* Posts by Faceless Man

139 posts • joined 10 Oct 2007

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Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

Faceless Man

This just in...

Moved to open plan/hot desking in the last couple of days. I get in early, so I pick myself a desk down in the corner of our "home zone". Then everyone who comes in after me comes and sits next to me, has loud conversations, and one guy has even brought his special, extra clacky keyboard with him.

Why is it the people who are most enthusiastic about this are the people who behave the worst in this environment?

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Faceless Man

Re: What execs and HR can't seem to understand...

I'm a distinctly non-gregarious, Introvert with no extrovert (or extravert) behaviour traits, and I find it difficult to work in a noisy environment. It has been suggested I might be "on the spectrum", but actual medical and mental health professionals tend to disagree.

I just can't work if it's too noisy. I can't block noise out, as I have hearing problems (probably a form of industrial deafness) that makes filtering noise difficult, resulting in whatever I am trying to listen to and whatever is going on around me both being unintelligible. It doesn't help that I really don't like dealing with people, and some of the people around me are particularly annoying, so when I can hear what they're saying I start to get angry. And now with hot-desking, I can't even be sure one of these idiots won't be sitting next to me at some point, being particularly annoying. I don't have the option of working from home, nor am I particularly interested in it as a long term solution.

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Faceless Man

Re: Open Plan is not about communication

Or to put it more accurately, it's about the dehumanisation of the individuals in the workforce by removing any indications of individuality they might previously have displayed.

We're in the middle of moving to hot desking, after some years of cubicles. (Sadly I've been here long enough to remember when we went from sort of open-plan to sort-of cubicles but still quite open plan, to a new building with better cubicles, and now to completely lacking in personal space. The stated objective is productivity gains by reducing our overhead (ie office rent), making the working arrangements more "flexible" (ie making it imperative that sufficient numbers work from home that our new, reduced space can accommodate everyone else - all the while stressing that no-one is being forced to work from home), and generally removing "distractions" (ie any personal effects you might have, including awards and certificates recognising your contribution to the organisation - not to mention pictures of loved ones, reference materials, tea cups, etc).

And people wonder why I'm not happy to work here.

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Who fancies a six-core, 128GB RAM, 8TB NVMe … laptop?

Faceless Man

Dual-booting has its uses

Being able to load up a minimal OS and app suite if one were, say, forced to power up your computer at a security checkpoint, such as one of your fine International Entry Points. Or maybe getting the hardware repaired by a local tech services company, and you don't want to give them root access to your system, or let them go through your personal data.

Also, you can use it to totally isolate environments (although VMs these days are pretty good at doing that, too).

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Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth

Faceless Man

Writing for Star Trek

Every obit I've seen have mentioned his writing for Star Trek ahead of his work on Babylon 5, which seems odd.

He wrote one episode of Star Trek, The City on the Edge of Forever, which had to be heavily re-written to create something that was actually filmable on the budget available. When he found out, he became so annoyed, he submitted his original screenplay for the Hugo award, and that's what won. (There's a recent comic that is based more closely on Ellison's version, showing the substantial difference between what he wrote and what was broadcast.)

Meanwhile, as noted above, he was basically on staff at Babylon 5. In one interview I saw, he said he was essentially an enforcer. If JMS wanted someone brought into line, Ellison would do it. JMS in the same article said he was a Creative Consultant, but in a more literal sense, rather than in the Writer's Guild sense, which is why they created the term "Conceptual Consultant" for him.

My favourite pop cultural reference to him, though, is in The Dark Knight Returns, where he's a guest on a TV panel in the background.

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Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

Faceless Man

Re: "Auckland to Sydney"?

Auckland looks a lot closer to Sydney if you're in Bondi on a Friday night.

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Jimmy Hill feted in Shoreditch

Faceless Man

It's important that Gary Numan be recognised for his innovation in discovering that in a car, you can lock all the doors.

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Faceless Man

I mean, Jimmy Hill's chin was weird looking, but I was sure it was at least approximately symmetrical.

