329 posts • joined 2 Jun 2008
Re: Do I understand this correctly?
Glad you're not accusing me (or the people I used to work with) of taking bribes or being under undue influence. It's very easy to make the usual 'it's all a stich up, they're taking back handers' comment when it's not directed at anyone. Much harder when you put a face (well, anonomous internet hande anyway) to it.
As for the revolving door, if you don't have people moving in an out, particularly in more specialist areas such as telecoms, how do you expect to get any kind of expertise at all? In my view there are already too many Civil Servants with generic policy skills and no commercial or delivery nous - banning movement would make this situation worse.
Of course there needs to be rules to stop abuse going on, but in my experiencep people who move both ways do for geniune reasons - I would say in most situations the company the person has left to join the government is at a bit of a disadvantage as they will be able to see through the FUD easier!
Re: Do I understand this correctly?
Ah, the lazy assumption that its all a stitch-up. It's very easy to make when it's a faceless department but harder to make when you have someone specific to accuse.
I was one of the small team who set up BDUK (haven't been involved for a while), and I was there when the decisions were made on how to approach this. If you're accusing anyone of fraud or being bribed particularly in favour of BT, then it's me, and my old colleagues.
Substantiate your claim, or shut the hell up.
If I was being bribed, I'd have wanted a Porchse, or maybe a great foreign holiday. Instead I drive a Skoda and go to Norfolk for a week.
Of course, if you want to accuse us of incompetence (particularly on the back of this report), that's another thing...
@Dave Glasgow - good reminder, must drop Mike a mail and meet him for a coffee
Beats my 'liberated from a building site' portakabin shed hands down (aquired by the previous owner I might add).
Must get creative with it...
Understand the rules and play by them. Don't try and change the rules of the game until you're sufficiently senior.
If you don't agree, you won't progress!
Re: Radical solutions needed
While I agree with your point about financial services going serious off piste from it's proper role in a capitalist society, a financial transaction tax (FTT) is not the way to bring things back to sanity. Unless you manage to get full global co-operation, then the trades just switch jurisdictions (see Sweden's attempt at this previously) - proper global support for a FTT is harder to get than global support for other changes that will do the job just as well.
Oh and for the HFT supporters out there screaming 'market liquidity, market liquidity' you're wrong - HFT only increases market liquidity in the times where liquidity is not a problem, it doesn't magically increase liquidity when it is drying up because the same fundamentals apply to HFT as do the 'normal' market.
I liked it...
... not sure what that says about my sense of humour.
Re: Brings back memories
You have read the comments on an Andrew O article haven't you? This is pretty mild from the assembled commentardariate....
Want to know why it is where it is now?
Look at the comments that Geo, Vtesse and the other smaller providers made when they pulled out of the process. Oh, and the constraints of EU competition law.
Everything else is FUD.
Not sure this is all MS' fault
I suspect the game publishers are the driving force here - it looks to me like the cost of lost customers outweigh the benefits for MS
And don't forget that parts of this are already happening on the current generation of consoles. I just got Grid 2, which to play online I need to either buy the "VIP pack", or enter the code for a free one they include in the box. If I sell Grid 2 on later, whoever buys it will have to buy access to VIP or only play it offline. The restrictions on XB1 seem to be a logical next step.
Conflating lots of individual problems together
Don't agree with this article at all. AO seems to have tried to bring together all the problems he sees with the Internet economy (in its widest and loosest terms) and try to relate them to one another. Not very convincing.
Not that there aren't serious issues to think about, but really I think he's failed to link them convincingly.
An example is the flat pricing for Internet bandwidth mentioned in he article. It has nothing to do with google or Facebook, and everything to do with the way the ISP market is overly competitive, to the detriment of some consumers.
Re: Reg readers
The point is that corporation tax is economically inefficient, an that companies don't make money for themselves - they make it for people; through salaries, dividends etc
Tax people properly, and you don't need to mess around with corporation tax, which when you look at it properly is a regressive indirect tax (like VAT, but with more steps between the consumer and the tax). Regressive taxes always hit the poorer hardest - it's just corporation tax is far enough removed that its hard to see the effect
I suspect that most commentards would agree that tax is needed to fund society
Easy, just abolish corporation tax
Economists will tell you it's economically inefficient anyway.
Tax people on their income and wealth (personal taxes can be increased proportionally to make this revenue neutral)- loopholes are easier to close (though not *easy*, just *easier*) and a number of countries have made some good strides towards this anyway (see the start of banking information exchange with Switzerland for example).
Taxing profits is just an indirect tax that we all pay anyway (through higher prices), and poor people tend to pay proportionally more.
Re: Games games games in the UK
While I love a good down vote, you seem to have missed the point of the comments threads?
The whole POINT of them is speculative FUD. Proper information is in the article - uninformed analysis, idiocy (and the ever present numpty called Eadon) is for the comments thread.
Games games games in the UK
I have a PS3 but the lack of backwards compatibility means I'm free to choose between the two as nothing I have at the moment ties me in. I thing they have both missed a trick there, as at least the first versions of the PS3 ran PS2 games.
The TV stuff is mostly irrelevant for the UK as I doubt it will work with Sky (who have 10 million subscribers here don't forget) or Virgin (another few million subscribers), and I can't imagine a very compelling offer for free view channels.
Kinect? Did seem to make an impact on the 360 and it does look better than the ps4 version, but I wonder how many unique purchases it will drive.
I also wonder about how much the streaming video functionality is a differentiator. My suspicion is most people may use it if it is there on the console, but it doesn't drive the sale. Netflix and Lovefilm have kind of sewn that market up (with a few others like blink box) and they're both available pretty widely on consoles, TVs, DVD players etc.
Games is where it's at for me. Hopefully there will be more detail soon about the exclusives - it looked to me like MS always did better on those (gears of war particularly), and given I can't sell my PS3 if I want to keep playing my PS3 games, Sony had better show me something special to keep me.
PS Eadon - go and crawl back under whatever dusty Linux server you emerged from. You're not a gamer, and no one cares you hate Microsoft.
HMRC system is the worst I've encountered...
... I seem to remember going through 4 levels of menu before speaking to someone, with each level having a one minute (sometimes more) description of how you can do things on their website. The reason I was ringing is because the website said you can't do what I wanted to online and needed to speak to someone.
Re: Google bribes government officials
No they don't you numpty.
If you have any evidence (and not 'just what everyone knows') then hand it over to the police and they'll happily stamp all over it. But you don't. It's just driven by a uninformed cynicism of politics and government.
Having worked in and around central government for a long time I have a very informed cynicism about it. And bribes are not part of the way that large companies influence ministers and civil servants - there are far far more effective ways that don't relate to money but are all about culture, social networks and control & delivery of information.
Dark Ages diet
I seem to remember this is what peasants mostly ate in the middle ages - their food mostly consisted of veggies and crops fertilized with human waste and boiled to within an inch of its life to kill the various nasties (although they didn't know it at the time).
Tell me about this strong Freeview signal in London...
....as although now officially out of the smoke (but still inside the M25) I always had terrible reception compared to analogue in NW London (various places in Harrow and Brent). The awful reception in some places in NW London was the reason I first paid for Sky.
Error on statutory instruments in the article...
Constitutional experts frown on the use of statutory instruments where the substantive points should be in primary legislation - they do not frown on the use of statutory instruments per se.
For example, a 'proper' use of them is a bit like ref data in code - things that need to change regularly are best put into a statutory instrument, like the amount paid for certain benefits, or the date of a recurring event. The idea is that you know these things need to change, and you don't want to go through all the phases of amending an Act and tie up acres of parliamentary time.
Re: Race for 3rd Place - merit vs marketing and corruption
I was responding to Eadons comment that BB phones are superior to WP8, and until the Q10 is released, the Bold is BBs flagship keyboard phone.
It annoys me a lot!
Re: Race for 3rd Place - merit vs marketing and corruption
I'm really growing to hate my work BB Bold - can't imagine WP is worse, especially on one of the Nokia Lumias
I seem to remember that O2 had real problems with this as they had to install EDGE specially for the iPhone. One of the reasons I stayed away from the iPhone at first was it didn't have 3G (like other posters, I had a Nokia N95 - what a great phone). I was tethering my phone to my laptop working on a client site at the time and not only did the iPhone not support that at first, EDGE would have been too slow to be useful.
However, O2 are still the only network offering visual voicemail, as they installed it as part of the exclusive deal with Apple. Come one Voda - install visual voicemail!
Tempting IT dinosaur parent phone at that price.
Good to see Nokia back on form in at least one market segment!
Re: Crippled by the DORKY Windows 8 HORROR
Running late with the MS hate today Eadon.....
Not sure I'd consider an MS phone (as I have Android and iOS in the family already), but the Nokia hardware does look increasingly compelling.
Re: So London will be saved!!
I've lived inside the M25 in several NW locations since the start of Freeview, and I've never had a decent Freeview signal - it was the reason I first got a sky subscription.
I still can't get a good signal without a booster (still inside the M25), despite having a large aerial on the roof - in fact, it was such a pain I bought an Octo LNB for my sky dish and ran cables from it to the other TVs in the house to get Freesat (or more accurately, Free Sat From Sky or FSFS)
Re: There is more to smart meters...
Such cynicism..... probably justified.....
As I remember, the reason for the 1/2 hour charging is partly to do with enabling spot price tariffs, partly to do with spot price micro-generation calculations and 1/2 hourly quality reads. If the electricity meter is going to be providing 1/2 hourly supply quality information, then you may as well allow it to provide meter reads every 1/2 hour as well.
The network infra companies were planning to put in infrastructure to better monitor quality anyway - although cheaper than smart meters, they would still have been a sizeable chunk of the overall cost. Installing smart meters negates the need for that.
As I understand, the water industry are thinking about tying their meters into the same system (remote reads reported back via the link the electricity meter has), but that's a long way away yet. However, coupled with better infra monitoring it'll really help identify leaks in the network (but they'll still not fix them, just know where they are!)
There is more to smart meters...
... than switching off washing machines.
The idea is not forced switch off, but eventually you'll be able to choose a cheaper tariff that includes this functionality. if you don't want it, then you don't have to have it. It's a bit like the cheaper energy deals that aluminium smelters and other large industrial users have - reduced prices in return for switching off occasionally when demand looks like it might outstrip supply.
There are other uses for smart meters as well, including much better monitoring of the quality and health of the electricity and gas networks. This is something that the national grid and the local infrastructure operators are wanting and planning anyway, so you combine monitoring from meters with monitoring at sub stations, gas interconnects etc and you can better respond to problems and manage increasing number of people choosing micro-generation.
The technologies being considered are interesting - SMS is one of the options, but the problem you have is that some houses have their meters in basements and other places without a mobile signal and you won't always know that until you get to house to install the meter.
Ethics - I've heard of them.
I'd happily shill for Microsoft if they offered me a free surface pro in exchange. Unfortunately, their astroturfing budget is nowhere as large as you imagine :(
Still, any other company who wants to buy my astroturfing is welcome to send me shiny shiny gadgets.
Microsoft are great! (Where's my free stuff?)
Re: Here's my priority list for paying people:
You should put employees below yourself in memory of the departed Mrs T
Freeview signal is rubbish anyway
I've lived inside the M25 in various north west bits and never had a decent Freeview signal. Can't imagine 4G will make it any worse....
Posting this from Euston...
... and the service is good, but the splash screen is a real pain
Re: Not sure about the conclusion
As I mention above, there has been some very good thinking on reducing the systemic risk using living wills or other devices to allow an orderly winding down of a bank or two, without putting the whole system at risk. That way you can avoid the moral hazard of being too big to fail - unfortunately they don't seem to be taken forward but gov or regulator.
Conclusion is too simplistic
*desperately dredging up long forgotton finance lectures from Uni*
I do like Tim's articles, but I find the conclusion a little too simplistic, as the third dimension to weigh is the risk of collapse of an institution weighed against the incentives this drives through the system - i.e. if my bank can collapse if I'm reckless, but I know the risk to me is small as I'm too big to fail, then I may continue being an idiot.
Probably the subject of another article, but you get into discussions about living wills and depositor guarantees. Some really interesting things have been proposed around this, but unfortunately the better and more radical proposals have been ignored and the status quo continuation of oligopoly and croney capitalism that seems to have infected the city continues.
I agree that financial services seemed have evolved far beyond their proper use in a capitalist system, but the Robin Hood tax is not the method to use to fix it. Other far cleverer than me (not hard) have written about why - quick google should pull up some interesting stuff
Form factor is nice...
.... the price is not.
Can't see too many applications for this at the stated price.
Not really 'normal' consumer friendly if you have to add RAM, storage and an OS , and technical types are likely to choose something less powerful but cheaper for media center applications. Plus the Apple TV and Mac Mini will have hoovered up part of the 'computer connected to a TV' market already.
Luxury! I have to got to telephone exchange to pick up my own packets, one one. I'd have killed for 2Mb.
Coat for the obvious python parody.
I think it is the dishonesty that annoys me the most. If I have to pay higher energy bills then just bloody tell me, so that I can decide whether I want to vote for you in the future. I'd like to defend the civil servants at DECC as a former civil servant myself, but I just can't.
Meanwhile, gas stocks are running very low.....
If only I could take photos like that....
4 acres was really interesting
The 4 acre site was fascinating when I visited, watching an engineer give a demonstration of blowing fibre and fiddling with the passive splitters.
Don't forget kids, fibre cables have a yellow stripe so don't bother nicking them when you're after some copper to sell to the scrappie!
Re: 64 GB should be enough for anyone...
Until the iPhone 5, standardising on the Apple connector for a household worked really well as an approach.
I've various iPods and two iPhones over the last few years (my first iPod in 2005 maybe?), and them having the same connector has meant its never hard to find a charger or connector for music in my house (or my previous car).
However, the change of connector has somewhat killed all that - with more of my work and personal gadgets using micro USB, Apple are losing their stranglehold in my house (hence my previous post).
Apple really have to up their game...
...to stay ahead of the Android pack.
The wife and I both have iPhones (4S and 3GS - her 4S was stolen), and while I'll probably move to whatever the latest iDevice is in the summer (new company phone - can't say better than free phone and free contract) I'll be putting the S4 (and maybe a selection of other Android devices) in front of her in October to see if she wants to leave the Apple walled garden.
Apple are gonna have to up their game to even stay on the list of potential phones to consider to be honest. The iPhone 5 did nothing for me (slightly larger screen than my 4S - meh), and Jelly Bean onwards (admittedly my experience of it comes from a Nexus 7) feels to me a far better OS to use - certainly better than the grid of applications and a halfhearted attempt at notifications in iOS 6.
If the 5S (or whatever its called) only has the same leap over the 5 that the 4S did over the 4, any claims to 'magical', 'revolutionary' or 'amazing' are going to sound pretty hollow.
US definition of local != UK version of local
It may have worked in the US, but their local TV stations cover a much larger population and geography than the proposed UK ones
What is all this rubbish?!?!?!
Will someone please give the author of this article Tim Worstall's phone number and ask him to provide a basic lesson in economics?
Could be any half decent economist really - I only mention Tim as he writes for El Reg. I don't usually criticise El Reg authors, but honestly this is just reactionary ill informed rubbish.
Re: Two I consider modern Sci-Fi classics
District 9 - good call that man.
No commentard love for Gattaca?
Possibly my favourite SiFi film, not least thanks to the gorgeous score - the soundtrack CD is worth listening to, even if you hate scifi films.
SRO not useful, but a programme director is...
In my experience, the competence of the SRO doesn't matter in the public sector (and is generally some poor DG press-ganged into the role) but the programme director is absolutely crucial.
Its not looking good... and this is coming from someone who is usually defending gov IT development on El Reg.
Re: same old same old
Yes, there are plenty of IT projects that are fine - you don't hear about them because 'IT system delivers on time and on budget' is a dull headline and no one reports it.
ESA was a big successful one I worked on, along with Steve Dover (mentioned in the article.). He was a real kicker of supplier arses - I bet the programme is poorer for him leaving.
iHaters, you can stop reading this comment now....
In the last couple of weeks I've found one of the benefits of the Apple tight control of hardware is the ability to move back and forwards in phone versions, seemingly without penalty.
The wife's 4S got stolen, so I bought a 3GS off ebay for £70 - plugged it in, did a restore and everything *just worked*. I know there are some apps that will not work on a 3GS, but she didn't have any of them.
I suspect moving from a premium android phone to a budget one off ebay (contract expires in a few months, didn't want to spend £££) would have had more issues with app compatibility.
Interestingly she may choose move to android (maybe the latest Samsung Galaxy) later in the year anyway once her contract expires.
Re: For those of us less technical.....
You seem to have confused this comments section with SlashDot, or one of the other tech sites.
Less well informed and articulated comments and more poorly researched cutnpaste rubbish from wikipedia please @The Electron.
Love the diversity of devices...
... that manufacturers have come up with - Apple, take note!
Re: Killer App suggestion
Fixed wireless is very likely the reason BT got in on the bidding for the 2.6Ghz band. The wise money is on them using it to supplement their fibre to the cabinet broadband rollout.
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