2143 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Re: Surprised, oh, no.
I doubt it took that long. These are just the first to be outed. And I very much doubt there's any particular ie angle here - many British and US firms are equally incompetent, and overseen by equally toothless regulators. The only ie specifics might be that the regulator is more likely to be related to the guilty in Ireland.
"We dont have roads, broadband or mobile signal."
Or high population density. That's why it's rural and relatively unspoilt, and why its uneconomic to offer broadband unless taxppayer's money (which everybody knows is limitless and free) is used to offer a big fat subsidy.
"Those stats were tragic."
Only if these people were actually working properly when they were supposed to be at work. Potentially a goodly chunk use a veneer of high availability at all times to disguise the fact that during the normal working day they either don't do much useful, or are being well paid for actually delivering not much (which is quite similar).
Either way, fielding the odd call, mutli-tasking from the bog, or doing a few token edits whilst on holiday can establish you as the "always there" man, the company guy, the dependable hero. And the reality can be that you indeed see work as a necessary evil, but take a long term view and net off your out of hours efforts many fold against that which you give during those hours.
Re: Advertising is always targetted
"And with employees being too cheap to buy their own phone, who's to blame them?"
In SME land perhaps. In any well run corporate there ought to be security controls, encryption, a restrictive AUP, and limitations on instaling crapps or loading media files, heavy handed controls on social media, along with enterprise grade anti-malware. Any employee who wants to mix that sort of business with pleasure is mad, unless their use of the works phone is purely as a dumb phone.
This also means that when your employer buys a works phone that you consider to be a dog, or to be cursed with the wrong OS, it doesn't interefere with your own life.
With the Nexus 5 free on contract with Orange for £17 a month/500mins, you'd have to be a right cheapskate to want to use your employers choice of HTC Wildfire, or some dated mid-low end Sammy.
Re: Mute Ravi, mute!
"Did you shout, "I second that motion!"?"
You'd give yourself away, and there may be repercussions. But if you hear somebody on the phone whilst they are in the trap, make sure their caller knows by flushing the trap next to them, and then leaving.
"though even without the remote control many seem to have the 'Weekend punch-up' subroutine embedded in ROM"
True. But with Control-a-prole you could add variety like getting them to fight themselves. Make your prole spill their own pint, or give themselves the eyeball in a suitable mirror, and then have a one man kick off. Should be great fun seeing how hard they can punch themselves. Or if there's big mirrors around, have them fight their own reflection. Like an angry sparrow, just bigger, more stupid, and fouler of mouth.
Maybe the app could combine Google dictate, and enable you to speak into your phone, and the prole drools it out in whatever accent he is blessed with. In fact better still, celeb voices by manipulating his vocal cords. So he knocks over his own drink, and out of his trap comes Joanna Lumley's voice, saying "You've spilt my pint, you b******d! Do you think you're hard, mate?" and so forth, prior to setting about himself.
Re: Are they going to change the name in Europe?
"Will it be "Euroland"? Or "Pays de Euro"?"
Dunno what they'd call it, but the base price point in Europe for this type of offer is a fairly unsurprising €2. Which actually gives them more leeway, as that's a whole lot more than a quid (like about 70% more). If retailers go the other way then it is 84p land, and there's really not much range you can offer for that, particularly as the fixed costs of each transaction (eg checkout hardware, staff time) remain the same regardless of the price.
"added to the lexicon for future deployment"
Benefit of hindsight, of course, but next time you could start with the colour scheme at the same time as the outline design, and then get the beast printed in colour, not white? Ooh, and I'd make sure they've upgraded to a gloss 3D printer.
Re: USA FREEDOM Act.
"Some of these legislators must have a team of acronymists working for them."
A pity the same diligence wasn't applied to the actual legislation and it's possible consequences by the idiots that drafted it, and the idiots that voted for it. From four thousand miles away it was apparent to me as a rather disinterested and casual observer that the Patriot act was an unbelievably bad piece of legislation that was going to have a lot of undesirable consequences.
Asking Europe for help is rather pointless when the UK government are similar enthusiasts for mass surveillance, and the rest of Europe can't decide any form of common position on matters of defence, finance, foreign policy (I suppose they did unite to decide to have a currency union, but that's not gone so well really).
If I might offer Sensebrenner a helpful thought: You made this mess. You clear it up.
Re: Disruptive experiments
"Would it be posible to cause confusion and disruption in hyena society by 'posting' false messages using these bacterial cultures? "
Probably. I already communicate with my fellow workers through the scent of my "paste". A light, sulphurous whiff says "Ledswinger has released a dreadnought in a nearby cubicle, I'd give it five minutes if I were you". A throat catching daisy cutter with a bitterness somewhere around that stuff you paint on your nails, that says two things: "Run, save yourself" and "85% cocoa solids, mate". Then there's the compelling yet noxious mixture of heat, fruit and shit, that says "I had a proper madras last night; real good it was, but now I'm suffering from hog's eye of Sauron".
And finally, there's that horrible sicky, bile scented smell that tells everybody that the paste was extremely loose, hot and fast moving, and that they are now at risk of contracting whatever's given me the shits.
You do the design of the experiment, including the foodstuffs, and I'll come armed with my arse.
Re: Easy fix for Apple
Technically easy, yes. Except that it defines Apple as a follower. Already happened with the iPad mini. Apple buyers value the exclusivity, the innovation, the early adopter ideal just as much as the faux exclusivity of paying more than they need to for something. Much more of the "me too" offers and it'll be rather difficult to justify those fat margins, wouldn't you agree?
"Is this even real?"
Of course not, there's no good business case: At one hundred dollars to walk a roach into the bonfire, you've really got to hate that particular roach.
Re: Why not...
" If he liked it, it was forced on everyone else. If he didn't like it, you reworked it until he did or you were canned."
But people like IOS. It has people falling over to part with shed loads of cash voluntarily.
I'd agree that both companies are arrogant. But Apple (under Jobs) produced innovative, desirable products, and his arrogance was driven by an understanding of what people would clamour to buy. Arguably the Xbox has been moderately successful, but start to finish it has lost Microsoft money. Everything else they've done has been supported by their de-facto monopoly in the workplace.
In my experience, nothing gets done in business of any worth by committee or by concensus. Compromise is the enemy of the good. So for the really good stuff you're always looking for a single smart visionary person to define and own a particular product, and to stomp on anybody who will pollute the perfection that might be delivered. That's the problem for Apple now. Tim Cook can ship a mean phone, but he's a logistics whizz, not a tryannical visionary. It's all progressively more corporate and evolutionary for Apple from here on. One day they'll be the new Microsoft - reviled but tolerated, unevolved, waiting for the newly evolved predators to bring them down and strip their carcass.
Re: Why not...
Or a spreadsheet that has decent charting capabilities, and decent syntax...
But I really, really did like that idea of "ending the war with the customer". Sadly it ain't going to happen as the promise of a metro-ised Office shows. Take all of the very mixed blessings of Office, ignore the infamous ribbon fiasco, and one again stick an unrequested and unwanted new UI on the front end of the ageing and unimproved code. There's a winner.
MS are the world's most arrogant company, They know best, and you'll take what they deign to toss your way. As Elop is Microsoft through and through, even setting light to Bing and throwing Xbox out the window won't change that culture.
Re: Effect on WP
"a simple DNS entry would redirect bing.com to ....the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission"
There, fixed it for you.
"Why can't I charge my phone by leaving it ....under my black Labrador?"
Get the dog to lie on a cold floor, and stick a peltier generator under the dog. The dog will be emitting a guessed 20 watts, the temperature difference is going to be about 10C, the efficiency of the peltier chip will be diddly squat, so the output will be diddly squat squared. Still better than this nonsense of harvesting radio waves...
"I'll install it as part of the normal patch thing, bu there is no way they can actually make me USE it."
Well looks like I'm safe. I've got Win 8 on the home machines, I'm not f***ing about wasting my life with another set of monster downloads and reinstalls, so there will be no IE11 for me (although I use FF 99% of the time).
That does show how utterly incompetent Microsoft are, that they're trying tp push IE11 via windows update to W7 users, but then expect W8 users to waste their lives visiting the otherwise barren Windows app store, digging out product keys....
I really look forward to the day when Microsoft are history, along with their crummy, poorly supported bloatware.
Re: "shit tons"
"I do that after eating bad curries. Have you tried suppositories?"
