* Posts by Ledswinger

3198 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Ledswinger
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Re: finally

""This is a nice weighty pie", I thought foolishly."

Which proves that fired ceramics are cheaper wholesale than proper food.

Quite remarkable that Chinamen can dig clay out of the ground, process the clay, dig coal out of the ground, use the coal to fire the clay in an oven, transport it halfway round the world, deliver it to the food processor, and it's STILL more profitable for the supermarket than just making a decent pie sans case.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Numpty Scrub

"Oi, cheval is pretty damn tasty. As is kudu, bison, wildebeest, and many other animals we don't normally get on UK shelves."

I wasn't complaining about horsemeat per se, merely about the fact that the horsemeat scandal showed that you couldn't trust industrial pie or burger makers. As it happens I'd be quite relaxed about eating horse so long as it is real meat (and Findus' customers didn't complain, so they obviously liked it).

FWIW Lidl are stocking ostrich steaks at the moment, and that's usually lovely.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ah, New Zealand...

"Typical kiwi no-nonsense street naming, right there."

If councils in the UK adopted that approach most towns would have street names like:

Tumbleweed Plaza

Phoneshop Road

Chernobyl Street

Paydaynpawn Place

Hoodie Precinct

Wino Lane

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ I ain't Spartacus (let the flamewar begin)

"There's nothing wrong with not serving the best meat in pies."

I'm well aware that meat is a way of making more of the less attractive bits of meat (as are sausages and burgers), and I didn't suggest that fillet steak was mandated!

I did suggest that all too often the meat content was minimal, or stretched the definition of meat to cover bone, gristle, and big gobs of chewy fat. And that's where I wholly disagree with you that outsourcing pies to other people was ever a good idea (as proven by the UK horsemeat scandal). It's a bit like sausages - buy them from a good butcher and they are a world apart from the vile factory produced rubbish sold in supermarkets even under their "best of" brands, that appear to be solely made from udder, rectum, ears, lips, eyeballs, cartilage and sinew, dyed pink and injected into a twisted garden hose.

And so it is with commercially made pies - there's no connection between the accountant and meat buyer who "create" factory produced pies, and the sadly undiscerning customer who gets served one of their "pies". That is a route that leads to a bowl of weak, salty gravy laced with flavour enhancers and thickeners, and containing rancid donkey meat from Romania, plus a few dead badgers (from DEFRA's cupboard full of murdered badgers), and maybe an "unfit" cow carcass if you're lucky, topped off with a thin lid of tasteless commodity grade pastry.

So regardless of the faff involved in making your own, the best thing you can do as a pie lover it always to make your own at home wherever possible. I made a stonkingly good steak and homebrewed ale pie the other week, lightyears better than commercial rubbish. Where this petition should be headed is forcing the charlatans of commercial pie makers out of business over the fillings so that it is at least safe to choose a pie from the menu when you are eating out.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hilarious maybe

"But he is right!"

No he's not. He's proposing high quality building standards that only apply to the roof. And whilst the roof is indeed (too often) made of straw, what about the rest of the house?

Now, if he wants to set up a petition that demands minimum solid meat content, along with long jail sentences for "gravy and gristle pies" (unless marketed as such), and similar application to pasties, then I'm with him. And whilst the buffoons of parliament are at it, they could offer us legal standards for properly trimming the cortex out of kidneys before they get used in steak and kidney pies.

So that's why he's wrong: In the grand scheme of things, the inadequacy of pie casings and crusts is at least a caution to diners, warning them of the horrors that lurk beneath.

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SUPER-SUEBALL heading IBM's way in Australia

Ledswinger
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Re: Pentagon.

"On the other hand, are huge big data project failures really so improbable/"

No they aren't. The UK DoH wasted £10bn on a totally failed integrated IT project. But that was always wildly over-ambitious, ignored all the realties on the ground along with the cludgey part public part private design of the NHS (something inherent in its original design, and that the lefties still shut their eyes to).

What sets the Queensland Health Payroll project apart is that it wasn't a big data project. It was a need for a modest payroll project that should have been done and dusted for a few hundred thousand dollars if properly planned and executed. And in practice it could probably have been contracted to a neighbouring public sector organisation for half that up front cost.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Pentagon.

"This is very very impressive."

