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Letters Gartner pronounced this week that IT departments are likely to get smaller and less techie, a trend that will be driven by an increase in outsourcing. You wondered what the analysts had been smoking:

I agree that IT Departments will feel the pressure, especially in businesses that have no understanding of the value of IT. However I also think that after several years of shelling out more money for less service, and of course less actual product, eventually IT Departments will recover some of that 15% they will inevitably lose.

As businesses that have outsourced already have found, the deal may look good to begin with, but as soon as the additional costs for fixing problems outside of the contract terms appear, they will realise they've been duped.

Usually this happens once the number of "free" service calls have been reached, and the $150-$250/hour service calls start mounting up.

Default PC configurations start looking mediocre, and the cost of upgrading to what was actually expected is another frightener..

Lack of on-site response, because businesses that rely on large numbers of contracts also rely on things like remote support to manage computers and don't have the man power to respond immediately to most of the trivial stuff.

Trivial to them perhaps, but not to the person that can't get their email going or get an Office application started.

Then you get the big stuff, network routers failing, network appliances going offline, and suddenly being the small guy, competing with larger contract holders for some actual on site support gets frustrating.

Not as frustrating as the whopping bill, because by pure coincidence, that particular piece of hardware wasn't covered by your maintenance contract...

and so on..

So yes, numbers of in-house positions will decline over the next five years as bean counters look at the numbers.. but reality will sink in eventually, and at least some of those jobs will return..

Andy


My God Gartner are full of shit.

Advocating external suppliers just when big companies are bringing IT back in-house. Why send a job external, get something you didn't ask for months late and over budget when you could get exactly what you want when you want it by utilising the absolute control you have of internal staff. Just look at gov.uk for how well external suppliers work. Utter bollocks.

Mark


News that Netscape 8.0 upset the smooth running of IE brought tears to many eyes. Tears of mirth, you understand:

Ah, the irony ;-).

Shame it's only XML feeds, though..

P


Is that called "turnabout is fair play"? -hehe

I seem to remember MS doing that regularly to Netscape back during the "browser wars" with W3.11.

It seemed every .DLL file delivered with any application install or update would "break" Netscape and set the primary browser back to IE. Every time you updated or loaded a program Netscape would have to be installed again.

Funny how the new .DLL files did not have any effect on other programs, just Netscape, -hmmm. Of course every application developer used the newest "poison pill" .DLL files downloaded from MS for their applications.

Of course MS recommends removing Netscape. How about removing IE???

Nope that can't be done. :(

Thanks for the laughs.

Eric


Netscape 8 disables an application installed on your machine without your express permission, which may collect your personal data (without your permission) and redirect your browser on certain occasions (without your permission).

So Netscape have entered the anti-spyware market then? :)

John


A mixed reaction to news that Parliament has been told to get with the 21st century and make its website a little easier to navigate.

Hansard's and the Parliament's web sites have been known to be rubbish for ages --- which is why (blatant plug ahead) www.theyworkforyou.com was set up; it's a volunteer-run, fully open-source, highly buzzword-compliant portal to all things parliamentary.

It'll allow you to search speeches, written questions, MP's voting records and practically all other public sources of political information, it's fully integrated with sites like www.writetothem.com and www.publicwhip.org.uk, and it allows comments and public discussions attached to every paragraph in Hansard. If you're even the slightest bit interested in politics it's well worth bunging in your postcode and pressing the search button...

David


Make parliament interesting and accessible? Surely not! That's the whole point of maintaining the archaic traditions of the House, so that the cloud of inscrutability can be retained in the hope that it will confer a level of respect from anyone outside it.

Oh, and just so you know, the Parliament Intranet is little better than the external site for those of us unfortunate enough to have to use it. It's a mess of conflicting designs and unhelpful links that takes experience rather than intuition to navigate.

Matt


Aaaiii. It ain't broke, please don't let them try to fix it. At the moment the parliament web site is a really straightforward reference resource, usable by anyone. I can only imagine what efforts to make it more 'engaging', let alone 'interactive', might bring. A flash intro page no doubt, plus forums full of people demonstrating their ignorance in the belief that someone cares, and text-votes coinciding with the division bell, so that we can marvel at the fact that a self-selecting group of under-employed net-heads don't always agree with MPs. God help us.

Duncan


They call for more connection with the community and then charge 25 quid for a report they could have slapped online for free? Amazing!

John


Scientists this week unearthed a statistical link between childhood leukaemia and living near pylons. Not the first time the subject has cropped up, and it seems, unlikely to be the last:

>> Children living close to overhead power lines might be at an >> increased risk of developing leukaemia <<

Although I have not looked up the report itself yet, I wonder whether they have also analysed with respect to the mother and father living near power lines ?

For example, a couple who lived near power lines who moved away on the birth of the child; a mother (or father) alone, living nearby when the other parent did not. A couple who moved under power lines with their newborn child.

In this way they could determine whether it was some influence pre-conception, during gestation (perhaps at some early stage), or after birth - or nothing at all.

To take a hypothetical mechanism, if slightly raised atmospheric ozone levels caused damage to the mother's or father's reproductive cells, then it would only be relevant where the parent had lived, not the children.

Regards, Mike


Are the scientists at Oxford just catching up with what the rest of the world (Well down under anyway) were saying 20 years ago? It was stated that the extra low frequency field of HT wires was cancer causing back then. Have they just woken up from a rip van winkle sleep? Or sis they require new funding for some strange project & decided to rehash old news?

[Yes. I've said no to buying houses in the past because they were too close to powerlines. So have lots of people I know. Not just because they're ugly :]

Hamish


A very impassioned reader writes about the EU's terrible persecution of that poor little software company from Redmond:

How about these upitty government make-work branches go suck some uranium. "Make a version of windows without media player. Waaaa! Waaaa!"

I'd love to see Redmond spit out a special "Anti-trust Free Windows XP". You install on FAT16, nothing else supported because tat might limit competition. You boot to a basic black screen with a blinking cursor, (a GUI might be considered anti-competitive after all). No network support, no video support past CGA, no file explorer, 101 keyboard support only, no mouse or other peripheral support. They might, if they can get away with the litigation I'm sure would ensue, support LPT printing. Essentially strip Windows bare to the point it's unusable. Maybe call it the Windows XP - EC Edition.

Maybe if users could install a clean copy of Windows and be REQUIRED to go download a ton of small apps to create the functionality that it comes with out of the box the EC would be happy? Gotta download that download software... wait a sec...

If someone doesn't like WMP, download Real or Divx or Quicktime or any of a dozen other mdeia players. Don't like Notepad? There are lots of free replacements avaiable online.

It's like buying a fully NU-loaded car. They didn't know what you wanted so they just gave you nothing.

Bill Gould

Yeah, sure your surname is Gould...


Nottingham university switched on a supercomputer this week and in the manner of these things, did a small translation from techie jargon to real world stuff, to help us get the large and powerful nature of such a beat into perspective. The translation usually goes something like "...and if we had to print that data out on A4 paper, we could build a tower from all the sheets that would reach to the moon!". Well, this time they worked in songs on an iPod. One reader thought they might have counted wrong:

5700 years? Hmm...

Rough maths time: At a low 64kbps, an MP3 or WMA file uses about 1Mb for every 2 minutes of music. For 50Tb, this gives about 105,000,000 minutes of music. That only works out at about 200 years of continuous music... Impressive? Yes. 6 millenia? No. Seems the computer science department is trying to exaggerate a bit...

Incidentally, at an average of 3 minutes per song, that makes 35,000,000 tracks. And at the going iTunes rate, that comes to a cool £19 million, give or take the odd hundred thousand.

Dan

And let's not even get into the problems of sorting out a battery that could cope, eh?


Reminds me vaguely of my time at uni when you had to submit jobs to the big mainframe (370/165) to run overnight. You used to see intriguing electron density maps of crystals and radio astronomy maps coming off the plotter. No doubt the Big Users in Notts will have to book time, just like in the Old Days.

Regards,

Mike

Kids these days. They don't know they're born...eh?


A knife fight broke out this week, at Reg central, between people who are in favour of plastic cutlery, and the rather better-armed, sharp, pointy knife contingent. All sparked by a letter we ran on Tuesday in which Adam claimed that there is no legitimate culinary use for a pointy knife:

Reader "Adam" writes that pointy knives can only be used as weapons, which reveals a refreshing ignorance of what's happening in a kitchen. These days, too many men are unwillingly dragged into the damned kitchen to help with cooking while their beer is warming up in front of an unattended TV. Adam simply *has* to tell us where he met his wife, because she might have sisters willing to marry other lazy Reg readers unwilling to ever cook. A point for you there, Adam.

But then, Adam ruins it by displaying a crass ignorance of history. He further writes that "table knives used to be pointed, but they were rounded a few centuries ago to reduce injuries and deaths caused in fights in public eating houses". That's plainly false. The French Cardinal de Richelieu introduced rounded knives in 1699 and mandated their use in the Court because he couldn't stand the sight of nobility picking their teeth with the point of their knife at the end of the meal. Thus, rounded knives became a symbol of status and privilege. As usual with the French, manners and etiquette, not security, were the driving factor.

Fred


Quote: "This isn't ridiculous at all. For cooking purposes, why do you need the _end_ of a knife to be pointy? All you need is for it to be thin and for the edge to be sharp."

I guess the person who wrote this has never done anything in the kitchen besides cooking Tesco ready made food. Along with the doctors who wrote the original article in first place. They need some cooking lessons from a real cook. The finger licking clowns on BBC do not count.

There is a well known cooking technique in most European (and middle-Eastern) cooking which is used to improve meat taste and quality. It is called spiking. You make holes with a very sharp knife point and plug the holes in the meat with garlic, almonds, raisins and other condiments.

Makes the difference between a POS (the one you buy as Sunday bake in the local pub) and a good meal.

Anton


To add my two cents to the letters regarding "Pointy Knives can Kill", I suggest that we also regulate knitting needles, scissors, pencils, ballpoint pens, etc. Why not Surgeons scalpels as well? Doctors kill people all the time!

While I'm at it why not dull the edges of knives since you could as easily slice through the carotid artery as stab someone. Even the somewhat safer "serrated edge" knives can "hack through frozen food" just like this tomato as the sales pitch for the Ginsu knife used to go.

Really, lets practice all the damage that sharp tools can do on the "nanny state" people who would like to save us from ourselves. We need to do a "study" to determine what objects are a hazard and what better subject to study on than the "nannies"?

The "Dumbing Down" of society has a much more alarming effect than that caused by "running with scissors".

When we protect the stupid from killing themselves, we lose the edge in evolution that is created when only the smart survive. You have only to witness the popularity of "reality TV" to know that mass de-evolution is happening.

Humanity continues to become less intelligent as we protect these idiots from themselves and we will soon be a world full of drooling morons that can't open their containers of precooked food (Watch out for those stoves!) and then starve to death because they have no sharp implements to open them. Let alone the fact the you need a really sharp object to open the packaging that a pair of (even round ended) scissors comes in these days. Talk about your "catch 22"!?

Please call the single edge razor blade lobbyists and give them your support and donations. Then send a pack to your nearest "Nanny" legislator with a note saying "Do your part for Evolution" and some really depressing poetry. Maybe they'll kill themselves and save us all a few IQ points!

Dan

Dan, that was more than two cents. Either that or your thoughts are very cheap.


In the same letters round up we mentioned that Frog:

"We admire your optimism, but can't help feeling that the sodding frog, as you put it, is some kind of karmic judgment on our society..."

Having witnessed the rise of the ridiculous hippo, the sodding frog, RotM (mostly engendered through sheer stupidity I'm afraid to say) and Shakin' Stevens winning a singing contest, I'm about ready to give up hope on society myself.

Can you give us any assurance that this karmic judgment will be over soon so that the more sensible of us don't end up having to bring our illegal cache of pointy objects to bear on the more "ringtone-loving", "warning-box ignoring", "executable-clicking" folk we all love so much?

Oooh - a thought just struck. Perhaps, what with karma being karma, the frog-fans will acquire viruses on their phones rendering them useless ultimately causing the collapse of the ringtone companies? That'd be a start at least eh?

Rob


Going to Mars to find bacteria might be the next big thing on George W's To Do list, but you lot want more than microbes, thank you very much. Accidental contamination of another planet is nothing compared to the importance of the light-sabre:

I figure that I can't be the only one that thinks spending $20 billion to find space amoebas on Mars a bit of a waste of money.

Show me Daleks, Cybermen or Space Monkeys and fair enough, real space aliens, job well done.

Bits of dirt under a microscope, that might or might not have Martian bacteria living in it, not so well done. Very boring in fact, and I want my money back.

This just goes with the other pointless stuff, space ships without laser guns or warp drives, broken inter-galactic telescopes, and an international space station that only the privileged can visit.

So it's time to let these people know that no, bacteria and space amoebas don't count as Martians, now go away and don't come back without at least a blaster and a lightsaber as evidence of ETs.

Andy


Bulldog's 8 meg broadband offer strikes some of you as a bit of corporate willy waving:

Just a quote from a friend of mine that I thought you all may like. He was talking about a mate of his who was a Bulldog trial user down in the Smoke.

"8 meg broadband is like having a 18" dick. It looks really impressive, and everyone is jealous, but really, how often do you get to use all of it?".

Laters rude boy(s and girls)

Yan


And on that delightful note, we will leave you. Enjoy the weekend. ®

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