* Posts by h4rm0ny

4617 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code


>>"If you look at any of the media reporting it seems the whole concept is being diverted into things like basic HTML markup"

That's inevitable. Real programming is hard. Or at least takes a lot of knowledge and development of skills. It's not possible to cram all that in amongst everything else at a school environment. And yet at the same time, it is intolerable that whole years of kids might fail a subject. Therefore they must change the subject to something much easier (and less useful as a subject) and keep calling it programming. This has been doomed from the outset and I doubt the lady in this article could have changed that.


Oh, I agree. She might be a consummate organizer and manager and that's okay by me. My big issue is that programming shouldn't be taught to kids. Introduced to them - absolutely. A couple of lessons to show the basics of programming, part of a General Studies component if they still have that. But at that age, the focus should be on foundational skills - maths, language, history. You learn these first because skills like programming are about the application of your foundational skills. It's the reason I loathe ICT as a subject. Teach maths and someone can work with any spreadsheet with a little familiarization. Teach spreadsheets and you just have a pile of rapidly out of date program specific knowledge that you can't use very effectively.

Maths and English and History skills in this country are on average pretty poor, imo. Focus on those.


Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code

>>"If they are asking you this, it's likely that you agreed earlier you could deliver it so the fault is not with them. If they ask you to deliver something and you can't, you need to explicitly tell them you can't, and why you or anyone else won't be able to."

I agree with you and modded you up, however, reliably estimating how long a task will take is an advanced skill. I'm serious. Yes, you can give a good estimate for how long it will take you to do some small function or trivial change as a junior programmer, but once you get into larger pieces of work on existing projects or wholly new projects, it takes a lot of experience to give reliable estimates. I recall when I took on my first job writing some device drivers for a customers hardware, I was actually reasonably okay at coding (not so much in retrospect of course, but okay for a fresh new coder), but my estimates of how long it would take me were way off. If someone is project managing software development then they should have enough experience to make some educated guesses themselves. Especially given that they will be applying pressure to their developers to give answers that are spun to sound positive.

Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'


Re: @Richard12

>>"Actually it's you who doesn't have a clue. I thought Richard had it spot on -- you make it sound like you're the one who knows everything With a name that sounds like Harmony - you are promoting anything but!"

Hello AC. Is that Richard again posting anonymously? I guess we'll never know for sure. Do I make it sound like I know everything? Well the reason is that I actually know what I'm talking about to a degree and Richard does not. There's no hypocrisy in saying people shouldn't make things up.

As to the name "Harmony"? I believe when idiots realize they're idiots and stop telling people false things, then there will be greater harmony. I'm fine with that.


Re: @Richard12

>>"Now I want to correct somebody who seems to think that money now on a variant of the "gold standard", when it isn't."

I said no such thing, nor implied it. Correcting someone who says that the UK, USA and Europe have "no asset base", doesn't mean anything other than that I'm pointing out you're wrong. I know what you're trying to imply - that I say because these countries have assets to back their wealth that I'm saying they're like the Gold Standard. But I didn't say anything remotely like that and the fact that you think the one implies the other shows your own misunderstanding of what Fiat and non-Fiat currencies are. Just because a currency is a Fiat currency, doesn't mean there isn't anything backing it, it means it has no intrinsic value. Whereas gold sovereigns or similar obviously do.

>>"Net (after all money-in-bank) UK national debt is over £1,254,000,000,000 Does the UK government really have that much in physical assets?"

Did you just try and shift your position from the USA, UK, Europe "have no asset base" to 'we don't know how much precisely the asset base is so lets ignore it' and think no-one would notice? Have the decency to admit you were talking absolute shit. As to whether £1.25trn is more or less than the sum saleable value of Britain's state assets AND future taxable income, the question pretty much answers itself when you phrase it out properly. But just for you, the UK's GDP is £2.38trn. So unless you think that the UK is making nearly double its total worth annually (I wish I could buy something that would make me double what it was worth each year in perpetuity), then the answer even ignoring future taxable income is a resounding "yes". Really, your grasp of relative figures is perhaps the only thing shakier than your grasp of the underlying principles.

And if you dislike my tone, it's because you obviously no very little about this subject and should therefore have the decency not to try and sound like an expert.

>>It doesn't matter because we can keep servicing the debt and inflation means the real cost of the debt goes down over time.

In the immortal words of Lt. Ripley: "Did IQ's drop sharply while I was away?" I already said that inflation is bad because it devalues savings and is a critical disincentive to investment. Governments hate high inflation. Read some basic economics text books, for our sake if not your own.

