447 posts • joined Monday 26th March 2012 00:36 GMT
Re: Not Spying
Not exactly "unwanted messages", either. Sure, you'd have to be a fucking moron to want the messages, and I'm sure lots of iFanatics and all of Techradar's staff will indeed willingly sign up for them.
Re: Old, working, useful kit under my roof?
When I was growing up, our household TV was a little Trinitron that my mother had got in the Sixties. It lasted thirty-odd years.
I never buy HP because their printers won't print in black-and-white when they run out of colour ink.
I can't believe Earl Hickey wasn't somehow involved in this.
Re: Darwin award @Wzrd1
> I for one am civilized and would not desire anyone to suffer for any crime, regardless of severity.
A civilized criminal justice system should not involve slow lingering deaths. But if some criminals happen to visit such a death on themselves, I don't see the problem.
We're willing to accept that some dangerous jobs -- on oil rigs, major construction projects, in aerospace, etc, and of course the military -- carry a risk of horrible deaths and crippling injuries and that the people who do these jobs willingly and knowingly accept those risks. We don't wish the pain on them, but we accept that it can happen and we respect their right to take the risk. And they're generally productive members of society doing important jobs that help us. I see no problem with applying basically the same reasoning to criminals, only with a bit less pity as all they're trying to do is harm innocent people for money.
Just remember what Mexico's criminal classes do to the country's murder rate. Let's not shed tears for the bastards, eh?
Re: Solution is simple - more Nuclear, less consumption
> But much of this requires investment up front
Yes, so it screws the poor. Which is unfortunate when rising prices are a result of market forces, but downright nasty when the prices are deliberately engineered upwards by our lords & masters for our own good.
Oo, I like that too! Er... I mean, yeah, that was totally deliberate.
I live in Northern Ireland, where a long tradition of putting fuckwits in charge of utilities because they're members of the right golf club ensures that we get loads of power cuts. Couple of years ago, after some workmen had been out to do some maintenance on the cabling, everyone in the street went outside to watch the exciting sparks as it started to explode in the rain. Have to say, I enjoyed that: if you're going to have total and utter incompetence, make it entertaining.
Re: Plugging it in upside down is impossible
> The USB logo is always on the top of the connector, facing up.
Yes, I used to think that too. But then it wasn't.
Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"
> One might say that small bumper clashes in car parks are worse accidents in that they show a much greater level of lack of care.
Well, I suppose one might, yes, unless one was even slightly concerned about physical harm to human beings.
The criteria you're using appear to be very popular with commenters here, and I just don't get it. We don't drive cars round obstacle courses or racetracks; we drive on public roads with other people. As members of a civilised society, our highest priority when controlling fast-moving tons of metal ought to be to avoid harming those other people, not to win the highest possible score from the imaginary judges in some technical proficiency test.
I think a lot of people here are getting confused between how to assess driving in the real world and how to award points in a driving game.
The work on shared urban spaces by the late Hans Monderman has become more and more influential in town planning. His designs increase the number of minor accidents but decrease the number of injuries. The reason his principles are catching on is that civilised people value humans more highly than cars. There's plenty of sensible debate about the efficacy and appropriateness of his designs, but I've yet to see anyone say they're simply crap because "Think of the poor fenders!"
> All insurance companies worry about is their payouts
And by far the largest payouts, worth sometimes hundreds of times as much as replacing a car, are the medical and legal costs associated with killing or crippling someone.
"Obey or Get out"
Obey what? The law? You mean, like Amazon are already doing?
Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"
Dazed and Confused,
> Is this figure correct?
No, because of the elipsis between "crashes" and "involved". Read the article for the correct statistic.
Re: ..."a whopping 80 per cent of crashes ... involved male drivers"
I don't quite follow your logic. Women drive in such a way that their accidents are less harmful, therefore they're worse drivers? WTF?
Would you apply the same logic to engineering? Systems that fail catastrophically are better than ones that fail gracefully as long as the catastrophic failures happen less often than the graceful failures? An aircraft which only explodes once every hundred flights is better than one which has a problem with the airconditioning every three flights?
Practice trumps nature.
