* Posts by Julian

9 posts • joined 29 Aug 2007

Temp workers to get equal rights after 12 weeks


Who are you employed by?

This is easy. The agency is the corporation that hires you - not the end client. They should have to take ownership of your holiday pay and tax etc. If you have your own PLC, then it takes responsibility (as it should be doing already). I think this rule, if it is properly implemented, means that everybody will be an employee of some company.

This, although a generalisation, is not necessarily a bad thing. I like the idea of agencies having to take real care of their contractors rather than just putting on a beer fest once a year in December.

EU data ruling slaps filesharers with red herring


An essential service

At what point will e-government require that internet access is an essential service? If it becomes impossible to access services in any other way, they are going to have to regulate this kind of problem.

If your provider wants to cut off your phone (because of abuse), there is a formal process to do so. It isn't a private arrangement between the abused party and the telephone service provider.

Byrne puts fake ID frighteners on illegal employers


What about the NI Number

You can't get an ordinary job in the UK without an National Insurance Number and you can't get a NIN without an real life interview to check your right to work if you aren't born here. So why don't they simply say every employee must have a valid NIN or current EU passport (since you can't have got into the UK from Europe with an expired EU passport).

There are gaps: employees of oversea companies have their own rules, ministers of religion don't require any permit to work as such and academics have their own swathe of rules but these exceptions are small in number - and most of these people will have to get a NIN for other reasons anyway.

My point is, to get an NIN all non-birth UK people have to go through a face-to-face interview to check their right-to-work status and all employees must quote their NIN. Why does the government need this to be done again and again and again...?

Maybe the government fundamentally doesn't trust tis own processes and staff.

How to copyright Michelangelo


probably apocryphal

If something is apocryphal then it is, by definition, not certain (as opposed to false). The possibility that a story may not be true means that it is definitely apocryphal. It cannot be not probably apocryphal.

On the main substance of the story, I agree with the US court. If I re-produce a Beethoven score but add nothing to it at all, then I don't get copyright on the result. If I adjust the phrasing, correct a bar line and generally contribute creatively, I do get copyright on the result. Otherwise photocopying somebody else's creative work would create a new creative work.

I can't see the difference here. A photograph of a street scene, mining truck or a sport's moment all requires careful framing, selection and timing. Pure photographic reproduction may require skill but there is no creative element - it is photocopying in its purest sense. This might be bad for art restorers but I can't see why copying by photo ain't photocopying. It would make more sense to claim that restoration is a creative work (similar to interpreting a musical score for publication) and the new copyright rests with the restorer.

Bloody code!


I enjoy being an extremist

I can't imagine how much multi-threaded coding involving mutexes the author has done but my guess is less than many. You can't exit at an arbitrary point when you have a broken invariants. Resource acquisition is ordered and you break the invariants protected by the mutexes one at a time: subsequently you must patch them one at a time. If you are going to release resources in the proper order, then you may as well have a controlled exit and prove to your poor successor that they have some hope of proving the invariants are maintained at the end of the function (i.e. at every return you have introduced), avoiding deadlocks and getting home before midnight.

I have yet to meet a finally clause that is able to work out which part of which data structures have been altered and fix each of them before returning: merely releasing the mutexes and freeing memory and hoping for the best doesn't work. This is true of all programs where functions join more than one related resource, but mutlthreaded ones just make it obvious.

Mac OS X Leopard - Time Machine


Only 95%

Three hours to restore a flaky hard-drive on a consumer machine using the generalised, vendor default configuration is astonishing. I don't find the two false starts difficult to believe: if there is a dodgy super-block record or some other system level data error, the disc may be OK but the file system may be corrupt and a fresh install will be the fastest way to reliably recover.

This wasn't a restore of a single file on a working system, this was a restore of a complete working system on a corrupted hard drive.

For what it is worth: creating multiple links/names of directories by privileged processes is part of the original Unix specification and were necessary before the rename(2) system call was introduced They were used to rename directories and the reason mv(1) was suid root. Solaris still allows privileged processes to create links to directories and Mac OS has simply re-enabled the feature.

Apple's Leopard leaps into action


Re Why

Mac OS does not want to go head to head with Windows because of the circular relationship with Microsoft. Mac OS is a viable OS choice for the majority of its users because it does cool stuff AND it runs MS Office.

The Windows monopoly is largely based on Word and Excel.

If a good (or better) OS ran on white-box PCs with a flawless Word and Excel, how long would Word and Excel remain flawless? My guess is they would be unusable within one service pack, so that MS would continue to control the desktop - anti-trust rulings or not.

Small.biz flocks to Google Apps


The US Subpoena

Google docs has all of your business work and the US government or some Google competitor goes on a fishing expedition and requests every single document in Google Apps. The US courts support the application and without notification all of your business documents go to a third party.

At least of you host your own data, the courts has to tell you that they want your data and it will be because you are already involved in the case.

I wouldn't touch Google Apps unless they allowed me to configure their interface so that the data never left my networks. I read in the Reg that US courts have ruled that even data in RAM is in storage and is subject to the discovery phase of a court case. If it touches a Google server it is as good as in the public domain.

Italian boffin designs gecko-tech spiderman suit


Now youv'e got to stick to the suit

It now seems relatively easy to stick gloves and shoes to a building - the problem remaining is sticking the person to the clothes. You are halfway up Megopolis' tallest building when you hear a ripping sound before plummeting to the earth dressed only in your undies and a few scraps of spidey suit.



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