* Posts by a cynic writes...

191 posts • joined 17 Aug 2009

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

a cynic writes...

In London it's a bit different with two types of taxi - black cabs that are heavily regulated* and minicabs (aka private hire vehicles) which are lightly regulated. Uber ignores both.

Don't under any circumstances ask a black cab driver (like my brother in law) about Uber. He will tell you...

Anyway there are two logical answers - either enforce the existing regulations or relax them. What's the betting neither happens until the first horror story hits the front page?

*Heavily regulated as in you need to pass an exam as to routes (takes 1-2 years), use one of the 3 vehicles which conform to spec (about £40k) and your fare rates are set by government. By contrast minicabs just need to be roadworthy, be pre-booked and with a pre-agreed fare.

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Pan Am Games: Link to our website without permission and we'll sue

a cynic writes...

Re: Canuck Post Pub Nosh

Will this do?

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Rampaging fox terrorises rural sports club, victim sustains ‘tweaked groin’

a cynic writes...

We've had 'em in the back garden...

...which explained why the dog went spare at 2am. Thankfully our chickens are in covered runs or like most people round here we'd have lost them.

As to "a whiff of pish" given it was a Saturday night I think a whiff of the ale might be nearer the mark.

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Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

a cynic writes...

It helps to actually read the article before commenting...

Unless I've just read a different article to the rest of you the title just summarises the position that the rest of it undermines. My reading:

1) Some economists put the argument in the title, saying that there is no alternative to spending vast wodges of cash...

2) But they forget monetary policy. QE has given us the room to cut.

3) Which we did in the 1920s when it worked like a charm. That time in wasn't QE but leaving the Gold Standard but the effect was much the same.

4) Meaning that whilst you can still advocate spending more, original argument that there is no alternative is a load of dingo's kidneys.

Hardly the lefty diatribe that some of you seem to think.

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Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

a cynic writes...

If memory serves,,,

...about 35%.

At least that's my recollection of the percentage of support for Scottish Independence in England in the run up to the referendum.

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Theresa May: Right, THIS time we're getting the Snoopers' Charter in

a cynic writes...

On the bright side...

The Conservative majority is small enough that forcing this bollocks through will be difficult.

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Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

a cynic writes...

How about...

...everyone just accept it's possible for other people to disagree with you without them being stupid or evil or both.

I realise that could be difficult...if you think your decision making is perfect because you're (a) so clever (b) so worthy or (c) like Ms Toynbee the epitome of Lady Bountiful. Tough. We've enough arrogant bastards in the world we don't need any more.

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Bridge, ship 'n' tunnel – the Brunels' hidden Thames trip

a cynic writes...

One for the summer holidays...

...not only is it the sort of trip out my youngest likes it also means I can visit my old local. I used to drink in the Mayflower before I met his mum mumble years ago.

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Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?

a cynic writes...

Like seismology...

...you know where the catastrophe is going to hit, but no one can predict when. I remember predictions of disaster years in advanced but the crisis was well under way before it became general knowledge. At least a year before Lehmans went down I was reading the blog of a (now sadly deceased) SAP consultant describing what was going wrong and the likely implications.

It doesn't help that the political class is shit scared of being honest and precipitating things. Do remember the shit Alistair Darling got when he said how bad it was going to get?

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Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse chap in 'desperate' cash shortage

a cynic writes...

I can recommend Neil's bacon & lentil recipe - although as we had them in the cupboard I replaced the red lentils with green and the tinned toms with cheap passata.

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Give me POWER: How to keep working when the lights go out

a cynic writes...

And when the lights come back on...

...you realise that your dedicated line to the DC runs down the same tunnel.

Interesting times...

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Power, internet access knackered in London after exploding kit burps fire into capital's streets

a cynic writes...

We just went home...

We lost the fibre (and SIP trunks) to begin with. The power went sometime later.

We've already been warned that the fibre is likely to be down over 24 hours, so if we do have power in the morning then I get to finish off reconfiguring the firewall to use the old ADSL set up. If not then it's VPN direct to the data centre for our key people and I can kiss goodbye to taking next week off.

Joy...

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Woman caught on CCTV performing drunken BJ blew right to privacy

a cynic writes...

Re: 5 years without a TV and still not missing it...

With more competition for advertising budgets are lower.

When you're putting together an exploitative hard-hitting documentary about proles ordinary working people, CCTV is cheaper than a film crew.

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

a cynic writes...

Re: Too Simplistic

Really? I'd have thought that a supermarket would constitute a permanent establishment as it's "a fixed place of business through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on". (OECD model convention article 5 para 1)

Amazon's get out is that exempt are "a) the use of facilities solely for the purpose of storage, display or delivery of goods or merchandise belonging to the enterprise; b) the maintenance of a stock of goods or merchandise belonging to the enterprise solely for the purpose of storage, display or delivery;" (article 5 para4).

A perfectly decent exemption which made sense before the business of the enterprise took place in a data centre (which isn't a permanent establishment either).

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a cynic writes...

Re: Too Simplistic

"...the express letter of the law..."

I think that's the key point. It may satisfy the letter of the law but it doesn't pass the smell test.

Avoidance for me is when you start sailing close enough to the wind that you need to rely on the letter of the law. So:

Starbucks - I don't like the coffee but everything it's been accused of is basically straightforward business practice. One part of the group holds the rights and licences them to the other parts. They charge group members the same as to other companies and only reason they made the news is everyone knows the name.

Google - everything goes through Ireland? Really? So if I was to call and arrange an advertising campaign I'd speak to a guy in Dublin not London? If yes fair enough if no...well something's off.

Amazon - Legally warehouses don't form an establishment. I can see how that would work - you've overseas customers so you ship over a local stock of goods so fulfilment is quicker. You then restock in bulk from your home base. Whereas I reckon a lot of what Amazon sells comes from UK suppliers and I can't see how a crate of books from a UK printer magically goes to Luxembourg when put on a shelf. Lets face it, legal or not, it reeks.

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Mummy, what's the point of Evgeny Morozov's tedious columns?

a cynic writes...

Re: Tim, if there's a weakness in the argument you've presented here

It depends on your definition of rural Tom.

Back in the mists of time when I met my missus I lived in Bermondsey. I now live in the centre of a largish village on the far side of Essex. Granted we haven't got eight shops open all hours, we've three and they shut at 10. But the prices are about the same and Tesco & Asda deliver for less than the cost of the petrol to get to them. So whilst it feels rural to me, it probably wouldn't to you.

Best of all as we move to remote working I will be in the position of being paid London rates whilst living in a 4 bed cottage costing the same as a one-bed flat in Bermondsey.

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The BBC wants to slap a TAX on EVERYONE in BLIGHTY

a cynic writes...

Maybe I'm I'm weird...

Personally I don't mind the licence fee - it's less than I spend on coffee per year. Yes, I realise there's a lot of dross but there is some good stuff and SWMBO actually likes the dross so it's all good.

However I would mind a household levy. That's just taking the piss.

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'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

a cynic writes...

Re: Yes but WHY did he mention El Reg...?

I'd rather believe that than assume Bob's as sad as the rest of us...

Bob's full nom de guerre is Robert (Bob) Oliver Francis Howard.

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

a cynic writes...

Re: Have none of you....

I have but I reckon his Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (Gutenberg version) is better.

Nevertheless, I believe that, as a rule, disorders are more commonly occasioned by those seeking to preserve power, because in them the fear of loss breeds the same passions as are felt by those seeking to acquire; since men never think they hold what they have securely, unless when they are gaining something new from others. (Chapter V)

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a cynic writes...

Re: Astouded!!

"How was the beheading of Charles the 1st right..."

Easy it wasn't. He was condemned by a kangaroo court set up by a Parliament that had seen most of it's Members excluded in "Prides Purge" (for the crime of voting the wrong way). Even the C-in-C of Parliament's Army didn't want to touch it and he was meant to be one of the judges sorry commissioners.

Personally the more stuff comes out from Snowdon the more I worry that it's a sophisticated disinformation campaign by our spooks to appear more competent than they actually are. Either way I wouldn't put anything past them.

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

a cynic writes...

re: doesn't work as planned

Given Telegraph Road was recorded 32 years ago it's probably not the best description of the jobs market today. We currently have more people in work in Britain than ever before and a large migrant population who have moved here in the last 10 years to do that work. That does sort of suggest that nationally a lack of jobs isn't the issue.

On a personal level, I know people through my wife who work part time and are unwilling to increase their hours since they would lose benefits and be out of pocket. I don't think they're lazy (they do work after all) just sane.

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Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

a cynic writes...

Re: A cynic writes...

You rang?

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

a cynic writes...

eh...Bluestone42?

...and yes Mongrels and half a dozen other things that 20 years ago would have been on BBC2 at 9pm - opposite the 9 (where it should be)o'clock news.

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This Christmas, demand the right to a silent night

a cynic writes...

Re: sometimes...

You're assuming they are sensible mature people and haven't got a personality disorder. Unfortunately that isn't always the case...

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Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

a cynic writes...

Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

In other words, having lost the case Google are going about complying in the most juvenile way they can manage. Presumably it's their turn.

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Jacking up firearms fees will cost SMEs £3.5 MILLION. Thanks, Plod

a cynic writes...

Re: No sympathy

...So, unless a swarm of hornets happens to pass between you and the targets downrange...

Funnily enough my dad was at Bisley the other week when shooting had to stop for 20 minutes after 3 large lumps of venison fallow deer wandered onto the range. The rule is if anyone shoots a deer the entire club is permanently banned from the ranges.

...and for Tony's chinless wonder read retired millwright.

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I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations

a cynic writes...

Re: Edge of Tomorrow...

That's a pity - the book it's based on makes perfect sense. I suppose the ending was a little grim for hollywood.

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Giant bank IT cockup of 2012 'could have brought down ENTIRE financial system'

a cynic writes...

Re: I hope I'm not...

Unkind...not unfair.

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a cynic writes...

Re: Who benefits financially and materially*

If memory serves the fine will be paid to the Lord Chancellor's Office (the government), probably out of the bank's reserves, so the banks owners (the government) will pay, albeit indirectly.

It may seem a little silly for the government to fine the government but the point of the exercise is to give the impression that someone got a bollocking.

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Doctor Who trashing the TARDIS, Clara alone, useless UNIT – Death in Heaven

a cynic writes...

Re: Osgood and Missy are not entirely "dead"

I thought the get out was that the missy being killed special effect was suspiciously similar to the missy teleporting special effect.

In other news UNIT now has a competent CO and he's bullet proof...

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Million Mask March: Anonymous' London Guy Fawkes protest a damp squib

a cynic writes...

Re: SPG

I was indeed real.

My first year of uni I shared a flat with an ex-member of Strathclyde police who'd been in the SPG. He was doing a psychology degree and after a few jars would claim it was so he could find out why he didn't like hitting people.

Given that Constable Savage was written by a police forensic scientist need I say more.

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Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are JUST ITCHING to up tax to capital ...

a cynic writes...

Re: Simple in theory, not so simple in practise.

Agreed, at least in part. It was also avoiding the nasty bit of Keynesian economics when in a boom the government is meant to pay back some of it's debts rather than ramping up spending and claiming there is no boom.

A sane move would have been to regulate the multiple of earnings that could be borrowed.

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a cynic writes...

Re: Simple in theory, not so simple in practise.

The running order I've observed since the early 80s is

(i) there's an excess of savings looking for somewhere to be placed so

(ii) banks /building societies increase the multiple of income they'll lend and relax the criteria for mortgages (5 times income rather than 3.5 and of course we don't need to see evidence - self cert's fine)

(iii) with more (mortgage) money to spend prices go up until they hit a maximum and activity start's to slow unless or until

(iv) there's a contraction in lending either (a) government action to prevent overheating (1988 -Nigel Lawson & MIRAS) or (b) Government does SFA to prevent overheating and it all collapses in a pile of shit (2007 - Northern Rock).

(v) at this point house prices (aka values) drop through the floor. It might be sensible for the economy as a whole for lots of places to be repossessed and for the banks to take the hit in lost equity but as no one wants to piss away most of their wealth all that happens is activity drops with only those who really overstretched themselves and those who bought so early that they still have equity willing to sell. Since wholesale repossession is political poison interest rates drop enabling home owners to survive negative equity.

(vi) when a combination of increasing wages and increased lending erodes the cost of entry the market picks up. A few years later it goes nuts.

The major difference in this cycle is that with interest rates at near-zero and a banking system recovering from serious burns there's no pressure to increase lending. Whilst the economy has finally picked up wages haven't as we are employing more people (both native and migrant). Which puts the mockers on the usual recovery mechanism.

So, with a lack of new entrants, we're falling back on landlords to keep the market alive. People with savings have to put them somewhere so instead of giving them to the bank to lend to other people to buy houses they buy them themselves and let them out. In most places this has stopped house prices dropping rather than boosting them - the exception being London & the big cities (where the population is expanding) and indirectly places within commuting distance.

I think the real issue is that the barrier to entry for my kids generation is the equity of my generation. With 66% of households owner occupied good luck getting us to take a significant drop for the rest.

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HOT BABES! Worried you won't get that JOB in IT? MENTION how hot you are

a cynic writes...

Statement of the bleeding obvious.

"He may have a point,..."

er...no. However SHE does.

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Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS

a cynic writes...

Re: Was Gravity the same back then?

No - however the oxygen level was higher and their bones were hollow.

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Jimbo tells Wikipedians: You CAN'T vote to disable 'key software features'

a cynic writes...

Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

If Wikipedia didn't exist, it wouldn't be long before someone would invent it again.

...or everyone started using H2G2 again.

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Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy

a cynic writes...

Re: Does the court case matter?

The accusation is that in two cases women went to bed with him on condition he put on a condom and he didn't. As I remember it in one case she said she would drop the complaint if he had an AIDS test.

It could just be me but I don't think that sounds like "a well crafted set up". To my mind a well crafted set up would suggest he'd taken money to edit the information released. A few deposits in a bank account set up in his name, a few spooks at the same hotel and a suspiciously detailed official denial would have done the trick.

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£100m DMI omnifail: BBC managers' emails trawled by employment tribunal

a cynic writes...

Re: In other news...

Many a true word...

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Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

a cynic writes...

Re: White Elephant Ahoy!

"... the worst weapons procurement programme ..."

It depends if you think the purpose of the programme is to defend the realm or provide jobs for favoured areas.

Gordon Brown signed a contract which meant it was cheaper to build the thing and throw it away than to stop work. Rosyth is in the neighbouring constituency to his. I think there may be a link.

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Cambridge Assessment exams CHAOS: Computing students' work may be BINNED

a cynic writes...

That nearly gave me a heart attack

That's the one my lad has just spent two years on. However the final decision is in:

They're replacing the tasks with the new ones available 15th September but anyone who has already started on the existing tasks can submit the work providing their teachers give their names to the exam board by the end of September.

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GOV.UK's criminal record check IT job blow: Home Office snubs new design

a cynic writes...

As an outside observer...

It looks like it's just the usual departmental turf wars. A bit of a disappointment but no real surprise.

I am slightly worried about the DWP, especially as they've been doing a Sir Humphrey over the whole UC thing, but then even that's a default position.

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Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

a cynic writes...

Re: A fine line between Vision and Arrogance

Sean, I agree with most of that except the first sentence. MS came up with an app launcher for perfectly decent reasons but they inflicted it on the user base in the way they did out of pure arrogance.

A while ago I wrote: "...I reckon a fair few of my users would be happy with TIFKAM if they discovered it for themselves. If I imposed it by diktat - not a chance." Nothing I've seen since then has made me change my mind.

What I'd like to see is a drop down at logon so you could choose between "Classic" and "Modern". I'm not holding my breath.

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

a cynic writes...

Re: This is Disney

Not just Disney. The same applies to a lot of children's stories.

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You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

a cynic writes...

In summary...

An engineering graduate writes an article about some social science research. The research suggests social science graduates are more likely to get a job. The engineering graduate notes it's likely to be a crap one.

In the ensuing discussion, everyone views any subject they didn't do as:

(1) Piss easy

(2) Deathly dull

(3) Both

I'm no exception.

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DEAD STEVE JOBS kills Apple bounce patent from BEYOND THE GRAVE

a cynic writes...

Re: Prior Art

" In 2013, one simply doesn't need a 20 year monopoly in order to make money off of a better mousetrap. "

mmm...depends on the industry. When Dyson prosecuted Hoover for infringement in 2000 it was over a patent dating back to 1980. Dyson itself wasn't founded until 1993.

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a cynic writes...

Re: Regardless of the merits of the Apple patent

er...no.

The original idea behind the patent system was a deal - the state gives you a time limited monopoly on your invention and in return you tell everyone how it's works. If how it's works is in the public domain then what's the point of giving you a monopoly?

There's a lot to criticise about how it works now (and I expect some choice examples in this thread) but the underlying idea is sound. Before patents new inventions would be kept as trade secrets the extreme case being forceps in child birth which one family kept under wraps for 150 years.

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Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

a cynic writes...

Re: Windscale is now Sellafield

It has been since 2006. Originally it was the Special Irish Branch until they decided it wasn't just the Fenians they wanted to keep an eye on.

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Behind the candelabra: Power cut sends Britain’s boxes back to the '70s

a cynic writes...

Re: Power Cuts

They're not uncommon here either.

I resolve the microwave issue by not bothering. We don't use it as a clock so I don't see the point. In fact the only clock I bother with is my wife's alarm clock which is easy.

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'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

a cynic writes...

Re: And why aren't the Government using the law for these things?

Oddly enough I think they did. I was reading the Official Secrets Act earlier (as you do). Section 8 - Safeguarding of Information has provisions in it for "an official direction to return or dispose of" confidential information. The alternative would be to prosecute under section 6 (informational given in confidence to other states).

To be honest, I don't think they care that much what the Guardian has on its servers - it knew what to details to redact and those servers aren't going anyway soon. I think the real concern was what could be left on the train by a pissed hack. Of course they could have wiped the drives but then 5 minutes with a lump hammer is much more fun.

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MYSTERY of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

a cynic writes...

Secure destruction of hard drives

So instead of prosecuting them under section 6 of the Official Secrets Act 1989 (up to 2 years inside plus fine) they gave an official direction for its return or disposal (under section 8) - which had they ignored it would have earned them up to 3 months.

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