2405 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
"No, I do not approve of being spied upon by my government. I see no value in their 'protective services'. At the same time I believe that if you're going to do something do it as well as possible. That is even more important if you have to spend the publics money to do it. "
You aren't familiar with Monty Python, are you?
"This sort of thing should be a core competency and if you aren't doing it in house then you've got no business doing it"
That rather reads like you want your government to spy on you, and think they should do more of it with closer control. Each to their own.
"I humbly submit this for the Darwin awards. On the other hand, as other have pointed out, it doesn't really seem that funny :("
To the hard hearted it is indeed funny. Fucking thieving bastards, serve 'em right. Just like the c*nts who steal live power cables.
Re: US state department funding?
"Err and you think this is not being used as a means to spy on them by the US?"
Don't be daft, of course we're all aware that the NSA would be slurping this lot as well - it's the only reason for doing it. But I think your comment shows that you fall into the category noted earlier of those who think irony pertains to things made of Fe.
US state department funding?
"His new project has been given US$2.2 million (£1.3m) in seed funding by the US State Department, according to the paper."
US taxpayers must be pleased: They pay for the biggest, most pervasive spying programme in history, AND they now pay for somebody trying to shield other people from their own government's surveillance.
Do the Feds want to establish a new amendment, that "The people uphold their right to be spied upon by the government of the United States, but uphold the rights on non-Americans to freedom from similar surveillance".
"Successfully knocking out Cryptolocker will stop new infections."
New infections of Cryptolocker v1. The real threat of CL is that it has been perhaps the most effective piece of ransomware of all time (I speculate so). Which means that other envious cyber crooks are looking at how they can get a piece of the action, either by buying the software and modifying it, or writing their own to copy the business model. That's why I went for the measures noted above, because at the moment I can see which are (probably) the CL emails as they arrive either from ADP Payroll, Fedex, or "I am Natasha from Russia. Look my picture in attachment". But that only protects me when I can see and delte the threat. The Holy Grail for the crims is to be able to infect machines in (for example) a drive by download (or maybe the Grail is getting this to work on the machines of supposedly rich and security unaware Mac users).
Imagine you are a computer crook. If your malware recruits a machine to a botnet for sending spam, or participating in DDoS attacks, how much do you earn? $200 for 10,000 machines per day, say 60c per machine per month max, assuming there's sufficient rental demand to rent them out continuously. If you can install something like CL, you get perhaps 5% of infected users paying up say an average of $20 per machine infected, with no onging need to maintain the bots. So working ransomware gets you double the income of maintaining a botnet for eighteen months, and you get the money up front.
I think the security advisory firms haven't made enough of the aspects of CL that are not individually novel, but collectively are game changing: Effective delivery, stealthy and effective encryption, delivering on the unencryption when users pay up, untraceable payment.
Re: Looking on the bright side....
"Make sure those backups are offline"
Don't worry, that was a number one consideration. Hitherto it has just been cloud synced, protecting me against sudden hardware failure or loss, but the stealth encryption of CL made me realise the error of my ways.
"Also, make sure you can recover, including recovery of the catalogue database (if there is one)".
No database as this is home machines, without any clever stuff on them, but good advice anyway.
"An untested backup may as well be just random data."
I must 'fess up, checked, but not fully tested. For things like the system image and ripped music there's other recovery paths if they don't restore, it's just more time. The document recovery has been tested variously in full or in part (still susceptible to bit rot I suppose). I might enable checksum comparison on the backup or something like that to provide some verification on backup writes, so thank you for the prompt.
Re: Not too bright ?
"Why would you download a flashlight app in the first place -- hell of an expensive torch when you consider the wear on the battery and the replacement cost ?"
Easy. Because on any decent smartphone the LED gives much better illumination than an incandescent torch bulb, is more compact, rechargeable, and is with you most of the time. I've got an LED Maglite 2D which can put a spotlight on something a third of a mile away, but it's hardly pocketable, so I don't have it with me very often. Likewise, I've got a proper camera, but that doesn't invalidate the benefit of the one on my phone. Given the occaisional use the impact on battery life or durability is negligible. Obviously those who choose to buy a phone with a non user-replaceable battery might wish to be a bit more paranoid, but even for them I don't think it would be harmful - day to day use as a phone and communicator will knock 40% off your capacity in two years.
I struggle to understand why you wouldn't have a torch app. Been using Tiny Flashlight by Nikolay Ananiev for the past two years and it works for me.
Re: Glad they are getting shut down
"Glad they are getting shut down "
But they aren't - the company are still in business, there's no fine mentioned. All this amounts to is a legally enforceable "cease and desist", with no real punishment. So the message from the FTC is "do what you want so long as you aren't caught, if you are caught there will be no penalty other than to require you to do what you should have been doing in the first place".
Google are no better - they need to ban this company from the Play store and automatically delete the app from user devices if they want to make Play a trusted resource, and make a big song and a dance about the fact to encourage other developers. I don't mind apps wanting to harvest data in return for use of the app, so long as I know up front, and can make an informed choice (which in this case would be a firm "no").
Re: Security fixing...
What we find inside when we get the top off worries me. And I'll bet we put the screw somewhere safe and can't find it when we try and put it back together.
Re: Nice try
"13c a day is a lot of money when you live on $1-2 a day."
Yes, but it's a two year cash pay back, and when money's short the discount rate rises disproportionately. That won't be how the target market express it, but it's the same principle that sees poor people paying 1,000% APR on payday loans in this country, or higher rates to loan sharks around the world.
That's why the inventors discuss lease type schemes, but the harsh reality is that this is too expensive for what will be a pitifully low light output. Many of the prospective users will also be buying kersoene for cooking, so why buy a one candle power device that you have to fart around with every twenty minutes when you've still got to buy kersene, you've already invested in a kersoene lamp that gives better light for longer, and the time value of the money means more like a three to four year pay-back?
If you look at energy efficiency schemes in the UK, people are hugely reluctant to invest in things that save them money, even when they do pay back. Take GU10 halogen bulbs - in a well used room replacing these with LEDs will give you a payback of about one to two years. Despite the fact that nobody is offering savers a 50-100% interest rate, most people are still buying and using halogens. Or look at the humungous flop that Green Deal has been. Even the health and safety benefits are of little appeal. In the developed countries the benefits seem logical and obvious. But in countries with high infant mortality, non-existent health care, roads like something out of Death Race 2000, and subsistence living subject to famine (ignoring unrest and civil wars), the H&S benefits of an LED lamp over a kersosene lamp count for nothing.
The problem here, is that the device offers inferior performance to that which it is supposed to replace, and requires a significant investment. Innovation has to do things better or cheaper, or both, and I'm afraid I don't think the inventors set their sights high enough. Everybody would like this to be cheap and effective, in reality it is neither, and the sum that gives a net benefit only works when you aren't seeing things from the perspective of the intended users.
Re: Nice idea
"The prospect of a (relatively) expensive alternative that is inferior to the original in all aspects other than running cost is a bit like marketing 20 grand push bikes as a great alternative to driving a car."
Easy. Market it like all inferior solutions: Let Greenpeace start harking on about global warming, and the need to save the planet. The locals won't be impressed, but DECC and DFID will start throwing money at it, and the cost will come down to only $12 a piece.......oh.
Re: Charging phones/radios
"what is a very efficient .1W buld equivalent to in old-fashioned bulbage?"
For a good LED the bulb is about 4-5x more efficient than a halogen bulb (eg for a GU10 you're talking about a 5W bulb being equivalent to a 35W halogen). Then a halogen bulb rated for 1,000 hours will be about thirty per cent better than a simple incandescent filament, so say 6x all in. So from that comparison we're talking about 0.1W LED being equivalent to say 0.6W in old money.
Another way of looking at it is to consider that you'd get about 10-15 lumens from a DC 0.1W LED light. A traditional 60W bulb gives 800 lumens, which (on a linear basis) implies a similar half to one watt.
Put in more obvious terms, we're talking about one candle power of illumination.
