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* Posts by arrbee

206 posts • joined 13 Sep 2011

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Over half of software developers think they'll be millionaires – study

arrbee

The trouble with any plan that involves "invest for 40 years" is that it usually fails to allow for the 2 or 3 times during that period at which a large chunk of your investment will mysteriously transfer itself to City institutions.

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BSkyB, CityFibre, TalkTalk pull clear of bigwig BT's bundles – plan to set fibre to York

arrbee

Presumably they picked York so that BT can see if this approach allows them to compete with Virgin who are already entrenched there (via NTL as was). If they've got any sense they'll ignore the 'historic centre' and concentrate on the new builds around the edges.

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

arrbee

Working for a software company we tend to be pretty strong on customer service - after all, the alternative would be to make us write proper user documentation...

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NHS England tells MPs: 'The state isn't doing dastardly things with GP medical records'

arrbee

Re: Secure forever for you and close relatives?

Following on from this - what are they doing with the data of people who have died since GP records were computerised, and what will they do with my opted-out data after I've popped my clogs ?

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

arrbee

Re: Hands up who's shocked?

Anyone who expects, say, the UK government to provide real compensation if one of the major banks were to go under is in for a nasty surprise.

The process would be to reconstitute the failing bank by agreement with its creditors, which would involve first emptying all savings/investment/current accounts (savers are legally not creditors of a failing bank) and then issuing shares in the new bank to those who lost their money. These shares will have a notional value that meets the requirements of the relevant compensation scheme, although it may be years (if ever) before they can actually be cashed in for that value. This allows the government to say they've met their promises without having to pay out large amounts to the wrong sort of people.

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Prez Obama cyber-guru: Think your data is safe in an EU cloud? The NSA will raid your servers

arrbee

So that kills off the NHS England 'care' database then.

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Ill communication delays NHS England's GP data grab for six months

arrbee
Black Helicopters

Any bets that current opt-out declarations will be (quietly) declared invalidated by this delay ?

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UK libraries trial free access to scientific research

arrbee

Presumably its a 2-year trial because thats how much longer they expect the public library system to last.

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Britain's costliest mistake? Lord Stern defends his climate maths

arrbee

Surely this is hardly news - fiddling these 'discount' rates to justify some action/inaction has been standard civil service practice for many years; it is low risk since it involves 'best estimates' and is rarely challenged later on when the numbers turn out to be badly wrong. Recent examples have included PFI, various BoE actions, new inflation measures such as CPI and CPIH, etc.

The mainstream media have never been interested in challenging this stuff, possibly because it involves numbers, but then I guess thats why the civil service keep doing it.

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Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

arrbee

Re: So, Why did he go to an arts quango to fund his pre-iPhone multitouch?

Ah, but it wasn't officially an arts quango - hence the S and T in the acronym. The mistake (with 20/20 hindsight) was not to realise sooner that they had no capability or interest in understanding the technology and were effectively useless.

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Vodafone dodges UK corporation tax bill - AGAIN

arrbee

Nope, the case was never decided because they reached a deal with HMRC.

However they had made provision for a substantial payment in their accounts...

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Snowden: I'll swap you my anti-NSA knowhow for asylum ... Brazil says: Não

arrbee

Hmm, lets see; he has lost his job, lost his pension rights etc, he is at risk of losing his liberty, and none of the appropriate authorities are doing anything about his claims, preferring instead to "play the man".

Sounds like a bog-standard whistle-blower to me, thats exactly how we treat them in the UK (especially if deaths are involved).

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Looks like Google may ask you to PAY for YouTube music - report

arrbee

Re: I'd pay...

Hmm, picks a CD from the shelf...

"The phonographic copyright in these performances is operated by <company> on behalf of the artists, with whom it resides."

I guess you gotta pick the right Man.

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Vint Cerf: 'Privacy may be an ANOMALY, now over'. And it's no secret I think that

arrbee
Black Helicopters

Re: One does have some choice

Providing false data is the only approach that has any chance of obfuscating your details - expect it to be made illegal in the next couple of years (probably in order to protect the children).

