* Posts by Ledswinger

6172 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Leftover Synaptics debugger puts a keylogger on HP laptops

Ledswinger
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Re: Can't fix it

Keyboard driver? Surely the Synaptics driver is just for the trackpad? I suppose the bumblers of HP could be bundling it all up (ICBA to look), but if not, then 181 MB is indeed impressive. The entire King James Bible is only 1.4 MB in ePub format.

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IBM to expunge over 500 people in latest redundo round

Ledswinger
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Re: Scarper sharply

A lot of people could take partial blame for the events of the second world war, including the British, thanks to the then government's policy of appeasement.

Go one then, if appeasement was the wrong policy, tell us WHEN the British government should have declared war on Germany, on what RATIONAL basis, and on what LEGAL basis?

Also, you may want to present a dynamic of how Europe would have evolved in the 1940-1960s if Hitler had been forcibly removed by foreign powers in the late 1930s, and also a military outline as to how Britain would have won a war that started essentially before an rearmament of the British military had occurred.

Appeasement was just about the only option, and it bought years that were vital to rearm the RAF, RN and to a more modest extent, the Army.

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UK lacks engineering and tech skillz to make government's industrial strategy work – report

Ledswinger
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Re: All the jobs were sent offshore to get it for cheap....

if we want a rounded and rewarding society, we need those medieval historians and sociologists and creative writing graduates.

So long as their valuable work is commercially funded or sponsored, that's fine by me. Oh, and a ban on them becoming politicians. Seems to me that Parliament is dominated by the fruits of our "rounded and rewarding society".

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Japanese quadcopter makes overworked employees clock out

Ledswinger
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Cruel and unusual

Playing Auld Lang Syne at helpless employees, merely for staying late to furkle a Powerpoint presentation that nobody will really give a shit about? I've no problem with torture and the death penalty for selected people (MoD Procurement, if you're interested), but that is so cruel, so excessive to the crime that even I cannot support it.

Sadly I have to put up with a family who think that it is acceptable, nay necessary to sing the damned song on New Year's Eve. WTF is wrong with them? Hideous tune, words no fucker understands, and if they understood them they wouldn't mean them. Apparently I'm the Grinch that Stole New Year. And there's another thing, New Year's Fucking Eve....no, don't get me started.

Auld Lang Syne, MoD Procurement, Uber, Michael Gove.....all of them should be cleansed with fire. Lots of it. And I'd give Scotland independence to pay the bastards back for the cursed tune.

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New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online

Ledswinger
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Re: How bloody typical.

Do it American style and vote for the "blithering idiot"?

Don't you think Mrs May's track record of unbelievably poor decisions fully qualifies her as a BI ?

Ignoring the world class stupidity of throwing away a bar working majority for no reason whatsoever in an election that neither she or her party had prepared for, FFS, she's let Smeagol Gove back into the Cabinet. EVERYBODY hates Smeagol. Every Tory, every opposition politician, every schoolteacher, every schoolkid (even if they don't know it). Anybody with an eye for style, or beauty. Anybody that can think. Hell, that bloke who cemented his head in a microwave probably hates Gove.

In fact, why can't we have Gove's head shoved in a microwave, and then fill the cavity with expanding foam (no plastic bag or polythene tube, natch). By the time the fire brigade arrive, the deed would be done.

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Ledswinger
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Re: MoD as always

'I don't think EU.'

The EU have had a Defence & Security Procurement Directive since 2011 (and transposed into national laws in each country), that sets out the rules requiring these contracts to go to tender. So the EU have to take full responsibility for mandating competitive procurement here.

However, UK politicians (of all colours) have for many years believed in the magic efficacy of competitive tendering, and would probably have done this anyway. Until we have both an infallible test to establish that somebody is a shithead, and a mandatory death penalty or permanent exile as the minimum penalty, this sort of thing will continue.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sigh

don't waste that lovely view on civil servants, get some use out of them instead. Target practice would be best.

I like that idea. Maybe strap them to floats, and then send the Navy to waste them with a Kryten from about eight miles. Given the dismal accuracy of any 4.5 incher, there would be hours of entertainment before they landed a shell near enough to erase the civil servant. Then you float out the next one.

That of course assumes that after the MoD's efforts, the RN could find a crew, a working ship, that the gun was serviceable, and they'd bought shells that would go "bang". Possibly the MoD have messed things up so badly that the only weapons the British military have that work are bayonets. In which case we might need to hand the guilty over to the Russian navy, and tell them that these people are convincing liars, but are in fact Somali pirates, and should be treated the way the Russians like to deal with all pirates.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How much? How long?

Don't forget the flagpoles for the politicians

They won't get a flagpole. They get a spike.

A really big one thirty feet high, and they get dropped arse first onto it, and get left to rot, like a raisin on a needle.

They're politicians, they'd approve of theatricals like that .

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Ledswinger
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Re: How much? How long?

When will they learn outsourcing is not the cheaper option.

Only when all the flagpoles around the front entrance of Abbey Wood South are converted to gibbets, and each day a new senior civil servant is treated to the view from the top of each one.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 1.3B

Has anybody pointed out that is a years wages for over seven thousand infantrymen?

I say old chap, keep it all in perspective. In MoD terms, £1.3bn is only one failed Watchkeeper programme.

Perhaps we should add that to the El Reg units database?

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Ledswinger
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So no one at Crapita knows how to write

Maybe not, but in this case it seems to me that the contract probably ASSUMED that adequate management information would be provided, or asked for it, but didn't define it. Crapita will (to the best of their meagre abilities) simply have stuck to the letter of the contract and spec. If nobody specifically asked for a recruitment count or other MI, then it won't have been built in.

But in so doing Crapita show what amateurs they are. Were I running Crapita, we'd have seen this omission, built in the code for the most fan-dabby-dozy MI suite cheaply at the time of code design and build (maybe even copy the spec from our own corporate systems), test it, then disable each finite element with a single asterisk. Then when MoD complain that the system doesn't do what they need but didn't ask for, we offer that which is asked for, charge the full variation order rate against an estimated design, code, test schedule, and simply release the code modified without that asterisk. Every item of bell and whistlery would be disabled separately, and only that which was requested and paid would be released, even though the code was already written.

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Ledswinger
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This is the kind of thing where the base functionality could be handed to the intern for a summer project if you wanted to just about get by or given to a team of proper devs for a month or two and they'd make it work properly.

And don't forget, they had a system that (sort of) worked before. It isn't even as though this is some new form of devilry that nobody understood. My guess as to HOW this fuck-up happened is that MoD previously outsourced their recruitment IT (or the entire process) to HPE or some predecessor ITinosaur, and to make extra shekels, the outsourcer sacked all the relatively expensive people who knew the system and the process as soon as they could under TUPE rules. Operationally HPE manned-down to a shed load of oppressed and over-worked minimum wage slaves, and as they didn't expect to retain the contract longer term, this slash and burn approach didn't matter. Then, when the Moronistry of Defence came to review the contract, yet again they went for the lowest tender, this time it was Crapita who were the most mendacious. Crapita waltzed in, planning to rinse-and-repeat the HPE effort after using the know-how people to build a new system (as you say, shouldn't take long) before sacking them, but this time it was a Mother Hubbard situation: When they got there, the cupboard was bare of people who understood either systems or processes.

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Florida Man… pockets Uber cash to keep quiet about data breach

Ledswinger
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But fair play to Khosrowshahi for coming clean.

Hardly. He was brought in specifically to clean out the Augean Stables that are Uber's headquarters, and he will be on a typical US tech CEO megabuck contract. If he doesn't make demonstrable progress the investors who allowed his appointment would have him fired.

What concerns me is that there seem to be no limits to the rankness of Uber, and potentially all we're seeing is the easy to fix stuff, and the things a lot of people already know are wrong. Whilst firing the guilty is desirable, it guarantees nobody guilty will step forward of their own accord. If individuals or small cabals are associated with particular malfeasance, and nobody outside knows, then the dirt remains. Imagine a scenario where a large part of Uber's code actually belonged to somebody else - if that was known only in the heads of a senior manager and a couple of coders, they won't admit now, and the problem just sits there like a UXB. Doesn't even have to be an IP or tech issue - imagine the wrongs that Uber's HR people have connived to, or hushed up, or the sticky dirt the finance people have on their hands.

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Rogue PIs found guilty of illegally snagging personal financial info

Ledswinger
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In this case, the blue chip firm would be Van Ameyde Group BV, who claim themselves (LinkedIn) to be "Europe’s leading claims outsourcing organisation. Its client base includes major insurance providers, corporate risk managers and motor fleet managers. Van Ameyde’s service-offering ranges from off-the-shelf to fully customised solutions for all non-life insurance lines. In addition, Van Ameyde offers IT solutions to help its clients improve their claims performance."

Woodgate & Clark Ltd itself is owned 25% by Michael Woodgate, 25% Richard Clark, and 50% by Van Ameyde. The use of a toss-pot front company was (in my guess) a cynical practice to avoid Van Ameyde's name being associated with dodgy practice, and Woodgate & Clark's website makes no mention of Van Ameyde, although it seems they had come to the attention of SOCA. The real, beneficial client I'm not sure we will ever know, but chances are it is a well known name in the UK insurance market, who had concerns about a claim, and passed it to Van Ameyde for them to investigate and possibly settle (W&C offer loss adjusting services, so basically arguing claims down).

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YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven

Ledswinger
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Re: Twat

YouTube has a lot to answer for in providing a platform for attention seeking twats

You don't think that this is just the cream of Wolverhampton showing their mettle?

In an odd sort of way, I'm quite pleased, that after years of amusing fuckwittery from Murica and the Antipodes, somebody has struck out with a bold claim on the gold for Blighty in the Stupidity Olympics.

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Elon Musk finally admits Tesla is building its own custom AI chips

Ledswinger
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Re: Maybe concentrate on a business line?

Tesla doesn't look too well against BMW i3, quality wise.

In pure assembly quality yes.

In consumer advocacy, both appear very popular with drivers.

In reliability terms, both appear about the same, which is poor according to sources like Consumer Reports.

Given that Europeans generally assemble cars to a much higher standard than Americans, and that Europe is ultra keen in all matters of environmental consciousness, the most logical reasons for building the first Tesla factory in the US would seem to have been access to capital and a business friendly government. There's good logic to that, but it comes with the consequences of shonky assembly.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Overstretch

I'm just pointing quite obvious fact that Tesla Inc.....

A moment ago you were "just pointing out the obvious fact" that "Tesla as a company does not have anything to do with Musk". I think you're essentially arguing out of your arse, albeit your excremental logic is peppered with a few facts.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Overstretch

Let me fix it for you

Actually, I've got a family member working with Tesla, I'm well aware that they use external suppliers. In your desperate bid to pick an argument, you've assumed that I was saying that they didn't use any external suppliers, which (if you go back and read it) was not correct. The whole point was the extent to which Tesla and Musk want control over what is done, and if they can't get it commercially, they'll do the job themselves.

And talking of "not being correct", if Tesla as a company "does not have anything to do with Musk", who the fuck is that bloke who glories in the title of Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Inc? You know, South African bloke, he was one of the founders of Tesla Motors, name escapes me. And separate to that, who is the largest beneficial owner of Tesla Inc shares? Including all institutional investors, it still happens to be some billionaire playboy, bloke who made his money with Paypal...maybe you could help me out, what was his name again?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Nothing to worry then

What's the track record of Elon Musk ?

An inspirational technologist, able and willing to come up with ideas that other people aren't brave enough to even attempt, and back them through the early stages?

All credit to the man, we need more technologists, we need people to try the stuff that lard-arse corporations are too cowardly to even consider. But I agree with the Tesla 3 ordering AC, Musk has fingers in too many pies. What Saint Steve showed was that there's rarely room for more than one inspirational evangelist in a business, and for Musk, that means he spreads his energies ever more thinly, and has to delegate to lackeys who simply are not clones. So he can and will countermand decisions they make; They won't be multi-millionaires able to risk their own money; And chances are they'll be immensely bright sycophants. Senior people in business are (all too often) poor at trusting others, and very poor at accepting challenge, so if he doesn't absolutely and totally trust them, and they won't challenge him, that's not a recipe for success, is it?

