* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5814 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

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Re: cheese and biscuits

Why are they offering beer, if they're also offering cheese and biccies?

Surely the correct drink with those is port.

Unless they aren't using "the odd pint" in the normal colloquial sense, but actually mean "pint of port". In which case, I highly approve! This should be made a new Reg Standard immediately!

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Your boss asks you to run the 'cloud project': Ever-changing wish lists, packs of 'ideas'... and 1 deadline

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Re: Enterprise Architecture

...to provide some nice upper management friendly picture of all the interconnected bits...

Presumably in crayon...

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

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The SpaceX system carefully guides falling phones down to the surface, a process which the phones increasingly often survive without exploding

Tee hee.

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Re: Accessibility ?

iOS is recommended by the RNIB - and the couple of blind people I know who choose to use touch screen devices use iOS.

Apple had some usability features in the early iPhones, and put quite a few more features in for either iOS 4 or 5. Don't remember which. They've also put quite a few resources into user testing since - I know someone who's had several conversations with Tim Cook about it, as he took a personal interest. Which I regard as much to his credit.

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Why can't these stupid phones run OS/2 Warp - as God intended!

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Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

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The stars seem closer than they've ever been to me. I started reading Pournelle and Niven (and others) in the late 80s as a teenager - and all the dates from 70s books when we could expect regular spaceflight were starting to get awfully close - and yet no normal spaceflight. I was worried it was all stopping.

The shuttle and ISS program was looking to be a bit of a dead-end, and there was only an increasing number of interesting robot exploration missions to be interested in. All a bit sad really. No chance of going to space. But now we've got all sorts of interesting stuff going on. OK, I might not be able to afford it - but maybe in 30 years the promised space hotels might be affordable? I can dream. Even if I am too old for "unearthly delights" by then...

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Science Fiction saves the world!

I particularly remember laughing at the bits in Footfall and Fallen Angels (fun, but nowhere near as good) - where science fiction fans, but mostly science fiction writers, are saving the world. I think Niven and Pournelle were also having fun taking the piss out of each other (and fellow authors) in Footfall.

Sad to see another writer that I've grown up with leave us. I've spent many happy hours reading his books. So thanks Jerry.

And thanks for the mental image that the calculation in Lucifer's Hammer of what a billion tons of hot fudge sundae hitting Earth at orbital velocity would do. I hope that's the standard unit of measurement at JPL...

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SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

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Re: Getting bored now

jabuzz,

Well it is possible that some journalist who gives a Tesla a bad review might find themselves on the wrong end of a Falcon 9 landing "accident"... But I think we're safe from that until Musk removes SpaceX's operations from Texas and Florida to his new base of operations in a hollowed-out volcano somewhere.

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Re: Getting bored now

I'm waiting for the Falcon Heavy, where the thing goes up, and then two boosters come whizzing back to land next to each other. Though you'd hope they'll keep them a bit further apart than in their PR video - as it would be dead embarrassing for one to slightly miss the target and blow them both up.

And then ten minutes later, another booster comes back to join them (or more likely land on the barge) - assuming the second stage isn't required to sacrifice itself in order to get more height.

Musk really ought to rub out the company logo on the landing pad, and have a nice blue swimming pool painted there instead.

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I wonder what the panic level at ULA is up to now?

When they managed to secure that last Airforce contract, not at all by nefarious means of course, they must have breathed a sigh of relief. But their prices are beginning to look not just outrageous, but also insane. And their tech, out of date.

So, at what point do they reach Brown Trouser Alert?

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Google to relieve HTC of its phones biz – report

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Re: Motorola

HMD didn't buy Nokia. They bought the rights to use their name to sell some phones.

Nokia is still happily trading, selling network kit and services. But they were glad to get rid of their phone division in the end. Though I'm sure they'd have loved Microsoft to propel it back into profit/relevance.

They'd held the Chinese off on cost for dumb-phones for years, by amazingly good supply chain management and organisation. But they finally started losing out. Just at the time that they were transitioning from the already failing Symbian onto the even more failing Windows Phone.

