* Posts by Ledswinger

2986 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

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

Ledswinger
Silver badge

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.

0
0

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

Ledswinger
Silver badge

"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.

6
1
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Where are the crims?

I can't see the black hats hacking into wifi stats simply to play around the temperature. They shouldn't be able to, but its hardly going to be a major draw.

But if the user can be locked out of their stat (like Cryptolocker for central heating) then I start to see how the crims might make money. Which means (unsurprisingly) that access to basic control functionality is relatively low risk, but any capabilities to set new passwords, load or delete firmware and the like, that's where the money will be. What's the ransom value of a heating denial of service (HDOS) attack in winter? Is it a credible blackmail option, or am I being overly worried?

Other IoT possibilities step forward: Telly Denial of Service. Look at the vile, skanky firmware and software that TV makers plaster on "smart" TV's, can that be hacked to lock the device? At £500 for a nice TV, the ransom value has to be at least £150 (a bit like the Beeb's TV ransom). FDOS attacks on smart fridges & freezers would look other options with credible ransom values.

And then you come to smart meters themselves, which would be the meatiest of targets, able to deny energy full stop. I wonder if those responsible for smart meters have had them properly tested by competent device hackers? At a guess the answer will be no for most of them - I'm close enough to the programme to know that many of the makers have had real problems with software, because (like TV & stat makers) they come from a hardware background, and I'll wager that DECC (in charge of the SMETS2 specification) believe that a good paper specification is defence in itself.

10
1

Tripadvisor site coughs to card data breach for a potential 800k users

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Sigh...

"I think it's more of a case that companies figure the cost of doing it properly outweighs the cost of mitigation. "

Which it does in a penalty free world. Lawmakers and regulators likewise stick their fingers in their ears or find excuses as to why they can't act, and so it continues.

In the UK the data protection arrangements aren't too bad, but the ICO is limited to penalties of £0.5m. That's enough to spoil an SME's day, but for the big retailers, on-lines, and data processors that's chicken feed that they don't give a stuff about. If the ICO were allowed to levy fines up to 1% of turnover, that would concentrate minds, but there's no chance that the likes of Google would allow Jellyfish Dave to implement that sort of regime.

3
0

Dyslexic, dyspraxic? No probs, says GCHQ

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard this month. Well done.

"What's empirically measured fact?"

That you're spouting off rubbish like a complete tit?

2
0

Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Who's being exploited?

"even to the extent of giving Amazon goverment assistance through a subsidised living wage through benefits"

All employers are treated alike with regard to the idea of benefits as a subsidy, and the employers you suppose to gain from this are simply those employing unskilled staff. The problem is nothing to do with Amazon, rather that the tax and benefits systems are vastly complex disasters, so that you have nonsense like employers being taxed for employing people, then employees pay tax themselves, then some of those people get the tax back as benefits because the money they are left with is deemed insufficient to live on.

Interestingly the recent union demands for a substantial increase int he minimum wage might have some merit as a solution - but only if accompanied by reform of the welfare state to reduce complexity and get working people off of benefits. But that won't happen - the Tories won't increase the MW that much because they don't like the idea of increasing business costs, and Labour wouldn't do so because they want as many people as possible to be suckling on the state. And the lesson of the Scottish referendum will reinforce that Labour view - in essence the overall vote was swung by pensioners who voted No in response to all the pensions FUD from that economic illiterate Gordon Brown.

0
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Well this turned ugly rather quickly

"As an American, all can say is thank god for the Germans and the pressure they are putting on American companies to pay decent wages."

I'm touched. But your concerns really ought to be directed at your home market:

http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/its-sundown-in-america/

Long, a bit reactionary, but fundamentally accurate, and quite horrifying for those able to follow the full flow of the argument.

Coming back to Amazon, if they're breaking German law, I have every confidence in the German courts to force them to change their ways. If they're not, then the choices of the German consumer will dictate the outcome.

1
0

Man, its smartphones are SQUARE. But will BlackBerry make a comeback with them?

Ledswinger
Silver badge

"This is sufficiently different to everything else that it instantly makes clear that...."

They could have made it triangular, or even star shaped then? I think not. It's a brave effort, but it's the brave effort of a company that finds every logical path blocked, and so they take the least illogical path.