You can learn any skill. We have to back up a narrow bent alleyway to get onto our house's parking space, and ten years of that has made us both pretty damn good at reversing and parking. My wife has on occasion been asked by a neighbour to park their car for them because they were finding it too tricky, and been given a standing ovation by a bunch of builders watching her parallel-park in a spot that most people, me included, would not have attempted. I have no idea whether she or I had the greater naturally innate parking skills, and, frankly, who cares?
Re: "some 2 person Luxembourgian office"
Why shouldn't nations be allowed to compete on tax? Ireland, you may have noticed, had some rather serious economic differences recently. Being able to persuade multinationals such as Apple to pass their taxable profits through their country instead of someone else's has been a huge benefit to Ireland in a time of real need.
You can't have it both ways. If paying "too little" tax is as immoral as Hodge says it is, then surely that goes for every tax jurisdiction. How can it be moral to pay more tax to the UK but also moral to pay less tax to Ireland or Luxembourg?
And the same applies to tax havens like the Caymans, which our lords and masters have quite appallingly decided to crack down on. We compete with the rest of the world in all sorts of ways -- the City of London, for instance, is still one of the best places to conduct finance, and the UK's legal framework is designed to ensure it stays so, attracting billions of pounds into the country, which we then tax. Paris and Frankfurt and Chicago are free to change their own financial regulations or tax policies or whatever to try and compete with London, and no-one suggests there's anything wrong with that. Countries compete to attract academic money, finance money, semiconductor money, mining money, and quite right too. But if some jumped-up little country competes with the established players on tax, we declare it's "immoral" and try to use threat of military might to intimidate them into stopping competing, all while declaring that we're the good guys. What I would love to see is for a tax haven to place an advert on British or American television, showing the roads, hospitals, schools, bridges, water-treatment plants, and public health programmes that they're able to build using the money they get by taxing the companies whose bank accounts they host. Bypass the useless diplomatic debates and make the point straight to the public. I suspect such a campaign could work wonders on public opinion.
> shop around and use UK websites and retailers that pay a fairer rate of tax.
Fair? What's fair about it? We have tax laws, which Amazon are not breaking, and not even Hodge is suggesting that they are. What exactly would be fair about them voluntarily giving loads of extra money to HMRC so that the public can pay higher prices?
A lot of MPs right now are talking about the massive increases to the cost of living. How do they square that with their demands that companies not be allowed to sell stuff cheaply to the public?
Re: Never mind price
Their phone number is a bit awkward to find, yes, and I would certainly mark their customer service down a bit for that. But the service is still generally very good. And, to be fair, there's almost nothing one needs to actually phone them about now. The automated online systems for returning goods or for reporting undelivered goods are extremely easy. They used to be less good, but then the phone number used to be a bit easier to find too.
Re: Stupid Stupid Stupid or what
VAT is only ever paid by one group of people: end customers. The manufacturer and every supplier all pass VAT on down the chain till it reaches you.
> If you don't think that you pay for loss led products elsewhere how do you think that the supermarket makes a profit? They don't just take the loss to get you in, they make it up elsewhere to continue to make a profit.
You're conflating two things here: making a profit and putting prices up on some products in order to cover price drops on others. The latter is not how pricing works. Tesco sell some products at a loss in order to get more people into their shops. The larger number of customers then buy more goods, thus increasing the amount of profit made without having to increase prices. In fact, the same mechanism can sometimes even work if other prices are reduced. This is, after all, why we have large cheap stores in the first place. If what you said were true -- that lower prices in one area are only possible if offset by higher prices elsewhere -- then Tesco would have loads of extremely expensive products. So, tell us, where are they?
> A dairy farmer can be worked out of business by a supermarket because they are a captive supplier - the supermarket can pretty much name their price and the farmers have to produce milk for it
I am well aware that dairy farmers collectively believe this nonsense for some reason, but it is simply not true. They occasionally claim that they're being "forced" to provide milk so cheaply that they're producing it at a loss. If this is true, they should throw it away and watch the price go up. I agree it would be a bit of a shame to have fewer dairy farms in Britain, but that's an aesthetic judgement, for which frankly not many people are willing to pay. From a business point of view, if milk is so cheap you can't make a living out of it, there is clearly way too much of it, and some dairy farmers need to move into a different line of work -- something which a lot of farmers have done very successfully.
