1810 posts • joined Friday 1st June 2012 10:28 GMT
"Given that one statement alone, you have proven to be a little untrustworthy"
I have to disagree. Employers, companies, public sector organisations routinely use NDAs for things that are are legally, morally, or ethically wrong. In this case (taken it as true, I've seen worse), it is ethically wrong for Microsoft or any other company to pretend that there's a whole lot more interest than there actually is, with the specific intention of garnering "the right sort of of publicity" and of persuading the easily persuadable that the product is hip, fashionable and desirable.
I'm happy with NDAs for appropriate commercial secrecy, and I've signed a number of those as I'm sure at least half of Reg reders will have. But to be made to sign such an agreement to cover up cynical activity like this, it needs to be ignored. And let's be clear, if the company is doing this, how much choice do you think the proles have? Be good for your career to stand up and refuse to sign the document, announcing your ethical concerns? Or would you walk out from the orgnisation over this, when it's probably part of the inherent culture of the company? Get real, mate, most of us have mortgages or rent to pay, and need a reference for the next two jobs, and we'd go along (unwillingly) with this sort of bull****.
No, inappropriate NDA's are there to be subtly breached.
"Surely these selfies, by their very definition are evidence of driving without due care ..."
No, because a single still photo doesn't prove you're moving. Even if there's apparent motion blur and surrounding vehicles, armco out of the right hand window, it's still not proof on its own (particularly in the world of editable images). "Yes, I was in the outside lane of the M3, and I did take the picture, but traffic had ground to a temporary halt and I had my engine turned off, yer honour".
The best such photos would be is supporting evidence, for example if the police catch the user in the act on proof-grade video, or witness the act themselves.
Re: Remember people "cyberwarfare" is a game for *any* size and number of players.
"The MoD couldn't get malware written for an operating system within the lifetime of the software".
Nonsense, young man! Chinook Mk3 proves that they can get malware written, documented and installed. Admittedly only on their own aircraft, but they can do it.
Re: Watching the news on YLE (Fin. BBC) as I write.
"Nokia down 2%, disinct sense of melancholy. Sale approved."
I think the biggest tragedy is that Nokia only made $5.4bn for the phone business. There was only one buyer in town, admittedly, but that buyer has at least $60bn in cash, and the Nokia phones business was the only option. Had Nokia shut down the phone, business, it would have been the end for WP.
If Nokia had been smarter, they should have got a lot more for that business.
Re: The potential for a real wide-reaching revolution is here ...
"... unlike this 3D printing bollocks."
Actually 3D printing is already revolutionising stuff, but it's high end. So you can make aerospace grade components with integral hinged or moving parts, and no further machining required. Shapes and structures that simply could not be made by conventional machining. They can be lighter and stronger than alternatives, and they can be produced on demand. If you get a chance, go and see one of BAES' mobile exhibitions that shows the journey from design through plastic 3D prototyping to metal 3D printed production, and talk to some of the guys that work on this stuff.
Admittedly it's seriously expensive, and not coming to a car or washing machine near you anytime soon (currently reserved for machines to kill foreigners), but rest assured it will eventually.
Re: Altitude auto pilot
" and we're working on just what parameters turn on the autopilot..."
Miley Cyrus in her undies?
"Michelin has awesome road maps for travelling, but their web site is unfortunately crap"
Incredible isn't it, that they sit on something that could rival even Nokia Maps, whilst wondering what this new fangled internet thing is? Google maps are good, but they screw it up by forgeting how intermittent mobile data signals are. Michelin could have their name on a huge fraction of every drivers' smartphone out there, with downloadable maps (so no handset, OS, or mobile signal reliant), offer an annual refresh based on accepting quarterly emails of marketing stuff. Tie in and expand the routiers franchise with fuel and services....
I weep when I see how poor some companies are at winning on the web, when they start wit the cards stacked in their favour. Then I look at my own company's laughable efforts, and realise that it's apparently far easier to screw things up than to actually think like a customer and do anything well.
On the bright side, at least I don't work for Bodge & Quodge, proud owners of The Worst Web Site In History.
"The extra mass isn't a problem for larger vehicles such as delivery wagons."
Go on then, sell that one to the bosses of any logistics firm. I think you'll find that they like their trucks as full as possible for as long as possible, and that they want the ratio of tare weight to gross vehicle weight to be as low as possible. EV's are already crap on either range or payload (unless you;re transporting crisps, air or candy floss), so doubling the battery weight seems like a poor solution.
" solved by just putting a bloody nuclear reactor up there to supply the energy necessary to support clean extraction and proper post-processing. Believe it or not, that would be easier under the EU than the US"
What's the US got to do with building a nuclear plant in Canada?
"Apple is so good at upselling that nobody's buying the low-end stuff"
Actually they don't upsell, they simply have a "premium brand", which means people are happy to buy their stuff with a huge profit margin, and still consider they have got a better product than anybody else sells (rightly or wrongly).
What the 5c demonstrates it that a brand has lower limits as well as upper limits. No matter how good Skoda cars now are, many people still wouldn't consider them, so that's an upper limit. Likewise the Aston Martin Cygnet showed a premium car maker trying to work its magic on a small car, and failing, and that's a lower limit. The crucial point is not logic, here, it is emotion and perception. If Skoda made a car that was better in all respects than a competitor, and a bit cheaper, it still wouldn't sway the majority, who rather pay more for a Volkswagen or Audi made from the same parts and designed largely by the same engineers.
The VW group exploit this by owning separate brands, to fill specific niches, but the individual brands are still limited. For Apple this would mean that to tackle the wider cheap market, they need a separate brand, which would be very difficult given that Apple is a hugely unified brand, and that the returns would be lower on cheaper products, which begs the question of why they'd want to diversify into lower return market segments. Samsung don't have this problem because they are already known for diverse product and for producing a range of phones at different price points, Apple have trapped themselves.
"I have a plan, let's swap Canada and the UK"
Sounds a super idea. Of course your economy would be reduced to the state of Greece by the EU telling you that you couldn't develop oil shales and other non-conventional oil and gas resources, and you'd suddenly find your country full of foreign criminals that you can't deport.
On the plus side the Quebecois would be delighted with the reunion with the motherland, and you could enroll in that epic sucess of a common currency.
"Oil's going dude. "
We evidently need a new posting moniker "Anonymous knob".
There's no shortage of fossil hydrocarbons. Coal's plentiful, there's shit loads of "non-conventional" and tight oil, there's shitty shit loads of tight gas (and more than a little of conventional loose gas). And when all of that's gone, there, bazillions of therms of gas hydrates.
So Apple are spending $10bn to reduce a labour bill of $8 a unit? How many do they expect to sell before the machines wear out?
The main interest factor here is that the logic doesn't work well for offshore assembly. Are they spooked by Motorola, and planning to bring back production to the US? That'd sound good, just a pity that there would only be three jobs (Turner on of the lights, turner off of the lights, toilet cleaner).
Re: Oi Google..
"I'm going to have to fit PTFE shims or something to mine to compensate for wear and keep it going a few more years."
Nothing you could use in the big pile of metal artificial hip joints that the NHS is no longer allowed to use? Or working the other way, could you help the quacks fit shims into the unlucky recipients of said metal hips?
Re: all down to $/GB
"Rotating hard disks will last as long as their advantage in price and density does."
There is no density advantage that I can see over flash, in fact the opposite? Certainly there's a big price differential, but that's factored into a equation that includes higher energy costs of disks (including cooling, not an insignificant cost), the unknown of flash longevity,and the speed advantages of flash.
Flash longevity is far better understood and managed than hitherto, so that's computable as a cost and risk, and probably no different to the risk and costs of HDD failures. Which means the key question is focusing ever more closely on whether the (declining) TCO advantage of disks can justify their sluggish performance. WIth flash costs falling faster than HDD, there will come a point where disks will still be cheaper than flash, but most buyers will prefer flash for the performance, and once that tipping point is reached HDD volumes will start to fall, causing HDD prices to increase. Anybody buying RAM for an older machine will already know what happens when production volumes fall.
Re: Wrong Art - Chuck's 9th Dan too.
Tsk. Friday afternoon journalism and it's not even noon. I suppose at least the Reg is better than if we commentards were writing.
Re: New broom and all that? When in Rome...
""We are broke. If we dont we will have to borrow more from Germany.""
Actually, this is a fine example of a US firm operating in a manner that is fully compliant with local culture and practice. According to the Economist, there was an estimated €285 billion of evaded taxes outstanding in Italy last year, amounting to 18% of GDP.
The Italian government is now trying to crack down on the whole tax dodging culture, and you might suspect that Apple are no more or less in the spotlight than any other profitable customer. However, raking in the taxes from local tax dodgers won't really help the Italian economy, since it takes the money off of people who would otherwise spend or save it, and in net terms it reduces Italian consumption and investment by an equal amount that it fills in a tiny fraction of the government's debt pit (a pit that is €2 trillion deep, and currently deepening by around €100bn a year). And that's perhaps the interest in Apple. Their tax avoidance doesn't result in more money in the real economy, it just flows into offshore accounts, to wait until the US government grant an amnesty on corporate cash repatriation (or to be frittered on non-US M&A).
Before the jokes start, British readers should note that our economy has very similar debt ratios and problems as Italy (huge public & private debt, tax avoidance & evasion, poor productivity, bloated public sector, red tape, corruption, and government policies (like energy) that are fresh from the mad house). One area of difference is that the Italian economy records a trade surplus (selling more than they buy internationally) to the average tune of around €30bn a year. The UK on the other hand remains mired in a trade deficit of £30n a year.
Re: Surprised, oh, no.
I doubt it took that long. These are just the first to be outed. And I very much doubt there's any particular ie angle here - many British and US firms are equally incompetent, and overseen by equally toothless regulators. The only ie specifics might be that the regulator is more likely to be related to the guilty in Ireland.
"We dont have roads, broadband or mobile signal."
Or high population density. That's why it's rural and relatively unspoilt, and why its uneconomic to offer broadband unless taxppayer's money (which everybody knows is limitless and free) is used to offer a big fat subsidy.
"Those stats were tragic."
Only if these people were actually working properly when they were supposed to be at work. Potentially a goodly chunk use a veneer of high availability at all times to disguise the fact that during the normal working day they either don't do much useful, or are being well paid for actually delivering not much (which is quite similar).
Either way, fielding the odd call, mutli-tasking from the bog, or doing a few token edits whilst on holiday can establish you as the "always there" man, the company guy, the dependable hero. And the reality can be that you indeed see work as a necessary evil, but take a long term view and net off your out of hours efforts many fold against that which you give during those hours.
Re: Advertising is always targetted
"And with employees being too cheap to buy their own phone, who's to blame them?"
In SME land perhaps. In any well run corporate there ought to be security controls, encryption, a restrictive AUP, and limitations on instaling crapps or loading media files, heavy handed controls on social media, along with enterprise grade anti-malware. Any employee who wants to mix that sort of business with pleasure is mad, unless their use of the works phone is purely as a dumb phone.
This also means that when your employer buys a works phone that you consider to be a dog, or to be cursed with the wrong OS, it doesn't interefere with your own life.
With the Nexus 5 free on contract with Orange for £17 a month/500mins, you'd have to be a right cheapskate to want to use your employers choice of HTC Wildfire, or some dated mid-low end Sammy.
Re: Mute Ravi, mute!
"Did you shout, "I second that motion!"?"
You'd give yourself away, and there may be repercussions. But if you hear somebody on the phone whilst they are in the trap, make sure their caller knows by flushing the trap next to them, and then leaving.
"though even without the remote control many seem to have the 'Weekend punch-up' subroutine embedded in ROM"
True. But with Control-a-prole you could add variety like getting them to fight themselves. Make your prole spill their own pint, or give themselves the eyeball in a suitable mirror, and then have a one man kick off. Should be great fun seeing how hard they can punch themselves. Or if there's big mirrors around, have them fight their own reflection. Like an angry sparrow, just bigger, more stupid, and fouler of mouth.
