* Posts by Billy 8

46 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

Universal Credit CRISIS: Up to £200m in IT spend WASTED – NAO

Billy 8


Get you, with your common sense and practicality ;-) You'll never land a multi-billion wastebin project with that kind of thinking! ;-)

Met Office: 2014 was fifteenth warmest on record

Billy 8

Re: Name me one English summer

What are these "high-middling 20's" days you speak of?

</scotland> :-/

If you like slipping your hand into Puppets, look for these certified types

Billy 8

Re: The future of Sysadmining.

There are web-based interfaces that work with it thought - like foreman for instance. Which I've been meaning to try out for a while. Just as soon as I get to the end of my infinite to-do list... :-/

MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

Billy 8

I imagine this would be fairly easily implemented by getting the card processors like ccBill to require some kind of "R18" style meta tags on your pages or refuse to process for you. That'd get 99% of the legit pr0n sites and just leave 1% of lazy/non-plussed/confused folk and 100% of the dodgy ones. Solved!


Microsoft loses grip on Christmas shoppers... despite XBox boost

Billy 8


Surely the vast profits from Bing! will see them through?

Cocky Spotify drops time limits on free listening, skint music-lovers cheer

Billy 8

Re: Maybe there's still some snobbery as with self-publish writers vs. publishing company.

Possibly - yeah. I would have imagined that '50 Shades' would have altered that perception - but maybe not. I guess "real" publishers also still dish out advances too.

Billy 8


I'm not sure it's the artists who are clinging to the wrong model - possibly it's the record companies still taking ~80% despite them no longer having to maintain the physical stock & distribution - or even the infrastructure to host the content.

Though I admit I'm not sure why more musicians don't sell their work direct through Bandcamp or the like. Maybe there's still some snobbery as with self-publish writers vs. those with a "real" publishing company.

Docker 0.7 has a lover in every port: Containerizer cozies up to Linux distros

Billy 8

I've found Docker quite handy...

For instance, there's a package one of our users wanted installed on all the Linux machines. It's got a ready-built debian binary + dependancies, but nothing for any other distro we use so was going to mean a lot of hand-compiling & annoyance.

Enter Docker - install the app in a tiny ubuntu container with it's deps, then just run that container on all the other distro's. Job done.

WTF is the Internet of Things and how insurers will use it against you

Billy 8

Re: Why do we want the internet of things?

I've seen "The Thingternet" being used for it :-)

Doctor Who Episode One: Through a glass. Darkly

Billy 8

Unaired Pilot

Not sure if it's included on the DVD, but there was also an un-aired pilot of Unearthly Child that you can pick up via the interwebs. It's very similar, but a few changes - and Hartnell's character seems even more malevolent.

Sonos and I: How home media playback just gets SO FRUSTRATING

Billy 8

Re: great article

I picked up an airport express recently as it supports being a wireless client for airplay streams. Has an analogue audio out so I could plug it into my existing hifi. Happily controlling from an android remote-control app and there are Linux tools if you want to integrate an Rpi too. Cost about 70 quid, but really saved me a load of hassle - ymmv :-)

Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Mealy pudding v migas

Billy 8

White pudding uses...

Innuendo's aside... I discovered recently that slicing a white pudding, frying it in a little butter 'till the golden brown - then stirring said sausage through the start of a beef bolognese makes for a very, very lush final result.

Don't bother with that degree, say IT pros

Billy 8

If we don't have compsci graduates...

... who's going to fill all those Haskell & Lisp jobs?


.Scot campaign seeks UK Gov backing

Billy 8

Not a fan of the SNP - but...

.. it was Labour who were behind the parliament building and the SNP were against the trams from day one.

Dixons warns it's getting worse

Billy 8

Last time I was in Dixons...

... I was looking for an ebook reader or tabletPC. They had plenty of them - just they were all locked down to the desk with heavy security cables that meant you couldn't actually pick them up and hold them.

Surprisingly, I didn't buy from Dixons...

Doctor Who co-star Nicholas Courtney dies at 81

Billy 8

I have erased...

... all of the Syvester McCoy era episodes from my mind ;-)

Billy 8

Nicest comment I've seen so far..

was on twitter :

"@cobaltmale I like to think of the Brig like King Arthur... just having a nap, but able to return in his country's greatest hour of need."

:: does a big geeky tragic sniffle ::

But it said so in the manual

Billy 8

My ignorance...

