* Posts by Ledswinger

4420 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

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

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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Ledswinger
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Re: I spot a trend

Can anyone also tell me what happens if I have solar panels and a smart meter and they cut me off - what happens to all the solar stuff then ?

Yes. Once smarter meters are fully enabled, you won't be on what's currently referred to as a "deemed" (guessed) payment for FiT, you will get paid for what is actually produced. If you were to get cut off, you'd have no export tariff (the smaller part of the FiT), the meter might record the in-house use to be rebated when your meter reconnects. But for most people the PV wouldn't be able to power the house for much of the time, and the electrical system will be down, unless you've got PV, battery storage, and fairly low electricity demand.

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

What does this mean for consumers...is the only issue that they need to send a reader round? - or will it eventually nobble the power if it can't phone home?

The marginal costs of manual meter reading are less than five quid a year per household. The savings on that don't pay for five hundred quid of smart meters. To be honest, I can't say what happens if a smart meter fails after successful commissioning. I would expect the billing systems simply default to estimated billing. For customers on direct debit plans there's no big deal (albeit no benefit from £10-20bn of cash spent with no value). For prepayment customers things could be more tricky.

Then again, could things be any worse than the current performance of people like npower, coop energy, and first utility?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Smart?

Interesting. Manufacturing cost should be low, as there’s not much more than a pcb and display in a modern meter.

Absolutely correct. But don't forget the fact that these all need to be calibrated to NMRO standards, we need the paperwork to follow through on everything, there are a whole range of different models (no standardisation!), the logistics for installation are expensive, one-time-only organisations, the roll out will be inherently inefficient, and that's before the additional reasons I can't elaborate for commercial reasons for significant cost increases through to 2020+.

If government were were doing the job properly, they'd obligate the DNOs (not suppliers) to do smart metering but only on an asset renewal basis, and they'd set a single national specification, consult to kingdom come before locking the spec in (software) stone, and then award a single national meter contract to a manufacturer.

But as usual they're spending your money, and in this case it isn't even officially tax-funded, so DECC really couldn't give a shit, and they've gone for the most misbegotten mess in many decades.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Purpose

The government will be able to switch off your power before they raid your home and the utilities will be able to switch it off as soon as you fail to pay one of their bills on time, and then add an exorbitant charge to restore it.

Governments raid houses in the early hours of the morning, they have plenty of money for dogs, guns and portable lights - the best your money can buy.

For the utility suppliers, smart meters are as welcome as turd in a Christmas card. They're complex, unreliable, untested, expensive technology that does jack shit for us. We're doing this because the knob-ends of Parliament say we have to, on pay of vast fines. The energy regulator will still set the criteria by which you can be cut off, and it is no easier with a smart meter than a dumb meter (other than that we wouldn't need to worry about a forced entry if you pretend you're always out). Curiously, perhaps the only group to benefit from smart meters are the lower social orders who are most commonly cut off. For the first time since forever, these people will be able to be on the full range of energy supply tariffs, instead of being on the expensive manual prepayment meter tariffs.

The journey for the non-payers is thus easier, they can be put on pre-payment more cheaply, and if they get (automatically) cut off for lack of credit, they reconnection fee is zip.

This is a benefit to the section of the community most commonly disconnected or in arrears, but they won't see it that way. Whether you think the total £20+bn programme cost is justified for that modest benefit to a small subset of society will depend purely on your politics.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Remote control

Perhaps the real story is that now we've shut down all the steelworks it's no longer possible to reduce demand sufficiently just by turning off a couple of factories

Interrupting steel making like that never happened (on a planned basis anyway) because it would destroy the plant.

The reason for the current focus on "demand side response" is that politicians have commissioned all these crappy renewables, and without cheap power storage you end up with feast & famine scenarios for the grid. In Germany, their obsessive and expensive build out of renewables means that about three times a month the wholesale power price turns negative. That doesn't mean retail users like you and me get paid to use power, but it does completely fuck up the wholesale power markets and distribution grids, and DSR is hoped to be a way of managing that.

In reality, the way to reliable low carbon power was never wind turbines and PV (expensive, crap technologies in northern Europe) but was modestly over-provisioned non-EPR nuclear, backed a mix of OCGT and CCGT gas plant. This was obvious when Blair commissioned the energy policy that is delivering today, but he outsourced the decisions to his fuckwit mates in Greenpeace,

We are where we are, and its Shitty Mess Central. How do we get out of it? We can't because the politicians don't have the brains or the balls. But in theory we could by admitting that its a mess, cancelling all PV feed-in-tariffs, cancelling RO and CfD arrangements, cancelling Hinkley Point C, and starting again. In the short term build a shit load of cheap CCGT with a twenty year life, and in that twenty years design and build simple, effective nuclear plant (again, not EPR).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Smart?@Tridac

I doubt if there will be any facility to switch off the power within the meter.

There most certainly is the capability to interrupt supply, at two levels.

In terms of full interruption (cutting people off) it can be done remotely, although all the same restrictions apply to the process of cutting people off. Having said that, all smart meters can be converted to PAYG meters, and anybody who's experienced the old "money in the slot" versions knows what happens when you run out of credit.

The second way is that smart meters have an "auxiliary load" controller. The idea is that you can voluntarily connect certain devices to a circuit controlled by this, and at a network sent signal, these devices have their power interrupted. Obviously there's no value to users unless they're on a time of use tariff, but even then the real marginal value is quite slim. If you can accept that the kids will have to go to school in wet clothes because the tumble dryer went off, but the £20 a year saving is worth that, then this is the technology for you.

All the details are available on line, search SMETS2 specification pdf

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Ledswinger
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Re: Smart?

So how has this been calculated ?...

I suspect this whole life costs, not just installation. Although personally as somebody with professional involvement in the programme, I think the up front costs will be a lot more than the government claim.

£100 manufactured, certified, installed? You're 'aving a giraffe, my son. It's more like £250 without all the failure costs of installation that go ahead and don't work, and without the operational efficiency problems, without the soon to spiral out of control Data Communications Company costs. There's something like 23m 'leccy meters and about 18m gas meters. So the capital cost (for sod all benefit) is around £10-11bn. But when DCC goes wrong, and the smart meter roll runs into problems, you'll be looking at £330 a meter installed, for £13bn capex.

It's a mess, it should be cancelled, but the politicians are hoping to blame the industry when it all goes shit shaped. Even now, it is only UK government interpretation of EU law than mandates smart meters - they could easily re-interpret the economics on a more realistic basis and admit it is a crap idea. But despite claims to the contrary, the current Tory government love the EU, and they simply don';t have either the wit or the courage to do this.

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Ledswinger
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Re: smart extra money meter

but each increase they seem to boost the cheap rate more then the peak, it seems people have moved to much to the off peak and they want more money now.

This is because the real value of "flexibility" in the wholesale power market isn't that expensive. They fudge the numbers to include additional fixed costs in the peak rates to meet the political imperative to make peak electricity sufficiently high that people use less.

But as you suggest, if demand does shift, the fixed costs of generation and distribution don't change by more than a couple of percent. All the crappy subsidies for solar and wind still have to be recovered, the distribution grid is still the same size, has the same costs, the power stations already built still need to be paid for.

That's why you see the change in peak versus off peak. On a truly cost reflective basis the premium for peak power isn't enough to force much change, and that then defeats the whole point of smart meters and political interference.

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

Our smart meters (at work) work very well,

Speaking as somebody working for a company obligated to install millions of these meters, I can confirm that they often don't work. They use mobile phone networks, and all too often the location of the meter, be in under the stairs, or in a meter cupboard buried in a wall results in no adequate signal. There's a whole range of other problems, but I'm trying to keep it brief.

There's problems from start to finish with the whole smart meter concept, the business case, the technology and the implementation programme for UK smart meters. Government know this, but don't have the balls to admit they've fucked up, so as usual they press on.

Let's have a sense check:

Henney says smart meters are a pile of shit and won't work. He's got two engineering degrees and has worked in the electricity industry.

