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World's Biggest 'Agile' Software Project Close To Failure

00_NOP Re:That is the worst article I ever red (349 comments)

Who said it was meant to be journalism? It's my blog on computing. I write what I like. If you don't like it you can get your money back when you leave. If you want journalism then you shouldn't start from here.

about a year ago
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World's Biggest 'Agile' Software Project Close To Failure

00_NOP Re:That is the worst article I ever red (349 comments)

Sorry you didn't like the article. I have written a few other pieces on UC on the blog and maybe they make it clearer (or maybe not! De gustibus non est disputandum).

For background in late 2010 the DWP announced at an Institute of Government seminar in Whitehall (that I attended) that they would use "agile" to deliver UC. The seminar was a real Emperor's New Clothes affair as lots of small development companies were in the room and they all thought/hoped they'd get a chunk of the action - nobody (including me - I was just a lowly computer science MSc student) dared to say what seemed obvious to me - that this was a massive mission criticial project that it was a mistake to use an experimental (for the government) development methodology on to meet a political - as opposed to evidence - defined timetable on.
My gripe is not with agile per se - strip away the corporate hoopla and it seems to make a lot of sense to me. My fear is that "agile" was seized upon by politicians who know nothing about software development as a way of solving their problems and defining themselves positively against the previous Labour government (declaration of interest: I worked in a political role for that government).

about a year ago
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Microsoft Says Google Trying To Undermine Windows Phone

00_NOP Nothing to celebrate if it's true (476 comments)

If Microsoft's allegations are true and there is no reasonably technical justification for it then there is nothing to celebrate here.

Of course, my first reaction was "payback's a bitch" like many others, but in the end a monopoly based on Linux is still a monopoly.

about 2 years ago
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Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax

00_NOP Re:Off line storage (184 comments)

How do you do this?

about 2 years ago
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Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax

00_NOP Re:New criteria for government action (184 comments)

Because they are actively selling goods they must know to be unfit for purpose.
What if a retailer sold you something they said was wine when it was simply water? Would you not think that was an issue even if they did it thousands of times and refused to stop when the problem was pointed out to them?

about 2 years ago
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Can we build a better mouse trap/hex editor?

00_NOP Re:So... (4 comments)

If you can run Java on that platform it should work :)

more than 2 years ago
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A 'Radical Manifesto' For Computer Teaching In English Schools

00_NOP Re:Why stop there? (108 comments)

Incidentally you have mixed streamaing up with setting. Setting - which is "absolutely set in each subject according to ability, moving people up and down at intervals according to performance" is very much used in English secondary schools as I know from my own children's experience. Streaming is something very different - and it is a good thing it has been wiped out.

The idea that state education has been "demolished" is of course offensive nonsense.

more than 2 years ago
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A 'Radical Manifesto' For Computer Teaching In English Schools

00_NOP Re:Why stop there? (108 comments)

I was taught a substantial amount of matrix maths for 'O' level - part of the "new maths" curriculum. As I am just on the cusp of the "micro revolution generation" there was no obvious connection with computers or computer graphics made and it seemed like pretty much a waste of time back then (sat the exam in 1982). For instance it was not taught at A level at all.

Now I can see its use (and obviously it also has uses in the physical sciences - eg describing relativistic space-time and so on) but not back then.

more than 2 years ago
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A 'Radical Manifesto' For Computer Teaching In English Schools

00_NOP Re:No, England (108 comments)

Actually he's Secretary of State for the whole UK and has some duties in this regard, but yes, he's responsible for the curriculum only in England, so the story is correct to focus only on England.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Letter By Eric S. Raymond To Chris Dodd

00_NOP Re:uhhh. (410 comments)

his accomplishments in the field of technology

Which are? Oh yeh, a program that downloads mail from a POP3 mailbox.

more than 2 years ago
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Spanish Website Blocking Law Implemented

00_NOP In English next time, please (65 comments)

"Very polemic move"? What the hell does that mean? Is this website not in English any more?

Mark me down as troll/flamebait, whatever. But at least do it in English

more than 2 years ago
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Breaking the Codes In Oslo Terrorist's Manifesto

00_NOP Re:Why is this being made public? (231 comments)

As a "gentleman" was someone who did not have to work for a living, I shall not mourn their passing: though actually there are plenty of idle rich in this world.

"When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then a gentleman?"

more than 3 years ago
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NASA's Juno Blasts Off To Investigate Jupiter

00_NOP A pedant writes (34 comments)

If it wasn't in the cosmos until today, where was it?

more than 3 years ago
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Newt Gingrich's Amazon Book Reviews

00_NOP Re:Amazon reviews (275 comments)

You betcha.

more than 3 years ago
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Newt Gingrich's Amazon Book Reviews

00_NOP Obligatory Karma burning commentary (275 comments)

I heard his library burnt down and he was very disappointed at the loss of his books.

