* Posts by damworker

41 posts • joined 3 Oct 2014

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?


Oracle Uk have their HQ just outside Reading, Unfortunately the main shopping centre in Reading is called The Oracle. Many years since I worked for them but it was a regular occurrence to get a confused (usually foreign) person call asking for the correct address or turning up an hour late having gone to the shopping centre.

You get in a Taxi at Heathrow and ask to be taken to Oracle, Reading and the taxi driver nods.

We did warn people but it got forgotten.

Reg mashup rates CompSci unis for books, booze and boogie


Too late!

Bit late if you were thinking of applying to Cambridge for 2016 as the deadline was 3 weeks ago.

Bacon as deadly as cigarettes and asbestos


Re: May be so...

I hear chewing tobacco is quite good.

R&D money for science – from your taxes?


The science of economics

Economics is a science like psychology is a science.

In psychology there's a bunch of rules that only work in the narrowest of situations, you get to say important stuff without any proof and you get an excuse to shag your mother and kill your father (or is it just me who thinks Freud was a deviant?).

With economics, exactly the same; definitely someone gets f***ed.

Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests


We had this feature on a Panasonic (IIRC) years ago.

Once the bag was slightly used it ran on full power all the time.

Not saying the Bosch would do that but food for thought. It does look a good way to game the test.


We've had two Dysons, the second for about a year, the first for about 10. Prior to that we were going through vacuums every 18 months or so.

I don't think they are much different in quality to other (good) makes.

But the warranty and service is superb. New hoses and bins sent by post, next day, only technical questions asked. Expensive but worth it unless you like vacuum cleaner shopping.

So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?


Re: Three things

The joy of sex. Wasn't that invented by my generation? Or was it 1969?

Playboy drops the butt-naked ladies


Thanks for the bootnote

I was wondering how this story was relevant to an IT/ tech/ science site other than (I'm guessing) a mainly male audience.

Tenuous? No....

Lies from VW: 'Our staff acted criminally but board didn't know'


I believe the tank of chemical contains urea. This is used on Mercedes and I believe is an acceptable way to meet the emissions test provided you add it to the service schedule. A bit like adding two stroke to a motorcycle, maybe.

A short life tank wouldn't help a 3 year old car pass an MOT or the strict California test.

If I understand correctly, fitting a tank of urea is one of the options. If possible, it may be the most acceptable solution as it means they pass the NOx tests with (probably) limited affect on MPG/CO2.

Mobile phones are the greatest poverty-reducing tech EVER


Re: Poverty is caused by...

I don't really care who the lowest is but it has long been documented that those in the west have a higher IQ than less developed parts of the world.

There is much debate over why this is, particularly in the more distant past as you might imagine.

The IQ test itself does not show bias and certainly wasn't designed to but it's easy to argue it's is not perfect. Whilst highest IQ people do not run our top companies, government etc, there is a general correlation.

IQ is also documented as rising over time. We are more intelligent (or higher IQ, anyway) than our ancestors.

It may be that a more western lifestyle - good and/or adequate nutrition helps.

It may also be that familiarity with technology and access to information promotes logical thinking and this training affects the result.

Nice try, Apple. The Maxi Pad is no laptop killer – and won’t scratch the Surface


Re: so....

I use my ipad for watching streamed video in the kitchen and then moving it around the house as I do other things (and light surfing).

A bigger screen and a louder speaker might well be attractive. Sure it's expensive but it will get used for several hours a day for the next 3+ years. I have a smaller Win 8 tablet but that is more difficult to use despite having easy access to a lot more content so not sure about a Surface.

Robots, schmobots. The Rise of the Machines won't leave humanity on the dole


Feel free to make up your own joke.

What is the difference between a cheap low skilled worker in China and a robot?

Feel free to make up your own joke.

Seriously, there is a cost in buying a robot and maintaining it.

Humans are self replicating (yo mama is a self replicator) and potentially cheap to maintain if you ignore enough human rights.

So in that sense, robots are nothing new and not a threat.

Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?


Re: Having met two of them...

I quite liked bonnie although I always thought she was about to sing a song from Annie.