Rudd says they will work. She's got a degree in history, and after briefly working for Morgan Stanley and being "released" tried to forge a career in venture capital, then journalism, then human resources, before deciding that politics was a cushy world where you didn't need any talent.

So...who do we think is right? The posh totty from Cheltenham Ladies College who is great mates with that ghastly turd of a prime minister, or the bloke who knows how electricity is produced and delivered, and which end of a hammer to hold?

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Intel lobs out new Core m3/m5 Compute Sticks, shouts 'Fetch!'

Ledswinger
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Re: Why two boxes?

Ummmm.. That's what WiFi is for, n'est ce pas?

I find the large earthed steel chassis of my TV rather effective at attenuating the household wifi signal. That will not be true for all, but it will be true for many given the common living room corner placement of TVs.

There's workarounds, but (for what it is) this is a premium product, why should users be messing around with power cables, HDMI extenders and the like so that the dongle can then hang inelegantly at the side or below the screen?

Looks like a solution searching for a problem. There's a lot of those about these days.

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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

Ledswinger
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Re: I predict win10 is so bad

Obviously Windows 8 users are jumping at the chance to change

Not this one. Classic Shell plus 8.1U works fine. Why would I want to risk 10 when it doesn't do anything new that I need, and comes with pointless bloatware like Cortana?

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Windows 10 phones are not dead yet. Acer, Alcatel OneTouch just made some new ones

Ledswinger
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Re: It's not the phones that are dead .....

But the charity she consults for just gave her an iPhone

Money's tight for them. Not.

Luckily I'm very selective (or tight fisted) when it comes to charitable giving, so hopefully it's not my donations these spendthrifts are pissing up the wall.

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British bureaucrats are world's most social-media-tastic

Ledswinger
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Re: Sir Jizza - less social media more responding to FOI requests please

You'll be expecting him to be competent next, and that's a harsh challenge for any civil servant. But to be fair to the bloke, he's well down the pecking order of the government gravy train:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/62343/high-earners-pay_0.csv/preview

What a bunch of over-paid, talent-free tossers on that document.

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BT and EE, O2 and Three: Are we in for a year of Euro telco mega-mergers?

Ledswinger
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Re: Is it a losing battle ?

the vast majority of those so called suppliers actually just supply a bill & don't generate any of their own electricity or gas.

Christ, it's certainly a losing battle with you lot today. If you haven't encountered my comments before, I would happen to know that most suppliers are just retailers, because I work in the sector. But so f***ing what if they don't actually generate what they sell? Do you expect Tesco to operate the farms for its carrots? Car dealers to make their own cars? PC World to build computers? Arqiva to make TV programmes? Vodafone to actually make their own handsets?

Over the years there have been repeated investigations into whether the energy market works, and whilst there's been the sort of detail transgressions you'd expect in any industry, overall the market does work. The latest multi-million pound investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority is about to issue its report, and there doesn't look to be much that they're going to find (although that won't stop the Daily Mirror wheeling out the usual "fat cat energy bosses laugh whilst pensioners starve" crap).

Integrated generator-suppliers don't have any real advantage, and in fact three of the larger suppliers are at various stages of selling or closing all of their upstream generating assets (one announced, one inevitable, and one an "emergent strategy". Funnily enough there's not a big queue of buyers.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Is it a losing battle ?

As far as I know, every time "competition" has been fostered, then end result is fewer players.We started off in the late 90s with several small, localised energy suppliers[1]. Now there's EON/EDF and BG (who all have resellers - not the same thing as competition)

Look who's not being paying any attention. There's now about thirty active, independent energy suppliers to choose from (go and look 'em up on Uswitch or Ofgem), far more than there were in the 1990s. Ignoring the big players, the largest of these new entrants has grown from zip to over a million customers, and you've got a choice of cooperatives, green energy suppliers, council owned, independent commercials, or external branded suppliers (eg Co-op). Few of those are resellers for the large companies (only SSE and British Gas have what are referred to as "white label" suppliers, primarily Sainsbury's Energy, and Marks & Spencer Energy). Getting an energy supply licence is cheap (£400 odd) so why not set one up yourself if you;re not happy with the current level of choice?

