43 posts • joined Saturday 14th April 2007 00:26 GMT
Tory mayor squanders more income to create fiscal nightmare
So Boris is scrapping the western zone, costing the city £50m a year, plus a few more in de-implementation. He's spending something like £120m a year phasing out nearly-new bendy buses to replace them with a new design that will cost something like £100m, and extra buses to replace the lost capacity . He's handed £30m back to the oil barons of Venezuela, scrapped a gas guzzler charge worth another £30m. Are you keeping count?
So of course next January transport fares are skyrocketing, many to the tune of 11% or 12%. Major and popular transport projects have been scrapped or scaled back, and he has the audacity to go to Brown cap in hand for £15m to fund the essential South London line upgrade. Meanwhile there is still a strong possibility of council tax hikes to cover all these extra costs and financial holes.
Is this really the fiscally prudent Tory mayoralty we were sold?
Your SHOUTY ranting is very FUNNY, as is your completely one-sided VIEW of history and WORLD politics. Why don't you CALM down for a LITTLE while and try to take a more considered VIEWPOINT.
Or are you going to prove your own sorry national stereotype by continuing to fanatically defend your country like a child defending its favourite toy?
What was it you said - "Dude, grow up. " - Couldn't have put it better myself.
Twitter is nothing new
Back in 1996, a dude called Jon Anderson wired up a Nokia handset to a Linux box (or was it FreeBSD?) and charged folk £2 a month for an email to SMS gateway - and - an sms chat community based around public and private 'channels'. Basically the same idea.
This lasted until about 2001 when Orange cut off Jon's special unlimited SMS deal. How history would seem to repeat itself, only with less innovative people wasting more money....
"Oh, yes. That would be good old Ken"
'Fraid not me old mukka; the contract was signed in 1998 and 'good old Ken' wasn't elected until 2000. One suspects, given his actual record on such things, he'd have negotiated a better deal. PFI is always rubbish value for money; that's one reason he arranged to buy out Croydon Tramlink, for example.
But then I'm guessing you're part of the "bash Ken regardless of any actual facts" brigade so I'm probably wasting my time telling you all this...
@AJ Stiles/Peter Leech
I think a few years ago it was the case that certain telcos would check the CLI from subscribers/businesses to make sure it was in the right 'range'. I worked at a co that separate sets of lines from BT and C&W - and you certainly couldn't send the CLI from one out of the other - but my understanding was that this was down to the numbers being in the telcos' 'ranges' rather than with a specific subscriber.
What might have broken this system is "number portability" - because now you can take your number with you to any telco who'll provide you a service. So the concept of telcos 'owning' ranges of numbers has been somewhat undermined, and can no longer in itself provide a validity check.
On the other hand, as the network now has to know where to route a specific number *to* surely it should know if the call has originated *from* the correct source - so implementing a check must be feasible. Or am I being simplistic?
FUD from 'ben edwards'
"All the people I know having problems 'with Vista' are amazed to find out that their problems are actually hardware and/or non-Microsoft related."
Come on Ben, your average punter doesn't see it that way. A working system gets 'upgraded' to Vista and it stops working. Whose fault is that? I suppose next you'll be saying it's the punter's own fault for expecting a product that works in return for their money!
Anyone's fault but MS eh?
I smell shenanigans
MS are not short of cash - so it's not like they couldn't afford the deal if they really wanted Yahoo! - so I'd say they are probably somewhere in the background stirring up this pressure on the Yahoo! board so that after the AGM they can waltz in like a white knight and force the Yahoo! board to accept a takeover at the already offered rate, or even a lower price.
Subtextually Microsoft are still in the game - they're just playing hard ball.
"but with DAB already offering a range of BBC content (thus with no advertising) and failing so badly"
It's true that DAB could be doing better but with 6.5m receivers it's outsold the iPod. Is that product 'failing so badly' too?
Yes, but no, but only if...
As someone who now regularly watches TV shows on the tube using their N95, and someone who used to own one of those Virgin lobster 'watch live TV' phones I consider myself well experienced with this.
My comments - live broadcast *does* *not* *work* - even if the flakey reception (and non-existent underground reception) was sorted out, the whole point of mobile device TV is that it fits around your idle time on public transport - you press play when you get to the platform - you press pause when you change trains - a broadcast schedule just wouldn't work.
Secondly, I was initially sceptical about the screen size - but it's down to your choice of content - The Simpsons or South Park works perfectly on the N95 screen but I struggle with movies or drama because they're filmed for something much bigger. That's not to say it would only work for cartoons - it's to say that content may have to be specially edited for effective mobile use, with more close-up shots for example.
If DVB-H can trickle-download content for later on-demand viewing then it might be a goer, but those banking on armies of people watching live are throwing their money away, unless the content is going to be live events like sport - and even there, some pause or replay facility would be desirable.
You work hard, you get paid
One of the big problems with this world is people getting paid for doing nothing. It happens across the spectrum of society, from dole cheats to stockholders. People earn money for sitting on their arse. It's always wrong.
Musicians have always been something of a special case. They spend their time doing something they enjoy, and historically they've at least had an opportunity to earn well as a result - how many people can do a few days' work and get paid for it for 50 years?
I agree that musicians should have the opportunity to earn money for their work - but they do - they can just set up a website, charge folks a subscription and let them download away. Release one new song every month and people will keep paying. Except that's not what musicians want is it? They want to produce something and then have the 'right' to sit on their arses for the rest of their lives earning money from it. Well I'm sorry my chums, that particular gravy train is well and truly over. You need to work hard, make money, and save for a pension. Just like the rest of us. Tough world eh?
er... doesn't this "proof" all rely on the **filename** ?
So lets see... you download a file called "apache2.rar" and there is NO "evidence" of any "wrongdoing" whatsoever... or have I missed something?
Easy - just rename the BT files
This entire system of entrapment seems to rely on the BPI capturing your IP from a tracker tracking files called <insert_name_of_artist_and_album>. So the solution is simple. Call the files <common_oss_application> and their 'evidence' evaporates - or at least, their job is made MUCH more difficult - Your IP is only linked to a tracker which says you were downloading <common_oss_application>. They can claim the files were something else, but they can't easily prove that...
@Unification of laws
>>A pay-once scheme would cost about £100,000 per album in many instances.<<
This is bollocks.
(1) Chairs don't just get made. They get designed. The designer is a creative too. They get paid once, even though their design may be duplicated millions of times. They don't whine. They just get on with their job.
(2) The music industry is in trouble because it's horrendously inefficient. Making an album should not cost £100,000 - most of that money is going on the wasteful gravy train - executives in big leather chairs - boozy lunches - and lets be honest - hard drugs.
In any other ("normal") industry falling on tough times means cutting back on luxuries; trimming costs and working out how to make your product for less. Not in music. Funding of the gravy train seems to be paramount; and these middle aged suits need their coke, otherwise they get grumpy.
Being a musician is quite a cool job I reckon. And plenty of people want to do it. So it doesn't require a special legislative pension scheme to attract applicants. If anything, we should be paying firefighters and nurses for 50 years after they save peoples' lives - not musicians for 50 years after they spend a few weeks or months doing what they enjoy - and certainly not the parasitic men in suits who seem to infest the entire music industry.
@ What Content?
>>AFAIR the BBC gave up ownership of most programming years ago and just licenses airing rights for the UK<<
The BBC commissions programmes from independent producers, yes, but it's far from "most programming" and the "ownership" is shared.
"Ownership" of TV programmes is a misnomer in any case: any programme comes with a plethora of rights and contracts for a multitude of contributors. Actors, writers, producers, set designers and so on all have a stake, and get royalties. And don't forget that most BBC programmes include copyrighted music as well.It has always been like this - it is nothing new.
I wish I could get paid for the same thing for 50 years afterwards, never mind 95. How exactly does this create a productive hard-working economy?
I'd say they should be brought DOWN to say, 20 years. Composers etc as well. Surely they're rich enough by then? Or is it that (shock horror) they might actually have to do another day's work?
@ alphaxion : "the idea that I had back in 2004/2005"
What you mean like - http://locustworld.com/ or http://www.consume.net/ ?
Other people had this idea long before "2004/2005" !
My heart bleeds...
Poor musicians; "slaving" away all day making music and expecting to get rich out of it... then blaming someone else when you don't... years ago people used to blame A&R or radio for ignoring them... now they blame "pirates"... NOTHING has really changed....
Artists are, on the whole, not rich people. If you enjoy what you do and make a little money then great... if one day you are recognised as a special talent, even better - but if you're not satisfied with your income then why not get a proper job like the rest of us?
The world has plenty of musicians; if you're not prepared to put in a little time and passion for the love, rather than for your wallet, perhaps you're in the wrong job?
