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* Posts by Ledswinger

2700 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Ledswinger
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Re: Conservation of value..

"It's called trading because it doesn't create anything new, unlike growing or making stuff. All cash money 'made' by the city and the finance 'industry' is taken directly from someone elses pocket."

So by that definition, services have no value? Rather a pity, then, that "making" is simply a service applied to primary commodities. And where does the money "made" by a farmer come from? Did the fivers grow in his field, or has that money merely come out of his customer's pocket?

VP: You don't think we're wasting our time here on Daily Mirror readers?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Here is an idea

"The state will collect tax and use it to pay pensions to the normal people who can't afford to take risks."

On what model? The existing pure Ponzi scheme where the state pension schemes have no real long term assets, only liabilities backed by future tax payers?

The welfare state started off with a National Insurance fund that was supposedly separate from general taxation, but that hypothecation has always been illusory because surpluses are loaned back to government, and because it isn't a fund at all, simply a current account. State pensions are a politician's promise, and as retirement goes up and benefits are eroded people might start to understand that government do not work for them, and such a scheme only works as the working population expands, just as a Ponzi scheme needs new "marks" to put cash in.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cost of markets

"certain banks were taking advantage of the time differential between stock exchanges "

Any trader who can has always sought to use information outside of trading hours to make a buck. That's how and why markets work. So if there's an earthquake in Japan in the middle of the night, somebody in New York will go short on Japanese stocks. Doesn't require HFT, just needs a man to think and push a button, or a machine setup to do it for him. If the pension funds want to trade in local daylight hours only, then that might work for them, and any consequences may be acceptable, if not then they need to move with the herd and engage in HFT. Given the long term investment and liabilities of pension funds, the impact of not engaging in HFT shouldn't be too much of a problem, unless they are just as much rancid speculators as "the banks" are deemed to be.

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Ledswinger
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"HFT is a violation of that principle, because some players have the information before others and thus can react before others."

And this differs from the real world how? The HFTs are betting that markets will move in a given way, just as a retail day trader concludes that a share will go up or down. They have access to the same information feeds as anybody willing to subscribe to the various information services.

Just because a machine takes the decision and executes the trade in a microsecond doesn't make it more or less evil than the bloke at his home PC considering news and prices, and concluding that a share is under or over valued, and then buying a few hundred quid of spreads or options. Maybe you disagree and think it is evil, but it seems to me that anybody arguing that machine trading is evil are reading and posting on the wrong web site.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Testing the algorithms?

"So they're going to set up an artificial market, install all that software and specific hardware that the companies have practically under armed guard because it's so secret, test it and then write a report? Really?"

No, they'll rubber stamp an EU directive saying that, but leave it to local parliaments to draft the legislation and the regulatory structures. In most of Europe the "testing" will comprise two questions that have to be answered "yes": Are you a locally domiciled bank? and Does your algo work OK for you?

Meanwhile, the British government will ask the British civil service to draft some legislation. The civil service will strain itself like a constipated bear for two years, and eventually squeeze out a zillion pages of incomprehensible, illogical, bureaucratic, ill informed value destroying verbiage, which after brief "consultation" and a completely made up impact assessment, will be pushed into UK law.

France and Germany have always believed (respectively) that Paris and Frankfurt should be the epicentre of world finance, and see anything that happens out of London as an outrage to the whole European superstate project. Ergo, anything that they can convince themselves harms London banks must therefore be a good thing, and in this case it is yet another instance of rheumy eyed old worlders convincing themselves that HFT is a ghastly anglo-saxon plot by the Yanks and Brits. They could be right, but as architects of the economic collapse of most of Southern Europe I don't think they are really in any position to form a valid judgement on anything.

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95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

Ledswinger
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Re: Theoretically...

"So, the more morbid part of my mind is trying to work out whether it would be best to work at the top, middle or bottom when one of these super high buildings collapses under the weight of its own hubris?"

Everybody inside will be dogmeat because even at the highest floors there's usually several hundred metres of non-occupied structure as the designer struggle to match the client demand for record heights with locations where there's not really the demand for that volume of space. But in the case of excessive hubris, I would guess you'd have an implosion, and a circular event horizon some way out from the building itself, and so the most important thing is to be a long, long way from the building, full stop.

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Whaddaya mean, NO REFUND? But I paid in Bitcoins! Oh I see...

Ledswinger
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Re: Bitcoin is strongly deflationary@ spider from mars

"In short, Bitcoin economics is awful on every level. It's almost as if it has been designed to undermine the ability of governments to control the supply of money "

Well, governments have done such a good job of managing money supply haven't they? Wouldn't pay to let somebody else have a go, who knows what sort of mess they could make, eh?

Here's a thought for you: In the past decade global governments have (in practical terms) printed ten trillion more dollars than there has been incremental economic activity. But that money hasn't leaked out to the plebs, nor has it been lent to real productive businesses. Instead it has been held on the electronic registers of the big banks, where investment bankers have wondered whether it would be cheaper to hold it as cash earning no interest, or to speculate on emerging market debt, over-leveraged buyouts, or "invest" in secondary markets (shares), London property, commodities or the like. When the bets go bad, and sooner or later every winning streak comes to an end, then the bankers know they will be bailed out by exactly the people who haven't benefited from all this fake money sloshing around.

The reality is that central banks controlling the money supply has been EXACTLY the means by which the 1% enrich their pals, and make sure that you and I are the ultimate back stop for their theft. Most ordinary people have seen their living standards drop, prices rise, yet their pay doesn't go up. That's because for central banks and politicians there are two types of inflation: Asset price inflation that makes housing more expensive, and inflates the nominal value of existing excess wealth, that's GOOD inflation for the 1%ers. But the sort of inflation that erodes the value of your and my debts, and results in a pay "rise" each year, that's the BAD sort of inflation.

As for Japan and deflation, wait for Abenomics to play out. Japan has in three short years doubled the monetary base. The Bank of Japan was, in recent auctions, the only buyer of Japanese government bonds, meaning that the rest of the world is unwilling to lend money for ten years at 0.6% to the government of the third largest economy. This will not end nicely.

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OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

Ledswinger
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Re: @Trevor Pott

""There's no room in this world for a [motor vehicle] that can't be a half-tonne truck, a mini-van and an F1 racing car...."

Err, FFS what are you responding to? Some random text that popped into you brain due to a crystal meth hit? I don't recognise the text, nor the message, even amongst responses to my post (itself a response rather than an original post).

When I can understand what the f*** you're on about, then you might get a cogent reply.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Why in the hell are @Rick Giles

"Down voted for not trying harder."

When you've posted enough on the Reg, you find the up and down votes settle down, and its actually very difficult to shift the average. So down votes (and indeed upvotes) cease to matter when you've had your fill of either. My long term average is 4 upvotes to 1 downvote, and despite some bitter battles with one or two other commentards where we tried to change those numbers it hasn't worked. But thank you for caring enough to downvote!

For the record, I'd like the world's default OS to be a decent open source, free Linux distro. But that isn't going to happen until:

a) Consumers can game. Yeah, Steam yadda yadda yadda. But its still not the full monty.

b) Everything (and I mean everything) can be done through the GUI. Yeah, command line is for the brutal, unprincipled hard men, the Vlad Putin's of tech. But I served my time using GCOS on advanced military systems in the days before time, and I'm not afraid of the command line, I just can't be bothered with such a counter intuitive, user unfriendly approach these days.

c) Open source Linux software has all the bells and whistles that MS Office afficionados demand. I know, you know that no real value comes from these toys, but you won't see Linux on the enterprise desktop until it can compete.

Cheers!

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Ledswinger
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Re: Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...

"... to keep buying stuff from these idots?"

Because it is cheaper and less painful to pay the Microsoft ransom, and put up with occasional snafus and security disasters than to run an enterprise wide Linux roll out (or OSX or other alternatives) complete with full staff training for users and skills conversion for all your Windows centric techs. And I suspect the real challenge is simply selling it to the board, followed closely by selling it to departments who have used Excel as a substitute for a professionally operated database, and built entire complex applications with Excel or Word macros.

Technically it is of course possible to give up WIndows (just as it is possible to give up on manufactured cars and clothing, and make your own), but the larger your business, the more complex your environments, the more legacy Windows only code you are dependent upon and you either have to keep legacy Windows machines or replace possibly business critical software with brand new, possibly custom written versions. Time and money, basically.

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True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras

Ledswinger
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Re: The best camera is the one that is in your hand.

" I've taken way more pictures since getting a smartphone than I ever did with my DSLR."

True for many, but I found it worked the other way. I've never found smartphones a rewarding photographic experience, and digital compacts something of a fast food experience. But when I got a m4/3 Panasonic G2 (marked down to £200), and was able to use depth of field, and control exposure time etc, I really got back into taking nice photographs in a way that I hadn't been able to since I abandoned silver halide. I'm sure the truly committed will scoff at my electronic viewfinder, kit lens, and mere 12 Mp images on an m4/3 sensor, but it works for me.

I suspect that many of the enthusiast photographers are like my father in law - they choose technically brilliant but over-heavy full frame DSLR's, insist on a collection of prime lenses, suitable bullet proof camera bag that collectively weigh half a tonne, and that's why they never have it with them.

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Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you

Ledswinger
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Re: Wow..

Doubt it. But the business model of ERP vendors is spookily similar to Microsoft: Sell on outrageous promises, ream out customer with equally outrageous licence costs, all in return for the use of truly ancient bug addled code with a shit user interface.

Quite why CIOs are so stupid as to believe that ERP will fix all their problems I don't know.

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Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen

Ledswinger
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Re: Lawyer Alert

"Looks like they're copying Samsung."

Certainly looks like specifications are converging. That probably helps Google more than Apple or Samsung, since it has always been easy to tell the difference between Android and Apple products but the obvious competition for a larger iPhone 6 (looking rather "me-too" in the crowded top end smartphone segment) isn't a Galaxy S5, it is more likely to be the premium feel top end HTC and Sony devices, with sealed batteries and possibly fixed storage.

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MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

Ledswinger
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Re: MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

"Nuclear powered ships move around severe weather. I can't see floating nuclear power stations doing that"

That's because floating power nuke plants are a daft idea - rogue waves or off course ships pose more likely hazards than tsunami, but either could be as devastating for a floating nuke plant. And the mass of a decent scale nuclear power station is such that trying to make it float is simply bizarre - "let's take the heaviest objects ever built by man, and try and make them float!". A far better idea would be building an underwater nuke power station. Tsunami, rogue wave, and mostly off-course ship and storm proof, can weigh as much as you want. Arguably neither more nor less vulnerable to military attack.

Admittedly a full scale underwater power plant would be a larger scale underwater construction than anything plant wise we've done yet, but there's plenty of very long tunnels under very high groundwater pressure that we've managed, the military experience of marine nuclear reactors could be turned to good use, and with suitable precautions, the plant is its own sarcophagus if things go pear shaped.

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Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich

Ledswinger
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Re: Whatever happened to "Silicon Glen"...?

What happened to Silicon Glen was quite simply that the whole idea was to lure tech jobs to Scotland to solve an unemployment problem, using short term taxpayer subsidies. Tech was exciting and growing, so the expectation was that this would create durable skills and retain the employers.

Unfortunately, the volume jobs in tech are low to medium skilled, and the employers were globally mobile companies lured by the subsidies. As soon as the temporary subsidies fizzled out, the jobs soon moved because either somebody else with expensive labour was now offering subsidies, or without continuing local subsidies the UK plant was uneconomic against foreigners simply prepared to work harder for less. The same thing happened with attempts to lure manufacturing to Wales - remember the Sony Bridgend plant, or the LG Philips in Newport, the Sharp solar panel plant at Wrexham, the Hoover plant at Merthyr Tydfil, and so forth.

Subsidies never work, but sadly structural adjustment (like abolishing employer's NI, or making business rates fit for purpose) is too hard for the public sector.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Don Jefe

"Britain just buys, doesn't produce."

In the grand scheme of things its fair to say that the US is in the same basket as the UK. I'll take your views on advanced manufacturing equipment at face value, but that hasn't been a UK export strength except when the Bessemer converter was regarded as advanced. Problem is that one narrow sector isn't representative of a whole economy.

Look at the analysis of recent US job reports - many of the old blue collar jobs lost (say in Detroit) have been replaced just as UK jobs have been with part time and lower value unskilled work. So although many but not all of your comments are accurate, your belief that the US is doing something different to the UK is wrong. The US likewise has a huge budget deficit, a huge trade deficit, and your economy is being hollowed out, with nothing but money printing to keep it afloat..

If we look at balance of trade in goods, last year the US ran a deficit of about $700bn, the UK a deficit of about £100bn, say $150bn. Per capita that means the trade deficit for the US is $2.24k compared to $2.38k for the UK. So for a country that doesn't manufacture much of value in your eyes, I'd suggest that we're not doing much worse than you lot.

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Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast

Ledswinger
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Re: worried about damaging the USB port

"Someday there'll be the right combination of form factor, speed & price..."

Yep. It'll be a phone with built in 128 Gb storage for an extra £50 over the current prices. If I can buy 128 Gb for £60 retail markup, tax and distribution included, there's no reason why idiot phone makers couldn't do that instead of sticking in 8 or 16 Gb (which requires just the same package and interface as a properly sized lump of storage).

The only explanation is a "640k is enough for anybody" mindset amongst mobile phone hardware designers, accompanied by the marketing teams' desire to ream out the more gormless customers with "propositions" like £60 for an extra 8 Gb.

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Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables

Ledswinger
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Re: Why should 64 bit drive demand?

" so I don't see how it would drive demand any more than a faster GPU or marginally improved battery life would"

These are all collective increments of improvement that help show that this year's phone is better than last years. But don't forget there's three other things driving continued demand that differentiate from the PC market: Style, accidental damage, and battery degradation on sealed phones.

Style isn't about whether you have Apple or Sammy, it is just a statement that many people regard a phone as more than a utilitarian tool to be used for as long as it works. This drives replacement for the sake of replacement.

Accidental damage (and loss or theft) speak for themselves but are all useful drivers of new sales that don't look to be going away anytime soon.

And you can have the battery replaced on most sealed units, but after a couple of years most people will want to upgrade anyway - particularly if the cost of having a battery upgrade is more than a few quid.

A PC could last a decade with a modicum of care. A mobile phone has a half life of about eighteen months I'd guess, and I think the analysts recognise that because of the attritional factors, the overall market is less likely to shrink despite the increasing technological maturity, and shrinking improvements generation on generation.

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Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

Ledswinger
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Re: @DougS

"This was/is never going to be anything but a conventional war,..."

Sorry mate, you're still in short trousers obviously. My first job a long time ago was maintaining and sharpening step one of the nuclear detente mechanism. Nobody ever starts out intending for things to go shit shaped. In the 1930's, heavy bombers were seen in much the same light as WMD today. Most people believed they'd never be used, they were a deterrent, and the thought of their use was simply horrific. FFWD to mid-1945, and we'd had Guernica, the London blitz, Coventry, Hamburg, Dresden, and ultimately Hiroshima.

Putin is banking on getting away with it. So did Hitler (note 1). If Putin he gets away with Crimea (like Hitler did in the Sudetenland), then he might consider Eastern Ukraine (even as I type), just as Adolf moved into Poland. Then what about disputes with former USSR NATO members. like, well, Poland?

Note 1: For historic purposes I claim a derogation against Godwin.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Could not have timed it better

"you seem to forget that this is Russia"

No, I don't. I agree with most of your comments, but I wasn't saying they could not or would not do this - just that it would be economic madness that they can ill afford. That's quite common amongst dictators, but Putin's got some way to go before he challenges North Korea for the 2014 title of Crackpot Dictator of the Year.

One point of clarification, why would London wish to stop anybody going into space? Nobody in the UK cares if Putin wants to build a huge phallus and point it at the moon, and historically we are used to threatening postures from short arse emperors and dictators.

The reality of the current spat over Ukraine has drawn out two fundamental issues that the world needs to learn, and neither are really about Ukraine or Crimea:

1) Russia is not a reliable trade partner, and with the threat of freezing Germany to death next winter, the key country of the EU isn't going to say boo to the goose stepper of Moscow. Important lessons: Russian exports cannot be relied on, and closing down your coal fired power plant to save the world has far more costs than just higher energy bills.

2) Giving up nuclear weapons means surrendering to those who do have them, even if other nuclear powers have guaranteed your sovereignty. This lesson was already believed in Pyongyang, Teheran and Islamabad, but Putin has single-handedly spelled it out to the whole world. This could have some rather difficult long term consequences including for Russia.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Could not have timed it better

"I'd much rather have a good old-fashioned space race, it's of much more benefit to humanity."

