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* Posts by Ledswinger

2866 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Gee THANKS: Cryptoscum offer a free decrypt in latest ransomware racket

Ledswinger
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Re: As much as do not want

"If we (and our across the pond cousins) can pool millions of £$ to extradite one alleged hacker, then we can pump resources into this, no?"

Wouldn't work. The people behind this are clever and obfuscate their tracks well. Even where found, chances are they are in a non-democratic state where they may be actively shielded by the national government, protected by a powerful local crime lord with his small army, or simply in a state with little functioning government.

You get to extradite foreign citizens only from law abiding countries with functioning and vaguely democratic government. That excludes half the world. If these people are in Russia, will Putin hand them over? It Chinese, would the party send them on a one way flight to the US? In Mexico, Ukraine, Kazakstan or where have you, the government simply doesn't function other than as a crime monopoly itself.

You also suggest that a few extraditions and prosecutions will discourage others. Simple fraud has been illegal in any functioning state for centuries, is often accompanied by long prison sentences (particularly in the US), but that's been no deterrent. And if you're based in some central Asian ***t hole country, would any of these be a deterrent, when your choices are picking local pockets for a handful of shekels, or making hundreds of thousands of dollars through cybercrime?

The best and perhaps only solution is back up by users and non-payment of ransom demands. The crime only exists because there's money in it, and regardless of enforcement and punishment, if the money's still waiting to be grabbed, new crims will sprout like fungus as soon as the last lot were scraped away.

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Meet Windows 10's new UI for OneDrive – also known as File Explorer

Ledswinger
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Re: Kiss your files goodbye

"Many users are people whose main online data is a bookmark to a recipe site and don't feel that this needs to be stored with quantum encryption in a explosive rigged black box in a dungeon under a fortress of doom."

Unfortunately most ordinary users who don't think they have anything to hide, and that they don't do anything other than look up recipes will still do a lot of domestic administration on their PC. So although they feel that they're not worthy of having their data stolen, in fact they've actually got everything to hide, from identity thieves, fraudsters, and the whole panoply of internet ne'r do wells (not to mention over-reaching and unaccountable spy agencies).

Bank details, tax returns, and the thousand and one other things you do on your PC all have a value to somebody else. From ordinary data on somebody's PC you stand to find out their full name, address, data of birth, spouse and children's names, current employer, employment history, pension arrangements, savings and bank details (or at least the name of the bank), details of companies they do business with and the services purchased. Possibly travel and passport details if they've ever filled in an on-screen document that was then saved to disk.

You think that information isn't worth proper security?

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Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

" He will get caught eventually."

Well there's a new business idea for him: Find a Thai business partner, and set up a fully registered, legal, tax paying company that legally acts as a holding company for smaller businesses that would struggle to be compliant on their own, from those businesses point of view they'd be paying for administration and compliance services. Not being familiar with the local rules it's difficult to be specific about how you'd keep control and beneficial ownership with the small businesses, but perhaps having the holding company "own" the subsidiaries through non-voting shares or something with similar effect. That assumes the smaller business manager can legally own (say) preference shares in the country.

The holding company would not be a way of dodging rules, but a way of complying with them, and as I'm thinking, it's business would not be trading activities, just providing services to the subsidiaries. Individually it would be difficult to do this, but as a business in its own right, it becomes a cookie cutter approach - set it up, make it work, sell the service on. As a former bank manager he should have the background and skills to make this work?

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Pharmacist caught spying on friends' med records fined £1,000

Ledswinger
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Re: It's a start

"But they have to go much higher."

Why? He'll probably be fired, he'll probably lose his professional registration, and even if he doesn't he'll struggle to get another job in the same field. The fine is symbolic, but chances are he'll lose a lot more than £1,000.

Assuming you work as an IT professional with some experience and training, imagine how much you'd lose if you did something wrong and overstepped the mark, and were banned from further work in IT? What would you do as a suddenly unskilled worker, and how much would your new job pay?

I'd guess we're talking about somebody on a (guessing) £60k salary on a full time basis, maybe more. What can he do now and what will he earn? Some form of non-NHS administration, paying perhaps £15k if he's lucky. He might build a new career in some new field, but I'd guess that his loss from this conviction must approach £250k over the next few years, unless a family member or friend finds him some equally paid director type of job.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Conspiracy?

