2031 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
""The rigged market for stuff nobody wants isn't working! Quick, fix the price!"...That's basically it. And the taxpayer will pay for it, again."
Almost. As this actually gets added to the price of your electricity and EU manufactured goods, the tax payer merely pays the overheads. The general public and industry then pay the rigged "carbon price" on electricity, because that isn't routinely imported from outside the EU. For manufactured goods, the outcome is that EU made stuff becomes even more expensive, which is why Asia has become the workshop of the world - cheap, poorly regulated labout markets, plus cheap energy, centrally planned infrastructure, and business friendly governments.
Ultimately, the EU is steadily pricing itself out of global markets by driving its own costs up in almost every way possble.
" He told me that even with the then primitive systems they reached a situation where their programme made diagnostic suggestions that were orders of magnitude better than most doctors - .... Clearly that one flew so well it never saw the light of day."
Well of course not.
Curious how, for an originally scientific activity, medicine seems now to be one of the most resistant trades to automation, big data, smart science and smart technology. Not all of those involved (indeed, probably a minority), but why the hell is the NHS bothering to ASK people about sharing anonymised data? If it's anonymous, JFDI.
Why don't we have a decent health information system? Why do GP's (as in your example) not use automation, and then add their expertise by doing the things a computer can't? Why do I need a paper prescription, and why can't the doctor's prescription system check the stock at local pharmacies? Why do too many patients seem to know more about their condition than their GP? Why is the interaction of drugs still so poorly understood?
Bloody health service. I'd go private if I had the money.
Re: Faster *direct* access
"Germany in particular (I'm half German) needs far fewer links traversing US and UK controlled territory."
Why? NSA & GCHQ reportedly hacked into Chinese infrastructure, so the fact that your traffic could be tapped in the UK is irelevant: If they want your data (and they evidently do) then they'll help themselves regardless of the location of the data or the links it traverses.
Even if it was territory specifc, you'll have the same spying problem with China and Russia, so how will you avoid links that traverse those countries or their patsies? I can't think of many nations willing to stick two fingers up the US (Iran, Norks), but Germany certainly won't say boo to that goose, nor will most other countries. The Morales incident shows that all European countries (including the US despising French) will jump when told to by the Yanks.
Re: Thats appalling
"Banged up for almost four years and hit with a £170k costs charge. To me, that seems proportionate."
The suppliers who were out of pocket, the employees who got the shove, and the investors who lost money might disagree. The costs weren't a fine for their actions, they were merely the costs of the prosecution (and not the millions of pounds spent by the SFO on investigating).
You also overlook the important point that Woodbridge will be out in less than half of that, and the fact that Moore and Loosemore (who were in fact the brains behind this fraud) only got two thirty & twenty month sentences respectively, but served concurrently (as opposed to consecutively). As with Woody, on Home Office guidelines they won't serve even half of that. Loosemore could even be out in time for Christmas this year, if there's sufficient pressure on prison places to trigger further sentence discounts. There are burglars serving more for thieving a few TV's. Even the director disqualifications were paltry.
It's also worth noting that all three of these convicts were previously involved at board level with iSoft, from which Torex was spun out. Funnily enough there's a retrial pending for three iSoft directors on fraud charges, and there's the separate fraud around the purchase of XN Checkout by Torex, for which Ed Dayan enjoyed an all too brief spell of porridge. Looks like rather a lot of people think fraud is both acceptable, and a risk worth taking, doesn't it?
The fundamental problem is that the potential gains of fraud are in the range of several million quid, but the penalties for being caught no more than you'd get for a short string of burglaries, or stealing a car. And if you can get a jury trial, chances are they won't understand it and you'll have a good chance of being aquitted.
Re: Thats appalling
"Thousands job less, billions lied about and no-one goes to jail. Well done Japan /slowhandclap"
Why single out Japan? Fraud in the UK is treated leniently, with paltry sentences served in open prisons, followed by release after serving 40% of the short sentence.
Some round here may remember the demise of Torex Retail in 2007, then the largest company listed on AIM, employing about three thousand people, two thirds of them in the UK, and being one of the market leaders in EPOS, and IP owner of a whole menagerie of retail software in the UK, Europe and US. About two weeks ago three of the directors were sentenced for fraud and false accounting, and the longest sentence handed down was two counts of 30 months to be served concurrently (El Reg, lazy b@stards, didn't mention this, I did email them the SFO press release). So the chief culprit will be out in about fourteen months. Milking half a million quid out of a company, keeping the money, and getting fourteen months porridge translates to a better pay rate than I'm ever going to see. Meanwhile, the director who blew the whistle on this fraud hasn't worked since.
Meanwhile, Torex Retail shareholders and suppliers copped losses of the order of £100m, and about 800 UK employees got the boot in the subsequent RBS-led stitch up and restructuring. There's been no confiscation of the assets of the guilty, so the money that the directors looted from the business remains in their hands. So that's the £200k salaries, fat pensions, penny share options with few conditions that they then ignored anyway, private share sales when the directors knew them to be worthless, and business routed to the chairman's wife's company, etc. And that's not all: Regulators, politicians, and police have been deliverately pussy footing round the rank events that occurred after the collapse of Torex Retail, because these could prove systematic fraud at RBS, which the pols are desperate not to have investigated, as it shows up their incompetence and their craven servitude to the bank lobbyists.
There's a big neon sign hanging over the UK, and it says "Fraudster's welcome - little chance of being caught, kid glove treatment if we can't let you off".
So Japan may be treating its fraudsters leniently, but let's not claim any moral high ground, shall we?
On the basis of the headline I thought this article was going to be rather more interesting than it was.
And where are my bl00dy icons? This new TIFKAM comments interface is cr@p.
"OFCOM seem obsessed with attempting to drive down the cost of broadband, and presumably squeezing everyones margins along the way"
BT and VM don't look under-nourished to me, so your touching concern for their well being may be misplaced. And even poor TalkTalk, allegedly one of the reselling victims of BT's wholesale margin squeeze, have an EBITDA margin of 21% (aiming for 25% in future), and a profit after tax of 8% of turnover.
I'd suggest OFCOM are insufficiently obsessed with driving down the cost of anything, being instead a bunch of useless t***s, thoroughly in the pocket of the industry they are supposed to be savaging.
Re: How to get ahead, errr a head
Save money on keeping 'em in jail ('cos death row generally lasts for years and costs a fortune in appeals and legal costs).
Mind you, if it were you on death row, would you be willing to let your body live on, rather than none of you?
Re: New artist takes modern art to a new level
"By transmuting existing artworks using the medium of chemically induced oxidation reactions*, "
But sadly not original. The Momart warehouse fire destroyed a good part of "I don't beat my wife" Saatchi's art collection back in 2004. Pity he wasn't inside at the time, although as a solution to modern art it certainly makes sense to burn the tat.
I suppose in the world of art, copying Momart would be "inspirational" and "self referential", rather than "derivative".
Re: Fearing the worst?
The cost to students is subsidised, incurs no duties or taxes, and also involves distribution by the government, so you there's no distribution costs and reseller margins. Accordingly the circa $25 quoted isn't a commercial price. If you buy one yourself, (branded for non-state sales as a Ubislate 7Ci) it will cost you $67 shipped in India, but if you want it here you'll have to get it here, and pay any import duties. Imported wholesale you'd have to pay VAT and reseller margins of say 25% as well. Assume you can pack, ship, market, and have local warranty support for $15 a unit, and assume they can dodge import duties. That's ($67 + $15)*1.25*1.2 or $123
$123 is still cheaper than the circa $200 for a Nexus 7, but would you really want a low spec "me too" slate, assembled in a location with no established electronics expertise, and tied to the Datawind app store? Three hour battery life, 800*480 resolution, and 512 MB of RAM, anyone?
Like so many "if only we could make it without a profit margin" projects (OLPC and others), the projects always end up late, more expensive than hoped, and functionally two generations behind the current commercial products. In the Indian case, the problems were exacerbated by demanding local manufacture - the objective should have been cheap, good tablets for students sourced from the most efficient and cooperative maker. The people to go to were probably Asus, rather than some unheard of outfit with no experience. That said, the Indian government's approach is not much different to the British governements attempts to support technology industries, leading to wasted money for (in the longer term) no useful output. Rember the Philips TV plant in Wales, now long gone, or the LG or Panasonic plants at Newport? Thought not - but all incentivised with public money..
Re: Poor Choices
"Maybe they were union workers"
Or just that Iranian government employees are as competent, committed and motivated as our own public servants?
Re: Poor Choices
Generally correct, though note this data refers to industrial control systems. So the low number of attacks on government ICS (2%) isn't an error, it reflects the limited number of government SCADA installations. Accordingly, it doesn't show data attacks to delete health care records as in your example,or more routine DDOS, espionage or similar. And in that respect, the DHS having only investigated 200 attacks in six months, we should compare that to the number of other electronic attacks, which I'm guessing are vastly higher in number.
