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Comment: As a public sector procurer in the UK (Score 1) 143

by illtud (#46969905) Attached to: How Dumb Policies Scare Tech Giants Away From Federal Projects

I don't do projects anywhere near the scale of the article's examples, but we have to follow EU procurement rules.

I sympathise with the companies that bid for our projects, we have to advertise our procurements over certain limits (around $150k) throughout the EU. We have to be specific about what we want before we start (fairly impossible for off-the-shelf software solutions without unfairly exempting some suppliers) so the suppliers (or their salesmen) have to spend quite a bit preparing bids. Most of them will fail, so the winner has to recoup the cost of failed bids in any bids they win, so the're always looking to add costs to the contract.

I understand the reasoning behind the rules (stop people giving contracts to friends/family/golf buddies) but we usually end up paying well over what you know a local company could deliver for if you went direct to them and worked through a more agile process with fair billing. Having to control the costs of evaluating hundreds of bids from companies across the EU usually means that you set up a PQQ process to eliminate most small to medium shops that would probably be much better value.

I don't have an answer to how the process could be improved, but it's not great from either side.

Comment: Beta comment (Score 1) 2219

by illtud (#46192701) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Slashdot is the comments - nothing more.
For comments to work for me, I have to be able to filter at an overall score (I do 3+, mostly)
I want a way to click and see lower-rated replies to a post I see.
I value seeing the ID of a poster.
Beta font is way too big, and too much wasted whitespace.
For your beancounters - lower ID members are probably worth a lot more ££. None of those are here for the stories.
I control an IT spend of around $1M (not large I'd guess amongst lower UID ./ IT managers) and learn a lot from ./, but from the other contributors, not the stories. This is probably one of very few places I take note of see targeted ads, and sometimes I follow through. (check how many times I've declined the 'no ads' offering).
I imagine that you've looked at the bounce rate of a random new reader who expects a fun story site with big pictures. Fine if that's what you want, but I'd be surprised if the revenue from that (competing with every other similar site) would outweigh the loss of my kind of reader. And going with the beta as-is, you would lose me to whatever slashcode site wins the exodus.

Just saying, but I appreciate the chance to do so.

Comment: Re:what? (Score 1) 513

by illtud (#45692339) Attached to: Senators Propose Bill Prohibiting Phone Calls On Planes

Who modded this +5?

Even the summary mentions this possibility: if you make a 'silent zone' then the airlines will make this a premium option that costs more. I'm not commenting on the merits of the bill, just that pointing out that a comment suggesting something that's mentioned in the acutal summary (I haven't RTFL) shouldn't be modded insightful.

Comment: Re:I wish they'd do it here. (Score 1) 372

by illtud (#45242129) Attached to: NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017

This town in West Wales (Aberystwyth) has already done this on main roads - not just the lamps but the posts and housings as well. The're a great improvement - I'm about 100 yds from the trunk (main) road here as I type and I have to look closely to see if they're still on. The new lights are very directional (no light pollution) and they have a much better spectrum if you're walking along the road and the illumination seems much brighter. They replaced low-pressure (orange) sodium.

I'm sure that replacing the posts (6m ish tall) cost quite a bit, and I don't know what the efficiency saving is, but the payback must pretty short-term as the Welsh government doesn't have money to burn. It's been a great improvement here.

Comment: This is new? (Score 3, Interesting) 85

by illtud (#44852713) Attached to: Stephen Colbert and the Monster Truck of Tivos

We've been doing this since 2007 (digitally) at the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. We have a licence to keep for the nation any broadcast TV that we recieve that meets our collection policy. We've been doing it on SVHS (and earlier technology) for decades before. We probably have an order of magnitude fewer channels than they have (UK Freeview - 50 TV & 24 radio) but scaling up the number of channels we keep in the buffer (two weeks) before programme selection wouldn't come close to the pricing mentioned in some of the comments here. We keep the full MPEG-TS as transmitted (so can use the raster subtitle streams if necessary) and ingest them into our Fedora-commons digital repository. We're moving to a version that OCRs the subtitles for improved resource discovery - at the moment we only use the EPG which we convert to our own metadata standard.

We use a commercial system, Imagen from Cambridge Imaging Systems, to capture and select, then our own workflows for technical characterisation, metadata transformation and ingest, but you could use MythTV or some other to buffer two weeks of the entire UK terrestrial output for a lot less than is being mentioned here. We will have a youtube-like interface (but with transcription searches from the subtitles) to search the tens of thousands of recordings that we hold, and it will incorporate digitised material from our own unique collections of film and video.

I'm sure that the BBC or other similar national broadcasters have monsterous systems that eclispe ours or The Colbert Show's - the system we're using was originally designed as one massive PVR for UK universities to try to save resources and share recordings amongst campus users rather than have each student download each progamme to their dorms (and uni storage).

Comment: url in email from '94 (Score 1) 124

by illtud (#44118407) Attached to: Patent Infringement Suit Includes Linking URLs In an Email

Late to the party, but I've got plenty of email from 1994 with urls in them, eg:

From XXX Thu Sep 29 15:57:01 1994
Subject: Re: your mail
To: (XXX)
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 15:57:01 +0100 (BST)
X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL23]
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Length: 197
Status: RO

> What is the URL for the worldwideweb server on XXXX?

Illtud XXX...

I understand that the patent may cover automatic downloading of the url, and I don't have any html-formatted email from 1994, but nobody had html email clients then, thank ghod.

Comment: Re:I think he's dealt with other orthodox types (Score 1) 367

by illtud (#43949159) Attached to: The Amish Are Getting Fracked

However, for whatever reason, the Talmudic interpretation has decided that electricity is fire. I'm not sure why, but that is what the orthodox churches teach. So, you aren't allowed to operate electric devices on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath), in particular your oven. Well that's pretty damn inconvenient in the modern world... So they find all kinds of "loopholes". You can get ovens that have timers longer than 24 hours. You set them up the day before, and they'll heat up (and down) at the prescribed times.

My oven (Bosch) has a 'sabbath' mode. I guessed it was something to do with this, but was suprised to see it in the manual - that's a pretty small share of their customer base that they've accounted for in their programming.

Comment: Moviedrome (Score 1) 105

Alex Cox's work as a director lives on, but for UK cinophiles of a certain age, he's also remembered for his 'Moviedrome' series where he introduced TV sceenings of films (BBC2 sunday night, IIRC) with a pre-screening commentary. I certainly watched many classics for the first time on Moviedrome, and many films which weren't available on VHS or highly unlikely to be screened anywhere else on TV.

Comment: Clarification for posterity (Score 1) 89

by illtud (#43429059) Attached to: British Library To Archive One Billion UK Websites

I'm pretty late to this story, but let me clear up some misunderstandings for posterity's sake:

Disclosure: I've been involved in this effort for at least ten years, I'm head of ICT for one of the UK Copyright Libraries (National Library of Wales), and this story goes way back to the Primary Legislation passed by the UK in 2003, and we've been working on the practicalities of this since before that legislation was passed.

* Yes, Internet Archive and others have been archiving web sites for many years. We're using their software for capturing.

* We've been collecting and archiving web sites by agreement with the web publishers for years via the UK Web archive project.

* What's different here is that the secondary legislation has been passed (in March) that has given the UK copyright libraries the mechanism (agreed with publishers) to extend legal deposit to digital publications, which includes websites.

* This gives the legal deposit libraries the right to add to the national legal deposit collections (the collection of all published material for the UK) digital publications, including ebooks, ejournals and websites.

* Until the 6th of April 2013, we did not have the right (under normal copyright law) to take a copy of websites without permission. Previously we had to request a written agreement from each website we archived to take a copy - obviously this does not scale very far.

* Under the new legislation, we will be taking periodic copies of the entire .uk domain and other websites in other domains which fall under the regulation (territoriality has been difficult to define, as you may imagine).

* The difference between us and the Internet Archive is intended to be that given the status as a national collection, the material that we collect is intended to be available in perpetuity. Our print collections go back centuries, and the intention is that the digital material we collect now will also be available in centuries to come. You can read about the distributed redundant storage here.

TL;DR : this is a legal thing, not a technical thing, and it's about a lot more than websites.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984