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* Posts by Ledswinger

2860 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Ledswinger
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It contains a "data sphere"?

And if you rub it, what does it show you?

1) A post-post-industrial Britain, of fabulous wealth, equality and sophistry (something like the Culture in Iain M Banks novels), all facilitated by "innovation" quangos.

2) Or maybe just a post industrial society, with worse inequality, poorer than previous generations, relentlessly crushed under the deadweight of debt approaching 300% of GDP, with the money having been frittered on crap by successive governments who couldn't control either public finances, the wider economy, or the financial services sector.

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Universal Credit CRISIS: Howard Shiplee SHIPS OUT of top job

Ledswinger
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"Howard will continue to support Universal Credit in an advisory role."

What, like Tesco's last finance director was supporting them in an advisory role?

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Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

Ledswinger
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Re: Crap Ts & Cs

"Where's the Plain English Campaign when you freekin' need them?"

The problem with the PEC is that they're trying to bolt the stable door long after the horse has gone. UK legislation is (for the most part) incompetently drafted in wilfully arcane and confusing language by civil servants, and the Wasters of Westminster never refuse to rubber stamp poorly drafted laws. In most cases I'd wager they haven't even read the bills they are voting on.

Do you think your MP knows what this tiny, tiny snippet means:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/52

As long as the language of the law is unintelligible, then T&Cs will be similarly opaque, and trying to mop up afterwards is always going to be doomed to failure.

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Putin tells Google, Twitter, Facebook: Have a vodka and censorship on the rocks

Ledswinger
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Re: It looks that Putin is putting Russia clocks...

"... far more back than one hour only."

Maybe, but you have to see this in the light of the wider sanctions and tit-for-tat activity going on at the moment. There were already laws against everything in Russia, so a few new ones change nothing. All this is about is annoying US companies who are well connected in Washington, because that message gets across to US lawmakers. If Putin imposed some form of new control on US logistics firms, that wouldn't be heard, because parcel delivery firms don't spend hundreds of million lobbying the US government.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do they even have Russian market share?

" my young relative did a thriving trade in showing local students how to set up a VPN and access Facebook."

Will your young relative feel guilty when his student mates have their collars felt for miscellaneous crimes against the state?

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Ledswinger
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Re: CDs for me

"Sign up to a streaming service and those albums will be available to you again. "

But I don't fucking want a streaming service. It's music rental on a "take or pay" basis, and I don't like either the rental, the monthly cost, the patchy catalogue, or the fact that under too many specific circumstances it simply doesn't work.

I must say I do have free Spotify ad-funded account, but only as a "try before you buy" facility. And then I buy the CD elsewhere.

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Bendgate backlash: Apple claims warped iPhone 6 Plus damage is 'extremely rare'

Ledswinger
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Re: Spin, spin, spin

"Apple isn't so much at excellent design as they are about decent but sometimes flawed design with absolutely cracking good marketing and spin doctors."

Well if the fanbois will be honest with themselves, it is their admiration of the marketing and PR that they're buying into. And if they'll do that, everybody can be happy - fanbois can buy the new shiney and won't mind that it needs to be rested on a silken cushion at all times, Apple sell more stuff at vast margin to the same bunch of mugs-with-money, and everybody else can snigger.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "Rarity" is not the point

"What an independent test lab, outside of Apple, running tests commissioned by Consumer Reports, which prove the iPhone 6 and 6 plus are perfectly durable "

It proves nothing of the sort. It simply proves that the phone deformed minimally in a short duration laboratory test. Unfortunately, because of the low elasticity of the aluminium alloy used, strain in the real world is cumulative, and the handful of buttock-imprinted Shineys should be a real cause for concern. That shape is the shape the device wants to be under pressure, and with a material that won't bounce back (1) that is the shape it will progressively become.

(1) I was going to use the term "plastic deformation", but since the fanbois won't be able to differentiate between plastic frames and plastic deformation, I think it best not to go there.

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While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m

Ledswinger
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Re: Too late to edit but also...

"The v3i is so good as a straight forward phone (remember those?) that the crappy software inside it matters little."

I follow the argument (still having a couple of fondly remembered V3s in a box somewhere, along with an assortment of Nokia candy bar sets) but the market has moved, and people expect a phone to do all the fancy mobile computer stuff now, and it's the use of that extra functionality that uses the battery. If you use the capabilities frugally, then a smartphone will give you two to three days.

And to be fair, the size difference between a folded V3 and a 4.7 inch touchscreen isn't umanageable. All of this "mine's big than yours" stuff is of course nonsense, but at least we've now reached a point where all major makers seem to offer a full range of sizes to suit most people. If makers would now stop wasting money on pointless legal squabbles, and start spending money on making the battery last several times as long as the current model, then they're assured that I'll upgrade at the end of my contract.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Too late to edit but also...

"In that context I'm very suspicious of the aggressive reporting of defects - statistically, they don't really register on the volume (AFAIK it's not even 1% of production) so it's almost like some people really wanted Apple stock but not pay full market price."

The failures thus far may not be material, the failure rate could be. It's all very well saying for the first few that "a fat kid sat on it and ran away". That is probably true at this stage. But most of us put our phones in pockets sooner or later. And although I'm ideal height/weight, not being a robot there's still a good curve on my jeans front pockets that will put some repeated stress on a be-pocketed phone.

With the new shiney having a frame made of aluminium, the strain on the device is going to be cumulative if (like me) you usually put a phone in the pocket with a particular orientation, say back cover outwards. Every time the device goes in a pocket, it's creeping a little bit. If you use something inherently flexible (plastic, Samsung) or stronger (a much stronger aluminium alloy), or you beef up your design you don't have that accumulative risk. But potentially these first few bent ones will over time lead to a substantial proportion of those made to date needing replacement. I daresay some leech is already looking to file a class action against Apple, but replacing several million high end phones won't come cheap. At a replacement cost of only $200, and say that Apple amend the design immediately, you've got 10m sold and the same in the supply chain, 20% need replacing, and you're looking at around a billion dollars before any punitive court settlement.

And worst of all, this chips away at the reputation of Apple. FFS, they've launched a phone fit for 2012 two years late, and it's vulnerable to creasing?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Incentivisation

"I'm not even really sure that executives should be allowed to hold so much stock in the companies they run."

The alternative problem that not allowing stock ownership creates is the agent problem. Whilst directors can be (and usually are) paid cash, why will they do the right thing for shareholders (as opposed to themselves) if they've got dissimilar financial interests? Even with share options and grants, that doesn't stop useless, self interested management getting an entrenched position and destroying the company (HP, for example).

There is no easy answer, although a ban on companies soliciting and recommending proxy votes would be a good move. Too many inept boards are kept in place by passive investors who either don't vote on shareholder motions, or offer their proxy to the board.

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Four caged in UK after cyber-heist swipes €7m in EU carbon credits

Ledswinger
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"And how much did we pay to bring the case to court and then again the costs of keeping these criminals locked up ?"

I hope you were paying attention, and saw that they were UK residents and were prosecuted under UK laws?

At a guess, a complex cross border fraud trial, and crown court case, probably around a million quid (fully consistent with SFO data on average cost of a fraud trial, of £839k two years ago.

There's 16 and a half man years of porridge, although in line with the ridiculous Home Office guidelines the scum will be out after serving half of that. At £31k per prisoner per year (Home Office data), that's a further £260k odd.

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

Ledswinger
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"And have the bloody EU lower taxes on protein-rich food and increase taxes on carbs."

Why? Price elasticity isn't very strong for "sin" goods, so that selectively putting up the VAT on unhealthy foods won't stop people pigging out at Ronnies, but it'll mean I have to pay more when I want a treat. And I'm following a 5/2 regime, precisely so that I don't get fat, but on the other five days I can eat what I want.

Which leads me to ask why the state (or EU supra-state) should act to prevent the portly from being portly? What business is it of the state to interfere? The O-beasts amongst us have a whole range of options for not being fat, often in ways that would make them financially better off as well as healthy, but they elect not to take them. In my book they have a right to be fat. We go to great lengths to encourage all manner of social and cultural diversity, but apparently being fat is a moral crime that the state needs to move against? No way. OK, so the big boned may suffer from obesity related illnesses that cost the health service money, but on the other hand with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes they'll be paid a pension for less time, so economically it all works out even in the end.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument@ John H Woods

"A better comparison would be Tesco's EveryDay Value...."

Stick to food, please. Anything with Tesco's "Everday Value" label has been specially prepared and packed to render it inedible or otherwise unuseable, as part of the failed Tesco strategy to combat discounters.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument@Dave 126

"Human subjects were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisone after eating vegetable soup daily for two weeks "

Obviously this calming effect wears off after a further few days, leading to irrational beliefs and murderous desires:

http://www.vegetariansareevil.com/history.html

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Ledswinger
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Re: If fat, get tough!@The Mole

You paint a picture of yourself that calls to mind Kung Fu Panda. Hopefully you have enlightenment and internal peace.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument

"1. Junk food is relatively cheap per amount of calories it provides. A healthy shopping bill is 4-6 times higher than junk food (at least in the UK)."

If you choose to eat Soil Association certified, holistically grown according to feng shui principles, along with over-dosing on all the expensive "super fruits", out of season veg, and premium cuts of rare-breed organic meat grown by artisan small-holders, then yes, it is expensive. And if your baseline is a diet made up of 100% Aldi 99p pizza, you'll see a big difference.

But that's not the reality. I notice the fat and the poor seem quite able to find the money for a whole lot more fast junk food than I can afford. Having a McDonald's breakfast (plus enormo shake), elevenses from those greasy, revolting vans that hang out in every DIY store car park, a bucket of 5hit lunch from KFC (plus full sugar 1 litre drink), McFlurry and cheeseburger for afternoon tea, and then going home for the most heavily loaded pre-made deep pan pizza (one per person) is a whole lot more expensive than eating properly.

Compared to a normal balanced diet involving everyday mostly UK sourced meat and veg, simply prepared, then fast junk food is substantially more expensive. And even if the poor have to live on a diet of 99p pizzas, that doesn't justify or explain being FBs - being an FB is about eating too much regardless whether that is balanced or not, and the cure is not to eat as much.

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Google goes Dutch with new €600 MEELLION DC

Ledswinger
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"If I spend nearly a billion dollars in your country, you'll help me with these pesky EU beancounters, yes?"

No. A more likely explanation is that Dutch law is quite relaxed on what constitutes a charity.. I seem to recall that Ikea's worldwide business is a charity under Dutch rules:

http://www.economist.com/node/6919139

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'Space bubbles' may have helped Taliban down 'copter in bloody Afghanistan battle

Ledswinger
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Re: Not an accurate description of the incident

"In the interests of a fair and balanced view of the battle do we know how many Taliban were killed?"

A body count is difficult if not impossible when your opponents "own" the territory, but even if you manage it it tells you little. That's because there's no way of telling the mangled bodies of "my first Kalashnikov" yokels from senior, hardened and experienced fighters who really know what they're up to. Throw into the mix that the West clearly has not got a clue about who it is fighting, how many there are (eg, see wildly fluctuating CIA estimates on IS numbers), and the flexible loyalties of the locals, and you get a feel for how enemy casualties don't give any useful numbers.

A more telling picture of the overall position has to be the simple fact that the West got shown the door in Iraq (after destabilising and crippling the country) and now it has to go back. US estimates suggest war in Iraq has thus far cost the US $2 trillion (other countries' contributions are noted, but are rounding errors on the US magnitude of cost). And still the West need to drop more bombs.

So for a fair and balanced view, who's winning? I'd say that the insurgents (probable budget less than $200m since 2003?) are doing well to goad the US into launching a further fusillade of expensive cruise missiles, to have seized half of Iraq, and a third of Syria.

But this latest battle isn't about winning, it is about symbolism and vanity. If IS wanted to win, they'd have been nice as pie to their hostages, given them a message for the West, and sent them home with a few (non-explosive) gifts. Nobody in the West cares if IS slaughter a few hundred locals. Had IS been nice to the Western hostages, would Bamaboy be raining down more death on the Middle East? Probably not. Instead, IS indulge themselves with some more primitive brutality against journalists, tourists (and I sadly suspect, soon amongst aid workers), and invite attack from the US, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The vanity and symbolism for us in the West comes from televised pictures of cruise missile launches against IS, and infrared images of these missiles hitting unknowable buildings in Syria. Go Team West! Obama is a war president! Except that there will be further undesirable consequences from this latest bombings and supply of arms. Don't forget, at least one of the murdered hostages was sold by "moderate" rebel factions in Syria to IS, and a large chunk of IS' best weapons were supplied by the US to "moderate" rebels, or to the useless Iraqi army.

In 'Stan, we ended us spending a decade fighting people we'd trained, financed and armed because we thought they'd piss the Russians off. They most certainly did, but in the light of 9/11 and a decade of war in Afghanistan, was the cost to us acceptable? I'd say no. Many of you will have heard the parable of the good Samaritan. It's a lovely and enduring tale. Helping the downtrodden was a noble motive. But it didn't involve interfering in an ongoing fight. That's what the West is now doing, getting embroiled in not just one, but two civil wars at once, and as a side order inflaming extremism from Nigeria, through Algeria, Libya into the heart of the Middle East. The tragedy is that our simpleton politicians can't even see this.

Which bit of "leave well alone" is beyond the understanding of western politicians? Since Sykes-Picot they've interfered, meddled, messed and buggered up the whole place. So coming back to fair and balanced, who's winning? Irrespective of casualty numbers, the undisputed winners are the men of violence, and the forces of chaos. And our politicians must therefore fall into one of those two groups. I'll leave others to decide whether Obama, Cameron, Hollande et al are men of violence, or men of chaos.

I come from a military family, I have huge and enduring respect for the forces, I've worked in support roles to the military, my own son is shaping up to join the forces....if only our hugely skilled, professional, dedicated and competent forces were being used for good. Lions led by donkeys, yet again.

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Ledswinger
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Hopefully this will be useful....

...when dropping bombs or "advisers" in Syria and Iraq (again).

Funny old world, isn't it? You spend a decade bombing the cr@p out of a place, it all goes to pot when you turn your back, but luckily the winning strategy turns out to be simply to drop more bombs, and supply yet more arms (often to the people you were fighting last week).

Luckily we now know that radio is not infallible, and when we're winning Sunni hearts and minds in this traditional manner we can do it a bit more safely.

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NSFW: Click here, watch iPhone 6 being TORTURED

Ledswinger
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Re: I do not think these tests are realistic or accurate

"The tests should be repeated with the iPhones in their owners' pockets or hands."

After a few minutes in an ordinary pocket the new iPhone will already be bent. The services of Tech Assassin seem rather superfluous.

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Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI

Ledswinger
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Re: Not just once @Stoneshop

"For example there is little real point in dropping the house temperature over short periods of time, particularly if you have a well insulated house, because the thermal mass of the house will maintain the temperature"

From a comfort point of view that's largely true. But from an energy use perspective less so. The heat loss is a function of the thermal resistance of the envelope, and the temperature differential. So although the thermal inertia will keep the house warm, the thermal "core temperature" is still dropping, and your heating source then needs to top up the thermal store, which will invariably have relatively high SHC and energy density. For an hour or two here and there you won't notice the cost, but for an hour or two extra every day you would.

That's the beauty of a simple programmeable stat - you faff around until you're happy, then you can leave it alone for years until your routine changes, and in the meanwhile you're as warm as you want with minimal wasted energy. I'm no tree hugger, but there's no point paying for energy that you're not benefiting from.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Disable port 80 forwarding...

"This is, presumably, not going to be a cheap exercise for Heatmiser."

That would depend on whether they do a full and effective "recall". My guess is most customers won't hear about the security kerfuffle, are as happy or otherwise as they were last week, and if Heatmiser have any sense they'd replace them only on request. That's typically how non-safety related faults are dealt with by manufacturers.

I recall the (now) old Ford Cargo trucks, where some models had a problem that the front wheel mudguard could under some situations deflect a big puddle splash straight into the engine air intake. Water being incompressible, this usually resulted in a loud crack followed by a heavy tinkling as the shattered engine block fell out onto the road. The design was changed for future production, no retrofit was ever offered, and any warranty claims were quietly paid, although many owners would have blamed other causes like poor driving.

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Ledswinger
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"But the whole point of a thermostat is that you should set it once, to a comfortable room temperature."

Only if you want a steady temperature. In practice many people prefer to have a warmer "wake up" temperature than they want during the day, and to have a slightly lower temperature in late evening. But programmeable stats have been able to do that for several decades - I've got a twenty year old Eberle progstat that's been doing just that. That gives me better comfort and lower bills without messing around. There's no need for wifi and tech vulnerabilities to have a user programmeable device, although the dodgy control logics and interfaces of almost all heating controls are certainly begging for improvement in the touchscreen world.

Even with a progstat there's still the need to mess with it occasionally, mind you, since the human perceived temperature is not the same as the measured dry bulb temperature that a stat measures.

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Ledswinger
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Where are the crims?

I can't see the black hats hacking into wifi stats simply to play around the temperature. They shouldn't be able to, but its hardly going to be a major draw.

But if the user can be locked out of their stat (like Cryptolocker for central heating) then I start to see how the crims might make money. Which means (unsurprisingly) that access to basic control functionality is relatively low risk, but any capabilities to set new passwords, load or delete firmware and the like, that's where the money will be. What's the ransom value of a heating denial of service (HDOS) attack in winter? Is it a credible blackmail option, or am I being overly worried?

Other IoT possibilities step forward: Telly Denial of Service. Look at the vile, skanky firmware and software that TV makers plaster on "smart" TV's, can that be hacked to lock the device? At £500 for a nice TV, the ransom value has to be at least £150 (a bit like the Beeb's TV ransom). FDOS attacks on smart fridges & freezers would look other options with credible ransom values.

And then you come to smart meters themselves, which would be the meatiest of targets, able to deny energy full stop. I wonder if those responsible for smart meters have had them properly tested by competent device hackers? At a guess the answer will be no for most of them - I'm close enough to the programme to know that many of the makers have had real problems with software, because (like TV & stat makers) they come from a hardware background, and I'll wager that DECC (in charge of the SMETS2 specification) believe that a good paper specification is defence in itself.

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Move over, Apple Pay: Tesco trials PayQwiq phone-flash pay app

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmm

"Based on these comments, nobody likes Apple Pay either? Google Wallet? I am genuinely interested - are we not keen on digital wallets?"

The idea of the digital wallet seems superfluous to me. Might work for others, but I avoid having a wallet full of cards in the first place, so I'd only ever want to associate an NFC device with one account, so that NFC should be just an extension of my debit card used for low value transactions.

And why would anybody risk all of their financial details in one place with big IT (or MNO, or retailers) companies not known for their consumer-focus or privacy policies?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds like a non starter

"Since it is a very early trial with only a few staff at this stage all the odium appears somewhat misplaced. "

I don't think so if the report is accurate. The whole point of bonk-to-pay NFC was speed and convenience. What's described in the article is a hideously convoluted faff that seems to start from the premise that NFC has never been invented (despite compatible chips in the majority of phones shipped in the past few years). An NFC chip should still work even if the phone has too flat a battery to start, but this requires the phone up and running, an app, a mobile wallet system, possibly a mobile data connection, then the generation of a QR, optical recognition and decoding by the till and then two way interraction between till and device (to update the mobile wallet).

It's difficult to see how that's going to be sorted out. I wouldn't want a Tesco-managed wallet, in fact I don't want any digital wallet (a la Google). I don't want QR codes, and I'd expect my mobile banking app to keep me informed without being required for the transaction. All that should be needed is to register my NFC equipped phone to a Visa or Mastercard account, and for me to wave it at the NFC receptor. Those who don't want NFC needn't partake, but I hate small change, and would be delighted to see it gone forever.

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Tripadvisor site coughs to card data breach for a potential 800k users

Ledswinger
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Re: Sigh...

"I think it's more of a case that companies figure the cost of doing it properly outweighs the cost of mitigation. "

Which it does in a penalty free world. Lawmakers and regulators likewise stick their fingers in their ears or find excuses as to why they can't act, and so it continues.

In the UK the data protection arrangements aren't too bad, but the ICO is limited to penalties of £0.5m. That's enough to spoil an SME's day, but for the big retailers, on-lines, and data processors that's chicken feed that they don't give a stuff about. If the ICO were allowed to levy fines up to 1% of turnover, that would concentrate minds, but there's no chance that the likes of Google would allow Jellyfish Dave to implement that sort of regime.

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Dyslexic, dyspraxic? No probs, says GCHQ

Ledswinger
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Re: That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard this month. Well done.

"What's empirically measured fact?"

That you're spouting off rubbish like a complete tit?

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Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay

Ledswinger
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Re: Who's being exploited?

"even to the extent of giving Amazon goverment assistance through a subsidised living wage through benefits"

All employers are treated alike with regard to the idea of benefits as a subsidy, and the employers you suppose to gain from this are simply those employing unskilled staff. The problem is nothing to do with Amazon, rather that the tax and benefits systems are vastly complex disasters, so that you have nonsense like employers being taxed for employing people, then employees pay tax themselves, then some of those people get the tax back as benefits because the money they are left with is deemed insufficient to live on.

Interestingly the recent union demands for a substantial increase int he minimum wage might have some merit as a solution - but only if accompanied by reform of the welfare state to reduce complexity and get working people off of benefits. But that won't happen - the Tories won't increase the MW that much because they don't like the idea of increasing business costs, and Labour wouldn't do so because they want as many people as possible to be suckling on the state. And the lesson of the Scottish referendum will reinforce that Labour view - in essence the overall vote was swung by pensioners who voted No in response to all the pensions FUD from that economic illiterate Gordon Brown.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well this turned ugly rather quickly

"As an American, all can say is thank god for the Germans and the pressure they are putting on American companies to pay decent wages."

I'm touched. But your concerns really ought to be directed at your home market:

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/its-sundown-in-america/

Long, a bit reactionary, but fundamentally accurate, and quite horrifying for those able to follow the full flow of the argument.

Coming back to Amazon, if they're breaking German law, I have every confidence in the German courts to force them to change their ways. If they're not, then the choices of the German consumer will dictate the outcome.

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Man, its smartphones are SQUARE. But will BlackBerry make a comeback with them?

Ledswinger
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"This is sufficiently different to everything else that it instantly makes clear that...."

They could have made it triangular, or even star shaped then? I think not. It's a brave effort, but it's the brave effort of a company that finds every logical path blocked, and so they take the least illogical path.

Can you imagine the struggle to get that fucker out of a tight pair of jeans? I suppose most Blackberry hard core addicts don't have the figure for tight jeans, but if you follow the demographic then you'll be issuing that in beige with a ear trumpet accessory.

I'm sorry to say that, but that's how it sits.

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Ledswinger
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Inspired

But unfortunately inspired in the same way that a prop designer might have imagined a handheld computer for the original "Back to the Future".

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New UK.gov DATA SLURPING diplomat to push US telcos to share more subscriber info

Ledswinger
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Re: Switzerland

" It would be enlightening to see the effect, if any "diplomacy" has in that jurisdiction."

As a tax haven for foreign crims and tax avoiders that is hugely depdendent upon financial services, Switzerland is hugely vulnerable to any form of official or unofficial sanctions. If the US want something the Swiss will put on a pantomime of defiance and delay, but the IRS will be handed their data.

Once upon a time Switzerland did offer anonymous banking. Nowadays they appear to readily cooperate to name foreign account holders to those countries tax authorities (as a quick google will show). Obviously if you're rich and well connected enough, you may still get the anonymity you want, but if you're just common or garden nouveau middle-riche then you'll be dobbed in it without a second thought (not that I've a lot of sympathy).

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Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list

Ledswinger
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Re: @Ledswinger

"Nobody has ever held a CxO accountable for anything since before Y2K."

Tell that to Beth Jacobs, who left Target in disgrace after their data breach. And a rather dated, but still interesting link:

http://www.cio.com/article/2430152/cio-role/one-in-four-cios-fired-for-performance.html

With "no way out" I simply meant "no way of avoiding the blame". But I take your point that once you get to the boardroom, rewards for success are accompanied by rewards for mediocrity and for failure.

And of course, if that's a single malt you're poised to enjoy, it's just as well to hang up your cynical hat since this will avoid coming to the conclusion that you're drinking a mere ingredient of what might otherwise have been an enjoyable blend.

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Ledswinger
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Re: FIX: No permission to accept cards for 30 days - 30 YEARS

"make the penalty so bad that firms are FORCED to have good security or go out of business"

Nope. That means that the firm takes the hit not the management. If the firm goes down, well qualified experienced managers will quickly find another job even if they were at fault. It's easy when a firm collapses to ensure any personal blame is hidden.

But who does take the hit if the firm goes down: ordinary employees, suppliers and unsecured creditors, and the owners, who are mostly secondary market passive stock investors like pension funds, insurers and the like. Is that a good outcome?

A partial solution is to make directors and officers personally liable for data security, including a change to the law to make them liable for breaches, and to impose a duty of responsibility to know what the security status of the firm is (ie close off the "we didn't know" excuse). A bit of jail time would be far more of a deterrent than a corporate penalty, particularly after a few golf club friends have been hauled off to the big house.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The hammers are hitting the fan.. or are about to.

"Did the CIO know? Or didn't the warnings get that high?"

Doesn't matter. It is the CIO's job to know, to make sure he's got people with their ears to the ground, and who in turn listen to their juniors. So if he did know he's at fault for not fixing it, if he didn't know then he's at fault for both not knowing and not fixing it. If his staff did it wantonly, then he's on the hook for hiring them and not supervising them.... there is no way out.

In corporate gibberish, the CIO is both "responsible" and "accountable", which means there's no place to hide.

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Ledswinger
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Re: In other words:

"We don't understand or care about all that 'security' jibber-jabber, so how important can it be?"

Well, in 2012 Home Depot's CIO, one Matt Carey, was paid around $3.5m, comfortably making the top ten of highest paid CIOs according to WSJ. I would suggest that the company and its owners were paying for a premium IT service, and if anybody is to blame for this it is is not reluctant chief execs or sales directors, it is the Home Deport CIO and his team.

It is the CIO's job to articulate the costs and risks and technical threats that face the firm, to place that in clear, easy to understand language for non-IT literate managers, to be situationally aware and to prioritise threats, and to shepherd the board to make the right decisions. That's what the "C" means on his job title, and that's why he's paid millions. Too bad the boy wasn't up to it. It is possible to blame the board's audit, nominations and leadership development comittees, for Carey's appointment, continued employment, and the failures of audit that are implicit. These committees are entirely composed of Home Depot's non-executives (who on their performance here might be judged to be the same ineffectual "gentlemen's club" rent-a-non-exec types found the world over).

I believe Carey is still in post, and he's been CIO since 2008, so the buck stops with him and his team. In my humble opinion he and selected senior managers should be fired immediately with prejudice and without compensation, and the non-execs should be cleared out like the contents of the Augean stables.

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Ericsson follows Broadcom to modem Mordor

Ledswinger
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Re: Nvidia and Intel

"Add ARM and others, the UK does pretty well."

In IP origination yes. But it doesn't make for many jobs, and the ones it does create tend to be high skills jobs, rather than the mid-low skills jobs the economy could do with. There's also a question as to how enduring the wealth creation is given that so many of the IP startups get acquired and within a few months or years they get shuttered. I saw Wolfson were being bought the other month, was it, so there's another UK tech company slowly heading for the Tech graveyard.

I suppose at least Wolfson are Scottish, and that's now half foreign....

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Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet

Ledswinger
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" a modern, reliable and capable Internet infrastructure is essential for the continued prosperity of our country"

Doh! And there was me thinking that balanced budgets, credible trade balances, high levels of employment, high levels of innovation, and some degree of social equity were important. But no, turns out I was wrong all along, and the ability to download HD cat videos without buffering is the foundation of wealth.

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Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

Ledswinger
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Re: Is it so confusing?

"The Microsoft brand has value. And a "Microsoft Lumia 890" may be a phone that sells, and sells well."

Possibly. But where I sit Microsoft is Windows, and Windows is Microsoft. In press surveys of "most respected businesses it is certainly true that a handful of clueless C level types and hangers on will grapple hopelessly in response to "what are the brands you respect?" and after a moment of terror will simply name the names on their desk in front of them. But in the consumer market people buy MS products only because there are few credible alternatives, and the repeated false starts and fails for Windows Phone have left a legacy of resentment. Android and Apple users ask themselves "why change?"

For business this is all rather different and MS has enjoyed an undeserved status as "preferred brand", but coming from so far behind can they possibly catchup now that business has already had to embrace Android or Apple? Blackberry don't look as though they can make up for a few years of complacency, and they started from a dominant position in business, and have a brand that is far less soiled than Microsoft.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Only an IDIOT...

"buys the company name and then doesn't use it for something."

To be fair to Microsoft, they bought the assets and (in practical terms) only had a short term lease on the brand name. This was always the plan, because MS think they can become Apple by integrated ownership of hardware manufacture and software (overlooking Google's drive-by ownership of Motorola.

Unfortunately in the grand scheme of desirability the brand "Microsoft" sits somewhere below the brand "common cold", about par with "diaorrhea" albeit comfortably above "ebola".

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Buying memory in an iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills

Ledswinger
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Re: All nice and well..

For 2012, yes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "A little eBay shopping and you can find 128GB Micro SD cards for under a tenner"

"Even SanDisks have issues, (although I suspect I had 3 x 32gb from a bad batch)"

There was a known issue with Samsung devices and 32Gb Sandisk cards, and Sandisk are still happy to replace them more than a year after they were bought. I had a near two year old card replaced without fuss a couple of months ago.

Raise an issue via their web site, they'll ask a few questions via email, and then direct you to an on line form to fill in, after that they'll send you and RMA, and you send your card off the (IIRC) Czech republic (cost of about £1.40) then a few days later you get a new one back.

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Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate

Ledswinger
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Want one!

Looking at that Goomolo tyre chair, it occurred to me that combining that design with a Segway mechanism you could have an all-terrain wheelchair that would extend the mobility of the disabled and be the most remarkable fun for the able bodied. Give it a good turn of speed, and crappolo castor-wheeled office chairs could go the way of the dodo.

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Microsoft's axeman Nadella fills baskets with 2,100 fresh heads

Ledswinger
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Re: Something about garden gnomes, ???, profit

"Spend lots of money buying stuff, lay off lots of people, ???, profit."

No. Spend lots of money, lay off the peasants, write off losses.

Like MS did with Aquantive, which involved MS' bungling executives writing off over $6bn in a failed attempt to become Google2 (and the axe for 2,600 Aquantive employees). The Nokia gamble is a destined-for-failure attempt to be Apple2. They spent $1.2bn on the Yammer social networking platform a couple of years back in an attempt to be Facebook2 - that "investment" must be due for writedown and mass sackings by now. $8bn on Skype to become who knows what, and that looks to be a profitless investment, with the commoditisation of VOIP clients and the change of VOIP users from voice to IM.

Who's on the up, and might Microsoft hope to be next year? If we can suss that then we just go long on the likely target, and sell out as soon as the bid is made. They've just blown the fat end of $3bn on Minecraft, which is staggering - buying the IP of one crap game without even the drive of the creator.

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Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Ledswinger
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Re: Pedant alert

"Data.... *ARE* being suggested..."

Merkin pedant alert, I suggest.

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Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us

Ledswinger
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70% accuracy?

I daresay the local coppers can do better than that at predicting where and when crime occurs.

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Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U

Ledswinger
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Re: Killed by operators, yes, but was private equity to blame too?

"But- correct me if I'm wrong- if they'd had enough to pay off their debts, then wouldn't they have done that, closed the dead-end business down and returned the money to the shareholders?"

Why? BC partners probably knew the big middlemen in the phone market were all living on borrowed time. But by issuing a load of bonds they moved the risk onto people so stupid they should be thrown in prison for life for criminal stupidity, and the cash from the bond issue will have been passed back to BC and their mates. Meanwhile financial regulators worry about trivia, and look the other way when people try and report fraudulent corporate finance activity.

Private equity could in theory do a good job of realising value from businesses that the secondary equity markets can't support. In practice they and the big banks are in cahoots as rapacious, unregulated thieves, and we're currently back in 2006, with the PE houses doing monster re-leveraging deals to foist debt onto businesses that can't support that in the long term, the criminals and fools at the banks are lapping up this toxic debt, and (unbelievably) even tiered sub-prime debt is making an appearance, bring back the CDOs that wrought havoc in 2009.

Maybe it will end well this time? We could ask the employees of Phones4U? Or those of Maplin when that goes down trailing heavy smoke.

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Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

Ledswinger
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Idiots

You have to wonder how Microsoft's corporate thought processes operate.

There two damned good reasons why people don't want touchscreens. Even MS have noticed the trend to larger screens on all device classes, and this leads into the first problemette that the viewing distance on anything above a 15 inch screen is not comfortable touch reach, and the second is that more than a few of us have greasy paws that instantly make a screen messy. This even happens on a smartphone with a top notch oleophobic coating, but at least in that instance the device is put in my pocket where the lining wipes the smears off.

There's even a third problem that for input and sophisticated control, rubbing a fat digit that covers many hundreds of pixels is a bit crappy, and you're still tied to a keyboard for primary input.

So, all in all, a big fat grease-smeared fail for W8, with three key questions:

What's plan B, Microsoft?

How will you avoid repeating your mistakes given that you don't f***ing listen?

And how will you avoid p***ing off the millions of people who have had W8 foisted on them?

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