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Comment Re:Coke is good! (Score 1) 133

I'm inclined to agree until coke/beer/doughnut/pie abusers get diabetes (or in fact any other weight/health related issue). Then on it does become my problem because I pay taxes which go in part to fund our national health service. Thus, if people could avoid abusing foods, they'd avoid the health issues and would thus avoid overburdening the NHS and thus save me some tax.

Assuming you're an american, you're probably thinking this doesn't apply to you - but it does. There are no poor and impoverished health insurance companies. They only get rich by extracting money from their customers and by not paying it out when those customers claim. The more people have completely avoidable health problems, the more money they need to extract from their customers.

That said, I too enjoy the odd (diet/zero) coke. You know it's gotta be bad for you when it cures a hangover ;-)

Comment Re:Thinkpad T-series (Score 1) 237

I have a Thinkpad X121e (pick them up on ebay pretty cheaply these days) - it's run various Fedoras over the years very successfully. I've used the Windows pre-install a diminishingly small number of times, but have had more fundamental problems with it than with Linux (recently I had Windows 7 just refuse to boot at all - it said "fixing" for about 20 minutes and just gave up with no further options to proceed). These days windows is in a VM and so it's 100% linux - its been kicked about a fair bit over the years too - so far, touch-wood, so good though.

Comment Re:I've always said (Score 1) 241

And they didn't lose a single life in the process? No property was damaged? No 'consumables' (like weapons, chemicals, food etc) were used? Really?

Oh right - they did lose lives and property. So they lost, arguably less than the British though. We're back to the OP's point - war: everyone loses, it's just a question of how much.

Comment Re:Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

I seriously doubt the French will get anywhere with this.

However, hypothetically, if they did, then another option for Google would be to spin their European business off as a separate entity. Let's call that Foogle...

Foogle would 'buy' search data from Google, at huge cost. It would then employ people/machines to strip out the results that are supposed to be 'forgotten'. It would then run servers (as Google already does) here in Europe to serve those results up. Foogle would also 'rent' the domains like and have them redirect to, from whence they provide search results. Foogle acts as a third party agent to Google, so advertisers can go to them instead of Google for the services they want. Foogle either delivers those services locally via its own servers, or backs off the work to Google to get it done internationally. From a legal standpoint, Google now has no assets or people in Europe - it uses 'resellers' to do everything it needs. The French can go after Foogle all they like, and Foogle can (correctly) argue that it has removed links from all of its international services. The fact that a competing search engine (Google) has done something different is neither here nor there.

The fact is, if a numptie like me can figure a way around this law, you can bet your lunch Google will. As much as we like to think politicians are idiots, they're rarely this stupid. There's some other play going on here which we're not immediately privy to. It may be a simple as 'job justification', or they're manoeuvring for some other proposal that does what they actually want.

Comment Re:It's not about ads, it's about tracker bots (Score 2) 351

I've heard about this, but can't see any evidence of it myself. I just visited Ghostery's home page with Firebug switched on and the only domains it downloaded any content from are and

I noticed a while back that after an update some of the 'trackers' weren't selected in the Options screens. I always just say "select all" on the trackers and cookies tabs, but I guess if you're not completely watching then things could slip by.

Apart from laziness, I suspect the EFF's tool is probably a better choice these days :-(

Comment Re:Effective engineers (Score 1) 146

Another oldish man ranting...

What I get from this article is that he's saying that some proportion of one's R&D output should be on internal tools or process improvements. He claims 30%, I'd say 10% is probably plenty, but he's far more senior and richer than me, so maybe he's right.

From my sysadmin (now known as devops engineer) position, I can see some really shoddy tools, systems and processes that applications have to use. A few years back I built a system to alleviate a whole load of productivity problems and solve a raft of technical problems as well. It's only just getting traction from the dev side of the house because it's literally taken this long for any of the devs to have enough latitude to engineer it into their builds. The thing is, as with so many things like this, it's hard to put a solid "price" on any of this, so it's hard to factor it into the normal dev cycle (which is a management failing, IMHO).

Herein lies the failings of many a technical organisation - developing features is not enough. Spending some proportion of your time fixing up legacy, decom'ing old crap, or building new tools isn't actually going to slow you down - in truth it probably won't speed you up either, but it means you can raise the base level of technology in your organisation and so can build better systems, applications and features in the future. For people like a number of my employers, and indeed Twitter, this means you get to create barriers to entry and can outperform your existing competition.

