Re: Essential service
No, The Bird Is The Word,
732 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007
No, The Bird Is The Word,
Re: " The deal is that you make a trade-off between security and convenience; it's not hard to understand. I wouldn't go back to using a phone without a fingerprint sensor," .
Indeed. As my old Software Engineering Management lecturer (who actually included a lot of security info in his lectures, particularly focusing on secure design of systems) often reminded us, the old security adage is "Security, Ease of Use, Functionality. Pick two".
Regarding the face mask, I can see it would be a problem If you have any valuable info on your device. Apple Pay is not so much a problem as I would hope the staff of any given shop would notice if you suddenly pulled a face mask out of your bag and used it to pay for goods.
Personally, I think you are right in that VR will sell to gamers, particularly those with mid range and high end rigs (IE, probably the only people that would call their computers "rigs").
The casual gamer is likely to be impressed should they see a decent VR system in action, but unlikely to be able to afford (or justify) the expense required for the headset and a PC powerful enough to do do it justice.
It's also worth noting that beyond games and entertainment, it is difficult to see a use for VR outside those industries though. It's use in enterprise is also limited by the fact that by definition, someone using VR is unable to see anything outside the helmet.
AR has the advantage that it can display objects as if they were in the real world. This means it's entirely feasible that, say, a field service engineer can use it it to view mantenance instructions while actually maintaining the machine. For instance, I've been told that ThyssenKrupp are looking at using the Hololens to enable their lift engineers to look up Life maintenance manuals while fixing the lift. It could also be feasibly used in conjunction with something like Skype, so enabling people to communicate and, Kingsman style, appear to be in the same room. If you have executives that spend most of their lives flying all over the world in Business class, then even the £3,000 or so Microsoft charge for an Enterprise Hololens suddenly starts to look cheap.
For consumer AR, I suspect the Skype style virtual presence system I describe above could also be a selling point, but the main use is probably in gaming and entertainment.
In both cases, there may be a potentially hefty cost to implement AR on a desktop or laptop computer.
With regard to Apple's action, assuming the market does take off, including AR support by default in iOS 11 gives them a massive advantage. They already have a potential audience of millions, that they can sell apps to.
Don't get me wrong. I have access to a Hololens at work, and the geek in me loves being able to wear it, and pin webpages to the wall as if they were posters. I am also actively looking for ways we can use it in our day to day work. I also have access to VR headsets (Gear VR, Vive and Rift) and love them. I'd also love to be able to buy my own Hololens and Rift for home use (although at home I'd get more use from the Rift), I just think the potentially expensive dedicated hardware will be over taken by phones that have AR support, as people can more easily justify spending hundreds of pounds on a phone (which has uses even if the VR and AR don't take off) than they can on a device that may be obsolete in a year.
Re: A TV show (no matter how lame the story line and acting might be) is a complex interaction of visual, speech and musical clues... remove any "channel" and you're likely going to miss a lot of the action.
Depends on the show (and in particular, the director). If you watch any soap, the drama tends to be in what the characters say rather than do, and the visuals don't actually change much. Certain other TV shows are like that as well. For instance, you can generally get the gist of what is happening in Doctor Who by listening to the dialogue, if not the finer detail. Then there are other shows where the soundtrack is almost secondary to the visuals, and you would have little or no clue regarding what is happening if you weren't watching (e.g. Legends of Tomorrow).
Thankfully, as a tech support box, I've never had to fish a USB stick out of monkey shit, but I did have to clean a rather expensive microphone (nearly £500 to replace) when a user returned it, and it came back so slimy I could barely hold it without it slipping out of my hand. I never found out how it got like that. The user claimed he had never even taken it out of the photographer's metal case we leant it to him in.
Any system requiring any form of cooperation from the user's device (be it a transponder or even software based) is open to abuse. That much is a given, and the authorities know that.
However, systems like this, while not a total solution, should actually help. How?
A lot of people, once they realize they are doing something against the rules, and are likely to get caught, will simply stop. After all, they are often just mucking around and wouldn't want to risk being punished for that. That will reduce the problem, potentially a lot. It also means that those who do stray into controlled airspace are more likely to have done so deliberately, which in the event of legal action, may make it easier to prove.
However, I suspect this system is a defence in another way. It seems inevitable now that at some point, the various governments are going to tighten up the controls. By introducing this, not can DJI argue that they are trying to control their own drones, but they can probably argue that other drone manufacturers can probably implement support for this for less money that it would cost them to develop their own system. Thus, not only can they avoid any government action (which can be a lot more severe than they would take themselves), they can also potentially profit from it.
