* Posts by Ledswinger

4417 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Lloyds Banking Group puts 640 techies and backroom bods on chopping block

Ledswinger
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next IT news story about LLoyds......a total cockup of services due to lack of IT personnel and using IT "services" in India?

Why just Lloyds? The whole financial services sector want to do this:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0950b37e-27fb-11e6-8ba3-cdd781d02d89.html

So let's see what the directors of these businesses want?

1) London banking bonuses (need to pay for world class talent, donchaknow)

2) Access to London, US (and briefly EU) markets

3) A nice, long established brand

4) Access to the English courts for litigation to fight the bank's corner

5) Access to London law firms to fight any legitimate claims against the banks

6) A market where your customers are well paid Europeans

7) A base where you can openly dodge all the employment protection, payroll taxes, pension commitments, etc etc by outsourcing all your "bread winner" jobs to third world locations.

Its enough to make you join the communist party and buy a subscription to Socialist Shirker. Well, almost.

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You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

Ledswinger
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Re: Hopefully this will mean cheaper planes

One a superior engineered war machine.. The other a mass produced heap-o-junk...

Arguably the Germans had better small arms, better artillery, better tanks, better ships, better submarines, better field transport than almost anything the Allies had. The only military assets that the Allies had that were incontrovertibly better than the German equivalent were medium and heavy bomber aircraft (and perhaps aircraft carriers), and arguably something of draw on fighter technology. You can argue the toss on specific types and niches, but overall that's a reasonable summary.

So it would appear that cheap junk trumped superior engineering. Presumably this is the logic behind the F35: "No point in superior engineering, the enemy can afford cheap junk that'll win, so we need to counter with something they can't create: Expensive junk."

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Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Ledswinger
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@hewbass

This shows a deep lack of understanding of the impact of the result (assuming parliament acts on it): regardless of how we voted in the referendum we are either *all* losers or we are *all* winners....Looking at the state of sterling, the FTSE250, the FTSE100, the increased cost of government borrowing due to our credit rating down grades,

Errr, your comment shows a profound lack of understanding of the real situation, rather than that reported by a hysterical press.

Take the FTSE100. Actually, market-on-market it dived less and responded better than either German or French equivalents, both of which it had out-performed for the previous six months to boot. Follow the link below, select 6m for the time frame and add international peers CAC40 and Exetra Dax.

http://markets.ft.com/research/Markets/Tearsheets/Summary?s=FTSE:FSI

And the same chart will show you that we're still ahead of the January and February lows for the FTSE. So not really anything remarkable.

Next up, government borrowing. If the markets are actually accepting negative yields all over the shop (which they are) then the chances of having to pay meaningful interest is pretty low, FFS, the capital markets are taking temporary refuge in the yen. Anybody who knows anything about macro-economics will cry with laughter at fund managers doing that. Ain't going to last.

As for the exchange rate (to be fair to you implicit rather than stated) the UK has been living well beyond its means for years now, with vast trade deficits (most notably with the EU). So a collapse in sterling is not caused by Brexit, that's merely an overdue catalyst. If they knew what it really meant, British people would be holding street parties to celebrate the collapse in the FX rate.

To suggest that any party should run a manifesto of ignoring the will of the people shows two things: An unbelievable contempt for democracy (in which case, who are you saying should run Britain?), and an unbelievable ignorance of the need for the British economy to rebalance, reign in imports and foreign spending. You may interpret that last one as being some form of jingoism, but here's your check. Try spending 5% more than you earn next month. Put it on plastic, no problem. Now do the same next month. Ditto. Repeat every month for a decade. Now, how sustainable is that? Is sticking to the status quo even possible?

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Ledswinger
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Did the genuine signatories actually read it?

I doubt it, they're just bitter at the fact that the Remain camp lost. That more people voted "leave" than for any single cause in British history doesn't matter: Democracy has delivered the incorrect answer, so democracy is wrong. And the solution is to change the rules. Interesting to see the pickle the parliamentary Labour party is in, after an improved (that is, more open) democratic process to elect the leader also produced the wrong result, and the establishment MPs are using the Brexit vote to try and chuck out the leader who had the overwhelming support of party activists.

