* Posts by conan

93 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Apr 2007


Windows 10 is due in one month: Will it be ready?


Re: Not every "home" user is a "consumer" user only.

"if it works, the last thing I want is some update making it stop working"

This is why botnets exist, which cost the world an awful lot of money. It's important to keep up to date with security fixes. I agree they should be separated where possible, but sometimes a piece of code just has to be refactored to fix flaws in it, and you need an update to a component.

The best way to do this is as fast as possible, keeping the updates as small as possible.

Free ethical upgrade offered as Fairphone launches mobe No 2


Good quality

I haven't needed a new phone since the first Fairphone but my friends who have one are still very happy. The build quality is excellent - it's solid and has a reassuring amount of weight to it, like an iPhone. It is a little on the chunky side, but the dual SIM for me makes up for that. I'm seriously gonna consider the mk2.

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?


Specialisation doesn't make us richer

Specialisation makes the same labour produce more products and services. Technologists and industrialists that find ways to increase this efficiency gain from specialisation benefit by becoming richer - but they do not share this benefit with the workers. The workers, who do not own the means of production (like that Intel chip factory mentioned above), work the same amount for the same pay, but are more productive. This results in a larger amount of wealth in the market, which results in inflation. Hence the workers become poorer from specialisation despite their efforts generating more wealth.

We see this in the increasing wealth disparity in the world.

Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!


All markets fail

Markets tend towards monopolies, which is why every developed country has a monopolies commission (at least as far as I know). A very old market strategy is to undercut your competitors until they go out of business, and then exploit them once you've got a monopoly. These services make it very difficult for someone to come along and offer a competing service, because theirs is free - who's gonna pay for access to a better search engine, even if one did exist?

Google should have been broken up at the 25% search engine traffic mark in the UK, but our monopolies commission is too uninformed to decide how best to do that. So it's a voluntary transaction, sure, but the average person doesn't know of an alternative service that doesn't collect their data. Don't even get me started on ISPs.

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all


Code is bad; features are good

He says "We are developers. We write code." I'm not sure I agree with this - any dev who thinks they're hired to write code instead of produce features is probably misguided.

The gender imbalance in IT is real, ongoing and ridiculous


Re: Another stupid article on the suposed gender bias in IT

This is exactly my experience. Firstly, there is a gender imbalance in IT, and the industry would be better off without it. Secondly, I have never noticed the IT environment I work in being hostile towards women specifically.

I do think the problem arises before women enter the workplace, but it isn't the responsibility of the IT industry - even the men in it - to address this fact, and that demographic isn't responsible for it. We try to hire the best people, to the best of our ability; recommend some ways that I can find and retain better candidates that also happen to involve considering or appealing to more women, and then you'll have something useful to say.

I agree it is a good thing for IT professionals to help young women engage more in technical disciplines, but I don't think it's a responsibility. It is however a responsibility for men - and women - in general to do the same. Just because I work in IT doesn't grant me any specific responsibility for reducing the gender divide in that industry beyond what I have as a human being that is part of our society.

Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'


Pre-release infrastructure

As a developer who's worked in several startups, I disagree with some of the assumptions in this article.

Firstly, all the sysadmins I know in startups ARE developers - and they call themselves "devops" to reflect this. Infrastructure built by these developers is invariably better than anything I've seen in the enterprise, mainly because it's modern.

Secondly, in pre-release, the decision isn't simply whether to run your own tin or use public cloud infrastructure, there's a third way: PaaS. Running on Heroku or Elastic Beanstalk or App Engine or the Azure equivalent is significantly cheaper than hiring a sysadmin or devops of any type, until such a time as you need to scale in production. At that point you have a choice: accept the higher scaling costs of your existing PaaS solution, or move away onto public IaaS or your own tin. There's never a question of whether you can scale or not; if you don't choose scalable infrastructure to begin with, either as a sysadmin, devops or straight developer, you're not doing your job - the entrepreneurs who started your company definitely hired you to make a scalable business.

Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest


I think this is important

I actually agree with the priest. Not about the evil, but I don't like the fact that different lego sets are now "for" a particular demographic. Sure, when I was a kid all I wanted were spaceship sets, but once the pieces I got were all thrown in a box, there was nothing to suggest a spaceship as opposed to, say, a barn.