"From the report it looks as if ye was doing this off his own bat. So no conspiracy. It takes two to conspire."

What if he had a split personality? Obviously the fine should then be reduced in proportion to the number of personalities that made him do it, and the total that he has.

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I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Ledswinger
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Re: Really?

"Frankly I find the shirt offensive to the eyes (all those colours!"

FFS why? Looks quite pleasant to me, given the drab that most people wear. Bloke should be given a medal for choosing something with a bit of go.

I don't suppose that's how it will be received over at the Graun, with its ghastly hand-wringing writers, it's ghastly hand-wringing editors, and its ghastly hand-wringing readers. Mind you, will they have been able to fit it in between hand-wringing over "climate change", zero-hours, the plight of the "unemployed", and all their other liberal causes? I'd guess they probably did.

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UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

Ledswinger
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"first they got taxpayers' money to arm the Taliban"

Point of order: Although the West funded weapons for the Taliban, these were invariably procured local to the conflict, or through crooked international arms dealers. Very few of the weapons supplied were Western designed or made, partly because they didn't want the Russians showing captured SA80's or M16's to the press, partly because Western weapons were not as robust and effective as the AK47 and similar products.

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Ledswinger
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"God bless David Cameron!"

Indeed. I was particularly impressed to see that Spineless Dave has analysed the situation and found that the grinding poverty and lack of food or of work are not causes of extremism, and neither is "foreign policy" (meaning nigh on fifteen years of missile strikes, failed interference and persistent war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and now Syria).

No, the causes of extremism are a few crappy videos and bile-spewing web sites, and if government can control those the problem will be gone.

Actually, I've a better idea. Our government (for which purposes I regard the US and UK as a single state) stops interfering in other people's affairs, stop pouring weapons into conflict zones, stop making bellicose and inflammatory statements when they don't know what they're talking about, and concentrate on the pressing domestic problems that they've spent decades ignoring. And before things spiral completely out of control, perhaps the 'bama & Dave show could stop meddling in Ukraine and antagonising Russia. Back in the 1980s your equally small minded predecessors sought to make life difficult for Russia you created the Taliban, and I think there will be considerable agreement that policy didn't work out very well in the end.

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European Commission decides it won't have a science advisor after Greenpeace pressure

Ledswinger
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"So if Greenpeace get offered the job, they won't take it?"

They don't need to. Their shit headed thinking has driven EU energy, waste and climate policies for many years now. As a result you're paying fat subsidies for ineffectual wind and solar power, fossil generation is unprofitable across Europe (cue yet more subsidies because the renewables are useless). Their policies have triggered widespread closure of coal fired plant, so we'll be even more at Russia's mercy, even as the EU meddles in Ukraine's affairs along with the US, and they've worked hard to ensure that Germany, Belgium and Italy make precipitate exits from nuclear. Even France is being pushed to add crappy renewables to its generation mix, instead of persisting with its hugely successful nuclear programme.

And Europe's economic malaise will be further prolonged by expensive power. The mis-investment in unproductive energy assets will linger on as an economic drag for at least a generation.

The purpose of removing the role of CSA is probably because Greenpeace are concerned that there's a danger of somebody sensible pointing out how their Canute like policies are dragging Europe back to the Victorian era, and have failed to make much of a dent on emissions. Most of the reduction in Europe's emissions since 1990 comes not from Greenpeace's EU energy policy, but from the hemorrhaging of EU industry to the far east, and the relative decline of the EU's major economies.

Facts have no place in Greenpeace's view of the world, as evidence by their lies over Brent Spar.

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'You village peasants: Do you want broadband? Then give up your freedom'

Ledswinger
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Re: It'll all end in tears

Indeed it will. "It is similar to what we are already doing in the energy sector" is the clue.

The European Commission have overseen the decommissioning of coal plant across Europe, actively facilitated the exit from nuclear power by Belgium, Germany and Italy, whilst at the same time antagonising the Russians. That's screwed the energy sector something rotten, means if we have a cold winter Putin's got Europe's nuts in his palm, and cost all consumers a fortune.

Reading across to the fixed line telecoms market, we should anticipate protection of incumbent monopolists, destruction of vaguely functioning markets, and higher costs and worse service all round.

You did all vote to join the EU, and to hand British sovereignty to them, didn't you?

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Could YOU identify these 10 cool vintage mobile phones?

Ledswinger
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Re: You can f****** keep them

But the point is that you use it as a phone. You know, speech, and, welll.......erm.....speech.

But having said that, I wish I still had my Ericsson T28. There was design that showed that tosser Ive up for the complete knob he is. It was just soooooooo cool. And even though the damped flip panel was a bit fragile, it was still cooler than Ralgex freeze spray on your knackers.

I'd trade all of the computery-shit of a modern smart phone for an update of the T28 that just did calls and battery life brilliantly, and omitted all the crappy mobile interweb, second rate sat-nav, fart apps, and games for the hard of thinking. There is one extra thing I would like my updated T28 to have, and that's a media player and SD card slot - and I'd accept a small touch screen keyboard as the price for that.

Do we need to get this idea on Kickstarter?

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Ledswinger
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Re: Good to know what offends him

"Killing, maiming, raping, starving, torturing, that's OK as long as you do it with well-designed gizmos."

You forgot your concluding fact:

"We can only conclude from this that Jonny Ive is cunt of the first order"

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Poll trolls' GCHQ script sock puppets manipulate muppets

Ledswinger
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"Isn't this this sort of social engineering that the Chinese government does, which our hacker spies are now admitting to?"

Yes, but as usual government are behind the times. This is no different from things companies have been doing for years. "Digital" departments seeking to build up Facebook friends, sales departments seeking to manipulate search engine rankings, or marketing departments seeking to buy their way up the "most respected brands" listings. Or HR departments seeking to pretend their company is a great place to work.

For many years government manipulated the media directly, in the UK it used to be "D notices". They probably used those to keep the press quiet about all the kiddy diddlers in the establishment, for example. Those don't work with the internet (although Cameron thinks the internet needs more government "help"), so the next best thing is to try and pretend that opposing opinion is less popular, or that your own views have some following. And in the Westminster/Washington/Moscow/Beijing bubble, fiddling the figures counts for success, whether that be output figures, unemployment, inflation, debt, or public opinion.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well that explains....

"that explains......some of the posts on here,"

Come off it, this is a haven of sanity, even including Amanfrommars' cryptic contributions. Look at the ignorant dribblings that dominate any newspaper comment pages.

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U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND

Ledswinger
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Re: @Arnaut the less

" Improve the M5 and the M6."

Too late for that, mate. These roads are now at capacity, and widening the carriageway (or hard shoulder running) can't make up for the peak capacity limits on junctions and feeder routes. When most of the current motorways were designed there were about 12m vehicles on UK roads. There's now 34m, and for the most part we've added at best 33% to the motorway capacity.

Notwithstanding the recent (probably misleading) government claim of billions of new money being spent on roads in the next few years, we've got a fast growing population that will add another 2m vehicles to the roads in the next five to ten years. If you wanted to improve the road traffic situation then the only way would be new roads duplicating important routes. Can't see the Welsh Marches being too keen on an M5/M6 relief motorway parallel to the A49, for example.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Meanwhile......

So, just to clarify, our Brummie friends are spending £200,000 per job created, assuming the usually garbage "jobs created" figure does miraculously come true?

And within that they'll have spent over half a billion quid turning the dark and crypt like New Street station into a new dark and crypt like New Street station, they still have separate Chiltern and WCML stations in Birmingham, AND they've committed to build a different station for the ridiculous HS2 over at Curzon Street, not included in the costs above. How can you spend so much money for so little benefit?

And you mention they'll spend £100m on a new John Lewis? It's just a f***ing shop, for gawd's sake! And a single shop at that. The most sophisticated thing in a shop is the fire control system, followed by the escalators. Apart from that it's just a shed, even if you make it look like a dog's egg rolled in glitter (Selfridges, I'm looking at you). But in Birmingham it'll be a £100m shed.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I suppose it was inevitable...

"The economy will have collapsed"

Only for the commercial sector. Government will keep taxing and spending, borrowing what it needs and then printing the money to repay the debt. I think I'll get a job in a public sector organisation that has a monopoly position in an essential market, undertakes mere transaction processing, but offers an average salary of over £90k. If any of the rest of you would like to enjoy some handomely rewarded, none-too-onerous work, based in Farringdon, then this is where you need to go:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/low-carbon-contracts-company-and-electricity-settlements-company-operational-costs-201516

This may also explain why your energy bills are so high, because DECC clearly wouldn't know the concept of "low cost" if it came and p1ssed on their shoes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I suppose it was inevitable...

"But I'm just not sure I'm ready for the next generation of Hoxton Hipsters flaunting their peninsularity."

Don't worry. When the latest tech bubble (fuelled by billions of QE) bursts, and investors start demanding actual profits rather than hot air, the hipsters "businesses" will shrivel like vampires in sunlight, and Silicon Polygon will become another vainglorious monument to government beliefs in picking winners.

Then the hipsters can go back to serving coffee instead of drinking it.

"Hey you! Beardo! Mine's a latte!"

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Ledswinger
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@Lostintranslation

Don't worry, my son, there will be a cost benefit analysis that proves that this will make more money than it costs.

In the same way that HS2 will generate more than it's £80bn cost by shaving fifteen minutes off the journey time to speed fat Brummie businessmen and councillors to London. Or the same way that if we don't concrete over either Crawley or Uxbridge for a new runway, we'll suddenly have no airports at all, whereas that third runway to serve transit passengers who never leave the airport will magically create £100bn of value for Britain.

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VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Ledswinger
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"It's the whole aesthetic rather than the sound quality ...."

Not it isn't. It's about pantomime, and the pretence of sound quality. In the article there's that giveaway "milled from exotic woods for optimum tonality". Bwaahahahahhahaa! I'll bet vinyl junkies still believe that cr@p, as they listen to the improved sound from new oxygen free silver speaker cables, suspended above the floor.

Vinyl: Reproducing sound by dragging a scratched piece of low grade plastic past a tiny rock on the end of a tiny stick held between two magnets at the end of a longer stick. The vibrations in the small stick along with the mechanical noise of the turntable motor, and audio feedback from the speakers results in a tiny induced current that is fed into an amplifier along with all the electrical noise that leaks in. Only at this point is there any prospect of science of fidelity, because the previous stages are all penny farthing technologies.

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Dark side of the DUNE: Probot snaps shadowy comet surface selfie

Ledswinger
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"Let's hope the sun shines on the spacy diamond!"

Is that spacy with a 'k' or an 'e' ?

A cynic might note that wherever you go battery life is a perennial problem for mobile devices, and that favours the 'k'.

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UK.gov teams up with moneymen on HACK ATTACK INSURANCE

Ledswinger
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Just another mis-selling opportunity

Since the PPI money-mill jammed up through over use, the Financial Services sector moved through Interest Rate Swap mis-selling to SME's, Identity Protection mis-selling (consumers, again), stopped off for a bit of LIBOR manipulation, when that was rumbled they stoked up with some foreign exchange rigging. They've yet to be properly rumbled and "punished" for high frequency trading, but that'll come. So where's the next scam to rip off customers?

Fade to the boardroom of Rubbish Bank of Scotland:

"Gentlemen, our new business development wizards have been working hard to develop novel abusive products, and they've come up with a real cracker this time. We'll offer hacking insurance. It'll target larger SME's and corporates, and they're both due a new scr*wing over. As usual, the terms and conditions will preclude any likely claim, as we proved that strategy worked well for PPI, and we'll make it a condition of business for anybody with a loan, overdraft, or trade credit agreements, like we did with swaps. And it draws on our expertise in selling high cost, value free products with a tech dimension, as we pioneered with Identity Theft insurance. So these business customers can't get out of buying it, they have to pay what we demand, and they'll never in a million years be able to successfully claim. We'll build this into a multi-billion revenue stream, and by the time the regulators rumble it our new business lads will have found something new to mis-sell."

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My HOUSE used to be a PUB: How to save the UK high street

Ledswinger
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Re: Is there room for workshops and small businesses?

"And if I'd have come home without the Right Sort of paint, I would have been in more trouble than I care to consider"

Just buy Farrow & Ball. They only appear to do one colour of murky beige, but if there's any challenge on the colour you just show her that is advertised in "Country Homes" or some similar sh*te, and if that doesn't work then just show her how much it cost.

But I suppose that still means a trip to B&Q.

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Ledswinger
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@ Stretch

"You seem to be in favour of every building being a house or a warehouse. I don't want to live in that world."