@Urhh hello? Big difference.
"As this is blocking a site that openly displays contempt for the law and makes no pretence of it,"
I'm sure that BBC News et al "openly display" contempt for Chinese and Burmese law and make no pretence of it.... that doesn't mean it's right does it? US or British law and culture does not have automatic moral superiority... and as we've seen the Pirate Bay is perfectly legal within the laws of Sweden... so I'm not quite sure what your argument is...
Why do we always over-complicate everything?
Why can't we simply do what most of the rest of the world does, and have seperate terminals/departure lounges for domestic and international flights? No amount of jiggery-pokery can ever have the same effectiveness as full segregation.
The difference is that if you want a premium text service in the UK you have to send a text first to either request it or set up a subscription - and with subscription services they also have to provide means for immediate unsubscription by text. Sending people random texts that they had to pay for would cause outrage here.
Also, rules on re-using phone numbers are more strict in the UK, particularly for ex-directory numbers - any text subscriptions would automatically be cancelled and a certain grace period has to pass.
re:Why the US doesn't rule the world
Perhaps this should be 'why the US does rule the world' - or possibly 'why US business rules the world whilst consumers get shafted' - if you can charge people for events that are out of their control then you're on to an unstoppable moneyspinner aren't you?
The main reason the networks never tried this one on in the UK is that it would never wash with British consumers, thankfully. But we do get shafted in the same way for international roaming.
IMAP compliments webmail...
With IMAP you can use a mail client at home and webmail out and about - at work or on holiday for example - and still keep access to your folders. I use Thunderbird and webmail with my ISP and it works a charm.
And for the guy who wanted to be able to change ISPs - easy - hook up your IMAP client and drag n drop your folders to your machine or to your new account. Where's the hassle?
POP3 is nice lightweight protocol for slow or dial-up connections - but most of us don't have those any more.
For Google it makes perfect sense - people get to use a client at home and the webmail interface on the move. And Google gets to keep all your email on their servers so they can do all their ad-targeting and data mining.
DAB+ won't be used for better quality...
... it'll be used to squeeze in more stations and other tertiary data. The business case for throwing bandwidth at those of us who can actually tell the difference is virtually non-existent.
I think DAB quality is disappointing, but unfortunately the majority of radio listeners aren't all that bothered about mp2, mp3 128, aac or any of those things. They just want a minimum standard of sound for their favourite station, and Pure's DAB sets with the UK stations deliver that nicely.
Re: Reject all facts that contradict your ideas / fantasies
Sorry Andrew, you seem to be describing yourself here.
Where does your £3 royalty figure come from? Why can't you give a straight answer?
Perhaps you made the unfounded assumptions that all CDs sell at £12 and Radiohead got a 25% royalty?
Western Europe is the most crowded place on earth; even China looks spaced out by comparison. Why do we reinforce a socio-economic model that is obviously failing? We want fewer people, not more. If mankind cannot figure out a way to deal with reduced population growth we are doomed.
Any chance of articles that show SI metric measurements alongside the American ones? Miles I can deal with, but lbs mean nothing at all...
There's so much rubbish in this article I don't know where to start. Here's a couple of things -
>>I am also including the jointly owned BBC and Virgin Media channels, UKTV History and Bright Ideas in the PSB source.<<
Why? joint ownership by BBC Worldwide (that's the self-funded commercial arm) of commercially funded channels (ever spotted the ad breaks? there's enough of em...) does not equal PSB. Channel 4 gets public money. UKTV does not.
>>Basically, refarming of any spectrum is difficult - even playing with power levels and mast position will not give the same coverage as before<<
Under what basis do you make this claim? Remember, this is switch OVER, not switch OFF. The current infrastructure will be renewed and upgraded to provide a digital signal. There is no reason why anyone who could get a 90% perfect analogue picture will not be able to get 90% digital signal - with the added bonus that a 90% digital signal gives them 100% quality. Folks already watching fuzzy analogue signals may be in trouble, agreed, but channel 5 aside, how much of the population is that?
>>TopUpTV requires a different kind of set top box which is not compatible with the main Free To Air boxes<<
Well duh, if you're going to charge for a service you can't really do it with FTA boxes can you! What about SKY and their ridiculous plan to introduce yet another type of set top box incompatible with the main TUTV boxes? Now that's the kind of strategy that's 'fatally flawed'. Unless of course, you're trying to spread FUD to get people to sign up for your own hideously overpriced platform...
