* Posts by Ledswinger

3304 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

IBM staffers climb over each other in race for redundancy payout

Ledswinger
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Re: So who will they be left with?

"They'll be left with an even *more* top-heavy management structure. Eventually IBM will end up with a system where it's all managers, and no one who actually does any *work*."

In which case they will be sued by HP, who not only have that as their central business model, but have surely registered the patent on that process with the USPO.

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Ledswinger
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"Some people with mortgage insurance cannot apply for VR"

I'd suspect that they can't be stopped from applying, all that the insurers can do is point to the clause that says the insurance doesn't cover VR. Nothing wrong with that. If you're leaving a business with a wheelbarrow full of cash, on voluntary terms, why should an insurance against involuntary unemployment have to pay out?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Simple solution

"Get rid of all those who DIDN'T apply"

But sometimes those are the people you want to keep, sometimes not. I favour a market solution, of a reverse Dutch auction based on N weeks pay plus a standing severance lump sum. Everybody logs on to press the button as the offer increases (or sets their price in advance), the system tracks up the offer until the magic number have volunteered (with a maximum cost to the company as a cap on all bids). Those who want too much (or messed up their price or bid strategy trying to get the highest price) get nothing and are allowed to stay. Those who will go will be those willing to go most cheaply, and whilst they may be the more employable, if you're prepared to go cheaply then you're already disaffected, so not much of a loss.

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Ark scoops £700m to host ALL UK.gov's data centre needs

Ledswinger
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"This seems to be a rather large piece of work for a company that size, "

Ah yes, but don't forget the comment about "recapitalisation". This invariably means that the firm was either effectively sold by its previous owners, or bailed out by new ones. In this case Ark were bailed out by Revcap, a private equity firm run by former Lehman staff (now there's a good sign). Revcap's focus is on property (Real Estate Venture Capital Management being the full name), so it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

My guess is that this isn't the old boy network, or the brown bag network. It's an outcome of fuckwit civil servants pledging to give more business to SMEs. Being civil servants they can't do anything without a definition, and that definition said that Ark were an SME, despite being part of Revcap's £4.7bn of assets. As property companies (like banks) make their profit from the balance sheet not the P&L, I would guess that now they've landed the contract Revcap will already be looking to sell Ark to the next mug that's passing. And sadly there's plenty of IT companies willing to buy revenues at any cost, without asking where the profit is.

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UK call centre linked to ‘millions’ of nuisance robo-calls raided by ICO

Ledswinger
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Re: Seriously?

"£2000 fine and 10 minutes on the naughty step for you."

Broadly speaking yes. In the case of the ICO, the powers are limited to a max of £500k, and that's small change if you can run a scummy outbound call centre for a couple of years in flagrant breach of the rules.

Even if the people behind this pay up (and I doubt they will, hiding behind limited liability companies, or pleading bankruptcy whilst driving a new Bentley, just like that cunt Andrew Crossley) they'll merely start again from scratch.

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Consumers beware! Ofcom's seen a scary new mobe nasty: APPS

Ledswinger
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Re: The very fact

"They seem to operate behind several iterations of the public and technology."

This is universally true of all government regulators, and I've worked with a few (in fact some of this morning listening to one droning on). As it happens he wasn't old in calendar years, only in mindset.

In fact, he was explaining about how his regulator was going to act decisively to enable "smarter markets", even though " we don't know how these markets will turn out".

And I think this give a clue as to the purpose of having regulators: they employ people who aren't employable anywhere else, to radically reshape entire industries without a clue as to how they will eventually work. This could explain the entirely captured financial services regulators, the incompetent energy regulator, the clueless communications regulator, the ineffectual regulator of solictors, the bunglers of the health regulators, and so forth.

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Vodafone: Can't make calls on our network? Use Wi-Fi

Ledswinger
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Re: "EE has had UMA for some time"

<Signal boost> "but it's no longer available for new connections."

That's correct. And even if you had it on a handset, should you lose it during a reset or OS update you can't now download the UMA app. Which is a pity, because it worked fairly well (much better than O2's wanky,useless VoIP wifi client TuGo that pretends to do the same thing but fails miserably in every aspect).

