1806 posts • joined Friday 1st June 2012 10:28 GMT
Re: Doubtful. NOT@Florida 1920
A couple of thoughts for you. The two African "countries" not colonised were Ethiopia and Liberia. Both have suffered as much as the colonised countries from civil war, crime, poverty and failure to build civil infrastructure. Second, when the colonised countries were given independence, they were left with functioning governments, legal systems, property rights and so forth. Not perfect, I'll grant you, but most African states seem to have thrown away even those building blocks. South Africa is an interesting case. Having been the last white administration by some decades, it currently remains the best functioning state in Africa, and one of the most democratic. Worryingly it seems to be drifting towards a one party state, with rising levels of corruption, and rising economic problems.
To suggest that all the ills of Africa are due to white exploitation is crap, spouted by those who wish to deny the failings of Africa and wallow in victimhood. Africa has vast potential, but that is squandered by the people who run the show now, not the people who left sixty years ago.
If you're right, and I'm wrong, then Africa being in tatters is because sixty years isn't long enough for the locals to create their own legal systems, governments, and build infrastructure, despite Western aid running at $40 billion each and every year, African exports of $500bn a year, and foreign investment of around $10bn a year (plus Chinese aid and investment of around $8bn a year). So perhaps you should tell me how long Africans will need, and how much money it will cost?
Well the picture shows the device sporting an Android home screen, if that's any help.
Re: Not bad
"My favourite hardware feature is the built in phone home to China chip"
No big deal for retail users. On balance I think I'd trust the Chinese more than I'd trust the Yanks (or the Queen's own at GCHQ). I'm sure my mobile operator hands over all my data anyway, so what's the harm in a few Chinese trying to work out if I'm working for the Dalai Lama?
On a more prosaic level, a bit of competition to Samsung would be most welcome, given the eye watering prices they want for the S4.
Re: @AC 10:51
"Now, your approach amounts to lazy policing once again. If someone is released, their data MUST be destroyed, otherwise you start with profiling people based on earlier mistakes. Want to screw someone's life? Just accuse him of being a terrorist, ....."
Your grammar and spelling give you away as a Merkin. In which case I don't think you're in any position to cast aspersions on the record keeping of public services on this side of the Atlantic. But even if I let that pass, you've enthusiastically grabbed the firebrand of liberty, are railing against new police powers.....and sadly that's not relevant here. The debate in this sub-thread is simply that our UK police force record their activity on a computer system, and they don't delete it. No change in that. No new powers. No new infringements on liberty (other than a very low number of known instances of misuse of the system).
If you're at risk of being falsely labelled a terrorist by anybody, then I think you need to complain about and to your own NSA, rather than worrying about how the UK police manage essentially UK specific data.
"I bet this one voted for Tony Blair too."
I think you should read some of my other posts before making presumptious comments like that. But more tellingly, you seem to be in favour of keeping records of what you would have liked to have happened (or not), rather than that which happened. Perhaps you could name this new database design, where "facts" are pleasantly malleable, and cannot be relied upon at any later date?
Re: @Trevor Pott
"Apathy is as damning as actively seeking to destroy the liberty of others. I will treat it as such."
In addition to your pompous tone, you confuse state snooping and private data retention with operational record keeping. The two are fundamentally different, in a manner that you're evidently not clever enough to understand.
PNC records aren't just used to police the population, they're used to hold the police to account. They are an essential reference point for IPCC investigations or legal actions against the police, and the absence or records can be as damning as the existence and content. Look at the Hillsborough scandal - admittedly it largely predates the PNC and widespread digital record keeping, but the whole point was that original police record keeping was tampered with to disguise operational incompetence. And you want to have an open access database where the police can change the records?
Re: @Trevor Pott
FFS, read what I wrote. The downvotes suggest that as a bunch of IT professionals there's a surprisingly high number of people who think that a record keeping system only ought to keep a revised version of history. Even regarding the comments by another poster about US visa waiver, so ****ing what? If you're wrongly arrested, deleting a database field on the PNC doesn't alter the fact that you-were-arrested.
Where did I suggest "guilty until proven innocent", or even imply it? You're typing cr@p. Maybe you think tis a grand idea that the PNC should be locally amended to some new view of the truth, whenver the desk sergeant decides that a particular record "won't be needed in future". As noted before, that has some interesting outcomes for both pre-emptive arrests, and for witness intimidation. I've every sympathy with those wrongly arrested. But that doesn't alter the fact that they have been arrested, and that any records must include that.
Re: Waste of time and effort
" As soon as the global economy starts picking up (and it will - it always has)"
Why? China's growth is slowing, and there's huge problems of bad debt yet to be 'fessed up and written down. There's a limit to how much concrete you can pour, or coal you can burn, and the ghost cities and property speculation all point one way. The EU remains bogged down in restrictuve practices, and in many countries by high debt levels and compound spirals of decline. The UK and US are both struggling with barely manageable debt levels (both public and private). Japan is exploring the furthest reaches of debt manageability (at normalised levels of interest the Japanese public debt would consume. Russia and the oil producing countries are dependant upon high energy prices simply to balance domestic budgets.
In previous crises they have either been regionalised, so that growth in another region has taken up the slack from a European or US stagnation, or we've had a good war to reset the system. Option 1 doesn't appear to be available, I don't like option 2.
Re: Waste of time and effort
"pay a witholding tax on turnover "
In principle, an excellent idea, with existing VAT infrastructure to collect at minimal cost (although there'd need to be code changes because you'd presumably have a separate rate for this sales tax, and not allow recoverability on B2B transactions. The challenge is to make it simple and effective. Profit margins vary, so a sensible turnover tax rate for Apple is not the same as the sensible tax rate on a grocery business - that makes for different rates, complexity, and opportunities for gaming. There's also the problem that some businesses (financial institutions, property companies, leasing companies) make money from their balance sheet, not their turnover, so that a turnover tax is problematic.
The existing laws and structures would work well if properly enforced, through transfer pricing rules, fair valuation of franchise or property rights, and tax avoidance regulations. The law and mechanisms to do so already exist, but tax officials have been ineffectual in using them, and politicians have been idle and incompetent in clamping down quickly and hard on egrerious abuse that transcends the ability of tax officials to deal with.
"So in your view, upon being mistakenly arrested - because police made a mistake - you have to go through the hassle to being removed from that database?"
Yes. I know that seems wrong, but surely you want the PNC to record the activities of the police as well as criminals? So they should have to record any arrest on the system, regardless of outcome. Now consider data integrity - editing rights should be severely limited, to prevent data being improperly edited by the incompetent or the malicious. So the officer or clerk who enter details of my wrongful arrest should not be able to delete that, merely add to the data (no idea how PNC works in reality). That means we'd need a data controller for the PNC, with an appeal and deletion process. If the local nick are busy arresting you without due cause, can you trust them with record editing rights? And if incorrect arrest records were routinely deleted at the local nick without any process, where's the downside for police officers from making pre-emptive arrests because it suits them?
Even then, if you were stopped repeatedly by the police, and believed eventually that this was intentional harassment or discrimination, if you've actually had the details expunged, where's your evidence when you start to see this as something more systematic? How would you hold police forces to account if they had a high rate of wrongful arrests, or released too many people without charge who might have been chargeable? What about events like domestic violence, where it is common for the victim to call the police, for the offender to be arrested, but the victim then refuses to press charges. That can build, the situation can worsen, and knowing that there is a history is very useful in trying to react to future instances; It also helps when there's a case conference, for example, that looks at the interests of children at risk of domestic violence. In fact, more widely, it becomes a problem that if you can frighten witnesses enough to avoid giving evidence, not only do you avoid a crmininal record, but you force the police to delete all records. Not very sensible is it?
There is no good outcome here, I'm afraid, but the idea of simply deleting records where no charges are brought seems to have its own downsides.
Re: Well imagine that
"That is why this story is important."
Indeed, but if you're concerned, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?
The establishment of government, including the civil administration, the main political parties, the security services, and the complicit private companies are all denying that they do it, denying that it is a problem, and trying to weasle-word their way out. Events like the Boston bombings or the murder of Lee Rigby are being mercilessly spun as the case for more and more surveillance, despite the fact that they do not make any such case.
There is no influential camp demanding change. If the Republicans run Congress, or the Labour party control Westminster, would those parties change a single thing? Nope, more likely they'd put more resource into spying on their own people, and I suspect increasingly into trying to control public debate on all manner of matters that might otherwise embarass the polticians and civil servants.
Few people in the UK actually died to achieve universal suffrage. Which is quite a good thing because these days my vote is totally worthless, given the effective lack of choice between the corpulent, dishonest incumbent parties, working for themselves or their close mates. Things don't see much different in most other Western "democracies" these days.
Re: Extra lift.
"Ok, question for the panel: how do mine elevators work? Not in stages AFAIK. "
(NB, inexpert reply)
The problem for tall building lifts is weight, space, and building distortion. Now think about the enoromous winding engines above a mine, and you'll see the answer. Mine engineers don't worry about the weight, because they don't have to fit the winding gear in the top of a twelve foot by twelve foot shaft, and they don't worry about the power consumption because they already have a big fat grid connection (or on site generation) rather than having to run the wires up a kilometere of building.
Re: A note on elevator safety
"If you've ever broken a leg, you'd probably realise that "completely unharmed" is somewhat underestimating your injuries."
I suspect two broken legs was nothing compared to the lifelong mental trauma from being locked in a box that plummets 63 floors.
Be careful what you wish for
Whilst our shiney faced bufoon of a prime minister sets off on another of his noble crusades, this time against corporate tax avoidance, he should perhaps think about the consequences. In the short term, it's curtains for Ireland, as the reasons for doing business there evaporate, with direct effects like a drying up in corporate tax receipts and with side effects like a further decline in corporate rents and additional bad debts for the banks. Perhaps the fate of the Irish economy isn't his concern, but it doesn't stop there.
In the medium terms, if it no longer matters where you do business, then London, which is a tax haven of sorts compared to much of Europe, and the more mismanaged economies of the world, could have problems. The deciding factor will be how easy it is to do business, and this and previous governments have ladled more and more legislation and regulation on companies. Does the house believe that the sorts of changes he wants will make the 10,000+ pages of UK tax law shorter or longer, more complex or simpler? No doubts on the answer to that.
So Cameron, always overlooking the law of unintended consequences is probably going to harm the British economy, in some doomed-to-failure battle against exploitation of complex tax codes that he and his public school chums have been responsible for writing in the first place. Meanwhile, the other world leaders look on, make politely supportive noises, whilst privately thinking "what a lightweight".
"So if the enforcers of the law can't be trusted, why do we feel the security services can be?"
Err, who does trust the security services?
"Honest question: how does this database's so-called "due process" square with the EU "right to be forgotten"?"
It doesn't because the "right to be forgotten" doesn't apply (like so many rules) to the state, and was drafted specifically in relation to consumer interactions with business. AFAIK it hasn't yet been enacted in law, but even so I'll wager it will be like the cookie law - a brief nuisance to everybody, before the world goes back to doing what it was doing in the first place.
Whilst I'm deeply unhappy with the extent and growth in state snooping, the PNC is a bit of an exception in my eyes. If you genuinely are innocent, and are arrested, then you've got an issue. But many people are arrested with due cause, but for a multitude of reasons aren't prosecuted. In my view that's no reason to "forget". And the passage of time is no reason for dropping people off - a searchable record of allegatons against Jimmy Saville might have made a big difference to the failure to prosecute him.
I think the main change that is needed is simply a procedure for appealing a PNC entry where a wrongful arrest was made, or an arrest that retrospectively can be seen as without due cause. So get arrested after a pub fight, and you're on the PNC and stay there, even if released without charge. Get arrested because of mistaken identity, appeal the PNC entry, have it deleted.
Re: Excellent News
"then we'll be able to leave the EU soon enough, and be conveniently placed to join NAFTA.
Only from below the Earth's crust. The Atlantic sea floor has been produced by a diverging margin, and is therefore newer and usually less dense than older rock, such as the European continent. That usually means that the newer plate overrides the older plate at a subduction zone. So Europe will be sucked down into the Earth's mantle.
Europeans: Funny langugages, a comedy currency, and now it turns out they even built the whole thing on the wrong bit of rock. Looking on the brights side, volcanoes and new mountain ridges might pop up, making Blackpool a bit more lively than it has been a for an eon or so.
Re: "return car manufacturing to Britain"@ Alan Brown
Usually by the main manufacturing plant in the home market (I worked for Ford Truck before the days of JLR, so can't really speak for their practices). So you would take (say) doors complete at body in white stage (bare metal), undercoat it, stick it in a crate with all the other bits to make a complete door. Or you could assemble the door completely, but that means you need to know the colour of the final vehicle, or do an overspray of a semi complete vehicle (mature markets wouldn't accept that, developing markets are more tolerant). Depending on the destination you can have welding done there, or have all done by the original plant, and just "bolt together" at the final plant. That's why some of the KD vehicles look a bit different,depending non how "true to form" the design was. The Ford Cargo trucks I was familiar with had some KD versions that looked like they'd been made by origami, because the bolt together design meant you couldn't use the original nicely curved panels. In the case of Land Rover I'd guess that similar KD versions looked just like the MoD lightweight Landies, but you could make them as complex or as simple as you needed.
These days, the manufacturing plant is actually a final assembly plant, because so much true manufacturing (as in cutting, pressing, moulding, bending, forming, machining) is done at different sites. So engines often from other dedicated plant, brake discs from specialist third parties, wheels come in fitted on tyres, instrument cluster fully assembled from (say VDO), body pressings from specialist press companies, wiring loom from specialists, door panels from Lear (if theyr'e still in business). Even so, the welding of the bodyshell still tends to be the preserve of the "original" plant, and KD remains a product with differences, non-standard parts, and lower quality standards.
