And the obligatory whale song CD.
3428 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007
The scene is the late 70s - mainframes, fanfold paper and lengthy batch processing. Senior analyst called in to fix a problem with a run over the weekend. His wife is out so he has to bring the kids with him. It's raining hard, and the kids end up playing football in the computer room, until a perfect kick makes contact with the big red button ...
The UK's Cairncross Review calls for Google, Facebook to be regulated – and life support for journalism
I was responsible for a (very minor) project to introduce virtual fax machines that took incoming faxes and attached them as an image file to an email. This was in Windows 3.1, so would have been around 25 years ago (and I don't claim it was a pioneering implementation). [pauses to stroke long grey beard]
We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD
Re: Just plain embarrassing
Here's an old price list from a couple of years later, when the IBM compatible marketplace was well-established and the AT (80286 rather than 8088-based) was the new kid on the block. For those not familiar: Tandon was a second-tier plug-compatible manufacturer, so its prices were significantly lower than IBM or Compaq (and can be converted into $ at the then traditional exchange rate for computer kit of $1=£1).
For many years (almost up to the millennium), my simple rule of thumb for business PCs was: you can buy a basic system for £1k, a usable system for £2k and a high-end beast for £3k. The hardware that actually matched those descriptions changed every year or two, of course.
What's the fate of our Solar System? Boffins peer into giant crystal ball – ah, no, wait, that's our Sun in 10bn years
Amazon exec tells UK peers: No, we don't want to be dominant. Also, we don't fancy being taxed on revenues
Re: Tax allowance for costs is a grace
Ignorant nonsense, Mr G, I'm afraid. HMRC took Starbucks to court on this very point - they lost. Any costs charged by overseas subsidiaries of a parent company must be justifiable as reasonable - if they aren't HMRC can and will challenge them.
And do you arrange your personal tax position to maximise the amount of tax you pay? If not, why not?
Yes, it's inefficient, but that's because most of the energy emitted from the charging pad doesn't reach the device. So it won't be the battery that heats up, it'll be the pad* and anything else conductive within range.
* Only slightly - you're not going to burn yourself - but it's still a waste, particularly if you think of 50 million phones in the UK alone being recharged almost daily.
Why open port 9100?
Even the cheapest routers don't expose port 9100 by default, so people must have made a decision to do so and have the technical smarts (hardly difficult, but beyond 90% of the population) to implement it. I would have thought (clearly incorrectly) that anyone capable of doing this deliberately would consider the consequences - rather like walking around with a large 'kick me' notice pinned to your back.
It goes to show that, no matter how dumb the security vulnerability, you can always find thousands of examples with a simple Internet search.
Re: RE:It is disgusting that Assange is held, without trial
Exactly, Jimmy - Assange is entirely free to leave the embassy whenever he wishes. Of course, he will then have to account for his actions, including failure to answer to bail, something he has shown extreme reluctance to do. Some of his former friends may wish to talk to him about the bail they put up, as well.
AI's next battlefield is literally the battlefield: In 20 years, bots will fight our wars – Army boffin
I can imagine that in 20 years there could be largely autonomous drones. But replacing the grunts on the ground with machines will require some currently unimagined breakthrough in energy storage (or micro-generation). A T-3000 trailing a power cord a kilometre in length ain't going to win the next war.
"People want free apps that help them do what they want and need to do – without spying on them,"
'Free' stuff comes with a price. If you're lucky it will just be the occasional advert popping up; if you're unlucky, it will involve selling information about your usage of the app to an unknown third party. Most people seem fairly happy with such arrangements, but if you think there's a massive pent-up demand for paid-for stuff without these drawbacks, emulate Sir Tim and get coding. Maybe this time next year you'll be a billionaire ... but A hae ma doots.
Was it IBM or ICL that "upgraded" to a faster machine by removing a resistor board?
Pretty much all the mainframe manufacturers (IBM plus the BUNCH - Burroughs, Univac, NCR, CDC and Honeywell - ICL didn't appear because this was US jargon!) did this. It actually made economic sense for both manufacturer and customer, mostly because there was just a single type of system to be built rather than half-a-dozen, giving economies of scale (and making upgrades really, really simple).
Back in the day (c.1980) we ran a Honeywell mainframe, middle of a range of 5. Part of the maintenance contract (excruciatingly expensive, this was actually where most of the money was made - you could get a good deal on hardware, but there was rarely any negotiating on maintenance) was a visit every other week by an engineer to run diagnostic tests. To save himself time, he would reach inside the machine to the 'secret' microswitch that turned it into a top-of-the-range model. Of course, the operators soon sussed this out, which meant that work scheduled for an entire weekend could be accelerated to complete in under a day, leaving extra pub time ...
Re: Not Surprised
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.
Get rid of all your longer-serving staff and you've lost all knowledge as to why the fence was originally built.
