Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/01/comments/
Vista isn't crap but the 'leccy is
Hide your doodles!
Comments On Tuesday the UK's electricity network was shaken by the failure of two major power stations within minutes of each other and a further seven succumbed as the day went on. The crisis is over, but there's chatter over power-rationing, only made stronger by these events.
Cospiracy Theories will no doubt abound.
(Nice to see the Scottish Parliament rushing through permission to use gas at the 'Gannet. Boiler Burner mods have been done there quite recently too. How terribly convenient!)
Having worked, albeit breifly, at Longannet a few years ago, it's a bloody miracle that this decrepit old plant is still functioning, LONG after it's expected lifespan, like a large proportion of our larger generation sites.
We need new generation capacity in this country NOW. And at the moment, if you want it to be relatively pollution free, then it'll have to be nuclear.
For yonks the Greenies have been telling us that Nuclear power will cause our kids to have two heads, whereas factually, every single X-ray dept (several hundred) in the UK releases a similar amount of radiation as a typical nuclear plant with no apparent outcry.
This, er, misunderstanding of the facts by the greenies has paralysed the government for fear of scaring voters. So we end up in the mire once again thanks to a combination of lying greenies and terrified politicians.
What we need is a bundle of nuclear plants. What we'll get, no doubt, is a rush of Russian-gas-powered generators.
Tinfoil hat time. No one's remarked on the fact that all these "coincidental" shutdowns have ramped the wholesale price of power up 35%. Very profitable, I'm sure.
I worked on Sizewell B back in the early 90s. It was a huge, and hugely prestigious, civil engineering project. The people who built it felt, and feel today, very proud to be able to say they worked on it.
The tragedy we face now is that if we wanted to build anymore PWRs like Sizewell B, they'd have to be built by foreign companies and foreign engineers. I suppose there'd be one or two jobs for the natives, as they'd need people serving in the canteen and the toilets would need cleaning.
This is just another area of the British infrastructure that this Administration has dithered, avoided discussing and pointedly ignored; the Government knows it will have to embrace nuclear power into the power generation map and that's going to alienate some core votes. Which is the last thing they want right now. Maybe, just maybe, they'll start to put the long-term future of this country ahead of their miserable backsides - but having seen the way politics has evolved over the last few years that's very unlikely. Let's face it, after the utter lies in trying to introduce retrospective taxation of motor vehicles just recently, would you trust them to get anything right?
I may well be alone here but I really do find the buying and selling of electricity and gas on an open market to be rather immoral. This isn't some optional commodity, it's an essential aspect of living. Why should any population be subjected to the whims of a few? Perhaps we'll only learn when the markets make power a luxury good out of the reach of the poor, the elderly and the socially disadvantaged - or has new Labour completely forgotten it's heritage?
Sir Christopher Hinton must be doing a triple twist with pike over all this nonsense.
"And at the moment, if you want it to be relatively pollution free, then it'll have to be nuclear."
A nuclear plant can produce "relatively" cheap leccy for twenty to fifty years, with "relatively" little pollution escaping, as long as the plant is well maintained. It will stop producing leccy after fifty years max and will still release "relatively" little polution, for as long as the plant is well maintained. Great, except that someone will have to pay to maintain the plant even when it no longer produces leccy, and they will have to keep paying to maintain the plant for fifty to one hundred thousand years. That is longer then human beings have been recognisably human.
Still think they are a good idea?
Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates this week defended Windows Vista and made noises about the next Microsoft OS, Windows 7. The much-maligned Vista is "not a failure and it's not a mistake.", says Steve. You tended to disagree:
"The goal with Windows 7 is that it will run on the same hardware as Windows Vista..."
Every version of Windows has been "capable" of running on the same hardware as its immediate predecessor, as long as the hardware far exceeded the minimum spec, but not without a performance hit.
What MS should be aiming for is a version of Windows without the bloat, that will OUT-PERFORM Vista on a minimum spec machine. But that would break the back-scratching arrangement with the hardware makers where a new OS needs the latest hardware and new hardware needs the latest OS. Then the dreaded penguin might get a look in...
I think they should really allow users to take advantage of the "modular" (hold the jokes till later, please) nature of Windows' core by letting users control the kind of setup they want/need.
Instead of shoving/forcing us their idea of what we want/need (read: Home, Business, Ultimate, etc), they should tweak Windows' core to allow a more barebone setup to function. By doing so, they can accommodate alot more users, from the uber/cash-strapped to the budget-concious users, in terms of the kind of hardware the users have/can afford.
