Friday, March 31, 2006

Some interesting articles about software architecture issues. Non-IT people (I HATE the term "techie") are unlikely to find them interesting - except the first one.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

A worthwhile read for "Enterprise Architects". Or people who like to call themselves that. The Massachussetts State Government has created a set of Technical Standards for IT. There are millions of such standards around, the advantage of these is:
- they're short and clear
- they're based on real experience of a large, long-running organization with thousands of users of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds
- they reference other existing standards and best practices as much as possible

So next time someone in your organization says "lets use XYZ because I read an article about it in a magazine last week, and it sounds cool", refer him to these standards first. Of course, in many if not most IT shops, that will not help you much, because said bullshit-talker will be one of:
- the boss (IT)
- the big boss
- the boss/big boss's bumchum from way back
- the guy in charge of procurement who wants to make a buck
- a long-term consultant on loan from the firm which makes XYZ (normally IBM, Sun or Oracle)

...but that's another story!

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WAROPOLY - "the game for budding neoliberals aged 5 and over!!

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CNN saw this story: http://www.therockalltimes.co.uk/2001/12/17/bare-knuckle.html
...thought it was true, and sent this email to the publishers:

My, aren't they clever and discerning? Don't I want to stop reading newspapers and other websites, and just get all my information drip-fed to me, in excruciating perm-haired repetitive detail, by the CNN clowns?

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yet more quake action! Look at this map and note the following:
In the first map, it seems like central-southern Moz (Latitude 21' S) has been seismically busy since at least 1990.

But in the second map, you can see that almost all this quakerizing has happened in 2006!

...and in the third map, you can see that the only major quake since 1900 was the 7.5 from last month! So something is happening.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another earthquake! A little to the south of the last one, somewhat weaker. Perhaps a giant mole followed the Rift Valley down from Sinai and just kept digging when he hit the end. More details here

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Two interesting sites if your PC is in a mess. I would have added a personal firewall site except that since Service Pack 2, Windows XP seems to come with a reasonable built-in firewall.

1) AVG Free AntiVirus - a genuinely free virus scanner, that in my opinion, also works better than the much heftier Norton/Symantec solution. Note that it is only useful if your PC has a regular internet connection, so that you can download the updates.

2) Malware Complaints - where to go if you think your PC has been infected by Malware. This is a generic term for all those annoying little programs that seem to install themselves without asking, and although they don't do any harm, annoy the f*ck out of you via popup windows, changing the address in your browser when you mistype, and putting icons everywhere. They are normally difficult to uninstall, as they were made to stay on your PC for ever. This site has a list of known dodgy products, with uninstallation hints and tips for each one.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Interesting study here about something I campaigned on for a long time - the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services at the WTO). It is a terrible agreement which aims to "lock in" all countries to eternally neoliberal trade agendas, regardless of whether this is good for any particular country, or what the democratically-elected government of the day thinks.

Anyway, one of the biggest lobby groups for the GATS was the global water multinationals (a group dominated by European firms). It seems like they have suffered a setback, as the water sector has been excluded from the EU's most recent push to force other countries to promise trade liberalization via the GATS. Basically, this is because there have been so many disaster stories in recent years with western multinationals involved in privatization in developing countries: Manila, Jakarta, Cochabamba, Nelspruit (closer to home), etc. In addition, there has been massive opposition from civil society in Europe itself. As Adam Smith warned, don't let businessmen create a monopoly!! GATS is all about clearing the table for them to do just that!

"Water almost out of GATS" tells the story.

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