* Posts by h4rm0ny

4617 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008

Microsoft really is watching us from above

h4rm0ny

Re: The whole concept is off-putting

"Never used MS Bing. Never will."

Good to know. Next time you criticize it, we'll know that you're basing your opinion on a foundation of zero experience.

h4rm0ny

Re: and Apple?

Apple however excel at timing. As William Gibson wrote: "the Future is here, it's just not widely distributed." In between a new technology being released and being widely uptaken, comes the Apple. They have a history of this. Look at the iPod. Were there other MP3 players out there? Yes. They were just starting to take off when Apple came in with a really polished version with a great interface and swept up. They did it again with smartphones. Lots of players starting to bring out all the right pieces for smartphone technology, lots of devices starting to appear that had the right features. Then Apple took most of the good bits, stitched them together more seamlessly than anyone else had and marketed the Hell out of it - iPhone. A really good device that wasn't ground-breaking technologically, but hit at just the right time and was more polished than anyone else's efforts. Ultrabooks - the technology reached the right point for really thin, really light laptops and wham - Apple shot in with those really skinny Macbooks.

Apple do fund innovation. The Thunderbolt interface is impressive and whilst they didn't develop it, ultimately the cost was bourne by them because they licenced it. But generally, Apple haven't suffered too much by reaping what others sow. Apple take what others do and make it a little bit nicer (for most people's tastes, anyway). Apple might have had a rare misstep with their maps, but they really had no choice on that and all they really need is more and better data in it - the program is okay, I've heard. Apple maps as a joke on echo chambers like the Reg forums will persist long after the product itself reaches parity with Google and Bing maps (they'll have longer to go to catch Nokia, mind you). But aside from that, they've done really well without massive R&D into brand new technologies (they put it into refining existing).

I think they're about to get leap-frogged semi-badly by the WP8 UI and Android is going to continue battering them in terms of sales, even if not image. But they'll be back. When the timing's right. ;)

...Hey, I jut noticed! Didn't their used to be a icon of Steve Jobs with a halo? Was it removed now that it would be in bad taste?

November election sends chill down Valley shareholders' necks

h4rm0ny

Genuine question

Why are there so many shares? Why have there be 2.5bn shares in Facebook at US$20 each. Why not have 0.25bn at US$200 each? Do they actually need the granularity of going down to single shares? They don't have that many employees so why? I would have thought you could knock a few orders of magnitude off that and make it a little simpler. Is it for psychological reasons? Would $200 a share look too overinflated (yeah, like $40 did not! ).

Incidentally, P/E for Facebook is still around 67, which is terrifying for a stock on decline. It indicates to my mind that the price is still seriously over-inflated.

Amazon UK leaks Windows 8 retail box, TV ads

h4rm0ny
Unhappy

Such hatred!

You'd think Emmanuel Goldstein designed the box based on the comments here.

BBC unveils UltraViolet DVDs, BDs

h4rm0ny

Re: Why can't I......?

"You paid for this stuff. You should expect to own it."

Most of the old stuff, our parents and gradnparents did not expect to be given free DVDs and recordings for their licence fees, nor that programmes would be re-broadcast on their request. They paid it for the service at the time with no expectation of more. Of the stuff that's broadcast today, again, no-one expects that they should be given free DVDs on request of that the BBC will re-broadcast over the Internet at their request and and all of the programmes. Again, they pay their licence fee knowing full-well those are not the terms. If that changed in the way you ask, then licence fees would rise drastically for the sake of minorities, inefficiently. I have no interest in watching the latest medical drama or comedy series. But the BBC makes money from selling those DVDs to people who do. If the BBC can't make that money from those sales, then that translates into higher costs for me for no gain. Basically, the licence fee is the flat fee for broadcasts, those who want enhanced service (watching old shows whenever they want), pay for it by buying the DVDs without my having to subsidise them getting an enhanced service that I don't want. The BBC is not Sky. If they make more money out of something that doesn't translate into higher dividends for the shareholders because it's a public institution. It translates into increased internal investment in the BBC - more shows, better special effects for Doctor Who, etc. Sure, we the licence payers paid for the production of the material, but it's a two tier system - the amount we pay is offset by how the BBC is able to sell programs on DVD later on, or resell to the USA or Australia, etc. When you argue for perpetual on-demand online re-broadcast of programmes for all British citizens who ever paid a licence fee, you're demanding both increased costs for the BBC and you're arguing that the full cost of production of these programmes be paid up front with increased licence fees rather than subsidised by those who want more than everyone else specifically paying for the DVDs and their extras, later on.

You sound like you work for Newscorp, who delivered the Conservatives constant good press during their election in return for their future war on BBC funding. Rupert Murdoch, is that you?

(As a side note, how do you break down what someone gets or doesn't get depending on when they paid their fee and for how long they paid it. Someone pays their licence fees for years and then gets nothing when they stop? Another person pays licence fees for a year and during that time has everything whilst the person who paid for the last two decades and then stopped has nothing? We track who had a licence fee when and what was in production at the time?)

h4rm0ny
Headmaster

Re: i think i shall stick to my currant set up......

Well, I'm sure you have your raisins.

h4rm0ny

"How does resale work?"

Well it's not a storage system, it's a rights system. So in theory, there should be no technical barrier to transferring your right to someone else's account. But I'm not aware of any way to do this on the site that I have my Ultraviolet content associated with. They'll probably postpone a system of reselling for as long as possible.

h4rm0ny

Re: No such thing as UV DVD

Because for millions of people, it's a hassle to have to rip a DVD (let along a Blu-ray) and then set up their own media server which they must make accessible to the world (and still keep it secure) and set up the streaming / DNLA / Whatever software on that server and on the client so that they can watch the movies. Instead of simply logging into their UV account through a number of different providers, and hitting play.

I bought 21 Jump Street on Blu-Ray recently (good film) and it came with a UV "copy". Entered the code online and now I can watch it anywhere whenever I want on any device. All that from just tapping in the code on my account. Compare the hassle of entering that data online with all the set up of the former and you'll see why UV is a great service for many people. Even those like me who are capable of ripping a Blu-ray and setting up all the media streaming if we want to.

And then there's the instant availability when you buy it, too. For years, piracy advocates were arguing that they pirated because product wasn't available digitally, instantly, in the way they wanted to buy it. And that they wanted to be able to play it on any device they owned or at a friend's place. Well now all of those criteria are met. If it follows music with MP3 purchases, then we'll see that a number of the pirates were telling the truth and they will shift to buying their content, and that a large number will simply come up with even more contrived justifications for piracy.

I've used the UV service. And it works very well.

Sarah Brightman plans International Space Station gig

h4rm0ny
Paris Hilton

Re: Would I be wrong...

Yes. Sarah Brightman is one of our most nuts singers and it's nice to see her putting money into Space travel rather than any of the numerous things that pop starlets normally burn it on. Like it or not, her paying to visit the ISS helps nudge us all that one step closer to commercial space flight.

Paris because she recently co-starred alongside Ms. Hilton in a film about organ repossession in a dystopian future as a blind opera singer with hologram projectors for eyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZcxUaPpZPM. Like I said, she's nuts.

Iran says its infosec defences foiled oil hack

h4rm0ny

Re: Patience mode: on (And again ...Morons that can't read an article...)

"What leads you to this conclusion?"

I've had decent discussions (if not very polite ones) with Matt before on the subject of the rights and wrongs of wars. He has been able to correct me in some cases and at least make decent arguments in others. He's certainly capable of making a decent argument. However, 'you criticise Israel, you must be hate Jews" personal attacks, are not amongst them.

h4rm0ny

Re: Patience mode: on (And again ...Morons that can't read an article...)

""...... The success or not of the attack......" Ah, but maybe this was just a diversionary attack whilst the Eeeeevul Jooooooos parachuted Gremlins into their facilities...."

That is truly pathetic. That you characterise any criticism as anti-Semitism. It's one of the basest ad hominems. Jewish is not the same as Israeli and one of the lowest cards the Israeli government and its supporters repeatedly plays, is to suggest at any opportunity that the two are the same. This is done - exactly for the reasons that you have just used it - to avoid actually engaging in the argument and instead dismissing it as motivated by prejudice. There is no shortage of Jewish critics of Israeli foreign policy. Are they angry about "Eeeevul Joooooos" as well? Mockery is not argument and nor are personal attacks implying anti-Semitism.

"So, would you prefer it if Bibi had sent cruise missiles rather than allegedly sending skiddies?"

And along with Ad Hominem, we can add False Dichotomy. Yes - Israel is forced to attack other countries infrastructure by virus as their only means of avoiding being forced to send missiles. Of course.

You're smarter than that, Matt.

h4rm0ny

Re: Patience mode: on (And again ...Morons that can't read an article...)

"If the networks were indeed airgapped, the supposed attack would be impossible. Therefore, there would be no story"

The story is that Israel are alleged to have attacked Iran's infrastructure again. The success or not of the attack doesn't affect whether or not it took place. If you wont read the article before posting, at least read it after people start calling you out on not having read it.

Lenovo unfolds smaller Yoga tablet-laptop hybrid

h4rm0ny

I'd like it to be lighter, but this is a strong candidate for me to buy simply because the Surface Pro wont be out for months. I've held off buying a new device for long enough. I don't have the patience to wait much longer.

Microsoft: Pirates at high risk of malware infection

h4rm0ny

"HAHAHA! Own goal from Microsoft there."

Why "HAHAHA!" ? Every infected PC is a victory from criminals that rip others off or use the infected machine to spam you or DDOS businesses. Activity that costs us all either directly or indirectly. Why celebrate when a flaw is found in an OS or piece of software? You're basically a football fan for companies, aren't you?

h4rm0ny

Re: HEADLINE

And this insight into the inner discussions of upper MS management is confirmed by...?

Linux on ARM breakthrough to take away Torvalds' arse pain

h4rm0ny
Facepalm

Re: But wait

Linux is the "least-used OS on the planet?"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a new advancement in surgical science - the world's first successful brain donor.

Microsoft to devs: Bug users about security … now!

h4rm0ny
Pint

I really like the amount of effort MS are putting into supporting and assisting developers with guidelines and how-tos. I've been seriously impressed with what they're coming out with over the last six months. Beer for MS for really turning things around.

Kernel crimps make Windows 8 a hacker hassle

h4rm0ny

Re: The reason malware won't work

"That's what we were all moaning about. Now that it's come back to bite them and can be used as a sales metric, they suddenly want to fix all that?"

Yes, they want to "fix all that." And they seem to be doing a good job.

h4rm0ny

Re: The reason malware won't work

"More likely it's everything to do with Microsoft taking us back to the 80s by removing multitasking "

This is incorrect. I have multiple active MUI applications running right now quite happily. You may be thinking of how applications are "tombstoned", i.e. frozen when not in use, on Windows Phone 7. That's fairly reasonable on a single core mobile device with hard limits on battery life, though inconvenient in some cases. The restriction is changed on WP8 so that, for example, you can have a VoIP application running in the background and alert you on an incoming call. But this never applied to Win8. Not sure where you got this from.

h4rm0ny

Re: All very well until someone gets the keys to the castle

"The TIFKAM sandboxes sound even more fun - are they seriously saying that I can't open a particular data file with two different TIFKAM applications?"

Depends what you mean by "data file". All files contain "data". If you mean what is generally meant - a file with user data in it, then no, they're not seriously saying that. Sandboxing in this case refers primarily to processes, not files separate to the application that may be written or read to. The rest of the objections in this post follow from this misconception.

'It's not a post-PC world: Just a post Windows one, maybe'

h4rm0ny

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

"I used a work's Apple machine years ago, it was what I called the crashmatic. It fell over at least once a day, several times most days"

But that was true of Windows and Linux too, back then. Okay, Linux was somewhat more stable but any DE you ran on it kept crashing. You can't fairly compare Windows 7 (which has been very solid for me) with Apple in the mid-Ninties, just as you can't really compare the current OSX with Win98.

10 million iPad minis to 'outshine' their big brother this quarter

h4rm0ny

Re: with Availability on the 25th

"h4rm0ny - I can't say I agree... There will still be thousands of articles about the Mini. Look at all of the press a white iPhone gets almost a year after the release of the same damn phone in black?"

Ah, well though, online sites have to get their clicks somehow. If the only thing with mainstream appeal released that month is an iPhone of a different colour, then you'll get a dozen articles about the significance of white or black. But there's a finite amount of time that a human being can spend online (except for MMPORPG players, of course) and if you've met your quota for interesting stories with a genuine difference, then it's going to significantly eat into the space you dedicate to trivial differences in other products.

Note, I'm not disputing that a lot of press gets devoted to minor things from Apple. I'm just opining that it's because they have an interest in bigging up these minor things to generate page hits. If that job is done, well....

(and I'll re-iterate because things get tribal on El Reg. for some reason, that me saying a change in screen size is a small thing isn't me saying it's not worth having or that an iPad isn't a great piece of engineering. It's just me saying, it's a small change, not a large one).

h4rm0ny
Coat

Re: New name

If they make a smaller one still, they could call it the Millipad.

(Can you pass me my coat whilst your there?)

h4rm0ny

Re: with Availability on the 25th

"This is the day MS is launching the Windows 8 and their Surface Slate. Talk about ruining the party."

I think that would be a bad idea for Apple. One thing we can almost certainly say about any new iPad Mini that they unveiled, would be that it would have the same iOS as their phones and current iPads, just scaled slightly. There would really be very little that could be talked about in any depth. It may well be that many people would like an iPad that is more compact and more power to them, I say. But other than a few stories saying it's got one less of these ports or two extra rows of icons, it's more of the same. The same might be good, but it's still the same. The list of new features and the buzz around Win8 generates a lot of examination, consideration and discussion. If Apple launch an iterative product on the same day as a rivals complete new radical re-design, they may find all the discussion focusing on their rival and a lot of unfavourable comparisons of a "same old vs. new and innovative" type. They'd be better suited waiting for a quieter time when their product can be appreciated for what it is, not forced into endless and immediate comparisons.

h4rm0ny

Re: Not buying it

"he last thing Microsoft needs is a lot of new min-iPads (and Androids) drawing sales away from all their new kit."

Well obviously. Just like the last thing Apple needs is Microsoct (and Androids) drawing sales away from their devices and the last thing Android needs is Apple (and Microsoft) drawing sales away from their devices. It's called competition and cuts all ways. The person you're replying to made an actually insightful point - that with an iPad mini, Apple will actually be cannibalizing its own sales which is true. By Android, they've been forced to start selling in a less profitable way for themselves. Or will be when this this is actually out which will be a while, I'm guessing.

h4rm0ny

Re: "LOL"? Seriously?

No he doesn't. Apple might be a bit overpriced for its power and I don't like OSX much, but the devices are widely regarded as being very aesthetically pleasing and have good resale value. People buy them for these qualities. Apples image is very, very carefully managed by them and that's a big part of why some people buy them.

New Zealand issues Hobbit money

h4rm0ny

They've done this before.

When the Lord of the Rings movies came out, they did one with Gandalf on it. Ian McKellan joked that it was the first time there'd ever been a coin with a queen on both sides

He's a funny one.

Bing is the most heavily poisoned search engine, study says

h4rm0ny

Re: Method of measuring could play a role

That was my first thought - people who install Firefox or Opera are going to be a somewhat technically aware (normally), whilst someone who goes with IE may be technically aware or may not be. That would skew averages as I'd say there is a correlation between being technically aware and not falling for bad links.

h4rm0ny

Re: Bing?

"Every single time I try it out it finds nearly nothing of what I am searching for, and spews a lot of unrelated stuff."

That sounds extremely unlikely. I use it daily and almost never don't get what I'm looking for quickly and easily. How could it be that it would be like this for me and others and yet fail you so completely "every single time"?

h4rm0ny

Re: Bing?

Yeah - use it often. Very rarely, I switch to Google if I want to search newsgroups, but I haven't done that in quite a long time.

Borderlands 2 review

h4rm0ny
Facepalm

Yay! Gender roles!

I do love it when a choice of sex determines whether you get to mix it up with guns or if you get tricksy psychic powers and a support role. Siren, huh? And the male roles are called what... the hunk? The gigolo?

Other than that, looks like a nice game.

AMD unveils 'sweet spot' processor for 'sexy' tablets

h4rm0ny

These sound great. I just hope they can get them to market sooner rather than later as they will want to catch the early wave of Win8 sales. I'd like to see one of these in a hybrid.

Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

h4rm0ny

Re: Power outages have benefits, too

A little like saying rationing has health benefits for the obese. Yes, it might cut out some overconsumption. Sucks if you're already one of the thin, though.

h4rm0ny

Re: maybe for england....

"For starters, there's nothing stopping the new independent Scotland to declare UKP to be legal currency, and there's nothing the remainder of the UK can do about it"

Again, I like having Scotland as part of the UK, but the above notion is pretty funny. No, England could not tell Scotland they couldn't use the pound as their currency, but I can't imagine the average Scot being very happy when they go to their bank and say "I'd like £500" and the teller replying: "we've sent our manager down to Newcastle to flog a car. He should be back tomorrow with a few thousand in notes. You'll have to wait." Basically, there is no reason the the Royal Mint will be sending notes and coinage to Scotland if they leave. So what are we talking about here? Printing and minting Scottish pound sterlings? Okay - these already exist, but how is that functionally different to Scotland having its own currency? Are you suggesting that Scotland peg its currency to the pound sterling? Why would they do that? China used to peg their currency to the dollar just to annoy the US (note, not really just to annoy the US), but China has methods economic control that, shall we say, are not available to Scotland. Why would Scotland gain independence and then try to wiggle out of one of the few benefits which would be the freedom to set interest rates more suited to their own local economy?

h4rm0ny

Re: maybe for england....

"1. EU. Scotland does not have an automatic right to join. It would have to apply before it could get all that lovely EU money."

The EU right now would not want to be weakened by the departure of Scotland and other EU nations would certainly welcome Scotland to EU membership. Whilst it's true that Scotland would have to apply, expect a fast track to acceptance.

"2. Debts. The UK should ask Scotland to repay all the money we leant Scotlands companies. Ones like HBOS, RBS etc.etc. Call it £50billion in round numbers. Where you getting that from?"

This issue would not actually have to change. You would simply have these companies part owned from "abroad". Of course, many Scots might not like that, but it's not exactly a new thing to have your local companies owned by foreigners. The London Stock Exchange is part owned by Dubai and Qatar (they own about 35% between them). Happens all the time.

"3. Pound. You ain't having it. Allowing Scotland to continue using the pound is silly as the BofE cannot be responsible to two governments. Scotland would have to create it's own currency and then back it with it's own central bank. That would make the currency worth very little and raising any national debt would be at silly interest rates."

Absolutely the case that a shared currency would not work. Look at what happened when Greece and Spain attempted to share a currency with Germany and France. (Not the whole story, but a sigificant factor). However, Scotland would not have to create their own currency - they could join the Euro and would be eagerly welcomed. Of course, Scotland may not wish to do that.

I'm picking out the flaws as I see them in your post, but that doesn't mean I disagree. Right now, London is bringing in more money to the UK than the rest of the country put together, THere's a significant flow of cash from South to North and if anyone can make a case for being financially better off after a separation, it's the English. But it's not going to happen - most Scots don't want to leave, it's just Salmond promising things that aren't possible - like leaving but keeping all the benefits and the shared currency. I'd be sorry to see Scotland leave the UK personally. There are more important things than money.

h4rm0ny

Re: Who didn't know this was coming!?!

@Ledswinger: I've modded you up because you make many good points. (And your reference to Finland shows you are informed on the subject). I would happily debate you on nuclear power in more detail but I don't have time unfortunately. But I'll point out that the cost of building nuclear power plants is not likely to come down in real terms any time soon, but we will *have* to move to nuclear from fossil fuels at some point. Is it better to do this now, whilst we still have some nuclear expertise, or at the last minute when we are crippled by sky-high oil and gas prices, nuclear fuel is more expensive and nuclear fuel sources have become strategic areas of control in the same way oil producing countries are today? (You yourself comment that nuclear prices will start to rise in the medium term). It takes a considerable amount of time to build nuclear power plants safely and it's not something best done at the last minute when we're already suffering from massive energy prices on dwindling fossil fuel. I'd also challenge that statement about five times the cost of a gas power plant when we look at rising gas prices and consider re-processing. But no time...

The main thing I wanted to say was that most people believe in AGW and as a sceptic, I don't know whether or not it's true myself. But I do think it's counter-productive to ignore that nuclear power is a low CO2 powersource as a factor regardless of your own feelings on this issue. The reason being, you are currently arguing for fossil fuel usage in favour of renewables or nuclear. That's fine, but there's an other argument that will not go away whether you want it to or not, and that is renewables vs. nuclear. I suspect that if you were *forced* to choose between those two, you would choose nuclear (whilst complaining fossil fuels should have been an option, loudly). Well, you (and me) are being forced to make that choice. We're not going to get away with just saying "fossil fuels is fine" whether you're someone who genuinely thinks that like you, or whether you're someone who prefers nuclear like me. So I think it most effective not to lump nuclear in with renewables as a single category of "inferior choice" even if you think fossil fuels are The Way. Many people do believe in AGW (and they may be right for all I know). If you turn your back on nuclear power and don't show that it's as CO2 low as renewables, then you're going to get stabbed in the back with a wind-turbine. Like it or not, nuclear power is the most effective-counter argument to Wind Power in the current scientific and political mindset.

h4rm0ny
Mushroom

Re: Who didn't know this was coming!?!

"Ultimately the reason for this situation is that the bunglers of DECC, BIS and OFGEM have farted around for the past decade obsessed with "climate change", throwing vast sums at unreliable renewables, worrying about any scheme with words like climate, community, partnership in the title and ignored the basics. They should all be sacked."

Agreed, but woth noting that worrying about Climate Change does not have to mean wasting money at wind power. If someone is worried about CO2 emissions, nuclear is a perfectly viable answer to that.

Unfortunately I literally have on my desk right now, a leaflet handed to me in the street asking me to write to Edward Davey (the Secretary of State in Dept. of Energy and Climate Change" to tell him how we the British public oppose nuclear power. I'm actually going to write to tell him large numbers of us really support it.

I'm actually a mild septic on AGW, but there are plenty of other reasons to want to reduce our fossil fuel dependency. But whichever side you fall on, nuclear is a far better progression from fossil fuels than wind power, etc. We're going to have to keep gas-power going for a while yet - you can't rush building a nuclear power station. Which is why we need to get them in place now, not later.

Mushroom cloud, because FoE can't tell the difference between nuclear power and a nuclear bomb.

Windows 7 overruns NHS Scotland

h4rm0ny

Re: Someone will be taking early retirement as a result,

Let me give you a specific example of how difficult it can be to get anywhere. At our local PCT (Primary Care Trust - they govern small regions, there were 303 in the UK originally), people were hired to go round the GP Surgeries and check which computers were up to scratch for running the new CFH software. This involved plugging a USB drive into each computer in a surgery, running a little program that put information about what processor it had, how much RAM, how much hard-drive space, and then moving onto the next PC. Aside from spending most of their time interfering with other people, asking where computers were, coming back because they'd missed one, sitting around because (unsurprisingly) the computers were in use in the working day, let me tell you specifically one of the ones who got in my way. He had been found through an agency (layer of profit skimming). Who had leased him to another agency (second layer of profit skimming). Who had been hired by an IT outsourcing company (third layer) which was contracted by Atos (fourth and final layer). All those layers of salary inflation on someone who needed the intellectual abilities of a lettuce to do their job but was probably getting paid more than most people they were kicking off their computers because they had an MCSE and were on contractor rates. And then there would be managers squatting on top of him and managers on top of them. Pure job creation and pure milking of the DoH. Is it corruption? Yes - the people at the top are all mates: see my comment elsewhere about Patricia Hewett and Accenture, and they have no incentive to curtail the massive inefficiencies which funnel money into the private sector. But is it something you can go to the police about? Not easily. Check out the very small number of companies that make the software GPs use in their surgeries. There's iSoft and EMIS and one or two others. A small, decent team of programmers could produce something better than any of these solutions in a year and an Open Source approach could also produce something comparable or better for freee. But in order to be used, you have to be "approved". Good luck enduring that process unless you have the right contacts. Can you go to the police about that? The corruption is all right there in the open, but layered with bureacracy, runarounds and legal get-outs. New Labour did their utter best to butcher the NHS whilst smiling to the papers and saying how important the NHS was. And the Tories seem keen to finish the job. Enjoy your health care while you have it. We are being sold off to the US medical industry and have been since New Labour came to power. Expect everything to be a lot more expensive when you're ill eight years from now.

h4rm0ny

Re: What?

MS's current advice to enterprise customers on XP is to move to Windows 7.

h4rm0ny
Mushroom

Training costs for Win7 OR some Linux distribution both fade into nothing compared to the black hole that has been the NHS's NPfIT (National Program for IT) and CFH (connecting for health) which has seen billions disappear without benefit to companies like Accenture (coincidentally, the board of which Patricia Hewett, Health Secretary at the time, sat upon). If you saw some of the ancient Heath Robinson systems that provide the back-end in the NHS, you'd be horrified.

I no longer work in the NHS, but I well remember the systems that were used by Primary Care (your local GP surgery, walk-in clinics, etc.) for submitting patient statistics. QOF was the name of it (Quality and Outcomes Framework) and it formed the basis for how GP surgeries got remunerated. This system was nothing but a pile of web-forms that numbers were typed into (number of diabetic patients, number of BP tests, etc.) with a little bit of simple arithmetic at the back end to work out some percentages and see what your payment was. They couldn't even keep that running. In many instances, surgeries would submit their data and then maybe that afternoon or the next day, the results would be up. Think about that. It's web-forms that run the submitted numbers through basic arithmetic. Probably about two to three hundred calculations in total (all of the number of patients / number of relevant checks type of calculation), and it took hours, sometimes days, for the results to appear. Computers don't work that way. You know what it tells me? Their system wasn't working and someone at the back end was having to do something manually to get those results up. Whether that was copying them from one database to the other, feeding them into an Excel spreadsheet or what. But it was a joke. The punchline - it cost many millions.

Quite frankly the NHS could use pocket calculators on their desktops if they wanted, the organization would still bleed fortunes so long as the corruption at the top that allowed Accenture, Atos and others to charge billions for something a small team of programmers could bash out in a few months.

Swivelling Eye-of-Sauron style WiFi maker preps $100m IPO

h4rm0ny
Thumb Up

Re: Real engineering + real, patentable ideas...

+ the weirdest piece of advertising I've seen in years.

Crazed Microsoft robot accuses BBC kids' channel of Win8 piracy

h4rm0ny

Re: One in ten aint bad ...

"... especially given that Google reckons that less than 1% of links on bittorrent sites are to infringing download like "Download Shrek "

Ah, statistics...! I could instantly throw up a few hundred thousand more links onto bittorrent to various works of classic literature in the public domain and then it would be even less than 1% of links that are to infringing content. Of course, unless people are torrenting that classic literature instead of Shrek, it says not one thing about piracy rates.

The relevant stat is not the percentage of links that you quote, but how popular those links are. A million illegal downloads of Avengers Assemble is a million illegal downloads, whether there are five-thousand links to legitimate content on the same site, or five million links.

Astroboffins to search for mega-massive alien power plants

h4rm0ny

Re: @Nuke

"There might be a perfectly good explanation to the universe - that doesn't involve something from nothing - but it is also plausible that there is some process or other that allows something to arise from nothing. If such a process is possible, then it is surely exploitable with sufficiently advanced tech."

There is. Check out Hawking Radiation. As to the means of exploiting it, you need a handy supply of Black Holes.

h4rm0ny

Re: Some Big Assumptions

"Why would a sea-based life form discover fire? Gun-powered? Combustion? That rules out an entire tech tree that leads to space."

Somewhere on another planet right now, a eight-limbed creature is posting: "why would a land-based species discover steam-power if they didn't originate or just water-wheels powered by hot-water currents, if they hadn't evolved around volcanic vents underwater?" All that is needed is an energy source and the means to harness it. Once you've crossed that particular Rubicon, you're on a path you can't go back from. Our underwater civilization might even get to Space first as they'd be used to a 3D environment (assuming they swam) and they'd be used to thinking in non-2D movement.

"Would a species with a genetic memory develop writing? if not how would they work with complicated equations?"

A species with genetic memory would essentially be equivalent to a very long-lived organism. In either case, maybe that long-life would lead to a faster rate of technological learning (or slower). We don't know because it's one variable in isolation.

Not down-playing your points - we have no idea what we ourselves might have missed simply because we have our own limitations and assumptions. But equally, that blindness might lead us to arrogantly assume that our path to the stars is the only one.

Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales marries Kate Garvey

h4rm0ny

Re: Is it just me

"Martin Boorman was Hitler's for example."

That explanation should really be part of Kate Garvey's Wikipedia entry. A la "Kate Garvey was Tony Blair's diary secretary, just like Martin Boorman was Hitler's."

But I bet it wont.

h4rm0ny

Re: Nothing can make a wedding nicer than...

I would cheerfully donate to a fund for charging Tony Blair with War Crimes. There's no politician I more despise, and that's despite the normal tendency of people to despise most whoever is currently in power.

Top admen beg Microsoft to switch off 'Do Not Track' in IE 10

h4rm0ny

",,,,,,all wrong! Bing can track a different part , so Bing advertisers will be advantaged over Google. It's war out there.!!"

What does "different part" mean? Please be specific as there are a lot of programmers and web developers here. Your post seems to imply that the Do Not Track HTTP header is something other than an explicit request to the web-application layer to not employ tracking technologies. DNT is not a way for browsers to actively conceal information from the server. Technically, it actually sends more. So what are you referring to?

LASER STRIKES against US planes on the rise

h4rm0ny

Re: Ironic Punishment - use MIRRORS

"to search property / hoodies in the imediate area."

It's a good idea, but, you're singling out the hoodies?

Mozilla floats fondleslab-ready Firefox for Win 8

h4rm0ny

"Microsoft needs to be very careful about this."

It's a bit more complicated than this. Basically, the WinRT devices are more like enhanced iPads than they are like PCs. At least in significant ways. The focus on the ARM platform is to really lock down installed applications so that nothing can run away with it, crash it, etc. If you want to know in detail what Mozilla Foundation are talking about when they complain about restricted APIs, they want to do things like fork processes without restriction (they use that for sandboxing add ons), reserve and write directly to memory rather than use the OS's more standard methods (they would use this, for example, for optimizing Javascript).

These are all things that it is natural that a Firefox developer would like to have available to play with. But they're also the sort of things that can transform a nice shiney new product into a juddering, crashing bad experience. So it is also natural that MS want people to use the provided, ARM-friendly ways of producing apps for WinRT. The thing is, which need do you put first? If you allow Firefox to have this high level of risky access, then how do you say that any other app should not have it? And if you do allow any old app to have it, then you're basically waving goodbye to your nice, performance-friendly, secure app framework. So should Firefox get a free pass where others don't because they have a bigger brand name? Should richer companies be able to buy a first class access level? Neither sounds good to me. Should Mozilla get a free pass because their browser has a history of not spawning unnecessary processes or running wild with memory? Yeah right. ;)

So there are very good reasons for these constraints and if you're going to be fair, Mozilla have to live in the same constraints (which aren't actually that bad) that other app producers do. Well, all others except MS that is. But again, here is a problem. It's not a simple case of hypocrisy. OS and browser are growing ever closer. Google have produced an OS that is a browser! WinRT uses HTML5 for it's applications. And you can use Javascript as part of them too. The OS uses SVG graphics and CSS. In a lot of areas, the WinRT OS is rendering things just as a browser does. So what are you going to do with your browser when you write it? Are you going to duplicate a vast amount of what is already there in the OS, but deliberately cripple it to give your customers a worse experience and your competitors (such as Apple who have absolutely no problem giving their own browser tight integration) a very large advantage? Or do you accept that these days, a browser is becoming an integral part of the OS and just make a streamlined code base?

You can't give Mozilla Foundation a big advantage over all other app developers and there's no fair criteria by which to divide app developers. You can't give all app developers access, because at that point, with the sort of things Mozilla are talking about, you're all but actively stating you want people to bugger up the customer experience with WinRT. And you can't rip out major parts of the OS's rendering code and create a complete, parallel but arbitrarily crippled duplicate of that code for the sake of creating an inferior user experience. Especially when you see all your rivals doing tight integration without any consequence. As I said, with ChromeOS, the OS actually is a browser! Really, there isn't an option. WinRT is just that sort of device. More like a PC-ish iPad than a Desktop. And that has ramifications for the APIs. It's the nature of the beast.

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