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* Posts by Pete 2

2763 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Brits whinging less? About ISPs, networks and TV? It's gotta be a glitch in the Matrix

Pete 2
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Socialising complaints

Maybe the whingers just take matters into their own hands?

Instead of bashing out a complaint to the watchdog, they just post their moaning on social media. Not only is it easier, but it also shows their friends how much they are suffering.

And the public display of being a victim does seem to be a great motivator - considering the number of people on Twitter and FB who do nothing but complain about things.

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Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Pete 2
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Re: it is only fair that we fine some of theirs back!

> They're being fined for illegal behaviour

As were the european companies. With any global company you can always find some wrongdoing somewhere. The only question is how to deal with it. Whether you try to correct it, mitigate the damage, or just treat it as an opportunity to get some "free" money.

And fining foreign companies really is free money. It costs the prosecuting country next to nothing and causes them little or no hardship.

The UK seems to think the ignominy of being found to be breaking the law [ sharp intake of breath! ] is enough - the UK fined Facebook half a mil (how they must be laughing now) - and presumably paid that with Zuckerberg's credit card. And forgot about it just as quickly. But at the $ billion level, the cost becomes noticeable, starts to act as a deterrent for next time and the restitution could actually do some good - and not just with drinks all round.

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Pete 2
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Where's my 10 bucks?

So when that fine gets divvied up across the EU's 500 million (or so) people, there will be a beer or two in it for everyone.

This level of fine seems ..... fine. After all, the USA fines european companies (BP, Volkswagen, Barclays) billions of dollars - it is only fair that we fine some of theirs back!

The question then arise: how to spend it?

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Fix this faxing hell! NHS told to stop hanging onto archaic tech

Pete 2
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NO CARRI~@~~~$

> We can’t have Matt Hancock calling a hospital and hearing: baa-ruhr-reee-uh-reeee-uh-reee

Especially when they then go BOING BOING Tshhhhhhh <click>

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Salesforce ‘Einstein’ now smart enough for customer service

Pete 2
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Squawk!

> “Einstein Bots for Service”, code that it claims can “automate routine service requests and enable frictionless agent handoffs.”

Ha! You could train a parrot to say "switch it off and on again".

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Google offers to leave robocallers hanging on the telephone

Pete 2
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Duping Duplex

What I want is for my phone's AI to talk to Google's AI (or anybody else's AI, robocaller or phone-script operator) and to not bother me.

Then later, my AI can inform me if there was anything of importance or interest.

Both sides would be happy. The tele-botherer would think it had made a sales call. I would be completely oblivious to it except for the tiny number that would be to my benefit.

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Open plan offices flop – you talk less, IM more, if forced to flee a cubicle

Pete 2
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"Interaction" != work

Yes, open plan offices make it less likely that people will chat to each other. Not only are they doing so in plain sight of everyone else - including the boss, but they are much more likely to be politely asked to STFU by all the surrounding people trying to get on with their work.

But the research sabotages its entire credibility with conclusion:

> The second is that we just don’t know all that much about how humans interact,

So it turns out the researchers were measuring something they didn't understand. It therefore follows that nothing they "discovered" has any real significance, since it was based on a badly designed experiment.

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Decision time for AI: Sometimes accuracy is not your friend

Pete 2
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First mistake: trying for perfection

> suppose our algorithm is looking at a vast amount of data and making a decision about whether a person has a disease

While there are benefits to designing an AI system to be as good as it can be, as with war strategies: no algo survives contact with the real world. The crucial factor is that a new implementation should be better than the one it supercedes. Further improvements can be added later, in the light of experience gained.

The second mistake is trying to be too damn clever.

Using the shopping example, for instance. A better design - rather than employing some dimly understood smarts to make a determination - is simply to ask the visitor Do you want to look at men's clothes or women's?

I fully appreciate that the example was merely illustrative. But in the real world too, sometimes it is better to let the user decide, rather than having a machine choose for them.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Pete 2
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Re: Only cracking I have done is

> I had just lifted the bike, and lock, over the gate post and wheeled it down the drive

One of my neighbours has a chain-link fence around the property, with double gates at the front which they are obsessive about locking.

Come the inevitable "I've lost the key to my gates" knock on my door, I followed them back with a box full of tools to try and force / break / cut a way in. Apart from the obvious (chain-link fence that would be easily cut through) it turned out that their gates simply lifted off the hinges.

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So... where's the rest? Xiaomi walks away from IPO with less than hoped

Pete 2
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The takeaway is ...

> China star asked for a muckle, got a mickle. Will it be enough?

Well, they had a tickle and discovered the markets are fickle.

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Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

Pete 2
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perks of the job

> they brought in an old-lady's flowered hard-sided suitcase, slammed it down on the table, and a literal cloud of cocaine dust floated over the area.”

And all the agents inhaled deeply.

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Crime epidemic or never had it so good? Drilling into statistics is murder

Pete 2
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Looking at the wrong thing

> the way we measure "crime" and, more fundamentally, what we mean by crime

Regarding violent crime. All I am interested in is whether the chances of getting smacked in the face (or worse) when I am out, is rising or falling.

Similarly for burglary: is it more or less likely that when I return home I will be faced with £5000 of damage and massive increases in insurance rates from some scally who made off with a couple of hundred £££s of goods. That when sold on eBay will gain them £50?

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Israel cyber chief's 'pants' analogy for password security deemed, well, 'pants'

Pete 2
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> North of the north, they're pants.

And if you wear a kilt you don't need any passwords.

P.S. pants are what dogs do when it's hot.

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Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing

Pete 2
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A thin line

> But if it's something that has never worked, even if it ‘fixes’ some behavior, then it's new development,

I can understand the thinking behind this, but the question of whether something is a "fix" or "new" depends on what you consider to be the baseline functionality.

Torvalds' view seems to be that the definition of what Linux should do is held in the body of code that (used to work). That the code defines the functionality.

A more professional approach is that the design documents define the functionality and a deviation of the code, from the documentation, is a bug.

Now I realise that a lot of hacker-style amateur coders will already be rolling around on the floor, laughing at the idea of documentation. And even more so at the suggestion that it should be telling them what their software should do - rather than being a description of what it actually does. However, that is the reason we have standards. To define what software should do, in order for it to work with compliant systems that other people have developed.

One could therefore argue against Torvalds' opinion and say that lack of standards compliance - and design documents set those standards - is as much a bug as broken functionality that used to work. Although that does rather assume that Linux has some design documents in the first place!

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Software engineer fired, shut out of office for three weeks by machine

Pete 2
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non-story?

> He [ the chap's ex-manager ] was to work from home as a contractor for the duration of a transition. I imagine due to the shock and frustration, he decided not to do much work after that. Some of that work included renewing my contract in the new system.

> the non-renewal of the contract – requiring human intervention – led to the termination email, which led to that employee's key card being disabled, and their network access cut off on each system that they had privileges on.

So basically the engineer in question was on a short contract that wasn't renewed. When that contract expired the system shut him out. In an example of life imitating art imitating life, I recall an episode of Better Off Ted that dealt with a similar situation.

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Are your IoT gizmos, music boxes, smart home kit vulnerable to DNS rebinding attacks? Here's how to check

Pete 2
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Re: Test website - same here

> I don't think I'd trust it...

I got the same.

Since I can't tell about the technical accuracy of the author's claims, all I can do is form an opinon on the stuff I can verify. Since his code failed that verification I will form the conclusion that his other claims are of a similar quality.

That may well be incorrect, but I am not prepared to believe someone who has been shown to be wrong on what I can discover for myself.

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New Windows Server preview ships with an AI crystal ball

Pete 2
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Doing the salesman's job for him

> The new tool uses machine learning to “locally analyze Windows Server system data, such as performance counters and events

So when the CPU usage gets to 100% it tells you to buy a faster processor

When the disk gets full it tells you to buy a bigger disk

When the ping times get too long it tells you to upgrade your network

When the box starts paging it tells you to buy more RAM

And as soon as you install it, it tells you to sack the capacity planning team (eliminates the competition)

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Pete 2
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Re: Oh my!

True, it seems pretty crap as far as hardware goes.

But compared with software or operating systems that are supposed to be secure, it would count as invincible.

Seriously, given how many design and implementation flaws there are in most apps, most code and most versions of Windows and Linux, a lock of comparable quality to them would be made out of chocolate with the password written on the outside of the box it came in.

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The eyes have it: 'DeepFakes' bogus AI-meddled videos outed by unblinking gaze

Pete 2
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Steering the public

> Somehow that hasn't resulted in all written material being considered inherently false

It can be more subtle than a straight true / false.

Do you remember the demon eyes poster from the 1997 general election?