Let's take a look at Vista's services. Let's face it, alot of these services just don't provide enough, tangible benefit to most common users, more so when one considers the cost in terms of performance drain. These services should be easily customized before installation. But how do you control the experience of the user w/o forcing them these services, you ask? Simple, you already have two ways of doing so: 1) Default Settings: if you truly understand your typical user, you'd know that they would hardly tweak things, leaving things as it is; 2) Simple warning messages/pop-up message boxes: these should give them some idea as to what is being traded-off.
Again, give the users control of what they want to install. DRM-infected components? I'm happy w/ DVD (won't bother w/ Bluray, atleast in the near future). Indexing? I don't need it so why force it to me in the first place (before installation, that is).
Sorry for the long message.
Ballmer contended: "Vista's not a failure and it's not a mistake."
Gate said that the company could learn "plenty of lessons" from its handling of the spurned OS. "We have a culture where we need to do better,"
Customers are waiting for Windows 7 because by 2010 Microsoft will have learned and can release a definitive failure with better mistakes.
I can only shake my hand when I read all the comments posted here...
Yes, I'm using Vista -admittedly the 64bit version, which meant that I could forget about ssome of my old apps-, at home, and quite frankly, I have very little issues with i, especially now that SP1 is out. The only thing I'd appreciate for Ms to fix would be that explorer crashes randomly when unplugging a usb drive, but I can live with it.
Apart of that, it is STABLE, ,I am still to get a blue screen, and my box usually stays on for weeks without a reboot.
But, of course, I also bought decent hardware. If you plan on having it run on some exotic 20€ motherboard, with a Trident or Virge graphics card (am I showing my age? ), 512MB Ram, and dodgy drivers, don't expect anything positive of it.
Rememmber how people ranted at Win95 ? Sure, it wasn't very good, and sure, it waas only a DOS with some bad graphical interface, but that's what Linux is today, in more stable. People also ranted about 2000, about XP, well, today, they don't want anything else.
A stripped OS ? sure, that might be nice in a business environment. Oh, wait, would it mean I'd have to buy some ACDSee license to view pictures, winzip for compressed files ? Find some video player that wouldn't install spyware? Install that nightmarish thing called Firefox, and at least 20 other programs that my users need ? Been there, done that, did add at least 150€ on a PC, and it was a nightmare to get it all ready. And then to explain to users why they all had different interfacess. No, thanks, in a corporate environment, I'd rather have an integrated OS, even if some functions are a bit reduced compared to specialized software. Users won't notice anyway. (But I could do wihout the DRM stuff).
So, if you hate Vista so much, go buy a Mac (and don't try to inplement even a new service inside, it is a jungle of non standard Linux in there), or be happy with the latest X11 interface of your choice, but please, stop whining about an OS that you openly admit not to use.
And before anyone starts making comments, NO, I don't work for any Redmon affiliated company, and yes, I do exist. I'm also confronted to Linux systems all day, and also use XP on a daily basis, which isn't any better or worse than Vista.
So... get real, guys!
The US military seems to have begun a secret programme to develop a superior stealth bomber. Aerospace journalist Bill Sweetman has been poking around the evidence and is convinced of the super-stealth stealth bomber stealth programme. Check it out.
Why on earth would someone want to name the FB-22 on that "hanger queen" B-58? Granted, the B-58 was very sexy - beautiful, sleek lines and all. However, it was also a maintenance nightmare which resulted in it being pulled completely from service after only a few years. (IIRC, official service life was 1960-1970)
But the FB22 won't be what the USAF considers a "bomber." (Bomber, n. A plane that the Air Force likes that can nuke Moscow.)
They would consider that a "fighter" (Fighter, n. A plane that the Air Force likes that can't nuke Moscow) just like the "F"111 and "F"117. (Neither of which are fighters by anyone's reckoning except the USAF.)
Lest you forget, the B-2 while built by Boeing was designed by Northrup who designed the original flying wing bomber which was scuttled. Lest you forget, the primary competitor to the F-22 was the Northrup F-23 (which was stealthier and faster, but less agile). Lest you forget, technology does improve and just maybe a newer, stealthier bomber will get the job done as detection technology improves. Remember, the lowly Serbs were able to knock down an F-117, so how long will the B-2 remain stealthy?
Jerry H. Appel
Hang on. When a B1 leaves a base in England (say) it's several hours from any Russian missile sites. The Russians have got plenty of time to work out what's going on and blow up thew world as needed.
A ballistic missile takes maybe 30 minutes from Nebraska to Russia. That isn't very long at all. Especially considering that they *might* be able to work out from the trajectory whether it's headed for Tehran or Volgograd. Or not.
So they might be inclined to use em or lose em, as the saying goes.
Not content with outlawing our extreme porn, the government is proposing to ban drawings and computer-generated images of child abuse. The rationale behind this is not completely clear, and it's likely to cause quite a few problems. The news prompted an unusually interesting and productive debate. Here are a few choice snippets:
I'm neither a cartoon/comic fan or old enough to have seen any change myself, but I have heard the general consensus among those who are. The view expressed is that the various limitations placed on comics in the UK took the edge away from them as they were forced to become less controversial or were relegated to minority interest stores.
Obviously this might not be true, or the correlation may be coincidental. How ever if one believes as I do that this law will not just criminalise material that I have no interest in (but believe should be available for those who wish it) but also be one step on the path to yet broader controls, then I would not take the 1955 act and its lack of use as too good an omen.
Thanks for a well researched and written article.
I have argued before in forums, that this banning of owning images is wrong. Likened to burning 'unapproved books'. Too much control by authorities over individuals, something more associated with totalitarian regimes. But it is difficult as one gets unjustly accused of supporting paedophiles, and made to feel awkward for pointing out the uncomfortable obvious. So one figures if the problem isn't self evident, and my few words doesn't clarify it, best to leave those who preach retribution on anyone who has something they disapprove of, to get on with it.
Owning images are not abuse, even if having a desire to possess them should ring 'warning bells'. The law should be clamping down on abusers, rather than wasting their time elsewhere. If this new fuss about drawings brings home the slippery slope problem, then maybe that's not such a bad thing. Sooner or later the majority must realise they are heading down the wrong route, surely.
The Ministry of Justice have made some misleading comments. Firstly, Maria Eagle claims that,
"paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons."
She neglects to mention that it is already illegal to do this or to possess any image derived from an indecent photograph of a child, under Section 69 of the recently enacted Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.
Secondly, Ms Eagle claims that,
“This is not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society."
Photo-realistic images have been illegal under the Protection of Children Act for thirty years. This law will actually only target the possession of virtual child pornography for which no real child has ever been abused.
Two major reasons for this type of legislation (in my opinion):
1 - The people in government appear to think that the 'moral' stance they publicly take (cynically, for widespread public approval despite policies causing death, suffering and poverty) SHOULD be imposed on the rest of society. They fail to understand the distinction between individual morality, group ethics, and social laws.
So, as an imaginary example, a leader could have a strong 'moral' belief that a war of aggression was 'right', and this would in his eyes mean that any manipulation of a balanced legal system would be justified to achieve his ends.
2 - New Labour (but I suspect also the Tories & LibDems) are pretty useless at actually getting anything done, other than passing laws, so they just keep legislating, regardless of any quantitative evidence for or against their legislation.
Real criminals, which in my view means those who satisfy their own desires regardless of causing real harm to other people, pretty obviously won't pay any attention to the proliferation of badly formed laws. The rest of us are unclear what our legal rights are and so are hesitant about standing up for them. I can't help but wonder if that's part of the reason the legislation is so irrational and/or illogical.
Some thoughts on Manga etc....
One feature of Manga-style art is that it is (presumably deliberately) ambiguous. Not only is the age of characters ambiguous, but often their gender is too. Transgender would appear to be a fairly common theme. This ambiguity makes enforcement of any of the suggested legislation a joke.
I am in favour of any legislation that will further the prevention of child abuse. Its the most repellent of crimes and I have personal friends who still carry the scars.
The relationship between 'non-real' pornographic images and actual abuse remains to me unclear and I'm not sure that I actually do support the argument that says such images provide a legitimate outlet for peoples' fantasies and thus reduce real abuse. The jury is still out on that one as far as I'm concerned.
But this IS knee-jerk legislation. Our current government has a track record of gesture politics whereby they 'address' issues by creating unenforcable legislation that makes no real difference. This sort of stuff makes problems worse, not better......
Just hide it under the bed and keep mum. That's the proper way to deal with these things. ®