I suspect this lack of trust and unwillingness to be challenged are behind a lot of the diversifications - experts outside the company with more experience and wisdom in particular field say "You'd be a fool to do it that way" or "It cannot be done economically, it at all", and Musk's immediate reaction is "Hell, I can do it, I will do it". That's a great attitude, but slowly and progressively he's taking on the whole world.

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Ledswinger
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Trollface

Flaming wreckage, more likely.

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Ledswinger
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Overstretch

So not content with building the cars completely from scratch, from huge control and vertical integration of battery manufacture, from buying the companies making the production kit, owning the distribution to the maximum permitted extent, now Tesla want to bake their own silicon?

This is taking vertical integration beyond all reasonable bounds, and the ability to control and manage such a sprawling empire is going to be so thinly spread that it just won't work. Because it involves Twinkle Toes Musk, he will get away with it for a while, investors, competitors, suppliers, nobody wants to say the Emperor has no clothes. But, eventually reality will bite back, and Tesla will find out the hard way why manufacturers of complex products in competitive markets aren't vertically integrated from mine to shop.

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Looking through walls, now easier than ever

Ledswinger
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A cage made of sheet metal (eg aluminium foil) would be a better bet.

Mark 85 needs to investigate electrically conductive paint. At £165 a litre, doing the outside of the house might prove expensive, mind you. If he orders now he'll have it in time for Crimble, although I can't see a gift wrap option on Amazon for this.

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Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Ledswinger
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Is this internal or external signal reception

No, if the article is correct, it's simply the ratio of a sample of users connection time by technology. The problem of indoor versus outdoor is actually becoming a bigger problem with new build properties due to the fact that they are now 90% made from foil covered insulation board.

It would be nice if Ofcom would get off their saggy grey arses and specify and approve a suitable picocell or femtocell that phone users could buy off the shelf and plug in to extend a wireless signal indoors, without needing this to connect via a broadband connection, and without needing network operator permission to do so. Then again, it's Ofcom; nothing will happen, and even that nothing will only happen slowly.

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Ledswinger
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Re: 77% my shiney bum

Where does it mention 77%?

Maybe you are holding your shiney bum wrong?

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VW's US environment boss gets seven years for Dieselgate scam

Ledswinger
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Re: Poor buggers (as in the American people)

One can't help wondering just how "seriously" this would be taken were VW a B2B or, better still, a government supply organisation.

If it were a government organisation, nothing would have been done. If it were a US corp on the receiving end, they'd just agree a "no fault" settlement and a modest payout. But we can all see this has little to do with the minutiae of the actual case, and everything to do with deterring VW and other unwelcome foreign corporations from focusing on growing any business in the US. You can see the same rampant protectionism around the Boeing/Bombardier trade dispute, in some of the fines handed out to non-US banks for alleged money laundering or mis-sold loans, and a whole range of other US public sector actions.

Corporate ownership of Congress and US policy making and implementation now goes so deep that they may as well dis-enfranchise individuals, abandon elections (solving the problem that elections can't be trusted because Russia interferes) and just allow corporations to buy influence directly. Rather than have policy consultations, just have policy auctions, where companies make bids for various clauses, if a threshold is reached, every corporation who bid has to pay up. Every five years, instead of political parties, businesses (or rich families) could bid to become government, based purely on how much they can raise - not so different to now, but without the tedium of having to vote, or listen to months of boring political coverage by the press.

As we can see from the crooked family junta currently in the Whitehouse, seems most of this has already happened, and the persistent influence of certain rich families on the Democrat side is equally damning.

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DXC Technologies UK boss QUITS

Ledswinger
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Re: And yet there has been no internal memo about this

You know that adage about rats and sinking ships? It is also true of companies and their top management. I've seen this a number of times, you may have as well.

Maybe time to move on for you and the other long suffering peeps who actually do any work at DXC? Given the toxic culture that DXC has brewed, imagine what sort of up-their-own-arse wanker is going to take the top job? You may end up with some ghastly Yank trying to impose the weird US work culture on to the same organisation he's busy taking a machete to; Or you could end up with somebody who is simply a useless bullshitter, but the only person willing to do the job. Either way, DXC will show that there is no situation that can't be made worse.

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Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

Ledswinger
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buying a replacement Huawei is a no-no for me because of the EMUI (aka "I want my Android to look like any phone other than an Android") interface,

That Apple-wannabe look is fairly common on Chinese brand phones, but hardly reason not to buy, when there's plenty of really good launchers that will give you any number of appearances. My Xioami comes with the makers MIUI skin (which is pretty good if you don't mind the look) but I use Nova Launcher instead If you don't like Nova, there's easily another twenty really good launchers to choose from.

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Ledswinger
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Re: A Serious Contender

but I don't want a phone from a company from a country that is subject to laws that have caused the likes of WhatsApp and Skype to either pull out of, or dilute their product's privacy 'to comply with local laws'.

I wouldn't get to hung up on this. You already know the vast majority of phones are made in China, regardless of the badge on the front, the handful made outside of China use a lot of China sourced components (and you'd have a very restricted choice), and if doubt you think that (regardless of what they say) Western code and hardware design aren't very accommodating to their local security services.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sounds nice

The days of the sub-£300 generic (like the 1+One) have gone down the plug'ole along with the value of the pound

Not for grey imports. Buy from a UK importer via Ebay, pay by Paypal using a credit card, and if it goes wrong you've got first recourse against the vendor; If they aren't around or won't help, you've got the Ebay and Paypal guarantees, if they won't cough up you can go to the credit card provider under Section 75. Buying from a UK vendor, you've got no import duty liability, and no long wait for delivery. The importer I bought from has been around for a while and promises they'll honour a one-year warranty, but you never know.

But, if despite all that it all goes shit shaped for me, and my lovely Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X goes titsup, and I can't get it resolved, or a refund, I've only ponied up less than £160.

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The search for the 'next billion' users also targets the first billion

Ledswinger
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Lands of rotten roads and slow connections setting the agenda

I presume you mean the Anglophone countries are setting the agenda, then?

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Hyperloop founder goes on immediate leave following sexual assault 'smear campaign'

Ledswinger
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I conclude that Elon Musk is a complete arsehole simply by his association with the sort of people running Hyperloop. Many of us have doubts about the viability, but if Musk believes the idea has potential, why allow it to be wrecked by the sort of degenerate leeches that appear to be senior management at Hyperloop?

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Apple looks forward to wiping $47bn off its overseas profit tax bill – thanks to US shakeup

Ledswinger
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Re: Yes, by all means, bring that cash home

And, while we're praising the great and the good....

US and UK banks were crooks, primarily in lending to the uncreditworthy on the joint assumptions that it wouldn't go wrong, and if it did go wrong they'd get bailed out. But accusing the UK and US banks alone ignores the identical behaviour in Europe, where French & German banks did the same in lending to the uncreditworthy all across southern Europe. When the brown stuff hit the fan, just like US and UK monetary authorities, the French, Germans and ECB bailed out their banks. You can see the same in China, it was the cause of Japan's two decade long malaise, its the same in any part of the world.

Financial services is a rank, disgusting, short termist sector, where the management and individuals will always put their over-generous bonus arrangements ahead of any form of common sense, propriety, or morality.

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UK.gov failing to prevent £10bn of annual online fraud, say MPs

Ledswinger
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Maybe

If they weren't so busy with their Victorian-values crusade against porn, they could actually attend to crime?

Then again, that phrase "too vast a problem for the Home Office to solve on its own" could reasonably be applied to tasks like the senior civil servants distinguishing between their own arses and elbows.

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Sucks to be a... chief data officer, when they're being told: Boost revenues

Ledswinger
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Re: Quis custodiet

I've had similar experience - run a rough set of numbers for a specific purpose, before you know it some tit has shown them to the main board without caveats (and without even due credit for the rough work), and then they start asking for it to be modified for different and more favourable outcomes, and extrapolated far into the future. Even used with external investors to make an investment case based on this "market forecast", when all I'd originally done was a bit of short term extrapolation to establish whether we could potentially grow the business line over the next couple of years. But that's always been the way, and always will be.

I reckon that Gartner are like my forecast - a bit right in the near term, guaranteed wrong in the longer term. And that's because their logic is correct that CIOs are being asked to monetise data without regard to the risks, but in the longer term, the value of data is fairly finite. In the grand scheme, data can save a few modest costs (with most of the low hanging fruit already gone), and then there's the advertiser/seller value of data. That's all priced in to a zero sum game at the moment, where Google get most of the money. No matter what you do with the data, analytics don't give consumers more money to spend, or advertisers bigger budgets. And all of the value is a subset of what wealth people spend, less the materials, less processing costs, less physical services, less administration, less financing costs, less tax less the delivery costs of advertising. Individually, in the UK the value of an average citizen's data must be about 1-2% of their actual spending, excluding VAT and other consumer taxes, I'm guessing about £300 a year, most of which is already being picked up. Gartner are wrong, there's going to be no big data monetisation bonanza for lard arse corporates - for them, the best outcome is single digit pounds to be made per customer, against a huge potential risk of GDPR fines.

Take an energy supplier - plodding fuckwits for the most part, but they still know a fair bit about their customers, and can infer a fair bit more from energy use patterns. With smart meters they'll have about three orders of magnitude more data. But what value is that? Much of what can be known or inferred is already known by somebody else....if you've got kids, the energy use pattern can imply that knowledge, even the number and rough age, potentially. But Tesco (or others) already know that from you buying nappies of given sizes at given times. Or you gave the data away to somebody in an online survey, or when you signed up to get a Mothercare discount. DWP already know it - and have probably already welched your data to a credit reference agency and any marketing database company that came knocking. Google already know it from all the searches you've done. Facebook know it - and even if you don';t have an account, they'll still pick it up from your friends who do.

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Staff at Steria gov shared services centre offered voluntary redundo

Ledswinger
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Re: Let me finish that paragraph.

Steria must really want out.

I doubt it. They will have made non-commital assurances about providing the services to government with on-shore and TUPE'd labour, but as soon as possible they'll move to eliminate anybody on expensive legacy terms, and offshore as much as possible to somewhere cheap and crap, along with a crap process.

My wife works for the public sector, and has had to deal with Steria - her unsatisfactory experience was that the delivery (if you can call it that) was via South African, although Steria have the usual crap Indian "capability".

So when the British government is happily eliminating British jobs in favour of SA and India workers and French corporations, we can see that their pathetic hand wringing about UK productivity and employment means nothing. And because the civil service is involved, it costs more than it saves, and nobody is held to account.

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Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters

Ledswinger
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Re: More depressingly...

Worse still there's an increasing number of companies whose outgoing mail doesn't include any text.

Presumably that's (mostly) large companies sending out marketing garbage as hosted content or images. Surely that's no loss to you?

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Ofcom just told BT to up its game on fibre investment

Ledswinger
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Re: "Anybody who think's that is unfair should consider..Virginmedia..not some plucky upstart,"

A trickier question would be should the companies pay for access to their own ducts?

BT do, although there's questions as to whether this is all done transparently and fairly. Same with electricity companies - if they supply electricity even over their own distribution network, they have to pay their wires business at the same rates that it charges other suppliers.

That's the great thing about unbundling - if the original vertically integrated business is as competitive and efficient as they all claim to be, then they have nothing to fear from unbundling....

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Ledswinger
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Re: Wind Turbines & Fibre

So running some fibre at the same time would be a tiny cost compared to the total project cost.

The comparison would be against copper - and it would cost as much to lay a copper connection as a fibre link (trenching or stringing from poles is going to cost the same for either, and that construction is the bulk of the cost).

Why would anybody (other than BT) mess around laying copper data connections across country, when there's no good reason, and the overall costs are the same?

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Ledswinger
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Re: loss making excercise

After that initial round of cable laying, they stopped: any housing developments built since were not hooked up simply because the expense outweighed future revenues.

Well, Verminmedia's Project Lightning was supposed to extend the network where those sorts of gaps exist - they'll still check whether its economic for them, and if not they won't do it, but the idea was specifically to get more customers connected without having to cable entire towns. Of course, they screwed up Project Lightning, and my experience as cable customer is that the Virginmedia business is being run as a cash cow - excessive prices, refusal to invest in capex, failure to provide the premium, customer-focused service that their pricing implies, and rubbish cable modems (the infamous Hub 3).

I suspect that (despite my reasonably practical LLU suggestion earlier) Virginmedia's directors think the UK cable business is living on borrowed time, and will be less and less viable as and when BT roll out G.Fast. Faced with lower revenues in future, they're paring everything to the bone now.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Full fibre? Like Weetabix?

it would indeed be nice to just grab Virgin's network

Nobody said anything about "grabbing" or nationalising VM's assets.

All that's required is that VM set up a chinese wall (as BT are supposed to for Openreach, as happens with electricity distribution, gas distribution, and increasingly water) and to offer use of the network to other suppliers on the same terms as they offer it to their own retail function.

Anybody who think's that is unfair should consider that Virginmedia are not some plucky upstart, they're a large, non-too-sprightly but very profitable infrastructure & retail business. And there's a precedent in telecoms - why do MNO's allow MVNOs to use their networks? They paid for those networks themselves, but they're aware that if they don't strike agreements with MVNOs then they are at risk of the competition authorities wading in. VM's vertically integrated position is an artefact of how predecessor companies were formed, there's now no reason to stick with rules that require BT to allow Virginmedia to use their local loop infrastructure, but prevent BT and other retailers using VM's local loop. You can argue that these rules should not apply to smaller network operator, but Virginmedia have cherry picked the majority of UK urban areas, I can see no reason why they should be "protected" from Sky, BT or anybody else.

Moreover, unbundling Virginmedia's cable assets could make a lot more money for Virginmedia by making much better use of their network where there's capacity (and pay for more capacity where appropriate), and it could reduce the capital and roll out problems for Openreach by dramatically reducing the size of the task they face. It all depends what you want: Openreach clearly can't do a national FTTP roll out any time soon, and want subsidies to do it. If they were relieved of the obligation to do FTTP for 50-60% of UK homes, that would put the resources where they are probably more needed. And VM customers might quite like to have a cable connection with a choice of service provider.

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Ledswinger
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Full fibre? Like Weetabix?

"Full fibre" is a meaningless term at the best of times, but if she means "able to access broadband at speeds over 200 Mbps", then rather than the paltry 3% availability she mentions, approximately 55% of households in the UK already have the potential to access Virginmedia's cable network (although only about 20% of those choose to do so).

If government want better penetration of high speed services, then they need to unbundle the VM cable network (opening up competition on cable services), and then focus on getting Openreach/BT to sort out those areas that have no high speed service at all. If they don't do that, then all that will happen is that BT will duplicate Virginmedia's footprint with FTTP at vast cost, and everybody living outside of those dual-served urban areas will be left on damp string and dial-up.

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From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

Ledswinger
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Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Any business thinking of this must be absolute bonkers...

I think WileyFox must be bonkers - the sorts of big corporate IT shops that threw in their lot with Windows Phone are most unlikely to trust what to their board and senior managers is an unheard of phone maker and for that matter, a virtual phone maker, who contract out assembly to people we've probably never heard of (I doubt they use the Foxconns and the like that Apple can).

And as much as anything, those corporate IT shops are licking some brutal reputational wounds after telling their directors and the whole company that WIndows Phone was the future, only for Microsoft to chuck in the towel. They aren't going to give it another chance, using unproven hardware from a company with no track record in corporate IT.

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Report: Underwater net cables are prime targets for terrorists and Russia

Ledswinger
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Well, the English should know all about cutting the enemy's submarine cables - they did it using divers operating from x-craft miniature submarines when fighting the Japanese around Singapore during the second world war.

Evidently it didn't help us much.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ar**

Therefore the parts of the cables most accessible to hostile forces are on the continental shelves

In theory yes, but why attack the most easily defended bit, within a couple of minutes flying time of shore based strike aircraft? And even further out, why use explosives that would attract attention from NATO ships, subs and listening devices?

Any deep water vessel could be modified with a trawl or grapnel, just like the ones used by cable repair ships. And the attackers can then break the cable in the vast emptiness of deepwater, at their leisure, with very low risk of attack. Stick the grapnel on a merchant ship, and they wouldn't even lose a military asset if it was detected immediately and sunk.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Two sides to the coin

So it is debatable whether sub-sea cables would be a terrorist target -

I doubt that it is even debatable - terrorists have always preferred to attack high profile soft, fleshy targets, rather than either commerce or infrastructure. There's more than enough people *cough* who could quickly conjure up a strategy to systematically attack Western water, power, gas, telecoms infrastructure in attacks which would be very effective, cheap and risk free for the attackers. But that isn't what terrorists want. Even the IRA only played around with infrastructure attacks a couple of times, weren't very successful, and went back to their traditional low-rent methods of blowing up policemen and prison officers.

Clobbering my electricity for a day merely means I have to enjoy fresh air and daylight, and eat salad (obviously that last bit is a worst case). Chopping an undersea cable means people will have to rely on more local grumble servers. And many of these infrastructure system are surprisingly resilient for those who don't know them well. In a war scenario I can these would be targets, but invoking "terrorism", nah, that's just lazy headline grabbing by the "think tank" authors who should know better. In this case, it's looking more like a "Don't think hard enough tank".

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Nationwide UK web bank and app take unscheduled nap

Ledswinger
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Re: An amateurish organisation

I'd rather have Nationwide's incompetence than that of the other usual suspects, if only because Nationwide is the only large mutual still offering banking services (though one or two smaller building socs still do).

Despite which, I think Nationwide's board are the same overpaid banking sector freeloaders as anybody elses board...

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Freelance techies moan about DXC billing snafu: No pay for three weeks

Ledswinger
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Re: If you get your contract through a third party ...

It's certainly preferable to contract direct.

But an increasing trend for companies that employ contractors is to outsource the hiring and contracting through a third party (eg Manpower), meaning that contractors sign up with that agency, or find another gig.

In some cases you can still name your price, but the T&Cs will be standard, and that works far better for the "beneficiary" company, rather than have their own (disinterested) procurement team piffling around with a host of completely different low value contracts, or worse still, the wastrels of HR trying to administer anything.

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What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies?

Ledswinger
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Apparently they were planning to go biomass

There's six generating units at Drax, the original plan was indeed to convert all to biomass. The reason that they didn't was that government removed some of the subsidies that Drax had been getting (LECs, to be specific), and without those the business case for biomass was poor to non-existent. The fall of sterling against the pound also really hammered Drax, because the biomass (woodchip) source is the US.

Personally, I'm not sure they'll be able to do a gas conversion that is economic - in design terms this is a power station built to burn UK hard coal grades. A gas conversion gets a cleaner, higher grade fuel, but unless they replace the entire thermal units with CCGT, they'd have a very inefficient process. And very few companies have been able to make the case for new build CCGT in the UK market in recent years, because the costs loaded onto generators, the low wholesale prices, and the loss of running hours to the part-time renewables means that the business case is not viable. And because of the incompetent stop-start policies, any sane investor wants to have quick payback and high margins, because they know they can't trust the government to create a stable investment climate.

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Aviva dumps DXC, shoves data centre support at Atos

Ledswinger
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Re: Aviva

stealing and paraphrasing the above to convince the director to keep my new project in house

You're welcome!

In addition to making the case that all modern large customer businesses are IT businesses with a bit of sector focus as an add on, don't forget to try and include a list of failed outsource projects, going back as far as you can, and put this under a "Risk" section. If relevant, include the IBM/Cable & Wireless dispute, that was a monster. Also do a search on the subject of "bringing outsourced IT back in house" for a list of more failures and cost problems.

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AI hype surge numbers, robo-radiologists, Apple voxels, and lots more

Ledswinger
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Wake me up when....

AI or ML has something genuinely useful to show.

Yours faithfully,

Rip Van Winkle

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