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* Posts by Ledswinger

2554 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

Ledswinger
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Re: How do you know....

"How do you know if your friends are on this site? If I'm plonking down 9k "

Sorry mate, you're missing the point. The people wanted here regard 9k in the same way you or I regard1.49 for a cheesy mobile phone app. The vermin this site hopes to attract spend the money you and I regard as "house" money on a car. The money you and I spend on a car, they see as watch money. The money you and I regard as "once in a lifetime holiday" they regard as magazine money.

Put it this way: You've earned a few millions, you have bought the cars you want and a few houses, plus all the trinkets. You have a yacht if you want one. And still there's a few million in the bank. Are you going to be shopping at Aldi to eke it out? And if not, would you give a hoot about a few thousand?

Tim Worstall needs to do a piece on how money works for the obscenely rich.

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

Ledswinger
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Re: The real issue here

But talking of how MPs should be treated, the people of Ukraine show us how:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11100448/Ukraine-activists-throw-MP-in-bin.html

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Ledswinger
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Re: The real issue here

"and look at who the Scots chose to partially govern them so far. When it comes to useless wankers Hollyrood is easily a match for Westminster."

Absolutely agree. But with nobody to bail them out, the SNP would only be able to indulge themselves in fairytale socialism and political graft for a couple of years, and they'd then find the hard way that if they want sustained economic growth then they would have to sort things out with less regulation, lower taxation and lower public spending.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Interesting interpretation of the source that......

"the no campaign are all threats ,scare tactics and basically FUD"

At least they saved the best until last, with the OECD claiming that Scottish independence could trigger a global recession. Funny how a tiddly proto-nation with tiny oil reserves can threaten global stability just by virtue of not being ruled by the inept clowns of Westminster, yet you can knock out the oil and gas production of Iraq and Libya with no ill effects whatsoever.

Could it be that the OECD is a French poodle, and the Frogs, like the Spanish are deeply concerned about the threat posed by the spread of democracy and home rule? Surely not.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The real issue here

"Do the Scottish people hate being in the same country as the English, Welsh (and Northern Irish) enough to sacrifice their economic well-being for the next umpteen decades?"

Actually the data is fairly clear, that Scotland's economy has consistently grown more slowly than the rest of the UK, or than comparable EU or EEA countries. Not by huge amounts, but from memory Scotland's GDP has grown half a per cent less than the rest of the UK for the past thirty years, and that adds up. With a workforce that is productive, and an excellent education system, Scotland should be doing much better than it is. Continuing to be governed from Westminster, and allowing your country to remain a public sector theme park is not a good option.

I'm not Scottish, the effect on me is minimal, but I think we can dismiss many of the arguments on both Yes and No sides. But an independent Scotland would (after a few difficult years) be in much the same economic basket as similarly sized and developed economies such as Denmark or Sweden. The Danes use somebody else's currency, the Swedes have their own, so either option is feasible, and neither really threatens the long term prosperity of Scotland.

I don't think much of Salmond and his cronies, but I would suggest that a more equal partnership of an independent Scotland and the rUK would be a better outcome for both countries, and that berk Cameron should have played this with far more neutrality, instead of the childish "you can't use the pound" and all the other rampant fear-mongering.

From a South of the border perspective, I want a Yes vote because it will help in the continuing bust up of the traditional two party cartel running Westminster. Letting the Scots run their own affairs and sending their MP's home is bad news for the traditional Westminster left, just as Frage is piddling on the Westminster right's chips. More, please!

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Rejoice, Blighty! UK is the TOP of the WHOLE WORLD ... for PHISHING

Ledswinger
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Re: Language

"I wonder whether we're bigger targets because English is more widely spoken worldwide than German."

According to the blog post Krauts have marginally more spam emails per user than Brits, Frogs or Yanks, although the differences are fairly small - so language of the user has little to do with the prevalence of spam. But within the spam emails the big difference is the number of dodgy links.

It seems more likely that there are other considerations, such as (perhaps) higher levels of electronic banking in the UK versus other markets, weaker security in the UK versus other markets. Whilst gullibility may be a factor, the absence of a dodgy URL doesn't mean the spam isn't criminal, so it is difficult to conclude that Britain has a greater proportion of mugs. And reading the blog post, it seems to me that the authors define a malicious URL as one that seeks to serve malware - so potentially passive phishing isn't included.