But can you use other FS's on Windows? Not in a hacky "yes, it's just about possible" way - but are there production-ready alternatives? Coming from a more Linux-centric world where you can often choose a filesystem to suit the workload - I'm just curious. I seem to remember that Veritas had a version of vxfs for Windows - but I haven't really looked at that for years.

Anyway - just curious :-)

What does the Hurd mentality bring to Oracle?

Billy 8

Read the headline and thought...

... "Surely Oracle haven't bought out the Hurd too?!". Then it dawned on me. I should get out more...

Likewise Open polished with 6.0 release

Billy 8

6th of July

It's not available to download for another week or so. I've used it in a few teaching labs for students and it's a whole lot easier than faffing around with "plain" samba or a direct LDAP->A.D connection. Hopefully 6.0 will clear up the last few issues I've seen with trust relationships in A.D.

Sometimes I miss yp mind you ;-)

'Biggest thing in farming for 10,000 years on horizon'

Billy 8
Paris Hilton

I'd like to say

that is my new ambition to become a "dirtboffin". Top stuff ;-)

Group policy for Unix

Billy 8


I manage quite a lot of disparate *nix systems using Puppet. http://www.puppetlabs.com/ . Free, open and very straight-forward. Works on OS-X too. It's more unix-ie than faffying about with Likewise/A.D etc, I find anyway. And a lot easier to debug ;-)

Son of Transputer powers new Amiga box

Billy 8

It might be good... but...

.. it's no AtariST ;-)

A Rumba with a Roomba

Billy 8

I got one about three weeks ago

And it really is the best thing "evah". Lying on the sofa with a g&t while a little robot scurries around cleaning the floor is a joy. My carpet is a kind of weird black corduroy affair (thanks, landlord!) that has always proven difficult to clean with a normal hoover - but the roomba got it spotless after about two goes.

But yes - it does make you start to eye the rest of your living space and feel a little guilty that you're not keeping it quite as tidy as the roomba would like. If nothing else, sweeping all the dust and detritus onto the floor seems to make it happier ;-)

'I'm an IT worker not an assassin'

Billy 8

'I'm an IT worker not an Assassin'

And lo, a new geek t-shirt slogan was born....

Labour MP denies calling Tories 'scum-sucking pigs' on Twitter

Billy 8

Pfft ;-)

Sarcasm ftw ;-)

Doctor Who attempted to overthrow Thatcher

Billy 8

Politics in Who?

Look no further than the, ahem, wonderful "Sun Makers" or "Power of Kroll" for some 70's anti-class-anti-oil-shoving-it-to-the-man awfulness. There were some fairly overt ones in the Pertwee era too.

Give me William Hartnell wandering around a set muttering "Hm?! Ouh!" as he tries to remember his lines and figure out where they've hidden his gin... Happy days...

Iranian net slows to a crawl before planned protests

Billy 8

Bodes well..

Coming ontop of the "Punch" comments from Khamenei it sounds like it's going to be an interesting week...


Top cop's 'stop stopping snappers' memo: Too little too late?

Billy 8

And yet today the Beeb are carrying this...


"Film of 'terror targets' released ... The footage was released to explain why police may stop people who are filming. "

Darling promises IT cuts, years of pain

Billy 8

It's not all bad news...

"Bingo Duty" is being reduced from 22% to 20%! Silver linings and all that... ;-)

UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

Billy 8


As a bit of a mark of respect I've been watching some old Edward Woodward TV work recently. He did a show in the late 70's called "1990" [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990_%28TV_series%29 ]. It's surprisingly good. The government is rather authoritarian, nominally left-wing, rabid home secretary and endless privacy-encroaching laws with a special political police force who use threats, vaguely worded laws etc to control the population.

It's all a bit tatty in a wonderfully true-to-life British kind of way - worth a watch if you can find it. This story (and many other recent ones!) reminded me of it...

O/S bloat: What's the cure?

Billy 8


Is the free version of Virtuozzo which also does this - certainly with Linux. "Virtual Private Servers" which share the underlying OS. We use it quite a lot - it's really very good. http://wiki.openvz.org/Main_Page

Massive net surveillance programme on schedule

Billy 8

Re. If these idiots...

I think the idiots you mean might well be gone, but the spooks and home office bods will still be there holding the tiller ;-)

DCSF claims good reception for ContactPoint

Billy 8


Of children "need support from specialist services at any one time"? I'm hoping that a lot of that is just "go see the nurse for some dettol" type support and not some kind of social services kind... :-/

MPs give offender system drubbing in scathing report

Billy 8

Whenever I read about DB's like this...

... I can't help thinking "Was the spec basically noms.prisoner_table, noms.prisoner_updates_table?". Maybe with a little acl_table chucked in. Then I see the 234m price tag and realise that either I'm terribly naive, or that they were buying Oracle licenses & consultants ;-)

Windows 7, Bing and mobile will determine Ballmer's future

Billy 8


... Seems to refer to a 128bit filesystem (a-la ZFS/btrfs/etc), not the OS as a whole. Who knows, maybe 128bit-WinFS will finally make it into a real release one day... ahem....

Ubuntu's Karmic Koala opens its eyes

Billy 8

One day...

... we'll have our octo-core multi-gigahertz machines booting as quickly as a ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 ;-)

Yahoo! spruces open source Exchange rival

Billy 8

Re: Chocolate teapot

There's an open-source package called SoGo (http://www.scalableogo.org/english.html) give you nice calendering and also has a free plugin for Thunderbird that makes it very outlook-like. Not that it helps if you're specifically tied to Outlook, but the functionality is there.

Society bible lectures students on etiquette

Billy 8

Re: Advice for geeks

..."Then make your watch explode."

Do Apple make watches now too? ;-)

Apple yanks C64 emulator from App Store

Billy 8
Jobs Horns

Why don't Apple...

... Just start selling DRM'd Commodore 64 games via iTunes? ;-) Everyone's a winner ;-)

Apple poaches eBay data center guru

Billy 8
Jobs Halo

Spending 1bn...

Couldn't it just be they're going to run it on apple hardware and it's actually just a half-dozen (very stylish) racks? ;-)

Blade Runner tops sci-fi movie poll

Billy 8


No "The Day the Earth Caught Fire"? The fools! ;-)

High Court shields database state from blame

Billy 8

Kafka would be proud...

... Goes to dig out his copy of "The Trial"... ;-)

Red Hat Enterprise clone poised to 'die'

Billy 8

RE: yossarianuk

A lot of people want stability. Stability that lasts for years. RHEL (and CentOS) give you seven years of platform stability for each major release. Sometimes that means you will have "old" kernels or not-quite-bleeding-edge PHP by default but for a lot of people that doesn't matter - as long as they get bug-fixes they *like* knowing that the versions don't change for years on end.

If you have a project that depends on particular library/API/versions that might last five years or more it's an excellent choice. If you want more rapid turnover then there's Ubuntu or the like.

A lot of commercial (closed-source) packages are also built against RHEL versions (sometimes with SLES) and if you don't use them you're on your own. The application died after running a three-month long simulation and you lost everything? Too bad - at least you've got the latest compiz & gcc to play with...

I'm not anti-debian or anything - I happily run RHEL&clones alongside SuSE, debian, Ubuntu (and Solaris, AIX, IRIX..). Different OS's for different cases.

Google's vanity OS is Microsoft's dream

Billy 8

I think you overestimate...

.. what a very large number of people do with computers these days. A very large proportion of the people I know use their computer (usually a cheap laptop) to connect to the net (usually with a dongle), read their myspace/facebook/hotmail, look at a couple of websites, maybe watch a youtube video or two. Then they switch it off and go do something else.

I think we're getting into a very mature market where "pro's" buy the tools they need (dual quad-core, photoshop, lightroom, whatever) and most people buy what's cheap and "good enough". Most people aren't F1 racing drivers and are quite happy with a car that starts first time, lets them drive to tesco and get their shopping home. Then they stop thinking about their car. Most people don't buy a Canon 1Ds with ten L-Series lenses and an Elinchrom rig - they point their mobile phone at their mates and press "click". Those who really need that kind of kit will seek it out and pay the extra costs - but for the majority? They don't need it and don't really care.

I'm old enough to remember "ZOMG! You've got a computer in your own house!!!!!1111" and people being amazed by '10 PRINT "Hello! "; GOTO 10'. Part of me is sad that those days are gone. But gone they are...

Google polishes Chrome into netbook OS

Billy 8

I imagine...

This will be a little like gOS (http://www.thinkgos.com/). When you click the "Office" icon you'll get taken to google apps via Chrome. Probably with a basic file-manager to let you manage things from SD/CF cards & USB sticks to "the cloud" (porting Picassa seems a likely bet), maybe some basic printer configuration too.

I'd be fairly happy with it on a netbook - especially if they get back to the cheap "chuck it in your bag and go" feel they hard to start with before the price started to creep up.