1151 posts • joined Friday 1st June 2012 10:28 GMT
Re: But remember...
Oh yes. Those early "art" films featuring Ms Lumley that are no longer in circulation. Mmmmmmm.
This could explain why my Casio waveceptor is still useable after being variously wacked into brass door handles and steel scaffold poles. And I'd wondered why metal was leaving marks on the "glass" that just polished off. It's predecessor was retired after an encounter with the bottom of a swimming pool.
Maybe they should stop wasting time on sapphire, and move straight to make mobile phone screen out of whatever swimming pool coatings are made of, which is clearly the hardest material in the universe.
Re: Tip of the Iceberg
"However - let them be a lesson to anyone or any corporation that taking security and data protection is a serious, time-consuming, expensive and specialised business."
And doomed to failure when these machines are connected to the internet. Air gapping has its limitations, but its a damned good start, as is separate systems within the company for separate functions.
Re: Dear Daddy
F*** me, having to sit in the office bitting my tongue hard whilst my eyes water with uncomfortably contained mirth.
Re: Eat charcoal
Why would I want to eat charcoal? The simple pleasure of a well formed, properly timed guff is one of life's pleasures. From the varied pungencies, half-lives, volumes and auditory effects much joy is to be had. You can even change the future: Drop your guts in an emplty lift, and you increase the odds of an attractive lady getting in the lift by a couple of orders of magnitudes (albeit you'll be treated to a dirty look, and labelled in office gossip as a filthy blighter).
Re: Use Chrome
"Adobe has become an embarrassment to the software industry with their poor security, crappy update practices"
I must say that there's a swampful of other contenders for the honour of "Most embarassingly crap software company", and Electronic Arts appear to have actually won this by public acclaim in the US.
Until our gormless law makers start work to heal the festering sore of "licence agreements" and their ilk, second rate software will continue to exist, continue to be built, and continue to make money for third rate companies like Adobe (and Microsoft). I can appreciate that software companies can't guarantee that their software will always work for my particular requirements, but the law should require them to fix security and functionality flaws, accessibility issues of poor design (referred to in Shadow Systems brillant post) should be legally required to be fixed. In fact I'd guess there are laws on that last one already, but nobody enforces them, even though we have a quango or two paid good money to do just that (like the useless Equality & Human Rights Commission, who have a £27m a year budget).
Re: Use too much Leccy? @Will Godfrey
"So how does the smart meter (at the entry to the house) know the difference between a refrigerator and a disabled stair lift?"
If you read the spec that Wim Ton linked to you'll see that they refer to these "unnecessary" loads, as ancilliary loads, and there's a load of stuff about the interface and system requirements. Of course, the smart meter on its own can't control them, you need a new compatible device or dedicated control switches. As installed the smart meters won't do a damn thing that's useful.
As we can match peak demand anyway, and will always have to the whole ancilliary load switching idea is a typical bit of crappy, wishful and misguided public sector thinking.
Re: The solution to your chickpea problem
That only leaves one answer then: You've been flogged plastic chick peas. Possibly the output of some municipal plastic recycling programme, where the processed chopped and pelletised plastic was a light brown, and looked like chick peas, and somebody thought "I know how to make a bob or two on those!"
Good luck with the rest of the bag!
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....@Roland6
"But this fact (re. hot water and tumble dryer) has enabled me to convince some of my non-IT clients that it is okay to leave their brand new All-in-One with a 25w PSU running and so avoid problems caused by them pulling the plug..."
Router & modem all in one? Must be a crappy affair if it gets its knickers in a twist over power cycling. I've got the much maligned Virgin Superhub on a timer switch to turn it off overnight, so power cycled each day without any assistance, and it works a treat (arguably better for the regular resets).
