* Posts by Ledswinger

5412 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Boffins back bubbles for better bonding with beautiful belongings

Ledswinger
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Re: Structural Integrity

and it won't replace existing approaches to make strong components.

Although I should add there's rumours of a certain aerospace company looking at the potential to 3D print the major form of entire aircraft wings as a single component - just add bracing and the parts that can't be printed afterwards.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Structural Integrity

seems like a very bad idea

Very few 3D printed objects I've seen (including in the labs of a number of university engineering schools) would be troubled by this, because strength is not generally a key attribute of 3D printing. For all out strength you'd use different approaches such as precision injection moulding of particular plastics, make stuff out of composites, or use metal that's forged or cast (up to an including single crystal castings for stuff like turbine blades). There's some metal 3D printers used by the defence sector to do clever stuff, but even then the poiint is to save weight with mid strength components that couldn't be machined or cast.

3D printing is a fantastic tech, it is improving all the time, and applications are growing with familiarity and technology improvements. But it doesn't look like being a volume production technique any time soon, and it won't replace existing approaches to make strong components.

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Vodafone reports sliding revenues but customers don't hate them as much

Ledswinger
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"pointing to a higher net promoter score"

I think I've found the problem.

Net Promoter Score is a proprietary technique that can work well, but is unfortunately easily manipulated, simply by choosing who is asked to rate the service, and at what point they are asked. Anybody familiar with a helpdesk run under SLA will notice that requests for feedback seem to crop up for all the easy, first time fixes, but never when you're querying an unresolved, complex ticket that's months overdue.

NPS can work very well, but it is a bit like immunisations - you need to have a very high coverage for it to be effective at a population level. In practice, companies latch onto to NPS, pay the licence fee, and then incentivise managers to improve the figure. The NPS score improves, and the companies kid themselves that they are improving, even though nobody outside the company believes this. I speak from experience, working for one of a number of energy suppliers who use NPS, and our scores have (apparently) improved considerably and consistently over recent years. Until you look at impartial and external data, like customer complaints, time to complaint resolution, ombsudman referrals, and customer losses, all of which show no improvement at all. Looks the same over at Toadafone.

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Virgin Media broadband latency headaches still not fixed six months on

Ledswinger
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Re: Wheres offcom?

Wheres ofcom?

Fast asleep under a stone, same as ever.

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Moneysupermarket fined £80,000 for spamming seven million customers

Ledswinger
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Re: Personally speaking,

Governance is generally lead from the board of directors based on the remit of the shareholders...thus it's very very serious.

You're right, and I get that. But I'm not sure you can extend minor (for a given value of minor) crimes to be an indicator of more serious problems. The same logic would say that if there's petty expenses fraud, or staff stealing the stationery, then the whole company lacks financial governance and is at risk of serious fraud. Petty and major crime can certainly go hand in hand, but as a general rule, inflated mileage claims or stolen post it notes are not an indicator of anything seriously wrong with corporate governance. I speak from some experience, including working for a £250m company that went bust on the back of serious fraud, and working for another that got fined the fat end of £40m for wilful fraud. Both had robust, audited expenses processes...

The misuse of millions of customers' data is certainly more serious than you or I taking a single pack of "post-its" (some may differ on that, let him without sin etc), but the actual harm to the customers? Data governance is an emerging issue. There's some cowboys in every line of business, and mistakes will be made. But spamming out a load of undesired marketing email isn't in the same league as a real data governance problem that exposes customers' personal data.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Personally speaking,

If they cant be trusted with a simple opt-out request, they cannot be trusted to do anything.

Maybe. But I suspect that the spamming here is down to the ignorance or wilful abuse by a few marketing droids, obsessed by their latest "campaign", seeking eyeballs and click throughs. Having worked on the edges of marketing, I think many of those involved are so shallow and ill-informed that its hardly surprising that we see mis-use of customer data. In many cases, I'd go as far as to suggest that the marketing peeps THINK that they are compliant in this situation because the data is current or previous customers, and they've not realised that although the law allows a "soft opt-in" for customers, opting out nullifies that.

