* Posts by Ledswinger

7577 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Protestors beg Google not to build censored Project Dragonfly search engine

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Google are happily betting that the party will endure

...because if there were (shock, horror) an outbreak of lasting democracy in China, that democratic government would undoubtedly decide to hold accountable those foreign companies who knowingly collaborated - both formally through its courts, and informally as people would reject Google's offerings.

At the moment you'd have to say there's no sign that democracy is going to arrive any time soon. But one day it might.

Tech giant to spend $500m dealing with housing crisis caused by tech giants

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A simpler and more sensible option

Would be to distribute the workforce more widely. There's no way on earth Microsoft needs 42,000 employees concentrated in Seattle, and there's plenty of pleasant, cheaper locations would welcome a few thousand jobs.

Although we could take it as proof that Lync is shit, and Microsoft doesn't trust its own communication and collaboration tools.

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

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Re: Nothing new...

The risks of them being caught are pretty much 100% (traffic analysis, insider leaks) and the upside isn't that big.

But the downside is even smaller. Most people only care about privacy when actively prompted about the subject. Even then they know little, and any concerns they have won't be translated into actions or enduring behaviours. My Android handset has all the permissions that I can bolted down or refused, nothing installed and running unless I need it (ueah, I know its still Google-infested). But other than people round here, the vast majority of Android users don't give a tinker's cuss about that stuff, and blithely let Google decide what should run. They install and use Facebook apps, etc etc.

So I'm wholly unconvinced that any "smart assistant" will honour data protection out of concern for the consequences.

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

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Re: Rock and a hard place

Under that dullard Cook,...Credit where credit's due: he's probably done a darn sight better since he took over than either you or I.

I doubt it - your posts reveal you to be very well informed and have wide insight and understanding of the technology and the market. On my part, I work in business strategy, so I tend to start most roles from the position of "we are or soon will be in the sh1t, how do we get back out?" Commoditisation and slowing innovation of smartphones has been obvious for years, and you and I have both known and discussed that simply jacking up prices isn't a sustainable strategy.

In terms of the things Cook is good at (logistics, manufacturing, supply chain) were you or I running Apple, the obvious thing is simply to hire those skills in (like Jobs did) - being really, really good at such things is rare, but not THAT rare, and on the basis of the evidence, not sufficiently critical to make the supply chain guy the CEO. Following Samsung on screen size only counts as an innovation because this was Apple, and his predecessor hadn't already done that.

I'm not, and doubt you are the sort of visionary, brutal, zealot of the calibre of Jobs or Musk, so as Apple CEO we'd not be restoring it to its innovative former glories, but I think we'd have done better than Cook. In my line of work, I've met and otherwise worked with a whole range of business leaders and directors, and the one thing I'd say is that most of them are of considerably ordinary abilities attached to inflated egos, who don't in any way justify their vast salaries. I suspect Apple's current management tick those boxes.

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Rock and a hard place

Whilst historically it has certainly been true that Apple devices were more durable and better supported, Android has matured considerably, Google has started to take more control of software updates, and the build quality of any well chosen Android is easily a match for Apple (and usually less fragile, although Sammy seem to be missing on that one). Whether the better resale values of Apple devices hold up we'll see, but looking at the behaviour of the company, I can't see that they'll fail to react to the "loss" of revenue caused by selfish non-upgraders. They've been caught out on the battery throttling, I'd assume that they'll look to make sure that future IoS releases are somehow much slower or incompatible with older handsets ( a trick which has worked well for many Android makers).

What we're seeing is the convergence and commoditisation of handsets, and most Android makers are felling the pressure too. Under that dullard Cook, Apple seem unable to innovate their way out of this bind, and we're looking at managed decline. I suspect that the widely rumoured move to USB C will be another blow to the proposition of the unique walled garden.

The only one thing that I can think of that could save Apple would be a new battery technology that offers much greater capacity (so a week between charging for typical users), and where Apple own the technology and Android makers can't use it. With such a leap forward in the ownership experience, they'd get away with battery life of two years, and charging a serious amount to replace it. OTOH this is unicorn technology, and its battery chemistry, so not clear how Apple could find and own the technology.

A more achievable alternative would be to take the handset leasing out of the hands of networks, and offer most, maybe all of the Apple ecosystem, including a phone with a two year refresh on a continuing subscription basis. Stop selling retail iPhones for cash, just offer one monthly price for everything, and capture all the revenue bleeding to Netflix, Spotify, network operators etc. Family discount would avoid breaking the typical loyal household market. Improve the ability to cast content, major on privacy, improve the ebook experience, and look to squeeze Google and Amazon. Then offer a much improved iPhone for business experience, attacking head on the issues of security, IT policy and device management, Exchange integration, and besides the B2B customers, use that division to sell handsets to retail customers who just want a phone and don't want the "full fat" proposition. All of this is high risk, on the other hand potentially high reward. It is also achievable with Apple's technical and commercial skills - and bottomless pocket. Sadly Cook is not an innovator nor a risk taker.

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

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Re: Failure is success

One can learn a lot more from a failed experience than a successful one

Microsoft must have learned one heck of a lot from the various disasters that have befallen its OS software releases since it first launched W8.

Aahhhh....yes, I note the word "can" is not the same as "will".

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Re: Bad planning

How do we get this done?

Calling Elon Musk! Calling Elon Musk!

Stick May and Corbyn in a car, Musk already knows how to fling it into space. But what if the OP hypothesis was correct, and May could survive in the cold, friendless darkness on the far side of the moon? The Chinese might inadvertently bring her back.

I say set co-ordinates for the Sun.

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Re: Puzzled

There is probably no terrestrial plant that can handle that

Japanese knotweed.

In a battle of knotweed versus the moon I'll put my money on the knotweed.

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I'm not sure why they thought it had any chance of surviving

I'll bet those horrible fruit flies survive. Ghastly things, and the Chinese want to infest space with them?

Cray will realise 'substantial' loss. But Shasta minute, folks, big iron market will pick up

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Re: $240m will only help if the "activists" stay away

Cray goes bust every 10-15 years. SGI the same

You're right, and I'd not thought of it as (in fashionable parlance) a natural cadence, and seems we're thinking along similar lines: Just like a magnetic polarity reversal, we're overdue for a Cray bankruptcy.

Maybe a Cray bankruptcy likewise leaves a record in sediments, so that future geologists will be able to use it to date rocks.

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$240m will only help if the "activists" stay away

If Shasta is delayed materially against expectations, current sales dry up faster, future revenues are further out, and potentially an additional eighteen month delay could completely wipe out the cash assets. This won't be lost on the real vultures, who will be wondering how to force the company to pony it up to investors. That's payday 1 either as a cash dividend, or by selling the stock. Then, with Cray in trouble and limited resources, there's more money for the same people, by shorting the stock - that's payday 2. And if Cray goes bust, then the assets including the name, IP and staff can all be picked up on the cheap, before a further trade sale or a fresh IPO in a few years time, which is payday 3.

Huawei’s elusive Mr Ren: We’re just a 'sesame seed' in a superpower spat

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Re: Nothing like the smell of ethics first thing in the morning.

Maybe the Chinese words for 'rip-off' and 'invent' are the same.

It has always been the case with emerging nations that they steal ideas with pride. When they get more developed like the US or Europe they're more discreet, and pretend they don't. And if they can't steal a foreign idea, they'll just try and block it through pure protectionism, or via the civil courts.

All of human endeavour is founded on copying things others have done, and very, very occasionally innovating a tiny bit. Whilst innovators need to be rewarded, so do the societies providing the cheap labour that provides all the lovely cheap goods that we want, but won't pay the price to have locally made.

There's gold in them thar clouds as Infor guzzles $1.5bn from Koch and Golden Gate

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Sounds like a potentially great data mine.

Neither more nor less than anything else shovelled into AWS buckets. Infor is not really a data play, rather a particularly large version of the ancient "grow-through-acquisitions-and-sell-off-before-it all-comes-apart" strategy. There's over 60 companies rolled into Infor. Golden Gate isn't so much a partner, rather it has always been the main backer and principal owner, and they are the people who hope to cash out at some stage. By private equity standards, Golden Gate have stuck at this for an extraordinary length of time, but presumably they're concluding that the ERP and cloud markets are now too commoditised.

An IPO would do and is perhaps easier to raise enormous amounts of cash, but has significant risks. If they can find somebody rich enough they'd probably prefer a trade sale to the likes of Oracle, who have loads of cash but struggled to gain an cloud business presence.

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

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I would suggest failures to market Applied Statistics are now forcing IBM to use their buying power to find a few (guaranteed) revenue streams instead.

This is what IBM have done for decades. Companies are bought at a horrifying rate (168 known corporate acquisitions since 2002), and then systematically crushed to death between IBM's sweaty corporate buttocks.

Have a look at the Wikipedia pages for IBM acquisitions, it is sobering reading, the graveyard list.

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

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Re: It is not a lot of money

So per year about 1/300 of what the EU spends on guns, bombs, etc.

Given that (the UK apart) the EU doesn't fight many wars, it doesn't get through many bombs, bullets or guns. But it does employ a lot of people to stand around waiting for a war, and it does pend a lot on buying over-priced military hardware. So what the defence budget is primarily paying for is job creation schemes for squaddies and engineers and manufacturing technicians hardware suppliers. I'd agree that the defence budget is almost entirely wasted, but there's far more pressing basic, resolvable problems that could be solved by spending even £20bn, like making a tiny dent in the lack of safe water, sanitation, and food for much of the world's population.

As for benefits to humanity of particle physics...maybe. One thing the various hadron colliders have repeatedly shown us is that we build a big one, scientists announce some discovery with no current practical applications, and then announce that to go further they need an even bigger one. A bit like fusion reactors, where most people say "it'll never deliver" despite aiming for a practical application, yet apparently spending billions on pure research that promises nothing is then acceptable?

Or if people want more spending on research, spend it on genetics and bio-chemistry, for research to eradicate persistent public health threats like malaria, nile fever, ebola, influenza etc. Or to eradicate or cure genetically inherited disorders. Or to repair nerve damage that leaves accident and war casualties partially paralysed.

Unless Prof Brian Cox is willing to share the recipe of his Elixir of Eternal Youth with the rest of us, I say no more money for particle physicists.

McKinsey’s blockchain warning irks crypto hipsters

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Why pay Mckinsey?

When you could have come here years ago for free and been advised that blockchain was a waste of time and effort.

According to McK, VC funding in 2017 for block chain was a billion dollars. If we assume that as much again was spent by businesses being pressured to evaluate the pointless technology, that's $2bn. Now assume that was high water for the block chain hype merchants, and project some sort of shallow bell curve in prior and subsequent years, and we're looking at around $5-7bn totally wasted.

Imagine what you could (beneficially) do with over $5bn.

EDGAR Wrong: Ukrainians hacked SEC, stole docs for inside trading, says Uncle Sam

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I must say that if they only netted a touch over 4m bucks, they weren't very good at it. In the same six month period I daresay that entrenched US corporate managers have made off with vastly higher sums of investor's money.

What worries me is something else. Will Oleksandr be vanishing from Compare the Market adverts?

Army had 'naive' approach to Capita's £1.3bn recruiting IT contract, MPs told

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Re: Who wouldn't want to join?

the Armed Forces have always struggled to recruit when there are other jobs available where you get to stay at home

And generally speaking in those jobs you don't get killed or wounded either. Usually you don't get treated like shit by your former employer either.

Clearly most jobs you don't get to play with guns, or the comraderie of combat, but if that's what you're after there's probably more action, better money, better promotion prospects, and better employer loyalty as a London gang member (and in those you still get to say at home).

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Re: It's not just Crapita failing over and over again....

This is all money that the Home Office, MoD and the NHS could have used on other projects to bring value for money for taxpayers.

How? Even if we exempt IT, all I see with government policy is waste and incompetence. In some parallel universe you might have an argument, but in this one, I beg to differ.

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Re: Utter fail

If I were young, bright, brave, unemployed, and enjoyed a fistfight in the pub...........that's how it was done 100+ years ago.

Indeed. And an entire generation died in ditches in Belgium. If you've not seen it, watch the Peter Jackson documentary.