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Re: ADD

To be fair, I don't think Google did too badly out of Motorola. They bought it for $12bn or something. But they kept hold of the patents, it had a couple of billion in cash (that they kept of course) then they sold most of it to Lenovo, with a few other bits being sold elsewhere. Kept a couple of divisions and also got something close to $5bn of tax credits for Motorola's previous years of losses - to offset against their own profits.

I saw someone worked out that they made a profit. Hard to know if that was true, but someone wrote a piece on it for El Reg, back in the day. Worstall perhaps?

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Oracle throws weight behind draft US law to curtail web sexploitation

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What's that got to do with whether internet companies should have legal protection from facilitating crime?

I mean, I don't disagree with you that the lymch-mob mentalitiy can kick in. And the idea that the police will probably take child porn more seriously than minor-league drug dealers is a symptom of society thinking one crime is worse than the other.

But the question here is, should we attempt to stop child exploitation online? And if so, how far should we go?

The allegation is that this company not only helped people advertise for sex with underage girls, but were able to then hide behind laws designed to protect legitimate internet business from their users' crimes. They're also accused of not just taking the advertising money, but also colluding in getting round regulations to stop child exploitation.

Obviously people like Google want to argue for the continuing protection of online intermediaries such as themselves. They don't want to treated like publishers, and held responsible for the content they show, when in a lot of cases they're just pointing you to other peoples' stuff.

And that's a legitimate argument. So long as when problems are pointed out to them, that they then act to no longer promote illegal material. So they should be taking terrorist beheading videos off Youtube for example.

There's then a further question, that these laws were put in place to help internet companies when they were smaller. But now Google are a behemoth who turn over over $100bn. At which point they might be pushed to becoming a bit more pro-active about abuses of their services for all sorts of things like copyright infringement, terrorist propoganda, child exploitation etc.

So there's a debate to be had here. But Orlowski is suggesting that Google are deploying their huge lobbying machine in order to protect child exploiters - presumably because they see this as the thin end of the wedge and that once this exception to their protections is passed - then maybe more will.

Like all that hysterical stuff about how the EU right to be forgotten case a few years ago would destroy internet freedom. Basically Google want as much of the profits, control and data as they can hoover up, with none of the responsibilities that go with being a global internet utility. And I think they should be called on it. Because Google are really starting to look like greedy, creepy bastards. Arrogant ones too.

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Re: Hang on, I'm confused

Nah, this is Oracle having a go at some rivals surely? You can't be telling me that Oracle are on the moral side of an argument...

But if I'm being unfair, how awful does it make Google look, that they're having to be schooled on morality by Oracle?

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It is possible that you're right of course. But there are apparently a lot more people who have sexual thoughts about kids, than there are that act on them. Only a proportion of those who act on those thughts do anything other than seeking child porn.

I hesitate to use the slippery slope / gateway drug type argument, but the academics and practising psychiatrists seemed to be saying that few people go straight from thought to action. And that being isolated made many take their thoughts no further. Whereas the internet alllowed them to form communities that normalised thoughts and behaviour that otherwise wouldn't be.

As for your economic argument, that entirely depends on the numbers. Selling in volume illicitly is incredibly difficult and expensive. Whereas the internet allows you to sell to thousands or even millions of people, with little extra effort. Selling something from the back of a shop, or out of a van, is much harder to do in volume, takes longer and has a massively higher risk of getting caught.

If you can sell something for $5 to 100,000 people you're going to have to charge $500 to get the same money from selling it to 1,000 people. Which you probably won't manage at that price. And that's a lot of people to talk to - and an extra thousand more chances that one of those people is a policeman than if you were selling online.

By the way, drug dealers are on a slim margin. There was an economist at Chicago University who did a study on some dodgy housing project. He talked to one drug dealing gang for 2 years. Only 2 of them were making more than $20,000 a year - most were making much less than minimum wage, 2 a year got killed and many ended up in prision.

But there's a lot more demand for drugs. And a lot of people won't shop drug dealers to the police, even if they know about it. Because it's not worth the effort, and they might like to buy drugs sometime. Plus for the low-level ones the police may not make massive efforts.

Put the police onto a dealer in child porn, and you'll get a lot more attention from them. And your neighbours will cheer you on for shopping them.

