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Comment Re:Akamai (Score 1) 136

A lot of the worlds biggest websites are frontend by Akamai. From wikipedia; companies (past & present) include; Apple, Microsoft, Valve's Steam, BBC iPlayer, Rackspace, Adobe, Yahoo, ESPN, NBC, MTV, Hilton, etc etc. Akamai's own website says they handle 15-30% of the world's web traffic - which I don't believe is too far off the mark.

So yes, end users should care about how quickly they can access Akamai's network.

Disclaimer, I don't work for akamai but have worked with them on some of the larger (enterprise) clients I've worked with.

Comment Re:If you keep voting for the same people... (Score 1) 88

The first-past-the-post voting system we have in the UK is very biased. The majority of people who voted did not vote for who is in charge.

Even glossing over that; you make it sound like there's an alternative to having idiots run the country. I have never seen a politician or party in the UK that I think is qualified to run the country or make important decisions. They're all blithering idiots with their own agendas that couldn't care less about what their constituents actually want. They spout utter nonsense as election pledges to get votes and then U-turn on all of the important ones.

So election day is always about voting for the lesser of (usually 2) evils. There is never anybody good.

It'd be very difficult for anybody who actually is good to run the country for a few reasons;
1. They'd have to part of 1 of the big 2 parties, or they have no chance of getting enough seats (due to first-past-the-post) 2. The 2 big parties have their own internal politics that'd prevent someone who in acts in favour of the population reaching the top if they didn't also align with each party's own private agendas.
3. If they weren't part of 1 of the big 2 parties, they'd struggle to compete in terms of marketting & pre-election pledges. If the competition cheats (which it does by deceiving the voters) then Joe Blogg's super party will have to cheat to be competitive. It's similar to performance-enhancing drugs in sports; it forces honest sportsmen to cheat because they'd have no way of keeping up otherwise. If Joe Blogg's super party starts making ridiculous pledges it can't keep so it can get as much TV time as the big parties - then Joe Bloggs is just as bad as the others.

So yeah - at this point, I just vote for the small guys in the hope that one day one of them might be big enough to change the political landscape enough to knock the big 2 off the top. But I'm also a realist and know that I'm essentially just wasting paper by voting for those guys. I'd imagine that's why so few people actually turn up to vote these days; the system's broken and anybody who wants to fix it can't get in power to fix it.

On the plus side, at least we can hope the Lords will reject the snoopers charter. One thing to note though, the Lords are not elected; and some Lords have already been caught trying to squeeze the snooper's charger into another bill. So, again, realist speaking; we can't assume the Lords will get it right either.


tl;dr; We have a faux-democracy. Best we can do is hope the guys in power don't screw it up too badly.

Comment Re:Yeah, but (Score 1) 169

This page loaded 488KB of data. It took my browser 25.5 seconds* to download it all. What you're suggesting is all of that page data be included in a single response? So the browser would have to wait 25.5 seconds before it could even start rendering the page? Where it'd be difficult for the browser to then cache content that could be shared across multiple pages? Compare that to the current dependency structure where the DOM was loaded in 2.41 seconds & the page was considered loaded at 5.91 seconds.

Browsers are already pretty good at doing things in parallel and with proper web development, you can sensibly prioritise external content so that the user can see the important/useful bits of a page while the rest downloads in the background to add the polish on top.

I'm obviously being pedantic here because I'm sure that's not what you literally meant. It could be argued in my example that the majority of /.'s 25.5 second load time was for non-critical assets/content considering the page was usable much before the 25.5 seconds had elapsed. But to take that to the extreme & cut out all the non-essential content, we'd end up with a web much like it was in the 80s where everything was just basic text; which would be blisteringly fast on modern connections.

But, alas, this isn't the 80s any more. Web publishers actually want to make money for the services they're providing the world. Consumers are swayed by swishy graphics & interactive DOM elements. Modal popups asking for email addresses do actually increase conversion rates. Tracking and analytics data are genuinely useful to businesses to forecast or tweak things to suit trends & usage. Websites serve so many people now that rendering user-specific pages server side is extremely expensive & slow when they could use a CDN to serve up generic page templates & an API for user data & let user browsers piece everything together.

* Actually, it's a bit vague because /., like many other sites, periodically poll various trackers so I just took the 25.5 seconds to be around where it looked like everything except the polling-javascript finished downloading.

Comment Re:Remind me again (Score 1) 156

It was nice to have Netflix run directly on my TV.
Until Panasonic decided that they couldn't be bothered to keep the app updated

It's nice to be able to put the kettle on when I'm 5 minutes from my house.
Except the experience doesn't let you check how much water is in the kettle first, the kettle cannot keep a stable wifi connection, and as far as boiling water goes; it's a really bad kettle and it takes a really long time.

It's nice for my washing machine to be able to send a diagnostic report to my phone that I can then show an engineer who can then determine the issue more reliably (and therefore cheaply to me).
But it's not great that the machine is now 90% computer and most faults need to be addressed by replacing logic boards; which is not something that can be done cheaply.


Connected devices is fine in my book; they can be useful. The problem is more often than not, the implementation is just bad. Company in industry x thinking they can just do industry y just hasn't been working;
Tech companies know which corners can be cut and at what costs when they're developing their bread & butter.
Appliance companies know which corners they can cut and at what costs when they're developing their bread and butter.
Appliance companies that are developing tech either; don't know enough about tech so screw it up, or, worse, think they know enough about tech to know which corners to cut and royally screw it up.

