132 posts • joined Wednesday 18th July 2007 16:47 GMT
Move along - it's just politician speak
Forgive me if I am being cynical but I've heard it all before - all leading to absolutely nothing (99% of the time), a squandering of of tax-payers' money (the £13billion NHS CRS debacle) or if we really do something that is actually innovative (computer technology), it will simply get nicked by the Americans.
Politicians would be far more credible if they actually delivered. Just fulfilling the promise to roll-out super fast broadband to every home in the UK would be a start. Never mind a "hyperhighway", we haven't got to the "superhighway" yet. Not even a plain "highway" in certain parts.
Value for money?
Notwithstanding the comments that the comparisons may not be like-for-like, the fact is that the iPhone is about £500 and an Android phone can be under £100.
An Android phone does everything it needs to out-of-the-box, usually heavily customised by the network operator and pretty robust while the more technically minded will find a plethora of tweaks and hacks, including open source code to play with.
With an Android, use it as a phone, internet device, palmtop, ebook reader, game machine, portable computer or an open source programmer's hacking device - which inevitably leads to uncountable applications for free. Great for everyone but not so good for the money men. My heart bleeds...
The problem is UK law (as usual)
The problem with giving away old computer equipment in the UK is basically the law. As many posters have pointed out, if you sell old equipment, you are liable to tax, thereby needing to pay and expensive accountant to sort it out.
Having Windows on it will also fall foul of licencing laws but that can be got round by using Linux but that will cost money as someone will have to be hired to reload all the PCs.
If a gifted PC then blows up, catches fire, electrocutes or injures some beneficiary, the donor could be sued. Therefore each PC will need to be checked and PAT tested, again requiring a hired hand.
Sending them to third-world countries is not the answer either as the cost of doing this is quite prohibitive, not to mention again having someone to check them over though if for other reasons rather than legal.
The answer? If the government is really serious about green issues and recycling, the law should be changed to accommodate the above. Sure, the treasury will lose a load of tax as I am sure smart entrepreneur will use the bound-to-exist loopholes and make themselves a fortune.
I'd better get my coat as I can hear the bean-counters and health-and-safety lobby bleating in the wings, drowning out the practical and logical creative-thinking individuals.
Banks are a joke
Having having f**ked up the country and wondering how to reward themselves with multi-million pound bonuses, I guess insecure Chip-and-Pin are the least of their worries.
Frankly the country would be a lot better off without the current banking institutions and structure. We need to get rid of a bunch of half-arses and I am pretty sure there are a load of competent wannabees who will step into their shoes for less than half the price.
I'll go along with that
I spent a couple of weeks on vacation recently with a group of Canadians and Americans and I can verify that they are not all fat right-winged red-necks. In fact you couldn't hope to meet a better group of people.
As usual, It is just unfortunate that the idiots and politicians who mouth the loudest are seen as representatives of a nation. It is also unfortunate that these idiots are driven by some twisted mental and emotional instability that make them so prominent while the overwhelming majority of good, honest folk go about their lives earning an honest living in a quiet way.
Like the Russian Space Pen?
Apparently the Americans spent a wad of dosh developing a pen that could write in zero-G that had a miniature pressurised gas canister to push a controlled flow of ink out through the nib while the Soviet astronauts simply brought along a pencil.
Egocentricity is the root of all evil
I find it amazing that in this day and age where global events move faster than ever, organisations and individuals still adhere to the outdated business model where size and tyrannical control is all that matters. That model takes the egocentric view that by building a strong defence base, one is invulnerable - much like living in an impenetrable castle ruled by a bully.
Unfortunately for those that still adhere to that thought, they will simply be swamped by the passing tide much like King Canute trying to hold back the waves. The way forward surely is to constantly adapt and going with the flow... or die. The old model works fine with a captive market but the world in 2010 is made up of a too many fragments to be held captive - even by Microsoft.
Shouldn't the title be "Their wireless devices are on your network"?
Have I missed the point of the article completely? Isn't this the same scenario as laptops equiped with wireless facilities? Sysadmins have been dealing with these for the past who-knows-how-many years so what's so special about smartphones?
