* Posts by Ledswinger

3079 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Slough isn't fit for humans now, says Amazon. We're going to Shoreditch

Ledswinger
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Re: Will Amazon invest in...

" Will Amazon invest in...The additional commuter infrastructure required?"

That depends on whether they negotiated some exemption from the Crossrail business rate supplement. Realistically, that toff Boris will have cut them a slick deal (because that's how all politicians work) and if that is the case then the infrastructure they need to shift their workforce from Slough to London will be paid for by every other business in London who don't get exemptions from the CBRS.

If Boris had any balls he'd have told Amazon they were getting special unpreferential treatment to block any presence in London until the tax dodgers stopped cheating the system, but what were the chances of that?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Slough - Paradise on Earth

"Well, it wasn't bad when I lived there during the late 50's early 60's."

It was a shithole by the time I lived and worked there in the late 80s. What you and I know, but other members of the commentariat my be less aware of, is that Slough exists as a binary system with nearby Windsor. For all the tourists, Windsor is pleasantly genteel, in contrast to the post industrial, post nuclear war scabbiness of Slough. This means that anything and anybody that aren't thoroughly down market gravitates to Windsor, and Slough thus accretes shittiness exponentially. Something like a black hole, except that you can visit it and come away again.

I suspect that in the 50s and 60s, lower car ownership, and the absence of the dual carriageway known locally as the Relief Road meant that journeying from Slough to Windsor was less easy, and it was less easy for the middle classes to escape.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the point

"ensuring that the customer has as little freedom and control as possible and that the provider retains all control and ability to unilaterally enforce any changes to the terms and conditions (including charges) that it may see fit."

For a rare change mate you're wrong. The regulations governing what a supplier must do and how they must do it run to thousands of pages, and they can't unilaterally do anything without giving you notice and the opportunity to take your business elsewhere. Suppliers won't have their hands on the "auxiliary load switch" that can dump shed-able loads, that will rest (most likely) with either National Grid of the local distribution company. The detail data from smart meters can't even be shared with your electricity supplier without your explicit consent, and DECC are in the process of painfully establishing their own Data Communications Company who will warehouse the data from all smart meters. With government's track record in IT, energy policy, and commerce, what could possibly go wrong?

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Ledswinger
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Re: British Gas tried to get me to have one

"They then did a cost check based on my annual consumption and when they came back saying this amazing deal would cost me 12% more than I currently pay even with free weekend electricity I politely declined."

I work in the industry, and we had a look at British Gas' offer and concluded that "free electricity Saturday" is a bit like Economy 7: In both cases you have to shift at least one third of your total 'leccy use into the cheap/free zone to make up for higher costs at other times. In practice this approximates to the scenarios that unless you've got electric storage heaters and immersion heaters as your only heating sources you shouldn't be on E7, and likewise you shouldn't touch the "free Saturday" offer unless you have a medium to large family and you're prepared to run all of you washing and tumble drying needs for the entire week on Saturday, and to shift any other loads like Friday's dishwasher to Saturday.

DECC are desperate to confront users with the costs of peak demand, but on a system wide level the average costs aren't that great. Instead of making things work the bozos should work to get prices down, instead of working energetically to push them.

Incidentally I was at an industry forum where some beard-and-sandal lawyer from OFGEM was quacking away about how great time of use tariffs would be when we've all got smart meters. I asked him how that complexity and lack of transparency matched up to OFGEM's view (enforced through licence conditions) that consumers must not be offered a choice of more than four single-rate-plus-standing-charge tariffs because greater choice was too confusing (including an effective ban on any tariff that didn't have a standing charge). I didn't get a credible answer, but his face was a picture, like man trying to shit a hedgehog.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

Or even "no and yes respectively".

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

" in the UK it looks like you'll be made to have one and pay for the privilege."

Yes and no, respectively. Energy suppliers are required to have installed smart meters at all suitable metering points by 2020, or to have offered to do so. You are at liberty to refuse a smart meter, but I would expect that sooner or later DECC will change the rules to permit suppliers to install smart meters without your say so.

However, as the total programme costs are recovered through the normal energy tariffs, everybody pays for smart meters, not merely those who elect to have them.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How do these thing save money?

"If you want to save money, don't use electricity/gas, right?"