Re: "Why do companies register entirely new domains for crud like this rather than using a subdomain "
I agree, but I suspect the reason is that it was easier for the Application Developer to request a new domain, and purchase it directly rather than go through the sys admin who has access to create subdomains on dell.com, and explain why he needed a subdomain.
Here's a radical idea. Why don't Apple, Google or car manufacturers change their software so that music does not automatically play on connection? Maybe have autoplay as an option, but when some people drive, they may not want music (or any audio) playing. They may want silence (or as near as you can get with the engine running), but connect the phone to the in car entertainment system in case they get a phone call.
Nowhere near as impressive, but at work a few years ago, we needed an equipment management and booking system. None of the systems available at the time fitted all our requirements (namely that any bookings made had a risk assessment uploaded, and were only allowed to proceed *if* the risk assessment was approved). It also needed to integrate with our existing inventory system.
So, we built the system in house.
Students actually used the booking system directly (hence the need to enforce the risk assessment requirement). One day, a student complained that the booking site wasn't working properly. I asked him what he was doing, and he went through the procedure he was following. I said he wasn't using it correctly. He said he was, as he had always used the site that way, and I was wrong. I said I wasn't wrong. I designed and built the site, so knew *exactly* how it should operate.
! have the 38mm Apple watch, and I think it's best use is for notifications. It also makes a handy remote control for when I am listening to Music and my phone is docked at the other end of the room. Contactless payments is handy as well.
It also makes a handy second screen, for apps that support it. For instance, when travelling, I can set my destination on my phone, start some music, listen to it on my bluetooth headphones, then stick the phone in my bag or pocket and go on my way without having to stop to look at the phone. I know when I need to change direction, because the watch will tap my wrist to tell me to look at it.
As for battery life, that's unimportant to me. I have to sleep myself, as does everyone. When I go to sleep, I just take the watch off and attached it's charging cable.
Don't get me wrong. I find it useful, but it hasn't changed my life and I would get along just fine without it. I didn't even buy it thinking it would be useful. I bought it because I had a couple of hundred pounds, and I wanted one.
That said, there are a couple of apps I find useful on it. One is Bus Checker. This (and it's associated iPhone app) connects to TFL and enables you to look up bus times on the watch, or Phone.
Would I use 3 or 4G connectivity on a watch? Probably not, to be honest. I already have the ability to make and receive calls via the watch thanks to iOS's Handoff system, and beyond the initial James Bond/Dick Tracy/Micheal Knight thrill of talking to your watch and having it answer, I haven't had a use for that facility.
My first install was a Western Digital FileCard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardcard : A HDD and interface circuitry on an ISA card) into a Amstrad 1640 (IIRC). Surprisingly, bearing in mind I knew nothing about IRQs etc at the time, it worked for the rest of the time the company kept both me and the PC.
I was made redundant a couple of years later. As far as I know, the PC could have outlasted the company.
The 23cm Radar has gone now.. http://nats.aero/blog/2014/12/end-era-iconic-heathrow-landmark/
I can see many upsides for cloud based computing.
As a company, you don't have loads of servers you need to update. This will reduce costs, not only in the purchase of new hard and software, but electricity, space and staff. The cost reductions are offset somewhat by the need to install a beefy connection, and the costs of maintaining cloud servers, but still it's likely to be considerably cheaper.
There are serious downsides though.
1) You are introducing a lot of extra hardware/software between you and your servers. If the servers are in house, you will have probably a router, a few switches and several network cables. Moving the servers off site, you also introduce a lot of hardware/software run by your telecoms provider. In computing, as in life, introducing more stuff that can go wrong increases the likelihood that something will. Yes, you can introduce redundant hardware and links, but that costs money, and one of the selling points of basing everything in the cloud is that it reduces costs.
2) With the reduced staff, you may not have staff that can fix things if the system fails.
3) One person, typing the wrong commend, or pulling the wrong cable, could potentially affect hundreds, or thousands of customers rather than just one. OK, that's not much of compensation if you are affected, but it's still a downside.
I would have thought so. There is nothing on the paper, or on the stands, stating there is a limit on how many you can take.
