* Posts by Ledswinger

4077 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

'I don't recognise Amazon as a bullying workplace' says Bezos

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmm

I hope he is sincere and tries to sort out this problem

Kudos to you mate, for your naieve optimism. In any organisation I've ever worked in, you can have isolated pockets that differ from the norm, but that allowed, an organisation's culture is always the shadow of its leader. The number of deeply unfavourable and similarly toned reports about Amazon seem to be more widespread than can be accounted as isolated pockets, and that implies that unfavourable attitudes, values and behaviours have pervaded the entire business, and by implication they have spread top-down.

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Ledswinger
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That said, Bezos specifically says that if this *is* the case for someone, they should report this to him, so it can be investigated.

Most whistle blower programs are simply way of getting troublemakers to self identify, IME.

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Don't fight the cistern: Voda takes the plunge with plumbers’ parking app

Ledswinger
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A parking app?

So that's what Vodafone are doing, instead of fixing their miserable, frustrating, unhelpful, time-squandering customer dis-service. What a useless company.

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Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Ledswinger
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I don't expect to hear very much in the way of Windows 10 success until at least in to 2016.

I'm sure that Microsoft will soon be trumpeting success on the basis of large numbers of home user installs. And for the majority of home users, there's three simple things that make this inevitable:

1) Most/all users don't read and understand the EULA

2) Most are ill equipped to understand the privacy issues that are the major concern

3) "free" trumps all other considerations

On that basis I'd guess that Microsoft will see very rapid uptake of W10. Business will remain loyal to W7, and we can expect all flavours of W8 to be end-of-lifed as soon as indecently possible, in the hope of forcing the holdouts to roll over to W10.

Not a very pleasant scenario, but one that seem inevitable with most national legislatures "bought", and most privacy regulators utterly ineffectual.

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Would YOU make 400 people homeless for an extra $16m? Decision time in Silicon Valley

Ledswinger
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Re: Palo Alto is weird.

I know. I was born in Stanford Hospital, raised in Palo Alto (with a side-trip to Yorkshire for me "O"s and "A"s).

Mr Curtis, perchance?

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Ledswinger
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Re: I'd take the $39 million

And as a practical matter, who is going to fill these $40,000 a year jobs if there's no affordable housing in the area for them to live in?

There's plenty of people who need a job, they'd just have to commute a long way, adding to the long, poorly paid hours they already work, and eating up more of their low wages. This is how it works in any city with sky high property prices, be it LA, SF, New York, London etc etc.

Just part of the way that the rich get richer, the poor get ever poorer. In this case the rich have more premium apartments, and fewer poor neighbours, the real workers get even crappier homes and have to spend more time and money to get to jobs shovelling shit for the rich.

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Take redundancy if you want, Capita IS for turning now, after all

Ledswinger
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And that wouldn't have anything to do with the ability to get an answer more effectively from a website instead of having to sit through interminable "Press 1 if ...

If you think O2 have a problem with this, you should try Vodafone, who are the most incompetent clowns I've ever come across. Not only is the Vodafone IVR system (IVR="press 1 to be disconnected, press...") a complete fucking mess designed by world class retards, but the website is equally unhelpful. At Vodafone, they don't want to interact with customers by voice, or by digital channels.

Message from Planet Earth to Vodafone plc: YOU USELESS, USELESS DOGFUCKERS. IF I PHONE YOUR COMICALLY TITLED CUSTOMER SERVICE, ITS BECAUSE I WANT TO SPEAK TO SOMEBODY. QUICKLY. ABOUT A SIMPLE MATTER THAT ANYBODY WITH AN IQ OVER 40 COULD RESOLVE.

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Ofcom coverage map: 7/10 – must try harder next time

Ledswinger
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But they get points for trying :-/

Yes, they do.

But you can help make it more accurate by submitting your response to the feedback request. For myself I've suggested that it would be quite feasible to have a form to submit a user experience report asking for the reception strength reported by the mobile phone? That'd then modify the predicted data, and over time the map would better and better shows the truth (although I'm not suggesting a user-editable map).

And I suggested they differentiate the "amber" category into upper and lower divisions of performance.

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Budget UHD TVs arrive – but were the 4Kasts worth listening to?