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Re: Priorities

It is just possible that she did both you know. I mean this isn't exactly a hard concept to grasp.

But perhaps after doing so, didn't fancy naked pictures of her daughter being left online?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Out of sight out of mind can be useful. I admit that I'm not up on the academic literature on child abuse or anything, I've only heard a few academics discussing it on Radio 4 on a few programs. But there's quite a lot of current theory to suggest that more people are moving from the stage of having sexual thoughts about kids to actually getting hold of child porn, or even worse. And that this is partly down to the internet. Twenty years ago someone might have those thoughts, but if they didn't know anybody else who did - how were the supposed to do anything about it? Whereas now they can find a "community" of like-minded pewople online - and that may lead to people who 20 years ago would have just put it down to being different to everyone else and do nothing about it - now having those thought reinforced by finding a peer group, and then maybe taking the next steps of getting hold of indecent images or worse acting on those impulses.

I'm happy to be contradicted if I've misunderstood, or the debate has changed in the last few years - but it's a theory that makes sense - so making child porn harder to find online sounds like a good idea.

Plus making it hard to sell it, makes it less lucrative to make it, which hopefully leads to fewer children being abused for the purpose. And fewer scumbags profiting from it. That's a win-win-win situation.

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Stuff the movement of celestial spheres, let's sit down and watch Bonnie Tyler on TV

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Perhaps the headmaster just wanted a look?

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Re: Drones can check out any guests

My first thought when they suggested drones to police your BBQ was not that it was a great idea. But that if I was going to do it, they'd enforce a bring a bottle policy. No acceptable booze with you and targetting mode is engaged. "You have 20 seconds to comply".

If it detects Blue Nunn or Lambrusco, then no warning will be given before opening fire. I'm not having checmical warfare at my house.

Then my psyche shows how low it's willing to go, by planning the mode that enforces laughter at my jokes with the threat of fiery death from the sky.

Does this make me a bad person?

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Re: Sheer Heart attack

It should be the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive.

That's the correct beat to do cardiac compressions to, if you ever end up doing CPR. Which is a lot faster than people expect. Advice seems to differ on whether you should bother to stop to breathe for the patient if you're on your own - so if you take the US official advice and don't, you should even have enough breath to be able to sing along...

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HSBC biz banking crypto: The case of the vanishing green padlock and... what domain are we on again?

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Natwest used to do this. Which is even worse, as one minute you'd be on a Natwest domain, and the next an RBS one. Which could be just incredibly confusing if you don't realise they're the same banking group - and is just a stupid thing to do if you want to encourage customers to watch out for security.

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Dude who claimed he invented email is told by judge: It's safe to say you didn't invent email

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Re: What's the constitution got to do with anything?

As I understand it, if you can prove the truth of your statements, it's not libel. Even if it harms someone's reputation. The problem is where you can't. In England and Wales (Scotland has a different legal system) you can allege something you believe to be true, but if you can't prove it to the jury's satisfaction - then you lose. And the burden of proof is on you, the defendant, which is unusual compared with most other types of case. So Private Eye lost to Robert Maxwell about his theft of company money, because they had the right inside info, but were unable to prove it. And even after his death, and wrongdoing became public knowledge, I seem to remember they tried to recover their libel loss from his estate and still didn't get it.

The US is different. It's not truth that the Constitution protects, it's freedom of speech. And I think the US leans far more towards fair comment. If you weren't publishing it maliciously and you sincerely believed it to be true, and had actually done some checking, then you don't have to prove your allegations to the civil court standard of "in the balance of probabilities". Criminal standard being "beyond reasonable doubt", of course.

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I hate mushy peas. I'm suing you for mental trauma!

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Re: To speak to someone?

The strength of mail by carrier pigeon is that the message is supplied along with a tasty treat.

The weakness is that it's very hard to reply.

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As Hurricane Irma grows, Earth now lashed by SOLAR storms

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Re: space, it's not so smooth

Valves are immune to EMP. So how do they do against those nasty massively charged particles in space? Could we build them a nice valve computer - or at least a valve amp for their guitar, so they've got something to do while awaiting certain death.

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Re: Public nudity?