He hadn't finished colouring them all in.

more than 3 years ago
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Gitionary: the Git Party Game

00_NOP yes and no (50 comments)

Could be a useful training tool for a team. But it sort of tells you why geeks never get the girls :)

more than 3 years ago
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OpenBSD 4.9 Released

00_NOP At the risk of being modded flamebait, etc (137 comments)

Back in the day - or rather the last time I was paying a lot of attention to /. - all BSD articles were flooded by that "BSD is dying... blah, blah confirms it" story (I believe the kids call it a "meme" but I am too old for that).

Now they are not here: is this because they are blocked before they get posted or because it was one obsessive who died/finally had a beer/discovered masturbation or because the idea just, errr, died?

Really interested to know what the answer to this one is.

more than 3 years ago
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OpenBSD 4.9 Released

00_NOP Re:63 CPUs? (137 comments)

Plenty? Yep, cannot move for all that big iron.

more than 3 years ago
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Why Science Is a Lousy Career Choice

00_NOP Maybe it's the scientists that are the problem? (694 comments)

I have a science degree and 25 years later I am now doing a masters in Comp Sci and rediscovering my love of maths and science. But I have never worked in science. When I graduated from university I could have gone to make weapons (legitimate career but for me? no thanks) and do something else, so I did something else. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that scientists are, in general, more likely to be poorly socialised males. Certainly when I was at university the first time the "computer hackers" were all people I'd rather stay well away from. Some had personal hygiene issues, but mostly they were boorish and boring. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Maybe a lot of people just want no part of that culture?

more than 3 years ago
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Google Loses Bedrock Suit, All Linux May Infringe

00_NOP Not in this jurisdiction (347 comments)

Guess you are going to have to move to Europe.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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David Cameron says Brits should be taught Imperial measures

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about three weeks ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "Children in the UK have been taught in metric measures in school since (at least) 1972, but yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that they should actually be taught in Imperial measures (which are still in use officially to measure road distances and speeds but not really anywhere else). Is this because he has not got a clue about science or because he is trying to buy off his right wing fringe (who object to "metrication") or because he might be a bit stupid, Oxford degree not withstanding?"
Link to Original Source
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More evidence for the Chomskian hierarchy

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about 7 months ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "A small thought experiment you can try seems to suggest that the Chomskian theory of humans' innate linguistic ability is correct and maybe that means there will be limits to the success of big data based machine translation."
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Meet an alien? No. Talk to one? Maybe

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about 7 months ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "Even in the last month general relativity has added another success to its already impressive list of successful predictions — with evidence of gravity waves. That surely means we are never likely to physically meet an alien — travel is just too slow or too difficult. But what if we could communicate instantly across any distance? That just might be possible."
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Why people play Candy Crush

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about 7 months ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The reason people play Candy Crush seems to be that it is so difficult: in fact it has been proved that the problems faced by players are in the "NP" class, meaning — probably — that no algorithmic solution is known a priori and so the way you get to be good is by improving your heuristic sense — but still there is no way you can become a "perfect" player and so there is always room for improvement."
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Scottish independence campaign battles over BBC Weather forecast

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about 8 months ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The political battle over Scotland's independence ballot — to take place in September this year — has now moved on to how the BBC project the UK on their national weather forecast. The BBC use a projection based on the view of Britain from geostationary weather satellites and so there is naturally some foreshortening at the northern end of Britain (Scotland, in other words). But nationalist campaigners say this means Scottish viewers are constantly being shown a distorted image of their country which makes it look smaller and hence (in their view) less able to support independence. In response others have suggested that the nationalists are truly "flat earthers"."
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Beware of the Black Death

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about 9 months ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The idea of a plague breakout in an advanced economy feels like something relegated to the world of shlock movies or bad science fiction, but new evidence from the sequencing of the Yersinia pestis bacterium that killed victims of the sixth century "Plague of Justinian" (which is widely seen to have led to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West) shows that it is of a different strain to that which caused the plagues of the 14th and 19th century — suggesting that a novel form of plague could break out and cause mass deaths."
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Astrology: the celebrated anti-science

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  1 year,5 days

00_NOP (559413) writes "Imagine if a novel that celebrated creationism won the Pulitzer? A scandal surely...meanwhile in the UK our top literary prize (open to Commonwealth and Irish authors writing in English) has gone to a book that celebrates astrology and which is written by an author who offers up psycobabble defences of astrology's truth. Seems to me that British distain for US arguments about anti-science is misplaced and we ought to focus a bit more on the way anti-science is promoted over here."
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Read better books to be a better person

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  1 year,9 days

00_NOP (559413) writes "Researchers from the New School for Social Research in New York have demonstrated that if you read quality literary fiction you become a better person, in the sense that you are more likely to emphasise with others. Presumably we can all think of books that have changed the way we feel about the world — so this is, in a sense, a scientific confirmation of something fairly intuitive."
Link to Original Source
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Australian politics site gets millions of hits and a few threats

