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* Posts by Ledswinger

2480 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

Ledswinger
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Re: Could not have timed it better

"I'd much rather have a good old-fashioned space race, it's of much more benefit to humanity."

Not when both sides are funding it from the printing presses, which in the longer term is simply a stealth tax on holders of cash and cash-denominated assets. Building a big fuck-off rocket with tax might look cool, but when you've seen your economy hollowed out by the biggest debt fuelled boom 'n' bust in history, you'd think that people would have more sense than even more borrowing to pay for vainglorious technological willy waving.

Any the technical benefits of a space programme are simply too far ahead to make economic sense when you discount them and compare them to alternative uses of the money like low tech stuff that's crying out to be done, such as improving transport links or telecomms and internet access.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Makes sense

"Except the technology to get there exists now..."

And it didn't boost the Soviet economy at all, since it was unproductive state spending, and in a closed, secretive and centrally directed economy there were no spin offs for wider industry, unlike in the US, and the lack of a viable commercial sector meant that the multiplier effects of state spending were muted compared to a market economy.

Put simply, space science fits largely in the "guns" category of "guns or butter".

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Ledswinger
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Re: Could not have timed it better

"This is also at a time when the US probably couldn't afford to join that race"

To a degree yes, but the Yanks have far greater ability to afford it than the crooked and backward economy that Russia is blessed with. Putin and his mates have obviously forgotten that last time they tried to out-compete America on weapons and space technology it bankrupted the USSR. With an economy only held afloat by exports of gas, Russia is playing a dangerous game that in the longer term it is likely to lose.

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Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68

Ledswinger
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Just me?

Or is the icon type photo of two dangling feet next to the headline in your "Top Stories" box rather inappropriate in this instance?

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One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work

Ledswinger
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"If you think the system in the West is so bad, you're free to move to another country and see what the system is like there."

Errr, you've admitted you're the incomer. If you don't like us natives badmouthing our government, then you are free to move to another country where not only is there peace, freedom and democracy, but also the population universally adore their government and its measures to "protect their freedom". Where will that be?

Regarding how everything here is better than elsewhere, that's debatable at several levels, but the most significant challenge is simply that we have acheived the things you highlight because we're running a Ponzi economy funded by vast levels of irrepayable debt. Even now, with left wing politicians howling about austerity and cuts, the government is spending £100bn a year more than it gets in taxes, we've got over a trillion in public sector debt, and the private sector is no better, having become hooked on cheap credit.

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Ledswinger
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" The West should support ALL people struggling for freedom against oppression, with weapons if necessary, not just a cherry-picked selection. "

Nice statement. But in say, Syria, who's in the right? Are the anti-Assad forces struggling for freedom, or a different flavour of oppression? Where's the democratic opposition in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi? Are a few "right-on" liberal dissidents in China representative of anybody but themselves? What about dubiously democratic states (eg Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore) where the population at large seem relatively happy? What about Ukraine or Pakistan, where there's no clear distinctions between the credibility, honesty and support for any of the pretenders to power?

The people of the Western "democracies" have started to wake up to the fact that they too are governed by political elites who govern in their own interests, not those of the wider population. OK so we have little or no political prisoners, that doesn't make for democracy, and it doesn't mark out our system of government as better.

So come again, what high moral ground are you defending?

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

Ledswinger
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Re: Good article

" I was in a phone conversation with an Austrian, his accent was so heavy, I only picked up about half of the conversation."

Don't be so critical. I'll bet his German was better than the handful of useful German phrases I learned from Commando war comics. Luckily for my recent business trip to Germany at least half the population there speak better English than most UK residents do.

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Japanese schoolkids arrested in £2.4 MEEELLION phone fraud bust

Ledswinger
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"a minor did a pretty horrific act which in the UK would have got him (even as a minor) locked up for a very long time (possibly for life), in Japan he was out again in 7 years."

Yeah? How long did the Bulger killers serve? Sounds very similar to me.

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France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

Ledswinger
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Re: Draconian

"Don darling, are you trying to woo me? 'Cos you're off to a pretty good start...."

He's certainly on a roll today. Three cheers for Don Jefe!

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Smartwatch sales off to a very slow start

Ledswinger
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"Low sales?...Something to do with the length of time they last between charges?"

I doubt it. People put up with the dismal battery life of smartphones. The thing about smartwatches is they do very little that is useful or unique, and I think a critical problem makers have overlooked is that smartwatches are an ancilliary device - without a smartphone most smartwatches are completely useless.

When you've got two devices with short lived batteries, one of which can function on its own, one that can't and also doesn't actually do much, where does the pain get felt? By the smartwatch left in a drawer. On the other hand my Seiko 5 needs no batteries, is self winding, doesn't depend on a nearby smartphone, looks smart but discrete and is acceptably accurate. Even if I had a smartwatch, which would get worn?

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India second only to US in Google user data requests

Ledswinger
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"Its scary how many India apologists there are on this site"

Where? Seems like a reasonably diverse range of opinions being expressed.

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Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style

Ledswinger
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Back to basics?

I'll happily have one in two years time when they will be discounted as the year-before-last's model, but the street price of this is about £500. Is that really "back to basics" and "destined to sell in huge numbers"?

If the spec was the same and the price was £400 I think they'd have a better proposition by far, offering sufficient over the Nexus 5, but not over-stretching themselves into the premium market.

Given the number of phones that Sammy make, isn't is about time they offered two top enders, one in the mould of the S5, and the other a sealed battery, fixed storage, metal chassis device to take on the Sony and HTC top enders? There's clearly room for both types at the top end of the market, and whilst I want a removeable battery and storage, that's not everybody's priority.

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USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

Ledswinger
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Re: Doh..@bob, mon!

"I have at least one cable that has the USB symbol on the underside instead of the topside, .....Still doesn't help when the port itself was installed upside down."

Surely it does. So long as you're not paying attention to the fact that the symbol's on the wrong side, then it's going to work a treat on the upside down port, if nowhere else in the world.

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Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

Ledswinger
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Re: reconstructed an asteroid

AAIB can work miracles starting from the tiniest piles of fragments.

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Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

Ledswinger
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Re: Arseburger...

" i dont want to be in the situation where oly go tits-up leaving me with no way to purchase lenses"

Last time I looked there was a well developed market in third party lenses for most cameras, many of which are very high quality. Obviously if you're after a 1,200mm F1.2 professional lens you may be out of luck, but if you can afford that price range a complete re-purchase of Nikon or other brand would be neither here nor there.

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Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation

Ledswinger
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"Surely they can't have hoped that people wouldn't notice and their business wouldn't be affected?"

You'd hope not, although some businesses are that chaotic. More likely Alphadex intend to defend themselves in court, but short of paying British Gas' demand, they can't actually stop a petition going to court, what they can do is contest it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Maximum Demand Tariff

"Commercial services get charged on their maximum demand"

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

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

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

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Indonesia considers smartphone tax to spur local mobe-makers

Ledswinger
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Re: WTO?

"One might question whether such a tax is a WTO violation."

Against the guiding principles, yes, But there's plenty of caveats and work arounds for developing countries, added to which the developed world has plenty of tarrifs on exports from the developing work. When you hear about a WTO dispute, it's usually because a country has reneged on a previously signed binding commitment to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade - either domestic subsidies or import taxes.

This is why you hear about the various rounds of WTO talks, as the organisation tries to eliminate barriers to trade.

As a single organisation the WTO has probably done more to address global poverty than any other (and far more than all NGO's and government foreign aid programmes), and I'll take my hat off to them for that. On the opposite side of the coin, it is because of reducing trade barriers that we suffer from the effects of globalisation and offshoring on domestic employment markets.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Won't work.

"YYYep, that worked out real well."

That's certainly how most protectionist policies pan out. But there's a subtle difference here, in that China has an under-valued fixed exchange rate, enabling it to under-cut competitors, and to an extent justifying duties (that mostly aren't levied) on everything they produce and sell to developed economies. Unfortunately Indonesia isn't part of the developed world with its over- or fairly-valued currencies, and the Indonesian Rupiah is by any sensible measure (eg the Economist Big Mac index) undervalued by even more than China's.

What this means is that Indonesia is saying "our economy is uncompetitive even with a currency undervalued against China's, but rather than address the causes of our uncompetitiveness, we'll make imports more expensive". Invariably, as with your example, the sheltered industry and government will see this a reason not to improve, and all that happens is consumers pay more, but ultimately the protected industry withers and dies.

Interestingly the bottom of the league table of relative mis-valuations of currency is occupied by India. It doesn't look to me that under-valuing their currency and protecting domestic industry has given India a vibrant tech hardware and mobile phone sector, given the ongoing disputes between the state and the Nokia plant, and the complete absence of Indian handset exports.

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Mind you his...

"House in Finstall does look very good "

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sajid...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: In the meantime...

"NVidia 8800GT FTW!"

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

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

Time to upgrade your house-to-grid connection.

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

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

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

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

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Well. Why do government employees pay tax?"

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

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Ledswinger
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@dogged

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

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

Do you get your facts from Socialist Worker?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Shame

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are socialists so economically illiterate?

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British Gas applies to wind up UK colo outfit Alphadex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT

Ledswinger
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Re: I think people here are missing the point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Actual usage

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

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

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

Ledswinger
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Re: Good!

"I'll raise a glass to that"

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

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

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Oracle smacks JD Edwards help site with cease and desist order

Ledswinger
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"lawyer letters just serve to nark customers off"

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

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USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan

Ledswinger
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Re: even more exclusion?

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

Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. FTFY.

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Serious question

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

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

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Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

Ledswinger
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Re: Free? @ El Andy

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Free?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Two fer Two?

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: young offender?

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Clueless

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

A chapter 11 filing?

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Politicians do not "get" IT.

"Creating a shopping list for corporate spies?"

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: The DRM bit makes sense.

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

Merchant of Venice, mate.

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: British Military?

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Historical

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: and ?

"unless there are any teeth to WTO rulings"

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oil?

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

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

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

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