* Posts by Juillen 1

222 posts • joined 22 Jun 2009

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Wales adopts mobile average speed cameras

Juillen 1

Law and evidence.

Ok, just as a note to all those that keep saying "You're breaking the law, full stop, end of story.".

There is a general rule of thumb that any law that criminalises a significant section of your population is a BAD law. Laws, as any lawyer will happily explain to you (for the commensurate fee, of course) are intended to be grey. Life is not black and white.

When the speed limits were introduced, they were put there knowing that they couldn't be enforced on a fine scale, but could be used as a big hitting stick if you caught someone being truly stupid.

Noticed those stickers on bins that say "No littering, fine up to £2000"? Well, what if they put cameras up in shopping centres to completely enforce that. Something comes out of your pocket? £2k please. You need to be more careful with your clothing. Someone may trip on discarded rubbish and hurt themselves.

Silly example, I know, but there are plenty of others you can think up which are closer to the bone.

For those that say they've been on the wrong end of a collision with a car, so have I. In fact, I'm the only one in my family that's not ended up a hair's breadth from dead because of it (yes, I've seen them all on life support thanks). That doesn't make me agree with the cameras.

Basically, like much of politics, it all comes down to lack of scrutiny and evidence. For a society that's grown up and prospered by embracing scientific principle, I find it odd that the one group that steadfastly refuses to use scientific principle is Politics. Here, have a law. We have no evidence for it. We don't know how it'll affect society. We have no idea what the consequences are, or how it'll be interpreted, but just do it anyway, otherwise we'll punish you.

Scientifically, the evidence for the "Safety Cameras" is shaky. It also says that speed isn't the problem, stupidity and selfishness and lack of attention are.

Now, from this, you get two possible approaches. Try to fix the problem, which will cost money by implementing the software to pick up the dangerous drivers (there is behavioural analysis software out there that'll do the basics, but it's costly),or go for something that doesn't fix the problem but micro enforces an arbitrary law but raises a lot of money.

We all know which avenue has been chosen.

Honestly, carping on about "It's the law. It's black and white. Live with it." makes me wonder what kind of country we're living in, and what kind of country we'll be leaving to our descendants if we keep saying "If it's written in a law book, it is good and must be slavishly adhered to."

Wrong. The law is a very good guide to what you should and shouldn't be doing. It's a really crap way to live a life by the word (as your interpretation will vary. Anything that's truly explicit is usually largely hard to enforce, but you can see where they can use it as a stick when necessary).

If they're going to use the flexibility of technology to enforce a law, they should leverage the same technology to adapt the law such that it is fitting. People on the roadside? Sure, 20mph if it's near a school, or largely kids/old folks, otherwise 30 in the day. At night, nobody around? Open it up to 40! Sure, it's more expensive with timing, and if you're really into having fun, a detector to see if there's pedestrian activity too, but it's safe, and fair (warning that there are pedestrians around is a useful thing to a driver). There are all kinds of ways to re-evaluate this, but nobody is interested because the current 'Do nothing and slavishly obey' makes too much money (though they do have variable speed limits on some motorways. Always down though, alas).

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Autodesk goes after eBay seller - again

Juillen 1

The law is likely..

To turn around and tell it that it can stipulate whatever it wants on a license agreement, but if the contract is illegal due to what it claims, then it's null and void.

Any accountants out there like to comment on the depreciation cycle of something you buy and instantly has a value of zero to the company (no possible value as an asset, apart from not having to buy it again)?

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US drone crashes on Sunni party offices in Iraq

Juillen 1
Grenade

Whereas

If this had happened with another country flying an unmanned drone into, say, the whitehouse, it would be an act of evil terrorism that justified bringing the whole of the American military to bear.

If it happens in another country, it's simply "An accident, to be forgotten about."

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(Former) IT consultant confesses to SCADA tampering

Juillen 1

Costs..

It always comes back to people wearing suits deciding that IT is 'just another set of disposable people', and that everything happens by magic. If you buy Microsoft systems, you're secure, right? Says so in the brochure.. All sysadmins do is press buttons and things happen. Can't be hard, right? Not lke preparing powerpoint slides and presentations where you can actually see someone do something.

