* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4258 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Teaching people to speak English? You just need Chatroulette without the dick pics

I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Use the Force

This app will require the phone to be plugged in. And you'll have to use our special handsets, a modified 'Droid of some sort probably.

Then it will show you a picture. Or a video of someothing happening. You get text underneath, which you have to say out loud. If the speech recognition doesn't like it, then you get nice little electric shock through the phone casing.

Make more mistakes, the voltage goes up.

All stick and no carrot you say? Hmmm. You could be right there. How's about then that if you're good, and get all your lessons right, then you get access to other people failing, via the webcam - then you can press the button to shock some other poor hapless learner.

In fact, this can save us the hassle of having to write / pay for a speech recognition engine.

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Re: Ladybird or maybe ChatRoulette WITH the, er....

How about the CompuTeach from Hitch Hikers' Guide? "Now you may press the button" Then you just need to invent some sort of orgasmatron that can be built into a mobile phone.

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

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Re: "Not til we have some planes to go on them..."

How do they defend against Exocets, etc. these days?

Faster missiles with longer ranges and better radars. Particularly with computers better able to pick up sea skimmers from the surface clutter. And radar controlled gattling guns for last-ditch defence too nowadays.

Oh and also supposedly computers that can handle multiple targets, with multiple launchers to attack them with. One of the problems in the Falklands was with the computers getting confused, unable to prioritise which of two equally dangerous targets to engage - and going into reset mode and ignoring both. They were engaging at such close range that there wasn't time for the operators to override. I think it was at least Coventry that got it that way?

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I thought that was ICANN policy now. In order to avoid complicated and annoying bunfights, such as this one, they just followed the ISO list and let someone else sort it out.

Although I suppose that doesn't help if people just waste all your time trying to get you to change that policy instead.

It's not exactly an uncommon problem. For example the Palestinian Authority have now got FIFA menmbership, and what's one of their first actions? To try and get FIFA to ban a bunch of Israeli teams.

Although at least they have a serious dispute with Israel. Greece has wasted years of everyone's time childishly pissing around because when Macedonia left Yugoslavia, Greece has a provice called Macedonia - and it would somehow hurt national pride to allow a country to use it. Or they're not the real Macedonians, they're just very not boys... Or somesuch bollocks.

So we now have the ludicrous situation of a country called The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to satisfy a bunch of Greek policiticans who would have better spent their time not running their country's economy off a cliff. Although to be fair, they only crashed it into a tree, it was the IMF, EU and Germany who actually pushed the wreck over the edge of the cliff.

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Re: Get yer skates on Argentina!

Argentina don't seem to have spent much money on their navy or airforce since the war. Certainly not in recent years. I had a look online a while ago, and they still seemed to have the same Daggers and Skyhawks as before, only now they're 50 years old, instead of 20. So I'd imagine they wouldn't be able to put up more than a few of them at a time.

There was a story going round a month or so ago that Argentina were looking to lease some attack planes off the Russians. Although only SU24s iirc, so nothing all that modern. It also seems a little hard on the pilots to hire a bunch of bombers, and no fighters to protect them. The MOD responded by promising to update the Falklands missile batteries in the next few years, and I guess they can always sling some more Typhoons down there, to augment the 4 they've got.

The navy seems to have even less of the old stuff left working - and also not much new.

In 1982 we had 80-odd marines and one old ice patrol ship. The garrison is now a battalion of troops, 4 modern fighters with airbase to fly in more, a modern air defence destroyer, SAMs an ice patrol ship and (I seem to remember) an armed fisheries protection ship, plus maybe a submarine.

It would taken a serious effort to amphibiously invade close to Port Stanley against a whole battalion of troops, let alone all the other stuff. Argentina could have done that in 1982 (with some losses), They'd seriously struggle now. Otherwise you've got to invade somewhere like Teal Inlet, San Carlos (where we did) or Bluff Cove and walk. Which takes a while, and allows for re-inforcements. Our strategy seems designed to make a surprise attack very unlikely, and then fly down reinforcements in case of a scary looking build up.

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Re: How about a swap?

I can't work out who the down-voters are. Is it angry Scots who don't want to speak Spanish, angry Argentinians who really, really want their dose of penguins, or people with no sense of humour?

A friend of mine's Dad is Glaswegian and his Mum is from Southern Spain. She learned english from him, so has a combined Spanish/Glaswegian accent that is just a little hard to understand.

I've not heard his spanish, so don't know whether he speaks spanwegian or not.

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How about a swap?

We keep the Falklands, and Argentina can have Scotland instead. Everyone should be happy then. Argentina get somewhere British and windswept with oil, the Scots are rid of the English, and we can get some peace and quiet without being constantly told off by their government.

I know Scotland doesn't have any penguins, but we could tell them that the pandas are giant ones. They'd never notice until it was too late...

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Ditching political Elop makes for a more Nadella Microsoft

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Re: Interesting article Trevor

Trevor,

I hope not. I've just bought one. Probably cursed it for everyone else now...

Thanks for a really good article by the way. I really enjoyed the perspective.

I never bought into the conspiracy theories either, Nokia were buggered way before he was brought in. But I did sort of feel that it was a failure of management that he didn't try to take one of their technologies and railroad it through management til their eyes watered. It seemed a bit lacking in confidence in his own abilities.

Even though I can understand the good reasons for not wanting to be the 3rd (well I guess 5th? at the time) phone ecosystem competing for customers and developers. Was WebOS still going when he took over at Nokia? Or was it just 4, with Blackberry?

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Re: Mobile vision

I've just stepped back into WinPhone. Bought a Lumia 735 at the weekend, and had it all set up in a pretty short time. But my phone demands are quite limited, I care about the address book and phone most, and knew what I was getting into. Tablets are for fun, apps and techy tinkering - the phone is a basic work tool - that also handles my personal comms. If I need more, I can just tether the iPad.

But I recommended one to my Mum over a month ago. She struggles with tech, and is in her 70s. She got the Lumia 630 for £60. I had to show her how to use it, but she's asked me one single, solitary question about how to use it since! Sorry, two, she didn't know how to put it on mute last week. I got more questions than that in the first week of her having an iPad. So it definitely is easy to use. And she's happy with it, even though it was 10% of the price of a new iPhone - which she already knows as an iPad user.

Sod's law is MS will kill it. It's certainly never had all the love it needs to make it a mainstream success.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

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Re: "value-added solutions?"

Well, a spoon really does add value to scalding hot bowl of soup.

Although I'd personally prefer to introduce that PR person to some e-re-training, via a multi-disciplinary agricultural/business crossover methodology - utilising a bovine stimulation prod device.

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BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

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Devil

Re: It's all in the plan

Ah, I remember this from a surprise tax inspection.

Standard procedure is firstly to panic.

Second to get a dedicated laser printer and some coffee (some to drink, and some to put convincing stains on the new documents in order to avoid them looking quite so fresh and new. That, a bit of crumpling and a few staples give a nice convincing air of versimilitude to your new creation.

Then station the nice tax inspector on the cushiest office available, on the top floor, with tea and biccies. Hoping that they'll ring down for the documents they want to see, rather than descend and climb 4 flights of stairs, giving you sufficient time to print what's missing.

There was no fraud on my part here. Just that the company's backup strategy for the accounts had been to, erm, not do any backups of that particular server. Ooops. I was one of the people brought in to fix it, and I'd reconstructed it in Excel, just not in the accounts software or the files yet.

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Re: Its a small change!

I don't understand. Surely this is the best time to make changes that go horribly wrong. At least you've got two days of oblivion drinking first, before you have to deal with it. And if you're lucky, it'll all sort itself out, someone (not you obviously) on call-out will have to deal with it, or nuclear armaggedon / asteroid strike will happen first.

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Microsoft's curious Sway comes to iPad and iPhone

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Devil

Oh the silly names. My eyes! My eyes!

So someone Skyped me that they've had a tweet to go on Yammer and look at someone's Sway about this new product, which is going to allow you to present things in a way that Google's Wave might have done if they hadn't axed it, which will save you from putting your stuff on Flickr, Pinterest or Vine.

I thought I could stop learning new languages and doing vocab tests when I left school. Seemingly not. Perhaps I should write a stiff letter to The Times, or maybe telephone Feedback on the BBC Home Service - as the wireless is a much more modern medium on which to air my complaint.