The question then arises whether the stupidity of a few marketing bods is representative of the firm's approach to its core business. In most larger businesses, I think generally not (exception for Talk Talk in particular). So would I trust Moneysupermarket to do a reasonably good job of market analysis and offering me close to best value on financial products? Yes. The service isn't free, they'll be making a buck somewhere, if I put the effort in I could find a better deal myself, but overall, the misuse of customer data by marketing makes me distrust marketers (and advertisers) in general far more than it sullies the company's own brand.

Now, if they suffered a really serious compromise of customer data, that's different, as in the case of Talk Talk and others.

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HMS Frigatey Mcfrigateface given her official name

Ledswinger
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Re: In the event of Scottish independence

do the Scots get the warship?

I'm sure they could negotiate to have a share of RN assets in any Scoxit process, but since the SNP don't have a coherent defence policy, it isn't clear what use one or two expensive, state of the art frigates would be. Personally I can't see England and Scotland going back to wars with each other, and there's not a long list of foreign powers eager to invade Scotland. When they give the British and Yank nuclear fleets the boot, they won't need to care if the Ruskies or others are prowling around the Scottish coast, so all they then need is a fair number of fast, all-weather patrol craft to do fisheries, customs and rescue duties.

Assuming they did take this frigate and stick with the name, what would be the point of the PSSRS Glasgow*, other than as a means of providing official sea transport to Wee Jimme Crankie?

* PSSRS: People's Scottish Soviet Republic Ship

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UK mobile number porting creaks: Arcane system shows its age

Ledswinger
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Re: Why oh why etc.

Surely it's time for the UK to have a Mobile "Transco/Network Rail" that owns all the infrastructure and data and the "carriers" could just be billing agents?

Errm, no.

Do you really think the energy or rail markets are a model for mobile phones to follow? And if the carriers were reduced to mere billing agents with minimal ownership of the cost build, and no operational control or influence over assets, why bother having that pretend level of competition on the final 10% of the value chain? I work for an energy supplier, and I can assure you that the idea of splitting up the value chain in utilities has had a few modest benefits, but nowhere near enough to justify the idea.

The other flaw in your suggestion is to believe that a single network operator who took over the hugely overlapping assets of the existing MNOs would do a good job. In the electricity and gas markets this hasn't been a ringing success (and you should note that Transco has long been broken up into separate networks owned and operated by four different companies). Anyway, heard of Openreach? Suitably monopolistic, but not exactly a paragon of customer service and providing a great broadband service, is it?

Even if a single asset provider merged the assets, they'd set to to reduce the duplication, and they'd be most unlikely to build out the network where there's no coverage. Serving mobile signals to sheep will continue to have a zero profit potential, so it won't happen unless a board director happens to be inconvenienced.

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Insurers claim cyber calamities could cost more than Hurricane Sandy

Ledswinger
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Re: It's no good; I can't take it any more

Cyber: you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Much as I enjoyed the rant, what term do you suggest that would convey the intended meaning?

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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4G: Tube comms trials for emergency crews

Ledswinger
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Noooooooooooooooooooo!

The aim is that the technology will eventually be used to allow the public to use 4G in the underground tunnels

Imagine the stench, heat, overcrowding, sloth and discomfort of the tube. Now think, is there any possible way to make it worse? The only answer (within the law) is to add the pain of numerous arseholes blathering inanities loudly into their phones.

Another reason to walk.

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Watson AI panned, 5¼ years of sales decline ... Does IBM now stand for Inferior Biz Model?

Ledswinger
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Re: Unfair

All those above are examples of already endangered behemoths before those women took over.

But the challenge is that these women have mostly had ample time to come up with a solution to the male-induced malaise, but in practice they've merely continued the poor decisions and corporate decline initiated by their male predecessors.

