* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4337 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Assange™ is 'upset' that he WON'T be prosecuted for rape, giggles lawyer

I ain't Spartacus
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He is indeed innocent. I have to say that he's innocent of these charges, because Swedish law says they have to be dropped, if you can successfully hide for 5 years. And I do believe in the rule of law. Although in the UK we don't run our system the same way, so the same trick wouldn't work.

But the Swedes have a much more liberal judicial and penal system than us, and there's much to admire about how the Nordics go about running their societies.

Of course that, and the fact that Assange said he was planning to seek permanent residency in Sweden, does rather undermine his claims about fearing that he's been set up by the evil Swedes to be fitted up for a crime he didn't commit without fair trial, then shipping off to the States. Given that he'd chosen to hang out in Sweden when he already claimed that the US were after him, and then chose to run to the UK - not a sensible place to be if you want to avoid Uncle Sam!

So I am entitled to be of the opinion that everything he says is total bollocks. And that he's got a proven track record in this case of getting his lawyers to put out misleading statements, and has many loyal supporters willing to do the same.

And no, he wasn't in hiding before all this blew up. He only went into hiding after the UK courts had finally blocked his final attempt to avoid being sent to Sweden to face the charges he'd already run away from. At which point he broke his bail, and fled to the Ecuadorian embassy.

So he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Which means I am very careful with my language. But, I am entitled to take a view on his actions too. And I find them rather objectionable. He came to my country, got a more than fair hearing from our courts, who ruled that there was at least enough evidence to answer to charges of rape, but obviously it wasn't their job to rule on how good that evidence was. Only that it was enough for charges under UK law. Then he abused our hospitality, and buggered off, costing us quite a bit of money to enforce the laws of the land.

The only conclusions that I find that fit the data are that he's insanely paranoid, or that he's guilty. Admittedly the paranoia bit is quite likely, from everything I've read about him. But his attitude to women and what he's said about the charges could equally be interpreted to say that he's guilty as hell, and getting away with it.

Although as he's voluntarily locked himself in a tiny embassy for years, "getting away with it" obviously isn't true.

From a distance it's hard to know what combination of narcissim, his political beliefs, paranoia, publicity seeking and a weird childhood drives his actions. But he doesn't strike me as a particularly admirable human being. His supporters are often as self-righteous and annoying as he is. And I'm not all that convinced by Wikileaks. The Afghan war logs don't seem to have shown anything untoward, certainly I've seen nothing to justify the risk to the life of innocent Afghan locals of publishing them. Although I believe Julian Assange did say something like "they're informers, so fuck 'em". Which was nice...

Anyway the 'Collateral Murder' video showed nothing of the sort, just the usual fuck up you get in warzones. Someone pointed a camera at a helicopter during a convoy escort operation, and got shot at. The initial version edited out the weapons that the party who were attacked were carrying too, not that those weapons were a reason to attack them, but the cockpit audio suggested that the crew thought they'd seen an RPG and so fired. They sounded more inexperienced, and a bit panicky, than malevolent.

The diplomatic cables were interesting. I'm not sure they told us anything we didn't already know. It's hard to know whether they did more good (political transparency is worth something after all) than the probable slight harm to diplomatic communications - but I'm not sure they were worth Chelsea Manning going to prison for.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Just to clear this up...

Bloody hell! Are people still peddling this shit? Have you guys never heard of the separation of powers? It's only basic political theory, not complicated, or new or anything...

We have separate judicial systems for a bloody good reason! So that politicians can't pick and choose who gets tried and who doesn't. It's not perfect, but it's set up that way for a reason.

And Assange is asking for a get out of jail free card, where he gets a guarantee of immunity from unspecified crimes he's not even been charged with. The legal advice given to a UK Minister would be that this would not be legal for them to do, as they have no legal power to give immunity. Also even if they gave such a guarantee, it would have no legal validity, and would be ignored by the courts.

There is normally a right for the Home Secretary to use discretion in the case of extradition. But the last Labour government, in some bout of collective insanity, decided that in both the case of the posspoor US extradition treaty and the European Arrest Warrant, the Home Secretary would give up that power to protect out citizens. Sadly the coalition failed to correct this monstrous fuck-up, and so far the Conservatives haven't talked about it either.

I don't know Swedish law. So don't know what their ministers can or can't do. Although I believe they have a standard block on extradition for "political crimes", so would be unlikely to extradite anyway. And of course with a European Arrest Warrant in place, Sweden would not be able to extradite without the permission of the UK courts as well.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

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Happy

Re: Ah, spirit copiers.