HR, having no clue whatsoever, puts keywords in ads, and if you've got the buzzwords down to pat, you get to interview. Unless you already have some really clued in people on the interview panels, you end up with whoever can most confidently throw the most buzzwords in the shortest time (I do interviewing where I work, and the amount of people who confidently spout complete garbage liberally sprinkled with buzzwords, and claim to be MVPs or experienced developers/admins etc. is frankly astonishing. Even when you pick them up on it, they just throw out a whole set of completely unrelated buzzwords).

What people just don't understand is, when you hire a sysadmin, or someone with administrative level access, you're handing them the keys to your company. Unlike almost anyone else outside the directors office, they have the ability, single handedly, to undermine the operations of the company for a significant time period (possibly permanently).

If people started hiring with that in mind, I think they'd be a lot more stringent in who they hired, and HR staff may end up having to get a clue.

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UK government ignoring own rules on open source

Juillen 1
Badgers

@Tyrun

Interestingly, I'm working in the public sector too.. As an ops manager, so I have to deal with this kind of thing all the time.

We run open source quite happily in areas where it can be brought in cost effectively, and have replaced some of our old windows infrastructure with open source equivalents without the end users even knowing.

The joy of the (very overworked) staff here is that they actually keep an eye on the ball; if there's new tech, they'll experiment with it in test, judge its applicability and then roll out on pilot to see how it floats in the real world.

It's a little known process called 'Evolution'. Oh, and it applies to our technicians, systems admins and developers, all who are conversant with the main open and closed technologies from the last decade, and in some cases, a fair bit longer than that. If you're incapable of learning the best technologies for the jobs (from a limited, but slowly changing set) then you've no business being in systems ops or development.

I've been working in the IT game for a smidge over 25 years now, and the only things that'll be near the same over that time period are the Mainframe apps which steadfastly refuse to go away because they're so damnably efficient. The back end will remain the same, but open alternatives for the console apps can easily be open source on the user end, no retraining required.

Everything else has changed drastically (and does so with a period of approximately 5 years).

Despite your belief that users are there to be spoon fed every little bit, there are actually a minority like that; most of them are quite happy to pick up something new as it's phased in. That's called a normal learning process.

Due to the whole NPfIT project in the NHS, there's a huge quantity of information on the feasibility of retraining a large amount of people in a very short amount of time. It can be done, but the efficiency is over a couple of years (i.e. phasing in the new cheaper tech over time, thus new purchases should be based on 'Standards', as the report advocates, not proprietary locked in closed spec). This is more the way things would go, as ripping out the whole infrastructure overnight, as you seem to see it happening, and replacing with new would make the cost of training seem to be a small drop in the ocean.

Anyway, enough of the badgering, and end of lunch break..

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Hospital loses vital cancer research to thieves

Juillen 1

NHS departments..

The problem with NHS departments is that they still see IT as 'wave a magic wand and it happens'.

They don't see backups (they're not tangible things that you can observe moving) so they make assumptions. Data in a hospital is safe by fiat. They don't need to tell IT, as IT are both these unimportant geeks who don't need to be considered, yet also these all powerful gods that will second guess everything and make sure things magically reappear.

Sometimes they'll buy in systems from vendors without telling anyone, plug in servers in their office rooms, and then call IT when several years worth of data has just gone poof with disks.. And wonder why it can't be recovered by IT (who know nothing of it, never having been told).

If it was a VB app (and those are scarily prevalent in the NHS), there's no guarantee of IT awareness as it's so easy to point and click your way through an app with no real knowledge of computing or best practice in general.

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Apple seeks cure for iPhone battery woes

Juillen 1
Badgers

Same old..

Performance on mine.. I've done the 3.1 upgrade, and nothing's really changed for me.. Still get a few days out of it on a charge (and that's with a fair bit of tapping on apps and such). No coma mode, no connection problems..

Yeah, I know that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and there are lots of cases in the wild apparently, but just making the point that it's not everyone by a long stretch.

Never had a problem, and it just does what I want. I'm no fanboi, but hey.. It's a phone, and it's one I like.. Politics and comparisons have no real meaning for me (I don't care if my phone is better than yours, and neither do I care if yours is better than mine; it's all opinion, and mine is that I'm happy with what I have).

Now will all detractors just stop badgering (especially the "Well, my phone is X and it's better than your phone that I've never used" ones). Interesting opinions pro and con all welcome, but the signal to noise ratio in here is worse than a whispered conversation in a city centre night club!

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Dell pays $4m to settle NY 'deceptive practices' claim

Juillen 1

You can imagine the outcry with the conversations:

* Hi, yes, this is your car garage. Engine not working you say.. Right, take the engine out, place it on a bench and remove the following parts, put it back in and see if it starts now..

* Welcome to the Surgical division. Take a scalpel, inject yourself with this anaestheic, and make incisions and make a cut in your lower left side. Take out the bid dangling from the long tubelike squishy thing, and sew up the hole left..

It's not expected that you have any hands on with anything else covered by warranty, so WHY do PC support companies expect people to take the lid off a PC (invalidating warranty in the process) and tinker with the innards? Most users take out the warranty so they don't have to waste time and stress doing just that..

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Home Office shifts feet as vetting database looms

Juillen 1
FAIL

@Tom 15

No idea what you're smoking there. If you have a new system that replaces an old one, then you usually switch off the old one when the new one goes live. Otherwise you're doing double entry, with increased chances of mis-synchronising the data (and one system or the other will be producing false data).

Yes, common sense needs to be applied, and common sense says this new database should never be implemented ("soft intelligence" used to deny people jobs? That really is like a story from old Soviet Russia where someone ratted to the KGB, and you found your life screwed. No evidence, no comeback, apart from maybe a tribunal that looks through text you're not allowed to see from someone you're not allowed to know about, who in the end says "It sticks as is").

What is needed is scientific planning, and a proof that this will do what it intends. however, speaking as someone who vets and runs medical databases, I can guarantee you that this does not meet those critera The processes in place are hopelessly inadequate, and the "Signal to noise" ration is huge. However, the "noise" component is sufficient to wreck your life.

As for things being used with more common sense. CCTV and tracking people's bin habits, which school they go to an other spying? Anti terror laws used to detain people who want to take photos in a street?

No, this will inevitably lead to abuse. Very serious abuse. People are people, and there are always the nasty ones that are attracted to power just to play with people, and what better lure than this? When malicious gossip lets you ruin a life, then the bitter twisted people win; there is NO pressure to be 'good' in this action (or indeed, scope for it either). There is only a win if you're a malicious gossip that doesn't like other people, so you get to make them miserable.

To cure the ills that this was conceived to address, better linking of police systems would have done the trick (called "Fixing the working and trusted system"), not implementing something that doesn't address anything really, or help in any calculable way ("commonly called 'The MD has beent taken out to lunch and shown some shiny brocures of shiny things'"). There is no scientific merit in this system. And the thing with common sense is that it's not very common.. Especially amongst politicians that seem to bandy it around at the moment (they're very much of the type a few hundred years ago that said "The earth is flat. The Sun revolves around the Earth.. It's common sense, and everyone knows it.. You disagree, so you need to be punished, jailed and branded a heretic. Maybe burned at the stake too, as that would be common sense.").

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Pair charged with BNP list breach

Juillen 1
Grenade

I wonder..

How happy they'll be with their own details making the main news?

I'm sure they'll say they were "fighting for human rights", when in reality it's "we believe in human rights, unless you're on a list of people we don't like.. Then we don't believe you have any".

Which is, of course, the way all the major atrocities in the world are started.

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What’s the point of desktop virtualization?

Juillen 1

Standardisation.

If all that's on a machine is a bare metal hypervisor, then the support and compatibility issues drop significantly.

All builds will then be the same (and it's as simple as copying down the latest image, then off you go). Nothing should really be written to local hard disk for users (backups anyone?) and profiles should be network based. With all this in place, upgrading a machine to a new version should be near as simple as copying the image to the machine and off you go. It gets round a myriad driver updates issues for diverse machines (as long as they run the hypervisor), and any 'machine corruption' is a case of drop a fresh image in, and all's good.

On machines that end up more 'custom' with applications, there's always snapshots. If something goes awry over time, if anything's still alive, revert to the last snapshot (which you take after every successful install).

With workstations being (in the main) less worked than a server, there's more resource per machine to soak up any hypervisor overheads without problem.

Also, it allows machines to have a rapid role change (need a set of UNIX apps to complete a task? Fire up the virtual) as long as you have the supporting virtuals on the host.

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Finger crossing won't lure iPhone coders to Windows Mobile

Juillen 1

A mixed bag..

Microsoft may not be dominant. There again, nothing else seems to have that truly overwhelming dominance either, which as far as I'm concerned is a great thing.

Half the problems we have are that MS dominance in the market has given a huge target for attackers to aim at, and no great incentive to innovate (which is why we had Vista, the Windows ME of today).

The day any one of these achieves complete dominance, I'll worry, as then you'll have one interface and way of doing things, and that's your lot. Use it or don't join the game.

Personally, I really enjoy my iPhone; second Apple product I've had (got a Mac over 10 years ago and it was good, but ended up with PCs as the main boxes instead), but the iPhone experience was far superior (purely subjectively) in 'feel' between my older phones and this than the experience from PC to Mac.

Hopefully they'll all have a share of the winnings, and keep the competition and innovation fierce (much like it was in the heyday of home computers back in the early 80s, before the PC saturated everything).

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Microsoft warns of 'irreparable harm' on court's Word injunction

Juillen 1
Go

But.. But.. It's US, not THEM!

So, Microsoft is known for 'partnering' with small companies, running them dry of cash by not filling their end of the bargain and preventing any release because it's a "shared product", and when they fold, using their ideas for free. Or just taking what they want anyway and using their legal teams to drown any complaints (or in the cases that get through the courts, they just stump up cash from their overflowing war chest and ignore it, as that's money they always owed anyway, and they can always increase the product cost).

Now, a court has said "Enough, I'm going to really do something that makes you sit up and listen by doing unto you what you do to others", and they just go on about "Irreparable Harm". A small taste of what they've done to countless other companies.

I don't happen to like the way software patents are implemented (c'mon, 25 years for something that'll be obsolete and forgotten in 5-10?). If they're there at all, a maximum of 3-5 years should be as much as you get. That's a lifetime is software.. But that's another story.

Something just seems to have that "Live by the lawyer, die by the lawyer" feel about it here.. Hopefully the legal wing have developed a backbone and are now saying "We'll apply the law uniformly. Here's what you lobbied for, now know how it feels".

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Arizona sheriff prefers jail to handing over server password

Juillen 1

@asdf

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sherriff is actually enforcing the law (very strict, by Federal legislation) on the operations of the Legal systems. I believe the law states that it needs to be administered by trained Law Enforcement officials, not by politicians and unvetted staff (such that evidence gained from this can be traced to a very limited set of individuals, all who are on very thin ice if anything gets altered).

Now, if a business gets charged with criminal behaviour involving computers, what happens? Oh, yes, the local law enforcement gets called out and takes control of their machines, locking out the administrators/users until the full legal process works its way through, and the matter is decided by a neutral court.

Your solution seems to be "Allow illegal immigration to continue unchecked until there are enough people who don't like the Sherriff around to kick him out". Which is no solution. If the Sherriff keeps hitting places and deporting people, then those people are there illegally. He may be harsh, but he's doing his job.

If you don't like that, get the law changed to allow anybody to emigrate to the US without check. While you're at it, stop drug dealers and other criminal elements from going to jail because they have kids at home that are going to be deprived of parents. Illegally emigrating to a country is a choice that someone made, knowing the risks; they're caught and chucked out, that's the risk they took.

Interesting that you blame everything on "redneck white asshats". Seems you're showing a very heavy bias there. Simple fact of the matter is "humans are to blame". Race, political affiliation and outlook are all variable.

If the Arozona populace keep voting the guy in, and you really hate it that much, I'd say move. It's the same country, so moving is easy. Go somewhere that you really feel at home, and you'll find that you've just swapped one set of issues for another (happened where I live; there was about a decade where it was 'trendy' for the hardcore left to show how 'in touch' they were by moving to nice houses on the edge of the city's 'ghetto area'. Full of good intentions and 'understanding'. After ten years of that happening, they understood that they got burgled a lot, assaulted, robbed, abused and had their property vandalised. Then they stopped being so understanding and either moved out of the area, or swapped from being very left to quite right).

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Bloke decapitates horse with chainsaw

Juillen 1
Badgers

@Cor

It's not just a hammer, it's a sledgehammer.. Those things used to break up stones and walls. Yep, I'd imagine it'd stun a horse just fine (there is anecdotal evidence in medieval history of hammermen stunning horses in full barding with hammers)..

Agreed, it's not the most humane way, but when you're all out of money, what do you do? The world can be a nasty, unpleasant place, and this chap had to live with that. Not optimum in a 'civilised world', but sounds like he didn't have the money to live in a civilised world..

Sounds like someone's trying to badger the guy.

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Met amends journo photo guidance to prevent interference

Juillen 1
Big Brother

@Scrubber.

>Why are people so willing to put up with this infringement on our rights when the

> IRA did a heck of a lot more damage on the mainland than Al Q ever has?

Because the Tories were in power when the IRA were active. And as Labour would have you believe, Tories are all the antichrist, and anything they did was oppression of the people. However, now Labour are doing all the things the Tories would never in a million years be able to do (human rights violations, civil liberties trampling, torture, warmongering etc.), as "It's all for the good of the people. Don't worry your pretty little heads; we'll tell you who to worry about and we'll keep you safe from everyone else, as they're all out to get you but us. The Government is your Friend. Fear the Tories, they're Evil.".

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Google guns for MS Office with billboard campaign

Juillen 1
Pint

@ Anonymous Coward..

"Whereas when the all eggs one basket corporate EMC NAS box fails"

You mean you don't have a failover strategy for important data?

Yeah, I know, cost and budget. They're the things that hamstring us from having a perfect world (or at least a better world).

I'm personally a fan of keeping things in more than one place; distributed and heterogenous has the tendancy to be more resilient than monolithic and homogenous. A dual boot of your primary OS, and a secondary, with file formats in ODF where possible leaves you the option of keeping going and soldiering on through an awfull lot of dire scenarios. Yes, it means your users have a harder job of learning both OSs, but guess what? People learn; they're actually pretty good at it. And the first time something "dire" happens and they have something to fall back on, the smug looks they all have with their friends when they say "look what we did when it all went bad" is amazing.

Beer because I could use one about now.

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Feminist org declines nude calendar cash

Juillen 1
Paris Hilton

Feminist?

So, it's ok to celebrate a woman as long as you don't actually have to physically admit to being a woman. You're not allowed to look at the body, as it differentiates men and women. They're all the same. Really. Physically. Honest.

That's just so much bull. Some women are well blessed on the brains, but short on physical attraction, some are blessed with being physically very attractive, but short on the academic front. Some have both, and they are well appreciated for both.

If there is something good about someone, it should be appreciated. Otherwise it begins to look like crass jealousy (she's better looking than me, and gets more attention, and that's so unfeminist, so we have to fight against people appreciating that aspect so I get more attention).

I wish they'd grow up, realise that we are actually biological entities and part of the animal kingdom. We have subjective appreciation of things, and always will. Deal with it.

Paris, 'cos we all appreciate her for her mind.

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Pirate Bay sells out to Swedish software firm for $7.7m

Juillen 1
Pint

Win win, it looks like..

Gaming company gets a nice distribution system built in for anything they want to do (think server infrastructure, not name).

TPB owners get money they're probably desperately in need of, and hey, they can set up from scratch again in no time, following exactly the same model as TPB used to have. Methinks some of the purchase money would go to fund that.

I'd definitely drink to that!

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PC repair techs police dangerous picture law

Juillen 1
Big Brother

Utter crap.

So, looking at a few files is meant to demonstrate that all the file structure is intact? Not a chance. After a fail, ALL data is suspect; just hope you have good backups. Everything that's good is a bonus.

For the main checks, software has a far better chance of evaluating what portion of data is likely to be suspect; just randomly selecting an image or two just isn't science.

Coupled with the whole "drive being placed in an unsecured area" in the PC tech's build room is no way to handle "evidence". It should be as admissable as "we found 3 kg of cocaine on the bus seat you occupied 3 hours before we saw it". There is no guaranteed trail of evidence that can't be altered.

This is shoddy police work at best. Created by a shoddy law from a very shoddy Government.

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Microsoft unveils Windows 7 free upgrades and discounts

Juillen 1
Headmaster

Pricing..

If the 'Pro' version kicks in around the US pricing on preorder (i.e. about 60 quid, or just under), then maybe MS have hit the right pricing point.

Maybe they've found the right carrot this time; could certainly make them more competitive (over staying with XP and never upgrading, as cash is tight and XP just works).

Maybe the lessons of history with Vista were learned!

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Don't call me Ishmael

Juillen 1
Joke

All the Disaster Recovery servers..

Are named after various things from "The Clangers".. Because when a Clanger is dropped, it's always good to have a spare lurking around to take over.

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