2475 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Re: Does he
"It's not all about calories. "
It is when the challenge is to eat for a week on a fiver.
In a comment on a related article I suggested next year's challenge could be the cheapest nutritionally balanced diet that somebody could subsist on, I suspect that involves quite a lot more planning.
Re: Is it foraging still if......
" I'm actually going to pass on this one and let the donkeys do it."
I can understand that. Of course, if you didn't pay for the donkey, and don't pay to have it killed, it too might count as foraging?
That photo looks quite enticing, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given that nobody seemed to complain when Findus were serving horse meat lasagne all across Blighty.
"Don't think anyone else has an additional beverage."
Re: Is it foraging still if......
Yes. Raiding bins and skips is also legitimate, and stealing pet and bird food also qualify. Insects (and all other wildlife) would count so long as there's no marginal cost of production eg bullets used in shooting and eating a dog have a marginal cost, whereas if you already own an axe and use that then there's no additional expense (ignoring fines or compensation to dog owners).
Eating grass is also on the foraging agenda, If it's not too parched, Lester should eat the lawn. A quick google suggests grass has 4.5 kcal per gram, so a kilo of wet grass would sustain him for a couple of days - although allowing for the less efficient human digestion of grass (cf ruminants) he'd either have to eat his own tods (like rabbits do) to get the full energy content out, or accept a lower metabolised gain, in which case he might be looking at a couple of kilos of fresh grass to give him one day's worth of energy. A quick google warns that the silica in grass will wear teeth down, so he'd need to stew the grass and swallow it without chewing.
Re: Does he
I don't know. But he ought to treasure them, because a quick and possibly careless analysis suggests that the milk & tea bags consumed 18% of his budget but delivered only 6% of the energy content, so that's an expensive luxury that's cost him the thick end of an additional 2,500 kcal. Tomatoes are another expensive luxury, using 5% of the budget for 1% of the energy content, or another 1,500 kcal.
If he'd swapped the milky tea and the toms for extra rice, oats, pasta or pulses then he'd be looking at around 2,000 kcal per day rather than the 1,500 he's committed to.
"Target has long been an advocate for the widespread adoption of chip-and-PIN card technology," said Target CFO and executive vice president John Mulligan"
...........although few believed him, and the evidence was also stacked against his outrageous claim.
Re: I'm still trying
"The success of Word is, I'm convinced, not based on the merit of the program, but rather on the unscrupulous use of power by Microsoft and major marketing blunders on the part of the various owners of WordPerfect."
Certainly true for the spreadsheet. 123 was always the craftsman's tool, easier and more intuitive to use than Excel, but now Excel (and its ghastly macros and pivot tables) rule supreme.
Not our fault!
""But [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden has made it more difficult for law enforcement to hunt down the wolves,"
And of course, the cyber-plods were soooooooo successful up until that point.
Re: Surely this is just Microsoft Research under a different name?
"Microsoft should be commended for putting resources into an activity aimed at the public good."
Bwahahahahahahahahahaha! You think for one nano-second that this has ANYTHING to do with the public good? Or on reflection you might want to consider whether some PR drongo dropped in that term "because it reads better".
The only reason MS are doing this is because their market share in the overall tech market is sliding relentlessly, not because they aren't selling more OS, server and productivity software, but because the internet, tablets, phones, smart devices and the whole internet of things is passing Microsoft by like a 20k road race passing a fat old bloke gawping from the pavement.
This skunkworks project is a reaction to Microsoft's belated realisation that they are the gawping fat man, the problem is that the reason they became so corpulent was the massive success in desktop and OS productivity. No growth businesses ever got the visibility or support, they never passed any threshold of materiality, and the core businesses simply became unreactive cash cows. Those cash cows stopped listening to customers years ago (eg fixing the crummy help and syntax issues or appalling chart functionality in Excel), and drove their own agenda (like ribbon interfaces). They have failed to make their software secure for the internet age after a decade of claiming to try, despite finding time to foist dog's breakfast's like Vista and W8 on the world. Can a business as non-customer centric as Microsoft has become ever build new relevance? We'll see, but I doubt it. I wouldn't trust them with cloud solutions, I'd convert to open source rather than buy their software on subscription, and I wouldn't touch WinPho unless I was actually paid.
