* Posts by Andy

16 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

UK clamps down on bus-spotting terror menace



That's actually not a bad idea. Rather than waiting to be arrested and getting a letter of apology, why not write to the Chief Constable and get them to send you a letter before you get harassed.

Ideally, there should be a FAQ and form letter on the ACPO or local police authority website that you can print out and keep with you.

(Stop sign for the nonsense that the government and police are currently trying on with the populous)

UK's biggest meteorite impact rocked Scotland


Not another Northern Rock story...

Coat already on...

Sweet, sweet smell of comments in code?



As usual, Matt Stephens sets up a straw man to knock down...

Comments are not a smell.. In fact, in the description of code smells (from the book 'Refactoring'), comments are listed as a deodorant, something that can be used to mask bad smells.

The idea is, if something needs commenting, it's because it's hard to understand. If you can make the subject of your comment easier to understand, then you don't need the comment.

This removes the issue of having to keep the comment and the code in sync (especially important if the comment lives at the start of a long method and you can't see it at the location where you are changing the code)

If you are working around an API, then you can't do anything to improve the code, so comments are useful.

A comment should represent a useful and hard-earned piece of information that will save you (or your colleagues) time and heartache at a later date.

Matt's example with the rabbits and the first of the month is a poor example. If finding the rabbit is the important step, then the method *would* be called findRabbit, it may be called by a method isFirstOfMonth (if we find the first of the month by finding white rabbits)

AI prof: The robot terrorists are coming! Aiee!

Black Helicopters

Autonomous Death Bots

Autonomous Chain Saws...


Sony renounces rear-projection TVs



I'm upset cos when I read 'it expects to sell 10m LCD TVs this financial year', I thought a 10 metre screen would be awesome :-(

An unsatisfactory meal in County Antrim

Paris Hilton


Boil tortured to the point of cellular collapse. A definite addition to my lexicon :-)

Brown splits DTI, creates ministers for biz & boffinry



I guess with all the failed IT projects, they have got pretty used to seeing DB ERR on their screens.

Google resumes linking to Belgian newspaper sites



Yes, but some owners of 200ft billboards don't have the time or the inclination to look up all the technical details on whether the billboard is accessible to all. They just want you to stop looking at it when they find out!

Hotmail's antispam measures snuff out legit emails, too


@Neill Mitchell

It's possible that your emails to SmartScreen have gone unanswered because they employ SmartScreen spam filters...

Catch 22

Cause of global warming found


Jonathan Hammler


Hawking amazed by weightlessness



I think when Mr Hawking said that he could go on and on, he meant that he would have enjoyed the opportunity to stay "weightless" indefinitely.

Not that he thought that if he pushed off from the aircraft that he would float on forever, perhaps pointing his newly hacked missile launch platform at the moon, or something...

Survey: young Brits ready to embrace evoting



Why don't the candidates submit their blogs to digg, then whoever has the most votes wins.

And there would be no perl script abuse or anything! :-)

Daily Telegraph rattles legal sabre at Google


Google news

news.google.co.uk front page and search do not appear to show any adverts.

They show a summary of the story, along with the a link to the article on the website of the content publisher and followed by the name of the publisher.

Anyone want to bet that the news summary comes from metadata that the publishers put there for "Search Engine Optimisation"?

While there are adverts on the main search results page, most people when searching for news are probably more interested in the results than the adverts ("Buy your Diana inquest from eBay").

Again, these link to the main publisher, where the publisher is free to make money from their own advertising.

Perhaps Google should get a referral fee for advertising revenue from the publishers?

Also, guess who provides the search capability for the telegraph.co.uk site.

In summary:

Google do not publish the entire news article, they do not copy and pass off the content, they may get some ad revenue as a side benefit of listing the stories.

The Telegraph or whoever do not have to pay to list their content, do not have to pay a referral fee, do not have to develop their own search engine, are free to make money from their own web pages through whatever mechanism they like.

Delist the Telegraph stories (then they have no copyright complaint), this will have the added bonus of forcing the Telegraph to source an alternative search engine for their website (no content listed on google). Not that anyone will care because they won't be able to find the site any more.



Also, the billboard analogy doesn't quite sit right with me.

Maybe it's more a case of sticking a billboard in the parking lot of your neighbours cafe and advertising in big flashing lights that this is the best cafe in the local area, and then adding a quick link at the bottom for other things that may be of interest to the viewer (such as the nearest pub.. after you've had your meal...)

Or maybe like advertising the cafe for free on leaflets that you distribute to the neighbourhood, along with the paid-for pub recommendations etc. Then the cafe owner complains that although their business is almost all through referrals from your leaflets, they are really annoyed that you are getting money from advertisers that have nothing to do with their cafe!

Oh, and the telegraph.co.uk site didn't work in Firefox when I tried it... had to fire up IE.



Newspaper: Dear google, we couldn't help but notice that you are considerably richer than us. Also, you show snippets of our copyright material. Please cease this naughty behaviour.

Google: OK, well we can stop showing the snippets of your copyright material, but that will mean that you won't show up in our search results.

Newspaper: AGGGH! No! You have a monopoly on search (just like Yahoo!, Lycos etc). You must show our content, but we want you to pay us for it

Google: So, let me get this straight. You want us to pay you for the right to refer people to your website? How about we delist you and then you pay us to index your approved content snippets?

Dark mutterings on killer Wi-Fi in schools help no one


Bad Statistics

"a recent authoritative Finnish study has found that people who have used mobiles for more than ten years are 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side of the head as they hold their handset".

This is the stuff that the extreme groups latch on to and use to spread their FUD.

Of 10,000 people who had used a mobile phone for more than 10 years, 10 people had brain tumours. Of those 10, 7 had a tumour on the side that they hold the phone. If it was random you would expect it to be around 5, so, if you get a brain tumour (.1% chance) then it is 40% more likely to be on the side you use your phone.

Fill in your own bad numbers as appropriate.

I realise that the author does not acknowledge these statistics as being accurate.


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