* Posts by Ledswinger

5842 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

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

Ledswinger
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Re: I do have an archtectural proposal.

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Bollocks...

Examine London with its comprehensive public transport systems

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

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

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Ofcom creates watchdog specifically to make sure Openreach is behaving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Corbyn solution

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

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

1) Tolerate the current capacity and peak overcrowding.

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

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Corbyn solution

There are (costly) ways to increase capacity

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Hmmn.. interesting..

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Pity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: I never fail to be amazed

What would be the benefit?

Saving millions in licencing fees charged under wilfully opaque agreements?

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

Error messages that might actually mean something?

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

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

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

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

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

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Dental app startup drama: Two attack websites and a lawsuit

Ledswinger
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Re: An app for that

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

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

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His Muskiness wheels out the Tesla Model 3

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

Is no one looking at hydrogen anymore?

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

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

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

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

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Boffins start work on data centre to analyse UK infrastructure

Ledswinger
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Re: DAFNI and...

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

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Largest advertising company in the world still wincing after NotPetya punch

Ledswinger
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Re: It us just you

WPP is a huge, British success story

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Is it just me...

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Fuck Google

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: watering hole attacks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Samsung stalls Bixby launch because it am English not so good

Ledswinger
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They're not listening

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

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

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

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MH370 researchers refine their prediction of the place nobody looked

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

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

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

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Ledswinger
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What was the headline writer thinking of?

Generating clickbait without infringing copyright, perhaps?

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Happy 4th of July: Norks tests another missile

Ledswinger
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@Triggerfish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Dotcom Bubble II, French Edition?

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

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

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One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

Ledswinger
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Re: In deed

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

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: Well, colour me surprised

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

They provided all the failed project numbers.

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

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

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

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

Google is your friend.

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

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Ledswinger
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Re: SBU @ChrisPv

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

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

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

Ledswinger
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Re: Green lobby failure

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

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

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

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

Seems to me Greenpeace are pushing water uphill on this.

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London suffers from 'sub-standard' connectivity - report

Ledswinger
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It never does.

And never will. The answer to many of London's problems would be to reduce the population density, and distribute a load of the economic activity to other locations. And that needs government resolve - declaring a "Northern Powerhouse" and building a few new rail lines will mean nothing when government and business remain so London-centric.

Instead, the London Assembly continue to rubber stamp new-build flats and monster high-rise offices, and government do nothing to decentralise their administration.

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Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

Ledswinger
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Re: How can a car-based future be long term sustainable?

I mean seriously, you either run out of crude oil or lithium , and before that global warming will have run off.

What's all this Calvinist-guilt shit ? There's plenty of other battery chemistries with a lot of promise, so we're in no danger of running out of raw materials for batteries.

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Ledswinger
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Re: How can a car-based future be long term sustainable?

shipping around a 100kg person in a 2000kg car every day just to go to work or to buy stuff is idiotic

Christian, you should do some research on average bus mileage and passenger km numbers, and then some checks on typical forms of buses (and for that matter cars). Last time I looked the average bus carried about eight or ten people including a paid driver, and the average bus weighed around 12 tonnes. The average car is about 1 tonne. Factor in the inevitably indirect routing that any form of public transport is taking, and the environmental "benefits" of public transport start to vanish. If you replace single occupant cars with 100% loaded buses, you'll see some benefits - but outside of peak commuting hours on the busiest urban networks that's not a realistic proposition other than for muddle headed public sector bus-spotters.

You could press gang the old codgers to take bus journeys they don't need at times that suit you, and thus improve the load factor of buses. Would that make you feel better?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hurrah we can work forever @ nijam

Don't blame those of my generation if said government has frittered away that money...

I'm not far off the same age as you, so please don't read that I'm stirring inter-generational strife because I don't want to pay. Personally I'm more likely to benefit than lose out from the current flawed system, but I object to the epic incompetence and unfairness of it all, particularly for people currently under 45. So I'm not blaming the population, I'm observing a series of simple facts that most people don't like. The blame sits with clueless civil servants and dishonest politicians, unfortunately they are not rich enough to hold to account to make up the vast deficit on public sector pension obligations (or health and social care costs).

Regarding your comment about frittering away the money, in the context of pensions and related costs, government never collected it in the first place. The state pension is just a simple unfunded Ponzi scheme, with the promises based on the logic that paying for one government's promises is a subsequent government's problem. Even if successive governments had squirreled away everybody's NI into a hypothecated and securely invested fund, the contributions both real and notional that people have been making would be insufficient to pay the pensions and other benefits that people believe they are entitled to, primarily because of fast growing life expectancy. And that would still be true if we calculated that notional contributions included not just NI, but some element of the income tax we all pay.

So coming back to the original comment and article, we need the pensionable age to rise, we need older people to keep working for longer, and we still need higher taxes and see reduced benefits. Things like perhaps paying to see a GP, no NHS dentistry, social care costs offset against high personal wealth levels, hotel charges for hospital in-patients. I don't like those any more than anybody else, but at the moment we have a system where costs are growing significantly faster than the economy as a whole, and government have been spending many tens of billions more than they raise each year for about the last quarter century, and they now owe assorted creditors £2 trillion. Corbyn clearly thinks there's a money tree, but he should go to Greece and see what happens when borrowing gets out of hand. Sadly the twats of the Tory party are no better at economic management, and ultimately somebody will lose out, big time. Even if that somebody were "rich" creditors, in a total loss scenario nobody would then lend to the British government at all, and it would overnight have to cut public spending by at least £50 billion a year, or raise taxes by a similar amount.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Hurrah we can work forever

you are now gifted the splendid opportunity to continue to 'contribute to the economy' because nothing else matters.

Given that politicians and companies have made pension and healthcare promises that they can't afford to keep as life expectancy increases, what is your answer to the problem of an ageing population? Let 'em all retire at 60, and then expect the rest of us to pay for them and their health care for the next quarter century?

The idea of "retirement" as some sort of decades long paid holiday that people are naturally entitled to is a thoroughly 20th century construct that has no rational, social or economic foundations. If individuals want that, fair enough, but lets see them contributing a third of their salary into a pension fund for their entire working life.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I love the picture of a 'grey' utopia

Where is the modern day 'ned ludd' when you need them eh?

He's leading Her Majesty's Parliamentary Opposition.

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Ledswinger
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the autonomous car could reverse the decline of the country pub

If transport were the issue, yes. But the even faster decline of urban pubs suggest there's rather more to it. The decline has been fairly continuous since before 1980, with a brief pause during the late 1990s. It isn't really about the smoking ban, or taxes, or transport, it is that fewer and fewer people want to drink in pubs, for a range of reasons.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Dumb yanks

Good idea, AC! They could learn from the UK's best public transport, in and around London.

Its slow, dirty, overcrowded, and a wholly unpleasant experience. It has minimal levels of adaptation for the elderly or those with limited mobility. And at a total cost level it is ludicrously expensive, even if fares are controlled down.

If you really think we're moving to a post-personal transport world, you've only thought about it from the public sector provider perspective, rather than what people actually want.

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Murdoch's £11.7bn Sky takeover referred to competition regulator

Ledswinger
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Re: NowTV

Dealing with Indian online support is about as much fun as dipping your testicles in a bucket of sulphuric acid.

C'mon, we all want to know how YOU know this.

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Dixons Carphone stirs PC Curry, reports 10% profit gravy

Ledswinger
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Re: They have their uses

If your washing machine fails (which it always does on Friday night)...

Ours failed a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning. Rather than rely on DCPW, I just ordered from AO.com at a great price, and the new one arrived less than 24 hours later on Sunday morning, and they took away the bust one for an extra fifteen quid.

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Ledswinger
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Or maybe I actually scream "no fucking warranty" at them, it's hard to tell these days.

I think the extended warranty party may be coming to an end. It's the biggest known-but-as-yet unaddressed mis-selling scandal, and a few of the people involved are starting to hear the ice creaking. Many aren't, but the FCA has taken some token action, and I think that there's a possibility of the PPI vultures moving onto become extended warranty vultures.

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Ledswinger
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Re: Everything should be on nix

it's not beyond the realms of possibility for the government to do it in 5yrs.

I would suggest that it most certainly is, and I base that on the total lack of competence and success across a huge number of public sector tech projects. I love the idea of the country not being beholden to crappy companies like Microsoft, but I can't see the British public sector ever being capable to maintain the circa ten million lines of code of a significant OS, and presumably the similar number of lines of a Linux office suite.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Old Fashioned

Is it me or does this ship look out-dated already?

Well, yes. That big flat top and huge slab sides are soooo 1942.

Interesting to observe that our last carrier capable of launching supersonic jets was ordered in 1942, and laid down in 1943.

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A minister for GDS? Don't talk digital pony

Ledswinger
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But that's OK, as they have the right family/government connections.

That may be true, but I suspect the heart of the problem is that the senior Civil Servants who are supposed to advise politicians lack any tech experience, lack the spine and gravitas to influence a know-nothing politician, and themselves do not have the logical and dispassionate decision making ability.

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Mozilla dev and Curl inventor Daniel Stenberg denied travel to USA

Ledswinger
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Re: Missed Opportunity

Surely there could be a country that can make full use of the technical know-how and allow foreign staff to enter and become the second Silicon Valley

Like where? The unique thing about Silicon Valley isn't either the silicon, or the tech sector as such, it is a combination of friendly regulation and ready access to investors and capital markets willing and able to throw vast sums of money at tech.

The remaining Five Spies countries are too aligned with US security policy to step out of line much, and don't have access to bottomless money pits. The EU countries are far less accommodating and tech-friendly, and they don't have the money either. Places like UAE, Saudi, and Dubai could find the money and the will, but are intolerant and repressive. Russia and China only seem keen on tech as a means of keeping their own population under the thumb, or causing trouble abroad.

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Cisco and McAfee decide users just can't be trusted not to click on dodgy attachments

Ledswinger
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Re: users just can't be trusted not to click on dodgy attachments

users just can't be trusted not to click on dodgy attachments....I agree but its more of a training issue.

Training helps. But if you work in HR, Procurement, Accounts Payable etc you'll get shedloads of external emails with attachments that you need to open as part of your job. The bad guys are slowly getting better at hiding the executable element, and in a large business all the training in the world, all the IT Sec policies, all the threats of retribution against employees won't stop somebody somewhere eventually clicking to open a malware file, or following a link to a malware slinging website or file host.

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Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

Ledswinger
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Perhaps we should pre-emptively ban it over here in revenge for the US's hissy fit over Concorde in the 1970s?

The best form of revenge would surely be to encourage them to develop the technology, and re-learn the lesson that the market is tiny, and that they're overlooking ever tightening noise and emissions standards will make it near impossible to operate an SST in civilised markets.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Engines

"high bypass" engines where much of the thrust comes from a large volume of air at lower speed from the part that goes past the actual engine

They'll have a huge challenge making supersonic capable engines anything near compliant with current noise rules for aircraft design. As proven by Concorde, there's a small, high wealth customer base willing to pay the high fuel and operating cost of an SST, but I suspect that there's no economic case when the development costs are combined with the small passenger numbers. And because fuel consumption and costs will always be high, it will be impossible to take the technology into the mainstream, and then recover development costs across a much greater production volume.

Sadly, I think this is a rich man's toy, and it is sad to see NASA wanting to spend taxpayer's money on a technology that will only ever benefit the ultra wealthy. Britain and France did this, and funnily enough seem in no hurry to repeat the adventure. If Boeing (or Musk, or Branson) wanted to develop their own aircraft at their own risk and cost, that's different. Evidently NASA haven't realised that The UK and France don't appear to be in a hurry to repeat the experiment.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Ledswinger
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Re: Well, its good to see the QE going out to sea.

if something like you suggest happened in the Gulf I suspect a large number of TLAM would be en-route to the source before they got close to launching 50

You're right (and I also doff my cap to your experience and relevant knowledge) but equally you reinforce my point. Any cruise missile attacks a fixed target. So FAC, subs, mobile ground launchers and aircraft are immune, even if you can destroy their primary bases. Now look at what TLAM can do. The recent attack on a Syrian airfield by 60 odd cruise missiles knocked out a handful of obsolete jets and the airfield was launching warplanes within 24 hours.

Most military planners are not stupid (although with MoD and the Pentagon I'm less sure), and they know that the US approach is still modelled on "shock and awe". If the Iranians expected anything to kick off, they'd have all their anti-ship missiles mobile, using what are at a strategic level multiply redundant disposable platforms. And they've been taught the lesson of fixed bases the hard way by Israel.

You make the point that ships in the Falklands didn't fire 50 SAM, but that overlooks the ground launched weapons (a few ManPADS plus around 20 Rapiers fired), and the fact that the attacking force relied solely on air dropped or launched weapons against ships, and had a small number of serviceable aircraft. 1982 includes some valuable lessons, the number of missiles used isn't applicable unless we're refighting that conflict. In 2017, the cost of really rather good missile systems is pretty low, and the availability high, and betting a big lard-arse carrier against them might not get very good odds at William Hill.

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Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

Ledswinger
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Re: What a Muck Up...

This situation seems to becoming more farcical by the week.

Yes, you're right. But its not that much different on what (I suspect) is your side of the Atlantic?

In the UK situation, the entire problem is that the simpleton Theresa May called a snap election that EVEN SHE HAD NOT PREPARED FOR. As a result the manifestos were just lightweight, ill thought through rubbish - even by the low standards of such things. She then compounded that by her weird reclusiveness and her rather cold and out of touch persona. Nobody knew what they were voting for, and the public pronouncements of both sides were idiotic. Even on questions like "What's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?" she fluffed it, with some flannel about running through a cornfield. If she'd said "Actually, me and Philip are into the BDSM swinging scene. Every Saturday night I strap on the leather, and whip the bollocks of a complete stranger to a bloody mess" then I'd have thought that was somebody with something about them. More so than the opportunist, rocking chair Marxist leading the Labour party. But apparently he goes down well with the sad-sack milennials at Glasto.

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