Although I'm sceptical about the balance of cost, input and output. Even with LED's, 0.1W doesn't go far, and I can see people deciding that 13c a day is an acceptable price for light rather than have the lights keep going out every twenty minutes.
We already have LED torches that already claim to deliver 1W for 20 minutes from one minute winding a tiny crank, and in some cases integrating a small PV panel. Admittedly that's sixy seconds effort, not the three seconds to lift the weight, on the other hand it's ten times the light output. I can't help thinking that a better solution would be something the size of a gas lantern, using the wind up torch tech scaled up with a larger crank and capacitors, so giving perhaps an hours light at 1W from one to two minutes of winding. Smaller, more portable, closer in form and function to the lights they are intended to replace.
"Elsewhere in his budget statement, Osborne said that the Treasury would inject £270m into Quantum Technology Centres over the next five years to fund the development of new industries in the likes of ........secure communication."
Secure against whom?
Re: I have some problems with this article
"Gold's problem is that has little use, mostly we dig it up so we can bury it in the ground again in a safe"
That's not a use, that's simply utilising it as a store of value, money, if you like. But if we had more of it, it could and would be used for other applications, eg in the etreme situation, replacing copper as a common conductor and reducing losses. If platinum, palladium etc were hugely cheaper they would have alternative uses in creating new alloys to improve the performance of everyday products, instead of being used where there's no alternative (eg catalysts) or where money is no object (eg aerospace).
It's true of most rare elements, that there's little industrial or commercial use because there's no supply, and what uses there are reflect the high price.
Re: private property doesn't exist up there in space.
"There is no such thing as a natural right."
Going on strike in France. That's a natural right, apparently
Re: No property rights
"I see the future of space mining to be not unlike our current energy market, miners mining, transporters transporting and cellars doing their utmost to keep it dark, dank and full of secrets."
The current example isn't energy, its defence research where you pay astronomical sums for incredibly advanced research, and then the department/ministry of defence decides that the best use of that new technology is to keep it secret and apply it only to killing brown people, rather than making life better for everybody. The ultimate owner of all energy resources is always the government of the land under which it sits, and they, not energy companies) decide if they want it coming to market. Generally the answer is "Yes, yes, YEEESSS!". Except if you're say France, sitting on the largest shale gas deposits in Europe, where the answer is the usual surly "non".
Re: The Wild-West days are here again
"A mining operation can't cede if it wants to keep selling stuff on the home planet. "
Of course it can. In the most unlikely event that Scotland ceded from the rest of Britain next year, both parties would still trade, even though (for some bizarre reason) the Westminster government is vehemently opposed to the Scots controlling their own destiny. When the European colonies were given independence, they continued to trade with the former colonial power. Looking at the leaky and ineffective sanctions on renegade nations, I very much doubt that all Earth countries would refuse to trade with space settlers who have something worth buying. If the Yanks didn't like it, the Russians or Chinese wouldn't give a shit, and vice versa.
Re: Crack this...
" I'm only 4 votes off a silver badge so hands off the reg account"
It's posts, I thought, not votes (it's certainly not word count, otherwise I'd have a platinum badge with diamond adornments).
So on that basis, open your Reg account to the hackers, let them spill their bile, advertise their tawdry tat etc, and those posts will push you over the limit. But you can have a free upvote on me, if that's any help.
"Currently the NSA cannot get all of the information they would like from Verizon Wireless with the foreign ownership in place. "
Rubbish, it will be no different. As an "above the law" operation the NSA could demand anything it wanted from the US operation with impunity, and in the very unlikely event that data was inaccessible overseas, or obstructed by the UK based management of Vodafone, then NSA's European poodle (GCHQ) would have done the deed for them and handed it over. This assumes of course that any "request" was needed. The more than comes out of Snowden's revelations shows that NSA & GCHQ just scrape everything anywhere, anytime, simply because they can, and because there is no oversight.
Re: They can pay like anyone else
" If you don't acquiesce to their demands there's a very real risk that they won't buy from you in the future"
So they leave and go where? Red Flag Linux clearly has been less popular than XP. Can't see Apple cutting them a cheap deal. Android isn't a proper productivity desktop. If they choose to pirate W7 then they'll be excluded from security updates, leaving them in the same position as they will be with XP.
Unless IBM are still selling OS/2, then thereis only one option for both parties: we can expect some face saving compromise about limited duration of critical vulnerabilities fixed for Chinese language pack installations (ie they get extended support but don't pay for it), accompanied by a commitment by the Chinese government to move all official machines to licenced W7 by date X.
Re: Missing the point of the article
"There is a lot of potential there."
No there is some very small potential. if you're a paranoid Iranian IT tech, then you've perhaps got cause to worry, but for the rest of the world I doubt it. For starters the physical security of the air-gapped systems needs to be breached to get the devices in proximity. If air gap security is done properly then external electronic devices don't get carried on site. So that's mobiles (which could be used in lieu of an infected laptop), laptops, MP3 players, tablets, smart watches, Googoggles, arguably even stuff like portable satnavs.
I would have expected that sensitive sites already ban their staff from bringing portable electronic equipment on site - not purely because they don't trust the staff (that being a separate issue), but simply to avoid mistakes and unknown-to-the-vector attacks.
"Then I guess you carefully drive pins into it until it seems to have stopped making useful noises and hope you don't knacker anything fragile behind it)"
If you've gone to the trouble of air gapping your systems, then getting a tech to desolder a PCB mount speaker is not going to be a big hairy deal, IMHO.
And most PCB mount speakers are in small cans with an opening at the top, and simply sticking a bit of electrical tape across the aperture would get you 10-20 dB of attenuation at a guess, and something like a foam sticky probably around 30 dB or more. I'd like to see them demonstrate a PC to PC audio link with 20 dB silencing on the target system.
Re: American geography
"Er, Citizens Financial seems to be located only in the Chicago area"
Oops. North East US was what I meant, not North West. It being West of me by some few thousand miles causing some cognitive problems. There is quite a lot outside of Chicago, with a reasonably large footprint:
But to return to the topic, Citizens is still part of the Rancid Bank of Scotland group, albeit with a big "for sale" sign above it.
"couldn't give a f__k what us Yanks think of some bank we have never had to deal with"
Many of your compatriots DO have to deal with RBS, because they own Citizens Financial who have about 1,500 branches across the North West of the US. And the dodgy practices that RBS are famous for seem to have been matched by Citizens, who were fined $140m for excessive overdraft fees.
Royal Fuckwits, still, though.
It really is about time the royal charter was withdrawn:
C'mon Regtards, sign up, damn you sign up!
Re: Something not yet considered
"I've already been moved onto a different URL for on-line banking and banking-as-an-app, and we've had our debit cards re-issued twice in the last 18 months with different numbers, presumably with a different bank code hashed in the long number."
And you're still sticking with them? Were you the bloke over the barrel in Deliverance?
"This is just a stupid thing to say, sorry."
Well, strictly speaking RBS did fail, and the government had to bail it out as the UK deposit protection scheme meant that either the state paid up, or other financial services companies (who couldn't absorb losses on that scale) would have been dragged down with RBS.
The mistake the state made was not in making attempts to revive RBS - they should have accepted that it had failed, and actively facilitated its disappearance from the market, whilst keeping the core bank operational. Much in the manner of an insurance fund in run-off. They should have opened the banks books to the SFO and City police, offered an amnesty for whistleblowers, and cleansed the dirt. Had they done that then a fair proportion of the LIBOR rigging guilt would not have attached to RBS, and the bank wouldn't now be sucking on a total of £700m in fines (perhaps more like £200m). New entrants and competitors could have bought tranches of customers if they wanted (not the failed hive off a few dormant and unprofitable accounts model that RBS offered, mind you).
Re: @Steve Todd
"I don't think they *need* to be anything like as complicated as they are, but I also think organisations like RBS, in particular, find it very hard to simplify things while keeping it all working."
So we're agreed it *is* the fault of RBS management past and present. In fact they've admitted as much in the press. Whilst we and they talk of "IT" failures, this is actually a failure of their core business, which is keeping transactions flowing and accounts balances correct through IT. Instead, the dogf*ckers who manage RBS have considered IT as an evil necessity, a support service, to be done as cheaply and nastily as possible. And meanwhile they have persuaded themselves that casino banking and reckless lending are the core purpose of the bank. In my view even regular "high street" lending isn't really the core business of the bank, it is simply a by product of holding account balances of savers and depositers, and sitting on funds whilst they clear.
Somewhile back one of the Reg articles referred to banking's core business as being an IT operation with a financial services business attached. That's self evidently been proven by RBS who chose to believe the opposite, and in which form it doesn't work very well. Will RBS admit their incompetence, bring IT back in house, onshore, properly designed and resilient? Somehow I think not, they'll just do the usual, in the form of unbelievably expensive sticking plasters that won't cure the underlying failings.
Re: Failed sla ...
"which will result in a full explanation to the FSA."
Following the musical chairs the took the FSA away and made the FCA, I'd wager there's little continuity in enforcement.
Re: Resolved? I think not.
"Having worked for several old and new, I'd have to say DO NOT TOUCH a new entrant."
Each to their own, But I work in a very large customer facing business. We have a strong track record, documented processes, oodles of resource, all of which make our service worse than new entrants and systems less reliable because the new entrants aren't weighed down by vast crappy legacy systems, and hidebound by years of "doing it this way", or a business model built on millking retained customers.
And in the case of RBS, have you noticed how the IT failures often seem to be ancient legacy code or processes that they no longer know how to operate or support? I have no illusions that new entrants, mutuals, or any other player could have their own IT disaster, but I wouldn't personally equate "new" with "worse".
Re: while I understand the sentiment...
" So please, people, stop being hysterical, it's only Tuesday."
How about "no"?
It's two thousand and f***ing thirteen. Expecting one of the world's largest banks, backed by the entire largesse of the state, located in one of the most technically advanced nations on the planet to offer a reliable and continuous service is unreasonable is it?
In this rotten, festering POS bank there are about one hundred people paid over a million quid a year. And every year they are on the hook for something new - manipulating LIBOR, wilfully bankrupting business customers, mis-selling PPI for donkeys years, mis-selling interest rate swaps to SME's, misleading investors during the cash call before seeking a state rescue. And then there's the reason WHY the f***ers are owned by the state to be taken into account.
Face it: RBS & Natwest are useless. Has any other bank had repeated large scale screwups of customer service? Has any other bank been as routinely associated with incompetence, deviousness, dishonesty and fraud?
"RBS is an extremely complex computing environment, probably more complex than most people commenting here can begin to comprehend."
And evidently more complex than many of the people working there can begin to comprehend, to judge by their history of IT out(r)ages.
Re: Resolved? I think not.
" I am a little bit cynical that there is actually much difference."
I think that's a very fair comment. But is that reason enough to stick with poor service or unethical behaviour? If you don't switch then the incompetent or dishonest not only continue with their existing behaviours, but you continue to reward them for it. Better to take a chance, in my view.
If you look at the state of the energy market, you might easily conclude that the market failings are due to the fact that most customers can't be bothered to switch "because they are all the same", and because of the linked issue of British Gas' dominant market share.
Re: Resolved? I think not.
"I transferred a large amount of money to my RBS account yesterday. It's now disappeared"
Then I suggest you (and all other RBS & Natwest customers) explore the new fast account switching service, ideally to a new banking market entrant or a mutual. Admittedly that doesn't avoid future IT related problems with your new provider, but it does stop rewarding the persistent failure of RBS (or endorsing their unethical behaviours by their "global restructuring group", pushing businesses over the brink to take control of the assets).
I left RBS in 2007 purely over the unethical behaviours that wiped out my then employer, andI've had no problems at all from Nationwide since then.
"How much does a Sidewinder missile run to these days?"
