Shakespeare was right ...
... when writing of the fourteenth century. Specifically, Sir John Falstaff: A pox on this gout. Or a gout on this pox.
579 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007
... when writing of the fourteenth century. Specifically, Sir John Falstaff: A pox on this gout. Or a gout on this pox.
So, El Reg identifies exactly where to insert a spy and a trojan.
Should we infer anything from the fact of the story going public? Candidate explanations such as:
If it were any of my business, I expect I'd try harder to home in on it.
Could it be that they subvert the new functionality by making it download the full satellite imagery and street view for an area? That's the only way I can see they could come anywhere near those figures.
Nokia maps work a lot better and require only very modest data volumes. Or at least did, in the days when Nokia sold some excellent phones.
 Talking about my beloved E71 there.
Esme, while I can't fault what you say, you omit one crucial point. This extremist fringe has the ascendency in places where it matters in our society. Their voice is pretty dominant in our most influential media organisation (the BBC), among other places. A lunatic fringe always feeds the opponents of any Cause, and when lunacy is also orthodoxy it feeds scepticism and resentment not merely amongst opponents but also neutrals. Hence the many women who, while believing in equality, want nothing to do with Feminism.
 By BBC standards I'm clearly a woman. That is to say, whenever they trot out the tired old stereotypes of men and how we club together to advance ourselves and oppress women, I recoil at their portrayal of men and identify with that of the women. Not surprising really: the BBC's abstract male represents us about as fairly as as Vicky Pollard does the young, or Victor Meldrew the old.
 Yes, I confess to listening to far too much Radio 4.
... torn between two opposing reactions ...
1. Stop feeding the BBC/Guardian line "see, they just belittle us and make the world a hostile place".
2. The world needs a loony to come out with things like this, so that we don't look like the loony fringe ourselves if we ever do gently question the most militant of man-eaters.
So here's a better reaction:
3. Why is the meeja (El Reg) giving column inches to this? ESR is just a Celebrity, not a real opensource leader like Linus.
Hmmm, on second thoughts, that's no better. I'll get me coat.
Having said that, motivation casts its shadow: why on Earth would someone conceive of such stupidity and devote time and thousands of words to propose that it should be a standard?
Don't laugh. Have you ever heard of RDF, the Semantic Web, and the W3C?
First you specify the concept of URI as globally-unique identifier, and try vainly to make a meaningless distinction between URI and URL. Then you start using URLs (sorry, URIs) prefaced with http://some-domain/ . But now you've got something recognisable: your URI maps naturally to a web address, or even a web page. So you can dereference it, and talk about web URLs in RDF terms.
You call it the Semantic Web, and make grand claims for it. You can start talking about the web page dereferenced by the URL. Except, you're in cloud-cuckoo-land. All that you say in RDF is predicated on the properties of the URI as a globally-unique invariant. But you're using the language to talk about something that may change at any time (e.g. El Reg front page), or according to metadata in the HTTP headers (e.g. what I get if I try to post this when not logged on). Result: gibberish.
Think it couldn't happen? Think someone would notice before it went public and got widely promoted? Just look at the history of W3C Annotea, which does everything I just described. And when I was on the working group for EARL, it was a lot of work and some Heath-Robinson constructs with time and metadata to allow us to avoid the same howler.
king_tut: I'm slowly working through it
You got a lot of downvotes for refusing to pre-judge the bill. Evidently a bunch of commentards would like to insist on a set of prejudices.
If pollution levels in our homes feed into a GIS, we could have a map showing serious pollution, and perhaps catch some of those nasty fads like the wood-burning fires that are our generation's big carcinogens.
Neil, of course I was speaking only of a micro-economy, which seemed somehow relevant. In the real world we have specialisation of labour, and so long as I'm not destitute I can buy all these fruits for no more effort than having to traipse round the shops and carry them home. All the hard work is done by people with specialist skills and equipment.
Actually that's a kind-of measurable effect. There are still blackberries around, but it's been a few weeks since I picked any: they're a pale shadow of peak season. Yet when I was genuinely destitute in 2003 I was still gathering them - the last dregs of the season - into late November.
p.s. I don't cook (or eat) jams and jellies, but I've made a delicious chutney from some of those blackberries. Where's the El Reg icon for nomnomnom?
I give my friend blackberries I've picked, and take his apples. So we both have some of each delicious fruit. So far, so good (and true in real life).
But gathering the blackberries is hard work, and leaves my hands pretty-well shredded. Blackberries are relatively small, so picking them takes time, and of course those brambles, and the nettles that usually accompany them, fight back. Whereas apples have no thorns nor stings, and are so big that you have a decent bagful for a couple of minutes work.
My friend, being richer than I am, has an apple tree in his garden, and so gets to do the plum job (sorry about that - neither of us has enough plums to trade). That's capital.
Damn. There was me hoping he'd tackle the topical matter of the Chairman's state visit. How it does or doesn't make sense for China to lead big investments in the UK, when we're supposed to be the world's financial capital and good at raising private capital (er, no pun intended).
That way I as commentard could've bemoaned Osborne providing financial support to a mature industry (nuclear power - which I support and would be prepared to invest in if they were raising capital from investors) yet dragging its feet so horribly over supporting the fledgling industry that is this country's best potential: namely, clean and reliable tidal power.
The article says firmware. You talk about software.
I can see many good reasons to customise one's software. Firmware seems less clear: I'm prepared to accept there could be good reasons to hack it, but I don't see them in my life.
I'd be happy to see ads. I just object strongly to things that move on my screen without my asking for it.
Sadly that applies just as much to a scrolling news ticker as to a tasteless animation advertising games or sex. So adblock is only a partial solution.
Oh, and to ad-flinging sites like El Reg. If you got rid of the animations, I'd be happy to unblock your adverts. Indeed, not merely happy but keen, as your articles occasionally feature media I might choose to see! Now, bear in mind, that's coming from a geek: I expect I might be core target audience for some of your (currently blocked) advertisers.
Thanks for that. It's a phenomenon I regularly comment on (sometimes here on Worstal's articles), but I never knew it had a name. Have an upvote!
Only changes in asset prices that feed into those are part of GDP.
Yes, changes in asset prices. So whenever a transaction occurs, the capital gain feeds GDP. Which would be just fine and non-corrupting if capital gains reflected the actual value of an asset - so for a house that might reflect a new roof or installation of modern plumbing and wiring, but not just value-free rises.
On a related note, how do we account for stockmarket gains/losses on companies listed in London but whose actual business is predominantly not in the UK?
It seems to me that a key characteristic of Osbrownomics is an unhealthy focus on GDP as a "good news" story to tell the electorate.
You touched on the problems with this in your final paragraph about higher pay for bureaucrats enriching us all. But surely where this corrupts all the more is in asset prices. Each time a government succeeds in pushing house prices higher, GDP rises and they claim economic success. Yet we're not richer overall: we've just transferred wealth from the productive to the rich. Rising dot-com stocks or tulip bulb prices would likewise feed through to GDP Feelgood, but house prices are the most effective of all because it's harder to opt out of housing so everyone is involved, like it or not.
I suspect a key reason for the UK productivity gap is the amount of our GDP that actually represents a zero-sum game where no value is actually produced.
How old days?
In my first professional job in 1983, we sometimes had to 'phone the sysadmins, nearly 200 miles away. In fact, we had to 'phone them to arrange it if we wanted more than 2Kb (yes, kilobytes) of mainframe RAM to run a task.
Sorry, mate. If you want to survive into that kind of bunker, you want serious money.
Your personal bodyguards won't come cheap in the intermediate ("somalia") phase, when society has broken down but dollars or gold are still the widely-accepted currency.
