Re: Manchester is not northen
"And did you eventually grow up ?"
We both know the answer to that!
2984 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
"And did you eventually grow up ?"
We both know the answer to that!
"And I say that as a poncey southerner who braved life on the windswept peaks of Carrbrook for many years."
I'll back that, having moved from the pleasant and civilised south to the uncouth north for my growing up years. By God! It was like being a missionary amongst savages! Or a legionary atop Hadrian's wall. There was I sole speaker of the Queen's English for a hundred miles, and all around the Yorkshire vermin were spitting in the gutter and bah't tatting before setting off to Ilkley Moor with whippets in tow and cloth cap upon head. It was only as we passed Watford Gap on the way south that mum would let me turn the Brownings to safety and come out of the Cortina's rear turret.
Looking on the bright side, thanks to Blair, most of the BBC and their middle class Guardian reading liberals have been exiled to the Manchester Gulag. Before the native Mancs know it they'll have been gentrified and become the people they currently loathe in the less grim suburbs. And then the Glaswegians will have undisputed title of the expression "northerners".
Skipton, best place to live?
I can remember childhoods in Yorkshire not many miles away, playing on ten foot snowdrifts in winter, wallowing in the miserable isolation and backwardness. So apart from the weather, the locals, and the fact that it's the official Middle Of *ucking Nowhere (MOFN) perhaps it is a good place to live if you're a bored London journo scraping up some contracted copy for the Huff post.
" and origin of the Black Pudding"
Luckily the recipe is now widely known, so if Bury slips back to the stone age we'll still be able to fry it good and crisp. And if feeling charitable to send some back to Bury in Red Cross parcels if we haven't eaten it ourselves.
"Why that show and no others?"
Because for many of us, it was our first taste of scifi, and we grew up with it. Cardboard sets, comedy monsters and all, but of late appreciatively growing into Ecceleston and then Tennant's contributions.
Sadly the current palava is caused by the fact that having updated the programme to acceptable graphics, good camera work and good acting, the BBC have thrown it all away by turning the whole thing into a shitty soap opera. The rot started under Matt Smith, who was always too effete for the role, but the storylines had caught a does of something nasty at the same tine. And now, well, it's Holby Fucking City in Time and Space (HoFuCTAS).
So, HoFuCTAS? I'll tell you who, the knob ends of the BBC. And the c*nts at BBC Worldwide don't help, always badgering to have UK-focused content dumbed down for the international market.
I can remember when the Beeb did not just good stuff, but brilliant, world class stuff. Now they've thrown away all the orgasmically beautifully filmed nature programmes, they shat on their previously fabulous costume dramas (1), and worst of all they've messed with Dr Who. Bastards, every last one of them, navel gazing from the inside, because they're up their own arse.
(1) Not my bag, but I know a good thing when I get an hour or two to myself on Sunday evening.
"I was born in a water moon. Some people, especially its inhabitants, called it a planet, but as it was only a little over two hundred kilometres in diameter ‘moon’ seems the more accurate term. The moon was made entirely of water, by which I mean it was a globe that not only had no land, but no rock either, a sphere with no solid core at all, just liquid water, all the way down to the very centre of the globe...."
If you know, you know. And if you don't you need to find the book and read it.
"if you're shown the Bake Off and don't enjoy it, you're promptly deported to somewhere far less British"
What, like how we used to transport people who didn't share Britain's law abiding values? Look where that got us: Bloody crims' descendants are living it up in Oz, whilst we sit in our poxy little houses in our overcrowded, damp and grey country. And in the meanwhile some arseholes in Westminster have made things worse by hitching our cart to the plodding three legged donkey that is the EU, so we get freedom of trade for European criminals, and to share in the wasteful, backward, statist, and bureaucratic values that are central to the heart of every true European.
I do agree that it is quintessentially British to make a programme in which uninteresting people bake a cake, and then uninteresting but slightly dislikeable people criticise them, but it is equally quintessentially for only the oldest, most bewildered and most be-cardiganed to actually watch such cheap schedule filling crap. People still pay to watch or buy Dad's Army from almost fifty years ago, but I can't see people fifty years hence marvelling at the talent and wit of the Great British Bake Off.
"Canada here. I'd like to pay the License Fee and have full access to all BBC programming. "
No! No! You really want all of the gems the Beeb foists on us, and you want to pay?
Strictly Come Dancing? The Voice? Antiques *ucking Roadshow. Songs of *ucking Praise? East Enders? Holby City? The Great British Bake Off? The effete and increasingly soapy Doctor Who? The Graham Norton Show. Watchdog. Even the BBC news is now a dumbed down, non-investigative, timid government mouthpiece. And it comes with a shed-load of government encouraged climate change doom.
Any time they look like they're backing a winner (eg the BBC Wales scifi/drama stuff) they throw it away so they can stick with Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow. Previous glories of period drama were thrown away, and all sets, actors and writers dumped at sea, so that Holby City could continue to be made and spewed forth. And as for comedy, there's precious little of merit going back to the 1970's.
Canada, you're welcome to this pile of state produced ordure, but I say you'd get better value cracking open a beer, and streaming yourself some grumble.
"In order to do that we will have to stop buying oil and gas from them first."
I have a simpler solution: Instead of telling the rest of the world how to run the web, the Arabs could just turn off all digital telecommunicatons, and do without the internet.
"Unless they're going to issue everyone of voting age with a basic internet connection "
A more pressing concern is that not voting is a valid choice. I didn't have any acceptable choices for MP at the last general election, so I didn't cast a vote for any of the candidates. If Martha is too stupid to see how important the right to not vote is, then she's evidently fully qualified to be a member of the house of lords. Presumably serial stupidist Lord Vaz will be joining her soon, as he's demonstrated the necessary hypocrisy and dim-ness.
The interesting aspect of this is that under the previous hereditary system the Lords were great - a chamber of sleeping old codgers who allowed us to sell the idea of being governed by a class system to tourists, but who never interfered with the bungling stupidity of the lower chamber, other than a few irrelevant speeches about the need to hunt foxes, badgers and peasants. Following the "reforms" by that village idiot Blair, we can now see that we don't need two chambers, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify the House of Patronage.
I say shut the doors and gas 'em.
"I live in one of the flattest parts of the UK but ALL mobile providers services are totally shit."
It applies everywhere, as far as I can see. Personally I blame OFCOM. They've created a licensing system that (along with capital requirements) means that there's huge barriers to entry in the infrastructure part of the value chain.
It isn't beyond the wit of man to mandate "common carriage" arrangements where the market can't provide coverage in low population densities (even the French have managed it). But sadly what is not beyond the wit of man is clearly beyond the wit of OFCOM.
And a question for those who know about such things, is 4G going to be the same pathetic shambles as 3G? All this talk of ludicrous speeds is surely going to depend in the real world on mast capacity and backhaul, and those appear to be the bits the MNOs have thus far refused to invest in beyond the barest minimum, leading to all this 2G fall back and half data rate nonsense (along with the absolute notspots with no coverage of any kind).
"Vodafone research shows that customers value a consistent, high-speed 4G service in-building as well as outside "
If Vodafone's research is any good it should also show that most customers don't give a shit about 4G services targeted at a few urban hipsters with the latest handsets, but would give their left bollock (or their partner's left bollock) for decent near universal H+ 3G.
"Those decade-old rolling stock from Italy (the ones with slidey does and smelly loos) have some kind of miracle signal attenuation."
I suspect it's the design, which has far smaller windows than older inter-city and suburban carriages. The huge area of metal presumably acts as a leaky Faraday cage.
Nope, still descriptive (and the abbreviation might get a bit difficult as to who's fighting whom in the Middle East).
I demand a simple proper name. Mercania would do.
"Sometimes I can't tell whether something in a headline is about "US" the country, or "US" the emphasised collective of El Reg readership."
Bloody Yanks eh? If they'd give their country a proper name, rather than a vague and arguably inaccurate description we wouldn't have this problem.
Suggestions on a postcard please.
That's still a fairly restricted number, and of known servers. If you use other speed testing services eg
then I certainly get different and far slower speeds.
My day to day usage feels more like the broadbandspeedchecker 50 Mb indication than the speedtest.net 100 Mb claim.
"how do you return the letters? when there's no return address? :("
You know that red cylinder with a letter sized slot in it? Stick it in there.
Then the people who posted it through your letter box can decide how they want to deal with it. If they get enough returns they'll start insisting on a returns address (and charging the originator) but it's their problem.
"Why do Virgin Media bother with these misleading ads, when all they need to do is say the following:
We're not BT, and you won't need their line."
Because, my dear AC, on pure like for like plays there's always someone a fair bit cheaper than Virginmedia when you look beyond the introductory offers, even when you allow for BT's line rental cash cow. And because Virginmedia offer rubbish routers that aren't really fit for purpose. And because under the Cable Cowboy they've run a series of price hikes to piss customers off.
"Intel's $1.5B hit comes from paying for the design ...."
I'll happily defer to your and Charlie Clark's views on the cost of alternative SoCs. But you're wrong that they aren't selling below cost, because R&D is a cost that needs to be recovered through sales like many other overheads.
To assert that Intel are not selling below cost you'd have to be looking at gross margin, and perhaps believing that the accounting term "cost of sales" refers to economic costs. "Cost of sales" refers only to the marginal cost of those sales. From an economic or investor perspective the true cost of sales would be the average, which has to include all the other operating costs of the business.
So according to Google Maps that'll be:
" I wonder just how much Intel is bankrolling this (and presumably similar devices via similar channels in other countries) "
Well, in the last six reported months Intel made a loss of $1.5bn on less than $700m of revenues for their mobile and communications segment. So whatever the sale price of the processor was, the actual cost to Intel was three times that, and that's just to break even. Looking at other groupings (say Servers & Data Centres), Intel want to make an operating margin around 50% of sales. Which would suggest that Intel are currently selling (on average) mobile products for one sixth of the price they'd need to stay in the game long term. Obviously depends how much is integrated on the chip, but If we say the processor is the meaty bit, and the going rate for a third party chip is around $35, but Intel sell for perhaps $7, but would ideally like $50 (above market through hoped-for premium and further SoC integration, then it looks like the order of the implied cash subsidy to each Hudl2 (against a third party product) would be around $28, with Intel taking a $40+ loss between what they accept now and what they'd like to be paid.
That of course is built on the flimsiest of foundations....
"All You Need is Hove."
You'll be giving our Merkin friends some bad ideas about how Hove is pronounced locally. Then again, could things get any worse, given the mangled enunciation that Google Maps routinely offers?
"You wonder the extent to which this is indicative of a mindset - was it as simple as Snowden, being "on the inside", wasn't really a party to the rules and could do as he wished?"
I hadn't thought of it like that, but it's a damned good challenge. It is generally true that any organisation is a shadow of its leader, top to bottom, and for better or worse. It would therefore follow that Snowden perhaps thought that way because that was how the whole NSA think, but I don't think so. Both from what he's said, and from his actions post-leak, he knew the ramifications would not include acclaim, recognition and reward, but rather vilification, harassment of him, family and friends, and a choice of exile or life imprisonment by a bitter, vengeful, and repressive bureaucracy.
The man has paid a very heavy personal price for doing the right thing, and I think if he'd believed that the rules did not apply to him, he'd have assumed that things would never point at him, or that it would all turn out rosy. I'd suggest the unlucky Bradley/Chelsea Manning thought that way, based on what he'd seen, but I think Snowden not.
The complete lack of support on Capitol Hill shows how the vermin of the political classes won't ever do the right thing, so I suppose that makes Snowden the man who stood up for what he believed in, of a free America. And he's now being hunted down like a dog for being the original American patriot.
Note to Hollywood: When you make the film, remember that all the baddies in this will not be your elected politicians, nor your senior security officials (many now as decorated as any African dictator), but should be weak minded dweebs either under the malign influence of the British, or simply mysterious English-accented sinistros.