Dunno, but as most of them are infra red seeking, and designed to head up the exhaust of a gas turbine I wouldn't expect them to be much use against a parcel drone. Even the radar guided versions relied on target illumination by a proper radar set, so factor that into your shopping list, and hope that Amazon don't use stealth delivery drones.
Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...
"Trebuchet firing a net made from wire, with perimeter weighted with something heavy and with small cross-section"
Human heads? Outside of Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan you might have to reuse them, rather than have fresh for each shot.
Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...
Third idea: Cheap remote control aircraft. Just ram the drone, and accept the loss of the toy plane. Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision, like a reuseable airborne battering ram.
Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...
"Think of it as a mini SPB project....First idea: Another drone."
This is an opportunity to let my inner redneck loose!
Second idea: AIrbust shot gun shells filled with aluminium pellets (lower density metal to reduce the lethality beyond the kill sphere, he suggests hopefully).
Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.
" they want to develop the technology + availability of material so that should they decide to do so, they can do so very quickly"
My question still stands, though. Even if they merely want the materials and knowledge, why get themselves in a pickle trying to use subvertible modern tech, when they don't have to?
They don't need enough materials and the technology to build a fleet of nuclear powered and armed subs, just enough for two or three small truck portable weapons. The US did that seventy years ago with no computers and no prior knowledge.
There's a Western obsession with missile delivery of payloads, that means miniaturisation and complexity, but that's driven by our desire for stand off weapons, and shaped by the Cold War. For Iran things are a lot different. We think the far more backward North Korea has nuclear weapon technology, so there's no reason the Iranians couldn't have developed them if they really wanted to.
Re: To be fair cable cutters are cheap.
" Is the obvious perhaps too obvious ?"
Depends whether you believe they have a credible nuclear programme, and then believe they want to achieve nuclear armed status. As per my post above, the failure of Iran to produce a nuke is arguably more surprising than if they'd succeeeded.
Re: Stuxnet 2? Far fetched?
"So Iran's claim of a new Stuxnet variant (Stuxnet 3) is not far-fetched at all"
I'm sure it isn't. And the article's claim that Israeli's wouldn't want to upset the Yanks, now THAT'S farsi-cal. The Israeli's regularly wag the US dog.
Having said that, the whole enrichment programme seems to me to be political theatre by Iran. The two nukes originally used in anger (and the test weapons) were developed using brown paper, string and bits of wood, long before IC controlled centrifuges. Likewise the huge nuclear arsenals built up by the Soviets and the US through the 1950s and early 1960s were designed and constructed without the aid of PCs or the internet. If the Iranians really wanted to create a big bang, they could have done it the old fashioned way in a third of the time that it has apparently taken them to not develop their own big stick, and without the risks from electronic surveillance, hacking or sabotage. The latest "rapprochement" between Iran and the West doesn't seem a real development, simply a fig leaf to cover up th fact that Iran have evidently made no progress on building a bomb, and to continue the myth that they might.
It's the same with conventional weapons - look at the comedy stealth fighter they displayed, when you don't even need any engineering training to spot that the thing probably couldn't even fly, certainly wouldn't have been capable of either supersonic speeds or weapons delivery, and would have been as stealthy as Coco the Clown. There's lots of clever Iranians, they'd know that nobody would be taken in by that, or by badly photoshopped missile launches, or unevidenced "Islamic monkeys in space" claims.
So what exactly is the game? Iran doesn't have the forces to pose a credible threat to anybody in the region, other than by sh!tstirring and destabilisation, which are not really different to the activities of anybody else active in the region. The most obvious thing is Iranian gas reserves, but what the tension plays to is keeping those out of the market - why would the Iranian regime wish for that to be the case? Presumably somebody is getting rich on the back of this, and if the Iranian peasantry need to be oppressed then that's just dandy.
Re: not rocket science
"I think you'll find that Desertec's plan used solar thermal, which is an efficient way to harvest all of the solar spectrum by heating a working fluid to high temperature and hence drive a pretty conventional steam turbine."
I know (my employers were a founder member of the consortium), my shorthand simply referred to the idea of solar energy capture in desert locations.
But to take issue with your comment, harvesting solar by thermal means may collect a greater proportion of the spectrum, but end to end it is not really that much better than PV - the cost, complexity and losses of solar thermal are big offsets, when pv is simply a "fit and clean" solution with minimal maintenance requirements.
Re: Dark side of the Moon
"As ever, the hard part of this is the "beaming the power to Earth", which always seems to be accompanied by a lot of hand waving"
How about focused reflection of sunlight? OK, so this is getting a bit "ant & magnifying glass" for people, but rather than mess about with multiple conversion stages and energy beams, simply use mutiple reflectors to focus on solar power plants on the surface, concentrating to perhaps 5-50x normal sunlight intensity. Not so good for unlucky birds or careless flyboys, but harvesting the energy would be "relatively" straightforward (as in "nuclear power stations are relatively straighforward"). I'm sure that this must have cropped up in sci fi somewhere already, because it is obvious. And the idea of building a series of precisely controlled space mirrors seems closer to our capabilities now than the alternatives.
That "beam" could be multiply reflected to serve the dark side of the planet, could be split or consolidated into whatever made the most sense for the collection plant and power transmission networks. Concentrated sunlight would (?) burn through cloud or fog, and if correctly focused would have limited impact on stargazing romantics.
"Governments are the only organizations that can absorb the massive losses in proving a concept, private money really isn't well suited to extremely expensive pilot programs."
Tell that to SpaceX and Elon Musk. Ooh, and go tell it to the private investors who bankrolled the invention and construction of most of the rail networks in the UK or US, or did the same for motor transport, or built the first decent roads in Britain after the Romans left (the turnpikes for anyone not paying attention), or developed aircraft in the face of governments blustering that these things were of no use. Obviously we don't remember all the things that didn't work, but I think you're wrong to believe that government is the best answer to funding, organising or delivering major R&D programmes.
Re: A solution in search of a problem
You're right, but there were even more problems that didn't get a mention - the short life of wind turbines, the harm to wildlife of such a close mix of habitat and bird & bat death machine, plus noise, weight and dynamic load even before vibrations. And then there's the high cost of property-specific installations, and the rubbish output. There was some amusing news recently about the Welsh Assembly installing a £48k wind turbine that churns out a stonking £5 or electricity each month.
There's some interesting stuff in this link for those still hoping that a small scale wind turbine might answer their prayers - a little dated, but the physics and the fundamentals haven't changed since:
Re: not rocket science
" So 60 square kilometres of PV cells could match the entire global electricity needs"
That's what the Desertec consortium reasoned, and reckoned they could build in North Africa to supply Germany. Unfortunately German energy policy is even more misguided and chaotic than our own (not by much, mind you), and the prospective energy company participants no longer have two pfennig to rub together, financial backers look at the energy policy death zone that exists across all of Europe and concluded that such schemes were not a safe investment, and the existing German plan of subsidising solar and wind in not-quite-so-sunny Germany met a fair chunk of demand that might have made Desertec viable, but in a less efficient manner.
The UK made a similar mistake to the Germans of supporting build out of immature, sub-optimal renewables, although in our case by promoting vast amounts of low output on shore wind, when (if you must have wind power) the answer if not "small, crappy, onshore" but "vast, efficient, offshore".
Re: are friends electric?
"An enforced landing is not the same as a crash landing"
Nor is it the same as a forced landing. These days enforced landings usually involve a couple of RAF Typhoons and an unplanned detour to a remote part of the tarmac at Stansted.
Reading the request, seems to me that you have similar requirements to those running transaction data rooms. The need to have a hosted solution to which people can load or access files of all sizes, have fully configurable user access under client control, with proper security and audit trail.
Have search on the terms data room provider or electronic data room. I've used Merrill Corporation services as a data room manager, and found the system was excellent, and not expensive for the service on offer (though you'll be paying a lot more than Dropbox for the capabilities you want). There's plenty of competition in the sector, so just make sure you're not paying over the odds just because many other customers come fromn the "money no object" banking sector.