Ledswinger
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Re: I'd still wait

It's great that you can get something so cheap, even if you do have to put on your slippers and go to Asda.

From observation, the majority of TV sets sold by supermarkets are high on specification, low on quality. Asda or Tesco are almost the last place on earth I'd look to buy tech goods (albeit marginally ahead of CurrysDixonsCrapphonewhorehouse).

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More UK broadband for bumpkins, but have-nots still ain’t happy

Ledswinger
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Re: No pat on the back here

As far as I could see, hand-wringing and excuses are the nearest we will get to a solution.

As far as BT are concerned, they couldn't give a hoot (in the same way that VM don't give a hoot about the fringes and backwaters of their coverage, TBH). But why not up it to your MP, write to the local rag, your councillor, and the chamber of commerce. Four letters, based on similar content, but intended to garner support and attention. A bit of thought and there will be other sensitive touchpoints, and a bit of momentum may build. Maybe not, but other than four sheets of A4, a few quid on postage, what have you got to lose?

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Two weeks of Windows 10: Just how is Microsoft doing?

Ledswinger
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Re: “Windows as a service”

1) You have to rent it in future

In two ways perhaps. You've got the opportunity to buy things you used to get for free, but in addition Win 8.1 upgrades came with a perpetual and transferrable licence, regardless of the EULA that the machine originally came with. From what I've seen (not having "upgraded" myself) the EULA for W10 upgrades ties the software to the machine it is first installed to.

I'm not sure this really affects that many people other than homebrew PC builders and upgraders, but I suspect it has been exercising the minds of the beancounters who run Microsoft.

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Ledswinger
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So now we will get a load of posts claiming this to be the China Export mark which doesn't even exist.

Come off it, everybody knows it stands for caveat emptor. I must say it's a slow news day if the Reg are having to blather on that the wrong font or spacing were used for the CE mark.

I suppose in the parallel universe of Brussels it means something, but as far as I can see the "CE" mark is a pointless bit of bureaucracy with no value to consumers at all, and no relevance to whether a product is safe or effective, whether it appears or not.

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Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob

Ledswinger
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Re: it may backfire?

Like you, I have some respect for Corbyn but the main reason I would support him is because he seems to actually believe in something;

What, like The Austrian? He had very clear beliefs. Sadly that episode of electing a charismatic ideologist didn't work out so well, did it?

Godwin defence:

1) It's an appropriate point

2) I didn't name He Who Must Not Be Named

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Ledswinger
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I would save that in a few hours if voting for Corbyn keeps Labour out of government...

Well, the pollsters and the media were absolutely convinced that Millibrain and his motley shower of piss were going to win the last election. And they weren't the only ones. My employers did their own forecasting and reached the same conclusion, and even spent the year up to May cultivating relationships with the Labour party. Now they've wasted their lobbying budget smarming up the losers, and have zero engagement with the governing party. I wouldn't ever assume that the public's intentions can be accurately predicted, particularly five years out.

What happens when in four and a half years time, the electorate are getting tired of Cameron and Osbourne, we've had a wearisome, thoroughly botched referendum on the EU whose conduct and outcome please not a single voter, and then that ghastly, smarmy c*nt of a prime minister reneges on his promise not to seek relection?

Voting Corbyn in puts him within shouting distance of number 10.

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Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

Ledswinger
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Re: A remarkably stupid article

The only one they somehow couldn't get around to interviewing was Mr. Assange,

Well, lets be honest, this has become really embarrassing for Sweden, the UK, and Ecuador. None of these countries want this pantomime to continue.

But as far as I can tell, the case against Assange had nothing to do with crime or these countries, and everything to do with Assange's association with Wikileaks, and the fact that he is thus "guilty" of embarrassing a fading colonial power. Fading certainly, but still able to get the UK and Sweden to jump at their command. So it will go on until either Assange is dead, or the miserable bureaucrats of the US give up. In my experience of miserable bureaucracies, they'll outlast Julian, because their lifeblood is the inexhaustible well of taxpayer funded unicorn blood.

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ICO fines anti nuisance call company for making nuisance calls

Ledswinger
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Re: Meh

Geography isn't your strong point is it?

Not today actually. I'll raise you an upvote for that.

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Ledswinger
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Meh

£50k for targeting the elderly, doesn't seem much.

