* Posts by Ledswinger

3430 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Oz battery bossmen: Fingers will be burned in the Tesla goldrush

Ledswinger
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Re: The real elephant in the room

" It's hard to see where batteries with only a few hundred cycle lifetimes will make sense in the US home market."

Or in any mature electricity market. You'll know the arguments, not sure many of the battery fanbois do: Ignoring out-of-balance charges and annual peaks, peak to off peak arbitrage isn't great enough to deliver returns. Aim for seasonal peaks and you get poor asset utilisation, aim for daily peaks and the price difference isn't there (and you've trashed your asset in two or three years of heavy cycling).

Where it might make financial sense is in niche markets where incompetent regulators have gifted fat feed in tariffs to (say) solar PV, and there's no local demand, or where the incompetence extends to subsidising both crappo renewables and storage. It'll push up system costs for electricity (or require subsidy from taxation), but that's rarely a problem when regulators and politicians are pretending to save the planet.

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Amazon creating 500 ‘fulfilling’ jobs in the UK

Ledswinger
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Re: Creating

"I wish people/press would stop with this 'creating' bullshit."

Why the big deal. It's hardly Amazon's job to report net job market figures, is it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: "order picker in an Amazon warehouse is pretty far along from the worst jobs in the land"

"From what I've heard, it has a fairly high attrition rate. Besides, a job might be dirty and dangerous, but that's no reason for an employer to treat its employees like dirt."

I don't doubt that as a job it has a high attrition rate - probably hard work, unrewarding and shift based. But I don;t hear Amazon-esque abuse of Tesco, who have a high attrition rate, or call centres that equally have a high attrition rate.

But when it comes to treating shift workers like dirt, I'd like to hold up that icon of public worship, the National Health Service. Incompetent, demotivating shit head managers, clinically and managerially incompetent too often, and full of unrewarding, poorly paid jobs that often have quite high vocational training demands.

That still doesn't make treating people like dirt right, but if that's the real concern, then maybe we start with the publicly controlled organisation with almost 1.4m staff, rather than a loss making foreign owned company that employs a couple of thousand in the UK?

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Ledswinger
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Re: As a resident of the town in question,

" I doubt he'll make any mention of an Amazon warehouse being shit place to work"

A valid point, but there's lots of crummy jobs required in this world that most Reg readers will be pleased they don't have to do. Toilet cleaner, dustman, delivery driver, road sweeper, ticket inspector, debt collector, tyre fitter, keeping sewers clear, railway track worker, A&E porter, etc etc. And all those jobs need doing by somebody - they're often dirty, sometimes dangerous, and poorly paid.

I'd suggest that working as an order picker in an Amazon warehouse is pretty far along from the worst jobs in the land.

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Ledswinger
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Re: So...

"applicant beware."

Maybe. But I'd have thought that a brand new warehouse using meatsack pickers just North of London is a major failing of Amazon's technology department. Surely it is about time they had robo-pickers and packers? That way workers can be happily unexploited doing, well, something elsewhere, and I can still access cheap, convenient tat.

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Backwaters in rural England getting non-BT gigabit broadband

Ledswinger
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Re: Isn't this in David Cameron's neck of the woods?

"Silly cliched blather."

What did you expect from a cat?

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Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

Ledswinger
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Re: Nukes

"Like most military capability you train and equip to defeat the most violent, biggest, baddest enemy and other roles can be undertaken with ease"

This, my son is self evident rubbish, and I can't believe you typed it. No matter how many SSBN's we have, they make not one jack of difference to the conflicts that the UK (and allies) have been embroiled in fairly continuously for the past few decades. And in a budgetary constrained environment, if you splash your cash on a sea based nuclear deterrent, you find (as the clowns found out at the last SDR) that you can't afford the strike aircraft and attack helicopters for your wars of choice. You can't afford a decent highly mobile army with tactical and strategic transports. You can't afford the maritime reconnaissance fleet upgrade to police your own waters. You can't afford aircraft for your carriers.

Precisely because we tool up for Armageddon with Russia, we find that we don't have the resource or equipment to do other roles "with ease".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Leaving the EU

"England could effectively have to secede from the UK while Scotland, Wales and NI would inherit the EU membership?"

Sounds good to me. Given that Salmond was threatening to secede but take no debt, presumably if it happens the other way round he'll be in favour of the Scots Welsh and Nornirons keeping the full pile of £1.5 trillion of UK national debt when England secedes?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Leaving the EU

I doubt that being outside the EU would result in famine and disaster in Scotland, as there's plenty of wealthy countries that aren't in the EU, and a few poor ones inside it.

What puzzles me about the SNP stance on the EU, is that they don't want to be "governed from Westminster" but they're more than happy to become part of an ever more integrationist EU, with government from Brussels, where the the EU Commission are not elected at all, and where in the EU parliament the Scots would have 6 representatives out of 750 or so.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "MAD has been proven to be cobblers in Ukraine"

"... well, if Ukraine had kept it's "share" of ex-Soviet nukes, you might be right. But since Ukraine isn't a nuclear armed state, one can hardly say that its current difficulties are due to a failure of MAD, however else you might describe them."

Au contraire, the point being made was that the UK and US guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty. When the civil war broke out in Ukraine and Russia made a land grab, despite their guarantees and their nuclear arsenals, the UK and US decided to do nothing - they weren't going to risk a war to defend the crooks in Kiev. It is precisely because the UK, US and Russia have nuclear weapons that the Russians (correctly) surmised they would not end up in a major international conflict. Even if Ukraine had nuclear weapons, would that have stopped Russia? I doubt it - either through forcible neutralisation, or by a calculated gamble that Kiev don't want to die.

So I come back to the issue, where's the value to the UK in a full fat submarine launched deterrent? In particular, the underlying principle of MAD was detente, which is only possible if you have a full suite of escalating conventional military and tactical nuclear options before your strategic deterrent. Our conventional military forces cannot field a single aircraft carrier, have no naval surface forces above the scale of a destroyer, comprise a bare handful of antiquated Tornado strike aircraft and some new build but ancient design concept Typhoons. Our army has a tiny handful of attack helicopters and collectively the military have trivial numbers of transport helos and transport aircraft (of which the newest are currently grounded). The army has been reduced to a size where the Horseguards outside Buck House are probably imposters employed by Crapita, or carrying Equity cards.

I think we should retain nuclear strike capabilities. But we don't have the capabilities necessary to support MAD via detente (that only ever really worked against a major, imposing enemy, rather than numerous, diverse, rapidly changing threats), and we can't afford to replace Trident. So it seems that we need to cut our cloth according to our circumstances and yet still offer our military the equipment it needs to do the duties we ask of them. I simply don't see a new submarine launched ICBM system as being a good "investment", compared to a cruise launched system that could be deployed in a greater number of submarines, launched from ships, silos or air-launched. And that would leave a lot of money for conventional military kit, rather than disappearing into the coffers of large defence contractors.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Nukes

"Good luck finding an area of England .... happy to host nuclear reactors and warheads."

Come off it, a few short years back nuclear armed strike aircraft (and indeed the Nimrods) dotted the English countryside, with the weapons routinely carted across the country for maintenance. And before that we briefly had land launched ICBMs, then a large fleet of V bombers scattered at stations across the green and pleasant land. The Yanks kept a sizeable fleet of nuclear weapons on UK soil. The nuclear powered attack submarines routinely berthed at the English naval ports, even Derby was graced by a submarine nuclear reactor for development purposes.

The only people who had a problem were CND and the hippies of Greenham Common.

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Ledswinger
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"a certain German party"

Godwin strikes again, but I may as well go with the theme:

I'm sure Sturgeon will make a nice little Fuhrette, although that dreadful 1980's dress sense will have to be attended to. Anybody who's been watching the Beeb's "Dark Charisma of AH" series will have realised that true national socialism is all about pomp, presentation, image and really, really good uniforms. Would Ms Sturgeon look good in a uniform with jodhpurs?

Ooh, and a really shouty leader telling people what they want to hear.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Nukes

"We really should look at relocating these anyway"

I'd agree with all the points you make, and add another one, which is simply to question whether we need a submarine based deterrent, and would be better served by cheaper distributed land based (final) solutions?

Submarines have low serviceability (which is why we need three or four to maintain one on station) and this makes them expensive. With no maritime patrol capability courtesy of the last "strategic" "defence" review, we've no way of knowing that they aren't already routinely tailed by foreign powers, dramatically reducing the invulnerability claims of the boat jockeys. And the original Cold War mk 1 theory of deterrence and MAD has been proven to be cobblers in Ukraine. First of all, the Russians no longer have an ideological drive to invade Western Europe. And if they were to nibble off bits of Poland or the Baltics, would we all want to die a nuclear death over those bits of Eastern Europe?

All we need these days is a deterrent capable of wiping out a second tier attacker with one or a handful of nukes, who wouldn't have the capability to plaster the entire UK, but might consider that they could wave a stick at London. And that potential retaliation could be delivered by cruise missile, land launched ICBM, or internationally based air launched cruise missiles.

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GCHQ puts out open recruitment call for 'white hat' hackers

Ledswinger
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Re: My cv says I'm a good team player...

"Not sure I can do the free running that bond does though."

Don't worry, to judge by my short time working in IT for the Ministry of Peace, it's Brooke Bond, not James Bond that you should be aspiring to in this role.

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Forced sale of Openreach division would put BT broadband investment at risk, says CEO

Ledswinger
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Re: If the board of BT plc @ Odius

utilities now almost foreign owned....Huge tax payers subsidies to encourage them to invest in new infrastructure which ultimately we end up paying for in our bills, where is that a success?

What subsidies? They get capital allowances that they can offset against profits like any other company. And the profits are limited to whatever the regulator of the day thinks is acceptable. The interesting thing is that those evil foreign investors are willing to buy the assets and invest in enhancements for returns that UK stock market owned companies won't hang around for.

The logical conclusion is that UK investors are evil profiteers who won't invest in UK infrastructure, whereas foreign investors are willing to invest to keep your lights on.

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Ledswinger
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Re: If the board @Lamont Cranston

"I can't say that the situation would be better under public ownership, but the UK's water network is crap"

It was most certainly worse under public ownership. I worked for a water company at privatisation, and we spent billions on better quality water treatment, new pipes, water resources etc. And that was because decades of public ownership had seen inefficient working practices preserved and embedded, whilst the capital investment was whittled away by politicians of all shades so that they could pay for bread and circuses, happily ignoring the performance standards and water quality.

The reason that 22% of water is lost is because the single most significant determinant of leakage is the age of pipes. It's technically easy to replace the pipes, but the average cost is probably £200 per metre of pipe, with a range from £50 up to £10,000, depending on pipe size and where it is. Burst pipes are sometimes easy to spot and fix, but if you're replacing entire lengths of network because of pinhole leaks and loose joints, then the costs are astronomical to save relatively small volumes of water. The industry would be delighted for the regulator to allow them to do this, but you wouldn't be, because your bills would go up. In drastically simplified terms, if your water company wanted to increase the amount of water main replaced each year by 2% of its total stock, then it'd add 20% to your bill, for no saving in operating costs. How does a 20% price increase grab you?

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Ledswinger
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Re: If the board of BT plc won't invest in a demerged Openreach....

"Are they really such desirable results though? <Glances at the bills that always seem to go up, even when the prices of gas and electricity go down>"

You'll need to speak to Red & Dead Ed about that example. With the mere threat or a price freeze, the energy companies had to lock in long term contracts to avoid being bankrupted if wholesale prices move upwards during the period of a price freeze. You can argue that they wouldn't go up (predicting wholesale markets is a mugs game, mind you), but the global price is set in dollars, so the companies were hedging both wholesale prices and exchange rate risk (with a Labour government the likelihood would be that sterling would fall and thus increase prices on all imports).

So the root cause of retail energy prices not falling as wholesale prices do is traditional socialist interference in markets, even if that were prospective interference. The other driver of prices not falling is simply that years of NuLab, Condem, and EU inspired interference mean that the wholesale price of energy is an ever declining proportion of your bill, as the various explicit and hidden subsidies escalate. So, for example, coal fired generation is cheap as chips, and has a very low wholesale price. But suppliers are legally obligated to buy ever increasing proportions of expensive "renewable" power, and in response to EU diktats, some 12 GW of thermal generating capacity will have closed by the end of this year. Coal could be free, and the wholesale price of coal fired generation would fall, but we'd still struggle to see any impact on UK retail energy prices.

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Ledswinger
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If the board of BT plc won't invest in a demerged Openreach....

...there's plenty of other companies and financial investors who would be delighted. The successful private ownership under regulation, of water and sewerage networks, gas and electricity grids shows that the required results can be delivered, with both adequate returns for private investors, and adequate delivery of legal and social needs. I'd happily agree there's been some mess ups, but overall the system works very well.

So maybe that's the problem. Not that a demerged and full regulated fixed line broadband and voice network can't operate successfully. But that, by their own CEO's admission, BT plc are the wrong owners.

That's fine by me. A simple demerger that separates the equity of Openreach from BT would leave investors with exactly the same assets they currently own, but under separate management. If any investors don't want to own a regulated monopoly, then they can sell their shares in Openreach plc, but the fatcat roadblock that is the board of BT plc get completely bypassed.

Make it so, number 1!

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Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Ledswinger
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"which have just won a smashing democratic endorsement"

I take it that's sarcasm?

Lightweight Dave won simply because he wasn't Ed Miiliband. Nobody knew what either parties' actual policies would be in any detail, nobody had a scooby about what their plans would cost, nor how those plans would be paid for.

To give credit where is due: I'm sure that nobody on the left of the political spectrum likes anything about Cameron, and in that respect he has united the nation, because everybody I know of a right wing persuasion feels quite similarly.

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Gaze upon the desirable Son of Alpha: Samsung Galaxy A5

Ledswinger
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Re: Had it for a couple of months

"nice battery life"

For a year or so, at any rate.

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Fox gives Minority Report the nod – precog goes primetime on tellybox

Ledswinger
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"Minority Report is a seriously whacky and underrated film IMO."

But sadly the premise for the series is merely about one of the characters. It'll be handed over to the lightweights of Amblin, get little input or love from Spielberg, and then be crafted to fit the interests of the commissioning network.

Every week Agatha will have some premonition of some dreadful occurrence, and then have to find some way of saving the day. But her talents will rouse a bit of popular resentment plus a suspicious sheriff, and she'll have to move along swiftly. Lassie on steroids, all designed for the easily pleased, packaged and sold to the highest bidder.

It's simply a cash-in to pay some of Spielberg's bills.

This has got my juices going

You're a Fox executive, then?

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The next Nest? We talk to Ring, the doorbell-come-security system

Ledswinger
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Re: A general problem with IoT devices

"If your doorbell gets stolen, don’t worry - we’ll replace it. For free."

If that's a winning business model, I'm sure phone and car makers will copy it. Having said that, I presume the business model is

Stage 1: Burn VC cash at frightening rate whilst rushing halfway decent solution to market and selling at or below breakeven;

Stage 2: Before cash runs out, sell company to bigger corporation hooked on IoT startups.

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OECD nations gang up on internet retailers, tax dodgers

Ledswinger
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Re: And a good thing too

"This proposal to force them to actually provide support for the countries they are feeding from is totally justified"

The problem that the politicians claim to be solving is one of their own making, having happily rubber stamped immensely long, poorly drafted, complex tax laws, and then idiotically signed tax and trading treaties that enable international corporations to engage in tax arbitrage. And since almost all countries prohibit profit shifting through transfer pricing, I've no doubt some of the rules already exist to prohibit dodgy licensing or reseller schemes - apparently the Ozthorities can't or won't enforce them, so its not really clear how more rules will solve anything.

Of course, adding another complicated tax law overlay won't solve the structural problems. This (as with the UK's similar ambitions) is the worst sort of gesture politics, since with the structural issues still in place, they're just squeezing the balloon at one end, and the tax dodging globocorps will come up with a new wheeze that puffs it up at the other end.

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All-Russian 'Elbrus' PCs and servers go on sale

Ledswinger
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Re: A decent market

"Outsourcing inevitably raises the espionage risk."

There is that. But the Yanks having all but confirmed that theory, they invite the Russians and Chinese to conclude that no US companies or technology can be trusted. So, the NSA have worked diligently to freeze US corporations out of the half of the world that don't get on with the US. Go team NSA!

Meanwhile, the Europeans continue to play nicely with Uncle Sam, happily paying extortionate sums for the "services" of untrustworthy US IT and BPO corporations, and (because that's not enough) then letting their own intelligence agencies hand over all and any data the US ask for, including commercial secrets, citizens personal data, and head of state phone calls.

The answer would appear to be "Europeans", in which case the question must be "who's the patsy?"

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Malfunctioning Russian supply podule EXPLODES above Pacific

Ledswinger
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"well at least you can enjoy burnt and broken pieces of Labour of Scottish origin. "

I'm looking forward to the inevitable single party Scottish Soviet Socialists Republic. It's going to be great fun watching them learn the hard way. The Scots will be better off than in the Union, but only after seven years of Grecian decline, and then fourteen years hard slog of recovery.

Now, I'm torn whether England should offer Scottish Unionists asylum, or whether the reverse should be the case with forcible repatriation of ethnic Scots. I think the latter is fairer (we wouldn't want to starve their economy of skills), and it has the benefit of reducing English unemployment, the only downside is Her Maj would need to find an alternative pad to Balmoral. And in the meanwhile we need to find a way of persuading the Welsh to take their football away.......

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Why carrier neutrality matters for 'proper hosting'

Ledswinger
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Carrier neutrality

Isn't that where you have carriers you're too afraid to put in harms way (like the US), or is it where you have a carrier or two, but they don't have any aircraft, making them as useful as a £6bn chocolate teapot (like the UK)? Or is where you have a carrier, but you don't join in the regular "bomb the savages on made up evidence" parties held by the international community (France, I'm looking at you)?

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Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Ledswinger
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Re: Rent a door lock?

" Will you come take it out of the door? Or will you try to lock me out of my own house?"

The answer is easy. Put yourself in the position of the "lock provider". It is expensive and difficult to physically take the lock out. It's a press of a button (assuming you don't automate that) to lock 'em out.

Sign up to any cloud data storage service and see how it works if you card payment gets skipped.

I'm not sure what this guy's smoking, but it must be powerful stuff.

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18-wheeler ROBOT JUGGERNAUT hits Nevada's highways. Cower, fleshies!

Ledswinger
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Re: Won't work in England.

"Hint: Maybe your speedo is telling you a different number to theirs?"

And? Many of of those driving HGVs appear to be dogf*ckers who need to read the highway code, or go back to carpet rolling and body stuffing school if they don't understand that it isn't the job of the driver in front to drive at a speed that suits the cretin in the truck behind.

Hint Two: Your speedo is deliberately designed to read HIGHER than you are actually going...

Some are, some aren't, and truck speedos are generally no more accurate than cars (I used to work for a major truck manufacturer). Either way doesn't alter the problem with some cretins who don't understand that a speed limit is (excepting rare circumstances) a maximum, not a minimum.

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POW: Smut-seeding copyright troll slammed as 'extortionate'

Ledswinger
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...seems like Mr Bean was defending.

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Firm with 80 per cent of UK mobile numbers fails to monetise them, sold to O2

Ledswinger
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Re: I presume consent has been given...

"I presume consent has been given"

I doubt that (making the unlikely assumption that Weve had obtained your consent in the first place) they'd need to renew it for a change in ownership of Weve, in the same way Tesco don't seek new approval as their shareholder register changes.

Having said that, since it is something to do with telecoms, (a) they probably didn't have real consent, and just rely on a highly questionable if not outright illegal clause buried in very very small print of a very long contract nobody reads, and (b) the data processing was long since offshored somewhere with lower costs and even lower standards of data protection, again relying for their authority to ship the data out on some other dodgy clause or even dodgier contract amendment that they never sent to customers.

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Why OH WHY is economics so bleedin' awful, then?

Ledswinger
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Re: Sitting Ducks

"AC to comply with election rules 'cos I'm an election candidate."

A pox on you and all the other indistinguishable charlatans standing for election.

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Ledswinger
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Re: There were many...

"Thing is though, it hasn't really happened yet..."

Don't worry. Internationally debt levels are rising - largely because although the private sector has pulled its belt in somewhat, governments continue to spend beyond their means. My suggestion is to keep an eye on China and Japan. At the moment nobody wants to lend to Japan given their bonkers level of national debt, so their central bank is printing the money to lend to itself. This can't end well.

China on the other hand, is about where Japan was back at the millennium. Vast amounts of debt financed property and infrastructure development that will go sour, and a rush of speculative lemmings into the stock market. We've seen this sooooo many times before that we know how this ends. You can fend off the inevitable for a while with yet more debt, but ultimately you end up like Spain or Greece - a bankrupt economy that has to endure five to fifteen years of stagnation and mass unemployment. I don't like the idea of mass unemployment in China any more than the Chinese Communist party, albeit for different if related reasons. But once you've wasted good money on bad investments, you can't wind the clock back, the money's gone, the banks are insolvent, and the brown stuff is being flicked off the fan with every rotation.

If either Japan or China has a real economic shock, then that will cause problems in other fragile economies with too much debt - the UK, Europe, and ultimately the US. All those free trade agreements won't looks so good when China's desperately devaluing to try and keep export levels up.

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Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

Ledswinger
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Re: I really don't want to go back to a gas oven.

"I think Musk's obsession with electricity only has prevented him from coming out with a really good vertically integrated solution. "

That really good vertically integrated system already exists. In the UK it's call the national grid, and it uses a network of wires to connect a vast range of alternative sources of power to a vast range of varying demands. This novel system enables users to benefit from the large economies of scale in power generation, to have a fair degree of redundancy and reserve capacity, and to have the system professionally managed 24/7.

Shame that the hippy dog-f*ckers want to throw all this away.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 4,192 KWh

"well batteries are coming close to 100% efficient (we'll call it 99% for the sake of argument)"

A lot better than they were, but probably more like 90% at best in the real world. Personally I don't see that gap closing any time soon. If 99% efficient energy storage were possible, I think 3.6 billion years of evolution would have sorted it out already.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A Great Innovation...But...@Caustic tWit

Some interesting and relevant points.

To clarify a couple of points, most boiler installations shouldn't be drawing combustion air from inside the house, they'd have a balanced flue or separate air intake. But your point is valid for vented tumble dryers, which should be banned with immediate effect (a good condensor works well, and all the heat stays in the thermal envelope of the house).

On energy efficiency, the majority of cavity wall houses have CWI, most lofts have at least a minimal level of insulation, and the remaining opportunity is therefore the 7m solid wall properties. Unfortunately solid wall insulation is expensive, and has a circa 20-40 year cash payback in most cases. You can subsidise it (as government do) but that's still a very expensive way of saving money or emissions.

As for air tightness, that's a real bug bear. Without expensive, well specified and installed heat recovery ventilation systems, greater air tightness leads to worse air quality, damp and mould, along with measurably worse health problems (some good Dutch studies available, published to the web in English if you want to look this up). In conceptual terms good air tightness is easy enough, in practice it is difficult to achieve, and requires a balance with air quality that reduces the initial benefits.

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Ledswinger
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No. The price differential isn't enough to offset the cost of the battery. If the battery cost fell by 75% it might be, but then you'd rapidly see off peak demand rise and peak demand shrink as everybody did this, the price difference would shrink and thus it would become uneconomic after you'd invested in the battery.

Also, because the standing charges of the network and central generation wouldn't change by much, the regulator would need to step in and institute the sort of complex charging that businesses are subject to, so you'd have a standing charge, a maximum capacity charge, a maximum actual current charge, and a unit charge, and thus the variable element of the bill would fall and the fixed element creep up (again undermining the price arbitrage).

The underlying financial case for local battery storage relies on beneficiaries benefiting at the the expense of other users. This isn't apparent at low levels of market penetration, but when a lot of people do it becomes a real problem. In much the same way that poor people in flats currently pay higher electricity prices to subsidise wealth pensioners getting PV or "renewable heat" subsidies.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Not tried an induction hob@ phuzz

"A large gas fired power station can be optimised for efficiency,"

In the old world yes. But in DECC's brave new world, few if any UK CCGT are covering their cost of capital plus running costs. And because they're regularly shut down at the whim of subsidy-driven solar and wind, it is uneconomic to run them in combined cycle mode. So they're being either mothballed, or downgraded to run as open cycle plant. What this means is that all those lovely wind turbines and PV plant reduce the efficiency of gas generation to that of a 1970s coal fired station.

Factor in 13% parasitic loads and grid losses, and distributing gas is far more efficient than electricity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Surplus power@ Hairy Spod

"actually link these to an economy 7 electricity tariff topping up overnight when a fair amount of generation capacity is currently wasted and these might actually make a lot more sense."

Problem is, if you increase overnight utilisation, then the generously low off peak prices disappear. This will happen as cars and heating shift to electrical power, but it has some very regressive implications for existing E7 heat customers. For early adopters (eg those swanning around in £85k's worth of Tesla Model S) this is hunky dory, but as the demand and daily price curves flatten you'll start to see relatively low income households paying higher heating prices to give rich EV drivers cheaper transport, as an inevitable but unintended outcome of a largely left wing set of "climate change" policies.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Surplus power

"One of the problems with nuclear power is that it can't spin up quickly to meet demand, it's better at providing a steady, constant level of power."

If DECC and the eco-brigade get their way, then they will be adding many TWh of transport and heating demand to electricity demand, and because even a fossil grid can't support the instantaneous demand that implies, the grid will need to move from despatching generation to meet demand, to despatching demand to meet generation. This is absolutely inevitable if DECC's decarbonisation agenda is to be delivered. And in this low carbon nirvana, renewables will never be able to supply the additional circa 500 TWh/a of electrical energy (cf 360 TWh/a UK electricity demand at present).

Put simply, car charging would be remotely controlled overnight by a third party, as would heating, and we'll then be in a land where the network operator manages the demand profile. If you they do that, we will be able to easily get very close to a flat demand curve (albeit with seasonal variation on the heating load), and the logical solution is nuclear power, and to stuff the hippies' unreliable, subsidy dependent eco-toys.

You do then have household storage (the car battery and heat storage through a thermal store of thermal inertia effects, rather than battery storage for household use), but you'd not get the volume of additional energy from renewables. And running a grid with nice big nuke plants is a lot easier than managing a grid with poorly controlled and huge daily and seasonal swings in manky, asynchronous inputs. I would expect sometime in the next few years we'll see a major grid failure due the problems of balancing and synchronising the grid with all the crappy subsidy farms that have sprung up in response to DECC's misguided policies - this is probably a greater threat than winter blackouts due to lack of gross capacity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Think I'll wait...

" that 10yr guarantee seems hard to take seriously"

There's a tendency to judge industrial applications of li-ion by our experience of consumer devices, but that is a bit like trying to extrapolate the performance of an articulated lorry from the performance of a small family car.

The economics are certainly challenging, but the lifetime and guarantee is actually easily sorted - my employers have looked at this very seriously from a grid scale perspective. Firstly the maker needs to make the battery to the required standards, second they specify materials and design conservatively, and third they use control gear to very carefully control the charging and discharging regime to make sure that the battery is optimally managed for service life.

So to get that sort of service life you'd have limits on both charging current and discharge rates, you'd need to manage the cycling between too much and too little, and you'd need to adjust the management according to the temperature. Even with those extended warranties, the problem is that the value of a storage is fairly low, and the financial case only works in isolated high value situations and at small volumes. You can (for example) bid into the network operators ancillary services market, but the relatively low energy density makes batteries less competitive than a lot of other options, and where batteries win out is only really on their speed of response, rather than their ability to support extended outages (cf a diesel generator with enough fuel for five days running, say). If you think about a data centre, for example, you might well have a battery UPS, but that's only there to cover the few minutes until the big Caterpillars out the back have rumbled into life. Cheaper unit prices for batteries don't look likely to change that any time soon.

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Ledswinger
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@YetAnotherLocksmith

"Further, you will be insulated from power spikes, brown outs and cuts almost completely - how many household items will that save?"

Only if you're 100% off grid. A battery isn't a UPS or a surge protector, and in many (if not most) scenarios decentralised generation has to cut off when the grid power fails - partly for safety reasons, and partly because having unsynchronised local generation when mains power restores can cause interesting problems. You can fix both of these issues, but it'll cost even more, or you could take your chances if your grid operator has lax rules.

I'm all in favour of people doing their own thing, but on condition that they completely forgo the grid connection, or pay a fairly heft capacity charge for the standby option that they expect to be available. In some parts of the world you might be able to be grid independent and still enjoy a 21C lifestyle, but that will only be feasible for a small percentage of the population.

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Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

Ledswinger
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Re: Huhuhu

" You sure you don't want to buy a few more F-35? You might need them."

But not as much as Lockheed need to flog more F35s, as the costs have spiralled upwards, the US cuts the orders, and the clowns of the UK government back themselves into having only 8 per carrier.

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JP Morgan bank bod accused of flogging customer account info

Ledswinger
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Re: Who would have known?

"who would have known that a banker could be unethical"

But this is small time unethical, and that's wrong and must be punished. If, however, you're in the Eccles Building, debasing the world's reserve currency and thus stealing billions from ordinary people to make the rich richer, then that's fine. And likewise, if you're so unethical in your pursuit of big bonuses that you bring the financial system to its knees by undue risk taking, and need bailing out at taxpayer expense, then that's fine too.

Moral of the story: Justice is for little people. In other news, Pope reportedly has balcony; Bears find use for woods.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Want to bet on an entrapment defense?

"(2) It actually is some kind of entrapment and this guy was targeted for some reason."

If the article is correct, you have to wonder why the crim contacted an undercover FBI agent to sell the info. The odds of this happening by chance would seem to be vanishingly small.

He presumably believed he would get away scot free, and rather worryingly that says that he knew or believed that JPM's systems allowed access to all of the necessary data and wouldn't leave a digital footprint that audit systems would pick up, even if he'd not been trying to sell to the Feds.

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Brits send Star Wars X-wing fighter to the stratosphere

Ledswinger
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Re: Here's an interesting poser that I have posed elsewhere.

"The Harrier's jet engines are fitted in VTOL configuration, where as the X-Wing's engines are fitted in a fixed-forward configuration."

Not really relevant to my point. When vectored for forward flight a Harrier has no vertical thrust component from the engine. What's more pertinent to the X Wing question is the relatively small wings relative to the brick-like aerodynamics, and to the weight of the aircraft, along with the anhedral configuration (drooping wings).

And there's quite a few aircraft with small wings that can fly - as others have commented, the F104 is particularly notable, along with the EE Lightning. Arguably even the Tornado has a very small wing area for its size.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Here's an interesting poser that I have posed elsewhere.

"The afterburners were lit up and the ground shook as the Vulcan went up veritcally."

Is that so?

Perhaps this really isn't the sort of place to claim that Vulcans had afterburners (ignoring flying testbed configurations), as half of us are anoraks who know better. I doubt the airframe would have been strong enough for 50% more thrust from the engines.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Here's an interesting poser that I have posed elsewhere.

"Given adequate funds, would it be possible to build a jet-engined full-size X-Wing that could fly like a normal aircraft? "

Given the improbable aerodynamics of the Harrier, or the SR-71, I would suggest that getting a modified X-Wing to fly would not be an insurmountable challenge, just an expensive one. At a guess you'd probably only want two rather than four engines, and you're then perhaps drifting towards and ARC-170.

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UK exam board wants kids to be able to Google answers

Ledswinger
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"with the aim of solving a problem which hasn't been proven to exist"

Actually, the problem has been demonstrated to exist, which is that a good proportion of exams favour those better at rote learning of facts than solving problems, and for many subjectively assessed subjects also favour those who can write quickly. Einstein comes to mind as the finest example of somebody who was not served well by such approaches to assessing ability, possibly because he was dyslexic.

I can see some value in both rote learning, fact retention, and the ability to write quickly and coherently, on the other hand it means that in most subjective assessments these capabilities will trump people of superior intellect and problem solving who can't write quickly or struggle to remember things you'd look up in the real world anyway.

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France wants to make les citoyens' health data available to world+dog

Ledswinger
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Re: I was a little upset the other day...

"So how come I got a message tailored to back backs? "

Perhaps because (according to NHS numbers) around 45% of the adult population suffer from back pain in any one year, and the best and most accurate marketing approach would be to spam every email they realistically can. There's very few targeted marketing campaigns that might hope to see half their spam reach a potentially interested customer.

Not defending the crime of spam, just sayin.......

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Google officially doubles EU lobbying – but true figure is surely higher

Ledswinger
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Do no evil

...get others to do it on your behalf.

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