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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

BeerCat Re:Delicate electronics (840 comments)

The problem isn't around knowledge, but that it requires equipment not expected to be in a normal home. A house can have tools available to fix large mechanical objects, but not extremely delicate electronics that require an electron scanning microscope to properly fix.

Best thread summary of the year (OK, so the year is still young...)

Seriously though, most houses will have a toolbox with sufficient "stuff" to at least make a stab at fixing mechanical parts (Hammer, screwdriver, awl, pliers). For electrical items, a bit more "stuff" is needed (soldering iron, multimeter), but still there are enough people interested that it can in the house.

Electronics, now is basically "when it breaks, it's trash" (although there are groups of people who are dedicated to restoring 1990s vintage computers - probably the last generation where a steady hand with a soldering iron could still work, and the motherboards weren't multi-layer)

about a month ago

Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

BeerCat Re:But is it false? (268 comments)

I know that defamation suits can be filed (and sometimes even won) even if the information being published is true... but it's my understanding that in the case where the published information is true, the onus is on the person who is suing to show that the *intent* of the publishers was to actually defame them... which of course is quite difficult to do in court. They would have to, using factual evidence, show how it was somehow considerably more probable that there was actually any malicious intent on the publisher's part than any claim the publisher the might make to contrary being true.

Or, in short, to prove defamation, [citation needed]

about 7 months ago

Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

BeerCat Re:Spreadsheets - best and worst thing there is (422 comments)

Yup, naming ranges has dug me out of a (self-inflicted) debugging hole on more than one occasion.

I find that another good rule of thumb is "do stuff (functions, documentation, formulae) so you can understand it in 6 months' time"

It's when someone asks me "can you just add a few bits on to this one you created?" for something I did literally years ago. That's when a good structured basis saves so much time.

Of course, sometimes I wonder "What was I thinking, when I did that?"...

about 8 months ago

Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

BeerCat Spreadsheets - best and worst thing there is (422 comments)

Spreadsheets are like a blank piece of paper with grid squares. Which means you can put anything down, tied together with some formulae, and it's brilliant.

Which is also why it's complete pants - the "anything goes" really does mean that.

(That, and it will tend to break when you most rely on it)

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Your Job Need To Exist?

BeerCat Re:That's totally how it works (343 comments)

"I wonder how many CEOs actually believe in this drivel..."

Too many, because they themselves run on high-octane fuel all day

Except, of course, that they don't run high-octane, as they have delegated everything down to the workforce.

The best bosses are the ones who know that they have delegated stuff, and (even better) avoid the "presenteesim" culture by deliberately knocking off work at sensible times (meaning the workforce can do likewise).

The worst are the ones who really think that they doing all the work (like it was back when they were in charge of a tiny operation), rather than realising that they are now part of a large organisation and have grown the company in order to delegate the workload.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Your Job Need To Exist?

BeerCat Re:can only speak for myself, but.. (343 comments)

"off task probably half the day"
Which means that you are "on task" around half the day.

Wow! You rock!

Seriously, on a project management course some years ago, it was pointed out that the best individuals within an organisation can devote about 50% of their time to a task. The rest is taken up with (non-task) phone calls, meetings with others, summaries to your boss, and "personal needs breaks" (and lunch!), and so forth.

The "average" worker can be expected to devote 33% of their time to the task, as they also have to contend with IT issues, "other worker" issues and sheer "I need some downtime" type stuff.

So, if the article suggests "12 doing the work of 10" then that's an unrealistic 80% "on task".

Now, if it was "12 doing the work of 3", then there would be a case.

about 9 months ago

Canonical Shutting Down Ubuntu One File Services

BeerCat Re:It's a pity (161 comments)

Until they shut down or start holding your data for ransom...

This story is a perfect example of why I will never trust cloud storage.

True enough - I use it as a means for people to view stuff of mine, without having to send them a large email. But I retain the originals on my own machine.

(And currently migrating a number of club newsletters from UbuntuOne to Dropbox. If Dropbox dies, then I still have the originals)

about 10 months ago

UK Government Wants "Unsavory" Web Content To Be Removed

BeerCat Re:Unsavoury? (250 comments)

So, they are going to take down or block all the assorted unsavoury government web sites?