Critically, this isn't because their solutions don't work, it is that I (and I suspect the rest of the world) don't love or desire Microsoft - we just need them as the current lowest common denominator in Office and OS. Look at things like Surface, and the most enthusiasm you'll hear is "that'll be worth a mint in twenty years". Nokia had a lot of customer goodwill and affection that under Elop's control they have squandered. Google I have no affection for, but lots of respect - they do a lot for me, I just need to keep an eye on what the actual cost to me is. Many people fawn over Apple hardware (and software sometimes).
But who looks forward to buying a Microsoft product, or takes pride in owning one?
Re: Biased from the start
"In the key finding they only list the negative responses even though there were some quite happy IT admins."
I suspect the pool of happy IT workers is a much smaller scale than the ocean of unhappy, stressed IT workers. I'm not biased - I don't work in IT any more, and I just sit on the outside looking in, with good contacts who are on the inside and are feeling the pain.
However, rather than worrying about the motives of the survey's commissioner, the two pieces of jigsaw that I'd put together are the skills shortage that IT employers spend entire lifetimes carping about, and the fact that said IT employers often treat their staff like s**t. CIO's probably don't read the Reg (1), but if they did then the message would be that if they managed their staff with competence and respect, they wouldn't then spend 80% of their working time fighting to cover vacancies, pi55ing off users and fellow managers with cr@p service, or embroiled in life-sapping recruitment exercises.
Note 1: I suspect some CIO's do. But like a useless manager reading a Dilbert cartoon, they laugh without realising that they are the butt of the joke.
Re: I think...
" I think...You will live, don't worry about it. "
It's his bank balance he needs to worry about. By buying apples, tinned pulses and lentils in brine, most of what our man has paid for (by weight) is water. He'd have got twice the calories and nutrients by buying dried pulses. On the apples I'm less clear what makes sense, but dried prunes are probably a better bet, or bananas if you want fresh.
Next year's challenge
Whilst lauding the aims, next year's challenge could perhaps be to see what the cheapest acceptably balanced diet would be. So rather than simply balancing your energy needs and a basic protein/carb mix, for one week at the lowest absolute cost, to actually see what can be done on a diet that won't give you scurvy, rickets, anemia or whatever after a couple of months?
Re: Bah humbug.
Indeed. The amusing thing will be when Boris wakes up tomorrow and finds that 90% of ".London" addresses have been registered by businesses in China, and 90% of the others are based in the Londons in Ontario, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Texas, etc.
Re: Fake invoice scams are old
"Accountants may appear anal, but they're dealing with scum and crooks like this so have to be"
Nah, you've missed it mate. The beauty of this scheme is that it targets the shambolically disorganised, spendthrift, goldfish brained wastes-of-space who work in PR and marketing. These people (IMconsiderableE) are always receiving big invoices for stuff they commissioned verbally with no paperwork, no PO, no GRN, no framework agreement or contract, and should have paid months ago. A £500 invoice is pretty likely to be paid without question when the berks are probably already being chased for hundreds of thousands if not millions by the main advertisers and PR consultancies who the drones have forgotten to pay.
If there's one part of the business that invites and deserves spurious invoices, it's PR and marketing. I did think some months back that a false invoice scam targeting these people would be a nice little earner, but I've been beaten to it. Moral of the story: Never sit on a good idea, just get out there and fill your pockets.
"It'd need a Europe-wide investment to fix this stalemate."
Why do you believe that? The professionally mobile are already professionally mobile (Charlie Clark, where are you?) Do you assume that the stay-at-homes who don't have the skills/motivation suddenly become more mobile if you give them the skills?
There is however a more pressing problem with IT training, and that is that the trade and employers persistently bemoan the quality. There's lots of IT training going on now, but round El Reg it is clear that school IT is regarded as nothing more than Office for Dummies, and a BSc in Computer Science is held in the same regard as a sheet of medicated Izal.
Let's put aside grand ideas about pan-European solutions, and consider what exactly should be being done in the UK. What would make a skills difference to tech companies? And to what extent should that be fixed directly by government, or by changes in law (eg indentured and enforceable training contracts, perhaps having the risks underwritten by one of the government skills agencies)?
Re: What do you do at a party ?
"Like in real life if you don't have anything interesting to say or share then people won't be interested in listening."
Luckily the Reg forums were opened to cater for people like us.
Re: The problem with G+
"Some of them even think facebook *is* the internet"
Can you buy gift subscriptions for Dignitas?
