* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4156 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

In some ways, dating apps are the anti-internet

I ain't Spartacus
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The other problem is that not everyone on a dating app may be looking for a date. Or even to get jiggy with anyone...

Some of them may be 15 year olds who want to send pictures of penises to women they've never met because they're 15 and penise emails are apparently funny. Actually that also seems to apply to some 60 year old married men...

They can't be trained not to do it so easily, as for them the reaction is what they're after. Even if they don't ever get to see it. I struggle to understand their motives to be honest, and that also makes it harder to stop. I guess these can be lumped in with other trolls, it's just that Eadon never showed us a picture of his willy (or even Steve Ballmer's willy) thankfully.

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Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

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Mushroom

Re: Meh

Camilla Smyth,

Rocket go KABOOM! People of Florida sad. People of Florida even sadder, if rocket go oopsie missy landing pad, and go crash-bang-boom on their house.

Then survivors hire lawyers. Or just get into pickups with rifle racks. And they hunt SpaceX and NASA and FAA, who allowed it. And so FAA say SpaceX have to go play whoosh-KABOOM far far out to sea...

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

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I don't get it

I can understand why Microsoft concentrated on bottom-end phones. There was a gap in the market, that Android didn't serve very well. And the Lumia phones are very good, even though the cheap 'Droids are also now much improved.

I can also understand avoiding too much effort fighting at the £500 flagship bit of the market. Where Apple dominate, and Samsung and HTC are very good.

But why not use the shiny camera tech they bought from Nokia more?

My next phone will probably cost around £100 - £150. Because you get something very good for that money, and I think the extra £400 on something top of the range is wasted. However a really good camera could persuade me to change my mind. They don't seem to have done much with it for a year now.

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Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

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Re: Some political minds might be concentrated if...

Well if they don't make promises they get criticised for being vague. Witness the times politicians are attacked for only setting aims, and why aren't they targets or promises... And if they do, they get criticised for not meeting them.

Oddly enough you don't get a magical ability to predict the future when you enter politics. And your budget and ability to do stuff are contstrained by the global and national economies, and what you can influence/force/pursuade people to do.

With elections often being 4 or 5 years apart and manifestos tending to be planned a year or two before elections, circumstances can change in other ways too.

In the case of coalition governments, things get even harder, as you don't even get to attempt to implement everything in your manifesto.

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Re: Some political minds might be concentrated if...

Are you willing to fund the parties to have sufficient academics, accountants administrators and economists on hand to fully cost every policy?

Plus the crystal ball required to predict movements of the economy over the next 5 years - given that this is currently impossible...

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Re: What about...

To be fair, they've actually started work on doing that already. Even if quite a lot of people have criticised the method they suggested for doing so.

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Labour manifesto: Tech Bacc, not-spot zapping and hi-speed interwebs

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Re: Blessed are the believers...

I'm not sure it's the schools that matter most. Although obviously they help in getting to the best universities.

But it's the ability to do a couple of years work as a party researcher in Central London on no salary. And/or having the money to not work for a year or two while searching for a seat, and then campaigning for that seat at the election. Of course it's an advantage to have done that unpaid party-worker time in getting the seat. So the ability to live for 4 or 5 years on zero income - which tends to mean rich parents or family money.

Add to this that the electorate seem to prefer younger top politicians (or so is the perception) - it's much harder to have a previous career, and still have a chance at high political leadership.

The only solution I can see is proper party funding. In the grand scheme of things it's bugger all, but I would say each major party should have enough to employ a few economists, fund some academic studies, fund a decent central office research/policy staff and the like. So something like each MP getting a personal staff of 5 or 6, instead of the current 2 ish, and all the bigger parties getting a couple of million to do policy and research work.

The public say they don't like professional politicians. But they also don't like politicians who have ouside earnings, so I don't see how you can solve that particular problem. But I guess we could have minimum age limits for MPs and ministers if we wanted to, but we'd obviously then not have such shiny, smiley politicians. Not a bad thing in my opinion, but then people might start complaing that they're all too old, and so out of touch.

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Bloke hits armadillo AND mother-in-law with single 9mm round

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Coat

Re: It is the round, silly!

As to why you kill them...

They carry disease, dig up your garden, eat your food, spread garbage around, and dig mom's flowers... and OMG the SMELL!

That's all very well. But it's no excuse, and I'm afraid it's still illegal to shoot your mother-in-law...

[Les Dawson mode disengaged]

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HOT HOVERSHIP-ON-HOVERSHIP ACTION: SpaceX ready for barge boing

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Re: SpaceX is seriously cool

Isn't it already effectively man-ready but it's just that it has to be "proven" with multiple un-manned successful uses first?

John Brown (no body),

No. The SpaceX Dragon capsule isn't man rated. And I don't think it ever could be. It's just designed to get the dinner up to the ISS. Only half the capsule is even pressurised and heated.

The one they showed at the end of last year is the Dragon 2. Perhpas they should have called it Double Dragon...

Anyway there are several things that you need to do to get man-rating. You need extra redundencies built in. I believe the Falcon rocket (and ESA's Arianne) meet the requirements, not sure if either have bothered with the paperwork yet. You also need a history of successful launches, which Falcon has obviously done pretty well at building.

Next you need an escape tower, to get the capsule away from the launchpad in case of a pad fire. SpaceX aren't proposing to have one of these. As the Dragon2 will have fast-start multi-use engines for driving around in space and for landing, they propose to use those instead. So that will save a bit of cash, and should be no less safe.

Obviously they'll have to build the Dragon2 and do some test orbits, to prove it's safe. And then get it man-rated. And then prove it can safely dock with the ISS. And then prove that it can survive in orbit for a decent length of time (I think 6 months is what Soyuz is rated for), as the ISS team who use it to get up there keep it as a lifeboat (and to go home in).

The Dragon2 is also supposed to be re-usable, and lands on engine power on land, rather than parachuting into the water. And it's also designed to be able to land on the Moon or Mars. If it all works as planned, it'll be a very capable space exploration workhorse. Elon Musk does not lack ambition. But then he also seems to keep meeting the engineering tests he sets himself. It's deeply impressive.

In 5-10 years time he's looking to have his own space base in Texas, the Falcon 9 re-usable booster to get to the ISS and launch satellites, plus the Falcon Heavy, which will be almost as big as a Saturn V - and so could launch flights to the Moon - or new ISS or Mars-ship modules. Falcon Heavy will be made up of several Falcon 9s, and will almost all be able to land back at Texas after launch to be reused. Except the ones that go further, which he plans to land on his barges (and also re-use. Plus he'll have a re-usable man-rated capsule that can land at Texas too, and so doesn't get all contaminated with horrible seawater, and has the ability to be launched direct to the Moon, and be it's own lunar lander too. Plus you could use Falcon Heavy to launch bits of a ship to go to Mars (or an asteroid), assemble them in orbit, and send some Dragon capsules along to use as the shuttles.

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Re: SpaceX is seriously cool

Oh, and another exciting thing. One of the Bigelow inflatable habitats is being / has been sent up to the ISS. So we now have the prospect of much cheaper living space - which means cheaper space science, and another step closer to commercial manned use of space. Eventually leading to space hotels, space hookers, space nookie and space cops with laser guns...

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Re: SpaceX is seriously cool

Well they're obviously doing something right, with 16 Falcon 9 launches in 4 years so far, and 10 more this year. Looks like things are on the up-and-up.

It would be great if they could do "the impossible", and land a rocket after use. Even more impressive to do it on a barge at sea.

I also look forward to seeing them get a manned capsule working.

This is truly exciting. Space has been a bit of a dead-end since the early days of the shuttles. Sure there were always lots of interesting things going on, but we always seemed to be just refining stuff we'd already done, or doing it in different combinations. But mostly using the same basic technology.

But for the last 5-10 years we've had a bumper crop of unmanned space probes, doing all sorts of exciting and difficult things. Trundling round Mars and landing on comets.

And now we seem to have progress in launcher technology again. Not only are SpaceX (and others) making it much cheaper - but every time they launch, they're trying something new - or running tests to allow them to on the next launch.

And they're doing it with a sense of proportion, and a sense of humour. So they can say mission accomplished, when they get the payload to the ISS - and still say KABOOM when the rocket doesn't quite manage to land on the platform after doing so.

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Lib Dems wheel out Digital Rights Bill pledge as election sweetener

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Re: Logic

Except that people didn't vote lib Dems for them to be in government no matter what, they voted for lib dem policies.

Vimes,

And one of the main Lib Dem policies was, and has always been, to bleat on about how wonderful and great and mature European consensus, coalition politics is. And therefore how the Lib Dems believe in consensus building with other parties, coalition, and electoral reform to make that more likely.

They also very clearly stated before the last election, that they would enter coalition talks with whoever was the largest party. They were repeatedly very clear about this. They have been very clear on this since they were founded in the late 80s.

Any voter who voted Lib Dem knew exactly what they were going to get. Or if they didn't, it's their own bloody fault. And they should stop whining and take responsibility for their own actions. This information was not hidden, or secret, or a surprise to anyone with even the vaguest knowledge. Our political system first of all needs better voters. Before we can improve our politicians and political discourse, we need voters willing to at least take a tiny amount of their time to decide. If we don't want politics to be a beauty contest, then you have to stop voting for whoever performs best on telly and start devoting at least a few hours, every four years, to working out who we agree with.

They got into government based on the votes of people that they would never have got had the voters realised what could happen as a result of voting lib dem.

Anyone who didn't want the Conservatives in power had the choice to vote Labour, or some other party. If they chose to vote Lib Dem after Clegg had said he'd do a deal with whoever got the most seats, then they were obviously willing for that coalition to happen. That is the only interpretation the Lib Dems could take, short of asking each of their voters individually why they'd voted for them. I have zero sympathy.

Now I admit that the Lib Dems seem to have been attracting a 'none-of-the-above' protest vote before 2010. And a lot of that seems to have now shifted to UKIP. This is the interpretation that many pollsters I've read have put on the quite large number of 2010 Lib Dem voters who've now switched their alleigance to UKIP (or tell pollsters they have anyway). Well, if you don't want any of the two bigger parties, why not vote Monster Raving Looney, or Respect or Socialist Labour or something? Because the Lib Dems have been talking about coalition for their entire history - and took it at the first opportunity (as they always said they would). Also how are the politicians supposed to interpret votes, if people are going to switch their votes from a socially liberal, economically centrist, massively pro EU party to a socially conservative, anti-EU one? As I said, people have got to take some responsibility for the entirely predictable consequences of their own actions.

personally speaking I think a system without any party whips where the MPs really do represent the interests of their constituency rather than those of their party would be one of the best things that could happen to this country, even if PR is completely forgotten.

This system would only be workable if the electorate were willing to invest a lot more effort into politics than they currently seem to be willing to.

Having no whips also means it's much harder for the electorate to know what they're voting for. It's all very well to talk about MPs acting on conscience, but in the system we currently have most people vote party, not MP. By voting party, they get to vote on a manifesto. That means the MPs then have the obligation to walk a tightrope between the voters who wanted the manifesto they voted for, and those who may know the MP, and have voted for them to use their conscience. There is no perfect system, but the downside of not whipping (and PR with constant coalitions) is that voters vote for one thing, and don't get to find out what they will actually get until after the election. Which is exactly the problem you're complaining about in your post.

I'm personally against PR and non-whipped MPs for this reason. However, if the main parties are unable to get more than 40% of the voters for one more election, I'll switch to voting for PR, because first past the post is too unfair if parties can get an overall majority with only 35% of the vote. Well only Labour can, due to the way our system was biased by the 97 boundary review (and cahnging demographics) - the Conservatives need about 39%, and Labour to get less than 32% (very roughly. Whereas Labour could theoretically get an overall majority on 36% each - well that's before Scotland went SNP. Who knows what'll happen now.

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Re: Logic

Vimes,

The Lib Dems are a party who've been campaigning for PR and coalition governments being a better idea for their entire existence. Not to go into coalition when there was a viable option to do so would basically be like saying "our party is a pointless waste of time".

So of course they went into coalition. It's what they went into politics for. To try and get some of their policies enacted. There was only one viable coalition to choose from. Becuase Lab+Lib Dems wasn't enough MPs to get a majority. The only two viable coalitions after the last election were Lab+Con or Lib+Con. Also although you don't need to win an election to be Prime Minister, I don't think people would have been very happy for Gordon Brown to be PM without an election and to then have comprehensively lost his first one, and still to remain in Downing Street. So both politically and practically the Lib Dems had only one viable option, as long as they were offered a reasonable agreement.

As for the tuition fee increase, we basically seem to have a graduate tax now (with a few extra bells and whistles). So perhaps that's what they should have done instead?

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HOVER ROCKET space station podule mission LIGHTNING HOLD DRAMA

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I assume they can leave the kerosene as long as they want. I seem to remember the limit on liquid oxygen is 48 hours?

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National Grid's new designer pylon is 'too white and boring' – Pylon Appreciation Society

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Devil

Re: Missed an opportunity for a great photo description...

How about "Former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne's Wife Looks at Competition Winners"?

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Coat

Wasn't it Yoga that said, "there is no pylon. Only do, or do not."

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Happy

And what about rights for Pyladies?

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Fancy a wristjob from Tim Cook? TOUGH LUCK, you CAN'T HAVE ONE

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Happy

Did you buy it for a picture of a $100 bill?

Picture of Queen Victoria?

No thank you. I'm trying to give up...

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Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

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Re: Aliens, Microwaves?

That's easy to work out. Just put your cat in your fridge and close the door. You should be able to solve two problems at once.

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Happy

Re: FRB's

No. They're just intergalactic mini-cab drivers organising pickups.

"Whaddaya mean South of the Western Spiral Arm? At this time 'o night? No fear mate? You can get out on your tentacles and walk if you wanna go down there. I'm for me bed, I'm off East to galactic centre mate."

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Microsoft Lumia 640, 640XL: They're NOT the same, mmmkay?

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Nokia had a reasably decent set of names. In that there was a 600, 700 and 800. Even if they then added a 900, a 1000 and a 500. Also for some strange reason they started with the 800, but then the next release was the excellent 720 (why not 700?).

Now it's a mess. I was trying to help my Mum decide between the 630 and 635 when her contract comes up. They seem to have come out within a few months of each other - and in fact their naming is now a confusing number soup. I actually think they've inherited Nokia's horrible obsession with having a million different models, all with only one tiny feature difference to distinguish them.

Surely all you need is a range name, and then a model number (starting from 1), to tell you which is the latest model. So they could have the Cheapskate (VGA camera, no flash, little RAM), the Pensioner (big screen, cheap, tartan fluffy cover), The Self-Obsessed Wanker (dedicated Facebook button, extendable selfie-stick, 5 cameras), The Eye of Sauron (100 megapixel camera that's amazing at low-light photography) etc.

Anyway one of these is looking tempting for my next work phone. The iPhone 5 has already been repaired once (all our batch had dodgy docking connectors), and the button is now going on the replacement. Something bigger, that's actually readable in sunlight, doesn't keep breaking and has an address book not coded by gibbons is attractive.

There's some great 'Droids, and I'm tempted by a Galaxy Note, but I find them a bit complicated, and I want my phone to be as simple as possible. Big writing, big buttons make me happy. I don't like Metro on my PC, but it's great on a phone, and I'd imagine it's pretty fine on a tablet too.

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ICANN urges US, Canada: Help us stop the 'predatory' monster we created ... dot-sucks!

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Facepalm

Do ICANN really not have a process in place for taking domains back from registrars who are abusing them, or running them badly?

Why the hell did they write themselves a contract that doesn't give them a get-out clause? Given that they can have some byzantine appeals process that basically means you appeal to one subcommittee of the ICANN board, and then appeal against them to a different sub-committee of the same board... For an organisation that are so good at subverting any kind of due process, with vague rules and no proper oversight, I'm amazed.

Still, if they've paid themselves all the previous gTLD cash in bonuses, and can't afford any lawyers, they could always auction off dot.skint, dot.needaloan, dot.loanshark, dot.fuckup and dot.buggeriti'moffdownthepub...

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Microsoft uses Windows Update to force Windows 10 ads onto older PCs

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Happy

Re: Naughty, naughty @caffeine addict

earl grey,

QuickLime as punishment for the developers of iTunes? Yeah, that seems fair enough to me.

I know US labour laws are more lax than we're used to in Europe, but even so I wasn't aware that this was an approved method of management. I presume that means California is a 'Right to Work' state?

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Re: Turn Off Windows Automatic Updates

I had that problem on one machine. But not since. I think MS have set up update to only tick a smaller number of updates, so they now go in batches. Which is how I remeber it working from before Windows 8. So I wonder if that was a temporary cock-up?

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Devil

Re: Only 1337 downvotes?

Only 1337 downvotes?

You must be new here :)

It could just be that I'm nice, and fluffy, and everyone likes me, and this is a generous and positive community of wonderful people.

OK scratch that. It's obviously a sign of inexperience. I guess I'd better compose the perfect post, to get my score to a more acceptable level. So far, I'm thinking:

It's got to be in praise of Piers Morgan. Going either way about Julian Assange or climate change will get too many upvotes, as well as the required downvotes. I think the same split is probably true when it comes to Tim Worstall's articles on markets.

So how about a piece on how lucky we all are to be alive. And how great everything now is. We have the internet, and thus 24 hour access to the Wisdom and Insight of the great Piers Morgan. Hero of the age! Without the internet we might never have had the truly unbeatable Facebook and Twitter to here from Piers on. Plus it's allowed us access to the works of genius of the likes of Steven Sinofsky, with his brilliant Metro design, Only a truly forward-thinking and great CEO like Steve Ballmer could have allowing him the freedom to create such wonders for our delight. And what better way to worship at the feet of our great hero Piers could there be than a unified Metro app on our desktop, tablet and phone. Giving us his sagacity seemlessly across all devices!

...I feel a little sick now...

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Re: Naughty, naughty

caffeine addict,

It was a couple of years ago I noticed. Although I thought Google had stopped doing it. Unlike the poster above who said they saw it yesterday.

Anyway, I had to un-tick Chrome when installing Adobe's bug-ware. Now they foist McAfee Smartscan on you instead. I think you got the Google browser bar with the same package. I don't remember what other times I saw it, but it was a few. But it turned up on my brother's PC without him asking, about 6 months after he'd got Safari via an iTunes "update".

It was a successful campaign, because I fixed a few friends' pootas who didn't know what a browser is, and yet now had Chrome and Safari. I've not noticed an unwanted Chrome install in a while though.

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Happy

Re: Naughty, naughty

To whichever bastard gave me the second downvote,

I hate you!

I was on a nice, round 1337 thumbs down until you did that. I am no longer leet at being disliked. Booooo!

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Re: Naughty, naughty

Oh, I don't know, it worked for Google with Chrome.

That only took off in such massive popularity when they started dumping on people's PCs who weren't unticking the right boxes when doing other stuff. Before that I didn't know a single non-geek who used it. After than 6 month period, it was on every friend's PC that I came to fix, even if they hadn't noticed. Now it's the most popular single browser.

On the other hand, Apple did much the same thing with Safari. And I don't know anyone who uses it as their main browser on a PC, and even most of the Mac users I know don't. So maybe you need both software quality and sleazy marketing skills?

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Apple Watch: We ROUNDUP the ROUNDUPS. Yes, Roundup-squared

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Re: What about the following options?

I'm sure everyone understands it. I just fancied a bit of a rant, for my own amusement. I don't even object. I have stopped reading most of the rumour articles. Partly as they're so inaccurate, but mostly because the iPhone has got most of the stuff it needs, so updates aren't that interesting anymore.

I'm not really interested in a smartwatch anyway. If it could have a readable screen, I could be tempted by something like Google Glass, for the sat-nav and the ability to use it as a way to magnify things like railway signage, or look up the right platform online.

But, other than for medical reasons, I struggle to see the point of other wearables. As if I want it, I can use my phone. And my watch needs to be simple, so that I can just glance at it when required.

On the gripping hand, a wrist controller that can wirelessly tell the mp3 player to skip a track for the wireless headphones might be good. And also decide wheter you wish to interrupt the music/podcast to take the call to said headphones. Then the phone need never leave your pocket, and you could just control it with whatever local screen it could talk to. But batteries and connectviity will need to be better first I think.

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Re: What about the following options?

4) Can someone wake me up in a month when all this palava has died away and the Apple Watch it is being flogged for $50 on Ebay.

You truly don't understand this Apple lark do you? At launch there is much coverage of the excitement, the first reviews, and how much coverage it's getting. Then speculation on whether the forum complaints mean that we have ANTENNAGATE 2! Then we've got the how good is it really, after a few weeks. Then how many have been sold - is it a success or failure? But after a few months, things don't die down, because THEN WE GET THE SPECULATION ON WHAT'S GOING TO BE IN THE POSSIBLE NEW RELEASE!!!!! AARRGGHHH!!!!!!!!

Then, after about 9 months, you get the speculation on when the date of the next release will be. Then you get the reveal that Apple have booked their favourite hall, which means we get the speculation on how they're going to send out the invitations.

Then a whole new round of speculation on what's going to be in it - now really tenuously based on reports from test manufacture in Taiwan and Shenzen. Then the speculation on whether it will be released after the Apple presser, or we'll have to wait until after Christmas. Then the exciting launch. Then the coverage of the queues, the first reviews, the unboxings, the coverage.

AND SO ON FOREVVVVVVEEEEERRRRRRR................

I quite enjoyed the speculation on the original iPad. I found a bunch of my old posts on it the other day, and was rather pleased to see how much I guessed right as well. But oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What a monster we have created. Still it keeps the journalists occupied I suppose.

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Bone-tastic boffins' breakthrough BRINGS BACK BRONTOSAURUS

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Happy

Re: Not what I expected...from the headline.

Well when you can't get brontosaurus, there's always the much nicer porcuswine burger...

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Deep-fried cheesy Hungarian

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Happy

Re: "bacon is called the "duct tape of food" by many"

If you're bacon is sticky enough to repair rally cars - or hang spotlights with missing safety chains (ahem!) - then you're doing it really very wrong indeed...

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This one weird trick deletes any YouTube flick in just a few clicks

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Google are the company that bid Pi billion dollars for a bunch of patents a couple of years ago...

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

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Linux

I think you'll find that's PENGUINZILLA!!!!

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Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify

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Re: Badger surveyor

Do badger surveyors also have to count mushrooms and snakes?

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Forum chat is like Clarkson punching you repeatedly in the face

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Re: Pastures New.

Apparently the Beeb didn't sack him, as his contract runs out sometime in early April, and they haven't signed new ones yet. So nope, there was no reason for anyone to find an excuse. Either side could have decided not to renew. The fact that they'd left it so late to re-sign suggests that at least one side had doubts about doing it again.

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Re: @AC"5hrs" (whatever that means, ElReg)was: Welcome to my world, Mr. Dabbs.

My first proper laptop was an Amstrad 640DD

Bloakey1,

I wasn't aware that you could get mutant laptops with enormous cleavages back in the 80s. Truly it was an amazing decade.

With only ascii porn available online, I'd thought the 80s was all about typing 80087355 on calculators, and turning them upside down...

I guess this explains why you mentioned onanism in your post. Is that why you require a winsock the size of a trumpet when using your Apple laptop?

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700,000 beautiful women do the bidding of one Twitter-scamming man

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Devil

Re: An environmental catastrophe

The El Reg comments forums are a vital service to humanity! Keeping potential serial killers off the streets...

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Re: My first ever post...

Cures piles and even gets you a husband,

I signed up, my piles turned to solid gold, and now I'm married to a man called John.

Admittedly I wanted to marry a woman, but you can't have everything...

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Re: Agree, but ...

I prefer the raw chicken diet. Just eat one raw chicken breast a day, and the weight will fall off you...

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A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

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45RPM,

Fair enough. I agree.

This is an excellent cause. You've already done it, and don't fancy the culianary boredom again. Well you don't need your awareness being raised. I'm going to have a go this year, so you don't have to.

I'm also going to try my best to "show off" a bit by having an interesting variety of different niceness to eat on my £5 - but that's just for my own personal amusement. As TW says, the £5 should really be covering everything - but then I don't think the bank will let me pay just £1 towards my mortgage that week...

I was chatting about it this lunctime, as I blew more than my week's £5 on some prawns and noodles, that the posh coffee machine at work is 50p a cup.

We're just so lucky to have all this stuff available. Tonight I'm going to have a lovely salad of peppers, cucumber, rocket, cress and cherry tomatoes. But if I don't fancy that, there's bacon and eggs in the fridge or stuff in the freezer. All while sat in a nice comfy flat with an iPad to faff around with, and a world's worth of enteratinment at my fingertips. And Eastenders... (Should I ever be feeling too happy.) And I can afford all this variety of grub, for a relatively small percentage of my salary.

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Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

Good heavens, someone's rattled you cage today.

Chris W,

Indeedy. And every day. Certain people in politics, often on the left but not exclusively, like to try to lay claim to the moral high ground. It is very annoying. I choose to challenge it. It's often used as a device to close down debate on topics they don't like. Or to try and win the debate by painting the opposition as 'nasty'. I think they should grow up, and try to win the debate by showing their ideas will work better than the oppositions'.

So I defend UKIP, even though I don't like populism or single-issue parties, because they have some valid points to debate, that have been pushed aside too often. And a right to make their point without being shouted down. I defend politicians (and politics in general) from lazy, childish faux-worldly-wise-cynicism pretending to be wisdom, about them "all being the same/corrupt/whatever". And I hope thereby to improve the quality of the discussion.

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Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

Economists fix the world?! I've not laughed so hard in ages. Where were all the economists predicting the recent global economic crash, or 'fixing it' by stopping it from happening in the first place.

There were plenty of economists predicting that the last boom would end in a big crash. But then there's a saying, "economists have predicted twenty of the country's last two recessions"...

However some did. If you were reading The Economist any time after the late 90s, they were talking about how the imbalances in the global economy were causing problems. And how China (and the rest of East Asia to a lesser extent) were recycling their growing export surpluses into the Western capial markets. This was leading to an asset price boom and also lower interest rates. The "price of money" being artificially reduced would therefore lead to mis-investment, and inefficient use of capital. Of course calling the problem doesn't tell you when the disaster will actually kick off, or what form it will take when it does.

But there were plenty of voices saying that European and US governments were spending too much during the boom (or at least not taxing as much as they spent), and that consumers and companies were taking on too much debt.

This problem is now easing off thankfully. China's balance of payments is becoming more balanced, the drop in oil price means that OPEC and the Russians are now going to have to spend some of the money they made in the boom times, and hopefully that will rebalance the global economy somewhat.

Also, give economics some credit. It predicted that the Eurzone wouldn't work (to much derision at the time). Turned out that was correct. Our understanding of how economics works is far from perfect, but it does at least act as a guide.

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Happy

Re: Oy, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

It's not called the Pease Pudding Porridge Posse you know?

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Devil

dogged,

I know. It's rediculous that people keep spelling lose* incorrectly.

* Incidentally I just had a pop-up from my Samsung printer driver this morning about what to do if my printer looses connection... Aaargh!

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Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

I think the reason people get so angry at your articles is that it's economics without compassion

How the fuck do you know that? What gives you the right to ascribe motives to other people?

Political debate would be a lot easier if people would start from the idea that other people are reasonably decent and trying to come to the best solution - even if they disagree on methods. You can start to make the case that somone's motives are amoral, immoral or even evil - when you have some actual evidence to back that up.

Economics is only ever going to be a blunt instrument anyway. It's not very good at looking at individual cases, because it's not very precise. It's hard enough just guesstimating GDP levels from 4-6 months previously, let alone working out the effects on individual members of society.

We'll never have a perfect benefits system that treats everybody equally and gets them what they're entitled to. Because all our systems are imperfect, because they're run by people. Even if we had a perfect system, that was fair, generous and properly run, we'd still then have to deal with the people claiming from it. Some of them are likely to be greedy, foolish or just accident prone (also being people) - so even after being helped perfectly., might still end up in a worse situation. I've known people to do really self-destructive and stupid things, and I've known parents to act incredibly irresponsibly and fail in their duty to their children.

We spend something like £2,000 per person per year on healthcare in this country. A kid born today has got a life expectancy of close to 100, so we've basically got a government insurance policy that is worth £200k for each of us. Add to that a promise of various benefits, including unemployment insurance, housing benefit and pensions. What's the basic pension now £6k for every year over 67? So that's another £200k of pension to add to the £200k of healthcare - and the other stuff you might be lucky enough not to use, and free education for your kids - and whatever the costs of the fire brigade and police would be. We have a minimum wage of £13k a year, and a national median wage of about £25k. Tell me again we're not one of the richest places there's ever been?

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Re: Free market nut stew

To our anonymous friend,

You'll find that most free market economists will talk about market failures. Government has the job of dealing with these areas.

For example, a free market can't function properly without the rule of law. Otherwise you make a profit, and some bugger nicks it, so you stop investing. So by definition you can't have a truly free market without a government. And I've not seen any free market economist try to dispute that. Whatever the caricatures you may see made of the arguments. Stopping monopolies, making companies pay for pollution etc. are other cases in point.

In the case of the El Reg Nosh Posse, we're raising money for Malaria no more. Poor people who are also ill will struggle to improve their own lives. Poor people who have died obviously have no hope. So as well as the basic humanitarian reasons for wanting to help people avoid malaria, helping poorer people with basic healthcare should give them a better chance to farm or earn, a better chance to get a decent diet, and maybe more free resources to educate their kids, and/or get a business going that can allow them to help themselves.

I remember reading lots of stuff ten years ago about how Western governments should stop targetting their aid cash at infrastructure projects, and push it into improving healthcare. The drop in child mortality and illness would be both a good thing in itself, and also help people to sort out their own economies in their own ways. Drops in child mortality and the growth in the young end of the population also tend to lead to growth in the economy - when those extra kids grow up and start working.

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I don't quite agree with you on politics be damned. One of the points that Tim Worstall has made in several of his articles is that not only are we in the developed world immensely rich, by both relative and historical standards. But also that globalisation has made a few billion people also immensely rich by relative and historical standards.

I think this is an important thing to chuck into the current political debate. There's various arguments on when it happened, but wage growth for the ordinary working person has recently stalled. I don't think it's a new permanent thing, but you could argue that it kicked in sometime in the middle of the last boom. Or there's an argument, for the US/UK, that purchasing power growth petered out some time in the 90s because of rocketing housing costs (more the UK), and soaring healthcare costs in the States.

Globalisation has chucked an awful lot of money into the Chinese economy in particular, also the rest of Asia, South America and quite a lot of African economies have been doing pretty well too. Much better than was previously thought, now that people have gone back and looked properly (partly becasue governments in Africa weren't spending enough money on their statistical offices).

So one thing that this might be telling us is that aid is less useful than trade. Which then leads to another political discussion. We've increased the global workforce, and therefore outsourced quite a lot of jobs, and that's made a lot of our stuff cheaper. Although has also hit wages. This has happened with industry and services. But we're still protecting our agricultural sectors, with lots of subsidies, tariffs and trade barriers. Even though agriculture is likely to be a way that the very poorest can get a chance of starting to improve their lives.

So how many more people's lives in the developing world could we improve if we traded fairly with them in agriculture too? In the EU we use the Common Agricultural Policy to increase the food prices to our consumers in order to enrich our farmers (and impoverish farmers in Africa). If we feel we need to protect our rural economies, might it not be better to have fair trade, drop the tariffs and therefore our food prices. And then use taxation to deal with the rural issues. Theoretically it should be possible to make almost everyone better off, and nobody worse off, if done right.

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FAA speeds up drone flight approvals for firms that don't need them

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Happy

What is this raccoon flight of which El Reg speaks?

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El Reg reforms the Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse

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Re: Easy

Neil Barnes,

I believe the secret to lack of available fruit to make cheap hooch is cheap apple juice. That gives you cheap cider. Which you can then distill, should the mood take you...

I'll have a pint of your finest scumble please barman.

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