I was in Brighton last year, when a couple of thousand people on The Naked Bike Ride went past. It's the largest increase in public nudity that I've ever come across.*

My immediate thought was "chafing!" Oh and, don't get caught in the chain...

*Yes, I realised what I'd done as was I typing it. But couldn't bring myself to delete it.

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A furious think-tank boss, Google, and an academic 'fired' for criticizing ads giant

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Re: "Maybe they can turn it around but for now consider selling Google"

There's a danger for Google in being too successful.

MS got a slap on the wrist and a fat fine, and just damaged their brand.

But Google are really important to how the internet works, and hold vast amounts of personal data. You can buy off politicians to ignore all that for a bit. But if/when the public do notice and the pitchforks come ou, those politicians will just turn on you - and could legislate you out of existence. Or break your company up like the Telecoms monopolies.

It takes effort to become that unpopular. But the data Google have could make them look so terrifying, that they need to be careful and sort out their PR.

It takes a long time to live down a bad image.

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Re: Lost me here...

Your post is ridiculous.

Most think tanks don't make huge money. Nobody is retiring to the Bahamas! Most of them can't even afford to fully staff themselves.

This kind of lazy-thinking, accusatory, bull-shittery is as much a reason that politics is in the state it's in as arseholes like Trump. Impugning people's motives for shits-and-giggles.

Do some people go into the political realm for bad reasons? Of course they do. Do all people who go into politcs do it for bad reasons? Of course not. Get a grip!

Sure think tanks have biases. But mostly they're known and that's why they attract the funding they do. Which means it's much less of a problem. Especially if you've got a vibrant mix of different ones.

Because they're also vitally important. Most political parties are also under-funded. The US is unusual in the vast sums they spend on politics. But even there, most of that cash goes on campaigning. The boring slog of looking at policy is mostly left to government. Governing parties are usually too busy - except for immediate policy work where they use government, and the opposition are usually too poor.

So think tanks perform a useful role in a weird no-man's land.

Not that it's not subject to corruption. But it's a space where useful thinking can also happen.

Look at Greece for a counter-example. Because London has a huge political scene, when Gordon Brown was indulging in a few shennanigans to keep things off the UK balance sheet (like Network Rail, PFI etc.), it was widely covered. Lots of policy wonks of all types look at the politics and economics here. The Greek government managed to run a 10% deficit for several years, and just lie about it. And nobody noticed. And because they don't have the kind of non-party political analysis going on, nobody spotted it, until it was disastrously too late. That, and being in the Euro, then doomed them to at least a decade of a depression as bad as the 1930s.

Outside analysis of policy is good. Even if flawed.

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Facebook ran $100k of deliberately divisive Russian ads ahead of 2016 US election

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Re: Figures

What's wrong with Soros? As opposed to any other mouthy billionaire trying to buy political influence and look important. Why does he get special mention?

It wouldn't be the J word would it?

Please don't tell me he's part of the global jewish conspiracy or something. Because that would be really boring.

I suppose it's no less bollocks than talking about the New World Order. Just a bit more racist.

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Re: Whar sort of moron.....

Facebook are saying that the ads weren't overtly supporting any candidate.

So I'd imagine the campaign (if it exists) is a little more subtle than that. What you want to do is decrease trust in US institutions, such as government and media. Then raise the noise and chaos level, and so hope that lots of people will ignore all those horrible stories about Trump and just assume "all politicians are as bad as each other".

It's essentially a nihilistic strategy. Sow lots of chaos, hope for the best.

An ex diplomat who's blog I read (Charles Crawford) was a reasonably high-up bod in the Foreign Office, ambassador to Serbia during and after the break-up of Yugoslavia and also ambasador in Warsaw and at a more junior level in Moscow.

He quotes from the Joker Batman when talking about Putin. He claims their outlook is "chaos is fair". We may have totally fucked up the governance of our country, so that growth has stopped and the economy is going backwards, our politics and society may be fucked and our military falling behind due to lack of cash. But how dare you think you're better than us? If we can fuck the world up a bit more then that chaos may level the playing field towards us a bit - and even if it makes things worse - who cares. At least they're worse for you, as well as us.

He describes it as a completely different attitude to foreign relations / politics.

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Oracle 'systematically denies' its sales reps their commissions, forces them to work to pay off 'debts', court told

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Oracle accounts is some of the most horrible software I've ever had the misfortune to use. This was about 15 years ago, so maybe it's better now.

I mean, it's accounts. I don't expect it to be fun. Nor do I expect a good UI (though I'd like one). So the sort of lazy Visual Basic / Windows 95 look was fine for some essentially dull business software in 2001. It looked like something thrown together by the IT department's junior trainee, for an unimportant litte business app - not a multi-billion selling industry behemoth.

It was actively user hostile. There were nested menus all over the shop, and none of them were labelled in any meaningful way at all. You basically had to write down instructions for any action you didn't perform daily, because it was so un-intuitive that if you couldn't remember, there was fuck-all chance of working it out. And I'm good at this stuff. In fact, it's the only software where I've ever had to write instructions for myself.

Oh and when you uploaded a csv file, it would reject it, if it didn't balance to 16 decimal places. Now I know introducing rounding errors isn't great - but for major company accounts a couple of pence really is irrelevant. It also didn't tell you why it rejected it, just "upload failed".

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Re: Oracle is clearly run by Darth Vader

That's no yacht!

No. It is a fully-operational battle station.

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China bans crypto-currency fundraising schemes

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Re: @David Roberts

You don't get any rights at all. It's almost certainly a scam. Even if not, you're shouldering the risk - as I'm sure they'll grant themselves lots of free coins, just in case the thing does actually take off.

After all, half the point of digital currencies for many poeple is avoiding government regulations, and tax and laws and such pesky stuff.

There's an argument that securities legislation applies to digital currency in the US (as the SEC has decided it thinks it does), but nobody seems to be taking that very seriousy yet.

Anyway none of these things are audited, or proplery documented or controlled. So you've got nothing.

Also they're not guaranteeing that this digital moolah will have a fixed face value. So you've got no way to argue that you've lost anything. This advertising one may be backed by them promising to honour the coins for a certain amount of advertising, but I bet it isn't. And even if it were, that doesn't protect you if they go bust.

If you buy shares in a limited company - then that company is subject to audit, the directors are legally responsible for not outright stealing your cash and a VC probably signs a deal to get access to the books and/or a seat on the board.

The similarity is that there's no transparent market for shares in private limited companies. So they're impossible to value, until you sell them. If you can even find anyone to buy them that is. Lots of people invest in small companies, but choose profitable ones to get an income, rather than what VCs do, which is gambling on getting a huge pay-out to cover all the losing bets.

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Re: What can you spend the tokens on?

David Roberts,

I wouldn't call any of the, mostly thoughtful, posts above "rants" about anything. But this being a thread about digital currency, people are mostly discussing Bitcoin.

To answer your question, it's almost certainly a scam.

The people who created Bitcoin got rich*, by owning the first coins. Which they granted themselves effectively for free - and then as the currency took off, they owned a nice chunk of it. And that was a thing, and Bitcoin succeeded to some extent, so you can argue they earned that money. After all, they'd invented a new thing, or at least a new way of doing an old thing, and people found it useful, and so used it.

Then Etherium and a few other Bitcoin clones came along. And some of them actually get used. Heaven knows why, because Bitcoin already existed. And presumably those people knew about the first Bitcoiners doing so well, and so wanted a piece of that action themselves - rather than just using Bitcoin. But I guess they put the right unique features into theirs, that people would use it. Apart from the ones that failed of course.

But now? It's a crowded market. Maybe nobody thinks they can successfully start a new thingy-coin and get other people to actually use it. And if nobody joins in, they don't get rich from having the first few blocks. Sad. This way you just get people to give you money straight out. Hooray! Then if your coin-thing is shit/unpopular/unlucky, who cares. You've already been paid!

They've like and unlike shares. More like the kind of shares venture capitalists buy. When Facebook did their IPO, you had a company that was turning over something like $10bn a year, and making a billion or two of profits. So you knew that if you bought shares in it, you were buying a share of something profitable. It might not last, or it might be hideously over-priced, but it was an existing enterprise, with buildings, and staff and network infrastructure and customers. The first VCs who bought into it got a share, but it was a much more notional value. So maybe they guessed it would be worth $100m, took 5% and so offered $5 million. The IPO was for a value of $100bn, so these notional people would have turned $5m into $5bn! But they've probably put a lot of $5m stakes into companies, and I believe the going rate for tech VCs is you make 10 investments for a tiny return on 1, losing everything on 8 and get a fat profit on 1 that covers the rest.

So if you buy into an ICO, you're trusting that these people have a good business plan, know what they're doing, can get the software right, can get customers and aren't just out to steal your cash. VCs do this by having lots of meetings, getting lots of references and maybe helping with the bits of the business plan the company can't handle themselves. Plus getting a seat on the board, so they can keep an eye out. Investors into an ICO are just hoping to get rich* quick.

Company scrip is different. The deal was to under-pay your miners/factory workers. You issued the currency, but that could only be spent in the company shops and pubs. This meant you could sell to them for a guaranteed profit. So you were effectively paying them in goods, not cash. But if you were too stingy, they could work out what they were getting, and bugger off to the factory down the road. And if you ever stopped paying, you went bust for lack of workers.

This ad-coin thingy is just selling the hope that other people will use the coins. Unless they give a legal guarantee that their company will honour them at a fixed rate - then at least you know they go bust if they steal your money.

*For a given value of rich. My quick look at exchanges yesterday showed none that had traded more than a couple of thousand dollars in a day. So that means none of them had converted even a single Bitcoin into real cash. So if you've got 1,000BTC, theoretically worth $4 million, you'd struggle tor realise much more than 1BTC worth of it a day - and that would have to be into a mix of dollars, yen, Euros, pounds and Yuan. The Yuan isn't freely convertible, so useless unless you have a Chinese bank account. Transaction and currency conversion is probably going to cost you about 10% of your fortune - and it's going to take you years to realise your cash. Try selling even 10 BTC and you may materially affect the price. Try selling 100 in a week - you may find you've crashed it.

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Re: Cryptocurrencies defy the purpose of money + devalue other currencies

Given there are only a finite amount of physical goods that can be traded, does the introduction of new currencies not threaten the value of established currencies? Every time a purchase is made using a new currency, the set of goods available for purchase reduces, but the total amount of old currencies in circulation remains unchanged.

No. It doesn't really work like that. Firstly the world economy is growing. So there's plenty of room to take a share of the pie and for everyone else to still have more pie than they had before - depending on the numbers. And Bitcoin is still very small potatoes.

Secondly we have productivity growth. This means we're continually able to do more stuff for the same resources. Also our resources are growing. Obviously there's no new oil going to be turning up, but we're getting more people - and also much more renewable power generation, to name a couple of things.

Also as economies advance, a lot more of their production comes from services. Which often need much fewer inputs, and use more people. So increasing population ups the available resources, as well as globally improving education meaning more people can do more things.

Economic growth is also often a virtuous circle. It's certainly not a zero sum game - because money circulates, almost nobody holds on to it in a pile of gold under the bed. So if I get paid more for my work, I've got more to pay you for yours and so and, and etc.

You do have a point about volatility.

though that can go too far. The problem with the gold standard is that if the gold supply grew slower than the economy, you got deflation. And if it grew faster, you got inflation. It basically wasn't all that stable at all. Plus there are times when economic purity is disastrous. QE saved the British and US economies from much worse recessions in 2008. Also determined QE has pulled Japan out of a 20 year stagnation - basically by forcing inflation on people. We even have a counter-example, something quite rare in economics. The Eurozone did better in the recession than the UK/US - but then didn't do QE and so recovered less well, and then mostly dropped back into recession when the US and UK didn't. Then when they did QE, they recovered. So inflation ain't always bad. That's why central banks try to increase the money supply at roughly the same rate as the economy grows.

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Re: What can you spend the tokens on?

MonkeyBob,

Thanks for that info, I wasn't aware of it. It suggests the Bitcoin economy is more vibrant than I thought.

Although I've also realised that this info doesn't give much of a measure of the Bitcoin economy on its own. As people use the blockchain for validating software licenses nowadays, and also to carry other information. Though that's micro transactions, so unless millions of them happen every few minutes, shouldn't have too much effect. But also you undertake a blockchain transaction every time you move money between different personal wallets - or a company/exchange does.

