* Posts by Neil Milner-Harris

38 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jul 2008

RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

Neil Milner-Harris

Concur completely

That was exactly my first thought, how can you fix something if you don't know what broke and how it was broken?

Microsoft licence cops kick in TWICE as many customers' doors as rivals

Neil Milner-Harris

I've been audited

3 times by Microsoft at 3 different companies (all SMEs). Each time the process has been the same and to be fair relatively painless. I would imagine if an organisation was fairly well organised with regard to managing their licencing assets and their hardware and software deployment processes that the audits could be a very simple report running exercise, it wasn't much more with us and we certainly could stand to be more organised in that regard.

Also I've never had to cough up for licences I didn't need, only ones that should have been purchased and had been overlooked.

Perhaps the issue here is more about the licencing compliance agency that gets involved rather than the MS audit process itself.

Dawn of the X-Men? MUTANTS swarm AMONG US, say geneticists

Neil Milner-Harris

Imagine my disappointment

At finding out that the ability to shoot frikkin' lazor beams out of one's eyes isn't possible

Data cop slap for Brit text pests

Neil Milner-Harris

About bloody time too

Those texts are incredibly annoying, especially since I've never had an negligence based accident or taken out PPI. I wouldn't mind so much if there was some actual basis for sending them to me.

Apple manufacturers: ARRGH, pesky iThings are impossible to make

Neil Milner-Harris

Re: It makes me wonder...

The manufacturers work on profit over the term of the initial contract, note that the article says they believe that they will start to turn a profit on the contract in Q1. The low yield rate at start up is usually calculated into the unit price over the term, in this case though it does sound like the yield is lower than expected and the manufacturers are taking a hit on the overall contract margin, but that's just the way the game works. They'll simply aim to increase the yield so that when they retain the contract the unit margin is vastly improved.

Raspberry Pi daddy: Stroke your hardware at night, land a job easy

Neil Milner-Harris


We're a software house and it is much more important to us to find candidates that can demonstrate that they are able to think and actually want to learn and work in the field. If they've got the enthusiasm and the ability to think logically, learning the actual day to day technical skills is easy.

Kids should be making software, not just using it - Gove

Neil Milner-Harris

I second that

Based upon my experience of my peers I would like to think that I am a pretty advanced Excel user when compared to other developers. However the gulf between my ability and those of my wife (an accountant and payroller) is frankly embarrassing.

The fail is all mine...

Nissan Leaf battery powered electric car

Neil Milner-Harris

only added an hour and a visit to Halifax each way to the trip?

The article reads as though you are talking about the journey from Manchester to Leeds at this point, surely not as that is only a 45 minute journey anyway!

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9810

Neil Milner-Harris

"upcoming Torch 9860"??

I've had one for nearly six weeks?

NHS bitchslapped by ICO on data security

Neil Milner-Harris

@Blofeld's Cat

"In a medical context speed is often very important"

Obviously you are used to attending a very different NHS to me! I have never used an NHS service that placed any emphasis on speed of delivery.

ICO orders release of (mostly useless) weather station data

Neil Milner-Harris

The main issue

That most of us that get categorised as 'Deniers' have is that the dataset and methodology wasn't released to allow the other scientists to validate the results.

This when further compounded by quotes such as "When I asked Oxburgh if [Keith] Briffa [CRU academic] could reproduce his own results, he said in lots of cases he couldn't," for me means that this is most definitely not science up to this point.

If however the results become repeatable and are validated by external scientists then it'll be science, until then it's just playing with numbers.

My personal gripe is that this 'science' is being used to govern serious and far reaching policy decisions as is it was incontrovertible fact.

Just to be clear before I get flamed to hell, I don't adamantly deny that humans are having any impact on our climate, nor do I ascribe to the hypothesis that we are solely or largely responsible for the change in the world climate, or even that the climate is changing in the manner we are told. I would just like some actual proper transparent science to be done by non political organisations to attempt to understand what actually is happening and what may actually be causing it.

Is that too much to ask?

The real reason most source is closed? Open is hard

Neil Milner-Harris

Missing the point

As 95% of the worlds software is written for internal enterprise use, most has little to no value outside of that enterprise, or worse would give competitors understanding of the internal processes of that enterprise.

So really the question is why would you go to the additional effort, no matter how trivial that may be, to open source something that has no value to anyone else or possibly may even be detrimental to your enterprise. Answer you wouldn't.

Pretty simple really.

Dear Ubuntu: The netbook is toast

Neil Milner-Harris

I'm curious about this whole netbook decline thing

I know a lot of people that have bought them very recently and quite a few people that have iPads and have then gone on to buy a netbook as well because the iPad doesn't deliver everything that they need.

