500 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009
The problem is that following WW2 the UK set out to increase human rights in countries with different legal systems to ours. People don't tend to comprehend the underlying basis of the problem, which I shall attempt to summarise below.
The UK and all of our former colonies, protectorates etc are based a form of law descending from "common law" whereby you are free to do anything you want unless a law is enacted restricting your freedom.
Much of Europe follows the opposite principle, whereby you have no rights or freedom aside those rights granted by the law.
As a result after WW2 there was a British attempt to export basic "British" rights to the continent in the hope of preventing another European war by granting traditional British rights to the european populace, such as "you have the right to vote", and "you have a right to a family life". We wrote the rights, which are few and simple.
The problem is that continental style law saying "you have the right to a family life" are then being merged with a system of law that accepts that as a basic right. It then leads to people in prison or about to be deported for murder saying that they can't be deported since they have a right to a family life. This is obviously not actually the aim, and why the human rights act has been described as a criminals charter. It effectively is, since it codifies existing rights that we already have while opening up loopholes that are generally only of use to people who have broken laws.
Complaining that a good portion of the country then chokes with rage over this is not really particularly productive because it is indisputably outrageous. Nobody in their right mind should dispute that these sort of incidents should be swiftly eliminated, as the longer this sort of mess drags on for the more support it generates for exiting the EU entirely. And it's more or less entirely generated by accident, since the headline examples causing most people to be happy to leave the EU aren't representing the intention of the laws in the first place.
Nobody else pays as much attention to the ECHR as we do either. If the French get stupid rulings they just ignore them and pay the fines. Other countries ignore both the rulings and fines completely when it suits them.
Re: I think that was the point of the article
I don't use the cloud for anything (well, Azure Multifactor but that's not exactly mission critical) and personally i'd find it hillarious if the cloud rained and took out much of our competitors IT infrastructure with it.
Sadly, it'll never happen. The other cloud suppliers would buy and operate Amazon before they would see it die, because if a major cloud supplier just evaporates then quite honestly then I think that's going to be curtains for virtually the entire cloud computing sector.
>"I am not convinced that Microsoft will be able to being themselves out of the shitstorm that they are currently in quite that easilly."
All Microsoft has to say: Due to public feedback on the new interface
introduced by some guy we have now sacked due to pissing off virtually every customer we have we have re introduced the "classic" interface for legacy devices without touchscreens. This is not the default UI, however it can be selected from the themes menu or you can force the use of this interface via group policy.
/TIFKAM issues that are dissuading deployments.
It is quite literally that simple.
Let's be honest though, all they need to do is slightly retheme the win7 interface and then stick it on win8, call it Win9 and that's job done. Hardly anybody would notice given how many people have actually used Win8 for any appreciable time.
I'm waiting for the normal interface to reappear on the desktop before anything replaces Win7, and also waiting for server 2012 to get a normal interface before my 2003R2 terminal server gets decommissioned.
I'm hardly likely to be the only one in the same position. The question is, can Microsoft manage to listen to their customers for once? If Microsoft can't provide a workable upgrade path pretty soon then they are going to look awfully silly when somebody else does.
Re: "Getting their computers seized as evidence"
> "So you'll be doing all that hard detective work and, nine times out of ten, you'll hit the brick wall of "oh, he's operating from outside the country, well that's it then, next case..."."
Hand the completed case file over to the local police in that country and let them take it to court. Make an agreement that you'll do the same for any they catch in our country.
Who gives a **** who gets the credit for the prosecution!
It would be considerably more useful to spend 4 million on hiring a couple of hundred IT Professionals who hate script kiddies (it shouldn't take much, i'd do the job for nothing...) and then train them in the basics required to put criminal cases together and swear them in as special police officers so they can do production orders to get info (IP Addresses etc) from ISP's legally.
Once you've done that, get them tracking down script kiddies who do unlawful stuff, but are easily tracked from firewall logs etc. Getting their computers seized as evidence for a few months and then hauled up in court for breaking the law would discourage at least some of the prats, which might then reduce the number of people who think it's funny to try and DOS firms for the lulz etc.
Re: Anything goes?
They heyday of RAYNET being involved in events ended abruptly around 2000. I remember that well, because I was involved in event management/marshalling lots of events from the late 90's to the mid 00's.
The main reason they ended up defunct was that RAYNET had pretty crap equipment, yet were cripplingly expensive. Sending radio messages involved sending people over to the RAYNET tent with a message and they used to try and send the message to somebody in a range rover, who might get it if there wasn't too much interference, who might then relay to another station or pass said message onto the intended recipient if the radio operator could find him, and wasn't too busy with his tea and biscuits.
This was inefficient and ineffective (many a message just vanished into the ether) and the range on the equipment they used was pathetic. They were also rather expensive. It ended quite abruptly when it was realised that the then newish PMR446 had better range, despite RAYNET having the advantage of 20 foot antennas, caravans full of equipment and an army of experts.
Comparatively PMR446 was comms heaven since everybody could simply pass messages to each other directly without middlemen being involved. Word quickly spread and everybody involved in eventing kitted out with similar kit in either PMR446 or PBR. Mobile phones becoming prevalent was the final nail in RAYNET's eventing coffin in urban areas where PMR or PBR weren't feasible due to other users.
Just the POV from the other side of the fence. :)
Re: I want to know
HP Laserjet 1320 desktop printers (about ten years ago) had 130MHz processors. That's about 5 times more power than most people had playing it to start with.
My network printers in use now have 500MHz processors. I do occasionally wonder why they need this level of power, but presumably this comes about because it's cheaper to buy and integrate a cheap mobile phone processor than to create a fab to knock out 486 chips.
Re: Would the US risk a diplomatic incident?
The US is not anywhere near stupid enough as to launch fighter jets to try and hijack an unarmed civilian aircraft in European airspace. At best (if successful), it would cause the biggest international incident between Europe and America since the Trent affair with repercussions so extreme that it wouldn't be worth it.
And what are the chances of pulling it off? If the US did intercept the aircraft with fighters and forced it to change direction, what do you think going to happen then? The pilot flicks his transponder to "7500" (hijacked) and the heavily armed Quick Reaction Force fighters from the local airforce afterburn in with twitchy trigger fingers wanting to know WTF is going on in their airspace.
What's going to happen then? When the civilian aircraft decides it's no longer going to follow the directions given by the US fighters then what are they going to do? Open fire (even with warning shots) in another countries airspace with armed fighters belonging to that country sitting behind them?
Never going to happen.
the great questions of the universe using immense amounts of computing power typically fall down
Do they? The meaning of life is 42.
The problem with that is that while you have the answer, it's effectively an arbitrary response as you don't know why it is the answer and it's meaningless without the reasoning used to reach the answer.
Or on the contrary view, sanctions are the best news for a country that doesn't do a massive amount of exports other than stuff like say oil that we aren't going to sanction, and they know we aren't going to sanction.
Firstly, it's a PR coup to the rulers of said country (evil foreigners etc...) which increases the rulers popularity and allows local businesses to florish in an enviroment where otherwise they would be destroyed by external competition. (See Iran) IMO, if you really wanted to screw a country up you shouldn't do sanctions, but instead subserdise everything sold to the country by down to a level that puts every company in the country out of business (see chinese manufacturing effects on western countries)
Once the businesses are gone, and the ability to rapid reconstitute them in the home country is dead due to the equipment having gone, the skillsets lost and the population being accustomed to severely reduced prices then you can actually do some damage to the country with sanctions or other effective methods of economic warfare. (warfare being an extension of politics by other means and all)
Re: Picasso's ancestors
I object! There is a varying level of intelligence in the population (as anybody who has ever done/supervised first line support will bitterly agree) and I think it's fair to assume that the Neanderthals had a similar range of intelligence.
Therefore, it's obvious that the most intelligent Neanderthals were more intelligent than the least intelligent people in the human race, which admittedly is setting a very, very low standard.
Re: 9.1? I'm going the other way
That's not quite far enough. I replaced by functioning 5.1 system with a set of very good headphones and then ditched the speakers after about 6 months due to a total lack of use.
Much, much better surround sound (with decent headphones!), the sound quality is indistinguishable from the speakers and you won't upset your partner/neighbour with playing something loudly.
Personally, I think speakers are in trouble. The only problem is being able to listen to it with somebody else, but that's what splitter cables were made for.
Re: Rich toffs?
Or about 10p per round for decent quality .22 calibre ammunition, which accounts for most shooting in the UK.
Re: Blame MPEG-LA for the Pi's codes
I was thinking this when reading through the article.
I don't actually have a problem with subscription services for things that have an external attached cost such as AV/IPS software (because I want the definition updates) and in general anything else where the supplier is licensing some shiny stuff from elseware on a per user basis.
Obviously in those sort of cases then either the purchase cost has increase to cover the subscription for the lifetime of the device or you have to buy a subscription for the extra features that you want. I'm all for subscriptions in those cases.
That said charging a subscription/unlock fee for basic functionality is taking the piss.
Since the committee simply asks nicely "please don't publish this as it would harm national security because X would happen if it was public knowledge" then it's difficult to see how. There is no legal sanction for publishing something covered by a D Notice, as you ought to realise given El Reg covered the snowden GCHQ revelations that were covered by a D Notice.
How could you use a system like that to prevent the publication of politically embarrassing facts? The whole reason the D Notice system was setup the way it is was to make it useless for what your suggesting.
If you read the article carefully you'll also note that it says "The UK currently has no dedicated privacy laws".
You'll also notice that everything he says is carefully worded to say that "it may become inevitable" that the law needs to be reviewed rather than saying that "it should be reviewed". That's because he's a Judge responsible for enforcing the law as it stands, and therefore not supposed to directly criticise the idiots who create the laws.
So it's done in a polite and slightly indirect way instead of directly saying "create a privacy law that makes sense you bunch of idiots" to the inhabitants of the house commons, even though that is essentially what is needed, and essentially what he's saying.
Having dealt with both Dell and HP, I prefer HP.
When your ordering huge quantities you'll find that both send DOA stuff on occasion and both occasionally totally cock up orders. That said, HP wins IMO because their support is in Scotland instead of in India.
I can forgive much for having problems resolved quickly and efficiently with a minimum of miscommunication. That and for not having to feel a need to throw myself out of a window in the middle of a call to end the torment of speaking to an Indian call centre.
I was about to put in an order for a 380 in tomorrow to replace a pair of aging 2003 servers. Suddenly I feel a strong inclination to wait.
When are these actually available to order? They might have been announced, but even HP's website doesn't offer them.
Re: Why use the military?
Exactly. It's easier and cheaper to get the US to scrap their ships because then they won't be replaced. They would be if they were sunk.
In all fairness, the chinese subs aren't fantastic. The problem is that the US has a total lack of effective ASW capability which is routinely demonstrated and exploited by all of their allies in exercises. The root cause of that is that in the cold war the NATO warplan had the Royal Navy tasked with ASW where as the US navy was tasked with dealing with floaty stuff.
What is odd is that the US simply doesn't rectify their embarrassing lack of effective ASW capability by buying some decent equipment from their allies.
Re: Geneva convention
Regarding the geneva convention of civilised warfare prohibiting putting terrorists up against a wall and shooting them, actually it doesn't.
Spies, saboteurs and anybody engaging in combat who is not in uniform (other than civilians spontaneously rising up against invading troops to defend their homes who have not had time to organise into units and arrange appropriate uniforms or identifying marks) are not protected by the Geneva conventions. They would therefore be subject to execution if the law of the land allowed it.
Re: From the other side of the fence...
I don't agree that a replacement to exchange/outlook has to be better or even implement the full featureset in outlook. My post above notes that it has to "let them do their job"; eg; it must be "Task adequate". Task adequate doesn't have to be "outstanding", it means "must implement the minimum features required to do the job".
You could totally leave out the notes and tasks section of outlook and not many people would notice, and the contacts part is implemented in most half decent mail programs already. Quite frankly, I think that most businesses could get by with what I have mentioned above, simple delegation for the emails and the calendar.
From the other side of the fence...
As a IT Professional, I have been saying for fucking YEARS that the only reason windows is still predominant is Outlook + Exchange because that's what the users need to do their jobs.
The open source fans have been replying with a spinal reflex for just as long that $favouritemailprogram is just as good without grasping the essential fact that the reason outlook on exchange is so good is collaboration and delegation within a team.
if $favouritemailprogram != outlook then it completely, totally and utterly lacks any ability whatsoever to be used as part of a team in any meaningful manner.
1) A boss should be able to delegate read only access for his PA to read (but not send from) the boss's email account.
2) The boss should be able to delegate full access to his calendar for his PA, who can book in appointments for him.
3) The process for all steps above should meet the following simple requirements:-
3A The entire process should take less than 30 seconds from the users account. IT should not need to be involved.
3B) It should not require the boss to divulge his password to his PA. (Giving your password to anybody else results in misconduct proceedings or dismissal at a lot of workplaces.)
3C) It should be extremely user friendly, and not require any IT knowledge or training beyond being told where it is on the menu. If the user has to know the server address etc, this is an immediate failure. IT should know this, the user should not have to care.
