* Posts by Matt Haswell

10 posts • joined 21 Jan 2008

2009 - Thomas the Tank's journey to IT Hell

Matt Haswell

Outsourcing doesn't work (even in the biggest companies)

As an ex-BT bod I have to say that I've never seen an outsourcing deal work properly. They will plow on regardless asking for more money for just the status quo (that was provided to them on a plate by in-house IT) and occasionally doing some Exec's private project at a huge extra cost that could be done easily and cheaply by the people the company have just pushed away.

However the article has one thing right - this is exactly how all the upper management think it will work (including the "hey - my google mail is better than our corporate email - let's change!"). Unfortunately the hidden landmines will detonate further down the road as some legacy kit falls over and no one knows how it works or why the financial systems now don't work due to that.

A 6 month outsourcing from BT ended up with them rehiring a couple of people back as contractors and using them as a low-morale library of "what do you think we should do about this?" and asking basic systems and networks questions again and again. It doesn't help that the outsourcing people get the knowledge and then leave for better jobs so the outsourcing company has to bring in more newbies.

Sony Walkman S-series MP3 player

Matt Haswell

Audiobook support?

The big question for me is - does it have fast forward and rewind? The number of times I've been listening to an audio book and accidentally skipped back or ahead and then have to relisten to 20 minutes of spoken word....

My own fault with the hold button of course - but would be nice to fast forward to where I was.

GooTube snubs McCain's call for DMCA favoritism

Matt Haswell
Thumb Up

Want the videos? Pay the price

Of course there is nothing stopping McCain from hosting his own political videos on his own website with his own money paying for the server infrastructure and bandwidth. Then when served with DMCA notices he could review them first before taking them down.

He would have to spend a lot of money on this of course and be willing to back it up in court if there actually was a violation and he hadn't taken it down fast enough.

Of course this also bites the non-political users - a friend of mine who has made a film (by himself with his own music and everything) has been told by google that it has been taken down due to copyright claims. There is no copyright issue at all of course (and actually he had only put it up for his own convenience on Google Video (not youtube)) but obviously someone is playing silly buggers.

So long as it hits the politicians the way it hits us they may start to think about the ramifications of these laws a bit more.

OpenSocial, OpenID, and Google Gears: Three technologies for history's dustbin

Matt Haswell
Paris Hilton

I don't care about google...

...but I will read more articles on the subject so long as you have more phrases like "feels a bit like being bukkaked with tolerance and understanding.".


Oh - a mate was being chatted up by Google UK for a job and they boasted that they invented Google Maps - until my mate pointed out that they just bought the Australian company that had developed it. *

*Note - maybe it was Google World - too lazy to google and check it out.

Oh - and he turned down the job - really they wanted geeks just out of uni who would work for peanuts and be impressed by a pool table and beanbags in the canteen.

Sony e-book reader to debut in UK tomorrow

Matt Haswell

2gb SD?

Is this one of those stupid devices that only support SD up to 2gb? I have a few 4gb SD cards and have discovered many silly hubs and mp3 players that don't support bigger cards but thought this was just because they were so old.

There is no excuse - unless they are trying to drive people to their own memory format?

Oh - and it depends what formats of ebooks it supports.... (hopefully including text and html as well).

HD media future may be Blu, but it's not rosy

Matt Haswell
Dead Vulture

Is it any wonder?

Considering all the Bluray DVD's on Amazon are £20? While the same film on DVD is £10 and my DVD player has a fairly decent upscaler built in too. Not perfect obviously (I have Sky HD and can see the difference even with only 768 line HD) but not enough to make me spend 200-300 on a decent player and then buy films at £20 each. Hell, even oldies like "Day after tomorrow" are £15. The fly is about £17 and that's from the eighties.

Or perhaps it's the fact that those people who can play them on an HD TV are either renting the Blu Ray discs and ripping them if they like them or are cutting out the middleman and downloading them.

Icon for a dying product...

Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers

Matt Haswell

Creative were sunk ages ago

They are the only hardware company I know who charge money for their software drivers. Oh - you can get the card working without it - the XP microsoft drivers kept my Audigy 2 ZS going but the software that tweaks the 7.1 surround sound, graphic equaliser, Dolby, etc is chargeable.

Unfortunately I lost the original CD in amongst the thousands of CD's in my study so thought I'd just go to their website and download the latest ones after having to reinstall XP - however it's "upgrades to the original software" only. I looked at the old Windows install (always install into a new directory!) but it needed too much hacking around to pick up all the bits.

Screw them - I'm using the motherboard sound from now on - my Asus motherboard has SPDIF out, Dolby Digital, 5.1 surround sound anyway.

The only thing they had going for them was EAX support for games - and they have to software emulate that now anyway since Vista cuts you off from the hardware.

Net think tank: Phorm is illegal

Matt Haswell

Goodbye BT...

Just got my MAC code to leave BT (decided to give Zen a go since it's the same price and their MD said there was no way they'd ever use anything like Phorm in an earlier Reg piece) and was amused to find out that the advisor hadn't had anyone else calling up with that reason yet.

She went off and read up on it and came back with the BT arguments they gave at the beginning (safer web browsing, all done inside BT and not sent to America, "permanent" opt-out available (*cough* cookies), etc). All of which have been proved to be spin and vague platitudes.

Not that I blame the poor customer service girl who sounded a bit overwhelmed by the technical detail...

Will Microsoft parachute Windows 7 in early?

Matt Haswell
Gates Halo

Windows 7 - wake me up when it matures

Doesn't matter if they rush out Windows 7 - I'm still going to wait for at least 1 service pack. Let someone else discover the problems with the new OS and I'll move when it actually gives me something stable to use.

Vista sounds like I may have to wait until SP 2 or 3 though - they need to be able to sort out the basics like copying files around before I'll give it a try.

I'm on XP now - but it was only usable after the second SP.

If I want to play games then it has to be windows (sorry Apple and linux - but that's the way the world works) - but I can be patient and wait until something actually needs the latest system (and Direct X 10) that I want to go to. The game Crysis was supposed to be "it" but the difference in graphics is marginal at best. Then again the games companies know that the 360 console uses DirectX 9 - why bother making something that will only run on Vista instead of something that will run on Windows 2000 upwards and the (very profitable) Xbox 360 with some minor porting?

Now if I could only get the games companies to stop dumbing down PC games since they're developing for the 360 as well then I'd be satisfied. I have a mouse and keyboard, not a gamepad.

"Good Bill" icon due to the rarity of it being seen...

Computer system suspected in Heathrow 777 crash

Matt Haswell

Airbus Flyby Story

I'm sure someone will pick at the details but we got told this in University in order to make us think about specifying designs correctly.

The idea was that there were 5 computers on board - each running software from different companies - that would vote for various action plans. The idea was to make sure 1 or 2 bugs couldn't bring down the plane.

However at the first big public showing the of the new Airbus, it did a low altitude flyby at an airshow, the computers picked up the ILS beacons and thought the pilot was coming in to land and so reduced thrust to the engines.

The pilot overrode the automatics, went to maximum thrust but failed to clear the nearby wooded hills due to those vital seconds lost.

Apparently it ended up being blamed on the fact that no one had ever thought to mention "flybys" in the computer software contract or to the design teams.

I accepted the story at the time but now I have to ask why they were flying on automatic during the flyby? Perhaps the automatics kick in even when you're not on autopilot? Anyone know more? (I'll probably regret that....)


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