Just compare driving my own car (1994 design) with driving my wife's car (2012 design). In the older car, I can see all that my instruments have to say at a glance. However the newer car has a digital display with nested menus for stuff like the fuel consumption, remaining range, average speed etc. I have stop find myself looking at this stuff which is really just an entertaining distraction.

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Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION

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FAIL

Poorly Written Article

The Austin Metro (at least earlier models) could be unlocked by unplugging a connector under a front wing and shorting a couple of the pins.

This article is very badly written. What is "flow design"? What is meant by "pop the doors and engine"? And is this something a thief can do by plugging something in while it is parked (like the Metro above) or is it the perp using a radio link to make the doors fly open or the engine cut or explode ("pop"?) while a Tesla is driving past, as a prank?

"... alter the car functions while it was in motion ". Does this mean by a third party radio link (as above) or by the owner with a plug-in to do things normally disabled in motion - perhaps you can't usually open the sunroof in motion?

No use looking at the link, it's in Chinese.

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Europe: Apple could NOT care less about kids' in-app cash sprees

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Holmes

Re: Personal Responsibility

Wrote :- "Complaining to the EU is the equivalent of buying a car without first having learned how to drive. After [crashing] you then blame the person who sold you the car

Actually, the EU require you (via member governments) to learn to drive before being let loose with a car in Europe. Governments also intervene to prevent a free-for-all on the road by having road laws and things like traffic lights.

So wrong analogy.

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Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists

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Holmes

Re: No one ever heard of risk analysis?

Wrote :- "deliberately flying an aircraft over war zone for cost saving purposes"

The first question which occurred to me was : "WTF are civil airlines flying over a war zone?"

Watching BBC news on this, I waited for ages for someone to ask to ask this question, and when it was a pundit replied "Because it had been declared safe to do so" - and that seemed to be regarded as a satisfactory answer!

Begged the question : "Why TF had some idiot declared it safe to fly over a war zone?" There seemed to be an assumption that no-one fighting had the capability of attacking a high-flying aircraft, but how could the aviation authorities possibly know what weaponry the combatants had, or might have next week? Or that there was no-one on either side who might not be trigger happy even if they recognised it was a civilian airliner. <irony>Of course, no soldier has ever taken a pot shot at a civilian just for the hell of it.</irony>

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Holmes

Re: No one ever heard of risk analysis?

Wrote :- "Some stories state that the 100 best and brightest AIDs researchers were on this one plane. That scares the heck out of me to think of [the risk]"

And AIDs experts should be risk conscious, no? Similar on the flight that vanished over the Indian Ocean; I understand it took most of China's graphologists with it.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

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FAIL

@AC - Re: Hmmm

Wrote :- "Comcast are losing a customer who has been loyal for a decade and it is really useful for a company to understand why"

Now that this is all around the Internet they will lose thousands. However, this time they will know why.

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Amazon France routes around free shipping ban with €0.01 charge

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Holmes

Re: King Canute

Wrote :- "I also insist the local co-op only stocks fair-trade coffee and tea, grown no further than 30 miles of Birmingham"

Makes me think how odd it is that "fair trade" is only ever about foreign farming produce. Perhaps because people find it charming to see pictures of smiling black farmers standing in fields of lush green crops? More charming no doubt than dirty miners toiling underground, clothes makers in sweatshops, or assembly-line workers in mindless Chinese factories. When did you ever see a "fair trade" patch cable?

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Meh

Re: King Canute

Wrote :- "Our cities are going to look quite different in the near future with so much of our shopping being done online.

OK if it works, but I'd rather see things before I buy. I recently bought some electrical connectors from CPC's website, and the moment I opened the package I could see they were such rubbish that they went straight into the bin. I could have tried returning them, but such hassle and postage.

I have just bought some guttering over the internet. There are three dominant brands, A, B and C. The seller's website pictures looked like Brand A, but I phoned to check and was told Brand B. That was fine, I prefered Brand B. They came and were Brand C.

Acually, they look like Brand C but lack trade marks, so I'm wondering if they are actually rip-offs of Brand C patterns.

So why do I buy from websites? As you say, the local shops and suppliers are disappearing.

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I've got 99 problems, but a Facebook boycott ain't one

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Holmes

@Fibbles - Re: Emails and Announcements

Wrote :- "This is really no different to setting up an email address, not checking your email and then getting mad at people who sent you emails

No, it's like someone sending you letters care of the Post Office in town X because they know you go shopping there sometimes.

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Microsoft wants to lure biz users with fondleable Windows 8.1 'Apportals'

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Meh

@G R Goslin - Re: They are doing it again

Wrote :- "There's an old saying ... that the intelligence of a committee is the intelligence of it's dimmest member

The version I prefer is that the intelligence of a committee is the reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of all the members' intelligencies (same formula as resistors in parallel - lower than any one of them). I have come away from meetings where everyone thinks a collective decision was stupid but was accepted because it was the only one which no-one flatly opposed.

Yet companies like mine still bang on about needing "to work as a team".

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'Apple is TERRIFIED of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure' – fresh tech sex storm

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Facepalm

@tkioz

Wrote :- "I think the obvious solution would be to simply ban the offending words for man bits, then everyone can be unhappy.

The obvious solution would be for people to let Apple decide what they will and won't do within their own premises, and if you want something they won't do then go to a local engraver to get it done. If you have an argument with the local engraver then at least it won't be World news.

Oh, I suppose I've missed the point - the feminists want to manufacture world news wherever possible.

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Meh

Wrote :- "I think it's a good way of making your device unique and identifiable. Think of it this way.You have 2 .. identical ... iPads, one is your dads and .... the other is yours"

Ever heard of Dymotape?

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

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Meh

@Pete 2 - Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Wrote : - "assuming we've learned nothing in the 20 years since Windows 3.1 and Bob ..... is simply wrong"

Well Microsoft haven't.

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Brit celebs' homes VANISH from Google's Street View

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Headmaster

Re: It's on Bing

AC wrote :- ""Blair's unblurred blurry terrace (sorry this is London, I mean "mews"*)"

Arnaut the less wrote :- "A mews is where birds of prey were kept.

Blair's terrace is not a mews, nor are mews necessarily where birds of prey were kept. A mews (in London at least) is the back alley behind a terrace of town houses where in the 1700-1800s you would find the sheds, stables, coach-houses, accommodation for lower servants and shit-houses that belonged to the houses, at the end of their back yards (and maybe also kennels and birds-of-prey cages, but unlikely in the middle of London).

If you look at the map/satellite view of Blair's house in Connaught Square you will see in fact that there is an "Archery Close" which was obviously once the mews serving his terrace.

Particularly after WWI, many of these mews buildings were converted to (or replaced by) what politicians would now call "affordable housing". It became fashionable for younger people to live there, and they became "vibrant" places. So from being shit-holes, mews became trendy places to live, so much so, that even new housing in towns often gets called "mews" by the marketing people.

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Holmes

@AC - Re: But, but, but...

Wrote :- "The ability to assess the risks of breaking into a house beforehand instead of having to take a look locally ....... Such blurring should be mandatory."

I am not sure this isn't an attempt at humour. The Google street view is equivalent to a glance, nothing that cannot be done by someone walking past with a phone camera for example. Practically everyone who walks past a house these days is waving a phone around anyway.

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WTF?

@AMBxx - Re: But, but, but...

Wrote :- "If you want to publicise the make and location of your burglar alarm, go ahead."

You have already publicised it by ... er ... making it visible to every member of the public passing by.

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@You have not yet created a handle - Re: But, but, but...

Wrote :- "Are you telling me that one of these houses is Tony Blairs?

That is really funny. Just goes to show how f#@king ridiculous it is. My opinion of Blair goes down even further now.

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RM: Killing our PC unit hit our top line, but our bottom line is pert

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Headmaster

Easier to Take Buying Depts for a Ride

RM have discovered that selling services gets higher profits than selling hardware.

There is no logical reason for this, only a psychological one. It is deep in people's culture and instinct to look hard when they buy a physical thing, and are more likely to look for a bargain if they can. OTOH, people lose their bearings when they buy a service because it is an abstract thing, and are afraid if they get into a discussion about it that they will reveal that they don't understand (as they usually don't). Also, they are usually on the rebound from paying for the physical thing.

