1816 posts • joined Friday 1st June 2012 10:28 GMT
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".
Re: Close down the distribution site and move the jobs elsewhere.
"I'm very doubtful that these shipping clerks are making minimum wage. I'd like to see Amazon simply close shop and move its distribution outside of Germany."
"Shipping clerks" - people who in your blinkered view don't count? And you'll be happy when the outsource economies creep up the value chain to your job (or those of friends and families), and your job is outsourced to whichever foreign location has the lowest standards and lowest costs? Germany has flaws, but it also has the lowest unemployment of any major European economy, it has some successful, innovative companies, and it generally treats workers responsibly, so I'd argue that the unions may have a point.
I've no particular view on whether the unions do have a case here or not, but your thoughts come across as "sack the slaves if they want food", and overlooks the significant material damage done by outsourcing and offshoring. There needs to be a balance against protectionism, but the implementation of free trade has gone so far that it now damages advanced economies, with the few benefits that it does deliver being the delivery of cheap books, and higher profits for a handful of companies. Your language suggests you're from the US, in which case perhaps you can explain how moving US manufacturing to China has helped the US economy? Your epic unemployment rate is on a par with Europe, and yet people like you want to shift jobs to a country with whom you are already fighting cyber-war, and a to a large extent fighting and losing an economic war. All in the name of cheap furniture and bigger profits for Apple.
"They need to increase reliability/coverage. The only reason why I would buy a 4G phone is if the signal is better inside buildings and less prone to dropping out than 2G/3G."
Well, chicken & egg problem for them. They need to start supplanting fixed line telecoms if they want growth, but that needs fast backhaul. Who'd give up a good fixed line broadband for (even) HSPA+ ? But until you can, Toadafone are stuck with being a mobile provider, hoping that dweebs updating FB on public transport will keep bringing in the bacon (or Bacon, if you're a victim of EE). If the mobe operators fix the backhaul, then they can start worrying about making the signal usable indoors and more widely.
Most of us currently have separate contracts for fixed line and mobile. Why do I need both? Because neither does everything I want. Whether they can ever make 4G a nearly universal offer with both backhaul and service coverage to supplant domestic fixed lines I don't know, but I hope so. That'd trash BT's miserable near monopoly on the last mile, and give Virgin Media a well deserved headache.
Bring it on!
"Why wouldn't they use the water straight from the ground? It's often as clean if not cleaner than the average municipal supply. "
The standards for European drinking water are now so tight that it is increasingly uncommon that we can use borehole water without some form of treatment. For example, quite a few boreholes in Warwickshire in England were used for decades until they fell foul of new EU arsenic limits, others on manganese, and across much of the entire country on nitrates. Despite having been used for donkeys years we had to either blend the water from different sources to reduce specific "contaminants" to below the EU limit, install expensive treatment plant, or abandon the boreholes. It cost money, but technically meeting the new standards wasn't a problem.
I worked in the water industry doing capital programme management for ten years or so, and there's no reason why fracking would threaten water extraction and treatment. Certainly the frackers should pay for any additional monitoring, and be held liable for any additional treatment needed, but the water industry can turn just about anything into safe drinking water, so in the highly unlikely worst case, they see their profits drop a bit, and the water industry have to do a bit more treatment at the frackers expense.
Re: Note that difference *loan* (with interest) versus old car maker (2nd or 3rd) bailout.
"I just don't get what you're complaining about." (to Pirate Dave).
The clue is in Pirate Dave's rambling on about "the common good". That's lefty speak that can be fairly translated as "any cause not associated with my economically illiterate, luddite and socialist beliefs".
Re: What it's for
"I can remember the 1970s. I hope I'm wrong."
Probably not wrong. The incoming governor of the Bank of England has recently been quoted as saying that Europe faces a lost decade (or two) if it doesn't copy Japan's latest efforts to kick start the motor. And to be specific, Japan's latest effort has been deliberate attempts to ignite retail inflation, and to devalue the huge debts that hang around the Japanese economy's neck. The UK is not that far behind Japan in the ranks of Hugely Indebted Economies.
That's a big hint that he's all for more retail inflation. As you note, QE merely inflated asset prices, with the retail impact so far largely due to the depreciation of sterling. If he's setting out to cause inflation, then expect broad money supply inflation, exactly the scenario that Maggie inherited, and likewise the ultimate result of years of Labour party financial ineptitude and mismanagement. But who will undo the damage in future?
Re: It might help if anyone really gave a damn!
"And guess where these infrastructure critical parts are made? Of course, CHINA!"
Hold on a mo'
Most Chinese work is assembly, not semi fabrication (there's a tiny bit of manufacturing, even less design). They'd struggle to put in backdoors if they aren't making the silicon. And because the silicon design is US/Korea/Taiwan, if the Chinese were to put in back doors, they need to reverse engineer the hardware, design their own firmware+spyware, then fabricate an apparently identical semiconductor and assemble the product with that (all undetected).
If it were that easy to do, then it would be equally easy for Western government, commercial IP owners, or device designers to use the same reverse engineering techniques to demonstrate the threat, and immediately ban Chinese made kit.
If they could do it, it might work a treat until they get caught. Then nobody buys their products, and their export focused economy stalls. How does that help them?
ISTR from earlier coverage that the focus was on multiple occupancy properties. That and the urban focus gives you very high densities, so I don't think that the numbers need be incorrect, although I wonder if that cost is relying on flats to be pre-equipped with suitable ducting, Cat 5 or similar.
Suburban types need not expect this outfit to come knocking on their door anytime soon, although a bit more competition may force VM and BT to up their game.
Re: *Why* would they do any more than the statuory minimum?
"Now if there were incentives to improve that would be a different story. I'm talking fines equal to a % of gross profit."
That's a threat, not an incentive. As regulated businesses, the industry does what the regulator requests and permits to be recovered. If you want more doing, then build that into the price review/rate settlement. Whilst we shouldn't be complacent, there been few successful attacks - how much do you want adding to your bill to spend against this eventuality?
This idea of "fines as % of turnover" is wildly popular with idiot civil servants, but few other industries are subject to such daft ideas. My power company could be fined "up to 10% of turnover" for a whole range of petty misdemeanours - for example not installing enough smart meters, failing to handout subsidised insulation, or not offering discounts to government's chosen groups, etc etc. All those mandated programmes are ultimately decided for by government bureaucrats but paid for by power users.
Now lets assume you still want to proceed. Government are the absolute worst for IT blunders, insecurity, and incompetent planning. You reckon they can draft a law that will be effective in this respect? Or will it be another expensive & prescriptive statutory imposition that the bad guys can easily work around, and has no useful benefits? Remember SOx? So many good reasons to have an act to improve corporate governance and transparency. But didn't stop most of the US investment banks going belly up, didn't stop sub-prime and the bail out of Wall Street.
Asking for more legislation is music to politicians' ears. But do tell us where more legislation has helped anybody other than the lawyers?
Re: Working OK?
"doesn't that indicate that current security measures are working reasonably well...?"
So far, yes. But you assume that because we don't see anything, there's been no successful attacks, which may not be accurate. And even if it accurate, how complacent do you want to be? The most probable cause of the Saudi Aramco attack was Iran, reasoning was that if it was OK to attack Iran's industrial systems, then the easiest way of getting back at the US was to disrupt Saudi oil exports. It delivered its payload, but whether it actually worked to disrupt exports or not is unclear (a bit like the unclear effects of Stuxnet).
Had the Aramco disruption been more effective, it would have been as effective as closing the Straits of Hormuz, which the US spend billions on military hardware to keep open. That's high stakes, in my view. Coming closer to home, the electricity grid is seen as a peachy target because if you can shut down sufficient of the grid you cause the economy to grind to a halt. In this respect, attacks on power stations are small beer, because the grid is generally resilient, but if you attack the transmission system itself then you may have more success, albeit without being able to cause much physical damage.
The threat of blackouts is not a big one, and the most probable scenario would be a short term power outage whilst transmission management systems are cleaned up and rebooted. But that's still worth putting a modest effort in to avoid.
Re: This sums up Labour
"Farage must be laughing his back off."
I doubt it. UKIP has scooped up the disaffected Tory voters (and there aren't many not-disaffected Tory voters), but he's not made much headway with the left wing voters. Curious, because many of the Labour voting peasants tend to have patriotic leanings, a degree of antipathy towards Europe, and a disdain for the establishment - but they can't break that habit of voting for working class heroes like Wedge Benn, Hodge, Blair, and the rest of the silver spoon socialists, who then champion Hampstead "socialism".
I'm for UKIP myself. Not because Farage is any better than the vermin currently sitting in Westminster, but because he promises to upset the comfortable buggins turn between Labour and Conservatives that has enabled those two to ignore the British electorate with impunity for decades.
Re: Was this not also the name BT gave its frone end to Phorn?
"Sounds like a sweet deal for someone. But who?"
Well shareholders have offloaded a company that has seen sales essentially stagnant over the last three years, and made a mere $20-30m profit annually. Getting a billion dollars for that is pretty good going, if you ask me.
An equally interesting question is: Who do the private equity vultures think they're going to stuff with Websense in a few years time? They will be looking for at least fifty per cent more than they paid, and ideally much more. Who's going to buy Websense for north of $1.5bn when all the R&D has been shredded to give the appearance of profitability?
Re: And yet this is from the same EU
Why any surprise? Both measures are driven by vested interests. In the case of this meat slurry idea, the food processors are looking to make more money, and have realised that the gormless nerks of the EU will support anything that purports to "reduce waste". In the case of olive oil, it's to "prevent fraud", meaning that Southern European producers want to make sure that people are buying as much of their product as possible.
As in Westminster, so it is in Brussels. Politicians work for whoever buys them lunch, and that's not the voters.
Re: Using as much of the slaughtered animal as possible,
That it sounds disgusting doesn't matter too much. People were happy with Findus products before they knew what they were eating, and sausage and haggis primarily exist to use things that otherwise wouldn't be sold.
A bigger concern is that this has the hallmarks of BSE all over again. Maybe we now now enough about prions and the like to contain that. But when the objective is to force feed as much of the carcass as possible to the unsuspecting population, what's the chances that we won't find new and exciting side effects, both chemical and biological?
<------------ That's not coffee on that keyboard, BTW.
Re: resolve the problem, @SuccessCase
"It may have escaped your notice, but the executive responsible for the maps fiasco was unceremoniously dumped for his failure."
I did enjoy your longer post above, which was excellent. But on this point you're wrong. A scapegoat was found, and sacrificed, and most of the guilty remain on fat salaries.
It wasn't a one man decision to junk the relationship with Google - that would have been boardroom stuff with much debate. The release of an essential product like maps, again, not one man's say so. The Apple Maps fiasco is a product of the post Jobs management preferring to play politics and lawsuits in preference to focusing on product, product & product. And you can see that with their maps product it was poor quality, rushed and under-resourced, with woefully inadequate testing. And they knew these things - this wasn't a cheesy immature startup, it was big corporate management with huge software and product development experience, yet knowing that their maps weren't as good as competitors, they still went ahead. Because pissing off a few customers didn't matter as much to their egos as thumbing their noses at Google.
Jobs didn't always get it right, and personally I won't touch Apple stuff, but in this case I don't think he'd would have made this mistake.
"RUSI is like every other 'think tank' in that they only see parts of the issue and always get their feelings hurt if their ideas aren't accepted. They are as bad as politicians"
I think you have a very weak idea of who and what RUSI is. Unlike many of the dubiously funded "think tanks" lining K Street in Washington, RUSI are very widely respected internationally. They fully understand the limitations of their art and knowledge, and they won't be either surprised or have "hurt feelings" if their ideas are not accepted. They are also well attuned to how defence, intellgence and politics work together, and they'd have expected politicos to be coming out to decry the conclusions of this report. Rather than "hurt feelings" I think you'll find that RUSI has a rather thick skin, and is quite used to ill informed critcism. The Iraq "dossier" was never a product of RUSI, it was a collection of weak and inconclusive evidence spun by yet-to-be-convicted war criminals Blair and Campbell. The intelligence community knew that there was no evidence of WMD grounds for a war, but Blair was determined to support Bush in holding a war. Indeed Dr Brian Jones of RUSI repeatedly told the British government that the intelligence didn't show that Iraq had or was preparing WMD in the period up to the start of hostilities. You could have checked your facts before spouting rubbish.
But my money's on RUSI with this latest report. A bit of token damage to the centrifuges is about all that Stuxnet achieved, and we've caused Iran to redouble its IT security, as well as encouraging them to take offensive cyberwarfare measures themselves (as appears to have happened with IT attacks on Saudi oil export terminals). I'm surprised Stuxnet even managed to wreck 1,000 centrifuges. After fifty or so had gone wrong, if I'd been in charge I'd simply have put a discrete speed limiter on each centrifuge whilst I tried to work out what was going wrong with the control software. How would you react in Iran's shoes?
Re: They forgot the predicate
""only earning £40k a year"
Sucks to be them eh?"
Most certainly does. Not only would you need exceptional academic qualifications from your first degree (in law), you then need to do a conversion course, followed by a vocational training course specific to barristery (no, they don't call it that), then they have to secure pupillage (ie learning on the job with a barrister's chambers), and then they need to secure a "tenancy" at a chambers. The drop out rate at each stage is high, with less than a quarter of those who pay for their vocational training securing a tenancy. I'm no lawyer, so it's no skin off my nose, but ask yourself if you'd spend a year of your life (plus course fees, living costs, foregone earnings) for a 50% chance of securing a training contract, which then pays about £20k for a year, but also has a 50% chance that you won't be able to secure a job at the end of it. If all goes well then you unless you're a top flight London barrister then you will be earning £30k-£50k. And you've got to pay expenses, because as a barrister, even in chambers, you're effectively self employed, so have to pay your share of the support staff, and whatever you get paid is only as secure as the next self employed man's income. There's a few households get that much from the "benefits" system.
Going back to Eadon's comment. The other man's grass is always greener. It's only when you stand on it you see the dog eggs, leatherjacket damage, ryegrass clumps, bald patches and moss.
Re: Get your head out of the Tumblr!
"1 billion was hard to come by and was actually real money. You could buy nuclear submarines with that etc."
Isn't if funny how all other tech gets better and cheaper in real terms (cf pooters, tellies, phones, cars), but military kit gets more and more expensive in real terms, and at such a rate that any performance improvement is overshadowed by the cost saving measures ("Let's leave out guns an bombs, they'll be using ray guns by the time this thing reaches service") or the fact that we can't even afford one of the new shiney toys (like aircraft carriers).
Re: Just when you think Gove can't get more unpleasant ...
"By contrast, our Glorious Leader appears rather... bland."
Only visually. On performance, look at his unique skill for creating a problem for his own party where none previously existed - 50% tax rate, Europe, Scottish referendum, HS2, armed forces cuts, child benefit, etc. Even Swiveleyedloongate is purely a product of Cameron choosing to surround himself with his Etonian mates, forming a lovely clique of arrogant, out of touch, over-privileged f***wits.
Most of us occasionally tred in dog mess. David Cameron, on the other hand seems to s*** in his own garden, then tread in his own mess.
Re: Who mentioned Windows?
"Eadon did. It's what he does."
I pity the bloke that cleans the glass aperture covers on Eadon's house. Every time he calls, hoping just to wipe some muck off glass, and be paid a tenner for doing so, he gets into some horrifying circular debate that has nothing to do with what he came for, and involves Eadon speaking to him in randomly capitalised speech.
Re: Whoever thought security through proximity was a good idea.
"I think I may start marketing faraday cages for your pockets, it's the only way to ensure these convenient payment methods don't get a bit too convenient ."
Just keep the card under your tinfoil hat, achieving two things at once.
Re: They forgot the predicate
"They are hard to recruit when engineers are under paid compared to accountants, lawyers, bankers, doctors (arguably), Union staff and other professions."
Cobblers. In IT there's a huge range between the top skilled contractors on the peachiest gigs, and the lowest paid wage slaves working for cr@p companies in poor conditions. And that's the case in all the examples you name. Take lawyers, they're all loaded aren't they? Well, no actually. If you're talking about a partner at Slaughter & May we're talking telephone numbers. But if you're a provincial barrister then you'd be hugely skilled, and still perhaps only earning £40k a year. Things are worse for mere solicitors - my next door neighbour earns less than I do and he's mananging partner of a small regional law firm. Accountants, yeah. I work with enough of 'em to know that they earn less than the IT bods of my organisation in very rough terms. Bankers, same again - City investment bankers might be driving Ferraris, most of the industry doesn't. Doctors, same again, with rubbish hours, decades of training, and just a handful earning fat salaries - GP's are certainly on an undeservedly cushy number, but you go and work a Saturday night in A&E as an SHO, and tell me the pay's good.
Of course, if you're right that they are all over-paid, then reskill and go fill your boots. There's some round here might contribute to your El Reg forums leaving gift.
Re: Look on the bright side.
"Not in my lifetime..."
Sorry to hear you've got a terminal disease. The polls are pretty unequivocal. The Tory vote has been trashed by Cameron's Blairite NuLab stance and the rise of UKIP, but the Labour voters remain firmly united behind the party that has rained economic death on this country. Which is understandable if you are on the payroll of the state. Looking at the percentage of GDP represented by government spending that's about half of the population dependant one way or another on the public spending (civil servants, state pensioners, welfare claimants, public sector employees, companies who are primarily suppliers to the puiblic sector).
The destruction of the Tory support base is a great things, it shows that people have seen through their cyncial lies and incompetence. Unfortunately that hasn't been matched by an understanding amongst Labour voters that the unsustainable shambles we now have is almost exclusively the fault of the Labour party (with a load of millionaires on their Parliamentary front bench, just like the Tories).
Millitwerp will, without doubt be our next feckless, useless, traitorous prime minister, like so many before him. I'm no happier than I suspect you are with this idea, but "call me Tony" Cameron isn't going to reverse the damage he's done, and Labour support remains united (kif misguided).
Re: Infrastructure and dick-swinging
""who built the Eurostars."
That would be Bombardier, "
Largely in Bruges, using Alsthom TGV technology. A token bit of work was done in Birmingham, at a plant now long closed.
"Yes, assuming there are not better options for spending the money."
Well, Keynes intended government infrastructure spending to make up for a temporary shortfall in private sector demand. Over the past fifteen years or so, the governments of the day have provided a stimulus of around £600bn through cumulative spending in excess of receipts, a number still increasing at the rate of over £100bn a year, so borrow-and-spend clearly hasn't stimulated growth.
I very much doubt that Keyenes would advocate borrowing more money in this situation, and pi55ing it up the wall on unneeded transport links. Instead of seeking out daft ideas like HS2, the self proclaimed Keyenesians of today should ask themselves how the problem of too much borrowing will be solved by more borrowing.
Re: Is Tim London based?
"Build it big and only after its been running for a decade do the cost benefit to see if it was worthwhile. "
It'll be a bit late by then, and we'll have wasted several billion despoiling the countryside. Sadly the train enthusiasts want ME to pay for their extravagance, and I don't believe their numbers. I'm academically and professionally qualified to comment on these things, I've managed multi-billion infrastructure programmes, and HS2 is a daft idea. There are no material benefits from speeding up the time taken to travel between two of the already best served cities in the land, particularly when they manage to bu99er it up by failing to provide proper interchange with HS1 in London, or with Birmingham's existing rail transport system.
HS2 is a fail on so many levels it isn't true. Fictious demand, fictious costs, fictious benefits. And all largely based on a TGV-type technology that will be obsolete by the time the line is planned to be in use (ignoring the cost and time overruns).
Re: Infrastructure and dick-swinging
"If you can get beyond the immediate short-term objections and see the long-long-term benefits, the picture can sometimes change somewhat"
5hitload of jobs? You mean a few thousand navvy jobs, probably all foreign employees of the sub contractors that will tender cheapest because we slavishly apply EU procurement rules. Probably not much real benefit to the UK economy, certainly no enduring benefit.
Aren't tied to our 1900's legacy? Our trading partners will judge us on our airports and telecoms, not how quickly we move fat Brummie councillors to their conferences with DCLG.
Expertise to sell? This won't involve much UK technology as we have no expertise in high speed railways. Look at how Hitachi provided the commuter units for the Channel Tunnel link, or who built the Eurostars. Even the WCML Pendolino's were built outside of the UK by Fiat and Alsthom, with some token assembly and fit out work at Washwood Heath (just before they shut the place).
Immortality for governments? Only in their vacuous little brains.
"Previous experiments with sterilized poo got rid of diseases but also destroyed the nutrients and bacteria which made it as effective as dumping sand on the garden."
Raw sewage always has been a problem, subject to treatment it's fine. For starters you don't sterilise sewage sludges, you just treat them in a manner that kills off the pathogens, primarily by putting the settled sludges into an anerobic digestor. The nutrients are unaltered by this stage, and as an agricultural fertiliser you're not much interested in adding any bacteria, so loss of non pathogens isn't a problem. As soon as its mixed with soil, naturally present bacteria will get to work to continue the decomposition process.
Treated sewage sludge is widely and successfully used as a a fertiliser the world over, with the problems either mythical (eg the EU nitrates directive), or created by careless disposal of (particularly) heavy metals into the sewers. Heavy industry, metal plating, hospital radiology departments are known problems, but unlikely to be an issue on Mars for a few years yet.
Re: We are all saved!!
"But a high-density battery would transform the usefulness of wind and solar - you could store all that unwanted off-peak energy and use it when needed"
Only if they can fix the problem of self discharge.
Re: ENERGY density, not power
Well said. But a more pressing concern than the terminology is how they manage to go from 49 kWh/kg to 12 Wh/kg.
I appreciate the other stuff that goes into the finished product, so a factor of three (or even ten) difference, but to lose three order of magnitude? Looks more like a typo than anything else.
At 49 kWh/kg you'd have thought that they'd have a game changer for transport and the energy sector on their hands. At 12 Wh/kg nobody is going to bother to get out of bed for that.
Re: UK Govt needs a kick in the balls
"The UK govt is just scared of the massive fines they would need to pay and ignoring the reasons WHY they would need to pay those fines"
Why would the government be scared of fines they pay (in the grand scheme of things) to themselves?
Re: Betting against the MAN
" I hope it can remain outside of any government influence (US or otherwise)."
A lovely idea. But it ain't going to happen. How do you think that governments around the world continue to spend VASTLY more than they raise in taxes, year in, year out, without the whole system collapsing?
The answer is by more or less subtle forms of expropriation (that's theft by the state, to you and me). Tax is part of this. Inflation is another. State mandated programmes are another (eg where companies have to do something for the government that they don't get paid for by government). And when things get really bad, the state just steals outright - happened in Cyprus a few weeks back, happened in the US under that crook Roosevelt a few decades back.
So any form of money that they can't monitor or control (or steal) is a threat to the politicians, to the state bureaucracy like the tax collectors and administrators. Bitcoin, sadly, is doomed.
Re: Retirement Plan
"I wonder how many MPs (of any party) have shares in Arqiva?"
None. Arqiva are wholly owned by Canadian and Australian pension investors. So what's going on here is that whilst the UK has a broken, unfunded fuck up of a pension system, and a huge public spending deficit, Gormless George is handing Canuck and Aussie pensioners a £150m bung, even though the mobile operators explained carefully that the problems of infrastructure build out were not cash, but rather the public sector's shit headed red tape that stops anybody doing anything in this country.
Re: We need to be careful we don't get what we want ...
"If I owned 1% of Vodafone shares, would I get 1% of profits?"
In simplistic terms yes. Few companies distribute their entire profit (otherwise they won't be replacing their assets as they depreciate), but even if Vodafone didn't pay out the full amount, you'd still own 1% of their balance sheet where the retained profit shows up, and 1% of their future income streams.
