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* Posts by Ledswinger

2405 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

Ledswinger
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Re: Litigation

"Climate change enthusiasts? People who are working for climate change? Curry, Linden, Mcintyre, Watts,"

On the correct side of the Atlantic those names ring no bells, I'm afraid, so no witty or facetious response is possible. But you could pretend I did manage it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Chris T Almighty If they were serious about punishment

" Nah, for real misery inducement, it would have to be IBM's OS2 Warp, on an IBM PS/2 (see what I did there?)."

Now that would be both cruel and unusual. But personally I see nothing wrong in either.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Litigation

"much cheaper to let him starve to death and use his body to fuel a furnace."

If you let him starve to death the energy content of the corpse will be fairly low. Better to fatten him up, leave a few nooses around as a hint, and then burn him. Possibly restrict his liquid intake so he's a bit dehyrdrated - the higher the water content the less energy you get out.

I'm all in favour of dead people as a renewable fuel. In fact I'd round up hippies, convicted murderers, and climate change enthusiasts and throw them in the hopper alive - why waste bullets, or make a bolt gun dirty?

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Google moves to silence critics - whips out EC search settlement deal

Ledswinger
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Re: Awful document

"It would be nice to see Google defeated, as punishment for that awful document."

They aren't the only ones. A bit poor of the Reg to post an article that amounts to no more than a few sentences around a link? Should Kelly Fiveash be defeated and punished?

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10,000 km road trip proves Galileo satnav works, says ESA

Ledswinger
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Re: GPS in smartphones

"If you have just the GPS receiver active on a phone with mapping data stored locally, no SIM card, WiFi off etc. I would take an educated* guess that you'd get a good 6-12 hours of use from it."

Not really.

I read your post just before a one hour drive, and with a one month old, fully charged SGS3, set all networks off, including voice, mobile data, wifi and bluetooth. Only app running was Navmii, using local maps, with positioning on.

After one hour's driving I'm left with 75% charge. So I might expect at best four hours. I don't believe the SD card takes any worthwhile power, and the phone got reasonably warm (although less so than with all networks enabled and on-line mapping).

My guess is that the positioning and voice synthesis is computationally intensive, and a dedicated GPS has better hardware for this that uses less power.

I suspect you're right that there's benefit to turning off the networks - I reckon that the implied four hours is significantly better than the perhaps two to two and half hours I'd get using Google Maps and online modes, but you're over optimistic about the benefits.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Does this mean@Randolf McK

"Err, it's nothing to do with bouncing signals off the Sun"

You're new round here, aren't you?

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DON'T PANIC! No credit card details lost after hackers crack world's largest casino group

Ledswinger
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Re: My head hurts@ Charles Manning

"Who's the worse scum: Online gambling operations that prey on the addicted......"

If they prey on the addicted, then let's ban it. It'll certainly not pop up as a worse, more dangerous, unregulated underground gambling industry eh? In fact we could do the same for booze, and fags. Ooh, and online gaming, that can be addictive. And fast food,

Or of course, it might be that not withstanding the unlucky addicts, the majority of punters actually enjoy gambling? I don't know why, it doesn't float my boat, but blaming an industry because of the minority of users with mental health issues seems rather odd.

Returning to the thread, I'd agree that the outcome of having the punters credit cards compromised is much the same as actually going to the casino - they get cleaned out, for very little obvious upside. But maybe the risks of insecure systems will add to the frisson of the whole thing for gamblers, and this could make it more appealing?

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IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

Ledswinger
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Re: An OZ blogger...

"He advised that it was likely the folding solar panels that didn't retract before the 14-day deep-freeze."

Moon frost is a right blighter. Should have sent a bloke to scrape it off.

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Trials of 'Iron Man' military exoskeleton due in June

Ledswinger
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Re: Why??

"Make it a remote controlled droid on 6 wheels, an armored casing for storing motor/fuel/ammo, one or two guns on a turret, and a few cameras"

Wheels aren't so good for the sort of sandy and rocky terrain we seem to fight hobby wars over. I agree the human is unnecessary in the suit, but then why go with either wheeled or humanoid format? Nature's answer to this sort of terrain is the mountain goat. The form factor looks as though it could be enlarged, carry sensors, obviously missile pods where the horns ought to be, and a gun firing out of the arse.

Low price, available tech, and more amusing (unless you're an insurgent being chewed up by the arse mounted gatling).

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'Wind power causes climate change' shown to be so much hot air

Ledswinger
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Re: My usual comment...

' which puts your numbers into a different light, I'd say.....Course I live in France, but never mind that. (And no, I'm not French.)"

Actually it doesn't.

