Good old British ingenuity...
Looking at the "rig" it is good to see the collection of orange ratchet straps in use. I'm wondering if space qualified versions are available and at what cost?
117 posts • joined 31 Jul 2015
The recent changes in the SAP licencing approach is beginning to look like the Oracle strategy. Bait your customers with lots of easy to try/use possibilities and then enforce the licence conditions with a hard approach with the "peace offering" of a "cloudy" solution. In the end, it's all about the money.
I have never come across a company that implemented SAP that was 100% happy. The trouble is most SAP users cannot see an easy way of getting rid of it either.
We had an Elliott 803 at Rugby College (later absorbed into Lanchester Poly). Although I was studying Applied Physics, the computer part of the course fired me up and I went into computing from that point on. I remember the console speaker that, although abused to play music, did give you a sense of what your program was doing. Later on, in my 6800/8008/8080 hobby days, I used a transistor radio for the same thing.
There were two no-no's: The first was to remember how little memory you had to play with so large arrays were not possible and, if attempted, resulted in a subscript overflow message (iirc - SUBSCROFLO). The second was to make sure your plotter programmes completed. The plotter involved an extra paper tape load for the operator. If your plot failed then the whole machine had to be restarted. The plotting code was probably an early form of overlay.
Before we had magnetic tape installed the paper tape reader was something to behold. The output from the reader had to be caught in a basket as the speed was so high. The computer operator was a very smart young lady too.... Happy days. ;-)
This is an excellent piece of work for sure but, I do see some "dark" applications for it. For instance, how about taking an image of your bosses signature and posting it into an important document? The process is so fast that you could do this by a quick visit to his desk while he is taking a comfort break. Yes, there are other ways of doing this but nothing like as fast as this is.
How about putting people into security images just before presenting evidence at a court case?
I think that this is just the start of some very scary technology......
Is the expression "brown out" next? That would create zillions of cut and pastes with the microprocessor data sheets alone. And mains wiring in the US has black and white cables; get out of that one!
Once we have sanitised our language for Black/Asian people who is next - the Chinese? Then a "chink in the armour" or "Chinese burn/copy" might have to be changed.
Going forward we may have to please the LGBTQ lobby so we are no longer going to have male and female plugs and sockets.
The blacklist, whitelist episode was started "following a request from a customer". Surely, possibly just one "customer" does not mean that it was a big issue in the first place?
With a deference to people that are not of sound mind this morning - the world had gone mad!
Extolling the virtues of their self imposed SAP lock-in they said that "payroll has reduced from six hours to five minutes". I cannot see how SAP would do this. Even if their payroll was run on a 1980's PC running MSDOS, this sort of "improvement" exposes some other problems in their systems.
It is easy to see why SAP consultants are amongst the highest paid; it's a job for life!
I was my first ISP and they were the best at the time as they had techies you could talk to. I upgraded from dial-up to ADSL with them and the service was always good. But, once I had access to FTTC, Demon, by that time part of Vodafone, said they could not offer me a service so I skipped to Zen where I have been ever since. It was obvious the Vodafone were slowly winding down the company having taken the parts it wanted. Sad to see them go....
If the BBC really do think that 5 million viewer watch East Enders each week then simple make it subscription only and charge £5 each of the four episodes per week. That is worth around £5.2bn per year. That exceeds the £3.7bn they currently get. Add 50p for Antiques Roadshow and £1 for Question Time and they will be rich beyond their wildest dreams.
The reality is, the moment they charge for 'Enders, the viewing figures will drop like a stone. It is time the BBC had to earn their revenue and stop treating it as regular income with little justificaiton. And why do we pay for the BBC World Service?
At least Microsoft users have alternatives with Linux & Mac (if you must). This same slow shuffling of users towards the "wonderful cloud" by companies such as Oracle, Sage, Adobe, Salesforce, SAP and Quickbooks offer few easy alternatives. Users will just keep sucking it up.
But, if we are all cloudy based, then the average office PC need not be a very powerful box at all and no more office servers will be required. This is not good news for the likes of Intel and AMD. Maybe that's why Intel is focussing on it's server offerings these days?
With the Internet bandwidth being throttled during this upsurge in home working, and even Microsoft having to ration Azure resources, I wonder if the "cloudy" bubble will burst once the users work out that their work rates are slower than before. Or even at a dead stop when someone puts a JCB though the optical fibre....
Oracle's reputation for an aggressive licencing regime with subtle "gotchas" has ensured that new businesses are not putting Oracle into their database plans.
There are lots of database alternatives around, some free, and there is no longer the imperative to go for Oracle. Back in the day it was said that "no one got fired for buying IBM"; with Oracle being a solid database from a large (ie not likely to go bust) company then this was the database of choice - then.
Despite Oracle's denials about it's sales practices the rumour mill is fairly solid. So, new businesses look to other database sources. This means that Oracle's existing customer base is going to slowly shrink. The Cloud has better alternatives which is why Oracle tries to coerce their existing customers to use it.
Every empire has it's day and I can only see this one entering a period of slow decline. It's no wonder they were desperate to get the US JEDI contract.
Well, they fought and fought and fought again and lost! With all that VAT and HMRC fees to pay, as well as their lawyer's fees (never cheap), then I guess they will just pull the plug on themselves. The week after, someone will pick up the company for a £1 and start all over again. Then the whole exercise will have been a waste of time and HMRC (aka taxpayers) will still not have their money.
It sounds like a 1958 film called "Rockets Galore" (showing my age a bit). The plot of the film: A British military commander Hugh Mander (Donald Sinden) arrives in the Hebrides island of Todday to investigate the land for the government's plan to build a rocket launch base there.
You really couldn't make it up!
Of course, back in the 1950's we did have a rocket industry. We used a place in Australia called Woomera which was an Anglo-Australian Project. Construction of Woomera began in after WWII.
My first paid-for application on a PC was written in Turbo Pascal running under MSDos 3.3. Back then we only needed 512Kb of memory and a couple of floppy disks to make a PC useful. TurboPascal compiled fast and produced single executables. I also used TurboC/C++ too. Borland was a real pioneer that is often overlooked in my view. Sadly, I still have the disks....
Later on I used Delphi to write Windows applications and it was a great product and reasonably priced. I stopped upgrading after 2009 as it's future was uncertain with each new owner and I was using Linux platforms more often.
I did look at upgrading in 2013 but Embarcadero has really stiffened up the prices. The cheapest option is now £1399 initial payment with £399 per year after that using the, now popular, subscription model.
Thankfully the open source Lazarus fulfils my needs at a much more sensible price!
I guess they (Boeing et al) all believe what they are telling us; that is very dangerous and, at the same time, arrogant. Of all times for Boeing, now is the time to really come clean and be as transparent as possible about their inner workings and problems.
Most Register readers are going to be cynical about this situation because we have seen it before. I just hope that it doesn't cost yet more lives to get proof.
If Boeing is proven to be wrong then they are finished as a company as this really is a case of three strikes and you are out.
I still have a copy of Borland Pascal which I used to develop applications (just called programs back then) in 1983 on grey imported IBM PC's. It was a low cost and fast way to write programs for PC's. I continued to buy and use Borland products including c, c++, Paradox, Quattro, Jbuilder, Prologue and Delphi. All of these products were reasonably priced for small companies like mine. Now, with Embarcadero at the helm, there are no "reasonably priced" products so I don't use them at all. Also, my current systems are all Linux based which, until now, was badly served.
Thank goodness for Lazarus which does all I want for little money (I do send donations). It is going to be interesting to see how well this "new" Delphi will fare in the Linux space. I think that it is too little too late.
With Python, Kivy, QT, Lazarus etc already well established (and low cost), in the Linux space we don't need Delphi now.
Despite the recent emails and phone calls from Embarcadero asking me why I am no longer a Delphi user (answer is always "too expensive" - even for upgrades), I think than Linux, with Python and Lazarus, are not going to be displaced anytime soon.
Many years ago I worked on some civil aircraft software. It's purpose was simple: take a number of inputs from "real world" sensors and a single "command" from the pilot/auto pilot and produce just one output which was to control the engine thrust. There were three processors and a voting system. In addition to doing this job there was some logging (to magnetic memory!) for specifics like maximum thrust called for, temperature extremes, vibration alerts etc.