I've worked for a whole range of female bosses, and the sample from my career is that they are generally better people managers than my male bosses (with the women having a pleasingly "stereotypical" leaning towards EQ over logical planning). Equally, I've worked with quite a lot of directors, and the female directors don't seem to have that EQ. My guess is that the top executives are all pushy, self promoting, aggressive alpha male types, and those are the characteristics that the named female tech executives were recruited for, and that "executive search" firms look for.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Not sure comparing job postings is that accurate

Not sure comparing job postings is that accurate

But it is a good proxy. Most businesses don't release sufficient information to estimate their future value, so what any reasonable analyst will do is look for a credible proxy measure for the information they would prefer to have. This use of proxy measures happens in many fields beyond business - medicine, law enforcement, public health, planning and policy, demand forecasting in many industries etc etc.

In the case of ML (and for that matter in the field of equity analysts who did the research), top talent may be head hunted, but public job postings for lower and mid -senior levels are a very good clue about the depth of resource being taken on, and the commitment of the company concerned.

Looking at the financials, I'll side with Jeffries on this.

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UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Ledswinger
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Re: Jesus, NO! @RyokuMas

No, because that's an entirely natural process

So bloody what? Stingray poison is entirely natural, I'm in no hurry to try that. I've tried weaver fish venom, and that's bad enough. There's a huge amount of non-GMO plants that you could eat and would kill or harm you, all as "an entirely natural process".

Contrary to hippy mythology, "natural" does not mean good for you. And "synthetic" doesn't mean bad for you. It all depends what we're talking about, and in this case it's mostly water vapour, glycols, a tiny bit of nicotine and the sort of chemicals that you probably routinely expose yourself to in soaps and shampoos, household cleaning products, sweets and processed foods, perfumes, deodourants and aftershaves, as well as the misleadingly named "air fresheners". Will you be seeking a ban on all those?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Jesus, NO!

artificial-smelling nastiness...A full ban on all forms of ....vaping in all public places is long overdue

What about farting in public? A good guff is stuffed full of global-warming methane, toxic hydrogen sulphide, irritant ammonia, rancid mercaptans of unknown health effect, bacteria, and a whole range of other by-products. There's few better feelings than sneaking out a red hot SBD that will hit ten on the Mercalli scale amongst desk bound colleagues, slipping away before the invisible mushroom cloud has spread the good news.

Are you next going to try and ban the simple, natural pleasure of shared flatulence?

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UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

Ledswinger
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Re: This is a bad thing

As an entirely competent male-around-the-house, I have no problem with the depiction of all or any male stereotypes, from He-man through to the wimpy Mr Muscle, or bumbling male ineptists.

Speaking for myself, I'm sufficiently adult that I don't need some tosspot regulator to bleat on my behalf, YMMV.

All part of the shitty culture shift of people seeking to take offence, or wanting to take offence on behalf of others. Fuck 'em all, I say.

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmm

And inevitably, just about every detail they give is wrong

Not really surprising that this Tesla driver may have been confused - I wouldn't expect to have accurate recollection about the preceding events if my car had just gone off-road at speed and overturned in a marsh.

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Nearly three-quarters of convicted TV Licence non-payers are women

Ledswinger
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Can you imagine a programme like Watchdog on a paid-for-by-adverts tv channel?

Why would I want to imagine a programme like Watchdog on any channel? Lightweight tripe focused on minor consumer woes. The BBC cancelled all real investigative journalism after they shat their own pants over the Gilligan episode, and haven't done anything decent since.

If they won't do proper news, they should hand the job over to somebody who will.

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UK.gov snaps on rubber gloves, prepares for mandatory porn checks

Ledswinger
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Lucky parliament have got so much time on their hands

that they can improve the world by meddling in this. Not like there's anything that needs doing, or that they have a mandate for?

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Now here's a novel idea: Digitising Victorian-era stamp duty machines

Ledswinger
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Re: That's not a f***ing novel idea

After all, it's a very Bold Step.

You're correct. Tax Simplification will go the same way as the "Bonfire of the Quangos", and the "Better Regulation Task Force" both of which achieved zilch at a practical level, and even then were overtaken by the endless desire of MPs to pass more and more laws that created more quangos, and added yet more regulation.

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Ledswinger
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That's not a f***ing novel idea

A novel idea would be to abolish stamp duty, and make a tiny start to simplify the UK's shitty, unfair, counter-productive, over-complex, loophole ridden tax code. It's currently around 17,000 pages long, and widely reckoned to be the most complex in the world. Hong Kong get by with (allegedly) under 300 pages.

In practice stamp duty is now largely a consumer tax because most large institutions can easily avoid it. As a tax on share purchases it discourages investment in equities, surely something they'd prefer people to do? And as a property tax it acts as a major discouragement to moving house, so contributing to the UK problem of low mobility labour, pushing up transport demand and house prices.

Obviously they'd need to find another £11bn of tax income. Perhaps the Tossers of Westminster (ToW, tm) could make a start with the tax-dodging US corporations who do billions of pounds worth of business in this country, yet report no profits on those sales. Can't see that happening myself, sadly.

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Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'

Ledswinger
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Re: I do have an archtectural proposal.

But humans being human I don't think it's got a cat in Hell's chance of happening.

Thank God. Sounds like the ghastly metropolitan dystopia that seems to be the wet dream of people dreaming up schemes of how the rest of us should live.

How about we abolish cities, people live in human scale communities where they want, and we use the wonders of telecommunication and automation to avoid the need for millions of poor bastards having to live in crime ridden urban squalor, this apparently making up for the inability of society to use the technology already at its disposal?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Bollocks...

Examine London with its comprehensive public transport systems

Slow and shite in my not inconsiderable experience of the same. Many of the interchanges are incredibly tedious, manual and slow, air quality on the underground is appalling (so much for "zero emissions"), and door to door speed is often only about double walking speed.

If London is the poster child for public transport, then we need a different solution.

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Ofcom creates watchdog specifically to make sure Openreach is behaving

Ledswinger
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Re: How Much Is That Going To Cost....

One company should not be expected to implement what other companies would expect to be business suicide.

BT's last mile network which is operated by Openreach is for all practical purposes a regulated monopoly. In return for that monopoly BT & Openreach have to do what the regulator (and politicians) decide. BT as the asset owner gets what the regulator judges to be an economic return on its regulated asset base, Openreach gets paid to extend, maintain, repair and operate the network, as a captive provider to BT. So in that respect, you can't really compare either BT or Openreach to most normal commercial companies.

The ownership of the network probably won't be changed, because for historic reasons BT have huge pension liabilities and would go bust if they couldn't balance the liabilities against the network income. But Openreach is different. It might be feasible to either sell it or de-merge from BT group, although because it has a single customer it wouldn't attract bids from any respectable company, merely from vultures who think that by sacking a good chunk of the workforce they can make a quick buck. But a more likely scenario is for the regulator to demand that specific Openreach regions have the O&M work put out to tender, to create a market comparison for Openreach.

So to expect BT to fund the capex of wider roll out of fibre isn't unreasonable, but ultimately the customers will have to pay for that - there's no free money. In terms of the widespread roll out, it would actually be quite easy if Openreach actually did rolling replacement of fully depreciated wire because they could replace wire with fibre as they went along, so gradually installing FTTP. But as far as I can see they don't do that, once the wires are amortised, they just plan to leave them until they go wrong, regardless of the poor performance for broadband. That's something OFCOM could address, but haven't yet.

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Virgin Trains dodges smack from ICO: CCTV pics of Corbyn were OK

Ledswinger
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Re: Corbyn solution

"If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos"....The refit would be paid for by the tax payer or at best heavily subsidised

So what? It would still be a low cost, near instant gain of 25% in the capacity of the WCML, with an operating cost from lower ticket receipts of a few tens of million quid a year. About two thirds of the Pendolino fleet are already 11 car sets and platforms have already been extended, so there's not much prospect of making those longer still. Now consider the alternative options:

1) Tolerate the current capacity and peak overcrowding.

2) Even higher fares to deter rail travel, particularly for standard class peak travel. Hands up all in favour!

3) Retrofit the (originally planned, then abandoned) moving block signalling, allowing higher frequency trains running at full design speed. Cost to rectify with moving block signalling I'd guess would be of the order of £5bn as a further retrofit, with a c7 year programme of much disruption. This will never happen because the bunglers of government are totally committed to the daft HS2.

4) So, what's cheap, quick, and doesn't conflict with the nightmare that is HS2? Remove first class as I suggest.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Corbyn solution

There are (costly) ways to increase capacity

That's true, but there's also cheap ways. If the rail regulator told Virgin Trains to refit the first class carriages on their Pendolinos as standard class (including the first class galley kitchen) then there would be another 25% searing capacity with not much cost other than buying and fitting new standard class seats. No new carriages, no long delays, no longer platforms to be built.

It's a f***ing scandal that trains still have first class carriages on any route that is capacity constrained. I'm sure the numbers could be crunched to show that first class passengers pay their way, but if the job of the railway is mass transit, then that role should take precedence to massaging the egos of those on expense account travel.

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Astroboffins spot tiniest star yet – we guess you could call it... small fry

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmn.. interesting..

White dwarf (degenerate) matter is ~1,000,000x density of water.

So one tonne per cubic centimetre? Cool. Could somebody get me a single cubic millimetre, I reckon that would be perfect for a whole range of practical jokes.

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Got a Windows Phone 8 mobe? It's now officially obsolete. Here's why...

Ledswinger
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Re: Pity

tied to very limited OS and an even more limited app store

But the obvious core market of business users only need to do a few things, and don't need all the apps that fill Apple and Google's app stores. Admittedly it would struggle in the consumer market space, but the obvious ploy for Windows Phone was to replace Blackberry as THE business phone. They should have even made sure there was a decent physical keyboard model just to make the point, and they needed to harden the security. I suspect that the limited choice of hardware made success in the consumer market near impossible, but corporate buyers don't care. Its all about security, compatibility, TCO and having ongoing support.

And I think that last one was the real killer for business buyers. MS have never seemed to have any clear direction or conviction in the phone market, no clear core purpose or rock steady proposition. All the corporate shenanigans around Nokia, the sad tale of multiple sunsetted variants of WinPho, handset makers having no conviction in MS's commitment (and therefore not releasing Windows handsets). Would you as a business IT buyer commit a large corporation to any Windows phone platform, knowing the history, and watching their ongoing fumbling over phones? Continuum was a great idea, but really needed to be much stronger and more PC-like. Two years after it was launched, it still can't replace a conventional PC for most users, and the user experience is still phone-like.

Now imagine the world that might have been. In this alternate world, Microsoft didn't buy Nokia and get distracted by hardware and corporate farting around, and worked hard to get Windows out amongst the volume handset makers; A clear focus on Continuum working properly as a desktop/laptop replacement but also support for those who do need a separate full fat PC; Rock solid security for the phone OS, apps and data (including mail); Full corporate integration; A promise (that they stick to) of continuing support for the life of Windows phone devices. They could still do this now because Android security and support is so outstandingly poor, MS have the money, but they simply don't understand the world from their customer's perspectives.

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Openreach kicks off 'rebrand' by painting over BT logo on vans

Ledswinger
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Openreach kicks off 'rebrand' by painting over BT logo on vans

Bluntly Openreach ....concentrate every penny on putting (pure) Fibre in the ground

Unfortunately, the way that the Openreach "separation" has been done, it isn't within Openreach's gift to make that decision. The decision sits with the owner of the wires and ducts (which remain directly owned by BT) and the ineffectual regulator, Ofcom.

Openreach are in practice a captive O&M provider, nothing more. They could supervise the construction of pure fibre networks, but they can't decide to do it. BT group could make the decision, but won't decide to do it, because they are simply treating the local loop and exchanges as a cash cow to get the minimum of investment in return for the maximum return. And the regulator is powerless, partly through its own incompetence, but primarily because BT have the politicians over a barrel with the historic liabilities of the GPO/BT pension scheme.

BT's argument (which has certain truths to it, by the way) is "if we lose ownership of the Openreach network but keep the pension liabilities, we go bust, and then you (government) have an embarrassing problem of the order of £10bn of pension promises that won't be honoured".

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Insurers may have to adjust policies to reflect 'silent' cyber risks

Ledswinger
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Fines need to hurt if they're going to have any effect, otherwise such things will just be factored into the cost of doing business.

In most ordinary businesses fines are an exceptional cost of doing business. In financial services fines are a routine operating cost. For both scenarios, fines rarely reduce director and employee incentive rewards, so the problem is that the fines (usually) don't have any impact on those whose behaviour needs to change - and even if they did, they're far too long after the important decisions were taken to have any bearing on the future decision making process.

If fines are to change behaviour, they need to directly affect those who are making decisions or specifically doing something wrong (like mis-selling), and that includes potentially going after people who left the company long ago, who have retired and are now playing the "helpless pensioner" card, and making sure that the internal and external auditors are also clobbered if they didn't identify relevant major risks.

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Brit SAP user group seeking more line-of-business members

Ledswinger
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Re: I never fail to be amazed

What would be the benefit?

Saving millions in licencing fees charged under wilfully opaque agreements?

Having a system that isn't a complete shit for users to interact with?

Error messages that might actually mean something?

IT that you commission yourself to match your business processes, rather than the other way round?

No extortionate, complex, risky "upgrades" when the shitbag ERP vendor tells you your current system is no longer supported?

Having an application that isn't such a dog that normal users simply can't raise orders or pay invoices?

An interface that doesn't look and behave like something from the last century?

Being able to change the actual underlying code when business needs require that?

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Dental app startup drama: Two attack websites and a lawsuit

Ledswinger
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Re: An app for that

My partner worked in a quality assurance role for healthcare professionals, and in their experience, the professional bodies require CPD, but it is the professionals who have to record the details. Obviously the professional body would have a record of any CPD it provided, but there's a lot that is provided by employers, commissioners and third party providers.

Most healthcare professionals have so much clinically important stuff to attend to that maintaining CPD records can be a real pain, particularly for small practices or sole practitioners, so I can see the logic for the proposed app (even if the business model for the app developer is suspect).

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His Muskiness wheels out the Tesla Model 3

Ledswinger
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Re: It will retail for just $35,000

Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore?

Yes, Toyota and Hyundai have been pushing this, and both have cars on the road. Hyundai claim they'll sell you one for £53k on the road, with 350 miles range. Unfortunately the physical attributes of hydrogen create a range of practical challenges that are expensive to overcome, plus the high energy-cost of producing hydrogen mean that it isn't looking like a prime time candidate anytime in the next decade. In theory you could convert every petrol station to a hydrogen station and change the entire car fleet to H2, but there's no practical source for that volume of H2, and the costs of changeover would be several billion quid.

What are people living in flats and/or have no dedicated parking space supposed to do? Is every street with flats / shared housing going to be supplied with either fixed charging poles or inductive charging?

Probably not, but a mix of options could be created. In particular, if the cars will support 120 kW fast chargers, then the weekly aggregate charging time for an average private car is about the same as the typical dwell time on a weekly supermarket trip (circa 45 minutes charging, c8,000 miles per annum). Put in some buffering battery storage in shipping containers at the supermarket, cable up a third of the spaces for charging, and in concept it'd be no less practical than the way that many people currently fill up with fuel when they do a grocery run.

Where the electricity is going to come from is a much more pressing problem, followed by how to distribute it - the charging aspects are fairly easy by comparison.

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Boffins start work on data centre to analyse UK infrastructure

Ledswinger
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Re: DAFNI and...

SD would do a better job than anything commissioned and managed by government.

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Largest advertising company in the world still wincing after NotPetya punch

Ledswinger
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Re: It us just you

WPP is a huge, British success story

That is definitely arguable. Would you regard a company headquartered in the Channel Islands as really "British"? There's Kazakh mining corporations listed on LSE, so WPP's London listing means nothing. And the Channel islands are certainly not part of the United Kingdom, and undoubtedly chosen for reasons of tax avoidance.