They'd just get blasted out in the effluage. A few second squirt from a can of expanding foam filler would cure it good and proper, though.
Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."
"Not if they're in 4K resolution!"
Nope, that could easily be handled by a competent 4G connection, as 4G movies would stream at around 15 Mb/s. In fact, 3G HSPA+ could easily handle it in theory, given that the theoretical speed limit is over 150 Mb/s.
In reality nobody ever sees that 150 Mb/s in the UK, but how the shortfall is split between client hardware limits, RF limitations, operator restrictions of choice, and mast/backhaul capacity contraints I don't know. Makes you wonder why they bothered with 4G at all, but perhaps somebody who knows can help me out on that?
"the majority of the work remains ahead of us."
He's right about that. And that work will have two parts:
1) Finding sufficient quality content to fill the bandwidth. Chances of success: Very low
2) Persuading mobile networks to price data sensibly on high speed networks. Chances of success: Nil.
Re: Before anybody suggests it is confined to the US ...
"Very true, however the rest of the world does not enshrine the right of its trash to bear arms or arm bears "
The tragedy is that the founding fathers merely intended to permit gentlemen to roll up their sleeves. Due to an unwitting spelling error they guaranteed two hundred years of fire-arm touting chaos.
Re: Used by the beautiful, famous or especially athletic.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As you slob out on your sofa, and munch a burger, remember that being fat used to be a sign of male success or female attractiveness (because the poor and thin starved). Change your world view, and you are beautiful.
Likewise, the word athlete is derived from the Greek for one who participates in a competition or contest. So Lotto will qualify you. You beautiful, athletic person, you!
I can't help you on the fame angle, though, short of suggesting you commit some heinous crime.
Re: How do they do it?
"They've proven that they can make a good product - now they just need to deliver on more than just components"
Try one of their cheap vacuum cleaners before you call any other product of theirs crap. But there is a reason, and that is simply that Samsung are a conglomerate. There's no meaningful link between the divisions that make white and brown goods and the semi conductors businesses, and some of the poorer products are coasting on the name of the better products. I don't expect that to change.
Having said that, I'm more than happy with the high end Sammy phones (mid to low end ones are indeed pants), and my Sammy TV has been excellent - far better than any competing products amongst friends and family.
Re: I have to admit...
"Measure twice, cut once!"
Standards continue to slip. I was always taught measure three times, cut once.
Effect on the end price?
Since most of the products we buy are assembled in China by near slave labour, I'm not sure many people are able to criticise Dell et al, given that we're buying the shiny stuff cheap no questions asked.
But is there any good evidence to explain what is the impact on the end product price of (a) some living wage and decent working conditions in China, and (b) making the product in the US or Europe? If we wanted to get all ethical, how much would the price tag be?
The second part of the obvious question is who currently benefits? Does it translate to some definition of excess corporate profits or is it consumer price savings? For Apple it seems to certainly be excess profits, not sure that's always true away from the "price setter" firms.
Re: BOFFINS: BILLIONS OF EARTH-LIKE LIFE-FRIENDLY ALIEN WORLDS IN GALAXY
Oi! Loyal Commenter!
" I am assuming your fingers have not yet grown so bloated from shovelling 1000 calorie snacks into your maw...."
Before you get too far on your high horse whilst insulting the colonials, have you had a look at the state of British peasantry of late? More than a few hambeasts lumbering about the streets these days. At least it's one area where we're a leader in Europe:
Re: But what will it taste like?
"Of course if we do find life, we all know one of the first questions to be answered will be "what does it taste like?"
Unfortunately it's more likely that life will find us. Remember to marinade yourself before meeting the visitors.
Re: Fermi's Paradox was nonsense.
"If a very intelligent species existed out there somewhere, there is no reason to assume they would want to encounter the likes of us in the first place."
Indeed. After the first few hundred life-supporting planets, why bother visiting more? Chances are that (bounded by basic physics) you'd have found that life tended towards a range of basic shapes (two or four legged, winged, finned etc), that the range of feasible sizes was essentially limited, and various ecological roles are filled by similar biological solutions. If you've got interstellar travel cracked it's most unlikely that wealth or natural resources are sufficient problem to drive exploration.