Pictures are powerful tools for altering perceptions. Especially as they contain no before / after context. Just look at the photos chosen by news media when they talk about a politician they like, compared with the images they use for politicians (or people) they disapprove of.

Even articles about non-political issues can provide "nudges" for the readership to draw the desired conclusion, without actually saying you are talking about one minority group, religion, social class or skin colour.

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Pete 2
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Re: Blinking

> Trivial to add

But not as trivial as wearing shades

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AI is cool and all – but doctors and patients don't really need it

Pete 2
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AI is a lever

There are two parts to this. The first is that AI allows one person to do more "stuff" and to do higher quality stuff in the same amount of time. So for a GP, that would mean a visitor (they don't become patients unless there is something that needs treating) to a GPs office will have a dialog with a machine - even if it does have a human avatar, fronting it - either on their phone beforehand, or in a booth at the building.

The GP will then call-in that person and tell them what happens next. Alternatively, the GP takes over the smartphone diaglog and recommends what further action is needed - including the person reporting to somewhere for some tests (also performed by AI augmented systems).

But the major boost to healthcare is when AIs are let loose on bulk health data. Not only will that build the foundation for true evidence-based medicine, but it will revolutionise mental health: diagnosis of conditions and treatments. With luck, it will be so powerful that it will drag psychology and psychiatry (whichever one is which) into the beginning of the nineteenth century - the start of being a true science: comparable to when chemistry started to get the Periodic Table and physics got to terms with electricity.

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... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

Pete 2
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Signage

> the local council was considering whether to approve a "major facelift" at the airport, which is about 144km (90 miles) northwest of Cardiff.

> It has been the main base for Watchkeeper drones for a number of years,

I would suggest that a part of that facelift would be the words

LAND HERE

painted in large friendly letters on the tarmac.

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Bad news, mobile operators: Unlicensed IoT tech rocketing ahead of NB-IoT and LTE-M – report

Pete 2
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But does it scale?

> relying on the low probability of interference to maintain quality of service

What (little) I know of LoRa is that it relies on people building gateway nodes for a couple of hundred ££/€€/$$ a pop and connecting them through t'internet to some grrrt big servers that then tickle the right IoT device in the right place.

This is fine for hobbyists and people who want a boy scout's pioneer badge. But with a transmission taking many hundreds of milliseconds then as soon as it becomes mainstream the congestion for the small number of channels will seize it up.

Of course, for the user it is free of charge, which is a difficult thing to compete with. Although for the "grown ups" indemnity, service guarantees and reliability win over £0 (since there is no money to be made).

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England's top judge lashes out at 'Science Museum' grade court IT

Pete 2
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On the up-side

> courts’ systems “sit in splendid technological isolation, unable to talk to each other or anyone in the outside world.”

That makes them very difficult to hack in to. Maybe more I.T. systems, particularly those that control critical parts of the national infrastructure, should follow this example.

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NASA finds more stuff suggesting Mars could have hosted life, maybe

Pete 2
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Mars suddenly becomes interesting

The standard view of Mars is that it is a dead rock. Uninteresting, no resources that are worth the cost of extracting and too difficult to inhabit to be worth the effort.

But wait! If there are "organics" there, and relatively near the surface, that changes things considerably. If Mars had oil then that's a game-changer.

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Japanese fashion puts the oo-er into trousers

Pete 2
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Not the place for your mobile phone

> Ladies and gentlemen, may we present the Wang Flap.

Yes, designed to make the stop-and-search cops job even more "interesting"

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Automation won’t take your job until the next recession threatens it

Pete 2
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Re: AI proof job

> The most secure job would appear to be "journalist who churns out endless stories about how AI is going to take away all our jobs"

Actually it could be one of the first to go.

Google have a Digital News Initiative scheme to replace hacks with AIs. They have been investing in the UK for a year or so already.

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Pete 2
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AI: The new fusion?

> the world is currently in “an era of investment and experimentation” with technology. The effects of such eras, he said, generally emerge ten to fifteen years in the future.

Where have we heard that phrase before? Oh yes. In answer to the question When will nuclear fusion be ready for use?"

And that has been the answer for at least the past 40 ... 50 years.

Is AI going the same way. It is possible. There is a big difference between demonstrating something in the lab and ironing out all the flaws necessary to make the leap into a mainstream world. One with all the complexities, unknowns and unknown-unknowns that have a nasty habit of only becoming apparent after the smoke clears.