The reverse problem exists, too
Languages with only two genders (e.g. French) may be mistranslated into English using a gendered pronoun - he or she, when a native English speaker would use 'it'. I come across this both in Google translate and in use by native French speakers. It makes it obvious that the person or machine doing the translation isn't fully fluent, but it hardly gets in the way of making sense of what is being said.
Even if some security guru comes up with a magic way to make internet voting 100% secure, it will still be a very bad idea, because (unlike making an X in the privacy of the voting booth) there's no way to stop someone from standing behind the voter with either a baseball bat or a big wad of cash to ensure they vote the 'right' way. For the same reason, postal votes should be permitted only for very good reasons, not just as a way of increasing turnout figures.
Re: Missing from the press release -- CVV status
The spokesbeing on R4 this morning confirmed (a) 'all the data was encrypted' and (b) including CVV numbers.
Those familiar with PCI-DSS will be aware that two of its main requirements are that credit card data must be encrypted (tick), and that CVV numbers must NOT be retained on the system, even in encrypted form (whoops). The problem isn't so much with PCI-DSS in principle (though there are problems there, too), but the 'enforcement' mechanism. This is basically that the credit card provider will charge you more for transactions if you're not PCI-DSS and (more significantly) that it's the merchant who is responsible for settling any fraudulent transactions.
But this enforcement mechanism becomes almost irrelevant if you're a tier 1 customer, doing billions a year (like BA). These guys don't have the same arrangements with the credit card companies that a small corner shop would have, it's an individual deal and non-compliance with PCI-DSS isn't a deal-breaker (as long as you can say "yes we're aware of this issue an have plans in place to resolve it ...").
Re: How it works:-
It isn't a 'loophole'. Employees will have to pay personal tax on the value of the shares they receive. As far as HMRC is concerned, it's swings and roundabouts.
Margaret 'Enver' Hodge should know this very well, being a major shareholder in her family business, Stemcor (which paid very little tax, despite turning over many billions, due to not making a profit) - but she prefers grandstanding.
GRBs are only threatening if they fire within a few parsecs of Earth
Not according to these guys.
Judging by the pictures of the 'dumbbell', it looks like the axis of Eta Carinae is about 40° off a direct line to us, and it's thought that GRBs spread over no more than 10°, so we're safe, as long as the axis hasn't shifted since the event that created these clouds (which is conceivable because this is a multiple system).
Given Eta Carinae is 'only' 7,500 light years away, a supernova would be quite spectacular (perhaps as bright as the full moon). Particularly if it produced a gamma ray burst and if this was angled towards earth (which could be much brighter than the sun, for a few seconds). But astronomers consider either event to be improbable (though not impossible).
August 1990 broke all sorts of UK records for high temperatures. I was responsible for mainframe systems across two locations, both with well-specified (we thought) aircon units. We started getting over temperature alarms from the backup system, and when we checked we found that temperatures in the sun on the roof (the computer room was in the basement of a multistory office block) were pushing 50C. As a result the heat exchangers were actually heating the water coming from the machine room rather than cooling it.
Fortunately this was on a Friday afternoon, and though we had a hectic weekend sourcing additional aircon (like hens' teeth, because of the high temps across the country), but the weather had broken by Monday. (We sunsequently replaced the 'dry' heat exchangers on the roof with 'wet' ones that use water evaporation to provide additional cooling.)
I've applied security updates to my car - downloaded from the internet and then applied via the phone app (also used to control/monitor other car functions remotely). It all went perfectly smoothly, but I have to say it was squeaky bum time - I get a bit nervous applying security updates to a phone costing a few hundred quid, 'bricking' a £40k motor is a whole 'nother thing.
Also notable was Ellison’s 1969 novella A Boy and his Dog, about a mind-reading hound and his human buddy in an post-apocalyptic cannibal future after World War 4. In 1975 it was made into a film with Don Johnson playing the lead role - worth watching if you’re entertained watching an actor trying to emote.
It's an unmemorable film, but I thought the point of the novella is the emotionless 'boy', who [spoiler alert] asked to choose between his dog and his new girlfriend chooses the dog (it doesn't end well for the girlfriend).
Re: What does it mean to me?
This is much bigger deal in the US than (say) in the UK, because many USizens don't have an effective choice of ISP. If I don't like the deal that my UK ISP offers me, whether on straight price/performance or for other services that may be bundled with it, it's simple to change to another (albeit the actual signal will probably be carried over the same copper/fibre, probably owned by BT). For reasons partly historical and partly geographical, this isn't as straightforward in much of the US.
Re: "yes, they still make Teasmades"
Tea from 'coffee machines' is almost always ghastly, because they use ghastly 'leaf' with water that isn't boiling. But the operation of a Teasmade produces steam before the boiling water, which acts to warm the pot (good), so the quality of the tea is largely determined by the quality of the leaf being used.