This isn't about saving money, it about saving the planet, in the minds of the EU, and you are lucky to be allowed to pay for it. You have to bear in mind that smartmeters are mandated to be offered to all consumers by 2020 under EU directive, now written into UK statute by the bunglers of DECC and the criminals of Westminster.

The authors of this policy have committed to it on the basis that (a) they have re-engineered government to a war-footing to fight "climate change", and (b) they earnestly believe that the paltry savings will add up. But you have also to be aware that smart meters enable half-hourly metering, which means potentially different charges based on when you use electricity. Anybody can see that this will be confusing and customer-unfriendly, but half hourly metering is already in the process of being foisted on small businesses. In the short term half hourly metering says nothing about the tariff structure, in practice the tariff follows, and it is the regulator's expectation that the two will be linked (search on Ofgem, P272, filetype:pdf). There's an important underlying hypothesis here that shifting demand around during the day will have a big impact on emissions, and that's wholly unproven.

OFGEM are forever whining that the electricity market "doesn't work" (and it's true it often doesn't but usually because of them), but they are hoping to see energy suppliers experiment with time of use tariffs before smartmeters are universal, and then it will be open season on consumers. As usual the poor will be hardest hit, but I was rather amused to read in a DECC commissioned report that a mitigation strategy for consumers facing higher peak electricity charges that they could cook their evening meals later (like 10pm) to avoid higher peak charges in winter.

Unfortunately, all of this policy ignores the problem that the EU/DECC renewable strategy means that in future years we will have unpredictable generation, so that the prevailing logic of peak demand driving prices will fall apart, and prices will be driven by the random interaction between the vast build out of wind and solar power (again, your expense) and demand.

EU and UK energy policy (including smartmeters) is a despicable, tree-hugger inspired mess. Industry projections are that energy policy will cause electricity prices to double by 2022, and all of the three main political parties have the same position - blame suppliers for the cost of electricity, whilst throwing more and more of your money at subsidies and bad ideas like smart-metering.

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Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Ledswinger
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Re: Err...

"Any music i download from iTunes gets automatically uploaded to my Google Music account."

I'd agree that the lock in in perceptual rather than real, but you've still got to do something extra to get the freedom. Em-masse, people don't behave like that, and iTunes works very well as a barrier to exit. Your average Apple user won't have, or won't use a Google Play Music account, and I suspect most of them wouldn't be very impressed with it if they tried. Indeed, as an Android user I gave up on Play Music because it seemed unable to recognise and retain all the ripped tracks on my PC - like everything "free", Play Music has its limits and its true cost.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 0% finance over the contract term

"True, but only if the bargain happens to be available when your contract is up for renewal."

That's only an issue where the buyer can't wait. The natural victims (or cash rich) probably can't wait, but I've always found my phones continue to function beyond the end of the contract, and sometimes it has been necessary to wait a couple of months for the right deal to come up (or indeed pay to exit the contract a month or two early - I've done both). Obviously the roll-on contract usually includes the "handset" charge, so you don't have that long to make your choice before the maths works against you, but over two or three months, chances are something's available on a blindingly good deal, and in practice it is usually an outgoing premium model rather than a pretender. So there's fewer deals on (say) an LG G3 than on a Sammy S4.

But even that assumes that these deals are only sporadically available. I've found that if you're relaxed about what you get and from whom then there's usually something on offer. In the sales culture that pervades mobile phone retailing, somebody is always keen to offer deals to secure market share (eg run up to Christmas), or desperate to clear excess stock in the post Christmas slack period. Same applies for the invariable Spring sales offensives, or the slack water over the Summer holiday period. As with cars the market is also distorted by sales bonuses and campaign targets. At the moment the market is pretty quiet, but I can still find offers for an S4 on contract for an implied cost fifty quid cheaper than the best sim-free deal I can find.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Err...

"Every other businessman on the planet would kill to be able to do the same."

Well then, they need to concentrate on creating a reason to pay extra in the first place, and then lock people in through non-portable content or similar barrier to market exit. When the earlier iPhones were being sold, they were generally distinguishably better than competing products, and there was a logic to paying the iPremium. After a couple or four years use, a modest number of purchased apps, and potentially a shed-load of music which is (for most users) difficult or impossible to port to Android, there's a huge cost or convenience barrier to moving away from iShiny, no matter what the Android offer is (within reason). With contender phones (eg S5) pitched at similar prices to Apple devices, buyers won't notice the pain of an iUpgrade that includes another iMargin (have I overdone the i-words yet?), and the whole cycle continues, with more music and app purchases locking buyers in.

There's all the marketing, design, construction quality, distribution model that Apple offer, and these offer owners a rational justification for paying the iTax, but those aren't particularly good reasons to buy yet another of their phones. £400 of otherwise lost music is however a very big reason not to leap on the Android bus.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 0% finance over the contract term

"But this is why I have a nice little Samsung S3 Mini and not an i-whatever as the i-whatevers were all 40 or more pounds a month."

A disadvantage of the purchase model is that the sneeky buyer is much less likely to be able to benefit from over-commitment fire sales by the mobile retailers, or other unintended subsidy variations. So my full fat S3 costs me £17 a month all in (Carphone Warehouse/O2 offer), and I reckon the air-time and data allowances are worth about seven quid, meaning that by buying a phone on run-out was cheaper than buying a less capable handset outright.

This isn't a "my phone's cheaper than your's" jibe, simple an observation that the construct of the subsidised market (including minimum commitments by networks and retailers) often creates opportunities that a more transparent hardware purchase market is less likely to offer. At any point in time there will be something good that somebody really needs to shift, and if you're flexible then there's bargains to be had.

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TV techies proudly display their MIGHTY BENDERS in Berlin

Ledswinger
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Re: While a few men may think this is a good idea

"the spider has hacked the tracked dyson M1A1"

Not sure about the spider, but if we are to believe our government's security services the Iranians and Norks might. I'm fairly relaxed about the Iranians getting my Nerf-armed vacuum cleaner tank to hunt

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Ledswinger
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Re: While a few men may think this is a good idea

In which case they'd better automate the Slipper of Death. Android powered, internet-of-things compatible, totally fear-proof?

Maybe combine it with the Dyson tracked vacuum cleaner, so that the spider scuttles across the living room carpet, and slowly, relentlessly the Dyson M1A1 grinds after it, sleepless, indefatigable. Eventually the spider will be cornered, and the machine can vacuum it up, or simply crush it under the tracks, before sending a Facebook update announcing success and showing video confirmation. Or team up with Nerf to give the Dyson proper spider-attack capability. The Middle East model could despatch the spider by....no, lets not go there.

All these possibilities from technology, and the best the makers can give us is a fucking bendy telly and a watch with a battery that lasts a whole day. Knobs!

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Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs

Ledswinger
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Re: Re. nuclear base

And I didn't even mention which country it was for...

Could have been the bad guys. But these days it's not really clear who are the bad guys, and maybe our side are the bad guys. Perhaps they weren't in the days I referred to, who now knows.

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Ledswinger
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"That's not a typo. 10,000GB on spinning platters in helium"

Ten terabytes? I can remember when you could run a tactical nuclear air base on 80 Mb.

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

Ledswinger
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Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

Somebody better let me know. Horizon used to be excellent, but has long since degenerated into repetitive mush.

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Virgin Media hit by MORE YouTube buffering glitches

Ledswinger
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Re: Use a proxy to get outside of the Virgin Network?

"Like a pirate on a VPN? I don't want my name added to a government watch list!"

Maybe not, but don't you think that the likes of GCHQ and NSA (and others) have identified and profiled regular, prolific, popular or controversial commentators on leading social, political and tech web sites? And you, on a web site like this.....weeelllllll........ you've probably had your inside leg measured without you so much as knowing.

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NASA said a 60ft space alien menacing Earth wouldn't harm us: Tell THAT to Nicaragua

Ledswinger
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Re: Not all collisions are high speed

"I once calculated what might happen if whatever it was which made Tycho crater hit somewhere in the North Sea. It wasn't pretty."

This could explain Scunthorpe, Clacton, Hull, South Shields, Filey. I hope your work was published.

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Ledswinger
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Re: kinda cool...@FrankAlphaXII

"Had this occurred in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua (what I'd refer to as "Bum Fuck Egypt", or BFE for short), nobody would ever know but some farmers who are to a decent degree ex-Sandinistas and Contras that both know big explosions tend to mean trouble, and maybe some drug mules here and there."

