* Posts by Ledswinger

2984 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

HP's axe swings AGAIN: 5,000 more staffers for the chop

Ledswinger
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Freeing up cash for "sales investments"

You're having a faakin laarf my saarn, aarentyer?

Sales is not an investment, it's a cash cost. The model is you pay weak salaries but outlandish bonuses to lazy, work averse turds who (hopefully) have the gift of the golden gab. They in turn (hopefully) put in a few poorly supervised hours to beguile gormless companies (like my own) into thinking that through some vague, proprietary but unspecified magic that The Company Formerly Known As EDS (TCFKAEDS, or thickfuckheads for short) and masquerading as the once great HP will magically deliver a better service for a lot less money.

The reality in my company's case is that the routine operating costs for desktop and infrastructure services go through the roof, but by slashing the IT investment budget the clowns on our board can pretend that the shit service HP provide is somehow cheaper than when it was all in house. The fact that we've got piss all investment budget for the future of our IT doesn't matter, of course.

If I could magic HP and its overpaid and talent free board out of existence (oh, and your "global dis-service desk), I'd wave my wand now. The pity is all of the poor beggars who worked diligently and competently for their employers but were then unwillingly TUPE'd into this miserable, miserable company and then thrown out in order to employ the cheap and gormless, all for the benefit and bonuses of arseholes like Meg Whitman and her senior colleagues. Presumably somewhere in HP's CSR claptrap there's wilfully dishonest verbiage about "we value our employees", so that's alright, is it?

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Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

Ledswinger
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Worth complaining to the data commissioner about?

In your dreams, sir, The ICO is a civil service bureaucrat rather than a policeman for a specific reason. And the penalties are limited to legit-SME frighteners for the same reason.

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Ledswinger
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Re: There's a germ of a good idea here...not

One of the big problems with Ripa and related legislation is creep - it's introduced to crack down on paedorists, but then the rozzers use the same powers to investigate littering.

Actually, it's not the germ of a good idea at all, it's the germ of an exceptionally bad idea. Mission creep is enabled either specifically because control freak politicians want it to occur, or because shithead civil servants along with shithead politicians allowed really poorly drafted legislation to be laid before parliament and then rubber stamped by a toothless parliament.

Until you can stop parliament from allowing the statute books to be loaded with thousands and thousands of pages of pure shite, the problem will persist. I would guess that nobody thought that European rules of freedom of employment would result in freedom of Latvian murders to come to Britain and murder schoolgirls, but that's in affect the legislation they passed. The last government defined illegal extreme pornography in such a way that the same scene is completely legal as part of an entire "artistic" work, but completely illegal and punishable by prison if somebody edits out the good bits for their own entertainment. The many abuses of the ECHR or our overly generous asylum system are well known, but I doubt the MP's who rubber stamped it thought that they were giving a free meal ticket to people like Abu Hamza and his mates.

WIth law making such a vile mess, a supine parliament that doesn't read or think about the nonsense that they squeeze through the sphincter of Westminster, you will never get the sort of outcome that you want, or precisely, carefully thought through legislation that balances the rights of the individual versus the needs of society.

As you say, they should get a warrant, and if they do that then almost everything the police need is already on the statute books. It's just the fuckers are too lazy to get warrants, I must assume.

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Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun

Ledswinger
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Re: From your photos..

If it has a face, then presumably it will be able to put a hat on. Hip hip hip hooray!

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'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

Ledswinger
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So how did he vote on the original RIPA bill?

Vaz was a staunch enthusiast of most of Blair's "terrorism" legislation, and of NuLab crap like identity cards. He voted against an investigation into the Iraq war, and generally for mass retention of communications data. Looks like he wasn't even present to oppose the readings of RIPA, but on his own, and his party's track record he and his party should take the blame if RIPA is being abused. The man is a tosser.

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Be nice to the public, PC Plod. Especially if you're trying to stop terrorists

Ledswinger
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"I would hazard a guess I'm more likely to be shot by a cop."

Not in the UK. In the noughties we had around 90 gun related killings a year, that's now dropped to around 50 a year. And the police shoot and kill an average of two people a year (both guilty and innocent). Of course things may be different if you're one of our rebellious colonials.

So it you're about twenty five times more likely to be killed by a criminal or loon than by a policeman.

http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

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Marriott fined $600k for deliberate JAMMING of guests' Wi-Fi hotspots

Ledswinger
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"The other thing to remember is that hotels generally make their money selling rooms to sleep in and food. "

The bed and board cover the hotel's costs, and the functions and extras actually generate the profit. So that includes conferences, weddings and the like, but also add ons like room service, phone calls, wifi and the rest.

