* Posts by Andy

12 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Feb 2008

Start-up Bee pledges 'affordable' British e-car

Andy Silver badge

12,000 cars a year - hardly conservative

Compared with other niche vehicles, 12,000 cars a year is a lot of cars and would require a huge investment in production facilities. Add in crash testing, meeting regulations and other development work, and the price looks optimistic at best. Unless they are partnering with an existing manufacturer, this sounds a little like a theoretical exercise rather than a commitment to build.

It seems that with motors and batteries becoming off the shelf items, many back shed operations are assuming that the bits that go in between can be developed at minimal costs to production standards. That's not to denigrate this company, but with so few concrete details in the article it's difficult to assume otherwise.

Good luck to them though.

Minister admits thought crime is on the agenda

Andy Silver badge

What if...

What if I imagine I'm drawing a picture?

Tories put toes on Linux bandwagon

Andy Silver badge

Smaller projects discourage 'grand vision' projects

It has to be said that, if you commit to smaller projects designed to co-exist it makes it far more difficult to come up with overblown meta architectures and over complex infrastructures typical of this government's IT strategy.

The article is right to suggest that the National Programme for IT would be poorly served by 12 separate project managers and specs. However, if you've committed to smaller, achievable projects, you wouldn't try to design something like the National Programme for IT as your final solution.

If you discover that road bridges with impossibly long spans cannot safely be built using long beams, choosing to build out of small blocks doesn't preclude building bridges - it just means you have to cut your cloth to suit the more conservative material.

Google Native Client challenges Microsoft and Adobe RIAs

Andy Silver badge


A whole article on running code natively from your browser, and Sun doesn't get mentioned once.

It shows how badly they have misjudged Java, not just once, but consistently throughout it's lifespan. Sun really doesn't 'get' client computing, and no end of researchers and clever little projects that don't actually go anywhere will change that.

They are missing someone who understands the desktop, and who has the authority within the company to architect a project that will address their deficiencies. JavaFX is clever but really repeats many of the mistakes they have made when it comes to client side environments. Until someone high up in Sun understands that, they are going to continue to be left out of articles discussing the technologies that they pioneered.

Nintendo in profit on each Wii sold

Andy Silver badge

re: Simple Maths

Where do you get the idea that Nintendo don't make money on games? Of course they do, and big 'must have' titles like Wii Fit pay twice over.

The consoles' online strategy will undoubtedly be the next battleground, but there's no historic precedent for the first to market being the most successful. Ignoring the fact that the Wii has a huge captive audience for online content, better services will continue to evolve as the big three get to grips with their customers' expectations.

Just as early search incumbents such as HotBot lost out to Google, the successful early online games portals have no reason to expect to maintain their lead. Audience share now does not equate to audience share tomorrow, particularly in the fickle world of gaming.

UK in 80% emissions slash pledge

Andy Silver badge
Paris Hilton


I can't quite understand how this would be achievable. Something like 30% of our national emissions (more if you discount aviation) are from building work. To stand even the slightest chance of getting down to 20% of current levels, you'd have to magically halve (or more) the emissions from building. Has anyone invented carbon neutral concrete yet?

Equally, all the solar panels in the world aren't going to impact the power requirements of the vast majority of the housing stock - a good proportion of which will still be standing (leaning?) in 2050.

I'm a great believer in new technology riding to the rescue, and do genuinely expect to see some big advances in renewables. However, this goal seems to be way beyond realistic. Am I missing something (other than the cynical thought that politicians are not engineers, and know full well that by 2050 these obligations will be someone else's problem).

Paris because it's a miserable Friday afternoon.

Asus Eee Box Atom-based desktop mini PC

Andy Silver badge

Please review the video performance!

Please check the Video performance. I've been bitten by the mini-ITX 'media' PC's which have reasonable sounding specs, but can barely decode DVDs fullscreen, and die completely when it comes to things like iPlayer or DIVx

Are today's developers more creative?