> Powerful companies such as supermarkets can demand that their suppliers fund "buy one get one free" type of offers under threat of not having any more products sold.
No argument from me here. Yes, it's true: big business can be cut-throat. Which is why it's a good idea not to tie your company so exclusively to one retailer that you're at their mercy. But people do such things anyway.
Re: Best of luck with that one!
Yeah, Amazon's customer service is rather good. A few people here have been saying that Amazon aren't the best on price and you can get better deals by shopping around the Web. True, but it misses the point. Amazon are consistently cheap -- even if not the cheapest -- and are reliable. If I see I can get a product for £100 on Amazon or for £92 on some site I've never used before, I'll probably go with Amazon, as the time I'd spend trying to find out whether they're rip-off merchants before handing my credit card details over to them is worth 8 quid to me. Trust, reliability, familiarity: these things are worth a lot in retail.
> People need to understand that someone pays somewhere for cheap products.
No, people need to understand that trade only occurs when both parties benefit.
> If you shop at Tesco and buy one of their loss led products, you will pay more elsewhere
No, Tesco use loss-leaders as an incentive to get you into their stores. It's marketing. They don't need to make other products more expensive to compensate; they just can't afford to do it to all their products, that's all.
> or the producer of the goods will pay for you.
The producer of the goods will not sell them to Tesco if they don't benefit from the trade. Unless they're stupid.
> If you buy something heavily discounted on Amazon, it comes to you at that price because they treat their employees poorly and avoid tax left right and centre.
Take lightbulbs. I get all my lightbulbs via Amazon now, not because they're a few pence cheaper but because they are literally about 20% of the high-street price. Now, firstly, you simply can't achieve that level of price reduction by declaring less profit or shaving a few quid off your employee benefits. There's just not enough potential saving in those areas to allow a 70%-80% price drop. Secondly, Amazon are merely the go-between on these sales: various bricks-and-mortar hardware stores have sensibly become Amazon marketplace sellers and are making money by selling lightbulbs and fuses and so on nationwide where once they could only sell to locals. And you have no idea whatsoever about those various companies' tax affairs or employment conditions, so are in no position to claim that that's the only way they can compete on price. I note, though, that Margaret Hodge hasn't been dragging any of the small businesses who trade via Amazon up in front of her committee.
> Further problems are caused because it drives legitimate competition out of the market, because they can't or won't operate in this manner.
As, so you believe that some competition is legitimate but other competition is illegitimate. Who gets to decide which is which? You?
"some 2 person Luxembourgian office"
Yeah, but that's part of the Maastricht Agreement: a company may choose to run all its EU operations from the member state of its choice. One of the things that pisses me off about all this fuss is the huge overlap between people who are angry at companies who use the Maastricht Agreement now and people who were angry at anyone who suggested that we shouldn't sign the thing back then.
Re: Lies, damn lies, and....
If you're going to be condescending, try not to utterly fuck up the basic task of responding to the point actually made.
You have chosen to explain how the profit figure can be manipulated, apparently under the impression that I don't know any of this very very basic stuff. Great, well done. But what I actually said was that no-one reading this article can make a judgement about the reasonableness or fictitiousness of Amazon's profit figure based on this article, because the figure's simply not in there. Instead, the article compares taxes to turnover, which is meaningless and -- by using the word "despite" to imply a relationship between the two figures that does not exist -- misleading.
You live and learn.
Turns out two wrongs do make a right.
Re: Agree with most comments here...
The tax campaigners are pouring a hell of a lot of effort into persuading the public that tax is paid on turnover, and, sadly, it appears to be working.
Re: Sort your own mess out first..
> why give a company £2.5m in grants when it makes £4.3bn in sales??
Not a big fan of this myself -- think of all the struggling small businesses that grant money could go to -- but, to be fair, the reasoning goes something like "Amazon are about to create a thousand jobs somewhere in the UK; we've got a bit of unused industrial wasteland in our city surrounded by high unemployment: let's give Amazon some grants to get them to create those thousand jobs in this bit of the UK." It's arguably not an optimal tactic, but I'm not convinced it's actually immoral.
Lies, damn lies, and....