Re: Oh goody.@ vlbaindoor
"The moment someone uses foul language can mean one or more of the following three :"
Alternatively it can mean that the they have a colourful vocabulary and they feel strongly about the matter. But I daresay you'll agree that those who complain about other people's uncouth language in this forum are:
1. Lacking in moral fibre
2. Barking up the wrong tree
3. Rather intolerant, unless the language is actually directed at them.
Re: As a 29 year old who doesn't quite 'get' MC...
"Even if the Danish taxpayer paid a hundred thousand to a developer for this, that's a small company (hopefully) who will stay in business for another year to grow their economy."
That's a good model. Maybe we should try it. Government could pick winners, and hand them public money to do things that they wouldn't be able to do commercially, and the whole economy will be richer as a result.
Re: Wait! The GOVERNMENT did this?
"I want to know why...."
That's easy, madam (1).
Look at any table of either tax take or government spending as a proportion of GDP. Whichever way you cut it, Denmark always comes out top, exempting a handful of basket case countries like East Timor and Cuba.
When your government is spending almost 60% of GDP, and has done so for years, then it soon runs out of useful things to spend money on, but you can be sure as eggs is eggs that it isn't going to decide that maybe the citizens should be allowed to keep more of their money to spend as they see fit. And spending 60% of GDP in a wealthy country must be a real challenge when you don't have a huge military-tech-government combine and an interventionist foreign policy. Interestingly the French are only marginally behind Denmark in terms of economic socialism, and as far as I can see they've given the world nothing, so I presume that all the money in France is spent on mistresses and such like.
Note 1. Madam - or sir, or whatever may be appropriate for your gender and species. This is a general problem for most of us Pseudonymists. Speaking for myself I'm an ursine male, and it isn't just the woods I s*** up.
Re: "Very nice piece of kit." I have in fact just ordered the aforementioned........
"Very nice piece of kit." I have in fact just ordered the aforementioned...............and La Senora is well pleased. "
Wow. Geek bird, you lucky chap. If I bought my wife a phone for her birthday she'd give me a good slap. Although telling your lady wife that she's a "geek bird" might earn you a slap, if you're feeling that's a missed opportunity..
"(Take the next left onto a one thousand and seventy nine .... spoken by someone using a phonetic translation device)."
Don't think that's much to do with Samsung - just Google Maps and their crappy synthesised voice. The Google maps voice did improve for a while, but they now seem to have gone back to the old clipped and mis-pronounced version. If you're using a locally stored navigation app (eg the free Navmii app) then the sound quality is fine with an S3, and you don't have to rely on poor data connections taking ages to load.
Re: Utter crap
"Yes, the bubbles and crashes (from the tulip bubble onwards) have been so much fun."
Are you arguing that we should have called off the industrial revolution, and continued a poverty stricken crofting existence, with infant mortality of one in three live births, life expectancy of mid 30s? If you want that you can still have it by moving to Wales.
Re: algo trading@ Truth4u
" If you can sell facebook stock then why go to the trouble of inventing facebook in the first place?"
You miss the point of the secondary equity market by so much that I'm surprised you can even operate a keyboard.
Stock markets exist because those who funded companies in the first place may (quite reasonably) not want to have their cash tied up in the same business forever, and because other companies/people may equally reasonably wish to buy an interest in listed companies in order to share in future profits, or simply because they think they can buy something cheap and sell it later at a higher price.
Re: Conservation of value..
"It's called trading because it doesn't create anything new, unlike growing or making stuff. All cash money 'made' by the city and the finance 'industry' is taken directly from someone elses pocket."
So by that definition, services have no value? Rather a pity, then, that "making" is simply a service applied to primary commodities. And where does the money "made" by a farmer come from? Did the fivers grow in his field, or has that money merely come out of his customer's pocket?
VP: You don't think we're wasting our time here on Daily Mirror readers?
Re: Here is an idea
"The state will collect tax and use it to pay pensions to the normal people who can't afford to take risks."
On what model? The existing pure Ponzi scheme where the state pension schemes have no real long term assets, only liabilities backed by future tax payers?
The welfare state started off with a National Insurance fund that was supposedly separate from general taxation, but that hypothecation has always been illusory because surpluses are loaned back to government, and because it isn't a fund at all, simply a current account. State pensions are a politician's promise, and as retirement goes up and benefits are eroded people might start to understand that government do not work for them, and such a scheme only works as the working population expands, just as a Ponzi scheme needs new "marks" to put cash in.
Re: Cost of markets
"certain banks were taking advantage of the time differential between stock exchanges "
Any trader who can has always sought to use information outside of trading hours to make a buck. That's how and why markets work. So if there's an earthquake in Japan in the middle of the night, somebody in New York will go short on Japanese stocks. Doesn't require HFT, just needs a man to think and push a button, or a machine setup to do it for him. If the pension funds want to trade in local daylight hours only, then that might work for them, and any consequences may be acceptable, if not then they need to move with the herd and engage in HFT. Given the long term investment and liabilities of pension funds, the impact of not engaging in HFT shouldn't be too much of a problem, unless they are just as much rancid speculators as "the banks" are deemed to be.
"HFT is a violation of that principle, because some players have the information before others and thus can react before others."
And this differs from the real world how? The HFTs are betting that markets will move in a given way, just as a retail day trader concludes that a share will go up or down. They have access to the same information feeds as anybody willing to subscribe to the various information services.
Just because a machine takes the decision and executes the trade in a microsecond doesn't make it more or less evil than the bloke at his home PC considering news and prices, and concluding that a share is under or over valued, and then buying a few hundred quid of spreads or options. Maybe you disagree and think it is evil, but it seems to me that anybody arguing that machine trading is evil are reading and posting on the wrong web site.
Re: Testing the algorithms?
"So they're going to set up an artificial market, install all that software and specific hardware that the companies have practically under armed guard because it's so secret, test it and then write a report? Really?"
No, they'll rubber stamp an EU directive saying that, but leave it to local parliaments to draft the legislation and the regulatory structures. In most of Europe the "testing" will comprise two questions that have to be answered "yes": Are you a locally domiciled bank? and Does your algo work OK for you?
Meanwhile, the British government will ask the British civil service to draft some legislation. The civil service will strain itself like a constipated bear for two years, and eventually squeeze out a zillion pages of incomprehensible, illogical, bureaucratic, ill informed value destroying verbiage, which after brief "consultation" and a completely made up impact assessment, will be pushed into UK law.
France and Germany have always believed (respectively) that Paris and Frankfurt should be the epicentre of world finance, and see anything that happens out of London as an outrage to the whole European superstate project. Ergo, anything that they can convince themselves harms London banks must therefore be a good thing, and in this case it is yet another instance of rheumy eyed old worlders convincing themselves that HFT is a ghastly anglo-saxon plot by the Yanks and Brits. They could be right, but as architects of the economic collapse of most of Southern Europe I don't think they are really in any position to form a valid judgement on anything.
"So, the more morbid part of my mind is trying to work out whether it would be best to work at the top, middle or bottom when one of these super high buildings collapses under the weight of its own hubris?"
Everybody inside will be dogmeat because even at the highest floors there's usually several hundred metres of non-occupied structure as the designer struggle to match the client demand for record heights with locations where there's not really the demand for that volume of space. But in the case of excessive hubris, I would guess you'd have an implosion, and a circular event horizon some way out from the building itself, and so the most important thing is to be a long, long way from the building, full stop.
Re: Bitcoin is strongly deflationary@ spider from mars
"In short, Bitcoin economics is awful on every level. It's almost as if it has been designed to undermine the ability of governments to control the supply of money "
Well, governments have done such a good job of managing money supply haven't they? Wouldn't pay to let somebody else have a go, who knows what sort of mess they could make, eh?
Here's a thought for you: In the past decade global governments have (in practical terms) printed ten trillion more dollars than there has been incremental economic activity. But that money hasn't leaked out to the plebs, nor has it been lent to real productive businesses. Instead it has been held on the electronic registers of the big banks, where investment bankers have wondered whether it would be cheaper to hold it as cash earning no interest, or to speculate on emerging market debt, over-leveraged buyouts, or "invest" in secondary markets (shares), London property, commodities or the like. When the bets go bad, and sooner or later every winning streak comes to an end, then the bankers know they will be bailed out by exactly the people who haven't benefited from all this fake money sloshing around.
The reality is that central banks controlling the money supply has been EXACTLY the means by which the 1% enrich their pals, and make sure that you and I are the ultimate back stop for their theft. Most ordinary people have seen their living standards drop, prices rise, yet their pay doesn't go up. That's because for central banks and politicians there are two types of inflation: Asset price inflation that makes housing more expensive, and inflates the nominal value of existing excess wealth, that's GOOD inflation for the 1%ers. But the sort of inflation that erodes the value of your and my debts, and results in a pay "rise" each year, that's the BAD sort of inflation.
As for Japan and deflation, wait for Abenomics to play out. Japan has in three short years doubled the monetary base. The Bank of Japan was, in recent auctions, the only buyer of Japanese government bonds, meaning that the rest of the world is unwilling to lend money for ten years at 0.6% to the government of the third largest economy. This will not end nicely.
Re: @Trevor Pott
""There's no room in this world for a [motor vehicle] that can't be a half-tonne truck, a mini-van and an F1 racing car...."
Err, FFS what are you responding to? Some random text that popped into you brain due to a crystal meth hit? I don't recognise the text, nor the message, even amongst responses to my post (itself a response rather than an original post).
When I can understand what the f*** you're on about, then you might get a cogent reply.
Re: Why in the hell are @Rick Giles
"Down voted for not trying harder."
When you've posted enough on the Reg, you find the up and down votes settle down, and its actually very difficult to shift the average. So down votes (and indeed upvotes) cease to matter when you've had your fill of either. My long term average is 4 upvotes to 1 downvote, and despite some bitter battles with one or two other commentards where we tried to change those numbers it hasn't worked. But thank you for caring enough to downvote!
For the record, I'd like the world's default OS to be a decent open source, free Linux distro. But that isn't going to happen until:
a) Consumers can game. Yeah, Steam yadda yadda yadda. But its still not the full monty.
b) Everything (and I mean everything) can be done through the GUI. Yeah, command line is for the brutal, unprincipled hard men, the Vlad Putin's of tech. But I served my time using GCOS on advanced military systems in the days before time, and I'm not afraid of the command line, I just can't be bothered with such a counter intuitive, user unfriendly approach these days.
c) Open source Linux software has all the bells and whistles that MS Office afficionados demand. I know, you know that no real value comes from these toys, but you won't see Linux on the enterprise desktop until it can compete.
Re: Why in the hell are any of us stupid enough...
"... to keep buying stuff from these idots?"
Because it is cheaper and less painful to pay the Microsoft ransom, and put up with occasional snafus and security disasters than to run an enterprise wide Linux roll out (or OSX or other alternatives) complete with full staff training for users and skills conversion for all your Windows centric techs. And I suspect the real challenge is simply selling it to the board, followed closely by selling it to departments who have used Excel as a substitute for a professionally operated database, and built entire complex applications with Excel or Word macros.
Technically it is of course possible to give up WIndows (just as it is possible to give up on manufactured cars and clothing, and make your own), but the larger your business, the more complex your environments, the more legacy Windows only code you are dependent upon and you either have to keep legacy Windows machines or replace possibly business critical software with brand new, possibly custom written versions. Time and money, basically.
Re: The best camera is the one that is in your hand.
" I've taken way more pictures since getting a smartphone than I ever did with my DSLR."
True for many, but I found it worked the other way. I've never found smartphones a rewarding photographic experience, and digital compacts something of a fast food experience. But when I got a m4/3 Panasonic G2 (marked down to £200), and was able to use depth of field, and control exposure time etc, I really got back into taking nice photographs in a way that I hadn't been able to since I abandoned silver halide. I'm sure the truly committed will scoff at my electronic viewfinder, kit lens, and mere 12 Mp images on an m4/3 sensor, but it works for me.
I suspect that many of the enthusiast photographers are like my father in law - they choose technically brilliant but over-heavy full frame DSLR's, insist on a collection of prime lenses, suitable bullet proof camera bag that collectively weigh half a tonne, and that's why they never have it with them.
Doubt it. But the business model of ERP vendors is spookily similar to Microsoft: Sell on outrageous promises, ream out customer with equally outrageous licence costs, all in return for the use of truly ancient bug addled code with a shit user interface.
Quite why CIOs are so stupid as to believe that ERP will fix all their problems I don't know.
Re: Lawyer Alert
"Looks like they're copying Samsung."
Certainly looks like specifications are converging. That probably helps Google more than Apple or Samsung, since it has always been easy to tell the difference between Android and Apple products but the obvious competition for a larger iPhone 6 (looking rather "me-too" in the crowded top end smartphone segment) isn't a Galaxy S5, it is more likely to be the premium feel top end HTC and Sony devices, with sealed batteries and possibly fixed storage.
Re: MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants
"Nuclear powered ships move around severe weather. I can't see floating nuclear power stations doing that"
That's because floating power nuke plants are a daft idea - rogue waves or off course ships pose more likely hazards than tsunami, but either could be as devastating for a floating nuke plant. And the mass of a decent scale nuclear power station is such that trying to make it float is simply bizarre - "let's take the heaviest objects ever built by man, and try and make them float!". A far better idea would be building an underwater nuke power station. Tsunami, rogue wave, and mostly off-course ship and storm proof, can weigh as much as you want. Arguably neither more nor less vulnerable to military attack.
Admittedly a full scale underwater power plant would be a larger scale underwater construction than anything plant wise we've done yet, but there's plenty of very long tunnels under very high groundwater pressure that we've managed, the military experience of marine nuclear reactors could be turned to good use, and with suitable precautions, the plant is its own sarcophagus if things go pear shaped.
Re: Whatever happened to "Silicon Glen"...?
What happened to Silicon Glen was quite simply that the whole idea was to lure tech jobs to Scotland to solve an unemployment problem, using short term taxpayer subsidies. Tech was exciting and growing, so the expectation was that this would create durable skills and retain the employers.
Unfortunately, the volume jobs in tech are low to medium skilled, and the employers were globally mobile companies lured by the subsidies. As soon as the temporary subsidies fizzled out, the jobs soon moved because either somebody else with expensive labour was now offering subsidies, or without continuing local subsidies the UK plant was uneconomic against foreigners simply prepared to work harder for less. The same thing happened with attempts to lure manufacturing to Wales - remember the Sony Bridgend plant, or the LG Philips in Newport, the Sharp solar panel plant at Wrexham, the Hoover plant at Merthyr Tydfil, and so forth.
Subsidies never work, but sadly structural adjustment (like abolishing employer's NI, or making business rates fit for purpose) is too hard for the public sector.
Re: @ Don Jefe
"Britain just buys, doesn't produce."
In the grand scheme of things its fair to say that the US is in the same basket as the UK. I'll take your views on advanced manufacturing equipment at face value, but that hasn't been a UK export strength except when the Bessemer converter was regarded as advanced. Problem is that one narrow sector isn't representative of a whole economy.
Look at the analysis of recent US job reports - many of the old blue collar jobs lost (say in Detroit) have been replaced just as UK jobs have been with part time and lower value unskilled work. So although many but not all of your comments are accurate, your belief that the US is doing something different to the UK is wrong. The US likewise has a huge budget deficit, a huge trade deficit, and your economy is being hollowed out, with nothing but money printing to keep it afloat..
If we look at balance of trade in goods, last year the US ran a deficit of about $700bn, the UK a deficit of about £100bn, say $150bn. Per capita that means the trade deficit for the US is $2.24k compared to $2.38k for the UK. So for a country that doesn't manufacture much of value in your eyes, I'd suggest that we're not doing much worse than you lot.
Re: worried about damaging the USB port
"Someday there'll be the right combination of form factor, speed & price..."
Yep. It'll be a phone with built in 128 Gb storage for an extra £50 over the current prices. If I can buy 128 Gb for £60 retail markup, tax and distribution included, there's no reason why idiot phone makers couldn't do that instead of sticking in 8 or 16 Gb (which requires just the same package and interface as a properly sized lump of storage).
The only explanation is a "640k is enough for anybody" mindset amongst mobile phone hardware designers, accompanied by the marketing teams' desire to ream out the more gormless customers with "propositions" like £60 for an extra 8 Gb.
Re: Why should 64 bit drive demand?
" so I don't see how it would drive demand any more than a faster GPU or marginally improved battery life would"
These are all collective increments of improvement that help show that this year's phone is better than last years. But don't forget there's three other things driving continued demand that differentiate from the PC market: Style, accidental damage, and battery degradation on sealed phones.
Style isn't about whether you have Apple or Sammy, it is just a statement that many people regard a phone as more than a utilitarian tool to be used for as long as it works. This drives replacement for the sake of replacement.
Accidental damage (and loss or theft) speak for themselves but are all useful drivers of new sales that don't look to be going away anytime soon.
And you can have the battery replaced on most sealed units, but after a couple of years most people will want to upgrade anyway - particularly if the cost of having a battery upgrade is more than a few quid.
A PC could last a decade with a modicum of care. A mobile phone has a half life of about eighteen months I'd guess, and I think the analysts recognise that because of the attritional factors, the overall market is less likely to shrink despite the increasing technological maturity, and shrinking improvements generation on generation.
"This was/is never going to be anything but a conventional war,..."
Sorry mate, you're still in short trousers obviously. My first job a long time ago was maintaining and sharpening step one of the nuclear detente mechanism. Nobody ever starts out intending for things to go shit shaped. In the 1930's, heavy bombers were seen in much the same light as WMD today. Most people believed they'd never be used, they were a deterrent, and the thought of their use was simply horrific. FFWD to mid-1945, and we'd had Guernica, the London blitz, Coventry, Hamburg, Dresden, and ultimately Hiroshima.
Putin is banking on getting away with it. So did Hitler (note 1). If Putin he gets away with Crimea (like Hitler did in the Sudetenland), then he might consider Eastern Ukraine (even as I type), just as Adolf moved into Poland. Then what about disputes with former USSR NATO members. like, well, Poland?
Note 1: For historic purposes I claim a derogation against Godwin.
Re: Could not have timed it better
"you seem to forget that this is Russia"
No, I don't. I agree with most of your comments, but I wasn't saying they could not or would not do this - just that it would be economic madness that they can ill afford. That's quite common amongst dictators, but Putin's got some way to go before he challenges North Korea for the 2014 title of Crackpot Dictator of the Year.
One point of clarification, why would London wish to stop anybody going into space? Nobody in the UK cares if Putin wants to build a huge phallus and point it at the moon, and historically we are used to threatening postures from short arse emperors and dictators.
The reality of the current spat over Ukraine has drawn out two fundamental issues that the world needs to learn, and neither are really about Ukraine or Crimea:
1) Russia is not a reliable trade partner, and with the threat of freezing Germany to death next winter, the key country of the EU isn't going to say boo to the goose stepper of Moscow. Important lessons: Russian exports cannot be relied on, and closing down your coal fired power plant to save the world has far more costs than just higher energy bills.
2) Giving up nuclear weapons means surrendering to those who do have them, even if other nuclear powers have guaranteed your sovereignty. This lesson was already believed in Pyongyang, Teheran and Islamabad, but Putin has single-handedly spelled it out to the whole world. This could have some rather difficult long term consequences including for Russia.
Re: Could not have timed it better
"I'd much rather have a good old-fashioned space race, it's of much more benefit to humanity."
Not when both sides are funding it from the printing presses, which in the longer term is simply a stealth tax on holders of cash and cash-denominated assets. Building a big fuck-off rocket with tax might look cool, but when you've seen your economy hollowed out by the biggest debt fuelled boom 'n' bust in history, you'd think that people would have more sense than even more borrowing to pay for vainglorious technological willy waving.
Any the technical benefits of a space programme are simply too far ahead to make economic sense when you discount them and compare them to alternative uses of the money like low tech stuff that's crying out to be done, such as improving transport links or telecomms and internet access.
Re: Makes sense
"Except the technology to get there exists now..."
And it didn't boost the Soviet economy at all, since it was unproductive state spending, and in a closed, secretive and centrally directed economy there were no spin offs for wider industry, unlike in the US, and the lack of a viable commercial sector meant that the multiplier effects of state spending were muted compared to a market economy.
Put simply, space science fits largely in the "guns" category of "guns or butter".
Re: Could not have timed it better
"This is also at a time when the US probably couldn't afford to join that race"
To a degree yes, but the Yanks have far greater ability to afford it than the crooked and backward economy that Russia is blessed with. Putin and his mates have obviously forgotten that last time they tried to out-compete America on weapons and space technology it bankrupted the USSR. With an economy only held afloat by exports of gas, Russia is playing a dangerous game that in the longer term it is likely to lose.
Or is the icon type photo of two dangling feet next to the headline in your "Top Stories" box rather inappropriate in this instance?
"If you think the system in the West is so bad, you're free to move to another country and see what the system is like there."
Errr, you've admitted you're the incomer. If you don't like us natives badmouthing our government, then you are free to move to another country where not only is there peace, freedom and democracy, but also the population universally adore their government and its measures to "protect their freedom". Where will that be?
Regarding how everything here is better than elsewhere, that's debatable at several levels, but the most significant challenge is simply that we have acheived the things you highlight because we're running a Ponzi economy funded by vast levels of irrepayable debt. Even now, with left wing politicians howling about austerity and cuts, the government is spending £100bn a year more than it gets in taxes, we've got over a trillion in public sector debt, and the private sector is no better, having become hooked on cheap credit.
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