Regarding the chop and change, if you join a new entrant supplier in any established market, what do you expect? Few companies enter new markets with long term survive and grow plans, they simply want to make the founders rich, and when they've had enough they sell out, either to another new entrant or an established player. Or like many new entrants in all markets, they find that the other man's grass was not actually as green as it looked, and their customers get acquired when they go to the wall.

Having said that, this growth of "competition" in energy is a recent regulatory creation by DECC tilting the playing field in favour of small suppliers. In commodity markets like energy and telecoms, there's significant economies of scale, and absent intervention you'd expect a functioning market to converge on a small number of very large players, with small niche positions held by challengers only in segments that the big players can't or won't serve. Where Ofcom do nothing we see exactly this, of consolidations, a lot of product choice even if little supplier choice, some innovation but limited attention to uneconomic markets. In the obsessively regulated energy industry, you see the opposite, of fragmentation without innovation, and money being thrown at the wall under the guise of ECO or WHD.

Which would you prefer?

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Ledswinger
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But, let's face it, it will do a far better job of regulating telecoms in the UK than Ofcom has managed so far.

Bungle and Zippy could do a far better job of regulating UK telecoms than Ofcom, so the barrier's not been set overly high, I'd suggest?

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ISPs: UK.gov should pay full costs of Snooper's Charter hardware

Ledswinger
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Re: Depressing.

And what makes you think that we will be able to elect anyone if the screening is truly successful?

Why would that be a bad thing? Civil servants would have to run the show. And whilst they are clearly inept, they would have no mandate for anything new and are also incapable of innovation, so at least we'd only be saddled with continuing the current crop of bad ideas and ill advised projects.

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Thinking of buying a Surface? Try a modular OLED Thinkpad first

Ledswinger
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Re: Retro thinkpad - - yes please

Build it and they will come.

It would be nice to think so. But corporate procurement is routinely in the hands on one-eyed monsters, and most private buyers buy on price, and will happily tolerate marketing-demanded rubbish like glossy 1366 TN screens.

This is what happens as markets get commoditised. Back in the day when you needed skill to design a portable computer, and had to be very involved across the design and manufacture of the components, the marginal cost of the doing the job properly was a tolerable premium. In today's world of unheard of assemblers and parts-bin supply chains, the cost of having both a decent spec and making the device well are a much bigger premium over the lowest cost options, and fewer buyers will find that premium for physical attributes (although curiously they will often find it for the intangible attribute of "brand").

You can see this happening with phones too. The days of SD card slots and user replaceable batteries are numbered, as makers try to shave pennies off the BoM and assembly costs. But still the volume and margin on high end Androids is being eroded by makers you've never heard of offering high spec devices for less than half the price of a branded flagship.

So I think your request for a good quality, durable Thinkpad is niche at best, overly optimistic at worst. Putting yourself in Lenovo's shoes, why make a device that lasts, if the market is willing to buy less durable kit on a more frequent basis?

Arguably your best bet is to leap into the walled garden, and hope that Tim Cook is willing to cut users some slack (in the form of hardware quality) from his company's well padded margins.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yum

You want full fat Windows on a six inch screen...

Er, do I? Why?

You wrote, "but until they're the size of a Kindle I can't carry them with me so I don't want them" in respect of an article on Thinkpad tablets and Surface tablets. My point was thus that whilst you might want that combination of size and functionality, relatively few people would choose to use phones and Kindle sized devices as full fat "productivity" clients.

Does that make me a monster?

Well, it doesn't not make you a monster, if that's OK with you.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yum

but until they're the size of a Kindle I can't carry them with me so I don't want them...Why is there a market void...

You want full fat Windows on a six inch screen, with all of the productivity applications too? Presumably the dearth of PC tablets with a six inch screen reflects the small number of people with hawk-like vision.

