* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4333 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

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Re: What's the Fucking Point?

The large Hardon collider will soon tell us. How else are we to find the result of colliding two penises together at great speed? Short of sending Piers Morgan and Jeremy Kyle opposite ways round Silverstone...

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Reg hacks (and rest of 'Frisco) in LinkedIn measles contagion scare

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Re: On the "questionability"

For those who went to schools with 700 pupils and no deaths from measles, remember the majority of measles deaths happen to children under five. Who won't have lived to get a chance to go to school, by definition.

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Mark 85,

Is there actually any evidence linking vaccines to autism? And not that shit research Wakefield mostly made up. I wasn't aware of any, but then I haven't looked into it for ages. The developmental signs of autism turn up about the same age as childhood vaccination. To re-use the old phrase, correlation is not causation.

I know parents of autistic children who believe it. But then given the choice between an explicable cause, or just "your child's life was ruined by random", that's understandable.

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Re: Mountains and Molehills

I was listening to a program on Ebola last night. They were talking about relative risks, and contrasting with average risk. One outbreak of Ebola killed 90% of those infected, it tends to vary a lot by outbreak. The average death rate is about 60%-65%. Guess which figure the press went with recently...

Anyway the average mortality rate of measles is 10%, and it kills about 120,000 people a year. Mostly under 5s.

Obviously the West have been vaccinating for a while, or that average would be lower, as there'd be more cases with fewer extra deaths, with our better healthcare. But it's much more contagious than Ebola, being airbourne.

However it's not a trivial disease. One of the symptoms is possible meningitis, which is always bad. I have met kids who've had it, but then I used to do volunteer work at an RNIB Sunshine House school.

Interestingly enough, via the same route, I've also met children who were illegally used in his "research" by struck off Dr Wakefield. As well as making up some/most of his results, he was also making money from the parents he was lying to about the causes of their children's illnesses. And taking samples from them for his "research", without always bothering to get consent. Which is why he was repudiated by his fellow researchers, and struck off by the BMA.

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SpaceX HOVER-SHIP landing scuppered by MASSIVE ocean waves

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Re: I'd think they're ready to come down on land

GettinSadda,

I didn't mean a launch failure. I seem to recall that one of their attempts to recover the first stage failed as the rocket broke up while attempting to slow down from launch speed.

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Re: I'd think they're ready to come down on land

Didn't they have one rocket break up at the hypersonic stage, sometime early last year? They've had 3 or 4 successes since, where they've got down to ground (ocean) level in controlled flight, and where they were aiming for. But will probably have to succeed a few more times first.

Although this attempt will have helped them, as the 1st stage was going considerably faster this time, and yet they still managed to get it down to where they wanted it, in controlled flight.

However, flying across the continental US, where the rocket has to be under sufficient control to avoid air-corridors even if everything works (let alone cities), is probably a long way away. Much more reliable drones don't generally have permission to fly in civillian airspace. I'd imagine that what they can get permission for is flying in designated ranges out to sea, and then popping back to some nice landing spot on the coast. After a few years of success at that, they may be able to achieve more.

I wonder what the New York - London time would be in a Falcon/Dragon combo? OK the cost would be obscene, but it'd make a superb PR stunt.

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

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There's also going to be a good chance that lots of people might use it to start their own businesses, or do artistic / charitable stuff or work less hours as part-timers. I'd carry on working full time, as there's mroe stuff I'd like to spend on, so hooray for more cash. But I know there's quite a low limit where no amount of extra money would persuade me to bother working. I know people who'd prefer to do something for a couple of days a week, and give the rest of their time to charities. Or their kids.

Working culture is changing anyway due to globalisation, technology changes, people living longer (and being healthy longer), demographic shifts and people's differing expectations. I don't think we can even predict what these changes will do, let alone something as different as a guaranteed income.

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I'd have thought it's more likely to be inflationary. Prices can't drop past a certain point - as the companies would go bust. So either certain services would disappear, or those services would have to get more expensive in order to attract their workers to not just sit on their minimum incomes and watch the Jeremy Kyle Show all day.

This would give an incentive for companies to automate repetitive tasks, where the current minimum wage is cheaper than tooling up with robots. Or at least similar, but less risky, as the capital costs of automation are so high - and take so long to pay a return. So I guess you'd have a mix of some things just no longer being economic, some getting more expensive and some rises in productivity as it becomes economic to automate.