At the root of this, there's not much money to made interfering in SCADA, there's not much to be learned, and both the machinery and the end to end systems are less vulnerable than people suppose. Electricity supply is robust and resilient. Even a successful attack is unlikely to cause catastophic damage, and the "cure" is simply disconnecting the SCADA if you don't trust firewalls and encryption, with the main downside being a very small increase in costs and some personal inconvenience to the professional staff. Even the Stuxnet attack could have been mitigated by a simple speed controller added to the centrifuge drives, at a cost a few dollars a piece. We'll just have to take Washington's word that Stuxnet destroyed thousands of centrifuges, and set back the Iranian nuclear programme, but an interesting exercise is to put yourself in the place of the engineers and scientists running the enrichment programme, and ask yourself if you'd have sat and done nothing whilst the centifuges kept over-speeding and self destructing?
I've no doubt there's a few enbarassing holes to be found, but the idea that Western (or Eastern, or anywhere's) critical infrastructure is all connected to the web, completely open and unprotected, and at high risk of catastrophic attack is just rubbish, used to persuade the public that they are under continuous attack, and in need of government protection.
Re: Virus and trojan writing is a game for *any* number of players.
Err.. blame the utilities, eh?
Who started this cyber war business with SCADA then? Wouldn't be a certain Washington DC based government, who came up with a scheme to interfere with centifuges in a distant country?
Re: Quite Clearly Android.
But..unfortunately they talk about a "differentiated" experience. Given that the device will be assembled from the OEM parts bin with at most a token bit of customisation, this could only mean they intend to "add value" with some HP specific overlay on the Android software.
Most operator and phone maker customisation of Android isn't well received; HP have a poor record in software, so you have to wonder what they will bring that differentiaties it, and how well that will be received. At a guess, lots of HP branding, pointless changes to make it look less like Android, creating an overhead that makes updates slow (and expensive for HP), ultimately leading to orphan devices. But those are issues for personal buyers. In the business sector, most users have no say and no choice, and the main smartphone makers have offered some very poorly focused handsets at business, either too cr@p, or too expensive, and invariably carrying features (like cameras) that aren't needed for most business users.
Targeted at corporates, HP can try and push it through the enterprise services channel, and further marginalise the telecoms operators, maybe it will be a success if they make sure that the TCO is in favour of HP branded phones, by raising the support costs for non-HP devices? I wouldn't buy one, because I don't like or trust the company that HP now is. But as a business user, I could well be told that HP are the new corporate standard.
Yes, you're very traceable if you buy this information online. The sellers of this information, on the other hand, will be hiding behind (though not necessarily themselves in) dodgy countries with banking infrastructure that can't or won't trace transactions, and kleptocratic governments who won't intervene. From the point of view of the sellers of this information, they're taking their margin with little risk of being caught, but the low rent buyers are taking all the risk of being caught, because the realisation of the theft/fraud will mostly be in well governed countries with traceability both for the original purchase of information, and for the subsequent illegal transactions. So you in theory buy card details (with no recourse or come back if you've paid for made up numbers) you try and use them, and you have a good chance of getting caught and prosecuted. Try and trace your purchase, and it'll be channeled through (guessing) Kazakstan then to Bulgaria to Ukraine or some such.
If you order goods with stolen details, then you are highly traceable, by the IP you order from (assuming you can change the delivery address without arousing suspicion), and probably by the transaction you've undertaken to buy the card details. Your biggest protection is merely the laziness or incompetence of the local police - not something I'd want to rely on as my best chance of staying out of jail. The buyersof this information are like drug mules - the fall guys, the idiots, the weak minded, lazy people who think that they won't get caught. Some don't get caught, many do. And as we now know, all of our online transactions are being collected and stored, so not being caught today doesn't mean never being caught.
I suspect the answer to this would be to pressure the global payments processors to remove the mechant status and confiscate the balance of suspected criminals - and this could be extended to stamping on the financial knackers of counterfeiters and spammers around the world. There's no obligation for Visa and Mastercard to continue to support worldwide crime, but they choose to overlook the extent to which they process payments for criminals, as far as I can see. But they have a very nice corporate social responsibility programme, so that's OK then.
Re: “We are in a situation not of our making,” said Chf Supt Odell.