And although the hot water and tumble dryer do use a lot of power, leaving any "vampire" devices on constantly does add up. As a rough guide for those who can't be bothered to do the maths, take the value in watts of any always-on device, and that's about the cost in £ per year. So a 25W router/modem will cost £25 a year to run if always on, which is about a quarter of the annual running costs of a tumble dryer. Stick a timer switch in the router's mains socket, with power off overnight and you'll save the cost of the timer in year one, after that you're £8 a year better off for the life of the kit. If you're ALWAYS out during the day you could save £16 a year by the timer turning the device off then. As a suggestion don't be too aggressive in the planned timings, otherwise you'll end up frequently over-riding the programme and leaving the device switched on, which defeats the purpose. If you've got any gaming PC's with active subwoofers, then they can be similar vampire power users that don't get noticed when they're left on, and these can be connected to the same timer with a multiple socket extension.
Re: The solution to your chickpea problem
You didn't put salt in before they were fully cooked, did you Lester? Most pulses harden up if there's salt added before they're soaked and cooked, and all the books I've read on the subject (as a curry fiend) are explicit that salt goes in only when the pulses are fully done.
Re: Last all week?
"Dry staples, a supply of eggs, and some vitamin supplements and your diet is monotonous but sustaining."
Which is where hot sauces come into their own. If (like me) you're losing a few pounds by cutting the calories, then the miserly portion size and limited interest of dollop of lentil broth can be completely hidden by adding sufficient hot sauce to give it a real bite.
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....@Peter Gathercole
"If only I could persuade my wife that the tumble-drier really is one of the biggest expenses."
Well, at least make sure you've got a decent condensor dryer that doesn't have an external vent. Vented tumble dryers are not merely hideously inefficient at drying, but they then promptly expel all the hot air out into the cold, and (through the ventilation of the rest of the house) suck in a replacement volume of cold air, so making for a significant impact on your heating bill as well as electricity.
With a decent condensor the heat is at least kept within the thermal envelope of the house, and you're not pumping fresh cold air in. The extra cost of an A rated condensor usually won't payback, so go for a good B rated device from a respectable make - cheapy condensors don't always work very well, and you'll then get damp air in the house. Also, the condensor models are usually sensor controlled, which (in this house) stops SWMBO from baking the clothes for bloody hours, which used to happen with the primitive vented model we had.
Using a plug in energy monitor should enable you to nail that 500W of base load, but a suggestion is your fridge or freezers. Anything over ten years old is suspect, and anything over fifteen years old will probably pay for itself in lower running costs within two years (well, if the new one is low priced). Older models had inefficient compressors, poor insulation, and the seals wear out. You don't tend to notice the worn seals, but the continuous loss of cold air can make for near continuous running.
One other thing that many people could do - many modern houses use multiple GU10 or MR16 bulbs, which easily adds up to a lot of heat and power. Early LED versions of these bulbs were rubbish, but the latest 4-7W versions are excellent. No point using 500W to illuminate a room if you can do it with 50W, and in a moderately well used room the LED light will pay for itself in eighteen months, and last for a decade or two.
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....
"How much compulsion is there in this 'offer'? Can I say "no thank you" and stick to a clockwork meter?"
Yes. Last paragraph of my post covered that.
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....@Tom Welsh
"In my own case, that is completely untrue. My little Owl meter tells me, more or less...."
Absolutely right. Smart meters are a typical big government solution, built by spending your money for you. Not as an explicit tax, but simply requiring the power companies to recover the cost. If you had the choice of a £30 energy monitor, or a £300 smart meter, and knew you were paying I think most people would choose the former.
To be fair, there is some limited evidence from early roll out of standards-non-compliant smart meters that electricity use comes down by 5%, but I don't know whether that's properly assessed. At a guess it may not have been properly compared to the savings from people handed energy monitors, nor properly adjusted for other factors like appliance replacement (almost any new appliance will use less power than the device it replaces). The "sales" pitch and installation of smart meters often includes energy efficiency advice, so that's something else you'd need to allow for and exclude. I tried an energy monitor, found it of limited use, and it now sits in a drawer at work.
More worryingly, the early evidence is that gas smart meters produce no savings at all. So there's about £5bn of mandated investment across the land with not a single penny in benefits looking likely. Almost as good value as HS2.
