* Posts by Dr Andrew A. Adams

28 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Jul 2007

Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: Every language and culture

Belgium, man. Belgium!

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

Dr Andrew A. Adams
Big Brother

Re: 1984


Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Using the US stupid holiday system to support any change to other countries' employment practices shows an overwhelming lack of understanding of the irrationalityof management in US companies. There are bucketloads of well-designed studies which show that over time, almost all people become less productive when they don't take holidays and when they work more than somewhere around 45 hours per week on an ongoing basis (*). There are exceptions to this and those few exceptions are often the ones making decisions because they can outcompete everyone else so get promoted. BUT, they are a minority and slave-driving everyone else reduces their efficiency not increases it. But no one in management anywhere is really willing to say the emperor has no clothes and manage their company effectively. It makes us all richer and better off in so many other ways, when we mandate things like the European Working Time Directive, which doesn't allow people to work themselves into the ground and prevents over-competition screwing everyone. There is a clear market failure here that needs regulating in the interests of both society and the economy.

(*) short term versus long term is radically different here. Most people can work long hours for a week, or two or three. The longer they work more hours the less productive they become, making mistakes (which they or other people have to correct), simply working more slowly etc. Similarly, most people can work for a year or two only taking minimal holidays but again their performance degrades over time. THis can be difficult to judge because their expertise may be going up at the same time so they seem more productive than two years ago, but this is "what is seen and what is not seen" (Bastiat) and the loss in productivity of an experienced worker working sensible hours per week and sensible weeks per year is hard to see individually, but well-supported by the evidence.

Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: Politics. politics....and duplicity

There are gay people in Japan, and the gay rights movement is beginning to get some traction.


Cross-dressing blokes storm NSA HQ: One shot dead, one hurt

Dr Andrew A. Adams
Big Brother

Re: Tapeador

Whenever there is even a planned terrorist attack (laughable liquid bomb plot, anyone?) the home secretary of the day usually goes on TV and says that the resulting disruption to air travel is a necessary and suitable price to pay for "saving even one life". There is very good evidence that making 20 MPH the speed limit in urban areas, 40mph on all other roads than motorways and 50mph on motorways would reduce road traffic accident deaths by a large percentage (speed really does kill, every mph raises the risk). But, despite the fact that it would save many lives, no government will take the hit of annoying the motoring lobby to save these lives.

Freedom of Info at 10: Tony Blair's WORST NIGHTMARE

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: Burden

A little-understood aspect of the FoI was that public bodies were supposed to move towards pro-active publication (on their "publication scheme" - pretty much a websitee, or maybe a database server) of as much of their data as was possible - anything without a reason to keep it secret was supposed to end up public automatically. Unfortunately, there were no teeth in the act to support this move, and the ICO's office ws actually screwed by the FoI Act because it expanded their responsibilities but they've never had the resources to deal with both FoI and Data Protection properly.

As for the main article, all politicians are in favour of FoI when in opposition. They all lose that zeal sometime after coming into office. The longer in opposition, the longer the zeal takes to wear off. Almost all countries with FoI have adopted it under a government from a usually opposition party, or as part of a coalition agreement involving smaller parties.

Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: If the tone is wrong the content is lost

A properly run volunteer project still has someone in charge who has the ability to "lock the doors" against unwanted participants. While it's possible to set up a code repositoryto allow anyone and everyone to upload changes, that wouldbea really stupid way to do it and no serious project does.

So, no, one does not have to use inappropriatemethods to get rid of someone. Whoever is in charge, whether that's one person or a committee, makes the decision, and revokes write access to the repository, remove them from the main discussion group (email, chat room, whatever).

Look, pal, it’s YOUR password so it’s YOUR fault that it's gone AWOL

Dr Andrew A. Adams

"Remember, our security is your top priority." FTFY.

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Dr Andrew A. Adams

You missed a more recent device. The Sharp PC-Z1 was a linux (ubuntu)-running netbook spec barely bigger than a Psion 5. I finally replaced my beloved 5 with one of these when they came out in 2009 and I'm still running it.

My tablet is an Asus Transformer. If Asus brought out a phone-sized or Phablet transformer that might persuade me to replace the PC-Z1.

Who's who: 12th Doctor has been chosen, will meet you on Sunday night

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: Another Doctor

Absent intervention from the High Council on Gallifrey Time Lords regenerated 12 times, meaning there would be thirteen doctors in total. The High Council offered The Master a whole new set of regenerations in "The Five Doctors" so they had the ability to extend it. With Gallifrey gone, who knows what the limit might be. Plus River Song gifted a bunch of regenerations to The Doctor when she healed him in "Let's Kill Hitler". There's so many ways to get around the 12 regeneration/13 incarnations limit and as long as the show is still popular they'll find a way.

Apple files patent for iPhone with wraparound display

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Originally, you used to have to present a working model of a patented device. Then it became a diagram of a WORKING device because patent offices couldn't house the devices. Then it just became a diagram of a piece of vapourware or figment of a science fictional imagination. Forget Apple's abuse, the entire patent system is so broken it couldn't see Working on a nice clear day with a telescope.

Good news! UK IT jobs up. Bad news? They're with a bunch of bankers

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Re: Are they all different jobs?

Didn't St Steve of Jobs say the same thing about why Apple manufactures in China and not America - not enough engineers with decent quality skills.

Universe has more hydrogen than we thought

Dr Andrew A. Adams
Thumb Up

Re: What about the gaps between galaxies?

And what about relative absorption of other, heavier free elements? While there are less of them around, they're heavier. Again, it may not solve the dark matter problem in the calcualtions, but it could provide another echidna or three'2 worth of those 30 echidnas in the Large Kangaroo-sized hole in the equations.

Tube bosses: 'Wireless tickets too slow, we think'

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Works in Tokyo

They've been paying by bonk here on mobies as well as the SUICA/PASMO cards since before 2007 (on my first trip here I was surprised to see someone talking on the phone go up to the ticket gate say something like "hold on a mo" (in Japanese) and bonk the phone). The train companies own the card payment companies, though (there were two incompatible systems running in early 2007 - one by the private companies one by the former monopoly). By March they'd sorted out cross-compatibility, though and you could use either card, including boking the phone. I think their problem is more the style of gate than the phone payment system. Shinjuku station is the world's busiest and Tokyo station one of the world's largest (and not far behind on number of passengers) and they work pretty well at the gates. Payment options include CC debit, mobile bill and pre-pay so far as I know (though I haven't looked into it in detail - a prepay card topped up once every few weeks is good enough for me).

After Jobs: Apple and the Cult of Disruption

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Academics are not parasites

As with all professions, such as journalism, there are good and bad academics. Dismissing academics as parasites is deeply insulting to thousands who do great work in both teaching and research. It was university researchers and professors who created the Internet, who created relational databases, who produced the original work on integrated circuits and a large proportion of the rest of the soft and hard infrastructure that goes to make up computing and IT, which provides your living. This ws an unnecessary slur on a large body of people,many of whom work very long hours for too little pay (certinaly a lot less than they could get in any other profession given their talent) as it added nothing to your article's main point.

Here lies /^v.+b$/i

Dr Andrew A. Adams



Beeb rolls out global paid iPlayer app in €urope

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Linux, Japan, Please!

Well, it's a good start. Once they provide a linux version that's accessible in Japan I'll probably subscribe even though everything is available through bittorrent anyway. I like the BBC and want to support them but there's no mechanism here except watching the adverts on BBC World News (which are awful).

Google's Facebook: It rocks, but who cares?

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Friendster and Liverjournal tap MySpace on the back

and point out that MySpace was a Johnny-come-lately itself.

GCHQ losing its 'internet whizzes' to Microsoft, Google

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Military Does it Better (and iPods as much as salary, perhaps)

It's interesting that the CIVIL service can't handle this while the military service can and does quite easily. A specialist corporal (you don't stay at private if you're a specialist, basically) in a highly technical area will earn far more than the officers "above" him/her until you get to a really quite senior rank like full Colonel.

I wonder how much the problem is also issues like not being able to take one's iPhone/iPod or whatever in to work. I heard a from a credible source recently that it's this aspect that's putting off good grads from going to work at the NSA.

Mummy, mummy, there's a nuclear monster!

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Only to and by the panicked and panic-mongers

Only by panicking foreign governments like the US (and even their website says don't take them unless things change). People have been demanding them and so pharmaceutical companies and doctors have been supplying them, if only to stop people buying and swallowing the (slightly poisonous if swallowed in sufficient quantities) idoine mouthwash.

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Great Story. One Minor Correction

Great story. However, one correction. The rolling blackouts. The announcements by TEPCo were quite correctly forecasts of what they would do if the people in Tokyo (and surrouding regions) did not conserve power. Most people did and so MOST 8but not all) of the predicted backouts were not put into practice. Some were. The only reson they have stopped now is the change in the weather. When the earthquake hit and the power plants went off-line (not just Fukiushima but a number of others went offline from power production but were not scrammed) it was still the tail end of winter and quite cold, plus businesses took some time to figure out power saving optins -like reducing the number of fluorescent lights and large TV screens in use. Now that the weather has warmed up, the power cuts have stopped. Even though most of the power plants will be back online within a few months, before then the weather in Tokyo will start getting deadly hot (literally - in a hot summer here there can be many deaths from heat stroke, particularly among the elderly). Without air conditioning people WILL suffer significant health effects. The rolling balckouts are expected to have to be put into practice during the summer months, gradually reducing as the rest of the plants (including the Fukushima Daini reactors) come back ons-stream. If the nuclear scary monster crowd get their way and have Fukushima Daini closed down (as they're calling for in some places) then they will be likely killing (and certainly shortening the life spans) of elderly people in and around Tokyo due to rolling blackouts leaving them without air conditioning.

Google Linux servers hit with $5m patent infringement verdict

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Nature Futures Story

This is the basis of the Nature Futures sotry by Dave Clements here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v469/n7330/full/469438a.html

Forget the "right to read" (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html), the "right to breed (plants)" has already gone.

Chinese hurl $1.5bn into NFC city

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Technology "No one loves" except that Japanese, and Londoners

No one loves NFC, except for Londoners, most of whom seem to use an Oyster card for the train. Oh, and people living in urban areas in Japan. The Suica and Pasmo cards, like the Oyster card, are used for the entire train and almost all the bus network in greater Tokyo (up to 90 minutes from the centre on non-shinkansen trains, well outside Tokyo proper). Many of the vending machines near and in stations accept them as do the stores in and around stations. Other payment systems such as the Edy and ID card systems are accepted by many restaurants and convenience stores. The loyalty card for Yodobashi Camera can be a swipe card or stored on your mobile phone. The trick is not to try to force everyone into a one size, one scheme system, but develop a variety of options. The mobile-embedded cards can be linked to a credit card account (or you can have a joint credit card and Suica card) or can be linked to the mobile phone account. Unfortunately you can't have an anonymous phone-embedded card because there's no way to charge it at the station (you have to physically enter the cards into the machines to charge them which is fine for the separate cards and the credit card-based ones but no good for a mobi). If you want to have fewer things to carry around (and lose) then embedding the card in your mobile, which you probably carry all the time anyway, is fine. If not, you can have a separate anonymous card with replacements purchasable everywhere.

Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Get your facts right

The VIC-20 was a colour machine, and pre-dated the C64. The Commodore PET was B&W IIRC (almost certainly because the VIC-20 was the first colour home computer around). The Apple ][ was green-screen. The Apple ][ was brought out around the time of the Commodore Pet, so why are you including the Apple ][ and the C64 in the same article? Some of us remember those days, even if we were in primary school!

Microsoft's 'M' treads on US veterans' toes

Dr Andrew A. Adams

WorldWide Fund for nature

Interestingly, no one else here has noticed that even though they forced the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), they had already changed their name, though not their acronym, from the World Wildlife Fund to the WorldWide Fund for nature, and then just wen the ICI route and are now known just as the WWF. http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/who_we_are/history/index.cfm

Amazon throws cash at MySpace-ified music startup

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Backwards Economics

Hmm, wonderfully backwards economics here. It costs a known amount of money to produce a piece of music (known once it's done, that is - each piece takes a different amount). The claim that people have for being paid for music is that they need to cover their costs (including a reasonable pay cheque for the musicians as well as the costs of hiring the studio, paying the engineers and for any consumable resources - not as many as there used to be since hard disks are vastly reusable whereas multi-track tapes had a more limited shelf life). So, when the first few people listen to something, their enjoyment of the music costs the most. If it never takes off and becomes popular, then the music has a very high cost-per-listener. As it becomes more popular, the cost-per-listener goes down, and so the price should go down. Now, there's also the aspect of loss-leader, but the increase to a cap and staying there when something is popular goes against all standard rules of economics. A more sensible model would be that the initial loss-leader is recognised with the first few downloads being free, the cost then rising to cover the cost of production, but then diminishing again once a reasonable payment has been made. That way, there'd be more money left in the system for repaying the risk-taking of spending the money to record, instead of popular but greedy acts taking the lion's share of the money. If what we're interested in is a FAIR reward for creative endeavour AND a wide variety of material available, this would be the sensible model to adopt.

Culture matters: Why i-mode failed

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Imode in Japan

I would echo the comment above about useful services in Japan - I've been living in greater Tokyo for the last six months and most Japanese use imode for things that you can't get in the UK, like good travel information on Tokyo's extensive train network (type in two station names and it gives you the route and the times).

The other big difference between imode in Japan and in the West is the information density of kanji-based characters - two to three times the information for the same screen estate - this makes imode much more usable on modest mobile phone screens.

Thirdly, the number of people in Tokyo's major cities is huge (greater Tokyo is quote at 30 million) and they all use public transport and commute long distances. While not all of them are using mobiles on the train, a substantial proportion are doing so in a variety of ways including imode web surfing and mobile emailing.

I also echo the comment about the complete cluelessness about Japanese homes - the writer of this piece obviously gets his idea of Japanese homes from My Neighbour Totoro or similar. Almost no one has houses like that over here.

He does make one valid point buried in there somewhere. A substantial number of Japanese people (not just teenagers) do not own home computers. They've not achieved the market penetration they had in the West for too many reasons to go into here. imode in Japan came out as a true competitor sa home internet access (time wise that is - when it came out over here most people if they had internet access at home were still on dial-up and broadband where available was more expensive especially when you were paying for a mobile anyway). The geography of Japan also lends itself to mobile phone infrastructure - very high population density in most areas and very low in inaccessible regions. Population-wise mobile coverage is very good from docomo, surface area wise it looks terrible because so much of Japan is uninhabitable mountains where you don't bother with coverage.

Your boss could own your Facebook profile

Dr Andrew A. Adams

Equity in Law

On a simple basis of equity, I'm very surprised that the employer got to keep and use what he brought with him. Unless it was explicitly stated in his contract that he was being paid for what he brought with him, surely the ownership of what he created on company time is ONLY what he created in that job. Anything else in inequitable. Either he owned the list before starting to work for the company, or one or more previous employers owned it. Either way, giving it all to the company, including the 80% he brought in, but denying him equivalent rights to the 20% he created while he was there is ridiculous.