* Posts by Ledswinger

4852 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Gartner: Brexit to wipe $4.6bn off tech spending in Blighty

Ledswinger
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..when the pound will recover...

Not anytime soon is my guess.

Irrespective of Brexit, the UK has run an appalling balance of trade (and payments) deficit for years and years now, and sterling should by rights have cratered a long time ago. In the first few months of such a change that is always negative because all internationally (invariably dollar) priced commodities become more expensive, and we import too much. This has been a contributor to the vast debt mountain that the UK sits on, although the failure of successive governments to match their spending to their income is also a big factor. Longer term, a weaker pound really helps our exporters, but it isn't a quick win, and government still need to stop spending more than they raise in tax.

The only reason sterling didn't go down before was that all the other genuinely tradeable currencies have their own macro-economic problems - mostly vast excesses of debt and unfunded welfare obligations.

There are some circumstances where the £ might recover - but driven by (for example) a collapse in Japan's moribund economy, by further shakedowns in the eurozone over the still unresolved southern european debt problems, by a hard landing and/or political instability in China, or similar global scale problems that make London look like a safe and receptive haven for hot money. Sooner or later some of those risks will crystallise.

Long and the short: The UK economy needed this exchange rate reset, we need to stay for a good while until (if ever) government gets the national books in order. But in the short term tech, energy, and imported goods will get more expensive.

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Israeli researcher fans fears: here's another way to cross the airgap

Ledswinger
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For instance, at one plant we supervise everyone has to go through two sets of security, one of which is a physical search, before you get to the secure area and even when there the servers are in a locked room.

Great defence against crappy cybercrims and low budget espionage. But mere theatre against nation state grade efforts. The attacker just needs to get their people recruited as one or more of the security detail (or blackmail those already there). As with any form of attack, the victim is only as strong as their weakest links, and the great thing about state levels of resource is that you can attack adjacent weakest links in a planned approach.

One has to assume if the Israeli's are letting this go public, its because it either doesn't work in the real world, or that they've found much easier methods.

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Home Office ignores plight of BA techies as job offshoring looms

Ledswinger
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Re: penny wise pound foolish

ultimately costing BA more money.

But by that time everybody will have forgotten how much it cost before. Businesses have shockingly poor corporate memories, particularly for things like this that would show them up.

My multinational employer are in exactly this situation. Outsourced the basic infrastructure and services to HP, kept development and projects in house. Unsurprisingly the cost of services turned out much higher than the business case. So we foolishly cut our own projects budget to keep total IT costs the same. A few scant years later it comes as a huge surprise out that we've a massive backlog of IT investment needs, and that the resource needs are so large that we've exhausted the skills in our provincial city locations, and costs and timescale are at risk.

The next act in this tawdry and utterly predictable drama will be for our IT top-brass and corporate bean counters to say "surely an IT specialist can find us some Java developers in a low cost location and solve our skills and cost problem...". The pea-brains will then outsource the lot to Accunture or IBM Global Buggerups, and we lose all control and continuity, and find that in addition to outsourced services being crap and more expensive than doing it yourself, our projects become crap and more expensive.

And the remarkable thing about this, if the chimps in Procurement and the monkeys in Finance did their job properly, they'd realise from the published accounts of the outsourcers that any business case we see will be making very different assumptions about the cost to us, and the real average price customers get charged per outsource employee. For some reason, our decision makers seem to think that the big ITO and consultancies are not grasping, high cost middlemen, but some form of caring charity.

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Ledswinger
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Re: I'm afraid, as predicted

Generally the UK government seems to struggle doing it's day job. Gawd knows how it's going to cope unpicking the tangle of UK-EU connections.

Do you really think they intend to?

The establishment was absolutely united for Remain, and I'd guess that the schemes and bureaucrats will hope to string out the negotiations, with a view to running a second referendum when they've deliberately struck some bad prospective deals with the EU.

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Ledswinger
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Re: When I shop I want a flat playing field. not a supermarket selling eye-space

and that CE mark is strictly lip service

Everybody knows that CE stands for caveat emptor.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Who do they think they are?

Maplins is that store you drive past on the way to Aldi.

And Aldi are the people who pissed on Tesco's chips. Time was when Tesco was the main shop and you might risk Aldi for a top up shop. Now it is the other way round.

And even when there's a Maplin near an Aldi (etc) on retail parks with heavy footfall, Maplin remains a modern day ghost town.

Maplindroids! Wake up smell the coffee, and get a new job ANYWHERE!

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Ledswinger
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Re: Repeating the same mistakes

Woolworths closed down years ago..

But if you really want that "my name is Sam Tyler..." 1970's flashback, you've still got a few short days to savour it - until they've closed the last BHS.

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Ledswinger
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Screwfix have gone the same.

A bit, but not quite as bad. Toolstation appear to be where the trade shop now. I suppose Screwfix were doomed the moment that Bodge & Quodge bought them. And doubly doomed when that French woman they got in to run Kingfisher plc decided that they must be run as a single business.

It can only be a while months before they decide to relocate the Screwfix counters into B&Q stores to "make things more efficient and lower costs". Then Kingfisher have to react to the fact that the move cannibalises the B&Q mega-margins. So they put up Screwfix prices. Then the sales fall off, so they dissolve the Screwfix operations, and wrap the operation into B&Q's terrible on line operation.

I suppose Kingfisher have done well to run Screwfix tolerably well for 16 years (largely by leaving it alone), but it is always the same for acquisitions - sooner or later the corporate numpties will kill the acquired business.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Sad excuse for the company it once was...

If tomorrow will do, I order from hassle-free Farnell.

Bought three weeks ago by a Swiss mini-conglomerate for a 50% premium to the market price. So expect Farnell operations to be messed with, UK management to be reduced, and prices to go up to pay for the over-priced acquisition.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Cheeky bastards.

This has just made up my mind to stop shopping there completely.

To judge by their tumbleweed infested aisles, with the only other humans being bored employees, you could be The Last Maplin Customer. Our local branch is in the building that previously hosted the doomed Blockbuster, another dinosaur from the last century, which seems appropriate and prophetic.

So, we're agreed they're going to crash and burn. But which well known business will be next to shrivel up after outfit eking out its final days with a business model that time forgot, passed by via technology and t'internet?

My money's on WHSmith. Or Halfords.

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No contract protected against the risk of bid-rigging, says expert

Ledswinger
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Clueless Markets Authority

So, the CMA reckon bid-rigging is a problem, resulting in poor value for the taxpayer?

I suspect many, many public (and private) sector bids are rigged, but the real problem of poor value isn't the modest impact of that, but the vastly higher outturn costs of poorly specified bids, where big suppliers know that they can bid at a loss, and then clean up when the buyer starts to either change their mind on what they want, or asks for things that were evidently necessary to the supplier, but the buyer failed to include. And that also leads on to the subsequent inability of the buyer to avoid paying for failure by the supplier.

NHS IT, Universal Credit, DWP pensions modernisation, every government shared services project, every defence contract ever signed, regional fire control centres, MoJ Libra system, MoJ offendor management, Defra payments system......

I'd happily settle for rigged tenders if they actually delivered something that worked, on time and budget.

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77 per cent ignore company social media policies

Ledswinger
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Re: Using social media to learn?

Perhaps in reality Social Media is harmful, a waste of time and a form of Vanity Publishing.

What, like people spouting their opinions round here, sticking up thousands of posts under pseudonyms that have almost become private brands?

You know, names like "Ledswinger" or "Mage".

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Parliament is building a new website – and it doesn't want GDS anywhere near it

Ledswinger
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Why bother?

These look and function very much like comments threads here on El Reg.... and allow Parliamentarians to read what the great unwashed have to say about issues du jour

...and then ignore them.

FTFY

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Professor slams digital efforts of 'website-obsessed' government

Ledswinger
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'making things wronger'

This appears to be the purpose of government. I really can't think of much that government policy has delivered over the past thirty years that has made anything better.

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Musk's Tesla to buy Musk's SolarCity for US$2.8 billion

Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

The funding for Musk is a drop in the bucket compared to the sort of monies thrown at the big defence contractors

Not unlike the billions the US government has also thrown at a company called SpaceX? Hold on....isn't that owned by the rich guy with the rubber face too?

And to all the mugs who think that Elon is saving the planet, how many polar bear cubs have drowned for this vanity space programme? All very well saying "ooh look, recycled boosters!", but the actual benefits are modest. And the argument "somebody else would have done it anyway" is likely to come up, but would that work as an excuse for a torturer, drug dealer, or prison camp guard? I just wonder if anybody is stupid enough to argue that the use of hydrogen and oxygen is a somehow a clean fuel....

I rather like Musk. He's rich enough and tech focused enough to achieve all manner of clever things, and he's largely unconstrained by investors or other people's opinions. But that doesn't alter the fact that his empire is funded not by the market, but by the government, and that even the environmental impact of a Tesla has a big fat carbon footprint.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

BTW I don't think Elon is primarily motivated by making money.

I do. I think he's consistently milked the US taxpayer for vast amounts of money. Grants to build his factories, subsidies for R&D, subsidies for PV, subsidies for EVs. WIthout the bottomless pocket of the taxpayer, he wouldn't have a business at all.

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Ledswinger
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Re: They could make the panels structural

overall installation cost would be significantly reduced, especially in new construction

The material savings are very, very small. Shingles (and in Europe cement or clay tiles) are cheap as chips, as is the material underneath, and they're fitted by low skill labourers. Integrated PV certainly looks better, but the savings in unrequired materials are negligible, and probably offset by incremental costs of finishing and weatherproofing an integrated array.

For a new build there are worthwhile savings in cost, but that's simply because you're on site already, and you don't have the survey, mobilisation and access costs that apply to retrofit.

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

Ledswinger
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Re: Consumer Product?

So, what do I Google to buy the household appliance that will do this for fondue?

Wife

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Ledswinger
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Re: Fruit & nutcase

Did someone call?

That would be me. With the important and relevant question as to whether giving FB's electric shocks makes them healthier.

Lets give it a go and see, eh?

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Cash-strapped English and Welsh cops prepare to centralise all 43 forces' websites

Ledswinger
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Re: Perhaps something useful could arise?

How hard is it to have a 999 app:

To judge by the speed and availability of data services, and the frequency with which I find SMS or MMS messages arriving days (occaisionally weeks) after they were sent, it will be bloody hard indeed, no matter how good the app developers.

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Ledswinger
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Re: The heart sinks ...

Technical competence counts for absolutely zero if you don't control the politics,

Just as true in the private sector, though, in any company big enough to have internal politics.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Local bobby?

All ours spend their lives sitting on their fat arses in an expensive car, looking out for minor traffic offences.

Gwynedd Constabulary, perchance? But I thought they let the locals off whilst harassing tourists....

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Ledswinger
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“As a member of the public you ought to be able to .......find out what your local bobby is doing,”

Full real time location GPS data and helmet camera feed, presumably: "Oooh look, Constables Ferret and Weasel are enjoying a spit roast with Mrs Thompson at number 43. Mr Thompson must be away on a business trip again."

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Confirmed: Dell software sell-off

Ledswinger
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Re: Elliot Partners?

They are not a company I want owning my employer given their nature of ripping things apart.

To be fair, that's what private equity firms do. And the usual opportunity is because a firm (or business within a larger corporate) isn't sustainable, and the owner doesn't know what to do with it. I've been given my cards during a PE takeover. But as my initial employer was on the verge of being declared bankrupt, there wasn't any better option, and at least the PE house paid my notice and statutory redundancy, and honoured pension commitments. All of that would have gone by the board if my employer had become insolvent.

So certainly intolerant, profit-obsessed people. But often doing a job that needs to be done. And whilst they only live to make money, it does give them a refreshingly direct insight missing from most corporate PHBs.

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Sea of outrage after 'migrant-spotting app' turned out to be bogus

Ledswinger
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Anybody daft enough to install this...

...deserves to be had.

It always had to be a con, because there was no money in it. Now, had the developers thought a bit harder they could have taken the "market-maker" model of Uber, or Airbnb, and come up with Fugee, a new platform to link those with the wish to travel unsafely (plus the means to pay) to people smugglers.

Lucrative, flexible, and socially useful. What more could any developer want? And there's plenty of opportunity for value added extras like paying your people smuggler to put all your real identity documents in a weighted bag destined for Davy Jones' locker (5 USD), or for a badly photocopied guide to bluffing your way through the EU asylum systems (10 USD), higher rates for the less unseaworthy vessels (basic plus 500 USD per head). Or even for your people smuggler to send a postcard to your next of kin if the worst happens (10 USD).

So I suppose, what this news story shows is not the problem with gullible users, but in fact, that the problem with most developers: No sense of commerce or meeting people's needs.

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Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!

Ledswinger
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Re: A broken watch tells the right time twice a day?