This is worst in the case of girls vs boys, where some sets are based around fighting and presumably aimed at boys (http://www.lego.com/en-gb/ninjago?icmp=COUKFRNinjago), and some around socialising, again presumably for girls (http://friends.lego.com/en-gb?icmp=COUKFRFriends). The colour schemes broadly follow the blue/pink zeigeist for distinguishing gender. If a boy picks up his sister's Lego set today, I'm guessing he's much less likely to be interested than 30 years ago. For a toy which by its nature appeals only to creativity and imagination, I think imposing these sorts of limitations is a real shame - and is driven by adults who do the purchasing, because the kids have shown time and time again that they don't care until they're told to.

Hot, fit, SWEATY users stroke Backbeats model, beg: DON'T CALL US


I've got some Jaybird Bluebuds X, they're pricey but they sound fantastic and last a surprisingly long time. They'd be really comfortable if I didn't have weird ears which aren't the right size for any of the 3 different sizes of in-ear attachment you get. They stay in place when running or in the gym, and I really like that you can put the cable over or under your ears, whichever you prefer. So if you're ok with wearing in-ear headphones, check them out - if not, stay away. I found the bluetooth signal was fine if I had my phone in my backpack or in a pocket on the same side as the receiver, but not if it was in a pocket on the other side (which isn't really a big deal). http://www.jaybirdsport.com/bluebuds-x-bluetooth-headphones/

X-rated Android antics: Motorola's Moto X puts boot in chunky brother


no 32GB version

I have just bought a Moto X. There isn't a 32GB version in the UK, despite what these articles continue to claim. I think Motorola have said they might release it in the future, just like they might offer the Moto Maker service.


Amazon's 'schizophrenic' open source selfishness scares off potential talent, say insiders


Re: Amazon can't live without opensource

"Anyone even slightly business minded would see the logic behind their decisions"

I'm not sure I agree here. For example, Amazon are competing directly with Netflix, who open a huge amount of incredible code on GitHub (http://netflix.github.io/), and they're absolutely destroying LoveFilm. All the best developers I know would like to work for Netflix, whereas I've never heard anyone say anything positive about working for Amazon. Talks given by Netflix folk like Adrian Cockroft do a huge amount to promote the company within the wider tech community.

Netflix don't release their latest code straight away - they admit there is usually a few months between a feature going live and them contributing it back to the community, partly so they can fix it up, but mainly (I'd guess) because they don't want to be sharing their latest and greatest functionality with everyone. But they realise that tech grows old fast, and old tech isn't what keeps you ahead - it's the new stuff that counts.

From my perspective, I've had many arguments in the past against exactly this attitude - that if we wrote it, why should we give it away for free? My response to that is always the same - if it isn't our core business, what do we gain by keeping it secret? If I'm working for an ecommerce company, releasing some chef recipes or testing frameworks isn't going to give our competitors an edge, but it might attract better candidates, and if it's really popular, we might even get some code contributions back for free.

Twitter don't seem to be suffering from releasing Bootstrap, Google don't seem to suffer from Android, Guice, Guava and the many other projects they've opened - these things aren't what give them the edge.

Spread the gospel! Tim Berners-Lee's Open Data Institute goes global


Re: Stupidly expensive head office.

The ODI have already made proposals that could easily pay for their subsidy in conjunction with MastodonC (http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21567980-how-scrutiny-freely-available-data-might-save-nhs-money-beggar-thy-neighbour).

Being based in the area they are in is important because their remit is to encourage the adoption of open data, by hooking up data holders who want to open stuff up with startups that have the expertise to help them do it - and the richest startup ecosystem we have in this country is in London. The ODI incubate startups in their offices. If they went elsewhere in the UK they simply wouldn't be able to engage as effectively with the people they need. I agree that a lot more should be done to distribute industry around the UK, but it's unfair to criticise an organisation and an investment which is not intended to address that problem for being in London. I believe this is money well spent, and that the ODI is one of several good ways to spend money around technology that have come along recently.

