Get hammered with HPE licensing

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Now that it is no longer constrained by simply being HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) seems it will be opening up a late night drinking joint at 1 Aldermanbury Square EC2V 7HR, a short walk from the Bank of England. A licensing application filed with the City of London shows that HPE won't be offering wrestling,boxing, dancing, singing or any form of live entertainment - unless the punters get into a fisty fight or start dancing on tables. But the establishment has 24-hour opening and you'll be able to order booze from 8am and drink it there or take it away right up until midnight. Who said enterprise software was dull?

Dear Nasa, is that a lardon or are you just pleased to see me?

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Nasa technologists have brought many great innovations into our lives as a result of spin-offs from space development - artificial limbs, scratch-resistant lenses, portable cordless vacuum cleaners, freeze drying, solar cells - even Openstack for you cloud experts out there.

So you can imagine the pride of Nasa experts to hear of the latest product claiming to exploit their graft, ingenuity and billions of dollars of investment.

Downtime gives you... bacon-scented underwear.

Bacon Underwear_women.jpgBacon Underwear_men.jpg

Our thanks go to J&D's Foods of Seattle, USA for their press release announcing this latest addition to the canon of must-have fashion, described by its makers as "the gold standard of meat-scented luxury undergarments". And who are we to argue.

"Each pair is hand crafted in the USA to offer the support of briefs, the freedom of boxers and the smell of breakfast cooking in your pants. You really can have it all," they say.

But where  does Nasa come into it? According to J&D, the ponging pants feature "state of the art moisture-wicking, scent-emission technology stolen from Nasa".

Not convinced? In-depth research (a Google search) proves it - Nasa did indeed develop "phase-change materials" used in textiles to regulate the temperature inside a spacesuit, and to help remove unwanted moisture - a process known as wicking.

J&D's bacon-scented pants are available online for just $19.99 - or if you can't afford that, Tesco has a special offer on streaky bacon at the moment, just £2.99, whereby you can stuff a just-cooked rasher inside your briefs to get the same effect. But that would just be an insult to the hard graft of those amazing geniuses at Nasa.

What do technologists do? Drink water and attend meetings

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A video by Ocado Technology asks parents of technologists to describe what their children do at work, revealing how little they know.

Parents who have children currently employed in the technology field have no knowledge about what their offspring do at work, research by Ocado Technology has revealed.

In a video by retailer Ocado's technology division, parents who have children working as software engineers are asked to describe what their son or daughter does at work, revealing they know little to nothing about what it actually means to work in a technology role.

The firm aims to use the video in its drive to employ 300 hardware and software engineers to help with its future plan to use its business model to help some other large bricks-and-mortar retailers with their online push.

In a bid to create interest in roles such as Java developers, mobile developers and cloud infrastructure experts, Ocado Technology challenged current employees' parents to explain what these roles would involve.

After stating she had looked up her son's job title on LinkedIn, which she referred to as Lindecar, one mother described that during a work day her son "attends meetings".

Another parent stated about his daughter: "I think she spends a lot of time sitting in front of a computer and drinking bottled water."

Despite not knowing the ins and outs of the roles, all parents agreed their jobs made their children excited and happy.

So next time a software engineer tries to baffle you with complex words when describing their role, all they're really doing is covering up the truth - they really just drink water all day and go to endless meetings. 

The downside of paper free

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Apparently close to one in three business executives responded to recent research from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) admitting their office is still 'piled high' with paper documents.


The survey found that 56% of organisations believe they still require contracts, orders and booking forms to be signed on paper and 40% feel the need to reference and file hard copies of their important documents.

"Cultural, technical and resource constraints, along with certain legal requirements, mean that a fully digital future looks a long way off for many businesses. The first step these organisations should take is to adopt a "paper-light" approach," says Iron Mountain's Sue Trombley.

Going paper free downside have a downside, as Bernadette recently discovered. 

Google hatches plan to cut corporate tax bill through white van beta

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A Google employee is living in a van in the car park outside his office in a bid to save money. Yes 23 year old Brandon has been blogging about it.

Apparently the cost of accommodation and travel in San Francisco is so high that by buying a van he cut his living costs by a third in 4 years.

But Downtime knows exactly what is going on here. Google is beta testing the potential of having its headquarters in a van. The ability to move jurisdictions and save money on tax is the idea being floated here. It is only a matter of time that IT companies start commission huge ship building company's to build mobile headquarters.

I mean who needs their own home when you work at Google. Such is the competition for staff the internet giant offers work benefits like Michelin star chefs preparing free meals and toys and gadgets strewn across the office. Not to mention the reportedly high wages the company pays its staff.

How HP Enterprise fell victim to the Streisand Effect

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Streisand_Estate.jpgThis is a picture of Barbra Streisand's house in Malibu, California. Lovely, isn't it? It was taken by a photographer called Kenneth Adelman, and about 12 years ago it became briefly famous when the entertainer took exception to it being published on the internet as part of the California Coastal Records Project, and took out a $50m lawsuit to try to suppress it.