In the past, when I've done development work for work (which, admittedly, didn't go beyond utilities we needed for given tasks, so was never anything massive), I've always used two machines. I used a relatively fast one for development, as I usually code in C++ and most c++ compilers (especially Visual Studio, although I prefer not to use that) do really benefit from a fast machine with a lot of memory (although it seems to be the memory that generally provides the most benefit). For a test machine, I used the oldest, slowest machine I can find.
Why? The users that actually used the little apps and utilities I wrote were not likely to have had the latest and greatest CPUs and Graphics Cards. They would not necessarily have masses of memory in their machines. I needed to see what the users were seeing.
Reminds me of a story I heard about George Lucas. Apparently, when he had finished Return of the Jedi, he went to a local cinema to see it. When asked why, he replied that he had only seen it in Hollywood screening rooms, which always have the best projection and sound systems, and screens. He wanted to see what the man on the street would see when he watched it. Apparently, he was appaled, and that did lead to the formation of THX.
"only for linux, for real pcs (!) try edlin or debug
edlin was wonderful and simple
debug is a bit hardwork but can do a whole lot more fun things"
Edlin is easy.. Real programmers use switches to manipulate the memory directly..:)
"Surely any responsible economic manager should have looked at the situation and realised it was a threat. But the electoral advantage of cheap goods and cheap loans was too much to resist. When the inevitable happened the banks had to be baled out to fend off an even worse disaster."
You forgot to mention various government ministers touting rising house prices as a sign of a healthy economy while neglecting to mention that due to the fact that people need to live somewhere, and that prices for other houses have also risen similarly, people haven't gained much apart from more debt. I know that people can move to cheaper areas, but that may not be an option due to work, family etc.
"I read somewhere this tactic has worked before, but for the life of me I can't remember the person who did it."
Let me help you:
Bush did it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_email_controversy ) and so did Hillary Clinton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_email_controversy ) .
This is why I laughed when the Republicans were all expressing horror at Clinton using her own personal email server. Because they had done it before. In fact, it's apparently fairly widespread in US goverment.
It's apparently because the US government email system is awful, and rather than spend the money required to try and fix it, the US government is happy to tolerate various people in Washington using their own email systems (with all the security implications that involves) as long as they allow the authorities (not sure if it's CIA or NSA, the latter, I suspect) to inspect the servers at will. Even with regular inspections, it still seems to me that that is asking for problems security wise.
Re: "Yes, old plastic and foam doesn't age gracefully :)"
The scary thing is that I read that immediately after reading the words "The Kardashians" and context wise, it seemed to follow on.
He may be right when he says that BA's system administration is not outsourced to another country. That does not mean it's not outsourced though, and it does not mean that it being outsourced did not contribute to the problem.
Regarding the comment someone made earlier about customers not getting compensation because BA outsourced the IT service. For the purposes of compensation (and any potential legal action), that may be irrelevant. The customer's contract (such as it is) is with BA. If an outside contractor is maintaining a system that BA relies on, and that system fails, preventing BA from providing a service, then it's up to BA to provide the compensation (and they will also get any legal action). They can launch any actions needed to reclaim the money from their contractor..
It's also possible that various departments had stuff cached locally, to increase performance.
Of course, it's also possible they had never properly planned their storage systems, merely letting the systems grow as needed, and as a result, never implemented a proper deduplication system, so had duplicate copies of a lot of data for that reason.
"You may also wish to register a complaint with ITV directly about this."
A few years ago, ITV Player on the iOS devices supported Apple's Airplay. It wasn't great, but worked 9 times out of ten. Then, when they renamed the player "ITV Hub", Airplay stopped working (it's not specifically disabled in the program, it just doesn't work). A few people complained. ITV's reposonse? To put an FAQ on their support page that cautions that Airplay may not work.
Now, it's true that the ITV hub doesn't offer Airplay as an option. It's accessible as "Airplay Mirroring" on the Control Centre in iOS. However, if they cannot support it, then the App should check if it's on, and display an error rather than just refusing to play anything. For instance, the old 4od app would stream a rather nice looking screen saying that the licences they had with the various makers didn't allow streaming over Airplay.
"1) Depending on the type of maintenance being done, could it be necessary to have some power to the unit? This is complex electronics, not a Ford Fiesta that needs an oil change."
I suspect it could. However, I suspect that with most robots, it's possible to test the electronics with the mechanical parts disabled. You can test various circuits for expected outputs with a multimeter for example. I would also suspect it's possible to control the mechanical parts directly.
That said, I am not a Robot engineer. The only "experience" I have with Robots is seeing them on TV, reading about them (in publications like this) and controlling a few motors with a Raspberry Pi, so I could very well be wrong.
"2) The deceased was a repair technician, so presumably fully trained and aware of how the robot works. Were all approved procedures followed?"
You would assume that anyone who even gets near to doing something as potentially dangerous as maintaining a robot would be fully trained, and have access to any protective gear and equipment needed. Sadly, a lot of companies don't go beyond what is legally required, and some don't even go that far.
wyatt, you are right.. Anti Microsoft stuff aside, any vendor needs to test patches for vulnerabilities such as this thoroughly. Microsoft, for all their faults, actually do. If they rush a patch to market it may or may not fix the problem, and may introduce others. Especially a patch to the GDI library, as it's likely that most Windows applications do use some of the functionality of this library, even if indirectly.
It may be a good idea to patch via a 3rd party patch, but you have no way of knowing how thoroughly the patch has been tested, and you are also unlikely to have any warranty if the patch fails.
It's one thing to patch if you are a home user, and have one or two machines to fix if it goes wrong. As a computer geek, you might have up to 10. A system admin for a medium or large enterprise might be managing thousands, and might be running the risk of the bad patch disabling whatever remote management tool they use.
"That is why they have they own distro based on upstream systems (so they get the updates) but with choices and configurations limited to what is suitable for their users' needs."
Which may be what is putting a lot of Enterprises (large and small, commercial and public) off. They would need at least one person dedicated to this. Preferably more that one because if you have only one person on staff with intimate knowledge of all the customisations you have made to your OS (whichever OS it happens to be), you are leaving yourself in a very precarious position. Even if you insist they document it, you'd better make sure that documentation is checked, as it may be incomplete.
This is going to cost money, and most organisations are trying to cut IT budgets to the bone. In the long term, it may actually be cheaper to buy in a product, and the relevant expertise to use it. Microsoft have done a very good job (from their point of view) of ensuring all our schools, colleges and Universities are teaching Microsoft products, and they are also widely used in the business sector, so Microsoft system admins and technicians are far more plentiful (and therefore often cheaper) than Linux/Unix sysadmins and technicians.
There's also the fact that if you buy a product from a company (be it Microsoft or whoever) and it fails, the sale of goods act (amongst others) gives you a lot of legal protection, and also enables you to sue the manufacturer should you need to. Who do you sue if Linux (or any Open Source product) fails? You can buy support contracts, but the protection offered by the Law would only apply to the provision of that contract. The contract may require that they make reasonable efforts to fix the code if the code is the problem, but it will probably also include clauses limiting their liability in the event that the code at fault was written by someone outside the company.
Until you find any support contracts you have with your various suppliers are invalidated because you are only emulating an OS that they tested their product on and support.
A lot of Linux users here are touting the old 'I put Linux on my grandparent's PC and they are having fewer problems than they did with windows.' I don't doubt them. I like Linux. If you can get used to it, I find it far more reliable than Windows.
Munich aren't looking at that. They are looking at potentially tens of thousands of PCs. Any problems caused by any OS will be magnified.
They will need staff to operate the PCs and technicians/sys admins to maintain them, and their associated infrastructure. There are a lot more Windows sys admins and technicians than Linux ones, which means that the authority may be able to get away with paying less.
Also, their fleet of devices is likely to be large enough they need some sort of system to ensure that software is up to date and that they have a consistant configuration and up to date inventory info for each device. Microsoft's System Center does a brilliant job of doing this. While it works brilliantly with Windows, and does support other OSes, its support for other OSes isn't that great.
We are using System Center to maintain 3,000 PCs. If we need to make any changes to those PCs (in groups, as a whole or individually) then subject to the relevant RFCs being approved, we can do so relatively easily. We can also track those changes, and can often determine remotely why they haven't happened, assuming they haven't.
System center is not perfect. Far from it. It doesn't have a good UI (plenty of areas where I've used it, and thought "why the fuck did they do it like that?", but it does make maintaining a fleet of devices easier.
I realise there are plenty of Linux configuration management systems, both open source and commercials. I've even played around with a few, but I've never found any are integrated as well as System Center.
It's possible to harvest phone numbers without buying them.