"The NSA is tasked both with protecting US network infrastructure and also penetrating and gathering intelligence from networks."
Which doesn't really explain why (as I read this article) the NSA were active in commercial espionage on foreign owned companies. That has little to do with security or protective intelligence, and everything to do with the sort of intellectual property theft for economic gain that the Yanks have spent the past decade accusing the Chinks over.
The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, this would eventually have leaked out, and what it shows is the poor judgement of the security establishment, who seem determined to make the US a pariah in the free world. And all of this security pantomime is justified largely by the "threat" posed by a handful of stone age bigots and extremists on the other side of the world. And the absolute height of that threat was an attack over ten years ago that killed roughly the same number of people who die on America's roads each month, year in year out.
Makes you wonder which country the NSA are actually working for.
"What were they thinking?"
They were picking a winner, that's what they were thinking. Sadly whenever public servants pick winners, it is usually a surefire guarantee of long, expensive and protracted failure.
"I am not aware of badgers being classed as a delicacy, so I propose that DAB be referred to as DeAd Badger tech?"
What about that bloke who used to collect and eat roadkill, including badgers? He seemed to like like them, and I've not come across anybody saying that they aren't a delicacy, so that's 100% of all badger eaters who rate them as a delicacy.
"But to assume that it will all be permanently stuck at a "proof of concept" level coded by know-nothing numpties who've never had to sell a product to an end user - seems unnecessarily harsh."
You're obviously not familiar with the dismal mess that is the firmware and applications of most "smart" TV's.
Years (if not decades) after suitable protocols and hardware were cheaply available, and years after privacy became a consumer concern, these devices offer weak and slow functionality, often have the most criminally inept user interfaces, struggle with quick easy interconnectivity, have maker-loaded spyware reporting back to base, and are very quickly discarded from the maker's "supported software & devices" list. And that's top-brand TVs. Can you imagine what the software on a mid to low end smart fridge would be like?
Hardware markers don't get software. They don't understand the need to support it, they don't have experience in creating software, and their mentality in all things is build to the lowest cost, bundle it out the factory gate and forget it.
"there's a quote from a senior Symbian kernel engineer (who I won't name) who spelled out what the issues actually were with Nokia"
I'd accept that the problems were diagnosed, and were individually treatable with time. But culturally and organisationally Nokia couldn't address them in any time frame, and even with radical action to make the organisation change, the business didn't have time as shown by the demise of Blackberry under the rule of Balsillie and Lazaridis. In 2006 both companies completely commanded their focus segments of the phone world. Both needed to address shortcomings in their phone operating systems, and both failed to anticipate the quality competitor offerings, failed to listen to customers, and failed to innovate effectively or quickly enough.
The interesting thing is that all of those criticisms apply to Microsoft in its core PC OS business. The only thing keeping MS going is the lack of a credible mass market alternative (Apple too expensive, Linux too fragmented, complex, and insufficiently compatible with a range of important programs).
"Elop wasn't the worst CEO in history,"
Of course he wasn't. He sold a business that had been in a death spiral to Microsoft, who actually gave Nokia a good sum of money for the business. He did exactly what he was paid to do, which was work in the interests of Nokia's shareholders. He realised that Nokia had irretrievably missed the boat on phone operating systems, and rather than becoming a me-too Android hardware maker struggling to compete with low cost Chinese OEMs (which would have been a very bad decision), he chose Microsoft's OS, and that inevitably led to MS having to buy Nokia's phone division.
Arguably Elop played a blindingly good strategic game, worked loyally and effectively for his Finnish employers and Nokia shareholders, in a game where he'd been dealt a really poor hand to start with. Given the lacklustre performance of the typical over paid CEO's of most companies I'd suggest Elop should be considered for the award of best CEO ever.
Those mourning Symbian already know in their hearts that the body was in the coffin long before Elop arrived. And if they'll be realistic they'd have to agree that had Elop tried to revive that corpse, Nokia's phones business would have suffered the same fate as Blackberry, of finding that after a year or three of developing something that was actually good enough to take to market, the whole world had moved further on, "quite good" was never going to be good enough, and the value of the business had shrunk yet further.