Re: customer benefits@Crisp
"It's nice that the electric companies are giving something back after years of ruthless profiteering."
FFS, don't swallow this Daily Mail codswallop. If you'd invested in my employers shares six years ago, you'd be sitting on a quarter of your original investment. Call THAT profiteering? If you're a UK electricity business, your net return is at best about the cost of capital - look at the accounts of SSE plc. Or look at the segmental detail for Centrica plc, owners of British Gas to find the same thing. Most of the supply businesses (the part of the company that sells to you and bills you) operate at a loss, and have done for years, and wholesale generation prices are so low that nobody will start to build new power stations that will be needed from 2016 onwards.
Your energy prices have gone up because world market prices for fuels have gone up in response to global demand plus the malign effects of money printing by Western governments; because sterling buys less than it used due to UK government economic mismanagement; and because the money that should have gone into new power generation assets has been frittered on wind turbines, smart meters and other government mandated shit, which means we still need to raise the money to invest in new fossil plant.
Your power bills will continue to go up to pay for all this eco shit. They don't need to, we just need a policy that stops the ever-growing proportion of your power bill that is being frittered by DECC (about one eighth of it at present, but rising). We need to stop or reduce subsidies to renewables (a double edged sword, unfortunately, because of the wasted investment in building such unproductive assets). We need to forget about nuclear until it can be built to produce power at say £60 MWh, and we shouldn't be closing full functional coal plant to please the twerps of the EU, or rolling out silly toys like smart meters.
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....@TheBig Yin
"I would have less of an issue with smart meters if they were dedicated to the customer first and the utility company second. I could see them being very useful to consumers in figuring out where they waste energy etc. But they are not aimed at the consumer, so they are an epic fail. Again."
Actually, they are specifically intended to be of use to customers first. The EU tree huggers believe that if you have a real time energy or cost display, you'll use less power, and that's why the national roll out is mandated in the Energy Act and the supply companies' regulatory licences. The evidence for this benefit is mixed (and slim, in my view), but the bigger problem is that the EU/DECC solution is a £200-£400 smart meter, when the same consumer information "benefits" are delivered by a £30 energy monitor , millions of which have already been handed out free by the energy companies.
The benefits to power companies are largely a presumed better accuracy on billing and the elimination of estimated bills, which reduces the rework costs and complaint handling. But for a national programme, that even the wild optimists of DECC expect to cost £12bn, that will never be recovered by saving the few million quid spent on estimated bills and errors.
For the same money we could have built ten large 2GW CCGT plants, so generating a total of 20 GW, or two thirds of current peak demand. That would have enabled the immediate retirement of all UK coal plant currently expected to run post 2015, and halved the emissions of fossil generation. Smart meters are a crap solution, and those who have mandated or encouraged their use should be thrown in prison. Hackers are far less of a threat to UK energy security than DECC.
Re: Whilst I can see the value.....
"We aren't paying for them, the electricity companies are paying for them."
What and (speaking as a power company employee), we just magic the money up? Don't be daft, the total costs is averaged out and added to everybody's bill, whether they have one or not. But we aren't doing it because it benefits us - putting a meter reader on the dole will save only £5-10 per meter per year, so spending £200 to buy and install a smart meter (possibly a lot more) will have a bloody long payback. Throw in operating costs, systems upgrades, and interest costs and you'll quickly see that there's no financial case at all.
Caps for the hard of thinking: ENERGY COMPANIES ARE INSTALLING SMART METERS ONLY BECAUSE IT IS MANDATED BY UK LAW AND EU RULES THAT YOU MUST BE OFFERED ONE BY 2019. If we don't roll them out, we get fined up to 10% of turnover. No use blaming us, go take it up with your expenses diddling, fingers-in-his-ears MP.
One other common misconception - normal credit tariff customers can't be forced to have a smart meter. If you say no, then that's (currently) final. Of course, the knobs at DECC may push to have the law changed if enough people say no, or your hand could be forced by unfavourable tariffs for non-smart meters.