But beyond the scale of the penalty, I wonder what the ICO's success rate is in actually recovering the penalties it levies? I'd expect all the scumbucket firms they fine will have (having been notified of the ICO's plan to levy a penalty) wound up the legal entity on the receiving end, moved assets into their wife's name, and all the other low life tricks to avoid paying. Somewhat like the "bankruptcy" of Andrew Crossley, who is now apparently working for a law firm in Eastbourne. Not that far from Bournemouth, funnily enough.

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Boffins: The universe is DOOMED and there's nothing to be done

Ledswinger
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Re: Solar engineering

So not even lighting up Jupiter would do the trick.

Ordinary scientists content themselves with vandalising comets, or smashing small ummanned probes into unsuspecting planets. But you were contemplating setting fire to en entire planet, just to put off time being called.

Do you have a long haired white cat? And are you recruiting henchmen? I'm a good henchman, so long as the JD doesn't include "being eaten by piranhas for trivial mistakes"

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Ledswinger
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Re: There's a lot of firsts happening in that year of the heat death

The Chilcott report is published

In some parallel universe where they didn't send a civil servant to do a man's job.

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Take THAT, Tesla: Another Oz energy utility will ship home batteries

Ledswinger
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Re: What ?

Seems like a complete waste of high-grade energy, but the most cost-effective use for a small solar PV installation here in the UK under current rules is probably to run a low voltage immersion heater in your hot water tank! (No inverter needed, just a thermostat)

With the low cost of panels it is probably a lot cheaper to use PV and and a low voltage DC heater than to have a relatively expensive inverter, or to have the greater complexity of solar thermal (though see comment at bottom). I think the subsidy scheme rules do permit this, but I'm unconvinced that the supply chain will be geared up to deal with this type of application. You also need to be mindful that a domestic installation could easily be constrained on a sunny summer day (ie you wouldn't have the hot water demand to take the full panel output). Normally the FiT you get is deemed (assumed) from the panel size, but that assumption includes the export of half your generated power - if you've not got an inverter to permit export, and your on site use is constrained, then you'd have to declare that, and strike an agreement with the supplier paying the FiT.

The other thing to think about is that a modest 3kW of panels running at (say) 24V is going to be producing around 125 amps, or around 60 amps at 48V. That's going to need some chunky cabling (circa 50 or 25mm^2 respectively), and you might have some interesting discussions with the suppliers who are used to standard inverter installations. That sort of variation can easily increase project costs.

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Hackers hid Carphone Warehouse breach with DDoS smokescreen – report

Ledswinger
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Re: Doubtful for a full story

They could leave themselves wide open for claims of incompetence, intentionally poor security and data mis-management, as well as obvious court cases.

Unlikely, because they are a UK company. "Class action" exists only as a political fiction in this country, and the chances of the general public having the resources to take a private legal action against a group with turnover of £10bn.... The worst that the clowns can face is a paltry fine from the ICO - limited to at most half a million quid. Dixons Carphone is a business that made almost £400m pre tax profit last year. Does anybody round here think they give a flying **** about the prospect of a fine of the order of half of a percent of profit?

One thing I find particularly damning is that the incompetent twerps used email to communicate their insincere and inadequate apology. How many people will simply ignore that as a scam?

Lets be realistic: The directors of Dixons Carphone aren't personally affected by this. The executive directors have average "remuneration" of about £1.2m each - so that's about £60k a month, every month, even after tax, so they aren't in the same universe as the people whose data has been nicked. And even if they were made to walk the plank, they all hold shares with typical values around £5m. These clueless fatcats are loafing around in first class, quaffing champagne, laughing at the idea that their investors might cop a £500k fine, and smirking at the fact that customers might be subject to fraud as a result of Dixons Carphone incompetence.

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Aussie bloaters gorging on junk food 'each and every day'

Ledswinger
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Re: There are 2 'Schools of Thought' on this

No one gets out of the this life alive, so maybe the answer is Kool-Aid with additives. But I suppose you would refuse it?

Au contraire, I have behaviours that expose me to specific health risks. But I choose what I do, and for example I keep my weight under control. If the hambeasts amongst us are going to have their pie-munching constrained by the state, then logically we all need to be forced to give up our various poisons - in particular, sloth, unhealthy (as opposed to excess) diet, booze, fags. The public health fascists are currently trying to paint sugar as the new arsenic.