You're at liberty to stroll round the shops like a girl (note 1). But why should entire swathes of real estate be earmarked purely for shopping, far beyond the willingness of shoppers to go and patronise them, or retailers to take them on? That's the problem, that's why most towns have loads of unlet shops, and charity shops. The decline of the high street is occuring because many people don't want it, or rather they don't need anything like as much of it. Government and councils are too dim to see this, so they waste money consulting Mary Portas, they demand a "Tesco tax" to steal money from my pocket, to waste on supporting high streets that aren't self sustaining for a reason.

Nobody has proposed turning every building into warehouse or house. But what's YOUR solution to the tumbleweed strewn areas of towns that have no footfall, empty shops, or shops that exist simply to fill the vacuum of unlet space?

(1) No disrespect, ladies, just observing that you like shopping, and the unwashed sex generally don't.

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Ledswinger
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"The only issue with the new world order is that I'm never bloody in when the postman turns up. "

Quite frankly this is the only thing that keeps large tracts of the high street in business. If delivery services weren't as shite, offered better priced next day and more widely available evening delivery, courier returns on a similar basis, there'd be no high street.

As a simple start, offering absolute "on the day" guarantees would help. I don't mind waiting a few days for some things, but the killer is the random 2-10 delivery window for most "free" delivery. Even if you pay extra for next day its not unusual for the supplier/logistics company to fail to do next day. Tesco are widely criticised for being bloody useless, but they've always been pretty dependable on deliveries, including meeting the nominated slot.

If a bleeding grocer can deliver in a one hour slot booked up to three weeks in advance, why can't Amazon, DHL, DPD and others, given that logistics is their one and only job?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Is there room for workshops and small businesses?

"I was forced to use one in B&Q last night"

You madman! WTF were you doing in Bodge & Quodge? Is there no Screwfix, Toolstation or what have you in the vicinity?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Tesco's problems aren't just economic

"I'd call Tesco a textbook example of an organisation that got taken over by accountant types who hollowed it out in a search for ever increasing profits. "

Actually the rot started when Terry Leahy left, and was replaced by the recently sacked Phil Clarke - whose background was Tesco's IT and supply chain (board IT director from 1998). So if I might correct your sentence:

"I'd call Tesco a textbook example of an organisation that got taken over by IT types who hollowed it out in a search for ever increasing profits. " Whilst the commentards round here like to blame accountants and marketing types for everything, in this case the blame sits with the bloke who came out of the server room.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Planning conundrum

"Absolutely not. Most planning law is there to protect towns and villages from the ravages of property developers who, were it not for those laws, would be building eyesores all over the damn place."

Actually they wouldn't. One of the central reasons for over-development is the severely restricted supply of development land CAUSED by planning policy. And despite national and local government being in such a hurry to control developers "for the good of one and all", you have to ask why with this level of absolute control they've made such a repeated and routine fuck up of planning?

Take new build residential. In a good year we might build 160,000 new dwellings, but we've got a backlog caused by immigration and population growth that means we need to build an average of 250,000 a year for the next decade (based on DCLG household formation projections). Obviously that's distributed, but in context that's like building seven large towns in their entirety each and every year for a decade. Where's the planning policy to permit that?

It takes an age to get planning permission, it involves both brown bag and official bribes ("planning gain"), and even then virtually no council wants to build 10% more houses in its area. If the state chooses to run an open door immigration policy, then the state needs to make sure that there's the facilities and housing for them. Yet our roads and rail systems are sclerotic. Our health and education systems at maximum capacity. And we're simply not building enough houses, which leads to over-crowding, immobility of labour, and the nonsensical property prices that are normal in the UK, along with vast regional differences.

Looked at holistically, UK planning policy and practice is simply about defending vested interest and resisting change. That's probably what many locals would actually want, but how will the UK then meet current and future housing needs?

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Ledswinger
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Re: A few minor changes in law are in order here

"Motorists would still make a fine target; simply build a number of very big multi-storey car parks in and around city centres, and hey presto the cash cow can still be milked fairly easily, "

I can't think why you haven't noticed, but this is the sort of shit headed thinking that has pervaded local government for many decades. And then the same lard-arse councillors who think that making the traffic lights out of sequence, and car parking expensive is a good idea, well, they are now the ones that whine that nobody uses their town centres.

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GIANT sunspot returns, bigger and belchier than ever before

Ledswinger
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"Whatever happened to the Maunder Minimum we were supposedly due?"

One giant sunspot won't make much difference. On the basis of sunspot/weather history we should be seeing some really cold winters, and that has been generally true for the Northern hemisphere in recent years, albeit with the jet stream able to intermittently flick northern Europe out of the worst of it. So last winter the US froze in the polar vortex, and Europe basked in shorts, but the previous two years Europe froze its nuts off with the coldest winters for a generation or two.

As a general rule the most accurate way of predicting summer or winter extremes is to look and see what is being screamed about the coming season from the red-top front pages and presume the near opposite (the Mirror is particularly good at totally inaccurate and alarmist seasonal forecasts). I saw a headline on a red top the other week announcing that winter 2014/5 will be the coldest for a hundred years, and on that basis the shorts haven't gone in the loft.

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Ledswinger
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Re: AaaaUUGGH

"Hopefully just a light show and not the nointernetocalypse."

Fingers are crossed for a monster CME that hits us, here at Ledswinger Towers. Then we'll find out how robust modern infrastructure is, rather than keep worrying by applying Victorian standards of tech vulnerability to our levels of tech dependency, whilst simultaneously increasing our dependence on this supposedly vulnerable tech.

My guess is that the power grids would hold up fairly well. Landline comms would have a small bit of trouble, mobile comms and broadcasting some temporary interference. And a few satellites might get fried, giving trouble for those dependant upon sat nav, or militaries using satellites to plan their latest bomb runs. I could be wrong, and we get zapped straight back to 1968, but if that's the case probably better to go from 2014 to 1968 than doing nothing and being zapped from 2030 back to 1968.

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Sky: We're no longer calling ourselves British. Yep. And Broadcasting can do one, too

Ledswinger
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"Do we really need more Internationalism?"

No, you don't. But this increases Murdoch's reach and makes him more money, and poor old Rupert needs the money more than the bill payers do. Sadly for Sky's other shareholders I wouldn't consider doing business with them whilst the shrivelled old c**t is a major beneficiary. Or his revolting offspring.

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Pay-by-bonk chip lets hackers pop all your favourite phones

Ledswinger
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Re: iPhone 6?

"Seems a bit odd that they used an outdated device."

I'd suggest they generally choose the latest phones purely for the PR value. In reality the problem of device insecurity is greatest for all the devices out in the field in their millions and long since "unsupported" by their makers, and it is a pity that the competition didn't look at those. For example there's about four times the number of Galaxy S3 in use compared to S5, I'd guess other makes have similar situations.

If makers were embarrassed about the problems on models they'd decided to abandon, then we might see a better approach to supporting older devices.

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Why can't a mobile be more like a cordless kettle?

Ledswinger
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Qi (pronouched Chee)

Well why the fuck didn't they spell it Chee? Were the inventors Welsh of something?

Although all credit to Simon Rockman for "pronouched". I hope that wasn't a typo.

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TalkTalk's 'unbeatable signal strength' and 'fastest Wi-Fi tech' FIBS silenced by ad watchdog

Ledswinger
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Re: I have a VM Superhub...

I had problems with a Superhub, left a message on their forums, their tech people had a look remotely worked out the downstream signal was too strong, and sent an technician round to fit an attentuator (screw-in job, they could have posted it really). That was good customer service and improved things, but not entirely to my satisfaction, so I spoke to the customer retentions team and they sent me a Superhub 2 for a tenner (anecdotally some people have got them free).

The Superhub 2 is still not as good as I'd expect a £100 dedicated wireless router to be, but its a lot better than the original Superhub, and can do 2.4GHz and 5GHz concurrently. If you can get one for free or £10 then it makes sense. Note: I've avoided phoning the support lines because they certainly used to be a crap offshore call centre - either go through the VM forums that have a good team working on them, or phone the "I'm thinking of leaving" team and tell them you're off unless they can offer you a working router.

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British drones target ISIS for the first time

Ledswinger
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"We need the RAF drones to find and wack them all before they can get back on the plane home"

The Libdems and Labour would be frothing at the mouth that singling out our own traitors would infringe their human rights. I'd like to think that the Conservatives had more of a spine, but the reality is that they don't - remember that feckless twerp Iain Duncan Smith protesting loudly about how Gadaffi's killers should be "brought to justice"?

And the majority of our idiot MPs appear to subscribe to the idea that we can't simply cancel their passports and tell them to find somewhere more to their liking. Arseholes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: You know, I'm not against using an F-18 to kill an ISIS messenger on a moped....

"which profits might be even higher if only they could devise a means to out-source weapons production to China."

Actually the big win for the corporations has already been made. Their campaign donations to war-mongers on both sides of the house (for example Menendez, Feinstein and others) have got those people elected, and in the lead on powerful committees. This guarantees that US foreign policy will be one of intervention and war regardless of which party "wins". In fact, both have already won, locked in a buggins-turn arrangement to enrich themselves and their Wall Street friends. And likewise the real economy can go to hell, because the Federal Reserve is busy fixing things for bankers rather than for businesses that pay taxes, employ people, or export goods.

Sadly this isn't going to change. The US has a fully purchased Congress and Senate who work in their owners best interests. There's no challenger parties I can see in US politics. Nobody working for the average joes, nobody fighting against the decline of Main Street, against the vast cost of a misbegotten policy of permanent war on distant failed states. Curiously enough you've got a failed state on your southern border, where students are rounded up en-masse and murdered on the whim of a politicians wife. Where corruption, murder, extortion, drugs and violence have easy primacy over the non-existent rule of law. And this spills over into drug running into the US, bringing violent crime and money laundering with it, along with a strong flow of illegal immigrants. But apparently a bunch of dirty-arsed jihadis slaughtering each other in the sand 6,000 miles away is the biggest threat your government has to defend you against. Curious that.

So what do you get in return for the masses subsidising the 1%, and the perma-war foreign policy? Simply a lot of war-porn. You know the stuff - videos of guided missile destroyers launching cruise missiles at night, or infra-red gun camera footage showing aircraft launched weapons destroy a building. Everybody's happy with this deal, aren't they?

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Ledswinger
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"Why were the militants were blowing up their own camp?"

Probably not their own camp. Another different group of terrorists' camp. As far as I can see there is nobody but terrorists in that part of the world. One month we're backing the Syrian rebels. Next month we're attacking the Syrian "extreme" rebels and supplying weapons to different "moderate" rebels. Then the second group are beaten by (or simply join with) the first "bad" rebels. Also need to remember the Kurds are good guys now (after we previously listed them as terrorists because Turkey classes Kurds as terrorists). But its apparently OK if Kurds have guns in Syria, you see. Then you've got pro-Iranian groups. Last year they were terrorists (as were all Iranians), but now they're sort of on the good side whilst still being bad in an absolute sense. And Assad and his homies, well, they're all bad, bad, bad, but we're not actually fighting them (well, some of the Lebanese do). And of course there's the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, widely believed to be down to Turkish false flag interfering. But Turkey's in NATO even though they won't help against IS, so it's OK if they use chemical weapons, so long as they pretend its somebody else.

That clear to everyone?

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Ledswinger
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"Are these controlled by "pip pip old bean" pilots, or "nuffing but a wind up, you geezer" pilots?"

"Pip pip old bean", since these drones are RAF, and "flown" by officers, as are RAF manned aircraft.

British army aircraft and drones are flown (typically) by NCOs, so they'll be "nuffing but a wind up" types.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Being British

"Do RAF drones knock first and ask politely?"

You'll have to wait until BAES' Taranis arrives (ten years late and five times over-budget), since the Reaper is a piece of unadulterated US technology.

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Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes

Ledswinger
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Re: Naming/Numbering

"Well a similar strategy doesn't seem to have done BMW any harm."

But they don't launch new models every ten minutes as Microsoft seem to. So everybody knows what a BMW 320 is - a two litre four door mid sized saloon. BMW can happily launch a new 320 every five to seven years, with annual model refreshes, and it's still the same answer that its a two litre four door mid sized saloon.

Microsoft and phones? I'm with the OP, in that I'm confused. There's too little difference between a lot of the models, and any attempt at hierarchical numbering is doomed because of the fast development of phone technology.

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Ledswinger
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Re: the numbers

"assumed someone would want payment"

Not for "world's biggest brands" nonsense. It's all charged back to the companies concerned. Far be it from me to suggest that companies buy their rankings.

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Ledswinger
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Re: What is the high end?

"Can anyone tell me what i am missing?"

Yes. Brand.

Admittedly there's only one big fruity dog in smartphone brands, with Samsung a much smaller dog running along behind, and it's arguable whether Samsung really have a brand or just incredibly strong sales & marketing. Microsoft claim to have a brand, but in terms of having zealous fanbois willing to queue outside shops, falling over themselves to show the latest shiney, willing to pay exorbitant margins for the name? Nope.

And despite brand awareness ratings, brand strength is only really measured by the extra margin that people will voluntarily pay for an otherwise ordinary product. So BMW 3 series make fatter margins than Ford Mondeos, for products that are not really very much better (cue: Frothing BMWbois rage). And in this context Microsoft are the Ford of the mobile world - makers of worthy, cost effective but unloved products, that simply lack the cachet of BMW.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Most important question

"Will that logo on the back rub off with a drop of acetone?"

Give it a once over with Spray Mount, roll it in glitter and you won't see the logo. And you can then change the email tag line to "Sent from my Vertu".

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GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

Ledswinger
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Re: Just to be clear...

"If they don't know that data are plural...."

That only applies for speakers of Merkinese. Here on the right side of the Atlantic we're quite happy that data is singular.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Was the research sponsored by.. (build an even larger collider)

"Then they will want an even bigger one."

So we gave them (at current construction prices) a €10bn tool, and they've still not got the answer, nor even, it seems, an undisputed partial answer?

Fag packet maths says that the muttered-of Future Circular Collider would have a cost of the order of €50bn, which seems quite an investment to make in results that have the certainty usually associated with the dismal sciences of economics, weather forecasting, or climate modelling.

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Ledswinger
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" Governments rarely look further into the future than 4 or 5 years."

Most don't. When it came to the French government, the original decision to go nuclear for everything was a long game, and originally came from the issue that they had few domestic fuel sources, and unreliable relationships with former colonies that did have energy reserves. With no worthwhile gas, and very limited coal, the opted to electrify France, railways, heating and all. That's why French railways are electrified, not because the railways had been given a modest pounding during the war.

This nuclear bet placed them superbly for the post fossil fuel world, but in a remarkably short-sighted move they signed up for EU policies demanding uneconomic levels of "renewable" power, and Hollande is currently letting the French power industry atrophy. The French nuclear programme is bogged down by the far-too-expensive Areva EPR, where they foolishly tried to be technologically too ambitious, and by the lack of a rolling programme to new build reactors, and rather than simplify the design and look to replace the existing nuclear fleet as it comes to the end of its service life, they have idiot politicians telling them that wind and solar will keep them warm and their trains running through the winter.

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Ledswinger
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Re: OCS don't own the trains

"The TOCs have to lease the trains from the ROSCOs (Rolling Stock Companies); the latter having a licence to print outrageously large sums of money at the TOCs', and ultimately the passengers', expense."

That is certainly the main problem with rail privatisation. And of course in most cases the ROSCOs are simply divisions of big banks, intent on scr*wing the end user (the usual financial services basis of "because we can").

This was an intended outcome by the Tories under that berk Major, but the vermin of the Labour party had thirteen years or so to fix this, and decided not to, as has the coalition.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A nice tilt to Gricerdom

"But it did sound really cool, especially when pulling away from a station!"

Impressively noisy, but not cool. Now Deltics, they sounded cool at full throttle.

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Ledswinger
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Re: MENTOR does test the overhead LIVE!

"British Rail were actually getting rather good at running trains before they were unnecessarily privatised"

Good at running trains? So what was that outfit with a similar sounding name, similar sort of business, but that was famous for its surly staff, slow, dirty, uncomfortable, unreliable trains, and an inability to run trains at the slightest hint of hot weather, cold weather, snowfall, leaf fall, and the like?

The same people that couldn't even do basic maintenance on WCML so that every hundred yards there was a gaping crater pumping out a clay geyser whenever a train passed.

IME the rail travel experience is faster, more reliable, more courteous, cleaner and more customer focused than at any time in my life. I know commuters still travel in cattle trucks, but that's what commuting is about, so I've little sympathy.

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