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Just a third of Brit cops are equipped to fight crime that is 'cyber'

Pete 2
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Re: Yes, we're equipped, they quipped!

> With a 2x increase in the budget then 100% of officers will be able to tell you to do the same for cyber-crime

Which is about as useful as the joker who was asked a very difficult question, thought for a second and replied "I'm glad to say, I can give you an immediate answer!"

When pressed to actually give the answer, he/she/it responded "My answer is that I don't know"

If "equipped" to deal with a type of crime means nothing more than having a prepared response to reports of it - little more than sod off, we're too busy then I suppose we should consider the police to be "equipped" to handle anything from a lost cat to a nuclear war.

Great!

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Pete 2
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Yes, we're equipped, they quipped!

> Just one in three police forces in the UK are able to tackle cybercrime such as DDoS, malware attacks and online fraud

See, now my understanding of a statement like that is that if I have bought something online that didn't turn up, or if something I downloaded turned out to be nasty-ware, then I would be able to dial 999 and report it as a crime. Soon after, a helmeted type would turn up, take statements, search for (and find!) evidence of the dastardly deed, then a short time later inform me that the "perp" had been detained and coughed to the offence.

That is what tackling crime entails: detection, apprehension, judgement and (if guilty) punishment. I look forward to the day when I can even get as far as convincing the cops to simply increment the number of cyber-crimes reported when such an event happens.

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Experts build AI joke machine that's about as funny as an Adam Sandler movie (that bad)

Pete 2
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Re: A career in television?

> I was trying to think of examples to contradict you and I'm struggling to think of any...*

Quite. Even the examples presented fail, since most are more than 10 years old (Outnumbered started in 2007, IT crowd 2006 - neither still running) And ones that do qualify, such as Bad Education only managed less than 10 hours of telly - 19 eps of ½hour each and has since been canned.

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Pete 2
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A career in television?

> At least they were considered funny about 67.99 per cent of the time, compared to 22.59 per cent for the NJM, and just 9.41 per cent for STAIR.

That would still make either of the two machines funnier than any british sitcom that has been made in the past 10 years.

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Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Pete 2
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A phrase you never want to hear ...

> the most advanced communications system of its kind anywhere in the world

where life-critical systems are discussed. It is like calling a political decision "brave".

It sounds to me like there are certain functions that are needed - the ability to talk to each other and there are other functions that the sales-people have convinced someone would be "useful" but will in all probability never be used and/or never work properly.

So all that will happen is that a tried and tested system, familiar and reliable, ubiquitous and with known capabilities (and limitations) will be replaced by something "advanced". A euphemism for complicated, expensive, requiring much training, support and debugging.

Progress? I doubt it.

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Uber jams Arizona robo-car project into reverse gear after deadly smash

Pete 2
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AV's Hindenburg?

It is not really about the absolute level of safety that will determine the future of autonomous vehicles, but the public perception. And thanks to a news media that lingers on every accident they have, that perception is increasingly negative.

At what point will the public conclude (rightly or wrongly) that these vehicles are still "in beta" and refuse to adopt them? Will it take a really big and public disaster to consign self-driving cars (and lorries) to cold-storage for a few decades until the tech is finally improved, or will they be like plane crashes and the occasional fatal accident taken as "acceptable losses" (just so long as it doesn't happen to me).

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10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

Pete 2
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The wrong medium for the message

> consultation with social media on such matters has gone badly: just four of fourteen social networks invited to consultation talks showed up.

Why did Hancock expect them to turn up in person. This sort of thing sounds ideal for a group chat on Facebook.

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German IKEA trip fracas assembles over trolley right of way

Pete 2
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Smiles in the aisles

Two of the most tedious "sports" in the world are cycling and motor racing. Watching the competitors going round ..... and round ....... and round ..... and round a circuit. Sometimes for hours on end.

However if IKEA was ever given the commission to design the routes, then these "sports¹ " might actually provide some entertainment.

[1] the quote marks are meant to indicate that they aren't really sports, since so much of the result of the race is determined by the technology employed (and by extension: the amount of money spent). IMHO a proper sport would pit person against person or team against team, where the only differentiators were their individual/group skills and their level of physical fitness. That isn't to deny that these competitors have physical fitness and skill - just to point out that these attributes alone are only small factors in determining who wins.

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So when can you get in the first self-driving car? GM says 2019. Mobileye says 2021. Waymo says 2018 – yes, this year

Pete 2
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Asking the wrong question

> the big question has become: when will people other than beta testers get in them?

I want to know when they will be affordable for an average guy, like me?

If the first-generation AVs - ones that aren't death-traps: either for occupants or third parties, are going to be in the £ 6-figures, then they may as well not exist. But when they are at a price that is comparable to standard new models now then they become a viable option.

However, I still reckon that the financial model for domestic AVs is one of on-demand hailing. What is the point of buying such an expensive object, that depreciates faster than you can burn £50 notes and that is only used for a small percentage of time. Just so long as the previous user of an AV I call up hasn't puked in it.

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Typical cynical Brits: Broadband speeds up, satisfaction goes down

Pete 2
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Failure to understand "up to"

> British people are increasingly unhappy with their broadband services,

Most customers are suckers. The first thing they ever look at is the price. Then they look at the number in the biggest font. Then they look at the price again. Then they click BUY

And when they don't get what they think they bought, it is always the supplier's fault. This is not limited to BB, but applies to most things, on and off the internet.

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‘I broke The Pentagon’s secure messaging system – and won an award for it!’

Pete 2
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The myth of the "rock star" IT worker

> “I received an award for my work,” he added. “I almost felt guilty.”

One place I worked had more than its fair share of "superstar" IT people. At least that was how they saw themselves. To everyone else they were egotistical jerks who seemed to specialise in fixing the problems that they, themselves, had caused.

While Gladstone here seems to have made a genuine mistake - or simply wasn't told of a crucial change, these superstars positively feed on the bodge-disaster-crisis-superhuman effort-solution cycle to further their own reputations. It also seemed to dovetail nicely with t'management's view that they employed super-talented people, ones who would work 48-hours straight (with maybe only the first 24 of those actually being productive) to fix a problem.

But it was never publicised that the cause of those problems were the self-same people. Ones who were always "too busy" to patch systems, to perform (mundane) upgrades or preventative maintenance / housekeeping. Or even to test their supposed fixes, which often became unstuck and created the next set of problems.

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Facebook: Crisis? What crisis? Look at our revenue, it's fantastic

Pete 2
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Supertramp

OK, I can deal with the Crisis? What Crisis? line.

But is this really the Crime of the Century.

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That's no moon... er, that's an asteroid. And it'll be your next and final home, spacefarer

Pete 2
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Re: Life Aboard A Colony

> It could take a long time to get even 2 LY away ( maybe hardly past Oort Cloud), perhaps 100 to 500 years.

Yes. And once you get to where you were going, what will you find?

The not-so-jokey answer is that you will find people from your own world. Ones who were born centuries after the asteriod-ship left. People who had the benefit of hundreds of years of scientific development. And by using that development, all the discoveries, brand-new physics, life-prolonging and suspending technologies - they were able to beat you to your destination.

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Pete 2
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I resemble that remark

> Watch a video, film or documentary about people from 50 or a 100 years ago. Do you feel connected? Can you understand how they feel?

People from 50 years ago - definitely: that would be me!

But I reckon that a closed community of what? a few thousand people would not evolve socially. One generation would have the same environment as the one before and the one after. There would be no immigration or emigration to mix things up. And hopefully little in the way of conflict to produce rapid change, either. There might be some innovation that gets beamed up - but how much capacity to manufacture new or novel consumables would there be? Especially with light-speed being a limitation to meaningful communication.

If you built a factory today to create bleeding edge stuff - would it still be able to make the bleeding edge stuff of 100 years from now?

ISTM that for a journey of a few hundred years, there would not be much change within the asteriod. The language would evolve (unless everyone was taught by AI, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Integral_Trees Larry Niven's Integral Trees but there would not be much social pressure for other sorts of change.

Personally I would expect that most asteroid habitats would remain in their existing orbits. They would have all the advantages of proximity while allowing the independence of self-sufficiency. Plus, it takes a hell of a lot of energy to accelerate a lump of rock - and how to stop, once yo get to your destination?

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US sanctions on Turkey for Russia purchases could ground Brit F-35s

Pete 2
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and vice-versa

> Testing F-35s against a Russian-made air defence system

I am sure that if the merkins asked nicely, the Turks could also furnish them with data on how their fighters (would) fare against the same system.

Though if they are concerned that the results wouldn't be as good as they want the RoW to believe, I can see why they would be worried.

