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Comment Re:Money, money, money (Score 1) 486

Yes, I can categorically say you love The Mars Trilogy more than I do, since I've never read it.

As for the rest, I doubt that world public opinion could allow a commercial enterprise on Earth from abandoning the people IT had sent to Mars. You appear to still be thinking of this as a national / american enterprise. It isn't.

Comment Money, money, money (Score 2) 486

The shuttle programme cost about half a billion $$$ per launch, just for 1 vehicle to LEO.

Let's assume that with a decent design, efficient management and commercial flair the cost of a Mars mission is about the same - per journey: take-off to landing.

Let's also assume that for every populated launch, there is another that just carries supplies. The cost for 100 people to the red planet is about $1Bn - $10m per head. Now, I am sure there are plenty of people who would pay that amount. There are also many more that we (as the occupants of Earth) would be willing to raise the capital to send them - whether they want to go or not.

But to sustain $20Bn or more investment for 40 - 100 years before you have a viable colony needs more financing than one single internet outfit can provide - there are only so many millionaires who would be willing to walk away from their lives here on Earth. That kind of investment would only come from a nation or a religion.

It would also seem likely that some time after Musk got his operation running, there would be other operators entering the game. They would be setting up alternative colonies, for their own reasons and with their own goals in mind. It occurs to me that for a competing group, the simplest, least risky and cheapest route would be to NOT start up themselves, but to infiltrate or take over Musk's operation and then gain control of the colony (either by force, commercial shenanigans on Earth or indoctrination of the colonists) once it became self-sufficient.

Comment Security: GOOD, Vandalproof: ZERO (Score 1) 126

The other side of corporate espionage is denying a company access to its own databases, research, customer lists, ledgers and everything else that is required to keep a company going.

While this device is very good at preventing other people fromgetting that data, it's the worst design possible for preserving it in the face of adversity. All that a bad person would have to do to put you out of business, if you relied on this device, is to say "Boo!" and all your data disappears.

Of course, if you have a backup then that has to be at the same level of "security" as this PC or it becomes the weakest link. Instead it's the most breakable link - which is merely another form of weakness. The same goes for restoring all your lost data: if you rebuild the lost data from across a network connection, that has to be untappable, too. I don't think the people who built this have thought it through properly.

Comment ACCESS, not affordable access (Score 1) 180

The commission has also set a target for all European households to have access to download speeds of at least 100Mbps by 2025,

All this means is that ISPs will put a new, premium, service on their portfolios, priced at whatever it would cost them to install - or whatever they choose: either to make a killing from, or to discourage uptake.

There is nothing in this target to say the provision has to be affordable. So if an ISP in an out-of-the-way place, maybe halfway up a mountain, decides it would cost them €250,000 to provide their half-dozen subscribers with 100MBit/s connections, they would price the product accordingly.

As such, this is just a wish, but not a practical requirement that EU citizens must be given this sort of speed, for the tenner-a-month they are paying for "ordinary" broadband, now.

Comment Re:When will IT training become formal curriculum (Score 2) 103

It will never hit the curriculum because schools could never retain IT competent teachers. As soon as they were sufficiently highly skilled to teach any sort of IT class that was relevant, they'd be off to work in IT, rather then remain a teacher.

This is the exact same reason why companies don't train their (IT) staff. What is the point in spending money to make it easier for them to leave you?

Comment Note to operatives (Score 1) 299

Before deploying a "porn finding" dog, make sure to leave your collection in the police car.
The last thing you'd want to happen is the dog detects your thumb drive, or your phone - which given it's proximity is much more likely.

Or, worse: it detects your supervisor's phone / tablet / sd-card which then has to be taken in as evidence.

Yes, I know this mutt only detects residual fumes off electronics - if it actually "detects" anything at all that it's not pointed at. But the possibility of it grassing up its owner is too amusing.

Comment Requires a knowledge of the job (Score 5, Insightful) 205

C-level leadership is elected by the employees for a one-year term.

So how to "ordinary" employees (even ones from a recruitment company) know what qualities to look for in a C-level? Do they understand the legal obligations that C-levelship brings. Do they know what is possible or within scope for a particular "C"?

Or do they simply engage in a beauty contest and vote for people they like, or who make the biggest promises: "vote for me as your CEO and I'll give everyone a pay rise and annual bonus"

It all sounds lovely and group-huggy. But does it actually make the company more successful or a better place to work?

Comment Re:Use tip jars (Score 1) 160

When you enjoyed someone's work, you leave them a tip

But so few articles are worth a dam'. Most aren't even worth the time spent reading them (so the authors should be compensating us for the time wasted by attractive headlines with content that fails to deliver).

However, we already have a system for rewarding authors who consistently produce worthwhile content that is good enough to explicitly seek out: subscriptions. Personally, I am still searching for a publication that produces enough of this high quality content to make the cost of their subs. reasonable. Having the occasional article - maybe one a week - that is relevant, authoritative and informative doesn't make up for all the time spent wading through (in this case: The Guardian) dross just to find it.

Comment Function? (Score 1) 54

This is what I got from the announcement:

* It's been a long time since the last release
* We've put all the updates into a new version to save time updating old releases
* You can now download it from our website
* We fixed a load of bugs
* Auto installs are easier
* You can change the GUI

Is that it? What about new features? What would I be able to do with this release that I couldn't do with an old one? What new "super powers" will it give me?

If I was marketing a software tool intended for technical people, all the new functionality would be at the top of the list. Sure, techies want to download and install it easier, but if they were willing to jump through the hoops needed to install earlier versions, then making this faster doesn't sound like too big a deal. And as for different desktops ... we're all pretty much au fait with all of them now and you'd have to be rather "precious" to not use a tool because you didn't like the GUI.

Comment Re:Why should commercial be different from private (Score 1) 239

The safety element extends far beyond "pilot" competence.

It would have to cover build-quality of the drone. Inbuilt safeguards. Limitations on weight / speed, per flight or vehicular licensing. And perhaps the hardest part would be to qualify the flight controls, radio link and default actions on loss of signal.

Once all of these became type-approved, I can't see the price of a drone being anywhere near what an amateur would consider expendable.

Although the world of model aircraft extends right up to 200 mph jets, I would expect that the first time one of those caused a death or was used in a terrorist incident, the entire hobby-space would be slammed shut, instantly. Drones are just a part of this classification.

Comment Re:Illegal Age-ism Admitted in the Press! (Score 1) 244

I reckon Dyson's comment is merely to conceal the real reason: young engineers are cheap.

There are plenty of them, they are easily manipulated into working long hours.

They are disposable (and "Not taking notice of experts" means your operation will soon go broke: reinventing every wheel that the experienced guys in the neighbouring companies just take, off the shelf).

I doubt that if Dyson had shareholders to worry about, he would take this view. But since the company is his own personal play-thing, he's welcome to spend his money as he pleases. But so far as products go, his company seems to have a problem learning from experience. Nobody I know who bought a "die-soon" vacuum cleaner would ever buy another Dyson product.

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