3D) It should be achievable without training or support for a user with an IQ in the low average range, because the average user is of average intelligence and we also have (a depressing number of) below average users, and utterly fucking hopeless users that we still have to support. We don't want to speak to them constantly because the software sucks.
When there is a stable open source program released that duplicates the core delegation and calendar functionality in outlook 1997 outlined above and passes the simple user acceptance shown above then Outlook and exchange will start slowly vanishing.
When exchange is gone then so are the windows servers running it, and at that point Libreoffice will take the place of the rest of the office suite. When that happens, windows is no longer required on the desktop or server and the following year will be the year of *nix on the desktop.
Nothing out there at the moment is good enough.
If I went to *nix at the moment, the users would have my severed head within a year and my successor would be reimplementing outlook/exchange.
There should be:-
1) Less blaming IT people for picking the only software that actually lets the users do their jobs.
2) Less blaming the users for demanding the only software that lets them do their job.
3) More activity towards about rectifying the lack of an outlook replacement.
4) Less bitching that "you should program one yourself if you want it". We don't have any particular desire (or reason) to develop a replacement. Outlook works, and is available now off the shelf. Any effort we spend on development will be on programs that nobody else has to develop a competitive advantage over the competition. Any of our competitors wasting their (near invaluable) developers time duplicating outlook 97's function set gain no commercial advantage and are likely to get wiped out by the competition who are more efficient since they spent their developer time on developing a competitive advantage.
You want windows gone? Then outlook/exchange has to go, and since your the ones that want it gone then your the ones that need to develop the replacement. We are quite happy buying outlook/exchange/windows off the shelf to get the users working immediately, and when there is an alternative available then we will be happy to consider that instead.
Re: Council Exorcists.
I'm in mixed feelings about that. While the exorcist clearly didn't actually do anything, it did clearly save the council the hassle of moving a bunch of superstitious idiots to another house which would probably have cost them a lot more. :/
Re: @ Ian Emery (was: Smoke Alarms....)
The real question, why didn't they just buy batteries by the hundred from one of the bulk suppliers of the Duracell Procell batteries on eBay? All you need to do is buy once through eBay, and then use the sellers contact details to buy direct with further purchases.
It costs under £1 each, and you can't sensibly buy a battery that you would expect to work for any less than that.
Re: So GCHQ is breaking the law
Of course GCHQ is breaking the law. Their methods of "discrediting" a target previously released are in blatant violation of the 1215 Magna Carta which states that. We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land".
Your required to have a court order or enabling law. None exists for what they were doing, hence those activities are illegal.
The issue is that nobody is actually able to stand up to them, which is a bit troubling and raises an old, nay ancient question. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
1) What is article 13 of Hamas's charter? Go and read it, i'll wait. Exerpts such as this "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility." don't really do justice to Hamas.
Hamas consider a ceasefire an opportinity to attack israel through their extensive media wing, a state of the art media manipulation wing that does amazingly well, helped by the enthusiasm to kill anybody on the ground who doesn't back their story. Things like rockets being launched from civilian houses or schools to attract return fire which is then portrayed as an atrocity are commonplace, and Hamas utterly violate virtually ever civilised law of warfare- at the moment their HQ is in a hospital which i'm sure that they are desperately hoping that Israel will raid.
Even the guardian was moved to report that the UN has found weapon caches in 3 of it's own buildings recently.
> "So yeah. What does China know about those two firms, the NSA, and national security letters, that we don't?"
To be honest, they don't need to know any more than we do. I wouldn't consider either of them for future use. Having just come off of a years subscription to Kaspersky we opted to pay 3x more for Sophos just to get something that we knew would work.
Kaspersky (v10) provably caused over 75% of the support issues in our environment and while it was a third of the price of Sophos it wasn't worth even that much. Frankly, based on my experience I wouldn't use it if it were free- it slows the computers down massively and parts of the program randomly malfunction even when disabled (ie; the network attack blocker blocking print servers; i'm looking at you!)
That wasn't the worst part. I could live with computers being ground to a halt if it caught the viruses. Sadly however, it failed in this fairly important aspect, and was thus totally useless.
Symantec wasn't quite that bad when I used it like 5 years ago, but to be fair it could have improved since.
Re: Probably a stupid question
I love the demonstrated understanding. If quizzed, I BET those sort of idiots would cite the fact that during the carrington event low voltage telegraphs still worked with their normal power source disconnected. I mean, lol? Total lack of understanding.
