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Comment: WFS/WMS (Score 2) 53

by Stevecrox (#43903317) Attached to: GIS Community Blocks Esri's Geospatial 'Open Standard' REST API
Why are they developing their own REST service? Several years ago I was messing around with the GML* specified Web Mapping Service/Web Feature Service's and they worked brilliantly. Our demonstration setup had NASA's World Wind Java querying the server directly and a wrapper's were written for TENET** and ESRI. The WMS & WFS server was an open source GEOServer***.

What does this give us that is new? WMS is great for tile retrieval and we were using WFS to supply all sorts of random mapping data. I would have thought those technologies would have matured quite nicely by now. I'm all for REST services but I can't really see the point.

*I'm away XML handling is slow, but converting the format into JSON wouldn't be hard work.
**Getting the WMS tiles to load quickly into TENET without locking the map UI was the hardest problem. ***May have gotten this name wrong.

Comment: Re:A word of caution (Score 2) 117

by Stevecrox (#39065153) Attached to: Yet Another European Government Drops ACTA
It's the major flaw with democracy, most western societies have career politicians who have never done anything other than be a politician. As a result they have little experiences or knowledge outside of their bubble meaning they don't know when a lobbyist is lying or when they speak the truth.

To make matters worse modern media has descended in to sensationalism which only allows for sound bites, you have various papers like The Sun pushing for action when something outrageous happens. While this is important, an event may have occurred where no one was to blame or existing infrastructure is enough. But politicians have to be seen to do something or they are crucified often the measures they take only make things worse (see airport security).

It isn't just the tech world that has this problems, the recent Conservative parties big NHS reform has been placed on the scrap heap because they aimed far to much at ideology and didn't engage the people who would implement it. You can find similar bills in just about every sector of society.

I'd argue the only way to fix this problem is to ban politicians from standing for office for more than 2 terms and encouraging secondary houses like the house of lords. An unelected body made up of experts in their fields is what is needed to put the brakes on the more insane idea's that democracy produces.

Two elected bodies just makes the problem worse, sadly no politician is going to going to along those terms as they are part of the problem.

Comment: Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (Score 1) 605

by Stevecrox (#38986841) Attached to: TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices
No what is killing the Sat Nav market is the fact they are trying to stick with Sat Nav boxes.

Nokia Map's is as good as a Tom Tom or a Garmin and version 2 supported traffic routing for £1.50 a month fee (removed when the service went free in v3)..

I waited almost 2 years for one major Satnav manufacturer to release a SatNav application on Andriod, none have and none intend too. I would happily have bought one because Google Navigation is that painful*. I've finally given in and paid for Co-Pilot which is quite good. I've shown it to family who own TomToms and they are considering switching (one has).

The major players should have had applications on the store 4 years ago, they could have offered packages with a bluetooth GPS and all sorts but their actions are making them irrelevant (like MP3 players). Now I'm with co-pilot it gets me from A to B and they will get £10 a year from me for traffic, if they make me pay for map upgrades every few years I won't object.

* I use SatNav on a motorcycle, I get no display and just listen to directions. Google maps has a habbit of telling you to bear left/right when it means straight this is fine when there isn't a left or right but when there is you can go very wrong. It also comes out with things like "take the first exit left" at roundabouts when it means go straight on, which is fine when there isn't a reassessed petrol station on the roundabout that is on the left. Navigating Bristol was a nightmare, co-pilots directions are a big improvement.

Comment: Re:Not sure about this one. (Score 4, Insightful) 214

by Stevecrox (#38701094) Attached to: Introversion and Solitude Increase Productivity
I can understand this, I've always worked in an open plan office. While open plan offices have advantages (greater sense of space, easy to talk to co-workers) the major disadvantage is noise. I have often been forced to put a set of headphones in so I can sit and think about what I'm doing. The worst is when project management decided they need to be inside the project (rather than in a seat on the outside of the group) as you end up with project management discussions happening right by you all day. It can be so noisy that I get headaches and that is obviously not good for productivity.

As for collaborative group processes, this is ok as long as your in the right environment. I've set around a table with some Software Engineers and thrown around design concepts. People will listen new ideas are created logical arguments are made and something great will come out the other end. Unfortunately most people in the industry seem to be Software Developers they argue for what they know don't really care about design or documentation and in those environments it's much better to have a dictator who listens to arguments and hands out dictates. Basically I think collaboration should be used when appropriate.

I'm a big fan of scrums they bring a team together help everyone understand what every else is doing. I just like quiet and being able to work for 2 - 3 hours without interruption.

Comment: Re:I'd bet there is. (Score 4, Informative) 317

by Stevecrox (#38696468) Attached to: Code Cleanup Culls LibreOffice Cruft
The Eclipse Java Compiler can indicate a warning if a private function is never called, the Eclipse Code Compiler and Findbugs will both throw warnings if an area of code is unreachable. Findbugs is able to detect if a variable is declared but never used (dead store) and will throw a warning. Lastly CPD (a part of PMD) is able to look for identical code blocks allowing you merge duplicate functions.