But it's still a lot more transactions than I was expecting from looking at the exchanges.

Oh and the post I was replying to above, from an anon, has now been deleted. So there's no longer any vague conspiracy theory about politicians using Bitcoin for nefarious purposes for me to have argued against. Ooops.

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Re: Typical

China operates financial repression. Which is a reason to ban Bitcoin.

That's an economic term by the way, not a political insult. QE is a also a means of financial repression. It means to try to disuade people from saving in banks (usually with below inflation interest rates), in order to either force them to spend their money and boost the economy, or at least to take more risk with it - so that they're boosting investment (and thus the economy). So Chinese banks pay about 1% interest, even though inflation's nearer 10% - which is one reason Chinese people are so desperate to find places to put their savings that they'll risk Bitcoin. Especially after last year's shennanigans with the stock market.

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Re: What can you spend the tokens on?

Why the conspiracy theories?

Politicians haven't regulated Bitcoin, because nobody uses it. They've got much more important stuff to do.

There are about 5-20k (ave c10,000) transactions a day on all the exchanges tracked by Bitcoincharts. But then their top exchange is only doing a couple of thousand dollars a day in volume - so most of those transactions are for 0.1 of a Bitcoin.

To be fair, Bitcoin Charts may be crap. When I looked at it years ago, it seemed to list all/most of the top exchanges, but since the ones I've heard of all seem to have gone bust / closed down stealing most users' money, I've no idea what's current.

Volatility is still huge though, which suggests the charts are right, and the market isn't liquid. So there may be lots of coins being held, but few people are trading them back into real money. Meaning many people may have paper fortunes, but when they try to realise them, they'll crash the market. Which isn't a problem if there's stuff to spend them on, but I've not seen figures for how large the Bitcoin economy now is - as opposed to exchanges with real money.

It could be that nobody gathers those stats - though it should be dead easy to work out the velocity of money from the blockchain. Prices a bit harder. Maybe there's a huge economy going on there, and nobody's noticed - in which case low exchange volumes are irrelevant and Bitcoin's important. Otherwise it's just a weird internet fad.

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Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

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Re: You're nicked, me old son

Surely Inspector Regan would be better? Then you can shout at Sergeant Carter to get you a beer. Or a scotch...

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Some banks now do TV ads about how to spot the phone scammers. Yet still my credit card company phone me up and ask for name, date of birth and credit card number to prove who I am!

Your phoning me! On the mobile number I gave you on setting up the account! There's a good chance it's me, or my mobile's been stolen in the last day or so and I've not had time to cancel it. Yet who the fuck are you!

At least that Verified by Visa non-security web pisstake thingy has a word you gave them, so you know there's a passing chance it may be their computer you're talking to.

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BT care so much about your security - they outsourced their email to Yahoo! Then did bugger all after the multiple data breaches, other than forcing password resets.

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Hurricane Irma imperils first ever SpaceX shuttle launch: US military's secret squirrel X-37B

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Re: Re. storms

Couldn't we just nuke Florida? Then the hurricane damage would make no appreciable difference - so everyone's a winner.

Plus we get giant mutant alligators.

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It would be much cooler if they could make their escape by rocket...

Perhaps in ten years, when they have a re-usable fleet of rockets and Dragon 2 capsules.

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Argentina eyes up laser death cannon testbed warship

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Re: “Islas Malvinas” (the unofficial, Argentine, name of the Falklands)

If the government is not democratically elected, but is recognised internationally, then it gets to do the naming. If there's a genuine dispute, rather than just a few people objecting who mostly get ignored, then you get weird no-right-answer conditions. Which has always happened.

There is, and can be, no perfect solution. And the UN has to try and get stuff done, so tries to have standards. But this does lead to ludicrous situations like having a country called "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

The process is a bit weird with non self-governing territories/dependent territories. Because they haven't really gone through the same international recognition that a country has - so there's an argument to say that nobody can give them an official name, since nobody has been recognised to do so.

Like lots of international law, it comes down to there being nobody to enforce any decision made, so there is no real answer. Partly because there's no mechanism to deal with 2 different bits of international law being incompatible.

So OK, nothing is official. The UN decolonisation committee's final answer at the moment is that there need to be talks over sovereignty (presumably in order to give Argentina a chance to colonise the place?), so looks like there'll be no solution for a while.

But lots of countries recognise the Falkland Islands government. They call it the Falkland Islands. That's the official name. It's as official as anything you can get. As with much law, it's all just legal opinion until you can get a court to decide the right answer.

I don't have any jingoistic preferences by the way. Just an interpretation of a murky legal situation. If you're speaking spanish, it's the Malvinas, Malouines in french, Falklands in english.

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Re: Small inaccuracy

So basically you both think, he's talking a load of bullwarks?

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Re: Operation Malvinas

Adam 52,

Corbyn seems to be mostly anti-violence, unless that violence is being perpetrated against us. In which case it's legitimate anti-imperial struggle.

OK, that's a touch unfair I admit. But he's an awful lot more forgiving of people like Hamas and the IRA than he manages for his own government. It's all very well to make the easy call for negotiations, but sometimes there's nothing to negotiate. The last invasion of the Falklands happened while were in the midst of sovereignty negotiations. Some historians think that this is one of the main reasons it happened, basically because it looked like the government (read Foreign Office) were so keen to get rid of the Islands , that nobody would object too strenuously if they made it a fait accompli.

So what is there to negotiate about? The Falklanders don't want joint sovereignty. Possibly because of what happened the last time it was being negotiated? Maybe because they're distrustful of the Foreign Office? Perhaps both. Whatever, there's an easy answer here. No. It's nice and simple. When Argentina has earned the trust of the locals, then it can propose something to their liking, and then we should simply rubber-stamp it.

Corbyn is showing his crappy old student-lefty politics when he suggests anything else. Argentina have no rights to the place. Their claim basically rests on the idea that it was part of the same bit of the Spanish empire as them, they're close, so it's theirs. That's utter bollocks. Otherwise we should own Northern France.

He also completely ignores self-determination. Which is a fundamental principle of international law. Now to be fair, this can get complicated, for example the fate of Russian minorities in ex-Soviet states. Or when trying to sort out the mess after ethnic cleansing/genocide.

But the Falklands is dead easy. Nobody lived there before it was colonised, then Britain, Spain and France pissed about chucking each others' colonists off, then Britain finally got it written into a treaty - and has been there ever since.

Nobody lived there, nobody lost anything,

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Re: Time For Argentina to Move on and Drop the Sovereignty Claim

I'm amazed by the 8 downvotes. They really don't have any kind of valid claim - and even if they did it's not like there are any people living (or dead) who have claims to any land there. Given that the islands were uninhabited when colonised by the French, British and Spanish in a sort of imperial game of musical-chairs-with-gunboats.

They're a few hundred miles of the coast of Argentina, so it's not like they're somehow "so close by they're automatically ours". Otherwise France would be British-owned. Although I admit that we were a bit slow on the uptake there and only stopped officially claiming it sometime around 1800. George III was the last monarch crowned King of France, Mary I was the last monarch to hold Calais - and even by then it was just a final reminder of when Henry V might have kept France, if he'd lived.

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Re: interesting name leads to interesting subject

Puerto Rico have had several referenda on fully joining the US, but so far have voted not to. That's about half of what I know about politics in Puerto Rico though, so I've no idea why.

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Re: “Islas Malvinas” (the unofficial, Argentine, name of the Falklands)

The official name of the place is the Falkland Islands. Because that's what the people who live there call it. See official government website.

Not that there's anything wrong with calling them different things in different languages. The French named them les iles de Malouines - which is apparently where the spanish Malvinas originates.

The UN may have a convention on the name to smooth over pointless awkwardness, and that's all fine and dandy, but the official name is what the democratically accountable government says it is.

It's almost an excellent government too. They use Reg standard units, in describing the islands as about half the size of Wales. But also lose marks for daring to deviate from them by saying they're also about the same size as Conneticut. I wasn't aware that Conneticut was anyone's standard area. I thought people from the US judged things in relation to the size of Texas?

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