Now, call me old fashioned, but it sounds a bit grim to have a state approved diet, high in veg, low in fat, red meant and bacon, no sweets or choccies, no smoking, no drinking, and to have to do a state-mandated volume of exercise. For those that want that lifestyle, good luck to them, but don't expect me to vote for it - I shall be at the barricades, fighting heroically alongside the freedom fighting chain smokers, drunkards and big boned.

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Ledswinger
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Re: There are 2 'Schools of Thought' on this

"3rd school says, we all pay for your bloody healthcare"

Maybe, but obesity tends to encourage things like heart attacks, which mean that the bloaters don't get to claim the pension they've had to save for, nor do they burden the health service for three decades of retirement. A PROPER cost benefit analysis that took account of the financial and health effects would see fatty foods, booze and fags given subsidies.

Tim Worstal's commented in this thread, so how about it, Sir? A proper economic analysis of the costs and benefits?

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RSA chief uncans insurance giant's mega IT infrastructure review

Ledswinger
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Re: So, if outsourcing hasn't worked......

And furthermore Wipro, Tata et al are very viable alternatives if need be.

No they're not. ITOs share a common business model: Promise 20% savings against the incumbent provider, write a complex SLA where the vendor knows all the caveats and get outs (from experience) whereas the buyer knows none (doing this once every five years at most). Then take a seven year deal at a nominal loss, wait for inevitable variations and business change, and coin in during later years. There's even a term for this, "back loading", and my employers are currently in the phase that involves being reamed out by our IT "partner".

This situation is made worse by the common practice of building your ITO through acquisition, which leaves vendors with a balance sheet weighed down with vast amounts of "goodwill" (the amount they paid for acquisitions beyond their real worth). Unfortunately, the goodwill is capital on which the ITO have to make a return for their investors. This means that even if they do employ the cheapest of cheap, barely literate monkeys, the costs they have to recover from customers exceed the amount the customer was paying for inhouse and onshore skills in the first place, although because backloading gives a couple of years cheap it means that most customers can pretend that they've saved money. Although the converse is that those losses need to be made up by much higher charges in the later years, over and above the illusory "savings".

By the time the customer is paying the true cost, its been management musical chairs at the customer, and nobody remembers how much it cost in the first place, nor who made the decision to outsource. The skilled employees have retired, been P45'd or TUPE'd out, and nobody has the balls to even think about bringing IT truly back in house.

Outsourcing is the business equivalent of selling your kidneys - you only benefit on paper, and once you've done it you can't go back.

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Tesla still burning cash: each car loses $4,000

Ledswinger
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Re: Reg financial writers are talentless hacks

and start adding sufficient tax/fuel duty to the electricity supplied

They could, but a more likely route is "road pricing" using some complex, difficult to understand scheme whereby GPS tracking is used to monitor and record your movements, and you then get billed for your use of the roads according to the time of day. As a major side benefit for big state enthusiasts, Big Brother then knows where you've driven, when, and how fast. And by manipulating the pricing they can move traffic where they or their mates want it.

Do a search on the term "road pricing" and you'll see the extent to which the bureaucrats have this all thought through already. But by the time the peasants find that electric vehicles suddenly aren't cheap to use any more, it'll be too late.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Expansionary cost, versus steady state cost

They are investing on a factory capable of a larger number of cars than whey they currently make.?

There's two elements to Tesla's cost. The first is that the batteries are too expensive at the moment. This is what the gigafactory is about, building batteries in such high volume that the cost comes down. And that's why they have been so keen to sell the Powerwall - the original motivation was simply finding additional battery demand to support the gigafactory, and to thus help lower costs for the automotive application. I think that Tesla are now considering that power applications might be a better business model, due to far more possible sales in the domestic PV market.

The second element of Tesla's costs is volume related, and that bit is vehicle volumes. By industry standards, knocking out 12k vehicles a quarter is purely a cottage industry. Tesla can't survive on that. Growth is a problem because despite the vast subsidies that Tesla have had, and that buyers get (both explicit cash and avoided taxes), the vehicles are simply too expensive. If Tesla can't grow volume to reduce costs, then (a) they'll go bust because they'll never recoup the investments they've made, and (b) even if the assets are bought out of chapter 11 as a standalone business it will only become a niche maker with the sort of scale of Aston Martin or Maserati - but without the brand cachet and history.