I'd be amazed if anyone can come up with an economic model that'll predict all that lot...

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Re: Hmm

codejunky,

Your position is somewhat absolutist. There will always be some level of unemployment due to people moving between jobs, large numbers of employers going bust in one particular area, recession etc. If we don't maintain a welfare state then some of those people get to spiral into absolute poverty and possibly do annoying things like starving to death. Which, by the way, is also bad for the economy. Plus looks really bad on telly...

We can see how this lack of benefits is actually even worse for the economy than the deadweight losses of taxation, by looking at what happened in the 1930s. The Depression was eventually cured by huge state intervention. It also has horrible effects on society and individuals. Some balance will therefore always have to be struck, which is why we have elections to decided roughly how we'll do that.

Finally China is another example of how government intervention can actually help an economy. The Chinese have pretty much nothing in the way of a social safety net. This means that families save a huge amount of their income, in case. This is having 2 side-effects. It means they don't have enough internal demand to stimulate their economy and so they have to rely on exports. And there's too much money available to invest (excess savings) which lowers the cost of interest, and leads to the mis-allocation of capital (mal-investment). In the last boom, lots of that cash was being invested in the West, and was one of the causes that lead to the asset bubbles which so spectacularly popped in 2007/8. Oops. Now lots of that cash has been invested into China, very badly, causing huge excess manufacturing capacity leading to deflation, and a big fat housing bubble, that the Chinese government are desperately trying to deflate without crashing the economy. The other side of the over-spending and over-borrowing that we in the West just indulged in was the over-saving and under-spending of people in Asia - plus the huge surpluses built up by the oil-exporters.

Some sort of social safety-net, either a government backed insurance scheme or tax-and-welfare system, is an excellent way to allow a modern economy to function more predictably. It also stabilises recessions, by automatically causing government spending to rise, in order to stimulate demand. See Greece for how utterly fucking this up for stupid ideological reasons will turn out to be a disaster. Not that the Greek state has ever functioned properly, but German inspired policy in Greece in order to achieve "moral" rather than economic aims has been a fucking disgrace for which the IMF have admitted they're ashamed, but the European institutions and governments are still claiming the moral high ground. History will not be kind to them.

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We've had a recession. And that accounts for some empty shops. We've also had a revolution in buying patterns, where lots of people now buy things online. This also accounts for a lot of shops closing. Empty shops are therefore not a usable measure of economic activitiy.

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Re: We already have this

Mike Bell,

You've mis-read that Wiki article, partly as it's very badly written. Particularly the table on lending. It also confuses bank capital and bank reserves. Banks are in fact regulated to maintain two main types of assets:

1. Cash (or very liquid) reserves - which is money they use every day to cover normal withdrawals, plus stuff they can access if there's a run on the bank.

2. Capital. This is money the bank owns (or its shareholders do). This is to cover losses on loans - so that even if say 5% of the people they've loaned to default, they can cover the losses without taking from savers' accounts. From memory minimum capital adequacy ratios in the UK are something like 7% - but the Bank of England stress tests last year meant you had to have over 10% to pass - and if you didn't you had to sell more shares or bonds to get there.

The thing that the loonies who don their tinfoil hats and scream about FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING fail to understand, is the bank balance sheet.

Banks aren't legally allowed to just loan money. They have to have it first. If you save £100,000 with the bank, there are 2 transactions in the bank's ledger. They get £100k of cash (an asset) and a £100k liability (the balance on your account). These match, so the bank's books balance.

Banks pay interest on cash on deposit (well not much at the moment...). This means that they must make a profit on that money, or they can't cover the interest. So they loan some of it to someone else at more interest than they're paying their savers. At that point they have created another 2 transactions, £90k of the £100k saved goes to someone else (debited from the cash ledger) and they gain a new asset - which is the loan to this person of £90k. The books now balance again.

Here's a simplified balance sheet:

CREDIT ------------- DEBIT

£10,000 ---------------------------- operating cash (part of deposit from person A)

£90,000 ---------------------------- mortgage debt owed by person B

--------------------------- £100,000 savings account balance (owed to person A)

£100,000 --------------£100,000 - totals balance

Some explanations get very confused by a couple of things. The counter-intuitive bit that if I've got cash in the bank then they have a corresponding liability in that they owe me that cash. And the rather weird terminology that gets used about money. Basically we use various definitions of money when talking about the money supply. Almost no-one uses M0, which is the actual notes and coins printed/minted by the government - most calculations for the purposes of dealing with inflation use M3 (there's M0, M1 to M5 each includes everything in the earlier ones, plus some extra). M1 includes bank current account deposits as money-equivalents, plus notes and coins not held in bank vaults (that Wiki article explains this badly). I can transfer cash out of my current account to someone else's in order to settle a debt - thus the bank has probably created some M1 money when it lends cash at the same time as holding an account for me. However this is complicated, as I'm unlikely to have all of my money in a current account if there's lots of it - savings accounts aren't measured in M1, plus banks also may borrow from the markets in order to lend (also in ways that don't add to M1). Finally the money they lend out won't all make its way back into banks as deposits in current accounts, and therefore will not all create M1 either. What "money" means in different circumstances is a very confusing topic all to itself...

The short version is, it's bloody complicated. But no, banks don't have a license to print money. They don't get the money they actually do "sort of print" anyway, because everything they do has to have an entry on both sides of their balance sheet. Plus money doesn't quite mean what it ought to mean.

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Re: We'll probably need it within a century

Grade%,

I'm disappointed in you. I thought Soylent Sinister would mean eating the left handed...

If you make us eat our left arms, how are we going to look at our digital watches?

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Never going to happen, of course. There's no way that politicians will be be able to resist the temptation to take away from one group and/or give to another.

That's a ridiculous comment! If people are going to lambast politicians for being too stupid to think straight, they need to do so themselves. Almost everything politicians do involves taking something from one group, and giving it to another. Whether that's 'quietness' in allowing planning permission for something, taxation and spending, or a minimum income guarantee.

I know there's a need to be scepitcal of politicians and keep an eye on the buggers. But this mindless cynicism is really annoying, as well as being dangerous to the process of democracy (which is the only system we've so far found that at least vaguely works).

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Cannonbridge sells us a dummy – great premise, crap ending

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Re: Could always be worse

Pratchett is very odd. You're reading along happily, and suddenly he drops you into a 3 page Hemmingway pastiche, followed immediately by a knob-gag.

Often in the middle of one of his literary pastiches, he's also running puns at you, as well as one-liners. And as much innuendo as you can swallow...

I've almost completely forgotten Soul Music, so I don't rememember what the last line was any more. I've got it in a box somewhere at home, I'm now going to have to go and dig it out. An excuse to re-read it, although that's a dangerous game as I'll probably end up looking at some of the other books from that era like Moving Pictures. I don't recall ever re-reading Masquerade. You bastard! You've just destroyed all my free evenings for the next couple of weeks!

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Fraudsters make bank as exec wires $17 MEELLION to China

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It's 15 years since I worked in corporate land. But at the time, any transaction over £10k needed two signatures - one of which was from a manager/director in the finance department. And that was the form you filled out before going on the banking terminal to do the actual deed. I wonder if that's now changing in companies to getting an email or text from...

Even a secret deal the CEO is doing must require the knowledge of the Finance Director. And if there's a million in the amount, you shouldn't be taking the CEO's word alone anyway, just in case he's decided to run away with a chunk of the company cash.

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WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

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Devil

At least being spied on by a homicidal maniac in charge of a spaceship, means that I get to have a go on a spaceship. I'm willing to put up with that, if it gets me into space. The risks of space travel are pretty high anyway.

Samsung are only giving me a telly. Then again, the risk of brain damage from watching X Factor, is probably the more significant threat...

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Re: Orwell

I preferred the Goon Show version. It's good to be alive, in 1985!

If you commit a thought crime, the Big Brother Corporation will cut off your subscription to the Radio Times...

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Re: @jnievele

So even the dumbest customer should be aware that they listen to spoken words - because that's what Speech Recognition IS.

Bollocks! Speech recognition is the magic computer-box understanding the commands you say. It's not the magic-computer-box recording everything you say on a totally separate company's servers.

Most people are not computer experts. UK contract law now basically says that you can't hide something in the Ts&Cs and claim you have consent to do it, if it's not obvious. So you have to point out important clauses as part of the sales process. Hence "your property may be at risk if you do not keep up the repayments" - and that sort of thing.