The ODI and many others do make an effort to participate in and build communities elsewhere in the country - there are many meetups that are starting in other areas, for example the Silicon Drinkabout ones run by 3Beards (a startup accelerator) that are now in Manchester as well, but I often hear that these events are poorly attended compared to the ones in London. If you want to do something about that problem, why not start a meetup yourself? Try to build a community that might be appealing for industry, even if it is small startups to begin with. You might find that other startup accelerators take an interest, and you can start to win investment. The money the ODI got from the TSB is open to anyone in the country, the founders of the ODI just happened to be in London - I don't believe there's a systemic resistance to supporting ventures elsewhere, but if you do then why not make a Freedom of Information request and do some analysis? It's efforts from the likes of the ODI that make that possible.

NSA data centre launch delayed as power surges 'melt metal, zap racks'


50000 man hours

"160 tests that chewed up 50,000 man-hours – without reaching a definitive conclusion about the cause of the problem".

That's the NSA investigating what's going on inside their own computers, how much effort does it take them to find out what the terrorists are up to?

Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me


There are some really interesting comments here and people seem to know a fair bit about the grid and how it works, as well as the energy tech itself. Anyone in London fancy coming to speak at Cleanweb? http://www.cleanweb.org.uk/

Highways Agency tracks Brits' every move by their mobes: THE TRUTH


Re: I can defeat phone tracking

Is it? Can you actually turn off an iPhone? I thought the new tracking stuff they've included in case it gets nicked prevented that from being possible.

Sofas with a roof and Star Trek seating: The future of office furniture?


19 September 2013

... Isn't a Saturday

Virtualisation extremist? Put down that cable and step away slowly


Re: Precis

Exactly. Why not just run on a hosted platform? What's the point of owning iron at all? In most cases it just seems to be resistance to change and people protecting their jobs.

I worked at a company once where we lost our devops engineer. I remember a conversation where I was saying I'd never consider starting a project without devops support, and he responded saying he'd never start a project that needed devops - he'd buy into the economy of scale and use a hosted platform until the project had paid for itself many times over. I now agree.

The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype


I think the 120Hz monitors are there for 3D glasses, where you can blank out each eye alternately and still maintain 60Hz for each eye.

But you're right - I have no problem with growing pixel counts. When I'm gaming I have vsync on in order to limit my PC to the framerate of the monitor (60Hz), there is no interlacing, every frame drawn is different from the previous one. If I want a higher framerate I just go and buy a 120Hz monitor and my PC will keep me happy. Plus a higher pixel count means I can sit closer to my monitor and have a wider field of view (oculus rift?), which again the game will allow me to adjust.

Film always comes up as the driver for this kind of tech despite the games industry being much bigger (http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Video_game_industry). It's no surprise that the smaller industry now has the inferior tech.

Hey, you, dev. What do you mean, storage is BORING?


Re: Cloud

I agree. Storage is where you put logs and archives and stuff that the application doesn't need to run. The storage world has proven not to be capable of scaling up its performance fast enough. If I need my data to be safe, I crank up my replication factor and distribute it further around the world - but all in memory. Getting it back from a disk is too slow, even if the disk is physically attached to the machine running the (server vm that's running the application vm that's running the) application, and most of the time it's not - I'm lucky if it's in the same rack.

I'm not sure storage is boring - I just don't see what it's for.

I said ‘no’ to a million-pound Tech City empire


Shoreditch Works

The Shoreditch Works folk are running a very similar Kickstarter right now, maybe it's worth asking them for any advice they might have? They haven't been successful yet but they're over halfway to their £25k goal.


Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but they have given me free beer in the past.

BT to slap overalls on 1,000 new bods in fibre broadband boost


Re: Not just the exchange

I live in Shoreditch, right next to Tech City. My exchange has been upgraded of course, but there are no plans to do the same to my cabinet. Virgin won't run a cable to my building. An upgraded exchange for me means the worst internet I've had for over 5 years.

Thumb Down

Re: Engineer

I consider myself an engineer; I write software for a living. There is no badge I can get that certifies me as an engineer. Why should only traditional forms of technology with outdated institutions have the right to count engineers amongst the ranks of their practitioners?

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook


Re: Interesting but...

"... remains to be seen". Isn't that what a review is for?

Ten affordable mid-sized Full HD monitors

Thumb Down

Re: Asus PA248Q

Yeah, really disappointed with this article - I'd love to replace my aging monitor (used mainly for gaming, so the Asus is out) with a modern equivalent, but there's no way I'm giving up my 1920x1200 resolution - and none of these panels seem to offer it.

Why Java would still stink even if it weren't security swiss cheese


Re: Java is an elegant language on paper

The VMs are one of the strongest aspects of the Java ecosystem. Performance is starting to approach that of native code generated by things like C++ compilers, and is in some cases better. There are many new languages that are gaining popularity that run in a JVM, like Groovy and Clojure, and they are, like Java, sometimes the best tool for the job.

Ice core shows Antarctic Peninsula warming is nothing unusual



Why is the Register always pushing a climate-sceptic agenda these days? All the articles are about how climate change isn't happening, or it's no different to usual, or it's not man-made or whatever. Has anyone else noticed this bias emerging?

After Fukushima it was refreshing to see El Reg's coverage of the Japanese response suggesting that it was very good, that the systems coped well and that it should be an advert for nuclear power; all the other press I saw was writing it off as a catastrophe. In this case though, there is loads of press saying climate change isn't that bad, so I'm not really sure why the Register is pushing this so hard - it's not an alternative viewpoint.

Forget 'climate convert' Muller: Here's the real warming blockbuster


Re: If only....

I agree, good comment. I don't know whether climate change is caused by me, or whether it's changing enough to be bad. I do know that I don't like cars because they hit me and smell bad when I'm on my bike; I don't like smokestacks because they don't look very nice and are probably horrible to live near; I don't like planes because they're noisy and the food is rubbish. But I also like to go visit my friends in other cities, and play power-hungry computer games, and go to far-away countries on my holidays. I already have a good enough reason to want all the climate change-related problems to be solved in better ways, so it doesn't really matter to me whether or not the "Deniers" or "True Believers" are more correct.

Ultrabooks: objects of desire but just too darn expensive


Value for money

I'm happy to spend a grand on a laptop; my current one cost more, if you include the upgrades I've shoved in it. But it has to have top-spec everything - and that means graphics. If I'm spending £1000, it doesn't have to play the latest games amazingly well, but it has to play some games I want reasonably, which a £500 laptop can do. This means for an Ultrabook to be worth it to me it must not have Intel integrated graphics... Oh wait a minute

World+Dog to demand ever larger tablet-phones

Paris Hilton

Re: bigger != better

I'm also sick of it - there aren't enough choices. I want a top-spec phone that's the same size as my current Nexus One (and also, shocking though it is, the most successful smartphone - the iphone). No such thing exists. If I want decent build quality, all mod cons (top-of-the-line processor, bluetooth 4, high-res screen etc.) then I have to get a massive device. I looked at the HTC One S thinking it was the smaller version of the One X but it's huge! There's no way I could reach the top of the screen with my thumb. So now I'm looking at legacy devices like the Sensation and Desire, which have underpowered processors for ICS (which I need).

Paris natch, for a comment about whether size is important

Will Nvidia 'n' pals pwn future gaming?



The other thing keen gamers might not be happy with is not owning a copy of their games. Personally, I regularly play games I bought 5-15 years ago, on various platforms, using emulators and such; I don't trust companies like nVidia not to go bust or discontinue their services in this timescale. I only buy games on Steam that I'm fairly sure I won't ever want to play again.


Re: "Average human response time"

Not entirely nonsense. As far as the game (and hence nVidia) is concerned, reaction time doesn't just involve the human processing time, but also the interface through the control device. A seasoned gamer will be much faster at turning their reactions into the appropriate input signals through a mouse/keyboard, joypad, or even a wiimote or kinect. People used to taking dictation don't necessarily have faster reaction times than anyone else, but they'll certainly be able to respond faster in typing words into a computer and correcting mistakes.

Braben sticks knife into secondhand games market


Re: Go get a grip, Mr Braben

I fully agree. i've bought Civ, two copies of Civ 2, Civ3, Two copies of Civ 4 and now a copy of Civ 5. I have never resold any of these, even the duplicates (bought because they included add-ons bundled and I wanted a single installer with it all on), because i like the game and want to keep playing it. You can buy Civ 4 for a tenner these days - well worth it. I still play Civ 4 and sometimes Civ 1 for a laugh.

UPDATE: GAGA team hunts down grass-smoking ROBOT



I'm all for putting a beacon on the bot and a camera on the fence. put it in the corner and it can do an L-shaped garden, although it seems reasonable not to support crazy shapes - most gardens are more or less rectangular. The bot would only have to flash a signal every so often, so it'd be very low power, and the camera could be hooked up to the mains. Super cheap and ticks the boxes.

Online advertising isn't creepy enough


Re: A theory...

I always get the opposite from the author. I buy a laptop having spent ages researching laptops, starting with looking at loads and narrowing it down over a couple of weeks, until eventually I buy one specific model that i've come back to again and again. From then on I get ads for... The same model of laptop. Again and again. Nowhere in the AdWords algorithm does it occur to Google that having bought a laptop (which they know, because I used Google Checkout) I probably don't want another of the same, but might want a case for it, or an extra PSU, or a trendy travel mouse.

No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed


I agree with Pete 2

As a CompSci grad myself now working as a Java developer I agree with Pete 2's points. If you want to be an engineer as I now am, go learn engineering - don't go to university to learn Computer Science. The key's in the name - it's Science. A programming language is an engineering tool, it's just a way of getting machine code written, and nothing to do with science. When I left university I was expected to be able to program in any language, be it object-oriented or functional or procedural or whatever, as it's just a question of learning syntax and implementation details, and not relevant to the solution to the problem at hand.

The problem is not the universities, or the teachers as the author claims - it's the students. On my course (Computer Science) of 200 students at a red brick university I'd guess that 95% of them wanted a job in IT rather than to become Computer Scientists, so of course the university provides what its customers want - Software Engineering. I had to learn about design patterns and stakeholders and Extreme Programming, none of which is anything to do with computer science. There were precious few courses on computational complexity, algorithms or computer algebra, and in none of them were there more than 15 students.

Of course, for me it turned out that I wasn't smart enough to do a PHD in intractability, so I became a developer, but I value what I learned on those courses because it fascinates me; I have no colleagues who could write an efficient sorting implementation.

Nurse Lovelace gives hardened lag 55-hour stiffy

IT Angle

@ AM

She's called Lovelace, that should be enough of an IT twist. Stand-up journalism if you ask me

Swedish police claim massive anti-piracy bust



The first poster didn't comment on the righteousness (or lack thereof) of illegal filesharing, they just pointed out that raiding server farms in this way will not bring it to an end. I agree; that approach is definitely a fail. There have been proposed a number of ways to stop people sharing illegally, the most obvious of which seems to me to be to provide a single place where all movies/music can be downloaded (what bittorrent offers) for a fee, instead of for free.

It seems unnecessary to go calling people names for things they didn't say.

Birmingham drops the possessive apostrophe


Couldn't resist...

In the first paragraph of this article, an apostrophe is incorrectly used to terminate the quote "pedants' revolt" instead of inverted commas. Coincidence or a deliberate mistake?

History shaped Google's Trojan Horse



Adblock is one of the most popular Firefox addons, and I for one wouldn't switch to a browser without it. As the author stated, Google make their money from ads which they plaster all over their services - exactly why I like adblock so much. Are they really going to allow the same functionality to be reproduced in Chrome? My guess is that they'll use Chrome to deliver the ads in more sophisticated ways.

45th Mersenne prime discovered (possibly)


0.99999... is not equal to 1

Look, 0.9999 recurring is not completely equal to 1, as otherwise their alphanumeric representation would be the same, but one of them clearly has a 0 and a point and some nines, and the other just has a 1. They're only mathematically equal, so to claim they are just "equal" is incorrect. Problem is, mathematicians always limit themselves to mathematics when discussing numbers.

Linux risks netbooks defeat to Microsoft



It doesn't matter how simple it is to install Linux. Consumers don't install their operating systems.

It doesn't matter how simple it is to install open source applications. Consumer's don't install their applications.

Linux may be easy to use; but everyone uses Windows at work, so they're familiar with it. They choose Windows because they've seen it. Linux has to be not just better than Windows, but so easy to use that someone who is comfortable with Windows finds it easier.

And it has to have a name. "Linux" is no good - there are loads of distros. There needs to be one, whose name everybody knows, so it becomes familiar. When somebody says "Why not get a Linux PC next time?" to their neighbour, their neighbour has to say "I was thinking about that actually, I've heard they're good" like they do with Apple Macintosh computers. Then if somebody goes to a shop to buy a PC with Linux, they get sold a PC with the same Linux as everybody else they've ever met with Linux, so it's familiar.

Carbon Trust: Rooftop windmills are eco own-goal



Am I the only Reg reader who lives in a flat? All this talk of putting a solar water heater in your home is all very well for those that live in 2-up, 2-down town houses but does anybody have microgeneration suggestions for the (reasonable) number of people who live in a flat, and therefore don't have their own roof?

Now, my reasons for wanting microgeneration aren't green (I believe the greatest carbon savings come from building the biggest power plants possible), and they're not really even financial (unless you plan to live in your property for 10+ years it just seems to cost, because nobody pays extra to buy a property with microgeneration), but largely motivated by the incredible amount of hassle it is dealing with energy suppliers. If I could open the door to nPower salespeople and laugh in their faces before going back to watching the iPlayer on my 800W gaming rig in a bath I'm topping up with the kettle guilt-free it'd be worth every penny.

No Paris, because the only flat she knows about is lying on her back

Rockstar confirms GTA IV PC edition



Never had a problem playing any of the GTAs on the PC, the controls are far superior if you ask me - no auto-aim, just nice mousey point-and-shoot. But the graphics and performance were so much better for San Andreas on the PC (remember when console games never stuttered?) that I'd rather play on the PC with a playstation controller than on a playstation. Works for Pro Evo, why shouldn't it work for GTA?

Cuil confesses 'serious file corruption'


No competition

They really aren't close to hurting Google are they? If you search both Cuil (I agree with the French arse comments, btw) and Google for the term "cuil", Cuil has a hundred thousand results to Google's four million. Plus Cuil only has 250 results for the word "the"

Nvidia denies chipset farewell


Not convincing

There may be issues with nVidia chipset boards, but they're not unmanageable issues and the extra complexity of the boards must be expected to produce a few problems. I must say, I wouldn't ever choose an Intel board for anything but a real budget gaming rig right now, and there have been a number of successes with the nVidia chipset in the past, so even if the boards aren't quite up to scratch now there's no reason to think they'd just pack it in and go home.

Doctors: Third babies are the same as patio heaters



If you live longer, you should work longer; I'm in my late twenties and expect to work to 75. I have no interest in supporting an aging population who want to have their cake and eat it by living longer but not working longer - the taxes I'm paying for their pensions are what will cause me to delay my retirement. State pensions should be based on a ratio of years worked to current life expectancy.

The return of Killer Chlorine


I love my helmet

I regularly bang my head on the frame of the bike sheds at work. Sure, my helmet won't stop me dying on the road, but it stops me hurting my head in the morning, which is worth £20 to me.

North Americans just don't steal handsets, apparently...


Free Phones With Contracts

Lots of people seem to be saying that it's because phones are free with contracts in the US - they're free in the UK too! I've had a new phone every year with my contract here for the last 6 years, feeding my more slack friends with a steady stream of outdated models. That's not the reason people don't nick phones!

AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6


If you make it, they will come

Webmasters make content public and don't discriminate about how they serve their content. So if lots of users want to scan links before they click on them, that's their perogative. It's a shame that AVG chose to use this approach, but there's nothing wrong with it, any more than Google/Yahoo!/Microsoft scanning stuff for searching purposes. If you don't like it, make users sign up before they see your content. People who advertise on billboards have to live with folk spraying graffiti on it, and that's actually illegal - making HTTP requests is not.

Reding would OK charges to receive mobile calls


Dubious Pricing

Telecoms pricing is stupid pretty much across the board, as the costs aren't passed on to the customer in the way they are amassed. It costs loads to set up a telecoms network, but it costs nothing to send data once you're up and running. A mobile phone, broadband connection, TV connection or whatever should cost a few grand when you get it and that should be it. Humpf.