The control software was derived from Pascal but was designed in such a way that infinite loops (aka lockups) were not possible. It was really a specialised state machine. The point is this software was only accepted for use if it ran perfectly on all three different hardware platforms. Also, the code and test harnesses for each hardware target were written by different teams behind Chinese walls.
Assuming the overall software design was good - and this was not a trivial process to get through and signed off - the final product was eventually signed off after all tests were passed by at least two test teams. And, of course, the documentation was humongous.
In the context of the current Boeing crisis I cannot help but think that there must be some serious compromises going on for their systems to fail as they clearly are.
Buying "Pro" equipment does not solve the problem - even if you have the budget for it. I'm sure we all have equipment gathering dust or long since skipped where the "pro" manufacturer decided to milk it's customer base by obsoleting the equipment and offering buy-back deals against new equipment.
Another side to this which could be classed as "unforeseen consequences" is the use of Software Define Radio (SDR). In the beginning amateur SDR activity was confined to hacking an existing TV/FM radio chip. Now we can easily receive and transmit on any frequency from 00 KHz to 6GHz. The genie is out of the bottle. Now we don't worry about hackable equipment as lots of SDR gear is widely available. A early "abuse" of this technology is the man in the middle attacks between car entry keyfobs and cars resulting in a rise in car thefts. I can create my own GPS signals, FM radio station, collect data on aircraft and ships at sea and also create a mobile phone base station. The equipment doesn't change as it's all software due to GNURadio and other open source applications.
The moment officialdom (EU, FCC and others) creates restrictions and barriers then you can bet that the hackers and open-source movements will get creative. Let's Face it they thrive on those challenges.
The EU is trying to "bolt the stable door after the horse has bolted". Like the recent copyright and patent issues they our way out of touch with the real world.
I was with them almost from the start with 32K USR modems (you can still hear those tones in your head cant you?) followed by iSDN, early ADSL, better and better ADSL standards and always reliable.The techies knew their stuff and the service was always the best around for me.
When FTTC was available here I was told they were not supporting it and I was offered a move to Vodafone but the deal was not good and no fixed IP address was offered either. There was no great feeling of them wanting to keep me so I guess they already knew that Vodafone was going to shutter it anytime soon. I moved to Zen and have not looked back since. It is a shame to lose one of the pioneer ISP's; they served me well. Bye Bye Demon.
But we did invent the Jet engine that the jump jet uses and then promptly gave the Americans the details for free. Oh, don't forget the magnetron (radar) and the digital computer; although we crushed the evidence and put all of details under top secret for a stupid length of time so the Americans commercialised them before us.
In fact, going back in history, more was achieved by private entrepreneurs and inventors (Cockroft, Mitchell, Watt, Bolton, Parsons, Brindley, Stephenson, Newcomen, Trevithick ) than by Governments. Maybe we should encourage more entrepreneurs with better tax breaks?
As for Gallileo, do we really need it anyway?
U$oft would like us all to log in to virtual cloud-based machines in the future. It's all part of their drip drip subscription model (ditto Oracle, Adobe etc). But, just imagine the chaos that would (will) ensue when the machines they they have total responsibility for go tits up or are compromised.
Windows is clearly still a very flawed OS with U$oft trying to calm us with their regular patch updates. And yet the bugs still come.....
It's bad enough that Azure and Office365 (more like 360) go offline for long periods of time but who knows what the affects would be of total shutdown.
Thank goodness there are alternatives.
Well, if we cannot get a single aircraft to the UK today then getting the rest of the squadron will take until 2025 at this rate. I'm sure that Putin must know how vulnerable we are now......
When you read about how we did amazing things in WWII (Spitfires, bouncing bombs, radar, ships built at a rate of one a month...) you wonder where we went wrong as a nation.
The statement beginning: "Veritas is moving into the next phase of its transformation...." is just pure boilerplate work with the usual use of words like "transitioning". The bottom line is they have lost the plot and are struggling to stay in business.
They also sponsor the Williams F1 team and that is cash they can no longer afford.
