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Comment: Re:Competition Sucks (Score 1) 507

by Shimbo (#47213941) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

As far as London taxis go there are two sorts of taxis: the familiar black cabs, and minicabs. Black cabs have the privilege of being able to be hailed by a passing passenger, whereas mini cabs need to be booked through their firm.

The main public interest in this distinction is that booking minicabs means that a third party will have a record of the passenger and driver, if the police need to come looking to see what has happened to the passenger. It takes years of training to know London well enough to get a taxi licence, so it's something of a barrier to someone with criminal intent.

The thing about Uber, is that it provides a very efficient way of linking up minicabs with passengers, whilst maintaining the record that the law requires. However, the taxi drivers have got used to the inconvenience of having to book the competition as their competitive advantage.

Comment: Re:Real Reasons Thorium is Being Held Up (Score 1) 204

by Shimbo (#46987863) Attached to: Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't

Thank you for posting this. I'm rather tired by the constant stream of posts here that claim if we just switched to Thorium/Helium-3/Unobtainium, we would have all our energy problems solved by the end of next week. It's good to see an intelligent discussion of the real engineering problems involved for a change.

Comment: Re:You can't copyright facts (Score 0) 303

I think the appeal court got it largely right: API design is a creative process. Anyone with any experience in programming knows that some APIs are well designed, others are bad ones. I think it's a nonsense to claim the API is a fact.

I don't like Oracle, and I don't really like the consequences of this ruling. However, Google really pushed the boundaries of copyright law to the limit here. And if people choose languages that are explicitly free to reimplement in future, that's a good thing.

Comment: Re:But it is! (Score 2) 642

Except, I don't think that is what the general theory of relativity says. Maybe you're thinking of the special theory of relativity, which says that in inertial systems one frame of reference is just as valid as another. However, I don't think the sun and the earth represent an inertial system, so I'm not sure why that would apply.

Er, no. The special theory deals with inertial frames, you need the general theory for non-inertial frames. According to the general theory, you can't tell the difference between gravity and acceleration. So, you can claim that you were stationary on a roundabout and the rest of the universe swirling about you caused space to warp in such a way as to cause you to fall off. That's a perfectly valid interpretation according to general relativity, if a somewhat egocentric one.

Comment: Re:Ooh look! (Score 1) 111

by Shimbo (#46681385) Attached to: EU Should Switch To ODF Standard, Says MEP

What's with all the Euro-hate, anyway?

I don't think a random MP or MEP saying something particularly intelligent or unintelligent counts as news. MPs or MEPs will be found talking to almost every lobby group you can imagine at some point. And, because they are elected by proportional representation across a variety of languages and cultures, MEPs in particular will have a very diverse range of views.

To be honest, I would be happier if /. didn't run any such stories, because on average politicians say a lot more stupid things than sensible ones. Actual policies would be different.

Comment: Re:UK Taxpayers (Score 3, Interesting) 341

What I would like to know is how much would it have cost to upgrade to Linux? As a UK Taxpayer, I would prefer my money to be invested in Linux systems instead of Microsoft.

Much more than that, obviously. You don't replace the operating system, reinstall and develop specialist applications for £5 a PC. Of course, paying for extended support doesn't move you forward, so you have to some sort of migration next year.

And really, as a taxpayer (IMHO), you (and I) should be wondering how the NHS managed to piss £10 billion away on a failed IT project, and how we can avoid them doing it again. £5 million across the whole of government is fairly small beer to keep existing systems going, compared to the amount you could blow on a load of migration projects.

  It sucks that some departments are going to miss the deadline but the questions I'd like to know the answer to are 'what are their migration projects for next year?' and 'are they on track to be completed before the extended support runs out?'. Have they got a credible plan, and it's just slipped a little, or is it a total fuck up? That, to me, is the big money question.

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 5, Insightful) 193

by Shimbo (#46644081) Attached to: London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

It doesn't sound like they're using web apps, at least not yet

No, but they were (apparently) using mostly Citrix apart from the power users. A Chromebook seems a good fit as a remote desktop client; you don't have any more issues with requiring an always on network than you started with. For once, a fairly sensible strategy it seems.

Comment: Re:Rewards the hacker (Score 2) 104

by Shimbo (#46433545) Attached to: BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website

What I find incredibly offensive is that the charity's CEO didn't even apologise to the 10,000 innocent victims whose data was lost as a result of his organisation's failings. Instead he is trying to shift the attention onto the ICO and try to portray themselves as victims.

In all probablility burning tens of thousands pounds more of the charity's money in the process. If they do actually go to appeal, rather than just saying it in the heat of the moment. It's a she, by the way.

To be fair, they are victims in the sense that if they didn't get hacked, they might have got away with their negligence but that is often true. It's rather like blaming the guy that pulled out in front of you when you were drunk driving.

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."