You set up a computer with some sort of telecoms system (be it Modem, VOIP or whatever). This system is running software that picks from a list of known exchanges. It starts dialling numbers on that exchange. If the number comes up unobtainable, it logs the number as dead. If the number comes up as enganged, or just rings, it gets logged as an active number and may be dialled later. As soon as someone answers, the computer puts the call through to a human. It also logs the number as being active, Initially, the system dials a lot of numbers (potentially millions), but as the list is built up, they can cut the number of calls. This is actually how email spam works, but they start out sending billions of emails.
The spammer, once they have generated a list of active (or potentially active) numbers, will sell it on to other spammers.
I don't know for sure if the spammers do that, but I suspect they do. The phone companies may well have equipment in place to detect it, but there are probably ways around that, especially if you fake your caller ID..
"WTF? All documentation has out of date topics that need to be fixed, agreed. That is usually done when somebody, usually the developer who changed the code files a bug report for documentation to be adapted. You also have users noticing issues and creating bug reports ... that get fixed."
That assumes that someone is monitoring the bug reports. I've experienced a few projects (admittedly not in the Linux arena) where people have filed bug reports only to find that the team working on the project isn't anymore, so the reports have gone unanswered. This hasn't happened in the case of encfs, but it does happen.
I've worked in various development projects, and found that developers can be the worst people to document their own code. I worked on one project where several systems (ranging from locally stored applications to web sites for different users with different functionality needed) hooked in to one core SOAP based webservice (they all needed some of the same core functionality, and all accessed an SQL database, and this was deemed to be the most efficient way to do that at the time). The webservice API had a couple of hundred functions. The user documentation for this API ran to one side of A4 paper.
The problem wasn't that the developers couldn't be bothered to update the documentation. The first release of the service had a fraction of the functionality of the final version, and no one on the team had time to update the documentation.
Not saying you are wrong. While I am a fairly experienced Linux user (although I actually use a combination of macOS and Windows day to day), I don't have enough knowledge to say for certain whether you are wrong or right. Just outlining that it's not as simple as saying that the developer files a bug report and the documentation is updated, even though that may happen in 90% of cases.
This whole thing is an example of where I think open source is not necessarily the best thing if you need guarantees.
If you buy software (be it an OS, Application, device driver, firmware etc), the law gives you a *lot* of protection should the software not live up to expectations, or fail in some way. I don't know the specifics, but I do know that you would be afforded protection by several acts (including, I think, the Sale of Goods act) of Parliament. You also have someone who would be considered liable should you decide to launch legal action. The companies in question also have some incentive (assuming the product is selling) to keep updating it, at least with security fixes.
The law does not give you any automatic protection when you install Open Source products. Most open source licences I have seen specifically state that the author of the product is not to be held liable for any damage done while the product is being used. You can buy/rent support from existing companies (IBM, Redhat etc), but I suspect any legal protection you get would be regarding the supply of that support rather than what the product does/does not do.
There is also the problem of what happens when the author of some software drops the project. This does happen in closed source software as well, but the larger closed source companies tend to advertise the fact they are dropping their products well in advance, at least to their enterprise customers, and they often provide security bug fixes for years after. I am not naive enough to assume that all companies do this. They don't. If they don't, and you launch legal action, you do have someone you can sue though.
This does not happen with Open Source. I am quite a fierce advocate for open source. I think it's a good thing, and when it works well, I think it's actually better for bug finding than closed source (as everyone who wishes to can look at the source code). The problem is that projects do often just die, with no updates from the developer and no updates from other users. At least if someone is paid to update it, they may be more likely to update it than if they aren't.
This is a problem security wise because people are told Open Source is inherently secure because everyone can view the code. This is what happened with Open SSL. As I understand it, a lot of companies included it in their products because it was assumed to be secure, then the heartbleed bug was found, and it turned out that people had filed bug reports before but the developers had not updated it. Yes, they rushed out a fix when the problem went public, but who would be held legally liable in the even of action.
Social Media Age?
Mind you, that could apply to any product that you buy, feel tempted to brag about online, then post photos of, sitting next to your dinner on Instagram/facebook/twitter etc.
"The decision to crowbar films into games to create a parallel income stream has ruined many movie franchises. It is a relief that Apocalypse Now came out several decades ago. If it had been made today with an eye on the gaming market it would have been one of the worst movies ever made instead of one of the best."
Not too sure it would have been one of the worst movies ever made, but I can see them adding the Ride of the Valkyries scene into the game, possible as a sort of helicopter chase.
I can see what you mean though. In Star Wars: EP1, the pod racing scene was arguably one of the most exciting scenes. It also felt like it was bolted on so they could get at least one game out of it.
