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Archive for August 2008

Cloud Computing

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“The concept, is that vast computing resources will reside somewhere out there in the ether (rather than in your computer room) and we’ll connect to them and use them as needed.”

Personally I am of the opinion that this is just another way to get more money from us. Cost of computers is constantly falling, software vendors are extending special offers to buy or upgrade their software. A niche has been seen, a possible multi billion pound (or dollar, if you prefer) niche. No matter what, if ‘cloud computing’ becomes mainstream, that is where the development money will go and licensed software will become obsolete and probably unusable eventually.

Regardless of the reasons vendors and or developers take this tack it takes away our choice. I just had a look at google docs for the first time and I can see me using it sometimes, when convenient and when the work is not critical. I would also point out that google docs have an offline option, which appears to allow google docs to be used offline. Presumably that means they are synchronised (I haven’t tried it yet) and if google or your internet connection goes down, you can still access and work on your docs.

I think in all probability it will be many years before ‘cloud computing’ becomes commonplace. There will probably be several years of licence based applications running alongside ‘cloud computing’ before we see the demise of licensing. But if ‘cloud computing’ becomes popular, then we certainly will see it pushed by the vendors and once there are few alternatives we may well see the end of cheap, maybe even home computing.

Another possible issue is who will supply these applications in the ‘cloud’? Almost certainly, apart from the current software vendors ISP’s will offer ‘cloud computing’ as part of its package. This could result in difficulty leaving an ISP (we all know how difficult it has and still can be to get a MAC number from your ISP) if they withhold your documents or make it difficult to access them. There are many ways such a system could be used to make document retrieval difficult.

Then there is the government. Living in the UK and seeing some of the draconian laws being introduced in the name of security, how long before they (or some future government with few or no scruples- perhaps a Hitler II -) would demand access to everybody’s documents- in the name of ‘security’, of course?

In 1943, IBM’s Chairman, Thomas J. Watson, famously said that “the World will only maybe need five computers!” we repeat this and have a little giggle at his lack of foresight. He envisaged these five supercomputers serving the billions of terminals we would have in our homes. It seems his comment, however ridiculed it may be today, may not have been so far from the truth!


Written by Smiling Carcass

12/08/2008 at 2:43 PM

Union, are we?

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Quoted from Teletext:

“A trade union leader has urged Labour MPs to consider mounting a leadership challenge to Gordon Brown after the Glasgow East by-election “disaster”.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “There’s no point dressing it up. It was an unmitigated disaster.

“The MPs have got to make a strong decision as to whether they want to go into an election with Gordon Brown or have a contest,” he said.”

Well let me tell you this about the General and Municipal Boilermakers Union. I was a member of this union for most of the 1980’s. I have always, since my first working day in 1974 been a Trades Unionist. I was in the Amalgamate Union of Engineering Workers until being made redundant in 1980. (I also held down the same job for the same company.) I then joined the GMB after moving and taking another position. I tore up my union card because of their attitude. I didn’t stop being a trade’s unionist. I just didn’t agree with their idea of what a trades union is.

Allow me to elucidate. I had a disagreement with the shop stupid (sorry, I meant shop steward). We discussed the role of a shop steward and the rights of union members. His contention was that if a man (and he meant a man, not a man or woman) had a dispute with his employer or the employers representative then he should argue his case alone and only call in a union representative if the dispute could not be resolved.

My contention was thus:

Any union member has a right to representation by a union official at any stage of a dispute. The official should take the complaint of a union member to the company irrespective of any private discussion. If a union member feels unable or unwilling to argue the case personally, a union official should argue his or her case for them. My grounds for this are that we are in a union and should have representation at any stage of a dispute, and the dispute should be argued by an official even if the case had not been taken up by a member on his own behalf. My reasons for this were and are that firstly we are not all capable of vocalising our disagreement. Secondly, any case argued is for the whole of the union in the first instance, and for the rights of every worker irrespective of their union membership. In essence, the union is what it says it is; a union and what is done to one of us done to us all. Also, the union representative is a witness, so that discussions cannot easily be disputed. That is the strength of a union.

He disagreed and said if you can’t go in and do it for yourself, why should I do it for you? I think I have already covered that.

We didn’t reach an agreement on this issue so I took the case to the branch office. To my dismay, they agreed with him. I asked to speak to an official, a paid representative and was told nobody was available. That was when I tore up my union card. Right there, in the office.

I am still a committed trades unionist. Unfortunately, I have not worked for several years. (Wonder why?)

That is the calibre of the General and Municipal Boilermakers Union. That is why I take the introductory quote with a pinch of salt. You can’t trust or rely on the GMB.

Written by Smiling Carcass

04/08/2008 at 1:58 AM

Long Live the Revolution!

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There are reports that Gordon Brown is now the “helpless prisoner” of the trade unions. Shadow minister Chris Grayling declared Mr Brown is “vying for the title of Britain’s weakest ever prime minister”.

After ten+ years of Tory-New Labour rule, I do hope you are right. I do hope, not a ‘prisoner’ of the Trade Unions (something akin to the conglomerate companies that own most of Britain) but a socialist who will see the benefit to the working man of having a strong negotiating position. A man who will have the vision to see that weak trade unions are counter-productive. A man who will see that a working man who feels impotent is less productive than a man who feels able to negotiate and improve his lot.

Alternatively, we can continue the current trend to make us subservient, bereft of any feelings of loyalty, worth or importance. In that case I suggest you read your history books. Watt Tyler, the English Civil War, the French Revolution. The American war of independence and the October Uprising that gave the world the first truly socialist state.

I rest my case

Written by Smiling Carcass

04/08/2008 at 1:18 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Labour or labour?

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There is currently some debate as to whether Gordon Brown should stay or go.

That, as far as I am concerned is not the issue. The issue is whether we actually have a Labour Party to argue about. I say not. Gordon Brown, Jack Straw or the pathetic David Miliband are all turncoats. Give me a Dennis Skinner, Tony Benn or dare I say Michael Foot any day. You may not like their politics. You may not like their appearance. But they were true to the cause and trustworthy. Politicians in the true sense of the word. In the job because they believed in it. Not career politicians. They didn’t abandon the working man to Thatcher’s idealism.

Written by Smiling Carcass

04/08/2008 at 12:59 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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