But these days, for what? To fight an unpopular war in some shithole province of Afghanistan or Iraq, your engagement supervised (possibly in real time) by spawn-of-satan MoD lawyers? And then to have the scum that run MoD abandon the physically and mentally disabled? And for the British public go "So what was that all for?", and then for vile, weak British politicans to cut and run when they think it expedient? And then for the scum that run MoD (tm) to collaborate with dishonest, thieving lying law firms to hound ex-military personnel? Not to mention inadequate and insufficient equipment. And at the end of it the Taliban control most of 'stan, and the collapse of Iraq spawned ISIS.

Arguably we should be celebrating Capita's success in keep our young people out of harm's way. On reflection, I take my hat off to Capita, and say thank you.

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Re: Actually...

@Tom 7 has the right of it; the idea that public/government entities are woefully inefficient compared to private companies has been tested to destruction by almost four decades of privatisation.

I see the Momentumbots are out in force today.

Obviously, the worker's paradise of Cuba, Venezuela, and the Soviet Union don't have any lessons for Blightly, where our magically efficient public sector can do things far more effectively.

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Re: Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch

A pity nobody thought to ask him "If, as you tell us, the army has enough soldiers to keep the country safe, then why do you want to recruit 40% more?"

Rimini and Oracle's legal eagles return to the ring in front of Supreme Court

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Please, can't the both lose?

I hope SCOTUS don't have to have a binary win/lose choice. Both parties need to be whacked so hard they never go near a lawyer again.

Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest fling new bank cards at folks after Ticketmaster hack

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Re: Ticketmaster should be financially responsible for card replacements

Vendors that 'loose' their customer's details should have to foot the bill for card replacements and any incurred losses in my mind.

What persuades you that Ticketmaster haven't had to pony up? I suspect the "early responders" didn't worry about who was paying, but prioritised their customers and their own security. Bottom dwellers like RBS and Natwest, well, I'd expect they only acted after they'd managed to ensure that Ticketmaster were paying, and that is why the delay.

Outside of the third world, RBS always has been amongst the most disreputable banks in the world. Fred the Shred should have been put in concrete wellies and thrown into the Firth of Clyde, in front of a partying audience.

Facebook's pay-for-more-eyeballs shtick looks too good to be true: Page views, Likes from 'fake' profiles

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This is news?

I've always been staggered that businesses think that "likes" mean anything, or that anybody on social media is who their profile says they are. Whilst somebody has woken up, the whole "business" of social media and online ads is far too profitable that the main beneficiaries are going to let it go.

A few more tales like these, and I think we should expect event greater effort by those beneficiaries to put out fake science that shows the value of their services. The two most obvious ad-slingers rake in $150bn a year, in return for not much at all (the GDP of Kuwait, or Hungary....). They won't be giving that up easily.

It's the weekend. We're out of puns for now. Just have a gander at China's Moon lander and robo-sidekick snaps, videos

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Re: At least SpaceX didn't bin them a week before Christmas

A 10% cut suddenly announced doesn't fill me with confidence that the management knows what it's doing.

Normal practice for US corporations, IME. If the quarterly results are bad, or if the executive share options are out of the money, just throw some employees on the bonfire.

That's the bad side, the good side is that US companies are more willing to hire freely than European companies, partly because they know they can get rid of staff easily, but also to build a buffer that can be sacrificed to appease investors.

Q. How exactly do you test car seats? A. With this sweaty 'robutt' that twerks for days and days

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They could have just paid me (handsomely)

In return for money, I'd have squirmed and sweated into their seats. And for extra money, I'd have delivered regular, corrosive gas discharges.

Sheesh. Robotics are just so basic.

Germany has a problem with the entire point of Amazon's daft Dash buttons – and bans them

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Re: A simple idea

Wait. People are buying these? As in paying money for them?

I couldn't say. But bear in mind that in a lot of fields (energy, insurance, estate agents and many others come to mind), people HAVE to purchase, but really, REALLY don't want to have anything to do with the vendor. Amazon Dash buttons offer a straightforward way of avoiding this contact for regular purchases (so maybe not estate agents).

Not for me, not for you, but don't be too keen to dismiss the concept.

Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

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Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

Apple sell appliances. That has always been the strategy. You aren't the target audience in the slightest..

No, but they've critically misjudged their target audience. Not the first and won't be the last company to do this. Look at the Dyson washing machine that disappeared on account of being too expensive. Dyson thought that if they'd managed to get customers to pay £400 for a vacuum cleaner, then paying a grand for a washer would be a cinch, when in fact they simply outpriced themselves. At least for Dyson this was a new product line, and could be dropped without harming the vacuum business. For Apple, they've tried the strategy of insurers called "price walking" where each new product/renewal goes up in price, hoping the customer won't notice. But unlike Dyson, they've done this with their main product line, and they simply kept going in the belief that there was no upper limit to what people would pay for a phone.

Discounting is hugely damaging for any premium brand, but Cook has backed the company into a corner. I've always expected that Cook didn't have what it takes to keep Apple at the forefront of innovation, and its products as clever and desirable as Jobs managed, and I'm hardly alone in that view. This is the problem with the visionary leader - they don't come along very often, and they're nigh on impossible to replace. Tesla and Space X will find this in due course. Facebook, on the other hand, don't have any such problem.

Who cracked El Chapo's encrypted chats and brought down the Mexican drug kingpin? Er, his IT manager

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Collateral damage

Presumably the lesson that every cartel will pick up is to waste their techies before they can squeal. Whilst many may not shed any tears for people working for the cartels, it'll only make the job of law enforcement harder.

Cambridge Analytica sister firm pleads guilty, fined £21k for failing to obey UK information commish

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Re: Pathetic in every respect

£21K ? They can pick up that in loose change

If they've been bickering for months and have engaged a legal team and a barrister, then their own legal bill will probably be north of £50k. The whole point of fighting the legal action has presumably been to delay, obfuscate, and buy more time. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but if they were going to plead guilty they could just have done that with the ICO, and had done with the matter months ago, and saved circa £60k.

Obviously the advantage of delaying was worth much more than the £60k.

Microsoft wins today's buzzword bingo with empowering set of updates to Teams

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"countless studies...showing that employees would prefer praise to a raise "

Obviously those studies didn't include me.

It's bad enough having to endure any form of employee management sh*tware, it's even worse when it is laden with Dilbetesque motivational crap. Just give me more money, and cut out the cant.

Amazon exec tells UK peers: No, we don't want to be dominant. Also, we don't fancy being taxed on revenues

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Re: Tax allowance for costs is a grace

Lest we forget, that lost tax money is contributing towards an financial crisis in public sector finances.

To a modest extent. The main driver of of the crisis in public finances is that the government are keener to spend money than to raise it, which is why UK government borrowing is around 45 billion quid a year. Estimates of the scale of UK tax avoidance by global (and mostly US) companies tops out around £9bn. Very nice to have that, but not going to plug the £45bn hole.

Fixing corporate tax avoidance would be a start, but that still requires at least £36bn to be found through spending cuts or higher personal taxes for you and I.

You are of course right on the need for a radical revamp of the UK tax code, which requires over 21,000 pages of specialist guidance to explain (Tolleys) - and that complexity is perhaps the main reason that there's so many loopholes. But with the current shower of piss (or the shower of piss in waiting on the opposition benches) there's no chance tax is ever going to be simplified.

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it would be reasonable for the Inland Revenue to remove the allowance grace for Amazon

This would require both the British government and HMRC to have a clue and some balls. In what parallel universe is that going to happen? The announced plans are timid, will be fought intensively through the courts, and probably end up being implemented in some stupid way that harms consumers whilst making no difference to Amazon.

You can see a chance the proceeds of the planned tax being dedicated to propping up high streets where consumers have already voted with their feet and wallets. So you and I pay higher prices when shopping on line, and the money raised subsidies Mike Ashley and large, rich property companies.

Zuck's 2019 tech talk tour should tackle the questions Facebook spent 2018 dodging

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Re: Muppet

Please stop insulting muppets.

Talking in such terms, I hope you noticed the other day that the former chief clown from Zippo's Circus complained that comparing British politicians handling of Brexit to clowns was an insult to professional clowns. I think we'd all agree with him.