I must say I was rather impressed by my son's cheap-as-chips Lenovo Miix with WIndows 10 at £150, but even then the ten inch screen was a tad small for my preference.

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A third of UK.gov big projects will fail in next five years, warns NAO

Ledswinger
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Re: A look on the bright side

No, it's the modern way of transforming taxes....

About half of the the whole life costs of the MPP are not officially recognised as taxes. So the Major Projects Portfolio list totals about £430bn of full life project costs, and in a whole five minutes analysis I can identify £153bn of DECC scheme costs that will be coming through on your electricity bills, and then there's £50 odd billion for HS2, supposedly self funding.

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GCHQ mass spying will 'cost lives in Britain,' warns ex-NSA tech chief

Ledswinger
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Re: The Politicians Imperative..

The MPs making up any incumbent government repeatedly recite the mantra "The first job of government is security"

Don't forget this has the support of both Cameron's NuLabourTory government, and the shambolic zomby party that leads Her Majesty's Opposition.

But your point that government claim they want to protect us is wholly correct. So no matter whether the threat is paedophiles, drugs, terrorism, climate change, the Russian bogeyman, luckily our politicians have all the answers (despite being provably wrong on almost everything else that they say, do or touch).

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SanDisk offers super-slim terabyte SSD to tablet-pushers and other bulge-watchers

Ledswinger
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Re: YAWN

Come on El Reg - come clean and admit that there has been a change in editorial direction.

They did, a couple of days ago, albeit in a mealy mouthed manner. And they got a savaging in the comments. Unfortunately they give the Reg away for free, so there's no proper market dynamic, and they don't have to give us what we say we want (a bit like scumbag politicians). Or like Google. Maybe that's where they learned the behaviour?

"Another containerisation article, vicar?"

"No thank you my dear, that's most generous of you, but I've had my fucking fill."

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Comcast's Xfinity home alarms can be disabled by wireless jammers

Ledswinger
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Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit

We note that while it is true that similar security gear connected by ZigBee and Wi-Fi protocols are also susceptible to this sort of jamming, we hope they detect the interference and at least alert the homeowner.

We know that Reg writers don't believe that. Can you hope for something you don't believe in?

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Got a Nexus? Google has five critical Android security fixes for you

Ledswinger
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Re: Limits of exposure

Am I odd?

I don't know, but if you'd asked "Am I old?" then your reported usage seems to point to an affirmative answer.

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Curiosity Rover eyes Mars' creeping dunes

Ledswinger
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Re: any chance

I think they spotted the movement from orbital images over a period of time. Would make a great time-lapse, for sure.

Wow. Commentards and Regtards queuing up to watch sand blown by the wind.

I'm planning to do some painting soon, if you'd like to come round and watch that dry?

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The Register guide to software-defined infrastructure

Ledswinger
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Pint

I proffer my thanks

to Mr Pott for so succinctly explaining as much as I will ever need to know about SDI.

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Ledswinger
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Re: print icon?

Do we get the print icon back?

I doubt it. We were promised a review of icons last year (or before), but nothing happened, despite a range of epic suggestions in the comment sections.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Can we have

Can we have comments directly under articles? El Reg has a much better class of comments than most sites.

If I might suggest, the two things may be associated. The hard of thinking that seem to infest most web site comment sections probably do so because they can see their own words on the same screen as the original article, and that's a form of reinforcement of their own (often flawed) opinions.

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Ledswinger
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as the wrecked Guardian and BBC websites attest

OMG! You're right. The Wreck of the Graun is the ghost of Christmas future for the Reg!

The article says as much - the same obsessive anglophone internationalisation with suitable hat tipping to cultural diversity and non-anglophone cultures, the same lightweight content aggregation, the inability to find a f***ing thing, the whole "lets not offend anybody" ethos.

All we're waiting on is a new web design, and we all know what web designers do to previously fully functioning web sites. Ooh, and more moderation of the forums, because we wouldn't want any naughty words to be set free on the web, would we?