Partitions are incredibly useful
I have always installed any flavour of Linux with a separate /home partition. It just makes the users' private space so much more portable and flexible. Try a fresh install of say for example, 9.10 to 10.04. Without a separate user partition, you will trash the entire disk when you format it, including all the users' data. etc. Having a separate partition retains all that. I have even changed flavours of Linux while retaining all my desktop settings, emails and documents.
With the standard disk configuration tools like gparted, resizing partitions is really not an issue so the subject of disk wastage is hardly a discussion point. With the cost of storage these days, a surplus of 20Gb on a 1TB drive is very trivial. In any case, if you are that desperate for space, just create a link to the surplus space.
The problem is the Apache license
A lot of problems will be solved if handset vendors had to share their code. The problem with the Apache license is that vendors can add proprietary extensions without submitting those back to the open source community. This leads to fragmentation and we are already facing non-compatible Android software for the various makes.
Compete with the iPhone? No chance - ever heard of "divide and conquer"? Most execs of handset manufacturers will typically have their heads so far up their arses to even think about letting their precious proprietary code out for the benefit of the Android community and therefore will always be also-rans to the current leader.
The download problem: With the Pulse (1.5 Cupcake), just cancel the download when it hangs and try again - assuming you have the correct Google credentials. If not, just change it in Settings.
SORBS is agressive
It does say on the SORBS site that they operate a very agressive anti-spam policy - the slightest transgression (intentional or accidental) and the IP address gets listed.
Users have the choice of not using their blacklists as there are ones like Spamcop that delists automatically after 3 days of non-reports but I can understand why users choose to SORBS's lists. When I managed a previous employer's mail server several years ago, we were getting some 200 spam mails a minute. The use of SORBS' lists cut it down to about 7.
If anything, the cost of unblocking has contributed to forcing ISPs and authorities to focus on spam handling policies and bringing the whole subject of spam mailing to the forefront. Currently the level of spam as a whole has dropped dramatically and personally I am very grateful for the work SORBS, Spamhaus, Spamcop and all the other anti-spam campaigners have done and especially, as they are all non-profit organisations.
Beginning of the end?
"He prefers to see Microsoft’s rivals as being the likes of Amazon, Oracle and VMware."
I had long suspected that Microsoft had been winding down their core business of Windows and business-related software and concentrating on lightweight home-market, money-spinning stuff like the X-box and suchlike. Is he actually admitting to that by that statement?
Perhaps the man is not such a chair-throwing chimp after all - faced with the unwinnable competition from the Open Source community and the inevitable demise of a crap operating system, he is throwing in the towel instead.
Are we not just a bit egocentric
in thinking that we can control global systems?
As other readers have correctly pointed out that climate change had been occurring throughout Earth's history, all of which are due to "natural" causes. Man's (I use that term generically) residency on this planet is nothing but a mere speck in Earth's timeline and we will all be dead, extinct and gone before Earth loses her natural ability to support carbon-based life-forms. Considering that Earth has been hit by at least one, if not more asteroids that wiped out most of lfe as we know it and we are here is a great testament to her tenacity to support life.
Personally I try and pollute and use up resources as little as I can for the simple reason that I actually like living in a clean environment and do not like wasting resources and money (I am a tight-fisted git). What I am not prepared to do is give up my lifestyle and pander to the hypocritical Green lobby so that they can salve their conscience to my detriment.
And it has made little difference as the A14 on that stretch is one of the worst accident spots, mainly caused by lorries, either trying to throw themselves off the bridge at Huntingdon or hitting joining traffic from the numerous incoming short run-in slip roads.
Speed cameras do not work - think about it
Don't believe me? Then watch the behaviour of motorists as they approach static cameras - apply brakes, trundle through the measurement markers at speed limit, resume exceeded speed (if possible).
What about average speed cameras? Easy - when coming up to roadworks, ignore speed limit signs until spot camera (which could be a long way in), slow down and let it take your picture, set average speed display in car, spot last camera in section and floor it as soon as you go past, making sure your average speed display does not exceed stated limit. In the meantime, your speed within the measured section could be as erratic as hell, from 10mph to 100mph as long as the average is within the stated limit.
