781 posts • joined Thursday 21st June 2012 13:12 GMT
Re: 'e wahnts won 'il 'em 'er ipads
This is doubtless very relevant and insightful but it's hard to know, as most of us don't know what a "Northern Irish" accent sounds like, other than that Ian Paisley sounded much more menacing than the actor playing Gerry Adams.
Although there are supposed to be Chinese walls, the same companies that do auditing also provide services to large companies. They tell us there isn't a conflict of interest...I'd like to see a world in which accountancy was organised like UK law, so that when you become an auditor you are no longer employed by anybody who might conceivably be influenced by the offer or withholding of a large services contract.
It's also worth noting that many modern companies deal in such intangibles that their status could change in days. Suppose, for instance, that Apple ceased to become "cool" next Monday and its sales fell off the side of a cliff. How much would it be worth? A spares supplier for shiny bits for four or five years wouldn't be worth much. Suppose RR stopped selling stuff next Monday? It would still be selling spares and repairs in 50 years time. A bit of a difference. How are auditors supposed to allow for that?
But do we actually need all this progress?
In our wonderful capitalist economy, "progress" tends to be a way of taking money from one group of people and transferring it to a different group. Nothing much has changed since the arrival of railways resulted in a flood of litigation from canal owners, or since the Port of Bristol tried to keep Brunel's big ships out in the interests of their smaller customers. Well, the main change, at least in the US, is more lawyers per head of population, and more rapid new circulation, so the issues are more visible.
It always used to amuse me that Mrs. Thatcher thought that the US was a place where business freedom flourished. In fact much of it is very tightly regulated and protectionism is rampant. This comes to the fore whenever the US economy is struggling a bit and there is a lot of foreign competition. It has to be remembered, for instance, that in both WW1 and WW2 the US delayed entering the war partly because US business wanted to be on the winning side, and in WW2 because they saw an opportunity to let Germany destroy the British Empire and allow the US to pick up the pieces.
So my own view is that what is going on here is business as usual. Too much innovation is happening outside the US, so US business employs its lawyers to try to find ways to stop it.
Re: Never trust someone offering to 'lead you through the economics'...
The "Adam Smith Institute" (slogan "putting forward bonkers ideas to screw up the real world even further" ) exists solely for the purpose of ensuring that Adam Smith continues to spin in his grave at 7200 rpm.
The Economist also thinks it follows the principles of someone who lived in an age when the largest corporation was the Royal Navy and never had an opportunity to comment on the presents state of capitalism. But his comment about business people getting together only to defraud the public really does seem a prescient description of the banks.
Re: Published data
Interesting - three facts and a thumbs down. Somebody doesn't like reality.
Incidentally, Armando123, P J O'Rourke is not an economist. He is someone who has made a very successful career out of right wing humour and some memorable soundbites. One of his objections to politics seems to be that politicians and their staffs do a lot of research, which he is helping to pay for. In effect, he wants federal and state governments weakened so they cannot oppose the will of corporations. But good luck with finding anywhere in his books where he actually spells that out in print. It's all "enabling people to get rich", without specifying too closely which people.
Re: Published data
I don't know when you last looked at the job ads, but most economists are employed in the finance industry, many university chairs are funded by it, and the Cato Institute is a lobbying company for oil and tobacco.
Re: The Blame
I thought she was a half bottle of whisky a day woman...oh, I see what you mean.
Re: Execuive Pay...
I am pretty sure this is the case.
Also, I was reading a book about hedge funds over the Christmas period, (A Demon of our own Design by Bookstaber) and I've concluded that if anyone is even less reliable on seeing the bigger economic picture than the Government or the TUC, it's a hedge fund trader. I'd listen hard to Mr. Worsthall on lanthanides, but when it comes to take home pay, I rather suspect that the reason that public sector salaries have increased so much at the top end is because outsourcing companies are competing for those people and offering very high pay in order to deplete the public sector of expertise, so it can be claimed that only outsourcing will solve the resulting problems. Which coincidentally is a tactic of hedge funds...corner a resource and create an artificial scrcity, thus driving up prices.