> the firm had paid just £2.4m in corporate taxes in the UK last year, despite the fact that its sales were £4.3bn
Why are you quoting taxes versus sales? Taxes aren't paid on sales; they're paid on profits. There is some suggestion by entirely serious people who know what they're talking about that the anti-Amazon tax campaigning is based on hypocritical self-agrandising political scapegoating, a total misreading of tax law, and inumerate bollocks. That may or may not be true, but El Reg could at least have the decency to put some meaningful figures in the article so that your readers can make up their own minds from an informed position. Tax versus sales is utterly meaningless.
What were HMV's sales last year? Millions, I'm guessing.
"Problem is, it's a McJob."
Since McDonald's are now recognised as one of the best employers in the country, it's really time we retired that terminology and started calling them "IT jobs".
Re: Tom Baker is still alive ?
He may have confused you slightly by already having a gravestone. He's been going and visiting his own grave for years.
"The US is unwilling to make any concessions and is ignoring the huge difference in competitiveness between the two countries, which is unacceptable to China," he said.
The US is competitive?
"Oh, the irony...it hurts ." @ sam bo
Facebook's what you make it. It's a blank slate. I understand a lot of people use it to say "Had spaghetti for dinner!" but none of those people seem to be my friends. We have a thoroughly interesting time on there. Twitter, on the other hand, by its very structure discourages interesting discussion and encourages me-too banality and the substitution of hashtags for wit.
I have loads of spaces between tiles on my WP7 Lumia. No spacers per se; just leave a gap between tiles and it stays there. Leave an entire empty row and the UI shifts the tiles up to fill it (which I think is fair enough), but any other gap it accepts quite happily.
Re: @The Prof "What is it?"
A friend of mine calls them "wablets", a portmanteau of "Web" and "tablet". On the downside, it doesn't incorporate the word "phone"; on the up, it's a really funny word.
Re: Microsoft account needed for Facebook? ??
The People hub is superb, in all honesty. I'm a complete Facebook addict, yet I've barely been anywhere near the Facebook site or app since I got a Lumia. Everything bar sharing can be done from the phone. Also, carriage returns in comments are no problem.
I understand the Twitter integration is just as good, but I don't use it because Twitter is a monument to banality.
Re: @gnufrontier - Enough with the number of apps
> I also believe one model of Ford car should be fine for most of the American population, they rarely need that diversity.
Very funny, yes, but there is actually some middle ground between one and one million. Most car manufacturers make about six or seven basic models, and that does appear to be plenty of variety. So it's not really clear what point you were trying to make with that analogy.
Whenever I look in an app store, I spend most of the time ploughing through piles of useless dross. In the app stores with more apps, there's even more dross. There are a handful of great things -- especially for music-creation -- on iOS that aren't available elsewhere. Lemur alone is a reason for a serious musician to buy an iPad, and it appears that Instagram is a must-have for some people (people who insist on the right brand name so won't use 6tag). But we're talking about a few dozen apps at most. For the usual stuff you might want on your phone, I don't think the extra hundreds of thousands of apps make a jot of difference, to be honest.
Re: No Search Terms; No Results
> if we modify search algorithms to prevent the finding and publications of search terms for pedophilia - or any other subject - who defines the terms?
This is an old problem, not particularly related to the Web. Who defines porn? Who defines the difference between soft and hardcore? Who defines what constitutes child porn? Who chooses the age of consent?
The answer is: politicians. And you are free to write to your MP if you think they're doing it wrong. And they do regularly review these things and tweak the definitions in response to feedback from the public and law enforcement agencies and the real world in general. Which makes the answer: society. Which, I have to say, is not all that scary, and is certainly not the dystopian totalitarian tyranny a lot of people round here seem to think.
> Shall we just then make the presumption that anyone who ever types a prohibited word into a search engine is guilty?
As mentioned elsewhere, no, because we live in a democracy.
> If so, where will it end?
It ends when someone proposes a measure that loses votes either because it's unpopular in the first place or because it goes horribly wrong and thereby becomes unpopular. It's not a slippery slope.
> because Google will apparently be blocking *search terms*, not *search results*.
Nope, I just reread Schmidt's statement, and you're wrong.
"We've fine tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results. ... these changes have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to the sexual abuse of kids."
I think you're conflating "target" with "block". Search terms are being targetted; results are being blocked. In just the same way as Google already do for hundreds of other reasons, then, such as spam. Funny how tech people are less outraged about Google blocking spam than about them blocking child porn.
I'll add that I found the piece by googling "google child abuse uk government". The term "child abuse" is clearly not blocked.
> this will inevitably lead to ...
You appear to be under the impression that this is a dictatorship. But it isn't. Slippery-slope arguments don't generally hold here, because we can vote the bastards out, for any given group of bastards.
Plenty of slippery-slope arguments were made about the ID card scheme too (which I certainly opposed), and it looked like a certainty because, while it was being brought in by Labour, it had Tory support and had been proposed by previous governments of both stripes repeatedly, especially by Michael Howard under Major. And yet all those slippery-slope arguments turned out to be bollocks, because even the first step onto the slope didn't happen in the end, because we live in a democracy and politicians are opportunists who will support what the people want if it'll get them votes. And so they did.
So there simply is no inevitability about the things you propose. Right now, the issue is whether to prevent the major search engines, who exercise a massive amount of influence over what people do and don't find on the Web, linking to material that is already illegal -- and the public support that. If, in the future, the issue arises of whether to have people arrested by the police for thought crime if they type "anarchy" into a search engine, I put it to you that any government backing such a move will shed votes like confetti. That issue is not this issue.
This slippery-slope crap can be used to oppose anything. Here's one I didn't even make up: "If we allow schools to opt out of local authority control, it is just a short hop and a skip from that to forcing poor children out of school and into work." It's been over twenty years, and that one still hasn't happened. Funny, that.
Re: Nothing good will come of it
What, all legislation intended to protect children? So you'd oppose the laws that prevent children under the age of twelve being allowed to work as prostitutes, then?
Yes, that would be naive, and that is not what is being addressed here.
Re: Husbands will have to ask their wives...
> Cameron et all don't give a fuck about the abuse of children. They have the resources to tackle it and 'backtrace' it and stop it. Nip it off at source. But no....
Seriously? You're claiming that the British Government put zero resources into tracing and locating child abusers? You're delusional.
> They are as bad as the very people that rape young children to my mind.
Then your mind is not up to much. Asking a search engine provider not to return particular links is as bad as raping children? You didn't have any second thoughts about that one before you hit 'Submit'?
Re: won't this make it harder to find the endangered children?
> I think it will make it harder for the people who are trying to locate these children who are being abused
What, the police? Yeah, they can't work without Google.
> I think that there should be a toll free anonymous international reporting line for people who come across this vulger content to report these sites
Well, we have 999 and most other countries have their own versions of the same. Will that do?
I see a lot of people in this thread getting very upset about the fact that a search engine will no longer return particular links, but no-one is saying that the sites that those links point to should be legally protected. If you believe websites containing images of child abuse should be allowed, fine, say so. If you don't, why on Earth does it matter whether Google link to them or not?
Wow, that's a lot of downvotes for pointing out the extremely obvious.
> in some places filtering out the keywords is could be said to be illegal
Which places? Seriously, name one.
Freedom of speech simply does not mean what you are implying it means.
How on Earth could this infringe on freedom of speech? And which countries provide legal protection for the right to have the link to your child porn returned by a search engine?
Re: Harm ?
Er, Google already mess with search results. Firstly, they've had personalised search for years, so they don't give you & me the same results for the same search string. Secondly, you are aware that different search engines give different results, yes? There isn't some magical ideal search result that must be returned according to some universal law; there are just results returned by firms who've done a load of tinkering with them according to a million criteria.
I personally am glad that Google distort reality by messing with their search results. That is in fact what makes their service useful.
I suspect the long-term aim here ...
... is to make absolutely sure that no-one can use the "But I just stumbled across these disgusting videos while searching for photos of dogs dressed as bees" defence. If it's near-enough impossible to find the stuff without actively looking for it, that'll make convictions much easier.
Have to say, I prefer that way of making convictions easier than politicians' usual preferred approach of giving more power to the police and legislating our rights away.
There is the other issue of conditioning. The Furries have demonstrated unequivocally that sexual preference can be manufactured, and it is obviously in society's interest to inhibit the creation of new paedophiles.
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