* Posts by Ledswinger

4465 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

BT dismisses MPs' calls to snap off Openreach as 'wrong-headed'

Ledswinger
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Re: Privatisation

The gift that keeps on giving.

There speaks a boy not old enough to remember how expensive voice calls were under state ownership, how it took six months to even get a line installed, and how the state owned operator thought it acceptable to offer only "party lines".

But don't let any inconvenient facts stand in the way of religious belief: Vote for Jezza and we will soon have a Venzuelan style workers' paradise here in the UK.

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Someone please rid me of this turbulent Windows 10 Store

Ledswinger
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Re: What went wrong?

It is probably too late for anyone to take MS seriously any more.

Corporate IT buyers are starting to like Windows phones. And luckily for Microsoft, corporate users rarely have a say, other than a few PHBs who can be individually bought off with an iPhone.

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Samsung sued over 'lackadaisical' Android security updates

Ledswinger
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Move along, nothing to see

Data security is a top priority and we work hard every day to ensure that the devices we sell and the information contained on those devices are is safeguarded

Meaning:

Data security is a top priority and we work hard every day to ensure that the devices we sell on that day and the information contained on those devices are is safeguarded for the whole day. But after that you're on your own.

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Thousands fled TalkTalk after gigantic hack, confirm researchers

Ledswinger
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Re: They are rubbish

My mother in law died 14 months ago and we cancelled her talk-talk phone then. We are still getting bills

Take your complaint to the Communications Ombudsman. They aren't usually quick, but they usually deliver. Not only will they force TwatTwat to sort it out, and probably pay you some desultory compensation, but simply by Ombusdman Services taking the case on, TwatTwat will be charged a circa £400 case fee.

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Women account for just one fifth of the EU’s 8m IT jobs

Ledswinger
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Re: Really?

every single male with two brain cells to rub together I ever talked to was unhappy about the low percentage of females in the tech sector

Ahh, but they weren't unhappy enough to get themselves a job in marketing. Mind you it is IT's loss that there aren't more women, largely because IME women make better managers than men. With a few exceptions, women listen when other people talk, and they pick up the social cues that us blokes steam roller right across.

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The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)

Ledswinger
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Re: It's true!

Could we help African wildlife by encouraging poaching of the UK herds of hippopotamus shellsuitus for Chinese medicinal purposes?

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

Ledswinger
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In principle the idea is excellent.

It certainly is. Presumably MPs will be able to vote from the common's bar or their mistress' boudoir, without the discomfort of having to actually listen to or participate in the debate.

I did initially think that would be bad for democracy, but on reflection Westminster is stuffed with cretinous party lickspittles, so it won't matter. In which case, why not aggregate up the voting, and let the party whips vote on behalf of their MPs?

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Gov must hire 'thousands' of techies to rescue failing projects

Ledswinger
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Re: Nope

Try hiring a rather smaller number of experienced techies who actually understand what they're doing.

How will they keep at bay the demands of technically and managerially illiterate management who keep on changing things, or trying to release dysfunctional specs to bidders?

In the area of shared services, the IT usually only becomes a problem because the business processes (and the policies that back them) are inadequate, undocumented, inconsistent and not understood by the management, who think that if only they automate more stuff, all their troubles will go away.

Take payroll or expenses. In concept, very, very straightforward to autiomate and share as a service. But if you're doing shared services, that means every customer of the shared service centre has to adopt the same policy and process on these (otherwise you're running duplicate systems, and they aren't shared at all). The policies and processes need to be understood by customer-staff and the "doers", and they need to be clearly written down - who does what by when, who is accountable and responsible. And really, the existing processes need to have proper MI so that the current performance is understood, and they need to generally work because automation won't fix a broken process (I think that's the nub of government's, and to an extent wider business's problems).

So yes, more and better techies by all means. But just as important to enable the techies to deliver are more and better process designers, MI specialists, and management who actually have experience of creating and running a successful shared service centre.

I'm not holding my breath.

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Sorry, kids. Microsoft is turning Minecraft into an 'educational tool'

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

So that school have to have windows 10...........When schools can't afford jack because of govt cuts.

In which case MS have two options: Either accept that World plus Dog really couldn't give a tinker's cuss about the abomination that is Windows 10, and that a W10-tied educational Minecraft will curl up and die. Or give away both free to academic institutions, as a necessary freebie to keep as many people as possible in the Windows fold.

If MS won't give it away, and the schools don't have the money, then maybe they have a choice: Stick with whatever they run now, or make a move to Ubuntu or similar. If you can drive a mouse you can drive a Windows computer, so being brought up on Linux wouldn't be any hardship. And as an employer, my business doesn't expect schools to have equipped pupils with any worthwhile knowledge of business software, so if the kids leave school familiar with Open Office and Mint that's not going to worry me at all.

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Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies

Ledswinger
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Oops... shouldn't give them ideas.

Don't worry. A blimp would be cheap and therefore there's no chance of them thinking about that for a nanosecond.

All the high tech defence programmes like rail guns and space planes, and this latest incarnation of the death-laser, none are about cheap or effective, it's just the military industrial complex spending taxpayer's money on techno-junk, because that's the central purpose.

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Spare a reserved cloud instance, gov? Microsoft's $1bn, 70k charity sales pitch

Ledswinger
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And after three years....

...any large scale, professionally run charity able to make use of cloud, BI and CRM finds it is almost totally dependent upon Microsoft, there's probably no other comparable free services (and even if there were, switching provider is a bit IT project with a big cost that will come out of donations). Oh dear, how sad, charity donations going straight into Microsoft's coffers.

Microsoft aren't poor. They've got circa $100bn in cash and no debt. They could afford a more targeted offer to selected large charities on a much longer term basis, giving stability to the charity, and confidence that the benefits over the agreement's life will outweigh the possible exit or re-source costs. As they're not doing that, I tend to go back to the cynical interpretation, that this is a form of entrapment. Not unlike most IT outsource and BPO pitches, then.

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Ledswinger
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The downside is that it doesn't deal with the laptop on the coffee-shop WiFi.

True, but the spamming and botnet businesses are all about volume. If you can reduce the number of machines infected significantly then the returns are reduced. This would get rid of the skiddy spammers and made big inroads in the DDoS "market", and vulnerable devices on public wifi would be too small in number to make those markets viable.

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Ledswinger
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however there is a lot of ignorance in businesses PCs - 'it's someone elses responsibility so i'm not touching it'

In every business I've worked in, it is a formal policy that everything to do with desktop is under the control of the IT people. And even within IT, there's a RACI matrix that says who does what. So (assuming large corporate IT departments are not utterly incompetent?) your observations puts the blame on spam and botnets (most likely) at the door of the vast estate of partially managed SME PCs?

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BT appoints new CIO Howard Watson

Ledswinger
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Re: worse? No problem...

The mind boggles at just how badly it'll go....

Luckily BT have lots of offshore "resource" to help them get a good solution. Bwahahahahahahahaaa!

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Nude tribute to Manet's Olympia ends in cuffing

Ledswinger
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I wonder if there's a sign up list.

Hey! You! Sexist old dinosaur! Get behind me in this queue.

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Robots. Machine learnin', 3D-printin' AI robots: They'll take our jobs – Davos

Ledswinger
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It's going to be just too useful for us not to develop it

And thus the Fermi Paradox is perpetuated on another planet.

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GCHQ summer schools to pay teenage hackers £250 a week

Ledswinger
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Bring your own holdall

And a "whodunnit" novel as a case study.

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Vendors reporting their cloud revenue with funny money

Ledswinger
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Re: suggests asking the following questions

For all anyone knows, most of these companies might be hosting their solutions on other company's kit.

To an extent that's barely more or less a problem than having legal ownership of the kit. What counts is whether the company (or nested hosting companies) have a genuinely viable business model.

There's some interesting analysis kicking about the web that reports that half of all AWS phenomenal growth is seriously VC funded startups with no real revenue. And there's quite a few revenue-free tech sector IPO's active in the cloud marketplace - you know of whom I speak. My guess is that the cloud market has already built out to saturation, large segments of demand will evaporate soon as many of the startups implode, or IPOs have to cut their cloth according to their means. What we'll see could well be a re-run of the 2000 telecoms implosion, as cloud providers find that they have little pricing power in a commodity market, and that too much of their costs are essentially fixed as demand declines.

There will certainly be survivors, but its interesting to note that the casualties last time round included obvious companies like Qwest and Global Crossing (at the time with valuations like Amazon today), but it wasn't just the telecoms owner-operators who suffered, but also their supply chain like Nortel and Lucent. When the cloud market implodes, which bit barn & comms equipment suppliers will take a major hit?

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IBM introduces fleecing-you-as-a-service for retailers

Ledswinger
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In the past, Amazon would offer the best price to new customers, and somewhat worse pricing once you were a regular customer.

Not just Amazon. Hotels do this all the time, but often very crudely, so that if you make multiple visits to their web site they'll hike the price offered to you, so you've triggered the dynamic price hike, not total demand. Luckily because its crude you can usually book using a different browser on the same machine, or use a different machine.

I suspect that offering retailers the prospect of "free money", dynamic pricing will become ever more frequent, until it becomes so abusive that regulators intervene. Particularly if you start setting your new price base purely on competitors pricing, then that could easily be seen as collusion, leading to vast fines. In some sectors where supply is fixed in the short term, it has been used for years and will always be used (like air travel and hotels). But I'll wager that dynamic pricing of commodity retailing will be accused of somehow being socially exclusive, and it'll become more and more difficult to sustain. Once the mainstream press get hold of it, it'll become a bone to gnaw on, and those choosing to use it will need to consider if the additional margin is worth the reputational grief.

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Forget the drones, Amazon preps its own cargo container ship operation out of China

Ledswinger
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Especially as the EU is trying to close down the Luxemburg tax avoidance schemes.

Bwahahahaa! You think that's going to happen when one the architects of Luxembourg's tax haven structures (Jean Claude Junker) is president of the European Commission? They've already been omitted from the big list of EU blacklisted tax havens, presumably by some "bureaucratic oversight".

The EU: Committed to transparency, openness, fairness. Except when it isn't because it doesn't suit the toe rag politcos that pull the strings

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Ledswinger
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Re: Shipping sans sailors

Just think: Amazon technology can launch huge container ships running like driver-less cars, with GPS guidance....

Where did it say anything about Amazon owning or operating ships? The headline is wilfully misleading (on a free to view website we can't complain), but the article talks about Amazon acting as a shipper, a freight forwarder and controlling vessels. You don't need to leave your desk to do any of that. Which makes sense. Why would a retail and logistics company want to get into ownership and operation of container vessels, when all seaborne transport is heavily cyclical, routinely sees ship owners going bust, and in the longer term makes very thin margins?

Amazon's logistical expertise will be light years ahead of the tuppenny halfpenny shipping agents used by Chinese manufacturers, and by better control of freight despatch, consolidation & forwarding, it can move the China-US freight network closer to a just in time operation, and take out other inefficiency costs in the movement of ships. And it could use its volume on trans pacific trade to put the squeeze on other retailers.

All of which is good for Amazon. I suspect the company rather than consumers will benefit, I'm not convinced that competition will improve, and how the US nationally will benefit importing stuff from China even faster is even less clear. Last year the US imported about $350 billion more from China than China imported from the US.

I'm sure it all end well....

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Eight-billion-dollar Irish tax bill looms over Apple

Ledswinger
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Re: Apple would love Siesta

There is no point manufacturing in countries with siesta...

The only "manufacturing" done by Apple in relation to Ireland was the manufacturing of a complex multi-jurisdiction tax avoidance scheme.

And I'll wager that was probably manufactured by law firms and tax accountants in the City of London.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Big deal!

The little man always loses

Given the price premium and excess margins on Apple products when adequately functional alternatives exist, the little man has chosen to lose. This has already been christened "the Apple tax", but now that will be particularly apposite.

Weep into your soya lattes, bearded hipsters!

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Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

Ledswinger
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Re: I feel bad for the bureacrats

I feel bad for the bureacrats

Why? I was very impressed by the authorities calling his bluff: "Ze next time he is stopped by ze traffic police, if he doesn't have a pasta strainer on his head, heez licence will be taken from his cold dead handz." Well, somm't like that.

There's lots of bad things about Russia, but let's celebrate the good things. Like the fact that a knob can get a driving licence with a colander on his noggin, and said twerp will lose his licence if he drives for a nanosecond without it.

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Hyatt says hackers took card data from 250 of its hotels

Ledswinger
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OK, they don't care. Like Talktalk, Dixons Carphone, and a bazillion other businesses worldwide. I was thinking what regulatory penalty would actually persuade them to act differently? Fines don't work because money's no issue, and usually it's only shareholders' money anyway.

What if the regulatory penalties included having "Knob" tattooed on the board's foreheads? Initially the PHBs and clueless "C" levels wouldn't get it, but after the first public tattooing of a director I think the rest would get the message.

Should it be "knob" or written back to front so that they can read it in the mirror? First world problems, eh?

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Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

Ledswinger
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Re: @LedSwinger

Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

Thank you for all serious responses.

Treating this with the gravity it deserves, what happens if instead of a light beam, we send a cat + radiation source off in a straight line? Presumably we get half a dead cat back?

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Ledswinger
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Re: No H or He?

Now expand this thinking into three-dimensional space - our universe. No matter what direction you fly in - north, south, east, west, up or down - if you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually return to where you started

What persuades us of this? If it were correct, then surely light would have an "incoming from the opposite direction" component, subject to the right conditions?

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Aircraft now so automated pilots have forgotten how to fly

Ledswinger
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Re: The human pilots just do the easy bits...

pilots from the long haul fleet regularly take a rota to fly a Junkers Ju-52

Are the rumours true that the short haul pilots have to take a spin in a 109?

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TalkTalk outage: Dial M for Major cockup

Ledswinger
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Re: Bad TalkTalk

You sir, should be punished.

I think my present job in the energy industry is punishment enough. I'm sure I didn't do anything particularly evil in a past life, although I probably do owe a few people round these parts a new keyboard.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Bad TalkTalk

I've never had a dialtone with TalkTalk.

I'm surprised. I've always assumed TalkTalk had offshored dialtones to the cheapest, rubbishest part of the subcontinent, just like the rest to their flea-bitten business. When you pick up the phone what's supposed to happen is that some Indian beggar in a particularly scummy call centre is supposed to make a "bbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" sound with their lips until you start to dial.

My guess is that the operational planners have messed up, and they have run out of call centre staff to do the "bbbrrrrrrrrrrr" bit. And you can't fix this quickly - did you know that the dialtone training takes six weeks before they're allowed to do live dialtones for paying customers?

Pah, offshoring, it never delivers the goods.

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Ledswinger
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Alien

Re: It IS Rocket Science

No-one's been round for a service call since 1977.

That's what you think.

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Smallish telco Gigaclear gets €25m loan for rural broadband roll-out

Ledswinger
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BT will find it difficult to compete on bitrate, or even price.

Even on price for the volume customers (such as volume is, in rural locations)?

I'd be pleased if GC were showing the big boys how to do it, and offering something better, but I'd have expected them to have the same problem of funding expensive infrastructure as everybody else.

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Ledswinger
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Here's hoping the seed money will grow into something more substantial with time.

Well, three main threats:

1) that the business case doesn't really scale, and the economics mean they're only able to infill a few marginal notspots. I also note that they are using BDUK funding - does it stack up without subsidies?

2) They make a go of it, but some Big Scumbag Corporation (name your choice) buy them out, and it all goes to pot.

3) The start to make a go of it, but then a Big Scumbag Corporation (only one name in here) start targeting rural roll out to intentionally nobble them, whilst Ofcom sit and do nothing.

My money's on number 3.

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Microsoft wants you, yes you, to write bits of Windows 10. For free

Ledswinger
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Re: No use, no write for...

but maybe Microsoft have realised that they have to live and work with open source

Leopards, spots. Or Popes, woods, bears and balconies, whatever takes your fancy.

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Nest thermostat owners out in the cold after software update cockup

Ledswinger
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Re: IofT

Remind me why one needs a thermostat connected to the web? The older, less sexy versions seem to work just fine and are not prone needless bugs.

