2136 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Yay! Directors will be held to account
Except that they won't.
All companies pay for directors'[ and officers' insurance, and short of a criminal investigation and conviction, this won't harm the lightweights on HP's board, won't actually reimburse the shareholders, and will only make a bunch of lawyers rich. Big fines will merely redistribute wealth amongst the shareholders (ie claimants get money taking out of the holdings of all shareholders), and do we expect Teflon Meg and her fellow directors to be tarnished by their own ineptitude? Oh no.
But even if it's a big fine, Meg can just ratchet up the savings target, sack another few tens of thousands of front liners, offer an even crapper service to corporate clients, and help herself to some more options.
"I'm not one for banning anything (with the exception of obviously illegal stuff),"
You'll find that is already banned.....
But otherwise a top post.
"The thought of my young child scoring drug deals and murdering prostitutes (Grand Theft Auto) makes me physically shudder."
If you were to allow your children to play age inappropriate games then you'd have only yourself to blame. There's nothing special about computers - you wouldn't let your child go into an "adult" shop, or join a BDSM club in real life. And I presume you already either supervise or filter their internet activity in a manner appropriate to your beliefs and their age? So what's the beef with games?
At some stage as they grow up somebody will offer your kids drugs. Whether they take them will be based in large part upon the moral guidance you've given them, the example you set, the education you give them, not what happened in some crappy long forgotten game. And if they are playing computer games, then join in. Board games used to be a family pursuit, until it was universally realised that the monkier was simply a mis-spelling of "bored". But the decline of board games and the rise of computer games aren't destroying my family. It's one of the few times my two aren't squabbling when they are playing Minecraft together. The older one is allowed to play CSGO, semi-supervised and I often participate in the same game, ensuring that the constant message "this isn't real life" is ingrained.
Results somewhat worse than they appear
Talking of meagre and modest declines is all very well, but that's in nominal terms (ie assumes a dollar in 2012 was the same as in 2013). In fact the global economy grew by around 2-3%, so any analysis needs to factor that in, plus the dilution of the value of the dollar that quantitative easing has caused. Making that inflationary adjustment is a tad tricky because the US (like the UK and others) essentially make up their national statistics to suit the lying cheat thieving 1%ers.
More realistic inflation rates (eg from Shadowstats) are in the range of 5-7%, so even 9% "growth" in accounted revenues is simply standing still once you allow for economic growth. To be fair, these results are better than the previous ones. But I reckon HP's near public sector bureaucracy, failed management, and cost cutting may yet come back to take a further chunk out of HP's arse.
Re: The biggest problem with flying cars
Accept my insincere apologies. I wasn't even aware that the term "mini helicopter" had any officially licensed application.
Re: The biggest problem with flying cars
"At the very least, I'm certain the aerial fatality rate to surface fatality rate would follow the square-cube law if we allowed the common idiot unfettered access to flying cars"
What about the Robinson R22 & R44 mini helicopters, often flogged to the stupid nouveau riche? Surely that's a good analogy for the relationship between road versus air accidents. As I recall, not many people actually killed, just lots and lots of minor take off and landing mishaps caused by pilot error and very few "falling out of the air on unlucky passer by" accidents.
Flying cars are like guns and chainsaws: In civilised countries simply wanting one is reason enough for disqualifying most applicants from owning one.
Re: Owls fly really slow
"Does this mean that the quieting features are high-drag?"
No it means that a quieting feature is flying really slow. I'll wager that a seven tonne chopper doing 140 knots is never going to be in the slightest bit quiet, no matter how many owls are glued to its surface.
Re: Owls are quiet...
"We only need to create owl wing shaped blades for the compressor and turbine and, hey presto, we have a silent jet engine"
Silent apart from the turbulent exhaust flow that makes most of the noise. Maybe these scinetists could examine owl's bottoms, see if the cr@p comes out in a perfect laminar flow, and therefore offers the prospect of truly silent jet engines.
Can't imprison enough people?
History seems to differ with Schmidt, that totalitarian regimes can indeed imprison (intimidate, beat up, or murder) enough people to keep the proles in order.
Perhaps Serco and G4S could try and monetise opression by offering Opression As A Service (OaaS), which they could represent to shareholoders as international growth markets? Google could muscle in by allowing their all seeing eye systems to either notify the authorities of potential future trouble makers (Minority Report style), or simply flash scary state advertising at any freedom seeking troublemakers.
Re: The Economist and juries
" the suggestion to try patent law cases without a jury is not a bad one"
That's what was said when the law was changed to enable fraud cases to be heard without a jury. But the provision is rarely used, and the idea actually reflects the failings of the judiciary in the first place.
The judge (in a jury system) shouldn't decide guilt, he should ensure justice is done, which means ensuring that the case follows the rules, the lawyers behave, the law is explained adequately to the jury, and the case for both defence and prosecution is presented fairly, and then the judge does the sentencing. Unfortunately too many complex trials (as reported) seem to fail on many of those requirements, and my neighbour (managing partner of a criminal defence law firm) assures me that what goes on in court is pure gaming, and has little bearing on the guilt or innocence of the accused. So that says the judges (or their rules) are not up to the job?
Re: SJ did have one thing right
"Microsoft isn't going to go away, but they will never be able to enter the consumer market unless financed by their business unit"
I don't think it is the money at all. - the problem they have is that they don't have a visionary CEO who can see the world through the eyes of customers (or employ somebody who can, and then listen to them). In many ways the article is right about managing change, but the reason that Microsoft messed up is because they wouldn't see the world as the customer sees it, and they wouldn't listen during (eg) the extensive beta testing of either Vista or W8. In both cases the testers flagged up everything that was not to like, and in both cases MS ignored them. And I think that's what SJ did bring - he didn't realy on beta testers because he had a flair for knowing (mostly) what would sell at a good margin, by understanding what people want, often before they could articulate that themselves. I'm no Apple fan, I own none of their products, but I'd argue that under SJ they made great not good products. Microsoft make good not great products, and that's a lack of visionary zeal, and that's why they do need their own Steve Jobs. Not to become an Apple, but to make Microsoft produce great stuff that people want to buy, rather than believing they have to buy it.
At the moment we're still stuck with the old non-listening, good-not-great Microsoft: I have previously railed against Win 8.1, maintaining it should have been a service pack under Windows Update, and bleating on about how I wasn't going to use the Windows app store etc etc. And I owe Microsoft an apology: It automatically came up that 8.1 was available, would I like it, and then downloaded in the background and installed with commendably little fuss. I'm sorry, Microsoft. BUT....8.1 doesn't do enough for those of us who don't like TIFKAM (which I acknowledge works fine for many people). They've begrudgingly added in a start button that doesn't give me cascading menus, so Classic Shell has gone back on. And I'm therefore forced to conclude that they still aren't listening or thinking like customers. How can adding a start button that doesn't do much useful involve a 3.5 Gb download? I'd hope there's a lot more clever stuff been done within that 3.5 Gb, but even taking my hat off that (on a fast broadband connection) it was a completely painless "upgrade", why?
It would be nice to think the new CEO will bring something new, but how many of the candidates are real entrepreneurs, or have produced magical products? They all look big corporate types, who have been paid fat salaries for too long to be driven and hungry. All will come in with restructuring plans, sack thousands, move management around. Will any make great products? I doubt it.
"and just create a single law that says driving while distracted is an offense."
We have just that in the UK, "driving without due care and attention". But prosecutors often struggle to make it stick in court, and as a result the police demand politicians pass specific tangible laws such as making it illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving, in the manner of nice, easy to enforce speed limits, where the test of compliance is simple and easily recorded.
After an accident it may be quite easy to pin a "without due care" charge on somebody, or if they've been videoed doing something stupid, or they 'fess up when the police stop them. But its actually very difficult to prove that somebody has not been paying attention before the event, which is what such a law is intended to address.
Re: hope he is right but
" is a senior and middle management cleanout and re-invigoration needed ?"
Yes. But in volume terms it will be the people at the bottom who suffer most as under-performing business segments get radical surgery. My guess is that sadly the biggest scream over the next few months will be where millions of voices cry out in terror, and are suddenly sacked.