>>"Foreclosing loses money, that's why they try to avoid it if possible. I pay my mortgage because I don't care if the bank loses money, I don't want to lose my house!"

No relation to the point I made whatsoever which was that if as you wrote banks have no asset base, what do you think your mortgage payments are? Every time you pay your mortgage, you prove your own words above wrong. Again, stop trying to shift the argument wildly and have the decency to admit you wrote something fundamentally and obviously wrong.

>>Banks don't have the assets to repay all their liabilities - they bet the company on no more than a small number of loans going bad. In 2008/9 a few of them lost that bet.

They have the assets. They're legally required to. What they don't have is the liquidity to repay them all at once. Again, you don't understand the basic terminology you are using. You're way out of your depth and still trying to talk authoritatively. I would enjoy enormously seeing you stand up in front of a room of second year Economics undergraduates and deliver your original post to them. Additionally, your understanding of the Sub-prime crisis and the events that followed are another titanic misunderstanding of what actually happened. The crisis wasn't precipitated by banks lending out more than they had. It was precipitated by them lending to people they shouldn't, those people defaulting and house prices collapsing, and then not being able to make enough money to pay their own debts. They borrowed money to lend out and then couldn't pay it back (massively simplified), which is a very different scenario to lending out money which doesn't exist (what you say was the issue when you state that they were lending out with no asset base).

>>"On a small scale, inflation means my mortgage payments get more affordable as time goes by."

Really? Got fixed interest rates in perpetuity do you? Think the banks can't calculate their own APRs? Hate to break this to you, but interest rates get adjusted to account for inflation. Your mortgage repayments get more affordable over time because you're reducing your principle (the amount you owe), not because of lovely inflation. The latter is compensated for by adjustable interest rates.

"The difference between Bitcoin and GBP is that there are hundreds of millions of people who are confident that GBP will still be valuable in 25 years time."

No, the difference is the reason why people are (semi-)confident in the British pound's long term value over Bitcoins, and that's for real differences between the currencies. As already explained, the pound is a national currency and required by law for paying taxes, is used as the denomination for government bonds, etc. BitCoin has none of these. It's not just that one achieved some critical mass and this is the sole distinction between the two. Additionally, there are other major differences, such as the pound being a fiat currency and inflationary, and Bitcoin (despite having no intrinsic worth) works as a non-fiat currency in many ways and is non-inflationary. But feel free to dismiss that which you find complicated. (Again).

>>"Real currencies have gone down the toilet more than once, with hyper-inflation wiping out everything (Germany, Peru etc). A new currency was then created - the government and country still existed, but the old currency became worthless."

Funny how earlier you were arguing how inflation wipes out debt. In neither of these cases did that actually happen. The debt was foreign-owned. The Weimar Republic (Germany) collapsed in large part because of foreign debt (war repatriations) and the hyper-inflation did nothing to help them. Learnt anything from all these corrections? Or are you just going to try and sound even more authoritative next time around and try to again avoid admitting obvious errors on your part such as the USA, UK and Europe "having no asset base".


Re: Run on the bank? - read the wiki page

Your scenario is flawed. For each iteration, they are getting money back from which to lend again. The bank has not lent out £244 from an initial deposit of £100. It's leant out £90, got it all back, lent out £81, got it all back. All you've done is create a scenario in which the bank gets to charge interest many times over on their money.

Or to put it in really simple terms: It's the same chocolate biscuit



You don't know what you're talking about. In fact you make a habit on these forums of talking confidently whilst giving flawed information. If you like playing the knowledgeable person, first educate yourself.

>>"The 'mainstream' currencies like USD, EUR, GBP etc don't have such an asset base either"

This is crap. The USA has massive state assets. The Euro is the national currency of numerous nations and nations denominate their state bonds in euros - again state actors with major state assets. Your statement ranks alongside War is Peace and the Moon is made of cheese for its stupidity.

>>, and neither do any of the banks you store your cash in.

Odd, because I'm pretty sure collateral counts as an asset. Yep, it does. If you actually believe banks have no asset base, I presume you think you don't have to pay your mortgage? You're an idiot. You just say what you think sounds profound and to Hell with reality.

>>"All governments that have their own currency continually print more in part to fund their borrowing"

Actually, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve are both not controlled by their host governments. Printing more is a fundamental part of the system - it's called interest rates. It's not ultimately about the Government abusing power to pay off its own debts as you make it sound. Especially in those cases where debt is foreign.

>>"as inflation is the most effective way to reduce the debt burden of a country."