I think Tesla is a grand venture; the product is impressive and innovative. As an ownership proposition it exploits a time limited opportunity where running costs are low purely because there's so few EVs on the road. If the owners had to pay taxes equivalent in value to those other vehicle owners do, the case for ownership becomes far less compelling. And as a commercial venture, Tesla is like many US tech stocks - wildly over-valued, paying no dividend and making no cash, hoping to sell out to Wall Street or another corporate buyer before the cash runs out. I'd guess a "merger" of Tesla automotive into a large automotive making group is an inevitability, with the main question being how quickly that occurs, and which set of shareholders do best out of the deal.

I suspect we'd all like Tesla to be the bold, pioneering upstart, that stuck it to the fuddy-duddies of the established motor makers. But at the moment their business is simply making subsidised green bling chariots for the very wealthy, and I can't see that ever morphing into the electric equivalent of Ford or Toyota.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Apparently Reg commentards are talentless tw*ts

You don't just divide quarterly cash flow by number of cars and "OMG $4K PER CAR LOSS".

That's quite true, and they didn't. This is (site relevant) re-reportage of Reuters coverage. And Reuters have done their sums right, and in your hurry to condemn the Reg journos, you haven't. If you divide quarterly cash burn by sales, you'd have a largely irrelevant number, but it's about $31k per car. The $4k per car reported is exactly the right number, of operating loss for the period divided by sales.

Moral of the story: Think before you post.

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Microsoft co-founder recovers ship's bell of 'The Mighty Hood'

Ledswinger
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We will have to agree to differ. Speaking for myself, I still hold the view that they didn't need to disturb the wreck in pursuit of nick nacks to create a memorial. Are you honestly saying that it will somehow be a better quality memorial because there's a piece of Hood stuck on it?

And to extend the debate, we're now good friends (of sorts) with our European neighbours. Do you propose that the bell of the Bismarck be retrieved to remember the crew who fought for their country? Or the bell from the French navy battleship Bretagne, sunk in port by Hood, with the loss of a thousand French sailors?

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Ledswinger
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Or maybe it should have stayed where it was. Personally I'm unimpressed by American billionaires fishing for trophies on war grave sites.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Ledswinger
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when you've finished installing updates run this from an admin command prompt:

How about those clowns at Redmond get off their fat behinds, and get the OS to look after itself, without consuming ever growing gigbytes of hard disk?

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Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

Ledswinger
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Re: I returned two batteries yesterday in the recall

"Got a £20 voucher for each, to spend in EE online shop."

If it's anything like most service companies "on line shops", you'll shortly find out that forty quid will buy an awful lot of tumbleweed.

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Ledswinger
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Why not just buy an offical spare battery for your handset, or a decent quality USB power supply?

Why do you think that "official" parts are better quality? There have been plenty of original laptop batteries recalled by OEMs, and I recently had to replace an original Samsung phone battery after it started getting warm and growing in size after less than a year's use.

Seems to me that Li-ion batteries are an inherently risky technology. A very low inherent risk in the main, but if makers can make them fail-safe, they choose not to (or OEMs won't pay the premium required).

Seems to me that EE are simply taking their rightful place in the alphabetic and years long list of lithium battery pain, between Apple, Boeing, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, IBM, Lenovo.......

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How the Arab Spring blew the lid off the commercial spyware

Ledswinger
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Re: And if you stayed till the end of the closing credits...

And then they went and abraded Lybia and Syria to the stone age under the banner of "regime change/making the Middle East safe for Israel"

Well, actually they'd already done it to Libya (and Iraq, and Afghanistan). In Egypt of course, democracy produced the wrong result for the Yanks, so they supported a counter-coup and it's again governed by the army.

What I don't think the article really highlights is the extent to which the western authorities weren't making these changes to support dissidents, but to try and protect their own ongoing surveillance programs, both domestic mass surveillance, and international mass and targeted surveillance. If the consequence of hiding their own dirty laundry allows criminal malware interests to flourish, at the expense of private and commercial misery, that's a price that the Five Spies Stasi are quite willing for the rest of us to pay.

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Ledswinger
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Re: Your phone works on electricity

So buying an S5 on contract costs you £304, but the price for the phone alone is £240, so why not save the £60 by going sim free?

Because I couldn't find it for £240 when I bought it, only around £290 and that from companies I'd never heard of before. Buying it on contract means I'm assured a UK market handset, with comeback against a large reseller, and against the network (and failing those two avenues the makers warranty). AND I don't have to pony up £240-290.

Certainly I could have got a mobile phone cheaper, or saved some money going sim free, my point was just that the benefits of sim free can be as modest as the cash savings.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Your phone works on electricity

but it's a LOT of phone for £230...

Indeed. Or shop round for deals on last year's top models on contract. Just taken out a contract on Galaxy S5, £11 a month over the price of a sim only bundle, and £40 up front, so £304 but paid in fairly painless instalments over two years. And if I had been quicker I could have avoided the £40 up front.

I really like the idea of sim-free phones far more than the contract model, but I've always found being careful and looking to buy last year's top models always trumps shelling out £200-300 for a credible contract free handset.

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Blighty a 'smartphone society' amid rise of 4G middle class

Ledswinger
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Ofcom believes the rise is being driven by 4G mobile broadband, with subscriptions rising from 2.7m to 23.6m during 2014.

I take it they haven't differentiated between having a subscription that claims to offer 4G "where available", and the reality that at best you'll see speeds barely better than HSPA+, and in both cases large areas of the country don't get either?

Maybe it's not the technology, just all those Kevin Bacon adverts, persuading people to spend two hours a day staring at their tiny screens?

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Samsung looks into spam ads appearing on Brits' smart TVs

Ledswinger
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Re: Easily solved.

Just need a 50" HDMI panel, really. Also, no license required if it can't receive TV??

Until the BBC licence review is complete, at any rate. Then I expect that internet users will be expected to pay whether they want the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation's output or not.

In theory it would be simpler and fairer just to make iPlayer a subscription service, but that sets a precedent for the broadcast service that the Beeb live in fear of. And for the politicians, as soon as they've invented a more generic broadband tax that initially is in lieu of the licence fee, it soon becomes yet another way of scooping cash from the population, to spend on whatever the government of the day want.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Ledswinger
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Re: Playbulb

With the proceeds of a premium bond win I bought a Playbulb (Sengled lookalike) back last year just to see what it was like... .poor quality.. .annoying.. ..pain.... it's still in a box somewhere and I have no great desire to go looking for it.

Karma.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the point

You can start small, with barely audible music, and then move on to the big stuff, transmitting messages from God

Hold on, IOT is all about combining things never meant to go together, so what about speak-bulb, smartphone and fart-app?

"Hi Google! Start Fartapp for me. Now project a long, wet-to-the-point-of-diseased fluff to Kev's sitting room Sengled, thanks".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

The light is LED, so, approximately immortal

Well, 20k hours, say ten years in a fairly well used room. Ten years of rubbish sound quality for $120? I suppose it'll seem like forever.

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Telcos' revenge is coming as SDN brings a way to build smart pipes

Ledswinger
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Re: And we will all be introduced

to a new and exciting world of flexible and inventive multi-tier differential pricing so you can pay the same no matter what you would like to have.

Actually, no. The unremarked cleverness of multi-tiered pricing and bundling is to minimise what economists refer to as consumer excess, by getting as many people as possible each to pay as much as they are willing to. If you had true flat pricing, then either some people would be unable to afford the service, and since it has a low marginal cost that's a loss of income to the vendor. Equally, at the higher end, flat pricing means people who would be willing to pay more for the same product get it for far less. Rather than selling different things for the same price, the magic is to sell much the same thing for different prices.

This is why Philips offer a zillion models of shave, each infinitesimally different from the adjacent ones, often by trivial differences like an additional low battery LED, or a pointless LCD display. Or why grocery retailers flog 40 different types, sizes and packages of baked beans. In the mobile phone market there's not only the whole aspect of how many minutes, texts and MB your contract offers, but variations on handset contributions. And even for exactly the same deal there's always ways of differentiating the skinflints from the spendthrifts, so that the skinflints still buy, but the seller doesn't have to give the same deal to those willing to pay more - by "web exclusives", discount codes, complicated cashback offers, or tying the best deal (eg) to a small handset contribution in a market where most people mistakenly think that "free" means free.

