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Comment Re:Alternative (Score 1) 113

A woman in a hot air balloon realised she was lost...
She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit
more and shouted:
'Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an
hour ago but I don't know where I am.'
The man below replied, 'You're in a hot air balloon hovering
approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 52 and 53
degrees north latitude and between 1 and 2 degrees west longitude.'
'You must be an Engineer,' said the balloonist.
'I am,' replied the man, 'how did you know?'
'Well,' answered the balloonist, 'everything you have told me is probably
technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information
and the fact is, I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If
anything, you've delayed my trip and wasted my time.'

The man below responded, 'You must be in Management.'
'I am,' replied the balloonist, 'but how did you know?'
'Well,' said the man, 'you don't know where you are or where you're
going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot
air. You made a promise which you've no idea how to keep and you
expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are
in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now,
somehow, it's my fault.

Comment Could this cause another 'millennium Bug' fiasco? (Score 1) 554

That's how it will stimulate the economy. Loads of consultancies will frighten companies into upgrading their systems to cope with the change. CIO's of said companies have nothing to loose in getting the board to reduce profits for a year or two and invest in IT infrastructure...

That said it would be a bit easier from a psycological point of view if they just didn't put the clocks back in the autumn, rather than adding 2 hours in spring

Comment Re:Another Language (Score 1) 330

But then again I think of it as a bit like wine-tasting. Tasting as many langauges as possible gives me the ability to identify what goes best with what, how do I know if a task is more suited to Perl than assembler - only because I have used both. That said there has to be limits, if I have been using Java exclusively for a few months, it may be a lot quicker for me do some data mangling in Java even though it may require 10x as many lines of code the equivalent Perl (simply because I'll have to switch my brain into Perl mode, which at my great age is a sloooowwww process).

So I still like to use as many languages as I can and I regularly use (i.e. write production apps/utilities in) about 3 or 4. Sometimes taking the time to look at the little langauges gives me a head start on what will come out in the more mainstream langauges in a year or two.

The Internet

The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design 242

I'm Not There (1956) writes "Jeffrey Zeldman brings up the interesting issue of the paradox between Japan's strong cultural preference for simplicity in design, contrasted with the complexity of Japanese websites. The post invites you to study several sites, each more crowded than the last. 'It is odd that in Japan, land of world-leading minimalism in the traditional arts and design, Web users and skilled Web design practitioners believe more is more.'"

Comment Re:Hubris? (Score 3, Insightful) 895

It's not hubris, it is our second-law-of-thermodynamics destiny. It is why we exist.

The sun is busy doing it's thing, chucking heat out all over the universe, except for this one little annoying planet that is covered in plants and trees. The damn things keep capturing the carbon and eventually store it as fossil fuels, all that energy locked up and unable to escape.

The gods of thermodyanics want an earlier return on their investment, so we evolve to burn the fuel, chop down the trees and generally put back as entropy what was rightly universal entropy before those pesky trees got in the way.

Comment Re:Argh, the examples suck (Score 1) 973

Have you thought about it in terms of property? If you think of land, it is often leased. The lessor pays for the use of the land, possibly even improving it in some way, but at the end of their lease they have no money and no land (except any profit they made from the use of the land).

For commercial artists, copyright provides a similar transaction - I write a song, you sing my song and earn money from it, when you stop singing my song you have what ever profit you made I still have my song.

What seems to vex people is having to pay a copyright holder for non-commercial use, and indeed most copyright laws allow for things like educational copying but they do not provide for other forms of non-commercial use.

May be a solution to this is that the rights holder gets either a percentage of profits (hard to enforce) or a much bigger fee for each performance, but we get the the right to copy for non-commercial use. Of course we would then pay more to go to gigs and bars playing music, sports, etc. but the choice is there.

Comment Re:perl? (Score 1) 426

Any solution like this means deploying execuatbles to user client machines. I've worked in many organisations where this is simply not possible. Things like batch and (as I suggested above) and Excel macro - assuming office is installed - are sometimes the only viable option.

In fact I once worked somewhere where everything was locked down so tight that it was impossible to even email an executable into the organisation. I REALLY needed to get a little exe on to a machine on that network, so I wrote a base64 decoder in Excel-VBA, encoded the exe, emailed it in and used the Excel decoder to decode it so that I could run it.

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