The actual driver for this is that a good quality programmeable thermostat is a pain to set up, and an equal pain to tweak or optimise. If you're happy with a manually adjusted stat, then you don't have this problem, and if you're happy with a single temperature stat, then again there's no problem

But if you want different temperatures at different times of day (for either comfort, cost or eco reasons), then although programmeable stats have been available for decades, the user interfaces are grimmer than death (well, maybe not quite). Take the Eberle unit on my wall, works a treat and has done for twenty years. But setting up system time, day, four time zones for seven days a week with different household routines on some days....its a pig. The vast majority of digital stats seem to have crap, counter-intuitive four button interfaces designed by the same mongs that design digital alarm clock user interfaces, or multi-storey car parks.

So, in theory, automating the process, using modern understanding of UI, and having learning algorithms makes incredible sense. The unfortunate thing is that the potential has been put at risk by over-ambitious concepts (like smartphone control, and control over internet), an excess of suspect quality software, a lack of attention to security and testing, and a complete disregard for privacy and reliability.

The perfect solution never involved wifi, internet or smartphones, but would still have had a decent UI, touch panel interface, learning algorithms. It would be an appliance, pure and simple, but a good one. By proper testing and conservative specification there would never then be a need for risky software updates, and no problems of security or privacy. Somebody probably already makes this, but the masses are flocking to buy the latest shiney, web-enabled Googley-Appley tat, and any product designer wanting to do the decent thing will be told by the PHB and the marketing department that they have to have app control, wi-fi and internet....

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Capita in line for tasty £139m deal across five councils

Ledswinger
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Re: Watch devolution break this

If and when central government comes to an agreement with Oxfordshire County Council to devolve central government funds and services, all council services within Oxfordshire will be centralised there,

You really believe that? The reported deal with Capita is for the lower tier South Oxfordshire DC, and unless all of Oxfordshire is going to become a unitary authority, what SO DC decide has nothing to do with OCC. Admittedly OCC has long wanted unitary status, the lower tier authorities see this as a power grab, and looking at the coverage in the press, there's fat chance of OCC succeeding.

Even if it did, the OCC case for unitary status is predicated on huge cost savings of £30m+ per annum, so they'd be forced to outsource more. We all know that wouldn't deliver any savings, but this is local government we're talking about, so they'd sign any old contract and then look surprised when it doesn't work. A bit like Cornwall County Council did.

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Investigatory Powers Bill: A force for good – if done right?

Ledswinger
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Re: So, exactly what does Lord Paul Strasburger propose to do?

I work unpaid, but I don't complain about it. So please stop hectoring me.

FX: Sound of sad, sad violin music. But you won't be getting much sympathy for this round these parts.

But since we're both here, how come you're complaining about the Snoopers Charter, but your lot were clearly complicit in all of the Very Bad Stuff that has been going on for years, as they were sitting round the cabinet table for five years whilst this was all going on?

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VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

Ledswinger
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Re: why did I buy a diesel?

why did I buy a diesel? Well, lets see, . No electric ignition system to go wrong.

IS that so? I take it you're driving a 1967 Landy 110?

Most modern-ish diesels are infested with dubiously reliable electrics: A complex ECU and multiple sensors (usually linked in to an immobiliser), plus a turbocharger & intercoooler, a high pressure common rail injection system, high tolerance injectors and injector control systems, and on more recent cars a particulate filter (needing yet another sensor and ECU circuit).

I've currently got a Nissan X Trail diesel on its last legs not because the engine or drivetrain are worn out at 150k miles, but simply because of electrical gremlins that prevent it starting reliably. Even if my garage could diagnose the failure (which they can't), we'd probably be looking at a four figure sum for the requisite parts. And given they can't diagnose it, I'm unwilling to start the serial replacement of parts in the hope that we eventually find the culprit.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

If there is no physical evidence required for prosecution; simply an allegation of a possibility of harm in the indefinite future, then you've built yourself a happy tyranny.

Welcome to the EU, sunshine.

Hold on, wasn't the whole EU superstate your lot's big clever idea?

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

Ledswinger
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Re: Definition of success - going OT

It's more likely the case those Civil Servants have a vested interest in maintaining their niche "dept of wankography".

I do have some dealings with these people, and to give them their due, there's two types of civil servant. The technical specialists are often clever, and have a lot of experience in their niche policy field. These people generally know a lot about their specialism - but they operate in very narrow silos, have limited engagement with the fellow specialists even in the same department, and often lack any clout or visibility. Sadly the second type of civil servant are the movers and shakers of the civil service, usually Oxbridge arts graduates, have been fast tracked into management, and have neither real world experience, technical knowledge, or leadership ability. It's these senior fluffers who are the biggest cause of problems. Never held to account, flitting from department (and fuck up) to a new department and a new fuck up, before eventually retiring on an obscene pension with an honours list going (like Lin Homer). And its these free lunchers of the "First Division Association" who have most dealings with ministers, and who preside over policy disasters. The minsters are likewise know-nothing air heads, and when you add in the lobbying of (in particular) unaccountable yet often government funded NGOs, you have a mess of biblical proportions. And I haven't even mentioned the corruption and incompetence in Brussels.

Just as the free lunchers drift between departments in a form of over-paid Brownian motion, you'll be able to make the connection from my energy-informed view to other government departments leading world class fuckups, like DfT, DEFRA, MoJ, DFID, DWP, BIS, DfE, MoD etc.

Politicians are invariably a force for making the world worse, but in the UK it doesn't matter, because the Civil Service guarantees chaos regardless of the government intentions. There's must be a net present value of (guessing) of the order of £3 trillion from making the civil service work effectively, with true visibility, meritocracy, accountability (and a lot of senior sackings). Personally I can live with the civil service being inefficient (which is what politicians bleat on about), but it's that lack of effectiveness that really damages the UK, and which nobody is doing anything about.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Purpose

Central heating was reliant on timers back then, as now.

Back then central heating was a luxury. In 1970 less than a third of homes had central heating.

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Ledswinger
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Re: He,y meter manufacturers.....

My reasoning is that the meter manufacturers have either got compromising photos of Rudd or a nice non exec directorship lined up for her.... end of.

The whole sad mess was signed into law by the Labour party mate. Rudd deserves a kick up the arse for not calling time on it, but in terms of why it is being done, ask Blair, Brown and their parliamentary chums.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Definition of success - going OT

Engaged! More marketwanker-speak

In the context of energy, "carbonwank-speak" is more appropriate. Ever since Blair created the "Department of Energy & Climate Change", a small army of civil servants has looked for every possible means of pushing you to use less energy than you do, because they have a mission to save the planet. And they earnestly believe that the population unknowingly waste vast amounts of energy, but if only we knew how many polar bear cubs our standby devices cost, then we'd change our evil ways, put on two jumpers, and sit in the dark, bored and shivering.

And that's where smart meters come in. Obviously the fairly chunky energy bills most of us regularly pay aren't incentive enough. But if only we all had a panel on the wall reading in kWh, £ and drowned polar bear cubs, then we'd all become "engaged" with DECC's cause.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

ISTR someone calculated the running cost of 40 million smart meters 24/7 was something like a whole extra power station being needed.

Yes, we had that debate a while back ICBA to search the forum threads, but recollect that it was about 240MW nationally required to run smart meters. In industry terms that's a small CCGT (nothing like the big ones, eg 1.4 GW Didcot B), but you might not think it so small if they wanted to build one next to you.

Enlarge the pictures on this link to see what a 240MW CCGT looks like:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterborough_Power_Station

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Ledswinger
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Re: Purpose

..except that the meters being installed do not allow spot rate charging.

They can handle half hourly charging, which is the same basis as wholesale electricity markets operate. In theory this could be "spot", but don't forget that end users need to pay transmission system charges, distribution charges, subsidy recovery charges, social obligations costs, balancing and settlement costs, billing and overheads. Its those "other" costs that mean your average retail charge is double the average wholesale cost. And because of things like the incompetently managed solar PV and wind subsidies and obligations this element of your bills will keep rising for the next four years as a minimum.

But nobody buys spot power unless they can afford to be without power when the price skyrockets at peak times. It doesn't leap if you've got a forward contract, but being unhedged and uncontracted in the wholesale market at times if system imbalance would result in paying prices of hundreds of pounds per kWh, because you'd be the person paying for the entire annual cost of short term peaking plant.

So in practice, an energy supplier could offer you a wholesale tracker tariff through your smart meter, that offers a smoothed and hedged version of the wholesale cost and then adds all the extras. Why any residential energy user would want such a complicated system I can't say. Can you imagine trying to check a bill where the usage is reported for every half hour, and the price can vary for each half hour? That'd be a 4,300 line energy statement every quarter.

In reality, time of use tariffs actually offered to residential users are not trackers, and are usually only three time zones per day, typically with some seasonal variation. For me, that's still too complicated. I like the current system, where the supplier offers me power at a simple flat rate, I pay the bill, and the lights come on. Sadly governments of all persuasions are committed to the ghastly mess of smart meters whose best use case is to make the simple more complicated. There's no positive business case for the suppliers - the low cost of manual meter reading is too low to pay for this vastly expensive scheme. And the costs of expected greater bill accuracy is minimal (a zero sum game across customers with credit and debit differences when paying estimated bills).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Remote control

Heaters, motors - big users of power. How else are you going to shed 3MW within 2 seconds?

That's correct, and increasingly big energy users are being encouraged to get involved in National Grid's ancillary services market to provide frequency response (and even generation capacity from standby plant). But this opportunity has largely migrated to China will all of our outsourced manufacturing and heavy industry.

Moreover, look what happened when our last remaining steel plants were all about to close because of (amongst other influences) high energy costs and emissions taxes. This elimination of steel making was actually contributing to the government ambitions to reduce emissions. But then government came in with schemes to reduce the energy costs of energy intensive industry (and thus undo the intended outcome of the previous policy).

Government are fuckwits. They don't understand that if they want to cut carbon emissions and energy use, that's not going to be done by every middle class family using 10% less, its going to be done by the fuel poor becoming unable to afford energy, and industries unable to compete at high energy costs going to the wall.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Definition of success

Articles in 'the popular press' about fuel poverty being replaced by 'out smart meter saved us £££££'?

There is a sizeable budget for propaganda. The DECC "gaz and leccy" campaign is just the start. Soon the energy suppliers will start joining in, not because they believe in smart meters, but because we are obligated to install them (or rather to offer them).

You certainly will see stories in the press about "how the Jones family became energy-engaged by having a smart meter and saved £££". For a tiny minority this may even be true, but for most people smart meters are mere technology lacking a real purpose.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I think it *will* be a ghastly mess

"Economy 7" has been around for decades in the UK. It is simple to use and understand

And about 35% of E7 customers would be better off on a standard flat rate tariff, to judge by industry experience. You need to have at least 40% of your total electricity demand in the off peak period, and that's a lot easier said than done. The only people who are better off on E7 are those with electric storage heaters and a fairly poorly insulated home. And even then they'd be better off switching to a flat rate tariff outside the main heating season.

If you have storage heaters and use E7, there's logic in using appliances during this period, but there's no point at all in having E7 if you don't have the significant storage heating load. And don't forget that E7 users have a higher daytime rate that takes back some of the perceived savings.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oh for crying out loud...

This would drive electricity prices down to the cost of production.

No it wouldn't because there's tens of billions of quid that need to be added to the "cost of production" for the government's subsidy and obligation schemes, not to mention the cost of running the distribution networks, billing and corporate overheads.

Because of all the add ons, you'd never really get cheap power, you'd simply have volatile prices and zero transparency. In gross terms, electricity pricing is very close to a zero sum game. Which means that if you get cheaper off peak prices, your peak prices have to go up far more (peak periods are shorter than off peak). And even if you can shift your use and get an overall benefit, 99% of the time somebody else will have to pay more to compensate.

Time of use tariffs for residential customers are a stupid idea. Most people think their suppliers simply send them (an inaccurate) bill. The real value energy suppliers offer is actually to intermediate between the brutal and volatile world of the wholesale markets, and sell that at a nice steady fixed rate. Maybe you can do away with that; Knowing a bit about the wholesale markets, I wouldn;t touch a time of use tariff. YMMV.

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Ledswinger
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Re: It need not have come to this

So they are installing useless displays instead of facilitating actionable insights that independent companies can deliver via apps.

Yo! Anonymous knob! Energy companies are mandated in law to install in home displays. When industry asked if we could use apps instead, we were told "yes, but only if you install an IHD as well". There was a formal consultation about this last year, all published on the DECC web site.

But don't let that stop you jumping to ill informed conclusions.

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