* Posts by Ledswinger

4090 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the point

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Loudspeakers in your lightbulbs sound crap

The light is LED, so, approximately immortal

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Your phone works on electricity

but it's a LOT of phone for £230...

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: And we will all be introduced

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Higher and higher resolution

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Why the MoD need 180000 licences.

"23 000 in Procurement"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drone delivery sparks Ohio prison brawl

Ledswinger
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Re: lower than low

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star

Ledswinger
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Re: Thank you: 20 years?@ Mage

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Thank you

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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I suspect "visible to the naked eye" only applies to those unembuggered by light pollution.

Don't worry, the progressive roll out of LED streetlighting is slowly improving things for everybody other than the denizens of city centres (who deserve what they get).

From a tech perspective, it's notable that the luminous efficiency of long-life LEDs is actually no better than the gas discharge lamps they replace (at around 100 lumens per watt), and so to offer "carbon savings" that are the be all and end all of government's very existence, the LED lamps have had to be designed with much better luminaires (the lamp head). The crummy old low pressure sodium lamps (the dim orange ones) threw about 30-40% of their output upwards with their "candle in a pie dish" design, and it was that, not ground reflected light that created the horrible "fire bombing" light pollution evident over any sizeable urban area. The LED heads have far less light spill (and you get better light quality and longer lamp life). In some areas "dimming and trimming" that works best with new lighting control gear means if you'll stay up late the night skies are darker still, but there's little public acceptance of that, and (counter intuitively) the financial case for LEDs is compromised if they run for less hours.

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Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes

Ledswinger
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Hardly surprising

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: This stinks

<iIt's being done secretly</i>

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

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

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

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

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Obsolescence of food is complete: Soylent now comes in bottles

Ledswinger
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Re: I thought the reason we evolved..

...was to cook.. bbq... make things tasty and crispy.

That's correct. The magical confluence of men, beer, fire, meat, bread, and sunshine. Unfortunately the ladies don't seem to understand the simplicity of the idea, and I'd just like to make a public appeal to women of planet earth:

A barbecue does not involve salad. Ever. Or coleslaw. Or cous cous. Or vegetables. Or fancy gastro-pub style ten deck gourmet burgers. Or any meat products purchased from a supermarket (with possibly a solitary exception for home made burgers from supermarket bought mince).

And for the gents, a polite reminder: No Budweiser or similar camp drinks.

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Painfully insecure GDS spaffs £21,000 on online narcissism tool

Ledswinger
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Big deal

£21k is nothing in the world of government spending, where billions are routinely wasted on the whims of gormless politicians, and whilst Her Maj's opposition froths at the mouth at "austerity" in which the government fritter £80 billion each year more than they raise in taxes.

Given that getting good quality user feedback is far more difficult than tracking what people actually say about you, this is probably a sensible more, although with the cynical caveats that nobody probably does discuss GDS on social media (the Reg Commentariat excepted), and that there's no point getting feedback on your service unless you do something effective about it.

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

Ledswinger
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Re: Set to a range

I've not yet encountered a system that lets you do that explicitly, but they must exist, surely.

They most certainly do exist, and the can work well, particularly if you have a building designed to maximise the benefits of passive heating and cooling (like the one I work in). Our Building Energy Management System (BEMS) has powered heating and cooling at its disposal, but within the normal range of temps will automatically open and close windows on different levels to control temperatures through passive airflow. Energy use is low, comfort is high, and this in a building built twenty four years ago

But most office (and DC buildings) weren't designed in this way, and if they are in high density urban environments then passive cooling doesn't work as well due to urban heat island effects and sometimes due to poor external air quality. It can be done (eg The Gherkin), but anybody who knows the City will be aware that most of the buildings are drab, high density, actively heated and cooled prisons, reflecting the fact that the architects and their clients didn't care. Add in a cheap BEMS that does aim for a single figure temperature, and you have a recipe for discomfort and high costs. Retrofitting actively controlled passive ventilation is virtually impossible if the building isn't designed for it at the construction stage.