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Delia and the Doctor: How to cook up a tune for a Time Lord

arrbee

Thanks for this - what a dramatic contrast to the Doctor Who "specials" on BBC 3 which have been clear evidence that there are still plenty of people at the BBC that hate the program.

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QUANTUM COMPUTER in WORLD RECORD qubit stunner

arrbee

Re: The *big* point is 39 mins at *room* temperature

Quantum Forth - the programming tool of choice when coherence wont last.

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MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

arrbee

The problem with meaningless icons is down to recent designer fashion that decreed that representations of real-world objects or symbols were holding back the progress of the digital society.

That *might* make sense if all your software comes from one source with a consistent set of icon designs, so I guess it reflects the walled-garden aspirations of our current crop of major software producers

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ULTIMATE ELECTRIC driving machine? Yes, it’s the BMW i3 e-car

arrbee

Hmm, anything that implies 8 years and 100,000 miles are in anyway similar limits is probably not for me.

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Yet ANOTHER IE 0-day hole found: Malware-flingers already using it for drive-by badness

arrbee

I'd like to nominate this for "most unconvincing post of the day" - and I think I speak for most posters here when I say that this is no small achievement.

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Blighty promises £49m to get more British yoof into engineering careers

arrbee

If the government were serious about improving the situation they'd start by diverting a small fraction of the hundreds of billions of our money they're passing to the banks, but I guess they have to get their priorities right.

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UK.gov forks out £250k to rescue EROTIC novelists and pals from PIRATES

arrbee

Re: Utterly missed the point

I have a vague memory of hearing something about companies that make lots of money tending _not_ to pay lots of tax to the UK government.

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Cameron pledges public access to list of who REALLY owns firms

arrbee

Given that the UK (ok, the CoL) is a world leading tax shelter and money launderer that is knee deep in legal and financial rules designed to enable tax avoidance and avoid detailed scrutiny I somehow doubt this will make any real difference whatsoever.

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Infosys set for $35m fine over US visa naughtiness

arrbee

Re: Typical behaviour?

Not that shocking given that management consultancies over here have been doing that for the last 30 years.

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

arrbee

In the UK you're not really borrowing the money, you're agreeing to pay an additional tax for a fixed period, after which the tax payer picks up the bill (something like GBP 30 billion per year at current prices).

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Google: Thanks for the billions in revenue, UK. Here are your taxes, that's ... £11m

arrbee

Given that we're busy turning the UK into the world's largest tax haven with all the benefits that provides (*), I don't see that we have much to complain about in these cases.

(*) such as boosting London property values, so keeping our finance corps nominally solvent

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One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

arrbee

If the Scots do vote for independence (unlikely IMO, especially once the FUD effort gets serious), I suspect the one thing most of us will envy them for is their independence from the malign economic influence that is London.

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Anti-drone bods haul MoD to court over SECRET KILLER ROBOTS

arrbee

"...harm relations between the UK and another State"

The other State here would be the USA, and the harm would be revealing their expensive technology is unreliable and inefficient, hence jeopardising future export sales (and exposing UK MoD purchasers to questions they'd prefer not to answer).

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London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

arrbee

One problem with these things is that they don't implement the unspoken assumption that finger print matching provides reliable identification. This is because they're designed for convenience, not accuracy, and will be biased to accept 'iffy' matches in order to minimise complaints about incorrect rejections.

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Don't tell the D-G! BBC-funded study says Beeb is 'too right wing'

arrbee

I'd suggest that any political bias at the BBC is becoming less relevant as they become less able (or is it less willing) to challenge politicians in any meaningful way - listening to the "flagship" news programs on Radio 4 its noticeable how much the politicians are in the driving seat. I think the rot started with Blair (in many ways) and the Gilligan surrender.

( as an aside, I'm sure there is a program to be made about Blair and Brown and what made them so desperate for acceptance from Bush and the City respectively that they lost all sense of, err, sense )

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Brit music body BPI lobbies hard for 'UK file-sharers database'

arrbee

Presumably Spotify will be on the list, since last I heard they were still providing unlicensed music tracks.

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Apple tops target list for litigious patent trolls

arrbee

Re: Whatever happened to the English language?

I thought the whole point of public school was to excel in communication - with ones peers, of course.