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "A (NSFW — lots of swearing) Australian website contrasting the views of the two main parties in Saturday's Australian website has become an overnight (quite literally) sensation and also earned its creator some anonymous threats and a call from a lawyer claiming to be working for the leader of the opposition."
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"Please refuse our delivery," advice from Amazon

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "Amazon seem to devolve so little power and authority to their customer service staff that they are left to make recommendations to customers that both hurt Amazon's business — by piling up additional costs — and leave customers (this one at least) just as unhappy as before. In my case they stated that the only way I could get an international order correctly charged to my gift card, as opposed to my credit card, was to refuse delivery, have the goods returned and then place a new order. Surely an IT company can have better systems than this?"
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Encryption not quite as secure as we thought

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "Encryption schemes are probably not quite as secure as has been previously thought — not because of the NSA but because source word behaviour does not follow the previously assumed patterns and so entropy in the coded message is not as high as expected, report researchers at the National University of Ireland and MIT.
That lack of entropy gets reflected in the encoded message as patterns of code and so makes it easier to find brute force cracks of the encrypted message.
The threat to real world encrypted messages is probably quite low — but it would not be the first time that a small chink in the armour is revealed to be a massive gash after a bit more work!"

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World's biggest "agile" software project close to failure

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year ago

00_NOP (559413) writes ""Universal Credit" — the plan to consolidate all Britain's welfare payments into one — is the world's biggest "agile" software development project but it is now close to collapse the British government admitted yesterday. The failure, if and when it comes, could cost billions and have dire social consequences."
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Big data to save the planet and make you rich?

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "Probably not, but a couple of pieces of new research suggest that it might help both avoid conflict (or at least predict its spread) and aid stock market investment strategies."
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Brits to be forced on to IPv6?

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The British government today outlined its legislative programme for the year ahead. Gone was a plan for a "snoopers' charter" that would have mandated all internet communications being logged for the benefit of law enforcers and in was a plan to match connections to IP addresses in some (unspecified) way. Surely the only way to do this is via IPv6 and noone is mad enough to enforce a transition to IPv6 by law, are they?!"
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British press fulminate over "big brother" technology

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "One of Britain's biggest selling newspapers, the Mail on Sunday, today launches into what it calls the "sinister" idea that refrigerators should be fitted with technology — such as that promoted by Dynamic Demand — which would automatically switch devices off for a few seconds if the UK's unified National Grid showed signs of severe overloading (such as those seen commercial breaks in big TV events when tea-loving Brits rush to switch their kettles on). The claim that this is "Big Brother" technology surely does not stand up to examination, but the Mail On Sunday and its sister Daily Mail already have an unenviable reputation as highly effective anti-science publications."
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Schrödinger's cat: how difficult is that to stage?

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "If you know anything about quantum mechanics you'll almost certainly have heard of "Schrödinger’s cat" but will also regard it as little more than a thought experiment to demonstrate the strage ways in which quantum uncertainty shapes physics and measurement. But at the heart of quantum theory is the claim that all objects, of unlimited size, can demonstrate the "superimposition" the experiment describes (in this case the cat is both alive and prowling about and dead at the same time) and physicists have indeed been able to superimpose ever larger objects. Now two German physicists, Klaus Hornberger and Stefan Nimmrichter of the University of Duisberg-Essen, have proposed a logarthmic index for the scale of successful superimposition experiments. We've advanced by about six or seven orders of magnitude since the first superimposition experiments, but would have to get through another 45 OMs to have an undead cat, it seems. Could happen though?"
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British security service hacks into unsaved documents

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The British domestic security service, MI5, has successfully contributed to the conviction of three would-be terrorists by recovering portions of documents the three had thought were unsaved. The three discussed possible terrorist targets by typing into a laptop but did not save the document. Yet MI5 were able to recover substantial portions of the document which was used as evidence. But why didn't MI5 use a Unicode capable hex editor?"
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Why more men should be spending time in the gym

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "The scientific results are in and a paper published by the US National Academy of Sciences reports it is true that women really do prefer men with larger penises. There are a couple of compensations for those with penises on the smaller size: that tallness is around as attractive as a large penis and if you are neither tall nor have a large penis then getting ripped — or having broad shoulders and slim hips naturally — also helps.
I just hope this doesn't give the spammers more energy!"

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Patent all scientific discoveries urges mathematician

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "All new scientific theories (and all new software) should be patented in the United States argues David Edwards, a retired associate professor of mathematics, writing in the current edition of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society. Edwards cites General Relativity as the sort of theory that could have been patented in the past."
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Duolingo language learning working

00_NOP 00_NOP writes  |  about a year and a half ago

00_NOP (559413) writes "This week's New Scientist reports that Duolingo, a free online langauge learning service that also aims to translate the web is showing positive reults — with students taking 34 hours to reach the same level of proficiency in Spanish as first semester University students. The site is certainly easy to use and makes some bold claims about its values and aims — worth a second look, for sure."
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