I don't think it would be as serious as people like to fantasise about.
The (UK) national grid looked at the 1989 storm, and then planned to deal with a storm of ten times the severity. If absolutely *none* of the mitigation measures planned are taken and they carry on as usual then we might lose 62% of the grid in England & Wales, this representing the "edge" of the network in low population areas.
Estimated times for repairs to everything is 1-2 months with the prime difficulty apparently being to move sodding huge transformers around the country by road since obviously in such a national grade disaster the military wouldn't be told to airlift the equipment.
I'm still trying to figure out where people get the doom and gloom stuff from, other than helpless user fantasies that computers might vanish overnight. It's certainly not from rational consideration of the issues concerned since people whining about the imminent destruction of everything haven't even looked at the grids DR/BCM plans.
Re: Kick in the nuts
> Another year of hiding behind paperwork rather than delivering productivity. Another year dealing with "Dr No".
Yes. Because if your being told "no" frequently then you have clearly done all of the compliance work required for your industry instead of leaving it to IT to do your compliance management, discover it's non compliant and then come back and say "sorry, but no".
> Another year of random outages.
Personally, my core infrastructure dates back to the pre recession days and it does have random outages, part of the price of running hardware that old. Not exactly the IT staff's fault if the hardware is running on borrowed time! Presumably the management feels that the cost of the downtime is less than the cost of replacement equipment.
> Another year of stealth changes that knock out whole chains of systems. It just goes on and on.
Doesn't happen in my environment, but then nobody can actually install anything I don't support!
Re: The best keyword's are.......
The best keywords are "STILL NO COMPETITION TO OFFICE 2000". That is the future of Microsoft.
There is a desperate, crying need for a program with the functionality of Outlook 2000. This should not be particularly hard.
Implement delegation for a PA to read the bosses emails and book an appointment in his calendar in a competing email program and outlook can go. If outlook goes, then the rest of office can go with it. If office goes then you don't need windows.
The year of linux on the desktop will be the year after somebody programs basic features that tens of millions of workers who have to work together every day need rather than the 20th pretty desktop. However, people like playing with the sexy stuff and not with the boring stuff everybody needs. Fair one, but lack of a pretty desktop is not the reason why every business is still on windows.
Have you seen the names of some of these capabilities?
Code names are in British parlance supposed to be randomly generated and unrelated to the subject matter to make guessing the content of an operation/program from the title totally impossible, unlike the American practice of coming up with a descriptive name it so that if you discover (or overhear) the name of a program you can make a reasonably accurate guess as to it's purpose.
Some of those programs (eg forging SMTP headers under program CHANGLING) seem a little Americanised which makes one wonder where they came from originally. On the other hand, dealing with users frequently I wouldn't want to overlook the simplest explanation that GHCQ can't get staff to follow simple (and very well known) naming guidelines that have been around since WW2.
Which doesn't fill one with the greatest of confidence when we are told those people are supervised against unauthorised activity.
Re: Presumably . . .
Re: "return to sender" bullet.
The US deployed these in vietnam. Basically, take one cartridge, remove the propellent which is a low explosive designed to propel the bullet and replace it with the highest grade explosive possible. The resulting round weighs the same, and looks the same.
When fired however, it explodes with such force that the weapon is destroyed along with the person using it.
Re: What IS Flash?
Adobe PDF reader also has the same issue, including features that let you compromise a system by simply opening a PDF file with PDF reader.
It would be really nice if Adobe would include a "secure mode" whereby their plugins could be locked down to just being a video player, or just a PDF picture viewer instead of the security nightmares that they are at the moment.
Re: Situation normal at the UN
Did the UN not also officially conclude that their famine work actually causes long term aid dependency as well, because their method of aid distribution removes the need to buy food from local farmers who then go bust collapsing the local farming economy?
It's ok though, the league of nations was just as bad.
Re: We know from the Reg last year that two-factor isn't enough any more...
You could implement a half decent security system easily and cheaply if you wanted to along the lines of Phonefactor (now Azure Multifactor)
You make an attempt to withdraw money from your account (eg, ATM) your phone then gets a telephone call with a automated message from the bank saying:-
"There has been a request to withdraw <amount> from your account via <method>. To allow this request, please press #. Alternately, if this request was not initiated by you, please dial 999 and we will temporarily lock your account and begin a fraud investigation."
If you do the authentication on your phone, the money comes out. If not, it doesn't. Easily accessible, since virtually everybody has a mobile, and impenetrable short of having your bank card, PIN and mobile stolen similtaniously and used before getting either your mobile or your bank account disabled.