Taking Vodafone, if they paid out 100% of their profit, then over time they'd have no surplus cash to renew the network infrastructure, to buy 4G licences and the like, and over time that would drag on their business and reduce its scale, so your investment declines in value. Or they'd need to borrow more to renew assets, which would reduce the future profits through interest payments (a self compounding problem in this hypothetical example because as debt ratios climb, so would the interest rate).
Ultimately the 100% payout company would see equity (shareholders) decline in importance until they disappear. When a company's gearing (ratio of debt to equity) starts to go wrong, it reaches a financial event horizon, beyond which the interets payments become unafforable, or the creditors can trigger breach of covenant clauses, and seize control of the company. Certain big banks have a track record of engineering these situations deliberately.
Re: I blame obama
Well, their 2012/13 FY results show them making £1.96bn taxable profit. They paid out £574m in corporation tax to assorted government, so that's about 30% tax rate.
But that ignores their employers NI and business rates which will more than double that. If you ignore what Tesco are taxed on, and just look at gross governemnt confiscation as a proportion of profits, then you'll find that the thieves and wasters of governments take more of Tesco's profits than Tesco's shareholders.
Re: But HP don't take the piss?
"In the mean time, as someone who gets to make a decision on purchasing kit, it looks like HP are the winners here"
As somebody sitting in a company enduring HP's 5hite service and products, I wish you good luck choosing your vendor on the basis of their unproven claims to be paying their fair share of tax.
Out of interest, why would you want to do business with a company who not only have messed up every major acquisition they've made, but also seem to be claiming that they ignore their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders? And as a major offshorer of UK and US jobs, why is it that (allegedly) paying their fare share of taxes is a good thing, but you're happily prepared to endorse and reward their export of jobs in the pursuit of profits?
Re: In the fantasy relm of Corporate __________
"Prices need to come down to their HDD equivalents"
Why? You go on to say you have different storage needs to others. Currently SSD offers significant performance advantages for which people will pay, and it is a simple speed/cost decision, with a side order of track record and durability considerations. On current technology, getting the cost down involves reduced fabrication size, and that eats into NAND endurance (and retention after the write endurance is reached), so if it gets cheaper it still won't offer you the long term storage you want.
Re: Cost of repair/patching?
"Will the meter suppliers be required to support them fully for upgrades and bug-fixes for the 20+ year life of the installation?"
You jest. Because the DECC/OFGEM specification continues to be a moving target, and because the technology is immature, there's fat chance that these meters will last twenty years, even if the hardware itself is durable over that time period. Not only have DECC managed the feat of coming up with a specification that's not compatible with the smart meters being rolled out in the rest of Europe (so increasing the already unjustified costs), but the mass roll out of unproven technology means that the channces of the real benefits being realised are nil. In eight years time, the clowns of DECC will be insisting that to save the plant, another £12bn needs to be spent fitting new super smart meters.
Re: am I strange?
"Once upon a time while crossing the Pacific,with only a single interruption for a lovely meal. Heaven!"
Speak for yourself. My experience of flying is a terrifying misery of being restrained in a noisy, smelly, uncomfortable aluminium tube, surrounded by hundreds of other frightened peasants in close proximity to two or more large devices spinning at around 70,000 rpm, themselves adjacent to thousands of gallons of jet fuel. The meals are diabolical parodies of food, and the prequel to this highly unpleasant transit is two hours of disrespectful incivility and dramatic pantomime performed by retards, intended to persuade me that my end is nigh at the hands of terrorists.
Re: A few theories
> not triggering bombs in the hold or contacting an outside party to do so.
Surely if you were able to trigger a bomb on a plane remotely via a mobile you'd want to be safely on the ground when you did so??
Well the evidence is that terrorists these days are relatively indifferent to blowing themselves up. But even so, an interesting feat of logic by the OP, who believes that Al Twatada will obey any request to turn their mobiles off. Wouldn't want to hurt anybody, would they?
"But with Vista it really wasn't Microsoft's fault so much as Intel and their crappy drivers and hardware"
The driver issue was down to hardware makers in part, but MS shouldn't have released it if there wasn't hardware support. And there are plenty of other things wrong with Vista that were never fixed, and they were MS' fault.
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