Unfortunately for Barbra, the internet works in mysterious ways, and in seeking to have the picture removed from the world wide web, she merely succeeded in drawing more attention to it than ever before. The picture went around the world. Actually, according to Wikipedia, before she filed her lawsuit, it had been downloaded just six times, twice by her lawyer. In the following month, it was downloaded 420,000 times.

Nicknamed the Streisand Effect by TechDirt's Mike Masnick in 2005, the phenomenon has been widely observed at work in the online world, with victims including Beyonce, former motor racing boss Max Mosley, and Pippa Middleton. In these days of articles with titles such as '20 Photos Of The Editor Singing Spandau Ballet Songs At Karaoke That He Doesn't Want You To See' it is easier to fall victim to the Streisand Effect than ever.

Now, here at Computer Weekly we take a dim view of many of the trends in modern tech company naming. Give your firm a name that's all in capital letters, and you may find that our talented production team gives you a subtle re-brand in the finished article.

Unfortunately this sort of tomfoolery is becoming increasingly common these days, so we have to say, we weren't particularly surprised when the following 'guidance' popped into our inbox on Friday, ahead of the much talked-about split of HP into two new companies:

"In advance of the two companies trading as separate companies on the NYSE starting Monday, Nov. 2, I wanted to share accurate information about how each company should be referenced moving forward.

"Hewlett Packard Enterprise should only be referenced as "Hewlett Packard Enterprise" or abbreviated as "HPE". Please note: It should NOT be referenced as "HP Enterprise".
HP Inc. should only be referenced as "HP Inc." Please note: It should NOT be abbreviated in any way."

Sorry? What was that?

Okay. I think I get it. HP Enterprise definitely never wants us to call it HP Enterprise. Was that it? If HP Enterprise is off the table, then we shouldn't call it HP Enterprise under any circumstances.

It's funny, though, because I'm sure that up to now only about six people, probably all of them working at HP Enterprise, had really given the idea of using the term HP Enterprise a second thought. We certainly hadn't, but now all we and every other technology journalist who got that note can think about is when we can next find a way to call HP Enterprise HP Enterprise.

Well. Okay. We'll be good.

But we can't necessarily say the same for our sub-editors. Their ways are shrouded in mystery.

When '15 minutes of fame' meets Uber - here come the Uber Kittens

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Downtime regulars may already know that in future, we won't own or buy stuff anymore, we'll all share with everyone else in a big, cuddly, let's-all-have-a-spliff-around-the-campfire, tree-hugging kind of way. To make this concept credible and allow politicians and business leaders not to appear like 1960s hippy day-glo wackos when they talk about it, we have to call it the "sharing economy".

The darling of the sharing economy is Uber, the firm that allows you to get a cab from someone who used to hang around Leicester Square in London on Saturday nights whispering, "Just £10 cab to zone 2. Take anyone to zone 2 super cheap" to lost-looking passers by.

But what you may not realise, is that hailing taxis through a smartphone is just the start of Uber's plan to be the hub for sharing all of creation. To prove this, on National Cat Day (no, us neither) Uber launched its latest service - Uber Kittens. As if there weren't enough of the cutesy creatures infecting every corner of the internet, Uber offered customers in selected US cities the opportunity to share a kitten. You get 15 minutes with an Uber-delivered kitten, at the end of which you can return the flea-ridden poop-fest or decide to rather ruin the business model by adopting it.

What next? Is there nothing that Uber and its sharing economy cohorts will not attempt to time-splice into our lives? What about children - just think, if you could have your kids delivered to home between the hours of 3-7pm when there's something decent on CBeebies to keep them occupied, then stick them back into the cab for someone else to bathe them and read a bedtime story.

How about Uber Spouses? Uber Bosses? Uber Beer? The possibilities are endless. At least Downtime can be assured there is no future in Uber Journalists - far too valuable a commodity to ever be shared round the digital campfire. *


* We hope.

Have web skills? Then you're paying too much for rent

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The increasing need for software development and web-based digital skills is a hot topic these days, and it's hard to go more than a week without hearing about how in-demand the tech savvy are. 

But what those with essential coding skills don't know is they should be using their advantage to wrangle cheap rent in The City. 

One resourceful landlord in need of some web design help has offered a room in his five bedroom house for £1 a month, provided the tenant will help him develop his web application. 

The overwhelming response he has seen led to him admitting he had opened a "Pandora's box" and suggests more landlords could offer accommodation in exchange for skills. 

But Downtime advises erring on the side of caution when it comes to such offers, after all there's no such thing as a free lunch. 

CyberWar: GCHQ under threat from North Korean hackers

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Paul Donnellon

Stadium deductive reasoning

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IT people always talk about aligning IT with the business. So if you head up IT for Arsenal, Man U or whoever, what's the priority from an IT perspective? Options are:

  1. Put Wi-FI in the stadium
  2. Figure out how to make the queue for the loos go quicker
  3. Faster ordering of beer

Logic dictates  pick Number 2 - if you make it quicker to order  more beer, sure as hell punters will buy more, drink more and get pissed more. Yup... then they realise pretty quickly they need a leak.

Michael Dell pulls off another miracle

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Paul Donnellon

Artificial intelligence just got a whole lot more artificial

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downtime amelia before.PNG2014                                                   2015

It seems the big brains creating the robots that will take over the mundane tasks that humans have to do, otherwise known as a 'fair day's work for a fair day's pay,' want robots to have the same opportunities as humans.

Look at IPsoft's Amelia. The AI platform coming to a help desk or contact near you has been given botox to inject a bit of youth.

Admittedly the version one of Amelia did not look happy doing a fair days work for no pay, with the facial expression that suggested she was uninterested. And the bags under the eyes suggested disillusionment, late nights and heavy drinking

Michael's just guffed the VW emission test

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A leaky business model

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A couple of months ago loo roll maker, Charmin developed an app that helps people find the nearest public lavatory.The Sit or Squat app identifies nearby bathrooms (along with ratings) for those desperate individuals who have a bathroom emergency while traveling.

If only John had downloaded it before getting on his bike. Help is on hand - why not AirBnB your toilet? Let's face it: it's usually vacant and according to a group of researchers at Georgia Tech, irrespective of bladder size, the average time spent urinating is 21 seconds in all mammals (excluding shaking time). OK that might be a bit short for the bloke who's just downed five pints of weak larger. But who'd want his business anyway...he's probably way off target.

Robot maids - all very logical

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Apparently, 41% of Brits claim their busy professional and personal lives mean they would invest in some sort of help which means they don't have to do housework, if they could afford it. So now they are buying robotic maids...


Mark Kelly, marketing manager at says: "Once upon a time, having an electronic device which would independently clean your house for you while you get on with your life was only a pipe dream - and even in the time since these devices became a reality, they were often seen as an expensive luxury. But from our sales data and the research it seems they are becoming more commonplace, and more and more people are becoming open to the idea of investing in this kind of appliance, as they make the choice to not spend their limited free time cleaning the house - and realise just how much more economical they are than hiring regular professional cleaning help."

We're sold. Sign me up now.

Trust in high quality software

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At last - how to end the blight of Apple fanboy queuing

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Congratulations to mobile operator O2, which may finally have found a way to put an end to the most tedious and embarrassing aspect of the consumer digital revolution.

With Apple releasing the iPhone 6s, we saw the usual response from fanboy freaks to queue for hours outside an Apple store in order to get their hands on a new smartphone with a few more features than the one they have and that will be still available a couple of hours later to normal people who arrive at the store during a common sense time of the day.

O2, however, clearly realising that these people need to be shocked out of their delusionary behaviour, resorted to the ultimate deterrent. They sent in the Chuckle Brothers.

As the photos below show, Apple shoppers at the Westfield White City shopping mall in London's Shepherd's Bush were sent screaming in terror at the site of the chucklesome duo bearing down on them brandishing iPhones with the intent of inflicting mild, seaside humour upon them.

Well, perhaps not screaming in terror. But we can only hope that the long-term effect will be similar. We at Downtime praise O2 and the Chuckle Brothers for their valiant attempts to rid us all of this annual spectacle of Apple idiocy.




Play us a tune?

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Microsoft-backed startup Skoove has set its sights on helping aspiring piano players learn their craft by offering them online access to the "best elements" of having a real-life tutor.


According to Skoove, that means receiving real-time feedback about how well players are doing at any time of day via the web.


What the press release announcing the service's launch neglects to mention is if this, on the flipside, also means users get to avoid one of the worst parts of dealing with a piano teacher.


And that's perfecting your poker face so they can't tell you're lying when you claim to have spent all of your waking hours since your last lesson doing scales and arpeggios and practicing the intro to Three Blind Mice.


To make use of the service, which is aimed at those aged 12 and upwards, players will need to purchase a USB-connected piano, create an online profile and - provided they're motivated enough - should be tickling the ivories like a modern-day Rubenstein in no time.


We shall see...

McAfee for US president

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Rumour has it that John McAfee has entered the US president race. The founder of McAfee AV software, who is on the run from Belize police investigating the murder of his neighbour, looks set to run as an independent in the US presidency elections.

Downtime reckons Hillary Clinton's camp may be somewhat concerned if it turns out her rogue email server was running McAfee software, especially as, according to a quote McAfee gave the BBC when asked why Intel was dropping the McAfee brand name: "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users."

Authorities restrict innovation in captive market

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They say whatever happens in the US in technology terms hits the UK soon after. Delivery companies in the UK should therefore take note of what is happening in the US.

The business opportunities related to the use of drones to make deliveries are becoming clearer.

Two innovators in the US have created a business line in supplying customers that are unable to move around much and are  in hard to reach places. Great for the clients and the even better news for the delivery companies is that it is a captive market.

The slight hurdle that they have to overcome is a legal one. The first attempt to deliver porn and drugs to clients in a Maryland prison, using a Yuneec Typhone drone, was sabotaged by the police.

To rub salt into the wounds the authorities posted bail for one of the chaps at $250,000, rather than offering start-up funding.

One IT innovation analyst claimed authorities have a vested interest in  the current deliver monopoly. "You need to ask yourself 'who are vthey really trying to protect.'"

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