Alright, thousands, not millions, but you get the drift.
Re: The problems are:
"1) Chicken & Egg: Employers want experienced staff."
But how many? The article seems to assume that the problem is caused by the wrong people studying Comp Sci, or the wrong education being given to them, with the result all the peachy IT jobs go to graduates from other disciplines, whilst leaving Comp Sci graduates unemployable in any other field.
An alternative reading is that there is simply vast over-supply of Comp Sci graduates relative to the vocational opportunities, meaning there's also more of them chasing non IT careers which I'd guess would lead to higher unemployment levels because the competition is greater.
Perhaps somebody could clarify what is the market? Specifically, how many IT-related graduate jobs are there each year, and how many Comp Sci graduates? How many of the IT related jobs go to non-Comp Sci grads?
Re: Distribution? How about the Post Office Railway?
"Maybe somebody should use it....."
Certainly won't be the Post Office, whose ever more restrictive conditions on what they'll let you post, their sky high charges, and customer-phobic pricing arrangements show that they don't really want to get their hands dirty with delivering anything.
"Now how about arranging that there are some jobs available for them to apply for."
Governments used to do this. It was called socialism, and it came from the idea that if politicians had even tighter control of the economy, then it could only run better. As with most things they touch it worked out badly. Judge for yourself whether politicians ever have or ever will make "real" jobs, and how many of any jobs they do make would simply suck in migrant labour from the EU.
Looking at history, politicians best endeavours to deliver full employment have been when fighting really big wars, but as far as I can see there's not much enthusiasm for those old style proper wars.
"The Windows 8 bashing is getting old."
Particularly when there's easy, elegant & reliable work arounds like Classic Shell. I'm running 8.1, it works well, I never see TIFKAM, I have a full functional start button and menus. And CSGO runs like stink (even if I'm crap at it).
Re: Absolutely @ Clueless Matt Bryant
""....People in this country didn't "choose" for the 1952 London pea souper that killed 4,000 people, it was simply a product of society and industry at the time...." Wrong, it was a product of our lack of knowledge of the impact of such industry at the time."
Wrong yourself, Matt. The effects of sulphurous fumes and particulates were understood to be harmful decades before the 1950s, and in fact Battersea Power Station had FGD kit installed in the 1930s, which certainly wasn't for any power generation purpose. Taken out during the war and not refitted, but it illustrates that the harmful effects of untreated coal emissions were actually well understood.
Curiously, the pea soupers were a similar situation to India and China today - power generation in the UK at that time did use coal, but it was not really the bulk of the problem, which was primarily domestic use of coal, on a large scale and burnt inefficiently so that the emissions were particularly heavy on particulates, NOx, SOx and uncombusted hydrocarbons.
Re: Won't someone think of the children . . . @rh587
"Isn't that largely because the street level air fails too, and add on the extra from sparking high currents and various other unpleasantness, all in confined spaces with limited ventilation, "
Not really. The problem is detritus from pests, rubbish, brake dust, rail and wheel dust, conductor shoe dust, motor, drive and flange lubricants, and one must assume a lot of human dust and residues. Above ground these get washed away by rain or blown by the wind, once down the tube they seem to stay for years. If you want to see that tube air quality can still be foul independently of the surface conditions, take the tube on cold, windy clear days above ground when the local pollutants are well dispersed, and you'll still get a good dose of Bakerloo nose (the condition that turns your airways and your snot black, named after the famously inhumane conditions of the underground line of the same name).
TFL do have cleaning trains, but they don't seem to have that much effect.
Re: Won't someone think of the children . . . @rh587
"Forget global warming, and think about local level air quality and environmental pollution."
Well, the air quality on the London Underground often fails street level pollution limits. Focusing on fossil emissions is ratrher pointless when electric transport is just as polluting for the users.
Re: dan 1980 Won't someone think of the children . . . @Pascal Monett
"Come now, Mr. Bryant. The West does not hold the high moral ground here. The only reason we're not choking ourselves to death on coal particles is because we starting using nuclear."
Oi, Pascal! Whilst I heartily approve of you (or anyone else) disagreeing with Matt B, you're wrong. Outside of France, a small and ever decreasing percentage of Western power is being supplied by nuclear plant, as a handful of new plant is more than offset by retirements either on political grounds (Germany and others) or simple life expiry (UK, US). But we're not choking.
There's plenty of effective emissions control tech that mean we can breathe whilst still burning coal (overlooking nice clean, easy to use gas), and nuclear has little part in that. Personally I love nuclear as a technology - it is clean, it is safe. But it's eye wateringly expensive and complex.
Re: urban use of coal for heating and cooking
"Seems to me that if those people could use electricity (meaning nuclear power) for their heating and cooking needs, they'd not need the coal, thereby removing most of the atmospheric SO2."
Then you'd be wrong. Biggest operator and builder of nuke plants is China, and still they regularly vie for the world leading position in air pollution. That's because new big power plants are being constructed to power their industrial revolution, and there needs to be a lot of change of both addional power plant capacity for domestic users, and the first time provision of a (relatively speaking) high capacity distribution network, plus new purchase of electric cookers and household heating. That would mostly be done by replacement of the older housing stock.
So the costs of resolving the local pollution sources are in the region of several tens of thousands of dollars per household on top of the costs of the power plant, and the limiting factor is local wealth. Put simply, residential users in developing countries can't afford it all at once.
Centralised fossil plant remains the most obvious, cheapest way of supplying power, and can still be done without unreasonable SO2 emissions and without excessive cost. Nuclear makes the unaffordability significantly worse, although it can be acceptable for supplying export focused industries (in effect developing nations pay for that).
"And another reason why nuclear should be used."
Utter rubbish. Desulphurisation tech is relatively cheap, effective and well understood, and can be retrofitted to existing plants with minimal disruption. Current mainstream nuclear plant on the other hand is vastly expensive, takes a long time to build, requires rigid oversight and skilled builders and operators, and is still often subject to substantial delays and cost over-runs.
And it's worth bearing in mind that quite often the atmospheric SO2 levels in developing countries are not due to power generation, but urban use of coal for heating and cooking, and industrial processes in which case the power source is largely as irrelevant as it is physically remote..
Re: Hacking Banks. Two Questions.
Maybe they could just acquit him the grounds of having such a cool and piratey name? Gottfrid Svartholm Warg. The very name smells of blood and leather, armour and horses, oiled steel, greasy matted (and importantly long) plaited hair. WIth a name like that you could only ever walk round in a helmet with a nosepiece, full set of facial hair, carrying an axe or an enormous sword or both.
Unless of course he just changed his name to that, like Kim Dotcock. If he's really called Sven Schmidt, then throw the book at the f***er.
"Or just rape, murder and infect you with diseases you don't have any immunity to. Which works pretty well too."
But this new research says that the two groups had similar genetic origins, so that makes it all OK,
Re: Awaiting politics.
"Although apparently it's racist to claim that 1st nations came from Africa via Asia via an Alaskan land bridge. Their sincerely held beliefs are that they originated here on the land and so have absolute rights to it."
But I thought the geneticists had proved we were all derived from Africa? I'm not sure what to put on the census, or the employer diversity forms any more. The fools keep on putting choices like "White British" of "Black AFrican/Caribbean". Perhaps they should separate colour and ethnicity. We could all then tick "African", and then whatever colour we felt today.
And another thing! I'm not white, I'm pink. Dead people, they're a sort of off-white. Now where's my box for "Pink African"?
"Given that one statement alone, you have proven to be a little untrustworthy"
I have to disagree. Employers, companies, public sector organisations routinely use NDAs for things that are are legally, morally, or ethically wrong. In this case (taken it as true, I've seen worse), it is ethically wrong for Microsoft or any other company to pretend that there's a whole lot more interest than there actually is, with the specific intention of garnering "the right sort of of publicity" and of persuading the easily persuadable that the product is hip, fashionable and desirable.