Methinks we're straying off the topic, but the big debts that matter are claims.
The big one for all of us is our claim to a state pension one day (or even many years, if you're lucky). That alone is worth quarter of a million in today's market. Arguably much more, if you treat the state's promise as better security (and therefore worth more) than an equivalent promise from a private-sector provider like the Equitable.
You have other entitlements, which will depend more on your circumstances. Which ones involve a chunk of someone's debt can be left as an exercise.
Um, they can print someone else's. Google for "Operation Bernhard". Or consider regular forgery.
As for world government, we have dollar hegemony distorting the modern world economy. But that's a whole nother argument.
Your very first premise is flawed. Money in the real world is a medium of exchange, but can only ever be a short-term store of value. In the medium to longer term, debasement means you can save more yet buy less.
I use "debasement" rather than "inflation" here, because the latter word has itself been corrupted by association with meaningless price indexes, and esoteric arguments over different but equally-meaningless indexes. In a world where the only Big Thing you expect to save up for is a house, the kind of massive debasement we saw in about 2000-2005 or 1983-89 (and apparently right now in London) simply robs you of those savings and hands them to people richer than you, while not even showing up in the price indexes.
In Goethe's Faust (published 1831), one sub-plot is about the emperor's troubles with the economy. Mephistopheles saves the day with promissary notes on future wealth. Result: big boom, leading to bigger bust when people realise there simply isn't the wealth to meet the promises.
For the classic example affecting us today - pension promises from 1945 to the Equitable bust in 2000.
Corbyn's "peoples QE" is another manifestation of that. But then, so was its predecessor PFI, especially when taken to vast excess by NuLab. If you're the government and can print yourself money for free, it's not long before you yield to temptation to upgrade the palace to marble and solid gold, and use real diamonds for the chandeliers. Regardless of good intentions, jobs administering such pots of money are naturally huge corruption-magnets.
Applies also when the private sector is given licence to print. Hence what's happened in the banks, and doubly so when underwritten by taxpayers.
How come noone has yet mentioned that great archetype of the huge fatty who gets plenty of ladies, Sir John Falstaff?
My BMI is over the threshold and into obese, and the paunch confirms it. So when the ladies admiringly note how much I'm not wearing ("aren't you freezing?") I just point to my healthy layer of natural, organic insulation.
What was more surprising was when they tested my body fat and found it firmly in the healthy range, or what wikipedia describes as "fitness". Seems the insulation layer really is healthy.
When discussing provision for children, perhaps one should take the trouble to distinguish between actual children, and strapping teenagers classed as children under first-world laws and conventions. I understand the Indian law mentioned applies to kids below 14.
Do we still have child labour in Blighty? Or have we banned things like the paper-round and the weekend work at the market garden that my generation did to earn a bit of pocket-money? As you say, the real consideration is yes-to-school rather than no-to-work, and there are valid questions around how much of each are healthy and indeed mutually compatible.
As for dealing with poverty, the one thing that really matters is to bring birth rates down.
I once worked for a company that believed in exhaustive formal unit testing.
I was the maverick who questioned the utility thereof. And I kept finding elementary bugs in that code. Furthermore, fixing them was often hard, as it would cause the unit tests to need fixing too, and that was more red tape than the code itself. A typical example would be an off-by-one index error that caused an incorrect numerical interpolation. Something that could matter a lot when the software controls satellite orbits.
The problem was the human factor. When the hard part of the job is not hacking it but getting it through the tests, that becomes the programmers' goal in life. They no longer see the wood for the trees (or bugs for the tests, if you prefer). And when the tests are more work than the code, they are also more complex, more error-prone.
Like red tape everywhere, the process had strangled itself. And when a two-minute fix requires several days work on the red tape, it drives programmers away, too.
Methinks the pompous git may be doing exactly what Worstall just owned up to. Jumping to conclusions on the basis of less-than-complete information.
 His description, not mine. And yes, I can certainly identify with the description.
It's a balance of harms. Whatever good periodic change might do has to be set against the harm of people who struggle with it. Not to mention consequences such as the risks of Password Reset processes, or the extra opportunities to try social engineering on a helpdesk fed up with problems of password reset.
The sooner we can rid the world of passwords (as we know them today), the better.
Isn't it basically toothless precisely because any attempt to give teeth to the (democratically elected) parliament - as opposed to the political appointees and civil servants - gets scuppered? Not least by British politicians and press who have long been determined not to allow it democratic legitimacy.
It's Enclosure of the Commons. No more, no less.
(But it's a shame El Reg missed the Long View in the article itself).
Get outed doing something bad ...
... so do something worse under the cloak of anonymity.
What's that phrase? Once bitten? Fool me once? And when it's just the three a***holes, no need to host a database or even a data dump anywhere to out them.
Argos was far-and-away the best online retailer when I moved house back in 2005. A website that worked nicely, backed by a system that never screwed up over inventory and fast, efficient delivery. When you have to equip a place from scratch, you really notice who is or isn't any good at it, and one thing I won't forget is being without a fridge-freezer until I cancelled my order with AN Other who had messed up and placed one with Argos instead, whereupon it arrived first thing the following morning.
How could they improve on that? What a shame the market punished them for a perception of that tired old catalogue rather than rewarded them for getting things right, so now we get a whole bunch of superfluous gimmicks.
Keynes must be spinning in his grave at some of what's been done in his name in recent years. Remember it was a dose of Keynesian (or should I say Ballsian) stimulus around 2004/5 (in the world's #1 Financial capital - so it spread far and wide) that transformed what could've been a regular recession into a couple of years of continued bubble followed by an almighty crash. Go back and look at Gordon Brown's rhetoric: the clue lies in the subtle addition of the phrase "over the economic cycle" to words about government borrowing.
China's stimulus looks more like legitimate keynesianism, but I'd be out of my depth trying to say anything meaningful about it.
Someone spotted grinding axes in a Worstall article a couple of weeks back.
Now if Worstall occassionally grinds an axe, AEP runs a FTSE-100 business grinding axes for every woodcutter and dwarven warrior in fantasyland. I have only to see his name on an article (especially one on Europe), and I don't bother reading it because I already know what it says.
" Sponsored: How to deal with Windows Server 2003 end of support ". So now we know.
Can I be the only one to think the Wright brothers may have had more direction?
Post-war reconstruction is not at all the broken window fallacy. Noone is suggesting that the war damage was a good thing. The point is that, being so very much more than just broken windows, it had reduced us to a shadow of where we should have been.
If you're measuring economic growth from a starting point that's (for the sake of argument) half what it was just a few years earlier, then merely repairing the damage gives you 100% growth from that reduced startingpoint, which gives a major part of post-1945 growth. The broken window fallacy is only relevant if you measure from before the damage happened. And Balls's preposterous suggestion was that you can get something like that same growth from an undamaged startingpoint.
The arms trade is a big part of the UK economy. And others, but the UK is (proportionally speaking) #1 amongst big/developed nations. So the end of the Cold War hit our economy harder than other Western economies. That's also why the UK and US have driven so many smaller wars (arms industry trade fairs) since 1989.
 The US has three times more arms exports, but I believe their total economy is more than three times ours. Noone else comes close: the next two (France and Russia) are a small fraction of ours.
We in technology talk of 90/10 scenarios. The first 90% of a project takes 10% of the effort, and vice versa. Post-1945 was a 90% time: there was lots of low-hanging fruit, not least because we'd bombed each other halfway back to the middle ages. A big chunk of growth from there was just a matter of replacing the (infrastructure) growth of about two preceding centuries, with the addition of electricity. Also a fertile time for individual careers, as "dead mens shoes" opportunities helped with corporate (and other institutional) career ladders.
Does the fact you never mention that mean that we've put the Ballsian stimulus behind us? The one they put into practice in 2004/5 to ... um ... see us through an economic slowdown, and called for again when Osbourne pretended to give us austerity? I seem to recollect Balls in particular trying to suggest that more government spending could lead to growth by analogy to post-1945.
[edit to add] Oooh, first reply to a Worstall article. This calls for a pint!
So, my wear-on-the-road bicycle tax should be 1/8000th of the £180 vehicle tax my car is liable for. 2.25p
Doesn't that assume you do the same mileage with the two vehicles?
The original story seems to have been a good-natured encounter, where none of the human parties got stressed or upset. We're told the googlers found it amusing, and it no doubt adds incrementally to the experience that'll bring self-drive to the masses in due course.
It's only amongst the Reg commentards that anyone seems to be getting bothered, let alone expressing extreme prejudice and advocating psychopathic behaviour as at least two have done. I came here to post to tell the little strangely-analagous anecdote about what happened to me yesterday (above), when I got held up by an a car messing about but nothing bad happened, and noone lost their temper at anyone.
So, if I encounter you, the choice is to proceed across your path at the risk of being run down, or to be beaten up?
I find the number of upvotes for this violent thug disturbing.
Is it specified who (should have had) priority? Could it be that everyone concerned was in fact doing exactly the right thing?
Funnily enough, I had a long-hesitation situation while cycling into town just yesterday. Needed to turn right, but some car coming the other way slowed and stopped just in front of the junction. I wasn't about to turn right across the path of a car whose driver was behaving unpredictably and had right of way. Had to resolve it with a "what are you doing?", whereupon the driver asked if I knew [some road name he was looking for]. So evidently he'd stopped to look at the name of the road I was turning into and he was blocking.
 This is in England. Readers in countries that drive on the right, please read this in a mirror.
Spotted doing consultancy for Bubnov and/or the Russian civil service?
Careful with your number of legs, lest you get eaten by a sphinx.
Are you telling us all to anticipate a wave of spam concerning our ashley madison details?
(For the record I never had PPI either, nor an accident to claim for. Doesn't stop the spammers).
I haven't checked on John Lewis.
But I happen to know that the Coop is owned very largely by the same international finance that owns our FTSE-listed companies. There's no regular equity, but there is a huge amount of bonds and PIBs. That is to say, capital raised and freely traded in the City.
Erm, John Lewis and the Coop look firmly capitalistic to me. The mere fact that their capital structure differs from Tesco (and you and I don't have the opportunity to invest in their equity) doesn't somehow distance them from the markets where Coop has indeed struggled of late.
Once upon a time when I was young^H^Hmiddle-aged and naive, I tried and failed to figure out how I could invest in those up-and-coming forces, Aldi and Lidl. Does my difficulty there somehow exclude them from capitalism too?
And how can you describe yourself as neo-liberal when in previous articles you've supported that negation of capitalism, bank bailouts?
 Not that that's changed so you'd notice.
... but he has a few things in his favour:
* The status quo is also barking.
* A generation of under-fortysomethings has no memory of how bad things were in the days of real socialism, and has been fed a myth of some golden age.
Protest movements against the status quo have been gaining traction: look at the likes of LePen and Farage (or even Galloway). Corbyn is less unattractive than some of those, not least by virtue of the fact that he's seen (rightly or wrongly) to practice what he preaches. Could the likes of Corbyn and Trump be just the next phase of a historical protest?
I disagree that Chinese programmers have been absent so far. Yes, they're underrepresented in comparison to China's population, but I think that's not least because the English language is a barrier to most of them (other than ex-pats) fully participating in development communities. We (mostly) don't even see theirs: if we looked we'd see gobbledegook!
I've had some slight exposure to both Russian and Chinese open-source communities (where of course the language barrier works the other way) and found them extremely welcoming. Some musings on engaging with Russian and Chinese dev communities on my blog here.