Re: "return car manufacturing to Britain"@arober11
"Land Rovers have been assembled, generally from kits and under licence"
"KD" or knock-down kits have been used by many car makers over the years. There's usually a fundamental gap between full on local assembly and KD. KD typically has around 90% of the work done in the original market, and the only bit being done in local markets is the equivalent of the final assembly and inspection.
KD assembly doesn't count as "manufacturing" any more than making a Caterham in my garage would. Usually it is only done to get round trade restrictions and vehicle import duties, because the costs are often greater than the small labour cost savings and transport costs (kits cheaper to move than complete vehicles).
Re: Who is in charge of the supply of bread to the population of London?
"Eat in thick slices with salted butter, sharp cheddar and marmalade (although not all at the same time)."
Alternatively, leave out the butter, cheese and maramalade, cut the crusts off, and use as a gloriously soft substitute for unavailable bog roll.
Re: "a cache of 2,500 rolls of the stuff"
Some fine market-ready suggestions.
Perhaps R-swype gives it a degree of hip-yoof appeal. If the company is Hog's, then Hog's iWipe would certainly appeal to the iDevice wielding chav masses. So that's two segments of the market covered. Half a percent each do you?
Re: Distracting tasks?
""Driving without due care and attention" can only be used to book someone AFTER the police catch a driver doing something stupid like weaving into the other lane or scraping the kerb"
Any offence can only be prosecuted, cautioned or FPN'd after the police catch them. The mobile ban has had no perceptible effect on driver behaviour that I've seen, and is merely part of the tsunami of poorly written, poorly thought out legislation added to the statute book. WIthout a lot more traffic cops and/or cameras, such laws have no effect.
Clearly the balance of (punishment * likelihood of being caught) doesn't dissuade a very high proportion of drivers from mobile use, nor does the message of self-hazard or socially responsible driving. And that's despite most recent (UK) vehicles having hand free capability, and the ability to retrofit such technology at low cost. Better driver training would be a possibility, but with the UK's "pass once, drive for a lifetime - almost" policy, there's no mechanism for this.
Re: "a cache of 2,500 rolls of the stuff"
"What the hell do teenagers do with toilet roll? "
Buy medicated Izal for their bathroom, and watch usage stop. Of course, you'll need a proper mortice lock on your bathroom door (or the cabinet with the soft stuff).
As for the poor Venezuelans, its notable that the Soviet Union had similar problems in its final years, and I think Cuba did - a failed bog roll supply chain is clearly the hallmark of a failed economy. In which case, rather than poking fun at the Venezuelans, we'd better start filling our lofts for the few years hence when the British economy collapses under the weight of its unpayable debts.
Maybe I can make my fortune with an appropriately shaped, washable, ultra soft silicone squeegee. The modern equivalent of the Roman sponge on a stick.
For 1% of my profits, would anybody care to suggest a name for my device?
"We really do need some sort of statute of limitations."
We have one for civil actions. But for criminal cases it doesn't wash to say "if they can string it out for long enough, then let them get away with it".
As it happens, the trial of the directors of Torex Retail plc for conspiracy to defraud and false accounting is now coming to a conclusion at Oxford Crown Court, in relation to their activities in 2006 that precipitated the collapse of the company. It would seem that any investigation (and any trial) into Autonomy's accounts would take an equally long time. I agree that's wrong, but to suggest that the (potentially) guilty should walk just because the process is slow is idiotic.
At least the drawn out process makes up a tiny bit for the laughable sentences that fraudsters receive - although the innocent would see that differently.
"If I had to guess, my money would be on it starting with a B."
And what's more, I'd guess that given the paucity of "large aerospace and defence contractors" that the Reg may well have scared the chickens, and alerted the foxes to the presence of chickens.
Perhaps next time they'll be more subtle. Or perhaps "subtle" at the Reg means not putting <insert large aerospace and defence contractors name here> in the headline?
Re: Legal theft.@Trustme
Whilst I have some sympathy with your comments, if you are so unwilling to pay the licence fee why not disconnect your aerial/satellite cable, and thus avoid the licence fee? You can view almost any content you now want on demand, and so long as you're not streaming live TV then you're in the clear.
Re: Land of the Free?@Wade Burchette
"I am amazed at how willingly people give up their privacy and liberties all in the name of protection."
When were they given an informed choice?
Quite amusing to read Obama's comments reported last Friday that that "as a society we're going to have to make some choices". The choices have already been made on society's behalf, without their knowledge or consent, and the choice that has been made is that the government's "needs" trump those of the people. All major, established political parties in most large countries support widespread communications interception, so even if the existing government are thrown out, the next one will be equally incompetent, corrupt, and controlling. Throw in the mass surveillance with the outing of the malignant Bildaberg group, and the consipracists appear to have been proven 100% correct in almost all matters.
Who's going to give you your freedom back? Certainly won't be anybody you can vote for.
Re: Time to pack up and leave
"Time to pack up and leave the USA"
And go where? Every country is enthusiastically adopting technology to spy on and ultimately control their citizens. The dictatorships you can understand. But the "democracies" are more puzzling. I think the rationale is simply that in most mature democracies you have buggins turn between two major political parties (or two like minded blocs, if coalition governments are the norm). Add in an entrenched and unaccountable civil service and even less accountable intelligence agencies, and there's no option for the public to say "no", because there's nobody in power, or with the prospect of power who will stop this.
So in the US, the masses still vote elephant or donkey, even though there's nothing to choose. In the UK the proles choose between Labour and Conservative parties, who likewise have the same policies, the same illiberal love of intelligence gathering. And it's interesting to note how similar these two sides are on almost all policies. Subtle differences exist, mostly in how they suggest they are different, but none run a balanced budget, none have any answers on the economic woes, all subscribe to more legilslation as a solution to problems caused by legislation, all are in the pocket of business lobbyists, and all think that it is essential that they have permanent access to what I read, do, or say.
Will the public wake up and start voting for breakthrough parties, and force the entrenched incumbents to listen? I sadly doubt it. Not specifically privacy issues, but we can still learn a lot from protest parties like the Tea Party, who came, made a hugely important point, but were then subsumed into the Republicans, and the voice and the message lost; In the UK UKIP has made some noise, but will be overborne by the masses who still vote for the same party their grandad voted for, without thinking that these parties have left the British economy a smoking wreck. Even protest parties in broken democracies like Greece, Italy,or Spain stand little real chance of resetting the agenda, because too many people vote for parties that don't listen, and repeat the policies that have failed, have reduced freedom, and subvert democracy..
Re: Act of war
"Would "Offensive Cyber Effects Operations" also qualify?"
Not generally, because done properly the originator can't be proved, and going to war with made up evidence now has a very bad name.
But if electronic attacks aren't an act of war, this means it is opening up new "cold war" opportunities between nations, and better still, almost everybody can come to this party. And this new cold war includes proxy fighting, and proxy targeting (eg take a European nation's financial sector off line, implicate the real target, then when the US want to act against the target, they get a more receptive hearing).
Personally I'd think the Yanks would be better off putting the resource into defending their own infrastructure and working out better tracing of attacks,rather than wasting their time trying to find ways of turning off the fridges in Tehran.
Re: Manufacturer & Mobile operator
". They all want to add their branding and app stores to thehandsets to get a bite of the recurring revenue"
And then they wonder why they don't actually get any income. Who the f*** buys anything from the Samsung or HTC crapp stores? Who uses their mobile operators content portal? A tiny, tiny minority, because everybody uses iTunes or Play, or Amazon.
If the hardware makers want more money, then they should make their devices work better so that people will pay a bit more for them. DLNA is slow and sluggish in most implementations, involving deep menu dives on both devices. Tablets often struggle with simple tasks like printing. TV's are craply integrated with other media devices. Where's Jobs when you need him? He'd have made it work, and then everybody else could have learned how to do it.
Although even there, Apple showed how to manage a phone OS, and Google managed to ignore the important bit about central control and avoidance of fragmentation.
Hope that sticks
Re: EU alternative to gmail?
"Anybody knows a good EU based alternative to gmail? "
Why do you think that the EU is any better? In the UK we've got similar laws to the Yanks, and I'd guess the "big state" enthusiasts in France, Germany and elsewhere have similar. And the EU has actually passed rules requiring telecoms data retention.
The fundamental problem is that government has been expanding consistently for years. Look at public and quasi publioc spending as a proportion of GDP. Look at the way new rules and directives are routinely flopped out requiring companies to do the tax collecting, tax spending, and even in some industries the redistribution. Look at the way that (in the UK) you now need to produce a passport to get a new car licence plate made, or even to consult a lawyer (all to prevent money laundering, so a social benefit of course).
There is no over-arching plan for this big state, it's just happening progressively as the bureaucrats decide that another tiny mouthful won't matter, and it's all for the greater good. The people were never asked if this was the world they wanted, and none of the politicians want to roll back to a world of less control, so there's no clear view of how this will end. If the bureaucrats just keep doing a little bit more, then logically you need more people to monitor the activities that will be laid bare by the mass surveillance - track down the climate change deniers, political "leakers", and so forth. The next step is the Stasi.
Re: I expect to hear the MMCC co2 believers now
"weather is not climate!'
Only applies to "deniers". For fully paid up AGW subscribers, weather is climate. Remember how at the time of Katrina, the same people promised us a decade of worsening hurricanes? Instead it's been pretty quiet. Ahh, then that must be caused by global warming.
Re: So putting an internet connected PC inside a TV set is not a very good idea.
"The TV manufacturers are all ... making loses. They hope to build content platforms big enough to be attractive and profitable to actually subsidise the hardware loses so I don't think that they add any cost."
And they haven't noticed the failure of other crappy "me too!" content stores? Most mobile networks have their own cruft and tumbleweed infested "platforms", which undoubtedly cost more to run that they raise in revenue. The same goes for most mobile handset makers.
The only people with any credible platform are software houses that own the relevant OS - Android/Google Play, Apple/iTunes, Nokia/OVI (before Elop); Microsoft might yet get there. The TV makers need to recognise that they are pure hardware houses - to create a revenue earning platform they'd need to become a software house, with considerably greater penetration than any one TV maker's market share, or a proposition so compelling that they can command and maintain premium prices.
The best the TV makers can hope for is to build margins through product excellence, make the best of mobile devices as fancy and effective remote controls, and offer far better content integration with home PCs, mobiles and cloud services. They could do that now, but I've yet to see any cross-device integration with TV's that my parents could and would use. I want to use my Nexus 7 to be an instantaneous, advanced remote for my Samsung telly. I want to be able to fling tablet content onto the TV screen quickly and easily. I want to be able to quickly access my photo collection on Drive (or Dropbox, or Skydrive, or whatever). And so on.
Basically, I want my TV to be a fully functioning HTPC that plays easily with all my other devices, not some crappy maker-specific "platform" that is primarily a third rate app store. Why can't the TV makers work this out, and make it happen?
Re: Smart TVs are dumb full stop
"(And before you say Freeview is a standard - I suspect it won't be long before broadcast TV is entirely replaced by Internet playing.)"
OFCOM agree. So you might want to reconsider your opinion, since they've never been right about anything.
The death of broadcast TV is over-hyped. On demand viewing may be a growing part of the future, but that doesn't mean that scheduled playing of new or repeat content disappears. At the moment VOD is such a minority interest that it has no marginal cost. But the cost of universal VOD hugely greater than mass broadcast if everybody does it (bandwidth & contention). And scheduled broadcast is a good way of launching and arranging new content. If you're into CSI or similar, would you look forward to all of the next series being block released like a boxed set - fill your boots over the next weekend, then wait years for the next series? Then there's the advertisers. You can force a bit of "locked" advertising into VOD, but not much. How will you cope with a world where you've got to pay extra to make the margins that are demanded?
"I doubt I'll be heading off for a Smart TV any time soon if it's yet another device to manage. :/"
Why worry? I can't see the People's Liberation Army First Battalion, Socialist Hackers spending much time looking to get inside your TV or mine. But let's assume you offend them on El Reg, and they hunt you down through cyber space like a dog. What then? They turn off Corrie at a critical moment when the wife is watching? Or they lock your tuner to BGT, XFactor, The Voice and Big Brother, with occaisional punishment showings of Top Gear? I can't say I'm too frightened myself.
This lack of security doesn't matter, and won't matter until your TV is the hub of something important. Even managing the ficrtious future "smart home" isn't a worthwhile target. It's only when the TV is a fully functioning computer that you routinely use for (eg) home banking, web browsing, email, and has the capacity to participate in botnet operations that it's a target. Judging by my "smart" TV we're about fifty years away from that.
Re: Yes, because...
" is this provision really going to stop them in their tracks?"
No, but anybody that can think knows that it''s simply a spurious argument put about by big telecom to continue the block as long as possible, with the intention of stopping people switching carriers. Plan B for big telecom will be to demand an "administration fee" to unlock phones (as some carriers do in Europe).
If you can force that up to fifty dollars it's a fair amount of cash when the benefit of switching may only be a few dollars a month, like for like. The originating network is then offering a choice of "fifty dollars and you're free to walk, or stay with us on a sim free deal that's almost, but not quite competitive". That's simple value maximisation by the big companies, and if that stuffs consumers, what do the politicians care? Backhanders and free lunches don't come from ordinary voters.
There is a simple solution, of buying an unlocked handset and going SIM free. Even in the UK where we don't have a ban on unlocking phones, that's looking like a better and better option.
Re: Renewable energy storage@Nigel 11
"If the raw materials are plentiful and cheap, you don't need a large energy density."
Except that if it has low energy density then the costs of the "container" and electrical connections become increasing part of the completed cost. For grid applications it isn't like taking a D cell, and simply building exactly the same thing the size of a dustbin.
Also, building a battery for network scale energy storage has never been limited by the cost of the materials - if it worked for a few thousand cycles, and if the efficiency were adequate, then the power sector would have leapt at it, even with very high costs - peak rate despatchable power on the grid gets very high prices. But to take something of a few grammes and scale it up to make sense for the network, then you've got all manner of charge and discharge considerations - the battery must be robust for different environments (eg extremes of temperature), it must be capable of rapid discharge, it must not have excessive self discharge, it must not lose too much energy during the charge and discharge. Almost every one of these is a problem with any battery technology. Now factor in the fact that you need something the size of the house or a warehouse, think about the connectivity of the individual cells for a solid electrolyte, and you've got wiring complexity that makes a data centre look like a school project.
For grid applications you'd actually be going the other way, probably looking to high temperature liquid electrolytes (eg molten salt technologies), since they support the necessary high discharge rates, have respectable energy densities, and in an industrial setting the temperature needs can be managed. But even they have, in the real world, much lower energy densities than you might get in the lab, and cost too much to justify their widespread adoption.
It's a lovely idea, but I'll wager that dry electrolyte systems won't be able to deliver bulk power needs of either transport or the grid in your lifetime.
"If these batteries are really so cheap, energy could be stored and used later without too much cost or pollution"
Unlikely. Just because the raw materials are cheap, that doesn't mean the end product will be. Also, even with 7x better energy density, it's still only about one third the energy density of wood. That's going to be one large battery you'll need.
Re: Not really fixing any of the problems
Of couse. But what more should we expect when Microsoft still believe they were in the right, and it was everybody else's fault? They've done the absolute minimum, and put some lipstick on the pig.
As with Vista, they'll release a more thoroughly fixed version next year under the Windows 9 banner, intended to appeal to enterprise buyers, and expect all the W8 victims to pony up for what will be little more than a jumped up bug fix (albeit your bugs=our features for Microsoft).
Re: Corporation tax seems silly.
"What the governments want is for money to be taxed at every conceivable point "
Of course, they want to hide how much you're paying. UK tax receipts are about £590bn, and there's about 29.7m people in employment. That's about £19.85k of tax raised per average employee (because companies are merely an organisation form - they don't "own" anything, merely hold it for their shareholders). It's the employees efforts that generate the income that might be taxed through the company, so that "per person" figure has some validity.
Compared to the tax some people round here probably pay, that might seem inconsequential, but when you think that the average wage (annualised) is only about £24k, it implies that the average tax take is really approaching 50% of your productive output. Working at it another way, government spending as a proportion of GDP is about 40%, although that excludes cheating like PFI, and government mandated costs in the private sector (such as energy policy costs incurred on your fuel bills, VAT & PAYE collection costs, or legislative compliance costs), which I'd wager add about 5% to what government is spending as a proportion of GDP.
By doing it this way, government successfully persaude the masses that only the rich pay 50% taxes. In reality most of us aren't far off, and even people below the income tax threshold are significant net contributers.
Re: Sadly a fairly sad phone
That's because they've just tweaked an existing Landfill Android made by an unheard of Chinese OEM. So still made by wage slaves on whatever counts as a living wage in China, and to China's renowned environmental standards.
If they really want to be taken seriously, let's see them manufacture this onshore somewhere with decent labour and envronmental standards.
"they might even pay their taxes!"
That'll require them to make a profit, which seems unlikely on 5,000 units. Fairphone smells depressingly like other well meaning projects like OLPC, and I'd be surprised if they can get these to market and keep them there. The progress of the Aakash tablet is a similar story of ambitious plans to break into an established hardware market, which then runs into delays and cost issues (possibly saved only by the vast volume of an Indian government contract to supply the device to schoolkids).
Re: This is not new
"The problems of being able to access old electronic documents were identified years ago, and various strategies have been suggested."
I think Vint starts from the Google perspective of wanting to mine that data. In the real world, businesses lose and forget anything electronic that is older than eighteen months, and only the legal/property people have any concept of archiving and retrieving documents, and they usually stick to the physical. Give those archive capabilities to the rest of the business, and you find yourself paying Iron Mountain year after year to store Christmas decorations, the unindexed contents of retired employees desks, or the IT department's original install 3.5 inch floppies for Borland and manuals for applications and operating systems long since gone.
Printed books, documents, and whole lot of original data have a half life (and always have had), and with the accelerated creation of new more and more electronic documents, losing them is rarely going to be that much of a loss. Where data is important and it is used, then it will be refreshed, preserved or updated, indeed the point of vellum was to preserve the important, not the routine. For the rest (including much of my own output) it doesn't really matter if it become unreadable in five or ten years time.
Japan? I very much doubt that, as it's been a long while since they had an agressive foreign policy, and there's no history of Japanese cyber espionage that I've seen any reference to. Israel would seem a more probable actor, although Iran or the Norks could be to blame. Also, don't forget that somebody on the most infected list could equally easily be the source.
Worth noting that the infected list largely appears to reflect the extent of illegal Windows/Office installs, which means they can't patch them. Certainly most of the reported countries have reported piracy rates of 40% minimum and 80-90% maximum, with the single and striking exception of Germany, which has one of the lowest piracy rates in the world (23%). Pakistan is certainly a large country with very high piracy rates (84%) and so it noticeable by its absence from the top ten most infected list, although it features lower down. All figures from 2011 BSA survey data.
On these IT security threads we sometimes come across the idea of whether Windows has US government backdoors. As such, I doubt it, but given the extent of pirated software, and the inability to patch that pirated software, you have an interesting outcome that perpetuates vulnerabilities on computers in "countries of interest".
If you were clever enough to do this and get away with it for almost a decade, then it follows (for me) that you'd be clever enough to build in some false leads to direct suspicion away from you, and disguise any elements that might give you away. The Mongolian connection (and other Tibetan/Uigher aspects mentioned in the Securelist blogpost) could well be a false lead - just use some smart programming to ensure that certain computers get more than their fair share, let it be known that's where China's cyber warfare people are based, let other people draw an apparently logical conclusion. And on the double bluff, it could be China, hoping people believe that they wouldn't dump in their own back yard. If Pakistan were behind it, would they be daft enough to engineer malware that infects all neighbouring countries, but not themselves?
Given the long timescale, and the targeting, I think we can say it looks too intricate a scheme to be the work of the Iranians, and the Norks. Both Russians and Chinese would be plausible and willing to spy on their own people, although the US and/or Israel seem equally likely to want to spy on the most infected countries. All four have a track record of advanced cyber espionage and cyber sabotage, all four have reasons to take an interest in the most infected list.
Re: Star N9589
"My current phone has:"
Re: Android fills a landfill MS FILLS AN ASS
"Windows Phone 8, Surface RT and Surface Pro, however have sold in their dozens, even hundreds! Perhaps we should call those DOA gimcracks "Smallish Skip fill". Where the skip has "unsold inventory" on it and exists is outside the retail shops."
Eadon! I never thought I'd give you an upvote, but that gave me a fair old laugh, so here's your upvote.
Re: Contempt of court
"Why is this so difficult for them to accept?"
It isn't. But as a bunch of people who consider themselves above the law, it doesn't matter that you and I would be subject to oversight, because they don't think it will apply to them: expenses, cash for questions - MPs, cash for questions/lobbying - Lords, Huhne & perverting the course of justice, refusal by the government to investigate allegations of criminality against RBS, etc etc.
"Why are they afraid of judicial oversight and the rule of law?"
Because it is inconvenient. Look at how speeding is used to convict drivers rather than dangerous driving laws. Too difficult to prove of course. Likewise the introduction of mobile phone penalties, rather than dangerous/careless driving. (Disclaimer: clean driving licence of 23 years). But don't overlook the disgraceful mess they are making of legal aid. Now I'm as right wing as they come, and don't like the idea of paying for the guilty to be defended, but, but, but...the mess they are currently making, to please some scummy corporates that want to get their snout into the legal sector is beyond belief. And they don't care if that messes up the justice system.
"Why are people who depise the law allowed to make the law?"
A very good question. But with nothing to choose between the three main parties, who will you vote for at the next election? They're comfortable with the buggins turn approach to government, and ignoring us peasants, and for that matter my vote's with UKIP. Not because they will be better, but because they will oversee a different and far more interesting mess, and because it may teach the main parties that it helps to listen to the peasants.
Re: Which lobby group are paying Cameron for this?
"What about the mobile sims you can buy over the counter for cash without the need to give name address etc."
Easy peasy. At the behest of Cameron and his lickspittle MPs, the useless turds at OFCOM will introduce some new wheeze that is intended to stop the sale of these without the approval of the People's Soviet Committee, and the presentation of some valid official identity recorded at point of sale. Which won't make a blind bit of difference for the crims, but will be a further inconvenience to those of us who object to having to produce a passport just to open a fucking bank account, or buy a new number plate. In fact, last time I consulted a bloody solicitor I had to produce passport and other identity because of fuck witted legislation to "prevent money laundering".
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