Ah, happy days. But you're all wrong. It wasn't the march of technology that killed them off.

Bandas died out because they won't breed in captivity...

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Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob

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Re: it may backfire?

I douobt Labour are dead. People were making just the same silly point about the Conservatives, round about 2003. They'd never win an election again etc...

In a two party system, there will be an opposition party eventually, because people will want to "vote the bastards out". And of course, to go for PR, and not have a 2 party system, means some party (or coalition of parties) winning an election and giving us PR.

So it's possible that Labour may irretrievably split, say Corbyn wins and a huge chunk of the Blairites and Brownites bugger off to form another party, or invade the Lib Dems. But then that new party will become the opposition. What's more likely though is that Labour will have some sort of internal strife for a few years, and then come to a conclusion of who they want to be, then campaign and win an election.

There's an argument that they could agree to try and win, get PR and then split up. After all Labour are made up of several distinct groups of people. But then so are the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, the SNP and UKIP.

It seems to me that the voters aren't willing to accept socialism. As in strong union power, heavy regulation or state control of business, very high taxes and lots of government spending. That seems to be what Corbyn stands for, and if he's Labour leader they therefore can't win. But maybe enough of his supporters won't believe that until they've actually lost an election on that platform.

I strongly suspect that Labour could win on Miliband's platform of being to the left of Blair, but still believing in a market economy. But with higher taxes and a bit more regulation. However Miliband himself was rated in all the polls when he was leader as being a rubbish leader (and being less popular than his party - so actively losing them votes).

Also they had no answer on the economy. Whatever the truth of it, the public came to believe that Labour over-spent but wouldn't admit it. And that cuts were necessary, which Labour in opposition opposed almost all of. In my opinion this was because Miliband had no coherent economic policy, and so couldn't convince the electorate to trust him, but even if he was the greatest leader ever, recovering from a heavy defeat like 2010 is very hard, especially after so long in office, and so it was going to be very hard to win in 2015 as the economy was growing.

But I'd say Miliband is the furthest left the Corbyn supporters can get (similar to John Smith say), and win an election. If they're happy to put up with that eventually, Labour will be back in power in a few years.

P.S. I don't think the Scottish electorate are that much to the left of the rest of us. The SNP seem to be more nationalist than they are socialist. But even if I'm wrong, Labour had a small majority in 2005, even without any Scottish seats - which won't be going to the Conservatives after all. And they won that election on a smaller percentage of the vote, and a much smaller lead, than Cameron got an absolute majority with in 2015. So a victory in England and Wales alone is perfectly possible. They just need the marginals in the Midlands and North, which are Tory/Labour ones.

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Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

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Re: Statute of limitations

Check your Vienna Conventions. They are quite clear that embassies are not sovereign territory.

However, the hosting state makes an agreement not to enter diplomatic premises without the prior consent of the ambassador, or their government.

There are then rules that say that no embassy is allowed to be used for activities incompatible with that diplomatic status, such as spying, criminiality and the like.

However, there's no enforcement mechanism for either. Or even a proper means of arbitration. Which is a problem with international law generally. So how do resolve disputes? Generally negotiation. So we let the Libyans off with murdering a British police officer - because to do otherwise was too damaging to vital tools of international diplomacy. We did however kick their entire embassy out of the country afterwards. Sending the police in might have led to some poor UK ambassador not being able to face down an attempt to force entry to a British embassy in the future. For the same reason, nothing was done about Assange, even though we don't recognise a right of sanctuary in embassies - something that is common in South America, but not recognised by the international conventions. In South America it means the government can get out alive during military coups, if they can reach an embassy.

However, it is true that Ferroro Rocher are compulsory at all ambassadorial receptions...

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Microsoft co-founder recovers ship's bell of 'The Mighty Hood'

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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible @Vorland

naive,

I'd dispute most of your post. Bismark and Tirpitz were modern ships, Hood was built around 1920. Technology had changed. The admiralty were well aware of the ship's weaknesses - the refit had been planned and put off for years. But budgets were tight, the Hood was doing much showing of the flag (actually an important job when you're trying to influence neutral powers), and other ships were a higher priority.

You're quite correct that Hood and Prince of Wales were pretty likely to lose. One was still working-up, and not fit for combat, the other had obsolete defences, though was still very dangerous as it had large guns. And it's not that the Hood hadn't had work done, it's just that it wasn't sufficient. Apparently it was too heavy when fully loaded, as they'd added some deck armour, but that didn't really account for when it had a full wartime stores load.

Using what you've got is very dangerous of course, as the admiralty should have learned from the battle cruisers. Jackie Fisher had designed them as a counter to counter German commerce raiders. So they'd be armoured to fight cruisers, and need the speed to keep up, while having the guns of battleships - to defeat them quickly, before they could get away. Being so bloody shiny, they got lumped in with the main battle fleet because they were there. And got punished when fighting real battleships. They were ideal scouts, for the same reason they were ideal for sea-lane patrol - speed, and the ability to run away from anything they couldn't kill.

The Germans built their ships on a different philosphy. They weren't trying to defend a huge empire, keep the sea-lanes open for trade, and blockade an opponent permanently. So they didn't have to carry as much food or fuel. Which meant more space for engines, armour or guns. They tended to favour speed and armour above guns. So Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were direct descendents of their WWI battlecruiser designs. 11" guns, rather than the British 14"-16", but almost battleship levels of armour - and high speed. German destroyers were huge, almost light cruisers sized but they suffered by not having enough of them. The Royal Navy were starting to build huge ones by the outbreak of WWII, and it was one of the first things Churchill put a stop to when he took over at the Admiralty. The Navy needed lots of destroyers, and quantity has a quality all of its own.

The Germans had the luxury of building a few very high quality ships, but the Royal Navy had to do duty in too many places at once to be able to afford to do that. So the RN had to cover a wide area, and have reserves to deal with any German threats, whereas the Kriegsmarine only had to get lucky, and break through, once to be dangerous. But by having fewer ships they'd often fight outnumbered, when it came to it - and they could never win permanently, only be an annoyance.

They did have superior rangefinding gear though. I think it took radar guidance for the RN to catch up.

Finally, I don't know what the Glorious has to do with the subject. That looks to have been a command mistake, in detaching it to return home with minimal escort. But carriers do not survive combat with battleships, if they're ever unfortunate enough to get caught.

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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible @Vorland

The Prince of Wales still had dockyard crew onboard fixing various problems. I seem to remember the captain gave up and buggered off at the point that 3 of his turrets had stopped working due to mechanical failures. The ship wasn't ready for combat.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: The Impact On The Public Was Terrible

So please stop repeating the result of the board of inquiry which was more worried about morale and public opinion at the time, not finding the real cause.

Voland's Right hand,

That looks like a rather niche reading of history. I've not read enough about the actual battle to know whether Hood failed to take avoiding action after being straddled.

However WWII battleships did regularly survive hits from other battleship guns. Which had larger than 11" guns too. I think the Bismark had 16" guns.

The problem for the Hood was that it exploded. Which meant that plunging fire was able to enter the magazines - and blow the ship up. Unless it was destroyed by too much live ammo being around, able to take a flash back to the magazines (and it was due for work on the loading system - I've not read about this in years). Thicker deck armour should cause the enemy's shells to explode at deck level, which is not much fun for the people up there, but stops them destroying the ship in one go. So you then lose whatever systems they hit near, and that's for damage control to try and fix so you can contine the battle. Or if you lose too many turrets and can't fight, you try to run away. And that's what faster speed or a destroyer screen is for.

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Texas senator Ted Cruz serves up sizzling 'machine gun bacon'

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Re: He's Canadian. Born in Calgary

What is it with you Americans? You're so indecisive.

Speaking as a Brit, the answer is no! You said you wanted Piers Morgan, now you've got him, and we have a no refunds policy.

I'm not a Canadian, but I can't imagine they're any more eager to repatriate Bieber either.

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Windows 10 climbs to 3.55 per cent market share, Win 8.1 dips

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Happy

You poor fool! All I can say is that I hope you posted this from your smartphone...

If not, nemesis will hit you with multiple issues from now on. It's a bit like saying out loud that you need the printer to hurry up, as this document is for a meeting in 5 minutes. The speech recognition in the printer OS will detect this, and it'll go into a cleaning cycle, dump all its ink if it knows you're out of cartridges, or suddenly become incompatible with your PC.

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Re: Darn - they saw me rolling back those laptops to XP last week

It will be interesting to see if W10 increases from now draw more from 8/8.1 or 7 though.

Having just upgraded my work laptop from 8.1 to 10 this morning, I'd say that we'll be upgrading the 2 Win 8 machines, but the Win 7 ones will probably stay where they are. I don't think it's a got anything extra that's shiny to make it worth the change in UI. Being a small business, we don't have IT, there's only me. Anything I can't do we pay outsiders for, like hosted Exchange and CRM.

The last sad user with Vista will be stuck with it until the laptop dies. I'm amazed it's lasted this long. Hmmm. I'd forgotten how old that was, I might suggest our first ever upgrade of a laptop not due to it falling apart - they never seem to live that long.

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Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

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Re: Er, have you ever heard of "risk assessment"?

One hair-raising quote from the report is a concern about the variable quality of the power cells. Eeek!

Were they fishing them off the floor of random factories round China, and just shoving them into the power bars or something?

It is hard to assess with the limited information available. We have to rely that El Reg aren't quoting the report horribly out of context, or haven't been had by some internal leaker who's only giving them half the information.

In general, my experience of El Reg is that they do tend to quote in context. They strike me as reasonably honest, even if they do have a weakness for an exciting headline - and they will twist people's words in order to get a good pun...

On the other side though, we have to rely on the management of EE not to be arses.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

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Happy

Re: Light FIXTURE will affect the sound!

Only if it's set up with a timer, so I can have this song played whenever the fridge is opened after bedtime.

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Re: Lightbulbs are a great "form factor" for smart-home devices

Little Mouse,

No. No. No. What a stupid idea! I don't think you've understood this internet of things malarkey at all!

You need to create lightbulb microwave which you can shine on anything you want to destroy, and then connect it to the internet. Then random teenagers all over the world will be able to burn your house down.

Right, now to pick some random letters out of a scrabble bag to come up with my company name. Not forgetting to remove most of the vowels first of course.

BuRnR

I think the icon to use is obvious...

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Blighty a 'smartphone society' amid rise of 4G middle class

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The difference I noticed when we moved to 4G wasn't so much the extra speed, as pages seem to take similar times to load. It was the massive improvement in upload speed, to send out your requests. It still doesn't feel as fast as on a wired connection though, even when it's notionally much faster.

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I ain't Spartacus
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My Mum has celebrated her 76th year by joining into the smartphone gang. But there are still some holdouts. I've still got a few friends who refuse to upgrade from ancient candybar phones - and I know a couple who don't even own mobiles.

I don't understand it. They're so useful. I've had a mobile since as soon as they were sanely affordable, in the early/mid-90s. I stayed out of smartphones too long, until the company forced my hand. But now I wouldn't be without access to my diary/address book/phone/sat-nav/public transport/weather app/shopping list - and I also use email and a bit of light browsing.

I still think it's horses for courses. I think the ultimate computing experience is sat at a desktop, where you can have the keyboard and screen set up ergonomically. And have access to a keyboard. As a touch-typist all other input methods are hugely frustrating due to their slowness and inaccuracy. I guess it's probaby different if you're not - as they're probably equally bad.

I hate laptops with a passion, due to the horrible closeness of keyboard to screen. Also I've got fat hands, the keyboards are often a few percent smaller than standard, and I keep knocking the touchpad and losing the cursor. Why can't they implement palm detection and/or have an off-switch? My old HP swivel tablet (TX2000) had a little off switch on the touchpad, along with other thoughtful features, although sadly also Vista and a deeply rubbish fingerprint scanner.

If I read El Reg, it's skiving at work on the desktop, or at home on the tablet - on the sofa. Tablets are great for t'intertubes. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to use a laptop on the sofa, when they have a tablet. Except for typing of course. Sadly I love pen input, but I'm in a minority.

Phones are too small for me. But that's mostly due to dodgy eyesight, so I have to have the text too big. I browse on there when I need to know something, when out and about. Otherwise it's the tablet.

As to "other", are people using smart TVs or smart watches?

Me it's probably half desktop / half tablet for personal stuff. The smartphone is only a tool.

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HAM IN SPAAAAAACE! ISS astronaut contacted by Gloucestershire bloke in garden shed

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Mushroom

Re: If it had been me...

That would be an embarrassing way to discover the secret orbital weapons capability that's been fitted to the ISS for a few years now...

Still, you've got to go eventually. So why not impress your friends with your originality.

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Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE, say boffins

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Happy

I have another solution

I just don't get hangovers.

I do sometimes drink non-alcoholic drinks during the evening, but only half the time, and that seems to make little difference. In order not to wake up thirsty, and with a horrible taste in my mouth, I drink as much as I can before going to bed. Which does substitute the waking up needing the loo problem, but I think that's preferable - and stops you over-sleeping.

To make myself totally tip-top, I then have some fruit juice, bacon sarnie (or bacon and eggs) and a shower. I've never got hangovers, so the only problem for me is when I drink so much, or get so little time to sleep, that I'm still steaming drunk when I get up. Which isn't that nice.