A quick look at Marriott's accounts shows global RevPAR at about $126, and gross margin at around 8%, so before interest and corporate costs they're making $10 per available room night. At their average occupancy rate of 70% that's $14 per guest night gross profit on average. I'll wager that half of that actually comes from non-room related services like functions, and they therefore make around $7 per room from add ons.

Of course, Marriott being thieving bastards is simply the modern incarnation of the darker side of the "hospitality" trade:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lesmiserablescast/masterofthehouse.html

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Ledswinger
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Re: There be dragons here

"Microsoft used to make a profit of >$0.80 on each $1.00 of turnover, Apple recently declared $7.7bn on a turnover of $37.4bn."

Not comparable markets. In software, for example, Microsoft coded NT once, many, many years ago, and continue to sell the stuff at full price by putting on a new dressing each year, claiming that because the interface has changed it's all new. Result is that cost of sales is minimal, and 80 cents in every dollar tumbles straight through to the bottom line.

Hotel businesses have huge standing costs (property, employment, electricity), which translates to a high cost of sales, so gross profit will be lower. There's few barriers to market entry, so lots of competition, and that caps the prices they can charge, so putting those together returns will always be much lower. What this means is that profit is driven by occupancy rates, and occupancy is very heavily affected by the wider economic situation, so the only levers the hotel can pull to affect its results are headline price (ie higher price when there's a show in town, lower price to try and get occupancy when things are slow), and their ability to milk the guests for extra costs.

In this case Marriott's greed and desperation caused them to break the law, but as others have noted, corporations don't get punished like citizens, so I'd be unsurprised if Marriott are still doing this, or looking to see how they can achieve the same end result with different means.

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You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....

Ledswinger
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Re: The Apple Tree senior managerment need a serious shake

"Having a dictatorial level of leadership that puts money above people, needs reality check"

In some companies it is about money. But in Apple, certainly under Jobs it was about his product obsession. That's why the iPhone has always had that shineyness, and "just works" appeal. If you let the minions get on and do their job without micro-managing over-sight some of them will go for "good enough". That's how traditional corporates work, they don't innovate much, they maintain, they streamline, and life can be very comfortable for the minions (I speak as a comfortable corporate minion). But if you want excellence, you need obsession, and that obsession has to seek and destroy all areas that are adequate or just good enough.

There's been a cultural discontinuity at Apple, from the product-centric Jobs, to the investor-centric Cook. Apple is now about money, but the corporate culture will take time to kick down a gear into being a normal corporate. We're seeing it already in the limited innovation and slow pipeline of Apple products, and the rather average iPhone 6 is the ghost of Christmas future. You don't make great products when you are answerable to investors. If you ignore investors you can produce great products, but you need the track record to do that (Jobs had, Cook hasn't), and you actually need to be great at making the products so that the financials follow the product.

But nobody joined Apple for a good salary and generous pension scheme, and family friendly working hours, did they? I've no sympathy if iPloyees have to give up their very souls, because that's the operating model of the company they elected to join. They get the cachet of "working at Apple", they have a grade A employer to put on the CV/resume, and they have to accept that there's compromises to get that. If they don't like the culture, then (a) they shouldn't have joined, and (b) there's nothing genuinely stopping them handing their notice in and finding something that suits them better.

Eventually Apple will be part of the comfortable corporate establishment, and other companies will be the thrusting innovators. Apple employees will then work only as hard as the average corporate, whilst the innovators come in at 7am and head home at 11pm, and tolerate a tyrannical boss because he inspires and terrifies in equal measure.

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IRONY ALERT: Former MI6 chief warns of 'mass snooping' - by PAEDOS

Ledswinger
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Re: Unrelated question@Brian Morrison

"If I didn't know better I'd think that some sort of conspiracy was in action."

Pah! You're the sort of person who thinks there's a nefarious reason why the Chilcott Enquiry hasn't been published, when any right-thinking supporter of parliamentary democracy can see that the hold up is merely that the copier is out of paper.

But, the strategy of denial and cover up evidently works, so next up we'll have a prime minister waving a dossier that says that IS are a clear and present danger to the UK, and we must send our ground forces to defeat them. This is inevitable as the RAF's two operational Tornados have thus far only managed to score a couple of pick up trucks (at a cost of £1.5m for each Brimstone missile used). If it's a war of attrition with IS, we'll be bankrupt before they are, but the post-Syria investigation will likewise be subject to a "dog ate my homework" excuse.

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

Ledswinger
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Re: Mistakes?

"I don't think you can punish Lotus for developing for OS/2. At the time, it made business sense. e.g. didn't some of the banks run OS/2 internally?"

You can, and the market did. OS2 never had any traction other than with a small number of IBM captive customers (the sort of people that bought in token ring networks and those crappy overpriced underpowered PS2 machines). OS/2 was unpopular with most users and struggled for software, and backing an unpopular proprietary system from a single PC maker was always madness.

Lotus should have avoided OS/2 like the plague that it was. Sadly, even now 1-2-3 remains a better product than Excel, which is (like all Microsoft products) over-laden with whizzy new features that nobody asked for, and they never fix useability issues that go back decades (like Excel's crap charting, or basic input conventions of not recognising that when I open a spreadsheet and type 4+3, I am most likely to want that calculated in the cell, not entered as text, etc etc.

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Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Ledswinger
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Re: @ledswinger

"CHP boilers don't use the 8% waste heat from boilers. "

I do know that, I work in the energy business. I think my language could have been clearer that I'm looking at net thermodynamic efficiency. If your primary alternative (a condensing gas boiler) extracts 92% of the energy from fuel, to be viable micro CHP must involve higher net efficiency, and I'm unconvinced that there's micro-CHP offering better than that, and it has (IME) much higher capital costs, higher maintenance costs, shorter asset lives, and sometimes other downsides like noise and vibration. In the world of large scale custom-designed, professionally operated heating systems you can't economically run heat-led CHP for much above system baseload for similar reasons, so the idea that micro-CHP will be magically more efficient than 92% is a chimera, and that's because any advance on a gas boiler has only that 8% efficiency gap to close.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ Anonymous Blowhard

"And that was my point about scaling; how much area of solar collection is required to provide enough hydrogen to replace the UK's natural gas consumption?"

Ignoring cooking and process gas, total space and water heating needs of the UK are 600 TWh per annum (from DECC data). Because at best power-to gas conversion is around 70% efficient, you'd need 860 TWh of solar PV output (ceteris paribus).

At a representative 100 kWh per square metre per year for a PV panel in the real world you'd need 8,600 square kilometres of solar PV, an area about the same as Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, and West Sussex put together.

Can't see that happening myself.

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Ledswinger
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"They have consumer trials going on at the moment, but haven't gone into production yet."

There's a shed-load of micro-generation schemes like this - fuel cells, waste-heat-to-electricity, sterling engines, mini-turbine CHP. I currently work for a company that has interests across this portfolio, and I've seen nothing that convinces me that Tim Worstall's ideas are coming true any time soon, or that local generation will supplant the grid. Even micro-gen CHP struggles when a modern boiler can offer 92% efficiency - how much complexity, additional cost do you want to eke out that 8%, and how effective will be the conversion of it?

It isn't that you can't do (eg) wind to H2 conversions, store energy as compressed air, grid scale batteries, or all the other ideas. And I can say that because my employers have large scale plant doing this already. But the problem is that these assets are capital intensive and often involve multiple lossy conversions, and there's no prospective magic bullet from technology that is going to make them cheaper. All the plants that I'm aware of cannot run commercially when capital costs are allowed for, and were mostly built as technology demonstrators.

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That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

Ledswinger
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Re: "Free" if you're paying Compuserve $30 an hour?!

"Maybe you didn't have to pay any *extra* for the stock quotes (or did you?)- but if I was paying those sorts of prices for a closed information service...."

The "free" stock prices AFAIR were always delayed, and as such they were a nice freebie if you were interested, without really being precise enough for trading purposes. If you were paying a closed information service you'd expect higher charges and as near real time as the technology of the day allowed.

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A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs

Ledswinger
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Re: Making things simple....not

"Never had your hands full of shopping?"

You posit a techno-world where the house is so f***ing clever it knows when to operate the powered toilet roll dispenser, and yet you'll still be struggling back to the door (from the beige Honda) with both hands being slowly cut in half by Asda carrier bags? You've not really thought the full scenario through have you?

Everything that has been touted for TIoT may well be a boon for the disabled, but otherwise of interest only to the terminally lazy and to a few technophiles.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Making things simple....not

Then your tech enabled home could open your garage door when your car arrives at home....

You must live in an another country, because the hundreds of people I know in Britain with a garage don't put their car in it, ever. And technology won't find a home for the kids toys, junk, gardening equipment, tools and other 5hite that stop the car going in (ignoring that most UK garages are so small you'd need to exit the car through the sun roof).

and unlock your front door as you get close to the handle.

I'm a lazy beggar, but even I'm not that f***ing lazy.

Depending on the time of day your specified lighting goes on.

Wow. How many kcal of energy were saved by not pressing the light switch?

It has already heated your home up to your required temperature

What, a bit like my non-IoT programmeable thermostat has for the past twenty years?

and your favourite radio station that you listen to in the evening comes on.

My habits are less predictable. Or are you suggesting that there's a brain implant to fix that?

Your location based reminders of things to do when you get home are sent to your phone, watch, electronic noticeboard or tv screen.

My God! You see that as "progress"? If electronic equipment tracks me, hounds me, and nags me to do things, what will my wife find to do with her time?

15 minutes before your usual bedtime, or when you select go to bed mode on your device your heated blanket starts up, the lights downstairs dim, your bedroom lights light up and you bedside radio starts playing.

Ahh. The car in the garage comes back into focus, the whole scenario you paint suddenly makes sense. It's a beige Honda, with a pipe in the glovebox and a spare pair of slippers in the boot, isn't it?

When you leave in the morning your car has already warmed up, your heating turns down to frost mode and all the lights adn non essential electrics switch off.

Pensions are already payable electronically, why would you need to leave the house at all?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Making things simple

"I like manual controls."

Me too. And the best we seem to have promised by TIoT is as follows:

1) Colour changing lighting

2) the connected fridge (unclear how this helps me)

3) the ability to turn my heating on or off by remote control (ignoring that a thermostat and timer work for most of us)

At the moment it looks like TioT is going to be like 3D telly. It will eventually be built into every suitable device, but nobody will use it.

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DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire

Ledswinger
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Re: The road tax won't go...yet

"As the car's get more efficient, electrics get more popular, then tax collection drops. So they need some sort of permanent tax to screw everyone over equally."

On fuel efficiency they simply adjust the bands, as they currently do, so no requirement there. And EVs currently get a £5k cash subsidy up front, and exemption from CO2 rated excise levy (despite the CO2 emitted by power stations on their behalf). The longer term plan by the bureaucrats is "road pricing", which will be another opportunity to tax mobility for the simple reason that they can.

Rolling another £6bn onto fuel duty would have been far more sensible. The whole ranking of excise duty was always a pointless waste of time, because fuel duty is automatically weighted towards higher fuel users, so larger vehicles, those who drive more, those who drive in congested conditions, those whose driving style is lead-booted.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hardly rocket science

"Even if it is only 10% of the payments they end up making, it is still 10% on millions. I suspect it is a lot more."

Vehicle excise duty totals around £6bn this year, so all those part months most certainly will add up. If a quarter of all vehicles get traded each year, then that's £1.5bn of duty, if you can do a double take for only 5% of the annual total then that's a £75m stealth tax.

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Ledswinger
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" it's the same as it is now. "

Exactly, and that's the problem. The blithering idiots have merely abolished the process of sending out a bit of paper to be stuck on windscreens ignoring the fact that road tax should just be included in fuel duty. That's far harder to evade, easier and cheaper to collect (and operates on a less painful PAYG level for the victims).

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Ledswinger
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Re: It contains a "data sphere"? @Ossi

"Net debt, however, is still zero."

In your fatuous example, it is true that the net debt is zero and there's no wider economic impact. But in your rush to make a point, you've overlooked why in the real world things are so painfully different, and that's because the vast majority of debt is not left sitting in a bank account minding its own business, but is actually used for something, either current consumption or investment.

Problem is that at these levels of gross debt (and associated near zero interest rates) too much investment is mal-investment, and too much of the current consumption is on cr@p "public services that we can't afford. Look at the debt-fuelled building investment bubble that trashed the Spanish and Irish economies. Or the debt-fuelled infrastructure and public spending bubbles that has trashed the Greek and Italian economies (France isn't far behind). The UK has nearly trebled its government debt in fifteen years, and we have NOTHING worthwhile to show for that - no vast new infrastructure projects, no shiney new cities, no 100% renewable, 100% reliable energy industry, no tech sector jobs boom, no modern renaissance of knowledge or art. We don't even have well equipped armed forces. Instead, close on a trillion quid has been borrowed and spent on "benefits", a sclerotic and useless health service, foreign aid, never-ending hobby wars.

And that's the problem with excess gross debt, that current consumption loads the debt on the future (to be painfully repaid or defaulted on), and mal-investment destroys the balance sheet of the lenders and at the same time squeezing out good investment projects.

Internationally the difference between gross and net debt is also important. The UK has an approximate balance of international debt. Problem is that our banks are owed money by to55pot countries and companies that are more likely to default than the UK is. When RBS come home crying because Italy leave the Eurozone and tell RBS they aren't paying their dues, who do you think will be on the hook for that? And RBS and others only have the money to play in risky investment markets because quantitative easing has given them access to billions of quid of free money, to gamble as they see fit.

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Ledswinger
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Re: It contains a "data sphere"?

"Not that I disagree with your sentiments but its nearer 90% of gdp."

Gross debt is around 264-275% of GDP. You're thinking of public debt, I suspect, but when there's too much debt it really doesn't matter who owes it.

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Ledswinger
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It contains a "data sphere"?

And if you rub it, what does it show you?

1) A post-post-industrial Britain, of fabulous wealth, equality and sophistry (something like the Culture in Iain M Banks novels), all facilitated by "innovation" quangos.

2) Or maybe just a post industrial society, with worse inequality, poorer than previous generations, relentlessly crushed under the deadweight of debt approaching 300% of GDP, with the money having been frittered on crap by successive governments who couldn't control either public finances, the wider economy, or the financial services sector.

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One million people have bonked on London public transport

Ledswinger
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Wrong in the first sentence, it seems

"It seems that travellers on the London Underground are much more likely to pay by bonk with their contactless credit card than those on the buses."

The proportions are very close, but actually bus passengers are more likely to bonk to pay. In 2013/14, there were 2.382 billion TfL bus journeys, and 1.264 billion tube journeys. So passengers on the bus were 11% more likely to bonk than tube passengers based on the quoted number of bonks.

Luckily few of us come the Register for facts.

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Universal Credit CRISIS: Howard Shiplee SHIPS OUT of top job

Ledswinger
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"Howard will continue to support Universal Credit in an advisory role."

What, like Tesco's last finance director was supporting them in an advisory role?

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Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

Ledswinger
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Re: Crap Ts & Cs

"Where's the Plain English Campaign when you freekin' need them?"

The problem with the PEC is that they're trying to bolt the stable door long after the horse has gone. UK legislation is (for the most part) incompetently drafted in wilfully arcane and confusing language by civil servants, and the Wasters of Westminster never refuse to rubber stamp poorly drafted laws. In most cases I'd wager they haven't even read the bills they are voting on.

Do you think your MP knows what this tiny, tiny snippet means:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/52

As long as the language of the law is unintelligible, then T&Cs will be similarly opaque, and trying to mop up afterwards is always going to be doomed to failure.

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Putin tells Google, Twitter, Facebook: Have a vodka and censorship on the rocks

Ledswinger
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Re: It looks that Putin is putting Russia clocks...

"... far more back than one hour only."

Maybe, but you have to see this in the light of the wider sanctions and tit-for-tat activity going on at the moment. There were already laws against everything in Russia, so a few new ones change nothing. All this is about is annoying US companies who are well connected in Washington, because that message gets across to US lawmakers. If Putin imposed some form of new control on US logistics firms, that wouldn't be heard, because parcel delivery firms don't spend hundreds of million lobbying the US government.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do they even have Russian market share?

" my young relative did a thriving trade in showing local students how to set up a VPN and access Facebook."

Will your young relative feel guilty when his student mates have their collars felt for miscellaneous crimes against the state?

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Ledswinger
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Re: CDs for me

"Sign up to a streaming service and those albums will be available to you again. "

But I don't fucking want a streaming service. It's music rental on a "take or pay" basis, and I don't like either the rental, the monthly cost, the patchy catalogue, or the fact that under too many specific circumstances it simply doesn't work.

I must say I do have free Spotify ad-funded account, but only as a "try before you buy" facility. And then I buy the CD elsewhere.

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Bendgate backlash: Apple claims warped iPhone 6 Plus damage is 'extremely rare'

Ledswinger
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Re: Spin, spin, spin

"Apple isn't so much at excellent design as they are about decent but sometimes flawed design with absolutely cracking good marketing and spin doctors."

Well if the fanbois will be honest with themselves, it is their admiration of the marketing and PR that they're buying into. And if they'll do that, everybody can be happy - fanbois can buy the new shiney and won't mind that it needs to be rested on a silken cushion at all times, Apple sell more stuff at vast margin to the same bunch of mugs-with-money, and everybody else can snigger.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "Rarity" is not the point

"What an independent test lab, outside of Apple, running tests commissioned by Consumer Reports, which prove the iPhone 6 and 6 plus are perfectly durable "

It proves nothing of the sort. It simply proves that the phone deformed minimally in a short duration laboratory test. Unfortunately, because of the low elasticity of the aluminium alloy used, strain in the real world is cumulative, and the handful of buttock-imprinted Shineys should be a real cause for concern. That shape is the shape the device wants to be under pressure, and with a material that won't bounce back (1) that is the shape it will progressively become.

(1) I was going to use the term "plastic deformation", but since the fanbois won't be able to differentiate between plastic frames and plastic deformation, I think it best not to go there.

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While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m

Ledswinger
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Re: Too late to edit but also...

"The v3i is so good as a straight forward phone (remember those?) that the crappy software inside it matters little."

I follow the argument (still having a couple of fondly remembered V3s in a box somewhere, along with an assortment of Nokia candy bar sets) but the market has moved, and people expect a phone to do all the fancy mobile computer stuff now, and it's the use of that extra functionality that uses the battery. If you use the capabilities frugally, then a smartphone will give you two to three days.

And to be fair, the size difference between a folded V3 and a 4.7 inch touchscreen isn't umanageable. All of this "mine's big than yours" stuff is of course nonsense, but at least we've now reached a point where all major makers seem to offer a full range of sizes to suit most people. If makers would now stop wasting money on pointless legal squabbles, and start spending money on making the battery last several times as long as the current model, then they're assured that I'll upgrade at the end of my contract.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Too late to edit but also...

"In that context I'm very suspicious of the aggressive reporting of defects - statistically, they don't really register on the volume (AFAIK it's not even 1% of production) so it's almost like some people really wanted Apple stock but not pay full market price."

The failures thus far may not be material, the failure rate could be. It's all very well saying for the first few that "a fat kid sat on it and ran away". That is probably true at this stage. But most of us put our phones in pockets sooner or later. And although I'm ideal height/weight, not being a robot there's still a good curve on my jeans front pockets that will put some repeated stress on a be-pocketed phone.

With the new shiney having a frame made of aluminium, the strain on the device is going to be cumulative if (like me) you usually put a phone in the pocket with a particular orientation, say back cover outwards. Every time the device goes in a pocket, it's creeping a little bit. If you use something inherently flexible (plastic, Samsung) or stronger (a much stronger aluminium alloy), or you beef up your design you don't have that accumulative risk. But potentially these first few bent ones will over time lead to a substantial proportion of those made to date needing replacement. I daresay some leech is already looking to file a class action against Apple, but replacing several million high end phones won't come cheap. At a replacement cost of only $200, and say that Apple amend the design immediately, you've got 10m sold and the same in the supply chain, 20% need replacing, and you're looking at around a billion dollars before any punitive court settlement.

And worst of all, this chips away at the reputation of Apple. FFS, they've launched a phone fit for 2012 two years late, and it's vulnerable to creasing?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Incentivisation

"I'm not even really sure that executives should be allowed to hold so much stock in the companies they run."

The alternative problem that not allowing stock ownership creates is the agent problem. Whilst directors can be (and usually are) paid cash, why will they do the right thing for shareholders (as opposed to themselves) if they've got dissimilar financial interests? Even with share options and grants, that doesn't stop useless, self interested management getting an entrenched position and destroying the company (HP, for example).

There is no easy answer, although a ban on companies soliciting and recommending proxy votes would be a good move. Too many inept boards are kept in place by passive investors who either don't vote on shareholder motions, or offer their proxy to the board.

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Four caged in UK after cyber-heist swipes €7m in EU carbon credits

Ledswinger
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"And how much did we pay to bring the case to court and then again the costs of keeping these criminals locked up ?"

I hope you were paying attention, and saw that they were UK residents and were prosecuted under UK laws?

At a guess, a complex cross border fraud trial, and crown court case, probably around a million quid (fully consistent with SFO data on average cost of a fraud trial, of £839k two years ago.

There's 16 and a half man years of porridge, although in line with the ridiculous Home Office guidelines the scum will be out after serving half of that. At £31k per prisoner per year (Home Office data), that's a further £260k odd.

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

Ledswinger
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"And have the bloody EU lower taxes on protein-rich food and increase taxes on carbs."

Why? Price elasticity isn't very strong for "sin" goods, so that selectively putting up the VAT on unhealthy foods won't stop people pigging out at Ronnies, but it'll mean I have to pay more when I want a treat. And I'm following a 5/2 regime, precisely so that I don't get fat, but on the other five days I can eat what I want.

Which leads me to ask why the state (or EU supra-state) should act to prevent the portly from being portly? What business is it of the state to interfere? The O-beasts amongst us have a whole range of options for not being fat, often in ways that would make them financially better off as well as healthy, but they elect not to take them. In my book they have a right to be fat. We go to great lengths to encourage all manner of social and cultural diversity, but apparently being fat is a moral crime that the state needs to move against? No way. OK, so the big boned may suffer from obesity related illnesses that cost the health service money, but on the other hand with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes they'll be paid a pension for less time, so economically it all works out even in the end.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument@ John H Woods

"A better comparison would be Tesco's EveryDay Value...."

Stick to food, please. Anything with Tesco's "Everday Value" label has been specially prepared and packed to render it inedible or otherwise unuseable, as part of the failed Tesco strategy to combat discounters.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument@Dave 126

"Human subjects were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisone after eating vegetable soup daily for two weeks "

Obviously this calming effect wears off after a further few days, leading to irrational beliefs and murderous desires:

http://www.vegetariansareevil.com/history.html

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Ledswinger
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Re: If fat, get tough!@The Mole

You paint a picture of yourself that calls to mind Kung Fu Panda. Hopefully you have enlightenment and internal peace.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Flaw in the argument

"1. Junk food is relatively cheap per amount of calories it provides. A healthy shopping bill is 4-6 times higher than junk food (at least in the UK)."

If you choose to eat Soil Association certified, holistically grown according to feng shui principles, along with over-dosing on all the expensive "super fruits", out of season veg, and premium cuts of rare-breed organic meat grown by artisan small-holders, then yes, it is expensive. And if your baseline is a diet made up of 100% Aldi 99p pizza, you'll see a big difference.

But that's not the reality. I notice the fat and the poor seem quite able to find the money for a whole lot more fast junk food than I can afford. Having a McDonald's breakfast (plus enormo shake), elevenses from those greasy, revolting vans that hang out in every DIY store car park, a bucket of 5hit lunch from KFC (plus full sugar 1 litre drink), McFlurry and cheeseburger for afternoon tea, and then going home for the most heavily loaded pre-made deep pan pizza (one per person) is a whole lot more expensive than eating properly.

Compared to a normal balanced diet involving everyday mostly UK sourced meat and veg, simply prepared, then fast junk food is substantially more expensive. And even if the poor have to live on a diet of 99p pizzas, that doesn't justify or explain being FBs - being an FB is about eating too much regardless whether that is balanced or not, and the cure is not to eat as much.

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Google goes Dutch with new €600 MEELLION DC

Ledswinger
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"If I spend nearly a billion dollars in your country, you'll help me with these pesky EU beancounters, yes?"

No. A more likely explanation is that Dutch law is quite relaxed on what constitutes a charity.. I seem to recall that Ikea's worldwide business is a charity under Dutch rules:

http://www.economist.com/node/6919139

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'Space bubbles' may have helped Taliban down 'copter in bloody Afghanistan battle

Ledswinger
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Re: Not an accurate description of the incident

"In the interests of a fair and balanced view of the battle do we know how many Taliban were killed?"

A body count is difficult if not impossible when your opponents "own" the territory, but even if you manage it it tells you little. That's because there's no way of telling the mangled bodies of "my first Kalashnikov" yokels from senior, hardened and experienced fighters who really know what they're up to. Throw into the mix that the West clearly has not got a clue about who it is fighting, how many there are (eg, see wildly fluctuating CIA estimates on IS numbers), and the flexible loyalties of the locals, and you get a feel for how enemy casualties don't give any useful numbers.

A more telling picture of the overall position has to be the simple fact that the West got shown the door in Iraq (after destabilising and crippling the country) and now it has to go back. US estimates suggest war in Iraq has thus far cost the US $2 trillion (other countries' contributions are noted, but are rounding errors on the US magnitude of cost). And still the West need to drop more bombs.

So for a fair and balanced view, who's winning? I'd say that the insurgents (probable budget less than $200m since 2003?) are doing well to goad the US into launching a further fusillade of expensive cruise missiles, to have seized half of Iraq, and a third of Syria.

But this latest battle isn't about winning, it is about symbolism and vanity. If IS wanted to win, they'd have been nice as pie to their hostages, given them a message for the West, and sent them home with a few (non-explosive) gifts. Nobody in the West cares if IS slaughter a few hundred locals. Had IS been nice to the Western hostages, would Bamaboy be raining down more death on the Middle East? Probably not. Instead, IS indulge themselves with some more primitive brutality against journalists, tourists (and I sadly suspect, soon amongst aid workers), and invite attack from the US, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The vanity and symbolism for us in the West comes from televised pictures of cruise missile launches against IS, and infrared images of these missiles hitting unknowable buildings in Syria. Go Team West! Obama is a war president! Except that there will be further undesirable consequences from this latest bombings and supply of arms. Don't forget, at least one of the murdered hostages was sold by "moderate" rebel factions in Syria to IS, and a large chunk of IS' best weapons were supplied by the US to "moderate" rebels, or to the useless Iraqi army.

In 'Stan, we ended us spending a decade fighting people we'd trained, financed and armed because we thought they'd piss the Russians off. They most certainly did, but in the light of 9/11 and a decade of war in Afghanistan, was the cost to us acceptable? I'd say no. Many of you will have heard the parable of the good Samaritan. It's a lovely and enduring tale. Helping the downtrodden was a noble motive. But it didn't involve interfering in an ongoing fight. That's what the West is now doing, getting embroiled in not just one, but two civil wars at once, and as a side order inflaming extremism from Nigeria, through Algeria, Libya into the heart of the Middle East. The tragedy is that our simpleton politicians can't even see this.

Which bit of "leave well alone" is beyond the understanding of western politicians? Since Sykes-Picot they've interfered, meddled, messed and buggered up the whole place. So coming back to fair and balanced, who's winning? Irrespective of casualty numbers, the undisputed winners are the men of violence, and the forces of chaos. And our politicians must therefore fall into one of those two groups. I'll leave others to decide whether Obama, Cameron, Hollande et al are men of violence, or men of chaos.

I come from a military family, I have huge and enduring respect for the forces, I've worked in support roles to the military, my own son is shaping up to join the forces....if only our hugely skilled, professional, dedicated and competent forces were being used for good. Lions led by donkeys, yet again.

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Ledswinger
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Hopefully this will be useful....

...when dropping bombs or "advisers" in Syria and Iraq (again).

Funny old world, isn't it? You spend a decade bombing the cr@p out of a place, it all goes to pot when you turn your back, but luckily the winning strategy turns out to be simply to drop more bombs, and supply yet more arms (often to the people you were fighting last week).

Luckily we now know that radio is not infallible, and when we're winning Sunni hearts and minds in this traditional manner we can do it a bit more safely.

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NSFW: Click here, watch iPhone 6 being TORTURED

Ledswinger
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Re: I do not think these tests are realistic or accurate

"The tests should be repeated with the iPhones in their owners' pockets or hands."

After a few minutes in an ordinary pocket the new iPhone will already be bent. The services of Tech Assassin seem rather superfluous.

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Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI

Ledswinger
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Re: Not just once @Stoneshop

"For example there is little real point in dropping the house temperature over short periods of time, particularly if you have a well insulated house, because the thermal mass of the house will maintain the temperature"

From a comfort point of view that's largely true. But from an energy use perspective less so. The heat loss is a function of the thermal resistance of the envelope, and the temperature differential. So although the thermal inertia will keep the house warm, the thermal "core temperature" is still dropping, and your heating source then needs to top up the thermal store, which will invariably have relatively high SHC and energy density. For an hour or two here and there you won't notice the cost, but for an hour or two extra every day you would.

That's the beauty of a simple programmeable stat - you faff around until you're happy, then you can leave it alone for years until your routine changes, and in the meanwhile you're as warm as you want with minimal wasted energy. I'm no tree hugger, but there's no point paying for energy that you're not benefiting from.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Disable port 80 forwarding...

"This is, presumably, not going to be a cheap exercise for Heatmiser."

That would depend on whether they do a full and effective "recall". My guess is most customers won't hear about the security kerfuffle, are as happy or otherwise as they were last week, and if Heatmiser have any sense they'd replace them only on request. That's typically how non-safety related faults are dealt with by manufacturers.

I recall the (now) old Ford Cargo trucks, where some models had a problem that the front wheel mudguard could under some situations deflect a big puddle splash straight into the engine air intake. Water being incompressible, this usually resulted in a loud crack followed by a heavy tinkling as the shattered engine block fell out onto the road. The design was changed for future production, no retrofit was ever offered, and any warranty claims were quietly paid, although many owners would have blamed other causes like poor driving.

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Ledswinger
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"But the whole point of a thermostat is that you should set it once, to a comfortable room temperature."

Only if you want a steady temperature. In practice many people prefer to have a warmer "wake up" temperature than they want during the day, and to have a slightly lower temperature in late evening. But programmeable stats have been able to do that for several decades - I've got a twenty year old Eberle progstat that's been doing just that. That gives me better comfort and lower bills without messing around. There's no need for wifi and tech vulnerabilities to have a user programmeable device, although the dodgy control logics and interfaces of almost all heating controls are certainly begging for improvement in the touchscreen world.

Even with a progstat there's still the need to mess with it occasionally, mind you, since the human perceived temperature is not the same as the measured dry bulb temperature that a stat measures.

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Move over, Apple Pay: Tesco trials PayQwiq phone-flash pay app

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmm

"Based on these comments, nobody likes Apple Pay either? Google Wallet? I am genuinely interested - are we not keen on digital wallets?"

The idea of the digital wallet seems superfluous to me. Might work for others, but I avoid having a wallet full of cards in the first place, so I'd only ever want to associate an NFC device with one account, so that NFC should be just an extension of my debit card used for low value transactions.

And why would anybody risk all of their financial details in one place with big IT (or MNO, or retailers) companies not known for their consumer-focus or privacy policies?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds like a non starter

"Since it is a very early trial with only a few staff at this stage all the odium appears somewhat misplaced. "

I don't think so if the report is accurate. The whole point of bonk-to-pay NFC was speed and convenience. What's described in the article is a hideously convoluted faff that seems to start from the premise that NFC has never been invented (despite compatible chips in the majority of phones shipped in the past few years). An NFC chip should still work even if the phone has too flat a battery to start, but this requires the phone up and running, an app, a mobile wallet system, possibly a mobile data connection, then the generation of a QR, optical recognition and decoding by the till and then two way interraction between till and device (to update the mobile wallet).

It's difficult to see how that's going to be sorted out. I wouldn't want a Tesco-managed wallet, in fact I don't want any digital wallet (a la Google). I don't want QR codes, and I'd expect my mobile banking app to keep me informed without being required for the transaction. All that should be needed is to register my NFC equipped phone to a Visa or Mastercard account, and for me to wave it at the NFC receptor. Those who don't want NFC needn't partake, but I hate small change, and would be delighted to see it gone forever.

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