Can you imagine the struggle to get that fucker out of a tight pair of jeans? I suppose most Blackberry hard core addicts don't have the figure for tight jeans, but if you follow the demographic then you'll be issuing that in beige with a ear trumpet accessory.

I'm sorry to say that, but that's how it sits.

1
5
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Inspired

But unfortunately inspired in the same way that a prop designer might have imagined a handheld computer for the original "Back to the Future".

3
0

New UK.gov DATA SLURPING diplomat to push US telcos to share more subscriber info

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Switzerland

" It would be enlightening to see the effect, if any "diplomacy" has in that jurisdiction."

As a tax haven for foreign crims and tax avoiders that is hugely depdendent upon financial services, Switzerland is hugely vulnerable to any form of official or unofficial sanctions. If the US want something the Swiss will put on a pantomime of defiance and delay, but the IRS will be handed their data.

Once upon a time Switzerland did offer anonymous banking. Nowadays they appear to readily cooperate to name foreign account holders to those countries tax authorities (as a quick google will show). Obviously if you're rich and well connected enough, you may still get the anonymity you want, but if you're just common or garden nouveau middle-riche then you'll be dobbed in it without a second thought (not that I've a lot of sympathy).

1
0

Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: @Ledswinger

"Nobody has ever held a CxO accountable for anything since before Y2K."

Tell that to Beth Jacobs, who left Target in disgrace after their data breach. And a rather dated, but still interesting link:

http://www.cio.com/article/2430152/cio-role/one-in-four-cios-fired-for-performance.html

With "no way out" I simply meant "no way of avoiding the blame". But I take your point that once you get to the boardroom, rewards for success are accompanied by rewards for mediocrity and for failure.

And of course, if that's a single malt you're poised to enjoy, it's just as well to hang up your cynical hat since this will avoid coming to the conclusion that you're drinking a mere ingredient of what might otherwise have been an enjoyable blend.

1
1
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: FIX: No permission to accept cards for 30 days - 30 YEARS

"make the penalty so bad that firms are FORCED to have good security or go out of business"

Nope. That means that the firm takes the hit not the management. If the firm goes down, well qualified experienced managers will quickly find another job even if they were at fault. It's easy when a firm collapses to ensure any personal blame is hidden.

But who does take the hit if the firm goes down: ordinary employees, suppliers and unsecured creditors, and the owners, who are mostly secondary market passive stock investors like pension funds, insurers and the like. Is that a good outcome?

A partial solution is to make directors and officers personally liable for data security, including a change to the law to make them liable for breaches, and to impose a duty of responsibility to know what the security status of the firm is (ie close off the "we didn't know" excuse). A bit of jail time would be far more of a deterrent than a corporate penalty, particularly after a few golf club friends have been hauled off to the big house.

10
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: The hammers are hitting the fan.. or are about to.

"Did the CIO know? Or didn't the warnings get that high?"

Doesn't matter. It is the CIO's job to know, to make sure he's got people with their ears to the ground, and who in turn listen to their juniors. So if he did know he's at fault for not fixing it, if he didn't know then he's at fault for both not knowing and not fixing it. If his staff did it wantonly, then he's on the hook for hiring them and not supervising them.... there is no way out.

In corporate gibberish, the CIO is both "responsible" and "accountable", which means there's no place to hide.

13
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: In other words:

"We don't understand or care about all that 'security' jibber-jabber, so how important can it be?"

Well, in 2012 Home Depot's CIO, one Matt Carey, was paid around $3.5m, comfortably making the top ten of highest paid CIOs according to WSJ. I would suggest that the company and its owners were paying for a premium IT service, and if anybody is to blame for this it is is not reluctant chief execs or sales directors, it is the Home Deport CIO and his team.

It is the CIO's job to articulate the costs and risks and technical threats that face the firm, to place that in clear, easy to understand language for non-IT literate managers, to be situationally aware and to prioritise threats, and to shepherd the board to make the right decisions. That's what the "C" means on his job title, and that's why he's paid millions. Too bad the boy wasn't up to it. It is possible to blame the board's audit, nominations and leadership development comittees, for Carey's appointment, continued employment, and the failures of audit that are implicit. These committees are entirely composed of Home Depot's non-executives (who on their performance here might be judged to be the same ineffectual "gentlemen's club" rent-a-non-exec types found the world over).

I believe Carey is still in post, and he's been CIO since 2008, so the buck stops with him and his team. In my humble opinion he and selected senior managers should be fired immediately with prejudice and without compensation, and the non-execs should be cleared out like the contents of the Augean stables.

23
0

Ericsson follows Broadcom to modem Mordor

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Nvidia and Intel

"Add ARM and others, the UK does pretty well."

In IP origination yes. But it doesn't make for many jobs, and the ones it does create tend to be high skills jobs, rather than the mid-low skills jobs the economy could do with. There's also a question as to how enduring the wealth creation is given that so many of the IP startups get acquired and within a few months or years they get shuttered. I saw Wolfson were being bought the other month, was it, so there's another UK tech company slowly heading for the Tech graveyard.

I suppose at least Wolfson are Scottish, and that's now half foreign....

1
0

Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet

Ledswinger
Silver badge

" a modern, reliable and capable Internet infrastructure is essential for the continued prosperity of our country"

Doh! And there was me thinking that balanced budgets, credible trade balances, high levels of employment, high levels of innovation, and some degree of social equity were important. But no, turns out I was wrong all along, and the ability to download HD cat videos without buffering is the foundation of wealth.

2
2

Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Is it so confusing?

"The Microsoft brand has value. And a "Microsoft Lumia 890" may be a phone that sells, and sells well."

Possibly. But where I sit Microsoft is Windows, and Windows is Microsoft. In press surveys of "most respected businesses it is certainly true that a handful of clueless C level types and hangers on will grapple hopelessly in response to "what are the brands you respect?" and after a moment of terror will simply name the names on their desk in front of them. But in the consumer market people buy MS products only because there are few credible alternatives, and the repeated false starts and fails for Windows Phone have left a legacy of resentment. Android and Apple users ask themselves "why change?"

For business this is all rather different and MS has enjoyed an undeserved status as "preferred brand", but coming from so far behind can they possibly catchup now that business has already had to embrace Android or Apple? Blackberry don't look as though they can make up for a few years of complacency, and they started from a dominant position in business, and have a brand that is far less soiled than Microsoft.

4
1
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Only an IDIOT...

"buys the company name and then doesn't use it for something."

To be fair to Microsoft, they bought the assets and (in practical terms) only had a short term lease on the brand name. This was always the plan, because MS think they can become Apple by integrated ownership of hardware manufacture and software (overlooking Google's drive-by ownership of Motorola.

Unfortunately in the grand scheme of desirability the brand "Microsoft" sits somewhere below the brand "common cold", about par with "diaorrhea" albeit comfortably above "ebola".

8
2

Buying memory in an iPhone 6: Like wiping your bottom with dollar bills

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: All nice and well..

For 2012, yes.

18
8
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: "A little eBay shopping and you can find 128GB Micro SD cards for under a tenner"

"Even SanDisks have issues, (although I suspect I had 3 x 32gb from a bad batch)"

There was a known issue with Samsung devices and 32Gb Sandisk cards, and Sandisk are still happy to replace them more than a year after they were bought. I had a near two year old card replaced without fuss a couple of months ago.

Raise an issue via their web site, they'll ask a few questions via email, and then direct you to an on line form to fill in, after that they'll send you and RMA, and you send your card off the (IIRC) Czech republic (cost of about £1.40) then a few days later you get a new one back.

3
0

Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Want one!

Looking at that Goomolo tyre chair, it occurred to me that combining that design with a Segway mechanism you could have an all-terrain wheelchair that would extend the mobility of the disabled and be the most remarkable fun for the able bodied. Give it a good turn of speed, and crappolo castor-wheeled office chairs could go the way of the dodo.

7
0

Microsoft's axeman Nadella fills baskets with 2,100 fresh heads

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Something about garden gnomes, ???, profit

"Spend lots of money buying stuff, lay off lots of people, ???, profit."

No. Spend lots of money, lay off the peasants, write off losses.

Like MS did with Aquantive, which involved MS' bungling executives writing off over $6bn in a failed attempt to become Google2 (and the axe for 2,600 Aquantive employees). The Nokia gamble is a destined-for-failure attempt to be Apple2. They spent $1.2bn on the Yammer social networking platform a couple of years back in an attempt to be Facebook2 - that "investment" must be due for writedown and mass sackings by now. $8bn on Skype to become who knows what, and that looks to be a profitless investment, with the commoditisation of VOIP clients and the change of VOIP users from voice to IM.

Who's on the up, and might Microsoft hope to be next year? If we can suss that then we just go long on the likely target, and sell out as soon as the bid is made. They've just blown the fat end of $3bn on Minecraft, which is staggering - buying the IP of one crap game without even the drive of the creator.

2
0

Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Pedant alert

"Data.... *ARE* being suggested..."

Merkin pedant alert, I suggest.

0
0

Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us

Ledswinger
Silver badge

70% accuracy?

I daresay the local coppers can do better than that at predicting where and when crime occurs.

16
0

Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Killed by operators, yes, but was private equity to blame too?

"But- correct me if I'm wrong- if they'd had enough to pay off their debts, then wouldn't they have done that, closed the dead-end business down and returned the money to the shareholders?"

Why? BC partners probably knew the big middlemen in the phone market were all living on borrowed time. But by issuing a load of bonds they moved the risk onto people so stupid they should be thrown in prison for life for criminal stupidity, and the cash from the bond issue will have been passed back to BC and their mates. Meanwhile financial regulators worry about trivia, and look the other way when people try and report fraudulent corporate finance activity.

Private equity could in theory do a good job of realising value from businesses that the secondary equity markets can't support. In practice they and the big banks are in cahoots as rapacious, unregulated thieves, and we're currently back in 2006, with the PE houses doing monster re-leveraging deals to foist debt onto businesses that can't support that in the long term, the criminals and fools at the banks are lapping up this toxic debt, and (unbelievably) even tiered sub-prime debt is making an appearance, bring back the CDOs that wrought havoc in 2009.

Maybe it will end well this time? We could ask the employees of Phones4U? Or those of Maplin when that goes down trailing heavy smoke.

2
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

"Really ? I have found them to be friendly, efficient, usually well dressed and presented."

We obviously move in different markets. Presumably you're spending more than I am, and you're happy to see your money spent on plusher showrooms and salesmen with social skills and hygiene. In my world I also have to put up with the pantomime of "not sure I can do it for X, I'll have to go and speak to my boss", tasteless coffee and the like.

1
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: I briefly did marketing

"they're not even doing something worthy"

Actually, done well, it is very worthy, and I commend you for having done it. In any retail business you can't personally know your customers, segmentation is (done well) an adequate approximation that covers the most profitable groups of customers, and identifies solutions that fit their needs. Now, go back to your marketing theory, and what was it about? Som't like "identifying and meeting the needs of consumers by creating appropriate offers and making customers aware"?

The problem for the marketing grads and careerists, is that they think that poncing around with "brand image", having free lunches in the name of PR, or commissioning high cost self-aggrandising ad campaigns is valuable. It isn't, it is simply what they would like to do, and within the marketing silo stuff like segmentation or writing collateral is certainly seen as unglamorous work to be dumped on the most junior employee to hand.

1
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Don't fall into those pre-defined roles.@ Fihart

"but by and large creative pros in agencies ignore all "research" and follow their instincts"

"Create pros"! Bwahahahahahahaha! You mean the weirdly dressed kn0b ends who come up with a new corporate slogan or logo, and then expect to be paid several million quid for ten minutes work that doesn't really have any impact on the company's performance?

I used to work for a high end professional services firm, and they spent a seven figure sum having some "creative" t**t change their logo and corporate colour scheme. Meanwhile, the actual winning of work was done by the fee earning partners and juniors, with some assistance from the business development team.

5
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

"I do wonder why they went into administration with high quality training and company direction like this..."

Why? Ratners were doing a treat until Gerald made his fatal faux pas, and Phones 4U's problem was simply that the MNOs decided they would cut out the middlemen.

The relationship between buyer and seller has been fraught since commerce first began, and the fake bonhommie of salesmen is equally old. And what's wrong with that? People on these forums routinely moan about sales drones, or sales droids, and similarly insulting terms, and you think that the sellers should hold YOU in high regard?