I realise that one persons observations do not define the market trend but it just seems odd that people I know, even fairly distantly, seem to be getting more interested in netbooks than less interested.

Important breakthrough in mole-cruiser technology

Neil Milner-Harris

So let me get this straight

Scientists thought for ages and then realised that putting a point on the forward end would make it much easier to push its way through sand, soil and other obstructions?

Pure genius.

Let the Cloud Developer Wars begin

Neil Milner-Harris

Agree with Mark 65 but for different reasons

"The economic arguments are unassailable. Economies of scale make cloud computing more cost effective than running their own servers for all but the largest organisations."

Economies of scale do mean that running a cloud infrastructure datacenter is probably less costly than running all of the smaller subsets in isolation, although remember that from an accounting standpoint at lot of the costs of running your own infrastructure relating to buildings and their upkeep etc are fixed and so wouldn't be included directly in the cost of running the infrastructure locally but are when running a cloud platform as the supplier has to roll the datacentre's operational costs into the price of the service, the plain fact of the matter is that cloud platforms aren't being hosted for free (for any serious requirement anyway) and therefore the supplier has to make their margin on it as well.

This means that often a lot, sometimes even all, of the cost savings introduced by the scale of the infrastructure are offset by the charge from the supplier.

I do think that there are a lot of benefits to be had from moving to cloud services in many instances, support, availability and resilience, DR to name but a few, however cost is so marginal I would never put that right up front when trying to sell cloud services into a potential opportunity.

Nissan Leaf electric car

Neil Milner-Harris

Am I the only one...

Who thinks putting a wifi access point into an electric vehicle is really dumb?

When you are trying to conserve all of the power you can to extend the range surely just not having the pointless iPhone app and its supporting wifi network would be preferable over having to turn off the heater?

Facebook traffic mysteriously passes through Chinese ISP

Neil Milner-Harris
Black Helicopters

More info needed

Does this type of incident only get reported when the route takes the traffic through China? Or is it really as it seems that every time there is a routing issue of this nature the traffic ends up in China?

Clearly there is big difference in implications between the two scenarios...

ISPs to spill net traffic management beans

Neil Milner-Harris


What you pay for is determined by the conversation you have when you agree to enter in to the contract. At which point the representative will have conducted a line test and told you that you are likely to receive less than the advertised rate. Every time I have entered into a broadband contract I have also been told by the sales advisor that it is possible that I will not receive the same level or service during peak times etc, so it really isn't like they are hiding the fact that they manage their traffic.

They will also include within their Terms and Conditions (you did read those during your right to cancel period didn't you) details of the contention rates for the product you have purchased so you could cancel if you don't like it and find a product better suited to your needs.

For the record I do think that publishing the traffic management policies is a good thing, whether people understand it or not.

Neil Milner-Harris


For all the people complained about oversubscribed services, I presume that you would be willing to pay between 10 and 100 times as much for the same level of service but with a much lower contention ratio?

Thought not.

You get what you pay for.

Fukushima reactor core battle continues

Neil Milner-Harris

Subscription Cancelled

Seeing as how the Bank of Japan injected $85.5 billion into their economy yesterday, I suspect a few billion Euro is really neither here nor there when compared to the effects on the local area of a Chernobyl type event.

The 'cheap shot' at the end of the article wasn't that cheap and fully deserved by most of the 'journalism', I hesitate to use that word based on the quality of the coverage, employed to cover the events in Japan.

iPhone 'Death Grip' effect is real, plastic cases don't help

Neil Milner-Harris


Impressive selective reading there:

"reduction in sensitivity of the device when held, or when the user’s thumb is mimicked by phantom material"

Julian Assange™ applies to trademark himself

Neil Milner-Harris

I hereby second that

To assange even sounds right, someone start a facebook petition to get it included in the next revision of the Oxford English Dictionary.

ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

Neil Milner-Harris

@despairing citizen

No not at all, if you buy a car you are buying a product and it becomes your property once you have paid for it.

The issue here is the legal difference between buying a product (which everyone recognises then becomes yours) and buying a licence to use a product which is not the same at all.

IANAL so don't really know whether this is likely to fail or succeed at the ECJ but the answer is certainly not as simple as a lot of people (yourself included) think it should be.

Hopefully this ruling will sort that out so that we can all understand whether you are capable of owning a licence and therefore reselling it as you see fit.

Osborne bids nation fill his Budget portal

Neil Milner-Harris

Spam cannon deployed

I have fired already so we shall see if the chancellor adopts my incredibly well thought out proposals.

I suspect probably not.

Britain takes delivery of first Nissan e-cars

Neil Milner-Harris

Misleading Statistic Again

"sufficient for 80 per cent of the trips Britons make"

This is almost certainly true, in my case it is probably true for over 90% of trips that I make. Unfortunately I also make trips outside of this range at least 3 or 4 times a month, so hiring a car capable of the range for those would probably cost more than the monthly payments on a second car anyway.