It's an interesting question as to what they record. Obviously they're not going to want a massive, stupidly huge, database of everything all of their customers say. But I bet they do want to do research on how often the TV is missing the command keyword. I assume you say something like "Samsung" or "TV" to wake it up, before asking it to change channel or volume. So they might want to record the odd evening's conversation to test that all instances of their chosen keyword were picked up?

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Re: Telly-what?

Televiewer?

"Turning on televiewer now. Contact."

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The Red Dwarf chilli chutney egg sarnie

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Re: Oversold it, major fail!

Jam is even worse. Not for nothing was the Pop Tart once described as "naplam covered in cardboard"...

But I used to love a jam toasty.

Egg toasties are still great. If messy. You need a maker that creates a good seal, as the egg escapes a lot more messily than melted cheese. But if you get it right, and can hold a depression in the bread, drop in the egg, put on the top slice and slam the lid in one fluid movement - you can have a wonderful snack, which is an excellent accompaniment to ketchup.

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Re: Nice Recipe

Until I moved to Belgium, I wouldn't have understood what this guy was saying. However, out here proper bread is a matter of course and the crap stuff is rightfully hidden away so that the Americans living out here have to hunt for it.

I used to live in Belgium too. And I agree that good bread is a good thing. Along with good beer, and mostly great restaurants. However, there are times when only the crap from your childhood will do. So one lunchtime, I left the office, and invested something like €5 in a pot of peanut butter, and a half loaf of Hovis wholemeal (there was no white sliced available) which cost me a truly scandalous €4.50. I had some nostalgic sarnies for my lunch. When I got home, I was feeling so nostaligic that I promptly settled on the nutritious dinner of 3 rounds of peanut butter sandwiches. Shame on me!

At one point, homesickness drove me to eating 4 Curly Wurlies in a 12 hour period. Weirdly I don't think I'd had one since the age of about 12, so I don't know why I should feel the need to feast on them 15 years later. Yet more shamefully I did this while living under 5 minute's stroll from several of Brussels finest choccie shops.

Belgium is a wasteland for decent crisps, fruit juice, cheddar, yoghurt and salted butter though. And mayonaise with chips is still a horrible idea. But the Brussels chippie curry ketchup is lovely stuff.

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Re: Hmmm....

My post pub nosh last night was toasted hot cross buns and tea. I didn't have bread for fish finger sarnies. Or brain cells for cooking. Deliciously satisfying.

I did hit the chili this morning though. Breakfast burritos, to be precise. A medium warm tomato salsa, left overs from a previous Mexican feast, bacon, a little grated cheese and scrambled eggs, all wrapped in corn tortillas. Yummy.

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Tiger Moth: Old school flying without all those pesky flaps, brakes and instruments

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Reminds me of an interview

Chap on Radio 4 years ago. He kept a case of champagne in the passenger cockpit. Flew his Tigermoth round the country to see people. So he could just put down in a farmer's field nearby, and knock on the door of the farmhouse, with a big smile and a couple of bottles of bubbly. "Mind if I park in your field today old chap?" No one refused.

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TOTAL DARKNESS lasted 550 MILLION years until the first STARS LIT UP

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Re: "...the universe is around 13.8 billion years old..."

Turn to galaxy 3, to see Kelly (23) from Andromeda - who's got a pair of Great Attractors which have been subject to inflation.

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NASA: Check out this TWIRLY SPACE DWARF – and NEVER moan about our budget

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Re: Aieee

Are you sure? Wasn't Ceres where the bugger base was in Ender's Game?

I wonder why they changed their name for the film?

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Re: If you look closely theres another white dot on the other side

its where the string went through!

This is discarded air freshener from a rather large craft.

What a foolish argument.

It's obviously been used in an intergalactic game of conkers...

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Assange's cop chaperones have cost £10 MEEELLION to date

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Re: Looking on the bright side.......

I reckon the Ecuadorian embassy staff got sick of him, and strangled him about 6 months ago. Now they have to keep the pretence up forever, lest they end up doing a stretch for murder. So they just put out the odd looney press statement, hold a mop and a blue shirt up near the windows occasionally, and keep ordering in extra pizza and the odd exercise machine.

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Re: 10,500 GBP per day @ Chris Miller

Hi-vis jacket on a couple of street beggars

"Spare any change to arrest a wanted man guv?"