Damn, I might have just given the developers an idea.
"This is the nuclear industry. They don't just plug any old thing into their systems and cross their fingers. They test. Then test more. And again. And again and again and again... etc. "
True, although I suspect it's because the stakes are rather high. If they get something wrong, not only is there a good chance that thousands of people in and around the plant will be killed (or at least left seriously ill), but there is a good chance that the land around the plant will be left uninhabitable for hundreds of years. That and the fact they will have lost a multi billion pound plant.
I quite enjoyed Suicide Squad. Bit messy, and the direction made it difficult to follow who was doing what in the fight scenes, but it was enjoyable enough. It also had likeable, if slightly cliched characters, although it did feel a little like a pilot for a potential new franchise featuring one (or more) of the characters. It's looking like Harley Quinn is the first to get her own franchise.
BvS. Being a big fan of both Superman and Batman (although I think MoS was awful), I was really looking forward to this. As stated, I didn't like MoS, but I have enjoyed Zack Snyder's previous movies, so I thought it was just a one off bad movie. Nope. BvS had impressive fights, but no depth to any of the characters, and the storyline was (at best) slight, and seemed like it was there to provide something they hang the fights and special effects (which weren't all that good) on. Same problems as MoS
"A spokeswoman for GE Digital played down the vulnerabilities, which she said can't be exploited remotely. Only a local hacker in a plant or facility would have been in a position to run an attack, she said, adding that there had been no signs of exploitation."
I realise she can only say what the company tells her, and being a spokeswoman, she isn't going to say "Sorry, our security is crap. We'll fix it ASAP", but while it's likely that their software does not expose the bug to the outside world, saying it cannot be exploited assumes that the machine running it is sufficiently airgapped (or otherwise protected). All it would need is for some custom written malware to get on to the machine (such as Stuxnet) or for someone to enable access via a remote command/desktop system (Microsoft Remote Desktop, SSH or VNC for instance), as any company looking to outsource support may well do.
"Sometimes a big fuck you might just be easier and more satisfying."
Been there, done that.
While I was a student, I temporarily stacked shelves in Sainsburys. It was a soul destroying job, only made worse by a manager that was under the impression that no matter how many shelves we stacked (and it was a lot), we should be stacking more.
When I got another job (just as a cashier in Blockbuster), I took great pleasure in going to see the manager, inviting him to talk to me in the centre of the store where I worked, then telling him (loudly) that he could stick his job up his arse.
Childish? Yes. Rude? Undoubtably. But oh so satisfying..
"They don't allow them at all. IIRC it's even in the developer T&Cs."
Wrong. Apple do place restrictions on certain kinds of apps (for instance, any browser must use the inbuilt Webkit engine, or do it's processing off device (as Opera Mini does).
In terms of apps duplicating functionality of Apple apps (even on device ones), while Apple do reserve the right to pull an app at any time, they do allow apps to duplicate functionality of both the built in apps, and any Apple provided apps.
Don't believe me? Look at the number of media player apps (duplicating functionality from the Music and Videos apps on the device). Look at the number of ebook apps (Kindle being one notable example), Almost every app provided by Apple has competitors on the App store providing similar functionality. Even Siri has competing personal assistants.
Apple do use APIs in iOS in their own apps that they don't allow other apps to use (try and write an app that makes changes to the system settings and see how far you get getting them to publish it). This *could* be considered anti competitive, but I don't think it's been tried in court yet.
"I think £279 for the console isn't too bad, considering the price of other consoles that come out at first. It's always usually £300."
You sure? Bear in mind that it may not match either the PS4 on XBoneS in terms of specs, won't be able to much them in terms of range of games and may not play other media (it certainly doesn't play any disc based media). Both the others do play other media. Online and disk based. Which certainly helps when justifying spending £300 to your partner, and would be a major selling point for parents.
Getting consumers to look at decent quality audio components is not a bad thing. While I don't like them, in this way, Beats have been good for the industry as they have persuaded people that spending more than £20 on headphones is often a good thing.
That said, Beats are awful. Excellent for hip hop, but too bass heavy for pretty much anything else. Last time I tried them, I tried them with a CD consisting of classical music, talking, pop, hip hop and various other styles. The beats sounded good on hip hop, but for everything else where beaten by a pair of Sennheisers that cost about half the price.
That said, there are plenty of snake oil salesmen in the Audio and Video industries.
In my local Dixons, for instance, they had a special demonstration area set up apparently to demonstrate the difference between Monster (£80+) HDMI cables and standard HDMI cables. It consisted of two blu ray players connected to two HD Tvs, playing the same Blu Ray. I have to admit, on first viewing, the difference was striking. The picture on the TV they said was hooked up with a Monster HDMI cable was noticably better.
Then, I looked behind the TVs. The "Monster" HDMI cable was a standard HDMI cable. The "standard" HDMI cable used to hook up the other TV wasn't. It was a phono composite cable.
Don't get me wrong. In my experience, for long distance (i.e. >10m) cable runs, good quality HDMI cable *does* make a difference. How many people are likely to have greater than 10m cable runs in their home cinema setups though? For shorter runs, there is, IMO, no difference.
Most chargers aren't just a collection of resistors, capacitors and transformers anymore. They need some "intelligence" at least to negotiate how much power to transfer, as most devices can take a higher current than the 500mA sent by default over USB. Some may also use this intelligence to monitor how the phone battery is charging, and adjust their current accordingly (say reducing the current when the phone is nearly charged).
That said, even if they weren't intelligent, given a full USB data cable (as is likely, it's cheaper to provide USB data cables than go and manufacture USB power cables, as well as a lot of people just use the first USB cable they see for charging), if the phone trusts the device on the other end by default, all it actually knows is a device is on the other end sending it data. It doesn't know that device is not actually the user's computer. You can argue that Plug and Play standards will enable it to detect what device is plugged in, and you'd be wrong. Plug and Play enable the phone to detect what the device reports it is. Anyone with the ability to write a virus that installs itself in this way has the ability to program the device to respond with a fake code for ID purposes.
Be interesting to see if iOS is still vulnerable to this sort of thing, as Apple did introduce code that generates a signature for devices plugged in via USB, then prompts the user if it detects a device with an unknown signature being plugged in.
"FAA will not allow airships to fly low enough or drones high enough to meet."
Congestion will also be a problem around airports. A stray drone that malfunctions and flies into the path of an airliner that is landing or taking off could have some, shall we say, interesting results.
The company support agents need to actively engage with the customer, and hopefully resolve the problem, logging what they do. If a company is logging things properly, then a quick review of the logs should show if there is a problem with a particular package, and if necessary, the logs can be bought to the attention of the developer. I've had this happen to me. When I logged a problem with Apple Remote Desktop on Apple's support forums, the bot noticed a pattern and notified the development team, who actually got in touch to discuss the problem. Result: One fixed problem and one very happy customer.
A lot of companies don't do this. A lot of companies, at best, fob you off by directing you to a support person reading off a script.
That said, I think some consumers need to do more to help themselves. I've done support for years (not usually phone based, but I do sometimes). Some consumers don't describe the problem beyond saying "it doesn't work", then moaning they just want it fixed when the poor support person actually tries to take them through a diagnostic process. Some consumers don't even get that far. They just download an app, find it doesn't work, then post a review on line saying "it doesn't work. It's shit".
"Anyone walking past can get a better view of your house than on streetview(s) of any description, and if they are actually in your street, they can see if you're in or not before attempting to nick your stuff."
Anyone looking at a house long enough to case the joint runs the risk of being noticed. OK, so they can go to a house, photograph it without anyone noticing, then look at the photo(s) as much as they want, but that requires a level of planning that apparently most burglars don't do.
Any Streetview service enables a potential burglar to look at a house for as long as they want, and sometimes from multiple angles and is, according to at least one ex-burglar I've seen on TV an ideal tool for any opportunist burglar to case the joint looking for potential weaknesses that could be exploited to gain entry to a building (such as a bin that could be turned upside down to allow entry to an upper window (for instance).
Personally, I've never really understood the point of streetview services. Beyond a bit of virtual sightseeing (although seeing a photo of a landmark is nowhere near as interesting as actually seeing the landmark), I don't actually see any legitimate use for them. Yes, you can go up and down a street, looking at images of houses, shops, flats and other buildings, but how often do you actually need to do that? Most streets are largely residential anyway, and in a lot of areas, one house looks much like most of the rest.
Teachers tend not to work in Unis..
While it may seem petty, Lecturers, while they do a similar job, tend to have higher qualifications.
That said, the academic staff of a Uni tend to be a fraction of the full staff. There are researchers, support staff and admin staff, all of whom work with the same holiday restrictions that people work to in the private sector. I.e getting so many days off per year, with the number going up for each year of service. Speaking as a Uni tech support bod, the holidays are often our busiest times, because we tend to schedule any mass upgrades to happen during the holidays, to minimise disruption to students and lectures.
Yes, the academic staff do tend to sod off during holidays (and object vociferously when asked to come in). However, even they are expected to work during the holidays, where ever they happen to be. The researchers tend to work in subjects they are interested in, so it's not uncommon for some researchers to work 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and carry on that pattern throughout the holidays.
Re "Rule number one ( and not just in IT) Sorry for shouting this, but, YOU DO NOT USE JARGON TERMS UNLESS YOU KNOW THE USER."
I supposed the phrase "Power button" is jargon, but most electrical devices have some way of turning the power on or off, be it a button, sensor or switch. I really would have thought that any user would know what a power button is.
Having said that, if she was panicking (and she may well have been if, say, she had a deadline and just saw the computer not working), she may well have "forgotten" what a power button is. I put forgotten in quotes as it's entirely possible she was not thinking straight. I've been involved in tech support, and I've dealt with intelligent people (up to Professor level) that have been panicking so much that they've forgotten even the most basic details. Usually, calming them down helps them to think more clearly.
"The purchase was made without first determining project infrastructure needs, integration requirements, business requirements, security and portal bandwidth, and whether the subscriptions were technologically feasible on the IRS enterprise,"
Back in the early 2000s, my current employer spent (apparently) a small fortune on a Lotus Notes system with the idea that it would help us integrate various systems, and manage the staff calendars more effectively than they could.
A couple of years later, we introduced Exchange to do the same, so I asked our Lotus Notes admin what happened to the state of the art server we'd bought to run the Lotus Notes server components. He said, "Oh, that. It's under my desk keeping my feet warm". I will say, even in the dead of winter, it did a good job of keeping the office warm with no other heating sources.
"Can't be too judgemental because maintain an XP SP3 system as the lady it belongs to can't understand anything else and it also runs Office 97 nicely (P4 2.2G 2GB RAM 80+160GB IDE HDD)"
The problem is that there is a lot of old infrastructure like that in place. When the business relies on it, it can be difficult to justify replacing critical infrastructure when the old stuff is working.
I've never worked for a bank, but in the 90s, I had an interview for a systems maintenance job at the Bank of America headquarters in the UK. The job? Designing and maintaining a windows based UI for their existing applications and systems that were apparently mostly written in COBOL, and written decades earlier.
I can actually see the logic. When your business relies on a system for it's survival (as banks do), if that system works it is extremely tempting to leave it be.
"It means you're now expected to buy and manage another M$ computer - to babysit your existing M$ computer.
Can't think why M$ would conspire to necessitate that."
Because it's efficient, if set up properly. I realise there are open source systems that do the same as SCCM (in fact, I installed and use one at work), but one advantage that any paid for solution has over open source is that not only do you have a contract with your supplier that offers some protection should things go wrong, but you also get all sorts of other legal protection should things go wrong.
Don't get me wrong. If you have only a few computers to deploy and manage (say less than 20), it's probably not worth investing the time and and manpower into setting up a deployment and management system.
If you manage over 100, it is worth investing the time and manpower in setting up a deployment and management system, as just managing them becomes a full time job in it's own right, without the deployment and maintenance.
They publish an app, but that costs extra money as they need extra programmers and designers to write the app. If they wish to sell the app, they would also need to pay Apple's fee (which is 30% of the app's price). They would also need to buy at least some Macs for the development team. By using HTML 5, they can maintain one set of code that will run on multiple devices, and if they want to sell access, they can sell it by whatever means they want, which may cost less than selling via Apple, and they can use existing hardware.
I'm not really that aufait with ATM security, in fact I don't know anything beyond what I've read on various tech news sites (including El Reg), but I would have thought that the hardware would be designed to destroy or mark the money in some way if triggered incorrectly or tampered with.
"I rarely play video games, but when I do it is always those old 80s coin operated games on an emulator. Because the new stuff seems to be all about visual effects instead of fun."
I think in a lot of ways you are right, although modern games do actually tend to have a story, which old games didn't.
Even if you ignore the story (which is actually fairly good IMO), GTA5 can be great fun. Particularly if you've had a bad day otherwise. You can just fire up GTA, turn on a weapons cheat and blow random shit up. It's surprisingly therapeutic.
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