* Posts by bazza

1790 posts • joined 23 Apr 2008

Done and done: Blackberry ties up $940m settlement with Qualcomm

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Big pile of cash

If you're referring to CDMA and CDMA2000, Yes they did create those (building on other pre-existing ideas, just like everyone else did), but CDMA2000 and it's slavish copy UMTS were "A Bad Idea", really. Only the Japanese and Australians managed to make the most of 3G.

And I'm not sure how much input QC have had into LTE... The Europeans have been very strong in creating good standards. There was a definite feeling that LTE was going to be it, and there was no way the USA / Qualcomm could plough it's own path.

Snapdragon has been a very good thing indeed - I'm using one right now, on a BlackBerry Z30..

1
0

'Do not tell Elon': Ex-SpaceX man claims firm cut corners on NASA part tests

bazza
Silver badge

I think that if one's concerns are of a safety nature (e.g rocket blowing up and killing people) then one would be looking for a more guaranteed information source than the company's servers.

I'd be retaining my own lawyer and lodging printed letters, emails and data with them as well as keeping contemporaneous notes. It's a "proper" place, so you can't be completely accused of mishandling company information. And your lawyer can attest to dates, content, etc.

Doing that before seeking how the company responds to the bad news you're able to raise with them means that you already have your evidence stashed.

Expensive, but remember that a result of a fatal accident inquiry is that one might get a charge of negligence pinned against one, and being able to make that go away quickly and easily is an imperative; you need another job, fast!

That's not something that one wants to entrust to a discovery process involving data that management may be trying to track down and destroy... No data looks bad, but it is also their word vs yours, and there’s more of them.

There's engineers in VW who probably wish they'd done this...

2
0

'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

bazza
Silver badge

Re: "Silicon Valley plutocrats"

"At least Gates has just got on with spending his money in places that can use it."

I've had to seriously re-evaluate my opinion of Gates. Politician, or serious philanthropist aiming to help the very poorest out there? I think he's chosen wisely.

And with the way Trump is heading, Gates might be all that's left of the American overseas aid effort.

8
5

Walkers' Crisps pulls backfiring Tweet campaign that paired Gary Lineker and a bunch of nasties

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Fucky McFuckface

Shouldn't they have been put on a spaceship by now?

How do you think they got here in the first place?

10
0

Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Targeted advertising?

Maybe not, but you're still paying for it all through the price of goods you buy. About £200 for each wage earner per year in the UK for online advertising.

If you buy brand X, and that's advertised anywhere, you are paying for that advertising. And what isn't advertised at least somewhere...

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: What Ads... What Shops?

1: I never look at ads

2: I have never bought anything because of an ad I saw...

One thing missing. As a consumer you have paid for the ad whether of not you saw it. For example, if you buy a particular brand of washing powder, you are contributing to the cost of the advertising of that brand regardless of whether you saw the ad or not.

All told, Internet advertising costs each UK bread winner about £200 a year regardless of what phone they have and what ads they see (UK online advertising is about £7billion per year). Would you pay £200 per year to use Google's services? Sounds quite expensive to me for what you get...

8
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: What Ads... What Shops?

yeah because the poor schmuck trying to make a living needs to have his/her day improved by twunts like you.

Supply and demand. Employees are paid that way because the shops think it increases sales. A customer strike will change their minds very, very rapidly or they go out of business. Like Comet did. Shopping there was just horrible.

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Google may be afraid someone is about to discover the king is naked...

It kinda doesn't matter. If your competitors advertise, you advertise yourself to keep the playing field level. It doesn't matter if it's all bollocks, no one is prepared to risk not advertising...

What Google has done is to massively expand the number of advertising opportunities. Before Google there were only so many bill boards, TV programs magazines and newspapers to place ads in. It was saturated.

Google simply extended the dimensions of the playing field, and keeps creating new ones (search, maps, mail, Android, etc). Not for nothing is it called advertising blackmail...

3
0
bazza
Silver badge

Oh for Pity's Sake

1. Privacy

Here in the UK, the reason we have loyalty cards is because it is illegal for stores to tie purchase information (e.g. who you are and what you bought) to your credit card details. A loyalty card comes with T&Cs that specifically allow the store to do this.

I can't see how on earth Google getting round that could ever be considered legal. Anonymised, my arse.

2. Irony

Given that stores are, quite often, also customers of advertising agencies, why on earth would they ever want to participate in this? It sounds like a way of paying/helping Google to cook up a only slightly-less-than-phoney reason for putting their advert prices up.

3. Turf Takeover?

Also it seems like a way for Google to get the same kind of data that the store loyalty cards collect, only more so. Surely this is diluting the value of the store's own collected data? I mean, the contents of one's grocery shop can surely be used to mine information about what sort of mood different types of customer are in, and that is valuable data that the supermarket can aggregate and sell.

However if Google can generate that kind of data nationwide, through the back door, their version of this type of data is going to be far more comprehensive than any one single chain of stores, who then won't be able to find a secondary market for the data they already collect. And tailored advertising can be pushed to specific people, based on everything they've ever bought anywhere by any means. No thanks.