I'm with you on this, Turtle. In a world that celebrates diversity and equality, we should stop the biased one-way feting of success, and similarly laud world-leading failure, graft and incompetence. Perhaps the Nobel committee could put their minds to devising a series of prizes for these things.

There have been plenty of more expensive IT disasters round the world, but to spend a billion Aussie dollars on a simple transaction processing system that could have been bought three quarters functioning (at least) off the shelf is (I believe) unparalleled.

I take my hat off to all involved. To every one who did a bad days work. To everyone who sat and did no work, but still billed their time. To everybody who worked to line their own or their employer's pocket through malicious decisions. To everyone who delayed their input, or who changed their mind after things had been agreed. To those hard-of-thinking who couldn't even conceive that letting a contract with a half baked specification might lead to tears. To those in charge of wasting a billion dollars of public money, and who walked away with no sanction.

Now, to those who tried to make it work, who endeavoured to produce a different outcome, who understood the technicalities of systems, of process design, of project management: Make sure you're on the winning team next time.

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Boffins challenge Internet of Things' lust for power

Ledswinger
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Re: Not one IoTa of difference

"Never quite seen the difficulty with having a quick snout in the fridge if you know you're going to the shop..."

Well maybe a smart fridge could text me helpful messages like "Fridge to Ledswinger. You know that carton of custard that's been open in the fridge for 19.423 days? I'd suggest you put rubber gloves on, throw it in the outside dustbin without looking in it, and hold your breath whilst you do that. I've ordered some extra bleach on your next shopping list. Oh, and your iceberg lettuce is frozen to my heat exchanger, and will turn to sludge when it defrosts"

Who said the IoT was a complete waste of time and space?

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

Ledswinger
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Re: Doesn't Work?

" this "impossible" thing has been working for a UK ISP/telco for the last few years"

At small scales lots of things are wholly feasible but won't scale up, because they have potentially unbalancing influences are not large enough to cause problems whilst they remain a minority of system users. This is true for all forms of infrastructure and networks.

There seems to be a belief that Sajid Javid has put forward an idea with lots of problems as a final solution. In reality it is a useful threat to encourage the MNOs to come up with a better solution that is more to their liking.

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Ledswinger
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@Lee D

"But the trend over the last 50 years is to privatise even schools, so I can't see it happening."

Well, look at the standard of state schooling. In too many areas it's absolutely atrocious. With some experience of both I'd say that at their best the state schools are easily as good as independent schools, unfortunately that means that the other 95% of state schools are worse for no good reason, despite a near monopoly and "democratic" control by local authorities. The arguments about funding for state schools being worse don't hold water (a) because the state can decide what it wants to pay for education, and (b) the best state schools don't generally get preferential funding over the cr@p ones (if anything the reverse).

Now look at water. When state managed it was vastly over-manned, drinking water quality was low, and wastewater quality even worse. Investment was routinely curtailed (by the treasury) leading to a collection of ineffective and obsolete assets, even as the government signed up to agressive EU targets on water quality.

If the state penny pinches on example matters of water and education, why do you think for one moment that it would be competent steward of telecoms infrastructure? Last time it was state controlled it took forever to get a basic fixed line installed, you often had to share a line with neighbours due to under-investment, and you got a crummy bakelite phone that looked like something from the 1940s (because it was). If you passed the mobile infrastructure to government, they'd need to stump up many billions of additonal government debt (unless you know where an equivalent amount of cash is being wasted), and government would be even less inclined to invest in not-spots than the commercial operators. Next year the treasury would be looking to try and reduce the huge public borrowing costs, so investment would be slashed, and prices would go up because that would be income for the Treasury.

I'm staggered that you could believe that government would be a good steward of any asset. They have proven themselves utterly incompetent in fiscal policy, trade & industrial policy, energy policy, foreign policy, industrial policy, education, welfare, technology policy, and in all aspects of infrastructure planning, and still you think that they will be better than commercial operators at owning and operating anything?

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Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

Ledswinger
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Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

"A good part of the population don't know what Android is ("I thought I had a Samsung phone"). At least with Apple and BlackBerry the general public is unconfused, "

No, they are equally confused. In the case of Blackberry and Apple it is a mere coincidence for most buyers that the hardware designer is the owner of some of the OS IP. Looking at the history of phone designers or makers who develop their own operating system, with the exception of Apple it's not been good:

Nokia Symbian: Failed.

Nokia Maemo: Failed.

Blackberry: Failed and shrunk to insignificance.

Samsung Bada: Dead.

Palm: Who they?

LG/HP webOS: As successful as HP's M&A

Even looking at Google, it appears that they've dabbled in hardware primarily as reference devices rather than as an enduring commercial proposition. None of this bodes well for Microsoft.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Android for business?

"I, for one, cannot understand why any business would invest in an Android phone."

Because Winpho was missing in action for some years. As Blackberry dissolved in a small puddle, businesses had a choice of Apple or Android. Android was far cheaper than Apple, and the die was cast.

Moreover, with (in practice) a choice of a single hardware maker, and a not unrealistic concern that if the dismal takeup continues, WInPho could be "end of lifed" at any time, would you commit your company to WInPho? And even if WinPho is better, when did that every count for anything?

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Ledswinger
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Re: one way to get sales figures

""Windows" is becoming a millstone brand."

I hear whispers that the new WinPho release to be excreted in parallel with Windows 10 is being developed with the codename Albatross. And the parallel rebrand of the WinRT/WIndows Lite platform for tablets is Dodo.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A money burning exercise@ king of foo

" but you kept on dancing to Abba right through the 80s, 90s and 00s."

Oi! You! Leave Abba alone, mate. They were great in the 70's, the 80, the 90's and they're still great now. To sully their name by linking it to the "M" word is a crime round these parts.

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Brits conned out of nearly £24m in phone scams IN ONE YEAR

Ledswinger
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I suppose

...that given the inability of the criminal "justice" system to catch fraudsters and lock them up for a good long time, a publicity campaign is a good idea.

I imagine the scene at a top London "creative" agency. A bunch of hard nosed rozzers are looking suspiciously across the table at some weird looking "creatives". The atmosphere is tense, with the police having sat unblinking, and saying nothing for a good ten minutes.

Head creative: "So, you want us to create a compelling above the line campaign, with glossy and engaging imagery, with the subtext 'if you're a victim of fraud or identity crime, don't bother us, its your own fault'?

Head rozzer: "That's it. Just like those endless, agressive anti-piracy ads from FAST that bore everybody stupid at the beginning of films and DVDs."

Head creative: "But they clearly don't work, and they're targeting the wrong people, surely?"

Head rozzer: "You leave the thinking stuff to us, and just make the bl**ding adverts."

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Shin avoids boot: Samsung hangs onto mobile chief despite crappy Galaxy S5 sales

Ledswinger
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Re: The S2 S3 & S4 are too good and well made

"On the plus side it probably means that S5s will become pretty cheap when they need to shift volume next year."

I'm hoping so!

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Ledswinger
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Re: The S2 S3 & S4 are too good and well made

"If so, Samsung should be looking at keeping up their prices like Apple do."

They tried, and that's what hurt the sales. I'm no Apple fan, but I'll happily admit they ream out their chosen niche very effectively, and that it looks like they've monopolised that niche. And that means that other than Apple, no handset maker is going to be able to command unchallenged monopoly margins.

So in this household, when the small home phone fleet were up for renewal a year ago I plumped for a collection of already superseded twice, but still on sale S3's. I'd have much preferred an S4, or even S5, but the best price for an S5 was £14 a month higher than the entirely adequate and discounted S3, and multiplied several times that adds up.

As far as I can see Samsung could have a really successful annuity model, where they offer replacement models at far more competitive prices to (hopefully) loyal customers, who will upgrade to Samsung's latest device as soon as the last contract ends. But in their headless rush to emulate Apple prices and margins they neuter that potential annuity model through the high pricing, and through own goals like force feeding customers Samsung's dreadful bloatware, and rubbish OS updates (admittedly allowing MNOs into the loop make that even worse, but even there is some low hanging fruit for Samsung to grasp, just by offering easier rooting and manufacturer "clean" ROMs).

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Vodafone eyes up Liberty Global – report

Ledswinger
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Re: Might be a good thing...NOT

"Might be a good thing... "

It most certainly won't. When you do a corporate acqusition there's two extra buckets of cost: "acquisition premium" and "transaction costs". The former are typically about a quarter to a third more than the true value of the business, the second is some number that invariably ends in the word "billion". Both of these costs can only be recovered by either having some magic sauce that shrinks costs by an unfeasible amount, or in the real world by reaming out the customers with higher bills.

The latter is what happened when VM sold out to Liberty Global, and the same thing will happen again when the Cable Cowboy sells out to a company stupid enough to buy a business for a premium over what they could have secured VM for in the first place. So the Cable Cowboy, already a billionaire, saunters off into the sunset richer by several billion dollars, and Vodafone work out how to shaft the cable customer base with several years of double digit cost increases, hidden in charging & T&C changes as best they can.

If you think that there will be any synergies or worthwhile improvements in performance you're mistaken, because all the cash that might have been invested in tangible fixed assets has instead been paid to Liberty Global, and accounted by Vodafone as "intangible fixed assets" and will eventually be amortised away or written off. Likewise there will be no improvement in customer service because Vodafone will adopt whichever is the cheapest standards of VM or its own customer service philosophies.

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Holy sh*t! Amsterdam man in pop-up public toilet shock horror

Ledswinger
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Re: Golden showers (don't Google that)

"couldn't they just stick more grids outside the pubs, bars and hop-head cafes?"

What's wrong with the canals? The marginal volumes of drunkard piddle will be a tiny fraction of the pollution caused by fish and birds voiding their guts into said waterways, and rows of drunken revellers adopting the Mannekin Pis stance could become a new tourist attraction for Hamsterdam.

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ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander

Ledswinger
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Re: 'ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander'

"Is Philae made of rubber or what?"

More likely they just had my wife parking the lander. The comet's insurers will probably be in touch soon with an inflated repair bill, and out of this world hire-comet charges for the time whilst Churyumov-Gerasimenko is in the body shop.

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How to get ahead in IT: Swap the geek speak for the spreadsheet

Ledswinger
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Re: Wow

"And the techies will always be needed regardless of this business/social skills bullshit..."

That's what the seed planters said. And the weavers. And the needle makers. And the printers. And the telephone operators. And the computer operators (remember them?). Etc

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Ledswinger
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Re: Good article...but.....

" 'The business' are not our clients, they are our equal partners."

Wow, man, you're like there already.

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Ledswinger
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"You might have to ditch the laptop and brush up on the dreaded 'soft skills'"

That was the caption. But the picture said "Become a large busted red head able to operate a laptop".

I escaped IT without doing that and wearing a normal suit, but on balance, had I thought of that as a career enhancement strategy I'm sure I'd have enjoyed it.

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Singapore rides to rescue of local cabs by out-Ubering Uber

Ledswinger
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Re: Few governments make market interventions as decisively as Singapore's

"Every aspect of SP residents lives are collected and stored in government computers. "

Not much different from Britain, then. Except that (by reputation) stuff works in Singapore, and nothing works here.

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It's BLOCK FRIDAY: Britain in GREED-crazed bargain bonanza mob frenzy riot MELTDOWN

Ledswinger
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Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

"So there's no recession any more, right?"

Plenty of recession still left to go round. But QE has goosed the economy a tiny, tiny bit, people here politicians wittering on about "growth", and think it's safe to spend. Sadly the wheels have just come off the Japanese economy, US consumer spending is grinding to a halt, China's finding out for the first time in recent history what happens after a boom, and the EU remains the same collection of muddle headed twerps trying and failing to solve basic problems of over-investment and excess debt with a medicine comprising extra debt and even more investment.

But apart from that you can pick up some electronic tat cheap if you're prepared to queue and then fight for it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Buying For The Sake Of It.

"and people are just buying stuff for the sake if of it, TV Brands such as Polaroid and Seiki"

And there you have the purpose of Black Friday. Retailers whip up a feeding frenzy with a few choice tidbits, and then throw the rotten meat to the sharks. I presume it's called Black Friday because for the next 364 days the masses rue the day they bought such poor quality crap.

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World's best threat detection pwned by HOBBIT

Ledswinger
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Re: If you wander round the bad part of cybertown...

Maybe. But the point of this article is that if you wander round the good part of cybertown you may well get mugged, and there's not a lot you can do about it.

The bad side of cybertown is where poor quality malware is used to recruit botnets to send spam and the like. The users of that side of the web want stuff for free, so by definition have limited money, information that's barely worth stealing. And the malware is of an appropriate grade.

The sort of malware this research considers is made for high value targets, who as a general rule aren't torrenting grumble flicks, trading in bitcoins, or searching for J-law with her kit off. This would be launched through apparently innocent sites - watering hole attacks, for example. Or by targeting a weak link such as low paid employees working in accounts payable with a booby trapped PDF, or even suppliers with systems access (eg Home Depot, Target).

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Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows

Ledswinger
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Re: Antivirus

"does nobody else think Microsoft Security Essentials does a damn good job "

It certainly behaves itself - light on resources, quick, invisible, doesn't nag, and (as far as I know) it hasn't let me down. But most lab test results for MSE are less good against free alternatives, and even "real world testing" scenarios show it lags dedicated free products by sizeable margins. Do a search on dottech real life detection rates (or read other tests) and see what you conclude. I'd not put too much store by pure lab tests as there's too much gaming by different vested interests, but the various real world scenarios still tend to suggest that MSE isn't technically quite as good as third party products.

From the MS Security Intelligence Report for 1H14, around 2.4% of WIndows 8.1 machines with no active AV protection (ie MSE turned off and no third party AV active and up to date) had reported problems. For machines with any form of active and unexpired AV the WIn8 infection rate was around 0.6%. In reality the 10% difference in performance between best AV and MSE is not very significant - the most common problems of AV infection are down to expired or inactivated AV products, plus user behaviour.

On balance I'm sticking with MSE - I know its not the best, on the other hand I'll take the risk because I've found third party products unduly intrusive and resource heavy, and because I avoid using attack vectors like IE, Acrobat and Java, and to keep reluctantly tolerated rubbish like Flash under control with Flashblock.

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Ledswinger
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Eraser + SSD

Previously I've used this, and been happy with it (I don't bother with 35 over-writes, mind you, three at most is going to do the job). But I'm not sure that it'll work with increasingly common SSDs. My guess is that the firmware of the SSD will translate over-write requests, and Eraser will be burning through the limited write cycles of some cells (and the SSD subsequently needing to erase even more blocks) without necessarily hitting the intended data.

TRIM should erase most deleted data, but it's not going to touch deleted data if some of the block is still in use?

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Home Depot hacker hosing cost a wallet-draining $43m (so far)

Ledswinger
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$43m is peanuts

But I wonder what the hard cash value is of the reputational damage, from customers choosing not to buy because their details were compromised by Home Depot?

With 53m customers affected, that must be close to all customers of the company. Home Deport have sales of close on $80bn a year, if only half of one percent of customers go elsewhere then that's $400m of revenue lost, and with Home Deport gross margin of around 33% that translates to lost margin of $132m in year one, whilst operating costs remain essentially static. Even if those half of one percent bleed back to Home Deport over three years then the margin losses are going to total around $220m. Obviously if you get to larger but still feasible numbers, say 3% deciding not to shop, then on the same basis Home Depot's losses are $1.3bn over three years.

Moral of the story to big company CIOs (and today's El Reg Statement of the Bl**ding Obvious): The value at risk in a data breach is many multiples of the short term direct costs of fines and compensation. You did factor that into your discussion with the board about investing in IT security, didn't you? On the plus side, if Home Depot's anything to go by, you won't get fired, and next years bonus will probably be as generous and undeserved as last years.

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Yes, UK. REST OF EUROPE has better mobe services than you

Ledswinger
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Re: Can't trust the survey (mine's bigger than yours)

If we're talking about who has the most populous urban wasteland outside the M25, the West Midlands county is very slightly larger than Greater Manchester. 2.783m Brummie and related troglodytes, compared to 2.702m Manc and related troglodytes in 2013 by my reckoning.

Should the Mancs feel that they're being done down, then I'll happily let them kidnap the entire population of Coventry to regain a clear lead in urban criminality.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Can't trust the survey

"Evesham is a tiny little shithole, Leeds is not tiny or little..."

As somebody who has lived adjacent to both, let me clarify: Evesham is a pleasant little market town. You can be in and out in a few minutes. Leeds (and its binary twin, Bradford) are a huge, dirty metropolitan wasteland fit only for testing high yield nuclear weapons.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Incoming calls matter too

"but it's also very frustrating when you're job-hunting and expecting calls from potential offers"

There are far more amusing ways to trash potential employment opportunities by phone. Many years ago, long before mobile phones were commonplace, I was at home enjoying a drink with mates, expecting one more to arrive or call. The phone rang. "That'll be John" thinks me.

"International Rescue, Virgil speaking"

"Oh. Ahhh. Err, my name is Joe Shithead of Scumbucket Recruitment Consultants"

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Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'

Ledswinger
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Re: Obviously as a neo-GOP

"I'll take the neoconservative warrior princess Hillary over the fail whale Carly."

Why? Both women have no qualifications for leading the country. Both are devoid of any compelling vision.

Both US parties have let down mainstream voters. Both have neither clue nor grip on matters of economics or foreign policy. Both are fully owned by the 1%. Both are in thrall to Wall Street.

You need a proper protest party that at least speaks somewhat for the common man, but certainly from the right side of the pond I don't see any political disruptors in the US. Here in the UK (and true of much of Europe) we are seeing political disruptors emerging, and rising support for regional secessionist politics - often focused against the dead flesh hand of the EU, or national governments. It's not clear that these will ever be a government, but the rise of these parties is at least starting to frighten the established political elites of Europe.

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Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Ledswinger
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"If the IPO wants to change the rules regarding compensation for private-use copying then they need to do it at a European level. "

Alternatively our government could grow a pair, recognise that Brussels has no army, and has (remarkably) an even smaller democratic mandate than Westminster, and just tell the the European Commission to fuck, and not come back unless they've got tanks.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Strange argument

"I'm with the UK on this, not with the continent."

We'll have you voting for Nigel soon.

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Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids

Ledswinger
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Re: Boring selection

"They all look alike because that's the nature of a mobile touchscreen device."

Alright, then why are they all portrait aspect ratio, then?

Ohhh...............................

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Ledswinger
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Re: 4G? I've heard of it...

"I'm on 3, I get 4G..."

...if I stand still on the magic spot that is found in five UK cities.

FTFY.

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Suffering satellites! Goonhilly's ARTHUR REBORN for SPAAAACE

Ledswinger
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Re: Portcurno Telegraph Museum

Another +1 for Porthcurno. Don't miss the Minack theatre when you're down at Porthcurno, either - chances of bagging a ticket for a performance are remote in high season, but it's the world's most dramatic theatre location (to the best of my knowledge).

And in terms of other vaguely tech destinations, Newquay Airport (RAF St Mawgan) is home to the Classic Air Force museum with great aircraft like the Meteor, Vampire, Canberra, many others including a Nimrod. It's a bit of a drive to the National Maritime Musesum at Falmouth, but it fits the vaguely tech bill (as in tech from stone age to 1970) and is strongly recommended.

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Sacre vache! Netflix ne parle pas le Frenchy ... zat is against ze LAW

Ledswinger
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"The question is what is netflix going to do about it"

They've got two choices, comply with the local rules or exit the market. Whilst I can't see them making huge revenues in France, they'd set a precedent for competitors if they start exiting markets rather than complying with local rules, so I'd guess they'll have to get off their lazy behinds and draft locally compliant T&C.

Why they allowed things to get so far when the outcome is inevitable is anybody's guess. Presumably the problem came from the fact that back at Netflix HQ, somebody has only ever heard of Paris, TX, and thought that local language compliance was to have the standard T&C read out by somebody with slow speech and a pronounced drawl.

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Telcos spaff $36bn on gobbling Uncle Sam's radio frequencies for beefier cell coverage

Ledswinger
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Re: False economies here

"and even though we need it"

You made good and valid points on corruption and waste. And that the cost ends up being paid by customers (thus effectively it is a $34bn stealth tax). But I'm less convinced that the state had any good uses for hanging on to the bandwidth. For what purpose? And even if you can identify a valid purpose, what logic would persuade you that the government you've just panned for crony capitalism would have succeeded in achieving this purpose?

The tragedy of this is that the Feds haven't learned from UK spectrum auctions, which led to stonking writedowns on public companies (the banks and lawyers got rich, and government got to waste the money on rubbish). But the then cash-impoverished telcos were reluctant, nay barely able to invest in network expansion or upgrades, so that we've still got dismal voice coverage, worse data coverage, a hotch potch of standards and performance, and a refusal to build out into not-spots.

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Ledswinger
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You jest!

"gobbling Uncle Sam's radio frequencies for beefier cell coverage"?

More like:

"gobbling Uncle Sam's radio frequencies to block competitors"

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Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Ledswinger
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"The S5 is butt ugly."

From where I sit there's precious little to choose in looks. All modern smartphones are thin slabs, glass touchscreen, thin bezzle, slightly rounded corners. Similar weight, similar performance at any given price band. I wouldn't say Jonny Ive has distinguished himself with the latest iPhones. The nearest makers can provide on visual differentiation is the colour and material of the back, and to be quite honest that's not the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night.

Unless somebody's offering an Angelina Jolie hide backed phone, now that would be differentiated.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Samsung's Problem

"I think that Samsung's issue is ...."

I agree with your comment about small improvements, but I see the problem the other way round: With the S4 (at launch) and the S5 they created a real problem of pricing themselves out of the market. That appears to be driven by excessive ambition on margin rather than the bill of materials.

If they'd priced the incoming handsets at more credible price then it would have been an easier upgrade decision from the previous model (or less of stretch for those aspiring to upgrade from mid-market models). But like you, I'm happy with an S3. In a year or so's time I'll probably upgrade to what will then be a discounted end-of-line S5, unless the S5 replacement comes out at a much better launch price - which I can't see myself.

This premium pricing is just corporate vanity. Samsung need to decide if they want volume sales at lower margin, or are prepared to sacrifice volume to be able to report big margins on the new model. I think Samsung's big cheeses think there's some magic sauce, and if they can find it they'll be like Apple, able to do premium prices and some volume. Samsung are wrong - Apple have defined and filled their own niche, and own their own software - but I doubt they'll see that.

So here's expecting Samsung to repeat the pattern: an even bigger S6, with a titanium chassis, me-too sapphire screen, rhino-horn backplate, iris scanner, pointless higher res screen, higher pixel count on an otherwise average camera. And more Sammy bloatware pre-installed, all for £1,000 a pop.

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Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

Ledswinger
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"Given that the target list pretty much encapsulates the people the US wants to spy on"

Actually the US want to spy on everybody, including "allies" as the scandal over Merkel's phone showed. My guess is that the reported infections are a subset of the total, and there will be infections in Europe and the Anglophone countries.

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Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

Ledswinger
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Re: True, but could be truer

Blast, blast and thrice blast! A finely fashioned Grammar Nazi post, completely let down fat fingers and careless proof reading, resulting in the omission of the "y" from "They".

I blame my parents, as will anybody who knows me (or them).

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Ledswinger
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True, but could be truer

"The company said that the complaints were nothing new "

The didn't need the definite article in that sentence.

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'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

Ledswinger
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Re: Don't panic

"To a careful reader, the report shows that 21 systems were infected"

Which could be true. But that assumes that that is the number actually detected by Symantec. To a large extent, the business model of AV companies is not about saying to customers "you've been pawned for the last five years and our product failed to protect you". It is about selling a basically competent product on an annuity basis, providing reactive defence when a customer company has an undeniable malware problem, and finding enough new threats in the environment to keep the fear levels high. I see this report as being the last of those three.

Another reason for suspecting that the published infection data is incomplete is that any sensible spy agencies wouldn't be above leaning on the report's publisher to omit any inconvenient facts or statistics, and firmly in that category would be embarrassing "friendly fire" intrusions. Look at the problems the US have had after being caught eavesdropping on Merkel's phone.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Ireland @ James

"Nope, can't be the UK"

I think there's a more compelling clue in the article that it didn't come from these shores:

"a degree of technical competence rarely seen"

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Bubble-licious: Good times here again for UK tech startups – research

Ledswinger
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Re: In Q3, £363m was invested in in 88 deals worth more than £500,000

"Our facilities manager once joked that it costs a £1000 a year for the office space for a waste paper bin."

He wasn't joking. If you're talking about prime location, short term lease on a fully serviced basis, it will be around £1,400 a year per square metre. Allowing for a modicum of space to get past the bin and empty it he was bang on.

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