3172 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Re: Labour theory of Value
The Marxist point is that the 'expensive things' (the drills, pumps et al) are also produced by labour too and take their Marxist value from that.
That's precisely the point. The labour that built the mining equipment wants to get paid. Someone has to pay them. Otherwise they won't build the stuff, and the mine can't be built.
Unless the equipment workers are willing to give the mine workers credit. If so, what are they going to live on in the meantime until the gold starts to flow? If they do it from savings, then they become capitalists - and will probably want a profit from the deal, to make up for the risk they've taken with their capital.
Now of course you could have a system where the government does all this on the workers' behalf. So they tell the mine equipment builders to make it, and the miners to dig. Paying them both from debt or cash, until the mine is profitable. Planned economies like that have been tried, and turned out not to be very successful.
One of the problems with all governments, democratic and otherwise, is that they tend to stop operating on the workers' behalf, and start operating on the governments' behalf. Which can vary from subtly different to the workers' interests to purges and gulags. Democracies win here though, as they can usually change without having to shoot people.
Actually planned economies can be quite good at things like mining, at least for a time. Heavy engineering can be quite predictable, so the planners have a chance of making a good shift of things. What central planning can't do is pay the workers. Sure it can give them money. But they have to buy things with that money. And workers/consumers tend to be a lot more fickle, and less predictable, than heavy industry. So while the government might successfully work out how many mines to dig, and how much kit to equip them with, it'll never work out how many sandwich shops to build, or TVs to manufacture.
Re: Labour theory of Value
The problem with Marx's idea about the value of labour is that he was trying to use it to make a political point. Rather than construct a theory of how the economy works.
In your gold example, without labour that dirt is worthless. But if the capital isn't allowed to make its share of the profits then there won't be any capital. Just try mining for gold without drills, air pumps, metal pit props and all the other expensive things required to make a mine...
Also, by the same idea, if a car is entirely built by robots, the manufacturer should give it away free!
The trick is to try to make sure everyone gets a fair share. Then you too can become a capitalist. That's what a pension is after all. You stick some of your wages in a fund for 40 years, and they should have doubled every decade or two, ready for you to retire and spend the lot.
Re: Shot feet
What's winning? Am I winning if I have a nice enough standard of living? Even if someone else has raked in 10 times as much as me, I've still got my nice life. Or do I have to be doing as well as them to count as winining?
Subsistence farming has it's upsides. You're your own boss, the hours are good. But the downsides are also pretty bad, which is why people have historically moved from it to some pretty grim industrial jobs.
It would be lovely if we could achieve equality. Whatever that means. But we almost certainly can't. However we ought to be able to achieve a decent life for most/all, with a balance of work, shiny toys and leisure. We'll probably have to put up with some people doing considerably better than the rest though.
Re: Excellent article - b u t -
I'm not as pessimistic as you. I don't think that our standard of living has to drop, so that the rest of the world can catch up. Although it may not grow as fast as it otherwise might have, but that's hard to know.
The point is that as the poorer countries get some money, they'll start importing from us. Or should have, if they so far hadn't been lending that cash back to us. Even then though UK wages didn't stagnate until about 2003-2005 - and some of that was from immigration.
Britain still makes quite a lot of cash from designing stuff. Plus there's lots of services we're good at. There's plenty of good bits of financial services that we can export, such as insurance. So in an expanding global labour force there's the challenge of more competition, but that also becomes a bigger market. What's happened in the last few years is that things have become unbalanced. Rapid change can do that.
Re: Low pay?
It can be both. The question isn't whether tech workers are getting more than other workers. The question is whether tech shareholders are getting more of the profits than the staff otherwise would.
If there's a limited supply of skilled staff, and a large demand for them, then wages should be very high. Otherwise the shareholders are making excess profits.
Re: Excellent article - b u t -
The horse meat issue was supermarket or food processor profiteering or price competition. Probably more competition, as it was the really cheap stuff that was full of horsemeat. In order to sell some really cheap products they were obviously screwing their suppliers down to too low a rate - or the suppliers were biddding too low knowing they could get dodgy meat. I guess it was a combination of trying to build down to a price, and long complicated supply chains, plus dishonesty.
It may also have been a one-off, as I did read that the glut of horses was down to Romania banning horses and carts on roads, so a whole bunch of horsies went to the knackers in a short period.
The CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) works in various ways. But one way is to protect EU farmers by imposing tarrifs on certain goods coming from outside the EU, into the market. Remove those, and we could buy some foreign food cheaper than (for example) small French farmers could make it. Forcing them to undergo quite a lot of pain and become more efficient, or get out-competed. Thus Africa would have been a lot richer over the last few years, but rural Europe done worse. Britain went through a lot of that pain in the farming industry in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Politically it was decided that it was better that society fund farming rather than have cheaper food. That's almost certainly un-controversial in large chunks of the EU. Which is why 40% of the EU budget is still spent on CAP.
Re: Excellent article - b u t -
That's all true, but should be self-correcting. Over a reasonable length of time anyway. One of the issues is that the free-ish global market grew so quickly, when China, India, Brazil and others all decided to start playing within a decade of each other.
Adding a couple of billion people (potentially at least) to the global labour pool in such a short time was bound to have an effect on wages. But even though it's a really big world, it's still not infinite. There's only really Africa to add (which is happening) and then not much more.
Also, there is an offset which works against the driving down of wages. Prices also drop. If you live in Britain prices of everything you buy have plummeted over the last twenty years, except for 3 main things Food, houses and energy. Now energy inflation is to be expected - peak oil and all that malarkey. But the only reason we have had such food price inflation (at least so I suspect) is that it's the one global market that most definitely isn't free. The Americans subsidise their farmers, and the EU even more so, with a large side-order of trade barriers. If our governments had dumped these (which have consistently been the massive stumbling block in world trade negotiations for 3 decades), then we'd all be gaining quite a bit more from globalisation. Then we could use some of the subsidies to help farmers who'd lose out, and still have change for a tax cut or some more schools'n'hospitals.
The other big imperfection of globalisation has been the world savings rate. Had China been spending all the money we paid them, then the terms of trade wouldn't have been so bad, ordinary Chinese people would have been richer. So they'd have also been buying our stuff, helping our economy too. But the Chinese government instead decided to buy $3 trillion of US government bonds, in order to keep their currency lower, and to keep wages lower within China. Keeping their competitive advantage for longer. But as it turns out helping to screw-up our economies while their own domestic demand wasn't able to take the strain. That imbalance, of all the surpluses Asian governments built up to protect their currencies, all the cash from the oil exporters, not helped by all the big companies sticking trillions in overseas tax-havens to avoid corp tax, went sloshing round around lowering interest rates and people got hooked on cheap credit. It's also one of the reasons we went collectively mad and bid our house prices up so high. That and lack of building.
One bit I don't get is how GoDaddy support can't recover an account where the personal data has been changed.
Surely that's the first thing any hacker is going to do. When I phone up and say my first pet's name was Spot and they say no it ain't - they can see that the answer was only changed yesterday and has been Spot for the last ten years? Otherwise what the fuck is the point of any of these security questions?
Obviously it makes it harder, as you don't know if the answer was changed because the real user had been hacked and got to the account first. So you'd have to suspend the account and try to work out which of the two people was genuine.
Re: I laughed and laughed and laughed...
That strategy has done wonders for Nokia's shareholders. Who else would have bought their failing phone division off their hands? It had finally lost its competitive advantage on the low-end phones to China and Samsung, after years of very successful supply chain fancy-footwork. And at the same time management had seen the smartphone era coming for a decade, got all the research done to lead it, but then forgot to actually finish any of their 5 (or was it 10?) competing smartphone OSes. Had they gone Android, there's a good chance that the shareholders would have to fund the redundency payouts for everyone, and years of expensive restructuring. Rather than dumping it all on MS, and letting them take the risk.
Re: for those who said buying Motorola was all about the patents...
It seems to have been a cunning plan by Google management to take over $9 billion outside and set fire to it! I guess they're doing their bit to reverse QE...
OK, OK. I know the patents must be worth something. But it ain't $9.5 billion...
I assumed they were after the patents, but wanted the hardware division as well, otherwise why didn't they sell it earlier? It seems bizarre to buy a company you don't want, with no idea how to get rid of it, when it's losing you over $1 billion a year.
I guess it's like a mate who's into motor racing. He bought a 60s Alfa Romeo, in decent race condition, because it had a racing sump that he wanted for his. His 'cunning' plan was to swap the sump with his, give the car a nice polish, and sell it on for a profit. Well the first two bits worked anyway... After a year of having it in a lock-up garage, and hiding the purchase from his wife, he finally managed to get rid for a classified amount less than he paid. At least it was his money to waste, not his shareholders'. Ooops! As the saying goes: Q. How do you make a small fortune in motor racing? A. Start with a large fortune.
Re: I think facebook design their mobile site
You say that as if the non-mobile version of Facebook is any less hideous.
As always I default to my standard belief in incompetence over conspiracy (or plan) every time...
I decided to have a look. Surprisingly enough Google Maps also asked for permission to use the microphone. Denied. Nothing has asked for Bluetooth or phots. Only Gmail wanted contacts, also denied.
Location Services seems to be the biggie, that every app seems to want. I assume it's partly because of advertising. Here Apple are quite good, as even Apple's own apps have to ask for permission to use this. So I've allowed Apple maps, but not the camera or Safari, for example.
Apple also have an advertising bit in the privacy settings. You can limit ad tracking (whatever that does) and manually re-set your advertising tracking ID.
iOS stuff asks for permissions as you use the feature. At least the stuff I've installed. And then there are permission lists scattered around the rather disorganised settings menu, where you can grant or remove permission for each app individually. It's then up to the dev what they want their app to do.
Some simply stop, say they need the permission activated and don't do anything else. So you have to go back to settings and enable - weirdly this doesn't seem to happen via the app.
I've just looked, and actually there's a privacy menu now, which covers most of it. Although I notice that in giving Google maps permisison to use location services (for satnav) it also gave itself a 'background app' permission I wasn't previously aware of. Hidden in another bit of the settings menu. So that it could access location services even when the app wasn't turned on. So I guess I've been updating Google on lots of stuff to help their mapping for the last couple of months since I used G maps for sat-nav. Cheeky fuckers. Or data-thieves, as they really are.
Anyway, Apple is a bit of a mess, but mostly pretty good.
Re: Wakey, wakey .......
If the banks' customers were paying the banks' fines, then bank profits would remain the same the year they pay the fine. As prices would go up to cover it. But they don't. Fines tend to get accounted for as a one-off cost, and so come off the profits. So no, the shareholders pay, not the customers. The shareholders employ the bosses. A lot of what's broken about the current financial system is shareholders failing to to hold boards to account.
Bitcoin isn't unique in one of its members ending up in trouble. It's just smaller. Individual bankers may get put away, but heads of Central Banks in the real world don't tend to get involved in individual transactions. Whereas this chap was on some central board, but was also running an individual company.
That's just because Bitcoin is smaller, newer, less professional and less well regulated.
Also there's probably a difference. Criminals in global banking maybe know how to cover their tracks better. i.e. Even the criminals are more professional. Whereas people involved in Bitcoin may have believed all that stuff about anonymity, or just lucked into their Bitcoin fortunes - and not been all that bright to start with. For example, it was pretty obvious that lots of the deals on Silk Road were illegal. So having dealings with Silk Road was a huge legal risk.
If you're a global bank some drug dealers will try and use you to help in their money laundering. Even if you take all the precautions and honestly try to avoid them. If you wish to deliberately deal with them, you'd be sensible to make sure you have plausible deniability. And the CEO of the bank is unlikely to even know about transactions of that size anyway. So any legal blame can be lost in the multiple layers of management, and it all gets settled with a fine, and some improved procedures.
Re: Equal Justice? Nope ....... Next stop and logical step, rope for dopes with no places to hide?
Well it's a support for half his view. The bit about banks being involved in money laundering. Which obviously they will be - even if they're not complicit.
Of course the other bit, about how they get away with it, isn't supported by your post. Where HSBC had to cough up over $1 billion to settle the case. Or the case of Standard Chartered last year, just off the top of my head.
This is why banks ask questions when you make large cash transactions and demand ID when you setup bank accounts. Whether banks also turn a blind eye, when they think they can get away with it, is another question entirely. I rather doubt any of us would be shocked by that suggestion. But it's not as if Bitcoin is the only case where the big stick is being waved.
Surely this is only a minor part of Nokia's special sauce. They're using image stabilisation, but also over-sampling on bigger sensors and then a bunch of processing in the camera, before the image is passed onto the phone's chip. I thought the size of the raw images was too big for either Android or Win Phone to process, as the OSes hadn't been written with this in mind.
I'm not sure Nokia had any realistic chance of a hardware advantage. It's just that they did the work to integrate it all, and get it small enough not to make a huge bulge in the phone.
Replicating it was always going to be research budget + time.
Google say that their screen is the equivalent of a 25" HD screen from 8' away.
I can't read the subtitles on my 50" screen from that far away. I told you my eyesight was bad...
Re: But why...
I presume it must be because of people who need glasses. If you can't see to read the screen without glasses, then you can't integrate the screen into the lens. It has to be the other side of it.
Sadly it doesn't matter for me. It looks like the screen is so small that I wouldn't be able to read it anyway. Which is a shame in some ways, as it would be great to have a camera on a glasses frame that I could use to read stupid signs in stations/airports that the designers just love to hang 20 feet in the air.
Actually the smartphone is winning on that. You can often get the departure boards on an app - and the nice ones tell you the platform as well.
In normal day-to-day life they look silly, but no sillier than the kit I already have to use. But there's no reason to care what people think about you, if you find the shiny-shiny useful. You migth get the odd techy who won't talk to you because you're wired for sound. But most normal people probably won't think about it.
I wonder why they don't project onto a glasses lens itself, rather than using that screen? It would be no good for people who need vision corrected before they can read - but I'd have thought it would be cheaper, and less obvious for everyone else.
Development tools? Good grief!
I admit I'm several years out of date on Android, but if I saw an app asking for permission to use developer resources on a production device, I'd run a mile.
If you're just skimming through, with limited knowledge of the system (as I currently would be), that just screams "SCAM!!!1111!!!!!ONE!!1ONE!!!" in twenty foot high iluminated letters!
Re: Neurotic Firefox User
Since I changed to Chrome I am much more relaxed. I have nothing to fear. So I shall not fear. Becasue I have nothing to hide, Because I have nothing to fear, I have hidden nothing. I am much happier now that I have learned to relax and let go of my data. I love Big Brother.
It's good to be alive in 1985!
You silly, twisted boy you...
Re: Neurotic Firefox User
Who says I'm neurotic? Why are you all talking about me? It's perfectly normal to use Firefox isn't it? I'm so worried what people will think about me - especially as I've installed Firefox for a bunch of my friends. Now people will think the people I've installed it for are neurotic and then my friends will be annoyed with me because I made other people think they're neurotic and also think that I'm neurotic becuase I installed it and...
Re: It's amazing how much press Microsoft phones get
You're not a politician by any chance?
Nah, he's just a bit of a troll.
Although I've not seen him banging on about Windows Phone for a while. Perhaps he was worried when the sales and market-share started going up? They seem to have hit a bit of a peak recently, with the new super-cheap Androids sending it zooming up again. Perhaps that's persuaded him out of his bunker...
Re: How to use the "report abuse" function
Obviously only you guys see the viewing figures for this forum, but I'd be surprised if many of your reasders ever come here. So I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this.
Assuming you don't want to bung an article about it on the front page, may I suggest you put some text about it on the 'report abuse' page itself.
When you hit the report button, you are sent to a page, with the post in question, and another report buton. Maybe add something stern to the text there?
I'd also suggest that a small 'Why I'm reporting this' box might be appropriate. That might make the timewasters feel like idiots. Or at least think.
It's also useful to the non time-wasters. I once reported a spammer, and eneded up reporting a bunch of posts. Had I had a text box, I could have just done the one, and said - this guy appears to be a spammer, please nuke all today's posts.
The Birdie Song? You're a generous man. I was more thinking The Crazy Frog. Or perhaps Axl Rose's best impression of a Dalek on helium, doing his version of Live and Let Die.
Re: GPO snoops
So the idea is that if I'm a terrorist and put a bomb in the parcel, I'll get caught out when the Post Office bloke asks me what I put in the parcel?
Well... Possibly... There was a couple of US chappies who sent a parcel of goodies to the IRA, back in the 90s. It was supposedly a consignment of Barbie parts - but got intercepted at Coventry Airport I think. Lots of lovely guns.
Anyway they'd gone to their local parcel office, to send it off air-freight. And the office noticed that they'd not put a return address on the paperwork. Well you wouldn't, would you?
In full view of the CCTV cameras they filled out their own address, real address not a fake one, paid up and left. 'Twas a tough investigation for the police!
Re: Nimby here
Well, there are two sides to every story.
Our ancestors did indeed bury lots of infrastructure. They've lost some of it too. I've been involved in projects in London where we know there are sewers and water pipes, we just don't know where. Which makes connecting to them quite difficult. Plus you have to close some pretty big roads in order to get at them.
5 years ago I reported noise on my line to BT. Lots of it. They investigated, and found damp in the cables. I was rather embarrassed when I walked out of my house to find one of the 4 main roads into my town had been closed - and there was a nice 2 mile traffic jam. Which I was walking alongside thinking I hope these guys don't realise it's my fault. Got my phone fixed though, so it wasn't all bad...
Re: @ I ain't Spartacus
I presume your "democracy is to blame" point is also an attempt at 'satire'.....
Only partially. Cameron isn't responsible for the decisions of Ofcom, which is indepenent. Although he is responsible for its existence, as he's PM. So if he doesn't like what it's doing, he can kill it. So you can argue he's overall responsible. Although that's pretty silly for a policy decision as minor as this, where the whole point of independent regulators was to take this kind of decision away from politicians.
Also Cameron did want to kill Ofcom in his bonfire of the Quangos. But the Lib Dems said no. So the voters are more responsible for this decision than Cameron. But of course neither are really responsible at all. Not that I think it's a bad decision.
You're the one that justified your anti-Cameron comments as 'the uncomfortable truth', not me. So I assumed you meant it seriously.
As for your, 'all politicians are a bunch of cunts' crap, no they aren't. Some are, others aren't. Some are useless, some good, some self-serving some do their best for what they believe to be right. Some a mix of some/all of the above.
I know it's fashionable to say all politicians are the same, and they're all greedy and crap. But in fact it doesn't make you sound deliciously cynical, experienced and wise. It puts you in the Russel Brand talentless wanker who hasn't managed to rise above teenage level debating points level of political awareness.
I'll agree the Miliband comment was irrelevant to the topic. Although slightly more justified, as it was little differentn to his intervention on the energy industry - which is economically illiterate. And desperately cynical, given that a large chunk of the cost rises he's complaining about directly relate to the climate change levy that he brought in himself as Sec State for Energy less than 5 years ago.
Re: Since when did any government actually take responsibility for it's actions?
The Foreign Office team resigned over the Falklands. They specifically did take responsibility. Even though it was at least a decade or two of Foreign Office and MOD policy neglect that encourange the Junta to think they could get away with the invasion. That one was at least as much down to the advice the politicians were receiving - as to the decisions they were making. There were warnings within the FCO of Argentina's intentions but they were ignored and not passed on up the chain.
"posting an unconfortable truth that I just can't process"
I think you may be over-estimating the quality of your own post here...
As happens Ofcom are independent of government so it's isn't Cameron's responsibility anyway. That is rather the point of having regulators relatively independent of political interference. One could argue that it's the voters fault - as Conservative pre-election policy was to abolish Ofcom. However the Lib Dems didn't let them. As the voters didn't give the Conservatives an outright majority at the election, perhaps they wanted to save Ofcom?
Anyway, if you were playing the 'uncomfortable truth' card in your post, perhaps it would have done better without the attempts at 'satire'...
If they do it honestly and upfront, that's a good thing. Inflation does happen. There's no reason telcos shouldn't be able to put their prices up. It would be easier if they only did 12 month contracts, but then people wanted to lump £500 handsets in with their contracts, and didn't fancy paying £45 a month on top of their call costs.
If on the other hand they bury it in the small print, and don't put it in big letters at the top, then they're probably in breach of the unfair terms in consumer contracts laws.
Ofcom's job is to make things fair and transparent. It's not their job abolish inflation.
I doubt it. Only if they put it upfront on the contract, say: 24 month contract £9.99 per month for the first year, followed by +inflation for year 2. If they hide it in the Ts&Cs, which is what they did before, then I very much doubt they can get away with it. The point is that they're selling a fixed-length, fixed-price contract with penalties if you try to leave early. So they shouldn't be allowed to change it either.
The sensible thing to do would be to sell all airtime contracts as SIM only. Then people could sort out their own phones, and maybe wouldn't upgrade quite so much. And would at least know the financial cost they were incurring for doing so, even if they'd still be free to ignore the environmental cost. But I think many people prefer their 'free' phones.
Re: Allô ?
Certainly French needs to lighten up and evolve a bit. And as you say, that's exactly what's happening. Le weekend is just more convenient. And no language should be forced to stick with quatre-vingt-dix. The Belgians do perfectly well with nonante.
I must say though, there are quite a few horrible imports. 'Le ferry boat' sounds like the childrens' TV writers have taken over the announcements and sign-writing.
Re: I can't say that I've noticed any problems with WiFi
I've not noticed it on my iPhone, becuase that's also connected to the 4G network, but the 2 iPads I've had have been the flakiest network devices I've ever owned.
It's much improved over the iPad 1, where you pretty much had to give it a fixed IP address in order to make it stay on any network for more than 2 minutes. A big issue when trying to use it on networks you don't control. It took Apple 3 months to fix that bug. Then when the iPad got updated to iOS 4, the bug returned, and it had to be given a fixed IP again for a couple of months.
Nothing's been that bad since. But still, every time you use it for any length of time, you'll click on a link, nothing will happen,,and you'll look to the top left corner to see there's no radio signal for a second or two. My current iPad 3 never seems able to maintain a connection to my Bluetooth speaker for more than an hour either, without quickly dropping off for a nap. But I've never found Bluetooth to be reliable - so I'm less inclined to blame Apple for that one.
They do this because the first person who showed them the internet showed them this way and they never learnt any better.
I've shown several people what the address bar is, how to type into it, and how to bookmark the pages they go to all the time. I can only think of one of those people who has any bookmarks saved in their browser...
Google have only built the staggering number of data centres they have because every few months their search supercomputer becomes self aware and gets incredibly pissed off with all the idiots asking it where they can find facebook.com, goes beserk and decides to destroy the human race. So Google have to disconect it and build another datacentre and start the process all over again, because they don't know if the old one is safe to re-use.
Eventually this will end with the whole world being covered in useless Google datacentres which are too hideously dangerous to re-use, the death of the human race at the hands of our computer overlords, or users like my Mum being educated into using the address bar and bookmarks.
I'm betting on the end of the human race...
I've borrowed nearly a billion dollars of your clients' money, but don't worry! I'm down wit da kidz, and can use the word bitch - which makes me like cool innit. So of course I can pay it back. I understand my market.
What do you mean I only make 5% of our total loan stock in profits each year? I'm a sober and serious businessman, look at my suit. And my professional manner in important business meetings...
Re: How would you "sell" LibreOffice? Its free.
Everyone else here lives and breathes Outlook. The shared calendaring, email invites and all that stuff. Like the iPhones, if I were to suggest getting rid of either the sales people would have kittens. Or just push me out the window...
I'm also a bit disturbed by our reseller above, who seems to be saying I'll give the client the product that makes me the most profit. That's as bad as dealing with the financial industry - all those 'independent' brokers and high street banks trying to steal as much of your cash as possible - and fuck the quality of the product you end up with.
In my opinion MS Office is still better than OO/LO. Partly because I love Excel and dislike Calc. Plus I quite like the ribbon for everyday use (it's more annoying when you do the esoteric stuff). But our OP should have been recommending Libre Office to lots of his customers already. The ones who don't worship Outlook, and Excel with extra macros. And should still be pushing Office at the rest. Then charging for the time to set up and the expertise. I've advised a couple of friends and acquaintences on very small business IT, because I've done the research for our company, and they've all had bad experiences with local resellers/IT companies. They at least know that I'm not recommending them the most expensive thing because of the cash I'll make off it. But it would be better all round if they were using, and trusting, their local IT shop.
Re: How would you "sell" LibreOffice? Its free.
Except Libre/Open Office don't have an equivalent to Outlook. As much as I've always personally disliked Outlook - having a proper email and calendar client can be incredibly important. There doesn't seem to be any decent alternative to Outlook, and in my experience of using it Google calendar isn't even half as good.
Once you're using Outlook, you may as well use Office. It would be nice for our chappie to make a profit out of it, but he'll have to make his profit on the value he brings to his clients. Like with a lot of hardware, the client can go online and get it for about what a reseller can. What the business needs is advice on what to buy and then someone to set it up and provide maintenance and/or training.
Re: Fish in barrels @ I ain't Spartacus
Paranoia is your friend here. You have to keep an independent copy of your data off the cloud. In case the cloudy people go nuts on you and destroy everything.
So we've got a cloudy accounts package, but I have paper and electronic backups of our VAT returns, invoicing, bank records and receipts. As well as offline backups provided by the cloudy provider should they lose our data but be still up-and-running and able to recover. Depending on how horribly things go wrong, I'm in a position to fix it with from half an hour to a week's work. That's good enough.
With some basic work, it should be possible to ensure similar protection with Office 365. Although it would be nice if all cloud providers would have a system where they would send you (or allow you to download) a backup from their system like our accounts providers do - as it would reassure the paranoid.
Re: fuck off
And if you are rural, like we are, with a less than adequate ADSL service, what are you expected to do when BT are looking for a wind-induced line fault? Twiddling thumbs does not keep a business moving.
Local storage. Outlook allows a local copy of all emails on an Exchange server to be stored on the computer. Office 365 allows the option of storing documents on the PC, on Skydrive or both.
Our office network connection is rubbish. High latency and lots of dropped packets. One reason we don't have our server onsite now anyway.
If your network is an issue, get a 4G WiFi router as a backup. No network means no emails anyway, whether you use cloud or not. When the network was down here for 3 days, we just diverted the phones and worked from home. When the network was down at our current IT providers, we did without email. If you can't do without email, and you're a small business, then you're doomed. There is no option you can afford that's robust enough to keep you up 24/7.
Re: fuck off
In our case, we have 6 employees. 3 are road-warriors, I'm office based, and 2 work from home. A NAS is therefore no use to us, as well as not being an email/calendar server. It's a perfectly fine option for some small companies who just forget to back up. Although it's no help if there's a lightning strike that kills all the hard disks in the building, or a fire in the office.
As for the price, it's currently going down. Not sure how long that will carry on of course. But most of the cloudy options can be done in-house. They were just too expensive for very small companies with no IT people. OEM Office bought with each new PC is £150-odd a time. Laptops maybe last 4 years if you're lucky. Still cheaper. But by Office 365 I meant the £15 per user per month option, that also gives an Exchange and Lync server, plus document sharing. Not sure how useful Lync will turn out to be. But I'm seriously considering Office 365 at that price.
What is a company really worth if the only thing they own are chairs and desks.
How would our company be any better if we were the chairs, desks and the IT? We're none of those things. We are the company. All the value in the company is our reputation for giving good technical advice in a niche area and our skill and knowledge at doing it. Why we exist is because certain building engineers trust that when they pick up the phone to us, we can solve their technical problems. If that stops, no amount of complicated technology will save us.
I guess our database of contacts is worth something - and putting that in the cloud is a risk. But it has to be internet facing for us to use it, and we've got fewer security skills available to us than Microsoft or Google. And less expertise in backup and recovery.
It's an issue of comparitive risk. Very few companies with less than 20 employees have the ability to do a better job of IT than even a mediocre cloud provider.
Re: Good luck with that when....
Rubbish. If you're operating somewhere where power or networking is an issue, then the cloud is obviously not a viable solution. If you're an ordinary company operating in an ordinary town - this isn't a problem. If there's no power, computer doesn't work. So network outage isn't an issue.
Office 365 allows local copies of emails and documents on your machine. So network congestion should be no more of an issue, as that email will only be transmitted to your PC once either way. Obviously it's a major problem if you're using it to allow hot-desking...
My company actually has an office with unreliable networking. Cabling in the town centre is old, and fibre upgrades would mean digging up the whole town centre. Our network is too crap to allow us to host the company's server here, as we're a mix of sales, office and home-workers. So cloud with local copies is the best we can manage, whatever we do.
There are many good reasons to be wary and suspicious of cloudy options. It's horses for courses. If national power and network infrastructure become unreliable in a few years (which won't happen because we can always reverse the green taxes and go back to burning coal) - then you've no better chance of running local servers than some datacentre has.
Re: Fish in barrels @ I ain't Spartacus
SMEs have to run more risk than large organisations. If we had all the insurance and back-up required to guarantee our existence, we'd be too expensive and go bust. That's life. And the price of flexibility.
I've advised friends who have small companies to go cloudy. Simply because they don't have the skills to manage IT risk, even though they do have the resources. IT is a very useful component that they simply don't understand. So they're better taking the risk that a company staffed by people who do understand some of the issues won't cock up, because they'll assuredly screw something up themselves. In an imperfect world, cloudy solutions are now cheaper than the alternatives for very small companies, and companies that size don't spend more than a few thousand a year on IT.
Obviously the BOFHs will be suspicious of the cloud. It's unlikely to be as flexible as they can be - and it's a threat to their jobs. At least if it's as good as the service they can provide for less cash. It's all going to come down to business size. Watching the idiots at Sainsbury's outsource their stock control IT, and then expensively brining it back in-house being a case in point. Why outsource one of the most vital components of your business? Madness! At least if you can afford the alternative. Our CRM is equally vital to the company now, but we don't have the cash or expertise to run it ourselves. So we'd either have to massively expand the company to be able to split the cost over many more sales people, or accept that we're a niche player - and accept the risk.
Re: Will it blend?
That's good work. How many sausages does that make?
Re: Will it blend?
If you removed all the intestines of all the Register readership, how far would they stretch? That's the figure we want to know. As if they've worked it out, we know to get round their offices sharpish, and burn them down.
The El Reg Lewis Page Dartboard [tm]. A perfect gift for your green friends, or anyone working for a large defence contractor...
I'm not the T-Shirt type
If El Reg are setting this up again in order to fulfill a frequent request for t-shirts, then good luck to them. That's not really my bag. But if people want it and ask for it, they'd be silly not to.
I buy useful gadgets like torches and portable screwdriver sets and the like - along with USB sticks. I tend to stuff my laptop bag full of useful crap like that, and am always able to fix friends' computers and my glasses as a consequence. I fixed the interviewer's glasses when I went for a job once, with the jewellers screwdriver I carry. Got the job too...
If El Reg bought some of those nice little gadgets, of which there are loads around (some cheap crap some great), I'm sure they could sell them. Buy in reasonable bulk and slap a logo or slogan on them, they shoudln't cost much more than we could buy them for. I'd be interested in a small selection of that sort of thing. Don't know about my fellow commentards though.
P.S. the tickboxes in your survey are way too small, and not near the text or at the end of the grey bars the question text is on. Could you not make them more obvious?
Surely what El Reg should be selling us are spaceplanes. Or even tickets to orbit.
Plus a small sideline in Playmobil re-enactments of famous historical scenes to hang on the bathroom wall.
Watching Skype resume (and knowing it is hit or miss as to whether or not you received any notifications, while Skype was in the background) is painful.
It's not Microsoft's fault if some crappy app, written by some fly-by-night company doesn't work as it's supposed to do. Especially when its requirements weren't known to the OS designers, so they could design round it.
Oh hang on...
The Facebook and Twitter integration in the People Hub is excellent (if you like that sort of thing). In fact the People Hub is just excellent, and was my favourite feature of Win Pho. How MS managed to not build Skype into the OS as well is a total mystery to me. I guess that they were trying to keep the operators sweet, but seeing as the operators seem to have been actively working against Windows Phone, I don't see why MS didn't tell them to 'go take a running jump', and build Skype into the phone totally seamlessly. And hopefully better than Apple's sometimes weird and confusing implemetation of Facetime - which is sometimes great, but sometimes behaves very strangely indeed.
Re: Windows everywhere, and not a fire escape in sight
Sure, Nokia had all those different OSes bubbling away in R&D. But none of them could be counted as a plan B, because none of them were anywere close to market. Partly because nobody in management seems to have been able to prioritise, and get any of them out of long-term R&D and into some kind of production pipeline.
So Elop had a real lack of choices. Even the update to Asha, that Nokia had been working on in various ways for years didn't arrive any quicker than they got Windows Phone to market.
I assume he could have got Android to market as quick (or quicker) than Windows Phone, but decided that wasn't the right option. So you can criticise him legitimately for that, but it's impossible to know which would have worked out best. For the shareholders I suspect MS did, as they got a $2 billion subsidy from MS to tide them over the lean period, and then the phone division sold to MS - neither of which would have happened had they gone Android.
The other thing that I might criticise Elop for was not having the guts to try and restructure Nokia's management and force through whichever one of their systems he thought best. Surely as a CEO you ought to have faith in your ability to make the company you're in charge of do as you tell them? But to be fair to him, he may have decided that there wasn't anything that could be ready for market in 12 - 18 months. Plus the same problem of lack of ecosystem due to low market share would have happened with their own system, as has with Win Pho. Only worse. And with no support from MS, or $2 billion smackeroos to help ease the pain.
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