* Posts by Mike Arnautov

13 posts • joined 17 Jul 2007

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Mike Arnautov

No more ooks

I am a bit concerned about that new Tiffany Aching book. The last time I saw Sir Terry was about two years ago when he once again gave a talk in the Beaconsfield library. On that occasion he said there would be no more Tiffany books because he found he was falling in love with her. A good and sufficient reason, I think. Clearly he changed his mind later.

Altogether that last talk was a sad occasion. Having attended a number of his previous talks in the library (including one in which the chief librarian got presented with a bunch of bananas to mark a library's anniversary), it was painful to see him struggling to find words. But the world is still a greyer place without him. I'll have to cheer myself up by re-reading the canon.

Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Mike Arnautov

Re: If only..

I remember reading some time in the 80s a thoughtful and regretful explanation why mobile phones were an impossible dream. To get the kind of power you would needwould require a small hand-cart full of batteries, making nonsense of the whole idea. The laws of physics said "no" and that was that -- enjoy reading about such devices in sci-fi stories, but it ain't gonna happen.

Disk areal density: Not a constant, consistent platter

Mike Arnautov

Re: Memories ...

I still have one of those crashed platters. Yougsters often refuse to believe me that the platter's total (i.e. two-sided) storage capacity was about 31MB. :-)

Want to keep the users happy? Don't call them users for a start

Mike Arnautov

I remember it well

I recall management of a research organisation directing IT staff to stop using the term "users", thereby giving rise to "our research colleagues", or Orcs for short.

Linux police offer deviant Android return from exile

Mike Arnautov

I respectfully disagree.

In the end if, if a phone CPU does not share its owner's attitude to missing a phone call, the phone will fail as a product. This is an issue which will have to be resolved somehow if Linux is to be a serious player in this market. I do not know the technical rights or wrongs of it, but it is good to see that at least some people involved see the sense in coming to some agreement. Let's hope that little spat is soon to become history.

Microsoft opens APIs and protocols to all

Mike Arnautov
Black Helicopters


Somebody tell me I am hallucinating, please!

IBM explores 67.1m-core computer for running entire internet

Mike Arnautov
Thumb Up

Speaking from experience...

I have a direct experience of the clusters versus SMPs tussle in a large commercial organisation, and my unambiguous conclusion is that the TCO of clusters is generally greatly underestimated. There are applications where clusters are worth considering, but overall SMPs are by far the better bet. Yes you pay more up-front. You also save yourself heck of a lot of subsequent headaches.

Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's

Mike Arnautov

Bugrit, bugrit, bugrit...

Isn't that just about the unkindest thing possible for God/god/gods/fate/Fates/chance/other (delete according to your preferences) to do to Pterry of all people???

Not being a brain chemistry expert of any level, I can only wish the best of luck to somebody I've hugely respected and admired for... is it really dacedes now?... yes I suppose it must be!

Privacy breach nuked in Canadian passport site

Mike Arnautov

Another worrying trend...

On a closely related issue... Nationwide have decided to ask their on-line users to assist with improving security by asking them to volunteer some personal information, which can then be requested for additional verification. They ask one to supply answers to 5 out of 20 questions such as "what is your favourite song" or "what is/was the name of your first pet animal" etc... Sounds reasonable at the first blink, until you consider what will happen if this method gets adopted by other institutions. If one answers truthfully, a set of non-alterable information gets spread wider and wider and if it leaks from somewhere, what is one to do? One can, of course, invent different (and hence false) responses in every case, but the only way to remember the resulting net of one's lies is to write them down -- the last thing one is supposed to do, of course.

In a way, it is the same problem as with the wretched belief in biometrics. Authorities fail to appreciate that once un-alterable information is compromised, in whatever way, there is no way out.

IBM signs-in to OpenOffice.org

Mike Arnautov

IBM saw the light

Back when (like a quarter of a century ago), IBM were Bad Boys (like M$ these days). A few years back, hobnobbing with IBMers trying to sell us Linux boxes, I happened to remark that I found it rather strange, consorting like that with "the enemy". The response was, I thought, a revealing one: "Yes, well, in those days we forgot to factor in the simple fact that techies like you would be making purchasing decisions in a decade or two". Sadly, M$ learned the lesson two, but in a rather different way.

Boffins simulate plasma-eating dusty 'life-forms'

Mike Arnautov

Why does the name Spock spring to my mind quite unbidden?

Ah, the silly season is truly upon us! Or am I being too cynical?

Sunspots make the world hot and wet

Mike Arnautov

Over to you, C4!

And can we now look forward to C4 showing a documentary to publicise the fact that the global warming is not attributable to sunspots after all? (I know, I know... just day-dreaming...)

Zune DRM stripped

Mike Arnautov

Not a very good troll... must try harder!

> Believe me, I am no Microsoft fan, but in the same way that I would never drive a Scoda.

Mmm... Not sure what to make of that, given that Skodas are pretty good these days -- even Whych says so. :-)

But you are missing a couple of points. Firstly, the discussion is about DRM, and DRM is software broken by design, in order to prevent me, as a purchaser of a content, to do with that content as I damn well like. The three strikes.... er, plays and "you are out" is a particularly blatant "pigopolist" move.

Secondly, as a more general point, MS stuff is engineered in a way which breaks all rules of good software design, 'cause modularity and clean interfaces would give other companies too much scope for providing alternatives, so it's all entangled as a matter of deliberate choice. As any 1st year IT student will tell you, the inevitable and demonstrable result is more buggy software. But because MS managed to get themselves into a de facto monopoly position, telling people to "use something else" is simply naive. Most people don't want the hassle of dealing with "near compatibility", which is anyway always at risk of being subverted by the next version of MS software.


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