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* Posts by Ledswinger

2136 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Ledswinger
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@tom dial

"The fact that these activities have been going on for at least three quarters of a century with little in the way of observable oppression...."

Hold on, if the Stasi used people's neighbours to spy on them, that was OK, and opened people's mail, marked their typewriters etc, all OK? Because this automated mass surveillance is the same thing on a much larger scale.

You seem to be making the case that invading people's privacy doesn't count if you don't arrest (too many) people at 04:00 and give them a kicking? And what of the "valuable intelligence" that all this data collection produces? You could ask that diplomat's son, recently arrested by the armed cretins of the Metropolitan Police for the wicked crime of signing for a neighbour's parcel? Have a look at the press photos showing the moronic goobers of the Met and all their counter-terror experts digging up the garden - it's like something from the old Soviet Bloc. Some press coverage suggests that the parcel (never recovered according to some reports) was associated with a crime by a third party, but the facts are pretty clear - the Clowns in Blue arrested the wrong person, targeted the wrong house, and made themselves look stupid. I suppose for an organisation that shoots innocent people dead and walks away scot free there is no downside to f***ing up on the intelligence front, but I don't willingly pay my taxes for that sort of "public protection".

Meanwhile, have GCHQ made big inroads from all this intelligence on drug crime, money laundering, organised crime, human trafficking? Doesn't look like it to me.

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Soliton makes its way across silicon in CUDOS experiment

Ledswinger
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"Never heard of solitons before"

Same here. And whilst that may be a tribute to my ignorance, I like to think I'm pretty well educated and well informed, so I doubt there's just the two of us. Perhaps in addition to dribbling on about cat poo in quiet cul-de-sacs, the Reg could actually do a bit of journalism.

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Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

Ledswinger
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CBI: You're wasting your breath

As somebody old enough to have benefited from having all tuition fees paid, and a student grant, all at a time when GDP was far lower, it pains me to say it, but the CBI are barking up the wrong tree. Successive governments have buggered up the lower and higher education system, such that it is now always very expensive, half of it is crap, and too little is focused on what employers (including the public sector) need. There is no political understanding, no will, no vision to change this situation.

If the CBI want a solution, they need to devise it themselves, and "government should do it" is not a solution, looking at the track record. And part of that solution could involve closing the classics, economics and politics departments at Oxford and Cambridge - too many of their alumnii have contributed directly to this mess.

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My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

Ledswinger
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"The fault for using old, probably used equipment falls squarely at the beancounters' door "

A big boy did and ran away, then?

If the IT department were competent they'd stand up for workforce productivity, and be able to justify the provision of better kit. In my business we're rolling out better kit than the in house IT team would like to offer, simply because the outsourced desktop support refuse to continue issuing and supporting rubbish for one company (and Finance have little to do with it). It's the same with XP - IME it wasn't the bean counters stopping upgrades, it was the poor strategic choices made years ago by the IT professionals, and their subsequent fear of the hard work to rectify those mistakes.

FFS, if there's a team paid to make IT work, don't you think they should deliver? Or is it acceptable to fall back on the "beancounter" excuse, whilst still claiming the salary of a true professional?

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It's BANKS v TELCOs: Mobe payments systems go head-to-head

Ledswinger
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SMS authentication at point of sale?

"David Pollington .... envisages a model where the customer logs into a website and there is a button on the screen which sends a text message to a mobile phone number for verification, "

Fab idea Dave. But you've obviously never had a mobile with O2, where text messages can take days to arrive, even when sent from and to O2 phones.

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Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Ledswinger
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Re: As if this will make people happy!@ h4rm0ny

"Whipped up further by people who love to hate MS who treated the new interface as Christmas and their Birthday wrapped up in one and went into full on Witch-Burning Mob mode"

Whilst I don't agree, I have to admire the long, full-on rant, which oozes heartfelt, spittle-flecked fury. All the downvoters are people who have no admiration for true craftsmanship, and I say a pox on them.

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Indonesia plans 10 Gbps FTTP as part of 20-million-premises broadband project

Ledswinger
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"Those costs depend heavily on local labour rates "

Not by much. In most developing economies the benefits of lower input labour costs are completely swallowed by bureaucracy and graft, to which you then add an uplift for the often unfavourable environments (permafrost or monsoon, urban overcrowding that makes access difficult, politics, illegal property development where you need to dig, import duties on essential equipment). That's certainly the case on infrastructure projects I've worked on.

Still, it's $5k per property which you could argue is high. But FTTP in Indonesia isn't a case of just sticking in fibre between and existing exchange to premises, it'll be a complete new backhaul if it is going to work, and in that scenario $5k per property at outturn looks realistic.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I applaud their ambition.

"Or "I want somebody to subsidise where I live"..."

I offer an upvote for the translation, but it is worth remembering that in practical terms we offer subsidies for non-urban roads, telephony, water, post, electricity and gas, and to a lesser extent for many publicly provided services that have higher costs/lower direct contributions in less densely populated areas.

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Ledswinger
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"Looks like Indonesia may be the place for FTTP-envious Aussies to 'invade' instead."

Possibly. But 20 million premises is only about a fifth of the Indonesian housing stock, possibly notably less given that the target is "premises" not "homes". So this despite the brave words is another urban focused initiative, it will not serve the 20% of the population living below international standards of poverty (circa US$1.50 a day), won't serve the large urban slums, and the only rural areas to stand any chance of being connected are politician's villas (plus families and cronies) and significant tourist destinations.

Spending 8% of GDP to connect the wealthiest one in five of your population to fibre doesn't look a good use of resources to me if it's government money being spent (although to be fair, that 8% is more likely to crop up as 1% of GDP for eight years).

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Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut

Ledswinger
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Re: Meanwhile...@Captain Save-a-ho

"very epitome of the capitalist that you hate so very much"

How lucky I am to have such clever people like you to tell me what I think.

Actually, on second thoughts, no I'm not lucky, because you're an @rsehole who doesn't know what I think, clearly hasn't paid any attention to the span and content of my previous posts that might give a reasonable clue to my opinions and politics, or indeed paid any attention to the post you're angrily responding to. And what's more you're either a Merkin, in which case you're hardly able to offer a valid opinion in a UK forum on matters in the UK involving a UK company, or alternatively you simply can't spell. I'll presume the former until proven otherwise.

So perhaps you should take your ill thought, reactionary extreme right wing opinions and go find somebody to educate you on how markets work. And don't forget to ask about economic history, and how the combination of the banker-dominated Federal Reserve and the unfettered capitalism of US banks caused the biggest financial crisis of all time, largely because the bankers were chasing bonuses to make themselves rich at the expense of everybody else. If that's the world you want, I'm afraid it was given a chance, and found wanting.

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Ledswinger
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Meanwhile...

They increased the bonus pot by 10% year on year to a nice fat £2.4 billion.

Barclays techies, I'm sure your noble sacrifice will be appreciated by the truly deserving and value creating types who are dipping into that bonus pool.

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Foxtel's new football-watching shirt THROBS after every tackle

Ledswinger
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Re: ???

"but this "invention" will put them into a whole new league of fail."

You are so uncharitable. Just as the Wii introduced computer based (and ineffective) lounge exercise for those able to wave their arms, this extends the envelope, offering lard @rse couch potatoes a first time opportunity to recline on their sofa in a nasty polyester shirt, eating pizza whilst enjoy a weak simulation of the thrill of exercise. Admittedly this simulated exercise is without any health benefits, without exertion, and without doing anything other than pairing their shirt over bluetooth, but I think that's the appeal.

There would be greater health benefits from pairing socks, but I'm not judgemental, and I heartily approve of the creation of Virtual Fitness For Fatties (V3F).

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Vodafone Germany looks to provide end-to-end encryption with SIM signatures

Ledswinger
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Exceptional cases indeed

"but in exceptional cases a government agency can request a legal intercept and Vodafone will provide access"

So, in summary they'll hand over your communications at the drop of a hat to supposedly lawful (yet probably warrant-less) requests from the nose-pokers of "friendly" intelligence agencies. And with the near unlimited budget of the state sponsored hackers, you have to wonder how long it would take the "unfriendly" governments to compromise the encryption routine.

So all in all, just a bit of additional security theatre for Angela Merkel's phone.

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PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies

Ledswinger
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Re: Why would you want to own a meter?

"and by extension, that Cameron was talking guff."

I think we could have agreed on the conclusion at the very beginning of this sub-thread, before considering any additional evidence.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals"

"Innovative hackers will root Smart Meters and write software that does this for you. It will become widespread. "

No, it won't be widespread, any more than than rooting smartphones has become. In fact probably far less so, because it will be a criminal offence to tamper with a smart meter (much as it is at the moment, just far easier to detect). The design has a security log file to monitor both physical and logical intereference, including commands from non-validated sources. And even just to add "new functionality" would compromise the integrity of the device, leading to disconnection and probable prosecution (most likely criminal damage or unauthorised access to a computer system charges if they can't prove theft).

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Ledswinger
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Re: "electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals"

" Perhaps we'd buy from power stations and wind farms directly, with a fee going to the network (where the "network" is one of the old suppliers)."

A charmingly utopian view of the world, that presumes suppliers do nothing but send you an often inaccurate bill.

If you contracted with the generators directly for a flat rate of x pence/kWh then they simply become your supplier and you've re-integrated the supply and generation roles (that government is currently convinced should be at arms length or legally separated). That's not really changing anything for the better. Or you could contract with the generators and in effect be your own supplier. Then you'd need to contract on a take or pay basis and be fully exposed to half hourly system marginal price and imbalance risks, which is a future that you really should not be wishing for, particularly as the Brave New World of Low Carbon Power starts to set the marginal price on a random basis.

The idea of automating the search for the cheapest deal is another lovely sounding idea that would be pants, as the rest of the nation would be looking to do the same. Suddenly commercial risk goes through the roof (raising costs for the suppliers/generators and thus for consumers), and you've got an illiquid market because the cheapest supplier can't service the entire market - and very quickly you find that you have a monopoly supplier.

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Space-junk RAYGUN wins Australian government funding

Ledswinger
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Re: Why lasers?

"I see nothing in the article or the announcement that says anything about space-based lasers. "

And it doesn't seem to you that a ground based laser is simply going to move debris up a tiny and not very useful amount, rather than down?

The alternative is to try and slow the debris so that gravity does its business in a more convenient time frame, but that's even more challenging from the ground because you'd be firing the laser through a far longer atmospheric path.

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

Ledswinger
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Re: Matrix Broad?

"Who remembers wirewrapping?"

Trinity wrapped in wire? I didn't see the film that was in, but I'll look out for it.

This sub thread is just getting better and better.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Matrix Broad?

That was my first thought. A pity Maplin don't sell them.. But, mmmmmm, there's a pleasant thought to while away a lunch hour with.

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China to blow away smog with DRONES

Ledswinger
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Re: Not really worse as such

" it won't be long before China begins exporting its work to a 3rd world, aka US"

Not necessarily.

As with pollution and graft, the Chinese have learned fast. So they've got a huge misallocation of capital, a looming growth cliff, an out of control shadow banking sector, a property boom that looks likely to end in tears, and vast amounts of public debt (albeit held at local government level more than centrally). So it could all end in tears with a massive crash and lower living standards.

But the UK is also loaded with debt, the Yanks are loaded with debt, the Eurozone is loaded with debt, Japan is loaded with debt, as is China. The only question is who falls off the edge of the world first. My money's on Japan, due to the ageing population, vast debt levels and no currency union to bail them out, and a worrying trade deficit. Put simply, if average interest rates hit 2%, 80% of Japan's government budget would be taken up by interest. Greece, you say? Greece was about the 45th largest economy in the world, Japan is the 6th. That'll bring water to a lot of eyes.

And if not Japan, then the next most likely country to stop spinning in the bowl and leave no more than skidmark as it disappears round the U-bend is us in Blighty. Now that would be a laugh if the Scots vote to stay, and we then bankrupt THEM, whilst Icelanders look on with a warm feeling of schadenfreude.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Not really worse as such

"China's just on a much bigger scale"

And we smug Westerners have outsourced a large proportion of our dirty activities to China, because consumers won't pay/can't afford for everything they currently want to be made to EU/US environmental, welfare and social standards.

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British Pregnancy Advice Service fined £200k for Anon hack, data protection breaches

Ledswinger
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"Interestingly he was jailed for the hack"

On Home Office guidelines (early release after 40% of sentence for a first offence) the kn0b has probably already been out of clink for nine months. I wonder what a software engineer with an unspent conviction does for a living?

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FCA drafts new rules to protect crowdfunders' lenders

Ledswinger
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"Crowdfunding is more stable, reliable, insured better, regulated better ....."

On what basis do you say that? The FSA (predecessor to the FCA) comprehensively failed to either anticipate or defend against the credit crunch. It (and predecessors) serially failed to anticipate or stop persistent misselling of anything that could be missold by the financial services industry, and merely attempted to clear up afterwards - and usually not very well. But in the meanwhile regulation has crept all over the place adding new costs, new bureaucracy, without improving anything.

In this instance the FCA's dead hand is grasping operations like Kickstarter, and will undoubtedly strangle them. Lets face it, the big banks and the VC industry don't want competition, do they. And for what benefit? If I want to engage in high risk crowdfunding, do I not have a right to do so? These services aren't making any promise of safety or returns on your investment.

No, the kn0bs of the FCA have got more than enough to do with the mainstream financial services industry, and the first two things they ought to be doing are:

1) Working to emasculate the vast lobbying power of the financial services sector, which currently works for banking insiders and against consumers and investors

2) Regular dawn raids on all large financial institutions with a single simple question: "what are you misselling or manipulating today?"

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Review of UK data protection: Should fines go OVER HALF A MIL?

Ledswinger
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Re: interesting!

"Applying a fine seems fair but is it justice?"

There is a whole range of actions the ICO can and does take, of which fines are the end of the line, after audits, enforcement notices, undertakings and the like. What would you like them to do differently? Round up the guilty and have them beaten by special services blokes in balaclavas?

As for Whitehall avoiding the answers, the ICO have wrung an undertaking of compliance out of the Treasury Solicitor's Office for example, along with a fair number of police forces and health organisations, so I think they do a reasonable job of holding government to account without fear or favour. The ICO only issue fines where they feel the seriousness or repeated nature of an offence merits it, and that seems emminently reasonable.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Use the fine to help them become compliant

"the ICO should get the power to appoint an auditor/advisor to oversee data breach offenders, helping/forcing reforms until they are compliant. "

They already have powers of compulsory audit:

http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/taking_action/dp_pecr

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Ledswinger
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Re: If it can be proved

"If it can be proved ....."

Establishing the guilt of directors, or even the corporation itself requires the prosecution to establish vicarious liability under UK law, which means proving they knew. If you can't show they knew, both corporation and directors aren't guilty, even if their officers are. This might be why News International and its scumbags are busy claiming they didn't know about phone hacking. A cynic might also presume this is why so much of the email evidence mysteriously got deleted to save disk space, and why laptops found their way into ponds and bins.

To change the rules of vicarious liability would be a very far reaching reform of law and won;'t happen in my view. However, the ICO specifically don't levy legal fines, they issue civil monetary penalties, and that's how they avoid having to prove liability in court. There is a quasi judicial appeal route, but that has additional costs and risks, and the business still has to pony up the cash until and if the appeal tribunal determines it should be reduced or repaid.

The interesting thing is that ICO can already levy monetary penalties on "natural persons" (ie individuals) as well as a "legal persons" (ie organisations). In this respect the ICO have the power to "fine" individuals already, they appear generally choose not to use this power. So it seems to me that the ICO need to use their existing powers more precisely to target individuals, as well as having the ability to fine larger organisations more (so that the likes of Google, BT/Phorm et al) would be suitably admonished if caught breaking the rules.