Not only did EDF build sufficient reactors to entirely cover peak load, they built a fleet a third larger still. There's a small proportion actually needed to cover plant outage, a third provide baseload, and the remainder either provide discount power to the UK, Low Countries & Germany, or they are off line for non-planned outages (availability of the French nuke fleet is appalling), or operating a very low load factors. That did cost money, you just don't see it on your 'leccy bill. The bill for construction was covered by the French government so it never really appeared in power prices, but given the age of most plant and the intervening rates of inflation the original cash construction cost would now look pitifully small anyway.

France shows that you can technically do this (which I think we all agree). But it doesn't alter the underlying economics. The only two smart things the French did (in the original programme, it's gone to pot since) were to build lots of reactors to similar designs, reducing the unit costs, and using a proven basic reactor design (Westinghouse? Can't actually recall) which meant they had less of the unknowns and R&D problems currently bedevilling Areva's EPR builds at Oykiluoto and Flamanville.

This is now becoming a problem for France, as the partially privatised EDF has to issue public accounts (as do Areva), and the nuclear reactor fleet is ageing. If the costs of Flammanville are indicative, France can't afford to replace its nuclear reactors like for like.

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Ledswinger
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Re: My usual comment...@John Robson

"Is it because you only think in terms of first generation BWR?"

Not at all, sir. The reason that nukes are only suitable for baseload is because they have vast capital cost and largely fixed operating costs. As soon as you try and operate them as mid merit plant, the load factor collapses very quickly to around 50-65 per cent, and at that point you're going to be almost doubling the unit cost of delivered power. As Hinkley Point is only going ahead if EdF get £93/MWh (plus CPI inflation for thirty five years, regardless of wholesale cost movements), this would suggest that mid merit nukes will need around £175/MWh (cf £50/MWh for the current UK market).

I like nuclear power, but at those prices it isn't viable. If new designs can reduce the capital costs by something like a factor of five or more, then they could be used for mid merit generation, but I've seen nothing to show that a safe, properly regulated, well engineered nuclear plant can be built for that sort of money. In indicative terms it would mean that Hinkley Point would need to be completed for around £6bn, not the £16bn being bandied about by DECC and EDF.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Heisenberg

"Now, keeping a traditional power station on standby does not come cheap (it can no longer pay for itself through making profit for the owner) meaning that someone has to pick up the tab. Hmm, who do you think that will be?"

We all know who. Us.

Those more involved with the process will also know that the mechanism to throw subsidies at fossil fuel plant is being worked up by DECC at the moment. It's call the "capacity mechanism" and is included in the "Electricity Market Reform" programme. In reality, the electricity market only needs reform because DECC's and the EU's stupid energy policy broke it.

Who'd have thought that a "market" would involve subsidies for industrial scale wind plant, subsidies for household scale micro-generation, subsidies for heat pumps, subsidies for new nuclear plant, subsidies for biomass power generation, and soon, subsidies for fossil fuel plant? Oh, not forgetting subsidies for energy efficiency measures including those that aren't economic, and extensive subsidies for selected groups deemed unable to afford the resultant energy prices, and assorted other subsidies on offer for things like wave and tidal power, geothermal and carbon capture and storage. Meanwhile, very little money is spent on R&D for things that might alleviate the problems, such as electricity storage. There is money being thrown at "demand side management", which is likely to lead to optional time of use tariffs - in practice another incoming cross subsidy from the majority to the minority able to shift their consumption (or pretend to).

Some round these parts believe the energy industry should be renationalised. If they weren't so thick they'd realise that almost every aspect of the energy industry is under government control. Over and above the vast flows of subsidy, DECC control national infrastructure projects, so you can't build anything without their approval. OFGEM monitor and oversee the behaviour of the energy suppliers in retail markets. Costs of generation are dictated by government's foolhardy policies on carbon floor prices and the European emission trading system, and by the impact of the Large Combustion Plant Directive and the subsequent Industrial Emissions Directive, plus other taxes like the "Climate Change Levy", and the various renewables obligations.

Marketeers: It's called a market, what's not to like?

Lefties: It's all micro-managed by the state, what's not to like?

Hippies: It's a Gaia-friendly low carbon policy, what's not to like?

Consumers: Sorry, you're f***ed.

So you see, something for everyone.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Re Woo - F***ing -Hoo!!!

"The wind is free - it takes politicians and british management to make it expensive."

You really do know nothing, don't you?

Wind power is expensive because it is sub scale (biggest individual plant is 6MW for a deep water 200m tall turbine, average size is about 1.2MW) compared to the 1.5 GW you'd get from a proper power station. So that's over 1,200 wind turbines to replace a single power station. That's a lot of concrete and steel, a lot of assembly, a lot of control gear, a lot of maintenance. Not to mention vast amounts of copper and aluminium for the connections because wind turbines generally have to be built away from urban areas, and have very long lengths of connections between the individual turbines. So the cost of the plant is high for the capacity. Then you have the dismal load factor, which means that the output from the wind turbine is not only unreliable, but small. You'd want a CCGT achieving 75-80% load factor, wind achieves about 25%.

DECC are doing a poor and misguided job, but it isn't their work that makes wind power expensive, it is the policy, driven purely by the physics and economics.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @PyLETS

"As I write, according to gridwatch.templar.co.uk metred wind is contributing 11.38% of UK grid electric demand "

A pity then that we've spent about £18bn on these things to generate (at the moment) around 5GW). The same money spent on state of the art CCGT would have enabled us to renew virtually the entire UK fossil fuel fleet of c40GW (including replacing the remaining coal plant), as well as securing peak demand. If spent even on three nuclear reactors, then you'd get about the same output as wind is given at the moment (5GW), but of course you get that all day every day with a nuclear plant, so over the year you'd get four times as much power from investing the same money in nuclear.

Wind power is an economic disaster, and will continue to be one until we can efficiently store electricity. I'll wager that we won't be able to do that in the lifetime of the crappy wind turbines currently being built left right and centre.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Consistent

"The same would go for wind - if people invested in mass production rather than creaming off the subsidies then we would be generating most domestic power on site and that's not what big business wants."

What a charmingly naieve thought.

Given that your renewables will be useless on cold still winter nights (peak demand scenario), who will pay for the transmission and distribution networks, and the 72 GW of power plant to keep you ticking over when your ridiculous subsidy-funded toys are delivering no output? The capital costs, maintenance & operations still need paying for.

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Ledswinger
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Re: My usual comment...

"Nuclear"

OK, given the cost of nuclear power it is only suitable for baseload (and arguably is too expensive for that), which means nukes should only ever provide around 22GW out of a peak demand of around 60 GW, to which you'd need to add around 5-10% of reserve margin, say 72 GW of reliable plant.

Sensible thoughts on how to provide the remaining 40 GW of capacity are most welcome.

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US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

Ledswinger
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Re: Oh boo

"Stopping you from breaking the law is NOT doing your company "irreparable harm"."

Maybe Apple were being honest and truthful? Their business model seemed to involve breaking the law in order to continue raking in the vast profits that they are so well known for. Arguably having to comply with the law will indeed do them irreparable harm.

Lucky Fanbois are so biased that this sort of thing doesn't sully Apple's reputation and harm sales. Then again, when your iPhone's been assembled by child labour, or adults in near slavery conditions, you probably don't mind that the company don't comply with US competition laws, or pay much in tax.

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HTC looks to cheaper phones as revenues wane

Ledswinger
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"Samsung already makes mid-range phones sold as high end. High end != plastic."

Nothing wrong with either approach. It depends on whether you want your phone to be cheap and acceptable, or expensive and jewellery quality. The cost of making the phone feel better in the hand has to come out in the specification if the price will be competitive. So comparing an S4 and HTC One, the S4 has a very slightly larger display (13% larger area), is 9% lighter, has a much higher resolution camera (noting the implied low light benefits of HTC's approach), a faster processor, expandable storage (albeit less built in). The only real advantage to the HTC is that it feels much better (by a long margin) and reported battery life is slightly better (for the first year, until the li-ion starts to wear down).

At the moment the market seems to prefer plastic over metal in the Android market, although that doesn't invalidate well made metal phones for those that want them. You pay your money and take your choice. For me the non removeable battery and fixed storage are deal killers, but Apple have shown that a lot of people don't care.

The poor reception for the 5C says that iPhone buyers won't tolerate plasticky devices, the problems HTC have say most Android buyers don't like the cost-induced compromises of a quality feel. I would have though quality Android was actually a differentiated position that could be defended, the problem HTC have is that they are actually a volume phone maker, and the high end niche isn't on its own big enough to feed all the mouths.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Simple To Me

"How does a company lose $17Bn year-to-year, yet still make millions in profit? Well, simple...they invested less money into their business, which, of course, will lead to less profits. Period."

Err, no. They didn't "lose" NT$17bn, they made NT$17bn fewer sales. As net profit varies by device and market, it might even have been feasible to increase profits on that reduction in sales. Nokia's inability to make profit on volume sales illustrates that quite nicely.

R&D was (in relative terms) quite well protected, at 3.1bn (compared to 3.4bn same quarter last year). Where HTC really took the razor out was sales & marketing costs (4.7 bn versus 8.4 a year ago).

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Barclays Bank probes 'client data sold to rogue City traders' breach

Ledswinger
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Re: Are Barclay's actually liable?

"In the current environment it would not surprise me in the least bit to see some multi-million pound fine being dished out"

It would surprise me a great deal, because the ICO can only levy penalties up to half a million. That's bad news for an SME, for a bank it's not even a rounding error on previous fines, never mind profits. The eagle eyed will spot yet another law drafted to the advantage of big data and big financial services lobbyists. In any competition law or regulated business environment the bureaucrats fall back on the "up to ten per cent of turnover" fines, but if it's your data abused by the same people who caused the current financial difficulties (or if it had been tax dodgers like Google), then a mere half a mill will do nicely.

By rights Wanklays should be taken to the cleaners for this, because they have breached the law and customer trust by retaining, or allowing to be retained (even if through lack of proper control) this data, and by not securing it. But that's not going to happen. We've not yet had a major EPOS hacking scandal that's native to the UK, but it will happen sooner or later, and largely because the retailers and financial services players know there's no penalty for ignoring data protection rules. Meanwhile, MP's debate plans to ban child-transporting proles from smoking in their Ford Sierras, and Wanklays increase the bonus pot to all those "top talent" individuals that make them the bank of choice.

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Nokia to launch low-cost Android phone this month – report

Ledswinger
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Re: Now, I'm really confused...

"Am I correct, or would lawyers be slavering in the wings?"

Depends whether there's a non-compete clause in the agreement, or whether MS have exclusive rights to any Nokia owned IP (ie it is possible that Nokia grant MS an exclusive licence, and that excludes Nokia themselves.

But there's a bigger reason why Nokia won't go back into phones. Having made the most awful mess in phones, and allowed themselves to be backed into a corner where they had to practically give the business to Microsoft, why would shareholders allow the board to go back into the same business again? People currently holding Nokia shares are doing so despite the alternative opportunity to invest in Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC etc etc (ooh, and Microsoft).

Changing the strategy of a big company is like steering a very large ship - you can only do it very slowly, and its best for everybody involved if the intentions are clearly signalled, and the course plotted according to the capabilities of crew, vessel and local conditions. The Nokia board did a Schettino with the mobile business; they were very lucky that it didn't drag the rest of the company down as well.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Perhaps

"It would not surprise me if he left within a year or so."

Well he's just been passed over for the big chair. So either (a) he hangs around resentful, unco-operative and bitter, (b) Nadella shows him the door, more or less gracefully, or (c) he storms off in a strop. I've seen all three at close hand due to the nature of the job I do.

The one thing I've not seen is failed CEO candidates do is knuckle down, work hard to support the winner, and accept that they are still on a cushy number. Even if they were willing, the new CEO will be paranoid that the other guy is a threat to their leadership, and will work against them. You don't get to be CEO by being reasonable, normal, well balanced, or even intelligent.

It isn't like he's going to be short of offers. There's plenty of VC/PE houses would love any former MS C-level bum to "share their wisdom" on tech projects, or other non-tech companies in the market for a rent-a-non-exec director.

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UK claims 'significant lead' in drones after Taranis test flight

Ledswinger
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Re: Taranis

"Taranis also suffers from a communications problem, like all drones can be spoofed and disrupted by interfering with its GPS signals(widespread with a Russian system Avtobaza), and wide frequency jamming.... "

Looking at all the wars of recent decades, they've not involved super-power on super-power. It's either p1ss pot renegade states, newly started civil wars, or super power proxy battles involving thug nations not clever enough to see what's happening (or not caring).

With any form of deterrence and nukes on call, the main powers won't go to war with each other, so the wars of the future are likely to be the sort of things we see today - wars of choice against third rate states or irregular actors, usually over large areas and geographically hostile terrain. These missions won't see any worthwhile ECM. And you don't need an F35 for these missions, you just need a drone, even if the F35 is still considered necessary purely as a linking cog in the machine of deterrence.

There's plenty of other roles as well for drones where no ECM is likely to be offered (piracy prevention, drug interdiction, mandate enforcement). As ECM becomes cheaper and more readily available, the drones will use alternative approaches for communication that get round the crude systems they might face - but ultimately you could use them as effectively for simple strike missions based purely on inertial and optical positioning.

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Ledswinger
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Re: It only exists to let BAe be a player

"It only exists to let BAe be a player"

Well, given the way things are moving, manned aircraft seem rather redundant for many roles in a combat zone, limiting the performance and the endurance of the craft. But BAe (and most other Euopean nations) have been very late to the UAV party, having let the Yanks and Israelis build up some strong capabilities. BAe have to pony up something fairly good to be considered, and what better than promising both stealth and supersonic as well as the all important "unmanned".

In BAe's place what would you do to make up for the lost ground?