I hated sylvester at the time but caught a rerun a few months ago and he was quite good. He had a side kick IIRC called Ace who I detested. A right on girl hoodlum turned good with name to match who sounded like she was reading the news. Red Dwarf even used the same name for the good Rimmer a few years later.

And I thought Corbyn was the latest Doctor. Feel free to add your own jokes about time travel to the 1970s.

C5 tablet-using newsreader hotness


I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but ...


BORN to HURL: Man's shoulders are head and shoulders above apes, gorillas, chimps etc


Re: Poo-flinging antics

"If God really didn't like us, then why are we still here?"

Pray you never find out.

Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales


Sample of 1

When I go on Amazon, I would rather have the ebook most of the time as I have shelves of books I read once 20 years ago.

However, it is quite common to find the physical book available - printed, put in an envelope and mailed - for less than the ebook.

In that circumstance, I buy the physical book on principle. Also the same if it's only slightly more expensive.

Cognitive computing: What can and can’t we do, and should lipreading be banned?


Interesting article.

The (very good) BBC "Horizon - Now the Chips are Down" from 1978* has a segment looking at a doctor who is programming a computer to diagnose patients. I did a course in AI in my CS degree 25 years ago, so I'm slightly cynical every time I hear of AI. But maybe we really are on the final upward curve this time?

* Also predicts widespread unemployment due to a lack of secretarial, factory and filing clark type jobs off set by "as many as 60,000 IT jobs"...

Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?


Re: Mandatory

Erm, no discounts, not really. There are companies that offer discounts but the end price tends to be more than shopping around.

But don't let that put you off. I think I have saved money via the saved insurance excess and bother involved in having an accident that I have avoided.You also get to be smug about the whole thing.

The problem with advanced driving is that only 'keen' drivers do it and they are the sort who tend to wrap their car around a tree anyway so the avoidance of this doesn't show up in the insurance risk. You can also use the training to drive faster...


Re: Mandatory

If there's no other car or pedestrian at a crossing the driverless car could proceed over a red light. Why not synchronise the cars so they go through a crossing like a motorcycle display team? How about a train of cars at 100mph on a motorway, 5 feet from the car in front using less petrol than driving a safe distance at 60 mph due to reduced wind resistance?

Now the small number of people who drive themselves prevent all of this and are increasing the cost of everyone's journey, making it take longer and making it more dangerous.

Eventually, it all becomes irrelevant - why would I spend thousands learning to drive and enduring the high insurance that comes with it?

More than that, technology gave us driving and now it is taking it away in the same way it gave us looms and typewriters.

As an aside, I'm sure there's a great plot for a high tech murder whodunnit in all this stuff somewhere.

Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?


Or the G3 ?

When I wanted something better than my excellent original Moto G last year, I got a LG G3. These can now be had new for around £250 (and probably less) and the spec easily beats the new G. Removable battery but does sometimes get a bit hot. The large size (due to screen) is a feature or an issue (delete as appropriate).

The cheap Lumias are excellent phones - work supplies me with one but you look like a luddite.

Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost


Re: Kinnect and Rare

" (lets copy the Nintendo Wii) Kinnect on the Xbox. "

Both of which copied the underdeveloped EyeToy on playstation. However, credit to Nintendo for spotting that it was underdeveloped.

Has MS ever innovated?

New study into lack of women in Tech: It's not the men's fault


But the non tech subjects are sooo much harder than engineering

I've seen this argument at my kids school. The humanities are more relevant because they are more about people. The girls only school my 2 girls go to doesn't offer an ICT GCSE because it's "just what people do all the time" (actually I kinda agree) but then so is reading and writing and it is seen by everyone as important to get a decent pass in English. I was surprised that they also place much more importance on textiles and cooking classes than my son's mixed school did.

I think a major part of the problem is that most teachers are drawn from arts subjects not tech and don't value science.

Nokia will indeed be back 'making' phones – and it's far from a foolish move



Nothing in Microsoft's contract to limit Nokia from branding their own phones?


Teaching people to speak English? You just need Chatroulette without the dick pics


Re: why english?

Agreed with the reply.

And China has two main languages plus lots of others though Mandarin is maybe 90% of native speakers. There's a lack of available teachers in most countries outside western Europe.

Content: Wikipedia, for example, has 3 times more pages in English than any other language and I'm sure the WWWs page ratio is even greater.

In many countries, English is seen as cool (music, Hollywood, Facebook etc as article) and don't forget all those English phrases entering other languages (Le Weekend).

English is already a multinational language and unlike e.g. French, English's "standards body", the OED, is already global and welcomes foreign words into English (Lingua Franca?).

One might make a better case for Spanish - it is already a global language - but many of the same issues exist. However, why we (in UK) default to learning French in School is beyond me.

All those nasty American spellings and sports phrases seem a small price to pay for being a native speaker of the World language.

Don't believe the hype: When that DATA seems just too good


A good idea though

Making your own journal is a good idea though. I wish I'd thought of it.

Wait a second, I did think of it, it was my idea.

Plagiarism, moi?


Yeah, I was about to comment about falling standards and a lack of peer review on that.

It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft


So I upgrade to 10 from 7 or 8.1 (no xp now) anytime in the next year.

How long before they drop the "10" and it's just "Windows" and I have to start paying a subscription or be unsupported?

Going up hills past blokes with coke-bottle legs: The Smart E-bike


More than 15 mile an hour on a push bike for most people (i.e. not club cyclists) is scary in the natural home of electric bikes - the city.

Aren't electric bikes sold to people who don't ride a normal bike? Who is the market? People who 20 years ago would have bought a Honda C90? I get why you'd buy one - to save money and not arrive sweaty but wouldn't it be better to have something lighter with which it is possible to cycle home when it goes flat?

Chrome version 42 will pour your Java coffee down the drain: Plugin blocked by default


Re: Dalvik

I doubt it.

It would be the very same thing that made Microsoft and IE so hated - embrace, extend, extinguish and led to the need to support old versions of IE that were discussed.

Steely wonder? It's blind to 4G and needs armour: Samsung Galaxy S6


making a case a necessity

"making a case a necessity"

So now my really thin, light phone has become a brick.

I don't need a removable battery so I can have a spare battery - external battery packs do that task better. I need a removable battery so that my £500 investment isn't worthless in 2 years because it needs £100 of dismantling to fit a new battery.

You want disruption? Try this: Uber office raided again, staff cuffed


Re: Benefit of the Guilds

Which is not to say the system is run fairly in councils. Taxis are subject to 6 month inspections (in the UK) which are stricter than an MOT and must be kept clean at all times. The registration of Taxi vehicles and particularly new drivers is subject (by reputation) to abuse. Many areas have a large incumbent which uses dubious methods to attract drivers and deter competition.

Then there is the monopoly system that the councils promote. This is done for the benefit of the companies not the customer. In a free market the council would plate up as many people as want to apply and are good drivers with a good vehicle. They would also support companies which offer a discount over the standard rates but many councils discourage this. A company offering a 10% discount (as one company local to me did) was stopped from doing this by the council.

London's knowledge system is out of date in the modern world. Other regions use a system that links the satnav to the billing system and provides a proven price which can even be offered up front. As it is, its really just protectionism.

I always found it strange that a system designed for safety didn't require that it's drivers attained a higher driving qualification than any other driver, as is required for say HGV. I would certainly prefer it if my driver had an advanced qualification and that seems a better 'restriction' to entry than the knowledge.

My BIL is a taxi driver in Hampshire btw. To be fair, I don't recommend it as a career.

Microsoft dumps ARM for Atom with cut-price Surface 3 fondleslab


Re: Well I think it looks great....

I have the 8 inch Argos version. I do like it but its too fiddly a lot of the time. Windows desktop is only just usable with a touch screen at 8 inches and would be less usable with a smaller screen. The cheap ones tend to lack main memory so I get the occasional long pause and the odd "you are about to run out of memory" message but mostly it's ok.

Fiddly? hitting the maximise not the exit button on a window means I hit minimise 2 times before getting it right. Likewise getting the stop button not the volume (or whatever) button in video. Where I used to pick up an ipad for browsing or viewing I don't with the windows tablet. I like the flexibility of the windows tablet but the cost is usability. I now have a BT mini keyboard/trackpad which works well but an android/ipad doesn't need one. Wouldn't recommend unless you absolutely need a pc app.

Belgium to the rescue as UK consumers freeze after BST blunder


Yup, I love BST too. Hours of day light after work has finished. Saves lives and energy.

Yes, I know time is just a number but all that happens if you stay on GMT is that most people are in bed for the first 2 hours of daylight in the summer then have the lights on before they go to bed.

While on the subject of BST, why is savings time not based on the calendar? By which I mean the clocks go back much 'later' in autumn than they reverse in spring i.e. there is much less daylight at the end of October than there is at the end of March. 'Forward' is about 7 weeks before the shortest day while 'back' is 14 weeks after it - why is that?

Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding


Re: Another nail in the coffin...

Yes, it's great having a vehicle which doesn't have a number plate at the front.

Flying cars will take to the skies in 2017, if government allows


I certainly would . Have you seen my wife's driving?



Or I get a pilot's license, buy a light plane or helicopter and then arrange for a driverless car (only 2 years away...) or a taxi (available now) or a hire car to meet me at the local small (existing) runway near to my destination.

The carplane is inherently a compromise, not least cost. It will be a rubbish plane and a really, really, rubbish car. If driverless cars become reality they will be much safer than an ordinary car making the idea of these even more ridiculous. If I can afford a car plane, I can afford a car and a plane.

The only advantage it seems to have is that I don't have to pay storage fees at the local airport, a cost saving I'm sure would be wiped out by increased servicing costs. If you own a carplane you are definitely going to own (at least one) car as well.

If there was a demand for these things all the local runways would offer onsite hire cars - anyone know if they do?

$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG


Casio vs Douglas Adams

Any watch that's mechanical is about status. Casio's F-91W, the £5 watch of choice for suicide bombers everywhere (google it) has a stated accuracy of 30 seconds per month. A Rolex will be lucky to do less than 90 seconds and the casio has all sorts of extra features not least the ability to throw it away when it gets broken. Of course,a radio linked solar watch would be totally accurate and work for 5 years at least and still cost less than it costs to service a Rolex. Presumably an Apple watch is very accurate.

Douglas Adams said humans were "so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea" and the the problem for Apple is that they are selling a digital watch. They have to make this look like bling.

Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?


Re: When is theft not theft?

" If the 'pirate' would never have paid for the work anyway, he/she has not deprived the owner of anything and no theft has taken place."

So when I took a bag of sugar from Sainsburys earlier, it wasn't stealing because, since I didn't have any money, I wouldn't have bought it anyway.

I believe the young people's expression is "Lol".

Bad news: Robo-cars will make you work billions more hours. Good news: In 2040


Re: At last!

These job losses would be real but the 'disaster' of this this has all been predicted before. See the 1977 BBC Horizon programme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW5Fvk8FNOQ which looks at the new technology of microprocessors which have put us all out of work. The discussion which follows the episode is of more relevance than the programme itself.

"...train youngsters for life not for work..." It was wrong then and it will be wrong now - low value jobs disappearing is only of temporary upheaval for those affected.

Jobs from the 1970s like filing clerks and typists have long disappeared and nobody laments those jobs.

I seem to remember hearing that nobody wanted to drive a bus (stress, hours and abuse) and that Reading buses was actively recruiting ex convicts (not ones for violent acts).

Boffins find Earth's earliest Homo in Ethiopian hilltop


Why do creationists...

I don't get creationists (this may not be the best forum for debate, I accept).

Turn the argument around. God didn't write "here I am" in letters 300 foot high at the poles, nor on the dark side of the moon, nor on the moons of Jupiter (as far as we know). No 6,500 year old pocket watches have been found (the Antikythera mechanism not being a watch or old enough).

Why would a creationist think he wrote "here I am" on the flagellum? If god exists, it does not wish to be found. Any intelligence capable of so much isn't about to slip up (omni-something) - unless we are supposed to "discover god", at this point in time, and I think a simple "Hello. What the hell have you done to the place?" would suffice. You would also have to conclude that god does not want to be found to encourage humans to take up science and other free thought.

And to get my other religious bug bear off my chest: why do they not teach this in religious education: If a complex world requires a (complex) creator, who created the complex creator?

Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10


2015 will be the year of Linux on the desktop.

This time, for sure.


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