* Posts by Ledswinger

4494 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

BT: We're killing the dabs brand. Oh and can customers re-register to buy on our site?

Ledswinger
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Re: Hell No

I have noticed of late that Dabs is very very light on stock.

The corporate bean counters of BT plc will have done that. Because they don't understand physical retailing, they look at the WIP figures and blanch at the costs of capital tied up there. Then they tell the corporate appointees running The Business Soon Not To Be Known As Dabs to reduce their stock levels. As all the BT suits come from a culture that still reeks of public sector monopoly-entitlement, it never even occurs to them that maybe they know less than nothing about how to sell hardware.

It has all been downhill for the last five years (at least) with four years of losses, despite a big systems investment in 2012, and turnover in 2014 (last accounts) of £135m compared to £193m in 2010. With crapola stock levels and the rather unpopular BT brand I think it will continue to be slow death. The curious thing is why BT ever bought Dabs in the first place - what sort of fit was there ever with Openreach, BT Global Services, or the big "content" play?

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Canuck named as next UK privacy watchdog

Ledswinger
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I wonder if Theresa May was part of the select committee

The select committee are merely a rubber stamp, the government have selected Denham as the article says, as preferred candidate. So it stands to reason that she will be offering an approach to data protection that the government like.

So my guess is that she'll be big on targeting unintentional breaches by non-powerful public sector players, there will be lots of noise taking on incompetent corporates (like TalkTalk) but still the flea-bite fines, and the usual ineffective moves against fly-by-night nuisance callers. In may respects more of the same, but with the candidate selected to make sure that they don't p155 on Therea May's chips.

So:

1) For Denham, it will be a three year paid holiday in the UK,

2) For government, they get to tick a couple of "diversity" boxes, and they can continue to pillage and burn all forms of civil rights and hard won freedoms,

3) For you....well, YOU don't count, your views don't count, WE just want you to pay for this pantomime.

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Ofcom wants to crack down on pisspoor BT Openreach biz lines

Ledswinger
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Another part of me is wondering where the finance for the next generation of BT's network is supposed to come from.

Why? As an obscenely profitable quasi-monopoly, maybe the fatcats at BT could pay for it themselves. Return on capital employed for the group is about 20%, which is ludicrously high for a (largely) regulated monopolist, particularly when bank base rates are 0.5%. WTF are BT doing that involves real commercial risk that justifies a ***consistent*** 20% return? The answer is nothing, they're just exploiting the weakness and incompetence of Ofcom.

Taking Centrica plc as a benchmark commercial operation, their ROCE averages about 10%, but swing wildly between profit and loss. For a regulated sector which produces the sort of low risk consistency of BT, look at Severn Trent plc, and you'll see they are held to account by OFWAT and generate about 7.5% ROCE. That's why Openreach needs to be ring fenced and legally separated from BT plc, but (as we all expected) the useless, useless clowns at Ofcom flunked this yet again only last month. Had Ofcom not blown this, we could have seen them regulated to a realistic return and at say 8% that would have released £1.6bn a year to invest in the network. You might argue that £1.6bn doesn't go far, but you'd need to consider that's more than 10% of BT's net book value of tangible assets, you get that extra spend each year, and it compares to what, about a total BT capex of £2.6bn last year?

Obviously shareholders wouldn't be happy with a huge cut in the dividend, but since they've been paid a high risk return on a low risk asset for years, I'd lose no tears for them. And it would help discourage BT paying obscene amounts for sporting rights and other stuff. If that's such a good investment, let them go borrow the money themselves.

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Microsoft to add a touch of Chrome to Edge

Ledswinger
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Re: Copying will not gain Microsoft any respect

100,000 of 118,000 work in the licencing department.

And the other 18,000 are cheap offshore code monkeys.

<owld git mode>

I remember the day when American tech companies employed Americans to design, write and test code, and they boasted about their innovation. Nowadays all American companies boast about is how many jobs they're going to move to some cheap offshore shitty-hole

</owld git mode>

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Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Ledswinger
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15.8bn that's over half a HS2*.

Work it out in man years, and it becomes far more distressing. If we assume that there's little or no additional hardware over existing systems, then costs are all manpower. At an assumed average cost of £75k per employee, we're talking about a system that will absorb over 200,000 man years.

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Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

Ledswinger
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Re: Will there be lawsuits?

Will there be lawsuits?

I doubt it. They've provided instructions on how to keep it working, and how to get it working again after the cutoff date. I can't see that much basis for legal action over what looks to me to be a marginal inconvenience affecting a few people. I'm sure that software updates, "no guarantee of service" and restricted user rights are all covered in the licence agreement that everybody acknowledges but never reads.

You can certainly question what it is that they are so keen to change on apparently working devices, and why failure to update should involve blocking access to content. guess is that the update is some DRM'y rubbish, and that's why they've concluded that it is worth causing inconvenience and forcing the update.

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Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

Ledswinger
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Re: "the bot will move at walking speed"

As opposed to cold and not free, like normal?

Of course, they've developed this snazzy 'bot, and not realised that at walking pace, delivery is only going to be feasible for people too lazy to walk a few minutes, or those willing to wait a pretty long time. My local Dominoes is 8 minutes by car or moped, but four and a half miles. So it'll take that bloody stupid 'bot and hour to get to me (and an hour to get back to base).

The investors in Dominoes and these tech guys need their heads examining if they think that $190k deliverybot that can do two orders a night is a good investment.

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Web ads are reading my keystrokes and I can’t even spel propperlie

Ledswinger
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Re: Experiment away!

Whenever I send a message from my gmail account to a friend's gmail account I add random phrases (I like "nude dwarf jello wrestling")

If sending and receiving is in HTML, you could append all manner of indiscrete words with a text colour the same as the background. That will work beautifully, and make their targeted adverts very interesting indeed.

Although if the recipient does ever view your emails as plain text then you may have some explaining to do.

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Labour: We want the Snoopers' Charter because of Snowden

Ledswinger
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"Indeed. If only the Conservatives were in government."

That would indeed be an nightmare.

Well luckily for you they're not, and we've got a bunch of champagne socialists in the NuLabour mould. I know the Grauniadistas are carping on endlessly about "austerity", but if I were spending one billion quid a week more than I earned, would they class that as an austere existence?

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Ledswinger
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Don't make me laugh, I might choke

Starmer said the party will ask the government to conduct an independent review into the new powers and definitions included in the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Bwahahahahahahahahaaaa! It was Labour that kicked off all of this shit with ID cards and the original Snooper's Charter, they want this as much as the big state control freaks of the Conservative Party.

Oi Starmer! I don't trust you, them, or the state in these grand plans for legalised dragnet surveillance (and storage just in case) of me, my family or my neighbours, so could you, and the vast majority of other parliamentary wastrels FOAD?

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Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Ledswinger
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Re: Genuinely impressed

Not winning the DARPA contract was obviously disappointing as once you get one of those, you've basically got it made.

Only so long as it doesn't work, and DARPA and the Pentagon continue to throw good money after bad, and reward you for failure to deliver a working system. Which does seem to be BAU for defence contractors.

When it comes to military tech, the taxpayer is the gift that keeps on giving. For the US, think of the boondoggle that is the F35, or in the UK the QE class carriers. And (Mr Clark) if you're still out in Germany, presumably you escape those, but have an equitable share in the financial binary black hole system that is A400M and the Eurofighter Typhoon?

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Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

Ledswinger
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Re: Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

They had £381,791 in the bank at 31st March 2015

And you think for one moment that they'd keep in the company faced with having almost half of it snatched? The whole point of companies with diddly squat equity is to be disposable.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A puzzle

There are those who think it's as well that the Police dosn't get the "ticket" money directly, but what do they know.

Do pay attention - local enforcement do get to keep (eg) speeding fines and spend it on more enforcement and road safety actions, subject to certain rules. That's why most speed cameras are painted bright yellow, as a way of mitigating the risk of revenue raising through stealth cameras. Other regulators (eg OFGEM) use their monetary penalty powers to fine energy companies (around £200m in the past five years) and direct that money towards energy efficiency actions. There's other examples you can find without too much effort.

But anyway, am I to take it that you prefer the current arrangement of an ineffectual and underfunded civil regulator, whose operating costs are paid by the law abiding data controllers?

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Ledswinger
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Re: A puzzle

Does the Information Commissioner have a phone at home or a mobile in his pocket........

Whilst I share your exasperation with the ineffectual process, it is worth noting that the information commissioner himself is "only" paid £140k or thereabouts. Probably more than most of us earn, but nowhere near enough for the head of an organisation to police personal data in every sector of the economy. And his biggest stick is a measly half million quid penalty, so even against rich fucktards like Talk Talk he can't inflict any real pain. And to add insult to injury, the ICO don't get to keep the penalties, they go straight to the treasury (the ICO is funded by the law abiding data controllers through their notification fee). So the ICO can't recycle the penalties into additional enforcement, and thus have no incentive or interest in ensuring the revenues are collected.

Unfortunately, years of desperately poor law making means that to change all of this we need new primary legislation and the repeal of large tracts of dross passed without thought by the chimpanzees of Westminster. I can't see that happening, and we'll have to see how the incoming EU directive works (I'm an outer myself, but fully expect the elderly and gullible to be frightened into voting "stay", and the net result to be to stay, so I'm assuming it will apply).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

Or is it, that they were fined, quickly went bust and now have formed a new company in the upstairs bedroom?

That's the one. But the ICO should have spotted this earlier, because levying a £180k fine on a company with a paid up share capital (according to Companies House) of precisely six quid was never going to result in the ICO getting a brass farthing.

But the big number fine gets the headlines, and the ICO can trouser his salary and pretend he's done a good job.

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UK.gov's Major Projects Authority ain't saving us any money, say MPs

Ledswinger
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Re: Meg Hillier FFS

Meg Hillier WTF does she know about actual delivery and commercial value?

Well, she read Politics Philosophy and Economics at Oxford, you know. And she was elected librarian of the Oxford Union Society. I'm sure those make her really well qualified to comment on project management, budgetary management, technology and infrastructure.

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Top rocket exec quits after telling the truth about SpaceX price war

Ledswinger
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Re: Seems a bit ill advised

Seems a bit ill advised...To talk about your firm's strategy so candidly with outsiders,

If your talk is only existing officially stamped, widely known public domain knowledge, it makes for very boring listening. I often attend industry shindigs, where competitors give presentations on their business that are so dull and devoid of content that I could do far better speaking about their business.

Where Tobey fucked up was that all external speeches should be checked by the PR and/or legal team. Yes, that'll slow things up, and they'll take stuff out, but better safe than sorry. My employers learned this the hard way when a mid-level company representative at a conference was quoted all over the next day's press. That offending quote was in a response to a panel Q&A session, and what this bloke said was absolutely accurate, but quoted out of context it sounded awful, and was national headline material on a slow news day.

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Telling your wife why you were fired is the only punishment

Ledswinger
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Re: If you don't want to be traumatised by people's pictures ...

So why do so many tech support people seem to have this issue?

1) Natural human curiosity sometimes. You know, the sort of enquiring attitude that enables problem solving and development of tech skills.

2) Because if you're going to free up space or wipe drives, it is sensible to do a dip check on what is about to be nuked. Thinking about that backup server, which was better practice - delete whilst whistling and reading the sport pages of the paper, or have a guick gander at why there's a lot of stuff clagging up the drive?

So unless somebody can use genetic modification to breed a "curiously incurious" subspecies of techy, then we live with the fact that if a file, a folder, a box, or a room is there, people will open it to see what it is. This is a behaviour that goes back long enough to be the subject of ancient Greek fables, so I don't see it being fixed anytime soon.

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Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop scores gig as chief innovator for Australia's top telco

Ledswinger
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Re: ROFL

Nokia's share price collapsed by 80% under his tenure.

Don't take at face value the dross on Wikipedia. Whilst correct, it carefully avoids the fact that the decline started in 2008, with the price shedding €20 per share in the two years prior to his arrival.

It is a fact that under Elop the share price fell by around €9 per share (ignoring the €3-4 dead cat bounce on sale of the phones business) but that reflects the damage done prior to his arrival, whilst Nokia management faffed and fought each other rather than bringing an iPhone competitor to market that people actually wanted to buy.

Lots of people round here have said "I'd like to buy a Nokia with Android" and seem to think that (or Sailfish) were credible options. FIrefox, Tizen, Ubuntu show that "new" phone OSs aren't heavily in demand from the market. And the dismal profits for the majority of Android makers show there's no money for the hardware OEMs in that. The only other option would have been to revamp the existing and ancient Symbian - which is what they'd been trying for years with S1, 2, 3, Anna and Belle, and Maemo et al. That hadn't worked, and clearly wasn't going to work.

Elop knew that when you're in a hole you stop digging, a concept alien to those who wish Nokia phones had stayed as a credible independent entity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: ROFL

I hope Elop achieves, for his new employer, exactly what he achieved for Nokia.

What, epic success?

For Nokia Group, Elop delivered handsomely, securing a $7.2bn price for a business that had made itself totally unable to compete in its core market, and that the buyer then had to write down (plus another half a billion of costs) a year later.

The state of Nokia Phones when Elop joined might have been salvable, but I doubt it. The business unit had its chance and blew it in the five year period 2005-2010, and Elop worked in the best interests of his paymasters, Nokia shareholders. Spending another five years trying to sort the business out, and claw market share in the largely profitless Android market would have been hugely risky (eg look at Blackberry bobbing about in the bowl, trying the resist the flush), but Elop instead found somebody willing to pay to take the wreckage away and then executed that strategy perfectly. And Nokia even got to retake the brand and control of most of the IP.

Old school Nokia fans might be blinded by emotion, I'm, not. Elop demonstrated commercial genius, and I take my hat off to him.

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Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS

Ledswinger
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Re: The rumors of Here's departure have been exagerrated

Data collection from the users is one important aspect, and there may be surprising turns there

Why? If Winpho10 has no significant user base, there's mo reason for the car makers to worry about the handful of users. As much as anything their interest is user>car interaction, so integrating with phones is important for volume ecosystems of evil necessity, but ideally they'd want to capture the feedback via the car nav interface

All of which leaves Microsoft out in the cold. Premium German brands are (guardedly) happy to work with Apple, but who's going to be in a queue to work with Microsoft, when their brand is a bit "dull grey suit", they don't have the loyal user engagement of Apple, and they don't have a data-value proposition like Google? Office for Autos doesn't sound like a compelling proposition to me any more than Auto-Outlook or Auto-Server 2016.

"Should have" translates as "Too late now", but Microsoft should have attempted to own the car information space some ten or more years ago. That would have meant buying a grade A map database assets, and a grade A satnav brand. They could have developed Xbox technologies for entertainment for back seat passengers, and used the car as a springboard to relevance in end users lives. They should have bought a car radio OEM (like Clarion) to make this happen, and invested in self driving developments to keep up to date with the potential, along with other telematics development. Instead of defining themselves as The Car Software Company, and using this to get into home integration, they started off trying to be Google with the utterly failed aQuantive acquisition. Then they tried to be Google again by buying Nokia and controlling their own phone development and an ecosystem, and that failed.

So that's why Microsoft are where they are - relevant to office productivity, relevant to sysadmins, but with no relevance to consumers or business partners.

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Whatever happened to Green IT?

Ledswinger
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There is nothing 'outlandish' about powering buildings or data centres or whatever with wood chips.

You're 'aving a giraffe, intcher?

Woodchips are a PITA - they are low energy density either requiring lots of storage or making you very supply chain dependent. They are frangible, creating highly flammable dust and even explosion risks. As a pelletised product they require crapola feed systems like blowers and screw feed pumps, all of which are vulnerable to blockage and failure. And they create lots of ash and have poor emissions quality without expensive flue gas treatment. In the middle of nowhere, with plenty of space and a reliable alternative source of energy they can work, for your typical urban or suburban DC it would be pure madness.

The answer for a DC is the usual one employed - mains electricity (with multiple feeds if the local distribution is flakey) and multiple redundancy on oil fired standby power plant.

Wood pellets are fit only for bearded, sandal wearing vegans who don't even have computers.

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Polite, helpful? Stop it at once in the name of security

Ledswinger
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Re: TalkTalk

I'm fairly sure nothing happened to TalkTalk.

You mean "nothing happened to the board of TalkTalk". The company itself estimated the trading impact at £15m and the exceptional costs around £40m. It's interesting to note that ITSec is regarded as an "exceptional" item by the board of TalkTalk, but that mindset is how they got themselves in the crud in the first place. Luckily there's a group of patsies happy to take the losses, and they are called "investors", as a result of which the traded share price for TalkTalk dropped 30% in response to the breach and hasn't recovered those losses yet. In that respect the carelessness of TalkTalk management has cost investors around half a billion quid, a figure that will be realised in cold hard cash over time unless they can restore the share price relative to other stock market investments.

Now, because most of us are only exposed to the stock market via insurers, pension funds and banks we don't see these losses directly but they're still there, and you're still paying for them in the long term. So, "no real consequences"? I'd say vapourising half a billion quid of investor value was a fairly significant consequence, just not inflicted upon those responsible.

I'd like to be a director of TalkTalk. All that money, no accountability.

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British IT outsourcers back Remain in the EU referendum campaign

Ledswinger
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Re: I thought the jobs went to India?

more and more convinced that neither side will ever do anything stupid like present any facts for the benefit of us plebs.

That's true. But arguably irrelevant, because the referendum is really about sovereignty. The grinning apes of Westminster seem (to me) inordinately keen to export all the powers they can to Brussels (for even less well behaved apes to abuse). As I see it, stuff the "facts" wheeled out from both sides, but asking myself whether I'd rather be governed from Westminster or from Brussels I reach my personal conclusion fairly readily, that I'd rather be governed closer to home, given there's little to choose between the competence of both sets of politicians.

Which leads me onto a particular puzzle, where perhaps some haggis munching commentards can advise. As a UK "outer" I can understand why the SNP are desperate to achieve home rule and not be governed from another country's capital 300 miles away. But I'm then puzzled by their obsession to remain in the EU and apparent happiness to continue to be subsumed into the EU super-state project, ruled from the capital of another country 500 miles away?

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DARPA to geeks: Weaponize your toasters … for America!

Ledswinger
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"DARPA's mission is to create strategic surprise"

Errrr...no, it isn't. DARPA's mission is to burn through about $3bn a year (possibly a lot more on the various skunk projects) trying to develop yet more toys for the peevish children running the Pentagon. And that's because the Pentagon aren't satisfied with spending more on "defence" than the next eight biggest spending nations combined.

I suppose DARPA's 3bn is drop in the ocean of US total defence spending of around half a trillion dollars a year, but even so, it is an intriguing exercise to imagine the good things that the US could achieve if it spent rather more on improving lives rather than forcibly ending them.

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You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

Ledswinger
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Re: Clear Desk

And Dabbsy hopes "the clear-desk policy could be revived for the digital age"?

WTF is he on? There's more than 30,000 unsorted emails in my inbox archive, and I can find 99% of what I want in moments. I live in fear of some tidy minded, cost obsessed twat deciding that email archives are too expensive, and putting some shitty, arbitrary limit on the space I can occupy (saving a few pence a year per employee, when my total costs of employment are, well, quite a lot.

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State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

Ledswinger
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Maybe these people would rather be left the fuck alone!

Probably they would. But DECC and Ofgen are determined to see the energy market as a huge "market failure" requiring their intervention. As one of the most heavily regulated markets anywhere in the world, the UK energy market is a Frankenstein creation of successive public sector bureaucrats, and the problems they are trying to solve are generally down to their previous interference and incompetence. Nobody knows what's good for them quite as well as a civil servant paid to think and spend on their behalf.

Lets say you want to set up an energy supply company, just buying wholesale and selling, not doing networks, not generating. Ofgem's standard electricity supply licence conditions are a 473 page document, and gas supply is nice and concise at 363 pages.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/licences-codes-and-standards/licences/licence-conditions

And that's before the separate 229 pages of smart meter licence conditions, and before a bazillion pages of network codes and related documents.

The CMA have spent a year navel-gazing (at your expense) and the best they can come up with is a recommendation to spam the British population to death. Have you noticed the irony, the government put charities on notice over their spamming and mail-harassment of potential donors, but in the case of energy customers the fuckwits see just such an outcome as a measure of their success?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oh for crying out loud

Why not just fix the opaque electricity prices by having national prices instead of historical regions?

This is because the different regions have different costs to deliver electricity (and gas for that matter). If you want a flat national price then you're saying you want even more cross subsidies than currently exist. Some suppliers do offer flat national pricing, but that means they're choosing to take different profit margins in different regions.

Surely if you can manage getting competitive quotes for heating oil, then using Uswitch (or any other price comparison site) to find one of the many cheap deals shouldn't be too opaque? Tell 'em where you live, how much you use, and they offer you the choice of hundreds of tariffs ranked in price order. Calling it opaque seems a bit grandiose when I look at the complexity of (eg) mobile phone offers.

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David Cameron hints at Budget law change to end mobile not-spots

Ledswinger
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150m isn't very much for such a project.

Of course it isn't but if you look at what's going on here it can be explained. It is another case of Vacuous Dave's policy making on the hoof. Inside his empty little head, he thought he'd offer a trinket to the peasants, and better mobile coverage was the best he could come up with. As this isn't part of any funded policy, DCMS had to search round for spare change and unspent budgets, and £150m was the collective total, along with some lint and a partially sucked toffee.

If you look at the idiot decisions to ring fence huge areas of government spending, or various random decisions on health, defence or energy policy, Cameron is always doing this and usually without consulting or informing the minister responsible. As a plutocratic toff living with his head up his arse inside the Westminster bubble, he's so detached from reality that all of his decisions are informed only by the inexperienced sycophants that he's surrounded himself with as "advisers". And sadly he's simply not clever enough to realise how much he doesn't know, and goes round trying to run the country like some third rate mediaeval prince.

So the fact that the money will achieve nothing is not important. The money wouldn't otherwise have been spent well or wisely on things you or I might want. Under Cameron the only alternative use for £150m would have been his obsession with foreign aid, or three days more net contribution to the EU, maybe another few bombing missions on the Middle East or North Africa.

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German lodges todger in 13 steel rings

Ledswinger
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Re: I suspect a bit of both

They have kit which can cut through way more serious stuff than steel nowdays.

The easy way, surely, would have been to put a couple of leeches on the end of his todger and let sufficient blood out until the hoops just fall off.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Pedant Alert

Shut up! SHUT UP! SHUTTHEFUCKINGFUCK UP YOU BASTARD GRAMMAR NAZI FUCKING BASTARDS! WE DON'T FUCKING CARE! NOBODY CARES, NOT ONE FUCKING FUCKER APART FROM YOU!

AAAARRRGRHHHHH!

AAAAARRGGHGHGHGGH!

Nurse! My medication please!

