Re: the more we learn...
" it is clear we need more genomes."
Is that why when you never find a garden with just one, it's either none or bloody hundreds, all with that Tony Blair Rictus Grin (tm), a fishing rod, and a garish red waistcoat?
3425 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
" it is clear we need more genomes."
Is that why when you never find a garden with just one, it's either none or bloody hundreds, all with that Tony Blair Rictus Grin (tm), a fishing rod, and a garish red waistcoat?
"I do. That's pretty quick."
Didn't feel it when I took the bosses for long drive back to the dealer and picked another up. In fact, the over-riding impression I had was what a sludgey unpleasant drive it was, although being automatic there's some contribution from the gearbag. So definitely Lord of the Road, but a bit undignified doing that mincey half-hop to get down out of it, not much fun to drive, and on a thirty mile round trip I made 16 MPG.
But then again, this isn't a car for the likes of me, its a car for people with more money than sense to show the lesser mortals how much they can waste on a steel box to move them about. Kings of old used similar approaches with castles and crowns - in reality not of that much use, but great for demonstrating how far apart you are from the herd who actually create the wealth you're spending.
"why are European banks not using the technology they heavily invested in rolling out ?"
Maybe that's why the crooks targeted Puerto Rico and Omani banks, wouldn't you suspect? And the European banks would have withdrawal agreements with those banks that permit valid cards to withdraw money based on the magstripe and PIN.
In passing I'd like to offer a thumbs up to the Romanian authorities. Normally we hear more about Eastern European crims operating with impunity, and whilst I'm sure there is still plenty of ordure still in the stables, it's good to see some of the vermin are getting their collar felt.
"Or by IT did you mean "I can find the control panel in Windows"?"
Let me award Boltar the "Breathtakingly Patronising, Arrogant Tw@t of the Week" award. Hopefully he'll be proud that he's earned this title already and it is not even mid-day on Tuesday.
Do you look down on people who clean toilets and maintain road safety fences as well?
"That's not a phrase one associates with the EU."
No, but it's immaterial. Our own security agencies are in bed with the NSA, so there's no data independence even if they erect the great Firewall of Europe (and even in the unlikely event that it worked). But there's a bigger problem, that in terms of technological independence the US has such a lead on the core technologies, operating systems, application and web services, and indeed voluntarily surrendered data that there's nothing really to protect in Europe.
The EU and the US are similarly sized economic blocs. But the US is home to 80% of global technology by revenues of domiciled companies. Yes, there's a few diamonds in the EU clay, such as ARM, the origins of Linux, SAP (arguably), and so on. But the maths is simple, that the revenues EU tech firms are less than 10% of global tech sector revenues, and EU ownership of IP is particularly limited - all the leading web applications are US invented and controlled, there's no surviving and successful phone European commercial phone OS IP, no computer operating system commercial IP of any significance. The demise of Nokia was a purely private sector (and Finnish) disaster, but what might the EU have done to stop that? Protectionism breeds weak firms that don't survive in the market, and all of this EU prattle smells of a return to commercial nationalism and picking winners. We've tried this before with ICL (and in France with Groupe Bull), and it didn't work last time, it won;t work this time.
The best thing the EU could do would be to reduce its own regulations, and to require member countries to reduce their native regulations, but that's not going to happen. It's far too important to the bureaucrats that they can force companies to fill in their crappy forms like ESOS, make the companies responsible for providing employee pensions (ie transfer of the welfare state to companies), require them to sign up to "Climate Change Agreements", regulate the packaging they use, check the work status of their employees (because that's far too difficult for the UK Border Farce), etc etc.
You'd have to be mad to set up a new business in Europe.
"The deficit is the growth in the national debt. The best way to pay off the national debt (and which the good Keynesian economists out there would recognise) is to do so when your economy is growing and there are more taxes coming in from workers and less benefits paid out to the unemployed."
Would that be real economic growth, or the sort of pretend growth where governments borrow more than the increase in GDP, and call that "growth"? I don't think the UK economy has seen any real growth (net of debt) since about 2000.
Given the spending promises made by the economic illiterates of all the major parties, there's no prospect of any of them turning the deficit to a surplus and paying down the debt. The Labour party (as unfit to run a whelk stall as they've always been) might at least try a taxation squeeze, but that would simply result in a 1970's style brain drain, and large numbers of UK domiciled companies going overseas (as HSBC are currently considering, in response to the bank levy). Add in their ambitions on a living wage or a higher minimum wage and the outlook is bleak. With all the talent, corporations, and high earners gone, tax revenues would fall, and we end up like France. A stagnant, statist economy, with higher and more persistent youth unemployment.
The Tories are now so close to the Labour position it makes no odds. Ring fenced spending on pensions, health (and obsessive about spending one pound in fifty of government spending as foreign aid), and they're in a position where they can't even afford the sorry state of our armed forces after their laughable 2010 strategic defence review (for which Cameron should be handed over to IS for some rest and rehabilitation). They're obsessed by big state shite like HS2. They stand no chance of balancing the books either.
Even on health where they've promised shedloads of money, Sir David Nicholson recently pointed out that they're all lying, that their plans make no sense and don't add up.
Unfortunately, painful though it will be, the only way out of this mess will be to unwind Gordon Brown's profligacy, step by bloody step. All those unemployed encouraged onto disability benefits need to be taken off. All the increases in public sector pay relative to private need to be reversed. The expansion in public sector workers fully reversed. The cancerous GP contract that the last government signed needs to be torn up in full. Energy policy (and all the green levies and related costs) needs to be undone.
I can't see that happening, so it seems likely that we will continue with the past fifteen or so years policy of "pretend and extend" as Dr Tim Morgan put it. Little has changed since this report was written:
"Or maybe because the morons out there felt it better to "punish" the Lib-dems for failing to hold back the Tory's education cuts & fees, than to make for a better and more representative future."
I think that the electorate actually did want a yin and yang between left and right, with near buggins turn for the two main parties. Since coalitions are a near certain outcome of PR, the mediocre performance of the current government is probably what they expected from coalitions, and shows why the majority preferred FPTP.
Unfortunately, both Labour and Conservative parties no longer have any clear vision, are both completely out of touch with the real world, and have ghastly, dislikeable, gormless leaders with faces they can only have found in the "rejected characters" bin at Ardmann Animations. Neither party are trusted on the economy, health services, immigration, defence, or anything else and so we've now reached a position where by trying to please everybody they please nobody, and even FPTP looks like resulting in coalitions from here on.
What we need is some proper mould breaking. That might be UKIP, but I doubt it. I can't see the greens or Plaid Cymru doing much other than reinforcing the worst policies and behaviours of the Labour party. The Libdems won't exist in a few months time (and good riddance to the party of Cyril Smith, "Lord" Rennard, and others). So on balance I'd be quite happy for the SNP to call the shots for a few short years under FPTP, because whilst that would lead to some temporarily grim economic mismanagement of the UK economy, the probably inevitable secession of Scotland would kick start democracy south of the border. North of the border they'd be stuck with a single party state in perpetuity, that would soon have an economy a bit like Venezuela, but I think that's what they do now want.
"And the number of those with physics degrees and 10years software development experience is ...?"
Minimal, but so is the number of jobs that require this. I might add that the graduate trainee working for me at the moment has a degree in maths from Imperial College, and the best offer he got jobwise was from an energy company as a dogsbody grad. We're not using that talent, and if the country is wasting its best mathematical minds in this way, I don't accept the implicit argument that the 300k immigrants we have are highly skilled specialists, essential to keeping this country running, whilst all the natives are thick, lazy slobs.
"So a company in the city needing to expand it's trading system can either:"
Well, from my point of view another option is that they can fuck off and die if they can't fix the problem with locally grown skills. I don't owe the over-paid fuckers of the City a living, and that includes not owing them the right to debase our employment market and inflate our housing market for their own fucking convenience. This country has bailed the profligate bastards out to the tune of £375bn (last time I looked, BoE QE figures), and if they want to expand their trading system, and they can't find the skills in this country, then they can go to the wall. And I'll laugh if they do. In reality, they want immigrant labour not because some other country has magically trained the ultra-skilled people they need, but because they're cheap and easier to find, and lower back office costs means higher bonuses.
"Take somebody unemployed and totally failed by the education system, educate them to post grad level...Up the paycheck to persuade somebody to leave an identical job....."
Straw man. Yawnn. Next please.
"IT-reliant businesses often rely on skilled immigrants to fill gaps in their workforce"
...because they're too fucking mean, stupid and short sighted to train the staff they need.
We've got 1.9m officially unemployed, 0.9m not in education, employment or training, and about 1.5m disability benefit claimants not in work. And we've got 3m workers who were not working as much time as they wanted to - on a full time equivalent basis representing perhaps a further 0.8m unemployed. So that's a pool of around 5-6m potential workers, mostly dependent upon the state (or their parents/carers). Even allowing for the skivers, dossers and thickos, in over 5m people I'm sure I could find the necessary aptitude and talent.
Instead of rubber stamping business plans to import skilled labour, the manifestos ought to have mandatory training requirements for medium and large business where they don't employ enough apprentices or sponsor enough training and education. Unfortunately this is increasingly ceasing to be a tech sector issue, and needs to be a universal requirement.
Apple can smooth out the process as much as it wants. But I've already got a contactless payment card that works perfectly well, is fully integrated with my bank account, works on London Transport like an Oyster card. And when I use it, I don't have to give my data to Apple, nor give them a slice for the privilege of using it.
So the Android versus Apple NFC wars can rage all they want, I won't be using either. If phone makers of operators wanted to make NFC payments work, then it had to be simple, bonk-to-pay, fully integrated with my credit or current accounts, with widespread retailer acceptance, and it had to be three years ago.
I suppose Apple might be able to count on the willing victimhood of the more credulous fanbois, but Google, Vodafone and others might as well give up now.
"There's an account of a Viking funeral (one of the few first-hand written accounts by an educated writer) by a 10th Century Arab traveller "
So the Arabs gave us numeracy and the cradle of civilisation, and in return we gave them the barbarity that is now so popular in Northern Iraq and Syria?
The World Trade Organisation has got some serious explaining to do.
"What do you mean, "still alive"? Let them out now!"
Well, if they've been interred for a few hundred years, then all I can say is "don't fancy yours".
"Isn't there a risk that could be a little like sticking a pin into a balloon?"
Doesn't seem to have resulted in the destruction of Iceland. However, every country has its Nimbys, and I'd guess that the tree huggers would object to the remote risk of losing Yellowstone's geysers, the national park authority would object under its "object to everything" mandate. Throw in the US' predilection for pork barrel politics, and the chances of anything happening are next to nil.
There's also the fly in the ointment that 12 miles below the surface might be relatively shallow, but it is sufficiently deep that it doesn't follow that you could easily get high volume power extraction to drive steam turbines.
"Problem there is that spammers harvest published email addresses and sell them on to everybody. This renders your published address next to useless in short order"
I've had dealings with a number of companies that have had web-published customer service email addresses, and have responded quickly and effectively. Clearly they are managing to operate well despite the tsunami of spam, so I'm puzzled by those companies that aren't so competent.
"(Remington) ...replied they never read them, so I had to resupply them."
Well there's a hint as to who shouldn't be on your list when next buying a new razor, then.
...which is why it is the most power efficient in the UK. A 12 MW grid connection, 6 MW of on site backup, but actual energy use about 3 kW for all the fluorescent tubes lighting up the empty space.
Hold on, have you missed this bit: giffgaff will allow customers to take out a loan, using RateSetter to buy the handset with the mobile deal being SIM only
That doesn't sound like a bank at all, nor does it "hint that at ambitions to become a big lender". In practice this is an outcome of the fact that Telefonica has no money to lend, along with the challenger-business-within-an-incumbent-business model.
Giffgaff want to push sim only deals. They don't want to offer the same as O2, of two year contracts including an expensive handset on tick. By this model, giffgaff sim only customers can have a flashy new handset, are still on short term sim only contracts, and giffgaff don't have to find £400 to actually finance the handset. This also may help stop the churn out of sim-only as users' handsets break or reach end of life, and their only obvious option is to go back on contract with someone else. By using peer-to-peer they hope to avoid the toxicity of the financial services corporations, to avoid the restrictiveness of corporate credit checks, and overall to offer cheaper finance to the phone buyers.
It's not a stroke of genius, but it is actually a really, really well formed concept, and it's a pity that the existing customers don't seem to appreciate it - it's only one more option for them when they want or need to get a new handset.
The XPS 410 was current in 2007. I doubt his warranty was eight years. Which makes me wonder why he was so angry that such an old piece of kit was on the blink?
"This I cannot quite understand. "
Maybe because the Beeb don't understand it and have got their facts wrong. Or because the Feds' case is a load of old horse sh**. Or both.
In the wider scheme of things, you have to ask yourself whether you believe one day trader in a scummy part of London was able to bring down the financial might of the US of A, and to be smarter than than the crooks of Wall Street in turning nothing into money and manipulating markets?
My guess is that the flash crash was 100% prime American product, but the US regulators don't want to admit that their ineptitude and the greed of Wall Street are at fault. Far better to try and tar London (and if possible UK financial regulation). If some (relatively) ordinary joe has his life made hell, so what? Gary Mckinnon can talk to a similar story about the petty, enduring spite of Merkin bureaucrats, as can a whole assortment of US-based whistleblowers.
"Thankfully ubiquitous, fast, unlimited 4G will probably ......."
...resolve this problem in some parallel universe where ubiquitous, fast, unlimited 4G stands some chance of becoming a reality.
In fact maybe that's what dark matter is: Simply a parallel universe scattered within our own, where they have this miraculous 4G of which you speak. Along with toasters that deliver evenly browned, unburned toast, self-loading dishwashers, self-wiping bottoms, and a host of other technical marvels.
"only 28.2kph faster than the record held by a French TGV"
Either way, the power demands of rail or maglev at high speeds is immense. The world record TGV was deploying about 20MW (the fat end of 30,000 hp), and for a shortened configuration IIRC.
Whilst these very high speeds approach the speed of short haul air, you also get close to the energy use per passenger km, and you need a "runway" that extends from start point to destination.
"Therefore we got over the hurdle and ended up with a well functioning and financially viable capability for domestic recycling."
Ah yes, financially viable. I remember that, before the China-led super cycle came to an end, and the price of commodities and oil dropped through the floor. Now the plastic recyclers are all in trouble, along with scrap dealers, but the rules are set to continue to mandate this "valuable" recycling.
But why? The materials came out of the earth, if it is not inherently economic to recycle them without the "assistance" of lawmakers, why bother? In a modern landfill electrical waste is less of a problem than many naturally occurring minerals. If industry want to recycle things fine, but recycling for recycling's sake is more expensive for no obvious benefit.
"What HSBC will be doing, after all this has come out, is just what they are doing now. No action will be taken, and they will swan along as before."
Au contraire, they're a furrin company, and in the US that means that the machinations of the state and federal authorities will be loaded against them, when compared to the way a domestic company would be treated - or even investigated in the first place. It is unsurprising that there have been five major "money laundering" settlements in recent years with non-US banks (HSBC, Lloyds, ING, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse) and only one against a US company (JP Morgan).
HSBC can expect to be clobbered for a moderate to large fine (even if this is a "settlement without admission of guilt") and they will then be hounded by class actions from lawyers pretending to represent customers, and separately from lawyers pretending to represent shareholders. The adverse publicity will not help their business. Overlay the costs of restitution and credit monitoring, and this works out expensive.
"The real route of recourse is a claim in defamation against Amazon. However this would be extremely expensive. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of pounds."
Amazon are being berks. They have the power to shove reviews at me that I don't trust (the Amazon Vine programme), but then won't do anything about factually inaccurate? Lazy twerps. They know that they can out-lawyer individuals and even middle sized companies, so they won't get sued in the UK, where class action is ineffective and losing a civil case incurs the other party's legal costs.
What they are overlooking is that if Trading Standards are demanding a clarification of intermediary responsibilities, there's a good chance this will get wrapped up into future policy making machinations (with possible support from the likes of CAB, Which? and others). I doubt Amazon want new legal obligations, but for the sake of idleness today they seem to be encouraging them tomorrow.
"So you want the internet to look generic? You want every site to have everything stacked in blocks?"
Better than the living hell of Flash, and all the ADHD inspired blinking, flashing, poppy-uppy sh** that web designers wallow in, whilst making the general UX poorer and more confusing, and making data and content subsidiary to self-aggrandising presentation. Just like the Graun has recently done.
How about we compromise? A few static pictures, embedded links, a small choice of fonts and colours would be all you're allowed.
"I'm guessing that >50% of the UK population live in comutting distances to London?"
Broadly speaking yes. The train journey from the West Midlands to London is about an hour and ten, I'd say that's a practical limit of commuting when combined with the feeder/destination journeys. Taking the West Midlands and all closer regions (London, South East, East) and you have 46% of the mainland population. Those in the more outlying reaches of the West Midlands may complain that it can't be done, but that 46% doesn't include the nether reaches of the South West region (like Swindon) or or the East Midlands (like Leicester).
"there is no need for the government to hack communications sent to the government."
There certainly is. The whole point is not to help and facilitate whistleblowers, but to facilitate the identification and subsequent hounding of whistleblowers. Government is a bureaucracy that runs for its own benefit. It does not desire people to let on to its own failings, and the purpose of whistleblower policies and communications channels is (a) primarily for appearances sake, and (b) to catch those who might embarass the bureaucracy.
my bottom after a stonkingly hot curry:
"You know of what I speak, Commentard, a great hog's eye, lidless, wreathed in flame."
You're really selling it to me, the whole Windows phone/Nokia package.
"A lot of computing power utilitised to balance an unstable device for .... what reason? "
For the reason that riding a Segway is the most marvelous fun. The "off road" ones are particularly fab.
You remember fun, don't you?
"It's been that way from the start and ain't gonna change any time soon."
That, sir, is where you are wrong. On a balance of very strong probabilities we'll end up with a Labour/SNP coalition. That'll keep Labour in power and happy to 2020, but they'll have to give something big away to the SNP to keep control. The vermin of the Labour party are determined at any cost to try to cling to power (see postal vote fraud, "open door" immigration, "carriers for votes" etc etc). Now, anything they give to the SNP strengthens the case for English votes for English laws - and that'd routinely keep the Labour party out of power in England & Scotland (SNP would supplant Labour, and Labour usually only gain power over England through the combination of Scots and Welsh socialism plus the over-representation of Scotland & Wales at Westminster.
Sooo,..... coming up to 2020, we can expect that on the basis that "coalitions are now the norm" the Labour party will attempt to stiff the country with a proportional representation system. All the smaller parties will support it, Labour will simply for short term expediency, and we'll end up with the sort of shit headed muddle the Belgians and Italians have.
So if 5 years is "soon", I'll wager you £5 that the system will change soon. I'll also wager that through self interest, the Labour party will find some way of making a system that is systematically worse than FPTP, and still favours a scenario that is biased towards the incumbents when the change is made.
""Survival of the fittest" is.... about the ability to out-breed your opponents by any means."
Those looking for evolutionary success should get down the sperm bank, then, rather than wasting their time with crummy dating apps.
"Oh, wait, we'll be getting Service Pack X (Windows 10) soon."
Judging on past practice RTM and public release will be little more than extended beta testing. Enterprises will wait for the inevitable SP1, and still there will be regular Gb+ patch sessions. Of course Spartan will be vulnerable - even if (which I doubt) it were ground up new build, it is evident that Microsoft simply cannot design and write secure code.
I concur with the complaints of other commentards but project this forward to Windows 10: So for ten months time "How have Microsoft produced a package of such vulnerable code, when so much of it is recycled and has been around since what, Server 2003?"
" an armadillo decided to break into his grans house - it went in through the wood panelled walls"
So the problem with armadillos is simply that Merkins don't remember the tale of the three little pigs, the moral of which is that you make your house out of materials suitable for the purpose?
Re: Wind power: "Such places are not in the UK"
Don't believe the NZ propaganda! They're claiming a load factor of 32.4%, which is good for onshore units, but not so good compared to the 37-39% year round average achieved by UK offshore units. And whilst not universally true, as a general rule it is often impracticable to build decent size (5MW+) turbines on land, so you'll see the NZ site has poxy, short-bottomed 1.65 MW units - they're letting more than half the wind energy drift on by.
"I agree that a row of QR5s on their 14m stalks would be nicer to see than one massive 60m wind turbine quietly rotating in the wind"
But unfortunately the boundary layer effects mean you'll always get less output from any wind turbine closer the ground (or even sea surface). This really mitigates against VAWT, which lends itself to smaller scale units.
That's why the latest designs are offshore monsters HAWT up to 220m tall.
In theory VAWT could be built offshore, but nobody's done anything at any meaningful scale, despite some tens of millions of dollars thrown at research into offshore VAWT.
"Our great-great-great-grandchildren will be able to shovel a couple of kilos of nuclear waste into their hot water bottle and keep the bed warm without wasting any hot water"
Managing nuclear waste is a fairly straightforward concept. It has a cost, but ultimately it came out the ground, you shove it back into the ground. I know this is challenging for the calvinist-guilt ethic that seems to be an essential for all "environmentalists".
The UK's spiralling decommissioning costs reflect 1950's designs that have more irradiated mass than modern designs, and in particular the appalling practices at the Sellafield plant primarily related to nuclear weapons development. Sellafield alone represents 74% of total UK decommissioning costs, and that's virtually all down to research and armaments. Nuclear power decommissioning costs will turn out around £40bn (undiscounted) including the sites not included in the NDA portfolio. Over their lifetime the assets concerned will have generated around 3.2 PWh of electricity, so the decommissioning costs for nuclear power are about 1.25 p/kWh, and modern designs would probably be less than a quarter of that. It'd be even cheaper if the bunglers of the civil service could be kept well away.
"Here's a potential safer nuclear alternative....."
PBMR has been around for many years now. It's proven at concept level, it works, and it lends itself to much smaller scale plants than say the huge EPR plants that Areva are struggling to complete and commission in Europe.
There's certainly reason to believe it would be less prone to the sort of catastrophic meltdown of Chernobyl or Fukushima, but against this the proportionate overheads of smaller nuclear plants will be much higher, and certain operational, security and logistical details really don't work in favour of smaller nuclear plants. So as a result it has never really managed to make itself economically viable, and the idea has repeatedly been passed on.
"Wind turbine efficiency is already pretty dire "
That's true. But you're assuming that they are intended to be efficient and effective. Any deductive reasoning leads to the conclusion that wind turbines are built solely for the sake of being seen to do something. Total UK spend on renewables to date is around £38bn, which has purchased around 20 GW of wind and solar PV capacity, with an average load factor (across onshore wind, offshore wind, solar) of around 25%, with around 6% load factor on the 100 coldest days of the year.
The same money would have bought 10 GW of nuclear plant (event at EDF & Areva's comically over-priced offer for Hinkley Point C), but that would have operated at around 90% load factor, and because outages are scheduled, close on 100% availability on the coldest days. So nuclear power would give you twice the total output of the crummy renewables, reliably and when you need.
So I come back to the tokenism of wind turbines. Monuments to muddle headed thinking, erected at the behest of civil servants and politicians spending other people's money.
"assuming that by the time they noticed that the content was incorrect I could have written and backdated the first document"
No! You'd honestly consider undertaking fraud (for which you'd be personally liable in most jurisdictions) to benefit the reputation of your employer (for which you get little if any credit) and for the sole reason of hiding their organisational incompetence of neither having the spec, nor the process to realise and correct this omission in the first place?
If I might offer some advice, having worked in a number of situations of institutional fraud, never, ever cover things up for the business. Unless you're a shareholding director, fraudulent practice won't benefit you, but the risk you're taken is your entire future career, and possibly your liberty. Might sound extreme for "mere paperwork", but if you were falsifying ISO9000 compliance, that compliance is presumably relied upon by customers, and the fraud will be deemed to have been done for financial advantage. And potentially the business would have been embarrassed by a blot on the audit scorecard, but that's retrievable. If they were found to be cheating the audits, then the customers simply won't renew - will your employers thank you for that?
Very few corporate frauds start off as vast and wilful attempts to steal - the vast majority are some attempt to put right a missed ambition - sales targets not met one quarter, earnings below expectations, operational KPIs below the bonus threshold. And the perpetrators usually plan to make things good next quarter or next month, conceal the evidence, and nobody will be the wiser or worse off.
And whilst your intention was to cover your tracks well enough to avoid detection, that's what people like all the jailed, sacked and unemployed fraudsters thought. Remember Enron, and Arther Andersen? The demise of the $100bn a year Enron empire, and the 85,000 employee Andersen's business came simply because the board wanted to hide a few underperforming projects, planning to make things right in subsequent quarters. The Satyam fraud reported elsewhere on the Reg today is another example.
If you're prepared to do fraudulent things, at least make sure that you personally benefit from the risks you take - but even then I'd say don't do it. I've worked in an IT firm with people currently doing time for a fraud they hoped they could hide, but that benefited them.
"I'd be tempted to leave the bloody thing exactly where it is."
Probably right. Sounds as though they want new software architecture, new data architecture, a new and fashionable operating environment, new hardware, and a revised set of application requirements.
What could possibly go wrong?
"We call it austerity in the UK"
No, you call it austerity. Where sane people live, the UK bunglement's actions of spending £100 billion each and every year more than they raise in tax revenues is rightly regarded as insane profligacy that can only end in tears. If you want real austerity, go to Greece, and even there, with one in four of all workers unemployed, and one in two of all young people unemployed, they are still only managing to balance the budget (which is why they keep on needing new international loans to repay existing loans).
So for every one of the UK's 30m taxpayers, they're going to have to pay the interest on £50k of debt each year (probably forever), and your "austerity" is adding £3k a year to each individual's personal allocation.
" why hasn't Britain produced .....a BAE Systems"
What, that useless company that have never developed any aircraft at pure commercial risk, instead relying on the commercial nous of Hawker Siddeley, building aircraft originally designed decades ago with slide rules? That same useless company that piddled away billions on the over-budget, over-due, never delivered Nimrod MRA4 (after achieving similar ignominy with Nimrod AEW3)? The same company that is behind the over-due, over-budget, fault ridden Astute submarine? The same company behind the vastly expensive and essentially purposeless Typhoon? The same company behind the crummy and costly Bowman radio system?
Given the incredible heritage of its predecessor companies, BAES is a tragedy that we can hardly be proud of.
And I might add that ICI was bought by AkzoNobel and no longer exists, although I'll accept that ARM and AstraZeneca are doing well for now.
"I haven't done the numbers but if you consider that subsidies could prevent needing to build new power stations they might be a good investment"
Evidently you haven't done the numbers. But I work with those who have done the numbers. Renewables (subsidised or not) only avoid the need for fossil fuel plants if they can deliver with total reliability at times of peak demand. If that's Arizona, where peak demand is during hot sunny summer days due to air conditioning, then it can work. But in the UK, where peak demand is on the coldest, stillest winter evenings, then renewables and any credible storage technology simply can't cut it, because there is no scenario under which you could capture sufficient power from renewable sources when it is available. Even if you overcame that by putting PV on every building roof in the UK and putting a wind turbine in every field, you've still got to store the power for months on end, and in volumes sufficient to power the UK through (eg) the very cold, calm winter conditions that prevailed in 2010-2011, for say three continuous weeks.
If in your world of renewables plus storage on any single day you can't meet demand, then you either face up to power cuts in the worse conditions, or you're back to having centralised fossil or nuclear back up, and you still need the grid at the same size (or with greater capacity) to do what you'd like. So the underlying fixed costs remain the same or greater, before you've added storage and further build out of renewables.
To date, UK energy policy has frittered the fat end of £40bn on "renewables", and at this particular instant that £40bn is generating less than 2% of total midday demand on a mild spring day. Even at EDF's farcical pricing for Hinkley Point C, the same money spent on nuclear would have delivered just short of 10GW of reliable capacity, or about 30% of today's midday demand. And you want more subsidies, and more money spent just to store renewable power?
"A stack of these sitting in garages or cupboards soaking up PV panel output would pretty much solve the intermittency problem."
Fine for off grid applications where cost and space are not a problem. But here in the UK solar isn't cost effective without ridiculous subsidies (14.38 p/kWh, for output that on wholesale markest would be worth about 3p/kWh on average). If you then add in storage that has a not insignificant cost - I've been working on future cost projections for grid storage, and even allowing sustained double digit annual price falls, storage doesn't wash its face. You've then got extra control gear and complexity for the storage, which is more cost over and above the storage itself. You've got the floor space occupied, which might seem irrelevant, but it's still taking up an area of the property, which at build cost is typically around £800/sq m.
And if you're still requiring the grid as your back up, who pays the fixed costs of the networks, systems, and central generation? Under current arrangements where most of the costs are boiled down to a bogus marginal price, the PV+storage enthusiast would not result in any reduction of system costs, but at marginal pricing they'd be charged to those without this options - ie those in high density housing including flats and apartments.
Maybe that suits you, but it becomes a dramatic extension of the current dystopian subsidy regime, in which wealthy middle class types have their energy bills subsidised by everybody else (ie, weighted towards the less well off).
The sooner DECC is stopped from its idiotic wanking around with vast market distorting subsidies the better. If people want to install PV at wholesale market rates of circa 3p, then they're welcome, but I don't want to support the bastards.
"'Excuse me Barkeep, do you accept cash in this fine establishment?'"
Or rather "do you accept wireless cards..."
AFAICS the mobile networks and phone makers sat on their hands for so long that the contactless payment market marched on by, and they're now playing catch up. In theory an NFC phone and a contactless card are duplicative, except that the phone invariably requires an "e-wallet" between my bank account and my phone, and potentially carries additional complications and hazards.
As long as I carry a physical wallet with cash and assorted ID's, then there's no real benefit to me in using a phone for payments, and in this respect the phone industry would have been better off (a) improving default handset and system security, and (b) routing into contactless payments by getting third parties to tie NFC IDs to subscribers and loyalty schemes (so, eg, my phone NFC chip could identify me as a National Trust/Clubcard/RNLI or other member).
In their haste to "own the money", the phone industry ignored that they needed to "own the pocket" first. Obviously "owning the handbag" may be a bigger challenge.
"What I love is how many people simply plug in their AP and let it auto select channels."
Fools! It's not as if the technology could and should sort itself out without having to have its hand held by a meat sack, eh? And that's before we come to the rubbish security defaults, and loophole-addled firmware.
I suppose almost all aspects of Wifi are a bit like all aspects of USB connectors, most "smart TVs" and any multimedia browser add-on - classic bits of Friday afternoon engineering, let loose on an unsuspecting public because it was all too much effort to do the job properly.
"51 billion quid means there is a vast tonnage of gravy on that train"
More gravy odour than real liquid gravy. As with the mythical benefits of HS2, most of these benefits are due to people being assumed to do something more useful in the vehicle and other spurious "benefits" like labour market flexibility (for which read "zero hours contracts, lower wage rates, part time working").
If this benefit were real, then a combination of banning self drive cars, and mandating the use of taxis would deliver even more benefits: The same "productivity" benefits are all delivered, an additional waged driver is actively employed for every journey, and transport efficiency of cars will magically increase from the circa 1.6 occupants per car to around 2.6 (in government terms a professional driver still counts as part of the beneficial load). And in fact the biggest benefit would be getting strap hanging commuters off of packed commuter trains and into their own taxi. Obviously the roads would be more congested, but the great thing would be that would allow even more time for personal productivity and greater working hours for the taxi driver. And the roads would be so grid-locked that serious collisions would be all but impossible, adding great financial benefits from the "savings" against the DfT costs of serious road accidents.
Obviously there's some minor practical difficulties, but when you're spouting ***t about the "benefits" of anything in the future, the important thing is to come up with a humungous number, justified by a 300 page economic analysis full of more holes than Swiss cheese, but that is so long and dull that nobody in their right mind can be bothered to read it.
I might add that if anybody wants to make driverless cars take off, then they need to make it look a llloooooonnnngggggg way more desirable than the Little Tykes Cosy Coupe pictured with the article - what were the designers thinking?
"(EE) get so many poor reviews. Except they keep winning the best business provider award"
Well they didn't ask me and my many thousand colleagues, of whom something like 90% think EE's service stinks - not so much the "customer service" because we rarely have much to deal with EE staff, but the raw, underlying signal service. EE stuck in a picocell because of the crap coverage at our offices, but that's no help when you're off site, and their crap coverage comes home to roost.
I'd guess the "best business provider award" only measures connectivity at large business customers' registered offices?