* Posts by Ledswinger

4859 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Elementary, my dear IBM: When will Watson make money?

Ledswinger
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Re: @Ledswinger

tl;dr Ask Watson: How do we make some fucking money out of you?

Funnily enough, I've just been told I'm attending an IBM Watson event in a professional capacity in the near future. Let's see what opportunities for entertainment that affords.

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Ledswinger
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Good money after bad. Machine Learning is still crap. The majority of current applications are essentially consumer trinkets where "good enough for free" is all that counts (think Facebook or Google's respective creepiness). And much of what is being described as AI/ML is simply a clever algorithm with a minor bit of mathematical feedback, but then crunching through a big data set via parallel processing. Even these systems need a very narrow problem to solve, so the word "intelligence" is very questionable.

You have to laugh at the words "firmly, firmly established". Sounds like a politician's "complete confidence". Having said that, Watson is a brand, not a technology. It is unlikely to disappear, it'll just get more and more debased as every trivial IBM program that addresses a large data set gets branded as Watson, and their marketing dweebs prattle on about machine learning.

Here's the acid test: If Watson is so fucking clever, why haven't IBM used it to chart a strategy of profitable growth?

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'Beeeellion-dollar' mastercrooks in hotel, restaurant blitzkrieg

Ledswinger
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Re: Greed, greed, greed...

why aren't they now relaxing on their private tropical islands,

Because those with the drive to do this sort of thing can never have enough. That's why that old lizard Turdoch keeps going with $12bn in his back pocket. Why Trump decided to run for president despite having assets of almost $4bn. Why verminous hedge fund managers and bankers keep rooking the public and the markets when individually they're already millionaires many times over. Why Russian oligarchs keep on playing business. Why Li Ka Shing keeps going to work when his assets are worth $27bn. Putting Mr Shing's name along side Russian oligarchs, bankers, criminals, Murdoch and Trump is to do him a real disservice - he does actually appear to be wealthy through hard work, persistence and entrepreneurial instinct, but the point is still made, that he is wealthy beyond belief, but still works.

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All the cool kids are doing it – BT hikes broadband and TV bills

Ledswinger
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Re: Sport

BT: stop spunking money on sport for BT-TV no one watches

No one is listening at Fatcat Towers. They know that eventually, some long time off, Openreach will be properly regulated and the money machine will stop churning (or proper 4G will make fixed lines superfluous, and kill off that golden last mile). But up until that point, BT want ream out fixed line customers to build a content business, using the cash generated by Openreach, and using Openreach as a means of securing vast sums of cheap debt that they couldn't use if they didn't have all that infrastructure.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Let your feet do the talking.

Where I live Virgin isn't available,

Consider yourself lucky. They've been putting up prices hugely over the past two years, and certainly round my neck of the woods the service is unreliable - ninety minute outage on broadband today, for example. Virginmedia are very poor value, and the service is crap. Fast when it works, but that's the only positive.

The problem here is that Ofcom are so far behind the times they've not realised that broadband is now a piece of critical national infrastructure, and should be regulated as such (price caps, service standards, limits on rate of return, just like water or gas networks). That would control profits and keep prices down, as well as guaranteeing standards (well, more so than now).

Ofcom are just so slow, pathetic, and generally useless that I'm surprised they haven't all died of self-neglect.

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Deadly Tesla smash probe: No recall needed, says Uncle Sam

Ledswinger
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Re: Insurance companies watching

if not definitive, still pretty significant

Depends on the nature of avoided accidents? If most the avoided accidents were modest fender-benders, then there's a financial and convenience benefit. But only by reducing the incidence or severity of injury accidents will they improve safety. Lets see what the data shows.

In this respect we should consider what evidence actually does show. Take the moral panic over mobile phones and driving. All the announced studies declare it to be a huge risk factor, with figures between 4x and 20x more likley to have an accident. Yet certainly on Britain's crowded roads the number of injuries and fatalities has dropped hugely between the (effective) advent of smartphones in 2007. Obviously there's all the other road safety interventions, but still seems to me that the evidence doesn't match the claims of the risk (not that I'm condoning use of phones whilst driving).

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Ledswinger
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Re: Persuit of perfection vs. incremental improvement

Both Airbus and Air France were at fault, but not by negligence.

Air France were negligent, because their crew training and supervision was totally inadequate. That the systems went wrong was unfortunate, but the systems handed control back to the aircrew, who were there mainly for that purpose.

I really can't see how you can hold Air France as "not negligent" when their highly paid crew flew a completely airworthy aircraft into the sea.

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EE slapped with £2.7m fine by Ofcom

Ledswinger
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Re: What about overcharging for 4G data

womble porn

What, Orinoco getting it on with Madame Cholet?

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Ledswinger
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Re: IPA 2016 @ Adam Jarvis

the Energy Market is such a fcuk up.

Yes. Because both Ofgem and DECC/BEIS have so persistently intervened, creating new rules, new structures, because ultimately, government (and civil service) do not like market outcomes.

CoopEnergy paying out a pittance of £7 average payment per customer.

That was my earlier point about Ofgem's bias towards small suppliers. They'll happily fine incumbent companies tens of millions, but the smaller companies they let get away with murder. I work for an incumbent, and it costs us a fortune to be compliant with the rules imposed by the bunglers at Ofgem - not only fairly regular fines, but also infrastructure that we have to have, and new entrants don't eg sales call recording, plus real time human monitoring for around one in ten sales calls - ie one person makes an outbound sales call, that call is recorded, and still a person has to listen in one one in ten calls - plus the consequences of "re-education" if there's a process failure. Customers pay for that.

Or rather, THEY CHOOSE NOT TO. People use services like Uswitch, choose the cheapest fly-shit supplier, and then moan in horrified surprise that the services is shite. And cost savings are not only the slapdash approach to customer service and compliance that smaller companies have, they are legally permitted to dodge an assortment of schemes (mainly ECO, WHD, FIT) that add about £90 a year to the bills of larger companies. And that's without the shenanigans of hedging, where most small companies save money but take higher risks.

Personally, I've just taken the best three year electricity fix I could find with a company that might be around to honour it. For gas I went with the cheapest unheard of, because at this point gas is trending down and my exit penalty is modest. I'd recommend that approach to the house. Going for the cheapest dual fuel standard tariff or one year fix may look even better, but I think that's false economy because I expect electricity prices to keep rising over the next three years, due solely to our halfwit government's energy policy.

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Ledswinger
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Re: IPA 2016 (not the Ale!)

You're doing what Ofgem does best. Missing the fact for the reason CoopEnergy needed a new billing system, which was the 'the big switch'.

From memory, Coop started off with a vanilla "supplier in a box" regulatory and IT solution from Utiligroup. I work for an established energy company using a homebrew CRM, but I've got an immense amount of respect for Utiligroup and their IT solution. It doesn't do anything particlarly fancy, but it does most of the basics well, and it can scale easily. And the point, Sunny Jim, is that Coop didn't need to change their CRM for reasons of scale; Utiligroup's product will support several million customers with ease. Some much larger companies are still using Utiligroup software quite happily.

The reason Coop upgraded their CRM was a desire to add more functionality. So the big switch had diddly effing squat to do with the matter.

You also fail to acknowledge that Ofgem doesn't regulate the rollout of new billing systems...

FFS, why would they? Are you telling me that Ofgem are (or should be) experts in application architecture, process design, systems integration, and deployment? Idiot.

the fact that you have to defend the regulator,...

Maybe you should search my posting history before typing shit like that? Do come back when you know what you're talking about.

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Ledswinger
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Re: IPA 2016 (not the Ale!)

Ledswinger is wrong.

Ledswinger is neither wrong, nor modest.

There was a deal between CoopEnergy and Which in 2012, 'the big switch'

Collective switching is normal business in the energy market. Your statement is correct, but it wasn't the driver for Coop's problems, which started much later. But rather than take my word for it (after all I only work in the industry), why not read what Ofgem concluded and publicly reported? I'll abstract verbatim for you: "Co-operative Energy put in place a new billing system in March 2015. Following the installation, multiple issues adversely affected Co-operative Energy’s customers which were brought to our attention in June 2015."

Next, please!

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Ledswinger
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Re: IPA 2016 (not the Ale!)

Wasn't the Coop problems caused (or at least made a lot worse) by ..... many thousands of customers all to switch to the same small provider at the same time

No. That did happen at Extra Energy, and Ofgem have an open investigation that may result in fines (although Ofgem prefer to let small suppliers off the hook as far as possible, because their belief is that "Big is Evil").

Coop's problems were mainly down to a botched CRM upgrade, and similar outcomes have occurred at almost every energy company that has done the same (British gas, npower, Scottish Power, EDF and others). Of late Ofgem has taken to issue big fines and sales-bans to companies that end up on the customer service naughty step.

The reason these problems occur so commonly in energy is not generally the basic CRM elements that do the billing or the main customer database, but the hideous complexity of the energy system structures and the component sub-systems within the overall CRM. Because Ofgem approve all the network codes, performance standards, and issue hugely detailed supplier licences, they (Ofgem) exist largely as a parasitic life form attached to the quasi-market they have created. They create the complexity that contributes to poor service, they are then judge, jury and executioner when things go wrong, thus justifying their own existence. They boast about issuing about quarter of a billion quid in fines to the industry, yet cannot see that for customers this is evidence of Ofgem's failure, not their success.

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'Exploding e-cig cost me 7 teeth, burned my face – and broke my sink!'

Ledswinger
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Damaged his sink?

Looks nothing like any form of blast damage to me. And having wrecked a few sinks in my time, the explosive force to smash one...well, I wouldn't want to be withing fifty yards.

Of course, he might have wacked the sink himself involuntarily as the e-fag went pop, but personally I'm not buying this tragic tale of vaping woe.

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Euro space agency's Galileo satellites stricken by mystery clock failures

Ledswinger
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Re: Livestream of media briefing

I also can't find anything on the ESA website referring to the problem - they might be a little embarrassed.

Coming hot on the heels of of Schiaperelli they aren't covering themselves in glory, I'd tend to agree. Luckily it is a pan-European project, so everybody can blame somebody else, although the Guardian will presumably (again) conclude that it is all because ESA doesn't have enough women running it, or the staff wear the wrong t-shirts.

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Boffins link ALIEN STRUCTURE ON VENUS to Solar System's biggest ever grav wave

Ledswinger
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The scale of it would seem far too big to be anything artificial or life-based. Although, there's no harm in sending a probe to take a look...

"The chances of anything come from Mars are a million to one." I say we don't ring the door bell until we know where we can run away and hide.

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AI and robots? Will someone think of the jobs, says HPE CEO Whitman

Ledswinger
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People redundant, and a fairly middling quality of bullshit, on the basis of the article.

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Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

Ledswinger
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Re: The richest 10% @Uffish

If you are in the top 10% of wealthy people the moral obligations on you are much the same as those on a billionaire.

On an income (as opposed to wealth) basis, an annual income of about €/$/£ 30k is enough to put you not merely in the top 10%, but the top 1%.

And that 30k would not necessarily just be earned income, but would include any pensions, state benefits in cash or kind, imputed income (such as the financial benefit of a house you owned and lived in), the value of any free state services like roads, state education, policing, civil justice etc. I'd assume that almost all readers of the Reg would qualify as members of the global 1% on an income basis.

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Nadella calls for AI sector to move beyond 'worshipping' a handful of companies

Ledswinger
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Re: AI? I'd settle for for an OS that just worked...

Nutella's quote was misunderstood by the press.

When he said "yet to show how it will make the technology accessible to and useful for its human end users", he was referring to Microsoft and Windows 10.

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US Marines seek more than a few good men (3,000 men and women, actually) for cyber-war

Ledswinger
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Re: Bit of empire building here?

eventually it's going to be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers of a low tech military with lots of cheap soldiers and kit,

Heading this way fast. Look at the ever decreasing numbers of fighters, bombers, destroyers, etc, all the time predicated that "this new piece of kit is X times as effective as the old one." - although the main reality is that pork barrel procurement, plus kid-in-the-sweet-shop specifications mean that the cosr has gone up by orders of magnitude.

The F35 is the archetype of this idiocy (having out-idioted the prior award holder, the F22), but there's plenty more examples from all round the world. Military leaders seem incapable of grasping the nettle of procurement, and don't even seem to appreciate basics like the mathematical relationship between complexity and unreliability, nor the reality that the weapons platforms should be simple, robust and not unduly expensive, with the advanced capabilities mainly in the weapons themselves, and any on-platform elements containerised to keep the weapons systems separate from the ship or airframe.

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Outage-hit Lloyds Bank in talks to outsource data centres to IBM

Ledswinger
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Left Deutsche under a cloud after the HP deal

Funnily enough the director that brought HP into the company I work for left under a cloud. Of course, by the time the retards of directors realised the mistake they'd made and gave her the bullet (or generous payoff more likely), it was far too late to do anything, so now we're stuck with HPE's crappy service and outlandish costs.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Outsourcing...

just working with Notes is enough to make you cry

Shouldn't that be "was", not "is".......hold on......you're not telling me that Notes is STILL A THING? That businesses still use it?

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Ledswinger
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What's to stop IBM getting a banking license and then offering to buy the Lloyds brand at a knock-down price?

Why take the risk on the balance sheet, when you can leave all that with Lloyds, and then charge them a small fortune each and every month. Fat margins, no downsides, no real responsibility when things go pear shaped.

That of course is the bit of the jigsaw that Lloyds' pea brained PHBs will miss. They'll believe that outsourcing somehow delivers magical efficiency, "labour arbitrage", and technical competence, and that IBM will then share that expertise and cost savings out of the kindness of their heart. If only Lloyds looked at IBM's accounts they'd realise that the cost to serve will have to go up, because IBM's corporate costs, overheads and goodwill will far outweigh the salary savings of employing inexperienced third-worlders. And if they looked at, oooh, Cable & Wireless vs IBM, then they'd see IBM in their true light. As for the SLA that will "guarantee" that Lloyds get what they pay for....just make sure that it says "now wash your hands" at the bottom of every sheet, because that's what your SLA will be worth.

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UK's largest hospital trust battles Friday 13th malware outbreak

Ledswinger
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Re: Gosh.......

No doubt he's well on his way to become a politicians special adviser.

Let's lynch him first, for past and pre-crime. I'll bring the rope.

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Dieselgate: VW pleads guilty, will cough up $4.3bn, throws 6 staff under its cheatware bus

Ledswinger
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Re: Where does the $4.3e9 go?

i'm not sure if it is part of this number specifically.

Completely separate. This hit is just US state bodies taking the opportunity to gouge a foreign corporation. Separate to that, there's the buy back, compensation, and modifications programmes (already estimated at $15bn), and separate again, the costs of handling and settling civil class actions brought by ambulance chasing lawyers (your guess of a number ending in "billion", I'd suggest $10bn wouldn't be unreasonable).

On that last one, as of October last year there were 190 class actions reported across 37 US states in respect of dieselgate. There's also VW's losses on sales, present and future. Dieselgate doesn't appear to have done much damage across the rest of World, but it does look as though it has caused damage to the US sales, and I suspect that will be a multi-year hit, that I'd guess at a further $1-2bn loss of gross profit. Plus any class action by shareholders - perhaps the same again. Then there's the consequent organisational change, higher compliance costs in future, difficulties with other countries' regulators looking for a piece of the action, maybe even legal action from separate companies and their investors whose shares went down because of dieselgate, like Daimler and BMW.

So all in, I'm guessing that the total cash cost to VW is going to work out around $40bn.

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Oh Britain. Worried your routers will be hacked, but won't touch the admin settings

Ledswinger
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It sounds like there is a market today for local IT people to offer a service to improve people's home network security

If they CBA to change a router password, will the great unwashed understand advertising offering to "fix" their security, will they care enough to pick up the phone to arrange a visit, and will they then pay any reasonable tab?

What's your basic cost to serve? Customer acqusition costs, travel and broken appointments are real killers, even if you could do the job (including social niceties) in half an hour. As a benchmark, gas fitters don't live lives of luxury, yet need to charge about £70-120 for forty minutes work that involves nothing more than a basic safety check and whip round the boiler with a hoover. I can't see many people paying that sort of money for an "internet security check".

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Uber's Movement dumps data on city planners

Ledswinger
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It's just the public would gasp in horror at the thought of even a train without a driver.

Errrrmm, where do I start? Perhaps at Bank station on the underground in London. Get the DLR, take the front carriage, front seats, and journey to Cutty Sark. Look at the ship, come back via river clipper. Its a bloody good day out. Make sure you aren't driving a car later, have a few refreshment stops en route, and celebrate how historic, how bloody impressive our capital city is - you'll be wrapping yourself up in a Union Jack at the end of the day.

And the point is that the DLR trains are happily driverless. You sit in the front, you are in the front, looking out the windows as you speed through the tunnels, overground, and the big dipper at Canary Wharf. I've taken foreign colleagues on this journey, from places where we snivel at their supposed talent in public transport, yet they've been blown away by the DLR experience.

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Ledswinger
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that will push them over the cliff when a self driving car is available, thus depriving them of any future benefit too.

True. But no different to Amazon who would love to automate picking and delivery. Or Apple and Samsung who would be happy to use robots for assembly. Or IBM, HP and others who would automate white collar jobs. Or utilities who would love to automate call centres and sack all the people.

None of this will change unless customers want to pay extra for a (genuine) human service. Outside of a few artisan products, the evidence is that people want to commoditise their purchases, and simply buy the cheapest that has a brand and spec they like.

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Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

Ledswinger
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Re: I'm sure...

but the economy will notice the loss of all the £150s people like you would otherwise have spent on something else.

True, but the devaluation of Sterling is long overdue. The FX rate justified on membership of the EU was an unsupportable one, because the macro economics were quite clear. So blaming Brexit for an entirely justified and long overdue fall in our exchange rate is rather pointless. And the EU still have to come to terms with the flaws in their own collective economy.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Oh dear, Lars

I live in a country who got fed up with the ten-yearly devaluation and joined the Euro hoping for a less easy and more intelligent solution to dealing with the reality.

Bwahahahahaa! Look how that's panned out - vast unemployment in southern Europe, an incipient Italian banking crisis, the issue of Greek (Spanish, Portugese, French) bad debt wholly unresolved, meanwhile Germany exports fancy cars at discounted intra-EU exchange rates.

The UK is a basket case economy, I'll give you that. But I rather be my own basket case, than wrapped up in the incestuous, bungled mess of the Euro. Within the Euro, there's only two options - repudiate certain high value billion-to-trillion value debts, or Germany pay them all off. Either is a bad outcome, but that's what Europe is stalling on. Good luck, because you're going to need it even more than our little island is.

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Feds cuff VW exec over diesel emissions scam

Ledswinger
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Re: It's a good start...

What law are you talking about?

Err, are you unable to drive a search engine?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/24/uk-france-and-germany-lobbied-for-flawed-car-emissions-tests-documents-reveal

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Ledswinger
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Re: There is no defeat device, there is no defeat device, there is no......

The engineer then posited that this was likely illegal.

I work for a German based, German managed company. On the basis of my experience there's ZERO chance of a few bad apples, or of engineers giving legal opinions. I suspect a huge misjudgement, that VW had engineering and proper legal opinion, and hoped that by meeting the letter of the test standard they'd comply with the law.

So the law says "meet this test under these conditions" and VW did that, exploiting the fact that the law didn't exactly say "...without fucking around to create a static test mode or other dodge that is wholly unrepresentative of the real world".

I must say, this kerfuffle hasn't dented my view of VW. In fact, I bought a VW group car AFTER dieselgate had broken, and against my high expectations for a mid-range car, it has surpassed them. As it happens, it wasn't a diesel, but that reflected a pre-held view that diesels are now too expensive and too complex to justify the additional economy, and curiously enough its those cost and complexity issues that seem to be at the heart of the matter. If my car gets stolen tonight, it'll be replaced with a similar VW group car the moment the insurers pay up.

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Ledswinger
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Re: There is no defeat device, there is no defeat device, there is no......

I'm not saying VAG did nothing wrong but I doubt we'll find out what really went on.

Since they are about to pay a stonking great fine, pay big sums in owner compensation, and senior execs have resigned, I think VW have effectively admitted their guilt, don't you? There are some questions as to whether in the letter of the law VW really did anything wrong, but given the fall-out so far I'd suggest that such niceties are all but irrelevant.

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What do you call a firm that leaves customer financials unencrypted on a hard drive? RSA

Ledswinger
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Re: ICO Fail

I'd argue that RSA should have copped a full half million, since what they did was negligent, so that's an ICO fail. But half a mill is still beer money for RSA, and that's not the ICO's fault, but a persistent failure of all shades of government, who should have raised the penalties dramatically. And whilst at it, they should have made them recoverable personally from directors if the company wouldn't pay (as that would hit the fly-by-night shysters operating phoenix companies).

Whilst the UK will probably try for a GDPR equivalence, and that will increase the potential fines, I'll wager that the EU haven't clocked the issue of phoenix companies.

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Prison librarian swaps books for bars after dark-web gun buy caper

Ledswinger
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Have it your own way, then: Plod.

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Renault goes open source with next-gen electric buggy you might generously call 'a car'

Ledswinger
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Re: Electric Kit Car

1, the software is limited in how much it can improve performance. If you tweak it too much, you'll damage your expensive batteries.

Never mind the batteries, because some people will always be happy to trade durability for performance. But there's real questions about how will insurers price the risk for a software controlled vehicle where users are encouraged to meddle with the parameters? Or for that matter, how will makers get regulatory type approval? And how will those makers price the warranty risk?

Being realistic, the "open source" and "customisation" will need to be so constrained that it will amount to changing the colour theme, or rearranging the menus, with all important capabilities relating to performance, handling, braking, charging completely ring fenced. There might be a black market for modifications to change the other parameters (much like getting a petrol engined car "chipped", or hacking to enable software options that the car maker built in, but charge extra to enable). But as more and more of the "extras" are built in as standard but disabled in software, the makers are going to become even more agressive in protecting those high margin add-on sales.

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Too much landfill, too little purpose: CES 2017

Ledswinger
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Re: Business opportunity

All of those useless electronic gadgets should yield plenty of recyclable materials (similar to mobile phones)

I think phones and tablets are unusual in the density of (potentially) valuable and recyclable materials. For the generally bulkier but lower value tat that's not the case, and the recoverable value could well be very low indeed. Look at the Amazon Echo (Alexa). Over a kilogramme in weight, the vast bulk of which is the plastic case and the speaker. The recoverable electronics would be a couple of grammes of flimsy wires, a cheap mains adaptor, and basic audio codec and wifi chip/s.

Landfill the tat. That's the way forward.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Who shit in your cereal?

...the makers of Golden Grahams? Nothing else can explain their awfulness.

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That's the way the Cook, he stumbles: Apple CEO pay cut as sales tank

Ledswinger
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Re: iFixit pretty damning about new wireless headphones

until you realise how many Apple headphones the World goes through. These are going to produce milllions of tonnes of toxic waste.

At eight grammes per pair, the world will need to throw away 125 billion pairs of Airpods to reach a million tonnes. So about eighteen pairs for every human being on the planet.

Treating your claim as hyperbole rather than inadequate maths skills, there's still what government like to call the "counterfactual", which is what happens in the alternative case. In my experience, most wired earphones have a pretty short life anyway because the lacquer insulation on the wires isn't durable unless treated with kid gloves (or the jack breaks, or the actual drivers fail or get irretrievably gunked up, so the average service life is probably no different. Then, you need to consider that a typical pair of earphones (say Sennheiser CX100) are about 15 grammes a pop, and the vast majority won't ever be recycled. Whilst the Airpod charging dock is another piece of kit to consider, the counterfactual is the repairs of scrappage of entire phones due to a broken socket. On balance I'd guess Apple are reducing waste to landfill...

So all in all, posting that as AC was probably a wise move on your part.

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FM now stands for 'fleeting mortality' in Norway

Ledswinger
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$28m a year?

Wow. Was it worth the upheaval and the vast expense to save a frankly trivial amount n what is (per capita) one of the world's richest countries?

And judging by the UK's misguided adventures in DAB, the idea that it is either cheaper or easier to get better DAB coverage over FM in unfavourable terrain is nonsense. As for "better sound quality", what had he been smoking?

At leas this confirms the universal stupidity of politicians.

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Cancel! that! yacht! order! Marissa! – Verizon's! still! cold! on! Yahoo! gobble!

Ledswinger
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Re: Walk a way

Verizon seems to follow a strategy of merging for the sake of merging.

M&A is the executive equivalent of scratching your arse. Its what you do when you can't think of anything else, or when you're trying to actively avoid something horrible (like the hard work of running a real, profitable, customer focused company).

Verizon aren't unusual - I work for a company that has squandered about twenty billion euros on M&A with no tangible benefits at all, other than a matching amount of debt on our balance sheet.

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Forget aircraft – now cretins are laser-blinding ferry boat crewmen

Ledswinger
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Re: This:

With WHAT?? A 50mw green laser??

Do a bit of a search, and you'll see that the device confiscated from Raden was a 5,000 mW blue industrial purpose laser that cost the fat end of $200 (picture of the actual confiscated device are out there). I'd say that the crew were rather lucky they didn't get more serious eye injuries, and Raden got off far too lightly.

We're about the misuse of a laser gun sight, a presentation pointer, or even a middleweight class IIIA unit: This was a relatively costly purchase, bought as a weapon, used intentionally as a weapon.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Bah!

and given thirty-to-life so they have plenty of time to realize that for once in their god damn worthless lives, their actions have consequences

Whilst that might seem well deserved, the US already has something around 0.9% of adults in prison, and a further 2% on probation or parole. Whilst locking up laser wielding fuckwits might be just, there's millions of fuckwits, so where are you going to put them? And can we afford the additional cost of locking them up (around $50k a year each)? And for this calibre of individual, there's already the prospect of fines and jail, so why will the rationalise a longer sentence as a greater deterrent? With 8,000 offences reported each year to the FAA, putting those people away for only six months each would cost $200m. This is for known laser illuminations, I assume the attempted number is several times greater....

Whilst it will be shouted down mercilessly, I seriously suggest that corporal punishment would be an excellent punishment for this type of offence. That would have lower cost than jail, done publicly would probably be a greater deterrent to others, and I suspect that the perps would actually be able to better associate the pain and humiliation of having their arse flogged in public with the idea of "don't do it again", compared to the alternative of a visit to the big house, or fines they can't and won't pay.

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Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

Ledswinger
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Re: City of London Police = Rent-a-cop

The City of London Police are about as bent as they come

Having been involved at the very fringes of some of CoLP investigations, I have a fair idea of what they do, and I'd say they have to do a lot of work to a very high standard, dealing with some of the slipperiest crooks on the planet.

Also, whilst I think neither of us have any sympathy for rich companies like Sky, or the football clubs, and the jail sentences seem remarkably severe, this is still about the theft of intellectual property. If you're proposing that this case shouldn't have been brought, what threshold do you propose, below which IP theft isn't a crime, and above which it will be?

Your assumption that the CoLP are at the beck and call of City businesses is also not really true - CoLP are there to protect those corporations from law breakers, but equally to pursue those corporations if they are involved in criminality. In my experience, when CoLP let investigations drift, it isn't because the CoLP are doing favours, it is because the government intervene to tell them to lay off. Like their inaction against RBS over West Register and the "pre-pack" asset seizures. CoLP were making slow but steady progress, but senior politicians and civil servants told the police to lay off, because government didn't want even more dirt and expense in relation to RBS (despite whistleblowers taking the evidence directly to the offices of Cameron, Osborne, and Cable).

Get rid of the City of London Police, make them part of the Met

You want to combine the primarily white-collar investigators of CoLP with the bungling, electrician-slayers of the Met? And you have missed the fall out from Leveson on the Met being in Fleet Street's pocket? I might mention the the name of Ian Tomlinson as another stain on the Met, their failures on counter-terrorism (admittedly successes as well, but they failed on 7/7, on 21/7, Glasgow Airport et al, Lee Rigby), The only people worse than the Met are South Yorkshire.

CoLP work far better for not being part of the Met, and if anything, the change should be the other way round. Let the Met do routine policing and security, but give CoLP responsibiliuty for the white collar crime, fraud at least for all of London, and I'd go as far as saying crappy quasi-police forces like NCA and SFO should be wrapped into CoLP with a national remit.

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Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

Ledswinger
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Re: Something fishy about this story

Having been in Syria to photo-document the war

Cheers, sir for your insight!

If there's one thing I love about the Reg above all else, it is the variety, breadth and depth of experience and skill amongst the commentariat.

And for the most part an absence of knobs.

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Ledswinger
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Re: WTF!

Fighting the Islamic State is a terrorist crime?!

Yes. If you're not part of the official forces fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, then you're a paedodruggyterrorist who doesn't recycle properly either. And certainly a climate change denier.

Are these people insane?

It is far, far worse than that. "These people" are bureaucrats. Civil servants, Westminster bubble politicians. Having said that, we are engaged and taking proper, officially approved, non-terrorist casualties in taking the fight to IS. The other day I saw a C17 doing a quick turnaround at BHX before heading south at low altitude. The only purpose of that plan is to bring critically injured servicemen to the QE hospital at Birmingham.

Respect to the injured, two fingers to Westminster

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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Ledswinger
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Re: Will it.....

Rather shows up the SUV class, but not really surprising when they have the aerodynamics of a brick.

A decent SUV designed for the European market will get 500-600 miles out of a tank, and the difference in economy between the better performing cars of different classes is surprisingly small, particularly in real world conditions. I used to get a 550 per tank out of my old Nissan X Trail (although the reasonable economy was more than offset by Nissan's total rip-off spare parts pricing).

If he's only getting 350, I suspect the OP is driving a US market monster with a petrol engine that has far more cylinders than are required, and undoubtedly an old style sludgematic transmission.

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Ledswinger
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Re: I really don't see the point

under the supervision of a dietician and providing the ingredients were rigorously controlled and medically efficacious

Why should powder-based diets be so controlled? There's no rigorous controls on the rubbish that most of us sling in our shopping trolleys or buy in fast food joints (and to judge by the horsemeat scandal) there's certainly no control of their production either.

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Army social media psyops bods struggling to attract fresh blood

Ledswinger
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Re: I'm guessing the money is not so good...

but piss poor salary for a skilled senior IT worker in London

So a big improvement would be simply to move the function somewhere where that salary goes a whole lot further, and undoubtedly would have vastly better quality of life than within the self-absorbed shithole that sits at the centre of the M25. And when picking somewhere to go, not some grimey former industrial provincial cess-pit either, nor the vast metrollops of the "London-for-flat-cappers" effort to build a Northern Powerhouse.

But that realisation is beyond the cretins of Whitehall and Westminster.

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Vinyl and streaming sales offset CD decline in UK music sales

Ledswinger
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Re: It's understandable

My garage got really hot, so I'm gonna need a turntable shaped like a saddle.

My memories of vinyl were that records were made like that in the first place.

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