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IBM to erase 14,000 people from the payroll – Wall St analyst

Ledswinger
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Re: Stop me if I'm wrong

The obvious is that lowering costs maintains upper-management compensation

This is true. The sad thing is that US politician aren't asking the obvious question, and that is:

"Hey! IBM senior management jerks! Why is it the case that your overpaid jobs aren't being shifted to some low cost third world shithole?"

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London cops hunt chimpanzee in top hat

Ledswinger
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London cops hunt chimpanzee in top hat....

...last seen signing an outsource contract with Accenture.

DCI Plod told reporters that the monkey was being sought on suspicion of criminal negligence, and awarding fat contracts without due care and attention.

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Flying blind: F-35's radar software fails in the air

Ledswinger
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Re: What a waste

Time to scrap the project, sue the company that sold the US this bill of goods,

Why sue Lockheed? They are merely trying to meet the specification of pleasing all of the people all of the time. With a very, very few exceptions, multi-role combat aircraft have never realised their potential, but despite the long history of expensive failure the US DOD thought they'd have another go.

You can certainly build better, simpler, cheaper, airworthy role-specific airframes, But in a year? Ignoring the multi-nation and multi-role fiascos, the excellent Rafale and Gripen fighters still took about twenty years or so from inception to full service.

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Oracle tweaks exchange rate, hikes up database prices in UK

Ledswinger
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Re: Larry needs a new planet

Can we send him to Uranus

You'd need to surgically extract him from his own first.

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Home Office biometrics strategy is three years overdue, despite 'lack of clarity'

Ledswinger
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"this technology will simply sort itself out"

Indeed ACPO will roll out what they want with no legal authority, and it will be done deal, just like the ever growing ANPR network.

Who needs oversight? "Not us," said ACPO, "because we are the law".

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Accenture leans back, receives £86m Met Police contract

Ledswinger
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Should have done some detective work

...before awarding that contract to Accenture.

A brief news search on the terms "Accenture" and "Police Scotland" doesn't look like a great advert. But if the Met can't even drive a web browser, then I suppose a botched IT contract will be the least of the problems the people of London have.

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GCHQ: Crypto's great, we're your mate, don't be like that and hate

Ledswinger
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Re: These people just don't seem to understand encryption.

so that end-to-end encryption or devices with encryption that is too difficult to break are designed-out at the design stage

The release of those papers is supposed to assure us that GCHQ are becoming more transparent and to demonstrate they are really, really clever people. So let's run with that for a moment.

Either through backdoors that aren't called backdoors, or simply through banning too-difficult to break security, GCHQ will know as the rest of do that the really organised crims, paedoterrorists and the like who are (supposedly, hah!) the real targets will quickly and readily find alternative communications tactics. Denying these people the ability to do business on an Android phone or Windows/Apple computer isn't going to stop them, and the inconvenience is going to be marginal when they are already always looking over their shoulders. In many cases they will happily continue to use these systems, because they rely on idiot codes - as did SOE very effectively during WW2. In that case GCHQ won't even have caused these people modest inconvenience.

Then again, Hannigan's a typical civil servant, having studied "Classics" at Oxford, so we shouldn't be surprised. Can you imagine the chortling amongst the Bullingdon chums: "Binky Hannigan's moaning that he's cleverer than Sherlock Holmes again because he studied Classics, and we all did PPE. So I'm going to call his bluff by putting him in charge of the most technical most secret agency the government has!"

So, knowing that this won't affect the real villains, the only logical rationale for GCHQ's ambitions to give themselves unlimited prying rights is that it nothing to do with serious criminals, and everything to do with spying on workaday criminals (which I doubt) or is purely to support Theresa May's dystopian vision of universal surveillance of the population by the state.

And another thing, Mr Hannigan: If you want things to be different, and to be held in higher esteem, and to have some support, why are you spouting off to MI-fucking-T in Merkinland? If you want to get some support in the UK from people other than Big State enthusiasts, write something for the Reg (I'm sure they'd be delighted) and join us down here in the dirt of the Commentariat, if that's not too common for you?

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Yelp-for-people app Peeple is back – so we rated Julia, its cofounder

Ledswinger
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Re: What? Shaddup!

Idiots don't get to be worth 12.4 BILLION dollars

Maybe not, but let's see the vile, wrinkled old lizard try and carry all that loot into the hereafter.

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Oracle support sackings and 'consolidation' almost complete

Ledswinger
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Re: That they would say this...

And that's probably only if there's another vendor who can provide support and/or a compatible product to transition to.

If you're a big company and have committed to a vast ERP implementation (the sort of thing people like Oracle and SAP love to sell) there's nowhere to run. The costs of change are vast, and any project that touches your finance or CRM systems is hugely risky. Even if the vendor support is crap and expensive, clients are locked in to the product, and what's to choose between the big two?

And even if another ERP vendor builds scale and looks as though they might be an option for clients, the big two just buy them, and Borg them into their model. You could go down the third party support route, and at least those conpanies live or die by the quality of their offering, but with closed source software there always that hint of paying money for old rope, and the threat that the IP owner will try and obstruct or tax third party support providers, to make up for "lost" income that they believe is theirs as of right.

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Eight in ten IBM Global Tech Services roles will be offshore by 2017

Ledswinger
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Re: Offshore?

The problem with this is that management rarely sees the link between offshoring and losing business

So long as the other outsourcers and offshorers are equally crap, the clients have nowhere to go. Insourcing something like IT is hugely complex (and shameful) job when five years previously you transferred all your in-house IT bods to IBM Global Buggerups, who promptly fired them.

The whole outsourcing industry is a scam, in which the buyers don't understand the business model of the sellers, but then find out too late that it is a scam, and there's no easy way back. But if IBM lose a client for their shit service, it doesn't matter because their snake oils salesmen can lure in a disaffected HP or TCS customer. The majority of contract wins amongst the outsourcers are simply industry churn, and most of the ITO and BPO vendors can live with that.

The one thing the vendors can't live with is the idea of a client bringing back almost all of their IT in house, but because that's hard it is rarely seen. Meanwhile directors keep falling for the "too good to be true" promises of the vendors, despite the obvious conclusion that it it looks too good to be true, its because it is indeed too good to be true.

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Machismo is ruining the tech industry for all of us. Equally

Ledswinger
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"Axe to grind" is a fairly emotionally charged term.

With all due respect, that sounds like somebody who's looking to take offence, and will still do so regardless. Which you may not mean, but illustrates another tech related problem that people are very poor at coping with instant written communications. My last two weeks have been a miserable time of trying to contain people getting on their high horse over something or other in email. The trigger point is always something that seemed innocuous to the author, and then in a few presses of "send" there's a petty flame-war going on, rather than people cooperating to get their job done.

I think there must be a huge market for a course "Dealing with email" and a follow up "Managing emotions and email". Most of us would need to go in these.....

5
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North Dorset Council hit by ransomware, flips the bird at miscreants

Ledswinger
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Re: AppSense

This is exactly one of the reasons I love AppSense Application Manager and it's trusted user model.

Surely you can do this with a well setup Windows security policy rather than having to use third party software?

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10 Gbps fibre-to-the-home signed off, ITU eyes 100 Gbps future

Ledswinger
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The vast majority of people on damp string choose to remain on damp string when better options become available.

If that's correct, there's the problem. It isn't that rural rednecks want broadband that the market won't deliver, it is that the majority of them don't want it even when offered, in which case the rest of the population should accept that the unavailability of broadband in rural locations is the preferred choice of the majority who live there, and we needn't concern ourselves to please the handful of moaners.

Regarding your point about the long term value of other infrastructure, whilst technology moving fast may be true, who would be rushing to roll out rural gigabit broadband using brand new lines anytime in the next decade or more? Even if there were, if Openreach lay all cable in ducts or via poles, then the bulk of the investment cost would still have enduring value carrying the new unicorn hair data links, because the infrastructure cost (and long term value) would be in the ducts, not the shorter lived assets strung through them.

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Ledswinger
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That one home in six will pay at best £25 a month for that last mile.

In towns VM have competition from all the competitors using Openreach (and that's often for FTTC). My guess is that in rural areas you'd have about three out of five premises preferring proper broadband over Openreach's damp string offer.

I doubt it will be a long meeting.

Probably still the case without some form of cross subsidy or USO.

But if the costs are as prohibitive as is claimed, why is it feasible to offer as near as makes no difference USO for electricity and water? Most households now spend more on (assorted) communications than they do on gas plus electricity, and water bills are about a third of energy.

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E-borders will be eight years late and cost more than £1bn

Ledswinger
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Re: How is it possible that nothing is ever delivered?

why is it so difficult to deliver what is in essence just a large database based lookup table?

Because it suits them.

So long as nothing technical is delivered, the idiots of the Home Office can pretend its a technical problem. If something functional were delivered there's the certainty that their "open door to anybody" border policy will be undeniable, and they'd also have the real and embarrassing migration data rather than the current made up drivel.

The e-borders programme will never deliver anything functional or useful, because that suits nobody.

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Facebook paid £4k in tax. HMRC then paid Facebook £27k – for ads

Ledswinger
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Re: Fecalbook deciding on the amount of tax paid again.

When will these fuckwits realise that their public position will only recover when they pay tax on all thier UK derived profits.

Why would Zuck and other US CEO greedsters give a toss about their public reputation? Most of those taking a stand (probably like you and I) don't and wouldn't use Facebook. Most of those who do use Facebook are too busy posting cat pictures and (to others) dreary detail of their lives, and wouldn't understand the issues, nor care. After all, they don't pay Facebook.

The only reason that these companies are offering token and voluntary changes is in the hope that this will head off a full and fair implementation of UK tax policy that would cost them a whole lot more, as for public reputation, that counts for nothing until they see user numbers declining because of the company's behaviour. Look at Amazon's employment practices as well as its tax affairs, and its corrosive impact on other internet retailers - but do those behaviours have any measurable effect on sales? Not that I can see, because people will always buy as cheap as possible.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Tax vs Law

This isn't a tax problem, it's a law problem. The law is an arse in this instance

I believe the law has not actually been tested in court in relation to tax-dodging US corporations. By pretending that their UK business is overseas or has profit-erasing charges from overseas, the Globocorps are engaging in (amongst other dodgy practices) transfer pricing. That's accepted as illegal in almost all countries and international tax treaties. If a UK manufacturer or retailer did this with their components or retailed products they'd be hit quickly and hard by HMRC. And that law has been tested in DSG Retail and others v HMRC (2009)*.

But for some reason, when you're a huge software or communications services HMRC are utterly ineffectual, and don't go after the likes of Starbucks, Google, Facebook, Amazon. And even when HMRC are finally embarrassed into doing something, they settle for pathetic sweetheart deals like this.

So to say that the law is an arse is probably (until proven so in court) incorrect. HMRC and their political masters from all political parties are the arses. And even when HMRC have the political backing to move forward, they'd need a different model of enforcement, by contracting out all the legal work to top flight tax barristers, and hiring a professional project manager (and ITSec support) to bring in each of these companies in turn. You don't take a knife to a gun fight, and the globocorps have weaponised their tax affairs with top-dollar lawyers and tax accountants, and HMRC can't rely on their mid-grade civil servants (or the bunglers of the Clown Prosecution Service) to get a result.

* Warning! Warning! Barrack room lawyer alert!

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Docker may be the dumbest thing you do today

Ledswinger
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Re: "enterprises are confused as to how to use Docker in real production scenarios"

The majority, however, are just fumbling around, toying with the tools, trying to wrap their heads around how to get that stuff into production in a useful way.

What about " desperate to get stuff done without having to undergo IT procurement water torture"?

Over the years it has become apparent to me that in any large corporate, the entire business is in a lifecycle that comes to a slow close when the support functions (procurement, finance, HR etc - even IT) become progressively more powerful and less accountable, less responsive to their internal customers' needs. Then, in the name of efficiency and low cost, the support functions suffocate the business with byzantine delegated authority requirements, bureaucratic and unresponsive hiring and reward policies, procurement processes that take forever and then award contracts to charlatans that the business/IT managers wouldn't have allowed even to be considered, given the chance.

So as far as I can see, Docker and Cloud are IT-specific means of bureaucracy evasion, trying to avoid the "process sclerosis" of increasingly authoritarian support functions. Things are not better, maybe worse if you've outsourced your IT infrastructure, because bastards like HPE take forever to deliver anything, and it costs the earth, so you either have the water torture, or get pillaged by your outsource "partner", or both.

So I'm in favour of cloud and the like, even noting the security concerns. Sadly, evading the bureaucracy doesn't make it go away, and it continues to throttle the business around which it has grown. And eventually the company ends up like Motorola, General Motors, Nokia phones, Microsoft, HP and many other dinosaurs that have or are disappearing up their own arse.

If Nokia Phones is 100% death through process sclerosis, my own employers are about 85%. The screams of pain from the business have reached the main board, but they've still not woken up and understood that every man-jack in HR needs dismissing now, that the Procurement teams need to report to the MD of the business unit they support, that IT and Finance need to have generous employee incentive schemes that are at least 70% reliant on the performance assessed by senior managers in the supported business, not within their own silo.

The bizarre thing is that there's so much real value in good, responsive support services. But rather than recognise that value, the business focuses on cost, and then these support services hinder the business and even each other.

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BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Ledswinger
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so does this mean if you have a computer and the internet you may have to pay it?

Lord alone knows, but you can be sure that the detail will be an ill considered botch with unintended consequences, simply because it will be secondary legislation, meaning that it won't be subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this just became an internet poll tax collected through ISPs. Initially they might require the ISPs to root through your viewing to find BBC sites, but then it becomes an opportunity to differentially tax information on a wider basis. Sounds a slippery slope, but these are clowns intent on greasing the Snoopers Charter into law, so expect the worst possible outcome, and then your expectations will be met.

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