I'm happy with NDAs for appropriate commercial secrecy, and I've signed a number of those as I'm sure at least half of Reg reders will have. But to be made to sign such an agreement to cover up cynical activity like this, it needs to be ignored. And let's be clear, if the company is doing this, how much choice do you think the proles have? Be good for your career to stand up and refuse to sign the document, announcing your ethical concerns? Or would you walk out from the orgnisation over this, when it's probably part of the inherent culture of the company? Get real, mate, most of us have mortgages or rent to pay, and need a reference for the next two jobs, and we'd go along (unwillingly) with this sort of bull****.
No, inappropriate NDA's are there to be subtly breached.
"Surely these selfies, by their very definition are evidence of driving without due care ..."
No, because a single still photo doesn't prove you're moving. Even if there's apparent motion blur and surrounding vehicles, armco out of the right hand window, it's still not proof on its own (particularly in the world of editable images). "Yes, I was in the outside lane of the M3, and I did take the picture, but traffic had ground to a temporary halt and I had my engine turned off, yer honour".
The best such photos would be is supporting evidence, for example if the police catch the user in the act on proof-grade video, or witness the act themselves.
Re: Remember people "cyberwarfare" is a game for *any* size and number of players.
"The MoD couldn't get malware written for an operating system within the lifetime of the software".
Nonsense, young man! Chinook Mk3 proves that they can get malware written, documented and installed. Admittedly only on their own aircraft, but they can do it.
Re: Watching the news on YLE (Fin. BBC) as I write.
"Nokia down 2%, disinct sense of melancholy. Sale approved."
I think the biggest tragedy is that Nokia only made $5.4bn for the phone business. There was only one buyer in town, admittedly, but that buyer has at least $60bn in cash, and the Nokia phones business was the only option. Had Nokia shut down the phone, business, it would have been the end for WP.
If Nokia had been smarter, they should have got a lot more for that business.
Re: The potential for a real wide-reaching revolution is here ...
"... unlike this 3D printing bollocks."
Actually 3D printing is already revolutionising stuff, but it's high end. So you can make aerospace grade components with integral hinged or moving parts, and no further machining required. Shapes and structures that simply could not be made by conventional machining. They can be lighter and stronger than alternatives, and they can be produced on demand. If you get a chance, go and see one of BAES' mobile exhibitions that shows the journey from design through plastic 3D prototyping to metal 3D printed production, and talk to some of the guys that work on this stuff.
Admittedly it's seriously expensive, and not coming to a car or washing machine near you anytime soon (currently reserved for machines to kill foreigners), but rest assured it will eventually.
Re: Altitude auto pilot
" and we're working on just what parameters turn on the autopilot..."
Miley Cyrus in her undies?
"Michelin has awesome road maps for travelling, but their web site is unfortunately crap"
Incredible isn't it, that they sit on something that could rival even Nokia Maps, whilst wondering what this new fangled internet thing is? Google maps are good, but they screw it up by forgeting how intermittent mobile data signals are. Michelin could have their name on a huge fraction of every drivers' smartphone out there, with downloadable maps (so no handset, OS, or mobile signal reliant), offer an annual refresh based on accepting quarterly emails of marketing stuff. Tie in and expand the routiers franchise with fuel and services....
I weep when I see how poor some companies are at winning on the web, when they start wit the cards stacked in their favour. Then I look at my own company's laughable efforts, and realise that it's apparently far easier to screw things up than to actually think like a customer and do anything well.
On the bright side, at least I don't work for Bodge & Quodge, proud owners of The Worst Web Site In History.
"The extra mass isn't a problem for larger vehicles such as delivery wagons."
Go on then, sell that one to the bosses of any logistics firm. I think you'll find that they like their trucks as full as possible for as long as possible, and that they want the ratio of tare weight to gross vehicle weight to be as low as possible. EV's are already crap on either range or payload (unless you;re transporting crisps, air or candy floss), so doubling the battery weight seems like a poor solution.
" solved by just putting a bloody nuclear reactor up there to supply the energy necessary to support clean extraction and proper post-processing. Believe it or not, that would be easier under the EU than the US"
What's the US got to do with building a nuclear plant in Canada?
"I have a plan, let's swap Canada and the UK"
Sounds a super idea. Of course your economy would be reduced to the state of Greece by the EU telling you that you couldn't develop oil shales and other non-conventional oil and gas resources, and you'd suddenly find your country full of foreign criminals that you can't deport.
On the plus side the Quebecois would be delighted with the reunion with the motherland, and you could enroll in that epic sucess of a common currency.
"Apple is so good at upselling that nobody's buying the low-end stuff"
Actually they don't upsell, they simply have a "premium brand", which means people are happy to buy their stuff with a huge profit margin, and still consider they have got a better product than anybody else sells (rightly or wrongly).
What the 5c demonstrates it that a brand has lower limits as well as upper limits. No matter how good Skoda cars now are, many people still wouldn't consider them, so that's an upper limit. Likewise the Aston Martin Cygnet showed a premium car maker trying to work its magic on a small car, and failing, and that's a lower limit. The crucial point is not logic, here, it is emotion and perception. If Skoda made a car that was better in all respects than a competitor, and a bit cheaper, it still wouldn't sway the majority, who rather pay more for a Volkswagen or Audi made from the same parts and designed largely by the same engineers.
The VW group exploit this by owning separate brands, to fill specific niches, but the individual brands are still limited. For Apple this would mean that to tackle the wider cheap market, they need a separate brand, which would be very difficult given that Apple is a hugely unified brand, and that the returns would be lower on cheaper products, which begs the question of why they'd want to diversify into lower return market segments. Samsung don't have this problem because they are already known for diverse product and for producing a range of phones at different price points, Apple have trapped themselves.
"Oil's going dude. "
We evidently need a new posting moniker "Anonymous knob".
There's no shortage of fossil hydrocarbons. Coal's plentiful, there's shit loads of "non-conventional" and tight oil, there's shitty shit loads of tight gas (and more than a little of conventional loose gas). And when all of that's gone, there, bazillions of therms of gas hydrates.
So Apple are spending $10bn to reduce a labour bill of $8 a unit? How many do they expect to sell before the machines wear out?
The main interest factor here is that the logic doesn't work well for offshore assembly. Are they spooked by Motorola, and planning to bring back production to the US? That'd sound good, just a pity that there would only be three jobs (Turner on of the lights, turner off of the lights, toilet cleaner).
Re: Oi Google..
"I'm going to have to fit PTFE shims or something to mine to compensate for wear and keep it going a few more years."
Nothing you could use in the big pile of metal artificial hip joints that the NHS is no longer allowed to use? Or working the other way, could you help the quacks fit shims into the unlucky recipients of said metal hips?
Re: all down to $/GB
"Rotating hard disks will last as long as their advantage in price and density does."
There is no density advantage that I can see over flash, in fact the opposite? Certainly there's a big price differential, but that's factored into a equation that includes higher energy costs of disks (including cooling, not an insignificant cost), the unknown of flash longevity,and the speed advantages of flash.
Flash longevity is far better understood and managed than hitherto, so that's computable as a cost and risk, and probably no different to the risk and costs of HDD failures. Which means the key question is focusing ever more closely on whether the (declining) TCO advantage of disks can justify their sluggish performance. WIth flash costs falling faster than HDD, there will come a point where disks will still be cheaper than flash, but most buyers will prefer flash for the performance, and once that tipping point is reached HDD volumes will start to fall, causing HDD prices to increase. Anybody buying RAM for an older machine will already know what happens when production volumes fall.
Re: Wrong Art - Chuck's 9th Dan too.
Tsk. Friday afternoon journalism and it's not even noon. I suppose at least the Reg is better than if we commentards were writing.
Re: New broom and all that? When in Rome...
""We are broke. If we dont we will have to borrow more from Germany.""
Actually, this is a fine example of a US firm operating in a manner that is fully compliant with local culture and practice. According to the Economist, there was an estimated €285 billion of evaded taxes outstanding in Italy last year, amounting to 18% of GDP.
The Italian government is now trying to crack down on the whole tax dodging culture, and you might suspect that Apple are no more or less in the spotlight than any other profitable customer. However, raking in the taxes from local tax dodgers won't really help the Italian economy, since it takes the money off of people who would otherwise spend or save it, and in net terms it reduces Italian consumption and investment by an equal amount that it fills in a tiny fraction of the government's debt pit (a pit that is €2 trillion deep, and currently deepening by around €100bn a year). And that's perhaps the interest in Apple. Their tax avoidance doesn't result in more money in the real economy, it just flows into offshore accounts, to wait until the US government grant an amnesty on corporate cash repatriation (or to be frittered on non-US M&A).
Before the jokes start, British readers should note that our economy has very similar debt ratios and problems as Italy (huge public & private debt, tax avoidance & evasion, poor productivity, bloated public sector, red tape, corruption, and government policies (like energy) that are fresh from the mad house). One area of difference is that the Italian economy records a trade surplus (selling more than they buy internationally) to the average tune of around €30bn a year. The UK on the other hand remains mired in a trade deficit of £30n a year.
Re: Surprised, oh, no.
I doubt it took that long. These are just the first to be outed. And I very much doubt there's any particular ie angle here - many British and US firms are equally incompetent, and overseen by equally toothless regulators. The only ie specifics might be that the regulator is more likely to be related to the guilty in Ireland.
"We dont have roads, broadband or mobile signal."
Or high population density. That's why it's rural and relatively unspoilt, and why its uneconomic to offer broadband unless taxppayer's money (which everybody knows is limitless and free) is used to offer a big fat subsidy.
"Those stats were tragic."
Only if these people were actually working properly when they were supposed to be at work. Potentially a goodly chunk use a veneer of high availability at all times to disguise the fact that during the normal working day they either don't do much useful, or are being well paid for actually delivering not much (which is quite similar).
Either way, fielding the odd call, mutli-tasking from the bog, or doing a few token edits whilst on holiday can establish you as the "always there" man, the company guy, the dependable hero. And the reality can be that you indeed see work as a necessary evil, but take a long term view and net off your out of hours efforts many fold against that which you give during those hours.
Re: Advertising is always targetted
"And with employees being too cheap to buy their own phone, who's to blame them?"
In SME land perhaps. In any well run corporate there ought to be security controls, encryption, a restrictive AUP, and limitations on instaling crapps or loading media files, heavy handed controls on social media, along with enterprise grade anti-malware. Any employee who wants to mix that sort of business with pleasure is mad, unless their use of the works phone is purely as a dumb phone.
This also means that when your employer buys a works phone that you consider to be a dog, or to be cursed with the wrong OS, it doesn't interefere with your own life.
With the Nexus 5 free on contract with Orange for £17 a month/500mins, you'd have to be a right cheapskate to want to use your employers choice of HTC Wildfire, or some dated mid-low end Sammy.
Re: Mute Ravi, mute!
"Did you shout, "I second that motion!"?"
You'd give yourself away, and there may be repercussions. But if you hear somebody on the phone whilst they are in the trap, make sure their caller knows by flushing the trap next to them, and then leaving.
"though even without the remote control many seem to have the 'Weekend punch-up' subroutine embedded in ROM"
True. But with Control-a-prole you could add variety like getting them to fight themselves. Make your prole spill their own pint, or give themselves the eyeball in a suitable mirror, and then have a one man kick off. Should be great fun seeing how hard they can punch themselves. Or if there's big mirrors around, have them fight their own reflection. Like an angry sparrow, just bigger, more stupid, and fouler of mouth.
Maybe the app could combine Google dictate, and enable you to speak into your phone, and the prole drools it out in whatever accent he is blessed with. In fact better still, celeb voices by manipulating his vocal cords. So he knocks over his own drink, and out of his trap comes Joanna Lumley's voice, saying "You've spilt my pint, you b******d! Do you think you're hard, mate?" and so forth, prior to setting about himself.
Re: Are they going to change the name in Europe?
"Will it be "Euroland"? Or "Pays de Euro"?"
Dunno what they'd call it, but the base price point in Europe for this type of offer is a fairly unsurprising €2. Which actually gives them more leeway, as that's a whole lot more than a quid (like about 70% more). If retailers go the other way then it is 84p land, and there's really not much range you can offer for that, particularly as the fixed costs of each transaction (eg checkout hardware, staff time) remain the same regardless of the price.