I don't know what they studied to come to this conclusion, but if they advertise any vacency then i'm sure they will receive plenty of contrary evidence.
I mean, have they ever seen the standard of English in a stack of a hundred CV's?
9 hours downtime on exchange?
Hmm. I think I might (maybe) have had that in total over the last 5 years if you include downtime for maintenance outside of working hours on our exchange box.
Remind me, why should I move from an on premesis solution to a more expensive cloud offering?
"What if ARM really does turn out to be a better server chip than Intel?"
Then history suggests that they will be virtually unavailable for 3 years+ due to no significant sized OEM supplying them, until intel has some form of answer to them.
Re: The key to this is in the final para
Actually, Google wouldn't have any trouble legally with the US constitution over censorship, you'll notice that they were censoring stuff for China for quite a number of years without much in the way of bother.
Freedom of speech in the USA means that you personally can say what you like without being legally penalised for it. It doesn't mean that a newspaper/website has to publish that. If it was possible to sue google for not displaying stuff then I suspect Google would be displaying so many spam/advertising websites that it would be utterly impossible to actually use.
Ultimately, Google can either comply with the law in the countries where they operate, or not operate there. It's pretty bloody simple when it comes down to it.
Re: "This has nothing to do with the cloud..."
"Even if they had substantial and appropriate backups, there still would have been massive disruption to their business and their customers."
Which is why you have a business continuity plan, which is a (tested) plan as to how you are going to continue the business come what may.
This sort of thing can happen in a data centre, but that's a problem with outsourcing in general. It's usually done because outsourcing is cheaper, and it's usually done cheaper because either staff are outsourced to india and they pay them peanuts or you discover that the reason they can provide it cheaper than you can in house despite using the same suppliers is that your in house solution had redundant discs in RAID and backups, and theirs didn't.
Complete incompetent bastards. No decent backups, no disaster recovery plan, no business continuity plan, nothing nada.
inexcusable for an IT business.
The only death involved with tape is people who aren't using it. Then again, these sort of people are the sort of inept muppets who don't change their tapes, or just leave the same tape in the drive to be overwritten constantly, so if these people had have been using tape then it probably have been written off along with everything else.
Ok, I might be mildly paranoid, but I still I find it comforting to know that I have everything needed to recover from the worst possible disaster imaginable sitting off site and offline.
I have to admit, I was somewhat tempted to send Alistair a friend request halfway through the article.
However, I don't knowingly have a linkedin account, and linkedin emails in general pissed me off so much that I blocked their IP's on our network firewall about a year ago, so it wouldn't be fair for me to do that to someone else.
Re: You sound like a Lord of the Manor from the 1920s
Actually, it does.
We had someone in recently hyping how wonderful it would be if we scrapped our exchange server and paid them only £5 per month, per mailbox. This was seen as a good idea until I did the calculation
£5 * 50 mailboxes = £250 per month * 12 months =£3k *5 year life of exchange server = £15k
Once the cost was pointed out it was realised that:-
1) We own our own server so startup costs were irrelevant
2) Even if we didn't, It would be cheaper to buy hardware and software than putting the existing one in the cloud
And 5 years would be a short life for a server in an SME!
Ok. By the time you retire you've paid out 15% less than the property buyer did for buying the house outright.
You have to continue paying out for your rental property, or pay to go into a retirement home. Either way, the property owner is one step ahead and actually owns the property (and can therefore sell it making back most of the money paid out in the first place)
Re: A better mousetrap
1) Saying how hard it is to do banking because of all of the old code is FUD bollocks. All you've got to do is hold a number in a database and have;-
1a) An inbound/outbound chaps interface to transfer money to anywhere you want (via a documented standard)
1b) a connection to the LINK network for ATM transactions (documented standard...)
1c) connections to SWIFT or similar. (Just another module following another documented standard)
You don't NEED to interconnect with any of the rat's nests of code run by Lloyds etc. Frankly, I have more complex code than this running on my website. Conceptually it's absurdly simple and I can't see the actual coding to be likely to take more than a few weeks. Getting the bank license would be the hardest bit since in most industries regulators are largely there to build barriers of entry to protect the existing incumbents from new entrants.
2) re current account numbers; you just do what most new businesses do and start your database reference numbers sequentially from a randomly mashed number like 826915.
Evidently they forgot to put either a tracker in the bag, or a liberal quantity of dye marker/explosives.
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