"Solution looking for a problem" is an understatement

Given the many, many shortcomings, what we have here is a problem searching for another problem.

In the wider scheme of things, this would appear to be proof of the gulf between Tim Cook and Steve Jobs. Can anybody imagine Jobs letting smart watches escape the development lab? Or actually proudly announcing that Apple are intentionally bringing "complications" to this or any product?

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Swede who spent 28 years vacuuming in the nude to be evicted

Ledswinger
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Re: The Dream

but it's a lot like that "Guardians of the Galaxy" line about a blacklight and Jack Pollack paintings.

That one escaped me, but GotG was a far better quality film than it ever got credit for, and I commend it to the house.

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Energy companies aren't going to slurp your personal data. Honest

Ledswinger
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Re: Not needed

The only plausibly useful purpose they could have is cutting off the supply remotely. Who benefits from that?

If you pay your bill, then you benefit. As in all other commodity retail markets prices are built up from the base costs suppliers face. Bad debt is one of those costs, so if those who won't pay get cut off, there's less added to your bill.

You might argue about the rights and wrongs of that, but if somebody can pay, but won't, there's no reason not to cut them off. If somebody can't pay, then why should the energy supplier act as an unpaid extension of the welfare state? Government should fix the welfare system to meet the needs of its users.

Interestingly the German welfare state actually pays benefits claimant an assessed amount for their energy needs, if they choose to spend that on pilsner and Sky, then they're free to get cut off.

And in Germany far more customers are cut off for non-payment than in the UK (Germany about 0.3m disconnections per year, compared to about 400 per year in the UK). That's the sort of story the lefty hand wringers of the Graun won't tell you, when they're berating UK energy suppliers and moaning about the high cost of energy.

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Ledswinger
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Re: Stop with the "programming" crap!

Coding- is- just- the- new -metalwork.

Maybe. But my metalwork teacher was a dour south Yorkshireman who'd worked in the steel industry and liquid metal flowed in his veins. When I got my O level, I could competently operate a lathe, a grinding wheel, a pillar drill, I could weld, braze, powder coat, etch, I could hand-forge parts, use all the main hand tools, I could draw a basic design and actually convert that to a finished article. Maybe that was about making me factory fodder.

But more importantly still I learned hugely important lessons that also stick with me in safe working, in reacting to mishaps, in empathy and respect for tools and machines, in using the right tool for the job, in the value of proper preparation, in listening to people who know what they are talking about. I had confidence in what I knew, and I had confidence to learn more.

If coding gives those to students today, it will be worthwhile, but I'm guessing it won't.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Do we really want more computer scientists?

they typically can't code, better to get someone with a Maths degree who can

If you're clever enough to get a maths degree, why would you waste your life doing the thankless and often poorly rewarded job of coding? Fair enough if you're coding HFT algorithms for a bank who will shout at you and treat you like dirt, but pay megabucks. And fair enough if you're not paid much but working at Harwell, Aldermaston, or on some exotic research project.

But everything in between is going to bore a competent mathematician to death.

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Ledswinger
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Sadly the main driver behind this is the UK Government

Certainly are. And they're guilty themselves. They introduce mandatory employee pension schemes, demand high payroll taxes, high standards of welfare and H&S (all good things in a way) but then the fuckers use offshoring to exempt their own badly run departments from these taxes and obligations. My wife works for the NHS - payroll and staff admin are outsourced to Steria in god-knows-where, and IT support is from South Africa. The same applies to DWP, MoJ and the rest.

Multinationals do the same as the government, so the story is that taxes and worker rights apply only to UK based SMEs. And successive British governments have been made up of feckless lightweights unable to see the vast damage that offshoring does to the UK - loss of jobs, loss of skills, loss of UK tax income, and worsening our already dreadful trade imbalance.

So here's the real message from the goons at Westminster to the British people: "Sod the economy, sod your children's employment prospects, we're only here to save you from climate change and paedo-terrorists."

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Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Ledswinger
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Government clueless on rates as usual

I can't say I'm surprised that broadband is being hit by the VOA (themselves only enacting government policy), because there's plenty of other crapness in the work of UK property taxes. Domestic council tax is a complete mess, based on made up valuations now thirty five years out of date. Business rates have been a carbuncle on growth for the last decade or so. In the autumn spending review, government announced plans to fritter a third of a billion on heat networks and bring in over £2bn of private capital, but VOA are trying to levy business rates that are (like for like) five times or more the value charged on an equivalent gas network.

So shitting on broadband companies just as government claim to be supporting more broadband roll out is par for the course, and in that respect they should perhaps conclude that they aren't being discriminated against. This is business as usual.

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When DIY is not enough: Web-snack firm Graze has an offline awakening

Ledswinger
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Re: Not for me...

...more a pork scratchings kind of guy.

Imagine how much their business would be worth if they'd done away with the health fascist focus and sold proper snacks.

Maybe I can do a "me too" business model, under the brand "ManSnax", and a clear marketing strapline "No healthy sh** here".

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Not just the proles getting the heave-ho as British Airways races to save millions

Ledswinger
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Re: Dumbsourcing

outsourcing important, core activities is always stupid

That's true. But for BA, the core activity is not writing or maintaining software, it is getting people to pay to sit on an aircraft for the purposes of travel. IT might be essential, but so are many other business activities that are not core activity. Even aircraft ownership or maintenance fall into that category.

BA have always obsessed about offshoring, going back at least as far as 1996 when they established WNS as a way of dodging European payroll costs. And that's what scumbags like BA and other users of outsourcing are doing: They want access to high value European and US markets, they want the protection of (in particular) the English courts, they want access to London capital markets, they want to pedal their malignant influence with UK and European politicians. But given a choice they only want to employ people who aren't paid European rates, who don't have Western levels of employment protection and workers rights, and where BA don't have to pay employer's payroll taxes, statutory pension contributions, or incur inconvenient health and safety obligations etc.

British Airways: Exporting jobs since 1996.

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Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

Ledswinger
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A bargain? Was this drivel written by Microsoft?

The get to know my gender? Shock f***ing horror. I daresay they could have guessed that from my name. And I've not told Linkedin about either marital status or sexuality.

So they reckon each profile (!=active user) is worth sixty dollars. Where's the worth in me to MS? I don't like MS, and I won't alter that view either way for this. Whilst I'm in a reasonably senior role, I don't have IT or procurement decision making powers (and certainly wouldn't admit to any influence if I had any). So as advertising cannon fodder I'm worthless.

The reason Microsoft have just spent a staggering $26bn on a pile of incomplete and unformatted CVs is not some clever strategic rationale. It is because they simply don't know what else to do with the money. I haven't paid to use Linkedin until now, and I won't in future. If the cost of a few adverts gets me access then that's fine, if it goes down hill (as is likely) then I'll close my account. Problem for Microsoft is that their weighted average cost of capital is about 9%. Amortise the capital over fifteen years, cost the capital at 9%, and in the next could of years Microsoft have to get back $5.8bn each year in profit from Linkedin just to break even. But Linkedin made a net loss in each of the past four quarters. Microsoft need to make an operating profit significantly above the circa $3.2bn revenue that Linkedin reported over the past year.

Conclusion: Linkedin shareholders should cash in and laugh. Microsoft shareholders should gnash their teeth and weep as the company's M&A touch of death repeats itself. Interesting data experiment for anybody with time on their hands: Collectively, how much have US tech companies written off from failed acquisitions since (say) 1990?

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Microsoft buys LinkedIn for the price of 36 Instagrams

Ledswinger
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Re: Bonkers

That is the full explanation of the market's response. IT'll go back up (maybe higher) in a few days.

Higher on exactly what basis? Having liquidated businesses like aQuantive in a failed c$5bn attempt to be like Google in adds, having liquidated Nokia in an c$8bn attempt to be like Apple, now they want to repeat the trick burn $26bn to be like Facebook?

Tell us how the markets are going to see this as a positive?

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Grim-faced 'naut Malenchenko prepares to return home

Ledswinger
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so it is possible for a Russian cosmonaut to smile

Probably only by using banned substances.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Russian

it's a cultural thing that means they tend not to smile much in public.

And they do a nice line in lip-curled, non-smiling "нет".

So that begs the question, why was he smiling in that last photo? Since he looks a bit like me, and I don't often crack a smile either, I'm guessing he'd just let rip with a thermobaric SBD. Always brings a smile to my face to do that, watch colleagues faces go green, see them stagger and retch, whilst I act outraged and deny any accountability.

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Did you know there's a mega cybercrime backlog in Ireland? Now you do

Ledswinger
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A good aspiration - but they should have been saying that about 20 years ago.

Given the chaotic mess of various UK police forces IT, I think that us UK commentards may not wish to throw too many stones at the Chicken Gaurdists?

Although given that there appears some commonality, I begin to wonder if perhaps there are conventions at which copper IT "pros" share worst practices, and benchmark to see who is most backward or least efficient? Every year some force sets a new record for obsolescence and ineffectiveness, and then everybody else sets to with a view to getting their IT down to the new Poo Standard.

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Government regulation will clip coders' wings, says Bruce Schneier

Ledswinger
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Re: The man's an incorrigible optimist

Who knows, being the renowned security guy he is, he might be hoping to get an advisor role with a government?

Well, a nice government sinecure keeps the wolf from the door. Take the money, don't do anything, don't rock the boat. If your standards are low enough, working for the government is a dream job.

But on the other hand, when you look at any of the really intelligent guys who become government advisors, the fuckwits of the establishment ignore their advice, and just keep doing what they wanted to do in the first place (eg, Prof. David Nutt, the late, great Sir David MacKay, and more than a few others).

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Ledswinger
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The man's an incorrigible optimist

The choice is between smart (well-informed) or stupid government regulations

Evidently he's not got much experience of the British government, where our choices are going to be between really stupid and bloody stupid government regulation. Our political decision makers are intellectual lightweights who know so little about IT, science, technology, or even business that failure is baked in to everything they touch.

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Crysis creeps: Our ransomware locks network drives and PCs. Bargain

Ledswinger
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Don't you think it's about time we (the world in general) made the punishment for writing, distributing and profiting from viruses / malware / trojans much, MUCH more severe?

Much as I'd like it to, the death penalty doesn't seem to deter murderers. If you had much, much higher detection and successful prosecution rates that might help, but ultimately there's always somebody thinks that there is free money to be had by shitting on somebody else, so it won't go away. Add in that the Ruskies and Chinks don't care about mayhem caused by their citizens in non-domestic situations, and the "demand" side of malware isn't going to be crushed.

Users can't be relied upon to be "sensible", because they're just users. They don't have to know how a lock works to use a door, why should they have to be IT savvy to use a computer? So if you'll buy those assertions, sadly the problem sits with lazy, fuckwit OS makers (Google, Microsoft in particular), aided and abetted by various lazy fuckwit application makers (Adobe...and Adobe.....Adobe as well.....oooh, and Adobe...plus maybe somebody else).

FFS, it's 2016. It really shouldn't be possible for a dumb user to simply click on the wrong thing and then have all their files encrypted in the background. But Microsoft, Google, and Adobe don't care. They all still live in the world of 20th century software, where the game is to ship out crap, update it a bit until they've got an acceptable market share, then relax and do nothing to improve the flaws in their code, because there's no downside to them when users get hit.

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Google snubs 'dark money' questions at AGM. Shareholder power? Yeah, right

Ledswinger
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Re: Good for them

More companies could probably do with a similar decision-making structure.

Are you a Google auto-shill? Entrenched management are a proven destroyer of shareholder value. There's hundreds of years of experience that tell this story, and it is a real disappointment to read that "Alphabet" are choosing to flush themselves down the be-skidded pan in this way.

Activist investors are not nice people, they're only in it for a buck. But their modus operandi and core skill is to realise where management are holding that buck back from the rightful owner. If Page and Brin don't want to work in shareholder's interests, that's fine. But don't list your company, and then piss on the new owners.

If the SEC had any balls, they'd stamp on all of this sort of management entrenchment. And Page and Brin could be forced to give shareholders their money back. THEN the pointy headed gits would be entitled to do what they want.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Eh?

If on the other hand he is referring to the rise (for now) of Donald Trump, I'm not sure how much dark money has to do with that.

Far be it from us Limeys to tell you what's going on (although you bastards still owe us for some spoiled tea), but the point of dark money is that not only do you still have a vastly powerful and self-interested military-industrial complex, you now have an equally powerful techno-political complex.

And the rise of Trump in the US, UKIP + Brexit pressures in the UK, far right movements in northern Europe and a resurgence of communism in southern Europe, all of that is linked to the focus of politicians on the media, and serving their paymaster in the MIC and TPC. Look at the world of flyover America? The mom and pop stores have been crushed by the tax dodgers of Amazon. The blue collar manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to China by misguided "free trade" agreements, and the professional and white collar jobs have been outsourced to India.. Real, actual automation is fairly low, but the TPC have used technology to export US (and for that matter UK) jobs en masse.

And thus the political instability is the increasing threat of change as angry, unrepresented voters realise that the political elite might once have worked in the national interest, but they certainly don't now. Politicians hold power through the legacy strength of slavish affiliation and two party systems addicted to gerrymandering, but the people whose interests they act in are the 0.1%. So the masses are abandoning the established parties, and looking for alternatives. Those alternatives are likely to be "ists" : Populist, nationalist, communist.

Speaking as a Brit, I haven't voted for a mainstream political party for well over a decade, and I see no immediate prospect that will change. Whilst people with divergent political views might not support the same people I would, I cannot see any logical argument for voting for our (nor your) political establishment,. In a bizarre twist of fate, the outsider Trump is now the clear Republican candidate, but that's actually not much different to the scenario of a weird communist loon leading the British Labour party, but neither have yet established control of "their" party, because the party itself never wanted that outcome.

When you look at that, and then factor in some grim global macro-economics, things could be very interesting over the next few years. Given a choice, though, I'd rather live in times that won't register in the history books.

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McDonald's says bigger fonts cooked up improved profits

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Happy Meal

What the burger actually contains is more likely to be the beef along with binding agents, fillers and other crap.

Don't forget that "beef" probably doesn't mean steak, or even 100% meat + reasonable fat content. It'll surely include udder, rectum, anus, lips, nostrils, eyeballs, bladder, spleen etc.

"Food beyond compare, food beyond belief,

mix it in a mincer and pretend it's beef...."

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Robot lung probe wins licence from US authorities

Ledswinger
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Bronchoscope Procedure -Can Be Interesting

The feeling of something wriggling about tickling inside is a different one that may, or may not catch on.

Don't worry, there's device to detect and extract it, even works whilst you're a passenger in a car. I saw it in "The Matrix". And it didn't look like they used anesthetic then either.

I'll get mine, it's the leather trenchcoat.

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Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: ...or anarchy

Which means all this talk on breaking or banning crypto achieves is reduce privacy for the average citizen!

Which is what the rules are actually intended for. Illberal toerag he may be, but Hague isn't completely stupid. And GCHQ may be incompetent, but they employ enough bright people. Theresa May may have been better off working for the state in the GDR, but again not wholly stupid. So on the basis that most of them are not total and utter idiots, the people awarding themselves these powers know that they will be of no help in tracking down terrorists. Given they know that, the only logical conclusion is that this is intentionally part of a strategy to spy on the population and control them.

Curiously enough, I think there is one member of the government who is sufficiently clueless and intellectually lightweight that he CAN claim that he believes this is about stopping paedodrugterrorists. You know the one, he can (in theory only) be contacted at number 10, Downing Street.

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Why everyone* hates Salesforce's Marc Benioff

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Though I'm tempted to balance it with a -1 for unnecessary rudeness

How was the OP rude? He was precise, accurate and direct. Now if you want unnecessary rudeness, then search some of my posts. I'm rather proud of the ones that were so foul-mouthed but right on the knuckle that they were within a hairs breadth of being moderated away. And a few that you won't find did suffer that fate (they were fucking epic, I tell you).

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Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Amazon, Samsung, etc need to get to get together and build (an open-source) GMS alternative, to keep AOSP viable.

No chance. Amazon are a retailer, and that shows in the variability of their products. Samsung et al are manufacturers, and manufacturers do shit software. Nokia did well to keep it together as long as they did, but eventually it all went wrong. Look in other sectors (eg cars) and the onboard software is shocking - crippled, functionally inadequate, and performance and capabilitywise about ten years behind mobile phones, for no reason other than that car makers don't have a clue about software.

Even if they managed to bribe (say) Sailfish to conjure up an OS, customers would be back to square one, with all the device OEM's happily orphaning products within months of launch.

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Ledswinger
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Could be interesting....

if all the Asian manufactures get together and dump it...

For what, pray tell? Firefox? Ubuntu? Sailfish? Tizen? Not going to happen. They can stick with AOSP for Chinese no-names, but that won't fly for the Western volume markets. And if you look at their own crap Android skins, and inability or reluctance to implement the official Googldroid updates, there's not a snowball's chance in hell of a posse of warring mobe makers coding up any alternative.

They do have another choice of course: Windows.

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