Re: Spiraly wire?
Many years ago I helped develop a coiled audio cable. The problem with it is that it is fine when the things on each end are heavy, but not when they are light. Like ear buds...there must be enough return force to hold the thing together in the return position. What is needed is a constant force spring, but Dr Hooke and Prof Young say it wont work.
It just needs everything above the sheer removed and replaced by something from a yacht designer. Why upset the fish?
Being pedantic, a naval architect would draw up the plans to an appropriate standard - usually Lloyds - and a surveyor - or in this case more than one surveyor - would monitor the construction. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to get the thing insured, and without insurance if you did any serious damage to anything and had plenty of assets, your life would not be worth living. Even if you were Steve Jobs.
Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent
You are right, but the sarcasm tag didn't reproduce in my post.
Re: Tim, you assume perfect competition.
I have two words for you: Eminent domain.
If something is important enough for national security, it will be f off, litigious corporation of choice. It is amusing that one place that did not happen was Nazi Germany - because, being Fascist, politicians were often in the pocket of the corporations.
Re: Malthus was right, sort of...
I don't think that is neoLiberalism. We have simply reached the stage where we can do more with less, where a 155MPH BMW can carry 4 people at motorway speeds using half the fuel per mile of an old MG two seater, and where we can carry in one hand a device with four radios each more capable than one WW2 radio that required two people to carry. What we cannot do is to provide a wasteful US standard of consumption to the whole world. This means that the US risks becoming irrelevant as resource constraints require everybody else to depend on European and Asian technology. The American neoLiberals have ultimately doomed themselves.
The "Yeah" is unnecessary. There are British firms which are regarded as prestigious in China - some of them in my own neck of the woods. They just make high value stuff in relatively small quantities, and Mulberry isn't going to flog 50 million bags at iPhone prices, nice as it would be. The problem for the Chinese government seems to be that they are as afflicted with short-termism as Western governments. They are kind of following Confucianism ("Deal with the problems of the people if you would sit calmly on your throne") but the expectations of growth rate seem to have become unrealistic.
Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent
Is Starck a qualified naval architect? I am impressed. (I have the Lloyds manual - it's a 56Mbyte PDF. And there are professional exams and things. Clearly he has been wasted doing lemon squeezers.)
Re: I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...
I venture to doubt that Starck did the bit from the keel to the sheer strake- you know, the bit that makes it a boat rather than a wet caravan.
Re: Sorry, I call "bollocks"
Good heavens! What might those potheads at University achieved if they had stayed off the stuff, instead of a mere First?
I have a biochemical blocked pathway that means I cannot drink alcohol. I expect the Government to ban all sales of alcohol as a result.
Sorry to rain on this parade, but the Victorians padded table legs so that spurs and shoe buckles would not scratch them,
Paris, because I distinctly remember Hilton hotels as having tablecloths long enough to cover the table legs.
Re: Sidebar of shame
Re: Why the outrage when it's a free service? When will these idot consumers learn....
Let me see...
I paid for weather information when I installed the Met Office application, which I pay for with taxes. I pay for my bank account by letting them have my money to use. I buy a physical newspaper.
El Reg is a site which adds value to the provision of advertisements by IT companies. I work in IT. Some of those adverts are actually useful to me and I don't mind the Register collecting some information from me in exchange.
I can remember when the Evening Standard was a newspaper...I have no desire to read it.
I help with one social media site and so neither pay a subscription nor get ads in exchange.
About 60% of the time I use a search engine it is to find where I can obtain things. The rest of the time it's work or research which will probably result in someone, somewhere buying something. So ad-funded search engines I can accept.
I pay for my Dropbox account and my email mailboxes.
Your point was?
The original judgement against Jammie Thomas-Rasset was for $1.9 million, in 2009
Like many fulminating Americans, you miss the point. When anyone criticises the RIAA or the MPAA you immediately go all Manichaean and argue that there is no position between hugely expensive court cases and support for piracy.
Of course there is. I don't like stuff being ripped off, but damages should be proportionate, about the same as if someone stole a CD from a shop. And there needs to be a clear distinction between real thieves - who run it as a business and sell ripped CDs in car boot sales - and people who, in this country, would be dealt with with a small fine.
I support the people over corporations. You clearly support corporations over the people. There is a name for at, and if you google for Mussolini you will find out what it is.
In any case, I really cannot take seriously the views of anyone who thinks that 99% of today's pop music isn't exploitative tat that will be forgotten in a year or so. I'm consistent: I don't pay for it because I don't listen to it, and I would certainly never degrade the Internet further by downloading it.
Re: Why the outrage when it's a free service? When will these idot consumers learn....
Why did someone downvote this? It is surely true. Anybody who thinks you get something for nothing on the Internet is, to say the least, gullible.
I will happily use a free service if I can see how the supplier is making money from it and I agree with what they are doing, but Facebook and its ilk are really opaque. They need to die, and die quickly, so that people get used to paying a fair, and visible, price for services and the present nonsense stops.
For one thing, it might get rid of a lot of the crap that is presently on the Internet, and improve our bandwidth.
Re: @badger31 Third time's the charm.
They are relying on your having the very deep pockets to get to court in the United States. There are a few pro bono lawyers, but they've all been used up contesting cases where illiterates without computers have been fined millions of dollars for allegedly downloading tatty pop songs, because the **AAs wouldn't want to go after someone who had influence.
Business model collapsing
It is rather lovely to watch the business model of both Instagram and Facebook collapsing, as all the "what could possibly go wrong"s seem to converge at once.
Paris, because she is the embodiment, indeed perhaps the goddess, of "what could possibly go wrong".
Re: If i upload something that i don't own
A contract under English law exists where there is a "meeting of minds". If I sell my holiday pictures to a picture agency (unlikely but bear with me) I am likely to get a document to sign saying what my rights and their rights are. But if it is the first time, the person sticking the document under my nose is going to say "Do you have a right to sell these pictures? Have you got model release forms for these naked ladies disporting under a waterfall? That villa in the background - did you have permission to take pictures on site?"
Instagram doesn't appear to be doing that. They are trying a CMA, but they are not doing any diligence to make sure their users are obeying the law. And they are doing the selling.
It isn't a defence against a charge of fencing stolen property to tell the police that you got the drug addict to sign a declaration that you didn't own the goods, you were just making money off flogging them. Who gets the higher sentence if caught - the petty thief or the professional fence?
Re: If a thing is free, YOU are the product being sold
Yes, but in this case I don't mind. If the Reg can sell information on what I look at and post on IT related subjects to the IT vendors, it might microscopically improve the service I get from them. I want feedback from our customers, I don't see why they wouldn't want feedback from me.
With the "social media" sites, I don't have a clue who their customers are. Perhaps they're flogging my search for kosher restaurants in South London to the BNP. I have no way of knowing.
Re: If i upload something that i don't own
It raises an interesting point - is it going to be illegal to upload people's pictures to Instagram without permission? Before, you could make a case that they were personal. By extending this into the commercial sphere, you would seem to be doing something that is at least a tort.
I hope the lawyers get onto this quick, because I really don't like being photographed by strangers with the risk of ending up identified on farcebook without my even knowing I am there, and if this puts a stop to it so much the better.
They need to be careful, a guy was just sent to prison for 10 years for spreading those on the Internet.
Or have I missed something?
Re: Real Computer Economics
What we make is largely small footprint agents that run with a few percent of CPU doing basic monitoring and housekeeping tasks with uptimes in the months to years timescale. Virtualised environments are just not good enough for testing this on their own, though obviously we do a lot of testing in VMs.
Re: Real Computer Economics
I must have imagined all those old Dells and Acer business machines we use for system testing that can run Windows 7 while equally old Macs are stuck on earlier versions of OS X. People replace PCs more frequently, in my experience, because they can afford to.
My feeling is that while some Mac users have more money, others are people who are more prone to making emotionally invested purchases that they can't quite afford. This may explain Apple's larger market share in the US, where that kind of consumerism seems more common than in Europe.
Sadly, it is also a scam that works by maximising offence to people trying to deal with tragic events. It is hard to understand why, in such a litigious country, no lawyer has been found to sue them to hell and back for causing emotional distress. Get them in front of a jury in a class action. If it really is not possible then US law is more broken even than people tell me.
Surely no discussion possible on the subject? If client software was designed that well, client server would have taken over completely.
However, I really don't think there is any argument. Successive waves of client/server have fallen on the rocks of cycle time, bandwidth, platform diversity, network access, and hardware cost. Remember when a "thin client" cost as much as a reasonably full featured desktop? Not long ago. Now the technologies are converging; the Nexus 7 and its ilk are thin clients that would have seemed inconceivable in the mid-2000s, bandwidth and the other network issues are getting sorted, and platform diversity is, despite the best efforts of Redmond and Cupertino, shrinking.
But IT does need to get a grip on BYOD. It's a lazy solution by people who don't want to do hard thinking about security and have decided it is easier to just let the shouty people have what they want. They are largely the same shouty people that cause companies and banks to go pear shaped, so somebody needs to persuade the bean counters that not only does it cost more in the long run, in a year or so when the hardware is completely commoditized, the shouty people will just be back demanding that IT provide something that works and all the effort will have been wasted.
Someone might think that, like HP with its tablet, there are competing views of how ready it is in Redmond and somebody doesn't want its product released into the Christmas market followed by torrents of bad publicity.
Re: why can I hear bells ?
However, your Transformer's spell check and predictive typing is rubbish. (I have a Transformer...and the predictive typing on a Blackberry Playbook, which I also have, widdles all over it).
Re: Dyson is not an Engineer!
In the popular mind, anybody associated with vacuum cleaners or washing machines is an engineer.
One guy I worked with (M.Eng) had a wife who was a local politician. When he had to meet other politicians and they asked him what he did, he would reply "I am an engineer, and no, I do not know anything about washing machines".
I also happen to know a retired mechanical engineer who was once approached by the agent of a celebrity designer - not Dyson, I hasten to add - who explained that his client was looking for an engineer to, in effect, work with him to ensure that his designs were workable. Negotiations came to a sudden halt when the engineer mentioned that he expected equal billing.
Amazingly, I do know that; in fact, I've registered trade marks myself and been through the entire process several times. The point at issue is how generic they are and how broad is the scope of application claimed. It seems that American companies increasingly file for trademarks and then try to increase their scope to everything - remember when Intel trademarked "Pentium" and then sued an HR company called "Gentium"? - though how you were supposed to confuse someone who sacks people with a 486 microprocessor I really do not know.
"The point is that these shapes, after much use, become an identifying feature in their own right and become a symbol that people recognise and (if you're lucky) trust"
But in this case someone is trying to trademark something that is not recognised, ahead of any such identification. I do not think many people would identify the stylised leaf with the top of the Apple logo.
Re: Want to embrace new but don't have rubber gloves.
Naval gazing has frequently ensured that the UK did not have a sudden precipitous decline in GDP.
Navel gazing...different story.
BYOD as a concept is, I imagine, well funded by that Californian company that never had much impact on corporations.
Re: The Blackberry
So...insightful technical and marketing analysis of RIM's problems?
All that effort spent by so many engineers over the years so people who don't know how things work can shout "hipster" "isheep" or "chav" at one another.
And the British class system - if you can't afford to pay too much for something, you deserve derision.
An iPhone is not a specially commissioned piece of jewellery or a painting designed to show off your knowledge and taste - nor is an Audi. They are heavily marketed consumer products (as is the basic Blackberry, currently being advertised on the Underground). Having more or less money, or different needs (a lot of mobile email versus taking lots of pictures, say) does not make one person better or worse than another.
And the failure to understand that, LarsG, is a large part of what is wrong with the English-speaking word, which is still in love with aristocracy.
Re: I said it before, I'll say it again
In fact the Playbook is a marketing failure but one of the best tablets - and they called the 7 inch form factor when Jobs did not. Their current entry level offering is a niche piece of kit but very well adapted for its job - low power, large battery, simple operation but with the in-depth features there if you look, and physically robust. It doesn't suit the wants of American teenagers, but it provides good messaging and phone performance with a 3 day battery life, and the cheap Android phones just do not do this.
I'm sure that Jeremy Clarkson hates the Hyundai I10 with a passion, and no American would be seen dead in one, but they sell very well around the world for much the same reason: cheap, reliable, economical to run, and much better than the low end products of US companies.
Your assumption is that RIM is incompetent. I would suggest that it was incompetent, but under the new management it is clawing back.
Re: There will always be a place for Blackberry
You do realise that RIM had NFC working on all its high end devices before anyone else, and that Apple still doesn't? Or that RIM is rolling out NFC-based micropayments systems in second world countries?
They are doing interesting stuff, but it is not aimed at the US market.
Just because something works one way, it doesn't mean it should.
People have put up with gear sticks in cars for many years, they are very common, and they are still a very stupid idea (a stick you can waggle while going along that makes the gearbox break...no really).
The same with trademark law. If it has now deteriorated to allowing this sort of thing, it needs changing.
Re: Next step: sue God?
His or her representative on Earth - obviously. Follows competition to be recognised as the true representative by a Californian court.
Apple v The Pope. I wouldn't try that one. Stalin: "How many divisions has the Pope"? But the Catholic Church still looks healthier than the Soviet Union, despite everything.
Re: Shows the best and the worst of UK high tech development.
Exactly. Production engineering is interesting - if you are allowed to do it properly.
One company I worked for, the MD "did not believe in statistical process control". We had to hide it in an industrial PC which we said was "chaining the machines together for efficiency". At the time, one of our key suppliers was pressing components on a machine which measured the plunger force on every plunger in the jig, and used this to calculate wear and report back on any defects in the feedstock. The other supplier was using 1920s tech which frequently resulted in broken parts. The production manager couldn't understand why it was a bad idea to (a) keep the second supplier and (b) let the parts get mixed up.
Our great Public Schools have a lot to answer for.
Re: Visiting the punch room.
That is interesting. In fact my career path took a different turn after A levels and I only got back to computers in my late 20s when the research I was doing needed a lot of data collection and one thing led to another. By then, at least in industry, it was an almost all-male occupation.
This, though, seems to be usually the way. When a job becomes seen as attractive and high paid, whoever was doing it tends to get muscled out by middle and upper class men. When the Navy become glamorous, all of a sudden the aristocracy wanted their kids to have naval rather than army careers and the "tarpaulin" officers were pushed out. When it was realised how much could be made from sheep, younger sons were pushed off to the former prison of Australia. And, seemingly, when computation (a job largely done by women) turned into computing and programmers and analysts started to earn reasonable amounts of money, suddenly it was men doing it.
Re: Visiting the punch room.
When I was in the 5th form my father wangled me a summer job with his company's computer department. There was a woman programmer. Who was rather attractive. And she talked to me in a friendly fashion. I am afraid I got completely the wrong idea about the computer industry. But at least I knew at an early age who Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was, even if I made a completely incorrect correlation between a knowledge of Boolean algebra and getting on with the opposite sex.