Re: Don't get it.@Martin Budden
"Pushing an object with a laser from below isn't going to slow it."
OK, so what if you fire the beam at a non-vertical angle? Obviously you'd be losing power through a longer atmospheric path, and then you've got both vertical and orbital components. The vertical will push the debris up, but could the slowing down of the debris and resultant gravitational pull be sufficient to offset that vertical component?
Re: Nice shopping
" needed to replace a couple of "store" items recently like mustard powder (for cheese scones), vanilla extract & ground nutmeg, & just those 3 cost over a tenner."
I think you're shopping in the wrong place. Even from Tesco this lot shouldn't be more than a fiver.
Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought
"but recipes usually call for more (unneccessary ingredients, like sugar an dried milk) "
Generally yes, but my Panny has an excellent "French style" programme that is just flour, salt, yeast and water. Seems a bit odd at first having a sandwich style load with the texture of a baguette, but tastes great.
And on the other recipes I never bother with dried milk, just slop in half milk and half warm water, use vegetable oil in place of butter. In fact, if you've got it, soya milk works better than dairy. As you say, can involve some experimentation, but always fun trying to make things your own.
For any Panny bread maker owners reading this, try the fast white loaf setting, using 25% wholemeal flour and 75% white bread flour, a whole sachet of yeast, and normal amount of lukewarm water/milk (plus sugar and salt in appropriate measure). You might need to play with the ingredients a tiny amount, but when you've got that sussed it could be the best everyday load you'll get out of the machine.
"Is food cheaper? As in, because the locals have little to spend, local traders offer low price items. Conversely if I turned up in Monaco to do my shopping, I'd not be able to buy anything.)"
Yes, you're broadly correct. But because the cost base of differing economies can be so radically different, along with behaviours, diets, and everything else, to compare like for like at exchange rate prices means nothing unless you can easily, quickly and cheaply move between the compared places.
For this reason economists sometimes use "purchasing power parity" exchange rates that are intended to make a credible fist of the fact that food is cheaper in cash in poorer countries, as are typical incomes. If you're a Western tourist, you can (usually) benefit from these differences, because everything seems so cheap in developing countries when you go on holiday with savings from your thirty pound an hour job. But it won't seem cheap to those who live there, and earn two quid a day. Also worth noting that differences are regional - take a whippet racing Northerner to London, and he'll be shocked at the prices, but the same would be true of an Indian peasant transported to the more affluent areas of Mumbai.
The food price difference isn't just about what the locals can afford, but about the cost base. If you're paying a shop worker in London the on-costs and overheads will be far greater than a shop worker in Nairobi, even if the food were bought on the same global commodities markets. Add in the varied impact of shipping costs and subsidies (many developing countries subsidise food & fuel prices) and you have a complex picture, but in the grand scheme.
Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ? @ stu 4
"- Just made enough leek and potato soup at the weekend for 6 meals: 3 quid. (2 leaks, potatoes, onion, stock cube)"
Stock cube? You paid money for a cube of pressed salt and sh!t? Noooo.
Next time you roast a chicken yourself (or even buy a roast one from the shop), stick the carcass in a slow cooker for five hours, or a pressure cooker for twenty minutes. If there's any to hand, hoof in any stale carrots or onions (or even peeling and offcuts, green tops of leeks, wilting celery, or the bits you won't eat (mud and all). Shallots, green beans, stringless beans can all be added, but I'd avoid most brassicas or veg with strong smells or tastes. Left over cooked veg, uneaten meat from the plates and what have you can all be thrown in. If you want you can add dried or fresh herbs, but I prefer to do that in the final dish. No salt or pepper, of course. Same applies to the left overs of a meat joint on the bone (if there is any left over meat), although meat stocks are generally less versatile than chicken.
That should produce about three pints of stock per carcass, far better then any stock cube you'll ever buy. Fabbo in a risotto or paella, great in home made soups or sauces, or in things like shepherd's/cottage pie. Freezes a treat.
Re: Make some Real (additive free, fresh and honest) Bread cheaper than bought
"Loaf is ready when a tap on the bottom side sounds hollow."
I find the loaf is ready when the machine goes "beep...beep....beep".
This being a technology website, I hope you'll approve of my suggestion of doing simple repetitive tasks by automation?
Re: Does this £1/day include energy costs ?
"You could always burn your own dung for heat and cooking!"
I doubt it. If the tods are dry enough, and your diet high enough in plant materials, then there's a chance it will give out some modest heat because the lignin fibres that your body hasn't digested do have a similar energy content as wood fibres of similar weight. But lookin at what Lester's selected the rice doesn't look to be whole grain, eggs will leave nothing, chick peas will be good, so on balance I reckon he'll be crimping off lengths of regular clay, and that doesn't burn well even if dried.
If you don't have any other choices, dried elephant dung picked up off the African savannah may be a just about useable fuel, but for the reasons above I doubt that Reg writer droppings will be anything like as good. This is why sewage plant companies have to use fossil fuels to incinerate sewage sludges. If Lester has got some of the fine sieves used in (for example) sedimentology, then he could dissolve his dreadnoughts and used tissue in a bucket of water, and filter the resulting solution, rinse a few times, and he'll have the lignin fibres on their own, ready to use as soon as they are dried. Even so, any neighbours may take issue with Lester's renewables, and the actual energy recovered will be very small indeed. Like most other forms of renewable energy, in fact.
"According to the NHS, the average man needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain his weight"
According to the same NHS, the average man is an FB, and would be well advised not to maintain his weight.....
Re: Dozen eggs for a euro?
" Also there's learning the time the supermarket puts out the damaged food for cheap and going there everyday to try and pick up a bargain."
Well, you'll have to endure the scrum of rabid pensioners. Maybe wait til afterwards, and pick up any roadkill OAPs who are trampled to death, and eat them. Is that allowed?
"There must be some mileage in a subtle watermarking program (or digital signature) that is harder to remove..."
These already exist. But the point of the act is not about being able to prove that the work is yours. In many cases it would be straightforward to prove that you were the orginator of content regardless of metadata or watermarking. The act has been drafted and will be passed so that content scrapers and other thieves are able to freely exploit your data, having "found" that their copy of the content had no metadata, and after a quick Google they couldn't find anything to link it to you, and being able to prove that you are the owner won't help you.
Now, at the marginal end of this, I'd be totally relaxed about somebody copying a picture of mine for personal use, and even for the real low rent commercial purposes, like sticking in some crummy work Powerpoint. But that is also not what the act is about. It is an attempt to intentionally legalise theft on a grand scale; in the short term it will undoubtedly be rubber stamped by the Westminster Benevolent Home for the Spineless, Workshy and Hard of Ethics. In the longer term it can't possibly have a good outcome, and exposes the tawdry, inept and incompetent nature of British government for the world to see.
Re: IP profits lawyers and extortion style law suits
"Ah, you don't understand how to protect IP."
Amongst many other things.
"so any savings have to cover that"
They generally don't. If you've got the scale to operate any process yourself, then why will an outsourcer be cheaper? As you say, they will have crappy conditions, pay and pension, but that's offset entirely by the costs of bidding and set up, risk pricing, infrastructure, net margin, and overheads (outsourcers usually have vast amounts of goodwill on their balance sheet to cover). And there's no real operational time savings - outsourcers don't offer you a new, magically more efficient process, they want to take your under-performing process and implement that with lower paid staff (hopefully with lots of "unforeseen" problems to be fixed at great cost).