Microsoft vows to destroy Office, er, offices: Campus to be demolished and rebuilt

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Imagine if they did start a "clean sheet" OS

We'd have the same problems of a company that doesn't listen to customers, it would be filled with unasked-for and unwanted capabilities dreamed up by US software marketeers. And it would without doubt be designed and coded on the cheap, using that proven "innovation" of offshoring.

The outcome would certainly be bloated code, an unfamiliar and counter intuitive interface, all of it cleaner or better than the cruft-addled rubbish they're peddling now. And being Microsoft, you just know that a few short button presses in the right places would turn up truly ancient code or legacy interfaces that they copied across, because they couldn't be arsed to really redo from scratch, hoping that nobody would notice.

Sorry, Samsung. Seems nobody is immune to peak smartphone

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Re: Basic Economics

most sales become replacement sales for elderly, dieing kit

Generally yes, but car makers in particular have got the practice of early and irrational replacement down to a fine art. Few new buyers purchase for cash and run the car for its reliable and economic service life*, with most preferring to pay (exorbitant) lease plan fees, and have a new car every one to four years, even though the technical improvements over that time period will be paltry.

I suspect many people are running sim-free handsets on airtime only contracts, and whilst they congratulate themselves for their financial wisdom there, they are happily paying out many hundreds of pounds a month for a car they'll never own, perpetually paying the asset owner's depreciation and margin in return for always having a car that isn't embarrassingly old - like more than three or four years. And the curious thing, this applies to cheap as well as expensive motors, and for dull, non-aspirational brands as much as premium ones. I'm sure Apple would like some of that motor industry secret sauce.

* Tightwads like me excepted. Buy new - always through a car broker - sell when I conclude that there's a credible risk I'll need to spend several thousand quid on multiple major parts, perhaps at 175,000 miles, depending how the car is running.

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Re: Phone upgrade

I've upgraded to the latest in 2G technology - a Doro clam phone for £45. Does everything I need and only needs charging once a week.

My admittedly much more expensive £260 Xiaomi Pocophone offers a full fat smartphone experience, and is currently showing 40% remaining charge after running for 5 days and 17 hours, albeit being in flight mode during sleep hours. Last charge lasted 8 days and sixteen hours. Obviously I'm a very light user, but if you want a capable Android with a long battery life, it is just a case of buying carefully and avoiding the need to constantly fondle the blasted device..

I don't miss ......the poor battery life of the Android

You were saying?

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Re: Same trap as Apple

@Dave 126

Each to their own, but you're having to mollycoddle your phone, and if you keep it for a few more years it'll be worth zip secondhand. I used to do that. But some years back Sammy's relentless flagship price rises (even a year after launch) caused me to give up the battle of trying to buy and keep premium phones for years, and I moved to a Chinese brand, and haven't looked back.

Because Chinese phones generally tend to have larger batteries and more aggressive power management they don't need charging anything like as often as the Sammy and Apple devices, so battery longevity should be better, but even so I sell second hand after fourteen months and have a new one. The buyer gets a decent phone in great condition with a good few years life expectancy, I get a decent price, and I'm almost always running a current technology phone under retailer warranty. If I lose or break it then my losses are more limited than if I'm running a premium brand phone.

Give it a try when you do decide to trade out of your existing phone - I was very impressed by the value and build quality coming out from the better Chinese makers. Xiaomi's my current brand of choice, but as they've just established a European official presence they might be poor value soon - but if they make that mistake there's plenty of other competent makers to take their place. Curiously enough I've found UK based grey importers selling on Ebay to be more trustworthy than Amazon itself for these types of purchase.

Google Play Store spews malware onto 9 million 'Droids

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Re: Do phones still have an IR port?

For markets like China its very normal, and thus for exported versions. It is only Western markets where this isn't seen as pretty normal.

Our household fleet of various different Xiaomi devices all have IR "blasters". But the sensible way to set them up is not to download dodgy crapps, just to use the makers suggestion of running through trial and error of known and preloaded control protocols for the maker of the device you want to control.

Real-time OS: Ordnance Survey gets snuggly with Intel's Mobileye

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Re: Personally, I'd rather they fixed the fucking potholes.

Such a vastly inflated organisation would invariably become a fat quango struggling to cope with the overload in no time - i.e. almost a true Government Department.

Already been done for trunk roads, which are managed by Highways England (and yes, they are a fat quango struggling to cope...).

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Re: Personally, I'd rather they fixed the fucking potholes.

Potentially they can use this data to identify and prioritize fixing of potholes

IME it is rarely lack of knowledge that stops councils fixing potholes, it is allocation of resources and will power. Luckily my county council is rather good in this respect, but I've done enough driving to know that some county councils really couldn't give a toss (a big shout out to Oxfordshire CC here, as one serial offender).

Thought Macbooks were expensive? Dell UK unveils the 7 meeeellion pound laptop

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Clearly a special offer for government IT buyers

See above.

Gyro failure fingered for sending Earth-gazing Digital Globe sat TITSUP (That's a total inability to snap usual pics)

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a trade-off between risk / reward,

Which (unless they can fix it) the designers have got expensively wrong. Certainly is far from the first gryo failure on a satellite - some apparently better designed ones have been recoverable, such as the Maxar operated Radarsat 2.

Other press reports state that Maxar plan to try and claim the full $183m insured value from insurers. Whether they get that, and whether the insurers then have recourse to the makers will presumably be viciously fought through the courts. But if Radarsat 2 could be recovered, clearly the design of Digital Globe was an intentional high risk - you'd have thought that the insurers would have a good case for saying that they aren't there to cover reasonably forseeable failures caused by by cheapskate design?

Drone goal! Quadcopter menace alert freezes flights from London Heathrow Airport

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Re: Incompetence

After Sussex Police made complete and utter fools of themselves, an opportunity for another police force to do the same!!

On the basis that Sussex police DID make complete and utter fools of themselves, you reckon all police forces should ignore reports of drone activity near airports, then? Maybe they could stop responding to laser harassment of aircraft as well.

At least that would free up resources to keep the hoi polloi away from grandstanding by moron politicians outside Parliament.

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Re: "environmental terrorists"

Frankly, I find the unquestioning repetition of the phrase "environmental terrorist" to be the action of a craven shill.

Why? Because you don't like the idea?

Plod have covered themselves with something other than glory in the Gatwick pantomime, but whilst they believed that there was or might be a drone, they'd also need to be considering a motive, and that is one of a very small number of credible options.

Lets face it the tree huggers have "form" in respect of various stupid, risky and obstructive actions - climbing industrial machinery at coal power stations, gluing themselves to various commercial and government buildings, illegal attempts to disrupt fracking, attempting to stop the construction of the second runway at Manchester airport, blocking roads in London.

Reg Standards Bureau introduces the Devon fatberg as coastal town menaced by oily blob

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Re: Disposals wanted

Out of their regulated service area. Suggest you call Thames Water.

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Re: But seriously though...

It might be the "flush-able" wipes

Maybe, but but they were around in the '90s, and the lignin fibres in bog roll have always made their way through the sewerage system. I suspect that there's some confluence of factors, involving that but notably compounded by low temperature clothes washes, efforts to reduce detergent "over use", and crappy, ineffective eco-detergents.

I'm sure the eco-detergents and low temp washes save energy at point of use, if you factor in the vast effort to clear a fatberg, maybe they weren't such a good idea.

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Re: But seriously though...

They always say 'don't pour oil down the sink' - okay, but what they hell do we do with half a bottle of well-out-of-date rapeseed oil?

Landfill's fine, or (increasingly common due to landfill tax) incineration in a EfW or CHP plant actually gets a small chunk of the energy content out. It'll also compost quite well in commercial scale composters, but much less desirable in domestic composting.

But there's something going on here that needs an explanation. Back in the 1990s I worked for a water and sewerage company for a good few years, and I prided myself on being close to the operations and technology side, actually getting involved with the operations side. And we had occasional fat problems, but not this plague of fatbergs we see reported now.

Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

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Re: 32GB HP Monstruosities

I used to be like that, then I had kids. I take that many of my baby daughter's facial expressions each time she takes a dump.

I'm sure that in a few years time when you're in geriatric nappies she'll return the compliment.

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