"They could have sacked the officers responsible "
Why? The armed thugs still don't think they did anything wrong. Hence the police investigations into journalists asking awkward questions about the de Menezes murder, the "non-inquest" that wouldn't consider a verdict of "unlawfully killed", the undisclosed payoff by the filth to the de Menezes family,
Given the parlous state of the Met revealed by Leveson, and by the whole long, sad Stephen Lawrence saga, why would we expect anything else?
Re: The problem... @ Belardi
"I think many of us have NO CONFIDENCE in Microsoft. Everything has been a FAIL since 2012. "
I thought somebody earlier said you'd been handed your hat?
Re: On the plus side...
"Unfortunately, 7 wasn't a service pack."
Unfortunately it was. And it showed MS that they could charge for fixing botched products that they'd already been paid for. Post 8.1, there's clear indications that MS hope to charge for future service packs. Given the lengthy analyses posted above, you can see how this works - MS are simply hoping to extract the last bit of fat from their cash cow.
"No need for Yahoo and Microsoft to mindlessly follow, especially now that we're at Peak Apple."
Well, at least Apple did enough to create the concept of Peak Apple. But Yahoo? Peak Yahoo would seem to be an oxymoron of epic proportions.
"perhaps the government should be mandating that all properties have a fixed line service installed as a national backbone, even if the property owner or user doesn't have any subscribed services"
So who's going to pay for that? 14% of UK properties don't have a landline, so the cost isn't going to be cheap.
"Could be used for all sorts of things in addition to smart meters"
Like what? No use for spying if they aren't using an interwebbed computer in the first place...
Re: Re "Troll icon.....in remembrance."
"although the sight of his entire "oeuvre" being replaced by "this post has been deleted by a moderator" was, to say the least of it, eerie."
All the other sheep found Barry truly irritating, for his insistent "BAAAAAAAA". Then one night the wolves took Barry, leaving not even a few strands of wool. The other sheep thought they were pleased, but the absence of Barry was strangely disquieting, particularly to those who had Baa'ed most loudly that they wouldn't care if Barry were eaten by wolves.
Re: Let me get this straight
"What can be done about these politicians "
Given that in both the US and UK, the two main parties who alternate in office have broadly speaking identical policies, the answer is much not. If the current lot were turned out, their Republican and Labour replacements would pursue the same illiberal control freak policies, and continue to line their pockets and those of their friends.
It does suggest that Western democracy is fundamentally broken. It's easy to blame the politicians, but you also need to blame those who slavishly vote for one party of other without inspecting their policies and track record. An alternative explanantion is that democracy isn't broken, and the masses want high deficit spending, their communications monitoring.
What can you do about it? Easy - don't vote for the main parties,and be prepared to tolerate a bit of chaos if UKIP, Scots or Welsh Nationalists have control for a short period (and let's face it none of these parties could do worse than the charlatans who have thus far governed the land).
"so 60 people on wages of over £18,000 would generate considerable income for the local economy potentially generating more jobs in other sectors within that community"
So a simple cash injection improves the economy. Very keynesian. Sadly, with public debt spending acting as stimulus of half a trillion quid in the past ten years, and private debt of similar magnitiude or more, there's not been real economic growth, so I fail to see why this will make a difference.
Re: Isn't there a song about this?
"When the grant runs out they will move on"
Of course, Nintendo may soon be such an also ran in consoles that there won't be a market for the software devs, and they'll be turning the lights off before the grant runs out.
As a simple test of their business plan, they should have asked "can we get a grant?", and if the answer was "yes", then the logic is "No sustainable commercial opportunity exists in this market, go stack shelves in Tesco".
Re: safety margins on the grid
"1) We're perilously close to grid demand exceeding grid capacity, and there is no practical fix in the next five years or so"
Not grid capacity. Peak demand has fallen by around 6 GW since 2006. Generation capacity is dropping as LCPD closures bite, but we've still got some spacre capacity (and mothballed plant). Obviously if demand leapt back up to 2006 we'd be looking at blackouts, but where the economic growth for that? Certainly we've got less reserve margin that we did have, but it's probably post 2016 that the real risks bite.
"Demand side response" is the name given to trying to manage peak demand, whether through co-opting stand by gennies, or paying people to shed load (like turning the freezers off at a refidgerated warehouse for an hour or two). The main flaw here is that the very limited hours that you'd call on commercial standby means that the rewards are pathetic, even at very high unit rates, and most facility managers rightly suppose that the complexity, investment needs, and risks outweigh the modest potential upsides.