Or better still they clearly need to block themselves in perpetuity (to quote from one of their former "dear leaders", it would deny them the "oxygen of publicity")

about 10 months ago

Update on the March of Progress: How Slashdot's New Look Is Shaping Up

BeerCat Re:This. Exactly this. (237 comments)

And more this.

OK, so maybe displaying the UID "takes up too much space" - except that the large font (is there a way of changing it without changing it in your browser?) means there is already "too much space" - except this is wasted.

Not defaulting the parent posts's subject is an annoyance (but might encourage some "maybe my reply should have a different title" - except that breaks the thought flow when wanting a quick reply).

And all wasted space was in "beta-classic" view - the headlines only is too little info, while the tiles means even less information on screen.

How about looking at the BBC News website (and mobile version), to see how you can have a lot of information (on a non-mobile), and have a reasonable slew of clickable/movable icons for the mobile version. This comes across as the worst aspects of a desktop and a mobile site... The Windows 8 of blog sites, even

about a year ago

Fire Destroys Iron Mountain Data Warehouse, Argentina's Bank Records Lost

BeerCat Re:I'm thought about trying to reply from the beta (463 comments)

I looked at the beta, and thought "I'll give it a go"

And then found the large default font, the lack of auto-copying the OP subject and the general "messiness" of it all too painful.

Just as well I had the classic in another tab...

about a year ago

Actually, It's Google That's Eating the World

BeerCat Re:Duh (205 comments)

I'd say they are becoming more like "Buy N Large" from Wall-E - all pervasive, all providing.

1 year,11 days

TorrentFreak Blocked By British ISP Sky's Porn Filter

BeerCat One answer (171 comments)

Since the requirement was pushed for by politicians (the "won't someone think of the children" view), then the websites of all political parties should be blocked under the same filters until they realise that automated blacklist/whitelist filtering will never work 100% of the way it is expected.

1 year,23 days

Are Tablets Replacing Notebook Computers? (Video)

BeerCat Replacing? No. Supplanting? Yes (211 comments)

Many of the comments are of the "I need a real machine to do..." kind.

However, there are roughly 2,900,000 Slashdot IDs out there, and, even if 100% of them required the "heavy lifting" of a "real" machine (which they don't...), then the sales figures (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2623415) show that, in computing terms, Slashdotters are part of the 1%, and hence, despite the vociferous arguments, you (we) are a tiny minority.

Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012

Nearly 90 times the /. list (which took years to build up) created in the last 3 months?

Face it, the PC is dying, not because it's not being used (in the areas that always used to use it), but because it's being overtaken by the "not a PC" uses

about a year ago

Open Source 'Wasn't Available' Two Years Ago, Says UK Gov't IT Project Chief

BeerCat Re:On inappropriate expectations (113 comments)

It's not just tablets, organisations everywhere have for years been deploying new technology that brings with it the promise of improved productivity. In reality it often does not... You take old hardware and old software that works just fine, and spend a fortune replacing it with new faster hardware running new slower software.

(should be +5 insightful right there)
There have been many companies *cough* Microsoft *cough* whose stock answer since the early 1990s has been "throw more hardware at the problem" (because of the implicit "our new software soaks up so much more system resources than the old stuff, that you'll need it").
It's only in the last few years that the hardware has overtaken the software so much that people forget how bad the "new stuff isn't any faster than the old stuff" had got.

instead of the software supporting the business, the business has to adapt to the way the software works.

A previous boss of mine (company director) stated "the needs of the business dictate the IT required. Not the other way round" Unfortunately, there are so many instances of the IT tail wagging the business dog that it really isn't funny any more (as if it ever was). Sharepoint, I'm looking at you, here (amongst many others on the wall of shame)

about a year ago

Open Source 'Wasn't Available' Two Years Ago, Says UK Gov't IT Project Chief

BeerCat Re:On inappropriate expectations (113 comments)

I'm noticing, and not just in the public service, that hardware like tablets, don't appear to be solving anything or improving productivity, it mostly appears like as if they're shoehorning them in because people want them or they want to appear like they're keeping up with the times.

Reminds me of when PCs were first being introduced in Government offices back in the early 1990s.

Back then, they "didn't appear to be solving anything, or improving productivity" for many offices. For some, though, there was someone who either could see the potential, or could make something out of it all.

So, it was a long term goal that (ultimately) paid off

about a year ago

Slashdot Asks: What Are You Doing For Hallowe'en?