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Re: i cant beleive

The right of Sancturary in embassies seems to be pretty much generally recognised in South America. It's not in the Vienna Conventions, which everybody is signed up to, but I believe a few other countries also go along with it. We don't. UK embassy practise is apparently to try and shuffle people out the door again as fast as you can, before there's an international incident. Embassies are there to keep diplomatic relations between governments, and this sort of thing can seriously interfere with that important role.

However in South America there seems to be some tradition that if you get overthrown in a coup, you run out the back door of the Presidential Palace, and head straight for a friendly embassy. You then get besieged there for a few days/weeks, and when the new government is feeling confident they do a deal, and you get shipped off into exile.

Obviously it would be stupid to breach the Vienna Conventions by going in there, and putting all our embassies at increased risk of the same happening to them sometime.

There is an argument that Ecuador are also in breach of those conventions, but there's no world court to rule on this, so it all comes down to negotiation. I'd imagine their diplomats are sick of the situation, but they don't want to back down. The police cost doesn't come out of the Foreign Office's budget, so they can just sit there and ignore the problem. It would be a stupid precedent to set that we'll let people get away with it, just because they've run through an embassy's door, and so we all sit around until Ecuador or Assange get bored.

Although I do think we should cut off their Ferero Rocher rations...

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Re: He's obviously dangerous

Nope. Our St Julian is not accused of having sex without a condom. He's accused of having sex without permission. Having sex without someone's consent is generally known as rape. And that was what the High Court judged two of the charges to be.

The second was that he had sex with woman no. 2 without a condom, then when she was asleep had another go, without, even though he knew she'd said no sex no condom. Obviously less serious than using violence, but even under English law that apparently still meets the definition of rape.

The first accusation is more definitive though. Against wonman no. 1, when told no nookie without condom he's accused of trying to force himself on her. Not with violence, but by using his larger size - until she'd resisted for a bit, then he stopped and put on the condom. I think that's the one where he's alleged to have deliberately damaged it - but a quick Google seems to show the nasty courts have gone and move the links to their PDF judgements, and I couldn't be bothered to check further. Anyway forcing yourself on someone physically is definitely rape. By anyone's definition.

Whether he's guilty is a matter for the Swedish courts. Where he should fuck off to, and defend himself, if the allegations are as ludicrous as he claims.

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Turing notes found warming Bletchley Park's leaky ceilings

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Re: Best use of top secret files ever

Actually using secret documents as bog roll happened rather a lot. Brixmis was the UK military mission to East Germany carried on throughout the Cold War. The Soviets saw fit not to provide their troops with toilet paper. However headquarters were provided with large amounts of soft and absorbent onionskin paper, in order to do encryption/decrytion of signals. This was all then to be burned, but Soviet troops disposed of it in another manner.

After Warsaw Pact excercises Brixmis would rush to the area, find where the HQ had been, and go looking for poo with secret messages attached... I believe there's a saying in the army for jobs like that, "if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined".

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NASA: Give us JUST 0.5% of the federal budget and we'll take you to MARS and EUROPA

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Re: Cameron

That's nothing. Nigel Farage has offered us independence from Europa...

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Bluetooth-enabled miracle washing orbs? Are you kidding?

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Now, if you excuse us, Matthew has just brought in an SPB labcoat soaked in oil, blood, dissolved mud, coffee, red wine, ink and ketchup...

So what you're saying is, you fried his liver with some baked beans and a nice chianti...

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Re: Crystals

Works fine for me. My triffid, spot, now understands "sit", "stay" and "walkies". Although I'm still have trouble teaching it to not kill and eat visitors...

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Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

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Re: Perhaps in theory.

I don't collect military vehicles either, but only because I don't have the money.

I can't believe that there are many men who don't secretly fancy owning a tank or two - if only they had the space and the spare few tens of millions, such that they wouldn't notice the costs of owning and running one.

There was a guy driving round central London in the 90s in a Scimitar that he'd painted bright yellow. I guess he didn't have to worry about getting clamped, or towed away, either.

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like the first to recognise how to use excreta as fertiliser and tanning agents.