Yours,

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

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We forget NOTHING, the Beeb thunders at Europe

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Re: Right to be forgotten option

what do we raise in a celebratory toast?

Sussex now makes some of the finest sparkling wine in the world. Although as it's even more outrageously expensive then champagne that sparkling white wine from a region of the country who shall not be named, I don't drink it myself.

Apparently a small shift in climate over the last 50 years, now makes Sussex perfectly suited to produce the stuff how it used to taste. Personally I prefer Cava, at least when it comes to the prices I'm willing to pay. I've never felt rich enough to do taste testing of many £50-£100 bottles.

As an alternative, there's beer.

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Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

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Re: Liars and crooks

What Oracle? Behave unethically and dishonestly? I won't have it! They are the fluffiest, cuddliest, most loveable company-wompany in all of toyland.

Next you'll be trying to tell me that Facebook don't respect our privacy...

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Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

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What do you mean "yet"?

The European Parliament is only a semi-serious institution. Sometimes it does lots of important stuff, and takes it seriously. Sometimes it rubber stamps stuff that it can't really be bothered to debate. Sometimes it has reports and enquiries where the loonies with a cause are sort of left to get on with it by everyone else.

What it can't do, is write legislation. That's the Commission's job. Only the European Commission can initiate legislation. The EP and the Council of Ministers then have a huge bunfight over amending it, and getting something closer to what they want, then it gets voted on.

As the Commission haven't even put out their proposals yet, we don't know what they'll go for.

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Hey, Sand Hill Exchange. Shouting 'blockchain!' won't stop the Feds

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Sirius Lee,

A stable housing market is a good thing. It's not a bloody investment, it's a place to live! This is important. The reason to buy is that you're hoping to have paid the mortgage off before you retire, and that's better than renting for your entire life. You also get to make whatever improvements you want to a house you own, which might not be considered worthwhile by a landlord.

Making loads of money on a house might make you feel good, and that you've got an asset to spend against, but if every other house goes up as well, it's only a gain if you cash it in at retirement, and downsize. And if houses were cheaper, you wouldn't have been spending that cash on the mortgage anyway, so you could have put it into your pension.

The other thing wild rises cause is the huge amount of buy-to-let investors. I've no problem with people who want to be landlords, but they should be making their money by charging rent, not hoping to keep on mortgaging to buy more property then using the growth in value as security for more mortgages, thus causing a huge runaway housing bubble, and subsequent crash. Which incidentally bankrupts them, and takes out a bunch of the banks that lent to them.

As you say though, deflation is even worse.

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Re: "there's no way of selling a house you don't own to speculate on falling house prices"

Can somebody explain why this is a real-world problem for normal people?

Normal people buy houses. Normal people struggle to price them, because they're not permanent members of the housing market (they only get involved when it comes time to move). This means that houses may often be mis-priced. So people may be paying too much or too little. Given it's the single biggest financial transaction (and committment) of our lives, it would be better if we got it right.

Also, a market that suffers from continual upward pressure, with limited price moderating tools is going to be more prone to bubbles and then sudden collapses, which means people get stuck in negative equity and have their financial lives ruined for years/decades.

We know the market doesn't operate too well. So then we start to try and use economic tools to look at it, and see if it teaches us anything useful.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Who stands to gain from such an Exchange being created?

There would be a theortical advantage to having a more complex housing market. The ability to hedge against risk. To be honest it would be such a complex financial package that the banks would be bound to mis-sell it, causing endless headaches, refunds and fines a decade later.

But let's say you could buy a negative equity protection mortgage. You might pay an insurance premium each month on your mortgage - or it could even be free. Then when you came to sell up, you would be protected against a market crash and get some agreed amount that was more than enough to pay off the original mortgage. But if you sell when the markets risen, you'd lose a percentage of the profit you made.

This would arguably be very good for ordinary people, who need a house to live in, not as an investment. So although they risk losing out on some profit, should they lose their job, or have to move at short notice, wouldn't get screwed if that happened to occur in the 2-3 in 20 years when that happens to be a financially disastrous decision, as prices just happen to have temporarily collapsed in their area.

This market would allow people to go short or long on the insurance costs - so the price of the insurance would be a proxy for housing market sentiment.

It is the sort of thing that the financial markets are actually really good at. Some people and companies are busy doing real things and might not want risk in their lives or businesses. Others have money to invest, and want profits. So they can use their cash (via derivatives and insurance) to make a profit from the unwanted risk of the other parties. Meanwhile thess guys lose some of thier profit in the good times, but also are insulated against losses in the bad. Hence farmers might sell their crops way ahead of harvest, because it's a choice of a guaranteed price that protects them from going bankrupt, or the possibilty of bumper profits, if there's a shortage come harvvest time.

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Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

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Re: Rosetta is cool?

but it bloody hurts when you spill a fresh cup of tea down your pants!

In space, no one can hear you steam...

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Google's new free music service is classic Google: Take someone's idea and slap ads on it

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Re: Songza?

Listen to Tiesto's Musical Onanism[TM] on Wangka!

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WikiLeaks spaffs files showing NSA spied on French presidents

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Re: USA/FRance Allies?

Congress banned the US government from sharing nuclear secrets, on the grounds this would give the US a massive advantage for decades. The Russians had the bomb from a combination of spying and knowing it was possible before the end of the 40s. Britain had the advantage that we'd merged our program with the US when they joined the war - so even though they weren't sharing the results, we had some of the scientists who'd generated them to replicate them. And the Labour government were willing to spend in order to get it, whereas immediate post-war France didn't have the cash yet.

Although I've read some suggestions recently that we cheated on the hydrogen bomb. We built a really huge fission bomb, lied to the Americans (and the world), claiming it was a fusion one when it was tested. And then did a deal with the US to trade nuclear info. Since we'd gone for a different method of making the hydrogen bomb to them (which wasn't working out yet), and already had some fission designs they were interested in, we did a swapsie. Naughty, naughty!

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Re: What a surprise...

Of course we co-operate. Where our interests overlap. And of course we also spy on each other, where they don't. Everyone spies on everyone. At least if they can afford it.

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Re: I'd be more suprised if they DIDN'T spy on us

But nobody in France minded the President poppping round to see his mistress. What they were disgusted by was that he did it in such a common way as to use a scooter, when he should have been going round there in a chauffeur driven limo. Got to get your priorities right.

The French government planted a bomb in their own London ambassador's official residence garden in the 80s. This was because Mitterand was coming on a visit, and they wanted to bring their own armed security, and the government wouldn't let them. So the idea was to embarrass the British Diplomatic Protection Group, and thus win the argument - and bring their own armed guards over.

Diplomacy isn't always that friendly, even amongst allies.

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Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

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Alert

Re: Wot no Maverick?

Wot no Dangermouse?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: What about No. 6?

I recommend the Bob Peck version of Edge of Darkness to you.

There is no other version of Edge of Darkness. And don't you go spreading rumours to the contrary!

In a superb piece of BBC competence in the early 90s, they re-released it on video. But you couldn't have it one tape, oh no. Or in one box set. They issued the first 3 episodes in April, and the tape of the second 3 in May. Except sometime in April they changed their release schedule. So the second half didn't appear. Leaving me with a copy of half the series. I don't think they got themselves sorted out until December/January. I'm sure it was all part of a CIA conspiracy.

And I never got my 2nd free bar of plutonium either. How am I supposed to impress conference audiences now...

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Re: Empire Readers

I thought Clive Merrison was an even better Sherlock Holmes, on Radio 4. Partly because I think "his" Watson (Michael Williams) was the best. A bit more grumpy and a bit less bumbling incompetent.

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

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Re: "Had she attacked him with eggs, milk and flour, would she be on a charge for battery?"

or maybe some sugar & a just a smidge of vanilla.

Then we'd be talking custardy for sure.

I say, that's a trifle harsh...

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Nasi goreng pattaya

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Fried rice is for leftovers. Most weekends see my fridge full of stuff to be eaten up, after people have been round on Friday evening. I currently have ham and lemon chicken. There's rice in the freezer. So long as I'm sober enough to chop an onion, I'm OK.