If you shop carefully (as the skinflints do) this huge choice is better for you, although this means forgoing whatever trinkets of differentiation are used to get other people to pay more. If you don't shop carefully (or believe you "need" full Premier League TV coverage, or all the latest US shows) then the implication is you are happy or indifferent to paying more. Industry maximises profits, consumers maximise choice.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Higher and higher resolution

I mean, I understand why some might want/need high resolutions for certain reasons, but mass broadcasting of athletics in stupidly high resolutions?

So, I can paraphrase you as saying that 625 lines PAL should be enough for anybody?

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MoD splashes £1.5bn on 10-year IT deal to 'keep pace with threats'

Ledswinger
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Re: Why the MoD need 180000 licences.

"23 000 in Procurement"

Twenty three fucking thousand useless arses in procurement? Defence procurement spend is about £17bn a year, so they're hitting the heady heights of about £3,500 per employee per working day.

My wife can spend money faster and more effectively than these clowns.

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Ledswinger
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Not pissed off at my tax money being wasted or anything you understand....

At least they made savings by axing Nimrod MRA4. A pity that was after wasting £4bn on it, and then finding (amazingly) that we had no fucking maritime patrol aircraft when the Ruskies came sniffing round the Clyde.

And now we have that complete arsehole Michael Fallon telling us that he's extending a Tornado squadron's service life by a year, so as to rile IS (and increase the nominal terrorist threat to the UK), but he's completely incapable of saying "yes" when directly asked if this extension is due to the fact that successive governments have fucked up and left the RAF with no strike capability other than the antique Tornado, or the Typhoon with bombs sellotaped to its wings.

Defence ministers: Regardless of their party, what a bunch of unmitigated c*nts.

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Drone delivery sparks Ohio prison brawl

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: lower than low

Wow hard to think of any rock bottom worse than nursing wounds from getting your ass kicked fighting for opiates from the sky in a prison outside Cleveland.

I would imagine that physical violence is a popular diversion, and indeed the only skill of the inmates concerned. They won't be deterred by the risk of getting a kicking, nor of having time added to the sentence, since these are occupational hazards, much like you and I see paper cuts, or a sore wrist from too much keyboard use.

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Epson: Cheap printers, expensive ink? Let's turn that upside down

Ledswinger
Silver badge

My older Brother printer with the larger print tanks automatically cycled through ...print head cleaning cycles, to keep the thing operational when not in regular use.

The British consumers' association recently had a look at ink use by domestic/home office inkjet printers - there appears little correlation between the ink use in cleaning cycles and reliability or performance, and some brands (Canon separate ink printers in particular) were wasting three or four times as much as actually printed in cleaning. Not only does this waste ink, but it means the printer spends ages chuntering and shuffling when I just want my damned print. Some other makers were able to offer self-cleaning printers that wasted far less ink than the Canon single-colour cartridge printers. The combined tank Canon printers wasted far less ink (ISTR that these had an integrated disposable print head on the combined cartridges?)..

The truly irritating thing about my Canon is that despite its voracious appetite for ink when running self cleaning, it still needs periodic manual cleaning of the print head, which is a chore to get out of the machine, and takes hours of soaking and rinsing to clear.

I've always liked Canon for their high quality photo capabilities, but I've got tired of the cost of wasted ink (even using third party cartridges), I've got tired of the noise and delay, tired of the need to hold a permanent stock of replacement cartridges, tired of the difficult task of cleaning the print head. Next time round Canon aren't assured of my business.

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Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Thank you: 20 years?@ Mage

Poppycock....Sodium is ghastly but lasts much longer

You may think, but you're wrong. Our large HQ site has had LED streetlighting for about eight years now, so that has already established that the endurance is at least double that of crummy old sodium lamps, and the life expectancy remains on track for the projected twenty years. The makers warranty ten years, and there's no sign that we'll be calling on that, with no failures, or perceptible dimming or colour shift to date. Incidentally, one of our business activities is managing a significant percentage of the streetlights in the UK, so we do tend to keep a very careful eye on the risks and opportunities - with multi-decade PFI contracts we wouldn't be touching LED if we weren't willing to put our money where our mouth is, because if the LEDs don't last, it's us paying for the problem to be fixed most probably outside of the makers warranty.

You can get discharge lamps with (exceptionally) up to 80k life expectancies, but they are more expensive, progressively less efficient so use more power, require expensive control gear and sometimes fail early in inconvenient ways. You'd use them where access is both difficult and expensive, but even then proactive early replacement (eg on high column motorway lighting) can be a better bet than betting on these long life gas discharge lamps.

That's why why for the last fifty years the grimey orange 30W low pressure sodium (LPS) tubes have been used with typical service lives of 16k hours. High pressure sodium (HPS) has always had a better spectrum than the single wavelength of low pressure lamps, but even the old pink HPS units are being supplanted by more efficient lamps with better light quality, lower power use and longer life (Philips Cosmpolis units, for example). But these will still offer (at best) a median life expectancy of 30k hours and that's the expensive "double life" variant (and there's a fairly wide distribution, so 10% of the units will have failed by 22k hours). LED is the way to go - even if you did get some colour shift, it can never get worse than the diabolical monochrome LPS units.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Thank you

Sodium vapor gives the best LEDs a run for their money.

In terms of luminous efficiency that's correct now, but you the LED's are getting better, whereas gas discharge lamps are probably maxed out - a bit like CRT versus flat panel displays a few years back. It took about seven years for 100 lm/W LEDs to get from the manufacturers lab to commercial street lighting products, Cree had 300 lm/W in the lab eighteen months ago. Seems probable that by 2022 we could be seeing close to 300 lm/W in products you can buy. In domestic terms that means the equivalent of a 100W incandescent bulb would be consuming 5W, and a standard 60W equivalent a shade over 2.5W.

In terms of the environmental and economic benefits of your car park or street lights, you need to replace a sodium tube every three to four years, whereas the LED should last twenty years (fingers crossed). The main problem is that you can't just stick an LED "tube" in an existing fitting - you need a new luminaire (costing a couple of hundred even for the 20-30W units), and you normally need new control gear within the column (another couple of hundred). For a unit that only used 30W, for perhaps 4,000 hours a year, the economics are a real challenge. But even high performance sodium vapour aren't plug and play replacements - you usually need a new luminaire and sometimes new control gear, albeit the luminaire is often half the price of the LED.

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Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Hardly surprising

Big companies, government, directors, they've all got some common characteristics - the inability to listen to the unwashed masses, the inability to say "sorry, we messed up", and the inability to actually sort things out once they have messed up.

Let's ignore the start menu, and consider Cortana. FFS, why? Who wants a resource hogging, poor quality parody of human interaction? I don't see anybody saying Hi Google to their phones, nor even Apploholics talking to Siri (except when drunk). What did Microsoft think they were achieving with this?

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Websites that ID you by how you type: Great when someone's swiped your password, but...

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: This stinks

<iIt's being done secretly</i>

Unlikely, it's being done openly, and people click on "I agree" to requirements to accept cookies and confirm T&C acceptance. The T&C of any self respecting website will have been drawn up to be (like a software licence) to be as all encompassing as possible for the company, and as disempowering as possible for the customer. How often do people have the time, willingness to read, or ability to understand the T&Cs?

The Reg's privacy policy is over 1,000 words, and that's a model of brevity and clarity, and it references only three adservers. But in addition to the Reg's policy, you need the adserver privacy policies: The Doubleclick (Google) policy is 3,800 words long, the Mediamind (Sizmek) policy is 3,100 words - and the Reg ling is broken as well, and the Atlas DMT adserver appears to be widely considered spyware, and is blocked by my enterprise security settings, so whilst I'd guess at another 3,000 words of freshly shovelled legalese shtie, I can't even see it. How often does anybody read through around 10,000 words of turgid claptrap, just so they can read a f***ing website?

I'm sure these crummy "agreements" are legally enforceable, but you and I won't be initiating proceding against adservers, malvertisers and other bottom feeding corporations any time soon. The ICO can't even stop simple UK specific abuses like spam texts for PPI, or nuisance phone calls, so what's the chance of them forcing big US corporations to right short, clear, fair policies in plain English?

Sadly the congesceni use a range of ad, cookie and script blockers in an endless arms race, but to assume that (in a legal sense) consent has not been granted is a bit naieve, surely?

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