You haven't got a clue. You make it sound as if governments are all keen to pump up inflation in order to reduce domestic debt. They hate doing that! Inflation devalues savings, discourages investment (why lend a million to get two million back if by the time you do, the two million is worth less than the one million), and it destroys foreign exchange rates.

>>"All modern currencies work by fiat - they work because they work"

They are fiat currencies but you make it sound as if they're arbitrary and entirely based on faith unlike Bitcoin. The fact that you can pay taxes in them and that their governments are required to use and accept these currencies gives them a foundation that no virtual currency has yet come close to matching. There are numerous interesting ways in which the pros and cons of virtual currencies can be compared to those of the mainstream currencies, but you're not interested in them - you just want to do a flawed hatchet job in favour of bitcoin.


Re: barter

>>"A bitcoin has no intrinsic worth. It is just some bits. If those bits encode music or something then it could be argued those bits have some intrinsic value."

People get overly hung up about whether individual bits have intrinsic value or not. It doesn't matter - not all crime is about property. If by taking an action (in this case moving some numbers around a network) you cause harm to another (they lose purchasing power or money they would have had), then it doesn't matter whether those numbers have "intrinsic value" or not. What matters is one person taking an action that harms another and that can be the basis for making something illegal.

It's just the same as copyright infringement. People keep shouting about how it's not theft because the numbers are just numbers, ignoring the actual harm caused / wishes of the legal owner.

France demands that Google post badge of shame on its pages


Re: Drunk

>>While I don't agree with google's actions, forcing them to display the ruling on the homepage is feels lscarily like an abuse of power. Bureaucrat willy-waving.

Why is taking someone's money (a paltry sum to Google in this instance, btw) not an abuse of power, but publically shaming someone is? They are both punishments enforced by a body with the power of coercion (a government). Why is one acceptable to you but the other not? In some cultures (including Britain in olden days), that's actually the more common punishment than fines or prison sentences. In this specific instance, any sum that was remotely proportional to the crime would be irrelevant to one as rich as Google. A parking ticket for Larry Ellison. And if you do scale up the fine just because of who does it, then you're in a whole different territory of problems. But a public notice, that can be the same punishment for anyone and it scales inherently according to the size of the perpetrator's public image without you having to change the sentence at all.

>>Presumably the French require petty thieves to walk down the street with placards round their neck detailing their crimes? if not, what is the logical difference here?

Well there isn't much of a logical difference and many cultures do use such punishment. People were once branded for serious crimes in Europe, in Britain people were locked in the stocks so people could walk past and mock them. (I think fruit throwing is exaggerated for modern humour). Again, the question is why taking someone's money (e.g. a police officer marching you to a cash point for being drunk and loud) is acceptable punishment to you but publically stating what they'd done is inhumane.

I think I know the reason - it's because it triggers the instinct of forcing someone to say something being wrong. But that instinct comes from things like torture to recant your beliefs (Gallileo, et al.) or show trials where someone is forced to admit to something they didn't do. It is not the case here where Google did break the law and are only being told to tell people that they did. They're not being forced to renounce Protestantism or confess membership of the Communist Party or similar.


Re: french balls

Yeah. For some reason the French have never really got the message that multinational corporations are the new de facto rulers. The rest of the world kow-tows to any big company with a lot of lobbying dollars, but the French just shrug and carry on pushing companies around.

I've never really got the whole "French Surrender" thing that Americans so love. I mean it really took off because the French were one of the few nations that actually stood up to the USA in the UN over Iraq. For which the American media went beserk and started calling them cowards. Yeah, for not giving the USA what it wanted! (there's gratitude for helping out in the War of Independence).

I mean the chief surrender the French are known for historically was against a fully militarized Germany and if it's okay to be beaten by anyone, that has to be near the top of the list. I suppose you can throw in Waterloo (Germans again) and Agincourt if you like (more a technological shift than any issues of courage or resolve. I mean what are you going to do - just keep charging at longbows and dying in droves like General Haig sent British soldiers against machine guns in WWI?).

For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?


Re: The other way around?

>>"Thanks h4rm0ny; I've been running Linux under VMware and I'm unconvinced by this:"

I see your point. I hadn't really appreciated that you wanted protection against other people using up resources to be part of this. I actually have a set-up similar to how I described and similar intense requirements (heavy database work in my case, however). However I'm the sole user of the machine so that aspect was a bit foreign to me. Happily I think Gordon has given you excellent answers.


Re: The other way around?