A BEMS can be (and usually is) a large scale equivalent of a dumb domestic thermostat - so cheap and crap. A good one is a sophisticated multi-million pound private SCADA network, using extensive sensors and actuators, keeping temperatures in a controlled band, and linked into active heating and cooling that operates in a duty-assist role. The most advanced can even integrate a standby power system to minimise grid costs or sell power into the ancillary services power market, or to harvest the subsidies associated with on-building PV.

As is always the way, the reason things aren't any different is because the executives have a tantrum if their offices are uncomfortable and that gets fixed, but they don't give a tinker's cuss about the peasants. The vast cost of prime estate property dwarfs the energy costs anyway, and they just HAVE to have a premium London office (or New York, SF, Frankfurt, Tokyo, et al), full of minions to justify their self importance. And that usually means speculatively built or legacy buildings, and all the vileness of the metropolitan environment.

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German railways upgrade their comms tech from 2G to 4G

Ledswinger
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I'll raise you with a bigger anorak.

Len: Consider your large anorak confiscated and your sandwiches stomped on for your failure to use the term "Deltic".

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Nokia sells HERE maps to Audi, Daimler and BMW for €2.8 billion

Ledswinger
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Re: A good thing in general...

"Taking HERE away from Nokia's short attention span and putting it in the hands of an industry with a genuine interest in the product is, on the face of it a good thing. "

Is it now? Looking at the outrageous prices carmakers often charge up front for built in satnav, and the frequently breathtaking costs of map updates, I'd say that flogging HERE to car makers in general, and German ones in particular is a very bad thing.

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Feel like you're being herded onto Windows 10? Well, you should

Ledswinger
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"50% less crap!"

I can live with that. For work and gaming compatibility I'm trapped in Windozewurld (and in all honesty 8.1 is running pretty smoothly for me), but if they're starting to get to grips with the problems of backwards compatibility and the obvious solution, then I'm cool about huge tranches of ancient code being orphaned.

Maybe Nutella has got his head screwed on right, even if he can only communicate in Dilbertese.

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High Court smacks down 'emergency' UK spy bill as UNLAWFUL

Ledswinger
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Re: And now you see...

They needed to amend the constitution so that they could pass 'all sorts of crazy laws.'

Only in The Simpsons. In real life the US government just ignored your constitution, and handed themselves huge tranches of power that have had no good effects, and many bad effects. But the population acquiesced to all of those evil laws. There was no uprising. No new political parties sprung up. The masses continued to vote for the indistinguishable crooks of the Republican or Democrat parties.

I think Obama should do the decent think, and his next presidential address should be from the White House privy. He can start off with the immortal words "I have in my hand a piece of paper..." before demonstrating to the watching public the high regard he and his fellow law makers have for your constitution.

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Microsoft to Windows 10 consumers: You'll get updates LIKE IT or NOT

Ledswinger
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Re: no matter what MS force on us

Rip it from its cable, shove it in my laptop bag, and head home. If the thing overheats, there's no WiFi on the way (there isn't) or the battery runs out mid-way, "Ahh, Didums!"

That's the simple joy of enterprise IT: As a user there is no need to care. I certainly don't.

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Ledswinger
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Re: no matter what MS force on us

It is my right to refuse updates if I don't want them at that point in time

That will depend on the terms of the EULA, and whether Microsoft decide to grant you that "right", I would have thought. The whole point of the EULA is to limit and restrict purchaser rights to the maximum extent permitted by law, and to confer maximum protection upon MS.

You can of course decline the W10 EULA, and stick with W7, or install another operating system of your choice.

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BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

Ledswinger
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My main concern is where the investment would come from for continued improvements.

It comes from retained profits or from additional equity investors. As a standalone infrastructure company (or companies) Openreach should find it easier and cheaper to raise debt or equity than as part of a conglomerate trying to get into high cost, low asset activities like TV.

And that's why BT don't want to split out OR - because the retail business, the vanity TV project, and "Global Services" would suddenly find that their cost of capital had increased, and their exposure to competitive markets was far greater.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do it!

'New Openreach' would still have the same share of the market

Initially, maybe. But in other distribution systems (gas, electricity, water, sewerage) regional monopolies are common, with the regulator using variations on benchmarking to judge performance, and incentivising preferred behaviours through punishment + reward financial settlements. I'd be staggered if Openreach had a single operational structure across the UK. If it does, then it's overdue for break up, and if it has regions then the dotted lines are already there to tear along.

This will certainly result in some assets being owned by foreign investors, but so what? It's not like they can dismantle network assets and take them away.

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Toyota recalls 625,000 hybrids: Software bug kills engines dead with THERMAL OVERLOAD

Ledswinger
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Re: Planetary gear transmission

Redundancy is always a good idea, isn't it?

It's always an expensive idea, too, with greater complexity that invites more failures overall.

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Former spook bigwigs ask for rewrite of UK’s surveillance laws

Ledswinger
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Re: Pull the other one

All GCHQs cheerleaders are doing is fooling themselves if they think bandying this drivel around changes that one jot.

But it works. Look at how in the Blair years, government would carry out some unrepresentative focus group "research", ask this group some exceptionally leading questions to support a pre-determined policy, and then do that, complete with fanfares about how people wanted ID cards.

At one point the liars, thieves and clowns of government were claiming over 80% of the populations supported ID cards: http://www.out-law.com/page-3188

This time round the Nazis of the Home Office are determined to pretend that the public want their communications intercepted, scanned and stored forever, using the same approach of focus groups fresh out of homes for the weak minded, and questions like "You'd rather we intercepted all potential terrorist/paedo communications to PROTECT YOU, wouldn't you?"

Theresa May, you're a nazi shithead, and the only question I have for you, is "what it is about the role of home secretary that converts every appointee into a nazi shithead?" Poor old Jack Straw was quite decent and liberal before he got "upgraded", cyberman style.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Yeah, well, good luck with that...

Now if the Lib Dems were still in government the report might be worth something.

What, like their promise on tuition fees that turned out to have been written on Medicated Izal?

Lib Dems. Don't make me laugh.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Ledswinger
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Re: "Chrome ...... performs noticeably faster at common tasks, like switching between tabs."

"Even this old dual-core, 2GB with on-board graphics switching tabs is 'blink and you'll miss it "

Don't worry. That was just the El Reg Copybot (tm), making things up as it goes along. It's amazing what technology can do these days.

I suppose at least it hasn't got as bad as the Mail, where the Moral Outragebot has terminated all the other copybots, or the Guardian/BBC Axis of Evil, where the Climate Changebot has done the same thing.

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Nokia will indeed be back 'making' phones – and it's far from a foolish move

Ledswinger
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I wanted to say...

Please come back. But not with Android....or Microsoft....

And then it all fell apart. I doubt they'd have the gumption to use Sailfish. Tizen, Ubuntu and Firefox seem relegated to the slow track. And all four pretenders suffer the lack of an "app ecosystem", which says that you can't sell a smartphone without fifty three fart apps.

So what what would we be getting as the new Nokia smartphones? As the article says, vast amounts of goodwill exist, and I'd even pay a few quid extra for a phone that (a) worked, and (b) didn't spy on my every move, but how do they achieve that, and still offer the desired apps? Even Blackberry's Android app compatibility doesn't appear to have saved them.

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Peak Google? Chocolate Factory cuts costs amid dwindling growth

Ledswinger
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Re: Not just that

"Well, they don't seem to have been doing too badly..."

For themselves, no. But having never paid a dividend to shareholders, you have to wonder for who the company is being run. Shareholders wealth has increased purely as the stock has inflated, and absent QE it would be worth a fraction of the current price.

Real companies make real profits, generate real cash, pay real dividends, and invest in real opportunities. Google's missing from most of those categories, and the whole business will shrivel when the near monopoly on search is broken.

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Foxconn to hire a million Indian staff in major base shift

Ledswinger
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They'll soon run out of countries...

No they won't. There's Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal.... when they're exhausted the southern parts of Africa might be open for business, followed by the (currently) more shambolic parts of South America. When they are done, there's possibly Pakistan and Bangladesh. Moving on through central Africa (possibly via Central Asia)....loads of places willing to offer cheap labour. Iran could be ex-sanctions by then.

And eventually maybe even Syrians might starts wanting proper paid employment rather than blowing each other up.

However, what made China the ultimate manufacturing destination was a government committed to building whatever infrastructure was needed to support export manufacturing, and repressing any form of dissent to pollution, disposession, corruption and forcible relocation. India will struggle to follow that, because for all its failings, it is fairly democratic and has a freeish press.

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Java jockeys join Flash fans in the 0-day exploit club

Ledswinger
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At this point, we can only hope that Minecraft stays on Java .....

I wouldn't worry. Microsoft spent several billion dollars to demonstrate their faith in the game. As a fairly inviolable rule you can guarantee that whenever Microsoft invests billions, the company or product is doomed. So there won't be anything worth porting....

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

Ledswinger
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Re: The Truth of the Matter is this...

As a result we have been doing the same to our own former colonies, depriving them of skilled people.

If your logic were correct, then it would be a zero sum game, and it wouldn't matter that UK graduates went overseas, because the colonials we hired in their place would be paying taxes anyway. In net terms the UK benefits in tax terms from international mobility because so many major businesses are based here, so we have more graduate-standard job opportunities for our grads, and foreign grads coming in to take jobs also pay taxes here.

And at the end of it all, even if there were a net outflow of graduates it wouldn't affect funding both because there is bugger all hypothecation in UK tax and spend, and because we are significant net exporter of education, particularly higher education.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The point where I concluded this guys an idiot.

If they did tax aircraft fuel the same a filling station fuel. Then you would probably end up driving to Paris or Amsterdam to catch a flight to New York.

Already works like with air passenger duty, although people don't drive, they just fly short haul to somewhere civilised (like Schipol), and take the long haul flight onward from there.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The Truth of the Matter is this...

This is why our children no longer have free University Education

No it isn't. There's two reasons why our kids no longer have fully funded higher education. The first is that a certain grinning war criminal decided that 50% of school leavers should go into further education. Unfortunately, instead of useful subjects and apprenticeships, this meant a vast increase in the number of people studying, and unfortunately most of these additional places were for Medicated Izal degrees - sociology, journalism, hair dressing, sports science, media studies and the rest. It was this same Labour government that introduced tuition fees, because this massive increase in tertiary education couldn't be funded despite Blind Gordo's enthusiasm for shovelling billions of pounds of debt onto future generations (like the PFI that you mention).

The second reason why we don't have free further education is because that puffy faced lightweight we've endured as prime minister for the past five+ years decided that handing £12bn a year out as foreign aid was a better way of spending what limited resources we do have, and that despite a range of tax increases to try and reduce an unsustainable budget deficit, it was better to further increase tuition fees. I select foreign aid because it was a decision taken at the same time as increasing tuition fees, and because it has a similar quantum as a fully funded tertiary education system would have.

This has nothing to do with corporations, and everything to do with a political elite who for fifty years have been busy drawing up the ladder they themselves climbed, whilst pissing money away on crap. So the grammar schools were largely abolished by Labour party tossers who'd benefited from them. Maggie (IIRC) started the abolition of student grants (having enjoyed a scholarship at Oxford). Labour came back with tuition fees, with Blunkett loading debt onto graduates, unlike his own fully funded degree at Sheffield Uni. The current shower of piss have made things worse still (with the support of the now-extinct Liberal Democrats), despite all enjoying state support for their education.

So, make no difference which party you thing represents you, they all think the same, and they've all shat upon our higher education system, and in particular on the poor buggers going through it. Bastards the lot of them.

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Brit teen who unleashed 'biggest ever distributed denial-of-service blast' walks free from court

Ledswinger
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Re: Serious.

... but for some reason the judge doesn't feel like imposing a penalty reflecting that seriousness.

I smell a plea bargain. Somebody may now be joining the ranks of the civil service in Gloucestershire soon.

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Google says its AI will jetwash all traces of malodorous spam from your box

Ledswinger
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Re: Meh

My only concern is whether a forged passport in my name will turn up on a dead Israeli specialops guy at some point. Or a Palestinian. Either is possible.

Not much to choose between them, either.

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

Ledswinger
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Re: Ambition deserves admiration but faster planes seem more realistic

there would for sure be a market for planes with a cruising speed exceeding 1000 km/h

Not really. Concorde demonstrated that there was no commercial case for supersonic travel. Boeing had a look with the SST, and couldn't make that happen. Look at the development costs for any supersonic aircraft, and they can't be economically recovered from the small number of passengers that supersonic aircraft can carry, and that's before the high fuel and operating costs are considered. That's why there's always been Pie In The Sky projects claiming to develop new designs that will do anything up to Mach 5, invariably accompanied by garishly coloured artists impressions, but that never result in any new supersonic passenger transport.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Burst the bubble

"infrastructure spending to try and prick bubbles - which has a considerable advantage over other forms of quantative easing inasmuch as you actually have something to show for all that spending at the end of it."

You appear to conflate the (misguided) Keynesian myth that contra-cyclical investment can reduce the impact of downturns and improve growth with the idea of deflating emergent bubbles for "soft landings".

Infrastructure investing during a bubble makes things worse, and that's exactly what China has done. Which is why they they have more empty apartments than the entire housing stock of the UK and Germany combined, complete ghost cities (eg Ordos) and airports without aircraft (eg Dachangshan). They also invested in not just the infrastructure, but the means of production: you might want to search on terms like China steel overcapacity. Or cement overcapacity. Or almost any commodity or industrial capability.

Just because they have created a tangible object through infrastructure investment doesn't mean they have created a tangible asset, and if they haven't created an economic asset then they've just wasted billions building something nobody wanted.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @Chris Miller

There will be no private sector investment in HS2.....Once bitten, twice shy.

I doubt that. We have serial bubbles in property, equities, bonds, commodities, government debt. Billions get wasted, money is lost. And a few short years later the same investors and lenders form a queue to invest in the next sure-fire "investment opportunity". You remember that global financial crisis caused by the syndication of US sub-prime lending? Well US banks are again busy lending to sub-prime customers, and syndication tranches of debt to other institutions. As an example, "asset backed securities" from US sub prime car loans amounted to over $7bn in the first four or five months of this year. What could possibly go wrong?

The UK government will never have the money to "invest" in HS2, so they will have to come up with some fiddle to persuade the gullible to put the money in, but somebody is then going to take the hit when it (surprise, suprise) turns out to be an uneconomic investment. Unfortunately all the mandatory pension enrolment funds will be looking for a home by then, so chances are it will be private sector pension savers involuntarily shouldering the risk of HS2.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Burst the bubble

13x the amount that Greece owes has "vaporised" over the summer.

So the Chinese will follow the example of the Fed, and print up whatever it takes to extend and pretend. The China slowdown makes this more likely not less likely, because the last thing the Chinese communist party can afford is the social unrest of a sustained slowdown, and the unravelling of all the excess investments they've made in the past decade.

Having said that, it doesn't stop it being economic madness.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The Chinese and Russians are going to build it??

There is no business case for the usual railway "connect many places" either.

Railways rarely pay, as Victorian investors found out. And investors in Railtrack found in 2001. Or investors in Eurotunnel found out in 2006. Or investors in LCR found out in 2009 when HS1 became insolvent. And as any private sector investors in HS2 will find out in a few years time.

The fundamental cause of this is that infrastructure is expensive, but the returns it can generate per pound of capital invested are lower than the economic cost of capital (whether public or private). China probably likes the idea of a world spanning construction project because it is currently enduring a nightmare slowdown, vast over-capacity in steel making, cement manufacture and construction. But spending something of the order of $200bn on this tunnel (at Chinese construction costs) would not be justified by snail rail, and if you then need to build 6,000 odd km of high speed links across Russia, Alaska and Canada, then the costs spiral further.

But if China wants to spend all the IOUs from the developed world on this, who are we to tell them otherwise?

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Emergency-service comms omnishambles worsens as HP dives for the door

Ledswinger
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Re: 1bn over 15 years....

£1.5bn over fifteen years.

But even that assumes that anybody believes the mythical civil service "savings".

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BT issues formal whinge to Ofcom over Sky dominance in pay telly

Ledswinger
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This is going to be a major review by Ofcom

So the sort of careful, thoughtful, well informed work that begot DAB, Openreach, and the UK's pathetic mobile and broadband markets?

Bunch of useless, inept clowns.

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LOGITECH - TECH = 'LOGI' ... that's non-Logitech tech, is it?

Ledswinger
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Re: Now more people will get to feel the pain

"I'd have a Logitech mouse over anyone else's. "

I wouldn't. For years I bought Logitech. When they worked they were great, but always short lived, and with optical and wireless devices it's often hard to reliably replicate the fault. Given that they aren't cheap, the short life isn't acceptable in this house, so I now no longer buy anything made by Logitech (and won't be buying anything by Logi, either).

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SatNad's purple haze could see Lumia 'killed'. Way to go, chief!

Ledswinger
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I'd agree. All along the world thought that Elop was a Trojan Horse, but instead he was a double agent. Or was that a double-double agent?

Anyway, I'm with you, that in respect of his fiduciary and professional responsibilities to the shareholders of Nokia, the man has performed brilliantly. Hurrah for Stephen Elop!

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Cisco spraying $1bn over the UK, hipsters set for well-earned cash injection

Ledswinger
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Re: Wait...

"David Cameron knows who Cisco are?"

Of course not. Lightweight Dave doesn't really know much. And in this case he mistakes buying companies for investment. M&A might make great bonuses for the wankers of the City, but it creates no wealth for the country. What we need is capital investment to make or do useful stuff, or investment in R&D. That'll be a small fraction of Cisco's spend, I'll wager.

And in the five year time frame that Cisco will "invest" £0.6bn, that idiot Cameron will have wasted something of the order of £60bn on foreign aid. There's no shortage of money, the only shortage is brains in government.

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Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

Ledswinger
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Re: For the nay sayers...

"Car crash? Photo of scene + GPS. Far more useful than, errm I'm on a road, I can see a church and some cows."

In many locations in this country it'd take a week to send the photo given the deplorable and patchy coverage for data services (never mind a signal at all). Not to mention that the MNO's seem to mislay some electronic messages so that they sometimes take hours and even days to arrive.

The emergency services will have their work cut out with the replacement of Airwave, not to mention the flood of garbage alerts that ecall will result in. Adding some social media interface for the hard of thinking is a pointless distraction.

If the yoof of today can't operate a phone and place a voice call, let Darwin take care of 'em, and we'll all be better off.

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

Ledswinger
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Re: Love the gadgets but...

"Truly much cheaper phones would be enough and the money they save they could spend on having a life."

Difference between a so-so handset and a top of the line model is (shopping around) ten to fifteen quid a month. So "having a life" with a cheapo phone would seem to be an extra pint of beer (pub prices) a week, or a fancy coffee a week.

Call me old fashioned, but that's not really going to alter my quality of life to a noticeable extent. What about you?

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