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Ledswinger
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we plan to be a big part of the prosperity

So, to summarise the changes, you've gone all corporate on us? The one thing most people come here for is that you aren't corporate, you're a bit disrespectful, a lot cynical, but now you want to throw those USPs out of the window, take down the red flock curry house wall paper, and paint it all beige. This of course is consistent with the "over-boarding" of several popular contributing authors over the last couple of years.

It's as if you were going to sell out. But who's going to hang around to read if the Reg is reduced to a collection of dull-as-death articles on storage, containerisation, flash, storage, containerisation, storage, flash, more flash.....?

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2016 in mobile: Visit a components mall in China... 30 min later, you're a manufacturer

Ledswinger
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Re: The title is no longer required

Point of order, Mr. Ledswinger, SIr, that would have been "you stupid cunts".

That's true. But until our fly-fishing friend comes clean, the odour of doubt clouds the matter of which of us is the singular cunt? And as written, of course, it could even be self referential, in the manner of somebody saying "silly fool!" when they do something daft.

Mr Hartley! Your audience request clarity!

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Ledswinger
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Re: The title is no longer required

You stupid cunt.

Is that a generic "you" referring to all those who responded to your sub-thread, or did you intend that to be more selective?

Sometimes it helps to be more specific.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I do like the photo of the Apple Mouse

Jony Ive dropped the ball there, didn't he? Again.

I'll wager he's still doing better than you and me put together. Not so bad for a lad from Chingford who graduated from Newcastle Poly.

Being British we denigrate him for being successful. But he'll never know, living with the high rollers on the West Coast of the US. Lucky bastard.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The title is no longer required

I, for one, am holding out for the Galaxy S7.... this one is gonna be a keeper

Chances are it will have a sealed battery, and given Samsung's expensive and mediocre after-market support, you'll be faced with a choice of expensive (and outsourced) OEM service, or relying on a market stall trader to pull apart your £500 "keeper" after a couple of years. Twice, if you keep it for more than four years.

With no likely real world performance advantage over even last year's S5, why not get one of those now on contract for £17 a month and a decent package, and then go sim free after the two years? Or for another four quid a month for a current model, an LG G4?

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Cache-astrophic: Why Valve's Steam store spewed players' private profiles to strangers

Ledswinger
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Re: Do we have any comment from the ICO?

we're told the ICO will investigate

Unfortunately the ICO remains a small time, under-resourced outfit, based around legislation drafted back in the days when "data protection" was simply about stopping junk mail and spam calling. They don't appear to do any proactive investigations, relying instead on private complaints via their webform, or on self-reporting by companies. But the law around this is a woolly (eg, is a games website as "telecoms service provider"?), the ICO themselves aren't interested in minor breaches, and the penalty for not self-reporting is a civil penalty up to £1k.

Until UK law and penalties are dramatically updated, and the scope and scale of the ICO is similarly enhanced, then the ICO will remain nothing more than a statutory nuisance for the incompetent and for the intentional law breakers. Don't hold your breath.

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MPs slam mandarins over failed GP IT system

Ledswinger
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The government has made being a civil servant less and less attractive

What, apart from the ones paid six figure salaries and then rewarded in the now-permanently soiled New Year's Honours List? Or what about Sir Philip Dickhead, paid a six figure salary for three days a week to run the Environment Agency, who flew off to the family property Barbados to sun himself whilst his own plonkers deliberately flooded the centre of York, and whilst most of Cumbria took a pasting?

Oi! Cameron, you knob end! Can you slow the gravy train momentarily so that I can climb aboard, please? I promise I won't bring any baggage with me, you know, stuff like competence, moral rectitude, talent, or common sense.

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Ledswinger
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and then roundly ignored.

Calling Dame Lin Homer! Calling Dame Lin Homer! Toxic spillage on aisle four.

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Firms must ensure shared service suppliers have 'sufficient financial resources'

Ledswinger
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Re: Companies are fish - they swim. They are not castles with moats around.

Cash that is better spent investing? A likely plan!

They don't say anything about cash.