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Hundreds of folks ready to sue Bitcoin exchange MtGox

Ledswinger
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@Pascal M

"These VirtCoins may be unique strings of bits (for a given value of unique), but their value is less than the hard drive platters they are stored on (much less)."

Cobblers. The value of something is what somebody is prepared to pay for it. That's what makes the world go round (Physicists: This was not an invitation to get technical). So the bitcoins were worth whatever the going rate is, which was about $650 a pop a moment ago.

Your argument is like saying that the tenner in my pocket is only worth about 0.01p because that's the value of the paper upon which it is printed.

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Ledswinger
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@ I a Spartacus

"It's not like there's any realistic chance of getting anything back."

Au contraire, mate. With assets of $38m and liabilities of $64m there's potentially the better part of two thirds of creditor's money still there. However, from a vulture-like lawyer's perspective, that isn't creditor's money, it's simply a big, glistening pile of $38m, from which some fat and undeserved fees will be pulled before the creditors get their even more reduced portion back. Assuming there's no preferred creditors, then the unlucky fools who have "lost" bitcoins would be better off waiting for the restructuring process to run its course (which too will cost money coming out of that suddenly shrinking $38m).

The amusing thing in this situation is that by suing MtGOX, the creditors are agreeing to underwrite their own lawyers. MtGOX or its administrators will have to be legally represented, and those costs come out of the MtGOX assets.....so by suing, the creditors agree to pay both sides of a legal dispute they started, regardless of the outcome. Smooth.

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NASA's 2015 budget plea: Jobs, pork, small business – OK, science

Ledswinger
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Re: easy solution

"Yes they are inefficient compared to a private company but they also manage to do things private companies cannot"

The two are not related. My comments about efficiency didn't look at outputs per dollar, they merely considered the administrative overhead that NASA have.

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Ledswinger
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Re: easy solution

"and then give that $26 billion to NASA ...."

US taxpayers might want to see NASA's appalling management overhead brought under control first. Central and cross agency management & support functions accounted for 16% of the budget in 2013. I work for a very large European corporate not renowned for its efficiency, of similar scale to NASA in both employees, revenue and capex budgets, and our corporate support costs are around 4% in total. NASA don't even have the support complications of multiple languages and multiple jurisdictions that we have.

NASA's center management & support costs alone (ie excluding the "cross agency" stuff) were greater than the total spend on both planetary science and astrophysics. Even "commercial space flight" is a cost item at NASA - they might want to leave that work to Ariane and SpaceX, rather than burdening the US taxpayer?

I'm not a Merkin, so it's none of my business, but it looks to me that NASA is very poorly managed, and uses the smokescreen of cutting edge science and high technology to hide its incompetent management.

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Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

Ledswinger
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Re: Bitcoin & Crims.

" When that happens, it will be more secure than any bank as they take a very dim view of someone taking their money. "

I very much doubt the crims held their money in an exchange. They of all people would know to expect fraud, added to which they want to run the money through repeat transactions and exchanges to launder it some more, before holding it on a secure computer under their control.

The people who lost money in these cases are most likely the speculators or dopes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Leading indicator...

"In the end, a currency needs an Army...."

Actually, armies are the leading cause of long term destruction of a currency's value. As soon as you become the world's reserve currency, you find you've got a bottomless bank. Then you build and army because you can, go and have wars in far off places to build an empire. They over-expand, and over time find the cost of the army drains the real productive economy, but the empire doesn't actually add much value. Eventually this huge public expenditure drains the coffers, and the purchasing power of your currency shrinks alarmingly.

Roman, Umayyad Caliphate,Spanish, British, they all broadly speaking went the same way. The US are currently in the spot of having built a global proxy empire with excessive military spending, whilst watching their currency become worth less and less in real terms. Meanwhile, Switzerland get on with being rich and peaceful with no army (by international standards, that is).

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Ledswinger
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Not to worry

...because Dell will be out of the consumer and SME hardware business pretty soon.