I don' t use SAP but have clients that do. They are generally nervous of missives or visits from SAP. Worse still, a lot of them wish they has not adopted SAP in the first place. Often SAP it is so embedded in their business that that cannot see any way out of it. Bet I guess that was SAP's intention in the first place.
I just read the pdf of the new licence "deal" and I fail to see where the transparency is coming from. it looks complicated and very convoluted. Maybe that is the idea....
This new SAAS world seems to be based on the bait and switch model, and is only interested in your monthly payment. And, the small print still basically says that you don't own anything and, if the software doesn't work, then tough.
What other industry would put up with this sort of contract?
This morning I heard Tony Bliar on the radio extolling the virtues of what effectively was an ID card as a way of tracking immigration. It's the only real solution and lots of other countries have them. It's about time we had them here and sod the liberals.
And, if we started this year, it might be finished before I die.....
Back in the day when RS and Farnell were strictly trade vendors we had Maplins and Cirkit or others like Criklewood and Watford for components. At the same time we had Laskeys and later Comet catering for Hif-Fi enthusiasts.
RS & Farnell, and their sibling CPC, will now sell online to anyone online or via the phone. Tandy went some time ago as did Laskeys and Comet. Maplins tried to cater for components and hifi and CCTV at the same time and didn't really do a job at anything.
With the growth in the Maker movement with 3D printing, Raspberry Pi's Arduinos etc, I think they missed a golden opportunity to move their business model. They could have even run maker workshops in their stores alongside their stock of suitable parts.
I have been getting an email a day from Maplin for the last two weeks which looks desperate. Sad to see them go though.
Yes of course Cisco are changing their financial model at their customers expense. It's just that initially it doesn't look like it.
Ask the Cisco users if they feel ripped off when their third subscription payment is due which, I'm sure, will be inflation adjusted. What happens to the equipment if the subscription payment is late or stopped altogether? At least with the fully paid-up model everything continues to work.
The market for second-hand Cisco equipment will be interesting too if "subscriptions" are not transferable.
As usual the vendor will hold all of the cards.....
Assuming this wonderful technology actually works and the Police find an illegal immigrant what happens next? Well, the person would be taken to a Police station and probably bailed until an immigration /extradition hearing and then they would disappear again.
So what's the point?
It may be unpopular but we should have instigated an ID card scheme. The ID card could be used Police checks, confirmation ID for banking and NHS treatment.
If the computer was a 360 or 370 then the IBM actual 1403 printer could be taken away without doing much harm as it was connected to a 2821. control unit. The 2821 was used to connect a 1403 printer and the 2540 card reader/punch to IBM's byte multiplexer bus. If you removed the (bus & tag) cables from a 2821 without then re-terminating them than you caused all sorts of problems with any other devices on the same bus.
As a number of control units could be daisy chained on the same bus then what probably happened is he removed other devices from the bus as the chain was broken.
Since Nest already have form in suddenly dropping a product (remember Revolv? $300 down the pan) then why would you purchase a whole house full of their stuff at all?
At least with ADT you always have a system that works; since they supply the kit they are unlikely to suddenly drop their own servers are they?
And, being cynical, will any break-in data be sold to insurance companies or replacement product suppliers? No system is 100% secure so, if you are hacked, will Nest compensate you if someone breaks into your house because they knew you were out? Nope didn't think so.
The whole IOT hype is just not stable enough to contemplate anything other than your own designed system (yes I am a control freak). Until there are open standards and inter-operability (very unlikely) then, after the hype dies down, there is always a chance that you will have a house full of landfill electronics.
Lets face it Apple, Nest, ring.com et al are all really after selling you a product that will tie you into their recurring revenue business model. Adding words like "customer experience" or "immersive" to an advert really disguises the fact that they only want your Direct Debit authority.
Merry Christmas to one and all. If you have not already done so, it is time to pull the help-desk phones and start drinking....
They said: "companies are entitled to change their Terms and Conditions and do so all the time.."
Well, I'm not sure that works in the EU. If you agree to the T&C's than surely their is an implied contract whereby you agreed to the T&C's in return for a device/service?
I thought that under EU law customers can enforce by filing a suit or arbitration case if they can show they were actually harmed by a breach of the term. Of course, the company can, in return, just cancel the service provision.
It seems that nothing is free and the lawyers always win either way.
I have bought a lot of Chinese cameras and they still seem to have FTP etc. Of course you can always use a RPi zero and camera and roll your own....
Yes, we still use lots of Epson dot matrix printers for one very god reason - we need three part delivery documents and, after the top two are removed, the last sheet is the audit trail. The Epson supports up to five parts I am told. Ink jet and laser printers cannot do multipart - seemples.
And yes we do use USB connectors as the Epson LX310 supports USB, serial and parallel interfaces.
I don't know why Windows makes driving them so difficult; under Linux they are almost too easy; but, as a sUSE user, I am a little biased I guess....
With the push to sell us services and storage in the cloud all of the big companies know it costs a lot of money to revert back to on-site delivery. So, it's just like a drug dealer operation - get them hooked and then you are on their payroll for life....
I wouldn't mind if, when their service fails, we get adequate compensation (read the very small print on this). Ditto the broadband providers.
If we are going to have a cloud connected world then we need a contract with a two way responsibility. We pay you each month for a service and you compensate us when you fail.
Be it Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Dell, Cisco, AOL or other large corporates (you know who you are) we are now only viewed as a monthly revenue stream. We have no right of redress if things don't work out. If they leak our personal details tough; if the 365/ service fails tough.
It's about time we had an automatic contractual right to getting compensation when things go wrong with these companies. If our direct debits fail they cut us off real quick don't they?
I'm tired of hearing the boiler plate responses when things go wrong. "you call is important or we take your security seriously" no longer cut's it for me. They are abusing their size and treating us mere mortals as peasants. (rant over).
With AMD's new offerings showing that there is still life in the only alternative CPU supplier then surely there is a case for yet another Anti-Trust examination of Intel and Microsoft?
If Intel are baking-in special code to support Microsoft at the exclusion of others then how is this fair on AMD?
Thankfully, the world of Linux has more transparency but, of course, Intel has lost a lot of ground to ARM so Microsoft is it's only hope.
This is a very interesting exercise in openness. Wouldn't it be refreshing if the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Intel and others (you know who you are) were as open with us about their failures? Sadly, they usually over-hype the good and cover up the bad until the volume of web traffic about the failures reaches their PR departments. Even then they are often dismissive.
Well done Elon and others for spending their Internet cash piles on serious endeavours. And I hope that the Americas cup is not won by Oracle again - he doesn't deserve it!
Are we going to accept that five-year-old silicon is obsolete? We cannot permit this to go unchallenged else the Wintel conspiracy will have to be factored into future IT budgets.
I install industrial systems that need to he 10 year lifespans. I had to dump XP some years ago after an Microsoft update did a post-install reset with no option to defer.
Now, Linux rules my waves and I am back in control but I still get calls from suppliers telling me that Win10 is the best way to go. Their "fear sell" usually follows the party line of "Linux has poor support, Windows is more secure etc etc" and, when I ask for written guarantees they usually just quote Microsoft documents and will never actually put their companies name to a legally binding document that I could use to sue them when the wheels fall off......
To be fair, some suppliers do offer Win10 embedded, but I already got burned there with stiff licence fees and very poor support unless you are a very large plc.
Intel had more than one chance to buy the king of the IOT - ARM. But they thought that they could do better by clinging to yet more derivatives of the quirky 80x86 chipsets. Ever since the 8008, those HL registers were going to be a problem....
Now, ARM is part of SoftBank Group it is too late. Intel might also have looked at Atmel at the very bottom end (Arduino territory) but they too are now in the clutches of a bigger company - Microchip.
And even the mighty Microsoft, part of that "Wintel" combination, is looking more closely at ARM processors than ever before.
As the PC market shrinks year on year, server farms the only big game in town. If AMD really do manage to deliver some powerful and lower cost server chips, and the likes of Dell and HP start buying them, then Intel will have to explain to it's shareholders where it went wrong.
Despite Tony Blair getting lots of windfall and other tax income New Labour also used PFI to fund new builds of hospitals and schools. As a result, the NHS spends a lot of money on these PFI loans and also the exorbitant maintenance costs they are tied into.
Although it will hit the deficit I think paying off these PFI's will actually save money in the long run.
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