Not when both sides are funding it from the printing presses, which in the longer term is simply a stealth tax on holders of cash and cash-denominated assets. Building a big fuck-off rocket with tax might look cool, but when you've seen your economy hollowed out by the biggest debt fuelled boom 'n' bust in history, you'd think that people would have more sense than even more borrowing to pay for vainglorious technological willy waving.

Any the technical benefits of a space programme are simply too far ahead to make economic sense when you discount them and compare them to alternative uses of the money like low tech stuff that's crying out to be done, such as improving transport links or telecomms and internet access.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Makes sense

"Except the technology to get there exists now..."

And it didn't boost the Soviet economy at all, since it was unproductive state spending, and in a closed, secretive and centrally directed economy there were no spin offs for wider industry, unlike in the US, and the lack of a viable commercial sector meant that the multiplier effects of state spending were muted compared to a market economy.

Put simply, space science fits largely in the "guns" category of "guns or butter".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Could not have timed it better

"This is also at a time when the US probably couldn't afford to join that race"

To a degree yes, but the Yanks have far greater ability to afford it than the crooked and backward economy that Russia is blessed with. Putin and his mates have obviously forgotten that last time they tried to out-compete America on weapons and space technology it bankrupted the USSR. With an economy only held afloat by exports of gas, Russia is playing a dangerous game that in the longer term it is likely to lose.

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Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68

Ledswinger
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Just me?

Or is the icon type photo of two dangling feet next to the headline in your "Top Stories" box rather inappropriate in this instance?

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One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work

Ledswinger
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"If you think the system in the West is so bad, you're free to move to another country and see what the system is like there."

Errr, you've admitted you're the incomer. If you don't like us natives badmouthing our government, then you are free to move to another country where not only is there peace, freedom and democracy, but also the population universally adore their government and its measures to "protect their freedom". Where will that be?

Regarding how everything here is better than elsewhere, that's debatable at several levels, but the most significant challenge is simply that we have acheived the things you highlight because we're running a Ponzi economy funded by vast levels of irrepayable debt. Even now, with left wing politicians howling about austerity and cuts, the government is spending £100bn a year more than it gets in taxes, we've got over a trillion in public sector debt, and the private sector is no better, having become hooked on cheap credit.

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Ledswinger
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" The West should support ALL people struggling for freedom against oppression, with weapons if necessary, not just a cherry-picked selection. "

Nice statement. But in say, Syria, who's in the right? Are the anti-Assad forces struggling for freedom, or a different flavour of oppression? Where's the democratic opposition in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi? Are a few "right-on" liberal dissidents in China representative of anybody but themselves? What about dubiously democratic states (eg Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore) where the population at large seem relatively happy? What about Ukraine or Pakistan, where there's no clear distinctions between the credibility, honesty and support for any of the pretenders to power?

The people of the Western "democracies" have started to wake up to the fact that they too are governed by political elites who govern in their own interests, not those of the wider population. OK so we have little or no political prisoners, that doesn't make for democracy, and it doesn't mark out our system of government as better.

So come again, what high moral ground are you defending?

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

Ledswinger
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Re: Good article

" I was in a phone conversation with an Austrian, his accent was so heavy, I only picked up about half of the conversation."

Don't be so critical. I'll bet his German was better than the handful of useful German phrases I learned from Commando war comics. Luckily for my recent business trip to Germany at least half the population there speak better English than most UK residents do.

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Japanese schoolkids arrested in £2.4 MEEELLION phone fraud bust

Ledswinger
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"a minor did a pretty horrific act which in the UK would have got him (even as a minor) locked up for a very long time (possibly for life), in Japan he was out again in 7 years."

Yeah? How long did the Bulger killers serve? Sounds very similar to me.

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France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

Ledswinger
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Re: Draconian

"Don darling, are you trying to woo me? 'Cos you're off to a pretty good start...."

He's certainly on a roll today. Three cheers for Don Jefe!

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Smartwatch sales off to a very slow start

Ledswinger
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"Low sales?...Something to do with the length of time they last between charges?"

I doubt it. People put up with the dismal battery life of smartphones. The thing about smartwatches is they do very little that is useful or unique, and I think a critical problem makers have overlooked is that smartwatches are an ancilliary device - without a smartphone most smartwatches are completely useless.

When you've got two devices with short lived batteries, one of which can function on its own, one that can't and also doesn't actually do much, where does the pain get felt? By the smartwatch left in a drawer. On the other hand my Seiko 5 needs no batteries, is self winding, doesn't depend on a nearby smartphone, looks smart but discrete and is acceptably accurate. Even if I had a smartwatch, which would get worn?

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India second only to US in Google user data requests

Ledswinger
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"Its scary how many India apologists there are on this site"

Where? Seems like a reasonably diverse range of opinions being expressed.

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Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

Ledswinger
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Back to basics?

I'll happily have one in two years time when they will be discounted as the year-before-last's model, but the street price of this is about £500. Is that really "back to basics" and "destined to sell in huge numbers"?

If the spec was the same and the price was £400 I think they'd have a better proposition by far, offering sufficient over the Nexus 5, but not over-stretching themselves into the premium market.

Given the number of phones that Sammy make, isn't is about time they offered two top enders, one in the mould of the S5, and the other a sealed battery, fixed storage, metal chassis device to take on the Sony and HTC top enders? There's clearly room for both types at the top end of the market, and whilst I want a removeable battery and storage, that's not everybody's priority.

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USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

Ledswinger
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Re: Doh..@bob, mon!

"I have at least one cable that has the USB symbol on the underside instead of the topside, .....Still doesn't help when the port itself was installed upside down."

Surely it does. So long as you're not paying attention to the fact that the symbol's on the wrong side, then it's going to work a treat on the upside down port, if nowhere else in the world.

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Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

Ledswinger
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Re: reconstructed an asteroid

AAIB can work miracles starting from the tiniest piles of fragments.

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Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

Ledswinger
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Re: Arseburger...

" i dont want to be in the situation where oly go tits-up leaving me with no way to purchase lenses"

Last time I looked there was a well developed market in third party lenses for most cameras, many of which are very high quality. Obviously if you're after a 1,200mm F1.2 professional lens you may be out of luck, but if you can afford that price range a complete re-purchase of Nikon or other brand would be neither here nor there.

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Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation

Ledswinger
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"Surely they can't have hoped that people wouldn't notice and their business wouldn't be affected?"

You'd hope not, although some businesses are that chaotic. More likely Alphadex intend to defend themselves in court, but short of paying British Gas' demand, they can't actually stop a petition going to court, what they can do is contest it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Maximum Demand Tariff

"Commercial services get charged on their maximum demand"

True, but they are also charged for total usage, and for the load profile (how power is used during the day). This makes knowing what you should be paying very difficult, and transparency in the B2B power market is poor as a consequence.

As most businesses contract for a period of supply even if the tarrif is variable, it is possible that they contracted for N years at the prevailing peak demand, and the contracted peak demand costs are fixed irrespective of actuals. British Gas' contempt for their commercial customers is clear from the fact they've just been fined over £5m for obstructing business customers wishing to switch supplier.

Unfortunately things are going to get worse for business customers as DECC and the network operators try and shove more of total costs into the "peak demand" category, and DECC introduce complex schemes like the capacity mechanism that seeks to encourage businesses with standby generation to use this to mitigate peak demand.

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Indonesia considers smartphone tax to spur local mobe-makers

Ledswinger
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Re: WTO?

"One might question whether such a tax is a WTO violation."

Against the guiding principles, yes, But there's plenty of caveats and work arounds for developing countries, added to which the developed world has plenty of tarrifs on exports from the developing work. When you hear about a WTO dispute, it's usually because a country has reneged on a previously signed binding commitment to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade - either domestic subsidies or import taxes.

This is why you hear about the various rounds of WTO talks, as the organisation tries to eliminate barriers to trade.

As a single organisation the WTO has probably done more to address global poverty than any other (and far more than all NGO's and government foreign aid programmes), and I'll take my hat off to them for that. On the opposite side of the coin, it is because of reducing trade barriers that we suffer from the effects of globalisation and offshoring on domestic employment markets.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Won't work.

"YYYep, that worked out real well."

That's certainly how most protectionist policies pan out. But there's a subtle difference here, in that China has an under-valued fixed exchange rate, enabling it to under-cut competitors, and to an extent justifying duties (that mostly aren't levied) on everything they produce and sell to developed economies. Unfortunately Indonesia isn't part of the developed world with its over- or fairly-valued currencies, and the Indonesian Rupiah is by any sensible measure (eg the Economist Big Mac index) undervalued by even more than China's.

What this means is that Indonesia is saying "our economy is uncompetitive even with a currency undervalued against China's, but rather than address the causes of our uncompetitiveness, we'll make imports more expensive". Invariably, as with your example, the sheltered industry and government will see this a reason not to improve, and all that happens is consumers pay more, but ultimately the protected industry withers and dies.

Interestingly the bottom of the league table of relative mis-valuations of currency is occupied by India. It doesn't look to me that under-valuing their currency and protecting domestic industry has given India a vibrant tech hardware and mobile phone sector, given the ongoing disputes between the state and the Nokia plant, and the complete absence of Indian handset exports.

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Gov cheerleader Sajid Javid gets nod from PM to park in Miller's spot

Ledswinger
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Re: Mind you his...

"House in Finstall does look very good "

Does he actually live there, though? After some embarrassment (eg in neighbouring Redditch) where Tory candidates from miles away were standing against locals, it seems that the Tories mandated that their candidates needed an "official" residence in the constituency. But that doesn't seem to mean they actually live there.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sajid...

"...he's ok to a degree. A career politician no doubt"

Nope. A City investment banker, no less, with twenty years or so filling his wheelbarrow of cash at Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank, possibly amongst others. As far as I can tell (living locally to Bromsgrove, as it appears do rather a lot of commentards) Javid is now a London man, wealthy beyond the wildest imaginings of his constituents, parachuted into Bromsgrove to fulfil Tory party ambitions to increase their "diversity" quotas.

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AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'

Ledswinger
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"To be fair, if this thing eats around 500W, three of them eat 1500W"

I was being (mostly) facetious. But....total system power including PSU efficiency will be around 2.5 kW, before your screen (say another 300W). So like having a 3 kW fan heater on without thermostatic control. Use that in a room for any length of time and you'd need powered cooling anytime other than having a window open in a fairly cold winter. If the cooling system is aircon then you'd be consuming 7.5kWe to dump 2.5 KWth, making for 10kW continuous demand (in the UK average consumption is about 1kW - peaks are higher, but this system could still push the peak up by double.

Or you could use a very powerful (250W?) fan to change the air in the room. 2.7kW is still two and half times the average UK usage and the fan might not be as effective as you hope (because it is surprisingly difficult to actually clear the volume of air in a room by a fan). It'd be like sitting inside your PC.

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Ledswinger
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Re: In the meantime...

"NVidia 8800GT FTW!"

You've still got one that hasn't burnt out? Marvellous cards, but not exactly a long lived beast IME.

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Ledswinger
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"I want three running in CrossFire mode so I can play Far Cry 3 on my 4K TV."

Time to upgrade your house-to-grid connection.

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Ledswinger
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Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

"As Windows 8.1.1(or whatever) is getting long awaited features that consumers were asking for..."

Where? As I read it MS have continued to do what THEY want, not what I want, and not what WORLD + DOG want. They are promising that the next version might get things we want, but as they've serially not given people what they openly asked for I'm not hopeful.

This weekend the XP laptop at home is being treated to a dose of Ubuntu. If it works then that's good, if it doesn't then a large Android slab will replace it. I could buy a new version of Windows, but that's expensive, and as a matter or principle I'm not giving my money to a company that simply refuses to listen.

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

"I don't know, but then I'm not a socialist. I certainly wouldn't restore the monopoly positions."

So you'd renationalise Royal Mail, BT, and the railways, and then pretend it's a free market and there's competition?

"Why do people who have a political leaning in one of the traditional directions always assume everyone else has the opposite leaning?"

You think renationalisation is a credible policy position for anybody who isn't left of centre?

"Further, you talk about taxes on nationalized industries -...."

Only to make the point that the benefits you think you will get from nationalising those businesses will be lower than the their reported profits.

"Well. Why do government employees pay tax?"

Don't ask me, sunshine, I wasn't taking any position on the matter, and the employees' tax position is in any event independent of the tax position of the organisation. As far as I'm concerned you've come up with some piff-paff distractions rather than address the point that your mooted renationalisations would raise no worthwhile income and have a fair few downsides.

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Ledswinger
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@dogged

"a criminal trial will follow with mandatory jail time for a guilty verdict."

If you really believe that benefit fraudsters get mandatory jail terms then you clearly haven't followed either any recent cases, nor even government proposals to reform the system, which (in a move that will outrage you, I'm sure) plans to give additional rather weak powers for reclaiming benefits paid to fraudulent claimants.

Do you get your facts from Socialist Worker?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

"Then I'd use the money to renationalize BT and the Post Office and re-merge them.....Then I'd use the colossal wealth this can generate.....to renationalize the railways ....."

Bwahahahhahahahahahahahahaa! There speaks somebody who doesn't remember what am unresponsive empire of waste, incompetence and customer indifference that the GPO was! Remember "party lines"? Six month waits to install a line? Crummy little local exchanges with a few hundred lines and a full time engineer sitting around reading Razzle, and an operator polishing her nails?

And national rail? Remember the failed 1955 Modernisation Plan, which was supposed to support British industry and improve the railways, cost £1.6bn at the time (around £20 billion in current prices) How much more money would you want the state to throw away when it clearly doesn't either know how to build railways, nor how to run them? Or remember the dismal customer-loathing service of BR through the 1970s and 80s? The antiquated and unreliable rolling stock despite the Modernisation Plan? And BR were responsible for all manner of rubbish ideas of their own accord regardless of government support, like the progressive near closure of Marylebone, the failed outsourcing of locomotive manufacturing to Romania in the 1970s.

Nationalisation saw our domestic car industry go from world leading to woeful, left our aerospace industry as a single firm that no longer makes an entire aircraft in its own right, created basket case monopolists like BT, or customer haters like British Airways. And you want more?

And just to be clear, BT profits are about £2.2bn, but the dividend (ie returns to the owner) are only about half of that, say £1.1bn. On indicative figures we might guess that Royal Mail make £600m, and dividends perhaps £400m tops. Now, because corporate taxes would already have snatched about 20%, and the Royal Mail is only a 60% stake that has been sold, the "colossal wealth" your idea raises is a grand total of £1.1bn. Now lets assume you renationalise Royal Mail at privatisation receipt value, and BT at net fixed asset value, so you've added £18.5bn to the national debt, at an annual cost of around 3% (for ten year gilts). So that's an additional outgoing of £550m, bringing your net "colossal wealth" down (rather curiously) to the same sum, of £550m. All of this ignores the infringement of property rights such a move would involve, the impact on overall government borrowing costs and solvency, or the inevitable drift downwards in operational performance, but lets drift along on your socialist breeze for a while yet:

Given that there are around 36 billion passenger miles per year in the UK, and you've "found" a net £550m down the back of somebody else's sofa, how exactly is 1.5p per passenger mile going to make a difference to either the costs of or current performance of the national rail network?

Why are socialists so economically illiterate?

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British Gas applies to wind up UK colo outfit Alphadex

Ledswinger
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"So, they haven't paid the gas bill?"

Usually, yes. But it could be any form of financial or trade debt to British Gas, including (for example) repayment for services Alphadex contracted to deliver that were paid but not delivered, or delivered but of unsatisfactory quality, leading to a claim. Either way, once a company starts getting winding up petitions its days are usually numbered, because in addition to a refusal or financial inability to pay debts, there's often a systemic problem about how they've got to the stage of not paying bills.

The court doesn't have to grant the petition, and as an unsecured creditor you'd usually get nothing from winding up a non-viable business, so typically winding up petitions are used as a way of escalating a disputed debt where you believe that the company can pay, but is choosing not to.

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VAT's all folks: Telecoms and services tax to be set at consumer's homeland rate

Ledswinger
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Re: What has the EU been smoking?@Neil Barnes

"Nonetheless, and much as I hate sales taxes, there's a lot to be said for the proposal (made here, I believe) of doing away with company tax completely and putting it all on VAT paid in the country of purchase."

Not how I read it. It talks about VAT at the *rate* prevailing in the country of the purchaser, it didn't say their national government get paid it. What this will mean is that VAT tourism is stopped, but corporate tax inequalities become relatively more important. The French will be lobbying to stop that next, whilst the Irish will be lobbying to preserve it.

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