Another example is gadget shops being so keen to sell extended gurantees - often regarding the sale of hardware as merely a vehicle to sell the extended guarantee. My father-in-law for example always bought a whole raft of paperwork "extras" when he bought a TV or washing machine; he hadn't a clue what they were about but didn't want to admit it. He thought he understood the hardware though - because he could touch it and weigh it in his hands.

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NHS delivers swift kick to Microsoft's wallet over fee demands

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Facepalm

@Peshman - Re: No Sympathy

Wrote :- "Linux may be great now but it was crap in the real world back when the NHS signed up M$."

That is debatable, but the main criticism here is that the NHS got themselves bound into contracts, badly written ones at that, with little or no provision to escape to alternatives. We are hearing that now from insider posts here, like the loss of bespoke source code, and like x-ray data formats being incompatible between Kodak and Fuji machines. Nothing to do with how good Linux was 20 years ago.

Clearly there were/are administrators at the NHS who needed arse-kickings.

"Posted anonymously"

No you didn't. You are Peshman and I claim my £5.

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@J.G.Harston - Re: Ransom

Wrote :- "You can't just migrate a little bit of a GP surgery and tell them: you've got office tools, but you'll have to wait for .. a non-Windows heart monitor, ... You do need to migrate EVERYTHING and you do have to do it ALL AT ONCE"

So the surgery uses the same PC to do both heart monitoring and type memos? The more I hear about NHS computer systems the worse it gets.

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

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Unhappy

Re: Where do we complain

"If the prissy arses stopped treating [sex] like such a big deal and just accepted it as a normal part of human existence"

But for many people who don't/can't get sex, it is not a normal part of their existence. It was not part of mine when in my teens (for social reasons that I won't go into here, but not uncommon) and for me that fact was a big deal, exacerbated by having images of attractive naked girls waved at me. If you never had that problem, lucky you.

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Holmes

Re: People don't mind sex and violence as much on TV...

Wrote :- "F*ing wall to wall Big Brother, TOWIE and HoneyBollockBoo. FFS".

That's not true. There are the gardening and cooking programmes too. Otherwise you can always turn to the several channels that do nothing but advertise women's jewellery

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Holmes

Re: New Category Needed

Wrote :- " either turn off the TV or change channel. Anything that insults ones intelligence isn't worthy of further action".

All very well, but suppose you spot a programme coming up that sounds interesting and set time aside to watch it. Then it turns out to be dumb. Even if you turn it off you will have wasted 10-15 minutes, and maybe have been stopped from doing something else like going out earlier.

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Microsoft confirms Office 365 price rise

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Holmes

@Velv - Re: TCO

Wrote :- "Doesn't matter what you use, you pay for it ... You still have to pay to train users on a different product"

Yes, I did pay for a copy of MS Office some years ago, and do you know what - it hasn't worn out yet! So, for me, what do you mean about a "different product"?

"Prices go up"

Only for idiots who buy into MS's software rental schemes.

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NSA man says agency can track you through POWER LINES

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Meh

@AC - Re: wasn't long ago

Wrote :- "Once you've been around for more than two decades, you'll see "impossible" is what "experts" say when they're trying to keep others from investigating the possibilities of a new device

OK, so where's my flying car?

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Holmes

@Khaptain - Re: New York or Los Angeles

I think the idea is that they could identify a studio where the recording was made by comparing with previous output from that studio. Might be useful for identifying a pirate music factory, but it would need the interview to have been done in a studio already in their database, or at least that one end of a phone interview was in that studio.

If the interview were done anywhere else, the police (or whoever) would need a database of the electronic signatures of every room in the world. Impractical, as you say, especially as the equipment at any location is likely to be variable - it certainly is where I am sitting at the moment.

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Rockall batters plucky Brit adventurer

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Coffee/keyboard

@theModge - Re: Just how inedible are seabirds really?

Wrote :- "I've feeling that if seagull was nice we'd eat more of it, given how many of the things there are, but I mean, how bad can it be?"

Have you ever watched what seagulls will eat? I expect they taste of it.

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Nationwide Building Society's services out for the count

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Holmes

Semtex451

Wrote :- "I wonder how much more overdrawn I'll be, once service is restored.

If you go overdrawn because of their outage, I would keep careful records of the outage, (including media reports) in order to get any overdraft charges waived.

I went into the red with Lloyds Bank last September because of their outage when they FU'd their split from TSB. It was major national news at the time. My overdraft penalty did not actually show up until several statements later (I was beginning to think they were overlooking all overdrafts at that time). .

Went into my branch expecting to get the penalty waived with deep apologies and instead I got a row with the manager. He did not even seem to be aware of the outage.only two months earlier. His prize comment was that "I ought to keep an eye on my account". I replied that Internet banking was supposed to be the means fo do that.

I did get my £6 charge repayed, but because of their bad grace I subsequently withdrew all (a 6--figure amount) but a token amount from my accounts with Lloyds.

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Golf bloke to Richard Branson: Get on board the future bus, where there's 'NO WEATHER'

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Holmes

Re: It's all about added value

AC wrote :- "It's all about added value To whom? Insurance companies? The more information on individuals they have ....)the nearer we are to effective eugenics."

I don't get your bit about eugenics, but insurance companies are up against a paradox if they get accurate info on individuals.

The principle of insurance is that less careful or less lucky people are bailed out of their catastrophies by more careful and more lucky people (assuming you believe in "luck"). There is some dilution of this pure principle however in that right now insurance companies make what they consider to be lthe more accident-prone people pay more for their premiums (hit by somemone running a red light? - higher premium for "unlucky" you).

However, the more insurance companies can accurately predict your accidents, the more the premiums will be aligned with what they will need to pay you in claims. But if your premium is going to equal precicely what they are going to pay out to you in claims (plus thier profit margin), there ceases to be any point in insuring yourself unless legally or contracturally required to. End of story.

Of course, there is already no point in a careful person insuring anything they can afford to replace themselves, because they are only subsidising the careless people. I don't. So expect to see more of insurance as a contractural requirement - I already see it required for some holiday bookings. Those insurance companies have enough clout to get your money somehow.

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Foxconn CEO: 'Suicides weren't our fault'

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Holmes

@dan1980

Wrote :- "there is a subtle but important difference between someone committing suicide [at] home and someone jumping out a window at work"

Any important difference depends on the reason, not the location. Suicides around my way, Bristol, tend to favour jumping off the Clifton suspension bridge, but I don't believe it is because the bridge itself is stresssing them out

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Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 world conquest plan: folders!

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Meh

@Robert Grant

Wrote :- "the cargo culting approach to humour"

Sorry, I'm slow this morning. Could you explain what that is please?

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DOH! Google’s internet of things vision is powered by… Mac OS

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Linux

@GraemeD - Re: ChroomBook

Wrote :- "my main home device is a Samsung Chromebook. ... I Chrooted it to run Ubuntu"

I was wondering when someone was going to point that out. There is even a distro for it - Chrubuntu

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Holmes

@ Daniel B - Re: Makes sense

Wrote :- "buying a regular laptop then installing Linux means that you paid the MS tax anyway"

You can buy laptops in the UK with nothing installed. I did recently. As you would expect from devices aimed at techies, they tend to be of superior spec to the high street/PC World stuff (and more expensive).

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USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

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@Scoticus Canis - Re: How? @AC Not quite right mate.

Wrote : - "If a human hung onto a 22KV line with two hands at shoulder width there is sufficient collateral flow to kill.

Nonsense. If you believe that I take it that you would never put your hands across a car battery. In fact 50 volts is the recognised limit below which there is no risk of electrocution. If overhead wires lost 50v per half-metre a 22kV line would have nothing left after 220 metres.

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Microsoft compliance police to NHS: We want your money

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Holmes

@ NHS A/C

Wrote "I've often suggested switching some of our non clinical desktop real estate to Linux, open office, etc, but the argument always comes down to service disruption (mostly from staff being unable or unwilling to adapt) "

I saw, in the 1990's in my comapny, everyone - Chairman, typists, engineers, draughtsmen, workshop foremen and all - adapt to computers from pen-and-paper, drawing boards, Telex machines, carbon-copied forms and typewriters. It happened almost overnight.

Now we are told that people cannot adapt from one word-processor to another. Incredible.

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Holmes

Re: Government

Wrote "Constant reorganisation, never-ending rebranding and staff shifting, can't be good for anyone"

It is good for an incoming chairman.

I have worked for several large organisations and every time a new chairman came along he would demand re-organisation. Two reasons:-

1) They want to pose as a "new broom, sweeping clean"

2) (Perhaps more important) With the previous organisation, his aides and directors under him would always have the advantage, in the top-level power struggles, of knowing better than he did how the system worked. (Think of a "Yes Minister" scenario - "But sir, you can't do that because of Company Rule 17b)(iii)" etc). By a total re-organisation, the new chaiman levelled the field for himself - everyone ended up just as confused as he was.

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Maplin Electronics sold for £85m to Rutland Partners

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Meh

CPC - Re: I knew that had got expensive... but not THAT expensive!

But I have become worried about CPC since they started selling tents, bikes and pedal cars. Next, they will discover they can make more money selling women's fashion accessories than selling me electrical components.

Also, some of their stuff is lousy, as well as some good, but it is hard to tell from the catalogue. I bought some stackable 4mm patch leads, and they would not even fit into each other they were such crap. I would really rather handle such things in a shop before I buy, but even then so much is bubble wrapped these days that you are not supposed to. Still, some of CPC's prices are so low it is worth the risk - I sometimes throw stuff away immediately I receive it, like those patch leads.

I have the CPC big catalogue, and don't know how I'd manage without it because the website search facility is poor. I have seen stuff in the cat, and ordered it by typing in the cat number, but trying to find the item just by keyword searches fails completely.

At least CPC's postage is free (for orders >£5).

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

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Holmes

Doesn't sound too hard to solve the financial balancing, which for some reason TFA assumes is impossible. Let operators pay each other for whatever cross-usage there has been. They could even buy a computer to do the sums.

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LONGER flights burning MORE fuel can CUT planes' climate impact

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Holmes

@Alister

Wrote :- So, no flights allowed over the UK, then...

Good. In just two or three decades we have deleloped a culture of flying anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat, consuming vast amounts of energy and releasing vast amounts of CO2 in the process, mostly out of curiosity, for shopping, to attend international conferences on bullshit, and migrants going back and forth on family visits.

I have heard people recommending going to Abu Dhabi just "because the shops are fantastic", and have worked with people who spend most of their time at, or going to, or organising international conferences - an incestuous closed world with no interaction with the rest of us whatsoever.

I am sure it is a temporary phase. Fuel will become too expensive to keep burning it on this circus.

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Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign

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@Hollerith 1 - Re: Here's what feminists do when men .....

Wrote : - "traditional 'male' spaces are still closed to women"

I can't think of any examples of that, and certainly don't see any evidence in my industry (heavy engineering). There are not many women because heavy engineering is an anathema to most women (try discussing it at a party), but there is no obstacle to their entry and the few that there are get spectacular promotion because the directors are terrified of being accused of precisely what you have just claimed.

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DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

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Unhappy

Re: Tell me about it

AC wrote :- " say you work for a defence contractor and you will suddenly be inundated by top model looking chinese "students" wanting to "link in" with you and share good time in england .."

Having worked as a defence contractor, I have never had that luck.

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Tor is '90 per cent of the net' claims City of London Police Commish – and he's dead wrong

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Holmes

@Mephistro - Re: @ qwertyuiop

Wrote :- "I've known many civil servants that use their braincells and do it for the public good, usually in 'technical' stations"

Indeed. I once worked as a civil servant in an Admiralty ship design and maintenance office and some of the other guys were the cleverest I ever worked with. And we worked hard; it was unusual to get away before two hours after time and the professional staff got no overtime - there were ships depending on us to get out of dock and back on patrol. With periods at sea and weeks-on-end spent away in dockyard towns the job somewhat took over our lives.

I have been in many jobs, and the inefficiencies of some of the private sector is appaling. People say that an inefficient private company will go bust - but it won't if their competitors are even more inefficient (ever wonder why useless estate agents don't go bust? Grantham Grocer Fallacy). I have also come up against appaling inefficiencies in the more admin side of the public sector. No generalisations of the one versus the other can be made.

Unfortunately, criticism of the Civil Service tends to be self-fulfilling. Mrs T was the worst culprit. By keep shouting that civil servants are tea-drinking w@nkers, it puts off bright young graduates from considering it as a career.

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