* Posts by Leon Markham

7 posts • joined 6 Jun 2007

Amazon SimpleDB: a database server for the internet

Leon Markham

VHS vs Beta myth @Anonymous Coward

It's really a bit of a myth that Beta was better than VHS - in fact any demonstrably superior technology tends to win out - it's just that in our complex world the reality is often more ambiguous than one thing simply being better than the other.

Originally Betamax was perceived to offer higher quality picture and sound (although VHS played catch-up), HOWEVER Betamax had a lower capacity per cassette, which meant that you often had to get two of them to show a whole film.

As people in the IT industry we often make strident statements about one technology being better than another because of some technical advantage - essentially we are all twelve year old boys at heart and like to play top-trumps...however reality too often refuses to behave like a perfect sphere moving in a vacuum.

I do remember as a child, though, that Staffordshire County Council insisted on having Betamax video players. This has the unintended side-effect of making them virtually un-nickable, as your local smack-head couldn't get anything for a player which would only, by then, play educational videos nicked from the school.

Virgin Mary appears in Google's Iowa data center

Leon Markham
Dead Vulture

May be missing the point but

In a small community, an employer which takes on 30, reasonably well-paid people can be big news. Each of those jobs will have roll-on effects in terms of additional jobs created and furthermore a small town can attract other employers "hey - we're good enough for google" - AND local inhabitants can feel the warm glow of pride in their hearts.

Can we have a google icon for posts too?

Manchester Uni wins radio telescope HQ

Leon Markham

@Morely Dotes

Dear Mr Dotes

Easy on the "You'd probably love Tehran" - my brother just went to a Physics conference in Tehran and by all accounts the quality of the science and the scientists was top notch.

Admittedly there was a whole lot more dancing being banned and religious police busting parties than I am used to in West London. But there was a lot more cheap cashew nuts as well.


Leon Markham

Jodrell Bank

When I was at Manchester studying Physics I heard an old tale that the building of the original large radio telescope went massively over budget - to the extent that the Vice Chancellor of the University and the head of the Science Faculty were to be invited to answer questions in the House of Lords, with criminal proceedings threatened.

Apparently around this time Sputnik was launched, and this was the only facility in the Northern Hemisphere capable of tracking it. All of a sudden threats of incarcerations were exchanged for pats on the back and the people who built the telescope became heroes.

I don't know how true it is but it sure sounds nice - can any other Reg readers corroborate?


Yahoo! Agrees! To! Acquire! Talking! Heads! Song!

Leon Markham


Well well well - I went and checked my CD collection and I was wrong all along. Thanks Reg and thanks Mark Richards for helping me know more about my own CD collection.

Leon Markham

i Zimba

wasn't the Talking Heads song called I Zimba? Without the R?

Why Apple won't sell 10 million iPhones in 2008

Leon Markham

Convergence my hoop!

Just to add my tuppence to this debate...

To the guy who said "Many of its "innovations" are purely interface/GUI driven" - that's not a bad thing! Interface is the key and Apple are the masters of that - the iPod wasn't the first MP3 player by any stretch of the imagination, but they do get the customer experience right.

As to "convergence" - this word should be banned from all presentations and discussions on technology anywhere.

Convergence is meaningless to all but the geekiest of consumers - they want (or WE want) convenience and functionality. In my kitchen I have separate devices for heating water, bread, and everything else - this works for me and doesn't cause inconvenience. That's not to say that all "convergence" is bad - but it has to justify itself in terms of convenience and functionality - when I go on holiday I might go to an all inclusive "convergent" resort where a coloured wristband (or "single sign-on") gets me all I can eat or drink OR I might go to France where I have to intereact separately with each cafe, restaurant, petrol station and moody tobacconist.

Now when we are comparing those two holidays we might discuss which is tackier, which is easier, which is cheaper - but we never usually give a flying **** about which is convergent...



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