* Posts by Ledswinger

2984 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES

Ledswinger
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You jest!

"The BBC in the UK is often held up as a shining example of what public service broadcasting can do to retain local flavour"

OK, there's been a few gems in the clay, but if the BBC is the highlight of Europe then things must be grim. As TV technology gets better and better, so the content has become more and more sparse, and weak when it does come. It seems to take the BBC about eighteen months to conjur up three episodes of Sherlock (and the last three were pretty weak by the standards of their predecessors). There's a near total absence of the BBC's one time strength of costume drama (not my sort of thing, but great for buying me an hour on Sunday evening to play CS:GO or the like). And when they rolled out Jamaica Inn recently, they'd completely botched up the sound quality. Sci-fi is interpreted by the BBC to mean "more Doctor Who", just as kids TV is endless Tracey Beaker.

Rather than interpreting this report as a success for the British telly tax, I think the correct conclusion is that even when you throw tax funding at broadcasters, they simply can't produce anything watcheable (unless government-friendly news and Antiques Roadshow are your pleasures). I suppose somebody will want to watch the monopolistation of BBC1 by the Commonwealth Games for the next two weeks, but looking at my increasingly corpulent countrymen I have to conclude that the games are on because the BBC think they should be on, rather than any public appeal of athletics.

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Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists

Ledswinger
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Re: So sad

"From (a) & (d) I figure that we don't have to consider a great conspiracy regarding deliberate targeting of a civilian aircraft - it is very likely it was shot down by the separatist side simply because they have been routinely hitting aircraft from the government recently, "

All at low altitude. The immediate and vociferous blaming of the Russians without any real confirmation tends to indicate that at the very least the Yanks and their Western poodles intend to capitalise on this incident - just look at the UK/US newpapers, all howling that Putin did it.

It takes weeks, months or years to work out what really happened to a crashed aircraft, but funnily enough in this case Obama knew who did it immediately, and so did all the Western press. It could certainly be a mistake by either side of the Ukrainian forces, but it unfortunately has all the hallmarks of a false flag attack intended to implicate the separatists, and the Pavlovian response of the Western press is rather worrisome - both from a press freedom perspective, and from the suggestion that this tragedy is convenient for the US.

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Hi-tech Fagin couple used Apple scam cash to fly pickpockets to UK

Ledswinger
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Re: 8 years for 15K

"So the bosses of the phone company that overcharged 100k for sms will get mutliple life sentences?"

Only if you want to set punishments according to the aggregate financial outcome of crime, rather than number and type of offences. By that logic attempted anything can't be illegal because there's no cost, and the penalty for murder would be a reward if the victim was on any form of state welfare payment, as that would equate to a cash saving to the state. I suppose that's one way of getting the unemployed and disability figures down.

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Want to legally unlock your phone from its network? The US Senate says that's A-OK

Ledswinger
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"You guys should try some good old fashioned European style 'socialism' (or Effective Competition Where The Consumer Can Actually Choose as it's otherwise known)"

Don't be so hasty. On typical UK contracts there's a two year tie in that you'd have to buy your way out of if you exit early (which entirely covers the cost of the phone to the operator) and with some providers (notably the verminous EE, coincidentally joint owned by EU incumbents Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom) they charge for unlocking at the end of the contract.

So the claimed freedom of choice is not quite what it seems, because the deals wrap up the hire purchase of a handset with airtime. Legally I'm free to swap from O2 now, and take my number and use "my" handset, but that legal freedom is of modest value because I'd have to buy out the 18 month contract.

In all markets, it seems to me the best option is to buy your own handset SIM free, and then just buy airtime separately, trouble is that few of us want to pony up £400 in one go.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Ledswinger
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Re: VP of product at AOL

"No kidding. I have fond memories of that entire working day I spent trying to cancel my AOL membership."

If there's an award for consistency, then AOL ought to have it. They were a bunch of cunts when I cancelled my subscription back in 1992. Which means that (even assuming they'd only just started that policy in '92) if they can keep it up for another few years they'll be able to proudly boast "Quarter of a century of the World's Worst Service".

And this consistency makes a mockery of the pathetic corporate apologies. The values of AOL (or "Comcast" as they now wish to be known) are inculcated in this history.

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New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

Ledswinger
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Re: So I think it's safe to say that...

"And I can't help imagine how much money, good will and customers this will have cost them."

Cost in money: Nothing, as they'd have employed the same number of people doing different (unrequested) things, like the ribbon in Office.

Goodwill cost: Nothing. Microsoft don't have a good name to lose.

Customers: Next to none. Businesses keep buying the licences (be that for 7, or 8 with downgrade rights, or in a few cases for 8 intending to use it), home users buy whatever OS is offered with a new machine. OK so that's a big simplification, but the fundamental point is that they've lost few PC sales to Apple in the grand scheme, and few business or home users will chance their arm on Linux.

In theory there is also the economic opportunity cost that they could have done something different, clever, and market focused. In Microsoft's case I'd argue that they don't have a good track record of that sort of innovation, so the opportunity cost is nil as well.

When you're a monopolist, you feel no pain.

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May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Ledswinger
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Re: Big Sister?

"Could also be another risk of "economic uheavals" in heat of august."

It does feel like 2006 all over again, doesn't it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: "perceived threat from foreign companies ripping the government's current regulations to shreds"

"However, it is foolish in the extreme to change the law before a new EU directive has been crafted."

Why? Haven't you noticed a trend for the UK, where we get all the crap EU legislation (eg the latest "Balkan" slaughterhouse standards), but as soon as the EU might do anything that might benefit the hoi polloi, Brave Dave leaps into action to block it?

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Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

Ledswinger
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Re: What are those plaques in the piccy?

" although I think Greenpeace put something up there too."

I hope our man put his time to good use and chiselled it off and threw into into the sea after crapping on it.

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

Ledswinger
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Re: "If you want to listen to great-sounding music"

"There is a problem with that - concert halls with good acoustics are few and far between."

I didn't notice that problem at the Upton Jazz Festival, where people were making and enjoying good music in tents, in the street, in pubs, on boats, and even under a road bridge. Admittedly you'd struggle with a string ensemble or full concert orchestra outside of a decent hall, but the large orchestras seem to have that sorted.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Simon Harris - This new stuff looks boring

"As to weight, I need to replace my receiver some time, saw one in a Sony centre - first test, lift it up was it heavy. (it was)"

My mention of Sony wasn't really about my own opinion, mainly about the "audiophile" acceptance. I have a very heavy (if now rather old) Sony receiver for surround sound - works and sounds fine in that context, and at volume you can feel the subwoofer a hundred yards from the house, but there's far too much trickery and multipurpose compromises in there to trust it driving the electrostatics for real music. Electrostatics in any event have quite a tricky load for amps designed for cone speakers, but I'm sure I'd stick with a dedicated stereo amp even if I were just listening on a pair of LS3/5a.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They sell this as an improvement?

"[Now, if someone could find me a pair of Quad electrostatics at a sane price....]"

Depends where you live. In the UK your best bet is to buy an unrefurbished pair of Quad 57s on Ebay, and then take then to One Thing Audio in Coventry. The speakers should set you back about £600 for average condition. New electrics, new treble panels, clean & test, plus refurb and repaint of the grilles will be about £650, and a pair of proper stands will be another £200. They'll even do grilles in a range of fancy paint or cloth colours if you're into fashion statements.

I inherited a 40 year old pair of 57s in rather poor nick, had One Thing work their magic, and they now look and sound the dogs nads. If you want 63s or later the same route of buy secondhand and refurb makes sense, but the costs of refurb rise significantly because you've got more treble panels.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Simon Harris - This new stuff looks boring

"The formula you're looking for is QS = (PxW)/(NB x LOC)"

You need an exponent in there somewhere, and I'd suggest it must involve brand. As in all techy male interest fields, brand is everything. Audiophile sound quality is no different. Sony can make things as heavy, costly and button free as they like, and it'll never cut the mustard. On the other hand Mark Levinson could rebadge a Raspberry Pi and the true believers would worship it as the second coming.

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Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

Ledswinger
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Re: A masters degree in computing?

"You mean GENIUS ... Shirley"

Of course he doesn't. "Genious" is clearly the opposite of ingenious, and a highly appropriate term in the circumstances.

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Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

Ledswinger
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Re: So once again ... @BlueGreen

"It's hard to care if you can't see them die, innit. "

Perhaps you give generously to every single deserving cause that comes by. But I doubt it. So when we push aside your veil of sanctimonious cant, I suspect we'll find plenty of charitable causes you chose not to support, and probably some where you gave modest amounts, preferring instead to spend money on such fripperies and technology, excess food, and entertainment.

I've yet to meet anybody in the UK (although your language suggest you may be a Merkin) who earns a decent wack and then gifts all of that to charity, and I doubt that you do.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 1985??

"People can still claim bits of land for their countries by landing on them? I thought that went out in the 19th century at the latest."

Still works. China's busy doing it in various parts of the South China Sea. Russia's just done it in Crimea. Argentina tried it back in 1982. Obviously if there's a shed load of natives able to fight back things can get a bit complicated, but rule number one of territory grabbing is only to do it if you think that the previous owner can't fight back.

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Ledswinger
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Re: So once again ...

"which is why many charities now employ professional fundraisers and try to get people to subscribe to regular donations"

Ah yes, the joy of chuggers (every one of whom can FOAD). About time, in my view, that charities accepted that "charity" was about free will, not coercion and guilt laden marketing.

A few months ago the Red Cross sent my wife two admittedly cheap drinks mats and a begging letter for some humanitarian crisis. They didn't get anything back, but we've now had another two drinks mats and a cheap pen, asking for help in respect of Syrian refugees. Again, they got nothing, but I'm now getting hopeful of a full blown Middle East war, because if the Red Cross can raise the stakes accordingly by sending out matching place mats then it'll save me having to fork out for a full matching set of place and drinks mats. Have you seen the price of proper cork backed mats? It's an outrage.

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Dubai to get HUGE climate-controlled DOMED CITY and giga-mall

Ledswinger
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Burj Khalifa: Cost USD $ 1.5 billion, One World Trade Center: Cost US$ 3.9 billion. I think the logic is sound. Build while its still cheap, make money later.

The reason that Burj cost a mere $1.5bn was because it was built by very poorly paid immigrant labourers earning less than ten dollars a day (and when you check this out, you'll also come across the realities of immigrant workers' total lack of rights and protections in Dubai, and their servitude to employers).

Be careful what you wish for.

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Ledswinger
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"We already have 100MW of solar power here with a heck of a lot more to come."

Not much against the 9.7 GW of thermal plant that Dubai relies on, though.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Conspicuous consumption @James Hughes 1

"So how would tourists get to Dubai once the oil runs out? Electric Zeppelin?"

"Dubai is on the coast.I'll let you fill in the details."

I presume you're suggesting people swim, given that a cruise ship uses around three times as much fuel per passenger km as a long haul jet.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Conspicuous consumption at it's worst

"But that's exactly why Dubai are spending their wealth rather cleverly"

Actually it's most unlikely to be their oil and gas wealth, because Dubai doesn't have much in the way of oil and gas, although other emirates like Bahrain do (all part of the loose federation that is the UAE). And history shows that Dubai don't spend this borrowed money wisely, either.

So not only is the Dubai property boom a case of building your house physically on sand, but financially as well. Back in 2009 Dubai World came a cropper after borrowing shedloads of money for vanity projects, and some $24bn of debt was "restructured" down to around $14bn. As you'd expect, arseholes like Royal Bank of Scotland had big buckets of exposure to the Dubai property boom, so British taxpayers ended up bailing a load of the Dubai World debts out for idiot London bankers. In addition to the writeoffs by international lenders, Dubai was bailed out by the oil and gas wealth of fellow emirates Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Clearly property investors have learned nothing, banks have learned that the more stupid their lending decision, the more likely it is that they will get bailed out, and I think the same lesson has been concluded by the rulers of Dubai, so we're now back to business as usual.

Now, we can beg to differ, but personally I think that building a mercantilist economy and a global retail destination is actually a huge risk if people believe that oil will start to run out. How will people get there if there's no airlines or no affordable fares? And what's the point in zillions of square feet in retail space if the only customers are a handful of Russian oligarch's wives who flew in on private jets? Meanwhile, the other oil states are doing two far more sensible things - trying to build conventional economies to keep a fast growing and increasingly bored population happy, and using the surplus to buy relatively safe and diversified foreign assets.

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'Spy-proof' IM launched: Aims to offer anonymity to whistleblowers

Ledswinger
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Re: commendable. But...

"What could possibly go wrong?"

Well, anonymity is pointless. Unless every unverified report or accusation is fully investigated, then being anonymous doesn't help one bit. And even then, the circumstantial evidence often points to one or a very small number of people.

A bigger concern is the treatment of whistleblowers who are traced. Here in the UK PIDA isn't worth the bog roll it is printed on. Didn't help Dr David Kelly, did it? Likewise my friend and former colleague who reported a serious fraud at a listed company. As a result three directors and two others were sent to the big house, but he's not worked since, not been compensated for his actions, and a subsequent well founded allegation of malpractice at a large and dodgy Scottish bank has been repeatedly ignored, stonewalled and "long-grassed" by UK government and regulators.

My advice to potential whistle blowers: Don't report it, you will lose out. Don't get involved, it is probably illegal. If it is the state, you're stuffed - go along with it after creating a suitable paper trail of questioning the behaviour, and then accept the official assurances that it is all above board. If it is the private sector and there's no violent criminals involved, do try and maximise your chances by asking for a golden goodbye under a comprehensive NDA if they so wish. And do stick to the NDA - why make your own life uncomfortable for no reward?

If somebody offers you a web site for whistleblowing, just laugh and keep walking.

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O2 and 'leccy firm's MNVO bid flops as £25m glugs down the drain

Ledswinger
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Re: O2 hardly an appealing choice of network

Not much to choose, IMHO. But as the OFGEM limitations on energy tariffs doesn't apply to non-energy business we still don't know why SSE didn't follow through. Perhaps somebody close to the deal might care to let the rest of us know?

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F1? No, it's Formula E as electric racing cars hit the track

Ledswinger
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Re: Are electric cars really usefull?

"Considering that an Astra with roughly equivalent spec (the 2 litre diesel automatic) lists at roughly £24k,"

I would contend that nobody actually pays anything like £24k for an Astra, regardless of spec or list price. "I could have an entry level Beemer 3 series, but an Astra diesel sludgematic coffin dodger special edition is a far better investment, and a superior ownership experience". Bwahahahahahahah!

As for rebates and "lower operating cost", that is certainly true at the moment, but only for a while. If EVs gain any market share government won't be able to cope with the lower revenues, and they'll have to end the ridiculous subsidies, and introduce road pricing or other taxes to raise an average of around £1k per vehicle in taxes that would otherwise disappear. The congestion charge exemption is a similarly time limited subsidy, unless EV's somehow cause less congestion than ICE cars? As soon as London is filled with EVs do you think they'll revoke the congestion charge?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Are electric cars really usefull?

"Take a look at the Vauxhall Ampera"

And take a look at its price tag of around £34k for a car the size of an Astra. You've got to be a rich eco-warrior to be able to afford one.

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Ledswinger
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"Give 'em a bloody chance!"

I think they've had ample bloody chance, given that the earliest semi-practical electric cars date back to the same years as the earliest semi-practical ICE vehicles, between 1880 and 1890.

I'm not sure how road car technology will be enhanced by having a dull race* between identical ultra-light non-road electric cars, where the drivers leap into another car when the battery goes flat? As much as anything, to spur innovation you need variety, but with single suppliers this smells like a bit of window dressing for Renault. And then there's the fact that EV's are all about the battery - energy density, cost, durability, and speed to charge - with 130 years of battery development still not offering much benefit, I can't see that a token bit of pretend racing will do anything. They'd be better off instead of spending the money custom building some undoubtedly expensive F1 lookalikes putting the money into fundamental research by blokes in white coats.

* Formula 1 is dull enough already - imagine it with quieter, slower cars with lower endurance.

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India’s Karbonn launches £26 Android phone

Ledswinger
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Re: Trickle Down

"It was a miserable user experience"

It was indeed, but only against more expensive opposition. If you'd never used a capacitive screen smartphone before, a Galaxy Ace was a joy of capabilities. If you compared it to the then current Galaxy S2, it seemed awful.

But thinking forward a couple of years, this "old spec" niche may be filled by something of similar spec to the Galaxy S3. As the S3 can still hold its head up against the latest S5 model, this sounds great for users, but, shall we say, "interesting" for phone makers. The days of £600 list prices are numbered (well, for people not in a particular walled garden, at any rate).

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Top ten car gadgets: Get your motor running with new shiny-shiny

Ledswinger
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Re: Devices limited only by the car you put them in.

"A dash mount phone holder is stymied because the dash is a textured finish."

The phone holder mentioned in the article is suitable for mounting on textured surfaces. I've got a different product that claims to do the same thing. Cheap suction mounts won't stick, but the more upmarket versions use some fancy 3M gel that sticks to almost any surface. For these mounts you'll be paying around twenty quid or so.

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Japan makes Prius palatable with road map to hydrogen cars

Ledswinger
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Re: Oh dear

" converts water to H2O"

Yes, yes, I know that's not much of a feat. But hopefully you do know what I meant to type.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oh dear

"hence 3-5x the CO2 emissions (given the same energy generation mix - in fact it would be even worse because clean energy sources are currently a limited resource)."

Whilst I'm no fan of renewables, I need to point out that the vast build out of the damned things means that most developed world markets are moving to a world where we (in the industry) expect to see some points of time where wholesale power prices are nil (under the committed FIT regimes we could even see low negative power prices at some times of low demand).

So from that perspective we expect to have got lots of electrical power kicking around when nobody really wants it, and converting power to gas is quite straightforward. In the medium sized plant we've already got operating in Europe it is working well, converts water to H2O (we blow the oxygen off because it's not economic to do anything else with). The hydrogen can be menthanated and pumped into the gas grid, or at low volumes fed in directly as H2. The simple problem is not really the efficiency issues, it is the asset cost - this is not cheap kit to build, and it is out of the money in a fossil gas world.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Go Japan Go

You may hope, but where will the energy come from for electrolysis of water to hydrogen & oxygen?

If we consider each country's energy trade balance then I start to see a problem. Exclude fossil fuels, and who has now, or might realistically have a surplus of energy of any kind? Even in countries with high levels of wind resource (eg the UK) these still contribute fractional levels to domestic energy needs, so the chances of wind producing (net) exportable power are small. The only other scaleable renewable energy is not homogenously distributed, so if solar energy is used then the energy powers will be the desert belts of the globe (because they not only have the best solar resource, but also vast areas of land with no alternative uses). So in your H2 world the likely energy powers are the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. And who will pay for the capital intensive solar capture, electrolysis, storage and transport of H2? In part the existing oil-based sovereign wealth funds, in part the banks. Who has the expertise in managing energy transport, shipping, distributing and marketing chemical fuels?

Oh, dear, sounds like we're back in the very same place you don't want to be - raw energy in the hands of the Arabs, the usual crooks in charge of the money, Exxon, BP et al doing the operations and marketing. And as icing on your cake, at any global scale, of course, saturating deserts with sufficient solar collectors to fuel the energy needs of the fast growing developing nations and the import dependent developed countries will significantly alter the albedo of these regions, and contribute to a rather clearer form of AGW, although I suspect the hippies will ignore this.

There is an alternative, and that's nuclear. Lots, and lots of nuclear. For the UK, even if we cut total energy demand by 50%, we'd still need to build six times as many nuclear power stations as we currently have to support an H2 economy - something of the order of 90 reactors. On a global scale we'd need to use either (or both) fast breeder reactors or thorium to make sure there's enough nuclear fuel to go around, and the total system costs would be astronomical.

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Rockall batters plucky Brit adventurer

Ledswinger
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Re: @theModge - Just how inedible are seabirds really?

"They taste of paraffin, apparently."

Not like he can drop into the nearest Happy Shopper for a tin of overpriced beans, though. A 300 mile odd swim to Stornoway may be a bit much on an empty stomach, and if he was anything like me he'd get there and refuse to pay the outrageous price.

If he's got an internet connection to update Twatter, is he reading this? Looking down the thread I suspect we won't be keeping his spirits up with positive talk and helpful suggestions.

Sorry Nick!

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REVEALED: The sites blocked by Great Firewall of Iraq

Ledswinger
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Re: God is great and Frank Herbert is his prophet.

"It helps if you bomb flat the vital infrastructure, too. Thus ensuring it's a third world nation."

You can't bomb people back to the stone age if culturally they never left.

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Ledswinger
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"I heard their internet links can be a bit dodgy"

I'm with sjsmoto on this. I'd rather somebody chopped through an undersea cable than my neck. And going from liberal, easy going Sweden to mad as fuck Iraq........what's that about?

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Ledswinger
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Re: God is great and Destroy All Monsters might be his Prophet

"I won't even go into the utterly despicable French/British behaviour post-WWI and Skyes/Pikot, which deserves a separate introduction of the people involved to the Black Box of Pain."

Guilty. M'lud. And of course there was the British government's Balfour Declaration, that through a combination of subsequent Goldman-esque politicing and European guilt over The Austrian's activities eventually led to the formation of Israel and the expulsion of the Palestinians. Factor in French, Russian, British and American interference throughout the Middle East ever since, and "westerners" in the most general sense really have a lot to answer for. If the British civil service (past and present) burn in the fires of hell for this and everything else they've ever done then I'll be happy to get a long stick and bag of marshmallows to share with you. But...

...what about your lot? Would things have panned out better and more peacefully if the Brits and Frogs hadn't darkened your doorsteps? In both Britain and France we had centuries of epic bloodshed and civil war in our transition from wiping our arses on stones and believing the crap spouted by religious leaders, through to having access to quilted labrador pelts on a roll and going shopping on our sabbath. I suspect that even with the efficiency of modern death machines, the same journey will involve less bloodshed (end to end) for the peoples of the Middle East (not that I'm condoning or excusing the Western interference).

But we are where we are. How about the people of the Middle East stop worrying about what their neighbours believe, say or practice in their own minds or homes, put the guns and bombs away, and round up and burn ALL religious books, religious scholars, zealots, religious officials and tribal elders? In the meanwhile the UK's foreign aid budget could buy one hell of a lot of Andrex, and the NATO air forces could deliver that - Hercules drops to metropolitan areas, surgical fast jet deliveries to smaller towns, and drones firing three ply cluster packs or JP233's onto isolated rural targets. Global peace would break out as Middle Eastern men were suddenly able to retire for a comfortable dump with a copy of the Arabic version of Viz.

As softening up work we might have the collected works or Richard Dawkins translated into Arabic and then carpet bomb the whole Middle East with it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: God is great and Frank Herbert is his prophet.

"And the last step; wait for a genuine democracy to break out, stage a coup, put your own dictator in charge and help him kill those democrat terrorists."

That's Ukraine that you're thinking of, where US interference is what toppled the last nationally elected president, leading to instability between factions that might otherwise have been managed.

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Ledswinger
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Re: God is great and Frank Herbert is his prophet.

"Don't forget the first step, Invade and make sure they have nothing resembling a competent government left"

Come off it, they didn't have a competent government to start with. The deservedly dead Gadaffi killed about a million in his hobby war with Iran, and was caught red handed gassing the Kurds, before starting the first Gulf War, killing another 40,000 people. Iraq's people suffered under years of sanctions due to Saddam's misgovernance, and saw none of the wealth from oil or gas.

I grant you he was fairly effective at suppressing the inter-group fighting, but that's hardly a reason to vote for him unless you celebrate the values of brutality, corruption and repression.

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Cybercrooks breed SELF-CLONING MUTANT that STEALS your BANK DETAILS

Ledswinger
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Re: Worm-like information stealing banking Trojan

"If open wasn't the same as execute then email attachments wouldn't be dangerous."

Or if email clients were configured by default to delete all executable/high risk attachments, and to have easily changed rules to adjust that as required.

In a corporate world there's a lot more control of such things, in the personal world email clients have stagnated for years, with rudimentary filtering that is neither enabled by default, not lends itself to managing either attachments or embedded links and objects.

I suppose the lack of investment in email clients is yet another casualty of Microsoft's "give it away free" policies of prior years. The sooner that company curls up and dies the better.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

Ledswinger
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Re: Ancient technology

"The Cambridge psychology department at the time was using Quad electrostatic speakers (which looked confusingly like portable electric heaters)"

"At the time"? I'm outraged. The original ESL 57s are still made new and sold by Quad Deutschland, for about €4k a pop. Or you can buy an original Quad Ltd pair on Ebay for a few hundred quid, and have them refurbed by One Thing Audio for about a grand including new stands, new treble panels, reworked and resprayed grilles and new electricals.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Clearly there's an need for intelligently designed speakers

"Clearly there's an need for intelligently designed speakers. As listened to by God"

Quad electrostatics are the chosen speakers of the almighty, and all those of good taste and discernment. And they even sound fantastic playing MP3's off the phone into the pre-amp.

/smug

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Microsoft thumbs nose at NSA, hardens crypto for Outlook, OneDrive

Ledswinger
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"So moving forward, each session needs to be uniquely attacked and decrypted, regardless of if you know the private key or not."

Only strengthens email against spies who haven't backdoored the software....

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NASA aborts third attempt at finally settling man-made CO2 debate

Ledswinger
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@jhudsy

"CO2 has been pretty much confirmed as the cause of AGW."

Likewise, the world is flat, and the shape of people's heads tells you whether they are criminals.

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GCSE Computing teachers cry victory as board decides NOT to bin tech teens' work

Ledswinger
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Re: Assessment methods

"Picking up on Leadswinger's comment in the original article, how do we all think these skills should be assessed?"

But to turn to the meat of your question, the answer is elements of all four. There's some elements of knowledge that timed tests (=exams) are the most obvious way of testing (spelling, for example...) but all of the mentioned techniques do have a place. My original comment was driven by a personal beef that it is daft to have 80% (frequently 100%) of your performance in one to three year's learning decided by a mere couple of hours at an uncomfortable desk in a sweat-scented sports hall in the height of summer, an exercise that primarily tests rote learning, and in such a short time can't possibly scratch more than the surface of the topics taught. In answer to your "anything else", we could consider oral exams or vivas - the best way to find out what somebody knows is always to talk to them, although there is a risk that the marks end up being too subjective and soft.

Testing across a range of assessment methods would allow people's different skills and attributes to shine, and enable the assessment to cover a wider range of skills and topics. I still think that all marked assessment work should not be marked by the teachers - the assessment process should ensure that their is anonymity between marker and marked, to stop "back scratching" generosity.

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Cambridge Assessment exams CHAOS: Computing students' work may be BINNED

Ledswinger
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Re: @Arnaut the less

"The object of education is not to facilitate your business. "

Well at least it's succeeding in that, then.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Guus Leeuw

"Have you looked at the two course works the article is about?"

Of course I have. Maybe the joys of Dutch (?) academia were similar to your life in coding, in my experience (coding defence systems) I can't think of anything that was similar. It's a bit Godwin-esque to mention Einstein, but I'd point out that school all but wrote him off because he didn't fit the academic model that school used to denote success. If being a good coder is reliant on the programmer remembering what he's done in acute detail, then its not a good omen. Working methodically within a design, keeping track of what you have done and need to do are (in my view) a much better way of working than hoping the coder got high grades in history at school and has a good memory

How would I fix continuous assessment? There's a number of problems but the first and most significant one (in my view) is conflict of interest when teaching and marking are done by the same people. We don't let kids mark their own homework, and so as far as possible we shouldn't let schools do their own marking of any assessed work. They mark somebody else's, so there's no increase in cost or workload (other than some shipping of work around to schools doing the same syllabus). With appropriate technology even the admin of shipping the work around could be automated. Where the work is more applied than written, an external invigilator could supervise, much as happens for some current exams.

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Ledswinger
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"Closed-book too, as it should be."

Of course, because closed book memory tests are sooooo representative of useful skills in the real world. In practice these work strongly in favour of people with good memories for arcane detail who can write quickly. Those two skills are fairly unimportant in my business.

"Continuous assessment is a total joke."

That's a separate (and contentious) point to the merit of closed book exams. I'd rather we fixed the flaws of continuous assessment rather than continued to rely on single chance end of year exams where many talented students don't shine, and where sometimes lazy chancers get lucky and get grades they don't deserve.

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Hey, Marissa Mayer: Flexi working time is now LAW in UK. Yahoo!

Ledswinger
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Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

"traditional job requirements are that you work in the office or store or whatever"

Alan proves that time travel is possible, by posting his comment from the year 1860, when employer and employees knew their rightful positions.

Helpful message to Alan: Don't be on the Lady Elgin crossing Lake Michigan in September of your year - it sinks.

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LG drops G3 quad HD Android mobe with FRIGGIN' LASER camera

Ledswinger
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Re: Interesting phone but not original

"you may be blinded by LG's sparkle, but based on their previous history, this phone will be an orphan very quickly."

But who do you go to that has an unimpeachable track record on supporting devices for even eighteen months after last retail availability? I can't think of anybody in the market that hasn't orphaned a recent handset. Apple appear to have the best track record on that, but there's a heavy price to pay, both in cash, and limitations on device specification.

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What's it like using the LG G smartwatch and Android Wear? Let us tell YOU

Ledswinger
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Re: I'm a bit disappointed in the LG model

"/petulant "I wanted to look like Dick Tracy!" petulant/"

Wear any "smartwatch", and in my humble opinion they'll have granted the first half of your wish.

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Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

Ledswinger
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Re: If I may...

"The (US at any rate) military also makes the distinction that drones can operate without a pilot,"

Surely the only distinction is that a drone doesn't carry an onboard pilot?

Manned craft can take off, route and land based on just a flight computer programme, whilst the meat sacks doze and talk about football or whatever (or they can fly by the seat of the pants if they so choose). And a drone needs somebody to take the decisions and programme the route parameters, whilst allowing (usually) full manual control. The only real difference is that the drone operator is remote, and rarely pays for his or the machine's failings with a pound of their own flesh, whereas the on board pilot has (quite literally) skin in the game.

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