That big swoosh above the atmosphere was evidently no comet or meteor, it was simply the roar of red-neck generalisations hurtling out of the pages of Huckleberry Finn and menacing a whole selection of developing countries. Fortunately with the exception of one particularly rancid comment that fell to earth and caused a hedgehog to explode in Nicuragua, the toxic ball of hill-billy wisdom has rushed off round the Sun, and may return to cause offence in a few hundred years hence unless space defences can ward it off.

And whilst it's on-topic, remind me again who armed and funded the Contras as part of an illegal destabilisation plot?

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O2 breathes life into Amazon Fire: Mobe to hit Blighty in WEEKS

Ledswinger
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Re: Even free isn't cheap enough@ JDX

"99% of arrogant nerds are total idiots that don't understand people.

(or grammar)"

If you're goose-stepping out as a grammar nazi, shouldn't you have avoided a two word sentence that starts and ends with brackets, and looks barren of capitalisation and a full stop?

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Ledswinger
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Re: BBC Worldwide

"Organizations like the BBC already do geolocation on IP addresses to filter non-UK traffic. It surely can't be beyond the ability of their IT staff to get the ranges of IP addresses used by the major "VPN to bypass copyright" providers, and just blacklist them as well?"

As somebody who has to pay the telly tax to support the Beeb, I'd suggest that instead of canvassing overseas regulators with bad ideas to try and support a token revenue stream, the idle, useless bastards actually focus some attention on producing something worth watching for domestic audiences?

I'm surprised anybody would want to pirate anything the BBC has produced in the past five years.

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Who us, SHARE infrastructure? Networks reject gov proposal

Ledswinger
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Fatuous arguments defending the status quo, as usual

"If covering an area which is economically marginal means that the network which has gone to the expense then has to give that coverage to rivals, no one will go to the expense"

Who said anything about giving capacity away? A straightforward charging mechanism could be put in place, and by suitable design could actually incentivise provision of coverage in areas that currently have no service by directing all tower-specific revenues to the operator.

An interesting alternative is to have an independent operator of towers of last resort which all MNOs are mandated to roam onto. If there's some level of economic demand, OFCOM offers the MNO's a "last chance" offer to provide coverage on their terms, before the independent is offered a local mast monopoly with all the MNO customers in range roaming onto this (ie, if they don't take the opportunity they can't then try and undermine the independent at a later date). Wouldn't undermine the ability of the MNO's to do things their way, but if the incumbents can't or won't extend and improve the networks then it can still be done. As I conceive the idea it wouldn't be a universal coverage obligation, simply a means of providing capacity in locations where there's commercial levels of demand, but where individual operators elect not to provide connection. It also create a clearer playing field if (for example) local government wanted to make a contribution to extend mobile coverage.

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Alibaba swings a large one with STONKING IPO legal bills

Ledswinger
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Re: big $15.8m payout to lawyers

I'm surprised that the legal bill is so small. IPOs and M&A are lodes of 100% pure moolah for law firms, and for a Chinese company with no history in the US to launch a $20bn listing on the basis of legal advice costing less than $16m it looks like very good value indeed. The investment bank leeches have reputedly shared 1% of the IPO value as fees, so that's $200m in fees which makes the legal fees look like small beer.

At average values for big US law firms the $16m equates to perhaps 22,000 hours of billable time, or 16 lawyer-years. Over a four month period your 40 figure is about right, but that then implies no big fat success fee, and none of the traditional padding of the figures.

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Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'

Ledswinger
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Why doesn't it make logistical (or logical) sense? Chances are that they'll only be serving the heavily populated metropolitan areas. And potentially Oz is a nice learning market before moving into other developed non-US markets, given that there's little similarity between North American markets and many other Anglophone or even European markets.

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Shitty what? Almost half of MPs have never heard of Tech City

Ledswinger
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Re: That's the trouble u c?

"If I were a civil servant wanting to do central planning, I'd be rolling out a national grid of fat comms pipes "

You mean spending tax payers money on things they aren't prepared to pay for themselves, on the basis that you know better than they do what is good for them? You should apply now, you'd make an excellent civil servant.

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Ledswinger
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"Can't imagine Apple getting planning permission to build a shiny new GCHQ-style doughnut HQ in the middle of Hoxton.."

Well the tax dodgers at Google got the nod for a £650m HQ just up the road in Kings Cross. Sounds like they've since cooled on the idea, perhaps because they've now visited the area, but if you've got the money then London welcomes you.