I'm not sure why MNO's wilfully ignore the fact that many more people would be quite happy to ditch a landline (cf the 1 in 8 who already have) on condition that their mobiles worked reliably at home. But the words "mobile" and "home" apparently only go together for people living in caravans. Meanwhile the MNO's instead spend their money on that arse Kevin Bacon prattling on about 4G and better download speeds that the majority of people still can't get, and the majority of handsets in use won't support. And even when the knobs at EE have finished their 4G roll out, I'll wager that a good half the population will still have to hang out of an upstairs window for any reliable voice connection. Important message to mobile phone companies: I'd be quite happy to tolerate "buffer face" if you bastards would at least give me decent voice coverage and far better 3G H+ data. And whilst you're at it, the evidence is compelling that you live in caves and neither travel by car nor train, but maybe you could perhaps cater for the somewhat larger population that do - a quick look at a map will show you where the railways and roads are. Or you could just look at your own network's dropped call locations.

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Bulk comms spying is not mission creep, insists UK foreign sec

Ledswinger
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Re: How long ?

"How long will this have to continue "

For a very long time yet. So long as the hoi-polloi have access to Farcebook and Youtube they neither know nor care about data privacy. And that's why this lightweight and ineffectual minister is demanding that a line be drawn under the debate. Lets face it, he doesn't want any chance that stasi should be foiled in grasping the powers they need to "keep us safe", does he?

But funnily enough, the limp-wristed, vacuous nature of all recent governments is highlighted by his comment that Russia is now the biggest threat to our national security. If that's the case how come the clowns of Westminster rubber stamped a "strategic defence review" that scrapped ALL of our airborne anti-submarine capabilities, signed up for expensive & vulnerable aircraft carriers without aircraft (and is reliant post 2020 on the unproven, over-budget F35B), shredded our army, reduced the RAF to a handful of squadrons without any modern strike capability....

Whether its IT, defence, foreign policy, civil liberties, energy, immigration, I really don't know how the British government manages to be so world-class clueless about everything at once. If they reduced everything to a simple yes no decision and tossed a f***ing coin they'd at least be right half of the time.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

Ledswinger
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Re: It will tell me how much power an appliance is using...

Re: using"free" renewable power.

Whilst it is possible that there will be "free" power periods in the future due to the idiotic build out of renewables, if you want to take advantage of that you'd need to be on a dynamic tariff. That would mean that you'd be paying much more for power at peak times. If you're happy to shift all your tumble dryer use from winter evenings to midday on summer then it could work for you. For the test of humanity, dynamic and time of use tariffs are an unwanted and unnecessary complexity that has no value.

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The secret of Warren Buffett's success at Berkshire Hathaway

Ledswinger
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Re: It's an interesting analysis

"But it doesn't really explain why Buffett is so successful at buying shares"

Read several of the letters to shareholders. Investing involves risk, but you can minimise that risk - there is a sauce, but Buffett has generously shared the recipe so it is not a secret sauce. The long and the short of this sauce is "don't buy businesses you don't understand, understand a balance sheet, only buy financially robust businesses, and employ competent people".

The reason why the opportunities still exist is because so may poor investors are active in the market, and because too many of them are gambling with other people's money. Arguably that's what Berkshire Hathaway are doing, but there's a difference - first that they are good at it in aggregate, and secondly (unlike most fund managers, pension manager, and insurers) there's one or two men with their names on the line, every time.

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UK Supreme Court waves through indiscriminate police surveillance

Ledswinger
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Re: As Treasonas May is fond of saying...

The tragedy is that our miserable, dishonest, thick, self-obsessed politicians have finally won out over the judiciary. I have every confidence in Lord Sumption and his colleagues in interpreting the law even handedly - for decades, if not centuries, disputes the world over were settled in the courts of England because of the quality of the judges and the process. But now, lighweight scum like Blair and Cameron, and their vile acolytes have worked out that if you pass a bad law, it will be enforced.

A pox on Parliament, and all the leeches, thieves and fuckwits that sit within it. And the Lords (as "reformed" by Blair) are even worse, a bunch of jumped up placemen.

But I'd agree, that any vote for the Conservative, Liberal or Labour parties is a wasted vote.

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In assault on American values, Lockheed BLASTS PICKUP with RAYGUN

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmm

"So did it punch a hole through the engine block (quite impressive) or did it just damage the "engine manifold"?"

Our journo friends at the Reg seem to have written the bit about the block, the comment about the manifold seems to have been the original claim. Maybe the Reg don't know the difference. Given that the engine will be designed to dissipate of the order of 70 kW of heat, I can't see a 30 kW laser troubling the block very much. From the photo it looks as though the laser has tracked across the bonnet in a straight line until it actually damaged something?