I see this 'continuous improvement' thing as *engineering* - it's part of what I learned about the craft of engineering at college and uni, yet it's something that's completely lacking in many so-called "engineering" organisations. Nice to see someone with some credentials talking about it - maybe one or two outfits will be listening.

Comment Re:Do you seriously expect us to believe this BS . (Score 1) 113

Yeah, I believe it. In fact, as a Top Security Consultant myself*, I'll give you a quote:

"$country Compiling "Facebook" of $other_country Government Employees"

Where $country may possibly even be equal to $other_country, and both can be picked from this list: http://www.listofcountriesofth...

* that statement is probably no more true than any of CrowdStrike's credentials, but I've got products and services for sale ;-)

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 275

Whilst I agree with what you're saying, it's possible another species may have a life span of say 1000 earth years. For them, getting to Earth from Zod might be like a year to us (relatively speaking). Thus, they may not need to hibernate or whatever on the journey. They do need the advanced living capabilities though.

Early Human exploration voyages around the world took many months in many cases. Explorers would drop pigs off on islands so that they had a chance to survive if they ended up getting marooned there later on. It's possible Earth may look like an island on the way to something useful to another civilisation, and they may drop off something more disruptive than even the pigs were to their local environments.

All that said, anyone capable of coming here is either so incredibly superior to us that no matter what we do we're screwed (if they decide to disrupt us), or else they're so superior to us that they pose no threat whatsoever. Either way, it's not worth worrying about - at least not for some considerable time until we're ready to go elsewhere ourselves...

Comment Re:The place you speak of ... (Score 1) 381

I know the wrench argument, but it distorts the reality as much as the sorts of people who might use one do.

You can use all the technical means you like to keep your stuff secure/private. So long as all you ever do is legally and morally 'safe' then you'll have public sympathy if they ever hear about someone using a wrench on you (thus, those who might use such a wrench are less likely to do so). If they do eventually choose to do so, they'll have to ensure that the public doesn't hear about it, or that the public can be 'managed' sufficiently so that they don't side with you and not them. That puts up the cost of the $5 wrench into the tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/groats sort of territory. That's a whole different proposition than reading your plaintext because you thought "oh well, never mind".

Comment Re:And in most cases it is wrong (Score 5, Insightful) 233

From a business point of view, using the cloud means you get to put your monthly costs into your "op-ex" as opposed to buying a load of stuff up front (with cash) and writing it off over a couple of years on your "cap-ex". That can help your accounts look good because you get to maintain cash flow (particularly in the early days) and don't have lots of assets on the books. Not one single accountant that looks at your accounts will know if you're getting a good deal from your cloud or not, so it's works very well at impressing those sorts of people. Those sorts of people are quite probably your backers and bankers, who are increasingly risk adverse. They don't want to give you loads of cash today which all gets spent immediately (on the promise of success) and so would much rather drip-feed out their investment in you over a couple of years as they see success actually happening.

Going to the cloud means you don't need start-up capital to get started. In that sense it's very good and a great enabler of small business. However, as you say, once you've started up, you're better off taking the initial hit (from your cash reserve) to buy it all and run it in house. If you've got any sort of reputation to maintain, then moving stuff in-house is pretty much your duty of care (well, it is as soon as you lose your data and your customers complain about it). The question is... when are you no longer a "small business" that can be forgiven minor transgressions and "big enough" that you should know better? It seems to me that lots of really big corps. are trying to pretend they're "small" (ie. lean start-ups) when they absolutely should know better. We'll probably have to ride this out until the next 'fad' comes along.

Comment Re:Telemetry co-opted by malware (Score 1) 527

I'm looking forward to some crap-spreading malware that uses the telemetry feature to send a load of fake telemetry to Microsoft. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the review meetings:

Techie: "Telemetry data shows that 72% of our users spend over 3 hours a day using the calculator"
Boss: Let's make a full screen calculator that's full of ads so we can capitalise on selling as much of those pixels as we can.
Ad exec: I'll put together some messaging for our client base that are in the market segments that are a good fit with your findings

The following month:

Techie: Telemetry shows that almost universally no one is using the calculator any longer. They've all moved to Notepad now
Boss: Okay, pull any remaining dev work on the calculator and move them all onto the Notepad team. This time let's do really subtle advertising that won't scare the users away like we did with the calculator
Ad exec: [something unintelligible to anyone with an IQ over 75]

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre