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* Posts by Slx

128 posts • joined 5 Jun 2010

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'You village peasants: Do you want broadband? Then give up your freedom'

Slx

Meanwhile over here in Ireland the state owned power distribution company ESB which owns the power lines overhead wires and ducts that connect to every building in the country got approval to enter a joint venture with Vodafone to build out FTTH mostly in smaller towns, villages and also outskirts of cities. They're avoiding areas with extensive cable broadband tho. They're also testing it in ribbon developments (Ireland has a lot of housing that's not in villages and is genuinely very low density and scattered)

The European Commission didn't take long to grant approval but it's just an interesting way of getting FTTH into non core areas at reasonable cost using existing and publically owned physical infrastructure to carry the fibres.

It's also going to be open to wholesale access for other telcos.

Fingers crossed we see more of this around Europe. I think we're obsessed with the notion that broadband needs to come from something built on top of PSTN infrastructure. There are lots of alternative ways of getting fibre into homes without ripping up roads and costing a fortune.

I'm also concerned when it comes to rural broadband that the European Commission understands that European patterns of housing development aren't remotely uniform across all EU countries.

Some have tightly planned, high density small towns and apartment type living others like Ireland, parts of the Nordic countries, parts of Britain and even rural France are much more scattered and tend to have individual homes that may not be in anything other than a vague cluster.

I think in the past the commission forgot that there are stark differences.

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Lights OUT for Philae BUT slumbering probot could phone home again as comet nears Sun

Slx

It's a shame it didn't have a small nuclear battery on board like the Mars rovers.

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Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'

Slx

The ESA has a significant but small budget compared to NASA.

€4.28 billion (about $5.51 US)

NASA has budgets of around $18.4 billion or so.

ESA Membership:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK are all the current members.

Canada's had associate membership since 1979 and the European Union itself is also a member and contributes quite a bit of the cash (slightly less than France and Germany though)

Total cost to Europeans on average €3.50 each or 20 cents per year for the duration of the Rosetta programme.

Seems like value for money, considering I lost many times more than that down the back of the sofa this week alone.

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Slx

It's actually not German, it's very much pan-European

It's very very much a product of European engineering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philae_(spacecraft)

Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom all contributed pretty serious technology to it.

Europe has shed loads of technology when you bring it all together. We should be doing more of this kind of stuff and less wrangling with unruly banks that cost us hundreds of billions !

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Slx

Re: Pirate TV

Not quite true, Sky just broadcast from outside the UK in those days. They didn't need a license as it became a right to receive television from other countries via satellite.

BSB was overwhelmed with red-tape and over-regulation forcing it to actually own its own satellites and have duplicated satellites and use strange broadcast standards (DMAC). Meanwhile, Sky went on air with pretty straight forward PAL television and it rented space on satellites instead of owning them.

Sky's business model was FAR more successful.

I think the only reason they clung onto the BSkyB name for so long was because it's a legacy of keeping regulators happy in the early 1990s and pretending they were still nice, tame, sensible BSB.

It's easy to forget just how patriarchal the BBC was and how protectionistic the law was about broadcasting. Everything was about limiting competition and over regulating the industry which is why most European countries at the time had very limited choice on television.

Sky basically bypassed by making use of European Union regulations at the time and pulled the rug out from the old state monopoly setup.

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Slx

Seems like a reasonable move as BSkyB comes from the "merger" between the original Sky and BSB which in reality seems to have been a complete take over by Sky.

Nobody actually calls Sky BSkyB other than business journalists anyway.

Sky UK

Sky Ireland (recently split off from being just a marketing division of Sky UK's operations and now has a significant office in Dublin to support Irish customers for TV and broadband).

There are localised versions of a lot of Sky's content with Irish adverts running on them, but other than that they're pretty much identical to the UK versions.

Sky Deutschland

Sky Italia

There are several other Sky televisions that have nothing to do with them though like Sky in NZ had a minority shareholding by News Corp, no longer the case.

Sky in Japan, Sky México and Brazil are nothing to do with News Corp either.

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BEHOLD Apple's BENEVOLENCE! iMessage txt BLACK HOLE finally fixed

Slx

I'd still call this intercepting SMS messages as it's not transparent at all.

Many users don't realise they're sending iMessages and think they're SMS.

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Slx

Who said anything about "losing" them?

They are basically just intercepting and capturing texts.

I am surprised the carriers have been so laid back about it to be honest. I would expect Apple would go completely mental if a carrier were to intercept traffic to some iService in a similar manner.

Siphoning off texts in a non-transparent manner isn't really something I think is very acceptable from a transparency or data protection point of view.

When you send an SMS you expect it to go by SMS unless you instruct the device to do otherwise.

iMesssge is handy and seamless but just very strangely implemented.

Also why do Apple still remove functionality like delivery reports (a feature available for over 20 years) from SMS. Every other handset except iPhone supports this very basic and fundamental GSM feature that has been around since the dawn of the GSM system.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Slx

It's just a pity that the UK (and also Ireland although the population density there excuses it somewhat) didn't put more investment into electrification of railways.

Seems daft that the governments are pushing sustainable energy policies while railways are operating significant numbers of trains on diesel instead of electricity.

Rail is the ideal platform for electric transportation and realistically all but the most underused rural lines should be electric.

Diesel Intercity shouldn't really have ever been necessary in Britain on busy lines.

In France and elsewhere that's the case because they've access to abundant locally generated power and they use it for ensuring they've alternatives to petrol, diesel and aviation fuel where possible.

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Russian internet traffic detours through China's Frankfurt outpost

Slx

I think though it could easily be an infrastructure test of some sort.

There's nothing conspiratorial about being prepared for possible sanctions that might mean routing through China instead of Europe.

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Slx

There could be two politically motivated causes that I can think of.

1. Russian ISPs might be trialling alternative routing should trade sanctions ratchet up to a level that it impacts their international connectivity.

It would make sense to test other routing options with live traffic.

Or

2. perhaps they're about to cooperate on the implementation of a "Great Firewall of Russia"?

Seems like the Russian state is moving towards increased censorship.

That being said plenty of other states seem to have those leanings towards censorship too. Russia certainly isn't in a small club. Even some western states like Australia dabble in network level content filtering.

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Sysadmins disposed of Heartbleed certs, but forgot to flush

Slx

And that's only the well administered servers...

It'll be a while before your could safely say it's been dealt with.

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Ericsson boss sticks a pin in Google’s loony Loon bubble

Slx

Until one of them ends up at the wrong altitude and gets sucked into an engine...

Aviation regulators are VERY conservative for a good reason.

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Slx

Wouldn't 20,000+ balloons carrying chunky radio gear be an extremely serious hazard to aviation??

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Russia to ban iCloud.. to PROTECT iPhone fiddlers' pics 'n' sh*t

Slx

The problem is that the NSA and GCHQ through their spying programmes have now given a whole load of regimes all over the world a very valid excuse to do some very bad things both in terms of snooping on their own citizens and restricting the flow of data beyond their borders for allegedly altruistic purposes, but in reality in some cases, particularly the likes of China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc etc, it will come down to a crack down on freedom of speech and spying on their own citizens.

The sad thing is that the big western intelligence agencies have basically given everyone else carte blanche by setting a precedent and then arrogantly pushing that notion that it's somehow OK to just override people's privacy and democratic rights on the basis of nanny-state protectionism.

These snooping organisations have also done the US IT industry a huge amount of damage by forcing it to be complicit in some of these spying systems through legislation.

Unfortunately, it's getting to the stage that you can't really trust IT equipment from anywhere anymore. If it's built in China, there's a risk, if it's using US designs/software or is from a US company, there's a risk, if your data's trafficking through the UK or even France there's a risk it's being tapped... the list is endless.

I can fully understand why you need to go after terrorists, pedophile rings, all sorts of organised crime and drug gangs and other terrible things, but there's an element of data-trawling just because we can and because the technology exists to do so.

