* Posts by MonkeyCee

911 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013

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Should we teach our kids how to program humanity out of existence?

MonkeyCee
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Hmmm

My experience of IT teaching in schools is it's a position that's either held by the oldest non-STEM teaching member and functions as a bad introduction to word processing (typing classes -> computer classes) or it's run by an enthusiastic young 'un (and thus highly variable). Almost always there where *much* better "computer as a tool" subjects where the computers where incidental to the work, but alos provided much more useful skills. Art classes using Adobe products, GIS stuff in geography, video editing in drama etc.

Programming also hasn't suffered too much (yet) from pointless fuckery from on high, which is often the issue for many of the hated subjects at school. I've a fairly high level of math knowledge/ability, and so have tutored many a struggling student, and I've yet to find anyone who didn't *get* it if you bother to explain it in terms the can relate to. Trig can seem horribly complicated, but relate it to physical objects and it's fairly simple to understand. Algebra is calculating constant unknowns, again physical visualisations often work. Applied statistics to games makes it more appreciable. The biggest hurdle is often that the student does understand, but thinks "it can't be this simple" and then puts an extra hurdle in their way.

As for times tables.... didn't that go out with the dinosaurs? It still seems a bit preferential to the "enforced" teaching of new math, despite the fact that "new math" is closer to how I do mental arithmetic, it seems to focus on the steps rather than the principle. The main points of times tables (to me at least) was to identify possible factors quickly. Even numbers divide by 2; if the sum of the digits of a number is a multiple of 3, the it divides by 3; multiples of 5 end in 0 or 5, multiples of 10 end in 0. Breaking steps into easier to compute chunks.

Teaching using an abacus is also quite neat if you want fast mental computations instead of using paper, although even when I'm visualising it my fingers still twitch when doing the calculations. Even though I've never used it in anger, using a slide rule is also great for younger minds.

I'm also often surprised by which things I was taught in school that have been the most useful to me in my adult life. Knowing how to (safely) use a sewing machine, axe, bandsaw, circular saw, soldering iron, drill press, lathe and potters wheel have all served me well, while being taught how to make a piece of wood square using only hand tools and how to write a balanced budget are things that I've spent waaaaay more time post school than many of my academic subjects.

For whatever reason politicians (and Jo Public) seem to think they not only know more about education than educators, but they get to fuck around with it. As compared to almost any other area, where at least some bowing to reality is done.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Barista spelling

Ah, but you'd miss out on some sweet country and western then :)

"Alistair, Alistair, who the fuck is Alistair"

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Swede who spent 28 years vacuuming in the nude to be evicted

MonkeyCee
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Typical landlord

I'm amused by the typical landlord response to the leaky shower. Obviously you're using it wrong, it could never be poorly maintained. Usually followed by "previous tenant never had any issues with it".

Not bothered about the nudity (unless he was wanking in public or some such), your home, your castle, no-one needs to watch.

The hours of vacuuming and loud music is a dick move, certainly in an apartment.

If you're looking to annoy your neighbours, then don't play your music loud, just make sure it's *just* loud enough for them to hear, and then leave the same song on repeat. For a fortnight.

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

MonkeyCee
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Re: Ah, the myth of the rational person

Truly rational people are scary. Psychopaths are a good example, as they are often extremely rational, and only deal in "reality". So if a behavior is considered negative, but the punishment is minimal compared to the reward (eg tax evasion, white collar crime) then rational people would do the behavior. Normal humans will also do it, but need to justify it (everyone else is, duty to shareholders etc), sociopaths will just do it, and think everyone else is a fool for not.

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MonkeyCee
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Oh training budgets....

The general rule I found for training (in UK and NZ) is that you can only get trained for something that is roughly 1.5 levels below your current skill level. So if you're a sysadmin, you can do basic level MCP stuff, or customer service and communication courses.

The dutch do it the other way around, where it's a real pisser to become a "proper" employee, but once there you can train to your hearts content, as long as you stay committed to the company. Quite a few of my fellow students are now interning, and almost all of them are expected to do a masters as part od their professional development.

I'm also amazed how quickly things go from "required for role" to "nice to have" when you point out that if it's a business requirement, then the business should be paying.

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Lester Haines: RIP

MonkeyCee
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Holmes

Re: :'(

So long and thanks for all the fish. *sniff*

A writer who not only engaged BTL, but seemed to quite enjoy it.

I suggest that one of the less used icon's gets retired, and a suitable homage created. A pipe or a bacon sarnie would be my vote.

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The Microsoft-LinkedIn hookup will be the END of DAYS, I tell you

MonkeyCee
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Re: Behind the curve

Hmmm, and if this company falls for a fake profile (because no-one makes abusive profiles of people they dislike) tells your potential landlord that you've got the personal habits of Scarface, and you get refused a tenancy?

Bear in mind that you can get in trouble for giving someone anything less than a glowing work reference (even if it's true), so you have to resort to code "Bob worked here from x to y in role z." and nothing else can indicate a problem...

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FFS, Twitter. It's not that hard

MonkeyCee
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Options...

"I apologise for the pessimism, but it sometimes feels like a whole generation are wasting their talent trying to shovel ads in more and more skeevy ways."

Well, sling ads or work in finance, it's what gets you the most rewards for the least risk.

Solving actual engineering problems, or developing new products is hard, and either low paid (relatively) or high risk.

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Sysadmin 'fesses up to wrecking his former employer's IT systems

MonkeyCee
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Re: I thought?

"The normal routine when getting rid of employees with admin rights was pretty much kill their access to everything once they have the news and put them on gardening leave?"

I thought it was to lock their accounts when they went into the meeting to get the news.

There shouldn't be any point where they can use their standard accounts to fuck with you.

You should also be making an offer sufficient that the various shadow IT/colleague/backup accounts they know won't be used to fuck you, and that when you call them in six months to find something critical they'll answer the phone.

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McDonald's says bigger fonts cooked up improved profits

MonkeyCee
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McDs

For me it's the breakfasts. About the only thing I'll eat there, and if the sausage muffins where an all day item I'd be a lot happier. If the ones in Maastricht opened before 10am, I'd probably eat breakfast 2-3 times a week. Instead it's Albert Hein and a free coffee :)

For there "regular" options I don't see the point. BK at least makes an effort to have cheapish options (2 euro for a BK King, 3 for a double cheeseburger meal), and if I want to spend the 6-7 euro I'll go to pub and get a burger there.

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Tinder bans under-18s: Moral panic averted

MonkeyCee
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Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

It depends a bit on exactly how the consent laws work in your neck of the woods.

Quite a few countries have a more flexible approach, where if the ages people involved are within 2 years of each other, then there is a wider band for consent.

As an example, NZ changed the law so that 16 is the standard age of consent (for straight and gays alike), but if the kids involved where within two years of each other then it's lowered to 14. Thus a 17 year old and 15 year old hooking up isn't statutory rape, but a 15 year old and a 20 year old is. Consent is also 18 for anyone where the other is is felt to have been in a position of responsibility.

Or if you're a cop, you get to assume everyone consents....

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

MonkeyCee
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Re: Licence to steal is a good way to describe this

While I'm glad your local cops are not taking the piss (or the phat loots) relying on the local electorate can be very tricky.

Since it takes most people about 30 seconds to work out the various loopholes in this legislation, and LEOs share the advice around, it's not too surprising that there are ways of avoiding pretty much any and all oversight.

First, you avoid stealing from locals (since they can elect someone else). Focus on out of state cars, since they are less likely to be able to come back and fight you in court.

Second, screw up (or simply don't file) as much paperwork as possible. Never record what your suspicions where, just that you had them.

Third, ensure you know the wide array of things you can seize on their own basis. Cash can be used for illegal purposes, so seize all of that. Avoid taking guns, since that'll get much more political heat, and god forbid you violate the 2nd amendment. The 4th can go fuck itself.

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Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick... Hang on. They're back

MonkeyCee
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Re: Game of Thrones methodology?

It was quite clearly an AC person wearing Dan 55's face.

All yes-men must die

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Welcome to the jumbo: Axl Rose tries to take a bite out of 'Fat Axl' internet meme

MonkeyCee
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Slander and libel

If the statement is spoken (or is on TV/radio) it's slander. If it's written, it's libel.

The standard defense is it's true, or a reasonable person could believe it to be true.

So saying Axl Rose is a fat chap could be problematic. Saying he, at the point in time of this picture, was a fat chap, should be fine, legally.

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Microsoft thinks it's fixed Windows Server mess its last fix 'fixed'

MonkeyCee
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Re: "let us know if the issues are indeed solved"

While I'm sure ITIL requires user confirmation before closure, if some lazy prick doesn't want to confirm or deny something is working that's sitting in my queue, after a reasonable amount of contact attempts I'll mark it as no feedback and close it.

Amazing how many requests for updates or confirmation closures will get ignored, but actually closing the ticket will light a fire under some ass covering procrastinator.

Another greybeard "performance review enhancer" is to close all jobs older than x (since it's clearly not a call, should be a problem or a change), and to once a year close all your calls. Just before Xmas is nice :D

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Capitalize 'Internet'? AP says no – Vint Cerf says yes

MonkeyCee
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Joke

Re: the member is in congress

I gather many represenatives can manage both at the same time...

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Who's to blame for the NHS drug prices ripoff?

MonkeyCee
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Re: I've read the original article

It's the other way around, companies have been doing that, then people like Shkreli start buying companies on the basis that they can do that, perhaps at a higher level than others are.

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

MonkeyCee
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You're doing it wrong

The writer appears to have no real idea of how to deal with faulty goods.

The important rules here are whatever consumer guarantees apply in your country/state, and "paper is magic".

First, check your consumer rights. If they can sell you something, and you only have 30 days and that's it, then tough luck, stop whining. If not, then when the sales droid insists they can't, get them to confirm it in writing, right there and then. Won't accept my return for some bullshit? Please write out your bullshit, so I can file a complaint.

Proving you're a difficult/savvy customer will often result in a sudden "one off" replacement of your device.

Then, once your sales grunt has denied you, and given you a reason for (written, they'll claim all sorts of shit if you rely on talking or email), then lodge a return request or complaint with the manufacturer. Not make bitchy comments on twitter, or contact support. Complaints or returns, and send a real letter.

The reason for all this laws, writing and sending real letters is that Legal cares about it. If you're going to spaff off at the easiest channels, then suck it up, they'll ignore you. If you bother to go through their (undoubtedly roundabout and inconvenient by design) return/complaints channels, and bother to fill in the paperwork, and send a letter noting what laws they are violating, they will pay attention.

Not only does this work with your usual physical goods, if you want someone to take your complaint seriously, then write a real letter. Because paper is magic. And the courts value paper >>> email, since it has an "independent" truth.

So darling writer, instead of twattering, emailling and writing articles about it, write complaints/returns a letter, and see what happens. You may well be shit out of luck for a refund (unless you can prove it lost you money) but you should be able to wrangle a replacement.

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As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

MonkeyCee
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Re: Security by obscurity is working pretty well for Apple customers

You're not suggesting that SWIFT has been vulnerable for years, and that the actual transferring of money is pretty insecure, the system relies on the various checks and balances to catch dodgy transfers.

So if you can get the cash out fast enough, then you can steal miiiilions.

Or that low level bank employees (including my pimply faced self) have access to systems that would allow such things.

Or that, for some reason, banks insist that stuff only really happens mon-fri, so having long lags over the weekend never lead to frauds being committed on Fridays* or robberies on Sundays.

* for bank account stuff. Fals invoices are Wednesdays, apparently.

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Bearded Baron Shugs hired by Gov.uk to get down with the kids

MonkeyCee
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Re: some apprenticeships can be useful

Like internships, apprenticeships range from being excellent and really the only way to learn, all the way to full on exploitation.

For some careers, you really need to get some hands on to decide if it's something you can handle or not. Teaching, nursing and kitchen work spring to mind, as they are usually too stressful and will burnout anyone who's not suited to that particular pressure.

For some you really only properly learn by doing. Most trades and skills like programming are tricky to teach* without doing some hands on with more experienced types giving you the sage advice. Also the need to work in teams for greater efficiency, so need to mix the "soft" and the "hard" skills.

I'm studying in the Netherlands at the moment, and there is a *huge* linkage between study and work. Quite a few companies are not interested in offering an internship unless you'll be there for 5+ years. Lots of stuff about needing the right fit, and it being easier to train skills than change personalities.

* not the basics, but the equivalent of building and managing a small house construction.

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Hulk Hogan's sex tape, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a $10m revenge plot to destroy Gawker

MonkeyCee
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IANAL

"No one has the right to commit libel - and in some other countries, if not the U.S., defamatory material which, although true, is nobody else's business, is still libelous. The U.K. is such a country."

IANAL, but no, the UK isn't. I'm basing this off commonwealth law, which I believe is the same.

Off the top of my head, libel and slander count as defamation (depending if you wrote/published or said it), and the defenses for defaming someone are:

- Justification. If it's true, and ideally provable.

- Fair comment. Whilst false, a reasonable person may arrive at that conclusion.

- Privilege. Usually parliamentary, probably not relevant here.

So even if something is "no-one else's business", if it's true or reasonable to infer, then you can say it.

Whilst quite a lot of journalists are filthy muck rakers, a number just report the truth and have whatever slant put on it by their editors (not sure if that makes them better or worse), and a small number do a vital role in "speaking truth to power".

So in general while I dislike the Murdoch press and would perhaps like to see it run more honestly/honorably, but I fear any such powers will be used to quash the likes of Private Eye.

For the USians Private Eye is a weekly paper that tends to have been writing about pretty much every major scandal in the UK for *years* before the mainstream press picks it up. Ian Hislop (Lord Gnome) is the editor, and is pretty much a Terry Pratchett character come to life.

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Oculus backtracks on open software promise

MonkeyCee
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Re: Come on guys

I understand that over-promising is a thing, but if that over promise is tied into getting someone to do a thing now in expectation of a thing in the future, then it's lying and manipulation. Or sales :)

If I say I'll paint your house for a tenner, and you agree (and turn down other offers to do it), then I turn up and say "oh, I meant a grand" would you shrug and say "oh well" and give me the cash? Would you fuck. Cost is a major factor for most decisions, and doubling it indicates that the initial price was waaay off. If you want to avoid damaging the brand, being upfront that you've fucked the numbers and things are going to be more pricey (but quality will be good) might have been a better tactic.

Manufacturing is tricky as you say, even experienced groups can make huge errors in planning and operating that lead to large (and possibly prohibitive) costs. That goes doubly for new products, and small (sub 100k for widgets, sub 10 for big things) production runs. So if you're going to promise a product (a la Kickstarter) then you should have a plan for cost over-runs, delays, and other people being full of "idealistic views*" that result in them promising things they can't deliver.

Crowdfunding (and unicorns) seem to have this as a common issue. Someone thinks idea X will be awesome, despite X being somewhere between difficult and impossible. Person then assumes that X can be done right first time both in design and production, and doesn't bother to build a prototype. After getting funding for X, it turns out to be waaaay harder than planned, so company folds, after taking the cash.

* There's a cultural factor too, some places will simply not say "no" or "that's not possible" even when you are clearly asking for the moon on a stick, yesterday, whilst being showered in unicorn piss.

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The ‘Vaping Crackdown’ starts today. This is what you need to know

MonkeyCee
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Re: Have a large cold one, Steven R !

Thanks Steven :)

And I'd like to make it clear that you are purely informing me of an option, that in no way constitutes a recommendation :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Have a large cold one, Steven R !

You're a font of information Mr Raith :)

Could you recommend a site for more info on brands, options etc. In a non-promotional, purely informative way. Or you can just tell me, but you're pretty busy correcting the commentards :D

I smoke about half a pack a day, plus some non tobacco products. I've tried a couple of vapes, but both died very quickly and I suspect where a bad batch (the shop replaced them once, then refunded me after it went again) and I perhaps trusted the shop more than my usual "what does the internet say?"

TIA

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

MonkeyCee
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Re: Question

My understanding is that a many of the huge Antonov's are used for shipping wings and engines around the place.

That and various other things that are big, expensive and not suitable to be stuck on a boat.

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Hack probing poodle sacrifice cuffed for public crap

MonkeyCee
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Re: sacrifice and smoking of a family poodle

I doubt it :)

The USA has advantages of numbers :) UK would need an idiot rate roughly 5 times that of the USA.

That being said, there's probably some imbecile breeding program that the UK has where the ultimate Goth-Saxeburg-Fuckwit cross can be achieved :)

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The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey

MonkeyCee
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Erm....

It's Star Trek a la JJ Abrams, not Lucas.

I know it's confusing since ol' JJ is doing Star Trek and Star Wars at the same time.

And it's a very valid criticism of JJ that he pretty much makes a story board of all the good scenes from a movie series, then puts them in some order, then invents a plot that veers between mild and complete suspension of disbelief to hang them together.

At least he manages the pacing so that it's watchable (YMMV) and fucks less with the canon than Lucas did.

To be fair while he butchered Trek (wife is the Trek nut here), at least the latest Wars managed to have both a halfway decent protagonist and villein without re-using old characters. And was far more like episodes 4-6 in feel, rather than 1-3.

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Got $130,000 down the back of the sofa? Great. Grab an HP 3D printer

MonkeyCee
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WTF?

Re: "The market is forecast to rise from $4.1bn in 2015 to $16.2bn by 2020"

" The cartridge jokes are funny, but 3D printing will change the world within 25 years. We are just at the beginning. New generations of engineers will start designing products in such a manner that 3D printed parts can be used."

Nah, your whole post is way funnier mate :)

Products already can have parts made by 3D printers. It's just kinda pointless since most are better made by other existing manufacturing processes.

"Production nowadays implies that one should buy raw materials from all over the world, produce something, pack it on ships and lorries to get it to the user. With 3D printing, buying goods is like buying software, the manufacturer sends the 3D design to the 3D printer, and one can pickup the purchase at the local 3D print shop. This eliminates a costly, and polluting supply chain."

No it doesn't, it indicates you've got no fucking idea of what you're talking about.

So our current model is:

1. Extract raw materials, transport to processing plant

2. Process raw materials into useful materials. May include being transported and re-processed several times (eg ore -> metal -> alloy)

3. Transport useful materials to manufacturing plant

4. Transport finished products from manufacturer to supply chain

5. Supply chain to retailer to customer

The new thrilling exciting 3D printer will instead do exactly the same thing, except that instead of the manufacturing plant being in a different country, it'll be in the same one. You have a supply chain of the same length, only with higher costs added at stage 3, and less at stage 4. You also have a notably higher manufacturing cost if your desired widget has a demand that can be more easily and cheaply met by some other manufacturing process.

So if your widget is in the ideal annual demand zone (more than 1000, less than 100k), and is perishable (otherwise you'd do a 1 million item run every 10 years), and is suitable to made by a 3D printer, and has had someone design and release the instructions for it, it'll be great.

3D printing is a useful specialized tool. It's a nice hobby too. It's just a very niche manufacturing process, that has *already* had a large impact on industry. There are a couple of 3D printing "shops" around here, none of which turn a profit on 3D printing.

As a direct example, I had a friend who needed about 2000 prop guns from the early 20th century. He has access to a good quality 3D printer (industrial type), and a friendly museum which he could get the relevant pieces to copy from. It cost about a quarter of the amount they expected for the 3D print to get actual firearms* made by Philippians. That's hand making stuff from metal is cheaper than printing plastics.

* there was some misunderstanding, so the samples where fully functioning, causing problems with customs. The rest where blank firers.

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New solar cell breaks efficiency records, turns 34% of light into 'leccy

MonkeyCee
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Re: Critical questions

It's not about renewable energy, it's about viable technologies.

There are highly reliable. large scale power generation technologies. None of these are green and renewable, the closest being hydro dams and geothermal. Those are pretty dependent on geography, and their failure can be far more damaging than a nuke station going critical. The grid needs to reliably meet it's demands pretty much all of the time, or life is problematic.

There are moderately reliable power generation technologies that could be classified as renewable. Run of river hydro, tidal, large scale solar concentrators. These work 40 - 95% and are useful as a group, but you still have to either have the base load supply available from elsewhere.

Then there are the unreliable power generation technologies which are pretty much only any use (from a grid perspective) for reducing demand. That's what almost all renewables come under, they can't actually replace any baseload generation. Wind too slow, wind too fast, or wind too irregular = no wind generation.

This is not to say that it's not possible to go full renewable. If the grid can choose to not supply demand at various points, then the balancing becomes possible. It's *just* deciding who can and can't have power at certain times. At the point where we have to start living like it's the 19th century (whilst paying current bills) I'd imagine a lot of those nice middle class green voters would change their mind.

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MonkeyCee
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Re: In terms of watts per dollar...

I think you've managed to assume you use half, and half just disappears. Knocking somethings production by 50% will indeed make it's repayment time twice as long :)

The rough sums I had for NL is about the same costs (4500-6k euros for about 3.5 - 4 kWh*) where power costs us 22c per kWh and excess bought back at ~8c. Gives roughly 380 euro a year savings, and 100-120 refund from the power company. So roughly 500 a year for an investment of roughly 5.5k.

So payback between 8-12 years, house gets *more* value added than the cost of the system (going from an efficiency rating of E to C), which adds about another 6 months onto the payback period (taxed on value of house).

So it appears to be a reasonable deal, assuming you've got the funds laying around and you can't get 7% returns someplace else, or 5% without paying tax.

* that's an average, based on UK like homes. My house is a lot cheaper due to labour costs as it's got a flat roof with relative ease of access, and it's generated 25% over the expected value in the first year.

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

MonkeyCee
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Re: Now build a few dozen more...

"Sorry, folks, you wanted wind and solar to power nations.

No, I never did, because it cant."

Indeed, this needs more repeating. Some separation of the renewables into things that are grid level supply (like hydro), grid level but part time (big wind, solar concentrators), and stuff that is effectively small scale demand reduction (rooftop solar, micro wind/hydro, insulation).

I've got some of the things that "count" as renewables, but I'm under no illusions that my dozen solar panels and three batteries would do anything other than allow me to scrape by and involve scheduling my power usage in ways that would drive me nuts. Good as a money saver, but not replacing the grid anytime soon. Hell, even if I ran a diesel generator it'd still be more hassle than just paying for the grid.

While I do agree with your sentiments about generation, but nuclear seems an odd comparison, since there hasn't been a nuke built in the UK for ~30 years, so calcualting it's costs are pretty bunk as a comparison. Gas, waste, bio fuel and mini hydro (in about that order) are what the UK appears to have built, and while I <3 mini hydro it's never going to be viable* for the UK as a generation source.

* based on NZ, which has masses of hydro, has mothballed and abandoned working hydro plants, and has 1/20th the population, hydro only does 50-60% of the base load, or 5-6% of the UK, if the UK had an equivalent to the mighty Waikato.

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MonkeyCee
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Trains

The UK builds trains for Germany and the Netherlands. I get a Bombardier built small train twice a day normally :)

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MonkeyCee
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Re: Viewing habits

It's also the fact that the UK loves using water to boil kettles. There's even hilarious reg writers who, when faced with a gas supply and shoddy electric supply refuse to boil a kettle on gas or make popcorn on a stovetop instead of a microwave.

I'd rather my slightly slower boiling gas kettle coming in at 1/3rd the cost of boiling it in the 'leccy kettle. Plus we have hard water around here, so cleaning out the stovetop one is easy, de-caking an element is tricky, usually ending up with the choice of white bits of vinegar flavor in your tea.

Pumped storage and flywheel generators are both really cool, existing load balancing/energy storage solutions, and perfect examples of why "invention xyz will revolutionise power supply/distribution" are often bollocks. Real world engineering is tough, and you can't wave away the laws of thermodynamics because they don't suit your political agenda.

I'm also a huge fan of using the existing water engineering that was used to run mills etc to be used for running micro hydro, since many of the large scale costs/works are already done, and most of the environmental impact has also already occurred.

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Exercise apps track you after you stop exercising

MonkeyCee
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Re: I'm glad my cell phone isn't smart...

Cardio versus resistance depends on what results you're looking for and what you're doing that requires training for.

While I like resistance training, and it's pretty good for all round stuff, if you're planning to be doing something endurance based then you need a fair bit of cardio too.

It's also very easy to do resistance training "wrong", where you fail to isolate muscle groups, or do too few reps on too high a weight. Or sticking to machines for stuff that really needs free weights. Cardio is (for the exercise benefits) hard to fuck up, and has a different class of poseurs.

For me, I needed to count to 25 for the reps, and to 4-5 for the sets. But I was seeking conditioning and staying flexible rather than just adding power. Also means that I keep my lean (slow twitch) muscle for years afterwards, whereas the big showy fast twitch muscle falls off after about 3-6 months of not doing regular gym work.

I ran mainly because the sport I was playing involved lots of running. So to train for running around for a couple of hours the only real practice is running. Did like swimming for cardio and resistance when my knees where giving me grief.

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Kazakhstan wins bid to get Mega IP address info on state secrets hackers

MonkeyCee
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Hmmm

Considering NZ is quite happy to prosecute* Kim Dotcom for an offence that doesn't exist in NZ at the USA's request, I very much doubt the US will be cutting off diplomatic ties over supplying info to the Kazak's on something that does in fact appear to be a crime.

Of course NZ has a delightful history of trying out shiny new laws to prosecute old grudges, only to have those cases cause massive blowback when the police/SIS turn out to have been ignoring or breaking the law.

* at great expense, and in violation of the law

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Microsoft phone support contractors told to hang up after 15 minutes

MonkeyCee
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Re: Want to increase your personal call stats? @x 7

Erm, I think you misunderstood what x 7 did.

There is a metric (call time). If you find a way to improve this metric in a bullshit fashion that violates pretty much all other metrics, and you go ahead and do it, you should be fired. Publicly. With a clear warning to the others.

I usually just ask my bosses which parts are more important. I'd often have reviews where I'd get slated for having too high an average call time, and having a "first time resolved" resolution an order of magnitude higher than the normal was about the only thing that covered me for that. Oh, and asking for the list of tings that i'm allowed to hang up on people for :)

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UK.gov pays four fellows £35k to do nothing for three months

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: NHS

People avoid paying tax because they want to keep the money for themselves.

It's got fuck all to do with wanting to spend on better causes.

I don't support spending a fortune on Trident, which has fuck all benefits for society, but I don't get to deduct that from my tax bill, or pick and choose what parts of the state I want to support.

It should be noted that all the taxes that are *claimed* to be for the NHS pay for it several times over. But those get redirected to serve other purposes. Paying NI so we can invade other countries seems rather shit IMHO.

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MonkeyCee
Silver badge

spare ammo

The various stories I've heard from ex-service types indicate that the military beancounters are probably the scariest thing we have, since everyone who kills people for a living is terrified of them.

These where mainly kiwis, who have a highly acquisitive nature when it comes to military supplies, since our own supply lines can be terribly shit. So infantry battalion deployed in Timor, new rifles get delayed by three months. Upon arrival, the QM's look innocent and claim confusion, since quite cleary the battalion has nice shiny new rifles, ammo, and various other things the aussies clearly didn't want*.

Combat units have a habit of acquiring more things than they are allocated. So when they get audited, it's far worse to have too much of something (implies you nicked it) versus too little (which can be blamed on other stuff). Hence some firework displays rather than trying to explain where those extra cases of 5.56 came from**.

* otherwise they wouldn't have left them laying around without proper security ;)

** in general, from the US taxpayer

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Database man flown to Hong Kong to install forgotten patch spends week in pub

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Welly

Wellington NZ has a fun airport too, it's got sea at both ends of the runway, so you go down between two headlands over water, and then you get land and wheels down at what feels like the same moment.

It's also the only time that I've had the pilot been given a standing ovation after a landing.

It can have pretty mean side winds too, landing small planes there can be interesting.

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Banning computers makes students do better on exams – MIT

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Further testing required

Currently we have to write our CS type exams on paper, since that's the rules for exams.

The only "good" thing is that while it's a real pain in the arse to code on paper*, it's an even bigger one to mark it.

I don't mind too much, since I came of age in the previous millennium, so tend to hand write my notes anyway.

The class which only allowed computers in the first two rows and had a TA sitting in the back row did the best from making people have to actually pay attention.

The classes which have breaks longer than an hour apart tend to leave people with terrible recall of anything passed the 60 minute mark. Based on what I need to help explain to otherwise very on to it kids anyway. 4 hour calc classes with a single break led to the lowest passing rate.

* actual code. Design stuff and pseudocode are fine being hand written for exams IMHO

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Learn a scripting language and play nicely: How to get a DevOps job

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

The joy of the informality of my current environment, "talking bollocks" is in fact listed as a skill requirement, and held by certain people.

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Apple, AT&T, Verizon named in $7bn VoIP patent claim

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: "You think that's air you're breathing ?"

The whole point of the trolls is that you don't need to win the suit. If you're able to file, and it doesn't get kicked out right away, then you are in the money.

Not the billions you're asking for (obv), but the companies you're trolling can either spend up on their legal team (in the 8 figure range) or settle with you.

There's not a lot that can be done either. Even forcing the trolls to prove an actual use of their patents will result in "fig leaf" use cases. Removing patent protections opens another can of worms, but would longterm (IMHO) solve the issue. Patent protection for actual inventors doesn't really seem to work, based on my experiences.

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'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: I quite like Windows 10

"The best test is to give a computer to a child and see if they can use it in a proficient manner quickly"

If only normal users had the abilities of a 10 year old child......

Seriously, most kids are better at figuring this stuff out than those over 50.

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Valley VC Peter Thiel becomes an official Trump delegate

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Lot of lefty luvvies on here it seems

Trump is a terrible businessman. Absolutely awful. If you paid any attention to what he's done, rather than what he bullshits about, it's very obvious.

If he hadn't inherited his wealth, he'd have nothing. If he'd done nothing with his wealth other than put it in the bank or treasury bonds, he'd not only have more money than he does now, but he wouldn't have lost his investors a few billion along the way.

But he's got confidence in spades and the ability to say contradictory things one after another without worrying about a thing. Being a playboy or a reality TV star these things are fine, even good.

But by all means, if you think he'll be the best representative of your country, that's your call. Your sexism and racism clearly put you in the "dumb rube" vote that the republicans love. Confirm your biases, and you'll vote against all your interests.

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MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: I spot a trend here ..

I love the smell of delusion in the morning.

Clinton will win. Because she has the poll numbers, and the electorate already is quite familiar with both her and Trump. So almost no undecideds, the democratic policies are fairly clear, and anything Trump does now will either alienate his base (if they actually care about his inconsistencies) or makes it clear that nothing that comes out of his mouth can be trusted.

Since the republican field was so weak, the GOP switched to focusing on the races which actually decide things. President is nice, but in practicality the other two branches of government have more influence in the long term. The current/next presidents appointment to the supreme court will probably have more impact than most of their their first term decisions.

Trump is making a number of otherwise safe seats contested, because appealing to racists without using a dog whistle means those people of colour will vote against your party. White vote percentage is shrinking, and Trump managed to alienate the Latinos from the start.

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

Isn't the main issue here that whatever you want to call your process, if it's not working, it's not going to produce anything useful.

If you can't pin down either some requirements, or a group who can at least review the product, then you're fucked, whatever methodology. Agile, waterfall, spiral et al all rely on some part of either having a clear idea of what you want, or someone who can tell if it's what they want (even if they didn't know beforehand).

It does seem that there is a distinct pattern of people not being able to make projects work for reasons that are fundamental to the organisation trying different methodologies when the issue is the company itself. Using a methodology to hide the fact that no-one is making correct decisions or designs isn't the fault of the methodology.

It's also a bit sad to see that almost every "Agile project fail!!!" is actually a failure to implement Agile methodology, and that leads to the tools being blamed, not the workmen. It's supposed to generate documentation as you go along, but the number of times I hear "we iz agile, we don't need no steenkin' doco" is scary. You are supposed to build and refine requirements, not just assume the customer* doesn't know and can never know them.

It also varies a lot by industry. Groups that are used to thinking and planning well ahead (power, utilities, construction, mining etc) can be a hell of a lot easier to work with than charities, arts sectors, and worst of all government departments. Legislation is magic you see, and can bend physics, time and anything else you wish by passing a law or writing a memo :)

Oh, and anyone insisting they've managed to break the iron triangle** is like someone selling you a money printing machine/free energy device. If what they had worked, they'd never need to sell it, and could just become successful by using it themselves. SW development methodologies improve these, making work more efficient and effective, but you can't suddenly create quick+cheap+good. Agile *should* give you quick+cheap, and allow you to assess these for what is good, then repeat. Planned should give you good+cheap, but speed depends on how well known the problem area is.

* inevitably there are people at the customers end who do know what they need. They are usually too busy/useful to be at any requirements meetings, or several layers of manglement have inserted themselves to ensure chinese whispers can destroy the useful information.

** Well, you can. Sort of. If you have teams of domain experts and excellent developers for a slow changing system it's somewhat possible to achieve an optimal solution, if rather inflexible.

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PLA sysadmin gets six months house arrest for yanking US Army docs

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Duh.

"I've also known someone who got a job at the MOD in June, and wasn't allowed to take up his post until October, to give time for his security clearance."

That's quick :)

Knew a chap who got a promotion, but needed a higher clearance* for it. Took ~18 months to get all the background checks done. He did get the higher pay back paid at the end, and got to very thoroughly train his replacement.

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MonkeyCee
Silver badge

Re: Duh.

Secret is a very low level of security clearance. Maybe the lowest? But anyway, *I* have secret level clearance for US/UK/Can/Aus/NZ and that background check is less detailed than the ones for working with kids or a credit check. I've even been givn access to stuff that is top secret, which seems to about the level of detail you can find with a quick google.

Actual proper security clearances (which I don't have) take a while to get, and involve pretty much everyone you've ever been involved with from the age of 5 upwards getting interviewed, and confessing all your sins. Had some friends and colleagues get various levels of those, since I got interviewed by some suits for those. While they can't talk about the operational stuff other than in the most generic level (they are all in signals, so it can be assumed they have access to secure comms) some of the interview questions can be quite hilarious.

Having to recount all your homosexual experiences, and then being told you are omitting things because public schoolboys have special rules on what does and doesn't count, while the spooks just care about what could be used to blackmail you. But the general notion that some poor buggers have to go through all your sordid past, and let you know that there's a record somewhere of it all does make me giggle.

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MonkeyCee
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Have you ever worked for a foreign army?

"I was in the PLA for 5 years but I spend all my time goofing off and falsifying my worksheets and travel records. That's not 'working'."

Sounds like you're cut out for ether the civil service or government contracting :)

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French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

MonkeyCee
Silver badge

price and value

Since you can get a new one made for about 4-5k, I presume someone wanted it for it's value of having been the "genuine" device at La Tour d'Argent. It's the same way people will pay a fortune for certain arbitrary sparkly stones, and several fortunes for those that have special stories.

While I do like duck, and blood sauces are quite nice, I'd still probably prefer most of the other stuff on the menu at La Tour d'Argent.

I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now.

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