Positive net assets amounts to shareholder's equity, so that's not cash you can go and invest, just a paper statement of the book value of the firm. Likewise "liquidity resources" can include cash, near-cash assets, or more likely a loan facility with the bank. If they carelessly haven't clarified otherwise, then partially drawn credit facilities could count, in which case the outsourcer can probably past both tests easily, the first because after a few takeovers there's ton of goodwill showing as an "asset", and the second with the debt facility most companies use to support day to day operations.

I suspect this merely makes life difficult for small and new outsourcers. Business as usual for the rest.

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Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Ledswinger
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Re: Real numbers would be interesting

And the fuel efficiency and extra weight and complexity of a multi-use vehicle is going to require a lot of re-use.

Not that much. Assume a reuseable booster is twice the cost of a disposable. Two launches and you're evens. Third successful launch then gives a programme cost 33% cheaper than single use. That's a pretty big reduction. To engineer for hundreds of repeat launches probably won't be worth it, but if in this simplistic example you got five successful launches, your costs would be 40% of using disposable launchers (ie a 60% saving). By that point the fuel costs are a far more important proportion of the total launch cost, and that might be where you focus your effort.

Of course, making it cheaper to put things in orbit is all very well, but that just puts more junk into LEO. How long before space debris becomes such a problem that we need a solution to clean up?

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

Ledswinger
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Re: Batteries?

I have no idea whether Evesham management was crap and mistreated their staff

In my experience, most companies create their own culture, and the behaviours of the staff at the bottom are driven by those rippling down from the top. So if we take the OP's comments at face value we can infer that both production and QC were poorly supervised. If you're running a business without having competent management and processes for those, what's the implications for the rest of it?

Having said that, Evesham Micros built me and the family several machines, and we had no complaints.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Am i stupid? or am I smart?

To be honest, the reason I called for a supervisor was because we were trained not to do anything outside our role or we'd be reprimanded

We often refer to call centre employees insultingly as drones, but the big problem of call centres really seems to be that they somehow end up with complete @rse-wipes for managers. People who think that grown ups should both ask permission to go to the toilet, and then have the frequency and duration recorded.

I work for a company whose call centres arre managed like this, and then they wonder why they have sky high compliance costs, high staff turnover, and dissatisfied customers....

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EU reforms could pave way for smells and noises to be trade-mark protected – expert

Ledswinger
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Only on el Reg (@Ledswinger)

my shipment of spare keyboards hasn't arrived yet!

That brown spattered key in the icon, it's not coffee..........................................

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Ledswinger
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Re: Only on el Reg

Here is the antidote to all the sprouts and cabbage if anyone's interested

The antidote? The ****ing antidote? Are you mad? Why would we want that? I want a recipe that can guarantee fartological success, and that's considerably upscale of a noisey but characterless lentil-fuelled emanations, or a short lived, weakly sulphurous egg-and-bean derived effluvium.

Ideally we need more research to take the concept forward beyond the current enthusiastic hobbyists. In terms of training and outreach, I'm uncertain whether to go down the academic route and seek City & Guilds accreditation for a national vocational qualification leading eventually to a status of Chartered Farticifer upon completion of both academic training and professional experience under a Master Fartologist (of at least first or second ordure).

The alternative would be to seek IOC approval for the subject to become a demonstration sport at Rio 2016, with a view to joining the full Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020. Imagine the pride of being the first gold medal winner in Tokyo, the adulation of the crowd, the adrenaline rush of climbing the podium, whilst the officials stagger around retching in the brown green miasma.

Obviously we'd need the usual rules banning performance enhancing drugs, and a scheme of testing, but this sort of thing is easily sorted. And the great thing is how inclusive this new sport will be: Couch potatoes and hambeasts will be as welcome a bean poles and supermen. Unlike any other Olympic sport, men and women and the less able would all compete as equals.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Eggs available, please pay now

I could almost smell, taste even bathe in the verbal description given.

My pleasure, sir! And in response to your proffered pint, it occurs to me that a tasteless solution would be a valuable extra market, to be slipped into the drinks of unsuspecting victims.

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