And, as my only exposure to him was when the ABC used to show Match of the Day on Monday nights, it was usually covered in hair of some sort. (I mean, I think it was his, but you could never really tell.)

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Two different definitions of Edge Computing arrive in one week

Faceless Man

And I thought Edge Computing...

...was when you got to 99% complete, then it stops, rolls back a bit, and gets to 99% again, and sort of keeps it there for as long as possible. You know, to improve the intensity of your outcome.

IT has long had a problem with unclear definitions. We've had this project to move everything to "the Cloud", only it took 3 years to get a convincing explanation out of them as to what they meant. Partly because they hadn't decided which version of "the Cloud" they wanted to use. I'm still not sure they know, despite having picked one.

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MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo

Faceless Man

It's so hard

When you have to fiddle with the knob on a router to get it to interface with the socket properly.

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Faceless Man

What about his pals, Spinner and Paddlefoot?

https://youtu.be/ptTtpQ2jF8s

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Australian SigInt spooks won't get power to spy on locals

Faceless Man

Odious little potato. People I know who remember Dutton from his school days aren't especially surprised at how he turned out, but still don't respect him.

The whole Department of Home Affairs thing is another attempt by Turnbull to keep the hard right of the party onside - Give Dutton his authoritarian agency, and let them ride over everyone's civil rights, as long as they're not plotting against him.

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Twenty years ago today: Windows 98 crashed live on stage with Bill Gates. Let's watch it again...

Faceless Man

Re: It's always great entertainment

Used to be it wasn't a real Microsoft event until Windows crashed. People used to run a pool on what minute of the presentation it would happen in.

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Sydney readers: Join Vulture South for beer and sympathy in April

Faceless Man

Damn, can't get there for Thursday. Unfortunately, all my friends in Sydney have moved elsewhere, so I can't really encourage them to go to this, either.

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Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court

Faceless Man

I remember an interview Assange gave many years ago, long before all this started. In it, he compared himself to Tony Fitzgerald, QC, of the eponymous Royal Commission into corruption in the Queensland Police and Government.

For people who were living in Queensland at the time, like myself and Julian Assange, Tony Fitzgerald represented a kind of folk hero who cam into town, kicked all the corrupt officials out of office, and instigated massive changes in the government and police force. I don't see Julian Assange doing anything like that, although I will grant that he could have a worse ideal to live up to.

I'll admit I must have missed the bit where Tony Fitzgerald had unprotected sex with a sleeping woman, holed himself up in an embassy to avoid extradition on rape charges, and then complained about how his self-imposed exile was ruining his health.

Julian, if you're reading this, if living in the Ecuadorian embassy is really causing you this much distress, then you can solve all those problems in one easy step. In fact, I'm sure the Home Office will more than happily help you get the health care you so desperately need.

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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

Faceless Man

Re: Reminds me of a story

It reminds me of one of our "top" programmers back in the day, when I did desktop support, he'd decided that to avoid Occupational Overuse in his arm from his mouse, he'd put it on the floor and use his foot. He attached little foam pads to make it easier to tell where the buttons were, and everything.

Of course, it made it difficult for anyone else to work on his computer, made the mouse gunge up even faster than normal, and he eventually got told off by our Workplace Health and Safety people for basically being an idiot.

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Australia commits to establish space agency with no budget, plan, name, deadline …

Faceless Man

Re: Adelaide?

Adelaide is the closest state capital to Woomera, which is in South Australia. If you watch old footage of rocket launches there, you'll notice they start at a fairly significant angle.

As a bonus for non-Australians, Woomera was also the site of one of our "state-of-the-art" immigrant detention centres. (The "art" being locking people up to no great purpose in sub-human conditions for long periods. An art we no longer practise in this country, we outsourced it to small islands.)

The fact that Christopher Pyne and a few of his South Australian colleagues are sliding in popularity may also have something to do with the decision.

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Faceless Man

Re: A name?

More like "Australian Rocket Science Establishment"

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GoDaddy gives white supremacist site its marching orders after Charlottesville slur

Faceless Man

How bad do you have to be...

...such that GoDaddy will refuse to take your money?

I'm surprised they didn't have a discount code.

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Gov workers told their social posts are more believable than politicians' statements

Faceless Man

I was going to comment on this...

...but apparently I'm not allowed to...

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Snopes lawsuit latest: Judge orders disputed cash can flow to fact-checking site

Faceless Man

Re: Snopes is a Damaged Brand....

What's that saying? Reality has a left-wing bias?

I'm not a big fan of Snopes getting into political fact checking, because I just want an urban legend checking site. Let PolitiFact et al do the politics stuff.

I can see why they're doing that, though. It's a natural step from debunking that stupid story about the guy who put his RV on cruise control, took a nap, and is suing the manufacturer to debunking the claim that Hillary said something once that kind of looks like something Hitler might have said (the truth is that neither of them made either statement attributed to them).

I know of a couple of people on the right who've found it inconvenient, like the guy on Facebook who posted a thing about how people should fact check before they post (mentioning Snopes as a useful resource by name) and then got upset when I linked to the Snopes debunking of the aforementioned Hillary/Hitler comparison that he had shared.

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In the red corner: Malware-breeding AI. And in the blue corner: The AI trying to stop it

Faceless Man

Re: Hmmmm...

And it looks like he got the crack in his screen fixed.

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Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000

Faceless Man

About lunchtime round here. And many people see lunch time on Friday as being "beer o'clock" anyway. Not a lot gets done on Friday afternoons.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Faceless Man

Re: "Let's start with a classic: the Apple Newton"

You forgot - convinced ARM to create a low-power mobile version of their struggling RISC platform, which is now being used as the basis for every mobile device.

The biggest problem the Newton had was that the handwriting recognition system had to learn your handwriting, and people were disappointed it was confused by unusual words. Even so, it was impressive for what it could do straight out of the box.

Plus, it survived for a really long time if it was that much of a failure. After all, they were still making them 5 years after introduction when Steve came back and killed off the line.

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Miss Misery on hacking Mr Robot and the Missing Sense of Fun

Faceless Man

Re: I feel and share your pain

You must miss her terribly...

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nbn™ is installing new hybrid-fibre coax cables

Faceless Man

Finally on the map

I've mentioned on other threads about the NBN that leading up to the 2013 election, my building was scheduled to get FTTP (a fibre run to each unit), with planning including meetings with the body corporate to discuss logistics. Shortly after the election we disappeared completely from the schedule.

Well, we're back on the schedule, and it's currently saying we will now get FTTN (this despite claims by one of the writers for this site that no-one had been so downgraded). Maybe we'll actually get HFC, since we're in the right sort of neighbourhood. (Although we're a whole block away from a whole bunch of FTTP, so if they were to backfill with similar technology...)

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Faceless Man

Re: Don't accept it, act on it

"BYOD is dead. It's pushing up the daisies. Pining for the fiords. Didn't you get the memo?"

Not before time. Unfortunately, it is before my workplace implements it, and I don't see them changing their plans. It's all about making their poorly compensated employees front up for basic IT infrastructure rather than the organisation paying for it.

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Nice NBN rival you built there. What a shame if someone taxed it

Faceless Man

Backhaul

Which is another argument for either nationalising the infrastructure, or at least stopping Telstra from pulling that kind of stunt. It's almost the definition of Monopolistic Behaviour.

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Faceless Man

Or another idea

Keep the charge, but waive it for companies that provide equivalent (or better) rural services to the NBN. Motivate them to build out infrastructure in the places that are more expensive to get to.

Or, another crazy idea, renationalise the communications infrastructure complete with a full functional separation of Telstra, and don't then put it up for sale after the government has spent all the money on it. Keep it as a national asset, maintained by the government, and charge access fees to re-sellers to offset the cost of maintenance...

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WDC loads its belt-fed drive cannon, blasts out disks 'n' cards galore

Faceless Man

Re: Helium!

I think the problem is the materials used in the external housing. We should probably be using aluminium or even some kind of composite, rather than a thin layer of latex. On the other hand, it does come in a wide range of colours.

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Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

Faceless Man

Re: Is that Jesus's middle name?

I thought it was "Haploid".

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NBN costs creating budget time bomb: Deloitte

Faceless Man

Re: All's fair and good, but

Because the Coalition needed to be seen as having a different policy to the ALP. And by coming up with the FTTN model they could fudge the figures to make it look like they were saving money.

And when I say "fudge the figures" to a certain extent I mean "outright lie about costs".

Still waiting to hear if/when my building will get NBN, and what form it will take. Last document I heard had us changed from the FTTP we were promised would be installed by the end of 2013 to FTTN with work starting before the end of this year. No word from anyone about it, and no sign of any work going on.

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Gawker settles with Hogan

Faceless Man

Let's face it, there are no good guys here.

Gawker were scum, but they had a right to exist, and you could always ignore them. I won't pretend they had any form of journalistic integrity, and would even argue that what they did to Peter Thiel was pretty deplorable.

On the other hand, Peter Thiel has basically taken a personal vendetta and created a precedent for the extremely rich to bankrupt companies they don't like. There were other ways to take this, and other solutions he could have sought, but he wanted the company dead.

Neither side is to be admired, here. I won't miss Gawker, but I don't want rich bastards like Thiel being able to just bankrupt companies on a whim.

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Australia spending AU$4.8m to do something about revenge porn

Faceless Man

Re: Buying The Porn?

Because, of course, the alternative is that people behave like decent human beings and respect other people's privacy, and we all know that's too hard.

Might as well argue that if you don't want to be robbed, you shouldn't have any possessions, because theft is just one break-in away.

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Sextortion on the internet: Our man refuses to lie down and take it

Faceless Man

Re: Duct tape...

"lying in bed pleasuring youself with a cup of hot chocolate and an old episode of 'The Good Life' on DVD"

That sounds like it might be painful. And somewhat messy. Still, takes all kinds...

(Oh, you mean like *that*. My apologies. Still, you shouldn't have said it that way, you might confuse a stupid person...)

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Faceless Man

Re: Charlie Brooker HAS SIGHT BEYOND SIGHT

I suspect in this instance, it's more a matter of hindsight. It's not like this kind of thing is new, any more than the idea that reality television exploits hopeful talent in really depressing and disgusting ways.

The pig thing, though, that was a fluke. Even he said he didn't mean to make a documentary.

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Good God, we've found a Google thing we like – the Pixel iPhone killer

Faceless Man

Users abusing it...

"You know, we offered them free, unlimited space, and some people actually had the temerity to think they could store as much as they liked on it..."

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Ladies in tech, have you considered not letting us know you're female?

Faceless Man

I was going to be all sarky about this...

...and then he went and apologised. I presume someone pointed out he was basically saying "It's your responsibility to not go against the employer's biases" rather than "Employers need to do something about their biases".

This is the thing about blind auditions for orchestras. It's not about women pretending to be men, it's about removing gender from the equation, so that any bias the listener might have is nullified.

I was actually discussing this yesterday with a colleague, in much more general terms not confined to gender. The problem is we have a brilliant solution to the problem for one type of job. Orchestral musicians need to be able to play well, and the audition is how orchestras determine that. As a general rule, most other jobs aren't amenable to that kind of extreme anonymisation.

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Smartphone lost on QANTAS 'began hissing, emitting smoke and making orange glow'

Faceless Man

Re: Is it just me

Eighth class, they actually land the plane.

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

Faceless Man

Want to chat on public transport?

You don't need to find someone wearing a badge, just look for the nearest nutter. There's one on every bus and railway carriage across the world. They'll happily while away your long commute with explanations about how their ex-wife was working for a secret multinational organisation above the UN and put thought control wires in all their underwear, and replaced the dog with a robot.

And always remember, if you don't know who the nutter on your bus or train is, it's probably you!

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Great British Great Bake Off gets new judge

Faceless Man

I just presumed that Channel 4 would get Jimmy Carr to host it, like they do everything else.

Or perhaps that should read "a Jimmy Carr" since they probably have a whole bunch of clones or LMDs or Replicants in storage in case there's a hosting emergency.

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Hollywood offers Daniel Craig $150m to (slash wrists) play James Bond

Faceless Man

Re: I'M SUPRISED THAT NO ONE HAS MENTIONED THE CUMBERBATCH!

Thank goodness for that.

I like Cumberbatch. He's my favourite Holmes, and he's a fine actor.

But, really, we need a break from him. He's turning up everywhere. I'm looking forward to him as Doctor Strange, but I still can't help but feel maybe they should let someone else do the acting.

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Faceless Man

I'd upvote you twice if I could. Agree with both points. Dalton nailed the "shoot you in the back without blinking" aspect of Bond, but the scripts were terrible.

Also, I think Ejiofor would be a better choice than Elba. I like Elba, but I always see him as too bombastic for Bond. Bond isn't a booming voice, he's a quiet menace. Ejiofor can really do quiet menace (as mentioned above, Serenity shows that), and the trailer for Doctor Strange shows him capable of the casual one-liner, as well.

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Good job, Oz feds: Conroy wants you investigated for privilege and contempt

Faceless Man

Whose fault is that, then?

Ultimately, the responsibility for public scrutiny lies with, well, the public. If we're not happy with the level of openness, then we should elect people who are more open.

There are obstacles put in place to protect the two party system that limit our ability to do so. And far too often the alternatives to the major parties are even less palatable, but it is ultimately our responsibility to hold the parliament to account. The current press don't seem to want to do it. What we need is better organisation.

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BSODs at scale: We laugh at your puny five storeys, here's our SIX storey #fail

Faceless Man

Re: "This copy of Windows is not genuine"

I first encountered that error on the Windows PC Lab at MS TechEd 2008 in Sydney. As you'd expect, it was a network issue causing all the lab PCs to periodically declare they weren't genuine, but you'd expect that MS might have tried to ensure that their PCs at their big Tech Conference worked properly.

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Faceless Man

Re: Embedded XP terrifying?

Indeed, XP was relatively stable and robust. If they were running embedded Vista, I'd be worried.

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Labor's new comms spokesperson Michelle Rowland gets off to a bad start

Faceless Man

Re: Connect the dots yourself, author

Well, in a number of suburbs, including mine, scheduled FTTP installs were stopped and have not been resumed since the 2013 election.

To be specific: Torrens Street in Braddon was on the NBN plan for 2013. The Body Corporate of my building had been in talks with NBN Co about the rollout plan, and the impact on residents, particularly having to install Fibre to each unit in the building. Someone had been down the street marking the pits out with spray paint (could have been for a number of reasons, but they seemed to particularly mark comms pits.) Shortly thereafter a federal election was called, there was a change of government, and the remainder of Braddon disappeared off the NBN schedule. Information on the NBN website suggests that when work does recommence (now saying Q4 2016, over three years later) it will be FTTN.

Maybe having the work scheduled, discussions with the management of the residential properties on the street, and surveying work don't count as "meaningfully planned", but up until the Federal Election in 2013, we were being assured that we would be getting FTTP by the end of that year, and now we're being offered FTTN.

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First Wi-Fi box ever is chosen as Australia's best contribution to global history

Faceless Man

Re: Just a short list... (not meant to be comprehensive)

What about the Stump-Jump Plough?

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

Faceless Man

Re: The French Connection

That might explain why it was harder to find somewhere to get a decent cuppa in France than in the US. I suppose I should have been suspicious when the waitress was polite.

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Faceless Man

Re: Tea in the kettle?

I've had the opposite problem in airline lounges, hotels, and catered gatherings where they provide pre-brewed filter coffee and hot water for tea drinkers in urns. The labels sometimes get swapped around, so you put your piddly little tea bag in your cup, and add hot water that turns out to be coffee.

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