Centrally generated and despatched electricity is reliable, clean, and cheap. Moving to the use of crappy diesle gennies to avoid spending quite paltry sums on new CCGT (£0.5bn for 2GW of capacity) is madness.
Re: Sounds familiar@ Frank 14
"I'd rather we invested in nuclear and geothermal and wave / tidal energy than yet more fossil carbon fuel."
Don't you worry my boy, because UK energy policy is bent on throwing subsidies at wind and nuclear. As a result your electricity bill will double by 2020 (well, a lot more with inflation), and because we've got f*** all gas storage, your gas bill go up by 50%.
The net result is that by conventional measures of fuel poverty (>10% of income spent on energy) about one third of the population will be in fuel poverty, and the remaining two thirds will see higher bills to try and sub them. This is already baked in through DECC's renewables obligations, LCPD closures, capacity mechanisms, carbon price floors, energy company obligations and the rest.
So when your electricity company send you a bill that shows a double digit price rise for each of the next five years, remember that this is what you said you wanted.
"I notice that they're not looking too hard for it in the South East."
There's some good US Geological Survey reports on UK shale gas & oil reserves that a search will turn up. The long and the short of it is that in the North it's gas, in the South it's oil shales. They aren't yet as economically viable as gas. The really interesting thing is perhaps offshore shale gas reserves. Nobody's paid any attention to them at the moment, but I';d wager that the Southern North Sea would keep us going for a few centuries (when we've got the technology to get it out cheaply).
As another poster has already said, all of that ignores the malignant policies of DECC, intended to plunge us into darkness as soon and as expensively as possible.
The biggest benefit is not directly cheaper energy - that price will be set by the world markets plus our dear government's taxes. What will change will be that our balance of trade improves. At present we live on tick from the rest of the world (like the Yanks), because we buy more than we sell. Obviously that's not a tenable position indefinitely, and so not having to import as much fuel would help a great deal. This is a double edged sword though, because it makes inflating our debts away more difficult, and a higher (or less low) exchange rate makes imports cheaper and the stuff we export more expensive.
Shale enthusiasts (and I'm one) should note that the UK shale gas formations are far more complex and heavily faulted than the US reserves, which means that extracting the gas will not be as simple as importing the US technology and sucking it out.
Re: Climate Models
"The pro GW scientists need to present their findings in a transparent format, there has to be proper scrutiny. The anti GW scientists likewise"
Why? Policy in most Western countries is already based on the religion of CO2 AGW. so there' s no need for either more data, or proper science.
It'll be interesting to see if the Oz government, (who appear to subscribe to CO2 AGW) will ban exports of coal.
Re: Priorities - @Mad Mike
"It's not really that investment is the issue per se, but the investment of money that doesn't exist."
Well, I'd suggest that fractional reserve banking merely moves the assets and liabilities around, rather than making a difference to their worth.
If I invest a billion quid in a pointless rail link that isn't of any economic benefit, and I then go bust, then a billion quid has still been wasted that could have been put to better economic use (which can include not spending it at all). If I borrow from the bank, then I go bust, the bank own the unproductive asset, and are down a billion quid, because the asset was built (or the transaction made), and cash changed hands, and then taxpayers have to bail the banks out (or in Cyprus, savers have their money taken off them at the diktat of the German Chancellor. Ultimately, excess investment (or debt fuelled current spending) is still wasted cash. If all that debt had been well invested we'd be entering a golden age; instead we're finding ourselves each with a non-speaking role in Gotterdammerung.
Fractional reserve banking is actually the foundation of modern society - you couldn't have built the good and clever things we have without bank debt. The problem is the bad, pointless and unproductive things thta have also been and are continuing to be done with it, because it was too cheap and too readily available. Gormless George's announcement about new infrastructure show that he understands none of this, with the money to be directed on almost exactly the wrong things to be spending on. In the bigger picture, universal broadband roll out would be the least bad of all the investments, but even promising £10^11 of spending they've managed not to have universal and high speed broadband, because spying on us, (amongst other pork barrel projects) is apparently better value.
So I'll disagree with you: We won't learn, because the politician's solution to too much debt and spending is more debt and spending, and that applies across all political parties and across most countries. Japan have had twenty years of bugger all growth after getting themselves into the situation that the UK is now in. Welcome to the future.
Re: Priorities - Totally agree
"Nope, the only way out is economic growth, which means investment"
Wrong on two counts. You can't grow your way out of a depression until you've purged the system of bad debts and investments, and changed the rules to free up business. Even if we pretend that has been done, to grow means productive investment.
The simple act of building roads, railways and offices creates no wealth other than some paltry multiplier effects (ie the labourers spend their wages). It's only when somebody does something genuinely useful with an asset that it becomes an investment. Even if you rig the market to use subsidies to make a return (eg wind farms), the problem is that there's no meaningful incremental economic productivity from the investment - you write down the book value of a perfectly serviceable CCGT, you then have to pay a "capacity payment" to keep the CCGT hanging around for when the wind doesn't blow, you pay over the odds for the wind turbine power. Yes, you've "invested", but the economy as a whole is poorer because power prices go up for no tangible benefit.
That's why HS2 and Heathrow expansion will be wasted investments, because they won't make much difference to the wealth created in the UK. BAA might make a few more quid from transit passengers, but there's no related trebling of hotel capacity in the country, is there? Speeding a few fat directors between London and Birmingham won't make a tangible difference to the cost, or quality of their company's products, nor to the return on the company's invested capital.
The USSR collapsed essentially because state directed capital was frittered unproductively on an arms race and bogus economic output (eg trains to nowhere). Europe is digging itself a similar hole with current account spending on crap, and "investments" in non productive assets.
Re: Priorities - Totally agree
"With less and less investment in UK Gov "
Err, the reason we're in the pickle that we are, is simply because there's been too much "investment" in almost everything that counts as "public services", plus an excess of private sector investment. The country has been, and continues to live well beyond its means to the tune of about half a billion pounds a day, every single day, but unfortunately there's the problem that too much of those past expenditures were on unproductive assets.
So pouring more money into the NHS might please voters, but there's no return on it. The vast increase in welfare payments generates no return. Foreign wars - no return, half witted energy policy - little return, and so forth. Likewise private sector mortgage drawdowns to buy new cars and tellies (Guilty, m'lud), no return. Inflated lending to the property sector, no return. High multiple lending to business, no return (in aggregate, because the banks didn't price the risk in).
China has tried "investing" its way to wealth, but is now a giant Ponzi scheme of bad debts and a shadow banking sector on the verge of collapse, because you can't keep on "investing" productive assets. To give you an example, China claims to have built over 32 billion square feet of office space in the 18 months after the 2008 bank funded stimulus to support growth. That's about 30 odd square feet of office space for every man woman and China, and in addition to everything built before and in the three years since.
What the UK should have done is stuck to a balanced budget, and kept interest rates higher, although it's a bit late for that now. The best course of action is the least comfortable, of slashing public spending, not by £11bn, but by at least £111bn, of forcing the banks to admit to their non-performing assets, consolidate them, close half of them. That isn't going to happen, and the only other way out is inflation.
Maybe it's just the staggering cost of the S4?
Up to a point (say £300) the cost of the phone isn't a big hairy deal because the pain is spread over 24 months on contract, and you've got a circa £15 a month minimum price plan (from the point of view of the major network operators, anyway, as they're not considering SIM only as competition).
But with the S4 having a retail value of £400+, then the minimum monthly plan with the phone "free" is over thirty quid. Some people can happily pay that, but its well north of the average revenue per user, and so Samsng are pricing themselves out of the market. At a guess that's because they think they can ask fatter margins on an Android device, as costs to produce shouldn't be much different to an S3 or S2 (technology costs fall, offset by improved specification and size).
Re: Pointless?@ The Man Who Wasn't Paying Attention
"As a matter of fact, "tech" isn't even the dominant part of international trade. Here's a new word for you: Commodities."
Which bit about the article concerned commodities? Explain how patent trolling is a big problem in the world of grain, iron ore, and soya beans?
Almost every tech company has a signifcant presence in the US market, so I can't see this being much of a barrier. Unless of course, there's some proportion of income test specifically set to try and stop not patent trolls in general, but foreign companies in particular from pursuing infringement cases. Which seems rather more likely, given both the largely domestic nature of pure patent trolling in US courts, and the names of the companies backing this.
A simpler fix for patent trolling would have been to make losing companies pay the other side's costs, and to stop the plaintiff's from pocketing vast "punitive" damages. If the Yanks want punitive damages, by all means let them have them, but pass the punitive element back to the Feds, instead of incentivising the patent trolls with a system that has few risks in initiating legal trolling, and big upsides.
But why fix the real problem, when you could pander to the corporations that will fund your election campaign?
"Would we actually save 15k per head? Have you taken into account each lag on £20k/year is taking the £35k/year job of someone who hasn't broken the law."
Err, most construction labourers aren't on anything like £35k a year, but even at the circa £15k-20k that we are talking about, infrastructure projects happen slowly or not at all because the cash cost is too high. So the idea of using crims for a national FTTP renewal of broadband wouldn't put anybody out of work because it is incremental, not substitutive, and much of the cost of the labour is already being incurred. Well, we might need fewer prison officers, but they aren't building infrastruture that we will benefit from for generations. And you wouldn't use 100% criminal labour - you need people who already have the building skills, you need experienced team leaders, who would probably be the existing non-prison workforce.
"The only jobs you can reliably in mass sell prison labour for are manual labour jobs, building and so forth."
Well, there's actually a fair few white collar crims who could do the accounting (with oversight!), but the point is that there's broadly speaking a good match between the manual/blue collar skills needed for infrastructure and the background of the prison population.
"otherwise we wouldn't be able to build all them lovely infrastructure projects on the cheap for the rich white man"
You miss the point that infrastructure doesn't readily get built or rebuilt, because the benefits accrue across the wider economy and over a long time, so they aren't commercial projects (or if they start off commercial, somebody usually goes bust). We could and should have rebuilt the West Coast Mainline for 160mph running in the 1990s, and obviated the need for HS2. But the goals were set lower (140mph) to keep the costs down , and the project was reigned in again to 125mph. So after £14bn of spend we still didn't have a 21st century asset. If we'd used subsidised labour (prisoners on licence, earning a proper salary, living at home or in site hostels) then we could have reduced the overall cost, and had 160mph.
I would envisage that the state would hire contractors to manage programmes, and would retain ownership of infrastructure assets. Private companies would actually deliver these programmes, but wouldn't be taking a cut of the crim's wages. Not sure why you're trying to make a wealth/class/race point that's nowhere near what I was suggesting.
Your suggestion that this idea would lead to more poverty is rubbish. Many crims certainly have come from economic deprivation, but what I'm suggesting builds society's wealth, instead of taking 100,000 people and forcing them to do nothing each year, whilst paying £3bn for the privilege.
"Perhaps prison labour would be best used on public works, where spending less taxpayer money is a *good* thing, rather than private endeavour where market distortion can occur"
Not sure it's purely "public works", but any infrastructure project could benefit, because these invariably struggle to be affordable under conventional accounting, as the up front costs are too high, and the marginal value too low compared to interest rates. That has alwasy been the case with infrastructure: So most UK railways were built speculatively with private finance, and most of the companies went bust. The Channel Tunnel builders went bust. The High Speed 1 link between London and the Channel Tunnel has left a vast debt that the taxpayer is guaranteeing (as will HS2). Concrete airport runways would probably never have been commercially built, but for WW2 providing them free. Toll roads often struggle to make commercial returns (eg M6 toll). National broadband roll out is painfully slow due to high costs of (mainly) digging long trenches. Road schemes are on hold all over the country because of lack of money (instead being spent locking people up).
If instead of paying £35k per year per convict to keep them locked up, we offered them the choice of working on selected infrastructure projects for £20k a year, then they've got a job (and probably a job that otherwise wouldn't exist, or would cost a lot more), they're picking up a skill, paying tax, and nationally we get the benefit of the infrastructure, as well as saving £15 k per head. Not all of them would want to do that, and some would be unreliable (so straight back to chokey), but that has to be better for everybody, instead of locking the vermin up for 22 hours a day?
"This isn't prison, this is slavery"
Actually, the article is clear, its a self funding prison, instead of the Western model where prisons fail to reform people, and merely act as temporary holding pens for serial offenders, whilst consuming (UK, 2012) £3 billion a year, with each convict costing £35k a year, and a productive output of a few bags of littler picked up, and a handful of postal sacks made.
Personally I couldn't give a hoot (a) that China uses corporal punishments, or that (b) they make them work (although the poor quality of airline headsets is finally explained).
Re: used to play Quake and UT all night?
"Does anyone ever forget their first encounter with a shambler?"
Nope. But try and convince the kids of today that it was scary, and they'll not believe you. Cue "when I were a lad, we lived in a shoebox".
Re: used to play Quake and UT all night?
"I'd imagine with a ten year jump forward in hardware you'll be getting some pretty respectable frame rates"
Albeit on a modern display it will look like Minecraft.
Talking of old, blocky things, and iD software, who round here remembers being impressed by Doom back in '93? And in fact being genuinely scared whilst playing it?
Re: Frame rate obsession
Or maybe he's just found the latest Counter Strike offers more fun.
"What he says is all well and good "...
but even that didn't sound convincing - the parallel interfaces of separate storage volumes is largely irrelevant when you're primarily caching data between the two volumes on a client device. Add in that the system integrators won't select best of breed, they'll select cheapest of breed, and the fact that a dedicated processor need not be inferior to sharing the CPU (eg RAID is always better with a dedicated processor rather than software RAID), and his arguments are worn very thin.
This looks to me more like HGST were late to the hybrid device party (or won't licence essential patents), and are now trying to excuse their omission. Certainly, a caching SSD volume (or programme volume) in a desktop accompanied by a big spinning rust drive is probably the best upgrade for many users, and the two drive solution is the way to go, but in a laptop then hybrids make an excellent solution. Was he paid for getting it @rse about face like this?
Re: Faster phone ? @ Uffish
" My phone is a T28s "
Respect! What sort of reactions do you get whipping that baby out in public?
Re: I am surprised
" I didn't expect it to be standard practice."
Banking regulators knew bad **** was going down in the banks, and did nothing to avoid the 2007 crunch. In fact they'd got a previous for doing nothing until too late on pensions mis-selling, endowment mis-selling, split capital trust mis-selling, PPI mis-selling. In fact, they're still doing it, failing to respond to complaints of malpractice by the major banks, with the SFO and politicians playing a collective "not my problem" game.
The CQC have been found to be worse than useless in regulating the NHS.
OFCOM has been useless in regulating the telecoms companies, equally useless in stopping the consolidation of local radio, or preventing the Post Office from rolling out a range of anti-customer measures.
How do OFGEM protect you from prices rises on your energy bills?
Other famously ineffectual bodies include the Advertising Standards Authority, General Medical Council, Office of the Information Commissioner, the Pensions Regulator.
Given that every other regulatory and investigative body in the land appears to be secretive and useless, I see no reason why we should expect anything different. But given the dishonesty, secrecy and incompetence of politicians, the example is set at the top.
Re: Twas just under 1.6Mb/s...
"so I'll have to go out and buy the Zohan and roughly a million Octonauts episodes"
You're a fan as well?
"I think the problem is one of "compatibility".....a new grounds up OS might not allow companies and individuals to easily transfer their data sets from the "old" platform to a new one"
I'm unconvinced. Digital data is usually very easy to convert. Several decades ago, in my first job after graduation I had half the job of cobbling together the data from a Honeywell DPS6 to an ICL VME mainframe. Both used their own proprietary file formats and languages, and the link was done in half a day, and it worked, despite my involvement.
There's other compatibility issues of retraining the meatsacks and changing the infrastructure in whatever way is appropriate, and I'd guess that people and cost will continue to be barriers to change.
" I suppose this is going to make Haswell look like computing by making marks on a stick with a knife."
Not anytime soon...
But it does raise the question about what software we'll be using if the technological progression keeps on seeing processing power doubled every eighteen months. Time for a new ground up OS, anyone? Or will we keep buying scrub ups of Windows, Linux, and various *nix derivatives with technological roots in the 1990's?
""a nice hefty kinetic powered SKA465P1"
"That is a nice watch"
Thank you for the clarification. I was most confused when tyring to choose an SKA465P1 over a GS3G1 or an SG553 in Global Offensive.
Only if it's true that the Aussies aren't doing this already. The NSA were denying that they were spying on their own peasants right up until Snowden blew the gaff. Likewise GCHQ were claiming that intereption modernsiation was something for the future, but now it turns out they've been doing it all along. But for Snowden nobody would have been any the wiser. It appears to me that any country with the technology to spy on its own people is doing so enthusiastically, and you'd have to ask why the Aussie government would be the odd men out, or why the Australian population should believe them?
Sadly all this big data surveillance doesn't seem to result in any big wins in the wars on drugs, terror, organised crime etc, so the logical inference is that crime and public safety are not the actual purpose of mass surveillance. If I was to then suggest that the programmes are about opinion control, and the protection of the interests of government I'd have been labelled a tin-foil hatter two weeks ago. But now that's exactly how it does seem to be working. With the rise of social media, the old D notice system and equivalents has started to unravel, how else can the politicians control the message and try and hide their incompetence and dishonesty?
Re: re. traditional seafood nomenclature
"They could have called it 'cod'."
How about "Docker's oyster card"?
On a slightly more serious note, why didn't the daft bu99ers just use the same Oyster card system as London. All the R&D's done, it works on buses, trams and tubes, and it works very well.
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