Ultimately you appear to be a religious free market ideologist who can't stand the reality - that the BBC and Channel 4 can produce much better TV than the true commercial sector has ever been able to, despite the millions of pounds the moguls throw at it. Of course the Murdochs of this world would like nothing more than to see the end of PSB - then the public would have no choice but to watch their tacky dross and cheap foreign imports - and their ad revenue will multiply.
In your eyes the BBC (and Channel 4) are 'unfair' competition because they produce a far superior product for the consumer!
Oh but it's only to catch terrorists....
"The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures" - Adolf Hitler
The music industry is dead. Long live the music industry.
The tired argument that big bands on a major label roster subsidise 'up and coming' artists is getting boring. Mostly big bands subsidise lots of overheads, swanky offices, big leather chairs and dozens of middlemen smoking cigars.
Using Tony Wilson's Factory as an example is a fallacy; Factory was not in any way a typical or even ever repeated example. In fact Factory was technically not even a label in the generally understood way. It was a sort of commune. Bands retained the rights to their own music. Yes the 'label' subsidised the Hacienda, which spent 80% of it's existence as either a complete flop or a danger to society, albeit with the other 20% of brilliance. Likewise the music roster produced some shocking rubbish, which of course is conveniently and thankfully forgotten. Factory was a wonderful thing that created some wonderful music, but it was in no way a shining beacon of good practice.
Name some real major label examples of this hippy-esque cross-subsidation altruism you speak of. Go on. I dare you. Name one seriously interesting band that was 'nurtured' with cash from a mainstream success. Look at the big successes of the last few years - Franz Ferdinand or The Streets for example - these were artists with passion who did their own thing because they wanted to, not because of some major label subsidised love-in.
Stop being such a luddite Orlowski. Radiohead know exactly what they're doing - namely sticking their boots into the dying embers of a horrifically inefficient, corrupt, exploitation-driven industry and showing the rest of the world that without all the middle men, music can be sold at a consumer-friendly price and still make people a living.
Paying for promotion? Don't be so ridiculous, this is the internet and this is 2007, the days of boo.com are long gone. Did the star wars kid need a marketing department? Was 'all your base are belong to us' dreamt up by a consultant at Saatchi's? How big is Facebook's ad budget? Talk to the kids Andrew, they find new bands on MySpace, not on XFM. Sorry mate, but your analysis is old school, past it's sell by date and irrelevant.
The music industry is dead. Long live the music industry.
Why are people so quick to miss the point?
I'm pretty sure these guys were guilty of *wanting* to cause death and destruction, but, twisted and wrong as that is it isn't actually a crime. The reason it isn't a crime is that we leave in a society of free speech and free thought. Possessing castor beans isn't a crime either, and neither is possessing a recipe for a substance that isn't dangerous. As terrorists, these guys were incompetent and thus fairly harmless.
But, as with the bungled London/Glasgow car attacks, it would be too much for the government to admit that the 'global terrorist conspiracy' is mostly made up of a bunch of incompetent kids with plenty of rhetoric in their minds but little actual capability. NuLabour prefer to propagate the widely-believed myth that anyone with intent can easily become a mass murderer because they want us all to live in perpetual fear, particularly of anyone who dares to question their infinite moral monopoly.
Personally I find our own government far more terrifying than a few middle eastern warlords and a bunch of naive kids.
This is not about the BBC and Windows.
It is about IP rights holders and DRM.
IP rights in TV programmes are complex. Not only are there rights associated with the programme itself, but also with the script, the costumes, the characters, the performances, the background music, the set design, the pictures on the walls.
When the BBC makes programmes it must agree terms (ie payments) to all license holders for each and every transmission. It must now also agree terms for availability on iPlayer, and many of the relevant parties are currently very keen on DRM as it makes them feel all warm and safe, feeling that they're not going to lose out on repeat fees or DVD royalties because people can download do what they like with the content.
It is true that TV transmissions are not DRM controlled and that this would seem to make the entire DRM exercise subvertible simply by buying a TV card and a software PVR. In time, the somewhat paranoid rights holders will come to realise this, and that DRM is an expensive waste of time and money when it would probably be just as effective to make it difficult and fiddly to hijack unDRMed content on PCs so that it could be kept beyond the time limits - much like it's difficult and fiddly (for the un-savvy) to download from bittorrent, use a software PVR or keep a big library of VHS tapes.