Hmmm. I just suffered from some disturbing mental images after reading that sentence slightly amiss. I knew that the celebs who go orange, or even David Dickinson Brown had been using tanning products, but I'm now imagining someone saving the valuable contents of post-hangover toilets, in order to get that special shade for Mr Dickinson. Previously I'd assumed he used Cupranol quick drying wood stain. Now the slogan running through my head is, "does exactly what it says on the bowl"...

Pass the mind bleach please.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

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Re: Why are all posts centered??

I think it's a bug. It happens to me about once a week, admittedly only since the re-design happened. Just going back to the main page and then back to a thread seems to fix it. Or closing and re-opening the browser window.

In case they're bug-hunting, I use Win 8.1 and Firefox.

I don't think I've ever seen the centering thing on the iPad, which is the other way I tend to browse El Reg.

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'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...

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I think what they're saying is that you have to accept their contract and their small amount of revenue and control in order to have a Youtube account and get paid for ads run with your stuff. The artists with the majors get better terms - although who knows if the big boys pass all of that across?

Otherwise you can bugger off, and no money for you. Of course at that point you can respond OK, fair enough. We don't agree terms. So I'll remove all my content from Youtube. That's fair negotiation after all.

But what Google then say is. Oh dear. Sir doesn't appear to have a Youtube account. No account, no content ID. So you can't use our automatic anti-piracy tools. It would be such a shame if loads of our users were to put up your content for free, and we get all the advertising revenue anyway. And you're left with fuck-all, and we still get your work. Oh of course we're not doing this deliberately. Of course we'll comply with the law. Ahem. You'll just have to search Youtube every few seconds, and put in a DMCA takedown for every instance of pirarcy, and we'll take that down after a few days.

What Google are saying is deal with us and we screw you. Don't deal with us and we screw you harder.

Youtube was always build on stealing other peoples' content. That's what made it popular, as a way to see stuff people had recorded. Sure you also had people uploading original stuff too, but it's always been a place to see copyrighted content for free. That mattered less when Youtube were a startup - that never made any money. Artists and content owners were sort of losing out, but as there was no real alternative, or revenue stream, they probably weren't losing much. And it's not like anyone else was getting paid either, so they weren't being stolen from - so much as maybe losing a potential opportunity for other revenues.

Then Google bought Youtube. Suddenly it was a different kettle of fish. They had to clean their act up somewhat, as Youtube was full of other peoples' stuff. But now Google owned it, and Google have money. But also Google bought it to make money. So they shoved advertising all over it. And they were forced to build tools to help copyright owners, as they were now knowingly making cash from other peoples' stuff, with no rights to it. OK Google still weren't uploading it themselves, and could try to argue they weren't responsible, but that was a pretty thin argument.

But it seems now they've decided they're powerful enough to try to go back to the old way of doing things. They've bought off the majors, who have many lawyers. And now they're trying the protection racket on the indies. "This is a nice shop you've got here. But these books are very flammable. It would be a shame if something was to... happen to them... Like a fire perhaps... Oh no! We wouldn't dream of doing anything like that. But you see those guys over there... Well we could help you control them, but well... That'd cost us you see... So hand over most of your money or else."

Google are pissing off so many people, in so many areas at once. It can't last. Despite all that money they pay to politicians, and their army of supporters, they're still cruisin' for a bruisin'. In the end there'll just be too much pressure to do something. The EU are looking likeliest. Axel Springer's support for his candidacy was what got Juncker the gig as EU Commission President. Merkel would probably have blocked him without the outcry in the German press. And that favour has been repaid already, as the new Commission have made much tougher noises in Germany. But then online privacy and data protection has been a huge political issue in Germany for the last 15 years anyway. The French don't like Google for being American, and the association with the NSA hasn't helped anything, so I suspect the EU may clip their wings somewhat. And because they compete with the mainstream media, who are getting increasingly desperate for revenue, it's going to be very easy for them to whip up some anti-Google publicity, and get the voters onside.

In my opinion Google are Microsoft of around 2000. Anti-competitive, arrogant, bloated, rich, but woefully ignorant/careless about security, making way too many enemies at once and risking massive damage to their public image that will take decades to recover from.

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SamSUNK! Korean giant's electronics biz takes punch to the smartphone profits

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Re: Apple does not bake their own silicon

Samsung managed to undercut Nokia at the low end - who'd fought of competition for years, by having a really well managed supply-chain. They do lots of their manufacturing in China, so I don't see why they shouldn't be able to continue to make something on the low margin end of things.