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UK gov dials 999 over Serco prison escort fraud claims

arrbee

The financial justification for all of these outsourcing contracts has been very shaky - to the extent that they have had to include various fiddle factors to make them look even marginally cheaper than keeping the work in-house. This started with Major, ramped up with Blair, and, despite initial promises, has continued with Cameron; as I can see no real political advantage to the party involved I guess it comes down to money.

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3D printed guns are for wimps. Meet NASA's 3D printed ROCKET ENGINE

arrbee
Black Helicopters

So next time someone wants to support a group of freedom fighters they can just send them a printer with different levels of remotely-enabled authorisation ('defensive use only', 'small arms', 'larger calibre', anti-tank, ...)

Actually from this story the main benefit may come from redesigning components to make them printable.

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Nissan promises to sell self-driving cars by 2020

arrbee

I guess we'll end up with fewer driver profiles, but still more than one - in fact one per release per software product (and maybe per car model).

Some scenarios will be interesting:

- a number of towns have areas (typically touristy bits where people wander about) where they've removed separated pavements as this has been shown to slow down cars since drivers have to concentrate harder;

- roadworks close one lane, at which point do you merge, how does this work with different vehicles running different software;

- will the problem with lorries taking several minutes to overtake on dual carriage ways get worse as they will know their relative speeds to a fraction of a mph;

- will the government require access to be able to track/regulate car behaviour (of course they will).

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Ha ha, Osborne, these Gov 2.0 web wranglers have wiped out UK debt

arrbee

Re: Does the DH (NHS) number not look suspiciously small to anyone?

Remember these figures will exclude PFI deals, which means all significant capital expenditure and the swingeing regular payments to the various overseas hedge funds that have acquired these deals from the original contractors (see for example the recent moves in the NHS to close non-PFI hospitals such as Lewisham to try to cover the escalating PFI costs).

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Comrade! If you dare f$%^ing swear on the internet, WE'LL SHOOT

arrbee

Its just a convenient way to justify blocking sites you don't like; once you've got this kind of law accepted then people will assume that if they can't see a web site that it contains 'bad stuff'.

The approach to these things is always incremental, one slice at a time; while such a proposal would be laughed at in the UK today, lets see how it goes down when our current & proposed laws have gone through 2 or 3 more iterations over the next 5 or 6 years ( I assume the election will be irrelevant in this context ).

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Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

arrbee

Its not so much that corporates avoid paying tax, its that they also expect to be treated as individual tax payers when it suits them. Personally I'd scrap corporation tax, scrap all allowances, write-offs etc (not needed if there is no tax), scrap the legal fictions that allow corporates to be treated as if they were people, reduce the limited liability protections and eliminate the latest horror that is limited liability partnerships. Of course this would also require much stronger regulatory bodies that actually enforced the relevant laws and/or industry-specific rules - making professional auditors responsible for their audits, that kind of thing.

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ISPs: Relax. Blocking smut online WON'T really work

arrbee

If you personally don't opt out of this filtering when given the opportunity then you are supporting this measure and all the ones that will follow. You may be able to work round the filters this time, but if you're not openly against this then you will be counted as supporting it, and the level of support will be used when they justify more intrusive measures next time.

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WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

arrbee

Re: fight back

This is of course a slight risk, hence the importance of being upfront rather than soc sec getting an anon tip-off. Similarly it might be useful to run regular checks for unexpected additions to your hard disk.

While many people posting here expect to find technical workrounds this is missing the point - the government are assuming that we agree to arbitrary censorship of the internet, and you either do something *visible* to refute this or else they will have their agreement and use it to justify increasingly intrusive measures to close down all unfiltered access.

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arrbee

fight back

As a family man with school age children I shall be asking my ISP to disable any filter and will be mentioning that I've done this whenever it fits into a conversation with friends, teachers, other parents, etc. along with my reasoning for doing this.

This is actually an opportunity to make your views known - don't miss the chance. Sharing your decision with others counteracts government propaganda and pre-empts ignorant comments about 'furtive weirdos'.

If enough people do this, and it probably only needs to be ~10%, then the whole thing falls flat.