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The Schmidt hits the clan: Google chief mauls publishers' 'abuse of dominance' claims

Ledswinger
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"maybe we should set up a federally sponsored publishers' shelter? "

We have. It's called the EU. And in this case they'll decide that it somehow "isn't fair" that Google's search engine points to Google's other services. But for us in the EU, regardless what the gravy-trainers of Brussels decide we can simply use google.com

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Warrantless phone snooping HAPPENS ALL THE TIME in Blighty

Ledswinger
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"If anyone asks you if you intend to vote Conservative in the next General election, tell them Yes. And then vote to get a different set of bastards in. Maybe then we can get some of these legal work-arounds blocked."

Given our effectively two party system, you mean to vote for the party that actually wrote and passed RIPA into law last time it was in government, the same party committed to making you have an identity card to prove that you're entitled to breath?

Have you been drinking again?

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New Lumia mobes nudge Microkia ever closer to biz customers

Ledswinger
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@James 51

"Microsoft buying nokia was a bit like a dog chasing a car. Now it's caught it, it doesn't know what to do with it."

To be fair, that's how most M&A works. And for that matter, it's now how wars are undertaken.

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Nokia Lumia 530: A Windows Phone... for under £50

Ledswinger
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Re: Like the 630 review before it..

"The same issue plagued the Nokia 630 phone, where reviewers said it was less than £100, but in actual fact the price was £140."

But Microsoftia having whispered in the reviewer's ear that it was £100, that's what all the reviews said, making for positive headlines. Moreover, when writing their conclusions these same people would have contrasted against cheaper phones, and thus were more likely to give the newcomer a positive review.

Whilst customers will notice the price differential, if they've already gone in with the belief that a reviewer has declared the relevant phone to be the bee's knees, there's a fair chance they'll find the extra few tenners.

This is called "marketing" these days.

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Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

Ledswinger
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Re: Does it really matter who shot it down?

"The transcript which puts the blame on the rebels even has them talking of shooting down an enemy plane and I can well believe that's exactly what they thought they'd done and intended to do. "

It could be true, but I think its a bit odd that military personnel capable of operating advanced defence electronics would be speaking in the open on insecure telephone lines, don't you? The veracity of that transcription has yet to be proven.

"A simple repeat of bringing down a Ukrainian transporter as they'd already done earlier."

Very different. The transport was at lower level, and believed to be brought down by a man-portable device incapable of reaching the altitudes at which civilian airlines were operating. A MANPAD involves far less skill (and thus implies less knowledge and awareness of the user), and has far more limited range, so couldn't shoot down MH17.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @Alan Brown

"The USA stepped up right from the outset and said "oops". The people involved were disciplined and payouts were made."

Err, they had to be dragged to the international courts to pay up.

And not only did the US award the crew combat ribbons for their performance in the gulf, the Vincennes air warfare coordinator received the USN Navy Commendation Medal, and later the commander of the Vincennes was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for his command of the ship.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Does it really matter who shot it down?

"It was obviously a mistake, whoever did it. "

What makes you say that? The alleged attack weapon was an advanced weapon capable of reaching high altitude that required multiple crew members, and two or three different ground vehicles. Whoever fired it and was able to hit a target flying six miles up at nearly 500 miles an hour miles up knew exactly what they were doing with complex anti-aircraft weaponry, and by definition would have known that civilian air traffic was operating in the area at that altitude, would have been able to deduce that this was civilian (from speed, altitude and course) and therefore knew this wasn't either a Russian air force intrusion, nor a Kiev military transport landing supplies.

Putin was on a plane through this airspace 200 miles (ie 24 minutes) behind MH17, and if you accept my suggestion that whoever launched the missile knew exactly what they were unleashing, then there are only a couple of obvious conclusions, both of which are fairly unpleasant:

1) This was an attempt to assassinate the leader of the world no.2 nuke weapon power (with more important questions than who launched the missile, like who originated the scheme, and who authorised it).

2) The Putin proximity was irrelevant, and the intention was to deliberately bring down any passing commercial transport, intending to implicate the other side (a false flag attack). I'd not be so bold as to suggest this proves anything, but the immediate enthusiasm of Western power to blame Russia first and separatists second is notable.

There is perhaps a third option, the "Vincennes excuse", in which those who launched the missile intended to bring the plane down, but in the red mist they'd ignored the obvious signs that this was a non-combatant, but that's like claiming that murdering the wrong man is only manslaughter, and doesn't wash for me.