To reframe the issue slightly;
I would not trust a washing machine made by Facebook to not leak on a particular cycle.
I wouldn't trust a fridge made by Microsoft to not get frosted up every couple of days.
I wouldn't trust a car made by Apple to not require an obscure sized nozzle on a fuel pump.
Why would I expect a kettle company to build a phone app with good UX?


It would be nice if non-tech companies could add tech to their products in a good way; but unfortunately, it's just not their area of expertise. And quite often, their area that they should be good at suffers because they're trying to focus on the tech side of things.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 115

As a company who wants to develop some hardware to plug into people's phones, I want the most potential customers to be able to use my new hardware because it is very expensive to develop bespoke hardware and even more so if there are a bunch of competing platforms and my same piece of hardware needs to be rebuilt, re-certified & re-licensed 5 times for the top 5 device manufacturers.

LG's market share is tiny, so it's going to be hard to justify developing something that can only ever be used on LG's products. Tiny market share + high development cost = nobody will develop for the platform.

LG need developers. Developers need guarantees of a larger market share than LG can directly provide. The other manufacturers in the market will need to see a lot of hardware already developed for LG's interface before they'd consider implementing LG's interface vs creating their own proprietary interface.

It's a bit of a catch 22. LG need to go all in with this one to make it stick; charging to develop on or to implement the interface will kill it before it starts. They need to make the standard free to develop & implement. Bring other manufacturers on board to define/shape the standard. Develop lots of addon hardware themselves and set the precedent that addon from manufacturer x can work with device from manufacturer y and that the money is in addon sales not in interface licensing fees.

I think that's all a tall & costly order for a company that has such a small mobile business and frankly, I don't see it happening; which is a shame because LG do make good phones (disclaimer, I have an LG G4 and when compared to my old HTC...well, I can see why HTC's market share is tanking).

So; I predict nothing exciting will come of this for LG. Best case scenario for LG is they corner some niche market by creating addons that estate agents in China just can't live without. In 5 years time, Samsung and Apple will have their own interfaces and those 2 interfaces will be the ones developers target for mass market.

Comment Re:IoT (Score 1) 130

Define "computer".

I wish someone could define it in a highly specific way rather than just using it as a umbrella term for so many distinct devices; desktop PCs, laptops, ultrabooks, Macs, calculators, phones, abaci, difference engines etc.

"IoT" means Internet of Things. So like a "computer" is anything that can compute, "IoT" as a thing that has some connectivity to the Internet. So yes, all of the things you mentioned could fit into the definition of "IoT". Smart TV = probably is a thing with Internet connectivity. Old "dumb" TV = just a thing. Fitness band that syncs your data to your phone/PC/"the-cloud" = IoT. Basic pedometer = just a thing.

I don't really get where the confusion around IoT is. It's pretty self explanatory. Popular usage might consider things like smart phones separate from IoT - but in practice, many devices the media are calling IoT depend on smart phones to provide the "I"; so smart phones are often part of the IoT ecosystem. As are any devices between the "thing" and the "Internet".

Comment Re:René Descartes' evil demon (Score 1) 225

There are parallels between Descartes' evil demon and the machines in The Matrix.

We cannot know that we're not all enslaved by a bunch of machines who have created a fictional reality in which we live, completely oblivious to the outside world and actual reality.

From a philosophical point of view; I don't believe we ever can know everything there is to know. Proving we're not in some mind-controlled state or some artificial world presented as nature is impossible.

Comment Re:Neither (Score 1) 90

You might use the web on your phone in a way that makes what you describe make sense. But most people don't. Most people use their phones on the go or where they otherwise want quick access to the important information on a website; where scrolling and zooming around a page to pull out the useful information is fiddly and annoying.

Most people, when they want more information, ie, not the basic mobile view, will use some other device with a larger screen than a phone that is more suited to comfortably viewing more information like a tablet or laptop.

I realise 'most people' probably needs citation. But I'm talking from my own experience as a lead engineer who oversees a lot of very popular ecomm sites for a company that spends a lot of time monitoring users' habits so we can boost conversion rates. 0.1% conversion increase for us is measured in millions, so as a company, we've kinda done our research.

Comment Re:Is it still a clusterfuck? (Score 1) 159

Actually, that's the php4 version. You haven't used any features 5 brought to the language. Specifically, 5 was a massive leap forward in terms of OOP.

A more PHP5-esque implementation would probably use the SplFileObject class.

But no, you're right, what the internet needs is more examples of how to use the language badly. I'm sure I could come up with a dated, not-recommended way of opening a file in $arbitraryLanguage too.

Comment On the flip side (Score 1) 113

If you ever want to do bad, illegal things; you could connect to the free, public part of your router and torrent away. Sure it'd be slow (0.5M) but you can probably leave it always on.

Or for a more elaborate set up, connect to all your neighbour's public wifi networks at the same time and split your shenanigans between them.

Comment I hope it's easily disabled (Score 1, Insightful) 113

I don't want passers by being able to connect to my home router with the hope that virgin's software is secure enough to maintain a distinction between private and public networks.

I currently already have my superhub (official virgin router/modem combo) in modem mode and use my own routers/access points/switches etc for my home network. So I suppose if this isn't easily disabled, I can always give my superhub a tin foil hat so none of its pesky public wifi signals seep out.

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