* Posts by sandman

586 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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Gizmodo faces visit from cops over 'found' iPhone

sandman

In defence of Apple

Blimey, I never thought I'd defend Apple, but I can't see that they've done anything wrong in this case. OK, the engineer in question may have been ill advised to neck enough beer to forget the phone, but I'm not casting any stones there - I have a missing camera for the same reason. The two sinning parties are the finder and Gizmondo, both seem to have acted amorally if not illegally. Perhaps our engineer might like to move to Redmond, I hear there's a company there crying out for people who can develop decent phones...

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Pentagon looks to revive Nazi space-bomber plan

sandman

Not really apolitical

Von Braun in fact held a senior SS rank and was a member of the Nazi party. Despite his claims to be apolitical and only joining up because he had to, there is a large body of evidence suggesting he was rather more enthusiastic Nazi then he later admitted. He was a great and visionary engineer, but also a master of reinvention.

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Sun sat sends stunning solar snap

sandman

More sentient suns

Whipping Star - Frank Herbert

Drinking Midnight Wine - Simon R Green (the Serpent in the Sun)

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Nokia launches ash cloud tracker

sandman

Lost interest?

It may be a little premature to lose interest, the eruption hasn't finished yet. Given the change in wind direction any ash may soon be heading across the polar region, which may make some other air routes interesting. If the next door volcano decides to join in the fun we could be back to square one pdq.

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UK IT job outfit punts 491 private email addys

sandman

Re: Happens all the time

I trhink many of us will have suffered from the seemingly random approach. I suspect that they trawl their databases for relevant keywords in stored CVs, so if you have the word Oracle in yours you will be approached for all Oracle(ish) positions, no matter whether or not they fit your area of expertise.

There are some specialist recruiters who are really good - once or twice I've been either the only, or one of a couple, of applicants that have been approached for a position with a precise skill fit.

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North Korea mobilizes Red Star Linux rollout

sandman
Megaphone

Ha, a Capitalist Running Dog

Please note that the Great Leader has declared that the article uses the word Communism in an ironic manner. While irony is not restricted to Britain it can pass over the heads of hasty readers, some (not all) residents of the Great Satan (USA) and other lackeys of Imperialism. On a final note, long live the Revolution and death to the hegemonists!

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How a Tory gov will be the most tech-savvy in history

sandman

Won't hang on

OK, let's start on the Twitter idea. I work for a serious IT company - y'know, codes, sells software, multinational, that sort of thing. No one Twitters - not in work and not privately. Looks like we won't be getting any of those jobs then. Come to think of it, I don't know anyone who Twitters, but then my friends aren't media people, politicians or teenagers.

Secondly, there is a constitutional problem with crowd-sourcing Bills. When you elect an MP you elect a delegate, not a representative. In theory you are electing someone whose views/party's views are most closely attuned to your own. They are then a free agent for the elected period. If you want what would in effect be a rolling referendum you will change the constitutional basis of our form of democracy. You would also have the problem that only a few people would actively get involved - and they are likely to be highly motivated, probably in political, social or religious ways that might be a little extreme.

The greater transparency in expenditure sounds like a good thing, although there would be some interesting commercail and legal restraints on a truly open system.

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Cartoon Law goes live

sandman
Thumb Down

Robert Crumb is doomed

So, possession of the famous (OK and grossly tastless but funny) "Family that lays together stays together" cartoon will be very illegal indeed. Burn your comics now folks...

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If internet had existed before we were born would we be here now?

sandman

Uh?

Man - I must have had some bad acid, either that or the author is so far away with the fairies they think they are Titania. Did that article contain meaning, was it an April Fool's joke or a series of loosly connected monoku?

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Microsoft clutches open source to its corporate heart

sandman

Oh yes they can...

Microsoft (and many other companies - us for example) make a lot of money from Open Source. Take one example. Let's say Company A likes the look of a Microsoft product but is an Open Source house. If MS can breezily say, "No problem, the product you like is entirely interoperable with your ecosystem", there's a much bigger chance of a sale. They or their partner integrators can then charge for integration, services, support and training. Somewhere between 30 and 70% of a software companies profits will often come from the bits that aren't licence sales.

If MS can use Open Source code, methodologies, frameworks or whatever to improve their own products, that impacts the bottom line too.

In the grown up world the better companies use whatever systems can give them a competitive advantage and making them all play nicely together benefits everybody.

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Court bars charges against teen who posed semi-nude

sandman
Unhappy

Don't criticise too soon...

At least in the US there is a written constitution to reign in the excesses of the judiciary, executive and legislature. Here in Britain the constitution and any law can be changed by any goverment with a sufficient majority, whether or not that parliamentary majority represents a majority of the voters (and it hasn't done for a long time).

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Google to flee China on April 10, says report

sandman

Missing a trick

Wouldn't April 1st be more appropriate?

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Aussie smoko-proofing drug prevents ill effects of cigs

sandman
Pint

Early Termination

Surely, with the looming pension crisis, it's in the Govt's interest to encourage smoking, drinking and the consumption of really unhealthy food. Most people will pay more in tax than their NHS treatment costs and they'll hopefully die before they can collect their pensions. Oh, and ban seat belts and airbags and encourage the use of motorcycles amongst the middle-aged.

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Madoff geeks charged for writing book-cooking code

sandman

Arms dealer defence

Excel doesn't cook the books, people do...

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Twitterati swarm on malaria campaign

sandman
FAIL

Virtual Reality

I'm not entirely sure what reality this campaign is based in, certainly not the same one as the vast majority of the world's population live in. The (mostly) self-regarding folk who twit and the sheep who follow them won't really advance the cause much. If all those "celebrities" gave money on a proportional scale to Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and co, the disease would probably be on its way out already.

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Carly Fiorina downs sinister Democrat hot air balloon

sandman

Don't worry

I was a bit older and she did funny things to me too ;-)

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Robot mini space shuttle is go for April, says US air force

sandman

Orbital bombardment system...

How many iron bars can you pack in it?

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Sarah Palin to testify in email hack trial

sandman

How droll

I'm sorry, I can't take Sarah Palin seriously and can't quite get my head around the fact that many Americans apparently do. Perhaps it's because she shares a name with an ex-member of Monty Python and her campaign was about as surreal as one of their better shows. The "hacking" event was just the icing on the cake.

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Home Secretary swats away calls for Mosquito ban

sandman

Wusses

We used to play Silver Machine at max volume and fire up a pair of 500W photo-floods to clear the club - made quite a startling contrast after the gentle "last desperate snog" song.

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TSA worker tried to sabotage terror database, feds say

sandman
FAIL

Firing people

We used to have a much simpler (and traditional) system. Two large people would appear beside you, one clutching the dreaded black bin bag. You were told to move away from your keyboard and put your personal possessions in the bag (carefully scrutinised). You were then escorted to the door having handed in your pass. The first time you see it done it looks pretty brutal, but does make an awful lot of sense in sensitive IT jobs.

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Steve Jobs Flash rant put to the test

sandman

Good Flash

I rather like Flash (ooh, heresy). We use it a lot for software simulations (Adobe Captivate). It makes my life that bit easier and provides pretty decent cross-platform performance. Admittedly the same job can be done using DHTML tools but then you used to come up against browser compatibility problems, so Flash more or less won out. Just because a tool can be misused doesn't make it evil.

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Top exorcist says Satan at work in Vatican

sandman

Hosts of demons

Don't forget that a person can be "possessed" by more than one demon at a time - could be tens/hundreds. (Look, I don't believe this load of old crock, but some obviously do). Cases of multiple possession could really cut down the workload, unless a multiple exorcism takes as long as many single ones. Personally I'd load up the crop duster with Holy Water to cut down the hours.

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E-book buyers favour iPad over Kindle and co.

sandman

More importantly...

How many books could I buy for the same amount of money? It's the content I want to spend my money on, not the technology to read it.

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Ubuntu Lucid Lynx changes its spots

sandman

Agreed

I occassionally get asked to advise on UI design and it is remarkably important for user uptake. You can create the best functioning software in the world, but if you want to sell it to more than a very specialised market you better make it look good and work pretty slickly (or at least appear to). Companies like Apple and Microsoft spend millions on UI design and they don't do this for amusement.

If your customer fies up your software for the first time and just doesn't like the colours and design they may never really get past that initial impression. Although I've used Oracle for years I still can't get to like it, partly for those reasons.

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sandman

Powder blue?

Haven't you changed the default colour to something better yet?

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Google says desktop PC is three years from 'irrelevance'

sandman

Interesting analogy

"Here’s an analogy – the Roman legions used to send out scouts in different directions," he said. "If a scout didn’t return, the army didn’t head in that direction."

Um, if you were looking for the enemy you would head in that direction really quickly. This infers that Google learnt its tactics from Monty Python's The Holy Grail - "run away, run away"

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US 'Anubis' stealth assassin robo-missile nearly ready

sandman

How appropriate

Anubis is an incredibly ancient god, and was the original god of the dead before Osiris "took over" the position. After that point, Anubis was changed to be one of the many sons of Osiris and the psychopomp (conductor of souls) of the underworld.

http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/anubis.htm

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Ofcom wades into UK 'Net Neutrality' row

sandman

BBC

There isn't a clash of opinions here, the BBC may cut half its static websites, but can foresee delivering most of its broadcast material over the net - not the same thing at all. It will give me a good excuse to get that 27 inch monitor (so I can work on multiple documents of course).

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Microsoft claims 90m sales of Windows 7

sandman

Corporate Upgrading

There may be a considerable number of companies like ours who are busy trialling it with the firm intention of introducing it later this year. So far it has received a pretty warm reception. Of course, you don't change a corporate OS without making damned sure all your mission critical software runs on it and it plays nicely on your infrastructure.

Some of you may think we could move to a flavour of Linux instead. This is simply not possible, like many corporates we use a lot of software that is Windows specific, partly for historical reasons and partly because there are applications where there is no Linux alternative (or the alternatives aren't suitable). Like many other companies we do use OSS on a large scale, but just not for our desktop OS...

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Global warming may be normal at this point in glacial cycle

sandman
Coat

Clash of ideas?

Sorry, getting coat

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iPhone ego clash costs Flash at Virgin America

sandman

With you

I'm so with you on the validation question. There is also the minor detail that depending which validator you use you will get different errors. Try validating the code and then validating for accessibility - screaming is good right afterwards. Note that making your site lovely for the visually disabled might not suit those with other disabilities. Web design is not a pure science and involves a lot of compromises. Hell, if it was easy it would be automated.

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Google borgs online photo editor

sandman

And another request for evil Google icon

Come on, it wouldn't take five minutes to put horns and a forked tongue on the letter G now, would it?

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British Library wants taxpayer to gobble the web

sandman

Minor problemette

While the Powers That Be may well record everything, I can't see GCHQ letting interested parties trawl their archives - but the BL does.

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Google snubs Chinese Android developers

sandman

Put pressure on?

Quite frankly I don't think any major nation state should really give a rats about what Google thinks.

Company A - "We are going to show our annoyance by not having a conference".

Nation State - "Oooh, scary".

Company A - "And we're not going to release a couple of handsets which run on open source software"

Nation State - "OK, our manufacturers can knock up some of their own - oh, and by the way, our non-attributable crackers said that all your source code are belong us".

Company A - "We'll take away our search engine".

Nation State - "OK, we've got a good one of our own".

Company A - "The internet community won't like you!"

Nation State - "How many regiments does Brin have?" (With apologies to Joseph Stalin).

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iPhone: The OS with big aspirations

sandman

Mere child

Perhaps because Linux didn't really exist when we first went on the net?

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Google digs 6-foot hole for Gears

sandman

Ooops

Damn, I blinked and missed its entire existence.

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Mixed messages for UK small biz

sandman
Thumb Up

Better for some of us

We've noticed a considerable improvement this year, orders are up, business activity in general is good and we've even recruited a few new bods (well, there were quite a few laid off last year). Oh, and we are a software company, not insolvency lawers.

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Opera cuts cord on first open-source baby

sandman

Goes with the TV

Probably works like the TV in some cars, only works when you're stationary. I'm told this makes traffic jams a bit more bearable. I've seen this in a BMW M6, uses the same screen as the sat nav. So, if you have more money than sense, I'd go for it ;-)

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Kipping at your desk is highly productive, say boffins

sandman

More productive?

Did they research the bit where you're nodding off and typing garbage first?

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Google and Yahoo! join Oz protests

sandman

Confused

What about if you don't like Conroy but aren't that fond of rug rats either?

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Google co-founder: Maybe we'll stay in China after all

sandman

Impossible

It really is impossible to be TOO cynical.

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Avatar whups Confucius's sorry ass

sandman

Re: wait for Confucius II

Damn, I thought you were a genuine Hollywood script writer - that seems far too close to a likely movie plot...

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Air Marshal: RAF may not have to be disbanded

sandman

Air Superiority

While the war we are fighting at the moment don't seem to require much in the way of a strategic airforce, there is still a big tactical requirement. Now, this function could be absorbed into an "army airforce" with some ease and may even have benefits from a command and control point of view.

However, in a war such as the first Gulf War there was a requirement for strategic bombing, gaining local air superiorty, etc. This is really the function of a conventional airforce, as is long range defence of UK airspace (although you could argue that this is coastal defence and perhaps the navy could do it)...

As always, we don't know what threats we might be facing 10/20 years down the road, roughly the time it takes to design and build a new military aircraft, so perhaps better safe than sorry?

It might also be worth noting that although the new generation of drones are pretty good, they are being used in a theatre where we have total air superiority and wouldn't be much use in a contested air environment.

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Apple vs the iPad Bedwetters

sandman
Alert

No real threat

The furore surrounding the iPad is getting beyond silly. (Best summed up by Steve Bell's cartoons in the Guardian). Neither the iPad, nor indeed Apple, pose any real threat to the internet.

It could however be lethal in the hands of phone throwing celebrities, so perhaps should be banned on health and safety grounds?

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Adobe heats up iPad Flash bash

sandman
Thumb Down

Meh

Can't take the iPad seriously with no Flash support. We need it for everything gem software simulations to animation. There are some alternatives but not as suitable for rapid development.

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Italians salute Mussolini on the iPhone

sandman

psst...

I think they would rather you forgot that "unfortunate" lapse in taste. Mind you, looking at the Mail it seems their ideas haven't changed that much since the 1930s.

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sandman

It's History

Now, I really (with added emphasis) don't like Fascism, but Mussolini's speeches are of genuine historical interest. The guy can't simply be airbrushed out of history (he was machine-gunned out and hung upside down in a garage, along with his mistress Clara Petacci). Sure, some fascists will play his speeches on their phones and get a warm, fuzzy glow, but historical documents can be used or abused for all sorts of purposes. (Anyone interested in a slightly dodgy dossier?)

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Confirmed: no iPad iBooks for Blighty

sandman

Paper is still useful

As someone who has done a lot of research it can indeed be easier to use paper stuff. Let's say I'm doing some historical research. I probably won't be carrying a lot of books, I'm going to be heading for a big library or a major archive. Here I'll grab a big table and get the books, papers, etc that I require. I can have them all open at the same time, track events, compare/contrast,etc. This is sort of hard to do on any form of reader. Oh, I'll also be at it for days or weeks at a time, so I really don't need the eyestrain a backlit screen is going to cause. I'll probably make my notes using a writing stick on more dead trees as well.

Then I'll write it all up one of the new fangled Babbage engines and publish on more dead trees and the web.

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Next from Apple: The Pocket iPad

sandman

Not just the tech articles

The mainstream press seem to have been just as obsessed, two whole pages in the Guardian this morning - the first two inside pages. It did strike me that there are a few more important things happening in the world than the release of a niche product by a technology company but my knowledge of what is importnat to the media is obviously defective. Must drink more kool aid.

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South African Police reveal Apple tablet photos

sandman

Right form factor

At least these tablets will fit in your pocket.

Got any salmon?

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