"it leaves that unused shale gas in the ground in the US. So it will still be there to help US energy independence"
Maybe, but I doubt it. We still haven't seen the real economic cost of shale gas, and we won't until we've been through a few more years of asset renewal cycles, well declines and redrilling and so forth (plus the inevitable bankruptcies of many over-valued but under-capitalised newly listed companies). It's significant that the old "big oil" companies are treading very carefully in shale plays - they're worried about being left out, but they know that the maths doesn't work.
Gas prices have to rise a lot before shale will be genuinely economic in my view. As you say it sits there "until needed", but I suspect that before then the vast amounts of money being poured into energy research will have produced a range of technologies that are competitive at lower costs than shale gas can ever be produced for (not necessarily renewables), plus improving energy efficiency of buildings that reduces heating and cooling demands, and thus shrinks the gas market.
"But I don't think it would make much sense with the current situation with ISIS."
I don't think sense comes into US military or foreign policy thinking. The US armed and radicalised the Afghans to spite the Ruskies in the 1980s. That wasn't too sensible in hindsight. The US encouraged and supported a selected a range of unsavoury middle east countries whilst turning a blind eye to their behaviours in funding and supporting extremism. Again, doesn't look too sensible now. The US invaded Iraq on spurious evidence, and without any plan for stabilising the country after achieving "regime change". Doesn't look too sensible now. The US gave the post invasion Iraqi army plenty of weapons, many now in the hands of IS. You know what I'm going to say. The US trained anti-Assad fighters in Jordan and supplied them with weapons, before those fighters quite predictably went and aligned with IS or Al Nusra....not too sensible again. Does anybody notice a trend here?
So in context, angering the Iranians with an unprovoked attack just when the US might be making some slow progress in negotiations, and when the US might need their help clearing up a mess of US making, that is definitely consistent with the US track record.
Of course, only a cynic would take the view that the US needs Iran to be combative and under sanctions, because unless Iran's huge gas reserves are nearly sterilised by sanctions, the global gas price would plunge, and all the US shale gas producers would go to the wall (along with their political donations), and the mirage of US energy independence would evaporate.
"I think you must be being extraordinarily dense."
Not showing up in my BMI.
But I think you're wrong anyway. There's not really any good science to BMI that I'm aware of it. It's a rule of thumb, it works best at a population level, works less well for tall people, or people who are muscley.
But at any rate, whether people argue with BMI or not, if they want to be fat (and it is a personal choice for the vast majority of the porky population) then that's fine by me.
"This doesn't mean that BMI is not a useful macro measurement, but that it is not particularly useful for you."
So in fact, BMI is useless for any individual. Which is fine, the public health enthusiasts could just stop misleading and confusing people by talking about BMI publicly, and offer the public a simpler and infallible test of fatness:
"Undress in front of a mirror. Are you a bit of a Bunter?"
"when the main engines fired, the thrust wasn't in the correct direction."
What is the fate of the satellites? Are these now useless space junk, or is there any prospect of recovery or repositioning them?
"Not according to the numbers in Table 3.10 (units are ttoe):"
You disingenuous toad (it could have been a lot ruder, but I thought better of it). Your original point was that lighting demand fell off a cliff in 2007, and my point was that that decline dramatically slowed down in the period 2010-13, so perhaps you'd better repost and include the numbers right through from 2002 through to 2007? We both know where it is in DUKES, but I'll let you find and post it because it confirms what I'm saying that the "falling off the cliff" trend has dramatically slowed.
And you happily quote Gone Green (1) without regard to the other three scenarios, or the distinct possibility that within five years the EU could have broken itself up, or we may be outside it. This disputette between you and I is a pity - we seem to agree on the central point that well designed modern LED lighting is a great boon, on a like for like basis reduces energy use, and can offer better light quality in a lot (if not all situations).
(1) For those not in the loop, Gone Green is one of National Grid's "Future Scenarios". These are not forecasts, just a range of possible futures. For those who are interested in such technical stuff the whole NG Future scenarios are fantastic pieces of work, and they're freely available here:
The full download is a PDF document of around 214 pages, and National Grid do a programme of rolling consultations with all stakeholders and partners to get their views and input.
