* Posts by Ledswinger

3172 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

MI5 boss: We NEED to break securo-tech, get 'assistance' from data-slurp firms

Ledswinger
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"And yet all the snooping did fuck-all good in Sydney or France."

Or in the London 7/7 bombings. Or the botch 21 July attempted bombings. Or the June 2007 attack on Glasgow airport, and linked attempts to detonate car bombs in London. Or the Boston marathon bombs. Or the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. Or the Madrid bombings.

And whilst I can't comment on the Madrid cases, in almost all the other cases the assailants were on the radar of the security services beforehand, just like the vermin causing grief in France.

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CES 2015: The good, the mad and the POINTLESS

Ledswinger
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Re: You've got me brimming

"That alone would be worthwhile to upgrade my LCD for. If they come in with decent pricing, I'm interested"

"decent pricing" on a new launch product? Maybe you'll get that at a decent price by 2019.

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Users shun UK.gov flagship digital service

Ledswinger
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" Far better than the old sites its replacing,"

But it's just a portal to other sites, each with its own logic and purpose. So if you search on self assessment, gov.uk comes top of the list, but then merely directs you off to HMRC that has its own identity, logic and design. If you search on taxing a car then something similar happens, and then you end up at the DVLA's self service web site (which is delightfully painless given the poor reputation of DVLA, or painless until you get stung for hundreds of quid).

Given that gov.uk is generally a bit pointless I suppose it doesn't matter that (eg) NS&I and industry regulators seem to be outside the scope of gov.uk.

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Euro Parliament: Time to rethink DRIP, other snoop laws

Ledswinger
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Fat chance

I would suggest that the ongoing unpleasantness in France (which may yet trigger similar outrages elsewhere in Europe) will be used by security services as grounds to get their national governments to tell the EU commission to go swing. And that will occur whether data retention has any relevance or not to the sad events in France or not.

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Toyota to Tesla: we can play the free patent game as well

Ledswinger
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Re: Could be useful

"Id be unsurprised in the overall efficiency of leccy to fuel to wheel wasn't at least as good with syndiesel in a modern TD as electrolytic hydrogen in a fuel cell."

Be unsurprised. I work for a company with large and pioneering investments in producing H2 from electricity, and that's exactly the situation. Fuel cells produce heat and power, that gives them their high theoretical efficiencies. But unless you can continuously use all the heat and all the power, the efficiency nose dives. And you're right that methanation (converting H2 to CH4) is the only logical application of dissociation of H2O, because most spark ignition engines can be converted to use CH4, and CH4 is easy to store and handle.

Sadly the end to end system efficiency as CH4 is still diabolical (if better than H2), and you'd need to cover the planet with wind turbines and PV to get anything useful from it, and the costs of doing that are not credible.

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FBI boss: Sony hack was DEFINITELY North Korea, haters gonna hate

Ledswinger
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Yeah...

...we'll believe you, given your track record. Not.

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It's 2015 and ATMs don't know when a daughterboard is breaking them

Ledswinger
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Re: It's hard to feel sorry for the victims

"You realise any losses the bank incurs are recouped one way or another through you being a customer?"

To an extent. Or they just get the government to bail them out, and keep paying the obscene bonuses typical in financial disservices.

But when the banks' crooked City gamblers repeatedly get fined billions by regulators for an ever changing kaleidoscope of new and novel frauds, and they then repeatedly stuff customers, shareholders, or the state with all the losses, they don't need to change their rancid, thieving culture, so why worry about a few tens of millions in ATM or card fraud?

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Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players

Ledswinger
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Re: Just like real life then?

I wonder if he'll eat, shoot and leave?

If he's Bill Gates he'll eat shit and leave.

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YES, we need TWO MEELLION ORACLE licences - DEFRA

Ledswinger
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Re: ....and they say the public sector is cut to the bone.

" If heads don't roll, lessons will not be learned."

Culture survives the elimination of individuals. What's needed is the complete closure of DEFRA. As far as I can see they don't do much of any use, other than refuse to accept scientific evidence on everything from BSE to bovine TB, fail to fight effectively for British agriculture in Europe, at the same time ignore scientific advice on fisheries whilst still selling British fishermen down the river, etc etc.

I'm with the badgers, and I vote for all of DEFRA to be gassed in their offices, or be trapped in cages as they commute to and from work, and then shot by marksmen.

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Sardine fishing in Kerala: Who benefits from mobile phones?

Ledswinger
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@TheOtherHobbes

"You clearly know nothing about actual information science and have no business 'educating' anyone here."

I think Mr Worstal has just delivered you the academic equivalent of a wedgie, and well deserved it is, too.

So, how about you bugger off back to the warm, fluffy pages of the Graun? Seems to be where your understanding of both technology and economics originated, to judge by your generally anti-corporate, anti-market, pro-state posts?

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Whew, US cellcos... Better find a new revenue stream, QUICK

Ledswinger
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Re: Reason for M&A @ Charles 9

"So put it this way, if it's between going to the big telcos and simply disappearing, which would you prefer?"

Your argument is fatally flawed. Buggy makers went bust because even the earliest cars were better value investment for buyers - the demand for transport never went away, the customers simply went from the buggy maker's shop to the car maker's shop. In terms of this topic, mobile communications, where are you suggesting the customers for mobile communications go? It's not like somebody's come up with telepathy.

Punters either need to pony up for LTE (which industry are claiming they won't), or industry needs to accept that there isn't an economic demand for LTE across the whole mobile market. Maybe some fraction of the market does have an economic demand (that is, desire for a product and the willingness and ability to pay for it), but that means that MNOs need to position themselves as mass market 3G providers using existing assets, or they can try and take a smaller, premium market position offering LTE - if the economics stack up.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Reason for M&A have nothing to do with cost savings

"too expensive to keep customers, yet not expensive enough to get the revenues you need to invest in improving yourself."

I'm intrigued by this idea. Where do you think that the customers that a fragmented industry "can't keep" go? LTE is being driven by technology, the industry, and to a small degree regulators, but the message that industry are giving is that customers won't pay a necessary price to provide the toys they want.

Hey! Mobile operators! Welcome to the real world, where customers want the world, they want it yesterday, and they want if for free. And as happens with good but expensive ideas elsewhere, maybe networks need to accept that if LTE is something that customers won't pay for, they shouldn't invest in it.

M&A won't help unless it increases the customer density. But that reduces competition and moves market power to the telcos, which doesn't seem very desirable to me.

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Ledswinger
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Re: When will they learn

" to get that fast and reliable connectivity, you eventually have to plunk down for more infrastructure: either more spectrum or more cells"

Only as a matter of commercial choice. I see no evidence that LTE will lead to better coverage, nor to any cost effective proposition to replace my fixed line broadband, so my network may as well stick to the current 3G H+ (when you're lucky) offer, and eschew the development of a 4G network.

Eventually such an approach produces a two tier market, with those valuing high speed mobile data paying their way, and those prepared to tolerate the current mix of price and service able to stick with that. Seems to me the problem is only for telco's playing "keeping up with the Joneses" by investing in 4G for which there's not a genuine economic demand.

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Cheap Android phones? Bah! How about a $29 mobe from Microsoft?

Ledswinger
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"And just $29 ?!?!?!? Amazing."

Where have you been for the past few years?

If you want a basic Nokia phone for voice calls then they were cheap as chips long before this - for example, if available in your market look at the Nokia 106, currently being sold for £9 (brand new, major retailer) in the UK. That's less than $14.

If you're not hung up on Nokia, then an Alcatel 10.10 will set you back £5 from the same retailer, less than $8.

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Ledswinger
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Re: No 3G? Useless in some parts of the world...

"Main area is emerging markets, such as Africa."

So they hope. But there's two problems:

Firstly that all emerging markets have seen what you can get for $30 from a Chinese no name, and by any reckoning if you choose well you'd have something equivalent to the first or second generation iPhone or a Nokia 5800. Evidence the world over suggests that the lower battery life of a smartphone is something the vast majority of users will tolerate for the extended capabilities. And even off grid, developing markets have credible options like small, simple PV trickle chargers that are next to useless in frigid and sunless northern climes.

Secondly, in their desire to keep the name Microsoft "exclusive" (hah!) they've created a situation where even if this new cheapy phone is a success, there's no brand upgrade path. Microsoft must have a special strategy department dedicated to snatching defeat from the jaws of any potential victory.

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Samsung forks 4K with Tizen tellies

Ledswinger
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"We want to sell you UHD devices..."

Arguably they don't want to sell UHD tellies at all, because if they did they wouldn't be taking a punt on Tizen. There's no theoretical reason that Tizen couldn't deliver, but based on the precedent of the depressing standard of TV UIs and firmware, the dreadful ad-loaded programme guides and privacy concerns, the lack of software support the moment it leaves the factory, the weak functionality, tumbleweed strewn proprietary app stores, painfully slow processors, inadequate input options........

All these things make me hugely dubious of any maker introducing a new OS.

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Want to shoot FIREBALLS from your wrists, SPIDER-MAN style?

Ledswinger
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Re: Better out of the wrist..

Buy the kit, hack it a bit to release a single tube and you can find out which is better. You might want to wrap that flameproof cuff round your nads, of course.

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Zuckerberg asks the public to tell him where to go in 2015

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmm.@ Lost all faith

"When someone publishes a picture with faces in it, every single person is blurred out and only when that person agrees to it (opt in not out please), can a specific face be un-blurred."

Oh, come off it. If you really want privacy you wouldn't be on Facebook in the first place, and if you valued your friends privacy you wouldn't be posting their pictures.

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30 years ago today, the first commercial UK 'mobile' phone call was made

Ledswinger
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Re: Memories

"A load of show off's still saying 'I'm on the train' in loud and obnoxious voices."

It's things like that make me yearn for a pocket signal jammer. Not continuous or wide area, just a pen sized, on-demand device that can cut twats off in their prime.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Meanwhile back in the early 70s@Bloakey1

"and I oft times wombled far and wide carrying silly weights and wearing silly clothes that got heavier and wetter when it rained"

Yeah, but that was back in the days when you were the dangerous chap delivering Milk Tray to ladies, right? I believe surprise was important then, so phoning ahead was not really part of the task. For my part...well, it doesn't matter what my small part was in the grand scheme of those days, but I'm glad I'm not doing that (white collar, office-ish) job now, what with all three remaining MODPlod probably wetting themselves over the insecurity of digital data, and every man jack traipsing in and out with gigabytes of storage in their pocket.

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If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Ledswinger
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Re: Quad play

"So tell me, where is BT's monopoly?"

You've not heard of this "Openreach" operation, I take it?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Jargon!

"When the beancounters start reading El Reg...."

You haven't noticed the increasingly populist nature of the Reg? The car reviews, the TV reviews, the hand blender and hairdryer reviews? And a move towards more graphical content, bright colours and baubly HTML? And an increasingly international editorial stance. All of which has a cost, in particular the quality of the commentariat, where there's now more than a few posters who appear to know nothing about anything, and would be better served over on SpeakyawbraneBook.

This change has a distinct smell to it. Many other formerly specialist sites have gone down this route - build a strong reputation in your niche, establish a community (that's us), prettify, diversify, and build the eyeball count, then sell out.

Purch Inc could do with a decent business IT publication, having swallowed the more hardware focused Tom's and Anandtech, so maybe that's who will be running the Reg by sometime in 2016. Could somebody please start up a UK focused, rather cocky, red-top tech web site to take over the true mantle when the Reg finally passes over into the corporate world?

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Ledswinger
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"Lets hope the current management has at least one working braincell unlike those back in the 90s"

'Fraid not. Two reasons for that:

1) All corporates who believe that M&A are a road to riches and success are misguided - transaction costs are high, there's a distraction from running the core business, you invariably end up with asset writedowns and goodwill to pay off, and integrating two large businesses effectively is a skill rarer than hen's teeth. Admittedly BT get access to the mobile market when this goes through, but they could have got that through a virtual MNO deal (buying some OFGEM firepower if the MNO's balked at agreeing a MVNO deal).

2) Companies have strong and enduring cultures that persist across generations of management. Look at how BT still have an arrogant, state monopolist mindset. Or how energy or water companies still offer standards of service biased towards the dismal standards of the public sector that they supposedly left twenty five years ago. Similarly BA's poor industrial relations. Even in the purely private sector corporate cultures persist for decades - for example John Lewis customer service, or (before they deservedly went bust) Comet's decades long attitude of "stuff your consumer rights, you're not getting your money back", or Ford's iffy reliability accompanied by an excellent parts organisation.

So I think we'll see the same old story. BT have a tame regulator who won't hold them to account, so that's on their side. They're buying from a moderately distressed seller. And they have vast market clout, and a big bag of cash. They've previously agreed FTTC as the limit of their fixed line broadband obligation, and suddenly it all becomes clear why they liked FTTC. Hook up the cabinet as backhaul connected to a multitude of small aerials fitted to the adjacent street furniture, and they're laughing - those cabinets suddenly become hugely valuable commercial assets, despite being paid out of the Openreach "regulatory" settlement, and not needing planning permission. Suddenly LLU grinds to a halt because "there's no spare capacity at the exchange", so that'll be competitors and business customers f***ed.

BT's customer-hating and inept management will be undoubtedly be able to snatch some small defeat from the jaws of this huge victory, but overall our former national telecoms monopolist will have just reconstructed itself, with (at best) a single second tier competitor in the shape of (perhaps) Vodafone/Virginmedia. As a big picture strategic play, BT's management have played a blinder here and I tip my hat to them if they pull it off, unfortunately this strategic success is very one sided and the only beneficiaries will be BT management and shareholders, with the losers including all mobile and fixed line customers and all competitors.

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Ledswinger
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In theory....

BT should be charging the same for backhaul to competitors as to its own business, and thus the advantage to BT, and disadvantage to the likes of 3 UK would be minimised. Unfortunately with OFCOM very much a "failed state" amongst regulators, there's no transparency on this at all, and we can expect BT to run rings round the OFCOM numpties and ensure that its business is favoured over competitors.

The simple solution would be for government to refer the proposed transaction the Competition & Markets Authority, with a strong steer that Openreach needs to be demerged from BT's other businesses (or at the very least legally and financially separated, with proper public reporting of related party transactions). Probably about time that the VM cable empire was subject to similar rules on third party access as well.

Sadly snow-covered pigs will be flying in hell before the bunglers of Westminster or at Southwark Bridge Road do anything useful. And the net result when they enthusiastically rubber stamp BT's plans will be reduced competition in all fixed and mobile markets, and higher customer charges.

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Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Ledswinger
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@Dave 126

"If I was Games Workshop..."

...I'd be investigating the prospect of printing some more nerdy customers to buy my overpriced plastic trinkets? Or offering the patterns for sale, but keeping the designers producing new designs that the "committed" have to keep forking out for.

When you think about it, Games Wankshop are in the same place as physical music retailers were fifteen years or so ago. They don't need the distribution channel, nor even the manufacturing, the product potentially could be sold purely as printing patterns. Keep the shops but instead of selling stock just have a 3D printer for those not willing to make the investment, and with a primary function as nerd meeting chambers to keep the Warhammer brand alive (or perhaps undead).

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Ledswinger
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Re: ready for the mainstream?

I'm not sure they will ever be ready for the (home) mainstream - the 3D printing technology can be perfected, but the fundamental restriction in home use is that spare parts or duplicates are very occasional needs, and for anything original, preparing a design pattern requires creativity and technical skill, as well as some application.

Most of us couldn't be arsed to work out and remember how to program a VCR - can you see this same market sitting over AutoCAD Home 3D to produce a unique, well, anything? Anybody who's done any (pencil) technical drawing knows that software only automates the dragging of a pencil, not the thinking. I suppose it's a ready market for those who want to 3D scan and print some more Warhammer figures (you'd get your money back quickly enough on those), but that seems a bit of a niche market?

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German minister photo fingerprint 'theft' seemed far too EASY, wail securobods

Ledswinger
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"The stuff to do this is available from your local Maplin's for a handful of pounds, and will get you into most of these systems"

But the day to day use of fingerprints is not really about security is it? My bank don't use it as part of their 2FA, my employers don't use it as part of their 2FA, and I can't think of any instance that a fingerprint is acceptable, other than low threshold smartphone access control and the school uses you mention (where the risks of error or fraud are outweighed by the benefits of recording access, not replacing lost cards, not having pupils carrying cash etc).

I'm sure other readers will have experience of (eg) corporate IT that might use built in fingerprint readers, but I've worked reasonably widely and think I'm correct to say that's an absolute minority of companies.

If you accept fingerprint ID as a simple but not very secure access control for low value applications it isn't that bad, and probably no less robust than the sort of enterprise password policies that cause half the staff to write this months password on a post it fixed to the monitor.....

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Ledswinger
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Re: In a sane world

" Simpler people are still stuck at the "but my mate here can't unlock my phone and I can! See? It's working!" stage, and there are no signs that would change anytime soon."

But it depends what you're trying to protect, and how much resource the "attacker" is willing to deploy. Compared to the probable alternative of a four digit PIN, a fingerprint reader is potentially still more secure at protecting the average Joe's phone data against casual access (noting caveats about bypassing fingerprint readers). But if you're a "high net worth individual" (aka a rich b*****d), with sensitive financial data on the device then you'd be a fool to rely on your fingerprint.

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Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

Ledswinger
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Re: I can still

"Sadly, it will have the m$ tainted legacy still and no one will use it unless forced to at gunpoint"

If only that were so. But many people will use it other than at gunpoint - eg the hundreds of millions of unlucky corporate users being force-fed by their IT colleagues. And the big chunk of all home users who choose not to (or don't know how or why to) install non-IE solutions. Worth bearing in mind that the browser ballot screen has now disappeared from new WIndows installs in Europe, so that's a market of 500m people that won't have all new machines actively offering alternatives.

The market share for browsers varies widely depending on whose numbers you believe, their definitions of the market and their method. As far as I can see IE probably still has a majority share of browsing, and will continue to do so in the PC market, even though it deserves nothing more than an unmarked shallow grave.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Corporate ActiveX anyone@ Harri Koppel

Have a downvote in response, since you're evidently not clever enough to see that my comment on a legal need for IT audit isn't statist, simply a practical response to the persistent failure of corporates to address IT security. Moreover, if you've read any of my other posts you'd see that I'm avowedly opposed to most forms of government interventions, and that is why I proposed IT audit rather than prescriptive legal forms of compliance or retribution.

But rather than trade insults, let's hear your ideas for preventing the continuing data breaches at major corporations? The 250 million user records in the handful of major examples I listed (ie excluding the breaches not known or not publicly disclosed) show that companies concerned could have learned from experience and good practice, but have chosen not to. If they aren't going to fix the problem, and government won't act, is your solution to do nothing, or to mumble some cobblers about "market solutions"?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Corporate ActiveX anyone

" A few more incidents as big as Sony and they will find money to replace insecure in-house legacy web garbage."

The persistent failures to secure customer data suggest otherwise. TJX was hacked in 2007, Sony PSN in 2011, Target was hacked in 2013, Neiman Marcus the same, and Home Deport still got hit in 2014, along with plenty of others.

Now cast your mind (or rather web browser) back to 2010, and search for the Verizon 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report. Have a scan of it. A good piece of work, as relevant today as it was then.

So corporates have the answers on a plate (and have had for years). They have seen the wolves tear into other members of their pack. They've seen the financial pain and embarrassment caused. But they choose to do nothing. Hacks will continue, lazy corporates will simply strike cheap deals with the credit record agencies as a "solution" for hacked customers, and go back to doing what they've always done, of preferring to put money into marketing rather than IT infrastructure.

You can pass all the laws you want and nothing will change until independent IT audit is a legal requirement, requires the auditor to be changed every two years and legally bans IT auditors from disclaiming responsibility for any failings that they fail to identify but that subsequently come to light.

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Key to Windows mobe app sales? Er, LOW MEMORY, of course

Ledswinger
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$9.99 apps?

I'm interested that the modal value for app purchase is $9.99. Seems very high to me, given the value-free cruft that afflicts all app ecosystems, and the prevalence of freemium business models.

Anybody have any insight into what's really going on here?

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Tesla parades sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans

Ledswinger
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Re: As a concept

" It's worth noting that the populace should not be paying for these infrastructures or services any more than we should pay for petrol stations."

Why not? The populace might not want to, but that's immaterial. The only thing you can suggest they "should" be paying is the operating costs, and a fair rate of return on capital employed (including commercial risk).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Drag coef of 0.31 - why so high?

Well, primarily because (if the photo's accurate) even with the new version they've simply stuck with the formula of shoving a battery and a motor in a Lotus Elise, which is fundamentally a twenty year old design conceived for a power to weight ratio of 200 hp/tonne. Why mess around spending thousands more hours in the wind tunnel when that would make no material difference to the handling or acceleration?

Regarding the contributors to the 0.31 cd, at a semi-educated guess, it's because aerodynamically challenging essentials such as wheels and wheelarches, windscreen wipers, doorhandles, cabin air intakes, wing mirrors etc are proportionately a smaller contributor to the overall drag of larger vehicles. With an Elise based body design you've got a very small car, and unless you can magic away the lumpy bits designed around the size of a human, then you'll struggle to make a road legal smaller car have a materially improved cd. If there were a free lunch from improved aerodynamics, then car companies would have been onto it some years ago simply to improve fuel economy to meet CAFE or to gain a marketing advantage.

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Ledswinger
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Re: As a concept

"Accredited battery sharing clauses will make refuelling with new batteries mandatory and as profitable as the market will allow."

Swapping batteries is technically feasible, the problem is that it won't work if the asset ownership transfers at every battery change - think of the nature of the second hand car market, and you'll see that you'd have perennial problems of companies and car owners trying to swap duff battery packs onto unsuspecting mugs, and seeking only to ever take back prime condition packs.

A battery leasing model might be the way forward. The lease company owns the asset and provides it fully charged, the customer pays for energy metered out of the battery plus the costs of swapping and asset depreciation. Battery ageing is a minimal problem because as a driver you're never landed with a duff battery that you own, and because the battery leasing company can monitor the asset condition and life expectancy of every battery, withdrawing packs as they age.

The problems with this are that there will be limited competition in the battery leasing market. Even if you have multiple leasors, a battery swap station will only carry a few brands. It will also be a natural business evolution for business leasing (ie financial services) companies, so given the inherently crooked nature of financial services I would expect unfair T&C, penalties for "exiting" one leasing scheme to join another, punitive costs for wear and tear or accident damage, restrictions on self charging, and anything else that the bankers can invent to line their pocket at the expense of the consumer.

However, given the limitations and losses in battery EVs, I can't help concluding that EVs will remain a metropolitan solution. A more practical universal "low emissions" transport solution would be power-to-gas systems using H2 dissociation and methanation to produce methane, which most spark ignition engines could easily run on. End to end efficiency is poor, but that's true of EV's outside of the laboratory, but methane powered transport is fully compatible with anerobic digestion of degradable wastes, with fossil natural gas solution, and potential future resources like gas hydrates.

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Cambridge boffins and Boeing fly first hybrid airplane over British skies

Ledswinger
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Re: Can you clairfy

"Isn't that a bit inefficient? "

Undoubtedly. But in a prototype that doesn't matter one hoot, because you're focusing on getting other more important bits to either work (at all) or to deliver some previously unachieved efficiency.

Regenerative braking is possible in theory, in practice it will never happen, because the aircraft's drag is normally the only braking it ever needs other than on approach and landing, and the weight penalty of any additional energy recovery gear would more than counteract the tiny recovered amount of energy.

I think where this hybrid tech eventually find a home is in keeping larger unmanned craft airborne for longer, rather than manned aircraft.

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Super Cali's futuristic Tesla batt swap focus – even though car tech test is an expected bonus

Ledswinger
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Re: Great headline

"That might be what it takes to get drivers to embrace electric."

I think you'll find the biggest barrier to owning a model S is simply the amount of money needed to buy one.

This "fast or free" is simply experimentation. With relatively modest electric vehicle penetration of the car market, the instantaneous charging demand of EV's on fast charge would melt the grid, which means either slow, scheduled charging off peak, or building a fuelling stations with an intermediate energy storage facility capable of fast discharge (and that's going to have some chunky capex and operating costs). The days when users could just plug your EV into a grid connected charger when it suited them will pretty soon draw to a close.

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BONK for CASH in Brixton and help us EAT the RICH

Ledswinger
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Re: Another alt-currency?

"It's not really a currency, more like some kind of voucher system AFAICT"

What, like one of those £5 beer vouchers that have Her Maj on one side, and Liz Fry on the other?

Even when coins contained real gold and silver, they were for most people just metallic vouchers because it was only the nobility who had any functional use for the precious metals.

That's all money is - a medium of exchange, or a voucher. Time was when economists insisted that it was also a "store of value", but with negative real interest rates and (intentionally under-reported) inflation that's not been the case for quite a few years now.

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Welsh council rapped for covert spying on sick leave worker

Ledswinger
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Re: A Jagged perspective

" If they suspect the individual is not ill, then that is a form of benefits fraud and should be passed to the appropriate agencies (of which the council is not one)."

Wrong on two counts, my friend. First this was about sick leave from the council as an employer, so the benefits issue doesn't arise, and second, if there were a benefits issue, the local authority is responsible for housing benefit which is usually concurrently claimed in long term "can't work" scenarios.

My wife works with a colleague who always has the week before Christmas off. I'd be quite happy for my employers to waste their money verifying that the very, very few days I have off sick are legit, and I'd be more than pleased if the CCTV vans parked up outside my wife's colleague's house to make sure she was properly laid up.

There's lots of people with genuine health issues. But sadly there's also lots of fucking dossers who think that a sicky is part of their contract, and who don't give a shit about the other people who have to pick up their work. In most white collar office work it can wait until the ill person/skiver gets back, in delivery jobs some poor bastard has to do their job and somebody else's.

Not that I'm defending Caerphilly council, who (unless there's some history) were clearly harassing their own staff.

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Google Tax part 94: EU's H-dot wavers over copyright levy

Ledswinger
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Re: Makes your head spin

"Unless the EU can make a news aggregator as popular as Google, with the added handicap that this news aggregator will have to pay to provide the snippets"

Lets hope the berks try. They're committed to wasting their budget anyway, so it's not exactly going to be a net loss to taxpayers if the Eurotwats try and code up a Google replacement. But it would be a joy to watch.

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If 4G isn’t working, why stick to the same approach for 5G?

Ledswinger
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Re: Pesky Claude Shannon

"Form an MVNO or partner with a telco and converge the ISP wifi box with a cell base station. "

The other thing they could with smaller cells is share physical infrastructure with non-telco operators. There's a bit of that going on (eg mastheads on water towers or office buildings) but with smaller cell size you'd (presumably) have less need for quite such height, and you could then use taller lamp posts, electricity distribution poles and the like?

I'm sure the owners of those assets could invent a millions reasons as to why it couldn't work, but if the MNOs want to one day make mobile connectivity more than a lie in an advert, then they need to start thinking this way.

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UK cops caught using 12 MILLION Brits' mugshots on pic database

Ledswinger
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What's his beef?

I must say I can't see MacGregor's concerns. According to the article these photos are already police custody photographs, so they're on record anyway, and the "risks" to all involved are no different to having some plod sitting and going through the big book of mugshots manually. Personally I'd rather the police were out on the beat rather than sitting drinking tea because some QC has conjured a largely imaginary risk.

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Boggling bum babe Kim fails to 'break the internet' – Robin Williams instead tops Google charts

Ledswinger
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Re: Kim k

"Why is that cow still given press? Why is her family considered news worthy?"

Come off it mate, "current events" are universally grim: Isis, murders, wars, unemployment, lying shithead politicians. So for those so minded, taking a bit of refuge following the shallow and narcissistic behaviours of KK is actually quite sensible, I'd say. Others buy "Railway Modeller", "Knitting & Crochet", or lose themselves on Facebook. We're taking refuge in inane technical news for the most part, and I'd suggest those in glassholes shouldn't throw stones.

Or something like that.

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'Shadow IT' gradually sapping power and budget from CIOs

Ledswinger
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Re: History repeats

It bloody does! I remember CIO's carping on about user developed applications being "islands of obsolete data" and similar patronising shit, at the same time that the same "professionals" of IT were investing in IBM's token ring networking, shitty OS/2 computers, huge Unix boxes that couldn't do what the users had setup with Foxpro and a small LAN built on expense claim PCs.

Going back not much further I recall the IT department claiming that they wouldn't pay for a colour graphics card because businesses didn't need colour. Of course the way history repeats itself on this last one is that no private buyer with any brain would now buy a computer without an SSD system disk. Yet most miserly enterprise buyers are still buying spinning rust rubbish, and happy to pay average costs of £50 an hour to people watching a little spinning blue circle.

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Ledswinger
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Re: And they also buy the wrong thing

"Finance, weird overvalued people."

You'll miss them when they're gone. Which sounds daft given all the horror stories, but my employers ran the finance function through the shredder to save money (which may give you some pleasure), and then outsourced the remaining function to Romania (which may give you a laugh). Problem is that now it's like getting blood out of a stone when you really need some numbers for planning, business cases, or decision making purposes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Obstacle or Enabler?

"Nowadays the first thing I do when joining a company is seek out the doers and the go to infrastructure people - the ones you always need and every firm has them - in order that when something needs doing it gets done rather than sitting in the abyss that is the Helpdesk system."

That deserves a thousand upvotes, but you'll have to be content with my one.

But ultimately this comes back to the poor quality of the centralised IT functions. We hear the whining about cost paring accountants, and directors that don't understand, and (L)users. But it should be the job of the central IT team to deliver a damn good service, and to understand where to say no, where to say yes, and to exercise that choice carefully and wisely.

My company's IT department spends more giving me a bad service than it would giving a good, proactive service. I know this because (like Mark 65) I know the "can do" people, I know the people who themselves know where the bodies are buried.

But for anybody who is (or aspires to be) a business CIO, there's a message here: Be competent, be careful, be in control, but remember you're only there to help some other bugger sell stuff.

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Ofcom's new broom Sharon White sweeps into office

Ledswinger
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Re: But...

"Why wouldn't she?"

As far as I can see, no other senior civil servant does, so the odds are not good.

And her background is flipping between different departments and assignments. So chances are she's like the other civil service mandarins - never done anything useful, never worked in a real job, and never even stayed long enough in one place to understand any area of government.

Apart from that, having an Oxford degree in economics I'm sure she's absolutely on top of IPv6, spectrum licensing, effectively regulating Openreach, mobile consolidation, broadband competition, mobile asset sharing, 4G, TV multiplexes, privacy and IoT, not to mention all the issues of being the regulator of the postal service.

What do you think?

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Ledswinger
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Re: I think we should be told.

In this case it's more like a fortune cookie:

"You will inherit obscenely well paid new job, no responsibility!"

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Ledswinger
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Re: ROFLMAO

"Publishers can't opt out, because opting out would mean that a Spanish QANGO called CEDRO wouldn't make any money."

Wow. The Spanish lobbyists, politicians and civil servants have cooked up a corker here. With intellects like this running the place you can understand why the country's near bankrupt and has recently celebrated an unemployment rate of one in four (because that's a three year low).

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