Andy Silver badge
Thumb Up


For Java J2EE - toolset:

Eclipse - Perfectly good IDE, would be nice if it had deeper integration with ANT

Checkstyle - boring and intrusive, needs base rules tweaking, but consistent code style is good

ANT - local builds, deployment

Subversion - Version management

Hudson - Build tool, nice reporting, easy to install. Configure to build every couple of hours, stopping at least one hour before people start to go home. Last thing check-ins punishable by death.

JUnit - doesn't help with UI testing, should be compulsory for business layer & below

Clover - Code coverage tool, integrate this with build and hold people to a decent level of coverage

Jira, Fogbugz - or equivalent bug/job tracking ideally should integrate with version management

Umlet - very basic UML/diagramming tool, works with Eclipse but doesn't get in the way

Firebug - vital tool for javascript debugging

Wireshark - for figuring out what's going on at the lowest level

Work environment -

Decent dual screen setup, proper desk space

Test target box(es) networked so deploy and test can be performed on system matching the live platform spec

Decent source of tea/coffee - no vending machines!

Large set of whiteboards

Separate readily available meeting room for discussions

Kitchen (minimum kettle, toaster, microwave, fridge, dual dishwashers),

Chillout room


Things to avoid:

Power point,

Progressing to new code before fixing poor unit, code coverage and code style scores.

'Personal projects' within the overall codebase - code ownership is good, building empires is not

General observation. Whilst it flatters developers to make them feel individual, consistency of environment shows consideration for their fellow developers and a willingness to work as a team. Editors, PCs and toolsets that are 'their favourite' or customised to hell are a good sign of a diva in the making, or a set of code that no-one else can work on.

Developers should be given an environment where they can finish components off to a satisfactory status before moving on to the next piece. Coding frenzies, late-night working, skipping tests and missing documentation should never be necessary if the timescale is properly managed. It's the manager's job to buffer their team from external pressures and let them get on with the job.

Holographic Wii storage en route?

Andy Silver badge

I call...

.. position/ strain sensing, rather than storage. If this 'flexure' multiplexes different data from the holographic medium depending on it's state of flex, then you have a way to detect it's position. The holographic medium is just a lump of material with position data encoded into it (like a standard printed holographic sticker). The flexure gives different data depending on how it has been moved or what sort of pressure has been applied.

I could be wrong, but Nintendo are much more concerned with increasing the interaction with the user than overcoming storage issues. Sensor technology has already given them a huge lead over their competitors, and it would make sense to increase that lead where possible.

If I'm right, can someone in Nintendo give me a big R&D budget and I'll come up with something funky for them to sell to games players? :)

DAB: A very British failure

Andy Silver badge
Gates Halo

The funny thing is...

Out in the wilds of East Anglia, where radio masts are sparsely spread and reception is consequently poor for analogue stations, DAB is a godsend.

Our little DAB radio gives crackingly reliable reception and good clear sound. Unlike the hissy stuff we get from our FM radios (both in house and car), our DAB set locks on and stays locked on despite occasionally difficult conditions.

So far the alternative way of providing reliable reception and a larger number of stations would appear to be IP radio. Where I can buy my IP radio from for a sensible price? Can I also get one to fit in my hover-car?

Bill G because he must be feeling skint.

Pr0n baron challenges Google and Yahoo! to build better child locks

Andy Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Way to go

.. attack Google in a vague way and get your PR blurb reproduced in full by IT hacks. It's not difficult to imagine that the average IT geek is a prime marketing target for these guys.

Paris, because I'm sure she'd approve.

Remembering the Coleco Adam

Andy Silver badge
Paris Hilton

One upmanship

Hmmm... playing the 'what's in your loft' game.

Try: Enterprise Elan, CBM128, ZX80, ZX81, Einstein, Spectra (a few of them), QL

It's a good job I've not got the space to get them out, I could waste a few days playing with the things. Part of me wants to write a new O/S for the Spectrum, just to see what modern techniques could squeeze out of the thing, but then I remember I'm trying to have a life.

Paris, because I met a girl once.