"Not my experience on a very small sample."
I'd agree that there's a goodly helping of rubbish on the market, and even some well known brands may have produced duffers, and with your point that the driver electronics will be the bit most likely to die, but being a charitable sort (as poster 080 will confirm above) I attribute this to LED being an emerging technology. Our office buildings have all been refitted with trade LED luminaires and in buildings housing 1,200 employees I'm unaware of any problems, so I think it is possible to get
When I bought a shed load of Tesco-brand GU10's, I kept the receipt and one box (which promises 25,000 hours use), with the specific intention of taking any failures in the next decade back to the shop. 18 months into this plan there has not been a single failure amongst the 19 bulbs installed, most of them running for around 1,200 hours a year, only eight and a half years until I can throw the box and receipt away. Fingers crossed!
"So, just in case you are out after dark a couple of times a month this justifies your local council wasting money on energy every night. "
Well sod off and live somewhere where there are no street lights then. You may find IS-held Syria to your taste, so lacking in all forms of modern amenity that I'm sure it is doing wonders for the planet.
"No, in the UK residential (and indeed all) lighting demand is going to continue to fall off a cliff thanks to LEDs and this is going to make a big impact on our electricity demand."
Between 2010 and 2012 the decline you note flattened out, and in three of four National Grid future scenarios lighting energy demand hovers around current levels for the next decade. And unfortunately DECC's other policies (like transport electrification, de-gassing heat), accompanied by a big expansion in house building will more than offset the benefits of more efficient lighting, leading to a near doubling of electricity use by 2050.
And in a world that uses much more electricity, DECC's ideas of building expensive, intermittent, low-load factor power sources like wind are pure idiocy. Almost as stupid as writing a blank cheque to EDF for Hinkley Point B.
"LED lights are also expensive - and need specialised recycling"
Not that specialised. You can either dispose of LED GU10 fittings and the like with large metal heat sinks into the mixed metals recycling, or other LEDs into electronics waste recycling, the rest of which which contains much the same sort of mix of diodes and electronics. What's more, the better quality LED's aren't going to need recycling for the fat end of two decades anyway.
The expense issue is a myth as well - the capital cost is higher, but the lifespan is much longer as well as fuel costs lower, and with most lights you'd be getting a cash payback of 18 months to two and half years from an LED. Try finding a financial investment offering you a safe 30% annual return!
"Anybody heating their house with electricity who doesn't have a private wind turbine is either unfortunate (renting) or needs a serious rethink (owner), because electricity costs more per Joule than does gas."
Gas isn't available to around one in eight of the UK population because they are off the gas grid, and it isn't available in high rise buildings for safety reasons (noting some use communal gas boilers, some use dry electric heat). The cost balance between electric and gas should also take account of the depreciation of a gas boiler (say £150 a year), interest on the capital tied up (say £100 a year), and an annual safety check and clean (say £100). That's £350 a year of hidden costs before you've done anything. And there's a further couple of grand tied up in a wet heating system (say £250 a year, maybe more if you pay for "heating cover"). Added together the standing costs of a wet, gas fired heating system are around £700-800 a year, which would buy around 5 GWh of heat. And that doesn't include the gas supply standing charge, typically a further £100-150 a year (in terms of figures above, the gas standing charge would pay the depreciation on a dry electric system).
Against that a dry electric system is cheap to install and lasts longer so has lower depreciation, and has virtually no maintenance costs. In a typical draughty, poorly insulated house I'd agree gas is a no brainer where available. But in a very well insulated modern house a dry electric system can start to look a credible option. Economy 7 tariffs and storage heaters (with peak top up) can be as cost effective in the longer term as gas in a typical house, even though you'd have higher electricity bills. If I were doing a self build or a self-specify, I'd be looking for passivhaus levels of insulation, and use underfloor dry electric heating, and do without gas at all (that's a pipe dream, or non-pipe dream, depending on how you look at it).