Sorry if that annoys the afflicted.

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It's Suntory time: Japanese whisky to be distilled in SPAAAAACE

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Re: Risky Experiment [Geddit?!]

joms,

Interesting. I'd not thought about it, but of course you must be right, smaller barrel, faster ageing. Proportionately more of the alcohol will evaporate (boo!) - and it'll take on more flavours from the wood.

The only thing is that for £40 I can have a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood - which is one of my favourites. Or the 15 year old when it's on special offer. So I'm less likely to want to try the Japanese ones. But I must give them a go, just out of interest. There are still far too many whiskies that I haven't tasted. Must try harder.

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Re: Fat chance

I predict that a slightly smaller than usual amount of space piss will be making its way into the space toilet, after a few months - and instead will be deposited in the nice wooden casks so thoughtfully provided.

They should be a little dehydrated afterwards, so it should be about the right colour. And then the research will just show that the conditions in space are not favourable for the maturation process.

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Re: Risky Experiment [Geddit?!]

You can get Suntory 10 year old in Sainsbury's. I've heard that it's very nice - but I seem to remember that it's £40 a bottle, and I can get a nice 15 year old for that, so haven't bothered to try it yet.

There's also an English Whisky Company, I saw a bottle of their 10 year old in Morrisons. Just imagine the horror if they were to win an award...

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Re/code apologizes for Holocaust 'joke' tweet

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Was it some kind of test?

I did a survey once, got picked off the street to a local building which they used to use for lots of market research things. I had happy memories of that building, my Mum doing a test on tinned spaghetti when I was 4 or 5. My favourite at the time. While she was answering the questions, I polished off all the samples in sight. Yummy. My vote was for all of them. This time I got a voucher for my troubles.

It was on behalf of ITV, and they gave me a bunch of cards with TV program ideas, and I had to rate them in order of likelihood I'd watch and enjoy.

Some of them were obviously real programs, so there was a description of the Bill and London's Burning (or programs very like them). And then in the comedy ideas I found "a sitcom about the holocaust, set in a concentration camp". I'd love to know if someone genuinely wanted to make this program, and it was being market tested, or if the researchers were actually testing my reactions.

Obviously I rated it as more fun than Emerdale Farm...

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

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This is where you loudly declare your scottish heritage, and come in wearing your kilt.

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Re: Set to a range

Things like chilled beams help as well, because you don't have to have cold air blowing on people - which is one of the things that makes them uncomfortable.

One of the problems with the building services industry, is the insane way that procurement happens. As a client you order a nice building - and you get it designed by a consulting engineer. But then you put the job out to tender to the lowest bidder, who is usually the contractor who will often work out how much it will cost to build at zero profit (or even a slight loss). They will then expect to make their profit on saving money on the specified equipment. Some in discounts on original quoted price, but if they've been aggressive in tendering for the job, then they'll substitue for the cheapest crap they can get away with.

The clients know this, and yet still pick the lowest bidder. Then wonder why all their plant keeps breaking down.

The trend is even worse now. Often, to save costs, the project will be design and build. So you pay peanuts to the consulting engineer to give you a 'reference spec', which they don't care about andjust throw together. This should provide the minimum that the contractor must produce, but the consulting engineers are often not paid to defend the spec during the building process. You're then entirely relying on the honesty and solvency of the contractor that you choose. While paying them the minimum amount you can get away with. One doesn't need to be an expert in psychology to work out how this often ends up...

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Yes. It infuriates me the amount of people who don't understand how a thermostat works. Set it to the temperature you want, not as high/low as it will go. It won't work any faster.

I work in an engineering company - and still can't get people to do this. Then they leave the heater on for an hour, and then open a window because the office is too hot! Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!!!!

If I murder them, but promise to compost the bodies, can I use the climate change act as my defence in court?

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VIAGRA found in Chinese 'Kung Fu rice wine'

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Devil

Re: Corrent Medical Name for Viagra

But they knuckled down to it, and were soon finished off...

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Coat

You can't. It's only for hardened drinkers...

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SPLAT! STAR THWACKED, GUTS flung into space at 15 per cent of LIGHTSPEED

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Devil

Re: Had an encounter like that at Sainsburys

Unexpected item in the bagging area!

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bacon and egg sushi

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Happy

Re: A true post-pub nosh..

*My mom taught me that there's no such thing as blue, fuzzy food.

Sad. If you've never had smurf en croute, you've never lived...

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

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Re: Small potatoes?

I wouldn't imagine they've have signed up if Amazon weren't promising them a decent budget. After all, Wilman is the original producer, so knows exactly what he can do for what amounts of money.

For Amazon it's a big ticket item that might win them lots of susbscribers and viewers. And even at a few million an episode is still pretty cheap in terms of the the marketing money they'd have to spend for the amount of global headlines it'll get them.

And if the worst comes to the worst, they can just do what the BBC made loadsa money doing and sell the rights to various TV stations around the world.

One thing you can safely say about Amazon is that they're willing to invest/risk large chunks of money on something that they don't expect to make them money for several years.

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Re: non-compete

I think non-competes are now a bit of a legal minefield.

Case law over recent years has made employment contracts an awful lot less enforceable, in terms of notice periods and non-competes. Although the higher the pay and position, the less likely you can get out of it.

But Clarkson and Wilman at least were owners of the production company, and sold it to the Beeb only a few years ago, so there may have been terms in that sale contract. Or it might be in their BBC series contract. And it may just be that they're not allowed to work on car shows on other channels, rather than all shows.

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Re: Good news for us all !

I don't recall ever finding anything I saw on Top Gear particularly offensive. Actually I do, watching him lear pathetically at some 19 year old actress who was driving the reasonably priced car was very uncomfortable. There was lots of stuff that wasn't funny - and some stupid stuff on their various road trips. But it always struck me that most of his critics were looking for something to be offended by, so they could have a moan about a show and/or presenter that they didn't like anyway.

I also thought that the show had run its course, it was starting to seriously repeat itself, and they were going further and further in creating 'funny' accidents that they could then pretend to react spontaneously to. So stopping was probably a good thing.

But obviously you don't have to like all the jokes to enjoy a particular show, or no-one would watch any comedy/entertainment at all. And it's not been a show that I've gone out of my way to watch for years now. But still has some good bits.

The thing that shocked me was that so many people were willing to sign a petition to save Clarkson when he'd punched one of the junior staff. That's just unacceptable - and sacking is the only reasonable response.

Obviously I had no objection when he punched Piers Morgan though...

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue dictionary definition: Countryside - Killing Piers Morgan.

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Windows 10 in head-on crash with Nvidia drivers as world watches launch

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Devil

Re: Update Clash

Everyone screws up updates. Let's hope MS have planned for dealing with this - although they already do tens of millions at once, so they must have. I still think it's better for ordinary users to risk that, than for them to risk virus infection. I've never had a Windows update screw up my PC in 17 years of running 98, Vista, 7 and 8 - nor any of the company PCs I support, or had to fix one for a friend. So automatic updating is a small risk I'm personally willing to take for the extra security.

I do agree it should be possible to disable. Perhaps only on powershell, so ordinary users can't do it by accident.

Perhaps they can scan user comment forums for people who are rude about them, trace back the IP address (or just cross reference with the typing logs they can download from everyone's PCs) - and make them the guinea pigs to get updates before everyone else does...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Mage Update Clash

boltar,

What do you mean? MS aren't writing those drivers, they're only pushing out Nvidia's own updates. If Nvidia have given stuff to Microsoft that is buggy or updating the wrong kit, then again - that's Nvidias stupid fault.

Also, the article states that Nvidia's own update software was downgrading the drivers in use to whatever they'd last downloaded, and creating the problem. They've had months to adjust that update software, knowing what Win 10 was going to do.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Update Clash

I remember this with Vista. Which apart from being slow, and a bit ugly, was mostly OK. It was much more secure and less crash happy than XP. But as I recall a of its early problems, and crashes, were down the new driver model - and the vendors not keeping up.

From memory MS had public alpha code around in at least Jan/Feb (I assume earlier for their hardware partners), and the public beta started in late March, with code complete in August for business launch September and the consumer launch being actually after Christmas. So MS gave plenty of notice. But I remember getting a new PC in May with a Creative sound card and the drivers weren't even ready until 3 weeks after I'd bought the PC - so my 5.1 card could only do stereo on the shipped drivers. So while MS changed a lot, they gave plenty of notice and plenty of warning, and you've got to say the hardware vendors deserve plenty of the blame.

Cut to this. MS have made no major changes in the underlying OS, it's still basically Windows 7. There's been a public beta kicking around for 5-6 months, and there was a fully public alpha too. They said updates would be automatic ages ago. And yet in all that time Nvidia didn't think to make a simple update to their driver software to make it compatible with the new Windows version?

And somehow this is Microsoft's fault?

There's a perfectly fine argument to say that techies should be able to override OS settings if they want to. But given that most users are totally clueless, Microsoft are right to make updates compulsory, and surely we should be blaming incompetent vendors for screw-ups like this!

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Hurrah! Uber does work (in the broadest sense of the word) after all

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Captain Underpants,

I do agree with you that Uber are breaking the law. If it waddles like a taxi service, and quacks like a taxi service, then it's clearly... A duck.

So if they've come in and ignored the regulators, they deserve everything they get.

It's one of those difficult areas. London black cabs are generally well regulated, but you can't get one after about 11 o'clock at night. So they tell you how wonderful they are, but won't give a service at a time when security checked drivers are vitally needed. One of the scariest drives I've ever done was in a minicab at 4am. I didn't know it was possible to do 100mph down the Westway until that point - and it's a good job I had plenty of alcohol to cushion my system...

I've been reading lots about European business, since the Eurocrisis. And there's plenty of examples of rent seeking, where the taxi drivers in Rome can sell their licences for several hundred thousand Euro when they retire, due to artificial scarcity. Hence you get silly prices, and I'm sure lots of them never actually drive their cabs, just rent their licence.

Or rules that Greek supermarkets can't sell bread, to artificially protect local bakers. A rule the Troika are making them change. But on the other hand, Greek pharmacies are similar, only small and local ones and limited numbers of licences. But on the other hand, they're local, give medical advice to those who can't afford to pay the extra bribes/blackmail fees that the doctors charge - and they apparently give credit and even free drugs to those they know who're struggling. That social good may well be worth the restrictive practises.

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Re: Actually works

Excuse my ignorance, but is taxi despatching what has the licence? Or is it the individual drivers?

Surely we don't care who the despatchers are. They can be rapists, murders or whatever, just so long as the drivers aren't and the cars are maintained - that doesn't actually matter to the passengers.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Spartacus

Captain Underpants,

Thanks for saving me some typing. I agree with Nick. Oh sorry, wrong meeting...

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Terminator

Re: @Dropbear

And, of course, it's always possible that both Uber and existing taxi regulators are being collosal bellends in their approach...

Yup. That's about the size of it.

You probably do need a bit of scarcity. You can't reasonably enforce standards if everyone can run a taxi for a £5 charge, or nobody will make enough money to pay for the nicer cabs, less criminal drivers and regularly servicing of the brakes that we all want to see.

I guess the economic phrase is "regulatory capture". Since the licensing authoritites spend all their time talking to the owners of the medallions, they start caring about keeping them happy, and sod the customers.

Government by robots anyone?

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Captain Underpants,

That's the whole point of the article really. The regulation generally doesn't work. Taxi licensing makes sense, in order to avoid robberies and rapes and promote use of safe and accessible vehicles.

But a small group of people have managed in many places to get hold of a bunch of licenses, and then pursuade the regulators not to issue any more. Suddenly their licenses become artificially scarce, and so they can charge stupid amounts of money. So in places like New York or Rome, that licence is worth insane amounts like a million - and you don't actually need to drive your cab - and then suddenly it's just an economically inefficient rip-off, and no one's even bothering to enforce the standards the licensing system was supposed to be there for in the first place.

But the entrenched group of drivers will all scream, go on strike, and tell the papers you're in favour of women getting raped. So as a politician, it's too much trouble to do anything about it. Then Uber come along with their astonishingly dishonest claims about not being a taxi firm. But everyone looks at the current system and goes, well Uber may be horrible, but this system is a pile of shit. Let's do something. So Uber may end up being a socially useful catalyst.

Of course, in France, doing something means to prosecute Uber and protect the special interests...

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Moto fires BROADSIDE into the flagship phone's waterline with X Play and Style

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I might have made a mistake. Bought a Lumia 735 last month. It's a nice phone, and I like Win Phone. But Andrew O's preview of Windows mobile 10 didn't make very happy reading. Mine has 1GB of RAM, so will upgrade, if I don't avoid it like the plague.

Was tempted by the Moto G, but it was the year old model, and you know with Android that you have to get them when they're as up-to-date as possible, as you'll never see an upgrade. You'll be lucky if you even get the odd patch...

But these do look tasty, and resistant is an excellent idea for a phone.

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Thought YOU'd had rude service in France? Ce n'était RIEN, M'sieu Pantalons Malodorants

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Happy

Re: Help / Support Desks ?

I wonder if we should start making requests to El Reg to see what notes they've got on us in their forum moderation software.

I used to be Eadon, and would every much like to see his my file.

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Voyager's Golden Record now free to download

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Happy

Re: Stylus not required

The problem is that encounters with aliens equipped with lasers never turn out well.

The literature is much less clear about meetings with aliens armed with good phonographic equipment though...

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Let kids delete their online rants, demand campaigners

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Happy

Unfortunately for you, the Wayback machine has already indexed your content. And just deleting it will do you no good. To quote:

I like big goats all smothered in whipped cream

I like it when my goats run headlong into my arms

In summary: I like big butts and I cannot lie.

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So what the BLINKING BONKERS has gone wrong in the eurozone?

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Oops! My apologies for incompetence. Twice I described the fiscal multiplier as a percentage, 0.9-1.5% for example. When that should be 0.9 - 1.5.

Expressed as a percentage that would be 90-150%.

Did a quick check, and there doesn't seem to be an authoritative estimate of the UK's foscal multiplier. The ONS working estimate in 2010 was 0.5. The IMF thought that might be too low later on though.

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Re: Rescue the banks or the bankers

DougS,

That's why we have Central Banks. Banks, by definition, are illiquid. Their economic role is to perform liquidity transformation after all. So Central Banks should always be willing to lend to them, at a profit, so long as the bank is solvent. And as their regulator, the central bank should be in the best position to determine that they actually are solvent.

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There must be some logic behind it other than "I hate tories, pass the credit card".

I'd say, the UK isn't Greece. We've cut spending, but not by such huge amounts as Spain, Ireland or Greece had to do. Or even Italy. But all of that gets lumped together as "austerity" - which gives it a bad name.

Think about one piece of economics. The fiscal multiplier. For every pound of government spending we cut (or £1 of tax we raise), how much does the economy shrink?

The IMF worked this out for Greece in 2013. As between 0.9% and 1.5%. This was when they pretty much admitted that the 2010 and 2012 bail-outs had been failures. Particularly if it's greater than 1. Let's split the difference and call it 1.2. This means that every time the Greek government cuts spending by €1 billion, the economy shrinks by €1.2 billion. And this is why the massive cuts in Greek spending, 25% of GDP over 4 years (the largest peacetime spending cuts in modern economic history), spectacularly failed! And the economy shrank by 26%. Making the debt even more unpayable.

Of course the private sector is also expanding/contracting, and we can't run an experiment where they don't. So knowing the multiplier is near impossible. But what is it in the UK? This would give Osborne a much better idea of what to do. Our economy has been growing, while government has been cutting, so it's likely that the multiplier is less than 1.

However, now reverse your thinking. Don't apply the multiplier to cuts, but to extra spending. Let's say it's 1.2% in Greece and 0.5% in the UK.

So if Greece spends an extra €1 billion, their economy should grow by at least €1.2 bn. That means that it would be best for Greece to spend extra, to grow the economy - and so the Eurozone creditors' best way of getting paid back the maximum amount of cash would be to support Greece to spend a bit more, and start growing its economy. That would then give a larger tax base to pay back more of the existing debt.

In the UK our multiplier is less so we might only gain £500m of economic activity for every £1bn spent. Which makes extra spending look less attractive.

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Amazon threatens UK with James Blunt, muscles into music streaming

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Re: Long way from usable

Is that a bit like where you sign up to Prime Video and it gives you this huge list of stuff to watch. It's only when you click on the picture that you notice that this isn't actually on the streaming service you signed up for, it's just an advert for something you can buy from Amazon. And there's no filter option for just showing you the stuff you've already paid for.

That was a free trial that ended in swearing. Took it up at Christmas, not only was it not compatible with my Gooogle Chromecast, but they'd even deliberately blocked the workaround, using the Chrome browser on the PC. And I could barely find any content. I lost a lot of customer loyalty to Amazon that day.

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Martin Summers,

I think if you pay upfront, then it's just slightly cheaper than going monthly.

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At last we know for sure. Blighty's 'best mobile network' is ...

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Re: Last on customer service?

Ah, billing performance. Well EE are tops here. Not that we've used 3. But Vodafone managed to overcharge us one month by £2,500 (on a £230 contract). Basically they forgot we had a data allowance, and so charged us pay-as-you-go rates.

Whereas O2 forgot to bill us for 4 months, despite the fact that I'd had to call them after setting up the service as they'd taken one direct debit, then stopped. Then they double billed us the next month, as they put our service back on the billing system, then re-created the account again from scratch...

O2's call centre lose on grounds of utter cluelessness though - and one department not being able to talk to another.

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