* Posts by Ledswinger

4281 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

ICO fines PPI claims firm £80,000 over 1.3m spam SMS deluge

Ledswinger
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Re: The thing about these fines.

An Astute ElReg Reporter might ask such questions of Ofcom. Be prepared to resort to FOI (and be ignored).

An Astute ElReg Reader might simply look at the ICO's last annual report, which shows that for the financial year 2014/15, civil monetary penalties of £1,129k were issued (clearly not enough by a factor of at least 10x), £167k of early payment discounts were credited, and £205k of impairments were recorded.

Put simply, that's 18% of penalties not paid, and the volume of discount suggests that penalties were either paid early in full less the early payment discount, or not at all. My guess is that the early payment discounts are largely the public sector and large corporates who ended up being fined through incompetence rather than wilful intent, but will pony up their fines. But that means the impairments are from the scumbag bottom feeders who knew what they were doing, didn't care, and have no intention of either paying their fine or of desisting from their illegal practices.

So I think that supports the subtext of your post, that is that the vermin get away with it, probably by bankrupting a disposable company to avoid paying. Whilst it is difficult to stop that happening, the ICO should automatically apply for relevant directors to be disqualified when a penalty is unpaid, and pursue criminal prosecutions for repeat offenders.

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Ledswinger
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It's the morons that answer random unsolicited adverts and give them business that spurs them on.

Some may be morons, many are often victims of fraud. Listen to any incoming robo-call about energy efficiency, and they'll peddle lies that the UK government are committed to replacing all non-condensing boilers by 2015/6/7/whenever (or offering free cavity/solid wall insulation, free PV etc), and that <victim> is eligible for a free boiler under the Energy Company Obligation rules.

In these cases the first claim is an outright lie, and the second is usually an outright lie. But if you're not too clever, or a bit confused, or simply trusting, then it can sound plausible, and before you know it there's a foot-in-the-door salescreep in your living room pushing you to sign now for a one-day-only discount.

I'm with those demanding huge fines and disqualification for those involved. But that needs to go beyond the directors, and include operational managers. They know as well as directors that what they're doing is wrong, they choose to take the salary and ignore the law, so fine them.

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Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

Ledswinger
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Re: Excellent!

Sure, it will mean a Refused Classification (which it would probably get anyway for some other reason), but you'll have made their day. They try to kill a 10-hour snoozefest until, at the last minute, they lose their lunch.

Give that man (or woman) a gold star! Excellent thinking, displaying qualities of forward planning, insight, vindictiveness and humour, all of which are to be applauded.

However, despite the high qualities of your plan, and its heroic ambition, I'm still not sure you can beat them, since they already have to sit through cinematic gorefests day in day out, Whilst only about 33 films were R18 (as opposed to 18) last year, about 540 videos were classified as R18, plus 379 18 rated videos, and 372 18 rated films.

In fact when I think about the mundane, the profoundly tedious, and the monumentally pointless sequels they have to sit through for general release, and then factor in the six 18/R18 films they have on average to sit through every single day, I start to admire the BBFC. I'm not sure what that whiney film maker is on about, the BBFC ought to be paid to sit through so much dross (and they ought to be able to charge penalty rates to film makers who submit shite).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Excellent!

You can never win against the bureaucrats. For them, this is another ten hours of paid, pensioned employment, sitting in a warm, safe room. I'll wager that ten hours of paint drying would be no worse than anything by M. Night Shayalamam (and speaking personally, Life of Pi would be in the same category).

We can be sure that the salary of those doing the classification will be considerably higher than (eg) the outsourced toilet cleaners working for an investment bank in London. Which would you rather do: Scrape investment bankers' tank tracks off of a toilet for minimum wage, or be paid a comfortable salary to endure a bit of boredom?

Seems to me that Charlie Lyne and his backers don't understand that no matter how low your standards, there's always somebody can go lower.

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BT rebuked for attributing some EE acquisition costs to 'all UK lines of business'

Ledswinger
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Re: "opportunities for further deregulation"

Happy to be proved wrong if someone can quote an example or two where the regulator has made a real difference.

Well OFCOM introduced competition in director enquiries some years back, and the cost soared to five times that of a call to directory enquiries in Germany. That made a real difference.

And this year OFCOM forced mobile companies to clarify calling charges to non-geographic numbers, as a result of which all the mobile operators put up the total charges for non-geographic calls by between 20 and 90%. That made a real difference.

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Taxi for NASA! SpaceX to fly astronauts to space station

Ledswinger
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Re: My God, it's full of stars

I would still rather have Mr. Von Braun design the rocket I had to go to space in....... I am afraid even one of the great engineers from our time might struggle with and get someone killed

I think von Braun got rather more people killed than we've so far managed to kill trying to get into space, both amongst the launch crews and those on the receiving end.

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Tesla recalls every single Model S car in seatbelt safety probe

Ledswinger
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Just the usual investment wankers making money at any opportunity.

What do you expect in a liquid secondary market? If you've got a better suggestion for financing companies than the principles of limited liability joint stock companies issuing tradeable shares, the world is at your feet.

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Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Ledswinger
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Re: It's not about spam, it's about /security/

It's just another false excuse used for ideologizing ad blocking, which is practically content and service theft.

By that bizarre, shit-headed logic, it will be content and service theft if you don't buy from those advertisers. Because sales, my pea brained friend, are why the advertiser place adverts, not for the placing's sake. And what's more, you are a particularly cynical thief if you haven't fully opened up all privacy and content sharing with Google, Yahoo!, your ISP et al, since otherwise you're allowing them to serve you adverts for things you might not want to buy.

At the margin, many if not most people will take some advertising to support content. But what you evidently can't comprehend is that the advertisers have knowingly and intentionally taken the piss, by invading user privacy, happily wasting user bandwidth, being unreasonably intrusive with pop ups, jiggly, flickery Flash based crap, by wantonly compromising user security, and even wanting to hijack user's speakers to broadcast their pap.

The unwritten contract between service user and advertiser has certainly been broken, but it was broken by the advertisers, and that's why most sensible people run adblockers and the like.

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Don't flip your lid: The Internet of Helmets has arrived

Ledswinger
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Re: Aerial

All in all very impressive - a working solution for a real problem without re-inventing the wheel.

I can't help thinking that a better approach would have been to re-invent the helmet with the same protection, but far better passive ventilation for use in hot locations. Look at most hard hats, and its quite obvious they were designed for temperate climates. In the photo, the token ventilation on the crown of the helmet might be OK for a warmish day in Europe, I wouldn't want to wear that in Dubai if there were a better designed alternative.

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Rdio's collapse another nail in the coffin of the 'digital economy'

Ledswinger
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Exactly how much money do you make if you record a song and nobody hears it?

Ask Chesney Hawkes. Apparently there were five further albums recorded and released after the unfortunately prophetically titled "The One and Only".

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Ledswinger
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in remote areas of Scotland when I was there on holiday & would have liked to stream music for added variety when hiking the hills

You found the solitude, peace and quiet too disturbing?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Being a bunch of experts in this matter...

Seems now everyone is slave to the big-money branded information mediators (Google, Apple etc.)

Whilst it is unfashionable to say it, it is a simple fact that middlemen and retailers perform a valuable service. I could, for example, buy a cow, milk it, order my own tea from the plantation by air mail, and order artisan sugar from a Fairtrade cooperative in Whoknowswhere, all for a brew. But its a lot simpler to drop into the shop of my choice, or order all the necessary from a single online retailer.

But what the web has done for us is to systematically eliminate inefficient intermediaries. So record shops were toast when Amazon came along, simply because record shop prices were very high reflecting low turnover per square foot and per employee, often accompanied by poor stock levels, patchy service, and slow buy in of emerging artists. Likewise, the common or garden department store is disappearing - the posh ones seem to be doing OK, but all the workaday ones are going to the wall for similar reasons to record shops. High street electrical shops, same again (did anybody shed a tear when Dixons and Comet went bust - other than in laughter?). But in all cases, would you really want to have to go to every original manufacturer's web site to find out what's on offer before buying? Probably not unless you know exactly what you want in the first place, so you choose to use a different middleman.

So lots of things you can do more efficiently online, but you still need an intermediary, and you always will. You could automate online sourcing, but then the software IP owner becomes the intermediary. Cutting out the middleman is a great idea, but it only every works where you have the time, skill, resource and willingness to deal directly with a manufacturer - and they generally don't want to be in retailing.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Something went wrong a long time ago

Perhaps the labels could get their heads together and come up with an open, competing platform and then pull the plug on the other players?

That would struggle under competition law, but I think there's a core problem that there's no underlying commercial model yet for streaming. The data shows what we already believe that most users don't want to pay, and in preference to a streaming subscription will either use the free versions, or listen to the radio instead. Removing the free streaming services will restrict new signup of paying customers, but still won't force the freetards to pay for streaming.

To put all this another way: Free streaming services need to find a better funding model or (more likely) exit the market, and paid streaming services need to understand that they operate in a relatively small niche that shows few signs of becoming a volume market.

Thinking about the UK Spotify premium offer, that's £10 a month. Now think about how you'd make the free streaming profitable: It's difficult to see £10 a month in the value from untargeted adverts (or even targeted adverts), so the current Spotify free model looks unsustainable. And when you think of Spotify's need for £120 per year per user, its even more problematic - the total size of the UK digital advertising market (all channels, all markets) in full year 2014 was only about £170 per adult. Can you see Spotify cornering 70% of the entire digital UK marketing spend per "free streaming" relevant household?

Many users love streaming, and that certainly looks like a potential mass market. But in economic terms, demand is the desire for a service backed by the willingness and ability to pay, and we're not seeing any willingness.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Being a bunch of experts in this matter...

I do think the answer lies in some form of voluntary payment from consumers to artists

Yes! YES! Consumers could choose what they like, make a voluntary payment to the artist's commercial representative, and they could be given a digital token to prove their right to listen to the music from then on.

Obviously multi-character codes used by software are impracticable here, so my idea is that the consumer gets a physical-digital token, that could be accompanied by lyrics, commentary and visual artwork. I suggest a round, silver coloured disc about five inches across (or for luddites a black analogue token about 12 inches across, pressed from a mixture of pocket lint, human hair and hard liquorice).

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Half the staff go gardening at the now not-so-jolly Jolla

Ledswinger
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Coat

"rather than fixing some long, long-running bugs."

They've inherited the Nokia tradition, that they can't Finnish anything they start.

Ahahahahahahaha! I am available for shows and comedy festivals, remember to throw money not flowers

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Ledswinger
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Gardening leave - in winter?

In that neck of the woods they'll be put out in the snow and left to chew leather until they freeze, if I recall the traditions properly.

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Many UK ecommerce sites allow ‘password’ for logins – report

Ledswinger
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Re: On the other hand.

Does it really matter if someone logs into my Wickes account?

If you do a little research you'll be surprised by what you can do with a little bit of information. It might not apply to you, but if they can hack Wickes through brute force attacks, and associate your email address with that password, they can probably get your account details which gives them a name, address and email account (plus past orders). Then they can try every other insecure web site using your email address and that password (because you may not,but many people reuse). Knowing order history and details make you more vulnerable to phishing attacks, and makes (eg) your card provider at greater risk of impersonation fraud, etc etc.

What really horrified me was that 40% of UK retail web sites don't protect against brute force attacks. Are their IT people totally incompetent, or are they totally incompetent?

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US 'swatting' Bill will jail crank callers for five years to life

Ledswinger
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So you would prefer that one guy leisurely stroll up to the door, ring the bell and wait to see if he gets a bullet to the face to be sure that there is a problem ?

Pascal! Have you been asleep for a hundred years or something? The US police prefer to beat and shoot them when they're handcuffed or surrendered on the ground, or even better, disabled people in wheelchairs. Sometimes they make a mistake and shoot an unarmed white teenager, though.

In the US, UK, France, or anywhere else, if the police can't address potentially violent scenarios calmly and with minimal risk, they shouldn't be in the police. Hell, the French police and security services just managed to arrest two live suspects who were part of the IS death cult, after a monster multi-thousand round battle which the suspects didn't intend to survive. All credit to the security services for that.

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Ledswinger
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Okay, I am all for severe punishment for this kind of thing but what the fuck?

Jail is the wrong response, and costs a lot of money, without being a deterrent.

Where a swatting call is traced, the police should turn up and SWAT that house. Intentionally break the doors down, throw tear gas, scare the shit out of the occupants and taser a few of them, seize telecoms and computing gear, search aggressively (purely to cause disruption), arrest and question everybody, then let 'em go with a police caution. I don't think you'd see many people thinking SWATing was fun when the message got round.

And if the SWATter is a teenage kid living with their parents, that'd be just fine. Real justice would be dispensed after the cops had gone.

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Dell PCs to be never knowingly undersold by John Lewis this Chrimbo

Ledswinger
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Re: Pricing

But £=$ and usually with an inferior spec machine available in the UK - no.

Yes, be interesting to see how they get on head to head with HP and Lenovo in a retail environment.

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Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

Ledswinger
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Re: yes, that's very nice but...

Sigh. There's a little bit of hope for Sailfish, is the de-embargoed remains of Nokia get behind Yolla.

If there's an Olympic medal for hopeless romantic optimism, you will be selected for Rio next year.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Just needs moar battery and MicroSim!

Something that can seriously last 48 hours would be ideal.

Obligatory Non-removable Battery Moan:

Longer battery life would be good, but our household experience is that about one in three smartphones need a battery replacing at 14-18 months - either due to a graceful quiet loss of capacity failure, or a sinister swelling up and running very hot failure. I was almost salivating as I read the article, and then I get to the deal-breaking line "non-removable 2500mAh battery".

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Telecity fix nixed: Borked UK internet hub 'had no UPS protection'

Ledswinger
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Re: "...hadn't actually got what they'd paid for."

I'm sure they religiously pay their taxes though.

They do, and you can check that because they're a UK listed company with published group accounts. £21.2m of corporation tax on profits of £81m.

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Telecity's engineers to spend SECOND night fixing web hub power outage

Ledswinger
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Re: That accompanying photo...

The 1970's called and would like their ancient sexist crap back.

Out of curiosity, does this comment mean that IT articles must only be accompanied by pictures not featuring people? Or must only feature geeky/old men? What if the geeky/old men were black or look a bit weird or a bit camp? Any of that allowed? And what about unattractive women? Would Ann Widdecombe be non-sexist on account of her, well, appeal? And what if there's people who actually fancy her? They might be a tiny minority, but we wouldn't want anyone harbouring the wrong sort of thoughts?

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Ledswinger
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Good nice to see they supply 5 9's for telephony, the carrier industry standard...Oh wait.

Due to a transposition error Telecity designed Sovereign House for nine fives, and as a result the UPS and backup power were an empty cardboard box with wax crayon writing that says "N+1 power backup". Luckily the finance department didn't make the same error, so customers were billed for a full fat resilient service.

Makes you wonder why the clowns of DCMS are committing £1.2bn for nationwide broadband rollout so that farmers can watch ovine grumble in HD, when a single data centre snarl up can mung 10% of UK internet traffic, for want of a sub £5m investment in a power system that simply works.

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Speaking in Tech: Anonymous’s ‘total war’ on ISIS – how effective can it be?

Ledswinger
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Re: Any Disruption

Any disruption of ISIS' online activities will be of some benefit.

Don't be daft. Digital vigilantes will prove as effective as real world vigilantes.

One of the major sources of intelligence on any enemy in this day and age is the digital footprint of that group/country. If the amateurs of Anonymous go round vandalising the digital assets and communications of IS, they merely cause IS to adopt new communications strategies that the professionals have to unravel and then penetrate or monitor. And they will probably even be destroying evidence and usable intelligence in their casual attacks, making the job of the security services even harder (noting that the warrantless mass data scooping by the security services is one particular way they make their own job harder).

If Anonymous want to fight IS, they need to grow up and sign up to their various countries' security services. Competent hackers will be more than welcome, script kiddies less so.

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Rise of the handy machines: UK gears up for first Robotics Week

Ledswinger
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No imagination!

All that guff about surgical robots, and outdoor and hazardous environments - we've got doctors for that, and the SAS. Why would they want robots? I can't see the special forces having much prestige if it's just driving a mechwarrior from an office in Hereford, with privation counting as not having a mug of coffee next to your mouse pad.

Oi! UK-RAS! Where's my robot home assistant, able to strip the beds, wash it, dry it, iron it, air it and put clean sheets back on the bed? And hoover the house, empty the bins, clear the kids junk away? Bringing me a cup of tea in the morning to wake me up. Cleaning shoes. Feeding the fleet of cats or walking dogs and carrying the regulation sandwich bag. Basic cooking stuff (I'll do the ambitious and fun stuff). And the robotic blighter can also do lawnmowing, leaf sweeping, car cleaning, toilet de-skidding, window cleaning. And rather than making cars intelligent but useless for all other purposes, my non-Terminator would be a capable chauffeur. Now, Dame Dowling, that would transform the quality of our lives, and be a poke in the eye for all the twerps who think that putting the intelligence into a car is a good idea.

And talking of jobs I'd rather not do, they could add bottom-wiping to the list of desired functionality.

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Apple's design 'drives up support costs, makes gadgets harder to use'

Ledswinger
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spreading inexorably .... like a fart in a cinema.

Most cinemas I go in the UK appear to have particularly well specified HVAC systems, and it's been years since I can recall a real throat-burner being dropped off during a film, and rippling out like a small but invisible mushroom cloud for the enjoyment of one and all.

It's a bit like white dog tods, one of those happy experiences of yesteryear that the youth of today have never enjoyed.

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Coffee fixes the damage booze did to your liver, study finds

Ledswinger
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Re: "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

"Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"....Just thinking about that makes me feel ill!

Its only a solid manifestation of the phenomenon offered as "batter bits" by many chip shops. Could I interest you in LDF Crunch, which follows the original recipe, but has pork scratchings mixed in for additional taste and texture?

Or LDF Veggie (still lard based, but deep fried in some expensive and fashionable nut or vegetable oil)

LDF for Real Men (basic recipe, but deep fried in used engine oil)

LDF Protein Mix (with a scotch egg at the centre of the ingot)

LDF Low Fat (regular mix and method same actual fat content, just branded differently and sold at a higher price point)

LDF Ethical (again regular mix and method, just branded differently and sold at an even higher price point)

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Ledswinger
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Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

Makes you think.

Deep fried Mars bar starts to make sense.

Although deep fried corned beef fritters should work as well. Perhaps a simpler approach still would be simply mixing an entire block of lard with a similar amount of flour, half the amount of milk, and a teaspoon of salt, pressing the mix back into the same cuboid shape as the original lard block. The resultant block to be deep fried to form a solid ingot of saturated fat batter, sold under the brand of "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend".

This could be bigger than Pukka Pies in the after pub grub market.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Possible NO!

This is not a medication test. "Half the patients will drink real coffee, and half will be given a yet-to-be-invented placebo".

Yet to be invented?

What do you call Gold Blend and all the other "instant coffee" if not a placebo for real coffee?

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Virgin Media daddy Liberty Global swoops on Cable & Wireless Communications

Ledswinger
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Re: The cable giant will...

... put up prices to pay off CWC's net debt of $2.7bn.

Actually, its worse than that. The debt they can just continue to service, but Liberty Global are paying $5.3bn for a company with net assets of a tad under $1.5bn, so that's $3.8bn of goodwill on Liberty Global's balance sheet. As a cash and stock deal LG have to incur the cost of capital/dividends on the acquisition price, and they need to amortise the goodwill (ie progressively write it down against profits). So the unlucky customers of C&W can indeed expect big price increases in return for nothing, and the total costs are a fair bit bigger than the C&W debt.

Virginmedia customers in the UK know what happens when the Cable Cowboy buys a company, having enjoyed years of 5hit deals, rubbish customer service, and inflation busting price rises.

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TalkTalk boss on Joe Garner exit, Virgin Media support for Openreach and THAT attack

Ledswinger
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Running Openreach must be a spectacularly hard job.

Not at all. They are a weakly regulated monopoly. As such the regulator wants them to earn a return on their capital, the weakness of the regulator means that they can earn better-than-utility returns through the lack of transparency, and avoid any particularly harsh or difficult obligations. Running Openreach is simply a combination of three things: (1) Some lacklustre project management to roll out FTTC where it suits BT or where the government will throw money to extend the network, (2) minimalist asset maintenance on the network, and (3) obsessive cost control (even where that hurts customers). In a properly regulated monopoly there would be an additional strand of playing the regulatory game (regulatory negotiation, reporting and performance management) but as OFCOM are so firmly "captured" there's no need for this in telecoms.

I've worked for a number of regulated non-telecoms businesses, and I can assure you that all of them would have LOVED a timid, weak, compliant, dim regulator like OFCOM.

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Terrorists seek to commit deadly 'cyber attacks' in UK, says Chancellor Osborne

Ledswinger
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Re: "If our electricity supply, or our air traffic control, were.....attacked online,

Still, blaming ISIL cyber attacks for power cuts is the perfect excuse for the energy industry to cover up their own neglect.

How is it the responsibility of the energy industry? All aspects of system design and energy policy sit with government, and the reason that there's so little reserve margin is because they've buggered up the wholesale energy market with their vast renewables subsidies (including renewables obligations) plus their carbon taxes on thermal plant. If there's no money in keeping plant open, or building new plant, who will build any?

If your lights go out, contact your MP, not your electricity supplier.

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Yes, GCHQ is hiring 1,900 staffers. It's not a snap decision

Ledswinger
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Re: Genuine Question

The saying goes "attack is the best defence" applies universally and throughout history. The root of the problem lies in a nation state sized terrorist organisation occupying a large area of the middle east.

You are David Cameron and I claim my five pounds.

Spending fifteen+ years dropping bombs and removing governments we don't like is the proximate cause of much of the anti-western terrorism. Regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria has ceded much of those countries to violent extremists, and you think more bombing and boots on the ground will solve that? The locals clearly are incapable of any form of stable, democratic, honest, fair government themselves. But you can't impose that by sending in Western forces. That was tried in Iraq, and created the foundations for IS.

Cameron is itching to send our ill-equipped military to join in with the Russians, Americans, French, Jordanians, Canadians, et al, but what good will that do? If the combined air power of the world's two largest militariies plus the support of several other nations hasn't routed or even contained IS, what will sending a few antiquated Tornadoes into battle achieve? The one thing we should have learned from Afghanistan ten years ago was that winning the war is the easy bit, winning the peace is what counts - and in this case we aren't even winning the war.

And finally, liberal western democracies like the idea of a decisive response, yet aren't prepared for the sort of bloody war of extermination that you'd have to undertake to erase a religious death cult like IS.

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More POS malware, just in time for Christmas

Ledswinger
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Re: What is the attack vector ?

What is the attack vector ?

More generally, whatever is the weakest link. It could be open media drives on terminals, it could be the corporate network for the store (ie, your choice of phishing, zero days, SQL injection, corruption, fraud, or access via third party systems, you name it). It could be physical interference with the card reader or terminal by the bogus maintenance guy, disaffected employees. And if the hardware spec is sufficiently inadequate, then simply connecting a poisoned USB drive whilst nobody is looking could be sufficient, taking all of five seconds (because nobody thought to remove or physically disable all the USB ports on a vanilla PC chassis).

A big part of the problem is that many EPOS are a complete POS. So running an outdated OS, or a newer but unpatched OS, or actually written in some bugware like Java. The EPOS software supply chain is very similar to the ERP software supply chain - so more than a few are snowball acquisition outfits, where the original coders and designers have long since left, the IP has been sold several times over, and there's no real knowledge of the software. Nobody dares touch it in case it falls over, and nobody really cares about data security because that's the customer's problem.

And all of that is before you look at the founders and directors of some of the EPOS companies - a search on the words fraud, conviction, Retail J, Lucas EPOS, Torex, XN Checkout, will pull up sufficient to get the gist of this, but in my view there's more, affecting more companies and systems.

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BBC encourages rebellious Welsh town to move offshore

Ledswinger
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Re: Fearless prediction.... number 3

The government tries to create some special circumstances for these big players.

That might be easy to believe, but it is not really true. The basis of multinational tax avoidance is that successive Westminster simpletons have progressively over-complicated to the UK tax legislation to the point that there's now around 17,000 pages. Alloy that with the various treaties that the same simpletons signed without thinking the consequences through, and any organisation with access to clever and expensive tax accountants and tax lawyers can drive a coach and horses through it. Obviously small business doesn't have that resource, whereas Google, Amazon and Starbucks et al do.

The only sensible solution would be to rip up the tax code and start again, with a limit on the length. How likely is that? MP's and (in particular) civil servants just aren't clever enough to understand that their obsession with micro management is the direct cause of this sort of tax avoidance.

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Drug-smuggling granny's vagina holds Kinder surprise

Ledswinger
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Re: What were the odds those 7 words could be combined

Well, that'd work in Blighty but not in the US of A, so...

...so tough shit, perhaps?

You have failed in your duty as an educator, a purveyor of the Queen's English* to the fat drawling colonials.

* It is possible that she doesn't use quite the same "reach" of language as the Reg, but that's merely because of her regal status. Behind closed doors, I do hope when inducting Corbyn as a Privy Councillor she took the opportunity to remind him that he's an unalloyed c*nt.

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Latest Android phones hijacked with tidy one-stop-Chrome-pop

Ledswinger
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Re: Good skills Guang, bad skills err pretty much everyone shipping software

require an entire team of skilled security conscious programmer-auditors to shadow each and every one of their already pretty skilled developers who will audit code as it is checked in.

Nope, that's rework. In manufacturing, the better manufacturers worked out decades ago that it was better not to make junk, than to have to pay for it twice through rework or warranty. IT companies haven't made this connection, even after several decades of security snafus.

The fundamental problem is that far too much code is vulnerable when written due to poor practice, with an expectation that testing will show the holes (which it often doesn't). The answer is not to have even more auditing, but to do the job properly in the first place. But because the owners of the code IP are not legally accountable for the faults in their output (though devious licence agreements), why pay higher rates for really good coders? Higher profits arise from shipping weak code put together by cheap programmers who don't care.

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Microsoft capitulates, announces German data centres

Ledswinger
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Re: so? If some of this data finds its way to the NSA

This is just as useful as that bit of paper that a certain brit PM waved in the air upon his return from Germany.

What, the bit of paper that bought us a further year to rearm? Whilst the rationale for appeasement was questionable, the simple reality is that Allied forces got defeated in France in 1940, and the inadequacy of older aircraft types was shown. At the time of the Munich crisis, the RAF had only five squadrons of Hurricanes, and no completely operational Spitfire squadrons. The bulk of RAF fighter power in 1938 was biplanes. And not only did the Luftwaffe have better aircraft, its crews had seen active duty in Spain since 1937, whereas the RAF crews had no worthwhile combat training.

Without the bit of paper, the outcome of a war started in 1938 would almost certainly have been the military defeat of Britain through the destruction of its air force (an objective almost achieved in 1940). And having been militarily defeated, the best the country could hope for would be having to sign a non-aggression, non-rearmament pact in return for not being occupied.

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US military readies drone submarine hunter

Ledswinger
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Re: WTF, ok i may be a little late to the party but !!!

And that ignores any consumables...

And it ignores the cost impact of R&R downtime, shore based support, training, pensions for the meatsacks etc etc.

There's some missions that would be very difficult to replace servicemen with automation, but submarine and mine hunting are just the start. Attack submarines, and surface missile platforms could easily be automated - why have a meatsack crew to launch autonomous missiles, or fire ballistic weapons that are wholly dependent upon automated guidance and targeting? Even the big stuff like aircraft carriers could be almost fully automated (and launch only UAV and cruise missiles), although the complexity of the systems would mean that they'd undoubtedly need a skeleton crew of techs and mechanics.

In fact, not too much different to the vast container ships that now can operate with minimal crews (eg Emma Maersk, 170,000t with a crew of 13) the only thing with naval vessels is whether the communications links can be secure enough and long distance enough for the actual attack decisions to be made by a few petty officers sitting in a shed in Arizona.

This will be a re-run of the drone debate: The Navy will of course fight back, just as the Air Force maintain that they can't possibly replace fast jets flown by officers and gentlemen with drones controlled by NCOs. So long as these vessels replace the dull stuff like mine sweeping and coastal patrol, the Navy top brass will be more than happy. As soon as the technology threatens to remove the opportunity for glamorous derring-do on the high seas, the culture of the Navy will start to argue why unmanned boats are a bad idea.

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UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them

Ledswinger
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I'll just say the government can fuck off if they think I'm paying for it,

Whilst I sympathise, what exactly will stop the useless, self interested, ignorant fuckers? The vile rabble of public school plutocrats on the government benches will support it because they either can't think for themselves or don't care, and the vile rabble of big government tossers on the opposition benches will back it because they love the idea of more government power and more government control.

Wankers, the entire shower of piss in both houses of parliament. I know that I was celebrating Fawkes' valiant attempt on the 5th, not his failure.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Eh?

British government will be using the £ not some sort of foreign money.

Looks like the Reg have offshored their copywriting.

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TalkTalk boss: 'Customers think we're doing right thing after attack'

Ledswinger
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Sexism #fail for not realising that the boss is a woman.

Chief spokesperson Dido may be female, but the chairman is Charley Dunstone. And funnily enough another business that he's chairman of (Carphone Dixons) had a recent data breach. Seems to me that he's running boards that have decided that customer data takes a back seat to investor interests - "shadow of the leader" and all that.....

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Virgin Media hikes broadband, phone prices by five per cent

Ledswinger
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Margins are tight - they made that profit from a turnover of £4.2B - so somewhere around 5%.

If you believe the Liberty Global accounts, the group actually lost $0.8bn in the last nine reported months. Who'd have thunk it, that the Cable Cowboy is so kind as to run his business at a loss, to offer cheap broadband to Brits?

A cynic might conclude that the accounts aren't worth the paper they are published on, but as I'm well known as a trusting & optimistic type, that wouldn't include me.

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Ledswinger
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£31 is the point at which they'll make some kind of return on your service.

I doubt that. A marginal customer on the existing network would probably be profitable at around £18 a month including the costs of customer acquisition, billing, modem and connection to the premises. These increases have very little to do with the token speed increases, and are simply down to the Cable Cowboy milking the customer base. When he's squeezed the pips he'll sell it all on to some desperate but clueless corporate buyer.

OFCOM being clueless doesn't help, because VM's hand is greatly strengthened by the botch OFCOM have made of regulating Openreach. If Openreach were a properly regulated, free standing business, they'd have far more interest in offering better and cheaper broadband, but as things stand, VM know that most customers will be reluctant to go back to BT's shoddy and inept offer, and suffer the slower speeds.

Better still (and even more unlikely) OFCOM could mandate unbundling of VM's cable network as well as Openreach, so that third parties can offer services over cable. That would p1ss on the Cable Cowboy's chips, and I'd be delighted at that.

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E.ON fined £7m for smart meter fail

Ledswinger
Silver badge

National Grid were paying up to £2500 per MWh

The most marginal plant to meet annual peaks will only ever run for a few hours each year (and some years not at all), so almost the entire cost of the plant needs to be met by very high marginal rates. Looking forward, capacity needs will be met by offering a capacity payments of (from memory), 2018 auctions IIRC about £20/kW, so £20,000 MW.

Note that's per MW, not MWh. Capacity payments are made even if the plant never runs. In that case the cost per MWh is infinite. It's also very high if the plant runs for very low hours.

'twas ever thus. If you want to meet peak demand, you need assets that are used for a few hours per year.

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Ledswinger
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Re: hmmm

Allow the supplier to turn your power off when they don't have enough

Actually, if there's power cuts due to an imbalance of generation and demand, who and where the cuts occur is solely the operational decision of the transmission system operator (National Grid) of the local distribution network operator, and they'd not use the smart meters to do that. They'd just tell critical businesses (industrials, hospitals and the like) and pull entire areas off load.

What DECC hope is that suppliers will use smart meters to come up with convoluted time of use tariffs that magically persuade everybody not to use as much power at peak times. Sadly the evidence is available (I've seen it, I work in the industry) that discretionary loads are a tiny part of peak power demand, so they can complicate the tariffs as much as DECC like, but it won't change demand unless sufficient poor people sit in the dark, shivering and hungry.

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Ledswinger
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Re: And for customers who say "sod off"?

but it is still 230MW which we don't need to be supplying...

Oh, but we do. That is, if we choose to believe the work of fiction that is the UK smart meter business case. It's got the same excrement-stained credibility of the HS2 business case (or the Hinkley Point C business case), but civil servants and politicians never, ever admit they are wrong.

And in this case, the Conservative government are as fully committed to the smart meter project as the Libdems were in the coalition, and the clowns of NuLab before. They, and the berks at DECC hope that smart meters will be able to shift energy use patterns around so that the results of twenty plus years of "climate fear" inspired meddling can be alleviated by making demand fit available generation. Unfortunately, other policy objectives "decarbonisation" of heating and transport will roughly treble total electricity demand, so any remote chance that smart meters might have had of coping with current balances of generation and demand will be nil in the longer term.

Interconnectors were mentioned in a post above - along with the French plan to reduce dependence upon nuclear. But in the forseeable future, Germany is exiting nuclear power altogether, as is Belgium and Switzerland, and in the UK, all but one of the already life extended AGR fleet are supposed to shut down between 2019 and 2024. There's no chance that Hinkley Point C, Moorside, or Bradwell will be operational by then, so the choice will be blackouts, a new short term (ie very expensive) dash for gas, or dodgy life extensions for the AGR fleet.

I'd order your gas fired gen set, and a radiation suit. FWIW, if you can bid your gas gen set into the current auxiliary services market, and scoop all the available funding schemes, it'll have paid for itself in cash terms by 2020.

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Anything AWS can do: Microsoft announces UK data centre region for Azure cloud

Ledswinger
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The worst of all possible worlds

Nadella proudly showed what he called the "iPhone Pro": an iPhone loaded with Microsoft applications, including Skype, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, several Office 365 applications, Dynamics CRM, and of course mobile apps for OneDrive cloud storage and Outlook email.

An iPhone with all of that shite, in addition to Apple's own stuff? Now that is a work of great evil. Does Nadella have horns?

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