Although a decent-ish bag of frozen prawns should do you. My fried rice would have frozen sweetcorn, for both taste and colour, and I'd expect to be able to produce something from leftovers at least one weekend in two.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Incredibly stupid question!

Whenever I cook rice for lots of people there's some left. As long as you cover and fridge/freezer it as soon as it's cold, there's no problem. The risk is when it's left out for a long time.

I tend to freeze it in single portions in plastic tubs. A sprinkle of water, replace the lid and a minute in the microwave makes them perfect and fluffy, straight out of the freezer. should also be great for stir frying.

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It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

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Re: those tossers directly responsible and accountable

Is a bastage a cross between a bastard and a hostage?

Are you suggesting that approach each board member with an attractive "secretary", and once he's fully honey-trapped, she sprogs and then you hold the child hostage to his good behaviour. Either with risk of harm to the child or exposure for his affair - plus huge paternity suit?

I can see this idea working. However, rather than wasting your talents regulating the banks, I'd prefer to move you into Ofcom first.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Failure to ingest

Is it just me that has a mental image of a server in an old fashioned metal cabinet, tapes whirring of course, and green vomit spewing out of it (accompanied by smoke and plaintive beeping), as it fails to ingest this file?

Perhaps a computer like this one (Youtube link).

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Re: du -sh @ orig ac

You're all wrong! At least if it has been established that this is a government batch-file.

They've said they can't restore it until the weekend, so it's obvious. The government sent the CD, and it's got lost in the post. So they've re-burned it and posted it again. Natwest now have a techy permanently stationed in their post-room, Segway at the ready, to zoom him off at top speed to run it up to their server room. 15 minutes after it arrives, all will be sorted.

Presumably if this one goes wrong, then they'll put it on a memory stick, and lose it in a taxi instead. it's important to plan for a variety of failure scenarios...

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Post-pub nosh neckfillers: Reader suggestions invited

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I like the breakfast burrito

Tex-Mex at its finest.

Sausage or bacon. Or both, or ham.

salsa. I've often make too much for left-overs, but the supermarket jars are OK in this instance, with maybe some tabasco to give them a little kick.

scrambled egg

grated cheese

corn / flour tortillas

The trick seems to be in balancing the flavours. So not too much of any one ingredient. Bit of salsa spread in the middle of the tortilla, small sprinkling of grated cheese (not too much), 2 rashers of bacon and/or a sausage sliced lengthways (less if you've got tiny tortillas), spoon of scrambled eggs. Makes a nice brunch, but also goes very well with beer, or a bottle of cava.

To do perfectly they're a bit fiddly, as you want to get all the ingredients hot at the same time, and then delivered and wrapped super quick onto a warmed plate. Otherwise they're down to only warm by the second one. But they're still delicious warm, so being a bit slower and less coordinated is no problem.

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Re: Bacon and egg pie

Oooooh. That sounds very interesting indeed. Healthy too! I must make that.

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Re: Au contraire. mon brave, have an upvote...

The only problem with ramen is that it's hard enough to eat when sober. Once drunk, you may as well put your head in the bowl and save yourself the hassle of getting covered in food only gradually...

I do like noodles with a bit of sauce as quick fillers though.

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Re: Cheese and tomato sandwich

Whilst the cheese toasty is indeed a fine accompaniment to a post pub return home, I can think of better. I use a toasty maker, so the cheese will also be dangerously hot. My trick is to make 2, my machine only does one at a time. By the time the second is on the plate, the first will have cooled sufficiently to be safe. I'd imagine that pickle, like jam, is deadly. So perhaps the pickle should be served on the side? Myself I prefer ketchup.

But the best toasty is the egg toasty. You need a maker with pronounced edges, that crimp the bread effectively to avoid leakages. This is bad enough with cheese, but far worse with egg.

Then you put your bottom slice of bread in, gently push down, whip in the egg you've decanted into a cup/bowl for speed, slap the top slice of bread on as fast as you can, and hold the toasty maker shut for 30 seconds to seal it. You then get a kind of poached/baked egg with sort of fried edges from the butter soaking through the bread. So yummy.

My current favourite is bacon or fish finger sandwiches though.

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Re: Cheesey Chips

*shudders*

No wonder it's grim oop north. What with the wolves and bears roaming through the primeval forests and the (far worse) horror of soggy chips!