Sure that doesn't cover public functions but I don't think there is harm in unused getters and setters and it's easy to find if a function is called through tools found in Eclipse. Just because Java developers don't use these tools doesn't mean they don't exist.

Comment: Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (Score 1) 165

by Stevecrox (#38548144) Attached to: Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!
I thought more more Nordic people landed in England than Scotland. It's just Scottish people have held on to this celtic thing, while the rest of the UK moved on. If Scotland is Nordic then so is England, if you think that is silly then you see why calling Scotland Nordic and raising similarities is.

Comment: Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (Score 1) 165

by Stevecrox (#38548104) Attached to: Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!
Westminster does have a English & Welsh bent to it and Scotland has be ignored (part of the reason for the Welsh and Scottish assemblies). I would suggest Scotland has caused this situation, there are often laws crafted which only cover England and Wales because Holyrod rejects them.

You forget if Scotland leaves the UK it will no longer have any agreements with the EU. While I'm sure trade agreements could be forged during the exit I strongly doubt the EU would let any country in to the EU at this time especially a brand new one that will be going through financial turmoil (setting up a health service, military, etc..).

Scotland is a country of 4 to 5 million people, it would be the smallest country in the EU and would most likely have the weakest voice. As part of the UK it is one of the strongest voices. MEP's equally cover Scotland, England and Wales and so independence wouldn't change the European Parliament representation.

Lastly when Ireland joined the Euro it went through some major problems (recession, etc..) because it's trade cycle matched the UK rather than mainland Europe. So exchange/interest rates were never set to what they needed to be for a healthy Irish economy. The leader of the SNP wants to join the Euro and I think such action would damage the Scotland economy.

I should point out I think the UK should join the Euro but I think we need to slowly match our trade cycle's first.

Comment: Re:Tory party is a collection of special interests (Score 1) 165

by Stevecrox (#38547986) Attached to: Running Great Britain? There's an App For That!
Here is how I see the situation panning out.

All MoD bases in Scotland will have to be closed down and moved, I'm sure there will be a transfer of Scottish solders but the knock on effect to the economy will be huge. I imagine most of the bases could be transferred to Wales. With purely Scottish regiments remaining.

Devonport Dockyard is the only commercially viable shipyard in the UK, Babcock Marine have been trying to damage that but the others only exist because of the work the MoD gives them. Ever since hearing the size of the defects list on the HMS Ocean (brand new from Scottish Dockyards) and knowing how long that ship had to be refitted to be functional I think very poorly of the Scottish ship yards. Currently the Scottish yards are constructing Type 45 and Astute Submarines. I doubt the Scottish government could afford projects of those size.

If Scotland left the United Kingdom it would lose it's EU status (initially causing exports to become vastly more expensive) while I'm sure an EU trading agreement could be established quite quickly (or during the exit). I don't believe the new independent Scotland would meet EU membership criteria, assuming that it did it would take 5 - 10 years. The UK does benefit with £4-5 billion of investment from the EU. Scotland would no longer get that investment.

You would also have problems with passports, losing it's EU status would mean more restricted movement. You could no longer be in the EU isle when going through customs in France, Germany, etc... Scotland would have to negotiate hundreds of agreements across the world (e.g. extradition and trade), establish Embassy's in its key export markets (more cost).

What about the oil reserves? Without a fleet Scotland (unlike regiments there are no Scottish ships after all) couldn't enforce it's right to territorial waters. So the collecting tax on oil would prove difficult, I wouldn't be surprised if Scotland did leave that the UK tried to maintain rights to those oil fields. you also have drug smuggling/ human trafficking. Without a fleet Scotland becomes a great way to illegally import, either England polices the waters for a cost or England would have to build a giant fence along the border.

I tend to buy Scottish lamb in part to support the UK. If Scotland left the UK I would either buy Irish/Welsh/English lamb or just go for the cheapest (if I'm sending money out of the country I might as well minimise it). How many others do similar things and what would be the affect on Scottish trade? While I am sure all of these problems could be overcome I strongly doubt the SNP are capable, watching Holyrod in session made me feel a lot better about the competency of Westminster (and I think poorly of Westminster). The SNP like to talk about independence like it will solve all ill's, but unless it occurs over decades I strongly believe it will put Scotland in to a serve recession for a decade. Yes Scotland does well with its budget but once you factor in additional costs (it's own embassy, military, etc..) and the fact it wouldn't have the same bargaining power (losing the NHS) I think things like free prescriptions (possibly even free health care) and free university will have to go and Scotland will be worse for it.

I support every countries right to independence I just can't help but think if Scotland become independent England will be leading the way with emergency relief 10 years after it happens.

Comment: Re:Company rules against removing documents (Score 2) 312

by Stevecrox (#38259408) Attached to: Institutional Memory and Reverse Smuggling
I think it can be an easy enough thing to do, for a while I was doing a far bit of travel for my place of employment. Considering some of the journeys took place on the weekends I had to take home some company gear. If you do that long enough the odd notebook can easily be left at home. I agree if you know you have something it's either better to give it back or to destroy it but can see how an employee would have this information.