The other component is whether particular countries ISPs are better at blocking malicious content, although the spam figures suggest there's not much to choose.

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As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

Ledswinger
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Re: Reminds me of Maplins

"Maplins is a fictional holiday camp,"

Not if the OP was referring to the individual Maplin shops collectively?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Reminds me of Maplins

"not really sure what it's meant to be selling"

Add to that "over expanded into too many large shops that don't do enough trade to keep the lights on"

According to Experian data, Maplin made a loss of £180m last year, and that was up year on year from losses of a "mere" £26m back in 2009, and have negative net worth to the tune of £100m, despite an apparent £440m equity-for-debt swap the previous year. I expect Maplin to join Radio Shack in the great retail park in the sky anyday soon.

I suggest unlucky Phones 4U employees don't apply to Maplin. Don't forget you heard it here first.

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MIT boffins cry havoc and let slip the ROBOT CHEETAHS of Whoa

Ledswinger
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Cheetah my arse! That's a cyberdog if ever I saw one

"I'll wear insulated gloves so it doesn't electrocute me as I'm giving it a bath"

The problem is that master and pet relationship soon reverses. "Daddy created him for good, but he's turned out evil." as they say in Lancashire.

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One sixth of the ENTIRE PLANET will buy a new smartphone this year

Ledswinger
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Re: Good enough is the enemy of great

"Cheap smartphones appear bound to make inroads, as soon as they are good enough for what most (young) people do with their phones. "

That may be true for teenage loafers in the US or Europe, but the bulk of the growth is "good enough" phones being sold to developing markets. For somebody on a few dollars a day (if they're lucky), they aren't buying a $100 phone to play Angry Birds (or whatever shite is today's hot game). They are buying it to get advice on weather for agricultural needs, to check seed or produce prices, to get remote medical advice, to learn stuff, to arrange transport, find and buy spare parts etc.

And because developing markets can leapfrog the need for expensive fixed line infrastructure, their countries can invest in other things that are more useful, so (nationally speaking) this can avoid the need for universal fixed line telecoms that would otherwise consume billions.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Ledswinger
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"the last time I was in there, they had plenty of pay as you go phones, tablets and other stuff for sale so i'm sure they could at least run for the next year and try and diversify further to keep the business viable"

Who'd go into a mobile phone shop that didn't offer mobile phone contracts? Even on PAYG they'd struggle to compete against proper retailers with well managed inventory and supply chain (Amazon, Argos and Tesco, and the only reason they may have been competitive before would be network commissions. So they'd have a quite large shop selling the small range of phone and tech related tat normally associated with a market stall. I just can't see it working.

Also, directors have to sign off accounts declaring that the business is a going concern. Even with a year's notice, who's going to risk being disqualified as a director, or even jail time for fraud in the hope that they can perhaps put together a business selling trinkets?

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Ledswinger
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Re: So the question is what about life Mobile

"Phones 4U spent a lot of money in creating there MVNO Life mobile a few years ago, it runs on EE network, like Tesco Mobile, question is ... what happens to that?"

Did they ever trade and sign up customers - I can't see anything that says they had any customers?

If they have any, the administrators will try and sell it as a going concern if it stands on its own feet. But if it isn't viable then it will be shut down unless a competitor quickly decides that the Life Mobile customers can be bought for a lower average cost than acquiring customers organically.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Now where do we go for a cheap contract?

"Problem for the rest of us is what happens to capacity, investment and the prospect of expansion when profits tank?"

Infrastructure regulation is what eventually happens, as per gas or electricity distribution systems. That's very good for preserving things as they are, it's generally poor at supporting fast innovation. Given OFCOM's poor record they'd be particularly dreadful, but other asset regulators (eg OFWAT) have shown that you can offer decent regulation that meets both customer and investor needs, and supports performance improvement.

Most of the legal infrastructure is already in place in the form of having a regulator, having a licencing regime and licenced operators. All that's needed is a bill to make network ownership and operation a fully regulated activity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Now where do we go for a cheap contract?

"Short of them resorting to actual blackmail over coverage its hard to see whats going to prop their profits up."