That's why you see some of the Remainers demanding ex-post rule changes, that the whole thing be re-run, that Parliament should ignore it. Any outcome is better than submitting to the democratic view of the population. There's some commentard further up this thread berating "the sheeple" for voting Leave, and that shows the same contempt for the population. After months of fear mongering by the government, by the official voice of Labour, Liberal and assorted nationalist parties, by the BoE, by the EU themselves, apparently we're still not to be trusted to come to a correct decision.

I think there is an amicable outcome possible. Give the Scots independence. Don't risk another referendum, since the SNP calculations for the Scottish economy won't fly at current oil prices. Then, the Scots can join the EU, all the south-of-the-border Remainers can claim asylum in Scotland, and then live out their days in a single party socialist state, where they can have both democracy AND a never ending socialist government within the EU. The Scots can get rid of other people's nuclear deterrents, England can scrap the Barnett formula.

What's not to like? The only thing I'd miss if Scotland went is the Union Jack.

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Tesco Mobile does what? Hahahahahahaha. Sorry customers

Ledswinger
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Re: £140 million over 5 years for 800 staff

I've heard it said that an employee costs twice what they're paid as salary, which makes the average salary £17500.

Well, the add on cost per employee is more like 35%, including NI & pension costs, holiday and sick leave (when you're off and being paid, somebody else has to be paid to do your job), then you've got training, internal support functions, payroll, HR et al, plus accomodation & facilities, and IT infrastructure, telephony, CRM and desktop. However, that 35% is per capita of call handlers, there's overhead on top of that form line management - directors don't handle calls, senior managers don't handle calls, but they're still part of your total cost build, including their high salary, better pension, bonus and car etc. The value of that line management overhead is very variable, and depends on the breadth of the management pyramid and how much they are paid.

So £35k per employee is an entirely realistic figure that I can recognise, but probably translates to a circa £20k salary for the staff in the call centre.

Under TUPE and UK living wage and pensions laws, there's now little real financial advantage in outsourcing to a UK based outsourcer, so my guess is that Tesco TUPE their staff to Crapita, and then Crapita move the work offshore, all of which is already planned.

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Home Office ignores plight of BA techies as job offshoring looms

Ledswinger
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Re: @Richard 12

And they are now sat twitching and dying, watching the blood pool around their torsos, wondering what happened.

Oh, the histrionics! It's a joy to see some Remainers decrying democracy, gnashing their teeth and rending their garments, prophesying the end of the world. Some even demanding ex post rule changes to the referendum. I must say this "the people are ignorant fools, we know what is best, we should ignore them" philosophy is very popular on the left of the political spectrum.

But lets look at what happened. All that happened was that we voted not to be dragged into the emergent homogeneous EU superstate governed by semi-elected nonentities in Brussels. Is that really a big deal? We'll still be a top ten world economy, and we'll still want to trade with the EU. If they don't, it will be their loss because of the trade imbalance, although hopefully that will start to right itself with sterling taking a necessary downward correction. And we'll have a whole world to trade with, that the protectionists of the EU keep at bay with a whole litany of trade barriers.

The bizarre thing, is the extent to which the supposedly liberal left approve of the ghastly exclusivity of the EU club, its two fingers to the developing world, its ring fenced wagons of ageing first world economies, sclerotic with interventionism and subsidy, and persistently crapping on the youth of Europe. Look at the horrifying youth unemployment rates in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France - presumably that's what you want Britain to emulate and have a share of?

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Ledswinger
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Re: You won't have to worry about all those Indians from the EU now!

After all Tata already owns Jaguar, one day it will own BA too,

Doesn't matter which nation owns the equity of a firm. Both of the companies you mention have a similar number of UK employees (BA slightly more direct, JLR far more when you include supply chains).

What matters is whether the jobs are good quality jobs, whether the company invests in training and education. I can't say whether BA or JLR do better in this respect, but knowing something of JLR's commitment to training I can say that it is one of the strongest companies in the world on this. If it's Indian owned, I don't mind, and good luck to them. Tata even tried to make a go of British Steel in the face of the British governments wicked indifference and industry-hating energy and environment policies.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Re:nobody wept for the country when Blair

It's either heads on spikes, or weeping in the corner.

Now your talking! I suspect we're not on the same part of the political spectrum, but as something of an old school Conservative, I'd like to offer David Cameron up for first bonce to grace a spike.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Re:second referendum

We need a "I weep for my country" icon.

Why? Isn't this called "democracy"?

As far as I know, nobody wept for the country when Blair had absolute control of the country in 2005, winning an absolute parliamentary majority with only 35.2% of the total vote, and a mere 21.6% of the eligible electorate?

You could do similar numbers for the more recent coalition and Conservative wins, but the point is, that's what we accept as democracy, and as a referendum this was at least pure proportional representation, with (by UK standards) massive turnout.

And one particular positive is the slap in the face that the electorate have given to the establishment, big business, EU plutocrats, and patronising Graun-reading types everywhere. Are you objecting to that?

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Ledswinger
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Re: penny wise pound foolish

ultimately costing BA more money.

But by that time everybody will have forgotten how much it cost before. Businesses have shockingly poor corporate memories, particularly for things like this that would show them up.

My multinational employer are in exactly this situation. Outsourced the basic infrastructure and services to HP, kept development and projects in house. Unsurprisingly the cost of services turned out much higher than the business case. So we foolishly cut our own projects budget to keep total IT costs the same. A few scant years later it comes as a huge surprise out that we've a massive backlog of IT investment needs, and that the resource needs are so large that we've exhausted the skills in our provincial city locations, and costs and timescale are at risk.

The next act in this tawdry and utterly predictable drama will be for our IT top-brass and corporate bean counters to say "surely an IT specialist can find us some Java developers in a low cost location and solve our skills and cost problem...". The pea-brains will then outsource the lot to Accunture or IBM Global Buggerups, and we lose all control and continuity, and find that in addition to outsourced services being crap and more expensive than doing it yourself, our projects become crap and more expensive.

And the remarkable thing about this, if the chimps in Procurement and the monkeys in Finance did their job properly, they'd realise from the published accounts of the outsourcers that any business case we see will be making very different assumptions about the cost to us, and the real average price customers get charged per outsource employee. For some reason, our decision makers seem to think that the big ITO and consultancies are not grasping, high cost middlemen, but some form of caring charity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I'm afraid, as predicted

Generally the UK government seems to struggle doing it's day job. Gawd knows how it's going to cope unpicking the tangle of UK-EU connections.

Do you really think they intend to?

The establishment was absolutely united for Remain, and I'd guess that the schemes and bureaucrats will hope to string out the negotiations, with a view to running a second referendum when they've deliberately struck some bad prospective deals with the EU.

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Brexit government pledge sought to keep EU-backed UK science alive

Ledswinger
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Re: Boris Gudonov? @gerdesj

As the GBP:USD ratio tanks it would be nice to hear "she'll be right" (*) with reasoning from an authoritative figure that we can all respect.

The say that when the pupil is ready, the master will appear.

A tanking exchange rate is brilliant for the UK, albeit in the medium term. It strengthens our exporters who need all the help they can get. It makes imports more expensive and reduces demand (which we need to because we can't keep importing more than we export). If the EU choose to get arsey about trade out of juvenile spite, that helps the UK as well, since they buy far less from us than we do from them. Short term those levers won't get the response I describe, and people will moan "we should never have left" as import, energy and foreign holiday prices rise, but had we stayed then sterling would have remained over-valued, our trade deficit would have continued to grow, and we'd have gotten into a bigger pickle that would eventually have come home to roost in even more spectacular style. Simply holding membership of the EU doesn't enable countries to avoid their macro-economic problems forever, as Spain, Greece, Portugal have found, and as Italy, even France may yet.

And it is interesting to note the extent to which UK equity markets bounced back within hours to "only" 3% down, whereas German and French markets reacted worse and didn't recover as much - what does that tell you? The UK equity market had already outperformed European markets for the past six months, and in relative terms we've now improved further. I suspect some of that (relative) euphoria will unwind, but even so, this isn't the end of the world, it's just the UK stating that it wants to trade with Europe (if they are willing), not be governed by Europe. If they aren't willing, then we can all have trade barriers, and the UK can start the work to re-forge the valuable international commercial relationships that it has foolishly neglected for forty years, for the most part with much faster growing economies that those of the EU.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Gen IV

would be an appropriate time to upgrade the UK's nuclear research commitment to full membership of the Generation IV International Forum

Why? The UK will need new nuclear plant to replace the already-life-extended AGRs long before any Gen IV project becomes production ready. The Areva EPR is a total mess, and (hopefully) the obscenely overpriced Hinkley Point C project will now be canned. Areva still don't have a working EPR anywhere, EDF never wanted to build Hinkley Point once the costs became clear, and the French government will now see no reason to backstop EDF's finances.

Which means that the UK has two options for our electricity - a new dash for gas using CCGT, or to turn to proven Gen III nuclear technologies that can be built out serially at lower cost. It is possible that the AP1000 proposed for Moorside (Sellafield/Windscale/Calder Hall) might count, but there's still no working example in the world, albeit the projects under construction are neither as delayed nor as costly as the EPR.

I would suggest that a better nuclear bet would be for DECC to stop dicking around with multiple, unproven designs from rather unwilling consortia and to licence the Korean APR1400. There's s already a reference example in operation, and about another seven under construction, three of them at very advanced stages.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "Hook demanded an immediate pledge"

Keep in mind- the Norwegian and Swiss contributions to the EU budget- in exchange for access to the Single Market-...

If the EU block access, then there will be a lot of short term pain. But more for them than us, since we run a £50-100bn a year trade deficit with the EU and we'll be their single biggest export market. If they don't want to sell their cars here, fine by me, the UK needs to balance its trade books. The main risk is that our spineless politicians and incompetent bureaucrats are too stupid to realise that we have the whip hand in trade discussions and throw the advantage away.

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Tech firms reel from Leave's Brexit win

Ledswinger
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Re: London Falling

Equating consolidated share price drops with actual money is the most cynical sort of conflation. Do try a bit harder, assuming you even tried at all and weren't just parroting what you read in The Guardian.

That deserves a thousand up votes, but evidently the democracy-haters of the Grauniad classes are out in force today, whining that you and I have signed the death warrant of civilisation simply by saying that we wanted our sovereignty back.

Rather amusing to see that po-faced SNP crone weeping that she wants another referendum, so that the Scots can have THEIR sovereignty back, simply in order to surrender it to Brussels. Braveheart, where are you?

On the plus side of that, we English won't have to subsidise the Scots any more, AND without a base for Trident we won't be able to replace the pointless trinket, saving (according to the Graun) over £200bn. What's not to like? The Northern Irish can unite with the EU south, and that'll be another half a billion we'll be better off. And the Welsh can follow the Scots, but lets not wait for a referendum, just send them an email telling them they've been dis-united.

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Gartner: Brexit to wipe $4.6bn off tech spending in Blighty

Ledswinger
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Re: Whew!

2016's biggest political and economic disaster will be on the other side of the ocean.

What would that be? We've reclaimed our sovereignty today. What did you do before breakfast?

The biggest economic and political disaster was, is, and will continue to be US foreign and "defence" policy, UNLESS you elect the Trump (and possibly not even then). We in the UK have shared in the misbegotten schemes, but with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya all failed states, Iran and Russia resurgent, I think we know very clearly what the biggest disaster is. You're right it is an ocean or two away, but it has a stamp on the side of the box that says "General Issue".

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Ledswinger
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..when the pound will recover...

Not anytime soon is my guess.

Irrespective of Brexit, the UK has run an appalling balance of trade (and payments) deficit for years and years now, and sterling should by rights have cratered a long time ago. In the first few months of such a change that is always negative because all internationally (invariably dollar) priced commodities become more expensive, and we import too much. This has been a contributor to the vast debt mountain that the UK sits on, although the failure of successive governments to match their spending to their income is also a big factor. Longer term, a weaker pound really helps our exporters, but it isn't a quick win, and government still need to stop spending more than they raise in tax.

The only reason sterling didn't go down before was that all the other genuinely tradeable currencies have their own macro-economic problems - mostly vast excesses of debt and unfunded welfare obligations.

There are some circumstances where the £ might recover - but driven by (for example) a collapse in Japan's moribund economy, by further shakedowns in the eurozone over the still unresolved southern european debt problems, by a hard landing and/or political instability in China, or similar global scale problems that make London look like a safe and receptive haven for hot money. Sooner or later some of those risks will crystallise.

Long and the short: The UK economy needed this exchange rate reset, we need to stay for a good while until (if ever) government gets the national books in order. But in the short term tech, energy, and imported goods will get more expensive.

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Israeli researcher fans fears: here's another way to cross the airgap

Ledswinger
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For instance, at one plant we supervise everyone has to go through two sets of security, one of which is a physical search, before you get to the secure area and even when there the servers are in a locked room.

Great defence against crappy cybercrims and low budget espionage. But mere theatre against nation state grade efforts. The attacker just needs to get their people recruited as one or more of the security detail (or blackmail those already there). As with any form of attack, the victim is only as strong as their weakest links, and the great thing about state levels of resource is that you can attack adjacent weakest links in a planned approach.

One has to assume if the Israeli's are letting this go public, its because it either doesn't work in the real world, or that they've found much easier methods.

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Ledswinger
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Re: When I shop I want a flat playing field. not a supermarket selling eye-space

and that CE mark is strictly lip service

Everybody knows that CE stands for caveat emptor.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Who do they think they are?

Maplins is that store you drive past on the way to Aldi.

And Aldi are the people who pissed on Tesco's chips. Time was when Tesco was the main shop and you might risk Aldi for a top up shop. Now it is the other way round.

And even when there's a Maplin near an Aldi (etc) on retail parks with heavy footfall, Maplin remains a modern day ghost town.

Maplindroids! Wake up smell the coffee, and get a new job ANYWHERE!

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Ledswinger
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Re: Repeating the same mistakes

Woolworths closed down years ago..

But if you really want that "my name is Sam Tyler..." 1970's flashback, you've still got a few short days to savour it - until they've closed the last BHS.

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Ledswinger
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Screwfix have gone the same.

A bit, but not quite as bad. Toolstation appear to be where the trade shop now. I suppose Screwfix were doomed the moment that Bodge & Quodge bought them. And doubly doomed when that French woman they got in to run Kingfisher plc decided that they must be run as a single business.

It can only be a while months before they decide to relocate the Screwfix counters into B&Q stores to "make things more efficient and lower costs". Then Kingfisher have to react to the fact that the move cannibalises the B&Q mega-margins. So they put up Screwfix prices. Then the sales fall off, so they dissolve the Screwfix operations, and wrap the operation into B&Q's terrible on line operation.

I suppose Kingfisher have done well to run Screwfix tolerably well for 16 years (largely by leaving it alone), but it is always the same for acquisitions - sooner or later the corporate numpties will kill the acquired business.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sad excuse for the company it once was...

If tomorrow will do, I order from hassle-free Farnell.

Bought three weeks ago by a Swiss mini-conglomerate for a 50% premium to the market price. So expect Farnell operations to be messed with, UK management to be reduced, and prices to go up to pay for the over-priced acquisition.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cheeky bastards.

This has just made up my mind to stop shopping there completely.

To judge by their tumbleweed infested aisles, with the only other humans being bored employees, you could be The Last Maplin Customer. Our local branch is in the building that previously hosted the doomed Blockbuster, another dinosaur from the last century, which seems appropriate and prophetic.

So, we're agreed they're going to crash and burn. But which well known business will be next to shrivel up after outfit eking out its final days with a business model that time forgot, passed by via technology and t'internet?

My money's on WHSmith. Or Halfords.

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No contract protected against the risk of bid-rigging, says expert

Ledswinger
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Clueless Markets Authority

So, the CMA reckon bid-rigging is a problem, resulting in poor value for the taxpayer?

I suspect many, many public (and private) sector bids are rigged, but the real problem of poor value isn't the modest impact of that, but the vastly higher outturn costs of poorly specified bids, where big suppliers know that they can bid at a loss, and then clean up when the buyer starts to either change their mind on what they want, or asks for things that were evidently necessary to the supplier, but the buyer failed to include. And that also leads on to the subsequent inability of the buyer to avoid paying for failure by the supplier.

NHS IT, Universal Credit, DWP pensions modernisation, every government shared services project, every defence contract ever signed, regional fire control centres, MoJ Libra system, MoJ offendor management, Defra payments system......

I'd happily settle for rigged tenders if they actually delivered something that worked, on time and budget.

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77 per cent ignore company social media policies

Ledswinger
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Thumb Up

Re: Using social media to learn?

Perhaps in reality Social Media is harmful, a waste of time and a form of Vanity Publishing.

What, like people spouting their opinions round here, sticking up thousands of posts under pseudonyms that have almost become private brands?

You know, names like "Ledswinger" or "Mage".

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Parliament is building a new website – and it doesn't want GDS anywhere near it

Ledswinger
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Why bother?

These look and function very much like comments threads here on El Reg.... and allow Parliamentarians to read what the great unwashed have to say about issues du jour

...and then ignore them.

FTFY

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Professor slams digital efforts of 'website-obsessed' government

Ledswinger
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'making things wronger'

This appears to be the purpose of government. I really can't think of much that government policy has delivered over the past thirty years that has made anything better.

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Musk's Tesla to buy Musk's SolarCity for US$2.8 billion

Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

The funding for Musk is a drop in the bucket compared to the sort of monies thrown at the big defence contractors

Not unlike the billions the US government has also thrown at a company called SpaceX? Hold on....isn't that owned by the rich guy with the rubber face too?

And to all the mugs who think that Elon is saving the planet, how many polar bear cubs have drowned for this vanity space programme? All very well saying "ooh look, recycled boosters!", but the actual benefits are modest. And the argument "somebody else would have done it anyway" is likely to come up, but would that work as an excuse for a torturer, drug dealer, or prison camp guard? I just wonder if anybody is stupid enough to argue that the use of hydrogen and oxygen is a somehow a clean fuel....

I rather like Musk. He's rich enough and tech focused enough to achieve all manner of clever things, and he's largely unconstrained by investors or other people's opinions. But that doesn't alter the fact that his empire is funded not by the market, but by the government, and that even the environmental impact of a Tesla has a big fat carbon footprint.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

BTW I don't think Elon is primarily motivated by making money.

I do. I think he's consistently milked the US taxpayer for vast amounts of money. Grants to build his factories, subsidies for R&D, subsidies for PV, subsidies for EVs. WIthout the bottomless pocket of the taxpayer, he wouldn't have a business at all.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

overall installation cost would be significantly reduced, especially in new construction

The material savings are very, very small. Shingles (and in Europe cement or clay tiles) are cheap as chips, as is the material underneath, and they're fitted by low skill labourers. Integrated PV certainly looks better, but the savings in unrequired materials are negligible, and probably offset by incremental costs of finishing and weatherproofing an integrated array.

For a new build there are worthwhile savings in cost, but that's simply because you're on site already, and you don't have the survey, mobilisation and access costs that apply to retrofit.

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

Ledswinger
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Re: Consumer Product?

So, what do I Google to buy the household appliance that will do this for fondue?

Wife

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Ledswinger
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Re: Fruit & nutcase

Did someone call?

That would be me. With the important and relevant question as to whether giving FB's electric shocks makes them healthier.

Lets give it a go and see, eh?

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Cash-strapped English and Welsh cops prepare to centralise all 43 forces' websites

Ledswinger
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Re: Perhaps something useful could arise?

How hard is it to have a 999 app:

To judge by the speed and availability of data services, and the frequency with which I find SMS or MMS messages arriving days (occaisionally weeks) after they were sent, it will be bloody hard indeed, no matter how good the app developers.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The heart sinks ...

Technical competence counts for absolutely zero if you don't control the politics,

Just as true in the private sector, though, in any company big enough to have internal politics.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Local bobby?

All ours spend their lives sitting on their fat arses in an expensive car, looking out for minor traffic offences.

Gwynedd Constabulary, perchance? But I thought they let the locals off whilst harassing tourists....

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Ledswinger
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“As a member of the public you ought to be able to .......find out what your local bobby is doing,”

Full real time location GPS data and helmet camera feed, presumably: "Oooh look, Constables Ferret and Weasel are enjoying a spit roast with Mrs Thompson at number 43. Mr Thompson must be away on a business trip again."

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Confirmed: Dell software sell-off

Ledswinger
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Re: Elliot Partners?

They are not a company I want owning my employer given their nature of ripping things apart.

To be fair, that's what private equity firms do. And the usual opportunity is because a firm (or business within a larger corporate) isn't sustainable, and the owner doesn't know what to do with it. I've been given my cards during a PE takeover. But as my initial employer was on the verge of being declared bankrupt, there wasn't any better option, and at least the PE house paid my notice and statutory redundancy, and honoured pension commitments. All of that would have gone by the board if my employer had become insolvent.

So certainly intolerant, profit-obsessed people. But often doing a job that needs to be done. And whilst they only live to make money, it does give them a refreshingly direct insight missing from most corporate PHBs.

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Sea of outrage after 'migrant-spotting app' turned out to be bogus

Ledswinger
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Anybody daft enough to install this...

...deserves to be had.

It always had to be a con, because there was no money in it. Now, had the developers thought a bit harder they could have taken the "market-maker" model of Uber, or Airbnb, and come up with Fugee, a new platform to link those with the wish to travel unsafely (plus the means to pay) to people smugglers.

Lucrative, flexible, and socially useful. What more could any developer want? And there's plenty of opportunity for value added extras like paying your people smuggler to put all your real identity documents in a weighted bag destined for Davy Jones' locker (5 USD), or for a badly photocopied guide to bluffing your way through the EU asylum systems (10 USD), higher rates for the less unseaworthy vessels (basic plus 500 USD per head). Or even for your people smuggler to send a postcard to your next of kin if the worst happens (10 USD).

So I suppose, what this news story shows is not the problem with gullible users, but in fact, that the problem with most developers: No sense of commerce or meeting people's needs.

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Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!

Ledswinger
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Re: A broken watch tells the right time twice a day?

"Solution looking for a problem" is an understatement

Given the many, many shortcomings, what we have here is a problem searching for another problem.

In the wider scheme of things, this would appear to be proof of the gulf between Tim Cook and Steve Jobs. Can anybody imagine Jobs letting smart watches escape the development lab? Or actually proudly announcing that Apple are intentionally bringing "complications" to this or any product?

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Swede who spent 28 years vacuuming in the nude to be evicted

Ledswinger
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Re: The Dream

but it's a lot like that "Guardians of the Galaxy" line about a blacklight and Jack Pollack paintings.

That one escaped me, but GotG was a far better quality film than it ever got credit for, and I commend it to the house.

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Energy companies aren't going to slurp your personal data. Honest

Ledswinger
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Re: Not needed

The only plausibly useful purpose they could have is cutting off the supply remotely. Who benefits from that?

If you pay your bill, then you benefit. As in all other commodity retail markets prices are built up from the base costs suppliers face. Bad debt is one of those costs, so if those who won't pay get cut off, there's less added to your bill.

You might argue about the rights and wrongs of that, but if somebody can pay, but won't, there's no reason not to cut them off. If somebody can't pay, then why should the energy supplier act as an unpaid extension of the welfare state? Government should fix the welfare system to meet the needs of its users.

Interestingly the German welfare state actually pays benefits claimant an assessed amount for their energy needs, if they choose to spend that on pilsner and Sky, then they're free to get cut off.

And in Germany far more customers are cut off for non-payment than in the UK (Germany about 0.3m disconnections per year, compared to about 400 per year in the UK). That's the sort of story the lefty hand wringers of the Graun won't tell you, when they're berating UK energy suppliers and moaning about the high cost of energy.

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Ledswinger
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Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork.

Maybe. But my metalwork teacher was a dour south Yorkshireman who'd worked in the steel industry and liquid metal flowed in his veins. When I got my O level, I could competently operate a lathe, a grinding wheel, a pillar drill, I could weld, braze, powder coat, etch, I could hand-forge parts, use all the main hand tools, I could draw a basic design and actually convert that to a finished article. Maybe that was about making me factory fodder.

But more importantly still I learned hugely important lessons that also stick with me in safe working, in reacting to mishaps, in empathy and respect for tools and machines, in using the right tool for the job, in the value of proper preparation, in listening to people who know what they are talking about. I had confidence in what I knew, and I had confidence to learn more.

If coding gives those to students today, it will be worthwhile, but I'm guessing it won't.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do we really want more computer scientists?

they typically can't code, better to get someone with a Maths degree who can

If you're clever enough to get a maths degree, why would you waste your life doing the thankless and often poorly rewarded job of coding? Fair enough if you're coding HFT algorithms for a bank who will shout at you and treat you like dirt, but pay megabucks. And fair enough if you're not paid much but working at Harwell, Aldermaston, or on some exotic research project.

But everything in between is going to bore a competent mathematician to death.

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Ledswinger
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Sadly the main driver behind this is the UK Government

Certainly are. And they're guilty themselves. They introduce mandatory employee pension schemes, demand high payroll taxes, high standards of welfare and H&S (all good things in a way) but then the fuckers use offshoring to exempt their own badly run departments from these taxes and obligations. My wife works for the NHS - payroll and staff admin are outsourced to Steria in god-knows-where, and IT support is from South Africa. The same applies to DWP, MoJ and the rest.

Multinationals do the same as the government, so the story is that taxes and worker rights apply only to UK based SMEs. And successive British governments have been made up of feckless lightweights unable to see the vast damage that offshoring does to the UK - loss of jobs, loss of skills, loss of UK tax income, and worsening our already dreadful trade imbalance.

So here's the real message from the goons at Westminster to the British people: "Sod the economy, sod your children's employment prospects, we're only here to save you from climate change and paedo-terrorists."

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Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Ledswinger
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Government clueless on rates as usual

I can't say I'm surprised that broadband is being hit by the VOA (themselves only enacting government policy), because there's plenty of other crapness in the work of UK property taxes. Domestic council tax is a complete mess, based on made up valuations now thirty five years out of date. Business rates have been a carbuncle on growth for the last decade or so. In the autumn spending review, government announced plans to fritter a third of a billion on heat networks and bring in over £2bn of private capital, but VOA are trying to levy business rates that are (like for like) five times or more the value charged on an equivalent gas network.

So shitting on broadband companies just as government claim to be supporting more broadband roll out is par for the course, and in that respect they should perhaps conclude that they aren't being discriminated against. This is business as usual.

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When DIY is not enough: Web-snack firm Graze has an offline awakening

Ledswinger
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Re: Not for me...

...more a pork scratchings kind of guy.

Imagine how much their business would be worth if they'd done away with the health fascist focus and sold proper snacks.

Maybe I can do a "me too" business model, under the brand "ManSnax", and a clear marketing strapline "No healthy sh** here".

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Not just the proles getting the heave-ho as British Airways races to save millions

Ledswinger
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Re: Dumbsourcing

outsourcing important, core activities is always stupid

That's true. But for BA, the core activity is not writing or maintaining software, it is getting people to pay to sit on an aircraft for the purposes of travel. IT might be essential, but so are many other business activities that are not core activity. Even aircraft ownership or maintenance fall into that category.

BA have always obsessed about offshoring, going back at least as far as 1996 when they established WNS as a way of dodging European payroll costs. And that's what scumbags like BA and other users of outsourcing are doing: They want access to high value European and US markets, they want the protection of (in particular) the English courts, they want access to London capital markets, they want to pedal their malignant influence with UK and European politicians. But given a choice they only want to employ people who aren't paid European rates, who don't have Western levels of employment protection and workers rights, and where BA don't have to pay employer's payroll taxes, statutory pension contributions, or incur inconvenient health and safety obligations etc.

British Airways: Exporting jobs since 1996.

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Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

Ledswinger
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A bargain? Was this drivel written by Microsoft?

The get to know my gender? Shock f***ing horror. I daresay they could have guessed that from my name. And I've not told Linkedin about either marital status or sexuality.

So they reckon each profile (!=active user) is worth sixty dollars. Where's the worth in me to MS? I don't like MS, and I won't alter that view either way for this. Whilst I'm in a reasonably senior role, I don't have IT or procurement decision making powers (and certainly wouldn't admit to any influence if I had any). So as advertising cannon fodder I'm worthless.

The reason Microsoft have just spent a staggering $26bn on a pile of incomplete and unformatted CVs is not some clever strategic rationale. It is because they simply don't know what else to do with the money. I haven't paid to use Linkedin until now, and I won't in future. If the cost of a few adverts gets me access then that's fine, if it goes down hill (as is likely) then I'll close my account. Problem for Microsoft is that their weighted average cost of capital is about 9%. Amortise the capital over fifteen years, cost the capital at 9%, and in the next could of years Microsoft have to get back $5.8bn each year in profit from Linkedin just to break even. But Linkedin made a net loss in each of the past four quarters. Microsoft need to make an operating profit significantly above the circa $3.2bn revenue that Linkedin reported over the past year.

Conclusion: Linkedin shareholders should cash in and laugh. Microsoft shareholders should gnash their teeth and weep as the company's M&A touch of death repeats itself. Interesting data experiment for anybody with time on their hands: Collectively, how much have US tech companies written off from failed acquisitions since (say) 1990?

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