I'll be impressed when military lasers can destroy things instantly, in a battlefield environment (ie movement, countermeasures, smoke, dust). To judge by this and the various airborne and ship mounter lasers there's a very long way to go yet. The other minor problem is that lasers are line of sight, which means short range. Where's the use? As a missile defence they're useless given the short time to respond, and as an offensive weapon it is a lot easier to use guided or stand off munitions.

All good technical fun, a pity for tax payers funding these attempts to develop new ways of killing people. I'd have thought there's more than enough of those.

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Canadian bloke refuses to hand over phone password, gets cuffed

Ledswinger
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Re: CAN$25,000 (US$19,900)

"Most of our readers are in North America."

I'd noticed the quality of the commentariat declining with the increasing volume. Perhaps you could all decamp to the US if that's your chosen location, and clear the way for a UK focused tech site?

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Upper house of Parliament joins the drone debate

Ledswinger
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Re: Bah!

"Requiring proof of insurance and insisting on drones carrying the owner's name and contact information would be a good first step. That way, when Tommy Tw*tface flies his new toy through the windscreen of your new toy you can at least get the bugger paid for."

Why? Bicycles have no such constraints, and cause far more damage and nuisance than drones do. Privately flown drones are like CB radio - currently a flash in the pan whilst every fad-victim thinks they're the bees-knees, and idiot politicians look for any excuse to shit out a raft of unnecessary legislation, But give it a while and the fad victims will be into virtual reality, or bitcoin2, 3D printing, or whatever, and unmanned flight can be left to the small number of useful commercial uses and responsible hobbyists, and the dust will settle.

RC aircraft have been around for years without any meaningful level of problems. Let's not allow shit-head politicians to introduce another Red Flag Act in response to ill informed babble.

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Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi

Ledswinger
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Re: Do we even need Saudi oil anymore?

"The US produces more than Saudi does, especially now the shale oil is being produced in vast quantities"

But you're part of a world market. If you sterilised the supply of Saudi oil through sanctions or war, then the world's swing producer leaves the market. A drop of a few million barrels a day in demand (perhaps 5%) has caused the oil price to halve, and its obvious that to take out the 14% of world supply that is from Saudi would cause the price to skyrocket - perhaps to around $300/bbl. And things would be worse if you treated the other Gulf despots the same - they are another 10% or so of world supply.

You then get into the argument around isolationism, and why can't the US be energy independent, and the short answer is that if you declare economic war on the rest of the world, they'll do the same back. The US is big enough to exist as non importer or exporter, but you've then got the problem of what do you do for rubber, coffee, tin, copper and so forth, and the fact that you'd have to do all those low value assembly jobs you previously exported to China.

Shale is only a stop gap - production costs are too high, well decline rates high, and the costs of shale will go up rather than down because we're picking the low hanging fruit first. If the US wanted to marginalise OPEC, then they should have come up with algal biofuels - this is the only obvious non-mineral transport and heating fuel that might scale. Back in the 70's the US did some good foundation work, but shelved it when oil prices collapsed. They started looking again this time round, and will now drop it like a stone as the oil price craters. And so the world (and thus US) dependence on Saudi despots will continue.

We will eventually rid ourselves of our dependence on oil and gas, but unfortunately the tree huggers have pushed that time back by two decades by demanding crap non-solutions like wind power. All the money that might have gone into making nuclear power cleaner and cheaper, or making algal biofuels workable and cheap, that money has been diverted into subsidies for wind and solar, most of which has disappeared into the pockets of Wall Street financial investors. Which shows that the governments of the West aren't really much more democratic than the sheikhs, maybe a little bit less thuggish. But even that's changing - how many SWAT raids were there in the US last year? Around 60-80,000 instances where uniformed and heavily armed thugs broke into people's homes, mostly without warrants, and in over a third of cases finding no evidence of criminality. Who needs religious police?

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US military SATELLITE suddenly BLOWS UP: 'Temperature spike' blamed

Ledswinger
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Re: A satellite overheated and exploded??

"The current orbital situation has been likened to a room full of armed mousetraps"

So anybody with the ability to lift things into orbit and make them go "BANG" should be able to cause havoc. Which is only sensible if you don't have any orbital assets to lose, or believe that causing havoc disadvantages others far more than you. And logically (to avoid retaliation) you'd need to pretend you were really only putting a monkey into space, and it went wrong.

Monkeys! Turn down offers of free space flight from all less developed countries, the return ticket is not valid.

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Moto E 2015: The builder's cheapie gets a serious upgrade

Ledswinger
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Re: OnePlus?

It would be interesting to see what OnePlus could produce for the same sort of price.

They'd have no real advantage at the cheap end of the market - on the model One they're competing against high end models with 50% profit margins, and doing something similar for a lot less isn't really a challenge.

But at the low end nobody makes much (if any) money, and the only cost that OnePlus might save is generic brand marketing that's probably 4% if that of the final price.

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MP resigns as security committee chair amid 'cash-for-access' claims

Ledswinger
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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

"don't forget the 11% pay rise they're getting after the election "

Some of them won't. But after they've been "let go" by their constituents at the end of a fixed term contract, they'll be allowed to hoover up around £30k of "resettlement grant" and £40k of "winding up allowance".

And the other great thing about being an MP is the free travel and accommodation expenses - if you or I took a five year fixed term contract in London of our own free will, HMRC would take a very dim view of our employers paying for our commuting, our second homes, and for lobbyists to pay for "fact finding" holidays, but where MP's are greedy bastards writing their own chit, it's all OK. Not to mention the obscenely generous parliamentary pension scheme, with its benefits inflated by 25% by that economically illiterate twat, Gordon Brown.

If Rifkind can't get by on this gravy train, he should throw himself into the Thames. Let me know when and where, and I'll come to enjoy the spectacle.

"All in all I can't see what any public sector worker would EVER vote Tory again, I won't be."

You think it'll all work out fine under Labour? The clowns that time after time fuck up the economy, and last time round doubled the national debt, left the public spending £120bn a year in the red, allowed the banks to fuck up the economy by their rampant bad lending, and embroiled us in a decade of wars that we've still got not explanation for? Not that I'd dispute that no sane person would vote Conservative.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The impressive thing about Rifkind

"Having said that, taking money to arrange 'introductions' to government officials surely must be illegal."

Only if you're a civil servant. If you're a politician present or former (eg Brown, Blair, Straw, Rifkind, and the rest of the shower of piss) then apparently it is just fine.

The most alarming thing is that despite the embarrassment over expenses a few short years back, and before that embarrassment over cash for questions revelations, the royalty of both parties have yet again been found to be till dipping. And I saw there was even some fucker of an MP claiming that he'd done the thick end of 2,000 hours paid work outside of Parliament - I'm sure he did that by working eighteen hour days every single Saturday and Sunday, to ensure his constituents were properly represented.

As with bankers, politicians are simply endemically and systematically dishonest and venal, reflecting a general lack of transparency and of stern, fair handed oversight. Where else can you get away claiming expenses without so much as a receipt?

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Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Ledswinger
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Re: Excellent article - cheers.

Now for one on GEC-Marconi :(

Donated to the City of London on condition that the site was cleared.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Ledswinger
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Re: "Superfish wasn't a major contributor to the manufacturer's bottom line"

"This begs the question; why do it then?"

For the same reason that most consumer laptops come loaded with crapware, that the OEM picked up a tiny payment for each piece of unrequested bloat, but which was from their perspective was pure, unadulterated profit. In the commoditised PC market, every little counts.

The hogged sectors on the disk were free (the buyer paid for that), the hogged CPU cycles were free (the buyer just had to wait a bit longer), the hogged RAM was free (again the buyer had to wait longer). We all know that the board of Lenovo won't sit round deciding what this months suite of bloatware includes, so the decision to include Superfish would have been taken by some middle manager (at best), probably in the commercial (as opposed to technical) side of the business - marketing, if you like.

However, Lenovo's misfortune won't change practice elsewhere, and you can expect the other makers to continue to shift their wares laden with unrequested crapware, and sooner of later this sorry tale will repeat. It's a bit like the long and continuing saga of data breaches - every month the wolves have another victim, but the corporate herd mere look on and laugh as their fellow is shredded, and then continue to lumber along, slow and stupidly doing what they always did.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Ledswinger
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Re: Criminal

"highest end laptops which would obviously be the best targets"

Why? If it's advertising related then volume counts over quality every time. And even ID theft is a game of volume over quality.

For the small number of premium brands who might value rich customers, they'd typically want to keep their brand clean, and association with crappy ad-scammers would be high risk, as well as likely to generate a lot of unproductive leads - Jaguar buyers (for example) will probably buy high end laptops, but that relationship doesn't work the other way round.

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Raspberry Pi, meet face: You're probably NOT Blighty's biggest PC maker!

Ledswinger
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"Most of the first year supply problems were because the Foundation had failed to recognise that huge demand and had carried out no real market research."

On the other hand the RP Foundation actually got something to market that has been a success, whereas most of the gobshytes who "correctly predicted" its success actually brought diddly squat to market themselves.

Now, if any of those armchair generals wish to develop, manufacture, launch and distribute a low cost, low margin product with an ill defined use and target market, and to splash big money on market research, they should feel free, but that's not generally how most good things get done. Good things get done because somebody thinks they know better than the expensive received wisdom of market research.

Market research is generally for not-very-clever junior suits to prove the brilliance of average ideas to senior not-very-clever suits, and you're welcome to it.

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Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

Ledswinger
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Presumably....

...the same people are behind the Graun's recent web disaster, which converted a reasonably useable news web site into a ghastly disorganised mashup of blogs spouting cack, reposting of "news" from fourth rate journalistic sources, confusion over what counted as opinion and what as news, confusion over when material was originally published, etc etc.

And like gov.uk, the readers of the Graun did choose to express their views, and the management have decided to ignore them, preferring to admire their own digital graphics. But then I thought, maybe both government and graun are right? Perhaps substance is last century, and style now triumphs content time after time? Seems to be the direction the Reg is taking, too.

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SCREW YOU, BRITS: We're going through with UK independence ANYWAY – Scotland

Ledswinger
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Re: A snide and disappointing article

So, AC, you object to the "kick them out" comments, but you then complain that the only thing the Unionists bought is time. It seems to me that you hate those south of the border who want Scotland to go, and you hate those south of the border who want you to stay.

You are right there seems to be some racism going on, unfortunately you've provided compelling evidence that it's you and the dark side of Scottish nationalism bringing it to the party.

Out of curiosity, if Scotland has another referendum and votes to go, the polls currently imply it would become a single party socialist state. How do you think that will pan out?

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Ledswinger
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@Badvok

With low oil prices the previous SNP claims are more difficult, but oil was a distraction. Denmark has a prosperous economy with little in the way of mineral resources, as do Finland and Sweden, all of which have similar size populations and higher GDP per capita than Scotland. And those countries include one euro member, one in an ERM type of arrangement, and one free floating currency, so the SNP would not be held back by any threats from the incompetents of Brussels to keep them out of the euro.

Scottish independence would be a wonderful thing, because it would force the Scots to reform their economy and that (in the longer term) would be better for the Scottish people, and because instead of Scotland being governed as a policy afterthought by civil servants in London, they really could have policies decided for the benefit of Scotland. And it would be better for the RoUK, since we wouldn't be either leeching off them (the SNP oil argument), or we wouldn't be bankrolling their unsustainable welfare state (the Barnett formula argument).

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Ledswinger
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"Probably because Cameron and every other politician in Labour and the Lib Dems promised them more devolution"

No, because the Westminster/Brussels cabal used fear tactics against elderly Scottish voters. The youth vote was compellingly in favour of going it alone, and wasn't swayed by the rash promises of more devolution. The elderly had a reciprocal view, having been told that an independent Scotland would go bust and they wouldn't get the BBC, wouldn't get their pension, wouldn't have cheap postage etc etc.

As the older more conservative voters fade away, and as SNP support continues to climb, a new referendum is inevitable, just a question of when.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

Ledswinger
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Re: Wholesale...@Chris 17

"its not the same concept"

Depend how far you want to stretch my analogy. I only wished to make the point that VM are the legal owner of their infrastructure, and you apparently wish to force the disaggregation of their value chain because of your unhappiness with alternative companies' offers via Openreach.

In the parking meter on the drive example, its a very good analogy, because somebody else (the council) wishes to open up better use of your asset (your driveway) for the common benefit (of others suffering from a lack of on street parking), and if you keep the parking charges they can argue that you'll be better off, despite you not necessarily consenting to this socialisation of your property.

BT's position is different because they have a near 100% coverage, their infrastructure was gifted to BT plc by the state for a relatively modest privatisation value, and because in the decades long build out of the telecoms network, the GPO enjoyed all manner of advantages in building a national network that wouldn't be available to private companies.

No sane individual can argue that VM should be forced to sell their capacity on wholesale markets if they don't want to, and the only argument is therefore whether BT should in fact be subject to LLU. I think on balance it should, but that doesn't make any case for VM being subject to the same rules.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Wholesale...

"If VM manage to fibre up the whole area and increase speeds, why can't they then be forced to open that wholesale to Sky etc? It would make it a completely level field for competition."

I can see why some customers would want this, but given that it's VM's asset, paid for with the cash of private investors, why should they have to open up to competitors? You might feel miffed if the local council put a parking meter on your drive, but its the same concept.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Good news or more likely a chimera

"If Virgin have solved this economic problem, that's awesome news."

That's a big "if" you have there, sir! Here at Cynic Towers, it is assumed that this is purely to increase the future value of the business since they're hoping to sell it to Vodafone. So the Cable Cowboy can make this commitment, knowing that he won't have to honour it. If the sale happens with a new and now much higher valuation (to Voda or anybody else), the new owner will be even more debt addled, and won't consider themselves bound by the previous owner's rash promises. A few infill extensions will occur, but the idea of a £3bn roll out? At 50% penetration on the four million homes they hope to pass that's around £1,500 per household - distribute that for those properties that will be more expensive to serve and you can see that it wouldn't be economic for a good chunk of the 4m homes they talk of.

You're quite right about the economic history of cable, and it is interesting to note that the same applied to railways, to the M6 Toll (still blissfully traffic free for the rich or spendthrift), and to Eurotunnel. Infrastructure is only investable at very high customer densities, and where geography and alternative solutions are limited, and that's why we have so few forms of genuinely universal infrastructure, and why bumpkin broadband is only going to happen slowly and with huge subsidies.

In this case we're talking about extending cable to the less optimal urban peasants (if it really made money they'd have done it first), so if this happens as claimed I'll be amazed. Gormless Dave is obviously impressed, but let's be honest, it doesn't take much, does it?

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£100 MILLION poured down drain on failed UK.gov IT projects - in just ONE YEAR

Ledswinger
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Re: Is any of this actually a problem?

"Today's goverments don't have the organisation ability, the will or the imagination to create a legacy like 'the New Deal' in America during the 1930's."

What legacy? Respectable analysis shows that the New Deal prolonged the depression by several years, and all the main indicators (GDP, unemployment, personal consumption, private sector investment) were still lower in 1939 than they were in 1929. I think Europe's attempts recently to spend billions it doesn't have without kickstarting any sort of recovery reinforces the failure of mainstream Keynesian philosophy, and Southern Europe is a classic example of vainglorious New Dealism - loads of EU funded infrastructure projects that have delivered nothing, whilst the resepctive economies wallow in pubic and private debt run up during a boom.

You're welcome to your New Deal legacy.

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Bad news, IT bods: UK's tech outsourcing up 15% last year

Ledswinger
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Re: Merry go-round

"They need constant projects to anchor their place in the business."

I have a different take, and that is that in the good old days before people could contact you and knew where you were supposed to be all the time, directors and senior execs would be off playing golf, having extra marital affairs, or relaxing at home, all under the guise of some imprecise work related activity.

Now, with widely accessible electronic calendars, easy working out how long travel takes, HR policies that make it more difficult to treat attractive junior staff as feudal entitlements, and expectations of being communicable and responsive, they have to do these projects to fill their working day, according to Parkinson's Law.

There's also the involvement of undesirable elements like procurement, and of external advisers. Procurement appear to be trying to expand their influence to f*** up the business, following HR's success with such an approach, and are always muttering that they could save the business tuppence by resourcing the contract to another bunch of untrustworthy snake oil salesmen. The external advisers promise the same (over expensive lunches, or on glitzy trips to see the nightlife of Prague.

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UK.gov can't get farmers onto its Verify service – even to claim subsidies

Ledswinger
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From the Whitehall Home for the Hard of Thinking

So government chose the least well connected section of society, with the lowest levels of technology engagement within the actual work they do, and the government department with the worst record of ineptitude on simply handing out money, and then they thought "let's create a digital only exemplar project". I suppose it is an example project, but perhaps not quite in the way the originators hoped.

Does working with government make you stupid, or do they recruit for it?

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Boffin the boffin and his boffinry pals in double dwarf super-prang alert

Ledswinger
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Re: Boffin schmoffin

"Boffin is a standard term of endearment,..."

Except when it's somebody's name. In this case I believe Her Maj should give the man a knighthood, for the simple and obvious reason that "Sir Henri Boffin" has such a fine ring to it.

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Crap mobile coverage costs UK biz £30m a week, reckons survey

Ledswinger
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"USM?"

No, UMA - unlicensed mobile access IIRC. I agree that is a better option than fenticells for most domestic users, but EE no longer support UMA, and most operators' alternatives now are crappy VOIP over wifi apps that don't work at all well.

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Ledswinger
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"Do I live in the arse-end of nowhere? YES. I live in a small town on the A43 about five minutes from the M40."

FTFY

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Ledswinger
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Re: <X> costs biz £<Y>m a week

"My gut feeling is they cant all be right as the sum would be staggering..."

I did a quick count on the claimed cost of a range of problems, and selecting the highest number from a supposedly credible source says that just obesity, air pollution, violent crime, fraud, road accidents, dementia and mental health collectively have a cost (circa £470bn) or around one third of UK GDP. Include "costs" of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse and you can add another £50bn.

So, if we round up all the fat, violent, flatulent, reckless-driving demented fraudsters and drown them, then every household in the land will be better off by £30k a year.

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Slurping air passengers' private details not great for privacy, concede EU data bods

Ledswinger
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"Isn't it amazing how bureaucrats "conveniently forget" certain facts and details when said facts and details don't fit their narrative"

Rather than amazing, I'd describe it as business as usual. I was recently reviewing the hoops the Highways Agency jumped through over the switching off and removal of motorway lighting. Even their "managed down" reports quote a c10% increase in KSI accidents (from a data baseline that is actually 25%), but because this is all in the name of the official government religion of climate change, that 10%-25% increase doesn't count. Now, if somebody were to posit increasing the speed limit (if only to the speeds actually observed), then you'd have people bleating that increasing the speed limit would cause more accidents, and that would be enough to block such a move. Hypothetically, of course.

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Snowden leaks LEGALISED GCHQ's 'illegal' dragnet spying, rules British tribunal

Ledswinger
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Re: @Simon Harris

"Your name is Sir Humphrey Appleby, and I claim my five pounds."

Wrong, he's really Sir Michael Chilcot. I'll take the fiver, please.

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Bankrupt RadioShack to close up to 2,900 stores, share others with Sprint

Ledswinger
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Re: Couldn't get some with a pocket full of 50s in a cat house

RadioShack is still one of the strongest brands on the planet

Which planet? Doesn't seem to be this one:

http://markets.ft.com/research/Markets/Tearsheets/Summary?s=RSHC:PKC

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Ledswinger
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Re: I know I'm no business guru,but...

"..if I hadn't had a profit since 2011, I wouldn't of left it 4 years before closing the unprofitable stores."

Ahh, but you've not put yourself in the seat of the managers and directors of Radio Shack, have you? Firstly, this bankruptcy tells us that the majority of the stores were not viable as part of a large company selling yesterday's products. So they were onto a loser already. But by eeking it out for another four years, they've had another four years of fat executive salaries (and bonuses), whilst the company has stayed afloat most likely by leeching off the shareholder's equity.

If the directors had been fully aligned with shareholder's interests, they'd have closed the lossmaking stores many years back, and either taken a (probably doomed) gamble on a new image and new product range, or settled for a progressive and controlled shut down of the business so that the shareholders could have got some cash back.

The best that might be said of the board is that they perhaps hoped that "something would turn up" to revive the company's fortunes. The worst is that they perhaps knew that the current model would end in bankruptcy and the loss of most employees jobs, but simply kept the plates spinning because they were earning plenty of money. So last year, the CEO trousered $2.4m in cash, and share options (now worthless unless he sold them) of $6.3m. In 2014 the board agreed that to retain this man's stellar talent, he should be paid a "retention bonus" of a further half a million dollars if he stayed until 1 March 2015.

Looks to me like Radio Shack is a beautiful example of agency theory in action.

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Has the world reached PEAK TWIT? Supplies of new Twitter users are drying up

Ledswinger
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Re: Something is wrong

"Hard drives must surely be one of the biggest costs for a company like Twitter, but how do they write off their value?"

Think how you'd do it. You'd capitalise the up front costs of a new DC, or a large expansion of racks including the HDDs, but then the replacement ones you'd treat as a revenue expense because individually they'd be below the de minimus for capitalisation in most companies, because they're only one component of the value creating asset (even at blade server level the HDD is a small value, replaceable part. And because once you're up and running for more than a few months, the HDD replacements will settle down to a steadyish renewal cost (assuming no bad batches of HDD).

But, having said that, HDD's will be a tiny part of the costs of web services. The biggest bill is the capital data centre build (including land, civils, electricals, racks, servers, UPS, accomodation, security etc etc), and the biggest operating cost is the energy bill (servers, facilities, air con to dump the server heat), and possibly (depending on the business model) the data and comms connection charges.

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'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

Ledswinger
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Re: Revenue !=Profit...

"Openreach made 711million euros profit off of 5.2billion euros revenue in 2013, which is a pretty decent ratio"

It's a bloody marvellous ratio for a de facto monopoly.

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Australia's (current) PM Tony Abbott again calls for metadata trove laws to pass, ASAP

Ledswinger
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"Wait, didn't there used to be a legal process somewhere in there before the 21st century?"

Exactly: So last century.

But I'll give the lying clown full credit for his sense of humour in claiming that this will "confer no new powers". Are Australian parliamentarians sufficiently weak, servile, dishonest and stupid enough to vote for this nonsense?

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Anthem, America's second biggest health insurer, HACKED: Millions hit by breach

Ledswinger
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Re: Obamacare in the sights?

"It's not working by itself, no need to repeal."

Au contraire, it's working a treat at creating even more of a European style welfare & entitlement culture, and a Democrat spending counterbalance to the Republican's military-industrial complex.

So the healthcare and insurers will lobby with hundreds of millions of dollars for their interests, the military industrial likewise, and Wall Street as ever will be corruptly hoovering up the remaining third of the economy. Curiously this leaves the US economy with three pillars of welfare, defence and corruption. You'll notice that this excludes the real economy of employing productive workers to make or grow things, but it's been tried a number of times the world over (for example the Soviet Union), and it works just dandy for the 1%, just not for the masses. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1% of that society got richer rather than poorer.

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Ledswinger
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Re: This smells

"There's bound to be some of the richest excuses we have ever heard about this one"

You, sir, are an optimist. They've made all their excuses and apologies already. The CIO and a flunky "responsible" for IT security will eventually be hung out to dry (though the CIO might get lucky and be paid off handsomely, because that's what happens to incompetent executives).

The rest of the board will sit there like the three wise monkeys, wringing their hands. But given the now rather long history of data breaches at major corporations (as far back as 2006 for a major US healthcare body, IIRC) the whole board are accountable. The audit committee for failing to audit the financial risk of data breach, for failing to audit the systems security. The nominations committee for failing to appoint competent officers or directors. The whole board for failure to adequately question, challenge, test, and resource the IT function.

All the directors and officers (1) of Anthem should be dismissed with prejudice, every worthless, lard arsed, over-paid, irresponsible one of them.

(1) For UK readers, in the US "directors" means what we normally refer to as "non-executive directors", and "officers" means what we refer to as "executive directors". I wasn't suggesting that all of Anthem's employees were given the boot.

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UK boffins DOUBLE distance of fiber data: London to New York WITHOUT a repeater

Ledswinger
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"Amazing work!"

I'd agree. But I'd have liked it if the Reg article had actually done more to explain how they've done it, in terms that the IT-savvy layman can understand.

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LEAKED: Samsung's iPHONE 6 KILLER... the Samsung Galaxy S6

Ledswinger
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Re: And the price will be?

Bollocks to 4G. I'll pay exactly the sort of price Samsung would like people to pay (£550 or so) if they add one new feature: One week battery life.

All the rest of the stuff that masquerades as progress, like faster processors, pixel upgrades on cameras, 4k screens, customer skins, smart fridge interfaces, 3D holography..... all that shit I don't give a tinker's cuss about. But what I want is a nice smartphone that can't go more than a few hours from a mains connection.

FFS, is it THAT difficult?

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Germany's BND muscles in on metadata mass surveillance

Ledswinger
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Re: Great so its kinda like we'll scratch your Back if you scratch ours?

"FWIW the proletariat rarely seems to care as long as there is food and drink on the table and "Dschungelcamp" on the telly."

Fair enough. Perhaps I was alone in labouring under the misapprehension that Germans were paranoid about surveillance due to the history.

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Turing notes found warming Bletchley Park's leaky ceilings

Ledswinger
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Re: Best use of top secret files ever

Two options, TRT:

1) Tear along the perforations (you never know, the innovation might catch on)

2) Use two sheets where the holes don't coincide (the "grater" could be a far more efficient means of scraping off clag, saving entire rain forests from being sawn down, pulped, and used for bottom wiping).

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