I regard car salesmen as lazy, greasy, foul-smelling mobile dandruff dispensers. I doubt they hold me in any higher regard. But so long as we're tolerably polite, and I get a car at the price I want, does it matter what they call me behind my back, or what insulting headline they use for me in their segmentation model?

10
0

Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Idiots

You have to wonder how Microsoft's corporate thought processes operate.

There two damned good reasons why people don't want touchscreens. Even MS have noticed the trend to larger screens on all device classes, and this leads into the first problemette that the viewing distance on anything above a 15 inch screen is not comfortable touch reach, and the second is that more than a few of us have greasy paws that instantly make a screen messy. This even happens on a smartphone with a top notch oleophobic coating, but at least in that instance the device is put in my pocket where the lining wipes the smears off.

There's even a third problem that for input and sophisticated control, rubbing a fat digit that covers many hundreds of pixels is a bit crappy, and you're still tied to a keyboard for primary input.

So, all in all, a big fat grease-smeared fail for W8, with three key questions:

What's plan B, Microsoft?

How will you avoid repeating your mistakes given that you don't f***ing listen?

And how will you avoid p***ing off the millions of people who have had W8 foisted on them?

27
2

PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Optional

"The black hole is about five light-days in diameter, while M60-UCD1 is about 300 light-years

Can you measure black holes in any "light" denominated measure?

0
1

Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Except that...

"We have no police any more,"

Well there's around 130,000 people currently being paid as police officers, plus another 13,000 PCSOs. Over ten years that's a fairly minimal 3% reduction in real coppers, with the number of plastic plods rising by 12,000, so I'm not sure what your baseline is for "any more".

I'd agree that they are far less visible than they used to be but as their previous currency was often harassing speeding motorists on long, wide straight roads, or enforcing a motorway speed limit held in near universal contempt, I'm not sure that there's been much loss. And the advent of Highways Agency traffic officers has been a further boon for motorists, since they sort out minor incidents far quicker than the police managed.

9
3

Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: How do you know....

"How do you know if your friends are on this site? If I'm plonking down 9k "

Sorry mate, you're missing the point. The people wanted here regard 9k in the same way you or I regard1.49 for a cheesy mobile phone app. The vermin this site hopes to attract spend the money you and I regard as "house" money on a car. The money you and I spend on a car, they see as watch money. The money you and I regard as "once in a lifetime holiday" they regard as magazine money.

Put it this way: You've earned a few millions, you have bought the cars you want and a few houses, plus all the trinkets. You have a yacht if you want one. And still there's a few million in the bank. Are you going to be shopping at Aldi to eke it out? And if not, would you give a hoot about a few thousand?

Tim Worstall needs to do a piece on how money works for the obscenely rich.

15
3

Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: The real issue here

But talking of how MPs should be treated, the people of Ukraine show us how:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11100448/Ukraine-activists-throw-MP-in-bin.html

0
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: The real issue here

"and look at who the Scots chose to partially govern them so far. When it comes to useless wankers Hollyrood is easily a match for Westminster."

Absolutely agree. But with nobody to bail them out, the SNP would only be able to indulge themselves in fairytale socialism and political graft for a couple of years, and they'd then find the hard way that if they want sustained economic growth then they would have to sort things out with less regulation, lower taxation and lower public spending.

1
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Interesting interpretation of the source that......

"the no campaign are all threats ,scare tactics and basically FUD"

At least they saved the best until last, with the OECD claiming that Scottish independence could trigger a global recession. Funny how a tiddly proto-nation with tiny oil reserves can threaten global stability just by virtue of not being ruled by the inept clowns of Westminster, yet you can knock out the oil and gas production of Iraq and Libya with no ill effects whatsoever.

Could it be that the OECD is a French poodle, and the Frogs, like the Spanish are deeply concerned about the threat posed by the spread of democracy and home rule? Surely not.

4
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: The real issue here

"Do the Scottish people hate being in the same country as the English, Welsh (and Northern Irish) enough to sacrifice their economic well-being for the next umpteen decades?"

Actually the data is fairly clear, that Scotland's economy has consistently grown more slowly than the rest of the UK, or than comparable EU or EEA countries. Not by huge amounts, but from memory Scotland's GDP has grown half a per cent less than the rest of the UK for the past thirty years, and that adds up. With a workforce that is productive, and an excellent education system, Scotland should be doing much better than it is. Continuing to be governed from Westminster, and allowing your country to remain a public sector theme park is not a good option.

I'm not Scottish, the effect on me is minimal, but I think we can dismiss many of the arguments on both Yes and No sides. But an independent Scotland would (after a few difficult years) be in much the same economic basket as similarly sized and developed economies such as Denmark or Sweden. The Danes use somebody else's currency, the Swedes have their own, so either option is feasible, and neither really threatens the long term prosperity of Scotland.

I don't think much of Salmond and his cronies, but I would suggest that a more equal partnership of an independent Scotland and the rUK would be a better outcome for both countries, and that berk Cameron should have played this with far more neutrality, instead of the childish "you can't use the pound" and all the other rampant fear-mongering.

From a South of the border perspective, I want a Yes vote because it will help in the continuing bust up of the traditional two party cartel running Westminster. Letting the Scots run their own affairs and sending their MP's home is bad news for the traditional Westminster left, just as Frage is piddling on the Westminster right's chips. More, please!

6
4

Rejoice, Blighty! UK is the TOP of the WHOLE WORLD ... for PHISHING

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Language

"I wonder whether we're bigger targets because English is more widely spoken worldwide than German."

According to the blog post Krauts have marginally more spam emails per user than Brits, Frogs or Yanks, although the differences are fairly small - so language of the user has little to do with the prevalence of spam. But within the spam emails the big difference is the number of dodgy links.

It seems more likely that there are other considerations, such as (perhaps) higher levels of electronic banking in the UK versus other markets, weaker security in the UK versus other markets. Whilst gullibility may be a factor, the absence of a dodgy URL doesn't mean the spam isn't criminal, so it is difficult to conclude that Britain has a greater proportion of mugs. And reading the blog post, it seems to me that the authors define a malicious URL as one that seeks to serve malware - so potentially passive phishing isn't included.

The other component is whether particular countries ISPs are better at blocking malicious content, although the spam figures suggest there's not much to choose.

1
0

As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Reminds me of Maplins

"Maplins is a fictional holiday camp,"

Not if the OP was referring to the individual Maplin shops collectively?

1
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Reminds me of Maplins

"not really sure what it's meant to be selling"

Add to that "over expanded into too many large shops that don't do enough trade to keep the lights on"

According to Experian data, Maplin made a loss of £180m last year, and that was up year on year from losses of a "mere" £26m back in 2009, and have negative net worth to the tune of £100m, despite an apparent £440m equity-for-debt swap the previous year. I expect Maplin to join Radio Shack in the great retail park in the sky anyday soon.

I suggest unlucky Phones 4U employees don't apply to Maplin. Don't forget you heard it here first.

1
0

MIT boffins cry havoc and let slip the ROBOT CHEETAHS of Whoa

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Cheetah my arse! That's a cyberdog if ever I saw one

"I'll wear insulated gloves so it doesn't electrocute me as I'm giving it a bath"

The problem is that master and pet relationship soon reverses. "Daddy created him for good, but he's turned out evil." as they say in Lancashire.

1
0

One sixth of the ENTIRE PLANET will buy a new smartphone this year

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Good enough is the enemy of great

"Cheap smartphones appear bound to make inroads, as soon as they are good enough for what most (young) people do with their phones. "

That may be true for teenage loafers in the US or Europe, but the bulk of the growth is "good enough" phones being sold to developing markets. For somebody on a few dollars a day (if they're lucky), they aren't buying a $100 phone to play Angry Birds (or whatever shite is today's hot game). They are buying it to get advice on weather for agricultural needs, to check seed or produce prices, to get remote medical advice, to learn stuff, to arrange transport, find and buy spare parts etc.

And because developing markets can leapfrog the need for expensive fixed line infrastructure, their countries can invest in other things that are more useful, so (nationally speaking) this can avoid the need for universal fixed line telecoms that would otherwise consume billions.

2
1

Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Ledswinger
Silver badge

"the last time I was in there, they had plenty of pay as you go phones, tablets and other stuff for sale so i'm sure they could at least run for the next year and try and diversify further to keep the business viable"

Who'd go into a mobile phone shop that didn't offer mobile phone contracts? Even on PAYG they'd struggle to compete against proper retailers with well managed inventory and supply chain (Amazon, Argos and Tesco, and the only reason they may have been competitive before would be network commissions. So they'd have a quite large shop selling the small range of phone and tech related tat normally associated with a market stall. I just can't see it working.

Also, directors have to sign off accounts declaring that the business is a going concern. Even with a year's notice, who's going to risk being disqualified as a director, or even jail time for fraud in the hope that they can perhaps put together a business selling trinkets?

0
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: So the question is what about life Mobile

"Phones 4U spent a lot of money in creating there MVNO Life mobile a few years ago, it runs on EE network, like Tesco Mobile, question is ... what happens to that?"

Did they ever trade and sign up customers - I can't see anything that says they had any customers?

If they have any, the administrators will try and sell it as a going concern if it stands on its own feet. But if it isn't viable then it will be shut down unless a competitor quickly decides that the Life Mobile customers can be bought for a lower average cost than acquiring customers organically.

0
0
Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Now where do we go for a cheap contract?

"Problem for the rest of us is what happens to capacity, investment and the prospect of expansion when profits tank?"

Infrastructure regulation is what eventually happens, as per gas or electricity distribution systems. That's very good for preserving things as they are, it's generally poor at supporting fast innovation. Given OFCOM's poor record they'd be particularly dreadful, but other asset regulators (eg OFWAT) have shown that you can offer decent regulation that meets both customer and investor needs, and supports performance improvement.

Most of the legal infrastructure is already in place in the form of having a regulator, having a licencing regime and licenced operators. All that's needed is a bill to make network ownership and operation a fully regulated activity.

1
0

Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: The first time I've seen Godwin's law work in reverse..

"Just curious."

Niwdog's law, mate.

2
1
Ledswinger
Silver badge

He looks old enough to have been there

In which case you have to wonder why he thinks that huge flat screens, remote controls, PVRs, on screen programme guides, loads of channels, gaming and internet connectivity (of sorts), HD quality, surround sound, DVD and VoD interfaces, screen mirroring off other devices etc are all so 1971?

I was there, and telly was pants in the 1970s. In technical terms, including the interface, television is unbelievably better than those dark days. I say Tim Cook is a berk, and the one thing that is the same as 1971 is the paucity of good content, and that's not going to be solved by his company's (prospective) over-priced but shiney tat.

40
1

Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Refreshing?

In part that's probably true, although don't forget they probably need to repay the bond holders for money borrowed only last year, otherwise they'll be hammered in the courts, and BC Partners (or whoever) will find it more difficult and expensive to borrow in future.

The other reason for going home early is that without distribution contracts or an alternative and believable business model P4U won't be able to get trade credit insurance (insurance that guarantees that the owner of the goods gets paid back if the retailer can't pay its way) and in that case nobody will give them the handsets to sell.

I'd guess there probably isn't much P4U owned stock to clear (after unsold handsets are returned to the networks who still own them), and the whole operation could be history in a few days. With CPW leaping out of the frying pan, and general over-capacity in mobile phone retailing I'd guess there's not really going to be much demand for many of the shops.

3
0

Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Frame rate

"I was expecting 3 frames-per-minute, except on really dark frames where it would be 1fpm..."

So about what we experienced when playing it on a 486SX?

Sadly, regardless of graphic detail, no subsequent game has ever re-created the frisson of genuine fear that I sometimes felt when playing the original Doom.

3
0

Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Political more than commercial

Abandoning WP is a daft idea from Huawei if on purely commercial grounds, because it gives them less of a stick to wave at Google, should that be necessary, and fewer short term options should they need them. Development costs for WP would be negligible in the context of the circa $5bn R&D budget.

This seems more like a strategic and political choice at the behest of the Chinese government. Just as with the "competition" probe into MS Office/WIndows, this is simply part of the long dragged out game surrounding XP and options for moving to W7, which seem from the outside to be essentially about the price China wants to pay for W7, and the price Microsoft want to be paid for W7. I suppose it also could include things that neither party will publicly discuss, like backdoors, surveillance, default search engines).

5
16

Forums