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Knocking China with shocking phones and mocking tones

arrbee

Re: Mostly true

Of course one of the reasons why labour in the UK is expensive is the cost of living, of which a significant proportion is related to the cost of housing (buy or rent). Which is why governments spend so much of our money ensuring that this cost remains as high as possible.

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IBM, Accenture play blame game over $1bn project blowout

arrbee

Re: Fixed price == fixed spec.

Many (many) years ago I worked on projects where there was an initial 'cost plus' phase leading to a detailed spec that formed the basis for a fixed price implementation. At least the initial phase had to be a joint process with appropriate customer staff. Changes to the FP phase had to be signed off in blood (almost) after a separate negotiation each time over allocation of any extra costs.

I know, a ludicrously old fashioned idea, from the days when we had software companies rather than management consultancies.

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Radiohead's Thom Yorke pulls his own music off Spotify

arrbee

That is a (rather high) estimate of the money paid to the rights holders, who in most cases are the label companies who are the major shareholders in Spotify. The artists may get some small fraction of this payment, probably 12 - 18 months later (industry standard). They will almost certainly be underpaid since the label will provide minimal information and the chances of an (ordinary) artist paying for a financial audit of the label company are negligible.

The major labels have finally realised that the internet offers them the chance to maximise their profits by controlling the complete distribution chain from product creation to the end user, with no middle men taking their cut, and they can use the low-cost / high-volume model to cut (ordinary) artist payments to the bone.

The few high-earning artists are of course also important; they keep the music-industry-is-special myth alive, tempting in new product creators; so the labels accept a smaller cut and put the difference down to marketing.

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arrbee

Re: Spotify

The 500 million is the amount paid out to the rights holders not the artists, who may receive some small percentage of that - eventually. If they're lucky the amount they get will be in same ballpack as stated in their contract, although this will be almost impossible for them to ascertain without an expensive financial audit.

The rights holders turn out to be the major shareholders in Spotify..

The music business ended in the 1980s, its just business now.

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Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

arrbee

Re: PDP 11 odds and ends.

ICI ran a series of multi-tasking systems written in RTL/2, mainly MTS and SMT. IIRC such a system was built as 'executive' + application tasks as a single image that could be loaded onto the target machine and run from the bootstrap loader. I'm pretty sure the development tools included a pre-assembly linker.

The emphasis at the time was on predictability - typically a refinery or other major plant was closed down for 2 weeks once a year, and all system updates had to be installed & accepted within that period, otherwise it had to be removed and wait for the next year.

RTL/2 was to my knowledge widely used in radar systems, defence (esp Holland for some reason), and what you might call serious civil engineering areas such as nuclear. It failed to survive the GUI revolution.

{ but if anyone knows of any RTL/2 work going... }

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Tech giants' offshore cash-stashing is only ever a delaying tactic

arrbee

Re: Companies don't pay taxes, people do.

Or we could drop all company taxes but also remove all the legal/financial 'people' attributes from companies, preferably including all the limited liability stuff.

( of course in the UK our lords and masters would do the first bit without the rest )

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Amazon to deliver groceries in 20 markets by 2014

arrbee

Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

Back in the 1960s we had to pay nothing at all to get our groceries delivered by van.

I still remember trying (and failing) to keep up with the bloke totting up the total price while moving his pencil down the list of individual items - 3 columns to add, of course.

[ can we have an icon for " I'm getting too old for this shit " ? ]

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Cameron eyes 'non legislative options' for more spook snoop powers

arrbee
Meh

classic "Yes Minister" reasoning :

- we must do something

- this is something

- hence, we must do this

simply a field day for anyone wanting to manipulate the politicians ( including terrorists, of course )

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Apple declares WAR on Spotify: iRadio bags streaming rights

arrbee
Meh

Hohum, another source of unlicensed material for musicians to monitor

- just because its a major record company supplying the music doesn't mean that they actually have the right to do so (although in such cases its not piracy, you understand, its an administrative oversight).

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62,000 fewer shops: Welcome to the High Street of 2018

arrbee

Given that governments have spent the last 5 years transferring money from us to the financial sector as fast as they can, resulting in a widespread reduction in disposable income, in what way is this a surprise ?

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