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Think wearables are the next tech boom? Cisco's numbers beg to differ

Ledswinger
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" It's not completely implausible that health insurance companies might take the place of the Telcos by subsidising heart rate loggers, for example"

Up to a point. But consider the mix of interests of a big financial services business. The only part of the business that wants you to live longer is the life assurance arm (and they only want you to last to the end date on your policy). The pensions division want you to live right up to the date your pension comes into force, and then to die quickly (ideally the same day). The health insurance and earnings protection businesses don't mind you continuing to live, but it suits them that when you die, you do so promptly, with little notice and little or no hospitalisation. In net terms, the ideal financial services customer is a fat smoker, likely to die early and quickly, as they typically have conditions that lend themselves to sudden death and reduced treatment opportunities.

My guess is the only interest the wider financial services industry would have in wearable health monitors would be to write down the liabilities of the balance sheet in real time, and move the policy surpluses straight to the P&L. Who said wearable technology didn't have a use?

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Baby's got the bends: LG's D958 G Flex Android smartie

Ledswinger
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Re: How well does it impact durability?

" It would be nice if the bendy components go some way towards addressing that vulnerability."

It would. But I can't help wondering if LG and their supplier will be pioneers in extending our understanding of glass fatigue. I look forward to other people testing the innovation on my behalf.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Does it come in a range of bendiness?

"And will there be multiple versions in store that we can hold to our arse until we find one that matches ones natural curvitude?"

Don't be silly. You buy the phone (which as a fairly large curve radius) and just eat until your arse fits the phone. At a guess LG have done their research and the curvature is in the sweet spot for a standard Merkin hambeast, so Brits may need to pile on a few more pounds, unless they already have the desired shape.

The tighter and perter your arse, the more burgers you need to munch. Could be a cross-marketing opportunity for fast food restaurants.

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Woz he talking about? Apple co-founder wants iPhones to run Android

Ledswinger
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" I hold a Samsung phone in my hand and it feels like I'm holding a lump of plastic, not a premium device."

So don't buy a Sammy. If you're after premium feel phone running Android, why not the HTC One?

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fWHoaR! Trick-cyclists crack eternal mystery of WHAT WOMEN WANT in a man

Ledswinger
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Re: So that's the root of Call-me-Dave's popularity.

"So that's the root of Call-me-Dave's popularity. "

What popularity? Everybody I know hates him with a burning passion. Admittedly not quite as universally loathed as Clegg, but not far behind.

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Google will dodge EU MONSTER FINES by 'promoting' rival search services

Ledswinger
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Re: Why?

"Quite simple really - it's about abuse of monopoly. Seriously, the entire SEO industry is built around how a single company perceives websites - not a good place to be."

They don't have to use it. I can remember the years BG, when Alta Vista briefly ruled the search roost, before that Lycos. The current lack of competition (which affects the poor darlings of the advertising industry far more than it does users) exists not because of barriers to entry, because users are fickle (so are advertisers), but because the wannabe search engines, in particular Yahoo and Bing simply don't do it well enough, or in a manner that users want. Look at how, out of the pack, Windows 8 and IE default to the garish MSN/Bing home page, full of flatulent glittery rubbish that looks like a Geocities page from 1995, all full of movement and "news" that I don't give a shit about - four screen fulls of this ordure, desperately trying to appeal to anybody. Yahoo is even worse - vast flash banner adverts, crap like horoscopes, rubbish trending on twatter, etc etc, and even the UK Yahoo page is full of irrelevant small town US news. No wonder nobody uses Yahoo.

Google won't be around for ever. And even if nobody comes up with anything better, Google will probably engineer their own downfall anyway by over-reaching user privacy. And even then it won't be Yahoo or Bing that supplant Google.

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Save Ofcom! Telcos and consumer groups call for end to legal disputes

Ledswinger
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Re: A stitch in time

"Making OFCOM it's own arbiter could go very wrong, very quickly"

But that's where we are already, that regulation is toothless and beneficial to the telecoms industry.

As a general rule the civil service are not very open to bribery, so I don't see the "envelope" argument as a big challenge (they're brown, not white, by the way). And you could say that the current system is open to financial persuasion in excatly the same way, you simply bribe different people.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A stitch in time

"Scrapping them and splitting off their functions to other bodies should be a priority for the government!"

I work in a sector where the current regulator OFGEM is slated for closure and replacement by the probably inevitable next (Labour) government. In practice this means that we have a lame duck regulator who's going to do nothing for the next two years, and then a further two years (minimum) to design, legislate for the new regulator, and then recruit and get up to speed.

I believe OFCOM are a crummy and ineffectual regulator, but simply moving responsibilities to new bodies won't necessarily make those new bodies any better. Far better in my view to sack Tony Blair's placeman chief executive, and make the existing organisation work.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A stitch in time

"That would put the rules in place first and any challenge would only be effective if it was found to be valid by the courts"

A good start, but I think they should go further: Simply make OFCOM (in law) the arbiter of its own rules. So they set the rules, they decide what they mean, telcos that don't like it can go play in other markets they like better.