In general, the outsource provider needs to charge 110 to 120% of your pre-outsource cost to cover their costs and make their target margin. But to win the work they need to be cheaper, with a rule of thumb that says "bid 20% below the existing cost base". So for a five year contract, in year one the outsource provider delivers the 20% saving, accrue a loss and add a further hangover to be recovered. By the end of year 2 they need to start getting into the black, and hopefully the client has some changes that will enable them to be fleeced. If not, then rely on the fact that the outsourcer's commercial people write contracts day in, day out, and will run rings round the buyer. Either way, the outsourcer assumes that the client will walk at year 5, and so simply reams the client out, costing on average 40% more than the inhouse cost in years 3 through 5. There was some good research on this published some years back, but it was quietly hidden when the analysts who published it realised there was far more loot to be garnered by trumpeting the "benefits" of outsourcing, rather than telling people it was doomed to fail. At year five, it the vendor is really lucky, the buyer will have forgotten the original business case, and just renew. Otherwise, chances are they will be too fearful and shamefaced to bring back in house, in which case the work stays outsourced, and the outsource sector feed off each others churn: "Rinse and repeat".
Directors are paid enough, and should know these things. Unfortunately they listen to idiot management consultants, or believe the vendor's sales pitches, ignore common sense, and do it anyway. My own employers are at the point where our IT outsource "partner" have given up trying to improve their dismal service, and are now moving firmly into "monetise the client" mode. All forseeable, unless you're paid several million euro a year, and sit in a boardroom in some ivory tower.
Obviously different rules apply where you don't have the scale or competence to do something yourself, and in those cases outsourcing can be a sensible move - although usually something better suited to SME's rather than big corporates.
Re: Race to the bottom...on your marks!
One swallow does not make a summer (mix that with your Paris reference!).
I work for a company that operates call centres. Some are good, some are bad, and the outsourced ones are always problematic. You can get great outsourced service, but the norm seems to be unreliable service, slightly below the mean of the in house service quality. Costs are usually higher, but with greater chance to pull the plug at short notice. And you get reamed out on all unanticipated changes to the SLA.
And as with any outsource, how often are the goals of the buyer aligned with the vendor? And why would any company want to trust a third party to communicate with their customers - aren't your customer relationships the most important thing about your business?
In the case of Brumagem council, it's not like they face any threat of their callers taking their business elsewhere, so the dynamics are a bit different to O2, and arguably a basically adequate but lower cost service does count as excellent in the local government space?
"As to O2 well...."
Presumably O2 are preparing the kiddies for the world of work at Capita, since other Reg news indicates they're thniking abour outsourcing the last vestiges of their business still under their operational control.
Re: Coffee with Cook.....
I don't think the likely bidders have to make that choice.
A bit like BBC's Children in Need auctions, whose juicier prizes are just an opportunity for City traders and investment bankers to buy things otherwise not for sale....
Re: Time Reference
"Not if your speaking from the Time reference of Earth."
But Dr Mouse was, I thought. Just because what we observe has taken a while to get here, due to the snail like speed of light, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened, we're simply watching one of the oldest news broadcasts in the universe.
If an earthquake happens in China tonight, and I see it on the news tomorrow, the earthquake still happened at the original time in a single instance, n'est pas?
Race to the bottom...on your marks!
It's almost as though, having seen the drubbing that TalkTalk regularly get, the customer service blackhole that is Orange, BT's continuing monopolistic arrogance, and Vodafone's disdain for bill payers, O2 are worried that they're in danger of rising up the customer rankings (in relative terms only, of course).
So at a board meeting, the chairman announces something along the lines "Gentlemen: Despite mid-contract price hikes, we are still being left behind in the telecoms sh1tness stakes. What is the single thing most likely to worsen our customer service, and soil our reputation?" And then it doesn't take long for all assembled to come up with the common answer, "Give it to Capita". Sound idea boys - let somebody else (with a dismal reputation) manage your relationship with your customers. And if by some statistical fluke involving many standard deviations from the norm, Capita do provide a good service, you can always have a follow up move to shit the customer services offshore.
Re: Could be good
"So it remains to be seen whether Liberty will actually do something with it, or just continue the circle of cash-starving the network and milking the customers."
Mmm. Yankee billionaire. Wonder if he got rich by doing things for customers, or just pillaging assets?
And looking at the VM results, they only just scraped a profit this year, with the defining influence on their earnings being interest rate on the vast debt and tax allowances. For Liberty Global to make money, they need to increase revenue per customer and (further) cut costs. That means price increases and even shittier service, I regret to say as an existing VM customer.
Re: This was a College Competition
"... Sorry this was in response to ledswinger's post.."
Ah. I suspect this was the "not signed in bug" whereby if you attempt to post when not signed in, and then login, it dumps your reply as a new post, to the confusion of one and all? Get if fixed Regtards!
Re: Easy win for USAF
"pretty much the same reason artillery practice is held on artillery ranges rather than, say, downtown Hull."
You don't think choosing Hull rather negates your argument?
"especially compared to Central Europe which truly does know how to make pig into delightful products"
What, schnitzels, bratwurst and all those horrible variations on the same? The Spanish and the Eyties I'll grant you do some really good stuff to dead pigs, but not the Teutons, in my book.
Re: @Kristian: Poor results?
"then there's American footchess"
A very valid correction, than you.
Football, cider, beer, chocolate, bacon.
"They apparently don't have the money to hire the appropriately certified mobile van crusher to stop by the office and since the drives are physically damaged, they can't run the software they would otherwise use to wipe the drives."
I'm sure the budget would stretch to a torx screwdriver and a sheet of emery cloth. Take the platters out and give them a quick sand. With only 20nm of magnetic material that's easily going to come away sufficiently well to prevent anything being recovered. If you're feeling particularly keen maybe bend them as well, since there's no chance that they could be straightened enough to align properly in a new mechanism. Or if they're laptop drives with glass platters just smash them.
"If they want to get the sales figures up to 1 Million by the end of the year as EE they should match the prices of their other brands."
Two solutions: new, cheaper contracts (of course, leaving the 318k mugs on whatever daft tarrif they've committed to). Or, keep trying to pillage the domestic market with outlandish costs, low data caps, and unrealistic promises of coverage, but meanwhile wack a load of the big business accounts off the T-Mobile and Orange rosters, onto EE. That last one seems most probable - they simply tell the businesses they are being moved to EE on the same terms they currently enjoy, describe them as EE 4G customers, meet their 1m target, knowing all along that these busines haven't issued any 4G compatible handsets, and probably won't for several years.
In the wacky world of executive incentives there's always several ways to meet your targets and "earn" that big fat bonus.
"I, citizen of three Western countries .."
As a connoisseur, which citizenship would you recommend to the rest of us?
Re: Three hundred quid?
Fair call, but that's still £150 over twenty four months for a decent spec phone like an S3 (or for that matter a higher end WP if you so wish).
So at absolute most, five or six quid a month cheaper for something you'll always know isn't as good as you could have had. Maybe a Starbucks with trimmings every two weeks will take away the bitterness of user disappointment?
If you really want cheap, the answer is "not a smartphone", surely?
"cider be more appropriate since it's the best use for apples?"
Don't forget Yanks don't know what real cider is.
Or chocolate. Or bacon. Or beer. At least they can console themselves that they design a so-so phone.
Three hundred quid?
I could get a Sammy S3 contract free for that. Admittedly the newer S4 price hasn't yet come down from its launch premium, but with the N 620 currently £200 SIM free, the 720 isn't going to come down much below £250.
And the point isn't so much whch is the better phone, it is simply that when you take out the air time, we're talking about a £12 to £15 a month purchase, and for only the price of a couple of decent coffees a month (or a couple of beers, a packet of cigs or whatever) you can get a lot more phone for your money.
If you really only want a basic phone, then there's ten quid Alcatels and Nokia dumb phones kicking about. Once you're in the smartphone market, the marginal cost of trading up can be quite low (albeit not if you insist on a freshly minted S4 or latest iPhone). But given the often mediocre ownership experience of cheap smartphones (eg Wildfire S, Galaxy Ace, Orange San Diego and many others), why risk your investment, even on contract, by saving three quid a month to take a low end Microsoft offering? Will the desperados of Redmond give you free OS updates, as they struggle to offset declining PC revenues? Will they even issue updates for a low end phone?