Speed is only one factor in a load when it comes to safe driving, but it is a soft target when it comes to fines and money-making for the authorities.
Why do "upgrades" go to shit?
Perhaps the more enlightened readers can tell me why software manufacturers ultimately fuck up perfectly good products in the name of upgrades? Not only do "newer" products inevitably contain more bloat but backward compatibilty also goes out the window.
Firefox was born out of the idea that the web needed a lean, mean browser, free from bloat and would run circles round other browsers. What has happened now is that it has gone to join all the other overweights, eroding whatever unique advantages it used to have and the vision has turned into a simple crude market-share grabbing competition with IE. Did I read somewhere that Firefox developers share development with the IE lot? Does this means Firefox is really a non-Microsoft IE or heading that way, with warts, crap and all?
Agree - users don't practice safe computing but...
The problem is that Windows frequently require Administrator rights just to do anything. For example, some software we use require access to the registry as with any kind of installation and updates, no matter how trivial. This is the sort of thing users find frustrating and dispense with safe practices so that they can actually use their PC.
Not just ICT, technical and engineering skills too
Isn't all to do with cultivating an inquisitive mind and bugger-all to do specifically with ICT? When I was younger, there was this excellent program called "Tomorrow's World" and others that actually asked questions and demonstrated how things worked. It then degenerated into a superflous "Gadget Show" type program and I lost interest.
I am sure the later Tomorrow's World and current "techie" programmes appeal to the masses wanting shiny new toys and boost viewing ratings (and profits for retailers but sadly not UK manufacturers). So why are we surprised that the current generation show no interest in anything technical, engineering included, when the current trend is to popularise "science" by demonstrating glamourous gadgets from an application point of view?
I'm going to get flamed for saying this but...
I actually do like C#!
Having been developing in Java for 6+ years, my job dictated developing applications for the ubiquitous Windows and .NET environment. I didn't fancy VB so it was VC++ or C# and the latter was closer to what I was accustomed to.
Now sadly, I have come to really like it after two and a half years and much as I dislike Microsoft products, I have to confess I like the Visual Studio environment and the ease of stitching together .NET applications. "Horses for courses" I guess. It's back to good old Java and Eclipse or Netbeans when it comes to Linux apps as I found Mono a bit clunky in a Gnome environment the last time I had a go and suspect it would be the same in Android.
Speed differential and lack of common sense is the problem
I was rear-ended last year (first accident in 7 years) when I was near-stationary in a stop-start traffic queue. The other driver wasn't travelling fast either - he just failed to apply his brakes. He gave some feeble but feasible excuse but I suspect he wasn't paying attention (possibly texting?) and assumed the queue was still moving.
When everything is zooming along at around 70mph on motorways, it's great. Problems arise when a vehicle is travelling much slower than the rest and drivers pull out to overtake without looking in their mirrors and no amount of legislation or speed cameras can control this. Some countries enforce a minimum speed limit with penalties as severe as exceeding it. This may not be a bad experiment for the authorities to trial.
When I was contracting, I had a stock of re-usable code or SDK that I carried around with me from contract to contract. All the systems I worked on were very similar and apart from saving me a lot of typing, it guaranteed pretty much bug-free code. There is a line between ripping off a system and re-using code and design. Third-party system templates and plug-in SDKs are common place and I have simply written my own SDK and design template for the type of systems I specialise in. My customers paid for a system that worked in a particular manner but how it got there was the reason they contracted me for.
I had a harrowing experience when we went to the US for a holiday. For a start, the airlines always tell you to lock your cases which we did, only to find the locks cut and the remains taped on the suitcase with a notice stating that our suitcases had been opened and inspected. The person welding the cutting tool had chopped off most of the zip handles as well, effectively destroying a perfectly good and by no means cheap suitcase.
Having a passport with stamps from Muslim countries meant I was quizzed over my reasons for visiting them and why I was trying to enter the USA. The word "vacation" simply drew a blank. The official questioning me clearly had no geographical knowledge of Britain in relation to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Maybe it's good security but it has certainly made me think twice about another holiday in America. I'll spend my money elsewhere as the richest country in the world obviously doesn't need it.
"Why can't those in government use their brains JUST ONCE"
Because you do not need brains to get into politics. You just need the gift of the gab and the ability to convince an unsuspecting proportion of the population that you indeed know what you are doing.
The "brains" (and I use the word very losely) behind any government are the same teams of civil servants and "mandarins" that remain in office behind whichever mouth that fronts the administration. "Promotion beyond one's abilities" springs to mind and this is the civil service after all. We can only hope that the job cuts about to be imposed by this government will address the problem however unlikely.
What about the retention dept hassle?
Sadly it doesn't address the letters, emails and phone calls you get from the retention dept when you want to change suppliers. Let's face it - a customer generally has a pretty good reason for wanting to move to another supplier.
If it is for a better deal elsewhere, then a supplier should know better than to take their existing customers for granted. If the customer is moving because he/she is pissed off by the supplier then the customer would have made considerable attempts in sorting out the problem before giving up and deciding to move.
Either way, trying to retain customers after the event is pointless and pisses the customer off even more. What's the age-old saying now - "The customer is King" or have suppliers got so arrogant in the 21st century?
The truth finally
Demotivated staff would explain why Microsoft products suck big time.
I used to work for a major software company that kept such an incredibly tight lid on their staff to the extent that if you were away from your desk for 10 minutes, you would have to give an account to your manager. Development staff were constricted to churning out systems written to a tight spec. In that respect, software development was nothing more than factory work. Morale was below ground level but no one could leave as it was during the recession of the 90's but the company made huge profits which benefitted only the shareholders. The staff got nothing - after all, the country was in a recession.
The result was a "couldn't care less" attitude. Developers did the minimum and as long as the job ticked all the boxes on the spec. No spec could cover all holes so products were released looking like Swiss cheese. We had customers complaining but no one cared - another round of development, another round of cheese with less holes in.
As the recession lifted, development staff began to leave and it finally dawned on management that their US profit-maximising style did not exactly translate into UK work ethics. As far as I know, the company went into a contrary downhill slide in a period of national growth when it should have grown even bigger, and it was eventually merged with a competitor. Currently you don't hear of them any more other than in a very niche market. They are now a shadow of what they used to be. Terrible shame, but I am sure the then CEO and his cronies would have had enormous redundancies on their way out.
Ubuntu is NOT for geeks and here's why
I went Windows-free two years ago and can honestly say I have not had a single problem since. The machine gets switched on and it works. Just like turning on the TV, which works until you switch it off.
For that reason, it is the ideal system for the novice user as they will never have to fix it or rely on the plethora of anti-this and anti-that. Naturally, this will be too boring for geeks, anyone who likes investigating system malfunctions and those who see malware removal as the challenge of a lifetime.
On the other hand, if they used Ubuntu or some other flavour of Linux, they could devote their free time to the Open Source community and fixing the diabolical Mail Merge facility in Open Office and give us an Access compatible equilvalent instead of us having to rely on CrossOver Office.
The IT Crowd episode
Wasn't there an episode from The IT Crowd where the guys convinces Jen that the entire internet is contained in a small black box and she in turn gives a presentation to high-powered nobs who ended up in awe of the box?
A lot of similarities here methinks...
PS. I have always maintained that the standard of education in the UK is on the downward slide but that's another topic.
Money making angle?
I remember we had a money-making brainstorming exercise many years ago and someone suggested a dark-making device. The idea was dismissed immediately as nonsense and we had a good laugh about it. I guess it demonstrates that the concept of brainstorming does actually work.
...plus a fair amount of hype
A colleague came back from holiday in the US with an iPad recently. While it undoubtably had the Apple slickness, it was basically a netbook with a scaled-up iPhone UI. After a few minutes of fun playing with its pinch and expand feature on Google maps and it went back in its case. Can't say I've a got an urge to go banging on the doors of PC World but no doubt the gadgetbois will regardless.
Yes but not an improvement
Dry suits are actually quite uncomfortable and restrictive. I find the seal around the neck makes me want to gag all the time and the ones round the wrists are just comfortable tourniquets. When inflated, there is somewhat of a Michelin Man feeling and there is that shrink-wrapped feeling when it is deflated. The boots are also built-in, thereby limiting the type of activity you do.
In any case, balaclava and gloves are wet suit technology so even if you are fairly comfortable in socks, long johns, jumper and fleece under your dry suit, your face, head and hands are subject to the mercy of sub-ambient temperatures. Furthermore, dry suits are not 100% dry as the seals are not 100% (for the reasons stated) and you frequently end up with damp clothing.
For me, there is really no comparison with a wet suit when it comes to frolicking about in the waves.
A question of risk
The solution is quite simple - get the airlines, crew, cargo shippers and passengers to sign a mutual disclaimer that absolves each party from responsibility in the event of a crash resulting from flying through ash clouds. Aircrews get a bonus and anyone willing to fly themselves or their cargo do so entirely at their own risk. The only other danger is to residents in the path of the falling aircraft but chances are it will be over sea or lightly inhabited areas when flying at ash cloud heights. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
IT agencies are not IT buffs
I was getting regular email updates from one I signed up to ages ago and when I tried to unsubscribe, their automated email reply system produced no effect and the unsubscribe link on the email led to a dead page. Some time later I found all emails from them were tagged as spam. Evidently some recipients had the same problem as I did and in frustration, reported them to a spam list. I've had nothing more from them since so I guess they have either fixed their problem or got taken down as spammers by their ISP.
Why is it that every major corporation feel it has the need to take over the world? Google could do lot better by making its current product portfolio better rather than putting its resources into the reinvention of the wheel as a lot of posters have commented.
Let's face it, when you try and find a solution for a problem that doesn't exist, you are definitely on the downward slide. This is nothing but a demonstration of technical ability, fraught with security, usability and stability issues and will cost Google a lot.
'...and the government will also be saving money on the NHS IT scheme, which will be scaled back, "saving hundreds of millions of pounds"...'
After tossing £13 billion down the pan and making a lot of undeserving shareholders very rich with tax-payers money, this is but a fraction.
We are also defining life as we know it: The carbon-based model and making the assumption that all higher-order life forms are like our own, where in fact our planet environment may actually be extremely harmful to a superior and incomprehensible alien life form.
Even if we were to compare like with like and only look at carbon-based models, Earth is hardly the benign environment most of us believe it to be. Aside from the already-mentioned undesirable beings that populate it, the environment is really quite hostile. We just happen to exist in a narrow time-frame that is condusive to our life model. A few degrees higher or lower and we would cease to exist. Remember the dinosaurs?
The UK government is irresponsible
You miss my point. I am not disputing the point that floor polish is more or less poisonous than mephedrone. I was just noting that substance abuse happens. Period.
The point I am making is that the UK government turns a blind eye to more or less harmful substances if it brings in money and I bet smoking and alcohol abuse kills a lot more people than mephedrone and other less harmful substances.
The UK government is irresponsible
So some people in the UK has died from consuming a poisonous substance. Same sort of thing as drinking floor polish or meths - people have died from doing that too. The stupidity of the government however is not seeing that reponsibility lies with the equal stupidity of the individual for consuming poison but not seeing that SMOKING kills millions, yet that is not banned.
Simple explanation: Tobacco makes the government millions in taxes while mephedrone brings in nothing. The UK government puts finance before humanity? You bet!
Demise of companies from idiotic comments
"In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant..."
This must rank close to the "We sell crap" comment by Gerald Ratner that brought about the downfall of the Ratner Jewellery chain of business. One of the factors that make Google such an influential player in IT is their clarity of vision (possibly perceived) backed by an intelligent (again possibly perceived) team.
John Herlihy might be endowed with the above mentioned qualities but he must have been immersed in his own sales and marketing hype for far too long (an we all KNOW sales and marketing is mainly vapourware and BS - please don't even bother defending this statement). It is idiotic comments like this that precede the downfall of giants.
