Road pricing petition saved by Super SIM

While the crap is beaten out of the housing market

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Letters Surprisingly, not much has been troubling you this week, but the trawl of the mailbag did uncover one topic that's driven you right round the bend - Tony Blair's latest online petitions website, which this week chalked up more than one million signatories protesting against the mooted introduction of road pricing. Pull over, road rage to follow:

"The Evening Standard reports "senior government ministers" spitting that the communications whelp who came up with the idea was a "prat", and had caused a PR disaster."

But of course, the whole idea of actually letting the general populace dictate governmental policy is wholly abhorent to the people in goverment; that's the last thing those sycophantic power-hungry bastards want.

I mean god forbid we should actually live in a democracy, perhaps we should get the Americans to invade us and install a....hey wait a minute, that's what we already have - a fascist regime masquerading as a democracy. I suppose the only difference between us and Iraq is that it wasn't the Americans who put it there.

Fuck this, who's up for Communism?

- Steve

ARGGHGAHGHAHH!!!! "Yes, Minister" was on air, what, eighty years ago, and STILL people put up with this shit.

It's not funny any more. If a million people signed a petition calling for compulsory retina scans and anal GPS implants for all newborn babies, the government would hail it a victory for democracy and implement the policy the next day.

My own dotguv petition drew the official response: "What you suggested isn't currently what we do". WTF?

- Mark

For "...it is important that people have the chance to have their say...", read "We will collect as many opinions as necessary and then ignore all those that don't agree with what we had already decided to do".

I heard Mr Alexander's foray onto Today this morning and he tried to suggest that a petition *in favour* of road pricing would gather just as many signatures, if not more. Well the fact is, Mr Alexander no such petition exists so your point is rather moot. If one appears in the next few days we all know where to look for its source...

Furthermore, he also claimed that suggestions of vehicle tracking and civil liberties infringement were pure scaremongering and without any basis in fact. If that's the case then precisely how do they plan to implement this madcap scheme without knowing who has travelled where, when and using which roads?


Indeed, taxing roads per mile is a silly idea, because it treats petrol-guzzling MPVs and fuel-sipping motorbikes alike. What the govt ought to be considering is a ridiculously high tax per *gallon* of fuel consumed. Oh, just a minute.....we have that.

- Graham

Orange launches the Super SIM, and do you care? Do you applaud? Nope:

"automatically installs "the Orange Homescreen, Packet Video player, F-Secure anti-virus client, and a whole series of Orange branded wallpapers and themes"."

Oh, yay. The exact things that people spend months trying to remove from their brand-new handsets only to find that it's not possible.

My grandad recently bought a brand new Nokia which has a permanent unread MMS message stating the wonderful benefits of a colour screen. How is that useful to anyone?



Following the report on the inventive two-step, we bring you a suggestion from the floor for a way the Patent Office might want to deal with software "inventions" and business method patent applications. Not sure if it'd work, but worth adding to the mix, surely:

Simple method to quash software/business patents: can the idea be kept a trade secret? If the idea cannot be kept as such, then what point a patent? Since patents are meant to stop ideas being kept secret and dying off when the inventor forgets, loses the details or dies.


One-click: brings benefit even if it isn't a patent and cannot be kept secret (or at least the *implementation* used by Amazon could be, but that is already covered by copyright and isn't included in the one-click patent in any case).

So, the patent office should ask "would you make this without patent protection?" And "can't you keep it secret?". If the answer to either is yes, don't give a patent.


The future of data storage. Smaller, lesser or just cheaper?

Re: Reducing Storage...

This has some good thoughts that could use more exposure, but first some more specifics. 1. How many base classes of data are there for typical companies? 2. What are the largest volume classes? 3. Who is developing/delivering software for this?

I like the idea of classification priority to determine lifetime and storage tier. Clearly this idea is one that will become a big issue fairly soon.

Thanks, BillN

Regarding your article: Prediction: one day you will reduce total storage

You make an assertion: "one day you _will_ reduce total data storage", as if the cost per terabyte of storage were a constant. I think you know its not so. The cost per terabyte of storage goes down with time as technology improves. The demand for storage goes up with time. Your assertion is correct if the demand is current going up way faster than the storage cost. Can you back up your assertion with facts, numbers or studies?

On the flip side, one could argue that storage costs go down much faster than demand goes up for many, many applications. Disk drive density doubles every two years. Corporate email archives (which are very important for storage due to the SOX act), personal digital music, even customer databases, rarely grow that fast in general. So, you're arguing that storage demand is growing at a rate faster than storage cost is going down, leading to strong caps on demand in the future. You may be right, but I, and other readers, can't judge that until you back it up quantitatively.



I've been trying to tell my programme management this for the last 2 years. Perhaps it's come from a media source they will finally listen. They have a set of blinkers when it comes to storage; they treat it like CPU or network resource rather than a commodity and have recently shocked them by having to order several millions pounds worth of kit for the next 12 months because they are not tackling the retention and value of their data.

Whilst I'd hope your article is not 'news' to any storage architect, perhaps it will help educate 'management'? Mind you, it could have done with some animated Powerpoint slides after each paragraph to keep their attention.......


The housing market is all bullshit, if you ask us:

What's new? If you go down in the woods today, (try the New Forest) you will find entire house walls constructed from manure, maybe with a little extra clay and stray. But then, they're only good for around a millenium or so...


Actually the way most homes are built in the U.S. these days, they are already shitty construction. We've had a relatively mild winter yet roofs cave in on a regular bases from typical snow loads. Houses built in hurricane prone areas of the south, disappear every year along with countless lives. Current housing construction technology in the U.S. is all about slam it up, take the money and run. It's downright criminal to even issue certificates of occupancy for these unsafe shacks they charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for. Jorge

I bet everyone will use a mask when they push that stuff through the saw.. :)


Right, that's it. We're off to wallow our nice manure-free homes. Get writing. More on Friday. ®

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