Too right. But in the light of this threat, you can see why these companies oppose net neutrality (hoping to get paid by upstream content providers as well as their own downstream customers), and why they keep on dancing round their corporate handbags on NFC and mobile payments, hoping to get a cut from the payment processors (ie to get another upstream payment for what is effectively use of system that the downstream customer has already paid for). Obviously on mobile payments they need to have proprietary systems to justify extra charges, and that's why they want to offer crummy carrier-specific solutions, and are hostile to industry standard approaches, where the MNO only gets paid the data rate for a handful of bytes.

The sad thing is that the network operator strategies are all so 1999, still offering mobiles as an unsatisfactory adjunct to fixed line solutions from third parties, and always hoping to find the next big thing without effort or investment. Hoping, Mr Micawber style, as though the initial revenue boom of texting is the sort of reward they might hope to be gifted in future is not a good strategy.

If they'd invest in a lot more capacity they could offer a credible domestic wireless broadband solution that would supplant the wired telecoms and cable companies, opening up a vast new market, instead of hoping that mobile data will suddenly come to the rescue as people decide to watch cat videos on a tiny handset every waking second of the day. But creating a domestic broadband proposition for a lot of multi-occupant households (rather than a few mobile-only singleton hipsters) involves more masts, and meatier backhaul, new propositions - investment, hard work, and commercial risk. Why do that when you're a fat cat incumbent?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Now where do we go for a cheap contract?

"I've has my last 6 phones from Phones4U because they have consistently been massively cheaper than the Vodafone shop that's 20 yards from it."

Well there's the problem. However you cut it, selling through intermediaries costs a lot more than direct sales. In a previously growing market with high margins and lots of differentiation, that didn't matter.

But with MVNO's and cheap SIM only deals left right and centre, maxed-out levels of smart phone ownership, and promotion of cheap and competent SIM-free phones by credible brands like Google or Motorola, the major MNOs are starting to find themselves squeezed. Their (in practice) oligopoly for the bundled supply of phones and air time is under attack. And once you get onto SIM free, there's a further nightmare for the big networks - it is far easier to switch. There's no albatross of a part-paid handset to sort out, no locked in two year contracts, and subject only to reception, air time is pure commodity. This then becomes a race to the bottom.

Now consider that Phones4U had turnover of around a billion quid, and that was almost entirely a cost to the major networks - taken together there's no additional income to the networks for the Phones 4U sales, because (the networks reason) punters will still buy the most attractive deal somewhere else.

So squeezing out intermediaries is a financial necessity for the network operators, and what will happen is that a three tier market (that already exists) will become even clearer: PAYG will continue much as it operates now; the major networks will offer increasingly expensive deals for fixed term handset inclusive contracts to those who are not value conscious (or are not very smart); and the value conscious will increasingly start to relinquish contract deals in favour of SIM free handsets and rolling short term SIM deals (much as Tesco's punters are now to be found thronging Aldi and Lidl).

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

Ledswinger
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Re: The first time I've seen Godwin's law work in reverse..

"Just curious."

Niwdog's law, mate.

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Ledswinger
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He looks old enough to have been there

In which case you have to wonder why he thinks that huge flat screens, remote controls, PVRs, on screen programme guides, loads of channels, gaming and internet connectivity (of sorts), HD quality, surround sound, DVD and VoD interfaces, screen mirroring off other devices etc are all so 1971?

I was there, and telly was pants in the 1970s. In technical terms, including the interface, television is unbelievably better than those dark days. I say Tim Cook is a berk, and the one thing that is the same as 1971 is the paucity of good content, and that's not going to be solved by his company's (prospective) over-priced but shiney tat.

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Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water

Ledswinger
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Re: Refreshing?

In part that's probably true, although don't forget they probably need to repay the bond holders for money borrowed only last year, otherwise they'll be hammered in the courts, and BC Partners (or whoever) will find it more difficult and expensive to borrow in future.

The other reason for going home early is that without distribution contracts or an alternative and believable business model P4U won't be able to get trade credit insurance (insurance that guarantees that the owner of the goods gets paid back if the retailer can't pay its way) and in that case nobody will give them the handsets to sell.

I'd guess there probably isn't much P4U owned stock to clear (after unsold handsets are returned to the networks who still own them), and the whole operation could be history in a few days. With CPW leaping out of the frying pan, and general over-capacity in mobile phone retailing I'd guess there's not really going to be much demand for many of the shops.