Let's try this: "In three years time, Google will be irrelevant."
To be fair...
Not only is the British weather on the unpredictable side, there seems to be a lot of local variation as well which adds to the Met Office's problems. For example, I was driving back from Cambridge to the Midlands during the recent bad weather and I started off with clear weather. By the time I got to the A14/A1 interchange, it was snowing so heavily that I had to pull over at one point as visibility was literally zero. A few miles further on the A14 was clear and by the time I got home, I was faced with accusations of spending the evening down the pub.
Unless the Met Office can report on a 5-mile resolution, they have absolutely no chance of pleasing anyone. On this occassion the good people of Cambridge and Kettering would have applauded the Met Office for getting it right but I am sure the sheep and cattle buried under a foot of snow in the fields in between wouldn't.
The mail-merge facility REALLY sucks in the Linux version of OO. Not only is it buggy and feels like beta release, it is extremely difficult to use, requiring OO Base as an intermediary store.
MSOffice on the other hand will suck in an Excel sheet of names and addresses with sheer ease and produce a reamful of beautifully formatted mailshots before you can get off your seat to make a coffee. OO Writer on the other hand will require you to install OO Base first (as that is not normally installed by default), export your spreadsheet contents into OO Base, set up your headers then fight your way in OO Writer with the buggy field insertion facility and then try and work out the incredibly cryptic mechanism. Needless to say, the alignment on print was nothing like the preview.
It was easier to install CrossOver Office and then stick on MSOffice to be honest.
Dropping OO from the Netbook platform does make sense as the device is supposed to an Internet device as opposed to it being used as a small laptop. We can only hope that OO remains in the desktop distribution as from my experience, OO and its compatibility with Ms Office has been a major factor in convincing users to move from Windows to a Linux platform (Ubuntu).
Thanks to the US DoD
Ah yes, I remember the Jacqui Smith very naive proposal.
If the government would reflect on history, they would remember that the Internet was born out of the US Department of Defense idea of maintaining communications in the event of hostile actions that could knock out traditional ways of communication. It is therefore designed to be unstoppable but unfortunately, it is also a double-edged sword.
The only effective way of controlling it would be to dispense with it altogether, ban the import and manufacture of communication equipment, force the country to use government-approved frequencies and terminate all communication channels at the borders. Yep, a return to the good old Soviet Union model and Nazi-style dictatorship. Let's go for it.
Way to go BristolBachelor
You hit on the nail there buddy.
It is about time the music industry realised their market and business model has changed permanently and making easy millions out of pop music is no longer an option.
On behalf of our reality overlords, I welcome the music industry and all those who think popular music is the path to instant fame and fortune. Subscribe to Simon Cowell's ruthlessness if you really want that and try understanding the word "business" in the description "music business".
"You see things that people can't see" and "...can detect any strange presence from kilometres away".
I remember having these abilities in my younger days after consuming industrial quantities of alcohol and the ingestion of certain substances. However I can assure everyone that no vultures were harmed in any way then. Nowadays I just rely on night-vision devices and motion-detectors which makes life a lot easier the day after.
Problems? What problems?
Did an upgrade from 9.04 (Jaunty) to 9.10 (Karmic) without any major problems whatsoever. In fact I doubted if it had actually worked. My GNOME desktop looked the same as it did, as did everything else. There were a few minor niggles that confirmed the upgrade had indeed worked and I was running 9.10 with minor teething problems but everything I normally run on a day-to-day routine worked as they did with no show-stoppers.
All I can say to everyone is that make sure you have your system fully updated by manually running the Update Manager and dong a Check. Apply all updates before attempting the upgrade to 9.10.
AManFromMars - where are you?
Perhaps AManFromMars can translate this?
We are ready to upgrade
Just came out of a meeting regarding our upgrade policy. Yes, we are going to phase out XP and no, it's not Windows 7. It's SuSE.
Goodbye Microsoft. Welcome to our new Novell overlords.
Well, it's happened and I must truthfully admit there is a strange sense of anxiety and relief...