It has however been a huge personal success story, with Martin Sorrell gettng awarded shares worth £42m. But my dear fnusnu, I'm sure he's worth every penny of that.

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Ledswinger
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Is it just me...

..rejoicing in the fact that an ad-spewer has been really badly hit by this? Serve them right.

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Google blows $800k on bots to flood the UK with 30,000 'articles' a month

Ledswinger
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Re: Fuck Google

It'll be nice when they finish those cars that can drive you home from the pub though

By the time Google et al get anywhere near competently self driving cars, there won't be any pubs left open. They'll all have shut down because they either aren't profitable at all, or because they are profitable, but there's far more instant money in selling the freehold to a property developer for housing.

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Someone's phishing US nuke power stations. So far, no kaboom

Ledswinger
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Re: watering hole attacks?

you target weak spots where they may turn up. For example, web forums where they might hang out

Like here. Watering hole attacks can be quite targeted, but they don't need to be. If you're a spy agency interested in high value targets across a whole range of industries, then Facebook and Twitter aren't the places to hang out, as there's too little focus, too much dross. But here, well......

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New work: Algorithms to give self-driving cars 'impulsive' human 'ethics'

Ledswinger
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Re: @LeeE -- Save the women and children first!

In other words, the angst and perhaps guilt that you made the wrong decision even if it was made with the best of intentions?

Lets take the speciest angle out of it. Imagine you're barreling along at a rate of knots, and you see a small yappy dog on the pavement, at the same time you see a rare opportunity to flatten a magpie that's on the carriageway directly in front of you, that (for once) has miscalculated.

What do you do? My money's on letting the magpie live and going up on the pavement to score the yappy dog. And bonus points if you can get the owner.

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Samsung stalls Bixby launch because it am English not so good

Ledswinger
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They're not listening

Of course having a bunch of Californians develop Bixby won't help if they want to sell phones in Newcastle (NSW or Tyneside).

It probably doesn't matter where the programmers were from, including if they are indigenous to the intended market. Bixby (like its Apple and Google equivalents) is a pile of steaming shit that nobody asked for. If Samsung want to really sell handsets, then I can help them: What the world wants is an order of magnitude improvement in battery life, and not catching fire. What the world couldn't give a toss about is pathetic, useless "virtual assistants".

FFS, Samsung, grow up! Stop slavishly copying other companies, and play to your strengths, rather than playing second fiddle to theirs. Oooh, and start supporting your handsets for longer, as well as stopping filling them with crappy Sammobloatware that we can't delete.

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MH370 researchers refine their prediction of the place nobody looked

Ledswinger
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As did the fact that they didn't stumble upon it when searching there, Shirley?

That depends on your confidence in the search pattern and technology. Given that the search area included water depths of 15,000 feet, and pressures of around 7,000 psi, plus the hostile surface operating environment, it is possible that in the murky depths the searchers have missed the mangled fragments of wreckage from MH370.

If they find it at that sort of depth, then the costs of salvage or anything more than a few components will be huge - the current costs of the recovery of K-129 from 16,000 feet are guesstimated at around $4bn.

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Ledswinger
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What was the headline writer thinking of?

Generating clickbait without infringing copyright, perhaps?

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Happy 4th of July: Norks tests another missile

Ledswinger
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@Triggerfish

Sorry but what are you expecting them to do? Roll over the border in tanks? Bring peace and justice like has worked so well in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Who said anything about bringing peace and justice? At what point did I imply or suggest that there was a need for total war in North Korea? You've assumed that invasion is the only way of "persuading" FBK, and that's not the case.

My point was that FBK is utterly dependent upon China, if they wanted to make him do anything it is within their gift. And I wasn't proposing that the Chinese would or should invade, all they need to do to be a credible part of the global community would be to instruct him to stop dicking around with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, "or else". Obviously the Chinese have the power to follow through if need be and install a puppet government, but I think that being threatened by China, FBK will back down. I'm also certain the US would happily tolerate a bit of border skirmishing and shelling caused by the Norlks if that's the price of bringing North Korea to heel (even the Chinese heel).

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Ledswinger
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With China's permission, of course Fat Boy Kim is allowed to do this.

China think that letting FBK behave like a dick is a good thing, and somehow that a divided Korea keeps them safe, and is conveniently troubling for the S Koreans, Japanese and Americans. What it shows, is rather the opposite, that China is absolutely happy with the brutal repression of the Nork population, that China is a politically immature country disinterested in human rights (well, as if that was doubted given what they do at home), and not interested in becoming part of a civilised world order.

The Chinese economy has been partially modernised. Evidence around the world indicates that you can't keep a lid on the democratic aspirations of an increasingly wealthy population in the longer term. It seems a pity that by the mindset that includes childishly backing FBK, China seems to be avoiding the need for political reform. That won't end well for the party, but resolution could be some decades away yet.

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Exposed pipes – check. Giant pillows – check. French startup mega-campus opens

Ledswinger
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Re: Dotcom Bubble II, French Edition?

"this whole startup incubator thing was big during the end of the last dotcom bubble as well"

Don't worry, it will end the same way.

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One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

Ledswinger
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Re: In deed

That's why you build prototypes. Hack something together which works a bit, just enough so people can try it out and give you input on how they like it.

And then, a whole lot of the time, for a whole range of reasons that you don't agree with, your Friday afternoon cobble becomes the core of the "permanent solution", baking in everything you knew was quick and dirty, along with all the short cuts and rough edges you'd never willingly use on a real production system.....

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well, colour me surprised

Capita were involved in the research project, and that seems to have been completed successfully

They provided all the failed project numbers.

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Blighty's Department for Culture, Media & Sport gets 'digital' rebrand

Ledswinger
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It is the first time I've heard gambling described as "innovative financing to create an inclusive economy". I suppose what they mean is that it brings the poor gambling peasants into some "inclusive" arrangement with rich bookmaking companies?

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Europol, FBI, UK's NCA ride out to Ukraine's cavalry call

Ledswinger
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Re: It's 'Ukraine,' not "the Ukraine."

Google is your friend.

I really don't think that's true. They make up all nice and free, but really they want to process me into an untaxed income stream.

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Ledswinger
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Re: SBU @ChrisPv

"On a serious note, is also the agency suiciding members and families of previous government. Where is outrage?"

I didn't really understand that, but I would like to say how much I enjoy your meerkat voiceovers for that price comparison website.

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Fancy fixing your own mobile devices? Just take the display off carefu...CRUNCH !£$%!

Ledswinger
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Re: Green lobby failure

If it can't be broken down easily into reusable or repairable parts, it should have a 100% green tax surcharge.

The bulk recycling of electronic devices involves shredding the device, and then magnetically, mechanically and possibly chemically separating into various waste streams that can be reused in other processes. The method of assembly is irrelevant, because for real recycling (as opposed to repair or component salvage) the process is fast, industrial scale, and efficient, there's no messing around with screwdrivers.

What Greenpeace are complaining about is not (or should not be) the ease of recycling which isn't affected much by the assembly method, but about artificially shortened lifetimes because the device is difficult to repair. Whilst I keep phones for longer than average, and would like them to be repairable, most people don't and to be honest, they've got good grounds for that: Consumers want frequent device refreshes anyway, old devices go out of software support very quickly, once more than a few years old built in NAND storage often starts to get a bit flakey, the processing power and capability of older devices struggle with newer OS releases even if they exist, and the cosmetic appearance is often poor. as paint rubs off bezzles, display coatings wear off.

Even if you could repair them when the original owner has finished with it, what would you do with all that obsolete, unsupported technology? There's some talk of sending it to poor countries - personally I think those countries would be better off with a new device made cheaply in China. And the idea of giving rich country cast-offs to the developing world smacks of technological colonialism.

Seems to me Greenpeace are pushing water uphill on this.

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