I would suggest if you have continually worked for the company to simply come clean admit you have it, they can't really accuse you of using the information outside of work. Depending on the place it might either be seen a good or involve you getting a slap on the wrist, in any case disclosing how and why you took it home might help improve their document tracking and security procedures.

If you left the company I'd argue things become more complicated, personally I would still admit to possessing the documentation but I can see that things could go very badly and why you might not want to do that. Where I work they have an ethical helpline (anonymous) I'd call it and lay out the situation and do what they suggest.

Of course if you intentionally took the company gear home and kept it, you should really be asking yourself why you took it home and why you thought keeping it was ok. I'd argue you have much bigger problems.

Comment: Re:I used to work in IT and.... (Score 4, Interesting) 960

by Stevecrox (#38177810) Attached to: Why Everyone Hates the IT Department
No in my experiences it is IT's insistence on security practices with zero thought on how this will impact the end user. A few examples:

I was looking after a Jenkins server for a project we were running, Jenkins was running on the latest version of Tomcat with a Java 6 runtime. However due to customer requirements there was also a Java 5 runtime which as being used to generate the build. IT felt the need to un-install the JDK 5 and upgrade the the machine's Java 6 (to the version with Oracle in its name). The removal didn't update the Java_Home directory causing Tomcat not to work. They decided to do this just as we were starting an Integration & Test phase for a major release. The Jenkins server was linked to me on their records but at no point did they think to mention it to me.

Same Jenkins server, this was running fine and suddenly the builds starting failing. 3 hours of investigation later I find out its because the Jenkins server password has been changed. Never mind the server username was the name of the project (e.g. projectXYZ). IT came up with a new policy which stated all server accounts needed to be > 48 characters and they had changed them all without notifying a single person on the project.

How about when IT decided that in a software house no one needed Admin access, which would be fine except they tried to forbid admin access on projects which were developing software which required Admin access (for a number of reasons). Those projects had to go up to the business director and have him shout at the IT head to fix it.

Or the fact they decided no one should have USB. A great idea except I was working on an embedded project (along with a dozen other projects) which required an unencrypted usb stick to load the software on to the test rig. Once they realised how many people had a problem they tried to limit it. But when your working on a 5 man team only allowing 1 person to transfer files causes you to loose a lot of man hours.

I can think of dozens of other examples, none of them were dictated by upper management. People hate IT because IT doesn't look at how to better help people work.

Comment: Re:you could build something for $130 (Score 1) 296

by Stevecrox (#38111692) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System?
I was considering power draw and size, if your dealing with an electric scooter an old android phone is going to have an affect on the battery life. A windows Mobile 5/6 phone might not be too bad...

Your right that something like google latitude/foursquare/facebook would be simpler (and you an get it on the N95, 5300, 5800, etc...) the problem is data plans. In the UK Pay as you Go offer either 500Mb free a month if you top up by at least £10 a month or £1 for 25Mb (valid for a day). I'd rather put £10 on a card and have the device start streaming its position once a minute when I ask it to.

Comment: Re:you could build something for $130 (Score 5, Insightful) 296

by Stevecrox (#38109576) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive Anti-Theft Vehicle Tracking System?
Wouldn't it be simpler to get an old Symbian phone and write an app?

A Nokia N95 has GPS and it very low power compared to modern phones (week between charges), you get a cigarette charger hooked up to the battery to keep it charged and then write an application that listens for text messages. Upon recent of the text message he phone would text/email it's number. Then all you would need is a water proof case and a pay as you go sim card.

A quick check on ebay shows them going for £40. I'm getting a Honda CBR 600 RR next week I might do this.

Comment: Re:A "make your computer faster" kit (Score 1) 377

by Stevecrox (#38108082) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts?
I'm buying my Mum a toaster this Christmas... as a bit of fun. Every time I visit my parents I almost set fire to the kitchen using the old one (timer doesn't work) and there is now a long running joke about it between my Mum and me. That won't be her actual present, just something silly under the tree

I agree this idea does sound like a terrible gift, there seems little thought about the intended person and putting software on it will involve opening the packaging which will make it seem like a used usb stick

Comment: Re:Not flash drives or free software (Score 1) 377

by Stevecrox (#38108010) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Useful Free Software For Gifts?
Mod this person up, ignoring everything else about Christmas I have always thought it as a time to show family and friends you care about them. Gifts should be thoughtful and hopefully meaningful I would argue that they can be utilitarian or something you would buy yourself.

Last year my parents bought me a Nokia bluetooth stereo headset, I would have bought them myself when my old set had died. They got them because over the year I owned the previous set I would mention about how they are better for online play, the gym, how I kept calling them on the old set and how gutted I was that my old set were dying. I never asked for them for Christmas and they meant a lot because it showed they do listen even when I go off on a technology rant.

I should point out that you shouldn't let money be a factor, one of my little sisters is trying to set a limit no Christmas spending. The rest of the family has been trying to explain that the amount you spend doesn't matter it's more important to get something meaningful. Heck last year I got my Dad a £5 survival kit and it has to be the most used and talked about present he got that year

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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