Chips should be adulterated only with salt, vinegar, ketchup and/or curry ketchup. Although I remember enjoying salad cream with them in my youth. Mayonnaise is wrong.

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Foxconn's going to 'exploit' Indian labour? SCORE! Bye, poverty

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Zog_but_not_the_first,

All currency unions lead to asymetric shocks in different areas. That's the downside. The upside being fewer barriers to trade of course. But in a single country with a single language people can move around and follow the jobs more. Which a lot of people in the EU do now too, but that creates problems itself as not all of them share a culture or language - so it's harder to organise services and such.

Actually that last point is the most important bit, in my opinion. In the US and UK we can deal with those asymetric shocks somewhat by bunging government cash around. US federal spending used to be lower, so presumably the US would have been less good at this in the past. Even with all the recent shennanigans over Scotland most English voters broadly accept that Scotland gets more cash per head spent on it than anywhere else. Most people when it came to the referendum seemed to want Scotland to stay, and regard the UK as one country still. That opinion may not be shared in Scotland, in which case they'll obviously leave. But if there was a huge recession there tomorrow, needing £10 billion of emergency government spending, it wouldn't be all that controversial, despite some grumbling.

The Eurozone don't have that cross-border spending. The Commission do a bit, but most of its budget still goes on agricultural subsidies, and it's pretty small anyway. Plus it doesn't move fast, or to the places that might currently be in recession. The only way to make the Euro work is to share these burdens. And that means tax payers in the richer bits giving money to the poorer bits, at least when they're in recession.

See the Greek crisis for details. Germany are one of the most pro-European nations. EU membership has been politically non-controversial for decades. Even their anti-Euro party (AfD) are hugely pro-EU and want to save it from the risk of being taken out by the Euro's unpopularity (and possible collapse). There are still lots of mainstream federalists in German politics, who'd like a single European state. Fewer than there were I'm sure. And yet this most pro-European country reacted with absolute horror to the idea of bailing out Greece, even back in 2009. Had German voters been willing to do it back then, rather than waiting until the last minute when it was bail-out or Euro-bye-bye, the Greek bail-out would only have costs tens of billions. Now the final cost will be hundreds.

Basically German tax payers, even the supposedly federalist ones (about 30% from the last poll I saw) don't believe that Greeks, Spanish, Italians or Irish are "their people". And therefore worthy of their tax money being spent on them. Given that case, and that the feeling is almost certainly mutual, it's politically impossible to have a working currency union, as the wealth transfers required are politically unacceptable.

I'd suggest that the bare minimum to make the Euro work would be a single bank guarantee fund (something the Germans agreed to in June 2012 and reneged on the week after) and a common unemployment insurance fund. Plus some sort of emergency fund like the IMF, where each country puts in a bunch of cash, and then countries in serious recession can borrow from it, but have to pay it back once boom time comes.

The politician that suggest that in any Euro country is probably out of office the week after.

Also the economies are just too different to share the same interest rates. In Ireland and Spain, in the boom, rates were lower than inflation - because they were set low for Germany and France. That guaranteed a property bubble. Real interest rates were less than zero, when the economies were growing at 5%!

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Have you ever tried being a peasant on a collective farm? Or self-sufficient agriculture?

Hopefully working conditions will improve there, as they did here. And everyone gets slowly richer. Although never at the same rate.

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But the problem (for the US and the UK, amongst others) is the huge trade deficits they've incurred by giving offshoring a lot of previously domestic manufacturing to foreigners

True. But this is hopefully temporary. In the sense that we still do export stuff, and as their economies get richer, they can afford to buy more of our stuff, with the profits they make from selling stuff to us.

This has broken down somewhat, because China in particular has chosen to recyle a lot of its profits into US (and other) government debt. This kept the currency artifically low, so helped improve their trade advantage (one of the major causes of the crash as it lowered our interest rates during the boom and helped inflate the bubble), and also has the effect of suppressing internal demand. The second I suspect is also because the Communist Party don't want to create a huge middle class that might be feeling a bit too comfortable, and perhaps start demanding political reform.

Hopefully the Chinese are wise enough to see that the problems they've had sustaining domestic demand, since their global markets hit this long recession, are because they've sent too much of the cash abroad - and they need that demand. That more affluent population will buy more of our stuff, and also they'll stop buying our government debt, so our governments won't be able to run such cheap deficits in the next boom.

Worryingly there's a lot of ifs here...

Also, another problem with all the exporters in Asia, and with Germany (due to ageing population), is that they all want to save. So they export, but then want to save the profits, rather than spending them. That leaves them with surpluses, which they invest in our economies and unbalance them. But OPEC and Russia have also been doing this, and they're having to stop, as they're not so filthy rich from oil revenues now.

Even so, wages for ordinary working stiffs in the US/UK mostly stagnated from the late 90s to the beginning of the crash, not dropped. And I believe that's stagnated only if you include housing costs for the UK, or mix of housing/medical for the US.

One of the problems in the Eurozone is that average wages went up, while productivity didn't. Except in Germany, where they caused inequality to grow faster than the UK with the Haartz 4 reforms, which kept wages down. They're now reaping the benefits of that mercantilist attack on their supposed 'partners' in the Eurozone - but at the cost of possibly pushing Italy out, and of also having a huge pile of savings with nowhere to go in the internal economy. Much of which their banks lent to Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain. That worked out well...

then pretending that a combination of locally traded services and a debt-funded government are a substitute for actual wealth creating activity.

Sorry, I've rambled a bit. But although our governments have definitely borrowed to much - don't be so rude about services.

We do still have a large manufacturing sector (11th in the world), in the world's fifth largest economy. I believe we're something like the 8th (5th? I can't find the figure easily) largest exporter of manufactured goods.

Services are harder to trade, as they're not as well covered by free trade agreements, but as I recall we're the second largest exporter of services after the US. But some of them are very highly value-added. People seem to think of service jobs as bar and hotel staff. But that's not the sort of services you export. We tend to export lots of legal and insurance services. Lots of companies now do business under UK law, and pay to use UK arbitration and courts, as they can't trust each others (or even their own) legal systems.

ARM are a services company. Other people make the chips, ARM just do the design. I work in the building services industry, and I'm forever dealing with jobs in the Middle East and North Africa. Not because we export, but because Britain exports architectural and building design services. So most big jobs in Saudi or the UAE will be done to either British or US building regulations, depending on which practice they hired.

Things like music, software, films and TV are services too.

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Re: This is why offshoring was such a bad strategy

Huh?

I'd say that a lot of off-shoring was rather stupid and short-termist, and that remains true whatever the merits of off-shoring. See RBS gutting its internal IT department for details. Or just out-sourcing in general, see Sainsbury's stock control database a few years ago, that they had to bring back in-house only a couple of years later as it was such a disaster. If banks are a customer database with buildings full of cash attached, then supermarkets are stock-control databases with shops and warehouses hanging off them.

But moving labour-intensive stuff to countries with large pools of much cheaper labour doesn't instantly stop working, just because that labour is now earning 20% of UK median wage, when it was only 5% fifteen years ago. As long as the transport costs are still lower than the difference. You just might consider whether you stick with where you are, or move to a country with cheaper labour. I guess that comes down to costs of plant and management.

Also of course, it's good for China. Who in fifteen years have seen average wages double every 3 years or so.

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Super Cali goes ballistic – Uber says it's bogus (even though its contract is something quite atrocious)

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Re: Kudos

And to think one of my fellow commentards dared to accuse the El Reg subbies of writing childish headlines earlier today. For shame!

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BOOM! Stephen Elop shuffled out of Microsoft door

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WTF?

Re: "Chief insights officer"

Rain is wet.

FIFA are a little bit dodgy.

Don't pour scalding coffee into your lap.

Bears defecate in sylvan environments.

Thank you. Those have been today's insights. My work here is done, have a nice day.

Yours,

I ain't Spartacus

Chief Insight Officer

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Pirate Party founder: I wanna turn news into a series of three-line viral gobbets

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“large raptors symbolise pride, freedom and vision”

Possibly so. But to quote from the fount-of-all-wisdom Dogbert, "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."

Presumably the Register should have some pithy statement about how vultures are better than raptors?

