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Comment Make registering worthwhile (Score 1) 192

If the Govt. encouraged drone-flying then it would have a cadre of skilled operators who took their hobby seriously enough to want to see it well regulated and free from idiots. That way a basically unenforceable law costing millions to police would be mostly self-policed by people with decent civic values... As well as cutting edge skills and technology. Hey what's that you say Sooty? 'Nerds being sociable?' Yes, why not.

In the UK plane spotters were once seen as some sort of terror threat but then it was realised that the anoraks would be the best people to spot an unusual sort of person.

At the start of WW2 many 'radio hams' were available to become the core of rapidly expanding signals sections.

By all means have an unlicensed backyard toy category of no registration (though everyday laws of privacy, harassment etc still apply) (a bit like flying a kite.) and a 'big-boys' category but make it something people want to achieve, belong to, participate in, rather than endless form-filling and wallet opening.

Comment UI goodness -- who decides? (Score 1) 192

The current UI can't be a disaster because new customers would be few and far between, which isn't what you're reporting. So the current UI might be 'old fashioned' but just the WISIWYG interface that appeals to customers who have to train staff to 'go through the steps' not 'guess what button to press'.

Especially when people do a repetitive job they don't need icons or 'are you sure' or touch-screen-goodness. They need Ctrl-A, Q then T to get them to the bit they want. Horribly 1980s, but it works a treat and doesn't need a single second reaching for a mouse.

Comment Panic buying (Score 1) 188

If news leaks out before the event there will be Panic Buying which will turn a few hours of physical disruption with say a 10% overall infrastructure failures for a few days, into a maelstrom of stockpile madness. How will the repair trucks get their fuel when it's all been bought by consumers?

The telecoms used by telecoms repairers to order parts etc is a 'how does the snowplough driver get to work' problem.

Comment bow - locks (Score 1) 100

Without the 'cyber' we have a 15-yo walks in through the front door of a major corporation, whistles a merry tune as he steps into 'PROTECTED AREA' where the customer records are floating about like confetti and walks out. No. Once upon a time the UK justice system had competent state-funded lawyers to protect lads like this. Talk Talk still got shafted. Even if the wrong-un is convicted they were still shafted.

Comment Don't try to be too clever (Score 2) 134

The number one problem is at the input interface: People will only use it if it's useful or there is someone standing over them with a cosh. So how do you do that? By finding applications they find useful for their knowledge or sharing knowledge. Progress report, interface specs, requests for changes or whatever the knowledge generators want. So it's a management problem.

Say to management, "I have this as a solution, I think it's the most flexible, can we give it a try? Look! I've piloted it on my latest project and see what it can do... Think how useful if..." When management champions it there is some chance of it working. Until then paddle your own canoe and offer to show people how clever you are.

It's a good overall question, but exactly the same issues apply to 'Enterprise'(whatever that is) and novelists trying to keep track of places, people, timelines, todos, feedback etc. Until you've really put any solution (I've tried all sorts over 35 years and keep coming back to a book of notes or a master notes document.) to the test by actual use you won't understand the practicalities. The human brain is a pretty good filter if you can do basic organisation and remember to make notes/put things in the right place.

Comment Ads are NOT necessary (Score 3, Insightful) 351

If you have a valuable commodity then somebody will voluntarily support it. Wikipedia for example. Or you might find people want to buy what you have on offer. When I see people without ad-blockers I'm amazed at their crap experience, but they don't seem to know any better. If you want to see model this in print then buy Private Eye. Excellent Journalism worth paying for and ads at front and back which I skip over because I've got no money to spend, but presumably some people do because a lot are repeats.

Comment PHP - 21st Century COBOL (Score 0) 158

It works. It isn't sexy. Who cares? You can write awful programs... Unlike any other language of course It evolves slowly. To paraphrase Tolstoy: "Happy programmers are all alike; every language is unhappy in its own way." Most of us never come across edge-cases and PHP is still getting regularly fixed. But also the tectonic shifts are happening at tectonic speed as they should. So to my mind the repairs and resdesigns are suitably separated and yet both going on.. PHP is here to stay for the next 40 years. Personally I try to nibble with node as it's a completely different mindset, tool chain and opportunity but PHP is a workhorse. We should be pleased to see v7 is emerging. None of us is going to bet on V 7.0.0 but by 7.1 or 7.2 we'll have jumped at our own comfortable pace.

Comment Understanding. Achievement. Reference (Score 1) 244

  • Understanding what it's all about, including checking the reader is the target audience.
  • Achievement getting started on concepts or running a tweakable demo. Lots of little steps that each have a 'reward'. (A box-out try-yourself example is a good format in a discussion.)
  • Reference needs to be compact to search like a cheat-sheet but lead to the proper details like a proper reference tome. For example I knocked-up this for javascript.
  • Also
    • Include documentation in your production process.
    • Be consistent.
    • Be a human writer when you think the user will empathise. Anything to break up the boredom.

Comment 10% extremes happen everywhere (Score 1) 425

Look around you. 10% are really bamboozled by [Insert skill here] and 10% are streets ahead of those that get by. Maths, Foreign language, social skills, drawing. (Skydiving may be an exception.)

Have you heard of BAD-GOOD-BEST clinical governance? 10% of clinicians lead and make big efforts to study and improve. 80% 'keep up more or less'. 10% are drunk and/or good at covering up their lack of competence. (See and follow the bad-good-best link)

Let me also draw your attention to the '10% rule' in gene-controlled attributes. Left-handedness, Harder tooth enamel and so on. IMHO this is an evolutionary insurance mechanism (nothing whatsoever to do with the subject) so that if there's a mass-wipeout type event then there may be odd-balls who are far enough different to survive.

Comment Search 'intelligence' is great (Score 1) 276

Suppose I type in a phone number Google understands I live in the UK. The same goes for wanting to buy a mattress. So far so good. That's helpful intelligence.

But if I want to view the poems of Emily Bronte I don't want 100 gazillion results from Amazon.

Just like I use NoScript and AdBlock+ so I want to cut out the shop windows. If I want info from the web then I don't want canned waffle.

Comment Spot on. Spot-Spot Spotty-Spot on! (Score 2) 315

Tech is an ANSWER not a QUESTION.

Tech is for older kids. Challenge and experiment at this age. Lego to make a bridge that the cat can cross . Draw a picture that Auntie thinks actually looks like a Badger not a [insert vague animal here] Create a birthday invitation card that has fizz. Ask 1,000,000,000 questions you don't know the answers to.

Comment Because most people are good eggs (Score 1) 279

There's the weird perception that 99.9% of the world are creepy, scammy, bastards. No they aren't! Twice-nightly soap operas condition you to the idea that if someone steps on your toe then WW3 breaks-out. Of course not. Treat people with respect and get them on your side. (Of course if you're a vame[sic] 1P-shooter nerd then this won't make sense to you but everybody is born with social skills even if various media suck it out of them.)

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill