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* Posts by Ledswinger

2412 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation

Ledswinger
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Re: Maximum Demand Tariff

"Commercial services get charged on their maximum demand"

True, but they are also charged for total usage, and for the load profile (how power is used during the day). This makes knowing what you should be paying very difficult, and transparency in the B2B power market is poor as a consequence.

As most businesses contract for a period of supply even if the tarrif is variable, it is possible that they contracted for N years at the prevailing peak demand, and the contracted peak demand costs are fixed irrespective of actuals. British Gas' contempt for their commercial customers is clear from the fact they've just been fined over £5m for obstructing business customers wishing to switch supplier.

Unfortunately things are going to get worse for business customers as DECC and the network operators try and shove more of total costs into the "peak demand" category, and DECC introduce complex schemes like the capacity mechanism that seeks to encourage businesses with standby generation to use this to mitigate peak demand.

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Gov cheerleader Sajid Javid gets nod from PM to park in Miller's spot

Ledswinger
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Re: Mind you his...

"House in Finstall does look very good "

Does he actually live there, though? After some embarrassment (eg in neighbouring Redditch) where Tory candidates from miles away were standing against locals, it seems that the Tories mandated that their candidates needed an "official" residence in the constituency. But that doesn't seem to mean they actually live there.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sajid...

"...he's ok to a degree. A career politician no doubt"

Nope. A City investment banker, no less, with twenty years or so filling his wheelbarrow of cash at Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank, possibly amongst others. As far as I can tell (living locally to Bromsgrove, as it appears do rather a lot of commentards) Javid is now a London man, wealthy beyond the wildest imaginings of his constituents, parachuted into Bromsgrove to fulfil Tory party ambitions to increase their "diversity" quotas.

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AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'

Ledswinger
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"To be fair, if this thing eats around 500W, three of them eat 1500W"

I was being (mostly) facetious. But....total system power including PSU efficiency will be around 2.5 kW, before your screen (say another 300W). So like having a 3 kW fan heater on without thermostatic control. Use that in a room for any length of time and you'd need powered cooling anytime other than having a window open in a fairly cold winter. If the cooling system is aircon then you'd be consuming 7.5kWe to dump 2.5 KWth, making for 10kW continuous demand (in the UK average consumption is about 1kW - peaks are higher, but this system could still push the peak up by double.

Or you could use a very powerful (250W?) fan to change the air in the room. 2.7kW is still two and half times the average UK usage and the fan might not be as effective as you hope (because it is surprisingly difficult to actually clear the volume of air in a room by a fan). It'd be like sitting inside your PC.

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Ledswinger
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Re: In the meantime...

"NVidia 8800GT FTW!"

You've still got one that hasn't burnt out? Marvellous cards, but not exactly a long lived beast IME.

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Ledswinger
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"I want three running in CrossFire mode so I can play Far Cry 3 on my 4K TV."

Time to upgrade your house-to-grid connection.

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Ledswinger
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Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

"As Windows 8.1.1(or whatever) is getting long awaited features that consumers were asking for..."

Where? As I read it MS have continued to do what THEY want, not what I want, and not what WORLD + DOG want. They are promising that the next version might get things we want, but as they've serially not given people what they openly asked for I'm not hopeful.

This weekend the XP laptop at home is being treated to a dose of Ubuntu. If it works then that's good, if it doesn't then a large Android slab will replace it. I could buy a new version of Windows, but that's expensive, and as a matter or principle I'm not giving my money to a company that simply refuses to listen.

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

"I don't know, but then I'm not a socialist. I certainly wouldn't restore the monopoly positions."

So you'd renationalise Royal Mail, BT, and the railways, and then pretend it's a free market and there's competition?

"Why do people who have a political leaning in one of the traditional directions always assume everyone else has the opposite leaning?"

You think renationalisation is a credible policy position for anybody who isn't left of centre?

"Further, you talk about taxes on nationalized industries -...."

Only to make the point that the benefits you think you will get from nationalising those businesses will be lower than the their reported profits.

"Well. Why do government employees pay tax?"

Don't ask me, sunshine, I wasn't taking any position on the matter, and the employees' tax position is in any event independent of the tax position of the organisation. As far as I'm concerned you've come up with some piff-paff distractions rather than address the point that your mooted renationalisations would raise no worthwhile income and have a fair few downsides.

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Ledswinger
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@dogged

"a criminal trial will follow with mandatory jail time for a guilty verdict."

If you really believe that benefit fraudsters get mandatory jail terms then you clearly haven't followed either any recent cases, nor even government proposals to reform the system, which (in a move that will outrage you, I'm sure) plans to give additional rather weak powers for reclaiming benefits paid to fraudulent claimants.

Do you get your facts from Socialist Worker?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

"Then I'd use the money to renationalize BT and the Post Office and re-merge them.....Then I'd use the colossal wealth this can generate.....to renationalize the railways ....."

Bwahahahhahahahahahahahahaa! There speaks somebody who doesn't remember what am unresponsive empire of waste, incompetence and customer indifference that the GPO was! Remember "party lines"? Six month waits to install a line? Crummy little local exchanges with a few hundred lines and a full time engineer sitting around reading Razzle, and an operator polishing her nails?

And national rail? Remember the failed 1955 Modernisation Plan, which was supposed to support British industry and improve the railways, cost £1.6bn at the time (around £20 billion in current prices) How much more money would you want the state to throw away when it clearly doesn't either know how to build railways, nor how to run them? Or remember the dismal customer-loathing service of BR through the 1970s and 80s? The antiquated and unreliable rolling stock despite the Modernisation Plan? And BR were responsible for all manner of rubbish ideas of their own accord regardless of government support, like the progressive near closure of Marylebone, the failed outsourcing of locomotive manufacturing to Romania in the 1970s.

Nationalisation saw our domestic car industry go from world leading to woeful, left our aerospace industry as a single firm that no longer makes an entire aircraft in its own right, created basket case monopolists like BT, or customer haters like British Airways. And you want more?

And just to be clear, BT profits are about £2.2bn, but the dividend (ie returns to the owner) are only about half of that, say £1.1bn. On indicative figures we might guess that Royal Mail make £600m, and dividends perhaps £400m tops. Now, because corporate taxes would already have snatched about 20%, and the Royal Mail is only a 60% stake that has been sold, the "colossal wealth" your idea raises is a grand total of £1.1bn. Now lets assume you renationalise Royal Mail at privatisation receipt value, and BT at net fixed asset value, so you've added £18.5bn to the national debt, at an annual cost of around 3% (for ten year gilts). So that's an additional outgoing of £550m, bringing your net "colossal wealth" down (rather curiously) to the same sum, of £550m. All of this ignores the infringement of property rights such a move would involve, the impact on overall government borrowing costs and solvency, or the inevitable drift downwards in operational performance, but lets drift along on your socialist breeze for a while yet:

Given that there are around 36 billion passenger miles per year in the UK, and you've "found" a net £550m down the back of somebody else's sofa, how exactly is 1.5p per passenger mile going to make a difference to either the costs of or current performance of the national rail network?

Why are socialists so economically illiterate?

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British Gas applies to wind up UK colo outfit Alphadex

Ledswinger
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"So, they haven't paid the gas bill?"

Usually, yes. But it could be any form of financial or trade debt to British Gas, including (for example) repayment for services Alphadex contracted to deliver that were paid but not delivered, or delivered but of unsatisfactory quality, leading to a claim. Either way, once a company starts getting winding up petitions its days are usually numbered, because in addition to a refusal or financial inability to pay debts, there's often a systemic problem about how they've got to the stage of not paying bills.

The court doesn't have to grant the petition, and as an unsecured creditor you'd usually get nothing from winding up a non-viable business, so typically winding up petitions are used as a way of escalating a disputed debt where you believe that the company can pay, but is choosing not to.

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VAT's all folks: Telecoms and services tax to be set at consumer's homeland rate

Ledswinger
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Re: What has the EU been smoking?@Neil Barnes

"Nonetheless, and much as I hate sales taxes, there's a lot to be said for the proposal (made here, I believe) of doing away with company tax completely and putting it all on VAT paid in the country of purchase."

Not how I read it. It talks about VAT at the *rate* prevailing in the country of the purchaser, it didn't say their national government get paid it. What this will mean is that VAT tourism is stopped, but corporate tax inequalities become relatively more important. The French will be lobbying to stop that next, whilst the Irish will be lobbying to preserve it.

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Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT

Ledswinger
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Re: I think people here are missing the point

"This basically pulls the rug from under the feet of the "think of the childrenz" game-censoring crusaders, which is a good thing."

Do you really think that Mumsnet will draw that conclusion? Or Maria "I've pocketed thousands of your money, but it was the fault of the system" Miller, in her official capacity?

A pity this study did not include experiments involving people interacting with a typical corporate ERP system, most of which are works of great evil, involving sluggish, ancient code and ghastly counter-intuitive UI, zero help facilities (certainly in most users' languages). That would have show exactly the same findings.

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Google kills fake anti-virus app that hit No. 1 on Play charts

Ledswinger
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"The fact it required no permissions should have been enough to alert a potential buyer it was a scam."

No permissions or excessive permissions, either way it would only alert the tech savvy. Most users simply click on "Yes", "Yes", "Yes" because they don't understand the question or the consequences, but they do understand the short term consequences of clicking on "No, I do not accept the terms and conditions".

As Microsoft found with UAC, dialogue boxes are only useful if they offer the right range of choices at the right time to suitably informed users; In most cases they are worse then useless.

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Ledswinger
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"With all their experience of battling spam, I don't see why Google seem to be turning a blind eye to this problem."

Because there is no "they" at Google to turn a blind eye or not. Having built systems and platforms as automated as they have, there is no human arbiter or route of appeal, no human managed customer services, no editorial discretion. They'll only get round to this if it (a) starts to impact revenues, (b) then some strategic planner at Mountain View spots the problem, and (c) there's a way of doing it by machine.

As with Google Maps, the whole Android system is built around a hugely networked future where machines can do the job properly and network coverage universal, and information flows perfect. Unfortunately we're a long way off that, and the Google Play store needs a competent, properly resourced curating team. Despite that being a mere $2m a year expense in a $50bn a year corporation, Google are totally averse to meatsacks other than as a resource to be farmed and so I don't have high hopes for it being fixed soon. My money is on the problem recurring and being swept under the carpet, until one day it becomes a huge, huge, business model destroying disaster, for example a wildly popular free download that then turns out to have harvested the credit card details of half a billion users, after the event.

A complete failure of that magnitude would destroy Google overnight. Nobody would want Android phones, they'd use alternative search engines, cookie and ad-blockers would become commonplace fro non-expert users, and Google find they don't have any income streams any more.

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Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES

Ledswinger
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Re: Actual usage

As the NSA are already hosting copies of all the world's p***n collections, perhaps they could just de-dupe the whole lot and make the resultant mongo collection available as a free global resource, a bit like the CIA World Factbook, thus freeing up I guess around a zettabyte of storage. Subject to concurrent serving capabilities they could reduce storage requirements sufficiently to resolve the energy crisis overnight, charge a modest membership fee for all access (so putting pirates out of business, but guaranteeing higher revenues for the "content generation" side). Obviously Mumsnet wouldn't like it, but they're just another hypocritical fundamentalist pressure group who could be monitored to make sure they aren't buying too much bleach.

Obviously the NSA would need a more catchy name, I believe Grumblebook isn't taken. Or Grumblr.

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

Ledswinger
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Re: Good!

"I'll raise a glass to that"

I'd suggest holding that glass for a moment. How likely is it that (in particular but no limited to) the UK government will wind the clock back, and return to the inconvenient days of needing warrants and such like?

More likely is that they'll invent some work around where they stream the data out of the ISP's in real time, and warehouse it all centrally (probably much as they do at the moment). And the Data Retention Directive most certainly won't apply to GCHQ.

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Oracle smacks JD Edwards help site with cease and desist order

Ledswinger
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"lawyer letters just serve to nark customers off"

But also to help earn the fat margins that enable Ellison to wank around with big ocean going racing yachts.

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USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan

Ledswinger
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Re: even more exclusion?

"British Broadcasting Corporation my ass, if its paid for by my bloody TV license then I want access to it."

Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. FTFY.

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Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Ledswinger
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Re: Serious question

"And how do they know it will have lost a second rather than gained one?"

Pah! Some people have no common sense! Just phone the speaking clock in 300 million years time.

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Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

Ledswinger
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Re: Free? @ El Andy

"From apps sold in the Store, Xbox Music etc. "

Nooo! Noooooooo! You can't believe what you've written surely? At one time, and even possible still the case, every single mobile phone network operator thought their threadbare, tumbleweed strewn app and music store was going to make them the next Apple. Didn't happen. Samsung, global leader in smartphone sales, have their own tumbleweed strewn app and music store that it hoped would make it the next Apple. Hasn't happened, and isn't going to. Nokia handsets going to be different? Yeah, Blackberry built an app store and nobody came. Even Amazon have an app store that I'll wager gets little traffic and makes little money, despite the scale of its parent. Every piss-pot me-too ebook reader company thought that it was going to coin it in from a captive book and music store, and it hasn't happened (eg Barnes & Noble). If people want a captive and fully integrated app & music store, there's a simple solution, it works, and it is called Apple.

The point is that you don't make money emulating somebody else's business model unless you've got a real edge of difference. Where the edge in WP 8.1 - familiarity for abandoned WP7 users?

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Ledswinger
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Free?

So, if they are giving it away, how will they make money? I understand how Google make money, and I have an uneasy truce with them, that I'll surrender some privacy and they can give me a free phone OS, and other "free" stuff like search and maps.

Bur Microsoft, make money from "free"? How? They bought aQuantive for billions, and shrivelled it to nothing in a matter of months. Bing? Yeah, make me laugh. Even to get their hands on a mapping system they had to spend billions buying a phone hardware maker. And their track record of giving things away has been pretty bad - they gave away IE for "free" to destroy Netscape and others, and look what that got us - the worst, least secure, least standard compliant browser for the subsequent decade, and resulting in the baked-in IE6+XP mess that left dopey corporates unable to migrate to proper browsers or upgrade their operating systems.

So we either have MS making a success, crushing Google, and then leaving WP to fester and decline for the next ten years because there's no money coming in. Or we have MS continuing to limp along, selling modest but loss making numbers of phones to those who don't really care about their phone OS, whilst the masses remain familiar with and preferring IOS and Android.

Quite frankly you could plate WP 8.1 with solid gold and supply it in a pouch made of unicorn skin, and I wouldn't touch it. But I'm sure the kidz will be happy if it's cheap.

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Google's Nest halts sales of its fire alarm – because waving your hand switches it off

Ledswinger
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"it was programmed correctly in the first place. by the engineer that thought it was a helpful feature. but long after he was gone, another engineer found that it was unsafe. "

Why long after he'd gone? You've never coded something in development that seemed clever, or was useful for testing, and then let it out into the field? I have, although fortunately it was only a nuisance rather than a safety issue. Maybe the rest of the commentariat are perfect, but that doesn't explain other people's blighted software rubbish that I have to interract with daily, so I suspect there's lot of unintended consequences of both design spec (which this probably was) and progammer choice.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Two fer Two?

"It almost justifies becoming a Luddite. But not quite."

Wait until you've got a "smart" meter, then you can review your choice!

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'Bank couriers' who stole money from OAP cancer sufferer jailed

Ledswinger
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Re: young offender?

"Sorry, but age 20 means you are old enough to vote, drink alcohol, get married and join the army. It should also mean you are old enough to do time in the Big House."

I think you'll find most YOI aren't cushy open prisons, they are simply segregated prisons, often adjacent to a proper Big House, and sometimes even within the walls of the original Victorian site. There's plenty of razor wire and CCTV, locked doors that slam with a satisfying clang, and plenty of vile, aggressive scum to party with. Having said that, I'm not sure if there's any real evidence why young vermin shouldn't be incarcerated with older vermin.

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In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

Ledswinger
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Re: Clueless

"By the sound of it MS are on their way to making something that makes me happy."

A chapter 11 filing?

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French firms: You want us to compile DATABASES... of our SECRET information?

Ledswinger
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Re: Politicians do not "get" IT.

"Creating a shopping list for corporate spies?"

All of this information already exists in only two or three locations on the company's systems, so putting it into a single place doesn't really increase your exposure to electronic snooping by any worthwhile amount. If you were snooping a corporate network your key targets would be electronic access rights of the PA's to the CEO, finance director, head of strategy, head of legal, head of operations, head of sales (or their team's shared directories). That's five or six people who's email traffic will tell you everything important that is happening in a company. And that assumes you want all of that - a competitor might be happy with just two or three of those.

And of the information that the French want the employees to have, does that actually matter? Most big companies are routinely passing most of this info around anyway to third parties - so salary info is routinely shared with "remuneration consultants" or with recruiters, summary but often significant personnel analysis is often available in the group's public personnel report. The company's strategy and performance will be shared in the UK with the employee pension scheme representatives and external fund managers because they enjoy a preferential creditor status (I spent a month last year working on an update for our employee reps on the company pension scheme, so arguably the French are just moving into line with what we already do, albeit for different reasons). If you're a company looking for money in the bond markets then the banks (always leaky as hell) will want to look down the company's trousers in some detail.

And the actual information (eg on strategy) is something you have to share with a lot of people in the business anyway, with only relatively minor redaction. If you are selling a company the deal room open to potentially hundreds of people will contain all the salary strategy detail, customer lists, key contracts, terms etc. If you take the time to look there's a huge amount of information already publicly available to investors on strategy and performance. Admittedly they don't see anything other than director's salaries and group salary averages.

So I don't think this actually matters. To be compliant the company just cross out the title "investor presentation", and write "employee co-determination presentation", and append a list of carefully redacted salary detail that can't be traced to individuals. What's the value of telling the employees what the average salary of a middle manager is, or of the senior manager group? You can guess that from job adverts and industry norms.

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No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

Ledswinger
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Re: The DRM bit makes sense.

"So we've a situation where users have a legal right to do X, but doing X is only technologically possible by breaking DRM, which cannot be done legally"

Merchant of Venice, mate.

This shit has been going on for hundreds of years, and the vermin of Westminster have no intention of EVER doing the right thing, when doing the wrong thing will get them a free lunch, or somesuch bauble.

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Ledswinger
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Re: British Military?

"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today."

There certainly was, and with our shells. But a tactical defeat became a strategic victory, which was crucial in throttling Germany's economy and ending WW1. I'm rather proud that a relative of mine was a stoker on the Grand Fleet. 'course, that was in the days when our Navy actually had more than a pitiful number of ships. These days if we did something like the Zeebrugge raid we'd find we had no Navy left.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Eastenders - the Game.

"But I thought that extreme and violent porn was illegal?"

I think for it to be illegal it has to be for the sexual gratification of the accused. So, according to the CPS own guidelines, if the scene is in a film subject to BBFC classifcation, then it allowed. However, "The exclusion does not apply in respect of images contained within extracts from classified films which must reasonably be assumed to have been extracted solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal. "

So you see, the ugly harridans behind this law are happy so long as it is not enjoyed, but enjoying it makes it a crime. More of the sort of shit headed law making that this country has been subject to for many decades now.

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Ledswinger
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Re: War games.....

"excuse me? we've only bashed germans a couple of times in the last hundred years. up until then we've been on pretty good terms with them."

I think we have the opportunity to do both. Our modern culture involves bashing the Krauts, and the culture in our DNA over thousands of years involves bashing the Frogs. Both are vibrant, living trends, readily exemplified in recent British art - for example Flushed Away was suitably Franco-phobic, and Chicken Run equally respectful to our German friends, yet doing so masterfully, without a single German accent.

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Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

Ledswinger
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Re: Historical

"fairly weighty pieces of metal being reciprocated at anything up to 9000 times a minute"

Up to 18,000 times a minute: A piston has both an up and a down stroke for each revolution of the crankshaft.

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China's rare earth supply crimp plan ruled to be illegal

Ledswinger
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Re: and ?

"unless there are any teeth to WTO rulings"

Don't knock them! The WTO rulings can be ignored, but they in effect permit retaliation by other countries, which usually impose duties on imports from the transgressor.

China is a major importer and exporter of both commodities and finished products. So WTO rulings are important because its economy is dependent upon exports of stuff including furniture and kids toys. A WTO ruling permits other countries to exercise measures against China, and adding a 15% levy to any single category of imports could be a fairly heavy hit - for example the US imports $20bn of shoes a year from China. The US also runs a $300bn trade deficit with China - it has less to lose than the Chinese do, and if the Chinese tried to escalate they lose more than the Americans. Moreover, a serious trade dispute makes other countries look better bets, and once production moves out of China is won't come back (which could be good, for places like Thailand and Indonesia).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oil?

"they don't extract a load and then only sell the majority of it to their own countries while limiting the supply to the rest of us"

It is near enough the same thing. They do restrict exports, under the guise of limiting production. OPEC sets "production" quotas but these cannot be enforced, so domestic demand in the key producer states is served by unrestrained, untaxed, and indeed often subsidised oil. As a result per capita domestic use is incredibly high, and where they have domestic oil consuming export industries (not that many and mainly petro-chemical) these are hugely advantaged. The production limits merely hit exports, but so long as that keeps prices high it balances the huge public spending programmes that would otherwise bankrupt these countries.

So the outcome is similar enough, and it is deliberately anti-competitive. But what sanctions can you impose on a group of countries who have their hands on the swing production assets in world energy? There's too many to fight (and that policy hasn't worked out so well anyway), and starting a trade war through WTO requires you to throttle their food imports. The US might persuade its farmers not to export food to Saudi in return for more subsidies, but Is (eg) Brazil going to restrict food exports to Saudi to keep Americans driving gas guzzlers? I think not. Then you've pissed OPEC off and achieved nothing.

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Google 'Transparency Report' shows rise in government groping

Ledswinger
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Aussies under the boot!

If you look at the access requests per million population, then it's interesting that the Aussies have a figure (for 2H13 data) of 34.3, compared to 33.7 for the Yanks, 22.1 for the Brits, and 1.5 for the Canucks.

Whilst I'm unhappy about the extent, nature of any government spying on its own citizens, and the lack of proper oversight, even 35 requests per million isn't exactly pervasive snooping. Arguably that's because they've already snooped and stored everything, but the subject access requests are pretty minor in volume.

So, Canuck commentards, is it that you're all hardworking and law abiding, or that your authorities simply haven't worked out what the internet is?

Aussie commentards, you're all guilty, care to tell the rest of us what you're guilty of?

Brits commentards, the other man's grass is not always greener.

Yanks, have another burger.

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iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Ledswinger
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Re: Apple DON'T repair your iThing

"There's a problem with Apple making their stuff easy to assemble (thus usually hard to disassemble)."

It isn't a natural follow through, and I'm not sure it is a problem. I was able to replace a cracked screen on a Nexus 7 myself, with no prior experience and very little skill in handling delicate things. What that tells me is that if Asus can make things inexpensive to assemble, yet still in a manner that permits serviceability, then Apple could. They choose not to, and whilst that puts me off, it is a commercial decision that they are entitled to take.

I don't like any of Apple's "toaster" model of technology, involving walled gardens, casting jailbroken devices into the wilderness, near impossible to service hardware, unexpandable storage, non-replaceable batteries. But that's why I buy selected Android devices. Apple users buy into the toaster model, and as far as I can see most of them are actually very happy with that, and with the higher cost that this business model involves.

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LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

Ledswinger
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You reckon?

"So, as you read this, the rocket ship is aboard a vessel somewhere between Bilbao and Portsmouth, ploughing inexorably forwards towards......"

a meeting with the busybodies of customs, immigration, "anti-terrorist" police, the bomb squad, all of whom will ask you difficult questions about whether you have a licence for this, whether you realise that even thinking about rockets is illegal under some dubious interpretation of a poorly drafted law rushed though in 2001, whether your dad was ever in Al Quaeda, and such like.

And as the courts have proven, it's quite OK for armed plod to shoot anybody they want, any time, for no good reason at all, and to walk away scot free. Or to taser you, even if you're blind, mentally ill, or under the age of criminal responsibility.

So good luck, gents, but look out for the welcoming committee, all of whom are there to "keep us safe".

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Samsung Galaxy S5 in El Reg's claws: This time the 'S' is for 'sensible'

Ledswinger
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Re: Fitness Fad

"Or are such features akin to gyms offering cheap deals in January for 12-month memberships, knowing it makes them money but will never be used?"

Broadly speaking yes. A committee will have sat down and been bored through a Powerpoint presentation on many global meta-trends, one or two of which will be "ageing fat white people", albeit under a hip and reasonably polite scenario name, like "Silver sloths".

Since interfering halfwit politicians will try and interfere if makers really offered what this market wanted, it probably isn't acceptable to offer discount deals with McDonalds (1) nor to offer free Alzheimer's Help Apps (2). And in marketing terms you might find too many in the target market believe themselves to be lithe fitness-freaks-in-waiting, and therefore to be put off by the straplines suggested below. The next best thing is therefore to appeal to lost youth and fitness, and the human inclination to put off till tomorrow what could be done today, foolishly believing that the same thinking will not apply tomorrow. Hence dubiously reliable blood pressure monitoring, fitness apps and training schedules.

1) "20% off when you supersize your meal and pay using Samsung NFC, and auto delete any salad options!"

2) "Press the big button in the middle of the screen (marked "press me") to be reminded who you are, where you live, and what medication you forgot to take today!"

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AMD teases workstation pros with 16GB FirePro W9100 graphics card

Ledswinger
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Re: Could be interesting

" If I'm not mistaken the last event saw the winning cluster around 8.5 TFLOPS."

Still jerky playing the latest version of Far Cry, I'd guess.

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Original iPhone dev team was 'shockingly small' - Apple engineer

Ledswinger
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Re: Team Size

"But it is equally important to say that such a recipe does not guarentee success. "

But it can guarantee that any failure will come quicker, and that's important, both to learn from, and because it keeps the cost of failure down.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @David W.

"but drowning an article in snarky jibes about fruit is infantile, not informative."

I'm afraid you're reading the wrong website then. There's plenty of other websites if you don't like this one.

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New-wave offshorers present exotic new risks

Ledswinger
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Re: Band wagon

Of course they will. The underlying economics of captive offshoring (where the company employ people in far flung places directly) are always poor. Lack of familiarity means costs of setup are high, operational costs always turn out to be higher, invariably because the original idea naievely assumed that a well trained, experienced first-worlder could be replaced by a poorly trained and educated bloke paid peanuts and still see the same volume throughput. Moreover companies always, always overlook the fact that their very presence drives up wages and encourages more companies to setup in the same locality, making the economics deteriorate fairly quickly, as well as causing high staff turnover. End result, cost and quality failures, and they have to bring the work back (rare) or outsource to a trade BPO company (common).

Now we come to the underlying economics of offshore outsourcing. In this case, why will a company with high margins and high business acquisition costs, and lots of FX exposure be cheaper than you at managing what is usually a relative low unit cost transactional process? Answer, they won't, in fact their operating cost including overheads is usually about the same as the customer's first world process costs. But to land the business they need to undercut the customer costs by a promised 20-30% in year one, and that makes a loss. As a result they need to recoup that loss, their acquisition costs, continuing costs, plus margin. By year 4 the costs to the customer are well above the costs of doing the job onshore themselves, but hopefully the corporate memory has long forgotten the balance of cost and quality of doing the job for themselves locally. In reality the customer is unhappy, but just believes the same lies from new mouths, and churns to a new BPO provider, suffers the same "rinse and repeat" pain.

However, for the BPO companies, they are still affected by staff turnover and wage inflation, and they'd rather shove the work deeper into the jungle than see margins suffer. They are the sort of people Gartner are talking to, and they have plenty of experience of shifting processes. OK so the quality suffers, but that doesn't affect the BPO company, and that's why places like Vietnam are worth investigating. By 2022 Vietnam will be struggling to compete, and Gartner will be exhorting companies to outsource to Yemen, Belarus, Afghanistan and similar nice places.

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Returning a laptop to PC World ruined this bloke's credit score. Today the Supreme Court ended his 15-year nightmare

Ledswinger
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Re: HFC@ dogged

"The Free Clothing Association?"

Might as well be.

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Ledswinger
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Re: At least the plaintiff is relatively young.

"How many similarly situated elders have jumped the mortal coil before justice was rendered?"

The financial services industry can even craft a product for that situation: HSBC group was fined about £40m for flogging unsuitable products to older investors. This included advising elderly customers (average age of 83), to buy investment bonds to pay for their long-term care, even though the five-year investment period for the bonds was often longer than the customer's life expectancy.

And this shows why the solution of "fining" the banks doesn't work. It's only investors money, there's no pain. The proper remedy should have been for those who did the mis-selling, those who devised the product, and their managers (up to and including the board) to have had each of their fingers bent back until the fingernail touched the wrist.

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Ledswinger
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Mushroom

Re: HFC

"It just highlights the total lack of what we used to call "probity". A word that seems to be destined for the dustbin of history."

Probity and such concepts were always a myth in any area of financial services. I'm no spring chicken, but I can't remember a time when the financial services industry weren't mis-selling something or behaving in an immoral manner.

It's taken me a whole two minutes to think of the following list that covers the past thirty years or so of financial services industry crookedness: Personal pensions, endowment mortgages, split capital trusts, precipice bonds, "tied" investment advice, OEIC investment funds, Collateralised debt obligations, "tied " annuities, PPI, interest rate swaps, credit and identity protection insurance, payday loans, SIPP pension plans. And that ignores wanton lending, that is perhaps the all time and ongoing mis-sale of the financial services industry, and the one that ultimately caused the current global financial mess. Arguably the invariably high rates on point of sale finance make that a product that was always mis-sold, but that's an area which the regulators have happily turned a blind eye to since time began.

Every time it takes about a decade from the practice becoming mainstream to the industry being forced to pay compensation, and by that time there's already one further mis-selling scandal maturing, and a new scheme being hatched that will go on to be mis-sold.

The FSA was useless, it's predecessors were useless, and I'll wager that the FCA will be useless. When it comes to financial services, consumers should (sadly) expect that anything they want to sell you is not in your best interests. In fact they should add that simple lesson to the national curriculum.

Meanwhile, rather than bend the financial services industry over and put a rough stick wrapped in barbed wire up its back passage, the government have decided that the energy market needs a thorough competition and markets authority investigation. I wonder what the banks are mis-selling today, and I wonder what new products they are developing to mis-sell tomorrow?

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US saves self from Huawei spying by spying on Huawei spying

Ledswinger
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"Two wrongs make a... Something."

A right, always, always a right. But five exclamation marks are more of a challenge, because it's not clear whether we have an even or odd number of wrongs, nor how you apply BODMAS in this scenario. If we say that one exclamation mark is allowable, that's four Wrongs. If we do that as two groups each of two Wrongs, then after resolving the groups, we have two Rights, possibly with an additional Right for the single permissible exclamation mark.

So we've either got two Rights, or three Rights, and we know that they collectively make a Wrong. If both are true then 2R = W and 3R = W, which either makes W infinite or indeterminate, or means that R is a self deprecating value, such that the more R you have, so the individual value declines to keep the meta-value of all R constant.

This then implies that it is also true that R = W, meaning that Right is Wrong, and conversely Wrong is Right. I can't see the ICC over at the Hague liking the outcome of the universal truth revealed by mathematics.

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Ledswinger
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Headmaster

"The lack of punctuation in that paragraph makes my eyes bleed!!!!!"

And multiple exclamation marks restore the balance of the universe, do they?

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Schoolkids given WORLD'S CHEAPEST TABLETS: Is it really that hard to swallow?

Ledswinger
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Re: Trade not aid@ The Axe

"We need to trade with third world countries and take advantage of their cheap labour."

Only for a limited range of goods. Taking advantage of cheap labour hasn't really worked well for all those manufacturing workers in Europe who have seen their jobs transferred to cheap parts of the world, has it? Or for the IT and admin guys who have seen their jobs offshored to India. And maybe it explains why most European economies have unaffordable welfare costs, and 50%+ youth unemployment across southern Europe?

Free trade and wage arbitrage only works if the importing country has useful activity for the displaced workforce (or suffers from labour shortages and wage inflation), and clearly we don't. Virtually unfettered trade has been a boon to securely employed Westerners who want a cheap iPad, but anybody who doesn't count their job as secure might want to question the expansion of free trade to exploit cheap labour.

Historically we could expand trade, and then periodically use wars to reset flagging economies and reduce unemployment; With the automation, remoteness and smaller scale of modern wars we can't even count on the second horseman to purge a depressed economy. Maybe we should take the opportunity in Crimea to kick of a pan-Europe pagga, although personally I'm a traditionalist, and prefer "everybody versus the Germans" to "everybody versus the Ruskies".

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It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Ledswinger
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"I get on average 8% no signal in the south West.......Can't wait for my contract to run out so I can get rid of Vodafone."

I jumped ship recently from Voda to O2 purely on cost. Unfortunately fast and reliable O2 data connections are far more sparse on O2 than Vodafone when out and about, across a wide slice of the West Midlands and all the way down to London, and O2 text performance is dreadful, with texts routinely turning up days late. I'll be looking to move back to Vodafone when my contract's up with O2.

O2 also alienated me by increasing prices within a few weeks of signing a contract, base don RPI for eleven months prior to my contract. Regardless of the O2 offer I shan't be renewing with them.

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RISE of the LIVING CHAIR: Boffins recruit E coli to build futuristic materials

Ledswinger
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Re: Where's the LiveSkin™?

" and keep me clean and non-smelly..."

Where's the fun in that? Sounds like those de-odourising underpants, 4K tellies, and other technological solutions invented by the clever-but-misguided, and now searching for a problem.

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