* Posts by Ledswinger

3574 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

Ledswinger
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Re: Set to a range

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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I'll raise you with a bigger anorak.

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: A good thing in general...

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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"50% less crap!"

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: And now you see...

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: no matter what MS force on us

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: no matter what MS force on us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do it!

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Planetary gear transmission

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Pull the other one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lib Dems. Don't make me laugh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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I wanted to say...

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

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

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

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Peak Google? Chocolate Factory cuts costs amid dwindling growth

Ledswinger
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Re: Not just that

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

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

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

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Foxconn to hire a million Indian staff in major base shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is why our children no longer have free University Education

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Serious.

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Meh

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

Not much to choose between them, either.

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Burst the bubble

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: @Chris Miller

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Burst the bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

£1.5bn over fifteen years.

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

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

Ledswinger
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This is going to be a major review by Ofcom

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

Bunch of useless, inept clowns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Wait...

"David Cameron knows who Cisco are?"

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: For the nay sayers...

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

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

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

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

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Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

Ledswinger
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Re: Love the gadgets but...

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

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

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

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Smart Meter biz case still there, insists tragically optimistic UK govt

Ledswinger
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Re: @Red Bren Smart meters in "dumb"

It seems BG have installed the L&G E110 which does indeed appear to be a "dumb" meter.

Thank god, you're "clean"! Take the biohazard suits off lads, and put the bolt gun away!

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Ledswinger
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Re: @Red Bren Smart meters in "dumb"

"Is there any way of telling if I've been duped with a dormant smart meter that could get reanimated at a later date?"

If it was British Gas (rather than National Grid who own most if not all of the old gas meters) then chances are you've been borged. British Gas are the most enthusiastic supplier about smart meters - they are years ahead of all other energy suppliers in terms of smart meter roll out, and I'd be staggered if they were fitting non-smart digital meters (in fact I think that their supply licence prevents them replacing a dumb meter with a dumb meter). They have a deal with Landis & Gyr (who hope to supply the majority of the 16m BG will need) although I'd guess that they could fit other makes to avoid excessive dependence on L&G.

For a gas meter, open the cupboard and see what they've left behind. If it is a Landis & Gyr G370 it is certainly a full fat SMETS2 compliant smart meter. If it is any other G300 series then that becomes "almost certainly". For electricity you're looking to see if they've fitted a Landis & Gyr E470 - that's a smart meter. Search on those terms to find pictures if need be, but I'd bet you've been "upgraded". Some interesting (if slightly dated) discussion here:http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/node/2820

Interestingly, if you have, but don't want smart meters, then it would seem that BG will be in breach of their licence condition 35.2, para c, subsections i and ii, which require that the supplier provides information that is accurate and not misleading. Although if energy suppliers mis-sell you a lightbulb, the bureaucrats at OFGEM will hound them to the seventh circle of hell, in this case OFGEM are utterly complicit in the Great British Smart Meter Scandal, so don't expect anything to be done about it (although if you can get as far as the Energy Ombudsman and they take up a complaint then they'll charge BG about £400 just for handling the complaint).

Now, if you've got a spy in the cupboard, then what does that mean? In theory, if it is in dumb mode, you've elected not to share your data with British Gas. When the time comes, they will "enrol" it to the Data Collection Company (part of DECC's byzantine infrastructure intended to make the simple complex), your refusal to share with the supplier still stands, but I don't think you have that choice with DCC (run by Crapita). Government will have their sweaty, incompetent mits on your data from that day, and the meter will still have all the unwelcome remote control and monitoring possibilities.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How, just how, please tell me?

"So how did/are things going so badly for you?"

Because this is a government mandated, led, and managed scheme, in which unelected bureaucrats decide how to spend other people's money, and telling other people to actually do the work whether they want to or not. It's yet another UK example of the Stalinist approach to government, involving central planning, vast investment without benefits, and a total lack of any democratic mandate for the idea.

Left to their own devices the industry would have done things differently. We'd probably have simple automated meter reading units, owned by the distribution networks who own the old style meters, and they'd be installed only on an asset renewal basis as old meters reach the end of their life. By their very nature digital meters would permit greater variety of tariff and better approaches to pre-payment.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I had a smart meter fitted last week

"So thanks British Gas for fitting the smart meter"

and they thank you for the extra £250 going on your bill to pay for it you moron.

I can't help thinking that it should be "El Reg commantards thank the British Gas social media engagement team for shilling us with this advert".

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Ledswinger
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Re: I had a smart meter fitted last week@ Peter Gathercole

"Roger Witcombe, chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority (a government institution), who was a guest on the discussion about energy companies and overcharging, mentioned smart meters as an aid to choosing supplier,"

One of the few benefits of smart meters will certainly be for prepayment customers. Due to the specifications it is almost impossible to stop prepayment smart meters from having access to all the tariffs available to credit customers, and that should significantly lower the costs for people on prepayment arrangements (currently pre-pay tariffs are generally much higher than credit tariffs). Switching suppliers should also (in theory) be a lot easier, because changing suppliers when you have a prepay arrangements can be quite difficult under current arrangements.

Not that that justifies the near £20bn cost of the scheme, mind you.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Err... surely a mistake

However, what the mandarins did here was to ensure that not a single old school buddy from the revolving door entities (energy retail, telecoms companies, G4S and security franchises, etc) will lose out of the deal

The principle beneficiaries of this scheme will be the Meter Asset Providers, who will own the meters. Because the energy suppliers cost of capital is too high (and business model not asset based) the vast majority of this MAP activity will end up with financial services companies. They'll get a fat and guaranteed return on several billion quid, with no material risk, zero sales and marketing cost, and not even the usual financial services risk of mis-selling fines.

G4S, Crapita, telecoms providers will make (by comparison) minimal amounts, and the energy suppliers will act purely as tax collectors albeit gaining some very modest benefits for bad debt and meter reading costs that OFGEM expect to be passed through to consumers.

The best thing consumers can do is to refuse to have a smart meter fitted, unless they (a) believe the claptrap about the benefits, or (b) they want access to better PAYG services, or access to time of use tariffs (there will be a subset of people for whom these are real benefits, even if that's not you or me).

Note that if your supplier offers to fit a smart meter in "dumb" mode, that will probably just mean that your energy supplier won't have the meter data, but chances are that when Crapita get the Data Communications Company running, it may still hoover up the data even if your supplier can't access it.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

Ledswinger
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Re: I'm starting to lose track of this@ D A M

Frankly this is cult-of-Jobs levels of tasteless.

Thank you, I do appreciate the compliment, although I'm less pleased with the suggestion of affiliation with anything Apple, which a less tolerant individual could see as libellous.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I'm starting to lose track of this

"So how's Windows going to be everywhere if anything they do with ARM turns to crap?"

I couldn't say, but an announcement like this sounds like the death knell for WIndows Phone. Nadella can claim he's sticking with the WP software project, and only exiting hardware, but who's going to buy a WP phone when they've just heard that Microsoft are exiting phones? What OEM is going to risk making WP handsets when Microsoft won't eat their own dogfood? And why will Microsoft continue to invest in a phone OS that they have to give away?

Hopefully they'll do a last run of WP Lumia's in tastefully silk lined, coffin shaped boxes with little brass handles on the side, so that Microsofties can buy and treasure the memory.

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Sony phone chief vows to keep losing money forever and ever

Ledswinger
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Best phones and tablets around. Go Sony.

One word for you: Betamax.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Would be a shame too

"Sony makes bloody good phones"

So everybody says. But last year they lost an average of around £23 on every phone they sold. Breaking even's no good, so if they want to make a billion quid profit on similar sales then they need to achieve a £50 improvement between average cost and average selling price. That looks like quite a big deal to me.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Good thing I'm a greedy shareholder

I had an option to get a Sony smartphone last year, I went with the Samsung... Just this week I bought some new headphones, but this time I didn't even give Sony any serious consideration.

So, even as a shareholder you won't buy your own company's products? If that's the case, what is your logic for holding the shares?

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Bloodthirsty Microsoft prepares for imminent 'major' job cuts

Ledswinger
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Re: Wasting cash

Conclusion: the majority of shareholders were happy with what the company was doing

I disagree. I'd suggest the majority of the shareholders acquiesce to what the board are doing.

The majority of big corporate shareholders are invariably gambling with other people's money, and tend to offer their votes to the board's proxy (a practice that IMHO should be illegal), and individual retail shareholders fall into multiple buckets - day traders that only have an interest in volatility, passive buy and hold investors who (perhaps foolishly) trust the board, options traders who may want the board to make bad decisions, unit trust holders whose only interest is market momentum etc, many of whom will either not vote or go with the board proxy.

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Jolla cuts hardware biz loose to concentrate on Sailfish licensing

Ledswinger
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Re: Hooray. Hooray. It's a Jolla, holla-day

"and perhaps by now I'd be using Sailfish on a re-purposed Hudl. As it is I'm going to receive a museum piece, eventually"

When it comes to phones, something is rotten in the state of Finland, it would seem.

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Chinese takeaway, hold the Google: Xiaomi Mi4 LTE Android

Ledswinger
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Re: What's the Mandarin for Caveat Emptor?

What's the Mandarin for Caveat Emptor?

A set of characters that looks surprisingly like the Roman alphabet sequence: Made in PRC

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Pisspoor EE customer service earns it a cool £1 MILLION Ofcom fine

Ledswinger
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"the pinnacle of poor customer service still has to be Scottish Power though.... OMG talk about terrible."

But look at what the energy regulator did - twelve day sales ban. To the dribblers who only think a fine with "hundred million" on the end is an incentive, I can assure you that a relatively short sales ban REALLY concentrates directors minds. During that time customers continue to churn away, but they can't sign up new ones. All the sales staff are being paid to sit on their backsides, and watch any commission targets start to slip. Directors start to worry that their targets for market share, churn, or new sales won't be met. Morale takes a hammering in the business, with everybody blaming everybody else. External reputation takes an enormous hit because all of the sales partners and intermediaries have to be told, and have to tell potential customers that company X isn't allowed to sign up new customers due to their piss poor service.

That's what OFCOM should have done to EE. A million quid won't even be a rounding error on their end of year results.

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Chair legs it from UK govt smart meter installation programme

Ledswinger
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Re: Variable tarriffs

You miss the point

Au contraire, sunshine, you miss the point, and you miss it spectacularly. Even though E7 has a higher daytime rate than a flat rate (see next paragraph) the opportunity for consumer gains from price arbitrage still exists, and in fact exists to a greater degree because the peak/off-peak range is greater than if the E7 daytime rate were the same as a supplier's standard flat rate. Its that range that can drive arbitrage benefits for those able and willing to change their demand.

Coming back to the perceived unfairness of the higher E7 day time rate, this reflects a dramatically simplified demand curve where the cost of energy varies. On APX today, there's an eleven fold variation between overnight minimum at 04:30 and daytime traded peak at 08:00 (peaks in the morning because it's summer). What this means for people on a flat rate is that they are paying extra for all off peak electricity, about par for the course in standard periods, and getting it cheap at times of peak demand.

You can cut any number of different tariffs, what you can't do is say "I'll have the E7 tariff during the E7 period, but then I'll have the 24hr flat rate at times of higher demand".

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