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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment Re:I gave gifts like this once. Everyone hated the (Score 1) 377

This is a good idea, I don't understand giving away a usb stick. They tend to be secondary things e.g. giving someone a digital photo frame with some family photo's on it.

The gift of a USB stick with OSS on it seems very generic and not really very thoughtful. I always thought the point of Christmas was to show you care about someone by taking the time to think up a gift/gifts tailored to them. For example one of my little sisters never used to read recreationally and I would tease her about it. This year she hasn't been able to put a book down and is also a huge fan of Harry Potter so I'm getting her the Harry Potter Special Edition book set.

I appreciate people have budgets, heck of all the things I gave my Dad last Christmas the £5 survival kit is one of the things he goes on about the most. It doesn't have to be expensive just bought with that person in mind.

Comment Re:Because so many more enter college these days? (Score 1) 841

Your wrong, if you understand a subject it shouldn't matter how a lecturer teaches it. I don't understand differentiation and integration the way it is taught in UK schools. It took me a lot of effort to work out what things meant and why*, when I went to university the lecturer there did such things another way. I didn't claim it was unfair I wrote things down as he did went back to my notes and figured out what he was doing.

If in your first year you cover integration and differentiation is is unreasonable to expect your second year to reteach integration and differentiation before teaching something like laplace or furrier transforms.

If you don't have the knowledge for a class either you need to learn it in your own time (and possibly find someone who can help you) or you shouldn't be there. Your choosing to study that subject which means you must care about it, if you don't care about it why are you there?

*This is my biggest gripe about STEM teaching, it is only taught one way. A few years back my little sister was being predicted a D/C in her Maths GCSE. My mother called me home to try and help, I spent a single evening going through her Math curriculum book explaining how I understand the subject matter. He teacher remarked on a stunning improvement and she got an A*. I'm not a great teacher I just see and think about Maths in a very different way.

Comment Re:Sometimes that's the plan (Score 1) 841

At my university (University of Plymouth) during the first year they would take on 70 people for electrical engineering related degrees and the facility expected more than half to drop out over Christmas. The second and third years would be limited to ~30 people.

The first term would cover all the preliminary knowledge required for the degree, I think the idea was to make sure everyone was at the same level but the pace of it meant it was more a refresher. It was designed to weed out people who wouldn't be able to complete the degree.

While it sounds harsh out of the dozen people I know who dropped out I think only one left because he couldn't keep up. Which was his own fault, myself and others had set up a study group and frequently invited him but he always said no. The others were international students who stopped coming to lectures after the first few weeks.Most of them seemed more interested in partying than learning.

Comment Re:What Google+ Needs To Beat Facebook is (Score 1) 75

No it needs to fix Picasa Web Albums. I tried to load my entire photo collection in to Picasa Web Albums and came across 2 problems. Firstly local tags don't aways get put online, when they don't appear online the application detags them locally. Secondly it creates duplicate people I have a person called bob, I upload 2 photo's of bob to web albums on my local machine that is one person but on Picasa Web Albums bob now has two person albums. This problem is compounded by the fact you can't merge or delete duplicate people albums. I have no photos in web albums at the moment but my account is stuck with over 400 empty people albums most of which are duplicates. Lastly just because I tag someone in Picasa Web Albums doesn't mean they are tagged in a Google + stream and tagging a person through the Google+ stream does not tag that person in Picasa Web Albums.

The people manager issue has been a known bug for more than a year and Google haven't even acknowledged it, for me the draw of Google+ was circles and Picasa Web Albums. If Picasa Web Albums is broken what is the point?

Comment Re:Real Engineers... (Score 1) 580

As a software engineer I take offence to that. I work for a CMMI Level 5 rated business unit, process is everything. First you develop requirements, then design use cases, then outline the high level design (functional area's, etc..) if required you complete the design in UML to a class level (depending on target safety level). This is documented and reviewed by peers, you generally have to justify any design decisions. You also have to specify any external interfaces and detail them so a 3rd party could implement them. Once the design is approved you develop component, system and unit tests which should trace back to requirements. If tests are needed after the code has been written (say new requirements come in) the person who implemented the code can not write the tests. Finally after all this is done you get to implement the code (depending on size multiple people may do the implementing).

We tend to run products through iterative testing process, when we are happy the tests and all project documentation are independently audited. At that point the product is considered "ready". Occasionally if your unlucky you get to see the customer integration and provide technical support.

What would a professional engineer do differently? In my next job is labelled software consultant and my biggest fear is it won't have decent engineering processes.

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