* Posts by Alistair Thomas

7 posts • joined 23 Jul 2011

Brexit has shafted the UK's space sector, lord warns science minister

Alistair Thomas

Re: EU big, EU right

... and this drain to the continent and prejudice of German-based management to German and French speakers was going to be less if we had remained?

It seems to me that Brexit provides a golden opportunity to call out the EU on the discriminatory practices you highlight and get some redress if we are to stay in the club.

However higher education is funded (debts currently) it occurs to me that we could attempt to stem the flow of qualified folk leaving by investing properly in vital industries and having some programme of debt repayment in areas of vital skills, science, engineering, teaching, medical etc in exchange for service. After say 5 - 10 years, a qualified person should be debt free and free to go wherever they like, but hopefully by that point they'll be part of something bigger and meaningful and will choose to stay. By contrast, those that choose to work for other countries should have higher debt repayment schedules (expressed not as a penalty but as a lack of a concession that a UK worker would receive).

You've highlighted a problem, what's your solution? In the EU or out of the EU is just geography.

Alistair Thomas

Re: Before we get too excited. Keep in mind Canada is a member of ESA.

Don't let facts get in the way of a good story. There's no place for common sense like yours in this debate.

Many young remoaners want to have a good rant and slag off old people who have already contributed most of their lives to provide much of the framework of support and opportunity that young folk now take for granted.

Alistair Thomas

What is all the fuss about?

As in most things EU, the UK is a massive contributor in this area. We're locked into our commitments until the end of the financial cycle anyway, but is it so bad to review this?

We put in a certain amount, what do we get back? Is it worth it? Could we invest the same or even more with different partners and get better results? Is the EU looking for non-EU partners in this type of venture and if not, why not? Do key players in the Commonwealth have a space/sat communications programme, or are they singularly or collectively part of something bigger? Could we follow suit?

Why do the doom-mongers and nay-sayers assume that Brexit means cancelling everything good we 've ever done? Why can't it mean being smarter with our money than just going along with the EU herd? If sticking with the EU herd is the best option after review then why would they want to lose a significant contributor? Too much emotion and too little business sense characterises debate in this area and the while Brexit shambles.

Is this cherry picking? Too right. The EU wastes vast amounts of its citizens' money and it's past time that all EU members started cherry picking the bits that work and binning the bits that don't. It's called scrutiny; holding the ruling elite to account. The whole of Europe could do with a little more accountability.

Cooky crumbles: Apple mulls yanking profits out of Europe and into US

Alistair Thomas

No tax on profits, no sales

If Apple want to play silly games and pretend that the profits aren't made in the countries that provide their sales revenue, then let's just close all Apple stores in Europe other than in Ireland until this "misunderstanding" can be sorted out - they aren't making any profit, so no harm, no foul. Since the tax hasn't been paid, all licenses issued by Apple to consumers are invalid and using such products should be ruled illegal. Users should be offered the ability to continue using such products by applying directly to their national government to pay the 12.5% on Apple's behalf. Apple is practically a religion anyway; for its supporters, it will be like handing round the collection plate for this "worthy" cause.

In short, if Apple want a sales/tax war, we should give it to them. There is no obligation to allow Apple to sell products in Europe. Tim Cook may not have noticed, but it's not just infrastructure, education and health that suffers when companies don't pay a fair share. We have a global problem in the Middle East causing millions to have to flee their homes, and the US is no small player in this affair. We need responsible global citizens (companies included) to play their part so that we have the resources to fix these issues and deal with the consequences for those innocents so adversely affected. Shame on you Apple - you make M$ look like veritable angels by comparison.

BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

Alistair Thomas

Trust the BBC to leave you high and dry all over again, just like the BBC Micro

Tony Hall should resign forthwith - this is not what the BBC is about, and if he doesn't realise that then he has no business being its leader.

The BBC is a content producer, news agency, possibly the best in the world. Within its remit, some of its content could be, actually is, educational. I'm certain that the BBC could produce and coordinate some of the best content possible to support the national curriculum, and it could market it to the English speaking world and beyond. Its content should be cross platform, absolute.

It is not a computer company. How many 1000s of teachers and young people bought into their last forray into computers back in the 80s? How many people trusted the BBC to be a leading light in microcomputers, programming and the like only to lose out when it turned out that IBM, Microsoft and even Apple were the true leaders in the field? What was it that those companies had that the BBC lacked? Could it be that they really were computer companies.

How many of the programs written for the BBC micro run on modern computers? How many of those programs formed the foundation of further work done in the 90s and 00s? None. As soon as the real standards from the real leaders emerged, the BBC gave up its hobby because it couldn't compete. How many millions of teaching hours were lost because teachers trusted the BBC and invested their time and effort in a false hope?

Stick to content BBC. Work with Microsoft and other application developers to develop world class content for machines like Raspberry Pi. Show young children how computers can be used to create world class content. If you think there is a gap in the market for a particular piece of hardware then work with a hardware specialist and producers of development tools to produce world class content / applications to complement it. Even if you have the expertise to produce the first device, you don't have the staying power to produce the second or the third because it is not your business.

UK's solar 'leccy cash slash ruled unlawful

Alistair Thomas

I'm surprised that all the bleeding heart organisations that want a greener future seem to overlook that the money to pay for these schemes comes from every electricity user in the form of a stealth tax ("levies"). That means that every poor or elderly person pays, every hard working family pays. The people that benefit from this scheme are the rich investors that can afford to put panels on other people's roofs. Whatever else this scheme is, it is a wealth redistribution scheme from the poor to the rich; from the many to the few. Typical New Labour.

Of course Tories cannot see this, otherwise they would have fixed the scheme properly to enable the many to participate whilst closing off this sure thing to rich investors. By making the investment unattractive, they just put it even further out of reach to the many domestic users and small businesses they should be convincing to take a stake holding.

The "Free Electricity" installations that have taken place (where people give up their roofs to have panels installed - they get the electricity (11p/unit?) and the investor keeps the FiT (43p/unit)) can even have a perverse effect whereby, since the electricity is "Free" the users have even less inclination to reduce usage.

A total mess from beginning to end. Feckless politicians.

Adobe releases lengthy list of Apple Lion woes

Alistair Thomas

Why Apple will never be trusted by enterprise

If a major partner like Adobe cannot trust Apple to provide backward compatibility for its products then how can enterprise clients whose application development is much slower than Adobe's ever trust Apple as a stable platform.

Adobe may accept that they have to redesign their product every time Apple has a bright idea. Adobe customers may accept that they have to buy a new version of their Adobe products every time Apple has a bright idea, but enterprise clients that use IT to run their business and not sell it on for profit just want a secure,reliable platform. Microsoft understood this 30 years ago. That's why Microsoft is in the enterprise and Apple is for niche professionals and hobbyists.

In the medium to long term, a business's investment in applications and staff knowledge about them far outweighs its investment in the supporting platform, or at least it should. Business cannot afford to overhaul its enterprise suite of applications every time the platform changes. That's why so many are still on Win XP.

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