* Posts by Mark Walker

15 publicly visible posts • joined 14 May 2007

Oracle promises SLAs that halve Amazon's cloud costs

Mark Walker

"won't run without being satisfied it has a disaster recovery rig waiting to pick up the slack"

Um, so it's offline whenever primary _or_ backup is down?

I was a robot and this is what I learned

Mark Walker

Best article on El Reg in a long while

Thanks Trevor, I really enjoyed the vivid description of your experience

Cisco's purple princesses gush workplace joy

Mark Walker

Is that all?

When I worked for Cisco UK it was hugely supportive of a colleague whose breadth of fashion choices rivalled Eddie Izzard's. Made me proud to work there.

Factories are too DULL for Google's robo-dreams: Behold the GATAMAMs

Mark Walker

There's a reason it's Rubin

Your android phone knows some of what you want, some of your movement habits, some of how you spend your time, some of your plans (perhaps like me your calendar is a little sketchy, because all the phone can really do with it is beep a reminder).

So make this connected bundle of sensors large, so it has a bigger power source, and its eyes can always be on, and its ears always open to hear your commands. Now give it independent motion, and a means to interact with the environment. Now it is your chauffeur, your chef, your housekeeper, your PA, your coach, your butler. Now you tell it _lots_ more because it can do so much more. And it observes constantly.

This isn't about streetview on steroids. It is what your digital companion ('phone' has been inadequate for a long time) becomes.

...or maybe it's just that I watched Robot and Frank at the weekend :-)

Fisher-Price in hot seat: iPad bouncy chair lets APPLE BABYSIT tots – parents

Mark Walker

Re: What is the issue?

Mostly the problems seem to come from what is going on on the screen, or from using the screen too early in brain development. So learning Spanish with the help of Dora and Diego - fantastic. A screen displaying false perspective inches from the eyes just when a young infant brain is wiring up the feedback loops between cognition and motor skills - not so hot. Fast-moving content which holds attention (i.e. a good babysitter for the parents) but wires the brain up to expect too fast a reality has been linked to ADHD http://www.examiner.com/article/television-and-children-under-two-can-too-much-tv-lead-to-adhd

There is a world of difference between and infant and a toddler in terms of stages of brain development. Studies of brain damage in Romanian orphans show that the first two years after birth are when neurons grow the fabric of connection that supports future learning. Miss that or mess it up and you are screwed for life. Connection growth is stimulated by interaction. So with an _infant_ you either give the interaction human brain development has evolved in response to, or you do something 'modern' and take a gamble (you know, like when thalidomide was the 'modern' cure for morning sickness)...

My experience (as a father of several teenagers and a foster carer to some children exposed to very poor parenting): well chosen TV and apps in moderation can be a great tool. But I'm going to be critical of any product that discourages human and real-world interaction for infants, and by its existence might mislead parents into impairing their child's brain development.

Amazon unleashes JavaScript SDK so devs can conjure cloud gods

Mark Walker


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? https://www.firebase.com/ (other Backend-as-a-Service startups also available)

ToryDems stoke ID card 'bonfire'

Mark Walker


Will we call them the ConDems once we learn to hate them as much as the last mob of useless twats?

'Go veggie to save the planet' UN, EU plans debunked

Mark Walker
Thumb Down

One scientist's counter-opinion == debunk?

Is El Reg now the climate-sceptic version of Auntie Beeb's unquestioning one-sided climate-change propaganda? Or is this just an example of lazy reporting and a leftover from Copenhagen kept for a slow-news day?

El Reg brought valuable balance to reporting of Climategate, but some analysis of how Mitloehner's methodology and funding compare to the 2006 IPCC report instead of simply repeating his criticisms and conclusions as 'truth' would have been welcome

How much of the EU's data will the UK lose?

Mark Walker


Google or Microsoft - there's a question

Like trying to decide between Conservative and NuLabour - one you traditionally abhor, and the other you've rapidly learnt to loath...

Competition regulator kyboshes Project Kangaroo

Mark Walker

Compete on what?

Don't the BBC, ITV & C4 compete on content? This is like telling them that all using the same broadcast transmission standard is anti-competitive. Surely that's only the case if someone with their own delivery platform also monopolised a load of content rights, like sport for instance...

Today is not Hadron Collider Day

Mark Walker

Today is 10/9/8

Now the physics boffins need to build an even bigger machine to turn on in twelve and a half years for 4/3/21

Acer Aspire One A110

Mark Walker

@Boot Times?

Mine's rebuilt with Ubuntu Hardy Heron (Netbook Remix) following the instructions on https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne

512Mb/8Gb model as reviewed - takes 45 seconds to boot to Ubuntu login screen

Google's Street View spycar clocked in London

Mark Walker


God help us if it gets out to Essex during the summer - there'll be "ladies" flashing their googlies in every frame!

Google's 'Gphone' said to be mobile OS

Mark Walker


Been working on the project for two years - the same two years since Google aquired Android (Andy Rubin's "secretive mobile startup")?

Biofuels are the 'next environmental danger'

Mark Walker

Divert livestock grain

Around half the grain produced in the world is for animal feed, and that used for feeding cows is an order of magnitude less efficient (in terms of weight of meat produced) that using it for poultry.

Cutting beef subsidies (approx £300 per cow in EU) so beef is sold at it's true cost would soon change consumer food spending, and free up a lot of existing arable land for biofuels.