Hopefully the pressure brought to bear over multiple platforms, whilst in itself misconceived, will help speed this process. So long may it continue!
DRM is there to make rights holders feel better...
TV Programme rights are complicated.
It's not just about the company that made the programme, be it the BBC or an indie company, it's about all the actors and presenters that appear in the programmes, any copyright music that the programme contains, the owners of locations, costumes, any visual artwork that appears and so on.
Rights have to be settled with some or all of these parties before a programme can be made available for download... and guess what, the likes of the music industry won't allow anything to go out without DRM, and the lawyers of most of the other parties probably reckon DRM is a 'good idea' and insist on it too. Of course these people have no concept of the technical realities - that everything is already broadcast FTA without any DRM - but that doesn't stop them insisting on it as a generally trendy idea that they believe will 'protect' them.
The BBC is launching the best that it can do at the moment, and probably secretly hoping that as rights holders get more comfortable with the whole idea the DRM requirement will be able to be gradually eroded away - the main driver for this will be the demand for a cross-platform solution, so keep sending in those letters and petitions!
BTW when the BBC say they've been developing it for years, what they probably mean is that a bunch of suits have been sitting around discussing it for years, but only within the last 6-9 months has any of the actual development work for the current system been done.
Re: How bad is this really?
It might not be the worst possible problem, but it is irresponsible for the reasons already discussed, and could also betray a general laissez-faire attitude towards personal data... you know what they say - if the visible part of the restaurant is dirty, imagine what the kitchen is like!
Comments attacking peripheral issues because...
It's funny how articles questioning the practices of people like M$, Linux, Apple and Google seem to get an array of responses that attack minor details (colour televisions) and peripheral issues (eg everyone else is doing it too).
The central point of this article is clearly that lobbying for legislation to keep your (significant) power consumption secret is dodgy when your motto is "dont be evil" and you pretty much claim to be socially and environmentally responsible in everything you do.
Could it be that many of these commenters are just desperate to defend their beloved Google/Linux/MS/Apple/Bush/Blair because they truly believe that they can 'do no evil'? It certainly seems true for the 'Google probably saves more power than it expends' brigade - a PC connecting halfway round the world to a datacentre to find out where to buy something uses less power then wandering round a shopping centre does it? how ridiculous can you get!
The Flight 93 callers didn't use mobiles...
Unbeknown to the poster above (and the producers of that ridiculous 'documentary' Loose Change) all US commercial aircraft have a satellite phone on each row of seats in economy (and plenty more in business and first) that any passenger can use with the swipe of a credit card.
It is these phones that were used by the Flight 93 callers; I doubt the mammoth costs were much of a concern to them making the last calls to their loved ones before impending doom, but I bet they were still charged.
It is most probably the vast profits generated by these airphones, and not safety concerns, that has kept mobiles out of aircraft for so long. The same is true for British hospitals where safety concerns have been mostly invented in order to charge patients 50p a minute to make and receive calls on beside phones installed by private operators. But that's another story.
Not as silly as it sounds...
IF you consider the potential impact of global warming and/or the eventual depletion of oil reserves on the cost of air transport.
Russia already provides busy rail links between Europe and Asia; connecting North America and Asia would make Russian rail a global transport player for cargo and possibly even passengers.
The fault line is unlikely to be a major problem for modern engineering; the Japanese have been building railways across fault lines for a century or so.
"given our sovereignty away to the EU"??
Let's not forget that the country that controls our nukes, deploys our military, owns our media, determines our economic policy and pulls the strings of our Prime Minister is no member of the EU, which despite it's faults at least has the good manners to allow us to vote in it's parliamentary elections.
I'd rather have a democratic legal relationship with foreign countries than a "special" one thanks very much.
MS Office's dirty secret
MS Office is the product that benefits most from widescale software piracy in the home.
A high proportion of MSO installations on home PCs are pirated in some way; if everyone was forced to go legit I suspect that a high proportion of those would 'discover' OOo and that that would build.acceptance in the business environment as well Thus M$ owes their 95% domination largely to piracy.
Why spend money on education?
If you spend too much on education enough people might figure out that you're a highly unpleasant individual who is still in power only in order to serve the military interests of a foreign government.
And if we're talking about Pakistan, rather than the UK, you've got the added problem that you're an unelected dictator.
You guts come up with some funny names for things but 'Reddi Wip' ? Is it Red?
I think in this country, Reddi Whip would either be a strawberry instant desert or a long-extinct breed of politician....
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