My suspicion is that their problems are in the middle of the market (where they've got too many models), and at the top-end. In the mid-market they seem to have a lot of 'cut down' version of the top end stuff,that's still labelled Galaxy, but is £200-£300, while being worse than the sub £150 Lumias and stuff like the Moto G. At the top end, there's a lot of competition, and I suspect that although the list prices are really high, most are sold via the operators, and there's a lot of heavy discounting going on.

They're also a bit of a user-interface mess. I got my friend to buy a Galaxy Note. Lovely phone, and he got it so he could take photos onside, then sketch his designs on them, and email those back to the office for quoting. He's a cabinet maker. It took me about 2 hours to set the bugger up for him. It was too complicated for him to do it, he even struggled to set up his iPhone.

There were something like 160 settings in the main menu, and some of those had sub-menus. Plus there's setting up the main screen, short-cuts and widgets. Then getting the right apps. And it didn't help the Samsung duplicate almost all the Google apps. To be fair, some of theirs are better.

Then to add to the fun, they did a software update that broke the S pen, which was the whole point of the phone. Although they hadn't actually broken it, so much as removed the link between the original image-handling app and the pen. The update introduced another 2 s-pen image apps, but only one of these two could now be launched autmomatically when the pen was used - and the origianl app was there, but you'd have to take the pen out, find the photo you wanted to annotate, save it on the phone, then open the original app, then use that to open the photo. So I just set him up with one of the new ones, and taught him how to use that.

What this tells me is that they're a UI mess. There's probably no-one in overall charge of things, and it's all getting designed by committee or infighting. Remember Nokia guys? That didn't end well. It also suggest they're wasting loads of money on software development, given they're sometimes developing more than one app to compete with themselves. And yet their customers don't care if there's a Samsung calendar app, or a Google one. Just so long as they've got one on the phone. So they may as well save their money there. Or put their money where their mouth is and fork Android, or use Tizen.

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Horrifying iPhone sales bring Apple $18bn profit A QUARTER

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Re: Whoosh

Irony? That's like goldy or bronzey isn't it?

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Actually there is one big advantage to having an older iPad. My nephews and neice are always pestering my Mum and brother to get hold of their iPad Airs. Because their boring old iPad1 (cast-off from Mum) isn't as shiny and nice. My iPad 3 is better than theirs of course, but will be rejected in preference for the newer ones...

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The difference in weight between the 3, and the Airs is pretty huge. The 3 starts to feel heavy after an hour or so of reading with it. I've noticed my 3 is starting to slow down on a few of the chunkier games as well - actually it runs them fast enough, just seems to take a bit of time to load them.

So I'm jealous of the latest ones, but on the other hand, can't really justify spending all that lovely money. The 64GB is nearly £600 - for which I could get a Lenovo Yoga 10" 'Droid, an SD card to add to its 32GB of storage, and a decent new phone, and still have change for a year or two's online subscription to Netflix/Now TV/Lovefilm.

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Some Androids can be HOSED by WiFi Direct vuln

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As I understand it though, all users of Windows Phone can get updates. They may not roll them out all at once to every handset, they've got rather a long schedule sometimes, but at least all handsets can potentially be updated by Microsoft.

Whereas I've been in a situation with an Android handset where the manufacturer were now selling it on a later version, but there was no update ever offered for the ones they'd already sold on the previous one.

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NASA greenlights SpaceX and Boeing to carry crew to ISS in 2017

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Re: Still a long way to go

It will be really interesting to see how the prices will change now, with a bit of competition.

The initial costs for Boeing and SpaceX I'd imagine include for a good deal of the design and factory tooling costs for the first run of capsules. Something the Russians must have paid off a loooong time ago with Soyuz.

But if SpaceX and Boeing can get this re-usability thing going, they should be able to cut those costs quite significantly. I guess they'll be flying, then dismantling, the first few vehicles. But with SpaceX able to re-use their first stages and capsules (assuming it all works), they're likely to be very competitive with everyone.

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Re: Why was the original article replaced?

Martin Budden,

That is odd. Magic disappearing articles.

To answer your comment on the other thread though, I don't think it's 50 Dragon launches before they go for a manned mission. I think it's 50 launches of the Falcon 9 rocket. Because they also use those for satellite work too. I don't know how many launches of the new Dragon capsule will be considered enough. I'd imagine it'll have to be more than just one. And they'll have to do testing on docking with the ISS as well, as they only get close at the moment, and get pulled in by the arm.

But then the Dragon 2 is going to be very different to the Dragon 1. But they can always use it to do the cargo delivery flights too, as part of its testing. And they'll have to test the launch escape system as well, where the whold Dragon capsule abandons the rocket stack and flies off on it's own - as they don't use an escape tower.

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Re: Playing the party line

Still it's poor form to dump on the Russians just because the US State department is having a spat.

NASA have been trying to get a shuttle replacement going for a while. This isn't a sudden thing. And they did it in a sensible order, which was to pay SpaceX to learn by delivering the dinner - where we don't care so much if it explodes - and then get them to have a go at shipping the astronauts afterwards. So far SpaceX haven't incinerated any of the dinners - although they do like to blow their rockets up at sea level afterwards, to make up for that disappointment...

Some time ago there was an article about the contenders and pricing, it was mentioned that the Russians were the low cost carrier of the three.
I've not been through the figures myself, so I'm happy to be corrected, but I quote from the article:

NASA administrators said the two firms were offering a cost per astronaut of $58m per launch, while the Russians are currently charging $70m.

I believe the Russian's costs are much lower than that, but obviously they're taking a nice profit on their monopoly on manned flight to the ISS. And who can blame them. So it's perfectly possible that NASA can make savings - plus it's useful to have the ability. And NASA have been getting decvent bang-for-their-buck from SpaceX - who seem to be improving global space capability pretty damned quickly, with help from nice NASA contracts.

As for your comment on tried-and-tested, that's interesting. The Russians apparently haven't changed much in the Soyuz system, so they've obviously got a lot of experience, and good, reliable hardware. On the other hand technology has moved on a lot since then. At some point new tech may allow for considerable safety improvements - even though you obviously introduce a lot of risk by doing new things. There's a point at which one outweighs the other. Plus, with new tech we can gain new capabilities, and that may be worth some extra risk. Eventually the new stuff will be tested, at which point it gets even safer.

Also the Russians have been having quite a few failures of late. Mostly on Progress, but even minor failures on the manned flights. I wonder if they've been getting complacent (as NASA did with the shuttle after a while)? Or if they've been cutting costs - something that's likely to happen now anyway, after the rouble collapse and new Russian recession.

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Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

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Re: O3 then?

Then BT could change their name to British Orange T-Mobile Ofcom-do-our-bidding Telecom. Or: BOTTOM

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Hola HoloLens: Reg man gets face time with Microsoft's holographic headset

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Re: At one drawing per floor, you'd be amazed...

20 sheets?

AbelSoul,

I bloody wish! I was sent the spec for a 10 storey block of flats the other day. With gym, shops, offices and whatever. There are two 400 page documents with pointless cut & paste bits of the various regulations and standards you're supposed to comply with, picked seemingly at random and mostly irrelevant. Then there were 15 un-named folders, each containing between 10 and 30 drawings, each labelled something like A005729-v1073-Zzzzbgs75680.pdf. There's no logic to the naming scheme, it seems to be random numbers you have to check against a table of drawings, in a separate PDF that's itself 20 pages long!

Admittedly a tool to simplify all this will do no good, as the needless over-complication could already be dispensed with by just using a brain. I'm assuming the person paid to organise all the data for the project just took the money, pissed off down the pub, and employed a few chimps from London Zoo to throw it all together. Literally.

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Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

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Re: They ain't THAT bad.

To be fair, the US is just an awful lot bigger than the UK, and there's a lot fewer people per square mile - so infrastructure costs are bound to be higher. Even so, my impression is that US customers pay way over the odds, and that the US carriers are far more profitable than European ones.

But UK prices for data have pretty much halved in the last 3 years. When I first got a mobile in the mid 90s, £15 a month got you about 100 minutes of calls (you paid for the rest). The handset was an up-front £80 on a 1 year contract, and text messages were 9p each. 20 years later, things are a hell of a lot cheaper - £15 in 1995 is about £30 now.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

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Re: Hmmmm...

OK. Downvote accepted.

It was surely better than Robin Hood Prince of Thieves though - apart from anything due to not having that bloody song. Another awful film only slightly redeemed by the baddie.

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