What's the point of a supposed regulator that can't set regulations without somebody else deciding what they mean? As OFCOM are appointed and overseen by government there's no big deal to allowing them to say how their own rules should be interpreted (in fact this is largely what happens in other regulated sectors).

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Indian press focuses on Satya Nadella's love of cricket

Ledswinger
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Trollface

Re: Batters?

"There are batters in rounders, but that's a childs' game and need not detain us."

The same may be said of baseball.

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Turkish president mulls $4.5bn Apple fondleslab school deal

Ledswinger
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Re: So thats about ...@Eradicate all BB entrants

" So you have eradicated all manual writing implements from your daily life?"

Don't be a twit. Nobody has mooted that people won't be taught to write in the forseeable future, the discussion is about the progression, and what is needed for educational purposes. Writing by hand is for most people slow and laborious - a few can write quickly and well, most cannot. My own handwriting is particularly poor. Perhaps you believe that learning by rote, and copying out long passages by hand is part of the learning process - I believe that slows down understanding and assimilation of knowledge.

"As for 100% reliant on technology? No one here is in a Wall-E inspired hover chair .... are you?"

Maybe you're posting from some remote village in Afghanistan, devoid of electricity, running water or modern communications, and wiping your @rse with a stone. If that's the case then you are certainly not dependent upon technology. But I doubt that's the case, and if you think we aren't 100% dependant upon technology simply because we don't have hover chairs, then you're a fool. The whole of Western society is utterly dependant upon technology, excepting a few crofters or smallholders. Without technology most of the readers of this forum would have no useful function in society other than manual labour. Our food supply chain, our financial system, our healthcare, our communications, our energy supply, and even a good proportion of our entertainment all are 100% dependant upon technology. There's tiny bits around the edges would still work, but when the electricity or communications links to the systems break down, then there's no manual back up other than at the peripheries. How do you think 70m people survive on an island that can only feed about half that number from its own resources? Because of international trade in services, and an advanced food supply chain that spans the globe, both only possible through technology.

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Ledswinger
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Re: So thats about ...

"What happens when the battery has failed while the kids are in class"

The same argument that says "the autocar will never replace the horse and cabriolet, because the autocar is short in range and relies on petrol in a tank".

We are 100% reliant on technology, and readers of this site really ought to understand that.

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Ledswinger
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Re: So thats about ...

"Learning to write with a pen or pencil is part of the basics, as well as being able to read what you have written."

Funnily enough, when I drafted my response, it included a paragraph commenting on the dying need for handwriting. If handwriting were so important than there would still be a demand for novels written by monks in illuminated scripts. Funnily enough that's not evidenced.

The reason most (but not all of us) learned to write with a pen is because there wasn't any alternative. You will note how the quill got replaced with the pen, the pen by the ball point. The ball point is next to go.

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Ledswinger
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Re: So thats about ...

"I still think writing implements and books would help more"

So, the Commentariat on one of the world's premier (well, ish) tech news sites reckon that technology is inferior as a teaching aid to old fashioned paper and quill pens?

I disagree. A tablet (even if short lived) will give a kid access to a complete world of information that they'll never get in some dusty, out of date textbook. And whilst Youtube may not be the same as doing the experiment yourself, it's a zillion percent better than the probable alternative of not seeing the experiment on Youtube AND not seeing or doing it in the classroom. There's also some cool and free educational resources out there that give people access to alternative teachers (eg the Khan Academy) far better than they're likely to find in the village school. Or publicly open resources that can be mined to improve standards, such as the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching.

Some people have suggested Android because its cheaper. That's true, but there's the significant security gap between Apple and Android that makes Apple a better (admittedly not foolproof) bet to hand to kids. And the logical extension of the low cost path is the Indian government's Akash tablet debacle, where they're trying to push lacklustre low spec Android tablets to their schoolkids - which do you think will be a better learning experience: an iPad mini, or a 7 inch low spec slug running a forked version of Android tied to a non-Google app store?

And then we come to the "kids will only break it". Certainly spoilt Western kids manage that. But I'll wager that in poorer countries kids are more grateful and more careful, particularly as there's unlikely to be a free replacement paid for by the parents. Word will soon get around when Kemal breaks his tablet and has to share somebody else's, or use chalk and slate.

I'm all for this, I think the Turkish government are thinking in the right direction, and I think it can only benefit their kids. Meanwhile, those casting aspersions from UK shores should consider that the height of this country's attempts to combine IT and education amount to teaching our kids to produce lurid but fact-free presentations in Microsoft Office. Curiously enough, my eldest attends a very successful independent school, and they are moving to a digital learning programme based on guess which fruity tablet?

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Yet ANOTHER Brit MOBE tower BORG: Three and EE ink network-sharing deal

Ledswinger
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Re: only ... two network coverage footprints to choose from

"But the footprints will generally, and points above not withstanding, give better coverage"

Not by much, because the networks have all avoided areas of low mobile use, so the current situation is not mutually complementary coverage, but rather massively overlapping coverage. All the sharing does is some marginal reduction in operating costs that most certainly won't be passed on to you or I. O2's recent price hike shows their position on keeping costs down for customers.

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Ledswinger
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Re: different frequencies

IME that's fairly unusual - I've always found Orange and T Mobile reception moves in tandem (even before mast sharing), and likewise O2 and Vodafone. There's a few individual spots where that doesn't hang true, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

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It's Satya! Microsoft VP Nadella named CEO as Bill Gates steps down

Ledswinger
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Re: Welcome to Toyland!

"Big Ears Gates is stepping down...."

Only to a degree. He's still got an official status within the firm, and so his presence will linger on like a foul guff in a warm lift. You know the ones, hot, silent messengers of death, capable of turning the silvering of mirrors black, and guaranteeing that the lift will stop at the next floor for an attractive young colleague to get in the lift, and instantly give you the evil eye for crimes against humanity, before escaping to tell everybody what a beast you are (gentlemen, you've all been here).

And that's bad news for the new guy. Not only does he have a new chairman breathing down his collar, but he's got Gates hanging around, responsible for nothing, but telling him what he should do. I suppose it depends what shareholders want. If they want Microsoft to reinvent itself, Gates should go, Nadella shouldn't have been appointed, nor any other insider. If the shareholders just want MS to remain a cash generating cow hoping that nobody will take away the enterprise software market, then he should stay. But expecting not just one, but a gang of insiders to be revolutionaries is daft - all these people were complicit in the failure of Microsoft to evolve. And Nadella's got the toxic Elop hanging around, spurned for the top job, hoping Nadella will mess up, and that Elop can squeeze his backside into the sweat-stained leather throne. That's no recipe for success. A question then: Will Elop last long enough to watch Nadella crash and burn, or will Elop be pushed out, or even flounce off in a strop because he didn't get to be big cheese?

This doesn't sound like a recipe for success to me, but maybe the people who made the appointment are right - taking a view Microsoft will never evolve to put customers first, so why take the risk, when you can just sit and count the gold for the next five to ten years.

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US feds want cars conversing by 2017

Ledswinger
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Re: Whats ...

".... the broadcast code for "Move aside. An El Reg reader is coming through.""

What about a flashing brown light?

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Ledswinger
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"muahaahah, that should wake up some slow left lane clowns"

Left lane is where the slow clowns should be. That's why it's register.co.uk

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UK libraries trial free access to scientific research

Ledswinger
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Re: "there's precious few able to understand the blinkered perspective of Tom 7

"Some of us paid attention at school and university. And still like to learn. And if we've paid for it already there's no reason why we should pay for it twice"

You arrogant twerp. I do have a science degree, and a masters to boot, but obviously I take my hat off to polymaths such as yourself, able to divine the true meaning and signficance of any research paper in any field, recalling every single thing you were taught in university. And of course, you're quite right to ignore the wider and less well-educated audiences than self-proclaimed experts such as yourself.

However, I must confess I did enjoy your post, which managed to be both pompous, and yet at the same time to be infused with a sad, bitter, lefty tone.

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Ledswinger
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"Every tax payer should have access to *any and all* research which is even partially funded by the tax payer"

At the moment I have to ask why? Most scientific research is readily accessible to the scientific community, and outside of it there's precious few able to understand the content of research papers. An interesting idea would be to require publicly funded papers to have (in addition to the normal scientific abstract) an "intelligent layman's summary". Some research scientists might find that writing for that audience is a bigger challenge than the research itself.

"As an extension to this, any patent or invention created as the direct result of public funding would also belong to the public (at least partially)"

An attractive, even populist move. But in the shorter term most universities do already seek to benefit from commercialisation of their research. Arguably they tend to see this too narrowly, and miss out on the benefits of prior research that (at the time) didn't have an obvious commercial application, or which do not give rise to a patent, but you can't patent the outcomes of all research.

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HP: Autonomy overstated 2010 profits, cuts them by 81 PER CENT

Ledswinger
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Re: Accountant wars

"Profit and loss in the 'old' days seem to be such simple concepts, but now they seem to exist in a parallel universe."

Rose tinted spectacles you're wearing there! Corporate accounting fraud goes back as far as we've had companies and accounts. Polly Peck, BCCI, Enron are only a handful of non-tech companies that went "pop" on the back of made up numbers. Going back much further, read the first few lines of the abstract of this:

http://homepages.transy.edu/~gwilliams/docs/FinancialCrime.pdf

Arguably the South Sea Bubble was accounting fraud, which takes us back to the early 1700's.

The origins of the UK audit firms goes back to the need to verify accounts and prevent fraud. This works only to a limited degree, and today is made substantially worse by the corporate nature of the audit industry, cosy and long term relationships between companies and auditors, and a greater incentive to rubber stamp a company's accounts than to uncover fraud.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Autonomy reported profits of £105.7m for fiscal year 2010, The real profit was just £19.6m

"Plus $105M profit on $175M turnover, how come no-one called BS on that?"

In the world of software and intellectual property that's possible. Whilst Autonomy's business was different, consider the case of a packaged office software suite, which the code owner sells to distributors at say $150. Once they've paid for the development up front, the marginal cost of producing each new sale is the cost of a cardboard box and an installation disk (if you're lucky).

In the consumer world you've got big marketing costs and fat overheads, in the B2B world they are generally far lower. I used to work for a B2B software house (not Autonomy) and our gross margins were huge, our corporate overheads minimal, our marketing budget tiny.

Curiously enough the firm I worked for's accounts were crooked, directors fraudulent, and the firm (with turnover in excess of £100m) managed to go bust on the back of debt fuelled acquisitions, despite being the largest UK company in its field, and one of the largest in the sector in the world, with a roster of blue-chip customers. Few large software companies develop their own code from scratch, they buy smaller more innovative companies, and that means a continual trail of more (or generally) less successful acquisitions, over-hyped, over-priced deals, shed loads of debt, and both sides of the deal trying to ramp up the importance of the acquired company and its product. That's the world of software, IMHO, and it's why big companies make bad deals, and often fail to deliver on the promise of the acqusition.

HP are guilty of both gross negligence in their due diligence, but also of failure of their duties to shareholders by overpaying so outrageously even on claimed profits. And strategically they are guilty of incompetence by having no realistic plan to deliver value from the acquired business, and of strategic malfeasance by their failure to learn from their own past mistakes, or those of others in the industry.

HP bought EDS, but the parasite has now taken over the host, and HP is not in my view a technology innovator, not a software house, just a lard-bottomed, poor quality outsourcer making big promises to customers that (to judge by the unhappy experience of my current globo-corp) HP cannot deliver on, despite high outturn prices. Given those opinions, I wouldn't expect them to make a success of M&A, but it's important to remember that M&A is the last refuge of scoundrel directors, seeking a smokescreen to hide their inability to run their existing business.

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Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

Ledswinger
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Re: 8.1 and 8 should be grouped together@ Test Man

"8.1 is not a service pack for 8, it's a totally separate OS, evident by the fact that you install it like a new OS, you get upgrade screens like a new OS, etc."

So in your world the definition of a unique operating system is the user experience of installing it?

Microsoft certainly dressed up 8.1 as more than a service pack, but comparing before and after I see virtually no difference, other than a function and use-free start button. If that defines a discrete OS, then you are very easily pleased.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cash registers etc.

"They will be using XP Embedded and are NOT affected by the desktop EoL"

Not all, I'm afraid. There's plenty of EPOS systems running on desktop XP, particularly away from the big chains. And even if you're a big chain running XPE, how safe are you when the s0ddin' EPOS system is written in Java?

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Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

Ledswinger
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Re: If there was any doubt@Mike Smith

"Now, I don't claim to be an expert in political analysis...."

Well you're setting out a stall for some form of analysis. I think your "rule 1" falls at a fairly early hurdle because a very large proportion of people don't vote because the three party system is so broken that they can't see the point. That's not going to change any time soon.

And looking at your parliamentary analysis, the outcome of your hoped for "50% of refuseniks to vote" would simply have been a Labour led coalition including the Liberals and a handful of other generally left wing parties. Would that have been any better? I doubt it. It would have been worse because all the damage that Blair and Brown inflicted would have gone ahead, and then you'd have "golden wish" gifts to the minority members. That sort of "golden wish" shit is why Germany is carping on at the rest of Europe over carbon even as it shuts down good quality, safe nuclear power plants, and tries to ignore industry screaming that it can't compete with the ludicrous energy prices.

So I come back to why UKIP makes sense. For both parties, they've ignored voters concerns about immigration and about Europe for too long, and they still won't do anything about either. Clearly the drippy conservative leadership are not listening this time, but maybe they will after a further five years on the house of commons cheap seats. The Labour party might want to also consider who they claim to represent, because they are in a similarly poor position, and currently look set to win the next election simply by not being the current government.

If in the meanwhile we have a bit of colour added to the otherwise drab, ineffectual house of commons, that has to be a good thing.

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