Industry insider hint for those currently on E7 tariffs: Switch supplier twice a year - outside of the heating season you need the cheapest normal non-E7 tariff, during the heating season the cheapest E7 or E10. When switching in spring you're looking for a supplier who will offer you single rate electricity on a dual rate meter, as not all do. Do the sums, see if it works for you. Also, if you've not got night storage heaters, and you're on E7, chances are that you're paying a lot more than you would on a single rate tariff (to be in the money you need 35-40% of all electricity used across the year to be used in the cheaper off peak period). If either the seasonal strategy or the 35% of all power off peak things are news to you, I may have just saved you £150-200 a year, so in lieu of my beer fund, contributions welcome to the RNLI.
"The pitch black result is that any late return from an event requires a torch. Possibly an employment opportunity for link boys - or footpads."
And just as much of an employment opportunity for paramedics and fire &rescue services:
The curious thing is why local government think they are in such desperate economic times. Current public spending is only marginally down from the astronomical levels achieved by notorious traitor Gordon Brown, my council tax is higher than it has ever been, and nationally the public sector is still spending £100 billion a year more than it raises through taxes (and none of that includes billions of pounds of stealth taxes like all the levies on your energy bills, mandated private sector expenses like employee pensions, or the half a billion telly tax).
I have to agree that a greater prevalence of LED lighting options will lead to more use of lighting. The same holds true in heating, where if you offer people an insulation package for their homes (draught proofing, new boiler, cavity wall and loft insulation), then according to some very good studies, in a third of households the heating bills rise. The term the industry use is "comfort taking", and it's a simple fact of human behaviour.
And that illustrates some of the problems in forecasting demand and energy use, and the partial delivery of claimed benefits. In the move from incandescent to CFL bulbs, the "waste" heat was anything but during the six month or so of the UK heating season. Admittedly using electric bulbs is an expensive way of heating your home compared to gas, but the planet-savers didn't factor in the lost benefits of incandescent filaments, that on a fully adjusted basis were probably around 15% of their energy use. And likewise they didn't allow for the poor light output, poor light quality, and often slow start up of CFLs that caused people to buy a bigger nominal replacement CFL, or to have additional lights on. The only real reason that CFLs have become as widespread as they have is the EU tree-hugger's ban on incandescent bulbs, along with the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change forcing energy suppliers to subsidies or hand out hundreds of millions of CFL's
subsidised from levies on your electricity bill.
Even with LEDs the "crap eco light" problem has not been fully addressed, with lots of low grade harsh bluey-white lights on the market, sometimes low output, and often low reliability at the cheap end of the market. For GU10 halogens, there's plenty of good, reasonably priced LED options with output as good as a halogen, but for other fittings there's a lot of variation, and indeed a lot of crap on the market. At present there's few 100W BC incandescent equivalents available - the CFL versions tend to disappoint, and there's no trustworthy 1600 lumen bulbs I can find.
Curiously enough, one of the biggest benefits of LEDs is in street lighting. The overall energy savings if every street light in the land were LED are modest at around 0.3 GW (cf 2GW for a decent size thermal power station), but the quality of the light is far better, the savings on replacing bulbs half as often add up, and the luminaires (the light fittings) are far better designed with less light spill and darker skies.
"you ought to be commending them for actively trying to find bugs and squash them with frequent updates"
Not at all. It's Q4 2014 for those who haven't being paying attention. The idle wankers of Microsoft have been supposedly aware of their massive security failings since at least IE6 back in 2002, and in reality probably long before that. In the period 2002-2014, Microsoft have awarded themselves total profits (net income) of a staggering $195.05 billion, and still the best the fuckers can offer the world is a collection of security flaw ridden bloatware, and a pile of unprofitable hardware & business follies (Zune, Xbox, Skype, Surface, Nokia phones), failed corporate adventures (aQuantive and others), and core software fails like Vista, Windows 8, and the whole WIndows Phone debacle.
