* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3854 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Pop starlet Taylor Swift DUMPS Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Seems Reasonable

Ralph B,

That argument is total bollocks.

If artists are only getting pennies per thousand songs played from Spotify, then it's pretty much impossible to make up the profit from an album sale in per-play fees.

It's just basic maths. If I buy an album, and the artist gets £1. That means I'd have to listen to their songs 100,000 times, in order for them to make the same cash. That also negates them having the chance of selling me 2 albums, if all their stuff's on spotify.

100,000 tunes x 3 minutes / 60 mins / 24 hrs = 208.3 days of solid listening to pay them back. 312 days if I'm allowed 8 hours of sleep...

That's also not including other costs. Obviously record companies take their pound of flesh from a CD sale. Nice profits. Cocaine and hookers for the execs. But they've also got to pay marketing, photographers, people to organise the band's website, studio time.

I don't know if the writers and producers get their cash out of the artist's cut or the record companies'. But someone's got to pay it.

It looks like Spotify doesn't pay.

Maybe artists will switch all their effort to live gigs. Release enough records to get known, then just tour. But if that happens, the quality of recorded music is likely to drop. And I can listen to far more recorded music than I have time to get to gigs. Plus bands won't come to my house to play while I'm cooking dinner, or entertaining friends. Selfish gits!

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Re: Consumer or supplier

I think the answer is that Spotify is too cheap. But maybe that's all the cash consumers are willing to part with for it as a service?

Of course this does depend on how much cash Spotify keeps for itself and how much it's passing on to artists. i.e. Are they profiteering? Or are they just making bugger-all cash for everyone?

I'm sure the big name multi-millionaires will be OK, whatever happens. But it's the next level of artist who might really suffer.

If society wants to have a decent number of good professional musicians, of varying types, then we're going to have to pay them in some way. How that's organised is obviously up for grabs. But people definitely do want music. People will definitely pay for music. They have been for years. What may happen is a sudden collapse in the industry, due to too many people free-loading. But in the end we'll probably reach some sort of balance where we get what we pay for, and we decide how much that is.

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Nexus 9: Google and HTC deliver Android 5.0 'Lollipop' at iPad prices

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Happy

One of our longest releases in its 24-bit FLAC version (a Wagner opera) takes up 2.6GB.

Proof that the Teutonic reputation for brutality is well founded. Their operas last three or four days, and they have no word for fluffy.

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I've got an iPad 3, 64GB. I've got 4GB spare.

Sure, I could go through and prune out stuff to keep memory free, and maybe with lots of work have got away with a 32GB one, but why should I have to? It's bad enough that Apple take the piss on storage prices, at least they have the "honest" motive of grabbing as much filthy lucre as possible.

Google's war against storage is just bizarre. I'm not going to use Google services any less, just because they allow me to store my music on my tablet!

That's just content. I could set up some kind of home sharing for that. But I have a bluetooth speaker in the bedroom and a CD player in the sitting rooom with a USB dock. So I'd have to upgrade both of those, or use a tablet/phone/iPod anyway.

So I've got 25GB of audio. 2GB of photos. That's not to mention the gigabytes of podcasts that live on my iPod. I might want to put them on my tablet? Then we add in the apps. OK they do need a clear-out, there's some I've not used for ages, but looked useful. Then comes the games. Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 are 3.5GB! The 2 Lego apps I put on there for my nephews are 1GB each. 500MB for the CBeebies app. I've got about 10 games that I like on there, each at 1GB. I could rotate them on and off as they get used. Again, why should I, storage is cheap. Or should be.

Finally we come to video. There's none on there, that does get streamed. But next time I go on a long journey, I'll probably do some BBC iPlayer downloads, maybe even an NFL game or rent something from iTunes? That needs lots of space.

I want storage. My tablet gets used offline all the time. I won't buy a tablet that doesn't have a decent amount of it. Google need to get over themselves and realise that not everyone goes to work on a free company bus, with free company WiFi.

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How's the great dot-thing gold rush going? Well, coffee.club just sold for $100,000

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Happy

I'd like to register: ifyoulikealotofchocolateonyourbiscuitjoinour.club

Is that available?

We've just had the email through offering us .xyz, from our usual registrar. At least they seem to be charging normal prices - altough I'm not interested.

But I'm confused by the other new gTLDs. They're all charging silly money, like £30 a year, some even more. And yet all they're offering me is dot.crap. I can get a dot.com for a quarter of what they're charging.

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Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'UNLOCKED tailbooms' going through SOUND BARRIER

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Re: Why are these guys even in charge?

Destroy all Monsters,

You seem to be under the misapprehension that this is easy. It isn't. Air safety isn't just about making sure the wings don't fall off. It's also about making sure the maintenance department do their job properly, the pilots are correctly trained and that obvious stuff doesn't get missed when things get stressful.

Air satefy has moved into the realms of trying to explain all the reasons why the accident happened, both human and mechanical, then changing all the aspects of the industry necessary to stop it happening again.

Planes have been lost for all sorts of trivially stupid reasons. In many cases there's a combination of several sets of mechanical and/or human errors that lead to a crash. Perhaps an un-recognised design flaw happens to coincide with a maintenance error on a flight where the pilots are tired, miss the signs and it all goes wrong.

Sometimes the solution is simply to add a line or two to a checklist, or to change training methods. Sometimes it's to alter the controls to be less confusing to pilots under stress. Sometimes it requires a change to maintenance regimes. Others it requires the whole aircraft be redeisgned, and modifications done to all existing models.

That's all done by an outside body, in cooperation with the manufacturer and operator. Partly to check up that they're not making basic errors, or worse covering up. But also because investigating accidents is hard, and so you need an experienced body of people to do it.

So we probably know that the tail deployed. But we need to ask why. Perhaps something weird happened. Or the controls are badly designed. Perhaps a sudden jolt of turbulence too strong for the tail to remain in correct position, once unlocked? Or maybe the craft had a pressurisation problem and the pilots were suffering from anoxia, and so making mistakes, that can be an insidious problem. Or something else entirely.

Don't knock the culture in aviation of independent safety inspections. It is one of the safest forms of travel. And the only one I can think of that beats it is rail, which also has independent accident investigation boards.

The idea is not to blame people for errors that are inevitable. But to try to improve methods of working so that these errors don't occur again. Sadly we then find different ways of screwing-up...

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Re: When can we see the apologies?

Chris Miller,

There's nothing wrong with honest speculation. But rolling out the supposed 'experts' to say that we've been warning all the time against your rocket motors, within hours of an unexplained crash is unacceptable.

There's nothing wrong with saying that such warnings were issues. So long as you make it clear that the cause is unknown. And also make it clear that engine explosions aren't the only reason planes crash. An airframe can only take a certain amount of stress, and can catastrophically fail at those kinds of speeds, if something goes wrong. As appears to have happened here.

The articles in the Guardian and Telegraph that I read were clearly trying to insinuate that Virgin and Scaled Composites were taking huge risks, that they'd been warned against, and doing it anyway. And using experts I've not heard of to back themselves up, while not explaining who those people were, or what their standing was. As against Scaled Composites.

As it turns out, the engines don't look to be to blame. Not that this still might not be down to negligence, or rushing to meet a deadline. But perhaps some evidence might be in order first?

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Re: Why are these guys even in charge?

Erm, sorry, what point are you trying to make? I can't make head-nor-tail of your post.

The safety board have come out and said that they've found the engine and fuel tanks roughly intact. So an engine explosion is unlikely. But that the first look at the telemetry suggests the tail moved into its re-entry configuration while the rocket was still firing. The cockpit video shows the co-pilot unlocked the tail controls, but didn't command it's deployment.

So the initial guess might be that the craft broke up due to aerodynamic forces it wasn't designed to cope with. But there's still loads to look at. Is the telemetry correct, did the tail deploy? Was there a problem with controls, software or maintenance? Does design need to be changed, so the tail can't be deployed by mistake? Or is this just a co-incidence, and something else happened?

So they'll try to correlate the telemetry with the configuration of the pieces they pick up from the ground. Then try and work out what was going on from that. They'll have tons of information to go through. Telemetry, physical examination of the wreck, manufacturing logs, maintenance logs (I guess roughly the same as this is the only prototype), whatever recorders the craft carried itself, and tons of other stuff.

It is rocket science.

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Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

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Re: Cheap dig

How come we lock up paedos then?

boltar,

We lock up paedos because you cannot have consensual sex with someone unable to legally give that consent. So even if that was a legitimate sexual orientation, as some people have argued, exercising it is automatically going to be illegal. It's also illegal to look at child-sex materials, because these have also been created without the necessary consent.

If you can't see the difference between this and the activities of consenting adults, then you need to go back and think about your opinions again properly.

As for homosexuality being normal, well define normal. It's a minority pursuit. But it's been with us for pretty much all of recorded history, and seems to be standard practise in lots of the large primates. So people can't exactly say it comes as a surprise...

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Would you recognise the Vans shoes logo? Neither would Euro trademark bods

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It appears "skate shoes" are for people who would like to go surfing but can't swim

Or it could be they're afraid of sharks...

Alternatively they've read 'Snow Crash', and are just waiting for someone to invent the portable magnetic harpoon, before going traffic surfing at ludicrous speeds.

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Devil

Whilst I prefer the ones with the roll of carpet, shovel, quickline and gaffer tape.

Thinks: I did tick anonymouse didn't I?

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Apple Watch buyers will feel 'different' after being 'serviced' in spring 2015

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I've bought you this overpriced Chinese-made gizmo that that will be unsupported and worthless in three years'

This worries me, about the Apple Watch. Not that they'll be binned after a bit, that's just a sad reflection on current consumerism. Not good for the environment and all that.

But there's a gold one. According to Apple's website it's solid gold, rather than plated. Which is by definition going to be obsolote, and even if it could be continually updated for ten years, it's got a built-in battery that'll stop working.

So are Apple about to branch out into Cash-m-iGold?

Or are they going to sell millions a year until world gold stocks are exhausted and Fort Knox is empty?

I predict that in 2030 a company will launch who's purpose is to mine old sock drawers...

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Pro-ISIS script kiddies deface West Yorkshire egg-chasers' site

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Happy

Massive miscalculation

It's all very well getting to paradise, ready to enjoy your 72 virgins. But it's not going to be much fun if a bunch of muscly lads with northern accents are kicking the shit out of you for buggering up their website...

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Google’s dot-com forget-me-not bomb: EU court still aiming at giant

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Re: Google goes into Kevin the Teenager Mode

Censoring of search results is the realm of Beijing or Moscow rather than somewhere that values free media.

Adam 1,

Sorry, but this argument is total bollocks. The old slippery slope argument.

Censoring search results in a minor way in order to protect individuals may or may not be the right legal decision. But it's far from state control of all media. If voters fall asleep at the wheel, perhaps it'll lead to such, if they also happen to elect politicians who want to start a dictatorship, with optional reign of terror. But so far we don't have those politicians. Or the electorate to vote for them. And anyway this judgement came from the courts, not the politicians.

It's an attempt to balance the freedom of the individual, with the right to information of society, and the rights of companies to make profits. It's obviously attempting to address the reality that individuals can't realistically issue take-down notices to every website, and so tries to short-cut the system by hitting the search engines. Whether it'll work is yet to be seen. Whether it's a good idea is up for debate. But whether it's going to lead to dictatorship is an easy one to answer - no it won't.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Spartacus

Reread my comment. I did not suggest that they could avoid compliance by blocking their IP range. There is no inherent contradiction between compliance with the law and choosing who wish to offer your services to.

Adam 1,

This is true. However your comment did have the whiff of the Kevin the teenager "it's not fair" about it. Something I often see in commentary on legal disputes between internet companies and the law. And sometimes those comments come from the internet companies' bosses themselves...

There's obviously a lack of trust in politics at the moment. Which puts lawmakers at a PR disadvantage. Also, I don't think society has yet fully decided what the internet is for, and therefore what should be allowed and what should be banned. We're still in the internet wild west phase. Things are changing much too quickly for society, law or politics to keep up.

There's also a lot of utopianism out there. The kind that leads people to say things like, "information wants to be free", or "the internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it". That was all very well when the internet was young, full of academics and a small group of relatively well-off young-ish people. But the internet is big business now. And everyone can be on it. Which means crooks, children, little old ladies, global mega-corps, teenagers, advertising account executives, the whole lot. Will people put up with it being a total free-for-all? I doubt it. Will people demand regulation? I'm sure. Will other people complain about that regulation? That's politics. But the penalties of going mainstream are that the whole of society takes an interest, and then everyone wants their pound of flesh.

Finally, I find it hard to feel sympathy for Google. I don't understand the free-ride that some people seem to give them. Here we have a corporation that makes $10 billion a year. And yet their attitude to the law sometimes seems to be that it doesn't apply to us because... Internet. Like it's a magic word.

They've done lots of things that are good for society. And been well financially rewarded for it. The system has broadly worked in that sense. But their actions have had consequences. Some of those just to competitors. But sometimes effects on real people's privacy. Those people may need some kind of protection. Balancing the competing needs of different groups in society is what politics and the law are about. This whole area of law is going to be a problem for years.

For example, what are we going to do about the millions of teened kids who've posted compromising stuff on the internet, when they come to apply for jobs? Are we going to condemn them to have blighted careers so Facebook and Google can continue to have an easy life? Or are we going to ban companies from looking online when they hire? Those are the 3 choices I can see being available. Now in 20 years, this may be a moot point. Many HR people will have their own compromising pictures in their own past, and probably won't care. But HR people now aren't from that generation, and so didn't grow up with the internet - so their attitudes may not be so generous. That could leave us with a potentially huge social problem that either employers, the internet giants or governments will have to solve. So far the internet giants' attitude seems to be, we've got all your data and it's now ours to do with as we please. I can't see that lasting forever. If they don't cut back on the levels of hubris, then I foresee a painful reckoning, either with the politicians, the customers, or both.

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Re: Geo-location?

If I was Google I would drop all connections from ECJ offices in protest. Or pummel them with random massive streams of data through JavaScript to fill their pipe.

Or, I dunno, Google could just obey the law? Like the rest of us have to.

They're perfectly entitled to lobby to get it changed. Also like the rest of us. The difference being they've got squillions of dollars, and a big old collection of media and academic cheerleaders to back them (not all of whom they pay for themselves).

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Re: European ruling

In the end, you follow the money. The EU can easily rule on what happens under European domains. In the end, if some foreign company ignores your jurisdiction, you take their domain away. As that is within range of your courts.

At the other extreme, a company operating entirely outside of your jurisdiction and using a foreign domain is pretty hard to get at.

But the EU is a huge market of 500 million people. And Google makes much money selling advertising to companies that want to reach them. Many of these companies are in Europe. So there's a nice revenue stream for the legislators and courts to get at. Also Google employs many people here.

So Google is perfectly happy to ignore North Korea's instructions on what websites it can link to. There's no money or corporate presence. They pulled out of mainland China, to avoid the hassle of censorship. But China doesn't tell them what to put on Google.com, they simply (try to) block it at the border. Their leverage was limited, because Google didn't make that much cash in China.

In Europe, Google makes tens of billions a year. So it'll pay more taxes if it has to, and it'll comply with laws it doesn't like, if it's forced to. Because there's gold in them thar hills.

I guess the compromise may be that Google are forced to have a European version of their .com to go with their country specific domains. Which means you can get round it with a non-EU proxy.

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Me GIVE you $14 SQUILLION gadziddly-DILLION

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So I'm not the only one then

Rather than bulk deleting spam, I still find myself picking out the odd interesting nugget. I put it down to incurable nosiness.

So many of them are so boring and professional nowadays. It's rather disappointing. Just subject line of please see invoice, and then a nasty attachment. Where's the panache in that?

Whereas nothing can beat the emphasis that capital letters bring to a grammatically incorrect, appallingly spelled missive. Not just $10,000,000, or even ten million dollars. No, that's not exciting. Who would be attracted by something so boring and businesslike as that? But TEN MILLION DOLLARS just shouts MONEY!!!!

I carefully kept a favourite spam message for months. It was your bog standard nasty attachment, with a small paragraph to persuade you to open it. But amusingly they fell into the trap that so many of us have, they'd forgotten to attach the attachment. I wonder how many million they sent out, before they noticed?

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Samsung launches 'perfect pair' of skinny mid-range phones

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Re: Serious omission there

I'm a bit worried by Rear-cam Selfie mode. Particularly if it's combined with Wide Selfie. Put that with MPs, and you could be talking Eric Pickles...

Is the internet really ready for that?

I'm hoping that Palm Selfie is for getting the perfect shot of you, on a tropical beach. But I'm fearing that it's more for getting every hair in focus on all five knuckles, as they shuffle.

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So long, thanks for all the ...er, FISH BRIGHTER than boffins thought

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Re: Re:

Whilst all the fish have ever done, is swimming around in the ocean having a good time.

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Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

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Re: A bit crowded on the Pad

Well why go to the expense of putting up permanent buildings there?

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Happy

Re: Explosive Economisation

Or you could reverse it, and say that Orbital got more buck for their bang...

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Happy

That's why the cow jumped over the moon.

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Re: Wallops is out of action

But what a picture. What a photograph.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

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Re: Someone

Nah, I think you go downvoted for clicking on a headline that you obviously didn't care about, then presumably reading the story you didn't care about, then clicking on comments on an article you didn't care about, then typing and posting a comment to tell us that you didn't care about it, then clicking back on that comment to see if you'd been downvoted then coming back to the article to post about how you'd been downvoted for saying that you didn't care about the thing that you'd posted about...

That's an awful lot of not caring.

Plus you also forgot the first rule of downvote club. Don't talk about downvotes.

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UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching

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Re: Stupid patching!

That's not how recent Flash versions auto update. Maybe the computer was really really out of date ?

Tom Chiverton,

Nope. My work and personal computers are always up-to-date. And on both I have to manually install Flash updates. As someone else said, it may be that not all releases require this, only point releases. So I'm not noticing when it works properly in the background, only when it upgrades to a new version.

However, even this is crap behaviour - because I'm not aware of any reason to be holding out on old versions of Flash. Unlike with Java.

Fortunately almost no-one who doesn't have a professional IT department needs Java anymore. So I can kill it with no problems. Although I believe there are countries where it's a requirement to use online banking. Which must make people feel oh so secure...

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FAIL

Stupid patching!

I really hate the way that Java, Flash and PDF do their updates. On all of them, you tick the box saying automatically update. And all this does is auto-download the update, then stick a little badge in the notification area that you then have to click on to manually run the damned patch. Just leaving them there doesn't ever seem to force them to run. Certainly whenever I go to fix a friend's PC, the first things I notice are the patches hanging around in their system tray. At least I can uninstall Java most of the time.

Why can't the bastards have proper patching? Other programs seem to manage it. It's not like they haven't got permission. Their setup checkboxes actually say they'll auto-install. And if they're worried, they could give the option that Windows Update does, of auto-install, or auto-download.

Flash is the worst. They put an auto-updater in, but all it seems to be is a link to their website. You click on the bugger, and it downloads the package for the latest version - which you then install as normal. Surely it's not rocket science?

Useless buggers!

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IT JOB OUTSOURCING: Will it ever END?

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Re: Perhaps sooner for IT.

I had planned to retire by 50, but successive governments have raided my pension and changed the law such that I must now work an extra 7 years, with nobody providing input on how I should be expected to make that happen with all the offshoring and agism that's rife.

Remember that social change is slow. When I was born in the early 70s, the average bloke was expected to live to about 76. So they'd be retired for 10 years. Now, forty years later, the average bloke from my cohort is expected to reach their mid 90s. That's an extra twenty years of life expectancy just magically appeared. And the expected pension has gone from 10 to 30 years!

Society just isn't good at coping with massively disruptive changes like this. And people don't want politicians who say, "you're going to have to work 10-15 years longer or double your pension savings". They want politicians who are going to pay for the pensions they feel they've earned.

It's going to be very difficult to earn enough in a 45 year career to pay for a pension that's getting increasingly close to the same length of time. But we all grew up with the expectations that our parents' generation had about life. And so we have struggled to change what we grew up "knowing" about when we should retire, and when people get "old". Hence we still seem to be stuck with this bizarre ageism, at the same time that we're all thinking we're going to have to work until we're older, and we've supposedly got shortages of young people to keep the economy running. The obvious answer being employ and train people who are older, as they're going to live, and be healthy, longer.

How long until society catches up? Attitudes have barely changed in my experience. Yet these demographic changes are huge. I guess it's because people don't talk about this sort of long-term stuff much.

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Facepalm

Re: After last week...

John Sanders,

Which word?

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Re: Relative

Tim,

I don't see the problem with oxidisation. So your statue turns a nice pink colour. Lovely.

Obviously the price is a bit more of an issue. But if you're going to be the global scandium monopolist, then you need to make a dramatic gesture. Lowering the price might create more demand, so it's up to you to go and find more sources of the stuff. Then turn it into a nice statue, laugh your diabolical laugh... Profit.

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Re: Development is Uneven

thames,

Africa is getting much richer already. For example quite a few countries haven't employed sufficient economists. So they've been guessing their GDP based on surveying a few big companies, and then guessing the rest. This was based on the idea of having this level of subsistence agriculture that only supported limited services, and basically hadn't changed much in years/decades/centuries. Several countries have now re-assessed this, Nigeria being one big example, and discovered that they now have a lot more trade going on than they thought.

For example lots of goods (sometimes second hand from the West) like clothes and mobile phones now get right to even the remotest villages. This is why whenever you see documentaries that take cameras into the middle of rainforests, loads of people are wearing the same Chinese, Vietnamese and Banglasdeshi made tshirts as everyone else in the world.

Globalisation is still going. Not that it won't be a bumpy ride. If the next door country suddenly becomes rich, and your repressive government is seen not to be letting you join the party, then revolution looks attractive. But revolution doesn't always lead to a better government. The French are on their 5th Republic, plus having had 3 Empires and an ancien regime - all since the 1780s. Just going from memory, they went through serveral revolutions and 15 different constitutions between 1789 and 1870.

On the other hand, only a few countries have managed to jump into the "1st World" camp in the last 50 years. Not that anyone calls it that anymore. Lots have got into the middle-income group though. Which is a much nicer place to be than the other alternative. It'll be interesting to see if globalisation will improve things for them, or leave them where they are. Countries like Chile, Brazil, Argentina (who are the only one I can think of to drop out of the top group last century), Thailand etc.

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Re: Transport costs

Remember that Germany is the world's second biggest exporter of stuff, and yet has some of the highest environmental and employment standards.

I suspect that economies of scale and the network effects of having an industry in once place, and therefore support services, hit the law of diminishing returns at a certain point. So any reasonably sized industry is able to have more than one base of operations, without much loss in efficiency.

The relevant factors are changing so fast that it's hard to keep track. Cost of dealing with difficult governments, wages, transport, environmental standards, availability of sufficiently educated staff etc.

Remember though that not everything is transported. People always sneer at the services sector. I guess because they think of waiters and call centres. But services can also be incredibly high value. I speak to building design people in the Middle East all the time, even though our company is based in South East England. This is because most of their architecture and building engineering is done by British and American companies. They've even outsoursed the building regulations. I don't think the Saudis or UAE even bother with building regs, they simply specify on the contract that the building conform to US or UK regs, depending on the company that gets the job. To my eternal shame, I did some of the design for one the Eurovision venues...

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Remember the caveat on equalisation was that it would be more like pre-industrial revolution equality. Where no part of the world was more than say 5 times better off than any other. As opposed to the 50 times that happened over the preceeding couple of centuries.

This rought equality might mean the average wage in every country being no lower than say $5k - $10k, in today's prices. Which is achieveable much more easily than getting every country in the world up to Western standards of living. That's what, Western living standards from the 50s and 60s?

At which point transport and set-up costs come into things at least as much as wage costs. But specialisation is likely to happen, at least in some industries. Take Silicon Valley for example. Wages can be incredibly high there, even compared to just moving down the road within California, or to another state. But there's an infrastructure of universities, lawyers, venture capitalists and specialist services. Plus people who've done it before, and an expectation that you can start your own company. Or London and insurance. Or Malaysia and hard disk manufacture.

It doesn't mean you'll necessarily end up with just one place in the whole world where an industry specialises. But it might be just a few areas, and so everyone else will outsource to one of those.

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Happy

Re: Relative

Tim,

Couldn't you at least have had a statue of yourself made out of scandium...

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BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

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Happy

Re: DARK STAR

Surely you just cut a hole in the side of the station (or open a window?), and stick your rear end into the vacuum of space. Then your bottom will come back in pristine, clean and smooth as a baby's.

No need for space toilets, or space loo-roll.

Can I have my Nobel Prize now please?

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China lunar mission readies for return to Earth

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Happy

Re: Probably fake

Don't be silly! Of course the moon exists.

It's just that there was a huge explosion in 1999 - that sent it hurtling through space. And the government has been covering this up ever since.

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Amazon hopes FIRE STICK will light up its video service

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Re: I loaded the PS3 Amazon player the other day.

Can't you sign up for a month's free trial of Prime, and then cancel after you've watched the show?

I've had at least 2 free trials of Prime over the years, when it was just cheap postage, and Amazon have offered it to me again this year.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I was rather impressed with Google Chromecast. I needed a quick and dirty solution to watch American Football, as my brother was coming over. I could have lugged the computer over to the sitting room, but I also want to watch iPlayer on it. I used to have Sky, but cancelled. Now I have a Chromcast button on the BBC iPlayer app on my iPad. Access to Netflix, should I choose to sign up plus YouTube and other things, should I care.

The NFL Gamepass app doesn't yet support Chromecast, so it was a quick walk to the office, bung on the PC, launch the video player, tell Chrome to turn it back into a normal browser window by right-clicking, and there was the chromcast button. I admit that's not the best, and some proper old-schook standing up from your chair, instead of a remote control. But I could have set up the tablet for RDP, if I hadn't been hitting the margaritas with my mexican (yum).

One of the faults, back when I read the first reviews of Chromecast, was how limited it was. I'm sure that's still the case, but when the NFL turned out to have not got round to supporting it, like they'd promised, it was a matter of a few minutes to get the PC to do the job instead. I'm impressed. Especially for a £30 gadget.

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Arrrr GOSH! Argos website goes titsup to make it EVEN BETTER

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Re: Seriously?

When the invisible man's sleepin' in your bed - Who ya gonna call?

And how are they gonna get there, if they're unable to buy their Ghostbusters costume from Argos?

This are events of earth-shattering importance!

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Painfully trendy: Someone just spent $200k on ebola.com

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Devil

I've paid for the site. I've decided it's time to join the online gambling boom. Poker is passe, roulette is silly, what we need is a new online game.

I propose Tombola!

Now I can't trademark that. So my online tombola is of course called an ebola. How was I to know that I'd suddenly get all this competition for my trademark? Can I sue a virus?

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iPad Air 2: Vulture chews on new Apple tablet

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phuzz,

Are there any grandchildren?

I've just had a look at the memory on my (rather full) 64GB version. I've got some chunky games on there, taking up around 1GB each. I was just looking at the 3.5GB that Baldur's Gate wants the other day! But my guess was correct. The Lego Star Wars and Lego City game are 1GB each. And another 500MB for the CBeebies app. So a few grandchildren playing with it might easily knock out 1-5 GB.

In which case, don't forget the photos. Still a couple of gig of photos and another couple of games, still doesn't get anywhere close to 12. I've got 22GB of music on mine, which is the biggest memory hog.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

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Re: I disagree @ Spartacus

That is true. It seems increasingly common in tech stocks to have massive amounts of the voting stock, concentrated in very few hands. So for example Zuckerberg held 51% of the voting stock, with only 10% of the total stock. A mis-match that I believe isn't allowed under the London Stock Exchange listing rules. This gives him total control of the company, for only 10% of the risk - and is another good reason not to own FB stock. I know nothing about the Amazon structure.

As you say, just because a whole bunch of shareholders want something, doesn't mean they can get it. Even if each share had equal votes.

However, once you've pissed off a bunch of major shareholders they can start making life awkward. Particularly if they can force representation on the board. And in the long run the people with the majority of voting shares get to decide who's on the board, and how much they get paid.

The moral and legal obligations change when you sell shares. It's no longer your money. It's no longer your company. There are limits on what you can do.

Remember also that your personal fortune is still tied up with the company. You're a paper billionaire. Your money is mostly tied up in those preference shares. Every time you sell some, your super-votes get more and more diluted. And if you piss off your big shareholders, they'll sell, and possibly have a public hissy-fit. Then your paper billions get devalued, and that yacht (or volcano base) requires the sale of more shares, and therefore the loss of more control.

The legalities are complicated. But what it boils down to is you sold the company. Or at least a share of it. The people you sold it to want something in return. Deal with it. Or do what Michael Dell did, and buy your company back. Then you're in charge again, and can do what the hell you want.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: I disagree

When you sell your company to shareholders, you lose some of the right to choose how you measure success. The shareholders who now own the company get the right to tell you to make profits. In order to compensate them for the vast amounts of money you chose to take from them in exchange for selling shares.

A majority of those shareholders even have the power to sack you, or change the objectives of the company.

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Microsoft discovers long-lost phone division down back of sofa

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Re: One step closer

Why would they do that? They've only just got out of that market. As fast as their little legs could carry them. And they were pretty keen to do so, given the board began the sale to Microsoft without asking their own CEO.

Now they don't have any of the staff or infrastructure. So they'd virtually be starting from scratch. Only two companies are making reasonable profits from mobiles, Apple and Samsung.

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Jeff Bezos rolls up another $437m, lights Amazon's cigar with it

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Re: Blame the investors

The auditors I know, and my experience from my old job with a mid-sized multi-national, would disagree with you. That dinner I described happened in about 1998.

Audit is there partly to protect the shareholders. A proper audit should also challenge management to back up certain decisions, as well as to check the accounts aren't fiddled. Not all accounting questions have cut-and-dried answers. Audit must also check that the limited liability guarantee isn't being abused, and that the company is solvent. Trading insolvently is fraud. Hence profitability is an important issue.

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Re: Really?

Monkeyman,

Amazon somewhat gives the lie to constantly-repeated saying that the markets can't cope with long-term investment.

However, it's the shareholders' company. In the end they have to be rewarded for their investment. If Bezos wanted a personal plaything with which to do cool stuff, then he should have kept control of the company. But he didn't. He sold it. and probably became rather wealthy in the process. With that transaction comes the nast responsibility to other people, whose money you are now custodian of.

Not that investment in the future is a bad thing. It's important. But selling shares is the alternative to borrowing money. That's one of the reasons these tech company structures are so bad. There should be a downside to doing an IPO and getting rich. And it's the loss of total control over your pet project.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Google needs another revenue stream, or two. They still make more than 80% of their cash from online advertising (that figure's from memory though).

Now I believe they're making cash on Android, and they've invested hugely into that. And that might start them making decent money from the Play store - not just in software but also films/books/audio. But then it might not.

But the advertising market is very cyclical. And quite fickle. Maybe online advertising will fall out of fashion, given how ineffective it seems to be. And how some browser maker could just decide to kill it at a stroke. Maybe search might start working in a different way, that doesn't allow for the same level of profit for Google.

Google aren't shy of chucking huge amounts of cash after long-term bets. See Android for details. They probably blew well over $10 billion on that before it turned a profit. And it's now part of Google's core business. The question isn't whether cloud is part of Google's core business now, but whether Google management thinks it will be soon.

As a quick thought-experiment: I think smartphones are now massively over-priced. When a Motorola G or Lumia 730 is well under £150. Can there still be much room to pay £500, except for specialist customers? I don't think for much longer. Except maybe for Apple. So who's going to make the money off this market? The manufacturers will turn into commodity sellers, fighting over scraps, just like the PC market. Maybe the people who design the software, if they can get people to want theirs. But there's going to be a big market in data. Who's going to manage my photos, email, important documents, e-tickets etc? Now I might say, me. But 95% of the population aren't currently capable of it. And I know just as many young people who don't understand computers, even if they use Facebook and Skype more. That's a lot of small, but regular cash, along with some quite juicy personal data. But requires huge infrastructure and a trusted brand. I personally think Google are risking their brand by being too creepy, but they're currently still a well-loved brand with a few detractors. Like Apple.

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Re: Blame the investors

If they have positive cashflow and they're investing their money in stuff that has value, then things look different. So if I can tell my auditor that I just spent $1bn on an asset that's still worth $1bn - they aren't going to get angry with me, and do horrible things to me. What they might tell me to do is to close or sell loss-making parts of the business.

At which point standard procedure, from my experience, is that you go out for a nice dinner (which the auditors pay for) and have a polite but bitter argument about it all. Then you come back and decide that they will sign off on your books, because that bit they told you to close is expected to make a profit in future, honest guv. The auditors then go back to their office, and send you an invoice for the cost of their time checking up on you, and telling you how to run your company, and adding a charge on for the dinner, which is about twice the cost of the meal.

In our case we'd just spent several million opening a couple of new shops, and the auditor informed us that as they weren't yet making profits, they should be shut down 6 months later! Although they did have a fair point about store number 3, which never seemed to make any profits at all.

It would be interesting to see if the shareholders ever revolt though. Assuming they're allowed to. A lot of these modern tech companies have stupid share structures, where the bosses own such high percentages of the voting stock, that they can pretty much do what the hell they like. I seem to remember that Zuckerberg has 51% of the Facebook voting stock, but owns less than 10% of the company.

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DOUBLE BONK: Fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets

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Re: Benefit of the Doubt

Sure, this may not be Apple's fault. But the banks are huge cloud players too. After all, what is a High Street bank? It's a huge database with some customers' money attached. And when the bank systems go titsup, they wheel out the same dishonest-non-apologies.

But obviously here Bank of America got it right, that a small number of customers really was. It'll be interesting to see if they come out with a number if they have a bigger outage though...

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Would you blow $5.6m to own a dot-word? Meet a bloke who did just that

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Re: A .realty terrible waste of money

I wouldn't quite say meaningless. I still look down on companies that have a .co at the end of their names. Unless they genuinely are Colombian of course. We specifically wanted a .co.uk because we're a small player, trying to look bigger, in an industry full of small companies with the rather obvious .biz at the end of their names.

But I guess you're right. When everyone searches for companies on Google, they just click the first link. And despite my best efforts, never look at what they clicked on first to see where they're going. Also I've told my Mum how to get to www.bbc.co.uk, but still found her typing it into Google's search box.

Definition: The Address Bar - archaic term - What your Grandad looked at, when he wanted to avoid all his money being stolen by Nigerian fraudsters.

The only time people might notice is when being given email addresses. I'm constantly surprised by the number of decent sized companies I talk to, where people have @btconnect.com after their names.

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