BeerCat Re:Turnip lanterns + US invades Scotland via Engla (273 comments)

Cracking tales there!

I never thought of guising as being "tradition" - it was just something you did. And getting sparklers for Bonfire Night too!

When the sun rises about 8am, and sets around 4pm, then I suppose that makes for a lot of winter festivals to pass the time...

about a year ago

Slashdot Asks: What Are You Doing For Hallowe'en?

BeerCat Guising... (273 comments)

...but not "trick or treat"

(Hey, you gotta earn your treats!)

about a year ago

US Forces Undertake Two African Raids, Capture Embassy Bombing Figure

BeerCat Re:Denial (229 comments)

Seems like a pretty drastic way to break the budget deadlock.

Since paying DoD civilian employees was given a big thumbs up, it shows that there can be some agreement. Provided it is in a few, well defined, areas.

The next thing looming is the debt ceiling on the 17th. What better way to get it raised than "we urgently need to spend some $ on a quick military action". Bingo. Support given wholeheartedly "to retain the US military superiority" or somesuch, the debt ceiling is also raised. Job done.

about a year ago

Google Wants Patent On Splitting Restaurant Bills

BeerCat Bistromathics (196 comments)

I think Douglas Adams worked this one out a while back:


The third and most mysterious piece of nonabsoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the check, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for.

You'd have thought that Google, of all people, would have checked to see whether there was an app for that already...

about a year ago

Microsoft Shows Off Its Vision For Gesture-Controlled PCs

BeerCat Re:If Apple or Google came up with this... (139 comments)

Google already did but it was an April Fool's joke in 2011.

And Douglas Adams did it before Google even existed:

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.
Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

(grabbed from http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1329)

about a year ago



Google Maps Loses an Island

BeerCat BeerCat writes  |  about a year and a half ago

BeerCat (685972) writes "The Island of Jura, normally to be found off the west coast of Scotland, has disappeared from Google maps. (http://goo.gl/maps/wqYng)

According to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-23331456) A spokeswoman for Google said: "We are sorry about that. We're aware of the problem, and our engineers are beavering away to fix it.

"We hope to have the map of Jura back to normal as soon as possible.""

China lands J-15 jet on Liaoning aircraft carrier

BeerCat BeerCat writes  |  more than 2 years ago

BeerCat (685972) writes "The BBC reports

China has successfully landed a jet fighter on its new aircraft carrier for the first time, officials say. A Chinese-made J-15 fighter landed on the 300m (990ft) former Soviet carrier during recent exercises, China's defence ministry said on Sunday.


Link to Original Source

BeerCat BeerCat writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BeerCat (685972) writes "The UK National Rail site can search for journeys between different destinations, and will also display the likely fare. Unless, the journey is from Oxford to Hawarden (about 170 miles by road, according to Google Maps), travelling tomorrow from 08:00, in which case the fare will be £179,769,313,486,231,570,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000,000.00

The site even notes "We are sorry, but we couldn't find any First Class tickets available. You can try searching in different times or dates for available First Class tickets". Which is probably just as well."

BeerCat BeerCat writes  |  about 8 years ago

BeerCat writes "The BBC is reporting that "The Sundance Film Festival has struck a deal with Apple to allow festival films to be sold through its iTunes store" The film festival, starting 18 January, will allow several (currently 33) of the 71 short films to be made available on the (US) iTunes Store, for the price currently being charged for TV shows and short films ($1.99). This will be in addition to them being available on the Sundance site for streaming. However, it is not intended to allow any of the feature films to be sold this way, as, according to John Cooper of the Sundance Institute, "What Sundance is really known for is as a platform for people to sell their films, and that's mainly the feature film. We didn't want to really interfere with that yet."

Wonder if Apple will make the films available on other iTunes Stores sites other than the US one."

BeerCat BeerCat writes  |  more than 8 years ago

BeerCat (685972) writes "Torchwood, the spinoff series from Doctor Who aired tonight on BBC Three, with a double helping. Featuring (amongst others) Captain Jack Harkness (played as egotistically cocksure as ever by John Borrowman), it charts the Cardiff based Torchwood 2, as they battle aliens attracted to the temporal rift there. Unlike Doctor Who, which is firmly routed in family viewing, Torchwood is very, very much a post-watershed show. Particularly the second episode. Still good though. Taster clip here"


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