If deliberate, inspired. If accidental, seriously serendipitous!
372 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008
If deliberate, inspired. If accidental, seriously serendipitous!
Douglas's faultless prescience was funny as fuck then, and still is now. But the inexorable drift of the real world towards his comedic nightmare is scary.
Case in point - yesterday I agreed to answer a telephone survey on business banking, because in a moment of madness I thought maybe giving some feedback to banks on what doing business with them was really like might possibly result in some harm-reduction.
But not one of the questions was about banking - they were all how I "feel" about my bank, how much I "trust" it, whether I feel that I have a good "relationship" with both the bank and my "relationship manager", and (the one which really had me in stitches) which banks I feel "do the most to benefit society in general".
I kid you not, the whole conversation could have been taken verbatim from the script for the B-Ark HH2G scene.
I feel very old and very tired.
So we have a number of highly expensive mission-critical machines, which are controlled using software running on outdated and unsupported workstation OS platforms.
Why exactly is it hard to write new control software which talks to the machine in exactly the same (hopefully well-documented) protocol/API, but runs on a modern, maintained (and ideally non-proprietory) platform? Is there a technical problem with this, or is it something to do with developers not being allowed to see the docs or reverse-engineer the APIs for legal/licence reasons?
Since the cost of the hardware is the biggie, surely there would be enough commercial benefit from such an update project to make it worth everyone's while..?
Or do the manufacturers expect healthcare services to buy a whole new CT scanner just because they won't update their XP control software?
"I don't believe Blair was a war criminal based on the evidence provided to date ..."
I do, on the basis that he treated Parliament like a courtroom, delivering a case for the prosecution exactly as if he was engaged by one side in an adversarial encounter. This is what happens when you allow lawyers to enter Parliament - and why we desperately need more MPs with a scientific background.
Lawyers are trained to argue the case for their side, and therefore to disengage any objectivity or sense of natural justice which they might otherwise possess. Once Blair chose to be effectively retained by the Bush/Cheney axis on Iraq, it was inevitable that he would argue the case for the war they wanted using every scrap of evidence which supported his case, but carefully ignoring, or seeking to discredit, every scrap of evidence which might count against it. This enabled him to ignore the highly public and well-evidenced findings of the UN on the issue of Saddam's WMD (or lack thereof), while asserting the truth of his "dodgy dossier".
I'm no expert on war crimes law, but he was definitely guilty of lying to Parliament by any meaningful definition of the term, and by doing so he obtained authorisation to order lethal military action against a foreign power. That's a criminal offence under UK law, if not at The Hague - and I don't particularly care where he stands trial, as long as it happens somewhere.
@Lucrolout: you are not the only one with champagne waiting in the fridge - but I have two bottles. My own Labour constituency MP, for whom I voted in 97, wrote in a letter to me that she "would have the greatest difficulty" supporting a vote in Parliament for military action in Iraq without a second UN Security Council resolution to back such action. Two weeks later, after Blair had failed to obtain a second resolution, she did exactly that. So the other bottle awaits her demise.
Wot, no mention of the Digital Human? Aleks Krotowski rocks!
At the time of writing, 5 posts, lots of downvotes, and not a single solitary upvote. Is this a Reg record for sheer unpopularity (or olympic-class trolling, take your pick)..?
You are Boris Grishenko (http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/Boris_Grishenko), and I claim my five pounds.
"They are so skilled at self-deception that they may well believe they can defeat Russia anyway. Otherwise why waste such colossal sums of money on surrounding Russia with bases and weapons?"
For the same reason as most US Gummint money is spent - pork-barrelling for their domestic military-industrial complex. It's been going on for generations - politicians inflate the possible threat out of all proportion to reality (via "military intelligence", my favourite oxymoron), then use that inflated threat as an excuse to put billions of tax-dollars into the trousers of the arms company executives who then fund the campaigns of those selfsame politicians. No real threat is required - it's just a circle of money and political power, fleecing poorer US taxpayers who aren't in the loop - you know, the ones whose resentment was so effectively harnessed by the Trump campaign. Turkeys vote, yet again, for Christmas.
Meanwhile, Putin's posturing works along the same lines, and also has a distinguished history (remember Khruschev's "We will bury you!" speech, when he actually had about two ICBMs, neither of which would probably have worked). But because Russian leaders are not (except in the loosest possible sense) elected, and there is even less freedom of information there than in the US, they don't need vast sums of money to stay in power. So they don't need to actually build any of the weapons they say they are building - or indeed make them technically plausible. They just need to inflate the threat, say they are dealing with it, fake a few videos of scary weapons, and thereby retain enough popular support to avoid being overthrown.
Mr Putin's announcements are not aimed at Americans, any more than Trump's are aimed at Russians. This is really old, tired stuff - please can we have something more original and fun on a Friday afternoon?
Please try to land it in the in-tray in the League of Gentlemen production office. A marriage made in the 13th circle of hell...
>>most of our esteemed establishments are now shut
Terribly terribly true of my youthful stamping ground in Stockport. For any mature readers seeking a blast of underage boozing nostalgia (especially those who grew up in urban areas where the losses are most acute), I highly recommend:
I think it all went horribly wrong for under-age (or as I prefer to call it, "formative") drinking when ID was invented. I'm sooo glad I predated that.
..plus the associated decrease in corporation tax revenues, making it harder for the state to pay for decent snow clearance and gritting capability.
Proud to be in the minority of upvoters.
Any takers for crowdfunding a spillchecker for El Reg? Or would that take out a lot of the fun of being here..?
Nice article, well written and raising interesting and relevant questions - thankyou.
Though it was a little sad in the context that the author couldn't resist the temptation to sneak in a plug for her company - albeit cunningly disguised by non-capitalisation.
Remember they are now BT, so the same applies to Premier League foopball, and all the other BT Sport content. If your network is run by a content provider (which both of mine are, no realistic alternatives), then ultimately you can expect that your network will become a shop for buying the provider's content, and nothing more.
The perfect business model for your ISP/content provider is the Kindle.
If WHOIS is in breach of GDPR because it makes personal information available without having sought specific and updated consent, is the EU going to have a chat with Companies House any time soon?
"...it is not appropriate for the government to give statutory powers to a body that is essentially a private company," said Labour peer Lord Stevenson."
I agree, as it goes - but it wouldn't be the first time. The Association of Chief Police Officers is a private company, and I believe that its members have one or two statutory powers at their fingertips...
Handcuffs, ropes or shackles?
Non-consensual tickling icon, obvs...
I thought the whole point of the article was that its backend/butt was anything but plugged...
They resurfaced the dish in 2002, and I'm sure the electronics have been somewhat upgraded since Lovell's day - it's a modern, working instrument, not a museum piece.
Of course it may become a museum piece if it is declared a World Heritage Site - but I wouldn't have thought the scientists who use it would stand for that.
...the blockchain is a wonderful magical-thingy-that-I-don't-understand, and I was just getting properly minted for a minute there, before you all starting weighing in with your unwarranted diatribes of logic and common sense. For god's sake, think of the HODLers....!
(Mine's the one with the offline wallet being picked out of the pocket...)
...we used to have to learn to use a program (by reading manuals and tutorials) because that was how the program worked.
I know this sounds unlikely in the modern age of "You just know how it works because it's so intuitive, which by the way is also why we completely change how it works every couple of years, but you'll still know how it works because it's so intuitive....." (repeat ad nauseam).
But the good thing was, once we'd learned how a program/UI worked and knew how to use it, we could use it. And carry on using it. For years and years.
And you try telling the young people of today that...
Signed - Trilobyte
(ie pre-Dinosaur above, cos I have 22 years of email archives in my TBird. Not that I'm being competitive or anything.)
...and didn't get away with it?
No AI here - I'll bet all me bitcoins that AMFM1 is a living and (methane) breathing word-association-footballer from the Messi dimensions, golden-booted and bespokely suited with a shinin' rhymin' lining. Respec' innit!
And more specifically, a cartel of companies who are both content *and* connectivity providers. That's where the regulation should be happening but never will, because politicians in the UK are too fucking thick to understand the difference between content and connectivity. The same thing is currently happening in the States with Trump's Net Neutrality repeal.
We're rapidly heading towards having our connectivity provided by companies who need to leverage it to sell us their proprietory content, and thus have a compelling commercial incentive to degrade performance when delivering content from elsewhere.
So we're probably watching the gradual demise, or at least the sidelining, of the genuine internet - in favour of end-to-end commercial lockins by the big media companies.
Oh frabjous day...
Data over salt water? So it's just a standard I²-Sea bus...
Amen to that. Still scarred by an incident over forty years ago, when I stood on the front of a narrowboat stuck on a sandbank, paying out a rope to a kind passing boatperson which offered to tow us off. Attached rope to the front of our boat, then handed other end to kind boatperson, who attached it to their stern, and set off. Rope gradually emerges from water (therefore dripping wet and even heavier), staightens, tensions, then abruptly detaches from rear of other boat and flies directly back at me, impacting between waist and mid-thigh.
Good thing I never intended to breed.
(Facepalm icon because it was a "D'oh" incident, but also because there's never a crotch-palm icon when you need one.)
"depends on the individual *zone record*'s TTL config".
FTFY - at least in terms of RFCs. Whether actual caching nameservers take a blind bit of notice of DNS record TTLs is another matter.
>>Not a lot technology can do about knobs sitting in front of monitors though...
In an BOFH-inspired moment, I have sketched a design for a device which fits into a conventional desktop PC CDROM slot, which on receiving a remote <clickety> trigger from an admin account, opens the slot door and fires a taser out at the user.
...but I still remember (and still use for some disposable accounts!) the password which Compuserve assigned to me, made up of two dictionary words separated by a "+" sign. In terms of password security they were somewhat ahead of their time, by using multiple dictionary words and not requiring mixed case or numerics - hopefully somebody somewhere was given the password "correct+horse" and someone else had "battery+staple". (I can't remember whether I was allowed to change my password or not - but if I was, I never did.)
And if all the forum archives are lost, I really think that's a shame, as they would contain a lot of interesting data about what people were thinking and how they were interacting in early online chat systems (AKA social networking). I remember being slightly fascinated by the cultural difference in tone between Brits and Merkins in discussion groups, with the former being noticeably more polite and less inclined to robust language. (Being a Brit, I found the Merkin frankness quite refreshing.)
Careful study of these archives might even have enabled us to discover precisely when and how the rot set in, which might be handy if we ever invent a time machine.
>> like it or not there is a significant amount of software which is available only on Windows.
There is a significant amount of software which relies on an Access database backend - but its mere existence does not constitute a good reason to migrate to such software at this point in the evolution of IT.
Local authorities are actually trying to minimise the reduction of refuse collections, not to mention more life-critical things like childrens' services and social care, when their own budgets have been slashed to ribbons by central gummint. If they have any opportunity to reduce the cost of IT services, they really have to take it. You can be as incensed as you like, but it's central gummint cuts which are driving this agenda, not local authority preferences. So it's central gummint you need to be incensed by.
>>Wallington said so far CPs have been "very positive" about the plans
Well he would say that wouldn't he. It would be interesting (and I would have thought basic journalistic practice on your part, El Reg) to get an actual statement from a few CPs before going to press with this. Somewhat disappointing to see you just spouting whatever self-serving speculation you hear emanating from the mouth of an Openreach-droid.
Somehow I don't think that CPs will agree that buying bandwidth on existing OR fibre gives them as much market freedom and investment opportunity as being able to put their own kit in the ducts.
My volume knob goes up to 11, and with my modest 125dB speakers, it all works beautifully as a multi-room system. Even the neighbours get the benefit!
Icon, obviously -----------------------------------------------------------------------------^
The thing about doors and people is, the people who stand outside the doors tend to be of varying height. So when you combine camera and push-button, you end up seeing a tall visitor's midriff instead of their face - or you put the bell so high that smaller kids can't reach it at all, or if they can, they can't get their face high enough for you to see anything more than a disembodied waving hand.
And given the price. it would probably be cheaper to employ a full-time butler to answer the bloody door in the first place.
"...ENABLED scores of dodgy website salesmen to rip off unsuspecting business owners who just wanted a simple website and cms?"
Errr - wot? Subs been at the liquid lunch again?
I know what you mean about Windows 8 - but I think it was more of a convergence thing than a real design decision about an effective UI for computer users. IMHO the rot set in when someone decided that what works best on a low-res 4-inch phone screen would also be the right UI styling for desktops, laptops, TVs, and every other human-computer interface under the sun. Because, you know, smartphones are really popular, and at the time Microsoft desperately wanted to be Apple (as opposed to now, when they desperately want to be Google). So it made perfect sense to remove all the visual cues which enabled people to use a point-and-click interface intuitively.
On the same basis, I look forward to bicycles with steering wheels, trains with off-road capabilities, and tinned horse-food.
And never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by a revenue motive. Especially when it's something Microsoft are doing.
Electric buses are lovely, but not really environmentally sound when most of their power is generated initially by dirty coal, which I understand is currently the case in China.
When are they going to start trotting out the thorium / liquid salt reactors they were supposed to be working on?
Facial recognition never makes mistakes on NCIS. They must be using it wrong.
In two words, sound quality. Not that I bought into the whole enchilada, but I heard a PLAY1 at a mate's house and was most impressed by the noise it made, so I bought one. It does indeed make a nice noise, and is the best portable speaker I've tried (not that I've tried spending over £250).
But it doesn't get iPlayer, it doesn't bluetooth, and it doesn't have a line in - so the use-case was getting flaky even before this, which is the final straw. So after it's gathered dust for a while, I'll have it to bits, find the bit where the audio goes into the power/speaker stage, and hotwire a bluetooth audio receiver in there instead.
The point being that the article is right about ownership - I own the hardware so I can fuck with it if I want, and I don't own the app or the data it wants to slurp, so I choose not to use it.
My experience with Misco was that they were good when they operated a decent warehouse system, and the "in stock" indicator on their website had some meaning. But over the last five years or so, an increasing amount of their "in stock" stuff was actually drop-shipped by their supplier, who turned out not to really have it in stock at all. So I'd order stuff which was "in stock", then find that it didn't arrive, chase it with Misco, and be told that their supplier had failed to ship it, and that this was not Misco's fault.
Broken model, I'm gone - but not to bloody Amazon, who only manage to be cheaper by evading their corporation tax liabilities.
I'm a freelancer - what's "retire"?
The government said it will
work with BT over the coming months to develop the proposal bend over accommodatingly and let BT dictate the technical detail in which the devil will live - which , if it is accepted, when the gummint accepts it (however awful it is), will be legally binding.
Since you admit to being a shareholder, I therefore hold you and those like you responsible for the madness and havoc which BT has wreaked on our nation's communications infrastructure for a generation.
If you're disappointed with BT, stop encouraging their bad behaviour by taking their dividends, and sell your bloody shares.
Brings back nostalgia-inducing memories of recording it (on VHS tape), and playing it back frame by grainy frame to read all the detail (and thus the gags) in the animated bits.
>>Go learn Java.
Why would I do that? It takes hundreds of lines of code and a massively complicated build/link environment just to say "Hello World", it is pointlessly obsessed with everything being an object even for tasks when a procedural approach would be WAAY more efficient, and I can't run Java programs on my budget web hosting service.
If you want to work in Big Corporate Data Land, sure, go learn Java. That's not the market that Node and other web-type technologies are trying to address - as is well explained in the article. If Java really was the ideal solution for all programming jobs, it would have replaced everything else by now - gawd knows it's had long enough. The fact that alternatives proliferate indicates the flaw in your argument.
I don't use Node, precisely because of the bootstrap-learning issues which the article highlights. But because of the kind of work I do, I'm far more likely to use Node at some point in the future than Java.
<dons tin hat in anticipation of many downvotes>
But they *are* alllowed to called it fibre if the cabinet is fibred - even if the cabinet is so far from the premises that the fibre element brings no benefit. I have certainly been told by Openreach engineers that ADSL2+ sync with an exchange 4Km away can be faster than VDSL sync with a cabinet 1.5Km away, so you might get a faster connection by sticking with your ADSL2+ account than "upgrading" to fibre.
Chloe Cresswell and rh587 above are exactly right - the devil is in the geographical detail. And most of this (eg locations of the cabinet serving your line, copper cable lengths etc) is not made public by OR.
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