Which leaves the only real driver of aliens coming here being for the sake of it. With such a large number of planets to visit, catalogue and research, and the probably niche interest of exploration for exploration's sake, entire planets could evolve and become extinct between visits from space-faring species.
Re: I guess God has a sense of humor!@bongorocks
"If you believe in Alliens then you should believe in God because he is an Allien"
Could you clarify that for me? Was it one of these:
"If you believe in Allens then you should believe in God because he is an Allen"
"If you believe in aliens then you should believe in God because he is an alien"
"If you believe in Allahs then you should believe in God because he is an Allah"
"The question is rather "what devices would it make sense to remotely control", and while the fanboi-types will certainly go overboard..."
But there's existing capabilities to have remote control and automation of home electrical gear, for those who want it. I can't think of any time in the past twenty years when I've thought "Good Lord! I need to turn off the bathroom light, but I'm at work, if only somebody would invent the smartphone and full home automation to make that possible!"
I do want the heating on when I get home (or SWMBO), but we have found an elegant solution, called a timer, that I recommend to all. And, it works perfectly alongside another recent breakthrough, the thermostat. And unless you're floodlighting a stadium, then a simple photocell controlled outside light would surely suffice?
" what problem does the internet-connected lightbulb solve?"
None. It's part of the wishy washy "smart home" cobblers, which is very long on ideas for making things work together, very short on real benefits (and which the planned roll out of smart meters is intimately linked with). As is usual the Climate Changeistas see a huge opportunity to manage your life better to suit their purposes, so things like remote control of your fridge to turn it off during the ad-breaks in Corrie, but then (because they can) why not have remote monitoring to tell you that a lightbulb will fail, or to turn it off because the household processor thinks the room is unoccupied, or quite bright enough already?
Re: The usual $/£ currency sting
"The price is quoted as $350 but the UK price is £300. At current exchange rates it shouldn't be more than about £220."
Knock off VAT for a fairer comparison (Yank prices don't include local state sales tax, ours include a national rate by default). If my calculator's got that right then you're comparing a UK pre-tax price of £247.5 with your nominal £220 at prevailing FX. A bit of a non-US loading, but not as bad as you think, and I expect there's regulatory and scale issues that make the UK version ten quid or so more expensive than a US one.
Re: This is why...
But the wearer is buying this to feel invincible. He's not going to ask for his money back if it doesn't work.
So the more-money-than-sense exec is happy. Assassins everywhere are happy. Candian tailors are happy. Bodyguards and makers of real armour are happy that their market isn't been taken away.
How often do you see such a universal win situation, where everybody's happy?
Re: 'hard' leader needed for this 'soft' business
"Microsoft does not have five years"
I certainly hope that's the case.
"And then I read your last paragraph."
So you rate his posts depending on whether his expressed opinions match your own? Enjoy a downvote on me.
Re: HP "considering entering the market"?
"Really, HP, amnesia in a major IT supplier is not an attractive attribute."
More likely they've only just remembered there's a huge, huge warehouse full of zillions of unsold Designjets, which have been sitting heavily on the balance sheet, rather like a surfeit of Big Macs.
Those who read Tim Worstal's article the other day will recall that millions can be made by linking up those who want lots of something, but think there's no supply, and those wanting to shift lots of something, but believing there's no demand. Somewhere in HP, some bright spark mulled and mulled over who in the world might have a demand for a lot of machines to print moderate numbers of small 3D plastic ornaments, printed to unexacting standards, and to a small range of patterns that change on a quarterly basis....
Re: I agree@Mr Damage
"Ive been tasked with building a pair of PCs for my nephews for Xmas. They are suppose to be gaming rigs, but both are insisting on having Win8 "
No probs. Install vanilla WIndows 8 (not 8.1) and load up Classic Shell. The Black Hand Gang can still have it boot to TIFKAM if they really want, but there's a proper desktop, full program menus and start button for those (frequent) times when TIFKAM is just a world of fail.
I'm not sure what MS were trying to achieve with 8.1. All that I can see they've achieved is to not deliver what users wanted (again), added yet another code base to support, and irritated a modest proportion of the hopeless optimists daft enough to think there were anything worth reinstalling yet another version of Windows.
Re: What this really means...
I think that looks likely: "Operating income for Q3 has also been affected by higher depreciation and amortisation costs, higher stock-based compensation expense, and the impairment of certain network assets."
Funny how all the non-cash costs have gone up, based on the company's decision, resulting in a nice little loss. Whether in our vastly complex tax code such shenanigans will translate to a lower tax liability would remain to be seen as "the computation" is not directly linked to the statutory accounts.
So in theory not, but in practice HMRC seem incompetent at getting multinationals to pay tax. If there's any doubt it'll be easy to ship the transactions off shore to somewhere that will permit any form of cowboy accounting.
Re: What is the reason for using off-standard screws given they defeat no one
"What is the reason for using off-standard screws given they defeat no one "
1) Typically the standard Philips screws are less amenable to automated assembly, so you'd want to use a machine friendly alternative (which could have been a more standard torx).
2) You and I might not be kept out, but I don't think we're the greasy-fingered hordes that tamper resistant screws are a defence against. So non-standard screws will defeat those who would use (for example) a Ph driver on a PZ screw. Those people you most certainly do want to keep out, and having a non-standard screw will work well.
Re: Chock-full of it
" It's difficult to turn on GPS without Google monitoring your location, networks, and nearby WiFi points. Google Maps demands login for offline mode"
So use a paid or free alternative that works offline (Navmii works OK given it's free, and I hear good reports of Copilot if you want better but paid for quality), and turn off data network mode. In fact, data network mode can be off much of the time unless you need web access (it's just in the top setting bar, so no furkling around deep in menus to find it).
You may also find that you get much better battery life with mobile data off as a side benefit.
Re: there 's a difference between "peak" and average, of course....
"Now, enthusiast as I am for nuclear, I've better sense than to suggest using it for exploring the further reaches of the demand curve "
I'd agree. But I was just illustrating to the OP that a national nuke fleet wouldn't work. I'll beg to differ on nuclear for baseload, because it's still too expensive. In my view we'd be better off using modern coal and CCGT for baseload through to mid merit.
Re: Quite right too....
"The strike price deal for Hinkley C - £93/MWh - drops to £88.50 if Sizewell C's built. Which implies a unit price of £84/MWh expected for Sizewell C."
That's true. But given the parlous state of EDF's finances, why invest yet more capital in the UK for the purpose of diluting your returns?
Re: Quite right too....@Ken Hagan
"Am I being naive in thinking that the cost of building 13 (or 20, or...) is only 13x the cost of building one in some kind of worst case scenario? Surely there are design reviews, tooling up, training the workforce, etc. that would be needed only once?"
Some of the design stuff you'd only do once (almost - there's a lot of site-specific design for any large scale plant, no matter how nominally similar it is). But things like workforce training would effectively be new for every site - at around seven years (fastest) to construct, the posited national fleet would need to be built in parallel.
And the components might as well be bespoke, due to the scale and complexity, so you'll not strike a huge discount for the steam turbines because they are already essentially an off the shelf design. The small economies of scale would get wiped out by the inevitable spec changes. Looking at what's happened to the costs at Flamanville and Oitlutookoyloiklotl (yeah, you spell it without looking it up?) and you'll see that the £16bn for two reactors is probably already hopelessly optimistic.
I like nuclear as solution, but the costs are out of this world.
Re: Quite right too....
"Hinckley C will produce 7% of the UK's Electricity requirement. 13 of them would produce all of it."
Cobblers. Hinkley C is rated at 3.2 GW. Peak demand is 60 GW, so you'd need 19 similar sites to support current peak UK demand, assuming that demand doesn't climb with economic recovery and our rising population. But that's before those inconvenient statutory inspections, refuelling outages, and breakdowns. Typically the industry reckons that a mixed generation portfolio needs a minimum 15% reserve margin, so we're now up to 22 Hinckley Cs, arguably nuclear needs higher because fossil stations don't have stoppages for refuelling and statutory inspection. As a matter of note, EDF have 15 nuclear reactors, and at this moment two are offline for statutory inspections, and two more are in the process of reconnection after last week's high winds, so last week more than a quarter of their capacity was unavailable (before correcting even further for a 160MW loss of output on Hartlepool reactor 1 due to a boiler problem).
So your plan involves the government building 22 new nuclear sites, at a cost of around £350 billion. Government have a lot of experience of spending money on big infrastructure projects, what could possibly go wrong? If you add in a higher reserve margin of say 25% (due to the concentration of risk at fewer sites and higher nuclear scheduled outages), and allow for peak demand returning to a growth trend and reaching say 66GW, then we're talking about 26 stations, and a bill over £410bn.
Then there's the supply chain capacity, which couldn't deliver the parts, from high pressure steam piping to turbines and alternators, reactor vessels, HV switchgear, and civils. When the supply chain tightens, prices head north. So you can add another 30% to your £410bn (I know having programme managed an investment programme totalling mere hundreds of millions of quid where we were competing for capacity within a constrained supply chain).
You could use gas for peak lopping and reserve capacity, but then it begs the question, why use nuclear at all when it costs so much (before the inevitable cost overruns). In reality the optimal answer is a mix of thermal generation asset types. Nuclear has no place until the price comes right down, and renewables have no place until they are either schedulable, or their output can be stored (neither of which will happen soon).
Re: The penny drops - renewables as 'The Answer'. ?
"Insofar as nuclear is an infinitely cheaper...."
In what parallel universe is nuclear power cheaper than anything? If you've been paying attention, you'll have seen the UK government has just guaranteed to pay EDF more than double the current UK wholesale power price for a new nuclear reactor. That's fairly representative of the "Alice in Wonderland" economics that is used to justify energy policy (which in itself has been decided to appease the worshippers of climate change).
So the recent Parliamentary whining about high energy prices is revelaed as complete cant. Their solution to public anger over rising energy prices is to rubber stamp agreements to double current prices.
" If it's so important, why is nobody funding this?"
I think you'll find the governments of Russia, Europe, Japan and the US are funding this research. Because it's incredibly expensive, and still so far away from practical output no private investor could take the gamble. To an extent governments have taken over the role of very long term venture capitalists, and you might well see that as a good thing. Unfortunately this means that our longest term investments are in the hands of some of our smallest intellects, and those people have both a very short term horizon, and predilections for spending money on bread and circuses rather than anything really useful.
All of which ignores the risk that despite the billions spent, fusion may never work economically.
Re: Don't get it
"There are lots of reasons why Google doesn't make the Nexus devices with its own subsidiary, chief among is most likely not wanting to piss off your partners by competing directly with them"
Except it does on two levels. Every Nexus 5 will be a mid-to-top-end smartphone not sold by the hardware-only phone makers, and in the background you've got Moto continuing to grind out handsets at a loss, even with a free OS.
But disagreeing doesn't answer the question about why Moto don't make Nexus devices. As far as I can see, it's a learning experiment, and/or defensive move. Making hardware probably won't be part of Google's long term plans, but Google branded devices might well be. So Motorola needs to be re-saleable, without any tie ins to Google, and for that reason they don't want Motorola to have the Nexus contract. But they will be learning from Motorola about the art of the possible, and about the technology which helps in negotiations with the companies bidding to make Nexus devices, so a not-too-threatening level of sales suits Google just fine. And the defensive strategy is that owning a hardware house will mean that if (for example) Samsung decided to jump ship to a rival OS, Motorola can throw down the gauntlet on price and capability with near immediate effect, probably based on a phone that's already on the market, or in the pipeline.
Re: I'm proud of the legacy
"All this is a testament to this great Lord and his generous corporate backers, and I wonder why the people of London haven't voted to erect any statues to their memory yet..."
Actually, it's testament to Ken Livingstone, who signed up Londoners and the nation for the hugely expensive junket in the first place. But Londoners have repeatedly elected Ken, so I think they got what they deserved.
Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?
"can't hit corporate margins without hitting end user prices."
Ultimately yes. But if there's an additonal cost associated with non-serviceable products, then the company has to consider whether it wants that as extra margin, or will pay the cost. Broadly speaking most devices made by most makers aren't price setters, and the price is set by what the market will pay. In that case a corporate tax is not a readily passed on cost, even though it is ultimately out of customer's pockets. The point then is that with a more serviceable product the company would charge the same, but keep more of the income.
Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?
"How often do you take your phone or tablet apart?"
Not often. But just dismantled the wife's Nexus to stick in a new screen and digitiser after accident damage. If that were glued up then it would have been a throw away.
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