Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/13/letters_1310/

Students protest balluting Vista?

Getting bibilical on blogs

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 13th October 2006 15:02 GMT

Letters Gartner issued a report this week saying that Vista is going to shake us all up like nothing since, er Windows 2000. You'll be shocked, shocked, to learn that not all El Reg's readers have not reacted with universal positivity to this news:

"users will increasingly own their own equipment"

Wait a minute - does that mean that, in order to find a new job, you'll not only have to have a good CV but also a good laptop ? Paid with your own money ?

Ridiculous. If it's my laptop, then I say what goes on it and what doesn't. This hypothesis has to be wrong, because legally companies will have no right to enforce proper security protocols and data enforcement rules if the ownership of the hardware changes hands. And companies like very much to have rules and procedures, and the IT department is most often tasked with monitoring everything and forbidding access or revealing the doings of employees who do not play by the rules.

I accept that I must use my car to go to work, but nobody's going to tell me how to drive it or what roads I should or should not use. If it's my laptop, then nobody'll put anything there without my prior consent (and a catch-all small print clause in the contract is NOT going to pre-authorize anything either).

Nope, I don't see this happening either from the company side, or the employee side. The company buys the laptops and dictates their use, fine. Even with that, you still find employees and managers surfing when and/or where they shouldn't. I say it'll stay that way.


Wait a minute...

We've got hardware changes as amazing as going away from AGP forever more, and even from PCI, so that we can have a unified PCI Express bus and card slots that just have different bandwidth on that bus instead of a hodge-podge of busses. We have 64-bit extensions to the x86 architecture, allowing for all sorts of (much needed) neat new math and fun optimizations.

We have dualcore processors pretty standard now, soon we'll have quadcore, and pretty much every CPU manufacturer is talking about higher and higher core counts and the need for multithreading to become the standard instead of the exception. We've gone as far as quad-SLI graphics, and now graphics cards not only being able to be used for physics instead of graphics, but soon to be opened up to be used as highly parallel computational boosters.

And speaking of new boosts to processing both AMD and Intel are opening up their sockets and busses to third parties so that in the future FPGAs and the likes can be added like any other CPU.

We've got virtualization software that allows us to run multiple OSes simultaneously on one PC. We've even ditched the clunky cables of PATA for SATA that now even comes pretty standard with NCQ and various forms of RAID to the point where SCSI is really losing value by comparison.

And it's incredibly standard that motherboards now come with onboard LAN and 5.1 or better sound so that you almost don't even need expansion cards anymore, even in bottom budget systems. And to top it off, Linux is finally almost usable by a layman and OSS is actually becoming something competetive to commercial software in features and usability.

Unless there's a lot of their talk missing from that article I think Gartner has really missed the boat, the dock, the city the dock is in, and quite possibly the country the city is in and the continent the country is on. A massive revolution in value and simplicity has already come, and the parallelism revolution has started and is close to its critical mass.

<sarcasm>Gee, I'm ever so glad that we have experts like Gartner to keep us abreast of these things. Wat Vista on Core can do fer me! Zert!</sarcasm>


Not to mention, a revolutionary five blades on a razor...

It seems that Gartner has forgotten all about Linux.

I wonder how much Microsoft paid for his report.


Speaking of Microsoft, the black helicopters (the ones with SCO painted on the outside) have officially been grounded:

Microsoft SCO conspiracy theory quashed (again)

I don't think you can see that because NMS alleged conspiracy was done without emails and without money changing hands it wasn't actually a conspiracy can you? If its all true you have to admire someone who can persuade the mug that you definitely will part with the cash for the backup without actually doing anything... I wonder if Baystar and Goldfarb would have been interested in my proposal to let tham have a large commission in return for helping me secure the money of my late relative, the former head of state of Nigeria?


it can be assumed to be a "fact". A cursory glance over past communications from said company suggests such assumptions are foolhardy. Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they're *not* out to get me...


It strikes me at the minute Google is bloated with cash and every "Web2.0" cowboy is looking to be bought up. At the minute Google has so much shareholder cash and Adwords is printing money to the extent Google is running out of things to buy. Still, YouTube is much in the tradition of Google itself, Google effectively makes money out of other peoples' content, like YouTube. In fact given the spat between Google and authors in scanning content/books it doesn't own and giving them away reveals much of the heart of what Google is about.

In the long run Google has just bought itself a massive liability, either in litigation from content owners or in sheer bandwidth/server costs. I'm betting that per user, YouTube must cost many times what the average Google user costs and as you say, at the minute YouTube has no real mechanism to make money. I *still* think it is extraordinary that YouTube effectively gives away unlimited video hosting, which has always been the most expensive of any web hosting.

But like Joel Baken said in his book "The Corporation" (www.thecorporation.com) the key to making money in the classical sense is "externalising" costs; with old heavy industry that used to the cost of environmental waste. Today, Google is externalising the same costs in terms of content creation --- if you can either steal it or get other suckers to create it, all you need to provide is hardware and bandwidth and you have an instant web site.

I can't help but feel that instead of entering the age of "Web 2.0" we're entering the cut and paste age of sloppy plagiarism, unoriginiality and digitising old content. Hopeless, isn't it?


A stern note from a reader unhappy at our lack of analysis in a short news piece about ID cards:

You repeat glibly that Identity fraud currently costs the country £1.7bn a year, parroting the Home Office line without much in the way of thought.

This of course includes the previously debunked assumption that Credit Card fraud is £1.3bn of it, a figure which even APACS reckons is crazy talk (because it's mostly either Cardholder Not Present fraud, or card skimming, which Chip & PIN is severely denting). The principal cost to the taxpayer of fraud that ID Cards have a hope of combatting is ID-related benefit fraud. Which costs a princely £35m pa - about equal to a DWP tactical project, not something with this degree of polical risk.

You also allow to go unchallenged the economic benefit of ID Cards (ie all those nice consulting & System Integration fees, not to mention the cost of kitting out all the required centres). If Govt bungs to Capita et al amount to economic benefit, sure. But on that measuring stick, might as well give all the cash to me.

Finally, I'd be a lot less dubious of the Home Office's guesstimate of costs if: 1) They were consistent about the costs of stuff like biometric readers. In the ID Cards impact statement: £250 each. In the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality * Bill Regulatory Impact Assessment * Reader: £3000-£5000 (each reader) * PC for reader: £1000 (each reader) * plus £21,000 for cabling at each location (derived from a estimate of £1 million for 47 airports and ports). Which is a bit more.

2) they included a *full* cost estimate, including the kitting out of every doctor's surgery, every hospital, every school, every local and central government office, every bank, every Post Office, every police car, every sensitive building, every employer and so on which is needed to actually implement HMG's vision

3) The Home Office hadn't regularly been shown by the Audit Office as being a bit crap with figures.

Cheers, Martin

You know we can all argue the toss over over how this will cost or the rights and wrongs of it, but I thought the real limiting factor should be what we can afford.

I know that's a crazy thought, but according to the Office of National Statistics "the UK recorded a government deficit of £36.0 billion, which was equivalent to 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product" (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=277).

And just to make things sound better, "At the end of 2005/6 general government debt was £529.1 billion, equivalent to 42.1 per cent of GDP.". So, relative to total debt, whether the ID cards are 5 or 20 billion it doesn't really matter because we're spending money we don't even have anyway.

The key question to me, is relative to the total debt burden on the UK, will this investment actually save any money (clearly if it saves less than it costs it's a failure?) or are we just running up the debt on the Chancellor's Barclaycard on a pointless scheme that our children's children won't even start servicing the debt on? Kev.

> The Home Office has announced how much it thinks ID cards are going to cost us - a mere £5.4bn. Is that each?

Dave (and many, many others)

Carphone Warehouse snaps up AOL. One brand, slightly used, and a few customers:

Hmm - that's nearly £200 per customer. Not exactly a bargain...


Ah, but carphone warehouse haven't acquired normal subscribers, these AOL subscribers are a special breed.

Its a bit like someone bragging about having ten hard drives in their machine, then you find out that they've got ten lots of 2GB HVD SCSI drives.


Astronomers hunt for new moons orbiting Saturn. This, for some reason, has enraged at least one reader:

I'm still smarting from Pluto's demotion. I'm still awfully tempted to Paypal-fund something like the launching of a hailstone made of piss into the exactly right orbit to have it officially declared as a planet.

So now if boffins come along and name some fist-sized hunk of ice a new moon of Saturn I'm _really_ going to lose faith in them. If they claim Saturn has a new moon, it better be BIG, and they better do a good job of explaining why they never saw it before.

Because I'm really starting to think that what we have here is some badger-ific collective-intelligence wiki-stronomy.

Arah Leonard

Students at Reading protest the imminent closure of the department:

Since these are students protesting, not full fledged members of the intellectual elite, should not the subheading read 'boffins-in-training protest', or perhaps 'boffinlets protest'?


Physics students protest at Reading! They're physics students, build a superweapon! North Korea can do it, why can't they? Apathetic bloody students. I've got no sympathy at all. About time they got a taste of real work.


NASA invests in developing "ballutes" to use as heat shields. That's a ballon crossed with a parachute, so...

"Paraloons" has a far better ring to it.

And the occupants of said craft would have to be paraloonies.


A new week is proposed to take account of the modern world:

You forgot "Crash Saturday" (when wathever was screwed up on tuesday goes hopelessy horky-dorky) and "Reinstall Sunday"... 'nuff said...


In response to letters earlier in the week, Sebastien has a question about comets. He might not know it is a question, but see what you think:

A short answer on the comment about comets crashing down the Earth : HAHA waht.

Aren't comets made mostly made out of ice water and carbon dioxyde ice? Interspersed with rocks yeah, but a threat to our beloved dirtball? I kind of remember them being quite small sized, maybe hundred metres, but not-quite-kilometre sized? Also: the darned things DISINTEGRATES against strong solar WIND, so what about atmosphere entry?

Humpf, anyway, nice try at (shamelessly) plugging a book, and fear-mongering.


Who wants to take this one? Yes, you at the back...

And finally, God has given his backing to Andrew Orlowski's long-running anti-blog campaign, and, through an evangelical church, has condemned blogs as "un-Christian". Marvellous.

Much as it always makes me groan to see the latest thing a conservative evangelical church has felt the need to condemn, and much as the subject of blogging didn't need a Christian (or Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist etc etc) critique, I have to say, there ain't no arguing with Proverbs 17:27-28. If there's one piece of advice my life would have benefited from taking, that has to be it.


So advised, we'll call it a day for the week. More on Tuesday, though. ®