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Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM

Ledswinger
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Re: Frame rate

"I was expecting 3 frames-per-minute, except on really dark frames where it would be 1fpm..."

So about what we experienced when playing it on a 486SX?

Sadly, regardless of graphic detail, no subsequent game has ever re-created the frisson of genuine fear that I sometimes felt when playing the original Doom.

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Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales

Ledswinger
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Political more than commercial

Abandoning WP is a daft idea from Huawei if on purely commercial grounds, because it gives them less of a stick to wave at Google, should that be necessary, and fewer short term options should they need them. Development costs for WP would be negligible in the context of the circa $5bn R&D budget.

This seems more like a strategic and political choice at the behest of the Chinese government. Just as with the "competition" probe into MS Office/WIndows, this is simply part of the long dragged out game surrounding XP and options for moving to W7, which seem from the outside to be essentially about the price China wants to pay for W7, and the price Microsoft want to be paid for W7. I suppose it also could include things that neither party will publicly discuss, like backdoors, surveillance, default search engines).

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

Ledswinger
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Re: I do think that both Samsung and LG should grow up...........

"I do think that both Samsung and LG should grow up"

I don't. It put a smile on my face reading this story of corporate idiocy. It does reflect badly on LG, though. Not only did they get caught, but the "yield" seems to be less than five Samsung machines. Were they smarter, they'd have re-engineered Stuxnet and injected it to the control logic of Samsung washing machines, to cause them to over-speed when on the spin cycle, because (let's be honest here) that's exactly what Stuxnet was designed for. And after many thousands of warranty claims, Samsung would still be scratching their heads. If it ever came to light, the Israelis would get the blame.

And a side benefit would be that all the thousands of home-grown terrorists that the security services keep alluding to would be foiled in their attempts at enrichment, under Al Quaeda's "Spinning@Home" project.

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General Motors issues STOP DELIVERY for 2,800 corvettes over defects in 2015 model

Ledswinger
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Re: 2015 model?

This has been motor industry practice for years, and reflects annual product cycles with mid-year launches. The "new" models (often just a trim change) are announced during the year at various motors shows. If labelled according to year of launch, then in the following spring the (often) talent free retards that sell cars are going to have a VERY hard time selling a 2014 model in spring 2015.

Label the car as the "model year", which is the calendar year after launch, and hey presto! this problem goes away. In the industry everybody knows what "model year" means, punters buy with confidence that they're not buying old stock, and everybody's happy. And for the canny buyer, this creates opportunities to buy at a discount from residual stock when new models are announced. Who's got a problem with all that?

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Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained

Ledswinger
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Re: Vaporpus Sapphire @Ledswinger

"As for your test, a simpler one would be to take the phone outside - sapphire is more reflective..."

Alright, ignoring wicked jokes at the (very unlikely) potential expense of the clueless. But surely a sapphire screen is going to have an anti-reflection coating. Not much use if you can't use the thing in daylight? And glass screens are bad enough in tis respect already.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Vaporpus Sapphire

"Maybe it's simply not possible to reliably make millions of perfect sapphire phone screens and the whole concept is vaporware."

Maybe, but if there's any truth in the rumours, the "missing" sapphire screens are purely (as the article suggests) an outcome of the yield issue. On any new process you have a lot of defects, and a lot of early production ends in the bin, and you can only go to full production when you know you can produce enough intact parts to make the process profitable for both manufacturer and phone assembler.

Something that nobody has mentioned is whether sapphire screens are going into the distribution channel unannounced, and being sold alongside normal glass. Would make sense, to gauge performance and warranty costs. Maybe fanbois should test their devices? Usual testing mode is to take a faceted diamond (your wife's ring) and see if that marks the face.

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What kind of mugs do you take us for? Malicious sites in spam scams target UK

Ledswinger
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"I really doubt we even have a regulator to timidly suggest it any more"

Actually they are too timid to enforce good practice, but every bit as important is that we don't have a proper single point regulatory and enforcement structure for both e-crime and good practice. Police can't be bothered with ecrime in the vast majority of cases. Banks deliberately don't report phishing and e-crime, and as you say engage in poor practice (and that's both a corporate and an FCA problem). The ICO buck pass on anything that isn't about everyday data administration. OFCOM are clueless. MPS deal only with UK originated marketing telephone calls because idiot civil servants drew up such tightly restrictive rules. There's not even a single government department with a clear mandate for these matters. Politicians are too busy deciding important stuff like their next pay rise, or how many watts your hoover is allowed to use, added to which the fraudsters of Westminster wouldn't know how to turn a computer on.

More concerted effort goes into parking enforcement in the UK than goes into addressing ecrime.

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Slough isn't fit for humans now, says Amazon. We're going to Shoreditch

Ledswinger
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Re: Will Amazon invest in...

" Will Amazon invest in...The additional commuter infrastructure required?"

That depends on whether they negotiated some exemption from the Crossrail business rate supplement. Realistically, that toff Boris will have cut them a slick deal (because that's how all politicians work) and if that is the case then the infrastructure they need to shift their workforce from Slough to London will be paid for by every other business in London who don't get exemptions from the CBRS.

If Boris had any balls he'd have told Amazon they were getting special unpreferential treatment to block any presence in London until the tax dodgers stopped cheating the system, but what were the chances of that?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Slough - Paradise on Earth

"Well, it wasn't bad when I lived there during the late 50's early 60's."

It was a shithole by the time I lived and worked there in the late 80s. What you and I know, but other members of the commentariat my be less aware of, is that Slough exists as a binary system with nearby Windsor. For all the tourists, Windsor is pleasantly genteel, in contrast to the post industrial, post nuclear war scabbiness of Slough. This means that anything and anybody that aren't thoroughly down market gravitates to Windsor, and Slough thus accretes shittiness exponentially. Something like a black hole, except that you can visit it and come away again.

I suspect that in the 50s and 60s, lower car ownership, and the absence of the dual carriageway known locally as the Relief Road meant that journeying from Slough to Windsor was less easy, and it was less easy for the middle classes to escape.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the point

"ensuring that the customer has as little freedom and control as possible and that the provider retains all control and ability to unilaterally enforce any changes to the terms and conditions (including charges) that it may see fit."

For a rare change mate you're wrong. The regulations governing what a supplier must do and how they must do it run to thousands of pages, and they can't unilaterally do anything without giving you notice and the opportunity to take your business elsewhere. Suppliers won't have their hands on the "auxiliary load switch" that can dump shed-able loads, that will rest (most likely) with either National Grid of the local distribution company. The detail data from smart meters can't even be shared with your electricity supplier without your explicit consent, and DECC are in the process of painfully establishing their own Data Communications Company who will warehouse the data from all smart meters. With government's track record in IT, energy policy, and commerce, what could possibly go wrong?

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Ledswinger
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Re: British Gas tried to get me to have one

"They then did a cost check based on my annual consumption and when they came back saying this amazing deal would cost me 12% more than I currently pay even with free weekend electricity I politely declined."

I work in the industry, and we had a look at British Gas' offer and concluded that "free electricity Saturday" is a bit like Economy 7: In both cases you have to shift at least one third of your total 'leccy use into the cheap/free zone to make up for higher costs at other times. In practice this approximates to the scenarios that unless you've got electric storage heaters and immersion heaters as your only heating sources you shouldn't be on E7, and likewise you shouldn't touch the "free Saturday" offer unless you have a medium to large family and you're prepared to run all of you washing and tumble drying needs for the entire week on Saturday, and to shift any other loads like Friday's dishwasher to Saturday.

DECC are desperate to confront users with the costs of peak demand, but on a system wide level the average costs aren't that great. Instead of making things work the bozos should work to get prices down, instead of working energetically to push them.

Incidentally I was at an industry forum where some beard-and-sandal lawyer from OFGEM was quacking away about how great time of use tariffs would be when we've all got smart meters. I asked him how that complexity and lack of transparency matched up to OFGEM's view (enforced through licence conditions) that consumers must not be offered a choice of more than four single-rate-plus-standing-charge tariffs because greater choice was too confusing (including an effective ban on any tariff that didn't have a standing charge). I didn't get a credible answer, but his face was a picture, like man trying to shit a hedgehog.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

Or even "no and yes respectively".

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

" in the UK it looks like you'll be made to have one and pay for the privilege."

Yes and no, respectively. Energy suppliers are required to have installed smart meters at all suitable metering points by 2020, or to have offered to do so. You are at liberty to refuse a smart meter, but I would expect that sooner or later DECC will change the rules to permit suppliers to install smart meters without your say so.

However, as the total programme costs are recovered through the normal energy tariffs, everybody pays for smart meters, not merely those who elect to have them.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

"If you want to save money, don't use electricity/gas, right?"

This isn't about saving money, it about saving the planet, in the minds of the EU, and you are lucky to be allowed to pay for it. You have to bear in mind that smartmeters are mandated to be offered to all consumers by 2020 under EU directive, now written into UK statute by the bunglers of DECC and the criminals of Westminster.

The authors of this policy have committed to it on the basis that (a) they have re-engineered government to a war-footing to fight "climate change", and (b) they earnestly believe that the paltry savings will add up. But you have also to be aware that smart meters enable half-hourly metering, which means potentially different charges based on when you use electricity. Anybody can see that this will be confusing and customer-unfriendly, but half hourly metering is already in the process of being foisted on small businesses. In the short term half hourly metering says nothing about the tariff structure, in practice the tariff follows, and it is the regulator's expectation that the two will be linked (search on Ofgem, P272, filetype:pdf). There's an important underlying hypothesis here that shifting demand around during the day will have a big impact on emissions, and that's wholly unproven.

OFGEM are forever whining that the electricity market "doesn't work" (and it's true it often doesn't but usually because of them), but they are hoping to see energy suppliers experiment with time of use tariffs before smartmeters are universal, and then it will be open season on consumers. As usual the poor will be hardest hit, but I was rather amused to read in a DECC commissioned report that a mitigation strategy for consumers facing higher peak electricity charges that they could cook their evening meals later (like 10pm) to avoid higher peak charges in winter.

Unfortunately, all of this policy ignores the problem that the EU/DECC renewable strategy means that in future years we will have unpredictable generation, so that the prevailing logic of peak demand driving prices will fall apart, and prices will be driven by the random interaction between the vast build out of wind and solar power (again, your expense) and demand.

EU and UK energy policy (including smartmeters) is a despicable, tree-hugger inspired mess. Industry projections are that energy policy will cause electricity prices to double by 2022, and all of the three main political parties have the same position - blame suppliers for the cost of electricity, whilst throwing more and more of your money at subsidies and bad ideas like smart-metering.

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Ledswinger
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Re: Err...

"Any music i download from iTunes gets automatically uploaded to my Google Music account."

I'd agree that the lock in in perceptual rather than real, but you've still got to do something extra to get the freedom. Em-masse, people don't behave like that, and iTunes works very well as a barrier to exit. Your average Apple user won't have, or won't use a Google Play Music account, and I suspect most of them wouldn't be very impressed with it if they tried. Indeed, as an Android user I gave up on Play Music because it seemed unable to recognise and retain all the ripped tracks on my PC - like everything "free", Play Music has its limits and its true cost.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 0% finance over the contract term

"True, but only if the bargain happens to be available when your contract is up for renewal."

That's only an issue where the buyer can't wait. The natural victims (or cash rich) probably can't wait, but I've always found my phones continue to function beyond the end of the contract, and sometimes it has been necessary to wait a couple of months for the right deal to come up (or indeed pay to exit the contract a month or two early - I've done both). Obviously the roll-on contract usually includes the "handset" charge, so you don't have that long to make your choice before the maths works against you, but over two or three months, chances are something's available on a blindingly good deal, and in practice it is usually an outgoing premium model rather than a pretender. So there's fewer deals on (say) an LG G3 than on a Sammy S4.

But even that assumes that these deals are only sporadically available. I've found that if you're relaxed about what you get and from whom then there's usually something on offer. In the sales culture that pervades mobile phone retailing, somebody is always keen to offer deals to secure market share (eg run up to Christmas), or desperate to clear excess stock in the post Christmas slack period. Same applies for the invariable Spring sales offensives, or the slack water over the Summer holiday period. As with cars the market is also distorted by sales bonuses and campaign targets. At the moment the market is pretty quiet, but I can still find offers for an S4 on contract for an implied cost fifty quid cheaper than the best sim-free deal I can find.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Err...

"Every other businessman on the planet would kill to be able to do the same."

Well then, they need to concentrate on creating a reason to pay extra in the first place, and then lock people in through non-portable content or similar barrier to market exit. When the earlier iPhones were being sold, they were generally distinguishably better than competing products, and there was a logic to paying the iPremium. After a couple or four years use, a modest number of purchased apps, and potentially a shed-load of music which is (for most users) difficult or impossible to port to Android, there's a huge cost or convenience barrier to moving away from iShiny, no matter what the Android offer is (within reason). With contender phones (eg S5) pitched at similar prices to Apple devices, buyers won't notice the pain of an iUpgrade that includes another iMargin (have I overdone the i-words yet?), and the whole cycle continues, with more music and app purchases locking buyers in.

There's all the marketing, design, construction quality, distribution model that Apple offer, and these offer owners a rational justification for paying the iTax, but those aren't particularly good reasons to buy yet another of their phones. £400 of otherwise lost music is however a very big reason not to leap on the Android bus.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 0% finance over the contract term

"But this is why I have a nice little Samsung S3 Mini and not an i-whatever as the i-whatevers were all 40 or more pounds a month."

A disadvantage of the purchase model is that the sneeky buyer is much less likely to be able to benefit from over-commitment fire sales by the mobile retailers, or other unintended subsidy variations. So my full fat S3 costs me £17 a month all in (Carphone Warehouse/O2 offer), and I reckon the air-time and data allowances are worth about seven quid, meaning that by buying a phone on run-out was cheaper than buying a less capable handset outright.

This isn't a "my phone's cheaper than your's" jibe, simple an observation that the construct of the subsidised market (including minimum commitments by networks and retailers) often creates opportunities that a more transparent hardware purchase market is less likely to offer. At any point in time there will be something good that somebody really needs to shift, and if you're flexible then there's bargains to be had.

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TV techies proudly display their MIGHTY BENDERS in Berlin

Ledswinger
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Re: While a few men may think this is a good idea

"the spider has hacked the tracked dyson M1A1"

Not sure about the spider, but if we are to believe our government's security services the Iranians and Norks might. I'm fairly relaxed about the Iranians getting my Nerf-armed vacuum cleaner tank to hunt

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Ledswinger
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Re: While a few men may think this is a good idea

In which case they'd better automate the Slipper of Death. Android powered, internet-of-things compatible, totally fear-proof?

Maybe combine it with the Dyson tracked vacuum cleaner, so that the spider scuttles across the living room carpet, and slowly, relentlessly the Dyson M1A1 grinds after it, sleepless, indefatigable. Eventually the spider will be cornered, and the machine can vacuum it up, or simply crush it under the tracks, before sending a Facebook update announcing success and showing video confirmation. Or team up with Nerf to give the Dyson proper spider-attack capability. The Middle East model could despatch the spider by....no, lets not go there.

All these possibilities from technology, and the best the makers can give us is a fucking bendy telly and a watch with a battery that lasts a whole day. Knobs!

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Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs

Ledswinger
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Re: Re. nuclear base

And I didn't even mention which country it was for...

Could have been the bad guys. But these days it's not really clear who are the bad guys, and maybe our side are the bad guys. Perhaps they weren't in the days I referred to, who now knows.

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Ledswinger
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"That's not a typo. 10,000GB on spinning platters in helium"

Ten terabytes? I can remember when you could run a tactical nuclear air base on 80 Mb.

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

Ledswinger
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Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

Somebody better let me know. Horizon used to be excellent, but has long since degenerated into repetitive mush.

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Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Ledswinger
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Re: Use a proxy to get outside of the Virgin Network?

"Like a pirate on a VPN? I don't want my name added to a government watch list!"

Maybe not, but don't you think that the likes of GCHQ and NSA (and others) have identified and profiled regular, prolific, popular or controversial commentators on leading social, political and tech web sites? And you, on a web site like this.....weeelllllll........ you've probably had your inside leg measured without you so much as knowing.

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NASA said a 60ft space alien menacing Earth wouldn't harm us: Tell THAT to Nicaragua

Ledswinger
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Re: Not all collisions are high speed

"I once calculated what might happen if whatever it was which made Tycho crater hit somewhere in the North Sea. It wasn't pretty."

This could explain Scunthorpe, Clacton, Hull, South Shields, Filey. I hope your work was published.

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Ledswinger
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Re: kinda cool...@FrankAlphaXII

"Had this occurred in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua (what I'd refer to as "Bum Fuck Egypt", or BFE for short), nobody would ever know but some farmers who are to a decent degree ex-Sandinistas and Contras that both know big explosions tend to mean trouble, and maybe some drug mules here and there."

That big swoosh above the atmosphere was evidently no comet or meteor, it was simply the roar of red-neck generalisations hurtling out of the pages of Huckleberry Finn and menacing a whole selection of developing countries. Fortunately with the exception of one particularly rancid comment that fell to earth and caused a hedgehog to explode in Nicuragua, the toxic ball of hill-billy wisdom has rushed off round the Sun, and may return to cause offence in a few hundred years hence unless space defences can ward it off.

And whilst it's on-topic, remind me again who armed and funded the Contras as part of an illegal destabilisation plot?

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O2 breathes life into Amazon Fire: Mobe to hit Blighty in WEEKS

Ledswinger
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Re: Even free isn't cheap enough@ JDX

"99% of arrogant nerds are total idiots that don't understand people.

(or grammar)"

If you're goose-stepping out as a grammar nazi, shouldn't you have avoided a two word sentence that starts and ends with brackets, and looks barren of capitalisation and a full stop?

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Ledswinger
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Re: BBC Worldwide

"Organizations like the BBC already do geolocation on IP addresses to filter non-UK traffic. It surely can't be beyond the ability of their IT staff to get the ranges of IP addresses used by the major "VPN to bypass copyright" providers, and just blacklist them as well?"

As somebody who has to pay the telly tax to support the Beeb, I'd suggest that instead of canvassing overseas regulators with bad ideas to try and support a token revenue stream, the idle, useless bastards actually focus some attention on producing something worth watching for domestic audiences?

I'm surprised anybody would want to pirate anything the BBC has produced in the past five years.

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Who us, SHARE infrastructure? Networks reject gov proposal

Ledswinger
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Fatuous arguments defending the status quo, as usual

"If covering an area which is economically marginal means that the network which has gone to the expense then has to give that coverage to rivals, no one will go to the expense"

Who said anything about giving capacity away? A straightforward charging mechanism could be put in place, and by suitable design could actually incentivise provision of coverage in areas that currently have no service by directing all tower-specific revenues to the operator.

An interesting alternative is to have an independent operator of towers of last resort which all MNOs are mandated to roam onto. If there's some level of economic demand, OFCOM offers the MNO's a "last chance" offer to provide coverage on their terms, before the independent is offered a local mast monopoly with all the MNO customers in range roaming onto this (ie, if they don't take the opportunity they can't then try and undermine the independent at a later date). Wouldn't undermine the ability of the MNO's to do things their way, but if the incumbents can't or won't extend and improve the networks then it can still be done. As I conceive the idea it wouldn't be a universal coverage obligation, simply a means of providing capacity in locations where there's commercial levels of demand, but where individual operators elect not to provide connection. It also create a clearer playing field if (for example) local government wanted to make a contribution to extend mobile coverage.

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Alibaba swings a large one with STONKING IPO legal bills

Ledswinger
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Re: big $15.8m payout to lawyers

I'm surprised that the legal bill is so small. IPOs and M&A are lodes of 100% pure moolah for law firms, and for a Chinese company with no history in the US to launch a $20bn listing on the basis of legal advice costing less than $16m it looks like very good value indeed. The investment bank leeches have reputedly shared 1% of the IPO value as fees, so that's $200m in fees which makes the legal fees look like small beer.

At average values for big US law firms the $16m equates to perhaps 22,000 hours of billable time, or 16 lawyer-years. Over a four month period your 40 figure is about right, but that then implies no big fat success fee, and none of the traditional padding of the figures.

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Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'

Ledswinger
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Why doesn't it make logistical (or logical) sense? Chances are that they'll only be serving the heavily populated metropolitan areas. And potentially Oz is a nice learning market before moving into other developed non-US markets, given that there's little similarity between North American markets and many other Anglophone or even European markets.

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Shitty what? Almost half of MPs have never heard of Tech City

Ledswinger
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Re: That's the trouble u c?

"If I were a civil servant wanting to do central planning, I'd be rolling out a national grid of fat comms pipes "

You mean spending tax payers money on things they aren't prepared to pay for themselves, on the basis that you know better than they do what is good for them? You should apply now, you'd make an excellent civil servant.

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