The evidence is absolutely compelling that the Microsoft business appears to be every bit as dysfunctional as the Nokia phones business was in 2005-2011. Microsoft's byzantine bureaucracy has missed all the important trends of the last decade, yet at the same time ignored crucial hygiene factors (like security), choosing instead to focus on the unimportant, the extravagant, the distracting, the unachievable, the pointless and the destructive.
Far from commending Microsoft, any right thinking observer will condemn them.
"Snapchat was always a con."
You have to wonder if the crooks of Wall Street are still seeing Snapchat as a $10bn business?
I suppose the answer is that the value of any company is simply what the dumbest investor will pay for it. With stupidity having no lower boundary, it doesn't matter how laughable and revenue free an idea is, so long as a service has non-paying users, it can still be packaged up as the next great thing and sold.
...significant unintended consequences. That's usually what happens in these situations.
"I believe that Nokia can get back into the phone business in 2016"
They may be allowed to by the end of a non-compete clause, but those clauses are standard fodder that lawyers always insert in commercial agreements.
If Nokia wanted to make phones they wouldn't have sold the phone business. As it is, their board recognised that only two companies were making money out of hardware (and arguably the Company That Shall Not Be Named makes the money on software, and just happens to insource hardware design). If margins are so tight that most other entirely competent hardware makers are losing money, finding somebody to take your own ailing phone business off your hands (and then them paying you for it) is a master stroke of Finnish and or Canadian genius. Although they were admittedly helped by Microsoft's strategic drift, and the fact that MS had a huge cash pile burning a hole in their trousers.
In this view of the world, the words "Trojan horse" do apply, but instead of Elop himself being that horse, in fact the Nokia phones business that was the Trojan horse and Elop's just hauled it into the Redmond fort, where it will turn out to be a big bag of trouble.
"For the life of me I can't ever remember reading about even one single successful contribution/idea/decision that Steve Ballmer made while CEO at Microsoft."
I think you're being harsh. Gates was always the senior partner in the relationship, and when Ballmer was (nominally) made CEO, he had Gates breathing down his neck in three suffocating capacities:
1) As shadow CEO, still interfering directly, still speaking day to day to senior MS managers, so doing Ballmer's job at the same time as Ballmer, and undermining Ballmer's authority and control
2) As "software architect", which gave him unparalleled control of Microsoft's destiny, thus critically influencing what Ballmer's choices and strategy might be
3) As chairman of the board, and a major shareholder, so Ballmer's direct boss - marking Ballmer's work whilst at the same time undermining him, interfering, and reigning in his options
It is possible that Ballmer was the incompetent buffoon as his critics say. But we'll never know, because the man was never given a fair crack of the whip as CEO. CEO's should never, ever stay on after their time, and they should never, ever become chairman of the company's board. Bill Gates was responsible for Vista, and as software architect responsible for W8, and the whole Windows Phone mess. Gates' continued involvement in Microsoft after his time as CEO is probably why MS is in the pickle it is now, and ought to be taught at all business schools for decades to come.
"As a systems administrator, I type complex passwords many times a day to the point of muscle memory but I STILL mistype them 2 times out of 5."
Sounds more like a typing problem than a password problem? Observation suggests something of the order of 1-2% of IT professionals and users are properly trained to a competent standard in touch typing (I'm not, I should add). Think what that does for accuracy and speed across a large business, yet I know of no business that regards touch typing as an essential part of basic training. The companies happily train their staff in manual handling for jobs that don't involve any manual handling, they insist everybody does DSE training, yet with the most basic input operations of a computer companies don't train staff to use the tools properly (and buying the cheapest, nastiest keyboards and mice probably doesn't help either).
"I remember a huge office full of peeps dealing with such emails."
That's how it works in my company....but still there's an urgency amongst the minions when a CEO-directed complaint lands on their desks. That may be unfair, even wrong, but if you're not getting through the bureaucracy, a CEO directed complaint can often fix things.
If it doesn't, then the unresolved CEO complaint is powerful ammunition in court of with ombudsman services.
Can't be arsed to do much research, but when hearing Meg "Pathetic" Whitman's gripings about Autonomy, you might read about their planned tax dodges and wonder who the real fraudsters are: