* Posts by Ledswinger

3304 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

Ledswinger
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"Given that the target list pretty much encapsulates the people the US wants to spy on"

Actually the US want to spy on everybody, including "allies" as the scandal over Merkel's phone showed. My guess is that the reported infections are a subset of the total, and there will be infections in Europe and the Anglophone countries.

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Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

Ledswinger
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Re: True, but could be truer

Blast, blast and thrice blast! A finely fashioned Grammar Nazi post, completely let down fat fingers and careless proof reading, resulting in the omission of the "y" from "They".

I blame my parents, as will anybody who knows me (or them).

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Ledswinger
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True, but could be truer

"The company said that the complaints were nothing new "

The didn't need the definite article in that sentence.

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'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

Ledswinger
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Re: Don't panic

"To a careful reader, the report shows that 21 systems were infected"

Which could be true. But that assumes that that is the number actually detected by Symantec. To a large extent, the business model of AV companies is not about saying to customers "you've been pawned for the last five years and our product failed to protect you". It is about selling a basically competent product on an annuity basis, providing reactive defence when a customer company has an undeniable malware problem, and finding enough new threats in the environment to keep the fear levels high. I see this report as being the last of those three.

Another reason for suspecting that the published infection data is incomplete is that any sensible spy agencies wouldn't be above leaning on the report's publisher to omit any inconvenient facts or statistics, and firmly in that category would be embarrassing "friendly fire" intrusions. Look at the problems the US have had after being caught eavesdropping on Merkel's phone.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Ireland @ James

"Nope, can't be the UK"

I think there's a more compelling clue in the article that it didn't come from these shores:

"a degree of technical competence rarely seen"

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Ledswinger
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Re: Snowden effect

"More importantly, are we safe to assume that present day AV will detect Regin?"

No, you're not. I was listening to the Symantec spokeswoman on R4 this morning, and she chose her words very carefully, talking about older variants. They clearly have their view on who produced, and went so far as to suggest that it was a Western spy agency. Symantec being a US company, they'll be under the cosh from the NSA and other state goon agencies, and there's no way they will be producing products to block the current work of NSA or partner agencies.

At a guess, Symantec need to "find" older non-operational Western spyware to try and show they are able to do that. The goon agencies won't mind if its older stuff they aren't using, but they'd be very worried if somebody actually came up with a Windows security programme that actually stopped malware. So the only reason this has come out is specifically because the authors have a variant (or complete replacement) programme, and possibly because customers were within spitting distance of spotting it through other means (which then loses Symantec reputation and market share).

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Bubble-licious: Good times here again for UK tech startups – research

Ledswinger
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Re: In Q3, £363m was invested in in 88 deals worth more than £500,000

"Our facilities manager once joked that it costs a £1000 a year for the office space for a waste paper bin."

He wasn't joking. If you're talking about prime location, short term lease on a fully serviced basis, it will be around £1,400 a year per square metre. Allowing for a modicum of space to get past the bin and empty it he was bang on.

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'Snoopers' Charter IS DEAD', Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

Ledswinger
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Re: Blind leading the blind

Ms May appears ill informed

Never mind that she also appears to be the daughter of Wurzel Gummidge.

For those unfamiliar with the creature, look at that picture of the crone in the article, and then Google up an image of her dad. This could explain her feeble mindedness in handing the Stasi's requests for more snooping powers, because her brain is made of straw.

In fact thinking about it, as May is a scarecrow, I think British politics has clearly been whisked away to fantasy land. Clegg's more than a bit of a tin man, Cameron's the cowardly lion. Which leaves the sad panda as Dorothy: "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Hampstead now!"

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Ledswinger
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Re: And another thing

Why?

Its been going on for years. Who voted for open door immigration and the handing out of British passports like smarties? Who voted to have their rubbish collected every two weeks? Who voted for the Lisbon treaty, or indeed to hand British sovereignty to Brussels? Who voted for the expensive and crap energy policy? Who voted for untrammeled globalisation and offshoring of UK jobs to make the City richer? Who voted for state-owned RBS to pay billions of pounds in undeserved staff bonuses? Who voted for weak and ineffectual regulators in telecoms and finance? Who voted to get embroiled in Iraq, Libya, and increasingly in Syria? Who voted for HS2? When they agree after the next election to build another unnecessary runway for a London airport, who will have voted for that, other than the lobbyists? Who (outside of Scotland) voted to give even more money to Scotland for voting "no"? Who voted for poorly constructed international tax treaties that enable multinationals to brazenly dodge UK taxes?

That's why UKIP are on a roll. Not because they have any answers, but because they aren't the established incompetents of Conservative, Labour or Liberal. I'm certainly not expecting much of UKIP, but regardless of the consequences they're guaranteed my vote.

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The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS

Ledswinger
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Re: Sterility, the modern scourge!

"being too clean can impair the skins ability to heal"

My skin will be bullet proof then.

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Europe may ask Herr Google: Would you, er, snap off your search engine? Pretty please

Ledswinger
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Re: Funded by Google's oppostition

"Google share is likely to dip slightly over the next 5 years due to the move of Mozilla to Bing/Yahoo"

If you're tech savvy enough to choose and install Firefox, then you're probably adequately aware of how good and how bad Google is. Mozilla choosing to default to crapper, but equally unprincipled search engines won't work because the likes of us already make conscious choices about our search engine.

Personally I won't have *anything* to do with Yahoo, and Bing is IMHO a second rate search offering, so it'll be straight back to DDG or Google when Mozilla rinse this change through the system, but any Firefox user who does want to use Yahoo or Bing probably already does.

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FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study

Ledswinger
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Re: Web site request

"with a name like Simon Bacon perhaps the simplest solution would be to just eat him?"

In principle I'd not have a problem with trying a slice, dry cured, medium sliced and cooked crisp, please. But what if he's got something nasty like BSE? Wouldn't we have to kill him before 30 months if he's for the table? I suspect we may be a bit late for that.

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Ledswinger
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So, really, I've been a burden to the NHS

You're a disgrace! You should be taxed to the hilt!

I'm not exactly skinny. I am 6ft 3, and I weigh in at 18st 6. I play Rugby (switch between Prop and Second Row), and before that I used to do Boxing for 10 years

Errr, no, I didn't mean you, sir. I was talking about....about......ermm....that short fat bloke over there.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Time to start taxing these lard buckets

It wouldn't be a surprise if a significant portion of our obese fell into the economically inactive category.

It's tempting to conclude this, but the real data isn't quite as clear cut. Obesity does correlate with lower income, but the actual difference between the most deprived quintile and the second quintile is fairly modest. For men even the top quintile shows limited difference. The only relatively low obesity group by income are women in top income quintile. See figure 1 in this:

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.noo.org.uk%2Fuploads%2Fdoc%2Fvid_16966_AdultSocioeconSep2012.pdf&ei=H0BvVJy9OoLkaonDgLAB&usg=AFQjCNG_cH_3mexqxPk_osubygQ6XDVKPA&bvm=bv.80185997,d.d2s&cad=rja

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hail the Fatty Heroes ! @cambsukguy

"Singapore is perhaps the closest real example of what you describe. And Singapore has to have very tight restrictions on immigration because so many people want to live there."

A quick internet search indicates that Singapore has high alcohol and tobacco taxes, but that's true of a lot of countries, I was suggesting our volunteer go somewhere that all the things I mentioned are actually unavailable.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They aren't a problem; they're a solution!

"One word: Biofuel"

Already happening round these parts. The local crematorium supplies "waste heat" to the swimming pool. This warm swimming session brought to you by.......". Admittedly most of the heat is probably from natural gas, though.

Some fag packet calculations suggest (if I've got my maths right, which is open to question) a human body would embody around 600 MJ of energy. In the UK there's around 1m deaths a year, and factoring this all down that's around 150 GWh if you dessicated them. At say 50% efficiency that's be equivalent to a 15 MW power station, which isn't very much in the context of peak electricity demand of 60 GW.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hail the Fatty Heroes ! @cambsukguy

"I am certain that a smoke-free country would be better off, especially in the long term, than a smoking country."

Greetings Mr Logic.

I am certain that in economic (or life years) terms a drug free, alcohol free, car free, processed meat free, TV-and-couch-potato free country would be better off. But you're welcome to go and live in one of those. The nearest I can imagine to that is probably North Korea, where Kim Jong-Un is bravely consuming all those bad things so that the proletariat can enjoy a healthy exercise filled life.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hail the Fatty Heroes !

"SOOOOOO many ways to read this sentence..."

Are there? I could only see the one, that smoking related diseases (lung cancer and circulatory problems) build up over some years with generally modest impact on health, but by the time they are diagnosed they are usually very serious, leading to high mortality rates and low life expectancy. Whilst having an acute hospital episode is always expensive, if you don't live to old age then you don't collect much of your pension, and you don't incur mid-level health costs over a long old age. Most of us will be able to see the health and longevity aspects in their own family history over perhaps the past two generations. And the problem is that as healthcare improves we prolong post-retirement life, increasing the cost of both pensions and healthcare to an economically inactive segment of the population.

Use to be the case that you worked from 16-65, and expected to live to 72. So 49 years work to 7 year retirement. Now we expect people to work from 18-67, but to live to about 80, so still 49 years working, but now 13 years retirement. And not only is there the healthcare costs to contribute to that extra 6 years, but there's the routine costs of healthcare, the rising dementia and care home costs. I say free fags and big macs all round.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Time to start taxing these lard buckets

"If you are overweight, a scaled % gets added to your income tax until you stop shovelling food down your gullet,"

Strange isn't it. Round these parts people scream in outrage over their loss of freedom due to NSA and GCHQ's vast datascraping. Yet when it comes to food, many of the same people think that anybody larger than they are should be forced not to eat as much. Hey, overweight people, we've decided you're not capable of exercising choice, so we're going to force you to fit our idea of how you should look.

I'm bang on the quack's view of a healthy weight, but I'd like to stand shoulder to shoulder with my big boned bretheren for their right not to be treated as third class citizens, not to be unduly harassed or ridiculed, and to be allowed to behave as they see fit.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Web site request

"(Page & Orlowski I am looking at you.)"

This is where you need to be:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/technology

But on a more serious note, the article is using an inflammatory headline as clickbait. Other than that's its reportage, and nothing wrong with it. The comments section on the other hand is a bit dispiriting, with more than a few AC's queuing up to put the boot in. Nice to know they're so lean, athletic and clean living. Or maybe they're just cunts.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hail the Fatty Heroes !

"You should be taxed for the extra strain you put on services."

If you're going to target the obeasts in this way, then presumably fags will come with a subsidy because of their beneficial effect on unfunded pension costs? Contact and adventure sports players will be taxed due to the burden on A&E. Duty will be charged on skateboards, horse riding tackle, and so forth. We should have a safety tax on ladders and power tools. Central heating and gas cooking will be taxed for air quality reasons, the Tube will have a five pound per journey surcharge for its rancid air quality, diesel will be £10 a litre, but current standard petrol cars will be getting a rebate.

But since you're suggesting a PAYG approach to public services, I'd like to opt out of the welfare state, please, contributions to the EU budget, UK infrastructure investments (always the wrong, expensive stuff that gets built, not the required everyday stuff), overseas aid (wasted and misspent), and the education budget (if I had the money they'd both be in independent schools).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Muscle, not fat

" the entire article misses the vital information that muscle weighs far more than fat"

The definitions of fatness are the least of the problems here. The original "study" concentrates on GDP, so that 4m deaths from inadequate water and sanitation in the undeveloped world count for almost nothing, whereas 5m deaths largely among the older residents of the developed world top the bill, followed closely by the "overweight".

Yet even if you wish to look through an economic lens, the work is shoddy. With the developed world suffering from over-stretched welfare systems and inadequately funded pension systems, smoking and heart disease are fantastic economic news - people work till they're fifty-sixty and drop dead with little or no pension being paid. I'd accept that many smokers and fatties linger on in expensive ill health, but that's also true amongst the non-obese, non-smoking population.

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Two driverless cars stuffed with passengers are ABOUT TO CRASH - who should take the hit?

Ledswinger
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You what?

So we've got two self-driving cars on a collision course? Clearly they've got themselves into a situation that they shouldn't have, and if you can't trust them to drive, how can you trust their pre-progammed ethics?

And if they are going to crash, why all this "suicidal avoidance" nonsense? We don't have that with aircraft collision avoidance systems, they just do their best and hope for the best. And that's how most logical drivers approach driving - you brake and hope you don't hit the pedestrian who walks out in front of you, rather than electing to mow down a bus queue of OAPs because their life adjusted scores are lower than the callow youth in front of you.

About time the ethicists were told to bugger off and stop being the modern day Red Flag Act.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Ledswinger
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"I had wished I had snapped up a Nexus 7, they looked really good, and the price (around $200) was just right."

The reason Google have gone up market is the plethora of good cheap tabs at the $200 mark. There's even some less good but adequate no-name cheap direct import 7 inch tabs for around $45/£30. Google have done the reference low end 7 inch design to show the hardware companies how to do it, now they need to try and show them how to do the premium market.

Here in the UK $200/£130 will buy a decent retailer-branded Pegatron-made 8.3 inch tablet that's bigger and better than the original Nexus ( a Tesco Hudl 2 is the device I'm thinking of). I'm sure there's equivalents in the US market if you have a look around.

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Giant bank IT cockup of 2012 'could have brought down ENTIRE financial system'

Ledswinger
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Re: Ulster Bank fine

"If they're both (parent and child) that incompetent, why weren't they forced out of offering financial services? "

RBS are the biggest bank in Europe, and are protected by two talismen: their vast lobbying influence, and their "too big to fail" status. And who would benefit? The behaviour of other banks is almost as reprehensible - they all got fined over PPI, for example, even the "ethical" Co-op bank had to put aside hundreds of millions of pounds for this.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ulster Bank fine

"More of this sort of thing, please."

Why? RBS have been repeatedly fined for dishonesty and incompetence, often many billions of quid, and they just keep on doing it. Their approach to regulatory fines is much like the behaviour of advertisers in response to an ASA slobbering - they do stop what they were doing, but they just move onto something new.

RBS is institutionally rotten. A start would be to separate out the investment banking, prop trading and other City gambling operations, and let the twerps involved crash and burn next time they get caught out. Even so the retail bank clearly has more than enough rotteness to deal with even after that separation, and I think a start on that would involve demerger into smaller businesses with their own systems. Maybe wait until they need another bail out, fully nationalise them, then demerge into a number of building societies with full retail banking licences and their own IT. Doesn't solve all the problems by a long way, but goes a long way towards it.

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Toyota to launch hydrogen (ie, NATURAL GAS) powered fuel cell hybrid

Ledswinger
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Re: Dreaming @Tom 7

"Even a modest (as in half-sized) American home's roof is more than adequate to produce an equivalent amount of power."

It has evidently passed you by that this is a UK based web site, and the discussion centres on UK issues. Here homes are smaller than the US, so any PV arrays are smaller, and insolation levels are far lower than most US states. What is considered in the UK to be a large domestic PV array is a 4 kW system producing 3.4 kWh, and that would cover most of a medium sized half-roof pitch.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Dreaming @Tom 7

"Hydrogen conversion (electricity->hydrogen->electricity) was over 85% efficient in the early 90's - so better than nuclear at 40%."

You don't know what you're talking about.

I know the numbers on production plant because my employers operate some of the most advanced power plants and power storage systems in the world, including power-to-gas, AD, CAES, clean coal, the single most efficient production CCGT in the world, and a whole host of other clever stuff.

If it were possible to even remotely approach the efficiencies you claim, then all peaking grid power would be produced by this method. If you actually read my post you'll see why the real world differs from what might be achieved on paper.

And "cars/hydrogen/personal solar"? What? A domestic PV installation supplies a fraction of the household's current electricity demand. Adding personal transport to the domestic energy budget will at least double the typical electricity demand. And that's before the green twerps insist everybody has electrically driven heat pumps for water and space heating (double the demand again). Again, you simply don't know what you're on about.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hideously complex

"Hideously complex "

Imagine a system where a new fuel is found. It needs to be distilled through a complex process, but then produces a highly flammable, toxic, vapour producing fuel. This is then fed into a strengthened tank in a vehicle, adding much weight. The magic fuel is first pumped out the tank by a normal pump, but then needs to pumped into the converter at much higher pressure, using a special high pressure pump. It needs to be metered in with incredible precision. Then it is ignited by a precisely timed electric signal, using sensors to address the timing, and an auxiliary power plant to produce the electricity (stored in a separate battery for times when the fuel converter is not running). The spark produces an explosion, that accelerates a reciprocating piece of metal......

....I'm sorry, I've lost the will to continue with this little parable, but hopefully you get the point. Compared to the compexity of an ICE vehicle, just about ANYTHING else is comparatively simple.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Coming soon to a city near you, um, I mean near an equator.

Fuel Cell + location in which water freezes = fail

You ignore the fact that fuel cell also produce heat, and from cold start a standby fossil fuel heater or a battery are quite feasible. Modern diesel engines struggle to work properly when cold, so they have glow plugs to ensure that they start OK.

I'm sceptical about the long term prospects for renewable hydrogen fuel cells for other reasons, but a bit of cold weather isn't a problem. A clue that you might have noticed is their initial use in the space programme. It's pretty cold outside the atmosphere.

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Ledswinger
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Re: And If...

"wonder what the cost per kilo watt is?"

Something like three or four times the cost that the generator gets paid for the electricity used to produce the hydrogen, because of inter-stage losses and waste heat losses from your car's fuel cell.

From current fossil generation you'd be paying around 20 p/kWh, if using nuclear power under the forthcoming CfD mechanism you'd have end to end costs of around 30 p/kWh, for a largely renewables scenario perhaps 50 p/kWh. That doesn't include wear and tear on the fuel cell, which has a finite life. I'd guess that additional wear and tear could amount to around another 2-3p kWh.

So using a fuel cell to power your home makes about as much economic sense as fitting a power take off to your Ford Mondeo and running the shaft into a generator. Yes, you can do it, but yes, you'd be mad to do it.

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Ledswinger
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"We'd probably reduce CO2 more by using the excess heat from power stations to heat all of the local schools, factories, shops and houses"

You would. But in the UK context, that wouldn't come cheap. Take Ratcliffe on Soar coal power station. Waste heat from that is roughly equal to the space heating requirements of nearby Nottingham. It's a no brainer, isn't it? Free heat for all!

Except that the costs of a heat recovery, backup heat systems and a distribution network would cost something of the order of £10 billion (around £15,000 per house served), and even if you're a believer in the official climate change religion, that's a very expensive way of reducing CO2 emissions. And the real problem is that in the context of UK energy policy, CEDD hope there will be no large scale fossil plants reliably running by 2030, and the scheme would take around fifteen years to complete.

The most important thing to remember about UK and EU energy policy, is that it is driven by gesture politics, not by common sense. So windmills all round, and shiver in the dark in winter!

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Ledswinger
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Re: Dreaming

"doesn't that have some potential to solve the storage problem which besets renewable leccy?"

Only with some breakthroughs that will make the discovery of the semiconductor small beer. That's because electricity to hydrogen back to electricity involves multiple conversions plus intermediate physical storage.

So state of the art at the moment is about 60-70% efficiency on large scale prototype electricity to gas plants - that's being done now, and is a hugely impressive achievement. Mainly that efficiency is a result of the dissociation of water to get the hydrogen. You'll only improve that if you can magically improve the dissociation technology, and I'd be surprised if we'll see major progress on that. A big part of the problem is that you only want the H, not the O, so the energy embodied in the dissociated oxygen is lost when it is vented. Technically you can capture and store the O, but the problem is that it's economic value is lower than the marginal cost of storing and distributing the oxygen to those who want it.

You then have problems of compression and decompression of hydrogen (uses perhaps 2-7% of embodied energy), the higher of those where you either have multiple compression/decompression cycles (eg distribution and transport use), or where you have to heat the compressed gas to decompress it (as you will in industrial scale plants).

If you can use the stored hydrogen in a grid-scale fuel cell, what energy efficiency might you hope for in practice? Let's plump for 50%, you can improve this by running in CHP mode, but that adds heat output, not more electricity, and requires a heat distribution network (the efficiency of large scale fuel cells is only marginally better than a modern gas turbine). All the talk of fuel cells as 90% efficient ignores the fact that they produce heat and electricity, and to be that efficient you need to be able to use both outputs in their entirety. In the case of heat that's very difficult in the real world.

So here's the rub: For every 1 kWh that goes into the power-to-gas plant, you get 0.3 kWh of electricity out of the fuel cell. So you need three times as much generating capacity upstream of the power-to-gas plant, and that's expensive; You need a power-to-gas plant, they don't come cheap; and you need in my example an expensive grid scale fuel cell (and an expensive heat distribution network if you want to raise the efficiency to a still middling 70%).

So the problem is that you need lots more capital intensive plant, and I can't see R&D materially bring the costs down by much. You *might* reduce the storage costs for hydrogen with nanotech. You will only improve the efficiency of the fuel cell if you come up with a miraculous recovery system for low grade heat (and nobody's done that economically despite a century of looking).

Technically storing (say) wind power as gas is easy - you can visit plants doing this today. What you can't do is magic away the problems of low grade losses in the various conversion stages, nor the need for multiple volumes of kit that cost huge amounts of money. If your dream is renewable power storage, then the problem becomes one of suitable sites for renewables.

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Go on, buy your workers a smartphone. You know it makes sense

Ledswinger
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Re: Buy a smartphone? In enterprise?

"If they disable the usb port, how does it charge?"

They disable storage, not the USB port. That certainly stops the device recognising an SD card. Whether it is effective in stopping local file storage on the inbuilt memory I don't know because I haven't tried. I'm sure with a modicum of skill the protections can be bypassed, but I'm not going to breach policies and risk the sack just to try and prove I'm cleverer than the IT people. Given the paranoia in policies, it wouldn't be beyond reason to suspect that they can and will monitor remotely for breaches of policy.

If that's what the company want to do, and it has a marginal impact on productivity then it is their call, but they might as well have handed out dumb phones. Or gone with Blackberry.

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Ledswinger
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Buy a smartphone? In enterprise?

Given the typically ultra-locked down approach to most enterprise IT I've ever encountered, a combination of justified and unjustified IT paranoia, and cheapskate approaches to kit make employee smartphones an outstanding waste of money.

My current employers issue crappy Galaxy S3 minis as the standard handset. Obviously selected by a miser with very small hands. Then they overlay their outsourcers crapware email solution (T-mobile, that's your mention) rather than the Android stuff. Then they encrypt the device - good for security, but slows basic operations down to a crawl on such a low end device. And then they launch group policies that disable the camera (for "security" reasons, ignoring the fact that employees' own phones aren't confiscated at the door), force multiple PINS and passwords (no, we don;t write them down or choose easy to guess ones, honest), prohibit loading of any media files, and disable storage (never mind legitimate work use, we wouldn't want you copying any files, would we?).

Quite frankly, if enterprise IT departments had brains they'd be dangerous.

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UK urged to stop bigging up startups, feed 'growing' firms

Ledswinger
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Re: Google and Facebook?

"Yes, it would be nice to develop some UK businesses of the scale of Google and Facebook, but preferably not with their attitude to paying taxes!"

Who'd build a business here? Due to planning rules property is expensive. Due to fuel duties road transport is expensive. Due to employer's NI employing people is more expensive than it needs to be. Due to an overheated and unbalanced economy salaries are too high in London & the SE. Due to cackhanded energy policy, energy is more expensive.

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Ledswinger
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Re: More to the point...

"The reason the US is successful in growing these businesses is due to a few key things....."

If it is so successful, then perhaps you can explain why the unemployment rates are about the same, labour force participation rates are about the same (having declined considerably in the US), why all the jobs created recently (in both UK and US) are similar low wage crud, and why both economies have financed "growth" purely through much faster growing levels of debt? Tax and spending levels are similar (although we spend more on an uncontrolled welfare state, and the US spends more on an uncontrolled warfare state).

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Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?

Ledswinger
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"how exactly are they supposed to advertise speeds now?"

I can't say I have much sympathy for them. But whilst BT have that last mile monopoly there will be no competitive pressure on BT to improve, nor really much pressure from ISPs because for any given house they all face the same limits.

The important thing should be the break up of the Openreach monopoly, and the separation into regional companies that have to report separately to a regulator (and a stronger regulator). This "comparative competition" works pretty well in other regional monopoly situations, such as the ten UK water companies, or the regional electricity distribution companies. But this is clearly beyond the very weak capabilities of OFCOM.

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Gee THANKS: Cryptoscum offer a free decrypt in latest ransomware racket

Ledswinger
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Re: As much as do not want

"If we (and our across the pond cousins) can pool millions of £$ to extradite one alleged hacker, then we can pump resources into this, no?"

Wouldn't work. The people behind this are clever and obfuscate their tracks well. Even where found, chances are they are in a non-democratic state where they may be actively shielded by the national government, protected by a powerful local crime lord with his small army, or simply in a state with little functioning government.

You get to extradite foreign citizens only from law abiding countries with functioning and vaguely democratic government. That excludes half the world. If these people are in Russia, will Putin hand them over? It Chinese, would the party send them on a one way flight to the US? In Mexico, Ukraine, Kazakstan or where have you, the government simply doesn't function other than as a crime monopoly itself.

You also suggest that a few extraditions and prosecutions will discourage others. Simple fraud has been illegal in any functioning state for centuries, is often accompanied by long prison sentences (particularly in the US), but that's been no deterrent. And if you're based in some central Asian ***t hole country, would any of these be a deterrent, when your choices are picking local pockets for a handful of shekels, or making hundreds of thousands of dollars through cybercrime?

The best and perhaps only solution is back up by users and non-payment of ransom demands. The crime only exists because there's money in it, and regardless of enforcement and punishment, if the money's still waiting to be grabbed, new crims will sprout like fungus as soon as the last lot were scraped away.

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Meet Windows 10's new UI for OneDrive – also known as File Explorer

Ledswinger
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Re: Kiss your files goodbye

"Many users are people whose main online data is a bookmark to a recipe site and don't feel that this needs to be stored with quantum encryption in a explosive rigged black box in a dungeon under a fortress of doom."

Unfortunately most ordinary users who don't think they have anything to hide, and that they don't do anything other than look up recipes will still do a lot of domestic administration on their PC. So although they feel that they're not worthy of having their data stolen, in fact they've actually got everything to hide, from identity thieves, fraudsters, and the whole panoply of internet ne'r do wells (not to mention over-reaching and unaccountable spy agencies).

Bank details, tax returns, and the thousand and one other things you do on your PC all have a value to somebody else. From ordinary data on somebody's PC you stand to find out their full name, address, data of birth, spouse and children's names, current employer, employment history, pension arrangements, savings and bank details (or at least the name of the bank), details of companies they do business with and the services purchased. Possibly travel and passport details if they've ever filled in an on-screen document that was then saved to disk.

You think that information isn't worth proper security?

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Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

" He will get caught eventually."

Well there's a new business idea for him: Find a Thai business partner, and set up a fully registered, legal, tax paying company that legally acts as a holding company for smaller businesses that would struggle to be compliant on their own, from those businesses point of view they'd be paying for administration and compliance services. Not being familiar with the local rules it's difficult to be specific about how you'd keep control and beneficial ownership with the small businesses, but perhaps having the holding company "own" the subsidiaries through non-voting shares or something with similar effect. That assumes the smaller business manager can legally own (say) preference shares in the country.

The holding company would not be a way of dodging rules, but a way of complying with them, and as I'm thinking, it's business would not be trading activities, just providing services to the subsidiaries. Individually it would be difficult to do this, but as a business in its own right, it becomes a cookie cutter approach - set it up, make it work, sell the service on. As a former bank manager he should have the background and skills to make this work?

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Pharmacist caught spying on friends' med records fined £1,000

Ledswinger
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Re: It's a start

"But they have to go much higher."

Why? He'll probably be fired, he'll probably lose his professional registration, and even if he doesn't he'll struggle to get another job in the same field. The fine is symbolic, but chances are he'll lose a lot more than £1,000.

Assuming you work as an IT professional with some experience and training, imagine how much you'd lose if you did something wrong and overstepped the mark, and were banned from further work in IT? What would you do as a suddenly unskilled worker, and how much would your new job pay?

I'd guess we're talking about somebody on a (guessing) £60k salary on a full time basis, maybe more. What can he do now and what will he earn? Some form of non-NHS administration, paying perhaps £15k if he's lucky. He might build a new career in some new field, but I'd guess that his loss from this conviction must approach £250k over the next few years, unless a family member or friend finds him some equally paid director type of job.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Conspiracy?

"From the report it looks as if ye was doing this off his own bat. So no conspiracy. It takes two to conspire."

What if he had a split personality? Obviously the fine should then be reduced in proportion to the number of personalities that made him do it, and the total that he has.

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I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Ledswinger
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Re: Really?

"Frankly I find the shirt offensive to the eyes (all those colours!"

FFS why? Looks quite pleasant to me, given the drab that most people wear. Bloke should be given a medal for choosing something with a bit of go.

I don't suppose that's how it will be received over at the Graun, with its ghastly hand-wringing writers, it's ghastly hand-wringing editors, and its ghastly hand-wringing readers. Mind you, will they have been able to fit it in between hand-wringing over "climate change", zero-hours, the plight of the "unemployed", and all their other liberal causes? I'd guess they probably did.

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UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

Ledswinger
Silver badge

"first they got taxpayers' money to arm the Taliban"

Point of order: Although the West funded weapons for the Taliban, these were invariably procured local to the conflict, or through crooked international arms dealers. Very few of the weapons supplied were Western designed or made, partly because they didn't want the Russians showing captured SA80's or M16's to the press, partly because Western weapons were not as robust and effective as the AK47 and similar products.

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European Commission decides it won't have a science advisor after Greenpeace pressure

Ledswinger
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"So if Greenpeace get offered the job, they won't take it?"

They don't need to. Their shit headed thinking has driven EU energy, waste and climate policies for many years now. As a result you're paying fat subsidies for ineffectual wind and solar power, fossil generation is unprofitable across Europe (cue yet more subsidies because the renewables are useless). Their policies have triggered widespread closure of coal fired plant, so we'll be even more at Russia's mercy, even as the EU meddles in Ukraine's affairs along with the US, and they've worked hard to ensure that Germany, Belgium and Italy make precipitate exits from nuclear. Even France is being pushed to add crappy renewables to its generation mix, instead of persisting with its hugely successful nuclear programme.

And Europe's economic malaise will be further prolonged by expensive power. The mis-investment in unproductive energy assets will linger on as an economic drag for at least a generation.

The purpose of removing the role of CSA is probably because Greenpeace are concerned that there's a danger of somebody sensible pointing out how their Canute like policies are dragging Europe back to the Victorian era, and have failed to make much of a dent on emissions. Most of the reduction in Europe's emissions since 1990 comes not from Greenpeace's EU energy policy, but from the hemorrhaging of EU industry to the far east, and the relative decline of the EU's major economies.

Facts have no place in Greenpeace's view of the world, as evidence by their lies over Brent Spar.

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3

'You village peasants: Do you want broadband? Then give up your freedom'

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: It'll all end in tears

Indeed it will. "It is similar to what we are already doing in the energy sector" is the clue.

The European Commission have overseen the decommissioning of coal plant across Europe, actively facilitated the exit from nuclear power by Belgium, Germany and Italy, whilst at the same time antagonising the Russians. That's screwed the energy sector something rotten, means if we have a cold winter Putin's got Europe's nuts in his palm, and cost all consumers a fortune.

Reading across to the fixed line telecoms market, we should anticipate protection of incumbent monopolists, destruction of vaguely functioning markets, and higher costs and worse service all round.

You did all vote to join the EU, and to hand British sovereignty to them, didn't you?

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2

Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: You can f****** keep them

But the point is that you use it as a phone. You know, speech, and, welll.......erm.....speech.

But having said that, I wish I still had my Ericsson T28. There was design that showed that tosser Ive up for the complete knob he is. It was just soooooooo cool. And even though the damped flip panel was a bit fragile, it was still cooler than Ralgex freeze spray on your knackers.

I'd trade all of the computery-shit of a modern smart phone for an update of the T28 that just did calls and battery life brilliantly, and omitted all the crappy mobile interweb, second rate sat-nav, fart apps, and games for the hard of thinking. There is one extra thing I would like my updated T28 to have, and that's a media player and SD card slot - and I'd accept a small touch screen keyboard as the price for that.

Do we need to get this idea on Kickstarter?

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Good to know what offends him

"Killing, maiming, raping, starving, torturing, that's OK as long as you do it with well-designed gizmos."

You forgot your concluding fact:

"We can only conclude from this that Jonny Ive is cunt of the first order"

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Poll trolls' GCHQ script sock puppets manipulate muppets

Ledswinger
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"Isn't this this sort of social engineering that the Chinese government does, which our hacker spies are now admitting to?"

Yes, but as usual government are behind the times. This is no different from things companies have been doing for years. "Digital" departments seeking to build up Facebook friends, sales departments seeking to manipulate search engine rankings, or marketing departments seeking to buy their way up the "most respected brands" listings. Or HR departments seeking to pretend their company is a great place to work.

For many years government manipulated the media directly, in the UK it used to be "D notices". They probably used those to keep the press quiet about all the kiddy diddlers in the establishment, for example. Those don't work with the internet (although Cameron thinks the internet needs more government "help"), so the next best thing is to try and pretend that opposing opinion is less popular, or that your own views have some following. And in the Westminster/Washington/Moscow/Beijing bubble, fiddling the figures counts for success, whether that be output figures, unemployment, inflation, debt, or public opinion.

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