That'll be sad, because I still remember the days way back yonder, when Dell were not only good value, but well supported by native English speakers, and (notwithstanding glitches from time to time) they were a safe bet to recommend to friends and family, knowing that nine times out of ten Dell would sort out problems so that the family go-to-guy didn't have to get involved.

Now...well, over priced, not very good, unbelievably poor offshore support for consumers (can't speak for SME). Sixteen quid to instal Firefox is the least of a Dell buyer's concerns, IMHO.

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Crack Euro banker team to probe whether virtual currencies should be regulated

Ledswinger
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Re: Of course BT should be regulated...

"And without some institutions that you can trust, Bitcoin will remain a ridiculous vehicle for speculation and criminality. "

Well of course. And as the article notes, "the risk of money-laundering activity through the trading of virtual currencies may arise because "the anonymous nature of virtual currencies is conducive to this type of activity".

So presumably they'll be proposing to regulate cash transactions, which have for many centuries been the vehicle of choice for crims transferring wealth? Laughably the Europeans printed €500 notes specifically to serve the criminal market, so it would seem that their own rationale for investigating bitcoin regulation is rather flawed.

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Security researchers uncover three-year-old 'RUSSIAN SPYware'

Ledswinger
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Re: Don't be daft!

"This may shock you but Russia is a very responsible nation that takes its military and political and economic strengths very seriously."

Unlike human rights, or the rule of law.

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Ever get the impression a telesales op was being held prisoner?

Ledswinger
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Re: Not a bad idea actually

"You think the mindless tedium and low pay of call centre work is going to encourage drug dealers, burglars, car thieves, etc, to go on the straight and narrow."

I think you misunderstand. The proposed training facility is really only there to offer experience to those who want it, and want to avoid returning to a life of crime. It isn't an advert for honest toil. And much as some people round here look down on call centres, the reality is that for the sort of people in clink, a call centre might be their first experience of regular salaried employment and the world of work.

What is your better solution to the problem of ex-cons leaving prison without useful skills?

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Ledswinger
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Re: But ... but ... but ... jobs

"In this country there are not enough jobs to go round. "

So they say. Strange how hundreds of thousands of economic refugees from southern and eastern Europe make their weary way here to the land of no jobs. Strange how the number of people in employment is close to the highest ever. Strange how round my way bus and truck companies are all advertising for drivers, shops for staff, and agencies for workers. Strange how UK companies, having generally not laid staff off during the recession have now started the strongest permanent hiring drive for four or five years. Strange how Robert Walters profits are up 30% due to the buoyant recruitment market. Strange how the NHS is still reliant on foreign recruitment.

UK unemployment is currently around 7.2%. Even in Germany's booming economy unemployment is over 5%, which is about what economists would consider near transactional levels, and looking at work-or-starve regions like Hong Kong the numbers are in the 3.5-4% range. Realistically we could get unemployment down to around 4%, but only if we stop immigration and EU migrants, and we REQUIRE the unemployed to move or commute where the work is. What do you think the chances of any of those are?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Really bad idea actually...

"But call centre work? It sounds ideal for con men who are by their very nature excellent salesmen - but not really for anyone else."

The nature of the work sounds like outbound sales calls. That has two sides - first the cons won't be handling personal data because they will not need to verify an identity (which initially seems positive), but the downside is that this is just outbound calls. How do you respond to (often unsolicited, or possibly solicited but at the wrong time) sales calls? If they are overseas I play around to waste their time and amuse myself, but if they sound UK based I just put the phone down. I would suggest that random phone calls to strangers who are rude or just put the phone down is not exactly a recipe for showing the world of employment in a good light to people who you want to rejoin the straight and narrow.

But the real problem this scheme has is that the released inmates still have the unspent conviction hanging round their neck like an albatross. If you go down for a sentence of more than two and a half years your conviction is NEVER spent, and even for less than six months the conviction is unspent for seven years. Whilst there may be a slight matter of a gap on the CV anyway, to have to reveal that they have unspent criminal convictions to prospective employers is a near certain means of ensuring they will not get any form of white collar employment, unless NACRO are the people recruiting.

The principle of spent/unspent convictions could have some relevance, but the vast scope and the punitive "rehabilitation period" (when the sentence is unspent) are modern day forms of branding. The curious thing is that the criminal injustice system seems immune to this - they won't lock up the various "one punch" killers for more than a couple of years, yet for those who go to prison for a few weeks for a *relatively* inocuous offence the system works to ensure they have very little chance of a decent mainstream job, ever (because after seven years of being unemployable or doing no-questions-asked manual labour you'd never get a mainstream salaried job).

This scheme intends to furnish released prisoners with potentially useful skills. But until it is far easier to re-integrate ex offenders into paid employment then they will continue to be kicked out of prison with no job, no prospects, possibly nowhere to live, and stand every chance of sliding back to the behaviours that got them into clink in the first place, despite a few months of telesales training.

Re-reading this it's all very bleeding heart and liberal. Personally I'd like the death penalty to be available for certain criminals, and I'd like inmates to have to break rocks for eighteen hour days (with their teeth), the unfortunate thing is that neither approach has been shown to be effective or cheap, and we need solutions that actually work.

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Massive new AIRSHIP to enter commercial service at British dirigible base

Ledswinger
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Re: There's a market

"A cruise "liner" that can take you inland for a safari, as well as the usual stops, will be very popular."

I think you'll find the maths doesn't work except for the incredibly rich. Capital cost per passenger looks to be about twice that of a fully equipped cruise ship (with none of the facilities), operating costs will be higher, and the relatively modest number of passengers means that crew to passenger ratios will be unfavourable. If you look at the sort of passengers who used the old airships you'll get a feel for the fact that this was transport for the 0.1%, and I suspect that if it ever returns it will be the same segment of society who use it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "there're plenty of people who'd prefer to take the "cruise" approach" @h4rm0ny

"Transporting a firm's entire board from London to New York in a fully Net-connected mobile boardroom is surely a pretty easy sell."

If they are valuable enough to justify freighting these people a quarter of the way round the world, why will it be cost effective to put them on an airship that will take about forty hours for this trip? And if physical presence is essential, what's the point in worrying about a net connected boardroom? The rationale for boardroom net connections is usually so that you can link your meeting rooms via video conferencing without travelling in the first place.

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Ledswinger
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Re: That's a lot of kerosene

"I mean, sure it'll add to the cost, but in for a penny..."

On the contrary, although the power sums for using solar power look good due to the large surface area, the last thing you want to do is pioneer new power trains and control gear when you're already on the cutting edge of airship design. As a commercial venture you can't afford delays caused by building in too much unproven tech, and I'd guess that's why they are using diesel engines. When the airframe design is proven, you've found a market and sold a few (and there's more money), that's when you look at PV coatings, high efficiency electric motors, hybrid power control systems.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ukraine

"Putin's actions in Ukraine could well see a sharp reversal in US military spending. It's just the thing the hawks have been waiting for."

But I can't see airships being the way to project your military force. Even allowing that before a war breaks out there's no problem with anti-aircraft weaponry, the speed and payload balance is still too limited. A C17 can carry an M1 tank or equivalent at five times the cruising speed of the Airlander and has rough field capabilities. Even at 50 tonnes payload the Airlander wouldn't be able to carry an M1 tank, and it would take around ten hours from (say) Germany to Ukraine, or fifteen from the UK.

You'd need a vast fleet of AIrlanders and plenty of notice to move stuff any worthwhile volume of men or materials, and to be confident that the prospective enemy wouldn't attack your rather vulnerable airships pre-emptively.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Some points about using balloons

"THis is where the sweet spot is IMHO i.e. getting equipment to third world minerals."

I think there's a fundamental problem that serious mining equipment is much heavier than even prospective payloads.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ TRT They almost laughed him out of the boardroom...

"They should paint the airship green and stick a big yellow "2" on it."

No, that's the Aeroscraft one that looks like T2. This one, well, it looks from the front end like it should be for sale in Ann Summers judging by the photos. I reckon they should paint it pink, with the front end purple.

Not withstanding the "interesting" design I'd still like a go. The article mentions that the inagural passengers will include a couple of competition winners - commentards might want to mosey over the Airlander web site, because it is a straightforward prize draw.

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MtGox to customers: Your call is important to us … NOT!

Ledswinger
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" the difference is, a bank that badly run would be shut down by regulators. Is lack of regulation the problem?"

What, like regulators stopped Lehman going to the wall? Or how they stopped RBS and HBOS from taking dodgy lending bets that might otherwise have cost British taxpayers tens of millions of quid? Or how they stopped Northern Rock gambling the bank by lending long term and borrowing short term?

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UK.gov back-office battle may see British Justice offshored

Ledswinger
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Re: Can't we do it ourselves ?

"just get rid of all the civil servants coming up with this garbage"

I think you'll find the "civil servants coming up with this garbage" are actually the spotty twats who infest the Cabinet Office under the guise of being "special advisors". In reality the cabinet office under present and former governments is always coming up with stupid ideas, from people with little or no experience, and this continues the trend.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Can't we do it ourselves ?

"the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more."

That's how most back office outsourcing ends up. But the driver is not really about saving money, it is about "being seen to do something". If you wanted to save money you'd simply bring all your public sector employees on to a universal pay scale, simplify down all the different T&Cs to a minimum set covering all roles (arguably about fifteen), you'd have all HR and payroll administered by a single operation, and you'd do it yourself. The disaster of the Queeensland health payroll disaster shows what happens when you let the outsourcers in.

That the UK government don't their behind from their elbow is illustrated by the complexity that is apparent within a single department, never mind across government.

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It's a BLOCKBUSTER: Minecraft heads to the silver screen

Ledswinger
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Re: Well that will be worth anticipating

"Punch trees, fall in lava, kill stuff. How is that not a traditional holy wood plot?"

You're missing the true plot: Minecraft founders, back in the mists of time awakened a great evil by opening the Pandora's box of Java. Evil plague of Java related malware threatens to overwhelm both cyber realm and real world. Hero defeats Java, world gets new Java free version of Minecraft on the back of the movie, world + dog celebrate the opportunity to finally eradicate the dark curse of Java.

What's not to like? And the sequels are already in planning: Evil plague (Flash) threatens to overwhelm world etc. When Flash has been defeated by HTML5, they can do another movie featuring Adobe Acrobat Reader. Hollywood could really save the world if each time they release new software free from the insecure garbageware.

By the time we get to Minecraft 4 then the plague will be Windows itself.

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Chicago man lobs class-action sueball at MtGox

Ledswinger
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Re: Eh?

"How can a US court compel a (now-defunct) Japanese firm to do anything...?"

He's not necessarily expecting to get anything from MtGOX, he's hoping that a judgement in his favour will allow him to collect from some other party - maybe MtGOX auditors (if there were any), the banks who indirectly facilitated his cash being transferred to MtGOX before being converted to bitcoins, Japanese regulators, in fact anybody at all.

Hopefully the coursts will point out that anybody who puts money into an unregulated, overseas institution (in the hope of either hiding their money, or of earning huge speculative returns) should expect the risks to be matched to returns.

I have enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of fools like him. I hope those who lost money never see it again, and that way they may learn a valuable lesson about investment.

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Two in five Brits cough up for CryptoLocker ransomware's demands

Ledswinger
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Re: But was the ransom payment 'succesful' ?

"Did they actually get access to their data again ?"

According to web reports, as a general rule yes. This might be criminal damage from your point of view, from the point of view of those behind Cryptolocker, this is a business looking to recoup its investment, maximise those returns, and to find new routes to market and growth opportunities. Consider: if they encrypted your data, you paid, and they didn't cough the key for you, you'd spread the word, and people would know not to pay. Suddenly the business hasn't got any revenues despite the spread of the malware - that's no good for the people behind this, is it?

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