Gah! There are enough people here who've already said this and it's probably doing the OP's head in that everyone is telling him the question is wrong rather than actually giving an answer. But I do the same - Windows 8 as the host and GNU/Linux (Debian in this case) as the guest. For me that gives the best of both - the friendly and well-thought-out design of Windows with the raw capability of GNU/Linux.

I use Virtualbox and I can throw as many cores and as much RAM to the guest as I like and it works pretty bloody well. I would guess the OP (understandably enough) has the view that Linux is the solid foundation and also there may be a VM-tax on the efficiency of the guest. And as they want Windows for goofing around in the GUI and Linux for furious compilation, they think that way round is best. I've found Windows 8 to be a very solid host, I don't think there's any concern there. I can't answer with certainty about a performance hit because the machine is virtual, but I'll say it performs very well for me and modern chips have special functions to support virtualization which means the virtual machine can be quite close to running on the metal. It's virtualization, not an emulator and the days of clear distinction between bare-metal hypervisors and software hypervisors are gone.

I wish I could give the OP more of the answers to their specific questions. I could using VirtualBox with Windows as host. For example, you can set up a shared disk space which is (probably) a better way of achieving what the OP wants than Samba. You can set a USB device to only be visible by the guest (though you'll need to leave said device plugged in).

Honestly, I was going to hold off on joining the "Other way round" bandwagon, but this particular part of the OP's question persuaded me to just add my own opinion that it might be a good idea:

"I'm fine to put good money into hardware, 32GB RAM and 2x Xeon are not out of question. Also happy to split resources in half - Windows does not need to have all the goodies."

Reason that this persuaded me to join in is because it shows a misconception. If you're willing to do that sort of hardware then there is no way that you need to "split resources in half". Clearly if the OP wants to do heavy compiling, then all you would need to do would be to install Windows on that set up, tell VirtualBox to give the guest (Linux) 14 cores and 28GB RAM and you're going to have a mighty powerful compiling machine. It's not going to be held back by the Windows host doing the odd bit of USB port handling, et al.

The Intel E3, E5 and E7 chips integrate the newer virtualization technology which is worth having. Really lets the host just get out of the way of the guest and the metal. It's available in some Haswell chips as well.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Mars rover Curiosity snaps 'pale blue dot' image of Earth, Moon


Re: Moment of realisation

>>I wonder if it's as bright as Venus has been this last week?

Venus has vast clouds of vapourized Sulphuric Acid giving it an albedo just shy of a polished mirror. I doubt the Earth shines half so bright, unless you're watching on radio wavelengths, in which case we probably dazzle.


Re: For Carl

>>"Forget any dream of moving out and colonizing other planets because although we are an intelligent species we are definitely not a wise one."

We as a species are capable of great wisdom and great foolishness. Your mistake is to think that they are inseparable. The foolish might remain here, but the wise will eventually shake us off in their pursuit of the stars.

Want to remotely control a car? $20 in parts, some oily fingers, and you're in command


Re: VW Has an evil defence built in.

>>"On several new AUDI/VW/SEAT etc, if you plug in an ODB Reader and read the ECU engine map out, you will immediately blow some on chip fuses and your car is then utterly immobilised."

So they've built in a way for anybody with a six quid device to completely bork any of these cars invisibly and untraceably?


>>"You would have to work pretty hard to create havoc with this kit, and it would be very, very model specific."

With this, perhaps. I don't know. But unless there are actual hardware compatibilities which appears to not be the case, surely it's a very small step from this to something you could run from a computer or smartphone and use with almost any car that uses this system. I'm picturing a generic app that you just load up the appropriate make and model of car you want to work with. What's wrong with my understanding here?

It's Satya! Microsoft VP Nadella named CEO as Bill Gates steps down


Re: Signs of failure

>>"YoY growth is a useless statistic when comparing to other manufactures."

But not a useless statistic. It shows that a product is establishing itself and not going anywhere. And given all the crap people kept talking about WP in its first couple of years about how it was a dead end, would die off, lack of support, could never become a real contender, Year on Year growth is a counter argument to all that hate. Because so long as it keeps growing in a market that is slowing (there is less and less low-hanging fruit of people who don't have a smartphone every year), then it is establishing itself and it is doing well.


Re: Cowboys & Indians

>>"And the rest is used for astroturfing Windows 8 in the comment section."

You know what would be the first and most effective tactic at undermining those saying positive things about Microsoft if I were a shill hired by one of their competitors? To immediately start making statements about how other people were shills.

So, guilty conscience or just paranoia. Heaven forbid that some people should actually like what one of the leading software companies in the world produces. Clearly they are in that position because everyone hates their products!


Re: Ain't nothing going to change

>>He realized that monopolizing access to "The Interwebs" via a proprietary and "enhanced" portal application fused to the underlying OS like a facehugger would make sure that Microsoft would stay a factor in the age of interchangeable commodity browsers and standards as people would need to have Windows to get the "enhanced" Internet.

You realize that the "portal application fused to the underlying OS like a facehugger" was simply ahead of its time? What do you think ChromeOS, is? What about Firefox OS or the latest Ubuntu desktops or how tablets and phones now integrate HTML / CSS rendering and JavaScript directly into the OS for performance reasons? MS was its usual victim of coming in too early. But the Active Desktop was actually an early ancestor of what we see today.


Re: Not Elop then.

>>"Has Microsoft said what patents Android violates? Have they been challenged in court?"

They've said it to the companies involved which are the relevant parties. They've not been challenged in court which gives you a pretty clear idea of how slim the paying organizations think their chances of victory are.

>>"Or has their just been a letter to Samsung/Sony/Lenovo etc saying "call it $5 per tablet and you won't suddenly find your OEM licence to sell copies of Windows on your PCs and Laptops cut off."

Microsoft couldn't legally do that. It would be shot down easily in court under anti-trust laws. Which shows how very little you actually know what you're talking about. As to a court case over the patents themselves (the more plausible scenario), we're talking Samsung here. Not a company known to be shy of lawsuits. And Sony. And Lenovo. Do you have the remotest idea how big these players are? Or do you just have a mental map in which Microsoft is this giant evil colossus that dwarfs all others? Hell, Google has a higher market-cap than Microsoft! Do you really think that between all these huge companies, they wouldn't turn over MS's patents if they weren't valid?

TL;DR: You're a partisan idiot.


Re: Welcome to Toyland!

"Gates's point of course is that there's no *commercial* value in allowing other companies to release components that can replace your software - quite the opposite in fact."

Gates has since witnessed how it is possible to be open and yet still have subtle soft control over the market. Look at Google. Technically open, and dozens of tiny little barriers to going against the way they do it. Watch for MS to follow Google's lead with a lot more 'soft' control in the future. Gates wasn't wrong about stopping people being able to leave. He just didn't realize you could do it without overt force.

Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists


Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

>>"As far as I can see, we need several generations to die en-masse (disease and hunger are good, less destructive than war and more <span color='red'>Darwinesque</span>) to keep our numbers down-something has to."

Ouch. Not sure if I'm more bothered by your sociopathic lack of empathy, your terrible grasp of demographics or the fact that you don't know the word 'Darwinian'.

People are dying all the time. You don't need to have massive disasters, just reduce the birth rate. (And for you to call disease and famine 'good' is monumentally bone-headed and for you to imagine its a positive thing because of evolution, staggeringly simplistic).

All you require to lower the birth rate in a humane and voluntary fashion, is available birth control and greater educational and career opportunities for women. That's as close to proven as anything in Sociology gets. What sort of primitive advocates for plagues and famine over a contraceptive pill and career equality?


Re: Garbage In Garbage Out

>>"the suns energy output is remarkably steady regardless of solar flares, sunspot cycles and such."

Oh for Pity's sake. Seriously? How can you just say something like "regardless of solar flares, sunspot cycles and such" with a straight face. The Sun's energy output is remarkably steady regardless of frequent and pseudo-random events that produce significant variation? Hanibal Lecter is a well socialised human being regardless of the occasional murder and eating people? Just because you identify the weaknesses in your own argument and name them, doesn't mean you get to dismiss them.


Look at variation in energy output over time. There are semi-predictable cycles but we still don't have the degree of that variation down to anything like predictability.

Things like your post are what push people away from agreeing with AGW, because they see themselves being told they're wrong by people who clearly don't have a good grasp of the science themselves and are just arguing from an a priori belief in AGW.

Everytime someone posts an obviously false counter-argument to a query or question by a skeptic, that skeptics distrust of AGW proponents increases.


Re: A rule of thumb

>>"As far as I can tell there's a hell of a lot more money in anthropogenic climate change denial than there is in supporting the consensus. All those oil, coal and gas companies willing to support their positions, for a start."

Ha! Have fun backing that up. The renewable power industry is huge and exists as an extra on top of our existing power economy having as yet almost no significant impact on fossil fuel, so don't try to compare them as if it's either/or. It's a massive money drain. Not to mention the huge number of academics making money from AGW-related grants. And then you've got giant lobbying groups like FoE. Carbon trading, fuel levies... The amount of money dependent on AGW is colossal. Don't start talking about the money in AGW "denial" until you've totalled up the money in AGW "belief" for fair comparison. And be sure to check your sources for the former especially because there are a *lot* of false accusations. For example there was a story recently about the millions donated to an organization for AGW denial. Turned out when you dug into it that it was a publication that covered the full gamut of politics and did some skeptical stories on AGW. Do some back of the envelops on the amount of money and careers dependent on AGW and then make the same comment if you feel it's still valid.


"The generally accepted position is that scientists are very sure (99%+ probability) that humans are the primary cause of global warming..."

Reading the comments here, I'm not sure "generally accepted" is quite right.


Re: Sir

>>"Yes, it took al long time to persuade some people that the world wasn't flat too..."

Citation needed. Because as far as I'm aware even very early societies knew that it wasn't flat. The Phoenicians knew it as they were great sailors (for their period) and they could *see* that it wasn't flat the same way you or I can - as a ship sinks beneath the horizon. And the Phoenicians are going back quite a way - I think they were one of the first societies to use an alphabet!


"When people start listing reasons as to why they cannot donate to one charity or another NGO, i think they are just making excuses. FOE has no anti nuclear campaign and hasn't for many years."

I was a member of FoE. I left because of their anti-nuclear stance. This was only a few years ago. Just for you, because it's easy to show you don't know what you're talking about, here are two features on Nuclear Power from the FoE website still available and on display:



Leaders from the above including:

"Many people feel uncomfortable about nuclear power but cannot see any real alternatives. They are right to be wary. Nuclear power is costly, toxic and not 'emission free'. It is also not needed"

Fact 1: We don't need more nuclear reactors"

and pricelessly:

"WMDs - uranium enrichment plants can be misused to make nuclear weapons.

Vulnerable - No nuclear reactor would withstand a direct hit from a jumbo jet.

Nowhere to hide - A successful attack could have an impact 40 times worse than the explosion at Chernobyl. "

And this you call "no anti-nuclear campaign". You will find FoE speaking against nuclear power every time it comes up in their earshot. The last literature I received from them before I left (I joined up for rain forest preservation) was filled with anti-nuclear 'factoids'.

No, I'm not "just making excuses". What is your problem. I didn't just ditch FoE and RSPB. I switched the charities I support to others.

"If you are a bird lover as you say, you should still support the RSPB. You cannot expect to agree with everything that any one charity or NGO does or believes."

I expect disagreements to be in the nature of what birdlife to protect or whether it is right to cull a non-native bird to a region of the UK to create more opportunities to the original native birds to the area. Not to find that my money is being used to support a particular choice of energy source. Now try writing your post again without assuming you know better about me than I do. I meant what I said and there's nothing unreasonable about my expectations. You don't know what you're talking about. Spend 30 minutes trying to find some non-negative bits about nuclear by FoE. If you're honest, you'll have to wade through a tonne of anti-nuclear stuff and come back and admit you were wrong.


Re: A convient crisis

"If politicians admit the climate crisis isn't a big deal, people will hold them to account for their failings - so they are as likely to let go of this cornucopia of false virtue as they are to let go of their parliamentary expenses."

I gave you an upvote for "cornucopia of false virtue".


Re: Just wait

>>"According to the sage Arthur C Clarke, when asked what causes changes in science, "Old men die". We'll just have to wait & hope they don't do anything too daft before a more rational set take over."

Is the Universe taking the piss? The other day, I pulled up someone for attributing a quote from Arthur C. Clarke to Einstein and bemoaned how everyone thought Einstein said everything:


Today, I find someone saying that Arthur C. Clarke said something and it was actually Max Planck. The original quote is this:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. ~Max Planck

It's a conspiracy to drive me crazy, I tell you.


Re: My beef with climate change ...

My beef is where people misrepresent skeptics as not believing the climate ever changes. I've actually had people tell me to my face what I believe in contradiction to what I've just told them and I've had others online insist that skeptics believe this even citing studies at me which turned out not to show this (bad statistics on their part) and they still insisted on it, rather than actually debate any points. The worst sort of strawmanning.

I tend towards a neutral position of "we don't really know with enough confidence" and I get pilloried for it by people who repeatedly ignore that we are skeptics of AGW and keep throwing abuse at us about how stupid we are to think the climate never changes. Even after being repeatedly corrected as to what we actually believe (or await evidence of).


>>"Tell us we are doomed..... So we can have an excuse to raise spurious taxes."

Actually, what they did was funnel all the extra money to the renewables lobby. I think this was more a genuine case of the extremely vocal "environmental" lobby beating the MPs over the head to get them to do it, rather than lining the government's pockets (though I'm confident some of that happened on the side as per usual).

The reason I put environmentalist in quotes up there is because I don't really consider Friends of the Earth et al. to necessarily represent us environmentalists. There is a legion of us who genuinely care about the environment but there's an old guard with a lock on all the main movements and pretends to speak on behalf of all of us. For example, I'm pro-nuclear as by far the most logical way to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants, but who do I join when FoE will just take my money and plough it into distorting the facts on nuclear? I can't even join the RSPB as a bird lover because they've jumped on the wind power lobby. Especially ironic as aside from the flawed economics underlying them they kill birds.

There are many of us environmentalists who have no voice because there's always someone ready to leap in and be interviewed by the BBC on "our behalf". And to pressure MPs into sticking high tariffs on our energy bills to pay for unwanted wind farms.

Microsoft-backed lobby group demands market test of Google's proposed 'search fix'


Re: Sod off, microsoft

>>"Uh, if you buy a Windows phone does it not default to using Bing for search? You sir, are a hypocrite."

Really? Because I didn't say MS phones didn't. It was someone else that said how MS operating systems did and I pointed out that so did Google's. Now your logic fits better the person I replied to, fits them exactly in fact because they were the ones that criticised another for doing what their own 'team' did. So will you now turn on them and call them a hypocrite seeing as they are the ones who did what you accuse me of?

Somehow I doubt it. I suspect your attacks are one direction only.


Re: Sod off, microsoft

"Bzzzzt - wrong. To use Bing and IE you just use the stuff that came with the OS. "

Uh, if I buy an Android phone does it not default to using Google for search?

The pro-Google lobby is out in full force today, looking at these comments. If Google's competitors can put pressure on to hold Google responsible for what they do, I'm fine with that. It's a good thing for us, citizens of the EU. It's only a bad thing if you have some football-supporter "my team" approach to Google.

EVE Online erects mashed-up memorial to biggest space fight in history

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Re: Cool

You sound smug.

Which is fair enough, all things considered.


Re: 40% of the characters are female but 97% male player?

"Can you imagine what the female game experience would be like if you had to advertise your real-world gender in game?"

Very, very unpleasant.

It seems to me that in games like this gender is becoming more and more about perceived gender roles rather than alignment with real world players.

UK picks Open Document Format for all government files


Re: hard coded systems

>>"So you make a copy of soffice.exe and rename it as winword.exe. Actually not quite that simple, but you get the idea."

I get the idea that you think saying "actually not quite that simple" can mask a hundred nightmare scenarios of incompatibility.


Re: The Lawyer from Lima

>>"If a government decided to screen a version of Open/LibreOffice ,it not only has the means to do so, but the amount of money it saves on license fees also makes it a very viable proposition "

As someone who has been a systems programmer for many years, I really don't think the above is correct. Especially as its a moving target. Nor would it be a good use of our taxes to employ legions of code reviewers rather than just buy in enterprise software.


Re: Open does not necessarily equal cheap/free

>>"And god forbid they want to use MS Office on Android tablets - fixed"

Wrong. Office365 is browser-based. Open Office / LibreOffice (which you are replying about) does not have an equivalent.


"I think they meant documents that didn't need editing - like press releases."

Quite possibly. Then why can't they just say something like "finalized documents" or "documents for public dissemination"? Wouldn't something that accurately described the goal, rather than the method, be the correct way to classify things?


Re: Important change

"With what? Seven different distros of Linux each with its windows manager and that may not support some hardware because "proprietary drivers" are bad"

I wouldn't chose it over Windows 7 or 8 myself, but just because there are seven(teen) different GNU/Linux distros out there, doesn't mean it's impossible to standardise on one. There are a couple of enterprise level distributions: RedHat and SuSE. I haven't used SuSE since about 6.4 but you could run RedHat alright with LibreOffice as your standard. Again, I would prefer Windows by far for enterprise management and user experience, but the nice thing about using open formats (whether that's ODF *or* OOXML) is that it facilitates choice.

I feel that you have used my admonishment of richard76's own biased post to semi-launch your own rant. Yes, I like Windows also and MS are very good at enterprise deployment and management, but choice is good and its flawed to say that just because there are many GNU/Linux distros, you can't standardise on one of the enterprise-ready ones.


Re: Important change

I wrote: "You seem to want to actively lock out one (Microsoft). "

You responded "No" with a big Fail icon.

Your comment which I responded to:

>>"I don't think that will mean MS Windows will be abandoned soon, but going browser based is a good first step in that direction too."

I think my comment was pretty justified. Lets have a simple answer: are you stating that you wouldn't prefer to see Microsoft Windows replaced in Government?


Re: Important change

>>"Speaking as someone who actually works on a library that tries to read and write OOXML I can tell you that OOXML still is not very nice: it is overly verbose and inconsistent."

And compared to the original version? ;)


"I think in-browser editing means use wiki or HTML CMS to host data in a form directly accessible from a browser instead of using a format that requires launching a separate app like OpenOffice or Word when a browser will do."

Hmmmm. I honestly find it hard to believe that anyone would be so clumsy as to say "in-browser editing is preferred" to mean "use a wiki". I mean this is the UK Government so it's possible, but it's staggeringly inept even for them. It really sounds more like groundwork being laid for a deal with a company that primarily offers browser-based products. Some company that spends even more on lobbying than Microsoft and has a highly vocal and loyal supporters in the IT community, perhaps. ;)


Re: Important change

"Hmm, Westminster cafes are going to earn a lot of money in the coming days from all the Microsoft lobbyists landing there to try and "open up" that decision for the only-in-name "open" monstrosity called MSOOXML which is not only a standard that only became a standard by (IMHO) flat out abusing the ISO process, but is even today not possible to implement by Microsoft itself..."

You're out of date. The _original_ OOXML was a hurried mess, poorly documented and even including binary blobs. It was MS desperately trying to rush out something that qualified as Open back in the day when they suddenly realized they needed to. The _current_ OOXML is actually very nice. And yes, there are third parties that implement it. Best we forget all about the first attempt and focus on what we actually have today.

"I don't think that will mean MS Windows will be abandoned soon, but going browser based is a good first step in that direction too."

Openness is good because it allows free choice of vendor. You seem to want to actively lock out one (Microsoft). Office 2013 is really, really good. And there's also Office 365 which works in the browser pretty darn well. As pointed out earlier, ODF doesn't exclude Office at all. It's actually one of the best editors there is for ODF.


"Yes but you don't need Adobe to read PDF."

Well no, but Adobe make all the best software for creating PDFs. You can export a document from Word to PDF and it will do it quite nicely - well enough for all my reports. But if I wanted to do something big and serious with PDFs, particularly dynamically creating reports in PDF format from templates I'd created (but other things too), I'd be using Adobe software. It's the same sort of "soft" control Google and other companies use.

Also, just to highlight how clueless the Government is, you *can* edit PDF documents. It's not always perfect but again, Office 2013 amongst others can do it. It's gone a bit screwy with PDFs made externally but when I've needed to edit a PDF generated by Word itself, it works absolutely fine. So choosing PDF as the "non-editable" format is a bit dubious. For real non-editability, you need DRM solutions. E.g. you can check the signature of a document.

Big tech firms holding wages down? Marx was right all along, I tell ya!


Re: Excellent article - b u t -

>>>"It is illegal not to divide ones assets equally among one's children on death, a parent cannot write a will that favours (or disinherits) one child"

What??!?!?!? So if I want one child to get all my wealth then my only options are... what? Arrange an accident for the less favoured child? Give it to one in advance of my death? That's outrageous!

Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers


#1 in your list is silly. Uncertain about #2 but doubt it's insurmountable. However I have one that is a significant problem: shredding.

I can think of very little that gets printed out which shouldn't properly be shredded after use. If this ink leaves traces that can be recovered to read the original document (and I'd be a little surprised if it didn't but am willing to be corrected), then it's not usable for many of us. Though I really approve of using less paper.

Hello Moto: Lenovo grabs Motorola biz for $3bn. But Google's KEEPING the patents


Re: Defend who against whom?

>>"Remember that they never sued Google directly, only it's customers."

That's because Google came up with the genius idea of monetizing the _use_ of their product rather than the _selling_ of their product. So they are free to infringe on others' patents whilst others have to shoulder the costs of licencing those patents. All the while Google still makes money off infringed IP. And they still get to control Android itself by subverting the Open Source principles of it with all sorts of "soft" controls on it:

Good article on the last point for any interested:



"Has this become the United States of China?"



Re: for those who said buying Motorola was all about the patents...

Finally, even the most fanatical Google cheerleaders will have to stop trying to claim to the rest of the world that the Motorola purchase was about manufacturing.

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