10
0

Google leak-hunting team put under unwelcome spotlight

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Irony?

@Charlie Clark,

"Not really. All employment contracts have confidentiality clauses and if your business is mainly around IP then you need your employees to understand that careless talk costs jobs as the recent...

Right, but how many times has Google declined to take down / de-index leaked data because "it is in the public interest"? I'd guess loads of times.

The problem with the big tech companies is that they want to be seen as private concerns with all the privacy rights that come along with that status. But really they're performing a very public role these days and are gathering a vast amount of data on all members of the public regardless of whether or not they actually use the company services (Android's collection of caller ID information, Facebook's tagging / tracking of all faces, regardless of whether they belong to Facebook users, etc.). That is a very quasi-governmental level of data acquisition, except that it's all done for the benefit of their shareholders, not the tax payer.

Given that out of the ordinary status, perhaps their internal affairs, corruptions, and issues should be more in the public domain. After all, given some of the things we here about Si Valley (misogyny, sexism, ageism, abuses of employment law, etc), why should companies performing such a major public function be allowed to hide that all away? If a government department carried on its affairs in the same way there'd be a tremendous political scandal. And so there should be for companies processing our data with / without our permission.

0
0

No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Can't satisfy everyone

...no system scales to billions of users across thousands of cultures.

Indeed, and of course that's no excuse. Facebook cannot be allowed to use the argument "we're too big to do anything". Size does not excuse illegality. Global presence is not a reason to impose US derived moral mono-culture. If they have based their entire business model on doing just that and don't like the idea of that being destroyed, hard cheese.

14
0

The real battle of Android's future – who controls the updates

bazza
Silver badge

Kernel Version?

I do wonder what this all means for the continued use of Linux underneath Android. Keeping proprietary drivers up to date within Linux can occasionally be a bit of burden. I've no problem with that; no one has the right to tell the Linux community to freeze their device driver interfaces, it's their software after all.

However, I can see this new initiative doing is making it even harder for Android to move on to more recent kernels. Being able to easily keep up with the fast rate of kernel development is kinda essential - no one wants to be left back-porting security patches forever more.

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: @S4qFBxkFFg - Google can't pull a Microsoft on handset makers (yet)

Google on the other hand, conquered their market share by offering Android for free and even encouraging handset makers to customize it (at least in the beginning).

Android, or at least any meaningful version of it, is not free. You need the Google Play Services binary, and that comes with strings attached. It's one of the reasons they're being investigated by the EU.

Microsoft made OS updates work on Windows Mobile by defining a minimum hardware standards. It was largely successful in that regard.

2
0

Britain shouldn't turn its back on EU drone regs, warns aerospace boffin

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Here be snowflakes...

@Phil Lord

Still, on a positive side, it's not just aviation where we have this problem. Also, medicines and medical practice, clinical trials, chemicals, engineering, education, telecoms.

Indeed, and it's exactly this kind of mess that was inevitable as soon as the EEC went from being a largely technical standards / trade organisation to one that tied them in with politics and money (immigration, human rights, Euro, etc) too and got renamed as the EU. Big mistake. Can you imagine the mess if ISO membership suddenly required going along with all American laws and politics?

As it happens there's plenty of other European countries talking about a "withdrawal from within", which basically seems to mean ditching the political and maybe financial aspects of the EU without actually formally saying that's what they've done. Even Macron has said that perhaps the whole EU thing needs to be reconsidered. So there a good chance that things will get sorted out.

1
1

US court decision will destroy the internet, roar Google, Facebook et al

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Takedown doesn't work

Yep, that's about the size of it.

It all comes back to the social networks not wanting to know who their users actually are. They make a lot of money out of users posting content that, really, they shouldn't. Users only post it in the first place because they know that most of the time they can get away with it, even for stuff that is criminally illegal (harassment on Twitter, terrorist material, paedophilia), not merely copyrighted.

If the social networks made users hand over proof of legal i.d. (for example through a financial transaction), then a whole lot of illegal and copyrighted material simply wouldn't be posted in the first place, thus removing the bulk of the problem. However they know that a lot of people just won't bother using the networks in the first place. Pay Facebook for the privilege of them knowing from exactly who they're slurping? No thanks. And then their business goes away. The free to use spontaneity of it matters a lot.

However, if they stopped slurping, and charged a small fee (like WhatsApp used to), actually offered a good service, it might work. It might be a better option than actually being held responsible for the illegal and copyrighted material users post...

7
1

'The last thing I want is a software dev taking control of my craft'

bazza
Silver badge

Re: yeah "localised traffic management monopolies"

One beneficial aspect of the rail franchises is that the crazy industrial dispute on Southern cannot legally become a national rail strike.

Sorry, not much comfort I know.

1
0
bazza
Silver badge

At that point the CAA’s lead for UAS, Mike Gadd, stood up.

“Under the current legislative regime, the pilot is the commander legally responsible for flight. Issuing instructions to change the aircraft’s attitude in flight means you are now responsible. The level of integrity, compliance and certification required has just changed because [your software] is flying the aircraft,” he said.

I very much like the sound of Mike Gadd. There needs to be more people like him, and have them in charge of stuff, or at least having a Minister following their every recommendations to the letter.

The same home truth needs to be rammed into the numb skulls behind many (all?) of the self driving cars projects. As Tesla have found, there's no such thing as a semi-self-driving car. Either the driver is required to keep their hands on the wheel with their eyes open and on the road, or the manufacturer is liable for the car's every action. No grey, it kinda works half arsed solutions should be allowed.

The problem that Google, etc. have is that they're never going to prove that their self driving car is reliable. They might have a bunch of statistics, but thanks to the rigour enforced by the State of California we all know that those statistics aren't that great.

The problem we have with the hipster wankery that is self driving cars is that most people, including Ministers, think they know what driving is all about. A large part of the public is all for self driving cars, and there is definitely a market demand. Thus a Minister's opinion and actions are heavily pressurised by public opinion and a smooth talking Google exec. We rely on the Minister's sanity and willingness to ignore that influence and make decisions made on reasoned advice.

Thankfully, at least here in the UK, almost no one knows about flying in quite the same every day visceral way. There is unlikely to be a wave of public opinion demanding use of slick looking cool stuff to control drones / UAVs, and so the firm advice of someone like Mike Gadd is, effectively, law.

And so it comes down to this; if you're developing software that performs a safety-critical job, making it shiny is not going to result in it being licensed for use. A lot of these projects seem to be concentrating on the shiny-shiny hey look it nearly works cool stuff, whilst ignoring the cold, hard facts of compliance with the law and regulatory frameworks. And if they don't address those problems, they're just pouring someone else's money down the plug hole.

I wonder if the investors are listening to people like Mike Gadd? They should do. They're being taken for a ride (pun not intended) by engineers who should know better. How does this come about?

State Registration of Engineers

The profession of Engineering is not regulated in the same way as, say, being a medical Doctor. A doctor is legally empowered to make decisions about what happens to other people, and legally responsible for the consequence. An engineer (except a civil engineer), is not. Worse still anyone can call themselves "engineer" even if they have no charter confirming that.

Thus an engineer developing a self driving car can say "it's works" without actually having to legally justify that; others are responsible for actually making the assessment as to whether it works well enough, or not. An engineer's statement on the matter has no more legal weight than my Granny's.

The problem is that engineers, or people who call themselves engineers, like to put themselves forward as having some kind of authoritative role in society. "I'm a shit hot software engineer working in the self driving car industry, you should believe what I say (but don't read the EULA)". In my entire engineering career I've spent most of the time desperately trying not to do that, at least not until "it" really is working. Fortunately I've never had to work on a truly safety critical system. And I am a chartered engineer.

It's different in Germany and (AFAIK) France where engineers (and the use of the title) are regulated by law. If a software or hardware engineer says "this works" and they are a registered engineer, it will come back to them if they were making it up, as has been the case in the VW scandal.

I think it is no coincidence that German and French engineering is, by and large, superb, and largely devoid of the bullshit aspects of "engineering" that is common in at the moment.

The sooner Parliament passes similar legislation here, the better.

9
1

Comey was loathed by the left, reviled by the right – must have been doing something right

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Comey was a coward for not throwing Hilldog under the bus

And Condolessa Rice as well -- she also used a private server!!

Trump and his cronnies have continued using their own email servers now that they're in public office. Seems that there's a general inability amongst politicians to transfer their contacts lists between the private servers they use when they're campaigning and the government ones they're supposed to use once they're sworn in.

This kind of thing is almost inevitable in the US political system. They swap out the entire executive staff, so there can be almost no one in a new administration who really, truly understands national security, the demands of public service, the vulnerabilities of being part of the Administration, the level of attention their lives and work are going to attract from the entire world's hostile intelligence agencies, and the appalling inability of the everyday things that they're used to using (mobiles, land lines, email servers, the lot) to resist attention from foreign spies.

There's probably a few security staff on the permanent payroll who somehow have to convince hundreds of brand new political appointees that there really is a significant risk. And they have maybe 0.5 hours to achieve that. Sounds like an impossible task...

9
1

For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

bazza
Silver badge

It is not a contract, at least not in the UK. A contract absolutley has to have an exchange (e.g. £1) to bind it. No money, no contract. There's no monetary exchange when you download GPL code.

There used to be Gentlemen's Agreements, centuries ago. If a man (and it had to be a man, not a woman) gave their word, it was enforcable. This meant, amongst other things, that proposing marriage to a woman was a binding promise. If the fellow reneged on the promise, he'd have to pay up. When the law was changed and Gentlemen's Agreements were dropped, engagement rings became the financial guarantee of compensation for the woman if the man changed his mind.

Having said that, I certainly don't support ignoringGPL; someone has gone to a lot of effort to create some software, it would be churlish indeed to ignore their wishes.

2
3
bazza
Silver badge

Re: That doesn't matter

But the thing is, South Korea IS signatory to the Berne Convention, MAKING it enforceable.

Enforceable perhaps, but where? I'm not sure the GPL defines which jurisdiction... US law does not have any meaning outside the USA, not matter what Americans think.

2
4

Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes 'No' to modular overhaul

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Rules of thumb

"every malloc and free maps on to an OS call" - not true. No version of unix has ever done that. It would be unusably slow.

Well, maybe not for a long time. A long time ago every new allocation needed a call to sbrk...

OpenBSD makes OS calls for anything over page size. Anything under a page size is drawn from a pool of already allocated /recycled pages. It uses mmap instead of sbrk. They get some very nice benefits from doing so, e.g. most allocations have unmapped pages adjacent - free buffer overrun protection. And it allows ASLR to apply to data too, so the layout of data within one's program is randomised. Freed memory does not come back to haunt the program. And realloc stands a good chance of not requiring a copy to be performed.

Ok, so it's perhaps not as fast as jemalloc, but for some it has desirable properties.

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Sun was always a little arrogant about Java

I'll bite :)

"If it did not exist we would still have to use archaic rubbish like C++"

Oi, stop dissing C++!

Ok, so there's a decades long history behind C++ that has not been removed, some of the template and stl stuff is 'orrible. However if one makes careful and disciplined use of shared pointers and runs it on top of a memory allocator like GLIBC's ptmalloc, it's pretty hard to beat.

I've written really quite large programmes in C++ that don't use the "delete" keyword anywhere at all and have zero memory leaks (according to valgrind), everything is done with shared pointers. And it's fast.

One of my favourites blends stl queues with ZeroMQ, it pushes shared pointers through the stl queue but uses ZMQ for it's distribution patterns (PUSH/PULL in this case) to decide which thread is going to read the shared pointer off the queue. Hmmm, I think I can hear people curling up in horror...

Personally speaking though I think the days of C++ are passing. Rust in particular stands a very good chance indeed of replacing it. Being a completely new language means they can throw away all the decades of cruftiness that a language like C++ has to support, and build a nice language with some very high level ideas (things like automatic memory management) without the need for a bloaty horrible thing like a garbage collector thread. There's even rumblings of a project to re-write Linux in Rust!

6
1
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Rules of thumb

And you're right about Solaris too - not too bad, although it was considered to be slow enough that it was often called Slowlaris.

It depends on what aspect of it you think is slow. As far as I recall, the memory allocator in the C runtime on Solaris is of the old school - every malloc and free maps on to an OS call. Very BSD. But there's nothing preventing use of a GLIBC style memory allocator.

If one does that there's no particular reason why code running on Solaris would be slower than anything else on the same hardware.

If one considers the wider system aspects, I know that the Linux world has worked very hard on getting mutexes working faster, and Linus has always steered the philosophy of the scheduler towards throughput over everything else. That's pretty good. However it's only comparatively recently that Linux got rid of the big kernel lock. There's also a growing acknowledgment that the Linux network stack is a bad idea speed-wise, but it's such a massive change to do anything about it I can't see it happening. The BSDs of this world, which put the stack in user land, is the way to go. AFAIK Linux is the only OS to put a network stack in the kernel. Windows? No. Mac OS? No. *BSD? No. VxWorks, INTEGRITY? No. QNX? Dunno, probably not. See what I mean?.

So if one's code is heavy on the mutexes, threads and IO one would see, or would have seen, a difference.

1
4
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Rules of thumb

Don't forget ZFS. Now that really is a tremendous piece of software, and Sun had the kindness to give it away. It's certainly one of the jewels in Sun's crown. You don't even need to run it to know it, a good indicator is the extent of the row in the Linux world as to whether it can be included in distros or not, or replicated.

I do have sympathy with the need to be able to override committee members that are merely representing their own narrow interests. I'm not qualified to comment on the merits of the arguments in this particular case, but from reading the article I suspect that Red Hat are trying to defend an investment in their own code that kinda achieves something similar. Have I got that right? It sounds like there's something about what they've got that is going to cause problems (ie it's a developmental blind ally, or is encumbered in some way, or is simply incompatible with what everyone else wants to). If so then the Java world does need a way of putting Red Hat in their place.

Perhaps Oracle could have gone about things differently, but if there is a burning need to correct some deep structural problem then there's little sense in delaying matters. Even if that breaks a few things along the way. Fragmentation will do no one any favours, and the Java community really should strive to avoid that. Stagnation won't help either. Doing one's own thing outside of the prevailing consensus runs the risk of making it difficult for everyone.

8
0

Microsoft's Windows 10 ARM-twist comes closer with first demonstration

bazza
Silver badge

Microsoft's Windows 10 ARM-twist comes closer with first demonstration

First demonstration? We've been here before...

Those of us with memories longer than the current crop of MS management will remember MS showing Windows 7 + Office + an Epson printer driver recompiled for ARM running perfectly well on an ARM dev board at a trade show back in, 2008-ish?

Great, we all thought, they're going to do fat binaries, support ARM for desktop and servers, brilliant idea, early days of course but it can only get better (speed, software availability, etc), hooray for low power data centres, laptops, that'll all emerge as soon as the chip guys catch on.

And they turned it into Windows RT, and the whole sorry saga of WinPhone, Windows 8, etc.

12
0

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

bazza
Silver badge

Re: In their defense (sic)

Doesn't make any real difference. Even a small piece of any decent high explosive will release an unbelievably huge amount of energy, and stands a good chance of setting a fire (especially with all those lithium ion batteries mixed in) even if the fuselage does hold together.

Some work has been done on reinforced (kevlar, etc) luggage crates, but it's the usual story; cost, weight.

9
0

Microsoft's .NET-mare for developers: ASP.NET Core 2.0 won't work on Windows-only .NET

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Technology

The T word is what happens when the marketing types are running the show. They assume that their own knowledge of these things is all that their audience needs to know, and they've long since brushed over the complexity of the software world with the T word.

Are we talking about an ordinary pissed off badger, or a properly irritated honey badger?

9
0

US Air Force networks F-15 and F-22 fighters – in flight!

bazza
Silver badge

Re: "That's a huge pod. In a day when cellphones are a couple of ounces, why is that so big?"

@SkippyBing,

"the Jaguar and Lightning"

<Obligatory Queen Quote>

Very very frigthening Gallileo Gallileo etc.

</Obligatory Queen Quote>

On the Lightening they put the pylons above because there was no where else to put anything. The underside of the wing was taken up by the main landing gear, the fuselage was all fuel and engines without so much as a cubic inch left over for anything else (including maintenance engineer's fingers...). Awesome plane, still holds some records that will likely remain unbeaten.

Who Needs AWACS?

With networking like this you don't need AWACS quite so much. It's a trick the RAF did a lot of early work on with Link 16 on Tornados, and were embarassed at least some parts of the USAF in a joint exercise until the USAF asked them to go home and stop doing it...

1
0

America's mystery X-37B space drone lands after two years in orbit

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Space Shuttle returned any satellites

@Mage,

The shuttles did a LOT of "classified missions". The US military had a big input on the design.

Dunno why that was down voted; the DoD certainly did have a big hand in the Shuttle's design and did indeed make use of it to launch some payloads.

There's some suggestions that the reason that the Shuttle's wings were quite large was to give it good cross range performance, ie. to be able to launch into a polar trajectory, do a partial orbit, and come back down in California. The cross range performance meant that it could catch back up with the planet that would have rotated underneath it, and it would re-enter out over the Pacific and needed to glide back East to reach CA.

The theory was that in this less than 1 polar orbit it could snaffle a Ruski spy satellite without them spotting this happening...

They never did it; it's a bit obvious what's going on when you see which way it goes at launch (North or East?), and it's too hard to conceal the launch of one of the loudest machines on or off the planet. People tend to notice something that loud...

That alone cast doubts on the whole hypothesis, but it was the early 70s when the Shuttle was specified and all sorts of crazy cold war shit was still going on. Such an idea could easily have made it through several design reviews before it was dropped as 'too hard', but too late to rework the design.

14
0

Oracle fires Java warning at IBM and Red Hat

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Too many options...

@sorry, what?

"@boltar, how do you get innovation but by iteration, speculation and plagiarism?"

Er, proper design and thought?

Look at the Altivec extension to PowerPC. Ok, so that's nothing to do with Java, but it's a good example of what you can get right with careful thought. Motorola (for it was they, back then) sat down, thought long and hard about what a decent SIMD unit for a CPU should look like, and built it. The result, Altivec, was stunningly good for the time, and didn't need any changes to be useful to a wide variety of applications, and is still largely the same even now in IBM's Power chips.

Iteration and speculation is what Intel did. First, there was MMX. Then SSE. Then SSE2, 3, 4, 4.2, and now AVX256 and AVX512. The first few of those were rubbish, and it's comparatively recently that they finally, eventually gave up and put an FMA instruction in to make it actually half-decent.

The result? Loads of image / signal processing software got written for PowerPC very quickly. Mac versions of Photoshop used it big time. It was worth writing for. Whereas the use of SSEWhatever on Intel has been far slower to get going, because until quite recently everyone knew that the majority of hardware out there wouldn't have a version of SSE new enough to be worth using.

Ok, so the design and thought might be iterative, but foisting part formed speculative ideas out there on to the masses who have the job of making use of the damned thing really doesn't help. The software world is of course always going to be iterative to some extent, but for something as major as Java modularity it would be far better if it was done Right First Time (tm).

As for Linux, the plethora of package management systems is in my view a real embarassment. The lowest common denominator is still compile-yourself-tarballs-and-sort-the-dependencies-yourself. And they keep inventing more. Personally speaking I think FreeBSD is far better organised in this regard.

2
2

Don't waste your energy on Docker, it says here – wait, that can't be right...

bazza
Silver badge

Business Evolution

Everyone's bit barn costs is people, to begin with, when the business is small. When the business scales up, it starts being energy, big time...

So I'd say that eventual business size has to be considered too. Plan that scale up in the beginning.

Facebook and Twitter didn't plan a scale up, caused immense problems, probably still costing them money today.

0
0

Tesla: Revenues up, losses deepen, in start to 'exciting' 2017

bazza
Silver badge

Another example is the shonky bodywork quality, where a mid to low end Skoda has better bodywork and paint than a high end Model S.

Made in America... Several auto makers in Japan, even Korea, and Europe understand "quality". American ones just don't get it, don't even see the difference. They never have and they probably never will; it's as much a cultural thing as anything else.

"Quality" is not the same as "Expensive"...

Toyota developed an algorithm (QFD) to determine what "quality" is, and it transformed them into the world's largest manufacturer. The American manufacturers tried the same algorithm, didn't believe the results, didn't change... QFD is a way for engineers to force themselves to see things from a customer's point of view. The results are often very counter intuitive for engineers ("who would want a car that boring?"), but in Toyota's and GM/Ford's case the results were undeniably correct. Toyota went with it, GM/Ford didn't.

4
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Telsa following History

To be honest I think it depends on what causes the loss. If it's heavy investment in added space, equipment then that's fine, they're growing the business. If it's down to the cars selling under cost then that's bad, eventually.

Aston Martin were notorious for making small fortunes out of large ones. For a lot of their history every single car was sold at a loss. Same with Jaguar.

Tesla do need to be careful. The size of the market for electric cars is hard limited. There's only so many electric cars that can be supported by the electricity grid. Once there's too many electric cars on the road the price of electricity is going to start rising dramatically; the suppliers really do have to to maintain a balance between supply and demand, otherwise there's power cuts.

It might even result in non linear pricing simply to discourage the heavy domestic consumers (those with electric cars). Plus the regulators will at some point have to start considering the pollution caused by electricity generation in deciding how to tax electric cars and the electricity they consume.

OK, so Tesla's point is that the grid and generation ought to be evolved to support the move to electric cars. But Tesla cannot force that to happen, and if it doesn't then the electricity price will rise. And their own market will saturate.

Take the UK for example. We can barely generate enough to keep the lights on, never mind run all the country's cars too if they become electric. Given that paucity of spare capacity, they don't need to sell too many electric cars before the grid starts complaining...

It's going to cost untold billions to expand the grid and generating capacity if we're to switch to electric vehicles in any meaningful way. And we're talking about serious numbers of nukes... With the level of NIMBYism in this country it'd take decades to do it. Personally speaking I can't see electric vehicles really becoming universally viable until they've got nuclear fusion power stations on stream, and found more reserves of copper...

1
2
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Telsa following History

I do wonder exactly where these VC's seem to get these bottomless piles of cash though.

That's easy. They get it from having successfully done it before. Their aim is to get in on a new idea early, get rights to a disproportionately large slice of cake (they're the ones with the money after all), and cash in once the business takes off.

0
0

Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Accuracy and industry standards

In particular, CFD is quite notorious for numerical instabilities and tendency to chaotic behaviour

<tease>Isn't that what turbulence is?!?! Sounds highly appropriate for CFD...</tease>

I'm quite glad to not have had to write a CFD package... they're hard

4
0

Don't click that Google Docs link! Gmail hijack mail spreads like wildfire

bazza
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: I got mine

Ah, had one now. I have a friend!

Oh, it's from them. How did they get my email address?

4
0
bazza
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: I got mine

I've not had one. I think that means I have no friends :-(

31
0

Jeez, we'll do something about Facebook murder vids, moans Zuckerberg

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Going back to the AOL model?

It's not so much the risk run by ordinary users (or their kids) of stumbling across bad things.

It's the fact that the people who post illegal things are effectively untraceable*, unhindered, unpunished, all of which leads them to being uninhibited. Account locked? Get another account. These people are of course exploiting the social networks for their own illegal purposes. However, Facebook / YouTube / Twitter, despite their public statements, seem quite happy to keep making money out of it as illustrated by their actual deeds (or lack of any action).

Of course if either becomes a sterile walled garden of pre-approved content then I for one will go elsewhere. I still remember the AOL version of the Internet and will certainly not tolerate a curated internet..

Well, perhaps AOL's prudishness was their downfall. Remeber that back in those days there was, at most, just one PC in a household, they had to offer a strictly family friendly experience.

Now that everyone has their own smartphone everyone can have their own account. And then a service would be able to offer a tailored experience to suit the age and tastes of the account holder. There would definitely be a market for a such a service that offered a rough-n-tumble forum that was guaranteed free of kids reading.

The closest thing to that there has ever been was the French Minitel service. That was nearly universal - the State provided everyone with a terminal I think. And there was some very, very diverse meeting rooms on that. Yet there was always a limit, a line beyond which you couldn't go; users were, ultimately, legally traceable.

* it's hard to go from an IP address to an actual, prosecutable ID.

1
1
bazza
Silver badge

From the article:

Faced with global criticism yet again, Facebook did what it has done many times in the past, and continues to do today – most recently with fake news – without learning the lesson: it changed its policies on this one aspect and went on as before.

That's quite right, and it's a kinda damning observations about a lot of what happens in Silicon Valley: a lot of web outfits there are one-idea companies. They never have another original thought after that first idea.

Facebook could, if it wanted to, introduce a range of paid for services, with the side effect that people who know they are financially (and therefore legally) traceable are less inclined to post illegal material. That'd solve a lot of their problems immediately.

Now I wonder, what could those services be.... Instant messaging? They bought a successful paid-for one (Whatsapp), made it free, now struggling to make money from it. Films? No, beaten to that by Netflix. Shopping? No, Amazon got there first. News gathering & reporting (instead of page scraping)? Means actually forming a new news agency... TV? No, means creating something. Books? Kindle...

Basically what I'm pointing out is that, for some reason, Facebook is hell bent on following the low revenue, freetard friendly, ad funded business model no matter what, even transforming acquired successful businesses to that model. To my mind it's always going to be a limited way of making money. Sure, they come up with a couple of technical additions to their services, but there's more to business than a web site design style guide and freeloading over the top of someone else. It's far more profitable and sustainable to do something really good at an affordable price that people are falling over themselves to pay for, but Facebook don't seem to want to do business that way.

Google aren't much better. They make a lot of money from the freetard business model, but they're actually quite vulnerable to having their search revenue legislated out of existence in some parts of the world. Google do at least make stuff - Android (another area where they face serious legal difficulties related to monopoly positions), and you can actually pay for online services from Google (though why you'd want to is another matter).

As for Twitter...

Apple? Makes actual stuff, and sells it, done remarkably well despite not having had a worthwhile original idea for 10 years now. Amazon? Bit of a mix, but actually provides a useful service worth paying for, and also makes stuff / TV. Netflix? Worth paying for if that's your thing. MS/Office365? They're making good money out of those subscriptions, even if they have lost the plot on their core OS. These outfits seem devoid of any problems with their user base and business model sustainability, in a way that Facebook, Google and Twitter can only dream about.

7
0
bazza
Silver badge

I actually find that offensive from someone who clearly doesn't care.

Indeed, one does wonder how he'd feel about it if is was his life that was being impacted.

Now we have 7,500 people moderating an active user base of 1.86 Billion, that's 1 person for every 248000 users and how many of the 7,500 can speak multiple languages? So I reiterate my first point he doesn't care and is doing the bare minimum they can get away with. After thinking about it I really don't see a way this can be fixed. Sure you could throw 100,000 people at moderation but it's not enough 1 per 18600. (I think I got my math right here?)

The numbers Facebook are talking about do not stack up to a credible censorship capability. And I think you're right to focus on moderators-per-user. For all their talk about AI, smart filtering, etc, I can't believe that'll get anywhere close to being adequately accurate. A 1% error rate either way is a tremendous number of pissed off users, or a large amount of illegal material... To be anything like acceptable to the vast majority of ordinary users, these things are going to have to be tuned heavily on the side of "it's probably ok" when it comes to auto-moderation. And that'll just let a large % of the crap content remain.

It's going to require actual people to be in the loop to be any good.

I think the only way is to ban Facebook.

I think that'd be going too far. I think that forbidding such sites from operating without any real idea as to who a user actually is should be prohibitted. If a social network had the verified credit card details of all their users, the small minority intending to post illegal material would either i) not do it, or ii) be brought to account in the courts far more swiftly than is possible at present.

Many would argue that a formal financial arrangement between users and the social network operator would eliminate the spontaneity behind users signing up, and that would destroy Facebook. Well, so be it. Perhaps they should have picked a more sustainable business model.

Personally speaking I kinda yearn for the old days of Compuserve; a service you actually had to sign up to and pay for. Is it time for that kind of thing again? I mean, we're all paying for Facebook and Google through the prices of goods in the shops, etc. Someone has to pay for those adverts, and it's always the consumer. What's wrong with a paid for, advert free online service? Oh yeah, I forgot that when push comes to shove the majority of people are freetards... Still, perhaps it's an idea that could work once more.

1
0

Loadsamoney: UK mulls fining Facebook, Twitter, Google for not washing away filth, terror vids

bazza
Silver badge

You're missing the point. This is the politicians saying that policing must happen, and if a social networking company isn't going to do it effectively then there will be consequences for them.

I know that even in New Zealand there's a general acceptance that policing is, unfortunately, necessary.

It's up to the website operators to comply with the law. So far they've been hiding behind the old "we're not the publisher" argument, to limit the set of laws they have to comply with. That might be a cast iron strategy in the US, but is looking increasingly untenable elsewhere.

Regarding your numbers, yes the challenge is large. However that in part is due to the fact that the amount of dodgy material that there users post is also quite large. It's because YouTube, Facebook and Twatter have no real idea who their users really are. Turns out that user anonymity is a bad idea. There's no real consequences for anyone posting dodgy material. Account locked? Just create another, for free. There's nothing to deter that % of society that wants to exploit the networks. It's really hard to go from an IP address to a user identity good enough to bring a prosecution, so currently it happens in only the most extreme cases.

If the social networks want to limit the scale of policing their content, they need their users to be more afraid of posting crap in the first place. That means having a solid i.d for users. That means a more restrictive sign up process involving something substantive like a verified credit card transaction and having all the mechanisms required to deal with credit card fraud. And they need to keep re-verifying i.d. Of course, they'd then have to be much more careful with what they do to exploit people's data...

Will it destroy social network websites? Who knows, and frankly, who cares?

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Of course...

@Someone Else

Yup...I'm sure that your blokes in Parliament there on the right side of the Pond will come up with a proper, objective, repeatable definition of "extremist material" that won't trample on anyone's rights, copyrights, or property rights. No doubt at all....

We already have. That's not the problem. Laws setting out what "speech" is permitted and what is not have been on the books in all European countries including the UK for several decades.

These laws are generally not contentious in European countries, because most normal people understand there have to be limitations on speech for the benefit of a civil and settled society. It boils down to good manners being encoded into law.

At the same time such laws also preserve the freedom of political commentary.

The problem is that Google, Facebook, etc have thus far had a free ride in ignoring such laws, but that's beginning to change. This is European countries deciding that they're no longer going to permit the mess generated by such companies' wilful and profitable misinterpretation of the 1st amendment from spilling over into their own societies.

0
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Companies run by a by a bunch of immature children

I dunno , I think you've just described pretty much all companies there

Wrong - most companies make and sell something "real". Advertising is a useful tool for them, but Google have turned advertising into a form of global blackmail. If you don't pay the Google tax, your company won't appear in search results, or on the map, or on whatever service they invent next.

0
0

Gig economy tech giants are 'free riding' on the welfare state, say MPs

bazza
Silver badge

Re: A long time coming

"Never mind other governments; this government should take notice, along with the winner on 9th June."

And I think they will - I'm guessing there's a ton of PAYE they're not getting as a result of delivery drivers, etc, being "self employed" (translation: disenfranshised slaves). And I wouldn't mind betting that a lot of people doing jobs like this also qualify for a load of benefits owed to those on low wages; from the government's budget point of view it's far better to get these people working on proper and humane full time employment contracts with at least the minimum wage.

Basically, if they work out that the tax payer is subsidising Amazon, Uber, etc whilst not receiving adequate tax from such companies, they'll start to act. It will take time - see below. And there's some precedent; Mark Carney told the bank that he would not support them if they were "socially useless". That put the heebbie geebbies up them. Ok, so he's not the government, but it's encouraging to think that there's limits to the extent to which national bodies will tolerate corporate behaviour.

Plus, to take it away from the seedy realms of politics, it's looking like the employment tribunals don't particularly like the "gig economy" either (ref: Uber vs drivers). The judgement of the tribunal is made against employment law background which, so far as I know, enjoys unchallenged cross party support (at least on the parts relevant to the recent tribunal).

In my view it would be good if there was a general law to prohibiting this kind of thing. We already have specific laws, but the enforcement route is problematic - it takes an employment tribunial in each case. It's difficult to prohibit (in the general sense) "self-employment" without cocking up, for example, the arrangements for a one-man-band-IT-contractor. Getting this right will take time...

1
1

What is this bullsh*t, Google? Nexus phones starved of security fixes after just three years

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Some enterprising outfit like Blackberry should announce endless security updates

"You may not have noticed, but Blackberry now use Android.

I can't see them paying the developer time for this any more than google."

Who knows, but they're doing very well so far on rolling out updates. They've occasionally beaten Google to it on distributing security updates...

Their target market, such as it is, is the business sector, and updates longevity and timeliness is much more of an up-front selling point there. I too am quite tempted by the new Key One...

2
0

Well, hot-diggity-damn, BlackBerry's KEYone is one hell of a comeback

bazza
Silver badge

Why, what harm are they doing to you?

1
0
bazza
Silver badge

Re: Minor design flaw...

BlackBerry have a solution to that, called WorkLife. It amounts to virtualising SIMs on the handset. Works with iOS, Android, BB10, doesn't need BES as far as I know.

BlackBerry are the only people out there that have properly tackled BYOD. BlackBerry Balance is brilliant on BB10, WorkLife is another thing that removes the need to carry two phones.

0
0

China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

bazza
Silver badge

Re: The carrier is not the real threat

"The real threat are the 85+ missile boats with 8 missiles each as well as 120+ other surface ships with 2-8 missiles each."

And here's me wondering just how well all of that surface stuff copes with a few well driven submarines...

6
0

iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war

bazza
Silver badge

Re: Does anyone remember ...

Yes,. though not in great detail...

4
0

Linux kernel security gurus Grsecurity oust freeloaders from castle

bazza
Silver badge

WindRiver?

Could be. If they're still including GRSecurity's patches without sticking to the license terms, then they've just screwed up. They make a feature of it in their sales blurb, which would now be cut off. I guess we'll see if their kernel drops the GR moniker, or starts becoming increasingly outdated.

AFAIK BlackBerry also use GRSecurity's patches in their version of Android. Seems like a sensible idea.

0
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017