* Posts by Zimmer

191 posts • joined 3 Feb 2009


Oracle's long-running pension plan class action case: C'mon, judge, reject a jury trial – Big Red


Re: seems reasonable ... But I think you are wrong..

What happened to weaken the funds was mainly a change in the method of valuing assets at 3 year actuarial valuation time; from value at time of purchase to value at the current market rate at time of 3yr valuation.

This method produced sudden surpluses from long-term held stocks and shares that were now at a peak market. These surpluses (upper and lower limits now dictated by HMRC) were then used a s an excuse for further company pension contribution holidays and the sops to the employees of 'future' increased benefits (as yet 'unfunded') When the markets then slumped the funds began to slip into deficit and the companies became unwilling to pay the increased funding. (By not paying contributions the companies were saving in the region of 10% of their payroll. )

So, in the main, companies decided not to continue contributing (particularly as their 'future ' increases in benefits for employees would require additional contributions) and to offer poorer schemes contributing say, only 5% of payroll...

In effect, .. a pay cut all round... and a worse future pension scenario for one and all....

** Oh, and as for taxpayers' money being spent on a bail out - I seem to recall the government of the day proposing a levy on all the other schemes to pay for bail-outs... another nail in the pension coffin if it came to pass, and, less obviously to some, a significant burden on a future government when these particular pigeons come home to roost in the future**

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming


Re: That's the REAL function of ABS !

....which the ABS also tried to do... I just steered around the spinning car in front, but it was nerve wracking....

The ABS is there to give you control of the car in these circumstances, allowing you to brake AND steer with less chance of you locking the wheels and sliding out of control... so it seems it worked very well for you...

In hilariously petulant move, Apple shuts Texas stores and reopens them few miles down the road – for patent reasons


Re: re: worst parasites

...Their good friends in power (usually Lawyers who became Politicians) .. reminded me of this Tom Paxton song.

... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrHno5Xx5Kw

I can hear the light! Boffins beam audio into ears with freakin' lasers


Re: Oh great, laser headphones...

"Think of how many ignorant audiophiles they'll be able to fleece with those...until they find out they only work if you sit in exactly the right chair and keep your head perfectly still....."

You're in my spot.....

..it's the T-shirt with 73 on it..

Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO


Fines? Pah!

If you fine a company it will only recover the costs through its customers, that's you and me, via increased prices.

Jail for accountable senior executives is possibly the only answer to them taking our data (anybody's data) seriously.

Blast from the past: Boffins find the fastest exploding non-supernova star


Astronomical Events in UK

When it does explode I forecast cloudy skies for the UK for the duration of the supernova...

(as per all Astronomical events here, we rarely get to see them first hand).

WannaCry is back! (Psych. It's just phisher folk doing what they do)


Re: New Email List?

Cheshire one of those authorities by any chance?

German IKEA trip fracas assembles over trolley right of way


Lancashire Hotpots ...


My favourite....

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick


Re: DAIM Bar and crisps!

...Salt and Shake (Salt your Own) were just Smith's Crisps...and the salt came in a twisted piece of blue paper... and that was the ONLY flavour available.. and kids were not allowed in the pub....(gosh, I feel old today..) RIOT!....

Scissors cut paper. Paper wraps rock. Lab-made enzyme eats plastic


Doomwatch... The Plastic Eaters...


Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago


Probably on it's way back to the nest..!!

Fender's 'smart' guitar amp has no Bluetooth pairing controls


Re: As a practicing[0] guitarist ...

..from the dim distant past..the acoustic sound was always sounding better after 4 pints of Newcastle Brown Ale..... the distortion ?... always better heard through earplugs....

Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers


Re: Oh my...

Showing your age ?? Showing your age !?!? Harumph!!

When I were a lad the first record player had needles you had to sharpen on a stone.... recording ? You listened to it over and over until you memorised* the thing and were able to sing it as you walked down the street (probably a copyright offence today !!)

It is Friday, isn't it? Nurse, tell me it's Friday ......

Court throws out BT's plans to reduce pension rates


Re: Pension contribution holidays

"It's funny to remember that many pension funds in the 1980's were forced to take pension contribution holidays by law"

Add to that the change in how the funds' actuaries were forced to value the assets at 3yr valuation time

(ie market value at time of valuation, instead of purchase price) and we have reaped the perfect whirlwind.

Suddenly, a fund has millions in surplus to be spent on contribution holidays as the stock market peaks [and is deemed 'overfunded by HMRC] and as the market sinks suddenly has deficits below HMRC guidelines... add to that the promises of 'future' benefits for members, in order to soften the blow of the employer taking contribution holidays..well, those benefits needed to be properly funded by increased employer contributions going forward..not paid for out of a potential permanent surplus going forward.. no wonder the funds are 'too expensive' for the poor employer; he's just failed to pay the deferred wages and saved a fortune at the expense of the pension fund members...

Who will gain from all this? The employer got a free ride while the market was high and, when low, closed funds saving perhaps between 15-20% of payroll (depending on how generous they factored the inducements for contribution holidays) . Now they offer to pay maybe 5% towards your replacement insurance company run scheme?

What a lovely hidden pay cut we all got.....if you were the 'conspiracy' type you might think someone wanted to ease the wage burden for British industry and, at the same time, break the influence of the big pension funds on the market.....

I know, I know...never attribute ... when it's probably just incompetence (I forget the full quote and I'm tired of typing..)

Destroying the city to save the robocar


Re: Wake me up

There are going to be a lot of disappointed people/supporters of the autonomous vehicle when they wake up and realise the regulations surrounding them will require those non-drivers to pass a driving test in order to be driven around in one...

As far as I can tell the only people clamouring for the autonomous car are those who cannot drive. They already have the solution to their problem, it's called a taxi and, yes, it's expensive... don't expect the driverless one to come any cheaper..

Could we not spend the development money on building some more power stations and infrastructure for all those millions of electric cars the government wants us to drive in the near future?

(What do you mean ,'Not until they've worked out how to replace the @£1/litre in tax revenue' ?)

(D'oh and Epic Fail, too IMHO)

'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

Big Brother

..on that note.

Tom Paxton fans will be remembering this offering:


Frustrated Britons struggle to locate their packages: Royal Mail tracker smacked


Re: Reasons

It's an update to the system so that the PDA's are now tracking where the postmen are in the hope that eventually the Royal Mail can offer estimated delivery time for customers.

Mattel's Internet-of-kiddies'-Things Aristotle canned before release


Re: Teddy Bears

Ahh, thank you.

My favourite Harrison was 'In our hands, the Stars' (also known as 'The Daleth Effect'...)


Teddy Bears

I seem to recall an old* SF story regarding AI teddy bear companions that were used to provide kids with moral guidance....... that did not end well, either...

* old = I read it in the 1960's

Google's $8.5m class-action privacy payout goes to: Lawyers' alma maters, web giant's pals


How to..

..make tax-free donations...?

Call me cynical, it's my middle name...

To truly stay anonymous online, make sure your writing is as dull as the dullest conference call you can imagine


Re: I see a market here

E.g: "if you shoot T. Hancock of 23 Railway Cuttings East Cheam I will deposit 3 BTC in your wallet".

....they will get the wrong man... Mr A. Hancock lives there...

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren



...and what about the sneaky, pre watershed Heineken adverts disguised as Drink Driving awareness? Clever brand placement and awareness if ever I saw it..

The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn


Re: "when you're shook up and struggling to recall things"

'Engaging' Cruise Control on the automatics I have driven sets your speed to the 'current' speed of the vehicle. 'Resuming' Cruise control would result in a slight delay (about a second) before the system attempts to adjust the car to the previously set speed.

Whilst in Cruise mode pressing the accelerator will 'override' the set speed and propel you faster until you release the accelerator and the vehicle will begin to drop back to the previously set speed.

If you press the brake at any time in Cruise mode the Mode will be cancelled and the vehicle will decelerate unless the accelerator is depressed (speed now under driver's control) or unless the 'Resume' button is then pressed (to allow the vehicle to automatically Resume at previous set speed).

....quote 'On the other hand, that tells me that Tesla's autopilot disengages when you touch any pedal, which is not what other brand autopilots generally do - they disengage when you touch the brakes./unquote.

It doesn't tell you anything about Tesla's 'Autopilot'. It's just the driver looking for alternative answers when he cannot believe that somehow he was at fault , because he can't remember what he did.

One way or another the guy went too quick and lost control..

Good News... everyone walked away...

Kerberos bypass, login theft bug slain by Microsoft, Linux slingers


Re: Open Source is necessary, but not sufficient

........Maybe we need more funded (government funded?) bounty programmes?....

...they're already employed by GCHQ and the NSA.....

Web inventor Sir Tim sizes up handcuffs for his creation – and world has 2 weeks to appeal


A Plea ..

Can they DRM the advertising please, so I don't have to download and play it....

Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day



Fail !

I'm sorry, you used the words 'pub' and 'go past' in the same sentence.....

Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'


Who really wants robo-cars??

.....people who can't drive...

(and companies who want a monopoly)..

feel free to add to the list..

More UPNP woes: Crashable library bites routers and software


Are you sure?..

I am pretty sure I have played Elite Dangerous with UPnP disabled on a variety of routers..(as it is my practice to disable UPnP when installing a new one). Are you suggesting the game mysteriously switches it back on without me knowing? Or does it bypass the router settings somehow ??

Enquiring old gits would like to know, Nick .

Or is it just your excuse for having left UPnP enabled on your router..?

RBS is to lay off 92 UK techies and outsource jobs to India – reports


Re: Ah, the joys of Indian coding...

As a customer (since the days it was the National Provincial Bank) an enquiring mind would like to know which British banking institutions do NOT outsource ... in order to make an informed choice for 2018...

China successfully launches its first robot space truck


Re: "fast-dock tech that will reduce coupling time to just six hours."

Alternatively, request docking permission and match rotation to the station entrance or switch on the Auto-docking and listen to the 'Blue Danube'......

....it's the flying suit with the name tag ' Jameson'...

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips


Re: Two words - Linux Mint

You can't play WoW on a console, ......

But you CAN play DotA on MINT (using STEAM, of course)...

Verizon is gonna axe its 'unlimited' data hogs


Unlimited advertising data....

Yes, that's what they mean, surely....

UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor


Blackmail! (remember Monty Python?)

Over-simplification, I know, but.....

The mass collection of all this data gives whoever has access to it the ability to pressure anyone in public office to 'do their bidding'. Notwithstanding the fact that it should be a trivial exercise for our 'security' services to poison a browser history with all sorts of links etc and that this type of information can now be regarded as 'evidence' (I guess this, since it is now legal to collect the data that it should be acceptable in court).

It's MP's and civil servants who will be top of the watch-list for a potential dictator (or 'ruling party') .. to ensure they toe the line.. not a pretty prospect for the country.

Natwest online payments go down


An Update gone wrong, perhaps?

I logged on earlier this morning to a message of how they had made wonderful changes to enhance my banking experience (hmmm) fortunately I had no payments to make...

The changes include swapping the order of statement entries and putting more transaction details on the statement.. Soooo, have they mucked the payments system when they installed the upgrade? I bet they missed something.. or installed new progs they shouldn't have...Ho Hum, another chance for Sysadmin overtime (and expenses!!)

UK nixes Land Registry sale


Re: Comical

..or to Alcatraz...

or, even further , Uranus, where most of their ideas originate..

..and £4 billion to renovate the Houses of Parliament? Yes, sell that to a foreign buyer instead Don't get me started..... too late...

Charge tourists £20 a head as a 'last chance to see ' opportunity before demolition, then see if they can get planning permission for a new Housing Estate on the site..

I'm sure Nicola Sturgeon wouldn't mind at all if the MPs all relocated North of the border and borrowed her buildings (deemed expensive at a few million!) pro tem...or maybe permanently, now there's a thought..

Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving



At least credit the Wolowitz with your quote ;) He is an Astronaut, after all

Childcare app bods wipe users' data – then discover backups had been borked for a year


Re: Bah!

Don't worry, the USB stick will turn up eventually,

possibly at the London Transport Lost Property Office

** icon ---maybe not..

£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests


Deleted.. duplicate..see above

Big Brother

Re: I'm glad they're optional.

Refused to have one fitted some time ago....

Penetration tech: BAE Systems' new ammo for Our Boys and Girls


..bulleted blank..

OK, so my age is showing..

..when I last fired bulleted blanks (cadets v regulars!) I distinctly remember the half closed (semi-circle opening) on the muzzle end of the Bren I was using ... it still shredded the bushes I was hiding behind, set them alight and provided a brown trouser moment for the two regulars who had sneaked up on the position in the dark. I did not see them as we were 'turned out' and told to open fire, so I did...

The debriefing went something like...' Who was the bloody idiot with the Bren?'

I do not wish to repeat the experience, lugging the great heavy thing about was a nightmare in the dark for an 8st weakling and his not dissimilar mate (truth is the Padre helped us out and carried it at one point, as we were exhausted and falling behind...bless him.)

DoJ preps criminal charges for VW over Dieselgate


Re: double standards? --No, economic warfare

.. amongst the largest companies in the world and dominant market share leader in Europe for over 20 years, over 600,000 employees (and goodness knows how many pensioners) it's a prime target for the US and GM.

Unfortunately for them, most customers couldn't give a ***** (insert your expletive of choice here) about the diesel issue, particularly when following a convoy of Eastern European lorries down the M20 or up the M6.

As another commentator has already pointed out, it has highlighted the issue of diesel pollution , so more are being steered towards a petrol engine model.

Perhaps lorries will have to go electric (I've seen the twin trailer artic's, perhaps trailer 2 could house the batteries! <Joke Icon, here> )

Investors to be allowed to sue Volkswagen over emission row


Re: UK Owners should be banding together and suing VW

Compensation culture....aaarghhhh

So, why would you want it fixed if it was saving you, the owner, x% of your fuel costs, and the engine performance was better than a rival's and you are happy with that performance..? Why, when you are not that concerned about your car's emissions in the grand scheme of things - particularly if you are following an old Peugeot 308 1.9 diesel taxed at 10x the rate of your new 2 litre VW- would you feel you needed it fixed.

Do you not also realise there are people who go to great lengths to get their engine ECU re-mapped for whatever esoteric reason (mainly on high performance cars) ?

What would you need compensating for? There could be one reason only: tax, or lack of it at present. If there is a knock-on effect for these vehicles it could be retrospective re-allocation of the VED band or company vehicle taxation in the UK.

The amounts of which would seem pretty paltry in the eyes of the turbo-chasing lawyers....

Yours sincerely

J Clarks... oops!

ps as I still own a 2007 Turbo-diesel Fabia, can I claim compensation???



In an advancing technological situation Legislation doesn't have a clue about the situation, only what it's told by the 'experts' , but it can sure make a dog's breakfast of whatever it legislates on - the law of unintended consequences etc.. But there will still not be the means/money to monitor the results properly, just like the current situation..

But politics is politics and 'Es muss etwas geshehen' (I hope I spelt that correctly..it's been nearly 50 years since A- Level Lit)

BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it


Thin end of wedge

Got a PC? Smartphone? Tablet ? Pi(e) ? (MMMM..pies...) Then you must get a telly licence...... cos we are now broadcasting/streaming on the Internet.....

If the Beeb want to bleat about how many non-licence holders are streaming their content then the answer is- Do Not put the content here in the first place- it's like leaving your possessions in the street and not expecting them to get stolen... but I'm still fairly convinced that this is a subtle way to start getting PC owners, who have no TV and do not pay the licence fee, to cough up , whether they watch any iPlayer content or not...

Jeep hackers: How we swerved past Chrysler's car security patches


It's a trap!

(tin-foil at the ready...) 'they ' have this dream of controlling every car remotely so that the minute you commit an offence on the road (or just for fun) 'they ' can take over the car and have it drive to the nearest cop-shop...with you still in it......

BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'



GO on, admit it, you're lost....now where's that Plover....

BMW web portal vulns pose car hack risk – researchers


Re: VIN Confused

Have an Upvote, I was thinking the same......

Forget YouTube – meet ChewTube: Strangers watching millennials eat


Re: End of the world

...and wait to be run over by an UBER.......

There will be a long wait....you need a mobile App for that....

Fedora 24 is here. Go ahead – dive in


Re: "screenshots are problematic"

Carbon on the Valves?

RedEx, mate, RedEx...

TalkTalk customers decide to StayStay after £3m in free upgrades


Save me some money...

Do tell..

Who are you with , and what services are you paying for, and ..HOW MUCH??


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