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Ledswinger
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Provisional report's due out in a day or two, IIRC. Hopefully the report will be technical and of high quality (as most air accident investigations are), but the public voice of Western powers will be much as before - airliner shot down by advanced SAM, don't really know who fired it, it crashed in separatist held territory, so it MUST be the separatists. In the same way that because Pan Am 103 crashed in Scotland, it had to be the fault of the SNP.

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Ledswinger
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" Could they put an automatic weighing machine under the passengers queuing for that security check?"

Good idea. And then combine the baggage and passenger weight allowance to make everything fair.

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Beer in SPAAAACE: Photographic PROOF

Ledswinger
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@2460 Something

"The glass was sealed (I assume cling film)."

Don't take a job as an aircraft designer, please. Or in anything involving pressure vessels, pipelines and such like. You might be OK with balloons, though.

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TIBCO ponders new 'financial options', including sale or merger

Ledswinger
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Business as usual

"Ranadivé says it is business as usual for the company and customers won't notice any change."

Certainly is BAU in the ERP sector. The model is:

1. Build basic ERP, recruit customers

2. Acquire other firms to extend basic capabilities

3. Go private, so PE managers can pillage the company and "improve" the financials

4. Sell out to Oracle or SAP (or Infor, who one day want to sell out to Oracle or SAP).

http://www2.erpgraveyard.com/tombs.html

Customers certainly won't notice any difference, in that their bills will continue to rise, supplier flexibility decline, and employees will (as ever) fear the thin whoosh of the scythe.

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NATO nations 'will respond to a Cyber attack on one as though it were on all'

Ledswinger
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Re: Wake me when they actually do something

"@ I ain't Spartacus....Your thought process & justifications scare me, I can see why the world is the way it is."

I wouldn't worry. Our non-Spartican friend seems to give credit to the idea of a cyber attack that disables all of our critical infrastructure. Given the motivations and morality of many of the baddies of this world, if it were feasible it would have been done. Sure you can DDOS a bank. Big deal. You can hack many companies, big deal. You can demonstrate vulnerabilities in some SCADA kit, big deal.

But the idea that the whole modern world is simply waiting to be hacked and crashed is bollocks. I've worked in infrastructure for most of my career, with an initial spell in high security defence computing, so I like to think I have a good feeling for the extent of the risk, and I say the prophets of imminent cyber doom are talking out of their arses.

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

Ledswinger
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Re: Sanctions against@ IAS

"Did the US annex Iraq? Nope. Did US forces leave at the government's request? Yup. Are US forces leaving Afghanistan at the government's request? Yup. Did the US annex part of Afghanistan? Nope. Notice a difference?"

You're quire right, I do notice a couple of differences: Some people, in fact quite a lot of people in eastern Ukraine welcomed the very limited Russian involvement. As far as I can see NOBODY in Afghanisatan or Iraq welcomed the unjustified invasion of their countries, the dismantling of all institutions, destruction of infrastructure. And in Iraq and 'Stan there's been collectively hundreds of thousands of mostly civilian casualties.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yup. had that in apartheid South Africa

"Apparently Russia's corporate finance needs are nearly $200bn this year, just to refinance maturing debt. And according to the German government exports to Russia in July were down 60% on last year."

Well the Russian government can fix the debt rollover problem just the way the US, UK and ECB fixed their debt problems. You run the printing press.

But that line about Germany, that's the nub. The effect of sanctions against Russia will hurt Germany above all (and London, but primarily in lost profits). Reduced exports to Russia are not a big deal, but if the Russians retaliate and interrupt winter gas flows then the effects will be, shall we say, interesting. Germany has a lot of gas storage, so there will be two options for Russia - token interruptions to make a point, knowing that storage will supply end users, or prolonged interruptions towards the end of winter to disrupt end users and inflict economic harm. And with the West having sucked up to Ukraine, what will Germany do if Ukrainian gas supplies are cut, and Kiev citizens are freezing to death? Will Germany sacrifice its gas reserves to keep Ukraine warm?

I don't know the answers, but the whole mess in Ukraine is largely a Western caused mess with a Western policy response that must be the finniest thing Putin's ever seen.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sanctions @ I ain't Spartacus

<i"Arguably, the Iranian sanctions roll-back is happening because the US has reached the end of the line with them."</i>

And because the Americans now find themselves in a bizarre, unannounced and undesired alliance with Assad and Iran to fight IS, because the US backed a thuggish crook to run Iraq, who then destabilised the place on ethnic lines, creating fertile territory for Sunni extremists. And to add further black humour to this situation, many of IS's more competent fighters were CIA trained and armed in Jordan, and are now using all that military kit the Yanks poured into Iraq, but couldn't be bothered to bring home. Separately the US is all cozy with the GCC states who have allowed funds and arms to flow to IS, and indeed spending serious money to "protect" these states against the alleged threat from Iran's antiquated military and thus pouring yet more advanced weapons into the volatile pot that is the Middle East.

When I look at the foreign policies of the various major world countries, I can see what motivates most of them. Except the US, where they seem intent on repeating mistakes of very recent years, creating new enemies where none existed, and destabilising regions they want to see stable. The only logic of US foreign policy is that it persistently maintains high oil prices, and whilst the man on the Western street might feel he suffers from high oil prices, everybody else (including Western governments, financiers, traders, and oil companies with expensive to produce US oil resources) love high oil prices.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

"After all, why should business suffer just because their customers are evil war-mongers who shoot down airliners. "

Well, that's a good question. The moment MH17 was down but still smoking, Western politicians were blaming Putin and the Ukrainian rebels. When Pan Am 103 came down it took weeks indeed months of intensive work to establish who really did it (and still the evidence is not wholly convincing).

Since those early accusations over MH17, you'll have seen that no proof has been offered, that the makers of the accusations have quietly backed off and distanced themselves from the more vociferous complaints. The photos allegedly of "rebel held" AA missiles have been debunked, showing locations in far distant Kiev-controlled territories, and the US (despite having the technology to resolve the hairs on a Talibani's backside in Iraq from earth orbit) have failed to produce all the loudly and gladly anticipated evidence of a missile launch in rebel held territory.

Ukraine is a backward, ill-governed, corrupt and undemocratic part of the world, with strong ethnic and national tensions. US-sponsored interference in Ukraine's primitive politics resulted in the Maidan uprising, which surprisingly then replaced an elected pro-Russian president (a dodgy crook, I'd accept) with a not-properly elected pro-US president who's also a dodgy crook, dependent upon extremist right wing militias and continued Western cash injections, triggering the not-so-latent tensions now playing out.

So, who's the bad guy's here? And interestingly if we have a cold winter in Europe, who's on the hook for the Russian retaliation for ill-conceived sanctions? Germans. Initially their government tried to take a softly-softly line, but I daresay the population will be pleased at their government now bending over to US pressure.

The US establishment have intervened all round the world over the past decade and more, and I can't think of one instance where the outcome has been good (particularly for the Americans themselves). Forced out of Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and leaving those countries more wretched than they were before whilst creating and arming new enemies. Now the fools are again dabbling with starting a hobby war in somebody else's back garden, with no legitimacy nor any public support at home.

If there's a need for sanctions, it's sanctions on Washington (and perhaps London/NATO) to stop the madmen from their current spiral towards a new cold war.

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Video: Dyson unveils ROBOTIC TANK that hoovers while you're out

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: sounds neato

"My neato vx-21 ( yes the name is off-putting ) ...."

Well Dyson have messed up calling a vacuum cleaner a "360 eye". If it's got tracks then they should have called it the Dyson Kursk, and given the design a suitable khaki theme. And they could have offered an expensive version with metal tracks, deliberately devoid of lubricant in order to move with a menacing squeaking and clanking (and an extra cost option of a built in speaker playing a quiet soundtrack of a 26 litre diesel). I'd have one of those.

Of course, the marketing dweebs who specified it have no imagination and probably no knowledge of history, so none of that was ever on the cards, but they could at least have called it the Dyson Panther, which has pleasant overtones of grace, speed and strength amongst those who don't have a Commando war comic moment when the term "Panther" gets mentioned.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Still missing critical feature

"Non of these robot vacuums empty their bins out requiring daily human interaction. I have given up on such robot until this has been implemented."

A software fix should enable it to identify the cat flap, reverse up to the flap and engage reverse thrust? Admittedly it'll make a mess outside until the wind blows, but I can tolerate that.

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Power station fault cuts electricity, water and internet in Cairo

Ledswinger
Silver badge
Alien

Re: Please note

"A really big solar flare could take out power stations worldwide, and in many countries (including the UK) that would also cut off water supplies."

We've had a number of big solar flares over the recent half century, and they've generally failed to cause the havoc that the doom-mongers predict. The power plants are well protected, and it is the grid that would get hit, and even that has plenty of interruptors and circuit breakers than have to deal with locally more powerful phenomena (eg lightning, short circuits) on a far more frequent basis.

Some water facilities would be affected by loss of power, but as a rule UK water engineers have designed both water supply and sewerage systems to use gravity, with a combination of distributed storage and local power back ups keeping water supply going for long enough to overcome most credible interruptions.

Collect your tin foil hat over there ------->

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Verizon hit with $7.4 MEEELLION fine for slurping users' privates

Ledswinger
Silver badge

How the board laughed....

When they worked out they were being fined a whole 0.006% of 2013 turnover.

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Claimed Home Depot credit card hack could be biggest retail breach yet

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: "and they run old or outdated operating systems"

"That would be Windows Embedded for Point of Service - i.e. XP?"

Probably. But ignoring the OS, what about the EPOS system? A few large European retailers use EPOS systems written entirely in Java which is bad enough. When you then learn that the individuals who designed and coded it have only recently been released from Her Majesty's hospitality for fraud then you might conclude that the retailers have not bought wisely.

Then again, with the slightly whiffy nature of many EPOS suppliers, often involving accounting standards that are a flexible friend, and sales/purchasing practices amongst both software vendors and the retailers that would make an Afghan drug dealer blush, things can only get worse.

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Don't buy that phone! It ATTRACTS CRIMINALS, UK.gov will tell people

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Here's an idea....

"Y'now, those useless money eating things like, youth clubs, sports clubs, rehab clinics, homeless shelters, debt advice agency's, sure start centres, intervention teams, social services, adult education services, apprenticeship schemes."

Nulab tried that for ten years without too much obvious success, and as a result of the Cowalition's failure to make any worthwhile cuts the national debt is still rising by £100 billion quid each and every year (over £11m per hour).

How much more money do you want to spend on schemes trying to distract the feckless and where will it come from?

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Car makers, space craft manufacturers infected with targeted recon tool

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: IE involved, again...

"Perhaps the bigger news was the compromising of the engineering software companies web site in the first place. But they fail to say *who* that was, which might help other folk know if they might be exposed or not."

How does it help the intended victims? OK they avoid software company X (possibly to the extent of that company going out of business), but the real issue is that the target companies themselves are operating vulnerable software that they need to address. The bag guys can easily move on to another industry specific watering hole, so avoiding the original launch site achieves nothing. Indeed, if the attackers are taking a strategic approach they're sitting on a catalogue of vulnerabilities to use when the current crop are patched, they'd have future watering hole sites already identified, and duplicate C&C servers in reserve against a takedown.

What troubles me is that the auto and aerospace sectors are dominated by big, technologically advanced companies, with plenty of IP to protect. They have small armies of people like the target demographic of the Reg to look after IT security. Which means that either the crooks will find the drawbridge is already up and castle defended, OR these IT security professionals (us) continue to run hideously vulnerable crudware in the first place (like Java, Flash, Acrobat Reader), and the installations are presumably unpatched as well.

I'm inclined to the latter view, but I'd welcome the view of people more directly involved.

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Singapore slings £18k fine at text-spam-spaffing biz owner

Ledswinger
Silver badge

" It's unlikely to be a deterrent for the big boys who cover their tracks and operate globally with impunity"

Largely because the non-malware spamming business operates hand in glove with the global payment processors, and that's where the regulators should focus. You want to stop Vi@gra spam? Simply stop them taking payment with any major credit or debit card. So few people would know how to pay in bitcoins that the revenues from spamming would collapse.

If the regulators really wanted to stop it, they could make it illegal for payment processors to take funds from organisations undertaking criminal or unlicensed activities, on the basis of the jurisdiction of the buyer. The spamming vendors themselves wouldn't be traceable, but the regulators do know where Mastercard live, and have the necessary sticks to force them to come clean. If you could stick Mastercard for twice the entire value of all such transactions they'd soon start being careful about who they do business with - as things stand their (and resellers) merchant services divisions probably have f***ing account managers to support the spammers.

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