About fourteen months ago I splashed out on our small fleet of household phones. Two SGS2s for the grown ups, and a Galaxy Ace for the oldest nipper. The Ace has always struggled with storage, with speed, with a low display resolution, a crummy camera - it's stuck on Gingerbread. The SGS2's have been and remain a joy to own and use. OK, they were more expensive to buy, but far more than offset by the satisfaction. I'll be very, very cautious in future about buying cheap or mid range handsets.
Easy win for USAF
So the NSA hold a hacking competition, but only invited a few public sector mates?
That's not a competition. Hopefully next time they'll remember to invite the Norks, the Iranians, the Chinese, the Israelis, or any manner of East European crooks. Or perhaps pick on one of those as the competition location and invite all the others to do their best.
Maybe choose Iran as the "location", and offer specific prizes for conventional infrastructure disablement, military and nuclear foulups, state secrets revealed, intellectual property "liberated". And most importantly, a gold plated award for hacking Iran's single copy of Photoshop to compromise its functionality in a manner even more amusing than Iran's current use of the programme.
I'll bet USAF don't come top in that competition.
Re: 3rd place is still very much up for grabs@Zola
"I'm especially looking forward to "hybrid" devices, the likes of which you'll not see from Microsoft any time soon, if ever - I'm talking about multi-core and ridiculously powerful smartphones that when docked become fully featured desktop PCs,"
Actually, MS are the people who seem to be people who recognise this most of all. The launch of W8 and WP8 may have been met with an overwhelming indifference, but MS are trying to integrate their software platform to cover mobes, slabs and PCs, because they know that's the way things are going. I'd be the first to accept that they've not integrated touch and Keyboard + WIMP worlds very well, but who else has even tried? The Asus phonedock is part the way there (although the need for a physical connection seems a bit 1990's), but doesn't give you a KWIMPS environment for serious productivity.
If MS get W8.1 to play well between touch and KWIMPS, and they can really bring full fat 8.1 to phones (a bit sceptical myself, but you never know), then they really could be on to a winner. Apple would then have to play catch up, Android and BB are left high and dry with no "productivity" credentials. If Unbuntu & Firefox could do something really clever in the same space to integrate OpenOffice and provide that mobile to desktop switching they could perhaps also make the productivity claims, although getting business on board would remain a cultural barrier.
I'm no Windows fanboi - I think their track record has been outrageously poor on security, their products largely uninnovative, reactionary bloatware, and expensive to boot, with a dismal lack of customer focus. But for the future you describe and which sounds quite convenient, Fat Steve's team appear to be working on giving you what you want. The barrier to this brave new world is of course the age old bogeyman of X86 and backwards compatibility, plus Microsoft's inability or refusal to really programme new software from the ground up, preferring to endlessly put a modest new UI on the same ancient NT code and release it as a new OS. History indicates that 8.1 will be more of the same, and thus MS will give room for others to do what is really required, as ever its own worst enemy?
Re: My Z10
"You'd think the sales people would reserve their own opinions and give a balanced view to prospective customers!"
No, I'd think that the sales bod will push devices and contracts in the following order (a) whatever gets him the best commission, (b) whatever his boss tells him to push, or (c) whatever stock has built up in the back room of the shop.
Of course, if you can find a tech savvy, customer focused, ethically principled saleman, happily working for a company that offer no commission (or a flat rate regardless of the type and value of sales) then you might get impartiality, but equally pigs might fly. A successful salesman knows he generally can't sell ice to eskimos, but if you're seeking advice then you give the game away that you are persuadable - to buy a fatter contract, or to be upsold a 32GB handset, or to plump for a fruitphone over a top end Sammy or HTC, etc etc. The mistake your O2 guy made was not seeing the clue that you were upgrading from a BB handset, and really wanted the Z10 - but I'll guess his wallet-sniffing instincts are right more often than wrong, at least for his purposes.
- Product Round-up Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces
- Geek's Guide to Britain The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex
- FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know
- If you've bought DRM'd film files from Acetrax, here's the bad news
- Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat