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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3294 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: opposable thumbs @Hungry Sean

Evil Auditor,

You get your silver badger automatically, once you hit 2,000 upvotes on Evil Auditor posts. Not anon, or previous username ones.

I agree on the downvotes, I try to reserve them for trolls, idiots who don't read the damned articles, and humourless grumpy-guts. Mostly this seems to be a majority upvote site. But some people do seem to use them as 'I disagree'. I've also had a recent bunch of downvotes for what I thought were uncontroversial short jokes. So I suspect someone is also using them for 'you aren't funny'.

You always used to get downvoted for saying anything positive about Windows Phone, but now there's a larger number of people on here who use it. And that hasn't happened to me of late. Saying anything even vaguely bad about Google or Android gets downvotes though. The Google fanboys are alive and well, it seems. Snowden and Assange both seem to bring out the voting frenzy on both sides. I find myself doing it too. I see a reasonable post that's been unfairly (in my view) downvoted, and feel the need to give it a sympathy upvote. Tend to do this any time I come across it, so I find myself voting a lot if I bother to read an Assange/Snowden thread. Once I'm hitting the buttons already, I think that also makes me more likely to hit downvote. Although that could just be because so much crap gets written on those threads.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Sheesh!

Someone else,

Perhaps this comment took you back over the edge? As you have now been re-embadgened.

But I think it's a perfectly logical decision. By being ill, and failing to post inane drivel on El Reg, you were letting them down. Abandoning them! Just because of a minor thing like bits of you being chopped up. What a wuss! Man up! You should have been posting interesting IT-related musings from the operating table, and witty banter from the recovery room...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: AC's and downvote divas

I've barely noticed any sock-puppetry on this site. In the realms of one poster says something, and then another replies immediately saying how wonderful, correct and perceptive they are. Also, despite many accusations, I don't notice many shills around here either. You see the accusation a lot, but it's rare that it looks convincing. More that it's a standard insult for people that don't agree. I've seen a few, very obvious ones, although it's obviously hard to tell if the marketing bods have been subtle (for once) and built up an account's reputation with regular non-shill posts.

I don't know if it's just me, but the numbers of votes seem to have gone down in the last month or two. Along with the number of forum posts on the non-article forums.

I remember commenting, on an article on Julian Assange I think, where I got a couple of up and down votes pretty quickly. I came back to the thread and read down about 10 comments, so we're only talking a minute, and clicked on 'My posts' again as the quicker way to get back to mine, and see if there was a reply. Suddenly, in under 2 minutes I'd gone from 2 up - 2 down to about 2 up - 12 down. I suppose it's possible, I'm not Julian's number one fan, and he does provoke some strong opinions. But I've never seen voting that fast before, up or down. It's also possible the site was just updating the votes slowly, and did a whole batch at once.

I've had most of a page of my comments, mostly in different articles, downvoted at once before. And a few other users have had that happen. Which is quite amusing. But they're obviously not using multiple accounts, or surely they'd have multi-downvoted the post that actually annoyed them, rather than resorting to the tedium of clicking through your post history.

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Angela Merkel's phone was being listened in on by FIVE foreign powers

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: The Norks as well?

Never underestimate a starving hacker.

Shakes,

Rubbish! It's a known fact that computers won't operate, unless in the presence of both pizza and coffee.

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Could be a lot worse

even mashed potatoes are a "foreign substitute", as potatoes more or less originate in Peru

Mexflyboy,

Are you calling Paddington Bear a foreigner? Shame on you!

Anyway, tatties can't be foreign, because my Mum cooked them for me when I were a lad. And she didn't hold with all that foreign muck. Apart from doing really weak curries with fruit in them of course...

I think that once you've lived in Britain for 500 years, you get to call yourself a local. Even the BNP wouldn't send potatoes 'back to where they belong' now. Whereas I must have been in my 20s before I'd even heard of polenta (I wasn't big on Italian food), so that gets counted as foreign. Just like garlic, olive oil, pepper and in fact all spices except mild curry powder - as my Mum wouldn't have anything to do with them either. Nowadays I love Italian grub, but I still don't get polenta.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: permission

Would you mind putting the word "poem" in the inverted commas that such an effort so clearly deserved?

It's too late for a takedown request now anyway, what is once seen cannot be un-seen. The global artistic disappointment index has been increased by yet another notch. And just as X Factor is on as well...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Could be a lot worse

countd,

I have to disagree. Polenta is nasty, bland and horrible. Mashed potato (preferably with cream and butter) is the food of the gods, and we'll have none of your foreign substitues thankyouverymuch!

...Thinks... Sausage and cider casserole with mash tonight perhaps?

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Yahoo! staff! slapped! for! 'snubbing! own! webmail! and! preferring! Outlook!'

I ain't Spartacus
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I wonder what senior management use?

I've never liked Outlook, and the only component of Office that I ever really got on with was Excel.

However I haven't seen any webmail that even gets close to the usefulness of an email client with offline storage. Add in one that also does calendar, reminders and addresses (even if the address book rreeeeaaaallly sucks), and Outlook wins hands down.

I can speak from recent experience here, as my work PC just died, and while setting up the replacement I had to endure several days of using webmail. Admittedly Outlook Web Access 2003 does make the Gmail UI designers look like geniuses - so at least it achieves one amazing thing...

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Our Sun menaces comet 'of the century' ISON with FIERY DESTRUCTION

I ain't Spartacus
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I have scientific proof

All from my "research", i.e. reading The Register.

It's going to be the most spectacular comet ever. Superb, bright, visible in daylight, and full of fascinating scientific information to discover.

But that doesn't matter. Because a volcano in Indonesia has spotted this event too. And is right now awaking from hundreds of years of slumber in order to fill the atmosphere with ash, and block out the pretty lights.

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To the MONEY RING: Musk's SpaceX to attempt boldest mission yet

I ain't Spartacus
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I'd imagine it's geostationary transfer orbit. Then the satellite will have a booster to get it the rest of the way to where it's going.

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Helping with the non-threaded reply setup...

Drew,

To avoid confusion, perhaps you should dump post titles altogether? Many posts don't use them, and people can just as easily use the first line of the post if they want.

Thus saving a bold bit at the top for telling us who the post is a reply to . You'd probably want this a bit less bold, but it adds more info without increasing complication. This would mean you'd have to create a new field for when you start a topic though, as currently the title of the first post is also the topic title.

Personally I still think you should go for full threading. But as I assume that means totally redoing your forum software, this would be a lot less hassle.

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Boffins baffled after Sun fails to fry satellites

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: The sun growing up ?

That's just great! Now it's old enough to drink.

After several million pints of cheap cider, I'm awaiting the mass ejection with fear and trepidation. I hope the guys in the ISS can swim...

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Vintage WINE laid down in SIXTEEN HUNDRED BC was 'psychotropic'

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Archaeologists.

Because it was found in a wine cellar under a palace perhaps?

Also, poor people ate oysters because they were plentiful and cheap. Scarcity took them upmarket. Wine, especially if aged, would have always cost - due to labour and storage. This backed up by the wine being to a set recipe, rather than the more individual stuff people would make for themselves.

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Meet Stuxnet's stealthier older sister: Super-bug turned Iran's nuke plants into pressure cookers

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Apart from being what most people would call an "Act of war"...

Richard 22,

Iran doesn't have a working nuclear reactor. Yet. It's been using centrifuges to enrich uranium to the purities required for theirs - which I believe they still haven't fueled, but is close to complete/completed.

The problem is that once they've got that 20% uranium, it's a pretty easy step to then go up to weapons grade, by re-centrifuging (is that a real word?). Also, they were making more than it was thought required for the shiny new reactor, and had built a secret site with more modern centrifuges, that they failed to declare to the IAEA (as they are required to by the NNPT - to which they are a signatory). That's one of the reasons why the IAEA declared that they'd been running a secret program, in breach of their treaty obligations, and is why they're under economic sanctions.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Apart from being what most people would call an "Act of war"...

I do hope Israel and the US behave as well when, say some of the hardware at Dimona, or the flight software of the F35 gets a little surreptitious "upgrade."

John Smith 19,

There is a difference here. At least in terms of the F35 software example. The authors of Stuxnet went to considerable trouble to not cause accidents, which they could have and might well have been dangerous. Whereas if you play with flight control software, real aeroplanes are going to fall out of the sky, and land on peoples' heads. Not to mention what it does to the pilots. That is a different quality of interference.

At the same time not only were the US pursuing (successfully) UN sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program, but they were also offering (along with others) money and sweetners in order to allow Iran to operate a legitimate civillian nuclear infrastructure without proliferation risk.

So it's not like they were acting totally carelessly, thoughtlessly or immorally. It's a reasonable well calibrated, multi-layered diplomatic initiative that may even bear fruit in the talks that are currently going on. And if so, bear fruit without anyone getting killed*. The alternatives probably being worse. Most likely an Israeli air attack on Iran, or a US one - given that most opinion seems to be Israel could only half do the job on its own, and as the US would take so much heat if it happened, they may as well step in and do the job properly. Or Iran getting the bomb - then Saudi also doing so, or some combination of all of them.

Was the whole thing moral? In my opinion,yes. Foreign policy often isn't very nice. For good reasons. You're often steering between various unpleasant alternatives, and trying to push for the least horrible ones. Bombing Iran, in order to stop them aquiring nukes, can plausibly be described as worse than dealing with the consequences of Iran getting them. Particularly as it would probably take a lot of repeat bombing to keep them from just starting all over again. As Iran provides massive numbers of rockets for Hamas and Hizbollah to lob at Israeli civilians and is currently equipping and training Assad's troops in their continuing campaign to massacre their way to a regime survival, they're hardly in a position to complain about a bit of malware.

*I'm assuming here that the Iranian nuclear scientists who've been assinated is down to Israel and not the US. Although it's perfectly possible that they were involved in that too, but it does look more Mossad's style.

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UK defamation law reforms take effect from start of 2014

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: What could possibly go wrong?

I don't believe there's anything in the regulations making this process secret. So El Reg (for example) might choose to not take down the comments, after all they're a publisher so must have access to legal advice on hand, or they might simply choose to publish the takedown requests as news items. That should deal quite nicely with frivolous ones, if they happen.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: What the law says makes no difference

Pete 2,

That's not true. The whole point of this excercise is that now a comment can be stood up, so long as the commentard is willing to stand up and be counted. At which point the cost of defending their comment is moved to them.

Otherwise the website has to delete it or face the consequences, and quite right too. They can't be held responisble if they're willing to delete, which is a fair balance. It means you can safely allow comments, that there's even a safe method to leave the nasty ones up (which in reality will almost never happen) as if the commenter was up for a public fight, they'd have done it in a less roundabout manner.

So what's actually happened is that we've lowered the costs of moderation (risks of moderation failure) for websites, and protected people somewhat from anonymous alegations. After all, El Reg mostly have little more knowledge about their commentards than the victim of any nasty comment - so have no way of proving it's true.

On the other hand, if I've found the evidence of collusion between the Illuminati and say The International Cute Teddybear And Loveliness Corporation plc, and weirdly chosen to publish that in a comment on El Reg - then I can pass my details via El Reg to TICTALC plc and have my day in court.

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UK public auditor, scourge of tax-dodging big biz, hosts its site on ... Amazon

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Lesson in taxation part 1

Bluenose,

I've not got time to read your link and check it out today, but thanks for the reply. I'll have a read of it later.

Obviously my information could therefore be wrong, I'm no expert on Amazon's tax affairs. But Amazon report very low profits to its shareholders. Every year. Now unless it's defrauding them, then those are the overall profits for the group - and they shouldn't be hiding secret profits.

Tax consolidation isn't allowed under UK corporation tax, as you say, so each company in the group has to pay over its moolah separately. However, you can get group relief [no sniggering at the back there!]. So one part of a group making losses, can offset those against the profits of another part. I'm no tax expert, so don't ask me how that applies to subsidiaries of Amazon that don't have a presence in the UK - there are circumstances in which it's allowed, and those when it isn't.

So in principal I still hold to my argument (pending reading your article). Amazon aren't making huge profits, less than a couple of hundred million a year globally - because they're re-investing the profits back into the business. They aren't sitting on the huge, unproductive, cash piles that others are. Google, MS and Apple between them have something like $150 billion stashed in Ireland that they won't spend because then they'd get taxed on it. So even if Amazon are avoiding their fair share of UK corporation tax, it's only likely to be a couple of million they owe us, not the couple of billion that MS, Google and Apple are getting away with.

Finally, companies are taking the piss, in an increasingly aggressive manner, but in a (probably) legal way. So it's down to governments to get together and sort this out - which it looks like they're doing. Although it does look to me like some of them may have cheated so much that it's become fraud, by booking revenues to Ireland and the Netherlands where they don't have any operation at all. It would be nice to see a few of them get caught doing this, and lose a few cases on transfer price cheating as well.

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I ain't Spartacus
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It's a bit unfair to lump Amazon in with all the corporate tax evaders. Since they barely make a profit. They seem to invest all their profits back into expanding the company, and you only pay corporation tax on what's left. Which is barely anything for the shareholders, in their case.

So whereas MS, Google, Apple etc., all have their HQ in Ireland, make huge profits and then have them sitting in a big hoard o'cash in Dublin because they can't get it out without the US taxman getting his sticky mitts on it - Amazon take their cash pile down to Servers R Us, and invest it into all things cloudy. Once Bezos decides to stop growing the company, and raking in the profits, then you can start thinking about calling them tax evaders. Assuming that they don't decide to pay big hunks of corporation tax at that point. Until then, you can't.

I suspect you probably already know this, which is why you gave their corporation tax against UK turnover, which is totally irrelevant, and ignored profits. A bit of a sneaky journalistic trick, if I may say so, abusing statistics and comparing apples with oranges. If you want to calculate total global Amazon profits, then compare UK turnover to global, and make a rough calculation for any profit-sucking investment that might apply only in the UK, then you can make an assessment of whether their tiny UK corp tax payment is unfairly low. Which it still may be, as they do make some profits.

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Norks EXECUTE 80 for watching DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

I ain't Spartacus
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Coat

Re: "Oh Sting, where is thy death?"

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord...

Dum-dum! Dum-dum! Dum-dum! Dum-dum! Dum-dum!

Mr Kim uses hollow point...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Hmmm

with a sports stadium in Wonsan hosting a crowd of 10,000 as a firing squad dispatched eight of the victims

This gives me an idea for U2's next concert... Is that wrong?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Mushroom

Re: I wouldn't put it past North Korea

NO!! we should happily sneak X-Factor et al vids in at every opportunity

Oi cornz 1,

Stop it! It's people like you that are the reason North Korea developed nuclear weapons! Thinking about it, I've now changed my mind, and think they were totally justified in doing so. Now how long do we have to wait before their missile technology is sufficiently advanced to reach the global X Factor recording sites?

I thought that was what my government had build Trident for. But as they don't seem to want to protect me, it looks like I'm left relying on Kim the chubby nutter.

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Another day, another Bitcoin burglary as Bitcash.cz goes titsup

I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: OH noes, the hackers again

Tom 38,

That was my first thought as well. You didn't also spend too much time playing EVE Online did you?

No-one who's played that is ever going to get involved in Bitcoin.

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Google goes looking for more GLASSHOLES

I ain't Spartacus
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Boffin

I'm interested in what Glass can do. Despite the cynicism displayed on here. Perhaps it ought to be forced to make a noise while photographing/recording, in the way that I believe Japanese mobile phones have to.

If I could read the screen of course... Which Google say is the equivalent of a 25" HD telly at 8 feet. Sadly I can't read text on that size screen from that distance - so I guess it won't help me. Because it would be great to be able to go somewhere with a GPS that outputs turn-by-turn directions to a pair of glasses. Also when in the train station it would be nice to point a camera at the information displays so helpfully placed 20' in the air, so they're impossible to read. At the moment I carry a monocular for this purpose, but at airports/stations it can be a bit of a juggling job with bag, case, coat, passport, tickets, coffee, sausage roll, monocular... However I suspect I'll be swapping peering at a 100" screen from 20 feet away to peering at a 1/2" screen from 2 inches away, that's equivalent to a 25" screen 8 feet away - and they'll all end up being equally useless.

Oh well, I guess it's not aimed at me anyway. A quick look at Google's promo for Glass suggest that it's aimed at ice-skating, sky-diving hipsters who're obsessed with social networking and videoing everything they do, while looking at weather forecasts the rest of the time.

Oddly when I'm outside, I consider it too late to look at the weather forecast. Looking at the sky will do at that point, it was before I came out into the rain that I needed to have remembered my umbrella. Which is another thing taking up a hand that could usefully be holding a monocular... This tech will probably make it's way to low-vision aids by about the time I'm ready for the nursing home. At least I might get some nice nursey-porn out of it to help pay the bills.

There's no speccy icon (either with rainbow or glasses...), so I'll have to settle for the lab goggles one. I guess I'll stick to my bag with magnifying glass, reading glasses, TV watching glasses, polarised and photo-chromic sunglasses, monocular and jewellers screwdrivers to fix the one of them that will inevitably break.

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Brit boffin brews INSTANT HANGOVER RELIEF

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Hangover cure

(avoid allowing someone without a measure to make cocktails, that is a recipe for disaster as I found out one evening)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NONONONONONO!!!!!!!!!

The stronger the cocktail, the better the cocktail. Assuming it's still in proportion and tasting yummy. The trick is to train yourself to taste the strength, then ration appropriately.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Well, sales of kebabs should only be effected if people are forced to take the antidote before leaving the pub. That would be disastrous for the trade, as nobody eats them sober.

However bacon sandwiches will be totally unaffected, BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY TOTALLY DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! Even vegetarians know this, and it's why they fear their weakness.

Perhaps Professor Nutt ought to be concentrating on a chemical which gives all the pleasure of bacon-y yumminess - without the unfortunate side-effects of addiction and heart trouble. If his chemical could also replicate the nice cuppa that goes with the sandwich, then all the better.

Then I'd wake up every morning, reach for my bedside table glass of water and bacon-sarnie-and-cuppa pill, and be set up for the day.

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Google makes Gmail EVEN NOISIER, or should that be nosier?

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: While marketing is important to Google,

Well I don't think they should totally get rid of the marketing people. They actually seem to have an idea of how to create a noticeable button. Whereas the new GMail UI designers seem to have been brought up in the Egyptian hieroglyphics school - where if you translate this then the Gods will bring a curse down upon you...

So what we need to do is send the techies into the marketing department. Where their natural grumpiness and cynicism will destroy marketing from within. And get the marketroids sent to developing, where they'll be unable to make any further changes to the product, but we might get some shinier buttons. Win - win methinks...

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Norks unlikely to beat the USA in the death-ray race

I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: That diagram

My cars often had rocket motors. So I guess I was doing both. I'm afraid they often had guns as well. Shall we say I came from the Wacky Races school of car design. Dick Dastardly branch...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Well, let's see...

Iraq did have chemical weapons. Those nice people at the UN found loads of them in the 90s, and when they left the country because Saddam was making it so hard to operate, they still had a list of stuff where they'd found the paper trail, but not destroyed the naughty stuff yet.

in between then and the invasion, they were either destroyed or possibly sent off somewhere. Almost all that the Dossier with the 45 minute claim said was based on those UN reports. Admittedly it didn't have enough of the caveats, like how badly Iraq had done at building decent chemical warheads - although I seem to remember it did say how bad they'd been at weaponising their biological weapons. The 45 minute claim was about hitting Cyprus (or Israel, anywhere else in the Middle East), and never mentioned London. Admittedly they should have put in the caveats about that intel, that it was estimated with reasonable probability - or whatever the exact wording was.

Check the IAEA and UN reports. Iran has broken a bunch of the rules of the NPT - that it signed up to. Israel hasn't signed, and North Korea un-signed... Iran has admitted (after they were found out) to building a secret underground base to centrifuge the 'fuel' for their nuclear reactor to a higher purity than is required for nuclear fuel. And has the ability to do so on an industrial scale. Whether they actually want to build a nuke, or whether they want to have the assurance of being close, is a matter for debate. But the fact that their nuclear program is aimed as much at weapons as at power, really isn't.

Take the old tinfoil hat off there, it'll keep your brain cooler.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sacre, Fear, Money Dare!

Are you disputing that Iran have some kind of nuclear weapons program? Because nobody else seriously is.

Admittedly the CIA have wavered from 'we expect them to have a nuke any day now' to 'they're at least a couple of years away', several times over the last decade. But that's a reflection of the fact that intel is hard - as well as political interference as to what report they release.

Also remember the same things were said about the North Korean nuke. And it turns out that one of those reports was correct, and that they were months from developing a nuke. Well there's still some doubt, because, as I understand it, both their tests were small enough to possibly be faked - but probably weren't. I haven't seen a final analysis of the last one.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Coat

Re: Screw EMP...

I think they're about hafway there...

[dons coat and runs]

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: It really breaks down into 2 problems

Aha! That explains Tesla's battery problems...

I don't see the point in North Korea bothering. They may as well just lob a nuke and be done with it. Although they'll probably struggle to do that - I doubt their are very portable.

They're not going to win any conventional war - they're too out of date. So once war starts the regime is probably doomed.

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BT Sport scores own goal with £897m Champions League footie rights deal

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Re: I don't subscribe to BT Vision,

I've got bad news for you. ITV now have 90 minutes more to fill every Wednesday.

I predict either: Midweek X Factor, or movie length Coronation Street.

It's unlikely to be an improvement on the footie. I just hope that BT do their attacking of Sky by messing up football. And leave the cricket alone! Although if they force Sky Sports to be cheaper (fat chance!) then I'd be happy. There was some idiot on the Today Program this morning, saying this BT thing would be good for consumers. Tee hee! As if it doesn't just mean that footie fans will end up having to pay 2 subscriptions, rather than just one.

Roll on sensible sports governing bodies. The NFL will let you buy TV rights for a whole season online for £160. That's all games, and access to all sorts of other stuff, and an archive of all the games since they started doing internet broadcasting (about 6 years). Or for half that you can just have access to all the games for the team you support.

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'Burning platform' Elop: I'd SLASH and BURN stuff at Microsoft, TOO

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Business leadership for the 21st Century:

To be fair, it's sometimes good management to get out of markets that you don't think are important to the company. Or areas you have no management experience of.

Especially if there's someone out there who really wants to be in that market, because they think it would be a good fit with their business, in which case you may get a better price for selling that division than you could make in profit from running it.

On t'other hand, MS are just buying a consumer devices company, with manufacturing and distribution, and all that jazz. So it would seem a shame to dump XBox, when you've just bought in some of the expertise to manage it - and when so many other companies are desperate to get space on that TV. Although I think the future of living room computing is here, and it ain't the telly, it's the phone and tablet. Smart TVs are so horrible to use, that people would prefer to sit on the sofa using a laptop...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I can't see Elop being the right man for the job

At Nokia Elop wimped out. They had all these competing products and projects, and rather than sort out the mess and go with something they had, he dumped the lot and went Windows. A perfectly rational decision, in my opinion, despite the conspiracy theories. However, could a better CEO have been able to bang some management heads together, sort out the tangle, and make use of all that lovely R&D Nokia had so far wasted?

The reason I say this, is that Microsoft seems to be in the same mess. There are all these different management fiefdoms, and upper management don't ever seem to settle the bun-fights between them. Rather they seem to sit back, and see who wins. Which is usually nobody. The only recent exception seems to be Sinofsky, who half-managed to get Metro through the bureaucracy, on many different devices, although it wasn't as merged as he said/planned.

The difference is that MS still don't have the same level of competition on their main money-spinners, Windows and Office. Although it's getting there. Whereas Nokia were already deep in the doodoo when they called Elop in.

MS need a visionary as well as a manager though. They need someone to cut through the middle-management mess, but they also need to decide what they are. Are they a boring business services company, with server tools, Office and Windows for corporate desktops, or are they a consumer company too?

There's nothing wrong with cutting all the consumer stuff, accepting that 50% annual growth is no longer possible - and just sticking to the corporate market. They could just sit in that market, with 90% of deskops hoovering up the cash, and keeping the customers happy. Then, by all means, dump XBox, Bing and the like. On the other hand, there's been a lot of corporate cash spent on getting control of the TV, and computing into the living room. MS have done pretty damned well here, with the XBox, and if they lose the consumer PC market, but win the smart TV market, they could still be happy bunnies. Although the smart TV market is probably DOA, given how much nicer it is to control a tablet than a telly. But the XBox is a direct route to consumer computing nirvana, if you've got a credit card and you're hooked up to teh telly, then you're set to sell movies, and who knows what else. Seems a shame to throw it away...

In conclusion, they should give the job to me.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Trollface

Re: Effect on WP

MacroRodent,

Well if I was feeling all troll-like, I could counter-troll your troll by pointing out that MS could just release an update to Windows Phone, which would re-use the button for something else. Or just point it at Google, or make it user-changeable.

Google may have a broken update model on Android, but MS don't on Windows Phone.

They learnt from the security fun-and-games that really kicked off with XP, and the internet getting all popular. Surprisingly Google don't seem to have. With half the Android phones in use still being on 2.x, and phone manufacturers not even bothering to push out patches, there could be some big security screw-ups to come. Given how badly Microsoft's reputation was damaged by the saga of security - I'm amazed that Google have allowed this situation to continue. If it wasn't for all the pain it'll cause users, I'd want something to go spectacularly wrong, as a warning to numbskulls.

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Re: Bing is the reason for buying the entry level phone business

There's a downside to selling Office on iOS and Android. MS would have to sell through the app stores. That's 30% of the revenue going to Google and Apple. If they really went big on it, and sold Office suites for £50 a pop (aiming at the business market) - that could mean handing loadsamoney to their rivals.

Your point about dumping Bing and Google-opoply could be interesting. There are big rewards for controlling search. Not only advertising cash, but user-tracking and the fact that you have a lot of control of how people access information - and what information they see. So it's a big thing to give up, there's a good reason that they've splurged so much cash on Bing. Google could become unpopular quite quickly, and then Bing would be well placed to pick up the goodies. But there's a lot of 'if' in that plan...

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World's first 3D-printed metal gun 'more accurate' than factory-built cousin

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Re: Interesting.

Agreed. I can't see them replacing mass production for a long time to come. But they're already a great tool for prototyping and low volume / low complexity jobs - and I can only see that role growing as prices drop.

It's interesting to see your take on it. The manufacturers I represent are a mix, some are making quite complex things, entirely of their own design. Whereas others are assembling standard bits of kit in clever ways to do specialised tasks. Nothing of high enough value to be worth keeping a plane for emergency deliveries.

So one of our principals used a 3D printer for a prototype about 4 years ago. It was an actual working model. Admittedly it broke after 2 days of testing - but that was enough to prove the design. But they make a small range of standardised stuff, so until printing can beat moulding, they'll only use it to prototype. I'd be surprised if it can.

One of the others have a larger product range, and often do custom jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if they got a 3D printer in tomorrow.

Someone also needs to do a 3D printer that works in chocolate. I've been trying to persuade our principal to model their signature product in choccie for ages, to give out as novelty Christmas promotional goodies. It's a bit of a running gag. If only you could clean out your 3D plastics printer, and whack in a cartridge of chocolatey goodness...

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Re: Interesting.

I was at a meeting last week with one of the engineering companies we work for. They're a small firm, with only a few million turnover, in a specialist area, and the product list is only 17 pages long (which includes about 5-10 options per item. So nothing huge. Yet they've just implemented a computerised stock control / quote system. This needed a code for every part and sub-assembly. They have 11,000 product codes!

They put out work for things like enclosures, castings and obviously they buy in fasteners and washers. But there are quite a few small fittings, that they might only use on one or two products. Which sell in the hundreds a year.

So I can see a niche for 3D printing. Instead of holding stock of huge numbers of rarely used, simple, parts - I can easily see it becoming economic to have a small printer in the corner of the factory. It'll be a while before you want to use it for anything complicated, but if you need a few simple fittings it could easily be cheaper than having to maintain stock, and keep up with 10 or 20 extra suppliers.

You get those funny economies, where you could end up making your own part for 10p, that you could buy in bulk for 1p each, and still be ahead on the deal because you don't have to order, stock and store all that extra stuff.

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Re: I'm all for advances in technology

Anonymous,

Guns cost bugger all, in the grand scheme of things. Certainly if you're a loony dictator, with murder in mind. And you can always pay your own population to make them the old fashioned way. So I don't think this tech is going to make a great deal of difference.

Remember, 'guns don't kill people - rappers do.'

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Re: Frickin Laser

raving angry loony,

I've got the SyFy Channel on line 1 for you. Apparently they're very interested in your script idea about a group of scientists who attempt to 3D print sharks. Don't worry if you've no experience of writing and no ear for dialogue. That's not considered important...

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Falkland Islands almost BLITZED from space by plunging European ion-rocket craft

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Re: Two Questions

It's entirely WEEE complaint, because as the spaceship plungess inexorably towards its fiery doom, the playmonaut flying it shouts, "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!"

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Sail HO! Look out Bay Area - it's the GOOGLE GALLEON

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Re: By and Large

Will Wykeham,

I thought the correct nautical term was Bring & Buy. And one flew a blue peter in order to signal ones willingness to engage in tat-based commerce.

This was often signalled by the well know phrase, "by the multi-coloured Swapshop of Noel Edmonds, that be a hideous jumper!"

[It's Friday, it's late. I may be becoming hysterical...]

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Re: Another "Eye of Sauron" transport mechanism?

Funny you should mention him. As BAL is also the first 3 letters of Balrog - which is what first sprung to my mind - rather than Baal.

On the other hand, it's also the first 3 letters of Balloon. Which is a far friendlier word. It's definitely better to think balloon than balrog. Life is less stressful that way. Right up to the point when a huge bloke with burning hair whips you, then sticks his sword through you.

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We've invented the FONBLET, says Samsung

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Re: I'm skeptical about tablets bigger than 10"

I had a Tablet PC, back before the iPad came out. It was about a 13" widescreen - so a decent sized, but still portable, laptop. And it was wonderful, but very heavy. OK if you could support your elbow on a table, and tuck it in the crook of your arm, but otherwise tough for long periods. And you needed quite strong arms and hands for prolonged use.

The screen size was nicer - although Apple's 4:3 is better than widescreen (in my opinion). The weight not so much though. Having just played with the new iPad air, that hundred and something grammes they've just shaved off is a massive difference compared to my iPad 3. It really is huge, if your reading on the sofa for a couple of hours. Also they've made the bezel smaller. Having not been remotely tempted to upgrade, I now really want one. But if Apple or Samsung did a 12" iPad of about the same weight as my current one, I'd also be tempted. Chuck in a stylus too, and I'd dance a happy jig while handing over my credit card...

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OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

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They predict that you're going to eat a yummy Jaffa Cake. What more could you need to know about your life?

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Does 'Star Wars' casting call hint at DEATH of LUKE SKYWALKER?

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What do you mean goes to hell? It already went to hell with the Phantom Morass. There were a couple of big dumb fun set-piece fights in the second one, which raised it above the dire, but the third one was absolutely dreadful. I guess that's what comes of casting an actor who can't. And giving everyone rubbish dialogue.

I doubt Abrams can make it any worse. Although you never know...

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Surely the world is now ready for: Star Wars! The musical!

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

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Re: In an ideal world.....

That's the problem. There's a whole bunch of good procedures, which are often followed.

But there's no comeback if they don't. It's very rare for anyone to get punished for obvious abuses of power, and the worst case seems to be early retirement with sickness benefits and full pension. Which ain't exactly hardship.

Therefore there's always that randomness - and fuck all you can do about it in terms of restitution.

This is why the Andrew Mitchell case may be a good thing. It's forced the politicians to notice how bad things have become again. There's always going to be some abuses of power, but they've now added that senior-management New Labour public service apparachik 'you can't do anything about what I do' atttitude.

It's not fair to blame it all on Labour, it's just theirs was the era when that senior public service management class really seemed to take hold of society. The professional quangocrats who will always get re-appointed, how ever many times they fuck up. And have managed to add City levels of pay to public service job security and pensions.

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Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

Indeed you aren't under any legal obligation to help. However if you're innocent then it's in your interests to get it over with as quickly as possible. There are many possible reasons why you may not wish to hand over certain information - and therefore there can be good reasons not to cooperate. But petulance isn't one of them, so in most circumstances you're probably better of cautiously talking to them.

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