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Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

Pete 2
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So much for not being predictable

> “But v5.0 will happen some day. And it should be meaningless.

If Torvalds wants to be unpredictable he should call the next release -6, or 'smørr' or something else "meaningless". It would be a small and meaningless act of rebellion. Much like the 4.17 release is looking like.

Personally I prefer step-changes to release numbering to signify meaningful and major changes to the functionality of a product. Not linked to some irrelevant administrative exercise like lines of code or commits.

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Tried checking under the sofa? Indian BTC exchange Coinsecure finds itself $3.5m lighter

Pete 2
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Who's been using one of those funny CPUs?

> The statement, which appeared on 12 April, appears to confirm that the firm already knew that the Bitcoin, worth £2,477,167,809.57 at the time of publication, had departed its servers on 9 April.

So when did 1 BTC become worth over five and a half a mil? (£££s)

Even if the currency was Rupees rather than UKP it still doesn't compute. Has someone got their millions and billions all mixed up?

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A developer always pays their technical debts – oh, every penny... but never a groat more

Pete 2
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Re: If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand!

> Over the long run, let's say 5 years, while that cost should be justified, it does load that cost to the front of the project.

True, but if the cost was front-end loaded, maybe we would only get software projects that were actually worthwhile?

Whether that would be a good thing - for whom: the programmers or their employers - is part of the never-ending debate

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Pete 2
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If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand!

> he points out that a developer's familiarity with the code, rather than the code itself, would affect the level of technical debt based on that measurement.

The greatest amount of technical "debt" is the lack of documentation. Whether that is a complete lack of it or - often worse - stuff that is out of date but looks right. At least when you have nothing, you won't follow the assumptions implicit in what was written down. And documentation isn't just about explaining what the code does, or what the author thinks it does. It isn't even about what the designer hopes it will do.

It is also about preserving the thought process of why certain design / code / implementation decisions were made. Sometimes some unbelievably bad ( or obscure - frequently the two are indistinguishable ) hacks come about due to limitations that were discovered during development, but that nobody thought to record for posterity. And as well as describing the method that works it would be kinda handy to know what other approaches were tried and rejected.

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El Reg needs you – to help build an automated beer-transporting robot

Pete 2
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Lost in translation

> Vulture Central has moved to a shiny new shared collaboration space in central London, which, among other exciting advances, features a selection of beers to refresh thirsty hacks

Is that just a fancy way of saying you've been evicted from your offices and are now holed up in the local pub?

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AI can't help without your data, says Gartner, so share, share, share!

Pete 2
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Print your own cash.

> "People will start to use data as a currency,"

And as such, "data" will have exactly as much value as any other currency that a user prints for themself. The problem with trying to attach a monetary value to "data" is one of supply and demand.

How much is a Facebook profile worth? If it exchangable for (say) $1, then I'll get to work with some code that will create 1000 Facebook profiles a day KERCHING!. If a click is worth 0.001¢ then the same applies.

Everybody knows the HHGTTG reference that comes next. Maybe we really are on the B-ark.

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Tech’s big lie: Relations between capital and labor don't matter

Pete 2
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Too expensive to fire?

> Thirty years ago, a job at IBM meant secure employment for a lifetime at the most valuable company in the world

That might have been the case in the 1980s. However when I joined IBM in the mid-90's they were just starting a round of lay-offs. Some from the building I was working in. I was quite astounded that a company that successful could have employees who had been there for 30++ years but who had never, ever, met a customer nor done any revenue-earning work. What was more astounding was that these early retirees in their late 50's were walking away with their very generous final salary pensions AND roughly £250,000 each (although that was taxable) redundancy pay. While they would never get another job in the tech sector, with that amount of cash they wouldn't need to. Some of those people were resentful, due to hurt pride while many others couldn't stop grinning with the "lottery win" they had just been handed. The local Mercedes dealership had a very good year, too!

However, fashions change. Some time later I was employed by a large utility company. Their approach to redundancy was exactly the opposite. H.R. would be given a budget and a target (a simple number of "heads" or "resources" to be downsized) and left to get on with it. Being H.R. they showed neither humanity nor resourcefulness. They viewed it simply as an accounting job: the largest amount of effect for the lowest possible price. As such, all the bright, young, energetic, newbies got the chop because their redundo pay was the lowest. While the lumbering old leviathans who had been with the company for decades (and who desperately wanted early retirement) were kept on as they were too expensive to axe.

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