Vultures: Burying their heads deep into the putrid guts of news! Bringing you only the finest news-giblets!

(Sorry, that's all gone a bit Chris Morris)

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Re: Writers?

Presumably their job is trawl the "useless oldmedia" for the content, then pick the 3 lines of snippet to steal, then steal away.

It's funny how much the future of modern news appears to be nicking linking to what other people have done without paying for it, claiming your platform is the new big thing and then moaning about how the old media is producing worse and worse content nowadays (as it's earning less money), and what we need is more new media...

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Furious Flems fling privacy rule book at Facebook

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Re: Please Cut Out The Cutesie Headlines

Jim 59,

The problem with humour is that everyone's is slightly different. So there's always going to be some gags that don't appeal to you, or actively piss you off. See the Exclamation! Marks! After! Every! Word! In! Yahoo! Headlines! - which really gets some peoples' collective goats.

The subbies tend to write the headlines, so there's fewer people at El Reg towers making the awful puns, that write the stories. If those couple of people don't share your sense of humour then that's bad. Plus subbies love alliteration. It seems to be unstoppable.

I guess the other problem is that you get a culture that builds up, with its own in jokes. Again, if you didn't like these the first time, you're going to be a very unhappy bunny by the 532nd.

So genuinely if you find the snark and silliness annoys you, you probably are better off elsewhere. That is the Register house style after all.

As for that story 'Amazon bans media player' isn't that hard to divine surely? Then you click on it if you're interested in Amazon, media players or whater. I wasn't, so didn't. I'm afraid I rather liked "Bezos Bozos" and don't think they've used that for Amazon before, and hope they now will in future. And I'm not even a subbie...

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News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards, say 'ooman rights beaks

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I'm not sure if that's true, and I seem to remember things have changed relatively recently as well anyway. It's confusing keeping up with a moving target, even in a field I'm supposedly expert on (which this isn't).

But I think the time element is very important too. If you get a complaint or request to remove something, then you're definitely in trouble if you don't do so in a timely manner. So you may decide that the complaint is unreasonable, but in that case you're now effectively accepting liability for said comment, defending it, and up for punishment if it's found to be defamatory. So I guess most publishers will take the easy route, and delete any comment they get a complaint about. It's far cheaper to hit delete than it is to pay a lawyer for an opinion, let alone actually fight the case.

I seem to recall there's also some ruling that once you edit any comments, or have any moderation policy, then you're accepting liability for everything. Although this defence probably doesn't get you off if someone complains about a comment and you don't take it down. Although surely at that point, you've just started a moderation policy?

I'm so glad I'm not a lawyer...

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Re: News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards

Anyone who comments on a Register article is an idiot!

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Google on Google: The carefully collated anti-trust truth

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Re: Free services are not free

The regulators appear to be deciding that "vertical search" (in this case price comparison search), is a different market to general search. Therefore if Google dominate general search, due to being the best, that's all fine and dandy. They're allowed that monopoly, so long as they don't use unfair tactics to maintain it.

What they're not allowed to do, is to leverage that monopoly in order to gain unfair advantage in other markets. This is why MS got fined so hugely for giving away Internet Explorer for free. Or why Intel were fined for using their PC processor monopoly to protect them in the server market from AMD's superior Opteron chips.

I used sites like pricerunner 5-10 years ago, but stopped because they were usually finding me deals that were only pennies cheaper than the places I was already looking. And why risk a transaction with an unknown company online to save 5p? Google's offer was no better, and yet killed them off. There's an argument that like a lot of stuff on the web, they might have improved. But they didn't get a chance, because they got killed off. As Google's own internal research was saying that Google's service was actually worse than theirs - this could be a clear example of a dominant monopoly abusing its power by stopping progress in a related market. Or equally they might all have remained crap up to now and still no-one would be using them. We'll never know.

However Google will just have to live with this. They've got that search monopoly. They're the gatekeeper to the internet. They have massive power, and they don't seem to be very careful about who they piss on, when they use it. That lack of moderation is going to get them attention from regulators. And actually should do. That's what regulators are for, and if you want free markets, then you have to regulate monopolies. Not that government aren't at least as capable of screwing up as Google are...

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