80% of trips is most definitely not 80% of Britons.

It would be much more valuable (and therefore highly unlikely to ever surface) to see stats for the % of Britons that would be capable of making 80% of their trips in a Leaf.

Duracell MyGrid cable-free gadget charger

Neil Milner-Harris

Spot On

I'm grateful to you for confirming to me that I'm not the only person that really doesn't see the point of these devices.

These devices are a solution looking for a problem, really what is so difficult or complicated about plugging a phone in to the correct charger?

Plus its easier to carry a charger around than all of this kit.

Seriously when I got my latest Blackberry it cost less than £30 to get a second charger for the office, 2 car chargers and a cradle dock for it so I will be happily able to charge my phone anywhere I am likely to be on a regular basis.

New 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' demand £50 a day

Neil Milner-Harris

a quick google reveals


Apparently they do three tours which is a half day, so presumably 3.5 or 4 hours.

BBC workers lose £240k of tech gear in two years

Neil Milner-Harris

@Dave 142

I used to manage the infrastructure and comms for a multi national manufacturing business. This meant I was responsible for mobile handsets and laptops amongst other things.

Now we weren't the biggest company in the world (revenue was circa £50m) but we had hundreds of mobiles and at least 200 laptops in circulation.

In 4 years we lost 1 laptop that an idiot checked in as hold baggage on a flight, and we never 'lost' a mobile handset. Sure half a dozen got 'broken' beyond repair but none ever went missing.

Airline ejects passenger for being hungry

Neil Milner-Harris

Or just perhaps

The stewardess wasn't really paying attention and misheard him?

MPs bash broadband tax

Neil Milner-Harris

New Reg SI unit called for surely?

MPs today expressed concern that the government "has not defined what 2Mbit/s will mean in practice".

Surely this calls for a new El Reg unit of measurement to clarify the situation.

Devon force divulges ANPR towns online

Neil Milner-Harris

@Steve Swann

Whilst I wouldn't disagree with you about speed cameras, ANPR cameras exist for the sole purpose of detecting registration plates and by association vehicles that are driving on the roads and shouldn't be by virtue of them not having current insurance/MOT/road tax.

I'm not convinced about the speed = fatal RTAs argument however the an untaxed/untested/uninsured car is often an unlicenced driver so should be off the road.

Microsoft's web Office: No love for Chrome, Opera

Neil Milner-Harris

@Tsvetomir Tsonev

Although Webkit does indeed power all of the HTML rendering in those browsers the same HTML doesn't always elicit the same appearance in them all. Also they all use completely different javascript engines, which is more important than their HTML standards compliance in an application like web based productivity.

IE icon too familiar for Microsoft EU settlement?

Neil Milner-Harris

@wibbilus maximus

Quite clearly that is a mock up to convey intent and would not actually be presented in that fashion in the finished product.

Move along please, nothing to see here.

Dell accidentally sells 140,000 monitors for $15 a pop

Neil Milner-Harris


Actually, you were lucky as the retailer is under no obligation to sell you anything at any price. They are fully within their rights to refuse to sell you that sandwich at the full correct price for no other reason than they don't want to.

In addition there is a clause in the fair trade legislation providing for genuine pricing errors. If a retailer has made a genuine pricing error without any attempt to mislead then they are protected from pursuit under the fair trade act. However they do need to demonstrate that they took rapid action to correct the issue once they had been made aware of it.

Apple preps Jobsian magic wand

Neil Milner-Harris

Can I be the first to say..

..prior art!

Surely this application just describes the Wii?

Boeing chuffed with latest raygun-jumbo ground tests

Neil Milner-Harris

@Mark and AC

Have either of you guys actually used any industrial class lasers?

The beam is focused so that the energy is imparted on a point in space a specific distance from the aperture. The idea is that only at that particular point in space is enough energy being focused to cause any real problems.

Actually all lasers are fired in pulses, they fire in very short duration but incredibly high frequency pulses which give the impression of a single continous beam.

In this particular case the term plasma refers to an area of highly ionized gas, so plasma is used in the physics sense rather than the star trek sense.

Neil Milner-Harris

@George Jenkins

The idea is not to actually hit the missile with the beam itself but to focus the beam on an area the missile is about to pass through and turn the air into plasma.

This would seriously damage any section of the ICBM that passed through that region and could cause the fuel to explode with a good hit, thus disabling the missile.

MS takes Windows 3.11 out of embed to put to bed

Neil Milner-Harris

Hang on a minute

"everyone who actually remembers using this operating system is long gone"

I used 3.11 during my first year at Uni and I'm only 29!