Maybe the app could combine Google dictate, and enable you to speak into your phone, and the prole drools it out in whatever accent he is blessed with. In fact better still, celeb voices by manipulating his vocal cords. So he knocks over his own drink, and out of his trap comes Joanna Lumley's voice, saying "You've spilt my pint, you b******d! Do you think you're hard, mate?" and so forth, prior to setting about himself.
Re: Are they going to change the name in Europe?
"Will it be "Euroland"? Or "Pays de Euro"?"
Dunno what they'd call it, but the base price point in Europe for this type of offer is a fairly unsurprising €2. Which actually gives them more leeway, as that's a whole lot more than a quid (like about 70% more). If retailers go the other way then it is 84p land, and there's really not much range you can offer for that, particularly as the fixed costs of each transaction (eg checkout hardware, staff time) remain the same regardless of the price.
"added to the lexicon for future deployment"
Benefit of hindsight, of course, but next time you could start with the colour scheme at the same time as the outline design, and then get the beast printed in colour, not white? Ooh, and I'd make sure they've upgraded to a gloss 3D printer.
Re: USA FREEDOM Act.
"Some of these legislators must have a team of acronymists working for them."
A pity the same diligence wasn't applied to the actual legislation and it's possible consequences by the idiots that drafted it, and the idiots that voted for it. From four thousand miles away it was apparent to me as a rather disinterested and casual observer that the Patriot act was an unbelievably bad piece of legislation that was going to have a lot of undesirable consequences.
Asking Europe for help is rather pointless when the UK government are similar enthusiasts for mass surveillance, and the rest of Europe can't decide any form of common position on matters of defence, finance, foreign policy (I suppose they did unite to decide to have a currency union, but that's not gone so well really).
If I might offer Sensebrenner a helpful thought: You made this mess. You clear it up.
Re: Disruptive experiments
"Would it be posible to cause confusion and disruption in hyena society by 'posting' false messages using these bacterial cultures? "
Probably. I already communicate with my fellow workers through the scent of my "paste". A light, sulphurous whiff says "Ledswinger has released a dreadnought in a nearby cubicle, I'd give it five minutes if I were you". A throat catching daisy cutter with a bitterness somewhere around that stuff you paint on your nails, that says two things: "Run, save yourself" and "85% cocoa solids, mate". Then there's the compelling yet noxious mixture of heat, fruit and shit, that says "I had a proper madras last night; real good it was, but now I'm suffering from hog's eye of Sauron".
And finally, there's that horrible sicky, bile scented smell that tells everybody that the paste was extremely loose, hot and fast moving, and that they are now at risk of contracting whatever's given me the shits.
You do the design of the experiment, including the foodstuffs, and I'll come armed with my arse.
Re: Easy fix for Apple
Technically easy, yes. Except that it defines Apple as a follower. Already happened with the iPad mini. Apple buyers value the exclusivity, the innovation, the early adopter ideal just as much as the faux exclusivity of paying more than they need to for something. Much more of the "me too" offers and it'll be rather difficult to justify those fat margins, wouldn't you agree?
"Is this even real?"
Of course not, there's no good business case: At one hundred dollars to walk a roach into the bonfire, you've really got to hate that particular roach.
Re: Why not...
" If he liked it, it was forced on everyone else. If he didn't like it, you reworked it until he did or you were canned."
But people like IOS. It has people falling over to part with shed loads of cash voluntarily.
I'd agree that both companies are arrogant. But Apple (under Jobs) produced innovative, desirable products, and his arrogance was driven by an understanding of what people would clamour to buy. Arguably the Xbox has been moderately successful, but start to finish it has lost Microsoft money. Everything else they've done has been supported by their de-facto monopoly in the workplace.
In my experience, nothing gets done in business of any worth by committee or by concensus. Compromise is the enemy of the good. So for the really good stuff you're always looking for a single smart visionary person to define and own a particular product, and to stomp on anybody who will pollute the perfection that might be delivered. That's the problem for Apple now. Tim Cook can ship a mean phone, but he's a logistics whizz, not a tryannical visionary. It's all progressively more corporate and evolutionary for Apple from here on. One day they'll be the new Microsoft - reviled but tolerated, unevolved, waiting for the newly evolved predators to bring them down and strip their carcass.
"Why can't I charge my phone by leaving it ....under my black Labrador?"
Get the dog to lie on a cold floor, and stick a peltier generator under the dog. The dog will be emitting a guessed 20 watts, the temperature difference is going to be about 10C, the efficiency of the peltier chip will be diddly squat, so the output will be diddly squat squared. Still better than this nonsense of harvesting radio waves...
Re: Why not...
Or a spreadsheet that has decent charting capabilities, and decent syntax...
But I really, really did like that idea of "ending the war with the customer". Sadly it ain't going to happen as the promise of a metro-ised Office shows. Take all of the very mixed blessings of Office, ignore the infamous ribbon fiasco, and one again stick an unrequested and unwanted new UI on the front end of the ageing and unimproved code. There's a winner.
MS are the world's most arrogant company, They know best, and you'll take what they deign to toss your way. As Elop is Microsoft through and through, even setting light to Bing and throwing Xbox out the window won't change that culture.
Re: Effect on WP
"a simple DNS entry would redirect bing.com to ....the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission"
There, fixed it for you.
"I'll install it as part of the normal patch thing, bu there is no way they can actually make me USE it."
Well looks like I'm safe. I've got Win 8 on the home machines, I'm not f***ing about wasting my life with another set of monster downloads and reinstalls, so there will be no IE11 for me (although I use FF 99% of the time).
That does show how utterly incompetent Microsoft are, that they're trying tp push IE11 via windows update to W7 users, but then expect W8 users to waste their lives visiting the otherwise barren Windows app store, digging out product keys....
I really look forward to the day when Microsoft are history, along with their crummy, poorly supported bloatware.
Re: "shit tons"
"I do that after eating bad curries. Have you tried suppositories?"
They'd just get blasted out in the effluage. A few second squirt from a can of expanding foam filler would cure it good and proper, though.
Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."
"Not if they're in 4K resolution!"
Nope, that could easily be handled by a competent 4G connection, as 4G movies would stream at around 15 Mb/s. In fact, 3G HSPA+ could easily handle it in theory, given that the theoretical speed limit is over 150 Mb/s.
In reality nobody ever sees that 150 Mb/s in the UK, but how the shortfall is split between client hardware limits, RF limitations, operator restrictions of choice, and mast/backhaul capacity contraints I don't know. Makes you wonder why they bothered with 4G at all, but perhaps somebody who knows can help me out on that?
Re: Before anybody suggests it is confined to the US ...
"Very true, however the rest of the world does not enshrine the right of its trash to bear arms or arm bears "
The tragedy is that the founding fathers merely intended to permit gentlemen to roll up their sleeves. Due to an unwitting spelling error they guaranteed two hundred years of fire-arm touting chaos.
Re: Used by the beautiful, famous or especially athletic.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As you slob out on your sofa, and munch a burger, remember that being fat used to be a sign of male success or female attractiveness (because the poor and thin starved). Change your world view, and you are beautiful.
Likewise, the word athlete is derived from the Greek for one who participates in a competition or contest. So Lotto will qualify you. You beautiful, athletic person, you!
I can't help you on the fame angle, though, short of suggesting you commit some heinous crime.
Effect on the end price?
Since most of the products we buy are assembled in China by near slave labour, I'm not sure many people are able to criticise Dell et al, given that we're buying the shiny stuff cheap no questions asked.
But is there any good evidence to explain what is the impact on the end product price of (a) some living wage and decent working conditions in China, and (b) making the product in the US or Europe? If we wanted to get all ethical, how much would the price tag be?
The second part of the obvious question is who currently benefits? Does it translate to some definition of excess corporate profits or is it consumer price savings? For Apple it seems to certainly be excess profits, not sure that's always true away from the "price setter" firms.
"the majority of the work remains ahead of us."
He's right about that. And that work will have two parts:
1) Finding sufficient quality content to fill the bandwidth. Chances of success: Very low
2) Persuading mobile networks to price data sensibly on high speed networks. Chances of success: Nil.
Re: How do they do it?
"They've proven that they can make a good product - now they just need to deliver on more than just components"
Try one of their cheap vacuum cleaners before you call any other product of theirs crap. But there is a reason, and that is simply that Samsung are a conglomerate. There's no meaningful link between the divisions that make white and brown goods and the semi conductors businesses, and some of the poorer products are coasting on the name of the better products. I don't expect that to change.
Having said that, I'm more than happy with the high end Sammy phones (mid to low end ones are indeed pants), and my Sammy TV has been excellent - far better than any competing products amongst friends and family.
Re: BOFFINS: BILLIONS OF EARTH-LIKE LIFE-FRIENDLY ALIEN WORLDS IN GALAXY
Oi! Loyal Commenter!
" I am assuming your fingers have not yet grown so bloated from shovelling 1000 calorie snacks into your maw...."
Before you get too far on your high horse whilst insulting the colonials, have you had a look at the state of British peasantry of late? More than a few hambeasts lumbering about the streets these days. At least it's one area where we're a leader in Europe:
"The question is rather "what devices would it make sense to remotely control", and while the fanboi-types will certainly go overboard..."
But there's existing capabilities to have remote control and automation of home electrical gear, for those who want it. I can't think of any time in the past twenty years when I've thought "Good Lord! I need to turn off the bathroom light, but I'm at work, if only somebody would invent the smartphone and full home automation to make that possible!"
I do want the heating on when I get home (or SWMBO), but we have found an elegant solution, called a timer, that I recommend to all. And, it works perfectly alongside another recent breakthrough, the thermostat. And unless you're floodlighting a stadium, then a simple photocell controlled outside light would surely suffice?
Re: The usual $/£ currency sting
"The price is quoted as $350 but the UK price is £300. At current exchange rates it shouldn't be more than about £220."
Knock off VAT for a fairer comparison (Yank prices don't include local state sales tax, ours include a national rate by default). If my calculator's got that right then you're comparing a UK pre-tax price of £247.5 with your nominal £220 at prevailing FX. A bit of a non-US loading, but not as bad as you think, and I expect there's regulatory and scale issues that make the UK version ten quid or so more expensive than a US one.
Re: This is why...
But the wearer is buying this to feel invincible. He's not going to ask for his money back if it doesn't work.
So the more-money-than-sense exec is happy. Assassins everywhere are happy. Candian tailors are happy. Bodyguards and makers of real armour are happy that their market isn't been taken away.
How often do you see such a universal win situation, where everybody's happy?
Re: 'hard' leader needed for this 'soft' business
"Microsoft does not have five years"
I certainly hope that's the case.
"And then I read your last paragraph."
So you rate his posts depending on whether his expressed opinions match your own? Enjoy a downvote on me.
" what problem does the internet-connected lightbulb solve?"
None. It's part of the wishy washy "smart home" cobblers, which is very long on ideas for making things work together, very short on real benefits (and which the planned roll out of smart meters is intimately linked with). As is usual the Climate Changeistas see a huge opportunity to manage your life better to suit their purposes, so things like remote control of your fridge to turn it off during the ad-breaks in Corrie, but then (because they can) why not have remote monitoring to tell you that a lightbulb will fail, or to turn it off because the household processor thinks the room is unoccupied, or quite bright enough already?
Re: HP "considering entering the market"?
"Really, HP, amnesia in a major IT supplier is not an attractive attribute."
More likely they've only just remembered there's a huge, huge warehouse full of zillions of unsold Designjets, which have been sitting heavily on the balance sheet, rather like a surfeit of Big Macs.
Those who read Tim Worstal's article the other day will recall that millions can be made by linking up those who want lots of something, but think there's no supply, and those wanting to shift lots of something, but believing there's no demand. Somewhere in HP, some bright spark mulled and mulled over who in the world might have a demand for a lot of machines to print moderate numbers of small 3D plastic ornaments, printed to unexacting standards, and to a small range of patterns that change on a quarterly basis....