The counter risk is that because there's no clear oversight over any of these agencies, you've no idea what's being read in terms of intellectual property, financial information, sensitive government communications that might give a state competitive advantage, personal emails that could be used to blackmail someone or sway political campaigns etc.

Also, where does national interest end? Many countries would see the success of their own businesses as in their national interest and legitimately so. Does that mean that it would be OK for a spy agency to provide information about competitor countries' commercial businesses for example? I'm not saying that the US necessarily does this, but there are many other countries where it's hard to know where the state begins and the corporate entities and businesses end and they run almost more like companies than countries, China in particular is a lot like this.

It's a total mess!

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Former Apple chief John Sculley says Steve Jobs 'never forgave him'

Slx

Re: John Who??

Apple actually have a pretty significant presence in Cork in Ireland. It's not a really what you'd call a 'brass plate' office, there are over 4000 staff there and it's been present there since 1982, before the Mac.

One thing that people forget too is that Apple's been present in Ireland through all sorts of phases of its business. It's been in Cork for 32 year and during periods when it was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s. It hasn't always been super-profitable.

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RBS faces BIGGEST ever fine for THAT huge IT meltdown – leak

Slx

Banks basically do two things:

1. Provide a range of savings and loans products that allow them to act as a source for capital investment in a prudent manner so as not to crash the institution into a brick wall requiring multi billion bailouts by the state.

2. Run a secure, stable, reliable transaction processing and financial information system that provides users with infrastructure to send and receive payments and that manages the bank's accounting systems.

This institution failed to do either of these core functions that basically define a bank. Yet, they carried on like as if they were doing a good job.

Can you imagine say a large retailer doing this?

They'd have to accidentally order in creates of manure instead of food products then accidentally set fire to most of their stores to even come close to the levels of incompetence.

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France KICKS UK into THIRD PLACE for public Wi-Fi hotspots

Slx

Re: Who cares?

Your local network's 'insanely fast' in that area because the network's priced the data so high that nobody's using it for anything significant.

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How iPad’s soft SIM lets Apple pit carriers AGAINST each other

Slx

Spain is weird like that. You've got to produce passports, proof address and have all that photocopied to get a prepay SIM.

It was easier to get one in China!

Where as here in Ireland getting a SIM works like this: Hello! Can I have a SIM please? ... Here you go... Would you like me to top that up for you?

Aspects of Spanish bureaucracy seem to still be a throwback to the dictatorship era. It's odd as they're really, really laid back and liberal about most other aspects of life.

You'd probably still have to do all that to activate your Apple virtual sim.

It's to do with not allowing you to be anonymous online or on the phone, nothing to do with the technology or the shops.

Subscribing to a domestic ISP requires your passport or Spanish National ID number too.

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Slx

This sounds like Apple wanting to be able to curate a list of operators that can choose from.

I like the idea of a SIM card. It gives the end user total control over which carrier they want to use.

The SIM lock isn't anything to do with the SIM card. It's just a way of removing normal SIM functionality to reduce competition.

This seems like a move that will end up with Apple and their partnered carriers having absolute control over your device and it might potentially exclude disruptors like small MVNOs that aren't Apple Approved Carriers.

Spinning this as giving consumers more choice is utter nonsense.

The carrier's SIM card can be removed and replaced by any other carriers' card. It's the device's SIM lock that prevents that, not the technology behind the SIM card which was designed to allow ease of movement between carriers.

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Nokia France leak: Windows Phone DUMPED in Microsoft Lumia revamp

Slx

Nokia is very significant behind the scenes like Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia handsets were just a consumer focused division and that's all Microsoft bought.

The Nokia Company is predominantly an infrastructure development company and R&D house.

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'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster

Slx

They need to look more "super"

I want to see more LEDs and maybe clear tubes with circulating CO2

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Shh! Bose and Apple ink SECRET deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit

Slx

I would love a noise cancelling suit!

It would be absolute bliss on noisy flights or when my neighbour's 30+ old burglar alarm decides to ring incessantly all night because it's detected a slight breeze or a cat.

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'Encryption will make life very easy for criminals and terrorists'

Slx

You should also provide the police with a copy of your house keys, your car keys, the combinations for your safe and regular copies of your diary just in case you're one of those child molesting terrorists.

That's perfectly reasonable.

Also maybe just have your post/mail photocopied and maybe just agree to provide information about your location at all times.

You'd never know! I mean anyone could suddenly turn into one of those child molesting terrorists at any moment. So we need to all rush and throw away every democratic freedom just to ensure that we're all safe.

Nothing at all unreasonable about that

(To be read with sarcastic tone)

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TalkTalk and Three want to make it easier to switch mobe networks

Slx

The process in Ireland is very, very easy and nearly instantaneous.

Prepay:

Confirm its your mobile by sending a text to your phone with a verification code or, in a shop they'll just call you from their landline to confirm it's s you. Once that's done, your phone is ported.

For bill pay you simply give your new operator your mobile number and account number. Once that's done and they've done their credit check on you, your port is competed without any need to call or interact with your old network.

For landlines you just need the UAN number which is at the top of every bill, PSTN, cable, VoIP etc if it's providing a landline number it has a UAN. You give that & your phone number to the new operator, they do a 3rd party verification (if done on the phone) and once done, you're transferred to the new provider,

If you're still in contract your network can a) block the port or b) send you a bill including their early termination fee.

Whole process is automated and it's been like this since about 2001

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SPECIAL iPHONE TROUSERS will ease Apple into the fashion world

Slx

I have a feeling that it's a combination of hipsters, skinny jeans and oversized phones....

If the iPhone 6plus rids the world of skinny jeans it will have done us all a huge favour !

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New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality

Slx

Bring back Steelie Neelie !!! She was genuinely good at her job - a highly unusual trait in a politician!

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EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report

Slx

Well if we're going to get the house in order, lets do it right!

City of London on the chopping board for a start.

The French car industry and aerospace industry.

Full audit of everyone's effective corporation tax, including Germany on its own businesses.

Very few countries can really be too heavily critical.

I think what Apple and others are doing is quite frankly taking the %%%% however Ireland's #actual# low corporation tax rate is fair enough.

It's still an attractive location : English speaking, full Euro member, similar business culture and legal structure to the US and UK, access to huge pool of talent via local graduates and business friendly visa system and one of the most flexible and productive workforces in the EU.

Let's face it, you'd want to be bonkers to locate in certain EU countries due to incredibly inflexible labour laws etc

Apple and others are exploiting a loophole in both Irish and US tax law and declaring income elsewhere entirely.

The EU really doesn't have a mandate to harmonise tax rates. If it does enter that territory it would need total restructuring to make it fully democratically accountable which would need the European Commission replaced with some kind of Euro Senate and the parliament given a lot more power.

Without that, they're really straying into areas outside the treaties.

Also to say the Irish or other small countries don't have power in the EU is really not true.

Many further treaties can only be passed with agreement of the Irish people by referendum. If they think Brussels has screwed them over, nothing will pass ever again. That's a VERY big stick

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Slx

Re: "In the current context of tight public budgets..."

GDP per capita increased by 4.1 times over the same period (over 5 times in 2008).

Public expenditure as a % of GDP is what matters. Not the raw figures. Taking Ireland back to 1997 levels of public expenditure would cause social collapse like you saw in Greece.

That didn't happen and the economy's showing the strongest growth in Europe at the moment.

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Telstra, Vodafone at odds over data retention

Slx

Australia is a relatively small market in the grand scheme of things. If they impose too many regulations and buredbsome requirements they will find services simply won't be available anymore.

I can't see companies prioritising spending a lot of money on comtoversial, precedent setting snooping infrastructure for a relatively high cost, remote market that isn't exactly core to their business.

They jump to comply with US and EU regulations because those markets are absolutely vast and fundamental to bottom line.

Australia is a little fish attempting to throw its weight around. It's just going to mean reduced choice for Australians

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iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport

Slx

Very poor system design!

So they're just hoping that all potential terrorists pay attention to signage.

The guy didn't cause a security alert, the poorly designed system at the airport did and it's clearly not fit for purpose.

Passengers leave fights tired, dazed, may be distracted, may not understand signs, may be unable to see very well (partially sighted), may have lost a contact lens, may not hear or understand instructions, may have cognitive impairment or like this guy might just be lost in a world of his own.

This is ENTIRELY down to a poor design of security screeing systems.

It simply shouldn't be possible.

Correct headine is : Airport blunder causes chaos!

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Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

Slx

I think many of you don't realise that MS didn't get anything other than very limited rights to use the Nokia name on existing products. They can't continue using Nokia's trade mark.

Nokia still exists, it just ditched its loss making handset division and retained its profitable networks division.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Slx

Television in the 1970s ....

Fuzzy, often monochrome, poor sound quality, relatively few channels with many people only having maybe 4 to 10 at most. Some people only had 1 or 2 channels.

Many channels also only broadcast for a few hours a day.

The UI was electromechanical! You turned a knob.

The screens were small and possibly emitted x-rays

I'm not sure which 1970s he remembers...

Also the VCR didn't really exist.

I think he's confusing the 1970s with the early 2000s.

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Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

Slx

I'd just point out that Ireland's recent economic blip was down to an insane property bubble and banks that went completely bonkers on the international derivatives market and were being given way to much credit. It had very little to do with independence or the Irish non-speculative real economy.

The underlying Irish economy, once you scrape away all the bubble banking "industry" and construction sector excesses , is actually very strong. It's running a major trade surplus etc etc vs the UK and France etc running a huge trade deficit.

The problems arose due to a disproportionate construction sector that caused an economic shock when it collapsed, inflated asset prices and then socialising the banking sector's vast gambling losses.

However, the other aspects of the Irish economy are anything but weak!

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In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE

Slx

Miele actual design their doors to take over 60kg and encourage you to slam it shut. It's more like a car door in terms of how it shuts.

They're built like a military tank! Weigh about 2 to 3 times more than most machines too due to all the stainless steel and cast iron weights!

I've a Samsung washing machine in my holiday home and it had plastic hinges!

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T-Mobile US goes gaga for Wi-Fi calling, AT&T to launch in 2015

Slx

Mobile phone companies discover and attempt to rebrand VoIP.

I'm not sure why I'm yawning.

Also EE is a UK-only network. It's parents Orange and T-Mobile may have a bigger Europe footprint but EE is only in one market.

Vodafone is the closest to a pan EU player but even they miss key markets like they've no presence in France having pulled out of a deal with SFR a good few years ago.

Vodafone (UK).Orange (F), T-Mobile (D), Telefonica (O2) (ES) and maybe Telia-Sonera (Sweden/Finland) and Hutchinson 3 (HK) all cover multiple countries. However they're behaving like little individual national companies with single brands and offering customers usually no or very few benefits by being pan EU.

So it's still very hard to generalise about European telcos. It's still 27+ markets with some common regulation.

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Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress

Slx

Re: What happens there will influence what happens here

Because of implications for the EU you should probably be lobbying the European Commission as it will have implications under the impending EU-US trade agreement "TTIP"

Also lobby you own MPs and MEPs

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Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say

Slx

I can't see this launching here in Ireland anytime soon. The banks absolutely gouge on debit card fees which constantly keeps card usage down and ATM usage up.

Pretty stupid as it costs them significant amounts to stock and manage ATMs and process all the cash.

Since the banking crash most of them ditched "free" banking and charge up to 20cent per transaction. Usually they'll waive fees if you agree certain requirements like to keep €3500 in your current/checking account which is pretty pointless.

They then regularly moan about Irish consumers not using card payments and conclude that "for cultural reasons" Irish people prefer to carry cash. Hmmm... Yeah it's because you end up getting hit with about €50 in quarterly fees if you do.

For example every debit card here has contactless payment but retailers won't generally bother accepting it because the fees are considered too high.

A few places accept it, but not many.

Lots of places also will not accept debit or credit cards for less than €10.00 which really annoys tourists used to paying for everything by card. Other small cafes and other places tend to just not have card machines at all because the merchant banking is too costly and they're too small to cut a deal on volume of transactions.

One newer bank also no longer accepts ANY cash! You literally cannot deposit anything other than electronic funds or cheques.

Maybe Apple might be able to bypass some of this by cutting Eurozone-wide deals for a processor as soon as the Single European Payment Area stuff starts to fully bed in.

But, I can't see retailers agreeing another % on already very steep merchant banking and card acceptance fees.

I think the situation in many European countries is similar, especially where you've historically had only a few players in retail banking.

We only have AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB, RBS/UlsterBank and and a recent new entrant that doesn't accept cash KBC.

Our small banks all went wallop during the banking crash and got merged or swallowed up and some of the more aggressive international players like Bank of Scotland Ireland over lent into the real estate bubble, burnt billions and then cut their losses left the market entirely closing down retail banking operations entirely and slinking off into the sunset.

In general though we're being absolutely screwed over by banks that just see debit & credit cards as a way of paying down their boom time gambling losses.

So I'd say it'll be a while before I see Apple Pay being adapted here.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Slx

Re: Registered office.

Moving debt laden banks to England might actually be positive for Scotland. Whether the jobs go with them however is the other question.

If Scotland's financial sector were shut out that would be a very big issue as there's no guarantee that the EU will be open to instant membership either and I'm not sure if EEA membership would be instant either.

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Slx

Re: Geneva Convention

The term is commonly used on forms, documents, legal documents and contracts where any ambiguity in jurisdiction could be problematic or where being very specific is useful.

I'm not even sure why I'm wasting my time and energy replying.

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Slx

Re: Geneva Convention

The front of a prepaid envelope for sending documents to the Irish Revenue Commissioners (Tax Office).

It's in Irish but note the reference to "If posted from the Republic of Ireland" on the prepayment stamp.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/fe/Envelope_from_Irish_Revenue_Commissioners.jpeg/440px-Envelope_from_Irish_Revenue_Commissioners.jpeg/

I'm not the person who decided to lecture another poster about how they choose to describe their own country and place of residence

So perhaps you might need to reconsider which of us looks like a "twat".

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Slx

Re: It will be business as usual.

At this stage I think the Euro is highly unlikely to implode. It's just going through the usual phases of setting up anything complicated.

Stormimg - Euro crisis.

Normimg - ongoing

performing - it's going to eventually find a way of just making it work.

Italy has been economically volatile for decades. That's nothing new.

The Euro just needs to be flexible enough to reflect the entire Eurozone not just be the new DM which is what the Germans seemed to think it was.

Also Germany and others are benefiting enormously from the Euro being a bigger and softer currency. The DM being insanely high value would be crippling German exports right now if it were still around.

I'm not really convinced by the forecasts of a Euro implosion anymore. It's too big to be bothered by speculation and despite everything is one of the world's two biggest economies.

So I think realistically you'll just find the Euro will muddle on and solutions will be found.

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Slx

Re: Geneva Convention

I'll just use a map next time and point as clearly some people can't even use accepted, non offensive descriptive terms without taking severe offence.

The constitutional name is Éire or Ireland. The term Republic of Ireland is widely used, including on official documentation and even when referencing the national soccer team.

I can't see how it's any more offensive than dating la République Française which also is a descriptive term.

I also can't see how it undermines any wish for a United Ireland. I don't think that's ever likely to be a monarchy!

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Slx

Re: What’s in a name?

Bear in mind though that the situation in Scotland in 2014 and Ireland during the 1800s when the drive towards independence took off have almost nothing in common.

The Irish had lost any independence in 1801 and just 40 years later were facing a famine and mass emigration while Westminster largely just sat on its hands due to the prevailing laissez faire economic and political philosophies and also rigid notions of class and deserving vs undeserving poor. There was also quite open anti-Irish sentiment in the establishment.

The way Ireland was being run (by London) was causing serious economic hardship and social chaos. So naturally enough a lot of people became very angry about it and that's really where you see a build up of independence movements through the Victorian period cumulating in an armed uprising in 1916 and an actual war of independence.

That was followed by a brief but very nasty civil war in Ireland and then a lot of changes as the new state emerged. It wasn't just a referendum one day, a nice cup of tea, some biscuits and the Republic just happened.

Followed by very soured relations causing an economic war between Ireland and the UK over Ireland's refusal to repay 'land annuities' which were loans to farmers to purchase their lands from the British Aristocracy.

Britain imposed trade sanctions on the independent Ireland and the Irish stopped importing British coal and other goods in retaliation. The impact was that it sent the Irish economy into a total mess and drove even more animosity towards Britain as the Irish generally considered the land theirs and the annuities ridiculous.

That continued right up until the outbreak of WWII and the Irish economy was in total tatters.

You also had a situation during that period where because of poverty and lack of funds, the Catholic Church gained a much too powerful role in the running of public services like health, education and social welfare. That's where you started to see the very cold, deeply conservative Ireland of the 1930s to 1960s emerge.

I think to a degree that was almost like the country just went into a post traumatic mess for a long time. Huge emigration had left a lot of old and very conservative people running the place on a shoestring budget.

You see Ireland snapping out of that in the 1960s and especially the 70s. That was followed by fairly rapid social change through the 80s and extremely rapid change in the 90s and 00s where it becomes quite wealthy and liberal. Despite the banking and property bubble of recent years that's still where we are now.

Irish-British relations really only began to recover in the second half of the 20th century and are absolutely excellent these days.

I compare it to a very, very messy divorce. We have gone from a shot gun wedding, to domestic violence, to fighting over who owns the cutlery and the CD collection phase, to the 30 year huffing and referring to another in a string of expletives phase, to lawyering up and fighting over money etc etc.

What you have now is the children of that completely screwed up old divorced couple running the show in both countries and they're actually not remotely like their parents and actually get on very well.

The Republic of Ireland and the UK in 2014 really have very little in common with how they were in 1922 or 1940. They're both modern, generally liberal, socially progressive post WWII, Western European democracies.

While as and Irishman I can fully understand Scottish nationalism, I just think it's very hard to even make a vague comparison between the situation when Ireland left in 1921 and Scotland's situation in 2014.

However, I still think if they do leave the complications are being totally overplayed. This is a negotiated, calm departure not a revolution or violent departure which is what happened here.

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Slx

Re: Geneva Convention

Actually it's more than just that.

Anyone born in Ireland up to 1949 can apply to be a British Subject and then for British Citizenship. However, the agreements between the two countries and the common travel area allowing passport less, ID free travel between the two jurisdictions and the full reciprocal voting rights for each other's citizens make it almost pointless.

The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom have a whole load of legislation that allows freedom of movement under the CTA (Common Travel Area) and treat each others citizens as locals / non aliens. A British citizen's rights in the Republic or an Irish citizens rights in the UK go way beyond EU rights. You've basically got full voting rights, residency rights etc etc. You're not really considered 'foreign'.

We're even going to start cooperation on issuing visas later this year under what's almost like a mini-schengen visa system meaning that you'll be able to apply for a single visa for both counties.

I would assume both the UK and Republic of Ireland would simply extend the Common Travel Area and similar rights to Scotland on a similar basis.

The EU membership is a totally separate issue. For movement between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales the CTA is what would matter.

Bear in mind the border between the UK and Republic of Ireland in Northern Ireland is not even marked. The only way you've any idea your crossed is because the Republic marks the roads with yellow outer lines, uses metric speeds and distances with US / Canadian style yellow diamond warning signs.

I would also assume that the UK and an Independent Scotland could share +44 as a country code. Ireland uses +353 but we introduced that in the 1950s when direct international dialing was first developed. Changing Scotland to a new country code would be a bit pointless in 2014.

We can even have the ability to apply penalty points to each other's driving licences.

The Irish Pound was also linked at IR£1 = UK£1 until 1978 when Ireland broke the link and joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

We haven't actually ever had a truely floating currency. It was always either tied to Sterling or to a basket of EU currencies before being replaced with the Euro.

I honestly think a lot of the complications for Scotland are being completely over played.

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Google kicks PowerPoint in the fondleslab

Slx

Keynote's genuinely very good.

Keynote on OS X is actually one of the best presentation apps out there but it is Apple-only so it doesn't really get much exposure in the business world where Microsoft Office still sets a dull and dated standard. It's in a whole other league in terms of graphics and ease of use compared to PowerPoint or Google Slides.

You can produce minimalist, visually interesting slides that (with a bit of effort) look more like the kind of thing you'd expect on a TV 'news wall' behind the presenter rather than PowerPoint quality. I always think if you're going to make a presentation using a slideshow, at least don't torture people with slide after slide of text and dodgy looking clip art.

3
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Apple BANS 2 chemicals from iPhone, iPad final assembly line

Slx

I'm not aware of them making anything in Cork, Ireland anymore either.

They employ several thousand people there but it's all basically multi-lingual EU technical support and their European operations HQ.

They've manufacturing and automation engineers in Cork who support the plants in the Far East though.

Also I'm 100% sure that exposing workers to benzene in Ireland, California and Texas is illegal.

That's why all electronics are made in China and elsewhere these days, big corporations (not necessarily Apple but absolutely everything) just rolled back decades of environmental and safety at work legislation by simply moving somewhere that doesn't really have any.

0
0

US 911 service needs emergency upgrade and some basic security against scumbags

Slx

Things have changed a lot in terms of technology but it's always been possible to make calls from payphones and that's how teenage brats pranked emergency services back in the 1980s.

Tracing calls also wasn't always possible. Until computerised switches arrived (not necessarily digital switching but just computer control) there was really no easy way for 999 or 911 or anything else to trace a call through an electromechanical exchange network. So that's most of the 20th century! Their phone network worked largely on relay logic well into the 1980s and even later at a local level even in the most advanced countries. Full digitalisation didn't happen until the 1990s.

I just worry that in order to protect 112…911 and 999 services the authorities may end up going completely overboard.

1
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Americans to be guinea pigs in vast chip-and-PIN security experiment

Slx

Only 22 years after France, but better late than never!

This is starting to look like they're testing the rubber tyre concept to check that it would work with American roads!

The single biggest point of weakness with chip and pin is the retention of magnetic stripes on the cards.

If the US banks and other technology laggards had just implemented chip and pin years ago, we could have issued cards without any magstripes and removed a whole technology that allows cards to be skimmed in ATMs and other devices.

I think at this stage, European banks should issue chip-only cards and you could have your magstripe enabled card for travelling to technologically backwards places that still cling onto 1960s swipe and sign!

The whole concept behind payment cards it utterly ridiculous though.

How such a fundamentally insecure system has remained in service for so long defies all logic.

When you think about it, Gmail is probably many, many times more secure than the computer system that keeps your life savings and wages protected with a swipe card and a 4 or 5 digit numeric pin!

Also, when cards are used online or on the phone, you're entirely relying on the retailer to be trustworthy. The idea that you can just give someone a 16 digit account number, an expiration date (and sometimes a CCV code) and authorise a large transaction based entirely on trust is absolutely nuts.

There's much better technology available at this stage and we should be able to push transactions to the retailer with absolute security using mobile apps or something like that.

From what I can see the banking sector is just totally incompetent. They've managed to nearly drive the global economy off a cliff and they're incapable of coming up with a modern universal secure payment platform despite all the requisite technology being widely available.

They're obviously writing off vast amounts of fraud and all of that is simply being levied against consumers in charges and insurance premiums.

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